Tuesday, July 12, 2005

CBA, Part 2

Howdy after a long and tiring Monday. Thanks to those of you who left comments yesterday, particularly LaShaunda and Karen, who rose to the surface from lurkdom. Welcome to the above waters side.

Question about ChiLibris. Sorry, that was a slip of mine. I know not everyone knows what that is. ChiLibris is an organization and e-mail loop of Christian novelists. Members must have at least 2 novels on the shelf. We have about 120 members, maybe more. These very talented people represent the vast majority of all the novels you read in CBA, and somehow they allow me to tag along. Every year before the CBA convention, we have a retreat for about 3 days. It’s a wonderful time of fellowship, discussing our craft and the business, and worshipping. And, oh yeah, eating. I am always amazed and humbled to sit in the retreat room each year. I look around and see all the faces and names of those who write the Christian novels you see on the shelves, and I think, “Sheesh, what a mass of talent in this room.”

So. Here was my day at CBA.

8 a.m.—meeting with agent and her assistant for breakfast in another hotel. Which meant leaving my hotel at 7:30 and hoofing it the few blocks. Good thing I left a little early, seeing as how I hoofed it in the wrong direction for two blocks before I realized what I’d done. Fortunately I wasn’t stupid enough to wear heels that were too high, so the shoes were feeling fairly comfortable at that point.

9:30—meeting over. Caught shuttle to Convention Center.

9:45—entered Convention Center. Whoa, lawsy, what was that MUSIC? Rock and jazz and way cool stuff! Some Christian jazz band was playing—all men, maybe 10 of ’em—in the lobby outside the convention floor. They rocked, they did a little rap, they jazzed. I mean, did they jazz. At one time they had 3 guys each playing TWO wind instruments. Like one guy playing two trumpets at once, another playing two saxes. I tell you, I headed straight for the music and rocked out. I could have stayed there all day. Who needed the convention anyway? The band was called Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. I got a free CD. You can check them out at

10:00—or shortly thereafter. Drat. The band quit playing. I headed into the convention center to walk the floor and gawk at all the booths. Row after row. Gift booths to the left, book publisher booths to the right. Spotted the Zondervan booth right away even though it was down at the end of an aisle because of its huge banner up high with the Z logo. Did a quick pass through to check it out. Then hoofed it waaay back out into the lobby, down a major escalator, waaay down a long hall, took a right, waaay down another long hall—to the Z hospitality suite, where I could leave some things I didn’t want to tote around all day. Yes, the publishers’ hospitality suites couldn’t have been further than the convention floor, but such is the way it always seems to be. Went waaay back up to walk the floor and schmooze.

11:45—quick media interview. Of course it was waay back downstairs. No, make that down, downstairs. These conventions centers are chock full of levels and halls.

12:15—interview over. Time for free food in the Z suite. Yay! An author never passes up free food. Sat at a table in the suite with the Z marketing person, my editor, Terri Blackstock and her husband, and James Scott Bell. Randy Ingermanson came along, but we quickly kicked him out. No vegetarian physicists allowed. (Okay, in reality he came, got food and split with it, but I like my version of the story better.) We were the rowdiest bunch in the suite. But then, we were the novelists. What can you expect? The rest of the wonderful Z team has learned to put up with us.

12:45—media interview with Focus on Fiction. Kelly audiotaped it to run on her blog. And she took a couple of pictures. In one we look normal, and in one . . . we don’t. You might check it out at

1:15—schmoozed with some friends until my next meeting.

2:00—meeting with marketing person at Z to discuss promotions for current and upcoming novels. Of course it couldn’t be so simple to have this meeting at the Z suite, where I was. I had to go waaayy back upstairs to the Z booth on the convention floor. Before the meeting I passed by Terri Blackstock signing her books at the Z suite. I gathered together Robin Lee Hatcher, Deb Raney and friend Tammy Alexander, and we edged near Terri and her long line of fans and all screamed, “Oooh, look! It’s Terri Blackstock! Aaaah!” The booksellers peered at us and rolled their eyes. Novelists.

Meeting ended up being not in Z booth, because there was no room there either, so marketing person and I hoofed it waay to the other end of the convention floor to find a place to sit.

On the way back to the Z booth after our meeting, we passed by Jim Bell signing at the Bethany booth, with his long line of fans waiting. I scream, “Ooooh, look! It’s Jim Bell!!” and pretended to swoon. Jim vowed to get me back. Which he probably will, since we’re signing together tomorrow. Z marketing person turned her badge over so no one would know she was from Zondervan while with this crazy novelist.

3:00—met quickly with an author friend, Randy Singer (writes great legal suspense) to catch up with each others’ doin’s. Of course, this meeting was waaay back down outside the Z hospitality suite, That’s because the 2:00 meeting was supposed to be there before it got kicked upstairs.

3:30—went waaay back up to convention floor to walk and schmooze a little. Feet were feeling it by then. I found a table to sit and write out notes while everything was fresh in my mind from my 2:00 meeting.

5:15—met with folks from The Writers View e-mail loop to go to dinner. Of course, we had to hoof it out of the convention center, up the street, catch the shuttle, get off shuttle, walk a little further to restaurant. Where I slipped off my shoes underneath the table.

7:30—I’d had it. I left restaurant for hotel. Walked a block to catch shuttle, rode bus, walked two blocks to hotel. Got to my room waaaay tired. First thing I did was kick off my shoes. Time to chill, finally.

Oops, wait a minute. Have to write blog . . .

Today—signing at the Z booth with Jim Bell. Perhaps catch tail end of luncheon with ACFW folk. Catch town car to airport. Fly home. Write 4-5 pages of Paige novel on airplane (when I’d rather rest).

Oh, yeah. And write blog.

Check back tomorrow to see if I’m still alive.


Anonymous said...

What good exercise CBA provides! Can't wait to hear how Jim rises to the occasion. Fun, fun. Wish I were there.

Anonymous said...

Brandilyn, all the walking you did waaaaay over here and there reminded me of your healing. What a blessing to be capable of covering all that ground! Wish I could drive down from Loveland and say hello.

Watch out for Jim today.

C.J. Darlington said...

What fun to experience CBA vicariously through this blog. Thanks so much for adding it to your already hectic schedule.

Anonymous said...

I'm waaaay exhausted following ya babe, and I didn't even leave my computer. Ha.

I once heard a story about an Olympic athlete who decided to follow a nine month old baby and do everything it did. The athlete gave up after 2 hours.

I'm pretty sure that whatever Jimbo dishes, you'll serve up something equally good.

Domino said...

I enjoyed listening to your interview with Kelli from Focus on Fiction. Your books might be breath-taking, but your audio interviews show how much fun you are in person. Another proof that people who are filled with the love of God can be silly, smart, entertaining, and encouraging - all at the same time.

C.J. Darlington said...

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra are great, aren't they? I knew who you were talking about even before you mentioned their name. Got to see them two years ago at the Creation festival. Appropriate they're playing in Denver ...

D. Gudger said...

Have you been frightened by the giant bear peeking in the windows on the South side of the convention center?

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Denver Post about the convention. The author was puzzling over the stats that Christian fiction is about 50% of the current book market!!! Yeah!

Too bad the CBA convention is closed to the public. I'd really like to do the spider signal thing and meet you! I live in this great Oxygen-deprived city!

Diana Urban said...

First time I've been here. Great blog! I feel like I'm at CBA. :-)
And your editing previous to CBA is very intersting. I'll be back.
Have a great time with the "normals!"
Diana Urban

Anonymous said...

Great run-down of CBA! I enjoyed your interview on Focus on Fiction as well. Just wondering....which of those pictures of you and Kelly were the normal ones?

Anonymous said...

Oh, ha-ha, Miss Emily.

Everyone knows the normal pic of us is the second one.