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

 

7:01AM

Friday, June 23, 2017

Contest at Bottom of Blog

"You should be kissed and often

 and by someone who knows how."

—Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind

Ah, kisses ... for a romance writer and reader, I ask you ... is there anything better?

Well, not for me! ;)

Free Download on Isle of Hope!

And so ... in honor of NATIONAL KISSING DAY (today, June 23, 2017) AND in honor of my upcoming release of book 3, His Steadfast Love, book 1 in the Isle of Hope series, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love, will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD for five days only -- June 23-June 27 -- so if you know anyone who hasn't read it yet, PLEASE let them know, okay?

After June 27, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love will go on sale for 99 cents through August 10.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?


 Almost 50% off Book 2!

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 90 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?

 

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!

 

New Contest!

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 His Steadfast Love.

  
 

1st Chapter of His Steadfast Love

The winds of change are blowing … and it’s a category five.

Catherine “Cat” O’Bryen plopped her chin in her hand on the linen-clad table, grateful for the low lighting of the candlelit ballroom while she battled another onslaught of tears. Discreetly swiping at the wetness, she watched as her twin sister danced with her new husband, Dr. Sam Carmichael, who held Shannon close as if she were a priceless treasure. And she is, Cat thought with a sniff, a mix of both gratitude and mourning instantly welling in her eyes. A treasure I’ve lost forever.

As if oblivious to anyone else on the crowded dance floor of the Savannah Marriott Riverwalk hotel, the couple moved as one, and Cat wondered how she could feel such pain on the heels of so much joy. She would give her life for her twin, and now she had the chance. To let go of her other half—the best part of herself—and wish her sister well.

Shannon’s new “other half” was now a man who drew every woman’s eye, but he only had eyes for her sister, and at that exact moment, Cat knew beyond a shadow of a doubt there was a God. Because if anybody deserved a happily ever after, it was Shannon, one of the kindest, most loving human beings on the planet.

Unlike me.

“Hey, Cat, wanna dance?”

She jolted from her thoughts to blink up at Jordan Murphy, one of the guys from the Hope Church volleyball league who had asked her out several times. He was nice enough, she supposed, and cute, too, but it was the same old story with the guys at Hope Church—too nice and too spiritual.

“Come on.” He extended his hand, eyes warm with sympathy. “It’ll do you good.”

Heat scorched her cheeks when she realized her face was slick with tears, effectively announcing to the world she was the pathetic little twin who was now all alone. Slapping at her damp eyes, she managed a smile, tempted to blow out the stupid candle so she could hide away in the dark. The dark? She suppressed a grunt. Already there. She valiantly kicked the smile up a notch. “Actually, Jordan, would you mind saving me a dance for later? I think I need to visit the little girls’ room.” She offered a conciliatory shrug. “What can I say—I’m a sap for weddings.”

 He studied her as if trying to decipher the truth of her statement before he delivered a smile. “Sure thing, Cat. Catch you later.” Hands in his pockets, he sauntered back to his table, relieving Cat considerably when he asked one of the other girls from the volleyball team to dance.

Reaching for the silver clutch that matched her six-inch heels, Cat rose and smoothed out her lavender halter bridesmaid dress, desperate to hide her grief over the loss of her sister. Shoulders back and head high, she quickly upended the rest of her champagne, smuggled in from the lobby bar in lieu of the sparkling white grape juice provided. She seldom drank anything stronger than Diet Dr. Pepper, not with a mother who abhorred alcohol, but she knew she’d need emotional sustenance to get through the night without breaking down.  She stifled a grunt as she swiped moisture from her eyes.

Yeah, so much for that. 

Clunking the glass back down, her gaze snagged on Shannon’s bridal bouquet. More saltwater welled as she fondled one of its rose petals, her lips trembling into a watery smile. Yes, she’d caught the bouquet tonight—blatantly tossed to her by her sister—but she wondered if she would ever really find a love of her own.

She pushed in her chair, thinking for the hundredth time that life would be so much easier if her once-strong faith hadn’t been so damaged by her father’s affair and subsequent death. Like Shannon and Lacey often claimed, Cat could probably have her pick of guys at Hope Church—including Chase Griffin, the hot associate pastor—but she was still far too angry at a God who had already let her down twice.

With a practiced smile, she circled the head table as carefully as possible in six-inch stilettos and after two glasses of champagne, so very grateful she had a rare moment alone. The rest of the wedding party danced to the sounds of “Love Never Fails” by Brandon Heath, including her designated groomsman—a friend of Sam’s who was dancing with his wife. It was certainly a song that fit for most of her family, she thought as she made her way to the restroom. But not for her. Out on the floor, her mother glowed in the arms of her new husband, Dr. Ben Carmichael, while the two of them danced and chatted with Cat’s brother Jack and his wife, Lacey, all people she loved and was truly happy for.

Anxious to avoid their attention, Cat hurried from the room and down the hall to the hotel lobby en route to the ladies room furthest away from the ballroom. She sure didn’t need more sympathy from well-meaning family or friends to soothe the sadness of the “unlovable twin.” And that’s exactly how she saw herself these days, at least since she’d been abandoned by both her father and God.

Tossing a look over her shoulder to make sure Chase Griffin was nowhere in sight, she blinked hard several times to keep tears at bay until she could find sanctuary in the bathroom. As their friend and associate pastor who had married Shannon and Sam, Chase had danced almost every dance with Cat, attentive to a fault. Her smile went flat. Either because Shan begged him to or because he felt sorry for her, and probably both.

She cut loose with another heavy sigh. If the man wasn’t as straitlaced as he was gorgeous, she would have reveled in his attention. But all she saw in those sexy eyes was a quiet empathy, like she was some lost little soul, and somehow, it always managed to tick her off. Just because she wasn’t into religion like the rest of her family didn’t mean he had to feel sorry for her. And right now, it felt like a double whammy—the awful malaise over losing Shan joining forces with Chase’s pity to take her down, aching till she thought she couldn’t breathe.

“Not unlike these silly shoes,” she muttered, wishing she hadn’t bought them. Never in her life had she worn anything higher than a four-inch heel. But how hard could a few extra inches be for a very athletic woman? Besides, at the time, she’d figured she’d need some boost of confidence as the spinster twin at her sister’s wedding. She winced when her ankle tipped off-center. Not to mention help in standing up to an associate pastor who always looked down at her like she was some delinquent little kid, not as mature as her sister. At least this way, her lowly five-foot-two could take on his lofty six-foot-two with some semblance of dignity.

 “Hey, coming back to see me, I hope?”                     

Mid-lobby, Cat skidded to a halt, wobbling on those stupid stilettos like she was in the middle of her own personal earthquake. Hand to her chest, she glanced up at the lobby bar, homing in on one of the bartenders who’d flirted with her before.

“So … what’s your pleasure?” he asked, warming her skin when his gaze boldly roamed the length of her, as intimate as a caress while it slowly traveled back up. “Another glass of champagne?”

Cat paused, rethinking her trip to the bathroom. Almost never in her life had she drank more than one glass of anything alcoholic, but this was her sister’s wedding after all, and one more drink might help her both celebrate and commiserate her loss. Besides, now that Lacey and Shannon were off the market, their single-girl nights were a thing of the past, which meant Cat could be as free as she wanted, no longer mothered by her two best friends. A bit unsteady, she headed for the bar, a rush of independence overpowering the sudden butterflies in her stomach. “No, not champagne this time, I don’t think,” she said, studying the bottles behind the bar. “I’m looking for something a little more adventurous that will help chase away the blues.”

“Boyfriend blues?” the bartender asked, swiping the area clean where Cat laid her purse. He tossed the rag below and leaned in, arms crossed on the bar with a twinkle in his eyes that all but devoured her. “Because, trust me—somebody that looks like you should never be blue.”

She giggled nervously, not sure if the skittery sensation she felt meant that the butterflies in her tummy were tipsy or tickled that a good-looking guy was hitting on her. Her pulse tripped. A very good-looking “man,” as a matter of fact, who appeared somewhat older and probably wasn’t shackled to a squeaky-clean lifestyle. She slid onto the barstool, relieved at its stability compared to her legs. “No, not boyfriend blues,” she said with a wispy sigh. “My twin sister got married tonight, and I’m just going to miss her like crazy.”

“You mean there’s two of you?” That dangerous twinkle in the bartender’s eyes joined forces with a sexy smile, whooshing those stupid butterflies in her stomach around and around in a whirlpool of warmth. He put a hand to his chest with great drama. “Be still my heart,” he whispered before extending his hand. “I’m Alex.”

Battling a nervous gulp, she slowly shook it, a virtual heat wave melting her butterflies into a near swoon when he lingered to graze her knuckles with his thumb.

“Why don’t I fix you something to sip on while I finish my shift?” he said easily. “I’m off in thirty, so maybe I can cheer you up with a stroll on the Riverwalk and a bite to eat.”

Peeking up beneath thickly mascaraed lashes she seldom wore, she chewed on the edge of her lip, thinking this was not a good idea at her sister’s wedding. Especially with a man she didn’t know who seemed older and—a renegade gulp broke free as she slowly slipped her hand from his—certainly more experienced than she. With an older brother who watched over her like a rabid hawk, a sister and sister-in-law who refused to go clubbing, and her exposure to men limited to Hope Church, Cat bordered on naïve.

Oh, she was certainly the flirtiest and sassiest girl at church—where it was safe—but when it came to “men of the world” as her mother referred to them, even she knew he was out of her league. But for pity’s sake, she’d rather sit out here with a guy who seemed attracted to her than watch all the other couples in love, right? Settling on a compromise, she shimmied her stool closer to the bar with a neat fold of hands. “Thanks, Alex, but I only have time for one fast drink, because I really need to get back.”

“You got it, Miss …?” He cocked his head, obviously waiting for her to supply her name.

“O’Bryen, Cat, short for Catherine, but I hate Cathy,” she blurted, rambling as always when she was nervous. She offered a timid smile far more indicative of her shy sister than herself, and somehow the thought rankled. Right then and there she decided it was time to set the course for her own life, unencumbered by other people’s opinions and faith. Even if those opinions and faith belonged to the people she loved most.

“So, Miss Cat-short-for-Catherine-but-I-hate-Cathy O’Bryen—what’s your poison?”

 Poison, indeed. Ignoring prickles of guilt, she propped her chin in her hand and offered Alex her most alluring smile. “Why don’t you surprise me?”

Twenty minutes later the “surprise” was that she was laughing with Alex and other bartenders and customers, her gloom forgotten as she sucked the last of her drink through a straw with a loud, hollow noise. “Whoops, all gone.” She pushed her glass away with a giggle, thinking she could probably face anything right about now, even Shan leaving their house forever. Fumbling with her purse, she rifled through it for one of the twenties she’d stashed inside, easing it toward Alex.

“Nope.” He pushed it back, leaning near enough to reveal a rim of green in his hazel eyes. “It’s on the house, Cat-short-for-Catherine-but-I-hate-Cathy, and I’ll bet you’re hungry, so why don’t you let me take you to get something to eat?”

Suddenly feeling woozy, Cat blinked several times, trying to bring Alex back into focus. “Well—”

“No thanks, she has all the cake she can eat inside,” a gruff voice said, startling her so much, she almost fell off the stool.

And would have if Chase Griffin hadn’t steadied her when she spun around, his muscled arm firm at her waist. “Time to go, kiddo,” he said with a smile as tight as his grip.

“What are ya doing?” she rasped, the sound bordering on brusque. Her heart hammered at the stiff line of his jaw, so close she could see the beginning of dark bristle on his clean-shaven face. The musky citrus scent of “Eternity” cologne—a gag Christmas gift from the volleyball group—triggered a gushy feeling inside, riling her all the more at the obvious symbolism. Irritation flashed, both at the attraction she felt and his annoyingly paternal tone. “Lemme go,” she whispered loudly, her voice just shy of curt.

Face like granite, he slowly released her, clear grey eyes as cool as his manner. “Shannon asked me to find you.”

“Of course she did,” she muttered, ticked off that Chase Griffin would never seek her out on his own and then ticked off that it bothered her so much. He was the last guy she would ever be interested in, so why did it matter? She turned her attention back to Alex who stood a few feet away polishing a wine glass, eyes trained on her as if awaiting her next move. She shoved the twenty-dollar bill forward. “Thanks, Alex—I had fun.”

He strolled over and nudged the money back. “I told you, babe, it’s on me.” His gaze flicked to Chase and back before he took a card out of his back pocket and slid it her way. “Call me sometime, or come see me again, okay?”

“Oh, you bet,” she said in her huskiest voice just to get on Chase’s nerves. Feeling smug, she tucked the card in her purse and eased off the stool with a sultry look.

Then landed on the floor in a heap.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
4:20AM

Thursday, June 15, 2017

 

(Note: New Contest at Bottom of this Blog)

 “Purity is a gift you can only give once.”

-- His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Book 3 in my Isle of Hope Series, His Steadfast Love, is finally available for PRE-ORDER, and I couldn't be more excited! It's the tale of the prodigal (Cat O'Bryen) and the pastor (Chase Griffin), and I promise it will wrap the O'Bryen saga up with a bang!

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!

 

New Contest!

To celebrate my new release, I am running a contest (begins Thursday, June 15) 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 sneak peek I promised you weeks ago from His Steadfast Love.

 

Sneak Peek at His Steadfast Love!

Okay, I know I promised you all (and sweet Kelly Reed Brown especially) a sneak peek at Shannon and Sam's honeymoon night from His Steadfast Love, so you'll find that excerpt below. In the weeks ahead, I'll give you another sneak peek at a Cat & Chase scene from HSL, so if you aren't signed up to receive an email whenever I post a blog, you can do so now at the top right-hand side of this page where it says "Subscribe."

 

Sales!

In honor of the release of His Steadfast Love, book 1 in the Isle of Hope series, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love will be on sale for 99 cents through July 31st BEGINNING Friday, June 23 -- NATIONAL KISSING DAY -- so how appropriate is that???  Be sure to mark your calendars if you haven't read it yet. PLUS, book 2, Everlasting Love is two dollars off the original price right now, so do check it out too HERE.

 

Excerpt from His Steadfast Love

Tap. Tap. Tap. “Shan, you okay?”

Shannon gulped in the bathroom mirror of their Marriott Savannah Riverwalk suite, the sheer lace nightie Lacey had given her clinging like Saran. It had been seven years since the awful nightmare with Eric, and seven years since she’d been with a man, so naturally she was nervous. She chewed on the edge of her lip. Of course a week-long honeymoon in St. Kitts should go a long way in calming any jitters she might have.

Especially since Sam wasn’t Eric—he was her husband—the most amazing man she’d ever met. A lovesick smile bloomed on her face, helping to erase the worry lines in her brow. Without question, Dr. Sam Cunningham was God’s version of “exceedingly, abundantly above all that Shannon could have asked or thought,” his every quality fitting her personality like a glove. Her smile crooked. Or this nightie.

Knock. Knock. Knock. “Almost done?”

Her heart stuttered. “Uh … yes, just have to brush and floss, and then I’ll be right out,” she called, applying toothpaste to scour her teeth. Heaven help her, she loved everything about her new husband, from his little-boy vitality and thirst for life, to his sense of humor and deep passion for people. Her cheeks flushed with pleasure as she rinsed and spit it out. Especially his “passion” for her, which had been on hold for almost a year since they became friends. An absolute first for the former “player” who’d once fed his carnal appetite as regularly as he fed his new dog.

Nope, no doubt about it. She flossed and then ran a quick brush through her hair. When it came to wonderful qualities, Sam certainly owned more than his fair share.

Boom! Boom! Boom! “Okay, Shan … don’t make me take this door off ...”

Her grin tipped off-center. Even if patience wasn’t one of them.

Fortifying with a deep breath, she slowly turned the knob to face her new husband, her cheeks immediately toasting at the gape of his mouth.

“Holy sanctified sex,” he whispered, Adam’s apple hitching several times as his gaze skimmed down every inch of her body like a caress. “Heaven help me, Shan, you’re so beautiful, I just want to stare.”

“Me too,” she said softly. Her body warmed along with her cheeks as she scanned broad shoulders tapering from a smooth muscled chest into tight abs and low-rise briefs that put a lump in her throat.

A gasp popped from her lips when he pushed her to the wall with a hoarse groan. “I lied,” he whispered, taking her mouth with such gentle force that a moan escaped her lips. “I want to do more than stare, Angel Eyes—way, way more.”

Sweeping her up in his arms, he kissed her, his mouth exploring hers while he carried her to their bed, robbing her of both air and words. “I adore you, Shan,” he breathed into her ear, his husky words all but melting her to the sheets as he laid her down and eased in beside her. “You need to know, babe, that nothing—no one—has ever captured me like you.” A low groan escaped him as he wrenched her close, molding his body to hers while he skimmed her throat with his mouth. “I have never felt this way about anyone, Shannon—ever,” he rasped, “nor ever felt such fire as I do touching you, kissing you …” He cradled her face in his hands, his breathing shallow as he gently nuzzled her mouth, “making love to you.”

“Oh, Sam, I adore you too—” she whispered, her voice no more than a moan.

Stealing any further words, he kissed her deeply while his hands took free rein, a dance of such excruciating pleasure, she thought she might faint.

“You are exquisite, Shannon,” he said softly when they had taken their fill of their love, lying gloriously sated in each other’s arms.

Mind limp, her body still buzzed with a sensation she had never felt before, even more in love with Sam Cunningham than she ever dreamed possible. Limbs tangled with Sam’s, every nerve ending tingled as if the two of them were one body, one flesh.

Her breath suddenly caught in her throat as tears stung in her eyes.

And, oh Lord … we are!

The reality of what God had done rolled over her like the waves of pleasure Sam had given to her body, her gratitude swelling in her chest like her love for Sam swelled in her heart. Oh, God, how can I ever thank you? She blinked to dispel the moisture pooling in her eyes as they lay there in contented silence, Sam slowly caressing her arm while she relaxed against his chest, two hearts thudding in perfect time with the other.

When he finally rolled on his side, he hooked her body flush with his, vibrating her ear with a low chuckle while he teased and suckled her lobe. “I sure hope you don’t plan on getting much sleep tonight, babe ...”

Sleep. Shannon blinked, Cat’s face suddenly looming in her mind. Oh, Lord, I have Sam, and Cat’s all alone …

“What’s wrong?” Sam paused, the intensity in his eyes telling her he sensed her mood had changed. He traced a finger down her jaw, his uncanny sensitivity to her feelings boggling her mind. “It’s Cat, isn’t it?” he said quietly. “You’re worried about her.”

Tears welled as she gave a shaky nod, snuggling close while she stared at the ceiling. “I know her, Sam. She’s going to try and pull away. From me, from Mom, and from Jack and Lacey, and I have to be honest—that scares me to death.”

Sam pressed a kiss to her hair. “Chase won’t let her pull away, Shan, he told me.”

Shannon sat up, eyes wide as she clutched the sheet to her chest. “He told you that?”

“Mmm-huh.” He gently brushed her hair over her shoulder, then slowly slid a finger down her arm. “He plans on doggin’ her heels a lot more, both as a friend and a pastor who wants to see her rekindle her faith.” Delivering a hooded stare, he circled the inside of her wrist with his thumb in lazy motion, the barest of smiles hovering on his lips. “Told Jack and me he hopes to establish a deeper friendship with Cat just like he did with you. You know—purely platonic?” His lips jabbed into a playful scowl, the tiniest splinter of jealousy tainting his tone. “Although I had my doubts about that where you were concerned.”

“Oh, Sam!” Ignoring his comment, she tented hands to her mouth as if folded in prayer, joy pulsing through her at a delirious rate for the second time that night. Clutching the sheet close, she released a liberating sigh that lingered in the air like pure contentment. “God bless that man—I could just kiss him!”

“Uh, I have a better idea.” Tugging her back down, Sam rolled her on her back, arms braced while he hovered over her with biceps taut and a dangerous gleam in his eyes. “Why don’t you kiss me instead, Mrs. Cunningham, and I’ll just pass the message along?”

A grin tickled her lips as she yanked him back down. “Alright, Dr. Love. Then this is for Pastor Chase,” she said, with a soft peck on his cheek. “And this”—she tumbled him back on the bed, trading places with a kiss that drew a deep moan from his throat—“is for my very sexy husband and the true love of my life.”

 

Enter Contest Below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
9:02AM

Sunday, May 7, 2017

 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

-- Psalm 23:1

This morning I sat on my veranda overlooking our cove, the still of the morning wrapping around me like the blanket cocooning my body. The lake was peaceful and still, the sky a blinding blue that promised another day of warmth and wonder. No one was up but me and the guy across the cove who was quietly fishing off his dock. Even the birds were silent, as if waiting for the whisper of God's "good morning."

Just like me.

And to top everything off like the cream in my hazelnut coffee, was my devotional this morning, which was about the 23rd Psalm, my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. To me, the 23rd Psalm is as comforting as my toasty blanket and as invigorating as my steaming cup of java, wrapping me in the incomparable cocoon of God's love and peace.

But I have to say that the real joy came when I read an amazing commentary on the 23rd Psalm. Well, actually, a commentary on just the first line, which is also our header quote today:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

You see, this commentary expounded on the Scripture line above one word at a time, imparting a view of God that is deeper than the lake before me and as soothing as its still waters, barely kissed by the whisper of a breeze.

I was so blessed by this blogger's interpretation of the first line of the 23rd Psalm, that I knew immediately it was a lesson I wanted to include in my upcoming novel, His Steadfast Love.

And just in the nick of time, too, since I only have eight scenes left to go! I was praying about a final spiritual lesson at the end of the book, so this will be what our hero Pastor Chase Griffin will impart to the heroine, one Catherine Marie O'Bryen. Because Cat is a lost soul who is eventually "shepherded" back to still waters by a man who depicts God's steadfast love for each of us.

And so, instead of me writing a blog today, your time would be so much better spent by reading this amazing commentary if you so desire, which blessed me to no end. I pray it does the same for you!

Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd by Daira Curran 

 

Winner of the Ind'tale Contest!

A HUGE thank you to all of you who entered my April contest -- I wish I could give a prize to each and everyone! But, unfortunately, Rafflecopter only picks one winner who will have a character named after her in His Steadfast Love, a signed paperback copy, and her choice of two more of my books, which could be hard since I'm pretty sure this particular winner has most if not all of them!

So SUPER CONGRATS to the following sweet reader friend, who is my InD'tale Contest winner!!

ANDI TUBBS

But ... as a big THANK YOU to each of you for taking the time to enter and help me promote InD'tale Magazine, I have decided that my next Journal Jot blog will include a fun sneak peek at an excerpt from His Steadfast Love about Shannon and Sam's honeymoon. I promised another dear reader friend -- Kelly Reed -- that I would post it in today's Journal Jot, but since it's a bit on the ... ahem, super romantic side ... I decided it didn't belong sharing the page with the 23rd Psalm. ;)

Now, I'm not sure when my next JJ blog will be, so you might want to subscribe to my blog so you don't miss it. All you have to do is enter your email address in the subscribe box at the top right of this page, and you will automatically receive an email with the contents of my next blog WHEN I write it! :)

Until then, enjoy Daira Curran's wonderful commentary, and may it bless your week as much as it has mine!

Hugs,

Julie

 

Deal Alert on A Hope Undaunted!

If you haven't yet read book 4 in the O'Connor saga, A Hope Undaunted, then PLEASE take advantage of this fabulous 99-cent sale that will run from May 5 - 11, 2017. AHU is my FAVORITE book I've ever written and truly the richest novel as far as an in-depth look at ALL of the O'Connors in one book. So if you've already read it and liked it, then please spread the word to your friends, okay?

Here are the links for the sale that runs from MAY 5-11:

AMAZON/ BARNES & NOBLE/ CBD

 

 

 

4:55AM

Friday, April 28, 2017

She’s lost her faith.

He’ll help her find it.

Along with a love that endures.


The story you've been waiting for is almost here ...

Yes, it's true, I am more than 3/4 of the way through writing book 3 in my Isle of Hope contemporary series, His Steadfast Love, which has been SO fun to write! And, I hope, SO fun for you to read when it releases this summer.

And it's even more fun for me now because I finally have a cover! I can't tell you HOW much I enjoy designing my own covers because I hope they help convey a hint of the story inside, but you be the judge.

The blurb for His Steadfast Love is: 

 

A bold and independent woman challenges the ideals—

and the morals—of a pastor who loves her

no matter the mistakes that she makes.

 

Obviously what I tried to do with this cover is show how Chase holds on to Cat via friendship, becoming her lifeline until she can finally return to her "first love"Christin order to win her second—Chase!

Please continue praying for God's anointing on this book if you will, because I hope it will have a very special message that I myself have learned over the last year.


 Update on Genevieve!

Keith and I had SO much fun visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and my three grands last week, so I wanted to share some highlights with you.

Genevieve, who we were calling Evie, has now be redubbed "Genebebe" by her three-year-old brother, so it looks like new nicknames are in play. Whether Gen, Evie, or Genbebe, she is a true sweetheart!

Gen is now over six months old and one of the most gentle babies I have ever seen. She is a totally normal little girl with a perfect heart today because of YOUR prayers, so thank you again!

LOVE my grands!! Had SO much fun playing paper dolls, Memory Game, Play-Doh, frisbee, swinging statue, tennis, and super heroes! PLUS a bonus visit with dear friends Mary Connealy, Sharee Stover, and Steph Ludwig!

 

Deal Alert on A Hope Undaunted!

If you haven't yet read book 4 in the O'Connor saga, A Hope Undaunted, then PLEASE take advantage of this fabulous 99-cent sale that will run from May 5 - 11, 2017. AHU is my FAVORITE book I've ever written and truly the richest novel as far as an in-depth look at ALL of the O'Connors in one book. So if you've already read it and liked it, then please spread the word to your friends, okay?

Here are the links for the sale that runs from MAY 5-11:

AMAZON/ BARNES & NOBLE/ CBD

 

 Contest Ends Sunday at Midnight!

This is your last chance to have a character named after you in His Steadfast Love this summer, plus a signed paperback copy and your choice of two of my other books! 

My interview in InD'tales Magazine is one of the most in-depth and most important I've ever done, so I hope you check it out! And to motivate you to do so, here's a chance to not only have a character named after you in my next book, His Steadfast Love, which releases this summer, BUT ... receive a signed copy of His Steadfast Love PLUS your choice of any two of my books, e-book or paperback.

Plus a FREE subscription to InD'tale Magazine! To subscribe, just go to the InD'tale Magazine website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, then click on the "Subscribe" link on the right side of the black bar. And if you do subscribe, be sure to indicate that in the Rafflecopter box below since it's worth 5 points in my contest, okay? 

And spread the word, okay?

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

a Rafflecopter giveaway
10:28PM

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Scroll to end of blog for InD'tale contest!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning;

great is His faithfulness.

 —Lamentations 3:22-24

Ah, new beginnings! The first day of a year, the first day of school, the first time you wear new clothes, the first page of a book, the first time you say “I love you,” the first time you hold your newborn in your arms—new beginnings, all, offering a future and a hope. There is nothing quite like that feeling of new, fresh, clean, the idea of starting over to get it right.

Only we never quite “get it right” as human beings, do we? Oh, sometimes we do, sure, but unfortunately, sin is inherent for everyone who draws air, which is why for me, Easter is the most important day of the year. A new beginning, a fresh start, a do-over where the precious blood of Jesus washes me clean and let’s me start over, reminding me once again that His mercies are “new” every morning and His love never ceases.

Why?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans for welfare and not for evil,to give you a future and a hope.

 —Jeremiah 29:11

A future and a hope—Easter in a eggshell, if you will. And yet, there have been too many times when my focus has been on dying eggs instead of a dying Savior Who gave His all so I could have a new beginning—not just every day of my life, but in the next as well.

So, I don’t know about you, but this Easter, I plan to focus on just how very important this day is to each and every one of us. Because without Easter—the death and resurrection of our Savior—there would be no fresh starts, no do-overs, no future and no hope.

I wish you and yours a MOST blessed Easter and fresh start with the Lover of your Soul!

Hugs!!

Julie

 

InD'tale Contest!

My interview in InD'tales Magazine is one of the most in-depth and most important I've ever done, so I hope you check it out! And to motivate you to do so, here's a chance to not only have a character named after you in my next book, His Steadfast Love, which releases this summer, BUT ... receive a signed copy of His Steadfast Love PLUS your choice of any two of my books, e-book or paperback.

Plus a FREE subscription to InD'tale Magazine! To subscribe, just go to the InD'tale Magazine website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, then click on the "Subscribe" link on the right side of the black bar. And if you do subscribe, be sure to indicate that in the Rafflecopter box below since it's worth 5 points in my contest, okay? 

The contest runs through April, so GOOD LUCK!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway