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

 

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

7:14AM

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A MID-WEEK JOURNAL JOTS?

Why? Well, because there are just TOO many cool things going on, so I wanted to let you know about them before they're over and done. Be sure to scroll all the way down for the Cowboy Christmas Homecoming Facebook Party TOMORROW NIGHT, THURSDAY, NOV. 17 for lots of giveaways!

So here we go and have a GREAT week!

Hugs,

Julie

Going on Now! 

LOVE EVERLASTING RELEASES IN PAPERBACK!

The paperback version of Love Everlasting is FINALLY here and NOW available for sale, just in time for Christmas, so spread the word! Here are the links, and I'm happy to say it's $2.00 less than Isle of Hope paperback, so YAY!!

CREATESPACE STORE

AMAZON

 

 

 

 A PASSION MOST PURE e-BOOK ON SALE FOR 79 CENTS OR 99 CENTS THRU NOVEMBER 30!

LOL, I guess it's pretty unlikely anybody reading this blog today HASN'T read A Passion Most Pure yet, but in case you haven't, NOW's your chance because it's on sale for only 79 cents at CBD and 99 cents at Amazon and B&N at the following links:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE NOOK

CBD (only 79 cents!)

 

USA TODAY HEA BLOG HOLIDAY TRADITIONS FEATURE WITH YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS!

First, best-selling author Rachel Hauck has a fun post on USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, which also features snippets of fun from Debbie Macomber, Katherine Reay, Denise Hunter, Beth Vogt, Becky Wade, and yours truly, so do check it out!

USA TODAY'S HAPPY EVER AFTER BLOG

 

Then, I hope you check out USA Today's HEA blog for more favorite traditions from me and the rest of the Gilead authors from Cowboy Christmas Homecoming and Sleigh Bells Ring. Fun stuff, so here's the link:  USA TODAY'S HEA BLOG

 

FREE DOWNLOAD ON CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL!

I am SO excited because I have the privilege of being a part of of a truly beautiful Christmas devotional on All Mom Does Blog that gives fresh and fervent insight into the Christmas story.

Join authors Mary Connealy, Mesu Andrews, Sandie Bricker, Lenora Worth, Barbara Scott, and yours truly 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

 

NOVEMBER 14-21:
Enter to win more than 55 wonderful fall historical novels by some of your favorite authors including Ruth Logan Herne's, Mary Connealy's, and my Cowboy Christmas Homecoming! PLUS ... a Kindle Fire! Contest goes from 11/14 to 11/21, so be sure to enter!

55+ HISTORICAL NOVEL GIVEAWAY!

 

Thurs., Nov. 17: 

2-HOUR FACEBOOK PARTY FROM 8:00 - 10:00 PM EST! Cozy up with Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and me to celebrate the release of our brand-new Christmas collection, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming with lots of gab, goodies, and giveaways! Christmas, comfort, and cowboys is our theme, so prizes include three paperback copies of Cowboy Christmas Homecoming, Ghiradelli chocolate, a comfy-cozy throw, a gorgeous scarf, and soup, so come on by to toss your cowboy hat in the ring, okay? Here's the link: 

CHRISTMAS COWBOY HOMECOMING FACEBOOK PARTY

 

Nov. 30 - Dec. 16: 

99-CENT SALE ON ISLE OF HOPE E-BOOK!!

To celebrate my interview in Family Fiction magazine in the Christmas issue (which releases November 30 and eeeeek -- I'm on the cover!!), I am holding a sale on Isle of Hope at almost 90% off the original price of $7.99, so I hope you take advantage. And I would love it if you would share the sale during Nov. 30-Dec. 16 if you would.

I absolutely LOVE Family Fiction magazine, which is why I am SO blessed and honored to be on the December cover! I  subscribed long ago, so I highly encourage you to do the same since it's FREE SUBSCRIPTION and features some of the top authors in the CBA, including Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs, etc. Here's the link -- just click on the subscribe box at the top right of the page:

FREE E-SUBSCRIPTION

FOR FAMILY FICTION MAGAZINE

 

Friday, December 2: 

BLOG INTERVIEW GIVEAWAY:

Mark your calendars for Friday, December 2 to come by and see me at Coffee Cups and Camisoles Blog and win paperback or e-copies of my two Christmas books, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming and A Light in the Window. Here's the link, so hope to see you there!

COFFEE CUPS AND CAMISOLES BLOG

4:51AM

Friday, November 11, 2016

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

-- Jeremiah 29:11

Undeniably, there are those indisputable times in life when you know that you know that you know God has intervened.

Like the time I was a teenager walking my girlfriend home at 2:00 AM in the morning. A carload of older boys screeched to a stop when they saw us, and their car doors flew open as three of them gave chase. Sleet slithered my veins while my friend and I bolted behind a house -- she tearing off towards her home on the street behind and me circling to get back to mine. Much to my horror, the three boys followed me around the house, and with a frantic scream, I darted to the front door, fear pounding while I bludgeoned the doorbell. Certain I was about to be raped, I never expected the lone, deaf widow who lived there to actually hear my cries or even open the door to a stranger at 2:00 AM. But open it she did, just as the boys reached the steps of her porch. When they saw her standing there, they fled toward their car and squealed away. I wasn't much on God back then, but trust me, even I knew the Almighty had intevened.

Or like just this morning when my daughter was on a plane ready for takeoff to go visit a friend. Imagine her shock when the last person to board the plane was my daughter-in-law from Spokane with her brand-new miracle of a baby, Genevieve! My daughter had recently bemoaned the fact that she could not see little Evie in person, something she desperately wanted to do.

It was Amy's birthday this week, so I prayed that God would show her His love in some special way. Trust me when I say tears flowed as Amy held little Evie most of the way while she and my daughter-in-law chatted at the back of the plane. Now I ask you -- what are the odds that my daughter from Birmingham would be on the same plane as my daughter-in-law from Spokane? Go on -- tell me that's not a God thing!

The truth is when God's people pray, He intervenes! Just like I believe He did this week with our elections. Whether they turned out the way we wanted or not, God is still on the throne, and more than ever, it's imperative that we pray. Pray for wisdom, direction, and especially protection for President Elect Trump and his family. And for our country -- that God will heal the wounds inflicted by so much division and unite us as we were meant to be -- one nation under God. So will you join me in this effort to pray for our country, our leaders, and our people? Because we desperately need it now, more than ever.

Hugs and Prayers,

Julie

Facebook Party!! 

THURS., NOV. 17, 8:00-10:00 PM EST: Join me, Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Anna Schmidt for a "cool" Facebook party for Cowboy Christmas Homecoming  with lots of gab, goodies, and giveaways, so mark your calendars and come on by!  Here's the link: CCH FB PTY. Hope to see you there!

Historical Romance Giveaway! 

NOVEMBER 14-21Hop over HERE beginning Monday and join in on this wonderful fall Inspirational Historical Romance  contest featuring more than 55 of your favorite authors

(including Ruthy Logan Herne, Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson, Pam Hillman, and moi with chances to win a book from each... and a Kindle Fire!

Good luck!

9:20AM

Friday, November 3, 2016

"What you do

matters far less to God

than how you do it."

-- Anonymous

I am a Christian author. That's what I do. But you know what? I've discovered that although this is a ministry given to me by God, that's not the most important thing to Him. Nope. What's important to Him is how I do that ministry. Am I going to rely on my own efforts and talent? Or am I going to rely on Him?

I decided I want to rely on Him, so as most of you know who read this blog, I am stepping back from most promotion to focus on writing for a season. But ... it seems the moment I did that, promotion opportunities fell from the sky to literally drop in my lap. First one of my favorite Christian magazines asked me to be on the cover of their December issue with an interview inside, then one of my favorite bloggers asked me to be a part of her 10-year blogaversary, and finally one of my favorite authors  asked me to do a Flash Christmas giveaway with her on Facebook today. So, since giveaways are involved in two of these ventures, I thought I better tell you about them to win some free books!

Today Only!       (Friday, Nov. 4)

Head on over to my Facebook  page today to enter the dual giveaway of two signed Christmas books for two winners! All you have to do is leave a comment on my FB page and then click on the link there to my good buddy Denise Hunter's Facebook page, too, and you'll have TWO chances to win TWO signed Christmas books, both Denise's wonderful novel, Falling Like Snowflakes, and my Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window. And if you already have A Light in the Window, then I'll give you your choice of another of my books, okay? Here's the link to my FB page (where you'll also find Denise's FB page link), so hope to see you there!

Click Here for Julie Lessman's FB Page

And ... I invite anybody who'd like to see the cool video my artist hubby did for A Light in the Window using my daughter as the model to do so HERE.

 

Fri.& Sat., Nov. 4-5:

This Weekend, November 4-6: Come by to say hi and help celebrate Andi Newberry Tubb's ten-year blogaversary with me. I'm giving away three signed copies of my paperback books -- A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Light in the Window. Here's the link -- hope to see you there! NOTE: You have to enter by clicking on the "A Rafflecopter Giveaway" link at the end of the post.

RADIANT LIGHT BLOG GIVEAWAY


The Paperback for Love Everlasting is Coming ...

And JUST in time for Christmas! It will be up this week on Amazon, so do keep checking HERE.

Those of you who have won signed copies will be receiving them soon, so happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Sale!!

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

 

Free Download!!

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

 

 

Thanks for coming by, and I'll leave you with a couple of fun pictures from our visit to see our brand-new granddaughter EVIE (whom you prayed for!!) and the other two cuties.

Hugs and have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Julie

 

Sweet little Genevieve (Evie) at one month.

 

LOVE these two! Check out the gleam of trouble in those eyes! ;)