no stabbing!

I have returned! My purple chucks are now firmly planted on Virginia soil. What a weekend it was! I met so many fantastic people at the ACFW conference, and I could try to tell you about all of it, but it would probably take forever. So I’ll just focus on a few standout moments:

1. My Book Therapy’s take on the Wizard of Oz.

MBT Pizza Party

(That’s Susan May Warren and Jim Rubart as Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion, respectively.)

There was singing. There was dancing. There were costumes! And when they mentioned the “Agent of Oz”, I didn’t think much of it until the lion said “But he’s so scary.. and intimidating!” and I thought Dude! It’s gonna be Chip!

And it was. So one point for me! (At my first conference, when people found out I had an appointment with Chip MacGregor, they said one of two things: 1. “Oh wow, you’re really brave!” 2. “Ohh. Now… Don’t be intimidated…”)

Major props to all the people in MBT’s take on The Wizard of Oz. Great talent all around.

2. Laurie winning the Genesis in the Contemporary category.

Laurie wins Genesis

I cannot tell you how sweet and fantastic Laurie is. I’m thrilled for her and all the fabulous things that are about to come her way. I’m so glad we got the chance to hang out and laugh and geek out a little over the people we got to meet. Speaking of which…

3. Pinning a boutonniere on Frank Peretti.

Frank Peretti2

See? (Yeah, I’d be making that face too, Frank, if some random person was coming at me with a sharp pin. Especially when she says she writes murder mysteries.)

How did I get such a fabulous opportunity? Well, see… I ended up with 4 appointments (madness!). One of those was a mentor appointment with Allen Arnold, which was fantastic and super encouraging. He mentioned that he was going to be sitting with Frank Peretti at the gala and I was like “I so want to meet him but I don’t want to be that girl who jumps in front of him as he’s walking by.”

(Seriously. Laurie and I had to withhold the “oh my gosh, it’s Frank Peretti!!” enthusiasm when he walked by as we were waiting for appointments.) So Allen Arnold (for some reason I feel compelled to refer to him by both his first and last names) kindly offered to introduce me to him.

Frank was the guest of honor for the gala (since he was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award) so Allen Arnold had been given a boutonniere to give him. I made a joke about him pinning it on Frank which he wasn’t particularly eager to do. When Frank came by, I told him how much I had enjoyed growing up with his kids’ books, and then Allen Arnold offered to let me pin the boutonniere on Frank.

Ok, seriously… I don’t have a lot of experience with these things. So I was a tad worried I wasn’t going to be able to get it stay or I’d end up being known as the girl who pin-stabbed Frank Peretti. Minor details.

But I managed to get it on with no stabbing! When I saw him later, the boutonniere was even still in place. Score! Super major thanks to Allen Arnold for letting me have the opportunity.

(In other news, do you see my hair? Did that myself, without having to remove my head in order to reach the back. And it stayed up all night, thanks to 20 bobby pins and insane amounts of hairspray.)

Whew. So many good times. It felt weird to be home after all of that. I don’t think I was done yet. It was one incredible weekend, but I guess the purple chucks have earned themselves a break.

Earl Grey day

As promised, the continuation of my birthday weekend adventure:

After playing murder in the icebox, Beth and I hefted towels, food, water, and Orli (my camera) and planted ourselves on the beach. The sky was clear, the sun warm.

Beach 6

We sat, enjoying this view and chatting. Until Beth turned and looked behind me.
“Oh wow!” she exclaimed.
(Can I just say, it makes me seriously nervous when people look behind me and make strange faces.)
“What?” I was almost afraid to look. I turned slowly, half-expecting to see some kind of killer seagull about to bury a claw in my neck.
I saw this instead:

Beach 2

A massive, beautiful storm, rolling in behind us.

Beach 8

Weird, right? And if I simply turned around . . .

Beach 1

Like a two-faced sky.

Beach 9
I got as close to the dunes as I could without climbing on them. Most places frown on that, and I didn’t want to get Beth banned for life.

Beach 7

I promise I didn’t put this pic in black and white. This is full color.

Beach 4

What a storm.

It wasn’t quite the beach day I was expecting, but man I love storms and it gave us some great views. The stormy and gray day was much like the way Beth and I had described the flavor of Earl Grey when we tried it the day before. (My main character likes it so it was time for me to give it a taste. And of course I had to enlist the help of my tea-loving friend.)

Earthy, elegant, stormy. It was an Earl Grey day. (Maybe when we were throwing out adjectives, we were actually writing the weather forecast… Note to self: try that again.)

Oddly enough, we didn’t actually end up getting rained on. Somehow the storm mostly skirted around us but kindly wandered by close enough for me to capture a little bit of it. And share a few pieces with you.