Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RWA: Back to the Beginning



Later this month, Romance Writers of America (RWA) will be holding its national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  A highlight of the event is the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing, a book signing featuring 400+ authors, to be held Wednesday, July 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.  The Literacy Autographing is free admission and open to the public.  Authors happily pose for photos and sign books which are sold to readers at face value with proceeds from the evening's sales donated to literacy charities.  It's a win-win for everyone!

As I prepare for this year's conference, I can't help but think back seven years to the last time RWA brought its national conference to Atlanta.  It was my first big book signing and I was filled with delight...and terror...at the thought of more than 400 romance authors in one room.  I've since attended many of RWA's Literacy Autographings but, as I prepared to drive into Atlanta seven years ago, I had no idea what to expect.


PJ & Christina Dodd - 2006
One thing you should expect is a crowd.  A really big crowd!  There are, after all, more than 400 authors in that room and most likely, more than four times that many readers waiting to meet them.

People employ different strategies to make sure they get all the books on their list.  One is to be in line outside the doors of the room where the book signing is held at least three hours before they open.  At my first signing, I arrived about 30 minutes early only to discover that there were already about 800 people in line!

Another strategy is to go straight to your "Top Five" authors and make sure you get their books.  (I got the photo but missed out on the book I wanted from Christina Dodd.  The penalty for not going there first!) Once that need is satisfied you can wander the rest of the room at your leisure.




Robyn Carr - 2010
RWA helps by positioning the authors in alphabetical order by last name, so you know approximately where everyone is within the room, and listing who will be signing before the conference on their website.  I copy the list and highlight the names of my "must buy" authors.  Within that list, I note the "big name" authors, the New York Times Bestselling authors and featured conference speakers who typically will be positioned around the perimeter of the room...and who usually have lines out the door.  If one of the "big name" authors is on your list, I strongly advise getting to them fast before they run out of books.


Kristan Higgins - 2010



If you plan to buy several books, I'd suggest bringing a few large bags with you so you don't have to juggle a stack of books while navigating through throngs of excited readers.  (Many stores sell sturdy cloth bags for $1.99 or less.)  At every RWA signing, I notice a few people who bring rolling book bags or small suitcases.  I do not recommend this.  There just isn't enough room and somebody's poor toes almost always pay the price of someone trying to drag a rolling case stuffed with heavy books through the crowd.  (Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience.)




Tessa Dare - 2011

If you're not a registered conference attendee, you won't have a name badge so why not make your own?  There are likely to be readers at the signing that you've "met" online.  Using card stock, make a name badge with your on screen name as well as your full name then pin the badge where it will be easily seen by others.  You might be surprised by the number of people you'll meet!







Eloisa James - 2010


Here's a tip you may not have thought of.  Address labels!  Tuck a few in your bag to sign up for drawings or mailing lists along the way.  So much easier, and faster, than searching for a pen and writing down your name and address multiple times. Another essential to take along with you is business cards.  They don't have to be fancy; a plain card with the essential information is all you need and what better way to be remembered than to hand someone your card.  You can have cards made quickly and inexpensively at places like Vistaprint or Staples or do it yourself on your computer.  Easy and effective!  


PJ & Lisa Kleypas




Lastly, do not forget to take your smile.  These are romance readers!  They understand you, share your love of happy endings, know exactly what you're talking about when you mention the dreamy hero from a well-known author's latest book.  Talk to the people standing in line with you.  Introduce yourself. Chances are very good that they are just as nervous as you are.









Are you going to this year's conference or Literacy Autographing?  If so, please let us know so we can meet you in person.  If you aren't going to this year's Literacy Autographing, you may be wondering what this blog has to do with you.  Plenty!!  You see, RWA National is one of the places where we re-stock the wondrous prize closet from which we pull books to send to you, our wonderful readers, throughout the year.  So, now's your chance to have a say in what books you will have an opportunity to win here at The Romance Dish.

Who are the top five authors from whom you would most like to win a signed book?

What are the five current books (published in 2012-2013) of which you would most like to win a signed copy?

That's all you have to do!  And, to thank you for helping us I'll randomly select four people leaving comments (by midnight July 4th) to win a package of books from our current prize supply.  I have to make room for all those new books we'll be bringing home from conference!

Happy Reading!
~PJ

58 comments:

  1. I'm so jealous!! I wish I could go okay my top 5 authors whom I would love an autograph from are:
    Eloisa James
    Julia Quinn
    Lisa Kleypas
    Cynthia Eden
    Elizabeth Hoyt

    Sorry I need to add one more Alexandra Hawkins (author of the first romance book I ever read)

    I will have to get to back to you with books 12:30 am here I'm half asleep and can't think lol

    I hope you have a blast :)!!

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    1. Thanks, Savannah! We'll do our best to have a good time and share it all with you readers at home.

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  2. Have fun, PJ. I'm so jealous. I've been seeing a lot of tweets from the authors and various bloggers discussing their plans to meet up in Atlanta. I would love to win a signed book by Lisa Marie Rice, Loretta Chase, Jaci Burton, Julie Garwood and Jill Sorenson. Books I'd like to win include Jaci Burton "One Sweet Ride," Jill Shavis' "Rescue My Heart," Jill Sorenson's "Freefall," Sabrina Jeffries' "What the Duke Desires" and Nicole Jordan's "Princess Charming."

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    1. Jane, hopefully RWA will be in a city near you soon and you'll be able to join in the fun!

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  3. Greta sounds fun, hoo,
    Jill shalvis
    Jaci burton
    Vicki thnopmspm
    Leslie Kelly
    Nora Roberts

    Any Jill books
    Blaze books by Vicki thompson
    Lush by Lauren Dane

    Megan hart books
    Erin McCarthy
    Kimh

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    1. Great list, Kim! I know a couple of those authors plan to be at the signing...maybe more!

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  4. It would be a dream to be in a room filled with my favorite authors, plus some new ones to meet! I have never attended the RWA Literary signing and I really want to someday. I'm saving tidbits of your information which is really helpful. I would definitely be sure to hunt down my top authors :)
    The top five authors I would love to win a book from is Debra Webb, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas, Kristan Higgins, Tiffany Snow and Paullina Simons.
    The top books are The Faces of Evil (any book from the series) by Debra Webb, any book by Tiffany Snow, Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis, The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and The Price by Joan Johnston.

    Have fun at the signing and bring back lots of pictures :)

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    1. Na, I have discovered some of my favorite books by stopping to chat with an author without a line at the RWA signing. I view an author I haven't yet met as a friend I haven't yet made.

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  5. Have fun at RWA and take lots of pictures! I am on the wrong continent, so I can't attend lol.

    My top 5 authors (in no particular order):

    Sherry Thomas (any book from her Fitzhugh Trilogy)
    Tessa Dare (A Lady by Midnight or Any Duchess Will Do)
    Eloisa James (Once Upon a Tower or The Ugly Duchess)
    Sarah MacLean (any book from her Rule of Scoundrels series)
    Lorraine Heath (Lord of Wicked Intentions)

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    1. No worries, Antonia. I'll be busy snapping photos and sharing them here and at Facebook.

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  6. I looked through the list of authors signing at RWA and **WOW** it's impressive. How do you choose just 5?

    Heather Snow - SWEET MADNESS
    Eloisa James - ONCE UPON A TOWER
    Sophie Jordan - HOW TO LOSE A BRIDE IN ONE NIGHT
    Elizabeth Boyle - AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE
    Sabrina Jeffries - WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES


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    1. That's an impressive list, Mary! I haven't read the Sophie Jordan yet but read and loved everything else on your list. Heather Snow is one of the authors I'm most looking forward to meeting. I love her books!

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  7. You needed 5 authors as well, so they are:
    Susan Mallery
    Robyn Carr
    Susan Andersen
    Jill Shalvis
    Rachel Gibson

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    1. Some of my favorite authors on that list, Pat as well as some of the nicest people around.

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  8. I always love your conference posts and photos, PJ. They are the next best thing to being there.

    I don't think I could pick top five authors from among all those whose books I love, so my list is the top five authors from whom I don't yet have a signed book:

    Lisa Kleypas
    Sherry Thomas
    Kristan Higgins
    Miranda Neville
    Julie James

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    1. Thanks, Janga. I'm happy that my posts and pictures are able to bring some RWA excitement to those who are not able to attend. My wish is that all readers could experience the RWA Literacy Autographing at least once. It's wild, crazy and jam-packed but so much fun!

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  9. PJ-

    Great tips to remember! I am going to Atlanta-I am excited, but not ready yet. I don't know how it is already July.

    I only get to pick 5? Ok, Eloisa James, Terri Osburn (I've been following her since Squawk Radio and EJ's bb), Sherry Thomas, Jill Shalvis (who I just discovered), and Tessa Dare.

    Di

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    1. Di, how awesome! Are you coming for the entire conference? I'll be volunteering at the registration desk Wednesday morning from 8-10. Stop by and say hello! (or email us at theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com and let us know how to get in touch with you at the conference) I'll have something special for Dishy readers. ;-)

      I'm so excited for Terri Osburn and Manda Collins. It will be the first RWA signing for both. Terrific people and marvelous writers; they deserve every good thing that comes their way. Tessa is, of course, one of my favorite writers and has been since back in the Avon Fan Lit days. Ditto for Courtney Milan. Lots of awesomeness came out of that EJ bulletin board, didn't it?

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    2. I will be there for the whole conference. We arrive on Tuesday, I'll be sure to look for you. (and I'll email you my cell #).

      I wonder if Eloisa knows how many of us she inspired.

      Di

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    3. Can't wait to meet you, Di!

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  10. Wow.... so envious!

    My top 5:
    Julie Anne Long
    Eloisa James
    Sherry Thomas
    Julia Quinn
    Courtney Milan...

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  11. Di R is getting an extra big hug! Please come see me. LOL! You and PJ may be my only visitors, but that would still make it totally worth the trip. :)

    The RWA conference is my only real vacation every year, and it's where I get to hug and hang with my writerly/readerly friends. Cannot wait! (But as someone else said, how is it July already?)

    Oh, and I'll have chocolates. No purchase necessary!

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    1. Of course I'm going to stalk, er find you! (Chocolate is just the icing on the cake!)

      Di

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    2. Terri, I'll be there and plan to visit your table!! :)

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  12. Wow. That took me forever to check out, as I had a VERY LONG list of authors. Sure wish I lived closer so I could attend....

    In no particular order:

    Kathleen O'Brien's BETTING ON THE COWBOY (as I like the twists in her books)
    Vicki Lewis Thompson's WILD AT HEART (as I enjoy her humour and sexual innuendoes)
    Liz Talley's HIS UPTOWN GIRL (as I'm still dreaming about her heroes)
    Olivia Gates' TEMPORARILY HIS PRINCESS (as her books bring me sweet dreams)
    Lynn Raye Harris's A GAME WITH ONE WINNER (as I always wish her stories were longer, and I enjoy watching the hero/heroine's love "come alive")

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  13. What a great contest. Have a wonderful time!!!

    Fav authors: Robyn Carr, Susan Andersen, Rachel Gibson, Kate Angell ane Deb Macomber.

    Would love to win:
    Liliana Hart - Dirty Shame, Paradise Disguised
    Jenny Colgan - Christmas in the Cupcake Cafe
    JoAnn Ross - The Return of Caine O'Halloran
    Kim Law - Sugar Springs

    Natalie's Mama
    lovesthemets@yahoo.com

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  14. My book titles seemed to vanish in cyberspace, so here they are again: LOL.
    Alison Kent - Undeniable, Unbreakable
    Susan Mallery - Two of a Kind
    Juliana Stone - The Summer he came Home
    Robyn Carr - The Newcomer

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  15. Five books would be:
    Down London Road - Samantha Young
    Sweet Madness - Heather Snow
    Unforgiven - Anne Calhoun
    The Chocolate Touch - Laura Florand
    The Firebird - Susanna Kearsley

    Five authors:
    Courtney Milan
    Jill Shalvis
    Julie James
    Nora Roberts
    Loretta Chase

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  16. Five authors:
    Julie James
    Sherry Thomas
    Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Rachel Gibson
    Julie Anne long
    If Meredith Duran and Lisa Kleypas were there, they'd be on the list.

    Five books:
    Love Irresistibly by Julie James
    Any book in Sherry Thomas' Fitzhugh trilogy
    It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long
    That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran
    Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath

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  17. PJ, do you have to sign up in advance for the literacy signing or can you just show up? :-)

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    1. Cheryl, just show up! Last time RWA was at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta the signing was in the ballroom on the level below the main lobby. I imagine it will probably be in the same place but you can ask at the hotel check-in desk or just ask anybody in the lobby who is wearing a RWA badge.

      If you decide to come, shoot me an email at theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com so Andrea and I can meet you in person!

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    2. Yes, shoot us an email, Cheryl! We'd live to meet you!

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    3. Um, that would be LOVE. Lol

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  18. I hope to get to one of these conferences one day. Have a great time and cannot wait to hear your adventures.

    Thenks for the great contest.

    My 5 top authors and it is hard to pick just 5 are: Susan Mallery, Bella Andre, Carolyn Brown, Jill Shalvis and Sherryl Woods.

    My 5 top books that I would love to read are:
    Candis Terry - Anything but Sweet
    Jill Gregory - Blackbird Lake
    Marie Force - Ready to Love
    Jennifer Seasons - Stealing Home (love sports related books)
    Barbara Freethy - Just the Way You Are

    Helen L. (gmapeony@yahoo.com)

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  19. Thanks for a great article on the Literacy Signing, PJ. This will be my third RWA Conference, but, only my first time going to the Signing! All of your suggestions are excellent and very much appreciated. I'll be on the look-out for you and look forward to seeing you again. As for my top five picks, if I'm lucky enough to win; I'll be happy with whatever you choose.

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    1. Excited to see you again, Flora!

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    2. Can't wait to meet you in person, Flora!!! :)

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  20. Barbara Delinsky, Janet Evanovich, any1 that writes comptempary or romance suspense, I guess. Have a great time at the conference... wish I could go too!!!


    Donna

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  21. Ahh...RWA...How I want to go!!! Hopefully next time~ Thanks so much for this chance to win some swag~

    Authors I would love to get a signed book from:
    Tessa Dare
    Eloisa James
    Shana Galen
    Julia Quinn
    Julie Anne Long

    Books I would Love to get:
    Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
    If You Give a Rake a Rube by Shana Galen
    Checkmate My Lord by Tracey Devlyn
    The Last Debutante by Julia London
    Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke by Suzanne Enoch

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  22. My fave five authors...wow, it's hard to limit the number. I guess I'd have to say Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Tanya Anne Crosby, Debbie Macomber and Jennifer Crusie. I would take any book (dare I hope for a recent release?) from them. What a neat idea you had to ask for suggestions for prizes...thank you!

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  23. Jill Shalvis
    Shana Galen
    Anna Campbell
    Robin Carr
    Kristen Higgins

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  24. Wow this is HARD! I know I want Gunpowder and Tea by Margaret Brownley. Other than that, anything by Dorothy Love, Tamera Alexander, Colleen Coble, Miralee Ferrell. I love Karen Witemeyer but I have all of her books. :) Thank you and have fun!!

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  25. PJ, as you know, RWA '06 was my first major book signing, too. I still think about the fact that we probably passed right by each other several times and didn't realize who the other was!

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    1. I'm sure we probably did, Andrea! lol!

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  26. Great advice! Thanks
    Hard to pick 5
    Terri Osburn, for an amazing debut novel
    Manda Collins because she found a way of making a not so nice character into a great read
    Eloisa James
    Sarah Maclean
    Grace Burrowes

    And so many more but these I will def hope to see

    Thanks for the great advice

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  27. This is a tough one! Here are my lists, both alpha by author:

    Five Authors: Laurell K. Hamilton, Lisa Kleypas, Julie Anne Long, Julia Quinn, Nora Roberts

    Five Books: Thirteen--Kelley Armstrong, Any Duchess Will Do--Tessa Dare, A Deeper Darkness--J. T. Ellison, About that Night--Julie James, Ravishing the Heiress--Sherry Thomas

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  28. So hard to choose but here goes:
    Authors:
    Toni Blake
    Rachel Gibson
    Linda Lael Miller
    Carly Phillips
    Susan Andersen

    Books:
    Juliana Stone - The Summer He Came Home
    Rachel Gibson - Run to You
    Alison Kent - Last Chance Cafe
    Liliana Hart - All About Evie
    Barbara Freethy - On A Night LIke This

    I love my contemps. LOL.

    Patty B
    ATbrenn@verizon.net

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  29. Well off the top of my head:

    Kathryne Kennedy
    Grace Burrowes
    Jill Shalvis
    Nora Roberts
    Shana Galen

    I would have to say any books by the same authors!!

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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  30. Here are my top 5 author!

    Kerrelyn Sparks.
    Kresley Cole.
    Jennifer Ashley.
    Tessa Dare.
    Gena Showalter.

    And any books by those authors! Ha! ;-)

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  31. I think that my head would explode if I was able to attend such a great big event like that lol :) One of these days I'm gonna march myself there! Right off the top of my head my list would be:

    Kristan Higgins
    Jill Shalvis
    Sherry Thomas
    Manda Collins
    Nora Roberts

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  32. Karen Hawkins, Jill Shalvis, Jillian Hunter, Julie James,Vicki Dreiling

    How to Pursue a Princess- Karen Hawkins
    Lucky In Love -Jill Shalvis
    About That Night- Julie James
    It Takes two to Tangle- Theresa Romain
    London's Last True Scoundrel- Donna MacMeans

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  33. WOnderful. Barbara Delinsky
    Eloisa James
    Nora Roberts
    Tessa Dare
    Carly Philips

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  34. Jenny Colgan
    Syrie James
    Erika Marks
    Daphne Kalotay
    jennifer Donnelly.

    What a treat this is. thanks for this great post.

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  35. I have won several autographed books even one from my favorite author Eloisa James, but would still like to meet her. So my list is authors I want that don't already have.
    Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd, Monica Mccarty,Lynsay Sands.
    Books would be Once Upon a Tower Eloisa James, The Scottish Witch Cathy Maxwell, Stephaine Laurens The Taming of Ryder Cavannaugh,Johanna Lindsey One Heart of my Own, Seduced at Sunset Julianne Maclean
    That was hard

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  36. I do have several signed copies from authors. My most favorite one is by Charlaine Harris, I got to meet her several years ago and she was the nicest lady.
    Top 5 authors autographs I would love would be:
    Lauren Dane
    Jeaniene Frost
    Laurell K Hamilton
    Lynsay Sands
    Julia Quinn
    Top 5 books to be signed:
    Lauren Dane-any of the Chase Brothers books
    Lynsay Sands-any of the Argeneau series(mostly the book 1 through 5)don't have any of those
    Julia Quinn-The Duke and I (my fav)
    Laurell K Hamilton-either Blue Moon or Narcissus in Chains
    Jeanine Frost-Halfway to the Grave.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

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  37. Jill Shalvis Lucky in Love
    Jodi Thomas Welcome to Harmony
    Susan Mallary Two of a Kind
    Robyn Carr The Newcomer
    Vince Flynn The Last Man

    Mickey3214 at aol dot com

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  38. My top 5 authors (in no particular order)

    Meljean Brook
    Jeaniene Frost
    Darynda Jones
    Karen White
    Vicki Lewis Thompson

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  39. Tessa Dare
    Susan Wiggs
    Juliana Gray
    Karen White
    Julie Ann Long
    and hopefully Susanna Kearsley

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