There is room at the top for ALL of us!

Many, many apologies to everyone for sort of falling off the face of the earth. With managing some health issues, my 10 1/2 year old Lab’s health issues, and seemingly endless life crap, things just sort of…well, went to the crapper. That’s me being honest, and PG-13.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. As you may have seen from my multiple tweets on the subject, I was very excited about a wee event called UtopYA Con that took place right here in Nashville. A start-up convention for YA paranormal writers, authors, and all the freakin’ readers who obsessstalkLOVE to read! I knew it would be the cat’s meow, and I was right. Over the next several days, or weeks as time wills, I will try to recap some of the awesome I experienced over the last couple days.
For now, I just have to give my thanks. Many, many thanks.
Janet Wallace, Nashville’s Kid-Lit Meet-Up group organizer and owner of Social Deviants, birthed this idea for UtopYA and she did a phenomenal job. This was the second time I’ve gone to this sort of event, the first being the SCBWI Conference in NYC. SCBWI was big and awesome and crazy informative, but UtopYA had something in it I didn’t really find at SCBWI NYC. I thought I had, and I’m sure it IS there, but it was not as blazingly obvious as it was at UtopYA.
That thing, is HEART.
I’m not a hard core writer. I will be the first to admit this. There are so many freakin’ awesome writers and authors out there. Me? I’m the sort of misfit kid in the back of the room that never really…’fit.’ But I LOVE to write. It has freed me in so many ways over the last two years. Quite literally, I have finally found…me. It took thirty mumble-grumble years to do it, but hell if I found her finally.
UtopYA oozed with wonderful people that were just like you and me. Some were traditionally published, most were either indie published or self published, some just budding out on the page. Did they throw it around like a fluorescent pink boa with diamond crusting? Nope. Did they spout stats like a stock broker on crack and zero sleep? Nuh-uh. Were they welcoming? Were they excited to meet someone who has read, or is dying to read, one or all of their books? You bet your buttered biscuit baby!
When I say UtopYA has the heart I didn’t find at other, larger, meets, I mean it. We were all there for the same reason: we love YA paranormal. There was a common unity no matter where you are in your career. The writing community really IS a community. It is a family that I am so very proud to be a part of. I still feel sort of like a distant cousin tip-toeing around the edges at times, but I still felt it. I felt the heart of this Con. I felt the heart of UtopYA.
Will it be the same in 2013? I sure as hell hope so! But really, I think it will. Everyone there, I think, picked up on the same vibe. We are readers. We are writers. We are authors. We are a group of people who LOVE to help the next coming. “There is room for all of us!” “A success for one, is a success for all.” We all strive to the same goal: readers. And readers LOVE to read…a LOT.
The lovely Willow Cross said in a panel I attended, and I will paraphrase here: it might take her readers a week to read her novel, what are they going to do with the other 51 weeks of the year? ‘If you like my books, here, check out my friend’s book too!’
That is what we do as writers, as authors. Support. Community. Family. Friends. You CAN do it. We ALL can do it.
Willow Cross, Raine Thomas, Amanda Havard, Myra McEntire, Chelsea Fine, Tiffany King, L.M. Preston, Angeline Kace, Teal Haviland, Tammy Blackwell, M.R. Polish, Amy Bartol, Abbi Glines… oh my word there are just too many. All of these women were phenomenal to meet and share experiences with. We laughed, we cried, we joked, we teased. We were just like those crazy cousins that get together at family reunions and gossip over who is doing what.
And why?
Because we are a community. We are a community of writers. And there is room for ALL of us.
Will YOU be a part next time? UtopYA Con 2013 is on the books. Come be part of the HEART of this awesomesauce community. You will NOT be disappointed. Come play. Come laugh. Come learn. Come fan-girl. Come be a part of the family.

Footnote. Yes, I totally cried writing this whole thing. But I’m a crier. That’s how I roll y’all. =^)

16 thoughts on “There is room at the top for ALL of us!”

  1. Ahhhh! That sounds so awesome, and I totally teared up reading this! SCBWINY was great, but you're right– it was soooooo big. The smaller conferences really let us connect. And a YA Paranormal conference? I am so, so, so jealous of you. I should have taken up your offer to house me and gotten my butt down to Nashville.

    *waits on pins and needles for next post*…

  2. Oh my word! This sums it up beautifully! The entire weekend was amazing and inspiring. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful post. Keeping the HEART alive!
    KP

  3. *hugs* This is so beautifully written, lady. I have been thinking of all of you and the wonderful experiences I had at UtopYA since I parted ways with everyone yesterday. It truly was an amazing experience with rooms full of even more amazing lovers of paranormal YA. I am just so honred to have been a part of it. Thank you for mentioning me in this post, but the truth is, “I'm the sort of misfit kid in the back of the room that never really…'fit.'” gal, too. I, somehow, magically, was asked to be part of this. THANK GOD! I would have gone, regardless, because I was already planning on it when I was asked to be a panelist, but I can be a bit shy and I think being an author guest made me feel a bit more courage. The result was I was unafraid to walk up to everyone and say hi. All I can say is UtopYA 2013 can't get here fast enough for me.

  4. Thank you so much for this reply! I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I will SO see you at 2013!

  5. Thank you so much, KP! Your words mean so much to me. It was an awesome weekend and THANK YOU for being a part of it!

  6. You are quite welcome, Miss Janet. I can only hope to do it justice. You, my friend, are Da WOMAN! You outdid yourself for one fabulous weekend, and now you have 2013 to plan. We – will – be – there!

  7. LOL!! Well, the offer still stands for 2013 girl. I just know 2013 will be all that 2012 was, and then more! ((HUG))

  8. Likewise Miss Tammy! I loved meeting you and every other awesomesauce writer and author. Let me know if you make back down to Nashville. The pizza beckons… HA!

  9. Amazing post. I totally and completely agree – especially about the difference between NYC and Tennessee. I definitely found the heart of this community in Nashville. xoox

  10. You are truly an incredible woman and I am so thrilled I got to meet you at UtopYA… This post was perfectly written, very well said. I am so glad that I am a part of that “family”. It really is an amazing thing and there honestly is room at the top for ALL of us! <3 all my new friends 🙂 Oh and next year I'm reserving "our" front seat table hahahahaha it was great!

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