Monday, June 28, 2010

ACFW Conference Rocks

Pam Hillman here.
If you write Christian fiction and can only go to one writer’s conference this year, go to ACFW in September. It’s in Indianapolis and the dates are September 17-20, 2010. All the details can be found at the ACFW Conference pages here.
Go. Browse. Salivate! lol
I’ve been to every ACFW conference except 2004. And that was the year I was a double-finalist in the Golden Heart and went to RWA for the Golden Heart awards ceremony instead. I really, really, really wanted to do both, but just didn’t feel I could justify two major conferences in one year. I’ll never regret going to RWA that year (I won! Yippee!), but I’ve always regretted not seeing and hearing Francine Rivers speak. But I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity to hear her again. The Golden Heart? Maybe not ever again.
Oh, speaking of Francine Rivers reminds me of some of the AWESOME-EST keynote speakers we’ve had at ACFW. Karen Ball is an absolute hoot, and so is Liz Curtis Higgs. They are both wonderful speakers who will keep you in stitches if you ever get the chance to hear them. James Scott Bell and Angie Hunt will keep you spell-bound too. This year, Tim Downs is the keynote speaker at ACFW. I’ve never heard him speak, but I’ve heard he’s very entertaining. Can’t wait!
And before I get to the nitty-gritty of what makes the ACFW conference the best thing going, check out the list of editors and agents attending this year. It will make you positively drool. Can you imagine so many industry professionals in one place? As Ruthy would stay, Oh.My.Stars!
Oh, wait, there’s something ELSE. I went to Indy in March and the hotel is comfy, the food is great, there’s a gym, and…hold on to your horses…a Starbucks! Yes! Oh, and I didn’t use the gym because there is a riverwalk not too far away, museums, and did I mention there are TONS of restaurants within a very, very (hmmm, very must be the word of the day!) very close in walking distance? And a mall attached to the hotel if I remember correctly.
Okay, I said I was going to get down to what makes the conference the bestest ever, but there’s more before I get to that…
I love, love, love the ACFW conference. I love the food, the fellowship, the worship services, and the friends. I love having 500 people there, and I know at least half of them by name. And the other half, well, all I’ve got to do is smile and speak to them, and we’re instant best friends. So, technically, I know them all.
Now, where was I?
Oh, yeah.
What makes the ACFW conference the best? Something I plan all year for?
Wait, I just thought of something else. How many of you start your diet right after Christmas so that you can lose that 20 lbs before September?
Show of hands now.
Uh-huh…that’s what I figured. Moving on…
Let’s see. What have I mentioned so far?
Food. Check
Worship. Check
Agents and editors. Wowzers! Check!!
Networking. Check
Oh, stop the presses. Hold your horses. Put the BRAKES on!
I HAVE to mention the best roommate ever! Robin Miller, aka Robin Carroll. Robin and I started rooming together several years ago, something like 2006, maybe. We talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. Lord, can that woman talk. It’s not my fault. Honest! I’m quiet and kind of shy.
Back to the topic at hand.
In addition to all that above, there are the Seekers. The Seekers are there in abundance. Last year, Tina hosted a Treasure hunt so that people could get stickers of all of us and put them on their maps.
And all fifteen of us had a get-together and got to gab for hours on end. And then we meet in the lobby or somewhere every night and unwind. Everyone is welcome to join the circle. You don’t have to know us. Just join in!
So, sign up for ACFW. We’ll have a ball in Indy this year!
Click here to read past Seekerville posts about the conference.
PS. Please forgive all the exclamation points! All other punctuation buttons on my computer are apparently broken!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aha. Coffee is MY JOB this AM!!!!

I'm posting the coffee FIRST, so no one misses it! We've got chocolate raspberry, Jamaiccan Me Crazy, and plain old joe with a fine selection of sugar (yes!!) artificial sweeteners, sweet creams to delight the palate and cookies. Fresh Italian cookies.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, coffee's in place, where are all our late-nighters????? Didja all like, go to BED for a change????



Sorry, I'm such a dunce with publication dates, and it's got the July 5th date on it, so I figured it was out NEXT WEEK so I didn't put it in the Weekend Edition.

My bad. But I'm so tickled they gave it a nod!!!! THANK YOU WOMAN'S WORLD!!!!!

Now, ACFW:

What a wonderful post, Pam, for a great conference! I love the harmony, the prayer room, the camaraderie, the speakers, the sisterhood and brotherhood that goes on at ACFW. S-W-E-E-T!!!

And SEEKERS, TOO?????? Double S-W-E-E-T!!!!

Although I have to do this year what you did in '04, because I'm going to RWA in Orlando next month and I can't swing both conferences.

But I'm planning on both for 2011, and I can't wait to run into so many old buds again.

And that list of editors? Agents?

Oh. My. Stars. is correctamundo!

I'm so grateful to ACFW conferences for my chances to meet and get to know agents, editors, writers, friends, nobles and countrymen.


I'll be thinking of y'all in September when Ah'm rockin' babies here in upstate....

With no Starbucks anywhere NEAR closeby. And we all know how I feel about Starbucks.

Addictions are tough things to break.

Kav said...

Does no one in seekerville drink tea? LOL. A nice herbal blend maybe? How about rosehip or black currant or a nice, soothing lemon verbena? And cookies for breakfast? I'm shocked! (she says with her mouthful).

I'm trying very, very, very hard not to be envious of everyone I know who is going to ACFW. It's financially totally out of the question for me. I expect somebody to take copious notes, recording every single itty bitty detail, and lots of pictures. Lots and lots and lots!!!!!!

And congratulations on Ruthy's bragging rights. I'll have to see if we get Woman's World waaaaaay up here.

Kirsten Arnold said...

Congratulations Ruth on the Woman’s World Feature!

I’ll add to breakfast today. How about a good old cowboy campfire breakfast with coffee so strong you can stick a fork in it, eggs (either fried or scrambled), bacon, hash browns and flapjacks, with maple syrup and real butter, all cooked over the campfire (and yes I can build my own fire, just stand back a bit). I’m practicing for my week long (wish it were longer) return to God’s country this weekend.

I’m bummed that I won’t be able to attend the conference. I was all prepared to register, and even throw in a ticket to a Colt’s game (Peyton Manning, need I say more), when my boss reminded me that we’re hosting a maritime conference that very week. So, I get to hang with a bunch of maritime museum curators and historians, a good group of people but I looked forward to meeting some Seekers.

Hope you all have fun!

Julie Lessman said...

Pammers!!! Man, you have me revved for ACFW, girl, and I cannot WAIT!!

For me, there is nothing like ACFW, truly, and I have been to RWA and ICRS. I like the intimacy of this conference, rubbing shoulders with 500 other women who love God and writing, in that order.

Great walk down Memory Lane, Pammy, and I can't wait for September!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

I forgot tea.

My bad.

Kavvie-baby, thanks for bringing some. You DID bring some, right???

And you and I can keep Seekerville going while everyone else is in Indy in September, 'kay?

And of course they have Woman's World up there. Right behind the bear traps, honey.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pammers, who's doing workshops this year????

Patty said...

I can't wait for the conference this year! And that list of editors and agents--my word, I don't think I've ever seen that many at the conference before!

Ruthy, I bought your book Friday--last one on the shelf, I might add.

I'm doing novel track next month so I've got to hit the concrete early this morning to get everything done. Can't wait to get started on that too!

Y'all have a blessed week!

Glynna Kaye said...

If you can't GO to ACFW, buying the entire conference recording (done by Cheryl Wyatt's husband!) is worthwhile. Available on CD or MP3. Although I went to ACFW last year for the first time, I also bought the CDs to listen to again & again in my car throughout the year. Good stuff! I've already pre-ordered mine for this year's conference.

KC Frantzen said...

Go Ruthy!! That is wonderful news and still 4 1/2 stars. YES! We knew her when...

And Pam. My kinda woman!!!! Great job with the !!!!!

(that was for several crit partners who said I use too many. !!!!!!!!!!!!!)

* ahem *

Sounds like a great conference - y'all have FUN!

(and yes - some of us had been up until 2AM the previous night/morning so... we went to bed a bit early - well ok it was midnight but I didn't check Seekerville. GASP!)

off to writers group this morning. Patches of Life - if you're here, I'll see you there shortly! Here's my piece for today:

** oh dear me **
my verification word is "gownsiz"
What was that about the 20 lbs again?

Kathy said...

Congrats Ruthy on the Women's World nod!

I am excited about the Conference in September, but not sure if I can go. (Waiting to see if I can land a job, first.) But it sounds so wonderful.

I am up early so I apologize for any typos in advance. I figured I should start practicing rising with the birds to get ready for an o'dark early flight on Wed.

Destination: The Antique Automoble Club of America's 75th in Louisville, KY! I am going to cheer on my uncle who is bringing my grandparent's car from Jacksonville, FL. There will be ice cream socials and steamboat rides and a chance to surprise my mom, who doesn't know I'm coming.

What a great opportunity to people watch!

Today's Cowboy Wisdom to go with the wonderful cowboy breakfast: If you've got love in your heart you've got spurs in your sides.

Pam Hillman said...

Good morning all!

I'll be scarce today. Gotta go to the day job that pays for the ACFW conference, among other things.

Man, that coffee smells good.


And Kirsten, I love bacon, eggs, hash browns, biscuits that sawmill gravy? Yum!

Thank you for the stick-to-your-ribs breakfast this morning.

I'm feeling human again.

Pam Hillman said...

Workshops? There are TONS! Too many to list here. I still can't do those cute links that Mary does so well. Will have to find the instructions. AGAIN.


James Scott Bell is teaching the Early Bird class, and there are 6 -- count 'em - *6* Continuing Ed classes. CE's run for about 3 hours two mornings straight, so you get a lot of info. from the teachers.

Then there are 6 tracks of workshops to choose from in the afternoons, for a total of about 25-30 different workshops over the entire conference. Those can be found here:

And, then there are Late Night Chats, starting at 8 PM. Those can be found here:

Camy Tang is teaching one of the LNC's, and there is a whole slew of editor and agent hosted LNC's.

As Glynna said, even if you can't attend conference, order the CD or MP3 set. It's well worth the money.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, Ruthy!!!

Will get my copy of Woman's World today!


Do they have your picture in there too???

Helen Gray said...

Congrats on the Woman's World feature. Wow! Are you getting around! Way to go.

I'm registered for ACFW and looking forward to it. But bummed to hear that Ruthy won't make it.

I'm sure you guys will go over more conference preparation tips before the time arrives. What to take, ect. Right?

I made a fresh strawberry pie if anyone's interested.


Rose said...

I wish I was attending the conference this year!!! BUT I've decided that I'm making next years conference a HUGE PRIORITY.(okay guess I need to find out where it is first).

But I know the Seekerville ladies will keep those of us not in attendenced up dated like last year so not being there won't sting quite so much.

Ruthy, I saw your feature in my Women's World!!! WAY TO GO!!!

Angela Bell said...

This will be my first time attending the ACFW conference. I'm super excited! :)

Lori Benton said...

This year will be my first ACFW Conference, and I can't wait! Thanks so much for all the details about the hotel and the area. It keeps looking better and better!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Pam! Can't wait for the conference this year! This will be my fifth. Yay! God is good.

The conference is always emotional for me. And exhausting. But fun and exciting too! I'm hoping this year I won't be so keyed up and can relax, since I'm not signed up for any nerve-wracking appointments with editors and agents! I already have an agent, praise God! (TWO agents, actually, but that's a long story!) and a wonderful editor who blesses my socks off, as Julie likes to say. So this year I plan to have nonstop fun and no worries! YAY!!!!!!!!

I think it's appropriate, Pam, to use lots of !!!!!!! when you're talking about the ACFW Conference!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Pam, Love hearing about the ACFW conference since its where I met my Seeker sisters. Love it.

And the conference is the best place to network, meet other writers, editors and agents. To learn craft. What's not to love?

Thanks for reminding us.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Pam! I'm just as excited as you are. :)

And woo hoo, Ruthy!! We got the issue and my daughter found you in there! I'm so excited to see your wonderful book in there!!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, and I'll be at ACFW! I'm already registered. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Helen, I'm sure we'll chat about what to take to conference as the time draws near.

I've mellowed over the years, but I have a spreadsheet (did you see Ruthy cringe?) with my packing list for each conference. A couple of days before I fly out, I make a new worksheet, copy and paste into it, and plan my wardrobe.

Everything is on the list, from my blue jean jacket to cough drops and phone charger.

The list is printed out, and checked off as each item is thrown into the suitcase.


I can pack within an hour if need be.

Myra Johnson said...

Kav! I am a tea drinker! My morning brew is Earl Gray plus a ginger teabag. And no cookies for breakfast! Maybe mid-morning snack, dessert after lunch, a couple more after dinner, then bedtime . . .

Great post about ACFW, Pam! You covered everything of importance, not the least of which is the Seekers-and-friends after-hours gathering each night! My very, very, very favorite part of the conference is spending time catching up with my Seeker sisters.

Ahem! Like we don't e-chat like crazy the rest of the year. But nothing beats an in-person hug and face time!

Pepper Basham said...

Hidee, all
Thanks for the excitement, Pam. I'm already signed up for my very first ACFW.
I can't wait!!!
And Seekers! Gee whiz, that's one of the MAIN reasons I want to go. Seriously. I'm so excited to get to meet some of you. Woohoo!!
Did I mention I'm already signed up? Hotel too?
Bought my dress.
And have my roommate (so sorry K.Dawn Byrd - I snore)
I'm looking forward to the ACFW week you guys have that kind of introduces all sorts of cool stuff about Indianapolis and the conference.
Oh yeah, and I already registerd ;-)

Pam Hillman said...

Me too, Pepper. Registered, got my plane ticket, and hotel room.

I even have a yearly graphics design project I do for the retired teacher's association that comes around every July.

I earmark my proceeds for my "book money" to spend in the bookstore!

And...there are about 80 members of that association. I already have my first speaking gig in mine after I sell my first book. lol

Pepper Basham said...

How exciting!
I haven't gotten my plane ticket yet. Whew, it's mighty expensive when you live out in the sticks and fly from small airports.
It's an 8 hour drive so I'd rather fly, but if push comes to pocket change, I'll do it.
I reserve a big time seat at the Seeker circle. Please, oh please

Pam Hillman said...

Pepper, I know all about living out in the boondocks!

It's an hour to the closest airport, and that's driving 70 on the interstate the whole way. At least the airport's on "this side" of town, so I don't have to deal with too much traffic.

But if there's ever a delay on the interstate, I'm toast!

Regina Merrick said...

I wasn't sure whether or not I'd be able to attend this year because of some job stuff, but DH told me the other day that he was determined for me to go - and I'm not arguin'....! I can't wait. I've made so many "cyber" friends this past year that I simply want to meet in person. I'm not saying that it will be a "magic bullet" for my writing, but having been to other types of conferences, I just have a feeling that it will be a life-affirming time that I don't want to miss.

I know it's late, but are there any biscuits left?

Congrats on the WOMAN'S WORLD feature!!


Pam Hillman said...

Regina, I know what you're saying.

Conferences aren't the be all and end all of publishing, but they do help us realize that editors, agents, other authors we admire, are regular people just like we are.

This came home to me at the opening meet and greet of an ACFW conference several years ago.

An editor who I'd met a couple of times walked in (she was late...I think her plane had been delayed) and I just happened to be the first person she saw.

She gave me a big smile and said, "I know you."

I was floored. She knew who I was!

Instead of pitching my ms, I asked how her flight had been, and I think I even directed her to some refreshment. (Hey, I don't live in Ruthy's shadow for nothin'!)

Oh, and another time, an agent and I just sat and chatted about stuff. Family. Her health. Life. Church. Whatever.

And it's not just editors and agents who you meet at conferences that impact your life...

More than once I've had author friends recommend me to an editor or agent. That kind of networking and friendship is invaluable.

And, lest you think I take all the time (okay, I am kinda selfish), I DID take the time to talk to a girl last year at the conference about her career direction.

Hmmm, but that does remind me of the time I was a mentor and didn't find my mentee until the last day of conference.


Slinking away now...

Debby Giusti said...

You've got me excited. ACFW's conference is low-key and relaxing! An enjoyable few days to learn new info and make new friends. Plus the lineup of editors and agents is the best. And you can eat lunch or dinner at their tables and pitch your story or discuss any projects you're planning for the upcoming year. Great opportunity to mix and mingle.

Glad to see so many Seeker friends will be there! Can't wait!!!

Linda Henderson said...

It sounds like a great writers conference with great fellowship. I'll hope for sunny skies and beautiful weather while you are there.

Audra Harders said...

Yay, Woman's World for being savvy enough to include Ruth Logan Herne in their summer beach edition! Smart pub, what else can I say??

Oh man, Pam! You've got me soooo wishing ACFW was next week! Last year was a blast with all 15 Seekers together.

The hotel sounds great. I love hotels that you can just wander through and lose yourself (and your way, at times, LOL)

I'm looking forward to Tim Downs speak and all the other other great workshops. Like Glynna mentioned, the CD and MP3 series of the conference is great! I've preordered mine, too. The sessions are around 45 minutes long, so I know I HAVE TO walk the dog that long each night to finish the workshop.


Great post, Pam!

Audra Harders said...

Angela, glad you'll be attending the conference. A first timer, eh??

Look us up in the lounge area of the hotel. The Seekers are always the loudest, er, I mean JOYFUL bunch there : )

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...


I felt your excitement! I know that excitement! And I raised my hand!

Audra Harders said...

Lori, Pepper, Regina! First timers all! Hugs all around!

And of course will put you right in the middle of the group, Pepper. Where else??

Pepper Basham said...

Save a hug for me, Audra :-) Maybe two.

Pam Hillman said...

Yes, how could I forget the faculty hosted tables? It's kinda noisy to actually pitch at the tables, but it's fun to just get to sit and listen.

Pam Hillman said...

Hugs all around when we get to Indy!

And don't forget. We'll talk more about the conference more as it draws closer.