Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rachel's Adventures at ACFW

with Kaye Dacus on prom night
On the weekend I went to the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. It was my absolute first and I think, honest to pete, I will be tired for the rest of my life.

It’s not just the travel and the lack of sleep because you are up chatting with Jess Barnes ( although Anthony Howell wasn’t mentioned once), it is the energy of the place ( I have never been in such a large hotel with 600 other authors before) , the anxiety before the meetings, the “being on” and turning your brain on and being able to smartly ( or so you hope) assess the merits of your book while across an editor in a meeting room, and being able to remember names and, in my case, being able to apologize because “I know I’ve read your book I just cannot remember the title; but did it have a red cover?  That girl. On the front. Yah, her.”

My favourite part of the conference was randomly and unexpectedly bumping into authors I love.  You turn around: there’s SARAH SUNDIN, or GEOFFREY WOOD (he bought me a beer! it was amazing) or MAUREENLANG! I accosted Jenny B. Jones and Nancy Herriman who, poor lady, was trying to get an elevator.

I had lovely conversations with the stunning SarahLadd.  I giggled with Katie Ganshert and realized: wow! She’s a peach!  I hugged Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner a billion times.  It was authors---authors everywhere.

And, I, dear readers, am a total gushy fangirl.

Another highlight was meeting people I have long connected with online in person. Elizabeth Byler Younts (ARGH! LOVE SO MUCH) Sarah LoudinThomas( whose work I was a fan of before she had work to be a fan of ) and Melissa Tagg, Carla Laureano (girl crush!) and Joanne Bischof were highlights. My heart lifted when I saw them walk in a room. 
Joanne Bischof and I (totally stole this pic from fb)

All of the blogs I follow? The books and such ladies, Steve Laube, Chip MacGregor, the Litfuse Girls…. The list goes on…. They were all there! CELEBRITIES! And Frank Peretti was there too---but he scares the heck outta me….well, his books do.

AND REL MOLLETT who is sweet and sunshiney and whose genuine love of books radiates. I had such fun with her

---And Liz Johnson! Kaye Dacus! it was amazing

---the lovely Amy Haddock of Novel Crossing and WaterBrook who made me the best cookies I have ever had in my life 

I didn’t make it to one workshop. My appointments criss-crossed and I ended up having some last minute meetings; but I realized that this conference, for me, was not about taking in  in a school-like setting, it was about immersing myself in the culture.  The online world stretched out and social media ( which is a wonderful thing ) incarnated into this buzzed and elated atmosphere.

I came back with a very very very very long and arduous to do list as well as instant communication with my lovely agency on where to go next.  

In short, I have to write. A lot. There will be writing. A lot of it

Oh …and I went shoe-shopping with Allison Pittman ( who am I kidding. I think I paid the conference fare just to hang out with Allison Pittman. She’s my mentor, critique-r, encourager, drinking buddy, philosopher, sage, muse, wise, funny, half-of-my-undending-vaudeville-act, Texan counterpart. 

*All pictures I stole from other people’s facebook feeds because I have been too lazy to upload my camera pics.

at payless! with Le Pittman


Meg Moseley said...

Oh, how I wish I had been there for all the fun! Next year. You'd better be there. Got that? :)

Carla Laureano said...

I feel the same way... I think I might have hugged you seventy-three times. More hang-out time next time, promise me! :)

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Rachel, it was wonderful to meet you at the Waterbrook spotlight! Your kind comments about the first chapter of The Governess of Highland Hall were such an encouragement! Thanks so much. May the Lord bless you on your writing journey!!

Anne Mateer said...

So glad you had a great time! I'm still a gushy fan girl every time I go! It never gets old! One of the these days maybe we'll get to meet up there. :)

Heather Day Gilbert said...

So great! Glad to get caught up on all the people you met! And if Meg Moseley goes next year I know there will be some serious fangirling on your part, Rachel!

Rissi said...

Lovely, Rachel. So glad you all got to meet and hang out. :)