Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ACFW Conference Recap

My brain still hums with the "I-overload" I experienced at this year's ACFW conference in Dallas:
Industry Information. . .
Ideas. . .
Interviews. . .
Inspiration. . .
and, thanks to all that great food--Insulin-Infusion.

Here are a few highlights:

Thursday. Thanks to road construction and stand-still traffic, I arrived at the conference site at 11:30--half an hour late for an agent appointment. From there, I went straight to a faculty orientation session, followed by the conference opening ceremonies.
I sat on an editor-panel discussion followed by a keynote address by James Scott Bell. That evening, Becky Germany and I led a "Late Night Chat" in which we gave participants an "Inside Look at Barbour." (A big thanks to all you published Barbour authors who gave input as well.)
OH! And I can't forget to give a shout-out to my dear husband, who had a dozen red roses waiting for me upon my arrival at the hotel in celebration of my birthday!
After the Late Night Chat ended at 10 p.m., I enjoyed the company of some of my longtime friends until the wee hours of the morning.

Friday. When I arrived at my assigned table for breakfast, only one empty chair remained. The rest were filled with my dearly beloved contracted mystery authors. We no doubt took the prize for the rowdiest table. Dana Mentink awarded me with a big honkin' plastic NOSE (in honor of her Finny's Nose series.) Then, I was able to sit in on one session of Colleen Coble's class, "The Suspense Thickens," before lunch.
After another great meal, I had the special treat of presenting author Cynthia Hickey (in front of around 500 of our writer friends) with a contract for her cozy mystery, FUDGE-LACED FELONIES. Becky Germany then shocked author Marcia Gruver with a three-book contract for her historical-romance series. What fun!
After we all recovered from the contract-presentation excitment, I headed into an afternoon of author/editor appointments. After our last appointments of the afternoon, Becky and I barely had time to load our boxes of goodies into Janelle Mowery's van and head over to Truluck's restaurant for our Barbour Author Appreciation dinner. Judging by the volume of chatter in our close-quarters room, I do believe a good time was had by all 45 of us.
If memory serves me correctly, I managed to get to sleep before 1 a.m., after visiting with friends new and old.

Saturday. After another mystery-author breakfast, I headed back to the Mezzanine level for a morning filled with author/editor appointments. After eight or so of these back-to-back, fifteen-minute sessions, I'm afraid my eyes began to glaze. However, my trance-like state was due only to sleep depravation, NOT lack of interest. So many great ideas under one roof! And I loved being able to talk writing and mysteries with folks who really understand my enthusiasm for these topics.
We had a short break from appointments in order to enjoy the huge book signing event, then it was back to the mezzanine for more one-on-one time with authors.
Among the highlights of the ACFW Annual Awards banquet were the many Barbour authors whose names appeared on the list of winners.
Go to the ACFW blog for a look at the names of those unpublished authors whose work received recognition. http://acfwconference.blogspot.com/2007/09/genesis-award-winners.html
I believe they'll be posting the Book of the Year award winners soon (for published authors).
After the banquet, a small group of friends held a surprise "intimate" shower for one of the gals who is getting married soon. This party turned into a heart-to-heart sharing time and I didn't get back to my room until 2:30 a.m. Poor Becky had to catch a 4:20 a.m. shuttle, so I tried really really hard to tiptoe and not disturb her as I plopped into bed. (I took my contacts out via the light from my cell phone.)

Sunday. We shared an awesome time of worship prior to the 11 a.m. dismissal of the conference. My husband--who had been to Kansas City and San Antonio during the three days I was attending conference and had flown to Dallas late Saturday night--arrived to pick me up in our son's Mustang soon after the sad farewells. I had the fun of introducing him to some of my cyber-pals before we headed out. That afternoon, I enjoyed watching my 4-year-old grandson, Kaden, play soccer and smothered his 2-year-old sister, Kinsley, with kisses. Then, yesterday (Monday) morning, it was up at 4 a.m. to catch a flight home to Ohio.

Just sign me--Sleep Deprived, but Riding High! Susan


The Write Life said...


Thank you for the update! I've been chomping at the bit to know who received the contracts. I can only imagine how fun that public moment would be for a new author. I hope to see it in person someday. I think it's so cool that you all do this!

For now, until I can be there to see it, I love hearing about the events through posts like yours.

Thank you!

Cara Putman said...

Conference was such fun! And one of the highlights remains watching unsuspecting authors be awarded their first contracts from Heartsong Presents and Barbour. Thanks for the dinner, too. It was wonderful!

Vickie said...

I'm still trying to catch on the sleep I missed at the conference. But it was a wonderful time and great to see all my writing buddies again.

I love seeing a newbie get a contract each year. That's so much fun, and I hope you all will continue doing that.

Mary Connealy said...

The conference was great, Susan. The meal at Truluks and the time spend with other Barbour authors was great. I ended up having such fun with people I didn't know, except by name, and it was just wonderful to actually visit and just share the joy of being published and the fun of writing cozy mysteries.
And that steak...it was a complete food group all of it's own, so tender, unlike any steak I'd ever had. I thought I'd have to have a fork duel with Dana Mentink over the last piece of cheesecake, but it was settled more or less amicably and my stitches should be out within a week.
Anyway, pure fun. Thank you so much for everything.
I love the covers for the cozies and I can't wait to gett the book club up and running.

CHickey said...

I'll be entering Fudge in the Book of the Year for 2009! Look for me there! I'm proud to be a part of such a wonderful group of writers.

Susan Downs said...

Why not enter it for Book of the Year in 2008, Cynthia??? I believe your book is slated to release in the summer. Does anyone know the cutoff date for entries in next year's contest?

And just think, many of you will have mysteries available to sign at the big Mall of America booksigning next September too!

Pam Hillman said...

I love seeing the contracts awarded as well. It's something I look forward to every year.

Sleep at conference? What's that?Maybe we should start the day at 10 AM. Just a thought...

Oh, and those editors and agents DO work hard long hours. Can you imagine sitting for 8 or 10 hours listening to pitches with only 2 hours sleep the night before?