A weekly 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



Sunday, October 16, 2016

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens ...

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing …

a time to be silent and a time to speak ...

Ecclesiastes 3:5 & 7

Anybody that knows me knows I'm a hugger. And I don't just give one hug, I give several, with all my might because when I care about someone, I want them to feel that I am pouring every emotion into that hug to let them know just how special they are.

But even for hugs, there is time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. For instance, this week my hubby and I spent the weekend with dear friends whom we enjoy immensely. But my sweet friend of almost 45 years does not like to hug. You see, she's a very private person with a very big heart, but hugging is not something she's comfortable with. So I try to avoiding overhugging her, which is difficult for a hugger like me, although she is gracious enough to allow both a hello and a goodbye hug, for which I am most grateful.

Unfortunately for me and my hugger nature, lately I have felt a very strong leading to not only "refrain from embracing," but to be silent. 

Be still and know that I am God. --

What does that mean? Well, for me, it means that over the last month, I'm strongly feeling that this is my season to write and only write. Those of you who read my final book in the Heart of San Francisco series, Surprised by Love, may recognize "The Abraham Factor" in play here.

What is The Abraham Factor, you ask? It's a Biblical concept I included in Surprised by Love where the hero, Bram Hughes, explains to Logan McClare, the older hero, about putting his love for Caitlyn McClare "on the altar" like Abraham did with his son Isaac in the Old Testament. You can read about it in more detail HERE in a prior Journal Jot, but basically it's a concept that God first taught me while writing my Heart of San Francisco series, and now I'm ready to put it into action in my writing in a deeper way than ever before.

So, beginning with this Journal Jot, I will be pulling back from most promotion, social media, and even Journal Jots to a degree. BUT ... I promise I will keep you apprised of anything you need to know such as sales, freebies, new releases, and what I'm working on at the moment, so although it won't be as regular as my once a week Journal Jot, I will keep you in the loop, I promise.

However ... in order to do that, I strongly suggest you subscribe to my Journal Jot blog if you haven't already because as soon as I DO post something you need to know, you will receive an email with the entire post in it, but ONLY if you subscribe! All you have to do is enter your email address in the box at the top right of this page that says, "Enter your email address to subscribe to Julie's Blog." That way, you will never miss any news, okay?

During this time, I'll be focusing hard on my writing, so I'm hoping to have both book 3 in the "Isle of Hope" series, Unchanging Love, and book 1 in my Western "Silver Lining Ranch" series, Love's Silver Lining, out next fall, plus a prequel novella to that Western series in the spring. And then hopefully -- fingers crossed! -- separate ebook releases of Charity & Mitch's Christmas novella from the Seeker's Hope for the Holidays collection and Lizzie & Brady's novella from the Home for Christmas collection (both of which are no longer for sale). In addition, I hope to write new Christmas novellas for Faith & Collin and Katie & Luke, so again, if you want to be kept in the loop about these ventures -- please subscribe to Journal Jots!

Update on Evie!!

I can't thank you all enough for your prayers for my granddaughter, Evie (Genevieve). She is doing very well, and although the echocardiogram she had on 10/7 did not reflect the total healing I was hoping for, she is doing very well. My son and daughter-in-law are trying to fatten her up for surgery in February to correct her heart problem, and after that, my sweet little Evie will be able to live a normal life, so praise God! Your continued prayers for the surgery would be greatly appreciated, and I will keep you posted.

We Have a Winner!!

My month-long Thunderclap contest is over and I want to thank everyone who participated -- you guys are AMAZING!! So the winner of a character named after them in the Love Everlasting paperback due out in November (and her name will be in the revised e-copy as well), plus a signed copy and signed paperback or ecopies of 3 of my books and a framed quote from Isle of Hope is ...

Beth Erin!!!

SUPER CONGRATS to Beth and all of her hard work! I will be in contact soon.

Again, I want to thank every one of you who read my Journal Jots on a regular basis. So many of you are kind enough to contact me to tell me you are praying, and I can't tell you how much that means to me. You are not just readers of my blog -- you are good friends who mean a great deal to me, whether I post a JJ once a week or once a month.

I'd appreciate your continued prayers for God's leading in my career, His anointing on my writing, and, of course, for sweet Evie.

Hugs and more hugs!


Last Contest of the Year!!

40-BOOK PROMO ENDS TOMORROW, 10/17!! To celebrate the beginning of fall, I have teamed up with more than 40 fantastic inspirational contemporary romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

Which means you can win my novel, Love Everlasting, plus books from tons of other top authors! So, enter the giveaway by clicking HERE. Good luck, and enjoy!



 If you haven't had the chance yet to read the award-winning, 5-star book 1, Isle of Hope, your timing is good because it is now on sale for 50% off at the lowest price yet of $3.99, so you can check it and all the reviews HERE.




 Free Download!!

Finally, if you haven't downloaded the prequel novella to Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope, what are you waiting for? It's FREE and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, so I hope you take advantage.







Friday, October 7, 2016

"I would give this book ten stars if allowed.

Romance lovers, do yourself a favor and buy this book!"

 -- Amazon Reviewer about Love Everlasting

 BUT WAIT ... 

You don't HAVE to buy the book because guess what? For LESS THAN TWO MORE DAYS, I have 18 giveaways going on RIGHT NOW where you can win your choice of an e-book of my new release, Love Everlasting, or Isle of Hope, or in some cases, a paperback copy of LE (depending on the giveaway). 

WHERE, you say?

Well, right here at the blog links below, where all you have to do is leave a comment to be entered!  But remember ...  

Giveways End Sunday, 10/9!


The following blogs only require a comment for entry:

Overcoming With God Blog -- Diana's Review

Overcoming With God Blog -- Bonnie's Review


The following blogs are part of a blog tour

where you can only enter through the Rafflecopter Box:

Reading is My SuperPower

Bibliophile Reviews

Wishful Endings

Book by Book

Singing Librarian Books

Flowers of Quiet Happiness 

Getting Your Read On

The Green Mockingbird

 Faithfully Bookish

Just Commonly 

Daysong Reflections

Bookworm Mama

​Begins October 8: Smiling Book Reviews

Begins October 8: Zerina Blossom's Books


40-BOOK PROMO BEGINNING MONDAY, 10/10/16!! To celebrate the beginning of fall, I have teamed up with more than 40 fantastic inspirational contemporary romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

Which means you can win my novel, Love Everlasting, plus books from tons of other top authors! So, enter the giveaway by clicking HERE beginning TOMORROW, MONDAY, 10/10. Good luck, and enjoy!

My promo season for Love Everlasting is short this year, so other than entering the blog giveaways above or my own Rafflecopter contest below, there will only be ONE MORE BLOG GIVEAWAY, and that will be:

Next Wednesday, Oct. 10, when I have the privilege of not only interviewing my editor from Revell, but YOU get the chance to win the following for just dropping by to leave a comment:

Signed paperback copies of A Passion Most Pure, A Light in the Window, and Isle of Hope along with a framed pic of my favorite quote from Isle of Hope.


PLUS ... because it's Seekerville's 9th birthday month, a chance to win an iPad Mini as the grand prize!!

So be sure to come on by next Wednesday to leave say "hey," and you'll be in the draw for a lot of great prizes!

AND ... come by Seekerville ALL MONTH LONG for a chance to win Kindles, a $50 gift card, an iPad Mini, and LOTS of free books!!

Hope to see you there and have a GREAT weekend!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 30, 2016



(Note: Contest Entry Box at Bottom of This Page)

Birthdays are always special, and none more than this one for me -- the birth of our precious Genevieve (Evie), my brand-new granddaughter for whom most of you prayed, so thank you all, and THANK YOU, God!!

As you may recall, Evie had a terrible prognosis at the onset that entailed at the worst, either death before or after she was born, or at the best, an 80% chance of living to the age of fifteen. But through your prayers and ours, we now have a precious little girl who, following a heart surgery at 4-6 months, will have a normal life with full life expectancy!!

At a peanut weight of 4 lbs., 15 oz., Evie was taken two weeks early due to placenta problems that curtailed her growth, but this little dynamo still managed a 9 Apgar score (a measure of the physical condition of a newborn infant), which is the best you can get, according to my daughter-in-law! Trust me, there's been lots of happy tears and texts flying back and forth over this joyous event, with lots of pictures that I will include below, so thank you, everyone, who said a prayer for our little girl. We are SO very grateful!

And Baby #2? Well, definitely not as important as Baby #1, but a new baby nonetheless, and that is the release of my second book in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, so if you preordered, THANK YOU and HAPPY READING! And if you haven't ordered it yet, you can do so HERE!

As you know, reviews are critical to an author, so if you read LE and like it, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon, which can be as brief as one or two lines. And if you do, I've added additional entries in my contest below to say thank you!



And, YES, you still have lots of time to enter my contest to have a character named after you in the paperback version (and ebook version!) of Love Everlasting PLUS all three books in the pic below and a framed quote from Isle of Hope.  

All you have to do to enter is click on each of the Thunderclap links below, then click on a support button (which allows Thunderclap to post a brief promo about Love Everlasting and Cowboy Christmas Homecoming on your Facebook or Twitter page on a particular date (you do nothing but click!). So click on each of the links below and get entry points for both separately! Then scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the contest via my Rafflecopter box.





 If you haven't had the chance yet to read the award-winning, 5-star book 1, Isle of Hope, your timing is good because it is now on sale for 50% off at the lowest price yet of $3.99, so you can check it and all the reviews HERE.




 Free Download!!

Finally, if you haven't downloaded the prequel novella to Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope, what are you waiting for? It's FREE and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, so I hope you take advantage.



Thank you again, EVERYONE, for your prayers and support -- it means more than I can ever say, and most of you already know from reading my doorstopper books -- I can say an awful lot! ;)

Have a blessed weekend, my friends. I know we will! :)



Welcome Sweet Genevieve (Evie) ...

We've Waited SO Long to See Your Sweet Face!


Evie Arrives!

Proud Daddy!

Big Sister's First Glimpse!

Big Brother is Not Impressed!

Big Sis's New Favorite Doll!

And Grandma Juju is Crazy Excited Even Though She's 1,400 Miles Away!!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 20, 2016

Tick ... Tick ... Tick ...

Guess what?  In only 12 days, book 2 in my Isle of Hope Series, LOVE EVERLASTING, will release in e-book, so I hope you are as excited as I am about this sequel to Isle of Hope. And if you haven't preordered yet, you can do so HERE!

SO ... to gear up, I thought I'd not only give you a few sneak peeks at Love Everlasting, but TWO opportunities to still win a character named after you in the paperback version of LE, a signed paperback or ebook copy of it, PLUS a signed copy of THREE of my books (see the pic below under "New Contest"), and a framed quote from Isle of Hope.

That's FOUR PAPERBACK BOOKS, a character named for you in the paperback of my new release, and a frame with my favorite quote from Isle of Hope!


But first things first, an update on my granddaughter, Genevieve (Evie) who is now scheduled to be born in ONE WEEK on September 27, so I'm still asking for your prayer. Little Evie has been growing steadily thanks to so many prayers on her behalf, yours among them! But because she is so small, they are taking her two weeks early to better feed her outside the womb, so PLEASE continue to pray for a safe and healthy delivery with no problems and a beautifully healthy little girl! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH, and I will keep you posted!

And now ...



Ever hear of Thunderclap? Well, it's an opportunity for you to help me get the word out about the release of Love Everlasting.

Thunderclap allows a single message typed by me to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of social networks. If I am able to get 100 people to click on the SUPPORT LINK of my two Thunderclap pages below, the thunderclaps will go live on the dates specified for each. And THAT means the messages you see on my Thundercap pages will automatically be posted on YOUR Facebook or Twitter page without you doing a thing. Pretty cool, huh?

SO ... can you help me out by clicking on the support link of each of my two Thunderclap page links below? If you do, simply tell me you did in the Rafflecopter Box at the bottom of this page, and you are automatically entered to win in each Thunderclap.

WHICH means TWO CHANCES to win a character named after you in the paperback version of Love Everlasting, a signed paperback copy of Love Everlasting, PLUS a signed copy of EACH of the books in the pic above and a framed quote from Isle of Hope.














And guess what? You can even up your chances of winning with extra entries earned in the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this blog after you enter, so GOOD LUCK!



WHOO-HOO ... I' M EXCITED, SO LET'S PARTEEEE!!!  Please join me and FHL authors Winnie Griggs, Linda Goodnight, and Tracee Lydia Garner this WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st from 7:00-8:30 PM to chat and win prizes.

FHL is Faith, Hope, & Love, which is the Christian fiction chapter of Romance Writers of American, so we'd love your support! I'll be hanging out most of the night, but to enter my giveaway of a signed paperback or ebook copy of Love Everlasting, you'll need to leave a comment during my segment of 8:00 PM to 8:15 PM, so do come by to say, "hey," okay? Here's the link and hope to see you there!




Hugs and have a GREAT WEEK!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 9, 2016

"God alone is the Alpha and the Omega.  

He is the beat of my pulse. He is the strength in my bones.

He is my beginning and my end,

and there is no hope in anything—anything

 —except Him.”

Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman



In an amoral world where sex before marriage is the norm, mommy porn is rampant, and we actually have transgender bathroom laws, I gotta tell you — I love readers who want more from their fiction than just a great story. Not only because some of them buy my novels, but because I connect with them on a heart level — women (and some men) who crave a touch of God in their lives and in their books.

If you read last week's Journal Jot and saw all the wonderful pix, you know I had a blast at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (CFRR) followed by the American Christian Fiction Writers conference (ACFW) in Nashville a few weeks ago. But without question, the highlight of my trip — other than meeting some of you and spending time with dear friends (and you know who you are!) — was CFRR, where I was blessed to spend a wonderfully jam-packed day with reader friends like you!

WOW, what a privilege and honor to be one of five guest speakers at CFRR — along with Tamera Alexander, Mary Connealy, Laura Frantz, and Ruth Logan Herne! And WHOA! Was that a day I will never forget. Nor will any of the 105 people who attended this truly amazing inaugural retreat, where precious reader friends laughed, prayed, worshipped, ate breakfast/lunch/snacks, and just had a blast with some of their favorite authors.

Ruth Logan Herne and Mary Connealy provided comedic inspiration followed by Tamera Alexander and myself sharing our testimonies while Laura Frantz hosted a unique reader panel where authors asked readers like you the questions! All in all, it was one of the most memorable days of my life, and I thank God — and the CFRR planners/moderators, Bonnie Roof, Annie C., and Carrie Schmidt — for all the hard work they put in and allowing me to be a part.

In conclusion, the event was a resounding success that can be summed up in words like anointed, intimate, inspiring, heart-wrenching, heart-pounding (the Pucker Up panel!), wild (speed chats, which are like speed dating, only with authors!), and a whole lot of fun!

That said, I thought it might be fun to post my speech for you here today following the announcements below (for me anyway, so I could relive this wonderful day in some small way!), so I hope you enjoy it.

Hugs and Happy Weekend!




WHOO-HOO ... my prequel novella to Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope is now FREE ON Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, so if you haven't read it yet, now's your chance!!

And if you have read it, can you spread the word for people to download it? The more downloads the better in this biz, so please SPREAD THE WORD!

She’s a wounded girl serving up trouble.
He’s a pastor’s kid bent on serving God.
But can they find a glimmer of hope
for a future together?

From the moment Jack O’Bryen kissed the sixteen-year-old tomboy next door, he knew he would love her forever. Lacey Carmichael was everything he’d ever wanted—intelligent, warm, and brimming with life, the perfect complement to his serious and sensible self. A girlfriend who not only shared his faith, but he hoped his future as well, the perfect mate for a would-be pastor.

Eighteen-year-old Lacey Carmichael has dreamed of marrying Jack O’Bryen since she was twelve years old, the boy next door who always picked up the pieces after her father shattered her heart. But when her cousin leads her astray while Jack’s away at school and her father’s rejection soars to new heights, Lacey finds herself at odds with the boy that she loves, not only jeopardizing their relationship, but Jack’s faith and heart as well.



WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 — Join me on Seekerville this next week when I will be sharing even more about CFRR and giving away three of my signed books (paperback or ebook) and a special framed quotation memento that was given out at CFRR. So, hope to see you there on Wednesday and here's the link:




HO-HO-HOPE you've checked out my upcoming Christmas novella, "Last Chance Christmas," part of the Cowboy Christmas Homecoming collection with Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Anna Schmidt. It's a fun and heartwarming story about an accident-prone ex-saloon girl and a pastor that is now available for PREORDER! Here's the back-cover copy:

Accidents happen and then there’s Grace…

         Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s dyed his long johns pink and scorched nearly everything she cooks—even catching fire to the kitchen. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come.

         Though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died.

         When Grace’s past threatens his family, they have one chance to celebrate Christmas together at home. . . If Grace hasn’t burned it down by then.



Book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, available for PREORDER HERE!



Okay, right off the bat, I’d like to get something out there on the table: I am romance addict. Blame it on the fact that I was one of thirteen kids in a very dysfunctional family where there wasn’t a lot of love to go around, but at the age of eight or so, I used to sneak downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed.

Even at that tender age, I was so enamored with romance that I wrote sweet, little love stories and illustrated them with innocent kisses. I used to hide them, though, because I was pretty good in art and they were fairly anatomically correct for an eight-year-old. Until my mom found them. You might say that was my first one-star review.

But … my romance-writing career didn’t actually begin until the age of twelve, when I read Gone With the Wind. I was so enamored with the love affair between Scarlett and Rhett that I immediately sat down to write 150 single-spaced pages of what would one day be — some forty years later — my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.

My little sister Katie and I shared a room, and she’d beg me to read my book to her every night. She loved it SO much that she said I should let Mama read it, so I did. But a few days later when I asked Mom what she thought so far, she said: “Sorry, Julie, but it was so dry, I couldn’t get past the first page.” Needless to say, my writing career took a bit of a nosedive after that.

But I still loved romance, so when I was sixteen, I talked some friends into dressing up like nuns to go see a special free showing of Gone With the Wind for the religious community. Back then GWTW was re-released every seven years, and I had never seen it. So we borrowed nun habits from my friend's sister who was a postulant, and off we went. There I sat, mesmerized, shoving free popcorn in my mouth and drinking free soda while watching Scarlett and Rhett. It was the best day of my life. UNTIL we got in trouble after running into the nuns from our high school, but it was sooooooooooo worth it!

Then the free-love hippie era hit, and I ditched paper romance for the real thing. Back then, I was a 23-year-old hardnosed agnostic who was so angry at God that I actually wanted to burn Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms.

As a wild child of the 60s and 70s, I tried everything to be happy—from astrology and tarot cards … to transcendental meditation and witchcraft—you name it. I had a vocabulary that would have made a sailor blush.

According to the world’s standards, I had everything going for me—a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment (at a time when other friends still lived at home), and even some success in writing. I was editor of the yearbook and newspaper, published in the National Anthology of High School Poetry, won a poetry contest in college, and aced an advanced writing course at Washington University without showing up for half the classes.

BUT  … I wasn’t happy. I’d sit on the edge of my bed and stare out the window, feeling a lot like Peggy Lee singing, “Is that all there is?”

Then one day, this annoying gal at work approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was miserable. One day when she and I were alone in the department—I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the blank makes you so blankin’ all the time?” I literally groaned when she walked over and said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.”

Oh my gosh, a Jesus freak! But you know what? I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. “Your god — just what has your god done for me?” I’d say, “My mother hated me, my father beat me, and my sisters and brothers made fun of me, so tell me, please—what does your god want me to do to believe because I flat-out don’t. Does he want me to run around the building ten times? Give me something physical I can do because I ain’t buying it.”

So she told me to go home and ask Jesus Christ to come into my heart and be Lord of my life. I remember looking up at my ceiling that night, saying. “She says you’re up there, but I think I’m talking to a ceiling. So on the off chance you are really up there, come into my heart and make me know it. I can’t remember if it was one month or three, but suddenly, I believed with all my heart, and my life has never been the same.

When I was in my 50s, I was reading a Newsweek cover article about Christian music, movies, and books, stating that it was a billion-dollar industry just waiting to be tapped. If you recall, that was when Mel Gibson’s box-office hit The Passion of the Christ made Hollywood sit up and notice there was a Christian market. So I’m sitting there reading, when this thought enters my head that says, “now is the time to finish your book.” I remember blinking in surprise because the thought didn’t come from me. And I knew what book it was talking about — the book I started at the age of twelve.

So I did and started down the path of query letters, contests, and rejections. I’ll never forget this one contest that I entered after I went off hormone replacement therapy. I kept waiting for the judges’ comments, and they never came. I was so crazed to get them, that I bugged that poor contest coordinator to death, even brazen enough to ask if she could have the judges redo their judging sheets and send them to me. Yeah—I was that bad!

“I’ll never understand what happened to those contest results,” I told my husband months later while we were eating dinner out, AFTER I went back on hormones. I suddenly hear this quiet voice from across the table while my hubby carefully cuts his pork tenderloin. “They’re under our mattress,” he said softly, avoiding my eyes. “Excuse me?” I say, and he finally looks up. “Amy and I hid them from you, Julie, because we knew you couldn’t handle it.” I was stunned, but fortunately back on hormones at the time, so I just laughed. I thanked him and my daughter because I did go home and read those scores, and YIKES ... they weren’t pretty!

I don’t have to tell many of you here that trying to get published is hard work. I received 46 rejections on A Passion Most Pure before it sold in a 3-book deal to Revell. I basically went from winning the booby prize at an ACFW conference for the most rejections in a year, waving my hand wildly at the back of the room, so grateful I was going to finally win something — to standing on that same ACFW stage three years later, accepting the award for Debut Book of the Year.

According to Jeremiah 29, God has a plan for every one in this room, and as authors, we automatically dream of Christy awards and bestseller status. I certainly did when A Passion Most Pure broke Revell’s record for the fastest-selling fiction release up to that time. “There’s nothing out there like it,” the Director of Sales at Revell said, and I thought—I’m on my way.

So when Francine Rivers spoke at an ACFW conference I attended, telling us that she took time off from writing at the peak of her career to focus more on God and refused to enter contests or look at her royalty statements, I thought: She’s lost her mind.

Turns out I was the one who lost my mind — God’s mind, that is, for what He wanted for me and my career, a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Because … economies crash and markets change, and things don’t always go the way you plan.

The Bible says “hope does not disappoint,” but guess what? I was disappointed. So I took an 8-month sabbatical from writing, telling my editor that I wasn’t going to pitch another book or series for a while because I wanted to focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing.

And you know what? It’s the best thing I ever did because that’s when I learned the greatest lesson a Christian author can ever learn and probably the most important thing I can tell you today.

And that is—no, hope does not disappoint! BUT … it has to be hope in Him, not in book sales or awards or glowing reviews. It has to be hope and trust that His plan for you as a writer—or a reader—will bring you more peace, joy, and contentment than any Christy award or bestseller list.

It was during my sabbatical that I wrote my latest novel, Isle of Hope, which is why it’s such an important book to me. Important enough to publish it myself even though Revell did actually want it—if I cut it in half and toned down the spirituality. Both my agent and I agreed that I should not because this story was too personal and too deep—based on my own estranged relationship with my father.

So I’d like to end my talk today with a clip from Isle of Hope that relays the most important lesson I have learned as an author.

In this scene, the hero’s father—a former pastor who is dying of cancer—is seeking to reconcile with his estranged son who hasn’t forgiven him for destroying their family through an adulterous affair. These words are actually my heart and my mindset toward the God Who has called each of us to follow Him.But I also truly believe it is a a mindset that all Christians need if we are going to walk the path God has for each of us with true peace and joy.

         His father’s body quivered with a depleting sigh before he rose and walked to the far edge of the dock, hands buried in his pockets while he stared at the river. “Once it happened,” he whispered, “I swore it would never happen again, but of course it did, brick-walling my pride more and more just to keep out the guilt. Until everything came crashing down …”

         He turned toward Jack with a slump of shoulders and a glimmer of pain. “I lost my wife, my family, my friends, and my church. The only way my pride could cope, Jack, was to cling to the lie that Karen and I belonged together, to believe that I was the one to deliver her from her troubled marriage and she from mine.” He inhaled sharply, releasing it again in a slow, tenuous breath. “So we left.”

         “You mean ran away with your tail between your legs.” Jack’s words hissed in the air.

         “Yes,” his father said calmly, “I ran away like the coward I was.”

         The aura of peace and calm Jack had sensed before settled over his father’s shoulders again like the mantle of moonlight that broke through the clouds. “It took losing everything, Son, including my life, to finally understand what I was too blind to see. Everything to liberate me from the same pride that lost Lucifer his soul. And that is—God alone is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beat of my pulse. He is the strength in my bones. He is my beginning and my end, and there is no hope in anything—anything—except Him.”

Thank you.