Those of you who usually follow Barbara Vey’s blog already know who I am. She mentions me on the blog (to the point of embarrassment sometimes) and I have been to a few events with her and have met a lot of you in person. For the rest of you, I’m Barbara’s youngest son, Andy.
I woke up early this morning to drive Barbara to the television station and I was nervous. I didn’t tell her I was nervous, but I was. I mean, this is my mom! She has a tendency to embarrass me from time to time. I’m a 33 year old man and she still treats me like I’m 10 years old. I have to help her with computer stuff from time to time… You know, like you do with moms. So, of course I was nervous! She was going to be talking on camera! In front of tons of people–LIVE in Milwaukee!
She wasn’t nervous at all. Cool as a cucumber, that mom of mine. She walked in, head held high, and everyone was so excited that she was there. They talked about the last time Mom was on the show and what was new in her life.
She even made friends very quickly with the other guests on the show: two men from the Milwaukee Comedy Festival and a writer for Milwaukee Record. She told them nerdy stories about meeting Bruce Campbell and they were impressed. My mom, she’s really great.
Then, it was time for her to go on the air. I got a good spot so that I could take pictures and I got to watch my mother be amazing. She was delightful and charming, she made the cohosts laugh. At one point, an employee came up to me and said, “Your mom seems like she’s a really fun person to be around!” That’s when I realized that I had been grinning from ear to ear watching her kill it on live TV.
Anyways, just wanted you all to know that.
Bottom Line: Barbara Vey really make’s her son proud.
When I held my first reader luncheon four years ago, there weren’t a lot of reader events where the focus was only on the reader. Now I’m happy to see them pop up all over the country. The newest to throw their hat in the ring is geared to a very specific genre, historical romance. Brainchild of authors Renee Bernard and Delilah Marvelle, the Historical Romance Retreat will make it’s debut September 2016. Renee is here today to tell us all about it.
BV:It’s quite ambitious to be so genre specific with an event. Why did you decide to do it this way instead of mixing it up with many different types of romance?
RB: I never really thought of it as a risk. Other events seem to be about specific heat levels or even just one specific author; but more and more of them were just a mix and mash-up with more industry professionals than readers in the room. We didn’t see anyone carving out an experience just for historical romance or stepping up to say that there is really nothing “old-fashioned” about today’s historicals. We wanted to celebrate historical romances and the authors who write them, but most of all we wanted to put the readers who love them in the VIP chair. We wanted to create something new where they could truly escape into the worlds they love, rub elbows with heroes and feel like the magic in those books was right at their fingertips.
We’re also hoping that any fan of romance, of any genre, will consider attending and risk falling in love with thirty-six author friends and the books that set the bar for Romance—in any category.
BV:What do you want readers to get out of it?
RB: Besides armloads of books and prizes, gifts and swag, I hope Readers come away with the reader experience of a lifetime! I mean it. Our Inaugural Retreat will never come again. (The Historical Romance Retreat, yes, but it’s only the first HRR once.) Our goal is to keep them constantly amazed at the company they’re keeping, the fun they’re having and to make sure everyone has to pinch themselves at least three times before they go home because the Retreat is so incredible!
If we do it right, we’ll exceed their expectations and reset the bar for every other event they ever attend. (Except your event, Barbara….I don’t think anyone is trying to match that one!)
BV:What can readers expect?
RB: To laugh, to truly meet every author in attendance, to bring an empty suitcase so that they can get all their books home and to wonder why they have to wait until 2018 before we do it again.
BV: Who are some of the authors attending?
RB: Here’s our line up for 2016! Victoria Alexander, Katharine Ashe, Mary Balogh, Renee Bernard, Pamela Britton, Elizabeth Boyle, Christi Caldwell, Anna Campbell, Isobel Carr, Tessa Dare, Robyn DeHart, Lila DiPasqua, Eileen Dreyer, Shana Galen, Cecilia Grant, Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Hoyt, Madeline Hunter, Callie Hutton, Sabrina Jeffries, Erin Knightley, Jenn LeBlanc, Rose Lerner, Kathryn LeVeque, Julia London, Julie Ann Long, Deb Marlowe, Delilah Marvelle, Cathy Maxwell, Christina McKnight, Jess Michaels, Linda Lael Miller, Miranda Neville, Cindy Nord, Erica Ridley and Ava Stone!
BV:The event will be in Spokane, WA. Why did you decide to hold your event there?
RB: I think eastern Washington and Idaho aren’t exactly event central for the industry so I was happy to think outside the box. But the real truth is that the Retreat is launching in Spokane, WA because that is where the historic Davenport Hotel is located. And once Readers walk into this hotel, they’ll understand that we couldn’t be anywhere else. The venue isn’t just stunning; it’s awe-inspiring. Readers won’t have to use their imaginations to pretend that they’ve stepped into historical settings. They will be in historically romantic settings and every corner, column and ballroom will make their hearts beat faster. The amenities are world-class and we’ve negotiated a very affordable stay for our attendees, so no one is left behind!
One day, we may add an east coast location to the Retreat, but it would have to match the Davenport’s ambience to get the nod, so we’ll see…
BV:What makes historical romance and by association, historical romance readers, so special?
RB: Where do I begin? Historical romance has it all—and for many readers, it is the Big Bang of Creation when it comes to romance as literature. Every flavor of romance that has evolved since its inception can trace its roots back to historicals. The exciting thing is that historical romance never got dusty, never stopped growing and evolving on its own and readers who love historicals know it!
Readers of historical romances are intelligent, well-informed, savvy and sensitive. They want stories that transcend the page, that can withstand the test of time and earn a spot on their precious “keeper” shelves. They are the most loyal and discerning readers in the world! (And in my humble opinion, they are also the greatest people on the planet!!)
BV:Will readers of other genres enjoy the Retreat?
RB: YES! If they love romance, mystery, drama, history, thrillers….anything with human beings in the story….come on down! Historical romances have anchored the literature of women for as long as they have not because of ripped bodices and silly prose. These are books that pack a punch. Don’t let the petticoats fool you.
BV: Do readers have to dress up in costumes?
RB: No. We want everyone to be comfortable and relaxed. Now, will some readers dress to make the most of the parties and gatherings? Yes, we hope so. Am I looking forward to seeing their creative and colorful costumes if they choose to dress up? Yes! Will we make anyone feel ‘left out’ if they prefer to wear what they want? Nope! No chance of it. Readers rule at the Retreat!
We do ask you to wear clothes of some kind. (So not too comfortable and relaxed, please.)
RB: Delilah Marvelle and I are so excited to launch this event and to welcome authors and readers from all over the globe. We don’t underestimate the challenges ahead and we’re putting our hearts and souls into building a new model for reader/author events. But we also don’t underestimate the love that Readers have for historical romances and how eager historical romance authors are to share their gifts with the fans who make everything possible!
Please come to the Historical Romance Retreat and fall in love again!
You can get all the information about attending the Historical Romance Retreat here. And, as a special treat, Renee Bernard will be giving away a digital copy of the entire Black Rose Trilogy! (Lady Falls, Lady Rises and Lady Triumphs) and Delilah Marvelle will give a digital copy of THE DUKE OF ANDELOT. Two winners will be chosen from the commenters and be announced in tomorrow’s blog.
Bottom Line: “Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Thanks for the warm welcome for Wendy yesterday. She was thrilled and I know she’s excited to visit the US next year for the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane. Tomorrow I’ll post a blog about the event. It’s brand spanking new and I’m looking forward to it. Now here’s some books you may be looking forward to.
Permanent Vacancyby Katy Lee (Harlequin, Love Inspired Suspense)
This week is exciting because we have two new book lovers in the house who will be writing about the books they just read. First up is Wendy who lives in the UK and loves historicals. I met Wendy about 18 months ago when I was in London. She had friended me on Facebook and contacted me when I arrived. We met for lunch and then Wendy and her sister, Marcia, came another day so we could tour London. Wendy is an avid reader and is now in contact with several authors in the UK and planning a visit to the US next year to attend the Historical Romance Retreat (look for the inside info on this conference in Wednesday’s blog). So, please welcome Wendy and enjoy her book blurbs.
In Love with a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle read by Carolyn Morris
Listened to by Wendy
Kate, Lady d’Allenay is a Baroness in her own right, one of the few hereditary titles in England that can pass through the female line should there be no male to inherit. She therefore enjoys the freedom this affords her and has given up on love and marriage. Whilst out riding in a bit of a temper after an argument with her younger sister, she literally collides with Lord Edward Quartermaine – or Ned as he is known, he takes evasive action and ends up taking a bad tumble from his horse, resulting in a bang on the head and a temporary amnesia – as the perpetrator of his accident Kate has him taken to her home to recuperate.
I adore Liz Carlyle and in this delicious and delightful tale of a love which grows under apparently impossible odds, she does not disappoint. As Ned’s memory returns it is obvious that he has led a less than salubrious life as the proprietor of London’s most notorious gaming salon, a life which does not suit Kate’s utterly respectable, aristocratic and cloistered, country life style, despite the love and desire growing between the pair. Ms. Carlyle is a mistress of characterization, and her cast is entertaining, loveable, sometimes slimy, and in the case of Kate’s Mother, Aurelie, hilarious. Loved it…highly recommended.
BEA (Book Expo America) is a huge trade show going on now in New York. I didn’t get to go this year and I’ve got to tell you, I really miss it. In the past, I’ve run into celebrities (Kevin Sorbo, Julianne Moore, Tim Conway, Cary Elwes) and met many authors (famous and brand spanking new). Lucky for me, Dan Blank sends out amazing newsletters every Friday and today he highlighted BEA and really explained what’s it about who goes and why.
In Dan’s blog today, An Inside Look at How the Publishing Industry Promotes Books, he says, “In walking the show floor this year, I was thinking about the elephant in the room that some writers either don’t know about, or don’t want to know about: that to write is one thing (it is the first thing); but to sell, is another thing entirely.” I have talked to many authors over the years and this marketing the book part is always scary and confusing. Dan Blank shows through pictures and words how different groups try all different things to get their books noticed.
More insight from Dan: “As I journeyed through BEA this week, I considered: what are all of the sales tactics being used to sell books here? A partial list:
I have to start with this one: the first great sales tactic to sell a book is to indeed write a great book!
Location (the Javits Center in NYC is flashy and expensive)
Booths and booth design (you see lots of different strategies here)
Free books, including advanced copies of highly anticipated books that won’t be published for months.
Costumes (yes, there were people in costumes promoting books)
Autographs from authors
Swag: free stuff
Posters & banners (some 30 feet tall)
Panels, sessions, concurrent events. In some of these situations authors become teachers, but in all the person on the stage is facing their fear of public speaking. My gut is that 99% of them would classify themselves, to some degree, as an introvert.
This should be pretty eye opening to many readers and writers who don’t realize how much thought and creativeness goes into the process of getting the books in the hands of readers. Dan Blank is a must read for me (because there’s so much I still don’t know).
Tragedy brings successful editor Olivia Marks from New York to her small hometown of Mirror Lake when she’s given custody of her newly orphaned niece, and she’s nearly overwhelmed with the thought of being a single, unprepared instant mother. Adding to her emotional turmoil is the fact that the man she parted with a dozen years ago to pursue her career is not only still devastatingly wonderful, but also the baby’s uncle. Brad Rushford is not willing to easily let his brother’s baby go, even as he never quite let go of his feelings for Olivia.
The emotional rollercoaster ride these strong characters were on made for a heart-aching story that calmed in the small town atmosphere. I enjoyed reading about their past relationship and the lives they built independently, and was charmed by the sweet resolution to their story. Golden Heart winner Miranda Liasson’s début novel is the first in a new small town romance series that a reader will surely want to visit again.
For some reason WordPress wouldn’t let me post the whole list together because the file was too large. Never had that happen before, but we can adjust. So, here’s the rest of the new releases for the week.