Buns & Roses – And a Double Giveaway!!!

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Participating authors with the signed quilt in the background.

Participating authors with the signed quilt in the background. As you can see, there were many hats involved.

Last month, I was honored to participate in the annual Romance Literacy Tea benefiting the Literacy Center in Richardson, Texas. Romance authors from around Texas and around the country, join together for a weekend full of events all set to raise money for the cause of literacy. And since it is in Texas, I had the chance to meet several Western Romance authors who were new to me.

Each author hosts a table and visits with readers who purchase tickets for the event. There are a ton of fabulous giveaways in the silent auction, books are sold, and a gorgeous handmade quilt is raffled. When the numbers were totaled, this year saw a record-breaking donation of over $20,000. YeeHaw!!!

Jill is in the green sweater, my spot is to the left next to another fun author, J.D. Tyler who writes contemporary romance and paranormal romance.

Jill is in the green sweater talking to none other than Lorraine Heath. My spot is to the left, next to another fun author, J.D. Tyler, who writes contemporary and paranormal romance.

The weekend got started with a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble. Thanks to my name being at the end of the alphabet, I was seated next to our keynote speaker, Jill Shalvis. Cool! Such a sweet lady. I enjoyed chatting with her and her husband.

After the book signing, we had dinner at the home of one of the volunteers. We ate yummy lasagne cups, signed our quilt blocks for the raffle, and mingled with the handful of readers who paid extra to join us for this private dinner.

Me and Melody - My surprise Lompoc Buddy.

Me and Melody – My surprise Lompoc buddy.

Now, mingling is not my forte, but when I sat at the table, across from me was an avid reader who was an air force wife. When she started talking about California, I asked her where she met her husband. As it turns out, she grew up in Lompoc, my tiny California hometown where her husband was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Not only that, we both played in the Lompoc HS marching band (flute) and her friend’s sister (who I actually remembered!) graduated in the same class as I did. Talk about a small world! That was so fun!

The big event was on Sunday with the Literacy Tea. Each author brought favors to have on the tables. I gave away books, ladies handkerchiefs, and a variety of pocket watches to match the cover of my latest release, No Other Will Do. I shared a table with the lovely Amy Lillard, so all of our table mates got the bonus of two gifts. Being far more crafty than me, Amy made these fun masks for us to use in our pictures. If you check out the back row, you’ll see Melanie and Brittney, two P&P regulars.

Masks On

Masks On

Masks Off

Masks Off

What a fun event!

Meeting with other inspie authors - Leann Harris and Kellie Coates Gilbert.

Meeting with other inspie authors – Leann Harris and Kellie Coates Gilbert.

One of the lovely Literacy Center volunteers.

One of the lovely Literacy Center volunteers.

Me and Leslie - A book reviewer and avid reader.

Me and Leslie – A book reviewer and avid reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And since I was surrounded by great western romance authors, I couldn’t pass up the chance to support the cause of both literacy and western romance by buying a few books and getting them autographed. And that’s where the giveaway comes in! Jill Shalvis’s book isn’t exactly western but it is small town, so I threw it into the bunch as well.

I have two prize packages that I’ll be giving away. All books included are autographed editions. For a chance to win enter a comment about what the gift of reading has meant to you.

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Karen Witemeyer
Winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, and two-time RITA finalist, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance for Bethany House believing the world needs more happily ever afters ... and hunky cowboy heroes. She's an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. She makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

65 Comments

  1. Very nice Karen and who knew anyone from Lompoc in fact 2 Lompoc natives at that being there. Now the question is do strangers call LOMPOC the correct way Lompoke hehe or Lom pock? An SB Santa Barbara/Goleta graduate here though not born here but transplanted as an 8th grader though that makes me a 35 year resident off and on. And of course never forgetting Vandenberg AFB that many know of because of the NASA shuttles and missile base there.
    I love your books though so it must have been a very fun time out in Texas for all. And to raise money at the same time is neat as well. The 2 prize packages look great as well yeehaw. I have been a major paranormal genre fan for decades but have been reading westerns and historicals the last few years, a nice break for a bit so besides who can resist a man in cowboy boots, hat and jeans, with luck even spurs, dusters and 6 shooters strapped to their legs. Yummy and if Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott can be our role models from back then til now you cover all readers and ages from 16 to 76 years young. Hubba hubba. Just saying westerns are in and have been for 150 years. Thank you for being here today and thank you again for bringing literacy to the forefront as well.

    1. Love it, Elaine! If I could just have Sam Elliott read to me at night, I’d be over the moon. Don’t you love his voice? So perfectly “rugged cowboy”!

      I always cringe when I hear Lom-pock on television shows or in the movies. And it’s a shame that it’s almost always featured because of the prison. Oh well. Oh, and I was actually born in Goleta. I lived there for 8 years before moving to Lompoc to start the third grade. I’m feeling our California connection, Elaine!

      1. Yes on Sam and his looks and voice yummy, imagine saying he is your dad or grandpa haha. Goleta is nice and I am a Dos Pueblos graduate. Don’t you just love small towns, small world. Imagine 6 degrees of separation for everyone, we are all connected in some way. I love it, but that was life in the West as well, many never went more than a few miles from birth to death. Of course we travel so much, but as we do, we meet even more people so again our connections grow to other people all over. If I never hear Lompock

        1. The world often seems so big, that I love those reminders that we really are all connected to each other in some way. Thanks, Elaine!

      2. Yes on Sam and his looks and voice yummy, imagine saying he is your dad or grandpa haha. Goleta is nice and I am a Dos Pueblos graduate. Don’t you just love small towns, small world. Imagine 6 degrees of separation for everyone, we are all connected in some way. I love it, but that was life in the West as well, many never went more than a few miles from birth to death. Of course we travel so much, but as we do, we meet even more people so again our connections grow to other people all over. If I never hear Lom pock again I will be happy. May Sam be your muse and in your dreams Karen.

  2. I love the pictures. I love to bed entered to win a copy of book.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Even though I’m a serious introvert by nature, there was such a spirit of fun and supportiveness during the weekend, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself.

  3. Looks like a wonderful time! Wish I could go, but I am really bad at mingling. Reading keeps me sane. If life gets tough, I find books help.

    1. I feel you on the mingling-impaired scale, Debra. Ha! I’d much rather hide in my room, but I’m glad I participated. Everyone was so nice and I met people I never would have met otherwise. “Reading keeps me sane.” I love that statement! I have felt it in my own life many times. 🙂

  4. Oh how fun! I have always wanted to go to a readers event and meet authors. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    1. You’re welcome, Susan. It’s always so fun to meet readers in person. Other authors, too!

  5. I love to read. It helped me thru so many years of my husband working away from home and his terminal illness this last year. I would not know what to do without my world of books.

    1. I hear you, Estella. Reading is a much needed escape when our sore hearts or tired brains need a little vacation from the real world. My favorite coping mechanism, for sure.

  6. Truly, reading has kept me sane. From the time I learned to read, it has been my escape. And oh the places it’s taken me!!!

    1. Reading is such an adventure. I’ve always enjoyed escaping into the past. Thanks for sharing, catslady!

  7. I enjoyed your post today. The pictures show the event was a fun one. Reading gives me an escape from my every day life which can be stressful a lot of times. It takes my mind off the worries and books set in exotic locations give me a virtual vacation because I don’t get to take a real one.

    1. Amen, Janine. We all need that escape every now and then. In fact, I’ve been so caught up in writing and marketing and meeting deadlines these last couples weeks, that I haven’t been reading. Suddenly yesterday the craving hit. I need a novel. NOW! LOL. Thankfully my Kindle was stocked and I started one while I was waiting on my hubby to finish at work so we could stop by the polls and vote. Starting that book was like sinking into my favorite easy chair. Comforting, calming, and it just made me happy. 🙂

  8. It looks like you had a great time, Karen. I did that last year and it tons of fun playing dress-up and meeting readers. I looked so dorky in my hat but I loved it.

    1. I remember you posting about it, Linda. That’s one of the reasons I agreed to go. 🙂 It was fun and for such a great cause.

  9. What a nice small world story. I love those. <3

    1. Isn’t that fun? The chances of us meeting must have been infinitesimal, but it happened. So cool!

  10. reading allows me travel to distant realms and experience another life.

    1. I love that escape aspect, Ruth. Thanks!

  11. I love reading since it is my only form of entertainment and is so meaningful, important and wonderful. Reading gives me hope and inspires me.

    1. “Reading gives me hope and inspires me.” LOVE that, Ellie. That is exactly what I pray for my writing to offer readers. Perfect!

  12. Since I have been suffering with health problems for the past four years reading does what nothing else can. Reading gives me pleasure, reading takes my mind off of my health concerns and allows me to enjoy my life within the pages of each book which I savor and enjoy.

    1. Wonderful, Anne. It’s amazing how completely a book can absorb us and take our mind somewhere else where worries and health problems can’t find us, at least for a while. A true blessing. 🙂

  13. Books are my life. Ever since I was very young books allowed me to learn so much, to travel, and to enjoy stories which are unforgettable and memorable.

    1. I agree, Pearl. When I was a girl, I went to the library every week and came home with a huge stack of books. Wonderful travel agencies – libraries. 🙂

  14. The gift of reading! To say I love to read is an understatement! Reading has taken me on so many adventures, helped me on tests, introduced me to many wonderful authors and I could go on. It sounds like you had an amazing time with all these ladies. Thanks for the giveaway. I love that quilt!

    1. The quilt was amazing! Each participating author had a block they signed, and the block had book spines with our titles on them surrounding a central block containing a personal message. There is a lady who pieces that together every year. Such an artist!

  15. I had a great time too, Karen!!! I’ll share a table with you anytime! 🙂 A good cause and wonderful people! It doesn’t get any better than that!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Amy!

  16. Reading for me provides an escape; like how a lot of people zone out to TV…but I don’t have TV, so I read! I also pretty much always learn something from each novel, eventhough they’re fictional. There have been times where the hero(ine) is struggling with a faith aspect I’m struggling with, or have, or will, which is why I love Christian fiction. God has spoken to me in some of those quiet moments between chapters.

    1. I love that, Katherine. Not only do we escape into fiction, but sometimes we find ourselves or find God among the pages. Powerful!

  17. I remember my two cousins and sister and I walking from our homes to the bookmobile that was stationed at a shopping mall. I was in high school, and books were a great companion all the time. I would stay up late reading, and always had a book or two nearby.
    I didn’t read as much when my children were growing up, but they are adults now and read a lot themselves. Now I enjoy reading anytime I want to. Books transport me to localities I’ve not known, introduce me to friends I’ve not known before, and give me adventures I would never have otherwise.

    1. I loved reading to kids when they were small. Two of the three turned into great readers. It’s so fun to pass that love on to the next generation. 🙂 And I envy your free time to read. I have a hard time finding the time, but I do squeeze it in on a regular basis. 🙂

  18. Karen, it was wonderful to be able to sit at your table and enjoy your company. What a great way to spend the afternoon! Nothing like good books and good people. Keep sharing that wonderful smile of yours!

    1. I loved having you and your daughter at my table, Melanie! You two always make things so lively and fun! What a blessing. 🙂

  19. It allows escape from a harsh world

    1. I agree! I love the chance to get away from it all with a good book. 🙂

  20. Hi Karen. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Buns and Roses, but it we had a great time there plus met a ton of wonderful readers and authors. Looked like you had a fantastic time, too. I laughed at Elaine’s comments about the pronunciation of Lompoc. As you know my oldest daughter and family lived there about 14 or so years ago and are now back out there. I got to see the first Delta II rocket launch back then. I mean under the tent, hearing mission control. It was wonderful. I love the fact that my youngest grandson was the only one of my grands who was born in Lompoc, but he reminds everybody that he’s a Texan from Amarillo. Now, my hometown is always mispronounced. Amarill-o not Amarill-auh! It was originally named Oneida but when the Railroad changed it to Spanish for “yellow” they were concerned it’d be called Amarill-auh and I call it that until I began writing and researching and now it’s without fail … with a big O on the end! I love Buns and Roses, Lompoc (and all of the Santa Barbara area) and of course where I was born in Amarillooooooo, Texas! Hugs to all, Phyliss

    1. So fun, Phyliss. maybe one of these days we can do a Buns event together. When could bring Linda along, too, and have a grand Filly time! Keep hanging on to that O! Ha!

  21. I have loved reading as long as i can remember…my father told me I spent the summer he was building our house many years ago when I was 4 sitting beside my baby sister’s pallet and reading the original Miracle or 34th Street… In elementary school, I fell in love with the Secret Garden and Kate Seredy’s The Good Master…and I recall as a 5th grader arguing with the librarian who told me I was not old enough to read The Yearling…As a teen-ager , I spent long hours on a quilt in the back yard with books piled around me becaue my father worked shift work and there could be no noise in the house…as a teacher , I daily read as many books as I could to my students and bought large numbers of early reading books for them to take home a practice since Kindergarteners were not allowed to take home Library books…now retired and recently widowed, reading gives me a means to experience life in times and places that are not accessible in other ways…Have always loved your books particularly for the humor and history they share…Reading has been my pleasure and my escape for many many years…:)

    1. What a lovely testimony to the power of books, Patricia. I love that you have shared the joy you find in reading with so many young people. May books continue to be a blessing to you.

  22. Phyllis, too funny but try moving to Santa Barbara as a 14 yr old kid from the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula, Heck they teased it with Frisco back then so many names are said wrong, but in SB Carrillo, Cabrillo and Castillo we said wrong at first with the illogical like brillo sound not as it should be as in cab brio or bri yo. Double LL in Spanish is a Y or long E sound so Amarillo should be yellow in Spanish with the Am a ri yo sound. Sounds like all of us back then and now have lots of names said and spelled wrong in history and still to this very day. Without ever moving to Santa Barbara I never would know the correct way to pronounce Spanish names of course Goleta is with a wrong sound too like Lompoc but I would love to go to Texas for the Buns and Roses Tea to raise money and literary awareness. Tomato tuh’matto potato puh’tatto what’s in a name, really? Quite a lot if you live there haha. Thank you Karen for this fun day and Phyllis too. May we all have sweet and or steamy dreams of our favorite cowboy ideal or muse be he a model, actor or the real deal McCoy. Heck my name is French and everyone almost always says my last name wrong thanks to the silent letters. Language is easy but reading it and saying it correctly is something else. No wonder many never read or were literate until the late 1800’s, especially the girls that through time were thought education was not to be wasted on way back then. My how times change we even just had a woman running for President, we have come a long way baby.

  23. Thank you Karen for this fun post! I enjoyed reading about the Tea and seeing the pictures. Looks like everyone had a good time. As far as reading goes,It has been a very precious gift to me!It’s provided education,entertainment,inspiration, and just recently some wonderful friends(like you).Thanks again for this post and the giveaway. 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lynne. 🙂 Reading certainly does work to connect people. I’m thankful for the connection it has brought us.

  24. It’s always a pleasure to visit with you, Karen! We loved sitting at your table and enjoying a wonderful event!

    1. I had such a lovely time, Britney. You and your mom bring such a fun energy to any event. I’m so glad you were there!

  25. What a fun event. It seems Texas has more than its share of enjoyable reader/author get togethers. Wish I lived closer.
    Reading has been my portal for escape, learning about other peoples and places, and exploring science and history. As the oldest of 6 children, the library was my way to have some time to myself and to feed my thirst for information. Back then I spent my time in the history, science, archeology, and anthropology sections. When I turned to fiction, it was Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. That started my love of mysteries and suspense.
    I know books are waiting for me whenever I need a distraction, when I want to find something out, when I want to relax, when I need a bit of suspense, when I want to visit “friends” I have met in other books, when I need some humor. They are a good way to live vicariously and experience life from someone else’s perspective. They are wonderful to share with others, either in a book club or reading to someone who no longer can. The experience of sharing books with children is the perfect way to have together time and start them on their way to becoming readers themselves.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Patricia. Books are such a valuable tool to learn, to share, and to see life through another’s eyes. And even just to have good, plain fun. 🙂

  26. Reading has always meant alot to me. I never know how much until I thought I might not be able to read again for a long time, at least not the books I love. Last September, I was diagnosed with encephalitis (swelling of the brain). I was in the hospital for over two weeks. For a while the doctors thought I wasn’t going to make it, but after I woke up after three and a half days of being in the hospital, they thought I would make it, but were unsure as to how much I would be able to do. During some of my therapy sessions while still in the hospital, I wasn’t able to move my arms, or write what I was trying to write. It was the most scared I have ever felt in my life. It is a miracle I am alive, and that I have had a full recovery.

    1. How terrifying! And here you are now typing out an encouraging message through this blog. Praise God for your recovery, Bronwen! I’m so thankful you are doing well and con continue enjoying books and everything else you love.

  27. Looks like you all had a wonderful time! Thank you for sharing.

    I would love to be entered for the Prize Package #1.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Yes, a fun time was had by all. 🙂

  28. Reading has been everything to me. I’ve got what they now call dyslexic tendencies…. it took forever for me to learn to read and longer for the writing. Now the reading is easy and it was the one thing I could rely on for many years – the ability to lose myself in a book!

    1. What a tale of triumph, Glenda. My youngest has those same tendencies, I think. He’s not fully dyslexic, but it took him longer than my others to learn his letters and how to read. He would often get his b and d letters mixed up. He still does occasionally when he writes, but his reading has improved a great deal over the last 4-5 years. I guess he just had to figure out a system that made sense to him, and once he had that, he could adjust. Unfortunately, he has not turned into a recreational reader as you did, Glenda. He avoids books whenever possible. Thankfully, school makes it impossible for him to ignore them altogether, so maybe one day he’ll decide they aren’t actually the enemy and choose to make them a friend instead. 🙂

  29. Books get me through the rough times in life and believe me we have had our share. My husband is going to loose his job in Dec. and we will be starting all over again but the problem now is his age. So I just bury myself in books and try not to think about it.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s job. What a stressful time. I’ll be praying for the two of you, Quilt Lady.

  30. Books are a way for me to escape all the crap that is going on around the world. Give me some peace of mind. Even just for a hour or two.

    1. That little escape can make a big difference, Kim. I know it can for me. 🙂

  31. Karen – Enjoyed your post. Looks like you had a great time. So many books so little time.
    I enjoy reading all kinds of books, they help you go to places you have never been & experience situations you never knew could happen & how they turn out. Reading helps me escape from all the current events that are going on in this mixed up world. Honestly, I don’t see how all the authors keep coming up with so many amazing stories. I wonder how they keep putting coming up the new info for a new book. Love those paperback books.

    1. Thanks, Lois! Speaking from the author side, I can admit that sometimes I worry about where the next idea will come from and if it will be any good. I’m in the process of starting a new project right now and my editor is mulling over my proposed idea. I’ve written the prologue, so I hope he’ll approve without too many changes, but I trust his judgement, so I’ll tweak as necessary. 🙂

  32. That looks like so much fun, Karen! And how great to run into another home town girl! Neat!

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