We are here and conference starts tomorrow!

 

I don’t know about you but I am excited!

Excited and terrified… as I’m certain many other writers are – who are here for the first time.

It’s a heady experience – there are agents to meet and other authors (some of which are personal heroes to us) and there is so much to learn.

 

Long days and hectic schedules, interspersed with small breaks of time we can use to mingle and meet new friends.

The one difference for me personally…?

At THIS conference, I atually have something in common with the majority of attendees. At the other conferences I have attended so far, the only common ground I shared with the other people sitting in classes beside me was that we both wrote novels.

In fact, at both, there were – at most – one or two authors who fit in the category of Christian fiction.

I was definitely in the minority!

But tomorrow I shall not be! I shall be among friends – brothers and sisters in Christ! And there is so much I hope to glean from this conference!

For all the other writers out there who happen to be attending the ACFW writer’s conference for the first time, I hope you glean as much or more than I do as well!

Have a Great conference!

God Bless!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | Only 2 Days to go

Clean…

I don’t know about you…

But I really enjoy returning from a long trip to a nice, clean house.

 

There’s just nothing quite so wonderful as coming in from spending all day in the car… or hours on a plane and in an airport, to a clean house, fresh sheets and no dirty dishes anywhere.

 

Plus, it always helps to do up the laundry because you’re going to come home with a pile of it.

 

Now I know this advice doesn’t work for those of you who are leaving loved ones at home while you travel over land and through air to hang out with dear friends and make new ones…

But, you can certainly enjoy having someone else clean up after you for three or four days.

And you can always hope that your family will surprise you when you return with a nice, clean house.

We can dream right…

I know that’s true for me because if I don’t do it myself or help the kiddos do it, it does not get done. LOL!

 

 

God Bless!

Only a couple of posts left before we start the 2014 ACFW Conference!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 3 Days to go

PACK!

Trust me…

YOU DO NOT WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST SECOND!

 

So you’ve purchased new luggage, a new outfit or three, notebooks, paper, business cards, those all-important bathroom supplies and at least one new pair of shoes…

 

MAKE A LIST! – And I know I’ve said it before but I’m gonna say it again – check it TWICE!

Plan on packing at least one extra outfit. I always do! You NEVER know what’s gonna happen – spills, accidents, it looked like it matched when you were packing but looking in the mirror you think… “nope!”

Murphy’s law states that anything that can happen, WILL happen, when you are NOT prepared for it!

I have learned this the hard way SOOOOO many times!

So I always over-pack but at least I have a good reason for it!

And those few times that something weird HAS happened, I WAS prepared!

 

 

God Bless!

And watch for more posts to come as we count down to the 2014 ACFW Conference!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 8 Days to go

GO SHOPPING!

Not that anyone really NEEDS an excuse to go shopping…

I’ve even learned to enjoy shopping…now that I have a cute little girl who LOVES it

and I never really enjoyed shopping – like so many women out there… before now.

 

So far, we have purchased new luggage, swanky new notebooks, a calendar/planner for 2015 and fancy new business card holders for our trip to St. Louis but there are still things that we need to go buy.

Why the luggage?

If you read my last POST, you’ll remember why. Another reason was because we want to look professional and the pink camo bag I shared with my daughter on our last trip just doesn’t strike me as professional…

For those who may be flying, airlines change their rules constantly and you may find that the bag you’ve always used… won’t work anymore so you’ll need to update.

 

Why the new notebooks?

If you subscribe to the ACFW loops, you know one of the suggestions that came through was to have a three-ring binder to organize everything in for the conference; notes, handouts, all those one-sheets and proposals you will want to have with you, etc…

We have quite a few three-ring binders in our house but all of them are spoken for (some are even full to bulging) so we had to go find new ones. I know… I know… you feel for us. How terrible that we had to go to a store and buy a new notebook… Oh well, we’ll live. 😉

 

Why the calendar/planner?

In my capacity as co-creater of the Inspirational Authors of Nashville Writer’s group, book reviewer, writer, mom, teacher, general go-for… I have A LOT of things to do in a day and my mother has discovered that her schedule has begun filling up into January already so we figured it would be smart to have a planner for next year handy… just in case.

 

I hope the business card holders are pretty self-explanatory… 

 

And as far as some of the other stuff goes…

The thing about packing works here too:

MAKE A LIST! – And it sounds trite but check it TWICE!

Plan on packing at least one extra outfit. Shopping here is probably a lot easier than it would be to find time to shop there.

Don’t forget to check the levels of your travel shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, toothpaste and the ever important toothbrush! You may need to buy more!

 

Do you need to refill medication, renew a driver’s license, pay a bill before you go… These things are important to get done now, before you’re in a rush to get ready next week!

 

God Bless!

And watch for more posts to come as we count down to the 2014 ACFW Conference!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 10 Days to go

START PACKING!

Not that my luggage is quite this classy or anything…

Maybe someday…

 

In the past, our luggage actually looked a lot more like this:

Which is one reason we purchased a new set of suitcases for this conference – that and… all of the ones we have are a bit battle-scarred.

 

You may want to consider buying some new luggage yourself… especially if you fly – unless what you already have will fit what the airline allows. In that case, don’t spend the $$$ because it will probably get thrown all over the place in transit anyway.

If you are flying, make sure you check the rules for the specific airline you are flying with.

They ALL seem to have different rules and you don’t want to get to the airport only to find out that you can’t board the plane.

To be safe, stick with the travel sizes for any bottle! They can be sticklers about that.

 

If you are driving, make sure you account for the fact that in St. Louis, you will most likely have to pay for parking – if you stay at the Hyatt where the conference is being held, or another Hotel nearby. You don’t want to have to make six trips back to your vehicle.

 

Pack smart – if you have odds and ends, put them in an extra suitcase (preferably one that’s stackable or that can be attached to your main case) instead of having two or three bags or boxes on top of your regular luggage.

 

Consider bringing snacks and/or sandwiches.

You never know when you’re going to hit a stretch of road where there are NO exits for miles and miles and miles.

And speaking of a stretch of road that goes for miles with no exits… STOP for restroom breaks before it becomes an emergency – same with fuel!
Stop to fill up when your tank hits the halfway mark.

Play it safe! You’ll have a more enjoyable trip that way!

 

And as far as the packing goes…

MAKE A LIST! – And it sounds trite but check it TWICE!

Pack at least one extra outfit. Things happen and you may not have time or $$$ to shop for something new!

Don’t forget your travel shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, toothpaste and the ever important toothbrush!

I can’t tell you how many times I failed to bring mine, thinking that the hotel would have it and had to go buy some when we got there because they didn’t… or the type they have gives me a rash… or it doesn’t stretch the whole visit and they want to charge an arm and a leg for another (in that case, go to a local wal-mart – trust me, it WILL be cheaper).

 

God Bless!

And watch for more posts to come as we count down to the 2014 ACFW Conference!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 12 Days to go

DO NOT PANIC!

 

I know it’s coming up fast now but you have to calm down, take some deep breaths and relax!

 

1) IF YOU PANIC… You’ll miss things!

I have learned that lesson over and over and over. If I get in a panic and rush around trying to get out the door, I forget things.

 

2) IF YOU PANIC… You won’t be ready!

This is the same lesson. Whenever I get in a panic, I rush around and for some reason it takes me at least three times as long to do things… and I don’t usually get everything done.

 

3) IF YOU PANIC… You won’t have as much fun as you would like!

If you panic now, you won’t be able to enjoy the days leading up to conference. And you just might wear yourself out so much that you can’t enjoy the conference either.

 

Remember that. RELAX! And have a great conference!

 

God Bless!

And watch for more posts to come as we count down to the 2014 ACFW Conference!

SPECIAL POST – REMEMBER | Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 14 Days to go

Remember…

 

 

 

In honor of the tragedy that took place thirteen years ago today, I am doing this post a little differently.

 

Today I want you to take a moment to REMEMBER with me.

Remember why we write Christian fiction.

I don’t know about you but I write Christian fiction to help shine God’s light into a hurting and lost world. It’s not just about showing lost people the way to God, it’s about lifting up His children and helping them to hold onto Him as we make our way through this world.

 

Remember Who is inspiring our writing.

One of our favorite pastors has a motto that I just love. “Our number one job in life is to make Jesus look good.” – David Gibbs Jr.

In this life, we have a job as followers of Christ. We are to show the world the light of Jesus that shines through us. For writers, that means that our words should reflect that light. They should show the world how wonderful God is and not dwell in the darkness of the world.

And it is possible to write about that darkness while still showing the light of God through it!

It’s not easy but it is possible. If it were easy, every writer would do it.

 

Remember what our message is!

Our message ultimately, whether you write Amish fiction or speculative is LOVE – God’s love.

Remember that and you will be just fine.

 

And lastly…

 

REMEMBER the sacrifice!

Remember the sacrifice that so many men and women made willingly on that fateful day thirteen years ago in the effort to save as many as they could and remember the sacrifice that so many men and women make every day on the battlefields, fighting for our freedom.

 

But most of all, remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me on that day more than two-thousand years ago on a cross! Remember that sacrifice when you write, when you promote, when you are on social media, when you attend conferences and when you speak to people in everyday life.

Remember that Jesus wants to shine through your life and do everything you can to make Him look good, every day, in every thing!

 

 

Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel