On Meeting Kristan Higgins, Authors and Romance Wine & Chocolate 2018

In 2017 I experienced one of the most memorable days of my life.  The day I met New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins in person.
Meeting authors is exciting, but to me it was an even more meaningful experience meeting Kristan. You see, she was my gateway author into Romancelandia. I’d been waiting seven long years for this day!
But first, let’s go back in time so you understand why..
When I discovered books by Kristan Higgins in 2010 she had only published five at the time. I didn’t know who she was, I just came across her books at my public library. Her first covers featured those headless couples with cute pets on them. That’s what made me pick up her books. I was in a slump after reading a very sad book and figured those books with adorable pups would lift my spirits. So I checked them out.
 Minuet wasn’t around at the time. She’s just modeling with my collection of older and newer covers. She’s probably wishing she could be on one of Kristan’s covers some day.

 Lift my spirits her books did! In fact, I hadn’t wiped heartfelt tears of laughter, heartache and joy like that before! Oh, and the endings! I swooned and sighed with every happily ever after. I was so captivated by her writing that I wanted more. So I went back to my library and found out that Ms. Higgins didn’t have any other books out yet. But I needed my KH fix! I was “Hooked on Higgins.” (FYI- I invented that line) I went back home and reread her books and then inside The Next Best Thing I came across her “Dear Reader” page. It didn’t cross my mind to Google her, because we didn’t do that back then. It was just her books, my library and me.
The Next Best Thing
So, as I read the last two lines “Let me know how you enjoyed the book! It’s always such a pleasure to hear from readers.”  that made me take the leap. I visited her website listed right under her name, and I wrote my first author email. Never in a million years did I expect a reply the next day. I called my friend (okay, yelled with excitement) “SHE WROTE BACK!!!” My friend said “Oh, it’s probably from her publicist.” with an incredulous tone. I knew it was Kristan, because I could read her voice in her reply. I wrote back immediately and she replied again the following day, this time inviting me to follow her on Facebook. HA! I knew it was her! 

 

This, my friends, is what I like to describe as the moment when Kristan Higgins took my hand and lead me through Facebook into the world of Romancelandia, just like when Lucy walked through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia. 
She opened my eyes to an amazing new world! Authors now appeared to me as real women I could engage with, not just celebrities. Most are so down to earth, I kid you not!  
I started following Kristan Higgins on Facebook in 2010. She had around 2,500 Likes on Facebook maybe? I’d take her recommendations of books by authors I hadn’t read while she was busy writing her next novel. When I finished reading each book, I’d ask her if she thought it was okay for me to write to the authors, and she’d  say “Yes! Absolutely! They’d love to hear from you.” So I did! I discovered then that authors are a very generous and supportive community. A sisterhood. 
Fast forward two years. It’s 2012. Now I had read and engaged with so many authors on Facebook, but I was alone, as in I didn’t have friends who enjoyed reading in my community. I didn’t belong to a book club, but I loved the new online community of reader friends from all around the world, and writers I’d met. So I decided to create Lorelei’s Lit Lair on Facebook, just for “My Tribe”. Yes, we’re a mighty fine tribe.

Books
began to hold a whole new meaning to me.
Something I’ve come to
appreciate as works of art, written by talented women of all
backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge, not just a story. I was holding “their babies
in my hands! They all share in common LOVE. ROMANCE. In all forms of
expression, passion and heat levels. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind
of genre, thankfully! There’s a story for every reader’s comfort zone
and imagination. 
Fast Forward two more years. It’s 2014. Now I have a Facebook Page and Blog, where I share book recommendations on social media, host reader and author events in my community through my public library, Author Spotlights & Giveaways on my website and so much more.

 Fast Forward three more years. It’s July 2017. Romance Writer’s of America is being held in my home town, where I finally get to meet with so many authors and readers I’d been interacting with since 2010. Friends, it was an extraordinary experience! 
So, on July 26th 2017 the long awaited day finally came. After seven years I’m super excited to finally meet Kristan. But a few minutes before, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Kieran Kramer for the first time, too! You can clearly see the excitement and joy in our expressions. 

As we took this selfie we were chatting away and then Kristan showed up!
 Kieran shared with me her point of view from that day (I was in a total state of awe) :
“I was
having a lovely conversation with Lorelei. It was the first time we’d
met, and I could immediately tell she was a ray of sunshine wherever she
went. And then her face lit up. “Oh, I’m having breakfast with
Kristan,” she said, “and here she is!” I turned around, and there was
Kristan, looking gorgeous, and all smiles herself. She and Lorelei
hugged, and I remember Kristan saying, “You’re so beautiful!” to
Lorelei. Their hug went on and on. I could see that they were both very
moved by their meeting. I was getting a little choked up myself at how
happy they were to see each other! It was a wonderful moment for me at
the conference, so I can just imagine how special it was for Kristan and
Lorelei. I took a few pictures and sent them to Lorelei so she’d always
have a visual reminder of the time she and Kristan finally got to meet
in person. I’m really glad I was there to witness it and take those
pictures!”

A million Thanks, Kieran Kramer!
During
these past 8 years Kristan Higgins and the wonderful community of writers
showed me something you don’t get from just reading books.
 
💓Through
authors you get to meet and engage with new people of similar interests. 
💓You support causes like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and many other
causes and organizations when you buy their books.  
💓You win prizes from
thousands of giveaways on author’s websites and on social media. 
💓You
become a part of a beautiful, supportive community, one that gives you a
pick-me-up when you’re feeling down.  
💓You build lifelong friendships
with readers around the world.  
💓Belonging. 💓Healing. 💓Friendships 💓Acceptance. 💓Love.
 
💓These are all wonderful things I would have missed out on, if I’d just
read books at home and moved on to the next one. My reading experience
has been an amazing one.
 I want to pass on that experience to others
through events I host. To you- Romance, Wine & Chocolate attendees and all who follow Lorelei’s Lit Lair.
Romance, Wine & Chocolate 2016
Romance, Wine & Chocolate 2017
February 2018 Author Skype with Kristan Higgins
This week on Friday August 31st, over 120+ readers will get their moment to cherish and create special memories with the 10
authors of Romance Wine & Chocolate 2018.
Authors will be sharing their unique talents of storytelling with all:
 Barbara LongleyMadeline MartinJudy McDonough Priscilla Oliveras

Now you know why having Kristan Higgins as the keynote speaker at this
year’s Romance, Wine & Chocolate is extra special to me. 

 To all the fantabulous authors I’ve met throughout the years, thank you for your stories, love, support, gifts and kindness. You’ve brought countless hours of joy and happy memories to my heart.  Let’s continue spreading the love and Happily Ever Afters! 

To my reader friends, I hope you have an amazing experience!  

How has your experience been in meeting authors? Do you remember who was your gateway author into reading romance or other genre? Have you attended RWC before? _________________________________________________________________________________

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