ACFW,  conferences,  writing

Nashville 2016


I just returned from Nashville, the home of the 2016 ACFW conference. As usual, the event was packed full of teaching, celebrations, and relationship building.

Most years I try to arrive the day before the conference begins. My introverted self needs some warm up time before taking my first meal with 600 other writers. This year, however, my husband and I had tickets for the Josh Groban concert, and I wasn’t going to miss that for anything. The venue was outside, the weather was perfect, and that man can really sing.


Before the concert started

The next morning my husband dropped me off at the airport, and I was on my way. Well, I was on my way after TSA checked my laptop for explosives. Apparently I was looking rather suspicious.


My cute driver

By the time I arrived at the hotel, right in downtown Nashville, most people had gone on to bed. After a day of travel, that was all I was thinking about too.


Flying into Nashville


The next morning I jumped right into conference mode. I connected with some authors who are also represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Agency. Their enthusiasm and kindness was very appreciated.

I took a great continuing ed class from the remarkable James L. Rubart. In the afternoon, I met with a couple editors.


Cara, Nancy, and me

On Saturday I was able to meet with one of the editors from my publisher, Kregel Publications. Dawn greeted me warmly and made me feel welcome and excited for this next year.

Saturday ended with the annual awards gala. All who attended were dressed for a fine evening. I watched as well-deserving writers were honored. The last award was given to Linda Brooks Davis. What a powerhouse of enthusiasm! I could have listened to this woman’s acceptance speech for an hour. She was wonderful.


I woke up the next morning and had breakfast with my friend Nancy then headed out to church. Down the road I found a Baptist church offering traditional and contemporary services at the same time. I chose contemporary. Not a surprise, but the music was phenomenal. The pastor shared about how we should serve, and I left with much to think about.


The plan I had months ago, when making my reservations, was to stay an extra day in Nashville, spending time with a friend. Unfortunately, she had to cancel. With my manuscript due to the publisher by September 1, this extra day turned out to be a blessing even without Jodie. I hunkered down in my hotel room and finished my final read-through.

By the time I was done, my eyes were strained, and my legs were aching for a walk. I took a long stroll around downtown Nashville. If you’ve never been to Nashville, you should consider planning a trip. It’s like no other place I’ve visited.


Monday morning, I took my first Uber to the airport. I tell you this because I’m sure it makes me sound modern and savvy. Haha!

My first flight was delayed, so I was moved to another airline. The first leg took me to Chicago. Wouldn’t you know it, thunder and lightning started right after we landed, and they shut down the airport. Of course my second flight was then delayed. I ended up sitting next to a with a man who had arms like the Hulk for the four and a half hours trip. But, I’m home now, and back to the keyboard.

I failed to take enough pictures, but here are a few.


This is just part of the line to get into the concert.   WP_20160828_009


Ted Dekker giving the keynote


With Elizabeth Van Tassel


It’s food like this that causes me to gain a couple pounds at each conference.






WP_20160828_019  WP_20160828_018



With Voni Harris

Thanks to everyone who works hard to make ACFW function.






Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of six books, including More Than We Remember, What Happens Next, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children and is passionate about helping others find hope after trauma.


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