Sunday, August 13, 2023

Day One At The Mississippi River Reader Retreat

A year ago this past July my mom was asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I had no idea what I might want. THEN, I saw the Mississippi River Reader Retreat announcing that tickets were going on sale for July 2023! I immediately told my mom I'd like a ticket to to retreat. And then the waiting...

My first instinct was to find a place to stay while I was at the retreat. The local hotel seemed a bit spendy so I started checking out AirBnBs in the area. I found one that was extremely affordable and reached out on social media to find roommates! And find them I did. 4 people got private rooms and 4 of us were sharing a room on bunkbeds.

Slowly, but surely the MRRR released the list of the authors who would be at the retreat. Oh my goodness, I was so excited! One author after the next, ones who I thoroughly enjoy reading and then others I'm insane over. Lemme just say for the record, when Ronie Kendig was announced I went a little crazy. To say I'm a super fan is putting it mildly. Sadly, Janine Rosche and Michelle Sass Aleckson weren't able to make it.

Me & Ronie Kendig

This year for our book club we've been blessed to have Laura Frantz, Gabrielle Meyer, and Mollie Rushmeyer. So, to be able to meet them in person had me over the moon!! And seriously, to be with all of the other authors, was beyond my wildest dreams. I met Julie Klassen about 15 years ago when I still lived in Minnesota. It was SO fun to be able to see her again. She was our inaugural author when we started our Inspired Readers Book Club 2 1/2 years ago.

Row 1: Michelle Sass Aleckson, Misty M. Beller, Mary Connealy, Angie Dicken, Amanda Dykes, Laura Frantz, Michelle Griep, Ronie Kendig, Julie Klassen, Stephanie Landsem
Row 2: Gabrielle Meyer, Christina Suzann Nelson, Tracie Peterson, Janine Rosche, Cynthia Ruchti, Mollie Rushmeyer, Carmen Schober, Janyre Tromp, Erica Vetsch, Kimberley Woodhouse

In January, I saw Wick & Sarcasm on Instagram (I was already following them) and decided I wanted to bless the ladies who were sharing the AirBnB with me! I'll tell you more about that in a future post, but let me just say I was so happy with how my candle turned out.

I picked up Alissa from the airport on Friday and we headed up to Little Falls, MN to check in to the AirBnB before the garden party. Kelly-Ann was already there and I think Vickie & Charity showed up right about the same time. Stephanie and Stacey joined us as well!! Jenny came later that night.

The garden party was being held at the Weyerhaeuser Mansion. It ended up not being in the garden because it was hotter than hades outside. Sadly, the a/c units inside the mansion weren't all working. It was pretty hot in the house as well. We walked in and were able to choose a bag with a book in it and a few other goodies. Then we were able to mingle with readers & authors alike.

Me, Tracie Peterson, and Kelly-Ann

Kelly-Ann was dubbed my "handler". hahahaha She knew that I was going to be super excited about seeing all of these authors. Listen, I'm an extrovert. So, in these situations, I'm going to talk to pretty much everyone! On top of that, having been on quite a few launch team with these authors and talking with them online for the past few years, it feels like we've built friendships that are coming into reality by being in the same room together. It was like a reunion over and over.

Gail Helgeson, Mollie Rushmeyer, Cynthia Ruchti, and Erica Vetsch

It was fun to see Julie, Erica, and Michelle dressed up in period clothes. I would've done it, too if I had the right apparel. Seriously, so fun!! I think one of my favorite moments is when Janyre Tromp "recognized" me. I think she was being sweet, but it truly made my day. ME, being "recognized" by an author? Never in a million years would I have imagined that happening. I'm still a small guppy in a sea of influencers.

Me & Janyre Tromp

All of the authors were incredibly warm and sweet. Kimberley Woodhouse is one of those gals who is just as sweet in person as she is online. I couldn't get enough of her loveliness!!

Kelly-Ann, Ronie Kendig, Kimberley Woodhouse, Me

We spent two hours mingling with authors and readers. You better believe I made a beeline for Ronie when I got my sights set on her. I know that she didn't think many people would know her and her writing so I was bound and determined to show her a hefty dose of fanning - which was thoroughly authentic. Stephanie and I were both gushing having the opportunity to meet her!

Me & Carmen Schober

Carmen Schroeber is as cool in person as she is online as well. She's one kick-butt gal and I was kind of in awe of her while we sat with her in one of the side rooms. As much as she could get into a ring and land a few blows, she's feminine and stunning!

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, albeit stifling hot, evening. It was a fantastic precursor to what would come tomorrow when we all got to spend the day together.


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.