Here is my week in review from my first-ever ICRS/CBA.
Saturday: I went to the Christy awards. It was a strange thing to be at an award ceremony I held in such high regard. When I read Christy by Katherine Marshall, it made me long to write fiction in such a way that characters came alive. I wanted to make them so different and inviting that folks would want to crawl into the pages of the book and live with them. So, it was a blessing to be a part of something Marshall inspired. I was particularly happy that Dale Cramer won for Bad Ground.
Sunday: I went to the Alive Communications event where Brennan Manning was supposed to speak (but he couldn’t because of the hurricane). It turns out I was at the wrong bookstore and came very late. As I wrote on the Master’s Artist, the highlight of my trip was actually getting there late, being greeted so kindly by my agent and my editor at NavPress, Rachelle Gardner. I scanned the room for my friend Sandi Glahn whom I was supposed to meet. After about ten minutes of wondering whose blonde head was hers, our eyes connected and I waved a little half-wave. In the middle of Ken Gire’s speaking, she stood up, quietly skirted the room and ambushed me from behind with a hug. “I couldn’t treat you like you were anonymous,” she said. It was one of the most amazing things someone has ever done for me. Such honor. Such friendship. That night I attended the Harvest House dinner, a lovely affair on the outskirts of downtown Denver with a western theme. I enjoyed chatting with lots of different people. That night, I spent with Sandi in a nice hotel downtown. We stayed up and caught up.
Monday: I had breakfast with Melanie Dobson. She’s going to move to Germany so we talked about transition. She used to be a publicist so I asked her lots of questions, since I have been considering hiring one. At ten, Sandi met me and we walked the CBA floor together. Wow. I couldn’t believe how big it was, how elaborate each booth was. I especially enjoyed connecting briefly with the publishing houses I have worked with. Harvest House had a homey booth complete with lattes. Every time I went by the NavPress booth, I met someone new. WaterBrook had a large booth staffed by some great folks. I had lunch with the Hearts at Home ladies (and Jill’s husband Mark, the token male). We had a great time of fellowship, getting to know what each other wrote. I loved finally meeting Suzie Eller, Pam Farrel, and Julie Barnhill as well as reconnecting with Jill and Mark Savage and Mary Byers. I had a great conversation with Brad Whittington who wrote the Fred books. Great guy. He’s the one who alerted me to the freaky baby I have photographed below. I met with a few folks at WaterBrook that afternoon. My editor, Ron Lee, said such lovely things about my book. It’s been such a blessing to run into WaterBrook folks who have read Building the Christian Family You Never Had who have really been affected by it. Ron’s words were life. They made me want to keep honing my craft and write for God’s glory. I had a few more meetings, one of which was regarding a book I contributed to: For the Write Reason. If you’re looking for a book to inspire you in your writing journey, pick a copy up here. That night I went to the NavPress girl’s night out dinner at a fondue place. We laughed and shared and laughed some more. My editor, Rachelle, had some nice things to say about my next book.
Tuesday: I met with Harvest House twice, both of which were encouraging meetings. They’re happy with my sales of Ordinary Mom, which was nice to hear. I’ve been hearing all week about my book being in all sorts of places. Someone spotted it in WalMart, another in a gas station, and it was also on a bookrack at the Adam’s Mark hotel in Denver. It always surprises me to see it! At ten, I met with Mike Yorkey, a new friend of mine whose family had dinner with us last month in Nice. We had a nice conversation. I spent time with friend Caroline. I look forward to deepening our friendship. I met with a publicist and peppered her with questions. That night I hung out with folks from NavPress, Focus on the Family, WaterBrook and Cook Communications. We had fun singing 80’s songs.
Wednesday: I met with two editors, a copyeditor, a publicist, two fellow writers, my former agent, and had dinner with my current agent. We had a great discussion about the industry and how my career was doing. I’m so glad I had a chance to connect well with my agent, to put a face to her kind voice. The coolest thing that happened was that I met with one of WaterBrook’s publicists. As we talked, he shared that he was a pioneer parent. He became very excited about the book. As the conversation closed, he shared that he had a very good friend who was headed to Florence to be a part of CAI! What a small world!!!
Thursday: I got a lovely phone call from my friend Susan Carter who just returned from Paris with her husband. “We understand what you are doing in France now,” she said. “We’re going to pray more for your family now that we’ve been there.” That was wonderful to hear. I spent the day with Hud and Nancy McWilliams who were kind enough to take me shopping, out to lunch and to the airport. Hud and I talked about our upcoming message at CAI’s staff conference.
And now I’m sitting at Heathrow waiting to take a flight home. Thankfully, I actually slept a bit on my flight so I am feeling pretty normal. I can’t wait to hug my children, to kiss my husband. I hope next summer they can come with me to CBA, to experience a bit of the convention and to see Denver, a lovely city. All in all I think I was supposed to be there—to connect with publishers, publicists, longtime friends, and fellow authors. It was good to meet my agent face to face. I learned more about the business of writing for the CBA and I realized afresh how miraculous it is that I am even published. Wow. What a privilege it is to write books and see them in print. I hope I never take that for granted.