Romancing The Smokies!!

Okay, I just have to tell you guys, I love events. The time leading up to an event is stressful with all the book prep and outfit planning and endless worries about the possibility of forgetting something or saying something totally stupid, but the events themselves? Usually, they're wonderful -- at least, in my experience -- and this one was no exception.

Let me break in here to warn you, this newsletter will not be proofread. I'm writing it at midnight -- there will probably be unnoticed typos and errors. Please don't fault me for that.

Most of us were at the hotel (venue) around 8am, setting up books and things in the signing room, setting out the gifts we brought for our guests in the luncheon room, and generally getting acquainted with each other. We had breakfast, chatted back and forth, and the set-up time gave us all a while to let the nervousness wear off (because I don't know about anyone else, but events always make me nervous).

Registration opened just before eleven; the luncheon officially kicked off just before noon with a short introduction from Donna Wright and Mallory Kane, and then a word from Nancy Naigle, who served as the welcome speaker. The luncheon seemed to be mostly authors in various stages of the publishing journey, but there were a few very sweet readers sprinkled in among us, which was a fun change to the writer dynamic. The lunch itself was of course delicious -- probably made more so by the interesting conversation. My personal table was a mix of Southern belles and western beauties, so we chatted about our travels, our writing adventures, and our various roadblocks. We defined the differences between "y'all" and "all y'all," giggled over the way speaking dialects can change in just the space of a few miles in the South, and teased the one man at our table relentlessly. Lucky for us ladies, he was a great sport and a charming addition to our table.

Tonya Kappes was the keynote speaker for the event; she spoke for around an hour after lunch, and I found myself tearing up several times as I listened to her talk about her publishing journey and what books and reading have come to mean to her. The inspiration and heart behind her story had most of the audience totally captivated, and by the time she finished speaking, there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

It wasn't just Tonya, though; the entire event was filled with wonderful people. After the luncheon, we made our way over to the book signing room, where I shared a table with Andrea Renee Smith. She's a somewhat new author, but definitely a girl with a passion for writing! We met some new readers, sold some books, and even found some new authors to try! I added a few new people to my email list (welcome, new readers!), wrote down a new book idea, tried out a new display style, and gave away some little gift baskets. The photo of the gift basket to the left of this article is of one of the baskets I gave away to my luncheon guest, filled with a few of my most favorite things: there's a candle that smells absolutely divine, a wineglass because I love wine whenever I can find an excuse to drink some, and a lipstick that has recently become my personal favorite nude. I also tucked a few bookmarks in there, and stuffed the wine glass with truffles and Hershey kisses. 

I gave away one of these baskets to the event raffle, too, and now I'd like to give some baskets to you guys too! On my next newsletter, I'll be choosing winners for my usual monthly drawing, AND I'll be choosing TWO winners to receive one of these little baskets of goodies! Winners will be announced in the left sidebar of the newsletter on the 25th.

But now, as much as I'd love to tell you all more about how much fun I had at RTS16 and the little idea I've been brewing lately for my 2017 schedule, I'm really really really tired.

I'm exhausted, and I've written this entire newsletter with a charlie horse from hell that won't let up.

I can't even think of a good way to end this one. (No, I'm really not kidding. But if you want to see something more like what I usually write when I have the ability to make complete and coherent sentences, check out this post, where I talked about self confidence. Or this one about body positivity, where you can also enter a mystery gift pack giveaway. Or this one, where I share ten of my favorite authors and why you might want to check them out. Oh, or maybe even this one, where I get a little bit more personal about myself and my life.)

Seriously, though. That's the best I've got.

So until next time, when I can hopefully form coherent sentences again,
Happy Reading.