ACFW 2016: Food, Fun, and Fictive Bubbles

Best Conference Yet!

I’m marking ACFW 2016 down as my favorite conference experience to date. It’s a special thing to come together with like-minded friends and colleagues to celebrate the God we serve and passion He gave us for writing fiction.


My roomie and riding buddy Kristi Ann Hunter quickly took control of my iPod, and we tore up the trip as car-singing kindreds.

Nostalgia music with @brandyhei. Great start to the week.

A video posted by Kristi Ann Hunter (@kristiannhunter) on

We took a couple hours to check out the Belle Meade Plantation before heading over to the hotel.

brandy heineman, kristi ann hunter, belle meade plantation house

I know my genealogy readers will like this–an actual in-process archaeological dig near the Harding Cabin. I don’t know what they are looking for! (That means I can let my imagination take over, right?)

archaeological dig at belle meade

Tuesday night, we joined several authors for dinner at Martin’s BBQ Joint, which prompted a new question to ask when meeting people from other parts of the country: “So, what is barbecue like in your neck of the woods?”


The first-ever Christian Fiction Readers Retreat contributed a big part of what made this conference experience so great–even though it wasn’t actually even part of the ACFW 2016 event. Readers, bloggers, and authors came together at the Scarritt Bennett Center to honor God through Christian fiction. We had worship, panels, giveaways, prayer, laughter, tears, and books, books, everywhere!


Lunch was healthy Mediterranean fare–delicious and enjoyed with great company!

cfrr 2016 lunch

The ACFW 2016 National Conference

This was my third time attending the American Christian Fiction Writers national conference–and my first time feeling at ease and like I sort of knew what I was doing there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ These are my people!

Ted Dekker gave the keynote, discussing how story is transformational and we write to transform ourselves–how we choose our perception and shape our own reality through it, and how our works become “fictive bubbles” to experience the world through a different perception and emerge changed. A good word.

On our free night, a group of us went to the Al Taglio Pizzaria near the hotel. First row, left to right: Preslaysa Williams, Sherri Wilson Johnson, and V. Joy Palmer. Second row, left to right, Kelsey J. Kamentz, Sarah Nuss, and me!

I didn’t worry much about pictures until it was time for the gala! Here I am with V. Joy Palmer, Sherri Wilson Johnson, and Dorothy Adamek.

acfw 2016 gala

Reunion! My ACFW 2013 conference crew, all together for the first time in three years! From left to right, here is Cass Wessel, Meghan Carver, Angel Moore, and me.

cass wessel, meghan carver, angel moore, brandy heineman

I had a ball meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Best of all, God met me there in several ways. I got to pray with people, and through various speakers and moments along the way, I heard Him addressing my “one word” for this year, identity.

I’m so grateful that I was able to attend this year, and that so many people sacrificed their time and efforts to make #CFRR2016 and #ACFW2016 into God-honoring and joy-filled events!

Does this post mean I’m back on the blogging bandwagon?

Yes, that’s what it means. I’m sorry for the unexpected hiatus. On September 15, I’ll tell you a little about what’s been happening in the mean time. We’ll call that one “The Making of a Memento.”

Until then, what is barbecue like in your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments!

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