Thursday, October 26, 2017

PJ's Adventures - - Buns & Roses

Lorraine Heath
One of my goals for this year is to visit new places and meet new people. This past weekend I did both when I traveled to Texas to attend the 2017 Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy. I had heard about B&R from Lorraine Heath, a driving force behind the event and Donna Finlay, a hardworking B&R committee member and was eager to experience it firsthand. This Tea - a whole weekend of events, actually - benefits the Richardson (TX) Adult Literacy Center, an organization with the mission to transform lives by "providing English as a second language instruction to adults who live or work in Richardson or the Richardson Independent School District area." In the past year, more than 500 adults have been helped by their English as a Second Language programs in classes that are all taught by trained volunteers. Literacy is a cause near and dear to my heart so, of course, I was happy to direct my dollars their way. Add to that a fun weekend with thirty romance authors plus fellow romance readers and how could I say no? I'm so glad I said yes! Here are a few highlights from my Buns & Roses weekend.

Fellow reader - and B&R committee member - Donna Finlay picked me up at the airport Friday morning and was my host for the day. She took me to the adorable town of Grapevine where I could have spent the entire day browsing the shops. Spices and Teas and Pastries...Oh, My! 

Friday night, I joined good friend Suzanne Ferrell and her husband for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. The food was delicious, the ambiance made me feel like I was in old Mexico, and the company was, as always, superb. I love catching up with old friends! If you haven't read Suzanne's terrific romantic suspense novels, I highly recommend them. Her newest, Close to Danger was just released October 10.

Janna MacGregor and Valerie Bowman

On Saturday, about 30 authors and readers gathered at Spring Creek BBQ in Garland for some down-home Texas deliciousness. The conversation was lively, the smiles, beaming, and the food, superb. Janna and Valerie both have new books coming out on October 31. Be sure to check out The Bride Who Got Lucky and The Right Kind of Rogue. I loved both of them!

Julia London, Cindy Nord, PJ, Mary Jo Putney

Following lunch, we all headed for Barnes & Noble at the Firewheel Town Center where 20 romance authors signed books with B&N generously donating a portion of all book sales to the Literacy Center. Smart, talented, wonderful women gathering for a good cause. Such fun! 

Jo Davis, Kari Lynn Dell, Elizabeth Essex, Cheryl Etchison

After the signing, we were on our way to the Buns & Roses VIP Authors' Reception at the home of committee member, Karen. What a gracious hostess she is! See that quilt over there? It was made by committee member, Wanda and included each of this year's authors. All 30 of them! The quilt was raffled off at the Tea on Sunday. Alas, I didn't win but not for lack of stuffing the box with raffle tickets. ;-)

Sunday brought the main event: The Buns & Roses Tea. What a fun time! I met online friends in person for the first time, caught up with friends I didn't know would be there, and made new friends, something I always enjoy. Here I am with the fabulous Lenora Bell! Are you reading her books? I love them! I already have my calendar marked for her next book, What a Difference a Duke Makes, due out in March. 

With one of my all-time favorite authors, Sabrina Jeffries. I'm so excited for her next book, The Secret of Flirting, due out in March. Baron Fulkham finally meets his match! 

Sabrina Jeffries & PJ

Diane Kelly and D.D. Ayres
In the "it's a small world" category, I even discovered an unexpected connection to one of those new friends. At the Tea, each author hosts a table. I sat with Diane Kelly (who is delightful in addition to being a terrific author!). As lunch was served, I heard a woman on the opposite side of the large, round table mention being a Cubs fan (I am too). I introduced myself, we started chatting, and eventually discovered that when she was growing up her family vacationed every summer on a small lake in Michigan...the same small lake I grew up on! A woman from Chicago who now lives in Dallas sits down at a table with a woman from Michigan who now lives in North Carolina and they discover they both spent time on the same small lake between two tiny towns in Michigan. What are the odds? You never know what you'll discover when you smile and chat with a stranger.

You just know there's mischief brewing with these four! 

Tracey Livesay, Ilona Andrews, Cathy Maxwell, Cheryl Etchison

Kerrelyn Sparks

In addition to the Tea, Sunday afternoon also included the auction of several donated items (really good items!), the raffle of the quilt and a Kindle Paperwhite, and a book signing with all thirty authors. Each person in attendance at the Tea received a beautiful Buns & Roses Autograph Keepsake book (designed by Lyndsey Lewellen who designs fabulous romance covers) which the authors happily signed. The B&R committee thinks of everything!

One of the special highlights of attending events like this is connecting with online reader friends...

Ladies of the Facebook Old School Romance Book Club

A special highlight of the afternoon is the unveiling of the Buns & Roses Bear. Each year, adorable stuffed bears are donated, then costumed by a volunteer in a theme connected to that year's guest speaker. The bears are pre-sold and any still available are then sold at the Tea in a high-energy process with women all over the room madly waving $20 bills in the air and hoping to take one of these cuties home. This year's magic wizard bear (Isn't he adorable?) was themed for the speakers, husband and wife writing team Ilona Andrews who gave an inspiring speech about the impact of literacy on their lives. By the way, if you have not yet discovered their books, I highly recommend anything written by these talented writers!

Because it's all about the shoes...

And the laughter...

PJ & Cathy Maxwell

And the smiles...

Addison Fox

And the cake...

I love when people come together for fun and a good cause. Buns & Roses combines the two in an event that is not to be missed. I had the best time and am already hoping for a return visit.

What was your last adventure?

Have you participated in any "events for a cause" lately?

What authors would you most like to meet in person?

One randomly chosen person will receive a signed book and the Buns & Roses Autograph Keepsake book. (U.S. only)

One randomly chosen person will receive a signed copy of Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews and a 2017 Buns & Roses Bear. (U.S. only)


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  2. I want your get to go to and meet some wonderful people. My last adventure was my trip to England and Scotland this year. It was an adventure just getting up at 5 am to be ready to leave on the bus at 6-30 for an 16 hour day driving and stopping off at several exciting places. I would love to meet so many wonderful Authors, too many to mention, and I don't want to offend any of them by leaving their name off my list. The only "cause" that I've been involved in lately is having to cook dinner again every day now that my husband no longer works away from home.


    1. I'd say you had a pretty good adventure this year too, Diane! Scotland is on my bucket list. One of these years...

    2. PJ, if you do go to Scotland, then I would recommend NOT doing a tour. They only allow you so long at various stops. I so wanted to stay longer at Culloden, but we were only given 45 mins to eat and view the battlefield. I could have stayed there for hours. It was the same everywhere we went. Next time I go, I will drive myself around.

  3. That looks like a lovely event! I wish we had something like it in my country :)

    I'd love to meet Ilona and Gordon and Nalini Singh and Kresley Cole and many others :D

    PS: Not participating in the giveaway.

    1. Ilona and Gordon were so lovely. They really do appreciate their readers.

  4. Patricia Bennett BarberOctober 26, 2017 at 1:59 PM

    My last adventure was going to the RWA 2017 And trying to meet all the author's there. Didn't get to all of them, but won a seat at Debbie Mason's table :)
    Still want to meet Susan Mallery, Susan Wiggs, And so many more.

    1. Glad you won that seat at Debbie's table, Patricia since that's where I met you! :)

  5. Hubby and I just returned from a trip to Kentucky. Let me tell you, I am closely checking out the hats some of the conference attendees are wearing, in preparation for next year's Kentucky Derby! The last event for a cause I attended was a spring gala to benefit a local retreat center. Thanks for sharing your pics.

    1. There were some fabulous hats, LSUReader. My personal favorite was Tracey Livesay's (the yellow one in the photo above). Of course, it would never look as good on me as it does on her. The woman won the trifecta: brains, talent, and beauty! She's a new to me author and I've heard great things about her books. I picked up one at the signing and downloaded the others to my Kindle. They're conveniently on sale for $1.99 each. :)

  6. I've been patiently awaiting this write up. What a fantastic event and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Although, I think you could have fun just about anywhere. I'm still envious of the quilt winner. I've been looking at it for months now. So sweet. My last adventure was RT#17 but everyday is an adventure when you have good books and my crazy family. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us as always, PJ! ❤

  7. my last real adventure just for me was more than a year ago. I bid (and won) on some books and services by authors through several blogs or RWA sites.

    I'd love to meet Debbie Macomber--she seems like a genuinely nice person.


  8. One of the many wonderful things about being friends with you, PJ, is that your photographs and words allow me to experience vicariously all these amazing trips that I will never make. Thanks for sharing. You all look as if you are having so much fun! Love those smiles.

  9. It seems you had so much fun. Love the pic of the shoes, because who doesn't love shoes, right? ;)
    My last adventure was to Orlando and Jacksonville, FL with my brother and the nephews. I loved to travel with them but it was also a great responsibility. They are not my children and I thought what if anything happened to them! We still had an awesome time in Universal Studios and the beach.

  10. Looks like you had a fantastic time, PJ - always enjoy seeing your pictures!
    The last 'event for a cause' in which I participated was Penned Conn in St Louis this past September. $14,000 was raised for Action for Autism.
    Looking forward to the next 'event for a cause' - November 1st is the release of Love Around the Table, a short story anthology by six GA authors. I feel privileged to be part of this project. We'll be donating 100% of the ebook sales to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. We'll have a book signing on December 3rd at one of the Ronald McDonald Houses.

  11. In August we went to Seattle for our daughters wedding. Never had been there before. Puget Sound with all the sail boats, Mount Rainier and wine tasting tour. MDA had there lock up yesterday. You are brought to Rizzo's by the sheriff. To get out you need to call 10 friends who'll pledge money. Once that is done, you are free to eat. A lot of fun. As for who I would love to most meet, to many to list. Debbie Mason, Christina Dodd and Jessica Lemmon.

  12. In late summer we drove the 'slow roads' from NJ to SC. Stopped in Cape May NJ (never been there before) & took the Cape May -> Lewes Del ferry (that was fun); went down the Eastern Shore & across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. On to Wilmington NC then thru Myrtle Beach (that place is crazy crowded) and then to the Isle of Palms for a week at the beach with family. Just a little adventure, but fun.

  13. Oh that looks like so much fun! I'm glad you had such a good time and everything looks amazing! I sat by Lorraine Heath 2 years ago at Barbara Vey and of course you & Lenora Bell this year. I wish I could have gone to this.

  14. I would love to meet Vanessa Kelly. As to adventures, we recently were at Disney World for Epcot Food and Wine Festival and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party. As to events for a cause the RWA Orlando Literacy Book Signing in July.

  15. The last event was at Barbara Vey's luncheon where I met you among others. Since then I had lunch with Jeannie Moon in Long Island and Lizbeth Selvig here in Minnesota. I also had the pleasure of hearing Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak, with Lizbeth and other reader friends. SEP's sister was in the audience too since she lives in MN. PJ - I didn't know you grew you grew up in Chicago. I did too. We will have to talk about that when we meet up again.

  16. My most recent adventure was a week in Newport Rhode Island with my husband. We visited all the mansions The Preservation Society has. The are such works of art. It is such a shame, and in some cases criminal, that so many were destroyed. The craftsmanship used to build them and the art included in them is incredible.
    We are always working on events for a cause. We are Red Cross Disaster, Blood Donor, and Service To The Armed Forces volunteers. We do a lot with them, though fund raising usually is not part of it other than encouraging people to donate. We are involved with Honor Flight which takes WWII, Korean War, and other veterans to Washington, DC to see the memorials. Our group went several weeks ago, they go every October and April. We do work their fundraisers and had a planning meeting tonight for a fundraising breakfast we are doing Saturday of next week. We also worked on a fundraising dinner members of our church are giving tomorrow night to raise funds for a children's mission in India.
    The Buns and Roses is an event I have wanted to attend for several years. Hopefully I will get to do it one year. I collect bears and want to add one of theirs to my collection. What better way than to attend with the added bonus of having a good time and meeting such wonderful people. I am glad you were finally able to attend.

  17. It looks like you had a wonderful time. I love seeing your pictures. I really haven't had any adventures due to health issues and it's so hard to choose just one Author because I love so many. One I will mention from my list is JR Ward.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  18. How special and wonderful. Your photos are memorable. I have not travelled for 5 years due to serious medical problems. To meet any author would be great.

  19. Your experience and the pictures reflect this beautiful event. I would love to meet so many of those authors which are all treasures. Adventures at the beach one summer which is enjoyable. I prepare, cook and give generously to family and friends who I love helping.

  20. Wow, it looks like such a fun event. Thanks for sharing so that we could enjoy it vicariously! The last adventure I had was a trip to France. It was early this year and my daughter was studying at a university there for the year. She managed to work a side job and save up some of her stipend to surprise me with a round trip ticket to visit her. We wined, dined, cheesed and gallivanted through museums. I haven't participated in an event for a cause for some years, but have been looking for something for some time. The current author I would most like to meet is Patricia Briggs.