On Sunday, October 22, I attended the twelfth annual Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy. I haven’t kept track, but I think this was the fourth time I’ve attended in the last six years and as previously, I had a really good time.
Buns & Roses is a fundraising event that supports the Richardson Adult Literacy Center (RALC) in Richardson, Texas. The RALC provides English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to adults who live or work in Richardson. The primary goals for the students are to gain better employment, help their children in school and become more involved community members. Each year at the event we hear a speech or essay by a student and it never fails to touch the audience and remind attendees of the valuable purpose the event serves.
Buns & Roses raises funds through various activities both at and before the event. There is a silent auction with some really awesome items. There are also raffle prizes and an annual Buns & Roses teddy bear that is always a hot item. I have three of them and they’re always darling. I can’t help but get caught up in the heat of the competition to get one of the limited number. Additionally, Barnes & Noble sets up a mini-store where you can buy the attending authors’ books and then have them signed.
This year’s keynote speakers were the husband-and-wife writing team, Gordan and Ilona Andrews, writing under the pseudonym Ilona Andrews. (From their bio) They have co-authored four NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, rustic fantasy of the Edge, paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and Innkeeper Chronicles, which they post as a free weekly serial.
Aligning their keynote with the theme of the event, Adult Literacy, they each spoke on their personal experiences with the issue coming from different ends of the spectrum. Each were very moving and when finished, the audience gave a standing ovation. My key take-away was understanding how far the United States needs to go to rectify this problem. The RALC makes great strides in its small footprint, but the country as a whole needs to take more action.
Every year, my friend Samantha reserves a table with her favorite author and invites her friends to buy one of the seats. This year our table’s author was Valerie Bowman. She was so sweet and enjoyable. The authors always give you a gift of some kind. Last year the author we sat with gave us a little clip-on spectator hat. Valerie shared THREE of her books with us including her last book, Never Trust a Pirate, which I had her sign. Can’t wait to read them.
So, another Buns & Roses Tea has come and gone. We can start looking forward to next year. If you want more information about the Richardson Adult Literacy Center, visit the website. Volunteers are always needed. If you’re an author and would like to sponsor a table at the Tea next year, or you’d like to attend as a reader and fan, watch the website for dates and information.