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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

ACFW Conference 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Some of you might have noticed the countdown widget I have posted over there on the left. I added it a little over a month ago for two reasons. One, to remind me just how few days there are until the big annual event where hundreds of Christian authors, writers, and industry professionals gather in one city for a fun-filled, exhausting yet memorable time. Two, to alert others who visit this blog of the big event.

It's been all over the internet, and touring through a good number of blogs. It's received recognition in newspapers, online magazines and a wide variety of web sites. It's become THE premier Christian fiction conference in the United States (and even in the world). And if you write Christian fiction or think you might be interested in it, it's THE PLACE to be. :)

I'm talking about the annual ACFW Conference. And this year, it's being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from September 18 - 21st. Our keynote speaker will be best-selling author, Angela Hunt!

If you've attended an ACFW conference and have a special memory or story to share, leave a comment and share it. I'd love to hear it.

What started out as about 100 people attending a small gathering in Kansas City, Missouri back in 2002, and what has its roots with 6 original founding members in 1999, has grown to nearly 2000 members worldwide and over 500+ attendees at the national conference.

I've attended every year since 2002, and I pray I never have to miss one.

Today, I'm here to jazz up the interest in the conference. ACFW has organized a blog tour, and I'm the last stop along the way. I can't begin to describe the tremendous opportunities that exist at this conference. Each year, I've attended for different reasons, and each year, I've come away blessed beyond my wildest dreams. It was at this conference in 2003 that I received a request for my first novel, and a little over 3 years later, it sold!

It was also at ACFW where I unveiled my rather obvious fuzzy Tiki-bird slippers and began a trend where I've been told I'm not allowed to come without them. And that notoriety has even traveled to other conferences, so when I've attended there, folks ask me where the slippers are. :) I'll try to dig up a picture of them somewhere....even if I have to take a new one. The other pictures might be on my old computer.

ACFW in Houston in 2003 was where I joined with 2 others and played some great pranks on fellow author, Deb Raney. It was also where Brandilyn Collins saw the serial killer from one of her books come to life right before her eyes. And it was where Brandilyn and Deb began their "feud" over who was the better author, competing for sales and hijacking each other's displays or kidnapping books and leaving ransom notes in their place. Oh, and who can forget the "floating body parts" and the little "gifts" left on the tables for Tracie Peterson by Brandilyn in Kansas City in 2002? That led to Pinky Palmer traveling across the U.S. to unsuspecting homes of members who "needed a hand."

Then, there's the "Kissing Bandit" story of Kaye Dacus and the multiple times Lena Nelson Dooley was hit on by a couple of inebriated men in the bar of the hotel. Plus, none of us will forget Brandilyn's admonition that we need to be aware of the "Normals" out there who don't understand writers.

In Nashville in 2004, we learned from Karen Ball about how southern women can get away with saying anything simply by tacking on "bless her/his heart" somewhere in their speech. We also discovered "goldfish moments" and so many writers realized, "I have a castle!" You had to be there to understand. :)

Another amazing thing happened at ACFW. In 2005, I met the man who is now my husband, when the conference came to Denver, Colorado. When the announcement was made in 2007, some folks joked about the need to return ACFW to ACRW (the name with which it began). Others said it could make great publicity. "Come to ACFW and meet your soulmate." LOL!

And the Denver conference is where Randy Ingermanson depleted the water supply and wore a hole in the carpet from his pacing during the workshop he presented sharing with us how to write from the "male Point-of-View." Wow! Talk about an eye-opening session! What's worse for him is he had to endure that not once, but TWICE, when the recording the first time didn't take. Poor Randy. :)

Just 2 years ago in Dallas 2006, the conference added the bonus of an Awards Banquet, where members can dress up if they choose and attend a banquet to celebrate and honor those who receive awards. From unpublished to published, from mentor-of-the-year to agent- and editor-of-the-year. It's all there. And if you don't have many opportunities to dress up, this is your chance to feel like a star!

And last year, in 2007, they announced a fantastic partnering between ACFW and Barnes & Noble, all to help spread the word of Christian fiction, and to have B&N work with us on the bookstore and book signing event.

There has been no end to the connections, the inspiration, the fellowship, the education, the phenomenal return on investment, and the take-you-to-the-throneroom-of-heaven worship experiences that have come out of these conferences. I can't say enough about all of it. I hope to never miss one if circumstances allow.

If you are interested in writing Christian fiction, or if you're already published in it and want to connect with others in the industry, ACFW is where you need to be. Don't delay. Register today!

And even if you're not interested in *writing* Christian fiction, but you *read* it? Well, stay tuned to the news of this organization. You just never know when we might be coming to a town near you, and you'll have the chance to meet some of your favorite authors, maybe even get a book autographed by them.

This year, our multi-author book signing is being held in the Mall of American rotunda, with a video slideshow and tons of publicity. Over 100 authors are going to be in attendance. So, if you're anywhere nearby and can get to the mall on September 20th, we'd love to see you!

I could go on and on, but I'll end here. Suffice it to say, it's an experience you'll never forget, regardless of how you get involved.

So, have you attended an ACFW conference? Do you have a special memory or story to share? Leave a comment and share it. I'd love to hear them.

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