The Social Butterfly at Storymakers

You be the Unicorn, I’ll be the Butterfly.

Recapping Storymakers is like trying to nail jello to a wall.  Expressing how I feel? Even harder. Remembering what I learned? Tricky. Making friends/reuniting with friends/meeting online personalities for the first time? Priceless.

It might be another year before I see some of these friends, and that’s if we BOTH attend the conference next year. It might be another year before I have the chance to meet an agent/publisher face to face. It might be another year before I get a mini-vacay from my kids and sweetheart to geek out over all things writerly.

Likewise, I can’t believe I was such an emotional wreck over this–everyone’s so nice. Did I smell like B.O. the whole time? *sniffs armpits* Why was I so worried about everyone pitching in to cover the hotel cost? Why did I lose sleep over pitching my story to an agent? It was actually really fun! *that might just be me, though*

Then there’s the random feelings of: I met so-and-so and they were exactly like their online personality. Who knew? ▬ Gosh, my PubPrimer mentor was actually nice, and not a soul-devouring harpie.  ▬ The food was fine, and I didn’t get gas. Sheesh. ▬ My kids have texted me every four hours–guess they really are fine without me.  ▬ I got my pages back from the first contest and I wasn’t a complete loser. (In my defense, I DID number my pages, and I can see them just fine on my document, but for some reason, they didn’t show up on the contest submission. WEIRD.)

I’ve been to enough conferences to know now that there is definitely such a thing as ConferenceHangover and for me, it lasts almost a week. I need help recovering, but when I think about what I need to snap back to reality, I’m cool with just some advil and Dr. P.

Sitting here at home, my eyes ache. My back hurts. I have this insatiable need to write, but my brain is mush. I can’t remember anything I learned, and now, I’m thinking it’s because I was a horrible student. I didn’t take notes this year. AT ALL. What is my deal? I can tell you. I was constantly thinking about my dinner and pitch session and try all my might, I just couldn’t focus. BUT! Maybe I didn’t learn as much as because I’m starting to get the hang of this writing gig, not because I didn’t take notes. No. That’s egotistical–what am I thinking?  I need to rewrite my whole MS. Everything I wrote–I did it wrong. Did I show enough romantic tension? Did I use punchy verbs? Do I have a solid pitch? Do I really understand what means to publish traditionally? Where’s the bathroom–oh wait–I live here. I know where it’s at. I sure miss the escalator all of a sudden. *drives to mall to ride it up and down* and *it’s not the same.* How come I can’t bring myself to unpack? What do I do with all these beautiful business cards? My facebook feed is sucking the life out of my phone and I HAVE. TO. CHECK. IT. Did I just get tagged again? Oh! Yay! I did!  That shot of me is fabulous/awful/a little to close up/what am I doing in that photo? How long do I have– before the agents forget me– to send off those pages that they asked for? She did ask for them, right? I’m not making that up, am I? Maybe I can read through my MS onemoretime just to make sure. *collapses*

Like I said, MushyBrain. It’s a real thing.

No amount of sugar/chocolate/caffeine is going to get me through this.

I’m letting all the cool kids blog the awesomeness that was #storymakers15 for me and I’m going to take the well traveled road and just post photos. BUT IF YOU WANT REAL BLOG POSTS, visit the following: Destiny Hampton’s blog, Shannen Crane’s blog, and this blog post by Rachel Wagner. I’m sure more people will blog about it. If they do, I’ll try to link.

Now, please, let me SHOW and TELL you all about my experience at #storymakers15 and not have you judge me as a writer. (Ps. It really helps if you’re gong to tweet about the conference, to use the right tag! Bryce Evans, I’m looking at you!)

The following photos and captions are in no particular order, because I’m to tired to do that for you. See if you can spot the butterfly.

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Isn’t this gorgeousness to the max? I asked to have my name badge read SeriouslyGina and it was one of the best decisions I made. When new friends met me, they looked at my tag and asked, “Is your name seriously gina?” To which, I always replied, “Seriously, right?” or something more clever. These little business cards were the highlights of my actual writing journey. I’m excited to send pages out and will always be jade green that Jeigh had the best promo of any author there, IMO.

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Um, that is FOUR A.M. people. The time in which we retired because we just couldn’t stop laughing and talking. I’m so not 22 anymore, and my goodness, I was dead in the morning. But it was worth it. Every minute.

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Somewhere around 2 am, Bryce and I were slap happy…..

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And Charlie and Serene were dozing off–while sitting upright. These photos are proof of who is the toughest when it comes to sacrificing sleep for the craft.

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There’s nothing like dinner out after hours and hours of being in class. Super nice of Danny to shrink me, too. His psyche skillz were a force to be reckoned with!

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Sitting across from us–these three made excellent company–as did the rest of the crowd that came with us. Why I didn’t take a shot of everyone, I don’t know. But it was awesome to have Wendy Swore, Nichole Giles, Serene, Michelle, James, and others with us.

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Daniel was the only one of us going to the Gala, and man, doesn’t he look sharp? Gunfinger wink is a thing for us. Don’t ask. We’re weird.

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Nothing like having a celeb hug you after taking a selfie. (He seriously hugged me like I was his bestie.) Brandon’s so great, and isn’t his chin dimple to die for? I had to bust out my phone’s email and show him how overdue Fablehaven #2 was–just because I’d love it if someone had my book from the library and it was overdue. In case you honestly don’t know who this is, and want to, here’s Brandon Mull’s website.

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At the book signing, I failed to take a million photos–which is totally my bad, but Mercedes and Rebecca both hold a special place in my heart.

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I love Tiffany so much. There just aren’t words. LOVE LUV LURVE her.

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Because this is me were talking about…are you surprised at all to find that I was trying to play matchmaker? I didn’t think so.

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Shameless selfie to show off the fabulous earrings the amazing Erin game me. Click her name for her pretty blog. Can’t wait to see what she does next. She has no idea how cheerful she made me, and that I honestly think she cast a superpower spell over them.

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That time when you sit at a table at lunch and the stranger next to you is worth his weight in jumping jelly beans and caffeinated unicorns. THIS IS DEFINITELY MY TRIBE.

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The lovely and uber talented Suzie Townsend talking about what to expect from an agent. *Not enough time to write it all out in this post–but trust me, she’s amazeballs.* That experience deserves its own blog post, and I hope to get to it, asap.

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That moment when you finally have two seconds to snap a selfie with a facebook friend you’ve been stalking for over six months. Yes, Erin. You know you’ve been watching me like crazy. Fess up.

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Late night hangout in the hotel–when you realize this isn’t BYU and the boys are allowed to sit on the couch and talk shop. Seriously, we geek out over verbs and book covers.

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That moment when you meet an author who’s writing influenced and inspires you–and she calls you by name without looking at your name badge. I ♥ DonnaHatch.

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Or the two runners in the bunch geek out over how to tie their shoes, and then demonstrate.

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Making new friends isn’t something I struggle with. Especially when they’re willing to listen to me go on and on about random stuff, which is code for kissing stories. I love new friends. And I figure my endless banter is potential research for them–character development! I’m doing them a favor, people.

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Oh! When you fall in love with a completely new face, sing a ballad to her, and then Shelly Brown tries to suck the life out of you with her mad powers.

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Catching a quick head shot with the keynote speaker–Martine Leavitt– who did in fact inspire me to keep writing, with thoughts like, “Your kids won’t become ax murderers because you write.” And I’ll never forget how she asked me quite somberly if my name really was “seriouslygina” like my mother was the worst, or high. Hahah.

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That moment when you’re asked to snap a photo of an author who is repped by the fabulous Suzie T and you’re a little more than ravenous as you do so. JUST KIDDING! I’m so happy for Caryn. Okay, maybe a little jealous, too. But in truth, I’m so happy to have her as a new friend! *Thanks Caryn for reaching out to me first via Twitter!*

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Remember that post about winning the BFFD contest? If not, you can click on the word BFFD and read about it. Anyway, here it is in fruition. I don’t want to come off as creepy, but for a “first date”–I was in LOVE right away. Didn’t even break a sweat, because Suzie is that easy to talk to and fun to be around. I swear, we just clicked. And having Serene with me was icing on a devil’s food cupcake. (And I have reason to think it wasn’t just one sided.)  Ahhhhh….. Yes, I’m sighing! If NY and Idaho Falls weren’t miles apart, I’d take this girl out for a cup of coffee every Saturday morning.

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So glad the conference people thought to number the table this year! with 700ish guest, it sure made coordinating meals easier! And extra cool when you get to sit at a table with this tag.

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More authors to fall in love with! Jessica, Natalee, and Rachel–I’d adopt you in a heartbeat and build a bedroom on to my house just for you if you wanted me to. COME SEE ME! ANYTIME!

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Bwahaha! If only you know how much this photo made me laugh on the inside. My girlfriends–Crystal and Shannen–may or may not have been pining over the awesomeness that is Agent Mark Gottlieb. {If you write, you should totally follow him and Trident Liteary.} Too afraid to ask for his photo, they turned to me. Little did they know what they were going to get when handing a job like that over! “Hey, Mark, can we get a selfie with you in it? Great! Hey, you two fangirls, come over here and get in the photo, you big chickens! It’s not like he’s going to eat you alive…” I’ve since been demoted and can’t be the on Crystal and Shannen’s Staker Surveillance team anymore.As to the teenager photobombing us, I have no clue who she is, but at least she’s happy about jumping into the shot.

Never assigning you stalker surveillance again!)

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Oooooh, Serene! I’m so glad you’ve stayed on the crazy train that is writing with me. Not that I’ve given you much choice over the matter. I can’t wait for you to succeed!

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MY OTHER FAMILY! Charlie, Daniel, James, Serene, Rebecca, Jeigh, me, Lauri, and Michelle. I seriously love our little family, and while we desperately missed Sheree, and adopted Rachel and Bryce over the weekend, and didn’t see nearly enough of Jeigh and Rebecca, I look forward to any chance we get to hold a reunion. Youre fabulous storytellers in real life and on paper. Your wit and banter slay me. Your love and support sustain me. You’re not only my tribe, your my writing life blood and I’ll forever be grateful I created Team Gina in the first place. I’m so glad it’s morphed into something more.

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Caryn! So excited to be your real life friend and not just a twitface who’s constantly messaging you at 140 characters at a time.

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Another one of those elevator moments when a BIGTIME author knows you by name–without your badge. Which, btw, where is mine? Josi Kilpack is where it’s at when it comes to helping young authors blossom and grow. I’ll love her forever.

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OMH! I’ll never eat chocolate the same. We were instructed at our chocolate tasting party to 1. snap the chocolate in half, 2. rub it and smell it, 3. place it on our tongue and press it against the roof of our mouths and let it melt for 15 seconds, and finally, 4. move it around so every inch of our mouth discovered the taste. *ABOUT DIED* #boybrainwentbizerk

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I have no idea who this lady with Rebecca is.

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So glad I’m not the only freak at the party. Jennie’s the only sane one in this photo. Tyler Jolley lives up to his name. I hope his kids do, too. You’d never guess this, but he’s a donut affectionado and an orthodontist on top of an author. Just saying.

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The beauty of pre-chocolate instructions.

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I bought dinner for the gang, and then everyone proceeded to give me money. It wasn’t such a bad deal. And when it came to picture time, everyone had to be weird.

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Elevator selfie.

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The talented and super sweet Wendy Swore. She was such a fun pubprimermate that I could’ve taken her home with me. And I almost did–she lives in Pocatello!

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Muahhahah! There’s nothing like watching your crit group make faces. If you only go to conference for the feedback on your pages, trust me, you’ll benefit from it. I always do. {Secretly, I want to be able to be a mentor for this someday.}

Jenny

LADY IN RED! ♪♪♪ While Jenny isn’t dancing with me, (And if you don’t know that song, I’m not sure we can be friends) she’s going to be the lead next year. We’ll follow every dance step she makes from here until next May. I’m positive Storymakers will blossom even more with her Southern touch, and I know she’s going to rock at being Queen Bee! {Her sister is lovely, too, don’t you think?}

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And then there’s this photo, taken while driving to conference. We’ll, I’m at a stop light or something, but this shot still will make me smile forever. Focused on the traffic, I missed out on something witty and wild that they were saying. I think. Guys! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

So, now what? What did I learn? What will I remember? What should you know if you’re considering going? When’s the next one?

The answers, my friend, are available, but my sponsors felt it would be best if I didn’t take time to answer them, and focused more on the fact that I spent the entire duration of Step Up making treat bags for the conference instead.

Make sure you prepare yourself in advance if you decide to do something crazy like this. Just sayin'.

Make sure you prepare yourself in advance if you decide to do something crazy like this. Just sayin’.

Personalized Computer

Order custom vinyl that makes you happy and sets your laptop apart from the other 699 laptops at Conference, and then don’t take it to class at all… because you forget it in your hotel room.

Make sure you spend an entire day perfecting your business card before you print out 100 of them. It's a very good way to avoid editing those pages you have to have done for your Publication Primer group.

Also,make sure you spend an entire day perfecting your business card before you print out 100 of them. It’s a very good way to avoid editing those pages you have to have done for your Publication Primer group. Taking lots of time to prep for conference is an absolute must.

 Now, If you have to know all those special details that I haven’t covered, like when can you attend a conference this awesome, just get your fanny on over to the OFFICIAL webpage or Facebook page and look up the deets. If you need help from there, good luck. I don’t know a single author who’d be willing to expound. *just kidding*

Ohhhmahhhheck! It’s 1:38 am.

People, I’ve got to stop loosing sleep over this conference. Someone intervene on my family’s behalf. They so do not need a zombie CEO running things like sack lunches and laundry. Because, I fear I’ll do something like this:

Seriously, I’m laughing so hard, and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m so tired or if the gif is just that good. Really, just watch the mom’s face. *SoFunny* *SoMean*

Did you find the butterfly?

So there you have it. My take on the most anticipated conference of my year. If you leave a comment, I’ll know you’re a lover of unicorns and butterflies. And that’s a good thing to know about someone.

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3 thoughts on “The Social Butterfly at Storymakers

  1. Seriously. A person of my importance should have been photoshopped into a photo. FOR REAL. Loved your recap. And your energy and all your fun friends. Bring on next year!

    Like

  2. What a fun, vibrant writeup of the conference!! I ADORED all those pictures because it felt like I got to relive the entire weekend again, even if just for a few minutes. And I absolutely know what you mean about it taking at least a week to recover post-conference. I still feel like a zombie. Oh, and Erin Shakespear and I missed each other throughout the first day and most of the second! We finally found each other when we messaged on Instagram to say what we were wearing. (Which was when I discovered approximately 56% of the women at the conference were wearing orange cardigans on Saturday. Who knew????)

    Liked by 1 person

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