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Friday, July 13, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Report, Day 6: Charlotte and Raleigh

Okay, something happened today that, had it been the only event of the entire tour, would have been enough for me. This morning we walked into the Barnes and Noble of Charlotte, North Carolina and found several fantasy fans waiting for us. Among them was a nice young lady who brought Bryan Davis a beautiful painting of a dragon's eye--and theme music she had composed to go with it.

But also among the folks waiting was a precious, precious family who blessed me on a level that I can barely describe. First of all, they drove from Rocky Mount all the way to Charlotte, stayed overnight there just to make sure they could be there when the author of The Door Within books arrived. I just about fell over. Really? I think to myself. I had no idea what was to come.

This family was a mom, two girls, and a son. They'd all read my books and professed to love them. But one of the daughters, a young lady named Shelby, just 13 years old, walked up to me and told me, "Your books changed my life." I just lost it. {Cue tear floodgates} She went on to tell me how she could finally see how vain so many pursuits of the world were, and how she now will walk the narrow way. She told me that God has taught her through my books that this world is not all there is and that she longs for heaven. AND, she brought me a manuscript she'd written...100 pages, a story she'd developed from one of the settings from Final Storm. She wanted me to read it to tell her what I think of her work. I'm loving it so is so completely from her sweet, humble heart, and I am overcome. Her mother told me just before the family left: "Your books have radically changed our whole family."

If you happen to read this blog today, regular or not, I have something to declare to you from the rooftops: God is the keeper of the great and the small. Only God could have taken my inadequate words and touched hearts so deeply. And only God could have seen into my heart and known how desperately I needed to know that I was serving Him. And this morning before we even left for the event, I grabbed all my suitcases and was just about to leave the home where we stayed the night. I happened to glance at the table and saw a napkin. I thought, "Yeah, get the napkin. You might need to blow your nose on the road or something." Or something. No detail escapes God's notice. He sees your deepest need and waits for the perfect timing.

One day, I will thank Him in person. I will fall down on my knees and kiss his nail-scarred hands.

For a little video update click HERE.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Update, Day 5: Knoxville and Asheville

I said Tennessee is a gorgeous state, and as we drove east across the rest of the state, I found I am guilty of understatement. The Smoky Mountains were just incredible. I found myself conjuring all sorts of adventure that might occur under the canopies of the trees that draped every peak and valley.

Shown above is the Fantasy 4 at the Cedar Springs Christian Bookstore. Wow, did they treat us well. They placed us in the front of the store on a platform no less. We certainly don't deserve it, but it's really great to be where we can greet people--all the people--as they come in the store. One thing that went on behind the scenes--in transit actually--is I got to listen to Bryan Davis and Christopher Hopper swap faith stories. You know, those "this is what God did" kind of stories. I have to tell you I was absolutely blown away. I am just about speechless because the stories of miraculous God things that these men have witnessed--in person--not hearsay, they're simply unbelievable outside of God's divine intervention.

By the way, James Somers stopped by. So great to meet him. For those who don't know him, he's an author of two SciFi books called The Chronicles of Soone. Very cool stories. Pray for James as these books are now in the hands of some heavyweight publishers. We've got some great fantasy on the way, but very little CBA SciFi. Shown above: we had another unexpected visit. A splendid lady named Kathryn walked in and saw our swords. She mentioned that she teaches stage swordplay at the local college {where was that class when I went to Maryland U?} Anyway, several authors with puppy dog eyes pleaded "teach us! teach us!" And without a moment's hesitation she began to school us on proper stance, footwork, guard, and attack. {Where was she when I wrote The Door Within?} As you can see above, we actually staged a combat scene--put a few notches in our beautiful new swords. But it was 300% worth it.

Tomorrow: Charlotte and Raleigh, NC.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Report: Day 4 Manchester and Nashville

Tennessee is a beautiful state. I now understand why so many people, including tourmate Bryan Davis, have up and moved there. A lot of the main highway was cut into the sheer rock of the meandering southern end of the Appalachian Mountains. So as we drove through, it was like passing within dwarven mines delved in days of old. Strata of gray, brown, orange, red, and white stone glistened in the sun. And then, the road would spiral down between great green humps of mountain, shrouded in gossamer white mist. It reminded me so much of the mountains of New Zealand as they appeared in the Lord of the Rings movies. I half expected to look over the guardrail and see two slender gray boats, directed through the currents of the Anduin by a reluctant king and his motley fellowship. {sigh}

Our first stop on the Tour took us to a wonderful little Methodist church in Manchester, TN for a meeting of Homeschooler Moms. Very nice people--as Tennesseans all seem to be--and the Fantasy Foursome had the first chance to test our speaking program. Funny how God works. Each of the 4 authors developed a 20 minute speech/reading, independent of the other authors. In fact--way back in the formative stages of the tour, we discussed topics so that we WOULDN'T overlap. But God had other ideas. Turned out that there was a wonderful thread woven through all four messages...a thread God seemed to wish to use in the lives of those who came to visit.

Then, that evening, we visited Borders in Nashville. The staff there had us set up nicely with posters and more than ample space to wield swords {ahem}, which we did. Bryan Davis even had an impromptu duel with a customer. She defeated the Dragon Master without breaking a sweat. If you ask me, he let her win. ;-)

We also met a brilliant young man named Austin who {prepare to feel intimidated} at the age of 13, has written a 400 page manuscript and submitted it to Thomas Nelson. FOUR HUNDRED PAGES. I don't think I'd written anything longer than 2-3 pages by that point in my writing career. Christopher said, "I think I was still climbing trees when I was 13." The next Christopher Paolini, maybe?

There were several other wonderful young folks, three young ladies in particular who seemed to enjoy bantering with us in British accents. Too fun.

The photo you see above shows some of the wonderful kids who came by. And by the way, look to the right of author Christopher Hopper. See the guy in the brown shirt? That's guitar legend Phil Keaggy who happens to be Uncle Phil to Christopher. Eddie Van Halen was once asked, "What's it like to be the greatest guitarist in the world?" Eddie replied, "I don't know. You'll have to ask Phil Keaggy." Nuff said. That was a blessing.

We finished the evening with a long drive to Oak Ridge, during which we all realized how exhausted we were. Sharon would turn and say, "Wayne, what day is it?" To which I would reply, "It's still Wednesday...I'm pretty sure."

Tomorrow: Knoxville, TN and Asheville, North Carolina...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Report: Day 3

Day 3 of our stay in Atlanta brought the Fantasy 4 for our first "together" signing. It went spectacularly well with hundreds of retailers coming by to get books. I reiterate: remember, these retailers own or manage bookstores or even chains of bookstores. If they like the books, they order them for their stores and…the genre grows.

The taste of medieval banter between us was balm to the soul (I know, I'm weird that way), and I so look forward to more goofing around in fellowship with these wonderful people.

I'd love to tell you more, but I am just plain exhausted. Some day the tale of Author Christopher Hopper and his wife doing a beatbox rap to get us free parking must be told. But tonight, I must go and read, and then sleep much as we hit the road for Tennessee tomorrow morning.

I'd like to leave you with this photo as a reminder of why we do what we do. Bryan Davis got an email from this young man who is a fan of our books, and he was excited to hear that Bryan was going to be in town with me. I couldn't make the signing in Gainesville this evening, but Bryan was nice enough to bring this young man one of my books. The look on his face is worth more than all the royalty checks in the world.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Report: Day 2

Day Two of the Fantasy Fiction Tour found my agent and I getting up at 7a.m. and then deciding NOT to go to the gym after all. lol We went back to sleep.

Thanks for your prayers. The Hoppers arrived safely, albeit with very little sleep. We were a little alarmed about Sharon Hinck first. Bryan Davis, Christopher Hopper, and I met at the Tsaba House booth for our Meet and Greet Kickoff, but even as the start time ticked off, there was no Sharon. We'd all read her email about getting a terrible sore throat and thought, uh oh. Turns out, she had so many people in line for The Restorer that she could barely tear herself away.

So, we all met for the very first time. Funny though. I felt so strongly that I'd known them for years. God's like that. Kindred spirits. And it was upon this meeting that John Cooper, owner of our Tour Sponsor: Real Armor of God, met us and girded us with sword and shield. My sword, The Ranger Sword is shown below. I cannot tell you how fun it is to hold this puppy!

If you'd like to see the other cool swords, shields, armor, etc. at Real Armor of God, click on the pic above. Seriously, if you think you want some medieval weaponry in your life, you will not find any better than

From 11-12, Bryan, Sharon, Christopher, and I met dozens and dozens of retailers. We talked Christian Fantasy. We talked about our books. Everyone seemed to really get into it. Things are happening here. Glory to God for what He's doing here, and thank you so much for your prayers. We are seeing the results.

If you'd like to see a video of highlights from the floor of the International Christian Retail Show, click HERE.

Or visit:

At 12:30, my agent, Gregg Wooding, and I ate lunch with my Senior Editor at TN and the Vice President of Children's Publishing. It was a wonderful meeting. During the meeting, I mentioned a new fantasy concept that I've been working on for some time. It's a huge, epic plot that I am LOVING so far. It could be as many as 5-7 books! Well, long story short, the VP said, "Send me a proposal." I just about fell out of my chair. ICRS Answer to prayer #216.

From 5-6 I did a Thomas Nelson Publishing Event called a Personality Party. This is where the publishers invite the top 100-200 retailers to come and meet noted authors and get new books signed. This was really cool as I got to sign about 200 copies of Isle of Swords about a month before the actual release. These copies are given to retailers free of charge, but the potential is astronomical. The idea is, each one of these retailers reads (and hopefully likes) the book. SO, they then order stacks of books for their stores or even for a whole chain of stores. See what I mean about ICRS being a BIG deal for the future of Christian Fantasy?

About noonish, we found out that RNS (Religion News Service--think Christian AP) carried a story about Christian Fantasy based on the Fantasy Fiction Tour. Awesome article: Move Over, Harry, Because Christian Fantasy is Back. Check it out if you get a chance.

God is just blowing the doors off during this first real day of ICRS. But I saved the best surprise for last. We're a half our into our Meet and Greet when my agent gets a call. Turns out it's The Washington Post. They want to do an article on the Fantasy Fiction Tour. At 3pm, I spent an hour with a wonderful reporter/columnist talking about all kinds of things related to my books, Christian fantasy, the Tour. It was amazing. She had really done her homework and seemed to know quite a bit about what we're trying to do. AND, she's going to come out an cover not one but two of our signing speaking events! The Post will be covering our signing in Alexandria, VA, and our event in Washington D.C. Including photos! This is the Washington Post we're talking here. A circulation of what? 20 Million?? Are you kidding me?

Please keep praying about this. Attention of this type could be HUGE for the Christian Fantasy Genre, as well as, for our books. ;-)

And also, if you can at all make it to one of the events being covered by the Post, that would really be great. The dates, times, and locations are listed below:

Sunday, July 15th (9:15am)
National Presbyterian Church
4104 Nebraska Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20016


Sunday, July 15th 3:00 - 5:00pm
Barnes & Noble
Potomac Yard Store
3651 Jefferson Davis Highway
Alexandria, VA. 22305


Thank you again for your prayers. More tomorrow:

Never alone!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Report: Day 1

Well, the Fantasy Fiction Tour is off to a, uhm…well, a rather dubious start. I'm waiting in a line at BWI Airport when my cell phone rings. It's author Christopher Hopper. "Wayne, it looks like we're going to have another Tour vehicle."

"What?" I'm stupefied (not unusual, btw).

CH explains, "My flight got bumped. I have to drive to Atlanta."

"WHAT??" I'm stunned. Immediately, I'm thinking, I can't believe the enemy got to us this fast! "You have to drive from Buffalo, NY to Atlanta? What time will you be getting in?"

"4 a.m."

So, please pray for safe travel through the night for Christopher and his wife.

And then there was a little lost luggage incident for me. And if not for divine intervention, I would have been doing my first booksigning tomorrow--wearing shorts!

This picture is pretty much my view out of the window where I'm staying with my agent Gregg Wooding. God is good.

Much more tomorrow. We have the Official Fantasy Fiction Tour Kick-off Event at 11am. I'll be donning my cape, shield, new broadsword, and backhanger sword all for the first time.