Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ACFW Conference 2008~MInneapolis

On my blog, I have a widget. Look to the right, and you'll see it ticking down to this year's ACFW conference.
My mom laughed at me because practically the day after last year's conference ended, I updated the widget and it began counting down to this year's. So why am I excited about this year's conference?
My first year (2005) I went to learn everything I could about writing. I came home with pages of notes on how to improve the craft and contacts with editors and agents that I couldn't have formed easily in any other way.
My second year (2006) I received my first contract (for Canteen Dreams) in front of everybody on opening night. I continued to make invaluable connections with people inside the industry, and came home with even more tips on how to improve my writing as well as a letter of intent on that first book. Wow!
My third year (2007) was my first as chair of the Conference Planning Committee and on the Operating Board for ACFW. I also was part of a panel for a Late Night Chat. I love to talk, so that was a ton of fun. I made even more friends, got even less sleep, and managed to find time to attend a few classes and learn. I also continued to deepen relationships with people in the industry and formed some new friendships.
This year I'll participate in a Late Night Chat on writing buddies. I know I wouldn't be where I am without the friendships and working relationships that have formed primarily through ACFW. I will also get to participate in the book signing -- get this! -- at the Mall of America!!!! We anticipate 100 of your favorite Christian authors will sign books on Saturday, September 20 from 1-3 p.m. So if you are in the area, plan to swing by.
Each year God has exceeded the expectations I bring to the conference. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for this year!


Tina M. Russo said...

You seem like a very nice person so I have gone ahead and put you on my nice person list. But I have to admit I did cringe in pain at the--went to learn first year, and sold the second year comments.

However that said, I realize it is all in God's timing, lol.

I look forward to ACFW 2009 which is in MY backyard, Denver, Colorado AGAIN!!

In the meantime I will continue to grow and learn and wander towards that elusive novel length manuscript contract.

Thanks again for being with us in Seekerville. Proof postive we are NOT as scary as Mary and Ruthy and we throw a great party.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, we're scary all right. Some of us, anyway!

And that whole timing thing, Tina????

Not touchin' it. Nope. Not on your life. Time and life have solved innumerable mysteries for me so I'm trusting that whatever is in this plan book of the Good Lord's, it's chock full of bright and winning possibilities in my future.

How much do middle-aged arc welding bus drivers make, anyway???

Anybody know?

But Tina, between you and me, do we HAVE to put people like Cara on our nice person list? I mean, come on, didja see her picture? Beautiful, smart, savvy, organized.

I say dart board material, ASAP.

But I'll feel guilty about saying that later, Cara, so I'll just go ahead and apologize now.



Oh, I brought a tray full of wonderful bagels from a nearby Jewish bakery. OMS (Oh my stars for you Ruthy illiterates) they are amazing.

And there's a heaping chafing dish full of eggs and sausage so you can build your own breakfast sandwich. Dig in. I think Ann's bringing the coffee, aren't you Ann????

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, I'm so excited about going this year! I didn't think I would be able to, but I am! Financially, there are many reasons to talk myself out of it, but you only live once! Am I right? And I didn't go last year, and last year, for beaucoup reasons, was the worst year of my (albeit short) writing career. Anyone see a connection?

And 2005 was my first year to go to the conference, too. I even remember meeting Cara the first night, I think it was, when I was feeling small and overwhelmed. Cara looked very at ease, calm, and collected! She said, "Oh, I'm an attorney, just a beginning writer, trying to learn." Or something like that. I probably said, "Oh, I've been writing for over two years now." As if that made me an expert! HA!

But I'm convinced conference can be the absolute best--and absolute most frenetic and devastating--experience in a writer's life. But one minute you think it's the end of the world, and the next you're worshipping God and the next you're laughing and having the best time you've EVER, EVER had with the best friends you've EVER, EVER made. I can't wait!

Ann said...

Cara, you make the conference sound like Christmas -- on Dec. 26 the kids are reminding me, "Only 364 more days!" :-)

Last of the chocolate velvet coffee this morning. Nice and smooth and goes nicely with those bagels.

I got a kick out of Cara's "inhaler of books" line yesterday.

I'm pumped for the conference, too, but am going to leave my expectations at home b/c who knows what will happen. Other than planning to learn a lot, network and put names with faces. I was comparing myself to a sea sponge but since they only travel a couple of inches a year, I can't be THAT sedentary at the conference!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

How wonderful for you!


Mary Connealy said...

You know welders do pretty good.

I seriously suspect they make more than writers...with a few show-offs like J.K Rowling and Stephen King to ruin it for everyone.

And they probably don't get burned as often.

Plus those cool helmets.

I coulda been a welder. (insert contender in Marlon Brando's voice, for full comedy effect)

Mary Connealy said...


You're really going to ACFW in 2009?

I'm so excited I'm a little weepy.

Also scared. Like Ruthy and I are the scary ones on this blog.

Tina and Camy are the scary ones because they're QUIET before they strike.

Also, Cheryl can do some real damage with that walker.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ann, thanks for the coffee! Grab some more next time you can, 'kay? In the meantime, I'll fill in with Folger's new flavors and a host of International Delight creamers.

We'll do a 'build your own coffee' segment to assuage our feelings over not going to National RWA and or ACFW in September.

And good cookies. Really good cookies. I learned as a small child that if cookies could cure bumps and bruises, they were an indespensible commodity to have readily available. Life has borne me out in that assumption.

Cookies are key to sound existence.


Mary Connealy said...

Melanie said: Financially, there are many reasons to talk myself out of it, but you only live once!

This is true. And, being largely Scot, I am forced to remind you that you can spend that one lifetime deeply in debt or not.

Myra Johnson said...

Hmmm, do they have annual conferences for arc welding bus drivers?

Yep, I'm wincing a bit myself at the "sold the second year at ACFW" thing. The only ACFW conference I missed was the one in Kansas City (#1?), and I'm still hoping for my big break. I feel kind of like an eternal spinster waiting to catch the bridal bouquet.

Pass me a dart, Ruthy. Oops, I meant to say tart--er, bagel.

Julie Lessman said...

I have to agree, Cara, that ACFW keeps getting better and better ... of course, the first year I pretty much cried nonstop in my room, but those tears have dwindled considerably now, and this year I look forward to a wonderful, tear-free conference ... that is, if Ruthy is nice to me ... :)

Pam Hillman said...

Ruthy, we're in desperate need of welders here, so come on down South. I'll brew you a pot of sweet tea...oh, strike that. I make horrible tea. I'll take you to my mother-in-laws!

OMS! Ann, the ACFW conference is BETTER than Christmas!

Pam Hillman said...

Oh!!! If you're planning to attend ACFW, the rates go up August 15th!

Better hurry to beat the deadline.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, you nailed it. Like WE'RE something to fear.

Please. That's like easing past a butterfly because they just might swat you with their wings. Ouch. Ooch.

What about Lessman? You wanna talk fierce? Please, that little Irish spitfire puts me to shame. I look like a potato bug next to her wings-arched, feet braced, black hornet fighting stance. Which is part of what made her formidable in contests, LOL! Who would dare beat her?

My Beth graciously offered to fly me to Minnesota for this year's ACFW conference after she saw Mary's note in Calico Canyon (which she loved, having four Neanderthalic brothers...)

She said, "Even if you can't afford the conference, you'd still get a chance to see your friends."

God bless her. Someone raised her right!

But conferences are so mind-blowing busy. They're not just fun shoots, they're total target practive for the big time and that's important.

Maybe Denver, Tina. If you give me a couch.


I love putting Tina on the spot in front of hundreds of people, but Tina's Italian. Saying 'no' has only grown easier with time.

Which has been a good lesson to many of us.

Oh, hey, try these butterscotch brownies. Solid fare. Yum.


Melanie Dickerson said...

What are you saying, Mary? That I shouldn't go? Well, too late, hah!!! The conference fee is already on the old plastic! Mwahaha!!!

Cara Putman said...

I'm cracking up reading hte comments. Does it help to know I was just talking about my life and the STRESS LOL. THis year I'm actually up for an award. Actually, Canteen Dreams is. I am so unbelievably excited to have finaled!

Off to get groceries before my mom, sister and her six kids descend! Yikes!

Julie Lessman said...

What about Lessman? You wanna talk fierce? I look like a potato bug next to her wings-arched, feet braced, black hornet fighting stance. Which is part of what made her formidable in contests, LOL! Who would dare beat her?

Uh, have you been in touch with my daughter??? She's seen the "black hornet" mode more than she cares to admit. And who would dare beat me in contests??? Uh, YOU, Cara, Audra, Missy and Miss Tina. Over and over again, you brats. And I have the contest scars to prove it ...

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow, y'all have entered more contests than I have!!!

Pam Hillman said...

Melanie, do you want the exact number? lol How big is this screen, anyway?

The Genesis and Book of the Year awards are getting to be very prestigious, and so exciting because you know so many finalists in both contests.

Okay, the whole WEEK at ACFW is just awesome!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Great conference post, Cara!

See u in September!



Debby Mayne said...

I love the conference, too, and I always look forward to seeing old friends. The Mall of America signing should be tons of fun—but not as much fun as shopping there, which I will hopefully get to do with Janet Spaeth who actually knows her way around.

Kimberli said...

I wish I could go to the conference, but as Tina said, it's all in God's timing. To those of you planning to attend, have a wonderfully edifying, and fruitful time.

I mean it, do it. This isn't a happy little wish, it's a command, got it? Good. I look forward to reading your reports. *wink*