In love with love storiesLast weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend the Celebrate Romance conference in Kansas City. What a wonderful time I had, meeting fellow fans of the romance genre and sharing with them my passion for love stories.
I've always loved reading, ever since I was little. Remember the monthly catalogues from Scholastic books? I used to beg my mother to let me order extras. And summer vacation reading programs at the local library? Heaven. I was always one of those who won a prize for the most books read--the easiest awards ever earned.
As I grew older it became difficult to find a steady supply of the types of stories I craved. My tastes were fairly eclectic, but my favorite authors couldn't possibly produce new books at the rate I devoured them. I asked friends for recommendations, I haunted bookstores, I reread my favorites, I even scanned old college texts.
Ten years ago, something wonderful happened: I read a romance novel. I wasn't aware that it was a romance novel when I read it, but I soon found out during my next trip to the bookstore. I discovered an entire genre of books like the one I'd just read--books filled with lush history, or suspenseful mystery, or snappy contemporary flair. Books to satisfy my eclectic tastes and provide me with a happy ending every single time.
But the best perk of my newly adopted genre, I've found, is meeting other romance readers, readers like the people I met in Kansas City last weekend. Intelligent, articulate, passionate people who deeply love their love stories, who sigh over endings, who eagerly trade their favorite titles, who travel great distances to share their excitement with others. It's almost like being caught up in a romance of my own: a love affair with love stories.
I love romance. I love every part of this genre's world, from the stories to the authors to the readers. I love every character in it, those in the books I treasure and those sharing my table at a readers' luncheon. I love every step toward the next happy ending, whether it's struggling through a story's black moment or hiking through an airport on the way to a conference. This particular reading road stretches far ahead, paved with all the optimism of new love and new friendship, bound at the edges in fanciful covers and beautiful smiles, waiting to satisfy my craving and lift my spirits.
The happy sigh you hear today isn't because I just started a great new book or finished another, it's not because I have a to-be-read pile stacked to the rafters and know which bookstore shelves are stocked with more. It's because I've got a new batch of friends to share in the joy.