After paying for a room at the beautiful downtown Atlanta budget motel (which shall remained unnamed), using all my airline miles as well as my husband's, and packing my
bags - oops! No I mean bag (singular) since they charge per bag these days - I was on my way to the International Christian Retail Show. This was an adventure as I had no idea what it was nor why I was going. Deep River Books, my publisher, invited me. My first night in the cockroach-free motel was fine.
Sunday I enjoyed the Mass at the Basilica within easy walking distance. The security guard out in front did cause me some concern. We definitely don't need one at my little Holy Rosary Church in the Cascade foothills. Sunday evening I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with the Deep River Books group. I then walked back to my to my cut-rate motel with some other Deep River authors, although the last one of them deserted me at the Hilton as I continued a block to my haven. It was fine until about 5:00 am when some noisy people woke me up. I assumed they were rude guests checking out early. I tried to sleep but by about 5:30 realized there was violent yelling now accompanied by stomping on the floor above me. After several phone calls to the front desk and pounding on the ceiling to try to save someone's life, I heard a different pounding and a voice, "This is the police. Open up!" I tiptoed out my door and up the stairs just far enough to peek in the third floor hallway and see a police officer. This was only one of the disturbing events. Next time, the Hilton!
Monday morning I figured out how to take the shuttle bus to the Georgia World Congress Center. I arrived early to be there for the opening ceremonies. Apparently no one else thought that was important. I watched them set up and put tape on the carpeting to keep the crowds back from the red-ribbon to be ceremoniously cut. With no competition for a good spot, I stood with my toes on the line. About 6 other people were there. Once the prayer started the crowd swelled to about 30 people. This was amazing to me considering the opening prayer was given by Phil Robertson and a message by his son, Alan. Their TV show, Duck Dynasty, is the most-watched reality show on cable.
I checked in at the Deep River booth, and asked what I was supposed to do. They suggested I "make contacts." My only appointment was a book signing on Tuesday for 45 minutes. That left me three full days of what? I wandered aimlessly looking at other booths with books, wall plaques, Christmas decorations, and toys. I checked back in at our booth about every half hour still befuddled as to why I was there.
I went back to my room, dropped off my warmer clothes, and returned to the Show. I checked in
at the booth again and confirmed that I was to mingle and meet people.
They informed me the goal was to get rid of all 57 of my books that we had brought - hopefully into the hands of bookstore owners. It finally happened. I ended up meeting many bookstore owners, book and magazine publishers, and other authors. I collected free books at author signings - even from the Robertsons and Shirley Dobson. My signing was incredibly successful - running out of books in 30 minutes.
I came home with a pile of business cards from contacts and a suitcase full of free books. I pondered leaving some clothes there, but just sat on my one bag and bounced until I got it zipped shut. All in all, it was a very successful trip. I made some friendships which I will treasure for years to come.
Barbara with Shirley Dobson