Seeking God’s Presence at ACFW

Last week I wrote about many of the fantastic authors and friends I met or reconnected with at this year’s annual ACFW Conference. That part of the conference is truly a blessing, but I failed to capture the true essence of the gathering. We all came essentially to connect with Jesus. To ask his blessings on our writing or editing or publishing. To seek his guidance and request patience to wait for his timing as we use our talents to spread his word and for his glory. And, to celebrate the accomplishments of those for whom God’s time has come.

Each day, we began with worship. Rachel Hauck led the worship band with Pepper Basham as backup. The songs were focused on healing and renewal. As always, when I have the opportunity to worship with a group of like-minded people the lyrics and music seem to have a deeper meaning and impact than when I worship alone. Each session and workshop were dedicated to God’s glory. Many prayers were said over each aspect of the conference from speakers to appointments and the Spirit hovered tangibly throughout the hotel.

Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti, the keynote speaker, preached Christ Crucified and did a word study around Jesus’ name in Hebrew and Greek. This summary doesn’t do the talk justice. Humor and a few well-placed sound effects drove home the points with pinpoint accuracy. His second talk focused on writing and telling stories that honor Christ and was equally inspiring.

Workshop options ranged from writing eye-popping proposals to adding page-turning tension to working together to build a plotting society. The industry professionals who took the time and put forth the effort to bring these classes and workshops to life make all the difference in the conference. They enable aspiring and accomplished authors alike to master a new skill, remember a tip, and learn a new piece of the complicated, intricate, fascinating craft of fiction writing.

Then there are the mouth-drying, leg trembling appointments. My first was with editor Elizabeth Jackson from Tyndale. I received favorable feedback from her, but Tyndale doesn’t accept submissions without an agent.

Next, I met with Deborah Raney who had critiqued the first three chapters of Strength to Stand. She was so nice and made me feel so comfortable. She had several things she thought I could do to improve the story and a lot of positive comments.

My next appointment was with Cynthia Hickey of Winged Productions. She liked the story and took the first three chapters with her to read. I am nervous as to what she will think of it. I am not certain I want to go with a smaller press before I try my luck with larger houses. If she offers a contract, I will need to be certain of my goals.

On Saturday, I met with agent Jessie Kirkland. We have met before so we didn’t have to go through the usual getting to know you small talk. She took a proposal with her and promised to let me know soon as to whether or not she would represent me. I am cautiously optimistic.

Fifteen minutes after the appointment with Jessie, I met with Janyre Tromp, editor with Kregel Publishing. She is a fun person, and it seemed she liked my premise and asked for me to submit a proposal. I am waiting until I hear from Jessie before I submit to her. I’m hoping Jessie will say “yes” and then help me improve the proposal before I send it.

It is exciting to think about what God might do in the next months with my story. I keep praying that it is time for it to be published, but also trying to maintain my patience as I know God’s timing is always best. Thanks to all of you who have supported me thus far. The journey has been fantastic!

Soon, I’m going to write a blog post about proposals. Putting mine together was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most valuable. Hopefully, I can motivate those aspiring to be published to take on and conquer this most daunting of tasks. (It’s almost as bad as writing a one-page synopsis!)

I’ll keep you posted on the publishing journey. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, sign up for my newsletter. The first edition comes out in December!

Next week: The Alamo and beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk!


  1. Glad you were able to go again! There was no way for me – no dollars, no time, etc. I’ve been a cross country mom instead, but it was worth it! May the Lord give you favor with the right agent or house!

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  2. Thank you so much, Heather. It was a great conference for me. I felt God’s presence in the preparation and while I was there. The $ just came together. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go until August. I registered thinking if it didn’t work out, I would only lose $50. But God came through. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much because it still may not be God’s timing, but it seems positive so far.


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