Monday, July 17, 2006

Becky Miller meets ICRS

My friend Patti Hill and I dressed as our novel characters on our first day of the conference. Here we are with author Kim Sawyer (the cover poster of her great Bethany novel is hanging behind us).

I'll admit I was nervous while I packed for the International Christian Retail Show in Denver. Friends who have attended this major annual event for Christian booksellers warned me that the atmosphere of commercialism and celebrity worship would leave me feeling troubled, and the huge numbers of "more successful" authors would make me depressed at my insignificance.

Instead, I felt incredibly loved. I felt loved by God, that He has allowed me to be a tiny part of this world of people who love Him and love the written word and the power of story. I felt loved by my editors and publisher during yummy meals and relaxed chats. I felt loved by my author friends who were genuinely delighted for me to experience my first I.C.R.S. book signing.

Yes, I was a very insignificant baby author in a huge sea of more experienced writers who hustled around to important meetings. Sometimes I had nothing better to do than stroll around with a goofy grin. But God led me toward some wonderful encounters. Getting to finally visit face-to-face with my friend and mentor, Karen Hancock. Praying with Esther, another new author. Hearing a story of a marvelous healing from an elderly couple who own a small independent bookstore. Chatting with folks from Taiwan, Nigeria, and Australia and all corners of the U.S. Cheering and waving to author friends as lines formed for their book signings.

I'm prone to feeling overwhelmed and melancholy. It's a huge blessing that none of that hit me on this trip. Perhaps it was the prayers supporting me, or the generous friendship of Patti and her husband who helped me get from point A to point B, or the incredible kindness of the Bethany staff . . . but I found the entire experience to be a joy.

As icing on the cake, my family drove down to meet me in Denver after ICRS, and we headed up to Yellowstone. If any bits of self-importance or competition were clinging to my spirit, seeing the massive canyons, waterfalls, and geysers cured me. I'll be posting some of those photos in the days to come.


Julie Carobini said...

See you there next year, Becky, er, uh, Sharon.


Ruth said...

Oh, thanks for sharing the picture Sharon! I love that you and Patti went "costumed," I think that is too cool. I saw that "Renovating Becky Miller" was posted on CBD's website for pre-sales (how exciting!!). Thanks for sharing your ICRS experience. :)

karen parrish said...

Hey Sharon! It was so great to meet you at ICRS, and celebrate the Bethany Class of 2006 with Robin, my wonderful husband. I finished 'Becky Miller' a few days ago. I loved it!