Monthly Archives: April 2013

Reader Appreciation Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- April 29th, 2013
Victoria Hinshaw working registration & handing out gift bags.

Victoria Hinshaw working registration & handing out gift bags.

This past weekend was the culmination of all my dreams, the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.  James Rollins was the keynote and 37 other authors came into Milwaukee and took the readers by storm.




Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night

Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night



It started with a Friday night Q&A in the hotel auditorium.  I had asked on Facebook and Twitter for questions ahead of time.  Each author came on stage, introduced themselves and were given a question by readers both in person and from online.  It proved to be an interesting way for the readers and for the authors to get to know each other.  Afterwards, we proceeded to the bar area for refreshments and a chance to get up close and personal with the authors.  It was a terrific prelude to the luncheon.



Sharon Sala table

Sharon Sala Table


Saturday morning came early and we started setting up at 7 a.m. for the 10:30 a.m. event.  There still wasn’t enough time.  Things like this aren’t put on by one person, so, quickly I’d like to thank all those who pitched in.  225 gift bags (generously donated by Sue Grimshaw and Random House) lined the registration area.  They were stuffed with books and swag sent in from publishers and authors.


Amy Knupp and reader Jessica

Amy Knupp and reader Jessica


We learned from last year and opened registration a half an hour early so the line didn’t get that long.  Inside the ballroom, authors rushed to put the finishing touches on their table gifts.  When the doors were finally opened the readers were treated to an hour of meeting and greeting their favorite authors and mingling with new ones.



Keynote James Rollins

Keynote James Rollins


The luncheon was held at the Crowne Plaza-Airport and they need to get kudos.  That staff fixed things before we even knew we had a problem.  The food was amazing and that’s saying a lot for those of us who attend conference events.

After lunch it was time for the keynote speaker, James Rollins.  As usual, he didn’t disappoint.  Readers learned of his first career as veterinarian, an ill-fated encounter with actor/director/producer, Ron Howard, the surprise moment of learning he would be a published author and his exciting new news that one of his novels is to be made into a movie.

Debby Giusti giving away her door prize

Debby Giusti giving away her door prize

Next the authors came up to the stage, introduced themselves and endeared themselves to the readers even more by giving away door prizes.  They really outdid themselves as the readers were present with everything from picnic baskets, fantasy baskets, designer bags, books, chocolates, wine, and even eReaders with an occasional monkey thrown in.  But James Rollins brought down the house when he started to give away a bag of books and then threw out to the audience that the winner would also be a character in his next book who would be brutally murders.  When the winner was announces, there was actually a blood curdling scream which I later learned came from the author at the table because she was thrilled that one of her readers won it.


Angie Fox Table

Angie Fox Table

After the raffles winners were announced, it was time for the Barnes and Noble booksigning.  The final hour flew by as readers quickly snatched up the authors latest offerings and had the writers busily signing books.  There were many smiling faces at the end of the day from both readers and authors.




CH Admirand and her prize winner Jenny

CH Admirand and her prize winner Jenny

As soon as I got home, I started receiving emails from readers.  “I enjoyed the program, and got to meet some wonderful and talented people.”  “I had SUCH a blast yesterday.  Eloisa James was amazing and I enjoyed every minute.”  “What a wonderful time. I loved listening to James Rollins and how cool is it that someone from the luncheon will get killed off in his book. I sat with Adrienne Giordano and Carla Neggers, what nice people.”  “It was marvelous chatting with authors, the food was great, and the gift bags were wonderful.”  “I had such a great time. Not only did I LOVE Milwaukee, but I loved the entire event!”  “I got to turn around and go fangirl on Marjorie Liu.”  “Thank you for an incredible day yesterday. It was truly a fantastic experience.”  “Dianna Love even gave me a gift bag for my child, even though I didn’t sit with her, that says a lot about a person and I can’t wait for next year!”

The good news is that I can finally announce that next year the keynote speaker will be Debbie Macomber.  The event will be held April 26, 2014 at the same place and tickets will go on sale August 1st.

To see all the pictures taken, please click here.

Bottom Line:  A huge thank you to the helpers, the authors, the publishers and especially the readers for making the day so special.


Authors at Libraries

Barbara Vey -- April 26th, 2013
Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Well, this is a big weekend for me.  Last night there was a library event I moderated with Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta and this morning I’m driving them over to be on The Morning Blend tv show.  Tonight I’m moderating a free community Q&A with about 20 authors in Milwaukee and tomorrow is the Second Annual Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.  38 authors will be here to meet, greet and dine with over 200 readers.




It’s jam packed, but I love this stuff.  The library event last night went great.  All readers attended, but out of that group, several were writers.  It’s always interesting to hear the difference in questions asked between the two.  Readers want to know all about the author, their lives and what’s coming up in their books.  Writers want to know about the journey, the struggles, the successes and, I think, that affirmation that it’s possible for them to be a successful, published author.


Speak of the Devil

Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta couldn’t be more different, but their love of writing is the bond.  Eileen was a trauma nurse for 18 years and started writing medical romance, suspense and now historicals.  She does her research well by taking the courses for SWAT, hostage negotiation and weapons training.  Allison was a Federal Prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, domestic violence and crimes against children.  She writes thrillers about (no surprise) a female federal prosecutor.

It was fascinating to listen to their journeys to publication.  Eileen’s been at it since the 1980′s, while Allison’s third book in her series comes out soon.

I can’t wait to have 20 authors on stage tonight and ask them hard hitting questions.  The readers/writers in the audience will have a ball!

So, what do you think I should ask them?

Bottom Line:  The door prizes for attending the library event last night was 2 tickets to my Reader’s Luncheon, given out by the library.  Isn’t that cool?

Hey, That’s Just What I Was Thinking

Barbara Vey -- April 24th, 2013

You can always pick out the readers and writers on Facebook.  Obviously, they are talking books, but more than that they are showing covers, announcing events, cheering each other on.  But I’m a very visual person, so my eye automatically goes to the pictures.  You know, those cute little sayings that manage to convey exactly what you’re thinking.  I picked out a few to share with you today.

never put off button


Ok, this is definitely my motto.  I’d much rather read a book than do anything else in the world.  Which explains why my house is overrun by dust bunnies.






This complaint is heard often, but the smiles when exiting the bookstore with a bag full of books is well worth it.








I do think about it, but then I glance over at my TBR (to be read) pile and dig in for a new book.







One of my greatest fears, which is why I keep books in every room in my house (yes, every room) and in the trunk of my car.  I also have my iPad loaded and my iPhone.  This includes audiobooks.  I still cringe when I think about being somewhere with nothing to read.



t shirt




I don’t wear t-shirts, but this is adorable.  We don’t want writers to become endangered species.





I’m sure you’ve seen some great one’s too, so send them to me if you find them.

Bottom Line:  Great, another phobia to add to my list.

World Book Night US

Barbara Vey -- April 22nd, 2013


No, this isn’t a night that everyone in the world reads a book.  “World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.”  April 23rd was chosen because “(it) is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday! It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare).”

Last year over a half a million books were passed out.  The books are chosen by a panel of booksellers and librarians.  Their criteria is:

  • Accessible books of quality.
  • Recently-published books as well as established classics.
  • Books available in paperback.
  • Any genre of book – fiction, mysteries, romance, SF/fantasy, classics, poetry, humor, autobiography, and young adult books.
  • The list overall must have a gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.

The books for 2013 are:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -translated by Elena Poniatowska

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

El Alquimista by Paulo Coelho

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

Population 485 by Michael Perry

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Favorite American Poems in Large Print edited by Paul Negri


The books I read from the list are A Handmaid’s Tale (scared the crap out of me…too realistic), Fahrenheit 451 (scary and sad…all those books), My Antonia (ok, but not really my kind of book), Devil in a Blue Dress (better book than movie as usual), Me Talk Pretty One Day (listened to the audio book and David Sedaris is hilarious) and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (ok, but didn’t really grab me).  I didn’t read either Moneyball or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, but I did see the movies.  Loved Moneyball and you really can’t go wrong with Bing Crosby.

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I think I would have picked out A Handmaid’s Tale to pass out.  It’s a real grabber and makes you look at what’s happening in America today and wondering if this could possibly be our future.  Creepy when you think that it was written in 1985.  Margaret Atwood laughed when I told her it scared the crap out of me.  She said, “Good.”  Like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, possible glimpses into a not too nice destiny, but extremely thought provoking.

Anyone can sign up to help pass out books (it’s closed for this year, but you can sign up for a newsletter for next year).  You receive 20 not for resale paperbacks of one of the books to give out.  The books are handed out to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or access. Check the website to see what’s going on in your area.

Which books have you read?  Any you want to read?  Which would you pass out?

Bottom Line:  “Books are fun—and they can be life-changing.” ~ World Book Night

National Library Week

Barbara Vey -- April 15th, 2013


I love celebrations and this week is one of my favorites….National Library Week.  Like many of you, some of my fondest memories are from libraries.  There was always something about the smell of all those books.  So many to choose from and just imagining all those people who enjoyed them before me was mind-boggling.

All across the US, libraries in schools, campuses and communities will be celebrating National Library Week, a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.  The National Honorary Chair this year is Caroline Kennedy and the theme this year is Community Matters.

,According to the American Library Association:

Libraries today are more than repositories for books and other resources. Often the heart of their communities, campuses or schools, libraries are deeply committed to the places where their patrons live, work and study.  Libraries are trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues. 
Librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large to discover what their communities needs are and meet them.  Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.
“Service to the community has always been the focus of the library,” said [name and title of the spokesperson]. “While this aspect has never changed, libraries have grown and evolved in how they provide for the needs of every member of their community.” 
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. 


Libraries now offer so much more than just checking out books.  You can borrow e-readers, iPads, there’s tutoring for adults, book clubs, author visits, movie nights, teen events, classes and taxes done.  During the celebration week, some libraries will be offering coffee and cookies, poetry contests for kids, photography contests and one library will have a Food for Fines day.

What does your library have planned?  What’s your favorite thing to do at the library?

Bottom Line:  “If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids.” ~ Cornelia Funke

Monday GiveawaysfreeStuff

From Cecily White: Cecily White, author of PROPHECY GIRL, will be giving away a 7 inch Kindle Fire on April 19th, 2013.  Just share a SPOILER-FREE favorite or random quote from PROPHECY GIRL on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.  Get all the info here.



Romance Writers of America Launches 2013 Award Finalists Online Series

Barbara Vey -- April 11th, 2013

Chat computer key.
To help the readers get to know the Rita Award nominees this year, RWA will be sponsoring a series of online events.  Think of it like the Academy Awards and how they let people see the movies before the awards ceremony.  You get to find out all about the books nominated, so you’ll have a chance to read the books before the awards are given out in July.

Here’s what the RWA has to say:

In an effort to connect America’s most popular romance writers with their fans across the world, Romance Writers of America® (RWA) is launching an 11-week series of interactive video chat events highlighting 2013 RITA Award finalist authors. Fans will have the unique opportunity to meet one another and ask their favorite authors questions face-to-face in an intimate online environment.
Rita Award
The series kicks off April 11 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST with RITA finalists in the Contemporary Single Title Romance category: Barbara Freethy, Barbara Hannay, Ruthie Knox, Kim Law, Roni Loren, Jill Shalvis, and Roxanne St. Claire.

To view a full schedule and to RSVP, please visit Follow RWA on Twitter @romancewriters (#RITAchat) during the chats.

The events are free to the public, and only 1,000 spots are available at each of the weekly events.

Each week, one lucky participant will win a copy of the books in that week’s spotlighted RITA category.

The RITA award categories are: Best First Book, Contemporary Single Title Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance, Long Contemporary Series Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, Paranormal Romance, Romance Novella, Romantic Suspense, Short Contemporary Series Romance, and Young Adult Romance.

Bottom Line:  Now no one will be able to say, “I’ve never heard of that book.”

Remembering Annette

Barbara Vey -- April 9th, 2013
Annette as a Mouseketeer

Annette as a Mouseketeer


I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning the passing of the amazing Annette Funicello.  It almost seems appropriate that it’s gloomy, gray and raining outside. I realize that many of you probably don’t know who she is (Google her or look her up on Wikipedia), but those of you who do remember Annette can only smile when you think of her.


I grew up with Annette.  Yes, she was one of those people who only needed one name.  Everyone knew who she was, one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club.  There was a whole group, but Annette stood out.  I’m not sure why, but there was something about her that made you take that second look.  I, along with many others, wanted to be Annette.  Not only was she a Mouseketeer, but she was on the serial Spin and Marty.  It was set on a ranch and, of course, both boys liked her.  Boy, what I would have done to be Annette, ride a horse and have 2 boys like me at the same time!


Loved reading the Annette mysteries

Loved reading the Annette mysteries



As a kid, Annette starred in several mystery books.  I read them all and they definitely had a Nancy Drew vibe.  She could do anything. (Check out the price, 49 cents!)




With Frankie Avalon for a beach movie

With Frankie Avalon for a beach movie

After Disney, Annette went on to make the very popular beach movies with Frankie Avalon (insert sigh here).  Among them were Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach and Beach Blanket Bingo.  While not cinematic masterpieces, they were perfect viewing for the teen crowd and I happily went off to the movies with my friends to share the sometimes silly adventures.  it didn’t matter.  There was singing, dancing, romance and a happily ever after.  I had even heard that Frankie had a crush on Annette, but Walt Disney was so overprotective that nothing came of it and that’s why Frankie wrote the heartfelt “Puppy Love.”  (Yes, I know all the words.)


In 1987 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  I remember being saddened by this because Annette was “too nice” to get this horrible disease.  She was the ultimate good girl.  In 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.  Last year I wondered what happened to her, so I looked her up only to come across a video of her bedridden and her husband caring for her.  It certainly shocked me and it wasn’t the way I wanted to remember her.


CNN did a short tribute to Annette that had me remembering and crying.


Bottom Line:  “It’s funny, but sometimes when I feel discouraged or have a problem I can’t work out, I find myself thinking, ‘If only Mr. Disney were here, he would know what to do.” ~ Annette Funicello


Why I Love Hard Cover Books

Barbara Vey -- April 5th, 2013


Years ago (ok, I was probably in my 20s), I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club.  Every couple of months I could get the book they picked out for me, an alternate pick or choose something of my own.  They were all hard cover books.

I was working a full time job (at Master Lock) and a part time job (at Walgreens).  I had my own apartment, a 1968 New Yorker and a refrigerator that always had a bottle of wine in it (Annie Green Springs).

I joined the club by filling out a post card in a magazine that offered 5 books for 99 cents and 2 additional books for a discounted rate, so of course, I did that.  When the books came, I felt like I was living the life of a rich person.  I bought a bookcase that took up a large portion of my studio apartment and went to work filling it.  The excitement of receiving those books every other month never diminished.  It was often the highlight of my day.  Many times I read the book the same day or the next and then would want to share it with friends.

When I’d have guests over, I’d just have to show off my latest addition to the collection.  We were all such cerebral young adults, even though many of my books were just plain fun, I did manage to have a few “serious” books.

Annie Green Springs

Hard cover books in my youth meant a certain social standing.  But more than that, they were mine.  I could read them over and over again.  I would take the dust jackets off while I read them so I wouldn’t ruin it.

Where ever I moved, the hard cover books came with me.  There were a lot of memories attached to them that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the stories.  I’d remember who I shared them with, the discussions we had about them and the authors who wrote them.  I’d think about where I lived and what was going on in my life when I got them.

Now it doesn’t really matter to me what format I read a book in, but I’m not sure a lot of memories are getting attached to them.  I think I miss that part the most.

Bottom Line:  “The paperback is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book – it makes a very poor doorstop.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Real Live Happily Ever Afters

Barbara Vey -- April 4th, 2013

Some people may scoff at our love of romance, but it is so heartwarming to read of love conquering all and finding each other no matter how many years have passed.


I saw a couple of stories this week that have renewed my faith in the happily ever after.  The first involves teen lovers who’s parents didn’t approve.  This British couple caved under the pressure and went on to marry others and have children.  Eileen became a widow and upon hearing that Warner was now a widower, called him up.  After getting reacquainted, the two married over 60 years after they met.  (Yahoo Shine)

Eileen and Warner

Eileen and Warner, then and now. Photo:

Next up is Lois Kolenda, left, and Lewis Glashower, both 82.  They parted as teenagers because of religious differences.  She was Catholic and he was Christian reformed.  They found each other again after 62 years.  (MichiganLive)

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Then there is Anna Kozlov who last saw her husband, Boris, 3 days after they were married.  He left to rejoin his Red Army Unit and Anna was forced into exile in Siberia.  When Boris returned, she was gone.  After 60 years apart, they find each other when he visits his parent’s graves and finds Anna standing in front of the house where he last saw her.  (This gives me goosebumps.)  (The Telegraph)


Anna Kozlov and her husband Boris were reunited after 60 years apart.


Bottom Line:  Hearing about these stories make me realize that there could be more fact than fiction in some of those romance novels.

Amanda Quick: An Auto-Read for Me

Barbara Vey -- April 2nd, 2013

the mystery woman

With the help of Joysann, who is visiting from Ohio, we opened 4 crates of books from the Post Office.  To my delight, there was an Amanda Quick book enclosed.  This is one of my auto-reads, keep me up all night books.  So, I scooped it up before Joysann saw it and I couldn’t wait to tear into it.


The Mystery Woman features Beatrice Lockwood, who has the uncanny ability to read people’s psychical footprints.  Anyone who has crossed a path she is near, shows up in her senses.  Beatrice feels their emotions, energies and health.  She uses her ability to do psych readings for The Academy of the Occult until she witnesses her employer’s murder.  Time for her to disappear into a new identity.


Joshua Gage was a premiere agent working for the Crown until an accident makes him unfit for the type of intrigue he was involved with.  It takes a crisis from his sister to bring him out of retirement.  Although he doesn’t believe in paranormal activities, he’s immediately attracted to Beatrice as soon as she whips out her small pistol from under her long, companion dress.  There is much more to this woman than meets the eye.


The Mysterious Woman is book 2 in the Ladies of Lantern Street series.  I was very dismayed to realize that I missed book one, but it in no way affected my delight in reading the second book first.


Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Amanda Quick (my favorite of her three aliases), takes Victorian London by storm.  Amanda Quick’s books always manage to give me a little bit of everything.  Mystery, suspense, light paranormal, but always romance that leaves me breathless.  No wimpy heroes need apply, these characters jump off the page and into my heart.  Definitely goes into my reread pile.


Do you have any books that are auto-reads?  Books that you must start reading when you get them, no matter what?  Books that make you feel like you can’t breath until they’re in your hands?


Bottom Line:  Off to search for Crystal Gardens, book one in the series.



From Susan Hanniford Crowley: On Saturday, April, 6th, paranormal romance author Rebecca Royce will be giving away an ebook copy of her latest release Forever: The Dragon Wars – Book One to one lucky winner. Details at Nights of Passion blog.