Wednesday, February 13, 2013

STUPID IN LOVE!! (and Giveaway!!)

NOTE Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day (and since I am on my 9th day of the worst flu I ever had), I thought it would be fun (and easy) to repeat one of my very favorite blogs on romance, so that’s what I’ve done, updating it with a new excerpt or two. Appropriately, one of those excerpts is from my Irish Love Story, A Light in the Window, which, in honor of Valentine’s Day, has been reduced from $7.38 to $3.99 for a short time only. So I hope those of you who haven’t read it, will consider doing so now at Amazon, B&N or Smashwords

NEWSFLASH!!!  A Hope Undaunted, book 1 in my second series, Winds of Change, is available for FREE  DOWNLOAD  RIGHT NOW so PLEASE take advantage of downloading it and help a sick broad out, okay? It's not a dog, I promise—it was on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010 right below Francine Rivers and two above Deeanne Gist, so PLEASE spread the word and download it yourself right here at Amazon, B&N or CBD. After all—how risky can it be to download a free book that has 131 five-star reviews AND can be used as a doorstop if you don't like it?? Trust me—there are government bonds riskier than this, so go for it! My throat and my sinuses thank you!

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Reading!


Stupid in Love
(First posted February 2011)

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

Since I’ve been banned from having dinner parties by my husband, I have now transferred my perfectionist tendencies to other things such as revising manuscripts (at least 60 times on A Passion Most Pure alone) or pinning every earring or Christmas pin collected over a forty-year span on my sweater for a Seeker blog called When It Comes to Writing … Sometimes Less is More. Or driving my artist husband crazy when he designs my newsletter, which those of you who receive it know is pretty darn impressive, almost solely because of him, and here’s a peek at my last one, Julie’s Fall 2012 Newsletter.

Such was the case one day when I stood over his shoulder while he worked on a recent newsletter, the next of which, by the way, will be out in March, so if you are not signed up for it, you can do so here: Signup for Julie’s Newsletter.

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

What’s my point besides that sharp thing on my head? Well, my point is that after hours of putting my husband through the paces, I was more than a little curious as to just why he puts up with a CDQ like me (caffeinated drama queen), so I hugged him in the kitchen, eyes misty with love. “I don’t deserve you, babe,” I say for the 2,000th time. “I know,” he says with a quirk of a smile. “And I don’t deserve you either.” I laugh and feather his stubbled chin with my thumb. “Why do you do it?” I ask, suddenly serious, not sure if he was a glutton for punishment, short on brain cells, or both. “I don’t know,” he says, giving me a quick kiss on the lips. “I guess I’m just stupid in love.”

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

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

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

He stared at the empty door, unable to comprehend the love he’d just seen. His pulse droned in his ears as he slumped in the chair, body buzzing and mind numb.
She’d forgiven in the face of her anger. He dropped his head in his hands.
In total obedience to God. Unlike him. And total love for the man who spurned her.
Wetness welled in his eyes and he choked on a sob. An aching realization stabbed within, but its pain was kind, unlike the agony of guilt. Conviction lifted the blindness from his eyes, and he knew he had failed. He’d turned his back on God as well as his wife. And for what? Wounded pride that had yielded nothing but his demise. And hers.
Two souls for the price of one sin.
He thought of Marcy, and for the first time in months, he could see her clearly, unscathed by his anger. A woman, pure of heart and strong of character, loving God while loving him. He thought of the damage he’d done, and his heart fisted in grief. Oh, God, forgive me—I don’t deserve her.
He leapt to his feet, sin no longer weighting him down, and bounded the steps, two at a time. The hall was dark, but his step was light, and he prayed for mercy as never before. He neared their room and could hear her weeping, muffled and wrenching his heart like it should. He stopped in the doorway, staggered by what he’d done, and watched as their bed shivered with her grief. She didn’t hear him until he knelt by her side, and when he spoke, she jerked in surprise. “Marcy …”
The hitch of her breath was harsh in the dark.
He pressed a hand to her wet cheek, sick inside at the pain he’d caused. “God knows I don’t deserve it, but can you … will you … forgive me for being a fool?”

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

Barely outside the door, Joe spun around and pushed Steven back. “What the devil is wrong with you? You’re acting like a jerk.”
Steven shoved back, and several couples scattered away from the railing where sparks of moonlight glittered on the water … not unlike the anger in Joe’s eyes. “Yeah, well at least I’m not acting like Brubaker, trying to take advantage of a kid.”
Joe propped his arms on his hips. “She’s almost eighteen, Steven, two years past Massachusetts law of consent.” He paused, eyes sharp as if gauging Steven’s reaction to what he was about to say. A faint smile flickered on his lips. “Besides, one look at that sweater she’s wearing will tell you she’s not a kid.
Steven hit him so fast, Joe never saw it coming. He staggered back with a hand to his jaw, eyes blazing. “I knew it! You have a thing for her, don’t you?”

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

She started to protest when his mouth met hers, warm and sweet as he kissed her, and the heat that coursed made her dizzy in his arms. His kiss remained gentle and lingering, so unlike his kisses of the past, and she found herself returning it with a vehemence that shocked them both. He drew back, lips parted in surprise, and in the catch of his breath, the gray eyes heated like molten lava. With a low groan, his mouth took hers once again, evoking a soft moan from her lips. She could feel his breath, warm against her skin, and a jolt of heat seared unlike anything she had ever felt, except with him.
Suddenly he wrenched away, eyes filled with longing. Inhaling sharply, he shoved the hair in his eyes away from his face, and the trademark smile returned with a vengeance. “Yep, we still got it,” he whispered, exhaling again while his fingers threaded his hair.
Her mouth slacked open. “You stopped!”
He eyed her, his brow slanted in surprise. “Give me a little credit, will you? A guy has to learn a lot of restraint living in a trench.”

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

“Beth, are we okay?” He ducked his head to search her eyes, then brushed her hair back from her face. A smile shadowed his lips. “Still friends?”
Friends. A deadly plague only a kiss could cure. Resolve stiffened her spine. “Sure, Brady … friends.”
He smiled and tucked a finger under her chin. “That’s my girl. Now what do you say we pray about some of these things?” He leaned close with another quick kiss to her brow, and in a desperate beat of her heart, she lunged, uniting her mouth with his. She felt the shock of her action in the jolt of his body, and she gripped him close to deepen the kiss. Waves of warmth shuddered through her at the taste of him, and the essence of peppermint was sweet in her mouth.
“No!” He wrenched back from her hold with disbelief in his eyes.
Too late. She had never felt like this before. Years of seeking romance from flat parchment pages had not prepared her for this. This rush, this desire … her body suddenly alive, and every nerve pulsing with need. All shyness melted away in the heat of her longing, and she pounced again, merging her mouth with his. John Brady, I love you!
A fraction of a second became eons as she awaited his rejection. His body was stiff with shock, but no resistance came. And in a sharp catch of her breath, he drew her to him with such force, she gasped, the sound silenced by the weight of his mouth against hers. He groaned and cupped the back of her head as if to delve into her soul, a man possessed. His lips broke free to wander her throat, and shivers of heat coursed through her veins. In ragged harmony, their shallow breathing billowed into the night while his arms possessed her, molding her body to his.

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

Her chest rose and fell with the rhythm of sleep. Luke leaned close and squinted. He sighed. Sleep was good. But not with a Life Saver lodged in her throat. “Katie,” he whispered, “Did you finish the candy?”
“Mmmm …” Her eyelids fluttered open before closing once again.
With a weary release of breath, he bent to pry a finger into her mouth and swiped her tongue. Reaching for his handkerchief, he pocketed the half-dissolved disk of candy that adhered to his finger, then leaned to press a gentle kiss to her cheek.
At his touch, her lips tilted into a dreamy smile. “Mmmm … I love you, Luke McGee,” she whispered, and then rolled to her side with a soft, little snort.
He rose to his feet and stared, his heart comatose in his chest. Drawing in a deep breath, he bent to tuck the sheet tightly to her chin, finally exhaling shaky air. What he wouldn’t give to make it so. But he knew better. His lips tightened. Alcohol had a way of distorting the truth.
He bent to graze her cheek with his fingers one last time, then slowly lumbered to his feet. “I love you, too, Katie Rose,” he whispered.
And he was stone-cold sober.

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

He turned, hands loose on his hips and gaze slatted enough to know she had a fight on her hands. “I mean I’m not leaving you here so that lowlife can hurt you again. You’ll stay with us for the foreseeable future, until I feel it’s safe to come back.”
“With you? At your house?” Her voice edged toward shrill.
His lips cemented into a hard line. “There or at Charity’s, take your pick. But either way, Emma, you’re not staying here, and that’s final.”
“But I can’t! Mrs. Peep needs me … and my cats.”
“Mrs. Peep loves you and wants you to be safe. She’ll watch your cats, she already told me so.” The blue of his eyes steeled to gray as he peered at her, the flicker of a dormant temper glinting in his eyes. “I won’t stand here and argue with you, Emma. I’m not usually a volatile man, and you know that, but this is too important. Trust me on this—I will take you by force if I have to. So I suggest you pack your bags while I warm up the soup.” He turned away, disappearing down the hall where sunlight streamed into her kitchen.

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

“Wait!” She ran to grasp his arm in a death hold, fingers clenched as tight as her stomach. “Don’t do this, please—don’t just walk away. I care about you, Luke, and I need your friendship. And you need mine.”
His gaze fixed on her hand where Jack’s diamond glittered in the lamplight, then slowly rose to her face, his blue eyes almost black. “No, Katie,” he whispered with a thread of pain in his voice, “I need your love.”
Her heart crashed to a stop. She removed her hand and lowered her eyes, gaze fused to the fringed tongue of his brown leather shoe. “I … care about you, Luke, I do.” Her voice trailed off, fragile and reedy with regret. “But please … why can’t we just be friends?”
Taut fingers gripped her chin and jerked it up, the dominance of his hold matched by the anger in his eyes. “Because it will be lovers or nothing, Katie Rose. The choice is yours.”

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

            He felt the whiskey dulling his senses, and he took another swig, his body relaxing into the sofa. All at once, Kathleen’s sweet face distorted into Charity’s sensual body. Heat jolted through him that had nothing to do with the alcohol in his bloodstream. A curse slurred from his lips. Just one flash of a thought, and the want was so strong it made him dizzier than the drink in his hand. He drained the whiskey and dropped the empty glass by his side, his hand falling limp on the couch. Images swam in his mind: the loving granddaughter, the hard-working clerk, the innocent little girl, the flirt. Sometimes shy, often nervous, always seductive.
            “She’s an enigma, our Charity. A real puzzlement,” Mima had said.
Mitch groaned through the fog in his brain. She was, indeed. 
            A puzzle he had no inclination to solve. Friendship or no.

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

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

11.) A Hero Who Is Disarmed by the Heroine: In Dare to Love Again, book 2 of the Heart of San Francisco series, cranky tough-guy police detective Nick Baronē is armed and dangerous … until Allison McClare—the socialite teacher who’s whacked him with her pointer stick no less than three times in their past—disarms him by accidentally falling into his arms. To set up this scene, she apologizes for her salty tongue while standing on a chair in her classroom where she’s been pinning a bulletin board.  

“Forgiven, Miss McClare,” he said with tease in his tone, “and I sure hope apologies are on the curriculum, ma’am, because you do them so well.” He extended his hand with a cock of his head. “May I help you down so we can start over?
She drew in a deep breath and released it with a nervous smile of relief, placing her palm in his. “Yes, please.” Voice as soft as her touch, she startled when the dainty tip of her oxblood kid leather shoe accidentally kicked the pin box to the floor. “Oh!” she squeaked, the crash of the pins apparently leaving her off kilter. With a look of abject horror, she flailed in the air for several panicked heartbeats before finally thudding hard against his chest, his arms fusing them together in a state of mutual stun.
He blinked, paralyzed by the warmth of her body, the flare of her eyes, the scent of chocolate from parted lips so lush, the fire blazing through him could have melted the candy in her bowl. As if hypnotized by the shape of her mouth, his gaze lingered there, feeling the pull …
“Uh, Mr. Baronē?” The lips appeared to move in slow motion, their soft, pink color luring him close … so very close.
“Mmm?” Barely aware, he felt his body lean in, breathing shallow and eyelids heavy, that perfect mouth calling him home …
“Mr. Barone!”
Her tone could have been a whack of her stick, jerking him from his fog with the reminder that a woman still dangled in his arms. Sucking in a harsh breath, he dropped her to her feet so fast, the poor thing teetered like his sanity in even thinking about kissing a dame from Snob Hill. “Forgive m-me, Miss McClare,” he stuttered in a gruff tone, “I … I don’t know what came over me.”

12.) A Notorious Rogue Hero Who Is Reformed by his Love for the Heroine: In A Light in the Window, Patrick O’Connor, the Southie neighborhood’s most notorious rogue, changes his ways to win the love of Marceline Murphy, the heroine who once slapped him soundly for advances he made.

He puffed out a sigh. “Well, I guess I’ll see you at the center, then. Good night.”
He turned away, and in a stutter of her pulse, she grasped his fingers, halting his retreat with a shaky rush of words. “It would appear, Mr. O’Connor,” she said with a casual tone that was anything but, “your reputation as the Southie’s most notorious rogue has been highly overrated.”
Shock glazed his eyes as they flicked from the hand clutching his to her face, muscles shifting in his throat. “What?”
Suddenly shy, she quickly released him, feeling like a little girl when she clutched her hands behind her back. A nervous smile flickered at the edges of her mouth as she teased him with a bold jut of her chin. “A little gun-shy, are we?”
He blinked before a crooked grin stole across his lips. “Aye, Marceline, all it takes is one good wallop to keep this rogue in line.” He rubbed the side of his jaw with the back of his glove, then paused, his gaze caressing her face. “Or former rogue, I should say ...”
She arched a brow. “A quick study—I like that.”
Her stomach swooped when he moved in close, eyes fused to hers with a heat that made her forget she was cold. “I surely hope so,” he said softly, cupping her face in his hands. “I’m in love with you, Marceline, and as God is my witness, from the moment I saw you, no other woman could even come close.” Her heart stopped when his eyes sheathed closed to gently brush her lips with his own, more fragile than the snowflakes floating from the sky. “Say you’ll let me court you,” he whispered, his mouth as warm as the swirls he produced in her belly, “and I give you my word—I will move heaven and earth to win your heart.”

So now it’s your turn. How do you do it—what ways do YOU show a hero in love so the reader feels the pull the heroine has over him? I’d love to hear your scenarios or just leave a comment and you’ll be entered into a giveaway for your choice of any of my books including my upcoming release, Love at Any Cost.

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

GIVEAWAY: 
Leave a comment to be entered in my giveaway for winner's choice of any of my books including my April 1 release, Love at Any Cost. Download A Hope Undaunted and let me know, and I'll enter you twice. Good luck and stay healthy!

Hugs,
Julie

132 comments :

  1. I downloaded AHU :D. One of my friends downloaded AHU and then proceeded to download A Heart Revealed [and I *think* she may have downloaded all of Daughters of Boston but I'm not sure on that... they're all on sale for 5 something right now too :D].

    I love this post, Julie. I loved it last time, too. Please enter me and I'll be back tomorrow when I'm more coherent. ;)

    As always, though, love you more ;).

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  2. Wow! I cannot believe you are still not feeling well....all of our crew (Marylu's crew)have been praying for you and will continue to. I sure hope you get better soon. Rest as much as possible!
    That is awesome to know
    you are a little crazy like me..but I have yet to pipe anything onto a potato..you are awesome!
    I would love to be entered in the drawing and my e-mail is sunydey26@aol.com
    Thank you & Happy Valentine's Day!
    (Lord I ask that you would touch
    Julie's body. Bring her rest and heal her. Remove this flu, virus or whatever is causing her to be sick. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen)

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  3. Julie,
    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    Can't wait to read your latest masterpiece.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  4. Oh Julie! I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling miserable -hey, you still 'sound' great here!

    I may be one of the minority here - I don't have Light in the Window and would love to be in the drawing.
    (And I downloaded AHU)

    Love this list. again!

    I hope you are feeling much better today.

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  5. Julie, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling poorly. I hope you will get better soon.
    I've downloaded A Hope Undaunted.

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  6. Poor Julie - I feel your pain -- really -- I'm on day 6. Misery loves company and all. I hope you get better really fast -- like maybe this is a 9 day wonder kind of flu which means you'll be right as rain in no time and my bout might be over by the weekend! :-)

    Loved this post -- loved all the snippets. It makes me feel almost sorry for your poor heroes...and clamouring to read more. Can't wait until April -- that's your next release, right?

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  7. Julie, I hope you're better soon. Immediately! The flu can really get you down so take it easy.

    Love this post! I love all your heroes because well, they're so heroic! And you personally make a great heroine.

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  8. Okay, I HAVE to come back to this post after work and re-read. And now I want to buy ALL your books. Sigh. Make my heart melt with all those scenes.

    Please feel better.

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  9. Praying you get better soon Julie. You'll continue to be in my prayers.

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe

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  10. Oh Julie I know how you feel...I had a bad cold over the weekend and I never get colds! It just would not go away. I despaired...
    There was also a blizzard so I couldn't get out even if I'd wanted to. Got a lot of writing done, though!
    I do a lot of the Martha-esque stuff. It's fun to make life a little more beautiful. My daughter and I are making homemade mints for Valentine's Day, I'll bring some to the café tomorrow.
    Kathy Bailey
    Pre-pubbed in NH

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  11. So sorry you're not feeling well, Julie.

    Loved this post and I downloaded AHU. I agree with Annie, this makes me want to buy all your books.

    What a great birthday present it would be to win your next one. (Today's my birthday!)

    elaine [at] emclampitt [dot] com

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  12. I do a LOT of the Martha stuff. My profile picture is a Christmas tree I made out of Rice Krispies, with marshmallow Peep snowmen caroling around it. Their carol books are pieces of a Hershey bar. It is my tradition to make something over-the-top for Christmas with my in-laws. I did a traditional gingerbread house this year, but usually it's something with Rice Krisipie squares. I did the Fruity Pebbles Christmas tree, an igloo with Peeps Eskimos ice-fishing for Gummy Fish, and last year I did Notre Dame Cathedral which didn't turn out so great but tasted fine. Rice Krispie is a good medium for me to express myself.

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  13. Stupid flu!!!! So sorry, Jules, and I made sure we've got fresh coffee and lots of BIG VITAMIN C TABLETS for everyone!!!!

    MEGADOSE!!!!

    Jules, I love heroes, and I think you've got a great knack for creating unforgettable ones. Mitch is still my fave, but he's had some close competition of late!!!

    Well done... get better... And have a blessed Ash Wednesday.

    We're doing a little lesson on sacrifice today. Giving things up, taking more on to help others. A great day of reflection.

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  14. Elaine, happy birthday!!!!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUOUUUUUUU!

    (Sung in a very bad voice, but with love!)

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  15. Kathy, I'm totally in on those mints in the Cafe tomorrow!!! They'll go perfectly with the chocolate velvet coffee, the macchiatos, the Black Forest Chocolate Chip cake I made and general cafe-chat all around! Yay, you!!!!

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  16. Ahhhhhh JULIE, I hope you are feeling better. The flu is awful. But thank the Lord for reruns. smile

    Take care and get lots of rest. Hugs

    I have fresh oranges off my trees for all of you. Stay healthy.

    Blessings of Ash Wednesday to you too RUTHY

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  17. I enjoyed the glimpse into Julie's heroes and her process. Just finished writing book with a hero named Michael Moriarty, who re-encounters the love of his life on the Oregon Trail. Michael has baggage from his life in Ireland and has been on the run for years. When he finds Caroline again he wants to commit to her but she can't, though she still loves him, because they would be unequally yoked. Michael tries to just be friends, to keep his distance, but when she comes down with cholera he abandons
    everything else to care for her.
    "Michael knelt by the pallet in Caroline’s wagon. It was just him and Caroline. The way he liked it. The way it should be. Jenny had appeared briefly, shooed him out while she bathed Caroline, changed her and scooped up the soiled garments. She disappeared without a word. Jenny knew now, but she knew enough to keep quiet. It was one more thing he’d never have expected of her.
    He guessed the whole company, those that had survived, knew now that their scout had spent most of the week by Caroline O’Leary’s bedside. He had no excuses left, no answers for them. Whatever they thought, they thought. He had bathed her forehead, watched her shallow breathing, slept fitfully in a corner.
    And faced the fact that he might lose her.
    And understood, for the first time, what had driven Daniel.

    He wanted her to live, more than he’d ever wanted anything. Didn’t matter if she wasn’t his. As long as Caroline walked this earth, he could walk it too. If she were happy with someone else, so be it.
    Her breathing was harsh and labored. He knelt by her pallet and pressed the soft cloth, soaked in boiled water, to her brow. “Bad dream?” he crooned. “Sure and I’m right here, love.”
    But it would take more than his presence to bring her around.
    For the first time in ten years he knew who to ask, and bowed his head. “God, I can’t say I don’t believe in you. I do believe, and that’s the problem. I don’t know why You allow things to happen – things like Oona, and young Samuel, and this. But I’m beggin’ you now. Please spare her. Sir,” he added. “If you let her live I’ll – I’ll serve you. I promise.”
    God had never spoken to Michael, even to chastise him. He wouldn’t have expected it. Nor did he believe in angels or visions. But he felt rather than heard the answer. “Son, it doesn’t work that way.”
    Her breathing slowed. He counted the breaths. Deep and even. He touched her forehead. It was cool. He whistled softly, under his breath, and drew back as a Presence filled the tiny space. Like a gust of wind it was there and gone. And Caroline opened her eyes."
    I LOVE Michael... and also my husband, who has supported by writing from day one.
    Kathy Bailey
    Pre-pubbed in NH

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  18. Ruthy, if I ever meet you in person (like at a conference) I'll try to bring some.
    Julie, please enter me in the drawing.
    tks
    KB

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  19. NINE DAYS of the flu?! Oh, Julie, I'm so sorry! It's been a tough season this time around.

    I loved this. As I work on crafting the characters for my next story, I'm getting lots of great ideas for heroes. I liked your suggestions. I think my favorite was a hero who does something out of character for the heroine.

    Such great suggestions. Thanks, Julie!

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  20. Hey, sweet Julie. I'm so sorry you've been so sick. I was sick too, but it wasn't the flu. Hope you feel better soon!
    This post is so thorough and so helpful. You are amazing, Julie, whether you are piping potato-y initials or writing articles to help other writers. :-)

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  21. Great scenes, I didn't remember the Lifesaver scene from A Hope Undaunted.
    Hope you feel better soon!

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  22. I WOKE UP -- YES!!! A very good start to a day when that happens!! It means I slept and I'm alive and hopefully getting better!!

    My humble apologies for being such a whiner about having the flu. Part of that is due to the fact that I NEVER get sick and was a wee bit cocky about that. The last time I had flu was YEARS ago ... the one year I got the flu shot, to be exact -- and I seldom get colds. I survived living in a house of hacking sickies for over a month and was exposed to every one of my family from Christmas on who had this awful bug. But I remained unscathed ... until last week. Lesson learned???

    Pride goeth before the flu ...

    So, as Ruthy would say, I'm pulling up my big-girl panties and gettin' on with the show. I will be gone from 11:00 AM till about 4:00 PM going to doctors and what-not, but I WILL BE BACK to respond to all comments, so don't go away!!

    LOTS AND LOTS of hot tea (works the best on a sore throat, I have found) and Keurig coffee and since I'm sick, I'm splurging on DONUTS, my fave -- white icing cake, chocolate icing cake, maple icing, long joins, crullers, you name it, along with bottles and bottles of Day-Quil, so dive in!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  23. CAROL, you sweet thing you!!! Have I ever told you just HOW much I love you, kiddo??? Got you on my prayer hit list for publication, so I'm just waitin' for the party!! Thanks for downloading AHU and spreading the word. SOOOOOOOOO much better than spreading germs ...

    JOHNETTE ... that is possibly the nicest comment I have ever gotten, girl, not only telling me you have been praying for me, but doing so right here and now in the comments. And you're friends with one of my DEAREST author friends ever as well??? Okay, that settles it -- I love you to pieces and thank you from the bottom of my Ny-Quil coated heart!! You are a gem, just like ML, and I can't thank you enough. Here's hopin' your kindness pulls out a win, girlfriend!!

    KAREN ... always great to see you, my friend -- cheers me up, as always. And only A MONTH AND A HALF till Love at Any Cost!!! Hard to believe ... So GOOD LUCK, girl, and here's to a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. DEB!!! Thanks for downloading AHU -- MUCH appreciated!! And, LOL ... that's the beauty of e-mail and comments -- the one place I can still yak, pontificate, and whine since I've been without voice for about six days now. Would LOVE to send you ALITW, so GOOD LUCK, my friend!!'

    BLESS YOU, AMY, for downloading AHU -- MUCH appreciated!! I do believe I may be on the mend, though, as today is the first day my throat doesn't feel like broken glass, so YAY!! ONWARD AND UPWARD!!!

    KAV, you sweet, sweet thing!!! It's hard to believe God would allow someone as sweet as you to get the flu, truly. Me? I understand. But you -- certifiably one of the kindest, nicest, most wonderful gals to ever grace Seekerville -- doesn't seem right. Saying one for you RIGHT NOW, my friend, that you are in tip-top shape soon with good news to share (the Seekers are praying ...) YES, April 1st Love at Any Cost releases, and I'd love to send you a signed copy if you win, so GOOD LUCK, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  25. CARA ... thank you, sweetie, and me a heroine??? What kind of books you been readin', girlfriend???

    ANNIE, YES!!! You MUST come back after work and you MUST read one of my books. And since A Hope Undaunted is now free as an e-book, sounds like a match made in heaven, right????

    Aw, JODIE, THANK YOU!!! Hope you are doing well, my friend, and that good things are happening for you. Hopefully more good thing will happen here with a win, too ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. Julie, I'm sending you love and lots of Kleenex!! I hope you feel better soon.

    Thanks for sharing this great post again!

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  27. Kav, lots of love and Kleenex to you as well!

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  28. KATHY ... oooooh, one of those homemade mints sound reallllllly good right about now on my sore throat, girl, so send some over, PLEASE!!! SORRY about the cold -- they suck pond water -- but glad you got writing done!!

    ELAINE!!! WOW, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you sweet thing, and I sure in the heck hope you're healthier than I am at the moment. Saying one RIGHT NOW that it's the BEST birthday ever, and boy, oh boy, would I love to make it better with a win, so GOOD LUCK, darlin'!!

    KATHY BAILY!!! Oh my, you sound worse than me with Martha Stewart Syndrome!!! A Rice Krispie Notre Dame??? LOL ... you are a hoot, girlfriend, and sound like a LOT of fun ... especially if one likes Rice Krispie treats (and who doesn't??) The most innovative that I've gotten with them is green Rice Krispie wreathes with red hots as berries at Christmas, so you definitely have me beat!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. Elaine, happy birthday!! We're honored you spent some of it here with us! :)

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  30. RUTHY ... oh, my ... I forgot it was Ash Wednesday!! I love your idea about "doing a little lesson on sacrifice today. Giving things up, taking more on to help others."

    I am giving up this flu and taking on more hazelnut coffee to help others by not being so crabby. Not Mother Tereas by a long shot, but then I can't shoot for the moon, right??? BLESS YOU, my friend, for the vitamin C!!

    SANDRA!!! Fresh oranges off your own tree, truly??? I am SOOO jealous. Once knew a guy who had his own lime tree and made the most DEE-LISH limeade you ever tasted. Do you make OJ all the time, I guess???

    WOW, KATHY, that was quite a scene, girl -- I loved it!!! I can see why you LOVE Michael -- that's the stuff heroes are made of and you did it beautifully, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  31. Julie, I'm so sorry you're sick, sweetie. This is about the nastiest flu season ever.

    I downloaded A Hope Undaunted. I've got the book but what a great chance to get it on Kindle, too.

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  32. Julie and Kav...i'm hoping you are feeling better today! Happy Birthday, Elaine...19? If that was an excerpt of your upcoming novel, Kailey i NEED it, and if it isn't, i still need it. Thanks Julie for TLIMW! as you know, i can't download ebooks, but sure would love to help you.

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  33. Julie,
    I never get sick either so this really blindsided me. So much for eating grapefruit every day...
    Ruthy,
    I AM a hoot. You have no idea. I tone it down for blog posts.
    KB

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  34. Julie,
    I never get sick either so this really blindsided me. So much for eating grapefruit every day...
    Ruthy,
    I AM a hoot. You have no idea. I tone it down for blog posts.
    KB

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  35. Thanks, JEANNE, and yes, it's been a tough sick season all around for sure. Glad I could give you some ideas on heroes. Hope I can give you a "win," too, my friend.

    Aw, thanks, MEL ... I'm glad the post was "helpful." I knew it was "thorough" (i.e. read "long"), but then I don't do short well. Not even with the flu ... :|

    Thanks, PATTY! You probably didn't remember the Lifesaver scene from AHU because it didn't have a kiss in it. I came close to putting one in, but then decided to do it without, which I am now glad.

    MISSY ... thank you SO much for the Kleenex -- SOOO appreciated. Keith bought one of those huge 10-pack pkgs. from Sam's last week and they are ALL GONE, along with almost four cannisters of Clorox Wipes!!!

    BLESS YOU, MARE, for downloading AHU -- SO appreciate it!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. MARIANNE ... I hope you enjoyed ALITW, my friend!

    KATHY B. SAID: "I AM a hoot. You have no idea. I tone it down for blog posts."

    LOL ... so do I, KB ... probably a smart move for the both of us ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  37. Julie, feel better girlfriend! You can't be sick on Valentine's Day!! Not with that "stupid in love with you" hunk of a husband to celebrate!

    Loved your post! Your heroes are fabulous!!!!!

    Kav, hope you're on the mend!

    Hugs, Janet

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  38. Hello to my favorite CDQ! ;) Loved this post, Julie! I am going to make a list of all those "hero" things and keep them close at hand when I'm writing! They are fabulous--you are a master at writing romance, no doubt! God Bless and feel better soon!!!

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  39. Julie, you never do anything halfway, that's for sure. :-) But that's part of what makes us all love you so much!

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  40. '“and I give you my word—I will move heaven and earth to win your heart.”'

    Just like Jesus.

    Sister, it is to good to be true how much you and I love romance.

    Please include me in the giveaway too and feel better, JULIE!!

    X0

    Ganise

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  41. Am planning to download A.H.U tonight when I get home.

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  42. Awww, Julie, feel better soon, honey! Airborne has a hot drink version now that I hear is pretty good. Hubby used it some when he had the crud a few weeks ago. Throat Coat tea by Traditional Medicinals is lovely, too.

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  43. Oh, Julie dear, I hope you feel better soon!

    I loved your examples of love in action - one common thing I've noticed in all your books is that the hero is willing to restrain his passion in favor of a pure love...now that's romantic!

    I downloaded AHU back in September, 2011, so does that count?

    I bought Light in the Window just now. Thanks for the heads up on the sale price!

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  44. I hope you feel better soon! :( Being sick is ALWAYS terrible :(

    I would LOVE to win At any Cost! :)

    Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)

    amada_chavez[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

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  45. I downloaded A Hope Undaunted! Thought it was my lucky day to get it while in Nicaragua!

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  46. Rather than me come up with all the wonderful love at any cost stories - I'll just wait till you describe it for the 500th time, each one different!

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  47. JANET, I KNOW!!! Haven't kissed Keith in over 9 days and it's killing me!!! Not sure it's killing him, though ... :|

    AMBER!!! You made it, you sweet thing!! Soooo glad and soooo appreciate it, my friend. Just seeing your sweet "Hilary" face lights up my morning ... ;)

    MEL ... LOL, you got me cold on that one, my friend, but neither do you, so we're even!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  48. Oh, GANISE, I never thought of that, but your take on that line gave me warm chills!! Thanks for coming by, my friend, and here's to a win!! And THANK YOU for downloading AHU -- MUCH appreciated!!

    Oh, MYRA, THANK YOU for the suggestions!!! I was gargling saltwater last night after a coughing fit, sucking lozenges and drinking hot tea -- anything to stop the coughing. I notice tea works best, so I will be buying some of those suggestions, guaranteed!!

    JAN!!! Thank you SO much for buying ALITW -- I hope you enjoy it. And YES, downloading AHU a while back does count, so YAY!! Yes, my heroes will always restrain their passion for true love. That's what true love is all about, after all -- sacrificing self for the other, right??

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  49. AMADA!!! You had never read any of my books before you won one recently, so I guess the fact that you are trying to win another is a good sign, I hope??? Good luck in the contest, sweetie -- would LOVE to send you LAAC!!

    YAY, MELODY!! How the heck is one of my favorite missionaries doing??? You rock, girl, have I ever told you that???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  50. There seems to be a lot of bloggers down with the flu lately! Hope you get better soon!

    I enjoyed this post a lot and I've already downloaded AHU!

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  51. Hi Julie:

    My heart goes out to you. I was sick for over a month with the flu. It’s no fun. It even makes fun things, no fun.

    I must say in reading all your book quotes, that these passages are even better when you’ve read the books. These heroes didn’t get ‘stupid in love' all at once. Now when I reread these texts,I enjoy knowing how it all fits together. This difference was very pronounced when I switched to quotes in your unpublished works. Everything is better with backstory.

    I was also reminded that ‘edgy Christian fiction’ is not just a tag line with you. Wow:

    “His lips broke free to wander her throat, and shivers of heat coursed through her veins. In ragged harmony, their shallow breathing billowed into the night while his arms possessed her, molding her body to his.”

    You need to be prepared to deal with a radio or TV interviewer who unexpectedly asks you to read this passage out loud. They will do it!

    My recent NaNo book, “The Last Romantic” is about a hero who falls ‘stupid in love’ at first sight, on the first page, with a Plain Jane, asocial, intellectual heroine. He comes on to her at once, way too strong, and she thinks he’s a deranged stalker and doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. But since he's a dreamy hunk, she can’t stop thinking about him.

    Mary will like this: the story opens in the college cafeteria, the hero just goes over to the heroine’s table to indroduce himeself, when shots come through the picture windows. There is a shooter on campus and the hero pulls the heroine out of the line of fire. No matter what this poor hero tries to do, he comes on too romantic to be believed. How’s that for “Stupid in Love”? (The first draft is written.)

    There is a step between “Stupid in Love” and “Stalking” and that is “Existentially in Love” and that happens when having your loved one love you in return is essential for maintaining your very existence.

    I’ve read one book like this, “The Price of Victory” where the hero is so much in love that he gives up his career and even moves to the heroine’s family home to help her with a many weeks long rehabilitation program so she can recover from an injury and continue her dream of being a professional bicycle racer.

    Debra thinks she cannot love Sterling and still have a racing career. She is young and single minded. From the book:


    “Being with me is right. Continuing your training is right. You’re trying to put logic into what your heart feels. That’s why you feel disoriented. What you need is to bring your heart into your mind.”


    He brushed away her tear with a corner of her towel.


    She looked deeply into his eyes, searching for the truth he always seemed to have at his fingertips. “I don’t understand.”


    His smile warmed the chill inside. He guided her off the trainer and began walking with her around the room. “Tell me what you don’t understand.”


    “How do you know all these things? How can you be so patient?”


    “I’ve lived my dream. I’ve accomplished what I wanted to in racing. So I’m ready for other things.” He paused and pulled her around to face him. “You are just beginning. You must follow your own dreams. I understand that.”


    “I know. Basically, that’s what I have been doing.”


    “So what’s the problem? What is it you truly desire? That is what you need to focus on.”


    This hero is existentially in love and he’s one of my all time favorite romantic heroes.

    Vince

    P.S. The last two days have be fantastic posts. Ruth really has to be feeling the pressure right about now. A prayer. A rosary. A Novena. All appreciated.

    P.S. Long books and long posts stand in want of long comments. ☻☺☻

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  52. Sorry you are not feeling well Julie that has to be the reason you would say it is Stupid to be in Love..I think now maybe you might be stupid if you didn't think Love was worth it.
    I hope tomorrow is better day for you, sure it will be with ALL of seekervilles good wishes for you.

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  53. Julie -

    I hope you're feeling better this morning. Two of my kids had influenza B a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, they bounced back pretty quickly [thanks in part to Tamiflu I'm sure]. And fortunately everyone else stayed healthy [my oldest two confined themselves to the basement voluntarily].

    And thank you for putting me on that list - I can't wait for that party either ;).

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  54. Julie -
    I hope you get to feeling better! Being sick isn't fun at any time.


    I'd loved to be entered to win Love at Any Cost.

    I downloaded A Hope Undaunted the other day. I now have it on my kindle and a hard copy to grace my shelves with the rest of your books. :)

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  55. I downloaded A Hope Undaunted.
    I would love to be entered to win a copy of Love at any Cost! I cant wait to read it!
    dymesich(at)juno(dot)com

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  56. VINCE, starting a story with gunfire is so wise. Good work.

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  57. Wow I really hope you feel better! Thanks for giving away books anyway! I just downloaded AHU, so I am SO excited to read it!

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  58. I would love to win.

    deamundy at gmail dot com

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  59. I downloaded your book, Julie. Hope you feel better soon.

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  60. Ahhhh...I'm sighing after reading your excerpts. Wow, GREAT post, Julie! But I am SOOOO sorry you're still so sick. Please REST and I'm praying you'll be completely well SOON!! ~ I brought some fudge to share today---gooey and sweet--Enjoy! Hugs, Patti Jo
    p.s. Elaine C. - Happy Birthday!

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  61. hi Julie
    already have digi version of AHU. and Love Surrendered.

    should i download AHU anyway to up the count for you?

    great examples of stupid in love. i enjoyed all of them and now must figure out the budget to aquire the remaining Lessman books. i think i'll get Light in the Window for Vday and tell my hubby that's his gift to me *heh*.

    he usually has some "super stealth secret" thing going for special days - his stupid in love actions.

    i'm the unromantic one *sigh*
    i find it hard to be stupid... does that make sense?

    prayer for health to you Julie

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  62. Downloaded! Thanks!
    Praying you feel better. Thank you for this chance to win!

    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

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  63. FINALLY BACK FROM THE DOC AND READY TO RESPOND TO COMMENTS SINCE I DON'T ACTUALLY NEED TO "TALK."

    VOICE STILL NOT BACK ABOVE A WHISPER. KEITH SAYS IT'S LIKE LIVING WITH A MIME. :)

    ABBI ... thank you for downloading AHU, my friend, MUCH appreciated and good luck in the contest with double entry!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  64. VINCE SAID: "This difference was very pronounced when I switched to quotes in your unpublished works. Everything is better with backstory."

    I sooooo agree, Vince, especially in my books which continue from story to story.

    And, LOL, no "edgy Christian fiction" was not just a tagline for me before, but I assure you my future books are greatly toned down. No married couples, you see, and a lot less love scenes for people to get up in arms about!

    Ooooo, the college cafeteria premise sounds realllly interesting!! And VERY "stupid in love," which as you and I both know, I absolutely LOVE!!

    And, YES, I LOVED Sterling from Sandra Leesmith's The Price of Victory because he wasn't just "stupid in love" or "Existentially in Love” ... he was WISE IN LOVE!!

    VINCE ALSO SAID: "P.S. Long books and long posts stand in want of long comments."

    LOL ... AGREED!!! And you and I (and Ruthy) are some of the best at both ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  65. PAULA ... Oh, no, sweetie -- I never said it was "Stupid to be in Love" ... I am saying "stupid in love" as an adjective to describe a man who is SO ridiculously in love with a woman that he is even willing to "look" stupid to others because he's so over the top. Nothing wrong or stupid about that -- it's what each and every one of us gals want. A guy we canNOT push around who is so crazy about us that he's willing to do whatever we ask just to make us happy. Thanks for your well wishes, Paula -- I think I feel better already!! :)

    CAROL ... my pleasure, my friend. I've read your work and I'm behind you a hundred percent, kiddo.

    Thanks, DAWN, sooooo much for downloading AHU -- you've got a double entry in this contest, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  66. YAY, LEAH ... THANK YOU, you sweet thing -- you now have a double entry in this contest, so GOOD LUCK!!

    CALLIE ... thanks for coming by, sweetie AND for downloading AHU!! Have you not read it before??? Because if not, it is my FAVORITE of all the books I've written, so I would love to see what you think when you're done, okay?

    DEANNA ... thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  67. TERI, THANK YOU!! I am feeling a wee bit better, so thank you for your well wishes too. HAPPY READING and GOOD LUCK with your double entry!!

    TINA ... God does. Daily. Because He is a God of mercy ...

    PATTI JO ... WHAT??? No peach cobbler??? ;) Peach cobbler is my fave, but OH, I do love fudge as well, so I'm grateful you're feeding my sweet tooth, girl!! And THANK YOU for your kind words. Here's hoping that fudge brings you a win, my friend. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  68. DEB H. SAID: "i find it hard to be stupid... does that make sense?"

    Believe it or not, Deb, it does make sense to me because I am not "the romantic one" either, so I totally relate. But that's okay because gals look needy or clingy if they are stupid in love, so it's better left to the guys. Marcy O'Connor tells Katie O'Connor in A Hope Undaunted that it's better to fall in love with a guy who loves you a little bit more than you love them, and I truly believe that. I drummed it into my daughter too, so we are OKAY, trust me!!

    And, DEb, THANK YOU for downloading AHU and ALS in the past -- you don't have to do AHU again. But because you are buying ALITW, I am giving you THREE entries in the contest, okay?? Good luck and THANK YOU, you sweet thing!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  69. oooh! enter me!! id download A Hope Undaunted to be entered twice, but i just got my own copy...:)

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  70. I got A Hope Undaunted and can't wait to read it! Hope you're feeling better. Loved your post!

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  71. Julie, girl, I hope you feel better REAL soon! I'm praying for a speedy recovery for one of my very favorite people! ;)

    Can I say that I absolutely LOVE this post?! Eeep! Of course, you have to know my favorites are probably Steven and Luke...especially when Steven hit Joe! lol! Good times! Thanks for sharing some of your new book too! I'm so excited (as you know)! Here's to the release of your upcoming book! You've got me on the edge of my seat here, Julie....don't make me wait much longer!

    Feel better!!!!

    Emreilly303(at)gmail(dot)com

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  72. Thanks for this post...all of these hero profiles look good--lots of ideas for my hero writing. Hope you feel better soon, Julie. I'm praying for all who have had this terrible flu! Not fun!

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  73. Oh, and you know I downloaded AHU...who could resist? ehehehe!

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  74. So sorry you are ill, Julie...praying for a quick recovery.
    Thanks for your prayers for my back pain...I am not used to being ill either, and it is no fun!
    I've read (and loved) all your books and can't wait to read LAAC.
    Please enter me!
    Jackie Smith
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  75. Oh, how fun! I thought it was so cute how each of your guys showed how they were "stupid in love" in different ways. ;) I LOVED reading how each of them fell in love... I laughed, was touched, and couldn't stop smiling most of the time!

    Thank you so much for the great giveaway, Julie! I can't wait to read Love At Any Cost!!!

    Hope you feel better soon!!! =)

    lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

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  76. now that's a bad flu....and hate to hear you are sick....didn't you know sick = whining....it's like love you gotta express it...

    okay the question probably won't equal the answer...but here's my shot at it... I love hero's where the author, tells what he is feeling inside, things he might not smother the heroine with, but the reader is drenched with...so you are falling in love right along with the heroine. does that make sense????? love ya Julie

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  77. Hey, BONNIE ... thank you for getting your own copy -- do you mean paperback, because if so, I'll be happy to give you the extra point. Just let me know. GOOD LUCK in the contest!!

    CINDY ... THANK YOU, sweetie!! You now have double entry in the contest, so GOOD LUCK!!

    EM!!! You just perked me up by showing up, girl, you know that?? Thanks for coming by here's to a win -- I would LOVE to send you a signed copy of LAAC, my friend! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  78. I'm a puddle on my livingroom floor. My 3 yr old daughter just went to retrieve the mop. ;) off to download me a free book.

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  79. SHERIDA ... prayers are SO appreciated, so THANK YOU, my friend, and here's to a win in this contest!!

    LOL, EM ... that's my girl!! Two points!! ;)

    JACKIE ... nope, definitely NO fun being sick, my friend, but I am hoping both you and I turn a corner here REAL soon!! Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. ELYSSA ... I gotta tell you, girl, when I see your name pop up, I smile too. You were a tough nut to crack, but here you are, so I am thrilled!! Cannot wait for you to read LAAC too, so GOOD LUCK in the contest!!

    VIRGINIA ... OH, YEAH, GIRL, that makes TOTAL sense, which is why I LOVE hero POV soooooo much!! Nothing's better than getting inside those guys' minds, eh?? Talk about melt factor!!

    LOL, JAIME ... puddles are good when it comes to both chocolate and romance, so I'll take that as a compliment, sweetie!! And thanks for the download ... 2 pts. in the contest, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  81. Julie I enjoyed your comments about your e-newsletter. LOL Wonder he didn't just give up! I would love to win one of your books, but only if it can be a paperback. I don't do e-books. Glad you are some better. Hope it will be a full recovery soon. God bless!
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  82. Take good care of yourself, Julie! Hope you are feeling better soon!!!

    I loved reading all the ways you made those heroes special. : )

    I think making some kind of big sacrifice for the heroine and puting her needs above his is very romantic and heroic. I like to include that in most of my books.

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  83. MAXIE!!! Hey, girl, SO good to see you here, and if you win, my friend, you bet I will send you the real thing -- a bona fide paperback with a special note signed to you, so here's to a win because I would truly love to do that!!

    CARRIE, you honestly are such a sweetheart -- I am SO glad we are friends!! Thanks for coming by -- TWICE!!! :) I am feeling better today and have hopes of feeling even better tomorrow, God willing, so onward and upward, eh??

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  84. OF COURSE I've downloaded Katie's book. :) And I would love to win your newest! I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

    crandallberries at gmail dot com

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  85. Hey, DAWN, THANK YOU for downloading Katie's book -- she and I (and Luke) thank you LOADS (PUN INTENDED!).

    As a diehard romance reader who likes edge and sizzle, I am REALLY anxious to see what you think of LAAC, my friend. RT was not crazy about it, but then they tend not to like me, so I'm much rather hear what my favorite reader friends think!!

    Hope I get to send you a signed copy!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  86. I am too tired to think straight but I'll give this a go--I've got a hero who has to sacrifice his identity, just when he is fighting to obtain it again, in order to save the woman he's fallen for.

    Don't enter me, I have all your great books and will keep on ordering! Hugs! Still praying for you!!!

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  87. Oh Julie,
    DO get well soon. *THWACK*
    BE HEALED! ;D

    Hope that helped.
    We need our Julie full steam ahead!

    Grabbed your book too. Looking forward to it and sharing the good deal with others.

    Thank you sooo much!

    Seriously, been praying. Will continue. Get well!

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  88. I'm sorry you are sick, Julie. I hope you'll feel better soon. I love these snipits from your books. They remind me why I enjoyed reading your books so much. I'd love a chance to win your new book, Love At Any Cost.
    I didn't download Katie's story since I already have it on my shelf, but I did share the link on my book club's Facebook page.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  89. Oh, CARRIE -- that sounds REALLLY good, truly -- what a hero!! And I covet your prayers, my friend -- you know that!! Soooo grateful for your friendship. :)

    KC AND MAY!!! Thank you SO much for downloading AHU -- MUCH appreciated, you sweet person and dog ... er, spy. Thank you, too, for the prayers -- SOOO appreciate them ... AND you!!

    BLESS YOU, PAM, for promoing AHU on your bookclub's FB page -- MUCH APPRECIATED!! Good luck in the contest, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  90. Im sorry you are still sick and have been for awhile its the pits. (at least with an injured wrist I can still do some things and can breathe!!)
    Dont make me come over there to make you get better!

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  91. Ah, the passionate kissing scenes from Julie Lessman's writing are truly an education.

    As for my heroes, they tend to be willing to throw themselves unarmed at villains to protect the woman they love.

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  92. Hey, JENNY ... yeah, I've been praying for you so long, and then BOOM ... it backfires on me!! I hope you are doing well and no, I won't make you come over here ... ;)

    WALT ... ooooooh, heroes throwing themselves unarmed at villains sounds pretty good to me ... "stupid," but good, which is why they fit right in to today's post, Stupid in Love. I think you've come closer than anyone at depicting that well, my friend!! ;)

    And, yes, kissing scenes by J.L. are, indeed, an education. Maybe not a good one, but definitely an education ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  93. Thanks Julie, I am actually coming over there but just not to your area.

    Im doing better still not getting the sleep I need but am doing better. The wrist is still injured and I am now seeing my Dr next week so I can get an MRI for it. Its not as bad as when I first did it but its also not improving fast. an MRI will tell us what is wrong.

    Praying you will start to feel much better very soon. If its anything like the one we had hear in Winter I know its not good (Its what mum got).

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  94. Julie, your post is like a fine classic, meant to be enjoyed over and over again.

    I'm a huge fan of your kissing scenes. I've learned a lot from them, LOL! But seriously, the purpose you put behind the passion is a message that goes way beyond the emotional trial.

    I hate the flu, Jules. And 9 days of it? It's time for this bug to move on!

    Get better, sweetstuff!

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  95. Feel better, Julie! I downloaded your book before. Congrats on the number one position on Amazon! That rocks!

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  96. Feel better, Julie! I downloaded your book before. Congrats on the number one position on Amazon! That rocks!

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  97. Enjoyed reading your timely post again, Julie. The scenes from your novels were very helpful as I brainstorm my current WIP. Glad to hear you're feeling somewhat better. May you have the best Valentine's Day ever. Please place me in the drawing.

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  98. Wonderful post, Julie!!!

    Hmmm. One "Stupid In Love" moment in my ms is when the hero attends a temperance meeting organized by the heroine in order to encourage other men in the community to join the cause. He's so out of place in the dainty parlor with tea and cakes, it's laughable, but it endears him to the heroine and (I hope) the reader.

    Would LOVE a copy of Love At Any Cost! I downloaded A Hope Undaunted a long time ago. AND I have it in print. :))) One of my favorites I think. I can't pick a favorite Julie book, though. That's like picking a favorite flavor at Gigi's cupcake bakery! LOL

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  99. Hi Julie:

    Coming back from the docs to respond to all these posts made it a perfect day. Thanks and get well ASAP! Vince

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  100. I can't wait to read Love at Any Cost!

    Get better, Julie, and Happy Valentine's Day!! :)

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  101. Wishing you well.

    Count me in thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  102. I'd love to win one of her books!
    makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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  103. Hi Julie,

    Sorry I didn't make it yesterday. So much going on at home (and none of it good, really) that I can't even go into.

    I really enjoyed your post again and I have two copies of AHU already. So I won't download it again.

    Hope Valentine's Day perks you right up!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  104. Oh, JENNY, hate to hear that crazy wrist is giving you problems. Praying the docs will figure out what's going on and it will heal more quickly.

    Thanks, AUDS, and I agree -- it's time for this slimy bug to move on!! I'll tell you what -- I'm a snot-making machine and not proud of it!!

    Thanks, LYNDEE ... it's been kind of fun to see AHU hover at #1. I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  105. PAT ... thank you so much, sweetie, and I"m glad the scenes were helpful! And right back at you for a wonderful V-Day!! Good luck in the contest!!

    LOL, NATALIE ... thanks for your VERY kind words, my friend. AHU is actually my favorite of my books, of course I downloaded it too!! :) And because you did before, you now have double entry in the contest, sweetie, so GOOD LUCK!

    HUGS,
    JULIE

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  106. THANKS, VINCE!! In case we have failed to truly emphasize it enough -- you are a TOTAL BLESSING to this group and to this sick lady!! God bless you and your V-Day with your very lucky wife!!

    MARISSA ... I can't wait for you to read it, either, my friend, so I hope you like it. And just FYI, it's half price on preorder and likely to go up once it releases, so I'd preorder if I were you, okay? Uh ... after this drawing, of course, in case you win ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. MARY ... thanks for coming by, and here's to a win, sweetie!!


    MEGAN ... "Megan" is the name of my current heroine I'm writing about -- LOVE that name!! Good luck in the contest, sweetie.


    Aw, SUE, I sure hate to hear that and am saying one for you and yours RIGHT NOW, my friend. And also giving you double entry in this contest, my sweet friend. Hang in there!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  108. I didn't read this post the first time it came out (wasn't a seeker at that time), but I appreciate it now.

    I also downloaded A Hope Undaunted. Can't wait to read it. :)

    Ginger
    ginger (dot) solomon (at) gmail (dot) com

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  109. Thank you SO MUCH, GINGER, and you now have two entries in the contest, so GOOD LUCK, sweetie!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  110. Thanks for the excerpts on your books. They sound wonderful. I am always looking for new authors to read and I have your name now on my TBR list
    JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

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  111. JOYE, thank you SOOO much, sweetie, and guess what??? The first book in my 2nd series, A HOPE UNDAUNTED, is available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon, B&N & CBD, so I hope you take advantage of it, my friend.

    And if you like my books, let me know, okay? And if not?? Uh ... well, never mind ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  112. Happy Valentines Day Julie!!!!!

    Got my Lessman books all lined up...love them, will check back in later on the blog...

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  113. Thanks, VIRGINIA, and right back at you, my sweet friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  114. I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com

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  115. Consider yourself entered, SARAH, and the winner will be announced in the weekend edition, so GOOD LUCK, sweetie!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  116. I have downloaded your first book and loving it. I cannot wait for the second book ! The Lord keep thee.
    Linda Finn
    faithfulacres7@gmail.com

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  117. Oh Julie, sorry you're not feeling so good...didn't you take your flu shot? You know, seeing your name reminds me of red hearts...you know, the spicy kind that we call red hots? LOL! You wanna know something else? I'm gonna tell you anyway! You are a valentine hero to me. I'm so blessed with the love that Jesus gave me - and you are one of those loves. I love and enjoy your books and can't wait to read your new one! So, do something nice for Valentine's Day...like get well and back to your "loved by stupid" romance. Who wouldn't want that kind of love?

    Blessed,
    Barb
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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  118. I hope you feel better soon. The flu seems to be really nasty this year.

    MinDaf @ Aol.com

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  119. LINDA MARIE ... thank you SOOO much, my friend!! And good luck in this contest, my friend, and the Lord keep you as well. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  120. CRYSTAL ... I am slowly seeing glimmers of light, so THANK YOU!! And I NEVER get the flu -- the last time was years ago, ironically the same year I got the flu shot!! This has been so brutal, that I will not start getting the flu shot again. :)

    Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. Just read your journal jot, Ms. Julie --praying that you're feeling better! I loved re-reading your Seekerville post ... a wonderful reminder that I should re-read the O'Connor books soon --even though I just realized that I spent Valentine's with Luke, Parker and everyone else on my Kindle app on the bus ride home yesterday! Needless to say, they were great company. ;)

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  122. LDK!!! Aw, thanks for spending your V-Day with Luke and Parker and Katie, my friend -- I appreciate that!! And it gives you two entries in this contest, so YAY!!

    YES ... I am feeling world's better, so thank you for your prayers too.

    Have a great weekend, and thanks for coming by, Jen!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  123. Yes, I do have the paperback. I just get something that I know you would like. I don't know if you know about them, but here's a link
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00A6XLPAU/ref=redir_mdp_mobile
    I was just randomly looking for a puzzle and this is the first one is saw. There was no way I didn't buy it! So I bought. Well, sorry for getting all off topic, but I ha to share:)

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  124. Great examples! I hope you're feeling better. I downloaded A Hope Undaunted also! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  125. LOL, BONNIE!!!! A Gone With the Wind puzzle -- TOO CUTE!!! :)

    Thanks for sharing my friend, and happy puzzling!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  126. Thanks, VERONICA, for both coming by AND for downloading AHU, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  127. I've just re-read a hope undaunted (already dl it previously) and enjoyed it as much as the first one. Was thrilled to see a couple of books I hadn't realised were out - the prequel and the one about Steven. Time to dig into those. Hope you are all recovered and healed from the flu!

    Amy SW

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  128. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  129. Hey, AMY, thank you for coming by to let me know -- SO appreciate that!! Yes, AHU is book 1, A Heart Revealed is book 2 (Sean and Emma's story) and then A Love Surrendered is book 3 (Steven's story).

    And right now Marcy and Patrick's prequel, A Light in the Window is almost half price for a short time, so I hope you get the low price of $3.99.

    And book 1 of my brand new series, Heart of San Francisco, Love at Any Cost, releases in only a month and half on 4/1, so I'm doing my best to keep you in books, girl!! :)

    Thanks again for coming by and HAPPY READING!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  130. Thanks for taking the time to write a note! I'm impressed with how dedicated you are at interacting with your readers. Well done!

    I've now finished A Light in the Window - I enjoyed reading Marcy's story. After re-reading A Hope Undaunted and being reminded about Sam O'Rourke coming back into Marcy and Patrick's life, it was the perfect segway to go back to where it all came from. I wonder what happened to Jewels, Sam's brother, and Marcy's best friend.

    Thanks for another great read - now to dive into Steven's story.

    Cheers,

    Amy

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  131. AMY!!! Glad I checked back to see your comment. SO glad you enjoyed ALITW and I hope you enjoy Steven's story too!!

    Happy reading and happy weekend, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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