Finally sharing lots of pictures of Generation Rising at the annual “Arizona Families for Home Education” convention!!
(hover over the pictures for captions)
Okay, I just gotta say right off… the weekend was FANTASTIC. Even though I was having health problems most of the time and maybe kinda hurt my wrist badly, I would so so rewind and do the whole time all over again right now!!!
For exhibitors, AFHE starts the day before the convention actually begins. 😉 After taking a bench seat out of our 15 passenger van and throwing everything + the kitchen sink into the back, we drove down to our older sister’s house to carpool with her to the convention center. Perry was collaborating on an adult booth with another Indie author!
Lots of loading and measuring and brainstorming and reloading and we finally decided to leave one of our bookshelves behind. Yes, we hauled bookshelves all the way into the exhibit hall. XD Yes, we got some funny looks. *hides* But y’all, tell me, what is cooler than displaying your book stock on a legit wooden (heavy, i might add) bookshelf?!!
Downtown Phoenix is a labyrinth. We found the right convention center (out of multiple ones) pretty easily, but then went around and around trying to find the loading docks. It’s all one-way streets, and we honestly needed a ball of string we got so lost. 😛
The exhibit hall/loading dock coordinators were the best (obviously we found it… with lots of adventure and funny stories to tell sometime 😀 ), letting Perry drive right into the exhibit hall and helping get us unloaded onto carts. We signed in and slipped on our name badges, met up with the rest of the Generation Rising people in the YE section, and got to setting things up!
This year we decided to get a new banner with our logo on it and went ahead and ordered a second banner for the front of the booth!
I’m not sure if you can read it in the picture, so here’s what it says: “Homeschooled Authors. If they won’t write the kind of books we like to read, we shall have to write them ourselves”.
Maggie and I tried several ways of trying to get it to hang flat until someone thought up the brilliant idea of simply stapling it. ;P
The boys engineered a way to hang our other banner and got that up–
“Make sure you get pictures for my blog post.”
“Wait, not of me!”
Plenty of silliness and photobombing…
Here are some closer pictures of the table set-up. Everyone loved how we added height to our table with a bookshelf laying on the table and the unique display: a canvas drop-cloth as a tablecloth, briefcases and wooden boxes for adding interest and height, and cool props themed with the books! The display on the far right showed our fantastic new releases!
The Friends of Generation Rising– many of our friends also had booths in the YE section, and it was very fun to hang out with them the whole weekend, popping into each other’s booths through the back curtains or walking by to ask how it’s going. 🙂 (I didn’t get good pics of two of their booths, “All About Wood” and “Providential Pens”.)
With a quick clean up of the post-set-up-wrecked booth, we put the boxes of stock under the table, stopped for a quick picture together, and parted ways to go home and get a little rest before the super early start the next day.
well I forgot to mention a really important part of Thursday. On the way home, we stopped for french fries. ❤
Next morning we got up way too early. But at least we got coffee.
And the sunrise was gorgeous to watch on the way…
With teamwork we had the stock all out and beautiful and counted FAST.
Then Paul called a huddle and we went over payment, different teams, and things. (Thx to Tanner for being weird and snapping this pic of me taking a pic. 😛 )
Armed with walkie-talkies, my hurt arm (yeah idk how xD ), and a GIGANTIC bag of amazing snacks Tanner brought, we were ready to start the convention.
Um, guys? When something is so so dear and hidden away in your heart, how do you put it in words? How do I describe the fun times, the tired times, the hilarious times? Guys, I haven’t managed to even journal about the convention. *hides*
So I give up on trying to remember what happened on what day. It’s all mashed together in my head as one big happy warm smile-time.
Spelunking the exhibitor hall with different friends and siblings and looking at all the cool things.
The quiet, kind words passed between friends.
The carton of ice cream, plastic spoons, and disposable cups… perfection.
Binging on Tanner’s fantastic snacks and trying new weird flavors of cotton candy as we got to them.
The smiles that lit Perry’s and Rebekah’s faces when we’d drop by their booth to talk about random things.
Hunting down an author each time they needed to sign a book for a customer.
The brother of a friend who came to say hi even though the first time he ever saw me I was a crazy sweaty flustered person who didn’t even know he existed. *hides*
Dodging out of Tanner’s videoing he would randomly start up.
Our different walkie-talkie codenames. xD
Breaking into Les Mis songs (they related, don’t worry) and then suddenly stopping when we realized it was possibly slowing our chances of customers.
The marshmallow-gun war between the “Boys’ Adventure Toys” booth and the skateboarder booth across the way.
Sneaking up to a fellow (stranger’s) YE’s booth and fixing their sign without them ever noticing.
The wide variety of conversations we had with the booths on either side of ours.
Telling so many interested people about my book when they asked… even though it’s not finished/published yet! It was so cool when they got all excited about it. 😮 🙂
The chocolate Kate and I swiped from a booth’s candy bowl…
Getting to meet online writer friends IN PERSON!!
The excitement, shock, awe, encouraged look on aspiring-writers’ faces when they realized we’re all homeschoolers who actually published.
Telling them to start up those “there was this sci-fi novel” “eh I tried but it was junk” “oh, I used to write” projects again and seeing them inspired again.
The people who forced me to take care of my health. And took care of me too.
Giving thumbs-up to the tired exhibitors every time I passed their booth.
When the skateboarder booth bought a marshmallow-gun from their arch nemeses’ booth and began their retaliation.
Smiling at/playing-across-the-room-with the toddler with down-syndrome who was the cutest little guy in the world. ❤
When my friend who had a super cute hairstyling booth did my hair because I couldn’t with my hurt wrist.
Recognizing the people we had met last year and hearing what they thought of the books they had bought.
The creative-writing teacher who stayed at our booth and talked and talked and asked questions.
Texting my mommy fun updates about customers and sales and what everyone was busy with.
When the whole YE section wandered around and hung out and encouraged each other before the exhibit hall opened.
Wearing the wrist-brace Gabby brought me Saturday.
The shy girl we met last year walking right up to our booth and starting conversations.
The encouraging exhibitor/curriculum writer who stayed at our booth for a while asking each of us what we liked to read or write and swapping book suggestions accordingly.
Running with Kate to buy french fries from the vendors in the back of the exhibit hall.
The nice chat we had with an exhibitor who was also buying french fries (because when the vendor sells everything from salad to hamburgers, the only thing really worth buying is french fries of course) and was waaay impressed when he heard what our booth was about.
Sitting on the floor behind our tall table when we got tired once and just talking and snacking.
When the doors would open after a session and a flood of people would rush in.
Glimpsing so many stories behind the people’s eyes.
The time our friends got turned around on where they had parked in the parking garage so we went searching with them, only to find they had parked in a completely different garage. #epicadventures
Watching the sunrise on the way, mostly-awake and ready to go, and getting to also see the sunset on the trip back, exhausted and happy.
The groups of girls I had met a few years back that recognized me, squealed excitedly, and hugged me hello.
Slipping shiny new, signed books into cool paper bags for hungry readers.
The people who got our jokes and weren’t creaped out when Malachi called to them by name (name tags, y’all, we forget their power 😛 ).
Sitting in a chair in the back of our booth when I felt so gross, but still loving every moment of the convention.
The mom who bought a book for her young kid to read during a “boring” session.
Getting to tell writers about Perry’s booth and the very cool writing/publishing tools she was offering.
The new writer friend we have after two full days of him and his brother standing at our booth talking about anything and everything. (Hi Micah! When is the next write-in? 😛 )
Stalking the Lamplighter booth with Maggie.
When I hauled Malachi over to Elijah’s music booth to catch the end of my brand new audio-book when it played on the headphones.
Forgetting our different team’s booth shifts on Saturday and mixing them up however we wanted and just hanging out in the booth all together for fun. 😀
The goofy selfie I took with Paul and Julia.
Seeing who won our gigantic giveaway and then getting to letter “Congrats!” on the special shopping bag. (happy happy it was my left wrist that hurt and NOT my right one!!)
That amAZing cool moment when we heard our booth’s name and number over the intercom as they kindly announced our giveaway winner for us because it was soon til closing time. 😉
Dodging the maze of teams breaking down booths and skateboarders having fun and a few last-minute-fellow-exhibitor customers.
(SO FUN TO HAVE AUTHOR JUSTUS PLATT DROP IN ON SATURDAY!)
When the epic volunteers helped us load everything back up in record-breaking speed.
Yawning and laughing and shivering and jumping-jacks and eating and joking and finishing up AFHE 2018.
It being okay that I can’t remember half of the fun things. Because it is hidden cozily away in my mind.
Sorry this post was so long in coming, you cool encouraging people! As you can probably tell… it was almost impossible to write. But hope you enjoyed still!!! 🙂 ~A