ACFW (And an awesome giveaway!)

Book lover's giveaway at Serving Joyfully  13 great inspirational books, #fiction #nonfiction #ChristianBooks #acfw

So, I’ve been a bit of a flaky blogger for the last couple of weeks. Mono has hit our house, and it hasn’t been pretty! That in addition to the recovery time that always seems to come with being gone from the internet and the house for nearly a week, and I have been in survival mode. I’m still not 100%, so please forgive me for any rambling or errors this post may contain :)

However, I want to share a little about the ACFW conference before I’m too far removed from it.

First of all, we had car trouble the entire time! But, the Lord provided just what we needed, even providing me with a couple ladies who would be within 30 minutes of where my hubby was, since we couldn’t drive our van. Originally, hubby was staying with his parents 2 hours outside of St. Louis, and he and the boys were going to pick me up for a fun day there. We missed out on that, but I was able to get a ride, for which I was very grateful.

A great roommate

I roomed with a fellow-Kentuckian, who I had never met, and the Lord blessed me because Shelia Stovall is just amazing! She spoke truth to me, and prayed for me during our time together. She was such a great encouragement and blessing.

Here we are with a couple other lovely ladies from Kentucky. Shelia and I are the pair on the right.


So many great people!

I have attended a Christian conference in the past that felt very clique-y. So, I was worried about this one, especially since many of the attendees are award-winning, multi-published authors!

However, I have to say that I was so very blessed by the people I met there! They were just amazing, down-to-earth, kind, and encouraging. As you might imagine, it was very overwhelming for a major introvert like myself, but it was such a blessing to spend the weekend with other writers who love the Lord.

I even got to meet a blogging friend, Meghan Carver! I have “known” her for the past couple of years, and it was so neat to meet her in person.

I also met a girl named Jaime Wright in the prayer room, who came over and prayed with me and was just so sweet and so full of God’s grace and love, that it was flowing out of her. I love encounters like that! There were many more, but I couldn’t possibly list everyone!

I didn’t take many photos (bad blogger!), but I did manage to get a few. Here I am with Karen Witemeyer. I have read and loved every one of her books!

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And, here with Kathleen Y’Barbo, who wrote a book that really touched me–so much that I read it twice, which I almost never do. It was a much heavier topic than I generally prefer, but it was so good.

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And, here with the awesome Erica Vetsch, who wrote a book with one of my favorite heroes ever. (the link goes to a 2-book collection, which includes hers and another good one and costs less than buying separately)

Erica Vetsch ACFW

A little story about Erica. I met her in this never-ending line where we were all hoping to pick up a bonus appointment that someone else had canceled (with editors or agents). I had hoped to make it through that line before my already-scheduled appointment, but I never did. Erica laughed that she’d probably still be there at the end of my 15 minute appointment and would save my spot.

I left the line and headed off to my first (and WORST) appointment. The agent I met with was very critical of my story and manuscript and did not request anything from me. I was ready to call it quits, go back to my room and cry. Between the discouraging experience and being overwhelmed by the conference in general, I was done.

Until I remembered Erica’s offer. And knowing she was waiting for me to return was just the accountability I needed to go back and get in that line.

The meeting I got from that line was with an agent who said to me, emphatically, “You have a great story.” and requested my full manuscript. Now, she may not represent me after reading the manuscript. But I am so glad that I was able to push through that first disappointment and not let it ruin the rest of the conference for me, and Erica was a big part in that happening.

And, just for fun I met an author who I dubbed the funnest person there. Caryl McAdoo is from Texas and is a southern girl, and it was so refreshing to meet someone so down-to-earth. I am looking forward to reading her books.

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Learning the craft of writing

I learned so much about the craft of writing through classes and conversations. More importantly, I was inspired anew to take initiative myself to learn more about it. I have found some great sites, books, and planning worksheets.  I am working toward being more disciplined with studying my craft. A part of this is signing back up for critique group, where I have already received some great feedback about my story.

Nothing solid to report right now, but I will keep you posted!

*whew* I didn’t intend this to be so long, but I’m going to go ahead and make it a little bit longer by adding my giveaway!

My awesome ACFW-Inspired giveaway.

So, I am very excited about this, and I hope you are too! ACFW is all about fiction (American Christian Fiction Writers), but this giveaway includes some great non-fiction as well.

There are 13 books included in this giveaway, valued at over $150! Click the covers below to see more info about each book (affiliate links)

PS–If you like books, be sure to check out my post of 40 free Christian books for your kindle!

Giveaway A Bride in Store Giveaway A Stitch in Time giveaway beloved giveaway daughter of jerusalem Giveaway Everything a Season giveaway josephine cain giveaway lost and found giveaway quilted heart Giveaway Sacred Year giveaway the hardest peace giveaway the moses quilt giveaway the shepherds songgiveaway the pursuit of tamsen little john

So, how do you enter?

Just use the rafflecopter below. Be sure to come back each day and get your free entry! I have lots of easy entries for you as well, so be sure to get those :)  Good luck!

Would you do me a big favor and share about the giveaway by sharing this post on facebook?

a Rafflecopter giveaway




  1. says

    It seems like you had a wonderful time with all the ladies. I would love to win this because These are great books by great authors. would love to win them all and veg out on my couch with a coffee and read, read, read and read some more.

  2. tammy cordery says

    I would like to win these great books because these books are great and I would love to read them and veg out with a coffee on my couch.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, Tammy, that sounds like a plan! Except I don’t do coffee, so for me it would have to be hot cocoa ;)

  3. says

    Crystal, it was wonderful to meet you at ACFW! I wish we could have spent more time together. And I’m still kicking myself that we didn’t take our picture together. My let’s-take-our-picture-at-the-gala plan didn’t work out after all. :( Perhaps when we come down Kentucky way. :) You hit on one of the big reasons I love the conference — everyone is wonderful. Not cliquish at all. Great wrap-up post!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Aaaaugh :( It was totally my fault! I got there later than intended, and left a bit early because I had a migraine. I was fighting it the whole weekend and it finally came on strong Saturday evening.

  4. Fibia Simona says

    I truly enjoy reading so this would be a great win. Awesome books by great authors. I would definitely share with friends if I won. Thank you for the giveaway.

  5. Su says

    I would like to win because books tend to be expensive and I rarely will buy any for myself. I have been trying to do more reading this year–trying. thx

  6. wendynewcomb says

    I see several books on here that I really NEED, lol, yes, need, so I’d love to win.


  7. says

    What a wonderful giveaway. I would love to win this great collection because I love to read Christian authors. I love books that not only have a good storyline, but ones that will pull me into the story.

  8. Caryl Kane says

    This is an exceptional selection of books! I love stories of hope and inspiration. I would share them with my friends who are in difficult times. :)

  9. Judy B says

    I’d love to win because I am an avid reader and reviewer. The more books I have, the merrier. I do pass my books along to my sister to read and when she gives them back, they go to my cousin Thelma who then gives them to her church library. Many, many, people become familiar with favorite authors or perhaps a new author!

  10. Kelly O. says

    Glad to hear that the conference went well!! Hopefully we will see your name on a book soon!! I would love to read these books because I love Christian fiction (and non-fiction too!). I always pass my books along to my mom to read as well! :-)

  11. Lanna Foley Webb says

    I have a chronic illness and read ALL the time because I'm in bed most days. I have about exhausted the supply of books from Christian authors that I know & love. I see some new blood here & would love to get to know them!

  12. Lanna Foley Webb says

    Also – I appreciate your comments about how different agents like different things. I write & I entered the ACFW contest a few years ago. I had some good scores & good advice, but two of the judges (one on each entry) were so harsh, that I was so discouraged I quit altogether – the ACFW & writing my stories. I figured with the C in ACFW, comments would be constructive & not destructive. You reminded me not to take each and every negative comment to heart. I should have focused on the good scores & good advice. Lesson learned – thanks!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Oh, Lanna, I am so sorry about your experience with the contest and feedback! You are so right that it should be constructive. Like you, I struggle with getting discouraged and letting that lead me to quit, but I pray that you will be able to get back to it and tell the story that the Lord has given you in some way.

      For myself, I learned that I still have so much to learn about the craft of writing and I am hoping to work on that.

  13. Ria says

    I am always trying to find new Christian things to read. In today’s society it is hard to find something wholesome to read. I would love these books

  14. says

    That’s awesome you were able to go to the ACFW conference! You have some amazing books in your giveaway! The Quilted Heart collection has been on my wishlist for a while… :)

  15. Bonnie Rose says

    This is an incredible giveaway, and winning would take care of my Christmas shopping for my sister (avid reader!) :)

  16. Jackie McNutt says

    I love this great selection of books! I would like to win them because Christian fiction always has a spiritual truth that I can relate to.
    I live in a small community and I always donate the books I have read to our district library so others can be Blessed by them.

  17. says

    Reading keeps the mind limber, but narrowing it down to Christian material helps keep my mind focused on the Lord, not this world. Plus, I hand the books off to my Mom when I’m done, and they have been such a huge witness in her life, and that of her neighbor’s. I’ve finally gotten her off of Stephen King! >

  18. Amanda Selfridge Cserr says

    Reading is my "me" time as a mom of two boys and since our budget is tight a few new books would be awesome!

  19. says

    What a great giveaway package! Looks like you had so much fun at ACFW! How exciting! I would love to win because I love to read and just don’t have the budget to buy very many books. It will be nice to curl up this winter (that is supposed to cold and wet!) with a good book! Thank you for the giveaway and for the chance to win!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, reading is even more fun when it’s all cozied up in a blanket or by the fire on a cold/snowy day :)

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