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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

 

4:20AM

Thursday, June 15, 2017

 

(Note: New Contest at Bottom of this Blog)

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

-- His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

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

Cat's and Chase's love story releases August 1st in e-book and later this fall in paperback, so here's the blurb:

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

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

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

PRE-ORDER HERE!

 

New Contest!

To celebrate my new release, I am running a contest (begins Thursday, June 15) where you can win ALL of the following:

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

— A signed copy

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

You'll find the Rafflecopter contest box at the bottom of today's blog AFTER the sneak peek I promised you weeks ago from His Steadfast Love.

 

Sneak Peek at His Steadfast Love!

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

 

Sales!

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

 

Excerpt from His Steadfast Love

Tap. Tap. Tap. “Shan, you okay?”

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

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

Knock. Knock. Knock. “Almost done?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, oh Lord … we are!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enter Contest Below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
9:02AM

Sunday, May 7, 2017

 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

-- Psalm 23:1

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

Just like me.

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

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

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

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

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

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

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

Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd by Daira Curran 

 

Winner of the Ind'tale Contest!

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

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

ANDI TUBBS

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

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

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

Hugs,

Julie

 

Deal Alert on A Hope Undaunted!

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

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

AMAZON/ BARNES & NOBLE/ CBD

 

 

 

4:55AM

Friday, April 28, 2017

She’s lost her faith.

He’ll help her find it.

Along with a love that endures.


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

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

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

The blurb for His Steadfast Love is: 

 

A bold and independent woman challenges the ideals—

and the morals—of a pastor who loves her

no matter the mistakes that she makes.

 

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

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


 Update on Genevieve!

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

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

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

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

 

Deal Alert on A Hope Undaunted!

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

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

AMAZON/ BARNES & NOBLE/ CBD

 

 Contest Ends Sunday at Midnight!

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

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

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

And spread the word, okay?

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

a Rafflecopter giveaway
10:28PM

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Scroll to end of blog for InD'tale contest!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

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

great is His faithfulness.

 —Lamentations 3:22-24

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

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

Why?

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

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

 —Jeremiah 29:11

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

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

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

Hugs!!

Julie

 

InD'tale Contest!

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

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

The contest runs through April, so GOOD LUCK!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
10:51AM

Friday, April 7, 2017

Scroll to end of blog for new contest!

 

My beloved is mine, and I am his;  he grazes among the lilies
until the day breathes and the shadows flee.

-- Song of Solomon 2:16-17

Goodness, it's been a while since we've talked because I've been spending most of my time traveling and writing book 3 in the Isle of Hope Series, His Steadfast Love. But I wanted to come out of hiding to let you know about a cool interview I did for InD'tales Magazine and announce a new contest.

As many of you know, my tagline is "Passion With a Purpose," which means my whole purpose for writing novels in the first place was to provide a romantically (and spiritually) passionate alternative to secular romance, which as we all know caters to a world view that is amoral at best. So when InD'Tales Magazine -- a secular review magazine begun by a Christian reviewer -- asked me to be her featured author interview for the month of Easter to talk about my "Passion With a Purpose" style, I said yes.

Why? Because yes, there are sweet romances in the secular market without gratuitous sex, but you will go a long, LONG way before you find secular romance novels that line up with God's precepts as far as sexual morality. And likewise, in a $1.08 billion-dollar industry (in 2013) you will go a long, LONG way before you find Christian romance novels that offer the romantic passion that most secular readers are looking for.

Before I was published, I read a statistic from an evangelical Christian polling firm called The Barna Group that totally shocked me. It claimed that "nine out of ten women in the U.S. profess some form of Christianity," and yet the moral climate in our world would suggest otherwise.

The results of national survey published by USA Today in 2016 revealed that "more than three out of four (76 percent) of 18-to 31-year-old American couples living together consider cohabitation before marriage to be fine and acceptable."

"About a quarter of women move in with a romantic partner before the age of 20, and more women than ever live with a partner before they get married," according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics.

“The stark reality is that 65 percent of ‘altar-bound’ singles — many of whom identify as ‘Christians’ — now live together before marriage,” says Charisma News Contributor Larry Tomczak.

I don't know about you, but this bothers me A LOT because it's not God's precepts that have changed, it's our world.

According to CNN, the blockbuster book and movie, Fifty Shades of Grey labeled "mommy porn" by some "has topped best-seller lists around the world, selling over 125 million copies worldwide by June 2015. It has been translated into 52 languages, and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time."

Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples’ throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended — to teach people God’s precepts and therein, His love. It’s the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for my readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.

Giveaway!

So ...  I've decided to run a contest in honor of my interview in InD'tales AND my Seeker blog this upcoming Wednesday, April 12, which will feature the editor-in-chief of InD'tales Magazine, T.J. Mackay speaking about "Christian Fiction in a Secular World: A Light Under The Bushel?" There will be a giveaway of choice of my books, so I hope you stop by. Here's the link:

JULIE'S GIVEAWAY ON SEEKER BLOG WED., 4/12/17


New Contest Begins Sat., 4/8 at midnight!

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

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway