4:36AM

Thursday, July 20, 2017

 Contest at bottom of blog.

 

"Prayer doesn’t just move mountains,
it ushers us into the very presence of God,
where we can touch Him and He, us.
A holy mingling of souls, if you will, where we can
embrace the true essence of Life, because that’s what
He is—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

-- Grace Like Rain by Julie Lessman

 

Can I hear a big AMEN

about prayer moving mountains?

Speaking of which, one of my very favorite books on prayer is on e-sale today, so I hope you check it out. It's called Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority by renowned Christian author, John Eldredge. It has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 319 reviews, and it literally has changed my prayer life, ramping it up considerably.

And trust me, I needed a "mountain" of prayer this week to accomplish all I had to do, but I am happy to say I am almost done with the final proofing for the Amazon upload version of His Steadfast Love (releases August 1st!) AND have designed covers and setup pre-order for -- FOUR NOVELLAS!! Each of the following novellas are now available for preorder and will release on September 1st.

PLEASE NOTE: IF you purchased any of the O'Connor Christmas novellas when they were part of the Hope for the Holidays historical collection or the Home for Christmas historical collection OR Blake "The Rake" McClare's novella when it was part of the With This Kiss historical collection, or the Cowboy Christmas Homecoming historical collection, you've already read these novellas.

BUT ... I do plan to go back in and spice them up Julie Lessman style because when I originally wrote them, I had to tone down the romance to satisfy the publisher. PLUS, the novella from Cowboy Christmas Homecoming will not only be GREATLY spiced up (the original was not allowed to have any on-the-mouth kisses), but it will include more of the original story that was edited to make the novella shorter.

So here's a little blurb on each of the novellas releasing September 1st, and just FYI? Preordering any of these novellas gives extra points in the contest listed below where you can win a character named after you in His Steadfast Love, a signed paperback copy, a $50 Amazon gift card OR your ten top CBA recent releases, so be sure to check out the contest at the bottom of this page.

 

Grace Like Rain:

A Heart Of San Franciso Novella

Yes, it's true -- Blake "The Rake" McClare has found love in his own novella, so you won't want to miss this one because it's one of my faves. So much so, that I am including the first chapter down below, so do check it out. Here's the blurb:

He’s everybody’s lovable rogue.
She’s nobody’s fool
who hopes to steer clear.
Until a thunderstorm sinks them both
into a sea of love.

Blake “The Rake” McClare has a notorious reputation as a womanizer, which is why soft-spoken Patience Peabody carefully avoids the lovable rogue attorney at the law firm in which they both work.

Until a rare thunderstorm brings them together in a love soaked with the grace of God and a whole lot of lightning!

 PREORDER GRACE LIKE RAIN HERE!

 

A Whisper of Hope:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

Ahhhh ... Charity & Mitch ... two of my very faves, and now they have their very own Christmas novella that you will not want to miss.

I know that Mitch doesn't look a lot like his orginal cover picture on A Passion Redeemed, but it's incredibly difficult to find a historical-looking couple that actually resembles a prior cover, so I did the best I could, even though I realize the couple looks more modern than historical. But I do think the pose replicates the love Mitch has for Charity very nicely, especially after you read the story! ;)  Here's the blurb:

She’s desperate for a baby.
He’s desperate for an empty nest.
And love is desperate to surprise them both.

With a husband dead set against adoption, Charity O’Connor Dennehy has barely a whisper of hope for more children, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … will it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?

 PREORDER A WHISPER OF HOPE HERE!

 

The Best Gift of All:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

This is Lizzie and Brady's story because it was a subplot that was cut from A Love Surrendered, the final O'Connor book. Since it was already basically written, I used it instead of writing a Christmas novella for Faith & Collin and Katie & Luke. But rest assured that each year I plan to release another O'Connor Christmas novella until I have covered everyone in the family, including Marcy & Patrick! 

I have to say that this particular novella contains a very important life lesson I learned, so not only is it a good read, I hope, but it contains a powerful lesson as well. Here's the blurb:

 

  She longs to be the perfect mother.
He just longs for his wife.
Until they receive ... the best gift of all.

Everyone knows Lizzie and John Brady have the perfect marriage. But when Lizzie’s desire to be a good mother eclipses her desire for her husband, the honeymoon is definitely over. Can the spirit of Christmas heal their hearts when Lizzie gives John the best gift of all?

 PREORDER THE BEST GIFT OF ALL HERE!

 

The Gift of Grace:

A Frontier Christmas Novella

Although The Gift of Grace is basically a Christmas story, I didn't want the cover to be limited to only Christmas. And actually, since Grace almost burns down the hero's house on a number of occasions, I thought the flame-orange sky was somewhat fitting! ;) Here's the blurb:

She’s the Accident
to His Prayers …

Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s caught fire to the kitchen, dyed his long johns pink, and scorched nearly everything she cooks. But he’s desperate, and she’s a destitute ex-saloon girl.

Even 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. But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

 PREORDER THE GIFT OF GRACE HERE!

So there you have it -- four new reads for Christmas and a novel -- His Steadfast Love, so I hope you get a chance to read them all. I wish you a happy weekend, happy summer, and happy reading!

Hugs,

Julie

99-Cent Sale on Isle of Hope
Ends Soon!

If you haven't read book 1 in the Isle of Hope series, now is your chance! Award-winning Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love was voted as one of Family Fiction magazine's Best of 2015, currently has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 218 reviews, and will be on sale for only 99 cents for a few more weeks, so take advantage! Here's the blurb:

Can a wild girl gone good
rebuild bridges with
a good boy gone bad?

She’s the girlfriend serving up temptation. He’s the pastor’s kid bent on serving God. Till tragedy separates them for eight long years.

Now she’s a woman of faith, back to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she betrayed. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

Yes, you read that right. In honor of my upcoming release of His Steadfast Love, book 2 is also on sale, so now's your chance to catch up before book 3. Love Everlasting has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 103 reviews, so here's the blurb:

Hunk of Heartache
Vs. Sweet & Shy

School teacher by day, ghostwriter by night, sweet and shy Shannon O’Bryen doesn’t mind writing romance on the sly, but to live it? No, thank you, not since the man she loved turned out to be a player who broke both her heart and her spirit. Now focused more on her faith and her fiction, she vows the next time she falls in love, it will be safely—through the pages of a book.

Dr. Sam Cunningham is a charismatic player who breaks hearts as regularly as he washes his pearl-white Corvette. Abandoned as a young child, Sam was an orphan shuffled through the foster-care system, bitterly driven to prove he is worthy of love—the kind that lasts forever. Once he learns Shannon is a romance writer, he enlists her help in winning back his ex-girlfriend. She teaches him about faith and the true definition of love, and he soon discovers he’s been seeking it in the wrong place all along—and with the wrong girl. But can he convince a woman who's been burned by love to open her eyes—and her heart—to a love everlasting?

SALE PRICE ON EVERLASTING LOVE

 

 His Steadfast Love, Pre-Order Now!

Book 3 in my Isle of Hope Series, His Steadfast Love, is finally available for PRE-ORDER! Cat's and Chase's love story releases August 1st in e-book and later this fall in paperback, so here's the blurb:

She’s bent on fun.
He’s bent on faith.
Till true love
bridges the gap.

Cat O’Bryen is a prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, her father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain she’s on a path that could damage her faith forever.

Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat O’Bryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer friendship instead. A friendship that is hopefully as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home.

PRE-ORDER HERE!

 

 Contest Ends July 31st!

To celebrate my new release, I am running a contest where you can win ALL of the following:

— A character named after you (or a loved one) in both e-book & paperback of His Steadfast Love.

— A signed copy

— Your choice of $50 Amazon gift card OR box of 10 gently used & recent books by top authors like Rachel Hauck, Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Beth Vogt, and more!

You'll find the Rafflecopter contest box at the bottom of today's blog AFTER the excerpt for the first chapter of Grace Like Rain.

 

1st Chapter of Grace Like Rain

Chapter One

San Francisco, February 1905

Ka-boom!

Patience Peabody literally jumped in the air with a squeal, as if goosed by the bolt of lightning that lit up the galley kitchen of McClare, Rupert, and Byington. Heart slamming like the waves of water that battered the window, she poured a steaming cup of coffee with shaky fingers, staring out at a sodden sky that was still two hours from dawn.

“Sweet soul-saving mercy, I hate thunderstorms,” she muttered, feeling foolish for being such a baby at the age of nearly twenty. She shuddered, the motion rippling her coffee as she sipped on her way to the door, eyelids fluttering closed to savor the scent of cinnamon—the secret recipe her mother used for everything from coffee to handmade soap.

Crrrr-rack! Another clap of thunder crashed, knee-jerking her arms while she fired a panicked look out the window.

“Ah, hot coffee, Miss Peabody—you’re a lifesaver.”

“Oh!” Head lashing back, she jerked her cup and saucer in startled reflex, showering a slosh of coffee on the soggy white shirt of Mr. Blake McClare, junior associate counsel in his uncle’s law firm.

And her superior.

Dripping from head to toe with rain—and now coffee—he glanced down at his waterlogged shirt before peering up with an endearing smile. “Of course, I rather hoped for a cup.”

“Oh … oh … I am s-so s-sorry, Mr. McClare,” she stuttered, voice quivering as much as the cup in her hands. She spun around, spilling more coffee as she darted to the sink, china clattering to the counter before she doused a dishrag under the tap. Frazzled enough to faint, she rushed to where he stood in a puddle of coffee and rain and commenced slapping the sopping rag against his chest as if it were a washboard.

A very taut, muscled washboard.

She gulped, cheeks flaming hot when her skittish gaze rose to meet his.

“Why, thank you, Miss Peabody,” he said with a boyish grin, soggy dark curls framing a handsomely sculpted face, “this should serve nicely as my morning ablution since I didn’t make it home.”

Her cup rattled in its saucer. “Oh … oh … a towel …yes, I’ll get you a towel.” Whirling to head to the sink, her body boomeranged back with a firm clamp of his wrist, nearly bouncing off his thoroughly wet chest.

“Not necessary,” he said with a broad smile, steadying her with a brace of her arm. “I assure you I won’t melt.” He slipped his coat off and hooked it over the doorknob with a wink. “Unless, of course, you start scrubbing again …”

Blood from every part of her body converged in her face while he calmly removed the leaking dishrag from her grasp and squatted to wipe up the floor. She put her palms to her hot cheeks, mortified that Blake McClare, the one lawyer in the firm whom she frequently prayed about—dreamed about—was cleaning up her mess. “Oh … oh … I am so embarrassed, Mr. McClare, I could just die!”

“Oh, don’t do that, Miss Peabody, please,” he said in a mock stern voice that was clearly a playful plea. He rose, along with one thick, dark brow, his trademark twinkle glimmering in clear gray eyes that always reminded her of bottomless pools of tease. “Then Miss Murdoch would make the coffee, and I’d be the one who would die.” A telltale smile twitched at the edge of lips that had flirted, teased, praised, soothed, and encouraged her more times than she could count. A knot ducked in her throat.

And tempted … ?

The thought nearly asphyxiated her, bloodying her face to heatstroke proportion. Snatching the rag from his hand, she wheeled around, praying she wouldn’t pass out before she made it to the sink. “I’ll p-pour you another c-cup, Mr. McClare,” she said in a shaky voice as she glanced over her shoulder, “then if you’ll kindly leave your s-shirt on the knob outside your office, I will attend to that stain immediately.”

“No need, Miss Peabody. I keep a fresh change of clothes in my closet for occasions such as this.”

She blinked, suddenly noting the rumpled tux, loosened tie, and dark bristle that shadowed his jaw. Another flash of fire scorched when she realized just what that meant.

He rubbed a hand to his stomach with a flash of white teeth. “Although I would offer a week’s wages for something to eat.”

“I … I … h-have a muffin,” she whispered, hand knuckled to the counter to hold herself up.

His little-boy grin almost buckled her knees. “What flavor?”

“C-Cinnamon r-raisin.” The words came out hoarse.

He chuckled as he cocked a hip to the door, coat now haphazardly slung over his broad shoulder. “I’m drooling already. Do you mind if we share?”

Did she mind? “You c-can have it,” she said in a rush, willing to give this man almost anything … at least in her dreams.

“Absolutely not. We share 50/50 or I go hungry, Miss Peabody, is that clear?”

She nodded her head like a dolt, wondering how gray eyes the color of a winter sky could shine with such warmth. When he looked at her like that—both tender and teasing as if she mattered far more than she did—her tongue tangled more than the knots in her stomach.

“Good.” He stood to his full height with a firm square of shoulders. “Give me ten minutes to change and shave, and I’ll meet you in the conference room for coffee and said muffin.” Turning, he lobbed a glance over his shoulder, the mischievous smile back in play. “Oh, and napkins, if you will, Miss Peabody—lots and lots of napkins.”

 

 

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