September has now crept upon us; there’s no denying it. With
this admission behind us we’re able to start planning our fall activities. For
most people this means making a trip to the apple orchard, picking out
pumpkins, planning football food fests, and whipping up the first batch of
chili or other favorite comfort dish. It’s a time of crisp reds, bright
oranges, and rich earthy browns.
For anyone with a connection to breast cancer,
though, fall means pink.
Actually, October is not only National Breast Cancer
Awareness Month; it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. So feel
free to mix it up and wear a little purple, too. Either way you’re recognizing
two important issues faced mostly by women and their loved ones. Recognition,
though, is only the first step we can take to honor and celebrate the strength
shown by these women. As you plan your fall activities, I’m asking that you
consider taking the next step—and have a little fun doing it!
When I began putting together the Romance for a Reason blog
tour for Unbridled, I was excited to share my mission with women (and men!) all
over the country—and the globe. That’s the beauty of a virtual book tour. It
occurred to me however, that I met with the best ‘girl power’ group of women I
could ever ask for every other month in the non-virtual realm of someone’s
living room. I got to thinking, Why not
combine the best of both worlds? My book club has always been about
celebrating women—whether it be our favorite female characters or just our
friendships. Building on that to help support two great women’s charities
seemed a natural fit. The ‘Over-educated Ladies’ of book club agreed, and so our
Romance for a Reason book club party was born. Planned for a Friday night in October,
our book club will meet for a night of “smutty, drunken goodwill;” you’d be
amazed how quickly people read and respond to an email invite when you use this
as the subject line.
So how does it work? Any way you want it to! For us, I agreed to
host an extra meeting (we usually only meet every other month) for which
everyone simply has to bring a romance recommendation. It can be a true romance
book or any book with a romantic subplot, of any sub-genre. It can be an old
favorite or a new find. It can be PG or smut city. The idea is just to gather
the girls, have some fun, and, if people feel inclined to donate, to raise some
money for a charity or two. I chose the same two I picked for Romance for a Reason,
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and V-Day, since they related to breast
cancer and stopping violence against women, but you might want to choose a
local charity or one someone in your book club has a personal connection to.
So, for the check-list inclined:
1. Gather the girls. Pick a date in October (or any month
for that matter) to meet with your book club or just a fantastic group of your
2. Choose a charity. Share the links to donate with the
group ahead of time, so people who prefer can make their own donations online,
but also be willing to collect and send in any donations made that night to the
chosen charity. And of course, keep it comfortable and confidential; it’s a
party after all!
3. Pick a book. Or don’t. Pressure to read THE book might
put off some people. Sometimes it’s just fun to share favorites we’ve already
4. Enjoy the party and bask in the glow of goodwill—I find
wine helps with the glowing part!
If you’re looking for some conversation starters feel free
to steal these. The Romance Reading Questionnaire is perfect for a mixed or mild crowd and
requires nothing but paper and pen, while the Body Lingo Bingo could get a bit
more … interesting? … and requires people to bring a book.
As you can see, the details are less important than the
sentiment behind the night. Do it to enjoy the wonderful women in your life. Do
it to help other women have the chance to do the same.
But do it.