Category Archives: Conferences

Realm Makers, Gen Con, and ACFW, Oh My!

Let’s just say I’ve been busy. Extremely busy.

So busy, in fact, I’ve been sick for about three months straight.

I know! Not cool, right?

But the conferences, book signings, conventions, editing jobs, book releases, etc. etc. etc. have all been so wonderful, I couldn’t resist!

(And now I’m being forced by my body to slow it down and take care of me…then I’ll be off and running again!) :)

So now a little about my time at Realm Makers:

And Gen Con:


Isn’t that incredible? Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, and being able to dress up in a Star Trek uniform! (Though I would say meeting both authors was a tad more exciting than dressing up…) ;)

There’s more–so much more–and I will do my best to share a plethora of my favorite pictures I took from all three of these events at a later time.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you read any incredible books lately?

I haven’t had time for personal reading lately, and I find I’m desperate for a few good recommendations.

What have you read and loved?

In Him,


My Time at the Book Expo America 2016

I went to the Book Expo America in Chicago with no idea what to expect.

Oh, sure. They had a website, an app, and a list of classes, but I was way too busy to look at any of that.

(Just a touch of advice for you. Don’t do what I did. End of advice.)


All I knew was I wanted to attend an 11AM class on publishing agreements, and my train was due around 10AM. I could make it from Union Station to McCormick Place in 45 minutes, right?

No. Not if said stranger to Chicago gets lost, even with the best directions ever from a native Chicagoan. And that’s all I have to say about that. ;)

1PM: I enter the wrong end of the McCormick Place, bewildered, ready to kiss the ground I was walking on (the correct ground, this time), and so excited to finally be at the BEA 2016!


I wandered the book expo floor–and people kept shoving books in my hands. Lots of books. Free books. Books that haven’t been released yet.

187 books, to be exact.

I nearly tackled the guy handing out Katherine Reay’s soon-to-be-released novel. I restrained myself and somehow managed to snag a copy in the stampede anyway. Whew! And woohoo! I can’t wait to read this!


There were signings (including some very well-known authors such as Nicholas Sparks, signing his not-yet-released novel that, yes, they were just giving away–no, I did not stand in that 8-hour monstrosity called a line–but this signing happens to be my fave):

Mini-sessions were scattered throughout the floor, and an entire conference area downstairs was dedicated to hundreds of classes over the course of three days.

Patrick Brown, the Director of Marketing at Goodreads told us everything new and trending, and in beta testing, on Goodreads.

Cindy Ratzlaff, one of the most intense and dynamic speakers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to in my entire life, spoke on advanced marketing strategies on Facebook.

I learned so much. So. Much.

And I got the hang of everything by the second day. By the third, I was a pro. I could navigate Chicago, get to my classes on time, and look like I knew what I was doing.

I even bought a rolling suitcase in nearby Chinatown and used the expo’s bag check to store those lovely books I just couldn’t stop taking from all the people shoving them my way. (Um, thank you, lovely people. You are all pretty much my favorite.)

I was in my world, happy go lucky, when I ran across an article in the BEA’s Hulk-sized magazine. (Seriously. These suckers were the size of my rolling suitcase.) This is the first time in 12 years the BEA has left their venue in New York City to hold their conference in Chicago. Twelve. Years.

The Chicago and Midwest publishers and other industry professionals–including myself–were thrilled with the change in venue. (I mean, I could actually go!) The big publishers based out of New York? Not so much.

So during lunch on the third day, I sat with a publisher from New York and a freelancer from Ohio. And got to hear the entire argument from both of their perspectives. (So glad I read that article first!)

The New York publisher was upset with having to ship books, pay for hotels and airfare, send fewer representatives, and leave the convenience of walking from their downtown office to the expo. The freelancer (who was once an editor for a major New York publishing house, but has since done so well to freelance out of Ohio) was thrilled with the expo being so close to be able to attend–without the exorbitant costs of staying in New York.

I listened, nodded, smiled a lot, and wholeheartedly agreed with the freelancer.

The publisher did admit, with a sheepish grin, that the McCormick place was a much nicer venue than New York’s. And the publisher did allow that it must be nice for the smaller presses–including me–to be able to send someone. And the freelancer sympathized with the added costs of shipping stock and not having as many reps.

I was entranced by both of them. Well done, opposing sides!

So I just have to say: Thank you, Book Expo America, for coming to Chicago. Thank you for making it possible for smaller presses and their representative to attend.

I have treasured everything I learned and the entire experience of BEA 2016. Thank you for the books. Thank you for the signings. Thank you for the classes.

Thank you for helping me grow in my profession, learn more about my field, and stay abreast of the latest trends in this ever-changing industry.

You have my undying gratitude for coming to Chicago.

And thank you, dear reader, for sharing my adventure with me! It was such fun!

In Him,


Okay, I had to show you these amazing journals I bought the last day of the expo. I’ve never seen more gorgeous journals in my life!

What’s next? Well, I’m not sure. But I hope it has something to do with Facebook Launch Parties, Blog Tours, and other book-release fun for Zombie Takeover. I can’t wait!!!

(Oh, yes! Zombie Takeover happens to be available for preorder. Hurray!)

Book Expo America 2016 and the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention

Right now I’m in Chicago at the Book Expo America 2016. Squeal! Isn’t that amazing?

I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to come, but I felt so strongly I needed to be here this year, my husband moved heaven and earth to make sure I could attend.

Isn’t my husband the sweetest man on earth?

I’ll have pictures next week! :)

But for now, a little on my time at the Indianapolis homeschool convention.

To say I dislike homeschooling would be an understatement. “Detest” is more accurate.

Why? I was homeschooled. And I hated it.

So when God put the IAHE convention (Indiana Association of Home Educators) on my heart and said, “Do this,” I said, “No way.”

I wanted to go to Comic Con. Well guess what? Comic Con was sold out. Their waiting list never opened. And God didn’t stop saying, “Do this.”

I reluctantly agreed and contacted the president of our Indiana chapter of ACFW, Rick Barry, to reserve a spot. Of course a spot was available. Of course. ;)

And I loved every minute of it.

Guess what? Homeschooling parents aren’t psychos bent on never letting their kids have friends, have fun, or go outside.

Each person I spoke with was intelligent, scrounging through every single piece of material available for the very best to offer their kids. Science, math, art–these people were intense. And overflowing with love.

They genuinely loved their kids and wanted the very best for them. I saw it over and over and over and over again.

And God spoke very clearly to me. He said, “This is why you’re here. Get over it. Get over your hatred of all things homeschooling, of homeschoolers, and be free. I love them. And I love you. I want you to be free.”

I had to sit down.

Really? I mean, really? That’s why God had me there?

I’d been waiting for most of the convention, you see, to find out why on earth God had practically forced me to go to a place I didn’t want to go. There was a reason, and I was going to find it.

I just assumed it was so my book could bless somebody. (Um, pride anyone? Lol.)

Nope, it was so I could get over myself, so I could be released from bondage (it’s just so much working hating something for so long, you know?), so I could see through God’s eyes, even just a little.

He did it for me.

And now I’m crying. Oh, man! Wasn’t expecting that! Haha! (As I blow my nose…)

So I’m raving to go back next year and take as many ACFW Indiana members with me as I can. This convention rocks. I met so many wonderful people I just can’t even get over it. Selling my book was like the cream cheese vanilla icing on the rich fudge chocolate cake.

(And now I need to go raid my pantry…)

And best of all? I met fellow ACFW member April Frazier, and we got to talk editing. (Happy shiver. Day made. Right there.)

Next week? How awesome was the Book Expo America 2016? Well, I’ll tell you. ;)

I love you all, goodnight, and thank you for reading my post!

In Him,


(P.S. I totally apologize if any of my pictures are upside down. Yes, I’m scared of this. Really! Last time I took pics with my iPhone and slapped them on my blog post, they went out into the world … upside down. I kinda wanted to die. Since this post is scheduled–I am in Chicago, you know–I’m awaiting its post with fear and trembling. Please, please, please post the right way–please!!!)

Wisdom & Folly at the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention

Guess what? I’m taking Wisdom & Folly to the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention next weekend! Oh my goodness, I hope they love it!

The IAHE (or Indiana Association of Home Educators) hosts a yearly convention, full of workshops, general sessions, and exhibits galore.

And I get to be one of the exhibitors.

The Indiana chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) of which I am the current treasurer, purchased a booth and invited their members to bring their fiction. Of course I jumped on it!

(I’m so attending the session “Never Give Up: The Critical Importance of Finishing What You’ve Started.” That can apply to so many areas of life!)

I remember being dragged–ahem, I mean, attending–a few homeschool conventions with my mom when I was young. My favorite booths were those that sold books, preferably the fiction kind, as my mom learned everything new and trending in the homeschool world. I didn’t care about any of that other stuff back then. I just wanted to read.

I can’t say my perspective has changed much (Me? Homeschool? No way. I would kill my kids. Kill. Them.) but my passion for fiction remains the same.

(Please let me say many of my friends homeschool, and I admire, respect, and pretty much adore them for being able to do what I cannot. Rock on! So jealous.)

The part of me who remembers that little girl, hungry for a good story, hopes to be able to bless someone at IAHE as I wished a certain vendor (corner both, stuffed full of discount books, didn’t want kids around unless their parents were paying) would have blessed me. A little grace for a lover of stories with grimy hands.

Wow. I feel like that got real fast.

Back to fun and happy!

So anyway, I will be there, selling my book, and signing as many copies as possible!

Will you be there this year? I would love to see you!

In Him,


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