Monday, September 28, 2015

Back from the ACFW Conference

I’ve been back from the ACFW conference in Dallas for a week, but have been busy reorienting to life, as well as to new possibilities as a result of attending the convention.
I did not win the Genesis contest, historical romance category, but I’m not disappointed in the least. Being a finalist motivated me to attend, but a far bigger goal needed to be addressed while there. If I succeeded at that, I “won,” whether or not I won the contest.

The picture is of me (left) with Elizabeth Ann Boyles, also a finalist in the historical romance category. We’d both spent from Thursday until Saturday evening before the Awards Gala hoping to meet the other two finalists. In a group of 500 attendees it was a long shot, though not impossible.
As it turned out, we met just before the doors opened. We were standing outside, alone, waiting. After introducing ourselves, we broke out laughing. “So this is my competitor.” 
We hugged each other, and then we went in and sat down beside each other. We also expressed our hope that the other would win. We had a great time. Elizabeth is delightful. 
The the third finalist in our category, Elizabeth Lukinuk, won. She was the only winner who didn’t attend the conference, nor appoint someone to accept her award and give her speech. 
My biggest reason for attending the conference was to pitch my manuscript to several targeted agents/editors, and that’s exactly what I was able to do. I pitched to all of the agents that most interest me, as well as to the senior editor from Harlequin Love Inspired—the line I would dearly love to break into. Four agents requested to see a partial. The editor requested the full manuscript. Yay!
Since returning home, regarding the writing life, I’ve felt the need to think about my next likely writing project. I will choose from two stories that were plotted earlier. One was plotted in-depth and the other, roughly.
It’s the roughly plotted one that’s most likely to be my next project. It falls better into my series scheme. I love the theme, which explores the question: What is the best way to serve God?
The other idea should be the last book in what I hope will be a very long series. (We can dream, right?)
Over the coming week or two, I’ll dust off and send out the requested materials. Then, I will happily begin my new project while awaiting further instructions from the agents and the editor.
Attending the ACFW national conference in Dallas was an incredible experience for me. If God gives me another chance to attend, I will definitely go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Heading to the ACFW Conference in Dallas

I’ll be departing for Dallas and ACFW’s annual, national writer’s convention, in the wee hours on Thursday morning, 5:00 am to be exact. I’ll need to leave for the airport at around 2:00 am. Not fun, but by doing this, I was able to  work around an additional night’s stay at the convention hotel, which would’ve cost another $200.
We’re not flush this year. Crops yields were below average, and wheat prices are not at the break-even point. Saving money counts! Fortunately, I had saved my harvest wages from 2014, telling my husband that if things looked promising for my writing in the coming year, I would use it to attend the national ACFW convention in 2015. Interestingly, my wages were very, very close to the exact amount that the convention is costing me. So I guess that is what God always intended for me to do, and He gave me the means of doing it. 
This convention will be different for me in a couple of ways from any other writer’s convention I’ve attended. For one thing, it’s a Christian writer’s convention, which is very appealing. For another, I’m looking at it as a job interview. I’ll be pitching a marketable manuscript, one that has taken second place in three contests, and is currently a finalist in ACFW’s Genesis contest, to an editor and an agent. The manuscript may or may not sell to this editor. This agent may not take me on. But I will have made some connections and the door to the possibility of traditional publication will have opened a bit farther.  And that is awesome. 

I’ve written my elevator pitch, my two-paragraph pitch, and my acceptance speech, should I happen to win the Historical Romance category
I promised to show you my completed one sheet (see above).
I also bought a dress to wear to the awards gala and a pretty jacket of navy blue lace. The dress is a stretchy jersey fabric in sunset colors: reds, burgundies, oranges, and with a touch of navy. I found a sparkly necklace in the same colors. And I plan to wear some burgundy pumps that a good friend gave me, which we jokingly call “Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz” shoes. (Maybe they’ll bring me luck?)  
What’s been happening with you, now that summer’s over? Have you attended any writer’s conventions lately?
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