Did I blow my pitch? I’m not sure. I was so worried about just getting through it, I didn’t even pull out my one-sheets or offer to show my proposal or …
No. I walked away, knowing that this was the Lord’s business and His timing.
How many times have I said it? “Timing, baby. It’s all about timing.”
I tried to articulate what I was feeling to my roomies. I had the overwhelming sense that this was my push out of the CBA nest as far as fantasy was concerned. God opened the doors wide for my historical, but shut them on anything speculative, at least for now. We joked a bit about it—I told them it would be funny to tell the rest of the spec fic crowd that I had repented of SF/F and I now aspired to be the next Janette Oke. Michelle and Terri cracked up—they know better. I couldn’t write “sweet” if I tried.
With all the confusion of the morning’s appointments, I hadn’t been to a single workshop that day. Mentally checking the schedule, I realized that I wouldn’t have time to get to the bookstore to make my purchases before the booksigning if I didn’t skip what promised to be a most excellent workshop from John Olson. I didn’t have much heart for it, with the sound of that closing door still resounding in my ears, so I pushed aside the lingering regret and went with Michelle and Terri and Kelly to the bookstore.
We shopped more or less together. I prayed before picking any books out—I had gifts to buy and still didn’t find what I wanted for some—and one of my choices was John Olson’s Adrenaline. I wanted to have him sign it, to show him that I truly held no hard feelings over the impromptu crit he gave me.
The booksigning itself was a lot of fun. I found it easier to navigate the lines this year and gauge when to approach an author’s table and when to wait. Liz Curtis Higgs’ table had the longest line, of course, but this just provided an excellent opportunity to “talk deep” with Alice Loweecy, a finalist in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. We chatted about all sorts of topics, from mutual friend John Brunson’s writing to Dean Koontz.
Then it was my turn with Liz. I’d picked up an extra copy of her new book Embrace Grace (we were given a complimentary one) and the fourth book of her Scottish series. I explained to her that I’d held off getting that one because the first three were SO emotional (okay, I can see I need to devote a whole post later to Liz and her keynote sessions—she was a major highlight and I’m not sure I’ve even mentioned them) … Liz is so warm and personal, and makes you feel that you’re the only one in the room with her. She made me promise to email her when I finish reading Grace in Thine Eyes, told me to pray over the extra copy of Embrace Grace to see who the Lord would have me give it to, and I hugged her and went on.
Ronie snagged me at some point and with the beautiful concern that is just HER, asked me where I was during John’s workshop. “I defected,” I blurted, trying to smile, then my throat closed. She waited for me to explain. I blinked back tears and choked out, I’m sure sounding far more disgruntled and cynical than I felt, “I’m done with fantasy in the CBA.”
Her eyes met mine. “Think about this—please.”
I couldn’t find the words to explain that it was not resentment driving that statement. “For now,” I added, and she seemed to accept that.
I went last to the table that John shared with Randy Ingermanson and Meredith Efken. He also expressed concern that I hadn’t made the workshops and I can’t even remember what I said—I think I mentioned having an appointment. (John, if you ever read this … I hope you understand.) He signed the book, we laughed and talked, and then I made my way around to Meredith, where I struck up a conversation about “all things Welsh.” (SO much fun!! and another rambly little story.) And then it was time to go back upstairs and get dressed for the banquet.