Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

As promised to my followers on Facebook a few months back, I am finally giving away a hardcover of Twilight, autopen-signed by Stephenie Meyer!!

That’s right!  This beauty is up for grabs!!  It’s got a little wear and tear here and there, but it’s epic just the same.  Excited?  Of course you are!!  Enter to win this gem, and tell all your friends…


This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway from A Book Vacation Reviews.

To enter you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Fill in at least one question on rafflecopter (the more you complete, the more entries you earn)

This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on April 22nd. The winner will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!


You guys!  Michelle N. Files writes this awesome post called #ShareTheLove every now and again, in which she features a reader, author, blogger, cover designer, or publicist, and then posts it online with a giveaway; a few days later, a follow-up post about why Michelle loves that person goes live too, and it’s just too cool!  And you know what?  Michelle interviewed ME!  I am so excited!  Check it out and make sure you enter to win the giveaway!



You could Win:

*Any e-book version of MY favorite 2014 reads* (that are currently available for purchase/pre-order) — and you can see all 37 of my top reads in Michelle’s post

*Signed Paperback of Soul Survivor by Michelle Files*

*Random swag pack of awesomeness*(includes UTOPYA swag Michelle collected and swag from RT 2014!)

Make sure you hop on over to Michelle’s Blog and check it all out!

Yesterday, I went to a signing at The Children’s Bookstore in Baltimore to see the amazing Maggie Stiefvater. As she drives cross country on her Sinner Tour, complete with exclusive Sinner book wrappers drawn by Maggie herself, which Scholastic then printed up specifically for this tour, Maggie is stopping in 16 cities to speak and sign books.  I was lucky enough that she came close to me, and so I drove out to Baltimore with some friends specifically to purchase two copies of Sinner because I covet the book wrappers–I mean, who wouldn’t?  Look at it:

2014-07-04 22.36.24

Yeah, that is amazing!  And as it wraps around the hardcover, I knew I HAD to have it.  And of course, I knew I HAD to pick up one for a giveaway, too, because I love you guys and I wanted you to have the opportunity to have one as well.

But anyway, I digress.  The signing was full of strange fun, beginning when Maggie pulled up to The Children’s Bookstore just a few minutes prior to 4pm, where she, and we, witnessed the bookseller being run over by a woman in an SUV who REFUSED to park somewhere else and told the bookseller that The Children’s Bookstore couldn’t hold the spot for the author coming to sign.  Yeah… that woman wasn’t let into the store.  But again, I digress.  Maggie did eventually get a parking spot because a dedicated fan moved her own car for her, and Maggie was able to park her beautiful muscle car, Loki, and come inside for the signing–she got out of her car all rocker chick, carrying her skateboard, and it was just perfect.

Once Maggie was inside, we all crammed ourselves into the teeny tiny little shop with no air conditioning (I don’t think this store had any idea of the magnitude of people Maggie’s presences would bring), where Maggie had to stand on a table to be seen by everyone, and we listened to her speak for upwards of 45 minutes, regaling us with stories of her own band, her car, writing, and life in general. It was humorous, but hot.

Maggie Signing

And then, there was the signing.  As chaotic and hot as it was, I did get to meet two really awesome people while waiting in line: Ashley from Books by Migs and Sarah Whitsted (seriously, these two ladies are gems, check out their blogs and like them on social media), and we chatted about everything under the sun, but mainly books.  And of course, Maggie was a sweetheart when I finally got to her table, where she signed all my books, two book wrappers, and some bookmarks for me as well.

And now, I’m paying it forward.  I have a hardcover of Sinner up for grabs, as well as the signed book wrapper, a signed Sinner bookmark, and TONS of other awesome swag for giveaway.  But first, check out how awesome Sinner looks when it’s wrapped up…

Book Wrapper

What you see above is actually the physical copy of the novel I’m giving away, and what you see below is EVERYTHING the winner of this massive giveaway is going to win:

What You Win

And breathe…

Here’s a detailed list of everything you can win:

What you’ll win:

  • Signed Hardcover of Sinner by Maggie Stievfater
  • Signed Book Wrapper of Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Captivate Coaster signed by Amy Miles
  • UtopYA 2014 Pen from Amber Garr
  • Wildflower Seed Packet signed by Elizabeth Sharp
  • “Love” Bangle


Signed Bookmarks from:

  • Maggie Stiefvater—Sinner
  • Brenda Pandos—Everblue
  • Georgia Cates—Beauty From Pain
  • Jennifer L. Armentrout—White Hot Kiss
  • Bella Roccaforte—The Ink Series
  • Michelle N. Files—Soul Survivor
  • Katja Millay—The Sea of Tranquility
  • Dani Hart—A Firefighter’s Flame
  • Kristie Cook—Power
  • Kristie Cook—The Space Between
  • Jon Messenger—Water Shaper
  • Paulina Ulrich—Chosen
  • Casey Peeler—No Turning Back
  • C.L. Foster—Light and Shadows Collide
  • Becca Vincenza–Damaged

Bookmarks from:

  • Tiffany King—Jordyn: The Final Battle
  • Megan Curd—Steel Lily
  • Marata Eros

Magnets from:

  • Elizabeth Kirke—Snow Bound
  • Raine Thomas—Becoming
  • Michelle N. Files
  • Elizabeth Kirke—Carved in Cherry
  • Shana—A Book Vacation Reviews
  • Dancing with Deception Bottle Cap
  • Hollie Westring—Sage Springs Series
  • M.R. Merrick—The Protector Series
  • Miranda Kavi—Rue and Rive (signed)

Cards from:

  • Kelly Lynne—Celestina Silvenfare
  • Tiffany King—Forgotten Souls
  • Marata Eros

Temporary Tattoos:

  • Mustache
  • Alien
  • Alien Mermaid from Amber Garr
  • Girl’s Face
  • Heart (and a poker chip from Mindy Ruiz)


  • 5 from Casey L. Bond
  • Smiley face
  • Girl with red hair
  • “Observe my Brill Skills”
  • “Keep Calm and Read a Bethany Lopez Novel”


  • Jordyn by Tiffany King
  • Chosen by Paulina Ulrich (signed)

Free Ebook code:

  • Soul Survivor by Michelle N. Files

 Rubber Bracelets:

  • “I’ve Been Tijaned
  • Cambria Herbert—”Heaven and Hell Series
  • C.L. Foster—”Ninja in Training
  • Cynthia Shepp—”Save a Book. Get an Editor
  • “Save 2nd Base
  • Dani Hart—”The Life of Arie
  • Dani Hart—”A Firefighter’s Flame”

Signed Trading Cards:

  • Wishing for Someday Soon by Tiffany King
  • Creatura by Nelly Cab
  • The Sin Trilogy by Georgia Cates
  • Meant to Be by Tiffany King


  • Book charm—Orenda by Ruth Silver
  • Bottle cap charm—Dark Reflections by Elizabeth Sharp
  • Bottle Keychain from Dani Hart


To enter you must:

-Be 18 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Fill in the mandatory questions on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter Entry Form!

This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on August 10th. The winner will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!


And, check out the dates for the rest of the Sinner tour–Maggie may be coming to a city near you this July:

7/5: Pittsburgh, PA

7/7: Chicago/ Naperville, IL

7/8: Chicago, IL

7/8: Milwaukee, WI

7/9: Madison, WI

7/10: Iowa City, IA

7/11: Omaha, NE

7/14: Denver, CO

7/19: Salt Lake City, UT

7/21: Reno, NV

7/23: San Francisco, CA

7/24: San Francisco/ Menlo Park, CA

7/28: Los Angeles, CA

7/29: Los Angeles/ Montrose, CA

Full details here on her website.


And don’t forget to enter my other epic giveaways:

Win a Signed Paperback of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay plus tons of signed swag–ENDS August 17



 Win a Signed Paperback of The Mechanic by Tim O’Rourke–ENDS August 20

The Mechanic

Jepp Who Defied the StarsThe giveaway for a paperback of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh has just concluded, and I’m excited to say that the winner has been chosen via Rafflecopter!

And the winner is…

Mindy Demars

A tweet has already gone out to the winner, and an email will go out later this evening! If I don’t hear from the winner within 48 hours, I will select a new winner using Rafflecopter.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to the winner… but don’t despair if you didn’t win this round!

Enter to win my other great giveaways:

Win a T-Shirt, 5 Prints, and a Signed Paperback of Vampire Seeker by Tim O’Rourke–ENDS January 30

Vampire Seeker Release Party YO

Win a Recently Released Book of Your Choice: Ends February 1

RRGG Jan 14

Win an Paperback of Easy by Tammara Webber–ENDS February 2, 2014

Easy 2

Win One of my Favorite Reads from 2013–ENDS Feb. 5

Fave Books 2013

Win an ARC of Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore –ENDS Feb. 11

Dark Metropolis


UtopYA 2013 was one of the best experiences of my life, and I think the 300+ participants that were there with me this year would agree 100%. Right now, tickets for next year are on an early-bird sale, but they’ll no longer be on discounted sale after July 31.  In fact, you won’t be able to buy them again until Black Friday when they will be released for full price admission.  But never fear!! We’d love to see you down in Nashville, Tennessee, with us in 2014, and so, with the permission of UtopYA founder Janet Wallace, many authors and bloggers have come together to create TWO epic prize packs complete with one ticket to UtopYA 2014 (for 3-day pass to conference, admission to awards and after party, Friday night book signing, and Sunday write-in), a UtopYA 2013 t-shirt signed by a majority of the authors in attendance, signed books, ebooks, and swag.  The sheer amount of prizes and support from authors and bloggers for this giveaway just goes to show you how much we adore UtopYA and each other, and we’d really like to see you there (prize pack does NOT include transportation to the conference or lodging, you’ll have to provide that on your own, sorry).

Below is a list of what each Prize Pack includes:


Prize Pack 1Prize Pack 1

  • One Ticket into UtopYA 2014 (for 3-day pass to conference, admission to awards and after party, Friday night book signing, and Sunday write-in)
  • One Signed UtopYA T-Shirt size L (womens)—Signed by the authors attending UtopYA 2013

Signed Books:

  • Signed paperback of Pieces of Me by Eisley Jacobs
  • Signed paperback of Awaken OR Echo of an Earth Angel by Sarah M. Ross (winner’s choice)
  • Signed paperback of one of Raine Thomas’ books—winner’s choice

Ebooks and Swag:

  • eARC of A Stroke of Luck by Desiree DeOrto
  • eARC of Steel Lily by Megan Curd
  • Ebook of Promise Me This by Sarah Ashley Jones
  • Ebook of Cornerstone by Misty Provencher
  • Ebook of Soul Quest by Amy Maurer Jones
  • Ebook of Wildflower by Amy Maurer Jones
  • Ebook of Reveal by Brina Courtney (Cryptid Tales 1)
  • Ebook of The Modified by C.A. Kunz
  • Ebook of One Tiny Secret by Adam Kunz
  • Ebook of Soul Survivor by Michelle Nicole
  • Ebook of Clicks by Amy Evans
  • Ebook of Bluffing the Devil by Christy Foster
  • Ebook of Forbidden by Amy Miles
  • Ebook of Reckoning by Amy Miles
  • Ebook of Touching Smoke by Airicka Phoenix
  • Ebook of Games of Fire by Airicka Phoenix
  • Ebook of Natural Selection by Elizabeth Sharp, autographed bookmark, autographed postcard for each of the Forces of Nature books
  • A leather bookmark from Chelsea Starling
  • A BookLover Journal and A BookLover Tee designed by Whit&Ware Design from Victoria Alday
  • A specialty signed goodie pack from Tiffany King


Prize Pack 2Prize Pack 2

  • One Ticket into UtopYA 2014 (for 3-day pass to conference, admission to awards and after party, Friday night book signing, and Sunday write-in)
  • One Signed UtopYA T-Shirt size L (womens)—Signed by the authors attending UtopYA 2013

Signed Books:

  • Signed paperback of Promise by Kristie Cook and a set of embellished bookmarks
  • A signed copy of Awaken or Echo of an Earth Angel by Sarah M. Ross– winner’s choice

Ebooks and Swag:

  • eARC of A Stroke of Luck by Desiree DeOrto
  • eARC of Steel Lily by Megan Curd
  • Ebook of Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington
  • Ebook of Eyes of Ember by Rebecca Ethington
  • Ebook of Scorched Treachery by Rebecca Ethington
  • Ebook of Semester Abroad by Elizabeth Kirke and 6 signed trading cards
  • Ebook of The Amulet by Alison Pensy
  • Ebook of The Emerald Staff by Alison Pensy
  • Ebook of The Cypher Wheel by Alison Pensy
  • Ebook of The Ice Diamond Cuff by Alison Pensy
  • Ebook of Reveal by Brina Courtney (Cryptid Tales 1)
  • Ebook of The Childe by C.A. Kunz
  • Ebook of Dark Days by C.A. Kunz
  • Ebook of Hale Maree by Misty Provencher
  • Ebook of Mercy, A Gargoyle Story by Misty Provencher
  • A leather bookmark from Chelsea Starling
  • Winner’s Choice Ebooks: Tiffany King Saving Angels Bundle pack (including ebooks of Meant to Be, Forgotten Souls, The Ascended) OR YA Contemporary ebook Bundle pack (including ebooks of Wishing for Someday Soon, Forever Changed, Unlikely Allies)

Honestly, I am salivating just looking at all the prizes in the Prize Packs! I am also in awe of the authors’ and bloggers’ willingness to donate so much, and it’s all because we really want you to come to UtopYA 2014 and experience how amazing the conference is for everyone in attendance: authors, readers, bloggers, publicists, editors… and the list goes on.


Need to know more about the conference before you commit?  Click the links below to learn more and read real testaments from those who attended UtopYA 2013:


To enter this giveaway you must:

  • Be 18 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

  • Plan to attend the UtopYA 2014 conference (the whole reason the giveaway was started was to give away tickets to this amazing event)

  • Fill in the mandatory questions on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

**Disclaimer: The winner of this epic giveaway MUST plan on attending UtopYA 2014 in Nashville, have their own transportation to and from the conference, provide their own lodging, and accept the winning of the ticket along with all other prizes.  Should the winner already have purchased a ticket to UtopYA, we will discuss other options, such as the winner giving it to a friend of theirs, in which case we will purchase the ticket in the friend’s name, etc. These tickets hold NO MONETARY VALUE and cannot be refunded by the winner for any financial gain as the refund will come back to those of us purchasing the tickets for the winner.  Please do not enter this giveaway if you DO NOT plan to attend UtopYA 2014 or are under the pretense of accepting only the t-shirt, ebooks, swag, and signed books.  Refusal of the ticket will result in refusal of the entire prize pack.

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter entry form!

(Because WordPress doesn’t support Rafflecopter forms)

This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on July 21th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on July 21th, and will receive email notification! Please read our giveaway policy and leave us a comment!

And, MAKE SURE you ALSO enter to win tickets over on Supagurlbooks as well!  She’s running a giveaway too: UtopYA 2014… Take Me To Your Reader INFO and GIVEAWAY

ALSO, bookmark this site: just in case.  Early registration ends July 31 and won’t open again until Black Friday (at full price).


Giveaway Policy

  • Contests are international, unless otherwise stated.
  • Winners are chosen by rafflecopter and
  • Books and prizes may be sent from The Book Depository, the author/publisher themselves, or from A Book Vacation Reviews personally.  A Book VacationReviews  is not liable for prizes not sent by author/publisher or that are lost, stolen, or damaged by the postal service or The Book Depository.
  • Prizes will be shipped via postal service or electronically upon the completion of the contest and response from the winner.
  • Time frames for receiving prizes will vary immensely based on type of prize.
  • A Book Vacation is not at fault if winner in unable to read ebooks due to lack of technology or technological issues.
  • Entrants may only enter each giveaway once unless otherwise specified.
  • All contests have an age stipulation, either 13+ with parent/guardian permission, or 18+ years of age or older, and these stipulations must be adhered to or winner voids receipt of prize.
  • Winners will be announced in a blog post dedicated to the giveaway on the date the giveaway ends.
  • Winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen using rafflecopter and
  • A Book Vacation Reviews is not responsible if the item is lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • A Book Vacation Reviews holds the right to end a contest before its original deadline without any prior notice.
  • A Book Vacation Reviews reserves the right to terminate a giveaway at any reason or to deny prizes should unforeseen issues arise.
  • No cheating. A Book Vacation Reviews will check each entry and cheaters will be disqualified without notification.
  • Your personal information will not be saved or used for any other purpose.
  • If you have any questions, please email A Book Vacation Reviews.  If you are the winner, please email upon receipt of prize.


hnvtc8bp9ldi18363wec -A Book Vacation

UtopYA Banners

UtopYA 2013–let me tell you–was one of the most epic, amazing experiences of my life. Not only was I able to fangirl over dozens of authors I read and adore, but I was also able to connect with them alongside fellow readers and bloggers on a more personal level in a completely laid-back setting.  The conference brought us all together, and what amazed me the most was that it really made everyone feel like we were equals, sharing knowledge with one another in order to help everyone from published authors to aspiring authors, readers to bloggers, editors to designers, and the list goes on.  It was a wonderful experience and I highly suggest that you come to UtopYA 2014 in Nashville in June—you won’t regret it! And I’ll tell you why:

Hanging OutI’ve only ever been to one other big yearly convention (100+ authors present), and that is NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).  Because I had nothing to compare the convention with, I really thought NCTE was the icing on the cake.  I walked around from booth to booth, stood in long lines, purchased books, and got them signed by the authors.  But what I didn’t know I was missing at the time was commodore.  We, the fans, stood in long lines, but we didn’t talk to one another.  It was a very quiet function actually, now that I think back on them.  Publicists had us write our names on sticky notes and put them on the title page so authors could quickly sign.  We were then ushered away from the table—no time to talk to the authors or tell them just how much their books touched our lives.  It was a “get in, get signed, get out” mentality that I thought was normal, and probably is normal in the regular signing world.  2013-06-29 10.38.40However, UtopYA is different.  Authors and aspiring authors, publicists and publishers, bloggers, and readers alike spend three days in close succession at UtopYA, and everyone is equal.  There was never any feeling of authors and publishers on one side and everyone else on the other, and there was never any feeling of inferiority, either.  There were relatively no long lines, and authors took the time to talk to their readers, really personalizing their books after getting to know the person they were signing for.  We all went to the panels together, picking and choosing which ones we wanted to attend (and there were so many amazing ones), and the best part was that I could sit right next to my favorite authors, and we, as the audience, were asked to interact with those on the panels.  It wasn’t a sit and listen to the speakers type deal like so many panel discussion tend to be.  The audience not only asked questions throughout, but also offered their own insight as we all had something to bring to the table, and there was no discouraging of it, but rather pure encouragement from the very beginning.  Panel rooms were packed to the max, and they were fun!  Not only did I learn some amazing things about the authors I love and the publishing world in general, but I also laughed hysterically.  I got to see how candid the panelists were—no frills and no cliques, and the fact that they were made up of authors, bloggers, publicists, editors, designers, and readers gave the topics more insight.  And then?  We ate dinners together, hung out in the hotel lobby together, took hundreds of pictures together, put twitter handles with faces, and all around connected in a very real way.  What other book conference can say that?  I had all my books personalized, listened to authors, bloggers, editors, and designers speak about their journeys on multiple panels, ate meals and attend gatherings with my heroes, met fellow bloggers I’ve been following, and connected with many people I didn’t know, making long-lasting friendships… it was just amazing, and I cannot, cannot, cannot wait for June 2014, which is going to be even more epic as founder Janet Wallace and her amazing assistants roll out their changes.  It’s going to be even bigger, and I just can’t wait.

Now, you might have just read all that and thought to yourself, “that sounds great, but I have no one to go with,” or “I’d love to go, but it’s probably too expensive.”  So, I just want to break that mentality right now, because I’ve been there and am so glad I didn’t listen to my inner monologue…


Event Pricing:

First of all, the conference itself isn’t expensive at all!  Right now, there are advanced tickets selling on eventbrite.  Here’s the price range you’re looking at to attend some or all of the conference.

  • $55* (for the awards and after-party ONLY—does not get you into the conference itself) *Pricing may change as we get closer to the conference

  • $75  February 1 – May 31, 2014   •   $90 June 1 – event   •   $95 at the door

    • 3-day pass to the utopYA convention (utopYAcon)
    • Fan admission to the Friday Public Signing Event
    • Admission to Saturday Pre-Awards Cosmic Cocktails hour (Appetizers included. Cash bar for those 21 and up)
    • General Admission to the Third Annual utopYA Awards
    • Admission to Post-Awards Dance Party
    • Admission to the Sunday Write-in
  •  $105 February 1 – May 31, 2014   •   $120 June 1 – event   •   $125 at the door

    • 3-day pass to the utopYA convention (utopYAcon)
    • Front-of-line Fan admission to the Friday Public Signing Event
    • Admission to Saturday Pre-Awards Cosmic Cocktails hour (Appetizers included. Cash bar for those 21 and up)
    • Preferred Admission to utopYA Awards (you enter and pick your seats before General Admission ticket holders are allowed in)
    • Admission to Post-Awards Dance Party
    • One commemorative utopYA 2013 women’s cut T-shirt (discounted t-shirt price)
    • Two lunch tickets – lunch provided on premises both Friday and Saturday
    • Admission to the Sunday Write-in

I highly, highly suggest you attend the whole conference, but act fast as these prices continue to rise as we get closer to the conference date!


Where and When:


Friday, June 20, 2014 at 7:00 AM – Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 3:00 PM (CDT)

Nashville, TN




In 2014, UtopYA is moving to The Millennium Maxwell House Hotel and the group rates are just $105 a night for a room with a King or two double beds!!! This is even cheaper than this past year’s price at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt!  The group code to reserve this price is 1406UTOPYA.  Do it!

Oh, and they offer a FREE shuttle service roundtrip to the airport.  Even better!

For UtopYA 2013, I roomed with the amazing Tiffany King, and it was epic.  She’s an astounding author, and I’m a blogger.  See what I mean about connecting with everyone on a deeper level at this conference?  I was ecstatic to room with her and her lovely daughter!  And next door to us?  Heather Hildenbrand, Heather Self, Angeline Kace, Chelsea Fine!  And the next few rooms? Carol Kunz, Adam Kunz, Raine Thomas, Sarah M. Ross… and the list goes on and on.  EPIC.

In other words, you won’t be alone in the hotel, and if you need a roommate to help cut costs, you can easily find one!  The more the merrier in a room, as I found this weekend, and I’m actually a really quiet, shy person who is socially awkward and doesn’t speak in situations where I don’t feel comfortable.  Are you like me?  Then you’ll thrive at UtopYA.  I didn’t have trouble speaking to anyone at all, I loved my roomies, I hung out with the rest of the people on my floor… all around amazing time.

Yeah, so don’t let the hotel situation stop you from coming.  Need a roomie?  Join the We are Going to UtopYA Facebook Page and easily find one!  Think about it: if you split $105 by two it’s just $52.50 a night for three nights, a total of $157.50 plus tax to stay at the hotel where the convention is held!  That’s a GREAT PRICE!

OR, find three roommates for a price of $26.25 per night… a total of just $78.75 plus tax for three nights to stay at the hotel where the convention is held!  That’s a GREAT PRICE, TOO!  Don’t worry, you won’t be spending much time in your hotel room, anyway, so multiple people in a room, though it may sound scary, really isn’t bad at all.  Trust me.

So PLEASE don’t let the price of the hotel or the need of roommates, etc.,  STOP you from coming!


Books and SwagTravel:

If you can drive to Nashville without getting car sick (like I do), then do it!  But, if you’re like me, or if it’s just too far by car, then fly, and by fly, I mean TAKE SOUTHWEST.  Why?  I’ll tell you:

Southwest is the only carrier I’ve found that doesn’t charge for luggage.  This is a book conference, so that means you’ll have LOTS of books to take home.  You could mail them, technically, and spend a lot of dollars doing it, OR, you could fly Southwest, which allows you TWO FREE CHECKED BAGS UP TO 50 POUNDS EACH!  Yeah.  This.

I flew Southwest this year based solely on the free checked luggage.  It’s a three days conference, so you don’t need to bring much in terms of clothes and such (which I’ll talk about next).  But you DO need lots of space for your books.  I checked two bags for the conference, and one was completely empty on my way down to Nashville.  Hey, it’s free right?  And it saved me a ton of cash when I left the conference because I checked all my books… my combined weight with books, swag, and clothes was about 80 pounds between the two bags.  And about 70 pounds of that was book weight.  Imagine the price tag on mailing home 70 pounds of books?  Yeah.  Don’t.  Take Southwest.  Oh, and make sure your carry-on has wheels.  You might want it for the conference to transport all your books and swag (plus, it’s gentler on your body).

ALSO, if you have the chance, do what I did: On your flight home, if they’re asking people to standby and take another flight because your flight is full, DO IT!  Southwest asked me to take the next flight out, which was just four hours later than my original, and they GAVE ME A VOUCHER FOR DOUBLE WHAT I PAID FOR MY ROUNDTRIP TICKETS.  That means my flight to Nashville next year is ALREADY PAID FOR! 

In other words, if you don’t have any pressing engagements, take the voucher on any Southwest flight if they’re offering (free bags, remember), and it’ll add up to some awesome free flights.  For real.


Mailing Books:

If you DO decide to mail books, make sure you send it USPS (regular mail)  and tell them it’s MEDIA MAIL (if you’re mailing in the USA–media mail doesn’t exist for international mailing)!  I highly suggest avoiding FedEx because it’s mad expensive.  USPS is the least expensive, and media mail makes is even less so.


What To Pack:

Pack light.  You’re only at the conference for three days, and you don’t need to change your outfit multiple times a day.  I hardly packed anything to wear, and I still didn’t wear it all.

What you need:

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants (or dresses)

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable tops

  • Comfy sandals (shoes if you want)

  • 1 “formal” outfit for the awards ceremony with shoes to match (seriously, by “formal” I mean sundresses.  You don’t need anything more, but if you want something more flashy, think PROM)

  • Pajamas2013-07-01 19.24.18 (we’re talking pajama parties, here)

  • Undergarments (socks optional)

  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail file, perfume, hairbrush, women stuffs, straighteners, etc.—they have hairdryers in the rooms)


  • Heavy wrapping paper (you will want to double wrap your books in stacks for the travel home so they don’t flop all over the suitcase and end up damaged)   ====> Newspaper is NOT a good idea, though, as it leaves black ink on things and is too thin.

  • Cash for books—some authors take credit cards, but it’s just easier with cash on hand.



Just in case you missed it in my hotel information tidbits, the hotel offers a COMPLIMENTARY ROUNDTRIP SHUTTLE SERVICE TO THE AIRPORT.  Call ahead to let them know you need them to pick you up, for FREE (but don’t forget to tip the driver).  #Epic.


Keynote SpeakersThe Conference:

I’ve already said it in my opening statements, but this conference is epic.  I adored it and the laid-back nature of it all.  Janet Wallace, the founder of UtopYA, has made it an unforgettable event that you just cannot miss!

In 2013, our keynote speakers were Jennifer Armentrount and Jen Sincero, two amazing authors, and their speeches inspired us all!  There were also amazing giveaways to start the morning, so make sure you’re at the conference on time!  So many people showed up late, missing the opening statements and, therefore, lost out of their prizes!  Hey, more for me!  But seriously, you don’t want to be late for the opening announcements each morning.

In June 2014, the keynote speakers are Gennifer Albin and Sylvia Day!  Whoot!  You don’t want to miss this.  Have you purchased your tickets yet?  Do it ==> eventbrite

The schedule of events for 2014 is now up…. CHECK IT OUT!

We’ll also have an author signing event on Friday night this coming 2014 UtopYA!  This is a great addition for which I can’t wait!  This will allow a set time for authors and fans alike to get their books signed, making it easier to pinpoint your particular author’s whereabouts.

I HIGHLY suggest that you bring as many books as you can TO the conference as many authors only bring limited quantities.  Though, there will be a bookstore on site this year–a new addition.  But, in 2013, I contacted all my favorite authors and asked them if they’d have all their books with them, or if I should bring my own for signing, and most recommended I bring my own to guarantee that I have them. Some authors brought copies just for my purchase based on my query too, so they might tell you they’ll reserve some for you, but I definitely recommend double checking prior to the conference.  There is nothing worse than planning on buying a book from your favorite author to find they are sold out.  So, plan ahead. Books tend to be about $10-12 on site from authors, FYI, but I’m not sure what things will look like with the bookstore in 2014.  So, I’m going to contact my MUST HAVE author’s again for 2014 just to be certain I can get their books…

Likewise, you will acquire much swag and meet tons of authors you haven’t read yet.  So bring cash in case you decide you want to buy their books as well—I met so many new authors and after connecting with them and learning about their books, I just had to have them!  Set a budget and plan accordingly.


The Awards:

The awards were phenomenal this year (2013).  I loved every minute of it!  It’s like a red carpet event and it was so awesome to be a part of it.  Right now it’s not a sit down dinner event, so eat a light meal ahead of time, but also keep your ears open as food may become part of the awards at some point down the line.

What to wear?  Well, really it doesn’t matter.  Since it’s like a red carpet event, most people were dressed to varying formal degrees—from sundresses to prom dresses, I saw them all.  I also saw slacks and jeans, so don’t feel like you have to dress up!  It’s not mandatory.  The only thing that is mandatory is that you have a good time, and that’s a given.

And, in 2014, there will be a cocktail hour AND an after-hour dance party as well… oh heck yes!

The Awards


Need to know more about the conference before you commit?  Click the links below to learn more and read real testaments from those who attended UtopYA 2013:

UtopYA 2013: What You Need To Know and Why You Need to Go in 2014

UtopYA: A Fantasy Conference Grows in Nashville—From Publisher’s Weekly

UtopYA Official Website

UtopYA: A Note To People Who Don’t Get It

Lift and Pull and Tug For That Spectacular UtopYA View

UtopYA: Why It Should Already be on Your Calendar for 2014

Impromptu Cups Song—You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

UtopYA 2013 and Special Announcements!

Quinn Loftis and Tiffany King UtopYA 2013

UtopYA 2013! How awesome was it? This is how awesome…

Why you should attend UtopYA 2014

UtopYA, UtopYA, UtopYA

Reminiscing about UtopYA 2013

UtopYA 2013: Author Sarah Ross: Inspirational Video

Author Heather Hildenbrand talks UtopYA 2013 Video

UtopYACon…My Take Aways

My Trip To UtopYA 2013

UtopYA Con 2013 + Announcement + Ramblings

UtopYA / Quirky Chick Conference Report


What else? 

Questions, comments, concerns?  Let me know and I’ll do the best I can to answer them, or put you in touch with someone who can.  Also, make sure you check out UtopYA online as they’re already updating their site for next year’s event.  See you there!!


AND–make sure you pick up a copy of the first ever UtopYA anthology, complete with NEW, original short stories from these authors: Tiffany King, Heather Hildenbrand, Amanda Havard, Amy Bartol, Sarah M. Ross, Tammy Blackwell, Raine Thomas, and C.A. Kunz!

Take Me To Your ReaderAMAZON | Barnes and Noble

et cetera
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