Monday, July 24, 2023

OUAB 2023 Finale


Welcome to Black Words-White Pages!! My name is Jenny Zimmerman and I am going to share with you everything that happened last weekend July 14 & 15 before, during and after the final OUAB2023. My husband, Edson and I spent 4 days and 3 nights in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We packed up and left for Michigan on Thursday morning, July 13th.

Thursday July 13

We purchased a bigger vehicle so that we could haul more stuff and I named it the Beast and Wednesday, July 12, we filled the Beast and added my walker Thursday morning. I also crocheted a big chicken for Lynn Shaw and Captain John Carlisle and I put them in a seat belt because, well safety first. Captain Carlisle is the main character in The Rebels and Redcoats Saga by TJ London. AND TJ LONDON LOVED CAPTAIN CARLISLE!!! 

We delivered Morris to his auntie Marj on Thursday morning and then we stopped at Starbucks and then we got on the road about 9:30 am.

Captain Carlisle was spotted in Coldwater, Michigan!! Once we got to the Indiana and Michigan boarder, we stopped in Coldwater, Michigan at the Welcome Center. We had a picnic and took a small break from being on the road. Then after our picnic, we got back into the Beast and hit the road to Frankenmuth.

We made it to Bridgeport, Michigan at about 2:30 pm and got settled into our motel room until Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn made it to their motel room. We all stayed at The Knights Inn in Bridgeport, Michigan which is about 5 miles from Frankenmuth.

Then Melanie, Heather, Ed and I got together to figure out where we wanted to eat at for dinner. We wanted to go to T-Dubs but they were closed, so we decided on Italian food and we decided on daVinci's of Frankenmuth and we met up with Mark Klinger and his publisher JR Baker and Lynn Shaw for dinner at 6 pm. And of course none of us thought about taking photos so we didn't get any pictures because we were all excited just see each other again!! But it was a wonderful evening with yummy food and so much Fellowship!! We had so much fun, we lost track of time and the restaurant was closing around us. We even saw Alicia Rades and Megan Linski as they stopped at the same restaurant we went to!!  Then we all went back to our hotel/motel rooms to get some rest and get ready for Friday morning.

I got some awesome smellies from Melanie Gilbert. Black Raspberry Vanilla, Vanilla and Hot Chocolate

Friday July 14

Friday morning started at 8 am for Ed and I and got to the Bavarian Inn Lodge where the event was being held at. Registration opened at 9 am.

(Photo taken by Stacey Rourke)

Before Registration, we found Stacey Rourke to give her her gifts and my raffle donations. The Raffle donations was a basket of drinks and there was a giant red coffee cup flower pot full of crocheted Friends characters and their extra animals or items. There's a video below to show the characters and photos of everything!!

Raffle Donations

I also gave Stacey her gifts and I think she was very surprised!!!

Stacey's own giant coffee cup flower pot with Friends characters.

Stacey also got a crocheted Ghostface curtain tie.


The purple bags are the new ones for this year. I also purchased a shirt and got a free bag from last year.

I got my book box from Stacey too and I had to wear my cat ears.

Me and Ed

Free Swag at the registration table



I crocheted a little Dobby for Tina Donnelly's Momma and Tina had a gift for me also. All those amazing kits. 

I crocheted a lady bug for Angie Ready and a shark for her son, Deklan.

I also crocheted flower bookmarks to give out

I chose 4 authors to give one of these birds away however they wanted to and each bird was found on the author's tables on Saturday, The duck went to Melanie Gilbert's son. Melanie Gilbert and Heather Karn had the Flamingo on their table and Angie Ready's daughter, Chelsee got that Flamingo. Alicia Rades and Megan Linski had the Mallard on their table. The chicken was on Mark Klinger's table and he put it with his giveaway that he had going on at his table for the Trevor Project. The Eagle was on Brenda Hasse's table and she had a small giveaway for it to help raise money for the Healing House Food Pantry that Ed and I volunteer for.

Below is the Event Schedule and Panels

10 am: Keynote Speakers
Left Photo: Our amazing hostess: Stacey Rourke
Right Photo: Keynote Speakers: Alicia Rades & Megan Linski

11 am Panel

12 Noon Panel

Alicia Rades Megan Linski KG Reuss Sandra Schaer-Fisackerly

1 pm Cover Book Bingo

I won a coffee cup and Ed was given the other cup.

I got man awesome handmade magnet from Lee Ryder and a #TeamMiracle from Angie Ready (Daughter Miracle passed away this year) and I wear it proudly.

2 pm Blubbering Final Thoughts

"...because your literary tribe will always be there for you..."

We stayed and talked about all the memories that we all shared throughout the years. This year's OUAB was the final one in Frankenmuth, Michigan because it was just getting too expensive to keep the event where it's been for 5 years. Lots of emotions ran through this while we all took turns talking. I am so proud to have been able to go to all the events in Michigan because it was so close and my heart was so heavy to know that this was the last year. Ed and I promised that we would follow Stacey wherever she goes because we have the most amazing and powerful tribe!! That saying above fit this year's event so well.

3 pm: BREAK


A close-up of the t-shirts. I used my cricut to make these Friends SVG to wear at the dinner and awards show.

Time to get ready for dinner and the awards show.

OUAB Dinner and Award show

Ed and I at the entrance to the dining room 


Soaps that Stacey made for each guest to take home.

Me and Lynn Shaw (A Belle & A Book) Photo by Lynn

Me and Casey L Bond Photo by Casey

Me and Eric Asher Photo by Eric

A video of the room where the dinner and award show was held. Video by me.

These photos shows everyone at the table we sat at. Top photo R-L Me, Ed, JR Baker, and Mark Klinger. Bottom photo R-L Victoria Perkins, Victoria's niece and Kristal Kester.

Photos by me


There was so many amazing nominees in so many awesome categories and I was so excited for everyone who won!!

This year, I was nominated for the Best Reader along with an amazing group of nominees.
Nominees are: -Angela Ready -Jenny Zimmerman -Ginelle Blanch -Diana Duell



And I am so super excited to know that Angie won this year!! I was so hoping that it would be her and my heart is so very happy that it was her!! I also want to thank everyone who nominates me every year and I so appreciate to everyone who have supported me throughout the years and here's to many more years of Author sharing and promoting!!!


Well, Stacey did tell us all again that this year would be the FINAL year for Once Upon A Book Author Signing in Frankenmuth, Michigan. But then Stacey had a HUGE announcement and that was......


SEPTEMBER 27-28, 2024


Theme for the afterparty!! 

Then after that awesome announcement, the dancing started and it was so much fun. I danced in my walker and went around and talked to everyone that was still there after Stacey's announcement.

And I went home with a souvenir from the party!! I can keep these flowers alive because they are fake!!! LOL

Saturday July 15

OUAB Author Signing

Saturday 9am Open for golden and VIP ticket holders. 10am-3pm open to the public. 

Look at that line-up of authors for this year!!! So many awesome authors were there and seeing my book besties made my heart and soul so full!! But sadly I did not get to see all the authors because time always gets away from me!!! I love listening to authors about their books and how excited an author gets while talking about their book/books and I get so excited while I listen to them. I also did not take photos with people but luckily others thought about it and gave them to me, LOL So check out the photos that were taken.

Me and Lee Ryder (Photo by Lee)

My favorite photos of Angie Ready's son, Deklan (photos by Angie Ready)

I was so glad to finally meet Deklan in person. I have crocheted a few amigurumis for him and he has loved them all so much and this weekend I gained a nephew. I loved the idea that he started calling me Aunt Jenny!! It was so much fun hanging out with him!!!

Me and Heather Mullins (Photo by Heather)

Me and Charlene Kowalski (Photos by Casey Bond)

Me, Charlene and Casey Bond (Photo by Casey)

Charlene surprised me by coming to the book signing and I cried and yelled when I saw her and Casey got a photo of the both of us and one with Casey too!!! I have known Charlene for a while now and I met her through previous OUAB signings!!! I also got to see Diana Wolfe-Plopa and it was such a surprise to see them both!! I also met Diana from previous OUAB author signings and once again I was so excited that I didn't get a photo of the two of us!!

Photo 1 Me and Tina Donnelly and Photo 2 Me Tina and Ed (Photo by Tina)

Me and Ava Cuvay (Photo by Tina)

I have a small story to share with you all about the photo with Ava. We got to her table to talk with her and we got to see first hand how she got out from behind her table....Ava would crawl under the table to get out from behind it and one time she rolled under her table to get behind it!! Ed gave her a 10/10 for each time she crawled under her table!! LOL

Ed and Stacey Rourke's Bacon (Photo by Tina)

Another quick story about this. Stacey brought Bacon, if you've read The Journals Octavia Hollows then you know what I am talking about.....Anyway, Stacey brought Bacon with her and he was displayed on her table. Ed decided to take Bacon and put him on his shoulder and Tina Donnelly took the picture. Stacey's daughter Elliott told Ed that her mom was going to kill him when she found out!! Stacey saw Ed with Bacon and said, "GIVE ME BACK MY PIG!!" and then Stacey laughed!! LOL 

There is a story about these tickets too!! Friday morning I purchased and put 40 tickets in the bucket for a large Lego Friends Set because I was dead set on winning it and of course as I am putting the tickets in the bucket I would say "Like we need another Lego set!!!" And the reason that that's so funny is because we have many Lego sets of Star Wars, Harry Potter and Cars. LOL Then on Saturday, I was still bound and determined to win that Lego set by buying 80 more tickets and Ed put 20 in the bucket before we went into the author signing and then he put his other 20 and I added the other 40 to the bucket after the lunch break. So that made 120 tickets and we also had a couple of other people added tickets to them and was helping us win that Lego set and at 2:30 pm, tickets were being called out. Ed went out and waited to see if we win the Lego set and well.....

We won!!!! Ed brought it to where I was at and I saw it and yelled really loud and almost lost my tiara and cat ears!!! I was so happy!!!

I also wanted to show off my new bracelets. The green one was from Angie Ready. The pink one, blue/purple one and the booknerd one was from Skyler Burkhalter. She made a bunch of them and was giving them out.  And the blue one with bobbles was from Susan Burdorf!!! And I took a close-up of my cat ears from Stacey and tiara from Susan!!

Photos by Lynn Shaw's phone

After 3pm, Ed and I went back to our motel room and took a short nap and then went to meet Angie Ready and her babies and Lynn Shaw for dinner at Tiffany's Food and Spirits in Frankenmuth!! It was so nice to meet some friends one last time to enjoy each others company in Frankenmuth, Michigan!!

Sunday July 16

Sunday morning at about 9am, we loaded up the beast, stopped for Starbucks and then got on the road for home.

We made it home at about 3pm and we unloaded the beast and went and got Morris and brought him home!! And he was so happy to be home!!

Morris napping in his favorite spot on the couch!! I'd say that he was so happy to be home!! LOL

I got a photo of Ed with the Friends Lego Set before I put it together!! The following photos are the Lego set is fully put together!!

Girl's apartment

The Hallway

Boy's apartment

A wide view of the entire Lego set


Swag from the totes

A tote bag from Susan Burdorf

I met a new author, Eugenia Afanador
 and her husband and they came all the way from Texas to this event!!

Ed and I have a new fan in TJ London

Beautiful Feathers from Casey L Bond

My book haul

Swag and books from Mark Klinger

Swag from Megan Linski and Alicia Rades

I got more yarn from Brenda Hasse

I had used my cricut to make an extra t-shirt for the authors to sign on Saturday too. This shirt will be displayed in a jersey case to keep the names from coming off!! I did promise that I hadn't worn this shirt Friday night!! LOL It's unfortunately not ALL the authors because I once again failed to make it to everybody!!

And finally swag for new giveaways!!

...because your literary tribe will always be there for you...

This event was so emotional for a lot of us, whether we've been to all six years or less, has made so many memories in Michigan. I am so blessed to be able to come to this event every year and getting the chance to get together with friends that I have made, and hangout and eat dinner with those friends was always so much fun!! Just because this Michigan chapter has ended, doesn't mean that we are losing those friendships but have been strengthened!! Stacey, it's because of you that all these friendships have happened and we are all so grateful for them!!! Friends being the final theme for Michigan truly fit perfectly!! OUAB will always be about friendships, love, and kindness and no matter where OUAB goes, my memories will always be held in my heart and Ed and I will follow Stacey wherever she goes!! I am ready to make more friends, meet up with my tribe and I am excited to see where Florida takes us!! Farewell Michigan!! Thanks for the memories!!

I had a great time this year. It was so much fun and the theme for this year was perfect. I made many new friends and enjoyed seeing other friends from last year. I will miss traveling to Michigan but knowing that Florida awaits us next year makes my wife and I very happy. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to next year, See you all then. 

OUAB 2023 Finale

  Welcome to Black Words-White Pages!! My name is Jenny Zimmerman and I am going to share with you everything that happened last weekend Jul...