Wednesday, October 1, 2008

At The Conference

Happy Wednesday to you all!

I will not post that everything is calm and serene in our household today because every time I do, chaos breaks out and it takes me a week to recover.

I'm kind of sad to report that the lovely home from three days ago is no more. The children (and adults) managed to trash the place by the time the last guest pulled out of the driveway.

Oh, well.

This will also be my last post on my bumbling antics at the ACFW Conference two weeks ago. I'm sure you're sick of reading about it, and I have bored you long enough.

SOOOO . . . we are now on Friday morning at the conference. I went to classes. Prayed a lot for my appointments that afternoon. Modest little prayers . . . "Lord, please don't let me cry in front of the agents. Please, please, please! Let something semi-comprehensible come out of my mouth."

And I am not jesting about the crying thing. I did that to an editor at the 2006 conference in Dallas. Sat down at her table and bawled like a baby.

So now it's appointment time. I have the first fifteen-minute meeting downstairs at 2:15pm, and the second upstairs at 2:30pm. You can see the problem coming already.

The first appointment went well. Lovely agent-lady talked with me, I managed to explain the essence of my book in a semi-coherent manner (Thank you, Lord), and then we got into a discussion about Toby Keith. She loves Toby. Adores him. I'm from Oklahoma. I wish with all my heart at this point that I have even the teeniest, tiniest connection to the man to trot out and dazzle her with, but alas, no such luck.

We finished our meeting with her taking my sample chapter, and I realized I was already two minutes late for my next appointment.

I sprint down the hall, up the escalator to the second floor, and down the hall again. All this in heels, mind you!

And find the agent I'm supposed to meet waiting for me in the hallway outside the door. Not good.

I'm breathing heavily, she's looking at me like I'm a crazy person, and I follow her into a large room filled with little tables, two chairs at each, and dozens of authors pitching their books to the editors and agents across from them.

We sit down, and I still haven't gotten my breathing to return to normal. I'm concerned about hyperventilating now, and she is trying to get me to take calming breaths. I was finally able to explain the back-to-back appointment problem, and the distance issue, and she understood a little better the near passing-out-from-lack-of-oxygen thing.

This meeting also goes well. She is notorious for making authors cry during their pitching appointments, and I managed to hold it together for our fifteen minutes. I have no earthly idea what I said to her. None. But it must have been good enough. She requested the manuscript, but with a warning, "It needs to be PERFECT!"

Yikes! I thank her, and go on my way . . . straight to the prayer room, where I flop down on the floor, flat on my back, and dig into a deep theological debate with my Creator about what is going on with my life and this conference.

The afternoon carries on, classes are a blur by this point, and I am off to dinner with two published authors at a pizza party they are having for people who signed up on their blog. Dinner goes well, one more late night class with the same two authors, and then I have a critique appointment with one of previously mentioned authors.

We find a shady spot to go over the details of what I need to fix in the manuscript, and we are only interrupted four or five times in what is supposed to be a thirty minute meeting. Then she gets a phone call and needs to go rescue a friend. I am to follow. Yay! Okay, she can lead me wherever she wants. She's multi-published and I love her books. Lead on, Yoda!

We find her friend in the lounge downstairs, trapped in a conversation she wants no part of. The author and I say our goodbyes, and I hustle upstairs to drop into bed, exhausted by the dizzying day.

Until the phone in our room rings.

It's the author. Why don't I come back down and hang out with them?

I stare with longing at my bed, then mentally slap myself. What am I thinking? She wants me to hang out. Yoda is calling me! Yes, yes you idiot (meaning me) get down there now, and hope she doesn't change her mind before you get there.

I rush back downstairs, and come to a screeching halt. This table is filled with the rock stars of the publishing world, and there beside my Yoda-Author is an empty chair.

On trembling legs, I approached the table. "Uh, hi."

"Hey! There you are! Everybody, this is Denice! She's gonna hang out with us. Have a seat."

I sit, praying I don't do anything completely embarrassing, and spend the next hour and a half listening to them talking about everything from business, to dinner, to in-laws, to their appointments of the day. Totally amazing.

The next day was my last appointment, and just when I thought I had an ounce of cool working for me, I look past the editor I am supposed to be meeting with, who is standing in front of me and ask if anyone has seen her. Not my most brilliant moment.

But the goofball thing worked, because she also asked to see the manuscript. Yay! I floated through the rest of the conference, and got to be completely excited that evening at the Awards Banquet. My mother-in-law won the YA category of the Genesis Contest. Yay, Carla!

And that pretty much rounded out my misadventures at the ACFW Conference. Now I am in revision mode, working to polish that manuscript to a high shine, and make it as perfect as possible.



Kathie said...

Sounds like you had an exciting time. I would love to go to a conference. Been writing for years, but the mission field just doesn't seem to allow me any breaks (although I would dearly love one) So, I just keep writing and praying.
Blessings from Costa Rica

D.C. Stewart said...

Hey Kathie!

Thanks for stopping by again. Conferences can be a lot of fun, or a complete nightmare, depending on how you go into it. I went just to soak up as much knowledge as I could, and was blessed immensely.

But you are out there, doing works others can only imagine, and I admire and respect that. Keep writing, and I'll be praying for you, too. I am learning that you really never know when God is going to throw an opportunity in your path.


Mary Connealy said...

And, because you're a writer, you take exhaustion, terror and humiliation and turn it into a funny blog.

It sounds like you had a good conference. YAY!

Mary Connealy said...

Oops, I meant to call you Young Skywalker. :)