Book Events, Features, Wrap Ups & Hauls

Ohioana Book Festival 2018 + Book Haul



Well this post is embarrassingly late… Nothing like posting a book event wrap up 3 months after it happened.  Oh well.



On April 14th, I attended the Ohioana Book Festival for the second year in a row.  You can read more about my experience at this festival last year here → Book Event: 2017 Ohioana Book Festival + Book Haul.

Compared to last year, I wasn’t as excited about the author list for the 2018 festival.  This could partly be due to the fact that I was unable to read many books by the attending authors prior to the event… BUT I really enjoy author panels, so I don’t mind making the 1.5 hour drive north to Columbus to sit in on the panels.

I am going to share with you the panels I sat in on during this event.  I will only be going in depth about the YA panel, but I’ll share highlights from the other two.

Panel #1: Transcending Genres

Writers discuss the differences in writing poetry, fiction, nonfiction, etc.

Karen Harper, Tracy Lawson, Margie Shaheed, and Lucy A. Synder


I basically went to this panel because I had some time to kill and the topic sounded interesting.  I wasn’t familiar with any of the authors, nor heard of their works.  They were all very interesting women.

Panel #2: YA in the Spotlight

A discussion with some of the best and brightest YA fiction writers.

Cinda Williams Chima, Kristina McBride, Mindy McGinnis, and Josephine Rascoe Keenan


Cinda Williams Chima

  • Joked that she used to get into trouble for daydreaming, but now she gets paid for it.
  • She is a huge George R.R. Martin fan.  She actually started writing because she wanted to do what he does.
  • She originally started writing the Seven Realms series to pass the time while she was working to get her first books published.
  • Despite the fact that publishers are weary to include adults in the YA genre, Cinda feels it is important to include the adult characters.
  • Her advice is to relish the pre-published time for aspiring authors.  It allows you to take your time with your writing & make it the best version it can be.  Once you are published you’ll be subject to DEADLINES.
  • Once someone told her she’d never get published because her font of choice is Times New Roman.
  • “If anyone tells you there is one right way to write a book, you need to run!”
  • Feels that community is important for a writer since writing is so solitary.
  • If you are an aspiring author in search of an agent, she recommends finding out who represented authors of books similar to your own.  You can usually find this by flipping to the back of the book and reading the acknowledgments.
  • She really enjoys looking at the fan art for her books.  She loves seeing how all her fans visualize the characters so differently.


Mindy McGinnis

  • Before she became an author, she was an assistant librarian.
  • She runs a blog for aspiring authors →Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire
  • She describes her new book, This Darkness Mine, as “Fight Club in the band room”
  • When asked how long it generally takes to write a book, she laughed and said it varies.  She did admit that she wrote A Madness So Discreet in 3 weeks – but before you crucify her she did research for 18 month before she began writing.
  • Recommends The Passage series by Justin Cronin.
  • She suggests never re-reading your books once they are published… you will just make yourself crazy.
  • When asked which comes first, the characters or the world, Mindy says it varies.
  • She says that writing the book synopsis is harder than writing the entire book.
  • Mindy feels that it is not her place to write a POC (person of color) main character, as that is not her personal experience, HOWEVER she feels it is her responsibility as an author to have a diverse cast of characters because everyone deserves to see themselves in books.  She recommends for aspiring authors to be aware and ask questions.  She also recommends getting on Twitter.

Kristina McBride

  • A Million Times Goodnight was her most challenging book, structurally at least, to write.
  • If you are an aspiring author, Kristina says not to worry about what category or genre your book falls into.  Just write your story and the publishers will tell you where it will fit and sell.
  • Kristina is an planner, but she doesn’t always stick to her outline.  She always knows the beginning and the end of the story before she begins writing it.
  • It generally takes Kristina 3 months to write a first draft.  After editing and revising, the whole process of writing a book generally takes her a year.
  • In regards to agent querying, Kristina suggests starting a spread sheet to keep track of potential agent.  She also recommends looking into who each agent represents & what types of books they write.
  • “Failure is just part of the game.”

Josephine Keenan

  • Josephine did all the cover art for her book covers
  • Her series is a YA historical fiction series set in the 50s & 60s.
  • It took her 5 years to write her first book.
  • She never re-reads her books once they are completed.  She said she would make herself crazy & try to re-do things if she did.
  • “Write with passion!”
  • She grew up in the 50s, so they didn’t have the YA selection that we have today.  She started reading adult books as a young woman because there wasn’t anything else for her to read.

Panel #3: The Impact of Pop Culture in Our Modern World

From reality star presidents to superhero movies – a conversation on how popular culture has influenced nearly every aspect of twenty-first century life.

Hanif Abdurraquib, Bob Batchelor, Mark Dawidziak, and Dan Gearino



I attended this panel because it sounded fascinating.  I was interested in hearing Hanif Abdirraquib speak specifically.  From what I had read from the book he was promoting – They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us – I knew he has a beautiful way with words and a interesting perspective on pop culture.  I had also heard Mark Dawidziak speak on a panel last year, and was fascinated by him.  You can definitely tell he is a professor with a gift in teaching.


Book Haul

Ohioana Book Haul:

» The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

*Signed by Author*



» This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnins

*Signed by Author*



» They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib

*Signed by Author*



After the book festival, my accomplice took me to the infamous Book Loft book store in Columbus.


When they say 32 rooms of books, they mean it!  I literally got lost in this bookstore… I know by the picture below it looks pretty straightforward, but I promise it is like a bookish maze in there. You could have easily spent hours here.

bookloft map.jpg

I was super impressed with their huge bargain sections throughout the store that were filled with awesome books at great prices!  I found tons of brand new books CHEAPER than Amazon.  This NEVER happens in independent book stores!  Below I listed how much I purchased each book for, and what the Amazon price was…

The Book Loft Book Haul:

» And I Darken by Kiersten White


*Purchased for $7.99 ($13.12 on Amazon)

» The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

TheAbsolutelyTrue Diary


*Purchased for $6.99 ($9.45 on Amazon)

» Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor



*Purchased for $4.99 ($5.00 on Amazon)

» 11/22/63 by Stephen King



*Purchased $8.99 ($13.22 on Amazon)

» The Wonder by Emma Donoghue



*Purchased for $9.99 ($14.99 on Amazon)

» Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting By 7


*Purchased for $3.99 ($8.57 on Amazon)

» The Pigman (The Pigman #1) by Paul Zindel



*Purchased for $4.99 ($5.99 on Amazon)

Total spent: $47.93 (Retail price of $70.34)



Have you read books by any of the author’s listed above?

Have you read any of the books from my book haul?  If so, what did you think?


17 thoughts on “Ohioana Book Festival 2018 + Book Haul”

  1. Since you are Ohio and I’m Michigan we should plan out a book signing or festival! I haven’t seen one yet that I HAVE to go to but it would be fun! I always love these posts and I have yet to go to a book event if you can believe it or not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man! I would love to meet up at a book festival some time. I have never been to one in Michigan yet, but I’d be willing to drive for the right authors lol The farthest, thus far, I’ve driven for a book festival is 4.5 hours. If I see one in Ohio or Michigan that looks promising I will let you know!

      I do know there is a book convention with all romance authors every year! They change the location every year. It looks like a ton of fun and would be right up your alley. I want to say it is the RT (Romantic Times) Convention? Something to keep your eye on 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Kalamazoo has a large writing scene with authors including Jaimy Gordon, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Samantha Irby. Some writers from K-zoo who don’t live there anymore but do return are Darrin Doyle and Elizabeth Crane.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I admit that I am not familiar with most of the authors aside from Mindy Mcginnis (whom I still need to read). I do think the discussion forums sound interesting though and wish I had known of this festival while living in Ohio! The discounts on the books alone seem worth it though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are actually a few (3 off the top of my head) book festivals in Ohio. There is a bigger one in Cincinnati every fall called Books by the Banks. Ohioana is smaller and typically has lesser known authors. It really is worth it to go sit on panels and listen to authors & how they do what they do. I also like to surround myself with book geeks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that I spending the last 7 years of my life in OH as a nurse working 12 and 16 hours shifts, I was really disconnected from reading! It was not until I moved here to OR that I picked it back up and had time ❤ But I am so introverted it might not have mattered haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When I was working I was working 6 days a week at a high stress job. I was too mentally exhausted for reading… I totally get it.

        I am your polar opposite lol I often attend these festivals and events solo and strike up conversations with people around me. I’m sure some people think I’m a werido haha


  3. THE BOOK LOFT!!! That’s probably my favorite place in Columbus. I love the German Village. In fact, we had our engagement photos taken at The German Village and were going to have photos taken in The Book Loft, but it was a bit rainy and the store was packed. As you can imagine, having a photographer following us around in those tiny hallways while the place is filled with patrons didn’t make for an effective photo shoot…

    Based on your comments above to hauled EXACTLY what I would have from the book festival. Did you only attend three panels? I’m a bit surprised that these panels are completely gender segregated… Any idea why that might have been?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An engagement photo shoot in The Book Loft would have been EPIC! BUT yes, I can’t imagine trying to accomplish that will a store full of people! I did get a little claustrophobic in those hallways lol

      You know, I didn’t really notice they were gender segregated… You always notice the things I don’t. I did notice that all the authors were predominately white. I wanted to see more authors of color & diverse books.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s obvious in the photos, but I can understand how you might not have noticed in the moment. When people mesh it’s easy to ignore those sorts of artifical divides. I wonder if the lack of authors of color/diverse books is due to the lack of invitations to those authors or the fact that they are in such demand at this point. I often wonder how challenging it must be to be Jason Reynolds or Angie Thomas in a world desperate for the words they are writing…


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