Monday, November 5, 2012

3 Foreign Authors Walk into a. . .

There's just no good way to end that sentence, is there!

ACFW conference in Dallas back in September provided several highlights for me.

Plenty of workshops and appointments aided in helping me figure out how to build the platform that will work for my writing, as did the keynote address by Michael Hyatt.

This was my fourth conference so hanging out with friends is also a major focus for me. And this time, much of the fun lay in meeting our Beyond the Borders group (any ACFW members from outside the USA), some of which are familiar names on this blog. We had breakfast together two mornings. Here's a photo from one of the days:

Back: Valerie Comer (Canada), Anita Mae Draper (Canada), Lucy Morgan-Jones (Australia), Cherie Gagnon (Canada), Ian Acheson (Australia), Cathy West (Bermuda), Cathilyn Dyck (Canada)
Front: Christine Lindsay (Canada), Iris Munchinsky (Canada), Grace Bridges (New Zealand)
Missing: Kara Isaac (New Zealand)

Cathy and I figured out early on that our flights left from the same terminal at a similar time, so we arranged to meet and head over together. Getting through security didn't take long. We found we had plenty of time for lunch and had just settled into a "window" booth at TGIF when we saw Kara walking by. Of course we waved her in!

With all the sleepless nights and the stress of pitches behind us, we formed quite a giddy threesome that somehow forgot to request our bill be divided up. No doubt the waitress would have refigured the amounts, but we decided we could handle it. Kara, being from New Zealand, had little need of her remaining American dollars. I live near the USA border so can always use cash, but wanted to use up some. Cathy goes to the States the most often, but didn't have small bills. We wound up spreading out our collection on the table as we redistributed funds until we had the right amount for the waitress (with a tip, of course) from each of our wallets.

I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.

The moral of this story? There probably isn't one, unless it's that hanging out together outside of "regularly scheduled activities" can bring tighter, faster bonding than within the confines of conference, and certainly more quickly than email loops only.

If you get the chance to attend a writing conference, whether it be a large one such as ACFW or a regional venue close to home, be sure to schedule time away from the schedule to get to know people. It's totally worth it.

Three foreign authors walked into a TGIF. They ate, they laughed, and they parted as closer friends than when they went in. The end.

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local food movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her first published work, a novella, was released in the collection Rainbow's End from Barbour Books in May 2012. Visit her website and blog to glimpse inside her world.


  1. The end of the sentence is great. Glad you all had so much fun.

  2. Wonderful post! And somehow, I don't believe "the end" of the story is really the end.

  3. Y'all had breakfast together TWICE?! How on earth did I manage to miss that?

    That photo cracks me up every time because at first glance I do a double take at the creepy random guy peering over the top of Cathy's head!

  4. The end? No, no. Just the beginning!! Let's see what trouble we can get into next time! LOL! Yeah, who was that guy anyway?? I think it was a poster, right? Kara, you were too busy schmoozing, luv. We'll keep you on a tighter leash next time! :)

  5. Valerie, thanks for sharing some of the fun you all had at ACFW :) I can't wait to meet the Beyond the Borders group at ACFW in 2013!

  6. Narelle, hope to meet you in September.

    Kara, you were just too busy for the likes of us. If I remember correctly, you and Cath didn't even meet until a couple hours before we had lunch together!

    That "random guy" was holding a sign for TGIF: Thank Goodness It's Friday. It would have been nice of us to let him show it off, but the other random guy (the one who took the photo) just shot and left before I realized we'd covered the sign.

    Judith, you're right. It wasn't really the end. Just the end of our adventures at that conference!

  7. What fun you all had. :) But I wish I'd met Cherie Gagnon! I'm a Gagnon. :-) My family tree has more branches north of the border than south. :)

    1. Where you at the conference Lynette? Gagnon is a very common name from where I hail.