I've been home for nine days since the conference, putting all I learned into a joy-filled, tear-jerking ending to Stillwater Promise, the third book in the Heartsong Series I'm writing with Cathy Wienke.
Angela Hunt was the keynote speaker. She is such a gracious lady. It's easy to imagine those who are well-published as being up on some untouchable pedestal, but Angie was so real and approachable as she presented the realities of the writing life with hope and humor.
One of the highlights of the week was the booksigning at the Mall of America. Imagine 125 authors sitting at tables that lined the middle of hallways while shoppers walked by. It was so much fun to talk to avid Christian fiction fans and to observe a few people who didn't know such a thing existed!
The Barbour Publishing editors arranged a unique get-together for their authors on Friday night at the conference. They blessed us with tickets to the Aquarium on the lower level of the Mall and after walking under glass arches where sharks swam overhead we had a room all to ourselves with snacks and desserts and time to meet and catch up with editors Becky Germany (L below), JoAnne Simmons (R below), and Susan Downs, and other Barbour authors.
By far the best part of the week was connecting with friends. I met people I only knew by name from the ACFW loop, and others I've met at past conferences. (Like Zoe McCarthy, L below, and Cynthia Ruchti, signing A Cup of Comfort for Writers, R below) What an amazing experience. And then to have the privilege of worshiping with all those friends! Wow....
Next year's conference will be in Denver. If you're a fiction writer, start sticking your pennies in the cookie jar. This time of learning and connecting is SO worth it!