Rebecca, Mom, and I arrived at the Marriott around 10:30. We quickly registered and checked our editor appointment schedules. Combined, we had only received two appointments. In years past, or if this had been our first conference, we might have panicked. Instead, we trusted God to place us where and with whom we needed to be.
My first scheduled event of the conference was my paid critique with Deb Raney. What a fun half-hour it was. Mom was invited to stay and listen to the critique. Deb was extremely encouraging! We've always loved her books....and there I was getting her opinion on Undiscovered. Surreal!
Then we hit up the first-timers orientation meeting. Brandilyn Collins and Cara Putnam gave all 150 (or so) of us a warm welcome. After a small break, all of ACFW gathered for the opening ceremonies. We went straight from that to a paid critique of On the Threshold with Meredith Efken. She opened our eyes to getting a deeper point of view in our first three chapters. Very valuable advice...which was also good for our word count!
To be honest, though, at the time we were somewhat discouraged. Meredith had mentioned not really feeling connected to the characters despite good, clean writing, well-defined scenes, etc.... At the last conference, we'd received overwhelmingly good feedback. We had changed the first chapters based on what one awesome editor had requested. Had we horribly messed up our manuscript by doing so??? This fear was rolling through our mind--remember, we share one brain--but we had no time to talk to each other before sitting down for the fancy dinner.
We had barely sat down before the man on my left, an editor from a house already interested in seeing more, turned to us. "Tell me about your project."
I stumbled through the pitch for OTT. By the time I got to UN, I was able to summon up the normal amount of enthusiasm. He nodded politely and said they both sounded interesting. NOTE: This is very important. Remember this interaction until I post AFCW: The Aftermath.
We then enjoyed James Scott Bell's first keynote address. Jim's an old friend of ours and it was great seeing him again. Despite his great success and business, he has continued to mentor us for the last two years. (Just in case you read this, Jim, THANK YOU!)
We choose the late night chat put on by Harvest House on "Building the Author/Editor Relationship." We happen to have relationship with quite a few HH editors--one in particular--and wanted to see how it might be if they were ever to contract us. Kim Moore, the editor leading the chat, drew numbers at the end of the class and I won Frasier Island by Susan Page Davis.
We hung out in the lobby after classes were done and got pictures with several of our favorite authors.
Tamera Alexander & Us
With Robin Jones Gunn
(She looks like she might have had some work done...)
Or maybe not.
On the couch: Ocieanna Fleiss, Tricia Goyer, & Wendy Lawton
With Susan Meissner
With Jill Elizabeth Nelson, an endorser of Undiscovered. Thanks, Jill!