Today I am so pleased to welcome Vanessa North to Joyfully Jay. Vanessa is here to chat with us as part of the GRL Blog Tour and talking a bit about her thoughts on the event. She has also brought along a book to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

The Anxious Author’s Conference Survival Guide

Thank you, Joyfully Jay, for hosting me on the GRL Blog Tour!

grl blog tourSo, you’re signed up for GRL—or maybe some other conference—for the very first time, and if you’re anything like me, you started a low-level freak out sometime about five seconds before you registered.

It’s okay. Trust me, you are among your people. So many authors and readers are either introverts—crowds can be overwhelming for anyone, but for an introvert, a conference can be an emotionally and physically exhausting experience—or suffer from social anxiety. I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder shortly after my twins were born—and around the same time I embarked on a career in writing. I’ve been to big conferences and small ones, and this is my “cheat sheet” for not just surviving a con, but enjoying it too!

1. Know your limits, and set your boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with hugs or physical contact from others, don’t be afraid to say so. Offer a handshake and a smile instead. You aren’t being a downer or inconveniencing anyone by establishing your “dance space.”

2. Don’t try to do everything. I know how it feels–you want the full experience. You saved up all this money and vacation time to do this thing, and you don’t want to miss anything. But the reality is—we don’t have Hermione’s time-turner. We can’t all be in all the places and do all the things. It’s not just physically impossible, but you’ll exhaust yourself trying. Prioritize, go with the flow, and focus on enjoying the moments you have at each session.

3. Live in the moment, but plan ahead! I know that sounds crazy—but here’s the deal. Most of us anxious people need to have strategies in place to feel comfortable at social events. If you can do so, arrive early and walk around the hotel. Scope out where the action is going to be. If you’re an author, find the rooms you’ll need to be in at certain times. If you’re a reader, take note of where the sessions you want to see will be held. Take some stress off yourself by making the unfamiliar familiar.

4. Hang out at the bar. No, I’m not advising social lubrication in the form of alcohol—although if that’s your thing, you won’t catch any judgment from me—rather, the hotel bar tends to be an informal gathering place where you can catch your breath and still feel like part of the action. Have a seat, take a deep breath or three, and catch up with your new friends outside of the main action.

5. Get yourself a wingman! Find another person you’re comfortable hanging out with, and make plans to attend the different events with them. The GRL facebook group has a signup sheet to match newbies with veterans—take advantage. And if you’re too shy for that, just come find me. I’m the nervous-looking one with the multi-colored Mohawk nursing a glass of wine at the hotel bar.


Rough RoadEddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.


Vanessa NorthAuthor of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog. The next book in her popular Lake Lovelace series, Rough Road, is coming from Riptide Publishing in September 2015.


Vanessa has brought a copy of a blacklist ebook to give away to one lucky reader. A complete list of her published works can be found here: . Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, July 27th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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