WELCOME TO MY

JOURN+AL JOTS BLOG ...

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

 

7:44AM

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

--Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind


Uh, well ... that's not exactly true. At least, not in my version of Gone With the Wind, which just released in Splickety Love's SPARK Magazine!

Trust me, it was a dream come true to write an alternate ending for my all-time favorite novel, Gone With the Wind, and boy, did I have a ball!

Now let me make this perfectly clear -- I am no Margaret Mitchell by a long shot (except in the length of my books, I suppose!), but I've always hankered for an alternate ending to this eternal classic.

Why? Because frankly, my dear, I always believed that no matter how frustrated Rhett was with Scarlett, deep down he still loved her. I mean, seriously, I'm a diehard romance writer and reader, so why would I think otherwise??

Besides, when I think of the love between a man and a woman, I can't help but think of the love God has for each of us -- unfailing, everlasting, steadfast. After all, He IS the Lover of our Souls, and we are "the bride of Christ," so I have always believed that His love for us parralells and exceeds the same deep passion, love, and intimacy found in a great love affair.

So when I wrote this revised ending to Gone With the Wind, I couldn't help but reflect on God. No matter what we say or do or how many times we mess up, His steadfast love never changes, abounding in mercy and tenderness -- always. Which, as many of you already know, is the theme of book 3 in my Isle of Hope series, His Steadfast Love. I am almost halfway done and hope to release it this summer, so prayers appreciated.

 

Contest!

In honor of my fun Gone With the Wind alternate ending in Splickety's SPARK Magazine, you have TEN chances (five in the Splickety blog Rafflecopter contest and five via my Rafflecopter box below) to win your choice of an e-copy of any one of my indie e-books INCLUDING A Light in the Window, Isle of Hope, Romance-ology 101, Love Everlasting, OR the first e-copy of His Steadfast Love BEFORE it comes out this summer. In addition, the five winners from my Rafflecopter contest below will receive a signed paper copy of the February issue of SPARK Magazine.

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment on my interview on Splickety's Lightning Blog and indicate you have done so in their Rafflecopter box at the bottom of that page.

Then, for five more chances to win, just indicate in my Rafflecopter box below at the very bottom of this blog that you have left a comment on the Splickety blog.

NOTE: MY RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST BELOW BEGINS AT MIDNIGHT ON 2/23.

Trust me, the odds for a win are VERY good, so I hope you will give it a shot!

I leave you with a pic of our beloved Genevieve (and Rory), whom you prayed so hard for last year. She is a precious child and a great blessing to our family. Thank you again for ALL of your prayers!

Good luck in the contest and happy reading!

Hugs,

Julie

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
10:48PM

Saturday, January 21, 2017

“There should be no fear.

We are protected, and we will always be protected …

And most importantly, we will be protected by God.”

-- President Donald J. Trump's Inaugural Speech

WOW, I don't know about you, but President Trump's inauguration gave me lots of good chills, especially with all the references to God and the many, many invocations given throughout the day. Defying convention, President Trump invited six religious leaders to be a part of yesterday's inaugural program, either to give a reading or with prayer, which was such a blessing to see and here because normally, there are only two. So I was blessed each and every time I heard God's name mentioned because He was SO there! And I truly believe He will be with our nation in a far greater capacity than ever before, which blesses the socks off of me and unleashes much joy.

So far, this has been a very exciting year for me, with Evie whole and well, my son and DIL and grands moving closer, our country drawing nearer to God, and I've started writing a new book that I truly believe will be a blessing to me and hopefully to the people who read it. 

That said, I have decided to call book 3 -- Cat and Chase's story -- His Steadfast Love. Mega thanks to each of you who left comments with your input and the many, many of you who sent me emails in that regard as well -- THANK YOU!! You overwhelmingly confirmed what I felt in my spirit -- that I need to talk about His steadfast love in this final book.

So to celebrate what I anticipate being a wonderful writing experience for me and hopefully a wonderful reading experience for you, I thought it would be fun to post the first chapter here. Please keep in mind it is the first draft, so edits still need to be made, but I hope you enjoy it anyway and look forward to this book as much as I am enjoying writing it.

Your prayers are SO appreciate for God's anointing and speed on this novel, so THANK YOU!!

Have a great week!

Hugs,

Julie

Evie Update!

Our little girl is almost four months old and doing SO well, so a huge thank you to each of you who prayed for her and THANK YOU, God!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2-Book Giveaway!

TUESDAY, JAN. 24 ONLY! If you have never read contemporary Christian author Becky Wade, you do not know what you are missing! Becky is one of my personal faves, and NOW you have a chance to win one of her paperback books along with one of mine!

Simply head on over to my Facebook Author page on Tuesday from 9:00 AM to midnight and leave a comment on my Facebook Flash Giveaway that includes the pic below of Becky and me. That's all it takes to enter, so GOOD LUCK! Here's the link:

JULIE'S FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

 

A Glimmer of Hope is Now Revised!

The revision on my A Glimmer of Hope novella is done, and it now has four new chapters including a new ending!

The new version is now available on Amazon, B&N, and Kobo and is still  free. Unfortunately, if you already downloaded AGOH, Amazon will not let you download it again.

As a result, I am offering my very special Journal Jot readers a revised Kindle version, so all you have to do is let me know if you want the updated version either through the CONTACT JULIE tab of this website, via e-mail, or via Facebook message.

 

 

❤️Valentine Surprise!❤️

Oh. My. Goodness!! I am sooooooo excited to announce that I will be the featured author in the February issue of Splickety Magazine!! Splickety Magazine is a totally cool flash-fiction magazine and guess what? They asked ME to write an alternate ending for a favorite classic of mine in ... are you ready for this? ... a mere 1,000 words! I know, I know, it's hard to believe that this door-stopper author who writes 500+ page books could actually writing anything in 1,000 words, but I DID IT!!

And y'all probably already know which classic I picked! Yep, you guessed it -- I rewrote the ending for Gone With the Wind, and WOW, did I have a blast! I'm sure Margaret was turning over in her grave, but I had SO much fun giving my favorite book a new twist, so I hope you get a chance to read it. Because of contract restrictions, I won't be able to post it here on my blog for six months, so you'll either have to buy the magazine or wait till I get around to posting it here down the road. Either way, it's a really fun read, I think, or at least it was for me!

The issue releases February 1st, so here's the link to check out the magazine and sign up for their cool blog:

SPLICKETY MAGAZINE

 

Sneak Peek: His Steadfast Love

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. 

 — Lamentations 3:22-23

 

Chapter One

Isle of Hope, Georgia, End of May

 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 her eyes, 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.

Seemingly 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 a couple of 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 soggy eyes, she forced a bright smile, tempted to blow out the stupid candle so she could hide away in the dark. The dark? She suppressed a grunt. She was 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 girl’s room right now.” She sniffed and dabbed at her face with a tortued tissue that was now in shreds. “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 she’d 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 swabbed more 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 after two glasses of champagne and six-inch stilettos, 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 her. Out on the floor, her mother glowed in the arms of her new husband, 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 gaze, 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’d never 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 Shan. 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 several bartenders at the bar, homing in on the cute one 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. Never in her life had she drank more than two glasses of anything alcoholic, but this was her sister’s wedding after all, and one more would 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 blue 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 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 around and around in a whirlpool of warmth. He put a hand to his heart with great drama. “Be still my heart,” he whispered before extending his hand. “I’m Chad.”

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 mascaraed lashes heavier than usual, 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 she was a babe in the woods. 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 lift of her chin and a neat fold of hands. “Thanks, Chad, but I only have time for one fast drink, because I really need to get back.”

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

“O’Bryen, Cat, short for Catherine,” she said with a timid smile far more indicative of her shy sister than herself, and somehow the thought rankled. She decided right then and there 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 in the world.

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

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

Twenty minutes later the “surprise” was she was laughing with Chad 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 for one of the twenties she’d stashed inside, easing it toward Chad.

“Nope.” He pushed it back, leaning close enough for her to see a rim of green in his eyes. “It’s on the house, Cat-short-for-Catherine, 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 Chad 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 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 d’ya doing?” she breathed, heart hammering 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 tone just shy of curt.

Face like granite, he slowly released her, clear gray 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 Chad 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, Chad—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.

Right before landing on the floor in a heap.

 

 

 

6:26AM

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

-- Isaiah 43:19


Happy New Year, My Friends!

I hope you had a BLESSED holiday season and wish you even MORE BLESSINGS in the year ahead!

Are you guys as excited as I am?? I have this giddiness in my soul, an anticipation for good things in 2017. Spiritual things that will create a ripple effect through our lives in every single way. And all I can I say is ...

BRING. IT. ON!!

Because I'm rarin' to go!   But ... first things first!

 

Evie Update!

Oh my goodness, our little miracle is growing by leaps and bounds, and we couldn't be happier! Again, thank you SO much for your love and prayers during a difficult time that God turned around for our good!

And MORE good news for Juju and Papa is that my son and daughter-in-law and three grands are moving from Spokane to Omaha, which is only a five-hour drive for my hubby and me, so we are OVER THE MOON!! Now we can see the little critters whenever we want instead of limited cross-country flights each year, so PRAISE GOD!!

 

Writing Update!

And because of a contract glitch in my Western series, I'm laying that aside for now to tackle book 3 in my Isle of Hope series, Unchanging Love, which as many of you know is Cat & Chase's story. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for God's anointing, creativity, wisdom, and productivity. Here's the blurb:

 A bold and independent woman

challenges the ideals—and the morals—

of a pastor who loves her

no matter what.


And the Scripture theme for this book will be either:

Who is a God like Thee, Who pardons iniquity

And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?

He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love

— Micah 7:18

OR

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. 

— Lamentations 3:22-23

Which ... brings me to a question. Originally I wanted the title of this book to be Unchanging Love, but I'm starting to waver, leaning toward His Steadfast Love instead, so what do you think? Which of these titles below do you like the best? I normally don't open comments up, but this week I am in order to get your opinion, so let me know in a comment below, okay?

Unchanging Love

 Love Unchanging

His Steadfast Love 


Revision Update!

Soooo ... guess what I did over the holidays? I wrote three additional chapters for my A Glimmer of Hope novella! Why? Well, I kind of just slapped A Glimmer of Hope together last year as a means of promoting my Isle of Hope series, which is what a lot of authors do. I wasn't completely satisfied with it, but just figured it was because it was a novella, and I like my books a lot deeper.

But since it's been e-pubbed, I've gotten a number of lower-star reviews primarily because they felt I didn't give them the background they wanted on Tess's and Ben's marriages. So I decided to remedy that.

The new version will go up on Amazon, B&N, and Kobo this month -- and it will still be free -- so when it does, I will let you know. However, if you already downloaded AGOH, Amazon will not let you download it again. As a result, I am offering my very special Journal Jot readers a revised Kindle version when I have it done. Just wait for me to announce its release in an upcoming Journal Jot, and then let me know if you want the updated version via email, either through the CONTACT JULIE tab of this website, e-mail, or Facebook message.

 

❤️Valentine Surprise!❤️

Oh. My. Goodness!! I am sooooooo excited to announce that I will be the featured author in the February issue of Splickety Magazine!! Splickety Magazine is a totally cool flash-fiction magazine and guess what? They asked ME to write an alternate ending for a favorite classic of mine in ... are you ready for this? ... a mere 1,000 words! I know, I know, it's hard to believe that this door-stopper author who writes 500+ page books could actually writing anything in 1,000 words, but I DID IT!!

And y'all probably already know which classic I picked! Yep, you guessed it -- I rewrote the ending for Gone With the Wind, and WOW, did I have a blast! I'm sure Margaret was turning over in her grave, but I had SO much fun giving my favorite book a new twist, so I hope you get a chance to read it. Because of contract restrictions, I won't be able to post it here on my blog for six months, so you'll either have to buy the magazine or wait till I get around to posting it here down the road. Either way, it's a really fun read, I think, or at least it was for me!

The issue releases February 1st, so here's the link to check out the magazine and sign up for their cool blog:

SPLICKETY MAGAZINE

Well, that's all the news I have right now, but keep your eyes peeled for future Journal Jots for cool updates in the future! And be sure to scroll down for some fun pix of my family.

I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and holy 2017!

Hugs,

Julie

 

This is the pic from my son's Christmas card -- isn't it cool?

 

Here's Amy with some friends! We spent a wonderful week with Amy and Nate,

but didn't take many pix since I had a blood-red eye from cataract surgery! Scared

poor Amy so much, she couldn't look at me for four days! ;)

 

Finally, had a GREAT time getting together with most of my living siblings. I am #12 of

13 children, but two of brothers and one of my sisters weren't there. :(


6:42AM

Sunday, December 18, 2016

“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.”

Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

 

And that, my friends, is my favorite quote from anything I've ever written!

Why? Because Isle of Hope tells the story of God's first directive to me as a new Christian over 43 years ago—to forgive and love my estranged father. AND it tells the critical lesson I learned while writing it as well, as stated in our header quote above.

God is Everything. The End All, Be All. The reason we live, the reason we breathe, and the reason we are privilieged to be called children of God.

And ... He the reason for the season! So my prayer for each of you, me, and my family this year is that amid all the papers and bows, tinsel and holly, and cookies and candy, we take a moment —and preferably several—to thank God for all the gifts we've been given, not the least of which is His Son.

The true Light of the World!

I wish each of you a happy, healthy, and holy holiday season!

Hugs,

Julie

Evie Update!

Thanks to your prayers and ours, our little Miss Evie is growing beautifully! She is up to 9 lbs. (from 4 lbs., 15 oz. at birth) and has grown a full three inches! Hear tell she can be a wee bit crabby at times, but I'm told that's normal after surgery for up to a month or so, although I've been assured no pain is involved. But, hey, you'd be crabby, too, if you just had heart surgery, right? :)

See more pix below of Evie and my other grands as well as my Christmas tree/hearth (the only things I decorated this year!).

 

Final Giveaways of the Year!

ONLY TWO MORE DAYS--ENDS MON., DEC. 19:

Join me on Beth Erin's Faithfully Bookish blog for a really fun interview where I list brief excerpts of my five favorite kisses I've written. The giveaway will be a signed paperback or e-book copy of my latest release, book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, and an e-book copy of Isle of Hope, so hope to see you there. Here's the link:

Faithfully Bookish Blog


NEW YEAR'S EVE ALL DAY LONG!!  Prizes, prizes, prizes -- ALL DAY AND NIGHT LONG!! Including a character named after you in my next book, a signed copy, and a signed paperback copy of my latest release, Love Everlasting!

So set your party-hearty calendars for December 31st, when the Seekers of Seekerville lead the way toward pet-love, fun, faith and fiction as we Kick Discouragement to the Curb with our Seekerville Rockin' It New Year's Eve party!

Party in your jammies, leave comments to be tossed into hourly drawings, including a Kindle Fire! In honor of the "pet" theme, we invite you to send pics of your fur-friends to loganherne@gmail.com, and we'll try to include as many beloved buddies as time and space allow!


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO FAMILY FICTION MAGAZINE! Check out the December issue for a cool article with Julie Lessman on Cowboy Christmas Homecoming along with to-die-for Christmas recipes by Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, and Lenora Worth. Just subscribe FREE to Family Fiction -- one of the top Christian magazines in the CBA -- and enjoy great articles on some of your favorite authors like Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Mary Connealy.

PLUS ... you'll find an original to-die-for Christmas dessert I created using four of my favorite recipes called Apple-Cranberry Crisp Cheesecake Pecan Pie, and it won an award in a pie contest, I'll have you know, so you'll want to check it out! Simply subscribe at the link below and happy reading!  

  Free Subscription to Family Fiction magazine

 

ISLE OF HOPE 99-CENT SALE ENDS JAN. 1!

Because the message of forgiveness and hope in  Isle of Hope is such an important one, I decided to extend the sale till the end of the year.

So, if you haven't had the chance yet to read the award-winning, 5-star book 1, Isle of Hope, which made Family Fiction magazine's Top 15 Novels of 2015, you better hurry because the 90% sale is over January 1st, so you can download it HERE.

 

 YES! A smile from our crabby girl!

 Rory enjoyed her first Dippin' Dots, even if the lady behind her didn't!

Micah liked them too!

 This is my "winter view" from my writer's chair, all toasty and warm!

 Merry Christmas from my house to yours!


11:39AM

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Evie Update!

I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers for my 2-month-old granddaughter, Genevieve, because they carried her (and me and her family) through an emergency heart surgery that has given her the chance to be a normal little girl with a normal life expectancy! Despite a few little hiccups in the process, our girl is now on her way home, where the doctor says she should be treated like a normal baby because she is! So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and friendship. Love you guys!

 

"Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.

Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

My first contemporary novel, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love, is very special to me because as many of you know, it's loosely based on my own dysfunctional relationship with my estranged father. It was the very first directive God gave me after I became a new Christian, telling me to forgive and love the father who beat me, demoralized me, and kicked me out of the house. It was the first time I actually applied God's precepts to my life, following Matthew 5:44 to the letter:

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies,bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." — Matthew 5:44

And it was the very first time God did a miracle in my life.

You see, after my father kicked me out of the house in a very ugly and violent manner late one night, I didn't see him for two years. Not until my dear friend and mentor, Joy, introduced me to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That was when I got my marching orders from the Holy Spirit to reach out to my dad, forgive him, and love him.

Yeah, right. How was I supposed to do that? Take him a meal, the thought came, and so I did. I made a big pot of beef stew—one of his favorites—and took it to him one night, asking him to forgive me for any grief I may have caused. I didn't eat with him, mind you, just stayed and visited for a while, which basically consisted of watching TV and talking only during the commercials. Before I left, I hugged him and told him I loved him, but of course he never hugged me back or responded. That was the beginning of many, many such visits with my dad, each and every one strongly girded with prayer for God to heal my heart and my dad's.

I will never, ever forget the night everything changed many months later as I went to hug him goodbye as usual. "I love you, Daddy," I whispered, then instantly froze when I felt his halting arms slowly embrace me back for the first time in my life. "I love you, too," his gruff response came, and tears stung in my eyes.

That was the beginning of a close relationship with my father that healed many emotional wounds from my past. When he died not too long after, I wept for a man whom I'd resented most of my life.

That, my friends, is a miracle. And that is the story of Isle of Hope. A love story of forgiveness and hope that I "hope" you will have a chance to read.

And guess what? Now you have the perfect opportunity to do so!

 

99-Cent Sale on Isle of Hope e-Book! 

Yes, it's true, book 1 in my Isle of Hope Series is now on sale for 99 cents for a very limited time, which is almost 90% off, so if you haven't read it yet, I hope you take advantage. I'm happy to say that Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love is an award-winning novel with a solid five-star rating on Amazon out of 167 reviews and made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015 list! Here's the link:

Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love

If you don't have a Kindle, did you know you can download a free Kindle app to read e-books on iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, PC, Mac, and Droid? I never thought I would like reading e-books on my iPhone, but I absolutely love it now while I'm waiting in doctors' offices, in the car with Keith, or whenever I have down time when I'm out and about. And not only will you be able to read Isle of Hope for only 99 cents, but you may never have to buy another book again!

You see, Amazon lists the top 100 free lists in every genre available, fiction and nonfiction, inspirational and secular. Plus there are wonderful inspirational freebie/sale sights like Inspired Reads that you can sign up for that will send you an email every day with the latest freebies/sale Christian books. So get your free Kindle app HERE!

Or, you can watch for Kindle sales over the holidays. The least expensive Kindle is $79.99, but they often go on sale for $49.99, so that would make a great Christmas present for you or a loved one.

And, of course, the prequel novella to Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope is still available as a free download, so here's the link for that:

A Glimmer of Hope Prequel Novella

 

Interviews/Blog Giveaways! 

Several opportunities have come up for some fun interviews and giveaways, so I hope you check them out.

ALL OF DECEMBER -- FAMILY FICTION MAGAZINE INTERVIEW:

I'm thrilled to say that I have an interview in the December issue (out November 30th) of one of my favorite Christian magazines, Family Fiction. Subscriptions are FREE, so be sure to subscribe for some great articles on the top authors in the CBA, including Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, and Liz Curtis Higgs.

Here's the link, and you'll find the "subscribe" button at the top right-hand of the page. And BONUS! I also am part of a Christmas recipe article where I feature my own award-winning Christmas recipe for a to-die-for dessert called Apple-Cranberry Crisp Cheesecake Pie!

Free Subscription to Family Fiction magazine

 

GOING ON NOW -- FREE DOWNLOAD ON CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL BY FAVORITE CHRISTIAN AUTHORS!

I was privileged to be a part of a very unique Christmas devotional that is going on now and available for free download, so I hope you join me and authors, Mary Connealy, Mesu Andrews, Sandie Bricker, Lenora Worth, Barbara Scott along with a host of others as we explore Christmas through the viewpoints of characters from the Christmas Story as told by Matthew and Luke. I promise you you'll walk into Christmas with a greater understanding of the importance of this incredible season. Check it out on All Mom Does Blog and be sure to download the free devotional.

All Mom Does Blog

 

GIVEAWAY ON WEEKEND EDITION OF SEEKERVILLE, SAT. & SUN., DEC. 10 & 11:

Come by Seekerville this weekend for a chance to win one of two signed paperback copies of my latest release, Love Everlasting, OR four e-book copies! All it takes is a comment and you're in the draw, so GOOD LUCK!  Here's the link and hope to see you there!

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

WED., DEC. 14TH -- BLOG INTERVIEW/GIVEAWAY:

Join me on Beth Erin's Faithfully Bookish blog for a really fun interview where I list brief excerpts of my five favorite kisses I've written and my five favorite spiritual moments I've written as well. The giveaway will be a signed paperback or e-book copy of my latest release, book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, so hope to see you there. Here's the link:

Faithfully Bookish Blog

 

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14TH -- SEEKER BLOG WITH SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAYS:

Come on by for my final Seeker blog of the year and toss your hat in the ring for a signed paperback copy of my latest Christmas release, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming OR A Light in the Window PLUS your choice of Love Everlasting or Isle of Hope e-book. Here's the link:

Seekerville Blog with Giveaway

 Whew! And that's it for a while, I hope! Goodness, if I'd known God had this many promo opps for me after I laid personal promotion on the altar, I might have done it sooner! ;)

Have a great week!

Hugs,

Julie