ACFW Conference Highlights!!!

St. Louis’ famous arch–the gateway to the West

As always the 2011 ACFW conference was a wonderful celebration of the best in Christian fiction and a blessed opportunity to fellowship with, and encourage fellow authors and soon-to-be authors. The highlight of the weekend is the Awards Gala, and this year, many watched it streamed live.

Today, I’ll share some photos and stories and then Wednesday, I’ll focus specifically on Love Inspired authors and have a little name the LI authors contest.

The conference was an extra-special celebration for author Erica Vetsch who learned her book A Log Cabin Christmas Collection made the New York Times best sellers list!!!

Beloved author Tracie Peterson, pictured here with her editor Sarah Long was our keynote speaker, and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Just before coming to the conference Tracie was diagnosed with MS. Your prayers for her health would be greatly appreciated.

Like at the Emmys, there are always a few attenders whose outfits steal the show. Jeff Gerke, of Marcher Lord Press, publisher of speculate Christian fiction was a hit in his historical costume. There were a number of female authors also arrayed in lovely gowns reminiscent of the heroine’s attire in their historical novels.

And what would an ACFW gala be without agent Chip MacGregor sporting his kilt.

Then there were some like Randy Ingermanson who apparently couldn’t behave himself, even while wearing a top hat and tails, after Terri Blackstock took home the Carol Award for Predator. I had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with Randy (otherwise known as The Snowflake Guy, or as I like to call him, Flakey) and he really is a nice guy…despite appearances to the contrary!

  For those who read my Friday blog…I never lived down my moniker as “the one who forgot her roommate”. But as you can see, my roomie, Elaine Stock, forgave me. The books we’re holding are the door prize I won as “the person who forgot something really important”. They weren’t sure they should give it to me, considering what I forgot. But after I assured Brandilynn that I’d share them with Elaine, Brandilynn relented.

Brandilynn Collins also perpetuated my infamy by calling me up to the stage after breakfast the next morning. My table burst into fits of laughter when I exclaimed, “What’d I do now?” But Brandilynn just wanted to apologize for roasting me. I assured her that I was playing it up as a publicity stunt for my new release and handed her a bookmark. 😀

This is Bonnie Calhoun, editor of the popular Christian Fiction Online Magazine and fellow author at Hartline Literary Agency. She won the Mentor of the Year Award.

I was very happy for Bonnie, but Margaret Daley remains my mentor of the year as she’s been a wonderful encourager to me and offered invaluable help with the special needs character in my book Deep Cover.

Another of my mentors, Susan May Warren, received a Carol Award for her long Historical Sons of Thunder…which brings to mind another interesting story. You’ll notice in the background of this picture, as well as in Chip’s, there are scenes. The scenes changed to depict the story lines of each winner’s novel. Music related to the title also played as the winner made his or her way to the podium. Susie thought the sound she was hearing was ocean waves and said so aloud, only to be answered with a crash of thunder. It wasn’t until another couple of awards were handed out that she realized why “thunder” crashed during her walk to the front. 😀

Thanks for vicariously sharing the conference with me. I’m posting a few more pics on my Facebook Page. Please come back Wednesday when I share some pictures and stories of favorite Love Inspired authors and… their real life heroes.

Your turn: If you watched the live feed of the Gala, what was your favorite part? If you attended, what’s your favorite memory? If this is all new to you, do you have any questions?

If you’d like to see the list of winners of this year’s Carol Awards, click here and scroll down. They’re listed at the bottom of the center column.


  • Well, I’m glad I didn’t manage to go this year because I came down with a horrible cold/flu on Friday and have been out for the count since. That wouldn’t have been much fun!

    I appreciate you sharing your stories — the things some people will do to win a few books!

    I watched the awards ceremony on Saturday night. Loved seeing real live authors! Really enjoyed hearing the Lord’s name in praise and acknowledgement so many times and loved the feel of commraderie that radiated from that evening.

    I think my question would be how on earth a newbie could possibly navigate their way through a conference? I think I’d be very overwhelmed by the sheer number of people not to mention all the authors.

  • Oh, Kav, I love your comments…always make me laugh out loud. Aren’t I terrible, but it wasn’t just a few books. It was seven! 😀

    I hope you’re on the mend. One editor commented that ACFW has a whole different feel than any other conference he’s attended. We’ll actually get up and offer our seat to someone to allow them to sit beside the editor or agent they’re longing to talk too!!

    But yes, the first timers do feel a little shell-shocked. Add to that little sleep and we’re all looking pretty glazed by Saturday am.

    Those who fare the best are those who come to soak everything in with no agenda. They’re not devastated if they can’t see the editor they’d hoped or get the request they’d dreamed of, and… are ecstatic if they do. And they’re much more relaxed.

    What’s really cool, is to hear multi-published authors like Tracie Peterson describe how she was just like the aspiring writers at the first conferences she attended, and look where she is now!

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