Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reader's Luncheon at the Von Braun Center

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Heart of Dixie's Reader's Luncheon. This our Romance Writer's of America Chapter's way of honoring readers who love romance and who support our genre. They also use this as a way to raise money to give to the literacy group in Alabama. The luncheon features food, fun raffles like getting your name in a future book, the company of published authors sitting at your table, and drawings for baskets filled with books, goodies and fun products. 

This year the luncheon was held at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama and despite the dreaded swine flu hysteria, only ten people canceled. We had a full house! First we bought drawing tickets and plunked those into bags next to the baskets we hoped to win. Then we found places to sit where we could chat with published authors. Some top names at the the luncheon included Linda Howard, Beverly Barton, and Linda Winstead Jones from our very own writing chapter. And we had guest authors from the Southern Magic Writing Chapter like Laura Hayden and Jennifer Echols (YA). (For a complete list of all the authors at the luncheon, visit the Heart of Dixie Website) Finally, we were honored to have Vicki Lewis Thompson as our key note speaker and luncheon guest. 

Our president, Kimberly Lang (The Secret Mistress Arrangement), announced our mentor of the year during her speech. We were all a misty eyed when she choked up and called Linda Howard to the podium. And the grand Maven herself was teary eyed. She truly gives so much to all the aspiring authors in our chapter and I'm thrilled to be part of a group with a mission statement dedicated to helping all writers achieve their goal of publication. 

This year we've had several new authors get the call: Lynn Rae Harris, Kimberly Lang and Kira Sinclair. I hope to join their ranks in the future! They make me believe it is possible!!

I was fortunate to sit at a table with two e-published authors: Debra Glass and Pamela Hearon. Debra Glass is published through Ellora's Cave and I can't wait to download her book, Watchkeeper: Phantom Lovers. Pamela Hearon's book, His Hotness, will be released later on this year through Wild Rose Press. These authors were fun, easy to chat with and extremely generous with advice to me about their publishers. Now I know how to tailor my submission to both these e-publishers and how to put it in the best possible light for a full request. 

That's the best part of being involved in such a fabulous writing chapter (and Southern Magic is equally as wonderful!!). The generosity of its published authors. They want to see you succeed in this crazy business.

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