While I’ve been to forty-six of the fifty states, I’d never been to the city of Milwaukee until this past weekend. The wonderful Barbara Vey invited me to her fourth annual Reader Appreciation Luncheon and, to put it simply, it was a blast! Honestly, the only thing that would have made it better was if I’d been a reader coming to the lunch. With sixty other authors in attendance, I had more than my fair share of fan girl moments.
The weekend started with an awesome dinner hosted by the WisRWA (the Wisconsin Romance Writers) at one of the area’s more famous restaurants–The Packing House. Later that evening, we went back to the hotel to introduce ourselves to readers. Each author was given a random question to answer. As you can imagine, quite a lot of fun was had answering the questions. That was followed by a cocktail party and a book signing featuring members of the WisRWA.
But the real fun began on Saturday. That’s when the authors headed to the ballroom to decorate their individual tables. All I can say is that there are sixty people who are MUCH more creative than I am!! Here’s a sneak peak at a few of the tables.
Readers buy tickets to authors’ tables in advance. (Tickets for the 2016 luncheon go on sale August 1 and they sell out FAST.) Each ticket comes with a chance to win one of the awesome door prizes donated by the authors. Mine was a beach bag filled with everything you need to read by the pool or ocean, including my complete backlist. Others included Kindles or being named a character in a author’s book.
Then it was on to the raffle baskets. Barbara puts on this luncheon not only to connect readers with their favorite authors, but to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of her late mother. Over $10,000 was raised benefiting ACS last weekend! The day was capped off by a book signing open to the public. My Out of Bounds series of books sold out pretty quickly, but it was fun to stick around and chat with fans and readers. Over $8,000 in books were sold!
There are lots of opportunities to connect with authors at events like Barbara’s. The RT convention begins in a couple of weeks in Dallas. (The prodigal son is graduating from college, so I won’t make it this year.) Tickets are still available for the Heart of Dixie Luncheon in Huntsville, Alabama on June 13. I can’t wait to connect with readers there! Also, I’ll be at Lorraine Heath’s tenth annual Buns and Roses Tea in Richardson Texas on October 4.
Thanks Barbara and thanks Milwaukee for a wonderful time! See you again soon!