PennedCon 2019 ~ by Marj Ivancic

It is the end of summer. The sun is lower in the sky. The flowers are
fading, the leaves falling. Were it any other year, my heart would sit heavy in my chest and a bit of anxiety would take up residence in my belly, a seasonal tourist since childhood.

But not this year.

In a matter of days, I will be hopping into a car with two of my favorite people (authors Andi Lawrencovna and Darlene Kuncytes) to make the long trip to St. Louis, Missouri, where we will partake in the legendary author/reader event known as Penned Con.

When I applied and was accepted as an attending author, I was excited, but the event at that time was over a year away. It had no shape or form in my brain. It was a merely date on a calendar.

But fast-forward to the June/July time frame…

The Facebook Reader group seems to catch fire. Authors and readers alike are posting and engaging. There is laughter and silliness (the event is 80’s themed after all!) There are questions and helpful answers. A community is born.

Outside of Facebook, the authors prepare. New friendships and
Photo: Magati
mentorships arise. We order extra books, try our hands at crafting giveaways, and discuss what should (or shouldn’t) be packed. Even allow ourselves to get talked into lip-sync contests that we would never, ever normally agree to.

Watching the magic some authors work—their swag, their brand, their presence—I’ve run the gambit of emotions: stressed (Will I look like the newbie I am?); overwhelmed (I have nowhere near that level of professionalism!); excited (Who cares? This is going to be so much fun!); blessed (Everyone has been so friendly and helpful!)

I’m holding on to the “You be you” mantra rather like a castaway adrift in an endless sea, clinging to a wilting floaty. But still, it has carried me this far and I know it will get me through to the end. That, and great, supportive friends, like Andi and Darlene. In the end, the event will be what I/we make it, and I know we will make it one to remember. One that will cause much reminiscing that starts with, “Remember that time, at Penned?
” And with any luck and continued blessing, we will be able to attend next year’s event as well.


  1. Love you to the moon and back! We will have a blast!

  2. Sounds like a great event. Hard to beat being surrounded by other authors.



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