2012 ACFW Conference Highlights

I know I’m breaking a blogging rule by posting a day early, but I can’t wait to share some pictures and bullet-point highlights from this past weekend!

FRIENDS! Getting together with friends is always the best part of the conference

  • Hung out with my amazing critique partners, Lorna Seilstad and Shannon Vannatter.

    Dawn Ford, Shannon Vannatter, Lorna Seilstad, Me

  • Also hung out with several of the Inkspirational Messages ladies : Stacy Monson, Dawn Ford, Shannon Vannatter, and Lorna Seilstad. Linda FulkersonΒ even dropped in for an evening. Shannon, Linda, and I had a fun slumber party Friday night and stayed up way too late. It was worth it. πŸ™‚

    Stacy Monson, Dawn Ford, Lorna Seilstad, Me, Shannon Vannatter

  • Minnesota and the ACFW Minnesota NICEΒ group were well represented. (The pic doesn’t include all Minnesotans at the conference.)

    Back Row: Delores Topliff, Lotis Key, Michelle Lim, Chawna Schroeder, Me, Joe Courtemanche, Margaret Hamlin. Front Row: Michael Joshua, Sandy True, Stacy Monson, John Otte

  • I got to know the lovely Rose Ross Zediker.

    Don’t you love Rose’s dress?

  • I was thrilled to meet two of my favorite authors, Becky Wade and Mike Duran!
  • I’m sure I’ve left out names, and I apologize for that. I met so many wonderful people that the weekend’s a blur.


The Wardrobe Malfunction

I was feeling pretty special being all dressed up in my fancy banquet dress as I strolled into the banquet hall Saturday night. All the Genesis and Carol Award finalists got to go in early to choose the best seats and save up to three seats for friends. (I was honored to be accompanied by Shannon, Lorna, and Dawn.)

So, as I’m walking into the hall all confident (and probably a wee-bit prideful), my pantyhose started dropping like a broken elevator then screeched to a halt mid-thigh. Panic hit. What should I do? No way was I leaving the room to fix them–securing a good table was priority–so I decided to sit until dinner was served, then I’d sneak out.

Plans changed when I whispered to Shannon what had happened. She whispered back, “Take them off under the table.” I considered it for a second, then grinned as I slid them off. After all, pantyhose went out of style long ago, right? Or are they coming back in? Oh, whatever. Then I said that I hoped I remembered to retrieve them at the end of the evening. Can you imagine what the custodian would think if he found a pair of pantyhose beneath the table? Well, Shannon saved me and stored them in her purse and then she claimed dibs on including this incident in a book. Can’t wait to read it! πŸ™‚



Well, the entire conference was fantastic, but a few items stood out above the rest:

  • Worship – There’s nothing like 700+ people of different backgrounds and denominations all joining together in praising the same God. WoW is the best word to describe it.

    Led by Rachel Hauck

  • Singing with the choir – Under Rachael Phillip‘s marvelous direction, we sang “I Then Shall Live” a capella on Sunday morning. Check out the heart-rending lyrics <here>
  • Seeing my name and picture on the big screen at the gala. Now that was a surreal moment.
  • Receiving my Silver Finalist Pin
  • Getting proposal and chapter requests from all my appointments. I can’t wait to see where these open doors lead to!


Waiting for the awards to be announced did provide anxious moments (relieved tremendously by the wardrobe malfunction). When Amy Matayo‘s name was announced as the winner of the Genesis Contemporary Romance category, I had a moment of disappointment, but then longer moments of relief. I didn’t have to give a speech! Whew! Turns out my husband and son, who watched the awards via the live blog, were more disappointed than I was. But, if you think about it, how could I possibly be sad about placing in the top 3% of a category? No way! I’m thrilled and blessed to have made it that far! Best of all, I was surrounded by amazing, encouraging friends! That makes me a winner.

All proof that God’s plans are far grander than my own!

~ ~ ~

Congratulations to all the Genesis Award Winners and the Carol Award Winners!

Comments 18

  1. I missed you, too, Brenda! Hopefully next year, back in Indy! Oh, how I wish I’d been there for the wardrobe malfunction – isn’t it, somehow, terrific when something like that happens? LOL

  2. Sounds like a great conference. I do wish you would have won the award, but it is still great to be a finalist. And, it sounds like the people you met with might have some interest, so all-in-all, a good conference. I love the pantyhose story. I had something like that almost happen on my wedding day. The “special” pantyhose I bought were not long enough for my long legs, so I spent the whole day holding my breath that they would stay where they were. Fortunately, mine did.

  3. What a great conference for you, Brenda! Rewarding appointments, fun with friends, and the honor of being a finalist–how could you not float through the whole experience! Those panty hose woulda just held ya down! So sorry I couldn’t be there too, but maybe next year?

    1. Yes, those hose would have held me back!

      It really was an encouraging conference. A lot of doors have been opened, now I have to hurry and step through. You might be getting more pages to critique very soon …

      Next year, Steph, we’ll enjoy the conference together!

  4. My first time visiting your blog — but, really? How could I not be lured over by the words “wardrobe malfunction?”
    Hysterical — but you handled it beautifully and showed the value of real friends!
    Congratulations for being a Genesis finalist!

    1. Hi Beth, thanks for stopping by my relatively new blog. Glad my little wardrobe malfunction lured you this way. Nothing shows the value of true friends more than hiding your wayward pantyhose. πŸ˜‰


  5. Hysterical. I wished I’d been there for the wardrobe malfunction! And that Shannon — such a died-in-the-wool writer getting dibs on the story for a future book. Now that has tons of potential.

    Brenda, I loved reading all of this. I’ve been dying for information on the conference and gobbling snippets up on various blogs. So thrilled that you have requests and I got such a thrill seeing your picture up there when they announced your name! I watched the live blog too.

    Tell me, did they treat you like royalty the whole time? I be they did!

    1. Hi Kav – that little malfunction helped loosen me up, that’s for sure. And of course, a writer would scoop up the story for her own book. Can’t wait to read Shannon’s version. πŸ™‚

      I really was treated well and received so many congrats for being a finalist and so many more seasoned authors told me they were rooting for me. I didn’t know they had a clue who I was! It certainly made me feel special.

      Someday, Kav, you have to enter your stories–I know we’d be seeing your portrait up on that big screen. Then maybe we’d finally get to meet you!

  6. I was only a table or two away and didn’t notice you slipping your pantyhose off so I think your secret is safe with…all of us. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read that in Dawn’s book someday. Thanks for the laugh!

  7. I think it’s going in the very book I’m currently writing. My heroine definitely isn’t a panty hose kind of gal, but she’s trying to spruce up her image, so it fits. By the way, I did toss Brenda her hose when we got back to the room. Thankfully, I always carry a big purse, even to a ritzy gala. Give me function over a tiny sequined job any day.
    Brenda, we’re so proud of you. I can’t wait to see where those open doors reach.

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