Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Making Connections

If you read last week’s post, you will remember that +Cindy Huff, my guest blogger, stated that beneficial to attending a conference are the connections you make with editors, agents, and fellow writers.  I attended two days of the Write-to-Publish Writers Conference in Wheaton, Illinois last week and do I have a story for you...

In my latest novel, I wanted Sonja to invite some authors to her coffee shop. The idea was simple. Sonja could have a local author or an author who had written about Door County visit the shop and have a book signing.

I first thought I might make up authors and books to highlight. Then I had the notion of researching to see if I could find a real author to include. One of the first books that came up in my search was A Door County Christmas.  It is a collection of four Christian romance novellas all set in Door County. 

Hmmm… Sounds interesting so far. My husband, filled with kringle and pastries made in the name of research happily ordered the book for me. I contacted one of the four authors, +Cynthia Ruchti, and told her my idea.

“I want to invite you to speak at my fictional coffee shop in Door County,” I typed. The author checked out my blog and agreed to let me include her in my book. Actually, her comment was “This sounds like fun!”

Pretty cool, right? Well, it gets better. As I checked her website I realized Cynthia Ruchti+ was scheduled to lead worship at the Write-to-Publish conference. The very same conference I planned to attend. The very conference I used to launch my writing career last year. As it turns out, Cindy was the worship leader last year as well. I just never made the connection.

Cynthia Ruchti and Me!
So I arrived on Wednesday morning. I am standing in the hall when I see the guest speaker in my book arrive. As she gets close I intend to introduce myself but instead she sees my name badge and gives me a big hug. She led my critique group on Wednesday evening and we had lunch together on Thursday afternoon. What fun. What is even more interesting is that I think I nailed her bubbling personality in the pages of my book. Cynthia Ruchti is a woman who loves the Lord and uses every fiber in her being to share that love.

The fictional book signing was a great success. Here is an excerpt from when Sonja first learns from Melissa that the author has accepted the invitation.

“You’re not going to believe this, Sonja,” she called as she raced up the steps to what Sonja called Shirley’s kitchen. “Remember when you told me to see if one of the authors of A Door County Christmas would be available for the Pumpkin Festival next year?”

“Are you going to say one of them will come next year?” Sonja answered with great anticipation.

“Well, I don’t know about NEXT year, but Cynthia Ruchti can come THIS year!” Melissa giggled.

            “This year? This October?” Sonja was shocked.

“She emailed me back and said it sounds like fun. She lives in Wisconsin. She and her husband love Door County and as it happens she is not scheduled for anything that week except for a women’s Bible study midweek so we need to look at the calendar and send her some dates back!” Melissa was fairly dancing around the kitchen balancing her laptop on one arm and poised to type with the other.

Yep, that is what I call making connections. By the way, as I enter this revision stage I will let you in on a few changes my critique group suggested. But that is for another day. See you next week.

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