You know what it’s like as a kid waiting to go downstairs on Christmas morning? That’s about how I felt the morning of the event!
Right from the start the day was simply amazing! I made a few friends while waiting in line including the wonderful Connilyn Cossette! Then once I entered the room I was told that Kim Woodhouse was looking for me. THE Kim Woodhouse! Talk about jaw dropping! Seriously, I was so excited to get to meet her because I love her books, so to hear that she was excited to meet me too made my day! I know that I have been blogging for over a year now, but I still felt “small” going into the room, like I would know people but they wouldn’t know me. I’m glad I put my blog name on my name tag, because I was AMAZED how many people (readers AND authors) who knew who I was! I felt incredibly welcomed and like I was truly a part of the group ❤
I can’t take credit for the 3 images below. Yes, I’m a Facebook thief haha. Debra Marvin (featured on the left) created the beautiful quilt below and added the names of all of the authors for the event. For health reasons, Carrie Turansky was not able to attend and so the quilt was donated to her. Kimberley Woodhouse (featured on the right) easily had the most envied pair of shoes for the weekend! In case you are unable to see it clearly, those are books on her shoes! (I later learned that author Mikal Dawn had the same shoes as well). The bottom photo is simply some of the “morning mingling” before everything got started. I happen to actually be in it on the bottom left. I’m chatting with Kim Woodhouse, Melissa Ferguson, and Mirachelle Canada.
To make things easier I just took a picture of my schedule so that you could see what was packed into our day:
The three speakers we had were Dani Pettrey, Jen Turano, and Rachel Hauck. There was also two author panels that featured several authors each. Rachel Dixon (Bookworm Mama) and her husband Zach led us in worship for the day. There were games, skits, and loads and loads of giveaways sprinkled throughout the event.
I really loved the speakings and enjoyed getting to know the authors’ life stories better. I learned something new from each of them. I think the most shocking thing I learned was that Jen Turano was shy as a child and would even hide away from people in a closet. I still have trouble seeing it, because she is one of the funniest, most outgoing people I’ve ever met!
One thing I loved was that each of the authors were clear in showing that while Christian fiction is enjoyable to read, it also (hopefully) makes us look to Jesus. The books are great to share with unsaved friends because people tend to be more willing to listen to a fictional recommendation. Once they finish reading though, it can spark conversation about the truth of Jesus and our need for him. For those who are believers already, Christian Fiction aims to be more appropriate in content and therefore more God-pleasing and honoring.
The author panels were quite hilarious if I may say so myself! The first panel was specific to historical authors. Kristi Ann Hunter REALLY wanted her own mic haha. As someone who would say that historical fiction is their favorite, I really enjoyed hearing from the authors exactly what goes into the creation of a story set in historical time periods. Even if the main characters are fictional, the events and other characters are often rooted in real history. Some do more research than others, but it was clear that they all hoped to stay as respectful to the settings as possible.
The second author panel involved the authors pretending to be one of the characters from their books. Talk about some funny conversation! You want to hear a whole room of bookish people audibly gasp at a comment? Simply answer the question “Who would you choose, Mr Darcy or Gilbert Blythe?” with “I don’t know who Gilbert Blythe is.” We’ll go with the fact that she was answering the question as a character and not herself. 😉
I was amazed at the amount of swag packed into each of our bags for the event! What a blessing! The giveaways also added to many people’s people’s bundles. I didn’t take a photo of mine until I made it home, but you can see how much was in our bags!
I should have done a better job at getting pictures with multiple people instead of snagging small selfies, but here’s a bunch of photos taken with others throughout the day!
I tried to take photos throughout the day but most of them ended up being taken during the author signing at the end of the event. Once everything was over we were released to hang out as long as we’d like. Many of us slowly made our way over to the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel and lingered for several more hours.
The picture on the left is Jen Turano’s suggestion for wanting something more “fun” for a selfie haha. One of the jokes for Kim over the weekend was that she was a horrible stalker, so the photo on the right is Mikal showing her how it’s done 🤣 We were joking that I was too short to give a proper photobomb so I could only photobomb from the front… below is the result haha.
At the end of the event before the author signing we were informed of some big changes to CFRR starting in 2020. Please click the above image to be taken to the blog post that shares more details. Going forward, CFRR has been adopted by ACFW and will become a part of their events. The next CFRR will take place on Sept 19, 2020 in St Louis, MO. Are you planning on joining the fun next year??