I had started researching names and device designs for my own submission the previous December, getting some very helpful Irish onomastic advice from Mistress Alys Mackyntoich, and some armory feedback from the Facebook Heraldry Chat group.
I spoke to the former heralds of my canton and province that spring, but they weren’t submissions experts, so rather than mailing in the forms I filled them out as best I could and brought them to the Heralds Point tent at Pennsic that summer.
By happenchance, the herald who I was routed to was Meisterin Gisela vom Kreuzbach, who looked over the large pile of poorly-summarized documentation I had handed her and decided nonetheless that I had some promise, and invited me to come around the desk to sit by her and watch over her shoulder as she entered the records into the forms interface. I wound up shadowing her through several consultations that afternoon and returning for more a couple of days later, and by the end of the week I was hooked.
Little did I know that moment would set me on a path to spending literally thousands of hours working on this esoteric corner of our peculiar hobby. Thank you to everyone who has given me a hand up over the last five years, and to the many who went before us and paved the way for the world we now inhabit.