Penned Con Wrap-Up!!!

So over the weekend, I attended my first ever public signing.

Well, that's not entirely true. Once upon a time, I traveled down South and did a signing. But it was nothing like this one.

The first one was a couple hour event. Penned Con was two full days of signing from 8am to 4pm.

Say what????

Oh, yes. It was long.

But awesome.

(More on that word later.)

And I had so much fun!! I saw some of my most favorite people in the world, signed A TON of books! And met all kinds of new friends.

Also. We ate amazing food and enjoyed the city that is St. Louis.

All in all, I'm giving this trip an A+.

If I was my high school science teacher, I would give it an A++. But that's another story for a different day.

Basically, I had an epic time in a fantastic city and hung out with super cool people for days.

And today, I thought I would be exhausted. Not just exhausted, but EXHAUSTED.

I thought I would be bone-tired and so over everything I could cry.

I'm not any of those things! I'm somehow majorly energized and can't wait to get back to work!!! Which is good news because I have a crap-ton of it.


Not to mention laundry to catch up on.

No, seriously. Nobody mention laundry because it makes me want to die STRESSES me out.

I think I'm getting hives.


Whilst this weekend was incredible and spectacular and all things fabulous, there was also this huge learning curve for me.

And by that, I mean, basically not a curve at all. It was more like a 90 degree angle that shot up to skyscraper-tall proportions before taking a sharp right and leveling out.

Translation: I learned a lot.

A lot-a lot.

And in true Top Ten form, I'm going to share all that beautiful knowledge with you in a Penned Con Wrap-Up!!!

1. I have the GREATEST Street Team in the entire world. NOBODY can beat my Street Team. They are seriously the sweetest, funniest, funnest, most gorgeous girls I've ever met. And they are awesome. We had dinner Thursday night and laughed so hard my stomach hurt at the end of the night. They are hilarious!!! And just so generous.

I want to live near them so we can hang out all the time.

Which, theoretically, I know is probably not possible. But I'm playing around with the idea of buying an island and then just moving all my favorite people that live around the globe to that island, which I will dub The Republic of Higginson.

Don't worry. It's going to be amazing.

No taxes.

And no last call.

(Obviously, I have my priorities straight.)

2. Hotels SUCK.

All hotels. Everywhere.

Has anyone ever stayed in a hotel and thought: Wow. That bed was amazing. I never want to leave here.



Those beds are the WORST.

And it's just uncomfortable to be in a space that isn't yours with your crap everywhere.

Maybe that was just me?

But this was actually a nice hotel. It's not like I can really complain about the facilities.

Except for. The sink leaked. And it totally destroyed my makeup case!!!!!

So boo for that. But mainly I hated the bed. And the sleeping. And it was amazing to be home in my own bed last night.

But honestly, I feel like that whenever I stay in a hotel. I can't even make the room service and housekeeping worth it. I prefer my own place and my own space.

Also, on the second morning, I ordered a pot of coffee for the room. Because honestly... I cannot function without coffee.

It was $15.

For a pot of coffee.

WHAT????? Who does that?? Who would make coffee so expensive??? Do they have no heart? No soul? Don't they know I NEED it? I can't function without it??

It's like they hate me.

And they trick you by pricing the coffee at $8.50. Still a lot of money. But a more acceptable price. Then they stab you in the back with all their service charges and delivery fees.

Plus, after we tipped, it was probably like an $18 pot of black coffee.


3. I have the LONGEST name in the world!!!!!!!!!

And it seemed to get longer and longer and longer as the days wore on.

Rachel Higginson.

You  try writing that over and over and over.

Even my table mate, Felicia Tatum, couldn't get over how long my name was!

So. I've decided to change it. I will now be writing under the name R.H.

No, just kidding.

I won't really. What will actually happen, is that I'll just keep complaining about it forever and blaming my husband, since it's really HIS name.


To be fair, on my wedding day, his grandmother warned me about the last name. She said, it never gets shorter. Ever.

I thought it was cute at the time.

Not so much now.


4. I need to get better at my on-the-spot signing. For. Real.

I watch all kinds of authors just whip that stuff out.

They glance at the name tag, scrawl something witty and then get their name on it. Boom. Done.

It's honestly impressive.

I stall with meaningless small talk as I internally panic and try to figure out something cutesy to say!!!

And let me tell you about this internal panic. It's a VERY real thing!!! I'm lucky I didn't break out into sweats or hives!

These people are standing over you, waiting for your signature and all you can think about is the fact that you've just completely forgotten any kind of spelling-ability you've accumulated over the years and you're not even sure if you can remember how to spell your own name!!! Plus, add in the extra pressure of having to spell THEIR name and things go downhill quickly.

I clearly need more practice in signing books.

5. Sitting across from Amy Bartol is the best thing that can ever happen to you.

I love that lady.

She is hilarious. And awesome. And so fun. And if you haven't read her books before. YOU NEED TO. Like, right now.

Her Under Different Stars is cleaning up at these award ceremonies. She won several at Utopia. And now at Penned Con, she won THREE.

I just got my own signed copy of the book this weekend. And I cannot wait to dive in.

If you're looking for a phenomenal YA paranormal book. Go check this one out!!! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol

6. Everything is Awesome.

Everything IS awesome.

Or at least now it is.

So, at these things, you do a lot of small talk. Or introduction talk. I mean, I met so many people it was kind of crazy.

And a lot of them like your books so they talk about that, but then a lot more of them don't even know who you are, so you have to sell them your books.

I felt a little bit like I was at a craft fair pedaling my wares.

Anyway. I realized yesterday that "awesome" had not only infiltrated my vocabulary, but set up a permanent dictatorial regime.

I am apparently a walking-talking version of the Lego Movie because I keep using awesome as my go-to descriptor.

Did you have an awesome time? This book is so awesome. That sounds awesome! I hope the kids were just awesome for my mom. Could this weekend be any more awesome? Oh, my gosh, those shoes are AWESOME!!

It's so obnoxious.

And every time I say it, I get this stupid high school cheer-leading chant stuck in my head.

I wasn't even a cheerleader!!!!

A-W-E   S-O-M-E. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome are we!!



So, I apologize if you've heard me use awesome in the last five days. Ignore it. Ignore it forever.

I'm going on a strict detox starting right now. I'm going to eradicate the over-usage of that dumb word ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!!

7. No work gets done at these things.

Not an ounce of it.

First, there is no time. You have to be there in the morning at 8. And you have to look good somehow.

Don't they know, I can't put my face on until noon??? I'm just not that coordinated so early in the morning! My fingers and appendages seriously don't even work.

And then you're there until 4. Then there are dinner plans to make and amazing people to hang out with and booze to drink.

There is no time to write words or think of other stories.

No. Time.

And if, per chance, you do find a few solitary moments of down time, trust me when I say, there is NO writing happening.

In fact, you can't write. Your brain has been pushed to its limits for hours upon hours. You have a talking/thinking/comprehending threshold and you've managed to push beyond it into unknown territory where you'll probably be devoured by wild, rabid wolves.

No, when you have downtime you find yourself sitting still and just staring. Staring at nothing. Thinking of nothing. Saying nothing.

There is just nothing left of you.

You need to plug in to something and recharge.

And that is a fact. Because in 20 minutes you're going to meet up for dinner and you're going to need to able to speak again. And speak loudly. And laugh until your eyes water and your cheeks hurts.

8. If you tip a bartender $20 at the beginning of a meal... she will be your best friend forever.

Okay, we learned this one on accident.... but it's so true! That bartender had NEVER given better service. And by that, I mean, she gave us whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it.

She was awesome.

And if you happen to be in St. Louis, you REALLY need to eat at a place called The Shaved Duck.

It was an amazing meal with delicious drinks. Actually, probably the best meal we ate all trip.

So yum.

And you don't really need to accidentally tip $20. I think they will be awesome no matter what.

9. This next one is huge.

I mean... epic.


Are you ready for it???

I'm not sure if you are...

I'm not sure if I'm ready for it.

Ok. Here we go.


I'm getting better with hugging strangers.


You know, I've had this massive fear of it for years. I don't mind hugging family by any means. And my children are showered with affection. But honestly, the idea of hugging complete strangers makes me break out in hives stresses me out!!!!!

For real.

I've never been a very touchy-feely person. At least not until I got married and had kids. And even then, I've really restricted myself to those five people.

But that doesn't mean I never get hugged.

Oh. No.

People. As in other people. As in all kinds of other people. Yeah. They'll hug you no matter how you feel about it.

In fact, I think huggers are really rather aggressive about it! They just attack you. They wrap their arms around you. They shove your face in their hair. They hold you to them. And they Do. Not. Let. Go.

What is up with that???

What if I haven't showered??? What if my breath is rank? What if I have some weird skin disease that is highly contagious??? And you didn't even ask! You just grabbed me and forced your hug on me!!!

And worse.

What if those things are true about YOU????

I had a bartender hug me once.

He just walked right up to me and hugged me without warning.

I'll never be the same .

In my real life, this isn't a problem. Everyone knows I have an issue with it. And either they don't care- which I usually know they don't care and can expect it. Or, they do care and don't hug me.

None of these authors know that about me.

And let's be honest, I feel douchey enough so that I'm never like, Um, yeah, I don't hug.

Well... it's breaking me down converting me apparently. I didn't panic once all weekend. I sat through all the hugs. And I didn't hate them.

So boom!

Even the awkward ones. The ones that I wanted to stop for THEIR benefit. Not just mine.

I'm calling this, Hug Immersion Therapy.

You hug someone enough and they become desensitized accepting of it.

It's working, authors of the world. It's working.

Just don't expect me to initiate a hug in the near future. Or ever.

10. I need to go to more of these.

Like ASAP.

Well, not ASAP exactly.

But soon. And often. And everywhere.

I just LOVED it. And I loved getting to meet so many great people face-to-face. People I talk to all the time on the internet and just haven't run into in real life before. And new readers that I had no idea read my books!

Also, convincing other people to read my books!!

That was fantastic.

And other authors. And Mark Coker. <---- biggest="" celebrity="" e="" fan="" founded="" he="" major="" me.="" moment.="" my="" p="" smashwords.="" that="" the="" there="" to="" was="">
I loved it. And Amy and Rick Miles (of Redcoat PR) were so awesome! The entire event just flowed smoothly and I was so very impressed.

Great job Amy and Rick!!

I will definitely be making myself more available at signings. I'm a signing convert. You've converted me.

And now maybe I can convert you!!!

Next time, we'll go together!


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