Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stupid in Love ... Book/Critique Giveaway!

With Book or Critique Giveaway ...

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree

was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom,

she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband,

who was with her, and he ate it.

-- Genesis 3:6

Okay, I’d like to go on record right now and admit that I’m not an easy person to live with. Yeah, yeah, I know—big surprise. But the truth is that I am afflicted with MSS—otherwise know as Martha Stewart Syndrome. Many of you already know that yes, I actually have piped dinner guests’ initials into their twice-baked potatoes, made lemon napkin-holders out of real lemons to hold lemon green beans and have actually drawn blueprints of dinner plates to ensure the most attractive placement of food. However, you will be happy to know that I am currently in therapy.

Since I’ve been banned from dinner parties by my husband, I have now transferred my perfectionist tendencies to other things such as revising manuscripts (at least 60 times on A Passion Most Pure alone) or pinning every earring or Christmas pin collected over a forty-year span on my sweater for a Seeker blog (When It Comes To Writing, Sometimes Less is More). Or driving my artist husband crazy when he designs my newsletter, which those of you who receive it know is pretty darn impressive, almost solely because of him.

Such was the case one day recently when I stood over his shoulder while he worked on my most recent newsletter, which, by the way, will be out this week, so if you are not signed up, you can do so here:

Julie's Newsletter Sign-Up.

“Wow, babe, it’s absolutely perfect!” I said, excitement bubbling in my voice. “Uh, except for a few tiny things … Would you mind tilting those pictures a little bit more? Oh, and the excerpt from A Heart Revealed needs to be indented, and yeah, all book titles italicized. Not sure I’m crazy about that font—can we change it? And those dingbats gotta go—maybe little squiggles instead? Ooops … forgot some pictures of my reader friends, and for the love of Photoshop—my double chin in that picture just has to go!” Sigh … and that was only the first go-round. However, you will be happy to know that my husband is currently in therapy.

What’s my point besides that sharp thing on my head? Well, my point is that after hours of putting my husband through the paces, I was more than a little curious as to just why he puts up with a CDQ like me (caffeinated drama queen), so I hugged him in the kitchen, eyes misty with love. “I don’t deserve you, babe,” I say for the millionth time. “I know,” he says with a quirk of a smile and a tease in his tone. “And I don’t deserve you either.” I laugh and caress his stubbled chin with my thumb. “Why do you do it?” I ask, suddenly serious, not sure if he was a glutton for punishment, short on brain cells or both. “I don’t know,” he says, giving me a quick kiss on the lips. “I guess I’m just stupid in love.”

And there you have it—“stupid in love.” The very thing every woman craves for herself and one of the biggest reasons that romance sells like it does. Women want to be cherished. To be made to feel they are beautiful, sexy, the most important person in the world to the man that they love. A man strong enough to be worthy of them, but gentle enough to make them feel cherished. In short, a man so “stupid in love” that he’s willing to relent, to give of himself for the woman he loves. Few things are more irresistible to women than that, and few things are more irresistible to romance readers than a hero who’s “stupid in love.”

To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn’t the marrying kind” give in and marry Scarlett because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me. Even as a little girl, I sensed that was what romance was all about—finding a man who couldn’t do without you and to whom you were the most important woman in the world. It wasn’t until I gave my heart to the Lord that I learned it was a foreshadow of how God sees romance in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now I am not saying that Rhett Butler typified the kind of love Christ had in mind, but he wanted Scarlett so badly, he was willing to give of himself to get her. No other woman alive could do that to him, only her. Now to me, that’s romance!

When a man is “stupid in love,” he is so gaga over a woman that he will do anything for her, even if it’s out of character or against his will (like Rhett marrying Scarlett). If you think about it, it’s a kind of a good “control” that women exercise over men, being so loved by a man that he will sacrifice for her, defend her, do things he doesn’t want to do or even stop doing things he does want to do, solely for her sake.

Now women have been vying for control ever since Adam and Eve frolicked in the Garden, where God put Adam in charge of everything—as caretaker, protector, provider. Unfortunately for all of us, Adam abdicated this God-ordained “control” to Eve when he took a bite of that apple against God’s wishes. Talk about the ultimate “stupid in love”! Consequently, women have been striving for “control” over men ever since.

But in Ephesians 5, God remedies all of that when he tells women to respect their husbands (i.e. returning the headship to him that he abdicated in the Garden), but more importantly for our subject today, He tells men to “cherish” their wives, which I believe is the true essence of romance. Women want to be cherished, which, if you think about it, is kind of like a “good control” where a man loves her so much, he gives of himself to her and her alone because LOVE controls him. Thus the heart of romance novels.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, instead of a lesson plan on writing, I thought it would be fun to show some of the ways I like to depict heroes who are “stupid in love” without sacrificing their strength or masculinity.

1.) A Hero Who Can Admit When He’s Wrong. In this scene from A Passion Denied, Patrick O’Connor comes to his senses after months of sleeping at the Herald following a horrendous argument with his wife.

He stared at the empty door, unable to comprehend the love he’d just seen. His pulse droned in his ears as he slumped in the chair, body buzzing and mind numb.

She’d forgiven in the face of her anger. He dropped his head in his hands.

In total obedience to God. Unlike him. And total love for the man who spurned her.

Wetness welled in his eyes and he choked on a sob. An aching realization stabbed within, but its pain was kind, unlike the agony of guilt. Conviction lifted the blindness from his eyes, and he knew he had failed. He’d turned his back on God as well as his wife. And for what? Wounded pride that had yielded nothing but his demise. And hers.

Two souls for the price of one sin.

He thought of Marcy, and for the first time in weeks, he could see her clearly, unscathed by his anger. A woman, pure of heart and strong of character, loving God while loving him. He thought of the damage he’d done, and his heart fisted in grief. Oh, God, forgive me—I don’t deserve her.

He leapt to his feet, sin no longer weighting him down, and bounded the steps, two at a time. The hall was dark, but his step was light, and he prayed for mercy as never before. He neared their room and could hear her weeping, muffled and wrenching his heart like it should. He stopped in the doorway, staggered by what he’d done, and watched as their bed shivered with her grief. She didn’t hear him until he knelt by her side, and when he spoke, she jerked in surprise. “Marcy …”

The hitch of her breath was harsh in the dark.

He pressed a hand to her wet cheek, sick inside at the pain he’d caused. “God knows I don’t deserve it, but can you … will you … forgive me for being a fool?”

2.) A Hero Who Will Defend The Heroine’s Honor: In this scene from Steven O’Connor’s story, A Trust Restored (working title), Steven O’Connor is a prohibition agent who defends the heroine’s honor from his partner and best friend.

Barely outside the door, Joe spun around and pushed Steven back. “What the devil is wrong with you? You’re acting like a jackass.”

Steven shoved back, and several couples scattered away from the railing where sparks of moonlight glittered on the water … not unlike the anger in Joe’s eyes. “Yeah, well at least I’m not acting like Brubaker, trying to take advantage of a kid.”

Joe propped his arms on his hips. “She’s almost eighteen, Steven, two years past Massachusetts law of consent.” He paused, eyes sharp as if gauging Steven’s reaction to what he was about to say. A faint smile flickered on his lips. “Besides, one look at that sweater she’s wearing will tell you she’s not a kid.

Steven hit him so fast, Joe never saw it coming. He staggered back with a hand to his jaw, eyes blazing. “I knew it! You have a thing for her, don’t you?”

3.) A Hero Who Stops When He Doesn’t Want To: Here’s a scene from A Passion Most Pure where womanizer Collin McGuire, who never says no to his lust, finally does so with the woman he loves.

She started to protest when his mouth met hers, warm and sweet as he kissed her, and the heat that coursed made her dizzy in his arms. His kiss remained gentle and lingering, so unlike his kisses of the past, and she found herself returning it with a vehemence that shocked them both. He drew back, lips parted in surprise, and in the catch of his breath, the gray eyes heated like molten lava. With a low groan, his mouth took hers once again, evoking a soft moan from her lips. She could feel his breath, warm against her skin, and a jolt of heat seared unlike anything she had ever felt, except with him.

Suddenly he wrenched away, eyes filled with longing. Inhaling sharply, he shoved the hair in his eyes away from his face, and the trademark smile returned with a vengeance. “Yep, we still got it,” he whispered, exhaling again while his fingers threaded his hair.

Her mouth slacked open. “You stopped!”

He eyed her, his brow slanted in surprise. “Give me a little credit, will you? A guy has to learn a lot of restraint living in a trench.”

4.) A Hero Who Doesn’t Stop When He Does Want To: In this scene from A Passion Denied, the last thing hero John Brady wants to do is kiss the heroine Lizzie O’Connor, but his true feelings win out:

“Beth, are we okay?” He ducked his head to search her eyes, then brushed her hair back from her face. A smile shadowed his lips. “Still friends?”

Friends. A deadly plague only a kiss could cure. Resolve stiffened her spine. “Sure, Brady … friends.”

He smiled and tucked a finger under her chin. “That’s my girl. Now what do you say we pray about some of these things?” He leaned close with another quick kiss to her brow, and in a desperate beat of her heart, she lunged, uniting her mouth with his. She felt the shock of her action in the jolt of his body, and she gripped him close to deepen the kiss. Waves of warmth shuddered through her at the taste of him, and the essence of peppermint was sweet in her mouth.

“No!” He wrenched back from her hold with disbelief in his eyes.

Too late. She had never felt like this before. Years of seeking romance from flat parchment pages had not prepared her for this. This rush, this desire … her body suddenly alive, and every nerve pulsing with need. All shyness melted away in the heat of her longing, and she pounced again, merging her mouth with his. John Brady, I love you!

A fraction of a second became eons as she awaited his rejection. His body was stiff with shock, but no resistance came. And in a sharp catch of her breath, he drew her to him with such force, she gasped, the sound silenced by the weight of his mouth against hers. He groaned and cupped the back of her head as if to delve in her soul, a man possessed. His lips broke free to wander her throat, and shivers of heat coursed through her veins. In ragged harmony, their shallow breathing billowed into the night while his arms possessed her, molding her body to his.

5.) A Hero Who Is Caring: In this scene from A Hope Undaunted, Luke McGee fishes a Life Saver out of tipsy Katie O’Connor’s mouth after putting her to bed before her father finds out she’s been drinking.

Her chest rose and fell with the rhythm of sleep. Luke leaned close and squinted. He sighed. Sleep was good. But not with a Life Saver lodged in her throat. “Katie,” he whispered, “Did you finish the candy?”

“Mmmm …” Her eyelids fluttered open before closing once again.

With a weary release of breath, he bent to pry a finger into her mouth and swiped her tongue. Reaching for his handkerchief, he pocketed the half-dissolved disk of candy that adhered to his finger, then leaned to press a gentle kiss to her cheek.

At his touch, her lips tilted into a dreamy smile. “Mmmm … I love you, Luke McGee,” she whispered, and then rolled to her side with a soft, little snort.

He rose to his feet and stared, his heart comatose in his chest. Drawing in a deep breath, he bent to tuck the sheet tightly to her chin, finally exhaling shaky air. What he wouldn’t give to make it so. But he knew better. His lips tightened. Alcohol had a way of distorting the truth.

He bent to graze her cheek with his fingers one last time, then slowly lumbered to his feet. “I love you, too, Katie Rose,” he whispered.

And he was stone-cold sober.

6.) A Hero Who Does Something Out of Character For Heroine’s Sake: Sean O’Connor is a gentle, easy-going man, but in this scene from A Heart Revealed, he becomes a no-nonsense bully when Emma’s life is at stake:

He turned, hands loose on his hips and gaze slatted enough to know she had a fight on her hands. “I mean I’m not leaving you here so that lowlife can hurt you again. You’ll stay with us for the foreseeable future, until I feel it’s safe to come back.”

“With you? At your house?” Her voice edged toward shrill.

His lips cemented into a hard line. “There or at Charity’s, take your pick. But either way, Emma, you’re not staying here, and that’s final.”

“But I can’t! Mrs. Peep needs me … and my cats.”

“Mrs. Peep loves you and wants you to be safe. She’ll watch your cats, she already told me so.” The blue of his eyes steeled to gray as he peered at her, the flicker of a dormant temper glinting in his eyes. “I won’t stand here and argue with you, Emma. I’m not usually a volatile man, and you know that, but this is too important. Trust me on this—I will take you by force if I have to. So I suggest you pack your bags while I warm up the soup.” He turned away, disappearing down the hall where sunlight streamed into her kitchen.

7.) A Hero Who’s Pushed to Dominance: In A Hope Undaunted, Luke McGee is in love with Katie O’Connor, but she only wants to be friends after leading him to believe there could be more, a situation that drives Luke to the breaking point:

“Wait!” She ran to grasp his arm in a death hold, fingers clenched as tight as her stomach. “Don’t do this, please—don’t just walk away. I care about you, Luke, and I need your friendship. And you need mine.”

His gaze fixed on her hand where Jack’s diamond glittered in the lamplight, then slowly rose to her face, his blue eyes almost black. “No, Katie,” he whispered with a thread of pain in his voice, “I need your love.”

Her heart crashed to a stop. She removed her hand and lowered her eyes, her gaze fused to the fringed tongue of his brown leather shoe. “I … care about you, Luke, I do.” Her voice trailed off, fragile and reedy with regret. “But please … why can’t we just be friends?”

Taut fingers gripped her chin and jerked it up, the dominance of his hold matched by the anger in his eyes. “Because it will be lovers or nothing, Katie Rose. The choice is yours.”

8.) A Hero Who’s Driven to the Edge: In A Passion Redeemed, Charity O’Connor literally drives Mitch Dennehy to drink with the pull she has over him.

He felt the whiskey dulling his senses, and he took another swig, his body relaxing into the sofa. All at once, Kathleen’s sweet face distorted into Charity’s sensual body. Heat jolted through him that had nothing to do with the alcohol in his bloodstream. A curse slurred from his lips. Just one flash of a thought, and the want was so strong it made him dizzier than the drink in his hand. He drained the whiskey and dropped the empty glass by his side, his hand falling limp on the couch. Images swam in his mind: the loving granddaughter, the hard-working clerk, the innocent little girl, the flirt. Sometimes shy, often nervous, always seductive.

“She’s an enigma, our Charity. A real puzzlement,” Mima had said.

Mitch groaned through the fog in his brain. She was, indeed. A puzzle he had no inclination to solve. Friendship or no.

9.) A Hero Who Can’t Stop Thinking About Her: In A Passion Most Pure, Faith O’Connor so gets under Collin McGuire’s skin that he can’t get her out of his mind.

Collin had never felt like this, and it scared him. She scared him, and he didn't want anything to do with her. From that moment in the park when he kissed her, it was like he’d been possessed, cursed to dream of her, think of her, want her. He’d known woman far more beautiful, far more accommodating, far more easy to control. But this! Two encounters and she traveled his system like poison, the very same poison that had killed his father. It was moments like this he almost wished he believed in her God so he could pray to be rid of her. Yes, if truth be told, his soul craved to love a woman like that, to the depth of his being. But the risk was too high. That kind of all-consuming love could destroy him. She could destroy him. Better a love restrained than a love that controlled. Like his for Charity.

So now it’s your turn. How do you do it—what ways do YOU show a hero SO in love that the reader FEELS the pull the heroine has over him? I’d love to hear your scenarios or just leave a comment and you’ll be entered into a giveaway for your choice of my latest book, A Hope Undaunted or a 5-page critique.

NOTE: Blogger has eaten my response comments six times this morning already, so WORD OF WARNING -- COPY YOUR COMMENT BEFORE YOU HIT THE PUBLISH BUTTON. That way if you lose it (i.e. I keep getting the error message "Bad Request"), you can try again and just repaste in your copied comment. It should go through on the second time.

And may all our heroes—fictional and real—be so “stupid in love,” they’re downright smart!




  1. YAY! Julie-day!

    And I get to be first [unless someone else gets to this before I get my captcha in - it's manch - tht's like munch. Must leave munchies].

    Tomorrow, when I'm coherent, I'll come up with something. I've got a couple thoughts - though none as /swoon/ as those.

    I've got my very own signed copy of AHU already. I'll take the /gulp/ five-page critique should I be lucky enough to win.

    So munchies...

    We've got chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Hershey's and assorted other stuff I can't have in preparation for Denver in a few weeks.

    For breakfast, there's an assortment of cereal, bacon, eggs, and some of Chick-fil-A's new Spicy Chicken Biscuits.


    Now to sleep so I can come up with some /swoon/ inspiring scenario... =D

  2. Where's the fan?!

    Wshew! Always an ahem pleasure to read your work Julie!
    Now where is MY true life Valentine... Oh HONNNNNnnnnn

    PS: May is spayed so we don't "do" romance. :)

  3. Well, it's tomorrow, and I'm still not in bed. I've missed it by 4 far.

    I think I'm gonna email this to my husband. "Stupid in love"

    I'm sure I couldn't have said it better myself.

    Also, I sit here trying to think of something my hero would/will do to prove he's stupid in love. I can't right now. I've recently decided it's very important. That's sad; I've such a long way to go.

    But with all those wonderful examples, I have my compass pointed to true North, and I'll start working on it.

    It is pitiful that I still have a Barnes & Noble card from Christmas to spend when there's all these Julie Lessman books readily available. I've got to get on that.

    But right now I've got to get to bed.

    Hey Carol!

    I'm adding birthday cake to the buffet. It's my husband's birthday tomorrow (Thursday) but we have to celebrate tonight. The cake isn't actually baked yet, but I guess that's the perk of virtual food. DH Likes yellow cake with chocolate frosting, but this one can be whatever you like.

    OK, I'm going to bed now.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  4. Loved these examples!!!


  5. Hey, don't tell me I beat Helen to the coffee pot!!!!!
    I think I'll go hide in the pantry.

    Hers is so much better!


  6. I love the idea of 'stupid in love.' Sounds like a good series title.
    Here's a little set up. My pop singer girl has gone on a talk show. She tries to tell the host she's a changed woman. Host doesn't want to hear it and stops the interview. Meanwhile, hero Levi, said he wasn't going to come to the taping.
    Coleman is her manager--Meghan Cascade talk show host.

    “Honey, take another pill.” (Talk show host)
    With those parting words she glares at me, turns away then leaves.
    A loud clap sounds. Then another. I turn to find Levi standing five feet away from me. How could I have not seen him and how long has he been here?
    He claps one more time. “That’s my girl.”
    “I’m in so much trouble.”
    “You can’t worry about it.”
    “This was my big chance. And I blew it. She didn’t believe me. Why couldn’t I convince her?”
    He walks to me. “You look beautiful.”
    “I even wore my church dress. Honestly. Why couldn’t I convince her?”
    “She didn’t want to be convinced. She wanted dirt and you wouldn’t give it to her.”
    “She’s gone. Coleman is going to be furious.”
    He places his hands on my shoulders. “Forget about Coleman. Forget about Meghan Cascade. How do you feel?”
    I stare into his eyes, reflective of what I want to be. Who I want to be.
    Smiling from deep down in my soul, I put my hands on his waist. “I feel great. I feel free. I feel like. . . .” and before I can finish my sentence his lips cover mine.
    My heart totally slams my chest.
    I close my eyes and watch bright lights explode. His lips are softer than I imagined, fiery with passion, sweet like honey.
    I’m lost.
    In him.
    In his kiss.
    He surrounds me with his arms, ends the kiss, then buries his head in my hair, his lips close to my ear. “Sweet, so sweet,” he whispers.
    And I thought I was in trouble a few minutes ago.

    Levi just couldn't stay away. So this must be the point where he realized he was 'stupid in love.'

    Thanks, Julie. This was fun. And as always I'm hoping for a book!!!

  7. You have such romantic heroes, Julie! And your hubby is one of them!


    Can you feel it??? Valentine's Day is creeping up, so we just GOTTA have red velvet cake in the shape of a heart, don't you know, with cream cheese icing and sprinkles. Although I do think (don't hit me, now) that Valentine's Day is right up there with New Year's Eve as two of the most overrated holidays on the planet, possibly because I spent SO many of them alone or dating bozos as a single gal, who knows? But as romantic as my hubby and I are (and we are, nauseating so according to my daughter), we are dirt-practical romantics who focus on service, affection and kindness rather than candy and flowers, I'm afraid, although Keith does shock me with an occasional bouquet of roses now and then.

    Now for the practical people in the group (like moi) who have to have protein in the morning (you don't think I write love scenes like that on sugar, do you???), I'm throwing in an omelet bar with everything on it including candy hearts. I like my omelets like I like my pizzas and my romance -- hot, spicy and loaded. Of course, there's chocolate chip pancakes (in the shapes of hearts, no less. Trust me, from the mom who used to make Mickey Mouse pancakes and octopus hot dogs, I'm NOT kidding about the hearts!!), peach waffles and my daily staple -- peach oatmeal with lots of hazelnut coffee and cranberry pomegranate green tea (yes, there is such a thing, made by Lipton and it's AWESOME!!).

    So thanks for dropping by and dig in!


  9. CAROLM!!! Thanks for setting us up with food, ESPECIALLY the chocolate chip cookies, OF WHICH, both my husband I agree, are some of the BEST on the planet!!! It's good to know you sleep, sweetie. I kinda thought with your energy level, that wasn't an option. :)

    KC HONEY ... That's what romance books are for, girl!! Although I'm not sure there's much on the shelves for May ... Take it from a gal who's been on both sides of the fence -- single and married -- V-Day is NOT what it's cracked up to be, at least it never has been for me, so if you're looking for true romance, you're better off sticking with books and the Bible ... :)

    ANDREA ... Give your big guy a great big birthday hug from us, okay?? And plunk that B&N card down soon, girlfriend, because there are a lot of Seeker books out there ...


  10. CHERYL!!! Gosh, girl, you DID beat Helen, which has me worried. When Helen sleeps in, what's the world coming to??? Thanks for stepping up to the plate ... er, coffee bar ... in Helen's absence, my friend.

    LINDI!!! SWOON ... I LOVE your style, girl -- that was SO fun to read! Ahem, and it sure helps prime the pump as I embark on a Katie and Luke love scene today -- THANKS!! Sigh.

    Thanks, CAMSTER, but have you noticed my heroes aren't so romantic in the candy and roses vein??? They're mostly romantic in the "stupid in love" capacity, which is what really counts in my book (and in my life!).


  11. Wow, those were all REALLY great, Julie!

    The way I like to show that my hero is head over heals for the heroine is that he will truely sacrifice his own safty for hers. Whenever she might be in danger or hurting, he burns with a desire to take her place so that she doesnt have to experience anything unpleasent or life-threatening. And with this desire burning in him, he doesn't stop until he knows she is safe.

    I'd love to win the five-page critique if I won! :-) I'd really love to have your thoughts and inputs about my writing, Julie!!

    ~ Katy

  12. I understood the concept ('what a woman wants . . .') but you've reminded me to sharpen the Stupid In Love scenarios in my own writing for a stronger romantic punch.

    This might even improve my attitude about Valentine's Day, Julie. Thank you!

    I did pecan-crusted French toast this morning. Because I'm worth it and so are the rest of you. Let's celebrate! Life is good!

  13. OMG, Julie! What a walk down memory lane! You are unmistakenly the queen of passion.

    Just ask your characters. I'll bet they all throw prayers of thanks to heaven that the good Lord have their stories to you!!!

    Feeling cherished is the essense of the romance novel. Otherwise, what's the point? When they break down and realize the need deep down inside, that's the moment you know you love Rhett and Scarlett should too!

    Ahhh, Julie. Thanks for the warmth and passion you offer on this cold, cold day in CO!!

  14. KATY SAID: "The way I like to show that my hero is head over heals for the heroine is that he will truely sacrifice his own safty for hers."

    Gosh, that's a GREAT way, Katy, and somehow makes me feel so much shallower than you ... :)

    Seriously, do you write romantic suspense? Because I can see you implementing this SIL method with a hero who is a firefighter or FBI agent or some other service where he would have to put the heroine's safety about his own. If you get a chance, sweetie, give us a short clip.


  15. Ah, DEB ... if I've improved your attitude toward V-Day, then my work here today is done!! Uh, now who's gonna improve mine 'cause as I said about (a near profanity, I suppose), I think V-Day is one of the most overrated holidays in the calendar. But I digress ... "Pecan-crusted French toast" -- OH MY!! And, YES, we are worth it and life IS good!!

    AUDRA SAID: "Thanks for the warmth and passion you offer on this cold, cold day in CO!!" Brrrrr ... it's 11 degrees in St. Loo this morning, darlin', so I hear you!! Glad I could help ... :)


  16. Morning, Julie and Seekers!
    In The Doctor's Mission (Nov. 2011), Pastor William Mayweather shows his love by facing down a deadly cannibal chief whose wife Dr. Mary has brought to her clinic. In a less dramatic moment, he puts himself in "harm's way" by helping with a vomiting child because there are a lot of ways to show how "stupid in love" you are!
    Love your books, Julie, but I've won from you before. So, let someone else get introduced to your writing. No contest entry needed :)

  17. Julie - I LAUGHED and LAUGHED. What a fabulous and fun post.

    Put me in for the book, if you would.


  18. Hey, Julie! I love your examples! But I didn't read the one with Sean and Emma because I want to wait and read the book!

    Julie, you and Keith are so adorable! Oh my goodness. I'm a little jealous. LOL! (Sorry!) But I still think Keith is very blessed to have you! You are the sweetest person. He better cherish you or he's in big trouble! LOL!!!

    Well, in my first pubbed novel, The Healer's Apprentice, my hero is willing to give up absolutely everything to marry the heroine. Only, she refuses, because she's willing to give him up so he will be happy. That's one of my favorite scenes. All that lovely longing, the angst, him forcing her to admit she loves him... Mmmmm...

    Anyway, now I'm working on a new book and my new hero is more an actions-speak-louder-than-words kind of guy. So he'll just kiss her when he wants to show her he loves her.

    In The Merchant's Daughter, (my Beauty and the Beast story) the hero agrees to send the heroine to an abbey to protect her, and because he thinks she wants to be a nun. It tears his heart out to part with her. Truly, he knows he's about to die because the villagers have decided to kill him. So he sends her away. She is his salvation, and he knows it, but he sends her away anyway. Mmmm, I just love some good old fashioned angst, don't you? Of course, she saves him and God saves them both, because this is a Christian romance and God makes all our endings happy and hopeful no matter what. :-)

    Zondervan made the most delicious cover for it. But it will be a while before I can show it. :-( The heroine is wearing the most exquisite lace-overlay dress with medieval-ish sleeves. She looks scared, staring forward, holding a cracked mirror that shows the hero's face--he has a beard and a patch over one eye and long hair. Yummy!!!

    Wow, I digress! Loved your post, Julie!!!

  19. Julie,

    I was glad to see you over here today :)

    Well since my WIP is women's fiction, my character doesn't have a good human love story. She does have an abusive husband. But she struggles with being "stupid in love" as she is introduced to the true "Lover of Her Soul." She struggles with legalism, true and false guilt, and overcoming many lies to understand God's love for her.


  20. Hi Julie! :)

    I guess I took the different approach with my hero and had him give up what he wanted to give to his heroine.

    Jodie Wolfe

  21. As always, Julie, a super post that melts the keyboard. I love the "stupid in love" heroes that don't say a lot of flowery lines (although a few are always appreciated) but through their actions prove how much they value the heroine.
    In my scene the hero is healing from being caught on the bad end of a stampede of horses. His wife knows they need to get the horses rounded up. He shows he’s stupid in love by eventually listening and then helping her out, when he’d rather she not go.
    He really wasn’t going to talk to her about this? Olivia pushed from the table and grabbed his good arm. “Cord? This is unfair.”
    “You got what you wanted. You better get ready.” The door jerked open. He shook his arm free and stalked out.
    How dare he shake her off? He was halfway to the barn when she planted herself in front of him.
    He almost tripped over her. “Dang, Livy. Don’t you have anything better to do?”
    “You know where you can go, Cordell Matthews! If I hadn’t spent hours patching you together I’d tear you apart.”
    “No! This isn’t about me getting my way. This is about us all pulling together and getting the job done for the benefit of everyone on this ranch. A lesson you taught me.”
    Her hand shot out. “I don’t want to hear it. All I’m asking is for you to trust me half as much as I trust you.” Cord’s glare was hard, flames danced through ginger.
    A shadow near the bunkhouse caught her attention. “Jake, get you’re gear. You’re coming with Nathan and me.”
    “Really, I get to go?”
    She held Cord’s glare. “Yeah, your Uncle Cord thinks you deserve a chance.” The swish of her skirts thundered in her ears as she left Cord to deal with the exuberant young man.
    Olivia adjusted the holster. Head down she didn’t notice the buck horse saddled and ready in front of the porch until she ran into him. Her eyes snapped from the powerful horse to his formidable owner. “Why?”
    Cord shrugged. “For you. Gentleman’s tried in these situations. If I can’t be with you, he’s the next best thing.”
    Wedged between horse and man, her index finger rested on Cord’s chin and using the slightest pressure pressed until his head tipped and their eyes met. “Thank you.”
    He grunted and gave a short nod. “Just be careful. Let Gentleman lead. He knows what he’s doing.” He lifted her onto the saddle leaving his hand on her thigh. “Especially in the canyon, Livy, it’s going to be tight for a bit let him have his way.”
    She bobbed her head in agreement giving his instructions her full attention as hard as it was with his warm hand burning a hole through her chaps and denims.

  22. Wow! That's a huge post, sorry. I thought I trimmed it down more.


  23. Well, kids are home for the day. Just hope that if they're home again tomorrow that I can stay home too... Would be hard to explain why DH can get to work [we teach at the same college, different campuses] if I don't. Except that when it gets nasty out we really only have one vehicle and he needs it to get to his actual job. He had a hard time getting there this morning... Time to email my boss I guess...

    So anyway...

    1. Hero who can admit when he's wrong Yep. Got that. He admits he was wrong. Five years later. But he does.

    2. Defend the Heroine's Honor Yep. Got that. Same hero decks a guy who's making disparaging comments. I know, I know. Violence is not the answer. Blah. Blah. Blah. But this yay-hoo had it coming.

    3. Hero who stops when he doesn't want to Yep. Let me see if I can find the spot in my RS...

    Set up:
    You've got Nick [think Tony DiNozzo] who is going to marry Debbie [ugh - she needs a new name!]. Debbie has become a Christian since their three day tryst a number of years ago.

    [Yeah - it's a rough draft and I need to get my inner Julie working on it when I edit]

    Nick pulled her a little closer, his lips on hers. Her arms were around his shoulders and he could feel her melt into him. He knew she was going to pull back in a minute, but he was going to enjoy it while he could. His lips left hers to trail across her chin towards her ear. He knew what would happen when he did, but he did it anyway.

    "Nick," Debbie whispered. "We need to stop."

    He buried his face in her neck, leaving little kisses along the collar of her shirt. "We've been stopping for months," he murmured. "What's stopping us now?"

    Her hands moved to the front of his shoulders and she pushed him away. "You know what's stopping us." She held up her left hand, the diamonds and sapphires sparkling at him. "Until there's two more rings and a preacher, it's not happening."

    That's enough for now. Will look at the others later. Like after I make the kids clean their rooms.

  24. Ahhhh, {heavy sigh}, thanks for a little romance this morning, Julie. Your heros make me swoon.


  25. Blogger is hungry this morning. Ate 4 posts already.

    Julie - that was so sweet and good advice for the singles here.

    BUT! Though I wrote it *sigh* it wasn't what I meant... (Hate when that happens) Since my "Hon" wasn't right here and I NEEDED him after reading those hot spicy scenes, I was calling out to him.

    He's an AMAZING Valentine, and pretty smart in love really... ha!

    Fun to read everyone's scenes today. Have a good one!

  26. I really loved this post, Julie. It made be so impatient for your next book.
    Great, great romance.

  27. Here is an exert from Sharpshooter in Petticoats. I can only aspire to write passion as well as Julie.

    But I loved this moment, this scene.

    Tom looked up from the fire, where he was feeding in sticks, with eyes so blazing hot, Mandy felt burned.

    “So you headed out to kill them, is that right?” He threw in a bigger stick. “You were crawling up that rise to murder those men in cold blood—”

    “They deserve to die!”

    “—because you don’t trust me to protect you, is that right?” Tom shouted the last three words.

    “I did it to save your life. I know you’d protect me. I know you’d die for me. I understand all of that. But I can’t let you.”

    “The one thing you don’t seem to know, woman,” Tom surged to his feet, “is that you can’t stop me.”

    His arm whipped out quick as a striking rattler and he yanked her hard against his body. “You’re mine.”

    He grabbed a hank of her hair. “You’ve been mine since the day we met. You were mine when you were married to another man. You were mine when you were giving birth to someone else’s child. You’re mine, and I’m through waiting for you.”

    He sank his heavy hand deeper into her hair and tilted her head back. “We’re married. I will protect you. I will die for you.”

    He kissed her until her knees went weak and her arms wrapped around his neck to keep from falling. Long moments later he raised his head, his blue eyes burning into hers.

    “Better than that. I will live for you. That’s all you need to understand.” He swooped his head down.

    His lips never left hers as he lowered her to a blanket and came down with her to hold her hard against him.

  28. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for those thrilling examples! But I think the story of your husband being "stupid in love" is even better (sigh). He sounds wonderful.

    You summed up exactly how I feel a hero should be. Strong, protective, yet undone by his love for the heroine.

    I don't have my writing here (I'm at work - shhh!!) but one of my heroes is forced to choose between the job he covets more than anything or being with the woman he loves. And of course he sacrifices his career for her! Even after they've had a big fight. Love that!

    Thanks for all those wonderful scenes!

    Oh, does the 5-page critique have to be the first 5 pages or can it be love scene? Either way, count me in! I'd love your opinion on how to ramp up the passion! LOL.

    Have a super day.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  29. Mary -

    Deeanne Gist on her Facebook page yesterday asked which cowboy you liked the best. She listed a bunch of TV/movie cowboys.

    I chose Tom.


    I LOVED Sharpshooter!

  30. Oh I LOVED this post, Julie!!!! That scene with Faith and Collin...MAN. ALIVE! I just reread that book and it's every bit as good as the first time. :)

    I would love to share, would share in a heartbeat, but I don't write romance (GASP!). I write women's fiction with elements of romance, but nothing right now to share...

    Squeeeeee! You gave sneak peeks!! What teasers, September is so very far awaaaaay!

    Julie, you bring out the drama in me, must be a good thing, I need a bit today for writing. ;) Loved, loved, loved the post!!

  31. Sigh, swoon, THUD.

    LOVE this list and the examples you give.

    I'm currently writing a 'stupid in love' hero who has always been in control and methodical when it comes to seeking out a woman to love, and WHAM, he meets one that he can't be rational about. :)

  32. Mary,

    Whew! Great scene. I loved Tom from the moment he came on board in Doctor in Petticoats.

    Unlike snivelling Sidney!

    I'm assuming he's dead as doornail now! Hopefully Mandy didn't kill him! Will have to pick up that book next.


  33. Ah CarolM, thanks. You liked Tom, huh? He's sort of cranky. :)
    But what a man.

  34. Julie! I'm so excited to see you here today. What a timely post for me! Thanks for the tips. I'll certainly use them in my revision.

    Easy going, outwardly affectionate Adam finds himself battling with two types of self-restraint he's never experienced before: anger capable of murder and remaining hands-off when he needs to give comfort through his touch the most:

    Frustration and anger pumped through Adam. His head swirled with thoughts he never imagined would enter his mind. He wanted to kill Kyle Heinrich. He felt the hatred in his heart and knew that if Kyle were within reach, he would pummel him to death.

    Three days in the hospital and Beth had yet to let him give her a comforting touch. He wasn’t used to not touching people he cared about, especially when they were hurting. It was enough to send him packing. But, he couldn’t. As difficult as it was for him, he knew that if he wanted any kind of future with Beth, and he did, he had to stick it out. He had to be here for her. She had to know that he wouldn’t abandon her.

    “Adam. If you don’t calm down, you’re going to send that porch swing through the back wall of the Gallagher’s dining room.”

    He looked up at Tiffany perched in her usual spot on the porch rail. Taking a deep breath, he stopped the swing, stood and moved to lean against the rail. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and, staring out at the yard, he saw Beth’s bruised face…Kyle’s hate-filled sneer…and imagined himself wiping the smugness off Kyle’s face.

    “She’ll be okay. It just takes time.”

    “How long before she let’s me touch her? How long before I can reach for her hand without her flinching and pulling away? How long before I can wrap my arms around her and know that it makes her feel safe?”

    I know! I know! I used rail twice in one paragraph. I'll work on that. Please include me in the drawing for the book!!! :D

    Hugs back,


  35. You know, I didn't have Mandy kill him.

    If Mandy had killed him he'd have been beaten to death as slowly and painfully as possible.

    And he died quick, so that proves she's innocent. :)

  36. Yay! It's working! I couldn't get the comment link to work for me earlier. Loved this post and am so glad I stopped in today!


  37. Julie! What a fantastic post! Your examples started my brain churning with new ideas for how to ramp up the romance in my current wip!

    And, um, if you and your talented hubby ever figure out a way to remove double chins and other unwanted physical attributes in real life--painlessly and instantaneously, of course!--you will make a fortune!

  38. Wait a minute.

    Back this train up.

    Did you say you're writing a Luke and Katie love scene?!?


    /more swoon/

    I love them!

    Oh - you know what? I haven't left my email yet...

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  39. Well, Sidney gave Tom good reason to be cranky. And so did Mandy.

    Once he and Mandy got things straightened out, he was much less cranky.


    Watching the first 10 minutes of UP with the kids right now. Guaranteed to make me cry [again]. There's a love story for ya.

  40. Mary just so you know...




  41. Well, gosh darn that "I guess I'm stupid in love" comment turned me to mush! I'm afraid that I don't have such devotion at my house...though my dog did gaze at me in adoration this morning but I think that was directly connected to the fact that I was scratching his ears then that he's 'stupid in love' with me. Sigh.

    So, I loved reading the examples (especially the sneak previews.) They turned me into mush too. Can't wait until your next new one comes out.

  42. Thanks, DEBBIE, for your kind words and a good laugh with your line:
    "In a less dramatic moment, he puts himself in "harm's way" by helping with a vomiting child because there are a lot of ways to show how "stupid in love" you are!" Oh, yeah!!! :) And a face down with a deadly cannibal chief is certainly high on the SIL list too, so you've got me realllll interested. Hurry up, November 2011!!!

    JOANNE ... Soooo glad I could give you a chuckle this morning, girl. At least somebody's laughing because God knows my husband isn't ... He told me he read the post, and I asked him if anything in it offended him. "Nope," he says, strolling to the pantry to scrounge, "I'm too "stupid," remember???" Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

    Thanks, MEL, I happen to think Keith and I are "adorable" as couple too, AND fun!! Uh, especially when my daughter gags ... :) Oh, "LONGING" and "ANGST," my bread and butter, my friend, and Healer's Apprentice had a it aplenty -- YUM!! But a hero who is more of an actions-speak-louder-than-words kind of guy? Who will "just kiss her when he wants to show her he loves her"??? Sweet swoon ... I don't care that it's 13 degrees -- open the window, somebody!! :)


  43. Julie – That “stupid in love” image covers so many angles – but yes, I think my dear husband has it down pat. A great Valentines Day reminder! And thanks for your list and examples of the different heroes. I appreciate that whether they show gentleness, caring, or passion, they still retain their masculinity.

    Here’s a scene from my still-in-the-first-draft novel. (You all do know how scary it is to post this, don’t you? No one else has read it yet...) Ellie is a young Amish widow, and Bram has just returned to the community after twelve years away. This scene is pretty early in the story.

    Ellie looked at him, half hoping he was teasing again, but he wasn't. His eyes held hers. She knew. As she looked into his blue eyes, she knew she could love him. And just as quickly as that thought came, fear followed on its heels.

    "I can't," she whispered, tears filling her eyes. She couldn't look at him anymore.

    "Why, Ellie?"

    "When I lost Joseph," Ellie started, taking a deep breath and letting it out to steady herself, "it hurt so much. I can't go through that again." She turned to him, willing him to understand. "Don't ask me to risk that."

    Bram faced the front of the swing again. What he was thinking...or was he praying?

    "I can't promise that you won't be hurt." he finally said.

    Ellie blinked back unshed tears. Could she ever allow herself to love someone again?

    "But you can rely on God," Bram went on. "He is trustworthy. Even when the worst happens..."

    "Not again, I couldn't do it again," Ellie whispered.

    "Even when the worst happens, that doesn't change who He is."

    Ellie remained silent, her head throbbing. How could he ask her to do this? Why couldn’t he just leave well enough alone? Bram moved closer to her and put his arm around her. He put his finger under her chin and turned his face toward his.

    "Trust God, Ellie." He leaned closer to her, his voice soft and calm. "Think about it, please."

    He held her until she nodded. She couldn't trust herself to speak. Bram pulled her closer and placed a soft kiss on her prayer covering, then stood up and walked toward the barn.

  44. and I forgot - please enter me in the contest!


  45. Oh, JULIA, nice turn on the "Stupid in Love" phrase, girl!!! I sure relate to that as one of the "stupidest" baby Christians on the planet when I was 23. And to show you how stupid I still am, I didn't realize you wrote women's fiction!!! Very cool!

    JODIE SAID: "I guess I took the different approach with my hero and had him give up what he wanted to give to his heroine." Uh, you mean the "noble" approach, vs. my base-instincts approach??? :) I'd say "sacrifice" is one of the number one ways to show that a guy is SIL, sweetie, so that sounds good to me!

    KIRSTEN!!! Oh, honey, I like the the "stupid in love heroes that don't say a lot of flowery lines" too, like Mitch Dennehy -- sigh. And WHOA, BABY, that excerpt you posted??? Girl, I don't say this to many people, but you got a Mary Connealy style going there that is fun and fresh, so a higher compliment couldn't be paid. You go, girl!!!


  46. KIRSTEN ... You're apologizing to ME for a long post???? Get real, girlfriend!! :)

    CAROL!!! Why are the kids home today -- do you have snow??? It's only doing the powder-sugar sift here today, so did you get more than that? Great excerpt, girl -- I especially LOVE the humor in the this line: She held up her left hand, the diamonds and sapphires sparkling at him. "Until there's two more rings and a preacher, it's not happening." GRIN ... that's my girl!! :) And Tony DiNozzo?? Pretttty darn cute ... not JAG level yet, but getting there ...

    MISSY!!! You're out on the WEB awfully early this morning, girl!! And I have to admit that my heroes make me swoon too because I mean let's face it -- if the author doesn't melt over her own heroes, who will???


  47. KC ... whoops! Didn't realize it was an absent hubby that posed the problem -- sorry! :) Just save everybody's excerpts to read to him tonight ... :) And Blogger is wreaking havoc this morning -- I lost six posts, which, fortunately for me, I already copied first, so all I had to do was repaste in a new comment.

    MARY CONNEALY!!!! That is possibly the single best love scene I have ever read in any of your books (although the push to the wall in the schoolhouse was pretty amazing ...) and if you don't cut it out, they'll be selling your books from behind the counter where they keep mine ... :) FABULOUS SCENE, Mare, seriously!

    SUE ... "sacrificing his job" ranks REAL high on the SIL list, girl, so good job!! And it can be ANY five pages you wanna send me, but I sure would love to sink my teeth into a love scene ... :)


  48. CAROL ... STOP THAT!!! I am already DYING to read Mary's Sharpshooter, but I have a ton of books before it. Sigh.

    CASEY!!!! SAY IT ISN'T SO!!! You don't write romance??? But I LOVE you -- how can you NOT write romance??? I'm guessing it's because you and Julia are actually want to help people through women's fiction rather than raising blood pressure, right? I am SUCH a juvenile, aren't I, which isn't so bad, I guess -- it's one way to stay young ... :) I bring the drama out of you??? COOL!! Keith says the same thing, only I'm thinkin' he doesn't mean it as compliment ... :/

    ERICA SAID: "I'm currently writing a 'stupid in love' hero who has always been in control and methodical when it comes to seeking out a woman to love, and WHAM, he meets one that he can't be rational about. :)" OH, HONEY, that sounds scrumptous, and if it's anything like your last book I read (Marriage Masquerade, which I LOVED!), I can't wait!


  49. LINNETTE -- GREAT scene, girl!! And I had to laugh at your comment about using the word "rail" twice in one paragraph. So you were listening, were you??? To be honest, though, I didn't catch it till you mentioned it, but now that you have, I was thinking of ways to get rid of one of the rails and came up with this:

    He looked up at Tiffany perched in her usual spot on the porch rail. Taking a deep breath, he stopped the swing, stood and moved to lean beside her.

    MYRA SAID: "And, um, if you and your talented hubby ever figure out a way to remove double chins and other unwanted physical attributes in real life--painlessly and instantaneously, of course!--you will make a fortune!" Uh, yeah ... WAY more than I make writing books, that's for darn sure! And don't I wish!!

    CAROL ... YEP, a Katie and Luke love scene -- one of my favorite kinds after Charity and Mitch. A little head-butting first, then on to the lip-knocking ... :)


  50. Great insights in this post, Julie! I think you've hit the nails on their heads. LOL Also, I loved the excerpts!!

    Hmm, I'm trying to think about how I show my heroes so in love, and what they give up for the heroine...and I'm not sure I do that.
    Oh, well, in my historical the hero is a former assassin. He finds the bad guy and is going to take him but the heroine protests, asking for mercy for the villain and to allow him to be tried by rule of law. The hero relents because he loves the heroine, but it's also a pivotal point for him in learning about mercy from God because he has deep guilt over his past deeds. :-)

  51. WHOA!! Julie! I just sprayed coffee all over my desk and choked for ten minutes! That's some amazing praise. 1. It comes from you. 2. You'd even compare my work to Mary's.

    Thanks so much for your kind words. And Mitch is definitely my kind of hero, of course so is Colin, Luke, John... :o)


  52. Julie - we still have tons of ice on the side/back roads from the last three rounds of storms in the last week. We've had at least two more inches of snow today and it's supposed to last all day. Just got word that the college is closing at 3. That gives me hope that I'll stay home tomorrow. Even if classes are in, it's likely I'll stay home if the kids are out.

    So... moving on to the next couple on the list [with the caveat that no one does these as well as you, dear Julie].

    4. Hero Who Doesn't Stop When He Does Want to Hm... Not sure I've got one of those... Well, I do. Or I plan to. But it's way in the future and not written yet. Hero believes it's not going to happen with the Heroine. She kisses him. Sort of like what you've got there, Julie, but not.

    5. Hero Who Is Caring and 6. A Hero Who Does Something Out of Character For Heroine’s Sake

    Back to Nick and Debbie [remember the uneditedness?]... They're at the hospital. She's been hurt. Her son has been drugged.

    Nick finally turned to her. She was curled in a ball in a large chair. There was a bandage on her arm and her normally luxurious hair was a mess. She had the beginnings of two black eyes, a bruise on her cheek and a nasty looking gash on her forehead. It looked worse because of the disinfectant that turned her skin yellow but it wasn't deep enough to require stitches. She fingered a piece of gauze covered with tape. Tears were streaming down her cheeks until she swiped at them with one hand.

    ... [moving her/son upstairs]

    Nick stood and reached a hand out to Debbie. She grasped it and he helped her up. His arm went around her waist, supporting her as she started after their son. She made it two steps before her legs gave out underneath her.

    "Whoa!" Nick kept her from hitting the floor. "Are you okay?"

    Debbie regained her balance. "I'm fine. I just haven't eaten in a while."

    "As soon as we get where we're going, I'm getting you food," Nick vowed. He turned to the orderlies who were still walking. "Hey! Can we get a wheelchair over here?" His arm tightened as Debbie tried to pull away.

    "No, Nick. I’m fine. Really."

    A chair appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. Debbie didn't protest but sat in the chair without a fight. "Thank you," she told whoever was close enough to hear her.

    He knelt next to her. "Hey. That's what I'm here for. We're family now and it's part of my job to look out for both of you." He gently kissed the one spot on her forehead that wasn't either scraped or covered with iodine. "I'll take care of you."

    As he started pushing her after the orderlies, Nick swore to himself that he would. He would do anything, including moving heaven and earth if necessary, to protect Debbie and Nicky.

    Even marry her.

    If I can find a good one for 9 I'll post it later. I know he does. I dunno if I've got a good passage showing it...

  53. RUTHY ... okay, sweetie, you're a tease -- oh, what a surprise. So, spill it -- what EXACTLY did you get this time???

    KAV ... Oh, I know, it turned me to mush too, trust me! And gosh, there's NOTHING more "stupid in love" than dogs, is there??? They are SOOO incredibly adorable and melt my heart every single time. Sigh ... in a cute-doggie way.

    Oh, JAN, that was BEAUTIFUL!!! First draft? Seriously??? Hard to believe -- it's excellent, truly. And, YES, I know how scary it is, but you did JUST great, sweetie. Thanks for sharing. Now get back to that amazing story ...


  54. Tom is forcing me to go back and see which books of Mary's I've missed, so I can get the whole shootin' match.

  55. JESSICA SAID: "The hero relents because he loves the heroine, but it's also a pivotal point for him in learning about mercy from God because he has deep guilt over his past deeds. :-)" WOW, Jessica, that sounds pretty powerful, seriously and definitely off the SIL chart, my friend.

    KIRSTEN ... sorry about the coffee spray, but I meant every single word. I tend to gush, but only when I really love something ... :)

    CM ... More great examples, sweetie -- LOVE IT!! Especially the lines: He would do anything, including moving heaven and earth if necessary, to protect Debbie and Nicky.

    Even marry her.



  56. Stupid in love. Love that title and this post. And you write the best heros, Julie. Given your love for Rhett, I get them even more. I love Rhett and your heros for the same reason. Logic says, "Run fast in the other direction." Love says, "Dig in and stay put, no matter how bad/crazy/deranged it gets." (That's why I always have believed that Scarlett and Rhett found their way back to each other even after that final scene. No choice.)

  57. Remember Tina's liminal space?

    That's where I've been for the past couple of weeks. Just sitting back. Assessing. Evaluating. Wondering. Questioning.

    I don't contribute anything to this blog except coffee, and I don't know how to make anything but the plain stuff. No fancy flavors.

    At the end of her article Tina said, "I've stopped trying to make my old journey fit my new destination, instead I'm sitting on the cliff peacefully waiting for what's to come."

    I think I've reached that point. Maybe. Haven'e decided for sure whether to enter the Genesis. But I have reached the 80% point in my wip. Hopefully my hero exhibits the characteristics in this post.

    Something significant today is that suddenly I can see everyone's pictures without having to click on their name!!!!! Is that a sign???

    Anyhow, here's a fresh pot of coffee in case anyone needs it.

    Just down the road from Julie here we got another inch and a half of snow last night. The fireplace is crackling.


  58. Julie, loved your post. Not only did it put me in good frame of mind to work on my WIP, but I may even go buy hubby's Valentines Day card. I loved all your heroic traits and your examples were perfect.

    I also love a hero who loves the woman when she feels unlovable. This happens in A Great Catch, coming out in May. It's one of my favorite scenes. The suffragist heroine has struggled with clumsiness all her life. In this scene, she has just fallen face first in the mud while running for shelter in a downpour.

    Carter shrugged. “It doesn’t prove anything. Emily, you tripped. It happens to everyone at one time or another.”

    “No one trips like I do.”

    Another chuckle rippled through the room. “You may have a point.” He crossed the space between them and leaned casually on the window casing beside her. He stared out at the lake and then slowly turned toward her. “No one does anything quite like you do. That’s what I love.”

    A new warmth spread inside her under the intensity of his gaze, replacing the heat of anger she’d felt only moments before. Had he used the word love? She couldn’t move, could scarcely breathe.

    He stepped closer and cupped her grimy face with his hands.
    “Carter, I look awful.”

    “You look beautiful to me.” The pad of his thumb traced her cheek, then moved over her lower lip.

    Her heart whirled like the weather vane on top of the Kursaal in the midst of the storm. Did he mean it? She studied his eyes, the truth laid bare in their caramel depths. How she wanted to believe him! Despite her tear-streaked cheeks and mud-caked clothing, for once in her life she let her heart take flight.

    The thunder outside paled in comparison to the resonance beating in her chest.

    Carter bent his head and brushed her lips with a kiss. He drew back, looked into her eyes, and kissed her again, long, slow, sweet—chasing away her last remnants of doubt.

    Hope that wasn't too long. It's hard to tell on these little comment boxes. :)

  59. .
    Hi Julie:

    You did not include my favorite love scene which is not even between the hero and heroine. It’s a surprise love scene between an old married couple which is sprung on the reader like an announcement that she has just won the lottery. This is just too good to be dropped in at the very end of a chapter; but then, when you write a 502 page novel, there needs to be a lot of gems to reward the reader along the path. : )

    From “A Hope Undaunted”. The grandfather (Patrick) and grandmother (Marcy) have just had a big fight about a foster child Marcy ‘needs’ to alleviate her impending ‘empty nest’ angst.

    She nodded and sniffed again.

    With a tight squeeze, he buried his head in her neck before pulling away with a lift of his brow. He stared at her new satin gown, then slowly fanned his hands down the sides of her waist. “And speaking of a price to pay – so you’ve taken to wearing perfume to bed, have you, Mrs. O’Connor?” He bent to caress the curve of her throat while his fingers grazed the strap of her gown. “And a new satin gown, surely not just for sleep.” With a slow sweep of his thumb, the strap slithered from her shoulder. “Oh, I’m afraid this is going to cost you, darlin’.”

    He kissed her full on the mouth, and heat shivered through her. “I suppose this isn’t one of those times when I need to say no,” she whispered, her breathing ragged against his jaw.

    “No, darlin’, it’s not.” And clutching her close, he fisted the satin gown and moved in to deepen the kiss, his husky words melting in her mouth. “For all the good it would do.”

    I don’t think I can find another passage like that in the last few hundred romances I’ve read. I just loved it!!

    Now about your post:

    Stupid in love
    a slave to Eve
    totally devoted
    to filling her need.

    It brought the fall
    this passion call.
    He could have been great.
    He could’ve had it all.

    But being her slave
    and stupid in love
    was heaven on earth
    if not above.

    Men are stupid
    But they need to be
    The world would end
    If they were really free.


    I’d love a shot at a critique. vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  60. Julie - Thanks so much for your kind words. I cut and pasted them for my "Bits to Pull Out When the Going Gets Tough" file. I'm not the only one who has one of those, am I?

    And I love reading all these excerpts - can't wait for these books to be available! (Mary, a Sharpshooter book is on my "just for me" list for the store this week).

  61. No, Jan, you're not the only one. I keep a file of inspirational quotes, some specific to writing and some more general. I've had it for the past five years. I add to it regularly and yes, I do go back and look at it when I need a boost (or kick in the rear).

  62. Oh Julie, so sorry to disappoint you.


    I love romance, but ahem, as Pepper and I were talking yesterday there is a slight something called EXPERIENCE before you can write it!?!?

    Hehe. But that's neither here nor there.

    I do like to write a good love scene though and take cues from my favorite romance author.


  63. Saying 'hi' quick!!!

    I stopped in twice this morning but Google ate my comments.


    Basically said Julie's amazing and is trying to STEAL MY LONG POST tiara.

    Don't touch it, Jules...

    Back away from the crown, honey.

    If you know what's good for you, LOL!

    Gotta get back to work. Glad to see Blogger is feeding posts in.


  64. Love it! So fun!!!! So appropriate for Valentine's Day!!!! Mark is so not "stupid in love"
    Blessings my dear friend!
    xoxo, Andi

  65. I almost sent the 'moment' from Montana Rose. I really loved that. Probably more sweet than hot, but oh, so sweet.

  66. And RUTHY, I think you can tell when 'it' happens in all my books now. :)

    Something to strive for.

  67. Hello Julie and everyone. As usual, my head is spinning with all the thoughts flying around inside. I don't know whether to tell the truth or fib about my feelings toward Valentine's Day...and romance.

    Most women I've talked with, including myself have been disappointed in their romances within marriage. A beautiful Christian gal I know has one of the saddest stories of love and marriage I've heard. She believed in romance intensely as a younger woman. No, no, I can't tell about her story. She has informed me that if she is left a widow by her second husband, she will write her story. If she dies before her husband, then she'll take it with her and receive a healing from Jesus. It's an incredible story and might not be believed by some.

    Julie, I enjoyed your entire blog this morning. I love all the characters you created for all your novels I've read. Sometimes I'd get miffed at the guys when their stubbornness caused their being "stupid in love" and vice versa with the gals. But it made darn good reading, for sure!!

    Valentine's Day is goofy. I remember working diligently as a child, to individually pick out each valentine for each person I was giving to and take them to school with so much excitement. It seemed a very long day until the party. Then at party time and the opening of our beautifully decorated sacks of valentines received; searching the back of each card, hoping to find that special boy's name, only to find none. Disappointment set in quickly. Valentines Day at school was a cruel and quick way to find out who liked you and who didn't. I've held several little girls in my arms as a mother on Valentine's Day who returned home from school very soured on the whole Valentine's Day idea and heart broken. It's always the same. It hurts someone.

    Usually Valentine's Day is just like any other day. Suddenly my husband will show a bright light bulb shining above his head and leaving the house quickly and quietly to return with a rose for me and each of our girls, and a flowery sentimental card for me. I'd much rather he take me in his arms and tell me how much he loves me and give me a long smooch on the lips. Why...I'd probably drop my cane!!

    That's my view today.

    Thanks dear Julie for asking us to spill our feelings on romance and Valentine's Day. I'm spilled out. I vow to put a lot of romance and valentines in my writing when I finally succeed. Maybe my kids will find my manuscripts (if I leave them conspicuously) after I've departed. If that happens, and I hear the sighs of contented women readers floating up to my ears, I'll smile contentedly to myself and sigh deeply. Ok, ok, I know it's silly, but I can imagine, can't I?

    Grace & Peace,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  68. JULIE: Awesome! And thanks for the help on "rail." I've already changed it. :D It does make me feel good that you didn't even notice it until I mentioned it. That made my day. :D

    And your comments about how women long to be cherished by a man "stupid in love" was dead on! So much of what you said mirrors my own thoughts. Thanks for voicing them!

    MARY: Wow! You caught me off guard wth that hot scene. :D

    VINCE: The grandparents are two of my favorite characters and I love tha Julie gives them their own story throughout the series!

    CAROL: I really do want to read Nick's story! No kidding! Get her done already. :D


  69. OH, MAN, just finished a six-hankie scene that would NOT let me go, so I'm sorry I've been MIA most of the afternoon!!

    PATRICIA SAID: "Logic says, "Run fast in the other direction." Love says, "Dig in and stay put, no matter how bad/crazy/deranged it gets."Oh, AMEN to that, girlfriend!! We are kindred spirits on the Rhett man, Patricia, and YES, I ALWAYS felt Scarlett got Rhett back, even when I first read it at the age of 12. Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I was thrilled at the outcome of the sequel "Scarlett," even if the movie was a little strange.

    HELEN!!! Bite your tongue, girl, what the heck do you mean that you "don't contribute anything to this blog except coffee ... or don't know how to make anything but the plain stuff. No fancy flavors." There isn't one person in Seekerville who doesn't know who you are and how important you are to this blog, so don't make me come down there, girl, because I will -- I'm just feisty enough.

    And PLEASE do me a favor and enter the Genesis -- it will surprise you, seriously. And I can't believe you are talking almost like you are thinking of giving up writing. Listen, if I can go through 45 rejections on A Passion Most Pure (some of 'em pretty ugly, too, trust me), YOU can enter the Genesis and keep your flame alive. Do you really think you would be spending the time you do writing if God hadn't given you the heart's desire to do it??? And don't get me started on heart's desires, sis, because they are straight from the throne of God when we line ourselves up with Him like you do, so get moving, you hear?

    Sorry ... I got carried away there for a moment ... thought I was Ruthy.


  70. Wow Mary, that scene was wonderful. But I still like your "one liners." I've read a LOT of romance novels in the last 20 years, and I've never read 'it' like you wrote it in Petticoat Ranch and Gingham Mountain.
    Julie, will you be offended if I tell you that I think Scarlett didn't deserve Rhett. I've always liked him so much better than her. He is the ultimate example of "stupid in love."

    Did you read the sequel by Alexandra Ripley (I think)? I really liked it.

    I'm just down Hwy 60 from Carol. We got several inches at our house, but it finally stopped, and the sun is shining. Not that it's gonna help.

    DH's school is in an area that was only supposed to get an inch or so, but it got slammed. I was very happy to get that call this morning. There's something very nice about sleeping in til after 8:00 w/ hubby by my side.

    I'm just in for the book, by the way.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  71. Oh Jules,
    I don't have time to leave much of a comment right now - but I'll be back later after church.
    WOWEEEE!!! Love this post.

    A hero who is caring. Sigh. I love that one!!!
    And dominance.
    And out of character
    and stupid....

    I think I'm in love.
    With all of them. :-)

  72. Linette! You and me both! I want to know the story and I'm glad I'll have at least one reader =D. It's a great idea. I just don't know that I can pull off the 'suspense' part of romantic suspense... :p. The last RS I read [an LIS] only covered like 3 days. Then it's pretty easy to keep up the suspense [if you've got a good premise]. But this one is like 6-8mos... /sigh/ As soon as this rough draft is done, I'm headed back to Nick and Debbie.

    [And for the record - there's nothing wrong with the name Debbie. This MC just doesn't strike me as a Debbie... But I can't come up with anything better...]

    Julie – how far are you into NCIS? Tony grows up as you go along. I have high hopes for him eventually. Even have a couple of "'ships" I'm rooting for on NCIS =D. I'm not too sure what to make of last night's ep. It was a good ep, but... It seemed... late. I did like it though...

    Anyway, moving right along to #7-9 and knowing that I can only hope

    7. Hero Who's Pushed to Dominance Maybe. A bit. Not like Luke.

    8. Hero Who's Driven to the Edge Don't think so. Not yet anyway. Nick may get there. Probably does in fact. It is the mob after all...

    I'll post 9 in a minute. It's longer... Okay. Just long. Brevity is not my strong suite either. I promised I wasn't going to post this until I hit my goal for today but, well, it's like pulling teeth, and with the kids home it's just not happening...

  73. LORNA!!! What a treat to see you here today, my friend. And I'm glad I could help motivate both the scene and the card-buying for hubby.

    LOVED the scene you posted and heck no, it's not too long, are you kidding??? Since when are great romance scenes too long??? I simply cannot wait to read it, and you can bet your bottom dollar if we are offered perks again by Revell, your book will be at the top of my list.

    Oh, VINCE, that is one of my favorites too, as are most of Marcy and Patrick's scenes, I guess because as an older woman, I so relate to Marcy. Thank you for your kind words, as always, and I absolutely love, love, LOVED the poem!! Especially the last two stanzas that said:

    But being her slave
    and stupid in love
    was heaven on earth
    if not above.

    Men are stupid
    But they need to be
    The world would end
    If they were really free.

    You are one talented man, let me tell you. Does your wife know how lucky she is, I hope??


  74. Julie,

    You must have been posting at the same time I was. I see you did read the sequel. I never thought she deserved him, but I still hated that he left. I'm with you, I was thrilled with the sequel, but the movie was strange.

    I've been feeding the birds since the big snows started--no feeders, just seed on the ground. I put some out this morning and now there are about two dozen birds pecking around in the snow for seeds. Two pairs of cardinals, I love cardinals.

    Just got the call, school's out tomorrow too. Happy Birthday, Hubby!

  75. 6 hankies Julie? Oh my. I think I need to buy stock in Kleenex. And it's going to be over a year and a half before the rest of us get to see it! That's worth 6 hankies right there!


    Okay - here's my 9. And then I'm done. And I've made a bit of progress. Thankfully. Thank God. Literally.

    9. A Hero Who Can't Stop Thinking About her Yep. Nate broke Mandie's heart 5 years ago. His twin brother is now engaged to her twin sister. He's finally admitted to himself that he might like to convince Mandie to try again but his brother has told him a snowball has a better chance on a July day in Phoenix than he does with Mandie. He's on a date with another girl – Amy – and spends his time remembering dating Mandie. It's not really pasteable stuff though... but then a while later...

    I dipped my head towards her as her eyes fluttered closed. This was it. The second kiss. The reasoned kiss. The one that should tell me if there were going to be fireworks when we were together, and fireworks were something I definitely thought were necessary between me and the girl I'd eventually marry. The kiss was soft, never developing into anything more than the gentle touch of my lips on hers. I moved away a moment later. We said good-bye and I went to my car to head back to my apartment.

    No fireworks. None of the blissful desire to get lost in kissing her, to lose track of time and wonder if our parents – or roommates in this case – would open the door and catch us making out. It was still... nice. Just nice. I'd kissed girls where it was more like kissing my sister – not that I'd ever kissed Vicki. Kissing Amy was better than that, but was it enough? Could it become the all-encompassing need to be closer to her? The need we would struggle to control until the wedding? The kind of need I still saw whenever Mom and Dad kissed and they thought we weren't paying attention. The kind I'd felt with other girls in the past.

    I slammed my hand against the top of the steering wheel. Who was I kidding? I'd only felt that way about one girl and that was Mandie. Maybe I was setting my sights too high. Maybe it was just high school hormones. Maybe I was just imagining what I saw with my parents – and Joe and Liz. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe this could grow into that. Maybe...

    Maybe there were pigs with wings following me home.

    "Love is a decision. It's a verb," my dad had told me years earlier. "In any relationship, you won't always feel the love, but feelings follow actions. Act loving and, odds are, before long, you'll feel loving."

    Surely that wasn't just about feelings of love, but also for feelings of passionate love as well. That's what I was going to do. Act loving towards Amy. Not too loving of course, but loving enough and surely the feelings would follow. And when I married someone and we finally got to explore the physical side of things, I was sure we'd be like my folks.

    Mandie herself had nothing to do with it, I told myself. Nothing. I was going to fall in love with Amy or someone else who wasn't Mandie.

    Even if it killed me.

    Aaaand... I'm done =D.

  76. JAN -- SO glad I could help fill up your "Bits to Pull Out When the Going Gets Tough" file. Everybody needs one of those, for sure. I think mine may be a whole two-drawer file unto itself ... :)

    CASEY!!! Don't give me that "experience" excuse, girl, 'cause I wrote 150 pages of the base novel for A Passion Most Pure when I was twelve, and all I had to go on was GWTW, movies I snuck down to watch at night after my mom and dad went to bed and kissing Johnny Huels in the coatroom during kindergarten ... over and over ... :) Thanks for the compliment, though, sweetie -- you KNOW how much I love you and your opinions.

    RUTHY SAID: "Basically Julie's ... trying to STEAL MY LONG POST tiara. Don't touch it, Jules... Back away from the crown, honey. If you know what's good for you!"

    GRIN ... Honey, I'll go toe-to-toe with you anytime on blog blabber because I gotta be the undisputed queen. My longest Seeker blog is 4,043 words -- try and beat that! :)


  77. ANDI!!! Thanks for stopping by, sweetie, and I'm pretty sure Mark IS "stupid in love," girl, because I know YOU, and he'd be crazy not to be. By the way, guess whose engagement pic is in my newsletter this time????

    MARY ... POST IT, GIRL, NOW!!! And, uh, yeah ... we can definitely figure out when "it" is happening in your books now! You've come a long, LONG way, Ms. Connealy. :)

    BARBARA SHELTON ... if you don't stop talking like you're old, I'm going to grab that cane of yours and bop you with it!! You are a VERY young mature woman who has a gift for writing, so I'm guessing your kids will be reading your books AFTER they buy them from Borders. Get moving, girl.

    And, yes, like I said in some of my prior comments, V-Day is one of the most overrated days in the year. I have never been fond of it and it always seems to hurt somebody's feelings somewhere, sometime. So I TOTALLY concur with you on this one.


  78. LINNETTE ... you're welcome, my friend, and we do seem to feel the same way about things, don't we?? Kindred spirits ...

    ANDREA, nope, I'm not offended, sweetie because Scarlett DIDN'T deserve Rhett anymore than Charity deserves Mitch in A Passion Redeemed, but you gotta love a flawed heroine who fights to the death, don't ya?? And when the sequel "Scarlett" came out, I gave my husband strict orders to keep the kids upstairs while I pulled my recliner within two feet of the TV, remote in hand while I taped the entire thing without commercials (quite a feat back then). I LOVED the book, even though it can't hold a candle to GWTW. I just needed my fix on Rhett and Scarlett, and boy, did I get it!

    PEP!!! Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet words. Pray for me at church, will ya??? I always can use it, sweetie.


  79. CM ... halfway through the first season of NCIS, although my husband has been watching NCIS marathons on TV. Kind of hard for me to transition from JAG to NCIS because I'm sorry, but to me, Mark Harmon is no David James Elliott, and I just like aircraft and naval carrier action more than dead bodies and autopsies. BUT ... Keith assures me I will get into it ... or else. :) Post THAT one under #7 Dominance ... :)

    ANDREA ... I LOVE Cardinals too!! One of the prettiest (and most romantic) birds out there. Give your hubby a great big birthday hug from Seekerville, okay?

    CM ... LOVE the line: "The kind of need I still saw whenever Mom and Dad kissed and they thought we weren't paying attention" and "Maybe there were pigs with wings following me home." GREAT STUFF, kiddo.


  80. Oh Julie! It gets better! The first season isn't bad [the first ep is one of my faves!], but it just gets better from there =D.

    And thank you, darlin'! You are too sweet!

    Just for that, here's some more cookies. And I'll bring you some more next time I'm in St. Louis.

    My favorite birds are also Cardinals, but the kind that have bats and jerseys...

  81. Kirsten,
    WOW - great scene.
    Whew...lovely writing

  82. Hey Jules,
    Here's a try at a hero showing care. I'm editing my contemp romance (I LOVE THIS BOOK) and this scene is particularly fun to write.
    My heroine is attempting to rescue a little girl's doll from the middle of a stream, where the little girl had dropped it. Eisley has just reached the doll when she looks up and Wes (the hero) is looking down at her from the bridge.

    He's feeling a bit twitterpated.

    Here ya go:

    “You’re here?” Eisley called and opened her mouth to say something more, but her words dissolved into a gasp.

    He watched in horrified silence as Eisley doddered, attempted to steady herself, and with a flail of arms and squeak for help, fell bum first in the brook. Mud and water flew in different directions, raining from one side of the stream to the next.

    Alarm rifled through him. He slid down the embankment and was at the water’s edge in a moment.

    “I saved the doll.” Eisley wiggled the doll up in the air, while the rest of her remained seated in the middle of the brook. “There were casualties though, I’m afraid. My pride is dead.”

    A laugh of surprise jolted from his lungs. He waded through the stream toward her, his wellies protecting his feet from the chill of the water. One patch of mud stuck to the side of her cap, little dots of it added darker spots to her freckled face, and her humor-filled eyes lifted to his.

    “If you’ve come to rescue me, you’re too late. Wait,” She wiped her empty hand against her jeans. “I suppose I am a damsel in distress.” She held out her hand to him, her expression expectant.

    He pulled her to a stand. “It was an impressive rescue to watch.”
    He flipped his handkerchief from his pocket and began wiping bits of mud off her cheeks, her smile still situated beautifully on her face. She was a confusing little bird. No fragile constitution. No pretension.

    “Ah,the handkerchief,” Eisley closed her eyes and lifted her face to him. “Don’t leave home without it.”

    He steadied her face with a hand to her cheek and continued to remove flakes of mud…even imaginary ones.

    The baseball cap sat lopsided on her head, her upturned face portrayed a picture of complete trust, and morning sunlight haloed her loose strands of her auburn hair. Striking.

    Cool air grew thick, his breath lodged in his throat, and a soft blush of tenderness expanded through his chest. His gaze dropped to her mouth, full lips parted in a smile. Don’t look at her lips…Look at her ridiculous cap. There’s a chap.

  83. Pepper


    Very nice.

    Look at the cap. That's it.


  84. Thanks Carol,
    I'm in love with Wes myself.
    Gee - I love Eisley too.

    They're just so daggone cute together.
    Just wait 'til you meet the REST of her family. FUN-NY!

    Sorry - got a little crazy there, but if Jane Austen can call her novels her 'babies, certainly we should fall in love with ours too. :-)

  85. Just wrote a scene this morning where my hero shows just how stupid in love he is. Sigh... You are so funny. Loved the post. I am a recovering perfectionist myself. Blessings!

  86. PEPPER--Thanks bunches! Out of my stories this one is my favorite and I have fallen hard for this hero and heroine, so I'm thrilled they touched others.

    I love you're scene, too. It's so sweet. Call me sadistic but I love the "graceful" fall into the brook. And Wes removing imaginary flakes of mud. Wonderful! :o)


  87. PEPPER!!! What can I say -- I LOVE your writing, my friend, but then I've told you that over and over. Great scene!!

    And in my opinion, an author who doesn't "fall in love" with her hero doesn't have much of a hero ...

    Hugs, Julie

  88. Thanks,CARRIE, but you are SUCH a tease!! Tell us you wrote this scene this morning where your hero shows how stupid in love he is, but then YOU don't show us!! How does he show her??

    KIRSTEN ... I love the imaginary flakes of mud too -- VERY nice.


  89. Julie - Aww, that's sweet of you to say so. No, I haven't written any romantic suspense yet...though I am working on the outline to a new story that might work up into a romantic suspense. :-) The hero begins as a hired assassin of sorts, but his outlook on life and what he does soon changes after he meets the woman he is supposed to help destroy. :-)

    ~ Katy

  90. LOVE this post... you are so incredibly gifted at putting into words what is in my heart! I just LOVE that "stupid in love" line.. I'm going to use that one! It reminds me of the days when I would ask my husband why he married me, why do you love me? He would look at me like a deer caught in headlights and couldn't answer! grin.. at least your husband has given an answer to what so many men WANT to say, but just may not be able to verbalize!

    I would love to bring chocolate chip cookies to the party - is that on a low-fat, sugar free diet? why don't I crave carrot sticks??
    at least I had some hazelnut coffee this morning...
    thanks for being a blessing and for giving us a glimpse into the next books! can't wait!!

  91. Hi Julie,
    I'm stopping in late tonight. Book Club met at my house tonight so I was busy getting ready all afternoon.

    BTW, we had a wonderful time!

    I love your Crazy In Love theme. That's the love we all want, isn't it. And that's the way God loves each of us.

    Since I write suspense, my heros do amazing feats of daring to save the women they love. Because, as you mentioned in your blog, they're crazy in love.

  92. And Blogger at my comment (twice).

    As I've said before, I wish I could put the passion in my writing that you do in yours. My hero step's in harm's way twice to save his love as well as does something very Japanese to prove his worth.

    I have AHU in my Nook. Would love a critique.

  93. Whoa baby! I'm melting like butta over here! I have been reminded once again why I LOVE and ADORE your writing. Such a "sweet treat"! ;-)

    And I'm with you on Valentine's Day being overrated. My hubby isn't the mushy, romantic type to bring flowers and chocolates. I told him that I'd much rather be surprised with something special on just a random day. Plus, like you said, I also prefer service, affection, and kindness. I'll take a car wash over roses, any day, lol.

    Love ya!

  94. Julie, as I read your post, I realized you have your finger firmly on the male pulse.

    Or at least your husbands! lol

    Seriously, this is a blog post that I will read over and over and over again, checking of reasons to make my hero "Stupid in Love" with my heroine!

  95. Julie:

    I didn't mean to sound like a gloomy gus. I think it's the waiting that's making me a little melancholy.

    I have two proposals and a complete with publishers. When I get responses on them I should have a better idea what direction to go in this crazy writing life.


  96. its late for all over in america that is Im still getting back to normal (if you can tell me what normal is cos I think I have forgotten)
    love the post.
    I can say I dont have the Martha stewart syndrome. This room and others were clean before I came home you wouldn't know it now.

  97. I'm late today Julie, but couldn't resist telling you how much fun that was to read. I am so glad your husband is "stupid in love", I hope everyone gets to experience that someday, it's wonderful!

  98. Okay, I know I'm late but I just have to comment and say how WONDERFUL your posts are Julie! They are the perfect writing boost.
    I've loved reading all the excerpts! Y'all are some talented people and I am so honored that y'all share with an attemping writer like me. :)

    Vince - loved your poem!

    So here's my excerpt. It's at the climax when heroine's ex (who got her pregnant then tried to kill her) showes up - just as hero proposes - with a gun and demands heroine come with him.
    I think I've got 2, maybe some 3 (but he mostly stops cause he doesn't want her to get shot, so that's kind of more "smart in love"), and 5.

    “I want her and I want her now!” Jacobs roared. He waved his gun like a madman. Which he was.
    “Alright, Jacobs, I’ll go with you.” Nora stepped away from behind him.
    “No, Nora. Don’t,” Levi told her. He clasped her hand tightly. “I can’t loose you.”
    “Levi, it’s the only way. I don’t want you hurt for something that’s not your fault.” Nora’s voice was soft and full of love. He knew she would give up anything, even her own safety, for him. Levi had to protect Nora – and the baby; they were his responsibility.
    “I’m not standin’ around all day watchin’ you two fight. She’s comin’ with me and that’s that,” Jacobs growled. “Come here, Nora.”
    Nora let go of Levi’s hand and took a step towards Jacobs. Levi reached for her and the gun fired. The window behind them shattered. Nora squeaked.
    “Nora, do not go with him. He'll kill you."
    “No, Nora, you’re mine. And you’re coming with me. Now, do I have to put a bullet in this guy’s head to convince you or not?”
    Jacobs looked wild enough to go through with his threat. Levi prayed harder than ever.
    Nora took another step towards Jacobs. Then another. And another. Time was measured by the pace of each reluctant step Nora took.
    When she was close enough, Jacobs grabbed her, momentarily taking the gun off of Levi. This was his only chance. Levi lunged forward. He heard another shot. And this time he felt it in his shoulder.
    Nora screamed. The gun was now pointed at her head, but she was looking in horror at the growing, bright red patch on Levi’s white t-shirt.
    “One move and she’s dead!” Jacobs backed out the door. “If I so much as hear a footstep I will fire this gun! Do not follow me!”
    “Levi, God is with us. I love –”
    “SHUT UP!” Jacobs roared. He jerked Nora out the door and slammed it.
    NO! Levi screamed internally, worried that any sound he made would mean the death of Nora and her baby.
    God! God! God! Oh, Jesus, help!
    Levi watched the puddle of blood on the floor grow. He fell to his knees. All he could do was pray. Then he remembered: his phone!
    Fighting the blackness rolling in, Levi reached to his hip for the device. It fell from his bloodied hand crashed to the floor. Shakily he knelt and retrieved it, flipped it open and dialed.
    “9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”
    Was she talking to him? What had happened? Why was he calling 9-1-1 again?
    “I – don’t – know,” Levi managed to gasp. “Nora.”
    The blackness won and Levi was falling. He was loosing. Big time.

  99. Hi Julie, thought provoking post! "Stupid in love". I think a wonderful way to show this in a hero, is to have him stand up to his buddies/admit to his buddies that he's in love. It's so cute how they try at first to deny it but then end up being the heroine's knight in shining armor or having the heroine's "back" when needed, despite any ribbing or teasing by his pals. Oh - and I would love a critique, thank you!

  100. KATY!!! A "hired" assassin" who falls in love with the woman he's supposed to destroy??? Uh, yeah, I'd say that would fit "romantic suspense" pretty nicely!! What a totally COOL idea ... just off the edge enough to work. WRITE IT, GIRL!!!


  101. JOETTA!!!! I've missed you, sweetie, and only you (and me, and a few other analytical types) would ask our hubbies why they love us), another reason why I love you -- we are SO darned alike (I'm sorry ... that's not necessarily a compliment ... :)). And I'd say Todd is one of those quiet SIL types who wears the deer-in-headlights look quite a bit with you, which only means he SO darn male that he doesn't quite know what to do with somebody SO female like you!! :)


  102. Oh, DEB, you have it SOOO easy with daring feats to prove the hero's SIL mentality!! But then I've told you before -- writing suspense is NOT an easy thing to do, at least for me, so you go, girl!!


  103. WALT SAID: "As I've said before, I wish I could put the passion in my writing that you do in yours. My hero step's in harm's way twice to save his love as well as does something very Japanese to prove his worth.

    WALT!!! Stepping in "harm's way" is NO slacker way to show SIL, my friend, trust me -- I'd say that's pretty cool. And somehow I can't believe you don't have a lot of "passion" in your writing -- guys can be some of the most romantic and SIL writers around (i.e. Nicholas Sparks), so I'm guessing you just don't see it in your own work. If you win the critique, I would LOVE it if you sent a love scene, and let me be the judge, okay? Good luck in the contest!!


  104. lol, I guess to does! Thanks for your encouragment, Julie - I aim to write it! :-)

    Oh, and btw, I just signed up for your newsletters! :-)

    ~ Katy

  105. LOL, MICHELLE -- "A car wash over roses" -- you are TOO cute and SOOO practical, like moi! Let's see, would I rather have a dozen roses that will die in a week, leaving me with nothing but dead leaves on the counter and stinky water ... or bring me coffee and design my newsletter?? Uh, no contest!! :)


  106. PAMMY!!! Finger firmly on the male pulse ... Ohhhhh, I LOVE that!! Thanks for my new tag line, sweetie. And, uh, I've read you stuff, kiddo, so talk about fingers on pulses ... WHEW!!


  107. HELEN SAID: "I have two proposals and a complete with publishers."

    Oh man, and I was feeling sorry for you???? You are ROCKIN', my friend, and I am saying a prayer RIGHT NOW for supernatural favor to drop-kick you out of this gloomy mood with a positive response, K?


  108. Uh, JENNY, no ... I can't tell you what "normal" is because, well, one does not know "normal" if one is NOT "normal," you know??? :)

    Soooo glad you had a great time in Hawaii -- what was your favorite part?? And to heck with the house -- it's just you there anyway, right??? I don't clean unless I have company ... or I lose my husband in the mess and can't find him ... :)


  109. Thanks, EVA -- I appreciate your kind words. I honestly think that anyone who would put up with me AND love me in the process is a little bit "dim," but hey -- I don't look a gift horse in the mouth, you know?? "Stupid in love" is just fine by me, and I do wish it for everyone who doesn't have it, although we ALL have "unconditional love" (another name for it) from a pretty amazing God!!).


  110. TORI ... WHOA, what a scene to kick-start my heart this morning, girl -- great job!!! And you also have some #5, caring, going on there BIG TIME!! I'm so edgy after reading that, I might have to switch to decaf, so thanks for sharing the wealth.


  111. JENNAVICTORIA -- BINGO!! I do believe you are the FIRST new idea today, so THANK YOU!!! YES, absolutely, having the hero stand up to his buddies/admit to his buddies that he's in love is AWESOME!! I can still see John Travolta in Grease, not wanting his buds to see how much he cared for Sandy in that first musical scene, Summer Love, but as we all know, that changes BIG TIME by the end of the movie and everybody gets the message HUGE!! Wish I'd thought of that, girl -- GREAT job and good luck in the contest!!


  112. KATY ... good girl -- both in aiming to write that unique plot AND signing up for the newsletter!!! I appreciate it and hope you enjoy it. And good luck, both in this contest AND in writing your book.


  113. What a fun way to start my day! Really enjoyed reading this, and many of the comments!
    I am very drawn to (and tend to write) heros that are protective, and heros willing to put aside pride/anger. I also like a hero that confidently displays love (not necessarily physical affection)in public- because we a love the passion behind closed doors, but it is even better when everyone is jealous because they can see how much your man loves you ;)
    I'd be thrilled with your book, but very intersted in your experienced insight!

  114. T. WILHELM SAID: "I also like a hero that confidently displays love (not necessarily physical affection)in public- because we a love the passion behind closed doors, but it is even better when everyone is jealous because they can see how much your man loves you ;)

    Oh, girl, I am SO with you there!! My husband is pretty affectionate, always holding my hand in the car, kisses throughout the day whenever he walks through the room, but it's at a party or in front of others that I reallllly appreciate his attention, be it getting me a plate of food or dancing with me at weddings (he HATES dancing!) because like you, I want people to know how much my guy likes me.

    So glad I could help start your day off right -- hope the rest of it is great.


  115. Hi Julie,

    Reading your post brightened up my afternoon. Your passion for writing and your family show through so clearly in your words. Your post made me smile.

    Men do definitely fall "stupid in love". I always sarcastically ask my hubby what he would do without me when my impatience stretches him - he smiles and reminds me that he would be able to go hunting whenever he wants and do whatever he wanted when he wanted :) Love keeps him around.

    Our men love the uniqueness of our personalities and it's obvious that you and your hubby are so in love - very refreshing to see that in this day and age.

    Put me in for the critique contest - I'd LOVE to get your feedback on my writing.


    Lisa Klarner

  116. LISA!!! I am SO thrilled I could make you smile with the post, and you made me smile with your comments to your husband too, especially the line, "Love keeps him around."

    I'm a pretty emotional person, and my relationship with God is very emotional too, but I like to point out to people that there isn't a guy on the planet that would put a wedding band on a girl's finger if he wasn't emotionally involved with her ... except maybe if she was a millionaire! :) That said, I feel the same way about my husband and God -- I want to be very emotionally involved with both, because therein is that SIL we are all looking for.

    Have a blessed day, and good luck in the contest.


  117. Julie,
    I love your husband's description of being stupid in love. I am so glad I can say that my husband is also stupid in love. He goes out of his way to include me in all of his business trips and spends so much time with me. I am so in love with him! My sister-in-law stated that we act like honeymooners. Not bad for being married almost 28 years!
    I would love to be chosen to win one of your books. Thanks for sharing the passion!
    Many Blessings and Smiles,
    Charlovesmark at gmail dot com

  118. WHOO-HOO, CHARLOTTE!!! You have NO idea how good that is to hear, sweetie. I've seen three friends in the last couple of weeks whose marriages are not great, and my heart breaks for them. You and I are very blessed women, but I truly believe if most wives applied God's precepts to their marriages, most could have what you and I have.

    I would LOVE for you to win one of my books because I have a feeling you would LOVE them primarily because there is a two-tier love affair -- between the hero and heroine AND the mom and dad, which ties in to what you and I have.

    Have a BLESSED weekend, sweetie.


  119. Oh, I loved reading this post thanks Julie.

  120. ABI!!! Soooo good to see your smiling face, girlfriend -- how the heck are you??

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post -- good luck in the drawing, my friend.


  121. you are so kind Julie. I'd like to post an excerpt of this post on Monday with a link to full post on my blog(s) if you don't mind. Not the full thing I'll make them come and get the full article at seekerville.

    You are my favorite romantic writer I do believe. You have a way with words.

  122. ABI ... GO FOR IT!!! I am pleased and privileged that you want to post it, my friend, so THANK YOU!!


  123. Wow, I love your way of depicting a hero, just as what he should be. I always liked Mr. Knightley from "Emma."
    In my lastest story, my hero is a shy, sheepish soul, with a heart of gold, though he is far from perfect. I also have another hero who is just the opposite. I base them off people I know-just a little bit- but don't tell them!
    Julie, I love your blog! Almost as much as your books:) I love commenting on your blog as well. Faith Oygard

  124. Stupid in love is a classic line. Hug your hubby for me. I am so going to steal his line. :)

  125. I love this topic.

    He's stupid in love when the former rake can't stand the touch of anyone else's hand upon his shoulders but his wife's.

    Or no matter how mad he is, he just can't walk away without one final kiss.


  126. I'm new to this site, and enjoying every minute I am here! Love your examples and I am gonna purchase your books so I can read them. One reason I am find new Christian Fiction I can read!

  127. Hey, FAITH -- thank you SO very much for your kind words -- VERY nice way to kick off my day ...

    You said: In my lastest story, my hero is a shy, sheepish soul, with a heart of gold, though he is far from perfect. I also have another hero who is just the opposite. I base them off people I know-just a little bit- but don't tell them!

    LOL!! I won't tell THEM if you don't tell the people I based MY characters off of, deal??? The shy sheepish soul (great alliteration, by the way!) sounds very interesting, as does the opposite (a bad boy, I hope -- I just LOVE bad boys reformed, can you tell???).

    Thanks for stopping by and GOOD LUCK in the contest.


  128. LOL!!! ANN, you are SUCH a hoot!!! Steal away, kiddo -- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!! :) Hope you are going to be at ACFW this year, my friend, because I would SO love to give you a hug!!


  129. VANESSA SAID: "He's stupid in love when the former rake can't stand the touch of anyone else's hand upon his shoulders but his wife's. Or no matter how mad he is, he just can't walk away without one final kiss."

    OOOOOooooo, GOOD examples, Vanessa!! A former rake, eh?? My FAVORITE kind of hero ... :)


  130. SHANNON, YOU SWEETHEART, YOU!!! Welcome to Seekerville, girl, where 15 contest divas joined forces to pray/help each other into publication and now are devoted to doing the same for any aspiring writer!! If that's you, I hope you'll learn a lot from our mistakes (when we started only 1 of the 15 were contracted; now 14 of the 15 are published with the last one VERY close), but if it's not you and you are a reader only, we are EXCITED to have you here, girl!! This is a GREAT place to find great Christian fiction!!

    Thanks for stopping by AND for leaving a comment. Good luck in the contest.


  131. I'd like to email this to my hubby, too, but he'd think I was just promoting your work again, Julie. The lesson would go right over his head. sigh

    I love the guy, but your post reminds me of the time we were fixing fences... Hot July. So hot, the flies were resting. We were working out behind the barn and after awhile I realized Nelson had disappeared, but I hadn't heard him say he was going up to the house. He showed up about 15 mins later with a bottle of cold water. I asked if he'd brought me one. He said I hadn't asked for one. He then added something that was so profound, I stared at him for several moments while his face took on a stricken look. There I was down on my haunches putting in a fencing staple, sweat reeming off, arthritis in my back screaming for mercy, as the implication of his words sank in. I rose and staggered through the barn, across the yard and to the house - a 2 min walk - in tears and never went back to finish the job. Because he'd answered with... "I'm not going all the way back to the house just for you."

    So there ya go.

    You’re a blessed woman.

    anitamaedraper (at) hotmail (dot) com

  132. Oh, ANITA MAE, your story ripped my heart out!!! Some men are as dumb as a fence post, honestly. I blame this on mothers who didn't teach them better AND wives who let them get away with it past the honeymoon stage. I don't blame you for walking away, but did you two ever talk it out, I hope?

    Saying one for you right now, darlin'.


  133. Julie, what's there to talk about? He's said similar things several times since. After 34 yrs of marriage to a very independent woman, he figures I can get my own stuff. Yet he says he loves me. I guess he's just not 'stupid in love'.

    Anita Mae

  134. Ha! I'm going to have to buy your "A Trust Restored" simply because of the name "Brubaker"

    I was on Seekerville for some totally unrelated reason (looking at your blog set up) and I'm scrolling a hundred miles an hour down to the page bottom when my "name" flashed in front of me, or rather my maiden name.

    And even funnier, the Brubaker is the bad guy. I think I may be the only Brubaker in my family that hasn't had a run in with the law. Makes me curios what your Brubaker's first name is.

    Anyway. Thought it was funny.

    Yesterday, I read a homeschooling article in a nationwide paper about a Mrs. Anne Gephart. Guess what one of my heroine's name is that's been in the works for a year? Annie Gephart - just off by one letter! I should send her a book when I get published, a millennium from now.

  135. ANITA MAE, I'm thinking the guy would be lost without you. Do you notice he treats you better when you come home from ACFW??


  136. Hey, MJ, thanks for checking us out, even if it was just for format! :)

    Brubaker's name is Billy in the book, and he just has a bit part as a slime ball who puts the moves on the heroine. I'm glad I picked a name that's synonymous with trouble for this troublemaker. Bet you had an interesting upbringing ... :)


  137. Oh, I read the blog too when I'm not drowing in trying to get our three Genesis entries!

    Drat, no Billy Brubaker in my family that I know of!

    And yes, calling my upbringing interesting is rather tame. By God's grace I haven't followed the slime ball Brubaker path.