Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











 Good evening, good evening!! This marks my first post as one of the eight official UTOPiA bloggers for the 2016 conference, and I am so excited! Today, I’m bringing you information about five of the many invited guests for UTOPiA, and trust me, you’ll certainly want to meet them all at the con in 2016, so get your tickets NOW! Utopia 2016 Fight For Your Right

whitney-barbettiWhitney Barbetti, author:

I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have a deep and abiding love for nachos – especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell (sorry). I run on less than four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper. (Note: this paragraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungry stomach.)

As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California, up the east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lots of potatoes and windmills.

I write character-driven New Adult novels, heavy on the emotional connection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soul mates.

WebsiteTumblr | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ten Below ZeroRecommended read: Ten Below Zero

From Goodreads:

“In here,” he said, pushing on the skin above my heart, “you’re ten below zero. And you’re closer to death than I am.”

My name is Parker. My body is marked with scars from an attack I don’t remember. I don’t want to remember. I choose to live my life by observation, not through experience. While people are laughing and kissing and connecting, I’m in the corner. Watching them live. I’m indifferent to everything, everyone. The only emotion I feel with any kind of depth is annoyance, and I feel it often.

A text message sent to the wrong number proves to be my undoing.

His name is Everett, but I call him rude. He’s pushy, he’s arrogant, he crowds my personal space, and worst of all: he makes me feel.

He chooses to wear all black, all the time, as if he’s waiting to attend a funeral. Probably because he is.

Everett is dying. And he’s spending his final days living, truly living. In doing so, he’s forcing me to feel, to heal. To come face to face with the demons I suppressed in my memory.

He hurts me, he fulfills me, he completes me. And still, he’s dying.

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Amy bAmy A. Bartol, author:

I am a graduate of Hillsdale College and live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons.  My family is very supportive of my writing. They often bring me the take-out menus so that I can call and order them dinner.  They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real.  They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats.

They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making.  They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants.  And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them.

In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.

Website | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | TwitterGoogle+ | Spotify

Under Different StarsRecommended read: Under Different Stars

From Goodreads:

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor.

Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

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Tammy BTammy Blackwell, librarian and author:

• Has a deep, passionate love for bullet-pointed and numerated lists. Born September 14th, twenty-nine years ago in Small Town, Kentucky. (What? You’re reading this in 2025? Yeah, it was still twenty-nine years ago. Just go with it.)

• Attended the most basketball-crazy high school in the most basketball-crazy state in America. Despite being 5’8” and playing on the school team every year from second to eighth grade, Miss Tammy sucks at basketball and, for the most part, despises the game.

• Graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communications. Don’t worry. She doesn’t know what that means either.

• Has a day job at a library. Yes, you should be jealous.

• Is raising the world’s most awesome kid along with her mother and sister. It’s kind of like a sitcom except for… Wait. No. It’s actually exactly like a sitcom

• Once accidentally waved at a Backstreet Boy.

Website | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Destiny BindsRecommended read: Destiny Binds

From Goodreads:

Scout Donovan is a girl who believes in:

rules

logic

and her lifelong love of Charlie Hagan.

Alex Cole believes in destiny, magic, and Scout.

When Alex introduces Scout to the world of Shifters, men who change into wolves or coyotes during the full moon and Seers, women who can see your most private thoughts and emotions with a mere touch, the knowledge changes everything and everyone Scout thought she knew.

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MartinaMartina Boone, author:

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of SIBA Book Award nominated Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island, which was a Fall ’14 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Bookstores Alliance, a Kansas State Reading Circle selection, Goodreads Best Book of the Month and YA Best Book of the Month, and an RT Magazine Best of 2014 Editor’s Pick. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.

She’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature and encouraging literacy through YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and a lopsided cat, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website | Blog | Tumblr | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

CompulsionRecommended read: Compulsion

From Goodreads:

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets.

What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

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Erin BErin Butler, librarian and author:

Erin Butler is lucky enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write the kinds of books she loves to read. Young Adult and New Adult books are her favorites, but she especially fangirls over a sigh-worthy romance.

She lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF, Maxie. Preferring to spend her time indoors reading or writing, she’ll only willingly go outside for chocolate and sunshine—in that order.

Erin is the author of BLOOD HEX, a YA paranormal novel, and the forthcoming contemporary romance titles, HOW WE LIVED and FINDING MR. DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION​

Website | Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

How We LivedRecommended read: How We Lived

From Goodreads:

Nineteen-year-old Kelsey Larkin’s parents uninvited her to her brother’s funeral.

She just wanted to wear jeans and a T-shirt—the clothes Kyle would’ve wanted her in—not wrap herself up in death. So she watched the funeral from afar, like an outsider.

Which is just how she feels.

Chase came, though, just like she knew he would.

Until a few months ago, the three of them had been best friends, and then Chase made a mistake that shattered both families. But when Kelsey looks at him, she doesn’t see her brother’s killer.

She sees the boy next door who’s always taken care of her. She sees home.

When Chase tells her his feelings run deeper than friendship, she can’t help but get lost in him. In Chase, she finally has the closure she’s been unable to find anywhere else. But the boy she’s falling in love with is still hiding secrets about the night Kyle died. Secrets that could destroy everything they have…again.

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Aren’t they just fabulous?! Trust me, you want to go to this con! So get your tickets!  Tickets, you might ask?  Why yes… here’s the breakdown for this awesome con:

Event Pricing thru September 30, 2015:

Here’s the current** price range you’re looking at to attend–prices go up as we get closer to the con:

==> $95 Silver Package

  • 5-day pass to the UTOPiA convention (UTOPiAcon), including welcome bag, keynote speeches, panels, exhibitor hall, karaoke, pre-awards happy hour
  • Admission to the Public Signing Event
  • Admission to the Fifth Annual UTOPiA Awards and After-Party
  • NOT INCLUDED: lunches, apparel, preferred seating at awards, workshops

==> $175 Titanium Package

  •  5-day pass to the UTOPiA convention (UTOPiAcon) with VIP Registration/Badge pick-up, as well as a welcome bag, keynote speeches, panels, exhibitor hall, karaoke, pre-awards happy hour
  • Admission to the Public Signing Event
  • Early seating to the Fifth Annual UTOPiA Awards
  • Lunch Thursday and Friday
  • Souvenir T-shirt
  • NOT INCLUDED: Workshops

==> $50 One-Day Fan Wristband

  • Admission for one day–you choose the day and purchase the ticket specifically for that day
  • Access to all official events — speakers, panels, exhibitor hall, signing area, other official events
  • NOT INCLUDED: Workshops, private events, or any other event listed at an additional charge on the ticket page or web site. You must wear your wristband at all times or you will not be allowed into any official area.

==> Want to be an Exhibitor at UTOPiAcon??? Click the link below for prices and info:

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

But act fast, because prices will continue to rise as we get closer to the con date.  REFUNDS ARE AVAILABLE until March 31, 2016 (minus processing fee), so act now—I know it’s a few months out, and your circumstances may change, but I highly, highly suggest that you book now.

**prices subject to change—I will post updated prices as they rise.  Have questions about UTOPiA 2016: Five-Year Anniversary Convention & Celebration for Writers & Fans? Contact UtopYA, LLC

Still nervous you might not be able to attend in June? Purchase now to lock in the lowest prices, and rest easy knowing refunds, minus the processing fee, are available until March 31, 2016 (or a full refund within 60 days of purchase, whichever comes first).



And make sure you check out the other official blogger’s posts concerning UTOPiA and more invited guests, and subscribe to their blogs as well:

Week 1: Jo Michaels Blog and The Paisley Reader

Week 2: A Book Vacation (Me) and Delphia Reads Too Much

Week 3: My Book Addiction and A Little Bit of R&R (EXHIBITOR GIVEAWAY POST)

Week 4: Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous and Tsk Tsk What to Read

Every Two Weeks: Lulo FanGirl

And, make sure to check out all the other ways you can keep up with news about the goings on at UTOPiAcon for 2016.

Utopia blog | UTOPiAcon BUZZ Flipboard | A Daily Cup of Jo Radio Show | We Are Going to Utopia! Unofficial Facebook Group | UTOPiAcon Official Facebook Page | @utopia_con on Twitter

Come join us and FIGHT FOR YOUR WRITE!

Utopia Con Blogger Badge

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Have you seen this amazing, limited edition tee?  I am so in love with this design!

The idea behind the tee stems from “Whit & Ware and Indie-Visible, [who] have teamed up to create a series of eleven limited edition T-shirts (one per month) honoring the amazing Janet Wallace, and her incredible gift to us all….the place we all call home once a year – Utopia!” But after July 22, this particular design will disappear forever, so act fast!!

Revolution Shirt

I’ll be posting each new design as it comes along–and if they’re anything like this months exclusive tee, then I just know they’re going to be amazing!  I can’t wait to collect them all!

The next design will arrive August 1, and in case you were wondering, the “goal with these Limited Edition shirts is to raise funds so that we can provide UtopiaCon with killer branding all over the hotel such as standing banners with panel schedules outside every conference room, welcome banners at the hotel entrance, etc. We’re also handling the signing posters, some fun stuff for the writing cave, and some extra awesome swag for attendees. Any money that is left over will go to Janet Wallace, which she can use as she sees fit to make the 2016 the best year yet! We know how hard Janet works to give our crazy tribe an inspiring home every June, and we wanted to take some of the weight off her shoulders by taking care of all these details so she can focus on the big picture!”

For more information, or to buy this amazing shirt and help support Utopia, click HERE!

And make sure you scoop up your Utopia tickets now while they’re on SALE! This 5 year anniversary con is gonna blow your mind!



UtopYA 2015 starts 4 days… 4 days folks!  And that meas it’s time to get ready for real–no more lists in our heads of what we want to bring, who we want to see, and what we want to do–we’ve got to pull out the suitcases, pack ’em up, and make sure we have everything we need.  It can be a daunting and scary process leading up to the con, from packing, to traveling and getting to the hotel, to meet and greets, and toting your books around and getting to the right places, but I’ve got some tips and advice for you.

UtopYAThursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM – Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM (CDT)

Nashville, TN

Get your last minute tickets here, if you still need one!!!

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Packing:

Wrapped BooksSo, you’ve purchased your ticket to the con, but still need to pack, right?

Pack light.  You’re only at the conference for four days, and you don’t need to change your outfit multiple times a day.  TRUST ME.  You may feel like you’ll need extra clothes just in case, but you truly don’t.  PACK LIGHT. The more room in your suitcase when you arrive, the better off you’ll be when you leave with ALL YOUR BOOKS!!  Plus, I hardly packed anything to wear last year, and I still didn’t wear it all.

What you need:

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants (or dresses)
  • 2 comfortable tops—you’ll probably want to buy the t-shirt at UtopYA, so count that as a third
  • 1 pair of comfy sandals (shoes if you want)
  • 1 “formal” outfit for the awards ceremony with shoes and accessories to match (think PROM) and 1 costume for karaoke.
  • Pajamas (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)
  • ANY BOOKS YOU ALREADY HAVE THAT YOU WANT SIGNED and a rolling carryon
  • Saran Wrap and Bubble wrap (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 via PayPal, but it’s just easier with cash on hand.  There are ATMs in the hotel, though, if you run out.
  • Name Badge that shows off your icon.  People don’t know my face or necessarily my full name, but they DO know my blog, so last year I made my own badge to stick over the white badge UtopYA gives out, and it worked like a charm.  Bring business cards to hand out as well, if you have them.

NameBadge

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Getting There:

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.  If you’re taking SOUTHWEST, then you’re already ahead of the game–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.

carryonI flew Southwest last year based on their stellar service and the free checked luggage.  Remember, you don’t need a suitcase filled with clothes.  But you DO need lots of space for your books.  I checked two bags for the conference last year, 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 76 pounds between the two bags (not counting my 30 pound carryon).  And about 50 pounds of that 76 was book weight.  Imagine the price tag on mailing home 50 pounds of books?

BUT–maybe you’re not flying Southwest and there’s a fee to check your bags… find out how much that fee is for a certain weight… sometimes it’s just $25 extra for 50 pounds… still cheaper and faster than mailing them.  Check around and see your option.

ALSO–make sure you bring a carry-on, and that it has wheels.  Put as many books as you can IN IT for the trip down to Nashville, because if you’re packing light for the con, and your checked luggage is sparse, as it should be, you want to keep your precious books safe from flopping around as the luggage gets thrown around.  Plus, you will want it for the conference to transport all your books and swag (and, it’s gentler on your body). I wheeled my carryon all over the conference this year, and it was a real life saver. Even though my room was just upstairs, and totes are everywhere and they’re fun to use, carrying books around is heavy, and it hurts your back. So bring a rolling carryon.  Trust me.

And if you have the chance, do what I do when flying home: if they’re asking people to standby and take another flight because your flight is full, DO IT–if they’re offering vouchers!  In 2013, 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 for the 2014 convention to Nashville was completely free!

In other words, make sure you don’t schedule any pressing engagements for June 22, 2015, and take the voucher on any flight if they’re offering, and it’ll add up to some awesome free flights.  I took my voucher from 2013 and paid for BOTH my trip to Nashville AND my vacation to Florida.  For real.  Take the voucher if the opportunity arises.

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Shuttle:

So you’ve arrived at the airport and you don’t have any friends coming to pick you up and take you to the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel.  NO WORRIES.  The hotel does offer a FREE shuttle service roundtrip to the airport, even if the concierge tells you they don’t… however, for the sake of time, you may want to go ahead and just book a shuttle service instead, which is what I did my first year attending in 2013.

While FREE is nice, I did spend over an hour waiting for the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Shuttle to pick me up from the airport (only seats 10), and I spent a good 45 minutes waiting for it to take me back to the airport at the end of the conference. So plan accordingly and make sure you head out for the shuttle early, especially if you are under any time constraints.

May I suggest InShuttle… a very prompt service that will take you roundtrip between the Maxwell House and the Airport for ONLY $18 (it will also take you other places, but the fee is a little higher). I used this service in 2013 and really enjoyed it.

InShuttle  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hotel:

Once you get to the hotel, check in… to both the hotel and UtopYAcon 2015 (if that’s an option at your arrival time).  You want to get registered as soon as possible… trust me. If your room isn’t ready and you have to wait in the lobby, ask the concierge to hold your bags for you (they will), and go grab a bite to eat in the Bar.

Millennium Nashville Exterior ImageHere’s some info about the Hotel:

Facilities:

Outdoors — Outdoor Pool

Activities — Golf Course (within 2 miles), Fitness Center

Food & Drink — Restaurant, Bar

Internet — Wired internet is available in the hotel rooms for a fee of $9.95 per day, but it is free of charge in the lobby. Our internet didn’t work in the rooms at all this past weekend, so it was taken off the bill for all guests.

Parking — Free! Free public parking is available on site (reservation is not needed).

Services — Room Service, Airport Shuttle (free), 24-Hour Front Desk, Baggage Storage, ATM on site, Laundry, Ironing Service, Meeting/Banquet Facilities, Business Center, Fax/Photocopying, Souvenir/Gift Shop

General — Newspapers, Safe, Non-smoking Rooms, Facilities for Disabled Guests, Elevator, Heating, All Spaces Non-Smoking (public and private), Designated Smoking Area

Extra Charges:

Upon checkout, the hotel does automatically add on a $50 a day amenities charge JUST IN CASE, so if you see a pending transaction for a lot more than your bill AFTER you check out of the hotel next year, rest assured that it will be taken off—it’s only a security measure.  But do make sure you FOLLOW UP with the hotel about it!

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Food:

Bring it.  Not a ton, but definitely have snacks.  The hotel restaurant and bar is indeed delicious, but they’re both tiny, and when 700+ people are all hungry for lunch, it just doesn’t work.  If you want to eat in either of these places, plan to eat during off times.  11am brunch, or 2pm lunch… avoid the crowds so you don’t have a long wait and can get back to conferencing.

Millennium Nashville Dining Image ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Conference:

Go in knowing that this conference is epic.  I adore 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!

This year’s keynote speakers are Denise Grover Swanke, Lauren Miller, Kim Holden, and Lauren Miller.  From Thursday-Saturday, each will speak, beginning at 9am.  But don’t wait until 9am to get your seat!!  There are always amazing giveaways to start the mornings, so make sure you’re in the conference room by 8:30 at the latest!!  So many people showed up late, missing the opening statements and, therefore, lost out on their prizes!  Hey, more for me!  But seriously, you don’t want to be late for the opening announcements each morning.

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Author Signings:

We also have a full day author signing event on Saturday from 11-4! It’s FREE to the public, but you STILL NEED A TICKET–get it now, time is running out!  Exhibitors

What does an all day signing mean for you, you might ask?  You have MORE TIME to get all the signatures you want!  So, you have time to go to the panels. Last year I struggled getting to panels because I wanted to make sure all my books were signed, and hunting down people was difficult at times, but with a public signing from 10-4am, you’ve GOT TIME!  So hit those panels!!  Check out the schedule here: http://utopyacon.com/2015-schedule/ or better yet, use the Sched App, which you can sign up for, or log in to, just by clicking “sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.”

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Books and Pre-Orders:

Moving on, I HIGHLY suggest that you bring as many books as you can TO the con

ference as many authors only bring limited quantities.  Though, there is a bookstore on site, it also seemed a bit limited itself last year.

BUT–Pre-order’s are available for a TON of authors!  Check out this pre-order list hosted by Maria Pease. You can check out what kind of deals/sales the authors are offering, and find some amazing swag. Just click the name of the author to go to their pre-order page, and MAKE SURE you write down what books you purchased on a spreadsheet so you don’t forget, especially if you’re buying a lot! Many authors also have deals for those pre-ordering, like extra swag, lower prices, etc., so do check out the pre-orders list.

And, be sure to check out Jo Michael’s Blog Post about giveaways, freebies with pre-orders, and her advice of what to bring/do while at UtopYA.  It’s great!

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.

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Mailing Books Home:

If you didn’t drive, or you just can’t check anymore bags for whatever reason… so you need to mail them home.  That’s cool, just make sure you send it USPS (regular mail) and tell them it’s MEDIA MAIL (if you’re mailing in the USA ONLY–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 it even less so. But you can ONLY send books media mail—not swag, so I suggest putting on the swag in your checked luggage as it’s light (and make sure you put any and all magnets in your checked bag—I made the mistake of putting my business card magnets in my carryon and the TSA agents flagged it and were seriously nervous about going through my bag).

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Costumed Karaoke:

And did I mention costumed karaoke?  Because, yeah.  That happened, too. BRING AN OUTFIT–you don’t have to sing!!

Minion Love

This year I am saddened to say that I will NOT be in attendance… school is STILL in session and my students are taking their finals through June 19… and since I’m not allowed to take off during finals, it just didn’t work out this year.  Had I been able to come, THIS would have been my karaoke outfit.  You’re welcome.

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The Awards:

The awards are a BIG DEAL at UtopYA.  It’s like a red carpet event; it’s not a sit down dinner event, but there is a cocktail hour prior to the awards, and the hor d’oeuvres are delectable, though you still might want to eat a light meal prior to the awards ceremony. Awards

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 make sure you stick around for the after-hour dance party, which is great fun!

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And over the course of the year I’ve posted a TON of information about UtopYA–check them all out below.

{UtopYA} Panels for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Authors, Bloggers, Editors, and Readers

{UtopYA} The Writing Cave and Official Voting

{UtopYA Sched App} – Adding Events and Panels to Your Schedule – Official UtopYA 2015 Post

{UtopYA Con Interview} Victoria Faye of Whit&Ware – Book Branding Blueprint Workshop

{UtopYA 2015} Author Guest Post – Heather Hildenbrand

{UtopYA Con 2015} Millennium Maxwell House Information – Restaurants

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All in all, UtopYA is beyond fantastic! What do I love about it?  Everything!  But especially that authors and aspiring authors, publicists and publishers, bloggers and readers, cover designers and cover models are all in close proximity to one another, chatting, networking, eating, singing, dancing… and the list goes on. It’s like one HUGE slumber party for four days, and mixed in are awesome activities, with keynotes, panels, visiting booths, signings, pool parties, an awards ceremony, dancing, costumed karaoke, and even some sight-seeing, should one so choose–I hear there’s even going to be a tattoo party… yeasssss! I love that it’s a camaraderie of talents where attendees are willing to share their experiences, jump out of their comfort zones, do some crazy fun things, and all the while make long lasting friendships. You’re going to have a blast.  Just. Breath.



It’s almost time, folks!  UtopYA 2015 is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY–and tickets sales for the panels are ending in just a few short days, on May 31, so grab your tickets while you still can!  Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out!

So, let’s talk about why you should go to UtopYA and what you can learn from your experience there! We’ll even give you some insights to the panels so you can decide which ones will be best suited for you.  Ready?

UtopYAToday, I’m highlighting the afternoon panels for Thursday, June 18.  Make sure you stop on over to Jo Michael’s blog for the morning panels highlights for June 18, and then jump on over to The Paisley Reader and Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous, tomorrow, to see the June 19 panel highlights!

Thursday, June 18, 2-3pm Panels Include:

Is Time Travel Possible?

Moderator: Myra McEntire

Panelists: Sherry Ficklin • PK Hrezo • Robert Scherrer • Rysa Walker

What you can expect to learn:

Join physicists and fanatics as we talk quantum leaps and butterfly effects in this fascinating panel. Learn how to convince your reader without overwhelming them with technical mumbo jumbo.

For: Beginners — Authors

It’s All about the Money…and How You Manage It

Moderator: Susan BurdorfPanelists: Kim Holden • Alison Pensy • Eva Pohler

What you can expect to learn:

You gotta keep track of it all – the cost of swag, the travel, the conferences, the paperbacks, the promotions and advertising, and on and on. This session will help keep you sane and your budget balanced (hopefully). Get tips from accountants and authors on how to keep track, keep up and report it to Uncle Sam without losing an arm and a leg.

For: Beginners/Intermediate — Authors/Editors/Personal Assistants

What a Difference a Year Makes

Moderator: Amanda Jason (C. A. Kunz)Panelists: Delphina Henley • Heather Lyons • Amanda Michelle Moon • Stacie Wilson

What you can expect to learn:

The dramatic effect that utopYAcon has on attendees and panelists is staggering, and beyond our and their wildest dreams. Hear stories of those who got published, those who made new and lasting friendships, and those who made career contacts and connections that have propelled their careers faster and better than they expected. This is your chance to hear how to make the most of utopYA, hear how its impacted attendees year-round to help them achieve their goals, and how you can do it, too!

For: Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced — Authors/Bloggers/Readers/Editors

Thursday, June 18, 3-4pm Panels Include:

So You Wanna be a Book Blogger/Tuber? 

Moderator: Jo Michaels

Panelists: Maria Pease • Chris Cannon • Tammie Zimmerman

What you can expect to learn:

There are some big ol’ perks that come with being a book blogger or book tuber – advanced    release copies of books for review, invitations to events, street cred, income, and more. But first you gotta build your blog, build your rep, build your community and learn the ins and outs of professional blogging, giveaways and relationship-building. Find out from authors and bloggers the right and wrong way to do this blogger/tuber thang in this hot session.

For: Beginners/Intermediate — Bloggers/Authors

The Golden Age of the Book Trailer

Moderator: Denise Grover Swank Panelists: Adam Cushman • Amy Miles • Cameo Renae

What you can expect to learn:

Book trailers have gone from “that would be cool to have” to a “MUST HAVE” for authors. Find out the elements, the copyright laws, and the hooks that can move your trailer from ho-hum to awesome.

For: Intermediate/Advanced — Authors

Why YA Matters

Moderator: B. J. Sheldon

Panelists: Hope Collier • Chanda Hahn • Lauren Miller • Lana Popovic

What can you expect to learn:

With the massive proliferation of New Adult sweeping the market, the beloved Young Adult category that helped pave the way for NA has been left to collect dust. It seems that the writers who helped make it matter are taking a “been there, done that” approach to it, even going so far as to consider it passe and for newbies rather than for the now experienced who are milking the sexy romance book market trend all the way to the bank.

While trend- and genre-hopping can be very good choices — 1.They challenge the writer, 2. Alleviate boredom, 3. Avoid getting labeled into a corner — there are still a growing number of Millennials out there aching to read more Young Adult that represents them.

This session will cover the stigma attached to YA, share findings on why it should still matter to writers and readers, as well as discuss personal experiences.

For: Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced — Authors/Readers/Bloggers



Hello lovely readers, and happy Friday!  This week, I’m highlighting the WRITING CAVE that will be available 24/7 at UtopYA!!!

Here’s the deets:

Goo-Goo-24361-550x550The Writing Cave is a lovely room that overlooks the scenic pool, where you can write socially if you don’t want to be alone in your room writing.  Located on the 9th floor in the Titan Room, the Writing Cave has couches, chairs, a TV, and an unstocked bar.  Snacks and drinks will be available, thanks to one of our lovely sponsor, Clean Teen Publishing, and over 700 Goo-Goo Clusters will be available for those of us with a sweet-tooth, thanks to our other Writing Cave Sponsor, Goo-Goo Clusters: http://googoo.com/online-store/

Foods aside from the snacks and candy will not be available, but you are more than welcome to bring your own, and writers are kindly asked to clean up after themselves.

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More from our sponsors:

Clean Teen Publishing

CleanTeenLogo_Single_TRANS_LargeOur Commitment to Our Readers:

At Clean Teen Publishing, we believe that our readers deserve to know ahead of time what they are reading.  We do not believe in censorship; we believe in the right to know.  Every reader, no matter what their age is, has certain boundaries they don’t want to cross. Currently there is no consistent rating system in place for books like there are for movies, music, and video games. We believe by offering a wider range of disclosure about the content of our books, we will give parents, and readers of all ages, a stronger sense of comfort according to what lies between the pages. With that said, we will not deem whether a book is appropriate or inappropriate for any particular age range. Our disclosure is simply for you to know what is in the book, and we leave it up to you to decide what you are comfortable with reading.

Our Commitment to Our Authors:

At Clean Teen Publishing, we believe our authors, who create new and amazing literary worlds, deserve to receive a large share of the profits that their art creates. We also believe that our authors deserve the support of quality editing, breathtaking covers, and the power of a strong marketing presence behind them. As authors ourselves, we know that your writing comes from your heart and, in a sense, is a part of you. We will carefully protect that part of you and work hard to keep your creative vision alive.

Learn more at http://www.cleanteenpublishing.com/

goo-goo-cluster-logo

Love the Goo-Goo Clusters? Order your own.: http://googoo.com/online-store/

Goo-Goo-72011-320x300_____________________________________________________________________________________

AND, did you hear?  The 4th Annual UtopYA Awards Voting is NOW OPEN!!!  Vote for your favorites now through May 21st!  Hurry, before the voting closes!

http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/pgd137pk1w7lpve651688

 



Happy Friday, readers! Today, I’m picking up with the second installment of the month-long Sched App tutorial for UtopYA 2015!  This week, we’re learning how to add events and panels to your schedule!

UtopYA

So.  You’ve successfully logged on to the Sched App and set up your profile, right?  If not, head on over to Jo Michel’s blog to get the specs on signing up, then head back here to check out the following short video concerning adding events and panels to your schedule:

Easy, right?  That’s all there is too it!  Now, stay tuned to learn how to integrate the schedule app with your calendar on your phone from Paisley Reader next Friday, and then how to buy/adjust tickets bought and add friends to your list from Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous the following week!

And if you haven’t yet bought your tickets for UtopYA 2015, you can still grab them here–you don’t want to miss out on all the epicness that is utopYA 2015, June 17-21!



UtopYA

It’s Friday! Yay yay yay!  Let me tell you, this week has been rough for me, but I’ve got a fun post for y’all to make your Friday even better!!  The ever talented Victoria Faye of Whit&Ware is here to answer some interview questions and talk about her upcoming workshop—Book Branding Blueprint —at utopYA Con 2015. If you don’t have your ticket yet, you need to get one soon! There are only 98 days until the event, and you don’t want to miss out on all the epicness that is utopYA 2015!  Scoop up your ticket here (hint: you can purchase a ticket to Victoria Faye’s Whit&Ware workshop here and find out more about it).

In addition to the amazing information you’ll get this month from the official bloggers, be sure and write down the partial phrase you’ll find on each blog. We’re giving away Saturday signing space, and you’ll need the whole phrase in order to enter.

So without further ado, here’s my interview with Victoria Faye of Whit&Ware:

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Where did you go to school to gain your mad design and marketing skills?

While I did go to school and get a degree in Media Technology and Graphic Design in Northern CA (Hartnell, Monterey County) I’m largely self taught. Most of my learning actually happened on the job, I got an internship at Marketing company almost right out of a high school, and they put me on every job possible as the assistant inhouse designer. I was there for a few years, then I had the luck of having friends who worked in entertainment, specifically in set design and fashion styling, I was able to learn lot from them about branding individuals and styling/designing concepts. That experience helped me land a job as a visual artist and merchandiser at Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Macys before I started doing freelance design. I got to design floor displays and store graphics and create style directives for womens/juniors fashion. After that I worked for a video production/manufacturer as a marketing coordinator for 5 years designing branding and marketing campaigns while building my design business, so its mostly been 15 years of on the job training, I also try to get into professional workshops and study for certifications every year to help me stay updated on all the software and practices I’m constantly learning!

 What kind of degree(s) do you hold in these fields?

I have a degree in Graphic Design, and currently working towards a BA degree in New Media Marketing.

What part of the workshop are you looking forward to presenting most and why?

I really want to break down what branding and marketing is and how they are both easy to do at any scale. Indie authors wear so many hats, and sometimes the final piece of the puzzle, the marketing, gets convoluted because there’s no clear brand identity, nor is there a clear plan other than just to sell a book once its done. I want to share how authors can create longevity over their indie careers and grow as indie publishing grows so they can stay relevant.

What’s your biggest success story with an author?

Hmm…its a bit of a tough question…My measure of success is this: if I’ve stayed true to an author vision and a books story, then I have succeeded, lol. I don’t keep track of peoples book sales, though I know several have been in amazon bestseller lists. However, I do have a few books in mind that I had to pay special attention when creating the graphics and “brand” for I felt these were especially successful:

Tammy Blackwell THE TIMBER WOLVES TRILOGY

I rebranded Tammy’s first book, DESTINY BINDS and after that I was blessed that she chose me to do the rest she wanted her covers to be mysterious and unique so we worked together to create silhouette styled covers that weren’t photography based.

Heather Lyons THE COLLECTORS SOCIETY

Heather has an existing marketing plan that she was working on with her publicist so from her covers to her trailer, I needed to make sure I stayed within the guidelines of a something that felt magical and paid homage to fairytales, but was still easily recognizable as more adult. I designed the fonts and the series logo for her as well as the additional artwork I knew she would need for promotions.

Ty Drago THE UNDERTAKERS REBRAND

The Undertakers series moved to a new publisher so they needed the title branding and supplemental art to be updated, yet still similar to the original release of the series. I designed the title art and the jacket design to stay reminiscent of the original books, but still look fresh.

Currently Im doing a branding case study with Eva Pohler. Alongside Indievisible.com, I am rebranding all her books and working on a new campaign that will enhance the amazing marketing that Eva already has in place. You can follow along on Eva’s blog or on the Indie-visible Blog on how I use the elements I’ll be sharing the the workshop to update her branding and streamline her marketing efforts its a long term branding project that I’m excited about because people will actually get to see how it works in real time.

Real measurable success happens overtime, while tweaking the branding and the marketing methods. Its not instantaneous. First having a plan of action and then revising accordingly is essential, and authors get overwhelmed and frustrated with figuring out how to do that. My workshop is specifically aimed at teaching authors how to execute a marketing plan and keep their branding consistent.

What does the Dream Like a Boss package include?

The DREAM LIKE A BOSS Giveaway (opening March 20) includes a full length trailer, book branding for up to 3 books, a 6 month marketing plan with all graphics included, An author logo Author website and consultations through out. It includes a planner that will itemize marketing goals, track progress and tasks, creating a design/plan for merchandising and so much more!

Why should authors take advantage of the workshop?

Consultations and packages for branding and marketing can get fairly expensive. Into the thousands of dollars range. Over several books you can’t afford to keep hiring someone or taking blind guesses. I designed the workshop to teach authors (In two hours) how to produce practical results like increased readership, visual consistency and yes, even better sales. The workshop basically offers indie authors a crash-course/guide that explicitly outlines what to, when to and how to market/brand each book release they have I’ve spent a year specifically designing the Indie Book Branding Blueprint and included FREE resources so that authors can feel like they are still in control of their whole publishing process and budget I’m just so excited to pass on what I know and what I’ve learned from working in marketing the workshop packs in so much in so little time, I think authors should take advantage of the fact they don’t have spend hours or even weeks hunting for all the answers!

So, so awesome!!!  Special thanks to Victoria for answering these questions!  Excited?

The workshop is available for just $80.00! The 2-Hour Intensive condenses 3 weeks of information from Whit&Ware’s Book Branding Blueprint Program (reg. $225).Purchasing the workshop also qualifies you for a %25 discount from the regular Blueprint program should you choose to enroll after UtopyaCon.

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Victoria Faye

More about Victoria Faye:

When I first imagined my brand and design company, Whit&Ware, I knew I wanted to partner with my clients to help them define and chase even their smallest dreams because I value the importance of having someone on your side who believes in you and can help bring those dreams to life through solid branding, marketing and design.

In my 10+ years as a designer and marketing professional, I have learned that when dreams are defined, they clearly communicate who you are, they attract believers in you and your brand, and ultimately, they help you thrive and inspire others.

As Whit&Ware, I am committed to helping every client define their dream for those purposes exactly. It’s why I so often ask – how do you want to dream out loud today?

For more information on Whit & Ware’s Book Branding Blueprint, please visit: http://main.whitandware.com/bookbrandingblueprintworkshop/ or http://main.whitandware.com/main/blog/

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Phrase part two: make the most

AND don’t forget to visit the other official utopYA bloggers this month for information on the other workshops, and the special event going on Friday evening.

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 – Jo Michael’s Blog hosts C.J. Redwine’s discussion on her Query Letter Workshop
Week 3 – The Paisley Reader hosts Regina Wamba’s discussion on her workshop for graphic designers and photographers
Week 4 – Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous  will be talking about the special Friday night event, will have a list of Saturday signing authors, and will be giving away a spot at the signing

Special thanks to Jo Michael’s for coming up with such awesome questions for Victoria!



Here’s the third leg of the Official UtopYA Scavenger Hunt!! Check it out and ENTER, ENTER, ENTER!!!

The Paisley Reader

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I am happy to bring you my section of the utopYA Con official bloggers’ scavenger hunt for our panelists’ books. Before I get to the rules, let me tell you about the utopYA2015’s earlybird ticket prices! They’re ending February 28th, and that’s next week! Standard admission is currently $90, and VIP is $115. On the 28th, those prices go up to $110 for standard admission and $135 for VIP. Thinking about getting your tickets? Pick them up here.

Now, let’s get to the book hunt! Here’s what you have to do to win:

  1. Read the synopsis below.
  2. Guess which book from my short list the synopsis belongs to.
  3. Type your answer in the Rafflecopter entry form.
  4. Enter every day throughout the month of February for a shot at the prize!

Each blogger will list one synopsis and five possible titles for you to choose from. It’ll…

View original post 398 more words



UtopYA

It’s Friday!  Happy weekend to you!

Today, I am excited to bring to you an awesome contest from the utopYA Con official bloggers: We pulled together and are leading you on a scavenger hunt for our panelists’ books!  Read on for more deatils, but first, let me remind you about the utopYA Con 2015 earlybird ticket prices! They’re ending February 28th! Standard admission is $90 right now, and VIP is $115. On the 28th, those prices go up to $110 for standard admission and $135 for VIP. So, go get yours here. For serious.  Get ’em now!

Now, let’s get to the book hunt! Here’s what you have to do to win:

  1. Read the synopsis below.

  2. Guess which book from my short list the synopsis belongs to.

  3. Type your answer in the Rafflecopter entry form.

  4. Enter every day throughout the month of February for a shot at the prize!

Each blogger will list one synopsis and five possible titles for you to choose from. It’ll be a different title each week (this is week two).

This form will stay up on my blog for one week. Then, I’ll change the entry form to a link for the new hunt over on The Paisley Reader. And so on, and so forth. At the end of the game, all incorrect entries will be removed before the winner is chosen.

What’s the prize? Well…

You have a shot at winning a pack of three e-books–one from EACH of our keynote speakers:

Denise Grover Swank, Kim Holden, and Lauren Miller

These prizes are being donated by the official bloggers. We wanted to do something awesome for you guys. What’s better than books written by awesome women you’re going to meet?

So… are you ready?  Here’s your synopsis:

One thing set Lydia Shaw and her store apart from the other antique shops in town…

Lydia’s collection was plagued by curses, and it was her duty to break them.

Rachel, Angie, and Jo knew nothing about their aunt’s secret life. In fact, they didn’t even know she owned an antique shop, until they inherited it. Unfortunately for them, Lydia passed down more than just her store. The sisters are the proud new owners of countless deadly curses, buried under centuries of dust.

Lydia also left behind her apprentice, Peter. He does everything he can to protect the girls, as they explore their new store, unaware of the dangers it hides. In spite of his efforts, Rachel finds herself obsessed with opening a strange trunk, Angie has vivid dreams, haunted by a man who claims he needs her help, and Jo’s imagination starts to run wild.

When one of them falls victim to a curse, it’s up to Peter and her sisters to save her. But, if Peter can’t teach them to wield a magic, that he barely understands himself, she’ll be the first one to die.

And the possible titles are:

Tammara Webber — Breakable (Contours of the Heart Book 2)

Elizabeth Kirke — Carved in Cherry (A Curse Collectors Novel Book 1)

Misty Provencher — Stronger

Katie McGarry — Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits)

Megan Curd — Iron Pendulum (The Periodic Series Book 2)

Time to enter your guess! Remember, you can enter once every day.

ENTER HERE USING RAFFLECOPTER!

So–where’d those book titles above come from, anyway?  Check out the official utopYA Con Reading list here: It’s a giant list of books by authors sitting on panels in 2015, and where we’ll be taking the titles we play the game with. We love our panelists!

And don’t forget to visit the other official bloggers this month:

Week 1 — Jo Michaels Blog
Week 3 – The Paisley Reader
Week 4 – Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous

What do you think of our little giveaway? Did you enter?

DO IT!  Until next time…



UtopYA
Last week, Jo Michael’s talked about the Millennium Maxwell House in Nashville on her blog, giving specifics about the hotel, room sizes, and how to book for the UtopYA June 18-21 conference in 2015! So, this week, I’m going to follow up with some information about the restaurants inside the hotel, because, if you’re like me–flying in–then you may have limited options in terms of leaving the hotel for foods. And that’s okay, because Millennium Maxwell House has two awesome restaurants—Pralines and Maxwell’s Lounge. (I tried to get menus, but that was a bust, so sorry.)

First, let’s talk about Maxwell’s Lounge, because in my opinion, that’s where it’s at.

Millennium Nashville Dining Image

Last year, I spent every evening here, sipping the specially crafted drink made JUST for the con, meeting and greeting friends and author idols, eating the BEST quesadillas, and all around having a good time. Especially for the costumed Karaoke… yeah, that happened. And it’ll happen again this year, so make sure you bring a costume and get suited up! (You don’t HAVE to wear a costume, or sing, but we’d love to see you all dressed up). And the food here… well, it’s definitely delectable! I really, really enjoyed it! The service was fast, and the atmosphere is definitely welcoming, if a bit small. But we’re a rowdy bunch, and we make room for everyone. So make sure you come on down and join the fun!

Check out my costume for Maxwell’s Lounge Karaoke Party:

Minion Love

Here’s what the hotel website has to say about Maxwells:

Maxwell’s Lounge is the perfect setting in which to unwind after a day spent exploring the many delights that Nashville has to offer. As one of the livelier bars in Nashville, TN, Maxwell’s Lounge hosts entertainment every night of the week.

Live bands regularly perform country, blues and alt-rock numbers while patrons socialize and enjoy a drink or two at the bar. Good food is also available, with the menu featuring a number of classic Southern dishes. All in all, this Nashville lounge is a great venue in which to enjoy a memorable night’s entertainment.

Operating Hours

2:00pm – 11:00pm

Other Information

Food served, bar snacks served

And then there’s Pralines.

Millennium Nashville Dining Image

This is more of a traditional sit down style restaurant than Maxwell’s Lounge (though you can certainly sit down and relax in Maxwell’s), and the buffet and food here is just as good—same kitchen as Maxwell’s Lounge—but I found it to be just a little small for our 700+ group. Hence, the wait for lunch was generally a bit long, and cramped. BUT—that just means planning on my part next year. Instead of trying to eat lunch during the lunch rush, I’m either going early or late. Since Pralines is open from 6am-10pm, there is plenty of time to get in, unlike Maxwell’s Lounge, which is only open in the afternoon to late evening. So plan accordingly!

Here’s what the hotel website has to say about Pralines:

For guests seeking delicious dining near downtown Nashville, look no further than Praline’s Restaurant. Located within the Millennium Maxwell House Nashville, the restaurant serves up fresh, inventive dishes throughout the day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner can all be enjoyed within a relaxed setting at Praline’s. The food is cooked to perfection, with an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients where possible.

Operating Hours

Breakfast 6:30am – 10:00am
Lunch 11:00am – 2:00pm
Dinner 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Price Guide
Breakfast $3-9 USD
Lunch $5-12 USD
Dinner $7-25 USD

And of course, there are tons of places to eat outside of the restaurant if you have access to a car or plan to take a shuttle/taxi.

So—what are you waiting for?  Book your tickets for UtopYA 2015 NOW on Eventbrite!

And, be sure and pop on over to the other official utopYA blogs this month for more awesome information on the hotel (like booking the hotel, room rates, Nashville stuff to do, and in depth information on the rooms and amenities – there are TONS – available).

Jo Michaels Blog – Week 1 (Millennium Maxwell House Information – Rooms, Rates, Codes)

The Paisley Reader – Week 3

Book Junkie: Not So Anonymous – Week 4

UTOPYA Official Blogger



UtopYA

It’s time!  Tickets for UtopYA 2015 are officially on sale!

Make sure you scoop ’em up stat–this is one event you DO NOT want to miss.  Trust me.

Event Pricing:

Here’s the current** price range you’re looking at to attend–prices go up as we get closer to the con:

==> $90 Earlybird Standard Admission

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards

==> $115 Earlybird VIP

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Preferred Admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Preferred Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards
  • Lunch Thursday and Friday
  • Souvenir T-shirt

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW!

I highly, highly suggest you purchase the VIP package, which is what I purchased for June 2015. Having experienced the hotel and now having inside knowledge of the layout, the VIP package is the best deal—you get lunches Thursday and Friday, so you don’t have to fight to get a table at the little restaurant, and a t-shirt is included—which you’re going to want because they’re epic AND you can have all the authors and attendees sign them—EPIC, I say!

But act fast, because prices will continue to rise as we get closer to the con date.  REFUNDS ARE available until April 30, 2015, so act now—I know it’s a few months out, and your circumstances may change, but I highly, highly suggest that you book now.**prices subject to change—I will post updated prices as they rise.

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When and Where:

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM – Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM (CDT)

Nashville, TN

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And THIS year we have THREE keynote speakers lined up: Denise Grover Swank, Lauren Miller, and Kim Holden, on top of all the other awesomeness and authors that will be in attendance!  You really DON’T want to miss this!

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 and 2014:

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Testaments from 2014:

UtopYA 2014: What You Need to Know and Why You Need to Go in 2015 (a comprehensive blog post including everything you need to know about the hotel, shuttle service, travel by land or air, mailing books, the awards, what to bring with you, and the list goes on)

Check Out What People are Saying on Facebook

A Love Letter to UtopYA 2014

UtopYA Con 2014 – Take Me to Your Reader – Images and Information

Like a Virgin… HEY #UtopYA2014 For the Very First Time

#UtopYA2014 was AMAZEBALLS!

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

UtopYA Official Website

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Testaments from 2013

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

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

UtopYA

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW!

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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 continue updating their site for next year’s event.  See you there!!

 



UtopYA

UtopYA 2014 Fan of the Year, Tammie Zimmerman, has graciously donated a full exhibitor space for giveaway!  That’s right, you can win an ENTIRE exhibitor table for Friday, June 19, 2015!

Exhibitor Space

 

This is a ONE DAY table for Friday, June 19, 2015.  The table will be located in the lobby.

Here’s everything that comes with it:

2 chairs = two General Admission tickets (if you already bought a ticket, we will refund the ticket).

  • You may sell merchandise & giveaway swag – “MERCHANDISE” INCLUDES BOOKS

  • Exhibitor Widget/Badge for your web site

  • Complimentary Wi-fi included

  • Featured in official utopYA 2015 informational materials, either online or in print

  • Volunteer help to load-in, load-out

  • Promotion in social media posts

  • Eligible for prizes in the utopYA 2015 “Time-tastic” Exhibitor Contest: winners will be voted on by the attendees at utopYA 2015 and prizes will be given to winners at closing ceremonies the morning of Sunday, June 21, 2015. Prizes awarded for:

    1. Best decorations

    2. Best swag

    3. Best solo booth

    4. Best shared booth

    5. Best utopYA 2015-themed booth

It is the WINNER’S responsibility to let us know who will be using those tickets so that they can be officially registered in the system.

Giveaway ends November 24, 2014.

Enter using this Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

 

And don’t forget, tickets go on sale for the conference on November 28, 2014! 



Did you see?  A tentative list of the UtopYA 2015 panel sessions has been announced, and I’m so, so, so excited (especially about the blogger one; I’m on that panel!)!!

This year, UtopYA is creating tracks–one of beginnings, and one for the more experienced, and it’s going to be EPIC!!!

UtopYA Panels

Here’s the tentative panel list (subject to change; the final panel sessions come down to best-attended, utopYA-mission oriented, most popular, which guests are able to attend, and who is qualified to speak about the topics):

So You Wanna be a Writer?

So You Wanna be a Book Blogger/Tuber?

Your 1st BookSigning

Dealing with Doubts as a Writer

What to look for in a Beta Reader

Expanding Your Empire

It’s All About The Money…and how you manage it.

Is Time Travel Possible?

Why YA Matters

Great Sexpectations

The Rise of Steampunk

He Said/She Said

More Than Books: Writing for Graphic Novels/Movie Scripts/Games/TV/Web

Building Your Author Brand & Platform

The Past, Present and Future of Publishing

Gender roles & stereotypes in YA and NA Lit

Tense Time Warp: Raise the Tension with Past & Present Tense and Point of View

ClockWise World Building

How to Make Your Book Tour Run Like Clockwork

Online Bookstore Sales & Marketing 101

The Golden Age of the Book Trailer

Time for Serials

What a Difference a Year Makes

Your Time to Shine

Want a more detailed listing of what each of these panels is about?  Check out UtopYAcon.com for more information, including summaries of each!

Tickets to #utopYA2015 go on Sale November 28!!! 



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!

 

shana-a-book-vacation

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!



UtopYA is less than a month away, and I. Can’t. Wait.  Squeeeeeeeee!  

UtopYA

Some of the attending authors have begun posting pre-order links for the event to make sure readers who want a signed copy get one–and I’m so stoked!

But if you can’t make it to UtopYA this year, NO WORRIES!  Many of the authors will also ship signed copies right to your door (and if they don’t, let them know in the comments section of their forms that you want to know the shipping price)!  How cool is that?  Below is the current list of pre-orders that are up and running–but there will surely be more!  Stay tuned–I’ll be adding to this post as new pre-order links become available.

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Allana Kephart & Melissa Simmons 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ReiZ9qRXWX6iNSWVOungY5trQjeTJgvHNg70NkuNWKA/viewform 

 

Amanda Moon

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gP-LxVsrQWB50asvejxiJTgFHvRoRRPWJRFQ3XXzbwQ/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Amy Evans

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bJW3yPQ3ufxLYxEcOWAi2MOEGnRYWM3zZjjxeAXeqcw/viewform

 

A.M. Hargrove

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tkIjMldSAdMAtKnyG4NpYCWG5V7KGsj-Q8f6V5ShUQk/viewform?c=0&w=1

 

Bailey Ardisone

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BfwowyGZFbDcQmXM3005dRA47KElPXe4aQEAKUwekQo/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

Bella Roccaforte – The INK: Series

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZnjrOTn0OPl2ew9XMgSf0bQn-7JDeXnJ-LK4A-G2zLI/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Bethany Lopez

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15yPH0QTT7TfQjTo0v6ctGhUwrnX8W_yjH0KX0PG54Q4/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

Brenda Hiatt

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mi18GewJL9Lp_WWcFi7d_c15fftr-Mn-03jgux5oGUc/viewform

 

Brenda Pandos

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kwx-ZnE5rO71CVE6jmvbM8QVMaKzEXjMmMCfDmtrYqE/viewform

 

C. Marie Mosley

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEZqMllPVFk2QUM2OEd6cS1ockhkTmc6MA

 

Carmen Jenner 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11LntniGhRJfn6F3yUgTsfbuaaIaf97lV_dmlbnlSMj8/viewform

 

Casey L. Bond

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17EsQVjAqxrPowp9YM60oPj3nsDyxs-2vDDKfM9uzTCw/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Casse NaRome

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gWQQ4nfBROilIQcU4B7FvY45iHR9p0x7lK0vGtWB0Zc/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Chanda Hahn

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGVxak45azR0cHpPWkh0cHc5alI0dEE6MA

 

Chelsea Starling

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12IfAoSmLWmbUnGPHM3JeMx9-YNdaaWuons039tzLpVI/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

Christina Mercer

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1FCx0fsoLKhz-_q4M6TFqLCTmGzHzOiorD0XO5d-SF7A/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

Dani Hart 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oXgzlcH589RtxK8Lsk1sSiWtfNt5_8R4tMxV4Zn8nFw/viewform 

 

Devyn Dawson  

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1z9vsnBUObqu-NJu11Ojx93y2SRisO4NbgeDTHKTMC_Y/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Elizabeth Sharp

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oqjnjgpY6-liHBNHdukbsshS703oANygUt1oXbLY0Po/viewform

 

Eva Pohler 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qZcoHZASbFb99lJIDIix-RXk5AmBuJMlTfXnWPgL15k/viewform

 

Felicia Tatum 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1l9KiSf913bqzvwAPf_u2QGw2lpBISU9kvv47ltMtQ4I/viewform?usp=send_form

 

G.P. Ching

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14MziZzsYpGYMw3QBO4cyHPTAm0G0P8Zbrb9V4Hr4xQA/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Genevieve Jack

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NkxMKPDbZvssqGpOgycg2ESgVn3E6eWK3oeRdm9b0zA/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Heather Hildenbrand

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/13XYnRf9vVsu0O1bIo3kLwR6BZrwV8nXz6nIyDoF5Qt8/viewform

 

Heather Lyons

https://docs.google.com/a/heatherlyons.net/forms/d/1byhThted__ic0Pf7FY6vGvUw4ZwTdHU1TYogvRB2l9U/viewform

 

Heather Self

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yT_Jm73JaYYe_eAqa5QpDfskBjbANixA4d6aYYR2HOQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

 

Hollie Westring

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Tb9hBuaCcEaDhl9hBgSN3MFSxA8kHPzHMlPJjcACeNA/viewform

 

Inger Iversen 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JgQ7DOIL808GrzV1zI_QqWPEFOk3H0SJbhYCD1AhGbw/viewform 

 

Jordan Deen

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ez2hIz3nT4a9FvLixYAni_r6606kBAk64Oz0sIDJ_tw/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Jo Michaels

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DWUf0s8SzmvtlSQoltZYBgq3dJIa8YcyeWU3CDcSB8M/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Julia Crane

https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/5GeDyBP9RwCrm2f6Sf08nobd 

 

Karice Bolton

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fWJvArJfH5V3kxNgtU3HduPVRJh-SfQO4kthjzRFhJ8/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Keary Taylor

https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fforms%2Fd%2F1kilvDokyEUxCiJp7lfT9u0hiGn0KHAhX47MaeorGArQ%2Fviewform%3Fusp%3Dsend_form&h=eAQHX7CjN

 

Kristen Day – Daughters of the Sea!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_WuA4sMCE7I5AoSxm06AVd9jdMvvwIn68S2INqQLP0I/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Kristie Cook 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14QqOtZHQUxwft4SAIvwDVAXugRDQdHj8LsjibY3stkU/viewform

 

Krystal Wade

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/110ncN3OXXxliOKnOH-W69c9WIJRn5ghbtN9OwZBM4Q4/viewform

 

Laura Howard

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SHA9JryR0e8qsAznrCrPFtTfzO2UTcR-P4ubPekHRsQ/viewform

 

Liz C. Long

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VcmJYsOJxNu4QtjRcQi5XvLmkYvcNdtosgPrjaGyxT4/viewform

 

Magan Vernon

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pxBSCCxTm0gGHM2xFw9W7fIx1FThHXEQq2Ig5t6iF64/viewform

 

Mary Ting

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1M-KxxVFjYd3fXFc3PuW7EuU1pTirwJH2_PdugDFe5P8/viewform

 

Michelle N. Files

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MWE4G9imnU0H55KYAGCCAYcQQ2EsRCfi3W2Qgv5p_gY/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Michelle G. Miller

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1h7w03N9YYKjDb6KI8hj53q1E1m_I9pDWkeOV2m8YdSs/viewform?edit_requested=true

 

Misty Provencher

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YYs2p3v_Lkeo9eBM9S0qsfF-wcaMhUe_gFeHkYakRDQ/viewform

 

Morgan Wylie

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yWItsRN0TCL7nTHB5vZzMpq1wNzMEh5pfsmUjYjGPpg/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

Natasha Hanova

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nVgLc4lcQMZy5Pcj1d94AhyIkW-moEiskJ7feQQs8KM/viewform?usp=send_form 

 

N.L. Green

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TgnUkpbXWjGB3KCvSLjdpsG4_NGyCTVpO_0hQWLR0q8/viewform

 

Paulina Ulrich

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mjTO6yJPjtAlANOdUN8xTK8r6ryT_zMekyBKOfyx_3I/viewform

 

Rachel Harris

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-kOGYF8PqHFQAvjERH2whzmJWscSFeb2sexbEXRIEUs/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Rachael Brownell 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1afGC-b4sD2W03H8EdtOG6_lMvAzpp2OfKDiYyFjw4mI

 

Raine Thomas

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bCr45RxzvUOm_FHk1-GqAeHtl9wvZg6mFOpHO-gm-E4/viewform?usp=send_form

 

Ren Reidy–UtopYA Bows

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NsoNytMyvm6ohCVLKRLdjvxPtleAr3eC0aiUhTQ7GDM/viewform

 

Rhi Paille

https://rhiannonpaille.wufoo.com/forms/rt4sgvv1ss84cp/

 

Sarah Ashley Jones

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1b359jK5p6BxBfT3vZcSxcOx1ZiBfPfa-EUo1MB4bTQA/viewform

 

Sarah M Ross

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nAFvR7lGsxwmsQjNVVya2hVfY6OCV8PVl45j2XqQUCI/viewform?usp=send_form

 

S.G. Daniels

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NrwqolWYrPlKW0jZfsYkGT3PZPdKevxGlycEWtZIkxw/viewform

 

Shawn McGuire

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qlpZSjpRn4xkAUYkBu4AmOs8R-E_SnXooj1SFKfk87k/viewform

 

S.M. Boyce

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qDupscS0rbtiKAS0kTyq0HLjbkNWLwkGkbE_TNtuJ80/viewform

 

Stacey Marie Brown

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KFbwWXuQw0wW36ei2T–tFy6cn45_Xt6cNzGK5KUGZw/viewform

 

Theresa Kay

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZOc-UJPtQ_WClbZoDsrCBnJG4qcxAXOqS5bV3z9d6sw/viewform

 

Tyffani Clark Kemp

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IMPJ8ufx94xUjqC-Rr9G_s7xzGb_fDfXF_sen2ASvvA/viewform?usp=send_form

_____________________________________________________________

AND, The UtopYA shop is NOW OPEN!!

You can pre-order these awesome t-shirts and pick them up at the con OR, if you’re not attending the con, have it shipped for NO CHARGE!!!

This is a WOMEN’s CUT shirt.

**NOTE: Shirt will have professional seamless design. This is only the mock up.

Pre-order t-shirts and other cool swag, like posters, here: http://utopyacon.com/shop/

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 ALSO

Krystle Nicole, from LotusOpus.com, is selling #bragbooks–completely customizable books people can carry with them to conferences such as UtopYA in order to keep notes/autographs/pictures, etc. all in one place!

And they’re rather inexpensive, too!

If you weren’t at UtopYA last year, trust me, you’ll love having this #bragbook for signatures, love notes, and the like–and it works FOR ANY CONVENTION!  Did I mention they’re ALL fully customizable?  Krystle can change the design, add your name, etc. Just email her and ask: thelotusopus@gmail.com

 You can order your own personal #bragbook here:

http://www.lotusopus.com/#!product/prd1/2169086445/%23bragbook

Check out mine:

BragBook_____________________________________________________________

AND

BOWS!  You can order these AWESOME bows for UtopYA from Ren Reidy of A Little Bit of R&R!

This is a 6 inch bow and the pattern may vary from what is pictured. The bow can be made on a barrette, black satin headband, elastic hair tie, or clip on bow tie.

AND they can be shipped, too, if you aren’t attending UtopYA (shipping charges apply).

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NsoNytMyvm6ohCVLKRLdjvxPtleAr3eC0aiUhTQ7GDM/viewform

image(1)_edited-2

 



utopyaAwards2014logo

Early this morning, UtopYA announced the nominees chosen by their peer members of the UtopYA Academy and opened the voting in the Third Annual UtopYA Awards to all the fans out there!

This blog, A Book Vacation, and I (Shana) have been nominated THREE times, for BEST BLOG OF THE YEAR, BLOGGER OF THE YEAR, and UTOPIAN OF THE YEAR.  You don’t have to vote for me–I’m just honored and extremely humbled that I was nominated, and I’m excited to boot!

UtopYA Nominee

Make sure you stop by UtopYA and VOTE for your favorites, especially since there are 10 NEW categories for a total of 30, which gives YOU even more opportunities to vote for your favorites, such as Raine Thomas, Megan Curd, Tiffany King, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Heather Love King, Hollie Westring, Paulina Ulrich, Chelsea Fine, Heather Hildenbrand, Angeline Kace, Amanda James, and many, many more!!!

Voting Ends 11:59 PM Friday, May 16, 2014. Congratulations to all the nominees!

VOTE HERE!



logo

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:

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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.

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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: https://utopya2014.eventbrite.com/ 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 random.org.
  • 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 random.org.
  • 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…

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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!

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Where and When:

 

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

Nashville, TN

 Panels

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Hotel:

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!

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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.

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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.

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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)

  • ANY BOOKS YOU ALREADY HAVE THAT YOU WANT SIGNED

  • 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.

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Shuttle:

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.

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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.

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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

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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

UtopYA

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!!

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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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