I’m not yet back home, since my conference trip was extended to include some visiting time with writer Joan M. Hochstetler, in Tennessee, but I thought I’d start jotting down the highlights of my first ACFW conference experience. At the top of the list are my fellow writers, a few of whom I’d met before, but many I met face to face for the first time. What a blessing to spend time with Laura Frantz, Lorna Seilstad, Regina Merrick, Kaye Dacus, Lisa Buffalo (who was a runner up in the Genesis Contest in the Women’s Fiction category), Etta Wilson, Christina Berry and so many more. It was wonderful to see Ann Shorey and Camille Eide again, both fellow Oregon authors.

The Saturday night dinner with Etta Wilson and the Books & Such authors was another highlight. I greatly missed getting to meet my agent, Wendy Lawson, in person finally (or at least for the first time since she’s been my agent), but enjoyed getting to know Etta and the authors who attended, at least those at my end of the table! PF Chang’s is quite the noisy restaurant!

Another highlight of the conference for me was placing 2nd, or runner up, in the Genesis contest with my historical, The Quiet In The Land, at the awards banquet Sunday night. I was so nervous beforehand I could barely eat a bite of that lovely dinner.

My name is spelled right on the certificate.
It wasn’t on the big screen at the banquet:

Also that night we had a special visitor, Janette Oke, who spoke about the writing and publication of Love Comes Softly, the book which paved the way for Christian Fiction as it exists today. Her editor, Carol Johnson, shared her experience of acquiring and publishing that book, and was awarded the first ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award. This year the traditional Book of the Year award was changed to the Carol Award, in her honor.

Spending time with my gracious hostess and roommate, Joan, has been delightful. It was about a six hour trek from Nashville up to Indianapolis, and on our way back we stopped for breakfast with some of the Middle Tennessee writers group. So great to meet Patrick Carr and Kathy Harris.

On the same journey south we stopped in Lou-eee-vill (that’s for Kaye), Kentucky, to tour Locust Grove, a plantation home on the Ohio River, built in 1790, where Revolutionary war hero and general, George Rogers Clark, spent his last years (the house belonged to his sister and her husband, William Groghan). There we had a wonderful guide, Ted, to show us through the house and grounds. Ted bears a remarkable resemblance to Clark. At one point we stood before a portrait of Clark in his latter years, and I kept looking from the portrait to Ted and back, with the uncanny feeling I was in the presence of the man himself, despite the difference in attire.

Yesterday Joan and I toured another 18th century house, Rock Castle, built in the Nashville area in 1786. Another wonderful tour guide, Amy, showed us through the rooms, and I finally got to see a “brick” of tea, the form it was sold in during the 18th century. As we were about to leave, Joan handed Amy a bookmark for her Revolutiony War novel, Wind of the Spirit. Taking one glance at it, Amy exclaimed, “YOU wrote this book?” Turns out she had noticed it on the shelf at the Barnes & Noble where she also works. That’s a fun and encouraging moment for any author, and I was so pleased for Joan.

The only real disappointment I experienced was my camera’s refusal to take a single photo, so you will have to take my word for it that I was actually there and did these things! Or maybe I’ll pop up in other writers’ photos around the internet. If I find any and have permission, I’ll post them here.

The 2010 ACFW Genesis winners list: http://www.acfw.com/genesis/2010winners.shtml

Congratulations to all the winners and runners up!

I’ve added in a photo taken by Lisa Buffaloe, at the Awards banquet, and a scan of my runner-up certificate for The Quiet in the Land (aka Willa).

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