Picture For the past few days I've been in Nashville Tennessee.  I traveled there to attend the UtopYA 2012 Con, a convention designed by Janet Wallace to connect readers of young adult paranormal romance novels with the authors who write them (and vice versa).  I didn't know what to expect.  I thought I would be participating in a few panel discussions about writing and then I'd sign a few books.  That happened, but that was secondary.  Here's what really happened: I met the kindest, most generous people and I also began to really understand how absolutely INSANELY fortunate I am to have you as readers of my stories (Yeah, you are so completely awesome, but I'll get to that in a second because I want to try to write this without bawling through the entire thing). 

The industry that I have become a part of is a strange creature; just when I think I may understand it, I find out there is so much more to learn (and by that I mean, I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to know.)  I used to think that it would be enough just to write a story--a good story--a compelling story.  In a way, I was right.  That story brought amazing readers into my life.  One has but to read the comments on this blog to see just how creative and unique you are.  I value you because trust me when I tell you that you are a rarity.  In a business as competitive as this one, having you to come "home" to is a blessing. 

But, I'm learning that it may not be enough to just write a story that people want to read.  I was in Nashville on the campus of Vanderbilt University with a hoard of writers who can write good stories--captivating stories.  The difference between some of them and me is that I seemed to have found people to help me along the way.  I had friends who read my rough drafts and told me what they liked and what they hated.  I have a mom who can go toe-to-toe with any copy editor out there in a grammar contest--and win.  I have friends like Volatalistic Phil and Rob Guthrie who followed me on Twitter and helped me figure out the social site. (Thank you, Rob, for letting me know that someone isn't really saying nasty things about me, so I shouldn't blatantly follow that link and give them my twitter password). And I have an incredibly supportive husband who keeps pushing me to learn every technical process I can.

My lucky streak continued at UtopYA.  I again found people willing to help me learn what I need to know, not only to be a better writer, but to be more successful at getting my work to you, the reader.  I discovered some very valuable tips from this conference; for example, Angeline Kace, author of Descended by Blood, shared that you can get your computer to read to you.  This is HUGE when editing!  Georgia Cates (my roommate at the Con) and I each sat on our beds with our computers on our laps figuring out how to do that (for directions on how to do it, see * below).  Georgia is the author of the Vampire Agape series, if you haven't read it, do. 

Abbi Glines, the author of The Vincent Boys & Existence, told us that she makes playlists that her characters listen to by using playlist.com!  ENTIRE PLAYLISTS!!!  FOR CHARACTERS!!  (You know I'm doing that now—as soon as I can—start thinking about it so you can give me suggestions for each character.)  Abbi also writes her own song lyrics and has musicians record the music.  (She's a rockstar!) 

Kelly Simmons of InkSlingerPR gave me some brilliant advice on marketing (which I plan to share in later posts).

And then there's Heather Robbins, "SupaGurl," who taught me so many things, but she mostly taught me about the passion of book bloggers for the stories they read.  I'm truly awed by it and by her.  (You can check out her blog: http://supagurlbooks.blogspot.com)

I also made a few friends at the conference; to name them all would be difficult (but I will say I'm looking at you M. Leighton, Tiffany King, K.A. Kunz, Raine Thomas, Quinn Loftis.)

Now, let's get back to you again, my readers (and here is where I'm already in tears).  It was because of your generosity that the Premonition Series received honors for Best Villain and Best Debut Novel-Inescapable.  YOU voted for it.   I'm extremely grateful to you because more than the awards, it's like you reached out to me and gave me a hug.  So, basically, what I'm saying is: these are ours—this all happened through your generosity.   THANK YOU!  (I'm such a baby, I'm totally crying.)
I also want to thank Jamie, April, and Susan for all of your help and support at UtopYA.  You guys rocked it :D 

I won the minute I stepped foot in Nashville and met all of the brilliant people at UtopYA.  The awards were icing.  I've heard it said that no one gets to the top alone.  I'm no where near the top, but neither am I alone.  


* In Mac, you click on the apple icon on your toolbar, then "System Preferences," then under "System" click on "Speech," then click on "Text to Speech," then check the box that says: "Speak selected text when key is pressed."  Now, highlight text that you want read to you and then press the Option+Esc keys together.  BTW, Georgia and I decided "Alex" has the best robot voice.)
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Published on July 12, 2012 23:00 • 461 views
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message 1: by Volatalistic (new)

Volatalistic Phil Amy, you're amazing! I'm so happy for you!


message 2: by Radiant (last edited Jul 13, 2012 03:51AM) (new)

Radiant Omg!!!!!!
I am soooooooooo happy to know u won...coz i voted for it(YAY!)..i thought Brennus was the best villain and of course urs is the Best Debut.
I so love knowing that some of my fav authors are together and enjoying ;)
I hope ur journey goes long way Amy...God bless!
Sri.


message 3: by Renee (last edited Jul 13, 2012 06:10AM) (new)

Renee ooooh, had to share. When reading Inescapable, I thought Watching You Watch Him by Eric Hutchinson was Russell's song. You HAVE to give it a listen.

...and congrats


message 4: by Christine Gay (new)

Christine Gay Wow- congratulations!!!


message 5: by Ana (new)

Ana Congratulations! You definitely deserved to win...your books are awesome and you are lovely!! Looking forward to the next book!


message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Yay! I voted for you. ;)


message 7: by Dallas (new)

Dallas Congratulations, it is much deserved!


message 8: by Tara (new)

Tara Congratulations!! I'm so glad others are figuring out what we already know.


message 9: by Kelli (new)

Kelli You would never have gained us loving readers had you not created such an amazing world for the rest of us. You worked very hard and gained fans and through your continued work you turned us fans into friends that want nothing more than to see you suceed and be happy.... and also as your friends we want more books out of you too!! ;o)
You fought to the top and its our job to thank you and show our gratitude for sharing your imagination with us.
So thanks right back at ya.
K


message 10: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Congratulations! You are an amazing author.


message 11: by Danielle (new)

Danielle You're amazing and your books deserved those awards! Keep doing what you're doing and I will keep reading!


message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen Well deserved! Congrads Amy!!!


message 13: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Abel Congratulations, Amy! I'm so excited for you! But I'm not surprised ;-) Your series captured my heart.

I'm completely team Reed, but I love Russell, too ;-) Brennen may be the villain, and he scares the bejeebies outta me, but I have to admit that his undying devotion to Evie is sorta HOT (in a creepy, stalker-ish way, but still...)

I can't wait to meet you at the Decatur Book Festival! And I'm planning on going to utopYA next year, so I hope to see you there as well!


message 14: by Erin (new)

Erin I'm just so glad this phenomenal series is getting the recognition it deserves!! Congrats again, girl!!


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Volatalistic wrote: "Amy, you're amazing! I'm so happy for you!"

Love you, Phil <3


message 16: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Sri wrote: "Omg!!!!!!
I am soooooooooo happy to know u won...coz i voted for it(YAY!)..i thought Brennus was the best villain and of course urs is the Best Debut.
I so love knowing that some of my fav authors ..."


Thank you so much, Sri!


message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Erin wrote: "I'm just so glad this phenomenal series is getting the recognition it deserves!! Congrats again, girl!!"

Thank you, Erin!


message 18: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Amber wrote: "ooooh, had to share. When reading Inescapable, I thought Watching You Watch Him by Eric Hutchinson was Russell's song. You HAVE to give it a listen.

...and congrats"


Thank you, Amber! I'm going to check out that song!


message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Christine Gay wrote: "Wow- congratulations!!!"

Thank you, Christine!


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Ana wrote: "Congratulations! You definitely deserved to win...your books are awesome and you are lovely!! Looking forward to the next book!"

Thanl you, Ana! You're blog helped me so much! I'm grateful to the Book Hookup Girls!


message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Michelle wrote: "Yay! I voted for you. ;)"

Thank you, Michelle. You rock!


message 22: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Dallas wrote: "Congratulations, it is much deserved!"

Thank you, Dallas!


message 23: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Tara wrote: "Congratulations!! I'm so glad others are figuring out what we already know."

Thank you, Tara! :D


message 24: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Kelli wrote: "You would never have gained us loving readers had you not created such an amazing world for the rest of us. You worked very hard and gained fans and through your continued work you turned us fans ..."

Okay, Kelli, you're making me cry again! Thank you for your sweetness :D


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Kristin wrote: "Congratulations! You are an amazing author."

Thank you, Kristin! :D


message 26: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Danielle wrote: "You're amazing and your books deserved those awards! Keep doing what you're doing and I will keep reading!"

Thank you, Danielle! :D


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy Bartol Charlotte wrote: "Congratulations, Amy! I'm so excited for you! But I'm not surprised ;-) Your series captured my heart.

I'm completely team Reed, but I love Russell, too ;-) Brennen may be the villain, and he sca..."


Awww, Char! I can't wait to see you on Labor Day weekend! We're going to have a blast! Thanks for your kind words!


message 28: by Sarah Jane (new)

Sarah Jane Congrats! I tell anyone who will listen to me to read this series.
I smile, thinking back of Evie crawling on a table to kill a worm, in front of a bunch of murderous Faeries. Great books. Come on and give us the next one!


message 29: by Tara (new)

Tara OK, according to the Mayians the end of the world is schedualed for this December 21, I'd like to read incendiary before then. I'm just sayin'.


message 30: by Oredola-yimika (new)

Oredola-yimika incendiary should please come out quickly! would love to read it before i go back to school!!


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