This past weekend bestselling author Lori Foster hosted her annual Reader & Author Get Together in Ohio. Over 400 readers, authors and industry personalities gathered for a fun-filled event. Today Linda McMaken, who pens RT’s Beyond the Books column for librarians, shares a look back at the weekend!

This was the seventh year for Lori's gathering and the fifth year I have attended and it gets better each year. Packed with authors, readers, editors, agents, raffle baskets and great food, this conference is a must for readers. The event draws authors from the bestseller lists to newbies attending their first book signing. If you've dreamed of having lunch with a favorite author or two or three, this is the place to make that happen. The authors chat, share news of upcoming books, their characters' lives, and their own. 

While all the authors new and established were a treat to meet and get to know, we all have our favs and I'm no exception. I got go into a dark room with hot romance author Kate Douglas. Lest you misunderstand the event had an awesome light booth for taking pictures and Kate graciously stepped inside. 

Kate Douglas and Linda McMaken

Also on my list of fan-girl meetings was Nalini Singh showing off her new paranormal Kiss of Snow, C.H. Admirand, as I am loving her hot cowboy in Tyler and the truly stunning Leanna Renee Hieber with a brand new series, Magic Most Foul the first book is called Darker Still (although frustratingly it won't be available until November). I was also thrilled to meet Lori Foster whose hot heroes keep readers up at night. Her new Men who Walk the Edge Series is one of her best ever!

Also in attendance was the uber sweet and talented Patricia Sargeant, who chatted about the trilogy of hot NBA players she's writing as Regina Hart. And I met two newcomers who are already on my reading shelf, Tonya Kappes whose hilarious Carpe Bead'em is the perfect summer beach read, and Virna DePaul with a Para-ops team of shapeshifters, a mage and a vampire! 

Tonya Kappes shows off her Carpe Bead'em 

One of the most amazing things about this conference is the raffle. Authors, agents, editors, publishers all contribute amazing raffle items. From baskets of books, to gift cards, wine, handcrafted Afghans, spa treatments and Kindles, these are truly creative donations. This year there were one hundred and eighty raffle baskets. The money raised from this goes to local charities, including the One Way Farm, here and this year that check will be for over $7,000! There is also a Troop Donation collection that gets not only dollars, but also much-needed items that are forwarded to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

One of the gift baskets that was raffled off

There is also a B&N onsite bookstore, a mega-author-book signing, and workshops. Additionally, there are all those goodie bags filled with books, trading cards, nifty unexpected treats. And did I mention books? Plus, fabulous food.

If you can, make plans to attend in 2012 you won't be disappointed. The event is very affordable; the price includes meals, workshops, a book signing and a great time with authors. Each year I find new books for the library collection, great authors who are willing to participate in a library event and many who graciously donate books. 

A great event that supports reading, authors and local charities — it just doesn't get any better.

- Linda McMaken

For continuing coverage of new from across the romance genre, as well as exclusive messages from the authors, book excerpts and more, be sure to check out our Everything Romance Page!

Tags: Romance
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