Enter your email address
to subscribe to Julie's Blog

 

SEARCH THIS WEBSITE

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

 

2:17AM

Thursday, August 10, 2017

 

"Do it afraid."

-- Joyce Meyer, author, speaker, evangelist


 Well, I did it. I was shaking in my boots, but I did it.

I went LIVE on Facebook!!

And you know what? It was SO much fun (uh, after I botched it three times!) and SO personal (like I was talking one-on-one with everybody who came to my page) that I think I want to do it more often now that I know how. But definitely for a waaaaaay shorter time period, like maybe 5-10 minutes here and there.

I actually did this live video as part of my Seeker blog this week, so if you want a detailed "HOW TO" regarding Facebook Live, I encourage you to go read my Seekerville blog HERE.  

NOTE: I will be picking a winner tomorrow morning, 8/11/17, for a $25 Amazon gift card and having a character named after you in my next book, so be sure to leave a comment because then you'll be eligible to win. PLUS ... if you mention you are a Journal Jot reader, you're automatically in the draw for a secret JJ giveaway of an e-copy of His Steadfast Love (or any of my indie books or novellas).

If you missed the video and just want to check it out, the link is below, but be advised it's pretty long, so if you just want some highlights, you can slide the time ball up to the 11:14 time period to see me get a little weepy when I talk about YOU guys, my reader friends whom I LOVE!  Then at about 14:00, I follow it up with an answer to Lynne Feurerstein's question about future O'Connor Christmas novellas, and at the 24:30 time mark, I talk about why I write as passionately as I do. It all ends up with a group prayer at about the 41:00 mark, so I hope you check it out.

JULIE'S GUINEA-PIG TEST ON FACEBOOK LIVE!

Like I said, I had SO much fun that I thought it might be a real kick to do occasional, short live blips here and there, maybe like a "Coffee Break with a CDQ" or an occasional "Q&A with a CDQ."  That way I can just chit-chat briefly with each of you, answer any questions you might have, update you on what I'm doing, or just give you a quick tour of my writing space on my veranda (complete with ducks, herons, turtles, fish, and even the love of my life, IF he'll do it!). So if you would like to be notified when I go live on Facebook, all you have to do is subscribe on my Facebook page as follows:

1.) Click on the small, downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the live video post (or it might be 3 dots)

2.) Choose "Turn On Notifications."

3.) Or you can also "Like" my page, which makes it more likely that you'll be notified of my next live broadcast.


More Giveaways, But Ending Soon!

If you haven't read His Steadfast Love yet, here's your chance to snag a copy! But you best hurry -- both these giveaways end SOON!!

WENDI KITSTEINER'S BLOG: Giveaway of a paperback copy of my favorite book I've ever written -- A Hope Undaunted! And if you win it and want a signed bookplate, just let me know, and I will send you one. PLUS ... if you are a Journal Jot reader, just indicate that in your comment on Wendi's blog, and I will throw in an e-book copy of His Steadfast Love too, so GOOD LUCK and here's the link:  Wendi Kitsteiner's Blog

TUESDAY, AUGUST 8 -- OVERCOMING WITH GOD BLOG: Drop by to read sweet Bonnie Roof's review of His Steadfast Love and be entered to win a signed paperback copy of HSL OR e-books of the entire series. Here's the link: Overcoming With God Blog

 

Well, that's it for now, my friends, so MEGA HUGS & HAPPY WEEKEND!

Julie

2:07AM

Sunday, August 6, 2017

YIKES ... I NEED YOUR HELP!!

 Help!

Okay, most of you know I'm not generally a shy person, but going LIVE on Facebook is ... well ... a wee bit intimidating, so I would sure be grateful if some friendly faces showed up to cheer me on. SO grateful, in fact, that I am having a contest for anyone that does. Interested? I hope so because here are the details:

WHO:    Moi

WHAT:   Answering any questions you have LIVE on Facebook, where a comment/question enters you to win a $25 Amazon gift card, a character named after you in my next book.

WHEN:   Wednesday, August 9, 8:00 AM Central Time

WHERE:  Julie's Personal FB Page at 8:00 AM, then on Seekerville blog the rest of the day.

WHY:      Uh, because I'm crazy? AND because I thought this would be a fun blog to do for Seekerville, where I'm ALSO having a special giveaway for Journal Jot readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on my Seekerville blog on Wednesday and mention you're a JJ reader, and you're in the draw for for an e-copy of His Steadfast Love, so be sure to stop by there too if you can, okay?

NOTE!! If you can't make the FB Live Q & A, send me your questions via the CONTACT JULIE tab of my website, and I will try to answer them either live or in the comments section.

Blog Giveaways

Hey, guys, I haven't done a lot of blog giveaways on this book release, but here are a few coming your way, so I hope you can find the time to come on by.

WENDI KITSTEINER'S BLOG: Giveaway of a paperback copy of my favorite book I've ever written -- A Hope Undaunted! And if you win it and want a signed bookplate, just let me know, and I will send you one. PLUS ... if you are a Journal Jot reader, just indicate that in your comment on Wendi's blog, and I will throw in an e-book copy of His Steadfast Love too, so GOOD LUCK and here's the link:  Wendi Kitsteiner's Blog

TUESDAY, AUGUST 8 -- OVERCOMING WITH GOD BLOG: Drop by to read sweet Bonnie Roof's review of His Steadfast Love and be entered to win a signed paperback copy of HSL OR e-books of the entire series. Here's the link: Overcoming With God Blog

 

WED., AUGUST 9 -- SEEKERVILLE BLOG: As mentioned above, I will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a character named after you in my next book PLUS an e-copy of His Steadfast Love if you mention you are a JJ reader. Here's the link and hope to see you there: Seekerville Blog

The reviews on His Steadfast Love have been rolling in, and so far, I am thrilled to say HSL has a 5-star rating on Amazon, so a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have posted reviews  -- I can't express just HOW much I appreciate it!

And if you liked the book and haven't posted a brief review, would you please consider doing so? Good reviews are the lifeblood for indie authors and THE BEST way to bless an author you enjoy. THANK YOU!!

Hope to see you on Wed., either at my Facebook Live video on my FB author page or on Seekerville.

Hugs and Have a Great Week!

Julie

 

3:20AM

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"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

Oh my goodness, I am SO grateful for His steadfast love -- both God's AND the book He led me to write! A book, I might add, that releases TODAY!!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

At long last Cat and Chase's story is here, and I'm going to tell you right off the bat that is is one of the most spiritual AND one of the most romantic I have ever written. And -- WHOA, BABY -- just look at some of these reviews:

❤️  💜  ❤️ 

❤️ "This book drew me closer to God in a way that no work of fiction has before. It hit something inside me and I several times stopped reading because I just felt a burning desire to spend time with God in those moments. It was truly amazing." -- Christian Novels Blog

💜 "Julie Lessman has delivered a captivating romance that is both unapologetically passionate and unapologetically spiritual. If you’re looking for stories that present the messes of life against the backdrop of redemption – with a hearty dose of stick-your-head-in-the-freezer passion, this series is for you!" -- Reading is My SuperPower Blog

 

 

❤️ "But it’s so much more than a story to quicken your pulse, it’s a story to quicken your spirit and encourage your heart. At least it did mine, in ways I didn’t know I needed." -- The Green Mockingbird Blog

💜 "His Steadfast Love, book three in the Isle of Hope series by Julie Lessman, was my absolute favorite book I have read in a long time." -- L123, Amazon reviewer

❤️ "OH MY GOODNESS! I love Cat's story! I'm a sucker for Prodigal stories anyway ... A perfect ending to the series and a perfect story of Christ bringing one of His own back into the fold. I loved it!" -- My Favorite Pastime Blog



💜 "I’m blown away at how this author welcomes readers with open arms into the family she’s created." -- The Book Club Network

❤️ "His Steadfast Love is, quite simply, an AMAZING book! I laughed. I cried. I savored every sweet moment ..." -- Sherida Stewart, Amazon reviewer


 

A HUGE THANKS to all the reviewers above who took the time to read and review Cat's story.

AND MEGA THANKS to those of you who preordered His Steadfast Love and are reading it now. I hope you enjoy it and most importantly, I hope the spiritual lesson within -- one that God taught me forty-three years ago -- blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

I do a favor to ask, however. I don’t know if you are into posting reviews or not, but if you are, would you consider possibly posting a brief review for His Steadfast Love if you read it and like it? And if you do, please let me know so I can personally thank you, okay? Most people don’t realize how critical good reviews are to authors -- especially on an indie series like this where I don't have a major publisher promoting me. But so many potential readers base their book-buying decisions on the number of good reviews posted, that that is the very best way to bless an author you like. BUT … if reviews are NOT your thing, I understand and am just so very grateful you read my books in the first place! :)


We Have Winners ...

 MEGA HUGS to all of you that worked so very hard in this contest! I always hate to award just one award because there are too many of you who give it your all, so what I have done is in addition to my grand-prize winner, I have decided to pick three additional winners -- one based on the top # of entries and two based on random selection so that everybody has a chance to win regardless of points. And so without further ado, the grand-prize winner who wins a character named after her in His Steadfast Love, a signed paperback copy, and her choice of a $50 gift card OR ten top-CBA gently used recent releases is ...

❤️  Bianca Santelices  ❤️

SUPER CONGRATS to Bianca -- you certainly earned it, my friend!

 

 And now the three additional winners who each have a character named after them in His Steadfast Love and have their choice of a signed e-book copy along with e-book copies of the entire series OR a signed paperback copy when they release in September are:

Kerri Kodjovi
Terrill Rosado
Abigail Allen

Congratulations to each of you, and let me just say it will be such a blessing to have a character named after you in my book. It makes me smile every time I come across your names. :)

 In the upcoming weeks, I will be giving you sneak peeks at each of my upcoming novellas, so if you are not subscribed to this blog, I encourage you to do so now at the top right-hand side of this page so that you will receive an email whenever I post a new Journal Jot.

 

 

Thank you and God bless each of you for your continued support!

Hugs and Happy Reading!

Julie

Grace Like Rain:

A Heart Of San Franciso Novella

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

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

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

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

 PREORDER GRACE LIKE RAIN HERE!

 

A Whisper of Hope:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

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

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

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

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

 PREORDER A WHISPER OF HOPE HERE!

 

The Best Gift of All:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

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

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

 

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

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

 PREORDER THE BEST GIFT OF ALL HERE!

 

The Gift of Grace:

A Frontier Christmas Novella

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

She’s the Accident
to His Prayers …

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

Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died. But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

 PREORDER THE GIFT OF GRACE HERE!

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

Hugs,

Julie

99-Cent Sale on Isle of Hope
Ends Soon!

If you haven't read book 1 in the Isle of Hope series, now is your chance! Award-winning Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love was voted as one of Family Fiction magazine's Best of 2015, currently has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 221 reviews, and will be on sale for only 99 cents for a few more weeks, so take advantage! Here's the blurb:

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

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

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

99-CENT SALE ON ISLE OF HOPE: UNFAILING LOVE

 

 50% Sale on Book 2 Ends Soon!

Now's your chance to buy Love Everlasting at almost half off, because the sale ends soon! LE has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 109 reviews, so here's the blurb:

Hunk of Heartache
Vs. Sweet & Shy

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

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

SALE PRICE ON EVERLASTING LOVE

 


4:36AM

Thursday, July 20, 2017

 Contest at bottom of blog.

 

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

-- Grace Like Rain by Julie Lessman

 

Can I hear a big AMEN

about prayer moving mountains?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace Like Rain:

A Heart Of San Franciso Novella

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

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

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

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

 PREORDER GRACE LIKE RAIN HERE!

 

A Whisper of Hope:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

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

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

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

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

 PREORDER A WHISPER OF HOPE HERE!

 

The Best Gift of All:

An O'Connor Christmas Novella

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

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

 

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

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

 PREORDER THE BEST GIFT OF ALL HERE!

 

The Gift of Grace:

A Frontier Christmas Novella

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

She’s the Accident
to His Prayers …

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

Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died. But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

 PREORDER THE GIFT OF GRACE HERE!

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

Hugs,

Julie

99-Cent Sale on Isle of Hope
Ends Soon!

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

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

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

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

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

Hunk of Heartache
Vs. Sweet & Shy

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

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

SALE PRICE ON EVERLASTING LOVE

 

 His Steadfast Love, Pre-Order Now!

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

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

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

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

PRE-ORDER HERE!

 

 Contest Ends July 31st!

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

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

— A signed copy

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

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

 

1st Chapter of Grace Like Rain

Chapter One

San Francisco, February 1905

Ka-boom!

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

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

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

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

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

And her superior.

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

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

A very taut, muscled washboard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And tempted … ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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