Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Day Seven (July 15, 2007)

Photo: Me with cousin Gail and aunt Helen who surprised me Sunday night.

Sunday I met my host family when I got up in the morning, Deanna made me a super breakfast, (and her boys were so gracious in sharing their room with a stranger AND letting me have some computer time to check emails) and I quickly joined the three other authors for our day's events.

I was delighted we were heading into Washington D.C., past interesting landmarks, but especially glad that it was Sunday and I'd have a chance to attend church.

We had some fuzzy info about what was expected of us at the National Presbyterian Church. We knew we were speaking to a youth group, and then thought we'd be signing books and chatting in a foyer or narthex during a couple services, so we could attend church in shifts. We enjoyed meeting the teens. Christopher, who is a youth pastor, especially connected with them and spoke straight from his heart to challenge and encourage them. Then we went to the main building where tables had been set up near the church bookstore for us. We greeted everyone who walked past, but once church began things were quiet. I was able to slip upstairs through some complex corridors and find the sanctuary, where I sat in the back during most of the sermon. Then I hurried back down to the guys, who were still sitting by the back door. When the service ended, a few families stopped by to chat with us, but apparently most people were staying upstairs for a congregational meeting so we didn't get to meet as many people as we'd hoped. I did get to chat with a man from my home state who works on capitol hill, which brought home to me that we were in the center of movers and shakers. We were all grateful we'd been invited and hoped that a few more people had learned that Christian fiction is alive and well.

We drove to Alexandria, VA, and introduced ourselves to the staff at the Potomac Yard Barnes and Noble. We had an hour before our 3-5 signing, so we walked to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch (or early supper? we tended to grab meals anytime we had a few spare minutes between events) and more great conversation. Put four authors at a table and shop talk is a given. But our conversations were about so much more than writing craft, industry info, and deadlines. Each of the authors is absolutely committed to serving God's kingdom through the books he or she writes. I loved hearing about the challenges and strategies and fruit being evidenced in each writer's life.

We hoped for one of the huge crowds we'd had at other stores, since we knew a reporter and photographer from the Washington Post planned to come to this event. Of course Murphy's Law dictated that we had the smallest turn-out yet. Still, each author took a turn reading a scene from their book, which drew people from around the store. I really enjoyed meeting the reporter, Ms. Salmon, and appreciated her depth of research, and her time and interest.

As in other stores, special individual encounters overshadowed our desire to sign lots of books or meet lots of people. One woman watched me avidly as I read a scene from The Restorer. Afterwards she came to me and said, "that scene describes where my life is right now." I felt like God nudged us into the same time and space to encourage each other. Meantime, Christopher chatted with a marine about to be deployed and then prayed with him. The new community relations manager was awesome and bent over backwards to provide us with sound equipment and chairs for the audience for the reading.

Still, we headed to our evening event with a little honest weariness. We'd had a long day.

That was the night I blogged about on the tour. We pulled up into the parking lot of Ellicott City Barnes and Noble, and Christopher's wife, Bryan's daughter, and Wayne's wife all came out to greet the men. I stood alone in the parking lot missing my hubby and kids with a stabbing intensity. A short time later, I was surprised by my cousin and aunt (whom I hadn't seen in over two decades). God gave me the gift of family when I most needed it.

My host family drove me back to their house after the event. Two nights in a row in the same bed was a huge treat. Not only that, but Deanna supplied me with bath salts, body scrubs, lotions, and her huge, deep soaking tub. Ah!!! Heaven.


Pais Charos said...

*sniff* That was the day I had to say goodbye to you guys. *cries*

everlastingscribe said...

And the day that Christian and Kirk still talk about. You made quite the impression on them! I think, were it possible they would have adopted you on the spot and taken you home. I've never seen them so taken with someone! You are known as "The Lady who knows what to do with a Sword and she writes too" to them. Long title I know, but they slur it all together. ;)