Saturday, October 19, 2013

Following the Gospel…Literally

Caveat: This blog post has nothing to do with religion.

Last Wednesday I gave a presentation entitled “Current Trends in Publishing” to a local Rotary Club. I know, hubris. But I had been invited to speak to them, and in preliminary discussions it became clear to me they would not be interested in a topic such as how to add passion to a love scene. During a phone conversation, I suggested the topic “Current Trends in Publishing” and was greeted with enthusiasm. Then I hung up the phone and asked myself, “What the heck did you just say you would do?”

It actually had been very interesting researching for my presentation and I had created a Power Point that included statistics and some shameless self-promotion. Perfect. At the meeting I sat with the president during lunch and we were joined by two men, a Rotarian and his guest, Todd. The Rotarian asked if his guest could have five minutes to preview a presentation he would give this weekend. The agenda was full, and the president wavered a moment and then agreed that she could cut back time during the formal meeting and allow Todd to present. She asked if he needed a DVD player. No, Todd was going to perform live. He had studied with Marcel Marceau. Yes, THE Marcel Marceau. My Power Point was looking pretty boring. Surely she would have him follow me.

Oh no, she introduced Todd first. He spoke using large mime-like gestures to present several stories from the Gospel of Luke: The Good Shepherd, the Woman with Ten Coins, and The Prodigal Son. He was excellent, engaging and theatrical. He started by standing as Jesus speaking to the taxpayers (he stretched out his right arm as if to embrace them) and the sinners (he stretched out his left arm to embrace them). He went longer than five minutes, but nobody cared because he was very good. At the end of his presentation, he stood silent for a moment and then “broke” so we knew it was over. Applause. Wholehearted applause.
How do I follow that?

The president then introduced me and they all stood and applauded (must be a Rotarian custom as I had done nothing to deserve it yet) and I was heartened by their enthusiasm. I looked across the table at Todd and said quietly, “I sure don’t want to follow you.” He smiled encouragingly.

How does an author of romance novels rated “sensual” by follow the proclamation of the Gospel? The only way she knows how. I walked to the presentation table, spread out my left arm (the sinners’ side) and said, “I write sensual romance novels. I’m over here.” Everyone laughed. Some even applauded. My presentation went well; I enjoy public speaking and my passion for writing came through loud and clear.  I was surprised by the number and insight of the questions they asked at the end. I even sold books. One woman looked me up on Amazon and announced to the group, “She has all four and five star reviews. Her books sound really good.” Thank you.

I’ve been trying to follow the Gospels my entire life. This was the first time I did it...well, literally


  1. Wonderful reaction, Betty. Just the perfect one-liner we all wish we could come up with in a dire situation.

  2. Thank you, Arlene. I guess I was inspired :-)