How Do You Title a Crazy Wonderful Weekend?

Drunk Authors, Aria Duston and Lights Out

For those unfamiliar with my real life, it’s pretty amazing. No, I am not a multimillionaire. I do not have a personal assistant. I don’t have my own plane with unlimited fuel (LIFEGOALS! 😉 ) BUT I have a wonderful husband, kids, friends, family, pets and BOOKS…
And I live an adventure. I enjoy the twists and curves and embrace the high points so that I am more insulated when the difficult moments come around.
This past weekend, I attended Penned Con St. Louis – a charity event with hundreds of reader and blogger attendees to interact with their favorite authors – and maybe find a new favorite or two.
I have attended other similar events and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. I was unhappy with the disorganization, unprofessionalism and interactions I had. I had considered counting myself out on future events, but I was signed up for this one.
First of all, this event is run solely by volunteers to raise funds for an autism charity in St. Louis. The funds go to help families with additional expenses beyond those covered by insurance. But EVERYONE commits to raising funds. Through ticket sales, table sales, silent auctions and raffles, a gathering of book lovers raised over $10,000 by sharing what they love.
What did I love?  Well, there’s a lot to love at PennedCon.  For the trends, see my article later this week.  But as for the people and experiences, let’s recap:
  1. Finding out you’re all over social media for leading the drunk and stranded authors to their rooms during a power outage – in your nightgown
  2. Hugging some of your favorite people like Cameo Renae, Randi Cooley Wilson, Nikki Jefford, Stacey Rourke, Quinn Loftis, Michele G. Miller, D.A. Roach, Denise Grover Swank, Jaci Wheeler and SO MANY MORE!
  3. Meeting new and wonderful friends like Isabelle Peterson and Layla Omorose
  4. BEE SWARM!  Three Bees wandering the floor at once was gosh darned awesome! (Did we seriously not get a selfie Tanya and Erin!?)
  5. The BEST swag item I have ever gotten (a really nice tumbler from D. Nichole King, a YA author with the most unexpected locations ever)
  6. Grown men in grass skirts; co-organizer Rick Miles stripped down to his coconuts in the interests of raising funds. What a great sport!
  7. Insider info – like meeting the real-life inspiration for Aria Duston in Randi Wilson’s Revelation series
  8. Seeing Quinn Loftis do 22 pushups for the veterans challenge on the dance floor
  9. The surprisingly great coffee shop at the St. Louis City Center Hotel – and the amazing espresso muffins!
  10. Realizing the impact we’ve been having with our labor of love here at LB

I am going to focus on that last one a little more.  I was a panelist at this event on “Reviews, Blogging and Cyberbullying”.  As the only reviewer, I hoped to bring positivity and a different insight to the questions and I hope I did that.  Realizing how well-known this site has become in a positive way among readers and authors as well as fellow bloggers was really a high point for me.  The other Bees (I hope) will tell you I strive to keep this fun and light, but also professional and respectful.  Hearing that others see us in just that light means so much to me.

And so, back to the beginning… My life is an adventure.  A few years ago, a change in jobs lead to lots of audiobooks on my commute…which lead to new author friends… and to the Hive you’re on right now.  It’s just a great reminder that we’re doing the right things, on the correct path and bringing some positivity and enthusiasm to the industry (even when the review isn’t always a great one).

Thank you for helping us build this site into something worth reading.  Thank you for this awesome life.  You’re amazing, Bibliobuzzers!