When I joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in February 2005, I never expected to be flying to Nashville, TN that September to a conference that would change my life.
God had nudged me to step out of my comfort zone to fly by myself and walk into a hotel where I didn’t know a single soul except for acquaintances I’d met online. And then to room with a person who could be masquerading as an axe murderer — after all, you just don’t know who these people are in real life. Anyone could say they are a Christian, right?
Well, I’m thrilled to say I arrived in Tennessee with no problem and returned home safely, but as a changed woman.
The first person I met was my first online critique partner, Roxanne Sherwood (now Roxanne Gray). We met through an ACFW critique group and clicked. Then I met my roommate, who overflowed with joy.
Throughout that initial conference, I met other writers and authors who have influenced my writing. My favorite moment, other than meeting Roxanne and Kathy, was meeting Susan May Warren. I remember trembling when I sat at her table for lunch. A friend had introduced me to Susie’s Deep Haven series in 2003. I had to meet the woman who wrote those incredible novels. As I’ve mentioned in the past, meeting Susie allowed us to develop a friendship that ultimately resulted in my role in My Book Therapy (MBT).
As a debut author with my first novel, Lakeside Reunion, coming out in November, I credit ACFW as being the backbone of my writing career. At ACFW, I met Susie, who has mentored me. I met critique partners who’ve helped shape my novel into something worth pitching. I met Love Inspired editors, which resulted in my first sale. And I met Rachelle Gardner, who became my agent in 2009.
All of this happened because I stepped out in faith and allowed God to direct my steps.
This issue is about preparing for conferences, specifically the ACFW conference, but the advice is fitting for other writing conferences as well. If you’re nervous about pitching, consider signing up for the MBT Pitch and Promotion Scrimmage, which is scheduled on September 21, the day before the ACFW conference begins. And don’t forget about the annual MBT Pizza Party. This year’s party is going to be totally rad! We look forward to seeing you.
This terrific e-zine would not have happened without the help of the exceptional staff and supplemental writers. So allow me to close by thanking those involved in putting this e-zine together:
- Book Therapists, Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck.
- Voices Staff:
- Reba J. Hoffman, Member Care coach, prayer coordinator.
- Beth K. Vogt, copy editor, Mentor’s Moment coordinator.
- Amy Lindberg, assistant copy editor, Flash Fiction coordinator.
- Edie Melson, assistant copy editor, Social Marketing columnist.
- Roxanne Sherwood, assistant copy editor.
- Vicki McCollumn, assistant copy editor.
- Jennie Atkins, Let’s Shout it Out coordinator.
- Carrie Fancett Pagels, Journey With the Voices coordinator, Upcoming Releases coordinator.
- Patricia Woodside, Ask the Therapist coordinator, Meet the Voices/ What’s Your Story? coordinator.
- Melissa Tagg, Finding the Funny columnist.
- Teri Dawn Smith, Consulting with the Specialists coordinator.
- Michelle Lim, Genre Java coordinator.
- Alena Taurianen, Writing & Wellness columnist.
- Edie Melson, “Two Easy Tips to Battle Nervousness for Those of us Who are Not Naturally Social”
- Melissa Tagg, “A Calming Note for the ACFW (or Any) Conference Newbie”
My Book Therapy (MBT) has over 900 members and grows daily. Members receive an abundance of resources to help them further their craft. Here’s a glimpse:
- My Book Therapy Blog –Topics covered include On the Edge — Suspense and Special Teams Blogs: editing, marketing and social networking.
- Club Voices – Forums where you can ask questions and learn from other Voices.
- Monday Night Chats – Free workshops! Suz and Rachel share their wisdom of story crafting. Chat transcripts are added to the forum for those who missed the chats.
- Voices E-zine – For the Voices by the Voices. Your place to share your writing and to build your platform.
- Storycrafting Retreats – An incredible experience where you will learn to take your writing to the next level.
- The Frasier Writing Contest – Personalized feedback and fantastic prizes to continue to help writers hone their story crafting skills.
- Annual MBT Pizza Party — A not-to-be-missed annual event at the ACFW conference.
- Personalize your own Club Voices page with a blog, comment wall and photos.
Whether you’re a new writer learning the basics or an established, published author, get involved and meet others who are finding their way in the writing world too. At MBT, you are not alone in your journey. Be part of the writing community where Every Voice Counts!
Your Voices Editor-in-Chief,