Heart of Dixie Romance Reader Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- June 7th, 2011
Main Street Cafe - You can even eat in a cell

Main Street Cafe - You can even eat in a cell

The Heart of Dixie Romance Reader Luncheon was all that and a bag of chips.  These ladies really know how to show an out of towner a good time.


Keynote speaker Kerrelyn Sparks and I ended up on the same flight from Houston to Huntsville, Alabama (don’t even ask me why they shuttled me from Milwaukee to Houston to Huntsville).  We were picked up together at the airport by Jean Hovey, Stephanie Jones and Marilyn Puett and were off to lunch at the Main Street Cafe in Madison.  This charming restaurant is a former jail complete with bars on the windows even inside the dining room.  The chandalier looked a little out of place, the food was pure southern as we feasted on  Poulet de Normandie, which is stuffing and chicken smothered in cheese.


Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones

Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones

Christine Glover celebrating debut author Lexi George's new book

Christine Glover celebrating debut author Lexi George's new book


After dumping my luggage at the Embassy Suites, we met up in the hotel bar (this is why I love all RWA functions) and bonded until it was time to get together with the larger HODRWA group for dinner at PF Changs.  We ate outside and I was thrilled with the 90+ degree weather, but the locals weren’t.  Still, our group of about 25 had a ball tasting and sharing the fare.


The luncheon the next day was amazing.  Readers started lining up early to get to sit with their favorite authors.  Each author was assigned a table and brought goodies for their tablemates.  They also donated a door prize basket and many more authors sent baskets to be raffled off.  The Nook seemed to get the most tickets.


There was a lovely tribute to Beverly Barton who passed away on April 21st.   She was a founding member of the chapter and has left a definite void.  Cards were available for readers to sign that would be passed on to her family and people brought gifts and cards to be passed on to the family.  One woman even made a beautiful photo album that was filled with Beverly, her friends and readers.  President of HOD Kimberly Lang gave a moving tribute to Beverly and I was honored to be asked to say a few words.  It was obvious that Beverly’s spirit will live on in this chapter.

Kerrelyn Sparks

Kerrelyn Sparks


The food is always secondary at an event like this.  There were gift bags given to all the attendee, free books on the tables and the chance to win even more prizes.  In addition, the Keynote speaker was paranormal writer Kerrelyn Sparks.  You’d never know it was her first speech.  She had a calming word to think of if she got nervous….chocolate.  That works on so many levels.  The highlight for me was her reading a fan letter she received from Cabin 14 at a camp.  It was hilarious and gave us a glimpse of the inside of a teenage girl’s mind.


The afternoon was finished off with a book signing event and the happy readers went home clutching bags, books, baskets and memories of a great afternoon filled with food, fun, and friends.



Authors attending the Heart of Dixie luncheon

Authors attending the Heart of Dixie luncheon


Bottom Line: All the tiaras made me feel like I was in a room full of princesses.

89 thoughts on “Heart of Dixie Romance Reader Luncheon

  1. Linsey Lanier

    Fabulous post, Barbara. I feel like I was there (wish I could have been). And there’s my terrific blog sister, Christine Glover. What a wonderful lady she is. Thanks for sharing this event, especially the tribute to Beverly Barton. She will be missed in our community.

  2. Sandra Elzie

    Hi Barbara,
    Sorry I missed an opportunity to see you. It sounds like you all had a fabulous time and what a special event to honor not only the authors, but our readers.
    Thanks for all you do for both groups. See you soon!


  3. Debbie Kaufman

    You definitely captured the fun of HOD’s luncheon. I was so impressed with them. After all, how many chapters would soldier on after two tragedies–the tornado destruction and the loss of their precious Beverly.

    My table had a blast. Got to meet two sister pairs, one of which had been attending for five years now and the other was new. Plus I got to sit with a lovely HOD member and her daughter! They really know how to make you feel at home. I will definitely be going back.

  4. Sia Huff

    Sounds like a wonderful time. HOD has the whole Southern hospitality thing down. I’ve felt welcome every time I go over to Alabama. Glad you did too, Barbara.

  5. Pam Asberry

    Thanks for sharing this, Barbara; reading about the event is the next best thing to being there. If the rest are anything like Christine, it’s a great group of ladies, and it sounds like they definitely know how to throw a party. I must find a way to visit soon. I know they appreciated you being there.

  6. Kellie Clark

    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for the wonderful post. We really enjoyed having you at the luncheon. It was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

    Kellie Clark w/a J D Elliott

  7. Marilyn Baron


    This sounded like a lovely event. And what a great turnout. Sorry I couldn’t be there. It was nice to see the picture of our Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blogging sister Christine and another blogging sister Debbie was also there. There’s always a party when you’re around.Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. Kimberly Lang

    We loved having you Barbara!! Our luncheon is always a fabulous event, and you just made it fabulous-er! I hope we make it into your travel plans again soon.

    And, in case anyone is wondering… we don’t always wear tiaras. Those were a tribute to Beverly.

  9. Dianna Love

    I love the HOD group and knew you were going to have a great weekend with them. I’m so missed not being there (am trying to open my 2012 schedule to go) and am enjoying seeing the event through your eyes.

  10. Carol Burnside

    Oh, you make me sad that I missed such an event, especially since you, some of my Petit Fours and Hot Tamales sisters and other writing buddies were present. That’s what I get for living so far away, but I’m cheering you all on! Sounds like a lovely time!

  11. Nancy Naigle

    The event sounded like it was a huge success…but I won’t be shaking that restaurant and eating in a jail cell any time soon. Now that seems really cool!

    I loved the author picture. Great turnout.
    Wishing you, Barbrara, and all the HOD ladies an energy boost as ya’ll get through the week after all that fun!!
    Nancy Naigle

  12. Lexi George

    Barbara, it was such a treat to meet you at HOD! And here I am on your fabulous blog grinning like a possum with a glass of champagne in my hand! Whoo hoo, you are the best. Thanks for all your advice and for being so sweet to this newbie!

  13. Katherine Bone

    What a lovely tribute to our luncheon, Barbara! Thanks for joining us. It was great getting to sit across from you at PF Chang’s and even better to have you with us during the luncheon. ;)

    I must add that everyone loved your wonderful your ode to Beverly. It was a great addition to our memories. Thank you for honoring Beverly and us.

    The saddest part of the luncheon is having to watch everyone leave. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time with the Heart of Dixie. Please come back soon!

  14. Lynn Raye Harris

    Barbara, it’s always wonderful to see you! Can’t wait to see you in NYC! I’m so glad you got to go eat at the jail. :) They have great food there. Love the pictures, and your wonderful blog about our event.

  15. Kira Sinclair


    It was wonderful to see you! Your tribute to Beverly was exactly what I needed and was perfect. Thank you for traveling so far to visit and for changing all of your plans to get here. It wouldn’t have been the same without you!


  16. Cheryl Crisona

    Hey Barbara! What a wonderful afternoon we all had! It was so very nice to meet you! I enjoyed your tribute to Beverly. It was lovely! Thank you for coming. We hope that you will make it every year. You are such fun!

  17. Pam Hillman

    So glad HOD was able to host the Luncheon after all that’s been going on in Alabama. A day away from all the stress was just what the doctor ordered for you ladies!

    God bless!

  18. Betty Bolte


    Your memories of Beverly provided such a touching tribute to a great and wonderful Southern belle! Winning her raffle basket (actually a wonderful handbag stuffed full of goodies) is something that I will treasure always. It was bittersweet exploring the contents, for sure. I hope you’ll venture south again to join us next year!

  19. Stephanie Jones

    It was so great to finally meet you this weekend. You were even more fun in person than I had always thought you would be!

    Thank you so much for coming to our Luncheon! I look forward to seeing you again in New York!

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