Along with my husband and friends Mat and Caterina Moric, I attended “Books Take You Higher Gala” held at the Elks Lodge in Phoenix, AZ. The event organizer was Laura Orsini who champions a local meetup group, “Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meeting” which grew into 1000 members. We networked and enjoyed live music from Mary Ellen Stepanich’s comedy quartet, Lilac Crazy, solo guitarist Mickey Clement, a magician surprise performance by our table, a spelling bee contest, a door prize drawing, and silent auction items. A portion of the proceeds went to a local nonprofit “Read Better Be Better,” a program that trains eighth graders to help third graders achieve reading proficiency. Being around authors and books is always inspiring to me. Books are mypassion.