Goodness, it’s good to be home. I returned on Sunday from 4 whirlwind days in Dallas Texas at the ACFW conference. What a great time I had with fellow Amish fiction authors, the folks from Harvest House Publishers, and my agent Mary Sue Seymour. I learned plenty from workshops given by Davis Bunn, Mark Kuyper, and Bonnie Calhoun. I participated in a “How to get published” panel with my agent and 5 fellow Amish fiction authors: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Amy Lilliard, Shelley Shepard Gray, Amanda Flower, and Jennifer Beckstrand. And 10 of us signed books out at the Hurst Lifeway store. Thanks to everyone who came out and showed support! We attended a gala dinner wherein winners were announced for this year’s Genesis and Carols Awards. Now I’m home with a ton of laundry and bills to pay. But ahhhh..it was so worth it. I hope you enjoy the photos.
Sorry for the delay between posts. It’s been crazy busy here between writing and getting ready for this grand tour trip. My adventure began in Columbus, Ohio, where I participated in the Ohioana Book Festival with 100 other Ohio writers. What great fun I had rubbing shoulders with Lisa Black, Don Bruns, Casey Daniels, Linda Robertson, S. Swann, Laurie Kingery, and too many to mention. The reception at the Govenor’s Mansion, hosted by Mrs. Kascich, capped off a perfect event. From there, it was on to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I am as I write. This annual writers conference under the fabulous direction of Alton Gansky is one of the best out there. I have learned so much from teachers like Dr. Angela Hunt, Terry Whalin, DiAnn Mills, Gina Holmes, Deb Raney, Al Gansky himself, and many others. The keynote speech delivered last night by Vonda Skelton brought me to tears! If any writers are reading this, put this conference on your to-do list for next year. Trust me, you won’t be sorry. Gotta go, time for dinner. Oh, by the way… food’s great here, too!
I’m blogging today about the upcoming ACFW conference in Indianapolis from Sept. 17th through the 20th. First, let me say I’m excited beyond measure to be going, and secondly, I wish to encourage any new or want-to-be writers of Christian fiction to consider this invaluable opportunity. Let me share my experiences at another writers’ conference as a first-timer to alleviate any anxiety others may have. Ten years ago, I attended RWA national in Washington DC as an unpublished author. I had my first manuscript done, my synopsis more-or-less making sense, and my head in the clouds. I signed up for an editor appt. to pitch my historical romance later that weekend. But first I attended a workshop given by the senior editor of the publishing house I was targeting. During the first five minutes, this venerable, bigger-than-life editor stated she thought Gone With the Wind was the worst book ever written, and she wouldn’t buy anything dealing with the Civil War if it was the only manuscript on her desk. (my paraphrasing…ten years is a long time) Well, little-me-from-Ohio practically started crying and at my age, that’s so not cool, because as I’m sure you’ve guessed, my masterpiece, my baby was set during the Civil War. Well, folks, I stiffened my upper lip and attended that appt. anyway. The editor I pitched to turned out to be delightful! She set me at ease and boosted my confidence. She told me about the fond memories she had of a family vacation to Gettysburg Pa. Then she requested I send her the full manuscript (probably knowing full well it would never be acquired). I was tickled pink! In the end, that publishing house didn’t buy my baby, but I met wonderful people, took amazingly helpful workshops and I felt like a writer. Because if you’ve written a manuscript that’s what you are…and never let anyone discourage you from pursuing your dream. If you can find the way, come to the ACFW conference—you won’t be sorry.