It’s been a week now since I returned home from my whirlwind adventure at RT in Kansas City. I met so many amazing authors, industry professionals, bloggers and fellow fans, I could tell stories for hours. This was my first time at the con and I learned so much about RT magazine, the convention itself, and the rich history of both. It was amazing to see how far the romance genre has come over the years and what a pioneer RT has been in so many ways.
|With the fabulous Marie Sexton|
Throughout the convention, I found myself surrounded by diversity. Whatever kind of romance you liked, you could find. There were panels and parties devoted to contemporary, erotic, YA, GLBT, paranormal, steampunk, inspirational… you name it. There were authors and fans there from every conceivable subgenre. It was so welcoming –and very cool.
But as I sat down for the awards banquet, one category was noticeably absent: GLBT. What’s the big deal? you may ask. They can’t have an award for every single thing. Well, they actually kind-of do. There are 11 awards for the different kind of Harlequin books alone. There are separate PNR awards for vampire and shapeshifter romance. There are individual awards for self-published authors. There are more than a dozen Historical categories –and one is so specific it is for the best “British Isle-Set Historical.” Yet there is not one single GLBT acknowledgement.
The presence of Dreamspinner and Riptide could not ignored at this conference (and not just because of my mad school-girl crush on Damon Suede.) The Dreamspinner party was packed. The Over the Rainbow party was rad –plus I got a fabulous tshirt. And I am fairly certain I got a Tucker Springs book in my welcome bag. So where were these authors at the awards ceremony? M/M romance is big right now. Look at the success of Lover at Last in the mainstream. It was number 1 on the NYT bestseller list. Stars & Stripes won DABWAHA. The audience is there, so where is the recognition?
I’m not trying to disparage RT. The vibe was friendly and inclusive. Perhaps that’s why this stuck out to me so much. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. And be sure to check out the awards list below. For what it’s worth, I agreed with many of the winning selections. Big love to Firelight, Gunmetal Magic, Blade Song and so many other great books. Maybe next year, Touch & Geaux will get some attention too.
First Series Romance Harlequin American
Harlequin Blaze Harlequin Desire
Harlequin Intrigue Harlequin Nocturne
Harlequin Presents Harlequin Presents Extra
Harlequin Romance Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Harlequin Special Edition Harlequin SuperRomance
Kimani Romance Love Inspired
Love Inspired Historical Love Inspired Suspense
Historical Romance of the Year First Historical Romance
Historical Love & Laughter Innovative Historical Romance
Historical Paranormal British Isle-Set Historical Romance
Regency-Set Historical Romance Scotland-Set Historical Romance
Historical Romantic Adventure Sensual Historical Romance
Historical KISS Hero Historical Fiction
Self-Published Historical Romance Contemporary Romance
Contemporary Love & Laughter Self-Published Contemporary Romance
Vampire Romance Shapeshifter Romance
Steampunk Paranormal Romance
Paranormal Worldbuilding Urban Fantasy Novel
Urban Fantasy Protagonist Self-Published Urban Fantasy
Romantic Suspense Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Contemporary Mystery Historical Mystery
First Mystery Suspense
Amateur Sleuth Mainstream Fiction
YA Contemporary Novel YA Urban Fantasy
YA Futuristic YA Protagonist
Science Fiction Novel Fantasy Novel
Epic Fantasy Novel Multicultural Romance
Multicultural Fiction Inspirational Romance
Inspirational Suspense Erotic Romance
Sci-Fi Erotic Romance E-book Erotic Romance
E-book Erotic Novella