My Weekend with Barbara Vey

BV-Readers-TVHello, wonderful people! I had an amazing time at the 5th Annual Barbara Vey Reader Luncheon–actually, now it’s an entire weekend–and I wanted to tell you all about it.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, it’s an amazing opportunity for more than 400 readers and 60 fabulous authors to get up-close and personal over the weekend through games, a Q&A, meet and greet, meals and cocktail hours, and of course, an author signing. This is unlike any other author/reader event out there, and it’s put on by one of the biggest advocates for the romance genre, Ms. Barbara Vey.

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Author photo! (I’m the floating head left of center in front of the EXIT sign visible through the window.)

The luncheon is the highlight of the whole weekend. Every author hosts 7 readers at their table. When the readers purchase their tickets–8 months before the event!–they choose the author they want to sit with. If that author’s table is already full (tickets for this event sell out in mere hours), then they try for another author. They might end up with an author they’ve never heard of before, but the great thing about this event is that no matter who they sit with, the readers come away with a ton of gifts and getting to know an author in a way that just isn’t possible at a typical signing event.

Every author picks a theme for their table–something that has to do with their brand or books–and decorates it plus gives each reader at their table a gift of awesome stuff. This is affectionately called Table Wars since the authors typically try to out do each other with the extravagance of their decorations and gifts.

Last year, I only had 3 days to prepare. Barbara asked if I could fill in for an author who had to pull out at the last minute, and I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, this meant that I wasn’t able to pull together much in the way of decor, so I brought a bag of Hershey’s kisses to scatter over the table (because chocolate) and a glass dildo (yes, you heard right) called the Golden Cock that I won from a blogger in a contest. I was voted the Author Who Readers Most Wanted to Jell-O Wrestle, and I’m very fond of it. 😉 It made a big splash with the readers at my table, so I decided to bring it back this year for an encore appearance–because I’m nothing if not incredibly inappropriate in social situations. *LOL* Everyone got a kick out of it and, at the very least, it made for a great ice-breaker and hilarious conversation piece.

Since the last book I released was Tempting her Best Friend in the What Happens in Vegas series, I did a Vegas-themed table and gift bags. I did the same with the door prize–each author brings a loaded-up gift and draws a lucky winner from all the registered readers–and created a Vegas Party in a Bag. It included 3 signed books from the WHiV series, a roulette shots drinking game, a mason jar shot glass with mini-bottles of booze, a book nerd mug, and lots of other stuff. My daughter, Alyssa, was lucky enough to win Patty Blount‘s door prize of 3 signed books and a Kindle Fire!

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Eloisa & Barbara

This year’s keynote speaker was the incomparable Eloisa James who spoke of her personal experiences as a romance writer, a woman, and a mother, and how they all intertwined to create the wonderful stories she’s written over the years. Her point was that romance books aren’t the frivolous, empty-headed trash so many people assume them to be. They’re full of the authors’ real-life experiences and emotions. We pour a lot of ourselves into these characters; things that our readers can relate to and feel just as deeply. Whether it makes you laugh, gasp, swoon, or cry, a romance book is designed to make you feel, and enjoying an emotional roller coaster is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something to embrace. Believe me when I tell you, I wasn’t the only person in the room who was choked up at the end of her speech. It was beautiful.

Piper and Alyssa

Piper and her new BFF!

As I mentioned, this year I brought my 16 year-old daughter along as a reader/assistant. She got to sit at Piper J. Drake‘s table for the luncheon on Saturday, and they instantly bonded. Piper is an author friend of mine and one of the most fun people on the planet so I knew Alyssa would take to her instantly. Needless to say, they now Snapchat each other. *LOL* I loved having her with me. We always have a great time together, and she proved invaluable as my assistant during the signing.

Alyssa & Room Service

Alyssa’s favorite part of hotel stays: late night room service.

All in all, the weekend was amazing. I had so much fun hanging out with the readers and authors–ones I’ve known for years and some I’d just met that weekend. Coming together for a common love of romance books is one of my favorite things in the world and something every romance reader should experience at least once in their life. 

I can’t possibly squeeze in all the things that happen at the Barbara Vey Reader Weekend. This post would be 5 times as long, and it’s already long as it is. My recommendation is to get tickets to next year’s event and witness the magic yourself. This year, tickets will go on sale July 30th at midnight. Mark your calendars, set an alarm, and get your clicking finger ready, because I guarantee the event will sell out fast! To keep abreast of all the news about next year’s event, join the Facebook group and turn your notifications on.

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Message from Barbara about ticket sales this year.

I’m so thankful I’ve had the chance to be a part of it the past two years, and I look forward to watching it grow and get better (if that’s possible) with each passing year. Barbara and her family work tirelessly all year to put this weekend together, and their passion for it shines through in every aspect. Bottom line, you want to be in Milwaukee next April for this event! Whether it’s as an author or a reader, I know I will be. 🙂

Gang of Girls

Gang of Girls at the Q&A: (back) Nancy Naigle, Me, Brenda Novak, (front) Karen Rose, Sheila English

Ciao, bellas!

~ G

 

So there’s this guy who reads romance novels…

No, this is not the set up to a joke…although I’m sure if I thought about it long enough I could make one up…but that would take away from the fact that there’s ACTUALLY A GUY WHO READS ROMANCE NOVELS! And I’m proud to say I now call him “friend.” And sometimes “fucking nutjob.” But mostly the former.

His name is Romance Man, or RM for short. But if you’re like me and you’re not real fond of calling people by initials (like with my friend Lea Ann who also went by LA, but it made me think of the city and it didn’t roll off the tongue properly, so I decided to pronounce it Ella, which is how she got her pen name–yay me!) you can call him Remy. I’m now 2 for 2 on creating successful nicknames. Let me know if you’re in need of a new identity. Apparently I rock at giving them out.

Anyhoo…

I found Remy when he did a review of my BFF, Ruthie Knox’s debut novel RIDE WITH ME. He totally loved it, by the way, and loved the heroine so much that his wife now goes by the online personality of Lexie, which is the heroine’s name in Ruthie’s book.

At any rate, Remy is a total hero in the romance world (pun intended). He’s not a literary buff in touch with his feminine side who can relate to the female psychosis. He’s ex-Navy, swears like the sailor he is, and is just as naturally insensitive as the next guy.

What I mean to say is, HE’S A REGULAR DUDE!

So why would a regular dude read romance novels? Excellent freaking question. But I’d rather you get the story from him here because he tells it better than I ever could paraphrasing him. Since he began this strange journey of discovering that romance novels are indeed worth their weight in gold when it comes to understanding the opposite sex, he’s blogged almost daily and accrued a group of women followers who eventually named themselves the BBL–Braless Bawdy Ladies.

Remy has accomplished with his blog something I’ve only seen with one other blog, ever. He averages over 100 comments per blog post! But whereas that other blog I’m referring to has thousands of followers with hundreds of regular commenters, Remy has a lot of lurkers but only about 15 regular commenters. But his topics spur conversations, like an open forum. So these women go back again and again to read the latest comments from the other BBLs and then put in another two cents themselves.

But these are not boring conversations, nor are they for the timid and meek. Besides the obvious cursing, words like pussy and cock are thrown around occasionally. Okay, maybe more than just occasionally. And a lot of these women are my mother’s age who are discussing things like sex, blow jobs, and bedazzled vaginas. They’re fearless in their candid openness with the rest of the online group. It’s a place where they can remain anonymous or take on an identity like Lady Godiva, Vibrating Vixen, or New York Girl, and discuss things that are normally too taboo to ask even their closest friends without getting strange looks.

And the best part? Getting a guy’s point of view in the mix! And what’s even better than that? Getting the guy’s wife’s point of view on things! Lexie doesn’t pop in often (we’re trying to change that), but when she does, it’s a real treat. One night she gave her husband the acronym nickname of NGL, which stood for Not Getting Laid because he was in the doghouse for something. We all thought it was hysterical. Him? Not so much. LOL


To give you an idea of his topics, here are some post titles:

And those are only a handful of the posts he has in his BLOG ARCHIVES. I highly recommend you go and check some of them out. And if you’re really brave–and have literally hours with nothing better to do–you can read through the comments as well. Sometimes they’re just as funny as the post itself.

For those who are interested in Remy’s specific thoughts on the books he and his wife read (they now read together at night, which has brought them closer together both in and out of the bedroom), he has a REVIEW PAGE.

What Remy is doing is nothing short of amazing for those of us in the romance world, whether we’re readers or writers. I, for one, am extremely thankful to have found him and gained his (and Lexie’s) friendship. I predict it won’t be long before he goes completely viral. His readership grows every week. Pretty soon me and the rest of the BBL will have to share him with the rest of the world. But for right now, we’re enjoying the hell out of our little group. I guarantee if you read his stuff, you’ll be wanting BBL membership in no time. So come on over and join the party. We’d love to have you. 🙂

Romance Man…

Able to read an entire book without turning the page (I have an e-reader). 

Can easily identify cheesy romance cliches, such as  “they hate each other so much that they end up ripping each other’s clothes off.”

Understands the phrase “throbbing love muscle.”

Manly enough to admit he reads romance novels and has an anonymous blog to prove it.

Happy Release Day, Ruthie Knox!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to promote the
debut release of one my all-time favorite people, Ruthie Knox.

I met Ruthie early last year in the Romance Junkies writing contest we had both entered. After reading her entry, I totally fan-girled her on my comment sheet (the first round was judged by romance readers and the other contestants) and gave her my email address in case she ever wanted to chat about writing.

Imagine my surprise when she actually emailed me as opposed to thinking I was a total nut job! (I totally fooled her. heh heh heh) I’m happy to say we became fast friends. I’ve done some beta reading for her (mostly I just gush about how great her stuff is) and she’s taught me so much, like:

  • How to use “urtext” in a sentence
  • How to properly place a comma
  • How to cut 10K+ words from my manuscript.
 
In short, she’s a genius.

But the real purpose of this post is not for me to go on and on about how totally orsum she is. It’s to give you a taste of her contemporary romance, Ride with Me. This is the book that she entered the RJ contest with (and won 1st place, btw) which made me all ga-ga for her. Below you can read the first chapter and at the end you can click on one of the icons to purchase your very own copy for a mere $2.99. 

That’s less than a Happy Meal, and Ride with Me won’t clog your arteries. Such a deal!

If you missed my interview with Tom, the hero from this book, you can check it out HERE. I absolutely love Tom. He’s grouchy and supah-haht. LOL

Okay, without further ado, I give you Ride with Me, by the wonderful Ruthie Knox…

 Scribd.Ride With Me Excerpt – by author Ruthie Knoxhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/77961504/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-14gp54p53r667mvvx12m(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Happy Release Day, Ruthie! 
(I totes love you!)

Wee-Bit Wednesday: Pussy Cat Edition

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been a tad M.I.A. lately, but I’ve been busy moving across the country. I now reside in sunny San Antonio, Texas! So, I might a little discombobulated for a while (how long can I get away with using the move as an excuse for being flighty?) as I try to get us settled in and back to a routine.

I debated on whether to post a Wee-Bit today, but my Twitter friend, Serena Bell, encouraged me to share, so here it is. (You can catch the previous snippets of my WIPs here.) In this excerpt, Gabriel has driven Ava to her broken-down 1970 Barracuda on a stretch of desert road. She fell asleep on the ride over, and when they get there, Gabriel sees a gigantic cat lounging inside her car. Ruh-roh!

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Uma Purrman: Ava’s pet kitty

“Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” he called. “Be a good boy and get out of the car. It’d be a shame to ruin something as beautiful as that.” Adrenaline raced through his veins and his heart beat a rapid tattoo as the big cat leapt through the open window and landed soundlessly in the dirt.

“Gabe, what’s going on?”

Trying not to react to Ava’s sexy sleep-induced voice, he gave her a soft order. “Ava, don’t move. Stay right where you are.”

As expected, she didn’t listen to a damn thing he said, choosing to sit up in her seat instead. Great, that’s all he needed: a hysterical woman. He hoped she didn’t scream.

“Gabe,” she said in a careful tone, like she was trying to talk him down from a ledge. “Put the gun down. You’re going to make him mad.”


On cue, the cougar growled low in his throat and lowered its body several inches. Fuck. “No offense, but I’ve dealt with them before. Most of the time they’ll run off, but in case he decides I’m dinner, I think I’ll leave my gun right where it is.”

“No,” she said more forcefully, “you won’t. Put it down, or I step in front of it.”

He’d heard of animal activists doing some crazy shit, but putting yourself in the line of fire to protect something that would eat you as soon as look at you was insanity. He cut his eyes over to hers, trying to gauge just how serious she was. Damn. Real serious if the fire in those golden eyes told him anything.

“Gabriel!”

That got his attention. He swiveled his head to look her dead in the eye. “He was in your car. He probably ate your cat.”

Ava set her jaw and clenched her fists. “That is my cat, and if you kill him, it’s going to put a serious strain on this new friendship of ours, so put the damn gun down.”

Dumbfounded, Gabriel lowered the rifle to his side and swung a finger in the cat’s direction. “That is Uma Purrman? That gigantic man-eater is your pet?”

She climbed over the driver’s seat and hopped out of the truck smiling up at him. A few seconds ago, she’d been almost shaking with her frustration toward him, but lowering the gun as she’d asked had acted like a breeze blowing over footprints in the sand, erasing her anger as if it never existed. “Isn’t he gorgeous?”

“He’s a cougar.”

“Yes, also known as a mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount, panther, or puma,” she said with a look of pride before walking toward the two hundred pound beast. “C’mere, Uma, baby.”

Gabriel watched with mouth slightly agape as the woman dropped to her haunches to welcome the advancing cat in her arms. Uma the puma—and didn’t that just figure that’s what she’d named it—rubbed his face on hers as he purred his contentment at Ava’s return. But his keen eyes never left Gabriel’s, nor did Gabriel take his gaze off the cat. It was as though they were both wary of the other harming the female between them at any moment.

#     #     #
Thanks for stopping by, kids! I hope you’ll come back soon. 🙂
Ciao, bellas!

Interview with a Hot Biker

I am so excited to share my interview with the smokin’ hot bicyclist extraordinaire, Tom Geiger. Tom is the hero in Ride with Me, an original romance by the incomparable Ruthie Knox, about a cross-country bike adventure that takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is NOT about the bike!

I hope you enjoy this sneak peek at Tom’s amazing abs personality. 

**Make sure you read all the way to the end to find out how you can win your very own copy of Ride with Me.**

GLM:  Tom, thank you so much for taking the time to join us here at Passions on Paper. I know you’re busy with your new bike tour business up in Oregon, and I’m sure things are crazier than usual with all the publicity your story is getting due to Ruthie’s book coming out next month.
TG:     Thanks, Gina. Yeah, it’s been intense. I never really expected the book to be that, ah, lewd. Probably wouldn’t have agreed to it if Ruthie had told me what she had in mind. I figured she was just doing a piece for some bike magazine.
GLM:  Believe me, we’re all extremely glad for your ignorance. RIDE WITH ME is as hot as they come! I should know. I’ve read it several times already, and I’m sure those won’t be the last. There’s just something about all that hot tent sex…[fans face & clears throat] But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the beginning, your relationship with Lexie didn’t start out with much heat, did it?
TG:      No, and that was my fault. I was pretty much a dick to her. She didn’t talk to me for three days. [Tom smiles.] Stubborn woman. She came around, though. I just had to apply some heat.
GLM:  Speaking of heat, my favorite scene in the whole book is the hot sauce contest, which Lexie instigates in an attempt to win the days-long silent treatment war. What was going through your head when you figured out what she was doing?
TG:      At first I was just shocked. I’d been riding with the woman for three days, and this was the first sign I’d seen that she had a humorous bone in her body.

After that . . . well, she was something to watch. I’ve never seen anybody so completely determined to win. I got a huge kick out of watching her struggle not to show how bad some of those hot sauces were killing her. And I guess that was the first time I realized, “Christ, if that woman weren’t already somebody’s wife, she could cause you some serious trouble.” [Tom chuckles and rubs the back of his hand over his mouth.]

GLM:  [mutters under breath…] I’d sure like to cause you some serious trouble…
TG:     What was that?
GLM:  Hm? Oh, um, I was saying that you mentioned Lexie being someone’s wife, but she was never actually married, was she? Tell us why you thought otherwise and how that affected you as the days went on in the tour.
TG:     She told me she was married. That was my fault, too, actually. [Tom shakes his head] Man, I really got off on the wrong foot with her that first morning in Seaside. I’m not even going to tell you what I said. It was that bad. Let’s just agree that the lie had good justification — for the first thousand miles or so.

How did it affect me? I’d love to tell you I kept my distance and kept my hands off her. I sure as hell tried. For the most part, I succeeded, but after a while I just had to get away from the woman. I found her somebody else to ride with and took off like a shot.

GLM:  Don’t feel too bad, Tom. You ended up making things right, and your morals are one of the things that make you so attractive. You know, morals and…[rakes gaze over mega-hot body clad in cargo shorts and faded black Nirvana t-shirt]…other stuff.

Okay, so let’s get to know a little more about you. How do you unwind after a hard day on the trails?

TG:      The usual stuff. You know, get cleaned up, drink a beer, read a book. Tinker with the bikes, if they need cleaning or adjusting. When Lexie and I are touring, one of us has to set up the tents and cook dinner, and there’s laundry to do, so there’s not a ton of down time. But what we’ve got, we just spend hanging out. Talking, looking at the stars. Sometimes we go to bed a little early. [Tom winks.]
GLM:  Ohdearlord. [blushes at Tom’s throaty chuckle] Uh, where was I…[looks at notes] Ah, okay. Tell us where your dream place to tour with Lexie would be and one thing you’d love to experience while there.
TG:     Oh, man. Good question. There’s so many good places. I think Mongolia would be cool. I read this article once by a woman who flew to Siberia with her bike and rode all the way through Mongolia, China, and Vietnam. Mongolia sounds amazing — lots of wide-open space, riding through open country. No roads, even, so we’re talking really remote. And in the book, this woman stayed with a different Mongolian family in their yurt every night. It’s a hospitality culture, you know? So the Mongolian people considered it an honor, and they’d roll out the red carpet and share what they had. I think something like that would be incredible, just getting that deep into a culture that was so different from ours.

[scratches his head]

Come to think of it, Lexie will probably nip that fantasy right in the bud. Let’s say Italy instead. I bet I could talk her into Italy, easy. Tuscany in the summertime would be pretty incredible.

GLM:  As interesting as a trip through Mongolia sounds, I’d have to side with Lexie on your idea of biking through Tuscany in the summertime. And if that trip should ever come to pass, I sincerely hope you’ll let Ruthie write about your adventures. She’s certainly done your first saga justice, as the rest of the world will soon find out! I have no doubt your little start-up operation in Oregon will gain a surge in customers after the release of Ride With Me. I hope Lexie’s prepared for her man to have drooling, spandex-clad groupies biking after him.

[laughs at Tom’s brief deer-in-the-headlights look]

Tom, it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you. Thank you so much for stopping by. Lexie is one lucky lady.

TG:     Thank you, Gina. It’s been my pleasure.
 
Isn’t he just totally scrumptious?! *sigh* Yeah, I know. Believe me, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Ride with Me and it’s a MUST READ, people! If that interview with Tom wasn’t enough for you, here’s the back cover blurb:
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
Don’t miss this debut novel, folks! I guarantee you’ll join me on Team Ruthie as we follow her sure-to-be prolific career in the romance genre. So do yourselves a favor and CLICK HERE to pre-order your copy for its February 13th release!
And now for the GIVEAWAY!  One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through Net Galley. All you have to do is answer this question:
If you could tour anywhere on bike, where it would it be and why?
 

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.

These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.