On Saturday, February 13th the ballroom of the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, NC was awash with pretty dresses and BIG hats as fourteen writers and their book fans participated in my first annual Diamond’s Literary Tea Party. The event was born from one of my favorite childhood memories – playing tea party with my late grandmother.
My grandmother was a fascinating woman. She always insured that our tea parties were lavish affairs with her best china, our Sunday dresses, the white gloves and of course, a pot of hot tea! It was every little girl’s dream come true! We’d sit and laugh and talk about everything near and dear to my heart which meant we talked books and the stories fascinating to me at the time. That Saturday, I was able to recreate the joy of those memories.
Tea is considered the most social beverage in all the world. The ceremony of sharing tea sets the table for friendships to flourish and relationships of any age to be cultivated. Throw in great books, the authors who write them, a reader’s love for the written word and you have the ingredients for an extraordinary experience!
I welcomed authors at varying stages of their writing careers. The lineup included, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Morgan Billingsley, Iris Bolling, Cassandra Durham, Renee Daniel Flagler, Cheris Hodges, Denise Jeffries, Jackie Lee, Lutishia Lovely, Dana Sanders, Railyn Stone, Jacquelin Thomas, and Lisa Watson. LaSheera Lee, a literary phenom, was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.
There is always a level of anxiety that comes with hosting any big book event.
But the minute I stepped into the venue and took in the elaborate floral decorations and the exquisite table settings I was that little girl again, excited and energized about the story-telling I knew was going to take place!
Kicking off the afternoon each author strolled from table to table to meet and greet the readers who had come to support them. Then with LaSheera asking some thought provoking questions they all shared snippets of themselves as they talked about their books and their writing journeys. They sipped tea and spilled the tea and like so many in the room I was in awe of the talent there in that one space.
The success of my event was directly related to the efforts of the women who support me and hold me up and who worked tirelessly to ensure everything went off without a hitch. They helped bring my vision to fruition and I am so blessed to call them friends and family. Deborah’s Diamonds are my street team, eleven women who help me promote myself and my writing and who do so out of the goodness of their hearts. Cynthia Culp-Miller, Louise Brown, Jennifer Copeland, Kay Edmondson, Jackie Williams Ferriere, Tracy Hale, Nanette Kelley, LaVerne W. Perschell, Toni Bonita Robinson, Regina Sherece Sanders and Reshemah Wright are my Diamonds. Precious, rare, multifaceted gems with few weaknesses and many strengths! These women rock and I love them to pieces!
|Author Iris Bolling (left) with Deborah at Tea party|
I look forward to doing tea again! We are already planning for next year’s Diamond’s Literary Tea Party and will also be bringing a mini tea party to Kianna Alexander’s Fall into Romance event in Orlando in October. With each party I hope that participants walk way learning something new about an author they love. That they discover an author they might not know and that they meet new friends to share the memories with!
~~ Deborah Fletcher Mello