Ask a Wench for February: The Perfect Romance Convention

Screen Shot 2021-02-12 at 12.06.40 AMJoanna here, thinking how nice it would be to get away from all this rain.

Which leads to how the Wenches from time to time go to Writers’ Conferences where they attend sessions that help make them better writers and give talks that help other writers do the same, but mostly they hang out in coffee shops and gossip with friends because that’s what folks do at conferences.

So … what would be the most interesting spot for a conference if you could pick any time and place whatsoever?

Some thoughts on this.

 

Pat:  Oh my, this poses entirely too many choices. I’ll simply go with the first one that pops to mind—

Ranelagh

Ranelagh. Maybe Mozart is playing
(Click on the image for a close up_

Ranelagh Gardens in its heyday, about 1765 when the likes of Mozart played in a rotunda painted by Canaletto.  Vauxhall would be another choice, but I like warmth, and the rotunda was heated.

Neither of them are available today in all their glory, so it would be a great joy to see how they looked as our characters wandered about, rubbing elbows with dukes and princes in the case of Ranelagh, and with maids and merchants if we choose Vauxhall.

We could have sessions with genuine lords and ladies and ask them all those eternal questions on how they wish to be addressed (do you really wish to be addressed as Your Grace, Duke? Or would your closest friend address you by the name you had growing up, Kingsley, as in Marquess of?). I would not presume to give a talk on the address question, but I would be happy to speak to The Future and Women’s Rights in Our Novels, if asked.

Shepheards8

Shepheards in Amelia Peabody's Day
Anne here, and I'm choosing something completely different for my conference location and time. 
 
I want to go to Egypt around the turn of the 20th century. Where to stay? Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo was one very popular place with foreign visitors, and its descriptions sound very grand and lots of fun. (Alas for modern visitors, it burned down in the 1950's.)
 
Or I might choose the Old Cataract Hotel (now a Sofitel) which is where Agatha Christie lived for almost a year while she wrote Death on the Nile. That seems an appropriate choice for a writers' conference. And in between sessions we could go sailing in a felucca, which has always been a dream of mine, ever since I read the wonderful Crocodile On the Sandbank.
 
As for what I'd talk about, I suppose I could give an introductory talk on "Egypt and the Regency EgyptianRevivalperiod" to whet people's appetites. I would start with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt which was not simply a military exercise, but an academic exploration that stimulated the archaelogical discovery of ancient Egypt.  That in turn led to the Regency craze for "Egyptian style" furniture — like tables and chairs with crocodile feet or dogs' or lions' or birds' heads or feet. 

 

OldCataract

feluccas
Alas, probably too small for 8 wenches

Or perhaps I'd give a talk about famous women travelers in Egypt, like some of the women listed here.

 
Afterwards, I'd hope we'd have a WordWench retreat on a felucca sailing up (or down) the Nile.

OldCataract2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royalpavilion

The Prince's Pavilion at Brighton

Andrea: For my conference, we’ll be staying—in luxurious splendor—at the Prince Regent’s exotic Royal Pavilion in Brighton (while he's back in London, of course, because he wouldn’t behave himself in Polite Company.)
What better venue, for the theme of the conference is "How to Party Like a Pleasure-Loving Prince.”

Now, rather than present a workshop myself, I’m going to invite a star-studded list of guest speakers. We’ll have the head of Berry Brothers, the premier beau monde emporium of fine wines and spirits, to speak on port, claret and brandy (with generous

Royalpavilion-kitchen

Regency food. oh my!

sampling of the tipples), Weston and Stutz will explain the fine points of gentlemen’s tailoring, and Joseph Manton and Durs Egg will teach us how to fire a dueling pistol.
(NOT that we have plans to get in any trouble, but you never know!)
And the star attraction will be the celebrity chef, Antoine Careme, who will give a hands-on workshop in the prince’s kitchen on Regency desserts, including his famous spun sugar-decorated pastries.

it won’t be all work—we will have plenty of time for play. There will be dancing in the grand ballroom every evening, and sumptuous

Royalpavilion-ballroom

Dancing at the Royal Pavilion

meals served from morning through the wee hours of the night . . . and we won’t need permission from the Almack’s gang to waltz until dawn. For listening pleasure, there will be recitals by the virtuoso violinist, the Chevalier de St. Georges. And there will be sightseeing excursions along the marine promenade. (Please note: there will be an optional add-on to the conference—a week at the spa in Baden-Baden to detox!)

 

From Mary Jo:

Other Wenches have made some fabulous suggestions for fantasy romance convention locations.  Ranelagh Gardens. Egypt with feluccas.  The Prince Regent's Royal Pavilion in Brighton. IMG_0024

I have a different kind of fantasy–and it really is a fantasy!  A gathering of romance writers on a warm, sunny tropical island with long stretches of white sand beaches to walk along or swim from.  Lush vegetation with not mosquitoes.  Luxury accommodations with beautiful views.  Blue skies and sailing ships with charming skippers.

And here is the real fantasy: No pressure, no deadlines, no worry about family and pets back home–and we can eat anything we want and it has

IMG_0915

Lots of sky. Lots of time to watch clouds

no calories!  We can gather in small groups to chat about writing or publishing or anything else we want, but we don't have to take notes or listen to smart people give great advice about publishing that you know you will never, ever do. <G> 

All of us Wenches in real life are slammed with life challenges and writing and pandemic lockdowns and a thousand other stresses–but none of them exist in our tropical conference zone.  All we have to do is take a deep breath and relaxxxxxxx…..  And maybe a nice nap!

 

 

Our Christina Courtenay says: I would have loved to have a Romance Writers’ Convention in the city of Bath during Regency times – taking the waters (well, a very tiny amount as it tastes disgusting!), promenading round the Pump Room, and dancing in the Assembly Rooms every evening.

Roman Bath

Bath, or Aquae Sulis  as we Time Travellers would say

However, as we already have one Regency destination (the amazing Brighton Pavilion), I’ll take you even further back in time to Roman Bath – Aquae Sulis – where we could gather in the actual bath complex. I’d give a talk/workshop on Leisure Time at the Baths, and lead the group in a wholly practical demonstration – bring your swimsuits and fluffy bathrobes!

The talk would start with everyone playing a ballgame or doing a few exercises to work up a sweat (although not too much as I’m a couch potato and it’s not supposed to be hard work really). Then we’d continue into the tepidarium (warm room) to get even warmer, followed by the caldarium – hot room – and then the cold bath for those who dare. We’d all get to go into that fabulous swimming pool (which is still there after nearly 2,000 years!) to swim,

Bath horse

A mosaic horse at the baths

play around or just lie back and enjoy the lovely water that comes directly from a natural hot spring. This would be followed by a massage with scented oils and having our skin scraped with strigils, then perfumed, so we’re totally clean and sweet-smelling. The talk would end with light refreshments of bread, figs, olive oil and wine as we rest, lying around wrapped in soft towels.

If we’re feeling particularly vindictive towards anyone, we could write a few curses on little pieces of lead and go throw them in the sacred spring. I’d be happy just to relax and talk writing and books for the rest of the day though, finishing up with a lavish dinner, lying on couches to eat tiny, delicious morsels with our fingers. Sound good?

 

… and me, Joanna

Confirence center

The Conference Center

The time and place for this get together?
I'd choose the Main Conference Center at the bustling, colorful, somewhat lethal Goblin Market. Stringent treaties with the Major Powers of Faery make the Center itself one of the safest venues in the Nine Universes.

Taxi

taxi

No worries getting to and from the Conference itself. The taxis from the subway station are quite safe nobody messes with them and they accept all major credit cards.

 

Elbow

human elbow in natural position

My presentation would be on "Writing the Realistic Human." Most of the audience have problems with this. I'd bring in some actual humans to demonstrate how elbows work. And tongues. There are so many mistaken beliefs about tongues.

 

The meeting rooms have some odd workarounds for the lighting and audio systems no electricity because so many of the minor Fae are allergic.

Ornamental-fish

poetic koi reciting

Talking into the open calyx of an amplification flower takes some getting used to, as does the shifting succession of pink, blue, and green light from the luminous float moths. Write your notes large.

 

HamburgerThe Conference food is always exquisite.They even get tea right.

The pools and fountains in the main lobby are inhabited by koi several of whom are poets of renown and the philosophical swimming cats of Gomley.

After hours, the Rivendell Tiki Bar is a lively welcoming spot to meet the locals, especially shapeshifters, expatriate humans, and Elf Lords travelling on quest. Elves are notoriously fascinated by Romance writers, so expect to be admired.

Did I mention the food is good?

 

So. What about you? If you could attend a Romance Conference as a Reader, Writer or Fan, what would you be looking for?

 

 

 

 

95 thoughts on “Ask a Wench for February: The Perfect Romance Convention”

  1. Oh-o-o-o, ANY of the above. Since I write only prose, I could explore the surrounds, while others are working. But the get-togethers afterwards!
    Joanna, you forget to mention if Heinline has the facts correctly (see his Magic, Inc.) Is it trule that food in your meeting place has from NO calories to the bare minimun of necessary calories?

    Reply
  2. Oh-o-o-o, ANY of the above. Since I write only prose, I could explore the surrounds, while others are working. But the get-togethers afterwards!
    Joanna, you forget to mention if Heinline has the facts correctly (see his Magic, Inc.) Is it trule that food in your meeting place has from NO calories to the bare minimun of necessary calories?

    Reply
  3. Oh-o-o-o, ANY of the above. Since I write only prose, I could explore the surrounds, while others are working. But the get-togethers afterwards!
    Joanna, you forget to mention if Heinline has the facts correctly (see his Magic, Inc.) Is it trule that food in your meeting place has from NO calories to the bare minimun of necessary calories?

    Reply
  4. Oh-o-o-o, ANY of the above. Since I write only prose, I could explore the surrounds, while others are working. But the get-togethers afterwards!
    Joanna, you forget to mention if Heinline has the facts correctly (see his Magic, Inc.) Is it trule that food in your meeting place has from NO calories to the bare minimun of necessary calories?

    Reply
  5. Oh-o-o-o, ANY of the above. Since I write only prose, I could explore the surrounds, while others are working. But the get-togethers afterwards!
    Joanna, you forget to mention if Heinline has the facts correctly (see his Magic, Inc.) Is it trule that food in your meeting place has from NO calories to the bare minimun of necessary calories?

    Reply
  6. All of these venues sound like great fun! Joanna, I thought one should never eat food in Faery for fear of not being able to leave. Does the Goblin Market have a dispensation?

    Reply
  7. All of these venues sound like great fun! Joanna, I thought one should never eat food in Faery for fear of not being able to leave. Does the Goblin Market have a dispensation?

    Reply
  8. All of these venues sound like great fun! Joanna, I thought one should never eat food in Faery for fear of not being able to leave. Does the Goblin Market have a dispensation?

    Reply
  9. All of these venues sound like great fun! Joanna, I thought one should never eat food in Faery for fear of not being able to leave. Does the Goblin Market have a dispensation?

    Reply
  10. All of these venues sound like great fun! Joanna, I thought one should never eat food in Faery for fear of not being able to leave. Does the Goblin Market have a dispensation?

    Reply
  11. I dunno, Pat, from everything I’ve read the fae are scary, untrustworthy, and have little regard for we humans. I’d be verrrrry cautious. And, as Kareni pointed out, the food is bound to be enspelled and we could be stuck there for years

    Reply
  12. I dunno, Pat, from everything I’ve read the fae are scary, untrustworthy, and have little regard for we humans. I’d be verrrrry cautious. And, as Kareni pointed out, the food is bound to be enspelled and we could be stuck there for years

    Reply
  13. I dunno, Pat, from everything I’ve read the fae are scary, untrustworthy, and have little regard for we humans. I’d be verrrrry cautious. And, as Kareni pointed out, the food is bound to be enspelled and we could be stuck there for years

    Reply
  14. I dunno, Pat, from everything I’ve read the fae are scary, untrustworthy, and have little regard for we humans. I’d be verrrrry cautious. And, as Kareni pointed out, the food is bound to be enspelled and we could be stuck there for years

    Reply
  15. I dunno, Pat, from everything I’ve read the fae are scary, untrustworthy, and have little regard for we humans. I’d be verrrrry cautious. And, as Kareni pointed out, the food is bound to be enspelled and we could be stuck there for years

    Reply
  16. Absolutely true.
    Heinlein is a good resource on this.
    While the “no calorie” rule is pretty general for Conference food in general, it is especially true of “Faery foods”.
    True magic, apparently and not stereoisomerism.

    Reply
  17. Absolutely true.
    Heinlein is a good resource on this.
    While the “no calorie” rule is pretty general for Conference food in general, it is especially true of “Faery foods”.
    True magic, apparently and not stereoisomerism.

    Reply
  18. Absolutely true.
    Heinlein is a good resource on this.
    While the “no calorie” rule is pretty general for Conference food in general, it is especially true of “Faery foods”.
    True magic, apparently and not stereoisomerism.

    Reply
  19. Absolutely true.
    Heinlein is a good resource on this.
    While the “no calorie” rule is pretty general for Conference food in general, it is especially true of “Faery foods”.
    True magic, apparently and not stereoisomerism.

    Reply
  20. Absolutely true.
    Heinlein is a good resource on this.
    While the “no calorie” rule is pretty general for Conference food in general, it is especially true of “Faery foods”.
    True magic, apparently and not stereoisomerism.

    Reply
  21. (jo frowns thoughtfully)
    While there are specific warnings about the Goblin Market, the most recent Fae Treaties seem to be binding agreements.
    I think I’d stick to the hotel for the Conference, just to be on the safe side.
    The Fae can be obsessive about Bards and count Romance writers as part of that fellowship.

    Reply
  22. (jo frowns thoughtfully)
    While there are specific warnings about the Goblin Market, the most recent Fae Treaties seem to be binding agreements.
    I think I’d stick to the hotel for the Conference, just to be on the safe side.
    The Fae can be obsessive about Bards and count Romance writers as part of that fellowship.

    Reply
  23. (jo frowns thoughtfully)
    While there are specific warnings about the Goblin Market, the most recent Fae Treaties seem to be binding agreements.
    I think I’d stick to the hotel for the Conference, just to be on the safe side.
    The Fae can be obsessive about Bards and count Romance writers as part of that fellowship.

    Reply
  24. (jo frowns thoughtfully)
    While there are specific warnings about the Goblin Market, the most recent Fae Treaties seem to be binding agreements.
    I think I’d stick to the hotel for the Conference, just to be on the safe side.
    The Fae can be obsessive about Bards and count Romance writers as part of that fellowship.

    Reply
  25. (jo frowns thoughtfully)
    While there are specific warnings about the Goblin Market, the most recent Fae Treaties seem to be binding agreements.
    I think I’d stick to the hotel for the Conference, just to be on the safe side.
    The Fae can be obsessive about Bards and count Romance writers as part of that fellowship.

    Reply
  26. Goblin Market is a crossroads in time and space. Not an entirely natural one. Its roots were woven and are maintained by treaties between the Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, and the Seven Arcane Powers.
    While GM presents itself merely as a profitable commercial enterprise, it is, in fact, infinitely more important as a neutral meeting place.
    After the unwilling Transition of the Argat Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the worlds of First Khanate, there is enthusiastic agreement to maintaining lines of communication.
    The Yearly Meeting of Romance Writers, by virtue of its heavily Bardic membership, provides stability to the plenum. The organizers always get good room rates.

    Reply
  27. Goblin Market is a crossroads in time and space. Not an entirely natural one. Its roots were woven and are maintained by treaties between the Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, and the Seven Arcane Powers.
    While GM presents itself merely as a profitable commercial enterprise, it is, in fact, infinitely more important as a neutral meeting place.
    After the unwilling Transition of the Argat Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the worlds of First Khanate, there is enthusiastic agreement to maintaining lines of communication.
    The Yearly Meeting of Romance Writers, by virtue of its heavily Bardic membership, provides stability to the plenum. The organizers always get good room rates.

    Reply
  28. Goblin Market is a crossroads in time and space. Not an entirely natural one. Its roots were woven and are maintained by treaties between the Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, and the Seven Arcane Powers.
    While GM presents itself merely as a profitable commercial enterprise, it is, in fact, infinitely more important as a neutral meeting place.
    After the unwilling Transition of the Argat Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the worlds of First Khanate, there is enthusiastic agreement to maintaining lines of communication.
    The Yearly Meeting of Romance Writers, by virtue of its heavily Bardic membership, provides stability to the plenum. The organizers always get good room rates.

    Reply
  29. Goblin Market is a crossroads in time and space. Not an entirely natural one. Its roots were woven and are maintained by treaties between the Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, and the Seven Arcane Powers.
    While GM presents itself merely as a profitable commercial enterprise, it is, in fact, infinitely more important as a neutral meeting place.
    After the unwilling Transition of the Argat Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the worlds of First Khanate, there is enthusiastic agreement to maintaining lines of communication.
    The Yearly Meeting of Romance Writers, by virtue of its heavily Bardic membership, provides stability to the plenum. The organizers always get good room rates.

    Reply
  30. Goblin Market is a crossroads in time and space. Not an entirely natural one. Its roots were woven and are maintained by treaties between the Fae, Seelie and Unseelie, and the Seven Arcane Powers.
    While GM presents itself merely as a profitable commercial enterprise, it is, in fact, infinitely more important as a neutral meeting place.
    After the unwilling Transition of the Argat Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the worlds of First Khanate, there is enthusiastic agreement to maintaining lines of communication.
    The Yearly Meeting of Romance Writers, by virtue of its heavily Bardic membership, provides stability to the plenum. The organizers always get good room rates.

    Reply
  31. Good news to Anne. Shepheard’s did burn down in the 50’s, but they rebuilt it. I was in Egypt in 2008 and it was there!

    Reply
  32. Good news to Anne. Shepheard’s did burn down in the 50’s, but they rebuilt it. I was in Egypt in 2008 and it was there!

    Reply
  33. Good news to Anne. Shepheard’s did burn down in the 50’s, but they rebuilt it. I was in Egypt in 2008 and it was there!

    Reply
  34. Good news to Anne. Shepheard’s did burn down in the 50’s, but they rebuilt it. I was in Egypt in 2008 and it was there!

    Reply
  35. Good news to Anne. Shepheard’s did burn down in the 50’s, but they rebuilt it. I was in Egypt in 2008 and it was there!

    Reply
  36. As time travel is allowed I think I would like the Wenchly Tardis to switch between all of the above venues so that no uplifting once in a lifetime experiences are missed. At home I have a figurine of the Minoan snake goddess that I bought while at a (science) conference on Crete. I much admired the mosaics and other remnants of the ancient civilization, so would like to suggest a conference excursion to Knossos while it was thriving and maybe get the snake goddess herself to explain how Atlantis was used as a Minoan holiday resort… and possibly refute the modern notion that it was a Spanish island. If time allows maybe a further excursion to Atlantis might be possible to experience some bronze age frolicking … should definitely add authenticity to novels of the period!.

    Reply
  37. As time travel is allowed I think I would like the Wenchly Tardis to switch between all of the above venues so that no uplifting once in a lifetime experiences are missed. At home I have a figurine of the Minoan snake goddess that I bought while at a (science) conference on Crete. I much admired the mosaics and other remnants of the ancient civilization, so would like to suggest a conference excursion to Knossos while it was thriving and maybe get the snake goddess herself to explain how Atlantis was used as a Minoan holiday resort… and possibly refute the modern notion that it was a Spanish island. If time allows maybe a further excursion to Atlantis might be possible to experience some bronze age frolicking … should definitely add authenticity to novels of the period!.

    Reply
  38. As time travel is allowed I think I would like the Wenchly Tardis to switch between all of the above venues so that no uplifting once in a lifetime experiences are missed. At home I have a figurine of the Minoan snake goddess that I bought while at a (science) conference on Crete. I much admired the mosaics and other remnants of the ancient civilization, so would like to suggest a conference excursion to Knossos while it was thriving and maybe get the snake goddess herself to explain how Atlantis was used as a Minoan holiday resort… and possibly refute the modern notion that it was a Spanish island. If time allows maybe a further excursion to Atlantis might be possible to experience some bronze age frolicking … should definitely add authenticity to novels of the period!.

    Reply
  39. As time travel is allowed I think I would like the Wenchly Tardis to switch between all of the above venues so that no uplifting once in a lifetime experiences are missed. At home I have a figurine of the Minoan snake goddess that I bought while at a (science) conference on Crete. I much admired the mosaics and other remnants of the ancient civilization, so would like to suggest a conference excursion to Knossos while it was thriving and maybe get the snake goddess herself to explain how Atlantis was used as a Minoan holiday resort… and possibly refute the modern notion that it was a Spanish island. If time allows maybe a further excursion to Atlantis might be possible to experience some bronze age frolicking … should definitely add authenticity to novels of the period!.

    Reply
  40. As time travel is allowed I think I would like the Wenchly Tardis to switch between all of the above venues so that no uplifting once in a lifetime experiences are missed. At home I have a figurine of the Minoan snake goddess that I bought while at a (science) conference on Crete. I much admired the mosaics and other remnants of the ancient civilization, so would like to suggest a conference excursion to Knossos while it was thriving and maybe get the snake goddess herself to explain how Atlantis was used as a Minoan holiday resort… and possibly refute the modern notion that it was a Spanish island. If time allows maybe a further excursion to Atlantis might be possible to experience some bronze age frolicking … should definitely add authenticity to novels of the period!.

    Reply
  41. All of the conferences suggested seem terrific to me. Please do not have them all at the same time, and then I can attend each – one right after the other.
    I would love to be able to hear Mozart. He is one of my favorites.
    In fact, every thing suggested sounds wonderful.
    As an aside, my son was a chef for a time and he made spun sugar treats. I have a few of his flowers in my fridge….not to eat, just to admire.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  42. All of the conferences suggested seem terrific to me. Please do not have them all at the same time, and then I can attend each – one right after the other.
    I would love to be able to hear Mozart. He is one of my favorites.
    In fact, every thing suggested sounds wonderful.
    As an aside, my son was a chef for a time and he made spun sugar treats. I have a few of his flowers in my fridge….not to eat, just to admire.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  43. All of the conferences suggested seem terrific to me. Please do not have them all at the same time, and then I can attend each – one right after the other.
    I would love to be able to hear Mozart. He is one of my favorites.
    In fact, every thing suggested sounds wonderful.
    As an aside, my son was a chef for a time and he made spun sugar treats. I have a few of his flowers in my fridge….not to eat, just to admire.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  44. All of the conferences suggested seem terrific to me. Please do not have them all at the same time, and then I can attend each – one right after the other.
    I would love to be able to hear Mozart. He is one of my favorites.
    In fact, every thing suggested sounds wonderful.
    As an aside, my son was a chef for a time and he made spun sugar treats. I have a few of his flowers in my fridge….not to eat, just to admire.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  45. All of the conferences suggested seem terrific to me. Please do not have them all at the same time, and then I can attend each – one right after the other.
    I would love to be able to hear Mozart. He is one of my favorites.
    In fact, every thing suggested sounds wonderful.
    As an aside, my son was a chef for a time and he made spun sugar treats. I have a few of his flowers in my fridge….not to eat, just to admire.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  46. Don’t worry Andrea. Dr Who will have to navigate the Tardis and he hasn’t lost a human yet. I think he suspects that the snake goddess might be an inter-galactic villain!

    Reply
  47. Don’t worry Andrea. Dr Who will have to navigate the Tardis and he hasn’t lost a human yet. I think he suspects that the snake goddess might be an inter-galactic villain!

    Reply
  48. Don’t worry Andrea. Dr Who will have to navigate the Tardis and he hasn’t lost a human yet. I think he suspects that the snake goddess might be an inter-galactic villain!

    Reply
  49. Don’t worry Andrea. Dr Who will have to navigate the Tardis and he hasn’t lost a human yet. I think he suspects that the snake goddess might be an inter-galactic villain!

    Reply
  50. Don’t worry Andrea. Dr Who will have to navigate the Tardis and he hasn’t lost a human yet. I think he suspects that the snake goddess might be an inter-galactic villain!

    Reply

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