What I Learned At ACFW

Last weekend, the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference was packed out by multi-published authors and the soon-to-be-published. Old friends got reacquainted and new friends met in the hallways and in workshops. I heard one first-timer say she would certainly attend again next year. “Once you come, you’re hooked.”

Everyone learned a lot either about themselves, about writing, or about their relationship with God. Since I learned many things, I thought I’d take this time to share a few of them.

What I learned at ACFW:

1. If you set your goals low enough, you can exceed them and celebrate. I’m big on celebrating all the baby steps along my journey. It doesn’t make sense to set goals just out of reach and be disappointed when you miss them. I like setting reachable goals. If your goals aren’t motivating you, set them higher, but still reachable.

2. If you know your story well enough, you can change your pitch overnight. In one evening workshop, I, along with thirty others, submitted a one-page proposal called a one-sheet. Three well-respected agents showed us how they come to the decision to pass on a proposal or ask to see more of the author’s writing. They spoke their thoughts on each of the thirty one-sheets so we could make appropriate changes to them before pitching our ideas in an appointment with an agent.

When my one-sheet came to the top of the stack, I found out that my story idea was fine, but I used the wrong format in describing what happens in the story. Being rejected by three agents at the same time was discouraging. However when I realized that the point of the workshop was to prepare me for the agent appointment I’d scheduled for the next day, I gathered my determination. I stayed up that night as long as it took to get my pitch sounding just right. At my 9am agent appointment the next morning, I read the new pitch, answered questions, and tried to show a little passion for my characters and setting. The agent asked me to send a full proposal when the appointment was over. I was dancing on clouds at that point. The determined effort was worth it.

I’m still very grateful for that scary workshop. The three agents were kind and honest. It really helped me see what they were looking for. Thanks.

3. My husband has good instincts. After my agent appointment, I received a critique from an award-winning author. She showed me some manuscript corrections I could make. But to really make it a great story, she said I should break the story into two books. I listened to her comments about why this is a great idea and agreed with her that I could do it. When I came home and told my husband what she said, he grinned and responded, “I told you so.”

Being Distracted

When there are kid noises and laughter coming into my tiny office while I'm trying to write, I have to put in ear plugs and focus on my goal. I know how easy it is to get distracted from what you really want to do.

Today's post on my Seek God With Me blog examines how easy it is to get distracted from what God wants you to do. I think we've all been there.

This is the eighth and final post of The Fear Of The Lord series. I plan to pick up other topics after this week.

Check out two blogs

I've been posting weekly to a devotional blog called Seek God With Me. Currently, I’m exploring the facets of the fear of the Lord in a series which has pulled several scriptures from Psalms and Proverbs. Today’s post is from Proverbs 14:27.

Join me at Seek God With Me for my latest post on the fear of the Lord.

The other blog I’ve been developing is the Domino Club blog. I use that site to encourage us all to love our neighbor often and in small ways. Don’t wait for one giant event to bless those around you. If Christmas is the only time you bless your neighbors, you could stand to be challenged. If you have ideas for helping others, feel free to leave a comment.

Join me at the Domino Club blog to see how you can help out a hungry neighbor.


Today I'm posting part six of The Fear Of The Lord series on my Seek God With Me blog. I've enjoyed taking a look at that deep reverential respect for God from a variety of angles.

Check it out and see what kind of person God likes to confide in.

Review of Sushi for One

Camy Tang’s debut novel, Sushi for One?, is a unique peek into the Asian-American culture. I’m looking forward to the rest of the stories in her Sushi Series about Lex Sakai and each of her cousins who try to avoid the title Oldest Single Female Cousin.

Tomboy Lex Sakai needs a boyfriend, and she needs him now. Or at least before Grandma sees her at cousin Mariko’s wedding. Grandma Sakai isn’t your average good-natured granny. She knows how to wield enough power to get what she wants, even when what she wants (a boyfriend for Lex) isn’t easy to come by due to Lex’s high standards.

Will she find a boyfriend through her volleyball friends, at her workplace, or from her brother’s long list of friends? All she knows is she’d better find one quick. If she doesn’t, Grandma will withdraw her support from Lex’s girls’ volleyball team. She was planning to take them to playoffs, but if Grandma cuts funding, how will she cover the traveling costs?

I thoroughly enjoyed the hero’s part in this story. He was visible, yet subtle. Heroic, yet had an obvious weakness. As I read, I knew they would get together, but was surprised by the ending. In fact when I turned to the last page of the story, I immediately thought, “Darn. It’s over.” I wanted the story to continue because I loved the characters.

This Asian Chick-lit is a must-read for anyone interested in a fun story with dramatic turns. According to the front cover, “Sometimes romance needs a kick of wasabi.”

Lex Sakai and Camy Tang: The Answer

What do Lex Sakai and Camy Tang have in common?

They’ve both played in league volleyball and they’ve both had an injury described in Camy Tang’s novel, Sushi for One?, book one in the Sushi Series.

Go buy the book!

Camy has given encouragement and advice to many aspiring writers. Her advice to me has helped steer my writing in a better direction. Her blog is entertaining and informative and very pink. I'm happy to see her name all over the internet on the cover of this debut novel.

Go buy the book!

When I read Sushi for One?, Camy Tang's lovable characters sprang to life. Her story of four very interesting, yet very different, girl cousins who help each other through difficult situations kept me intrigued and wondering how it would all work out. (See the review in the next post.)

Go buy the book!

Yeah, I know. I'm pretty subtle.

Domino Club: birthday cards

Imagine getting only one birthday card. You have plenty of family and friends, but received only one card. It's a sad thought.

On my Domino Club post today, I give a suggestion that might prevent your friends and family from feeling unloved on their birthday.

Why Is God My Hero?

Heroes are the people you want to be around. You know they'll help you because you know they care.

God is my hero because I've experienced his big love for me. I'll never know how big his love is because everytime I think I see the end of his love on the horizon, I realize I've never seen the end of his love - just the horizon.

God's love extends beyond the horizon. Beyond time and space. It's described in so many ways, but we still can't wrap our minds around it. I've discussed his love in my series on the fear of the Lord. To read it, go to Seek God With Me.

Lex Sakai and Camy Tang

What do Lex Sakai and Camy Tang have in common?

Find out on September 11!

I'll post my review of Sushi for One by Camy Tang next week. I really like the story and plan to give away a couple of copies to local readers. Get yourself a copy, read it, and let Camy know how much you liked it.

Where can you find some more reviews of her book? All over the internet! She has a list of all the bloggers who are interviewing her and/or posting reviews. She also posts interviews and reviews of others' books at her blog.