I realize I'm not the most reliable narrator for this.
Reading a recap from me would be reading Gone Girl where half the story is missing, or Twilight where it's mostly about Bella sitting in her room. But I had to try, honestly, if only to preserve the way I felt about everything that happened that day. If you're following #romanceclass on Twitter you would see the minor explosion all our feelings caused (enough to trend on Twitter for a brief, shining moment).
Are you ready? I'm (still) not.
I realize that I actually miss having #romanceclass events. Yes, I realize we just had a Christmas book launch last December but the month of January (for me) was like December 23. You know something's happening but it hasn't happened yet and you can't do anything but SIT. and WAIT.
Then it finally arrived. I was at the venue super early, and I managed to catch the booth across us designing a chocolate sculpture, as you do at nine in the morning on a Saturday. People started to come, and we started to set up booths and lay out books. People started coming in, some names familiar, others not so. I'm terrible at names, but everyone was so nice and happy.
And hey, it's #romanceclass, everyone loves everyone, and meeting these people doesn't feel scary or traumatic anymore.
I have to give a HUGE shoutout to Tara Frejas at this point, because she came up with some really fun games for the event. There were Book Blind Dates, where we had to write blind item descriptions of our LIs for people to choose from, the super hard Quote Quiz (Congrats, Jera!) where we had to match quotes to book titles, and then the photo bingo. Oh god that photo bingo game was so much fun to watch.
I knew i was going to feel these things. I mean, I expected them. The tendency for second-born kids like me is to stand aside, to watch smile along, laugh along but not say anything. But I don't know if it was the setting, or the fact that I knew they were going to read If the Dress Fits that day, a kind of weird confidence overcame me. I walked up to people and said hi, I smiled and made jokes. Maybe because we all understood that something was happening later that afternoon.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the biggest group of live readers we have ever had in one session, so, feelings were warranted.
The next thing I knew, people were rushing out the door because the readers were there and our audience wanted photos with Gio, Gab, Jef, Migs, Rachel and Vanya before the event even started. I was just standing there slack-jawed at their bravery. Then I heard myself saying hi to Gab and Gio, dragging a friend with me who wanted a picture with Jef, literally HEARD MYSELF congratulating him on a thing. Who is this person? Certainly not me?
The event usually starts with Mina giving a short lecture on writing a romance novel. But she must have noticed that we weren't taking notes, because today she whipped out a huge surprise--the readers are going to give the lecture. I have never seen a group of students (myself included) so engaged.
Then the readings started. This is where I'm sure I lost my voice, because they were INTENSE.
From Gio quoting Trainman lyrics as Shinta Mori (or Kuya Mori as I think of him now), Vanya (who woke up this morning not knowing that she was doing this) making everyone fall in love with her gorgeous voice, Migs charming everyone with those eyebrows of his, Gab being all badass as she played Gia from Dare to Love and surgeon Joanie from Holiday Crush, Rachel's general awesomeness (and that Pilar accent!) and of course Jef literally bringing Max to life. I swear to God at one point I had to sit down because my heart was literally palpitating.
Now do you see why you can't rely on this recap? If you want to know what happened, you should literally stop reading now because it's Tuesday and all I have left are feelings.
I think my favorite thing about the live readings (aside from the obvious) is that we literally hear what lines work and what don't when they're being said out loud. I notice now that I try to be more succinct when I write, and write more things for the LI to say, just in case someone reads it. I think that's a good thing, and helps tamp down my tendency to describe a color of a passing car down to its shadow, mid tone and highlight shade. My characters have stronger voices because I hear the voices of these readers, saying the lines.
Or at least that's what I tell myself.
Here, have some more feelings.