Keynote Speakers and NYT & USA Bestselling Authors

Victoria Alexander NY Times/USA Today
Bestselling Author

Rebecca York NY Times/USA Today
Bestselling Author

Angela Knight NY Times/USA Today
Bestselling Author

Aliyah Burke USA Today
Bestselling Author

Jami Brumfield New York Times
Bestselling Author

Lane Hart New York Times
Bestselling Author

Melissa Stevens New York Times
Bestselling Author


Attendee Articles & Comments on Past RNConventions

New York Times Bestselling Author, Angela Knight
“My husband and I attended the RNC Convention. I will admit, I didn’t have high expectations. This was the first year for RNC, and the first time you put on any big event, there are going to be bugs to iron out. Attendance was part of an all-inclusive package for five nights. So given the fabulous deal, I expected the venue to be a bit seedy, and the event itself to be a little disorganized. Especially since Jimmy Thomas, cover model and RNC’s CEO, had never put on a conference before. I didn’t think any of that sounded encouraging.

I was wrong. The hotel has been renovated, and it’s huge… As for the classes, I learned great tips about book covers, promotion, and self-defense. I’ve gone to a lot of conferences over the past nine years, and it’s rare I find out something new in every class.

Well, part of the reason my expectations were a little low is because I didn’t know Jimmy. Now, mind you, I love shopping for cover novel photos at his website, Jimmy really understands women’s fantasies, and he knows exactly how to play to them when he poses. During a couple of different classes on creating memorable covers and swag, he gave us some great tips on the topic.

I must admit part of the reason I didn’t expect much from the conference is that I figured any guy who looked like Jimmy would have the IQ of a Cobb Salad… Jimmy’s actually damned smart, he knows romance readers, and he has insights about art, covers and photography romance writers would do well to listen to. I enjoyed RNC. I hope to attend it again next year if my writing schedule allows.”

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, C.J. Ellisson
“I had an absolute blast at RNC this year! It was Jimmy Thomas’s first year doing the con, and while, yes, there were some bumps, overall the con was really fantastic!”
Cover Artist & Author, Rae Monet
“Had a great time as well with you guys! That class was awesome! I love Jimmy, he knows his craft for sure!”
Author, Elena Dillon
“I have to say I didn’t plan on going to this convention originally. Mostly because it was happening about two and a half weeks after I would be getting home from Atlanta and the National RWA conference. I had a family vacation planned smack in the middle of the two. And this was the first time this event was going to be held. Ever. I’m so glad I went.”

The event was put on by Romance Novel Cover Model Jimmy Thomas of He’s on so many romance novel covers it’s amazing. He was a fabulous host and really cares about the quality of the event. Everyone went all out to make it a success. The convention provided interesting classes. I got a lot out of the ones I went to. I especially enjoyed Liliana Hart’s “Indie Revolution” class and plan on buying her book “The Naked Truth About Self Publishing” because I learned so much from her in just that short hour. She wasn’t even able to finish her whole talk she had so much info.

This convention had planned entertainment which was new for me. Normally I attend writer’s conferences where you are there to learn and connect. This was more than that. They had Mr. Casanova contestants walking around (aka cover models), a costume ball, a wedding, book cover bingo (I heard there was strip bingo, but I did not attend, so I cannot confirm or deny), and the award show with some fabulous entertainment. There was a magician and fast change artists, a belly dancer assisted by the Mr. Casanova contestants and a singer/dancer who was wonderful. I met some wonderful young readers at the book signing on Saturday and some other authors I probably would not have. Nice. I enjoyed the convention immensely and plan on going again next year. I will be interested to see what they come up with for next time!”

Author, Elena Dillon
“What a great introduction to Reader/Writer Conventions. Jimmy Thomas put on a fabulous event in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget. I had never been to one of these and I wasn’t even sure I was going to go due to my schedule but I’m so glad I did. The classes were informative and helpful. I really enjoyed Liliana Hart’s “Indie Revolution” class. I learned so much in just an hour from things she said like “Series sell. Make everything you write a series.” Afterwards I spoke to her and she generously gave me some ideas for my current projects.

Moving on to Heather Moore’s “The Art of Writing Amazing Novella’s”. Based just on her recommendation of “Think of 5 things that need to happen in your novella,” people immediately started plotting out their projects.

As far as entertainment we were treated to illusionists, quick change acts, belly dancing, singer/dancer performances, an awards show, a Mr. Casanova contest, a costume ball and a wedding performed by Jimmy Thomas. Can’t get much more romantic than that. A costume rental company was on hand so you could dress up for the ball in period attire for a reasonable price. Come to find out they insisted on dressing you in your costume before the ball so you looked just right. We all definitely felt like pampered ladies.

Saturday was the book signing and a chance to meet fabulous readers. I was so happy to see teenage girls looking for their favorite authors, not just adults. It was a great event and I had a wonderful time and plan on going again next year. Who knows what they’ll have planned?

Author, Elena Dillion
“I just got back from Las Vegas and the Romance Novel Convention. This was a new experience for me. A writer/reader convention. It wasn’t all about craft and being an author. It was about the reader too. And having some fun. There was a dj and dancing, a costume ball, cover models, magicians, belly dancers and a singer/dancer act, a wedding, an award show and it wouldn’t be Vegas without Elvis. He was there I’m telling you! There was some kind of event going on every night! We were entertained for sure.

I met some fabulous authors and some pretty wonderful readers too. Lots of time to just chat with fellow authors and readers. Which almost never happens at these things. I’m always rushing to the next thing. I’m so glad that I decided to go and on top of all that I got a weekend away with my husband. Not bad. I think I’ll be going back next year!”

Author, G.D. Steel
“Once upon a time, Jimmy dreamed of a event to honor and educate Self Published Romance Writers with an event that was fun and unique… The Romance Novel Convention, envisioned by Jimmy Thomas, was absolutely the best time!… I started to create some great friendships that I hope will continue for many years to come with some amazing Authors, Editors, Reviewers, Graphic Artists and Photographers… OH what a wonderful time was had by all!”
Author, Amber Polo
“Since I started writing, I’ve never attended a big romance writers’ conference. I’d heard about the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas for authors and readers of romance and considered it was close enough for me to drive, but dithered.

I checked the RNC website and was impressed with the organization and raw creativity Jimmy Thomas put into this first ever event. It seems to have all the elements of a romance writers’ conference. Nationally known speakers, parties for networking, book fair, raffle, prizes, swag bags and swag tables.

But some aspects were not so common. Reasonable prices for the conference and lodging in the convention hotel. A very creative food package. Practical programs for writers and reader. Nationally respected speakers. A costume ball (with opportunity to rent costumes). A professional photographer for headshots. Romance novelist Virginia Nelson’s wedding (how romantic is that!). And movies for when you’ve talked yourself hoarse.

And oh yes, male cover models will compete for a “Mr. Casanova Competition” (how appropriate – Casanova was a librarian.) Yes Jimmy Thomas, the organizer and host is a cover model, a great businessman, a smart and generous man, and not bad-looking. And he does grace over 5,000 romance novel covers.”

Author, Vijaya Schartz
“The Romance Novel Convention was a smashing success. I was not expecting such a level of organization for a first conference… Except for a few delays, everything ran smoothly. All the workshops were extremely interesting and on time. There were opportunities for authors to meet reviewers, publicists, to have their picture taken by professional photographers for a minimal fee. All authors constantly need to renew their promo head shots. There was an opportunity to display your brochures and swag for all attendees.

If any of you ever went to the Romantic Times Convention, this is the very same kind of event, a little smaller, cheaper, and friendlier. I also had a chance to meet all my author friends from all over the country whom I only meet at major conferences.

This convention is particularly friendly to small press and self-published authors. The book signing included many attending authors… The evening events were not only glamorous but full of fun energy. From Elvis to magic, to belly dancing, even a wedding performed at a costumed ball, and even a book award ceremony… Then, there were romantic movies after dark for those who didn’t want to go to bed.

The last night event crowned Mr. Casanova, a future cover model to follow in the footsteps of Fabio and Jimmy Thomas to become a super cover model. Talk about having fun. The experience will stay with me and I’ll cherish my photo with the winners well into my old age.

Needless to say, I’ll be there next year. And if you write romantic fiction of any kind, you should be there too. Hope to see a few of you in Vegas next year. Mark their website and check it for updates at:”

Author, D.T. Dyllin
“My first official day at the RNConvention was Thursday. I woke up bright and early for me (by 10am) and went down to the convention center to officially register. After I did just that, I checked out my schedule and decided the first class I wanted to attend was one about being a ‘Hybrid Author’ taught by Jennifer Ashley (NYT Bestselling Author)… It was a great one and by far my favorite from the entire! It helped me to make some decisions about some upcoming projects, but that’s a story for another time.

Thursday evening was the Costume Ball and a wedding! I had a good time… Friday I attended a few more classes… Saturday was THE BOOK FAIR!… I met some awesome authors and even made some sales!… Saturday night was the Mr. Casanova contest!… Afterwards, I was lucky enough to win two gift baskets (Books and… One had a pirate hat and an Amazon gift card and the other with sex toys and an Amazon gift card. Yes, there were other things in the baskets but those are the things I was most excited about. LMAO!)

Overall, I had an amazing time at The First Romance Novel Convention… I think Jimmy Thomas and all of the volunteers did an amazing job! They are all to be commended for making the event happen on the scale that it did. I for one already have the event marked on my calendar for next year! :D”

Reader, Leslie Whitaker
“I had the pleasure of attending the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas. This was the first “event” I have ever attended. I had no idea what to expect. I had printed the “Authors Attending” list from the RNC website and made sure to highlight all of those I wanted to meet.

I got to the event and was pleasantly surprised to meet the check-in folks. All of which were very friendly… As I moved through the room, there was such an excitement that was building as the room got busier. Fans where arriving and getting to meet with authors and get autographs and pictures. You could chat with people and really make some fun connections. I wanted to meet Belinda Boring, Eve Paludan and HP Mallory. They were all there. And again, I was so impressed at what nice people they are. They were so kind to their fans and truly made the effort to connect with everyone they saw.

After experiencing my first convention, I would highly recommend that anyone who is a reader go to these. I had a wonderful time meeting people and had several “fangirl” moments as I worked through the various rows of authors. I looked around at the crowd of people and realized that all these talented folks have poured their hearts and souls into these great stories that they are sharing with us, the reader. These stories need to be shared with everyone and that a lot of these independent authors need our help to get their work out to the public. So, the next time you see a book convention of any type… romance, horror, mystery… make the effort to go out and support your favorite authors. You will make some great friends along the way!”

Author, Tara West
“Of course, there was the awesome author book signing, where I picked up tons of swag for my fan club. I did get the chance to see a few cover models, but most of my time was spent catching up with my writer buddies. I had so much fun. My only regret was that I didn’t get to stay longer, but I’m definitely hoping to do the Romance Novel Convention in Vegas next year!”
Author, Amy Jarecki
“I was there!! It WAS a blast, and I will be going back next year. WOOT and hats off to Jimmy Thomas :-)”
Author, Sharon Hamilton
“I thought Jimmy did a great job putting this together. What a feat! I don’t think anyone came away without several new things to help take our writing and promotion to the next level. I can only imagine what he has in store for us next year.”
Author, Jamallah Bergman
“I got the chance to go to the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas this year (which was my 1st time going to Vegas) and I have to say I had so much fun. Meeting so many great and new authors… Learning so much about the industry and how to make things better in what I do… Making alot of great friends… Having too much fun to even write about it.

Registration for next year’s RNConvention is already up for those who want to go… Once again there will be TONS to do…PLENTY of fun to be had….and AUTHORS to meet and greet, such as yours truly… You can either pay in full or do the payment plan, which is very helpful for those who might not want to pay it all at one time. SEE YA THERE!”

Author, Lori Leger
“Romance Novel Convention #1: Fabulous! Jimmy Thomas did an awesome job… I didn’t have a chance to attend as many classes as I wanted to… sometimes there were two or three I wanted to attend going on at the same time… This convention was all about networking and meeting people for me and getting my name out there. I believe I accomplished my goal. And by golly, they WILL know how to pronounce my last name at the next convention! I lost count of how many times I said “It’s “Lay’-jhay … not Lee-ger!”

The entertainment set up by Jimmy Thomas was amazing! An Elvis tribute artist who is professional enough to be the first one invited to perform inside the gates of Graceland. The voice, the gold lame jacket and skinny black slacks, the hair, the dance moves… all amazingly similar to the KING of pop. Such a talent. Acts included quick change artists and magicians, singers, and Julian Mora of International Men of Steel, performing an awesome show to Jon Bon Jovi’s “Wanted, Dead or Alive”. What can I say? The crowd went wild! A costume ball with two huge props: one a gorgeous dress make of damaged pages of discarded books from a local library. The other, a huge opened book, a “Once Upon a Time…” page with gorgeous scenery on the opposite page. Both were exquisite pieces of artwork. The costume party was so much fun and ALL the guys danced their feet off with us gals… even Chief Running Bare-Chested Jimmy Thomas. It was actually the first time any of us got to see him cut loose a little and have some fun. Did I mention it was a family affair for him? Both his younger brother, Billy, and his mom, Cynthia, were also in attendance and working their bums off with everyone else. I mustn’t forget to mention “Big Mike” Mike O’Hearn, a previous holder of the Mr. Universe title. Yes, I got pictures with him.

And then there were the Casanova Suitors, mingling with us all week, pitching in, helping, being perfectly adorable gentlemen. All four of the guys were so friendly and talkative. Jimmy certainly knows how to pick them. They called bingo… even played strip bingo one day, which I’m sad to say, I missed. I heard they stopped at the briefs or boxers. They performed live, acting out scenes as someone narrated from three different excerpts of books. It was laugh out loud hilarious! They danced to “Open Arms” and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” to the delight of everyone in attendance. They answered questions, smiled for us, flexed for us, and put up with dozens of screaming women judging their handsome, though well-covered derrieres. There could only be one winner, alas, and Shawn Cunningham was voted Mr. RNC Casanova while the others congratulated him.

All in all, I came back with super positive feelings for the RNConvention and Jimmy Thomas. I will be pinching pennies to try to go again next year, when I’ll attempt to get my hubby to go with me. I think I could have a blast with him in Vegas, don’t you?

Until next time,