A Report from the ACFW Conference

I'm unpacked, rested, and loaded with writing ammo. And I'm eager to get started because I'm excited that I have a lot of work to do on my manuscript.

The ACFW conference was stuffed with encouraging instruction for Christian novelists. Since I hate missing out on great information, and since I can't be in two places at once, I ordered those valuable conference CDs. I'll be taking notes at home - probably not wearing my cool name tag.

I loved the very well done awards banquet. A great photo op with everyone wearing smiles and glitzy gowns. I only took a few pictures, but it looked like a lightning storm with all the flashing going on.

I also took pictures at the booksigning.

I hope you will check out the books of the three beautiful ladies in my photos: Brandilyn Collins, (suspense) author of Violet Dawn; Janice Thompson, (mystery) author of The Wedding Caper; and Elizabeth White, (romantic suspense) author of The Texas Gatekeepers series which includes Under Cover of Darkness, Sounds of Silence, and On Wings of Deliverance.

Hawaii Pictures

I'll be at the ACFW conference this weekend, so I'll leave pictures of my Hawaii trip while I'm gone. These are from the islands of Kauai and Hawaii. Enjoy!

Apologies to Apostrophe

Dear Apostrophe,

I sincerely and humbly apologize for the way you have been treated. Although misplaced, overused, and generally neglected, you keep working even when no one seems to care about your feelings.

How can I effectively make up for all the abuse we have heaped on you? I am not sure I can.

Though mistreated, you are loyal. You make yourself available to anyone who wants to show the possessive or even the plural form of a word. You are bandied about by writers of all strengths, tossed into places you did not belong. But you stay.

Always generous and willing, you are open to new words coined by lazy-tongued, devil-may-care speech recorders. Writers who do not feel bound by laws create new opportunities to show off your potential. Do they see that you are worn out? I think not.

You come to the rescue when words are too closely confined and a letter leaves its home. You sometimes cause readers to wonder about the letter for whom you stand in the gap. Where did it go? Will it be okay? At least we are comforted by the presence of the apostrophe high up in the air, calling out to the reader, “There was a letter here once. A valuable letter.”

Is there a can’t or doesn’t whose knee is not bowed to your unity-building powers? Words do not have to come apart at the seams. They can be mended by the mighty apostrophe.

Sometimes you are eloquent and misunderstood like the dog’s and cat’s in the backyard. I understand. I used to have dogs and cats who had things in the backyard that I did not want to name.

So thank you, apostrophe, for your steadfast diligence. Thank you for your patience with us while we learn about you and learn to treat you with respect.

Chicken or the Egg

Conundrum. A puzzling problem. Which do I focus on first? Getting my manuscript honed, re-edited, and polished or getting the road to publishing paved?

Since one cannot be a published novelist without having a polished manuscript and one cannot properly polish a manuscript without sticking one's head in the publishing door and looking around, the answer is: juggle.

My husband can juggle balls. I can't. But being a mom has given me the ability to juggle schedules, chores, play time, and meal-making. I know that writers have to juggle their writing time, marketing time, mentoring time, and their craft-improvement time. Then they have to juggle their writing life (include all of the above) with their home life, friendship-development life, local volunteering life, and their family-visiting life.

Talk about a lot of balls in the air. It's just crazy, isn't it? But it's life.

I enjoy going to writing conferences because I get to learn on several levels. I learn about people (possibly begin friendships), the industry, the craft, the marketing process, the editing process, etc. Trying to be well-rounded in growth will help me be ready for more opportunities than if I were to focus on one thing at a time.

I believe Christian novelists can help each other. And I believe that's what God wants us to do. My problem is figuring out how I can help others. I know there are many people who are experienced in publishing and can teach me much, but who wants to learn something from someone who doesn't have all those many years in the industry?

Recently, I've signed up to volunteer in a position that needed a volunteer. The requirements were that one be present and willing to obey instruction. I can do that. I may not be able to mentor a beginner novelist, but I can help someone else.

Since we are all unique and have our own individual gifts, I can be unashamed of who I am and remain positive about my forward progress - even if it means there are many who will be published ahead of me. I can't compare myself to others, only to where I might be if I quit.

I keep writing, reading, making friends, and helping where I can. That's my job.

So, here's a big thank you to my family and friends for your patience - and to my husband who supports me. Big hugs ;)