Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 ACFW conference

Bet you’ve been wondering where I”ve been, eh? Well, I left my home and family last Tues, Sept 16th, and travelled down to Minneapolis, MN to attend the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference.

And what a conference!

One of the smartest things I did was divide the driving into 2 days which left about 6 hrs of driving each day. My travel odometer read 1250 km (800 mls) by the time I hit the Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis South - the location of this year’s conference.

Wed night found me sitting in the Sheraton lobby, trying to keep my right palm dry in case someone I recognized came along. My feelings bounced from anxiety and fear to disbelief that I had actually arrived. (Hello, Kristine and Christina)

My first attempt at writing this blog entry mentioned names of people who became friends over the course of the conference. But after the first dozen names, I quit. There were just too many. Instead, I’m going to tell you where I originally found these people and then you can meet them as well.

On Thursday, I found the Steeple Hill authors. A wonderful group of graceful, down-to-earth women who wrapped me in their arms and treated me as a friend – as if they’d met me many times before. I had considered them my friends from our on-line contact, but this was our first 'live' mtg.

These special Steeple Hill authors include Cheryl Wyatt and Margaret Daley who took me 'under their wing' and allowed me to 'chum' with them for most of the weekend. The conference wouldn't have been the same without you two.

You can find Steeple Hill authors at the following sites (or check my blog list one the right):

- the Steeple Hill boards at www.eharlequin.com

- the Love Inspired author blog at www.loveinspiredauthors.blogspot.com

- the Love Inspired Suspense author blog at www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com

Then there were the wonderful writers from www.seekerville.blogspot.com This is another one of my daily blog stops as they always have such interesting educational help for pre-pubbed writers like me. I wouldn’t have entered a single contest if it hadn’t been for this exciting group which overlaps the Love Inspired authors somewhat.

Back to the conference, I spent one hour on Friday as a volunteer in the on-site bookstore. No one really needed my help, but it was a chance to meet more authors and study the array of Christian fiction books on the market.

A part of the conference I will always remember is the daily worship and devotion sessions and the optional Harp and Bowl. I started crying somewhere during the Friday night Harp and Bowl and didn’t stop until sometime Sunday afternoon.

This made for interesting appointments because most writers cry after the meeting, but I was already bawling by the time I sat down. Despite my tears, I truly appreciate the patience of the editors and agent I met with since I might as well have plastered ‘NEWBIE’ in neon letters across my forehead.

Some of my memories from the conference include:
- the delectable desserts
- the anxiety of picking meal companions
- receiving hugs from strangers while walking down the hall
- being prayed over by strangers in the hall
- the awesome music of the worship band
- meeting my favorite authors
- the reverence of the prayer room
- the excitement of the 126-author book signing

My attendance at this conference wouldn’t have been possible if not for the support of my husband and family who believe I will be published someday.

In fact, although I’m still visiting my mom in Thunder Bay, Ontario, my hubby has emailed to say that since some of my material was requested, they’ll let me hide out in the RV when I get home so I get some quality writing time. :-)

Hey honey...can I go next year? Pretty please...

6 comments:

  1. I so enjoyed meeting you in person although I felt like I knew you from our time online. I'm glad you are home safe.

    Take care,
    Margaret

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  2. It was great to meet you in person, Anita Mae! I recognized you right away thanks to your pic on the Steeple Hill forum boards!
    Camy

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  3. Anita Mae,

    Let me tell you, sweetie, that meeting YOU was a highlight for a lot of authors too!! Nothing is more exciting than a real, live hug with someone you are friends with online but never met!! I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you at breakfast, girlfriend, and hope to see you next year!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  4. So glad you had a great time at ACFW, Anita Mae! Repeat after me: "I WILL be back next year. I WILL be back next year." And congratulations on the ms. request! That is terrific!

    (And I cried through my very first editor appointment, too. It DOES get easier. A little, anyway.)

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  5. It was so fun to meet you in person, Anita Mae! Like Camy said, I knew you right away from your photo online. :)

    I look forward to seeing you again next year! Your family is so sweet to support you like they do. I bet they'll send you again next year. :)

    Missy

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  6. Hi, Anita Mae. Conferences are so strange, where you know all the names but none of the faces...or maybe you know the faces from a one inch square picture.

    It takes a minute then CLICK, I KNOW YOU!!!!!!!!!

    It was wonderful to meet you.

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