Monday, September 24, 2012

ACFW 2012

    I have to admit that I'm becoming more and more of a hermit as time goes by.  I love books and publishing and talking about everything involved with them.  I love seeing what's coming up and hearing about the books that won this year's awards.  I love actually meeting the people I've only chatted with via e-mail.  But it is so hard for me to get myself out of my little writing cave and actually go to a conference.
    However, I really had no viable excuse for not going to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this year.  It was in driving distance.  I needed to meet the wonderful people at Bethany House, my new publisher.  I wanted to meet people from my writers' loops, especially my wonderful Inky Sisters (those who were able to attend).  And I really needed to be around other writers, those who "get" what my life and my passion for words are like.
    So, overcoming all my self-imposed objections to going (most involving NOT wanting to get up at five in the morning), I made my way to the conference bright and really early on Friday morning.  Instead of arriving at DFW Airport at approximately 7:45, time enough to register and get my conference materials before breakfast started at eight, I got there at about five minutes after seven.  Evidently the traffic and construction problems weren't quite as bad as I had expected.

    Fortunately, I didn't get lost or diverted or confused and found the hotel without any problem.  I was pleased to find that ACFW was actually expecting me and, better than that, some of my fellow Inkies had saved me a place at breakfast!  It was so great meeting them.  I was sorry all of the group wasn't able to make it this time, but I hope by the next time the conference is in Dallas, in 2015, we'll all be there.
    After a gourmet breakfast and lots of hugs and chatting with Inky peeps, I headed off to the conference bookstore.  So many great books.  And what deals they were offering.  Many were buy one get one free or even buy one get two free!  And I so much wanted to buy some, but I couldn't remember what I already had and didn't have, so I didn't buy anything.  And, wouldn't you know it, I didn't already have any of the books I wanted to buy.  Sorry Mary Connealy and Karen Witemeyer!  I'll be getting those books soon though, I promise.
    After the bookstore, I went to my first continuing education class.  Davis Bunn taught a class on craft and, especially, tying the hero's internal and external goals into the novel's climax.  I was sorry to find out that this class was to be continued the next day (when I wouldn't be there), because I found his comparison of the heroic and the post-modern journey fascinating.  Who knew the post-modern model was thousands of years old?
    Following a delicious (and very ample) lunch, during which there was more Inky fellowship, I went to hear Allen Arnold and Jim Rubart talk about how to write and live in freedom.  The thing that I loved most about that talk was the idea that we do have time to do everything God calls us to do.  He doesn't give us more than we can handle.  We just have to learn to say no to the extraneous things that weigh us down.  It was something I knew but truly needed to have brought to my attention.  Forcefully.
    After that, I had another trip to the bookstore (still wondering which books I already had and which I didn't) and then went to hear Michael Hyatt talk about social marketing.  Man, so much to do, so many avenues available to get information out to readers.  It's overwhelming!    Once the session was over, I had to say goodbye to my Inky friends and head off to dinner with the Bethany House editors and authors.  That was amazing!  Not only were they all wonderfully nice, they had all kinds of interesting things to say about writing and publishing.  I've always been fascinated with things like cover design and photo shoots and book trailers, about how books are marketed and the mysterious workings of WalMart and Amazon.
    By the end of the day, almost eighteen hours after my alarm went off, I was happily exhausted.  I had talked shop all day to people who loved books and writing and publishing.  Even though my new book won't be out until next summer, I felt like a real author.  I'm looking forward to when ACFW will again be in Dallas.
    See you all in 2015!

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, as well as Letters in the Attic and The Key in the Attic, contemporary mysteries. Her new series of Drew Farthering Mysteries will debut in the Summer of 2013 with Rules of Murder from Bethany House.  A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats.


  1. Sounds like a great day! And I look forward to more photos this week. DeAnna cant we get you out of Texas? ;)

    I think your exhaustion times three will be the report from the other Inkies! Thanks for sharing your day!

  2. It was so nice to meet you, Deanna! I wish we could have visited more!

  3. I really enjoyed meeting you and hanging out at classes, DeAnna :) Here's a basic summary of day two of the Davis Bunn class. If you want to write novels that cross over to the secular audience, you must begin your books with post modern assumptions, and then use the hero's journey model to move toward that beacon of truth.

  4. Heh heh . . . just getting me out of my house is a pretty big feat these days, Deb. But you never know. I still want to go to Disneyland someday, and I don't think they're moving it here. :D

    Oh, Anne, it was great to meet you, too! Yes, I would have liked to chat more, but hopefully we'll have more opportunities.

    Dina, thank you, thank you, thank you, for letting me hang out with you so much. I always feel a little lost in big groups, and you made everything so much better. And thank you for the info on the rest of the class. I'll bear that in mind.

  5. It really was, Jaime! Great people and great information and lots of fun. If you're a book or writing lover, you should go!

  6. Oh, I'm so glad you posted today! I was very curious about your Bethany dinner and your experiences. It sounds like an eventful--and wonderful--day. I wish I could've been there with you all!

    Yes, you have to come out my way: I'll go to Disneyland with you. Any time. I love it there. My stress melts away. :)

  7. Very awesome DeAnna! I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. I hope I don't have to wait three more years to meet you though!

  8. Oh oh! Just saw Susie D's response. I'm a Disney junkie, so if you get there I'll invite myself along too. ;-)

  9. DeAnna, I feel that way too, so once I get established somewhere I try to look out for new people so I can make them feel at home.

  10. Yes, Suzie! I'd love to go to Disney with you and the Inkies!

    Thanks again, Dina. :D


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