Julie Lessman – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Free Book Giveaway)

Julie Lessman 1THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Memories of a Published Author (and giveaway)

by Julie Lessman

Close your eyes. Can you hear it? The jangle of the spurs? The reverberation of guitar strings? The haunting wah-wah voice while Clint Eastwood strolls into the desert graveyard for a showdown with an Italian cigar slowly rolling in his mouth? And then, all at once, beyond your control … your stomach growls and you realize you’re hungry for spaghetti. (Sorry, for all you sweet, young things out there, you’ll just have to ask a baby boomer what that means.)

Ah, memories. Ol’ Clint mowing ‘em down with his Colt 1851 Navy revolver in a movie about three gunslingers who dig and claw their way to gold buried in a cemetery. Which, now that I think of it, is faintly reminiscent of a writer’s golden dreams of publication—we dig and claw in the sands of unpubbed island in search of the “gold” while editors, agents and contest judges gun us down. And, as in the case of my 46 rejections for A Passion Most Pure—the potshots keep whizzing by, over and over again!

Sigh … to have our names emblazoned across the cover of a book—oh, yes—a golden dream to be sure, but as the old adage points out, all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes it’s the glint of a jealousy in one’s eyes when somebody gets pubbed instead of you or the sheen of tears when a contest judge slices and dices your ms., or even when a reviewer calls your work “scum reading.” Sniff … will somebody pass the Kleenex, please?

So … as a war-torn veteran of five years (which really needs to be multiplied by five given my CDQ personality that imposes excessive wear and tear on the mind, spirit and tear ducts), I want to talk about the “good, the bad, and the ugly, and no, I’m not talking how a baby boomer CDQ looks first thing in the morning after a rough night of sleep—I’m talking publication and beyond.

Oh, the wide-eyed wonder of being a newbie! There’s something so innocent about it, you know? Like after I finaled in the Golden Heart in 2005 and sent out 25 query envelopes to agents? Yeah, I even stickered those little suckers with a cute, little gold emblem that said “2005 Golden Heart Finalist” because I was certain that would open doors, right? Well, it certainly opened envelopes, yes, each promptly thrown away, no doubt, to the sound of maniacal laughter. But open doors? Uh … not so much.

Which brings me to the “GOOD” on my publication journey. One night an e-mail pops up in my mailbox from a certain Natasha Kern after twenty-four agents had already rejected me, and I’ll be honest—I thought it was a hoax! I mean, come on—I was savvy enough to know that Natasha Kern had appeared in Writer’s Digest Magazine as one of the top 25 agents for new writers to have, but when her e-mail asked me to call her at a Portland, Oregon phone number, I balked.

That’s the GOOD, now enter the “BAD” with fear, doubt, trembling and nausea … “What if it’s a scam?” I asked my husband, chewing my lip raw, “or a cruel joke somebody is playing on me?” My eyes flared wide. “I mean, Portland for heaven’s sake—everybody know agents only lived in New York!” “Well, you have nothing to lose by calling, Julie,” my husband said with a squeeze of my hand. Oh, yes, I did, I thought. My confidence (what was left of it), my hope and, yes, even my supper—in that order. I took a deep breath and reread the e-mail three times, which went something like this:

Julie, do you have an agent yet? If not, please call me at this number immediately. I am leaving on a trip and was hoping you could overnight your manuscript so I can read it on the plane.”

Yeah, right. Twenty-four reputable agents send rejection letters through the mail for A Passion Most Pure, and I’m supposed to believe somebody obviously posing as Natasha Kern wants me to express mail my ms. to OREGON, of all places??? And all this after seeing only FIVE pages and a synopsis (her submission guidelines back then) when all the others saw three chapters and a synopsis??? I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t buy it, and yes, the scary part is that I realllllly was that green, and I’m not talking environmentally.

BUT … I was also desperate, so I called … and the GOOD news is it WAS Natasha Kern and yes, she did actually sign me, the poor dear. The BAD news? She didn’t fully realize till after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!

So there I was, a newbie with a three-book deal, visions of sugar plums (masquerading as Ritas, and Christys and 5-star reviews) dancing in my head, completely certain that getting published would validate me as a writer. (Shaking head here.) Boy, did I have my pajamas on, ‘cause I was definitely dreaming.

Not that good things haven’t happened, because they have, but NOBODY warned me about the roller-coaster ride ahead. Sure, I launched into the sky shrieking with hands high when Revell told me A Passion Most Pure was the “fastest fiction release” they’d ever had up to that time (the “good”), then whooped for joy when I crested the height of that coaster with five-star reviews that brought tears to my eyes. But I wasn’t prepared for the plummet down the rails (the “bad”) when sales took a dive along with the economy and 1-star reviews maligned my books, my character and my faith in God.

And that’s when the “ugly” began—tears and self doubts, jealousy and low self-esteem, causing me to question my ability as a writer and whether or not my type of romantic passion was what God had called me to do. An ugliness so painful that I actually considered quitting writing altogether at least a dozen times in the last five years, begging God to PLEASE lobotomize that part of my writer’s brain that was enamored with book sales, contest wins and 5-star reviews.

Well … He didn’t “lobotomize” me, although to some of you, I’m sure it seems like it at times. Nope, He did something even better—He taught me how to defend myself, to draw my Colt and gun down the bad and the ugly, and let me tell you—ol’ Clint has nothing on me! I have learned the true stance of a gunfight—to keep my eyes fixed straight ahead on God  (Proverbs 4:25—Let your eyes look straight ahead) and not look to the right: contest wins, book sales or good reviews—or to the left: not finaling in contests, low royalties and scathing reviews (Proverbs 4:27—do not turn to the right or the left) and above all else, guard my heart (Proverbs 23). For me that means:

Praying for blessing on every person who gives me a bad review (now, don’t take this as license to have me pray for you, please!).

Praying for authors of whom I am jealous to go to the bestseller list (my good friend, Julie Klassen is a good example, a true story I talk about in my Seeker blog entitled Oh, For the Love of God, Part 2 at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2008/11/oh-for-love-of-god-part-2.html).

Keeping my mouth free of perversity and corrupt talk far from my lips (Proverbs 24) by asking God to help me to repent and pray when I complain, whine or gossip.

And instead of praying for God to take the desire for awards, good reviews and sales away, to pray for strength to bear up under the job He has given me to do. (This has been a HUGE help to me because God ALWAYS gives you the grace to do what He has called you to do!)

There is no question the life of a published writer—Christian or non—is a blindfolded walk through a minefield of the good, the bad and the ugly. Where a writer can go from being awarded a booby prize for the most rejections in a year like I did at the 2005 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers conference) … to winning the 2009 ACFW Debut Book of the Year for the very same book. But … as Christian writers, we’re not in this alone. We are writing for a God who according to Romans 8:28, makes all things—the good, the bad and the ugly—work out for the good of those who love Him (i.e. those who obey his commands, John 14:15—if you love me, obey me) and are called according to His purpose (which is all of us who are writing for Him!).

I don’t know about you, but for me I plan to aim high and go for the real gold—honoring Him rather than myself—in my attitude, my words and my actions, ONLY doable with His help, of course. Because take it from someone who’s been there WAY more than she likes—fixing my eyes, happiness and hope on contest wins, great book sales or good reviews is nothing but fool’s gold. And trust me—I may be slow for my age, but I’m no fool!

Over the last five years, I’ve learned a lot about the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as both an aspiring writer and a published one, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you today. Who knows? Maybe I can spare you some pain and give you a push in the right direction.

THE “GOOD” THINGS I DID AS AN ASPIRING AUTHOR:

1.) Joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers at http://www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com/), FHL (Faith, Hope & Love at http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/) and RWA (Romance Writers of America at http://www.rwanational.org/), both to get connected with other like-minded writers and to learn a lot about your craft.

2.) Took a fiction-writing class and attended writing seminars

3.) Attended writer conferences such as ACFW to learn, to make friends, to network and to pitch to agents and editors.

4.) Join a critique group (you can do that through ACFW).

5.) Purchase and study writing books such as Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King or Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, AND invest in a great thesaurus such as The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press or utilize FABULOUS Thesaurus websites like the OneLook Reverse Dictionary(my writer’s bible!!) at http://onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml.

6.) Enter contests for invaluable feedback, growth, confidence, networking opportunities and to get your name out there.

7.) Frequent websites/blogs that deal with writing, such as The Seekers http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, http://www.mybooktherapy.com/index.html ,     http://www.rachellegardner.com/, Inkwell Inspirations (who have a GREAT page on writing resources!) http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/p/writing-resources.html , and Writer’s Alley http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.com/ to mention only a few.

8.) Go for an agent first, publisher second.

9.) Query, Query, Query!

10.) Then pray your heart out and put it in God’s hands.

THE “BAD” THINGS I DID AS AN ASPIRING AUTHOR:

1.) Compared myself to others, inciting jealousy and ingratitude (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2009/09/conference-cpr-julie-lessman-style-and.html  2.) Queried publishers without an agent (biggest reason my rejections topped at 45 rejections on A Passion Most Pure.

3.) Didn’t get a website or platform till a few months before my first release (NOT GOOD … need to start building that platform NOW.

4.) Wasted time over-editing books when I could have been writing more, especially since publishers pay editors to edit your book!

5.) Didn’t research publishers and their guidelines before I pitched to them. http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2008/03/buckle-up-its-going-to-be-bumpy-ride.html

THE “UGLIEST” THING I DID AS A PUBLISHED ASPIRING AUTHOR:

1.)    Went off hormones when I was entering contests — YIKES!! (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2007/10/caution-hormone-free-zone.html

THE “GOOD” THINGS I DID/DO AS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR:

1.) Connect with my readers through blog interview/giveaways, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail as much as I can because to be honest, after writing, this is what I love to do the MOST!

2.) Issue a newsletter 2-3 times a year with book excerpts and new covers, giveaways, pix of my reader friends and contests such as having a character named after you in my books.

3.) Build my newsletter list with special contests/giveaways for newsletter recipients only.

4.) Speaking engagements and teaching workshops.

5.) Maintain a weekly personal blog called Journal Jots where I keep my reader friends apprised of all that’s going on in my life and feature contests/giveaways.

6.) Set up blog tours during a book release.

7.) Contact all good reviewers on blog tours and ask them to post their reviews on CBD.com, Amazon.com, etc. Pray for the bad reviewers while staying FAR away from them … J

7.) Sign up for Amazon’s Author Central at https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/landing?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

7.) Establish a group blog like Seekerville. J

THE “BAD” THINGS I DID AS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR:

1.) Scheduled too many book signings. To be honest, according to my publisher, book signings are not worth the time and investment, and I’m inclined to agree.

2.) Scheduled too many blog interviews during a book release—not a good idea if you actually want to write. NOTE: I do believe this is beneficial if you are a new writer trying to get your name out there, but according to my publisher, it’s not an effective use of a writer’s time after you are more established.

3.) Checked my rankings on Amazon WAY too much, which according to my publisher are not valid indicators of sales.

4.) Entered too many unnecessary contests, which is not worth the money, the time and the grief when you don’t final.

5.) Spent too much time on e-mails, especially to reader friends to whom I simply cannot write a generic note to save my soul.

THE “UGLIEST” THING I DID AS AN ASPIRING AUTHOR:

1.)    Compared myself to other writers. DO NOT DO THIS!!! We are all unique to God, and He has appointed each of us to a particular journey, so embrace where He has you and ENJOY it! Mantra: For His glory, not ours.

2.)     Measured my success and worth by sales, figures, contests wins and Amazon rankings, which might work in the secular market, but when you write Christian fiction, these things are NOT an accurate measure of either your success or your self worth … EXCEPT in how you handle them before God!

GIVEAWAY TIME!! Leave a comment by this week, and you will have the chance to win a signed copy of any one of my books including my upcoming release Love at Any Cost.

Thanks, Tamera, for this wonderful opportunity to appear on your blog! I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/.

Also, I have a cool blog feature on my website called “Journal Jots” at http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/, which is a very laid-back Friday journal to my reader friends that will give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/. Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

Hugs,

Julie

Julie Lessman 2Meet the Author:

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.

Click on the pictures for information about buying Julie’s novels.

FINAL COVER- A Light in the Window v_5 low resA_A LOVE AT ANY COST_FINAL COVER

A_A Love Surrendered 2nd Model Cover

Advertisements
This entry was posted in encouragement for writers, Guest Authors, Sharpening Our Writing, Submitting Your Work by Tamera Kraft. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tamera Kraft

Tamera Kraft has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

200 thoughts on “Julie Lessman – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Free Book Giveaway)

      • CAROLYN!!! Please forgive me, but I just noticed that I skipped you, but there was no “reply” button under your comment, so I hope you see this. Glad I could help a bit because jealousy and comparisons were a true Achilles Heel for me that I’m grateful to say that God has really helped tone down for me this year, in particular. I don’t know if you read the link I included in my article above when I mentioned Julie Klassen (Oh, For the Love of God), but it deals primarily with jealousy and comparison, so you might want to check it out.

        Good luck in the contest and hugs,
        Julie

  1. Great post, Julie. Only I see the good the bad and the ugly every morning when I look in the mirror. Errggh, and not a lot will change that other than a smile. But you offered great advice,thanks for sharing.

    • LOL, LINDA … move over, girlfriend, because the “ugly” is pretty darn ugly in my house in the morning trust me!! Thanks or coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Oh, CINDY … AMEN to that!! I sure wish I had known then what I know now, which is one of the main reasons I wrote this post — to shed some light for all the aspiring authors out there so it won’t be a real jolt after they sign on the dotted line!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • “Angst tugs the depth of words from our souls…”
      Sounds like you’ve read some of my books, my friend … 😉 I’m VERY big on angst and drama and it ALL comes from my heartaches and triumphs!! LOVE that expression, LISA, and you can sure tell you’re a writer, my friend. 🙂
      Hus,
      Julie

  2. Thanks for these suggestions, Julie! I have a very bad tendency to do all the bad and ugly! Especially checking my sales on amazon and comparing myself to other authors who have “made it” while I struggle to build a platform! I appreciate your candidness! 🙂

    • Oh, JOI, PLEASE … take it from an Amazon junkie … NOT WORTH IT!!! I am slowllllly weaning off and SO much happier because of it. If nothing else, this whole writing gig brings you closer to God, focusing on Him instead of ourselves, because He is the bottom line, not us. 🙂 Tough lesson to learn!
      Hugs, Julie

  3. Ah Julie, You are such a breath of fresh air! I love how you’re sense of humor jumps right off the page 🙂 You know I’m a huge fan and would love to win another Julie Lessman book! Blessings sweet lady!

    • Aw, thank you, ANNE — you are a blessing right back to me, my friend, and I SO appreciate your support! Good luck in the contest — I would LOVE to send you my latest!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • ROTFLOL!!! JAIME, you are SUCH a hoot!! Are you going to ACFW this year, because I would LOVE to meet you!! And I laughed out loud over your exclamation “Holy buckets of wow” … never heard that before, but would LOVE to use it, with your permission!! And the spaghetti??? I think I’m gonna make it tonight, too, only mine will be from a jar … 🙂
      Hugs,
      Julie

  4. Julie, why do I love you? I CANNOT count the reasons for there are too many! Once again, you have inspired me and related to me so well. You’re awesome! Please enter me in the giveaway. igottawrite [at] bellsouth [dot] net

    • LOL … maybe because I’m a crazy CDQ who speaks her mind?? 😉 Thanks, Sherri, for coming by and for your kind words. Here’s to a win, my friend!
      By the way, are you going to ACFW in Indy, I hope? Would LOVE to meet you too!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

      • Yes, that is why I love you!!! Always love the ones who speak their minds. I hope to go to Indy! I applied for a scholarship. Maybe I can convince Mags to come with me!

      • Oh, SHERRI, I realllly hope so!! I would love to see both you and Mags SOOO much!! Am saying one for you right now, my friend. 🙂

        Hugs,
        Julie

  5. Julie, what a great post! Thanks for your honesty. And what an encouragement to those of us who are just starting out and need to hear that even well-known, established authors struggled and still struggle. More than anything, I love the way you kept bringing it all back around to keeping our eyes on God.

    • Thanks, TERI … but I have to say that it’s “God” Who keeps bringing it back to Him!! He refuses to let us get sidetracked on things that Ecclesiates appropriately titles as “meaningless,” and success as an author is truly meaningless if our eyes are not fixed on Him. 🙂 Good luck in the contest, my friend.
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Well, SUSAN, we are just going to have to remedy that, not aren’t we?? I like to encourage people who have never read me before to check out the “Excerpts” tab of my website at the link below to read samples of my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes for each of my books, because that will give you a good idea of my style of “passion with a purpose” writing. If you only have time for one excerpt, I suggest scrolling down for the romantic scene from A Hope Undaunted because that’s my fave!!

      And also, Susan, A Light in the Window (one of the book covers in this interview above) will be on sale for St. Patrick’s Day (it’s an Irish love story) for $ .99 for 3 days only — 3/15-17, so do check it out, okay?

      ALSO … book 1 in my 2nd series, A Hope Undaunted, is available for free download RIGHT NOW, so here’s the link if you want to get it free. It was on Booklist’s list for Top Inspirational Fiction for 2010, so it’s not a dog, I promise!! Here’s the link: A HOPE UNDAUNTED BY JULIE LESSMAN

      THEN … here’s the “Excerpts” link: JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      Hugs,
      Julie

  6. Hi Julie! What a great article! I always love to read what God has done in your life, and continues to do. And even though I’m not a writer, I’m able to glean so much from your wisdom and insight that can apply to many areas of life. Thank you for what you do, and for being such a blessing. I’ve missed chatting with you, and I’m so glad to reconnect with you here! You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. I love ya! (((Hugs)))

    Oh, by the way, I’ve preordered the new book for my kindle, but it would be wonderful to win a signed copy for my keeper shelf, to sit next to the others. Thanks for the chance to win! 😀

    Michelle

    • Aw, MICHELLE, I cannot tell you just HOW MUCH it gladdens my heart to see you here — I have missed you, girlfriend!! And I would absolutely LOVE to send you a signed copy of Love at Any Cost, so GOOD LUCK to one of my dearest reader friends!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

  7. Holy buckets of wow is right. Thanks everyone for your comments. I see I’m not the only Julie Lessman fan out there. And Julie, thanks for your great post. You’re the best.

    • WINTERROSEBLMS, THANK YOU, my friend — that blesses the socks off of me!! And I LOVE your addy — so full of hope, you know? Good luck in the contest, girl, okay?
      Hugs,
      Julie

  8. I’m not a writer and am amazed at how much is involved in writing.

    Please enter me in the contest. Thanks!
    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

    • LOL, CINDI … me too!! 😉 I’m still amazed every day at just how little I know about this biz, but that’s okay because God is my agent and publicist, and I like to leave it to Him.
      GOOD LUCK!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Gee, thanks, MEEKERMOMMA … appreciate you reading my books and making me a “favorite”! Hope I can send you a free signed book and that it will continue to keep me on that “favorites” list!! GOOD LUCK!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

      • Aww that is very nice of you! I’m sorry I didn’t see your reply till now. I have truly enjoyed every book you have published so far.

        Tina

  9. Thanks so much for this post! I have always thought in the back of my mind about writing, but have never had the guts to just go ahead and do it! I appreciate the insight and wisdom!

    • LOL, CHERI … and now you know why, right?? 😉 You should do it, girl, especially if God is nudging you. Not only is it fun (at times), but it sure grows you up in the Lord, I’ll tell you that … 😉
      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Hey, BECKY … thank you!! And it sounds like you’ve never read my books before, so I will tell you that my tagline is “passion with a purpose,” which means my books are more passionate than most in the CBA, both romantically and spiritually. So I encourage you to check out the “Excerpts” tab of my website at the link below to read samples of my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes for each of my books, because that will give you a good idea of my style of writing. If you only have time for one excerpt, I suggest scrolling down for the romantic scene from A Hope Undaunted because that’s my fave!!

      And also, Becky, as I mentioned above to Susan, A Light in the Window (one of the book covers in this interview above) will be on sale for St. Patrick’s Day (it’s an Irish love story) for $ .99 for 3 days only — 3/15-17, so do check it out, okay?

      THEN FINALLY … book 1 in my 2nd series, A Hope Undaunted, is available for free download RIGHT NOW, so do check it out at the link I gave Susan above, okay? It was on Booklist’s list for Top Inspirational Fiction for 2010, so it’s not a dog, I promise!!

      Here’s the “Excerpts” link I mentioned, so happy reading and GOOD LUCK in the contest! JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      Hugs,
      Julie

  10. Wow. That’s a lot of work to write a book! I’ve read 2 of Julie’s books, and I really enjoyed them. I need to get back to the library and see if I can find some more to dig into.

    • LOL, MARIEVE, yes you do, girlfriend, so what’s stopping you?? If you read e-books, my favorite of my books, A Hope Undaunted, is currently free as an e-book, so do check it out, okay? Good luck!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

  11. I found this very informative. As a reader it is good to know what an author has done to get to the point of publishing. And it gave me insight on how to pray for that author as I read the book!
    Thanks!

    • WOW, NANCY … you pray for your authors while reading their books??? HOLY COW, I sure hope you’re reading my books, then, because I can use all the prayer I can get!! Here’s to a win, girl — you can start the praying for me now, if you want … 😉
      Hugs,
      Julie

      • Julie, as I read your story, I realized praying for the author should be a part of what I do as I read a book. But I can also pray for anyone, even if I am reading their book or not.

      • Well, NANCE, then put me on your list, girlfriend, because I would LOVE to receive a prayer or two from you and I’ll do the same — deal??

        Hugs,
        Julie

  12. I haven’t read any of Julie’s book yet.
    I have her on my ‘to read’ list. Her books sound good. Thanks for the giveaway.
    superstarsarah94(at)gmail(dot)com

    • Uh-oh, SARAH … you shouldn’t have told me that, darlin’, because now I’m gonna give you the ‘spiel’!! 😉

      Like I told Sarah and Susan above, I like to encourage people who have never read me before to check out the “Excerpts” tab of my website at the link below to read samples of my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes for each of my books, because that will give you a good idea of my style of “passion with a purpose” writing. If you only have time for one excerpt, I suggest scrolling down for the romantic scene from A Hope Undaunted because that’s my fave!! And also, Sarah, A Light in the Window (in this interview above) is now on sale for Valentine’s Day for almost half off ($3.99), so I encourage you to check it out.

      THEN … book 1 in the 2nd series, A Hope Undaunted, is available for free download RIGHT NOW, so I encourage you to download it on your PC, Mac, Droid, iPad, iPhone, Nook or Kindle, okay? GOOD LUCK!!

      Here’s the “Excerpts” link: JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • JOSS!!! Well, it’s certainly easier with some people who WOW me (wink, wink), but I do love to encourage, probably because I felt so beat down as a child, made fun of in school early on and picked on in my family because I was drama queen who was SO easy to make fun of. But true to His Word, God made good from it by giving me a heart that bleeds for people who get picked on or are feeling low, so I just LOVE to encourage when I can. If that makes me a professional encourager, then so be it. Sure glad I’m a “professional” at something … 😉

      Thanks SO much for coming by, my friend!
      Love you!
      Julie

      • Hey, JOSS, my hubby might argue with you on that “professional” tag. I want to write what I want to write rather than what the market wants me to write, so he says that’s not “professional.” He’s an artist who would LOVE to design the way he sees fit, but clients demand he do things their way, so he sacrifices his personal creative likes and dislikes for the sake of professionalism. In fact, the Heart of San Francisco series is my vague attempt at being “professional” and writing for the market with less passion, less spirituality, shorter books and more linear. I’m doing it for him, so we’ll see. 🙂

  13. Awesome to read, my friend! 🙂 What a story! I look forward to following all your wonderful tips when my darlings are a little older…though I think I would still make your mistake of over-editing, cause I love to do it so much! Hmmm…maybe I should do that instead…. Nah, I really want to write one day, even just to try it and see if I can! LOL. 🙂 Elizabeth J.

    Oh, and would LOVE to win Love at Any Cost. 🙂

    • ELIZABETH!!! Girl, I had NO idea you wanted to write someday, did I??? If so, this colander brain forgot, so forgive me. And I have no doubt you can write because I’ve been corresponding with you for years now, and you have a way with words, my friend. Now time?? That may be something else altogether with little ones around … 🙂

      Here’s to a win!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  14. Julie , good review . Would love to be entered in your contest . Don’t recall reading any of your books , but sounds do good

    • Oh, that was the wrong thing to say, ELIZABETH, about not reading any of my books before because now you get the same spiel I gave the two Sarahs and Susan above, so here we go …

      I like to encourage people who have never read me before to check out the “Excerpts” tab of my website at the link below to read samples of my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes for each of my books, because that will give you a good idea of my style of “passion with a purpose” writing. If you only have time for one excerpt, I suggest scrolling down for the romantic scene from A Hope Undaunted because that’s my fave!!

      And also, Elizabeth, A Light in the Window (in this interview above) is now on sale for Valentine’s Day for almost half off ($3.99), so I encourage you to check it out.

      THEN … book 1 in the 2nd series, A Hope Undaunted, is available for free download RIGHT NOW, so do check it out, okay? It was listed on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010, so it’s not too bad, I promise. 🙂

      GOOD LUCK and here’s the “Excerpts” link: JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      Hugs,
      Julie

  15. Thank you for such a transparent and honest post. It was informative and encouraging for someone like me who has at least that many rejections,yet still hope to get published.

    • I am SO glad, JANET, that I could encourage you on your writing journey. Don’t know if you are familiar with Seekerville, but it’s a group blog I belong to of 13 authors who pray for, encourage, and teach aspiring authors on the road to publication, so do check it out, okay? When we started five years ago, only one of the original 15 members were published and now all of us are, so we must be doing something right, right???
      Anyway, here’s the link:

      SEEKERVILLE

      Hugs,
      Julie

  16. This was wonderful! Julie I really loved how open and honest you were. I learn from my mistakes and it really was refreshing to see (in black and white of course) that I am not alone. Such great advice! Thank you for sharing with us. I recently began reading your books and really love them! I look forward to reading more.
    My information is : sunydey26 (at) aol (dot) com

    God bless you and sure hope you are feeling much better!

    • Oh, no, JOHNETTE — you are DEFINITELY not alone, my friend!! And BLESS YOU for reading my books — SO appreciate that!! And I have you on my prayer hit list for a godly mate, so there — we’re even!! 😉

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • BARB … nice to “meet” you too, my friend!! And I can save you some money right now by telling you that book 1 in my 2nd series, A Hope Undaunted (my fave of all my books!), is available for free download RIGHT NOW, so do check it out, okay? It was on Booklist’s list for Top Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010, so it’s not a dog, I promise!! Good luck!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  17. I laughed out loud while reading this – such a great post. I love your books and so glad you did get published and thanks for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly tips for aspiring authors – they are gold!!

    • CT!!! I am SO glad I could make you laugh — I LOVE doing that, so that blesses me! I don’t know if my tips are “gold” or not, but I did learn them the hard way, so that’s gotta be worth something, right?

      Good luck in the giveaway!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  18. Thanks Julie, for this wonderful testimony and encouragement! I’m a chronic over-editor, and I need to be working on other books and sending out the queries. I’m taking your little bullet as a nudge from God, and setting myself a deadline to call my MS finished and not touch it again! I can’t wait to read your new book, “Love At Any Cost” 🙂 Great title!

    • Hey, GWEN, soooo glad I could encourage you, my friend — we writers need ALL the encouragement we can get, for sure!

      And, YES, you DO need to send queries to agents out and to LI if that’s the house your targeting (since they don’t require an agent). Not sure who else doesn’t require an agent, but someone on the ACFW loop could tell you, so do it, okay??

      And I can’t wait for you to read LAAC either because it’s a real departure from the O’Connors — lighter and funnier AND I thought less angst and drama, but my hubby tells me I’m wrong. He came huffing and puffing downstairs one day to yell at me after reading a scene. Said I about gave him a heart attack (on the 2nd book) with a mugging scene. Whoops … so much for less angst and drama! 😉

      Good luck and hugs,
      Julie

  19. Hi Julie,
    I loved reading your post, even though I’m not an author. You are generous with your information, and I know you’ve given encouragement and inspiration to many. Thank you for an opportunity to win one of your books.

    • Thank you, KAY, I appreciate you taking the time to read this article since you are not an author. Who knows — maybe God will tap you on the shoulder someday. After all, I didn’t start writing my first book until I was about 52. 🙂 Good luck in the contest, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  20. I love your books! As a reader the stresses and struggles an author goes through isn’t always thought of.

    • Thank you, REBECCA, and you are SO right!! And if readers knew just how difficult it is for authors to put their heart and soul into one book after another OR even to continue to get contracts in this slow economy, they would understand why it’s important to support the authors you love with good reviews if you like their books. THIS is the most critical thing readers can do for their favorite authors, so I hope you are one of those people who do.

      Good luck and God bless!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  21. Oh wow did I need this “God ALWAYS gives you the grace to do what He has called you to do!” 🙂 So glad you shared this part of your journey with us! Thanks for all the great tips and encouragement.

    • Hey, JESS, so glad I could encourage you, my friend. That’s actually my interpretation of one of my favorite Scriptures, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, which says, ” that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

      So I am NEVER shy about reminding Him of His Word … 😉

      Hugs,
      Julie

  22. Hey Girlfriend! I giggled through half of this. How can you tell a heartwrenching story (I’m sure it seemed that way when you were getting those rejections) and make me laugh?! And I still love the story of Julie! heehee who would have thought you two would end up pals? Still plugging away. You know the story in the bible about the woman who keeps coming to the king and he gets tired of her coming so he gives her what she wants? Well I figure I’ll just wear these publishers out and one of these days one of them is going to say, ‘just give her a contract! I can take it no more!’ heehee. Have a great one my friend!

    • LOL, DEB … GREAT plan!! 😉 Seriously, though, it IS a great plan, so you just keep pounding on God’s door (knock and keep knocking, and it shall be opened), and I have NO doubt that He is going to open it up wide one of these days VERY soon!! After all, I do have you on my prayer “hit list” for that, so between the two of us, we’ll wear Him down … 😉

      Thanks for coming by, my friend!

      Love you!
      Julie

    • Thanks, NAOMI!! And AMEN to that about Clint … that slow, easy gait and quiet, smoldering threat wins me every time!! Thanks for “making my day” by coming by, my friend — GOOD LUCK!!

      HUGS,
      Julie

  23. Hi Julie, always great to read any post or book by you!!! Makes my day!
    Count me in the drawing for your newest book!
    Thanks!
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

  24. Since I’m not a writer I’m always amazed at how much work goes into writing a book. I think when you’re sitting there with the finished product in your hands it’s easy to come up with unrealistic ideas of authors throwing the words on the page, shipping it off to a publisher and moving on to the next project. Thanks for a look into the real writing process Julie and reminding us of all the hard work that goes into the books we love so much!

    • You are MORE than welcome, LIZ … it is interesting to see what goes into a novel. I know speaking for myself, there are a LOT of blood, sweat and tears … uh, mostly tears since I tend to be a weepy CDQ … 😉

      Good luck in the contest, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  25. Oh wow! Fabulous words of wisdom here, Jules. And a post I will print out and put on file for the ‘someday’. You are such an encourager and I love your beautiful transparency to teach others God’s truth in your life! beautiful and thank you

    • Hey, PEP, I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again — I honestly believe the “someday” is closer than you think, my friend, so I cannot WAIT to get that email!! And you’re pretty transparent yourself, girl, which is only one of the many reasons I love you! 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

  26. That was absolutely filled with more great advice than I’ve read anywhere. It oughta lift new authors spirits to see that even the top folks had to be diligent to get to the top!

    • Thanks, MEL, so very much!! I hope it lifts the spirits of aspiring authors and pubbed authors alike because we’re all in this together, working on the same team. YAY, GOD!!!

      Good luck, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • LOL, thanks Susan … I am nothing if not honest and transparent. Actually a little too, sometimes. I kinda cringe at the Proverbs 21:23, which says: He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. YIKES … I’ve blown that more than once in my life … 🙂

      Hugs, Julie

  27. Great post! I still have only read APMP but I’m borrowing books 2&3 of The Daughters of Boston from my sis and I have book 1 of Winds of Change on my Kindle and I won book 2 in a giveaway so it should be here soon! So hopefully I will getting around to them soon if my TBR pile doesn’t choke me first-lol! Thank you for the giveaway!

  28. Thanks, ABBI, and trust me — I totally understand about that TBR choke. I just finished judging 8 books for the Rita and about 5 books for endorsements, so my TBR never seems to dwindle down to the books I’ve been anxious to read. Sigh. Just not enough hours in the day!! But I’m glad you downloaded AHU — that is my absolute FAVE, and now that you’ve already read APMP (where the real surprises are), you can pretty much read them in order or out.

    Happy reading, my friend, and GOOD LUCK — maybe we can win you book 3 in the Winds of Change (the finale of the O’Connor saga), A Light in the Window or my upcoming release, Love at Any Cost!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  29. What a wonderful post. Thanks, Julie for sharing so much of your journey with us and for your transparency. As an aspiring writer, you have given me much to consider as well as a good dose of encouragement!

    • LYNDA, I am soooo very glad I could encourage you, my friend. It’s not an easy journey, but with God and a little encouragement, we can ALL go a long way!!

      Good luck with your writing AND in this contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  30. Julie, thank you for your candor in sharing your experiences. We need to all learn from you!! Love that you’re now published and continuing to give God all the glory!

    • LOL … I “love” that I’m “now published” too because I wasn’t easy to live with before, let me tell you!! 😉 And the truth is that there is NO better education (after that the Holy Spirit, that is) than the School of Hard Knocks, so I am more than glad to share all bruises and crying jags if it can help someone else to avoid them. 🙂

      Good luck and hugs,
      Julie

  31. Hmm… this post seems familiar. 🙂 Always nice to see you, Julie! Thank you for both the post and the giveaway.

    A good week to all of you.

    PS: just scrolled through the comments. Oh.my word! So many.

    • GANISE!!! It’s great to see you pop up here, my friend — missed you!! Hope things are going well with the ministry and that you have a good week too.

      GOOD LUCK!!

      HUGS,
      Julie

  32. You mentioned sending your stuff to agents. Friends of mine went through companies (that said they only accepted a handful but everyone I know got accepted) that you pay to do everything – quite costly, and with little success of getting the book ‘out’ there. How did you decide the route you took?

    • Hey, MEL … sounds like you are talking about vanity presses, which I really don’t recommend. Basically, I just wrote a book, then joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) to figure out what my next step was and WOW, what an education that organization is!! Not only can you pitch your books to editors and agents at the ACFW conference, but you can join a critique group, network, make friends, enter the contest, etc. ACFW makes it SO easy to go the traditional publisher route, so I never gave vanity press a thought.

      Hugs,
      Julie

      • I don’t suppose agents are looking for unusual cookbooks that include funny stories from the mission & pastor wife days and recipes that tell when to lick your fingers? I’ve sold 500 in a year & a half by word of mouth with 50 more ordered. Coolest cover you’ve ever seen….

    • I agree with Julie about this. Always check out any agents or publishers with preditors and editors, an online site, first, and if any agent wants you to pay them before the book is published, keep looking. Don’t sign with them.

  33. *waves hallo!*, Ms. Lessman! 🙂

    Always a happy day seeing you on a blog hop or tour! 🙂 I must confess, I’ve been falling behind lately on reading most of the blogs I adore, as I’ve been attempting to keep up with all our lovely ‘weather’ days, which brings me such emmense joy! Walking in brisk air with the temperatures below 80 degrees is heaven sent, for sure! Getting to see shorebirds and marsh rabbits round out the bliss I feel outside! Having said that, I am always happy to hear kernals of wisdom from writers who’ve gone before me, and have been such kind hearted souls to give out advice to those who are coming up after them! Its a beautiful circle of commardarie that is not oft seen in other industries! I agree with you on book + publishing festivals/events as a wicked sweet way to network as much as it is a learning moment to gleam infomation on other authors’ journeys towards publication as much as in publication! I look forward to attending these events in the future, as I found a lovely essemble available where I’ll next lay my hat! 🙂 I think everyone’s road to publication and the methods they take to deal with the onslaught that that moment evokes into their life is going to be unique and different to each person who dares to put their heart and soul into their craft. However, what I think is keen to remember is something that you said in this article of advice: never take yourself too seriously {being over obsessive about ratings, reviews, etc}, do not limit your potential solely based on outside opinions, and remember to take time out for ‘yourself’!! Caregivers and writers have a lot in common with each other: they’re selflessly dedicated to their work, and are sometimes the worst to convince that guarding one’s own health is as valid as guarding over their charge or book!

    Happy Spring!! And, Happy Heart in San Francisco Book Launch!

    I would be humbled to win, “A Light in the Window” in order to see how the paths of Marcy and Patrick became interwoven and entwined in love!

    inkand-blogaways(at)usa.net
    //Florida

    • JORIE!!! Goodness, you’ve got me drooling for spring, girl!! And I SO agree with your comment that the writing world “is a beautiful circle of commardarie that is not oft seen in other industries” — SO TRUE, especially among Christian writers because we have HIM in our midst!! And I also whole-heartedly concur with your statement that “Caregivers and writers have a lot in common with each other: they’re selflessly dedicated to their work, and are sometimes the worst to convince that guarding one’s own health is as valid as guarding over their charge or book!” Excellent observation, my friend!

      YES … my San Fran series book launch is a mere THREE WEEKS AWAY!! Hard to believe. 🙂

      Happy Spring!
      Hugs,
      Julie

  34. Hi Julie, always great to see you and hear from you on a blog! You’re the greatest and offer so much inspiration! Can’t wait to read LAAC!

    Happy Spring to you!

    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

    • Hey, JACKIE, thank you, my good friend! And I’m pretty excited for you to read Love at Any Cost, too, because it’s so different from the O’Connors, I’m anxious to see what my favorite reader friends think. 🙂

      Happy Spring to you too, you sweet thing and GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  35. Hi Julie. Love reading things you have written.. Always me some laughs. Very entertaining, in a good way. LOL Looks like my odds on winning one of your books is very thin with all of these comments. I would love to win one of your books tho. Keep up the good works. I know you are an inspiration to many. Authors and readers. GOD bless you.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    • Hey, LINDA … SO good to see you here, my friend!! Going for book #2, eh? Good girl!! You have another chance tomorrow on Seekerville, so hope to see you there!

      Good luck!

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Uh-oh, VERONICA … you just dated yourself, my friend, because only those who remember the 60s and 70s!!! But your grandmother could have told you about it, I guess … 😉

      Good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  36. Hey Julie,
    AWESOME post!! As a young writer (who is still writing her first novel) this was VERY encouraging!!!
    I never did contact you through your website but your latest book, A Love Surrendered was WONDERFUL!!!!!! I LOVED Steven and Annie I also liked how there was a rounding of your novels, how the characters acted in some ways like Collin and Faith in APMP.
    Jacinta Rose
    P.S. My mom pre-ordered Love At Any Cost. I cannot wait to read your new series!! It looks super good!!!
    P.P.S. I guess you could say I’m a drama queen too!!!!

    • JACINTA, YES!!! From one DQ to another — THANK YOU for reading my books!! And THANK YOU for getting what I hoped readers would get about ALS — that, indeed, it was a “full circle” effect that I was going for, almost mimicking Faith and Collin’s character’s with Steven and Annie, only this time Faith is the mentor who brings it full story!! You are a very SMART GIRL!!

      And WHOO-HOO, sooo glad you’re tackling a novel, my friend. My tips will definitely come in handy, as will visiting my group blog, Seekerville, on a regular basis. I am blogging tomorrow (with a giveaway), so hope to see you there.

      Good luck and happy writing!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  37. I just signed up to follow your blog. Thanks for entering me in the giveaway to win, “Love at any Cost” plus a signed copy of one of your books.

    • BLESS YOU, JANET!! YIKES … I hope it’s worth your while … 😐

      AND … I hope you enjoy Love at Any Cost!! Hard to believe it releases in just two weeks …

      Good luck in the contest, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  38. I absolutely love Julie’s books and can’t wait to read her newest one in April!! Loved the good, the bad and the ugly.

    • Oh, MARISSA, really??? YOU remember The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly??? For some reason I thought you were a youngster and maybe you are — just a VERY smart youngster!!

      Here’s to a win, my friend!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  39. I was just sitting at my desk and was so shocked that the email came saying I won !!!!!! I am so so excited…. I emailed you my mailing address at seekerville.net I cannot wait to read your books… I am doing the happy dance !
    Thank you Julie , thank you so much !

    Linda Finn
    6378 Westbury Red Creek Rd
    Red Creek, New York 13143

      • Oh and, LINDA … I forgot to tell you that I already sent your signed copy of A Love Surrendered out yesterday, so you should get it by next week, okay? YIKES … I hope you like the excerpts … 😐

        Hugs,
        Julie

    • LINDA!!! Am I reading this right — are you saying you have NEVER read one of my books before???? Uh-oh … you DO know that I write “passion with a purpose” style romance, right? Which means it’s more passionate both romantically and spiritually. I always like to “warn” new readers about that because some do not like my edgier style. Just to make sure, I strongly recommend you head on over to my website to my EXCERPTS tab, where I have posted my favorite spiritual and romantic scenes for all of my books. If you only have time to read one, I suggest the romantic scene for A Hope Undaunted — it’s my fave! Here’s the link:
      JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      HUGS,
      Julie

    • Thanks, CALLIE … most of the time I am, too … “glad,” that is. Although there are days, I will admit, that I don’t think I am cut out for this … 🙂

      Have a GREAT day and GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  40. The twists and turns of your publishing journey is almost like the plot of your novels (any connections)? j/k =) Thanks for the chance to win! Julie Lessman’s books are definitely page-turners!

  41. Would love to win and read one of her books… I have never read one yet but can’t wait after learning about her!

    • LISA!!! You are JUST the type of reader I’m looking for — FRESH BLOOD!! 😉 Whenever I run across a reader who hasn’t read my “Passion with a Purpose” style of writing, I always encourage them to check out the EXCERPTS tab of my website where I have posted my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes for each of my books. That will give you a good idea of the amount of “passion” I put in my books, which may or may not be what you are looking for. If you have time for only one excerpt, I suggest scrolling down to the romantic scene for A Hope Undaunted — it’s my fave!

      Here’s the link and good luck in the contest!

      JULIE’S EXCERPTS

      Hugs,
      Julie

  42. Thanks for a terrific insightful blog, Julie- I’m pinning it to my board of blogs that I keep to reread. I love your take on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    Please enter me in the draw for one of your books.

  43. Julie, I just want to let you know that I want to be like you when I grow up 🙂

    You’re words inspire me and I hope to be able to write a fraction as well as you. You craft beautiful words!

    And you’re such a fun person to know.

  44. Aw, JENNIFER, I’d say you pretty much made my day with that incredibly sweet comment, my friend, so THANK YOU!! And, yes, I’m a little crazy, but it’s my contention that “crazy” people ARE way more fun … at least for me! 😉

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

  45. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, Julie! I’m always ready to read an author’s “Wish I’d done it different” stories as well as the “glad I did it this way” ones. I’m bookmarking these tips for future reference!

    • Thanks, NATALIE!! I like to read other author’s tips on what worked for them and what didn’t as well, so I’m glad you found it helpful!

      Here’s to a win, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  46. Another reader not a writer here. I’ve read all of your books except ‘A Light in the Window’. I see in your most recent newsletter (which is how I ended up here!) that is is going to be only .99, so I shall add it to my Kindle soon!
    Loved hearing that we haven’t seen the last of the O’Conners!

    • Thanks, Patty!! And, yes, there are definitely more O’Connor stories in my brain and, in fact, I am itching to write Gabe’s story because I think that one will be a blast to put down on paper … and Henry’s too! 😉 At one time I even considered eventually putting those two together, before Gabe became part of the family, that is, so I guess that’s out now … 🙂

      GOOD LUCK!!
      Hugs,
      Julie

  47. Thank you so much for sharing,I would love to win! Thank you for the opportunity to enter. Your book sounds wonderfull, I can’t wait to read it. thanks again.

  48. okay I cried….how dare anyone EVER give you a bad review or feel “less of anything”…you are fearfully and wonderfully made and God gave you the gift of writing. I’m so glad you haven’t quit…don’t ever….you run the race, fight the good fight…and never ever let me get a hold of a bad reviewer!!!!! if you have to write for only one person..write for yourself…if for only one God, the one and only King of Kings…and if for only one fan…ME…..
    but the truth is you are read by thousands upon thousands…don’t stop…ever

  49. LOL, VIRGINIA … see??? This is one of the MANY, MANY reasons I love you, girl — you are JUST as passionate as I am, which is why we get along so darn well. 🙂 Thank you SO much for your anointed encouragement — it is a balm to my soul, my friend, trust me!!

    Would LOVE to see you win, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    • there is a contest? I got so tied up in what you were writing…I was on your band wagon!!!!!!! but a contest is good too…for whoever wins!!!!!

  50. Thanks for the encouragement and words of wisdom, Julie. I just joined ACFW and pray it is in God’s will for me to attend conference in the fall. I started a blog about 7 months ago and had no idea that it could become a possible platform for something more until I started reading posts by published authors such as yourself. This writing thing is hard (I get up at 4am 6 days a week to work on my novel) but when others around me suggest I put it on hold, at least while my girls are little, I stare at them in shock and say, “But, I can’t not write!”

    • Oh, SARA, joining ACFW is the BEST thing you could have done, my friend, so good for you!! And I am saying one RIGHT NOW that it is God’s will for you to go, too, so I can give you a hug in person. You are going to LOVE the conference — a great place to network and pitch to editors and agents and learn, learn, learn PLUS meet lots of new writer friends. When you do go, I strongly recommend you check out my “Conference CPR” blog because I wish someone had clued me in before I went to my first conference. Here’s the link because I believing that you will be going!!

      CONFERENCE CPR

      Can’t wait to give you a hug in Indy, girl!! 🙂 And, NO, you cannot NOT write if that’s what God’s called you to do!! 😉

      Hugs,
      Julie

  51. Hello Julie girl. Always like these articles of yours. Remember I told you how all of these authors admire you? See this list? I was right! Well, I can’t even count how many Authors are here with their comments. It’s going to be hard to get my name drawn with so many competing for your book. BUT, will keep trying. Take care my friend. Maxie

    • MAXIE!!! Yes, you did say that, and I remember how much it blessed me at the time, my friend! Don’t despair — if you don’t win here, you have two more chances, one at Seekerville until Friday, then one at Relz Reviewz until next week, so be sure to check out my website calendar, okay?

      GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  52. What an incredible article! I am an avid reader and have really enjoyed seeing the ‘human side’–a personal glimpse–of my favorite authors (such as you!) on blogs, Facebook, etc. Thank you for all of the insight. Very well written, engaging and chock-full of information. Looking forward to your next book!

    • MELISSA, thank you SO much, my friend, for your kind words AND for taking the time to come by! Hey, we gotta share our experiences, right? I mean that’s one of things being a Christian is all about — hopefully helping people to not make the same mistakes we did. 🙂

      Good luck in the contest — I hope you enjoy Love at Any Cost. It’s a lot lighter and funnier than my previous books, so I’m anxious to hear what you think. 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Hey, TAMMY, you are MORE than welcome, my friend. I wish I knew half this stuff before I was published because I might not have cried so many tears. 🙂

      Here’s to a win AND to your writing journey — may it bless the socks off of you!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  53. Thanks for your honesty! What a great reminder to never give up. I loved the part of how you received the email and thought it was a joke, it sounds like me!

    • LOL … yep, really happened and, in fact, Natasha joked about it on an agent panel at ACFW one year. 🙂 So I’m living proof that 46 rejections and a booby prize for the most rejections is NO reason to give up!! 🙂

      So, hang in there girl, and good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  54. I must say the way you describe having your work published is a bit daunting but also encouraging. To read what it was like for you, someone I feel has a wonderful grasp on writing and could never write a bad story in her life helps me feel more confident in trying my hand at it. Anything worth having is well worth the troubles that come. And Please don’t stop writing!! I love all your works and can’t wait for more!

  55. You know, Julie, it’s a good thing people didn’t take your first line in this post seriously….close your eyes? We would have missed out on all of the great things you had to say. I learned a lot from this. Thank you for sharing and God bless. (love that picture, by the way)
    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

    • LOL, DEBBIE, I never thought of that!! 😉 I’m so glad my heartaches and successes can be a benefit to you because I earned my degree the hard way in the School of Hard Knocks and I’d rather share the wealth than keep it to myself. And isn’t that picture cool??? My artist hubby did that for me. He is a REAL gem!!

      Good luck, girl, and hugs,
      Julie

      P.S. You do a STELLAR job for MaryLu and I smile every time I see one of your promos for her. 🙂

    • Good for you, MARIE!!! But you know what?? There are a lot of cool opportunities and networking available if you join now — crit groups, paid critiques, writers loops, you name it, so don’t think it’s all about going to the annual conference, because it’s not, although that is nice. I didn’t join till I was in my 50s after I wrote my first book — AFTER my kids were grown and gone. BUT … God will show you the timing, my friend, and you may be surprised by it. 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Aw, thanks, MANDY — I really appreciate your kind words and support. Most days I’m glad I kept writing too, although there are some … 🙂

      Here’s to a win, my friend, and GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

    • Hey, MEL, thank you for taking the time to reread them. I am nothing if not honest to a fault, so if my mistakes can help anybody else be a better writer or their publication journey a little easier, I say WHY NOT?? 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

  56. I have to say how impressed I am by your thoughtfulness! All of your replies to the numerous comments are personal and encouraging. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting you, but we all have our ups and downs–thank you for being vulnerable and sharing yours! I have read your two trilogies (and loved them!) so far, and look forward to your newest book. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy and may God (continually) bless you!

    • Aw, KAREN, thank you SO much for your kind words and encouragement!! I appreciate you reading my books and taking the time to come by to comment today. 🙂

      Also, I see that you are a subscriber to my newsletter, so thank you for that too. And just FYI, if you have never posted a review for any of my books, I encourage you to enter my latest contest just published in last week’s newsletter, which you should have gotten already. The winner who posts the most reviews for Love at Any Cost will have a character named after them in my next book, plus win a copy of that book and a $50 gift card to Amazon. Those who have posted reviews for my books in my prior contests can only post reviews for Love at Any Cost, but those who have NEVER posted a review for my books may do so for each of my books wherever they can, thus earning a distinct advantage over those who’ve entered before. The reviews don’t have to be long or detailed and can even be the same generic review for each book, so give it some consideration, okay? But ONLY if posting reviews is your thing! If not, no worries — I am just THRILLED that you read my books in the first place!

      Hugs and good luck in this contest!!
      Julie

  57. Julie, you give me a sense of hope when it comes to getting published! Thanks for all of the help to fans and writers. I can not wait for the next book!

  58. DEANN, I am SO glad I can inspire hope in you because this is not an easy busy to be in and only the strong (or in my case, the “too stupid to know better”) survive!! Seriously, we are all writers for Christ, so we need to give a hand wherever we can, so I am THRILLED to do so!! Don’t give up — He has a plan for you and your writing!!

    Hugs and happy writing!
    Julie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s