Tuesday, September 25, 2018

That's a Wrap - ACFW 2018

Another great ACFW conference is in the books. I will try to hit the highlights like I do every year post-conference (see 2015 and 2017), though I am not sure I can do them justice this year.

1. Debbie Macomber delivered our keynote sessions, and y’all she is as cute as her Hallmark movies. While I’ve read a few of her series, I did not know much about her personally, and I so enjoyed her transparency and humor and heart for the Lord.

2. Liz Curtis Higgs received the Lifetime Achievement Award and led part of the workshop track I attended on Friday AND showed up at our Hartline Literary Agency dinner on Friday night (her hubs is represented by Hartline). I tamed my fangirl feels (I think), but I did manage to sneak not one but two pictures with her! Ha!

3. As always, I learned A TON! But my two favorite sessions: getting to hear from the editors at three different publishing houses talk candidly about expectations and preferences and attending Julie Gwin’s session on proposals. I still have much to apply, but I’m grateful for the knowledge!

4. Every year, I make new friends, and this year was no exception. I’m grateful for the catch-up time with my critique partner and the new friendships formed—some of which were social media friends I finally got to meet in person.

5. The Gala must be mentioned because it was so fun! My agent won Agent of the Year, and the shock on his face was priceless. He is a humble man, but so very deserving! Tamera Alexander sat at our same table, and I got to see her win not one but two Carol awards. And I’m still pinching myself two days later that I won the Genesis for the Short Novel category. What a dream come true!

My hubs went with me to Nashville, and even before we left, he kept asking if I was going to prepare an acceptance speech. I dismissed the idea, thinking there’s no way I actually will win. I was pleased to just be a finalist this year. But he continued to say, I really think you should write something down.

When I went to the rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, I was chatting with a fellow finalist, who had won Genesis in a previous year, and she asked if I’d written anything down. When I said no, she said, you really ought to because when I won, I hadn’t prepared anything, and once I got up on stage, in front of all those people, I wished I had.

So, you know, an hour before the Gala, I’m getting ready and jotting down some notes. No time like the last minute, right?!

When the announcer called my name, Howell leans over to whisper “I knew it!” in my ear. He captured the entire speech and had texted it out to everyone we know before I could even get back to my seat. I sure love him and love his support for me. (If you want to see the video, it's on Facebook here).

I’ve been overwhelmed by the congratulations I’ve received, the videos and text messages and social media comments. God really does get 100% of the credit in my mind. It’s His gift and all for His glory!

If you attended this year, what are your favorite moments? 

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