((Dineen Miller & Sara Mills--two UH-MAY-ZING friends!!))
Each year in September, the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) holds its annual conference. And each year, the location is different, which is one thing I'm really enjoying since it enables me to visit cities I've never been to before. I joined ACFW just after the annual conference in 2004, and quickly grew jealous of the colorful discussions among the various writers on the main e-loop. I determined in my heart I wouldn't miss the next one.
First first conference was in September of 2005, and ACFW held it in Nashville. What I loved is that my first editor appointment was with WestBow/WaterBrook editor, Amanda Bostic. Ironically, it was her very first appointment as well. We were both a jumble of nerves and laughed through the whole thing. I made a friend that day, and that experience eased me through the rest of my editor/agent appointments. Funny enough, the following year, my first editor appointment was with an editor who was open to speculative fiction...and it was his first appointment too. I thought God was so kind to do that to me twice. :-D
I've attended ACFW's conference every year since, and I have ample fond memories. So, I thought it'd be fun to ask around and see what were the favorite memories or thing about attending an ACFW Conference. Here are some of the responses.
From Cara Putman, author of Stars in the Night:
I’ll never forget the ACFW conference in 2006 because it was the year I received my first contract from Heartsong Presents. There is something so humbling about receiving such a gift in front of a room of people who understand what that first contract means. It also created a bit of a roller coaster experience for me the rest of the conference, as I kept waiting for JoAnne Simmons, my editor, to come up to me and tell me they’d made a mistake. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to write six books for her now.((Photo of me and dear friend John Olson--he's all mischief!!))
From Colleen Coble, author of Lonestar Homecoming and The Lightkeeper's Bride:
My favorite memory is hanging out in the lobby to squeal and hug people as they come in. :-)
From Kimberley Woodhouse, author of and Welcome Home: Our Family's Journey to Extreme Joy and No Safe Haven (March 2011):
My favorite thing? Getting a hug from and being able to sit down and have a quiet conversation... with you. :)Lisa Jordan, My Book Therapy Ezine editor and writer extraordinaire, writes:
My favorite part of ACFW is meeting up with my writing friends again. Online communication is great, but nothing beats those real time hugs and late night chats. My favorite memory was meeting Susan May Warren in 2005, and then placing second in my category in the 2009 Genesis contest.((Photo of Jim Rubart & Chip MacGRRegor during the gala dinner))
Funny girl Jenny B. Jones, author of So Over My Head, shares her favorite memory:
My favorite memory of the ACFW conference will always be the first one I attended. I came with nothing and God opened a door wide. Six months later I had my first contract. Without a doubt, I owe my career to this organization and yearly gathering. ACFW is also so special to me because it's a chance to see the sweet writing friends I've made--people who get me and speak my language. And by that I mean Klingon.Kaye Dacus, author of Menu for Romance and the Ransome Trilogy:
Lynette Sowell, author of Seaside Romance and her novella in A Riverwalk Christmas shares her favorite memory:I'd have to say my most fun memory of an ACFW conference was being kissed by a total stranger while hanging out at a table full of romance authors at the very first national conference (and sitting directly across the table from Brandilyn Collins). The laughter and fellowship and friendship of those authors have not only stayed with me through the nine years since then, but is also why I have gone back year after year.Here's a link to the full story, if you'd like to include it: http://kayedacus.com/2008/08/
The infamous ACRW "hand." It was a running joke about flying body parts, and then one year, a fake hand circulated around the country along with a photo album of the hand's "adventures." What fun at conference to see all the places it had been! I wonder where it is now...((Photo after gala of me and Agent-Man, Steve Laube))
Steeple Hill author Cheryl Wyatt, author of Steadfast Soldier, shares a few of her favorite memories:
So, as you can see...ACFW isn't all about writing. It's friends, mischief, and adventure! You game?
I have so MANY! LOL. Among my favorites are:
Causing an airline pilot to flee an elevator over a disagreement between myself and another author as to the best place to hide a decomposing body.
Accidentally handing a male editor my room key instead of my business card after a pitch. Hint: don't keep both of those items next to each other in your neck badge.
Seeing Mary Connealy receive her first contract at conference.
If you have a favorite memory or aspect of the conference, please feel free to share it! That's what ACFW is all about!