Five Non-writing Related things that happened to me at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference

The title of this post suggests something juicy and dark. I assure you, it’s not. In fact, as I was getting ready to type this post, I had an idea  I would give my reflections of my time at the conference. After all, it was a blessed event with Christian writers of all stages and genres gathering together for the sake of the craft.

Yet, I got to thinking about several things not related to writing that happened at the conference. Things that I’ll share that’ll make you wonder if the light bill’s paid in Parker’s noggin.

I’m behind on the electricity payments to my brain but I’m working on a payment plan.

Later on, I’ll post my reflections but for right now, hear me out.


#5 Encountered a June bug for the first time in my life.

I sat across from my new friend, Adria, in the patio section of Biola University’s cafeteria. We enjoyed a heaping helping of teriyaki ground beef with onions, sauce, and a cool drink.  The sunlight poured over us as we chatted, bemoaning the fact that it was the last day of the conference. Something flew by. A big, greenish blue something that zigzagged around like a drunken ball.

Disclaimer: I am not a lover of insects. All insects that enter the Cole residence are immediately subjected to death by squashing,  hair spray, or drowning with any liquid nearby.

 I whimpered and bent my head, twisting about and making so much noise folks behind me glanced over, wondering what the fuss was about.  Adria, cool, calm, and collected, ducked with graceful elegance while I bordered on flipping the table over and running for parts unknown. Across from us, a table of four elders sat. An older gentleman simply waved the monstrosity that hovered around us and it flew off.

I collapsed back into the chair, heart pounding and my lungs clamoring for air. The older gentleman looked at me.  “You all right over there? We’ve got a nurse over here if you need one.”

“Yeah. She can take your blood pressure,” his compadre hollered out. “Wonder what it’ll be now?”

#4. Rode in a Ferrari

On Thursday night, I had the honor to doing a live broadcast on one of the campus chapels. I was excited but tired.  I’d done a ton of walking from one workshop and appointment to the other. Plus, the weather had been turned up from hot to burn.  Well-organized person that I am, I had decided to leave my equipment in my dorm room and would ‘run and get it later on’.

‘Later on’ arrived and I walked the last three miles back to my dorm room. The outer door was locked and time was ticking down.  In dismay, I stood outside the door in my blue finery, and happened to see a utility vehicle driving by. “Hey sir! I can’t get into the dorm.”

“I’ll be right there.”

He disappeared around the bend and about three minutes later he drove up. “I had to go all the way around.”

“No problem. Just glad you could help me out.”

He used his key to open the door. “What? Were you just locked out? You don’t have your key?”

“I have it right here,” I said slowly. “Wait. I can use my dorm key to get into the building?”

“Yep.”

Disclaimer: I’ll always wonder if the Lord had that kind, young man put on shades so I wouldn’t see his eyes roll in the back of his head. 

I raced upstairs to my room and gathered my equipment. I came back down and realized I had to walk back. I’m not the fastest walker on the earth. I literally prayed, “Dear Lord, please let there be someone out here who can drive me back to the chapel. My feet hurt.”

I opened the door and the nice, young man was still there. “Oh! Would you mind driving me to the chapel.”

“Sure. No problem.”

Before my eyes, the utility vehicle transformed into a Ferrari. I hopped onto the narrow seat and held on to the bar.  We began to drive at top speed of ten miles an hour. The wind blew across my face. After a riveting ride, we pulled up in front of the chapel. I saw Adria talking to an attendee. I called out to her as we jerked to a stop in front of the hallowed halls, “This is my hot, billionaire Dan and his Ferrari.”

#3. Met my Character in Person

Before the live broadcast that night, I met a man I already knew. Well, not really. Yet, when my eyes met his, I understood Karen Eiffel’s feeling when she met Harold Crick.

Tall, with broad shoulders, a gruff voice, and kind eyes. When I saw his beard, which was only different in length and color from my main character in ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, my upcoming release, I almost fell to the ground, too. I looked at him and blurted out. “You look exactly like my character from my book.”

Taking it all in stride, said unknown man responded. “Really?”

“Yes!” I stared up at him. “You do! All I’d have to do is change the color of your beard. I love men with beards.”

Disclaimer: In my defense, it was getting on 11:00 pm Eastern time and I’m not all there late at night. After 10:00 pm, I’m a little loopy. Yes, I buzzed with excitement but it was mixed with tiredness. Not a good combination. 

I waxed eloquently about my love for beards when he invited, “You can touch my beard if you like.”

My eyes widened. “I couldn’t touch your beard. I might make her mad.” I nodded toward his young wife.

“No, you won’t,” she told me.

“Of course, I will,” I insisted.

“Go ahead, you can touch it.”

Driven by an urge beyond my will I reached and very quickly rubbed his beard. It was soft. I told him that and he shrugged.

Nothing awkward about the whole exchange, right? Keep reading.

#2 Insulted my Character…in Person

The broadcast went well. When I’m around people, I get energized so we had a great time.  During the broadcast, we had a ‘Story Off’, which was hilarious.  By now, it’s midnight Eastern time and I start the trek back home. The Ferrari had turned back into a utility vehicle and my billionaire Dan disappeared into the midnight.

At least he got me to the church on time!  (A My Fair Lady reference for those of you too young to know.)

I walked back to the dorms. It was cooler now and besides seeing something that looked like a cat (I’ll never know nor was I interested in finding out) tread across my path, I got back to my room. The key was being stubborn and I stood in front of the door twisting and turning and thinking all kinds of unpleasant thoughts about keys in general. The door next to me opened and I see my character’s wife come out.

“Oh hi!” I said.

“Hey! Do you have a headband. I forgot to pack one.”

“I sure don’t. So sorry!” I see my character poke his head out the door. “Oh! We’re neighbors!” he said.

That nice man, with his masculine strength, ended up opening the door for me. I thanked him profusely and went in. I looked at the belt on my dress and decided to give it to his wife in exchange for his help with opening the door. I rush back outside and I said,

“Hey, in exchange for your help, you can have my belt from my dress.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet of you! But I have one already.”

“Well, thanks again!” I turn to the man, “I don’t want to upset your wife since you did unlock the door and I did rub your beard.”

He stilled. “That’s not my wife, that’s my daughter.”

Awkward silence. My memory rushed through my brain. There’s a teen track tomorrow for the teen writers. Of course, that’s his daughter.

“She’s fourteen.” His eyebrow draws in.

I rush back to my room and close the door. I think I tried to cover it up with a joke but is there a neat joke for a faux pas of this magnitude?

Disclaimer: I know. Stupid.

#1 Talked straight for forty-five minutes

I think God gave me the gift for gab but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

I’d sat down with Adria, Kendra a lovely young lady from a media production company, and Troy an author from the conference. I did, of course, try to employ the gentle art of conversation but then we started talking about the two workshops I taught.

Disclaimer:

 

In my workshops, I talked about Taboo Subjects in Christian Fiction and I Swear: Using Swear Words and Harsh Language in Christian fiction. This, of course, ran down the rabbit trail of my life, my books, my upbringing, my beliefs, my shows, my love for sci-fi monster movies, and who knows what else with three lovely people looking at me.

At least we were eating at the dinner table. I called my husband that night and told him, “I think I talked too much.”

His sage response: “You probably did.”

The next day, I wanted to see if said persons would run away from me when they saw me. None did. So maybe talking too much isn’t a bad thing?

Of course, there were more things I did at the conference I enjoyed but these kind of standout, wouldn’t you say?

 

 

 

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