Andrews AFB is home of Air Force One, which frequently visited Hawaii, parking not too far from my house! Andrews AFB is also where my romance appetite was cultivated by Cathy Maxwell during a book signing in the base exchange.
Cathy's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT was the first romance book I read (link). Cathy attended the Old Fashioned Tea Party on Fort Meade (link). I was too busy at the Tea Party to chat with Cathy, thus prompting me to join her at the book signing on Andrews AFB.
I watched Cathy work her magic, laughing with readers as she signed their books. I noticed a retiree approach her table, pick up her book, read her bio, and comment, "You look like you love what you do. I'd like to buy this book!"
In April 2009, I attended the RT Booklovers' Convention in Orlando. Cathy supported me as I coordinated the SOS America Military Tribute - she's a Navy Vet! Many readers asked what they could do to support military families ... so I collected email addresses to create the SOS America newsletter (the newsletter would later morph into a blog).
No sooner had I returned home from Orlando when my husband received his next assignment - Hawaii. By July, my house was packed but I had one last event - the RWA National Conference in Washington, DC. I was in heaven! The highlight was sitting in the bar with Cathy, Cara Elliott, and Lauren Willig ... when the fire alarm rang and the lobby was swarmed with firemen! No doubt this inspired the wave of firemen romances to come. As we evacuated the building, Cathy suggested we enjoy lunch at an Thai restaurant across the street. We were joined by Elizabeth Hoyt and Jade Lee. What more could a romance fan want?!?
I found firemen during RWA in NYC in 2015
My roommate at RWA was Mary Gramlich (link), who had been reviewing books for several years. She invited Delilah Marvelle back to our room for an impromptu wine tasting. We later dined with Delilah and Kim Killion. I look back at the entire conference with fond memories before our big move to Hawaii. Those memories sustained me as I felt isolated from romance by the physical distance ... my blog would later bridge that distance.
Readers, do you remember the first romance blog(s) which caught your attention? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, March 19, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 20.
Kim in Baltimore
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Next Week: SOS Aloha is born on Pearl Harbor.