ACFW Conference Story #1

What fun it was to spend a weekend with other novelists!

We had the entire ground level of the hotel to ourselves so not a single person looked at you funny if you started pacing the hall and arguing with the character in your head, or if you discussed with a group of co-conspirators the best poison to use to do away with Charlie and not get caught.

Wednesday, I’ll share some highlights of what I learned at the ACFW conference, but today I’d like to introduce you to a couple whose table I had the privilege of sharing at the awards gala on the last night.

They are Caleb and Brittany Jennings Breakey. Caleb was a finalist for the Speculative Fiction category of the Genesis contest (unpublished). I took the above photo before the awards ceremony of, I said, the future winner. 
And I was right.

Now I’m not a spec fic reader, but Caleb wowed me with his love story. How sweet is this?

He’s loved her since she was 11. Just makes me want to write him into a book.

He and his wife have taken night manager jobs to give them more time to pursue their writing dreams. Listening to them tell their story was like watching all the best parts of an inspirational romance novel come to life. Their passion for Christ and each other was wonderful to see.

I also learned that Caleb is the author of two yet-to-be-released non-fiction books. The first, How to Follow Jesus without leaving the Church, releases from Harvest House in the Fall of 2013. So…

Caleb hadn’t planned to focus on his fiction writing any longer, but his wife urged him to continue. And he’s so glad he listened.

Conferences bring out the gamut of emotions in attendees–from the thrill of a book contract, or proposal request, or an award, to the agony of being told your story isn’t ready yet, or simply being overwhelmed by how much you didn’t know that you didn’t know.

For me, the highlight of the conference was sharing in this couple’s joy the night of the gala. It reignited the passion in me to tell the greatest love story of all.

Your Turn: What inspires you?

P.S. Here’s the complete list of the 2012 Carol Award Winners (published novels)
Here’s the complete list of the 2012 Genesis Winners (pre-published manuscripts)
You can check out more photos on my Facebook Author Page


  • Okay, that is super romantic! And I think the pictures say it all too. *swoon*
    Thank you for sharing about that! How exciting about his non-fiction release too! I love the title and will keep an eye out for it. 🙂

  • That non-fiction title certainly caught my interest too. A great draw for the under thirties, I bet. I’ll keep an eye out for it as well.

    So thrilled that you shared some of your conference experience with us. I’m yearning — agonizing — to get details and I find it funny how writers can be so undetailed in their response to my question “So, how was conference?” “Fine.” Aaaagggghhhhhh!!!!!

    What inspires me? Well — watching the live blog Saturday night thrilled me beyond measure. I told a friend it was better than watching the Emmys because I ‘know’ everybody! And the acceptance speeches were so inspiring. Everyone praising God for their gifts. I could feel the warmth of the community — the single purpose that drives the hundreds of people in that room. Talk about empowering!!!! Sure hope I get more tidbits on the internet as I blog hop today. And definitely praying that it will work out for me to get to next year’s conference!

    • I’d love to meet you there! My favorite speech was seeing Susie May unfold her poster-sized speech since she normally writes them on a business card during the gala and then can’t read them. It was hilarious. Had to have something…since we had no dancing elephants to laugh at this year. LOL
      I promise to share more details in Wednesday and Fridays posts, just for you. 🙂 We’re all a little sleep-deprived today!
      For me, hearing best-selling authors like Colleen Coble and Susan May Warren tell how much they depend on their critique partners, calling them to bounce ideas sometimes every day and listening to how they angst over scenes…just like me, was so reassuring.
      Unfortunately, my editor didn’t feel any of the new titles we came up with for Finding Home were strong enough. I’m going to run Fatal Inheritance by her today. Otherwise it’s back to the drawing board on that front 🙂

    • I figured that sleep deprivation would factor in some — but previous years I still got the ‘fine’. LOL. Just sayin’. Honestly if I went, you wouldn’t be able to shut me up. Mind you, somebody asked me how my bus ride in went this morning and I did notice their eyes start of glaze over when I told them the exciting details of my commute. The squirrel that nearly met his maker, the gorgeous guide dog who kept making eyes at me in the most outlandish manner, just begging for me to pet him. I did not. But it was close. The breathtaking view of the parkway with the geese coming into land…well, you can see why their eyes glazed over. 🙂

      Loved Susan May Warren’s speech as well. She sounds like quite a character. And yes, I found it encouraging that real live authors need critique partners too.

      Fatal Inheritance sounds good to me. YOu can tell her an avid reader/librarian said so. LOL.

  • That’s such a cool story!

    What inspires me…all the amazingly beautiful people gathered together at ACFW…knowing we’re all following a similar calling…seeing the ways God has put his storytelling spirit in each us and how He’s bringing that to life in individual ways in our lives. I just think it’s so fun to gather with like-hearted people…and to feel a part of something so much bigger than myself.

  • Caleb and Brittany came into the coffee shop area of the hotel after the Banquet, so I was able to meet them there (and grabbed a photo too!). Such a precious young couple. ~ So exciting to meet all these writers–both young and…um, not-so-young *wink*. Hugs, Patti Jo

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.