Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back to the Old Grind

It is hard to come back and face reality after spending 4 nights in a luxurious bed, being waited on hand and foot by hotel staff and ACFW members, eating my fill of good food and even better desserts, and--not the least--seeing very good friends in person. I love being surrounded by people who love Christian fiction as much as I do.

The 2007 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference was one of the best with an attendance over 500. I met with over 30 authors in appointments, and the quality of what I saw this year is even better than in past years. If I had to say no to reviewing anything, it mainly had to do with the subject not fitting Barbour's needs.

The Late-Night Chat that Susan and I did turned out fun. "Teaching" always scares me, but since this was a Q&A format, it required very little preparation and worry about presentation. But if I were to sign up to actually teach next year, what topic would you like to hear me address? Just curious.

Congratulations to all the Barbour authors who won Book of the Year awards. You can see them here.

Also congrats to Marcia Gruver and Cynthia Hickey on their contracts. Tracie Peterson started the tradition of having Heartsong Presents offer an unpublished author a contract at the ACFW conference, and I'm so glad we could continue that this year with Barbour contracts.

Dinner at Truluck's was scrumptious. I highly recommend their food when you are next in Texas. I believe they have 3 locations in the Dallas area. They treated our large, noisy group very well. (Authors pictured are Ramona Cecil, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Becky Melby, and Anita Higman.)

A highlight of the conference for me and many of our Heartsong authors was in getting to see Nadine Smith from Kansas. She is a Heartsong member from the beginning who has all the books. She even made the trip to Ohio in 1998 when we had a small homecoming event for authors and readers. She had her daughter drive her down to Dallas just for the large book signing event at the conference. She was in heaven to get to meet so many of the authors she loves to read.

Here is another picture for you. Mama Ruth (mother of Brandilyn Collins) and agent Chip MacGregor at the awards banquet.

It was nice coming back to the office and finding JoAnne at her desk. She was jumping back into work with full enthusiasm, even though it was her birthday.

Welcome back also to Lauralee Bliss, who just finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail with her son. It took 6 and a half months that are documented here.


Mary Connealy said...

A few random thoughts.

That lady from Kansas was so, so sweet. I got to visit with her a while and she was just wonderful. Wanted her picture taken with me, what a kind, fun lady.

Chip's kilt is either the mark of an extremely confident man or a depserate cry for attention. The jury is still out.

Those were the MOST comfortable beds I've ever imagined.

That moment when you and Susan gave out the Barbour Contracts, well, Tracie Peterson did that for me two years ago and it's one of the sweetest moments of my life.
I just LOVED seeing that tradition continue.

Getting to visit with you and Susan was wonderful. I am supposed to be a writer...hey, wait! Not 'supposed to be' ...
I AM a writer.
And yet I find myself unable to fully express my appreciation, thanks, gratitude (are those all the same???) to you ladies.
Thanks for everything and thanks for being part of a terrific conference experience.

CHickey said...

I'm still flying from getting the contract! You've given me a precious memory. Thank you.

Marcia Gruver said...

I may never hike the Appalachian Trail, leap from a perfectly fine plane, or be qualified to wear tartan plaid to dinner, but I'll match being awarded my first contract at an ACFW conference to any of the above experiences.

Sincere thanks and many blessings to Becky, Susan, and everyone else at Barbour Publishing!

Kristy Dykes said...

"What topic would you like to hear me address?"

K: You're a fiction editor in the CBA with many years of experience, so you have a wealth of knowledge. I'd think ANY subject you choose would be beneficial to writers. You could talk about the editing end, or the publishing end, or the writing end. Just stand up and talk. We could all learn a lot.

Jess said...

I enjoyed the Barbour chat. Wish I'd thought of an intelligent question to ask but my mind was blank. :)

I suppose what I like to hear when editors speak is how they determine what they want to buy--turn-offs as compared to turn-ons. :). What makes a story truly good for you? I suppose I could read all the Barbour books and have the answer to that question, huh?

Usually after coming home from a conference, I feel as though I need to take up beading instead of writing. When I feel that way, God always sends me a little perk to make me feel better. Yesterday I got my contributor's copy of Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover's Soul. I thought that would keep me high for a day or two, but I started reading PUGS by Kathy Ide and it has put fear in my heart. :(

Kristy Dykes said...

Thank you, Susan--and Becky--for your hard work and diligence as editors. We really appreciate you and all you do in this great big world of publishing. You're a help and a blessing to us authors.

Becky said...

It really was a good conference.

Kristy, what you said relates to my fear of speaking. Authors tend to think I have all the answers, and I fear they'll learn that I don't. :)

I'm really looking forward to 2008 in Minneapolis.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these great blogs and simply love the photos. Afraid it did make me all nostalgic for that Barbour author dinner way back in 1999 at Chicago RWA conference. I'm still hoping one day I may be able to meet many of you at some conference some year.
Mary Hawkins

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I had a wonderful time meeting all of you at the ACFW conference! Dinner friday night was scrumptious, and it was a treat to see two new Barbour authors receive contracts. I'm already looking forward to next year's conference. It's hard to say what, exactly, I'd like to hear you speak about at a conference. Writing-related subjects are so broad, and there's so much I'd like to know, but it's kind of hard to place these tidbits of knowledge into one concrete workshop. You might want to go over some things that ran through your mind when you read novel submissions that you ended up buying. What was it about the books that appealed to you, and what things would appeal to you in future submissions?

Lisa said...

I'm so glad that Barbour has continued the tradition of awarding a contract at the ACFW conference. Before I sold my first book, seeing someone get a contract gave me hope. It encouraged me to keep going, keep writing. It was proof to me that it COULD happen. Thank you, ladies, for all your hard work.

Karen said...

Just found your blog after being introduced to it at the ACFW conference.
Becky, the greatest gift you have to give when you teach is that you are approachable. Your grace and warmth will come through no matter what the subject matter and that is more important than "knowing it all." Thanks again for being a part of the ACFW conference.