Two Introverts Walk Into a Conference

I am an introvert and creature of habit. Everything in my home has purpose and a place to go, a structured schedule gives me life, and I’m in my element when alone.

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

Audrey Hepburn – source

Let’s face it. The title of this blog post sounds like the opening of a pretty bad joke. However, that’s really what my mother and I are like among a crowd of people. I get my introversion from her. You wouldn’t believe it if you knew everything we’re involved in. Volunteering, working in retail, and coordinating projects are just a few examples. I’d call us “high functioning introverts.”

Two weeks ago mom mentioned she had to go to Delaware through a non-profit we both volunteer with and I went as her travel buddy. “I’ve never been to Delaware,” I said. “Let’s go!” The event was the Christian Product Expo, and my mom helps out with ordering and making connections for the non-profit.

Ironic, right?

I mainly wanted to go to interact with the publishers – Harper Collins, Barbour Publishing and DaySpring, just to name a few – and see what books they showcase at this kind of event. However, as soon as we stepped into that conference hall both our hearts dropped.

There were so. Many. People.

Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, but with five rows of vendors and publishers, we knew we needed to regroup and make a game plan for the day.

“I think a lot, but I don’t say much.”

Anne Frank – source

Mom and I manage to get through two rows before we’re mentally exhausted. Cue information overload. I can’t imagine traveling around with any conference or expo for a living. So we took a break and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the lobby. She went over booklets, contacts and the like while I worked on this blog post.

I must say that I’m proud of myself for gathering the courage to talk with the reps from the publishers that really interested me. I got just three business cards, but I discovered who carries the books of one of my favorite authors of fairy tale retellings – Melanie Dickerson! That made it easier to connect over books and hopefully opened the door for future contact. I’m getting ahead of myself here….

The Lessons Learned

Neither my mom nor I knew what to expect going into an event like this. That’s what daunted us the most about the experience. Here’s what I learned.

  1. Do Your Research – find out what publishers are looking for, who they represent, and read those books before going to an event. It’ll help conversation flow and show them you know the market. This is something I need to start working on!
  2. You Are Not Alone – you’re wrong if you think you’re the only introvert walking into that expo or conference. Don’t sell yourself short either – you’ve got props for just showing up! Yes, there are folks who’ve done things like this far longer, but most are extremely helpful.

Two introverts walked into a conference and came out feeling a bit more confident in themselves. “We did it!” Mom and I both said. We didn’t cover all the booths, but it was, overall, a really good learning experience. I don’t know if we’ll attend again in the future, but now I know at least some of the etiquette that comes along with it. Don’t pressure yourselves into thinking you must do it all and meet all the people.

Just let you shine through.


Five More Books On My Reading Wish List (That I Just Bought)

Every writer, reader, agent, editor and publicist has a list of books they want to read. Some sit in an Amazon cart, others take to the library and still more are found in indie bookstores. No matter where you do your book shopping, you know what you’re looking for. Okay, maybe not necessarily always, but you have at least an idea of what you want your next read to be. And sometimes you’re utterly surprised by what you pick up.

I titled this post “Five MORE…” because I have a #histfic version that I put up earlier this month. And I see none of you offered to buy them for me (gasp!) Naw, I’m kidding. Really. 🙂 I’m full of lame jokes, what can I say? This post is dedicated to five more books on my reading wish list, no matter the genre. So it’s going to be a bit all over the place.

Come to think of it, my birthday IS this week. I may just have to treat myself…

…and I now have to amend the title for this post because I just bought all five of these books…

If I’m being completely honest here, this cover stared me in the face for a good day before I added it to my list. I mean, look how gorgeous that is! I can only hope, if I’m ever lucky enough to be published, that mine comes even close to it. But it was the post-apocalyptic premise that drew me in, and one day I’ll consume the story.

Synopsis (from Amazon): It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet.

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

If my previous post’s theme was the color purple, this one seems to be all about the stars. I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers but I can’t help it! Both this and THESE BROKEN STARS deviate from my normal realm of reads, but it’s good to change things up from time to time. And FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS promises to be a great adventure.

Synopsis (from Amazon): Fans of Divergent will love Diana Peterfreund’s take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in a post-apocalyptic world.
 
In the dystopian future of For Darkness Shows the Stars, a genetic experiment has devastated humanity. In the aftermath, a new class system placed anti-technology Luddites in absolute power over vast estates—and any survivors living there.
 
Elliot North is a dutiful Luddite and a dutiful daughter who runs her father’s estate. When the boy she loved, Kai, a servant, asked her to run away with him four years ago, she refused, although it broke her heart.
 
Now Kai is back. And while Elliot longs for a second chance with her first love, she knows it could mean betraying everything she’s been raised to believe is right.
 
For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking YA romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

We’re jumping from stars to ballrooms with THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY, but I’ve been wanting to read more Regency era stories for a while now. Not only that, but I’ve already read her IN A TREACHEROUS COURT series and fell in love with them. While Romance as a whole isn’t generally what I read, I thoroughly enjoy her writing. And I’m all about conspiracies!

Synopsis (from Amazon): Chance led to Charlotte Raven’s transformation from chimney sweep to wealthy, educated noblewoman, but she still walks a delicate tightrope between two worlds, unable to turn her back on the ruthless crime lord who was once her childhood protector.

When Lord Edward Durnham is tapped to solve the mystery of England’s rapidly disappearing gold, his search leads him to the stews of London, and Charlotte becomes his intriguing guide to the city’s dark, forbidding underworld. But as her involvement brings Charlotte to the attention of men who have no qualms about who they hurt, and as Edward forges a grudging alliance with the dangerous ghosts of Charlotte’s former life, she faces a choice: to continue living in limbo, or to close the door on the past and risk her heart and her happiness on an unpredictable future.

And I’m back to the conspiracy side of things with FOUR DEAD QUEENS by Astrid Scholte. It only seemed fitting to have this book be in the, ahem, fourth spot. I wonder how the POV’s going to turn out with this one. Is any of it told from any of the queens, is it through just the MC or both the MCs? I guess I’ll just have to find out the old fashioned way – by actually reading it!

Web search -> add to cart -> checkout -> wait for hardcover!

Synopsis (from Amazon): Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

From post-apocalyptic happenstances to Regency and the Renaissance, we’re jumping all throughout time with this blog post. In another divergence from hist fic, I may have to purchase the hardcover of this one instead of going for the Kindle form. The cover is that gorgeous. When I first began my own writing journey I didn’t realize how small my pool of books really is, so many of these authors are brand new to me. I’m looking forward to trying Ms. Ross’ story out!

Synopsis (from Amazon): Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the throne.

There you have it. Lots of blue, starry covers and lots of queens. Fairy tale retellings will always be my first love, but maybe now the princesses will get to grow up. Except in FOUR DEAD QUEENS. Because, well, we know (?) they’re dead!

Happy reading, writing community!


Book Review | Christmas by the Lighthouse

In this new realm of reviewing books, I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not going to love every book I read, be it from the library, a second hand book store, ARCs for review from NetGalley, or directly from the authors themselves.

I received CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE as an ARC from NetGalley. This did not affect my review.

*Future Leigh here: this review was particularly difficult to write.

With CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE by Rebecca Boxall, I didn’t fully dislike it, as it does highlight classic struggles of human nature. There are just a few things I’d like to touch upon before I go about deciding if I should recommend this book or not.

Settings
Setting description is one of Ms. Boxall’s strengths. The main settings described in CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE are gorgeous – the lighthouse, the cottages and locations around Jersey. Being from England herself, I wonder if it’s a place she knows. As much as I want to visit places like this I hate being close to open water. So I live vicariously through books.

Characters
Although the story centered around Summer and Jude, they felt just as two-dimensional as the rather large supporting cast. They say that every person you meet influences your life in some way or another. Jude certainly went on a journey (all I can say without giving away any spoilers), and there is a twist at the end.

Overall Flow
Things pick up in the second half of the tale. While there’s some fabulous scenes centered around connections characters have with World War Two, the slow pace of the first part nearly made me put down the book.

I couldn’t get behind with how nonchalant many of the supporting characters were of Summer’s marital status and her growing interest in Jude. I get that this is a work of fiction, but it bothered me that Summer’s husband kept “apologizing” as well. For these reasons, and the slow pace, I’ve given CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE three out of five stars.

STRENGTHS: Conversation and Description,.

RATING: THREE out of FIVE stars

Christmas by the Lighthouse releases in Sept. 2019

Here’s just a bit of the journal page I made so I could easily take down my thoughts for this review. It’s a hobby I’ve always enjoyed doing and I wanted to start sharing images of what I create with the posts. I hope you enjoy!