I have been back in my hotel room for a few hours. Installed some updates on my MacBook (iLife and iWork and Logos for Mac) and did my Beth Moore Bible study and even had a little nap. The signing at CBD‘s warehouse sale this morning was great, and I met lots of people, had lots of photos taken, visited with a couple of aspiring writers. There were long time readers of mine there for signed books and many first time readers as well. The line to get into the warehouse started forming at 5:00 this morning but the event didn’t officially start until 8:00! I don’t know how many hundreds of people were there, but the parking lot was so full cars were being parked on the lawn.
Ralph M., the buyer at CBD who handles the Zondervan account, served as my host for the last two days. (No photo on my camera of me with Ralph but I know one was taken with another camera so hope I will get a copy of it.) To say that Ralph was a kind and generous host is to speak a gross understatement. I felt very cared for and catered to. There are also a number of others whose names are already lost in the fog but whose faces I will never forget.
As a gadget junkie, touring the CBD warehouse was a grand experience. To think that the company started 30 years ago in the garage of a college student and then to see what CBD has become is mind-boggling. I believe I was told they employ about 500 people. Anyway, I saw all the fascinating “toys” that help label and “brand” each box and then move those boxes around the warehouse (two floors of books/DVDs/etc.) for people to fill. Next time I receive an order from CBD and look at the receipt with the little check marks by each item, I will have a whole new appreciation for what those check marks mean. In another area, I saw how those one-book or one-item orders get wrapped in the cardboard that becomes the shipping “box/envelope.” What a machine! And there was a cool new gizmo that pumps air into a plastic bag inside a box. It isn’t on the market to others yet, I was told, but I expect to see this packing material used more and more in the future. Less packing is always a good thing.
Friday morning and afternoon I spoke to large groups of employees. I shared with both groups what started my writing career and what eventually brought me to writing Christian fiction. Then I opened it up to Q&A and had a wonderful time sharing from my heart with all present. What was fun to learn was that the employees have to get permission from their supervisors to attend these sessions, and so the ones who are there really want to be there. The mother of the CBD founders, “Mrs. H.”, was in the morning group, then I got to sit beside her at lunch and she’s a delight.
And one final note: Great big thanks to the folks at Zondervan who printed and shipped copies of A Vote of Confidence to CBD well in advance of its original shipping date. Customers at the warehouse sale had the privilege of buying the book before anyone else could do so. (And if you so choose, you can order your copy and get it well before you could get it anywhere else.)
A car will pick me up in the early morning to drive me to the airport, and while it will be good to be home (as it always is), I will be leaving a part of my heart behind in Massachusetts with my new friends at CBD.
Photos above: Two of the warehouse, one with me and Ray Hendrickson, CBD owner, and one with Mrs. H. and me. Click on them to see larger copies.