Tag Archives: James Rollins

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.

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Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night

Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans

Barbara Vey -- December 17th, 2012

I’ve never gone to a writer’s conference in December, but if you want to attend one in an amazing city, head to New Orleans.  Heather Graham always did this conference over Labor Day weekend, but constant worry about hurricanes had her try a change in the date and I’d have to say it really paid off.

New Orleans in December is a sight to behold.  Gorgeously decked out in all the Christmas glory, the shops even have Christmas vampire and voodoo stuff.  I guess I never thought of the two items in the same sentence.  I’m glad I had a chance to experience it.

If you’ve never attended Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans event, you are in for a treat.  While it’s a smaller conference, the intimacy is what makes it so special. She hand picks her special guest and they all have something unique to offer.  There are the usual panels, but there are also interviews with the big name authors.  The questions and answers are are sometimes surprising, but always entertaining.

David Morrell, James Rollins, Cherry Adair, Jonathan Maberry

David Morrell, James Rollins, Eileen Dreyer, Jonathan Maberry

James Rollins is a New York Times bestselling author, but did you know he’s also a veterinarian?  He still volunteers his services and has found a special place in his heart and books for dogs used in the military.   Jonathan Maberry most notably writes horror, but has been writing a YA series about Zombies (the good kind).  Did you know he was a body guard earlier in his career?  Eileen Dreyer started out writing medical suspense books which would explain her nursing background.  David Morrell, best known for his Rambo series explained why he wanted to stretch his wings and try writing a western.  David feels that it helps the author to stay fresh when he/she tries new things.

Paula Eykelhof, Connie Perry, Joan Schluhafer

Cocktail party time with Paula Eykelhof, Connie Perry, Joan Schluhafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our audience

Our audience

I was on a branding panel with Joan Schluhafer, Don Lucey from Harlequin and Tony and Tori Eldridge.  Joan is a publicist, Don is the head of publicity for Harlequin, Tori adapts books into tv and movie as a screenwriter and Tony is a movie producer who’s next film The Equalizer will feature Denzel Washington and start shooting in spring.  All very fascinating and I felt out of my league.  They had so many interesting things to say that I was up at the table furiously taking notes to I can pass them all on to you in future workshops and panels I do.  Don explained that Harlequin is serious working with authors to give them everything they need to be successful and Joan (who is the very organized one of the group had meticulous notes and made us all look good.  Me, I stumbled my way through, but was well received which always makes me feel good.

Heather Graham and Shara Waas

Heather Graham and Shara Waas

I met Shara Waas , 2012 winner of Heather’s contest, Giving Back to Your Community.  Shara wrote about working and volunteering with therapy dogs for twelve years and the satisfaction and joy she received from it.  Shara was in awe of the authors and the whole event.  She told me she was thrilled to win and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Time for the Vampire Ball

Time for the Vampire Ball

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Heather Graham doesn’t just sit back and let others do the workshops, she is the driving force behind the shows put on during the event.  This year’s theme was Vampires on the Titanic.  It was a clever take on the idea that Jack could have been saved if 1) Rose would have just moved over on that plank or 2) the vampires had only made him a vampire and they turned everyone on the ship into vampires, it could be a happy ending.  The show was also dotted with Christmas songs that strangely fit into a doomed ship filled with vampires.

Also attending the conference was Heidi, one of the WW Ladies.  She won the trip from Heather at my Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon last April. Here’s her take on the event:

Cherry Adair and Heidi

Cherry Adair and Heidi

Heather Graham and Heidi

Heather Graham and Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was really impressed by the variety of panels scheduled during the entire weekend It was really hard to pick one or two to attend. The kick off of the welcome party was amazing. I was overwhelmed by all of the writers, publishers, agents and editors. PLUS to be able to meet Heather Graham, James Rollins and Eileen Dreyer, I think I said WOW a million times. But it was so fun to see them and have a regular type of conversation even though I was gushing like a school girl. James has a special place in my heart now being a Chicago boy! :)

On Saturday, I had the pleasure to hear Jonathan Maberry during breakfast, and it is truly amazing to hear what a unique background he has had. His sense of humor I enjoyed most of all. It made me feel right at home. He asked me later in the day what kind of writer I am. I never looked at myself as a writer, but technically I am now, so that was a really cool revelation.

The panel of speakers later in the morning were so awesome because you really got to hear all of their journeys into writing. I loved that is isn’t all cookie cutter writer stories of their beginnings. Eileen, James and Jonathan had me laughing quite a bit, I had a hard time taking notes. I kept thinking they are like secret agent writers: “trauma nurse by day, romance writer by night.”

The special dinner on Saturday was the most unique experience of my life. I never imagined vampires on the Titanic, but I sure can now!! To know that Heather had her band there, and wrote the play that went on during dinner really showed how much she loves her life. I have such respect for that.

Watching Barbara from the sidelines, talking to everyone at the event, as well as bringing in strangers from the hotel to meet authors, with such a passion and love of reading, was really a hoot. Barbara is truly gifted in her element and it was really fun to witness it.

All in all, it was such an honor to be able to attend this event, thanks to Heather Graham. To be able to meet so many people who love what they do, makes me want to work harder in my life, because I love that I do. I have been blessed to come to New Orleans and it will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

Oh, by the way, did I mention the food??? YUMOLICIOUS!!!

It’s obvious that Heidi enjoyed herself and together we explored some of New Orleans including the famous Cafe du Monde and it’s famous beignets.  I looked like the abominable snowman from the shower of powder sugar that loads down the pastry.  Of course, I’d do it again in a heart beat.

The conference ended with a book signing.

Kelli Stanley

Kelli Stanley at book signing

Kate Poole at book signing

Kate Poole at book signing

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Bottom Line: I’ve already been invited back for next year and I hope to see you there!

Weekly Giveaways

From Marilyn Baron:  FREE SWEET ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY WITH LOVE STORIES FOR EVERY SEASON PLUS TWO WEEKS OF FREE READS & PRIZES. Petit Fours and Hot Tamales bloggers have published a FREE anthology called SEASONS AND SEASHELLS just in time for the holidays.  You can read it here.  As a bonus, from December 17-Dec. 28, we will publish all or portions of each short story of our Group Novel on our blog. Author prizes awarded daily plus three great prizes to be announced on December 31. Visit our blog to find out more. Here’s what we’re giving away this year: A $5 Starbucks gift card; A PF&HT cookbook and the grand prize: A lovely pair of sterling silver seashell earrings from Nature’s Jewelry.

From Kristie Cook First, the first book in my series, Promise, is FREE (no end date as of right now) for all ebook formats:  Kindle:   Nook  Also on iBookstore, Kobo and Smashwords

Secondly, 13 other authors and I are doing a Holiday Hullabaloo giveaway with 155 prizes over 12 days, including a $200 gift card at the end. People can start at my website, where it’s going daily until 12/21 (started on 12/10), and the links to the other authors’ giveaways are at the bottom.
Third, I’m giving away a free ebook of any of my books here.
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From Katy Lee:  This week I am holding a Goodreads Giveaway of REAL VIRTUE! It’s just one click to enter, and you can find the link on my website. 
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From Pam, Affaire de Coeur Magazine: 3 contests! Spread the word. Links can all be found on our main page.
2. Kaylin McFarren’s — The Inspiration Behind the Story, Click here
3. Pambling Roads~~DC — have a story you want to share about a trip you have made or your visit to Washington, DC. You could win a “I Can’t Live Without Books” T-shirt purchased from the Library of Congress Gift Shop in Washington, DC. Click here.

Drive By Videos Done at Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 17th, 2012

Here’s some of the authors I managed to catch up with at Comic Con.  My Drive By Videos are back.  Yes, I finally broke down and bought a great new video camera.  Let me know how you think they came out.

 

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BTW, I had a total fan girl moment this morning when a friend was talking on the phone to Rebecca Cantrell.  I am in love with her iDrakula book and tell everyone about it.  Well, I got to talk to her (she’s in Berlin for a year) and she told me she has a new book out today, A City of Broken Glass.  So, while I wish her good luck with her new book, I’m really waiting for her Frankenstein book.  If it’s half as good as iDrakula, I’m sold!

 

Bottom Line:  Next week I’m off to RWA with my new camera, so watch out authors, I may corner you for a Drive By Video.

Saturday at Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 15th, 2012
Sean Astin

Sean Astin

Finally had my first celebrity sighting at Comic Con.  Sean Astin was at a booth signing autographs and mugging for the many cameras aimed his way.  I wish I could have gotten close enough, but Sean has a huge following of all ages and I would have been trampled.

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Jane Espenson and Barbara Vey

Jane Espenson and Barbara Vey

I also stumbled upon Jane Espenson signing.  In case her name doesn’t ring a bell, let me list some of her credits.  She’s written for Once Upon a Time, Warehouse 13, Buffy, Angel, Torchwood, and Battlestar Galactica to name a few (you can check them all out on IMDB).  It was a total fan girl moment for me and when I asked her about doing a Drive By Video for me, she said she was booked this year, but I could contact her for next year.  SCORE!  (Ok, yes, I love all creative writers.)

 

Panels are almost impossible to get into unless you’re willing to camp out for hours at a time and my days of standing or sitting on the floor that many hours are over.  I also heard that one highly anticipated panel was delayed 3 hours and then canceled completely.  Pretty sure there were some unhappy campers there.

 

James Rollins

James Rollins

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I was happy to see James Rollins signing his new book Blood Line at the HarperCollins booth.  He’s thrilled to be coming to Milwaukee for my Reader Appreciation Luncheon in April and was surprised to hear that his table has sold out already, but I’m not surprised.

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While I was at the Harper booth, I noticed a poster of Archer.  Now, Archer is an animated series on FX that focuses on Archer, a sexist spy whose mother runs the spy organization.  The whole show is totally politically incorrect and in my opinion, hilarious (yes, I must have a very warped sense of humor).  The irony here is that HarperCollins had this giant poster right next to the children’s section of books.  I’m sure that any child, seeing animation, naturally assumes it’s a cartoon they should be watching.  Yikes!  Hope their parents realize the show is adults only.  Oops on you Harper.

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Now, here’s a few more pics I snapped as I was walking around.

 

Thundercat

Thundercat

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The con floor

The con floor

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Hmmm

Hmmm

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View from my room

View from my room

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Orange man??

Orange man??

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A tired Spiderman

A tired Spiderman

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Bottom Line:  Today is Kid’s Day.  Can’t wait to see their costumes.

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Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon a Rousing Success!

Barbara Vey -- April 11th, 2012
Bags of swag ready for readers

Bags of swag ready for readers

All I can say is, if you missed the luncheon this year, you missed a lot.  But have no fear, there will be a second luncheon, April 27, 2013 with James Rollins as the keynote speaker.

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Special author cupcakes (thanks Dee Schrader & team)

Special author cupcakes (thanks Dee Schrader & team)

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But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Tuesday’s luncheon proved that the Milwaukee area can get pretty riled up when it comes to authors visiting.  About 250 readers started lining up at 9:30 a.m. for the 10:30 meet and greet at the Oak Creek Community Center including readers from Australia, Canada and many different states.  You could tell you were in Wisconsin when the food arrived with portions large enough to feed at least two (all delicious).  The crowning glory was the arrival of cupcakes for dessert, all flagged with the author’s book covers.

 

royal table with Victoria Alexander

royal table with Victoria Alexander

 

Each author had 7 avid readers at their tables and with all genres represented, everyone seemed to get what they wanted and more from their intimate encounters.  The authors attracted many new readers and the readers learned there were many more authors out there than they had been reading.  Conversations were lively as authors brought favors for their tables mates including crowns, book bags, books, note pads, booklights and candy.

 

A Packed Room

A Packed Room

There were a couple of tables devoted to young adult readers with 7 kids ages 12-17 hanging on every word of the authors.  Even editors came up and discussed books with the youngsters getting their take on what they enjoy reading.  Austin Maier, 14, was thrilled when YA author B.A. Binns offered to send her book to him.  “I can’t believe an author would want to send me her book.  I can’t wait to read it!”

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The adults weren’t doing too bad either.  As they entered the event they were treated to a tote bag that included eight books, note pads, pens, bookmarks, trading cards, post cards, excerpts, calendars, and many discount coupons for businesses.  A special thanks to the authors who supplied the totes, Kristen Painter, Victoria Alexander, Roxanne St. Claire and Louisa Edwards.

 

Heather Graham

Heather Graham

The crowd was all warmed up by the time keynote speaker Heather Graham made her way to the stage.  We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural speaker.  In her trademark style, Heather managed to entertain the group with stories of her beloved New Orleans, crazy men that sew their wives together after they are dead and mentions of her quirky home state of Florida.  Particularly entertaining was the electric chair story of the man who’s hair caught fire during his execution and having it called cruel and unusual punishment.  The next day paper’s headline was, “Electric Chair Deemed Unsafe.”  Heather also announced that her Writer’s for New Orleans Conference will be held December 14-16th.

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A lucky winner...Jenny St. Germaine

A lucky winner...Jenny St. Germaine

Anticipation was building for the amazing door prizes that the author’s brought.  Lucky readers walked away with baskets of books, gift certificates, scarves, treasure chests and of course, chocolate.  Next up were the drawings for the raffle baskets donated by authors, author blog groups, publishers, local business, the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Admirals, Kindles, Nooks and a Kindle Fire.  In addition, an amazing acoustic guitar with all the accessories was donated by Blue Flame Music.  All proceeds go to local libraries.  People frantically checked their tickets and screams could be heard from the winners.  Congratulations to all!

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Jacqui Sue-Ping said it best, “And apparently there are times that putting horseshoes up one’s a$$ really does work! I won a door prize and two raffle raffles including an arc from Suzanne Brockmann a gift basket from Virginia Kantra, 20th anniversary edition of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and so much more. Complete icing on a lovely cake of a day :-)

 

The finishing touch was an incredible book signing.  Not only were the authors able to sell and sign their books but programs (donated by COS Productions) were given out to everyone with author bios that were signed by the authors and kept as collectables by the readers.  I was more than a little surprised when I was asked to sign a few.

Getting ready for booksigning

Getting ready for booksigning

 

My sisters and me with a poster dedicating the luncheon to my mom.  Sally Lisiecki, Chris Mattice, Lori Basterash, Barbara Vey, Dee Schrader

My sisters and me with a poster dedicating the luncheon to my mom. Sally Lisiecki, Chris Mattice, Lori Basterash, Barbara Vey, Dee Schrader

It was an incredible event and punctuated even more by the throngs of readers who lined up to tell me how much they enjoyed the event, had no idea what to expect, were pleasantly surprised and wanting to know how to sign up for next year.

 

I can never adequately express my gratitude to the many people who gave them time and talents to help make this event so successful.  The list would be endless.  So, let me just say that I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to working with you all again next year.  Get some rest.

 

Bottom Line:  I have no doubt it will be a sold out event.

Saturday Matinée

Barbara Vey -- November 5th, 2011

 

And here’s this week’s batch of book trailer goodness.

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Sandstorm A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins

The Fallen Kings Cycle by Gail Z Martin

The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

FOUND Margaret Peterson Haddix

 

If you have a book video you’d like considered, please send it to me at bvey@publishersweekly.com with Book Video in the subject line.