Meeting Readers

Rare lightsChristina here. Authors are mostly solitary creatures, holed up in our lair with just our characters for company, and snarling at anyone who interrupts us when we’re in the writing zone. But sometimes we need to get out and see people, and one of the very best things is meeting readers. Having someone buy your books or tell you that they enjoyed one of your stories is lovely, and although getting messages like that on social media is always appreciated, meeting readers face to face is even better. So when I got the opportunity to join a big book signing event at London’s ExCel exhibition centre recently, I jumped at the chance. It was something I simply couldn’t miss!

Rare bannerRARE (Romance Author & Reader Events) book signing events are organised by two indomitable ladies, and they move around to venues in various different countries around the world. It’s been held at places like Melbourne, Paris, Berlin and Edinburgh, and there are lots more to come. The aim is to bring together as many authors and readers as possible for one-day book signings, but it has also created a romance reading community. There’s a dedicated FaceBook group and RARE can also be found on Instagram. Some of the readers travel huge distances in order to attend, and they are very enthusiastic and loyal. It sounded fantastic, and I couldn’t wait to take part.

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July What We’re Reading

Christina here with a round-up of what the Wenches have been reading this month. This is a truly varied selection and I hope there will be something for everyone and that you find something that appeals to you. I’ve already clicked on a few things myself …

My own favourite reads this month were the two new Wench books – The Crystal Key by Patricia Rice and The Rake’s Daughter by Anne Gracie.

Crystal KeyThe Crystal Key is the third book in the Psychic Solutions Mystery series, and these stories just keep getting better and better. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, which broadened the cast and built on the previous books in a most satisfying way. Ghostbuster Evie Malcolm Carstairs has finally got together with gorgeous lawyer Jax Ives and they are raising their ward, Loretta, together while trying to make ends meet – her by speaking to ghosts and him by setting up a new law practice in the tiny town where they live. When Evie and her hacker team at the Sensible Solutions Agency take on a new case that involves a dead former FBI agent – an old lady who had been poking around in things she shouldn’t have – and a potential murder, things start to heat up. Jax tries to keep Evie out of trouble, but she has her own way of dealing with things and doesn’t think she needs his help. He wants to do things the proper way while Evie and the others don’t always take the legal approach. Add to that the fact that his reclusive sister Ariel starts to help his best friend to uncover a major scamming network run by some seriously unscrupulous people – while slightly coming out of her shell – and he has his work cut out for him making sure everyone is safe and the bad guys get their come-uppance. With a huge cast of crazy but wonderful characters, this is a fabulous story that kept me turning the pages. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see what will happen next!

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What We’re Reading

Lizzieand dantePat here with the Word Wenches monthly reads!

My contribution is Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly (Eloisa James)

I imagine most of you recognize Eloisa James as a wonderful historical romance writer. This first contemporary under her real name is a romance, but also heartbreakingly uplifting, original women’s fiction. Lizzie is a Shakespeare professor with cancer who agrees to take an all-expenses paid trip to Elba with her gay best friend, a horror writer, and his still-in-the-closet famous superhero actor lover. I suppose everyone in the book needs to be rich and famous and talented to make up for the fact that the protagonist is dying. She is preparing for death throughout the story. What she isn’t prepared for is the rich life  she discovers dealing with her friend’s frustration, a twelve-year-old looking for a mother, a brash breast cancer survivor, and the man of Lizzie’s dreams, a brilliant cook who creates food she hates but who pours his joy into living. As this family of friends forms around her, Lizzie is faced with actual life-and-death decisions. And this is still the most romantic, tear-jerking, lovely story you may have ever read.

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Romancing the fun!

by Mary Jo

Romance is a positive emotion, and a positive genre.  We tend to be optimistic, glass-is-half-full people.  And we LOVE getting together with our own kind to talk about books and have fun!  

Eloisa James Barbara Vey2016One such reader and author get together is Barbara Vey's annual Reader Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee.  A veteran of Publishers Weekly, Barbara is a long time journalist and blogger about romance, and she hosted her sixth author and reader get together the last weekend in April.  I attended, and thought you might like to see some pictures about the kind of fun we get up to. (The picture on the left is from 2016, with Eloisa James, who was the keynote speaker, and Barbara Vey.  In hats.)

There are numerous events, but the centerpiece is the Saturday luncheon. This year's keynote speaker was the remarkable Kristan Higgins , who brought the house down Kristan Higginswith her talk. 

At the luncheon, 60 authors host tables, and seven readers sign up to join favorite writers.  The author undertakes to decorate the table and provide gifts for the seven readers.  

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Wit and Wisdom from Eloisa James and Lauren Willig

 

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by Mary Jo

Today, we're resuming our sadly interrupted anniversary celebration, and I have the pleasure of welcoming Eloisa James and Lauren Willig, both of whom have ParisinLovewonderful insights to share with us.  

First up is Eloisa James, who has been a visitor to Word Wenches for both her romance and for her delicious memoir, Paris in Love.  Today she ponders romance and what might lie ahead in our genre:

 


Eloisa James:

I read widely in romance sub-genres, with the exception of scary Romantic Suspenses.  I’m just going to make a more-or-less haphazard list of the trends I’m seeing, skipping Historical because the Word Wenches have that covered.  Please tell me in the comments what I’m missing or where I went wrong!!

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