Wow, guys! Oh many great ACFW Conference memories and stories do I have for you! The weather was wonderful. The people were even moreso, and the Christian fellowship and learning abounded! It was a real treat to go and learn and connect with my instructors and my peers in the craft.
This was our amazing Keynote Speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs! She had apparently spoken in all fifty American states and several countries to boot! The first day in the ACFW Conference was slightly intimidating, I'll admit. Not that I was scared. It's just that, when standing beside the likes of Carol Award finalists, Genesis finalists, and literally anyone who's written ten books whithin a year, I was the puny guppy. Still, Miss Liz's message from the Bible that our value and creativity comes from God, was just the thing to put my heart in the right place and hyped for all the amazing things to come that weekend!
Our instructors were fantastic! I was already thrilled to meet at least two of them, Allen Arnold and Betsy Haddox, much less to discover they were just as thrilled to talk with me too! They all were so good and so committed to encouraging Christian Creatives, their classes transformed my writing life into one of greater skill and worship! And those gracious compliments they gave me? They almost made me cry on the spot! Seriously! It felt like recieving notice from the likes of C.S. Lewis and Tolkein!
The bookstore boasted quite the assortment. It was a miracle I managed to narrow down one book to take home. Receiving a second book during a class was a bonus. However, the biggest miracle was how well my own book sold there! Celestial started out as five copies. Then there were three. Then there were two. By gala night, there was none! I literally could not believe it! (I pray the owners of my little babies are enjoying their adventure!)
I soaked in so much knowledge to my mind's delight! I just wished I had the option to attend all classes instead of just six. I learned how to better edit outlines; write stronger subtext; the pros and cons of series vs. standalones; publicity tips; character dissection; complex plotting; and how to compose a smashing historical fiction! I super needed that last one for my next novel.
Of course, there was a fantastic assortment of food! One lady even brought her own batch of cookies to add to the gourmet! Too bad I ended up with a yeast infection at the time, but hey, whatever I couldn't eat I brought back to my family (who confirmed it all delicious)! You wanna hear a funny story? A new friend of mine and I swapped food options on seperate days. The first day she accepted my croutons. On the last day, I ate her cherry tomatoes. Sounds like a fair trade to me. (Oh, and I may or may not have swiped every last apple from the lunch table after the others left. *hee hee*)
Speaking of friends, oh my goodness! I now have twice as many as I had before! There was my coordinator, Miss Jessi. She worked long hours on Facebook ensuring every newcomer felt welcome. Miss Lois is the most bubbly, tenderhearted social butterfly you'd ever meet. My fellow finalist from last year's First Impressions competition, Julia, is every bit as fun as she is talented. Bella, who helped manage the bookstore, cheered me and my book on the entire weekend. I'd never thought I'd meet a fellow gamer at ACFW, but God brought me Sarah, the aspiring author and animator extriodinaire. Then I met Carol Awards finalist and my potential guest for my FlyingFaith Talks podcast, Steven Rogers! He's one of the rare gentlemen still in the world of today and a strong man of faith. Finally, there was Miss Christie. This generous lady allowed me to dress for the big gala in her hotel room and just oozed with lovable hospitality. Of course, there were many more friends I didn't have time to mention here as well. I miss hanging out with them already. (And you can bet, I'm keeping in touch!)
Of course there were some unexpected things at ACFW...like a unicorn...and a broken shoe that I had to 'MacGyver'-fix with a hairband...
But the Gala went without a hitch. I do believe everyone there felt like Cinderellas and Prince Charmings as we cheered on the best and finest among us during the awards. Congrats to them all!
Best of all (and my favorite part about the whole conference) was our unity. We weren't connected simply as authors but as Christians bought by Christ. Writing is what we do. Being Christ's redeemed people, though, is what we are. May God be blessed and glorified for all the blessings He gave during that ACFW weekend and all it'll inspire in us through the years!
Want to see more from the conference? Visit my Instagram (@flyingfaith_blog) and check out all the live videos I took! And hey, if you'd like to learn more about me, FlyingFaith, the FlyingFaith Talks podcast, my book Celestial, or even the book I'm currently working on now, please consider joining my newsletter down below! It's non-spammy, and you might even have a chance at winning a prize or two! See ya next time!