Monday, September 26, 2011

St Louis Inky Report

by Anita Mae Draper

This past week, 5 members of Inkwell Inspirations attended the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers  (ACFW) conference in St Louis, Missouri.

(l to r) Gina Welborn, Jennifer AlLee, Anita Mae Draper, Lisa Karon Richardson, Dina Sleiman

The conference started on Thurs with the first workshops including the Early Bird session, Worship, the Publisher's Spotlight Sessions and the Agents Panels. 

Dina Sleiman and WhiteFire
editor/owner Roseanna White

Friday's breakfast started at 8 am with the last session ending at 9:30 pm. This was the first day of the agent and editor's panels as well as more workshops where the Inkies spread out to cover differ different sessions.

The keynote speaker was Tracie Peterson of Bethany House who addressed the assembly Friday afternoon.

Friday night was also the My Book Therapy Pizza Party hosted by Writing Therapists Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. The venue was the no-roof terrace and adjoining room at the top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It provided a spectacular view of the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River. 

Anita Mae and Gateway Arch

Susie May and Rachel provided food, hilarious entertainment by participants including Karen Ball, Jim Rubart and others, and handed out the Frasier writing award. 

I was the ACFW's ezine reporter for the final workshop of the day, Rejection: The Key To Your Success presented by Steve Laube and Tamela Hancock Murray.

Saturday morning breakfast was fun as I sat with the Seekers and friends.

(l to r) Mary Connealy, Pepper Basham (SeekerFriend), Myra Johnson, Janet Dean, Cara Lynn James
Christ Barrett, Ruth Logan Herne, Amanda Barrett, Audra Harders

 After devotions and worship, the 2nd day of agent and editor appointments carried on as well as more workshops. My morning consisted of the second part of Randy Ingermanson's The Snowflake Method which is based on his popular writing software program.

During the afternoon, I sat in on Susan May Warren's class, Focus on Description. That was followed by Media Training by the people who bring you Romantic Times and the Romantic Review blog. No sooner had these ended when everyone rushed upstairs to ready themsleves for the Gala Banquet and Awards show.

An interesting turn of events was the appearance of several writers and their spouses in costume according to what they wrote. I didn't get many photos, but Randy Ingermanson was in a top hat and tails, Jeff Gerke was some science fiction character, and here's an officer straight out of Star Fleet. I also saw a Mad Max look-a-like, several women in period gowns and a man in a Word War II uniform. It's very exciting to see this change of events. Two years ago in Denver, the only person wearing what she wrote (that I know of) was Roslyn Elliott.

The Inkies enjoyed the banquet so much, they decided to do a spoof of the old TV show, Charlie's Angels - except now they're known as Charlie's Inkies.

Lisa Karon Richardson, Dina Sleiman, Gina Welborn

The next day was Sunday and I took some video of the choir singing but I have to get home to make a YouTube video of it.

I also took videos of some of the My Book Therapy shenigans and other things, but you may have to check my site at later on to see those. Watch the blogroll in the sidebar for more info.

I had a fantastic time in St Louis. My best conference experience to date. What about the rest of you Inkies. What did you think?

And for the rest of you, when we go to conferences, do you prefer to see photos of the attendees or the venue hotel and city?


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. You can find her at


  1. Sweet sweet sweet. Thanks so much Anita. I've been waiting for this and now I'm satisfied. Great photos. You all look wonderful and having a great time!!

    I bet you have more photos to share and I'll happily look at them all.

    The workshops sound great as usual. Sigh. I sure hope to be part of the fun next year.

  2. Hey Deb, yes many more photos will be going up on my Woven Under Western Skies blog at which include St Louis city pics.

  3. Looks like you all had a great time!

    Looking forward to next year. :D

  4. Awesome! Thanks, Anita Mae! Fabulous photos. I appreciate the run-down on the conference, too. I look forward to seeing your other photos on your website.

    Looking forward to RWA!

  5. So glad you used the Charlie's Inkies picture :) Yes, I think this was my best conference ever too. It was more like a reunion. Very relaxed and tons of fun, yet I still managed to do a lot of significant networking.

    Highlights for me were all the hysterical moments with the Inkies (Elephant butt!!!), hanging out with Roseanna and David, and getting to spend time with some of my favorite authors like Julie Klassen and Laura Frantz.

  6. Yay, an update! I vote for pics of the people. I was so thrilled to see the events via live blog; many thanks to Wynn/Wynn Media for allowing that to happen. They do a great job.

    Looking forward to more updates as time goes on, Anita. Thanks again for this report!

  7. A green eyed monster just walked by, Dina. I was really looking forward to meeting Laura Frantz and Julie Klassen this year because I knew they were both attending. And Keli Gwyn, and the list goes on.

    Dallas will be an awesome site next year.
    Thanks so much for the quick post and some Inky photos!
    You all looked wonderful and obviously enjoying yourselves!

  8. When I am ACFW president . . . there will be no Elephant butts.

    Fabulous conference!
    Fabulous Inkies!
    Fabulous fun!

    I can't wait to be in Dallas next year. Was planning on dressing at Catwoman for the next gala dinner, but hubby looked panicked/shocked/appalled when I told him so I'll probably dress as Mother Theresa instead.

  9. If I go next year I'm wearing a historical dress to the awards banquet. OR hysterical dress when you consider what all those yards of fabric will look like when I unpack.

  10. Gina as Catwoman... I can totally see it! Lol!

    Thanks for the scoop and sharing the pics, Anita.

    Now you all have me curious. Elephant butts? What's up with that...?

  11. Thanks for the conference wrap up, Anita. Love the pics. Although I have one little correction... Jeff Gerke was dressed as a medieval or fantasy character, not sci-fi. There's a big difference to spec folk :+}

    I loved seeing the folks who dressed in their genre, and would like to see it continue. The big problem is for those of us who writer contemporary. As I said on Saturday, I may have to write a Steampunk novel just to have a fun way to dress up.

  12. I am smiling so wide as I look at these photos of you all at the conference. The only one I've met in person is Anita Mae Draper. As fellow Canadians we met at the 2008 conference.

    So many of you are good on-line friends through HisWriters and WhiteFire. But in seeing your photos over these years one never gets an idea of your stature until I see you side by side.

    Roseanna, you are so beautifully petite standing next to Dina. And Dina, I knew you were gorgeous, and you are so statuesque. I would never have noticed the difference until seeing the 2 of you together like that.

    One day you'll see me, and think, "oh my goodness, Christine is an old lady." :o)

    Truly, I stopped dying my hair and I'm a natural gray/white now. LOL

  13. Thanks for all your great comments. I'd have answered sooner, but I had a bout of food poisoning from an egg salad sandwich after landing and it lasted for 16 hrs. Ugh! I could hardly move yesterday except for a scheduled doctor's appt. My doctor was thrilled with my low blood pressure until I told her I hadn't taken my meds or drank much water because they kept coming up. She said low blood pressure was also a sign of lack of fluids and to get my levels back up as soon as I can.

    Today, I'm eating and drinking but my muscles ache and it feels like my ribs are broken. Ugh! Thank goodness my fingers aren't sore.

    In between answering email I'll try to get more pics loaded. :)

    Thanks again,

    Anita Mae.


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