I am Meg Moseley. Meg, a writer. Seeking the real God in the real world.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

ACFW conference

I've been procrastinating about this post because I don't know where to start. Also because I've been busy polishing a manuscript and rewriting the ending three times. (Yes, I've just about got it now, thanks for asking.)

I went to the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Nashville with two of my Atlanta-area friends (waving here to Missy and Amy). I expected good workshops, appointments with editors and agents, late nights catching up with friends. And I had the added fun of being a finalist in ACFW's annual contest with the first chapter of the book I just finished.

Earlier that week, I'd had a serious talk with the Lord about my writing. I felt I was getting somewhere. I had new confidence in my voice and in my ability to take a story from an idea to a finished book with something valuable to say. But I also had new willingness to let God take it all away if He wanted to. That wasn't from some twisted, illogical bargaining standpoint, either. (i.e., I'll lay it down so You'll be impressed with me and hand it right back.) It was real.

The Lord had already started taking things away. My roommate, for instance. She had to cancel because of illness in her family. I was terribly disappointed that I couldn't spend time with Dee although some other friends graciously let me share their room. Then my favorite editor canceled because of illness. (I don't really know the guy, but I feel like I do, and I'd been looking forward to chatting.)

But I had walked into the conference asking God to do whatever He wanted. To set up appointments for me. To open my eyes to the people I needed to meet. And He did. Thursday afternoon, I recognized Mike Snyder from his blog picture and introduced myself. I think maybe Jeanne Damoff was there, too--it's all foggy now, but that was just one of several great conversations with people I "met" online through the Faith*in*Fiction blog, including Katy, Dan, Sally, Janice, Suzan... I'm sure I'm leaving somebody out. It was like a bunch of long-lost sibs.

This conference is cool because the editors and agents mingle with the peons, I mean writers. At lunch and dinner, there's an editor or agent at just about every table. First come, first served. I wasn't deliberately stalking any particular editors, but I kept finding myself in interesting conversations with them. I didn't even have to take one of the slots allotted for "official" appointments. The Lord was arranging them for me.

Then came Saturday, and the awards lunch. Suzan Robertson and I were finalists in the same category, but it didn't feel like competition. It was friendship and camaraderie. We didn't care who won. As it turned out, I won, and I'd no sooner started wrapping my mind around that shock than somebody called my name again, and I'd won the Janet Grant Award for Outstanding New Writer of the Year, as it says on my plaque, or Best Overall Entry, as it says on the ACFW website, or the Best Writer in the Civilized World, as Mike Snyder called it. (Thanks, Mike, I like that version.) And then an editor was throwing his card at me across the table, and another editor was emailing me, and Janet Grant was sending a very nice emissary my way, and I found myself with a fantastic literary agent. Which is a very important relationship--and that's what it's all about. Relationships.

The awards stuff was wonderful, but it would have been empty and hollow without the relationships, starting with the Lord. And then my husband and kids, who put up with an awful lot of crap so I can play tortured genius and spend hours communing with my imaginary friends. And my critique partners, local and long-distance.

I didn't know where to start this post, and now I don't know where to end it. So I'll just end it. Tomorrow, maybe I'll tell you about the coyotes out back. Or the way my husband just mentioned motorcycles and jet fuel in the same sentence. Hmmm... must be time to get off the computer and see what he's up to.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The conference, the Caddie, and the rib

I've had a busy couple of weeks. For starters, I finished writing a novel.

Couple of days after that, I went to the ACFW writers' conference in Nashville and won two exciting awards there. Better than that, I met up with friends and cemented relationships that I believe will last a lifetime. But I'll post more about the conference later. It deserves more than one measly paragraph. For now, I'll just say God was at work and I love my local writing buddies, my long-distance ones, and the Faith*in*Fiction gang.

Home again . . . to chocolate and roses from my husband, to celebrate the good stuff that happened at the conference. Then I got a phone call from a literary agent who's one of the best in the business. She offered to represent me, and of course I jumped at the chance.

Then I rewrote the ending of the novel. Then I broke a rib, apparently. Tripped on a very hard sidewalk on my way to the trash with a bag of doggie doo. It was a very glamorous accident, as you can tell.

Complete with broken rib, which wasn't too painful at that point, I drove to Florida with my husband, who'd bought me a small Cadillac on eBay, which meant we had to pick it up, A.S.A.P. I love the car. It was worth the trip. But thank God for laptops. I kept right on writing. Until the return trip, of course, when I was busy driving.

Home again . . . I rewrote the ending a second time, over a few days. About the time I decided I liked the new ending, the rib decided to act up. It had pretty much stopped hurting, but now it hurts like #$%@ or worse.

But I really do like the ending.

So, there are my excuses for slacking off on blogging for the last couple of weeks. Forgive me?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cold lobby, warm connections

I'm sitting in the freezing-cold lobby of a hotel in Nashville at the annual conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers. There's free wireless internet down here, which is why I'm not upstairs in bed.

I can't adequately describe the delight of being with so many like-minded people and meeting friends I've only known online before. As one of the speakers said today, and I paraphrase, there are no "normals" here.

The lobby's crowded with writers who've abandoned their solitary pursuit to get connected, whether they're blogging like me or actually socializing in person, gathered around a coffee table. I'd like to describe a few of these interesting creatures to you, but that might get me in trouble. Besides, it's late and I need a few wide-awake brain cells for tomorrow. So good night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Domesticity or the lack thereof

I've never been domestically inclined. Oh, I've tried to fit myself into that mold. I've played the role of the model housewife. I know how to sew, scrub, cook, bake, and pinch a penny. But certain circumstances bring out my true priorities.

The broken oven, for instance. We've lived with it since June. I'm perfectly capable of picking up the phone and calling an appliance repairman. But have I? Nooooo. Why would I want to bake in the heat of summer, huh?

A domestically-inclined person would call about the oven within hours or invent a way to bake over an open fire in the back yard. Me, I discover the crockpot dinners in the frozen-food department of the grocery store. You throw the contents of the bag into the crockpot and turn it on. Eight hours later, dinner's ready except for minor finishing touches. That's my kind of domesticity. That, or carryout. Who needs an oven?

If it had been my computer on the fritz, I would have called for help immediately if not sooner.

Okay, you're reading this blog, so you're at least reasonably computer-literate. Are you also reasonably domestic, or are the two mutually incompatible?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Muse starters

I'm two scenes away from finishing a novel I started writing about a year ago. Then I'll revise, polish, and polish some more. Once that's done, off it goes, into the inbox of an editor who may or may not like it. While I wait for thumbs up or thumbs down, I'll start on my next project. I don't even know what it is yet, but I can't wait.

Fall seems like the beginning of the year, not the end. A good time to start new projects. Maybe that's because I'm a cool-weather person. When it's chilly outside, my muse wakes up and sings to me, especially if I'm sitting on the deck in a comfy sweatshirt and drinking hot coffee. I expect to spend a lot of time out there in the next few months, reading and writing and reading some more.

Anybody else have a favorite spot, favorite clothes, or a favorite beverage to accompany your reading or writing? What gets your muse warmed up and singing?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pouring my coffee slowly

I have an inexpensive coffeemaker, a gift from my daughter when my "good" one broke, back before she married Mr. Right and moved out. Daughter and I are both coffee addicts. In our old house, we used to instant-message each other, from one bedroom to another:

Time for the afternoon pot?

'K. Hazelnut or regular?

She worked part time away from home and part time from her computer at home, so we had lots of time for coffee and chats. I, being the one on the main floor, usually did the honors, and once the coffee was brewing, I retreated back to my usual spot at my computer. Then she would come upstairs from her basement digs, pour two cups, and bring them to my bedroom, where my computer lived, which meant that was where I lived too, because I am rather attached to my computer. I would stay in my computer chair, and she would sit on my bed, and we would drink coffee and talk. She would occasionally spill little dribbles of coffee on my quilt. (All is forgiven. I never really liked that quilt anyway.)

We talked about Mr. Right. A lot. We talked about other things, too, but it was always more fun to talk about Mr. Right. Then, after he'd proposed, we talked about weddings and looked at wedding dresses online, and I was appalled at my lack of taste when she pointed it out to me. (Goodness, why doesn't she want a dress that looks like something from the eighties?)

We went through a lot of wedding-dress websites and a lot of coffee. Then she found the perfect dress for the perfect man, and the wedding day was upon us. My little girl was suddenly the Mrs. part of Mr. and Mrs. Right, and I was making half the amount of coffee and feeling a little lonely when it was time for the afternoon pot.

There's something funny about that inexpensive coffee maker. If you're in a hurry and you pour the coffee too fast, it dribbles down the side of the pot and makes a mess on the counter. If you pour slowly, it doesn't spill. So, you have a choice. Pour fast, and spend time wiping up. Or pour slowly and have no mess. The time you'll spend comes out about the same.

But pouring slowly, you have time to enjoy the aroma and the sight of coffee swirling into the mug. Pouring slowly, you make yourself slow down, relax, and enjoy the moment. Moments pass by so quickly.

Little girls grow up so quickly.

So do little boys. I wish I could make my six-footers sit down for a cup of coffee with me. Guess I'll have to instant-message Mrs. Right instead.