JR Ward's Readers on the River 1001 Dark Nights event in Louisville.
Adventures,  Book Trips,  Books,  Giveaway

JR Ward’s Readers on the River in Louisville was Fabulous!

The Mid-Life Goddess hit up Louisville, Kentucky for JR Ward’s Readers on the River romance author gathering with 1001 Dark Nights and had a fabulous time. My good girlfriend Tricia and I took off Friday morning from Knoxville for the four hour drive and made the most of the trip by soaking in all that Louisville had to offer while partying with our fellow book babes, awesome authorettes, and YES – JR Ward!

JR Ward

Ms. Ward had an enlightening interview with Christopher Rice (yes, Anne Rice’s adorable son) to blast off the weekend for her readers and she was a total hoot! Her signature book series is the Black Dagger Brotherhood and if you are a fan — you have read them all and know each brother intimately. If you haven’t — you are missing out on a fabulous series — check out the first book Dark Lover. She spoke for about 45 minutes and gave insights into future books and character spotlights. Lots of spoilers and lots of angst for us readers as to the direction of the series that I am sure she will not disappoint.

JR Ward photo op at Readers on the River
JR Ward Photo OP

Isn’t she just beautiful? Met some fun midlife ladies from St. Louis and even won a swag bag from last year’s event. By the way, the swag bags for this year had lots of lovely goodies, books and a signed canvas by Ms. Ward!

1001 Dark Nights Sparkler

The ladies in charge of the 1001 Dark Nights events (Liz Berry and Jill Stein) are all about the reader experience for sure. Wristbands were handed out at registration — more on that later!!! This weekend was so well put together thru every single event from the Champagne Sparkler to the Author Signing. We attendees are usually waiting in lines for literally hours and this was not the case at ROR. I think of all scheduled events – I maybe waited about 15 minutes to get to our intended destination. The “fun” of waiting in line is meeting and sharing author experiences with all these other fabulous like-minded romance-loving reading Mid-Life Goddesses!

Friday evening festivities included a Champagne Meet and Greet with the attending authors. These sparklers that 1001 Dark Nights put together are super casual with the authors — without the time pressure of signing books. The authors are all super gracious, chatty and love getting pictures with their book fans and Champagne for all!

J Kenner

J Kenner at 1001 Dark Nights sparkler at JR Ward's Readers on the River event
J Kenner, Adorable and Chatty

J Kenner is one of my faves, so delightful and author of the Stark book series. You might as well start with the beginning book — Release Me. Be careful, you will get hooked! FYI — these romance books are pretty racy in the Fifty Shades of Grey genre. Her latest release — Stark Security series is an offshoot of our favorite Damien Stark saga but as always still super good as standalone reads.

Ms. Kenner was just sweet as can be and we had a fun discussion about my Mid-Life Goddess blog and all the fun ladies of our “age” are having. I find that some authors are not comfortable with this type of reader event and a little stiff — NOT Ms. Jenner! She is always super chatty and really gets into having a good time with her fans.

Shayla Black

Shayla Black at the 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler at JR Ward's Reader on the River event
The beautiful Shayla Black

Shayla Black was just darling! Chatted about our daughters going off to college and the sadness of the empty nest. One of her early series – Doomsday Brethren is a great paranormal romance troupe. In fact, I brought some of those to the signing and she let me know that there was a book 5 – Lucan’s Embrace Me at Dawn — that I did not know was published! I just downloaded it and will be reading it soon!

Shayla Black's More then Tempt You
Shayla Black’s More Than Tempt You

Shayla is always so laid back and go with the flow. I love to sit in with her and handsome husband William for their weekly Wine Wednesdays on her Facebook page Shayla Black’s Book Beauties. He’s all about the business and she is all about connecting to her readers and……keeping up with her “Baby” who just took off to college. Ms. Black signed one her latest books – More than Tempt You – and it is in our subscriber book give away (here).

Back Street Boys

Not that we couldn’t pack anymore into the first night of the event — we did! When Tricia and I checked into the hotel earlier in the day — the concierge asked if we were going to the Back Street Boys’ concert down the block. On the spur of the moment we decided — YES! we’re Going! He hooked us up with tickets and off we went after the Sparkler event.

Back Street Boys concert in Louisville
Backstreet Boy Babeness

We had some Back Street dancing going on in the aisles and met some local Louisville Goddesses. To be honest, the band sang most of their new stuff, which I can’t sing along with, but when they got to “I Want it That Way” we were all singing at the top of our lungs!

Readers on the River Main Event Day

Saturday started off with a Coffee and Cookie Social, the Author Panels which are always a hoot (and a must attend in my opinion) and a Plated Luncheon with JR Ward emceeing. She holds nothing back — including juicy details for an upcoming 2020 book “The Sinner“.

That was a super spoiler for me as I was only half way thru her current read “Blood Truth“. The bad guy in Blood Truth (at the point I was in the book) is the hero of her next book. So, I had a little bit to wrap my head around during the lunch — UGH! I finished the book Sunday morning and it all makes sense!! She is a twisty author for sure and the F-bombs as she was answering questions from the lunching ladies was hilarious! She knows her audience and we were right there with her. One of the audience questions was a “F***, Marry, Kill” scenario — her answer: Wrath, Zsadist, Vishous for those BDB ladies in the know.

SPOILER ALERT — Other tidbits that our Warden imparted during the luncheon: She told the 500 attendees so I think I am good telling you 🙂

  1. Syn’s love interest Jo, in the Sinner, is Manny & Butch’s half sister!
  2. Rehv is going to get a hell of an “guest” entrance in an upcoming book – I think Where Winter Finds You out in November — This is Trez’s second chance after his Selena’s not so HEA.
  3. She is going to do something on the “Wolven” and we will find out about the Coffins at some point.
  4. LASH will be back! Gross! But you know she will make it good!
  5. She is thinking of a future series featuring the “Kids” of the Brothers — after their transitions.
  6. Get your read on and finish the Fallen Angels series — Devina is coming up soon– (I think we already saw her shoe prints)!
  7. She mentioned a “Girl” Brother soon?
  8. Vishous and Jane are good now.
  9. Yes, Ms. Ward — Vishous had the BEST line ever in Blood Truth — HAHAHAHA!! No, I am not telling you ladies — you will have to read it yourself and you will know it when you see it!

Signing Hoopla

The Author Signing event is always a crazy mass of attendees trying to meet their fave authorettes! Being a seasoned book signing veteran, I had my wristbands organized by author, items to be signed and a list of new books to buy. I like to buy the author’s latest release books at their table — knowing that most of the sale money goes straight to her with no middle man cut.

JR Ward's Readers on the River attending Authors
Readers on the River Attending Authors (credit for pic to Jennifer Probst Fan Page)


If you have been to a book signing event with over 500 readers — you deal with the dreaded wristbands. The smart 1001 Dark Nights ladies gave out a set of wristbands to every reader at registration!! Genius!! Usually that is yet another line you need to stand in — but this was super convenient and mine were sequentially set up in author order to boot! LOVE IT!

Wristbands for JR Ward's Readers on the River
Wristband Tip

Mid-Life Goddess Wristband Tip: I know that everyone likes to attach these colorful wristlets to their badge lanyard. They certainly look lovely — but a complete pain in the A$$. Above is what I have done to keep my author signing event organized. Put the wristbands in order of line number on a piece of paper — that way you can plan when to be in which author’s line as they call out numbers. This saved me a ton of time vs. checking all the ringlets on my badge. A good Goddess doesn’t have time for that!

Gena Showalter

This is the first time that I got to meet Ms. Showalter! And what a doll! Her scorching paranormal romance series “Lords of the Underworld” is one of my most anticipated must reads every time she puts out a new release — Lucien of the Darkest Kiss is my fave — SWOON! Her latest new series is the Gods of War. I have already read about Knox and Vale in Shadow and Ice and she just released “Frost and Flame“, the second book which I am currently reading.

Gena Showalter's Frost and Flame
Gena Showalter’s Frost and Flame

Not sure yet if I am a Bane fan (probably will love him by the end) but I just adore Nola! Ms. Showalter has a knack for writing some kick A$$ heroines — literally “kicking some A$$”. All of the ladies in her Lords of the Underworld series are Knockout Babes for sure — and again I mean literally knocking out the crazy villains and villainesses. Meeting Gena for the first time was a highlight of my trip. She signed my hardcopy of “Deep Kiss of Winter” that she co-wrote with Kresley Cole (another fabulous author whose Immortals After Dark series is awesome). I am hoping to get Kresley’s signature next to Gena’s in that book someday for my library!

Laurelin Paige

Laurelin Paige at 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler at JR Ward's Readers on the River event
Laurelin Paige looks Fabulous!

I first found Ms. Paige thru her Fixed Trilogy and Hudson is still one of my favorite “book boyfriends”! Laurelin looked just fabulous and always so bubbly to chat with at these events. I recently read her Rivalry (Slay Book 1) and what a delightful surprise to actually begin to “kind of like” the main heroine Celia that I have HATED throughout the Fixed series. I have met Laurelin several times, most recently on the 1001 Dark Nights cruise which was an absolute dream! My book girlfriends (we fondly call ourselves the “book bitches”) and I got to sit at her dinner table and gain lots of insights into her upcoming books. That is so the major bonus of these events — getting the inside scoop on all their fantastic characters — directly from the author!

Laurelin’s current novella “The Open Door” is the feature this month at the 1001 Dark Nights Website. You should check the site out for the fun interview with Ms. Paige! This novella is a very sexy romp for one of the couples (Gwen and JC) from the Found Duet series. That is basically the jist of the 1001 Dark Nights program — novellas to give you a taste of the fabulous authors and their on-going series. LOVE THEM!

Book Signing Bonanza!

Books and swag signed by authors from JR Ward's Readers on the River event
Looked at all my signed booty from ROR!!!!

I was able to hit up all the authors on my list above and so many other fabulous authors I adore signed my swag and books for the giveaway : Jennifer Armentrout, Sawyer Bennett, Lexi Blake, Laura Kaye, Kristen Proby, Susan Stoker! And some wonderful attending darlings that I’ve read but just didn’t have time to get to within the 4 hour signing time — Larissa Ione, Corinne Michaels, Elisabeth Naughton, Jennifer Probst, Christopher Rice, Carrie Ann Ryan, Joanna Wylde, Samantha Young and Rebecca Zanetti. I will catch them all next time!

New Authors to Me

The other bonus for these signing authors is the opportunity to meet readers that are “new ” to their books. I met Jill Shavis, Lori Foster (Lori’s husband slipped me her Jingle Bell Rock to put in our book giveaway — sweet!) Carly Philips, Rachel Van Dyken, Donna Grant — all new authors to me and I can’t wait to read!

A Great Time had by All

JR Ward's Readers on the River photobooth
1001 Dark Nights Photo Booth Fun

This is really a fabulous fan experience and you are surrounded by lovely ladies who enjoy what you do if you are a mad romance reader like me. This is also a coup for the authors from a marketing standpoint. Yes, I am sure it is exhausting — JR Ward signed for 550 individual readers which probably all included 3 items/books per person (1,600 signatures) in 4 hours! Last year she stayed until 11:30 pm to make sure and get all of her fan’s pictures and signatures. This year the 1001 Dark Nights ladies set up her photo op on Friday night so she was less rushed during the signing. Great idea and it worked out perfectly!


Not to forget all those ladies that volunteered to help out with this event, THANK YOU! I know that they get some extra perks by hanging with the authors and early time in for signings, but they put in a crazy couple of days to make sure we have a smooth time.

Book Giveaway Bonanza!

So, I got to meet all these fabulous authors and I am giving away a lot of the awesome books that they signed to you!! I walked away with over 60 signed books and lots a fun signatures on two of my Mid-Life Goddess book bags! I am splitting them into two different giveaways to shamelessly beg you lovely ladies to subscribe to my Mid-LifeGoddess.com website and blog! We are all about having fun in midlife just like attending these sweet book conventions — our tagline is “It’s Only a Crisis if You Are!”

Midlife Goddess book giveaway from JR Ward's Readers on the River event
Subscribe to Mid-Life Goddess to win this Book Bundle!

The first giveaway includes most of our fabulous paranormal and racy romp authors (Including books and swag signed by JR WARD!) I will set up the other “romancy” author giveaway next month so subscribe early and you will be able to get in on both giveaways! Look at all these beautiful books!! Almost all signed by the authors — but just so you know they are not all brand new books — I hit up my used book store here in Knoxville and ordered lots from Thriftbooks to cover as many of the attending author books as I could carry to Louisville!

Go (here) to get the scoop on the giveaway entry details and get in on this fabulous Mid-Life Goddess Giveaway!

Keith Urban — Swoon!!

To finish off the weekend, Tricia and I hit up the Hometown Rising concert featuring Keith Urban! He was super adorable and a fun cap to a perfect weekend!

Keith Urban at the Hometown Rising concert in Louisville
Hottie Keith Urban

Love you all! Enjoy your midlife my Goddesses — remember — “It’s Only a Crisis if You Are!”


Please Note:  We will sometimes earn an affiliate commission on the sales of products we link to at no additional cost to you.  I will only feature items I genuinely love and want to share with my reading Goddesses!

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