#RRBC … More Than Just A #Book Club & Heaps of #Gratitude

Happy belated Christmas, RRBC-ians and friends! The following post is personal but since it’s related to RRBC and also includes a peek at the newest release of one of our most awesomely supportive members, I thought I’d place it here on the RRBC site where it would get maximum exposure.

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is, as of 12/13/20, moving into its 8th year of formation. We started out as a small community of literary like-minds and quickly morphed into the huge family of writers and readers you see blanketing the airwaves of social media.  

We hear quite often that we are unlike any community ever seen before.  We love hearing that, but, if we never hear the words spoken, it is something we already know.

When I formed this amazing community, standing out in an already crowded arena of literary clubs was part of my plan, and it was clear from day one, that we would be that community where you would find more than just a place to list and discuss books.  RRBC has always been more than just a book club; it started out as, and remains today, in a class all by itself.  

We are a family (not the dysfunctional kind, by the way) and that shines through with:  every bit of support given via social media, supportive book purchases, reviews posted, relationships formed, and every shoulder extended when one of us is riding the waves of  a “personal” storm.  What you find here, you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.  Why is that?  Well, although many have attempted to model their clubs/groups after us, there is so much more that they need to even remotely resemble who we are.  I don’t need to say it – we all know what those special ingredients are, and we ain’t going anywhere.  We, the most loyal and dedicated members of RRBC, who strive to ensure that our organization is the most unique, and also the best there ever was, we are staunchly planted right here, proudly and joyfully roaming the halls of RRBC.  What we bring to this smooth sailing vessel is a spirit of giving, decency, loyalty, dedication to the service of others, and oneness – that strong feeling of closeness that you miss when you’re away from it for too long, which none of us ever are.

It should come as no surprise that during this season of continual service to others and giving, that I’d be blessed with the amazing gift below! 

It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?  Designed in the shape of a heart,  it embodies all the special and unique avenues RRBC & RWISA implements to push our members along on their constant journey to success.  It was too beautiful for me not to share with you.  As a matter of fact, I believe it was designed for all of us!

The beautiful, Jan Sikes, placed this underneath my tree this Christmas, and before I sent my huge THANK YOU over to her, I wanted you to take in this special gift, which I will proudly display in my very own “RRBC Treasures” display case that I am having built.  This beautiful monument of all things RRBC & RWISA, will house your books that you’ve sent to me, your coffee mugs that you’ve gifted me (because you know I collect coffee mugs), and all those extra special treasures you’ve lovingly sent my way – yes, they’ll all be on display in my home-office very soon.  I’ve received some beautiful gifts from you all throughout the years, and one day, when I decide it’s time to hang up my RRBC/RWISA handbag, I’ll get to enjoy this beautiful display of treasures, with memories you helped create.   (And when you become rich and famous, I’ll already have my very own copy of your autographed book, to show off when I’m boasting how we’re such old friends!)

I’ve received many special “gifts” this Christmas from my wonderful members, but I was moved most by your words of gratitude and simply knowing  you care.  Your kind messages brought tears to my eyes, and in one moment, I stood and said aloud, “It’s just so nice to feel appreciated.”  It truly is the most special feeling there is, second to knowing you’re loved.  So, thank you Phil Stephens, Maura Beth Brennan, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Peggy Hattendorf, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Robbie Cheadle (who was also my VIP Lounge Secret Santa this year), Jan Sikes, Wendy Scott, PTL Perrin, Sam Polakoff, Linda Mims, Karl Morgan, Pat Garcia, Heather Kindt, Eichin Chang-Lim, Linnea Tanner, Randall Krzak, John Podlaski, John Fioravanti, Bette A. Stevens, Robert Fear, Yvette M. Calleiro, Guy Worthey, Rox Burkey, Joy Gerken, Susanne Leist and Marian Beaman.   At the end of a most difficult year, each of you made it so much better, and there are no words to truly express the depth of my gratitude for you. 

Before I go, I’d like to also share two other very special gifts that Jan sneaked under my tree…

Jan, thank you so much for the beautiful coffee mug…

…and I’m elated that it’s been added to my collection! 

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Jan’s latest release, GHOSTLY INTERFERENCE, you can find it on Amazon now!

Every night before bed, when I get on my knees to pray, I ask God to bless my RRBC family and to keep them safe from harm – the same prayer that I pray for my own family here.  This year, I also prayed that every member of the RRBC family would have a joyous holiday, in spite of all that 2020 had thrown at us.  We’re a resilient bunch for sure, and if anyone can turn lemons into the most delicious lemonade ever, it’s our fabulous bunch of RRBC family members!  (So, before you go, please share with us how good your Christmas lemonade was!)

Thanks for allowing me to share my gratitude publicly and to go on and on about our this club that brings me, and so many of you, pure joy.  RRBC is more than just a book club, and if you haven’t joined, you’re really missing out on a lot!   

51 thoughts on “#RRBC … More Than Just A #Book Club & Heaps of #Gratitude”

  1. Dearest Nonnie, thank you for all your hard work and just plain awesomeness this past year – a difficult one for many, if not most of us – on so many levels. All the best for 2021. Thank you, also, for appointing someone as special as Paula to be your assistant. She has been a wonderful support to all of us, and I really enjoyed her help. Thanks also, Jan, and all the best to everyone whom I had the pleasure to meet and interacted with this year. Lots of virtual hugs and good thoughts from me from a cold and snowy Lancashire.

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  2. This was too beautiful not to share. Harriet Hodgson sent this message to Paula this morning, asking that she share it with me. Now I’m sharing it with you:

    HARRIET HODGSON:

    Good Morning Paula,

    Sometimes in life, people step forward just when you need them, to offer moral, emotional, and spiritual support. Rave Reviews Book Club did these things for me after my husband died. I am profoundly grateful to Nonnie and RRBC members for thinking of me and for their generous gifts.

    Nonnie enjoyed choosing the gifts and I heard joy in her voice. Her joy gave me joy. Caring for John at the end of his life was a sad, challenging, and momentous task. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, I managed to maintain my writing career. Though I wasn’t as active in RRBC as I hoped, I plan to do more in the coming year.

    To my surprise and delight, I was offered a part-time job as Assistant Editor of a grief website and I am excited about this position and yes, it falls in the “sometimes in life” category.

    Please forward this message to Nonnie. I am proud to be a member of RRBC, the organization she started with love, hope, and grit. Onward to 2021!

    Virtual hugs from Harriet


    Harriet, I couldn’t have said it better! Thank you and we wish you all the best that the new year has in store for you! I can feel it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Harriet, I am so thankful that you found your comfort in RRBC. What is offered here is so much more than words can describe. I wish you happiness and peace going forward.

      Nonnie you are what this club is about because it’s you. Thank you for creating this platform for members to thrive and feel comfort.

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  3. What a beautiful, heartfelt letter, Nonnie! We may not agree on everything, but we do agree on how amazing RRBC is, and that’s thanks to you — you, your wonderful assistant Paula, your family, and all the members here that have enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. You’ve created an atmosphere that feels like home and family, and I love how supportive everyone is. Yes, RRBC rocks! YOU rock! RRBC has been a shelter in the Covid storm, an oasis in an otherwise dry year, and a lot of fun. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Patty! I’m happy you enjoyed my message 🙂

      You’re right, we don’t agree on some things, but, if “allowed,” politics will always stand in the way of personal connections. I choose to “allow” everyone to have and express their own opinions, and in turn, I ask that those who share different opinions from my views, “allow” me the same courtesy. I’m an adult, and because of that, I don’t let petty things stand in the way of being a decent human being – in a manner in which children might behave. I know many who have thrown away friendships and even family because of their opposing views regarding who runs our country. That’s alarming that something so trivial would be “allowed” to destroy or come between something as beautiful as friendship and/or the love of family.

      Listen, I know this post above isn’t about what I’m about to get into, but since I’m here, here goes. I have a friend who I haven’t heard from since Trump LOST. Well, guess what? That’s her LOSS – not mine. And, if I never hear from her again behind this nonsense, I feel blessed that God opened my eyes to the kind of person she really is. Again, that’s petty nonsense to me and I steer clear of petty nonsense.

      Patty, I’m happy that you and I can agree to disagree and abide in the spirit of amity and adoration. You are adored by me 🙂

      Thank you for dropping by. I’m boiling over with joy that you are enjoying your experience here in our amazing home of RRBC. We are a pretty cool bunch to be involved with! And thank you, also, for your heartfelt mention of the AMAZING PAULA! She is the greatest treasure I could ever have under my wing.

      Make it a great day!

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  4. Aw, I love your letter, Nonnie! Honestly, you and RRBC/RWISA made getting through 2020 so much easier. I truly appreciate the family you have created here. I hope we continue the Zoom fun in 2021. Here’s to the happiest of all RRBC New Years! XOXO 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Yvette! You’re right, RRBC did make it great for a lot of us. I shudder to think of how we all might have gotten through this horrid year without our beloved RRBC & RWISA! We’re keeping on keeping on, and all the fun we started in 2020, we’ll keep that going in the new year!

      🙂

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  5. Hi Nonnie, thank you for this wonderful Christmas letter. 2020 Has been a tough year for everyone and RRBC has really helped to make these difficult times more bearable. I never thought I could enjoy the festive season during a pandemic as much as I have and its due to the massive effort made by you, the RRBC team, and all the RRBC members. I look forward to a great 2021. Thank you also for being my SS, I love the beautiful gifts you sent me. My entire extended family has watched and enjoyed the family video you made for us.

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    1. Robbie, you were a joy to get to know better during 2020, and although this year didn’t bring many great things, the opportunity to connect with you was a blessing to me. Your loving and kind spirit is enviable. Hold on to that tightly. So glad you’re part of the RRBC fold!

      Happy New Year, Robbie!

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  6. Dear Nonnie, your post is fabulous. I am so happy I found you and RRBC, as we all are. I wish you and the entire RRBC/RWISA family a wonderful new year (even though it’s hard to imagine it could be as bad as 2020). Enjoy your time with your family. That’s what life is really all about. Happy 2021.

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    1. Karl, I’m going to turn that around – we’re so very happy to have found you! You’re a member jewel! That makes you a keeper! Thank you for being so awesome for so long. Never change!

      Happy New Year!

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  7. Hi Nonnie, your letter today to the membership was heartfelt and beautiful. We truly appreciate your leadership, your selflessness and the awesomeness of RRBC. As with everything else in 2020, our Christmas was canceled, or at least postponed. My wife , Denise, took ill on 12/21 and tested positive for Covid. We are still sequestered in our home to ride out the final storm of this most despicable year. The good news is that Denise improves every day and so far, I have remained healthy. We pray we will hold our postponed Christmas on New Year’s Eve.

    My best wishes to you, your family and all the RRBC’ers for a healthy and prosperous 2021.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Sam! I’m so sorry to hear about Denise’s health. How awful. (There’s something in your email and it’s not for you …lol…it’s for Denise).

      Stay well so that you’re able to take care of her. We don’t need you sick, too!

      Hopefully, the New Year will come in just as you planned Christmas would. To us, these kind of delays are only 5 minute breaks, Remember that!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, Sam. Holding you and Denise up in prayer, asking for her speedy and complete recovery and that you’re protected from the virus. May the spirit of Christmas be with you no matter when you celebrate it! God bless you and your family, and may 2021 be a much better year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so grateful that somehow I found this group. I have learned so much from all of you since having joined. I love the variety of personalities in this club, the depth of knowledge everyone has, along with the scope of experience, not only in writing, but in life. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can share what we know and have learned during our lifetimes. That may include baking shortbread or having survived a war, or experiencing stage fright or watching your beloved church decline through no fault of its own. People in this group can create fantasy worlds or demonstrate their imaginations by teleporting readers to another time and place by predicting the future. (N.B. here: I have a difficult enough time navigating the PRESENT, let alone predicting the future!) Conversely, some RRBC members are skillful at researching the past and bringing it alive through new characters. It’s extraordinary.

    Since I retired from my “day” job in 2014 and started writing on the sly (or would that be on the fly?), I tried joining several other online clubs. None compares with RRBC. I suspect that it’s due to Nonnie and her leadership–and sometimes crazy ideas, such as all these parties, games and broadcasts originating from RRBC “Central.”

    We are, of course, all products of the times in which we live. We cannot ignore political issues that will impact our lives, or a mysterious blast on Christmas day in Nashville (where many of my musician and writer friends live). We cannot ignore the number of deaths from this horrible virus that’s attacked the entire world. We cannot ignore people in pain due to job losses and homelessness. What we can do, however, is to support each other through these challenging times. That’s what RRBC does. That’s what each and every one of you does. That’s what the amazing Paula does. Bottom line: RRBC has helped me through these past 10 months.

    That’s what Nonnie does. And all of you.

    I am so grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a beautiful post to find this morning when I logged onto my computer! Nonnie, your words have said it all. This is not just a club; it’s a family and I agree, not the dysfunctional kind. We share common goals and genuine caring for others. That’s what makes RRBC and RWISA so very special. I am glad you enjoyed your gifts and what a wonderful thought that they will go into your museum. 🙂 Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!!! You are loved. You are appreciated!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Jan–I haven’t bought your latest book because I need to catch up on the previous ones! I finished Feathers and Stone. I think I should read The Convict and the Rose next. Is that the correct progression? I will be reviewing Feathers and Stone soon…

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    2. Jan, I was so surprised and touched! The pillow is awesome and I’m going to place it right next to the kitchen towel that Kathryn Treat handmade for me in December of 2014, before she left us, with the ON THE SHELF image.

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  10. Dear Nonnie,
    In addition to writing, I’m also a voracious reader and when I see any email from RRBC I settle in for some good reading. I wasn’t disappointed. Your Christmas letter was heartwarming, and your love for this organization and its members shone through. There’s a saying, something like, “you’ve tried the rest, now try the best!” RRBC is the best because you’ve made it feel like family. I remember when I first got here. I was winning prizes, books, PUSH Tuesdays, and all kinds of recognition. That does so much for a writer’s ego and soul. Thank you! Every once in a while, I think of the folks who were here when I got here and I wonder if they want to come back, but don’t know how.

    Various struggles over the years have caused me to slow down, but you’ve stayed the course, Ms. Jules, and the great writing community you created lives on. It was my pleasure to gift you at Christmas for all you do for us throughout the year. Thanks for inquiring about my health, too. That’s what family does. You’ll be glad to know I’m on my way back and very soon I’ll be reading, reviewing, and promoting as before. A few members’ books are in my queue awaiting review. In the meantime, I remain #RRBCSTRONG!

    Instead of a house full of thirty plus adults and kids this Christmas, we had just six, including our year-old grandson, our son-in-love, and our two daughters. It was low key; come as you are; and very nice. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught me how to slow down and appreciate what I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I can’t imagine anyone who was ever on the RRBC roster and heavily involved in all that we did and continue to do, not missing every second of it. If they say otherwise, the truth isn’t in them. There are some who could walk back through our HUGE WELCOMING DOORS anytime they felt like it (many have and many do) – then, there are others, who have ensured that the door is permanently closed and the welcome mat deeply hidden. But, that’s life. The good thing about that is, every person who enters your life, does so to teach you a lesson. The lesson might be teaching you how to love again after a loss or other heartbreaking pain, the lesson might be how to trust again after you’ve been sadly betrayed, or, the lesson might be pointing out to you the kinds of people you don’t want in your life. I appreciate that last lesson most.

      Linda, your words are awesomely kind. Thank you for being awesomely you! Hope the New Year comes in “clearer” for you! You deserve all the bright sunshine you can muster!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Again, Merry Christmas, Nonnie! You are the gift that never stops giving! And sometimes, a simple THANK YOU is not enough, but thank you, all the same for all you do for the RRBC family. May this new year be even more fruitful!🍇

    Liked by 2 people

  12. RRBC members are a great group of people and as our dedicated and tireless leader, Nonnie, you are amazing. Thank you for the ongoing support and encouragement, which is the hallmark of RRBC. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My most favorite Karen ever! … you were hiding in the beginning but now that you’ve come out, I see clearly that you are the most beautiful gem there ever was! You’re always so kind and understanding.

      Thank you!

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  13. Nonnie, Your so generous with your time and imagination as you create and expand a group as broadly-based and diversified as RRBC, it is not surprising that you continue to gain the respect of those around you. You are a very special individual and champion for authors everywhere. I appreciate your heartfelt note. It is due to Jan that I (along with my co-author Breakfield) are a part of this group. To more fun, reading, appreciation, and good cheer in the new year. Rox.

    p.s. I’ve got my paperback of Jan’s book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rox, and you are a most awesome addition to the RRBC roster! We appreciate you and your giving heart so much! I can’t think of one thing I’ve asked of you that you said NO to, and for that, I love you dearly!

      Thank you for being so genuinely “real!”

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