ACFW Conference 2010 Highlights

I arrived in Indianapolis midday Thursday, September 16 after a red-eye flight from Sacramento via Atlanta. Although I only got two hours sleep en route, I was too excited to care. This was my first ACFW conference, and, as you’ll see from my smiles in the pics below, I had an incredible experience. I told my husband the conference was a 25 on on the 1-10 scale. ๐Ÿ™‚

Conference Highlight #1 ~ Meeting my awesome agent, Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle is beautiful inside and out. This photo was taken at the end of the conference following the Awards Ceremony. She’d been on the go for days, and yet she still looked like a million. I had the opportunity to talk with her a number of times throughout the conference, and I’m even more impressed by her than ever.


Conference Highlight #2 ~ Meeting my new critique partner, Jody Hedlund

Jody is talented, generous, and genuine. I’m blessed beyond belief to have her as part of my Dream Team. She’s one of my role models. ๐Ÿ™‚


Conference Highlight #3 ~ Sharing in the excitement of Jody’s first release

Jody participated in the Bethany House book signing at the conference. I’d read my copy on the plane and in my hotel room the night I arrived. (Her great story, The Preacher’s Bride, kept me up until the wee hours. It’s that good!) I was excited to have her sign her debut novel for me.

Karen Witemeyer, another Bethany House historical romance author, is in the background.


Conference Highlight #4 ~ Attending the awards ceremony

Katie Ganshert, Jody Hedlund, and me

I enjoyed celebrating the successes of the Genesis and Carol award finalists and winners. Hearing Janette Oke speak was a delight. However, for me the biggest thrill was sitting at the WordServe table with Rachelle and my agency mates. I’m an emotional person and was moved to tears of joy, which is why my eyes are puffy and my nose in red in the photo above.


Me and Chip MacGregor

Chip MacGregor’s table was behind ours. After hearing about his kilt online for years, I asked if he’d pose for a picture in his finery, and he graciously agreed.


Conference Highlight #5 ~ Meeting several of my talented agency mates

Anne Lang Bundy

Anne and I met online before the conference when she asked if I’d be her roommate. I’m glad introverted me said yes. Anne is an extrovert and helped me loosen up. She’s one of the coolest people I know and blessed me. Our first night together, she read me a portion of her Biblical-set historical. I’ve not had the pleasure of a bedtime story in years, and hers was a real treat.


Cathy West and me

Cathy came all the way from Bermuda for the conference. I was blessed to be seated next to her during the awards ceremony and enjoyed getting to know her better.


Deborah Vogts and me

I got to know Deborah when I interviewed her on my blog Romance Writers on the Journey. I enjoy reading her Seasons of the Tallgrass series. She brings Kansas to life on the page. Deborah is warm and friendly, along with being talented.


Me and Karen Witemeyer

I met Karen at the Romance Writers of Americaยฎ national conference in Orlando in July. She’s my agency mate, a great writer, and a gifted singer. I stood next to her at the Faith, Hope and Love meeting at Nationals during our worship time and mouthed the words so I could listed to her sing. I was so glad to see that she was one of those in the ACFW choir. Their awesome performance moved me to tears.


Katie Ganshert and me.

Katie is so much fun. She has a great smile and a ready laugh. I had fun hanging out with her.

Slightly stuffy me has never been one to spend time in a bar, but that was where I found myself at the end of the day during the conference. The company was awesome!! I wanted to record the event to show my husband how I was stretching myself and doing new things. Right before this picture was snapped, everyone at the table shoved their drinks my way just for fun, which accounts for my big smile.


Rosslyn Elliott and Camille Eide

I’m in such good company. Rosslyn is a class act. I’m eager to read her historical when Thomas Nelson releases it. I first met Camille at Mount Hermon when she was one of three finalists for the Zondervan contest–out of sooo many. I was seated next to her when the announcement was made and felt honored to be in such great company.


Conference Highlight #6 ~ Meeting many online friends and former RWotJ guests

Cara Lynn James and Audra Harders

Two of the wonderful Seekers! These women exude warmth. I love ’em both.


Heather Sunseri and Cindy R. Wilson

Heather and Cindy are two of my blogging buddies and are so sweet.


Jeannie Campbell

Jeannie with her Genesis finalist certificate. Way to go, Jeannie!!


Julie Jarnagin and me

Julie is one of my blogging buddies and is a real sweetheart.


Lori Benton and me

I was so happy to run into Lori. She’s every bit as sweet in person as she is online.


Melanie Dickerson and me

I was delighted to meet Melanie in the bookstore and let out quite a squeal when I saw her. It was great seeing her debut novel for sale. I can’t wait to read it. I was privileged to judge some of her work in a contest years ago and knew she was sure to sell soon. I was right!


Pepper Basham and me

Pepper is another of my blogging buddies and a very nice person.


Me and Stacy Monson

Stacy and I met online through contests. I was privileged to judge one of her entries, which I loved. She’s gone on to win several more times since then. =)


Wendy Miller and me

Wendy is a gem. She has the most beautiful spirit and showered me with blessings throughout the conference.


Conference Highlight #7 ~ Spending time in the company of awesome authors

Anne Bundy, Julie Carobini, John Olson, and Randy Ingermanson

These were some of the many novelists with whom I shared mealtimes. The wait staff served us fine meals, but my focus wasn’t the food. It was the fellowship. I never knew who would share my table. At one meal, I ended up seated next to the religion editor for Publisher’s Weekly, and we had a delightful chat.


Conference Highlight #8 ~ High caliber instruction

The conference kicked off with James Scott Bell’s early bird workshop, in which he imparted great information in his characteristically fun way. I attended many other helpful sessions, but the ones that stand out were Inside an Acquisitions Meeting, hosted by the Thomas Nelson team, and Fine-tuning Your Brand, hosted by Thomas Nelson editor Ami McConnell and ACFW CEO Colleen Coble.


Conference Highlight #9 ~ Visiting Indianapolis

I’m a native Californian and had never seen the Mid-west before. Although I’m not usually a city person, I really liked what I saw of Indy. I arrived the day before the conference began and stayed a day after it ended so I could see some of the city. As a historical novelist, I was captivated by the beautiful brick buildings and snapped plenty of pictures. One of my heroines in a future story will come from this lovely city.

The capitol of Indianapolis


Lucas Oil Stadium

The 2012 super bowl site was only three blocks from the conference hotel. The city’s team, the Colts, played on their home turf the Sunday of the conference. I’ve never seen such support of a team. The mall next to the hotel and the streets below were a sea of blue and white jerseys.


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

On the Monday following the conference, I took a cab to the Indianapolis Speedway, which is about six miles from the conference hotel. I visited the museum and saw lots of cool Indy cars. I took a bus tour around the track and can honestly say I have crossed the same finish line the Indy racers have.

โ€ข โ€ข โ€ข โ€ข โ€ข

My sincere thanks to the many who worked tirelessly to make this conference the awesome event it was. I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference in St. Louis.

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curvesโ„ข and reading.
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37 Responses to ACFW Conference 2010 Highlights

  1. What a great time you had! All those authors, agents, publishers, and blogging friends! Blessings to you…

  2. territiffany says:

    Keli this was so much fun seeing all these pics. What is nice is I know at least 3/4 of them!! And you said you are an introvert? I was nervous to meet you cause I see you as such an outgoing person. Wish we could have met up in Orlando. See you hopefully next year at ACFW!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Terri, I’m sorry we didn’t meet in person in Orlando. We’ll have to make it happen in St. Louis next year.

      I really am reserved and don’t think of myself as scary. Of course, sometimes when I see a dear friend and let out one of my high-pitched squeals of delight, I might come across as a bit intense. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Keli, With taking all those pictures, it’s a wonder you had time to actually attend any of the sessions. It was a good meeting. Thanks for sharing the pix (even if I’m not in any of them).

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Richard, I’m glad I at least got to say hi and shake your hand at the top of the escalator. I’d hoped to see you again, have an opportunity to talk, and get a picture of you. Next year, I’ll make it point to do so.

  4. Erica Vetsch says:

    It was so great to meet you! Your tears of joy at the banquet table were so genuinely sweet, and such a good reminder to me not to take anything for granted, that we should rejoice in the happy moments and allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with God’s goodness.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Erica, I was so happy I got to spend time with you. However, when I got home and saw that I didn’t get a picture with you, I was bummed. I tried to keep my camera clicking away, but I missed some shots I really wanted. I’m adding one of you to my list of Friends to Photograph in St. Louis.

  5. Lori Benton says:

    So happy we got to meet and chat a few minutes, Keli. Thanks for posting your Indy highs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Julie J. says:

    What a fun post! Loved seeing all your great photos.

  7. Sigh. I had SO much fun!!!

  8. So wonderful to meet you! And I was very touched by your joy at the banquet table. Usually I am the one tearing up and sniffling when I get too happy, so I’m glad to see I’m not alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are an encouraging and genuine friend, and I look forward to years of good conversations about books and faith.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Rosslyn, you really are a class act. I was mightily impressed by you and am grateful we were able to spend some time together.

      You and your husband looked stunning in your Victorian finery at the Awards Ceremony. When I sell, I’m treating myself to a Victorian gown, so we’ll have to get a picture together when that happens. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Lovely pictures, Keli! And it was even lovelier meeting you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. T. Anne says:

    Oh how I wish I was there having a blast with you! I’m thrilled you roomed with Anne. I’m amazed at all the blessings that were bestowed on all of you and SO wishing I was there. God willing, next year!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      T. Anne, I had a wonderful time getting to know Anne. I wish you could have joined us. Hopefully, we’ll meet in person in St. Louis at ACFW next year.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Keli. I’m jetlagged just reading about all you did! It sounds wonderful, and I’m glad you had such a great time.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks. Between loss of sleep and the three-hour time change, I spent much of the conference jetlagged myself. However, my excitement served to offset it nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Sherrinda says:

    oh, I absolutely love seeing the pictures of all the people you met up with! Your time there was a blessing, I know, and I am sure you gleaned a lot of information you are going to impart to us! Right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Keli, it was such a pleasure meeting you at the conference. I’ve heard wonderful things about you and then there you were, right in front of me, and all those words were true ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re a beautiful person inside and out. Great conference highlights and I’m glad you had a chance to see the town!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Cindy, thanks for your kind words. Meeting you was one of my high points. You’re such a gentle, quiet spirit–a real gem. I enjoyed our times together.

  14. Jody Hedlund says:

    Great pictures, Keli!!! Love how you were so intentional about getting pictures with such a variety of people! You’re a model for me too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Diane says:

    GREAT pictures and the smiles never stopped! :O)

  16. Keli,
    You are such a joy to be around. Every time I saw you at conference you were not only smiling, but were so full of excitement and happiness that you nearly couldn’t contain it. What a blessing it was for me to see you again! I pray it won’t be long before we can meet up again.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Karen, at one point during the conference, I was in the stairwell all by myself and said aloud that I didn’t think one little body could hold anymore happiness. (Yes, I talk to myself. Thankfully, my cats are used to it and don’t even raise an ear when I do.)

  17. Susan Mason says:


    What great courage it must have taken to venture out to the conference on your own! It’s what I’m hoping to do next year – shaking in my shoes! One of my highlights will be getting a picture with you!

    Thanks for sharing all the fun!


    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sue, I’m delighted to hear that you may make it to the conference next year. Do you mean RWA or ACFW? I would LOVE to meet you in person at long last.

  18. Hi Keli, It was so nice to finally meet you at the conference. You are such a warm and thoughtful lady. Thanks for sharing this.

  19. Great photos Keli, It was like being there. Almost. smile

    Glad you had such a great time.

    Thanks for sharing. Sandra

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