Wednesday, October 12, 2011

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE REALLY UGLY: Memories of a Published Writer (and giveaways including your name in my book!)

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

Ah, memories. Ol’ Clint mowing ‘em down with his Colt 1851 Navy revolver in a movie about three gunslingers who dig and claw their way to gold buried in a cemetery. Which, now that I think of it, is faintly reminiscent of a writer’s golden dreams of publication—we dig and claw in the sands of Unpubbed Island in search of the “gold” while editors, agents and contest judges gun us down. And, as in the case of my 45 rejections for A Passion Most Pure—the potshots kept whizzing by, over and over again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.) Praying for authors of whom I am jealous to go to the bestseller list (my good friend, Julie Klassen is a good example, a true story I talk about in my Seeker blog entitled Oh, For the Love of God, Part 2 at

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

4.) Drumming into my head that it's ALL about His glory, not mine (He must increase; I must decrease. John 3:30) and focusing on others instead of ourselves because to God, the story we write with our mouth and our actions is far more important that the story we write with our pens.

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

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

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

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


1.) Joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers at, FHL (Faith, Hope & Love at and RWA (Romance Writers of America at, both to get connected with other like-minded writers and to learn a lot about your craft.

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

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

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

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

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

7.) Frequented websites/blogs that deal with writing, such as The Seekers at, My Book Therapy at, Inkwell Inspirations (who have a GREAT page on writing resources at:, and Writer’s Alley at to mention only a few.

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

9.) Query, Query, Query!

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


1.) Compared myself to others, inciting jealousy and ingratitude ( 2.) Queried publishers without an agent (biggest reason my rejections topped at 45 rejections on A Passion Most Pure.

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

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

5.) Didn’t research publishers and their guidelines before I pitched to them.


1.) Went off hormones when I was entering contests — YIKES!! (


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

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

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

4.) Speaking engagements and teaching workshops.

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

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

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

9.) Establish a group blog like Seekerville. :)


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

GIVEAWAY TIME!! Please join me in celebrating the Seekers birthday month with a special giveaway—one lucky commenter will have the chance to have a character named after them in my next book, A Trust Restored, a signed copy of any one of my books including A Trust Restored and your choice of a new top CBA book from my own personal library.

AND ... anyone who bothers to read down this far and tells me they subscribed to my Journal Jots weekly blog by clicking the "subscribe to Journal Jots" button on the lower right of any page of my website will also be entered in a SEPARATE contest to win their choice of top CBA book from my personal library OR a signed copy of one of my first five books. Here's the link:

If you’re not published yet, shoot me some of the good, bad and uglies you’ve been wrestling with and how you’ve handled them. Or if you are pubbed, PLEASE, share some tips on the “bad” and “ugly” situations you’ve had and how you’ve dealt with them. Or just leave a comment about what you’re fixing for dinner tonight—I don’t care—anything will get you into the contest, so GOOD LUCK!



  1. Opened a new window so I can comment as I read...

    LOVE the pic!!!!

    [Okay I've been sucked in [and I'm watching Storm Chasers] but SOOOOOOO glad you haven't given into that desire to quit!]


    Yep the caps are called for because it's Julie day. Which makes this my unofficially official one year anniversary as a Seeker friend [seems like longer doesn't it? ;)] Dunno what first day I commented, but the first day I realized what a community this is was on a Julie-post day.

    And Julie you have been such an encouragement ever since.

    [Ruthy - I'll let you handle the snarkiness this time. I'll get in on it later ;).]

    Love you, lady! And thanks to Tina for commanding everyone to get together and starting the Seekers.

    Love the pic of the four of you together by the way :D.

    Did I mention I'm in for all sorts of giveaways?

    And I have Panera for breakfast, left from today. But it's lovely never goes bad virtual Panera. Doesn't taste QUITE as good, but there's far fewer calories.

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

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

    AND this is why you are one of my favorite people always take the time to stop by blogs to chat or just say hi. Even though you listed that this is also one of the "bad" things to do I just have to say that I SO appreciate a writer who takes the time to leave a comment on a review or send an email. It means just as much to a blogger (well, at least this blogger)as a 4 or 5 star review means to an author. :-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.
    p.s. I'm making cheesy hashbrowns for dinner...not sure what else yet

  3. Oh by the way I'm not a baby boomer and I know what a spaghetti western is! SO THERE! :-P

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  4. Oh my Carol you had the right Idea I feel I read a novel.
    (Sorry Julie)
    I subscrived to Journal Jots throught google plus.
    Renee I had Mary Moore on my blog last week and she said no one would know what a 45 record was and many of us suprised her.

    I love westerns something about them.
    Im so glad you rang Natasha also.
    The only think wrong with having a character in a book named after you is the shock of seeing your name in a book. this happened to me a few years ago in a christmas novella she had both my names and it was strange to say the least.

  5. Julie, I so appreciate your transparency. Thanks for sharing so that those of us behind you on the journey can learn from you. Your mindset and how you've come to the place of finding your affirmation in Jesus (who delights in each one of His children!) rather than numbers encourages me.

    My bad, on my short journey was my mindset. I went to a writer's retreat (wonderful one!) three months after deciding to write a novel. Being the over achiever that I am, I began beating myself up when I realized that my writing wasn't as good as those who have been writing for years. Go figure!

    God showed me that weekend that I must put in the time to become a great writer. More importantly, I must keep my eyes focused on Him, regardless of whatever comes of my story. Clinging to that truth.

    Thanks, Julie!

  6. Oh, since I'm here so early/late, I'm leaving chocolate, chocolate chip muffins for everyone. Enjoy!

  7. this is such a great resource post Julie! many thanks...
    i have clicked on the subscribe to journal jots b/c i want to do this, only i keep getting the wrong response!
    "There were some problems while loading your page:
    Sorry, we were unable to add this feed. Please try again later."
    which of course, is what i will do, but in the meantime i'm here & definitely trying for both entries!! just wanted you to know! ;) and it's waaaay past dinner for today-sorry! '')

  8. I'm with Renee...that personalization you give to EVERY SINGLE reader reply makes you so unique as an author, and I love you for it! I also love sharing your name with friends because of it, and's a nice bonus that your books are wonderful, too. :o)

    Big McAlister's lunch for me today so skipped out on most of dinner. Cannot beat their yummy club sandwich!

    southernsassythings at gmail dot com

  9. GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, early risers and late, and yes, this is ANOTHER L-O-N-G Julie blog, although I will admit that it originally ended at the last line that says, "I'm no fool."

    BUT ... apparently I am because I went back in the next day and added ALL the GOODS, BADS AND UGLIES I've experienced pre-pub and post, so hopefully one or two of them will help someone and be worth the novel-size blog. Almost ... :)

    Let's get this party started with a full breakfast bar with omelot station (run it through the garden, man!!), waffle station (Belgian and otherwise), egg station (yes, scrambled light with green peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese, like I like it ... or sunny side up (yuck ... does ANYBODY realllly eat them that way??) or Eggs Benedict-style). Then there's my fave -- I-Hop pancakes (verrrry light, please) and chocolate chip panny-cakes (as my kids called them). Throw in a peach cobbler (recipe by Michelle Tuller, thank you sweetie!) and an apple-pecan-cheese kuchen with rashers of maple-cured bacon and sausage links. YOWZA ... I got myself a lot of the "good," and more than a little of the "bad and the ugly" once I hit the old scales ... sigh.

    Thanks for dropping by and PLEAE, LORD, let me get a sane and reasonable name for a character in Steven's book!!! :)



  10. Julie, you have a great sense of humor.

    I think I've mentioned before that my ugly has been trying to find a critique group where I actually connect. Joining ACFW has helped a lot, but I'm still trying to find my niche.

    I've gone the contest circuit. Tried to be wise about the ones I enter. There have been times when I've fallen into a funk after receiving feedback, but I'm learning to let it all roll off my back.

    I've definitely learned that God is before all things and that He deserves all glory and honor. I've learned that my journey is not the same as any other writer's. God has called me and He will equip me.

    Awesome post. I think I'll print it off and post it on my wall.

    I think I signed up for your newsletter.

    Christina Renee

  11. ok, this couldn't be more perfect! i'm now subscribed!! YAY =) don't want to miss a 'jot' of Julie's journal!!
    i do have writing questions but not when i'm this zonked ~ '') talk later...

  12. Julie are you trying to say some of us dont have sane names????????????
    and eggs sunny side up is how I like poached eggs but most times they end up the other way.

  13. Thank you for the chocolate muffins, Jeanne!

    Love the spaghetti westerns...although I have to be in a certain mood to watch them. Something about the silence in the middle of scenes is a little unnerving.

    The Good: Thanks to encouragement and education received from Seekerville and other places, I'm stepping out further into the surf just off Unpubbed Island. Dabbling my feet in the world of publishing and trying out my new virtual bikini on my virtual always-twenty-something body!

    The Bad and the Ugly: Have to put these two bad boys together. Every day some voice snickers inside my head and says "Just who do you think you are, you poser!"

    And then the Good again: My dear husband gives me a kiss and tells me how proud he is that I'm stepping out with my dream.

    When the call comes, you can be sure I'll be singing "To God Be the Glory"!

  14. ooo loving that yummy breakfast selection, oh yah! so if you want a sane and reasonable name i actually do have one [just need to email for it!] yep keepin' it personal is def the way to go girl.... MANY THANKS!

  15. Oh boy. I'm old enough to know the spaghetti reference, so that's bad.

    Trying to imagine Walt Mussell in one of your books, which is definitely possible if you have a Missouri setting as my grandfather, also named Walt, grew up in Missouri, and would fall into the right time period. (His dad, great grandpa Charles, moved there to start a business.)

    I used to live in Portland. It's great there.

    As for the bad for the unpublished, I've never taken criticism of my work personally. I've discovered that there can be nuggets, even in the comments that make me go "huh?" However, the one ugly I had to learn deal with was being ripped publicly on a writer's loop for comments I'd made as a contest judge. That took a lot of prayer to get over.

  16. CAROL!!!!!!!!!! Why did I know you would be the very first one??? Where are my cookies???

    Yeah, the pic is a hoot, isn't it? My hubby is AMAZING!! He can slap my pic on just about anything and make it look good. And don't think I didn't hold that gun to his head to get him to Photoshop the lines in my forehead out! HA!

    THANK YOU for subscribing to Journal Jots, girl. PLEASE let me know if you don't get your e-mail when I post this Friday, okay? You are entered in the contest, my friend.

    Soooo glad I could encourage you, CM, because that's really what this is all about -- giving each other a lift up when we need it. We pubs have ALL been where you almost pubs are, and nothing thrills us more than seeing people we love (like you!) succeed. Your success is our success because we love and pray for you guys.

    Uh, actually, though, it was snarky Ruthy who corraled all of us into The Seekers, but the Sarge (Teenster) keeps us in line, trust me. :)

    Virtual Panera sounds good, girl, so bring it on!!


  17. I just signed up for journal jots! I love, love, loved this post, especially the part about A Passion Most Pure getting rejected 45 times. I adore that book, lost good sleep to that book, got my daughter and best friend addicted to Julie's writing via that book.

    My agent dropped me after 2 1/2 years recently, and I am still unpublished. Of course, it hurt like a death, but I see clearly how hugely God used her to encourage, deepen, and refine my writing--along with nudging me into public speaking and settling on a genre and market. I have to admit that it was 2 1/2 years well-spent.

    Your 45 rejections fuel my hope.



  18. Aw, RENEE, THANK YOU, sweetie!! You already know you are one of my faves as far as blogger/reviewers, so it's mutual, I assure you.

    And you know what? I never thought of that comparison before, comments from authors meaning as much as a 4- or 5-star review, but that makes sense. One of the GREATEST gifts we can give each other in this world is to make each other feel special because too many people have pasts where they were belittled or not loved or never encouraged. Consequently, they just need somebody to look them in the eye and talk to them with kindness and caring. I didn't get a lot of that growing up, so it's a priority to me today, which is why I like to leave comments. That and I flat-out love my reader friends! :)

    Ooooo, cheesy hash browns sound prettttty darn good right about now. Can you slap some on the buffet, please???


  19. WHOO-HOO, RENEE -- I am SOOOO proud of you, knowing what a spaghetti western is!! I know you are a movie buff, but that truly impresses me. :)


  20. Hey, JENNY ... yeah, I can't seem to write anything short to save my soul, which means I am in REAL trouble in writing The Cousins McClare, because I am going for 300 to 350 pages ... :|

    And my Journal Jots??? Called it that because it was just supposed to be a little, itsy-bitsy jot of a note/diary entry, but so much for brevity there! Sigh ... what can I say? Nobody listened when I talked when I was a kid, so I guess I'm making up for it now.

    Consider yourself entered in the Journal Jot contest, my friend, and good luck! Would LOVE to send you AHR!


  21. Julie, your posts are always so encouraging!

    I subscribed to Journal Jots! yay! To be honest, I didn't know what an rss feed was until I clicked on it and now I have Julie's Jots right there on my Yahoo home page! So cool!

    Funny you post this today of all days (or yesterday now, I guess) when I sent off my first contest submission to the Phoenix Rattler. I've been up and down and all over the place worrying one minute about the judge's comments I might get and then soaring with newbie hopes the next, dreaming about how wonderful it'd be to win tuition to the ACFW conf. next year.

    I REALLY needed the reminder that it's all about Him. If all my writing is only ever obscure, quiet praise to the One Who gave me this yen to write, then it will be worth it.

    I'm going to be reading this post often for reference. Thanks!

  22. Oh, JEANNE, I appreciate YOURS!! Thank you for sharing what you learned on that retreat -- SO important for us to hear. The journey to becoming the writer God wants us to be is half the fun, but unfortunately some of us (moi!) wasted SO much of the ride on the "uglies," which I (excuse me -- God) has almost remedied by now, thank God!!

    And, YUM!! Chocolate, chocolate muffins sound DEE- LISH!! Thanks for bringing them, sweetie.


  23. FAITH, HOPE AND CHERRY TEA ... why am I suddenly thirsty??? :)

    Oh, MAJOR BUMMER about the Journal Jots feed problems!! I thought I had that fixed, but maybe it's just a little glitch that will work out.

    DO tell me in a few days if you cannot get it to work, and we will brainstorm what to do, okay? Meanwhile, I'm entering you in the JJ contest for trying, my friend.

    Good luck!! :)


  24. Oh boy we're already talking breakfast and it's only 1am! Yikes! Please save me some. I have to go to bed so I can get up bright and early to dog-sit. :-)

    What you said about encouragement is so true. You never know when the least little thing will make someone's day. :-)

    Goodnight all!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  25. Oh and I'm not really a movie buff but I have a dad who's around your age. I grew up on Spaghetti westerns and reruns of shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke. ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  26. CHRISTINA!!! Thank you SO much about the sense of humor comment, my friend, because I honestly never thought so until I started writing these books and the "Charity" in me came out!! Now I laugh at her every time she's in a scene because I cannot believe the outrageous (and funny!!) things she says.

    My daughter is one of the funniest people I know (outside of Mary Connealy), only her humor is more biting wit like Katie O'Connor, who is based on my daughter. So I'm guessing she got it somewhere, so maybe it's me! ;)

    Gosh, it sounds like you have and are doing everything right, ESPECIALLY putting God first and relying on Him, so you go, girl!! Sounds like it's just a matter of time ...

    Thanks for signing up for my newsletter, and if you go to my website and click on the "subscribe to Journal Jots" button, let me know, and I will enter you in the separate JJ contest I have going on too, okay?


  27. I really like you Julie! Love your transparency and your willingness to knock us upside the head (or at least me)

    BTW - cool graphic at the top!

    I am so happy that I have every one of those Goods as an aspiring author going on....except 9 with the query query query because...

    I want to ask you about this:
    "4.) Wasted time over-editing books when I could have been writing more, especially since publishers pay editors to edit your book!"

    I feel like the big thing is you have to be near perfect to get in as a newbie. What part are you talking about as overediting, the story line itself, the commas and verbs, word choice and sentence rhythm?? What is most essential to have right in your opinion and what, if undone, doesn't really affect you poorly?

    And in the middle of this comment I decided to go check my email and I received my first rejection. :( Better get to that query, query, query part. Though her advice was to put the book aside and write something else, so maybe not.

  28. CHRISTY!!! Forgive me for skipping over you, sweetie ... it's after my bedtime, so I'm a little foggy.

    Thank you for your kind comment AND for hosting me on your blog too in December too!!

    ATTENTION, EVERYONE ... you have ANOTHER chance to win a signed copy of one of my books at Christy's blog on December 2, so check out the link on my website calendar! It's her birthday bash week and she has LOTS of great authors and giveaways going on all week.

    And, Christy, if you send me the line-up, I'll post that on my calendar too, okay?


  29. WHOO-HOO, FAITH, HOPE & CHERRY TEA!!! SOOOOO glad you got signed up on Journal Jots, my friend -- YAY -- you're in the JJ contest!!

    NOW ... let's just hope they won't be boring ... :|

    Nighty-night and sweet dreams ... I'm right behind you!


  30. JENNY ... uh, yeah, I guess so! ;)

    But ... Jenny Blake is SUCH a wonderful name, my friend, and to me it sounds like it belongs in a YA, doesn't it? Cute and sassy?

    Oh, forgot about poached eggs -- they are a little runny, but I actually liked them growing up ... :)


  31. Get spaghetti westerns. Check!

    Subscribed to Journal Jots. Check! (If I did it right)says
    UGLY lack of self-confidence

    Coffee pot set. Check!


  32. Julie Im going to have poached eggs for tea/dinner/supper. I have fresh eggs I collected myself to eat too.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. JAN ... oh, I know what you mean about the silence unnerving you!! I actually watched a couple of scenes on YouTube for this post, and it was VERY tense! All the staring, clicking castanets or whatever they are, more staring, closeups on the eyes, the hands hovering over the holsters ... I had a tic in my eye when I was done, trust me!!

    LOVE what you said, Jan about, "dabbling my feet in the world of publishing and trying out my new virtual bikini on my virtual always-twenty-something body!"

    OH, YES, YES, YES!!! I'm still waiting for science to come up with that virtual body, though, so I wish they'd get a move on!

    And, aw, your hubby sounds like a real sweetheart. You know, that is SUCH a blessing for both you and me because some gals do NOT have a hubby that supports their writing ... or a hubby at all, so we are blessed.

    By the way ... I owe you your choice of CBA book from that Pam Hillman Stealing Jake contest I had on Journal Jots, so let me know your choice and your address via e-mail, okay?


  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. WALT!!! Oh, man, I have SO been meaning to e-mail and congratulate you on the Maggie -- that is AWESOME, especially since the Maggie is one of those contests that carries a lot of weight, so YAY!!

    And you aren't going to believe this, but your name actually entered my mind when I decided to do this contest on the Seeker blog, no joke! I think Walt Mussel would be an awesome addition to Steven's story ... :)

    Ouch. Public ripping??? That IS a tough one to get over, I know, because it happened to me too. An ACFW author made a disparaging remark about one of my books openly on her blog and you know what? I had a lotta trouble letting that go. It just hurts a little more when it's another member of the Body of Christ, you know? But I applied point #1 in my list, praying for her for about six months and guess what? I met her at a conference and we became friends. How's that for an amazing answer to prayer??

    Can't wait to see where your Samurai story goes, Walt. Saying one RIGHT NOW for favor with the right publisher.




  38. My bad, I think I am just scared. But how can this be? I know God put those stories into my head.

    I deleted my last post because I didn't capitalize God and I couldn't let that go.

  39. Oh My Goodness! I managed to subscribe. There was that lovely pic of Julie right there on my Google Reader.

    Good - Well, I started. And you can never finish if you don't start.

    Bad - Lack consistency, discipline, butt glue, whatever you want to call it.

    Ugly - In my mind I tend to blame my writing failure on DH. I have trouble balancing writing with household stuff (household stuff wins, usually but not this week, b/c he's happier when it's done), which of course is HIS fault, because he should lighten up about the house. Right? /see, I told you it was ugly/

    Julie~ Have I ever told you I want to be just like you someday. I think we're a lot alike already (I've got the whole CDQ thing down pat). But I wanna be like you in the good ways too.

    I'm in for all the giveaways/prizes.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  40. Hi Julie!
    What a great blog...sounds like you have been on an amazingly challenging journey!! And you're still travelling lol.

    I can imagine your suprise and joy at receiving the email from Ms Kern!! God is good!!!

    I would love to one day be a pubbed author but all in God's timing...He's got me on another journey at the moment lol. But from your list of the good things you did as an inspiring author, for me I would be number 10 as number 1...I would be praying and seeking God's direction in everything...which group should I join...which writting classes etc. I've found God sometimes leads us on the most unusal path...the one that isn't logical but which fits with His Plans and His Purposes...who are we to question God - the Creator and Ruler of the Universe??

    But thank you for your openness!! You seem like an incredible woman of God, very down to earth too :) Maybe that's why your book was rejected so that in the future, when you are a multi-awarded author you remain grounded and rooted in God knowing that you/we are nothing without Him!!

    God bless
    Bianca Starr :)

  41. Oh, Julie - I'm so glad I took the time to read this post!

    You are such a gem! Your friendship and your one-on-one connection with your readers is such a big encouragement to me. :) I just loved the first time I really connected with you and got to tell you my "Borders" story, LOL!

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! Your honesty is both refreshing and inspiring - nice to know we're not alone!

    Right now I'm keeping super busy with college and blogging stuff - so I guess I'm getting the English literature background (I'm an English major) while building my platform. I've finished 1 manuscript - with tons of editing needed, but at least with some direction thanks to dear author Elizabeth Ludwig! - and I'm working on a second one, but I feel like I haven't got much writing done recently. And I'm struggling with remembering to trust in God - that in His perfect timing He'll guide me into the next adventure of my life after college. (I would so love to be involved in publishing, be it my own work or editing/marketing other authors' work - or maybe both??)

    And may I just add that it's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with comparing/jealousy? It's hard in this blogging world not to see the successes of others and compare them to your own slower timeline/failures. I want to be happy for others, though, and realize that God has His own timeline and plans for all of us that are unique and beautiful!

    Sorry for all the rambling, but there's where I am. :) Now I probably better go back to my Civil War history homework...

    ~Amber/Borders Girl


  42. What?? WHAT??? 45 rejections??? Such an incredible book, such amazing writing! How is it possible??
    All right, I'm still shaking my head over this story!
    And I have to say, I read this post twice. There was so much good stuff, so many words of wisdom, so many funny bits! I've bookmarked it because those verses really touch me, where I am now.
    I subscribed through Google plus. Or I tried. I have no idea but the Google page has you in there now. (??)

  43. So, I wept a little when you said the Golden Pen final didn't really open doors. Noooooo! I finaled in the GP this year and I'm expecting a contract, immediately! Three book deal! No, no... But I did like your golden stickers. :D Cute!
    Um, the 'bad'? Sending off pages to agents who don't want my stuff. Classic error. Agents who do literary fiction, no romance, no genres, no Christian... Waste of time, and shows bad research.

    The 'ugly'? Fighting to open word .docs sent by contest judges. A few just came empty. After a few hours of time wasted fighting my old WP program, I gave up. Oh well!!

    The very bad... Starting a blog and then not posting very often! Bad, bad, bad!!

  44. Melissa, your first rejection!

    WHOO-HOOOOO!!!! Now you're a REAL writer. :D

    I've kept most of mine, but deleted a lot and throw away some in the beginning, when I didn't see them as the badge of courage they are.

  45. I have yet to read one of your books but the covers are so cool that I keep looking at them :) and they sound really good too! I just subscribed to Journal Jots!

  46. your postings...always :)

    (still) looking forward to reading your latest masterpiece :)

    love your journal jots, too...i'm a subscriber.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  47. Julie - I had to print this post so I could sit down and read it properly! Thanks for sharing all the things you've learned along the road. There are invaluable lessons here, not just for writing but for every day living in this world. Oh and I just love the photo, your husband is very clever :)

    I just ordered yesterday a couple of the books you recommended. I had kept a copy of a blog interview you did where you had mentioned them as a great help.

    And I certainly am trying to abide by your advice on not wasting time over-editing books. I have had a tendency to edit a chapter over and over again. Now I am trying to concentrate on just getting the story out and worry about the editing afterwards.

    I have subscribed to journal jots now too :)

  48. Okay, fell over backwards in my chair at the picture.

    Got up. Settled into chair and then saw 47 comments at 331 am MST and fell out of chair again.

    Back after I clean up the mess I made here.

  49. Tina I sure hope you are ok after those mishaps with the chair. The pic is cool. Some of us haven't been to bed yet but need to go shortly been a trying day here.

  50. What am I fixing for dinner?...Nothing. My husband is the cook.

    The bad for me is that I just joined RWA 2 weeks ago after several years of writing. For some reason I thought I could do this on my own. I have also had the mindset that I don't have time for reading. If I had the time to spare, I would be writing. Well, I now see the light and understand that writing and reading go hand in hand. I'm a slow learner.

    The good, I finally joined RWA. I've always got a spare book with me now. Always. I even listen to audiobooks in the car. I subscribed to writer's Digest and read it cover to cover. Oh, and I joined Seekerville. That was a very good move :)

    I loved your post. Thanks for sharing!

  51. Cute post! I am not a writer but like everyone we all have our good the bad and the ugly in everything we do. Seems like I get a lot of ugly but life goes on. I also love those westerns.

    By the way dinner tonight is going to be country ham, eggs and biscute, I am in the mood for some breakfast food, hubby want like it much but he will eat it.

  52. Oh my goodness girl! This post makes me smile. I can hear your voice in it. lol
    Thanks for listing the good and bad things. I didn't know how to find author central and now I have a link. Yay!
    Also, my good, bad and ugly is like yours. Some wonderful responses and some not so wonderful. I'm worried that when I get pubbed people will think I'm a horrible writer. *shudder*
    I guess that just goes with the whole experience? I love your prayers and think it's wonderful, Godly advice! Thanks for the post, Julie!

  53. Oh Julie, there's so much I want to say but I have to leave for work.

    I just want to give you a big ole hug. I see so much of myself in your story - starting with thinking the GH final was going to open all those doors. Oh. My. Stars. Such delusions I had. ;)

    But I guess those delusions keep us going - for awhile at least.

    I'll be back to read more later.

    Mary Curry

  54. Oh my, Julie, what a heart felt post. And I read EVERY word! And now I'm gonna be late for work! lol

    The pic!!!! Did YOU do that? Or hubby? Or what? I'm way impressed...somebody's got skills!

    I can't tell you how this post encouraged me. There is something about reading an author's ups and downs on the journey that help me fortify my resolve and push forward. I am guilty of staying on one project. I don't know if it is fear or perfectionist tendencies or what. But there you have it.

    So, I don't know why I wasn't subscribed to your Journal Jots, but I am now!

    And....I know you are probably hoping I don't win, because face weird would the name Sherrinda look in a book?!?! lol (It'd look WAAAAAY better ON a book, don't you think? ;)

  55. Julie, dear!

    Sounds to me that you're doing everything right! I'm cutting and pasting your "Do" List!

    Also felt the roller-coaster swirl of your writing life. WHEW!

    I need another cup of coffee. :)

    So glad your books are gracing the world...they bring so much joy to the lives of those who read them, including me. I've always got a Julie Lessman close at hand and love to escape from the world of writing deadlines into the passionate world you've created.

    God's smiling! So am I!


  56. Sherrinda, your name on or in a book? Both good, but on the cover is the best!

    Dreams do come true!

  57. Oh Julie, you sure did go through the fire sometimes didn't you! That seems to be how life in general is too. You're right. We should never compare ourselves to others (I'm done the same thing). Sometimes thats hard not to do because we look on the outside. Isn't it great that God sees our hearts (atlthough sometimes there are bad things in our hearts too). Self doubt is an ugly thing I deal with sometimes. Julie, I'm so glad you stuck with writing - I love your work. And I know it has blessed others as well.

    Julie, I wanted to subscribe to Journal Jots but only saw a place to subscribe by facebook or twitter. I don't do either one, but that's okay I can still visit the site and keep up.

    Oh to have a character named after me - haha. Patsy, I never liked my name. (Some people misspell it and it ends up Pasty - sounds like glue ). It's just Patsy not short for Patricia. I like Patricia though - that would have been good. Don't know what mama was thinking. Middle name is LaFran -I like that one. Some family members shortened it and call me Frannie.

  58. ANN ... thank you SO much for ALL of your incredible support -- referring my books to your family and friends and ALWAYS there to encourage and bless on ANY blog I do. I am grateful for you, my friend. And frankly, you and I share a bond ... after all, I do believe you've won more books from me than any human being alive! ;)

    And one of the reasons I like you so much is because I think your "passion" level is similar to mine, so I cannot WAIT to see you published. And you mark my words -- you will be!!

    First of all, getting an agent is NO simple task, and you already landed one. True, the relationship ran its course, but God has a way of doing that. He is SO big on timing and sometimes my prayer partners and I have called Him the 12th-Hour God because He doesn't always move as quickly as we'd like. Mmmm ... imagine that! :) BUT ... He's NEVER late!!

    I would strongly recommend praying for a "Divine Connection," Ann, or maybe you already are. I wrote a Seeker blog about it that said:

    "I still remember the shiver that traveled my spine the night one of my prayer partners prayed for a “divine connection” for me to get published. At the time those two words struck me so hard because they pierced straight through to my spirit. A “divine connection,” indeed, ordained by a divine God who loves each of us to the depth of our being. And He sent mine in the form of an innocuous e-mail received late one night from someone named Natasha Kern."

    It bears repeating -- God is never late, Ann, and I also believe He does not fuel us with a passion unless He intends to use it to glorify Him. So it's coming, my friend. I am saying a prayer for you RIGHT NOW that God will bring the right agent -- that spark of divine connection -- to you soon. :)

    Love ya!

  59. Julie, do you ever fear running out of words? LOL! Ah, the good Lord knew what He was doing when He gave you the word allottment of a dozen people!

    Great pic, too. Your hubby does an amazing job with all the graphics for your promos. And I really love the new head (body) shots. Your photographer is fantastic.

    Great, great post. I'm with Sherrinda, I read to the end and now I'm going to be late for work, LOL! But I wouldn't have missed a word of it.

    You said it all, my friend. The good, the bad, and the uglier. A piece of me resides in each of your wonderful examples. As writers, I think we all experience the same emotions, only no one can quite match the degree of elation, doubt and angsty as Seekerville's own CDQ. Are we lucky to have her?


    I'm going to be humming the theme song all day...

  60. Wow, Julie, even your post is a roller coaster ride! One I can identify with. Loads of good advice here!

    The most down times for me were after that 2005 Golden Heart final. My expectations were pie in the sky high yet for me nothing changed. Talk about a mountain top drop to the valley!

    The other hard time was when my second book garnered one contest final after my debut had a long list of finals. Again my expectations were too high. That second book actually sold better.

    My advice aim high but keep expectations low while remembering God is in control. Trust His timing and His will and let go of the outcome.


  61. WHOO-HOO, NATALIE, for getting that ms. off to The Rattler, girl, and your VERY first one, too!! Let me share a little prayer tip with you that I prayed LIKE CRAZY when I finaled in the Golden Heart. I believe in praying about EVERYTHING in a very SPECIFIC way!! Jesus did not ask the blind man what he wanted Him to do because He didn't know -- I believe He wanted Him (and us) to be specific in our prayers, so I am!! I prayed to get judges who were my market, readers who would love my style of passionate romance and NOT those who would hate it. I believe God answered that very specific prayer, which I prayed that first year I entered contests ... and won ... seven in a row! I haven't won all that many over the last few years I've been published, but guess what? I just realized I haven't been praying that prayer, so I guess I need to get busy too ... Am saying that prayer for BOTH of us RIGHT NOW!! :)

    You said, "Julie, your posts are always so encouraging!" Thank you, Natalie, that blesses me because NOTHING is more important to me than encouraging someone who needs a lift and you know why? Because, honey, I have been there WAY more than I'd like to admit and as Blanche Dubois said in A Streetcar Named Desire, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." To me, they are angels sent by God to give me a hug when I need it." :)

    You also said: "If all my writing is only ever obscure, quiet praise to the One Who gave me this yen to write, then it will be worth it."

    Oh my, SO beautifully written, my friend, and SO incredibly true. I believe as humans we see through a glass darkly and do not realize JUST how true that statement is ... but we will someday! :)

    Thanks for signing up for JJ -- you're in the contest, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!


  62. RENEE SAID: "What you said about encouragement is so true. You never know when the least little thing will make someone's day. :-)"

    Oh, honey, AMEN to that!! I am ALWAYS so shocked when I write a particular line and think, "Wow, this touches me, so this is going to touch someone else," and then nobody EVER mentions that line, but points out another that makes me go, "What?"

    We NEVER know which word out of our mouth is going to lift someone up, which is one of the reasons God is so adamant (and picky) about the words we choose to speak. :)

    And, WOW, you have a dad as old as me??? Holy cow, he must of been a late bloomer too, like moi! ;)


  63. Julie, this is a fabulous post! You have shared an amazing amount of knowledge with us and hopefully I can remember these things as I move forward in my writing journey. Yes, I read this far and I've signe up for Journal Jots! Wish I'd done that sooner. And I hope you write a western have me craving spaghetti! But of course your book will be SO much better than those movies.

  64. Now, I have that music stuck in my head! : )

    Great advice here. But's that's no surprise!

  65. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 12, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Julie! I can't say enough how much learning about how hard all you authors work on your books makes me appreciate them that much more. I haven't ventured into writing yet but if I do I know right where to go for help.


  66. Love all your tips and I am subscribed to journal jots! I love reading books but I don't think I am motivated enough to write them.

  67. Thanks for the reality check. Since I'm unpublished and pretty green I appreciate you sharing this today.
    I tried to follow your blog this morning and it said to try later. I'll check back after work.
    Please enter me in your contest. Thanks!

  68. WOW!! You have had quite a ride!! Up and down a roller coaster would be my description. I have reviewed one book for you and it was GREAT!!! Subscribed to Journal Dots- hopefully, it worked! If not, I try again! Thank you for persisting in your writing career. Your readers appreciate it.

  69. Thanks for all the great books Julie!!! I cannot wait for the next one to come out!!!

    Thanks for the chance to win.


    jmschwindt0306 at gmail dot com

  70. Julie,
    I love your posts ! They’re always so real and honest. And that photo is wonderful! It would make a great cover for one of Mary’s books. :o)

    The good part of writing for me is WRITING! I know I’ve said this so many times, but really the Lord used writing to save me and bring a joy to my life I didn’t know was missing. I wake up excited each day to see what my characters have in store for me.

    The bad is waiting. Like the Tom Petty song says “the waiting is the hardest part.” And patience was not a virtue I received. But I’m praying and trusting that as long as I do my part with writing and sending queries and getting involved the Lord will open the publication door when it’s exactly the right time.

    The ugly I just encountered recently, and that’s doubt. I’ve finished a few manuscripts and have been happily plucking along and then the enemy hit me with doubts. The old, my stories aren’t good enough, I’m not as good as (insert any of a hundred names), I’m fooling myself with all this writing stuff. So, I’ve been learning to do the Saturday Night Live therapy “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit people like me.” :o) Seriously, it’s been a matter of prayer that I won’t let the enemy rob me of my joy and the gift God gave.

    I don't subscribe to Journal Jots, but often read them. To tell you how observant I am I didn't know you could subscribe. I'll have to get that done ASAP.


  71. Julie,
    Loved what you wrote!! Your an inspiration to all of us!! Take care.

  72. Hello Julie! As always, I love your posts...and I read it all! Love the Good, Bad and Ugly!

    I'm a long time Journal Jots subscriber, does that count?!


  73. Julie,

    WOW!! Amazing post!! You must have been so excited to find out Natasha Kern's email was for real! You are such an amazing writer though, that I’m surprised you didn’t have agents begging to represent you! I was reading “A Passion Denied” last night and was WOWED by your talent!

    Read your blog post about you and Julie Klassen. What a God thing! Both you and her are such sweet ladies!

    What a cool picture of you with the gun :)

    I'd love to be entered into the drawing!! Thank you so much!


  74. MELISSA!!! I am SO glad you and I got to know each other at ACFW -- that was a very special time for me, my friend because despite all my flitting around, I am basically a VERY one-on-one person, which is what you and I were blessed to have that night in the Hyatt lobby bar where the Seekers always meet.

    LOL ... and "I really like you," too, Melissa, for somewhat of the same reason -- Love your transparency too, reluctant though it may be at times ... :)

    You asked: "I feel like the big thing is you have to be near perfect to get in as a newbie. What part are you talking about as overediting, the story line itself, the commas and verbs, word choice and sentence rhythm?? What is most essential to have right in your opinion and what, if undone, doesn't really affect you poorly?

    Since the first page and first part of the book is what hooks a reader or an editor, I think the most essential thing to have right are the first line, the first paragraph and the first chapter. You gotta hook 'em right out the gate or you are dead in the water. And that's a process, for sure. So I would make darn sure that first chapter is near perfect, which is what I tried to do on A Passion Most Pure.

    In the original ms., I had Collin kissing Charity on the 7th page, with all the prior pages being nothing but Faith's internal monologue. YIKES!!! No wonder I didn't final in the first seven or so contests I entered!! It was a paid ACFW critique with Tracey Bateman (thank you, Tracey!!) that turned it around for me. She told me to get the action (the kiss) as close to the beginning as possible, but I was SO enamored with Faith's thoughts that I didn't want to lose them. So I reluctantly moved "the kiss" to page 5, then page 4, then 2 and finally slapped that sucker right on the first page, losing A LOT of internal monologue! And I worked on those opening lines (Sisters are overrated, she decided. Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it.) till I was blue in the face, but you have to do that because as Steeple Hill editor Joan Marlow Golan pointed out in a Seeker blog once -- you only have the first paragraph and page to hook an editor or reader, so DON'T WASTE IT!!! :)

    And congrats on your first rejection, darlin' -- you're one step closer to getting published! ;) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are ms., so keep that pretty chin up, wear that rejection as a badge of honor and when you get 44 more, give me a call ... :)


  75. Julie, I loved your post and your picture! You should be on the cover of your next book, girl.

    I wish before I was pubbed that I'd written more books instead of over polishing the ones I'd completed. But on the other hand, I wish I'd had someone who really understood writing go over my mss before I submitted.

  76. HELEN, LOL!!! My first laugh of the morning, girlfriend, so THANK YOU!! Seeing you at ACFW is always a highlight for me because you are SO darn cute!!

    Thanks for setting up the coffee as always, you sweet thing AND for signing up for Journal Jots -- consider yourself entered in the JJ contest!! :)


  77. Julie - LOVED the picture!! So cute & funny!!

    I am not a writer, but I found it really interesting reading about your good, bad, & ugly things you did as an aspiring author and then as a published author. Thanks for sharing your knowledge & experiences with all of us.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again - NO ONE I know of makes such a HUGE effort & commitment to stay personally in touch with her readers! You are AMAZING!! You sacrifice so much of your time to do that, and - as someone who has personally benefitted from that time - I just want to tell you again a huge "THANK YOU" for all you do!!

    You're the best!!


  78. JENNY!!! Oh, man, your eggs are making me hungry ... haven't eaten breakfast yet and my peach oatmeal is calling ...

    Hope supper was good ... :)


  79. Thank you for this wonderful post! As a new writer this was so helpful to read. I attended my first live conference, pitched for the first time and queried for the first time in the past 2 weeks. Because of helpful posts like yours, I'm bracing myself for rejection with a small light of hope still burning in my heart!

    P.S. My first contest was the First Five Pages at Seekerville. The Seeker judges really helped me to edit those critical pages before I queried & did other contest. Thanks Seekers! I really encourage all new writers to try the Seekers first. They are a safe place to land when you haven't hardened yourself to criticism! And yesterday I received my first writing award, Honorable Mention in the Dixie Kane contest (which I found thru Seekerville)!

  80. MARY ... scared??? Move over, sweetie pie, because that describes most of us reading this blog today in some form or other. Yes, God gives us our stories, but the devil likes to steal them away (and the glory they will bring God) with his tried-and-true tactic, fear. So don't let that deter you, my friend, but do what Joyce Meyer always says: DO IT AFRAID!!

    YOU SAID: "I deleted my last post because I didn't capitalize God and I couldn't let that go."

    I know the feeling. My first copy editor would NOT let me capitalize pronouns for God, which ate me alive through APMP and then we had to stay with that for consistency sake throughout all the others. BUT ... I'm thinking for The Cousins McClare that I am going to ask my new copy editor (LOVE THAT WOMAN!!) to capitalize all pronouns for God.

    Chin up, Mary, and keep writing those stories for Him ... He's got a plan for you and them!


  81. ANDREA!!! "Butt glue"!!! That is priceless, and when you figure out where to order it, will you let me know???

    And YAY for signing up for Journal Jots -- you go, girl!! I've entered you in the JJ contest, so good luck!

    You know what, sweetie -- it is SO easy for an aspiring writer to blame the DH because let's face it, few of them really take our writing seriously because they see it as a hobby, right? As FABULOUS as my hubby is, he saw my writing as an outlet or hobby, too, and didn't always understand when I needed to devote time to it. BUT ... unto everything there is a season, and mine didn't start till after I was 50 and the kids were all gone. Before that, my priority (according to God) was God, my husband and then my kids, which I focused on throughout my 30s and 40s. Just keep focusing on God's priorities for you, and the rest will come. Maybe it will be before empty nest and maybe not -- it's HIS call, not ours. :)

    And, oh man, you want to be just like me when you grow up??? BITE YOUR TONGUE, girl!!! :)


  82. This is such a keeper, Julie. Thank you so much.

    You've given me some super ideas to help with this phase of writing life. Especially enjoyed the idea of the giveaway for subscribers only (and thanks - I did subscribe to yours! TEAL!! YES! That's May's color too and my doesn't it look splendid on the both of ya! Better on you, but don't tell May...)

    Thanks so much!!! Pass the spaghetti please! YUMMO.

  83. Great article, Julie. It's one to come back to as a reminder when needed.

    And I never did like my westerns served with spaghetti.

  84. Julie, not sure how I got into this group of wonderful authors but I love to read and sneaked right in, all the breakfast foods sound so yummy. I just love your bloging about "The Good, The Bad & The Really Ugly" I can see Clint Eastwood sauntering along and hear his famous quip "Make my day". I signed up for your journal jots on google and have several blogs there to keep up with authors and their books that I want to read. thanks for sharing your words and your books. Just a fan watching all you guys Paula O

  85. "the story we write with our mouth and our actions is far more important that the story we write with our pens."

    Julie I LOVE this line. It is sooooooo true. Loved your post. It should help all of us to remember that getting published isn't the end all. It is only the beginning.

    Hugs and thanks for reminding us.

    The best thing I did was connect with the Seekers. This friendship and the resultant friendship with all of you readers is a true blessing.

  86. Julie, thanks for this post. I'm keeping for reference on what to do and not to do. Blog tours are a lot of fun but if done effectively, they eat up a lot of time.

    Welcome to all our visitors today! Looks like some REALLY early risers out there!

  87. Julie! Loved your post! Thanks for sharing your heart and heartache with us. A lot of what you shared is a lot of what Ted Dekker shared at his conference. Rejection, rejection, rejection! The awful pain of it all! I hope to learn from you both so I don't go through quite so much of it. I know there's rejection out there for every writer.

    I think for me as an unpubbed writer, one of my greatest issues has been, "Am I good enough? I'm not as good as so-n-so. It's taking me too long to write. I'll never get an agent no matter how many people say they love my writing. I'm too serious. I'm not funny and light enough..." On and on these things and more circle in my head.

    Then, something will happen like a GUY telling me he likes my stuff or a GUY telling me my book sounds "exciting!" What? Guys aren't supposed to be interested in romance. Right? So, what's up with that? I'm still a little dizzy over that issue. From the beginning I've had men reading my stuff right along side their wives. Unreal! If anybody else has experience this, PLEASE share with me! I want to know!

    So, like you, I'm LEARNING to accept who I am. The Ragged Edge conference was a huge help to me in this area. Ted encouraged me to keep on keeping on and to not do the comparison thing and to be who God made me to be. That I and my writing are beautiful just the way they are because this is who God made me to be. "Dive in and dig deep, he told me... you can do it!" So, that's what I'm trying to do. Thanks for the beautiful reminder today, Julie!!! :D

    And, YES! I'd love to be entered in the prizes and yes I'm following you. :D (((hugs)))

  88. Amazing.

    This blog never sleeps. There were at least 2 comments EVERY HOUR from midnight on.

    And after 5 AM, it started HOPPING like a herd of bullfrogs in a sizzling skillet the size of Texas.

  89. Love, love, love, love, love...just so much to love in this blog post, Jules.

    I have some Good, Bad, and Ugly lurking in my journey to publication past.

    And now I'm craving spaghetti...

  90. This post just made my day. Started off gloomy and rainy and you brought a smile to my face and an eagerness to my heart!
    Thanks Bunches!

  91. Oh, Julie, I knew I would relate to this post. But you make the pain seem so funny!!! When it's not. LOL! You are hilarious and so refreshingly real and honest.

    One more painful thing about being published is that, not only do I have to repent of occasional ugly bouts of comparing myself to other authors who have 3-book contracts and best-seller status, but now I've been confronted with people being jealous of ME, which is almost unfathomable, and in my naivete, I had to be hit over the head with it to believe it! Being me is an emotional minefield, let me tell you. LOL!!! Because I hate jealousy. I can't live with it. I have to repent of it and give it to God, because it's just too painful. And then when someone aims it at me, I can hardly believe it. I mean, look at me! My life has fallen apart since the month before my book came out. I can't imagine why anyone would be jealous of me. But then I remember my own struggles with jealousy, and I realize I understand it all too well! And I feel sorry for those people.

    And I so related to your emotions when you started getting negative reviews. At the risk of sounding like a "my horse is bigger than your horse" argument, I do have 9 gut-wrenching 1-star reviews on Amazon and 10 almost equally gut-wrenching 2-star reviews--this is just on one book, people!!! Yeah, I hear you on the doubt and insecurity and other painful emotions.

    But we're living the dream, Julie! LOL! ;-)

  92. Julie,
    You captivate me as an author, even your blogs are so well written; personable and always flowing- Read A Heart Revealed too...and my bookshelf is no longer sad.... for now :), as I put my shiny copy next to my copy of A Hope Undaunted. Now for a random thought, how do they make your book covers so soft and vibrant?
    Now don't be mad...but yor style of writing reminds me of Francine Rivers- believe me its a compliment. The Passion series is definately on my top read list like Redeeming Love has been for years! Thanks for such aweosme reads!

    I don't know about spaghetti, but I'm making lasagna tonight :)


  93. OH my cow. There's nearly 100 comments and it's only 845! [Central Time!]

    Off to scroll through them and see what mayhem Julie's caused. ;)

  94. Oh, man, Julie, I've dealt with some of your bads already, envy and whining!

    But I'm learning to gird myself up to avoid looking at reviews, deciding on only looking at those when the reviewer contacts me directly--usually means it's a good one, I hope. I'm also been focusing more on God and less on myself and others, been a learning process hitting me fast and hard in the last 2 1/2 months.

    I need to curb my internet time, it really does suck my life/writing away. But I've learned this ugly lesson the hard way--Never ever ever, neglect your family, they always come first. When I had to finish my first contracted book, my husband gratefully took a weekend trip with our 4 kids in tow and left me home alone to finish writing, only after I set the stones to be given that chance. Hubby has been a willing supporter on that front, cause we all need a break from each other now and then and it's easier to write when there are no kids to enjoy!

  95. Pam said, "And after 5 AM, it started HOPPING like a herd of bullfrogs in a sizzling skillet the size of Texas."

    Girlfriend you are toooooooo funny.

  96. yay, finally subscribed to journal jots..:)

  97. BIANCA STAR!!! What an incredibly beautiful name for an author, my friend.

    AND what an incredibly beautiful and true comment as well. You sound like you are firmly grounded on this publication journey, girl, so I expect God to do great things for you.

    And "down to earth"?? Uh, yeah, you might say so ... a little TOO down to earth sometimes for my own good and that of my career, I suppose, but what you see (or read) is pretty much what you get, which in the end, is WAY easier (and WAY more freedom) than saving face!!

    But "incredible woman of God"??? Maybe in God's eyes because that's how He sees each one of us, as the apple of His eye, but in reality? We're all just women at varying stages of His journey, trying to please Him. Some of us having been traveling down the road a WHOLE lot longer than others, which gives the illusion that we are closer to "arriving," but don't you believe it -- we won't "arrive" until we stand before His throne. :)

    And your statement that, "you/we are nothing without Him"??? Nail that one to the wall, my friend, because truer words ... :


  98. Okay, now we know FOR CERTAIN who the most popular Seeker is--97 comments before 10 a.m. Easter Time?????

    Give me a J!

    Give me a U!

    Give me an L!

    Give me an I!

    Give me an E!

    What's it spell?????


    No. Wait. Sorry, fame by association went to my head there for a minute.

    See, I may have won the Golden Heart that year.



    (And I'm not talkin' German sausage!)

  99. AMBER!!! Hey, sweetie, YES, its SO nice to have that "Borders" connection, isn't it?? I will NEVER forget your first e-mail where you told me your dad took you to Borders regularly so you could read A Passion Most Pure!! ;) Heck, I didn't care if you bought it or not, I was just thrilled you were reading it! God knows I'm not in this for the money, which is a REAL good thing because there isn't any! ;)

    YOU SAID: "And may I just add that it's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with comparing/jealousy? It's hard in this blogging world not to see the successes of others and compare them to your own slower timeline/failures."

    And, YES, you may add that because we all need to hear it OVER AND OVER again, Amber. This is a universal problem, people, because we blood in our veins, so don't beat yourself up over it, just fight it spiritually using the tactics in God's Word whether you are a blogger, author or aspiring author. The devil is no respecter of occupations ...

    Happy studying, Amber ... if there is such a thing! :)


  100. LOL Myra!

    Reminds me... I need to get my Rattler entry in.

    Mellie - darlin' you are too cute! I am so very very glad to call you friend!

    Julie - you get all the cookies you can eat! Why doesn't it surprise me that Ruthy was the one who ordered y'all together? But Tina's the one issuing marching orders now?

    I think maybe I knew that. I don't remember. Too many Benadryl last night and not enough time to sleep them off entirely [NCIS needed watching you know!]

    Praying about a guest blogger on one of my blogs! She said she'd be happy to do a spot with us now praying she'll be open to the particular spot I'm asking her for. Anyone who says a little word of prayer for that gets my eternal gratitude [and I'll let you know what it is once I get more definitive details]. But it's way cool.


  101. "Easter Time"????

    Okay, y'all knew what I meant, right? EASTERN.

    While zipping through all the comments just now, I remembered one of my "ugly" stories (and believe me, there have been many!!!).

    One time a manuscript I submitted came back without even a form letter acknowledgment. All it had was a big read REJECTED stamped on the cover page.

    Is that cruel or what???

  102. Hey, VIRGINIA ... LOL!! Admit it -- you read the post twice, not because there was so much "good stuff" in it, but because it was soooo blasted long, right?? :) I'm glad some of it encouraged you, sweetie.

    YOU SAID: "What?? WHAT??? 45 rejections???" LOL ... yeah, imagine that, huh? :) All it means to each one of us is that, NO, VIRGINIA, we are NOT going to please everyone, but the good news is we don't have to -- just one. One agent. One publisher. One God! :)

    Thanks for signing up for JJ -- you're in the contest, my friend, but oh -- leave me a comment with your e-mail (protected for spam purposes) so I have it for the JJ contest, okay?


  103. Mrs.Lessman,

    You are inspiring! I thank the Lord that there are writers out there with a passion for Jesus! It blesses my heart not only to read your blogs but also to read your books! I have certain passages in the "Passion" books underlined to be reminders for me who really is in control and how He'll never leave us nor forsake us as well as passages from "Change" books about waiting for that special someone(this is in Lizzie's book too!). You are a blessing! I love you so much! haha in a non creepy way of course I promise! lol

    Continue to seek Him first and trust in Him and He'll make your path straight. Blessings! Kepp doing what you're doing!


  104. Julie, I love the picture of you as a gun-totin’ mama! Haha!

    And, your willingness to let your friends of Seekerville know that a wonderful book like A Passion Most Pure was rejected 45 times is nothing if not encouraging!

    I can’t say that I’m a fan of Clint Eastwood, but Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot—oh, be still my heart!

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Julie. Your posts are always insightful, humorous, encouraging and uplifting. : )


  105. I love the sample cover of this book...
    nice post.
    the GOOD in my life....God is GOOD matter in fact He is AWESOME how do I handle that I stand in AWE or my might say I'm awestruck

    the BAD is Satan and evil...It is all around us in this world and how do I handle it I run to God.

    The UGLY right now is my Computer.... REALLY UGLY!!!!! I feel like using that gun you have in the first pic of this post and using it on my computer.

    So there you have it Julie, my Good, Bad and Ugly for today. ;P

  106. Pam, you and your bullfrogs are just too funny!

    (I hope that isn't what you're having for dinner, though!)

    I have a love/hate relationship with rejections. I love Julie's term of the "badge of courage" because that's exactly what they are! Evidence that I was brave enough to send something to someone.

    They didn't want it? That doesn't mean it wasn't good. I wouldn't have sent it in if it wasn't good!

    On the other hand, a rejection means I have to start over. Again.

    Oh well.

    I forgot to tell you earlier, Julie, that if you name someone after me in a book, that person had better be the smartest, sweetest, loveliest character you've ever created ;D

  107. Oh my stars, this is wonderful, Jules....

    And it makes me look "TIGHT WITH WORDS", Sugah!!!



    And I can't read comments now, but I'll come back and do that. Lovely post. Just awesome and think of all those names that COULD BE in a Lessman novel.

    Ah, the joys of Internet!

    Love it!

    Dropping off fried dough today. With cinnamon and sugar, fresh out of the fry pot, perfect for an autumn day!

  108. UH-OH, I'm getting too windy with my comments (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!), so I'm going to stack them in twos or threes depending on how long I go in order to make them go faster, okay?

    VIRGINIA, LOL!!! Sorry to burst your bubble on the Golden Pen producing a 3-book contract, but heck, it could happen -- it just didn't happen to me! But don't take my word for it -- give it a shot with little gold stickers of your own ... :)

    BUT ... that doesn't take away the HUGE accomplishment of finaling in a contest, my friend, so enjoy it!! Not everybody can say that, you know.

    And NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Your "bad" of "starting a blog and then not posting very often"??? Sigh ... make that point #6 on my list ... :|

    YES!!! Rejection letters ARE a badge of courage and guts and fortitude, so SAVE THOSE SUCKERS!! They'll make you smile when you get published. :)

    Well, so much for stacking up comments ... :) Maybe on the next one ...


  109. Julie, I always love your posts.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but first glance at that picture and you reminded me of The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. :)

    Glad I can subscribe to Journal Jots. I tried once before but Google Reader wasn't picking up the feed correctly. (So Yes, I'm now subscribed.)

    You do full disclosure with the best of them. But I'm thankful because there's so much to be learned from your journey. I think the biggest lesson/reminder is to have a willing heart, willing to do the good things, willing to learn from and share the bad things, willing to humble yourself after the ugly things.

  110. GATORADE 635!!! Oh, honey, you should have NEVER told me that because I won't rest till I get one of my books in your hot, little hands!! :)

    Thank you for subscribing to Journal Jots, and if you can, PLEASE hop on over to my website calendar and leave comments on other blog giveaways I have listed there as well because I want you to have EVERY possible chance to win, capiche??? GOOD LUCK, SWEETIE!! And PLEASE leave me your e-mail (altered for spam purposes) so I can get a hold of you if/when you win the JJ contest, okay? :)

    KARENK!!!! We just GOTTA get AHR in your hands, my friend, so SUPER-DUPER GOOD LUCK, girl, and thank you SOOO much for your ongoing support. You are a gem. :)


  111. HELEN W!!! You printed this post out??? Goodness, do I owe you for a ream of paper???

    Which books did you order -- I'm just curious. When I bought writing books way back when, I had NO clue what to buy, so ANYBODY that wants to make suggestions on GREAT RESOURCE BOOKS for writers, knock yourself out, okay?

    Thanks, Helen -- my hubby IS "very clever," although I do believe he questions that at times when it comes to having married me ... :|

    YAY on the Journal Jots -- you're in the draw, girl, so GOOD LUCK!!

    TINA RADCLIFFE SAID: "Okay, fell over backwards in my chair at the picture. Got up. Settled into chair and then saw 47 comments at 331 am MST and fell out of chair again. Back after I clean up the mess I made here."

    ROTFL!!!! My first BIG belly laugh of the day -- thanks, Teenster!! :) You are SUCH a hoot, seriously. The picture is a hoot too, isn't it? I come up with the ideas and my husband implements ... uh, with a lot of over-the-shoulder comments from me, of course ... :)


  112. JULIE!! You gave me way too many things to think about on this rainy (praise God) morning. You even did a little dancing on my toes. I think I'm going to have to come back to this post often.
    Love Journal Jots - just subscribed. And love the poster pic.

  113. Hey Julie!
    I loved reading your article; of course, I love reading anything that you write... ;-)
    I read the entire article and I have subscribed to Journal Jots. It's like a weekly ritual. Every Friday at 10:30 AM, I get on your website to read the Journal Jots. Sometimes they are not up yet, so I wait until it is up so I can read the Journal Jot.
    I have been commenting every day on Seekerville.
    Oh and following Carol's post... I had an omelette for breakfast.
    Oh, Julie, I am almost done reading the book you lent me, Stealing Jake, and I must say that I didn't expect it to be great because nothing really compares to what you write, but I'm hooked!! Thank you for loaning it to me!! I am planning on Black Friday shopping for a Kindle so that I can re-download Pam's book and all of your books.

  114. Whoohoo, I found the button! I looked and looked last night. Maybe my eyes were tired. I even added your Journal Jots to my google homepage. How cool is that?

    Christina Renee

  115. Good night, JENNY ... go to bed, girl!!! :)

    ANNIE RAINS ... I swear, honey, that name is going in a book someday ...

    WHOA ... a husband who cooks?? Geez, girl, your halfway there in your writing career ... :)

    And, YES, YES, YES!!!! Joining RWA (and ACFW too if you intend to write Inspy fiction) and reading books are TWO absolute musts, and goodness, I failed to put reading into my "Good" list -- not good!! :/ Like you, I carry a book in my purse AT ALL TIMES as well as a little reading light for nighttime reading AND I always keep a book in the powder room. I only read in the car, bathroom, doctor's appts. and a tiny bit at night, but I actually get about four or five books read a month that way, so I am able to keep up with the market, which is ESSENTIAL in this biz!! So, good girl!!

    And joining Seekerville??? An absolute must! ;)


  116. Julie, your writing is delightful. You've included so many words of wisdom in your post and yet your humbleness and pride in your work both shine through. Well Done.

    My cell phone theme has been, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” for the past 3 years. At first my kids were embarrassed, now they think it's cool. I was in a library once when my cell went off and a little kid stage whispered in an awed voice, "What was that?" LOL

    Thanks for mentioning Inkwell Inspirations. I love being an Inky, both for blessing I receive from my Inky sisters as well as the readers.

    As yes, I read all the way down to Journal Jots and subscribed because I enjoy reading your news and never get to your site often enough.

    Loved seeing you at ACFW, but missed talking with you. :(

    Anita Mae.

  117. Whoa, okay. I'm good, but for a minute there I thought you were writing westerns now.

    But that's okay, come on in if you want.
    Great post, Julie

  118. I have had a volleyball season with my Senior daughter that has had a lot of, "the good, the bad and the REALLY ugly". God has taught both of us so much through all of this. Honestly, the scriptures that you used and so many of the situations in the DOB series helped us both so much through this difficult season. Thank you for hanging in there when the enemy was whipering in your ear. God bless Julie :)

  119. Great post! Thanks for mentioning Journal Jots. I am now happily subscribed :)

    My bad and ugly is worrying instead of waiting on God. I joined ACFW's last December and jumped in feet first. I couldn't decide which loops to subscribe to so I join most of them. My favorite, Scribes, was one I'd heard so much about and was anxious to get started.

    They put you in the big main group so that you can find other writers that you have a natural connection with. I met lots of wonderful people and was learning so much until they started disappearing one by one.

    I wondered what was going on (I'm slow sometimes) then it dawned on me... they were all connecting and breaking into smaller groups... without me!

    I started to fret. I started to worry, I was sure my writing must stink. Why else would I be left out here alone. (ok, I'm getting overly dramatic. We just ate waffles with lots of syrup. It's the sugar)

    Finally I did what I should have done in the first place. I gave it to God. One day a name I'd never seen critiqued a chapter of mine. She loved my story. To return the favor I gave her chapter a critique. It's very hard to critique a flawless piece of work, specially when you're a newbie.

    We chatted and connected big time. Turns out this multi-published award winning author likes my writing. She invited me to join her small group and I know have the greatest crit partners anyone could ask for.

    Just needed to let God do it His way instead of mine.

  120. Thanks, VIRGINIA, and you are absolutely right -- there is the "good, bad and ugly" in EVERYTHING we do, so the spiritual lessons still apply!

    Country ham, eggs and biscuits??? YUM ... the peach oatmeal I had for breakfast is not sounding real good right about now -- guess I'll have to hit the virtual breakfast ... Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    "I'm worried that when I get pubbed people will think I'm a horrible writer. *shudder*"

    Don't waste precious brain cells worrying about that, sweetie, because it WILL happen, so just expect it, and it won't have quite the bite. My husband tends to be a pessimist about sports because he's trying to ward off hurt when his team loses, and I am prone to being the optimist. EXCEPT when it comes to reviews and people's opinion of your writing!!! We cannot please everyone, and it's taken me five years to realize that fully and be okay with it.

    I still remember my very first 1-star review on A Passion Most Pure. I've mentioned it before, I know, but it started out with the line: "This is simply a horrible book." OH. MY. GOSH!!! I cried my heart out all the way to the parking lot on my way home from work. I was bleeding inside because when an author "bleeds" on the paper to pour out their heart and soul into a story, when someone says something so cruel, it's like a knife the first time. The good news is that eventually, with time and God's help, those things become nothing more than a pesky splinter that one can simply tweeze out and move on. So much so, that I actually laughed ... YES, LAUGHED ... when I read the review that called my writing "scum reading." You have to admit, the woman was creative ... ;)

    Hugs and more hugs,

  121. Melissa, you've arrived!

    Welcome aboard, chickie! Let's raise a glass/mug in honor of Melissa's first rejection!

    Kid.... You're one of us now.

    "It is useless to resist us"... Star Wars. Yes. I love Star Wars. And Yoda.


    So smart.




  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

  124. Ah, Jan, hadn't you heard?

    We were gonna have froglegs here in Seekerville, but they all got away.

    Drat it!

  125. Goodness, look how far you have come!!!!

    And I just never know what to expect when I see your picture pop up in my Google reader. That first pic is just LOL!

    But I loved your post. (and goodness lady, you are NOT slow. Sheesh you move faster than I do. ;-) And aside for the slights against Oregon...



    I could really feel your heart and soul in this post. Julie you have come so far, God has brought you so far! He is Am.Az.Ing!!!


  126. Happy 4th Birthday to The Seekers!

    I'm not an author, just a voracious reader, and love the fact that you try to connect and stay in touch with your readers.

    I would love to win a copy of your new book.


  127. Oh, MARY, and I want to give you a big ole hug, too, girlfriend, because I DO know all about those "delusions," and they sure smart when they crash to the ground, don't they, though??? Have a great day at work and talk to you later ...

    SHERRINDA!!! Yes, my wonderful, amazing, can't-believe-I'm-married-to-him hubby is a very talented artist/designer, so he does all my artwork, including my blog pix, book posters and some of my bookmarks, not to mention my website!! I am ONE lucky girl!!

    Last week I was down on the lower deck where I write all day with feet up when Keith comes down. “Check out your website,” he says. I blink up at him. “Why?” “Just do it, Julie,” he says in his most bullying “Mitch” tone. So I do and WHOA, BABY … my website is now in the 21st century!! He just got the urge (and had the time) to play with it, and it's GORGEOUS, so be sure to check it out!!

    Sooo glad this post encouraged you, my friend, and I think Sherrinda is a GREAT name -- in or on a book, and with your skill/luck at winning (let's see, you've won five of my books in the past???), I have NO problem naming a character after you, so good luck!

    And thanks for signing up for Journal Jots -- you're in that contest, too, sweetie. :)


  128. Wow! Such honesty. I like it and I'm looking forward to reading your books and, hopefully, adding you to my "Must Read" list, which is pretty long, I must say!

  129. Some of you commenters must have gotten up at before the crack of dawn to comment on Julie's blog for the day. I THOUGHT I was getting mine in early... *snicker*.

    Julie, if I'd have opened an email like that, I'd probably have never made it to the publisher because I WOULD have deleted it, we've gotten so many spams!!

    I hope to be watching today to see how 'your day' of blog comments go.

    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

  130. I loved your post, Julie! You're a shining example of how perseverance can pay off. =)

    Since I'm living in Limbo Land between contract and release of my debut novel, I'm taking notes of what worked for you and what didn't.

  131. Gosh, DEB, why on earth would YOU need to print off my list??? You could SO teach a course with your own, you know?? But thanks for your kind words, my friend, AND for your precious friendship. You and your prayers are SUCH a blessing to me and The Seekers.

    PATSY SAID: "Isn't it great that God sees our hearts (atlthough sometimes there are bad things in our hearts too)."

    You sure got that right, sweetie, ESPECIALLY about the "bad things" He sees because He can't fix them if He can't see them, right? Besides, there is nothing sweeter than someone loving you for just who you are, unconditionally ... and NOBODY does that better than God!

    Patsy, the "subscribe to Journal Jots" orange button is RIGHT above the Facebook circle icon, so let me know if you get it to work for you, okay, so I can add your name to the JJ contest.

    LOL ... I can see where being called "Pasty" would unglue you, pun intended!! ;) I happen to LOVE the name Patsy because I have a sister named that and I love Patsy Cline, so I would gladly name a character after you, girl. Good luck in the contest! :)


  132. AUDRA!!!! Oh, honey, I'm sorry about you humming the song all day, but move over, sweetie, because I've been humming it all week, along with the "wah-wahs," so I am more than glad to share the "ear worm" ... :)

    And you asked, "Julie, do you ever fear running out of words?"

    Believe it or not, yes. Usually when I'm realllly tired or a little blue, I actually shut up, hard as that is to believe. :) But if I am nervous about something or pumped about going out with friends for the evening -- YIKES ... somebody give me a sedative, 'cause I am WIRED!!! But then, after ACFW, I don't have to tell YOU that, do I???

    JANET SAID: "The most down times for me were after that 2005 Golden Heart final. My expectations were pie in the sky high yet for me nothing changed. Talk about a mountain top drop to the valley!"

    I hear ya LOUD AND CLEAR, Janito!! Being a new author feels a little bit like a bungee-jump ride -- you start off way high, then plunge, then bounce back up and down OVER AND OVER again until FINALLY -- with God's help -- you get to the place where you just swing in the breeze, enjoying the view. :)

    You also said: "The other hard time was when my second book garnered one contest final after my debut had a long list of finals."

    Same here, and that was a tough vitamin pill to take, wasn't it?? But ... it's made us both stronger, I know.

    Your advice to "aim high but keep expectations low while remembering God is in control. Trust His timing and His will and let go of the outcome" is HUGE, my friend, so thank you!!


  133. I asked a friend once, "Did God tell you to do this?" When she answered, "Yes, I'm sure He did." Then to her I replied: "Well, if God told you to do this, then why would you turn and stop?"

    I'm constantly reminded of all the verses I've found about standing firm, not letting our feet slip, many more ways of saying to stay the course He has set for us, without wavering.

    We (I'm speaking for myself mostly but I'm sure others agree) are all glad you stayed the course.

    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

  134. LOL Julie, my dad's not that old and you aren't either!

    I see in Mary's comment she thought you were writing westerns...hey I'm all for that because I know if you write it it's going to be great! ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  135. Hey Julie,

    Thanks for sharing the reality of a writer's life!!

    One minute my story is a semi-finalist in the Genesis and the next it's ripped to shreds by another contest! Sigh. Who to believe? And I don't like roller coasters - not even the baby ones!

    However, after reading your GOOD column, I believe I'm on the right track. Plus I have awesome critique partners, so that's a huge 'GOOD'!!

    Have started reading "A Heart Revealed" and I LOVE it so far! I'm trying to read it slow to 'savour the flavour'!

    Thanks for always being such an inspiration - as a writer and as a person! I thank God every day for the Seekers!

    (Oh, if by some whim of fate I win the name contest, I'd love you to use my daughter's name: Leanne! Mine is too dull!)

    Cheers, everyone! Blessings to all you writers at every stage of your journey. May we learn to love the ride!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  136. You are such an inspiration to me!

    I am subscribed to journal jots.

  137. SUSAN, LOL!!! Craving spaghetti, eh?? Me too, BIG TIME!! The oatmeal's not cuttin' it this morning, I'm afraid ...

    And YAY for signing up for Journal Jots, girl -- you're on the contest list, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Not sure if Mary Connealy would want me writing cowboy books as Ruth Axtell Morren and I dubbed her the "Queen of Caveman Scenes" in our ACFW workshop, "A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss." Why? Because NOBODY pushes a girl to the wall for a kiss or yanks her close for one like one of Mary Connealy's cowboys, so as a "wall pusher" from WAY back, I would definitely be edging into her "caveman scene" status for darn sure!! ;)

    ROSE ... whoops ... sorry about the "ear worm," but it couldn't be helped. Besides I don't want to be the only one wah-wahing today ... :)


  138. Wow, we got our money's worth outta that post! And then some. Full of useful information. Definitely a keeper! I'm all signed up for Journal Jots.

  139. LAURA, you're more than welcome, sweetie, and thank YOU for coming by today, especially as a nonwriter. BUT ... you know what??? If you are a reader, there are writer tendancies lurking in there, girlfriend, so YES, now you DO know where to come when they surface ... ;) Good luck in the contest!!

    ROSE ... THANK YOU for signing up for Journal Jots, and you are officially entered in the JJ contest, so GOOD LUCK!! And as long as you read books, you're good because readers are some of our FAVORITE people!! Good luck in the contest. :)

    JACKIE ... thanks for coming by AND for trying to sign up for my Journal Jots -- sorry about the glitch. Hopefully it's just SO bogged down with people wanting to sign up (HA! I wish!!) and will work later. Let me know, okay?


  140. Hey, KARLA, yeah and I HATE roller-coasters, to boot!!

    And THANK YOU for reviewing my book!! I don't know if you are prone to posting the reviews you write, but if you are, I want to let you know that I am running a newsletter contest where anyone who posts a review on,, Goodreads, B&N or anywhere else, gets a point for every review posted. It only has to be a line or two saying you liked the book IF you can honestly say that, then even just one review posted enters you into a drawing for a signed copy of Steven's story, A Trust Restored when it comes out next year.

    Then ... the persons who come in first and second in posting the most reviews will get a more prominent subordinate character named after them in Steven's story (as opposed to the winner of this Seeker blog, who will only have a bit character named after them) and the top winner will also get a $50 gift card. So if that sounds like something you'd be interested in, just sign up for my newsletter on my website and post a review or more and let me know by forwarding me the links. BUT ... if posting reviews is NOT your thing, PLEASE do not worry about it, okay? This is only for those people so inclined.

    Journal DOTS!!! LOL ... how cute is that??? It's actually called Journal Jots, but that's okay -- as long as you sign up for it, it's okay by me, so you are now entered in the contest, sweetie. GOOD LUCK! :)

    JENNIFER ... you're welcome, sweetie, and I appreciate you dropping by today to leave a comment. Here's to a win, okay?


  141. KIRSTEN SAID: "The photo is wonderful! It would make a great cover for one of Mary’s books."

    You know, I thought the EXACT same thing ... maybe it's the gun, don't know. :)

    And you said: "I wake up excited each day to see what my characters have in store for me."

    Yep, you're a born writer, my friend, and I can't wait to see what God does with your talent, which I do happen to know you have in abundance since I critiqued you once, remember?

    Oh, DOUBT is a killer, no question, not just with writing, but with everything in our lives, but I like your SNL remedy: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit people like me.”

    Yes, they do ... and so does God, which makes ALL the difference in the world because if HE calls you to write for Him, it don't matter jack squat what anybody else says or thinks ... :)

    The Journal Jots button/icon is right about the Facebook circle icon on the lower right of every page of my website. There is a little phrase that says "Subscribe to Journal Jots," so go for it, girl, then let me know, okay?


  142. Oh, Julie, I so love you!
    You are so "REAL" and also really shine for Jesus!
    God bless you, dear writer friend of mine!

    I subscribed to Journal Jots!!!!!!!
    Thanks for being so candid and sharing with us in this way!!!

    Many Blessings and Smiles:)
    Charlotte Kay
    charlovesmark at gmail dot com

  143. Hooray for a Julie day at Seekerville! Am still trying to win AHR...please sign me up. Also, am trying to sign up for J&J (although I DO read it each Fri.) but having some glitches there....will keep trying!!

  144. LISA!!! And I LOVED what you wrote too -- short and sweet!! Sooo unlike moi. You care to tutor me??? :) Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

    Hey, LAURI, you bet your sweet jot it counts, girl -- THANK YOU!! Got you down on the contest list, so GOOD LUCK!!

    AMANDA!!! Sooooo good to see your sweet face again!! And you were "surprised" that I "didn’t have agents begging to represent you"??? Yeah, so was I until I took the rose-colored glasses off, got dressed and put my pajamas away! :)

    Thank you for your kind comment about A Passion Denied -- SO appreciate your encouragement!! And I'm glad your read my blog post about me and Julie Klassen because that was SUCH a God thing for sure, and now she is one of my good friends, so I am blessed.

    Yeah, the gun is pretty cool in that pic, isn't it?? Truly "smokin'" ... :) Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!


  145. Julie,
    Loved the post - especially the humor!!

    I subscribe to Journal Jots!


  146. Hi Julie,
    I enjoyed emailing with you last night! Thanks for spending time talking to your readers! :)

    I am not trying to be published right now, but maybe someday God will send me in that direction...

    And I'd tell you what I'm having for dinner tonight, but I am in college, so I'm eating whatever I find that's edible in the dining hall.

    Have a great day! :D

    And I totally got the spaghetti western reference - I grew up watching Westerns with my Dad. Good memories...

  147. Hello Julie! I genuinely LOVED this post, and must confess it's going to the FRONT of my Keeper file. Oh my---you are a wealth of wisdom, sweet lady (and I still REGRET I didn't even get to meet you in person at ACFW a few weeks ago---AAAAUGH!!!). ~ I really enjoy your style of writing, and appreciate you taking the time to share with us (I'm presently unpubbed) what you've learned and some excellent advice! ~ One of your comments "jumped out at me" and I wrote it down (will keep it beside my computer as an ever-present reminder): Julie Lessman says:...God ALWAYS gives you the grace to do what He has called you to do! ~ Wow, Julie---those are exactly the words I needed to read right now, so thank you so much. ~ My Georgia Peach supply is dwindling, but I did bake one more peach cobbler to share today---warm from the oven. Enjoy!! ~ Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  148. Hi Julie:

    Add the good, the bad, and the ugly to a large pot, stir with gusto, then jump in and you’ll be swinging through life.

    As someone who has written over 1000 reviews I can tell you that when a 5-star book gets a 1-star review, it’s not about the book; it’s about the reviewer’s agenda.

    BTW: I saw the first spaghetti westerns, as they came out, when I was living in Italy. I saw them with Italian dubbing but Clint had so few words to say that I had no trouble following the storyline. The Italians loved those movies. When I would walk around Trieste, I’d see movie posters of Clint Eastwood on dozens of Kiosks. I think that’s how many Italians of my generation still see America.

    I have you to thank for introducing me to Julie Klassen. I just love how she starts every chapter with an historical quote that sets the tone for the coming chapter. She also has fantastic cover art. (I think it is OK to be just a little jealous. : ) )

    I’m reading a “A Heart Revealed” now and it’s really nice to see Charity acting in a less selfish way though she is still as devious as ever. Your books get even better, that is more reader enriching, with each new entry because the reader has become friends with the many characters. There is an accumulative effect that’s hard to measure but even harder to emulate with single title works.

    I do have a question about Emma’s phonograph: I remember playing my grandmother’s in her attic as a child and you had to wind it up with a crank and it worked just fine without any electricity. Is that the kind that Emma had? I ask this because the turntable kept running even after the record reached the end. I know just what that sounds like.

    (Also, I would have liked to have known which Duke Ellington song Emma was playing. I might have played the same record myself back in the day.)


    P.S. I have all your books but I wouldn’t mind you saying a prayer for me. I am consumed right now with a WIP I think is my best work ever. : )

    P.P.S. Ninety-five words were edited out of the post. So I at least tried to write less like the master.

  149. Hey Julie!! I just wanted to say that, wow, I loved your post!! It's a big encouragement and eye opener for an aspiring writer, like me. :-)

    Oh, and I did go over to your Journal Jots and I THINK I have subscribed. not too sure, but if I don't see anything soon, I'll head over and do it again. :-)

  150. p.s. Just subscribed to JOURNAL JOTS!!! :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  151. Hi Julie! What a fantastic post about your journey, and a great allegory to compare it to! I'm so encouraged just knowing what other writers have been through.

    I'd have to say as an unpubbed writer, I have a lot of GOOD going on because I'm writing regularly, I'm excited to do it and I'm confident someone will love to read it someday.

    My BAD has been not always writing for His glory, just mine.

    The UGLY, well...not much yet. I'm not much for contests, so haven't had to deal with a lot of criticisms on that front. I think I could handle it, though, because I'm a journalist by day, and I get phone calls all the time from people who don't agree with what I wrote (facts are facts, except when they're not, apparently) or are mad because something was left out or are just mad in general (and it gets misdirected at the messenger). I know it will be hard to deal with criticism on something as personal as my fictional baby, but with God's grace and good friends like you Seekers preparing us unpubs with what to expect, I hope to persevere.

    Please enter me for a chance at your books, Julie!


  152. Julie, I also LOVED that you had Scriptures to back up your goals to strive toward. Too many times I try to twist my thoughts to what I THINK God would approve of, instead of actually looking at what His Word says. Thank you for the reminder in that, too!


  153. CARA SAID: "You should be on the cover of your next book, girl."

    UH, NO. I want my book sales to go up, sweetie pie, not down ... :)

    And I SO relate with our statement that you wished you'd "written more books before you pubbed instead of over polishing the ones you'd completed -- same here! I proofed APMP about 60 times, wasting valuable time in which I probably could have written a couple of books. Sigh. Live and learn, I guess!

    ALLI!!!! You said, "You sacrifice so much of your time" to stay personally in touch with your readers." Well, sweetie, all I can say is reader friends like YOU are one of the biggest reasons why!!! Our personalities click, we connect in a BIG way, and BOOM!! Suddenly I have a dear friend instead of someone who just reads my books. You have NO idea just how much you add to my life, even when we don't get to talk for long stretches of time, so trust me -- my motives are NOT all that noble ... :)

    Love you!

  154. Hi! I've never been a good writer but I've always loved to read. For my own sake I am so glad you didn't give up, Julie. I love all your books and as a Christian romance reader, I had been wanting someone to write books like this for a while. It just goes to show how perseverance builds character which builds hope. Thanks for sticking in there and I can't wait to read your next book!

  155. Ashley, I am over-the-moon thrilled that you love Jake so much that you plan to purchase a copy even after you return the copy Julie loaned you!

    You ROCK!

  156. Hi Julie! LOVED reading your post, and I LOVE that top photo! Did Keith make that for you? He did a great job!

    And since I can't win the contest to have a character named after me (since I already did that!), I'll enter the second part of the giveaway -- I subscribed to Journal Jots (and it worked! YAY!).

    Thanks so much for all that you do, and for being one of the most lovely people I know. You're a peach! ;-) (((HUGS)))

    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

  157. LARISSA SAID: "I attended my first live conference, pitched for the first time and queried for the first time in the past 2 weeks.

    WOW, good for you, my friend -- those are sure a LOT of "firsts," so I commend you for taking those steps. And WHOO-HOO, WAY TO GO on the Honorable Mention in the Dixie Kane contest, girl -- that is HUGE for a writer with so many "firsts" going on. Glad the Seeker "First Five Pages" helped you out too.

    You also said: "Because of helpful posts like yours, I'm bracing myself for rejection with a small light of hope still burning ..."

    "Bracing" yourself being the key word here along with "hope" because we have NO idea which way it will go, but you want to be steady in the "God of Hope" while you're waiting for Him to unfold the plans He has for you. God bless you in your queries AND in this contest!

    KC!!! Thanks for hopping over to Journal Jots to sign up, my friend -- you're in the contest!! I'm glad you like the "teal" -- I do too! Although I'm pretty sure May looks very "fetching" in it as well. ;) Whoops ... the spaghetti is all gone, but hold on ... I'm making another pot ...


  158. I just subscribed to Journal Jots. GREAT post, Julie!

    And I'm not published yet - working on it :)

    GOOD - reading here, joining ACFW, taking classes, finding amazing writer friends to encourage me.

    BAD - not doing the research I needed to get it right, allowing myself to play too much, comparing myself to others

    UGLY: Bitterness toward a famous author (Christian, even) who "sold my story" before I could even get it written. It was ugly. It took me MONTHS to get over it! And I bought the book and REALLY wanted to hate it. But I didn't.

  159. SANDRA ... LOL!! "And I never did like my westerns served with spaghetti."

    Me, either. Seems like BBQ ribs and beans would be more traditional, but let's face it -- there was NOTHING traditional about the Spaghetti Westerns.

    And ... does ANYONE know why they were called that???

    PAULA ... ahem ... not "fan," sweetie, please -- "reader friend," because we're all just women who love to read and write, so we are SO glad you are one of us!! Thanks SO much for signing up for my Journal Jots -- you're in the contest, girl, but give me your e-mail addy in a spam-safe manner, okay, so I have it if you win. Good luck!!

    SANDRA LEESMITH SAID: "getting published isn't the end all. It is only the beginning."

    WHOA, you said a mouthful, girlfriend because getting published is definitely NOT the end all, be all that everyone thinks it will be. Yes, it's really nice to achieve that status, but it doesn't deliver what our dreams think it will, not by a LONG shot. It truly is "only the beginning" of learning to live for Him instead of ourselves. :)

    By the way, Sandra, I am halfway through The Price of Victory, and I LOVE it!! In fact I always moan when I am drawn by a book like yours because it means I spend more time in the powder room than I should, which I am DEFINITELY doing with yours ... :/


  160. 160 comments....

    And not enough cookies!!!

    Luckily I came prepared!!!

    Missy's got Tina's via Martha Sterwart (or vice versa) peanut butter chocolate bit recipe over at the Yankee Bell Cafe, but I sneaked a tray OUT THE BACK DOOR FOR Y'ALL....

    That Belle, she don't nohow like to just be givin' stuff away!

    Whereas I am a GENEROUS SOUL... ;)

  161. From Wikipedia: Spaghetti Western, also known as Italo-Western, is a nickname for a broad sub-genre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone's unique and much copied film-making style and international box-office success, so named by American critics because most were produced and directed by Italians.

  162. Thanks Julie for not giving up. I have so enjoyed these series of books (haven't got the new one yet but can't wait to grab it) and am so thankful that God gave you this special gift.

  163. Julie I subscribed to your Journal Jots!
    I am almost finished with Pam's book and I am really surprised at how good it is, although I still say that no book compares with what you write. I am going to buy a Kindle on Black Friday so that I can download Pam's book.

  164. PAMMY SAID: "Blog tours are a lot of fun but if done effectively, they eat up a lot of time."

    Oh, man, girl -- preach it!! And nobody knows that better than you having just gone through it (and probably STILL going through it) recently with Stealing Jake!

    And you also said: "And after 5 AM, it started HOPPING like a herd of bullfrogs in a sizzling skillet the size of Texas."

    LOL!! LOVE IT!! Can I steal that???

    LINNETTE ... See? You telling me that best-selling author Ted Dekker shared about the heartbreak of rejection is SO huge to me, because we all think that big authors don't go through this too. BULL HOCKEY!! If you got blood in your veins, you go through it, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

    And the old "Am I good enough? I'm not as good as so-n-so. It's taking me too long to write" syndrome??? Oh, honey, been there, done that and STILL doing it at times simply because of the blood issue I mentioned above -- we're HUMAN!! Comparison is the kiss of death, and although I'm big on kisses, I'd rather steer clear of that one ...

    YES, I have run across men reading my books which, like you, freaks me out!!! Once when I was checking in at the ACFW Conference, I gave my name to the guy registering me and he looked up and said, "I loved A Passion Most Pure." I remember blinking and saying something like, "Come again?" because I was truly dumbfounded. Turns out he's a romance writer and YES, reads Christian romance if he likes the author, so there you go -- you obviously have a style that appeals to men in your books.

    A second story that ALWAYS makes me smile is after I left the travel company I worked for to write full time, I found out that one of my friends had my binder manuscript of A Passion Denied that I'd lent her. Well, apparently she was passing it around the building (BIG travel company!), and there was actually a wait list!!! Anyway, one day I get this e-mail from the husband of a gal I worked with at the company, telling me he LOVED my book so much, he promptly bought the first two and had them sitting on his shelf next to Nicholas Sparks (not sure how Nick would feel about that!) because we were his two "favorite writers." I'll tell you what, my jaw dropped clean to the floor because it turns out his wife doesn't read romance, but he does!! He even came to my book signing to give me a hug -- truly one of the most special memories I have. :)

    I am SO thrilled that you got to go to the Ragged Edge Conference (love that name!!) and that it blessed you. It's just a matter of time, my friend ...

    You're signed up for the JJ contest, so good luck!


  165. ERICA V. SAID: "I have some Good, Bad, and Ugly lurking in my journey to publication past."

    GOSH, wouldn't it be fun to get all the authors we know to do a blog on the best thing that ever happened to them and the ugliest?? I, for one, would LOVE to hear the stories, and we can start with you if you like, sweetie ... ;)

    MEREDITH SAID: "This post just made my day. Started off gloomy and rainy and you brought a smile to my face and an eagerness to my heart!"

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! And your comment brought a smile to my face and an eagerness to my heart as well, you sweet thing!! Sooo glad I could lift your day. Thank you for lifting mine. :)

    MELANIE SAID: "But you make the pain seem so funny!!! When it's not."

    No, it's not at the time, Mel, that's for darn sure, and I got the tears to prove it, as do you! But God heals and so does laughter, so bring it on, right???

    You also said: "Being me is an emotional minefield, let me tell you."

    LOL!!! Move over, Mel, 'cause we both can be a war zone when it comes to our crazy emotions. BUT ... it makes our writing all the more intense, right???

    WAIT!! So now you're one-upping me on 1-star reviews, is that what I'm hearing??? WOW, I couldn't believe it, so I actually went and checked and STILL can't believe it!! I LOVED The Healer's Apprentice and apparently so did the judges for the Christys (an award I would kill for ... okay, maybe not kill ...) and the Carol Award, so who ya gonna believe, huh??? Okay, you have effectively shut my mouth on whining about the 1-star reviews. You know what else would be fun, though??? A blog on nothing but 1-star reviews per author. OKAY, SEEKERS ... nobody steal this idea, 'cause this 1-star dethroned queen (I bow to Mel) plans to do this blog soon ... :)


  166. Thanks for the encouragement, Julie. Loved the picture, and I'm too new at this to start giving any advice, but thanks for sharing yours. I love the way you pray for those who give you negative reviews.

    And surely this post just won the prize for longest blog post ever. :-)

  167. Hey Julie! Just read your comment about the peach cobbler. Whipping one up right now, just for you! ;-)

  168. BETHANY SAID: "Now don't be mad...but your style of writing reminds me of Francine Rivers - believe me its a compliment."

    Oh, BETHANY, how could you??? What an incredibly cruel thing to say ... NOT!! You tell me my writing reminds you of the Queen of Inspy Fiction and I'm supposed to be "mad"??? Shocked, maybe, and even a little dubious, but mad??? Oh, honey, where can I send the check?? :)

    Seriously, THANK YOU sooo much for that incredible compliment, truly -- it blesses me more than I can say because Francine is one of my all-time faves!

    And you asked "how do they make your book covers so soft and vibrant?"

    My publisher, Baker Books (Revell and Bethany House) have some of the best covers in the biz, which obviously means they have some of the best artists out there, which is true. I LOVED APMP's cover because it is so "soft" and muted, while the next two books are more "vibrant." The artists will shoot models (separately, mind you, on different dates), then Photoshop them together in a cover with any setting I suggest. It's a fun process, and I am blessed that Revell allows me to be a part of it.

    Ohhhhhh ... I just had lasagna for lunch (my daughter made it) and it was to die for!! Enjoy.

    CAROL!!!! OH. MY. COW!!! Sweet Mother of Job, I'm stealing that -- sorry, you can't stop me!! :)


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

    Julie, I loved the way you took time out of your busy life to email me back!! It was definetly the highlight of my week when I got a reply to my note!

    I love the blog and the books! My heart literally clenches up in excitement everytime I think about the up and coming books!!

    Thank you for being amazing!!!!!!!!


  170. WINTER SAID: "I need to gird myself to avoid looking at reviews."

    Well, girl, once you figure out how, let me know, okay, 'cause I'm failing miserably at this right now. Of course, I do have a review-posting contest going on so I am FORCED to look at reviews, I guess, right?? I have actually fasted Amazon before, believe it or not, not looking at reviews for weeks at a time. My hubby does, though, and if I get a good one, he reads it to me ... :)

    And you said "I need to curb my internet time." OUCH ... me, too, so why don't you pray for me and I'll pray for you, deal?? :)

    Boy, does your hubby sound like a keeper or what?? Give that man a kiss, my friend, 'cause he sure deserves it!

    DANA ... YAY!!! You're in the Journal Jots contest, so just give me your e-mail in a spam-safe manner and we're good to go. Thank you, sweetie, and GOOD LUCK!!


  171. MYRA, LOL!!!!!!!!!!! My second belly laugh for the day, my friend, so THANK YOU!! Especially the:



    (And I'm not talkin' German sausage!)

    And did you have to mention Easter??? Now I'm hungry for chocolate ...

    NOOO!!! Your story about a manuscript you submitted that came back without even a form letter acknowledgment, only a big REJECTED stamped on the cover page is just plain RUDE!! Do these people think they are dealing with robots who have no feelings?? My worst one was a publisher who didn't even bother to give me the courtesy of a letterhead -- they simply hand wrote "No interest in this project" across my OWN query letter and returned it to me. What class!! :/


  172. FACEPAINTER 28 SAID: "I have certain passages in the "Passion" books underlined to be reminders for me who really is in control and how He'll never leave us nor forsake us."

    Aw, girl, that blesses me a LOT because that means I was obviously listening to the Holy Spirit in that section, which is VERY good!

    And you said, "You are a blessing! I love you so much! haha in a non creepy way of course I promise! lol"

    :) BIG GRIN HERE. You are SO adorable, you sweet thing, and trust me, there's nothing "creepy" about giving such a beautiful compliment to someone, so THANK YOU!!

    WHITNEY SAID: "Julie, I love the picture of you as a gun-totin’ mama! Haha!"

    LOL ... yeah, me too, Whit ... I think it's a hoot!! And I am SO thrilled that my story about A Passion Most Pure being rejected 45 times encourages you because that is exactly why I debase myself so people can see the before and after of what God can do. :)

    Actually, I can’t say that I’m a fan of Clint Eastwood all that much, either, or Sam Elliot ... but Tom Selleck??? DING-DING-DING-DING!!! That man sure did ring my chimes, I'll tell you that! ;)

    Thanks for your kind comment, Whit, and good luck in the contest.


  173. APPLE BLOSSOM (ABI)!!! "Standing in awe of God" is just where we all want to be, isn't it???

    And your example of "ugly"??? LOL ... I know the feeling about wanting to blow your computer to bits ... or at least I did before I got my Mac laptop. SHEER HEAVEN!!! I am saying one for you RIGHT NOW, sweetie, that you can get one of those, used or new, doesn't matter. :)

    JAN ... LOVE your line: "They didn't want it? That doesn't mean it wasn't good."


    Uh, and as far as the character I name after you if you win being the smartest, sweetest, loveliest character you've ever created? Not sure I can do that, my friend. Just ask Casey Herringshaw, who won last year's review-posting contest and had a character named after her in A Heart Revealed. Sweet, little Casey (in the book) ends up being not as sweet as we thought, but thank God the real Casey was not offended! ;)


  174. Julie said: "they simply hand wrote 'No interest in this project' across my OWN query letter and returned it to me."

    Yep, had that happen, too.

    But we are so far beyond those days now, right? We just let Natasha deal with the submissions and rejections!

    Something about having a "middleman" makes it just a wee bit easier to handle, don't you think? Since we know our amazing, go-getter agent believes in us, so how can we go wrong?

    Oh, boy, I just have to keep returning to this blog again and again just to see that picture of pistol-packin' Julie in a cowboy hat!

  175. RUTHY SAID: "And it makes me look "TIGHT WITH WORDS", Sugah!!!"

    You just keep thinking that, sweetie, if it makes you feel any better, but we all know the truth, now don't we?? Both of us are WAY too prone to foam at the mouth and there's no amount of rabies vaccine that can shut us up once we get going, although you have a definite advantage with the LI word count
    ... :) By the way, the fried dough is YUM!! Never had that before!

    PATRICIA SAID: "Don't take this the wrong way, but first glance at that picture and you reminded me of The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. :)

    Now really, Patricia, is there a "right" way to take you saying I look like a battered hunk 'o junk???

    BUT ... I forgive you because you signed up for my Journal Jots and because I like you. :/ You're in the running, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!


  176. Oh sure, having a middle man is great, Myra and Julie. Unless that middle man starts telling you no publishing house in their right mind would buy your current story. :-)

  177. I can't believe you still read reviews...

    Oh mylanta, have I taught you nothing????

    Melanie, Melanie, Melanie...

    Julie, Julie, Julie....

    If the editor likes them enough to pay you CASH MONEY why oh why would you worry about what Suzy-Tuzy says on Amazon?

    Now if my editor starts postin' bad reviews, I will pay attention! But who wants to waste energy on negative people?

    If they e-mail me personally with a problem, then I'll chat with them. Talk it out. But not those reviews.


    Hey, I refilled the cookies and the BABIES are amassing an attack.

    God be with us all!

    Life's too short.

    God's too good.

    And there's always chocolate. Right?

  178. Hey, MINDY, sooooo good to see you here, my friend!! Sorry about the toes, by the way, but you should have seen mine when I got bulldozed by all the "uglies" in my life. There's a reason I have flat feet, you know ... :) Thanks for signing up for Journal Jots -- got you down, sweetie. And the pic? Not one I'd want to put on the back of my book cover, but certainly appropriate for this blog, I think. :)

    ASHLEY!!! Uh-oh, you outed me, girl when you said, "Every Friday at 10:30 AM, I get on your website to read the Journal Jots. Sometimes they are not up yet, so I wait until it is up so I can read the Journal Jot."

    Uh, yeah, I know (she says, cringing), and I do feel a little guilty about it because the first year of Jots, I always posted Thursday night after midnight, but life has been SO crazy with the new book, edits on the next one, ACFW, a new grandbaby, etc., that I don't always get to the Jot till Friday morning during my devotion time. Sigh. I didn't think anyone would notice, but you got me! ;)

    And, YUM ... the omelot sounds pretty good to me right now ...

    YAY!!!!!!! I told you Pam Hillman's Stealing Jake was great, didn't I??? I am SOOO thrilled you love it and equally as thrilled that you won my contest for me to loan it to you AND that Amazon actually has a 2-week e-book loan policy. VERY COOL!!

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU for downloading both Pam's book and mine -- you are an absolute DOLL!! And would you do me a HUGE favor??? Pammy is a debut author, and they need ALL the good reviews they can get, so if you don't mind posting one on and CBD and anywhere else you can for her, that would be HUGE!! She is a real sweetheart, and I hope you get to meet her someday. We love her!! AND, of course, that goes the same for you, too, sweetie! ;)


  179. Wonderful tidbits to know! Thank you!

    I'm so very glad that your book A Hope Undaunted became a free ebook... I may never have found you otherwise, and now I have all of your books!

  180. WHOO-HOO, CHRISTINA, VERY COOL, AND WAY TO GO!!! You're on the list for the Journal Jot contest, so GOOD LUCK!! BIG HUGS!!

    ANITA MAE SAID: "My cell phone theme has been, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” for the past 3 years."

    LOL!!!! That is TOO cute, my friend, and uh-oh ... it's giving me ideas as far as changing my own ring tone ... :/

    You are MORE than welcome about the mention of Inkwell Inspirations. I don't read a lot of blogs, but I do read a handful here and there, and yours is one. Thanks for signing up for the Jots -- got ya down, girl. And, YES, I missed talking to you too. But, you know what happens? I am one of these that flits because I do not like to see anyone sitting alone, so I will bee-bop all over instead of staying with people I am comfortable with (like you and The Seekers). Sometimes I don't like that because I just want to sit and talk one-on-one, but I feel too badly not talking to others, so that's why it's so tough to tie me down. Blame it on childhood neuroses, I guess, when I used to be the odd man out -- who knows?? :/


  181. LOL, Naomi, our "middleman" has said very similar words to me about a couple of my stories!

    But I love her to death anyway!

  182. Interesting post Julie. You have given me a lot to think about, much of it encouraging.
    Oh, and I signed up for your Journal Jots & given you my address on your website, please enter me in your draws.
    Thanks so much,

  183. Thank you so much for this blog! I really enjoyed this post about publishing. Since I hope to become a published writer one day, your lists help sort out what I should or shouldn't think about doing. I really enjoy your books and can't wait to see more posts!

  184. Thanks, MARE, but no -- you're "caveman scene" crown is safe for now ... although I told Natasha that I had an idea for a trilogy set in a small town in the Wild West after the McClares, so we shall see ... :)

    Oh, MOM ... would you believe that I looked at your name and started crying??? Gosh, what does THAT say about me?? I suppose just that I never got the chance to forge a true friendship with my own mom because she died when I was 16, and frankly, we didn't like each other. Consequently, I have never been able to experience reconciliation with her, but hopefully someday in heaven ...

    So I cannot tell you just HOW much your comment means to me that the DOB series spoke to you and your daughter during a difficult season -- that blesses my soul beyond belief, and YES, I am typing this with tears trailing my cheeks. Gosh, the squirrels out here on my deck must think I am a dork, crying at my computer!!

    Seeing the name "Mom" in a place I wasn't expecting it triggered SUCH emotion that I am blown away. Do you know that to this day, whenever I am on a scary ride or roller-coaster, I scream the name "Mom" over and over. My daughter and husband laugh at me, and now I can too because what I was not able to restore with my own mom, God has restored in my own family. Sorry for rambling on so, but I just wanted YOU to know how much YOU affected me.

    Hugs and more hugs,

  185. Thank you so much for this blog! I really enjoyed this post about publishing. Since I hope to become a published writer one day, your lists help sort out what I should or shouldn't think about doing. I really enjoy your books and can't wait to see more posts!

  186. LOL, JULIE! I thought the Ted Dekker comment would encourage you. He spent two years continuing to write while everyone rejected "Black." Can you imagine? And the way he got his first agent? That's a story for private conversation. Just know he had his heart torn our over and over again before he finally hit the shelves!

    Love that you have the guy issue thingy, too. I've been asking all my guy writer friends, "What's up with that?" LOL So far I've gotten one of them to respond with some sort of coherent answer. One said, "Don't you think the best guys to ask are the two guys you're talking about? LOL" :D But, knowing you have guy fans, I feel better now. :D One of my guy writer friends said that the fact that I have a voice that appeals to both men and women is a gift and not easy to do. So maybe I should take it and run with it. :D I didn't ask those two guys because I didn't want to scare them off. If a guy wants to read my stories, more power to 'em.

    There was something else I was going to say and now I can't remember what. Hmm... I'll have to think on it and come back later.


  187. WOW, JAMIE ... WHAT A STORY!!! "MOM" in the comment above started me crying, and now you're finishing me off with that truly amazing story of God's grace and wisdom. I am SO thrilled for you and wish you all the blessings He wants to heap on you, girl!! And thanks for signing up for my Journal Jot -- got you on the list, girl, so GOOD LUCK!!

    RUTHY SAID: "Welcome aboard, chickie! Let's raise a glass/mug in honor of Melissa's first rejection!"

    HEAR, HEAR!!!


    ROTFLOL!!! You are SUCH a hoot, my friend, and Dave is a lucky man ... that is, if you do NOT kick him ...

    CASE!!! A day in Seekerville is NOT complete without you, sweetie!! And I didn't EXACTLY slight Oregon, did I???? Whoops ... Trust me, I LOVE it now because some of my FAVORITE people live up there!

    And you hit the nail on the head, my friend: God is Am.Az.Ing!!!

    Love you!

  188. Editing books! That's it! I found that comment very helpful. I spent nearly a year editing "Finding Beth." Of course, it is my first ms that I'm putting out there and I did have agent/editor feedback. I was busy fixing the things that apparently kept me from being represented by him. Although he did invite me to re-sub once I finished the edits. Guess I should do that... I round another agent I really like, but I'm waiting to hear back from them. Another is interested in seeing my stuff, so I'm preparing a proposal for him. Praying for God's best!

  189. Okay, Julie, you asked for it.

    My UGLY:

    I finished my heartbreaking work of staggering genius, didn't edit it a lick because it was, after all, PERFECT, packaged it up, and sent a mass mailing to every publishing house and agent in the Christian Writer's Guide, then sat back to wait for someone to notice my brilliance.

    Sigh. Still waiting for that ms to find a home.

  190. Thanks Julie for the fun and informative post! You're always such an encouragement to aspiring newbies like myself!

    I do have one question.... you mentioned wishing you'd created a website earlier in your career. When do you recommend writers who are just getting started begin their own website or blog? I have a long ways to go before I'm talking to publishers or signing contracts, so I wasn't sure if it was still too early for me.

    Thanks again, Julie. I'm sooooo excited to read your next book, as always!

  191. Thanks, PATTY, for sticking with us Seekers because it's Seeker friends like you that make this blog go round. :)

    And trust me, I would love for you to win a copy of my new book, too, so here's to a win, my friend!

    VICKIE ... yeah, I'm more comfortable being totally honest as long as it doesn't hurt anyone because really, there's more freedom in being who you are, no matter how crazy. I think I scare people sometimes at first because I am SO out there and open, but you know what? After a while, they get used to it and I have the freedom to be myself. :)

    And, oh honey, don't talk to me about TBR lists ... I'm buried till 2012 and not sure when I'm going to be digging out, so I TOTALLY relate!! SO ... if you get around to my book one of these days when you can, I will be more than thrilled!! Good luck in contest!

    PAM SAID: "Julie, if I'd have opened an email like that, I'd probably have never made it to the publisher because I WOULD have deleted it, we've gotten so many spams!"

    Trust me, Pam, I almost did!! But Natasha's name truly shocked me, so I didn't delete it, thankfully, or you and I wouldn't be having this conversation right now, you know??


  192. Julie, I love spaghetti westerns too! My parents were very into westerns when I was growing up so I was practically raised on them! My kids think it's so funny when they hear the term "spaghetti" westerns! It's so ironic that I MARRIED a "Western" so my married name is Valri WESTERN! I became a western! Therefore, when people talk about spaghetti westerns, my kids (when they were little), always thought they were talking about them and got embarrassed! Too funny!

    So glad you made it through your "times of rejections" and were able to see the silver lining so your readers could have your books today! I am subscribed to Journal Jots, even though I have been on your email list for a long time! Now I just get more of you!! Thanks for staying positive and uplifting! Continued good luck in all you do!

    Valri (Western, of course!)

  193. This comment has been removed by the author.

  194. I am officially subscribed to JOURNAL JOTS ~ woo hoo! And congrats on your wedding anniversary ~ that's quite the accomplishment!

    amanda38401 at gmail dot com

  195. Oh wow, where in the world would I begin?! You took every word out of my heart and my mind ~ I don't think I could add anything to your good, bad, and ugly. However, I can say, it's nice to know I'm not alone, nor am I the ONLY one that feels this way. It's so nice to be normal...

    Thank you for your wonderful posts. Keep 'em comin'!

    amanda38401 at gmail dot com

  196. RENEE, thank you, sweetie, although I am pretty old ... I just don't act like it because I'm juvenile delinquent! ;) And hubby is REALLLY good at Photoshop!!

    Thanks for your vote of confidence on the westerns, but I am NOT a big research fan, so I'm worried sick that I will have to do tons if I switch to westerns. But I might ... we'll have to see. :)

    SUE SAID: "One minute my story is a semi-finalist in the Genesis and the next it's ripped to shreds by another contest! Sigh. Who to believe?"

    You believe God, Sue, that's who!! You didn't final for nothing, you know -- He allowed it AND He put this desire in your heart. Now you're working it and growing and learning and doing, so don't let one person's opinion derail you.

    I entered A Passion Most Pure in a contest once (before it sold), and one judge gave me a 100 out of 200, telling me there were too many POVs, too many subordinate characters and that they distracted from the story. In the very same contest, a second judge gave me a perfect score, writing on the entry, and I quote: "Please, please, please, please let me know when you get published, because I definitely want to read this book."

    WOW. One person thinks I can't write worth diddly, and another is ready to buy the book. Be encouraged by the good reviews/judges and learn from the bad ones -- pray and sift what they say and apply if it resonates with you, but if not, say a prayer for them and let it go. And I don't like roller-coasters, either -- AT ALL!!


  197. OMGoodness ... LOL, when I had checked to see if this was posted last night (9:00pm HAWAII time!) there were already49 comments --were you all stalking this blog or something? It must have been really late for some of you ... =P

    Wow, what a prize! You're so generous, Ms. Julie. ^_^

    As a reader, it was neat to see a little glimpse of what an author's life is like before and after publication (the good, bad, and ugly). Sharing your experiences will hopefully help other aspiring authors know what to focus on (or avoid) in their publishing quest. =)

  198. This has got to be THE BEST ARTICLE ON THE PUBLISHING LIFE I have seen yet, Julie! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing and I plan to save this one as a reread maybe even weekly! It is very encouraging (and funny!) LOVE the pics! Oh, and if you name a character after me I want it to be "The Mama" because Carrie and Susan are overused! Blessings!

  199. No, you didn't slight Oregon. ;-) I think we can forgive you of that even though people do tend to think we're from the other side of the world, but hey. So are they from where I'm sitting. ;-)

    AND I forgot...THANK YOU for the Alley mention. SO appreciate that!!! :D