Monthly Archives: January 2014

Love Inspired Reader Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- January 31st, 2014
Author Louise Gouge's table

Author Louise Gouge’s table

 

It turned out to be a Happily Ever After for the Love Inspired Reader Luncheon in Tampa yesterday.  The weather was outsmarted and all the authors managed to arrive safely, even though the Atlanta authors’ plane landed a mere 1/2 hour before the event was supposed to start.

About 50 people attended with a few arriving about 2 hours early.  Readers tend to get a little excited when meeting their favorite authors and even some new ones.  Before the doors officially opened, attendees were allowed to register and were given their tote bags filled with goodies.  It was very heart warming to see groups of readers rummaging through their bags looking for treasure.  Several found books they were obviously happy to receive because they were scattered around the hallway, with their noses in books, not even noticing the others around them.

Lucky winner of Carol Post's doorprize

Lucky winner of Carol Post’s doorprize

Before the food arrived, with an author at each table, the luncheon turned into a variation of speed dating authors.  Each writer moved to a different table about every 10 minutes so the readers to get to know more about them on a personal level.  Talking to the readers later, they told me this was one of their favorite parts because they don’t like to just go up to an author and “bother” them and it was a great way to discover new authors.

I was fortunate enough to sit with Valerie, 84, a reader who last attended a Harlequin luncheon over 20 years ago with her mother-in-law.  I asked her which was her favorite, but she diplomatically said they were both fun, but she didn’t remember a lot about the one in the 90s.

Q&A with Marta Perry, Linda Goodnight, Missy Tippens and Debby Giusti

Q&A with Marta Perry, Linda Goodnight, Missy Tippens and Debby Giusti

Maria, a Language Arts teacher from the area, is a self published author and came to meet authors and find out more about the industry.  She filmed the Q&A session and plans to show it to her 8th grade students today.  Maria talked with Dianne Moggy of Harlequin and hopes to get a YA program started for her classes to include Skyping with authors.

The Q&A session was filled with the things readers most want to know about authors.  How they got started, why they write, favorite characters.  But my very favorite quote of the session came from Marta Perry who was asked about men and romance.  “We idolize men.  If we wrote them the way they really are, there’d be no dialog!”  Amen!!

Bottom Line:  Kind of like the mailman’s creed for readers, “Neither snow, nor sleet, nor delayed flights will keep authors from their readers.”

Weather vs the Reader Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- January 30th, 2014

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Well, I’m having a weird morning.  I drove 2 1/2 hours to Tampa yesterday so I could attend the Love Inspired Reader Luncheon today sponsored by Harlequin.  As of this morning, only 2 authors have checked into the hotel.

I’m sure the readers will all be here because usually the majority of readers who attend these events are local.  The weather is is fine to travel.  Unfortunately, it isn’t everywhere else.

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Arial view of Atlanta roadway via @WCL_Shawn on Twitter

 

I spoke with author Debby Giusti on the phone yesterday and her flight from Atlanta was cancelled.  They were told they could take a flight today that would get here about a 1/2 an hour before the luncheon starts and she’s traveling with a few other authors.

Linda Goodnight receiving her Rita award at RWA

Linda Goodnight receiving her Rita award at RWA

 

No Harlequin people here yet, but there is still time.  I had dinner last night with Linda Goodnight, an author from Oklahoma.  She said she had the option of coming through Atlanta or Texas and thank goodness she chose Texas.  We shared an intimate dinner and she told me stories of knowing the delightful Sharon Sala as a child.  Linda said that when Sharon became a published author, Linda realized that a girl from a very small town in Oklahoma could do anything.

The good news is that I’ve done this before and even though I know everyone will show up and everything will go smoothly, just in case, I can jump in and help out.

Bottom Line:  If there’s anything I know better than books, it’s readers and luncheons.

Hot New Tuesday Releases

Barbara Vey -- January 28th, 2014

With so many choices of books being released every week, I’m having trouble keeping up.  This just goes to show you the importance of a great opening to a book.  If it doesn’t hold my interest, I’m more likely to put it down and try something else.  Life’s too short to waste on books that aren’t for me.  Good thing there are so many to choose from.  Definitely something for everyone.

Also, 2 special giveaways today.  Authors will pick the winners who will directly contact the authors for their prizes.  Just comment for a chance to win!

NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Cheryl Bolen will offer either an autographed copy of Marriage of Convenience (A Love Inspired Historical set in Regency England) or any of her ebooks, readers’ choice.

From Nancy Naigle:  Escape to Adams Grove or giggle with The Granny Series.  One reader who comments “Adams Grove” will be automatically entered in a drawing for an Adams Grove Prize Pack which includes a signed copy of Mint Juleps & Justice!  Compliments of Nancy Naigle.

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At The River’s Edge by Mariah Stewart (Ballantine)

Rooms to Die For by Jean Harrington (Carina Press)

First to Burn by Anna Richland (Carina Press)

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Paradox Lost by Libby Drew (Carina Press)

Cloaked in Danger by Jeannie Ruesch (Carina Press)

Home to Seaview Key by Sherryl Woods (Harlequin MIRA)

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The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien (Harlequin MIRA)

My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M. Cameron (Harlequin HQN)

Blindfolded Innocence by Alessandra Torre (Harlequin HQN)

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The Swiss Affair by Emylia Hall (Harlequin MIRA)

Say I Do by Lucy Kevin (Harlequin HQN)

Highlander Mine by Juliette Miller (Harlequin HQN)

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Going Twice by Sharon Sala (Harlequin MIRA)

Cider Brook by Carla Neggers (Harlequin MIRA)

Love In The Library by Cheryl Bolen

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Mint Juleps & Justice by Nancy Naigle

Burn For Me by Cynthia Eden (Brava / Kensington)

Dark Moon: Spirit Wild by Kate Douglas (Aphrodisia / Kensington)

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Secret: The Elementals #4 by Brigid Kemmerer (Kteen / Kensington)

The Consequences by Colette Friedman (Kensington)

Night Calls by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel  (Book View Café)

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Magic Possessed by Jaime Rush  (Hachette Books)

 

In the Dark by Sally Eggert  (Loveswept)

 

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Free Giveaway this WeekfreeStuff

From Collette Cameron:  Collette Cameron’s Blog Hop Giveaway, January 16th-31st. Thanking and appreciating those who support authors. A truckload of books and prizes from a host of authors, including a kindle paperwhite. Enter here.

 

Bottom Line:  Today is National Kazoo Day.  If you’ve never played one, you don’t know what you’re missing.

 

Libraries Are More Than About Books

Barbara Vey -- January 24th, 2014

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I guess I’m trying to hit all the local libraries in Florida while I’m here.  I recently visited the East Regional Library in Lehigh Acres.  They have a terrific board when you first walk in to describe all the events things to do at the library.

They offer the English Cafe.  Patrons can practice their English with a free, conversation session for adult ESOL and ESL students. Each 90-minute session provides adult learners an opportunity to practice speaking English with native speakers.

This is one of my favorite programs, Read Down Your Fines. Children and teens can earn a $2 coupon for every 15 minutes of reading during the allotted time in the designated area of the library. For ages 18 and under.  Since most libraries won’t let you take out any new material if you owe fines, this is a terrific way to let the kids earn money to pay off their own fines while also getting in uninterrupted reading time.  Definite win-win for everyone!

Teens Get Your Game On!  offers a safe and entertaining atmosphere for teens to play Nintendo Wii and a variety of board games at this relaxed and fun for all program.  Chess Anyone? is open to all ages and has chess sets available or you can bring your own lucky set.

There are several craft classes for Valentine’s Day and gift box making, but I especially was taken with one offered on what to do with old books.  There were several samples on display and I wish I would be around for the class because it all looked fascinating.

Things you can make out of old books.

Things you can make out of old books.

Books about what to do with old books

Books about what to do with old books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure many libraries offer programs of their own, so feel free to share what you do special at your library.

Bottom Line:  Libraries…they’re not just for books anymore.

Hot Tuesdays New Releases

Barbara Vey -- January 21st, 2014

I went to the library yesterday and it was closed.  Now I know I have trouble keeping track of the days of the week, but I was pretty sure it was Monday.  While I was sitting in the lot pondering my fate, more than 15 cars also pulled in, only to drive away.  Finally it dawned on me…Martin Luther King Day.  Not that I forgot about the great man, I just have trouble with the days of the week.  But today we celebrate the new releases for this week.

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Mistress by Magick by Laura Navarre (Carina Press)

Runaway Groom by Fiona Lowe (Carina Press)

Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt (Carina Press)

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Hearts Afire by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

A SEAL’s Salvation by Tawny Weber (Harlequin Blaze)

Once Upon a Valentine by Allison Leigh (Harlequin Special Edition)

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When Falcone’s World Stops Turning by Abby Green (Harlequin Presents)

The Cowboy’s Reunited Family by Brenda Minton (Harlequin Love Inspired)

Portrait of a Scandal by Annie Burrows (Harlequin Historical)

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To Tempt a Viking by Michelle Willingham (Harlequin Historical)

Tennessee Takedown by Lena Diaz (Harlequin Intrigue)

Stealing Justice by Adrienne Giordano and Misty Evans

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Seduction On The Sand by Roxanne St. Claire – South Street Publishing

Now and Forever (A Last Chance Romance, Part 2) By Logan Belle

PUSHED: a Bloodlines novella by Marisa Cleveland

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The Flesh Cartel, #13: The House Always Wins by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau (Riptide Publishing)

Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes (Riptide Publishing)

Static by LA Witt (Riptide Publishing)

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Lying with Scorpions  by Aleksandr Voinov (Riptide Publishing)

The Beginning of Us by Sarah Brooks (Riptide Publishing)

Repossessed by Shawntelle Madison

Bottom Line:  “A book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt.” ~ Ray Bradbury

The Website to Go to for all Reader Events

Barbara Vey -- January 20th, 2014

reader events

Reader Events, a new website opened recently geared to the reader, has everything a reader could want for every genre.  The site boasts sections such as Conventions, Luncheons, Festivals, Signings, Children/Young Adult, Other Events, This Month and In the News.

Since all the events are geared toward readers, there is a section for authors, publishers, publicist and anyone else to post an event.  There is no event too big or too small and the more listed give the readers more opportunity to connect with their favorite authors.

Under Conventions you can find information on big cons such as Comic Con and BEA and smaller venues like The Novel Experience Event in Atlanta.  Luncheons are all geared to readers and feature many of their favorite authors.  Book Festivals are held all over country.

Booksignings are actual book tours that the writers are attending.  All events are listed in date order, which makes it easy to see what’s going on each month and as this site catches on, the more events that will be listed.   There’s even an online event section geared for such things as author Facebook parties for their readers, blog get-togethers and other online gatherings for readers.

With the high demand for all things Children/YA, this section is especially welcome.  Parents are always looking for new and interesting happenings and I really believe the kids get especially excited about them.  I’ve seen it happen at many conferences that include YA authors.

This is a very timely and much needed site.  As I reader, I always found it frustrating to look all over to find out if anything was happening in my area and now it’s at my fingertips.  I encourage anyone who loves books to check it out and anyone who markets books to take advantage of this unique free opportunity to get their stuff noticed.

Bottom Line:  I’m off to see what’s going on in Florida this month.

When a New Library Opens

Barbara Vey -- January 16th, 2014

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Fort Myers, Florida opened a brand spanking new library and I had an opportunity to visit it.  With all the talk of paperless libraries, this was a book lovers dream come true.

Large, wide open spaces with lots of windows makes everything bright and cheery.  Big rooms have glass walls and huge signs designate Kids Zone and Teen Scene.  Light fixtures hang low enough that every title is easily readable.  Wide aisles make it easy for more than one person to peruse the shelves.
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-4The Kids Zone has a collection of over 50,800 items, 19 computers and a story time room with puppet stage.  There’s seating available for all ages and sizes.  Teen Scene is set aside for the tween and teen patrons.  There are over 16,000 items with over 4,700 graphic novels.  Along with the 12 individuals computers, 6 of them are set up for collaboration.  The area features bistro style high and low tables and a gaming area with monitor, seating and systems.  It is especially set up with speakers that keep the sound in the confined area.

Teen gaming area and the sound stays in the area

Teen gaming area and the sound stays in the area

The first floor offers adults 25 computers with 27 additional ones on the second floor.  The A-V area includes over 19,000 DVDs, 2,000 music CDs and 3,000 audio books.  The entire second floor for adults has a reading lounge and an outdoor reading deck.  They will soon be opening a Genealogy Room.

Attached to the library is a large plaza area that can be viewed from both floors of the library.  Plan are in place to add a food court.

Voter Registration

Voter Registration

When I visited, the library was bustling with people browsing, using the computers, taking advantage of the study rooms, and just relaxing looking out over the plaza.  There were volunteers helping everyone get where they needed to be and a voter registration stand set up.  And I was there during a quiet period.

The only draw back I saw was the limited parking.  My thoughts always go to the disabled and how they can access a place.  Once inside, it was perfect, but getting there to begin with is a little tough.

One thing apparent was the pride the citizen have in their new library and the sense of community I saw there.  I know it’s the kind of place I could hang out in all day.

Bottom Line: A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Hot New Tuesday Releases!

Barbara Vey -- January 14th, 2014

Not to be rubbing it in or anything, but nothing beats sitting outside writing this blog.  Sure, I could do it in Wisconsin, but I’d be wearing about 12 layers of clothes and it’s really difficult to type in mittens.  Reading even seems to be more fun, sitting in a lounger with sunglasses and a hat.  But, wherever you are, here are the new books being releases this week.  Enjoy!!

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Latymer by Tracey Devlyn

Some Like It Royal by Heather Long (Carina Press)

Fighting Kat by PJ Schnyder (Carina Press)

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Purely Professional by Elia Winters (Carina Press)

Wild Ones by Kristine Wyllys (Carina Press)

Her Valentine Fantasy by Nancy Warren (Cosmo Red Hot Reads by Harlequin)

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10 Ways to Handle the Best Man by Heidi Rice (Cosmo Red Hot Reads by Harlequin)

Master Of The Opera, Act 2: Ghost Aria by Jeffe Kennedy (eKensington)

Something To Prove by Shannyn Schroeder (eKensington)

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The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski (Forever Trade Paperback) **First time in print**

Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb , Plume

Uncommon Romance by Jove Belle (Bold Strokes Books)

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Smoke and Fire by Julie Cannon (Bold Strokes Books)

Awfully Glad by Charlie Cochrane (Bold Strokes Maverick Books)

Windigo Thrall by Cate Culpepper (Bold Strokes Books)

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The Quickening: Book Two of the Sisters of Spirits Trilogy by Yvonne Heidt (Bold Strokes Books)

Paradox by D.L. Line (Bold Strokes Impressions Editions)

Drew + Fable Forever (novella) by Monica Murphy  (RHPG – Bantam)

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A Kiss Of Lies: The Disgraced Lord Series by Bronwen Evans  (RHPG – Loveswept)

Scandalous Brides by Annette Blair, Cheryl Bolen, Lucinda Brant & Brenda Hiatt

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Bottom Line:  Today is National Dress Up Your Pet Day, but from what I’ve seen, many of you don’t need an excuse.

Seymour Agency Retreat

Barbara Vey -- January 13th, 2014
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Members of the Seymour Agency

 

The Seymour Agency was the first agency retreat I’ve ever attended and I hope it’s not my last.  What a wild, wonderful, explosive weekend!

I arrived in Orlando on Thursday by hitching a ride with Seymour agent, Nicole Resciniti.  I always say you can really get to know a person by taking a road trip with them.  I never realized there were so many cows in Florida.

Part of the audience of writers at the library

Part of the audience of writers at the library

Thursday night I got to participate in a panel at the Kissimmee Library.  There is a large writer group that meets there every week and they were thrilled to have so many authors and agents on hand to share their stories, offer advice and answer questions.  Joining me on the panel were Patricia Bradley, Kelly Irvin, Jennifer Beckstrand, Lynnette Austin, Marisa Cleveland, Nikki Urang, Cole Gibsen, Tonya Kuper, Diane O’Key and Kait Ballenger.  Many genres were represented but the biggest question always seems to be how to get your books noticed out there.  The more people I talk to the more I’m convinced that everyone wants to be a writer.

Tonya Kuper, me, Nikki Urang and Cole Gibsen

Tonya Kuper, me, Nikki Urang and Cole Gibsen

Friday was a special treat for the authors as they got to pick their favorite Disney park to visit.  My Disney gang went to the Magic Kingdom (yes, truly the happiest place on earth!).  The perfect venue for romance writers since this is the land of Happily Ever Afters.  New to me was Rupunzel’s tower, the Beast’s castle, and Ariel’s shells.  But, I have to say that one of the highlights was seeing the ultimate bad boy, Gaston.  The line of females waiting to have their pictures taken with him was staggering.  We tried, but they closed off the line.  Not to worry…I did manage to photobomb him.

Saturday we got down to work with the morning session filled with information and tips from Jennifer Fusco, owner of Market or Die.  Jennifer had the authors mapping out their strengths, weaknesses and plotting marketing strategies to get them on their paths to success.  She stressed branding yourself and writing down the things important to you.

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Photobombing Gaston

Photobombing Gaston

I took over the afternoon session with my Building Reader Loyalty session.  The biggest mistake I see authors make is to not have a website set up BEFORE they have their book published.  By the time their book comes out, it’s almost too late.  Readers need to get excited about a book and author early on.  Anticipation is half the fun and a website is needed so readers know about you and buying your book is only a click away.  We talked about social media and I’m because I’m so involve with it, it’s hard for me to understand the fear that so many writers have of it.  We ended up having great discussions and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing books these talented writers will be putting out there soon.

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Bottom Line:  Authors, books, sunshine and Disney…winter doesn’t get much better than this.

Beginning, Middle or End: How Do You Read a Book?

Barbara Vey -- January 10th, 2014
Readers Sandra and Laura

Readers Sandra and Laura

Laura, 62, is a nurse who’s here in Orlando for a conference.  We met over coffee in the lobby and naturally the conversation went to books and reading.  We found out we are kindred spirits as far as books go.  She has a collection of hundreds of books at home.

The interesting thing about Laura is the way she reads.  She keeps several books around the house, on the nightstand, on the coffee table and she keeps bookmarks in them.  That in itself is pretty common, but it’s the way she reads the books.  She starts at the beginning and reads a few chapters, then reads the last couple of chapters.  After that she reads the middle, so her books all have several bookmarks in them.  Laura has assured me that she never gets confused when reading and has always read this way and it seems to work for her.  I, personally, am easily confused and was when she explained the process to me.

This is a new one for me.  I’m totally a beginning to end kind of person.  I read the title page, the acknowledgements, the print run and would never, ever go to the end of the book until I finish everything else.

Another adorable thing I learned about Laura is that the book fairy visits her house.  When her grandchildren come over to visit, books mysteriously appear in nooks and crannies around the house much to the delight of the kids.  I really like this idea and am totally going to use it.

Along with Laura was another guest, Sandra.  Sandra swears by e-books and only reads them,  while Laura will only read paper books.  Sandra is a big fan of Stephanie Bond and Janet Evanovich and Laura loves to do series.  She’ll hear about a book she likes and then buy every book in the series and read them through. Right now she discovered a new Nora Roberts series that she can’t wait to start.

Now you tell me.  How do you read a book?  From beginning to end?  Skip to the end? Mix it up?  Any rituals to your reading?

Bottom Line:  It’s Disney Day on my trip to Orlando, so I’m off to the Magic Kingdom!