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Looking Back at the Romance, Wine & Chocolate ’17 Event!

One of the many highlights in 2017 was the Romance, Wine, & Chocolate event sponsored by the Orange County Library System and Lorelei’s Lit Lair. Let’s enjoy this recap of an amazing evening in September, as 2017 comes to an end…
Around 120+ guests enjoyed a delightful evening at the 2nd annual Romance, Wine & Chocolate event hosted by the Alafaya Library and Lorelei’s Lit Lair on September 1st, 2017 in Orlando, FL. Here’s a fun retelling from Lit Lair Lady Karen’s Corner. Enjoy! Yet another fabulous night rich with romantic authors, delicious wine, and tempting chocolate has come to pass.  Alas…parting is such sweet sorrow.  (Am I allowed to use Shakespeare here?  I mean, I seriously liked that wine!)  So, what did we learn that night, besides the fact that all of those authors are awesome, hilarious, beautiful human beings?  Let’s recap….


Karen Rose:  Likes to traumatize people.  When asked what she would like her readers to get from her books, she said, “I hope that I scare them.”  She also said that she hopes readers stay up all night reading because she stays up all night writing.  (Well, that’s fair.)  When she was first investigating the Romantic Suspense genre, she read a book backwards to figure out the clue trail. (Can you tell she was an engineer?)  And, she watches a lot of Law and Order.  We need to check out Monster in the Closet.



Violet Howe:  With her purple hair and zebra pants you have to know she’s going to be awesome.  And she is.  And she’s sweet, too.  Why does she write what she writes?  She said, “I love romance and I love cheering for love.”  She also wants to make people think and laugh.  I look forward to reading Maggie where I believe we will do both.
FYI: Violet—thanks for going against the grain and writing about a woman in her 40’s!


Alyssa Day:  She’s written in almost all genres from non-fiction to paranormal romance.  (Wow!)  What she loves about the romance influence is “that I love the comfort of knowing things are going to go right.”  Although she said a word that has maybe never been uttered before in a library (hint, a cat term—way to shake things up, Alyssa!), she was delightful in her certainty that love triumphs and good triumphs.  Looking forward to checking out Damon’s Enchantress—coming soon—about a setting stuff on fire, a lion, and a parrot.   In the meantime, I’m checking out Alejandro’s Sorceress.


Tracy Solheim:  After writing for Congress, the romance genre allowed her a creativity and joy that her work life was lacking.  She really “wanted to be creative” with her writing.  And she is that.  She also wants her readers to have an escape.  I love that proceeds from Smolder go to Red Cross to help fire victims.  Looking forward to reading it, Tracy!



Heather Burch: Writes Paranormal YA and Women’s Fiction and hopes that her readers “have an emotional experience.”  She said, “I love the happily ever after.  I love knowing that you can trust a book.”  Amen, my new friend.  With everything going on in the news, we need to be able to trust a guaranteed happy ending somewhere.  Looking forward to reading the soon to be released Something Like Family.


Karen Hawkins: “I write what I love to read.”  She lives in the worlds of Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance and is fabulous at both.  (Yet her grandmother’s advice for marriage was “Once a month’s enough for any man.”)  Karen ended up marrying a police officer she interviewed for one of her books whom she affectionately refers to as “Hot Cop.”  Looking forward to her latestCaught by the Scot out on September 26th, 2017.


Jomarie DeGioia:  She’s an author of Historical and Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Fantasy/Adventure stories and Paranormal Romance.  Impressive! (She also writes “naughty Downton Abbey-ish” fiction under Josie Dennis.)  After reading a bunch of Stephen King books where the characters she loved died horrible deaths, she decided to write books that will give her the happy ending she needs, “where characters will remain alive and happy to the end.”  She hopes her readers will laugh, heal from hurts, and be swept away. Check out her latest in the Bridgewater Brides series, The Earl’s Beauty.


Joanne Rock:  Overachiever!  The woman has written over 70 books!  And you can’t even dislike her for it because she’s so sweet.  According to Joanne, her books feature a lot of “secret babies and billionaires.”  She hopes that her readers can see what love looks like and feel better about their own lives and their ability to overcome obstacles.  Her latest Contemporary Romance is Second Chance Cowboy.


Jax Cassidy:  She writes Contemporary Sweet and Spicy and Paranormal and is a sucker for romance.  Jax said that “everybody should have happiness and love” and that she’s “kind of a sappy romantic.” (She’s ridiculously adorable, too.) Her latest is in the Nocturne Falls series (which makes sense because she is a 6th generation psychic medium!) and is called The Mermaid Catches Her Mate.


  1. Kait Ballenger:  Belly dancer extraordinaire, Kait writes Paranormal Romance.  She loves “the feeling of falling in love” and wants to read and write that feeling.  She wants her readers to realize that they, too, can find love and forgiveness.  (We also now know what the term “duck butt” refers to, so thanks for that, Kait.)  Her latest is Midnight Hunter.


Kristin Harmel:  In her Women’s Fiction, Kristin would like for her readers to learn something new.  She tends to like “examining and picking apart love” in all forms and her books often look at the whole family.  Kristin loves community with other writers and readers and believes that romance is important because love is at the core of everything.  “Love is so much more powerful than its opposite.”  I’m going to second that.  Her latest is When We Meet Again. (I’m also really looking forward to The Room on Rue Amelie due out in March.  That is my kind of book!)
Overall, the night was fantastic!  All of the guests seemed to have a wonderful time.  Loved the Cooper’s Hawk wine, especially the Romance Red, and the Farris and Foster’s Chocolate.  The librarians were super as always, and sweet Lorelei did a great job with all of it.  So happy to be a part of the second Romance, Wine and Chocolate event.  I’m looking forward to next year already!  When can we start planning?
by Lit Lair Lady Karen

Our Sponsors

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolates

Once again the amazing staff from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants entertained everyone with their finest wines for our event. Back again was my favorite- Romance Red!  Cooper’s Hawk also donated to one lucky winner a fabulous bottle of wine and a gift card!
Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolates treated our guests to some of their finest chocolates, adding sweetness to our evening.  These chocolate delights were simply divine!
Thank you to Goodfella’s Pizzeria for providing a delicious dinner to our authors prior to the event! Pizzas and salads were fantastic!

Barnes & Noble Bookstore

Thank you to the wonderful staff of Barnes & Noble for offering a wide variety of books and other wonderful items available for purchase.
Thank you to our sponsors for their generosity and support! They truly made our evening a delightful first class event!

A Fun Evening!

To view pictures at the Alafaya Library’s site click here.  *Photography credit to the Orange County Library System.

Watch the Romance, Wine & Chocolate video below

Kudos and Praises…

 The Alafaya Staff

 Thank you to Danielle King and Lynette Schimpf, managers of one of the best library systems in the world, the Orange County Library System, Alafaya Branch, for this amazing opportunity and partnership! Also, to the friendly, professional, and hardworking staff, for putting together one of the most exciting and entertaining events for the romance community! Y’all are AMAZING!

The Lit Lair Ladies

To  the lovely Lit Lair Ladies, Kerry,  Karen and Julie: no matter what the weather forecast says, it’s always sunny and bright whenever we’re together. Thank you for making this event run so smoothly! I couldn’t have done it without you gals!

Praises for the Romance, Wine, & Chocolate  Event…

RWC was one of the best reader events I’ve ever attended! Kudos, Lorelei! ~Karen Hawkins, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

A great experience from start to finish. ~ Kristin Harmel, International bestselling novelist

RWC is a great, low-key evening for romance authors to connect with readers who are enthusiastic about the genre! ~ Tracy Solheim, Contemporary romance author

“RWC connects readers and authors in the most fun way possible– with a sense of shared community and a lot of laughs!” ~ Joanne Rock, Contemporary romance author

I loved the informal setting of RWC that allowed readers and authors to mingle and talk beyond the typical across the table interactions of a book signing event. It was casual and relaxed, and the group of readers and authors was small enough that you were able to meet everyone even though the space was full. And, of course, the wine and chocolate were divine! ~ Violet Howe, contemporary & romantic suspense author

Romance, Wine and Chocolate is THE library event of the year. If you love romance, this event is an absolute must! ~ Kait Ballenger, Paranormal romance author

Romance Wine and Chocolate was an amazingly fun event and a chance to connect with librarians, readers, and my fellow authors. Lorelei is amazing! – Alyssa Day, New York Times bestselling author

See you at the next Romance, Wine & Chocolate on August 31st, 2018!

*If you’re an author interested in participating in RWC ’18, please apply here

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