Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good Company Giveaway!

As you may know, I've just returned from a long weekend in Indianapolis--well, actually it's been 6 days and I'm still playing "catch-up." And blaming jet lag for as much as I can. Yet despite the yawns, jam-packed e-mail inbox, and bottomless laundry basket, I'm still smiling. Big time. Because even though I didn't fly home with a Carol Award tucked into my suitcase, the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers' conference was such a winning experience. Beyond the valuable writing workshops, great hotel, good food, soul-filling group worship, the best part of the weekend was the opportunity to be in such good company. Like:

1) Meeting with my agent Natasha Kern, Tyndale House Acquiring Editor Jan Stob and Fiction Editor Sarah Mason. It's always wonderful to meet with Natasha, and this was my first face-to-face meeting with the talented editors, though we'd worked closely together and chatted on the phone several times. It was such a neat sense of "team" to be able to sit down with these three publishing professionals and talk not only about the Mercy Hospital series, but to also brainstorm ideas for new, upcoming projects. Good company indeed!
Natasha Kern, Candace, Jan Stob, Sarah Mason

2) Hanging out (laughing, staying up way too late!) with dear friend, critique partner and fellow writer (watch for her fabulous historical romance) Nan Herriman. She's in Ohio, I'm in California, and though we connect daily via keyboard and monitor, hadn't had any "face time" for 3 years. You can bet we did some talkin'! You know that kind of friendship: conversation picks up right where you left off. Such a blessing. Good, good, company.

Candace, historical romance writer Nan Herriman at awards banquet

3) Re-connecting at the book signing with Rosie, a reader and aspiring writer I'd first met in 2009 at bookstore signing in Texas. How great to see her now as a member of ACFW, following her dream toward publication! The opportunity to meet and encourage fellow writers is one of the biggest blessings of this conference, for sure.
Rosie and Candace

Speaking of reconnecting: Last year I met Dr. Richard Mabry at the conference--while down on our knees offering aid to another writer. We learned afterward that we were fellow authors as well as medical professionals--and that we were both writing inspirational medical fiction! (Smile) Had to be part of a bigger plan. Since then, we've each hosted the other on our blogs and kept in touch regarding our book releases. It was good to meet again this year, share a friendly hug, and then learn that: Our books were packaged together in the conference bookstore for a special sale. His debut medical suspense, Code Blue, and my first medical romance, Critical Care. Tied together with a yellow ribbon and offered as a "Bargain Bundle." We couldn't have been more pleased!

It's great to share a readership with this good doctor--folks "scrubbing in" for our medical dramas in "double shifts." Plus, I just plain like the look of our books together, like this photo snapped by reader/writer/blogger Carol Moncado. See what her UPS man delivered all in the same day:

To celebrate a great conference and such good company, we thought we'd "bundle up" again.

Offer two sets of books at the biggest bargain price there is: a Free Giveaway!

Bundle One: Code Blue and (your choice) Disaster Status or Critical Care.

Bundle Two: Medical Error and Code Triage.

I'll pick two winning names (via random selector) on Monday, October 4th at 9:00 AM Pacific time. *No need to choose a specific book bundle*

Simply leave a comment here saying why you'd like to win these books, and your name will be entered.

Good luck, my friends, and please know that you are always "good company" to me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Meet you in Indianapolis

Today I pulled suitcases down from the cupboards in our new garage--packing again, but not with strapping tape and cardboards boxes as we have done twice in recent months. This time it's for the annual ACFW conference being held in Indianapolis. And instead of wrapping dishes in paper, cramming office supplies into sacks, and lugging hubby's purple bowling ball, I'll be packing clothes suitable for workshops, my book-signing materials. And the recently purchased evening gown, of course. Still pinching myself that my debut medical drama, Critical Care, has been nominated for a Carol Award that honors "the highest achievement for published authors of Christian fiction." Goose-bumps on goosebumps here.

But the annual conference is about so much more than awards. It's an opportunity for writers (published authors, aspiring authors, beginning writers) to gather together, learn, network--socialize, support each other. Writing is for the most part a solitary (and lonely) endeavor, butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard--with the occasional foray into Twitter or Facebook when the walls close in. For the 4 or 5 days at conference, we do a 180 turn--non-stop talking, laughs, hugs, reunions, new friendships, brainstorming. Dizzying, exciting, inspiring--exhausting, but wonderful. I remember(way back when) at my first writers' conference feeling like I'd finally landed on a planet where everyone spoke my language! And being completely hoarse on the last day. As I am every time since.

So what sort of planned activities will be going on at the Hyatt? Great stuff like:

Keynote Addresses by best-selling author of the "Bug Man" series, Tim Downs.

Early bird session by stellar author, James Scott Bell: "6 Critical Success Factors in Fiction."

Editor and Agent panels--and opportunities for writers to "pitch" their current work in progress to these industry professionals!

Mentoring of writers by published authors.

Workshops on subjects like: "Creating a Believable Fantasy Storyworld," "It's Not a Dirty Word--Theme," "This Ain't Sweet Valley High--writing Young Adult Fiction," "Turning Rejection into Redirection," "Amish 101," "Feeding the Muse". . . and many more.

A bookstore, with scheduled signings by authors--OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. I'll be signing copies of all three Mercy Hospital books at the Hyatt Regency on Saturday morning, September 18th from 8:45 to 9:15 AM. Come on by!

The ACFW Awards Banquet (hence the evening gown) on Sunday night--a glitzy and glamorous dinner event run much like the Oscars. I'll be sitting with my agent Natasha Kern, and our wonderful "family" of clients, NINE of whom have been nominated for Carol Awards in various categories!

This year, there will be a LIVE BLOG FEED from the awards ceremony--tune in and catch the excitement!

One of my very favorite parts of this conference is something that sets it apart from so many other writing conferences: opportunities for worship as a group. Individual devotions offered by attendees, a member choir that leads songs of praise. Reminders that, as Christian fiction writers (and other industry professionals) we are all "on the same page" when it comes to our work. Awesome indeed. That, and the opportunity to encourage new writers, make this event the best of the best.

So . . . back to packing. Decisions to be made: Pearls or glitter with the evening gown? Bring the Kinko's poster of Code Triage in case the hot-off-the-press books don't arrive? Wear the red scrubs for the signing?

And what about the bookmarks? Last year I got patted down by airport security after the box went through the scanner . . .

I leave on Friday and I'm excited! If you're going to conference, I'll see you there (if we haven't met, please don't be shy. Introduce yourself; I'd love the chance to get to know you).

If you're not going this year, I promise to post pictures when I return. Hoarse, tired--and inspired.

Whoo hoo, Indy bound!