Hello all! As promised, this begins the run-down of my time at the ACFW Conference in Nashville, TN.
I’ll try not to bore you with ALL the details, because a LOT happened. But I will give you the highlights.
I met up with my friends from our local ACFW Chapter early on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 24, and we headed out. My friend Ane, who was driving, and my critique group leader, Ruth, and I. We stopped a couple of hours away and picked up another member, Cindy.
The day was lovely, even though it had started out with rain. But as we drove, the skies cleared up. We stopped for lunch just outside of Chattanooga in a little town called Monteagle. And we had a great time in fellowship together and talking about writing on the way. I felt like the conference had already started as I was already learning so much!
We arrived in Nashville a little after 3pm Eastern time. Nashville is on Central time, so it was 2pm there. That was a little weird to get used to.
The conference was at the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville. It was a beautiful building inside and out. My room was very nice!
I didn’t have the best view as I looked down onto the building across the street, which I later learned was the Music City Center.
After little sleep the night before, and a 6-hour trip, I was tired. So I took a quick nap before meeting up with Ruth and Cindy for supper in the hotel restaurant. It was nice, and we sat near the window, where we looked out on a beautiful old church building and could watch people passing by on the street.
The conference didn’t officially start until the next day, so we had the evening off. We walked around the hotel, getting familiar with the surroundings, and visited the conference registration table to get registered.
We got cool nametags to hang around our necks. Each person had a unique set of ribbons. Mine had brown for the “First Time Attendees,” a peach colored one for our “zone” – which is the Southeast Zone. And I had a light blue one indicating that I was a contest Finalist.
We also got a nice nice bag to carry our stuff in and an almost 50-page booklet with a map of the conference center, each day’s schedule of meetings and classes (and a description of each class), pictures of the conference staff, ACFW board, and the various editors, agents, and mentors available for appointments. Plus, lots of cool features, like an interview with the keynote speaker, best-selling author Ted Dekker. And a feature on the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the legendary Janette Oke. Yep, THAT’S the kind of company I was in.
Among the various ads for books and publishing houses, there was a list of this year’s Carol Awards nominees. The Carol Awards are for “recognition for quality fiction published in the previous calendar year.” So many great books were listed there.
And then there was the Genesis Award Finalists. How cool to see my name listed among those! And the First Impressions Winners. That contest takes place in the Fall and is for the first five pages of a manuscript.
There were also pictures of the winners from the 2015 Awards Gala and the list of other nominees for this year: Mentor of the Year, Editor of the Year, and Agent of the Year. And a list of the MANY conference volunteers! It takes a LOT of people to make something this big go so smoothly.
There was even a helpful section called, “Getting the Most from Your Conference Experience.” How thoughtful!
I got settled into my room and had a good night’s sleep, anticipating the next day when the conference would actually get started.