As you can see, I've added a new thingy to my blog. It's a countdown widget to the ACFW Conference to be held in Dallas September 20 - 23. It seems like I just got back from Colorado's conference and now ACFW's is coming up fast. The picture is of Julie Dearyan getting autographs from Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck and Diann Hunt during the book signing at last year's conference.
This week I've been working on a narrative history of ACFW. It's hard to believe the organization is already seven years old. Young by many other standards, but for all the blessings we've enjoyed these seven years it seems like it should be older.
I wasn't in on the ground floor back in 2000, but I joined within a year of its inception and I am so blessed to have been a part of it ever since.
Of course, one of the biggest highlights of ACFW is our conference. The first National Conference was back in 2002 in Kansas City. One hundred excited writers converged on that hotel and I doubt it's been the same since. Writers are a rare breed. We hear voices sometimes in our head. Yep, characters talk to us and to themselves. We are always looking for a fresh idea to add to our books. The other day I was out walking and a landscape guy almost ran me over with his large mower. I can't wait to put that in a story LOL. More than once, mystery writers have had more attention drawn to themselves than intended when discussing in public how to kill off someone. It was at the Kansas City conference that I knew I'd "come home" when Brandilyn Collins advised us that the hotel was full of "normals" and we had to be careful how we spoke in public, because they just didn't understand.
Each year the conference has become better and better. This year we're having it at the same hotel that we did last year in Dallas. Not only will we be listening to CBA author extraordinaire James Scott Bell talk to us about writing in his keynote addresses, but we'll be treated to great writing workshops, inspiring worship times, great fellowship, a full cadre of agents and editors to hear our pitches, not to mention good coffee from the coffee bar LOL. Did I mention the comfy beds? Like sleeping on a cloud.
One of the newer highlights is our Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Most people dress in evening wear and we hear who the winners of our Book of the Year and Genesis contests are. I've had the honor this year and last of presenting the Mentor of the Year award which is kept a surprise until that night. Here's me giving Lena Nelson Dooley her award last year.
Okay enough reminiscing. If you are interested in signing up for this year's event there's still time to get on board by going to http://www.acfw.com/ and clicking on the conference link. Although our special-rate room block at the Marriott is filled, we have space available at several overflow hotels at rates close to the same rate. These hotels are a short walk away from the Marriott.
I'm ready . . . or am I? Better polish that pitch one more time.