I’m back home safe and sound, thankfully! I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to find a spare moment to blog again from the conference, especially since my last post was a bit on the negative side. (At this point, I’ve heard nothing from the Sofitel hotel which owns the restaurant, Chez Collette, by the way–poor service recovery!)
The conference was amazing! Where to start? Perhaps at the ending worship service–if 500 Christians in the book industry singing “Amazing Grace” doesn’t send wonderful chills up your spine, your soul needs help! This conference gets bigger every year, those who’ve been in ACFW since it was ACRW (R was for Romance) tell me. I think I’ve figured out how to capsulize the difference between how going to RWA and ACFW makes me feel–I come back from RWA drained and empty, I come back from ACFW feeling filled.
I wasn’t signing at the Mall of America this year, since HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS was out just one month too late to be there, but it looked to me as a witness that it went very well. I wanted to shout Halleleujah out loud, watching hundreds of people-passersby who were there at the mall, not even knowing the signing was going to be there, being exposed to the depth and breadth of Christian fiction, some of whom didn’t even know what Christian fiction was! I’ll bet Heaven thought it was pretty cool, too! Kudos to Barnes’n'Noble and all those at ACFW who made it happen.
The Mall of America is an amazing place, by the way. Imagine an indoor amusement park in a mall. I barely plumbed the depths of one side of the first floor before my legs gave out. I would probably have done better to stay out of Coldwater Creek, though, but my shopping jones was hitting me hard….:/
I thought the best workshop was one of the very last ones, by Chip MacGregor, superagent, on Branding. I learned a lot. A close second was the 2-session one by Jim Bell, writer extraordinaire, who gave us a dandy 3-sentence fill-in-the-blanks formula for “elevator speeches” (so-called because it’s when one often gets to pitch to agents and editors) that’s going to revolutionize how I do my synopses. Thank you both and all the others who put on extraordinary workshops. I bought the conference CD of all the workshops, so I’ll be able to listen to all of them.
Thanks to those two who wrote the novels I took on the plane with me to while away the hours in the air–THE OUTSIDER, by Ann Gabhart, about the Shakers, and COURTING MISS ADELAIDE, by one of my many friends among the Love Inspired authors, Janet Dean. I read the first book on the trip to Minneapolis, started the second on the way home. I’m not done with it yet, but it’s wonderful and proof that all American historicals don’t have to be set in the Old West.
Lastly in this long blog entry, the raspberries (Pfffft!) to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, which, like DFW, makes sure the only internet you can get in it’s “wifi” environment is too expensive for most of us–$10.00 or so for 24 hours. And since there were NO electrical plugs in the passenger waiting area I was in, I wasn’t remotely tempted. I’m proud my home airport, Columbus/CMH, has truly free wifi.
Enough for now!
The banquet before the Book of the Year and Genesis preparations was the culmination of several days of amazingly wonderful food put out by the Sheraton folks. (though steak knives would have been nice). This was truly one of the nicest conference hotels I’ve ever been at.