Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Fifth Birthday, Lady Jane's Salon!

by Hope Tarr)

Styled in the spirit of the literary salons of the 18th and early 19th centuries, Lady Jane's Salon is New York City's first and only monthly reading series devoted to romance fiction. When my co-founders Leanna Renee Hieber, Maya Rodale, Ron Hogan and I launched Lady Jane's in February 2009, we did so to fill a niche. We soon saw we were sating a hunger — the hunger for Happily Ever After beginnings and fairy tales come true.

Over the past five years, we've been honored to host such luminaries of romance fiction as Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries and Suzanne Brockmann to name but a few, as well as an exciting array of midlist and debut authors. Our diverse guests span the spectrum of the genre from traditional historical and contemporary romance to novels that cross over to science-fiction and futuristic, fantasy and steampunk, inspirational and LGBT romance. But by far the soul of every Salon is our wonderful audience, an ever-shifting mix of fresh and familiar faces, of diehard romance fans and those who simply enjoy being read to.

As much as we adore our Soho host venue, Madame X, the Lady Jane's spirit isn't confined within those scarlet-painted walls. Over the years, we've taken the Salon on the road to the RT Booklovers Convention, the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference, the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, and the Australian Romance Readers Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

This month marks our fifth year in NYC, and we have a great deal for which to celebrate — and be grateful. When we first began, we weren't at all certain how — or even if — we'd be able to attract a steady stream of guest authors each month. Today we are booking guests for 2015, a year in advance, and have grown our program from two to four (and occasionally five) guest authors per event.

Likewise, our Salon family continues to grow. We now have satellites in nine U.S. cities. Without exception, every Lady Jane's Salon follows our national model of donating its net monetary proceeds to a 501c(3) charity of the organizers' choice. Charities supported include the Shout Against the Whisper campaign against ovarian cancer; Hope House of Colorado, which provides outreach and support to teen mothers; the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and Celebrate Differences, a Chicago-area not-for-profit that supports adults and children with disabilities.

The New York Salon supports Win (formerly Women in Need), a wonderful NYC-based charity that assists homeless women and their children in building positive, independent lives. Every February, we invite a Win representative to address our audience as well as to receive our annual end-of-year monetary contribution.

This year's anniversary Salon will host the book launch of Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them, a non-fiction Valentine's anthology to benefit Win. Styled in the spirit of the popular Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Scribbling Women comprises 28 essays by popular romance authors, one for each day of February 2014, on how they met, wed, and love their real-life spouses and significant others. Contributors include Lisa Renee Jones. Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Julie Kenner — and Yours Truly. The anthology is available as a digital release on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords and print copies will be sold at the Salon and available on demand through CreateSpace thereafter. ALL net proceeds from sales of the book benefit Win.

For those of you in or around New York City, I hope you will join us in celebrating — with great guest readers (always!) as well as champagne and cupcakes (courtesy of Entangled Publishing) — not only the past five years — but those yet to come.

Here's the info on Lady Jane's Salon's Fifth Birthday Bash: 7-9 p.m. Monday, Feb 3, at Madame X (Loft), 94 West Houston Street, New York City. Admission: $5 or one romance novel to benefit Win. Guest readers are Suzan Colón, Katana Collins, Isabo Kelly and Patience Bloom. The program will include the annual award presentation to Win. (Salon sponsored by Entangled Publishing.)

Photo by Hope Tarr

Award-winning romance author Hope Tarr is co-founder and curator of Lady Jane's Salon as well as editor and publisher of Scribbling Women & The Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them. Find Lady Jane's Salon online at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@LadyJanessalon). For upcoming programming at the NYC Salon, check out our blog.