Wednesday, May 3, 2017

2017 Barbara Vey Reader Weekend

Hello everyone. Winnie Griggs here. I've just returned from a fabulous weekend in Milwaukee where I attended the 6th annual Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend. This is one of THE premiere events that allows authors to get together with a large group of readers and really celebrate them and show how very much we appreciate them.

The weekend was jam packed. My travelling buddy and roommate, Amy Liz Talley and I arrived on Thursday afternoon after a smooth, uneventful trip.

Barbara Vey hosted an author supper which gave us a chance to visit, get last minute instructions and take a breath before the main event. It was here that I ran into fellow Love Inspired Historical author Cheryl St.John.

Friday morning there were several sessions of Reader Bingo. One of these was sponsored by me and four other great authors - Liz Talley, Lori Wilde, Sharon Sala and Terri Brisbin.  Here is a shot of us getting ready to kick things off and another of the great group we had in attendance. 

Later that evening was the author Q&A session, a really scary (for me anyway) event where each author in turn goes up on the stage in front of a large crowd of readers to introduce her/himself and then pick a question out of a bowl that they must then answer.  And since we were called up alphabetically by first name I was in the unenviable position of going last. (FYI my question was 'what is the cheesiest pick up line that I ever used or was ever used on me').  I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cindy Dees while I awaited my turn.  And that's Dee Davis and Damon Suede behind me - two authors I've gotten to know better since serving on the RWA national board.

Saturday morning was the main event - the luncheon. Each author (all 60 of us) hosts a table of 7 readers and we each do our best to show them how much readers like them mean to us.  Here is my table after I decorated it, along with a closeup of one set of reader gifts.

After I had my table ready, I walked around looking at the other tables and was really wowed by how fun and inventive some of them were.

Then it was time for the readers to join us and I scored some really great ladies to sit with me.

After the luncheon was a book signing. There was a pizza party that evening and then Eloisa James and Damon Suede capped the day off by hosting a fun game night that included charades of book titles and crazy mad libs of book scenes.

The next morning the event closed out with a breakfast where again the authors hosted tables for readers.  Unfortunately I didn't remember to get pictures.

The trip home did not go nearly as smoothly as the trip up there - we encountered delayed flights, parking shuttle snafus and an unplanned overnight stay at a less than posh roadside motel.  But we made it home eventually and the airline gave us first class upgrades for our trouble so all's well that ends well.

And there you have it, a quick overview of my fantabulous weekend.

Oh, and I brought home an extra souvenir mug from the breakfast that I'd like to give away to one person who stops by today, so leave a comment and you'll be entered in the drawing. Check back in the comments tomorrow to learn the name of the winner.


  1. Winnie, what an amazing experience. To get to mingle with all those great authors and meet some wonderful readers. I'm glad you shared the experience with us.

  2. Looks like you all had a great time.

  3. What fun! Thank you for sharing...and for taking so many photos! I always forget to take pictures at events. You did great.

  4. What a great weekend to spend with readers and fellow authors! Wish I could have joined you. And the gift table looked fantastic too. I'll bet the "happy ever after" pillows were a big hit with the readers. Thanks for sharing and giving me some good ideas. :)

  5. I've always wanted to go to that luncheon. It sound terrific. I wish we could do something like that in the southern part of the states. I'm glad you had a good time.

  6. Such fun! I've wanted to attend too! Thank you Winnie for the great recap and pics.

  7. Winnie, thanks for the pics and update! Barbara Vey's luncheons are always spectacular. I attended the first three and loved them. The readers are all so special and the weekend is packed with fun, fun, fun!

    Love your Happily Ever After pillows. Did you make them? If not, where did you find them? So perfect for romance readers. The mugs looks great too...along with all your other goodies! I always enjoyed seeing how each author decorated her/his table.

    When I attended, Barbara didn't host a breakfast. Were the morning tables as lavishly decorated? Or more low key?

    Thanks for sharing! Sorry about your trip home but glad you finally arrived safe and sound!

  8. Sounds wonderful, Winnie! I'm exhausted just reading about it, but what fun to get to visit with readers in such a way. Glad you made it home safely.

  9. Thanks for stopping by everyone. And yes, it was a VERY full weekend but totally worth it.

    Christine, I'm not nearly as good about taking photos as I should be - several of these were borrowed from other, more prepared attendees. :)

    Leann, there is a similar event in the Dallas area, Readers-n-'ritas. It's not quite a big and not quite as reader focused but it is still a lot of fun and I try to go when I can.

    Debby, I purchased the pillows - I'm not nearly talented enough to make them LOL. And the breakfasts just came into being last year. It's much lower key than the luncheon, but of course some authors (over achievers :) ) do go above and beyond.

  10. Winnie,
    Sounds like you had a great time. I'd love to attend one someday. Too cool.

  11. Hi Winnie! The conference looks like it was a lot of fun. I don't get to go to very many because of my work schedule. Your table looked fabulous. I'm doing my first "reader event" this summer and I have no idea what I'm doing! You've given me some inspiration!

  12. Barbara's events always sound so fun! Glad you had a great time, Winnie!

  13. What a great time! I wish I could have been there but nobody wants to come down to Florida.
    I've always wanted to go to something like that but they are usually so far away.
    Enjoy your Saturday!
    Janet E.

  14. Janet E., thanks for stopping by. I got distracted by some other things going on and just remembered to come back by and check. I'd love to send this mug to you - simply contact me via my website or facebook with your mailing address and I'll get it sent out to you!

  15. What fun, Winnie. I hated to miss the luncheon this year. Looks like you had a lot of fun!!


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