Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

What a difference a year makes...a look back at September 15th, 2013.

Ever wake up one day and say to yourself "Today is the day I turn that 'if I don't do this now, this could be a big regret someday' into 'living my dream' ?"

Jump from December 26th, 2011, to last September 12th, when I arrived at the Indianapolis Hyatt and walked into the heady, terrifying, massive crowd of writers, agents, editors and industry people known as the annual American Christian Fction Writers Conference.

I'd flown to Indy and stayed with friends (waves at Ellen and Peter Moore!) then on the 12th, the very hilarious Peter drove the very , very nervous and wound up me downtown to the hotel. I needed to get some lipstick, because you know, Canada was totally out of lipstick, right? Okay, so we find a pharmacy and I asked Peter if he'd go in with me, since the neighbourhood was umm, yes, so yeah. So in we go and I stopped just inside the doorway, to get my bearings.

Annnnnd WHAT does Peter YELL????


As Amber Perry says, OH MY HECK!!!

Actually that is NOT what I thought. I was somewhat more colourful.

I just about DIED. The whole place just froze. And then the laughter kicked into gear. BUT, what had Peter done?

Shot me in the nerves and had me laughing so hard I felt way better. WAY better.

I got to the hotel, got to the room I was sharing with the very sweet Loraine Kemp (Canadian!) but she wouldn't be arriving til very late. I ditched my stuff and then headed for the lobby.
And saw Beth Vogt, upon whence I completely lost it and cried like a baby. And was utterly speechless.

Yup. Speechless. ME.

I cried and hugged, and got my ribs re-arranged by this amazing and profoundly generous woman who took me under her wing and helped me when I was frazzled and clueless.

And frankly, I wish I could say I was done with being clueless, but umm, yeah.

And at some point, I met up with Cynthia Herron, and we enjoyed a dinner together, that woman is so witty and SWEET! So from that evening, until the next day when I switched rooms and finally met my weekend room-mate, and one of my favourite people, Sarah Thomas, who was another unexpected blessing along my writer path, and long into the very sleep deprived weekend...did I mention the insane amount of caffiene I injested just to get myself going?

And keep myself going?

I pitched and chatted and listened and learned and got worn out and escaped and dove back in and hugged friends and generally tried to soak as much in as I could.


I had a pre-scheduled meeting with an agent on Sunday morning at 9:30.  This meeting was something I was looking forward to and dreading, all at the same time.

I'd had a series of rejections through the spring and summer and when I got the email, a week or so prior to the conference, I wasn't feeling like I was strong enough to handle this particular meeting. I thought, "I don't want to go...okay, fine, I'll go, but what good will it do? Nah, maybe I won't go..." Then my two very close writing friends, Heather Gilbert and Becky Doughty, basically smacked me upside the clueless (see, there's that word again) and told me if an agent asked for an HOUR LONG appointment, I would be beyond all levels of measurable cluelessness to say 'no thanks'.

So, on Sunday morning, September the 15th, Mary Keeley and I met at Starbucks, got our flaming hot beverages of choice (which is a nice way of saying 'I had tea, but I can't remember what she had') and made our way to the mezzanine.

I remember how nervous I was, and yet how calm I felt. I had many people praying me through this meeting, as I was already extremely overwhelmed by all that had happened over the weekend.
Just. So. Much. WOW.

We chatted for a few minutes, then before I knew what was happening, Mary offered representation.

That dream moment for every writer? The Phone Call that every writer ponders and daydreams about?
There was no phone call, no email offering representation.

I actually enjoyed (nearly passed out during? Cried like a baby? Breathed into a paper bag?) the blessed rarity of being offered representation from my dream agent, in person.


Did I mention in person?

Yes, I had Kleenex in my briefcase, which in and of itself, is hilarious. Because, *I* have a briefcase.


I'm a suburban, over 50 hockey mom who yells in Spanish at the refs, who doesn't have a day job, who keeps house like a toddler...and I have a briefcase with business cards in it.

So, ahem, once I stopped crying, I said to Mary "I don't want to give you an answer until I pray about it."

Because that's what all the properly behaved, totally-in-tune-with-God, spiritual people do, right?

And because I NEEDED to commit this to Him.

So, we prayed. And about, ohhhhh, 15 micro-seconds later, I could hear my husband's voice whispering from thousands of miles away "SAY YES NOW!".

So I did.

And cried some more. My brain was swirling with fireworks and words I'd only begged God to let me say, some day..."Mary Keeley offered and I said yes!  I am with Books and Such! I am a Bookie!!!"

God is good, and I am thankful beyond words.
I know I am blessed, and that many writer friends still do not have their dream agent. I know that.

But for me? This is a very, VERY special day!!

Happy Author-Agent Anniversary, Mary.

I could not do this without you, thank you.


  1. I love hearing this story. Thanks for sharing it. I can picture it all well because Indy is the only place I've attended an ACFW conference too (those elevators!!!). I'm glad you are a Bookie too!

    Next post: I'd love to know how things have been different than you expected on this side of being agented, and what has unfolded exactly as you'd hoped or expected (if anything). If you are so inclined to write such a post. :)

    1. Thank you, Lori!

      And what an excellent idea for a post! I will definitely do this, thank you for the suggestion..

    2. Butting in--I like that post idea too! And I love hearing your story again, Jennifer. It seems to move me every time. :) I still remember you telling me right after this happened at ACFW last year, though I didn't know all the backstory then!

      And Lori, yes, those elevators! Haha. I climbed all sixteen flights to my room on foot once last year because they were just too full. I was slightly out of breath. :)

    3. You climbed 16? You go girl!

      And thanks, it was fun to write this post. And I totally will do that post Lori suggested.

  2. I tried to make her sleep, honestly I did. Next time I'm totally spiking her Earl Grey.

    1. HAHAHAHA!!!

      I had such a great time, getting to know you and sharing that experience with you.

  3. Aw...I remember this amazing day in your life. We are so proud of you and wish we could've seen this! And don't forget! You fan-girled to Frank Peretti on MY BEHALF! :) SO thankful for the blessing ACFW was to you and for author friends. And that you got to have that "I want you for my client" moment FACE-TO-FACE with Mary. Hugs!

    1. I did! I totally fan-girled AND screamed!! Because I'm that cool.

      Thank you, oh amusing one.

  4. This was such a joy to read. YOU are such a joy. Thank you for both of the aforementioned facts! :)

    1. Thank YOU!!

      Thank you for having that contest to hook me up with Kathleen Y'Barbo, too!!

  5. Do you know what's really sad about this story? That I was nowhere to be found. We didn't even know each other. :(
    That's pathetically sad. You and me, baybee, next year. Dallas. Be there.
    Because I'm sitting here thinking, yeah, I know I met her at ACFW and said congratulations on that crazy awesome day…but how exactly did we become friends after that? And I have no idea. It's like you've always been there.
    Okay whatever. Go wash some dishes.

    1. I know. I do remember seeing you at the Beyond the Borders tables. All two of them. I was sitting at a table with a bunch of women and that Norwegian guy.
      I remember looking over and thinking "That is Cathy West? She'll never talk to me..."

      I think we just sorta got to know each other over FB and now Skype and holy cow, 40 days!!

      And yes, Dallas? Uh huh.

  6. Congratulations, Jennifer! So happy for you. Maybe I'll see you at the Zone breakfast this year. If I can make myself get up!
    I remember that Norwigian guy! LOL. Where abouts in Canada do you live? I'm near Toronto.
    Cheers, Sue

    1. Hi Sue! We live in the suburbs of Fredericton, NB. My husband is from West Hill, near Scarborough!
      I'm not going to ACFW this year, as I have a thing to go to in October, which I'm combining with a trip to Vancouver to see my family.
      Yes, Kare was a nice guy, wasn't he?

  7. Ahhh!!! I remember this day. :) So happy for you, and so thrilled we share the same agent! Your smile and presence will be very much missed this year at ACFW. I'm thankful I get to see you in Monterey. Can't wait!!

    1. It was QUITE a day!! I remember seeing you and Gabe and wanting to tell you SO BADLY, but really wanting to call my husband first! Turns out he was gone until way later that evening.
      Aww, thank you, I'm going to miss it as well. But I'm making the Monterey trip an extended 'visit-the-family thing, and then I'm staying on another week or so up near San Jose. But holy cow, Monterey is right around the corner!!