Portland is a wordy town, making it a great place for a wordy girl like me. After all, we’re home to Powell’s Books, a spectacular independent bookstore that swallows up an entire city block with multiple stories of stories. And every year, Portland celebrates Wordstock, a week of wordiness.

In the past, I’ve been wary of Wordstock for this reason from their website: “We’ve found that the most dynamic festival readings and presentations come from books of a literary nature.” Literary nature. Uh huh. I think the not-so-sub subtext here is “Genre writers only reluctantly invited.”

But thanks to the success of 50 Shades of Gray, for the first time this year, Wordstock had a “Red Chair District” where they put the 18+ stories.

Naturally, us bodice-ripping romance writers were on it like sex-starved nymphomaniacs on…oh, I don’t know, something phallic.

Authors Louisa Kelly, Jessa Slade & Maggie Jaimeson

Rose City Romance Writers (from left):    Louisa Kelly, Jessa Slade & Maggie Jaimeson aka sex-starved nymphomaniacs

We had fun. Romance writers always do 😉 We handed out bookmarks and suggestions to writers suddenly interested in the romance and erotica genres. We ate chocolate. (As romance writers always do.) We had the chance to present our beloved genre to people who might not have otherwise considered it — including a representative from the local daily newspaper and a local documentary filmmaker.

Which isn’t to say that Wordstock completely lacked a sense of humor. Across from our Rose City Romance Writers booth was an book-themed art installation.


Maybe litrachure readers can be converted. A few loyal romance readers also wandered through, and I love love love connecting with them. One of the best quotes of the day, as a reader browsed and was asked if she read romance, she said, “Of course!” Well, yes. Of course 🙂

Romance novels might never be accepted by the litrachure crowds, but I’m fine with sitting in a roped-off wink-and-a-nudge district. I know my reader, and she’ll make her own choices about what is “dynamic” enough to be on her bookshelf.

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