My Highest Literary High

I had heard so much about this event last year.  When I did, it had already happened. Therefore, I had to wait an entire year to go–to Romancing the Smokies.  It is an author-reader event for those who write and/or read romance.  It can even be for those who just love to read and want to be around those who are like-minded.

I don’t consider it an accident that the first night of this event was on St. Patrick’s Day. Since I don’t celebrate this holiday, I didn’t have any green.  Anticipating this event, and wanting to be congenial, I bought some: a headband and a few beaded green necklaces.


Not long after getting there, at the Airport Hilton, I indulged in a green doughnut–because after all, it was St. Patrick’s Day, and I was happy to be around other creative people. While nibbling on it, I met future romance author Samantha Nimrod.  We hit it off right away, talking almost non-stop, even over dinner at Wendy’s.

When we got back to the hotel, we took part in something I had never heard of:  speed dating.  There would be one reader at every table.  Every featured author there would spend a few minutes with each one, talking about their books.

Some great authors I met include but certainly are not limited to:  Debby Giusti (who was the keynote speaker at Saturday’s luncheon), Karen Hall, Mallory Kane, J D Monroe, Stephanie Taylor, J J Nite, and Pamela Ackerson.  Not only was the dating speedy, for a lack of better words, but the night as well.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to call it a night.

The Friday night fun was only the tip of the iceberg of what was to come.  Not long after getting there, Donna Evans, the author who had coordinated this event, put me to work.  I went down to the room where we were to have our Spring Luncheon, and checked in everyone who came in.

It didn’t take me very long to have loads of fun doing that, an opportunity to be light on my feet.  Of course, isn’t that the way someone who is in love and feeling all manner of romantic feelings supposed to feel?  Needless to say, I caught on easily to the vibes of the event.  As the morning unfolded, many authors came in and set their tables, placing the many giveaways on them.

Therefore, all of them at one point or another came and went.  And there were times I was by myself, waiting for someone to come in..Yes, I was alone in a big room, where there were lots of books laying around.  Word to the wise:  Never leave me unattended with them.  I may need adult supervision if this keeps up. {Laughs}




Before too long, the tables were covered with many a giveaway for everybody there.  By this time, all of us authors and readers were so hungry.  Though we were grateful for all of the giveaways and gifts, we were nonetheless determined to eat; we had to clear the table.

Let me insert some of my PR capabilities here:  If you need to plan an event at a hotel in the Alcoa, TN, area, look no further than the Airport Hilton.  Every one of the staff tripped over themselves in giving us the best service.  I’m Julia Pope, and I approve this message.

I enjoyed a great conversation with Clean Reads publisher and editor-in-chief Stephanie Taylor.  Also at our table was Debby Giusti, the keynote speaker, and Donna Wright, the coordinator of this event.  Debby delivered a heartfelt, motivating, and inspiring speech about how great it is to read a story, especially one of romance.

After lunch wrapped up, we gathered all of our swag.  Never in my life had I gotten so much.  The following items include but aren’t limited to:  candy miniatures, mints, bookmarks, lotion, a scarf, books, necklaces, pins, gift cards, pens, sticky notes, and even a plastic case of band-aids. Though I had brought the tote bag with me that I had gotten when I checked in, it got full really soon.

But there was more to get:  books.  All of the authors sold and autographed their books. I bought a few, in addition to the giveaways, which surprisingly enough, didn’t cause the tote bag to come apart at the seams.

I now have a stack of books.rts_stack of books


As a result of going to this event, I have a fresh dose of inspiration.  Now more than any other time, I want to get to work on writing….and reading the dozen books I now have.  It is now time for me to put a bow on this post.  The sooner I do, the sooner I can do both of these and more.



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