I looked up to scan a room of 700 "story-tellers" in the grand ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
In the last four years, I've found the time and the passion to return to my first love of writing. And that's how I found myself in Dallas, Texas with a group of committed writers.
The time I spent with the ACFW authors, agents, editors, and publishers during the past weekend was refreshing, and soul satisfying. As we ate, we shared stories of everything from God's faithfulness in getting published to how He helped getting us through a personal sorrow or trial.
The worship time was unique in that the minute the band started, a holy hush fell on that room and the presence of God was palpable. I know that worship leader Rachel Hauck would not ascribe the beauty of those times to her own gift, but, somehow, I think it did; as well as the gathered hearts all yearning to seek the face of their king.When we worshiped, God showed up.
One testimony given by Peter Levelle left the participants in a state of awe and gratitude for having just heard what he had to say. He spoke of his whirlwind success turning into desperation for a touch from Jesus literally overnight. The doctors diagnosis of an autoimmune disease turned his focus to a need for Him instead of "doing" for Him. He blessed us with the benediction that he hoped we would feel Jesus wrapping His arms around us all.
My experience with appointments was also encouraging to me.I spoke to professionals who were consummate in their roles as leaders in the Christian publishing business. Yet, each person focused on helping me be a voice in a very difficult business to break into as a new writer.
I am not fancy, sophisticated or erudite. Yet, each agent I spoke to made me feel important, successful and able to pull off the enormous task of publishing a novel.
The multi-published authors who presented the workshops I attended gave us many tools to bring our novels to another level. Instead of sitting at home bringing another fantastic tale to life, they took on the arduous task of sharing their skills with us. Their mentoring will help many to reach the same excellence that they have achieved through many years of hard work.In a phrase, their ceiling had now become my foundation to build upon.
I met crit partner and roommate Jackie Layton ~ what a sweetie she is!
For a fun friday night, Colleen Scott and I took a shuttle into Grapevine, TX for sightseeing and dinner.
We found the Texans we met to be relaxed, friendly and well....kind of quiet.
It was fun getting re-acquainted with old friends. And meeting new ones. We packed in as much activity in a day that we could with networking, workshops, meetings, and sightseeing.
At the end of the day, our luxury Queen-sized beds called to us! It was a great experience all the way around for any author, especially a pre-pubbed one, like me.