I've been chatting with Kasey and Kellie at the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn bulletin board for some time now so it was a thrill to finally meet them in person in Orlando. They are charming, talented women and it was a joy to spend time with them. Here we are on RITA night.
The Romance Bandits are a group of women who share an extraordinary bond of friendship that began in 2006 and grows stronger by the year. When one of their own was named as a RITA finalist this year, they were genuinely happy for her and when Beth Andrews won the coveted award for her book, A Not-So-Perfect Past, the joy that overflowed from the Banditas in attendance was unmatched.
And here's a photo of good friends Debbie and Nancy at the Harlequin party.
Tessa Dare and Courtney Milan are two women who know the value of friendship. Through thick and thin, and everything in between, they exemplify all the best qualities of true friends. Here they are on RITA night, dressed to the nines and both celebrating their first time as RITA finalists.
You always know when two friends see each other for the first time at conference. They spy one other across a room, or the hotel lobby, or sometimes the walkway between the Dolphin and the Swan. There's a brief moment of silence, then the smiles start to spread - so bright and wide they could light up the entire room - there's the inevitable squeal of delight and, just like in the movies, they run into each other's arms for a huge "welcome my friend" hug. I handed out a lot of hugs at this year's conference and, yes, I admit to a few squeals too as I welcomed old friends...and met some new ones. Here are some of my silver and gold friendship moments.
|Dear friend and fabu author, Anna Campbell|
I'm sure everybody heard the squeals when Anna and I first spotted one another in the Dolphin lobby. We were like two dear friends who hadn't seen each other for a whole year. Wait! We are two friends who hadn't seen each other since last July in DC and our greeting reflected that. Squeals...hugs...more squeals and more hugs! We're noisy, affectionate friends who chatter non-stop and let the joy overflow whenever we're together. Isn't that how friends should be?
|Teresa Medeiros - one of the nicest women you'll ever meet.|
|Bandita, Joan Kayse- who always makes me smile.|
Don't let her fool you. Joan Kayse has a wicked wit that hides behind that sweet and caring face. Check out her blogs at Romance Bandits for the proof. She's a talented writer and good friend. She's also single-handedly made my chocolate turtles world famous! *grin*
|With dear friend, Keira Soleore|
Keira and I have known each other a long time...since the early days of Squawk Radio and the Eloisa James bulletin board. A kind and gentle soul, Keira is also a gifted writer and an amazing fount of historical information. She has one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen...one that reflects the love and kindness of her heart and soul.
|Lisa Kleypas & Christina Dodd - Does it get any better?|
I first met Christine Wells and Anna Campbell in person last summer at the Washington, DC conference and felt an immediate connection to both. Seeing them again in Orlando was one of the highlights of my conference and I can't wait to do it all over again next year in New York!
|Sis-in-law, Kitty & niece, Jenn who guest reviews for us at the Dish.|
When this year's conference was moved to Orlando, I immediately contacted Kitty and Jenn and said; "Let's do this together!" I'm so happy they were able to join us for both the Literacy Signing and RITA night. We had a blast!
Eloisa James is an extraordinary woman. University professor, NYT Bestselling author, world traveler and one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you'll ever meet. I love this photo of her taken at the Literacy Signing. So much joy!