Romance conventions are so much fun but I only got to two this year. I went to the Writer’s Police Academy in August which was fantastic. It was basically just for authors so we were there to learn. Although we had over 300 raffle baskets there, there really was no promoting, and no toting books and banners. It was just a great opportunity to shoot the bull, shoot some guns, get your hands dirty (well fingerprinted), and attend some really amazing classes. I love, love, loved it!! The only downfall at this event was that the hot cops and firemen at WPA didn’t take their shirts off. Lol

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Last weekend I attended the Midwestern Book Lovers Unite in Minneapolis. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first learned about this new event in the Midwest. I don’t like to fly so just having to throw my stuff in the car and hit the road is the best. I attended last year and I knew it was just going to get bigger and better.
Both events had wonderful venues. The Radisson hotel at WPA is also the place that houses the opposing teams that are playing the Green Bay Packers. If it is good enough for the NFL, it’s good enough for me. The food was exceptional and I loved seeing all the employees in Packer shirts on game day.
The hotel for MBLU was also a Radisson, the Radisson Blu. It’s a gorgeous hotel and connected to the Mall of America. Being next to one the world’s largest malls can be distracting so if you come next year, make sure you allow a whole day for shopping and exploring. Sometimes at events you are kind of stuck eating at the hotel or what is nearby, at this event you can walk across the hall to the mall and have your choice of anything to eat from fast food to Wolfgang Puck’s.

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Thursday night was registration and orientation. It sure makes things easy having a handout with times, room numbers, and lists of the events and we received ours that night. It was also slumber party night. We arrived in our PJs, or in my case, Packer shirt and flannel pants. I also came with my gangster bear in tow that I made earlier in the day at the Build-A-Bear store. At the slumber party, people read excerpts out loud from their books. I have to say it is a weird experience having your story read aloud but I also heard other’s excerpts from books that I have added to my endless ‘to read list’.
Friday morning started out with the java lounge. A place to enjoy coffee and snacks sponsored by some of the authors, and if the coffee didn’t wake you up, you just had to stroll down to the next room where model Scott King was doing a shoot. Royal Touch Photography and their beautiful models put on a fabulous show and we got a front row seat to see what goes on behind the scenes when creating photos for covers.
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Panels started in the afternoon and there were so many great ones to choose from it was hard to decide. I did my first ever panel called Don’t Judge a Book by the Cover. Everyone that knows me knows that I would rather give blood than speak in public so this was scary for me. I survived and have to admit it was fun, just don’t sign me up for more anytime soon. Lol
In the evening we had a wonderful dinner, following by an amazing western event. I don’t listen to too much music but I have been a fan of Jackson Young’s for quite some time. His concert was amazing and it was wonderful to finally meet in person. I got my autographed CD, a hug, and I left with a Texas sized smile on my face. Also while the western event was going on, Royal Touch Photography let attendees get in the picture with some of their models. These guys were super nice and everyone had a great time acting out their favorite pose with a handsome cowboy.

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The night ended way too soon and it was time to get up again for more activities including a morning breakfast bubbly and the book signing. I can’t tell you how fortunate I felt to have not one but two of my models attending this year’s event. Scott King came all the way from England and Jax Turyna came from Chicago. They were amazing!! I can’t thank them enough for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. The book signing was very busy and soon followed by more fun events and panels.

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A cosplay was the event for that night with people dressing up as their favorite characters. I was thrilled to see someone come dressed as Killian, the dapper bad guy from my gangster books. Thanks Scott Bailey, you made my day! These costume events are always so much fun as everyone is so creative with their outfits.
All too quickly MBLU ended. Sunday morning we met for the last time and the raffle baskets were given out. This year’s charity was Pets for Vets. We had raised almost enough for one dog and soon after an author offered up the money to sponsor another. There is never a dry eye in the place on Sunday morning. It is tears of joy for helping raise money for a great cause and tears of sadness for having to say farewell to old and new friends.
I wish I would have had more one on one time with everyone there but there is only so much time. An hour wouldn’t have been enough time to meet, greet, and chat with everyone I wanted to touch base with. Fortunately we can still keep in touch online and look forward to more fun next year.
Planning is already started for next year’s MBLU. Start saving money now to join in the fun. I want to see everyone there!!!

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