In June, I went to Utopiacon in Nashville, which is a conference for authors, writers, bloggers and readers. I had a blast geeking out over books with my best friend, meeting my favorite authors, and of course, getting my books signed.
Here’s some of the highlights.
Amy Harmon, author of Making Faces and The Bird and the Sword, was the keynote speaker. She encouraged aspiring writers to “be a finisher,” and when it comes to writing, “what you don’t know you’ll figure out.” She also did a reading out of The Bird and the Sword, which was amazing because she has this awesome husky voice. I could have listened to her all day.
I got to meet Jennifer L. Armentrout. (Yes, that JLA, the woman who brought us Katy/Daemon from the Lux series, and my personal favorite Layla/Roth from The Dark Elements trilogy.) She’s one of my favorite authors and I did nothing but fangirl in her presence. (I tried to keep it together guys. I really did.)
I also saw her speak on a panel regarding hybrid authors. JLA talked about how her best career move was taking a risk and publishing with a small press, and discouraged aspiring writers from saying yes to everything. She commented on how that’s why she’s been working non-stop and putting out so many books. (I’m happy she said yes. #sorrynotsorry). Other authors on the panel had great insight. Shannon Mayer, author of Priceless, encouraged writers to invest in their cover and brand, and Elise Kova, author of The Alchemists of the Loom, talked about changing marketing tactics for each series.
I saw a lot of other great panels and sat through some readings, which are now my favorite thing. Even if you don’t know anything about an author or their books, sit through a reading. I found some great new books this way.
I got to meet C.J. Redwine, author of The Wish Granter. She was so sweet. During a panel on the pressures in publishing, she said, “If I wouldn’t cry at your funeral, I don’t have to care what you think about me.” I’m pretty sure that’s my new life motto.
Over the weekend, I bought 12 books, which was quite the book haul!
I got to meet a lot of authors.
Ginger Scott was so nice. I fangirled about The Hard Count and A Boy Like Me. We talked about the sports romance genre and how we both think that genre should include scenes where the sport is actually played.
Elise Kova seemed so business savvy. I went to her reading of The Alchemists of the Loom and I immediately wanted to read it.
Abbi Glines was quiet, but she signed my book and gave me Rush underwear so I was a happy camper!
Casey Bond was an author I’d never read before, but she spoke so eloquently during a panel, I had to see what she was about.
Amy Harmon was an absolute doll. So nice. I want to give her books a second chance. I think I’ll read The Bird and The Sword since it has some pretty cool magic.
Beth Flynn was such a surprise. I don’t know who was more surprised — me or her. She was shocked that I’d read her books, and I was shocked that this sweet older lady wrote a novel that tore my heart from my body. I joked about needing to join a support group after Nine Minutes, and she jokingly warned me that Out of Time might do me in. She’s pretty much a badass.
Shannon Mayer was another author I hadn’t read before, but I attended her reading and her new series has talking guns…and I was sold from the very first snarky remark. She was also very encouraging when I told her I was an aspiring writer. I kind of want to be her best friend and her Urban Fantasy Rylee Adamson series is next on my TBR.
I didn’t get a picture with Cambria Hebert, but she was fun to talk to, and I got to meet Jasinda Wilder.
The weekend ended with an awards ceremony and a Circus-themed Freakshow Ball. My best friend and I had a great time.
Overall, Utopiacon 2017 was a success. Unfortunately, this is the final year of the conference, but they did mention a reunion Utopiacon in a few years.