I have been raving over this event because Rick & Amy Miles really did a fantastic job with this event. The weekend raised just over $11,000 for Action for Autism and I have a feeling next year will be even more successful!
It was so awesome to meet fellow authors, readers and bloggers. Amazing! Okay, before I get all weird and stuff, here are some highlights for me:
- My best friend drove in to be my assistant, which is code for, “company!” She has given herself the title of, “Director of Sales, Midwest Division.” HA!!! I’m so glad that she was there with me. We visit each other every year, so this was our trip – and first girl’s only weekend!
- Goose! Come in Goose! YES!!! I finally – after a year of texting, talking and IMing – met THE Kimberly Stedronsky! I love her even more now and adore her sister! Kim was the first person to reach out to me when I published and we are huge fans of each other’s work. To hug her in person – dream come true! And if you haven’t read her Roam series, you need to, because this was the series that hooked me!
- Do you follow Penny for My Thoughts Book Blog? Okay, I do – because of Lisa Karafa. She has been one of my biggest champions and supporters since I published and to hug her and hang out in person was so wonderful!
- A year ago, I connected with a woman who would fast become a trusted friend and source for a swift kick in the ass when needed. That would be one – Amalie Silver! We chat daily and this summer I finally got to hear her lovely voice. But this weekend, totally got to hang out with her and her editor, Amy Jackson, who is so fun! Kari and I ran with these two and I never tired of it. Now just to figure out how to get her near me again. HAHA!
- Flight out – Free drinks! Am I right, Angie? Angie Hulsman – a.k.a. Penny Reid’s assistant – doesn’t live too far from me, so we made arrangements to fly out together. There was talk of turbulence, but we never noticed a thing. Our wonderful flight attendant comped our drinks, so we were good to go. Angie and I talked the entire 2 hour flight and I was so glad she was there.
- Kahlen Aymes!!! Again, another wonderful author that I have become friends with. She is business savvy, down to earth and super sweet! Oh, and I loved her table set up with “prescriptions” from Dr. Matthews!!
- Colleen Hoover. I think this one speaks for itself because it’s Colleen Freakin’ Hoover! Again, if you haven’t met her, you’re missing out. I have to brag about her for a second because, in this industry – or any for that matter, there can be egos. People forget where they came from, some step on others to get to the next plot point or just don’t give a damn. NOT COLLEEN! This woman is such an inspiration, not only because of what she writes (because I’m a HUGE fan) but because of the way she handles her success. She is the kindest, funniest, smartest and most humble person. People could take notes on how to handle success by looking at Colleen. She makes time for people, loves her fans and never acts like she’s something she’s not. Meet this woman – it is a requirement!
- Penny Reid, as always, is so much fun to see. If you haven’t met her yet, you need to get on that. I’m not sure how to describe her, but I know whatever complimentary thing I say, she’ll blow me off and call me crazy – because that’s how she rolls.
- Lori Otto – OMG, she is so cute and sweet! She has fantastic fans and watching them surround her and hang with her, she was adorable. I don’t know if she realizes how great she is, but what sticks out to me is how humble and grounded she is. I want to figure out a way to be around her again. (Oh!! And her swag is seriously some of the best I have ever seen!)
- Jenn Beach – another blogger I connected with a year ago through Lisa. (See how that works?) Jenn surprised the hell out of me because for over a year, I’ve heard how shy and introverted she is, but not this weekend. She was engaging, chatty, and all over the place. It was so great to see that side of her in person, because I see it online all the time!
- GREAT Keynote speakers and panels! Jasinda Wilder opened the weekend up with an inspiring and honest account of her career. She and her husband are so cute together and I took much away from her talk. Mark Coker had some insight into the self-publishing world that was great. I really wish they had closed the signing room during his talk so that more authors could hear him – invaluable information.
- The First Annual Penned Con Awards! Set up Oscar-style. There were trophies, envelopes and acceptance speeches that had everyone laughing. Whether you were in jeans (like me) or opting for a formal gown (yes, this is true) it was a great time! Oh and the finished it off with cupcakes! Yes, please!!!
I know there is so much more I could cover, but I don’t know where to go from here. This was a fabulous signing and I can’t wait for next year. If you missed this one, tickets are on sale for next year and it benefits a great cause!!!
Until next time, here are some pic from the weekend and you can check out the rest on my Facebook page.