This was my second romance-writer centered convention/fest/con. Both (though they were scaled differently) had similar themes, atmosphere, and workshops. Male cover models mingled (often shirtless) among the readers and writers in attendance.
Over the years, romance writing has evolved from the standard “boy meets girl” into almost anything goes. And, people are embracing anything goes. I was sitting in a workshop and the speaker was talking about writing “M/M shape-shifting dom-sub sci-fi” novels. Because it’s so not a apart of my normal world, it becomes almost shocking.
As a writer of inspirational romance, my field is completely different than many of the writers who attend these romance conventions, and hypothetically, my audience is vastly different. However, I have discovered over the last couple of years that a good portion of my audience is not a typical inspirational romance reader – many of them typically read secular romance novels but LOVE mine. Because of that, I LOVE attending these kind of events because I meet current or new readers.
I’d planned on writing about the RomFest for my blog post this week. And I’d planned on making the theme about an inspirational writer in the midst of the secular romance world. And while that post was brewing in my mind, I received an email from another Christian writer who had seen me talking about it on social media and who asked me directly about my presence there. What did I hope to gain?
The Bible is full of cautions to Christians about the secular world, and instructs us not to conform to the world. We are to set ourselves aside. But, we’re not to cloister ourselves indefinitely. We’re to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, share our wealth with the poor, and share the Good News with everyone.
While I was there, I openly talked about my faith and how it inspires my writing with a group of writers, I talked to another writer about her desire to quit writing some more risqué’ themed books and get back to her love of clean YA writing, I talked to another writer about how I work a faith element into my books because she has a desire to do the same thing — and gave her some of my books to read so that she could see how I do it. I gave away books, sold books, and talked about books that have a strong evangelical theme through them.
I spent my mornings with my one-hour walk while I listened to my Bible, shored up on the Word of God, and prayed. Then, I spent the day truly enjoying myself. I didn’t attend erotic readings, I left events where the host was telling raunchy jokes, and I didn’t buy or read anything I would consider inappropriate for me. I did all that I was comfortable doing, entertained with a cupcake social sponsored by another blog to which I contribute, and took part in two book signings.
And, hopefully, was the light for someone there who might otherwise not have any light shined on them.
It is exhausting to be surrounded by “the world” on such a large scale. I don’t think I could do it all the time. I love it in small doses, but I can only take so much shirtless male models and excitement over the latest menage story until I have to go somewhere alone and “be still.”
How do you shine your light in the world?