When I stepped out of my car, I could cut the humidity with a knife. It didn't help that I'd been writing all spring in an air-conditioned house. This is the reason I have crazy Einstein hair in all of the pictures I'm going to post below. Suffice to say, it was hella hot, but Nashville is so incredibly amazing and I was so excited to be there that I got over it quickly. (My hair never did.)
In reality, I wouldn't miss this conference for the world. I absolutely love UtopYA Con for one simple reason: it helped me launch my marketing career as an author in 2012. The information, techniques, and networking opportunities afforded at that one event have led to some of my dearest friendships, collaborations, marketing strategies, and a whole host of other unique opportunities that could not have been gained elsewhere.
I went a few days early so that I could spend time with two of my very best friends, Georgia Cates and Shelly Crane. Georgia and I met for the first time in person at UtopYA Con 2012. Our connection was instant. Since then, we've been nearly inseparable. Most of my signings are with Georgia; we're roomies and it's sort of ridiculous that we always show up at events with at least one identical item of clothing. We don't shop together. It just happens. Georgia writes paranormal fiction, but she has recently crossed over to the adult contemporary romance genre and has had HUGE success with her Beauty Series.
I love Shelly Crane's guts. She's the author of the Significance Series (among a ton of others). We first met through Twitter. She followed me one day, and I about lost my mind over it. I private messaged her with this tweet: Umm, do you know who you are because I do?!!! She overlooked my tweet's bad grammar and we became friends.
From that day on, I've badgered her with questions about writing, publishing, and marketing. She finally decided to create a secret group on Facebook for us to chat. She pulled me into it and then added Quinn Loftis (Grey Wolves Series). From there, Georgia Cates (The Vampire Agape Series), Angeline Kace (Vampire Born Trilogy), Michelle Leighton (Blood Like Poison, Wild Ones), Rachel Higginson (The Star-Crossed Series), Samantha Young (Fire Spirits Series, On Dublin Street), and Lila Felix (Love and Skate Series) have found their way into the group. We call ourselves the Indie Hellcats (because when the group started, we were all Indie authors, and if you know anything about Indies it's this: once an Indie, always an Indie at heart.) We chat online pretty much every day. I'm grateful for the Hellcats' guidance and support. I cherish it.
On Thursday night, I was thrilled to be able to go to dinner with most of the Hellcats. (Samantha Young was sleeping off jet lag after her crazy flight from Scotland and Quinn had family obligations that kept her occupied. We missed them like crazy!!) **NOTE: If anyone has the opportunity to go to dinner with Michelle Leighton, jump on that! She is the funniest girl on the PLANET!!
I have another secret, look for an announcement on July 25th regarding our collaboration!!! (I'm not supposed to say more than that or I would!!)
If you're a writer, an aspiring writer, or someone who just wants to hang out with writers, go to this event in 2014. You won't be disappointed. Tickets are on sale NOW!! Get them HERE: UtopYA Con 2014!