Keli Gwyn
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Highlights of the 2011 ACFW Conference

The conference rocked for many reasons. I’ll list a few highlights in no particular order.

• I got to see many of my writer friends, several of whom I met in person for the first time.

• I got to meet my acquisitions editor at Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany, and was impressed by how nice she is. Doesn’t Becky have a warm smile?

• I attended my first publisher’s party where I met many of my Barbour buddies. What a great group. Barbour treated 45 of us to a one-hour cruise aboard the riverboat Tom Sawyer. We munched out on yummy appetizers as we traversed the Mississippi.

• I enjoyed the wonderful worship times led by the talented Rachel Hauck.

• I saw the Gateway Arch in person, and it’s even more impressive than I’d imagined.

• I’m a California gal who’d never seen the Mississippi River and got to stick my toe in it.

• I was able to spend one-on-one time with my critique partner Jody Hedlund, something I’d not done before. I enjoyed the opportunity to deepen our friendship.

• I visited the museum under the Gateway Arch and had a blast learning more about the Lewis and Clark expedition and browsing in the mercantile, where I found several great reference books. So glad I had extra room in my suitcase. 🙂

• I traveled to St. Louis with a dear writer friend from “back home” and roomed with her as well. Lacie Nezbeth, a new writer, is a sweetheart, and I enjoyed our time together.

• I rejoiced with many people who received good news during the conference. My friend, agency mate, and Barbour buddy, Erica Vetsch, was one of them. She learned on the final day of the conference that Barbour’s recently released collection of novellas, A Log Cabin Christmas, made the New York Times Best Seller List. She, along with the eight other contributors, had a big reason to celebrate. It wasn’t easy to contain my excitement.

• I went to dinner with my awesome agent, Rachelle Gardner, and some of my agency mates, spent some one-on-one time with Rachelle talking about my writing, and rejoiced when she was named the 2011 ACFW Agent of the Year.

• • •

• I took many more pictures, which I shared in three albums on Facebook. One includes pictures of people I saw, one sights in St. Louis, and one shots taken at the Barbour party.

Keli Gwyn


  • I love reading these posts about ACFW! Makes me feel like I was there too. Thanks so much for sharing and posting pictures, Keli! I grew up about an hour from St. Louis, so it tickles me to hear you talk about seeing the arch and dipping your toe in the MS! As I live in MS now! lol 🙂

  • It was a wonderful conference! How cool that you went on the riverboat too!!! Thanks for sharing, Keli. 🙂

  • Love the recap and the pictures, Keli! Not to mention your smiling face. 🙂

  • Wendy says:

    Hard to recall all the highlights, but I’m with you Rachel leading worship is up there for me. As well as Rachelle’s win!

    And seeing you!

    Whirl. Wind!
    ~ Wendy

  • Loved. This. Conference! So many highlights! (But I’m still riding a high from meeting you, Keli, face to face!)

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    Seeing you again was definitely a highlight, and I loved meeting Lacie, too! So many great things, and all are bound up in the people!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      I loved spending time with you at the conference, Erica, and was beyond thrilled to learn that A Log Cabin Christmas made the NYT Bestseller List. You’re so genuinely humble, but I couldn’t keep the news to myself and told anyone who’d listen. 🙂

  • Loree Huebner says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Love the pictures. Glad you had a great time.

  • bethkvogt says:

    What? No photos of you in your stylish historical gown? You were the hit of the awards banquet for many, many people!!
    Thanks for sharing the photos.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Beth. I did enjoy wearing my Victorian gown. I didn’t get but one or two pics with my camera, and they came out dark. I’ve seen some photos on FB, though, of all the attendees in their finery, including a few of a little gal in purple.

  • Joy says:

    I loved meeting you in person, Keli! So good to find your blogging home too. 🙂

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Keli, even though I met you in person, I loved getting to know you better. I expected this quiet, petite woman, but you’re a spitfire! I loved laughing with you. Your gown was beautiful, but your heart trumps that. You are a sweet friend, and I’m so blessed to know you!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Lisa, I enjoyed the time I spent with you. I’m actually quite reserved, especially in large groups, but I do have my “spitfire” moments. Just ask my hubby. 🙂

  • Hearing what were the highlights of the ACFW conference for my blogging friends makes me *almost* feel like I was there, too. Getting there myself one day is a far-away dream, but your photos help keep the dream alive. I’ve seen the FB pics of you in your gorgeous purple outfit… and that marvellous hat! Spectacular! 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Carol, I hope you’re able to make it to conference, too, because I’d love the opportunity to meet you in person. Next year the ACFW conference will take place in Dallas, and Michael Hyatt will be the keynote speaker. I’m already looking forward to hearing him.

      Thanks for the kind words about my dress. My talented seamstress is the one who deserves the compliments. She created the dress and hat, and I think she outdid herself.

  • Donna Pyle says:

    Keli, thanks for this glimpse into an amazing event!

  • the writ and the wrote says:

    Sounds like a blast. 🙂

  • Keli, you are so lucky to get to two conferences in one year. I can see by the pictures you take that you soak up all the atostphere, enjoy the people you meet and bring us home wonderful pictures.

    Glad to have you back home safe and sound and thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    It’s so fun to experience the conference vicariously, Keli! Thank you for all the great pictures–your highlights made me smile!

  • Great pictures, Keli!!

    It was great seeing you in St. Louis, Keli!!