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UPDATE: If you’ve already read part of this post you are welcome to skip down to PART 2!
Time for another fun post! (aka I haven’t been reading or blogging because I’ve been in a CFRR haze!) Since many reader friends were not able to attend this year, I’m going to share my own Christian Fiction Readers Retreat experience here on the blog and through several social media posts.
CFRR was quite a bit different for me this year since I participated as an associate and worked behind the scenes.
Let’s start with a brief recap of last year since I attended as a reader.
Plus, Faithfully Bookish was still a baby blog, no fun posts at that time, simply reviews!
Turn back the clock to 2016 and CFRR is being held in Nashville on the Wednesday before the ACFW conference. I head south from my home around 5 a.m., navigating Nashville traffic in hubby’s F150…
Crew cab, extended length, which I rarely drive but had to because our Expedition needed repairs… Nashville traffic is an experience this small town gal won’t soon forget…
BUT I promised very brief SO let’s skip to the highlight reel!
As soon as I walk in the door, Julie Lessman recognizes me, knows my name, hugs me, AND comments on the color of my hair while I try to choke out coherent words and fail.
Great start, right?!
Rachel is fine, a little alarm just gets the ol’ heart pumping in the morning!
I soak up all the morning panels and speakers from my seat on the back row aisle next to Tracey Lyons.
We talk about babies and pregnancy and mostly just adore Kara’s Kiwi accent.
slight panic attack, deep breath, and plow ahead to the first open chair…
Be still my nerd girl heart! Laura Frantz, Gabrielle Meyers, Melanie Dickerson, and two lovely readers are at this table and oh they are all so sweet! The conversation flows until Tamera Alexander comes over and asks to sit down right next to me!
Oh my reader heart!
I’m getting a bit long winded here so I’ll just wrap up with a few observations:
Pepper Basham could very well be the BEST HUGGER EVER
Mary Connealy and Ruth Logan Herne might be a stand-up comedic duo in disguise
Becky Wade grew up in California but she’s as Texas as Joanna Gaines
(they even make some of the same facial expressions and I love it!)
Kristi Ann Hunter is not a wall flower by any stretch of the imagination
Shelley Shepard Gray has the poise of a sweet southern belle
Authors love readers just like readers love authors! Yay for stories!!!
My apologies for taking such a meandering stroll down memory lane… how silly of me to think I could summarize CFRR in any way shape or form 😉
Now, for the reason y’all actually started reading this post… #CFRR2017! My friend (and author extraordinaire) Sarah Monzon asked for details so if y’all want to skim, you won’t hurt my feelings. I’ve italicized most of my commentary so you can skip those lines if you’re more of a meat and potatoes reader. 😉
Annie, Bonnie, and Carrie invited Melony and me to join the ranks as associates in January. We participated in behind the scenes projects like tallying hashtags for the #CFRRaddicts game, pitching in on social media, and finally, event set up.
I have been looking forward to CFRR literally ALL YEAR LONG!
While Carrie and Annie got things rolling midweek at the hotel, my dear friend, travel buddy, roomie (and not so much of a morning person), Jessica, and I planned to hit the road from our hometown at the pre-dawn hour of 4 a.m. Central time on Friday morning.
Of course, my furbaby, Suzie also decided to wake me up at 2:30 a.m. that morning to take her out which left me with a whopping FOUR hours of sleep for a four and a half hour road-trip and a full day of pre-CFRR excitement. Thank you, merciful Creator God, for pumping us full of that super charged hormone, adrenaline! …because there’s no caffeine in water, y’all!
Jessica and I have been friends since junior high BUT we don’t get to see each other often. By the time we arrive in Cincinnati, we’ve had a grand time visiting and laughing over bridges and the sweet talking, Cliff bar eating hipster voice my kids selected on the GPS.
I don’t know what the name of that GPS voice is but the guy says things like “do you come this way often?” and “you are amazing!” Great for building confidence!
Do y’all forgive me for leaving you with a cliffhanger ending before? I hope so! Let’s get back to the CFRR fun!
As we step out of the vehicle, we are immediately and enthusiastically greeted with our very own welcoming committee! Hugs and introductions from Annie, Mikal Dawn, and reader friend Nancy plus Carrie and reader friend Winnie who had to hurry back to the abandoned swag!
They cleared the room to come love on us, y’all! Although, it’s possible that Nancy was simply caught in the tackle hug crossfire as she was leaving for an airport run.
Time to grab all of our heavy bags (mine are mostly filled with books to give away before or have signed during the event) and head inside to find our room ready and waiting for us even though it’s only 9:30 a.m. Jessica is all settled in to enjoy some rare peace and quiet.
The DoubleTree is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve stayed in as an adult. I’m a Super 8 kind of gal, frugal and practical. At DoubleTree, I actually checked in the day before and selected our room with the Hilton Honors app plus they gave us cookies so I love them forever.
I text our roomies (who are still on the road) and make my way back downstairs to dive in! Annie, Bonnie, Carrie, Melony, and I launch ourselves into full-blown CFRR mode and with the assistance of helpers, Winnie, Mikal, and Katherine, we manage to pack 140 swag bags!
The swag bags kicked my booty. They were big and heavy and full of bookish goodness! By the time I stumbled into our room at “I don’t even know when” o’clock at night, my muscles and joints from the neck down were aching, lol!
I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone for y’all and went Facebook live to chat about the swag bags and answer questions. You can check it out below!
Check back right here and on social media for more CFRR peeksies! I’m planning another Facebook live for Thursday morning (provided I can find a place to hide from the chaos of my kids) and I’ll have a special guest so don’t miss it!
Ask me a question and I’ll answer them as we go along!
Do y’all have any social media requests? Where and how do YOU want me to share about #CFRR?
What others are saying about the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat…