Tag Archives: readers

Take A Reader to Lunch Day

Barbara Vey -- October 18th, 2013
Readers Marcia, Wendy and me

Readers Marcia, Wendy and me

I spent Wednesday in London with a reader.  Well, actually two readers, but it was Wendy, a Facebook friend (who I never met in person) that contacted me when I put the word out that I would be in the UK this week.  Wendy follows my blog and asked about attending the Oxford talk I did, but that was really geared for writers, so we decided to meet up in London.

Wendy first heard about me from Jacquie D’Alessandro’s Facebook page.  Apparently, Jacquie posted a picture of us and explained who I was and Wendy decided to check me out.  I’m glad she did.  Thanks Jacquie!!  We met up in London where she and her sister, Marcia, took a 2 1/2 bus ride to get together.  My London videographer, Mark, came along to help me on the tube (subway).

The building in the background flew an American flag, but it wasn't the embassy. Wasn't able to find out what it was. Great London Street scene though.

The building in the background flew an American flag, but it wasn’t the embassy. Wasn’t able to find out what it was. Great London Street scene though.

Wendy, Marcia and I spent the first hour and a half talking books, authors and family over coffee.  We headed out to see the sights and it was raining (of course).  That’s really just a way of life here.  Everyone is attached to their umbrellas.  One of our first stops was in a bookstore.  As in many of the independent bookstores in the US, there was no romance section.  There was crime/thriller, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, but no romance.  Being me, I asked where the romance section was and the (male) clerk told me they didn’t have one, but he showed me a Phillippa Gregory book and immediately pointed out that more people buy the books by the male author next to her.  I told him it was too bad because I wanted to buy a romance, but since they didn’t have any I wouldn’t be buying anything.  It didn’t seem to phase him, since he just walked away from me probably to find a more refined reader.

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firemen

You’ve got to love firemen all over the world!

 

As we were walking, we came across a parade of fireman.  Bag pipers led them off, but the parade went on forever.  Turns out is was a protest march about the firemen’s pensions.  Later that day, we passed a pub where many fireman were relaxing after the long walk and they let me snap a picture.  Several could have been used for a calendar or the cover of some of the firemen books I’ve read.  Yowza!

I met some adorable Bobbies who've been to NY and loved it.

I met some adorable Bobbies who’ve been to NY and loved it.

We ended up in Chinatown for lunch where they served very authentic Chinese food.  We shared so we could sample a variety of items.  Here’s something I learned.  When you order Diet Coke (or any other beverage), you have to request ice or you don’t get any.  Even when you ask for it, you get about 3 cubes.

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Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

We strolled around Covent Gardens and Trafalgar Square and while we in the US talk about stuff from the 1700s on as our history pales in comparison.  Building were pointed out from the 1200s to the present.  The history made my head spin.

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Just to show you that we did see blue skies for a little while.

Just to show you that we did see blue skies for a little while.

But wherever we went and whatever we did, the conversation always came back to books.  The ones we love, the ones we hate, the new ones to discover.  Marcia loves her e-reader for the ease of getting books and always having one handy to read.  She’s a midwife, so in her waiting time, she reads…a lot.  Wendy loves paper books and historicals that she devours.  They both have offered to become readers for the WW Ladies Book Club, so watch for their reads.

Readers are very special people and we all manage to share this extremely tight bond.  I know I’ve now got two great new friends to share all things books with.

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Remember that this is also Mills and Boon week since they are giving away over 50 items internationally, so wherever you live, just leave a comment all week to enter for a chance to win.  Every comment is an entry.

Bottom Line:  Today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day…go forth and celebrate, I shall.

 

 

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.

How Do You Get New Readers?

Barbara Vey -- September 2nd, 2011
Tom and me

Tim and me

I am constantly hearing authors complain about the lack of readers and maybe not so much the lack of them as the way to reach them.  How do you find readers?  Well, there are blogs, book trailers, booksignings, and conventions.  But my favorite approach is one at a time.

 

Now, before you jump all over me about how that would take forever, I mean actually talking to a reader and finding out what they read, why, (or why not) and how open they’d be to trying something new.  Those of you who know me well, know that this comes very naturally to me.  You tell one person and they try it and pass it on to another or two.  Kind of like the pyramid scheme with everyone coming out a winner.

 

What do you like to read?

What do you like to read?

Yesterday I flew to Atlanta for Dragon Con and met Tim on the plane.  He works for the Department of Correction in Milwaukee, so he had a ton of fascinating stories to tell.  Then I finally asked him my most common question, “What do you like to read?”  Tim likes biographies.  Now I’ve been hearing a lot of people admit to reading only biographies.  He also like true stories about crimes and events so I suggested he might get the same kind of experience by trying suspense.  I offered some authors and books I have at home and Tim agreed to give it a try.  I plan to check back with him to see how he fared.

 

But the point is that I may have found someone new to reading fiction and if he enjoys the experience will surely pass it on.  Tim did admit to reading Harry Potter since he has two boys.  Now I had the opportunity to suggest a couple of YA authors that his 10 year old might enjoy.  Turns out that Tim was a journalism major and we talked about him writing a book.  Double score!

 

It really all just comes down to talking to people and getting them excited about reading.  In the end we all come out as winners.  Please feel free to offer Tim suggestions on authors he should be trying.  He’s going to be following the blog while in North Carolina riding his motorcycle with friends down some crazy hill called Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina that has 318 curves in 11 miles.  Sounds crazy to me, but maybe that’s why we need to help fill Tim’s life with some great suspense books.

 

Bottom Line:  I’d like to thank Lin of AirTran for her above and beyond service with pretzels instead of cookies to go with our Bloody Marys.  You rock Lin!!

Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get-Together

Barbara Vey -- June 9th, 2011
joysann

joysann

Hi! Joysann here.

Linda Keller, Lori Foster, Dianne Castell

The 7th Annual Reader & Author Get Together from Lori Foster, Dianne Castell, and Linda Keller was held this past weekend in Cincinnati Ohio, and it was a huge success. The low-cost, casual-atmosphere event brings folks back year after year, but, because word of mouth excites new participants, this year was the biggest yet with about 400 attendees.

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Authors at the Reader/Author Get Together

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Nancy Naigle and me

Designed to give readers occasion to meet with authors in an informal setting, it also provides authors a chance to meet with editors, agents and publishers, and maybe find their golden opportunity. Not to mention the adulation of their avid fans. With a pizza party on Friday evening, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, there was plenty of time for socializing, meeting favorite authors, and finding new ones.

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One of the big entertainments of the event is the huge raffle for the gift baskets. This year there were 183 astounding baskets of books and treasures donated by authors, publishers, readers, and even the hotel. Several thousand dollars in raffle ticket sales were raised to benefit a couple of Lori’s favorite charities; One Way Farm (for abused or neglected children) and Animal Adoption Foundation.

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Reader Jennifer Allison

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Reader Jennifer Allison complained that she never, ever wins at the many raffles she’s participated in, but her luck changed here. She was thrilled with the wonderful prize she won, with its gazillion books.

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Each year Lori edits an anthology with stories by herself and other popular authors. This year the authors’ proceeds from the sale of The Promise of Love will go to benefit One Way Farm. These touching stories are written by Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Sylvia Day, Jamie Denton, Kate Douglas and Kathy Love.

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This was my fourth trip to Cincinnati for this event, and it was the best year yet.  It just keeps getting better and better, and I’ve already got my calendar marked for next year. I see Lori, Dianne and Linda do, too – posted on the website: “Save the Date for the 2012 Reader & Author Get Together – Friday, June 1 – Sunday, June 3, 2012″

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Bottom Line: Today is Donald Duck Day and I know Barbara (Ms Disney) will be all over this.

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The Reluctant Reader

Barbara Vey -- December 1st, 2010

When I was at the Romance Writers of America conference this year, I got to meet Meg Cabot.  I’ve long been a fan of her work, loved the Princess movies and always get a great laugh from her home made You Tube videos.

So I  asked her to sign a book for my niece, who just turned 17.  Being the aunt, I wanted something with little to no sex (she is related and I have her parents to contend with).  Meg suggested The Boy Next Door.  She said it’s an adult book, but no sex.  Now, I’d already read the book a few years ago and enjoyed it.  I remembered that the whole thing was done with e-mails.  I took it home and re-read it before I gave it away.  It was as good as I remembered.

I took it over to my niece’s house and asked my sister to give it to her.  Our conversation:

Me: Please give this book to your daughter.  I had it signed by the author, Meg Cabot, who did The Princess Diaries.

Sister: She won’t read it.

Me: It’s an adult book done in emails, I think she’ll enjoy it.

Sister: She doesn’t like to read.

Me: I think if she tries it, she might be surprised.  I’ve already read it twice.

Sister: But you like to read.  I don’t want you to be disappointed when she doesn’t read it.

Me: Just give it to her and maybe she’ll try it.

Sister: She won’t read it.

At this point, I just left the book and hoped for the best.  My sister obviously knows her daughter better than I do.  Yes, I was disappointed and it really does hurt me somewhere deep inside whenever I hear the words, “I don’t like to read.”  It’s just an alien concept for me and I just can’t wrap my head around it.  But I move on hoping to find the next convert to feed whatever it is inside me that feels the need to put a book in everyone’s hand.

Yesterday my niece sent me a message on Facebook (I know, phone calls, visits and letters are becoming obsolete).  But here’s what she had to say, “…and i loved that book you got for me. i finished it in about 4 days. i read it twice already :) Yes, music to my ears.

We all wonder what our purpose in life is and I think I found mine.  Weird as it may sound, I get a natural high from sharing my love of reading with others.  I’ll never give up.  Maybe it’s just a matter of finding the right book for the right person or of actually getting someone to open the book and actually read the first few pages to get them hooked.

Do you find enjoyment in getting others to read?  Does hearing that a book you gave brought happiness to someone?  Any special books that brought unsuspected surprises?


Bottom Line: I’m off to the bank with a box of books for the tellers.  They love them.