Tuesday, April 10, 2012

UCF Book Fest, Spring Break and Easter

This past week was a whirlwind of the best possible kind. Not only did I get to participate in the UCF Book Festival, I got to come home, unpack, repack, and head down to my favorite place in all the world-- the NC coast with Curt and our three youngest children. I thought I'd share some highlights from what I was doing when I wasn't here blogging last week:

The book fest was every bit as fun as I remembered from the previous year. I got to attend a very sophisticated reception on Friday night, complete with chocolate fountain. (Nothing says sophistication like a chocolate fountain, you know.) Then the next day I got to speak on a panel and sit in on some as well. I learned much and came away inspired by the authors I heard from-- both as reader and author. I simply love authors. They are our nation's treasure and I am never more convinced of that than when I spend time around them. Some of the authors I enjoyed meeting for the first time were Joshilyn Jackson, Alan Wolf, Michael and Daniel Palmer, and Stephanie Tyson and Vivian Joyner.

Some of the authors I was delighted to see again were Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, Karen White, River Jordan, and my Southern Belle View buddies, Lisa Wingate and Rachel Hauck. I also got to meet some readers who follow either SBV or my blog, and that was so fun. Not to mention hanging out with the book bloggers extraordinaire, Anita, Heather, and Sandy. Many thanks to the talented folks who put this event together. If you live within a reasonable drive to Orlando and love to read, put the UCF Book Fest on your radar and come. It's free!

After my fun weekend, I came home and didn't have time to be sad it was over, because I was onto our spring break getaway to Ocean Isle Beach, NC. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Frances invited us down for a week with them in their beautiful home on the island, which we happily said yes to.

We ate seafood in Calabash, tasted wedding cakes at a local bakery (research for my new novel-- I know, rough life), sat on the beach (and sometimes shivered) for hours, read books, fished off my uncle's dock (I didn't but the kids did), and took numerous rides on the golf cart. It was idyllic and the perfect way to spend the kids' break from school. We came home reluctantly when the weather turned cold and rainy. Then we spent the weekend unpacking and easing back into real life, which I always find traumatic.

Sunday meant baskets filled with chocolate, church, a huge lunch, and an egg hunt. Again, it was a great day. Some of you may remember my goal of finding a church home and be there for Easter Sunday and I think that has happened. It feels like home to me, at least, and I think the rest of the family is getting there. I especially enjoyed the Easter service and was so happy to have my long row of family members sitting with me. The college student even came home and joined us.

The whirlwind is over and life is getting back into full swing. We have lots of practices and games for the kids this week, I need to make significant progress on my novel that is due May 15th, and there are groceries that need to be bought, library books to return, and other pressing errands to attend to. I have to make something for the teacher luncheon at the kids' school and do lunch duty there one day. And I have more research to do at a local bakery. (Yeah, I know-- you feel real sorry for me.) In some ways it feels good to get back to real life, but mostly I just feel like the fun just went by way too fast.
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Zibilee said...

What an amazing few weeks you had! It was so nice to get the chance to spend some time with you, and I am really eager to do it again soon. I also can't wait to get a look at what you are working on, and think that it sounds great. Have a wonderful week! I hope it's every bit as fun and productive as the last few have been!

Heather said...

So glad you had a good time! Enjoy this "research" at bakeries... Hmmm... :)

Anita said...

It was so good to see you again at the UCF book festival. Even nicer the 2nd time around. Your vacation sounds wonderful. Mummify you need help with that cake and bakery research I'm up to the task!
Looking forward to your new works!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It sounds like you had an awesome weel! Book research at a bakery? I'd be totally in for that! ;)

Too bad I can't afford a plane ticket to Scotland or I'd be doing some serious on-the-field-research for my current WIP right now too.

I'm looking forward to hearing what your next novel will be about...and I'm already eagerly anticipating reading through The Guest Book!