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5:10AM

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Blessings have a way

of sneaking in the back door."

— A Dream Fulfilled

Ah, isn't that the truth? At least it has been for me, when negative situations in my life have turned around for good, giving total credence to one of my favorite Scriptures:

And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those

who love Him and are called

according to His purpose.

—Romans 8:28

Well, that's certainly the case with Katie and Luke in my upcoming O'Connor Christmas novella, A Dream Fulfilled. Because when Katie's dream collides with Luke's, upsetting their happy home, God takes a negative situation and turns it around for good with a dream fullfilled. Not only for Katie and Luke, but for everyone in the story. And, I hope ... for you too!

I will admit that this is not your "normal" Christmas story because it begins way before Christmas and it has a lot of tears in it, but I promise  they will be tears of joy by the last chapter, hopefully to help breathe the true spirit of Christmas into your holidays.

I didn't mention this before, but you get a discount if you pre-order A Dream Fulfilled, so I hope you consider doing so HERE before it releases on October 20th. This is my longest novella so far, and it's even longer than my short novel, For Love of Liberty, so whether you pre-order it at the discount price of $1.99 or purchase it after it releases for $2.99, I hope you will think it is well worth the price.

Oh, and pssst ... another sneak peek at the end of this blog!


  👏 We Have Winners! 

A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who entered my contest to help promote the release of a writer's book I am a part of called, WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES: Tips & Techniques from Ten Award-Winning Authors.

Your help in spreading the word about this outstanding writer's tool is MOST appreciated! I wish I could say thank you by awarding every entrant a prize. But, alas, I'd be in the red if I did, so here are our two winners with an EXTRA winner (3rd Place) at the last minute because of all the effort she put into this contest. SUPER CONGRATS to our winners and drumroll, please ...


GRAND PRIZE WINNER:  ALISON BOSS

($50 Amazon gift, character in next book, signed copy)

2ND PLACE WINNER:  DEBORAH DUMM

(Character in next book, signed copy, 2 indie e-books OR 1 paperback)

3RD PLACE WINNER:  CHANEL MONROE

(Choice of 1 of my indie e-books)

 

📕 A Christmas Freebie is Coming!

Be sure to mark your calendars for OCTOBER 19-23, when A Whisper of Hope—Charity and Mitch's Christmas novella—will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD! Here's the jacket blurb and link, so I hope you check it out:

She’s desperate for a baby.
He’s desperate for an empty nest.
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, is it enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?

A WHISPER OF HOPE

 

📹 My Next Facebook Live!

Uh-oh ... it's time for another Facebook Live!

Mark your calendars for NEXT THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 AT NOON CDT for my next Facebook Live, Part 3 of my video series, NOVEL INSPIRATIONS, a series of life lessons I put into my books. More info to come!

JULIE'S FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

 

 

 📝 Attention Writers!

For all you aspiring writers, here is a brand-new writer's how-to book you are NOT going to want to miss! I am part of this very unique writer's book called WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES: Tips & Techniques From Ten Award-Winning Authors, where you literally get to pick the brains of award-winning authors about everything from writing to publishing to marketing! That way, you get ten viewpoints on what has worked best for each of us in becoming a published author. The book is available in e-book or paperback, so I hope you check it out.

WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES:

Tips & Techniques from Ten Award-Winning Authors

 

A Sneak Peek!

As promised, here's a sneak peek from Katie & Luke's A Dream Fulfilled. To se the scene up, Katie and her two girls arrive home late from the park, and Luke is worried because he didn't know where they were.

A DREAM FULFILLED

“Honestly, Luke, Marlene reminds me so much of Emma, I almost slipped and called her that more than once.” Katie snatched a cold grape Nehi out of the icebox since Luke had already exhausted their milk supply, almost downing three tall glasses while he ate his dinner.

She may have failed to go to the market for more, but thank God she’d remembered to make the pot roast this morning! The poor man had already devoured two platefuls and was working on his third, barely coming up for air while Katie filled him in on her day. As grumpy as he’d been when she came home, she shuddered to think what she would have done without the pot roast since the cupboard was bare. She swallowed hard as she poured him a Nehi.

Especially since I didn’t get to the grocery store either.

“Well, you can’t go wrong with a friend like Emma, that’s for darn sure,” Luke said with a final gulp of milk. Clunking his empty glass down, he proceeded to sop up the last of his gravy with a piece of bread, cleaning his plate so thoroughly, she could have put it back in the cupboard.

“I know.” Thumping the Nehi down before him, she snatched up his empty milk glass in a seamless switch, excitement mounting in her voice. “And she actually asked if I’d be interested in being her prayer partner, if you can believe that.” She slipped the dirty milk glass in the dishwater and returned to her chair with a broad smile, fairly bubbling at the thought. “Faith prays with her next-door neighbor on a regular basis, I know, and Emma and Charity do, too, so I guess I’ve always longed for that as well. You know, a close friend I can confide in and pray with other than my sisters.”

 “Thanks, Katie, that really hit the spot.” Pushing his plate away, Luke eased back with long legs stretched under the table and hands braced to the back of his neck, fatigue slumping his muscled body enough for her to notice. “I’m happy for you, Sass. Marlene sounds really nice, and to be honest, I’m glad to see you, Kit, and Ellie meeting new people. I honestly don’t know how you do it, Katie, confined to a small apartment all day with two busy kids, even with support from your mother and sisters.”

The planes of his handsome face softened with sympathy, his smattering of freckles lost in a year-round tan clearly underscoring his aversion to being cooped up anywhere for long. “Especially with a law degree under your belt and a second baby curtailing any part-time work at the BCAS.”

Katie paused as she collected his dirty plate, the reminder of the career she’d given up to have Luke’s baby imposing a melancholy air. She plucked his dish and utensils up with a lift of her chin. No, not a career given up, she reminded herself as she carried them to the sink with a square of shoulders. A career postponed till later for the sake of a far nobler one. Turning, she shot a smile over her shoulder while she washed his dishes. “Trust me, McGee, the degree gets plenty of use when arguing a case with your eldest daughter.”

His chuckle filled the cozy kitchen as he kneaded the bridge of his nose. “Dear Lord, I hope Addie is as sweet as her mother or that friendship is not long for this world.”

“Oh, she is,” Katie said with a faint smile, “which is why Marlene and Addie are perfect for us both. Her gaze faded into a faraway stare as she recalled how lonely she’d always been growing up—too young for her older sisters, too guarded to make many friends—which is why today had meant so very much to her. She expelled a wispy sigh as she reached to wipe off the table. “It was almost like a spiritual connection, Luke, you know? As if these friendships were truly meant to be.”

Luke grabbed her wrist on her final swipe, his blue eyes darkening as he drew her onto his lap with a decadent smile. “Speaking of spiritual connections,” he whispered, tossing her dishrag on the table while he suckled the lobe of her ear, “how about one with your very absent husband to remind him just why he comes home every night?”

Katie gulped as her eyelids drifted closed, her body humming from the tender touch of Luke McGee, the only man who could ever capture her body and soul. “I’m … guessing you’re not talking about devotions?” she whispered, a delicious ache thrumming deep in her belly.

His husky chuckle blew hot in her ear, doing absolutely nothing for her restraint. “No, but just as holy, Mrs. McGee, when we follow God’s leading to become one flesh …”

A moan lodged in her throat when Luke took her mouth with his own, exploring with an intensity that all but melted her bones.

“Hold that thought, Katie Rose,” he said with a wayward grin, slowly kneading her thighs as he scooted her off his lap. “Till after my shower.”

Katie was still in a fog when she heard the bathroom door close, cutting off the sound of her husband’s whistling. Hip butted against the sink, she rinsed out the dishrag with a silly grin on her face, always amazed at how easily Luke McGee could disarm her with a kiss. 

“Oh!” She jolted at the sink, eyes expanding when she remembered the toy-littered living room and bed full of laundry. Slapping the light switch off, she dashed into the living room to clean up the girls’ mess, hurling toys into the toybox left and right. Chest heaving, she darted down the hall to her bedroom, determined to get the laundry folded and put away before Luke was out of the shower.

Shaking the wrinkles out of one of her blouses, Katie allowed her mind to stray to Marlene and Addie, grateful she and the girls would be meeting them at the park tomorrow for a tour of the neighborhood. Katie smiled, somehow suspecting this was a friendship ordained by God.

As the baby of the family with much older sisters she’d hadn’t really connected with till she’d become an adult, Katie had been somewhat of a loner most of her life. Ridiculed in early grade school, she’d come into her own in the later years, exercising a control and popularity that drew more admirers than friends. Which had been exactly what she wanted—to be a leader who could remain at arm’s length in the midst of an admiring crowd.

But connecting with Marlene today made Katie realize that this was a friendship—a closeness—she wanted to pursue. And not just wanted, but needed, as if God were directing her path to a blessing she could almost feel. Even if she had no idea yet as to what that blessing might be.

Deep in thought, Katie didn’t register the sound of footsteps behind her while she folded several of Kit’s dresses, her thoughts far too absorbed in the prospect of friendship with Marlene and Addie to pay it much mind. But when two muscular arms encircled her waist from behind, she let out a tiny squeak, stomach tumbling while Luke’s lips feathered the nape of her neck.

 Giggling, she spun around, pulse stuttering at the sight of his sculpted body wrapped in a towel cinched low on his hips. Closing her eyes, she leaned against his hard chest, the clean scent of soap and Luke warming her blood while his mouth warmed her body.

“So help me, Sass, I’ve missed you more than I can say,” he whispered, nipping at the soft flesh of her ear while practiced hands skimmed up to tackle the buttons of her blouse. “So how ‘bout I just ‘do’ instead?”

“Mama?”

Luke’s fingers froze on her second button as a hoarse groan escaped his lips. Expelling a quiet sigh, he glanced over his shoulder while Katie peeked around him to see her daughter at the door.

“Yes, sweetheart?” Katie worked hard to stifle the squirm of a smile.

“Daddy forgot to say my prayers with me.” There was a pout in her tone as she rubbed sleepy eyes with a tiny fist

“Well, we can’t have that, now can we?” Katie pressed a kiss to Luke’s bare chest before pushing him toward the door with laughing eyes. “But I’ll just bet if you ask him real nice, he may just read you another book to let you know just how sorry he is, won’t you, Luke?”

“Absolutely,” Luke said, tightening the towel at his waist as he strode toward the door to scoop his tiny daughter up in his arms. But not before searing Katie with a thin gaze tempered by a hint of humor. “And when you and I are done, peanut, then Mama can show me just how sorry she is that she kept you and Ellie out past your bedtime.”

He disappeared down the hall, and Katie grinned, thinking she couldn’t be crazier about Luke McGee if she tried. She immediately tackled a pile of Ellie’s clean diapers, grateful to have bought some time to finish folding. Humming to herself, her thoughts once again drifted to Marlene, and she smiled at just how much they had in common. From their love of strong, thick, day-old coffee, Boston Baked Beans candies, Grape Nehi, and double-fudge brownies, to fear of worms, heights, and snorting when they laughed too hard—a trait they discovered after almost seven hours at the park—Katie felt she’d met her “other self.” Even to the point of physical attributes such as petite frames, strawberry birthmarks, and a skin condition that resulted in ridicule as children—Katie had never met another woman with whom she connected so completely.

So far, the only key difference Katie had been able to discern was that Marlene’s faith seemed to be light years ahead of Katie’s, more in league with the bone-deep faith of her sister Faith or her sister-in-law Emma. Which made her smile all the more.

It had always been difficult for Katie to accept spiritual insight from her older sisters, probably because she was too proud to admit a less-than-perfect faith to women she respected and admired.

But not with Marlene for some reason. And Katie wanted her faith to be strong! So when Marlene had humbly clarified a spiritual point for her with a personal experience of her own, Katie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this friendship was ordained by God.

Expelling a contented sigh, Katie rolled a pair of Luke’s socks, which immediately dropped to the floor with an abrupt catch of her breath when strong arms captured her from behind. “I believe it’s your turn for apologies, Sass,” her husband whispered in her ear, deft fingers straying to toy with the buttons of her blouse once again.

A sweet moan of contentment escaped Katie’s lips before her eyes flipped open, the mountain of clean laundry way too tall to ignore. “Wait—the laundry!” she rasped, squirming free from his hold. She turned to give him a quick kiss, throat suddenly dry at the fact that he still only wore a towel. “Why don’t you go get ready for bed, Luke, and I’ll get these folded and put away .”

“Oh, I’m ready,” he said with a wicked grin, skillful hands making short work of her blouse. His shuttered gaze never left hers as he slipped it off her shoulders while slowly prodding her onto their bed.

Katie gulped, the dangerous gleam in his eyes pooling a dizzy whirl of heat at the base of her stomach. “B-But, Luke, the laundry, we can’t just—”

“Wanna bet?” He eased down to join her amidst diapers and clothes, absently sweeping them aside while he nuzzled her throat. “Because the laundry can wait, Sass,” he whispered, tugging her body flush with his own. “But I can’t.”

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