Friday, September 19, 2008

Live from ACFW in Minneapolis...well, sorta

Oh. My. Gosh.

I'm sooooooooo tired. Did I mention I'm tired. Man, am I tired.

Okay, enough whining. Besides, I'm too tired to whine.

I'm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, attending the American Christian Fiction Writers' (ACFW) conference. I heard one person say there's over 500 people here. I can believe it. Since it's pretty much an all-day jaunt for me to get here, I flew in on Wednesday, arriving around 5 pm. Had a really nice dinner with my agent, Steve Laube, and even managed to talk him into letting me to into a few stores. (He, we were at the Mall of America! I mean, come on!) He handled it real well, too. I'm proud of him. Even walked into the women's clothing store with me.

The conference burst into full swing on Thursday, with attendees, agents, and editors all arriving from around the country. Had some folks, like author Wanda Dyson, who weren't sure they could get here from Houston, but they made it. Of course, Wanda has a tree in the middle of her house, but she said she figured she couldn't do anything about it, so just locked the door (which, when I heard that, made me laugh. I mean...there's a TREE that's fallen in the middle of the house. A locked door isn't going to secure it. But I figure God will, so no worries.)

I had a number of sobering conversations with published novelists who are struggling with a discouragement. Let's face it, publishing is only getting harder. People who've been writing for years can't see to get contracts lately. But Angie Hunt, in her keynote address, hit on so many of the issues I heard brought up...reminding us that dreams are important, but what's even more important is the One who gave us those dreams. We need to do what we're called to do, and leave the rest up to His will and timing. Focus on Him. The rest will follow as He chooses. Great words of truth from a woman submitted to His will.

The editors' panel last night was fun. I met Allen Arnold, from Thomas Nelson publishers. He and I seemed to be the only extroverts on the LARGE panel of editors, so we had fun tossing comments back and forth. I'd like to find time to sit down and talk with him about his views on Christian fiction. I'm sure we won't agree, but that's okay. I like to hear other people's thoughts.

Today was solid with 15-minute meetings with authors, lunch, and then a dinner tonight where I took my B&H authors out to Kincaids--a scrumptious restaurant. John Olson, Leanna Ellis, James Rubart, and the newest addition to our fiction line, ACFW president Robin (Caroll) Miller, spent the whole night laughing and telling stories. I'm amazed both Jim and John survived their college years. They each have harrowing tales to tell of experiences on mountains. I'm just glad God was watching out for them! My life would have been far less blessed without those two.

Forgot to bring the card reader for my camera, so I swiped this shot from Camy Tang's blog. From l-r, this is Steve Laube, Jim Rubart, Randy Ingermanson (who also is here) and John Olson. Great men, all!

So here I sit, now, absorbing all that happened today, weary but content. I love this world, this universe peopled by those who are often more comfortable in their created worlds than in reality. I mean, where else can you hear people talking at one end of the hallways about the best way to kill someone and dispose of the body, and at the other about the kind of vegetation that exists on a planet where people are oppressed by a race of clones? God has given us such a gift with imagination.

And I'm delighted and honored to get to play here.

Blessings to you!



Rel said...

Love reading about all the fun you have and the lovely people God allows you to bless and blesses you with!

Cara Putman said...

Still so excited you grabbed Robin. And thanks for adding some sparks to the panel. It was much more fun knowing you and Allen would be on it. Hehehe. :-)

Robin Caroll said...

The panel was a blast to listen to! :D Still walking on air down here in the south!