Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ACFW Conference Recap

I was in Indianapolis recently for the American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference. Such a great time visiting with fellow writers and meeting with editors and agents. This was my 4th year to attend and I honestly think it gets better each year.

Highlights from Indy:

1. Visiting with friends I only get to see in person once a year. My editors are in this number. Emails and phone calls are great--but visiting face-to-face can't be beat!

2. Being surrounded by people who understand how it feels to have a story inside, wanting out! These people get it! They know the madness of writing around the clock, the friendship of a character, and the way turning in a finished manuscript before your deadline (okay, at midnight on the day of your deadline...) makes you feel a thousand pounds lighter.

with fabulous author and friend Rachel Hauck
3. This year is the first year I've had multiple books out. And the first year I've had the honor of having budding writers ask me for advice--or tell me they read (and liked) one of my books!

4. Having my love of writing renewed. I walked out of a couple of sessions with a fire to write. After a year of deadlines and uncertainty, it was nice to feel that "this is what I'm supposed to be doing" feeling wash over me.

5. Not writing related, but I found a crazy-amazing bargain at the mall that was attached to my hotel. I hadn't intended to wear a "fancy" dress to the awards banquet. I've worn formals in the past. But this year, I was just going to wear a plain old dress. Nothing special. But as I wandered through the mall, I went to a department store that I'd never heard of. And in the back of the store, there was a rack marked "85% off the sale price." So, bargain hunter that I am, I flipped through the rack. Believe me there was a REASON that stuff was on the rack! But then...I came across the most beautiful dress. A formal. Slate blue. In MY size. You can guess the rest. Now normally I think telling how much stuff costs is tacky...but believe me when I say that my sharing this with the world is just me bragging about my savvy shopping. The dress--tax and all--was $19. Amazing.

Me and my bargain rack dress!
And as with anything, there were also some lowlights....(is that even a word?) Some of these I'm not particularly proud of, but in the spirit of sharing, I am going to tell them anyway...

1.   People kept asking me if they could buy my books in the bookstore. Sadly, I was the loser who missed the deadline for filling out the required paperwork to get my books in there.

2. At dinner the opening night of the conference, I found myself seated at a table with the keynote speaker, Tim Downs, as well as the president of ACFW, one of my editors, and several authors. I had a great time chatting and talking to all of them. Until I got back to my room to see that there was something stuck in my front teeth. Classy. I think it was asparagus--which we seriously had at every meal...

3. I admit that I missed breakfast all but 1 day. It is SO early. I'm not in a networking mode at 7 a.m. (6 a.m. Memphis time).

4. I also admit that I had my iPhone set to send me ESPN alerts during the Arkansas/Georgia game. And when Georgia tied the game with 2 minutes left...I left the session I was in and went to my room to watch. Judge me all you want to...but honestly by that point in the day my brain was fried anyway. And Arkansas won...

5. To show you just how fried my brain was...the following afternoon, I taped an interview with Christian Retailing. Where I was asked what 3 books--besides The Bible--that I would recommend everyone should read. My choices: Gone with the Wind, What a Girl Wants, and Eat, Pray, Love. Now, I'm not sure what everyone else said. But in hindsight, I'm betting their choices were probably things by Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado, or Beth Moore. Clearly, I'm all about girly books. But you know, I wouldn't change my answer even if I could. Because those are 3 books I love and that I can read over and over.

Overall, it was an awesome week. Full of friends, old and new. And although all the sessions left me with information overload, they left me excited. I'm ready to get to work on my next book...okay, books! :)

Home of the Colts!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ahh, Fall

Fall colors in Charm, Ohio
My mind is going in a million different directions these days. I'm still processing my grandpa's death. Working full time at the office. Jotting down ideas for future books and trying to finish a proposal. Trying to come up with creative ways to promote and market my October release. Getting ready to go to Indianapolis next week for a writing conference. Those are just a few of the things I have going on right now!

In the meantime, I thought I'd post a few of the things about the impending arrival of Fall that I'm excited about--even though I'm a self-proclaimed Summer Girl, I do love the Fall! Here's a short list:

1. Football season! Oh, how I love football. Particularly SEC football. The rivalries. The fans. The coaches I love to hate. (Nick Saban & Les Miles...) I'm hopeful the Razorbacks will do well this year. And yes, I will miss Tim Tebow every Saturday. :)

2. Mums for my porch and patio. These signify fall to me.

3. Fall scented candles. I went to Bath and Body Works yesterday and went a little crazy! Autumn Apple is my favorite. I also got Creamy Pumpkin and just plain old Autumn. My house smells awesome!

4. Driving with the windows down. Although you can do this any time of year, there is a small time span in the fall and in the spring that is just perfect.

5. Fall inspired coffees at Starbucks. Enough said.

How about you? What are your favorite things about fall? Any fun traditions? I've always wanted to go to a corn maze. Maybe this will be the year for that!


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