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Monday, July 15, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole—A Tale of A Newbie’s Adventure in ICRS Land

I wasn’t led by a white rabbit to a large hole in the ground to jump into, but I felt somewhat like Alice in Wonderland when I had opportunity to attend my first ICRS event a couple weeks ago.

Attending what is the main CBA event of each year had been on my “bucket list” for a long time, and when the fact that ICRS was being held only a 5-1/2 drive from my home and that my book, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was currently out, attending made sense.

Armed with a media pass from Novel Rocket and high expectations, I was beyond excited. Trade shows weren’t new to me, but ICRS was something special, because I was going as a published author and I had some awesome interviews lined up for Novel Rocket.
Did I say I didn’t have a rabbit hole to drop into? One could disagree considering endless hallway we had to navigate to find the exhibit floor ... after we crossed a large lobby and walked past the registration desk. 

We walked and walked and walked some more, past meeting rooms and food vendors. And still more hallway lay ahead.

Wait! Is that the exhibit hall ahead?

Yes! We are finally at the bottom of the rabbit hole! 

I approached the stern-faced security guard, made sure he saw my media pass, then stepped through the doors.

This is where the Alice in Wonderland metaphor ends, because I wasn’t in Wonderland at all. It was more like Disneyland. Or better yet, my first thought describes it aptly:
This is like a Christian store on steroids!!

Aisle after aisle, booth after booth contained more plaques, knick knacks, and artwork than I’d ever seen in one place.

Beautiful items that lured me to come closer and investigate.

It was then I realized wearing my telltale orange media badge protected me from the sales pitches those manning the booths were ready to drop on any retailer who stopped to look. But, that didn’t mean I wouldn’t want to buy a few items for myself. Good thing they only sold in bulk to the store owners. I might have been broke by the time I went home. Still, I walked every aisle, taking in all the delights. 

Aside from the retail product, another section featured row upon row of publisher booths. And, like a lot of people, I began taking note of when certain authors would be signing their books, so that I could return and get my autographed free book.

Cynthia Ruchti making an ACFW Announcement
About halfway through the first morning I made the long walk back down the hall (aka the rabbit hole) to the media room—first to hear the ACFW announcement of the Carol Award finalists and that Frank Peretti is the recipient of the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013. Details of both can be found here.

Me with Karen Kingsbury
I stayed in the media room for my interview appointment with multi-published author Karen Kingsbury. Karen arrived with her daughter and son-in-law in tow, and we had a delightful interview which I will be posting here on Novel Rocket in October.

Needless to say, at the end of the first day, my feet were barking, and I still had to walk the rabbit hole to leave the building and make the two-block walk to my hotel. But after an hour or two of rest, I was ready for an evening out with my editor and others from my publisher.

The next day, I managed my walking time better. I interviewed two more authors for future articles for Novel Rocket, helped out at the ACFW kiosk, and then the time came for the best part of my ICRS experience...

Signing my book at my publisher’s booth. This was an honor I never thought would happen to me. What a blessing!

Soon, my adventure in ICRS Land came to a close and the next morning I hit the road back to reality. Despite my aching feet and brain fog that came home with me, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. 

I wonder, did Alice ever return to Wonderland after she arrived back home? I kind of hope she did. I wouldn’t mind a do-over.


  1. Wow I loved looking at all the goodies for sale while I "walked" through the rabbit hole with you. I enjoyed "being there" seeing it all. I really enjoy your books Pam and I so enjoyed Love Finds You in Lake Geneva as well as Thyme For Love...just starting book two of that story, Love Will Find a Way. Looking forward to your new book-in-process as I know a tidbit about it and am intrigued! Catherine

  2. Pam, I love that you talked about how far you walked. ICRS vets were all commenting about how much CLOSER everything was! My though about the convention center was that it was small so that we didn't have to walk as far as we usually do.

    I wish I'd had a chance to chat with you!

  3. Ramona, how did we miss seeing each other??? If the America's Center Convention Center is small, the others ICRS has occupied must be mega huge!!!! I may invest in a Segeway before I hit another one LOL.

    I look forward to seeing you at ACFW!


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