Monday, May 21, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Toni Shiloh

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

Toni in D.C.
In what ways have you participated in CFRR? 

TS: CFRR 2019 will be my first time participating as an author and just plain ol’ attending. I’m looking forward to helping out in any way I can.

Rachel: Eeeeeep! This makes me so happy!

What part of CFRR are you most excited about? 

TS: I’ve longed to meet all my awesome blogger/reader/author friends and this will give me that chance. Plus, it’s not so far from where I’m living so it’s a win win.

Rachel: Aww YAY! Relationship building is one of MY favorite aspects for sure.

Are you a hugger?

TS: Yes and no. I love hugs, they’re the best way to get through a day. But hugging strangers makes me feel totally awkward. Fortunately, I’ve become friends with a lot of people since my writing journey started so I plan on hugging.

Rachel: OK good! Because I was about to give you the "stink eye"! Hugging strangers is out of my depths too....

Just for fun...

What secret talents do you want to have?

Photo by Louis Pellissier on Unsplash
TS: I think being invisible would be the best talent ever. Maybe I’d pick a name like InvsiMom and my powers would be activated when my kids want something that’s ridiculous. You know, when they can’t find a pair of socks but they haven’t actually looked in their dresser drawer. Activate InvsiMom powers!

Rachel: That's brilliant! Can you pass that on to me???

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

TS: Paris! It’s on my dream list.

Rachel: Ah....Paris...the city of love! YES PLEASE!!!
About reading...

How do you organize your books?

TS: Lol, organize. I suppose there is some method to my madness. If I’ve read the book, it goes on my bookshelf. I used to sort it all nice and neat (by height, author, genre). Now I just slide it into an open space. My TBR piles aren’t really organized. I have books that are on loan from the library and they get their own pile. The other books go wherever I place them.

Rachel: I AM giving you the "stink eye"...JK JK! Organization is kinda my thing....ain't NOBODY gonna touch my books except me!

About writing...

How many books have you written/published?

TS: I have written 12 books and 7 of them are published. 

Rachel: YAY!!! (with beautiful covers I might add)

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash
What genres do you write?

TS: I write Christian contemporary romance. I dabble in other genres but the contemporary era has my heart.

Rachel: I used to not be a fan of contemporary books...thankfully I've been reformed!

What are you working on now?

TS: Right now I’m finishing up book 4 in my Maple Run series which is Shorty and Nikki’s story. Book 3 is slated to release June 2018 and book 3 of my Freedom Lake series will release September 2018.

Rachel: So many books! Woohoo!

What are your must-have writing supplies? (pen/paper, post-its, coffee, snacks, smartphone, facebook, etc.)

TS: Pen and paper for brainstorming. Snacks for fuel. Water for when the snacks dry me out. Pinterest for inspiration and help me with descriptions. Spotify for my current wip’s playlist.

Rachel: This sounds pretty close to my blogger writing needs! I like your taste!

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

TS: Solitude hands down. I’m an introvert when I’m in a crowd of strangers. I want to hide. Plus sometimes a lot of people can become overwhelming. But I’m thinking a bookish crowd could be icing on the cake.

Rachel: YES! I am the same way! I love going to CFRR though...Because it's a big group of people you already know! 😍

About the author...

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace of the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior.

She writes soulfully romantic novels to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys.

When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, ​making jewelry, and spending time with ​her family.

Toni is a member of the American Christian ​Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the president of the ACFW Virginia ​Chapter.

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Carrie Turansky

Carrie, thank you for sharing this great pic of you sandwiched between a couple of wonderful readers at CFRR!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

CT: I have some wonderful memories as I look back at CFRR 2016 and 2017! I have been blessed to take part as an author both years. It was a real treat to connect with reading friends and fellow authors! 

I met Sydney Anderson, Melony Teague, and Rachel Dixon, who have all been so supportive and encouraging to me. I remember listening to Ruthie’s inspiring talk that first year. I wiped tears from my eyes as she told how the Lord had worked in her life and how she was now using those challenging experiences in her writing. 

Carrie & Laura Frantz
Last year I connected with more reading friends and fellow authors. Talking one on one at lunch and during the book signing was so fun. I loved dressing up in costume and taking part in the speed chats too. Spending time with friends who share our love for reading is a blessing! 

I’m excited that the CFRR is coming to the East Coast in 2019, and I look forward to attending next year!

Beth: So many wonderful memories! 

Are you a hugger?

CT: Yes! I love to give and receive hugs from author friends and reading friends.

Beth: Hugs are nice!

Just for fun...

What secret talents do you have?

CT: I’m sort of a health nut, and I’ve been learning how to make yogurt, kefir, and all kinds of fermented foods. That might sound yucky, but they are really good for you!

Beth: Go, Carrie! I'm impressed!
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?

CT:I’d love to visit Dover, England, and see the White Cliffs of Dover, which is one of the settings for my latest English historical novel, Across the Blue.

Beth: The pictures look breathtaking!

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

CT: Oh, I’d love to have a British accent. When I was young my friend and I used to have fun practicing different accents and recording ourselves.  I wish I still had those recordings.

Beth: Yes, love those Brits!

About reading...

What's your favorite genre to read? 

CT: Inspirational historical fiction is my first love, but I also enjoy reading contemporary romance and some romantic suspense.

Beth: I'm with you, Carrie!
How many books do you average per month?

CT:I read a lot of nonfiction books when I’m researching a new novel, probably 10 – 20, depending on the story. I enjoy listening to 1 - 2 audio books each month while I’m cooking or cleaning up in the kitchen. And I try to squeeze in 1 -2 inspirational novels a month, but that depends on my writing schedule.

Beth: Audiobooks are great for those times when your body needs to be moving but you mind can wander!

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?

I love Christian fiction! It’s not only clean and inspiring, the stories feature hope and redemption, and we all need more of that! 

Faith is woven into the lives of the characters, and that added dimension makes Christian fiction have a unique impact. I enjoy reading books with those elements, and those are the kind of stories I want to write! 

Beth: I completely agree!

About writing...

How many books have you written? Published?

CT: I wrote five full-length novels and one novella before my first novel was published in 2005. Across the Blue is my nineteenth published novel.

Beth: Wow! That's wonderful!

What genres do you write?

CT: I write English historical fiction now, but I’ve also written US historical fiction and inspirational contemporary romance.

Beth: Ooooo, I'd like to read your US fiction too!

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

CT: My next two English historical novels will tell the story of the McAlister Family and their struggle to be reunited after the three youngest siblings are separated from their mother and sent to Canada as British Home Children. 

The oldest sister, Laura, is determined to find her siblings and reunite her family, but she can't do it alone. Laura teams up with Andrew Frasier, who is investigating child emigration to Canada on behalf of the British government. 

An unlikely romance blossoms between this former lady’s maid and wealthy young lawyer. Together they search for her siblings and seek to bring about changes to help British Home Children and their families. 

The working title for the first book is Finding Her Way Home, but I'm sure that will change. Would you like to see the Characters and setting? Click on over to my Finding Her Way Home Pinterest board and take a look.

Beth: I love the Canadian angle! We need more accurate stories about our northern neighbors!
Do you have any strange writing habits?

CT: Some of my best ideas come to me when I first wake up and I’m still in bed. I try to think through my next scene and what will happen to my characters. That’s great, as long as I don’t fall back asleep and lose it all!

Beth: Dozing off is an occupational hazard for a lot of writers whether it be early mornings or late nights!

What are your must-have writing supplies? (pen/paper, post-its, coffee, snacks, smartphone, facebook, etc.)

CT: I use a lot of yellow legal pads for taking notes while I’m doing research. I also use them when I’m first writing a new scene. For some reason writing longhand like that helps me get my creative juices flowing. Then I type up what I’ve written and can move ahead at a quicker pace.

Beth: Yellow is a cheerful color, can't beat that!

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

CT: I do my best writing when I’m alone and I can put my earphones in and listen to instrumental music. That really helps me focus and stay in the zone! 

Beth: Oh sweet solitude! Thank you so much for hanging out with us today, Carrie!

About the author...

Carrie Turansky has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of nineteen inspirational romance novels and novellas.

Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and five grandchildren.

Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with reading friends through her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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

Monday, May 7, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Mary Connealy

Thank you for providing a fun candid of yourself Mary!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

Photo by Ashton Bingham on Unsplash
In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

MC: I just checked that the CFRR is tentatively planned for the DC area in April 2019? I have a DAUGHTER who lives in DC. This is the PERFECT excuse to go visit her and I might even catch the cherry blossoms. I went to the 2016 CFRR in Nashville and had such a good time. I was there as an author and a speaker. I thought the ‘speed dating’ was the best. Just something completely new and fun and different. I loved it. The best memory was teasing Ruth Logan Herne while she was trying to give a speech. I’ve found my gift…heckling.

Rachel: That was a highlight of CFRR 2016 for EVERYONE I think! Hehe!

Just for fun... 

Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash
If you were a superhero, what would your name be?

MC: I think, if I was a superhero. I’d be Recliner Woman. Let’s face it.

Rachel: Fair enough! I am partial to my corner of our reclining couch myself.

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

MC: I want to go to Yellowstone. I’ve never been there. You know honestly, I’ve never been hardly anywhere.

Rachel: Ooooooh! You will LOVE it! Well, I know for a fact you were in Nashville...

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

MC: If I couldn’t write books I might be a journalist. I worked at my small town paper for one year and it was pretty fun. I really got to know the inner workings of my small town.

Rachel: You brave woman! I live in a small town...The thought of knowing the inner workings...kinda terrifies me.

About reading...

What's your favorite genre to read?

Photo by Tobias Zils on Unsplash
MC: I am sort of hooked lately on cop-dramas, not necessarily romance or Christian. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series. Nevada Barr’s Anna Pidgeon Series. Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series. John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport series. Oh, there are a dozen more.

Rachel: That sounds fascinating. I admit I haven't tried any of these books..or authors...The husband person likes Vince Flynn a lot. I will have to pass on this list to him. ;)

How many books do you average per year (or month, etc.)?

MC: I probably read a couple of books a week, but many of them are books I’ve read before. When I find a book I love I re-read it many times. That might be OCD but I’m not getting medicine for it!

Rachel: I tend to re-read books via I can attempt to keep up on the important dishes and folding clothes...Baha!

About writing...

How many books have you written? Published?

MC: My fiftieth book just released and I’ve got three more coming this year. I’ve probably written five more than that, books still on my computer that don’t fit my genre.

Rachel: Ok, now I'm curious as to WHAT genre they do fit....
What genres do you write?

MC: My genre is Romantic Comedy with Cowboys. Historical westerns. I’m pretty sure I invented the genre!

Rachel: Pretty sure ou did! Mary Connealy, Author Extrodinaire and Inventor of Romantic Comedy Westerns.

What are your must-have writing supplies? (pen/paper, post-its, coffee, snacks, smartphone, facebook, etc.)

MC: I’ve very low maintenance as a writer. I need my laptop or desktop. Nothing else. No music, no tea, no particular snacks. I don’t even need quiet. I’m a master at tuning out distractions.

Rachel: It's definitely a mom skill...The tuning out. 

Thank you for joining us today! Hopefully we will get to see you next April in beautiful Washington D.C.! 

About the author...
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys always with a strong suspense thread. She is a two time Carol Award winner and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. 

She is the bestselling author of 48 books and novellas. 

Her most recent three book series are: Cimarron Legacy, Wild at Heart, Trouble in Texas, Kincaid Bride for Bethany House Publishing. She’s also written four other series for Barbour Publishing and many novellas and several stand-alone books for multiple publishers. 

Mary will be a published author for ten years in 2017 with nearly a million books in print. She has a degree in broadcast communications with an emphasis in journalism and has worked at her local newspaper.

Find Mary online

New Releases...


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

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!