Sunday, October 2, 2011

ACFW Conference Recap Part 1

It's hard to believe that one week ago from right now I was in St. Louis, boarding a plane for home after spending several days at the ACFW conference. I've been meaning to post a recap since I returned, but am just now finding time to do it. It's amazing how being gone for a few short days created such a pile of catch-up stuff to do when I got home. And I'm not just talking laundry...although there certainly was plenty of that. I'm talking about work stuff, cleaning stuff, and family stuff. All that "stuff" that got neglected while I was having the time of my life 400 miles away.

Anyway...on to my recap.

Sandra Heska King and me

WEDNESDAY: Left at 8:40 am and met up with my "flying buddy" Sandra Heska King during our layover in Detroit. Arrived in St. Louis around noon-ish, and my amazing FaithWriters friend and volunteer taxi driver, Chely Roach, picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the beautiful Hyatt hotel at the Arch. Soon after checking in, I met one of my roommates for the week, Teresa Slack (roomie #2 would arrive the next day). Teresa and I are both represented by Terry Burns and we were involved in a couple of anthology projects together, so we weren't total strangers, but it was nice to finally meet in person. With the whole day to relax before the conference started on Thursday afternoon, Teresa, Sandy, another Sandy, and I decided to check out the famous St. Louis Arch, only a couple blocks from our hotel. So cool! We didn't go up, but checked out the shops below (actually under the ground). It was a beautiful day, so we got some great shots of the sun glimmering off the Arch. Sandy HK and I finished the day with dinner at The Brewhouse, one of the hotel restaurants. The food and staff were wonderful! Then I turned in early to rest up for a wild and crazy next few days.

Sandy, Sandra, and Teresa
Thursday: Breakfast consisted of marble pound cake and a latte from Starbucks (yum). Hung out in the room all morning, catching up on work and mentally and spiritually preparing for the conference. At noon I went down to the registration desk, where I volunteered for the next couple of hours. I got to work with a couple of former crit buddies and good friends, Val Comer and Nicole O'Dell. Working registration is so fun because you get to meet so many awesome authors and witness everyone's before-conference excitement.
The conference started at 3:00 pm with a welcome from emcee Brandilyn Collins and an address from our ACFW President, Margaret Daley. Tracie Peterson, the keynote speaker, then inspired us all with her opening session. 

We had a short break before dinner. Sandy, Teresa, and I chose an empty table and were pleasantly surprised (ok, ecstatic) when author after author joined us at our table. Check out our fellow diners:

Hello...can it get any better? From left to right: DiAnn Mills, Julie Garmon, Deb Raney, Teresa Slack, Me, Sandy Heska King, Karen Ball, Liz Curtis Higgs, Tamera Alexander, Kim Vogel Sawyer

After dinner, I attended the spotlight on Revell, where editor Andrea Doering told us everything we need to know about what Revell is looking for, as well as gave us inside scoop on the submission process. Afterwards, I stood in line to personally thank Andrea for giving me the nicest rejection for Mind over Madi a few months ago. At the time, although my manuscript wasn't a good fit for them, she said she would like to see more of my work, which I am geeked about because I love the books Revell publishes and would be thrilled to be one of their authors someday. My goal is to finish my mystery/suspense and submit it. Better get moving on that...

To cap off the first evening, I attended a workshop by Janice Thompson titled, Plotting Your Fiction Career: 12 Steps to Becoming a Successful Novelist. And WOW. What a class! Janice is a total sweetheart and a major expert on the topic. I learned so much. AND I asked her to sign my book Hello Hollywood! which I was currently reading for review (to be posted this week). She signed the book to Diane, my writer friend back home, who's a huge fan of Janice's work, and I passed it on to her a few days ago after I finished the book.

By the end of the first official day of the conference, I was exhausted and exhilarated! Because this post is getting quite lengthy, I'll post Part 2 on Tuesday. Stay tuned...


Julie Arduini said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post. I've read a lot about the conference but I think I relate best to your experiences because I've "watched" your journey longer than I've known the others. Does that make sense? :)

Looking forward to part 2!

And get working on the mystery...:)

Lynda Schab said... makes total sense to me, Julie. Thanks for saying that. It means a lot. :-)