Seeker Sightings. For Realz.

A week and a half ago, I arrived in St. Louis to attend the ACFW Conference. The very cool Cindy Herron rode up with me, accommodating both my need to drive up Wednesday night and my desire to get there before registration closed so I could see who my appointments were with. Lo and behold, the first person I met was none other than

The cookies didn't help me get my hands on the MS...

Candace Calvert! And she was as excited to see me as I was to see her! [though I think that may have had more to do with keeping tabs on me so she’d know if I’d had a chance to snag the thumb drive with her latest manuscript on it.]

But Thursday was when most folks arrived. And when I was sure I’d make a fool of myself.

So I’m standing there. Minding my own business [not really, I was chatting with some other people at the registration desk] and then…

There she was.

Mary Connealy.

Mary! Con! Nealy!

It can’t be! But it is! Be cool, I said to myself. You want to be her when you grow up. You don’t want her to get a restraining order. Would make attending conferences much harder.

Deep breath. Don’t scare her. It’s too late. “Mary Connealy!” I say, unable to stop myself. She’s looking at my nametag. Maybe she won’t recognize me without the avocado green make-up and dreds we talked about. You’re going to be banned from the new Seeker-village if you don’t stay cool. But I have cookies. Everything’s better with cookies, right?


And then…


She even pronounced it right! [Pause button for a second: I don’t remember if she pronounced it right or not. She may have even just said Carol. But this is how it plays out in my memory. Go with it ;). Push play…]

Now, shake her hand. Don’t jump over the table and tackle her. Extend your hand, nice and slow. You don’t want to hit her.

Mary: Get over here and give me a hug! [Pause button again: Or something to that affect. Don’t want Mary to think I’m purposefully putting words in her mouth ;). Play…]

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Don’t squee out loud. Don’t hurdle the table. Walk slowly around and…

Big hug.

Like meeting an old friend. Big deep sigh of relief. She didn’t run screaming away. She seems to still like me. We can even chat for a few minutes without me squealing with child-like glee. In fact, she, like Candace, seems just about as glad to see me as I am to see her. Big deep breaths and back to work at the registration table.

Until a few minutes later when…


Wash. Rinse. Repeat. With a few more “Oh! My! Stars!” thrown in for good measure. And Cara Lynn James was there, too. And I think it was Audra Harders who took the pictures [they’re a bit fuzzy. Don’t blame Audra. Blame my phone. It takes eons to take a pic and is nearly impossible to hold still].

[Did I mention I met Ruthy BEFORE my newly-discovered twin, Pepper? And that I texted her a pic and she was jealous? At least for a few minutes. Because then Pepper got to hang out with them. I didn’t. Not then anyway.]

Pepper and Ruthy. So cute!

I met SOOOOOO many amazing people. Audra, I think was one of my unexpected favorites. I knew I liked her. I expected to like her. I just didn’t know HOW MUCH I was going to LOVE her! I love Audra! She was so sweet and so supportive through the whole conference. So much so that I won’t post the pic Julie emailed me. Instead, I’ll post this one:

Back Row: Audra, Me, Mary, Cara, Melanie Dickerson; front row: Sandra Leesmith, Helen Gray, Ruthy, and my Roomies Pepper Basham and Casey Herringshaw

Because I have NO [NONE!] pics of me and Audra. Other Seekers there were: Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson and Julie Lessman [wasn’t she at lunch? How is she not in the pic?]. LOVED Pam and Myra as well. And we all know I adore Julie ;).

I did get to hang out with all of them at the evening Seeker gatherings in the bar. There I bribed them with the cookies I’d brought. The Seekers [and all the Seeker friends who were there] are so wonderful. If you’re ever at an ACFW conference, you should hang out with them. Or if you’re anywhere else they are. Seriously. You could even take a road trip to a book signing. I wouldn’t know anything about that. Yet ;).

Bribing with cookies never did get me the much coveted seat between Mary and Julie [Lorna Seilstad got that!], but that’s okay. I made some GREAT new friends. And made GREAT connections and LEARNED so much!

Me and Ruthy - who is holding the perfect cookie.

But more on that another day ;).


  • Love your post!! We had a blast, didn’t we??? 🙂

  • Hey, girl, you had me at ‘chocolate chip cookies’. LOL No green face make-up to be seen anywhere, neither.

  • You know I’m with you on Audra. I was surprised to find out I liked her, too.

    (that’s an official audra joke)

  • Great cookies! Wish I had a few now! This was such a fun conference.

  • Loved this post, Carol! It was like being there all over again! (And Dramedy definitely suits you! 😉 )

  • You guys LIKE Audra….

    Like she’s a FAVORITE???? Sure, just because she’s gentle. Nice. And (obviously) NOT A CAMERA HOG!!!


    Carol, you dork, you could have hung out with us. We were brainstorming. Goof. Why didn’t you say something? Something akin to “Oh. Can I come too?”

    Like, um…

    IS THAT HARD????

    I think we’ve had this lecture before. It’s the “do not expect me to remember yesterday” lecture. Or breakfast.

    Honey. I’d brainstorm with you anytime. And I don’t remember Pepster saying a word but when we started singing the theme song from Phineas and Ferb… Oh, then she chimed in because we LOVE Phineas and Ferb! 😉

    Thank you for the lovely shout out, honey!

    • Out for lunch with Andrea who put that pic of you and me as the pic that pops up when I call!!!

      I was still working registration at that point then y’all had disappeared! Next year… I want in!!!

  • Carol, great post–you’re bringing all my “star sighting” goose bumps back as well. Isn’t it too cool? I loved getting to meet you, I did check my laptop case for that thumb drive–and I do blame you for forcing me to eat myself into a cookie-bliss delirium. The reason I must now live on lettuce shavings and water for weeks . . . NOT. 😉
    Thanks again, and so glad you enjoyed ACFW.

    • I saw your menus BEFORE conference! You ate like a rabbit [or a raccoon ;)] LONG before you met me, dear one!

      Soooo glad to meet you! And you’ll never know what I copied OFF that drive… 😉

  • audra

    Carol, LOL! Don’t you know Ruthy is the favorite?? Don’t go getting the rest of us in trouble, we have to live with her…
    Of course I knew I’d LOVE all the Seekers before I signed on…I didn’t have to have a test drive, so to speak. Ha, what a hoot.
    What is there not to love with a gal who carries a bucket of chocolate chip cookies with her wherever she goes?? Mmmm, nice and fresh and soft. I’m really hoping you passed those out to many editors!!
    Loved the conference; loved meeting everyone. Especially Carol. Even if she did squeeeeee at Mary first. I’m okay with that. I love riding around on Mary’s coattails : )


      I know that.


      [or I’ll let her keep thinking my favorite and if she suspects otherwise, I’ll start singing the Phineas and Ferb song…]

      And look for an email in a few minutes ;).

  • CAROL!!! How fun to revisit that wonderful week of ACFW through your blog today!! It was a GREAT conference, for sure, not the least of which was connecting with some of our favorite Seekerville friends such as YOU!! . Of course, those to-die-for chocolate chip cookies sure didn’t hurt … 🙂