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My Weekend in Pictures

I had the most amazing weekend of my year. It was too incredible to blog about in words, or I’d need a month worth of posts to cover it all. Dilema. I want you to know everything! But this is a blog, not an epic trilogy of 100K word tomes. Then it hit me. Wait. A. Minute. Maybe pictures really are worth a thousand words!

So, I bring you, my weekend in pictures.

Hooray! Sure, some of my friends are already there and we live 4 1/2 hours away and are just now getting in the car, but three kids are safely at grandma’s and I AM not in the car, so WHEEEE! Here we go! R-O-A-D T-R-I-P! Off to the Lori Foster, Reader & Author Get Together at last!

Gah! Rain! *shakes fist at windshield* My hair is flat-ironed to perfection! “Boooo” I chant as the wipers move quickly around my scary fists.

What? Traffic? WHY – OH -WHY?

 

Oh, sweet arrival. I’m about to kiss the ground to be free of the blasted car when I hear “Julie?” SQUEEEEEEEs ensue. It’s my very best bestie, who I met because of this very blog a couple years back and have never-ever-never seen in person! She’s Valerie Haight and she’s as gorgeous and amazing as I imagined. I love her so much I want to burst into confetti to prove it.

Inside the hotel. Look at the line to check in! *Hoots* *Waves* Hugs random liners* I am here!!!

Look at all these RAFFLES! *Buys insane amount of tickets, then a bunch more* The entire hotel is replete with bookish-awesome and I want to move in and stay forever.

There’s a Starbucks inside the lobby and I want to ask the teenage barista to take a pic with her because I love her so much for being there. I resist and buy a bucket of iced latte instead.

This is my contribution to the raffle. My Death by Chocolate basket.  And this is the Honey Creek Books basket I contributed to. I brought two delicious bottles of Ohio wine. Three free Honey Creek stories were inside and chocolate covered pretzels and note cards and the super-cutest Honey Creek t-shirt. I needed it bad. Tossed some tickets that way. I admit it. I saw the shirt and my brain blinked Want-want-want.

Speaking of the awesomesauce that is Honey Creek books. Here are two more Honey Creek authors. *Sighs contentedly* I love these girls so much. Jennifer Anderson and Maggie Greene.

Oh, while I’m on a Honey Creek bit, this is my gorgeous and lovely editor, Wendy Williams. She makes sure my sweet romances are sweet and romantic. I’m so thankful for my time with her this weekend I could bounce around a little. I might have already. I’ll never admit it, so don’t ask. – I totally did.

Turquoise Morning Press sponsored the event, so double bonus of whoo-hoo! My nimble and stealthy boss, Kim Jacobs somehow managed to elude my mad camera skills. She’s a true ninja. *curtsy to you madam* You are the fire to my flies. <– that sounded cooler in my head. Kim invited us TMP authors, beat readers and bloggers up to her room for a pow-wow, meet-n-greet, girl bonding moment of silly good fun. I met so many ladies I will never forget and who I now twitterstalk. Thanks Kim!

Here’s one of those ladies. Julie Doner. She has my name. I have hers. We are matchers. BFFs. Twins. ———>

I bought a bunch more tickets right before the final raffle. Took the tickets to dinner with me to write my name on them, then realized the raffles already happened. Der. Doy. Duh. Now my kids have fun little red raffle tickets to play with. *headdesk*

I returned to the hotel and a flurry of texts & tweets. While I was out missing the final drawing, I won the Honey Creek basket LOL

The mischief, angst and crazypants was high all weekend long. I think we all lost a decade or two on our age the moment we saw all the other 400+ book lovers. Here are some more fun pics to leave you with. We ate cupcakes at the bar. I got silly with my bestie and favorite book blogger in-the-WORLD (okay and she’s also my cousin, but you guys know that) Nikki Brandyberry, the evil mastermind who runs Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind. I was involved in a drive-by kissing. (Look, I am the Cursed Highlander!). And me and my crew dressed up as a rougher crowd for this final picture.

Also missing from these pictures because she is obvi somewhere causing hysterical laughter and mischief are two of my favorite people. One, I met on twitter and has become a dear friend -I’m serious people, Get. On. Twitter. You’re missing out if you aren’t- Heather McKenna, mild mannered librarian by day – smart, witty wildwoman every other minutes. And thanks to Heather I met the fun, silly ornery, gorgeous Rachel Tinsley.  

 

This event is a permanent part of my life calendar. I will never miss it for the rest of my life. I will attend when I’m hunch backed and wearing orthopedic shoes. I will have my great-granddaughter drive me if necessary. This is the fountain of youth event of the year.

Meeting Online Friends in Person = Ahhhhh!

This weekend marks my second trip to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Reader & Author Get Together, established by Lori Foster. I live in northeastern, Ohio so this is about a 4 1/2 hour drive for me. It involves the village once again. My inlaws took the day of work to watch the kids. (I don’t think they mind that part LOL) Hubsy took the day off work too. I’ll be up early, rush around as if I didn’t know I was attending for the last 12 months, haul kids to grandmas, leave minivan and bounce. Zoom. I left out all the freak-outs between 8am and noon.

Last year we left the van parked in their driveway behind the garage. Then we forgot to leave the keys. LOL. They had all three kids for three days and couldn’t go anywhere. Ahhhhhh yikes.

Last year I was stressing over a pitch appointment. I have one this year and am not stressed at all. *Bonus* Live and learn. Grow and accept. Stuff like that.

Last year I had no writing credentials what-so-ever. This year I’m writing for a press sponsoring the event, which means I get to meet fellow authors, my boss, my editor….I’m super-stoked. What do I wear? I have split ends. I need a mani-pedi b-a-d. Did I mention the event’s  tomorrow? And it’s midnight now.

I planned to sign at the book signing this weekend, but don’t even get me started on that mess. *buttons lips and grimaces* Just means more time to mingle and visit and squeeze the online besties I can’t wait to see. For example, I can’t believe I’ll finally see Valerie Haight. This is so huge to me its ridic. And I have a baby gift for my preggers crit gal/beta buddy and fellow Honey Creeker, Jennifer Anderson. I’ll be making memories soon. For tonight this is the best blog post my brain can come up with that isn’t a to-do list for the next 12 hours.

Good grief! Twelve hours! I haven’t finished unpacking from vacation last week! I need a hair cut! Who’s gonna do my nails??? What the heck am I gonna wear?

I better go.

I’ll blog the deets next week and tweet my crazy all thru the event – because I’m a tweet addicted.

See ya!

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop! May 25th-31st!

Welcome to the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

I’m a Reader Not A Writer Blog & Page Turner Blog

Up for grabs this week, I have an ARC copy of YA awesome. Josephine Angelini’s DREAMLESS, sequel to STARCROSSED. DREAMLESS releases May 29th, but you can get your ARC with a little bonus.  *Winky face* Josie was sweet and gracious enough to throw in a signed bookmark, so there you go. Enter! LOL. I’ll ship it out via Media Mail to addresses in the continental United States after using Random dot org to choose a winner. Here it is:

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini:

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini’s compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling Starcrossed delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations.

To enter: Just leave me your contact email so I can tell you you won. Write it in secret ninja code so the bots leave us alone, like this…my email for example would be julie dot a dot lindsey at gmail dot com See, I just wrote out the words at and dot because I’m more cleverer than the bots. Now, you try it!

Then stop by these other blogs and enter to win there too :)

Voyeurism and Me. Confessions of a Nosey Writer

Let’s call me a people watcher and move right along, shall we? No. Let’s go with “student of human behavior.” *Dons faux glasses*

I’m fascinated by the human condition. Utterly fascinated. And when I go on vacation I get a glorious overload of awesome. I’ve studied the people in my region for thirty-cough-years. I “get” them, even the weird ones. Why do kids tip cows, climb water towers, hit mailboxes with baseball bats? They’re bored. Small towns make life for teens humdrum. You work with what you got. Been there. Whether I would make the same choices is irrelevant. I do get why the people in my area do most of what they do.

I don’t get other people. Why? I’ve never lived anywhere else. I want to. I want to live everywhere. Do everything. See it all. Vacations are the best time ever for me. Wherever we are, I get to watch the local people AND I get a double-dose of other people from other places on their vacations. Imagine me wringing my hands now. I get to see locals in their daily routine, imagine how their lives are different form mine, and I watch the tourists wearing their vacation faces. Vacation faces are rarely what you imagine – people basking in sunlight, sipping frozen drinks while the children play contentedly at their feet. Those brochure vacation people are fakers. No. Vacation Mom is usually carrying a fanny pack or other atrocious bag wherein she tries to haul every thing her family *might* need in the course of a day and looking exasperated. Vacation kids are disgruntled because they didn’t ask to go anywhere and would prefer to be at the pool. Vacation Dad is wandering around behind the rest looking at the sky or his Blackberry. –Thank you technology for taking the actual vacation out of working adult’s vacations.– My husband has worked plenty this week when he wasn’t looking at the sky and leisurely enjoying his time off. Meanwhile, I have maintained my normal schedule of cooking, cleaning, kid wrangling and writing – plus squeezed in hours of family fun, done double the now-sandy-laundry and of course slunk away at every opportunity to people watch. This requires copious amounts of black coffee and reduced sleep. Totally worth it.

Ah, but the locals. I’m dying to know…Do they go to the ocean regularly or take it for granted? What do they think of the tourists clogging up their traffic patterns, stores, restaurants etc? I expect the young, single people must love the turn around of fresh new possibilities. Or they might tire of all the “blah blah blah” because YOU ARE LEAVING SOON. I don’t know, but I want to.

So, I talk to everyone. To the dismay of my family, I don’t try to accommodate their every whim, or entertain them on vacation. It’s vacation. Use your brain and think of what you want to do. Then do that. Der. So, these guys have to fend for themselves. They will never ask me if I remembered to bring their…fill in the blank. I didn’t. They know. But, I do hold us up frequently by questioning strangers about things. I ask them tons of questions. I love getting into lines because people are forced to stay there with me. My kids like it if the people I’m chatting up have kids. The husbands pretend it’s not happening. So funny. I ask them…Are they having fun? Have they been here before? Where are they from? Etc etc. They usually fill in some details I never dreamed of and I later write some of it down for safe keeping. Most answer me, but some pretend I’m not talking to them. LOL. True. The ones who answer me wonder who I am and I tell them, “I’m a writer.” Then I go back to asking. Sometimes I wonder how much of what they tell me is true. What? People lie. But annnnyway…*that was in my best Ellen voice* Hubsy has the kids in bed and I hear a party a few beach houses down, so I’m going onto the deck where I will leave the light off, slip into the hot tub and observe.

What? It’s for work.

Ohioana Book Festival 2012. Amazing.

This weekend was made of awesome. Stuffed with books and wrapped in fun. Like my last post pointed out, making arrangements took a little effort, but once we secured babysitting for the three smaller members of my circus, Hubsy & I were on our way to Columbus, Ohio for the Ohioana Book Festival. Best getaway weekend this year.

This was no amateur show. The Ohioana had volunteers and staff flowing from the ground and walls, possible parachuting in from the sky. They were *whispers* everywhere. It was amazing. And they had answers! Which is the schiz-nit because you know I had questions. It was, afterall, my first rodeo. I felt like I needed a neon pink tee announcing “New girl here!” But they had me covered. There were a trillion signs directing traffic, happy workers assisting the signs, a line up of local food trucks scenting the air with Oh-My-YUM! The tables were set, gift bags in place, name tags secured. Despite the size of the building, all rooms were clearly marked, the schedule was maintained. I mean, I seriously wanted to blow a whistle, line up those mega-hundred workers and volunteers for a personal hug at he end of the day. *Amazing*

I traded a ton of emails preceding the event with Beth Poley, who with the help of (holy cow! fierce and fabulous Harper Teen,YA author of A Touch Mortal, and A Touch Morbid, Leah Clifford) I got to meet at the reception. Yes. As if the event wasn’t enough. During the event itself, they catered in Starbucks, and breakfast and lunch fpr the authors. Serious. There was no end. Then, the governor’s mansion hosted the authors at a reception following the event. Right? *shakes head* Amazing. And I found Beth to tell her, she deserves a total spa day for all that effort. Authors and patrons noticed. I drooled. *Swings giant foam finger* I’m her new biggest fan *creepy whisper* For real. She rocks. Like a lot. A. Lot.

Also, I was introduced to my new obsession, Jeni’s Ice Cream. I even got to meet Jeni. She’s like a local celebrity there. Her ice cream is the talk of the town, everyone in Columbus knew who I meant if I dropped the name “Jeni.” It was fun. I tried it more than once. They always knew. After the reception, Hubsy and I walked down to High Street in the Short North District where we stayed at a beautiful B&B. There was a line up the side road where we walked and all the way around the corner at 10pm-ish. Club opening? Fancy black tie restaurant? Nope. Jeni’s. We walked for what felt like miles around the district talking and taking pics. Then, wound up at Jeni’s. I tweeted. It was delicious. Twitter knows Jeni, too. You can follow her @jenisicecreams

All in all, big praises to the in-laws for an incredible weekend with Hubsy. It was *perfect* on all counts. I gained 5 pounds without a doubt. Met people I will never forget and a few I didn’t think I ever would in person. Example: Imagine my surprise when my favorite YA author/blogger/mommy/tweeter/girlfriend showed up and introduced herself? Yeah. Shock and bliss ensued. Mindy McGinnis and her gorgeous daughter gave me yet another *squee*. If you don’t know Mindy, she’s the mastermind behind Writer Writer Pants on Fire Blog. You must meet her. She’s as beautiful in person as you imagine. Genuine, kind, witty and fun. Meet her immediately. You will thank me.

Yeah. I was starstruck this weekend. In awe. Humbled. Amazed.

I even got to participate in a panel discussion on suspense & mystery writing with one of my favorite cozy writers, Amanda Flower. She was seated next to me all day and answered my 1,001 questions on publishing, murder and more. I get to see her again soon, as I will be attending Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention in October. *Clapping wildly*

In conclusion, *coughs* If you live near a book festival, GO. I encourage you. Ohioana was free and open to the public. There were childrens’ authors, a giant character roaming around, Kent State University students and facutly had a room for the kids to get hands-on in some fun activities and hear readings from the children’s authors. Kids had a blast. Parent’s were thrilled. What a great family day out. Definitely don’t miss the one headed to your area. If it’s half as delightful as this one, you’ll be sorry.

Does your town have a book festival?

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