Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wild Card Weekend with Jackie Braun

Please welcome Romance author Jackie Braun back to the blog, with a post about a very special book club!

Let’s talk book clubs. Like a lot of avid readers, I belong to one. Mine is different, though. We don’t actually all read the same book before each meeting.

The book club I belong to, which, like most book clubs, started out in someone’s living room a couple decades or so ago, now has more than 175 members. Yep, you read that right. It’s huge. This is why we meet each month in a hall, enjoy a catered lunch (which we pay for individually) and bring in speakers rather than try to discuss a single book.

I’ve found it a great alternative to the traditional book club, and highly recommend this format to others who can’t commit to reading a specific book within a specific time frame. Your club needn’t be as huge or structured quite the same, but you get the idea.

At the first meeting each October (the club meets on the third Tuesday of each month from October through May), a local librarian comes in with a selection of titles that spans genres. As part of the regular meeting, members also make suggestions regarding books they’ve read. But no one is required to read or discuss anything.

Back to those speakers. Some are writers. That’s how I first came across the group. In 2003, they invited me to come and talk. Sweaty palmed, with knees a-knocking, I spent 20 of the longest minutes of my life telling them about my writing journey. They had a load of questions and were so interested and supportive, even though many of them are not romance readers.

Indeed, afterward, dozens of the women – and our club is all women -- lined up to buy autographed copies of my books. Oh, if only every book signing went that wonderfully as that one. I promptly forked over the $5 annual dues and joined. What else can you join for five bucks a year that puts you into contact with so many other book lovers?

Some of our speakers have been from the local media: columnists and television anchors. Others have been experts in their various fields: an herbalist, a safety expert, a military veteran. We’ve also had a cancer survivor tell his inspiring and touching story.

And, for the past eight years, we’ve used the money we collect through dues and other sources (I started a book basket auction a couple years ago and added a raffle this year) to fund a college scholarship. With tuition skyrocketing, that scholarship is much appreciated.

It’s amazing what a bunch of women who love books can do when they get together. So, here’s to book clubs, including nontraditional ones such as mine.

Jackie’s latest book, THE PRINCESS NEXT DOOR, is out in November from Harlequin Romance.

The life of a princess is no fairy tale. For just one week, Hollyn Saldani wants to escape the demands of duty and find what she once had: freedom…and the boy next door.

So she runs away. Back to Heart Island, where she spent childhood summers, where she could be truly herself.

Time hasn't changed the place—but it sure has changed the boy she once knew. Nate Matthews is all grown up, running his own resort…and determined to show her just how extraordinary an ordinary life can be.…

Read an excerpt here: The Princess Next Door
Check out Jackie's backlist here:


  1. Hi Jackie ~ this sounds like an awesome book club/social club. I'd love to belong to a group like this.

  2. Hi Kaelee,
    Yes, it's a great group. I've had a lot of fun being part of it for the past several years.