Wednesday, April 13, 2016

OVER THE RAINBOW: An Author's True Pot of Gold!


Somewhere over the rainbow … there’s a pot of gold that most authors don’t expect to find, and I gotta tell you—it took me by complete surprise.

Oh, I suspected there might be more than a few blessings after I signed that first book contract—a bit of fame, a bit of money, a new circle of like-minded friends and peers to usher me into a whole new world I never even knew existed. And I have to say, all those things have been pretty great.

But … the true treasure that I’ve discovered in my career as an authorwhich exceeds any contracts, any royalty checks, or any awards I may have acquired are the incredible reader friends I have made, whose friendships have blessed my life more than I can say.

True … some “friendships” have been scarier than others.

Uh, like the Mennonite family who are now dear friends because their daughter fell in love with A Passion Most Pure and encouraged her mother to read it. I have to admit with my brand of edgy inspirational romance, I was a wee bit nervous when that mother thanked me over and over for teaching her daughter Biblical precepts through my fiction. She ended her email by saying she “couldn’t wait to start APMP” herself that night. 

Wait a minute … she hadn’t read it yet??? YIKES!! I remember turning to my husband like a deer in headlights, saying, “uh-oh … this could be a lawsuit in the making if this Mennonite mother thinks I’ve brainwashed her daughter with too much “passion” in a Christian novel.” As it turned out, she loved it and is now a dear friend who’s not only had me over for dinner, but her sister planned to print off flyers for APMP and pass them out in her Mennonite restaurant. Whew! My hubby joked that I should ask my publisher to stamp “Mennonite Approved” on all my books. ;)

The stories go on and on of wonderful reader friends (I despise the word “fan” because we’re all just women who love God, whether we are readers or writers) who have taken time to come see me for coffee, lunch, or dinner, several of whom are now such close friends that have even traveled long distances to come visit. And trust me, there’s nothing better to this author than one-on-one personal time with women whose hearts beat alongside my own when it comes to Christian fiction that touches their soul.

In fact, reader friends have been such a pot of gold in my life that I often wished I could sit down and chat over coffee or lunch with many of them.

Well, guess what? I now have that opportunity, and so do you!

How? Welcome to the CFRR, the truly inspirational brainchild of three amazing women whom I am privileged to call dear friendsBonnie Roof, Carrie Schmidt, and Annie (Just Commonly). 

What is CFRR? It's the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat, and I am one of the speakers, along with Mary Connealy, Laura Frantz, and Ruth Logan Herne, with participation by Seekers Janet Dean, Debby Giusti, and Myra Johnson as well as many other authors you love. It's going to be small, cozy, and just like going to lunch together except with prizes and personal prayer, so I invite you to learn more about it by checking out the CFRR website here HERE

How did this all get started? Well, let’s just say it was officially born during Seekerville’s New Year’s Eve Bash, but God planted the seeds in the heart of these three amazing woman long before that, so I’m going to let them tell you about that, and I hope they bless you as much as they have blessed me!

A Note From Bonnie Roof:
My part in the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat began indirectly through Liz Curtis Higgs in May 2011. Her speech in a women's conference was so compelling, I immediately purchased some of her books, read them, and continued purchasing until I had read every book she’d written. Until then, I knew nothing about Christian Fiction; however, that was the beginning of my love affair with it. I couldn't get enough! I was then drawn to Julie Lessman's online rapport with her readers, her passion, and her devotion to God. As with Liz, I read each book Julie had written, back to back. 

I began reading articles written by numerous authors re: the writing journey of each and all that is involved in turning an author's ideas into a published book. I was astounded! Conferences, contests, critiques, rejections, agents, contracts, editors, publishers vs. self-pub, plotting, researching, writing, rewrites, edits, promo, and on and on. For many authors, it’s years of waiting, struggles, and sacrifices. I began to realize what a beautiful ministry Christian Fiction is, yet also how underrated it is by many people, and how underpaid many of its authors are when compared to the hours invested.

I felt God leading me into the encouragement of Christian Fiction authors, praying for them and sharing/promoting their work. Learning more about them personally led to an even greater understanding of, and appreciation for, their hard work. I had a desire and vision for all Christian Fiction readers to more fully understand and appreciate its authors, their work, their calling from God, and dedication to their craft. Hence, the idea for an author/reader retreat. I contacted a couple of authors for advice, ideas, and/or suggestions to help further my vision. Not receiving the response I needed - I continued to pray about the retreats and wait for God to open doors. I then related my vision to Julie Lessman in an email on September 22nd, 2013 and asked her to join me in prayer. 

And then God opened doors through Seekerville! It was in the wee morning hours of January 1st, 2016 during Seekerville’s online New Year's Eve Party that Annie JC mentioned her desire for an event in which Christian Fiction readers could meet and spend time with their favorite authors. When other readers responded affirmatively to her comments, I felt God's leading to contact Annie and ask if she would like to consider planning an event with me. After praying about it, she agreed. When talking to Laura Frantz about participating in our event, she mentioned Carrie Schmidt also had been praying about the possibility of such an event. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that God placed the three of us together to plan this reader's retreat, the theme of which is "Honoring God Through Christian Fiction.” From Carrie's beautiful artwork, Annie's event-planning experience, and the computer skills of both, God is the Master Event Planner, guiding us each step of the way in our appreciation for His gift of Christian Fiction and the authors who write it.

A Note From Annie (Just Commonly):
CFRR really started during Seekerville's New Year's Eve party. A couple of us were talking about how there are always author conferences or writing sessions, but what about something for the readers?  As it so happened, several of us thought the same thing, and here we are!  Being the first retreat, we wanted something more intimate, and not convention-sized, so every reader's able to sit and chat with authors sometime during the event. Personally, I'm really looking forward to meeting all these wonderful authors, getting to know them a little or more beyond the world of Christian fiction in their books. Then there's also the opportunity to do some fan-girling in person with other like-minded readers! Exciting indeed!

A Note From Carrie Schmidt:
Since I started blogging, one of my very favorite blessings has been getting to know some of my favorite authors as “real people”.  They love to read.  They love their families.  They fangirl over their own book heroes. They like to send HUGS (I’m looking at you, dear Julie Lessman!). They ask for advice. But most of all, these Christian fiction authors? They are crazy about Jesus. I am so excited about this event in Nashville because it brings authors and readers together in one room to just hang out and be “real people”, crazy about Jesus and fiction and each other. TOGETHER. 
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also looking forward to the author panel I’m moderating on the subject of KISSING in Christian fiction.  I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t the tiniest bit afraid that I will lose all control of said panel with panelists such as Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, and Pepper Basham… just to name some of the participants in that particular event. But can you even imagine what a time of laughter and friendship and good old-fashioned fanning that will be? 
Oh – and I have to talk about prayer! As Bonnie has mentioned, prayer has been part of this event since it was just a wishful thought.  It continues to be part of our preparation for August, and it will be the most important activity of the day when the event finally arrives. Praising God with worship music. Praying with fellow readers. Praying FOR and with your beloved authors as they prepare to head to the ACFW conference the next day. Lots of books are pitched and career decisions hang in the balance at the ACFW. What an absolute privilege it will be to send them off wrapped in our love and reminded that Jesus has got this. 

Okay, I don't know about you, but I'm a bit on the weepy side right now over these incredible gals who are just as "crazy about Jesus" as any of we authors are, and I can't thank you enough sweet Bonnie, Annie, and Carrie. It is a privilege and blessing to call you my friends!

Hugs,
Julie 

GIVEAWAY!!
Leave a comment to win one of three e-copies of winner's choice of Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope, or A Light in the Window. 

And just FYI ... those who register for CFRR early at the reduced price will also be entered for additional prizes including a box of books!

167 comments:

Marianne Barkman said...

Oh, Julie...this would be my pot of gold. I'm putting it on my bucket list...who knows...what the future will hold!!!!!!

Lara (Storm) Hitchcock said...

Sounds cool, but probably not in my future for awhile with a 3-month-old.

The book on the other hand :-) ... I guess it's a good thing I hadn't gotten around to reading Isle of Hope yet (just in case). Everything else I've read.

CatMom said...

Such a wonderful idea for you all to do this!
Julie, I LOVE your enthusiasm and your heart for the Lord. You're an inspiration---you truly are. :)

On a different note....thanks to sweet MYRA JOHNSON I found out that today (April 13) is National Peach Cobbler Day!!!! Of course I am soooo happy to find out about this delightfully yummy day. :) So I'll be setting out warm-from-the-oven peach cobblers ALL DAY for everyone to enjoy (whipped cream and ice-cream available for those who want it on their cobbler).
Hugs, Patti Jo

Tina Radcliffe said...

Looks like fun, fun, fun!!! I hope all you folks going to Nashville consider going in early for this event.

:)

Just Commonly said...

Marianne, so true! Our Father will have many great adventures in store for us.

Lara, sorry we'll miss you this year, maybe next?


Patti John, thanks for the peach cobbler! I'll have a slice once I get up from my slumber. I'll need a double dose of caffeine for sure, though!

Just Commonly said...

Hi Tina! It'sounds going to be great! Thanks for the shout out!

Beth Erin said...

I'm praying things will work out so I can come meet all you wonderful ladies in person! Keep me posted if it's filling up fast, eek! I was ready to sign up the first day but hubby isn't on board yet. I have goosebumps just thinking about the event.

Just Commonly said...

O Beth! I would LOVE to meet you! Since I'm not an author, I'll be happy to fangirl along with you! I'll pull in Carrie too!

Noela Nancarrow said...

Why oh why was I born in Australia? Just so you all know, I'm trying real hard not to turn too green with envy, though I'm pretty sure there's a slight lime tinge to my skin already! So wish I could be there meeting all these amazing friends, both authors and readers!! Hope you all have an amazing time, as I'm sure you will!!

bonton said...

MARIANNE: Praying you find a way to attend our CFRR!!

LARA: You will love 'Isle of Hope'!! It's my fave of all Julie's books - she outdid herself on this one, judging by the reviews - other readers agree.

PATTI JO: Thanks for the peach cobbler, that's one of Julie's faves, isn't it??

TINA: Thank you so much!! Would love to meet you while I'm in Nashville in August!!

BETH: Maybe we can pray you into the retreat, would love to meet you after "talking" to you online so much. Trust me - the retreat will be an unforgettable, fun, inspiring experience!!

bonton said...

NOELA: Would give anything if you could be in Nashville with us, will pray super hard - sweet friend!! Thanks for your well wishes, as I commented to Beth: the retreat will be an unforgettable, fun, inspiring experience. Having you there would make it even more so!!

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Hello, Julie, Bonnie, Annie, and Carrie (that's a lot of ie names). :) Every time I hear about the reader retreat (and the excitement behind the planning), I get more and more excited myself!! I'm really looking forward to meeting all you lovely ladies, as well as connecting with other authors and readers. I'll definitely be fangirling as I meet some of my own favorite authors who will be there, and I'm really looking forward to participating on an author panel! Thank you all for answering God's call to organize this event. It will be a blessing to so many, me included.

bonton said...

LOL, yes - lots of ie names!! We're ALL excited, Gabrielle - I'm so looking forward to meeting you!! Thank you so much for being a participant in our retreat!!

bonton said...

JULIE: Thank you so much for your beautiful post and sharing CFRR on Seekerville!! I can't say enough thanks for your love, support, prayers, encouragement, and participation in, and contributions to, CFRR in so many ways. You are a huge part of CFRR - love you!!

Special thanks to RUTHY and MARY for your support, prayers, contributions, and enthusiasm as speakers!!

Thanks also to JANET, DEBBY, and MYRA for their contributions and participation in CFRR activities!!

I'm so looking forward to meeting as many of the Seekers as possible - if I've omitted any other of the Seekers who may be participating in CFRR, please forgive me. I appreciate each of you so very much!!

Kara Isaac said...

I'm SO excited to be coming to CFRR! I had already booked my flights to Nashville which and it worked out cheaper to arrive on Monday and I was thinking "That's great, but what am I going to do with two spare days before ACFW?" but God already knew the answer!! :)

Cindy W. said...

This sounds like a wonderful new event. Wish I could come this year but circumstances at this point say no. But then the Lord does move in mysterious ways and who knows... Thank you ladies for heeding God's call to get this event a reality.

May you all be blessed this week.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Why is peach cobbler day in April?

That would be like having a strawberry festival in March.

This needs to be changed.

SHAME ON CONGRESS!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, won't this be so fun?????

Echoing Tina, I hope that everyone coming to ACFW streams in a day early to hang out with us at this amazing event!!!!!

I am happy dancing, just thinking of it!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, fresh coffee for y'all.... (I'm practicing my drawl for Nashville!!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Actually, Noela, we should MOVE THE EVENT to Australia...

I think that's a plan!!!! :)

Jackie said...

What an amazing idea! Then again, you all are amazing!

I hope I can come to the event and ACFW in Nashville. I'm still waiting to figure out my work schedule.

Ruth, if you're practicing your drawl, does that mean you're coming to Nashville?

Julie Lessman said...

OH. MY. GOSH!!! Here I thought I was doing SO good getting up early (for me me, not Ruthy!), and y'all are up WAY before me, and yes, Ruthy, that's my Nashville drawl too! ;)

WHOO-HOO!!!! I am SOOOOOO excited about CFRR!!! It's going to be a day to remember, and my only concern is it won't be long enough to give all the hugs I want to give!!

NOTE TO CFRR PLANNERS: Ban Julie Lessman from all caffeine during retreat!!!

MEGA HUGS to Bonnie, Carrie, and Annie -- three of my favorite people in the whole, wide world!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARIANNE!! I would SO love to meet you in person, my friend, so I'm praying RIGHT NOW that somehow, someway, that will happen, and wouldn't that be cool if it was at CRRF???

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LARA, a 3-month old??? YIKES, girl ... no wonder you're up early!!

And I would LOVE to send you a winner's copy of IOH, so you go, girl!!

Thanks for reading my books, my friend -- MUCH appreciated. :)

HUGS!!

Julie

kaybee said...

What a great idea.

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, PATTI JO, thank you, but YOU'RE an "inspiration" to me with your bubbly personality AND bubbly peach cobbler, my friend, and I swear I gain several cyber pounds every time you show up!!

And I'm with Ruthy -- peach cobbler day in April?? What, were all the days in June, July, and August already taken???

Girl, would LOVE to have you and your cobbler at CFRR, so I hope you are going. And if not, Georgia is not far from Nashville, so give it some thought, okay?

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ANNIE, you're a night owl, girl!! And I agree, this is truly an anointed event, so God DOES have big things in store.

And I forgot to tell Patti Jo that I want whipped cream with my cobbler ... ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BETH, me too!! Goosebumps on top of goosebumps ... or I guess it could be a little extra weight from Patti Jo's cobbler ... ;)

PRAYING hubby gives the nod, my friend, because I have a hug with your name on it after that great review you gave AGOH!!

Hugs!!
Julie

DebH said...

This sounds absolutely awesome. I just wish I could go to it, because Nashville isn't THAT far from Virginia Beach... right? Meeting the Seeker Ladies alone would make my weekend. Hobnobbing and worshipping with them? Off the charts.

Sadly, I don't think I'd be able to make it. Will have to pray more about it. Maybe I could combine a visit to my sister who lives near Kingsport, TN with the CFRR. That way, I could leave my little guy with Grandma for a day while I do the extreme fangirl stuff in Nashville.

Thinking out loud because I really want to go but don't see how at this time.

Thanks for keeping this front and center Seekerville. I think it's something that is greatly needed for both the readers AND the authors.

Julie Lessman said...

NOELA!!! Oh, girl, you have NO IDEA how much I wish you were going to be there, my friend -- YOU are one of the people I want to meet the most, so fingers crossed for the future ...

HUGS!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, BONNIE ... why am I NOT surprised you are still up???

And speaking of goosebumps, I get them when I think how far back you told me how you've always longed to go to a reader/author retreat, and here it is -- your dream come true!!

I feel SO incredibly blessed, not only to be involved, but to be your friend, too. :)

Love you!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

GABRIELLE, YES, that IS a lot of names, which translates into a lot of fun!! I am soooooo glad you will be there to help hold down the fort, my friend, 'cause I've got a hug with your name on it, girl. :)

Hugs!
Julie

Carrie Turansky said...

I'm so excited to be coming to CFRR! It's going to be a great day! Thanks for spreading the word, Julie! I'll look forward to hearing what you have to share with us that day. I can't wait to meet new friends and reconnect with long-time author friends. Come and join us!!

Julie Lessman said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS, KARA!!! Talk about an answer to prayer, right??? Sooooo glad you will be there -- it's been a while since I've seen you, my friend, so bring pix of the baby (babies???), okay?

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CINDY, YES, the "Lord DOES move in mysterious ways," so I'm pulling for you, my friend. If not this year -- definitely next!

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

YES, RUTHY, this is going to be a BLAST!! Honestly, it makes me giddy just thinking about it, so no coffee for me. ;)

LOL ... all those in favor of moving the event to Australia, say "aye"!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE, it IS "an amazing idea," isn't it??? That's because it's God's, so I can't wait to see all that He does!

And, YES, Ruthy is a main speaker, along with Mary Connealy, Laura Frantz, and myself, so how's THAT for a lineup??? Praying you can come, my friend, because I would love to give you a hug.

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Yes, we think so, KAYBEE, and we wish you could be there, my friend!!

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, YIKES, DEB H!! My geography is WAY off because I was thinking, YES, Virginia Beach is not too far from Nashville, but it's almost ELEVEN HOURS!!

I don't care -- I'm praying you'll be there, girlfriend -- your sister needs you!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE!!! I am beyond thrilled you are part of the program, my friend, because it's been too, too long since we've chatted, so I'm reallllly looking forward to a hug!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Carrie said...

BETH - Girl, tell your husband that I said you must be there ;) Praying that the way clears for you to join us! Would love to meet you in person!!

Carrie said...

GABRIELLE - Just call us JBAC ;) Super super excited to meet you in person!!

DEB - praying the way clears for you to join us! God is so good at making paths where there weren't any before!

EVERYONE ELSE - I'm so unfashionably late to this party today... but HIIIIIII!!!! I'm so happy to be here and to be talking about the CFRR!! I will try to keep up with the lovely chatter from here on in

Lara (Storm) Hitchcock said...

I'm loving the energy here this morning! :-) I do hope I'm able to participate in these kind of events in the future ... but for now I'm just thankful for finding this group

Tracey Hagwood said...

I would love to go to this and meet all my writer and reader friends, so many in one place!

But there's this little thing called an anniversary happening on the 25th. I'm rationalizing in my head, after all, there are 364 other days in the year to celebrate, why does one day get all the attention? Is it wrong that I'd rather be in Nashville than at home that week? And wouldn't it be good to go off by myself (with a hundred of my best friends) and renew my heart and gain new perspective from all these wives (who just happen to write) so I could come home and be this amazing renewed wife? Maybe I could call it my 42 year wife sabbatical?!

If any of you writers or creative thinkers can come up with some good reasoning to make my case, I could use your help, LOL! The thing is I'm not sure my hubby would really mind, it's just that guilty feeling of doing what's "expected". I know I'll be so jealous while all y'all are together. (That's not practice, I actually say y'all)

I'm thinking and plotting, thinking and plotting...

Janet Dean said...

JULIE, CARRIE, BONNIE and ANNIE, thanks for all the work you're doing to make a readers retreat possible! I'm so excited to connect with all the readers, Seekers and authors at CFRR! I'm also looking forward to participating in the panel on kissing. How fun will that be!

Friendship with readers is the pot of gold, as you say JULIE. The biggest blessing for me is to have a reader say my story helped them in some way. That tells me God had a reader/s in mind when I wrote the story, an answer to prayer.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

PATTI JO, I love peaches and your cobblers are the best! Your Georgia offerings in Seekerville always make me smile.

Janet

Carrie said...

JULIE - thank you so very much for your beautiful words and for inviting us to crash your party today. You are one of MY favorite people and I can't wait to give you HUGS for real :)

NOELA - you should totally plan a CFRR:Australia spinoff... and then pipe us in via satellite

JACKIE, CINDY - praying the way clears so you can join us!! It's going to be SUCH a FUN day!!

KARA - Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! I love how God works things out :)

RUTHY - so proud of you for using y'all! We'll work further on the drawl in person and you'll have it mastered in no time ;)

Jill Weatherholt said...

I'm not surprised such a brilliant idea was born here at Seekerville. Sadly, my day job will prohibit me from attending this year. Maybe someone can make a video of all of the speakers, for those of us who are unable to attend.
I love the photo of you, Julie!

Carrie said...

JULIE (again) - We've already decided to keep an eye on all the Seekerville peeps if y'all linger near the refreshment table. :-D

KAYBEE - doesn't it sound like fun? Would love for you to join us!

TRACEY - hi!! Who celebrates an anniversary in the middle of the week anyway? Much better to come join us in Nashville and then celebrate the anniversary on the weekend :) OR better yet - bring hubby to Nashville and enjoy a little time away together :D

JANET & CARRIE - sooooo excited to meet y'all in person! Looking so forward to Nashville!

Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE SAID: "BETH - Girl, tell your husband that I said you must be there ;)"

LOL ... way to get tough, girl, and you're not much later than me, my friend, so we'll be "unfashionably late" together while the night owls (Bonnie & Annie) wear out by dinner! ;)

And, LARA, we're thankful you found this group as well, because YOU are PART of the ENERGY, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

TRACEY!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, GIRLFRIEND ... and it WILL be if we can figure a way to get you to Nashville!!

My hubby and I are not sticklers for dates at all, and in fact, I remember my girlfriend being shocked when I told her Keith was going on a fishing trip on my birthday. "You're kidding!" she said, barely able to believe I would let him. Let him?? I love him, and he loves to fish and never gets to, so you bet I "let him" with joy in my heart because my birthday is just another day. Ahem ... and one I'd rather forget now that I'm 65 and counting ... ;)

Saying a prayer right now, Tracey, that it all works out.

Hugs,
Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Wish I could go to ACFW and this special reader event this year!

Julie Lessman said...

JANET!!! I am sooooo excited to be on the kissing panel with you, girlfriend, along with Ruthy and Carrie, I think, so we are going to ROCK the place!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JILL, "sadly" is right, my friend, because we want you there! But duty calls, I realize, it's just I tend to ignore it when it does. ;)

And thanks for your sweet comment about the pic. My hubby and moved to Lake of the Ozarks last summer, and that was me expressing how I felt about it. Of course, I feel the same way about Christian fiction -- thus the pic! ;)

Maybe next year, girlfriend???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE SAID: "JULIE (again) - We've already decided to keep an eye on all the Seekerville peeps if y'all linger near the refreshment table. :-D"

LOL ... only if there's chocolate ...

And, GLYNNA, I sure wish you could be there, too, my friend -- you will be missed!

Hugs,
Julie

Lara (Storm) Hitchcock said...

Tracey, maybe you can tell you husband it's homework for a romantic weekend at a later date ;-)
(And your husband sounds like mine in the regard that he wouldn't mind me taking off. So no guilt, right?)

Julie, I noticed Isle of Hope is #1. Are there going to be three in this series as well? I enjoyed the prequel, and I'm looking forward to reading book #1. In the meantime I've been enjoying getting myself acquainted with the writing of some of the other Seekers. So many books, so little time!! (And, yes, a 3-year-old changes things ... like the fact that I read most of "A Light in the Window" in the middle of the night. :-)

Carrie said...

JILL - we are considering making something like that available after the fact. Hopefully you can join us next year!

GLYNNA - we wish you could come too!!!! Is there any way?

JULIE/JANET/RUTHY - this Kissing Panel is gonna be so much fun!

Tracey Hagwood said...

LARA, homework, yes, that's a good one!

CARRIE, you're right, weekends are definitely a better time!

JULIE, thanks for the well wishes, I'm not a stickler for dates either, see LARA and Carrie's suggestions above.

Just Commonly said...

LOVE Ruthy's idea! NOELA, would love to meet you and if you plan one over in Australia, I would love to be there! I mean, going to Australia is on my bucket list!

Gabe, there are a lot of "ie"....And I'm sooo excited to meet you! Lets all fangirl together!

Bonnie & Carrie, if I didn't say so before, LOVE how God put us together! Thank you for your friendship!

JULIE - you are one of my FAVORITE Authors and PERSON! You are such sunshine when I read your comments! Can't WAIT to meet you!!!

KARA! We'll be seeing you soon! I love your photo from your website! And yes, God always does know the answer and I'm thrilled that answer is CFRR!!!

CINDY, I'm sorry we'll miss you this year. But you'll never know. Maybe things will change or we'll be able to meet again at another event!


OK.. have to check out now. Be back later! =) Thanks JULIE again for a fabulous post, and to SEEKERVILLE! All the Seeker! Always awesome! God bless.


Missy Tippens said...

Bonnie, Annie and Carrie, I've been amazed at how you've joined to plan this wonderful event! It's such a great idea. I just wish I could have taken part this year! I hope I will be able to next year.

Julie, I'm so glad you shared about the event today!

Missy Tippens said...

Noela, maybe you can travel here one day to join in the fun! :)

Carrie said...

ANNIE - ditto!!! I love how God did that! SO very thankful for you and Bonnie <3

MISSY - we will hold you to that "next year" promise ;)

TRACEY - that's the spirit!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Tracey, I know how tough it is with an anniversary! One of the years that RWA met in June was on my 25th anniversary! So I felt I couldn't go that year...unless...

I took my husband with me to his first conference! :) And it was in NYC, so he was more than happy to join me. :)

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome to the ladies of CFRR!!! We're so glad Julie invited you today, and we're so excited about the retreat!

BONNIE, ANNIE, & CARRIE, thank you SO MUCH for spearheading this event!

Carrie said...

MYRA! So looking forward to meeting you :) Thanks for letting us crash Seekerville today :)

Sherida Stewart said...

What a God-inspired idea! Julie, thank you for sharing how Bonnie, Annie, and Carrie came together to make this event a reality. Wish I could be there, but the whole group of event planners, authors and readers are in my prayers! Is there a way bloggers and tweeters can promote the event? Thanks!

Carrie said...

SHERIDA SAID: Wish I could be there, but the whole group of event planners, authors and readers are in my prayers! Is there a way bloggers and tweeters can promote the event? /// YES!! First - thank you for your prayers! So important! Vital! Second - we have a website that gives all the info - http://christianfictionreadersretreat.blogspot.com/ - and feel free to blog or tweet away the link and details! THANK YOU!!

Beth Erin said...

Ladies, I am tearing up here. Thank you for your encouragement! HUGS!!!

Beth Erin said...

Ladies, I am tearing up here. Thank you for your encouragement! HUGS!!!

bonton said...

KARA: so happy how God worked out a way to help fill that extra time for you. Looking forward to meeting you!!

CINDY W.: yes, the Lord does work in mysterious ways, the way CFRR came about is a perfect example!! Saying a prayer we see you at CFRR.

RUTHY: such a wonderful idea, move CFRR to Australia!! I've always wanted to witness it's beauty and even more to meet - in person - my sweet Overcoming With God buddy. RUTHY: you always inspire me with your joy, enthusiasm, and encouraging personality - can't wait to meet you at CFRR and so blessed you are a part of it!!

JACKIE: hope you're able to giggle your work schedule so that we get to meet you at CFRR. Yes, RUTHY - will be speaking at CFRR, you don't want to miss that.

DEB H.: sounds like the perfect plan, visit your sis and let grandma keep "little guy" so we have the pleasure of meeting you at CFRR. Truth is, I'd love to meet "little guy" too, I've "heard" you speak of him so often.

CARRIE TURANSKY: JULIE is such an encouraging cheerleader of CFRR, as she is and has been - for me, personally, for so long. She is such a blessing!! And we are blessed that you will be participating in CFRR - thank you!!

TRACEY: such wonderful ideas have been given to pave the way for your joining us at CFRR. Hubby would surely enjoy a vacation day, or 2, in Nashville - if "doable". If not, you are right when you say you will come back a rejuvenated and inspired wife from CFRR. What hubby wouldn't want that - you'll have an even more wonderful anniversary celebration when you return!!

JANET: thank you so much for participating in CFRR, can't wait to see your beautiful face!!

JILL: so wish you could join us at CFRR, however, maybe next year, and we do plan to have pics or video made of the retreat.

GLYNNA: praying God works a way for you to attend CFRR, would love to meet you!!

MISSY: so sad you won't be able to be with us at CFRR, so wanted to meet you!! However, as CINDY W. commented: "the Lord works in mysterious ways", anything is still possible - so maybe??

CARRIE SCHMIDT and ANNIE JC: the feeling is SO mutual, I am blessed by the friendship of each of you and so glad God put the 3 of us together!! Thank you!!

Julie Lessman said...

LARA SAID: "Tracey, maybe you can tell you husband it's homework for a romantic weekend at a later date ;-)"

Oh, not THERE'S a brilliant woman for you!! Lara, you're a genius!!

But my heart stopped when I read this: "Julie, I noticed Isle of Hope is #1."

Really??? On what list??? ;) LOL ... it actually was #1 on Amazon's list for several weeks and in the top five for over a month, so that's something, right?

And, yes, IOH is the first book in the series, although there is a prequel novella that gives some of the backstory since IOH takes place eight years later from the last time the hero and heroine saw each other, when she was the bad girl, and he was a seminary student. When IOH opens up eight years down the road, she's now the new Christian and he's the bad boy that went south when his pastor dad had an affair with the heroine's mother. Messy stuff, but a GREAT plot for forgiveness!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie
(

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, ANNIE, gotta feeling it's gonna be a real hug fest, you know??? :)

Me, too, Missy, and I sure wish you were going to be there, too, my friend. :(

Hugs,
Julie

Carrie said...

BETH - we are solidly in your corner, sweet friend <3

BONNIE - i adore you :) Just think - when we met in September at Laura's book signing, God already knew what we would be doing together in August. I adore HIM too :)

Keli Gwyn said...

This sounds like an amazing event. Spending time with readers and authors is such fun.

Julie Lessman said...

I echo Myra's thanks to Annie, Bonnie, and Carrie for "spearheading" this event. You guys are the A-B-C's of blessing -- literally!!!

SHERIDA SAID: "What a God-inspired idea!"

I TOTALLY agree, my friend, in every way!!

"Is there a way bloggers and tweeters can promote the event?"

Are you kidding??? YES, YES, YES!! I'll bet Carrie would send you a meme to put on your website, Sherida, so THANK YOU!!

And I sure wish you were going to be there, my friend, but I'll save your hugs for the next time.

Hugs!!
Julie

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Can't talk. On crazy deadlines today. On break. When I saw your jumping up in air photo my mind immediately came up with this caption:

"My next book is this big!"

Also loved this quote:

"...this could be a lawsuit in the making if this Mennonite mother thinks I’ve brainwashed her daughter with too much “passion” in a Christian novel.”

What you may see as 'too much' passion, mothers may see as the sugar-coating on an equal intensity presentation of genuine Christian values. I call that passion with a purpose.

I'd love, love, love, to go to the CFRR in Nashville. We have three other reasons to visit the Nashville area. I'm sure we'll go it Linda can get off at the time and I am able to travel. I'm glad it is in August! I'll make it a birthday gift for Linda.

BTW: Make sure KC hears about this as it is in her neck of the woods.

Back to deadlines.

Vince

P.S.
I hope the CFRR has an early prayer session where Debby's "Writer's Prayer" is read. Perhaps DEBBY could have a "Reader's Prayer" to be said before reading Christian Fiction by then. I'm just full of ideas for other people to do. : )

Missy Tippens said...

Yes, there is still a chance that I could meet up with y'all. I may not know for sure until the last minute--which is why I couldn't sign up. But I'm hopeful!

bonton said...

MYRA: my thanks to you and all the Seekers for such a warm greeting today and for allowing us to share about CFRR with you and other Seeker readers. Trust me, no one is more excited about CFRR than CARRIE, ANNIE, and I - so glad you're excited also, and thankful for your contribution!!

BETH: I think you must have some of that passion dear JULIE and I have, can't tell you how often I tear up over how God is working out the details for CFRR. He's a miraculous God, as commented previously - I have hopes we'll see you at CFRR!! Hugs back!!

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE!!!! It would be so great to see you and Linda in Nashville!!! Really, really hope you can be there!

bonton said...

CARRIE SCHMIDT: love those "God moments" that happen when we look back and realize His hand in the events of our lives and orchestration before we were even aware of such events!!

MISSY: so happy there is still a chance we will get to see you!!

KELI: would love to see/meet you in Nashville!! I think you were the hostess of the hour in which the idea of a treat was mentioned during the Seekerville New Year's Eve party.

Julie Lessman said...

KELI, yes, it does, so are you going to be there, I hope???

Pretty please, with some of Patti Jo's peach cobbler on top???

Hugs!!
Julie

bonton said...

VINCE: so happy you and your wife are considering attending CFRR, I'd love to meet you. I always enjoy your comments on Seekerville!!

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE!!! OMG ... you just made my day, my friend, that I would not only get to me YOU, but your better half as well??? Be still, my heart!! Praying it all comes to pass!!

"My next book is this big!"

LOL ... not anymore, my friend, I'm done with doorstoppers (with the possible exception of Gabe's story when I get to it), but I think it is fair to title that pic, ""My next novella is this big!" because the novella I just finished was 14,000 words OVER the contract specification. Sigh. But on the bright side, I'm getting reallllll good at editing down ... ;)

And true story on the Mennonite reader friend, every word! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Carrie said...

y'all (say it with me, Ruthy... it's good practice!) are making me hungry with all this peach cobbler talk ;)

bonton said...

SHERIDA: thank you so much for offering to share/promote CFRR on your blog, we appreciate it so much!! We especially appreciate your prayers - in fact, we have a prayer group for CFRR, please private message me (Bonnie Roof) on Facebook if you'd like to be a part of it. I love your beautiful blog and the godly atmosphere!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great article Julie I would love to go to the reader event. That sounds like so much fun. But since I'm doing RWA because it is in my neck of the woods, I can't justify doing both. So maybe next year. I'll be praying it goes well so everyone will want to do it next year.

It is always such a joy to meet readers. I love getting their feedback. And it always amazes me because nine times out of ten they got something I didn't even know I put in there. God works in amazing ways. smile

Thanks again and have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Tracey Happy anniversary.

bonton said...

JULIE: I won't ban you from the caffeine at CFRR, just that much more JULIE to enjoy, LOL!! And yes, I have "goosebumps" (and tears) also, just thinking about how long you have been an encourager and prayer partner for my dream for an author/reader retreat. SO grateful and blessed God has chosen to make that dream a reality!! And it is ME that is so blessed to be YOUR friend!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Vince Super great idea to give Linda a trip to Nashville for her birthday. smile

Sarah Claucherty said...

This event sounds like so much fun!!! Wish I could come too, but I don't think it'll be this year. Have fun ladies! (Will there be a Seeker post about the event?)

Carrie said...

SARAH - we would LOVE to have you join us! Any chance at all?

CatMom said...

Stopping back in (since it was way after midnight when I posted my first comment and I needed sleep, LOL) to say I'm getting even MORE excited about CFRR after reading all these comments!! So thankful my "taxi service" (waving at sweet Debby Giusti!) is attending this, so that means I'll be there too!! :) Looking forward to getting lots of hugs and meeting new friends! AND seeing some of my SEEKER friends - - WOOHOO!!!! (Ruthy, please bring some of your energy to share!!) ;)
Also excited about meeting Bonnie, Carrie, and Annie! (who all happen to have the letters "ie" at the end of their names - - did anyone else notice that? Guess I'm a true "word nerd" LOL) ;)

Okay, in honor of National Peach Cobbler Day I'm setting out another just-baked pan of cobbler with extra cinnamon. There's still plenty of whipped cream AND ice-cream available too. ;)
And Ruthy, I agree! Not sure who thought of having this "Special day" in APRIL?!?! I would definitely think a summer month too. I'll mull over that as I eat another helping of cobbler, hehehe.
Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

Barbara Scott said...

Good morning, Julie!!! If your passionate/real love stories are approved by the Mennonites, shout it from the rooftops! Some CBA publishers and readers still don't get it. [SHOCKER ALERT!] Christians fall in love and actually KISS before marriage. And I'm not talking about a little peck on the cheek.

Uh-oh. Quick! Bring me a fan and some smelling salts. I think a few people just fainted. ;-)

Carrie said...

yaaaaaaaay Patti Jo!! Excited to meet you!! :-D Isn't it funny?!? Our initials are A, B, and C and our names all end with "ie". We're a team for sure!

BARBARA - Hahaha! I like you :) Come hang out with us at the KissingPanel at CFRR

Jan Drexler said...

I'm so looking forward to this retreat! I'm planning to be there, and I'm just pumped about meeting some of my favorite readers AND authors!

Win/win all around. :)

Carrie said...

YAY JAN!!!! :-D Looking forward to meeting you!

Julie Lessman said...

SANDRA!!! I'm sad you can't make it this year, but fingers crossed for next year, my friend. We will miss you!!

BONNIE SAID: "And yes, I have "goosebumps" (and tears) also, just thinking about how long you have been an encourager and prayer partner for my dream for an author/reader retreat."

LOL ... is it any wonder we get along so well, my friend -- I'm not sure which of us is weepier!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SARAH ASKED: "Will there be a Seeker post about the event?"

Mmmm ... GREAT idea, Sarah ... and it's very likely!

Bonnie/Carrie/Annie -- is there going to be someone taking pictures??

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PATTI JO ... can you hear my grooooooaaaaannnn from here?? I'm trying to lose weight, not gain it, girlfriend, and everyone knows I have NO WILL POWER WHATSOEVER when it comes to peach cobbler!!

Sigh. Cut me a big piece, please.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BARBARA SCOTT SAID: "Good morning, Julie!!! If your passionate/real love stories are approved by the Mennonites, shout it from the rooftops! Some CBA publishers and readers still don't get it. [SHOCKER ALERT!] Christians fall in love and actually KISS before marriage. And I'm not talking about a little peck on the cheek. Uh-oh. Quick! Bring me a fan and some smelling salts. I think a few people just fainted. ;-)"

LOL, BARB, I knew I liked you, girlfriend!! And, yes, there are inert bodies all over the kingdom today. Now ... we just have to pray none of them post reviews on Amazon ... ;)

Hugs and MORE HUGS!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JAN, soooooooo excited you'll be there too!! Now I'm worried there won't be time for all the hugs I intend to dole out ... ;)

Hugs!
Julie

DebH said...

*head slap* moment. I forgot the 25th wasn't a weekend day.

I might not have enough vacation time to take off work for three days (one for CFRR, two for travel) :(. Still, with a little bit o' prayer, maybe I'll have enough. It accrues slowly and I'll be using a couple of days when hubby has an operation to repair a frayed ligament/tendon in his left ankle (victim of late night trip over one of little man's toys).

It's still great to see such enthusiasm. I hope/pray CFRR will be a resounding success. (how can it not be with so much Seekerville participation? *heh*)

DebH said...

p.s.
hi TINA, got to read your WW story yesterday. enjoyed it! studying it and past issues to see if I've got anything to send to WW. Hope to be like you when I "grow up" writing-wise.

Debby Giusti said...

Actually, I'm on the waiting list, but hoping to get in. Should be a wonderful event! Thanks, Julie, for spreading the word!

Debby Giusti said...

Vince, I've considered writing a prayer for readers. Your comment seems like confirmation. :)

Would love to see you and Linda in Nashville.

Carrie said...

DEBBY - I am praying that you get in!

Edwina said...

At first glance, I thought Ruthie said, "move the event to Atlanta." I'm doing the happy dance...and then...I read the post again Australia?? Well, they both start with an A.

This is one of the best ideas I've heard since Christian Fiction began to make a name for itself.

Carrie said...

EDWINA - Atlanta WOULD be a great idea for next year too! My adorable nephew lives in Atlanta so any excuse I can get for a trip down there is a good one :) But now what about this year?? Nashville isn't so terribly far away from Atlanta... come join us!

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H ... still praying you make it, my friend, week day or no! :)

DEBBY ... you're on the "waiting list"??? What does that mean?? Ruthy, Mary, and I have a little clout ... maybe we can slide you in ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

EDWINA, LOL ... I actually would like Atlanta, too, since I have lots of good friends down there, so come on, ACFW -- take a look at Atlanta!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MISSY, I've got my hands folded and fingers crossed, girlfriend!!

Hugs!!
Julie

Megan Besing said...

The CFRR sounds so fun!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MEGAN, we think so, too, but it would be even MORE so if you came, so what do you say?

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

Julie

Carrie said...

MEGAN - yeeeessss ... it is! Come join us ;-D

Janet Dean said...

CARRIE, I look forward to meeting you. We will have a great time at the retreat!

PATTI JO, thrilled I'll get to see you at the retreat.

VINCE, I've wanted to meet Seekerville's poet and philosopher for ages. Will be praying you're up to the trip and your dear wife can get off work.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

JAN, looking forward to hooking up!

BONTON/BONNIE, I can't wait to meet you! Your ministry to Christian writers is so appreciated.

Janet

Melanie Dickerson said...

Julie, I didn't realize you were behind this! I thought it was the brainchild of Annie and Carrie! I'm so excited about being there and I hope I get to spend at least a little time with you. :-)

Carrie said...

MELANIE - it was hatching in Julie and Bonnie's minds long before Annie and I joined the party :) SO looking forward to meeting you in "real life"

Pepper Basham said...

This makes me so happy!!! As both a reader (unabashed fangirl of the Seekers) and an author, I think about what a wonderful opportunity this will provide.
And I must confess, the fact I get to share a kissing panel with Julie Lessman, the kissing queen, makes my grin even bigger!!

Pepper Basham said...

Barbara Scott!!!
Your comment about Christians kissing before marriage?!? Lol!!! And some of us authors enjoy writing those a-bit-more-than-pecks-on-the-cheek kisses too :) yes, oh yes!!!

Pepper Basham said...

One more thing: I am beyond grateful for having Carrie, Annie, and Bonnie in my life and on this writing journey. They are remarkable people, and amazing encouragers.

Pam Hillman said...

Love the enthusiasm in this post. CFRR is liable to explode! ;) Bonnie, Annie & Carrie, thank you all for this amazing event you're putting together. Praying for a huge turnout and lots of hugs, laughter and FUN! :)

Carrie said...

PEPPER, my Pepper :) I adore you <3 So thankful for you and your friendship... and how have we NOT met in person yet? Having you in my pocket during the Laura Frantz book signing did NOT count. Though, I think you might have met Bonnie that way that day too lol.

PAM - i really think we're going to lose all control of our authors ;) But what fun that will be :-D

Pepper Basham said...

Oh goodness Carrie- you can pretty much plan on losing control! But have no fear, Ruthy will be there to keep us all in line :-) *snicker

Just Commonly said...

WOW! We sure have quite the party here today! =)

JACKIE, we hope to see you at CFRR too! So lets join Ruthy and all practice our drawl, y'all!

Awww JULIE, we'll all LINE UP to get a hug from you! We'll just change to to "HUG JULIE LESSMAN DAY!"


DEBH, I LOVE the way you think!!!! Lets make this HAPPEN! It will be soooo much fun!


LARA, we are thankful you can join in on this conversation! =)

TRACEY, HAPPY EARLY ANNIVERSARY first. Now, well, lets see if we can help you brainstorm. Make this into an anniversary trip! Nashville's quite the place to be for lovebirds...O, you can take him to the LOVELESS DINER (don't worry, it's not that it doesn't have love, it's the surnames of the founding owners). It's a staple and how ironic it would be to celebrate an anniversary, celebration of love at the Loveless Diner!

Anyone wants to meet me there? It's a local favorite, and a must stop whenever I'm in Nashville!

JANET, thank you for being one of the authors at this event! We sure look forward to it. And as a reader, I can tell you that authors like you and Julie and Ruthy and Mary and Laura and Carrie...and EVERY Christian Authors out there, are the pot of gold for us. The principles and messages we can get from reading your books are priceless and can help us in some way, sometimes maybe not right away, but there will always be moments that it will.

JILL, sorry you won't be able to join us this year. Images & video snaps will be posted online afterwards. =)

MISSY, Sorry we'll miss you this year, but NEXT year is always a possibility! =)

Carrie said...

PEPPER - Ruthy is the one I'm most worried about ;)

Pepper Basham said...

Carrie,
Wise...very wise. She'll make you THINK she's got it on in control though ;-)

Pepper Basham said...

It's the ones who live in constant chaos you really have to worry about. Not that I understand that at all, but I've heard from other people...

Carrie said...

PEPPER - hahahahahahahaha ;)

Just Commonly said...

GLYNNA, I hope you'll be able to. We're still early in the registration process. If not this year, maybe another. We still love to hear from you!

JULIE & CARRIE & JANET - I can't wait for your Kissing Panel! It'll be fun! Carrie will be moderating, be prepared to laugh and more....

MYRA - Thank YOU for joining us as an author this year! And we're (at least I am) jumping up and down with excitement when we found out we're going to be on SEEKERVILLE!!!!! Still a tad bit jittery over it and I haven't had coffee all day!

SHERIDA - THANK YOU for your prayers! It's the first and most important aspect of planning this event. Your prayers are VERY much appreciated. As to bloggers and tweets, feel free to tweet and blog away. Our website will have all the information. Here's one tweet with a graphic image to retweet: https://twitter.com/JustCommonly/status/718448951331065856
Many thanks!

CARRIE - Thanks! Just saw your comment! =)

BETH - Hugs & Kisses!

VINCE - Thank you!!! We would love to meet you and Linda! And we do have a little prayer session scheduled! Awesome birthday gift for sure!

MISSY - Prayers for things clearing way for the chance to meet you at CFRR this year!

SANDRA - Sorry we'll miss you this year! Maybe next year?! And I love what you said, "And it always amazes me because nine times out of ten they got something I didn't even know I put in there. God works in amazing ways." AMEN to that. God's amazing!

SARAH - Sorry we'll miss you this year too! We'll keep updates on the CFRR website if you want to check it out after the event. =)

PATTI JO - This group makes me smile every time! I just came back in from my early stop. We would love to meet you! Did you also know our first initial of our first names, Annie, Bonnie & Carrie turns out to be ABC??!! HAHHA. Funny! I saw that and not the "ie" until someone else pointed it out!

For all those attending, check out our website (http://ChristianFictionReadersRetreat.blogspot.com) for more info! =) (Sorry, had to do another "infomercial" there!)

BARBARA - HAHHAHAHAH. You had me there with the "actually KISS before marriage. And I'm not talking about a little peck on the cheek." You are sooooo right! And that is why when I first read Christian Fiction by chance and it was a little too unrealistically "CLEAN?" Then I came across Julie's A Passion Most Pure, I KNEW there's more to Christian Fiction and I instantly fell in love! Passion is real!

JAN - I know what YOU mean!!! Ahhh..

DEBH - Did you just pulled a GIBBS? We'll be praying for this. We sure hope to see you!

DEBBY G - We'll check in with those on the waiting list by end of April! Thanks for your interest!

EDWINA - Lovely name! HAHA...Atlanta, Australia...both starts and ends with an A. Easy mistake! =)








Just Commonly said...

JULIE - Atlanta sure sounds good too! Something to think about!

MEGAN - With amazing authors and us crazy readers, it will sure be a fun event! Hope you can make it!

MELANIE - Julie is our counselor and she had this in her mind (which I'm sure many of you did too) forever! Whatever questions we had, she jumped right in and answered for us! She's amazing and also the very first author to say YES, without knowing what, when, where, how...nada! She's just AMAZING!


LOL PEPPER - I get it. Totally do about fangirling.. Unabashed and very vocal about it! =) I'm not an author, but I think I'll be like that if I was on the same panel as the "kissing queen"! =)

O PEPPER - Ditto. I am blessed to have known you, Carrie, Bonnie, Julie and the world of Christian Fiction. I really can't wait to meet you all in person! HUGS!!!

PAM - Thank YOU!! Your prayers are greatly appreciated!



CatMom said...

WOOHOO!!!!! Am all registered now and cannot wait!! :)
Hugs (along with more peach cobbler), Patti Jo ;)

Carrie said...

Yaaaaaaay Patti Jo!!!! Can not wait for August!! :)

Julie Lessman said...

JANET SAID ABOUT VINCE: "I've wanted to meet Seekerville's poet and philosopher for ages."

Me, too, Janet! That alone is worth the price of the ticket! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

bonton said...

MELANIE: so glad you will be at CFRR, looking forward to meeting you!!

Julie Lessman said...

MELANIE SAID: "Julie, I didn't realize you were behind this! I thought it was the brainchild of Annie and Carrie! I'm so excited about being there and I hope I get to spend at least a little time with you. :-)"

Oh, honey, I'm not behind it -- it's the brainchild of Bonnie, Annie, and Carrie -- I'm just the help who prays and encourages!

And, YES, YES, YES!! We HAVE to make this happen, Mel, because it's been WAY too long since you and I have sat down to chat, girlfriend! So if not at CFRR, then definitely at ACFW, so pencil me in!

CARRIE SAID: MELANIE - it was hatching in Julie and Bonnie's minds long before Annie and I joined the party :) SO looking forward to meeting you in "real life"

CORRECTION: it was "hatching" in Carrie's and Bonnie's minds first, as far as I know, and Annie rounded God's plan out, so God bless these three amazing ladies ... and HE IS!!

Hugs,
Julie

Tracey Hagwood said...

JUST COMMONLY, thanks for the early anniversary wish, now to figure out where I'll be spending it ;)

Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER SAID: "And I must confess, the fact I get to share a kissing panel with Julie Lessman, the kissing queen, makes my grin even bigger!!"

LOL ... thanks, Pep, but the fact that there IS a kissing panel at all has me grinning ear-to-ear, my friend, especially when I get to share it with some pretty talented "kissers"! ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

bonton said...

SARAH: praying your situation changes and you are able to attend CFRR!! You asked if there would be a Seeker post about CFRR - JULIE then asked if we would have pics taken at CFRR?? We ARE hoping/planning to secure someone to take pics &/or video at CFRR. However, was I mistaken in thinking you were asking if there would be another post on Seekerville about the retreat, afterward??

Julie Lessman said...

PAM SAID: "CFRR is liable to explode! ;)"

LOL ... wouldn't surprise me in the least! :)

ANNIE SAID: "Awww JULIE, we'll all LINE UP to get a hug from you! We'll just change to to "HUG JULIE LESSMAN DAY!"

LOL, Annie -- NOT!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, PATTI JO!! Registered is good, so you go, girl -- to Nashville!!!

And YAY, Bonnie, on the photographer!!! Make sure he/she knows to count to three first, however, right?? ;)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, PATTI JO!! Registered is good, so you go, girl -- to Nashville!!!

And YAY, Bonnie, on the photographer!!! Make sure he/she knows to count to three first, however, right?? ;)

Hugs!
Julie

bonton said...

JULIE, re: MELANIE'S comments: Annie & I were in the begining planning stages of the retreat when we found out Carrie was involved in plans for a separate event. When it appeared those plans might not work out - Carrie was in prayer re: how/if to continue with that event. Annie & I asked if she would join forces with us - when she agreed, it proved to be God's perfect plan for the retreat.

You have been such a huge encourager and prayer partner re: CFRR, but also so much more. As Annie commented previously, you have been a so-called "counselor" - answering questions, and being the 1st author to say "yes" to participating in the retreat, and without even asking any details.

Yes, God is certainly blessing the 3 of us in the planning of this retreat - that includes your selfless help and that of all the other authors participating. We are indeed blessed in SO many ways!!

bonton said...

SANDRA: I so agree with God's working in amazing ways, He continually amazes me!! Was so hoping to meet you at CFRR this year, however, praying this will be only the
1st of many CFRR's - with many more opportunities to meet you!!

PATTI Jo: so glad you are now registered for CFRR!! Annie, Carrie, and I are so excited about CFRR and looking forward to meeting you too. Thanks for that delicous peach cobbler and hugs back!!

DEB H.: saying a prayer those vacation days work out for you and we have the pleasure of seeing you at CFRR. Thanks for your prayers and well wishes for CFRR's success - I love seeing the enthusiasm everyone has!!

bonton said...

DEBBY GUISTI: I love your (and Vince's) idea of writing a prayer for readers, might we be afforded the blessing of having one for CFRR??

bonton said...

MEGAN BESING: praying you are able to join us at CFRR!!

bonton said...

JANET DEAN: Thank you so much for your sweet comments, I feel so honored to be able to pray for, encourage, share, and help support Christian Fiction and it's many gifted, inspiring authors. So glad I'll have the blessing of meeting you at CFRR!!

bonton said...

PAM HILLMAN: I pray I have the pleasure of meeting you while I am in Nashville!! Would love to see you at CFRR, but understand you will be so busy with your work re: the ACFW conference. Love your comment about CFRR exploding - it very well may. Well - at least with hugs, laughter, fun, and inspiration. That is a guarantee. Thanks for your well wishes re: CFRR!!

bonton said...

ANNIE: count me in for the meal at Loveless Diner while in Nashville, I've wanted to pay a visit there for some time!!

bonton said...

PEPPER: I so appreciate your sweet comments, it is a pleasure and honor to encourage and help share the gift of your writing!! So glad you're so happy about CFRR - our prayer is it will bless all attendees and honor God. I'M happy at the opportunity to meet you - thanks for your friendship!!

Tanya Agler said...

Julie, Thank you for offering this reader lunch. I am praying about whether to attend the ACFW Conference and will be making my decision with my husband (well, talking as soon as I get my voice back, this is my second day with laryngitis, lots of writing done, though) this weekend.

If I go to ACFW, I will definitely want to go an extra day early and enjoy this as a reader because I've read quite a few of the authors, and I've loved so many of the stories.

Lynne Feuerstein said...

Hi Julie! Thank you (and the other authors who joined in) for this wonderful post! It was fun reading how far reaching the love of your books go,even into the Mennonite community ! Of course I shouldn't be surprised.A Passion Most Pure has that special quality! Oh,Julie you and your stories mean so much to me I can't thank you enough for being the special, loving person you are. I know I've said it before,but I so wish I could be at the conference to meet,talk,and hug you in person!! Thanks again to you and everyone at the conference for being a special part of our lives.

Julie Lessman said...

TANYA!! I am SO glad you are praying about coming to CFRR, and am praying you come too! I am sorry to hear about the laryngitis, my friend, although my hubby might enjoy that with me! ;) But lots of writing is a definite plus with that, for sure. :)

Saving a hug for you, my friend, when I see you in person!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LYNNE, Bonnie and I feel the SAME way about you -- we soooo wish you could come so we could hug on you proper for the special person you are in our lives. We appreciate you more than we can say, my friend.

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

bonton said...

TANYA: SO glad you're praying about whether to attend the ACFW Conference - and our CFRR. Hope to see you at CFRR - I can promise you it will be a day full of fun and inspiration!!

Carolyn Astfalk said...

The readers' retreat is a WONDERFUL idea! Many blessings for safe travel for all and a fun, blessed event.

Laurie Wood said...

I wish I could get to either ACFW or CFRR this year but we have two family weddings at different times this year to trek back East to so anything else is out of the question. But I love the idea of the CFRR and wish you much success with it. I'm sure it will grow every year!

Melony Teague said...

I am so totally ecstatic about this event! To meet you Julie after all this time emailing back and forth! And to think that God made it possible for this little Canadian girl to go to Nashville! Can't wait to meet everyone and join in fellowship together!~ Pot of gold for sure! Thanks for spreading the word.

bonton said...

CAROLYN: Thank you for your well wishes re: CFRR!! Is there a chance you can attend?? We'd love to meet you - I have no doubt it will be a fun, blessed event for all attending!!

LAURIE: So sorry you won't be able to attend this year's CFRR, thank you for your comments. Yes, we feel it will turn into a yearly event which will continue to grow. If your plans for this year should change, we'd love to see you at CFRR!!

bonton said...

MELONY: Carrie, Annie and I are ecstatic that you are a participant in CFRR's activities. Thank you so much, so looking forward to meeting you!! God is so good to give us the desires of our heart!!

Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a cool event.

bonton said...

KIM HANSEN: CFRR will definitely be a "cool" event, as well as fun and inspiring. Will you be able to attend?? Would love to see you there!!

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

It just occurred to me that when you wrote

" 'My next novella is this big!" because the novella I just finished was 14,000 words OVER the contract specification."

That was just one way to look at it. Another way is to assume you wrote two novellas, or perhaps more precisely, one novella and one prequel novelette. You would then have what is probably the only novella that has its own prequel.

Now, I'd give away the prequel on Amazon to stimulate sales of the novella.

Vince

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, CAROLYN! Wish you would be there -- would love to meet you! :)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, LAURIE, I wish you could go, too, but I hear you on the weddings. We just moved out of town from our extended family, so we have to travel back and forth for showers and weddings like clockwork. Have fun and maybe next year??

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MELONY!!! I am SOOO excited to meet you, too, my friend -- big hugs coming your way!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, VINCE ... I like the way you think, my friend! ;)

Hugs,
Julie