I opted to wait until Sunday to do my regular Second Saturday Scrapbook post, because yesterday I did something for the first time that needed to be included in my scrapbook! One of my assignments from the Rubart Writing Academy that I attended in April was to get myself and my books "out there" in the public. I have now checked that first time effort off my list.
Thanks to my dear friend and fellow writer, Georgia Wilson, Saturday, Oct. 12, I shared her booth at the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, NC. A first for me, but Georgia is an old pro at these street festivals and she showed me the ropes. She writes fiction and short stories, many about local history. Find out more about her books at georgiaruthwrites.us.
I took along some special friends of mine, my doll Winny, and her dog, Ginny, two of the main characters in my Tresia series. I could have sold both of them many times over! But they did bring many people by the booth wondering about them. It was mid-afternoon before I made any sales. One was to a grandfather looking for books for his twelve-year-old granddaughter that "would steer today's young people in the right direction." He asked many questions about the books and I shared with him how the stories had spiritual truths underneath the plot, such as the Armor of God in the form of a hat, an umbrella, and a cane. I told him I was inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia, and though he had not heard of Narnia, he did know C.S Lewis, the author. He bought the trilogy. I was thrilled.
Next was a sweet young girl of eleven who wandered over to our booth when she spied "Winny and Ginny" perched on the end of my table. When she found out that they were characters in my books, she told me how she loved to read! She wanted to know how much they were and when I told her, her face fell. "I'm on a budget today and I don't have that much money left" she told me. I said I would sell her Book I for what her budget allowed. Her dad joined us and she told him that she wanted the first book and that she had enough money to buy it. He asked questions about the books and I told them both to read the back cover copy for more information. The daughter read for a few seconds and hugged the book to herself and declared, "I can tell from the first few sentences that I will love this book!" I almost cried. Her dad took a card, so they could order the other two books online. I hope they do. "You made my day, honey," I told her as they left. And she did.
Another special thing about the day was the family in the booth next to ours. They sold paintings and things made from re-purposed items. I bought Dennis a painting on an old LP album of a musical staff. It will be perfect in his recording studio. The mom told me that as she painted it, they had talked about a buyer who had a music room, but were happy to learn it would hang in Macs Music Recording Studio. She took one of my business cards and said she would be homeschooling their daughter in a couple years and would need books for her. At a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I gave her a copy of our daughter's story and family testimony, "I Will Not Fear: A Chosen Life." The couple serenaded us throughout the day with banjo, guitar, and some good 'ol bluegrass singing. Their music business is called "Chirp! On the Mountain." I love that. The art website is: NITSA-ART.CO
When the day was over and Dennis and I were on our way home, I was tired, but grateful for the two people who bought my books and to Georgia for sharing her space with me. Now that I have that festival under my belt, I'm going to watch for local festivals where I can do this again. It always helps to have friends show how things are done the first time around!
This morning in church, our pastor shared something he saw this week: "The devil tries to keep you worrying about what happens next, so you won't take time to enjoy the blessings you have right now." I was guilty. I had worried and stewed about the preparation needed for this weekend, the early morning set-up time and almost 3-hour trip, what if nobody talked to me or bought any books, etc. The only thing I was sure of was that I would greatly enjoy spending the day with Georgia. But God, in His infinite mercy, took my worries and turned them into a day of amazing fellowship with my friend, strength and energy to get through the long hours, confidence in (and even having fun!) talking to strangers about my books, two encouraging sales to a grandpa who was concerned for today's children, who invested in my books believing they may fill a need, and one wonderful little girl who made my day when she hugged my book! All-in-all, a most scrapbook-worthy day!
I encourage you, as this verse always does me, to "be strong and courageous" like Joshua. Get out there and share your talents and expertise with the world. The Lord has given each of us a special assignment to accomplish what He has equipped us to do. The best part of His individual Plan for each of his kids, is to give us something to do for Him that we enjoy doing. I have enjoyed most of my jobs, but as I was reminded this weekend, being an author is my calling for this season. I am excited, grateful, and ever so humbled today, to embrace and pursue that calling. I pray that you will pursue your calling and experience your own scrapbook-worthy days! Be BLESSED
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis since 1974, enjoys living in the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.