Lady Jane Salon-Romance Lovers Coming Together for a Good Time and a Good Cause

Part of the reason I so love being part of the romance community is how supportive we are of each other, and how generous we are. To that end, I’d like to talk about Lady Jane’s Salon with you all today.

Back in 2008, Beatrice.com creator Ron Hogan and authors Maya Rodale, Hope Tarr, and Leanna Renee Hieber got together and somehow the topic of discussion ran to the lack of a romance reading series in NYC. It then occurred to them, “Hey, we should start one!” And thus was Lady Jane’s Salon born.

LJS NYC debuted in February of 2009. Since then, it has established itself as THE place to go on the first Monday of every month in NYC if you’re a romance reader, writer, enthusiast, and supporter. The venue, Madame X, a bar in SoHo, has the perfect atmosphere. LJS takes place on the second floor of the bar, and decorated bordello style, so there are lots of red velvet couches, red lighting, and the appropriate slightly risqué artwork. I love it. I have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to LJS on numerous occasions, and it is a fantastic. Anything goes at Lady Jane’s Salon, and authors from all over the romance spectrum and its sub-genres have been invited to read, including historicals, contemporaries, YA, paranormals, etc. It was through Lady Jane’s Salon that I was introduced to many wonderful authors such as Sarah MacLean, Kate Noble, Lauren Willig, and Delilah Marvelle. I must also give a shout-out to Madame X bartender Alex who is awesome and fantastic in all ways. Last night’s Salon featured Miranda Neville, Alma Katsu, Jeri-Smith Ready, and Michael Boccacino.

Bordello-tastic. Check out all the red!

The number of attendees varies every month, with devoted regulars who show up every month, and others (like me) who make it whenever possible. But I still remember the LJS event on the eve of the Romance Writer of America conference back in 2011. RWA was in NYC that year, and Madame X was packed that night. It was standing room only with people standing shoulder to shoulder and sitting on the floor, with barely any room to breathe. It was so wonderful and exhilarating to see so many romance authors, readers, and industry professionals gathered in one place to celebrate the genre.

What I love about LJS is that not only is it a safe haven for romance lovers to come together, LJS and its founders all believe in giving back to the community. Admission is five dollars or a gently used romance. The money is used to offset costs, and the proceeds and books go to support a local non-profit organization, Women in Need, a charity that assists homeless and disadvantaged women in the NYC area.

Second floor of Madame X

The most exciting aspect of LJS is how others have taken the idea and run with it. Satellite Lady Jane Salons have popped up all over the country. As with the original, admissions to all the salons is $5 dollars or a gently used romance. While all of the satellite salons are in diverse locations, they all share the same core mission as the original LJS. They are all committed to celebrating the romance genre, having a place where romance authors, readers, and supporters can come together, and using the LJS gatherings to support local charities.

First up was Lady Jane’s Denver, founded by romance author Elise Rome back in 2010, which debuted on October 12, 2010 and meets the first Tuesday of every month. LJS Denver is now run by Jenn LeBlanc who has helped grow LJS Denver in new and exciting ways. At their October 10, 2012 Salon, they had Hillary Sidl and M.L. Guida reading in person, and Maya Rodale participating via Skype. LSU Denver is currently on a temporary hiatus while they find a new venue, but I’m confident Jenn and the rest of the team will find a fabulous replacement and be back better than ever when they resume January 2013! LJS Denver’s charity of choice is Hope House of Colorado, which supports and assisted at risk teens and teen mothers in particular.

Michelle Willingham at LJS RDU

LJS RDU in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina was founded by Deb Marlowe, Claudia Dain, and both havles of the Lydia Dare writing team-Ava Stone and Tammy Falkner. They meet on the last Wednesday of the month at Hibernian Restaurant and Pub, and debuted on September 8, 2011. At their last Salon event on November 28th, they welcomed authors Jennifer Delamere, Sabrina Jeffries, and Michelle Willingham.
LJS RDU supports the Wake County Library System with their book donations, and monetary donations go to Shout Against the Whisper, an organization dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness and research. It is a cause near and dear to their hearts because it was founded by local romance author Heather McCollum, who is currently fighting and winning her battle against ovarian cancer. Best of luck to you, Heather, and may your prognosis continue to be positive!

LJS Naperville on its debut!

LJS Naperville (near the Chicago, Illinois area) was founded by authors Adrienne Giordano and Tracey Devlyn. Inspired by the 2011 pre-RWA LJS mega-bash in NYC, they decided to start a local LJS in their area as well. LJS Naperville debuted on February 7, 2012 and they have been going strong ever since! They meet every other month on the first Tuesday. As a matter of fact, they are meeting TONIGHT and the authors on tap are Beth Kery, P.E. Calhoun, and Jennifer Ann Coffeen. Their venue, Le Chocolate du Bouchard sounds amazing and heavenly for a chocoholic like me! LJS Naperville supports Celebrate Differences, which is a non-profit charity devoted to children and individuals with disabilities.

The newest Lady Jane Salon to arrive on the scene is LJS Salon San Diego. Started by Dara Young, LJS San Diego debuted on May 23, 2012 and meets at Mosaic Wine Bar on the 4th Wednesday of every month. I don’t know about you all, but the combination of wine and great romance sounds like a winner to me! Last month’s Salon on Nov. 28 featured Tessa Dare, Helen Kay Dimon, Jillian Stone, and Hope Tarr. LJS San Diego has chosen the San Diego Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as their charity, as well as the San Diego Girl’s Juvenile Hall Library, which receives the book donations.

Not only have these ladies taken up the LJS banner to spread its message and charity all over the country, they have built on the LJS name and made it their own. For example, while LJS NYC still focuses on live readings, Lady Jane’s Salon Denver has had authors join in virtually via Skype, done Twitter and Facebook chats and used technology in new and innovative ways to expand the LJS experience. LJS San Diego incorporates discussions and Q&As after each of the author readings and there is an app that will keep those interested informed as to the date, time, and location of the Salon and the authors reading that month. LJS Naperville does giveaways at every Salon gathering. Each of the Salons has found a way to bring their own unique touch to the LJS brand to make it a unique and one of a kind event for the attendees.

All of the Lady Jane Salons have an active social media presence.

Connect with LJS NYC: Website Twitter Facebook
Connect with LJS Denver: Website Twitter Facebook
Connect with LJS Napersville: Website Twitter Facebook
Connect with LJS RDU: Website Twitter
Connect with LJS San Diego: Website Twitter Facebook

Also, please note that the venues for LJS Naperville and San Diego have limited seating so RSVPs are necessary.

Interior of Le Chocolat Du Bouchard

As is obvious by now, I think Lady Jane Salon is a fantastic concept, and I wish there was one closer to me than NYC! I love how welcoming and inclusive it is, how it showcases the diversity of the genre and its readers, as well as the charity aspect of the LJS mission. It’s a great vehicle to meet and network with people in the romance community and helps introduce romance lovers to new-to-them authors, whether it be an established bestselling author of the genre, or a newly published author just starting out on their career. Even better, many of the Salons have the authors’ books for sale on site, so if you like what you hear, you can pick it up and read it right then and there! Very dangerous for one’s wallet, but so worth it, if you ask me! I’m excited to see how Lady Jane Salon continues to grow and expand in the future.

So-have any of you ever been to a Lady Jane Salon? Please share your experiences with us! Would you want to go to a LJS? Which author(s) would you love to see do a reading of one of their works?

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25 thoughts on “Lady Jane Salon-Romance Lovers Coming Together for a Good Time and a Good Cause

  1. Hi, Lisa. Thank you for the wonderful post about Lady Jane’s Salon. As one of the co-founders of the Naperville location, it’s been an amazing experience to watch authors and readers come together and chat about their love of books. I think that’s probably the most fun for me. What could be better than hanging out with a bunch of people who love books?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Adrienne! Thanks so much for st
      opping by and to you and Tracey for agreeing to let me feature LJS Naperville here. I have to say you guys chose a fantastic venue. Le Chocolat during Bouchard looks amazing. I wish you all continued success.
      I agree that any gathering of book lovers is bound to be awesome. 🙂

    • Hi Ella! Thanks for coming by. I’m sorry to hear there isn’t an LJS near you. Hopefully someday. NYC is a bit of a hike for me but so worth it.
      And who knows? Maybe you’ll take the bull by the horns and start a LJS of your own. 😉

    • Hi Andris!!! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting! ! And for your kind words about the blog.

      I hear you. I would love to go every month but it’s just too far away LOL. It’s really amazingbeing in a room full of people who share your love of books and romance in particular. The energy is just so positive and infectious. 🙂

  2. Hi Lisa! Thank you for your wonderful post on Lady Jane Salon. Very well written and informative 🙂 I’m learning so much from you XD

    As you know, I went to the last Lady Jane Salon SD meeting. I loved it! Not only were the people generous and kind and just all around awesome, the atmosphere was cozy and inviting. I usually feel out of place and or awkward at social events, however, I was at ease at the reading. Maybe it had to do with being surrounded by people I’m comfortable with (and or the Tiger’s blood). Shout out to Tessa, Edna, and Diana 🙂 It was great fun to be able to just have a girl’s night out. And the authors who read were amazing!

    Wish you were there, Lisa. Hopefully we can get together soon!

    Thank you again for sharing . xoxo

    • Hi Carrie!
      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting! 🙂 And your LJS SD experience sounds totally epic! Hope you, Diana, and Edna get a chance to go to another LJS soon. And we will definitely have to get together soon. Chocolate martinis are waiting! lol xoxo!

  3. Hey Lisa,

    Sorry to be so late and responding! Crazy day yesterday.

    Thanks for the lovely shout-out to LJS and her various satellites. Adrienne and I have a blast at every salon. Awesome way to connect with readers and meet new authors. We are indebted to Le Chocolat and Anderson’s Bookshop for their fabulous support as well as our publishers–Sourcebooks and Carina Press–for providing wonderful giveaways!

    Hugs and thanks again!

    Tracey

  4. I was there in NYC in 2011 at the Salon during the conference and loved it.
    And in 2013, we get chance to enjoy a little taste of LJS in Australia at our romance writers conference. Can’t wait.

  5. What a cool idea! Too bad there isn’t one in my area…or perhaps there are some other Michiganders and Northern Ohioans that would like to band together and start one?

  6. Oh, I’m so sorry I’m late here. Lady Jane’s Salon is a fabulous idea. I wish I’d known about it beforehand when I was in NYC, two years ago for RWA. Someone had asked me if I was going but I had no clue what Lady Jane’s Salon was at the time and thought I needed an invite too.

    Great post about this, Lisa!!! I’ll know better next time! 😉

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