Tag Archives: Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon

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.

Best Romance Book to Recommend

Barbara Vey -- May 31st, 2011
Me and Eduardo on the plane

Me and Eduardo on the plane

Last week in New York was a blast.  Book Expo America was a huge success and I got to check out new products, meet publishers, go to signings and even catch a celebrity or two (but mostly it appears I missed them).  I even went to see Bridesmaids again with four other women and let me tell you that I laughed as hard the second time I saw it as I did the first.  The tag line is great, “Chick flicks don’t have to suck!”

The plane ride home was delayed an hour at  the airport and another hour on the runway, but the good thing about that is, if you’re lucky, someone very interesting is sitting next to you.  I was very lucky.  Next to me was Eduardo, a Wall Street guy who travels the world for his company.  He has homes in New York and London, family in several countries and a there is no such thing as a typical vacation as he goes from African safaris to Vietnam and everywhere in between.  I tried to talk him into trying out for The Amazing Race since he also speaks several languages and he is considering who to ask to try out with him.  It would be great to personally know someone on my favorite show and I made him promise, if he makes the show, to say that it was me who talked him into it.

Of course, the conversation came around to books and while he loves biographies (the lady next to me going out also loved biographies), for fiction he tends to head for Latin American authors.  Naturally, I touted the wonderfulness of romance.  While we volleyed back and forth about our favorites, in the end Eduardo offered to send me his favorite Latin American author’s book and I offered to send him a romance.

Now I need your help.  What book should I send him?  What book would sell him on romance?  Should it be a classic or something new?  What’s the definitive romance book to you?  Which one would you recommend to a new friend?

Bottom Line: Another plane ride on Friday as I head down to Huntville, Alabama to attend the Heart of Dixie Romance Reader’s Luncheon…can’t wait for that Southern Hospitality and a new plane mate.

Gearing Up for Conference Season

Barbara Vey -- March 21st, 2011
I wish I were traveling to all these places, but I'll be staying in the U.S.

I wish I were traveling to all these places, but I'll be staying in the U.S.

Finally, my favorite time of year is almost upon us.  No, not Christmas.  Since my kids are grown and gone, my favorite time is conference time for all things book related.  While my schedule isn’t as full as last year, I’ve got some great things coming up this year.

.

In 2 weeks I’m headed to Los Angeles for the RT Booklovers Convention.  This puppy is huge with lots of authors and readers.  There’s panels (yes, I’ll be on one), book signings, an award ceremony and of course, parties.  Lots of parties including a vampire ball and faerie ball.  Dean Koontz will be there as a special guest and the fan favorite cover model competition.  And did I mention that it will be in Los Angeles?  I’m just hoping I have enough time to stop at Disneyland.  After all, I am a kid at heart.

At the end of April, I’ll be headed to Huntsville, AL for the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon.  I’ve never been there and I’ve heard it’s a great time.  Another new event to break in.

.

I also get to go to BEA (Books Expo America) in New York.  I was only there for one day a couple of years ago and I had a blast.  It’s so exciting with tons of authors, publishers and any with anything to do with publishing.  I was like a kid in a candy store and I was only in the exhibit hall.  This year I’m hoping to go to some of the actual sessions.

,

The other big conference in New York will be the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I’m honored to be on a panel there this year.  Their book signing is amazing.  It’s free and open to the public with all monies from books sold going to literacy.  It gives me chills to see fans lined up to meet their favorite authors and discover new ones.  Although this is a working conference for many of the writers, there always seems to be time to socialize and the publishers parties are to die for.  I’m expecting a lot since the event is on their home turf.  And I’ll also get to attend Lady Jane’s Salon where they have authors read from their own books in a very cozy atmosphere with an audience of enthusiastic romance fans.

,

In between, I’ll be flying to Detroit to give a workshop to their GDRWA members.  I love the intimate gatherings and getting to know both the published and unpublished authors in the group.  There’s also the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books where I’ll be on both a panel and acting as a moderator for a panel of romance authors.

,

I’ve been invited to do a workshop with author Dianna Love for the GRW in Atlanta.  Since I’ve gotten to attend a meeting of theirs in the past, I know the talent in this group.  Excited to visit with all of them again.  I’ll be in Ohio twice this year.  Once for their reader luncheon and once for their Central Ohio Fiction Writer’s Annual Conference in Columbus where I’ll be doing a workshop.  More people to share the joys of Facebook and Twitter with.

.

I do admit that I’m in withdrawal because I won’t be able to attend the San Diego Comic Con, but I will be at DragonCon in Atlanta and it’s unique fan based style.  Always an experience and such fun.

If I win the lottery, I’d love to attend Moonlight and Magnolias, RomCon, Novelists, Inc., Thrillerfest, Emerald City, WRW, New Jersey Romance Writers  Conference, Crimebake, WisRWA and many more.  But it’s always fun to dream about and hopefully some people will step up to be cub reporters for the events I cannot attend.  I know my readers love reading about the events they can’t always attend and I’m honored to represent them.  I try to report back what it’s like to be a reader living the dream.

Here’s where I’ll be this year:

RT - April 6-10 Los Angeles

Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon – April 30 – Huntsville

GDRW – May 17 – Detroit

GRW – May 21 – Atlanta

BEA - May 23-26 New York

SEWFB - June 17-18 Waukesha

Lady Jane’s Salon – June 27 – New York

RWA – June 28-July 1 – New York

DragonCon - September 2-5 – Atlanta

Central Ohio Fiction Writers – September 30-October 1 – Columbus

Ohio Readers Luncheon – October 20 – Medina

Bottom Line: I think there should be a magic card, just for me, that lets me travel to every single conference.

Join me on Facebook and Twitter.

Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- May 31st, 2010
Today’s Cub Reporter is Marilyn Puett who attended the Heart of Dixie Romance Reader’s Luncheon and has offered to share her experience with us.  Marilyn is known affectionately as the Playground Monitor at the Writer’s Playground website.  After discovering romance novels in 2001 quite by accident, Marilyn had a renewed interest in writing.  Since then she’s had over thirty short stories published in the confessions and romance magazines and regularly teaches a class in how to write for this genre.  In 2008 she completed her first novel-length manuscript and saw it final in an online pitch contest on eHarlequin.  The manuscript was requested (and rejected) by Silhouette, but she considers it just another notch on her writing belt.  She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and serves on both the local and national levels.  When she’s not doting on her granddaughter, she enjoys being the Playground Monitor, a role she’s well-suited for after raising two boys.

Julia London

Julia London

Authors write lots and lots of books, which fill lots and lots of stores around the world.  But without the readers, there would be no New York Times or USA Today bestseller lists, and no royalty checks would be paid.  The Heart of Dixie chapter of Romance Writers of America honors readers each year with a Romance Readers’ Luncheon.


The 13th annual luncheon was held May 15, 2010, at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama and featured New York Times bestselling author Julia London who charmed the crowd of roughly one hundred fifty with her speech about her ten rules for living life best.  She shared from experience as well as from the heart.

Front row – Laura Hayden, Pamela Hearon, Kimberly Lang, Tanya Michaels, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Kira Sinclair  Back row – Melanie Dickerson, Linda Winstead Jones, Christy Reece, Debra Glass, Janice Lynn, Debra Webb, Peggy Webb, Sabrah Agee, Trish Milburn, Rhonda Nelson, Kate Lyon, Beverly Barton, Lynn Raye Harris, Kay Cornelius, Kerri Nelson, Lyn Stone, Julia London and Linda Howard

Front row – Laura Hayden, Pamela Hearon, Kimberly Lang, Tanya Michaels, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Kira Sinclair Back row – Melanie Dickerson, Linda Winstead Jones, Christy Reece, Debra Glass, Janice Lynn, Debra Webb, Peggy Webb, Sabrah Agee, Trish Milburn, Rhonda Nelson, Kate Lyon, Beverly Barton, Lynn Raye Harris, Kay Cornelius, Kerri Nelson, Lyn Stone, Julia London and Linda Howard


Attendees received goody bags of books and promotional items donated by authors spanning the globe.  Additionally, they had the opportunity to win prize baskets, also donated, and filled with an assortment of books, chocolates, spa items, chocolates, candles, jewelry and chocolates.
The Writing Playground with Julia London

The Writing Playground with Julia London - Danniele Worsham, Kira Sinclair, Kimberly Lang, Julia London, Andrea Laurence and Marilyn Puett

The day concluded with a book fair and book signing featuring Julia, Heart of Dixie’s member authors and visiting authors from other chapters.  Proceeds from the book fair benefit the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

Next years luncheon date was announced (April 30, 2011) and one lucky attendee was selected to announce the guest speaker’s name – Kerrelyn Sparks.

Bottom Line:
Today is the last day to bid on items at the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, so check out BHB’s contribution here.