Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Amazing Barbara Vey and her Reader Appreciation Luncheon 2015!

The Amazing Barbara Vey
and Debby Giusti
Debby Giusti here! 

I had the pleasure and privilege to attend this year's Reader Appreciation Luncheon--my fourth in a row--hosted by the wonderful Barbara Vey. Barbara loves to bring readers and writers together, and in 2012, she organized the very first luncheon so that folks in her beloved hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, could meet some of their favorite authors. 

At that first event, 250 readers attended, and they've been coming back ever since...and bringing their friends. This year's reader turnout was 500 strong with 61 authors who hosted tables and did their best to ensure all who attended had the time of their lives!

Barbara wants everyone to leave happy and laden down with books. Each luncheon guest received a goody bag stuffed with books...I counted 21 books in my bag. Donated gift baskets--numbering in the hundreds--were raffled off and drawings for the 60-plus author baskets, totes, Kindle Fires and treasure chests filled with even more books made the day a reader’s delight.

A mega book signing followed the luncheon--with a $5 off coupons for every attendee. If that wasn’t enough, the evening included a Pizza Party and movie that kept the fun going until the wee hours. Many of the readers arrived on Friday for the Author Q&A and get together that provided a fun and relaxing way for readers and writers to mix and mingle.

Knowing Seekerville would like to learn more about Barbara and the wonderful  luncheon she hosts each year, I’ve asked her to answer some questions that I thought might be of interest. 

Love Inspired Authors (L to R) Katy Lee, Winnie Griggs
and Debby Giusti wait for the doors to open at the luncheon.

The Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheons keep getting bigger and better. Did you have any idea of how successful they would be when you planned the first event?
Barbara: No, I had no expectations.  The idea was just to get readers and authors together in Milwaukee where we don't have a lot of personal interaction with authors.

The wonderful ladies at my table!

Readers always want to know where writers get their ideas, and I’m sure many folks would like to know where you got the idea to host the first luncheon? Was this a long-time dream or an idea that just sprang to life one day? What was your vision for that first luncheon four years ago?
Barbara: After traveling around the world to reader/author conventions, I was sad that there was nothing in my area.  After my mom passed away, I  started to think, "Why not?"  So I contacted a few authors I knew and told them my vision and was surprised by how many were willing to travel here to make my dream come true.  I really only wanted a small luncheon that first year.  We had it at a community center, brought a caterer in and my sister baked 300 cupcakes.

Barbara with 2015 Keynote Speaker, NYT Bestselling Author
Tess Gerritsen
 NYT Bestselling Author Tess Gerritsen, of television's Rizzoli and Isles fame, was the keynote this year. Would you share the story about Tess and your mother that you told at the luncheon?
Barbara: I had interviewed Tess a few times and we met again in Chicago.  We were talking books and readers and I mentioned that my mom was a huge fan, but she could only read large print books and there weren't many in the library.  The next week a box arrived for my mom filled with every Tess Gerritsen book in large print.  It made me cry because it was kindness times 10.  My mom was over the moon and I'll be forever grateful to Tess for taking the time to give my mom such a special day.

Look at the crowd...500 readers and 61 authors!
 I’ve heard lots of fantastic comments from the readers and writers. Can you share some of the feedback you received from those who attended this year’s event?
Reader: I appreciate that you put on such a great event that is geared towards the readers! I have never been disappointed (except that this is the first year I didn't win anything...lol) and think that each year something that seemed to not work well the year before is changed for the better. You and your committee work hard for a year or more to put on this event and I appreciate the time and energy that is put in to make this fun for everyone!!

Just a few of the author giveaways!
Reader: Thank you again for hosting such an amazing event with amazing authors and giving me the opportunity not only to meet my favorite authors, but to make so many new and lasting friendships!!

Reader: It was an amazing success and I can't stop talking about the weekend or how great it was!! fun, laughter, friends, food, and books!!!

Reader: I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for the wonderful luncheon. I am so happy I was able to attend. It was the most fun I've had in a long time.

Reader: I had an absolute blast!!!  I already have tix sales listed on my calendar for next year!!!

Such a beautiful table. Check out the
pink rain boots!
 You always select a charity that benefits from the luncheon, and this year was the American Cancer Society. I know a number of folks attending, both authors and readers alike, were cancer survivors. I’m sure they were enthusiastic with their donations for such a great cause. Could you share how much was raised? Will you choose a new charity next year?
Barbara: We raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society from the sale of raffle tickets and direct donations.  We will have a new charity next year.  There are so many needy groups out there.


Author Cindy Dees chose a Southwest theme for her table.
  I know you’re taking a break after all the work you put into the fabulous April 25th event, but could you give the Seeker Villagers some idea of what you have planned for 2016? When will the tickets go on sale, and where should folks go to find out more information?
Barbara: The tickets will go on sale August 1, 2015 at midnight.  Readers are already planning late night parties to keep them occupied until the ticket sales start.  We are looking into adding a special event, but we are just in the planning stages right now.  Readers can keep in touch by following the barbaraveyreaders.com website or the barbaravey.com website.  I will be putting out a newsletter with details as we firm them up.

Elizabeth Zoellner won the business tote I
gave away, loaded with goodies.
This year included a special dinner for authors on Friday night and the traditional Q&A following, along with a get-together with readers and a signing by WisRWA authors. Saturday night included a Pizza Party that evening and movie hosted by two authors following. So the luncheon has grown to a weekend event with many of the readers staying at the hotel to take part in all the activities. Will you continue with that format next year?
Barbara: We will keep the parts that worked and try to add in new ideas to try out.  It's always a work in progress.  The idea is to give the reader the ultimate author experience and for the authors to come in contact with as many readers as possible.

Cherry Adair's table had a jungle theme complete
with monkey!
Any chance you'll host additional luncheons in other areas of the country?
Barbara: Probably not, but I've learned never to say never.  I'd love to do it, but it's a lot of work that relies on dedicated volunteers.  My dream though is to bring this Reader Appreciation experience to  other parts of the country.

It's always fun to see Linda Howard!

What has blessed you the most about hosting the luncheons?
Barbara: The biggest blessing has been the closeness I've gained with my family.  They were never sure of what my job was or what exactly I did.  My passion for books was beyond their scope of understanding.  While they may not have become avid readers, they now enjoy books more and have a better appreciation for authors and what they do.

A picture with Kristan Higgins before the doors open.

Any surprises you hadn't expected?
Barbara: My son has just decided to join the team and I'm thrilled.  He'll bring a lot of fresh ideas.  And the other surprise wasn't for me but for the authors that attend.  They always seem amazed at the enthusiasm of the readers and just the scope of the event.  I love to talk to them afterward because they seem kind of dazed...in a good way.
  
If you could sum up your feelings about the Reader Appreciation Luncheons in one sentence, what would it be?
Barbara: Good people getting together to share their love of books.

Barbara always serves cupcakes for dessert that
feature the author's latest book!
Barbara, thank you for being with us today. I'm sure some of the Villager will have questions of their own, and I know you'll stop in frequently to chat with all the folks who leave a comment. We'll be serving virtual cupcakes throughout the day, in honor of your luncheon!

Share a comment or a question for Barbara to be entered in the drawing for some SWAG gifts from the luncheon as well as a copy of my latest Love Inspired Suspense, STRANDED.

Leave a comment to win one of my totes!
The coffee's hot and so is the tea, assorted flavors available. Help yourself to the breakfast buffet: eggs, ham, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit and grits! Enjoy!

Now help me welcome Barbara Vey to Seekerville!
Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

 STRANDED
BY DEBBY GIUSTI

AMISH COUNTRY REFUGE
Colleen Brennan has one goal—take down her sister’s killer.  But chasing after evidence leaves her in the path of a tornado and stranded in an Amish community. With the killer nearby, Colleen must depend on the kindness of Special Agent Frank Gallagher. Although the army officer is recuperating from a battlefield injury, he wants to help the beautiful woman he rescued from the tornado’s fury. He can tell she’s hiding something important. But getting her to reveal her secrets may be his most dangerous mission ever.

Order your copy in digital or print format: Amazon.

128 comments:

Mary Preston said...

The luncheon looks like so much fun.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. That is simply amazing.

Debby, great, great pictures. They had me smiling!

What fun!

cathyann40 said...

Looks like fun. This was a fun post to read. I love those pink rain boots.

Cindy W. said...

Oh my! The luncheon sounds like it was loads of fun! Wish I lived in the area as I would try to attend. I'm curious about the movie though, was it shown in the hotel or was it at a movie theater and what was the movie?

I think it is awesome that you were able to raise $10K for the American Cancer Society.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Debby Giusti said...

Morning, Mary Preston!

The luncheon was wonderful! Everyone had a great time. You can't help but have fun if you're at a Barbara Vey event! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, you're so right! Raising $10,000 for Cancer is amazing...but everything BV does goes over the top!

One lady sitting at a nearby table was a cancer survivor. She bought $300 worth of raffle tickets...and yes, she won a lot of baskets! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Cathyann, the tables were amazing.

The authors have so much fun finding gifts for the folks at their tables. Before the doors open, we walk around the banquet room and admire everyone's creativity!

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, lots of folks fly to Milwaukee to attend the luncheon! A great girls' weekend.

The movie was MAMMA MIA. Cherry Adair and another author sponsored the Movie Night. They had lots and lots of door prizes, plus popcorn and candy! We watched the flick in the ballroom.

kaybee said...

Barbara,
I would go for the cupcakes alone. I'm pathetic.
It's almost worth going to Milwaukee for. My husband and I lived in Wisconsin in the 80s, in a very small town called Minong which was 50 miles from Superior, 50 miles from Rice Lake, 20 miles from Spooner and 20 miles from Hayward. It didn't have a library. Have not been back since.
What a great idea, hope I can attend some day.
Kathy Bailey

Debby Giusti said...

I should have mentioned that Barbara has a YA track for younger readers. Their names go in a drawing for YA books and their goody bags are age appropriate. It's a fantastic way for teen readers to meet the YA authors they love to read.

Debby Giusti said...

Kathy B,
Note the date when the tickets for the 2016 event go on sale. I believe this year's luncheon sold out within hours. Barbara will stop by soon and can give us the correct info, but as she mentioned in the blog, ladies stay up until midnight when the tickets go live to ensure they make their reservations and get their first pick of authors' tables.

Kelly Bridgewater said...

This sounds like a lot of fun of readers and authors alike. I would love to attend. Who knows? Thank you for sharing about such an unique and fun idea. Have a great week.

Mary Hicks said...

Debby, I love the photos—you do appear to be enjoying yourself!
The pink rain boots are priceless! No gray rainy days with those on your feet. :-)

$10K is a wonderful donation!

Julie Lessman said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR CANCER???

Like Tina, I feel that is absolutely AMAZING, Deb, and pretty much seals the deal that this is a class event!!

I assume the luncheon is always held in Milwaukee?

It's SO cool what one person can do, Barbara, with just a seed of an idea! VERY impressive!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BARBARA SAID: "The next week a box arrived for my mom filled with every Tess Gerritsen book in large print."

Gosh, I can see why this made you cry -- this made me tear up to!! And I would have loved to see the look on your mom's face when she opened THAT gift!!

Barbara, it may have been in the article, but somehow I missed it. How long is the planning period for the luncheon?

Hugs,
Julie

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Kelly!

I'd love to see BV hosts events in other areas of the country...wouldn't that be great!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Mary Hicks!

The pink rain boot table was hosted by an author who was a cancer survivor...thus the pink!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, Barbara is a fantastic organizer...and she ensures we stay on the time schedule. Everything moves along, but everyone has so much fun throughout the day.

I headed down to the ballroom at 8AM to start setting up. The doors opened for readers at, I believe, 10:30 AM, and the book signing lasted until 6 PM. A long but fun, fun, fun day!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, Barbara is already planning next year's event. So it takes a full year of work! Her family pitches in, and they're all delightful! Part of the fun is seeing them each year. Her niece Jenny is a doll. She sat at my table the first year and keeps getting sweeter and sweeter! Love her!

Janet Dean said...

Barbara, welcome! Congratulations on the growing success of the Reader Appreciation Luncheons! When an idea has merit and someone willing to run with it, great things happen. Like the awesome donation for the fight against Cancer.

I'm impressed that your son is now involved. Will be fun to see where his input leads.

Debby, thanks for sharing your fabulous pictures of smiling authors and happy readers.
Know you were a charming, generous hostess.

Can't wait to read Stranded!

Janet

DebH said...

wow. That event is an EVENT. Just the thought of all the planning involved overwhelms my mind and exhausts me. Such a wonderful thing for readers AND authors. Bonus: raising money for charities. That is SOOOOOO cool. I love reading about things like this even though I know I'd never be able to go to it.

Thanks for sharing Debby. And thanks too, Barbara Vey, for having a dream and making it come to pass and being such a blessing to so many people.

I like the YA appreciation stuff too. That is really something. Always good to encourage in "da yutes" a love of reading for a lifetime.

Jackie said...

What a fun post. Welcome to Seekerville, Barbara! I can only imagine how many people you've blessed with you Reader Appreciation 'event,' because it's clearly more than just lunch.

Congrats on raising $10,000.00 for American Cancer Society.

Debby thanks for sharing!

Connie Queen said...

Oh this looks like so much fun, and work. LOL. It would be like putting on a huge wedding every year.

It's a win/win for authors and readers.

I love that your raise money for charities.

And Debby, that has to be one of my favorite covers of all times. LIS did an awesome job.

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Barbara! So glad Debby invited you to join us today! What you've done with the Reader Appreciation Luncheon is simply amazing, and it's so fun to get Debby's recaps each year and see how the event has grown and changed.

Keli Gwyn said...

What a wonderful event for readers and authors alike! I'm sure each person who was able to attend had a marvelous time.

Debby Giusti said...

Janet,
Barbara's son is so cute and a really nice guy. I'm glad he's working with her on the various projects! We'll get to see him at conferences. :)

Debby Giusti said...

DebH, you're so right about those young readers. Starting them off on a lifetime of reading is fantastic and one of the things Barbara does so well!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Jackie!

It's always a joy to talk about Barbara's Reader Appreciation Luncheons. Glad you enjoyed the pics and the info!

Debby Giusti said...

Connie,
It is a win-win for all!!!

Thanks for your kind words about the cover of STRANDED. I'm doing the last read-through on another Amish suspense that will head to NYC tomorrow. Love combining military investigations with the "plain" life of the Amish community located near my fictional Fort Rickman.

Becky Dempsey said...

Wow that sounds like an amazing time! That is amazing that it's grown so much.

I have Stranded, but I would love to win some of the other SWAG!! :D

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Myra,
The luncheon has grown and each year Barbara adds something new. I don't know how she can top this one! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Keli, we all had so much fun!

Debby Giusti said...

HI Becky, you're in the drawing. Thanks for your kind comments!

Lyndee H said...

Hi Debby! Thanks for sharing your fun day. I followed your posts as it was happening and really enjoyed seeing everyone in real time. How nice that the luncheon this year corresponded with the WisRWA conference.

I have your book on my TBR, so no need to put me in the cat dish, :)

Barbara Scott said...

Debby, WOW! I never knew such an event existed, but it would be wonderful to see Barbara's idea spread across the country. If it weren't for the readers, there would be no published authors. It's hard for writers to connect with readers, so I think we should all stand up and applaud Barbara Vey's successful event!

Deanna Stevens said...

Aren't luncheons grand? I loved the fun our quilt group shared.. Loved seeing the festivities in pictures, brought back some great memories..
toss me into the drawing please..

Marianne Barkman said...

What an amazing event you have, Barbara. And the funds you raise. Awesome. I'd love to win any of the stuff you're giving. And I love the way you give us the highlights of the event, Debby. Thanks for a great post!

Debby Giusti said...

Lyndee, I always think fondly of the luncheon you and your daughter attended. Such a special time for me!!!

Hugs! Praying for tomorrow! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara Scott,

You need to meet Barbara Vey! She is amazing, as I mentioned! And her luncheons are over-the-top fantastic!

Barbara loves connecting readers and writers. She's a jewel!

Debby Giusti said...

Deanna, you're in the drawing! Good luck! :)

How 'bout a cupcake?

Sherida Stewart said...

Barbara and Debby, this looks like SO MUCH FUN!!! Thank you for sharing the photos! Elegant!

Your story of Tess Gerritsen is touching. What a gracious person.

Thank you for the amazing donation made possible by your event....such a worthwhile cause!

Darling cupcakes, beautiful tables, and fabulous smiles!

Debby Giusti said...

Sherida, aren't the cupcakes pretty with the book covers!

Tess Gerritsen is a lovely person. She was so warm and friendly and interested in talking to everyone! I love her books and love the story Barbara shared.

Katy Lee said...

Thank you, Debby and Barbara, for letting me relive the weekend again. I know what you mean, Barbara, about it feeling like a whirlwind after, but in a good way. The event really is something unique and special with so many people coming together with one thing in common: their love of books. I'm so blessed to have been a part of it twice now. My daughter has attended with me, and it has been a growing experience for her. Reading has become more personal for her when she's reading a book given to her by an author she spent time with. The luncheon bridges the gap between the isolated author and the faceless reader. I've never seen better connections made at any book event. Thank you, again!

Debby Giusti said...

Katy Lee and her sweet daughter shared their room with me! Thanks again, Katy!

Thanks too for stopping by today! Great points about connecting with readers.

CatMom said...

WOW!!!! What a wonderful event - - maybe one day we'll have something similar to this in the south (Debby Giusti, please let me know if you ever want to tackle this--I'll help you, LOL). Seriously, I cannot even imagine the amount of planning and WORK this takes, but what a special time for readers and authors alike.

Barbara, you are amazing! I've never met you in person, but maybe one day I'll be able to attend one of your luncheons.

Debby, thank you for sharing these photos and Barbara's comments with us. LOVED seeing all those decorated tables--how FUN!
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Sarah Claucherty said...

The whole weekend sounds fantastic! Wish I co attended, but unfortunately I was knee-deep in studying for final exams and finishing final projects.

I'm definitely going to follow the news and updates for next year's luncheon, hopefully I'll be able to attend! Barbara, how would someone get involved in planning this event?

I'd love to be included in the drawing and giveaway! This event sounds amazing, and I'd love the chance to get some swag from it, and Debby's book sounds great!

Kav said...

My mind is a whirlwind just contemplating an event of this size!!!! It boggles the mind. I've often lamented the lack of author/reader interactions up here in the far North. I'd love to try something like this but wouldn't know where to begin. You make it looks so easy but I know it's not. Thank you for loving books so much and sharing that love.

Barbara Vey said...

Mary Preston, according to the readers and authors, they had a ball. All the more reason to keep doing them.

Barbara Vey said...

Tina Radcliffe, the amount raised even surprised me. Readers and authors are the most generous people I know.

Barbara Vey said...

cathyann40, the rain boots were from Tina DeSalvo and play a part in her new book.

Barbara Vey said...

Cindy W., Cherry Adair hosted a reader event and it was interactive with Mama Mia! and lots of boas.

Barbara Vey said...

Kathy Bailey, we would love to have you come to Milwaukee. Lots to do and see here. Some readers stay extra days to visit.

Barbara Vey said...

About signing up for the luncheon. Tickets will go on sale August 1st at midnight. All sales are online. We did sell out in 24 hours which was amazing. Right now I'm signing up authors and we like to mix the genres and have both new authors and those who have been coming for a while. Readers have been posting who they'd like to see at the luncheon on the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Facebook page. Anyone can join.

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo,
Wouldn't that be fun to work on an event together. But when would we have time to write?

If only Barbara would host luncheons in other areas of the country!

Barbara Vey said...

Kelly Bridgewater, I hope you consider attending. You really have to experience it to understand how powerful it is for readers.

Barbara Vey said...

Mary Hicks, the pink boots were given to a table with ladies who are cancer survivors. They had a wonderful time.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Barbara, for mentioning your FB site. Everyone should go there to get the latest info and share in the anticipation for 2016! Lots of reader and author connections to be made, as well!

Barbara Vey said...

Julie Lessman, thanks for your kind words. I wish I would have filmed my mom's reaction to that box of books from Tess Gerritsen. She was a little shocked that such a famous author would take the time to do something like that for a reader. Tess is truly a class act.

Debby Giusti said...

Sarah, you're in the drawing!

Check the Seekerville archives. There have been a number of articles on Reader Luncheons and Barbara has been with us before to share her wealth of information!

I hope you can attend one of her wonderful Milwaukee events. You'll love every minute!

Debby Giusti said...

Kav,

Barbara loves connecting readers and writers. You do as well with your wonderful reviews. Hope you girls can meet someday!

Barbara Vey said...

Julie, Debby is right. The luncheon does take a full year. We get the authors, hotel, bookseller and sell the tickets. Then we work with authors and publishers to get great gifts for the readers. Many sponsor the name tags, programs, tote bags and more. Then we rely on volunteers to stuff the 500 bags and set up. My family has been terrific to organize everything along with Maggie Mae Gallagher.

Barbara Vey said...

Hi Janet, my son is an illustrator, so look for fun, inventive things from him.

Barbara Vey said...

DebH., the YA group grows every year and it's wonderful to see. We have several family that come now and make it quite the event.

Janet Dean said...

Debby, will be fun to meet Barbara's son!

Did you and Barbara coordinate your colors for the luncheon? ;-)

Janet

Barbara Vey said...

Jackie, thanks for stopping by. It started as just a luncheon, but by next year it will have graduated to a full weekend. (It's a secret right now)

Barbara Vey said...

Connie Queen, it is like putting on a wedding. We have seating charts and gifts and lots of happy people!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Barbara, Is your son a book illustrator? I am envisioning all kinds of possibilities.

Are you artistic?

Janet

Barbara Vey said...

Hi Myra, it indeed has grown and we keep trying to keep it fresh and fun.

Barbara Vey said...

Keli, I know they have a good time by the wonderful messages I receive from readers. As a matter of fact, I received a letter yesterday from a 90 year old reader who had the best time! She came with her granddaughters (but they had to sit at different tables). They didn't mind and loved meeting new authors. The highlight for her was winning a Kindle Fire and she's so excited to start learning how to use it! :)

Barbara Vey said...

Becky Dempsey, my goal is to have every reader experience this event at least once. Here's hoping you get the opportunity.

Barbara Vey said...

Lyndee H., I have been a supporter of WisRWA for many years, so I was happy to share my event with them when they asked.

Barbara Vey said...

Barbara Scott, I feel blessed to do what I love and that's to share books and authors with readers. Everyone wins.

Barbara Vey said...

Hi Deena, good luck in the drawing.

Barbara Vey said...

Marianne Barkman, you should see the gifts and prizes the readers win. Truly amazing. Romance authors are extremely generous.

Barbara Vey said...

Sherida Stewart, the cupcakes are always the highlight and have become one of the most popular things that people have come to expect. It's like a symbol of the luncheon.

Barbara Vey said...

Katy Lee, thanks for being one of the featured authors and a fan favorite. Watching your daughter grow up over the years make me happy for the future of readers.

Barbara Vey said...

Catmom, I would love to do an event in Atlanta (one of my favorite cities), maybe someday.

Barbara Vey said...

Sarah Claucherty, my family is my committee. Everyone has a job. If you are talking about volunteering at the event, join the FB page and a form is posted every year to volunteer.

Barbara Vey said...

Kav, you are right, it's not easy, but if you have a great team it makes it better and the end result always makes it worthwhile.

Barbara Vey said...

Janet Dean, Debby and I always coordinate before going out in public. She has such great fashion sense, I just follow her lead. :)

Barbara Vey said...

Janet Dean, I can barely draw stick people. Andrew does illustrations like logos (all of mine), cartoon things for friends who do the writing), animation. He has done illustrations for authors of their characters. Andrew is also a professor at MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, I didn't know Andrew designed your logo. He's so talented! Like his mama!

Heather said...

This year's luncheon was fabulous! I've been to every single one, and it is always the most amazing experience. The luncheons have definitely had an impact on my life. I've made so many friends, and so many great memories. People are always surprised by my stories when I get back from Milwaukee every year. They can't believe how much the readers are spoiled, so we usually have new people with us every year. They have to experience it to see for themselves. :)

We had a little extra fun outside of the luncheon events too. The Food Network was filming a show at The Safe House when we went there for lunch after we arrived on Friday. Whether we make it on TV or not, it was fun!

Thank you so much for everything Barbara! :)

Judy said...

I want to attend this event so much but I won't be able to until 2018 because I'm committed to attend the WI AAUW convention for the next 2 years & it happens the same weekend. Agony!

Barbara Vey said...

Heather, that is so exciting about the Food Network and the Safe House is such a fun place. I think you hit the nail on the head about the success of the luncheon. Every year after readers come, the next year they bring their friends. One woman from Michigan told me she belongs to 2 book groups and all 10 want to come next year. Word of mouth can be a wonderful thing.

Barbara Vey said...

Judy, sorry you have to miss the luncheon.

Debby Giusti said...

Heather, the connections are wonderful, aren't they!

Hope to see you on a future Food Network show!

Jocie McKade said...

This was my first time at the event. I'm a fairly new, un-heard of author, but my table was full of enthusiastic readers! It was indeed humbling, inspiring and downright fun. My hubby attended with me,(his very first con). He is a cancer survivor, so we had a few emotional moments at the event, and were thrilled with the money that was raised, and to know we contributed a wee bit.

I was thrilled to be invited and included among authors like Tess Gerritsen, Jason Mott, and Linda Howard.....among others. This is by far one of the best 'reader oriented' events I've had the pleasure to attend.

Barbara Vey said...

Jocie, it was great having you and I'm happy to hear that your husband enjoyed it too. We have been seeing more men attend every year.

Amy Moore said...

I absolutely love this event and have can't wait for next year! Never did I think that it would grow so quickly from the Community Center for a Tuesday luncheon to the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center for a weekend that includes the luncheon!This is an event for the readers and Barbara makes sure that we have a great time. Thank you Barbara for all of the amazing memories that I have from the last four luncheons/weekends, the friendships I have made because of you, and memories and friends that are in my future for April 2015!!

Barbara Vey said...

Amy, I'm so happy that you have such great memories from the luncheon. I forgot that the first one was on a Tuesday and we still ended up with 250 readers.

Sandy Smith said...

This event looks so fun. I wish I could go. Please enter me in the drawing.

Missy Tippens said...

Barbara, what an amazing event!! Debby, thanks for sharing the photos. I'm amazed at those decorated tables!

Barbara, I loved your photo. You look great!! I hope to see you at RWA.

Janet Dean said...

Barbara, love your logo! Nice to have such a talented son.

I'm fascinated with the cells Disney artists drew and painted to make cartoons in the days before computers.

Janet

Barbara Vey said...

Sandy Smith, who knows, maybe you'll be able to make it to Milwaukee some day.

Barbara Vey said...

Missy Tippens, looking forward to seeing you at RWA!

Barbara Vey said...

Janet, Andrew's dream since he was a little boy was to be an animator for Disney. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jocie, it was great meeting you! Loved your table, and so glad your hubby could be there. Didn't he make the cute keepsake boxes you gave away?

Debby Giusti said...

Amy, it just keeps getting bigger and better, right!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, you're in the drawing!

Chill N said...

Great fun to see a pic of chapter-mate Cindy Dees! Looks like she's having a wonderful time -- so does everyone else. A fantastic event, BARBARA. Congratulations. And thanks for sharing with us, DEBBY!

Nancy C

Melissa said...

It is such a great weekend and you never get to talk to all the authors you want to! I look forward to this every year.

Barbara Vey said...

Chill N, I think everyone had an amazing time. Thanks for stopping by.

Barbara Vey said...

Melissa, I agree. There's even people I don't get to talk to and I love them all. Need more days.

Debby Giusti said...

Nancy C,

Cindy had a fun table...so bright and inviting! Let her know you saw what she had done! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Melissa, it's so fun meeting new people at each luncheon! Glad you enjoyed the weekend. So did I!

jktreads said...

Barbara, we didn't have a chance to talk this year, but I feel like we did! Every time you were at the podium it felt so personal! And when you'd be walking and talking and smiling, I, and my girlfriend, felt like all we'd have to do is yahoo you on the shoulder and you'd have included us too! What a event!
I've read 2 of the goodie bag books and three of the ones I bought. I'm so happy! Thanks for all you do!

jktreads said...

Why didn't I preview my post? I meant tap you on your shoulder!!

Bettie said...

Hi Tina. The book you suggested after my critique finally arrived. ...now the work begins. Thanks.

Bettie said...

What a fun event! Please put my name in for the prizes.

Debby Giusti said...

JKTREADS! Barbara is so approachable and eager to chat with everyone...although she was busy ensuring we all had a great time!

Glad you found some good books to read!

Debby Giusti said...

Bettie, you're in the drawing!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, Debby! You're an alumni now! Every single one? Amazing gal!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Waving hello to the wonderful Barbara V!

Mary Curry said...

Barbara and Debby, I'm so sorry I missed out on your fun day here. I just got home from work (Long day with Open House). I was exhausted but just reading about your wonderful luncheon perked me up.

I hope to participate some year!

Thanks for sharing. It always looks like such fun.

Mary/Cate Nolan

Debby Giusti said...

Mary, sorry for your long day. Teachers work so hard. My hat's off to you!

We saved you a cupcake.

One for Tina, too!

Hugs!

Barbara Vey said...

jktreads, what a lovely thing to say and you're right. I would love to talk to everyone personally, but my best bet is with the mic. :)

Barbara Vey said...

Thanks for stopping by Bettie and good luck with the prize.

Barbara Vey said...

Thanks for stopping by Bettie and good luck with the prize.

Barbara Vey said...

Hi Tina Radcliffe, nice to see you here!

Barbara Vey said...

Mary Curry, it's never too late to stop by a party!

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, thanks for spending the day with us in Seekerville! Everyone loved hearing about your fabulous Reader Appreciation Luncheons!

So glad we could work together to spread the word!

Have a great night, and thanks for all you do to connect readers and writers.

Hugs and love!

Barbara Vey said...

Debby, thanks again for inviting me. Seekerville is one of my favorite spots to visit. And the cupcakes were delish!

Caryl Kane said...

Attending a Readers Appreciation Luncheon would be EPIC! A fun way to bring readers and authors together! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

HAPPY FRIDAY SEEKERS!

Mz.ZeyZey said...

I love this post, Debby! I was fortunate enough to meet Barbara Vey at the Love Inspired Reader's Appreciation Luncheon in Florida, along with many authors and one of my dream editors. I love her enthusiasm for bringing authors and readers together. I'd love to get my mother (in Michigan) to the next Reader Appreciation Luncheon in Milwaukee. I'd love to be entered in the drawing.

Dede Nehrenz said...

Has Barbara had problems getting authors to attend this event? Had to turn any down?

Sally Shupe said...

Loved this post and the peek into the luncheon. I love that there was a drawing for younger readers as well. That is great that they are involved as well and get to meet their favorite YA authors. What a great way to include everyone! Thanks for sharing!

The Artist Librarian said...

As someone who lives in an area that doesn't get a lot of authors on book tours and stuff, I think it's awesome that Barbara Vey organized this for Milwaukee. I wonder if the YA track is for teens only or if adults can attend also? Would love to be entered for the drawing! ^_^