Event · Giveaway

All About My CFRR + ACFW Nashville Trip {PLUS A GIVEAWAY}

If you follow me on any social media sites, you will know that I saved up to buy a plane ticket to Nashville, TN for the first ever Christian Fiction Readers Retreat that was held August 24th.

Guys, I don’t even know where to start! I had such an amazing time! It’s so tough trying to remember everything. I probably should have written this while I was there to be sure I documented everything but I was too distracted by all the people I was meeting! 🙂

I’ll just start from the beginning:

Upon arriving in Nashville, I met up with my longtime friend and aspiring author, Mikal Dawn. We met on Facebook two years ago and connected over our mutual adoration of author, Jen Turano – this was our first time we had ever met in person. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life!


She’s absolutely adorable and hilarious! Plus, she has the most amazing Wedding Wednesday blog posts! You should check out her website: here!

While waiting for our dear friend, Rachel from Bookworm Mama, to fly in and drive us to the house we would be staying at for the trip via rental car, Mikal and I caught up on recent happenings and were speculating about how many people we passed in the airport would be attending CFRR or ACFW. While sitting and talking about how we thought we may have seen an author we knew and that Mikal may have been sitting near an editor and agent on her flight, a lady overheard us and asked if we were going to ACFW. She ended up being Jan Drexler, one of the authors who would be on a CFRR panel (Whaaaa?! Coincidence? I think not!). We also ran into the wonderful Gabrielle Meyer while waiting – who knows who else we may have seen and not known it!

The house I stayed in was filled with bloggers and authors. I was able to spend the week with Singing Librarian Books, Just Commonly, The Northern Belle/Meghan M. Gorecki, MeezCarrie/Reading is My Superpower, and Bookworm Mama.

PicMonkey Collage66

In addition to that, we shared a house with author Sarah Monzon and Pepper D. Basham. Can you guys even imagine how that week went?! A group of book obsessed bloggers in the same house as two of their favorite authors?! Yeaaaah… there was a lot of #FreakingOutAndFlailingAbout going on.

The day after a majority of us arrived in Nashville, we attended the first ever Christian Fiction Readers Retreat organized by Reading is My Superpower, Just Commonly, and Overcoming With God.


Now try to imagine over one hundred authors, bloggers, and readers all in one room for a whole day. There was more #FreakingOutAndFlailingAbout in those hours than I’ve ever witnessed or have taken part in, in my entire life. It was beautiful.

Left to right: Mikal Dawn, Me, Sarah Monzon, and Meghan M. Gorecki – these were our expressions the entire time! 😉

Not only did I get to sit and listen to multiple authors sit together and talk about their books, their writing process, themselves – I was actually able to talk to them face-to-face about these things.


One of my favorite pictures from CFRR. This is from Author Panel #2: “Pucker Up” featuring (left to right): Pepper Basham, Ruth Logan Herne, Melanie Dickerson, Janet Dean, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Julie Lessman. They’re all so adorable!

Though, the craziest part was when people like Becky Wade, Melanie Dickerson, and Laura Frantz saw me and went, “Rachael! Hi!!!” – ummm, whaaaat?!


Or when I met people and told them my blog name… and they recognized it!


It was so surreal!!! We did a speed dating (or speed chatting, I guess) game with a bunch of authors, did ticket drawings, won prizes, had our books signed, and were able to meet so many people in person that we had met online over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled so much or had so much fun in my entire life! I’m so glad I went. This is definitely an event you will want to keep up to date on so you can come next year!  It was totally worth it!

That night, I sat in my sweat pants and had dinner with – not only the blogger and author friends I was staying with – Laura Frantz, Kristi Ann Hunter, Kate Breslin, Kathy West, and so many others! It was amaaaazing!

Everything was amazing, you guys! ❤

The next morning, Pepper Basham and I did a little sightseeing and visited the Parthenon in Nashville for some fun.

Yeah, that’s right.

I hung out with the Pepper Basham.

Here’s proof:


Pepper and I are totally besties. 😉

We then found our way to ACFW and I lobby lurked the entire day with all of my wonderful blogger friends. It was a grand adventure.

I ran into (or rather, hunted down) Jen Turano so that I could finally meet her. Did I try to contain myself and be normal?


No, I did not.

I squealed and hugged her like the crazy fangirl that I am, almost every time I saw her throughout the day.

And every time I made eye contact with Bookworm Mama (my fellow Jen Turano fangirl) we reacted something like this:

Yes, this is us freaking out (with Jen and Amy Clipston) as we part ways with Jen for the night. Don’t judge.


We gave Jen lots of books to sign and swarmed around her with hugs and lots of fangirling. Left to right: Jen Turano, Just Commonly, Abi (Bookworm Mama’s friend), Marisa (Bling! Romance editor), Singing Librarian Books, Meghan M. Gorecki, Bookworm Mama, Me, and Overcoming With God.

Jen even introduced me to her Gilead team who will be publishing and promoting her upcoming release, Finding Margo, that comes out in NOVEMBER! Gilead is definitely a publisher that you will want to keep your eyes on – they look like they have some excellent books they are planning on releasing in the near future.

Gabrielle Meyer introduced me to Amy, the publicist from Bethany House Publishers whom I have been wanting to meet for the longest time! She was so much fun! I also ran into (kind of… no…really on purpose) to Katie Ganshert... who also recognized me!


On top of all of that, I told myself I would not buy any books or bookish stuff on the trip because:

  1. I’m a poor college student.
  2. I only brought a carry on that was packed full and I didn’t even know if I would be able to fit all the swag that they gave to all the attendees at CFRR.

Apparently I do a terrible job of lecturing myself… or I’m just very easy to persuade, because this is what I came home with:


Yes. I fit all of that into a carry on. TSA wasn’t very amused, to say the least.

Nor was my bank account.

But I did it and that’s all that matters! 😉

And see that bag with my blog name on it? Pepper Basham’s daughter made it for me! How thoughtful is that?! It’s my new favorite thing I own!

I’m sure there are hundreds of other things I could tell about the trip but my brain is spinning with all the things that happened, there’s no way I can remember everything.


Tonight (September 3, 2016) at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time, for the first time ever, I will be doing a Facebook Live chat on my blog page! I’ll cover everything from my Nashville trip, my CFRR/ACFW book haul, news in the Christian Fiction world, and be answering any questions you have! So come prepared with questions and comments for me! I can’t wait!

For more pictures from my Nashville trip, click on this collage:

PicMonkey Collage2


Be sure to enter to win a signed copy of the Carol Award winning novel, The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan from yours truly!


Click on the photo or here for the Rafflecopter giveaway of the 2016 Carol Award winning book, The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan.

About The Aleppo Code:

Will the code reveal history’s most powerful weapon for destruction―or humanity’s only hope?

The living members of Tom Bohannon’s band of adventurers gather again in Jerusalem―physically battered, emotionally exhausted, spiritually challenged, and in various stages of shock―to examine a copy of the tenth-century Aleppo Code, the oldest complete text of Jewish scripture. What the clues inside reveal could lead to the reuniting of the Ark of the Covenant with its true source of power, a weapon that could lead to victory for this ragged bunch trying to save the world.

Hunted by the relentless assassins of the Prophet’s Guard and caught in the web of an international conspiracy plotting the conquest of Europe, Bohannon’s team searches the ruins of Ancient Babylon. Their search lands them amid the chaos that engulfs western Iraq, but they must press on to accomplish one of the most pivotal pieces of end-times prophecy. This intrepid group will uncover secrets that require them to risk everything for their faith, their country, and the peace of all mankind.

Unfolding against the backdrop of an Israeli/U.S. strike against Iran and the planned economic overthrow of the European Union by the sinister, secret head of the international Muslim Brotherhood, The Aleppo Code is a heart-pounding race. Brennan takes an epic story on a grand scale and tells it primarily through the eyes of one man who is desperately trying to save the world as he follows God’s purpose for his life.

Connect with Terry Brennan:

Terry’s Website

Terry’s Facebook Page

Terry’s Twitter

Terry’s Goodreads

Connect with Rachael’s Reads AKA Me:

Rachael’s Facebook Page

Rachael’s Instagram

Rachael’s Twitter

Rachael’s Goodreads




9 thoughts on “All About My CFRR + ACFW Nashville Trip {PLUS A GIVEAWAY}

  1. I have met authors before when i attend SCBWI conferences. I recently attended B-fest and got all “fan-girl” on the author panel.


  2. Lol! I can’t stop laughing or smiling since your video and this post! Totally LOVE! And thanks for masking me! Hahahha. You are tooo adorable. That stash! Wow! How cool! And I am a tad bit jealous you met Katie Ganshert! I had her books with me! But never saw her!🙁 great post and can’t wait to see you again! Where are you?


  3. I love this blog! I would love to meet Jen Turano, also. I’m a big fan.
    I’m also a huge fan of Katie Breslin, Julie Lessman, Kristi Ann Hunter, and many others.
    I would be super excited to meet some of my favorite bloggers, too. Most especially Singing Librarian, Reading is My Superpower and Bookworm Mama. After reading this post, I’m adding you to the list 🙂


  4. Ahhh! Name twin! I love you. You are adorable and I can’t WAIT to see you again!!! So we can have more #freakingoutandflailingabout moments. And so we can “accidentally” run into Katie Ganshert again haha!!!


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