Friday, June 26, 2015

UtopYAcon Book Conference, #UtopYA2015

It has been nonstop since I returned from my trip to Nashville for UtopYA Con 2015, so this is the first opportunity that I’ve had to sit down and try to write this post. I’ve also been struggling to find adequate words to describe my whole experience. It really is a struggle! Saying it was “awe struck awesome,” and “extraordinary,” and “outstanding,” seem too clichéd for what I experienced. Yes, it was that good.

I felt so much love as always at the conference. I’ve met so many amazing Fans, Authors and bloggers that I truly have to say that each year, it just gets better and better. My ribs and mouth are sore from all the hugs and kisses that I have given out and received from all of my “UtopYA.Con Family” I’m proud and honored to have each one of you in my life.

So, I finally arrived in Nashville on Wednesday night (did not think I’d ever make it off the tarmac in my home town to make it) I was getting very frustrated because I had an agenda! Get hugs from all of my amazing friends!

Once in the hotel, I was surrounded by all my incredible friends. Talk about trying not to fan girl out on these people. Everyone was tired from their day of travel, but that did not stop us from getting together and catching up. For most of us, outside of facebook it’s been a whole year since seeing one another. GAH! Way to long!

Thursday was an amazing day for me. Not only did I run amuck chasing down my favorite authors and getting my books signed, fan girling out on them ect… – EEEEEKKKK. Thursday was all about some great panels and checking out the various author signing tables. I really connected with that morning’s keynote speaker, Denise Grover Swank.

I participated in the “So You want to be a Book Blogger panel. Let me tell you that I have never had as much fun as I did with all of the participants and the other panel members – Maria Pease, Chris Cannon and Jo Michaels. We had great participation and really enjoyed ourselves. So, I want to be on another panel next year. That was AMAZINGBALLS!!!

Back to UtopYA. A few of us went out to a Chris Ruth’s steakhouse for a late dinner and then retired back to the hotel for the night. It was awesome food, and the best company ever. (I finally got to meet my Sister from another mister husband, Toby and he is now part of the family. (Kind of feel sorry for him now being related to me, Oh, well you can’t pick your family) Love you Nancy Straight!!! Also, was able to meet the most beautiful person inside and out. Kelly May – Love you girl. You are a blast, and again, have no choice you are now part of our Family!

Friday Night, was a night for going out with people we havn’t seen in so long, so what do we do? We go Line dancing - Jennifer Martinez has been nominated from all of us to be the dance instructor. Who would think Line dancing would be hard… hmmmm, Me! I stepped all over everyone, kept turning the wrong direction and simply found out that I have zero rhythm. But Whoa, what a ride.

After line dancing we went over to a little Taco place across the street and listened to music. The amazing Amy Evans, participated on stage with the very attractive singer and Gave us a great rendition of Kid Rocks – “Picture” – (Amy’s part was Sheryl Crow:) We have video!!! Great night out with great friends!

Saturday -  Regina Wamba, Janet Wallace and Myself had an amazing giveaway for one lucky author to recieve a wrapped cover design by the talented Regina Wamba, a Teeshirt and an exclusive image from Regina's Photo collection.  Both Regina and I were so excited and couldn't wait for the giveaway during Saturday mornings open ceremonies.  I want to congratulate the awesome Stacie Wilson for winning this award.  Stacie had all of us in tears.  It was such a great day, and a very moving day for everyone.

As the day went on my nerves were starting to get a little jumpy... GAH the Annual UtopYA2015 awards ceremony was that evening and I was nominated in three categories.

Best Blogger

Utopian of the Year

Blogger of the year

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would win an award. I am greatly humbled and honored to have received the best blog award. I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to Janet Wallace and all of the people who nominated and voted for me for this honor.
I did not make the journey here alone. Numerous people have supported me along the way. 

Thank you Melody Sosa for being the best mentor ever! You are amazing, and I really love you!
In conclusion, I want to again say how grateful I am to receive this award—especially knowing that there were others who are equally deserving. 

While awards are wonderful to receive, just knowing that I have helped an Author spread the word about their amazing books, and able to let people know that these authors are freaking AMAZINGBALLS through the journey is truly reward enough. Thank you again for this awesome award!

So, If you were unable to attend the awards let me give you the winners from the Fabulous ceremony.

Without further ado, here are your winners:

Best Sci-Fi Book of the Year

· Rise of the Faire-Amanti by Raine Thomas

Best Dystopian Book of the Year

· The One by Keira Cass

Best Fantasy Book of the Year

· Reign by Chanda Hahn

Best Paranormal Book of the Year

· Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Best Contemporary Book of the Year

· The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

Book Cover Model of the Year

· Drew Leighty

Best Contemporary Book Cover

· #Nerd by Cambria Hebert; Cover design by Regina Wamba of Mae I Design & Photography

Best Supernatural Book Cover

· The Collector’s Society by Heather Lyons; Cover design by Whit & Ware

Best Book Trailer

· Eyes Turned Skyward by Rebecca Yarros; produced by Entangled Publishing

Best Edited Book of the Year

· Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher; edited by Murphy Rae with Indie Solutions

Best Contemporary Lead

· Romeo from The Hashtag Series by Cambria Hebert

Most Innovative Marketing

· Confess by Colleen Hoover

Best Couple

· Kricket & Trey from Sea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol

Best Kiss

· Roth & Layla – Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Best Bestie/Buddy

· Callie from Seth & Greyson by Jessica Sorensen

Best Supernatural Hero/Shero

· Seth from The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Best Supernatural Villain

· Neferet in Redeemed by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

Best Book Hangover

· Sea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol

Best Book to Screen

· The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (book by Suzanne Collins)

Best Debut Novel

· Enchanted Heart by Mindy Ruiz

Blogger of the Year

· Tammie Ross Zimmerman

Best Blog of the Year

· Vilma’s Book Blog

Best Companion Novella

· Ripple of Secrets: Rose Gardner Mystery Novella #6.5 by Denise Grover Swank

Best Serial Series

· Sin Series by Casey L. Bond

Best Supernatural Series of the Year

· An Unfortunate Fairy Tale series by Chanda Hahn

Best Contemporary Series

· The Hashtag Series by Cambria Hebert

Book of the Year

· Sea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol

UtopYA 2015 Themed Book of the Year – Time Travel

· Time’s Edge Rysa Walker

Utopian of the year

· Carol Kunz

Author of the Year

· Amy A. Bartol

Needless to say, that the UtopYA conference is basically family. If you are a newbie attending the conference or have attended it in the past you will not find a better place to learn as an author and blogger – All the panels are extremely well put together and the learning experience is bar none.

The atmosphere is one full of love, and acceptance. There is always someone there with open arms to bring you into the fold.  If you have a chance this is a conference that is a must attend during sometime in your future if you have never attended.

Bring on 2016 UtopYA


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