Friday, July 27, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Day Four (July 12, 2007)

A full day, with more opportunities to enjoy the ebullience of my tour-mates. A quick drive-by of a Borders (Bryan did the wonderful prep work of calling stores ahead of time to let them know we'd pop in. They had all our books waiting for us, ready to be signed). Then we went to Knoxville for our official noon event at Cedar Springs Christian Store. Jackie, from Wayne's publisher, Thomas Nelson, came to the event and handed out bookmarks, chatted with folks in the store, and even treated our troupe to a late lunch afterwards. I was delighted I got to meet her - she was a joy.

We squeezed in one more drive-by of a LifeWay store, and then drove to Asheville, NC. I had the opportunity to overcome my fear of electricity (unfortunate backstory I won't get into here) because Bryan navigated from his laptop, which had to plug in to a battery which rested beside me, and I was often asked to "jiggle that cord" that plugged in to the cigarette lighter. I explained that inviting me to jiggle a cord connected to electricity was a dangerous thing, but I conquered my fears and there were no mishaps.

A high point for me of our event at the Barnes and Noble in Asheville, was the arrival of Margaret Montreuil. Margaret founded the writer's group, Word Servants, that I was part of while writing The Restorer. It was fun to celebrate the book's birth with one of its "midwives."
A high point for the guys was a woman who teaches stage combat who happened by the store and offered to give them some sword-play lessons. Always eager to attract crowds, the team engaged in some sparring in front of the store.

If you've been keeping count, we were in four different bookstores in several cities all in this one day. It truly began to feel like each day held about two or three days' worth of memories....which is my explanation for the "what day is it?" chorus.

The team went to a host home in Asheville that night, while Margaret whisked me up to Charlotte for a time to catch up, and a restful night at her home. Unfortunately, a semi-truck rollover in the mountains trapped us for well over an hour, making the drive that night a long one. But I enjoyed every minute chatting with her.

The warmth and enthusiasm of the folks who came out to the events was amazing - but I was also thrilled by the response of store managers. Managers and staff told us again and again, "This is our best event EVER." It was a top goal of ours to serve the hard-working bookstore folk, and to show them our appreciation for the work they do.

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