Wednesday, August 12, 2009


With a heated look, he held her face in his hands and took his time with slow, deliberate kisses. Her forehead. Her cheek. The curve of her chin. The breath in her throat refused to comply, dispelling in hoarse, jagged breaths.

"I love you, Charity,” he whispered. “I was a fool.”

She closed her eyes, feeling the warmth of his lips on her lids. They moved to the soft lobe of her ear, and heat shivered through her. A faint moan escaped her, and he captured it with his mouth, caressing her lips with his own until the heat began to build …— A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

Sigh. Forgive me, please, but as a romance reader and writer, I ask you—is there anything better than a kiss? My heart always stills when I see one on the big screen, and my breath quickens when I read about one in a book—that intimate gesture when lips meet to express mutual affection.

Of course, the wonder of kisses doesn’t just stop there. All of us in our writing and our lives encounter a wide range of kisses every day—from the butterfly kiss of feathering eyelashes against a child’s cheek, to the ear kiss I give my daughter when I hug her so tightly, our ears catch and spring back. And what could be more compassionate than the ever-popular air kiss meant to spare daughter or husband the ravages of lipstick? With barely a touch, it’s nose to nose or cheek to cheek while puckering your lips in a soft pop. I mean honestly, are kisses not the coolest thing?

Oh my, yes. That is … all except one.

Yep, I’m talking about the dreaded “Kiss of Death.” You know, that sinking feeling you get inside when an editor says, “I like your voice, but …” Or you open the mailbox and that #10 self-addressed stamped envelope steals your air? Or even the black spots that float before your eyes when you scan contest finalists and realize your name is nowhere to be found? Ouch … those kinds of kisses? Uh, yeah … definitely not cool.

So what’s my point? (And, yes, I do have one.) We’ve all done things on the road to publication that have been the KOD (“kiss of death”) for each of us. Like the time I pitched a novel about a Catholic family to a publisher where Catholicism (or any specified religion) was taboo. Moral of story? Know your publisher before you pitch—a definite KOD that sucked the wind from my sails. (Seeker blog entitled “Buckle Up … It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride,” about the steps I took on the road to publication.

What are other KODs I’ve encountered on the road to being published? Well, I learned most of mine in writing contests where one judge actually stated that some of the KODs I listed below indicated the mark of an “amateur.” Translation? It’s the kiss of death, not only in a contest, but with an editor. So, here’s the top five I learned the hard way. Let’s hope you won’t have to!

1.) Avoid “ly” Adverbs and Lame Verbs. When a judge or an editor sees too many “ly” adverbs, you’re dead in the water. Some are okay, but STRONG VERBS are always better—sharper, cleaner, clearer. My #1 writing tool is The Synonym Finder by J.A. Rodale, a godsend in providing strong verbs. Here’s an example from A Passion Redeemed that I altered to show you how you can enhance the mood of a scene with strong verbs that reflect the emotion you’re going for:

Version With “ly” and Tame Verbs:
He turned around and angrily made his way through the crowd, upsetting customers on his way out. Outside, the bitter cold hit him, filled with the smells of burning peat and the slight whiff of horses. He could hear the faint sound of laughter and singing coming from the various pubs along the cobblestone road. His anger grew.

Version With Strong Verbs:
He wheeled around and bludgeoned his way through the crowd, riling customers on his way out. Outside, the bitter cold assailed him, tinged with the smells of burning peat and the slight whiff of horses. He could hear the faint sound of laughter and singing drifting from the various pubs tucked along the cobblestone road. His anger swelled.

2.) Head-Hopping and Multiple POV: Wonderful mega authors like Nicholas Sparks may be able to get away with this, but trust me, as aspiring or new authors, we never will, so best to nip it in the bud now … or at least learn how to do it in the least offensive way. I devoted an entire Seeker blog to this called “Confessions of a POV Queen,” where I’ve listed things I’ve learned about multiple POVs.

3.) Search and Destroy “Crutch” Words: In A Passion Most Pure, a friend who read the manuscript saw the word “malaise” so much, I swore she was going to fine me. And in A Passion Redeemed, I used the word “prostrate” so many times, I thought my husband was going to visit a urologist. Every writer has a crutch word in each book that pops up over and over, unbeknownst to them. Hear me on this—search and destroy these KODs by replacing them with a substitute word from your trusty Thesaurus. If left unchecked, they will irritate your reader, and as we all know … that’s a definite “kiss of death.”

4.) Avoid Repeat Words in a Short Span: This is a bit different from above in that this refers to repeat words within the same paragraph or the same page, which will catch your reader’s eye and draw them away from your story. If at all possible, I try not to use the same word in the same paragraph more than once, and even on the same page. This gets difficult in a kissing scene where I’ve been known to use the word “kiss” WAY too many times. Consequently, I work at ridding my copy of repeat words as much as possible, which I did in this scene from my current WIP:

Here’s the Paragraph with Too Many Kisses:
He kissed her, his love for this woman so deep, every fiber of his being ached. “Charity, you possess me body and soul …” His voice was a heated rasp as his kisses trailed her throat. “And God help me, I need you …” He kissed her again deeply, desperate to love her.

Same Paragraph With Most “Kisses” Edited Out:
He silenced her mouth with his own, his love for this woman so deep, every fiber of his being ached. “Charity, you possess me body and soul …” His voice was a heated rasp as his lips trailed her throat. “And God help me, I need you …” He kissed her deeply, desperate to love her.

5.) Show, Not Tell: For me, this is the cardinal rule for writing and one I catch myself lapsing in from time to time because it’s so much easier to say what we want readers to see rather than showing it. But to create an emotional image in my mind, much less a reader’s, I find I have to paint a picture with expressions, actions, sensory reactions. Here’s an example of a scene from my current WIP, A Hope Undaunted, Katie O’Connor’s story, where I altered the first version to show “telling.” The second version is my original where I tried to “show” rather than tell how the characters were feeling through their actions.

“Telling” Version:
Katie was nervous, ashamed at the hurt she had caused. “I said some things that were really unkind and … provoked you, I know.” Her gaze diverted to the window, unable to bear the coolness of his manner. “But you took me by surprise, you see, and I reacted badly. Both in my words and in my … well, my response to your—”
He stood, obviously angry. “Katie, it’s over and done with. We’ve both apologized, so let it go. It’s time to go home.”
She was determined to have her say. “No, it’s not over and done with, Luke. You treat me like a leper around here.”
“What do you want from me, Katie?” He was clearly frustrated.
“I want you to talk to me and not through me, I want you to joke with me like you joke with the others, and I want you to treat me like you treat Parker and Betty—as a friend.”
“No,” he said, as if determined to shut her out.
“No?” She was shocked. “I can’t be a friend?”
“That’s right.” His look was as hard as the anger in his tone.
“But, why?”
His anger finally erupted. “Because it’s no good. Too much butting heads, too much bad history …” His anger faded into regret. “Too much chemistry.”

“Showing” Version:
Katie drew in a shaky breath and clasped her hands in her lap. “I said some things that were really unkind and … provoked you, I know.” Her gaze diverted to the window, unable to bear the coolness of his manner. “But you took me by surprise, you see, and I reacted badly. Both in my words and in my … well, my response to your—”
He shot to his feet. “Katie, it’s over and done with. We’ve both apologized, so let it go. It’s time to go home.”
She rose and leaned forward, palms pressed to the top of his desk. “No, it’s not over and done with, Luke. You treat me like a leper around here.”
He cuffed the back of his neck and exhaled. “What do you want from me, Katie?”
“I want you to talk to me and not through me, I want you to joke with me like you joke with the others, and I want you to treat me like you treat Parker and Betty—as a friend.”
He slacked a hip and crossed his arms. “No.”
“No?” She straightened, disbelief raising her brows. “I can’t be a friend?”
“That’s right.” He shifted, and a muscle twittered along the hard line of his jaw.
“But, why?”
He leaned palms on the desk like she’d done, rolled sleeves revealing two muscled arms corded with strain. “Because it’s no good. Too much butting heads, too much bad history …” He rose to his full height and sucked in a deep breath, releasing it slowly. His eyes burned into hers as his voice lowered to a whisper. “Too much chemistry."

Okay, there you have it—five of my top writing KODs—simple, basic and deadly if you don’t learn how to avoid them. As authors, aspiring or otherwise, these are just a few of the many things that can sap the strength of our writing, but as Inspirational authors, there are countless things that can poison the strength of our witness. Following are the most lethal KODs I’ve encountered on my writing journey, and I would be remiss if I didn’t include them in this blog because they are a deadly trio … for Christian or secular authors alike.

1.) Jealousy: Comparing, measuring, begrudging will not only weaken the effect of your writing for God, but diminish the power of God’s blessings in your career. Key Scripture? Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Slay the dragon of jealousy because heaven knows we need God to hear ALL of the prayers that we send His way. This is how I deal with it in my blog entitled “Oh, For the Love of God …”

2.) Self-Pity: This is one of those insidious sins that slithers in and takes you by surprise, but be warned—self-pity is an Achilles’ heel that will staunch the flow of God’s blessings quicker than a beaver logjam on an uphill creek. Here’s how I dealt with my self-pity and jealousy over an award-winning debut author in my Seeker blog entitled “Oh, For the Love of God … Part 2.

3.) Discouragement: For aspiring writers everywhere … and trust me, published ones too … this is one of the most toxic KODs in the spiritual realm, rooted in fear, worry and despair. The best antidote? HOPE … from God’s Word! Here’s how I battle discouragement, fear and worry every day of my life, a method I’ve highlighted on my website at Check it out, and you will find a listing of hope and healing Scriptures, as well as a section of Scriptures/prayers specifically for writers.

Now it’s your turn—what are some of the KODs in your life, how you’ve handled them and what you’ve learned? Because the writing biz is tough, and we need all the help we can get, so give it a shot, and let’s learn from each other. And remember, the next time those KODs come calling, go ahead and pucker up … then kiss them good-bye!


Jessica said...

Awesome post! I loved your excerpt with Charity! Wooooo! *happy shiver*

KOD's, hmmm, I think mine are similar to your lists. Showing, not telling. Discouragement. That kind of stuff.

Thanks for the uplifting post Julie!

Tina M. Russo said...

Jessica!!! You made coffee! Well done.

Jules, what a kiss!!! Sigh worthy is right.

Your post was awesome. I would add self sabotage to your list.

Pepper Basham said...

Woohoo! What a way to start the morning :-) "Give me a kiss to build a day on" :-)

As always your information is educational and fun. I've learned so much and now have to go back and revise my 6th chapter (that I've already revised at least 6 times)

Most of hte time I catch the words I use and reuse, my problem is coming up with just the right word - a stronger verb AND (gasp) I have a particular fondness for 'ly'

Not only is my novel a WIP, so am I

Sarah Forgrave said...

Hi Julie! What a wonderful post! Your sparkling words were one of the first things I noticed in your books. I'll have to check out Synonym Finder...sounds like a great tool!

P.S., I just got A Passion Denied in the mail yesterday and can't wait to read it!

Julie Lessman said...

Good morning, everyone! This morning we have fresh peach pecan French Toast with just a "kiss" of almond extract and warm maple syrup from Ruthy's home state -- to "die" for! Not to mention my favorite ... hazelnut cinnamon coffee. Oooo, I see calories coming ... thank God they're cyber-calories, eh?

JESSICA ... I don't know about you, but I dearly love starting the day with a kiss, whether it be a kiss I read about in a book (currently Mary Connealy's Montana Rose ... yum!) or a kiss of hazelnut in my coffee ... or especially that groggy, half-blind kiss Keith and I share as we pass each other in the kitchen.

I think these five KODs are pretty basic, but it's shocking how often I still overlook them, so I do try to use them as a basic measure whenever I write/revise.


Julie Lessman said...

TINA ... "self sabotage" ... for we dense types, can you elaborate on that for us? I suspect there are SO many ways to self sabotage one's self, so give us a few, will ya?


Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER ... thank you, sweetie! Grin ... we're ALL WIPs for sure, girlfriend, so great analogy! And it's amazing how those "ly" words creep in, isn't it? But that's what the revision process is for, right?


Glynna Kaye said...

Excellent before and after examples, Julie! And the KOD list is a good "heads up" to be prayerfully on your guard.

Julie Lessman said...

SARAH!!!! So thrilled you stopped by, my friend -- thank you! And, thank you, too, for your kind words about my "words"! I suspect any thesaurus would do, but I am partial to The Synonym Finder for sure. I'm on my 2nd copy, as a matter of fact as the spine broke on the first. :)

And I hope you enjoy Denied -- thank you for reading it!


Julie Lessman said...

GLYNNA ... thanks, sweetie. I actually had a lot of fun "dumbing down" my copy because it showed me how bad it probably was BEFORE my original revisions and how much of the REAL writing is in the editing process!! :)


Janet Dean said...

Great post, Julie! I know to show not tell, to avoid -ly words and weak verbs--all the things you mention, but knowing doesn't always translate into doing. But I refuse to be discouraged. :-)

Thanks for the reminder! And the yummy French toast.


Pepper Basham said...

What do you guys do to help develop those 'strong' verb skills and those deliciously (oops, ly) descriptive details? Do you swell your vocabulary? Read lots of classics or other authors?

I've learned a lot from reading other authors, but is there more I can do?

Julie Lessman said...

I hear you, JANET. Which is why it does not hurt to drill these seemingly obvious KODs into our brain. I work really hard at it, as I know you do, but nobody's perfect, eh? Especially me, as one blog reviewer so carefully pointed out in her review of A Passion Denied. She liked the book, but felt the author resorted to "telling" rather than "showing" towards the end of the novel. Sigh.


Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER, all it took for me was one contest judge stating that "ly" adverbs were the mark of an amateur, and I went on a search and destroy mission that would make your head spin.

Since then, I have used the trigger of the "ly" word as a check to develop the habit of strong verbs (of course, it helps that I am a drama queen). Originally it was part of my revision process (the trigger of the "ly" adverb, that is), but now it's pure habit to go for the strong verb. And trust me, my Synonym Finder rests open at ALL times, just inches from my elbow as I write.

Honestly, once you get into the habit of searching for strong verbs in a thesaurus, you will be shocked at just how quickly your vocabulary automatically swells!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Julie, you got my heart pumping this morning with those kissing scenes! LOL

I need to go right now and re-read your article on discouragement. I'm feeling so discouraged lately, for a couple of reasons, including the fact that I'm waiting to hear from an editor. I hate waiting. It starts to weigh on me after a while--a little while--a very little while, to be honest.

One Kiss of Death that I hate to even mention is writing in an unpopular genre or setting, one that nobody wants. That's been my Kiss of Death more often than anything else. And there's absolutely nothing you can do to fix that, unless you take your story and put it in another setting, and I haven't felt that was the right thing for the story.

I've had to work on the envy thing and the self-pity thing. I truly am happy for people who get contracts, but sometimes, depending on the situation and whether I've recently been rejected by the publisher they've just gotten a contract with (!) it is a little hard.

And self-pity is such an ugly thing, but it's one of my many weaknesses. I've gotten much better with that, too. I think that's why God gave me my husband and my writing--to purge me of these things!!! LACATST (Laughing and crying at the same time!)

Naw, just kidding. I'm not really laughing and crying at the same time. I'm sitting here wondering what Ruthy is going to say about me.

Julie Lessman said...

Ah, MELANIE, you're coming through loud and clear this morning, my friend. Waiting on an editor is incredibly hard, as I am experiencing right now myself ... and not in a good way! I have to tell myself, "Yes, Julie, this is a HUGE problem you have here, but at least you HAVE the opportunity to have a problem on a book rather than never having the opportunity at all.

Same with you, sweetie. Thank God you HAVE the opportunity to wait on an editor who REQUESTED your novel -- that's huge when many writers have never gotten a request at all. There's always a bright side to focus on, I suppose, although you and I may not see a lot of sun this morning. Which is why God says in His Word -- think on whatever is true, noble, right, etc. (Phil. 4:6-8).

I've read your work, Mel, and seldom have I been surer that someone would be published than I am with you, sweetie. It's coming ...

And as far as self pity? Cold chills ... this is my greatest nemesis too. Dear Lord, it's a killer, isn't it?


Amy Deardon said...

Julie, great tips! Thanks for a good reminder and the encouragement.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Julie. You're sweet. :-)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

SWEEEEET! a sneak peak into katie's story! I was so excited...had to call mom and tell her to read the post, too. :)

and excellent advice! i've learned the hard way about some of the KODs and am still learning about others. i think one KOD i've seen is when an author uses the characters' names too often in dialogue with one another. in reality, you would infrequently say the person's name you're talking to, unless you're trying to get their attention or something. it's like praying to God and calling out his name every 4-5 God forgot his name? :) you know what i'm talking about...

all for now....great post!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I LOVE that I scare Melanie.

I love that Tina found Jess's coffee because it seems to be MIA.

But Jules brought some, with hazelnut, don't ya' know, and I'm totally IN with that. Or jiggy with it. Or something.

And I love this post not only for the obvious kissing stuff (you women are sooooooooooo predictable, a little kissy-kissy frou frou and you're all sighing...)
but because she got down and dirty with honest, good advice.

And I LOVE the second half because no matter if you're published, contracted, or aspiring, wretched feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt don't come from God.

Unless of course he thinks we need a kick in the butt or a slap upside the head, in which case he's a no-holds-barred kind of guy. Oh, that God!!!!!


But Tina's self-sabotage is right up there. It's not easy to recognize, but we do it when we resist things that push us to change that might help us, improve us, strengthen us, etc. Most of us are guilty of it because change is scary. Intimidating. And for some unpubs, the FEAR of actually being contracted, published, the unknown, the heightened expectations can totally trap someone in their grip.

Don't we all know someone who blew a contract or didn't finish a book/series, never followed through on requests for fulls or partials, sabotging their future by not following through?

It goes right along with self-doubt. Strong. Inclusive. Hard to handle and conquer alone, but we're not alone. Ever.

And I'm loving the French toast with NY maple syrup and pecans.

Oh my.

Straight to my hips.

But so worth it.

Anybody got an extra length of elastic???


Julie Lessman said...

AMY ... Thanks for stopping by! We ALL need reminding and encouragement, don't we though ... uh, NONSTOP!!

MELANIE ... Trust me, I'm more honest than sweet, my friend ...

JEANNIE!!!! Oh, girl, you nailed me!! That would be my SIXTH KOD, for sure. In fact, both my crit partner and my copy editor are constantly after me to cut the repetitive use of a person's name in my manuscripts, saying, Julie, nobody says somebody's name all the time like that."

The problem is, that I do ... ALL THE TIME ... in conversations day in and day out, even with my husband. I think it's because it means so much to me when a person says my name in a conversation -- it's almost like a caress. But you're right ... in writing, it's also a major KOD! Good job.


Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY!! So that's what "self-sabotage" is!! Ouch, your comment hits a little too close to home ... as usual. :)

And you said, "Unless of course he (God) thinks we need a kick in the butt or a slap upside the head, in which case he's a no-holds-barred kind of guy. Oh, that God!!!!!"

Don't remind me, please ...


Mary Connealy said...

Wow, This took forever to read. The cold shower I needed halfway through really slowed me down.

Great post, Julie.

KODs, huh?

Telling is a huge one for me. It's just so much EASIER. So that's something I have to fight.
I finally know what POV is. Took me a LONG TIME to get it right.
I don't mind it while reading but I notice and it takes me out of the story. I don't write it myself.

You're right that these basic mistakes, LY over use, POV errors, telling, let me add a person favorite, BACKSTORY DUMPS, do mark you as a amateur to an editor who wants so much to find a great book but has limited time, little hope and is looking for a reason to NOT read all three chapters of your submission to save time...once they're sure you're not ready to be published.

Don't give them an excuse to quit reading.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY SAID: "Don't give them an excuse to quit reading."

Amen to that, sister!

And "backstory dump" ... ooo, good one! That and flashbacks ... not real good in the first part of the story, I'm told, although I did one in A Passion Most Pure. :)

And uh ... sorry about the shower, Mare, but you needed one anyway, right?


Lynette said...

Julie! Love, love, love this post. I love the fact that you have real passion and a REAL kiss in CBA...ha.

I've been meaning to get this book and just haven't had a chance yet. I'll be at our local christian bookstore tomorrow so will definitely look for it.

Thanks for the reminder on all of those great writing tips. Going to look through my WIP and see how I can beef it up with stronger verbs. :)


Tina M. Russo said...

No of course I cannot give you a few ideas re self sabotage..I might incriminate myself.

But I did do a seeker post on it..

Tina M. Russo said...

ooh Pepper, that's Louis Armstrong. Very nice.

Pepper Basham said...

Give me Jazz or give me death :-)

I'm working on a series where the title of each book is a jazz piece...sigh. Frankie, Louis, Dean, and recently Michael Buble...sigh.

Julie's description of kisses and jazz in the background...I'm getting tingles. ;-)

Pepper Basham said...

Daggone it! I used 'sigh' twice within two sentences. Argh

lynnrush said...

Wow. Great post. So very helpful. I love the examples, they help bring the point home! Thanks.

Ann said...

THank you so much for the good examples!

And the coffee hits the spot.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

LOVE THE PIC! And the post.

My KOD is that I can't seem to end a book as well as I start one. LOL!

Need to learn to write every chapter is if it were my first chapter. LOL!


Jill said...

Great advice. And I just melted at that opening scene in your post today. I've been struggling to remove some of those KOD's from my writing as well.

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Great post! I’ve already used one of the KODs in my WIP.

I think you are so good with kisses because in your subgenre it all ends with a kiss. But a ‘kiss is still just a kiss’ and one should not confuse the appetizer with the main course. :)

BTW, I am finding KODs in published books, too. I just read one such book that I won’t review because I like the author.

This book starts with too many named characters (KOD#1) to keep track of. Then in the middle of the action (which served as a great opening hook) it has several backstory dumps (KOD#2) to make up for not knowing who the characters are (this slowed down the action in the middle of the action [KOD#3]).

Finally, it makes a scene transition from dialogue between two characters in one scene to dialogue between two different characters in the next scene. (KOD#4) Why would a reader assume it’s not the same two people talking when you go from quotation marks to quotation marks? I had to reread this passage several times.

Bottom line: I think authors should still look for KODs even after the book has been accepted for publication.

Also, beware of the Synonym Finder! Another sign of an amateur is using a ‘synonym’ from the list that is not synonymous in the context of the given substitution. It is very obvious when this happens.

Now, about ‘self-pity’. I like the term ‘compassionate self-empathy’. It is said that in order to truly love another we must first love our self. Isn’t it the same with empathy? If it wasn’t for ‘self-pity’, some of us wouldn’t get any pity at all!

Aka, Devil’s Advocate

Keli Gwyn said...

Julie, I learned one KOD at the last conference I attended while seated next to an agent to whom I'd submitted a story two years before. At that point, I was a florescent green newbie, which my submission proved. I have the impersonal photocopied rejection letter to prove it.

I'd since revised the manuscript, which finaled in the GH last year. When this fact came up in my talk with the agent, she asked for my elevator pitch. I gave it, and she leaned over, read my name tag and and said, "I rejected you, didn't I?"

I struggled not to rest my chin in my lap and managed to squeak, "You remembered?" Her reply tattooed itself on this writer's soul. "We don't forget."

Thankfully, God gave me the opportunity to redeem myself in person, but the lesson I learned that day stuck: don't submit before your manuscript is a sparkling gem free of glaring imperfections. Sending too soon is a KOD.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, my.

Vince, you rascal.

"The Main Course."


Lovely metaphors, my friend!


So, what does that make dessert????

Might not want to answer that here, I suppose, but it's got my imagination running overtime on top of all Julie's kissin' stuff.

Hey, fresh cold tea for the afternoon session. And cupcakes with swirly frosting and sprinkles.

If desired.

And yet another provocative word. I blame Julie for this PM bent in the conversation.

When all else fails, blame Julie. Or Mary.


Pepper Basham said...

Anybody else feeling warm today? ;-) (to quote Julie, it has nothing to do 'with the cassock' :-)Getting a bit steamy in the Seekers realm.

All we need to add is chocolate and we'll have the perfect day.

Tina Pinson said...

wonderful post as usual, Julie, I can so relate to the list of things not to do. Beautiful kiss scene, good visuals. I have a scene I'd like someone to read for me and comment on. (Any takers)

Self pity would be one of my foibles. Another that falls in the self sabotage arena would be setting up with an editor to send a proposal and getting the hebe jebe's that they're going to learn I'm no where near and writer and not sending it so I won't have to hear the rejection.

Forgive me if I should share this another time, But inspite all the the things I've put myself through and the sabotage. I do have some good news to share with all you wonderful people who have listened to my rants and such. After so many Kisses that Left me cold and near dead . . .

Two of my books have been accepted with Desert Breeze Publishers. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched by Mercy will be available on line next year and in 2011. The house is also trying to set up for print books as well.

I could use your continued prayers to get my packages together.

Pepper Basham said...

Yipee, let me be the first to congratulate you, Tina.

Diana said...

Great post Julie!

Mary Connealy said...

Those of us with broad shoulders are here to be blamed.

It's the least I can do, Ruthy.

I need some red lipstick. Though it doesn't really go with my overalls.


Tina M. Russo said...

Sorry to be off topic here but Pepper have you been to a Michael Buble concert? OMG he is great. Go to youtube and google his videos too. Love him! One of Canada's greatest exports.

A. A. Stone said...

Julie--I love the way you combine great writing tips with great incentives to pursue God more.

I'm feeling a little self-pity right now. We don't have running water at the moment! AHHH!!!

Okay, most the time I can't catch my pity party until it blows out as resentment toward someone else (like the person who didn't know there were TWO meters on this land that had to be paid for). UH-OH. Gotta humble myself. I do stupid things too.

Great peeks into your stories! I love revisiting old fires!! :)

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Julie, my brilliant friend, you have so many comments the computer will freeze up! Lol. Those were great tips and I plan on reading the other links in your posts. I'm like you, a kiss is almost everything in itself. Thank you for sharing your expertise. Happy writing and I'm anxiously waiting for whatever book your fast little fingers can type out.{{Hugs}}

Mary said...

Wonderful post Julie. I can't wait to check out the scriptures on your website.

Julie Lessman said...


LYNETTE ... Gosh, thanks SO much for the compliment AND especially for going out to buy the book -- that's the highest compliment, and trust me, I sure could use a few more of those! :)

TEEEENNNNAAA!!! Your blogs always make me laugh (like Mary's books!), and yes, I remember that blog well. :)

PEPPER ... you're working on a series where the title of each book is a jazz piece? Ooooo ... I wanna hear the titles, please? Bodie Thoene did something similar with her WWII series where each book is named after a musical movement (Vienna Prelude, Paris Encore, etc.).

LYNNRUSH ... thanks so much for your kind comment. So glad it was helpful!


Pepper Basham said...

I'm fighting jealousy, right now!! I've just finished reading the links you posted on this entry and now (deep breath) I'm much further behind in the wonderful world of mesmerizing word-weaving than I want to be :-)

Who is up for some Chicken-and -Dumplings? It's on the table at my house in 30 minutes

As for my titles (so far)
It Had to Be You
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
Easy to Love
I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You

Julie Lessman said...

ANN ... Thanks for dropping by, and the coffee does hit the spot, doesn't it? I'm STILL sipping my hazelnut coffee from this morning. Thank God for microwaves to heat it up over and over ...

Uh, CHERYL, hate to differ with you, girl, but you have no KOD when it comes to starting or ending a book. You got it down cold, my friend, and that's all there is to it.

JILL, thanks for the sweet compliment on the kiss ... I'm in to kisses that melt me, can you tell? Blame it on Gone With the Wind, which, by the way, I was going to use as my opening kiss for this blog, but I worried about borrowing it without getting permission. And, honey, we ALL struggle with those KODs, which is why I keep them front and center at all times.

Hey, VINCE, so good to see you, my friend! You said "BTW, I am finding KODs in published books, too," which is no surprise because nobody's perfect. In fact, I couldn't use a couple of my own scenes as examples because ... ahem, they had some KODs in them. Sigh. I can preach it, but I can't always follow it ...

You also said, "Also, beware of the Synonym Finder!" Absolutely! Nothing grates worse than a wrong word. I just read a book where the author had the hero "sashaying." Uh, no ... not unless he's not partial to girls.


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KELI -- I feel your pain, my friend. What an awful story!!! But what a valuable lesson ... I'd say that's a definite KOD. Thanks for sharing.

RUTHY ... don't blame me for your wayward thinking, girl. I may write the stuff, but we all know where the heat is coming from up north, you vixen, you.

Oooo, PEPPER, you and Ruthy!! And I'm always "warm." It's called menopause.

TINA!!!! Super congrats, my friend, on your contract with Desert Breeze for not just one book, but two -- good for you!! Am saying one RIGHT NOW that for God's abundant blessings on your writing career.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KELI -- I feel your pain, my friend. What an awful story!!! But what a valuable lesson ... I'd say that's a definite KOD. Thanks for sharing.

RUTHY ... don't blame me for your wayward thinking, girl. I may write the stuff, but we all know where the heat is coming from up north, you vixen, you.

Oooo, PEPPER, you and Ruthy!! And I'm always "warm." It's called menopause.

TINA!!!! Super congrats, my friend, on your contract with Desert Breeze for not just one book, but two -- good for you!! Am saying one RIGHT NOW that for God's abundant blessings on your writing career.

Hope Chastain said...

Fabulous blog today! I love the follow-up posts, too!

I think one of my KODs is overuse of exclamation points... I try to edit them out of mss. (Cheryl Wyatt pointed them out to me, bless her! Thanks, Cheryl! Oops. I mean, thanks, Cheryl.)

I tweeted a link to "The Kiss of Death" because I wanted to share it with everyone. I just did a critique for a writing friend on one of her chapters last night. One thing in it that Cheryl also suggested was eliminating linked independent clauses. [E.g. "Jennifer knew she needed to go to the store, and she wanted to buy some new shoes." Substitute: "Jennifer knew she needed to go to the store. She wanted to buy some new shoes." Really lame examples, but the best I can come up with on short notice.]

Just want to add that I'm so thankful we can all help each other along in our quest for publication. So many wonderful writers have helped me. I hope I can continue to do the same. Thanks for a marvelous post, Julie! And that excerpt---! Wow!

Oh, and here--- Hope tosses cyberchocolate kisses to everyone...

Julie Lessman said...

DIANA!!! So great to see you here, my friend -- thanks for stopping by.

MARE ... oooo, red lipstick and overalls ... go for it! That good-looking husband of yours won't know what hit him ...

AYRIAN ... Thanks so much for your sweet comments, my friend. And I am SO sorry you don't have running water -- not fun, I know. Especially when you can't indulge in "poor me," eh?


Julie Lessman said...

HOPE said: "I think one of my KODs is overuse of exclamation points..."

Uh, don't even go there, girl!!!! I drove my first crit partner (God bless Kelly Mortimer!!) absolutely CRAZEEEE with exclamation points. I can't help it, I'm just an excitable type of gal. But you are SOOOO right, Hope. I literally have to make one pass through my ms. dedicated primarily to exclamation points because it is one of my worst habits!

Thanks SO much for Tweeting "Kiss of Death," and thanks SOOO much for the cyberchocolates!!!! :)


Nora said...

Hey Julie;

I'm so glad I stopped by it was like talking to you in person. I LOVED how you explained all that. WOW!! I'm going to have to read that a few more time. There was so much in there.

All the best to you my friend.


Nora St.Laurent :D
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Julie Lessman said...

NORA!!!! Gosh, it's so good to see you here, my friend -- thanks for stopping by! I just wish we could do another dinner in person and really chat!


A. A. Stone said...

Hey, Pepper, Thanks for the title sharing. I love the lush romance descriptions in "It had to be You" by Linda Windsor. Reminds me of Julie! Denise Hunter who wrote "The Convenient Groom" is another one who loves to take pages for detailed emotional/romantic interaction. Love it! It is a challenge to write that way, isn't it? Especially to be original. But SO much fun!

Any other "edgy Christian romance" novels out there?

A. A. Stone said...

Pepper--I'm so embarrassed! YOU have a manuscript "It had to be You". I'm SO looking forward to seeing it in print. You've been busy, woman! I don't have that many titles ready to submit. My earlier stuff needs lots of revision!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Ayrian,

I've heard so many wonderful things about Denise Hunter's The Convenient Groom, that I'll definitely have to pick that one up. I've read Linda Windsor, and she's great too!

And talk about "lush romance descriptions" ... uh, add your own name to the list, kiddo, 'cause I absolutely loved your novel, Love That Is Blind!!


Pepper Basham said...

Convenient Groom WAS a wonderful book - oh so sweet & Linda Windsor, great writing. I'll probably have to change the name of my novel ;-)

I really liked her book "For Pete's Sake" because the kid in it had Asperger syndrome - those are my favorite kids to work with in the whole world.

Tina M. Russo said...

Tina Pinson!!! Congratulations. Woohoo for you!!!! Toasting weanies and marshmallows (not at the same time) on sticks over the bonfire at Unpubbed Island in your honor tonight!!!

Tina Pinson said...


Thanks much for the abundant blessings and the congrats.

You too, Pepper. I really appreciate it.

And Seekers, all your blogs, chock full of information, have been a blessing.

Tina Pinson said...

Thank you, Miss Russo

Roasted weenies and Marshmellows in my honor.


I'll bring along some chocolate and grahams. And maybe pull out the guitar and sing a few bars of Kumbaya.

You guys are great...

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

The desert is the epilogue which I consider the author’s ‘Lagniappe’-- the equivalent of an encore at a concert. I find a solid epilogue doubles the impact of the HEA and makes me very grateful to the author.



Walt M said...

I came to today's message late, but still picked up a lot. I also have a lot more to learn.

Julie Lessman said...

TINA, you are more than welcome, sweetie -- we are THRILLED for you, girl.

And TEENSTER, count me in on those toasted weenies (although I prefer the term "grilled dogs), but you and Tina can hog all the marshmallows ... I'm not a fan.

VINCE -- mmmm ... I like the whole dessert-epilogue thing. Thanks for your delicious input!

WALT ... Soooo glad you made it by today -- thank you! And trust me, we ALL have a lot to learn. I'm guessin' it's a life-long process that won't quit until we hit the big epilogue in the sky (and, yes, I do believe Vince's dessert epilogue applies here).


A. A. Stone said...

Julie--You're a doll! Thanks so much for including me on the roll. :)

And Pepper--I love the title and the quick peek you wrote on your website a little while ago. Only change it if you really want to!

Audra Harders said...

Julie, great post! Thanks for the reminder to check our writing for the KOD elements.

Why is sloppy writing so easy to produce?

Love the illustrations from your own writing. Not many authors can hold a candle to your description, depth and style!

You rock, kiddo!

Julie Lessman said...

AYRIAN, my pleasure, my friend ... certainly not hard to do!

AUDRA!!! Hey girl, thanks SO much for the kind words. And why is sloppy writing so easy to produce? Because as we all know, excellent anything takes more work than talent. I suppose Tiger Woods has talent, but I'm guessing there was more than a bit of work and practice at play in the rise of his success.