Kelsie Stelting and Jillian Dodd

Love, Literature, and Vegas Lights: My Author Conference Experience

I'm excited to share a little piece of my recent adventure in Las Vegas, where I had the incredible opportunity to attend an author conference and sit on the young adult panel as an expert! It was a whirlwind of emotions, inspiration, and the kind of sparkle that only Las Vegas can provide.

The adventure began with a lively flight to Vegas with my amazing husband, MIL, and my three boys. All under the age of eleven. 😵‍💫 They actually travel well, but thank God I was not the only adult on this trip with them.

The moment I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by the warm desert breeze and the anticipation of the conference. As an author, I was eager to dive into an event that promised to be a treasure trove of inspiration. As a mom, I couldn't wait to experience my kids seeing all the amazing lights when the sun went down. Their aw on their faces... priceless.

The author conference definitely delivered, too. It was as vibrant as Vegas, with authors, publishers, and literary enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. The atmosphere was charged with creativity and passion. The first day was dedicated to registration and mingling, and I couldn't help but feel like a introverted teenager meeting the hot quarterback she had a crush on for the first time. The air was filled with the electricity of possibilities and awkwardness (lol). But I owned my fears like a boss!

The following day, I had the honor of being a panelist alongside one of my friends and heroes, Jillian Dodd, on the young adult panel, as well as Danielle Keil who writes ya romance. The Q&A moderator was also fellow author of young adult fantasy, Michael Webb. I shared my experiences as an author who champions curvy and plus-size heroines in romance, and the reception from the audience was heartwarming.

As I sat on that panel, I couldn't help but channel my amazing characters I've created in my books. They're strong, confident, and curvaceous, defying stereotypes and embracing their uniqueness. I was honored to bring plus size representation, and being on the panel was a dream come true.

One of the highlights of the conference was the chance to meet and connect with other authors. The writing community can be a tight-knit family, and the conference was like hopping from one mini-family reunion to another. But I also met authors who shared my passion for inclusive romance, and we had some great discussions about the power of love stories that reflect real-life.

Las Vegas, with its vibrant nightlife, was the perfect backdrop for this literary adventure. The city is known for its glitz and glamour, and it offered an exciting contrast to the routine daytime schedule I often find myself with three children.

One evening, as the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip lit up the desert sky, my team and I met other authors at the amazing Firefly Kitchen. The atmosphere was glitzy-cozy, with soft light dancing from the numerous chandeliers. It was the ideal setting for some romantic ideas that I couldn't help make notes of. We chatted about young love, the thrill of new beginnings, and how sweet romance has the power to transport us to magical worlds.

The city's energy, mixed with the enthusiasm of the conference, inspired a multitude of ideas and storylines I can't wait to work into my books. There's something about Las Vegas that awakens the senses and sets the stage for unforgettable love.

My experience at the author conference was a whirlwind of emotions, inspiration, and unforgettable moments. Being a part of the young adult panel, sharing my love for curvy and plus-size heroines, and connecting with fellow authors who share my passion was a dream come true. Las Vegas, with its glitz and charm, added a touch of enchantment to the entire adventure.

As I write this, I'm reminded of the importance of embracing and representing real-world characters in young adult literature. It's a mission close to my heart, and I'm grateful to share it with you.

If you're wondering if what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas... as you can tell, it doesn't have to be a place of secrets and shame. I pictured Des from Curvy Girls Can't Date Rock Stars coming here, selling out night after night and owning the stage. 

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading her story, you can find it here: Curvy Girls Can't Date Rock Stars. I can't wait to share more love, romance, and curvy heroines in the pages of my upcoming books. Until then, know that I see you and you are worthy of love.

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