This past weekend I attended Barbara Vey's Reader Appreciation Luncheon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is an annual even that brings together readers and authors from all over and it just happens to be in my neck of the woods! I have to admit that an evening at home with a book is more my speed. Going up to complete strangers and striking up a conversation is way out of my comfort zone, but I had a blast anyway. :) This was my second time attending. Last year I just drove down for the day but this year they added some events on Saturday so I grabbed the husband and we made a weekend out of it.
Friday night was a Q&A with all of the authors that were there. They are a fun and sassy bunch. Each author had a chance to introduce themselves and what they write, then they chose a random question to answer. There were a couple of awkward questions, but they handled it well. it was a fun time. Even the husband was entertained.
Following the Q&A the WisRWA had a signing. I had heard about it a few days previously, but didn't know who was going to be there. Mary Ann Rivers was there. I've read and reviewed several of her books and was happy to see her and talk to her a bit. I spoke to a few new authors and have some books added to my TBR list. They had a board set up to help you find your next book boyfriend that I thought was fun and clever. Underneath the description were book covers with heroes that fit the category.
Saturday was the big luncheon. Before the luncheon there were raffle baskets. All proceeds went to the American Cancer society. There were at least 100 baskets. It was impressive. They raised over $10,000!
At the luncheon itself, sixty-one authors had tables and ate lunch and chatted with their readers. The authors go all out on the table decorations and favors. My husband and I sat at Tracy March's table. I met her last year and she was very nice. I have read and reviewed a couple of her books. She gave us some great favors and even signed a book for me to give away to one of my readers! It was fun chatting with her and the others at our table. This was probably my favorite part of the weekend.
|Tracy March signing a book.|
|Our take-home goodies.|
|Like our photo-bomber? ;)|
Eloisa James gave the welcome. She encouraged us to try new genres and new authors. She reminded us that authors need reviews, good or bad.
Kristan Higgins was the birthday princess. It was her 50th and we all sang happy birthday. She wore a tiara.
Tess Gerritsen was the keynote speaker. She talked about meeting Stephen King and joking about where they get there ideas because that's the question that readers always ask. She talked about where she gets her ideas and where to look for ideas.
After the luncheon was the signing, which was free and open to the public. An introvert's worst nightmare, there were throngs of people clogging the hallway, making it difficult to move. But this was a fun, polite group of people and we all made it work. It was so fun to be able to chat with the authors that write the books that we love. I was a little starstruck, as I was last year. Husband carried my books and helped me get them signed. Most of the authors were stuck behind their tables, making it difficult to ask for pictures, so I didn't get as many as I did last year. Sorry, authors, if I didn't talk to you. I probably wasn't sure what to say. This is my socializing for the year.
|The hallway where the signing took place.|
Her line was incredibly long but she took the time to shake each person's hand and chat a little while signing books, even graciously posing for pictures.
|Valerie Bowman, who writes "Racy Regency Romps." Her latest The Unlikely Lady is on my Netgalley list. :)|
I told her I loved the character Teal in Undertow. She said it was fun to write a character so unlike herself. Bad hair, bad shoes, bad clothes. The only similarity was the bad attitude. I bought a copy of Blush after she told me there was a hit man and "things happen." Who can resist that description? She's a hoot.
|Tina DiSalvo and other authors doing their thing.|
Another author whose latest, Life After Perfect, is on my Netgalley list.
She seriously has the best swag. My 6 year old likes to confiscate it. Eloisa told me to tell her hi. :) Also, when I told her I thought her books were getting better, she said good because they were getting harder to write.
Signing my copy of 'Til Death.
Signing my copy of A Charming Cure. I met her last year. She's a sweetheart.
Sadly Facebook no longer allows her and Jill Shalvis to have Man Wars. She's still fun to follow.
She was a brilliant speaker and so nice to talk to.
After the signing there was a pizza party followed by popcorn and a movie hosted by Tina DiSalvo and Cherry Adair.
|Cherry Adair was handing out boas. When she told my husband he had to wear one, he said sure, as long as he could get a picture with her.|
|There were decorations and prizes.|
|Our hosts, Cherry Adair and Tina DiSalvo. The movie was Mama Mia. Singing and dancing were involved.|
And that was the weekend in a nutshell. If you made it this far, you deserve a reward. I will be giving away 5 books, as well as a goodie bag filled with swag. There may even be codes for some free ebooks in there. To enter, leave a comment or enter the Rafflecopter. Which prize would you most like to win? Winners will be chosen at random on Tuesday, May 12.
Bag with Swag - Lots of author goodies
The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman - regency historical romance
Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James - regency historical romance
Girl Three by Tracy March - romantic thriller
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick (Chronicles of Nick Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon - YA paranormal
Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, and Devotion Book 1) - male/male romance