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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Celebrity Reports: ACFW 2012

I recently returned from the 2012 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. Many of you know I LOVE magazines, so while I was there, I couldn't help thinking the conference was a celebrity event. No, Jennifer Aniston wasn't there. Nor was Denzel Washington or Sandra Bullock. These stars are small fries compared to the big potatoes I saw!



Only the BIG celebrities were at ACFW, and I got to meet many of them!

First up, the shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Who did I ride with? None other than the super cool Amy Clipston! Amy writes Amish and contemporary Christian fiction, and she was so friendly and welcoming, I couldn't believe my trip had started on such a high note!

Within minutes, I'd shoved my junk into my hotel room (see the stellar view from our room below) and sprinted back down to the lobby. I did not want to miss my two superstars arrive--Cynthia Herron, my fab roomie, and Jessica Patch, my dear friend. But before they showed up, I met Jennifer Fromke!! Jennifer writes women's fiction AND she's familiar with mid-Michigan where I grew up. It's always fun to use the words "tractor pull" and "demolition derby" in a sentence and have someone nodding in complete understanding. :)



I can't even begin to tell you how many friends I finally was able to meet in person. I just started writing them out and had to come back and delete because I realized this post would be forty-five pages long! Before I continue, though, I have to say I've been beyond blessed to deepen my friendships with both Cynthia Herron and Jessica R. Patch. These women are genuine, honest, and classy. I'm honored to know them.



It's funny how certain people have an automatic "buzz" around them. People clamor for their attention. We get excited and elbow each other when they're near. Who are these people? Every agent, editor, and best-selling author there! If only I had pictures to show the ACFW version of  "Stars: Just Like Us."

You'd see for yourself that editors get their own coffee (shocking!) and they wait in line to buy a Diet Coke in the gift shop (what??). Agents GO TO THE BATHROOM (I know!! Who knew they had bladders?). Best-selling authors? They attend workshops! (Wow!)

While I get as star-struck as anyone, the people I completely flipped over (besides my friends) were(in the order I met them) Becky WadeLisa JordanLiz Johnson, and Judy Gann.

I'd read My Stubborn Heart over the weekend and concluded I could NEVER write as good as Becky Wade, and if I could meet her at the conference my life would certainly be complete. Well, guess what? She was in the first-timer's meeting too! I may have (definitely did) overly hugged her, but she was just awesome, which made me love her even more.

Lisa Jordan and I have been friends for a long time online, and she's always so warm and friendly that I couldn't wait to meet her. She's even more beautiful in person, and she gives the best hugs, and she even forgave me for completely blanking on life details when we first met, which I thought was very classy. Let's just say this little brain can only handle so much information in a conference full of people and it had reached its limit! Watching Lisa accept the Carol award for her short contemporary romance, Lakeside Reunion, brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations, Lisa!

Moving on to Liz Johnson. Liz and I share the same agent so I knew we'd get along great--and we did! Liz is even more down-to-earth and fantastic in person! Liz, too, was up for a Carol award. It's probably wrong to say she was robbed so I won't. :) So now I have an out-of-control girl crush on Liz, too. I might have to form a fan club or something...

One of my new favorite friends is Judy Gann. Judy is a Bookie (represented by Books & Such Literary Agency) too, and I met her on her birthday! Happy Birthday, Judy! Judy and I bumped into each other off and on throughout the conference, and I'm convinced God sent her to help me. I realize with all the exclamation points it looks as if I had the time of my life. Let me set you straight. The conference was a real challenge for me. Judy comforted and encouraged me throughout my stay, and we were able to have a nice long talk on the final day. I'm SO blessed by Judy!

There are dozens of other people who made a huge impact on me. Susan May Warren is such a special person. I know she personally touched many writers' lives over the weekend, and I'm very thankful to her. I could go on and on, but I'll save my other friends for another post.

The bottom line? The conference solidified one thing I already knew: it's not what I can take away from a conference, but who I can add to my life that makes all the difference. I'm SO blessed to have new friends.

What did you do last week? What are you doing this week? I've missed you!

Have a blessed Wednesday!



42 comments:

  1. Conference was so amazing this year. I'm ready for 2013!

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    1. I LOVED meeting you, Julie! I'm so glad we were able to have some one-on-one time!

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  2. It's funny how we get star struck at a writer's conference, but that's what makes it even more fun.

    Glad to hear you had such a great time, Jill. :D

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    1. It is! It makes me laugh. I wonder if these people have any idea what a thrill it is for some of us?

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  3. So many fun names! I was totally star struck last year at my first conference too! :) Hope you're going next year, cause I just have to meet you!!!

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    1. I wanted to meet you too, Lacie! Hopefully we'll make that happen next time! :)

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  4. Sooo having withdrawls this week! What a blessing to hook up with some of my favorite people! Big hug to you, Jill! :)

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  5. Wow! I actually got my comment to post with Blogspot! I tried every combination/trick I knew--yay!!!

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    1. Yay!!! You can comment!! High-five, lady!! Big hug to you, too! :)

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  6. Looks like you had a blast! I wish I could have been there!

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    1. I wish you could have been too! But I will say this--there is a reason for everything. I haven't been able to attend the conference before this, and I don't regret the years I couldn't attend. :)

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  7. I so loved spending time with you, Jillibean! Yes, the name is stuck forever! I was starstruck myself. You are as wonderful in person as you are online! ;)

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    1. Well, Jess, you are even BETTER in person than online--and I didn't think that was possible! Love you!!

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  8. I'm so glad God blessed you with the right people at the right time to support and encourage you. Appreciate so much about you and what a support you've been to me in this industry.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. God has a funny way of doing that, doesn't He, Wendy? I don't know what I'd do without you!!

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  9. This is my favorite ACFW conference wrap-up blog ever! Your enthusiasm is shooting off the page :-) and brings back to the foreground all my happy memories in a giant pile. Plus, you mentioned tractor pulls and demo-derbies. Need I say more? This Michigander has found a new friend.

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    1. Aw, thanks, my little derby buddy! Ha! Ha! Michiganders are special people! Soooo cool meeting you!

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  10. Loved reading your recap! Glad you had such a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing...

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    1. Thanks, Loree! I wish you could have made it. I wanted to meet you! :(

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  11. It was so awesome to finally meet you! Hanging out with you, Jess, Cynthia, and Mel in Jess's room that first or second day was a starstruck moment for me. I just love and admire you all so much, and I was really shocked that I was "cool enough" to be in your presence! :P

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    1. Starstruck for you? I felt the same way! How amazing we can all be on this journey together. Love you!!

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  12. Agents go to the bathroom too! Lol! Yeah, I actually met some pretty important people in the bathroom when I went to conference the first time :) I'm really happy you got to meet such amazing people and deepen friendships - that's one of the best parts about conference.

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    1. I know! Funny!! I SO wish you could have gone. I'm still sad you didn't. :(

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  13. It's the people who make all the difference! Loved meeting you!

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    1. It really is. :) I'd love to sit and have a coffee with you and talk lumber and stuff! Maybe next time? :)

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  14. So loved meeting you, Jill! And I was star struck, too. I'm pretty sure Karen Witemeyer will institute a screening process for the people at her dining table after I gushed about how much I love her books all through breakfast on Saturday. :0)

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    1. Yeah, a few authors probably are getting restraining orders against us as we speak! I'm so glad I'm not the only crazy! It was really fun meeting you!

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  15. It was so lovely meeting you in person, Jill! As for what I'm doing this week? Trying to sleep while taking care of sick kids. Sounds fun, huh? ;)

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    1. Sarah, it seems you're not alone. Almost everyone I've talked to this week has an illness in their house. I hope you all feel better soon. :( I loved meeting you, too!

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  16. That sounds like an amazing conference with amazing people! I get so nervous around authors that I admire!!

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    1. I act like a real weirdo, Kelly! But that's me! I've learned to go with it. :)

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  17. ACFW sounds like an amazing conference to go to. I need to go to that conference and really get my writing passion in full gear! Glad that you had fun!

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    1. Livia, there's nothing like hanging out with other writers to get that passion flowing. :) Thanks!

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  18. My week was wonderful. I got to hang out with amazing, talented, fun people like YOU, Jill.

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    1. I loved meeting you, Keli!! You're just as friendly and wonderful in person as you are online!

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  19. This was so much fun to read. :-) I'm excited that you got to meet my crit partner Jennifer Fromke. She's the sweetest thing ever.

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    1. She IS the sweetest thing ever. She and I need to take you to the Bay City fireworks and a good ol' Michigan fair--you would love it! :)

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  20. "The conference solidified one thing I already knew: it's not what I can take away from a conference, but who I can add to my life that makes all the difference."

    That is some WISDOM right there, Jill! So fun to meet you in person. Looking forward to really chatting when you come to B-town!

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    1. Me? Wise? Hardly! Thanks, Katie! I can't wait to have some hard-core coffee with you soon!

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  21. Thanks for sharing--Now I know that I simply must get to a conference--soon!!!

    Bless you--can't wait to see more!

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    1. I do enjoy conferences, Cheryl! It's always exciting to meet up with old friends and find new ones!

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  22. Love this post, Jill!! Yall had such a great time! Wish I could have been there to meet all of yall too! I've inspired just reading your post. So great to have an amazing writing community even if we only get to see each other online (& sometimes at conferences)! ttyl girl! :)

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