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In December of 2013, while most people were drinking hot chocolate, singing Christmas carols, and buying last minute holiday gifts, two girls were fangirling via Facebook messenger about how much they loved the latest books they’d read. They were drafting up their reviews, thinking about how much they LOVED reading, and how they wanted to share the books they loved with other readers like themselves who were looking for book recommendations, but weren’t sure where to go. Erin Spencer, Jamie Taliaferro, and Katie Pettigrew joined forces and together, the little blog they’d dreamed up took off like a rocket.

The likes, the shares, the hits to the website – it all grew faster than any of them could have ever imagined. The book community was growing by the day, more and more blogs showing their love for books, and, with all the love came the most exciting venture of all…

Book signings.

While Katie had not been to a book event, Erin had attended a few, and when Book Bash happened in Orlando, they both found themselves salivating at the line up and wishing they could have been there.

Erin wondered out loud… “What if we put on an event… like, a signing of our own?” Katie thought Erin was insane at first – because, HELLO, a book signing is a lot of work. But, they decided to take on the challenge together. And just a month after the group had gathered and created the blog, they started planning their first event – The Hard Rock Author Event in Tulsa, OK.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Adding the talented Shannon O’Neil to their team, the ladies of Southern Belle Book Blog hosted a multitude of events over the next few years. If you asked them, they’d say things were tough at first – they had to figure out this brand new world of events, graphic design, website management, social media, marketing, day of organization, and so much more. They’d tell you there were many mistakes along the way, many things they learned, many mishaps that helped them make each event better and better.

But, if you asked the authors who attended their signings, you’d hear an entirely different story.

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“There’s a reason I attend 90% of the Southern Belle events I’m invited to, and that is, put simply: because they are the best at what they do. When it comes to book signings, they run everything so smoothly, and so professionally, it was hard for me to believe when I attended their first event that it was their first event. Erin, Katie, and Shannon pay attention to the details, and because of that, their events excel. They are always my favorite event of the year as an author, and when readers come to my table, I can tell from their reactions that they feel the same. Everyone is in awe, and so impressed. Everyone is having fun. Everyone is desperate to attend another event as soon as the first one they attended is over. That is the Southern Belle magic.” - BESTSELLING AUTHOR KANDI STEINER

Southern Belle started as a book blog, but as time progressed, they realized that their time was wrapped up mostly in planning events – and that’s the way they loved it! So, they shifted all their attention there, changing their name officially to Southern Belle Events in late 2017.

Southern Belle Events are renowned in the book community for their extraordinary events – such as Holidays with the Belles, Big Apple Author Event, Black & Gold Author Event, and more. With over 18 signings under their belt, they’re still learning, growing, and looking to the future on how to host the best signing a reader may attend.

When it comes to book signings, Southern Belle events are in a league of their own. And if you ask them what it is that sets them apart, they’ll answer modestly with, “We love hosting events, and it’s that simple. When you love what you do, you pay attention to detail, and you make the authors, volunteers, and readers who attend feel like your family instead of your customers – you create magic.”

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Erin Spencer

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Katie Pettigrew

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Shannon O'Neill

Meet Erin:
 
Family info:
I'm a mom of 3 little humans + 2 pups and wife of 1 very patient hubby. Everyday is a brand new, crazy day in our house and may run the gamut whether you're a Star Wars nerd or a princess who lives daily by her motto, "It cost nothing to be kind" or the off the wall child who lives, eats, and sleeps with zero fear (and terrifies his mom daily because of it!). I'm a full-time Event Coordinator at our local convention center, where I get to also help make exciting events come to life for our clients.
 
Where you live:
We live in a small town in Southern Oklahoma, where you can go from one side of town to the other in 7 minutes or less.
 
Books you prefer to read:
My go-to is normally New Adult, but honestly, anything within Young Adult and Romantic Suspense can usually hit the right spot too.
 
What you love most about hosting:
You know those 5 minutes before a big event begins? Whether that's a concert, a child's activity, or a book signing, you feel that anticipation rising and building as you near the official start time? That high. That high is why I love hosting author events.
 
The stress, the details, the financials are so much to take but the reward is beyond worth it. That feeling of standing there next to Katie and Shannon, acknowledging that the hard work had paid off. The feeling of looking around, seeing each author as they excitedly run to their table before the doors open and the squeals of fangirlisms when the attendees enter and head towards their heroes. It's unparalleled.
 
Dream signing location:
Paris. I would do anything to host in Paris. Ugh, it just looks so dreamy and romantic and swoon worthy. What better place to host a venue full of diehard romantic fans and the phenomenal talent that writes those swoon worthy characters, am I right?! Also I'm determined to eventually host in California. Somewhere, someway, somehow. San Fran, San Diego, Los Angeles. It's bound to happen but until then, I'll keep hoping. 
 
Favorite signing so far:
Holidays with the Belles. I love all of our events. I have very fond memories from every single one and they all make my heart happy when I think back on those times, but far and away, Holidays with the Belles is my favorite. It was the first that came to fruition. It's where I met so many of our friends that we're still close with today. When I think of Holidays, I think of authors with smiling faces, rock star volunteers, and the most excited readers out of all of our events. 
 
Book you'd recommend to someone new to the genre:
Oh man... My go-to suggestions when I meet someone who is just tinkering with the genre is Thoughtless by SC Stephens and Slammed by Colleen Hoover. There's just something about those titles from back in 2012 when I started reading that will never fade, and lord knows I don't want it to. I'd pay more money than my poor husband would allow just to have that first time feeling with Thoughtless again. Can we all collectively agree that you never really get over Kellan Kyle, right? 
 
Hobbies when you're not reading/hosting:
It's sort of an easy answer but being a mom. Some days are hard, sure. Most days, it's just really fun being the momma to my Joey, Molly, and Matt. Life is never boring, ever. Beyond that, traveling. I wish I could go, go, go more than I do but when I'm not, I'm planning, wishing, or recovering from travels. I'm also a huge World of Warcraft nerd but shh, don't tell anyone that! 

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Meet Katie:
 
Where you live:
Mars. Literally.
 
Books you prefer to read:
Romance but I'm pretty open on what I read within romance. My no go is paranormal. 
 
What you love most about hosting:
The people, authors, readers, volunteers. I love connecting with people who I've met through our mutual love of reading and then meeting all the newbies, those who have never been to a Southern Belle signing. 
 
Dream signing location:
Alaska, Montana, Maine. I'd love to do an off the beaten trail signing.
 
Favorite signing so far:
All of them? Lol Holidays with the Belles will always be my favorite. It was our first and it was where I found my people.
 
Book you'd recommend to someone new to the genre:
Kristen Ashley or Colleen Hoover. It's hard to pick one book because for me, that depends on the person, but those are my normal go to authors for those really new to the genre. And then I help them down the rabbit hole a little more. 
 
Hobbies when you're not reading/hosting:
Reading is my main hobby. I'm trying to find other things to fall in love with but nothing has been able to compare to reading. I've been a book lover since 2nd grade, it's hard to break that.
 
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Meet Shannon:
 
Family info:
Married to a patient man, we have an amazing daughter, one pup and many bonus family members. 
 
Where you live:
Fort Worth, TX
 
Books you prefer to read:
I love reading all different kinds of books, although since we adopted I have mostly been listening to all my books. I am currently re-listening to all of Colleen Hoover and Sarah J Maas' books. Give me great developed characters, and a story that holds my attention and I'm in. 
 
What you love most about hosting:
The passion of both the readers and authors. Love seeing readers connect with their favorite authors in an awesome vibe environment. 
 
Dream signing location:
Hawaii, Outer Banks, NC and Roanoke, VA 
 
Favorite signing so far:
Holidays with the Belles has a special place in my heart because it is what brought us all together! Portland is my favorite city we have been too.
 
Books I would recommend:
Anything by Colleen Hoover, Kim Holden, Molly McAdams and Sarah J Maas
 
Hobbies when you're not reading/hosting:
Photography, Singing, Travel

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