What a whirlwind of excitement! Books, books, books galore. After almost 3 months of summer vacation filled with trips, I’m finally home in the sunny Fl. Yes it’s hot as hell, and yes you can cook bacon on the sidewalk, but it’s home. Traveling about 12 hours each way, I made it all the way to Nashville, Tennessee. This is where I spent 5 days at the Maxwell House Hotel, attending UtopiaCon! As this was my first ever time at a book convention, I was both nervous and excited. Some of my favorite authors would be there and I would get to meet them! About 4 years ago I had met a small group of authors at a local library in TN and got some signed books from them. This was the first time writing really caught my interest, even though I’ve always been an avid book reader. This year, many of those authors also attended UtopiaCon, So it was nice to see them again and learn about their new books, as well a meet new authors and feed my book addiction. (Drugs are bad, books are good. I mean, you can’t even overdose!)
The most surprising part of UtopiaCon was meeting the authors and learning how down-to-earth they are. In my mind, I had placed them on this pedestal, but in reality they are so sweet and humble, and they make the smallest of people feel like a huge important part of the writing industry. It was a definite shock at how welcoming they were to the newbies.
When I first arrived, I had checked in, got my name tag, and sat at an empty round table in the lobby, shyly listening to the conversations going on around me and pretending to be on my phone. All of the sudden four strangers sit at the table around me and strike up a conversation! Unbeknownst to me, I met the cover artist Kelsey Kukal-Keeton,who designs the covers of some of my favorite teen werewolf novels by Quin Loftis. I also got a photo with one of the book’s cover model, Kelsey’s little sister, Kerrigan, who is absolutely gorgeous. Kerrigan is the model for the character Sally from the series Prince of Wolves, and appears on the cover of book 5, Beyond the Veil.
The picture above is from the UtopiaCon panel “How to Write an Epic Book Boyfriend”, hosted by Quinn Loftis on the right. The panel, from write to left, features authors Ednah Walters R.K. Ryals, Karen Lynch, and Renee Carlino. I’m only familiar with Ednah Walters, writer of the series Runes, among another novels and series.
*Click book covers to view book on Amazon*
The first evening of the con was the intro with Jannet Wallace, founder of UtopiaCon, with featured speaker Myra McEntire. Myra is the author of many books and series, none of which I’ve read yet, but am planning to change that. Myra shared her personal struggles with us and explained her internet hiatus, describing her battles with depression. She’s a wonderful person to talk to and very inspirational as well.
As well as Myra McEntire, I also met other keynote speakers such as Alessandra Torre, popular romance writer, and NYT Bestseller Alex Flinn, who wrote the modern spin on Beauty and the Beast, called Beastly.
Besides meeting incredible authors, I also met some very inspirational bloggers and Booktubers, who taught me a lot of things as well. One of these people was Christina Marie from Lulo Fangirl on Youtube. She gave me some great blogging advice! Here is a YouTube video of hers, recapping the Con. I’m in the video at 00:55, talking with author Nedege Richards, writer of the Bleeding Hearts series, Breath novels, Bionic Saga, and Chronicles of Syn (Another set of books I have yet to indulge in) .
One of my favorite parts of the con was getting to catch up with authors I’ve already met. I got to reunite with authors like Chelsea Fine, who is definitely one of my top 5 authors of all time. She was the first author I ever met, and I instantly fell in love with her books. Her books include the Anew trilogy and her Finding Fate series. She is one of my biggest inspirations and if wasn’t for her and a few other amazing writers, I don’t think I would’ve taken the time look at is something I’d want to spend the rest of my life doing.
I also had the chance to meet with Carol Kunz, who co-wrote a trilogy with her son called The Childe. Carol is a lovely woman, totally devoted to making the world a happier place. I went out to dinner with her and a few other authors and families. I learned that she lives in Tampa, which is only an hour away from me, and we agreed to meet up for lunch some time down the road. I also won a scavenger hunt of hers and received a copy of her New Adult genre book (under a different pen name) called Luck Number 4, a cute, emotionally frustrating romance.
Overall, I can honestly say that UtopiaCon is one of the best experiences in whole life, and I can’t wait for next year. The people I met and the opportunities I was introduced to has definitely helped my build confidence as a writer, blogger, and shameless book addict. If you love books as much as I, I strongly encourage you to look into UtopiaCon, or maybe even closer book convention nearby. Overall rating: 10/10.
Next Year #Utopia2017 theme is Freak Show. #StepWriteUp
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