Last week, I had the honor of traveling to Atlanta, GA to attend the International Christian Retail Show, a huge trade show focused on Christian retailing. Everything from books to music to jewelry, to those cute beverage bottles with verses about living water stamped into the design. I had never attended this event before, but since Stealing the Preacher was a finalist for the Christy Award, I decided now was the perfect time to give it a try. I’m so glad I did!
I did not end up winning the award for my category, but all of the finalists were given these gorgeous medallions with the Christy insignia. Mine is proudly on display in my office so I can look at it from time to time and remember the importance of digging deep and writing to the very best of my ability all the time.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Christy banquet – My flight from Abilene to Dallas got cancelled that morning because of weather. So I had to jump in my car and drive the 2.5 hours to the DFW airport. I squeaked it out and made it in time for my 2:05 flight to Atlanta, only there were mechanical issues with another airplane at the gate, so we were delayed. We finally boarded only to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes because of weather in Atlanta. I was originally supposed to arrive in Atlanta at 5:15, just enough time to get to the hotel and freshen up before the dinner at 7:00. Well . . . I got to the hotel at 7:00. Ack!! I flew up to my room, dumped out my suitcase, threw on my dress and heels, then speed-walked over the connecting sky bridge to the hotel where the dinner was being held. Made it by 7:15. Thankfully, Dave Long, one of the editors from Bethany House, was looking out for me. He spotted me and brought me in. I had been in my seat for all of 2 minutes when the finalists were called up to the front to receive their medallions. Whew! Crazy. But at least I made it and was able to enjoy the rest of the evening. Once I caught my breath.
One of the highlights of the evening was getting to meet Kathrin and Anna-Ruth. You might recognize these lovely ladies from one of Tammy’s recent posts. These ladies are the publishers of my German language editions. What a thrill to get to meet them! They both spoke English exceptionally well, which was a huge blessing since I know about one word in German. Ha!
The following day, I had the honor of meeting Jan (Yahn) and his lovely wife Cocky (Coke-ee) who are the publishers of my Dutch language editions. Delightful people! They were so warm and extremely complimentary about my books. I think I was a bit awestruck. I hope I managed to sound halfway intelligent when we spoke. There was even a bit of discussion about possibly putting together a visit to the Netherlands (Germany, too). I assured both publishers that I would be completely willing to make the sacrifice of traveling overseas to their beautiful countries. What a thrill that would be!
During my book signing, I even met a lady who works with my Romanian publisher. Talk about a small world! Why had I never attended this event before? Here’s a snapshot of me at the Baker booth signing books. Book club guru, Nora St. Laurent stopped by and a friend snagged this picture.
I also had the honor of sitting on the author panel at the ACFW Christian Fiction Trends session open to all the retailers. We talked about ways authors and bookstores can partner to create great experiences for today’s readers. As a gift to all the retailers who attended, we each signed over 150 books so that every retailer could leave with a bag containing each of the 12 authors’ books. My hand grew very tired during the prep for this event. See below:
The Fiction Trends event was a huge success. Not only did we get to share our thoughts from the front of the room, but we mingled among the retailers for about 20 minutes at the end of the session and visited with the people who work so hard to sell our books.
All in all, the trip only lasted about 2 days, but I must say it was well worth suffering through all the travel obstacles to get there.
- What was the most trouble you ever had trying to get somewhere?