Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend in Indy

Four days at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis left my head spinning, but definitely in a GOOD way! The whole experience was a God-given gift, filled with learning, laughter, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, worshipping together and pitching my book to editors. Once again, my sister Patt joined me for the conference. Her presence is always the icing on the cake. Our keynote speaker was Tim Downs, an amazing author who is funny, inspirational and encouraging. We each received a copy of his new book, Wonders Never Cease. Can't wait to read it!

The Hyatt Regency was beautiful and the food was fabulous, especially if you like asparagus, which was served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mostly breakfast -- go figure.

And now...the photos. I will attempt to put these in order, but I suspect when I post it they will no longer be in order, so good luck placing names and faces!

Top row, from left to right: 1. Me and my wonderful agent, Terry Burns; 2. Pam Meyers, Donn Taylor and Susan Lyttek; 3. Normandie Ward Fischer and Roger Bruner. Second row: 1. A nice person I met but didn't get her name, Bonnie Calhoun, Terry Burns; 2. My amazing sister, Patt Nicholls; 3. Suzanne Hartmann and Bill Garrison.

Check out this recipe for creme brulee, which was served at the Sunday night awards banquet. It was topped with a cookie (pecan sandy, I believe) half dipped in chocolate. Yum!

Creme Brulee
(Recipe from Alton Brown of Food Network's Good Eats)

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.


  1. YUM! Now I'm REALLY bummed to have missed it. The conference is definitely all about the desserts!

    So glad you had a great time. How cool to have your sister there, too. :-)

  2. We sure had a great time didn't we. Hope everyone can be there again next year!

  3. "Whirlwind" is a perfect word to describe the weekend, Susan. Between all the stress I heaped on myself to perfect my pitch, the excitement of meeting people I only knew via the internet, and all of the learning available through the classes, I felt like I'd been whipped around by a whirlwind by the time I got back home. LOL A week later, I now feel like I've caught up on sleep and fully recovered (more or less--I still have to sort through all of my notes).

  4. I love the pictures, Susan! Hope I can be at conference next year.

    Hey--if you like recipes, my blog has some Hawaiian ones. Just posted one today, and will continue posting them over the next couple weeks. I always try them out first. So far, amazing!! My family thinks so too. As I post I'll add the recipes to the Recipe Page on my blog.