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WELCOME TO MY

JOURN+AL JOTS BLOG ...

A journal where you can learn what I'm up to on my books, giveaways, fun things I'm doing or even my own personal devotional for the day. It's a broad mix of what's on my mind, allowing me to feel a little bit closer to some of the most important people in my life -- YOU! So please stop by from time to time, and if you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you via the "Contact Julie" tab or via my Facebook page.  Hugs, Julie

 

11:57AM

Saturday, September 21, 2019 

“Guilt is like a cancer that eats away at our soul,

robbing us of joy, hope, and all too often, the very forgiveness that will set us free."

--A Gift Like No Other by Julie Lessman

❀️ Hello, Everyone!

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Julie Lessman, the author you haven't heard from in almost three months. But I promise you, I have a good reason. 😍

As you know, I spent most of this year writing Gabe O'Connor's story, A Wing and a Prayer, WHICH I had hoped to release as an indie by now, but unfortunately (or fortunately), I have a couple of publishers who are interested, so we have to wait on that one to see if it sells. A quick prayer for God's will on this book would be MOST appreciated!

So ... since I can't release Gabe's story yet, I've been busy trying to get a new O'Connor Christmas novella out so you have at least ONE book from me this year, and I'm happy to say that ... drum roll please ... Faith and Collin now have their very own Christmas story!

A Gift Like No Other is definitely a story like no other because it deals with sensitive marital issues that I felt required a higher level of romantic passion, so if that is not your thing, please feel free to pass this novella up. In fact, I am so sensitive to the fact that this level of romantic passion is not for everyone, that I have put the following warning on the Amazon page for this novella:

WARNING: Due to a subject matter that deals with marital problems, please be advised that this sweet inspirational novella contains a higher level of romantic passion.

Like most of my books, A Gift Like No Other also includes an important spiritual lesson I have learned in my own life—and that is that prayer should always be a first resort, not a last, and that it can tackle and resolve any problem we face, large or small.

Some people will think I'm crazy, but I pray about everything—from small things like which dress to buy, to crucial things like the healing of my family and friends. I've had people say, "God has too many serious prayer requests to handle without me bugging him about what dress to buy," and I will admit, I just shake my head. Because they are missing out on a Father/daughter/son relationship like no other.

I defy those of you who are parents or aunts/uncles to say you wouldn't be thrilled to the gills to have your  daughter or niece ask you what dress you thought she should buy. In fact, I would have killed for my strong-willed daughter to have asked me what dress to wear when she was small, so don't tell me God doesn't care. He cares about every hair on my head (which, admittedly aren't too many at this point, so His job is definitely easier with me!).

The bottom line is that as our Father, God LOVES each and every one of us like a son or daughter! So much so that He died for us! And that same God jumps at every opportunity to help and bless us, whether it's what dress to buy or what job to take or what dream you have floating around in your heart.

So, yes, I'm not ashamed to say I pray about everything, and ALL with the confidence that God wants me to pray, wants me to ask Him to intervene, and wants to bless me through it, whether He says yes or no to those prayers. Because the truth is, He not only wants to be an active part of each of our lives, but He wants to bless those lives abundantly, exceedingly more than we think, hope, and pray.

To hopefully whet your appetite about this very "prayerful" novella that releases OCTOBER 20, 2019, I am including both the jacket blurb below and the first chapter of A Gift Like No Other at the end of this blog, so I hope you enjoy them. And, I'm happy to say, this Christmas novella is now available for PREORDER HERE!

 Her dream is writing.

His is the perfect wife and mother.

Until God fulfills them both with a dream like no other.

Twelve years ago, Faith O’Connor happily gave up her dream as a copywriter to become a wife and mother, clinging to her husband’s promise she could return some day. But when the opportunity arises to write for the Boston Herald again two days a week, her dream hits a snag … along with her marriage.

To Collin McGuire, family is everything because he never really had one of his own. Raised by a father who died early and a mother who didn’t care, Collin is determined to give his children the very best with a full-time mother. But when he denies Faith her dream, he soon discovers he’s denied his own as well … until Christmas day brings a healing through a gift like no other.

So, two books down this year, and now I'm starting my third -- Love's Silver Bullet -- which I hope to release late spring 2020, so prayers appreciated for that one too.

And now, before I close, I thought it would be fun to show you just a few pics of family visits we had this year. WOW, family is everything, so I thank God for every precious moment with them.

 

πŸ–Ό End-of-Summer Sale

Don't miss out on my end-of-summer sale where you can get each of the Isle of Hope books for only 99 cents!


πŸ–Ό Summer Pics

Keith and I at Bentley's Restaurant & Pub

Keith and Amy and precious Wyatt!

Baby Wyatt in a very special bib!

Genevieve at age 2-1/2 -- our miracle heart baby!

Micah driving the boat with Papa and Aurora.

Juju and Geebie (our nickname for Genevieve) are tuckered out from all the fun!

Amy and Wyatt, our preemie baby who is truly one of the sweetest babies alive!

And, now, here's Chapter One of A Gift Like No Other, so I hope you enjoy it. And don't forget to give me your feedback on the heat level HERE. THANK YOU!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

A GIFT LIKE NO OTHER

 You will pray to Him,and He will hear you,

And you will fulfill your vows.

--Job 22:27

 

CHAPTER ONE

Boston, Massachusetts

September 1936

Lord have mercy … Faith O’Connor swallowed a gulp, glancing up as her husband strolled into their bedroom with that look in his eye, a towel wrapped low on his hips rather than his customary pajama bottoms. Which could only mean one thing. Her stomach fluttered along with her heart.

He’d obviously missed her as much as she’d missed him during his week-long trade show in New York.

Teeth tugging at her lower lip, Faith sat in their bed with a book in her lap, skin tingling as always when Collin McGuire entered a room. She took in the sculpted curve of his muscled arms and the hard, lean chest that tapered into a towel tied so low, his abdomen looked like it’d been chiseled in stone.

Tall, dark, and dangerous, he’d been the Southie rogue who’d stolen every girl’s heart, and to this very day, Faith still marveled that somehow, someway, she’d been the one to steal his. Her mouth tipped up. Somehow? Someway? The seeds of a grin sneaked through. More like Someone.

I honor those who honor Me.

Oh, yes, Lord, you surely do, Faith thought for the thousandth time, the whisper of one of her favorite Scriptures--1 Samuel 2:30--a timely reminder that commitment to God’s precepts was the key to bounteous blessing. Heart racing, she sucked in a quiet breath and smiled, enjoying the warmth her husband stirred within. Because even after seventeen years of marriage, the man could still heat her blood with just a look. Like the one he was giving her right now—eyes smoky as they pinned her to the bed with dangerous intent, absolute confirmation there’d be no more reading tonight. 

“Tired?” he asked, the clean smell of soap and lime aftershave drifting in the room like an opiate as he approached with his usual confident swagger. His deadly gray eyes never strayed from hers while he plucked the book from her hand and tossed it on the nightstand with abandon. The slow smile she loved eased across his full lips as he turned out the light and sprawled horizontally on the moonlit bed, tugging her out from beneath the covers in one fluid movement to land her on top.

Hungry palms skimmed the length of her satin gown. “Sweet mother of Job,” he rasped in a gravelly voice while his lips wandered her throat, “I love when you wear satin to bed, Faith, and God help me—I love it even more when I can take it off.” He gripped her close while he kissed her hard, his breathing suddenly as ragged as hers. “Tell me, Little Bit,” he whispered in a near groan, “do you have any idea just how much I’ve missed you?” His words blew warm in her ear, punctuated with a teasing flick of his tongue that immediately purled heat through her body.

Oh, yes, my love, I definitely do .... “As much as I missed you, I hope,” she said with a quivering sigh, offering a weak tip of her head to give full access as he suckled the lobe of her ear.

“More.” Burying his lips in her neck, he emitted a low growl while he rolled her over with all the grace of an athlete, straddling with a decadent gleam in his eye. “So much, in fact, I intend to send Brady on all future trade shows out of town because I miss you too blasted much.”

Easing down, he threaded his fingers into her hair and showed her just how much with a slow, languid kiss that both muddied her mind and whirled heat in her belly. “As God is my witness, Faith, you own me heart and soul because no other woman alive could even come close. Which means,” he whispered with a perilous smile, fingers hot as they carefully slid the strap of her gown off of her shoulder, “we have a lot of catching up to do, Mrs. O’Connor.” And skimming her collarbone with his mouth, he did just that, heading south with slow, delicious kisses.

“I love you, Collin,” she whispered a long while later, limp and lazy in his arms after they’d made love. Her body still hummed from his touch while her mind began to hum for an entirely different reason.

“I love you, too, Faith.” He pressed a kiss to her head while he idly grazed the satin of her gown, his voice gruff with emotion. “More than I could ever say or do.”

She paused, praying this might be the perfect moment to share what she hoped would be wonderful news. “Maybe not,” she said with a teasing lilt of her voice, fingers feathering across his washboard stomach to tease with a gentle dip in his navel.

He softly pinched her waist. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

Faith sat up with a nervous grate of her lip, butterflies doing cartwheels in her stomach that nearly rivaled the dizzy whirl of Collin’s kisses. “I have good news to share, I hope,” she said softly, bending to gently sway her mouth against his.

He stiffened for barely an instant before he gripped her arms with a wide span of eyes, his breathing suddenly shallow. “You’re pregnant?” His voice was hushed with hope.

Faith blinked, painfully aware she’d just made a tactical error. Of course Collin would assume her good news was a baby because the man was desperate for another boy. With a nervous chew of her lip, she tenderly caressed the scruff of his jaw. “No, not pregnant, my love,” she said, diverting her mistake with a gently probing kiss she hoped would take his mind in another direction. “Although after this homecoming tonight, that’s a distinct possibility.”

“Mmm … one can only hope.” He returned her kiss with a heated one of his own before rolling onto his side to hook her body flush. He pressed a kiss to her nose. “So, what’s your good news, Faith?” His mouth quirked into an affectionate smile. “Bren has finally learned to lift up the toilet seat? Or Abby has finally consented to you curling her hair?”

Faith grinned, thinking both of those things would be very good news, indeed, since Abby was a tomboy and Bren a poor aim. “Noooo, nothing to do with the children. This has to do with me.”

He offered a lazy smile as he cradled her face in his hands. “You’ve decided to wear satin to bed from this moment on?”

“Well, that certainly can be arranged,” she said with a soft chuckle as she idly meandered a lazy finger down the scant line of dark hair that trailed from his chest down past his stomach. “If you’re as happy about my news as I am.”

Cocking his elbow to prop his head on his hand, he smiled, eyes in a squint. “Now you’ve got me really curious, Little Bit, so out with it.

“Well …” Giddy with excitement, Faith skittered up to sit Indian-style, hardly able to believe that after twelve years of devoting herself solely to being a wife and a mother, her dream to return to her job as a copywriter at the Herald could soon be a reality. “Well … Charity mentioned that Mitch said Father was short on copywriters at the Herald—”

“Oh, no …” It was Collin’s turn to sit up, dark brows digging low as he stared at her in disbelief. “Please tell me you’re not thinking about going back to copywriting again.”

Faith blinked, somewhat taken aback by the scowl on his face. “Well, yes, of course I am, Collin, but I’m only talking two days a week while the girls are in school—”

“I don’t care if it’s only two hours a week, Faith. You have a responsibility to our children, so the answer is no.”

She caught her breath, the sound harsh in the stillness of the night as she worked to contain her temper. “It-wasn’t-a-question, Collin,” she emphasized in a tone far tighter than she intended. “It was an opportunity I thought we should discuss since, as you well know, writing has always been my dream.”

He grabbed his pillow and punched it several times before flopping down on his side, bunching it in a ball beneath his head as he closed his eyes. “Fine, we’ve discussed it. Case closed.”

Jaw gaping, Faith snapped her mouth shut and silently counted to ten while she tamped down her anger. “Collin,” she said quietly, determined to approach this civilly instead of going off half-cocked like her husband. “Can you at least hear me out so we can discuss it like two rational adults who actually care about each other?”

He peered up past shuttered lids, dark lashes so long and lips pursed so tight, he looked like her son refusing to eat his carrots. “I’m listening.”

She expelled a silent breath. “Sean is slammed at the store, so he asked Emma if she could help out during the busy Christmas season twice a week,” she said quickly, grateful for the sister-in-law who had once managed Mitch and Charity's department store, Dennehy’s, where her husband Sean was now the manager. “So, when I heard Father needed a part-time copywriter, I talked to Emma about each of us possibly trading off watching the kids two days a week instead of Mother or Lizzie doing it. I mean, you know how close Bren is with her Daniel, so naturally both of the boys would be over the moon about this arrangement.”

Unlike the sullen, little boy staring at me now.

She rushed on before Collin could interrupt. “It would only be two half days at the Herald from ten to two, well before the girls arrive home from school, and I’d be helping Father out as well, since he’s in dire need of copywriters.” She gently grazed his arm with her fingers, her voice fragile with hope as she continued. “With a depression on, Collin, the extra income would certainly help, too, taking some of the burden off of you. So really, if you think about it, it’s a win-win all the way around.”

He slid her a narrow look. “I have thought about it, Faith, and I don’t like it, not one little bit, so you may as well get it out of your mind right now. Bren is only four years old and still needs his mother. And in case you forgot, I am the breadwinner in this family and don’t need your help.”

She blinked, stunned at the harsh bite of his tone. “And I don’t need your permission!” she said, voice snapping along with her temper that the man who professed to love her more than he could “say or do” was squashing her dreams without a second thought.

Chest heaving, she battled the sting of tears at the back of her lids, softening her tone in another attempt to corral her frustration. “You promised, Collin,” she whispered in a hoarse voice. “I put my dreams on hold to give you children, and you promised that after I had Abby, I could work part-time when all three girls were in school. Well, now they are, and Bren is close behind. And Father needs me”—her chin rose in her defense—“and I need the chance to pursue my love of writing, so I’m asking you—please—try to understand.”

Gray eyes as cold as slate, Collin slowly rose from the pillow, lips clamped tight as he stared her down. A tic pulsed in his jaw, a rare sign of a temper she almost never saw. “All I understand, Faith,” he bit out in a tone brutal with bitterness, “is that this so-called ‘love’ of yours appears to exceed that for your husband and children.”

She froze, shards of ice prickling her skin at the viciousness of his attack. The tears she’d tried so hard to stall now swelled in her eyes, unleashing a deluge of hurt and betrayal that drowned out all reason. “How dare you!” she hissed, fists clenched tight to keep from striking out.

“And how dare you put your interests before that of my son!” he shouted back, obviously as enraged as she.

Her tears fell, and with them any restraint, prompting a knee-jerk reaction that unleashed a swift slap across his face, the sound echoing like a clap of thunder rife with warning.

His shock was at least equal to her own as they stared at each other through wide eyes, chests heaving and silence ticking away like the thundering heartbeats pounding in her chest. In the blink of his eye, fury calcified every line in that handsome face, distorting it into a man she didn’t know.

Snatching his pillow up, he stalked to the closet to jerk a blanket from the top shelf, not once looking back as he bolted for the door.

“Collin, I’m sorry,” she cried, but his only answer was a deafening slam that left her in a cold and empty bed where she’d just made love to her husband. A painful groan trailed from her lips. From ecstasy to agony in one violent sweep of her palm.

“Oh, God, forgive me,” she whispered, sinking onto her pillow with a painful sob, well aware Collin would be too angry to accept her apology tonight. Heartsick, her body heaved as she lay there weeping, praying this awful rift would be over come morning.

Boom! The door flew open with a crack to the wall, and Faith jolted up in bed, stomach cramping when her four-year-old son flew into the room with terror in his eyes. “M-Mommy, Mommy, I h-heard a loud b-bang,” he cried, voice quivering as much as his little body.

Faith swept him up in her arms, clutching him tightly as she hurried toward the door. “It was nothing, sweetheart, I promise, so let’s get you back to your bed.”

He clung as if he would never let go, small fingers digging into her back with a panic that rivaled the angst in her gut. “B-But it sounded like something breaking, and I’m afraid it might be a monster, so w-will you sleep w-with m-me for a while?”

“Absolutely, sweetheart.” She laid him down in his bed, then crawled in alongside, grateful to escape the terrible loneliness of her empty room down the hall. Pressing a soft kiss to his head, she tucked the covers around them both, snuggling as close to him as he was to her. “I promise there are no monsters, Bren,” she whispered as she swept a tender palm down the whole of his tiny back, “and definitely nothing breaking, my love.” He shivered, and she followed suit, while a single tear slowly slid from her eye.

Unless it’s my heart.

 

1:57AM

July 1, 2019

Ahhh, yes, summer is finalllllllly here!!

I don't know about you, but our spring was cold, rainy, and nasty almost up until summer started on June 21st. But now the warm weather is here, and I am soooo ready for it because this is the moment I've been praying for!! I love the heat, the water, the boating, the flowers, you name it, and I'm not alone either! Here's a pic of my 5-month-old grandson ready to dive in too! 😎

Whenever summer rolls around, I can't help but think of my contemporary series, Isle of Hope, and no more so than this year because of one very special reader friend named πŸ’• Melissa Armstrong πŸ’•.

You see, sweet Melissa not only went to Isle of Hope on her vacation, but she took pix of a number of the places I wrote about in the Isle of Hope series, which absolutely blessed the 🧦off of me!!

Since I thought it might be fun for you to see them, too, I've attached all the pix below, from the O'Bryen's house, their dock, and Forsythe Park (where Shannon first met Sam in Love Everlasting) to the ever-famous Lulu's Chocolate Bar, where Chase (the pastor hero from book 3, His Steadfast Love) actually took all three heroines from the series on dates! And I chuckled out loud when Melissa told me she also ordered Chase's favorite dessert, of which she also took a pic. Now this is a reader friend after my own heart! ;) So, Melissa, thank you again for making my week by sending me those pix -- you are an absolute gem!

Of course, not only is "summer" the moment I've been praying for, but there's another moment I've been praying for that's just as exciting to me -- and I hope, to you as well!! And that is -- drum roll, please -- finishing Gabe's book, A Wing & a Prayer, which just happened three days ago, so THANK YOU, JESUS!!

I have to admit that this has been the most difficult book I have ever written because I am not fond of research, but HOLY COW, this one required research galore, and to tell you the truth, I am pooped!

Why? Well, the heroine in this story (Gabe O'Connor) is an airplane pilot who enlists in the WASP program (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WWII, then becomes a war correspondent who falls in love with an aeoromedical pilot/medic in the European Theatre of the war. Consequently, almost every single page of this book (and sometimes every paragraph) required extensive research!

So not only did I have to learn medical terms, military terms, WASP terms, 1940s terminology/hairstyles/fashion/etc., but I also had to have my history down cold. As a result, I am happy to say that I now know more about WWII than I ever dreamed possible. Which, I have to admit, was pretty cool given the fact that we just celebrated the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

I am REALLLLLLY excited to introduce you to Gabe's story soon, but I won't know the release date until the end of July, so stay tuned because I will be announcing it right here on Journal Jots. Until then, here's the jacket blurb to prime the pump and the stock photo that I had in mind when I wrote the book:

 

 She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …

Even if she loses everything in a war of the heart.

            A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabe O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot, she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she reads about a war correspondent who sneaks on a medical ship to reach the front. As the adopted daughter of the Boston Herald’s editor, Gabe plots to do the same, hoping to report on Operation Overlord (D-Day) by “borrowing” foreign correspondent credentials from the Herald. Stowing away on the medical ship that is transporting her cousin Hope Dennehy to England as a nurse with the Army Nurse Corp, Gabe manages to charm everyone she meets. Everyone, that is, except the one officer she longs to win over the most.

            Alex Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Alex is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. Assigned as her flight instructor, Alex keeps a tight rein, even attempting to forge a friendship rooted in God. But when Gabe mistakes his friendship for more, Alex’s rejection kindles her ire, resulting in her expulsion when she pulls a dangerous stunt against Alex’s orders.

            As an aeromedical pilot in France eight months later, Alex is stunned to learn that Gabe is not only posing as a foreign correspondent by a fraudulent name, but causes a summary court marshal for his best friend after she charms him into flying her to Paris for its liberation. Hoping to protect his friend Bren from Gabe and Gabe from herself, Alex makes a deal that inadvertently lands both Gabe and him behind enemy lines. Suddenly, they are exposed to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest—a love for each other neither expected.

 

To celebrate finishing Gabe's story, I thought it would be fun to run a CHRISTMAS IN JULY SALE, so here it is!

 

Yep, you read that right -- ALL SEVEN of my indie novels are now on sale for only 99 cents each, including my latest O'Connor Christmas short novel, A Dream Fulfilled. So, if you haven't read all of them, here's your chance to get any of the following e-books for only 99 cents.

 A Dream Fulfilled (Katie & Luke's story) only 99 cents.


Each Book in the Isle of Hope Series only 99 cents each:

Prequel novella, A Glimmer of Hope, is free!

Book 1 -- Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love (5 stars on Amazon)

Book 1 -- Love Everlasting (5 stars on Amazon)

Book 3 -- His Steadfast Love (5 stars on Amazon)

 

Each Book in the Silver Lining Ranch Series only 99 cents each.

Book 1 -- (Prequel Novel) For Love of Liberty (4.5 stars on Amazon)

Book 2 -- Love's Silver Lining (4.7 stars on Amazon)

A Light in the Window only 99 cents.

(Check out my "A Light in the Window" video HERE created by my hubby using my daughter as model)

 

I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for my next Journal Jot when I will be announcing both the release date for A Wing & A Prayer and the date for my next Facebook Live, plus giving you a sneak peek excerpt from Gabe's story.

Till then, have a warm and wonderful summer and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

HUGS AND MORE HUGS!

Julie

 

πŸ’œ ISLE OF HOPE PIX FROM MELISSA ARMSTRONG πŸ’œ

 

The O'Bryen's House with its plantation look and white picket fence.

  

The O'Bryen's dock.

  

Mansion on Forsythe Park where Book 2, Love Everlasting, begins.

 

The famous Lulu's Chocolate Bar, which appears in all three books.


Chase Griffin's (hero #3) favorite dessert, double chocolate peanut butter pie!


2:22AM

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

☘️

If you are enough lucky to be Irish,you are lucky enough!

  — Irish Proverb

 

πŸ’š Happy St. Pat's Weekend!

Okay, I have a confession to make.

My grandmother's name was Cavanaugh, so I always thought I was 1/4 Irish and proud of it. I have loved everything Irish since the age of 12 when I read Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind for the first time, about an Irish-Catholic family.

In fact, as most of you know, I was SO enamored with GWTW that as soon as I turned the last page, I began to write my own Irish-family saga, which some forty years later became my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Which ... as you already know ... was about an Irish-Catholic family during a war. Only I didn't have the guts to try the Civil War since nobody could top Margaret, so I chose WW1 instead.

Consequently, every single book I have written since has been about Irish families because let me say it again: I LOVE being Irish!

So ... last year when I decided to find out just how Irish I was via a DNA test, I was soooooo excited and promised to let you all know the results when I had them. The problem was, I didn't let you know the results back then and you want to know why?

Because my DNA test said I was zero Irish. Yep, you heard it -- ZERO! Needless to say, I was devastated and kept the news to myself.

Then last Christmas, I decided to give Keith a DNA test and buy an extra for myself. I purchased DNA kits from a totally different DNA company that was more reputable according to all the research I did -- Ancestry.com.

Now, let me just say that my hopes were not high because everybody I talked to said that your DNA results would be the same no matter what company you went to. So imagine my shock and surprise when my results came back as ... drum roll, please ... 30% Irish and Scottish, hailing from Leinster, Ireland!!!

☘️  WHOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! ☘️

So NOW, I want celebrate my Irish heritage with a HUGE sale that I will be announcing on my Facebook Live this Friday at 4:30 PM CDT, so I hope you can make it. I will also be giving away tons of free e-books AND picking one lucky person to get a character named after them in my next book and a signed paperback copy.

Again, that's THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 15 AT 4:30 PM CDT on my Facebook Author Page, so please mark your calendars. And if you can't make it at that time, you can always watch it later RIGHT HERE when I post the video below and leave a comment to be entered to win.

Needless to say, I am overjoyed over my Irish roots, because let's face it, if you call yourself an Irish Family-Saga Author, you would be, right? And I love, Love, LOVE celebrating St. Pat's Day because it's fun to celebrate my Irish heritage. But guess what? My identity is not in my Irish roots. It's not in being an author. It's not in my family or my friends. My identity is in the God of the Universe and His Son, Jesus Christ, whom I celebrate every day of the year, every hour of every day, and every breath of every hour.

Why?

Because He is my hope, my peace, my joy, and my salvation, and without Him, I would be nothing and have nothing. But I didn't always feel that way.

I suffered a lot of rejection as a child, so when I became a Christian at the age of 23, I learned about finding my identity in Christ, as a child of God. And I believed it, but it's taken many, many years and many, many prayers to finally understand what that means.

When I became an author, I found my identity in that. I won awards and racked up 5-star reviews, but it was never enough. I sold a ton of books, but it still wasn't enough. I would go to the ACFW Conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) each year and had scads of friends, got lots of notice, but it was never enough.

Do you know that at every single conference, I would end up in my room crying because I felt so worthless, felt like no one liked me? It's true. Me, Miss Confidence and Socialbility who has lots of friends. I felt that way over and over. There's a line in Lauren Daigle's song, You Say, that has helped to heal me in this area, and I hope it helps heal you too. It says: "When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours." All of my life, I didn't feel like I belonged, but now I do. I belong to Him. And so do you!

The beginning of this transformation happened for me when I took my sabbatical a few years ago as many of you know, when I started seeking God like never before. He showed me that everything I want is in Him and only Him. There was a time when I would not have written this in a blog because I thought it would come off like I was a Jesus freak. But now that I know the truth, I am so very proud to claim my identity in Jesus.

In closing, I would like to share a video of a song by Lauren Daigle with lyrics that I hope will bless you as much as they have blessed me. Her words in this song is what it has taken me 68 years to learn, so I sure hope it doesn't take you that long! 😳  I listen to this song (and belt it out) every single time I'm on the treadmill because the truth of it is SO very powerful! I love all the lyrics, but especially these lines:

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me.
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.

So, yes, I'm thrilled to be Irish, but I am OVERJOYED to claim my identity in Jesus Christ, because HE is our all in all. Here's the video. Enjoy!

You Say (with lyrics) by Lauren Daigle

Hugs and Happy St. Pat's Weekend. Hope to see you on Friday!

Julie

 

 

 

11:37PM

Friday, February 22, 2019

And you will know the truth,

and the truth will set you free.”

--John 8:3

πŸ’ Happy Washington's Birthday!

And I cannot tell a lie -- there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for the "liberty" of knowing Jesus Christ because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life -- John 14:6. 

And the "truth" is ... true liberty is doing the right thing!

Or at least that's the theme of my first Western book, For Love of Liberty, WHICH is available for FREE DOWNLOAD right now, February 22-26, so I hope you take advantage.

And, yes, that is my sweet new grandson who was born a month early and wasn't even supposed to be here till next week, so I've included a few more pics below AND my favorite kiss from For Love of Liberty to get the pump primed!!

AND ... to sweeten the deal, the next book in the series, LOVE'S SILVER LINING, will also be on sale at 50% off, so you'll want to check that out too if you haven't already! Here are the links:

FREE DOWNLOAD for FOR LOVE OF LIBERTY


50%-OFF SALE FOR LOVE'S SILVER LINING

 

 

HAPPY WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY AND HAPPY READING!

Hugs,

Julie

 

JuJu's Favorite Pix!

JUJU AND PAPA WITH THEIR BOY!

 

BABY WY WONDERING WHY!

 

JUJU AND PAPA'S GIRL WITH HER BOY! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Kiss From

For Love of Liberty!

He slacked a hip, his hunger and fatigue siphoning out every bit of manners his mama ever taught him. “No, Miss Bell, I’m not implying that at all. I’m saying it outright. You’re bossy, pushy, and you like the sound of your own voice, so I’m going home where I can get some peace and quiet.”

“Well, I never!”

“No, I don’t suppose you have,” he said, thinking the woman would be even more drop-dead pretty if she didn’t talk so dad-burned much. “Because I’m sure those milksop dandies you’re used to dealing with in New York toe the line. But this is Virginia City, Liberty Bell, and I’m a man who doesn’t take kindly to a pushy woman. Good night.”

“Oh, no you don’t!” She sprinted to the door and slammed it closed, plastering her body in front with arms outstretched and palms to the door. “There are at least ten points left on my list to cover, mister, and I am not leaving until we’re done.”

“Oh, we’re done, Miss O’Shea,” he ground out, the rare usage of her real surname an indication that his usual tease and banter was as empty as his stomach. “Now get out of my way.”

“No.” She responded with that same determined glint in her eyes she’d always had in spelling bees and science fairs, triggering a hair of his humor—but only a hair. She braced her arms in a tight fold, and he swore the low heels of her green satin ankle boots—which matched her expensive dress to a toe—would leave dents in the polished hardwood floor. The almond-shaped eyes snapped with green fire, igniting both his temper and something far more dangerous to them both. She gave him a sassy jut of her chin. “We can finish our meeting here or at the table, Mr. McShane, your choice.”

“Oh, so now I have a choice?” His brows shot high in mockery, mostly to head off a twitch of a smile. They slashed low again as his voice ground to a growl. “No, ma’am, I’m tired of your yammering and I mean to go home. So I’m not going to tell you again, Liberty Bell—move that fancy dress of yours out of my way, or I’m going to move it for you.”

“You wouldn’t!” Those full pink lips parted in shock, and he mentally tasted them in his mind, grazing their softness with his mouth.

“Try me.” He singed her with a glare as hot as the fire she’d lit in his belly.

She studied him in blessed silence for several moments, as if gauging the validity of his threat, probably not even aware she was biting that lush lower lip he ached to lay claim to. And then the bodice of that incredible dress rose and fell as she switched tracks as smoothly as the V&T, appearing to take a different tact. “Finn, please,” she said in a soft voice that would have melted his insides if he trusted her. Which he didn’t. “Just twenty minutes more, and our meeting will be over, I promise.”

He stood his ground, eyes fixed on emerald eyes fringed with thick lashes instead of those deadly pink lips. Liberty O’Shea had an awful lot to learn about him if she thought she could get anywhere with feminine wiles, which galled him even more than a pushy woman. Didn’t work with Jo Beth, and it sure in the devil wasn’t going to work with the woman who’d just dragged him through the mud in the biggest newspaper in town. At least pushy women were honest—right out there with their bossy demands rather than hiding an agenda to control or manipulate. Besides, the day he’d let Liberty O’Shea win an argument was the day he’d pack up and leave town. And he wasn’t going anywhere.

Except home.

“Hate to break it to you, Miss Bell, but our meeting is over. Now.” Tucking his satchel under his arm, he looped both hands around that tiny, little waist and hiked her up in the air so fast, all he heard was the catch of her breath. Without ceremony, he plopped her down behind him, battling a grin when she squealed and wobbled like a newborn calf on mother’s milk with rum. Snatching his hat off the hook, he slapped it on his head and opened the door. “Good night, Miss Bell. See you next week.”

 Slam! The door banged closed with a stiff breeze, almost taking his nose with it while a wild-eyed firecracker bonded herself to the door. “You are going to listen to me, you mule-brained skunk, if I have to nail this door shut and your shoes to the floor!”

Finn blinked, not sure whether to laugh or cry. He’d always heard redheads had volatile tempers, but he’d honestly had no idea. Although Liberty had never been what you called mild-mannered in school and certainly testier than most girls he knew, she’d never lost control like this before. It was almost like this was her own personal vendetta against the dominance of men in a society that knew little else. A battle of wills she obviously intended to win, but he had some bad news for the little spitfire.

He intended to win too.

In more ways than one.

Sparks and words were flying, but all he could do was glare, the fire in his belly slowly smoldering out of control when his gaze flicked to her lips and held. That perfectly beautiful mouth was just a yapping away, but the only thing he heard was the violent thud of his own pulse and the sound of those lips calling him home ...

“And another thing, Finn McShane,” she said, slapping her hands to her hips, “if you don’t march right back to that table and pull your load, I will not only tell the mayor, but I will tell Miss Willoughby and Mrs. Poppy as well.”

Her words suddenly registered, and he could do nothing but shake his head, shades of the old Liberty tattling to their teachers coming to mind. He grinned while he mauled the back of his neck, pretty sure he’d never meet another woman who could fire up every emotion in his body quite like her. “You know, Liberty, you may have grown up into a woman with a fancy degree, but deep down you’re still that spoiled little brat who just wants to get her own way.” He slacked a hip and folded his arms, shuttered eyes issuing one more warning. “Now we can try this all over again next week if you’re willing to behave, but I’m going home, and I suggest you do the same. Now please move.”

“Or what?” She locked her arms to her chest like him and angled a brow, apparently under the mistaken notion she had the upper hand. “You going to manhandle me again, you big bully? Well, there’s nothing you can do to get me to move except sit back down and act like a civil human being.”

“Ha! As if you would even know what that is.” He blasted out a sigh and dropped his head, hands perched low on his hips. “Okay, lady, I’m going to ask you one more time, real nice and civil-like …” He peered up beneath hooded eyes, a near smile on his face. “Will you please move out of my way?”

“Nope.” She smiled and shook her head, as if quite confident he was on the thaw. She clutched her hands behind her back like a little girl about to misbehave, green eyes issuing a dare. “And you can’t make me.”

He sighed. Poor, misguided, little rich girl. “Yeah?” He pushed the brim of his hat up. “Watch me.” Hurling his satchel to the floor, he heard the catch of her breath when he struck like lightning with an arm to her waist. Jerking her close, he kissed the daylights out of her while her boots dangled in the air. Unfortunately, the moment he tasted those soft lips parted in surprise, he was struck by a little lightning of her own, electrifying every nerve in his body while his blood simmered to a dangerous boil.

When a telltale mew escaped her throat, he was helpless to contain the low moan that rose deep in his belly. Butting her to the door, he cradled her face in his hands, longing pumping through his veins as he claimed the sweetest lips he’d ever known—and he’d known plenty—completely disarmed by the scent of her skin, the soft flesh of her ear. Sure, he’d dreamed of kissing Liberty O’Shea for as long as he could remember, but he never expected this—a kiss that could surely tame his taste for all other women.

The very thought bucked like a thorn-saddled bull, and with a rush of icy mountain water surging through his veins, he dropped her to the floor like he’d been bit by a rattler. She teetered precariously—along with his heart—eyes glazed and mouth still open in shock. Mustering all the calm he owned—which was a mite low at the moment—he yanked his hat down low and reached for the knob. She bolted away like he was a grizzly fresh up from a nap, and Finn had to stifle a chuckle, tossing her a wink as he opened the door. “Told you.”

He startled at the sight of Miss Willoughby hurrying down the hall, papers fluttering in her hand while heat seared his collar. “Oh, Finn, I truly apologize for the delay, but the mayor was in one of his chattier moods.” Her pace slowed as her eyes flicked from his sheepish grin to Liberty’s pale face, a crimp of concern creasing her brow. “Is everything all right?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am, we’re all done here and on our way home.”

Relief washed over the schoolteacher’s face as she unleashed a grateful sigh. “Oh, good! I was so worried, but it sounds like you two made some good progress.”

Tipping his hat, he couldn’t resist a smirk over his shoulder, deflecting the wild beat of his pulse with a leisurely wink. “Yes, ma’am, I believe we did.”

 

 


 

4:08AM

Thursday, February 14, 2019

❀️

We love

because He first loved us.

-- 1 John 4:19

❀️ Happy V-Day, Everyone!

Yes, I'm a romance writer so Valentine's Day is important because it's the one day of the year that everyone focuses on romance. Which, of course, I LOVE because I LOVE ROMANCE!

But ... I would be remiss if I didn't focus on the greatest romance of all -- when the Son of the Living God gave His heart -- His valentine -- to each of us by dying on the cross. Because of His unfailing love, to me Valentine's Day is not just a cause to celebrate romantic love, but a day to celebrate what God's unfailing love has given to each of us.

And so, in honor of Valentine's Day, I would like to expound on what V-Day might actually stand for to me.

To millions of people embroiled in WW2, V-Day meant freedom and deliverance from tyranny, which is definitely something God's love has given to me and to you.

And to every Christian on the planet, in addition to freedom from death and the tyranny of sin, V-Day could also stand for things like Value, Vigor, and Victory, gifts from God that forever change our destinies.

❀️ VALUE because God loves each of us with an everlasting love, seeing us as the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). To Him, we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession." (1 Peter 2:9)

❀️ VIGOR because His steadfast love invigorates and strengthens us to become the best we can be. "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:3). "The Lord gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless" (Isaiah 40:29).

❀️ VICTORY because His love means through Him, we can overcome the world. "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4)

So this V-Day, whether you are married or single, young or old, female or male, celebrate your true Valentine -- the God whose love will never fail.

Hugs and Happy V-Day!

Julie

 β€οΈ We Have Winners!

I want to thank each and every one of you who voted for me in Family Fiction magazine's Romance Readers Poll because WHOO-HOO -- I made the list, which is such an honor! And all because of YOU, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Be sure to check out the link below to see the list of all your favorite authors. I found that the easiest way to do that is to download the PDF and enlarge it on your computer, so here's the link: Romance Readers Poll

And THANK YOU to all of you who entered my Christian Fiction Rocks Contest as well. Wish I could give prizes to everyone, but what I can do is give you a HUGE discount on my most recent novel, Love's Silver Lining, so check out the sale below that begins today through V-Day Weekend.

Without further ado, the winners of my Christian Fiction Rocks Contest are:

Grand Prize:

AMY CROCKETT LOWE

 

—Choice of Five Top CBA Books* or $25 Amazon Gift Card

—Character Named for You/Loved One in Upcoming Release, A Wing and a Prayer

—Signed paperback copy of A Wing and a Prayer

*5 new or almost new books by top CBA authors such as Rachel Hauck,

Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Beth Vogt, and more!


Two Runners-Up:

Cheyenne Pittser & Dezi Allen

 

—Character Named for You/Loved One in Upcoming Release, A Wing and a Prayer

—Signed paperback copy of A Wing and a Prayer

Super Congrats to my winners, and I will be in touch.

 

❀️ 75% Sale on Love's Silver Lining!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a little love with a 75%-off sale on my most recent novel, Love's Silver Lining, which goes from $5.99 to $1.49 beginning today through THIS WEEKEND ONLY!! So if you haven't read this one yet, NOW'S your chance.

NOTE: Since For Love of Liberty is the prequel novel to Love's Silver Lining, it's best to read that book first, but GOOD NEWS! If you haven't read For Love of Liberty yet, check out the info on the FREE DOWNLOAD in the next announcement below. Meanwhile, here's a glimpse at Love's Silver Lining:

She tampers with his life.
He tampers with her heart.
Love tampers with them both.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a womanizer, twenty-two-year-old Maggie Mullaney flees New York for Virginia City, Nevada with her Aunt Liberty, two spunky suffragists intent on bettering the lives of women. Fresh out of nursing school, Maggie hopes to devote herself to serving others rather than just one man, a goal quickly affirmed when she encounters Blaze Donovan, a womanizing cowboy who both riles and rouses her pulse. But when Aunt Liberty’s parents' house burns down, she and Maggie are coerced into staying at the ranch of Liberty’s ex-husband, Finn McShane, who just happens to be the uncle of the cocky cowboy Maggie had hoped to avoid.

If there’s one thing twenty-nine-year-old Blaze Donovan can’t abide, it’s respectable women who spout piety and prayer, so when he butts heads with perky Maggie Mullaney at St. Mary Louise Hospital, he wants to stay as far away from her as he possibly can. Unfortunately, she now lives in the bedroom next to his in his uncle’s ranch house, a revolting development that sends Blaze to The Ponderosa Saloon more than usual. But when Maggie interferes in Blaze’s life by converting his favorite “disrespectable” girl, Blaze is determined to make her pay. Only problem is—the price HE has to pay may be a little too steep for his heart.

BUY LOVE'S SILVER LINING HERE!


❀️ Free Download Soon!

Mark your calendars for a FREE DOWNLOAD of FOR LOVE OF LIBERTY on FEBRUARY 23-26!

I wanted to do this free download as a special Valentine's giveaway mid-month, but the dates didn't work out with KDP, so better late than never, right? Here's the jacket blurb:

A Match Made in Heaven?
Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?


She’s stubborn, educated, and looking
to give women the vote.
He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking
to give her a piece of his mind.
But when things heat up, they just may give each other
a piece of their hearts.

So DO mark your calendars for Feb. 23-26 and here's the link:

FREE DOWNLOAD OF

FOR LOVE OF LIBERTY (2/23-26 ONLY)