Sunday, September 3, 2017

Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat belated update

I would like to be able to say that I can’t believe I forgot to write a post about the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat that I went to three weeks ago, but that would be a lie.  I’m honestly not surprised in the least that it completely slipped my mind, until a friend reminded me just today that I’d been slacking (not what they said, but still true).  But, better late than never, right?  
I don’t have many photos - I was too busy just soaking everything in (plus, I forgot my charger and my phone was dying) and I have an ongoing list of people that I wish I had gotten a picture with, but missed.  So if we’re there next year, I’m taking pictures with /of everyone!  Haha!  So this is mostly going to be stories and happy chatter, with a few visuals thrown in.  :)

To begin, my trip to Cincinnati, OH, got off to an auspicious start with a flat tire at the bottom of my driveway caused by this tiny piece of metal.

So, I intended to leave about 10am and ended up actually getting on my way closer to 11:30am. Thankfully, it happened while I was at home and my dear family took care of me: with my uncle calling a friend of his to fit me in to get my tire repaired, then my dad bringing me a couple spare tires, when we discovered mine was ruined - I’m so thankful for my family!

Despite the rough start, I finally made it around 6pm and met up with Denise (who graciously offered to share her room with Jessica and me [I don’t have any pics with her! :( ]) and we decided to head to the hotel and see who was already there.  One of the most exciting moments for me happened while we were standing in the lobby of the hotel where the retreat was being held and Denise and I were talking and I heard someone call my name and turned around and saw Jen Turano waving at me!!  I couldn’t believe that one of my very favorite authors recognized me and knew my name!  I adore her books (and she is as sweet and hysterical in person as her books would lead you to believe) and was SO excited to meet her!  So, that was fantastic!  And we got to meet and talk with Dawn Crandall and Joanna Davidson Politano (her debut novel releases a month from today!), which was a lot of fun.  

I apologize if I’m giving too many unwanted details, so skipping ahead - the next morning, waiting in line to register, we got to hang out with Pepper Basham’s daughter, Lydia (who made the amazing bookmark pictured below).  Lydia, on the very off chance that you ever stumble across this, I adored meeting you!  And I know you’ll be excellent in theater.  :)  We learned a lot of behind the scene things about Pepper’s books (which I actually haven’t had the chance to read yet, but I so need to buy a copy of Just the Way You Are - I’ve heard so many great things!) and were treated to Lydia’s talent for accents.

Isn't this bookmark just lovely?!
She also made a gorgeous one for Carrie for her
book boyfriend that I totally would've "borrowed."  ;)

We picked up the awesome swag bags that everyone was telling us about (the propaganda is all true) and went to find seats, though as soon as we did, we got shifted around and split into teams for games (I got to be on Melissa Tagg’s team!).  I won’t add too many more details, because if I did, this post would be so long!  Which would be fine with me, but I know some people have lives outside of books and blogs.  ;)  But it was phenomenal!  Carrie and Annie and everyone else involved did a fantastic job!  I can’t begin to fathom everything that went into creating and executing such a thing and I know how tired they were at the end of it, but it was such an amazing day!  There’s just something about being in a room full of people (there were roughly 200 of us) who all share at the very least, two things in common:  A love of God and a love of books.  We spent roughly 10 hours together, praising God and talking about books and writing and fictional people (the book boyfriends session was so much fun!).  I got to meet so many amazing people, readers and authors alike, and made some great new friends!  And you all need to be proud of me - I only bought 3 new books!  This was huge, considering how many others I wanted to buy, but managed to resist.
I’m definitely hoping I can go next year, wherever it’s at (I heard Jen Turano is going to be one of the speakers - how can I miss that?!) and I promise if I do go, I’ll remember my cell phone charger and will take more photos.  You can keep scrolling if you’d like to see the few I actually did get.  :)

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my belated ramblings!

Now, for photos.  Be amazed at how few I have - and I still need to get Melissa Tagg to send me the one on her phone . . . .

Meeting Katie Ganshert!
(she also recognized me and stopped
over with "You're Sarah, right?" so excited
to meet and hug her!)

Meeting Dana R. Lynn!
I won her book during author speed chats
and got to spend a few minutes talking with her -
she's such a sweet lady and I'm looking forward to reading her book!

Kristi Ann Hunter!  I tried to abscond with an
advanced copy of her new book, but alas, Carrie and Annie were
watching me.  ;)

Fifth time's the charm, I suppose!  Ha!
It only took 5 tries and restarting the computer
for it to load this photo of Ronie Kendig!
I was so excited to find an early copy of her newest
book in my swag bag!  I literally couldn't stop
smiling when I found out about it.  And getting to talk
about Dane with her was so much fun!

Becky Wade is the sweetest lady!  She let me talk her
ear off for a few moments and I seriously
wanted to claim John Lawson as my
"book boyfriend" for the day. :)


  1. Great post Sarah!!! Fun to read and brings back great memories!

  2. Love this post! And...shhh don't tell, I have made my post either! And I can't even explain why. I should probably get on it. But it was a blast hanging out with you!

  3. Awww. Thanks Sarah! You MUST come back! Lol. And we need to take a pic together!

  4. Seriously! Dane is one of my absolute fave heroes. Wonderful chatting with you in person!!

  5. CFRR2017 was so much fun! I enjoyed meeting so many of my favorite authors and fellow readers.