The Readers Dinner
Held at Jake's Grill in the Governor's Hotel in Portland OR (or WHAT, you say? Take that, Post Office!), we sat in with about a dozen other folks and enjoyed a great meal and chat about lots of different subjects ranging from publishing tips, to direction of the local chapter, to whether fiddlehead ferns belong in a salad (I would say yes, but I eat dandelions and weeds, so who you gonna trust? Hey, don't run off...). Everybody was really nice, and we had a lot of laughs (NEVER ask me for my history of the bra). Lucy gave an update on where her writing was at (over there, in her office), her spin on what people look for in Romance (escape, inspiration and that...um....kissy touchy feely stuff), and other topics. A good time was had by all.
The Readers Luncheon
We had a beautiful sunny day for the luncheon. Again at the Governor's Hotel, we were treated to a great setup of tables with gift baskets, nice lunch tables with silverware and more gift baskets, and the fantastic booksale area being run by Marcie of Borders Books fame. Shortly after meeting with folks and family, (some of whom we hadn't seen in years!), we took our places near the front. Kim gave a great rundown on the day's events (gab, grub, gifts, gab, gifts, gifts, gifts), and then Kris came up and gave a speech on how literacy is still a large problem today. She cited a personal example of a middle-aged person who came in and wanted to learn how to read, because it was so hard to live without knowing what signs and messages said. I was impressed with how the Portland Literary Council was reaching out to the community.
After Kris was done, Lucy went up and gave her talk on how Romance affects our lives. She started off by giving statistics and demographics on romance readers, but quickly departed from "just the facts" to show how Romance, and Romance literature, impacts our lives greatly and wonderfully (yeah, that's a sentence: look it up, cuz I made it up). She showed four different ways that Romance affects us, only one of which is entertainment. Romance, to paraphrase, encourages us, heals us, makes us grow and become better people. I was inspired and amazed, but then, I've always felt Lucy was amazing :)
The catchphrase that I came away with was, "Love isn't a feeling, it's a lifestyle." So many of us live our love out everyday and know this to be true, but many people go through life thinking that love is only a feeling. Love is actually the GLUE that makes our lives liveable and worthwhile.
Lucy closed out by mentioning the opening of her new non-profit fund, Hearts Unbound, dedicated to promoting tolerance and acceptance for people from all lifestyles, and the fashion show (organized by our daughter) that was kicking off the fund. So many times people are automatically judged for who they are, a standard that none of us can live up to. If we just learned to accept one another and worked to bring out the best in everyone, what a better place this would be...that, and also taking care of this planet BEFORE it takes care of US...
Finally and surprisingly, Lucy had me stand up as an example of an Alpha Male, HER Alpha Male (I gladly wear the title). I wasn't even wearing my Roman Gladiator outfit I usually don for these occasions. You can spot it with all the rhinestones and tassles I put on the codpiece. Just doing my part to boost the economy, by sending most of you into expensive therapy for the awkward visual. Moving on....
The lunch was fantastic, the spread catered by the hotel was wonderful and nobody went without. Kim and Jessie (and a dozen volunteers) then proceeded to award gift baskets to everyone that attended, only slightly impeded by the Raffle Tickets of Doom, which made many folks who bought them invisible and unable to claim their prizes. Just a theory I have which I'll be proving out by running naked in the streets with raffle ticket in hand. No, I don't know if your therapy is covered by insurance.
Capping off the event was the Author Signing, with folks lining up to get their books signed, a very fun and busy time.
So in summary, a great event, a fun time for everyone, and I'll be looking forward to next year's event. In the meantime, see you all in therapy.