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 obsess
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.
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. =^)