Though I am completely mired in getting this book finished in the next two weeks, I took a short break this weekend to attend my chapter's annual luncheon. Heart of Dixie puts on a fabulous luncheon, y'all! And I'm not just saying that because I have to. We have a huge ballroom, a sit down meal, and lots of prizes — not to mention fabulous guest speakers.

This year, Julia London was our speaker. Long before I was published, I was a Julia London fan. In fact, one of my favorite contemporaries of all time is a Julia London book: Beauty Queen. I love this book with a deep and abiding love! BQ was the second book in the Lear family trilogy — all the books were good — but something about BQ really resonated with me. Rebecca Lear, the former Miss Texas with no discernible skills, a young son, and a rich husband who divorced her and left her a mess, is just wonderful to see in action. You'd think it'd be hard to sympathize with a woman this beautiful, but in fact it really is easy because Julia makes this character so likeable. When Rebecca meets Matt Parrish — they have a misunderstanding over a quesadilla — things really get interesting.

I have hauled this book around the world, and when I realized Julia was coming to Huntsville, I took it down off the keeper shelf and carted it to the luncheon. Julia very graciously signed it for me — and I didn't realize it was out of print until she told me. This book should be available on the Kindle! Everyone should have a chance to read the fabulousness that is Beauty Queen!

Okay, so I got Julia to sign my book. We chatted for a bit, and then it was time for the doors to open. I shared a table with the most wonderful people! Lonnie Payne and his wife Tabetha have been coming to this event for 10 years. They were also accompanied by Heather Hart and her mother (the only lady whose name I didn't get!), and Patricia Lloyd (attending her 2nd luncheon) joined us as well. Rounding out the table were my mother and her friend, Margie.

We had a great lunch, and then it was time for the basket giveaways. When I went up to draw a winner for my basket, I drew Julia's name! I hope Julia likes Harlequin Presents. 🙂 My table won about 8 baskets between them, which was awesome. Apparently, Lonnie comes along because he has this knack of winning raffles. He doesn't read romance novels, but he supports his wife's love of them — and he won three baskets!

After the basket raffles, we had a book signing — and then several of us stayed and went to dinner later with Julia. It was a great day, and though I was completely worn out, I needed the break from this book. So now I'm back at work, but I'm glad I had that little bit of time away where I could chat with readers and other writers and have a generally great time. 🙂

With the peeps at my table

Julia London and me

Signing books