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Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Ashley Ladd

Romance Writers' Conferences

The best, most memorable romance writer's conference I ever attended was at a haunted hotel in French Lick, Indiana about ten years ago.

It was one of the few, maybe the only, conference put on by WRW (World Romance Writers).

A small group of us gathered at the hotel, but it was an intimate one. (No, not THAT way.)

Most of us were already pretty well acquainted online but we got to know each other much better that weekend. Scaring each other and getting scared out of our wits did the trick pretty well.

We begged the staff to take us on a ghost tour, or maybe it was more of a ghost hunt. Legend had it there was a red elevator that went to the haunted floor that was closed off because of the hostile ghost. We searched through the entire hotel and finally found it in the basement. It turned out that elevator stopped across the hall from my room, so I was freaked out. Of course I was already freaked out when I was alone as parts of the hotel reminded me of the one in Stephen King's "The Shining".

As our group headed up to the haunted floor, my friend's husband decided to jump at us and yell "boo" when we exited the elevator. I jumped almost to the ceiling of the elevator. I think we all did. I'm sure our screams were heard in the hotel's other buildings.

We also held a giant pajama party one night. We had a casino. One of the keynote speakers also read our tarot cards.

One of the things I found really cool, too, is that it was the same hotel my dad's parents used to frequent for vacation. And it was the same hotel Al Capone escaped to when things got too hot in Chicago.

Some day, I'll write a ghost story set in this hotel. It's so full of history and it's so charming, despite or maybe because of the ghosts.

This summer, I'll be attending Lori Foster's Readers and Writers' conference for the second time. Again, it's a conference near Cincinnati which is my home town. As I work full time and have children still at home, I try to make my vacations do double duty - a romance writers' conference combined with a visit to my family back home.

I'm looking forward to this conference as two years ago I attended and loved it. Unfortunately there were no ghosts to hunt (at least none I know about), but I made several friends I look forward to seeing again that I've kept in touch with. One is my awesome critique partner.

The last time, four of us went to see "Sex in the City - The Movie" at the theater. We're just in time I think, to catch the sequel together. I know at least two of us from that group will be attending. And my critique partner.

This year, alas, Lori's conference is the only one I will attend in person. But I will be attending at least two online conferences as well. We writers who have more than one job and/or kids at home have limited time. One day, when the kids are grown and I can afford to travel more, I'll attend more conferences again. For now, I can't wait to attend this one.

The ghost of Kacey's crazy great-grandfather threatens her life but just might save her marriage.

When the ghost of Kacey's crazy great-grandfather mistakes her for her great-grandmother, he threatens to kill her for cheating on him. Meanwhile her husband, Heath, finds out she believes he's fallen out of love with her and he sets out to show her just how much he loves her. However, he fears she's crazy as she claims to see homicidal ghosts.

Although Kacey longs to save her marriage, she doesn't know if she can stay with a man who doesn't believe her and thinks she's insane.


booklover0226 said...

These conferences sound like a lot of fun. Like you stated, you know each other via emails but to actually see each other and talk must be exciting.

I look forward in reading more of your posts this week.

Tracey D

LeslieJane said...

Oh, I would love to stay in a haunted hotel. Did live in a house with a ghost, but he was a friendly one, rarely bothered us.

Leslie Jane

Ashley Ladd said...

Conferences are a blast and I can't wait for Lori Foster's conference this summer. Only 2 more months. It would be great if a ghost or two joined us, but so far that only happened at French Lick.