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Summer Picnic Adventure (Live and In-Person) featuring Georgie Blalock, Amy Mason Doan, Michelle Gable, Nicola Harrison, Susan Meissner, Denise Nicholas, Leslie Rasmussen and Kaira Rouda

August 27, 2021 @ 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

$20.00 – $165.00

About the Virtual Event

What would summer be without a fun picnic? It has been over a year and a half since we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person with some favorite SoCal authors, so we think it’s time to bring on the picnic, and we invite you to join us. Our Summer Picnic Adventure features eight SoCal authors who are eager to meet with reading fans in person to discuss their most recent books, in a beautiful outdoor park setting in Encinitas.*

Just in time to choose some great summer reads, this event is your opportunity to intimately chat in small groups with some of your favorite of book club authors: Georgie Blalock, Amy Mason Doan, Michelle Gable, Nicola Harrison, Susan Meissner, Denise Nicholas, Leslie Rasmussen, and Kaira Rouda. Pack your own picnic lunch (or order one below for delivery at the event).

Your Adventure includes book(s) of your choice (or purchase all 8 for a special discount plus FREE lunch), your chance to chat intimately with all eight authors in small groups, and the opportunity to finally celebrate reading live and in person after a very long dry spell! See Event Registration* below for important details.

About the Authors

Georgie Blalock is an award-winning author of historical fiction, whose passion for history and movie allows her to combine her different passions through historical fiction, and a healthy dose of period piece films. When not writing, she can be found prowling the non-fiction history section of the library or the British film listings on Netflix or in the dojo training for her next karate black belt rank. Georgie also writes historical romance under the name Georgie Lee.

In her new book, The Last Debutantes, they danced the night away, knowing their world was about to change forever. They were the debutantes of 1939, laughing on the outside, but knowing tragedy— and a war—was just around the corner. When Valerie de Vere Cole, the niece of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, makes her deep curtsey to the King and Queen of England, she knows she’s part of a world about to end. The daughter of a debt-ridden father and a neglectful mother, Valerie sees firsthand that war is imminent.

Nevertheless, Valerie reinvents herself as a carefree and glittering young society woman, befriending other debutantes from England’s aristocracy as well as the vivacious Eunice Kennedy, daughter of the U.S. Ambassador. Despite her social success, the world’s troubles and Valerie’s fear of loss and loneliness prove impossible to ignore. How will she navigate her new life when everything in her past has taught her that happiness and stability are as fragile as peace in our time? For the moment she will forget her cares in too much champagne and waltzes. Because very soon, Valerie knows that she must find the inner strength to stand strong and carry on through the challenges of life and love and war.

To schedule a book club visit with Georgie or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Amy Mason Doan is the bestselling author of Lady Sunshine, The Summer List, and Summer Hours. “Doan’s characters leap off the page,” says Publishers Weekly. “Sure to please fans of Kristin Hannah & Elin Hilderbrand,” says Library Journal. BookPage describes her work as “an artful combination of lyrical writing and twisting plot.”

Amy grew up in Danville, California and now lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. Before turning to fiction, Amy worked as a reporter & editor for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Forbes, and other publications. Amy has an M.A. in Journalism from Stanford University and a B.A. in English from U.C. Berkeley.

Her new novel, Lady Sunshine, named one of Parade Magazine’s Best 25 Books of Summer features one iconic family, one summer of secrets, and the dazzling spirit of 1970’s California.

For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods… until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.

To schedule a book club visit with Amy or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Michelle Gable is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of  A Paris Apartment, I’ll See You in Paris, The Book of Summer, and The Summer I Met Jack. She grew up in sunny San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary, after which she pursued a career in finance, first at the now-defunct Arthur Andersen, later moving to private equity, followed by investment banking, then back to private equity, ultimately landing at software giant Ellie Mae as head of Investor Relations. In May 2016, she ended a 20-year career in finance to become a full-time writer.

Her newest work of historical fiction, The Bookseller’s Secret, takes place in 1942 London, when Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss of estrangement from her husband, as well as having her allowance cut and having to give up her writing career, she is eager for distraction and desperate for income, so she jumps at the chance to manage a bookshop while the owner is away at war.

But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up pen and paper again and revealing all is worth the price she may be forced to pay. Eighty years later, the bookshop is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy. The search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an event more surprising link between the present and the past.

To schedule a book club visit with Michelle or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Nicola Harrison is the author of the historical fiction novels, Montauk. Born and raised in England, she moved with her family to Southern California when she was 14. She is a graduate of UCLA and received her MFA from Stony Brook. Prior to writing novels, she worked as a fashion journalist in New York City and now lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband, two sons and a high-maintenance chihuahua named Lola.

Her second historical novel, The Show Girl, gives a glimpse of the glamorous world of the Ziegfeld Follies, through the eyes of a young midwestern woman who comes to New York City to find her destiny as a Ziegfeld Follies star. It’s 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more―even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy―the only man she’s ever met who seems to accept her modern ways―her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves.

To schedule a book club visit with Nicola or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Susan Meissner is  a USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction with more than three-quarters of a million books in print in 18 languages. Her novels include The Last Year of the War, named to Real Simple magazine’s list of best books for 2019; As Bright as Heaven, which earned a starred review in Library JournalSecrets of  Charmed Life, a Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014. 

The Nature of Fragile Things, her most recent work of historical fiction, which earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly is about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity. In 1905, Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so anxious to get out of a Manhattan tenement that she answers a San Francisco widower’s mail-order bride ad. Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is handsome, but Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, his silent five-year-old daughter.

Even so, something about her hastily manufactured happiness isn’t right. Then one early-spring evening a year later, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved. The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

To schedule a book club visit with Susan or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Denise Nicholas is an award-winning actress known for her roles in the long-running series “Room 222″ and “In the Heat of the Night” as well as her guest appearances on “A Different World,” “Magnum P.I.,“ and “The Cosby Show,” among others. She co-starred opposite Bill Cosby in the film “Ghost Dad” and opposite Sidney Poitier and Mr. Cosby in the films, “Let’s Do It Again” and “A Piece of the Action. Along the way, she has garnered three Golden Globe nominations and won three NAACP Image Awards, and she is the recipient of two Los Angeles Emmy Awards.

Born in Detroit, she graduated from the University of Southern California. She has worked in Janet Fitch’s writing workshop for five years, attended both the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop and the Natalie Goldberg Writers Workshop in Taos, New Mexico, and has been published in Essence Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post Blog. For the last three years, Ms. Nicholas has been a participant in the Sacramento Black Book Fair, as author and as writing teacher.

Her rich, absorbing debut, Freshwater Road, now in a ten-year anniversary reissue, is a powerful and dramatic coming of age story set in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. The novel has been called one of the best novels written about the Civil Rights Movement and the author has been praised repeatedly over the years for her beautiful prose and is continually mentioned along with Alice Walker and Ernest J. Gaines as the most important novelists documenting this era.

Set in 964, the daughter of a Detroit bar owner/numbers runner and his estranged, class-conscious ex-wife (whose light complexion enables her to pass as white), Celeste Tyree has enjoyed a comfortable, sheltered middle-class life for all of her nearly two decades. But when activists talking of nonviolent revolution visit her Ann Arbor college campus, she determines to go South to help register blacks to vote. Part of what drives wide-eyed Northerner Celeste is her sense that her life little matches common black experience; her work in Mississippi is an attempt to validate her identity as a black woman as much as it is a journey to help lift the veil of oppression.

To schedule a book club visit with Denise or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Leslie Rasmussen was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she graduated from UCLA and went on to write television comedies for Gerald McRaney, Burt Reynolds, Roseanne Barr,  Norm McDonald, Drew Carey, and Ralph Macchio as well as The Wild Thornberrys and Sweet Valley High. Later, she earned a master’s degree in nutrition and ran her own business for ten years. Leslie loves dogs and besides having two adorable Labradors, she volunteers at The Burbank Animal Shelter,  in Burbank, California. 

In her debut, After Happily Ever After (2021 Winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Award and 2021 Finalist of Book Excellence Awards), Maggie Dolin is 45 and not dealing with aging very well. Seventeen years ago, she gave up her job in publishing to raise her daughter, Gia—but now her only child is about to leave for college, and Maggie isn’t sure what her new purpose will be. She’s been the caretaker and nurturer for so long that she can’t even remember the last time someone took care of her.

She wishes her husband of 19 years, would take that role on—but he’s been distracted and disconnected, and she’s convinced he’s hiding something from her. Her self-involved, judgmental mother and resentful brother, meanwhile, are certainly no help, and her father is dealing with increasingly serious health issues, leaving Maggie without her rock. Maggie finds herself pulled in a direction that makes her question the life she’s always known when she finds something more intriguing that she never expected. After Happily Ever After deals with love, marriage, family, the empty nest, aging parents and what happens when they all come crashing down at the same time.

To schedule a book club visit with Leslie or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


Kaira Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker and internationally bestselling and award-winning author. A former magazine editor, and society columnist, Kaira won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway. Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and her four twenty-something children.

In her newest twisting novel of suspense, The Next Wife, there is no limit to the lies, suspicion, and secrets that can poison the perfect marriage. Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded with her husband, John; a happy marriage; and a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She’s cultivated a friendship with Ashlyn. Tish believes she’s won. She’s wrong.

Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, and a new husband. But the truth is, there’s a lot of baggage. Namely, his first wife—and suspicions of his infidelity. After all, that’s how she got John. Maybe it’s time for a romantic getaway, far from his vindictive ex. If Kate plans on getting John back, Tish is one step ahead of her. She thinks. But what happens next is something neither Kate nor Tish saw coming. As best-laid plans come undone, there’s no telling what a woman will do in the name of love—and revenge.

To schedule a book club visit with Kaira or any of our authors on NovelNetwork:


For Book Clubs or Author Live Chats

Are you in a book club, library reading group, or is your group of friends, colleagues, family members seeking fabulous authors who are excited and available to meet with you? Then you will be delighted to know that Georgie Blalock, Amy Mason Doan, Michelle Gable, Nicola Harrison, Susan Meissner, Denise Nicholas, Leslie Rasmussen, and Kaira Rouda are all members of our wonderful community of over 140 NovelNetwork authors available to meet with small groups via video chat.

NovelNetwork is the nation’s first and only match(dot)com for authors and book clubs to find each other, so check it out today. Book clubs join for free and gain access to our database of dozens of authors, from NYT and international bestsellers, to debut authors, cookbook authors, mystery and non-fiction authors, and representing various regions of the United States, and even Alaska and Hawaii, all of whom want to meet with you!

To schedule a visit with Georgie, Amy, Michelle, Nicola, Susan, Denise, Leslie, or Kaira, or any of our authors, join FOR FREE  here.


Event Registration

*Please note important details regarding this event:

  • The name and address of the park in Encinitas will be provided to you within one week of the event date, as event is not open to the public.
  • City of Encinitas/State of California COVID restrictions on the date of the event will apply.
  • Event registration includes book(s) of your choice, or order all 8 and receive a special discount plus a FREE lunch.
  • Due to the special nature of this event, there are no refunds after August 20, 2021, and/or for no-shows.
  • Event will be held come rain or shine, so please dress accordingly for an outdoor park setting.
  • You may pack your own picnic lunch or order one below to be delivered to you at the event. Upon registration, and if applicable, you will receive boxed lunch options. If no options are selected, a standard boxed lunch will be provided for you.
  • Please make sure to bring lawn chair, blanket, water, sunscreen, hat, umbrella, and any comfortable clothing for an outdoor park event.
  • There are a limited number of picnic tables and shade trees available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Public bathrooms and public parking are available.
  • Books will be available for presale below, and a limited number will be available for sale at the event as well. Only books purchased below or at the event will be eligible for signing.