Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Today's Special - - PJ's Birthday Retreat




You may have noticed that I didn't celebrate my birthday on the blog last month. It wasn't that I forgot...though I'm certainly old enough where that could be a legitimate concern. And it wasn't that this was a milestone year that I would have preferred to ignore...though it was the birthday year that one of my brothers dubbed "social and secure." Yeah, it was that one. However, the real reason I didn't throw a Dish party this year is that I had decamped to the other coast for the week.

I decided to give myself a birthday gift this year and that gift was a week in Spokane, Washington. Okay, I can see you all shaking your heads and muttering, "Spokane?" True, it had never been on my list of must-see places but I had good reasons for going there. Very good reasons. Authors Delilah Marvelle and Renee Bernard were hosting the inaugural Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane and one of my favorite authors (and people), Anna Campbell was coming over from Australia for the first time in six years. Happy Birthday to me!





Anna and I flew into town on Monday and spent a few days playing tourist before the Historical Romance Retreat (HRR) began on Thursday. I really didn't know anything about Spokane before arriving but it's a lovely city, steeped in history and resplendent in its natural beauty. We saw a lot in our three days while barely scraping the surface of all she has to offer.











Spokane has acres of beautiful parks. The Japanese and Rose gardens at Manito Park were my favorites.












They have good restaurants too. My birthday dinner at Clinkerdagger (located in a 100 year old flour mill) was fabulous. In fact, we enjoyed our dinners so much we went back there again the next night!













Arts and Culture are key components of life in Spokane as evidenced by the many beautiful sculptures are found throughout the city.









Spokane also has a beautiful Riverfront and waterfall that winds through the downtown area.









On Wednesday, Anna and I left our hotel on the Riverfront and moved over to the Historic Davenport Hotel, a Spokane landmark where history lurks in every corner. The hotel opened in 1914 and, as their website notes, is a "singular combination of world-class service, palatial splendor, and inviting warmth." For this first Historical Romance Retreat, I could not have imagined a more perfect location. From the moment I walked through the doors, it was as if I stepped back in time.









The kind gentleman who delivered my luggage to my room was very concerned about my ability to get into the (very high) bed without the aid of stairs. For the record, I managed on my own but I'm oh so glad nobody thought to take a video of the process! LOL!










I don't think I have enough superlatives to describe how wonderful the 2016 HRR was. Everything about it was exquisite, beginning with Thursday's night's showing of the 1951 romantic comedy, The Law and the Lady at the elegant Bing Crosby Theater next door to the hotel.










That was followed by high tea Friday afternoon...















a rousing good time at gambling night...
















the book signing Saturday afternoon...
















the Grand Ball Saturday night...
(Husbands got into the spirit of things too!)













and a farewell breakfast on Sunday.














In between those fabulous events was plenty of time for relaxing, chatting with other historical romance readers and authors, and a quick trip to beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with Anna Campbell, Elizabeth Boyle, and Laura Lee Guhrke.








All in all, the Historical Romance Retreat was a fabulous experience that I can't wait to repeat in 2017!








Jenn LeBlanc welcoming attendees!





















Not everyone dressed in costume but those who did looked fabulous. And many who did made their own costumes. I am in awe of their talent!

















Author Anthea Lawson and her husband provided beautiful music for high tea.

















Elizabeth Essex looking like she stepped from the pages of a book.





















Renee Bernard, ready for a night at the Regency style gambling tables!















The fabulous Delilah Marvelle at the Grand Ball.





















Erin Knightley, Ashlyn MacNamara, and Valerie Bowman are ready to dance the night away.















Laura Lee Guhrke. Love her books!


















My wonderful roommate, Rose Lerner, looking very chic 1920's style.












May I have this dance? 
Delilah Marvelle and her husband waltzing the night away at the HRR Grand Ball. 











With the lovely Tessa Dare. Have you read her fabulous Do You Want to Start a Scandal yet? My favorite historical romance of 2016!

















The adorable and very talented Wendy LaCapra.














Hanging out with Karen Hawkins who always makes me laugh.
















Katherine Bone ready to sail away on the high seas.

















Elizabeth Hoyt and Madeline Hunter














Julie Johnstone. Love her Scottish medieval romances!














Victoria Alexander looking regal.



















With one of my favorite Canadians, Lila DiPasqua!














So thrilled to meet Mary Balogh...















...and Linda Lael Miller.















And that's how I spent my birthday.

If you'd like to see the rest of my (many) photos from my Spokane getaway, I have them posted at my Facebook page as well as The Romance Dish's Facebook page.

For more information about the 2016 Historical Romance Retreat, visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. News about the 2017 HRR will be announced in early January.

Do you enjoy stepping back in time though the pages of historical romance?

Would you attend a historical romance retreat with other readers and authors?

Which historical romance authors would you most like to meet?

How did you spend your birthday this year?


Four randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's post will each receive one signed historical romance from my conference stash. (U.S. / Canada only) Deadline to be entered in giveaway is 11:00 PM, October 12, 2016.








27 comments:

  1. I love stepping back in times especially with highlander romances

    Yes I would love to attend a romance retreat alas I've never had the chance to do so

    I read and appreciate all authors and their work so any author I meet would be a god send to me

    I had a quiet birthday this year nothing fancy

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  2. For me stepping back in time would be a wonderful experience. A romance retreat sounds incredible. The authors whom I read are extraordinary in their talent and books. Mary Balogh, Eloisa James and so many others. My birthday is yet to come but my birthday is usually quiet since I haven't been well for 4 years.

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  3. HAPPY (late) BIRTHDAY, PJ!!!!

    I adore losing myself in historical novels - especially romances. I read contemporary but historicalshe are my main reading.

    I would LOVE to attend a historical romance retreat! (Even better if I could get my hubby to go and dress in period costume!)

    There are so many authors I'd love to meet, I have trouble narrowing down the list.

    Way back in February, my husband and I took a long weekend to visit Fredericksburg, Texas. My birthday is only 3 days away from our anniversary so we combine the celebration. :-)

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  4. I would love to have the opportunity to time travel to another era and realm. Romance in Regency England would be special. I would read all historical authors whose books give me pleasure. My birthday is a family celebration but I would love to have a really special one, a trip, extravagant outing and remember the beauty and event.

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  5. A wonderful recap, PJ! You definitely had a memorable birthday. I loved all the photos you so generously shared here and on FB. Thanks for allowing all us armchair travelers to experience the retreat vicariously. And I so envy your meeting Mary Balogh! I would have been speechless with awe.

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  6. I love reading historical romances. In school my favorite subjects were history and reading/literature, so this genre is a perfect mix for me. The type of event you went to sounds like a blast! I am glad that you got to do something fun and unique for your birthday.

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  7. Wow. This looks like a marvelous retreat. I love all the costume pics. It looks like there was an incredible amount of creativity and fun there! Victoria Alexander's hat looks like a perfect fit to take to the Kentucky Derby, if she wants to re-use it for another outing, or, you know, loan it to someone else...hint, hint.

    On to the questions. Yes, I enjoy historical romances quite a bit. It's my favorite romance sub-genre. What wonderful authors you had at the retreat. If I could add a few names of authors not shown who I'd like to meet: Julia Quinn, Julie Anne Long, Lisa Kleypas, Grace Burrowes, Sherry Thomas, Courtney Milan and Loretta Chase. Thanks for a fun post. And a warm (late) happy birthday wish to you, P.J.

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  8. That looks like so much fun. I love to visit out of the way, not normal tourist attractions. Attending the ball must have been exciting, like stepping back in time. The best birthday party Ever!

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  9. That looks like so much fun. I love to visit out of the way, not normal tourist attractions. Attending the ball must have been exciting, like stepping back in time. The best birthday party Ever!

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  10. It looks like everyone had a grand time! I wanted to go to the HHR this year but it wasn't meant to be. I am so hopeful that next year is the year for me. Hown awesome for you to spend time with such cool people on your Bday month!

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  11. Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a wonderful time celebrating.

    denise

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  12. You looked like you had a fabulous time celebrating your birthday.I would love to travel back to Scottish times. Love a man in a kilt. Karen Hawkins and Paula Quinn. I was so sick on my birthday. I finally started feeling better in mid-July.

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  13. That looks like a wonderful week - thank you for sharing all the pictures!

    I do love historical romances, especially Medieval stories.
    Going to a retreat would be great fun - I'd love to meet any historical romance author - especially Mary Balogh, Stephanie Laurens, Karen Hawkins, Eloisa James ....
    My birthday was in early September and my nephew, his wife plus two little boys were visiting from Virginia - we all took the train into NYC and went to the Museum of Natural History to see the Dinosaurs - I haven't been there in years.

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  14. I adore Historical Romance books, Regency being my favorite. I would love to go on a historical romance retreat with Authors and other readers. I have way too many favorite authors to name a particular one. My birthday was spent quietly this year......just like it is every year.

    I absolutely loved looking at all your pictures from your birthday trip. I wish that the video of Delilah and her husband waltzing had been longer. How wonderful that Anna came over from Australia.

    Happy belated birthday to you.

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  15. I would love to step back in time. Especially with a few Highlanders. What a fabulous time you must have had. The pics are great. I haven't made it yet to a convention or retreat. But I'm planning on making it in the future. My birthday was very quiet this past March. Thank you for sharing your week in Spokane.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  16. I would love to step back in time. Especially with a few Highlanders. What a fabulous time you must have had. The pics are great. I haven't made it yet to a convention or retreat. But I'm planning on making it in the future. My birthday was very quiet this past March. Thank you for sharing your week in Spokane.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  17. It looks like you had a wonderful time - and Happy Birthday, again! My husband lived in Spokane for a while and always said it was his favorite place (he was an air force brat who traveled the world). Yes and yes to your first questions. I have so many favorites but will say Grace Burrowes, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Katherine Kennedy and Anna Campbell to name a few. We try to do dinner out and maybe a movie with our immediate family for our birthdays!

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  18. Glad to hear that you had a wonderful birthday "retreat"!! I love historical romance! It's so much fun to step back in time and experience the grand romance :) I would love to go to historical romance retreat! I would love to visit/meet any of the authors that you spotlighted! Thanks for sharing!

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  19. Thanks for sharing, PJ! and Happy Belated Birthday! I'm with Janga, I would have been tongue tied meeting Mary Balogh! I'm a true introvert and meeting authors freaks me out, but being in their presence and hearing them speak is amazing. I've been to see Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Eloisa James, though. I did muster the courage to speak to Eloisa. LOL ...And now you've got me wanting to visit Spokane!!!

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  20. I'm so glad you celebrated with such lovely and wonderful people! It'll definitely be a birthday to remember. And it was so good to see you!

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  21. I certainly do like to go back in time through my romance novels. It's so nice to dream about being there and experience all of the glamour (and not so glamorous) events of the time period.

    I would love to have been in Spokane with all of you. My Facebook friends, Carol Cork and Wendy Loveridge, traveled all the way from the UK to be there. I would love to meet them one day. Very lovely ladies!

    I want to meet so many historical romance authors. The list is a long one but I'll name a few: Shana Galen, Valerie Bowman, Sophie Barnes, Caroline Linden, Kate Noble, Vanessa Kelly, Kelly Bowen, Lisa Kleypas....and the list is endless.

    I didn't do anything special for my birthday last February. I turned 70 - gasp - so I thought a good day on this side of the dirt was all I could ask for. ;-)

    So glad you got to celebrate your birthday doing something that I know you love.

    Thanks for sharing some of your conference stash with your followers! I know you'll make some people very happy.

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  22. Happy Belated Birthday! I enjoy reading historical romance novels. For historicals, I'd like to meet Sherry Thomas, Judith McNaught and Julia Quinn; for contemporaries, I'd like to meet Julie James and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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  23. I had an allergy shot on my birthday, I think.

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  24. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday at a lovely authors/readers retreat, looks like so much fun! I would love to meet Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas since they're two of my favorite historical romance authors. And I haven't celebrated my birthday yet, I have to wait until December! :-)

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  25. Happy Belated Birthday PJ! Thanks for sharing the pics, looks like everyone was having a ball. I wish I could have joined in on the fun! :-) I see you met up with two of my fave authors in Tessa Dare and Karen Hawkins, along with Lisa Kleypas, Eloisa James, Monica McCarty and Julia Quinn, they make up just a portion of my must-meet authors bucket list! I had a very quiet birthday celebrating with my family last month, just the way I like it!

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  26. Of course, I would love to step back in time to the Victorian or Regency ages. I wonder how difficult it was to have less freedom and more obligations to your family. I've been to Romance author readings, but since I'm in school for 3 months, cannot go on a retreat. I'd enjoy meeting Georgette Heyer, because she's the first romance author that I read as a teen. My birthday was spent with my adult age kids, we had a flight of wine, cheese and charcuterie board, then across the street to my favorite Turkish restaurant.

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  27. Of course, I would love to step back in time to the Victorian or Regency ages. I wonder how difficult it was to have less freedom and more obligations to your family. I've been to Romance author readings, but since I'm in school for 3 months, cannot go on a retreat. I'd enjoy meeting Georgette Heyer, because she's the first romance author that I read as a teen. My birthday was spent with my adult age kids, we had a flight of wine, cheese and charcuterie board, then across the street to my favorite Turkish restaurant.

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