My First Time at Penned Con


Hi folks, I just got back from Penned Con in St. Louis and am still trying to mull over the experience. It’s strange isn’t it? I actually live in St. Louis, but had never been to Penned Con before this year. Last year I had planned to go as a reader but got sick with some nasty flu just before the event and couldn’t go. This year I bought an author table and was determined to not let that happen.

The convention started for me early Thursday morning when I took my daughter to the train station. She was on her way to Chicago for Riot Fest, something I normally do with her but this year she was going with a friend. The Red Lion hotel where Penned was hosted is just across the street from the Amtrak station so I was able to walk straight over pick up a cup of tea and make my way up to registration on the thirteenth floor. I dragged my suitcase of books up with me to dump at my table then bumped into my friend George Sirois. George has recently started an author podcast and snagged me to do an interview (I’ll post my interview when it is up on his blog but in the meantime please check out his podcast and his awesome YA series, Excelsior.)


Next up was Author Education Day — those authors and assistants who came in early were treated to an assortment of speakers about different aspects of publishing and marketing. It was also fun hanging out with my author/illustrator friend Victoria Szulc during the whole weekend.

Debbie and Vic Penned

That night we set up our tables and then in the evening I participated in an 80s trivia party where I discovered that I know far less about 80s trivia than I thought! Though our team the Brat Pack came third, mostly thanks to George! We even had our own T-shirts, though the sticky letters on mine all came off during the course of the evening!


Friday was the first day of signing and sign I did — oodles and oodle of books. My highlight of the day was when a reader sought my out and brought me their own personal copy of P.A.W.S. to sign.


Mostly I stayed at my table and talked to the readers. But in the afternoon I also got to take a short break and participate in the Cards Against Humanity panel. That was a lot of fun.


Also that night after the signing was over for the day we gathered a group of YA author friends from one of my favorite online groups – AAYAA and we took a trip over to the Delmar Loop for supper at Blueberry Hill.

This is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis and for those of you who have read Cotula you may recognize it as the home of the goblin, Valerian Root.

Friday night saw a DJ night with some awesome 80s tunes and Saturday another full day of signing. I sold oodles of books and met some wonderful readers and authors and came home exhausted but happy.

Oh and what was the most prolific swag item at Penned? Why pens of course!


Didn’t meet me at Penned? Well you have another chance in just two and half weeks as I’ll also be selling, signing, and panelling at Archon in Collinsville in from October 4th – 6th.  See you there!

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