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!


Krista Phillips said...

I'm so jealous!! :-) Went the last two years and LOVED IT! Hoping to make St. Louis next year, though.

CandaceCalvert said...

We'll miss you, Krista--and see you next time!

Mocha with Linda said...

Oh wow. I'd love to be a fly on the wall there! No, not a fly, I'd want to be there in person! Have a great time!

CandaceCalvert said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda--and you must come to conference next year. Or the next time it's in Texas? So exciting, you would LOVE it!

Casey said...

I so wish I were going! But have a great time and I will be watching the "live" blog during the conference awards rooting for you!!

BTW I saw your new book is out!!! I was going to request one to review from Tyndale, but it came out when I had another one requested, so I didn't get it. :( I think I might have to go buy one.

Have a great trip and I can't WAIT for those photos. :D

Unknown said...

Wanna be a writer? Then, read all you can! Please visit my blog and leave a comment. Thanks!

patti said...

What a fabulous blog! WOW! And I find it right when I have to go into a writers' cave until 11/15. Yep, my first deadline with a book contracted but not written.
Scary. I need an ER NURSE!!!

Candace, you were amazingly friendly and real, and a highlight of ACFW was getting to chat with you b/f the banquet. May God BLESS your career.

CandaceCalvert said...

Thank you all for stopping by the blog and leaving comments--wish we could have hung out in Indy!
Patti, SO excited for you--what a beginning to an amazing journey. Congratulations! Loved the chance to chat with you at the conference. Stay in touch and let me know how it's going.

Anonymous said...

I love the books written by Candace Calvert, and would LOVE TO WIN COPIES OF YOUR NEW BOOKS !
Thanks so much for sharing your writing ability.