Weekend On Tap–Oscar, Oscar!

Okay, so Christmas and Hanukkah, New Year’s, and most recently Valentine’s Day are done deals and now it feels like we’re all on one giant countdown to spring.

But even bundled beneath the layers, there’s fun to be had, and Yours Truly has a great weekend on tap. On Saturday I have a date a deux with my good buddy, Dee. It’s Dee’s birthday and I have a hopefully fun and special evening planned for my dear Aquarian friend. I’d say more, but I don’t want to give away any surprises. (I’d say “buckle up, Dee,” but we’ll be walking and cabbing, so no worries).

Sunday night will be the The 81st Annual Academy Awards AKA Oscars AKA Hope’s Super Bowl. Author buddy and fellow Lady Jane’s Salon co-founder, Maya Rodale is hosting a small soiree chez elle and yeppers, I’ll be there with bells and boa. We’ll kick off the festivities with the 6:00 PM pre-show where celebs glide (in some cases stumble) down the red carpet in their designer duds later to be dissed or praised–fashion as blood sport, I love it!– and stay tuned through the bleary-eyed end when Best Picture is announced. Maya’s even doing a mini betting pool for the various categories–brilliance. I’m betting Slumdog Millionaire will sweep the awards, which given the film’s ten nominations seems like a pretty safe bet. Per Best Actor, it’s tough competition but Mickey Rourke is a strong contender, so to speak–and even The Academy loves a come-back kid. Of course, Brad Pitt was also amazing as the lead in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, demonstrating he’s much more than a pretty face. And per Button, if that film doesn’t bring home the gold for Visual Effects and Makeup, I won’t know what to think.

Assuming I can think. Uber yummy Aussie actor, Hugh Jackman is hosting, a bold departure from Oscar’s tradition of having a comedian as emcee. We’ll see how Hugh does but based on the preview commercials showing him in that tux, he won’t have to do all that much.

Okay, enough Oscar dishing from me. Anybody else planning to tune in?


What a Lady, What a Night!

“What a lady, what a night…”

So the classic rock song goes and likewise so went last night’s launch of Lady Jane’s Salon, Manhattan’s first (and so far only) reading series devoted to romance fiction. The series, founded by Ron Hogan, Maya Rodale, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Moi benefits Share the Love, which reaches out to groups assisting women-in-transition build independent lives.

Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.
Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.

Forty or so attendees packed the elegant Victorian-inspired salon setting of Madame X in Tribeca. Distinguished guests included Carol Stacy, Publisher and Liz French, Managing Editor of Romantic Times BOOKReviews; Maria Lokken and Marisa O’Neill of Romance Novel TV; and Barbara Vey of PW’s uber popular blog, Beyond Her Book. Also on hand to clink glasses was Scandalous Women blogger, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon.

Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW's Beyond Her Book.
Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW

After a cocktail meet-and-greet, Ron took the stage as emcee to introduce Share the Love and Lady Jane co-founder, Maya Rodale. Maya spoke briefly and eloquently about her one-year-old organization’s mission to distribute gently-used romance novels to groups assisting women-in-transition, such as Women in Need (WIN), a domestic violence shelter located in Manhattan.

Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.
Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.

Award-winning author, Andrea Pickens got the party started by reading from The Scarlet Spy, the latest in her Regency-set historical series about a plucky group of young women trained as espionage agents. After a short break, during which Andrea and I signed our books, I read from Every Breath You Take…,my latest Harlequin contemporary release.

Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.
Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.

Last but not least, we made money for the cause as well as collected a cache of fabulous romance novels to be distributed to women working to achieve their own Happily Ever After beginnings. If that’s not sharing the love, I don’t know what is.

Next month’s Lady Jane’s Salon will take place on Monday, March 2nd, 7-9 PM at Madame X with romance authors Lauren Willig and Jenna Petersen as our guest readers. If you’re in Manhattan or passing through, I hope you’ll consider putting Lady Jane’s on your calendar.


Proudly Presenting…Lady Jane

Once upon a time three romance authors and one blogger went out in Manhattan after attending one of the city’s many literary reading series. Amidst the pungent aroma of cigars and single-malt scotch the conversation turned to the sad fact that there exists no reading forum for romance fiction in Manhattan, the seat of the publishing kingdom. And that struck us–oops, them–as really rather sad.

Then one of the romance writers, we’ll call her Princess Maya, got this gleam in her eye. All, well, gleamy-eyed, she looked ’round the Round Table (okay, it was a booth, but…), drew a deep breath, and announced, “Jeepers, let’s start a romance reading series of our very own!”

Okay, she didn’t actually say “jeepers.” I’m totally making that part up but the rest, for sure, is right on the money. And within that 30 seconds or so of yes, sheer brilliance, Lady Jane was born.

Co-sponsored by Share the Love and Beatrice.com and co-founded by Maya Rodale, Ron Hogan, Leanna Renee Hieber, and yes, Moi, Lady Jane’s Salon is Manhattan’s first (and so far only) reading series devoted to romance fiction. The Salon will meet on the first Monday of every month starting February 2nd, 7-9 PM at the uber swank Madame X lounge in Tribeca.

The program format will be two author readers per evening with a short break between and a Q&A gab fest finale. Andrea Pickens and Yours Truly will be getting the party started in February; future authors TBA.

Admission is one gently-used romance novel or $5, your pick. All proceeds will benefit Share The Love, a non-profit organization that distributes gently-used romance novels to groups assisting women-in-transition. That we get to read our books and share the possibility of Happily Ever After beginnings with women working to build hopeful, independent lives is more than the best of both worlds. It’s the stuff of which real life fairytales are made.

For directions and other delicious details, please check out my Media and Events page. And for more juicy behind-the-scenes scoopage, please plan to stop by our live chat this Sunday, January 25th at Romance Novel TV.

Wishing you sweet dreams and candy-heart kisses…