Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Penned Con 2015 Changed My Life

Me, L.P. Dover, AnnaLisa Grant, Casey Peeler, Kristie Cook

Remember Stellaluna? The children's story about the fruit bat raised by a family of birds? To the birds, Stellaluna was different. Stellaluna loved her bird friends, and they loved her. But Stellaluna wasn't like them. And though her family may have wanted to, they just didn't quite get her.

Penned Con 2015 changed me forever and ever amen.

I'm just gonna warn you now that I am in a sentimental mood, and even on my best of days, it would be accurate to call me melodramatic. But I had to put my thoughts down on what my trip to the author/reader conference I attended in St. Louis over the weekend meant to me.

Just have to say that this guy made Penned Con for me. What we shared there was amazing. #soulmate

Before Penned Con 2015, I was an aspiring author trying to make a career out of doing the very thing that feeds my soul--telling stories. I poured my heart into Ryan's story in Ryan Revisited and have been trying to promote it in a sea of titles for sale on the web. I had already surrounded myself with fabulous people in my editor, publicist, agent... Fortunate!

But after this conference, I... let me try to describe this feeling that swells inside me and brings tears to my eyes...

After this conference, I have been found.


I wasn't lost because I believe my life is held securely in the hands of God. But I was found.

Found in the sense that there are a group of people that understand my aspirations to do this every day of my life. They've shared my dreams to change my family's life using the talents I've been given. They feel my struggles to carve out the time to devote to my craft. They all have my insecurities that it may not happen and that the sacrifices my family has made for me won't pay off. They get my needs to breathe life into the stories and characters in my head. And they've taken my risks that Justin and I have taken to fund these choices because we believe they are purposed. That I am purposed.

Found by a group of amazing people that loved me and welcomed me and encouraged me and cheered for me and helped me get on the road to accomplishing these dreams. Found by friends.

Found by a community I believe I was meant to be a part of.

Found by couples that will be lifelong friends that just "get" us and what we experience during our days.

I didn't go to Penned Con 2015 and sell a boat load of books and learn the secret to making money as an author. But I did go to Penned and find exactly what I was supposed to find all along... the inspiration to keep going and the friendships that are going to help me get closer.

I did go to Penned and find exactly what I was supposed to find all along...

I love the people in these photos!

And I'm so thankful I was found.

Here I go like a scared little bat being pushed out of the nest at night with the other bats for the first time.


As a fan, I wanted to buy books from my favorite authors, but instead,
they rocked my socks off and said they wanted to BOOK SWAP WITH ME!!
*life made*
A long-time favorite of mine, Rachel Higginson, & me swapping books. What??

The Amazing Amy Bartol & me as we swapped books.

I loved meeting so many awesome readers and bloggers!

Pardy Hardy at the Red Coat PR Party hosted by my publicity company!
My girls right here! L.P. Dover, AnnaLisa Grant, & Me <3

L.P Dover, MB Witkop Photobomb of the Year, Casey Peeler, & Me

Justin found his tribe just like I did! Justin, Rick Miles, & Matt Dover

I have the best PR company in Red Coat PR!
Me, Justin (my soulmate hubs) & the Kingpenned Rick Miles- best publicist ever! Even better friend!!
He believed in me when no one knew who Sam Davis was!

Me & the awesomely sweet, Kris Pittman (She still owes me a makeover!)

Me & the amazingly cool, MB Witkop (I have a gift of never looking at phone cameras. Try and ignore it.)

I can't even with these next pictures without tearing up.
Friendships with people that love, accept, and understand you. Yeah.
The Davises and the Dovers! I think we shared all of our meals with these guys. We laughed and shared and ate. A lot of all three! This was at The Fountain on Locust. We just happened upon it when another place didn't work out. Dill Pickle Soup, Ice Cream Martinis, Freshly Made Croissants, and Ice Cream Desserts. Delish! And the company even sweeter!
Closing down the bar after the Masquerade party.
Dovers, Davises, & Grants (The Grants are sadly missing in this photo because they took the pic. In fact, we put the youngins [the Dovers] to bed with a sad goodbye and then proceeded to cement our Davis/Grant bond with being kicked out of the bar at 2am and then retreating to continue our talks in the hallway until it was just weird to still be chatting by the elevator doors when all the stumbling nightowls kept coming through.)
The awesome part was that Justin felt just as at home meeting great guys like Matt Dover, Donavan Grant, & Rick Miles because they just all "get it." Community I tell you!

I am so blessed to be a part of some pretty amazing groups of authors!
Red Coat PR Authors with our awesome publicist, The One & Only RICK MILES
Kris Pittman, Eric Asher, Denise Grover Swank, A.M. Hargrove, Eva Pohler, Dale Wiley, Michelle Files, Me (Sam Davis), L.P. Dover
MB Witkop, Michele Miller, Amy Hale, Mary Ting, Kristina Circelli, AnnaLisa Grant, Kristie Cook, Beth Isaacs, Casey Peeler, Amy Miles
Christine Brae & Rick Miles
GH Literary Authors. Authors represented by Italia Gandolfo with Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management
Eric Asher
LK Griffie, Michele Miller, Beth Isaacs, Italia Gandolfo, Kristina Circelli, Mary Ting, Tish Thawer, AnnaLisa Grant, Me (Sam Davis)
Christine Brae, Danielle Bannister, Mindy Ruiz, Kristie Cook, Amy Miles

So amazing to get to meet my agent, Italia Gandolfo, in person!
I just love this brilliant, funny, sweet lady!
My agent, Italia Gandolfo, & Me

The Masquerade Ball and Awards
Me & My Penned Con Buddy, Leslie Dover <3
The Hilariously Fun LK Griffie & Me (Looking fabulous, LK!)
My awesome friend, AnnaLisa Grant, and the coolest HP fan around, Eric Asher. 
Penned Con 2015 Romance Author of the Year!

The photo booth was so fun!
Davises and Dovers doin' it up right

Lotsa Cool Cats: Casey Peeler, Leslie Dover, Me, Michele Miller
Kristie Cook, Amy Miles, AnnaLisa Grant

The Fellas! Donavan Grant, Justin Davis (hubs), Matt Dover, Shawn Cook, Rick Miles

The hubbies bonded over living with authors. Really mostly beer. They bonded over beer.

It truly was the experience of a lifetime. So far. Can't wait for the next great thing God has in store!

Remember Stellaluna? Remember when the mama bat found her when she was living with the birds?

"You are Stellaluna. You are my baby. Come with me and I'll show you where to find the most delicious fruit. You'll never have to eat another bug as long as you live."
"But it's nighttime"
"We're bats. We can see in the darkness. Come with us."
Stellaluna was afraid but she let go and dropped into the deep blue sky. She was able to see everything in her path.
"I'll never eat another bug as long as I live."

In other words, Stellaluna was found by her kind, and she was never the same again. 
She was herself.

Proper good cry happening as I look at these faces. Leslie, me & AnnaLisa <3


And now?
Not the same.
More myself.


  1. Wow, what a great post! Now I'm excited and want to go!

  2. Thank you, Derinda! You should absolutely try to go to Penned Con 2016! You will love it! :)

  3. You made me cry! Such an awesome recap. I can't wait to see where your new found soul takes you! {{HUGS}}

  4. MIndy! Thank you for your words! <3 <3

  5. I am so glad you have found your place! I am looking forward to watching you grow and blossom as an author <3 You are amazing, never lose sight of that!

  6. Danielle, thank you for cheering me on since the beginning! Meeting you was one of the highlights of my trip. I cherish this sweet message (and all of your encouraging messages ;)). Thank you!! <3

  7. Sounds so exciting. I am going for the first time next year. My heart is already pounding out of my chest with anticipation. Hope to see you there.

  8. Hi, Kasi! Oh, I know the feeling! I can't wait for next year. I'm so glad you're going--you will never forget it. I look forward to meeting you! :)



Connect With Me


follow the leader