Ready for some heat, Ottawa?
Things are going to start scorching in Canada’s capital: the second annual Romancing the Capital (RTC) conference is coming to town at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Kanata (101 Kanata Avenue) from Thursday May 5th through Saturday, May 7th. With workshops during the day, two fantastic themed dinners (Cowboys & Bad Boys and an 80’s Retro Prom), and a book signing which is open to the public from 2 to 4 on Saturday, RTC promises to be even more fun than last year, thanks to the lady behind the scenes, Eve Langlais.
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author as well as an Ottawa resident, Eve began writing romance on a dare from her husband. After she got so frustrated with a novel she was reading that she threw it against the wall, he challenged her to try writing one herself. Now she has multiple bestselling romance series about a variety of shapeshifters from lions to crocodiles (and the very first were-moose) as well as science fiction featuring cyborgs and aliens. She’s currently working on the first book in her Space Gypsy Chronicles.
Eve started RTC last year after repeated requests from her readers. She attends numerous events in the US and thought it was high time to put on something for her Canadian fans. She jokes that she must have been a little crazy, but still had a great time putting together two days of fun and food for romance lovers. This year, she’s adding more writing themed workshops for aspiring authors but is keeping the fan favourites of author speed dating (where readers each get one minute with over 20 different romance authors) and her challenge to have authors read some of the more intimate excerpts from their stories without blushing or stammering. Mostly, she’s excited to spend time with some of her fellow authors, including several who are coming up from the US, and meeting even more readers. “There is nothing more awesome than finding another person who shares your passion for romance stories.” (Link for attending authors)
Eve has lured an impressive and diverse range of romance authors, including a significant proportion of Ottawa residents. Their stories range from sweet to erotica and cover every aspect of falling in love, from male-female couples to LGBTQ stories to ménage.
Anne Lang attended RTC last year, overcoming her inherent shyness to gain the opportunity to meet with local fans and authors. She is a lifelong avid reader who decided to try her hand at writing about five years ago. After a rough start and some on-line classes, she began writing sexy contemporary and erotic romance. Last year was her first try at a book signing and she was thrilled to be recognized by a fan. Getting to meet and interact with the fans and having one on one time with both readers and authors is what drew her back this year.
Mandy Rosko, a USA Today Bestseller, was a last minute addition last year but was determined to get in early this year. She has been reading romance since she was sixteen and began a prolific career less than a year later, writing paranormal and contemporary romances with both male-female and male-male couples under a variety of pseudonyms. She’s excited to share her latest release, Arrangement with a Billionaire, with the readers who join the author speed dating rounds.
Nathan Burgoine, one of the rarer breed of gentlemen romance authors, was unsure about whether or not to attend RTC until his friend and fellow author, Elizabeth Lister, coaxed him to join her. As a writer of paranormal queer fiction, he was initially concerned. He had only attended LGBTQ events in the past and wasn’t sure about leaving their safe and supportive embrace. But soon he found himself laughing through panels and meeting romance fans face to face. The upbeat and optimistic crowd ensured he would be back this year to do some brainstorming and bust a few myths. He’s hosting a panel for authors who want to include LGBTQ characters in their work and another on LGBTQ romance.
When Reece Butler learned about a romance fan event in her own backyard, she didn’t hesitate to sign up for RTC. She loves giving fans the opportunity to overcome their shyness and find the welcoming arms and wide smiles of the romance community. She believes that romance is about the promise that life can be better and “it doesn’t matter if the characters falling in love are shape-shifters, pirates, admin assistants or millionaires. Nor does how love is shared matter, or by how many. It’s all about the joy of loving.” She’s proud of both her series, Highland Ménage and Cowboy Ménage, and has done research trips both Montana and Scotland. As a writer of cowboy romance, she’s particularly excited about the Cowboys and Bad Boys themed dinner.
Despite jokes about stress and gray hairs, Eve is proud to bring romance out of the closet and into Ottawa’s public eye. She doesn’t want readers to feel guilty or ashamed about enjoying stories of hope, love and happily ever after. She wants to banish the myth that romance is poorly written or essentially porn. RTC offers to share a wide variety of romance to a diverse crowd, from mysteries and suspense, to the paranormal, to contemporary and beyond. Fans of all levels are welcome, from those picking up their first novel to the seasoned experts. And if anyone wants to object, Eve isn’t about to let their attitude stop her. “I love writing and can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Jennifer Carole Lewis writes paranormal romance and is looking forward to laughing and enjoying her way through RTC.