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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

 

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)

 

12:39AM

Friday, February 1, 2019

Oh, sweet, sweet February!

Short on days, but long on love.

--Julie Lessman

 β€οΈ Happy February Everyone!

And, WHOA BABY, it sure is for me! Because, you see ... drum roll please ... I have a new grandbaby!

Please give a big warm welcome to Wyatt Nathan Phillips, my daughter's and son-in-law's very first baby -- WHO ARRIVED, BY THE WAY, FIVE WEEKS EARLY!! We are all walking on air right now (frigid air, to be sure, but OH SO WARM in the heart!) and loving every minute! Both baby and mama doing fine despite the early delivery!

Been pretty busy here helping out, but couldn't resist sharing a few pix with you all of this special moment in my life.

AND TO CELEBRATE ... I've got a NEW CONTEST, a NEW GIVEAWAY, and a NEW MARCY/PATRICK EXCERPT from Gabe's story, A Wing and a Prayer!

So, scroll on down past the pix for all the details and be sure to enter my contest!!

HUGS AND HAPPY VALENTINE'S MONTH!

Julie

WYATT NATHAN ONLY MOMENTS OLD!

BABY WYATT ONE DAY OLD -- THEY SURE FILL OUT FAST!

MOM & DAD ENJOYING ONE OF GOD'S GREATEST BLESSINGS!

 

 β€οΈ Fun New Contest!

CHRISTIAN ROMANCE NEEDS YOU! Are you grateful for Christian romance? I sure am! Well, this is our chance to let our voices be heard.

Family Fiction magazine is taking a poll in which you can vote for five of your favorite authors plus your favorite type of romance story in their CHRISTIAN ROMANCE READERS POLL, which ends February 4, 2019, so only four days to vote! Results will be announced in Family Fiction's 2018 Christian Romance Special Edition, which will be available for FREE in February.

PLEASE VOTE because it's easy, it's fun, AND it's how to enter my contest below, so here's the link:

Christian Romance Readers Poll!

Once you have voted, just come back here to enter my CHRISTIAN ROMANCE ROCKS Contest in the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this page, and you will have three chances to win. I will announce the winners in a Journal Jot blog after February 4th, so GOOD LUCK! PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT have to vote for me in Family Fiction's contest to enter my contest!


Grand Prize:

  —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:

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

—Signed paperback copy of A Wing and a Prayer


❀️ Fun New Giveaway!

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)

 

 β€οΈ Fun New Excerpt A Wing & A Prayer

“Ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred.” Unleashing a wispy sigh, Marceline O’Connor completed her nightly hair-brushing regimen, flipping her long silver-white hair over her shoulders, where it cascaded in the loose waves that Patrick loved. She stared in the mirror, wishing she could cut it all off. But Veronica Lake had turned hair fashion on its ear with her long, sultry locks, so Patrick had begged Marcy not to cut hers either, despising the short curly bobs she’d worn in the ‘30s.

Her mouth skewed to the right. At least the war had provided one positive, introducing factory-compliant hairstyles that neatly pinned a woman’s hair back in smooth rolls on the sides and top. Consequently, by day, Marcy was able to wear a longer rolled pageboy introduced by Miss Lake on behalf of the war effort. But at night? Patrick preferred her hair loose and unfettered, spilling wild and free over her pillow. “It reminds me of our honeymoon, Marceline,” he’d say with a dangerous look in his eyes, claiming she made him feel young again.

Her blue eyes blinked in the mirror, a hint of worry etched around them along with the delicate lines of age. Because the truth was, she would do anything to keep Patrick young, at least in his heart if not his body. And tonight she planned to do just that, forestalling needless worry over the letter that had arrived from Gabe today. First with a favorite dinner, and now with a favorite nightgown. She slipped off her warm chenille robe, and goosebumps immediately popped. She far preferred flannel to satin on such a cool autumn evening, but she had to distract Patrick somehow from the arrival of Gabe’s letter.

So satin it was.

Squinting in the mirror, she assessed the lay of the gown, certain her daughters were prejudiced when they insisted she didn’t look a day over fifty. But Marcy knew better. Yes, she still remained fairly slim at age sixty-four, but it was the lines in her face and the sag of her arms that said otherwise. At least to her, if not to Patrick, who claimed she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her lips quirked as she scurried to get under the covers. Obviously a case of blinded by love, she reasoned, compounded by questionable eyesight at the age sixty-five.

Striding into their bedroom, Patrick yanked his tie off, marching to the closet to hook it onto his belt rack on the inside of the door. “Well, I see the twins were here today.”

Marcy paused while rearranging the covers, wondering what Katie’s twin boys had gotten into now. As Marcy's second youngest daughter, Katie had been as much a challenge growing up as her sassy older sister, Charity, who had always teased that Katie was sure to get a holy terror of a son like her Henry. Dear, sweet Henry, a wild ruffian of a boy who’d gone head-to-head with Gabe, Patrick’s own “holy terror” of a daughter. Marcy nibbled on the edge of her smile, thinking Katie had certainly one-upped her sister with two "Henrys" instead of one. “Yes, Katie was by briefly, but I didn’t think they could get into any trouble in that short amount of time. What on earth did they do?”

Patrick cast her a wary look as he unbuckled his belt to slip out of his trousers. “Apparently shaved a stuffed animal with my razor,” he said, tossing his slacks over the trouser press in a haphazard manner. He rubbed his jaw. “Unless my beard has turned from silver to brown.”

“What?” Marcy sat up in the bed, covers clutched to her chest as she bit back a smile.

“’Fraid so.” He jerked his leather belt from his pants, peering at her through shuttered eyes that held a hint of a tease. “Wasn’t sure until I found a bald-faced bear behind the commode, who now smells,” he said with a scrunch of his nose, “as bad as he looks.”

“Oh, no!” Marcy put a hand to her chest. “Not Mr. Snuggles! He was always the grandchildren’s favorite toy at naptime.”

Patrick’s smile went awry. “Well, I’m afraid Mr. Snuggle’s ‘snuggling days are over, Marceline,” he said with a twist of his lips, “along with the twins permission to be upstairs without supervision.”

Marcy plopped back on her pillow, her smile melancholy. “Goodness, Patrick, it reminds me of something Henry would do.”

“Or Gabe.” He hung his belt on the rack with a bit of melancholy in his tone, which told her he missed their youngest daughter as much as she, given the faraway smile on his handsome face. “I’ll never forget when she ruined three of my best neckties to make headbands for Indians at war, ruining your lipstick as war paint, as I recall, and feathers stabbed through.”

“I know,” Marcy said softly, her thoughts following Patrick’s into the past when Gabe was the only child at home she could dote on after the rest of her children had married and gone. Moisture pricked over how very much she missed her. And Patrick did as well, which was an out-and-out miracle given the way the two of them butted heads when Gabe had been their foster child. “I still have that lipstick, you know," she said with a misty smile, "although I never wore it again.” She swiped at the wetness in her eyes. “I knew it would always remind me of the blessing God bestowed on us late in life, giving us that precious child.”

Patrick chuckled, the sound husky with emotion. “Although it did take a good number of years before the ‘precious’ finally came through, Marceline, at least for me.”

“And a good number of prayers as well,” Marcy said with a tender smile, “but look at you now. You miss her more than I do.”

He expelled a heavy sigh as he unbuttoned his starched white dress shirt, which now looked as rumpled as he. “You might be right there, darlin’, but only because there’s always grandchildren swarming you day in and day out. Although it’s fair to say not one of them can hold candle to Gabe in keeping one too busy to miss anything but sleep.”

“No question about that!" She paused to fortify with a deep draw of air. "Oh, and speaking of Gabe …," she said, working hard to keep her tone light while she made casual show of adjusting the top quilt. “We received a letter from her today ...”

Patrick’s head jerked up. His gray eyes pierced hers with a hint of alarm, fingers frozen on the top button of his shirt. He stood stock still in his striped undershorts. “What’s wrong?” he rasped, voice sharp with the worry she was hoping to avoid.

“Now, Patrick, nothing’s wrong,” she tried to reassure, well aware her husband fretted more over Gabe than he had all of their other six children. And that was certainly saying something given Katie’s and Charity’s antics, her two spunkiest daughters whom Patrick had always referred to as “handfuls.” Marcy tempered a heavy sigh, pretty sure their youngest daughter—the abused orphan they’d adopted—would qualify as several “armfuls.”

“Oh, there’s something wrong all right, Marceline, or you wouldn’t have waited until now to spring this on me.” He stripped the shirt off and hurled it at the hamper, revealing muscled arms, chest, and a near washboard stomach few sixty-five-year-old men could boast, thanks to an exercise regimen mandated by his doctor after several angina attacks. His hard-lined jaw was bristled with a day’s shadow of beard that glistened salt and pepper, matching ebony curls streaked with silver that made him—if possible—even more handsome.

Ripping his undershirt off, he sailed it to join the dress shirt puddled at the foot of the hamper, and Marcy couldn’t help but admire the man she married forty-seven years ago. From Southie rogue to the love of her life, Patrick O’Connor had given her decades of love and joy, complete with seven children and more than two dozen grandchildren. Was it any wonder she watched and worried over him like a mother hawk, monitoring his diet, his medicine, and any bad news?

Especially if it involved his youngest daughter.

“For heaven’s sake, Patrick, there’s nothing wrong,” Marcy insisted, sliding deeper beneath her standard mound of covers, the ones her hot-blooded husband always kicked off on his side of the bed. She was freezing, so she tugged the coverlet up over her nose with only her eyes peeking out, both to warm her chilled body and to hide the smile beneath. Because even though Patrick worried incessantly about the child responsible for most of the gray hairs in his head, Marcy had her methods of deflecting that worry. Like postponing Gabe’s letter until morning when he was better able to handle it with the least amount of stress. That way he could spend the day consumed with work as the editor of The Boston Herald rather than with the foibles of his independent daughter. Marcy watched him stalk to the bureau for fresh pajamas, her tone soothing. “I promise you, Patrick, she loves it in Sweetwater.”

The tendons of his broad shoulders twitched as he snatched his bed clothes from the drawer and slammed it closed again. He turned to face her as he slipped on the bottoms, thick dark brows arched high. “Ah, yes, Marceline, but the real question is”—he slipped the night shirt on while he buttoned it on the way to the bed—“Do they ‘love’ her?”

 “Of course they love her, Patrick. She’s smart, strong, beautiful—”

Issuing a grunt, he flipped the covers onto her side and sat while he grabbed his alarm clock, winding it as tight as the tone of his voice. “Headstrong, pushy, independent—”

“Funny, street-savvy, and a defender of the weak,” Marcy declared with a lift of her chin, Gabe’s staunchest advocate since the girl first shadowed their door as a rambunctious  street orphan at the age of eight.

“You might have an argument there from the Kincaid family, darlin’ as well as those she tangles with on behalf of the weak.” Squinting, he took his time setting the clock before winding it again.

Marcy shivered—both from the cold and the need to distract her husband. “Come on, Patrick, hurry up and get in. I need you to keep me warm.”

He cluncked the clock on the nightstand before leaning to brush a quick kiss to her lips. Punching his pillow several times, he shoved it against the headboard just so in order to sit up in bed. “I’ll warm you up after I’ve read Gabe’s letter.” He extended his hand with a slant of a smile, well aware she usually kept all of Gabe’s letters in her nightstand drawer.

After Patrick had read them.

He snapped his fingers. “Hand it over, Marceline, or you’re liable to freeze to death.”

Not if I can help it, she thought with a squirm of a smile, taking him by surprise when she yanked him down to pull him close. “Unfortunately, it’s sitting on the kitchen windowsill, so you can read it tomorrow,” she said with a giggle, flinging the covers over him while she cuddled in close. “Right now you need to keep me warm.” She pressed a kiss to his chest, the clean scent of his musk soap triggering her pulse.

A tiny squeal popped from her lips when strong arms enveloped her, rolling her onto her back while Patrick hovered with a dangerous gleam in his eyes. “And I’ll be more than willing to comply, darlin’. As soon as I’ve read Gabe’s letter to make sure everything is all right.” Burrowing into her neck, he tickled her with a rash of raspy kisses before pulling away. “I’ll be right back,” he whispered.

Heart lurching, she hooked his neck to pull him back down and kiss him hard, determined to use her wiles to protect both his health and his sleep. “I need you now,” she whispered, peppering his jaw with tiny kisses. The warmth whirling low in her belly suddenly indicated her reasons were now far less noble than before. “Not in five minutes when you’ll be ice-cold.”

He molded his body to hers with a low groan, his voice a near growl as he tugged on her earlobe with his teeth. “If nothing’s wrong, then why in the devil didn’t you give me the letter downstairs?”

“I wanted to, but someone came home crabby and hungry as a bear, if you recall, so I rushed to get dinner on the table. Then I guess it slipped my mind because”—she kissed the side of his neck, breathing in his familiar scent—“I had more important things to focus on.”

She held her breath while he raised up to study her closely, one edge of his lip kicking up when his gaze lowered to her mouth. “As do I,” he whispered, easing down to explore the hollow of her throat with his lips. “I suppose the letter can wai—”He paused mid-sentence when his hands slid the length of her body. He jerked up to stare. “Now I know you’re hiding something, Marceline, so you may as well spit it out.” He cocked a brow as he hovered over her, biceps bulging. “Seriously—satin instead of flannel?”

Feigning a heavy sigh, Marcy idly stroked the bristle on his jaw. “Honestly, Patrick, can’t a wife be in the mood once in a while as well as a husband? There’s no great mystery here about Gabe’s letter. She shares a bay in the barracks with six other women, and has become best friends with two of them.” She squinted to remember their names. “Ginny and … MaryLu, I think. Anyway, orientation went well, she said, and she likes most of her PTs—Primary Trainers.”

“Most?” Patrick eased down to lie on his side and prodded an impatient palm beneath the small of her back, prompting her to turn over so he could cuddle from behind.

Marcy instantly complied, reveling in his warmth as he encircled her with his arms. “Yes, except for this one PT called Barrelton who picked on her the first day, but he’s not her primary instructor, thank God, so she’s steering clear.”

She felt the pull of Patrick’s grunt when he drew her closer. “I’ll believe it when I see it. The girl doesn’t know the definition of ‘steering clear.’” He expelled a noisy breath, warming the back of her neck. “What else?”

“Well, she said the food’s wonderful—home cooking by a woman named Mrs. Whately who everyone calls Mom.” Marcy smiled. “Gabe seems to think Mom likes her because she always gives her extra.”

“Good.” Patrick’s sigh of relief rose and fell with Marcy’s own. “That girl has always been a runt, so she can use some fattening up. What else?”

“Oh, she’s excited because there’s a swimming pool on the base, apparently, and a rodeo nearby at something called the Double Heart Ranch.”

“Sweet mother of Job. I hope she doesn’t think she’s on vacation.”

“No, it seems to me that flying is her focus because she gushed on and on for several paragraphs about the prospect of flying high-powered fighter and bomber aircraft like B-17s and B-29s.”

He chuckled, and the motion tickled her skin. “Now there’s a worrisome thought.”

Marcy squeezed his arm. “So, see? She loves it there, Patrick. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“Nothing to worry about.” He grunted. “Yes, well that remains to be seen.”

I hope. Marcy’s tongue swiped her teeth in nervous habit, her thoughts straying to the one line in Gabe’s letter she purposely omitted. The one she knew would upset her husband.

“Unfortunately, my assigned instructor, lieutenant Kincaid, and I got off on the wrong foot at introductions,” Gabe had written, “but then, I guess his name alone should have clued me in to that, not to mention his arrogant and bossy manner.”

Marcy swallowed hard, well aware Gabe didn’t do well with “bossy.” The Kincaid boys were certainly proof of that.

And her husband didn’t do well when Gabe didn’t do well.

She caught her breath when Patrick feathered the back of her neck with his mouth. “Anything else?” he asked, his voice edging toward husky.

“No, I think that’s most of it, but you can read it for yourself tomorrow, so I hope you’re satisfied.”

His chuckle rumbled low in her ear as he burrowed in to kiss the back of her neck. “Not yet, darlin’,” he whispered, his hands taking free reign, “but I will be. And when I’m done warming you up”—he skimmed the length of her gown until satin gave way to skin—“You should be too.”


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