I spent most of Thursday at the annual LDS Booksellers Association convention. It was my second time there, and I loved every minute of it . . . except for when I was walking, because I had the stupidity to wear some shoes that, while incredibly cute (thanks for letting me babysit them, Mom!) pinched something fierce. I hobbled my way back to the car at day's end.
On the up side, this year I remembered to bring a camera. On the down side, I didn't remember to take it out very often, so I don't have pictures of things I really should have: hanging out with Michele Holmes and Stephanie Fowers at the Covenant breakfast, spending time with Josi Kilpack and Julie Wright, and chatting it up with the Covenant editors, especially my very own editor, the illustrious Angela (who rocks beyond measure and recently found my blog. Hi, dear!).
So we'll make do with the few photographs I did get.
First is a picture of the Whitney Awards booth, where I spent the time between the Covenant breakfast and my signing, helping to spread the word about the Whitney program and getting retailers and other industry professionals to join the voting academy. (The gent you see in the picture is BJ Rowley, one of the members of the Whitney Committee.) An example of the award is off to the left, but being as the award itself has no color and is transparent, it's hard to make out. It looks (quite fittingly) like an open book.
Next is the giant banner with my book cover on it. Last year when I saw At the Journey's End on such a banner, it was so dang cool to see it blown up so big that I vowed to be sure to bring a camera next time. So I did. :)
Lastly, there's a picture of me at the signing table with a stack of ARC's of Spires of Stone that I got to touch, hold, and flip through for the first time. On the right is a basket with white chocolate temples I made to give away with the books because I'm a total idiot and make more work for myself than necessary (hey, but I have fun doing it)!
This was the day that the reality struck home. Spires will be on shelves in a couple of weeks now! The road getting it to press felt long, and at the time the release felt a world away, so the fact that it's staring me in the face is wild. It crept up on me fast. I'm suddenly realizing all the promotional things I wanted to do and now need to get going on because it's TIME.
Funny thing is that I've been telling people that my fifth book is coming out, and then I have to stop myself and count to double-check. Yes, that's right. Five. A whole hand! The journey to this point has been amazing, and I'm so grateful to be where I am, writing the stories I do and having the chance to share them with readers. I can't tell you how gratifying it was to have book store owners get their copy yesterday and talk about my books in such glowing terms: asking how many more are coming, when the NEXT one will be done ("Hurry!" they said, even though one is just now coming out. I am trying to hurry. I am!) Several people had to be turned away from getting a copy after the 50 brought for the signing were gone.
One moment from the day stands out for me. Backing up: A creative writing professor I had in college warned the class that the chances of any of us getting published were pretty slim. He also said that most of us weren't good enough and really shouldn't be writing. He was just being realistic, trying to not inflate our hopes, I know, but I decided right then and there that I would prove him wrong.
Yesterday as I walked from one side of the hall to the other, I saw him. He was there because his own latest book just came out. He recognized me, and we had a brief exchange. I have no idea if he remembers what he told the class over a dozen years ago.
But he does know that at least one of his students defied the odds.
And that fact makes the success just a little sweeter.
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