Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Conference Experiences

I recently had the great pleasure of attending the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference held in Dallas. This was the 15th anniversary of the conference, and what a wonderful time I had seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

I've attended the conference almost every year since 2001 when I joined what was then ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers) and started my writing journey to publication in earnest. At the conference, I not only learned the craft of writing but met people who would be important to my journey. I can't stress how important networking is to your career as a writer. Along the way, though, you'll meet people who will become your dearest friends.

Attending a conference is a win-win!

This year, though, with twenty-five novels under my belt, the conference was different for me. I kept thinking back to those early years of walking around as a basket of nerves and practicing my pitches. Can anyone relate? Those years before I had a great agent and a publishing house.

God is good. Stay faithful to your calling and to the journey and it will happen.

Old friends Lisa Jordan, Barbara Harrison, and Erica Vetsch.

One of my dearest friends, Lisa Harris (I know this picture is grainy but I don't have my hands on the good ones yet!) I started my novel writing journey with Lisa. We were in an ACRW critique group in 2001 and never looked back. In fact, Lisa and Lena Nelson Dooley were pivotal in helping me get my first book published (Seasons of Love).

New friend Kristen Heitzmann. I love, LOVE, her books and have always wanted to meet her. I prayed for divine appointments at the conference--you  know where God just leads and you follow. As a result I had the opportunity to spend time with Kristen.

And here's a friend whom I met while living in Louisiana. Morgan Tarpley Smith is an aspiring writer. I encouraged her to attend the conference and she finally made it. It was so great to see her there.

There are many, many more friends that I met and pictures to share, but I'll stop here.

If your'e an aspiring writer or even published, a writing conference is an experience you don't want to miss!