To Go Or Not To Go?
Headed to Miami because of an award my book won, I Can See You, the first in the Emma Willis series, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Oh, I remembered the city having lived there for several years, but I wondered about the other authors, those award winners headed in the same direction I was, and the possibility of sharing ideas and collaborations with them.
Of course, already communicating with quite a few of these authors on social media or via email, I sensed that meeting them face to face might be different.
THE MIAMI I LOVE!
Long before the Internet, and the world wide web, deep dark or otherwise, I kept a few correspondents, some in faraway places like Morocco and France. We would write a letter, wait a long time for the correspondence to reach them, then wait for an answer. Still, I found I got to know people better sometimes than the friends I hung around with at school or socially. More secrets were revealed through writing. A lot had to do with the fact that nothing detracted us from opening our minds, our hearts as the authors writing to me—because I considered us all authors of a kind—never judged, took sides or complained about your way of seeing things. In my youth, I imagined this had something to do with the fact that through words, we were all pretty much equals—nothing to separate us. It didn’t matter if one was short or tall. Color was shoved in no man’s land, and it didn’t even matter how the words were written or if errors were found. They weren’t spelling mistakes they were breaks of enthusiasm, unexplored bouts of passion.
One thing I do remember, I found it easier to put my feelings down on paper than I would have to try to find the words to explain them aloud. I guess some of us need more time to reflect on the words we wish to convey.
Well, in Miami, I met kindred spirits. The kind of same souls I thought only the written word could bring—longtime correspondents. These authors were open to new ideas, different ideologies, hungry for new collaborations. I no longer feared the differences one might encounter after meeting with a longtime pen-pal. Of course, the heart was beating behind the beautiful eyes I came across, no longer imprisoned in teeny-tiny snapshots or hidden behind an alluring avatar. Hearts and souls were present, and we exchanged with a no-holds-barred fervor.
My husband and I visited the Miami Book Fair and met many authors holding down booths to peddle their books. Friendly, willing to talk to us and explain the reason behind their story, I believe we would have needed a couple of weeks just to meet them all.
One of the best parts of our trip. As for the city of Miami, I don’t believe the soul has changed a whole lot. A lot like I remember Miami to be, yet I sensed slight sadness transpiring in the hot, midday warm air. That’s just me, I guess.
Readers’ Favorite hosted the gala that brought us to Miami. Both my husband and I were glad we made an effort to attend. It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone, pack, travel clear across the country, eight hours of flight time when you count connections. Nevertheless, the trip was well worth the two days spent journeying. The Group was welcoming, well organized, and the hotel allowed us to feature our books in their lobby, atop their reception counter. Our business cards disappeared quickly, as did our books.
The Organization featured authors from as far away as Australia and Europe, and many came to celebrate with us. Many authors agreed to help by giving training to others, and their advice and suggestions were greatly appreciated.
You will find some of my friends on this blog, some of the organizers, and I hope you all have a chance to go next year to feature one of your favorite books.
Looking forward to meeting you there!