If you like your lunch served with fun, humor and southern charm, this is the place to be. Saturday I attended the Southern Magic Luncheon sponsored by the Southern Magic RWA chapter. Over 200 readers lined up hours before the event for the chance to snag the table with their favorite authors.
I shared my table with 2 co-authors, Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones who write as Alicia Hunter Pace. Rounding out our table were four readers from a book club. It was Tiffany’s first reader event and her enthusiasm was contagious. She was actually shaking with excitement and her smile lit up the room. This book group is the reason for these reader/author events.
Authors brought gifts for their table and usually the items tied in with their books. There was pirate booty, tea cups, beach bags, candles and lots of chocolate. Apparently, to this group, nothing beats a good book and some chocolate. Each author then gave away the most amazing door prizes and I was blown away by the thoughtfulness. There were e-readers, books, wine, coffee, tea, mugs, afghans, pillows, treasure chests, Coach bags and chocolate. There was one door prize in a basket so big it took 2 men to carry it….I kid you not.
The welcome speaker was Christy Reece. Christy did one of the funniest speeches I’ve ever heard or seen as she used pictures to portray her writing process over a 30 day period. There was laughter, tears, beer, wine, salty snacks and lots of chocolate (are you seeing a pattern here?). Christy took us through the journey of starting with an idea that is amazing with the characters talking so fast she can’t keep up, to having the characters become jerks, the worst book ever written, the characters then become awesome and the book becomes the best she’s ever written. All in the 30 days and played out for us in about 20 minutes. I hope she travels with that act so everyone can experience it.
Jeaniene Frost was the keynote speaker and an obvious fan favorite. She had everyone with, “Readers are my peeps!” Jeaniene talked about the isolation of being a writer, but talked about the luncheon saying, “This solidarity thing becomes a community thing.” She also shared her favorite fan letter from a man who met his wife in a bookstore when she recommended Jeaniene’s book. He was asking Jeaniene to sign the same book as an anniversary gift for his wife. It was a real “Awww” moment.
As a special treat, voice artist, Tavia Gilbert (who does all Jeaniene’s audio books) took to the stage throughout the luncheon to read from the books voicing all the characters so incredibly that it was disappointing when she’d stop. It was easy to get caught up in the stories and I think it gave readers a wonderful opportunity to experience audio books live.
The Southern Magic group did an amazing job by filling in some lulls with homemade videos of heroes and some of their authors singing along to hit songs. While they’d never make it on Dancing With the Stars or America’s Got Talent, what they did have was heart. It was so entertaining and I hope they put it online for everyone to enjoy.
There was a big cheer when it was announced that Sylvia Day would be the keynote speaker at next year’s luncheon. I’ll be there….will you? Tickets go on sale January 6th.
As a special treat, Southern Magic has graciously offered to give away one of their gift bags. It is filled with books and goodies. If you’d like a chance to win, please comment, “There’s magic in the South!” Winner will be posted tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see if you won. (Open to US residence only).
Bottom Line: Delightful, sassy and fun, the Southern Magic writers are all that and more…Bless their hearts!