Conference Tips with Audra Harders

There are some people God brings into your life at the perfect time for the perfect reason. Steeple Hill Love Inspired author, Audra Harders, was one of those people to me last year at  ACFW.

Besides being a partner in workshop ‘sneaking’, Audra was also an encourager during my nervousness. She took me under her wing and prayed for me right in the lobby of the hotel. It was a beautiful experience – an example of her gentle, kind, and lovely personality.

Audra is another one of the fabulous fifteen Seekers and her novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, debuted in January 2011.

So Audra, what are your conference tips?

 1. Bring your sense of curiosity and adventure. I know writers tend to be hermits, but a conference is no place to bow to those tendencies! Get out of your room and snoop around the hotel, you never know who you’re going to run into at the coffee shop or lobby. Or exercise room. Or pool.

 2. Think about your “brand” and bring a gimmick. It can be as simple as a business card with your picture, your log line, or anything to identify you and your genre. Or maybe something that relates to your genre such as a creative (crafty) bookmark representing the era you set your books, or special chocolate from the region where your book is set. Market yourself as simply, but as powerfully, as possible.

 3. You can’t look confident and relaxed if you’re not comfortable. While workshops and meetings are in session, dress for the image you want to exude. If it’s western, pack a jean skirt; if it’s urban, try stylish trousers and flats. Comfortable does not mean frumpy. Don’t leave your sweats at home if you like to relax in them, but make sure they’re publicly acceptable before you pack them. But don’t get too comfortable. I remember a conference I attended a few years ago where one of the authors was lounging in the lobby. This isn’t a bad thing…except she was wearing an old ratty t-shirt, dollar store flip-flops, and couldn’t have slumped down deeper into the overstuffed chair if she tried while she typed away on her laptop. Unfortunately, that is the image now burned into my gray matter of this author.

 Remember: Comfortable, not sloppy!

Thank you! Thank you, Audra.

And Audra brought the ‘brand’ word! Whew….tought stuff. What’s your brand?

To find out more about Audra visit her website, or stop by Seekerville.

And Audra – SEE YOU IN ST. LOUIE!!!!!

Conference Tips with Keli GwynI

If you’ve never been to Romance Writers on the Journey, you need to scootdaddle right over there and check it out. It’s the brain-child of Keli Gwyn, encourager -extraordinairre and debut author. I met Keli last year at ACFW, but she’d made an impact on my life well before then. She’s one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met – and her timing is impeccable.

In January this year, right after receiving a pretty scathing critique from a contest, a card arrived in the mail from Keli. It read: 2011 – This is YOUR year.

What a sweet encouragement and reminder that there are people on this journey WITH me – so many cheerleaders. Keli is one of the BEST.

So – I’m extremely happy to cheer her own as her first book, A Bride Opens Shop in Eldorado, California, expects to arrive in bookstores in 2012.

What are Keli’s tips?

1) A willingness to learn
2) Realistic expectations
3) A map with directions to the nearest Taco Bell in case withdrawal symptoms appear
Good stuff here, Keli. Realistic expectations is a tough one  to keep under control because we all want the ‘big dream’ to happen to use while were among the famous and infamous at ACFW 😉
But just as Kaye Dacus reminded us last week, if we remember the root of WHY we  write (what our purpose is), then it helps keep our heads.
And Taco Bell directions? Oh yeah. Just had some today, in fact 🙂
Thanks so much, Keli.
You can learn more about Keli, her blogs, and her upcoming novel at

Conference Tips with Julie Lessman

With her brand new release, A Heart Revealed, and her upcoming conference workshop entitled A Kiss is NOT just a Kiss, Julie Lessman is as hot as ever 😉 Have you seen her latest pictures! Wowzers. Keith is one lucky man 🙂

I just finished reading A Heart Revealed  and it was beautiful. The slow spiritual arc of Julie’s characters is always well-done and reveals the heart of her fiction. (And then, of course, she adds the ‘heat’ of her fiction 😉  Oooh, sounds good. Julie Lessman, fiction with heart and heat 🙂 A new tagline, Jules?

Who better to start off this week with a bit of excitement and conference tips than Julie Lessman herself?

I’m a BIG Lessman fan because she is excellent at crafting novels that not only inspire the passion between a man and a woman, but a deeper passion for Jesus. Her fiction is called ‘edgy’, but I like life on the edge – so the temperature in her books suit me JUST fine! 🙂

To me, it’s sexual tension with class, heat without the bodice ripping, and passion with purity.

So what are The Kissing Queen’s tips for conference?

1.) Eye makeup remover … for all the times I cry during Rachel’s incredible worship, in Brandilyn’s prayer room and up in my room when I’m just feeling lonely (a bit of a joke, but not really).
2.) Laptop to catch up on e-mails, blog/interview/giveaways that always go on in Sept. due to book release.
3.) I-phone programmed with all the phone numbers of friends I am dying to see, especially the Seekers.
Thanks for the opportunity to respond, Pep. Big hugs coming your way in St. Loo.
Always my pleasure, Julie – and I’ll take all the hugs you want to send my way.
You can find out more about Julie’s books on her website –
And if you’re headed to St. Louis next week, make sure you stop in on her workshop with author, Ruth Axtell Morren.
Bring a fan.

Conference Tips Lineup for the Week

Time for another week of conference tips and who is coming to visit??

Monday – The Kissing Queen herself – Julie Lessman

Tuesday – Julie’s ACFW partner and fabulous author, Ruth Axtell Morren

Wednesday with Carol Finalist, Ruth Logan Herne

Thursday – Debut author and encourager-extraordinairre, Keli Gwyn

Friday – Seeker and sweetheart, Audra Harders

Saturday – historical and contemporary author, Siri Mitchell

Stop by and learn from the best.

Conference Tips with Laura Frantz

If you’ve never read one of Laura Frantz outstanding historical romances, then it’s time to find your nearest bookstore and purchase one. Her lyrical quality, character development, historical details, and conflict are outstanding – not to mention the romance 🙂

You can read my review of her most recent novel, The Colonel’s Lady, right here.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Laura last year at ACFW. She’s truly as sweet in person as she is online.

With her usual eloquence, she tells us the three things conference attendees need to bring:

Open hands (for all the people you want to  hug)
Open heart (for what God has in store for  you)
Open mind (remembering God’s best is far beyond what we  can hope for or can imagine)
Laura – what GREAT reminders. Isn’t it easy to get so caught up in the excitement and nervousness, and forget the most important reason for being there. God’s call!
Thank you for bringing things back into perspective.
So everyone, what historical time period do you like in your fiction? 🙂
You can learn more about Laura’s books on her website.
Stop by on Sunday for next week’s list of Conference Tips authors. Have a great weekend!

Conference Tips with Mary Connealy

Well, if you’ve been a frequent follower of this blog, you’re already well aware of what a Connealy fan I am.

I happily own all of her books, and look forward to her newest releases- especially more of the Kincaid Brides series.

Now, let me tell you that one of the highlights of my first ACFW conference was getting to meet the Seekers – and especially Mary Connealy. She and Siri Mitchell were the first authors I read who wrote something similar to what I liked to write – and were the first authors to help me find a ‘home’ in Christian fiction.

Mary is also the one who introduced me to the wonderful world of Seekerville.

She creates stories about as fast as her heroes can round-up cattle- and all of her romances are filled with fabulous humor, adventure, and male-female banter.

Last year at ACFW, Mary won the coveted Carol Award for her novel, Cowboy Christmas. That’s me with Mary after she received her award. Does’nt she look so happy!!!

Okay, okay – back to conference tips.

Mary, what are three things a writer should never forget to bring to conference?

One sheets
Business casual clothes
ten times your true courage
Ruthy Logan Herne’s cell phone number
that’s it. I can survive everything else.
Okay – 10 times my regular courage? I can definitely see how that’s helpful. Time to visit the Wizard of Oz…or would that be the Ruthy of New York? 😉 I’m sure she’ll pump me with enough courage, or scare me more than any editor ever could – right Mary? 🙂
Good thinkin’
Do you have a favorite Connealy Classic?
You can find out more about Mary’s books at
Saturday – come find out what Laura Frantz top 3 conference tips are 🙂

Conference Tips with Kaye Dacus

Having just read her newest novel, Ransome’s Quest, all I have to say is LISTEN TO WHAT THIS AUTHOR SAYS!

Kaye Dacus has not only written an intriguing historical series in The Ransom Trilogy, she’s mostly known for her wonderful contemporary novels like The Brides of Bonneterre and The Matchmakers series. A few things I personally appreciate from Kaye is her thorough critiques, attention to detail, and wealth of realistic encouragement.

With that in mind, here is what Kaye has to say about conference:

Three necessities for a writers’ conference . . .

1. A plan. It’s important to go into a writers’ conference with a plan in place—not just for what sessions you want to attend and what editors/agents you’re going to request appointments with, but a plan for what you’re going to do if you don’t get the appointments you want—how will you make sure that you get to talk to that publishing professional? Also, make a plan for which editors’/agents’ tables you want to sit at during hosted meals. Even more importantly, plan ahead to meet up with online friends, new and old, to make sure that you find each other—because sometimes it’s hard to find one person out of seven hundred!
2. A purpose. Sure, you have a purpose in attending the conference, but what’s your purpose for why you’re writing? And if your answer is “to get published,” you may need a new purpose. There should be something more to the reason you write than the pursuit of a contract with the “right” agent or the “right” publishing house. What’s your purpose as a writer? Clarify that before you get to the conference. Write it down as a mission statement. (Google “writing a personal mission statement” if you need help.) Carry that mission statement in your pocket/bag with you throughout the conference. Pull it out every couple of hours and read it. Don’t let the craziness and chaos of conference make you lose focus on your purpose as a writer.
3. A perspective. Not only do you need to have a perspective on who you are and what makes you and your writing unique, you need to plan ahead for having a positive, pragmatic perspective on what’s going to happen when the conference ends. What will you do if you don’t hear what you want to hear? What will you do if all of the editors and agents you talk to say, “Thanks, but no thanks”? How will you handle the emotional surge of conference, followed by the inherent crash afterward once you’re back home again and not surrounded by seven hundred other writers? Most importantly, though, is determining your overarching perspective of yourself and your writing and your life and making the decision before you leave for conference that no matter what happens, you aren’t going to let it affect your belief in the calling God has put on your heart to be a writer.
Don’t you love how she just gets to the heart of the matter? What IS your purpose for writing? Some answers will stand the test of time, heartache, and rejection much better than others. It’s important to know your reason. 🙂 AMEN, Kaye! And thanks for sharing these with us.
To learn more about Kaye’s books, visit her blog at
You will find a WHOLE LOT more than just book information and a bio.  Kaye’s Writing Series Index is a MUST READ for aspiring authors- slathered with useful information.
Friday – we have a visit from the cowboy queen, Mary Connealy.
Saturday – it’s the sweet and eloquent historical author, Laura Frantz

Conference Tips with Missy Tippens

With hometown hospitality and good-ol-fashion sense, Missy Tippens brings her conference tips to you today. Missy is one of the awesome 15 of Seekerville, a writing blog to inspire and entertain.

Missy’s fiction with Southern Flare are filled with a real sense of homecoming – sometimes an actual physical homecoming of the characters, but certainly a homecoming for two hearts. You can find more out about Missy’s books on her website or by visiting her blog. She’s also a contributor to the writing blog, F.A.I.T.H. girls.  


what are the top three things that Missy says you need to bring with you to conference??

1. A list of agents and editors you’re interested in meeting. Of course, you’ve already done all your research ahead of time! You want to make sure you know who you want to tackle–er, try to meet–beforehand so when opportunities arise at meals, you’ll be ready to pounce–er, take advantage. 🙂
2. Your good sense. Do not leave this at home. 🙂 For example, be careful what you say about other’s work…and about other people. It’s a small world out there. And don’t complain about judge comments on your latest contest (you may be talking to a judge!). Don’t talk or text during workshops or while someone’s speaking. (Yes, I’ve been in a workshop before when a woman answered her phone and had a short conversation.) No matter what I said in number one, do not pounce on editors and agents. And if you do land at a table with your dream publishing professional, do not monopolize the whole conversation. It’s not exactly the best way to make friends with other writers at the table. 🙂 So I reiterate…be sure you take your good sense with you to conference!
3. Sensitivity. No matter how anxious or outright scared you might feel in a conference setting, be on the lookout for writers who look terrified or lonely. I assure you there are others–possibly first timers–who find conferences and social settings stressful or even painful. So try to step out of your comfort zone and make a few new friends. The best piece of advice I got at my first conference, as I stood against the wall with my stomach in knots, was to try to make 4 new friends at every conference I attended. I’ve tried to do that ever since.
Thanks so much, Missy. GREAT points too, whether at a writer’s conference or back home, tips 2 & 3 should be out of our overflow of Christian charity anyway, right? Unfortunately, we need to be reminded way too often…heaven help us! (literally)
Anyone had an opportunity to read Love Inspired? If so, have you picked up one of Missy’s? Her newest novel, A Family for Faith, was a beautiful story.

Conference Tips with Denise Hunter

If you attended ACFW last year, you would have seen the coolest drummer EVER! Denise Hunter was part of the worship team, lead by Rachel Hauck. It was a wonderful experience of praise and worship, with a fabulous chorus of hundreds of Believers from all over the country and every denomination. I’m sure God LOVED it!!!

Okay so, let’s get to the point, right?

Known for her emotionally riveting novels of grace and romance, Denise Hunter has a consistent ability to break the hearts of believeable characters and then show how God mends them back together again. Her newest release, A Cowboy’s Touch, has received top reviews and the pleasure of being on the ACFW bookclub list.

So – what are Denise’s top THREE things to remember to bring to a writer’s conference??

1. Reasonable expectations. Focus on what you can control. Your pitch, your wardrobe, your attitude. It’s extremely rare to walk away from a conference with a new contract or an agent. The conference is the jumping off point not the destination.

 2. Patience. With yourself and other people. Spread grace around you like fairy dust, and be sure some lands on your own sweet head.
3. Chocolate. Your one-stop source for celebration and comfort.
Denise, those were great suggestsions – especially 2 & 3. Patience, grace, & chocolate! WOW, what a combo.
Learn more about Denise’s books at her website:
Stop in tomorrow to find out what Missy Tippens’ top 3 picks are.
17 days until ACFW!

Conference Tips Series

Starting next Tuesday, I’ll be hosting a series about conference tips – straight from some of your favorite authors. Each have given 3 top things to remember to bring with you for your future Writers Conference -experience.

So who’s on the agenda for this coming week?

Denise Hunter

Missy Tippens

Kaye Dacus

Mary Connealy


Laura Frantz

It’s gonna be inspirational, educational, and FUN! Stop by and get prepared!