I've just returned from my first UtopYA Conference and I'm already looking forward to next year.
I've been to other signings and events but can honestly say that nothing I've ever done compares to the amazing experience I had this past weekend in Nashville.
While at the event I was reunited with familiar faces, introduced to new peeps and finally greeted online pals face to face. The atmosphere of the event was unifying and I felt welcome and accepted. It allowed me the opportunity to ask the questions I'd been afraid to ask, learn to ask questions I didn't know I should and rest assured that I wasn't as clueless as I thought I was, or at least no more than anyone else. Most importantly, I learned that a little "cluelessness" in this industry isn't that unheard of and that it's fun to learn in the company of others.
I met a lot of really incredible individuals this weekend and can't help but mention a few.
Kelsey Keeton, my cover art designer(KKeeton Designs), it was such an honor to meet you in person. You are such a creative talent and you have a heart of gold! I had the best time with you and Serena Cappuzzo (cover art model for Soul Quest)! I can't wait for our next adventure together!
Tamara Beard (Tamara's One Stop Indie Shop), my new publicist!!!! Woot! I hired her at the UtopYA Con, folks. How is that for networking? She is beautiful inside and out and sooooo smart!
Hollie Westring (Hollie the Editor), my editor, it was so nice to finally see your lovely face in person. Let me tell you, this woman is gifted at what she does!
There were two keynote speakers at the conference, Jennifer Armentrout (New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author)and Jen Sincero (I downloaded my copy of You Are a Badass)! Both speakers were enlightening and entertaining. The ever present mantra - Believe in yourself and be true to who you are - truly supports what it means to be both female and indie!
I left the conference feeling emotionally empowered and better informed about the indie writing world (which is saying something since I've been at this for three years). My only regrets... not going last year (lessoned learned!) and having to wait until next June for UtopYA 2014. If you didn't go this year make sure you register for the 2014 conference! You can do that here.
Conference Photo Gallery
2014 Conference Theme
Serena Cappuzzo, AKA,
my fictional daughter, Liv Glyn (Soul Quest)
Jaclyn Rutland and Kelsey Keeton, beautiful cover model
and cover artist extraordinaire!
My gorgeous conference roomies! I <3 you guys!
Cydney Lawson eating her first Reese cup!
I still can't believe she never ate one before, LOL!
Jen Sincero, keynote speaker and author of You Are a Badass.
Giveaways! I won Tiffany King's Jordyn
novel and swag! Woooo Hooo!
Photos taken at the Awards Ceremony by the fab Kelsey Keeton (KKeeton Designs)
Adam and Carol Kunz (C.A. Kunz - mother and son author duo of The Childe and The Modified) and Kelsey - I lurve em'!
Cydney Lawson (author of The Last of the Fallen series),
Jaclyn Rutland and Serena Cappuzzo (cover art models)
I love my editor, Hollie Westring (Hollie the Editor)
My silly gang (Kelsey, Tamara, Jaclyn, Cydney and Serena)!
One of my fav author crushes, Quinn Loftis
(author of the Grey Wolves series)!
Fan Girl Moment!