Sunday, September 21, 2008

The ACFW party's over!

But not really. I just got back from the annual ACFW conference in Minneapolis, where I got to hang out with some old friends—all folks who have the same passions as me. I hung out with Sue and Melanie, two delightful new friends, while the hotel got our rooms ready. Later that night, after the general welcome session and agent and editor panels, I headed on down to a late night chat where my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray (pictured with me), and one of her associates answered questions about how their agency works.

The next day, I ate, chatted with friends, ate some more, went to meetings, and hung out in the meeting room area, where I saw (and hugged) Margaret Daley, Shelley Galloway, Janet Barton, Rhonda Gibson, Irene Brand, Miralee Ferrell, Lisa Ludwig, Beth Goddard, and Jean Kincaid.

Then that night, Janet Spaeth, Lena Nelson Dooley, and I went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for dinner before the Barbour dessert reception at the Mall of America Aquarium. What a wonderful—and yummy—party! Thanks, Becky, JoAnne, and Susan, for such decadent sweet treats in a creative venue! This is definitely a first for me—eating chocolates beside shark-infested waters!

On Saturday afternoon, we had what just might be the biggest book signing ever at the Mall of America. I had the privilege of sitting between Vickie McDonough and Shar MacLaren (pictured to the left of me). Did I mention the fact that I love their books? If you haven’t read them, what are you waiting for? Run to your nearest bookstore and look for their latest.

The awards banquet on the last night was amazing—from the dinner to sharing the winners’ joy. We ended the evening at Becky and JoAnne’s room where a bunch of Barbour authors gathered to surprise Susan Downs on her (?) birthday. No one told us how old she was, but I bet most of us have her beat by at least a few years.

I’m back home now, unpacking and doing laundry. It might not sound like fun, but the occasional flicker of the special memory brings a smile to my lips.

Oh, before I left home, I got my hands on a copy of soon-to-be-released Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas by Sandie Bricker. What a cute story about a woman who experiences a series of mishaps (some hilarious and some that are sure to make you cringe) as she tries to be someone she’s not, just to get the attention of a special guy! Look for it wherever you buy books on October 1. This book was so captivating, the time to and from the conference flew by—pun intended!

I'll get back to work tomorrow on my work-in-progress with a renewed spirit and enthusiasm for my writing. My biggest challenge will be to ration my time sending e-mail to all my old and new friends from the ACFW!

Monday, September 8, 2008

2008 ACFW Conference!

The ACFW conference is less than two weeks away, and there are still so many things on my to-do list. In addition to the standard laundry and packing, I have to figure out what kinds of promo items to bring for the book signing at the Mall of America on Saturday, September 20. There will be more than 120 Christian fiction authors poised with pens and ready to sign books for eager readers—and that includes me, on both sides! Not only will I be signing, I’ll be able to pick up autographed copies of books by my favorite authors!

The conference isn’t all that long, so it’ll be a whirlwind of activity! In addition to the signing, Barbour editors Becky Germany, JoAnne Simmons, and Susan Downs are hosting a get-together for their authors. I’ll get to meet my new editor, Rachel Meisel from Summerside Press. My agent Tamela Hancock Murray will be there, and so will quite a few of my writer friends. I’ll take pictures and post them on my website after I get back!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane season is here!

With 2 books and a novella due on February 1, I've been so busy writing, I haven't posted here. Then Hurricane Gustav started his trek up the Gulf of Mexico, so when I wasn't writing or working on Long Ridge assignments, I found myself glued to the TV—watching and waiting to see where this monster would hit. The entire northern section of the Gulf Coast has always been a target for these storms, but that doesn't make it any easier for those who call it home. I live in a town that's on the Gulf of Mexico, but so far this season the storms haven't affected us beyond a little gusty wind and a crazy amount of rain. Throughout the 2008 hurricane season, we need to pray for everyone in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes.

To keep up with the latest tropical storms and hurricanes, check out the National Hurricane Center.