Tag Archives: Harlequin

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.”

For the Love of Romance

Barbara Vey -- September 18th, 2013

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Yesterday was the official launch of the Romance webcasts.  While there were a few bugs, it was an exciting hour.  I was honored to be asked to host the event and was beyond thrilled to be chatting with three very knowledgeable women in publishing, Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books, Deb Werksman, Acquiring Editor and Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Casablanca and Diane Moggy, Vice-President of Series Editorial, Harlequin Books.

Dianne Moggy

Dianne Moggy

 

Esi Sogah

Esi Sogah

Deb Werksman

Deb Werksman

 

 

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I wish I could have been taking notes while moderating because it was a fabulous discussion.  Here are some of the questions we discussed:

1.Romance Readers are very loyal. In your experience why do you think that is? How are Romance Readers different from other readers you market to?
2. Editors are always asking for fresh and new ideas. What makes something fresh for
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3. How are publishers attracting new authors in this digital age? (Competing with selfpublishing. Barbara has example from last RomCon about the shift from publisher to self-publishing.)
4. What has digital allowed publishers to do that they couldn’t before? (I’m thinking novellas, e-serials, faster access, etc.)
5. There are so many different subgenres to romance. Why do you think that is? What are the signs that a subgenre is going to be a hit, have staying power? Or a subgenre that surprised you?
6. What are your favorites?

In addition, we took questions from the listeners and got the usual question about romance dumbing down readers.  Listen to what the editors say about that.

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Unfortunately, there was a little technical glitch when audio was lost, but PW is working on it and as soon as it’s available, I’ll let you all know.

My favorite part?  Even though there we lost audio part way through, hundreds of romance readers stayed tuned and watched the slides.  That’s the kind of loyalty that abounds in the romance community.

Did you listen?  Did you enjoy what you did get to hear?  What would you like to see/hear in future webcasts?

Another one of my dreams has come true and I’m very appreciative to all of you who Tweeted, Facebooked, Google+’d and blogged about the webcast.  Your support is overwhelming and I’m eternally grateful.

Winners of the publishers gifts from the Webcast will be announced soon.  In the meantime, the winner of yesterday’s gift basket from Random House is Pamela Gardner.  Congratulations!  Please email suegrimshaw @ randomhouse.com for your prize.

Bottom Line:  Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day…so start practicing…Arrr!

SYTYCW

Barbara Vey -- September 16th, 2013

So You Think You Can Write is a free 24/7 online conference that will take place September 16–20, 2013 that is sponsored by Harlequin and MIlls and Boon.  This 5 day conference is the precursor to the So You Think You Can Write contest.

According to Harlequin, “So You Think You Can Write allows hopeful romance novelists to spend a week with more than 50 Harlequin and Mills & Boon editors from Toronto, New York and London through social media tools including podcasts, webinars, blogs, live chats, writing challenges, community discussions and Twitter events. Aspiring authors will attend a virtual romance-writing “boot camp” designed to teach them how to write a romance novel that will attract the attention of publishers.  So You Think You Can Write has been organized in such a way as to help participants prepare completed manuscripts for submission to the So You Think You Can Write contests beginning September 23.”

Winner of the 2012 SYTYCAW Jennifer Hayward

The contest itself offers writers the opportunity to take the journey other published authors have in the past.  Writers will be asked to submit a first chapter and a pitch.  Editors will whittle down the entries and request full manuscripts.  The finalists will be posted online for the readers to vote on and the winner offered a contract.

In addition, “This year Harlequin is excited to be partnered with Wattpad, the world’s largest online community for discovering and sharing stories, to launch a New Adult genre contest hosted exclusively on Wattpad. Beginning September 23, writers will be able to upload their chapters online for immediate feedback from Wattpad’s community of 16-million avid readers. Harlequin and Mills & Boon editors will select four winning manuscripts from the completed Wattpad entries and award contracts to their respective authors for the publisher’s New Adult digital romance series.”

This is a terrific opportunity to get the feedback you might be missing as a writer.  With 24/7 editors available, there’s no excuse for not writing the book you want.

Bottom Line:  Even if you aren’t a winner here, free good advice is never anything to ignore.

GiveawaysfreeStuff

From Maggie Mae Gallagher:  The Ladies, Rakes & Rogues Contest has officially begun! Stop by Jade Lee’s Blog on RomCon to collect the first of five catch phrases. Collect all five and enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire pre-loaded with WHAT THE BRIDE WORE by Jade Lee, THE LOTUS PALACE by Jeannie Lin, THE SEDUCTION OF LADY PHOEBE by Ella Quinn, THE EARL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Sara Ramsey, and ONCE A RAKE by Eileen Dreyer.

 

From Collette Cameron:  The Viscount Vow’s Giveaway Contest.  Enter here.

For The Love of Romance

Barbara Vey -- August 12th, 2013

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I am beyond thrilled to announce that I will be hosting the first PW romance webcast.  For The Love of Romance will be an hour long chat on September 17th at 1 p.m. EST and include editors from Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Kensington.

Some of the topics we will discuss are what makes for a good hero or heroine, editors are always asking for fresh and new ideas so what makes something fresh for you, how are publishers attracting new authors in this digital age and what’s hot right now?  But I’m always looking for new ideas, so if you have burning questions, let me know.

While the show is live, you will be able to type in questions that I’ll ask the panelists.  Not only that but knowing these publishers, there will be amazing giveaways and you will be entered just for registering.

Register here and I’ll be looking forward to your feedback.  On Twitter, we will be using the hashtag #RomanceReads.

Bottom Line:  We all love romance, now let’s prove it.

Cosmo Red-Hot Reads Launch Party

Barbara Vey -- May 30th, 2013
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View from the party of Central Park

 

I’m in New York for BEA (Book Expo America), but my first night in town I spent at a fabulous event put on by Harlequin and Cosmopolitan at the beautiful Hearst building.  The red carpet event was to launch the Cosmo Red Hot Reads.  Author Sylvia Day was the main attraction as her book covers were flashed on the walls.

 

 

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Joanna Coles

Joanna Coles

 

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I did get to meet Joanna Coles, Cosmopolitans editor in chief (and also from Project Runway).  She is stunning in person and I felt sluppy standing next to her (check out her boots in the picture because I had flip-flops on).  I told her that she doesn’t seem as mean as on Project Runway and she said, “Yes I am!”  But I don’t believe it.  She was absolutely delightful and very enthusiastic as she talked about the new Cosmo/Harlequin Mash Up.

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Sylvia Day

Sylvia Day

Sylvia Day will be penning a short story for the August issue of Cosmopolitan.  According to Joanna Coles, “Cosmo readers love fabulous fiction and if you picked up Fifty Shades of Grey then this is the book series for you … This is fiction for the modern girl negotiating modern love – with all its unpredictability and complications!”  Along with the stories in the magazine, Harlequin will be publishing the books under Cosmo Red-Hot Reads.  The  stories will be about 30,000 words in length.  Harlequin’s press release calls them “independent, adventurous women in contemporary settings and feature fast-paced plots, great dialogue and compelling romance.”

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Great Harlequin people to party with: Diane, me, Lorianna,  Vickie

Great Harlequin people to party with: Diane, me, Loriana, Vickie

 

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Now the bad news…I filmed the best interview with Sylvia Day and Joanna Coles, but when I downloaded it, the sound didn’t work.  I did try to read lips, but Joanna has that funny British accent (just kidding).  Then I was going to just try to voice over and I was afraid of being sued.  So, I’m sorry I can’t show it to you, but it was really good.  Trust me.

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Bottom Line:  Something tells me these books will be in “hot” demand.

Cover Shoot, Anyone?

Barbara Vey -- January 15th, 2013

 

Picture by Michael Alberstat

Picture by Michael Alberstat

I totally forgot about watching Harlequin on The Bachelor last night, but luckily author Nancy Naigle was there to pick up the slack for me.  Here’s her take on last night’s episode.

Who else tuned in for a couple hours of flirty fun with the hunky BACHELOR last night? There was no way this Writer Girl was going to miss an episode complete with a Harlequin photo shoot, and for me, that was the best part of the show.

 

Sean proved to be a pretty hot cover model, and those girls were ready to be the apple of his eye. The whole thing was set up so that one girl would get a three-book cover deal with Harlequin, but it was pretty clear that snuggling up to Sean was the win-win for the girls—win or lose. Well, for everyone except Ford model Kristy who, of course, ended up snagging that prize.

 

In Sean’s words, “We’re going to be Harlequin models, the most trusted name in romance.”

Yay! We love romance, and it wasn’t only me saying that. The girls were really excited and who could blame them? Daniella said that Harlequin books are some of the most romantic books ever and she took it as her personal mission to capture that level of romance. The girls were funny as they picked up copies of Harlequin’s amazing book covers and tried to decide which they wanted to be.

 

The show did it right, full makeup and wardrobe for the Harlequin shoot which was just for the show. The winner will do real cover shoots for the three books at a later date. There was plenty of smack-talking going on between the girls but they landed on those cover images looking sweet and sultry.

 

In this Writer Girl’s opinion, the cutest cover couple was Sean and Lesley with their western themed cover. It was so cute and I swear I might just have to write a blond cowboy story so I can use that image as inspiration. Okay, so I’m a sucker for cowboys.

 

The historical covers were elegant, the southern belles as sweet as my tea, and the vixen glam appropriately sexy. Taryn made a pretty terrific vampire, but she wasn’t the only one with her fangs out. Those girls are ready to take a bite out of the handsome Sean.

Here’s the pictures from ew.com

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If you saw the episode, what was your favorite cover? Or better yet, what would have liked to see?

Bottom Line:  I’m off to see if there’s anything on YouTube about this yet.

Harlequin on The Bachelor

Barbara Vey -- January 11th, 2013

Shelf Awareness just sent me this and I love it.  Even though I don’t watch The Bachelor (I mean, really, just how many of these people stay together and how much crying can you take in an hour?), I love that Harlequin is involved.  To me, The Bachelor is a fantasy happily ever after as romance novels are.  The two are a match made in heaven.

Here’s the article from Shelf Awareness (thanks for sending it to me!).


Monday night’s episode of the ABC reality show The Bachelor will feature a special “group date” where the 13 competing women will pose for the cover of a Harlequin novel with Bachelor Sean Lowe. Harlequin creative director Margie Miller (left) will shepherd the group through hair, makeup and wardrobe, and then have them pose for several cover scenarios. Miller and Harlequin brand representative Michelle Renaud (center) will select the winner, for her “ability to pose in a polished and unaffected manner and convey a genuine connection with Sean.” She’ll receive a three-book cover-model deal with Harlequin.

Bottom Line:  I may just have to watch this episode.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my new website.

Harlequin Christmas Open House

Barbara Vey -- December 5th, 2012
Christmas Tree

I am not doing my son’s Christmas tree justice with this picture. It’s huge and loaded with special ornaments collected over the years. It could be called a memory tree.

We all have different ways of celebrating Christmas.  This past weekend I visited my son and his family in St. Louis and we exchanged gifts, sat by the tree and had our Christmas dinner.  Meanwhile at home, I don’t even have my tree up (maybe tomorrow).  But the folks at Harlequin are gearing up for the holidays with their annual virtual party.  Here’s the invitation from Jayne at Harlequin, so mark your calendar.

Hi Everyone, I am Jayne and I’m Christmas-aholic. I love everything about Christmas and the holidays: the preparation, the cookies, the gift wrapping, the decorations, the snow, the reindeers and cinnamon and Christmas themed books… I could go on and on (aren’t you glad I stopped though?) So of course now that the weather is becoming chilly I am looking forward to the Big Day. And, what better way to start the preparations than partying with old and new friends in our week-long virtual party, the Community Open House.

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Starting Monday, December 10th, we’ll devote the conversations on our message boards and chat rooms to a different Harlequin Series and/or Genre each day, and readers who comment on the posts are automatically eligible for our giveaways until the party winds down on Friday, December 14 at 11:59ET.

What can you expect during our week-long event?

You might find yourself sipping margaritas served by shirtless, brooding billionaires, learning to line dance with a Texas Wrangler or sharing a truncheon of roast boar with a Viking while sharing giggles and great conversation with your fellow princesses and super heroines. You can download FREE stories, screensavers, recipes, knitting patterns, brainteasers and more. And this year stop by Rudolph’s Reindeer Reading Games to uncover coupon codes for discounts on print and ebooks at Harlequin.com

So whether your holidays twinkle, sparkle, glisten or glow, please join us for a jolly good time at our Community Open House – don’t miss out on the prizes and visits by all your favorite Romance characters and authors!!

You can register here to participate in Community.

Bottom Line:  I really just put up a 2 foot tree, so it’s not a big deal and worst of all I keep it decorated all year long. I just throw a garbage bag over it…tell me I’m not the only one.

SYTYCW Contest from Harlequin

Barbara Vey -- September 17th, 2012

Today kicks off the So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) Online Conference offered by Harlequin.  This whole week they will be offering 24/7 advice by over 50 Harlequin/Mills & Boon editors.  One lucky writer will be offered a contract.

The boot camp has started and the week will offer:

  • Day 1: Why Write for Harlequin/Mills & Boon?
  • Day 2: What is Harlequin?—Defining the Different Series
  • Day 3: Characters, Conflict and Plot
  • Day 4: Revising, Critiquing and Grammar
  • Day 5: Here Comes Success! Enter our Contest

Starting September 23rd, writers can submit their first chapter.  Public voting will help decide the top 25 submission and there will also be 3 wild card spots.  Editors will decide the final 3 full manuscripts and then it’s back to the public to vote on their favorite. They are offering blogs, podcasts, live chats, videos and Twitter events.

While I think winning the contest is terrific incentive, the bigger value is a week long event to get writers motivated and educated in what publishers and editors are looking for.  Not only that, but it’s free.  This is a no excuse kind of program.  If you’ve ever even considered writing, this is a terrific opportunity to ask any question you may have and have it answered.  You don’t have to go to conference in a far off city.  You can sit in your jammies and and learn all those little things you may not have been aware of.

Even if you don’t plan on writing for Harlequin, knowledge is king (or queen).  While we all think we may know it all, there may be that one gem of advice that makes you say, “I didn’t know that!”

Bottom Line:  Today is a good day to learn something new.

 

Monday Giveaways

Romance Round Robin:  The top romance blogs team up to give away free books and celebrate the grenre…it’s the monthy Romance Round Robin!  Stop by all four blogs and leave a comment for a chance to win awesome prizes on each site.  Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, Discover a New Love and USA Today Happily Ever After.

 

Author Dianna Love:  Sept 18-22nd – NYT bestseller Dianna Love is giving away Keeper Kase™ Starter Kits during her Q&A/signings in Bowling Green, KY, Indianapolis, IN and Greenville, SC at her book events for THE CURSE plus a free raffle at each location for Tshirts and other Belador goodies.  Event details hereALSO:  KINDLE FIRE prize at Belador Scavenger Hunt (under Fun & Games) where all you have to do is answer one (easy) question to be entered, but answer all 5 for 5 chances to win the tablet and a signed copy of THE CURSE!! Enter by September 26th.

 

Get Lost in a Story:  Meet debut author, Susan M. Boyer’s LOWCOUNTRY BOIL and win a copy of her book.

BEA: Welcome to New York

Barbara Vey -- May 26th, 2011

It’s always a whirlwind when I come to New York and BEA is no exception.  While it’s mostly for buyers and sellers to get together, I found myself immediately absorbed into the frenzy.

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The first day, Dan Blank of We Grow Media, (and my buddy) acted as tour guide.  He showed me around and explained so much I didn’t understand.  I’m so visual that I’m easily attracted to all the sparklies and sometimes miss the plain but important stuff.  It was really fun to walk around the huge convention center and run into so many people I knew. We lunched with aspiring authors who are taking Dan’s class and I was thrilled to know that we follow each other on Twitter (another perk of social media).  You can find them here, @Porter_Anderson, @friendgrief, @virtualDavis . Can’t wait till they’re published so I can say I knew them when.

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While waiting in line to get a book signed by actress Julianne Moore, I found author Michelle Willingham waiting in front of me.  We took each other’s picture with Julianne.  She’s teeney, tiny and lovely in person.  Then I was off to catch Tyra Banks and managed to stick my head behind her because her line was way too long to stand in. 

Tyra Banks and Barbara Vey

Tyra Banks and Barbara Vey

Barbara Vey and Julianne Moore

Barbara Vey and Julianne Moore

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Harlequin author signing

Harlequin author signing

There were lines everywhere for book signings and I wandered in to the Harlequin set up where they had shifts of different authors signing at once.  Lots of happy readers came away with many free books.  While I didn’t take any books, I did manage to get a Dork t-shirt for my granddaughter and some Marvel stuff for my grandson.

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Since I love audiobooks, I stopped by the Brilliance Audio booth and they showed me a QR app you can put on your phone, then when you are at a book store or a library and notice an audio book you are interested in, if it has a QR icon on it you just put your phone in front of it and it down loads an excerpt of the book.  That way you can tell if you like the reader.  I know that the reader can make or break an audio book, so I can’t wait to use my app when I get home.

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Marie Bostwick Linda Winstead Jones at Kensington Party

Marie Bostwick Linda Winstead Jones at Kensington Party

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Kensington Publishing had a fun party with their authors and staff.  It’s always nice to get together in an informal relaxed atmosphere and find out the latest news.  Of course, the drinks and food is a nice perk.  It’s going to be hard to go back home to frozen dinners.

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Day two I had a 10 a.m. meeting with Leah Hultenschmidt at Sourcebooks.  It’s really more of a fun chat session, but if I would have know that Jimmy Fallon was signing at that same time, I may have changed it.  He’s so adorable.  Then I found out that I also just missed Michael Moore.  Boy, my timing was really off.

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Barbara Vey and Harlan Coben

Barbara Vey and Harlan Coben

But I did catch up with Harlan Coben who was signing his audio cds and ran into several authors while just walking around like Leanna Renee Hieber, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Nancy Naigle, KT Grant and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.  Just let me know and I’ll add your name here.

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I also checked out the Autography booth.  It’s a brand new company that offers an opportunity for authors to sign e-books.  The author can do it in person or be in another location.  It’s done on an iPad and gets transferred to your e-book.  If you are seeing the author in person, there is the option of getting your picture taken with the author and then attached to the signature page.  You really have to see it done to understand it.  I’m still not sure I do, but it does look pretty cool.  Right now you have to buy the book at the same time the author is signing, but they are working on a way to get the books signed that you may already own.  Stay tuned.

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Reader’s Digest was giving away Toy Story 3 books and I loved the movie so it was the only book I ended up taking, but I’ve got to tell you that a big selling point was the magnetic Woody.  It comes with a cloth Woody that you can attach to whatever page you are reading.  I can’t wait to try it out.  (Feel free to insert Woody joke here.)

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Kevin Sorbo and Barbara Vey

Kevin Sorbo and Barbara Vey

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Ok, here the part you’ve been waiting for, one of my adventures moments.  As I’m walking around I notice this good looking guy and find myself yelling, “Hey Kevin!”  Face to face with Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo offered a hug and picture with me.  As I posted on Twitter, “Just call me Xena!”  A definite sigh moment.

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Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly

Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly

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Next it was off to High Tea at the St. Regis with authors Kathleen O’Reilly and Dee Davis.  We did this several years ago and I’m glad we had a chance to do it again.  It’s so fancy, but I went with coffee.  They serve a plate of finger sandwiches.  There was cucumber, salmon, duck, egg salad and more.  Almost too pretty to eat.  Then comes the dessert tower with the most decadent teasers like lemon tarts and a variety of chocolate concoctions.  A real treat.

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PW owner George Slowik Jr. and Margaret Atwood

PW owner George Slowik Jr. and Margaret Atwood

I caught up with Anne Elizabeth and helped her celebrate her 3 book deal with Sourcebooks by dining at The Harvard Club.  Really folks, I seriously need some new clothes.  This place was straight out of a movie.  A fish out of water, think Pretty Woman without thinking of me as a prostitute.  I knew better than to order shell fish because we all know what happens.  But being with fun people really makes all the difference.

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The Harlequin party was held on the roof top of the Kimberly Hotel and served as a prelude to their amazing RWA party.  There were sparkling lights hanging all over that made it all seem magical.  While it all was wonderful, the high point for me was meeting the amazing author, Margaret Atwood.  I got goosebumps.  I had to tell her that I read A Handmaid’s Tale years ago and it still haunts me.  If you haven’t read it, give it a try.  It’s so relevant, especially today.  I also caught up with Heather Graham, Carla Neggers, Rick Mofina, Sophie Littlefield, and Brenda Novak (don’t forget about her charity auction ending soon).

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Bottom Line: Yes, I’m pooped, but in a good way and I can’t believe I was too tired to go across the street to see Kiefer Sutherland…maybe tonight.