Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I'm getting ready to leave for Indianapolis to attend the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference next week. I hadn't planned to go this time, though I enjoyed myself so much last time in Denver as you can probably tell from these photos:) After dropping out of brownies in elementary school (I'm not a groupie), I wasn't sure the conference was my cup of tea. But an editor friend of mine suggested strongly that I attend ~ and I'm so thankful she did. I didn't know a soul, went with an open mind and heart, and was amazed at all that God was doing through Christian writers. It was wonderful to be a part of that 500 or so who were there.

Everything was a bit of a blur and I still don't remember how I met Colleen, who is my roomie this year. She's from Ohio and writes speculative fiction ~ and homeschools four kids! Here we are attending the banquet on the last night of conference. The chocolate mousse above was just as good as it looks:)

Since The Frontiersman's Daughter had just come out, I had to pose with the next best thing to Ian Justus ~ Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Agency. Only I had to stand in line to do it:) Men in kilts are quite popular, so it seems. And he was very gracious about the whole thing.

This year is particularly exciting because TFD is a finalist for the Carol Award, formerly the Book of the Year Award. I don't talk much about contests and awards as that's not my style, but to show my appreciation for the nomination I'll mention it here. With 8 finalists in the long historical category, I haven't been scribbling my acceptance speech! I'm just happy to see the book of my heart on the list. I think Lael would be pleased though she wouldn't like any fuss:) The way they introduce the finalists is quite clever. They quote the first line from each book. Some are quite memorable. I'm guessing you don't remember mine but bless you if you do!

Have you ever been to a writers conference? Ever care to go? What would you most look forward to? Least? I'll laugh if you say the food, which is high priority for this Kentucky girl:) Food, friendships, workshops... It's all pretty wonderful!


  1. Blogger ate my first comment, so if it happens to come through, just delete the first one and keep this one. Oy.

    This time next week I will probably be frantically packing and otherwise freaking out with nerves, but right now I'm just plain excited to be able to meet the wonderful friends I've been fortunate enough to "meet" online. I know God has made a way for me to attend because He has a blessing for me. I don't harbor visions (well, not TOO many) of making that perfect pitch or having someone simply keel over with joy at my manuscript, but I know I'll receive a blessing.

    Tonight in choir practice my alto buddy laughed at me beating out eighth note beats to help with a particularly difficult passage. What she really laughed about (because hey, I was helping her, too!) was that I KEPT my knee jiggling AFTER the song was over! I blamed the RC I had with my dinner, but I really think it's just excitement beginning to bubble up!!

    I wonder how much squealing we'll be hearing coming out of Indy next week? :) Can't WAIT!!!!

  2. Aw! Congrats on the award! That is amazing news! I am sure you'll have such a great time at the conference. What an awesome experience!
    I've been to a sort of writing conference her in college holds an event every couple of years called 'Celebration of Books" and they have local and regional writers (not just small names either, Billy Letts, S.E. Hinton...) come and talk and do mini seminar classes. I took several, and remember one on writing for YA, which honestly is where my heart lies. I've decided lately I need to at least try to write, even if its not the most awesome book ever written. It would just be sad to let ideas be born and then never come to anything. You and all your writing friends here inspire me to that hope! Lol, maybe I need to go to another conference?!

  3. Laura,
    Can't wait to see you like Regina said, there will be epic screaming. Yay!! Are you going to go shopping with this small town girl at the mall close by???

    And this is the first time I know more than one of the finalists in the Carol Award. I will root for you, however, even if I am rooting for another as well. I will be the one standing and clapping her hands off if you get called up on stage. How exciting!

  4. Have a wonderful time, Laura!

    I'd be in for the food and the book talk with people who get it :)

    As for the Carol Award, I think one of two books should win and TFD is one of them, IMO.


  5. Congratulations again on the nomination. I will be in the crowd rooting for you, waiting to hear your first line.

    I've attended other conferences: ACFW in Minnesota, and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (great conference, btw) but this time my motive for attending is different. While I will be pitching my books and learning from the classes, the main reason I'm attending is to meet you and all the wonderful people I've met on cyberspace this past year, and to reconnect with friends. This time it's all about relationships, and I can't wait.

  6. Regina,
    Thanks so much for persisting. Bad blogger! I'm like you in that the excitement is beginning to bubble up and that's much better than dreading the event! I don't like to fly so the thought of 3 planes from here to Indy that first day is somewhat daunting. But I figure if I pack enough books I'll be fine no matter how I get there:)

    Love your attitude about expecting a blessing from above while there. Prepare to be amazed! Last year I felt prompted to sit without the friends I'd made at lunch one day. Imagine the huge dining room with tables set for 500 or so and me sitting all alone, waiting to see who would show up. No one came for 10-15 minutes and I began to feel a bit embarrassed. But I felt the Lord was going to surprise me with a blessing so I started eating my salad alone at that table for 8...
    Soon a woman sat down beside me ~ who'd been one of the main supporters of my brother on the mission field in Ecuador/Spain for 20 years!! Right beside me!! We'd never met till that very moment. Both of us, to put if mildly, were blown away:) So fasten your seatbelt...

    Can't wait to see you. Watch out ~ I'm a hugger:)

  7. Heather,
    You ARE a writer and I'm not surprised by your YA interest as that is my own. I've often thought of switching to the general market like Ann Rinaldi. It's a huge genre, too, and your impact is far greater (at least from the marketing/numbers angle). I encourage you to start though art may be your first love. You can do both, however! Especially when little Miss A goes to school:) Just my thoughts.

    Your Celebration of Books event sounds wonderful! I could soak that right up and then look forward to next year. The writers you mentioned are certainly fine ones.

    Will blog about Indy once I return:)

  8. Dawn,
    Love the "epic screaming" part!! Hallelujah:) It's so fun to have that sort of fellowship. Living in the woods, I don't get much of it. And I am so tempted to shop at that wonderful mall I've been hearing about. The nearest mall here is 2 hours away! I'm recycling my grey and black outfit here to wear to the Revell dinner and then the banquet, but maybe we'll go shopping and I can find a good sale?!

    So happy you're going to be there. Guess the official countdown can begin!!

  9. Rel,
    I've been thinking over the last few days that we writers need to find a way to get you to conference next year as a gift. You are SUCH an author advocate and do so much for Christian fiction!! I know it's a big trip but wonder if you'd like to do something like that? You would be mobbed, however!! And one of them would be me:)

  10. I hope you get to hear these words,
    "In the fading lavendar twilight, at the edge of a clearing, stood half a dozen Shawnee warriors."
    Wouldn't that be exciting?!

    Of course, I pulled my copy of TFD off my bookshelf to get that first line. I was curious about it after you said that is how they announce the winner for the award. Pretty cool!

  11. Brenda,
    So well said. It really is all about relationships/fellowship for me, too, this year. I'm even leaving my laptop at home. I think it will be fun to see how our cyber friends match the template we have in our minds of who they are. I chuckled last year as I met so many people and no one looked quite like their publicity pics!

    The Colorado conf. you mentioned sounds wonderful. I think the Denver setting last year for ACFW was a big draw. I'd love to attend the Blue Ridge conference. Have also heard great things about Mt. Hermon which is far closer to me.

    Can't wait to meet you! Soon!

  12. Lisa, Bless you! I just left a very long comment for you at my previous post. Arrggghhhh! So won't redo here, however I am coming over to visit you like I said below...

  13. I don't think my post went through just now, so I will try again.

    Ii am so excited for you! I hope this conference is everything you are hoping it will be. I look forward to reading all about it! Is this the conference where James Scott Bell is speaking? I have been reading a book he wrote on writing. It is really interesting! I would love to hear him speak. If this is the same conference, then please let me know if you get to hear him.

    Have a wonderful time! I can't imagine leaving my laptop at home! Good for you!! :)

  14. I didn't even MENTION your Carol nomination!!! ACK! If just meeting will prompt "epic screaming," as Dawn so eloquently put it, can you IMAGINE what will happen if you WIN?? I think I'll try to stay quiet from now until ACFW, so I'll be ready. And I'll try to save the screaming for AFTER the choir does their thing. ;) Starting to jiggle my leg again...

  15. Carol Nomination? Hooray! You deserve it. Another item to add to my prayer list.

    I went to the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference in 2004, long before I started writing my manscripts. I didn't take proper advantage of it because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. At the time, I was writing dramas for my church and was looking to expand.

    I'd love to go back, now that I've made the choice to write.

    I wish you a happy, pleasant trip. I wish I was going to be there!


  16. I'm certainly looking forward to the food. :) For one thing, I don't have to fix it. Yay!!!!!

    Mostly looking forward to meeting so many on line writing friends. My goodness, I would not want to be taking this journey without you all, and you are at the top of that list, Laura.

    I'm of the same mind as you regarding the awards banquet. Enough said for now. :) Except that I really do hope you win!

  17. Laura,

    I'm so excited for your with your nomination!! I can't wait to hear everyone's reports and see pictures!!

    I have "babysitting" money and am going to pick up the CDs, I'm so excited about it. Then I can listen to them during my workout time. I have a homeschool conference that I've been listening to for the past two years :)

  18. Loved the brings back such fun memories. I think we met at the breakfast for home schoolers : )

    Praying for you and the Carol nomination. See you in a week, roomie!

  19. Keep jiggling that leg, Regina:) All the way to Indy! I doubt we'll do any epic screaming on my part but it will be fun to see who wins. I remember being so enamoured wiht it all I ate the ACFW logo on the mousse and didn't realize it was paper-backed till I'd swallowed it:) I'm just a backwoods girl, I guess!

  20. Stacey,
    Thanks so much for your kind, much appreciated words here! And for persisting when Blogger is being obstinate YES, it is the same Bell and he is terrific! I have his books on editing and plotting, etc. They are top notch like you said:) He's teaching the early bird session the day the conference starts and I think it will be packed. I'll be sure to post about it when I get back. I hear he has a terrific sense of humor:)

    Bless you so much, Stacey!

  21. Britt,
    I hope we meet at conference someday. Considering my first one was at age 48, I think I've missed quite a few:) The Blue Ridge has always been high on my list. I can just see you there! So glad you switched from drama to fiction writing. I've loved what you've shared of your work.
    Thanks so much for the prayers. It's a busy time and I'm feeling the pinch!

  22. Lori,
    I hope you win, too! You've certainly been a winning finalist more than once!

    I had to chuckle about getting a cooking break. So thankful for that. Will try not to worry about my weight while there. I used to love to cook but love writing more and know you feel the same:)

    I am so excited to meet you face to face!! I'll try not to crack your ribs when I hug you!

  23. YAY, Colleen! I am sooo happy you remember where we met:) I was a bit overwhelmed with it all. The homeschooling breakfast was such a great idea. I'm afraid I wouldn't be included this year but that was one of the nicest things about conference last year. I really feel the Lord brought us together. And so glad you're my roomie! See you next week!

  24. Julia,
    Thanks for reminding me to take my camera!! I need to start packing. The conference CD's are very worthwhile. And you can kill 2 birds with one stone and exercise while listening. Love that! I'll miss you all next week when I'm gone but will be fun to catch up when we get back. Bless you!

  25. Packing my bags now - LOL!

    You are too sweet, Laura. Cheering you and TFD on :)

    Thank you for being such a generous person with your time and words. We readers thank you!

  26. I take that as a yes, Rel:) Will be fun to see where conference is next year. Think it's announced soon. I really mean it. You deserve to be there. I bet you've made a million cyber-friends:)Thank YOU for all your support and encouragement! Will catch up with you post-conference time - soon!

  27. Yes, please do take your camera. And someday when my littles are bigger maybe I'll get to meet you! :)

    I know we were talking about cholesterol. I found a great cookbook that I've been cooking from the last month. Its the Cooking Light cookbook. Lots of great ethnic foods and Chris has even liked most of the recipes.

  28. Congratulations on the Carol nomination!

    I have to admit I think it would be quite a bit of fun to go a writing conference. Who knows, maybe I will someday. ;)

    If the chocolate mousse is an example of the food, I would definitely look forward to that! I also think it would be nice to be able to meet online friends.

    I pray you, and everyone else, has a wonderful time in Indianapolis!

  29. Julia, I have no doubt you'll be at ACFW someday! It would be wonderful to meet up. And that cookbook sounds great. If it's the same Cooking Light as the magazines, I had a sx for years and had such fun cooking healthfully, plus you never knew they were good for you as they tasted so good! The good thing about eating well is that it boosts your immune system and you get sick far less often. By cutting my sugar intake and rarely eating dessert (which I love), I've found I feel a lot better and my chol. levels reflect that, too. So happy cooking light to you!

  30. Michelle,
    I think it's so neat that we all have a common love of writing and books here. I appreciate your prayers. My heart always goes out to those who are meeting and sharing the projects of their heart with editors and agents at ACFW. That can be so intimidating. It takes real courage. I'm thankful I didn't have to do that though I have other challenges on the other side of the desk, so to speak.

    OH YES, the food is wonderful, right down to the coffee and dessert. And the worship and praise involved is so moving, especially Sunday morning. And there's a prayer room... I could go on and on. Wish I could come on down to KY and see you!

  31. CONGRATULATIONS, my dear friend!!! That is such wonderful news, and a most deserved blessing :D I am so very excited for you and will be keeping your whole trip in prayer! Can't wait to hear all about it, and I hope you take LOTS of pictures!! And, its so great that some VERY blessed girls here are gonna get to meet you in person- I'm so jealous! ;)

    Praying you girls have a fabulous time!!

    Amanda Stanley

  32. Amanda, Wish the conference was near you and I'd look you up! Thanks so much for praying and wishing me/us well. That means so much. My camera is just about as snarly as Blogger but I hope to take some good pics:) I drug my suitcase out of the attic tonight. Time to start packing.
    Thinking of you and thanking Him for you!!

  33. Hey Laura - completely off topic here bit I just noticed The Blue Castle is one of your favourite books - mine, too! I received it as a child and adored it. I still have my copy :)

    Fancy that!

  34. I LOVE The Blue Castle and wish some kind informative soul would turn it into a film. Sigh...just beautiful!:)

  35. Rel, I knew we were kindred reading spirits:) Of all LM Montgomery's book, TBC is my absolute favorite and one I've read several times. The story is absolute magic as you know. Neat that you discovered it in childhood as I was 20-something when I did! It's on my keeper shelf even now. BTW, if you ever get a chance to read LM's journals, they are fascinating. But very sad. So different than the world of Valancy Stirling!

    Bless you for telling me about your link with TBC. I've met very few people who have read it:)

  36. Sylvia, I'm not surprised you love The Blue Castle!! I think it needs it's own C19 site like N&S! I'd love to cast RCA as Barney in the book:) Not sure who would be right for Valancy. And ideas? I bet you could think of a few folks for the supporting cast! Oh, a movie would be divine...

  37. Yeah, it was funny. The Lord doesn't really leave us in any suspense. When the lady reported my borderline levels the foods she mentioned were baked goods and dairy. I'm trying to avoid the baked goods and learning new ways to cook. But I like the Cooking Light. My mom cooked a lot of bland food for us when she was dieting and its nice to know we don't need to eat that way to eat healthy.

    I'm so happy there are so many fans of The Blue Castle here.

  38. Hello, my conference buddy! Meeting you was one of the highlights of last year's ACFW. Thank you for being bold enough to come find me! God has blessed me so much through your friendship.

    As for the Carol's, no nerves, okay? And you know I'll be an "epic screamer" too!!! Probably the loudest of the lot.

    See you in SIX days!

  39. LOL I bet there will be epic tears as well...the kind though. I'm getting excited for all of you. And I expect details, details, details when you get back home. Safe traveling to all those headed to Indianapolis.

  40. Lorna,
    SOOOO glad you'll be there:) I keep thinking, when I get a bit jittery, "But Lorna will be there, Lorna will be there:)" I finally started packing today. Guessing Indy is still pretty warm this time of year. Freezing here!!

    See ya soon, dear friend!

  41. Kav,
    I just went to Walmart and bought new batteries and a memory card for my camera ~ just for you:) Praying I get some good shots and can post here. Till then, so appreciate your prayers for us who are going. I am determined to meet you there one day!!

  42. Julia,
    I'm so thrilled you're a TBC fan, too! I have the edition with the blue cover and the woman in white and "Barney" in the background. Always thought it wasn't quite right for the story. The new ones sell for a fortune on Amazon!

  43. I bet the praise and worship is just amazing. I must admit worship is my favorite part of church services. I was thinking there are probably people there from all kinds of church backgrounds, and seeing them all there worshiping has to be a wonderful experience.

    Looking forward to seeing the pictures!

  44. I missed this post for some reason. But I know you are on your way to Indy now and why haven't you written your speech?? I think you have every bit of a chance at winning as the others. If not more so, since it is one of my favorite books, don't those judges know that?? :)

    Anyway, when I get to a conference I look forward to the workshops and meeting people the most. The whole interaction, though I imagine this country girl would be pretty overwhelmned and just try to get from point A to B without a big event. :)

    I will be watching the LIVEBLOG event, and be cheering for you all the way! Have a WONDERFUL time and if you happen to see Pepper Basham, make sure she gives you a hug for me. :D