Monday, April 30, 2018

Readers' Registration Begins Today!

Readers' registration opens today, starting at 11:00 AM EST on the "2019 Registration" Tab on the top. (Despite what the image above says. It will be live at 11:00 AM EST.)

Also, Venue & Lodging information is also up. Room blocks for CFRR 2019 is quickly filling up.  Remember to reserve a room to be certain you're all set!

Just as a simple reminder, last year, 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, April 23, 2018

Candid moments with CFRR author Ruth Logan Herne

Here's Ruthy with her daughter Beth on the morning of CFRR 2017!

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

RLH: 2016 speaker, author… 2017 author… Anything you need me and Beth Jamison for in 2019! We’re so excited!

Beth: WE are so excited to see you both!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR?

RLH: I love all of it. When marketing began to fall onto author’s shoulders, there was nothing like CFRR... all publishers had pulled back funding because money grew tight… unless you were a NYT bestselling author. Most of us aren’t. And that’s fine, I’ve never worried about things like that, but connecting with readers makes me happy! I don’t like spending money for conferences… I can learn all that stuff with hard work and editorial help… but readers.

Authors need readers. We need to connect. And there are few readers groups around the country and bookstores don’t host get togethers like they used to… so this is huge to authors like me, who love readers and bloggers and anyone who will jump on the great story Christian bandwagon!!!

Beth: This is what I love best about CFRR, everyone is blessed and God is glorified by our love and fellowship!

Are you a hugger?

RLH: I AM A HUGGER! But I don’t hug Rachel McMillan because she’s not a hugger. I make fun of her. Because that’s fun. But I DO NOT HUG HER. (I’m nice that way.)

Beth: You are a great hugger! Rachel McMillan is also great, even without hugs! 

Just for fun...
If you were a superhero, what would your name be?  

RLH: Super Ruthy, of course!!!

Beth: Obviously, how silly of us 😉 (edited)

What costume would you wear?

RLH: Umm… The Super Ruthy costume. Tights, a long shirt and a SUPER RUTHY YELLOW AND RED CAPE!!!!

Beth: I would love to see you in this Super Ruthy costume!

What secret talents do you have?

RLH: I can sing the entire theme song from Phineas and Ferb WITH Pepper Basham.

Beth: I don't know Phineas or Ferb but I DO know Pepper Basham!!!

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

RLH: Ireland.

Beth: I could sit and listen to an Irish brogue all day!

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

RLH: Easy peasy. Irish brogue. I used to do it for my mother before she died… and I do a good Irish brogue. 

Beth: This I must hear for myself! I love a good accent!

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

RLH: Have you been to my house??? IT IS A ZOO!!!! 

Ay yi yi… Definitely a wolf. Cunning. Canny. Travels with others. Likes people. 

Beth: I can relate to living in a zoo (although I only have one dog, not two big beauties like you!)

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

RLH: Cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s. I don’t have to actually DO IT. I will leave that to the experts. But I want it done! 

Beth: Good call! 

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

RLH: I have done everything for a living because that’s what you do in Ruthy world when you have bills to pay. Kids to raise… You do whatever it takes…

But I love doing a lot of things… I love working on the farm. I love baking. I love running farm business even though it is SO SO BUSY for August-through December!!!! But it’s the best!

Beth: You are a go-getter, Ruthy! I love that about you!

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

RLH: Reba.

Because Ruthy loves Reba.

Beth: Your logic is impeccable.

About reading...
What's your favorite genre to read?

RLH: Non-fiction to increase my brain power. Or Seuss to kids. Both apply!

Beth: Non-fiction is a workout I avoid but bring on the kiddie read aloud!

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

RLH: I can block the world. And give them scathing glances when they interrupt. I give VERY GOOD scathing glances!!!

Beth: I can imagine but I won't for fear of recurring nightmares!

Describe your favorite reading spot.

RLH: On floor… Or on a love seat surrounded by small people!

Beth: That's hardcore, Ruthy! I require a little space I like to call my personal bubble.

How do you organize your books? (by author, genre, color, read vs. unread, shelves, stacks, piles etc.)


Beth: *blink, blink* uhhhh...

How often do you pleasure-read?

RLH: Rarely… if there was more time, I’d read more, but I’d rather write.

Beth: Selfishly, I'm glad you do!

How many books do you average per year?

RLH: Two dozen… About 2/month. But I’m a speed reader, so that’s a lot less time than most people would imagine.

Beth: Speed reading... handy talent!

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?

RLH: Well, here’s the thing... in a country that self-identifies at 75% Christian (a number that’s sadly gone down nearly ten points in twenty years) we sold over 50,000,000 copies of of “Fifty Shades of Grey”… which means that a lot of folks bought into an erotica-filled book for whatever reason and thought it was okay.

I think we need to fill ourselves with goodness and light. Like Philippians 4:8 

8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

The more we think of good things, kind things, sharing things, Godly things, the easier it is to avoid our own sin. How fun would it be if EVERYONE tried to avoid sin??? YAHOO!!!!!

Beth: Amen to that!

About writing...
How many books have you written? published?

RLH: Oh, gosh. Over 40… Almost 50? 

Beth: Yay, Ruthy!!!

What genres do you write?

RLH: Inspirational romance and inspirational women’s fiction… and now mysteries for Guideposts and my own soon-to-come mystery series! I have developed such a fun love for mysteries!!!!

Beth: Personally, I'm a huge fan of your cowboy/ranchers and diverse couples!

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

RHL: Oh, gosh… next release will be Her Cowboy Reunion from Love Inspired in August 2018, then Healing Wishing Bridge in October 2018 and Catch of the Day a Guideposts mystery in September 2018 and an unnamed novella for Love Inspired with my buddy Linda Goodnight (amazing author…) that’s sometime in fall of 2018… November, maybe? We haven’t been given the release date on that, yet… so I’ve been busy writing! #happyauthor!

Beth: No wonder I can't keep up with you!

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

RLH: Nope. I’m strange enough. 😊

Beth: Normal is boring anyway.

What part of the publishing/writing process do you most struggle with? which aspect is most natural for you?

RLH: The writing and storytelling is the most natural. I think I was born a storyteller (in some cultures I would simply be called a big, fat liar!!!) but I prefer the term “storyteller”.  😁  

I love working with readers, but I’m not a huge fan of promoting things… but I’ve found that if you WRITE MORE BOOKS, people will find you by default and you can promote less. This is a true thing… so I just keep writing!

And God puts my books in people’s hands. Oh, that God!!!

Beth: He is good! 😊

Why do you think writing Christian Fiction is so important?

RLH: Because it heals… there is a power so absolutely beautiful and infinite in words that soothe the heart and soul and bring the grace of God to people’s doorsteps, their coffee tables, their nightstands… the world is in such need of peace, hope, love and grace that the advent of Christian fiction is a wonderful bonus against a pendulum that went SO FAR the other way! 

So I’m crazy grateful for what you gals do to make this connection between author and reader happen!

Beth: We are ALL delighted to play our part and thankful for all the authors and readers who support CFRR!

What are your must-have writing supplies? 

RLH: *sing to Me and My Shadow…* “Me and my laptop… strolling down the avenue! Me and my laptop… doing just what we can do!”

That’s it. That’s all I need. Me and my laptop. Although I can be found with coffee or a diet Mountain Dew in my hands!!!

Beth: Simple!

Are you more comfortable working in solitude or among a crowd? 

RLH: I love a crowd. And I get a little nervous when introverts are constantly feeling the need to defend themselves… Then my snark side wants to remind them that no one cares… get over yourself… BUT THAT’S NOT NICE SO I DON’T SAY IT… But I probably look at them funny. And when someone is going on and on about their fears or introvertiveness I DO NOT look at other extroverts. Because we are unfeeling jerks and we’ll start laughing.

I’m a crowd person. And I admit it! 😄

Beth: I shamelessly hide from crowds, you can laugh. Extroverts are cool, they fill the awkward silence!

About the author...
Ruth Logan Herne loves Charlie Brown Christmas trees, rooting for the underdog and people who go the distance while others see the path as too long or broken! She loves God, chocolate, writing, dogs and is blessed by a sprawling family, oodles of grandkids and a sweet old farmhouse in constant need of work. She’s sure that clean rooms are over-rated, snakes and possums should mind their own business and buy their own farm and puppies and kittens and babies are about the cutest things on Earth.

A “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-move-on” kind of gal, she is blessed to be married to her high school sweetheart (although it wasn’t as if THEY WERE KNOCKING DOWN THE DOOR to challenge him for her!!!), work with young families who allow her to exploit their sweet children on blogs, and rock babies on a regular basis. An author for Love Inspired Books and Summerside Press, she lives in upstate New York.

Say "hi" to Ruthy in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we've enjoyed with her and her stories!

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!