Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Day Six (July 14, 2007)

At some point during out touring, Christopher got a great email from his publisher listing some of the major press that the Fantasy Fiction Tour was gathering.

A.P. Wire service "Everything Sacred" webcast
Publisher's Weekly
San Diego Union-Times
Alexandria Gazette, VA
Asheville Citizen-Times
The Salt Lake Tribune
Baltimore Sun
Washington Post

In addition, she noted hundreds of online sites talking about our tour.
We rejoiced in her report and prayed it would let people know about some of the new Christian fiction choices in the stores. But while we appreciated this news, I think we honestly found the greatest encouragement in each one-on-one face-to-face encounter.

I also was blessed because my tourmates continued to model the kind of servant hearts that I know Christ wants in His writers. They coached aspiring authors, chatted with young readers and their parents, and took every chance to tell their individual fans, "You'd also like books by the other authors." Christopher would say, "let me tell you about Bryan's books." Wayne would say, "I loved Sharon's book." I would say, "if you like the concept of Perelandra, you should read Christopher's books." Bryan would say, "take a look at Wayne's series."

That wasn't always the easy, instinctive, human-nature approach. But again and again I saw the tourmates conquer temptations to compare or elbow their way forward. In some stores we dropped in to, a few authors' books were carried and others weren't. In the home states of some of the authors, crowds of family and friends came out to support them, while others of us were far from our circles of influence. Some groups were the target demographic of one author but not others. At some events an author would glowingly report how many books he sold while others sold nothing. Again and again I saw the guys make conscious choices to rejoice in the blessings of others. And I can vouch for the fact that we ALL felt greatly blessed by the overall experience.

Saturday we hit the road early to reach Richmond, VA by noon for a Barnes and Noble event. After that our itinerary said we had 2.5 hours to reach Ellicott City, so we grabbed a quick late lunch at a Waffle House and then hit the road. Connie (a friend of Bryan) and her two nephews had come to the event, and were heading to the next event. She asked me to ride with her so we could get acquainted. It was great hearing her "God stories" and answering her questions about my writing journey. At some point I dozed for awhile, and woke up to find we were doing some strange maneuvers getting on and off the freeway trying to avoid traffic. Connie played Mario Andretti as she wove around traffic (with her blinkers NOT working) trying to stay on the tail of Christopher's car.

Bumper to bumper traffic jams added HOURS to our travel, and the guys had to call our evening event stop to tell them we would arrive late.

This was a special store - His Way Christian Bookstore - one in Wayne's home turf that has been hugely supportive of his work and other Christian fantasy. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to do all we could and still arrive late. But what a blessing it was to walk in to see a CROWD waiting for us. Banners (specifically made for us) hung from the ceiling of the story, while swords on the floor guided us to the place where we would sign. A rack had been prepared behind us where we could mount our swords. End cap displays filled the entire length of the center aisle of the store. Best of all were the people. Readers who told us how much the books meant to them. I cherished each hug and every conversation.

As the event began to wrap up around nine or ten, the plan was for all of us to go to a party that one of Wayne's friends had graciously prepared. After that, we'd be divided up to drive to various host homes. I was so tired, I was tempted to crawl under the signing table and curl up for a nap. The thought of more drives to more places and more interactions before finally having a bed for the night about did me in. Wayne's wife rescued me. Even though she was helping host the party at one location, she drove me out to my host home and let me in (they were at a ball game that night and not home yet) so I could collapse and get some sleep. I hated missing the party, but I had to concede that I can't keep the sort of pace I used to back in college days or even as a young parent. I felt a little like Goldilocks, and hoped I'd collapsed into the right bed, but didn't have time to worry about it because I was old cold in seconds.


Pais Charos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pais Charos said...

*sniff* Aw man, that was a great day. I miss you Sharon! I loved getting to know you on that drive. Haha - Mario Andretti? *laughs* Yes, and the no blinkers thing made it all very interesting. But all of it was so worth it when we got to His Way and saw the looks on everyone's faces that had been waiting for an hour and a half for y'all. God was so at work there.

Love ya, Sharon! And I'm loving the recaps - I can't wait to see the next one!

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks for sharing your memories. What is it with guys and their laptops anyway? :P

Pais Charos said...

Haha - if you think the guys are attached to their laptops, you should me with mine. I didn't it bring with me that weekend, and I wish I had!!

Roheryn said...

heh, and me with mine! *huggles laptop*

I'm loving the memories from the tour! With another view, I feel like I was actually there at the other stops!