Monday, April 16, 2018

Candid moments with CFRR author Julie Lessman

Thank you Julie, for providing such a FUN candid photo!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

JL: I am proud to say I participated in CFRR as a speaker it very first year – 2015, in Nashville, and loved every minute!

Rachel: I ADORED getting to meet you! My fan girl heart might have stopped when you knew who I was!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR?

JL: My favorite aspects of CFRR were the worship and the speed chats. First of all, one of my favorite memories is of Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz (two of my favorite authors and friends) and me during worship with our eyes closed and hands raised. WOW! Makes me tear up just to think about it, and here’s the pic.☺

Rachel: So precious!

Are you a hugger?

JL: LOL – uh, yes, maybe even a little overboard! Not only do I sign every email with the signature line, “Hugs, Julie,” but I hug everybody I meet, even complete strangers I’ve just met if I’m so inclined. Maybe because I’m a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) who was one of thirteen, so I didn’t get a lot of hugs growing up. Who knows?

Rachel: I will take a JULIE hug anytime!!!!

Just for Fun...

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

JL: Well, I’d love to say a sweet-natured golden retriever, but then a bolt of lightning would singe my computer! I called my husband to ask him, and he immediately said “pit bull.” After I hung up on him ☺ he called back and said “a shark” because I never stop moving. Mmm…I think I would have to go with a hummingbird, though, because I do everything fast—eat, talk, brush my teeth, drive, you name it. And I have been known to sip red nectar on occasion! ☺

Rachel: I think this is perfect. Red nectar...Bahahaha!!!!! (Still wishing I had saved that glass with your lipstick on it!)

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

JL: A Christian psychologist/counselor because I LOVE helping people apply God’s precepts to their lives.

Rachel: This would be the perfect fit for you!!!

About Reading...

What's your favorite genre to read?

JL: Historical romance – big surprise! ☺

Rachel: I am so SHOCKED!!!! 😜

How often do you pleasure-read?

JL: Every day – in bed at night, during powder-room breaks, in the car when hubs is driving, at doctor’s appointments, in traffic, you name it. I actually manage to read approximately 6-8 books a month that way. ☺

Rachel: It's all about priorities!

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?

JL: Unfortunately in today’s amoral society, the days of Ozzie and Harriett are long gone and the bottom-line is, Dorothy—we’re not in Kansas anymore. Which means we have generations of women who have been spoon-fed the world’s agenda on morality, which is NOT good. Most of the young women I know today who are in a relationship are intimate with their boyfriends—and I’m talking “Christian” girls here in many cases.

That’s the reason I LOVE Inspirational Romance so much. It puts God smack dab where He should be—in the dead center of our lives. As a Christian romance writer, to me, romance is not romantic unless God is in the middle. For my tastes, there’s nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I’ve had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Come again??? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! But that’s the amoral message of the world today, and I
believe Christian fiction helps to fight that.

Rachel: This is so good and so true! And romance isn't something to shy away from in fiction. I think it is so important to paint a picture of what romance SHOULD God intended it
to be.

About Writing...

How many books have you written?

JL: Fourteen novels, five novellas, and one writer’s workbook.

Rachel: I had no idea about the workbook!


JL: Nine traditionally published and eleven indie published.

Rachel: LOVE!

What genres do you write?

JL: Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance.

Rachel: You do???? Hahaha! (my facetious side is showing)

What are you working on now? What is your next release?

JL: I am currently working on book 1 of my Silver Lining Ranch series, Love’s Silver Lining, which will release this spring or early summer. LSL is the continuation of Finn and Liberty’s story from For Love of Liberty some seventeen years later. In Love’s Silver Lining, Finn and Liberty are the secondary “more mature” hero and heroine that I always like to include in my books.

The main love story, however, is about Finn’s nephew, Blaze Donovan, and Liberty’s godchild, Maggie Mullaney, and here’s the premise:

A spunky and spiritual suffragist reforms the favorite saloon girl of the town’s confirmed
bachelor, tripping both his temper and his heart.

Rachel: I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

JL: LOL, well I don’t write in the shower or stand on my head, but I do write outside in almost any weather. I’ve been out on my veranda with my feet up on my chaise writing in as low as 39 degrees in the dark of night with a heater and as hot as 100 degrees with a fan. Must-have writing supplies are lip gloss (for all those imaginary kisses), tissues (for all those tears), hazelnut coffee or peach ice tea, and a mirror to capture expressions. I love writing outside so much that I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a clear football-fan-style tent so I can write on my veranda (or on my dock) all year. ☺

Rachel: You do what?!?!?! Hahaha! I love it though! You write in your element and the beauty that flows through your words must mean that it is perfect for you!!! 💓💓💓

About the Author...
A lover of all things Irish, Julie Lessman enjoys writing Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, and Isle of Hope series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 romance author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Winner of 18 RWA awards, Julie made Booklist’s 2010 Top Inspirational Fiction and Family Fiction’s Essential Christian Romance Authors of 2017 plus its Top Novels of 2014 and 2015. You can contact Julie or read excerpts at:

Say "Hi" to Julie in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we have enjoyed with her stories!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Candid moments with CFRR author Laura Frantz

Laura, thanks for sending this great candid of you and the lovely Rel of Relz Reviewz after CFRR 2016!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...
In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

LF: I’ve participated in CFRR for two years as a speaker and also author.   

Beth: Not to mention your lovely period gowns!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR? 

LF: I can’t wait to return as it’s my favorite venue of the year, mostly because I get to meet reading friends!

Beth: We love spending time with you, too!

Are you a hugger?

LF: Yes, a bonafide hugger. Watch out 😉!

Beth: You are a great hugger!

Just for fun...

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before? 

LF: India. I'm in love with saris and less frivolously, have heard a trip there will alter your outlook on life forever.  

Beth: Oooooo, and friendly elephants, right?!

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

LF: Librarian – no surprise there!  

Beth: YES! My sister worked in a library during her college years. Dream job!

About reading...

When reading, do you block out the world around you or seek a quiet retreat?

LF: Love writing in a log cabin in the woods. Endless inspiration from nature and the rustic, quiet life.

Beth: That sounds wonderful!

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?

LF: Because it shines hope in a dark world.

Beth: Amen to that!

About writing...

How many books have you written? published?

LF: Nine novels published, more coming through 2022!

Beth: I still need to read a few of them, too! *eagerly rubs hands together in anticipation*

What genres do you write?

LF: Historical Romance.

Beth: I love the time periods you've chosen thus far! Your stories always bring history to life for me.

What are you working on now? What is your next release?

LF: Working on my next frontier story set in the wilds of what is now West Virginia. Next up for print is a Scottish coming to America story releasing in January 2018. Think Scots lairds and castles, beekeeping heroines, indentures…

Beth: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Another Scot!

Do you have any strange writing habits?

LF: I get all my writing ideas while walking and so I’m an avid walker!

Beth: I enjoy walking, too! I sometimes miss the sidewalks of my hometown.

What are your must-have writing supplies?

LF: Black pens and white paper. I think better in longhand which research seems to support.

Beth: I might have to give that a try... my thinker could use a little help!

About the author...

Award-winning, bestselling author Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California.

Say "Hi" to Laura in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we have enjoyed with her stories!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Author Registration Begins Today & Reader Registration Info UP!

Author registration opens today, starting at 11:00 AM EST. Authors that expressed an interest in joining us as participating authors have already received a CFRR newsletter (from Just Commonly). You will need this newsletter for more information, which contains a password to access the author registration page.

If you haven't received it yet, contact Annie, Carrie or any of our associates. Access to the Author Registration page is on the Registration tab.

Readers, venue, location and registration info will be available at the same time today on the website. Use the tabs above to take you there!

Just as a simple reminder, both Author and Reader registration sold out before end of registration period, with author registration full within 36 hours of opening. If you plan on attending, I would not delay. - If it IS sold out when you attempt to sign up, contact Annie or Carrie to be placed on the author or reader waiting list.

Thank you, and looking forward to 2019 CFRR!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Candid Momentes with CFRR Author Becky Wade

Becky, thanks for sending this great candid of you at CFRR 2017! Loving the photo bomber!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

BW: I participated in CFRR the inaugural year as an author and in 2017 as a speaker.  I'm not sure yet whether I'll be able to make CFRR 2019, but I'd love to if I can.

Rachel: Your teaching session at CFRR 2017 was so inspiring and has stuck with me!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR?

BW: My favorite aspect, hands down, is the opportunity that CFRR has given me to interact with readers.  I spend most of my writing year at home, alone with my characters. It's a joy to meet readers and fellow book lovers face to face!

Rachel: YAY! I have SO loved connecting with fellow readers! The bookish community has been such a blessing to me.

Are you a hugger?

BW:You betcha.

Rachel: That's the answer we like to hear. Hehe!

Just for fun...

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

BW: An Australian accent!  I adore the Aussie accent.  Can't get enough of it!

Rachel: Agreed! I could listen to Hugh Jackman speak/sing all day!

If you were a spy, what would your code name be?

BW: Tortoise, because I'm a slow and steady writer.

Rachel: Yet you win the race in the end, am I right?

About reading...

What's your favorite genre to read?

BW: Kissing books, as Meez Carrie would say.  I'm a huge fan of all things romantic. My favorite books are romantic books.  My favorite movies, romantic movies. Romance is, very simply, my thing.

Rachel: I 100% agree with you!!!
When reading, do you block out the world around you or seek a quiet retreat?

BW: I seek a quiet retreat.  Growing up, my mom always read in our living room amidst the noise, the chaos, the loud TV, etc.  But I'm not that way. I crave silence and solitude while I'm reading.

Rachel: I don't blame you. It definitely depends on what is going on around me. I get distracted too easily.

About writing...

How many books have you written? published?

BW: I've written fourteen full-length manuscripts.  So far, nine have been published, with two more in the pipeline.

Rachel: Eeeeeep!!!! This makes my reader heart happy!
What genres do you write?

BW: Long ago, I wrote general market historical romance, but those books are all out of print now.  Since 2009, I've been writing contemporary Christian romance.

Rachel: This makes me so happy!

What are you working on now? What is your next release?

BW: I just finished the first draft of Bradford Sisters novel #3.  My next release is Falling for You, Bradford Sisters novel #2, which will hit shelves May 1st.

Rachel: I can't wait to read it!
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

BW: I dictate some of my scenes into my phone while writing the rough draft.  I'm hopeful that my neighbors assume I'm having a conversation. However, it's probably more likely that they've come to the conclusion that I'm crazy.

Rachel: Haha! No doubt you are correct. 😉

Why do you think writing Christian Fiction is so important?

BW: Because our novels give God an opportunity to show up on the page.  To declare His grace, and power, and forgiveness through stories about imperfect people who are nonetheless loved and pursued by their perfect God.  Christian fiction can do more than entertain! Christian fiction can minister to God's people.  It can encourage. It can bring hope.
I'm truly honored that the Lord has given me the chance to write books for Him.

Rachel: I LOVE this. Thank you so much for sharing!

BW: Thanks so much for hosting me here on the CFRR blog!

About the author...

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

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Say "Hi" to Becky in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we have enjoyed with her stories!