RAGT 2014

Earlier this month, Nancy Northcott and I traveled down the road to participate in Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together – or more commonly called – RAGT.  I want to tell you about the event, but first – a very important announcement.      


Today, and today only, you can get the Intermix July release titles for FREE on NetGalley.  This means you can get an advanced e-galley of THEUntitled-3 megaphoneWHISKY LAIRD’S BED for FREE!  No approvals necessary.  The promotion starts at 10 am EST and runs till 10 am EST tomorrow.  InterMix does this in the hope that you will post a review and chat up the book on social media.  While normally bloggers and professional reviewers participate on NetGalley – today- everyone can.  I hope you take advantage of this offer and I hope you love the book!  Just saying –

Okay – putting down the megaphone.


RAGT half the roomAbout RAGT.  This is pretty much a laid back reader event. The numbers of attending authors was limited to make room for as many readers as could be squeezed into the Marriott. The picture to the left is one-half of the room.  It was a good turnout. 🙂  The weekend featured a book signing for independent and ebook authors and a second book signing for traditional authors.  However, the big event as always were the raffle baskets brought to the event by authors and readers alike.   Here’s a shot of the baskets from the podium (center of the room) along one side of the room.RAGTbaskets

Holly with basketThe Romance Bandits basket was won by Holly Amann-Pauley, and what a fabulous collection of books she won.  That’s her to the left.  I submitted a Donna MacMeans basket which was filled with Scotland and peacock themed goodies (including a tin of fudge flavored with a bit of single malt scotch).  That basket was won by Ellen Walker.  (Way to go, Ellen!)  I neglected to get her picture.  (Bad Donna!) but you can see what she won to the left.  The proceeds from the tickets sold for raffle baskets go to charity.  This year, $17,500 was raised for the One Way Farm, a center devoted to helping troubled 2014 DMAC RAGT basketkids.  You can read more about the One Way Farm here  http://www.onewayfarm.org.  That’s a lot of raffle tickets!!!! 

 In addition, every attendee received a Barnes and Noble $10 gift card and was encouraged to use it at the in-house Barnes and Noble store.  A portion of the proceeds from all the B&N purchases or $1,857 was given to The Conductive Learning Center which works with kids with Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Bifida, and other motor imparements.   You can read more about them here http://www.clcgc.org . I’m sure the gift of the cards helped to move a lot of books out of the bookstore and into the hands of lovers of romance.

 Nancy and I were able to participate in a video interview for bloggers.  Here’s a picture of my session for historical authors.  The paranormal 2014 historical RAGTinterview which was Nancy’s group was far better attended – lots of authors.  We historical authors are a bit of an endangered species (grin).  That’s Me, Monica Burns, Jocie McKade,and Rue Allyn.  Dee Davis joined the group a bit later to talk about her time travel back to Scotland.  I haven’t seen the final video yet.  Have you seen the one that you were in, Nancy?

MLandersRAGTThe event provided lots of opportunities for selfies and as you can see, I’m still trying to learn how to do them.  LOL  That’s one of Melissa Landers and me to the left, and Deb Sabin, me, and Deb Meredith to the right.  That’s a picture of Renee Vincent and myself down below. 2014 RAGT Renee VincentDebSabinRAGT She’s a sweetheart.  Unfortunately, with all the selfies and posing for pictures, I neglected to take a shot of Nancy and I.  (Another Bad Donna!) 


 Of course, no reader event would be complete without free books, so I’m giving away some today.  Someone leaving a comment will recieve a complete set of Janice Maynard’s contemporaries (seven books!).  Because of the size (and weight) of the collection, I’ll need to limit that prize to someone in the states.  To compensate, I’m also awarding  two books from Kay Stockham, Christmas in Montana and A Christmas to Remember, to a commenter no matter where you live 🙂

 I know many of our readers haven’t attended a readers event.  So my question is – if you could…which non-bandita event would you go to, where would it be held, and what sort of activities would you do there? 


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  • Jane says:

    Hello Donna,
    I heard RT is fun is readers. I wish I could have attended last month because it was held in New Orleans and I would love to go just for the food alone. I’m sure those costume balls I’ve heard about would be one of those events I must attend.

    • Hi Jane! Goodness me, people are starting to talk about you and Monsieur Roosteur!

    • Jane –

      The rooster was at RT, dressed up as…a pirate rooster. He had a pirate hat and an eye patch and thought he was quite debonair.

      Have to agree with you about the food at RT. It’s one of the few places that I can get fried oysters anywhere. Even the little dives with only four or five tables had fantastic food. In New Orleans, you wait outside the restaurant for your name to be called because there’s no room inside to wait. I had a great time at RT, but Lori Foster’s RAGT is even more casual – and no fancy balls.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I Love going to author events, but yhry udually happen whrn I’m out of town. I wish more authors eould visit smaller towns and libraries.

    • Amy –

      Remember, most authors are traveling on their own dime. I think many authors would be happy to travel to a nearby small town or library if they thought someone wanted to see them :). I love going to romance reader events because I know I’ll get a nice welcome. When traveling to something in the general public, I see only a couple of people who are interested in romance.

  • Donna, looks like you had an absolute ball! I’ve heard such great things about the RAGT and bravo to Lori Foster for doing such a huge event and giving all that wonderful moolah to those worthy causes. She’s such a nice woman – I had the privilege of meeting her in Washington DC at RWA. She’s such fun in person!

    • Anna –

      She really is a sweetheart and a strong advocate for women and romance. Her husband is a sweetie as well. She’s still doing benefit books every year where the money goes to one charity or another. I know many people have suggested she hold RAGT in a larger venue, but the Marriott she uses bends over backwards for the event. I’ve never encountered such pleasant staff. Lori has said she won’t move from the hotel as a result. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Donna

    Thank you so much for this post and the pictures I would love to attend one day. I have been lucky enough to attend 3 reader events that are organized by The Australia Romance Readers Association and boy are they lots of fun I have met so many fantastic authors and there is another one to be held in Canberra in March 2015 and I am booked to go 🙂

    I have been to NetGalley and have not found the book yet maybe because of timeing here in Oz I will keep trying fingers crossed

    Have Fun

    • Helen –

      I hope to someday be able to attend one of those events in Australia! That would be so much fun.

      It’s not 10:00am here in the states yet. It’s only 6:26 am as i write this so please try again in about four hours. It only runs for 24 hours till 10:00 am tomorrow. Good Luck (and thanks for hanging in there!)

      • Helen says:


        Our events are held every two years fingers crossed you can make it one year 🙂 🙂

        I well hop on first thing in the morning wow can’t wait

        Have Fun

  • Patty L. says:

    I love going to RAGT every year. It is a great time and if you have the opportunity you should come and join the fun. I saw you Donna several times however you always had many adoring fans surrounding you and i did not want to interrupt. You are a very popular author.

    • Patty –

      Interrupt! Interrupt! I’d love to chat with you! Remember I live just up the road in Columbus, Ohio so many of the folks there are longtime friends. Plus, I enjoy seeing author friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. But thank you for the compliment.

      Now a question for you – I saw many writers there who registered as a reader so they could come to the event and promote without participating in the book signings. Did you discover that as well? Lots of industry people were there this year as well. But it was fun. I had a ball.

  • Judy F says:

    I have gone every year and I love it. Its my me time. I love meeting new authors and visiting with everyone.

    • Hey Judy!

      Everyone needs “me” time! It was fun seeing you again. I did miss seeing Dufy Brown’s welcoming smile at RAGT. At least we got to meet her at the Irish pub. 🙂

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I would love to go to Lori’ s event some day. I live in Indiana but because I have back problems it is difficult for me to travel. I would like something in Indy where I could drive back and forth. It would have book signings, of course. Some prize giveaways. The charity raffle is awesome. I would enjoy whatever was planned.

    • Hugs on the back difficulties, Debbie –
      I never had back problems until two years ago-right before we left on vacation. It was awful. I had constant pain and was taking Back & Body tabs like candy. Fortunately a good chiropractor and massage therapist resolved the issue, but I try to protect my back now.

      Darn – I did a booksigning in Carmel, Indiana (I think that’s near Indianapolis) several years ago. I think Seduction of a Duke had just come out. I’ll be back that way again. Hope we can meet!

  • Shannon says:

    Since I live in the DC area, something in Virginia, DC or Maryland would be ideal. I goggled something about Washington Romance writers have an annual gathering in the Spring. It’s a luncheon, so I imaging there’s just speeches and a signing.

    • Shannon –

      It may be just speeches and a signing but Nora Roberts would be there – worth a raffle basket or two 🙂 Lora Leigh used to have a reader event in Maryland. I don’t follow her so it may have moved. And, of course, Jeanne Adams and I will be teaching at the Nora Roberts Writing Institute in Hagerstown in August. It’s mostly classes but there’s a book signing at the end which is probably open to the public. One of these days I hope we can meet 🙂

  • Donna, Looks like a great time again this year! I had such a good time last year and was bummed that I had a “Maxwell Smart” moment…I missed the deadline by this much, (fingers held up less then an inch apart!). That will teach me to be johnny on the spot to sign up next year, won’t it?

  • Deb says:

    Seriously, you expect me to choose one, just one, Bandita? Let’s just put names in a hat and let the silly Golden Rooster pluck out a name. Problem solved. 😉 All of you make me laugh, so I’d have a great time with each of you.

    I have actually been to 3 or 4 Reader-Author luncheons. My little Indie bookstore used to have a gathering each October for Midwest authors and readers. I’ve met several Harlequin authors. I have even met Cindy Gerard in the bookstore since she is good friends with both Bobbie and Donna, the owners, and she only lives 30 minutes away from Cedar Rapids. (I’ve never seen her locally, but she only lives 20 minutes from me!) I also met Cindy Kirk, who lives in Omaha, but didn’t *know* who she was at that time.

    I also attended a luncheon in which Julia Quinn was the main speaker. I had a fan-moment when I had my pic taken with her. It was on a week day, so I “skipped” work that day to attend.

    I love author-reader gatherings and need to keep my eyes and ears open for some that may not be far away.

    • Oh no, Deb – I said one NON-bandita event. I wouldn’t want anyone to choose one bandita over another. Too many hurt feelings!

      Cindy Kirk is a sweetie. I met her the first time in St. Louis. There used to be a “roving” reader event called “Celebrate Romance” that traveled across the country. I remember they were bemoaning the fact that they had the best turnouts on the East Coast, which left the Midwest and western folks out in the cold. I don’t think the group still does events anymore – too expensive. Barbara Vey’s luncheon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is growing leaps and bounds. Crossing my fingers that you might make it there sometime.

      • Deb says:

        Oh, well, I read that too fast! Okay, then I would choose Cindy Kirk since I know who she is now! 🙂

  • Susan Sey says:

    Donna, this sounds like such a great time! I’ve never done a reader event. The closest I’ve ever come was signing at RWA’s Literacy event kicking off the annual conference. They alphabetized the regular signers but the big names got placed around the room to make space for their lines. I happened to be on the end of my row, right next to the aisle-way. When they opened the doors, I heard a thundering stampede. I turned, shocked, just in time to see about 150 crazed Sherrilyn Kenyon fans–many in full costume–charge past me to get into her line. There was an actually breeze as they flew by. It was sort of like driving a Mini & getting passed by a semi.

    If I could pick one event, though? I’d like to go to a signing at Nora Roberts’ bookstore in Maryland. Turn the Page, I think? Yeah. That would rock.

    • LOL on the stampede.

      A reader’s event really is nothing like the literacy signing. At a reader event you get to talk to people without books between you. No one is dodging to avoid eye contact – LOL. I like that at RAGT, the books are all in a separate room so a reader can pick one up at anytime and bring it to you for a signature…or not. The book doesn’t cramp the conversation.

      I got to visit TURN THE PAGE the last time I was in Hagerstown for the Nora Roberts Writing Institute.
      They handled the signing for the Institute but didn’t bring in my books because they misspelled my last name. Geez Louise. I’m afraid the book store slipped off my pedestal after that. Sigh.

  • catslady says:

    They sound like so much fun. I don’t have a particular one but would love going to any of them. I’m not much of a driver so I never get to these things. I almost got to one but my sister bailed on me (sigh). I do enjoy hearing about them – maybe one day.

    • Indeed. Free books don’t inspire your sister? I think everyone got about five or six in their goodie bags. See – you’d have double the loot!
      Hope the situation changes and you get to attend one. Put it on your wish list – do you keep one of those? I made up a wish list before I was published and wrote all the things I wanted to do – impossible or not. I’ve managed to do most of the items. I think the Universe listens and drives opportunities your way if it knows what you want. Make a wish list 🙂

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    I love that the RAGT raises so much money for charities every year! I am ashamed to say I have not been to it yet, and I live in Ohio! I came close to going this year, but a trip popped up in May and kind of changed my plans for the year.

    I’m up for reader events anywhere! They are always so much fun, and you author people are awesome! At least most of the ones I’ve met are. 🙂

    My next one is in Augusta, GA in November. The Sweet Tea and Chocolate Cake Luncheon. I’ve never done it before, but it sounds fun! I always keep an eye out for fun ones in new places for me to visit. There was an indie author signing at an aquarium in Cincinnati that sounded neat, but I couldn’t make it.

    • Heather – I’m going to have to check with you for fun events. I haven’t heard of The Sweet Tea and Chocolate Cake Luncheon, but it sounds delicious. 🙂 I didn’t hear of the one at the Aquarium either. Guess I’m out of the loop. LOL.

      Hope you can make RAGT one of these times. It would be great to plop down and chat with you awhile.

  • Donna, I love reading your posts about the conferences you attend. The RAGT is a special one. I love all the charitable giving and the fact that the number of authors is limited in favor of the readers. 🙂

    A number of the mystery conferences I’ve attended are actually reader conferences and it’s so nice to be able to spend time with the people who make all this possible!

    Thanks again for your great reporting–and the pictures are super! (I’m laughing at “Bad Donna.” LOL)

    • It’s funny when you look back at all the pictures you take at these things and realize you forgot to take some important ones. (grrr)

      Treethyme came down from Chicago. i haven’t seen her in a couple of years and I simply forgot to take her picture. And Nancy…how could I have not taken advantage of the many opportunities to take a selfie with Nancy! And, of course, I forgot to take Lori’s picture – or the two wonderful B&N booksellers who coordinated the booksignings. I think I need an assistant to take photos LOL.

      Yes, love reader conferences more so than author conferences. It’s wonderful to sit and chat about ideas and likes and dislikes.

      Lori does a wonderful job giving to the charities. It’s astounds me how the numbers keep growing year after year.

  • Jodi says:

    I have been to RAGT twice and m really hoping that I get to go again some year! It was easy for me to get there when I lived in AL, but now that I’m back in CA, something always comes up for that weekend!

    • Jodi – It’s a popular weekend. There’s always graduations and weddings in that early June slot.

      Hope you make it back some day. Famiy in the area? That always makes a convenient excuse :). Or maybe it’s time for a road trip (hehehe).

      Anyway, hope we connect somewhere near your place or mine 🙂

  • Becke says:

    Cool idea to put the books in a different room. I agree. I’m uncomfortable at the RWA signing. I can’t buy a book from all of my friends and I feel bad for those who don’t sell a book. If the books were elsewhere we could find our friends, chat, and enjoy.

    I’ve never been to a reader event. Looks like fun. Any location? I guess exotic wouldn’t be doable.

    Jackson Hole, WY It’s got a small town feel to it and beautiful scenery

    Savannah, GA is also a cool place and not that big.


    • Savannah, GA. I’d love to do a reader event there. I really love that place. I’ve never been to Jackson Hole, WY. I’ll have to put that on my “must-see” list. I think Trish might be in that vicinity right now.

      Yes – I much prefer the books in a separate location. That way people can pick the book up and read a few pages without being under the scrutiny of the author. And they can put the book back down without seeing that crestfallen look of an abandoned puppy 🙂

  • Donna, it was a great weekend! Thanks for carting me around, introducing me to people and helping with my basket.

    I haven’t seen the interview I did. They were supposed to email us links for them, and I haven’t received one.

    I also enjoyed the weekend because it was pretty laid-back. No wardrobe changes, no dressy events. I like dressy events on occasion, but I also enjoy not having to pack for them!

    Dragon*Con has readings and signings, and I always go to some of those. I’d like to do another reader event sometime, RAGT or maybe RomCon. RT sounds fun but a bit intense for me.

    • It was fun playing host to you, Nancy. I haven’t received a link to the historical video yet but I believe I saw one paranormal one on the Annual RAGT Facebook page. Did they break you guys into two groups? I know there were like twelve paranormal authors and only maybe six were in the video.

      The baskets are a big deal – more so than I’ve seen at other conferences. I’d love to go to DragonCon some day. I think, though, I’ll check out to see if there’s any reader events in Savannah. Becke’s suggestion has me longing to go back again.

  • Cassondra says:

    I love going to reader events, but I don’t have a favorite so far. I admit, though, that I really, really prefer the ones where nobody has to dress up. That’s partly selfish, as I’m generally more casual, but partly not selfish. Who wants to schlepp a bunch of dressy clothes across the country for what should be a fun, relaxing time?

    Okay, maybe some people do, but I’m definitely not one of them, so as both a reader and a writer, I prefer the events where I don’t have to get dressed up to see authors, and where readers don’t have to get dressed up to see me. I haven’t been to RAGT yet, but it sounds right up my alley!

    So glad y’all had a great time!

    • Cassondra –

      RAGT is definitely not a dressy affair. You’d like it.

      Some readers love to go to RT just so they can dress up – not the glitzy stuff like what people wear to RWA – but costumes. There’re prizes for the best costume given a certain theme. Sort of like a sexy Halloween. I’ve not dressed up yet but I’ll admit to thinking it would be fun.

  • flchen1 says:

    I’ve heard such good things about Lori’s event–I do hope to attend one of these days! Thanks for sharing a little of the fun with us, Donna!

  • Laney4 says:

    I too have never been to a romance book signing. I’ve been to children’s book signings, but nothing recently.

    I don’t care so much about autographs. I just want to meet the authors. Years ago, I conversed with a new author in blogs and later emails. She passed away suddenly on Aug 21/11 and I still miss her. Sure wish I could have met HER in person. (May you rest in peace, Sandra Hyatt.)

    I don’t know what I would like to have happen at one of these events. I just know it would be nice to have something in my own area, not too fussy as mentioned above (as I too am a blue jean forever girl).

    At least I can attend vicariously through your blogs, even here in Canada. (And I love Kay Stockham stories, and like many others am partial to Christmas stories – at any time of year!)