Monday, June 09, 2008

POST READER/AUTHOR GET TOGETHER REPORT

Well, another get together is officially in the books. Talk about a great time! Despite the noise of close to 300 women in one room and hustle-bustle that was almost manic at times, it was relaxing and fun. I have to admit however, that there were a couple of times that I had to escape to my room for some "alone" time - not for very long, but I need to get away all by myself on occasion when I'm around such a large crowd. It was good to see friends that I only see at this event as well as those that I'm fortunate enough to see a handful of times throughout the year.
I *finally* got to meet Lucy Monroe, a long-time, all-time favorite author! Lucy is adorable and I could have hugged her all weekend but I didn't want her to think I was some kind of perv. I also met Susanna Carr, whose characters always make me smile, and Michelle Buonfiglio from Lifetime.com's Romance B(u)y the Book - Michelle and I had an interesting discussion about blog etiquette, romances we've enjoyed and those we would recommend. She's an absolute treasure and I enjoyed talking books with her. After waiting years to meet Megan Hart, getting to see her at the RT book signing and then again this past weekend was especially nice. Megan is a breath of fresh air, genuinely nice and without airs.
A mind-boggling $526. was raised for shopping and shipping for the troops - this might not sound like much but trust me, I can do some serious shopping with this much money and will have plenty left to ship what I buy as well as the trunk load of stuff I brought home. Romance readers never fail to show what's in their hearts when it comes to our servicemen and women. Speaking of servicemen, Kelsey's boyfriend David left this morning for 20 (or so) weeks of basic training in Missouri. They spent a good chunk of the day together yesterday, doing nothing but fun stuff, eating his favorite foods, followed by pizza with his family and a movie with his little sister. From what I understand, following this 20 weeks he'll be free to pursue his (paid for) college education while serving monthly Guard weekends and some summer duty. His actual "active" duty will come after college. I'm hopeful that will buy some time for us to get out of the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe you'll remember him in your prayers?
Part of Saturday's entertainment was the raffling of "the baskets" - baskets, boxes, bags, etc. of varying sizes, shapes and content were raffled off with proceeds going to the various charities.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - poor Pat Sajak, having to settle for Vanna all these years. Come to think of it though, LadyB/Beth, who runs the basket raffle, could easily be hostess on her own, leaving both Pat and Vanna in the unemployment line. I save my change year-round for this event, cashing it in for raffle money at my bank's change counter. I'm certain this is how die-hard gamblers must feel as they try to come up with every cent they can to play with. Those Bingo ladies have nothing on me - except maybe an ink dauber and a cigarette dangling from their bottom lip. I was the lucky winner of two baskets this year - one from author Lena Matthews with a purse-type basket filled with bath/body type stuff to keep me soft and smelling good for a year or more - it's very attractive. The second was Michelle Breaux's contribution - a wicker basket/box filled with her stunning photography on note cards, postcards, stickers, a calendar and a little digital photo keychain that I can't wait to play with!
On Saturday evening everyone was on their own. Some groups stayed in their rooms and played games, some went shopping and others went to the movie.
A group of us (Susanna Carr, Carolyn Dietsch, Michelle Buonfiglio, me, Lisa Freeman, Niny Negron, ???? (sorry, I forget her name, but she had on a sweet diamond ring that I'll not be forgetting for a long time), Jennifer Allison, Judy Flohr, Chris Slaughter, Stacy Ahlgren, Barb Smith and Michelle Breaux) went to Max & Erma's (my fav!) for dinner, to Barnes & Noble after that and then back to the hotel for a drink. One woman meandered back to the romance section at B&N (where we lined the aisles, pointing out authors and books we've read, covers we like and laughing at some ridiculous titles) - anyway, this woman mentions that she has a gift card and is interested in some romance but isn't familiar with romance authors. The poor thing, she didn't realize that those words were all it took for her to become prey. I don't know what she ended up buying, but have a feeling she most likely exceeded the limits of her gift card!
I had to leave before breakfast Sunday morning because following the two hour drive home, Tim and I hopped right back in the car for another hour and a half or so to go to his niece's high school graduation. I hated to miss another hour or two with all of these wonderfully special women, but family comes first.
I hope I've covered everything. I would encourage anyone who has entertained thoughts about attending this event to DO IT! It's inexpensive - at $35. and a cushy hotel room for $99./night, it's a steal. There were a few men there, mostly author hubbies I believe, maybe/mostly there for muscling boxes of books and promo goodies around. My hubby would rather be waxed than attend something like this. I can imagine the "WTF?" look I'd get if I even asked!
I have to thank Lisa and Judy for posting their pics online so I could borrow them - my camera was in my purse for the majority of the weekend.
Coming soon will be a review for Karin Tabke's MASTER OF SURRENDER - I'm still reading, but can say right now that it's stellar! If I didn't know the author, my guess would have been Julie Garwood. This certainly doesn't read like the very first historical (medieval) of an author whose previous releases have all been contemporary. It will come with an incredibly high recommendation.
Thanks for stopping!
Laurie

11 comments:

Judy F said...

Great recap Laurie. It was great seeing everyone. I think Next year I am going to stake out a couch somewhere in the hotel to lay down for a bit. I could have used a nice nap a couple of times.

Sad to say its over already. I was so happy to met Lucy and Susanna. Both are special people.

Stacy~ said...

I loved reading this - made me feel like I was re-living it again. It is always wonderful to see you, and JudyF, Chris, Niny, Carolyn, Barb, Beth...the list goes on and on. Dinner was wonderful :)

I absolutely adored meeting Lucy, and she's even more fabulous in person. And I loved meeting Megan Hart! I am such a fan of her work, and she's so sweet. Susanna Carr is also a darling, and I enjoy her books quite a bit. Michelle Buonfiglio is great fun, and I'm glad you guys got to meet her. And boy can she eat! I love that about her, but damn, I wish she wasn't so damn thin too LOL.

Next year I think I'm going to see if I can make it a day earlier. I was so tired on Friday that I was kinda out of it.

Barb V. said...

I really enjoyed reading your recap of the get together. It sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm so glad you all had such a fabulous time.

Karin Tabke said...

:( I missed all of he fun! There is always next year. Laurie a bunch of my friends attended this event and had a blast. Are you still sending boxes to our troops? I have books to send you if you are.
I hope you truly are enjoying SURRENDER. I loved writing that story.

Cindy said...

*sigh* I really hope I get to go next year.

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely wonderful. I am missing everybody all ready. Dinner out on Saturday was so fun. We are a great group of people, if I do say so myself! :)

I'm starting to plan for next year, but I hope to see many of these friends before then.

big hugs,
Chris

flchen1 said...

Thanks for recapping, Laurie! It sounds like a fabulous weekend! And I'm so glad so much was raised for the troop project! And yes, I'll definitely remember David in our prayers--hope his basic training goes well!

Kate Davies said...

Color me green! Lucy and Susanna are two of my favorite people and I don't get to see them nearly enough.

Sounds like you had an excellent time. One of these days I'll have to go!

Karin said...

Thanks for the recap, Laurie. I'm glad you had such a great time.

Like kate said, it sounds like something I'll have to do one of these days. :)

HelenKay said...

I sooo want to go next year. Thanks for the recap!

Laurie D. said...

Ok, all of you who haven't been - please, please, please come next year! It's a great time, casual and relaxed. For those of you that were there - I miss you already! It was a great mental health weekend - those belly laughs are so cleansing!

Thanks for the prayers, Fedora, they're very much appreciated!

Karin T. - Yes, I'll be putting together troop shipments over the next month or so and am always happy to include books. With your youngest graduating this year, there's no reason for you not to come next year - right? It would be great to finally meet you!

Kate - I was so pleased to meet Lucy and Susanna! Both are incredibly fun and I enjoyed visiting with them. I do hope you'll try to come - I would love to meet you too!

HelenKay - I guarantee you'll enjoy yourself! I haven't heard anything negative about this year's event - everyone had a great time!