Thursday, July 12, 2007

Adventures at ICRS

Okay, so I'm back from ICRS where I signed ARCs for Zora and Nicky: a Novel in Black and White. Cool cover, eh? And I'm happily exhausted and ready to dig in with The Exorsistah and finish it in like, 2 weeks before I move back to Inkster, and that's a whole different blog. We'll go there later, but for now, let me tell you my adventures.

I already told you I got to spend some time with The Ragamuffin himself. I got to spend even more time later, basking in his glow. And I heard ol' fancy pants speak. That's one powerful man o' God. He had a room full of people in tears. And I found out who makes those pants, Elysa. She's so my new best friend. And I'm so getting a pair. 'Cause I'm the girl Brennan, and I need me some patchy, wacky pants.

Oh, yeah, remember when I said I was going to let the Litany of Humility be my meditation? I so failed constantly, including just now. I mean, I wore a leopard dress and hooker heels to the Christy Awards. If that isn't a breech of humility I don't know what is. I believe I said on a few occasions, "I'm a RAWK STAR, but I mean that in the most humble, Christian way." You so can't be a humble, Christian RAWK STAR. But I felt so loved, I think God allowed me one or two rock star moments.

And I repent.

Girl Brennan Manning? I must be on drugs. Or need to be.

Now that my sins are taken care of, I can tell you that I met another literary love that I just got introduced to: Robert Benson. I just happened to notice he was sitting with my Scottish cousin Liz Higgs (she's my for-pretend cousin, though I really am of Irish/Scot heritage--of the blackalicous kind). He's a fabulous author, so funny, and winsome and terrific. I knew from his blog that he's very shy, so of course I tried to tone down the raga-d, though I gushed over him, me, this big ol' black, blonde in a leopard dress. He said, "I can only take about 25 minutes of it." What a peach! And his even more fabulous wife, literary agent Sara Fortenberry was next to him. He speaks about her with such love, grace, and admiration in his books. You feel like you know her and love her just as much. And she's amazing. She's a broad--a woman with power, grace, and strength, comfortable in her own skin. I just wanted to sit with her and learn. Later I saw Sara and she gave me tips for my television interview. She's AWESOME!

And remember that Big Honkin' Piccha I told you I had so much anxiety about? The one where I asked you to vote on what I should do with my hair. Braids or 'fro? And then I ended up going with a "braid 'fro"? Well, it turns out that I had plenty of reason to be anxious. That was not a picture. It was a planet! It was a jumbotron. It was an existential nightmare. And I'm laughing hysterically on the picture. I'm not even calm and restrained and normal. I'm having like, a seizure on that picture. And it's almost as big as Canada. I will be traumatized for the rest of my life by it.

No, really.

Let me give you an idea of the scale of it. And no, I didn't take a picture of it, or by it. Ken didn't like that either. He thought I totally dropped the ball on something historic. But I didn't have the heart to go near it. I'll show you a picture of the booth and Tom Davis' handsome picture. My piccha is behind his. You won't see much of me from this angle, Thank God. But the scale? Check out the size of humans. And the size of planet big honkin' frightening piccha:

People kept going up to the booth and saying, "Who is that woman?" And let me tell you, probably more than a few thought, "I'll have what she's having." God help us. Enormous piccha of me laughing in my braid 'fro? Another humility failure, just on principle.

I met Kathy Helmers, someone who I've wanted to meet for almost a year. She's even better than I imagined she'd be. I can't WAIT to see what God does with our friendship. And I saw my local pal Donna Kehoe. She put together a magnificent Christy Awards program where I got to cheer for one of my best buds Lisa Samson, who is always a winner to me. Wow! This year's banquet was even better than last year. Lauren Winner was guest speaker. And my dear literary love Phyllis Tickle got the Inaugural Christy Lifetime Achievement Award. Go, mama Phyllis!

Again, I didn't take picchas. So just, like, imagine photos going with the excessive, completely lacking in humility name dropping I'm doing here.

I also met some other big time literary loves, namely, the fabulous Debbie Macomber. In another conspiracy of grace my friend Wendy made sure I was strategically placed in chatting distance from The Queen of Popular Beloved Fiction. I got to tell her how much I loved her book Changing Habits and read it several times. Of course, that would be her least successful book, but I loved it ANYWAY! And Wendy laughed and said "That book would be your favorite." Which just goes to show you. But I also loved the Shirley, Goodness and Mercy books and Knitting books, and so many others. I love that she just does what she does and makes readers so very happy. She's made me happy many a day. And I love her Christmas books. Debbie is fun, and funny. And sassy! She's totally my new best friend!

Then I met total RAWK STAR humanitarian writer pure, undefiled religion practitioner Tom Davis. He's the author of the must read, The Red Letters. For us, a journey of several thousand miles begins at... Starbucks. Tom, Matt Monberg and I, and had a fantastic chat full of laughter and passion. Tom gave me the commission to be one voice among what he hopes will be many for orphans and widows. And I am on my way to Swaziland! And the Lord, my great and wonderful Lover, touched the heart of an anonymous donor and I'm GOING with my trip paid for in advance by someone who know something about doing one's alms in secret! Teach me, Jesus! I'll tell you the story about my desire to go to Africa and how... Well, that story for later. But I promise I'll tell it one day.

My agent Chip Macgregor and I had dinner. He suggested a fabulous meal of melt in your mouth baked halibut and fried shrimp on a bed of rice and veggies. And told the servers he was my DAD! We kept the illusion going, 'cause who wouldn't want to be his kid? We talked shop and I felt renewed in my passion to write the message God gave me. My own, ragamuffin diva brand Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for me.

I also got to sit with my pal Siri Mitchell and chat over some huge cheese danishes. I am a huge Siri fan. We only got to pass by one another last year. It was a pleasure to be with her.

I got to spend time with diva extraordinaire Dr. Gail Hayes. What a powerhouse! And my good buddy and shoe rescuer Marilynn Griffith keep me up all night with laughter and too much trouble. Mary tells about my prophetic shoe adventures here. We saw Dee Steward at the Christy Awards, while I still had my shoes. She looked lovely as ever, and the fine gentleman accompanying her walked us to Mary's rental car on the dark side.

Other pals I saw include Kim Stuart, Melody Carlson, Ginger Garrett, Anita Renfroe, Mary DeMuth, Camy Tang, Gina Holmes, Ane Mulligan, Rachelle Gardner, Colleen Coble and Kris Billerbeck, Brandilyn Collins, and that editor who never, ever buys my work, Dave Long and his lovely wife Sarah. I got to chat with Neta Jackson and the Rock Stars at The Design Works Group who truly Rawk HARD and designed the fabulous cover for Zora and Nicky. Ain't it grand, y'all? <---- ginormous lack of humility.

I had more adventures. Too many to tell. Didn't mean to leave anybody out, but I'm sure I did. Sorry.

Oh, Lord. I need to shut up now.

Anyway, I had a great time. If anybody sends pictures I'll share some. For now, just go with the imaginary ones.

God was so good to me, even though I wasn't very humble. I haven't laughed so much or loved so much or been so loved in a long time. No awfulizing before this trip. I knew I'd be butterflying, but I soared higher than I could have imagined, by that grace of Jesus Christ.



Paula said...

My heart sings at the abundant love of God poured over you at ICRS. Thanks for letting us share in a little taste of your grand experiences.

I love you, dear Sistie. What a story!

Can't wait to hear about Africa.

Robin said...

Mair, how in the world do you do it? I mean, for heaven's sake, woman, you name drop like pollen fallin' in the Spring, yet there's not one ounce of pretense in your body. Or if there is, it's magnificently disguised in a highlighted- hair, humility-wannabe kind of way, and you get away with murder...mayhem...and that sounds like a great beginning for a title of a book.

The only problems with blushin' on you are 1) sounding like blogarazzi, and 2) also sounding totally sychopantile, and 3) making up words to describe my stalkish behavior.

Soon, my crush will level out and I'll become a normal reader of yours...and then you'll miss the days when I could only see you with stars in my eyes, blinded by your amazing luminescence.

...goin' back to my corner now ;).

Joni said...

How incredibly wonderful for you. I'm overjoyed to hear of the blessings that came upon you, wave after wave!

AFRICA?! I can't wait to hear!

Elysa said...

WOWZER!!!! Little ole me has my name featured in the first paragraph of a Christian RAWK STAR, famous author's blog!!!! SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That made my day!!!!!

Okay, so obviously Mair, you're not the ONLY one who needs to meditate a little harder on that "litany of humility".


I do so love seeing my name in print. Probably a big part of why I loved being on the annual staff and newspaper staff in school and college. And yes, probably a large part of why I blog.

Oh Lord, its hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way!


But seriously, you did make me smile. And if you decide that you're now too humble and meek for the leopard print dress, well you've got my address! LOL! But you can keep the shoes. As vain as I am, my feet just can't do killer heels anymore.

Love you, love you, love YOU and in my book, you still RAWK!

BIG ole lipsticky kisses,

Elysa said...

Oops...just realized that I'm actually mentioned in the second paragraph...but that's probably a good thing. Helps me be a tad bit more meek. (need a "rolling eyes" icon here)

Elysa said...

Yep, I'm commenting again...your post is just so full of comment-worthy stuff!

PLEASE try to find a photo of your laughing, braid-fro self. I'd so love to see it. I bet its incredible!

And I can't wait to hear your Africa story...your dream that led you to going, what you hope to get out of it, if you have a book idea yet or just going with the eye, mind, and heart wide open to a story. I want to hear it all!

Because as you know, I'm a bit of a raving lunatic where Swaziland is concerned.

Or haven't you picked up on that yet??! ;)

lisa said...

I wish I had gotten to see you more, my friend, my friend.

I love you!!

Hi, I'm Dee said...

zora and nicky's cover is perfect. Perfect!

Glad to see you, girl. Daren got a kick out of y'all.

and i want to see the afro thingy, too.


CHickey said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience, and the cover is absolutely wonderful!

Camy Tang said...

It was so GREAT seeing you at ICRS! And thanks for the ARC of Zora and Nicky!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Ibeen really busy. This is my first time on walk-about in a while...Love the new blog look...and that's a dynamite cover for your new book!!

laundrygirl said...

I can't wait to read Zora and Nicky.

:-)Ronie said...

Mair - I'm way behind on everything (no surprise there), but I just had to let you know that I LOVE the cover for Zora and Nicky. GORGEOUS!!