Thursday, July 4, 2013

Short but Life-Changing: My UtopYA Experience

I was sitting here contemplating what to write for this post. I had a general idea about what I wanted to write then Cheers came on TV. As the theme song played, it got me thinking about UtopYA.

      Making your way in the world today

Takes everything you've got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away

Where everybody knows your name, 
and they're always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 

You wanna go where people know, 
people are all the same, 
You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name. 


The UtopYA Con in Nashville is the kind of event that once you've been there, you can't wait to get back there again. You meet the most amazing people that understand you and your love of books and reading. The camaraderie at UtopYA is very uplifting and inspiring. Here is this group of people, some you may know, some you may have met online, maybe you've only read their books or follow their blogs. All of them are genuinely happy to be there, to meet the people they admire and those that admire them. It's an exchange of information, contacts, ideas, stories, photos, books, swag, and love and respect for each other.Whether it's your first time there or you've been before, there's always something new for you to learn or someone new for you to meet. 

I was there for a only short time Friday morning. My husband and I were running late, getting lost does that, but we made it in time for the opening announcements and raffles. I was so excited to be there. The place was pretty packed. Although we got a couple seats in the back near the door, I still had a very good view. 

After the last of the raffles was announced, it was time for the keynote speaker Jennifer Armentrout. I've only recently been introduced to Jennifer's work, but I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of her books, yet.

She was so inspiring and absolutely hilarious. She made the audience laugh several times and seemed very down-to-earth. She's the type of person I would love to know in real life. I now regret not meeting her, and getting her autograph and a picture with her. She supposed to attend in 2014, and I will not let that chance slip by me again. I was amazed at number of books she's written and what seems like such a short time. Although I'm not a writer, I thoroughly enjoyed her speech.

After Jennifer's speech and Q&A, the panels started. My husband and I started by buying a bottle of water because after two hours we were quite thirsty. We didn't attend any panels that morning, instead we walked around to visit the downstairs exhibitors. There was so much free stuff! I recognized several books that were on my TBR list, or that I'd seen around the web. After trying to calm myself from all the excitement, I decided it was time for me to do what I came to do. And that was to meet the two people that were my whole reason for being there.

I walked into the room where I spent the previous two hours. I had caught a glimpse of them earlier. My heart started beating, my hands sweating. I was so nervous I thought I might pass out. I swallowed my nerves, walked through the row of chairs, looked at them, and smiled. After almost a year of twitter, facebook, emails and blog posts, I finally got to hug a pair of my absolute favorite people in the world. 

Carol and Adam Kunz...what can I say about them? The only word that comes to mind is AWESOME! Yes, that about sums them up! They are the most amazing people I have met, officially. They seem to have a good time everywhere they go! Carol is like the writing mom you always wanted. She's so nurturing and encouraging, you can't help but love her. Adam is like the brother I always wanted. He's so funny and charismatic. I absolutely love his's so expressive! The entire time I was around them, I felt so at ease, like we'd known each other forever!

Carol introduced me to so many people and doted on my like I was her own daughter. I blushed every time she gushed on about me to someone. My heart swelled with the amount of love I felt for her as she encouraged me to do more, and become the best blogger out there. I miss them and am completely saddened that I spent so little time with them in Nashville. However, I know that will not be the last time I get to see them. With that in mind, I smile every time I think of them.

Carol and Adam were not the only amazing people I met there. I finally got to see one of the funniest people I've ever had the pleasure of stalking on Facebook. Actually, I don't even remember how I heard about Misty Provencher. It must have been a giveaway (because I'm all about winning contests)! 

Well, that's completely besides the point. I started following her, then I read her Cornerstone series and I fell in love with Misty! She's so, so...carefree! We hit it off right away! I loved monkeying around with her on Facebook and Twitter. I'm so excited that I got to finally meet her that I completely forgot to get a picture with her. How lame is that?! I love her face too, because it's always decorated and beautiful. 
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Another amazing lady I got to meet and hug (again, no picture...what's wrong with me?), was Amy Bartol! I won my husband's ticket on her giveaway. I didn't think I had a chance, but when I got that message I won, I was so excited. I almost jumped up and screamed in my office at work, which would have been awkward because I work in an accounting office, and it's not that exciting! When I introduced myself, Amy came around the table to hug me. I was so excited. She also gave me a copy of the Premonition Series, which has been on my wish list for such a long time! I can't wait to read them. She was really nice, and I'm so glad I got to meet her.

I got to meet some other really cool people too. Stacie Wilson, who I met on Facebook. BJ Sheldon, author of Haunting (The Dust Chronicles, Book 1), which have read and will review in a later post. Nichole and Angela, the author duo known as Riana Lucas, who wrote The Deadly Flower Series. There were so many more there that I didn't get to meet. Although, I visited every single booth, I didn't really talk with all of the people. There's always next year!

Speaking of next year...the tickets are on sale now! Get them HERE before they sell out! The logo for next year...A-MAZ-ING! I love it so much! Check it out....
How awesome is that?! Next year's gonna ROCK! I can't wait! 

So, the only things you need to know when going to UtopYA...(1) take lots of extra money because there are tons of books and swag to buy and it's all really awesome, (2) don't be afraid to go up and introduce yourself, everyone is super nice, (3) go to the panels and learn something new, (4) be prepared to get lots of hugs, and (5) take lots and lots of pictures!

I just want finish by saying that although I wasn't there very long nor did I meet that many people, the Facebook contacts I'm making in the aftermath of UtopYA are amazing. They are sending friend requests and accepting my friend requests and we are making our own UtopYA Con online. We are exchanging information, blogs, twitter, facebook pages. Helping cheer each other on and contribute to each other's success. It's like we're still in Nashville, and that is very encouraging.

There was a phrase that was created in Nashville (I believe). At first I wasn't sure what it meant, and I was a bit confused. I now realize that all this after-UtopYA gathering is what "Clumping" is all about. So I shall leave you with this...


  1. I love you more than crazy make-up, Lisah! I was sooooo excited to see that you'd made it and crazy happy to meet you. I knew you right away- you're like my giggle twin on FB and Twitter- it wouldn't any fun out there without you. I'm so glad we found one another and I hope (you gotta promise me, girl) that you'll be there next year and we'll have more time to talk. I wanted to stick you in my pocket and bring you home with me!

    1. I would have totally gone home with you Misty, but I don't know that I would have fit in your pocket! LOL! I hope to go to Nashville next year. I plan on it, but the way these tickets are selling, I'm afraid I'll be to late. Keep your fingers crossed and we shall see. Maybe I can go as a volunteer?!

  2. You mentioned me! Aww... thanks sweetie. You rock!

    1. Of course I did! You gave me your book to read. By the way, I finished it and I'm ready to do a review, but I'd like to do an interview also. I'll be in touch.

  3. I loved meeting you! We will have to clump at UtopYA Con 2014! <3

    1. Oh I completely plan on clumping it up in 2014! I'll be reading your books next. Would you be interested in doing an interview when I do the review?

  4. Loved your post!! What an amazing weekend!! :D

    1. Thanks, Nancy. Wish I could have stayed longer. Hope to see you next year!

  5. Lisah that is exactly how I envision Utopya being =D I love the clumping!