Good luck, Linda!

One of our authors, Linda Goodnight, is up for a RITA for her 2009 book The Snow-Kissed Bride and she'll find out if she won at the RWA conference this weekend.

We've got our fingers crossed for you, Linda!

Linda's 2010 books are:

and The Lawman's Christmas Wish  (coming in December!)


Don't miss our meeting this Saturday!

Award-winning authors Margaret Daley and Vickie McDonough will be speaking at OCFW on Saturday. The topic is CONSTRUCTING A NOVEL and they will also be doing an author Q&A where you can ask them pretty much anything you can think of about publishing, writing, their books, etc.

As usual, we'll meet at the back meeting room at Mardel from 1:00-3:00pm. Come early for fellowship if you can.

Hope to see you there!


ACFW Conference Experiences - Day 5

Today you get to hear from me, LACY WILLIAMS. Aren’t you lucky?

I’ve been to the ACFW national conference twice, 2007 (Dallas) and 2009 (Denver). I’ve already registered for the 2010 conference in Indianapolis. Both times I’ve gone, I’ve experienced a palpable sense of affirmation that God is calling me to write, because of the people and things He’s put in my path.

In 2007, I roomed with a dear lady (hi, Jeneal!) from my “local” chapter – the only chapter in my state at that time. I didn’t know her well at all, but over the weekend we talked a lot, and she really touched me by staying in our room and praying for me during both of my appointments. That year, in addition to the wonderful classes I took, my editor appointment resulted in an invitation to send a full manuscript. My agent appointment was more of a learning experience – I learned that that person just wasn’t a good fit for me. I came away from conference so FULL.

In 2009, I attended as a finalist in the Genesis contest – which added a crazy sense of anticipation and humbleness (I couldn’t believe the quality of the writers I was up against!) to my experience. I loved getting to see people I’d met in 2007, attending the workshops, rooming with my critique partner (hi, Denice!). I had a great time meeting an agent and editor and making those connections. And somehow I won my category in the Genesis, which was a total surprise!

Things that really shaped my ACFW conference experiences:

WORSHIP: There’s so much going on at conference that sometimes you just need a break, and I’m all for sneaking in a nap when you can. But one thing that meant SO MUCH to me at both conferences was the worship, led by Rachel Hauck. It is so awesome to worship with writers from all over the world – this is one thing I advise against skipping! Also, visiting the prayer room when you need a quiet moment of reflection in between sessions or before an appointment – that ACFW offers this to its attendees is wonderful.

VOLUNTEERING: One of the things that pushed me out of my comfort zone but helped me meet people was helping out. Between both conferences, I’ve worked in the bookstore, taken meal tickets, been a workshop hostess, set up the SW Zone table, and done conference reporting for Afictionado. Not only do you get cool ribbons for your nametag, but you get to meet people. Even if you just give someone a smile, it can make a difference in their day (and sometimes their whole conference).

ASKING GOD TO GIVE ME WHAT HE WANTED: Both conferences, I spent time in prayer in the week leading up to conference, on the way to conference, and during the conference. Specifically for His blessings: people I needed to meet, places I needed to be, what I needed to do. I asked Him to help me be open so that I would be ready for what He wanted me to see, do, who He wanted me to talk to. Both times, He blessed me by letting me meet people I never expected, touch those who needed it (and be touched in return), and experience His presence in a whole new way.

If you are on the fence about going to conference, I hope you’ll pray about it and serious consider it. Yes, it is a big monetary investment, but for me, both conferences have been PRICELESS.


Register for the conference at: http://www.acfw.com/conference


ACFW Conference Experiences - day 4

Today we hear from JULIE JARNAGIN, who is contracted for a novel with Heartsong Presents that will come out in 2011/12. Here's what she has to say:

I met two OCFW members for the first time at the 2008 conference. Bill G and I were standing in line for our appointments; I met Lacy W. at the first-timer orientation. I think we all talked about how we wished there was an OKC chapter. Look at us now!

In 2008, I had an appointment with an agent who wasn't interested in my work, but instead of just letting me go, she spent the time helping me work out any plot holes in my story. I learned so much from that 15 minutes spent with her. I also had a wonderful critique with Margaret Daley. Getting to sit face to face with an expert and ask them questions is priceless. There are opportunities for learning and improvement around every corner even when you least expect it.

Not to mention, it's fun! If you're passionate about writing, what better place to be than where everyone is passionate about the same thing? It's inspiring.

I'm looking forward to going again this year. See you in Indianapolis!

Thanks, Julie!

Register for the conference at: http://www.acfw.com/conference


ACFW Conference Experiences - day 3

Today's post is from BILL GARRISON, who writes fiction with a twist of suspense. Bill says:

I've been to the 2007 and 2008 ACFW conferences and had a great time at both. The classes are great as are all the sessions. Some people buy the CDs of all the classes and learn from those. Others, like me, probably rarely even look at their notes once they go home.

I think the conferences are valuable because of the people you meet and the connections you make. I've heard it’s important for editors and agents to become familiar with you. They obviously can't remember every name and face, but most I talked to in 2008 remembered me from 2007. And, if you never become their client, you become their acquaintance and then friend.

Also, the conferences are great for agent/editor contacts. The conference costs a lot of money, but it is a venue respected by the industry and will get you a fresh look from an agent/editor that you might not get otherwise. Creating an agenda and having a plan is important, you might get lost otherwise. There is so much going on, and so many people you’ll want to meet and talk to. But, don’t be discouraged if you don’t talk to that one agent, or pitch to that one editor. Don’t let that discourage you or ruin the great experience you are sure to have.

Terry Burns is my agent and I pitched to him at the 2007 conference. He wasn't a scheduled appointment, but he had extra slots and I got the very last slot on the last day, and I'm sure he was exhausted because I know I was. But he listened, was super nice, and a few months later offered to represent me. Still haven't sold that novel, but am almost done with another one that is being critiqued by other clients of his in a critique group. So that is another positive of the conference. You can meet people who write the same novels you do, and develop friendships and critique groups. From the multi-pubbed authors to the first timers, everyone there wants to help everyone else. You get no sense of competition or jealousy in an industry that is extremely competitive.

Thanks, Bill!

Register for the conference at: http://www.acfw.com/conference


ACFW Conference Experiences - Day 2

Today's post is from DARLENE FRANKLIN, a multi-pubbed, award-winning author.

Here's what she has to say about the ACFW conference:

Ah, conference. It’s like a big family reunion.

But it is also my annual business meeting, where I meet with my board(s) of directors, editors of the book publishers I hope will buy my books. Those two appointments loom large for everyone at conference. I no longer go expecting to learn a huge amount (although I always walk away with new insights). I go because it’s a professional gathering. I go to see and be seen, to be remembered as a serious professional.

I am currently talking with an editor who said, “we know you can write about farms and small towns and Texas.” How does she know that? Because she’s been following my career. Now, there’s a scary thought. We met at last year’s conference. I showed her a proposal (rejected) for a story set in a small town in Texas. I was a BOTY finalist for a historical—set in Colorado, not Texas. In fact, the only writing she could have seen of mine about a small town in Texas is the novella published last fall, after conference.

A wide open door—and that’s all I, as a writer, can hope for!

I have sold two books as a result from conversations at conference. My first sale came about because of a paid critique at conference (a different one, but same principle). Years later, Tracie Peterson remembered me and my story—and bought Romanian Rhapsody for Heartsong.

My first trade-length book is a result of a conversation at last year's conference. (not releasing details until I have the contract in hand). We discussed possible changes to my proposal, I agreed ... and now it's penciled in sale for publication in 2012.

Over the years, I have met with dozen of magazine and book editors. I’ve had many more rejections than sales, although the tide is turning. But that ongoing, personal contact and conversation put a face with your proposal and can make a huge difference.

- Darlene

Register for conference at: http://www.acfw.com/conference


ACFW Conference Experiences - day 1

Welcome to the first of five days spotlighting some of our members' experiences attending the ACFW national conference.

This year's conference will be held in Indianapolis on September 17-21, 2010. Several of our members are already signed up for the 2010 conference, and when you read their posts, I think you'll see why.

Today's post is from ERIN YOUNG:

Last year, I finally did it. I went to my first ACFW conference. There was something about scraping my money together, poring over workshop offerings, choosing editor/agent appointments, and clicking my way through the registration screen. Something that said…commitment. I was going down the writing road.

No more maybes or somedays.

I overcame my hatred—er, discomfort—of flying. If that stupid plane was going down, it was going down with someone following her dream on it. Someone willing to risk it all—rejection, fear, a hideous flaming death—to see if my writing was good enough, or could one day be good enough to rise to publication.

Don’t we all want to know? We sit in our lonely writing world and wonder if what we’re doing will ever matter, will ever make a difference in someone’s life. Sooner or later we have to step into the network of authors, editors, agents, and wannabes like us. For me, the ACFW conference was my giant step. My initiation.

And it was awesome.

I didn’t suddenly get discovered. I didn’t have agents falling over themselves to sign me. Editors did not hunt me down and thrust book contracts in front of my eyeballs.

But I did meet people. Friendly people. Welcoming people. Buddies.

I absorbed and learned and grew. I joined the pilgrimage, walking alongside those whose skills surpassed mine and those whose abilities had yet to reach my level.

In the midst of it all, I looked around and felt a perfect peace. I had joined the journey, and it was right where I belonged.

- Erin

Register for the conference at: http://www.acfw.com/conference