Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A.C.F.W. Conference medley . . .

For those of you who don't know, the ACFW stands for American Christian Fiction Writers.

I drove to the conference in Dallas with only a few modest goals:

1. meet 2 of my future ex-wives.

2. cause an impromptu bidding war on my manuscript.

3. get an agent to agree to represent me and then inform them in front of the rest of the conferees that they are not "Dayle James Arceneaux material"

I learned that I have an accent and received a couple of request to "say something". I also learned that being outnumbered 60 to 1 by women isn't so bad, but I did find myself longing to watch football and speak in a deeper voice.

On to the serious . . .

I met with three agents who all asked for a submission. My 1 editor appointment resulted in a request for a full.

What moved me . . .

I often joke about my disdain for the human race. "People are the worst." This joke is rooted in some truth. During the daily grind, I come across a lot of people for whom the kindness of others is simply an opportunity to take advantage of them. The world seems full of selfish, self-absorbed, narcissists who believe the rules only apply to others. They feel life is a game of I have to step on you before you step on me.

It is such a joy to be with a group of people who don't live that way. This was my second Christian Writer's conference and I am so proud to be a part of them. These people are genuine, warm, kind, and above all - giving beyond expectations. From the big publishing house editors, elite agents, multi-published authors, volunteers, to the first time attendees. The world could use more people such as these.

I heard no unkind words - only encouragement.
I saw no hints of jealousy - only joy for the success of others.
I saw no arrogance - only humble graciousness from those who have achieved.

I am honored to be counted among their peers. And, I look forward to the day when I can give to others at least as much as I have been given.

-dayle james arceneaux


Janet Rubin said...

Amen to all you said. I was amazed at the warmth. Also impressed by how the conference could be so simultaneously spiritual and professional.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Janet, I noticed that as well. The general sessions could have easily been a part of any church function.

I also noticed they were an unapologetic lot when it came to their faith. No false pretenses or hints of social embarassment.

Unfairly or not, I sometimes wonder if the author I'm reading is a genuine Christian or a writer who needed a market. Or, if this agent or that editor is just doing a job which happens to concern the Christian Fiction market. When it comes to the authors, editors, and agents I met at this conference, I don't have to concern myself with those thoughts anymore.

Todd said...

Mai cher, I never notice no accent non!

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Hey Todd, I told dem dat. But, Dey didn't baleeve me.

Dat's some Coo-yon's, yeah.

donna fleisher said...

Good report. : ) When I leave a Christian writers conference, I always have to remind myself that now I'm back in the "real" world. Not everyone will look me in the eye. Very few will crack a smile and say hello. And be careful on that drive home ....

I've always come away from conferences feeling as if I've spent time in Heaven. Little sneak peeks into what eternity will be like. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I bet your accent is delightful. It has to be. But what's a Coo-yon?

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Donna, when I was a teenager, I wanted to move to north Louisiana because I met some girls from that area at a youth convention and they all "loved" my accent.

coo-yôn (cü yôn') (Cajun) (French 'couillon') 1. n. fool. 2. adj. foolish, stupid.

We actually say this word in a more affectionate tone than this definition implies. Usually to the person, not behind their backs. A better definition is crazy, but almost likeable person.

BTW, the last n is silent. -yon is pronounced like yawn but without the n.

Janet Rubin said...

I guess I should have paid closer attention when we chatted; I really didn't pick up on an accent! But I was rooming with Canadians, eh.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Janet, I have worked long and hard to conceal my accent. Not because I don't like it, but it does sound a little unprofessional to outsiders. The Cajun French influence tends to distort correct English, thereby giving some the false impression of a lack of mental acuity of my intelligent brethren. ( I'm beginning to rethink this approach. Maybe I should embrace it and make it part of my brand.)

Over the years, I have developed the ability to turn it on and off. However, the louder I speak, the more prevalent it is. Also, when I'm around other Cajuns, it is enhanced. But, I certainly don't have the Cajun accent to the extent of most of my neighbors.

Jennifer L. Griffith said...


I passed you in the hall Saturday prior to the banquet, noticed "Arceneaux" and WANTED to ask if you were a native brother!! But, the moment got swept away amid a sea of "hurry".

Where do you "stay" now? Where did you "pass a good time" growing up?

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Hi, Jennifer.

I stay in Houma, but I was born in Morgan City and grew up in Gibson.

Several people did ask me how to pronounce my last name. A couple even got it right.

If I knew how to spell the Cajun words I use, I would write them more often. I'm gonna have to learn dat, me.

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

I KNOW how to pronounce your name, for true. I grew up in Baton Rouge and had "Arceneaux" neighbors (good people). My father then moved us to Mandeville, BEFORE it became "Mandeville", if you know what I mean. I lived there through 2000, before heading West.

I wrote "Gumbo Ya Ya" and look forward to what God has in store. He is in control, for sure.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Jennifer, I just read your first chapter. Going by that, I would have thought you were from Larose or Cutoff.

All the editors I have dealt with love the setting I used for my manuscript. ( Houma & Gibson ). But you do a far better job at infusing the local flavor than I do. That should serve you well.

donna fleisher said...

Just keeping sending your editors creole seasonings with your manuscripts. And pix of alligators. That should do it. ; )

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

ooh, that reminds me, Donna. I need to post the picture I sent you of the baby alligators.

BTW, if you ever vacation this way, let me know. I'll give you the name of the best swamp tour around. It's done by the guy who used to do the Mitsubishi commercials.

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

GREAT to hear, Dayle. That is the precise area I was shooting for!

Jimmy and Margaret Arceneaux were our BR neighbors years ago. I know your lineage grows like wild honeysuckle south of I-10 along the bayou, but you never know if and when our vines could've crossed.

Blessings to you on this wonderful writing journey!