Monday, April 8, 2013

CONGRATULATIONS ... IT'S A SERIES! (And Giveaways!)

No question about it—the birth of a baby is truly a reverent thing. Especially the first moment you hold that precious bundle in your arms, in total awe of just how beautiful he or she is. Cooing softly, you can’t help but tremble as you caress your baby’s face, heart bursting with pride. Gratitude swells as you whisper a prayer of thanks to God for this blessing unlike any other, and with a sting of tears in your eyes, you lean in and carefully plant a sweet, little kiss … right on the cover.

             WHOO-HOO, CONGRATULATIONS—IT'S A SERIES!

Yes, it’s exciting … but just like a baby doesn’t happen overnight, neither does a series, and trust me, gestation is a LOT longer than nine months! So with the April launch of my “Heart of San Francisco” series, book 1 Love at Any Cost, I thought it might be fun to track my “pregnancy” from when it was just a twinkle in my eye to that final torturous push in the delivery room. Or in short, from WOW to OW in the birth of a fun and quirky family called The McClares of Nob Hill. So here we go ...

THE FIRST KISS
Ah, that first dangerous tingle from the touch of his lips, the caress of his hand, when your body gets excited and your mind says, “YES, YES, YES … I have an idea for a book!”

So with a delicious, little shiver, you flirt with ideas of what if …

… a Texas oil heiress, jilted by a fiancé after daddy’s oil wells run dry, hightails it to San Francisco to heal her heartbreak with wealthy cousins she loves? And what if one of those wealthy cousins is best friends with a handsome but incredibly poor fortune hunter desperate to afford a surgery for a crippled sister whose infirmity he blames on himself?

Uh-oh, pucker up, because I’m praying you’ll fall in love with “The Cousins McClare” just like I did!

PLAYING THE FIELD
But … to make sure this was the series for me, I decided to “test the waters” by seeing if 1933 San Francisco appealed to my readers as much as it did to me. So I “courted” others’ opinions with a Facebook contest to determine which locale my readers preferred—San Francisco or Charleston. Obviously San Francisco won hands-down, which convinced me it was true love and not just infatuation.

GETTING “SERIES”OUS
 Mmmm … suddenly I know this is it—a love affair with San Francisco, and I want this baby bad! So next I get “serious” with a 1-line premise, a moral premise and Scripture base for all three books just to get the hormones revved for a full-blown proposal. Mind you, I didn’t have to do a proposal for my publisher, but I’ve found doing so helps solidify and embed the stories in my brain, giving me a great kick-off point to begin writing the series, so here’s what I came up with:

Book 1: WORKING TITLE, DARE TO DREAM.  FINAL TITLE, LOVE AT ANY COST.
1-line premise:
A
spunky heiress without a fortune falls in love with a handsome pauper looking to marry well.

Moral Premise:
Pursuit of material things, pleasure or escape will lead to discontentment and emptiness, but pursuit of God will lead to fullness of joy and fulfillment.

Scripture Theme:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. —Matthew 6:21


Book 2: WORKING TITLE, DARE TO LOVE. FINAL TITLE, DARE TO LOVE AGAIN.
1-Line Premise:
A sassy socialite burned by love twice butts heads and hearts with a jaded cop burned by the upper class.

Moral Premise:
Avoiding relationship because of past hurt leads to bitterness and loneliness, but investing in relationship in light of past hurts and God’s help leads to communication and love.

Scripture Theme:
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. —Psalm 33:22


Book 3: WORKING TITLE, DARE TO HOPE. FINAL TITLE, TBA.
1-Line Premise:
An ugly duckling who becomes a swan plots romantic vindication on the man who spurned her with the help of the best friend who steals her heart.

Moral Premise:
Rejection, insecurity and guilt can skew our choices, resulting in misery and lack of peace, but acceptance, confidence and faith in God can shape our choices, resulting in contentment and peace.

Scripture Theme:
The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. —Proverbs 18:4

NEXT: POPPING THE QUESTION
Ah, the PROPOSAL … the moment you get down on bended knee and … PRAY your publisher will say “yes” to your new series idea. And believe me, I prayed plenty about my “Heart of San Francisco” series, putting together a 30-page proposal that included very detailed 5-7-page synopses for each book that actually read like a novels with snippets of dialogue. I also included a series overview and the first chapter of book 1, Dare to Dream, which is now Love at any Cost. Just for fun, here’s a peek at the overview:

                     “THE COUSINS MC CLARE” SERIES

From the glitter and glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill and Napa wine country, to the seedy dance halls and gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, The Cousins McClare is a study in contrasts between the haves and have-nots and barriers between rich and poor that only faith can transcend. The story of the McClares, a wealthy political family in 1933 San Francisco, will be told in three 350-400 page novels that not only highlight the struggles of faith and heart of three cousins, but of the matriarch of the family as well. A widow of strong faith and beauty, Caitlyn McClare butts heads and hearts with her handsome brother-in-law Logan McClare, the fiancé who betrayed her before she married his brother. In a breathtaking city where the Irish were predominant in the early 1900s and wielding power in both politics and wealth, “The Cousins McClare” is a glimpse into beauty and degradation, poverty and Prohibition during a riveting time that brought our country to its knees.

ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE!!!
Pop the champagne—the publisher said, “YES,” and now I have a ring on my finger! I was very excited to say “I do” to Revell for my third series and happily so. The only stipulation was Revell asked me to change the era from the early 1930s to early 1900 due to research indicating the 1920s and 30s were not as saleable eras as the late 1800s and early 1900s. So with a few tweaks and adjustments, The McClares went from 1933 to 1902 and I went to work ...

COUPLING:
Ohhhh my … now this is the moment I’ve been waiting for … the culmination of a marriage with the sheer pleasure of bringing a “couple” to life on the pages of my book by actually WRITING the novel!! Sigh … my favorite part of being an author!

PREGNANCY AND GESTATION:
From inked contracts to UPS dropping off a box of author copies, one experiences a lot of due dates and morning sickness over bloody edits, title changes, and cover angst, but OH the joy of that first sonogram—when you proof your own galleys and see the stirrings and movement of a novel taking shape! Some authors hate the galley editing and proofing phase, but not me—that’s my very favorite time, to be able to sit down and read my book like one of my readers would.

LABOR AND DELIVERY:
Whoo-whoo, hee-hee … whoo-whoo, hee-hee … For me, the worst part of having a “baby” were all those awful contractions (i.e. promotion = pain) right before (and after) the big push. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not partial to all that pacing and waiting to see just what kind of birth it’s going to be—are you going to have grunt and labor for hours and hours, or will this baby glide right out after a few tiny pushes, straight to the CBA bestseller list?

Personally, I don’t know a single Christian author who’s glided to the bestseller list with their first baby, nor many who have with the second and third. The norm for most authors is long labor (years of writing, revisions, edits, promotion), weight gain (in emotional baggage … will it sell, will it win?), hormonal ups and downs, and lots and lots of pain when somebody thinks your baby is ugly or not very bright (Ouch … those nasty 1-star reviews!!).

And yet, despite all the pain and angst encountered in giving birth to a novel, suddenly like a mother holding her babe after a 24-hour labor, an author forgets all about the pain when she holds that precious book in her arms for the very first time. It is truly an amazing moment in a writer’s life, an accomplishment like few others for those who love the written word. A moment to be savored and cherished truly … because I hate to tell you, but the true work and expense has only just begun … ;)

AFTERBIRTH
And there you have the process, from pregnancy to promotion, and no, it’s no coincidence that I liken promotion to both contractions and afterbirth … two of the least pleasant things about having a baby! But OH, so necessary to the process. Now begins the blog tours and blog interview/giveaways, the contest entries and Facebook promotions, the book signings and contests to promote, promote, promote! Don’t get me wrong, there are things I LOVE about promotion—connecting with readers in a personal way, precious friendships made with bloggers, reviewers and reader friends—but the truth is, promotion is a time-eater, and to an author that is deadly.

TIME TO PASS OUT THE CIGARS
So … to give you writers out there some takeaway from this trek through my pregnancy, I’m going to hand out some cigars and free advice, giving you the benefit of my limited experience with promotion in a very simple list of what worked for me and what didn’t. Some things have given me “smoking” success and others just stink up the room.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME:

1.)    BOOK SIGNINGS: Absolutely NOT a cost- or time-effective way to promote a book unless you are Beverly Lewis, Karen Kingsbury, or Mary Connealy. My publisher tried to tell me this, but I SO love talking to people in person that I wouldn’t listen. I’ve had some really successful book signings, mind you, but the majority are not and quite frankly, the time and expense are not worth it. Nor is the humiliation when only three people show up, two of which are church librarians who take you to task for the passion in your books … true story! :\).

2.)    FACEBOOK DAILY-POST PROMOTIONS:  Because I e-published A Light in the Window on my own, I hired a publicist who suggested a themed month-long promotion on Facebook where they provided me with 30 days of short Christmas-related blurbs for daily posts in November. Well, being the anal CDQ that I am, OF COURSE I had to rewrite all the blurbs and then post them daily as well as respond to comments and run a contest along with it. Sigh … never again!! WAY too much time and effort for very little return on my investment.

3.)    BLOG INTERVIEW/GIVEAWAYS: This is kind of a catch-22 because although I strongly advocate doing lots of blog interview/giveaways in the beginning of your career, there comes a point when the time, effort, and expense expended far exceeds the benefit of acquiring new readers. My publisher tried to tell me this after my first series, but frankly, I enjoyed interacting with my readers through comments, so again I didn't listen (I'm a very stubborn girl). Not only that, but I actually LOVE to reward my die-hard readers with chances to win a free signed book. But … I am now limiting myself to no more than 10 interviews per release (down from 35) because frankly I need more time to write. :)

WHAT DOES WORK FOR ME:

1.)    BOOK TRAILERS: I’ll be honest, I have never been a really big fan of book trailers because I haven’t seen a whole lot of them that I really liked. BUT … I have noticed over the last year that many are far more professional now and actually do sell books, so when Revell asked me if I wanted a video, I said YES!

And HOLY COW, do I LOVE my new video for Love at Any Cost!! So much that I’m running a contest on my Journal Jots blog where viewing and “LIKING” my video automatically gives you two extra entries in today’s Seeker giveaway plus an entry in my Journal Jots blog contest for choice of my books and choice of a top CBA book from my library. So here’s the trailer, and if you watch it and “LIKE” it, then let me know in your comment today. Then if you want an automatic entry in my Journal Jot contest (top prize is a KINDLE, CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN MY BOOK, SIGNED BOOK and FIVE TOP CBA BOOKS), go to JULIE'S JOURNAL JOTS and click on the Rafflecopter tab in the box halfway down the page that says you watched/viewed the video.

Here’s the video link, so make sure it’s on “large screen” and crank that volume up!!   

VIDEO FOR "LOVE AT ANY COST”

2.)    FACEBOOK “PROMOTE” PROMOS AND ADS: WOW … I just got turned on to Facebook ads and promos by Tina Radcliffe, and I have to say buying an ad for $10.00/day to promote a contest or giveaway has been a very cool way to get the word out. And DOUBLE WOW—the “promote” tab beneath a post on Facebook? PURE GOLD … because you can double your post exposure for only $7.00!!

3.)    CONTESTS: I am not one to ask people to help me promote unless it’s a win-win for us both, so I like to offer an opportunity to win something in return. My newsletter contests where a reader friend can win having a character named after them in my next book simply by posting reviews has been HIGHLY successful and although Amazon’s review policy has gotten much stricter recently, I have noticed two big Christian publishers are now doing the SAME thing, so what does that tell you?

4.)    WEEKLY INSTEAD OF DAILY PERSONAL BLOG: I started out blogging on my Journal Jots blog five days a week, ducked down to three, and now I only blog every Friday, which allows me to keep in contact with my readers without draining me dry. I’d always heard you need to blog daily to be successful, but I disagree. My numbers are good on my Journal Jots blog and posting once a week is very manageable for me and gives my readers something new every week. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and get weekly e-mail reminders here: JULIE’S JOURNAL JOTS BLOG.

CHRISTENING PARTY
OKAY, IT’S PARTY TIME!!! Help me celebrate the birth of my baby by leaving a comment to enter you in a giveaway of winner’s choice of any of my books!!

THEN … here’s a chance to win a KINDLE ($69 value), A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN MY NEXT BOOK, A SIGNED COPY OF THAT BOOK, AND FIVE TOP CBA BOOKS FROM MY LIBRARY (all new) with an extra advantage for Seeker commenters!!  Head on over to my JULIE'S JOURNAL JOTS BLOG for all the details and because you are a Seekerville commenter, I am giving you TWO extra entries in that contest, so just click on the “Seeker Commenter” box and GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

152 comments :

  1. pretty cool way of thinking through the process

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  2. I'm with you, Julie. I've seen so many book trailers that don't work, but yours if beautiful and I love the music. So many times it's either over the top or doesn't fit the style of the book.

    And I really like seeing your process. I'm still trying to get the moral premise down. Not quite getting it though. Seeing yours written down is making a light bulb flicker a bit.

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  3. Ha! Your husband's photoshopping assignments always makes me giggle.

    I have no idea how you keep up with the two entries if you comment on seekerville, one entry if you review, one entry on a facebook comment, etc.

    And I'm glad that book signings don't work, since I doubt dragging a nursing newborn along with me would be conducive to signing. "Excuse me while I change the baby over to the other side before I sign that front page for you."

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  4. Wow, you were right about it being a long process! Thanks for sharing it and your 'baby' with us! Now I can't wait for siblings!
    Jasmine A.
    montanamade(at)gmail(com)

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  5. I agree, Melissa. It's always a treat to click on Julie's blog post to see what surprise photo she has for us.

    A+ Jules!!!!

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  6. Very clever analogy with pregnancy and birth. And I *LOVE* the trailer! The music reminded me of Downton Abbey, which I adore. I'm definitely going to have to check out this series.

    Now I'm off to see how many points I can accrue.

    Marilyn

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  7. Congratulations on your release, Julie! When I saw that you set a series in San Francisco, this native Californian beamed--and quickly added the book to her Amazon cart.

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  8. Congrats on the new book AND on the new series, Julie!! Love the setup and how you described the whole process, EXCELLENT book trailer :)
    Thanks for the giveaway, blessings Julie!

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  9. How clever! I love the metaphor of comparing the publishing process to childbirth! I normally don't watch book trailers, except for authors I know of (e.g. Melanie Dickerson's books usually have good trailers). Yours was pretty neat! Do you think your publisher will have book trailers for the rest of "The Cousins McClare"?

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  10. I love posts that have a lot of 'meat' too them. One's that can be printed out and included in my "Notes of Inspiration" notebook. Thank you Julie!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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  11. haha! That first picture totally made me laugh!

    And I saw the book trailer on facebook and LOVED it! I thought it gave a really great hook to the story and the music was perfect.

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  12. Hi Julie,
    I hopped over to Journal Jots and watched your trailer. I "liked" it because I do like it.
    I've rarely watched trailers, and I'm not sure why. I thought it was very pretty and inviting. Nice job.
    Thanks for sharing today!
    Jackie L.

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  13. Congratulations on the birth of your book.

    And thanks for the marketing tips.

    I've wanted to copy your "win a character named after you" contest for some time, but didn't want to upset author etiquette.
    :)




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  14. Congrats on the new release, Julie! I'm so looking forward to reading this series. :-)

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  15. Love the thought process here.
    I have to say I have only been to book signings by Cricketers and they were huge. Oh one wasn't I got this guys book (he wasn't as big a star when his first book came out) to get it personally signed cos no one was there and I could get a photo and I and the girl I was with could chat to him.
    I tend to ignore facebook blubs for books and contests as there are just so many. I tend to enter to win books at a few sites if I really want the book or if I have the energy. especially in the past several months with all the issues I have had. I still tire easy and just dont have the energy.
    I have found with contests especially if they are advertised most of the people who comment to win are ones who enter everything everywhere and many do not comment on the post or often even read the info about entering. its just a please enter me. On the other hand I have loyal readers on my blog who I know read most posts and will enter giveaways but I also know several of then will go out and buy the book.
    I dont enter very many contests but I do tend to enter ones at goodreads on some of the forums. I am taking up to 2 weeks to read a book now which is frustrating and as much as I still love reading I am also enjoying the break if that makes sense. I think with all thats happened in the past 7 months my whole body and mind just needs a break.
    ok enough about me. (besides I am having a steroid injection in the wrist Thursday hoping it will take away the pain).

    Once again congrats on the new baby!

    4 weeks till I meet Missy, Debby and hopefully Patty, (and anyone else in atlanta!)

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  16. Congratulations, Julie! It sounds like a great series. Thank you for all of the beneficial tips!

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  17. Congratulations, Julie! It sounds like a great series. Thank you for all of the beneficial tips!

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  18. Good morning Seekerville!

    I needed a splatter alert this morning as I drank my coffee and saw Julie's picture! Fortunately, I splattered away from my ipad, so no big deal! Hilarious!

    I love the comparison of pregnancy with this process. It is a good comparison because it does help to remind me of the purpose of the stories--that they come through you to fruition from God. Very important to remember. Good stuff!

    Congrats to Seekerville being named to the 101 list of sites for writers, but always the number one stop for me on the web!

    Piper

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  19. Julie, what a fun post! And you're trailer--well done! Thanks for sharing your process with us. It's eye-opening, to be certain. :)

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  20. This is a jam-packed post!

    Oh my stars, Jules, I have to read this again more carefully when I'm not at work.

    Love the new mom pic! That just made me smile!

    Dropping off Ruthy Cookies for the lot o' youse. Snickerdoodles today, but Teeeeenster hooked us up with SNICKERDOODLE CAKE which we'll have to try in the cafe....

    Because how could that possibly be bad? Cookies for our new PARENTS today!

    Cake later.

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  21. Julie -- LOVE how you've shared the joys of your birthing experience -- right from that very first twinkle in you eye. LOL.

    BUT

    I have a bone to pick with you. You are the reason I arrived fashionably late to work this morning. :-( I'm reading "Love At Any Cost" right now (well not this very second, I'm at work trying to catch up from being late but visiting Seekerville first and replying to your very fun blog post first.) Okay -- so, I was just at the dance with Cassie and Jamie...that lovely veranda scene -- thud --and when I came up for air the bus had just sailed past my bus stop and I had to get off at the next one which is faaaarrrrrr away and had to hike back (up hill)in drizzle and therefore arrived late. I'm blaming you because you sucked me into a time capsule and held me hostage in turn of the century San Francisco for way too long. Shame on you!

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  22. Love the post today, Julie.
    Will have to view the trailer when I get home - work blocks all things video *sigh*

    I like watching trailers because the graphic artist in me says "hey, i could to that!" and I look for cool stuff i could try. unfortunately for me, my work is still very much in the "twinkle in the eye" phase...

    thank you for the "What to Expect when you're Expecting" information. Golden nuggets of wisdom abound.

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  23. GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!! Sorry I'm late, but I was up late with a new baby (responding to comments on other giveaways I have going on), so you know how THAT goes! ;)

    In honor of today's post pregnancy, when I have to shed a few lbs. from all that sitting and writing, we have a healthy spread of fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts and I'm sorry ... cake donuts with chocolate and white icing because I just had a baby, darn it, and I deserve a donut!!

    Anybody interested in more chances to win LOVE AT ANY COST, I have another giveaway going on right now, so do check out my website calendar at JULIE'S CALENDAR and GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  24. Julie, so fun to share the pregnancy, labor and birth of your new series! Loved the photo of you and your newborn! You don't look on bit exhausted as a new mom. Not fair!

    Your book trailer is fabulous!!!! San Francisco is a wonderful place to visit either in person or via the printed word. Can't wait to read Love at Any Cost!

    Janet

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  25. CENTRALEAST2 ... thanks for your sweet comment! Pregnancy is such a GREAT analogy for what we writers go through, pain and all!! :) Good luck in the contest, my friend! :)


    Oh, CHRISTINA, you have nooooo idea how much I appreciate you admitting that about the moral premise. I'm sure my agent thinks I'm a nit when it comes to moral premise because she'll say, "What's the moral premise, Julie?" and I'll tell her what I think it is, and there's always a groan on her part as I imagine her shaking her head ... :| It's definitely NOT an easy concept for my brain, and trust me -- I've pored over The Moral Premise book umpteen times to try to even come close ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. LOL, MELISSA ... yep, babies and book signings are NOT the best combo, sweetie. But you need to try several book signings, Melissa, just for the experience, and I have found sending out postcards to my son's wedding list worked wonders ... ;)

    And as far as me keeping up with the tallying, I am VERY proud to say that I have tackled the Rafflecopter monster and found it to be quite tame and helpful, so it does really relieve a lot of the stress of picking names, tallying, etc. I highly recommend it for giveaways because I'm SO not techno-savvy, but if I can do it, ANYONE can!!

    LOL, JASMINE!! Hold on, girl -- one baby at a time, PLEASE!! ;) Actually I am a quarter of the way through the final McClare book and book 2 is close to galley stage, so I could probably handle another baby sooner than I thought ... :)

    Thanks, TINA!! Poor Keith shakes in his boots at my Seeker blog time AND my newsletter time and heaven help him -- BOTH have come around at tax day, too, so say one for the poor man!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  27. MARILYN, THANK YOU!!! I love the trailer, too, and am SO grateful to Revell and Jones House Creative!! And, YAY, sooooo glad you are entering my contest, my friend -- GOOD LUCK!!

    Aw, KELI, THANK YOU for adding LAAC to your cart, but I have to admit, it makes me a wee bit nervous for a native Californian to read this book since I hope and pray I captured the essence of San Fran. It truly WAS a joy to write about because I love it so much (have been there several times). The one thing that quells my jitters is that my editor was born and raised in San Fran and she thanked me for capturing her city so well, so WHEW!!!

    KARA ... thank you, my friend, and YES, it truly is an exceptional trailer, if I must say so myself -- Revell and Jones House Creative outdid themselves, truly!! Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Wow, what a "labor of love," Julie! Yep, writing a book is a whole lot like giving birth (sorry, guys, you'll have to take our word for it).

    I'm really paying attention to your take on what works and what doesn't. Promotion is SO not my thing, so better to capitalize on the best combination of my strengths and interests and what brings the best results.

    Looking forward to your new series! Congratulations!

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  29. Love the trailer! As a reader and not a writer, I think FB and a blog are great ways to connect with readers...

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  30. LDK ... that's a very good question, my friend, and I'm not really sure, but I suspect if I get enough hits on this one (thus the contest!!), that they will do trailers for the next two books as well. :) GOOD LUCK in the contest, Jenn!!

    LOL, CINDY ... no question my posts have a "lot of meat on them" -- close to obese stage, I'd say given their usual length, although believe it or not, this is one of my shortest!! :)

    VIRGINIA ... LOL ... soooo glad the pic made you laugh! It made me laugh, too, and I was hoping you guys would smile as well, so THANK YOU, both for the smile and checking out my video -- the music really is perfect!!

    Cute story about that pic. I have makeup on and my hair fixed (those were the days everybody had the curly perms) because this pregnancy was my second (my daughter) and NO WAY did I want to look like I did in the hospital with my firstborn (son) -- no makeup, awful hair and arms like sumo wrestler, so I dolled up before I went even though my water was leaking ... ;) I know, I know ... TMI!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  31. Thanks, JACKIE, for watching the trailer, and I TOTALLY agree -- I seldom watch them, too, because some are just so poorly done that I feel sorry for the poor author. Which is why I did not want a trailer before, but now after seeing this one, I am gung-ho for sure!!

    Hey, BRIDGETT -- knock yourself out, you sweet thing!! We all have to do what we can to promote, and nobody has the corner on that market, so go for it!! :)

    Thanks, NAOMI ... I will warn you that this new series is not as "passionate" romantically as my O'Connor series (you and I both frown here), but it's got some pretty fun kissing scenes in a billiard room, so just imagine what a girl can do with a cue stick if a guy gets fresh ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  32. JENNY, I wince every time I hear everything you've gone through this last year, my friend, but I still have you on my prayer hit list, so I am believing for break-thru one of these days ...

    You said, "I have found with contests especially if they are advertised most of the people who comment to win are ones who enter everything everywhere." Yes, there is an element of this going on in every contest, but I think you're right about some of the more loyal readers who support the authors they love with comments and sales. I love to reward readers like that, but I'm at a point now where I need to write those books more quickly, so blog giveaways will be largely going away for me after LAAC, unfortunately. :(

    Hey, JILL, you are more than welcome. Don't know how good of tips they are, just know what I will and will not do again. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. I love seeing what has worked for you re promotion. It's hard when you first start out, because you don't know what will work and you have a very limited promotion budget. And you're so excited you want to do EVERYTHING.

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  34. LOL, Julie, my friend, this is a classic.
    I would like to personally thank you very sincerely for handling the moment of conception with discretion. I was a little afraid!!!

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  35. LOL, thanks, PIPER, and sorry about the coffee splatter, my friend! ;) And I never really gave much thought to just how much like a pregnancy a new book is, so this was fun to write. And thanks for the congrats for Seekerville -- we are SO blessed to have Tina at the helm of all the promo stuff because she totally ROCKS!

    JEANNE, thanks, my friend, and YES, it IS an eye-opening process ... and mouth-opening, too, in that I have been known to scream from time to time ... ;)

    RUTHY ... you had me at "snickerdoodle," my friend, so I am going to have to check out Tina's cake ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. KAV!!! LOL ... I am SO sorry, you sweet thing, for making you late for work and wet at the same time, but I am NOT sorry that you are enjoying San Fran with Jamie and Cassie -- thank you SOOO much for reading it!! Does it help to tell you that I still have you on my prayer hit list for a job closer to home??? :|

    DEB, YES ... do watch the trailer because if you like watching them for inspiration, this is definitely one of the best to watch. Just make sure you enlarge the screen and turn the music up -- it's the best part!! :)

    JANET ... I have a feeling you are going to like LAAC the best of all my books because it's closer to your time periods and it's definitely sweeter than my O'Connor series, so I hope you do enjoy it. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  37. MYRA, LOL ... yes, a "labor of love" for sure, and I cannot BELIEVE I missed using that great phrase!! :) I hope you like this one, Myra -- it's definitely more of a fun read than my prior books. :)

    PATTY ... yes, I agree about FB and a blog, for sure. I honestly don't know what I would do to promote if we didn't have both of those components. Good luck in the contest, my friend!

    ERICA ... yeah, those "new mothers" tend to get carried away, wanting to do everything under the sun for their babies, but after a few kiddos like you and I have, we hopefully relax and pick both our battles and our promotions for best effect! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  38. YAY!!! I love special deliveries!!!
    Especially in Lessman-flare.

    LOVED the book, Julie and I can't wait see how you continue the McClare series. Woohoo!!!

    (especially a certain long-standing love story which is to be featured throughout the series...sigh)

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  39. Julie, what about word of mouth? I didn't see that, but maybe I skimmed too fast to see what else was coming. I loved your post, your novels and talking about them! Although I've been blessed in winning novels, I don't enter very many because of time and location. Looking forward to this one!

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  40. Btw, the book trailer was wonderful! I'm glad it gave a glimpse of Jamie

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  41. LOL, MARY!!! Keith thought the same thing when I read this to him ... he was reallllly afraid what I was going to blurt out there, and I will admit that I had to work reallllly hard at not using the word "sex" instead of "coupling" ... ;)

    PEPPER ... sooooo glad you liked the book and I'm curious as to which style you prefer -- the passion, drama and angst of the O'Connors ... or the quirk and humor of the McClares? And do you think Jamie's handsome? I do, but I would have preferred him in a stiff, high-necked collar like men of that day wore and his hair a little more messed up, but I do think he's pretty cute. :)

    HEY, MARIANNE, thank you, my friend, for reading my books and "loving" them! But you may have to explain your "word of mouth" comment as I'm not sure I'm following. Of course, that's not unusual for me at times ... :|

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  42. I've never read any of your books, so I'd love an opportunity to win one!
    Susan Snodgrass

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  43. Given that my experience with pregnancy is quite limited, the pain of contractions isn't sinking in (though I remember being really clueless during my wife's first birth). However, with my wife's second birth, I proved I could at least learn SOMETHING.

    Julie, I won Love At Any Cost earlier this year and I can't wait for it to arrive. I know the series will be great!

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  44. Julie, I LOVE that photo!!! LOL You'er so clever. :)

    Several great series! Congrats on the births! :)

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  45. Great post, very interesting article.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  46. Congratulations, Julie! What a joy a series will be.

    Looks like I'd better catch up my Julie Lessman reading so I don't fall behind on this new series.

    I've never seen an author share their proposal process before. Very educational. Thanks.

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  47. I so enjoyed the walk through from conception to birth of your new baby!

    Have begun Hope Undaunted & I must say - you do a great job of making dislike your characters in the beginning! Charity and now her baby sister? I'm ready to spank her over my knee! What I don't love is that, again, it's causing me a huge lack of sleep!

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  48. There's a book?!

    *runs to find it*

    Ummmm, is it by Stanley Williams?

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  49. What a great way to start a Monday!! How much fun is this!

    Congratulations on your new series, Julie. Though sorry to see the end of the O'Connors (for now!), I'm excited about this new family. They sound wonderful.

    Great trailer, btw!

    Thanks for sharing all your tips! I really don't know how you (all authors really) keep track of all the blog posts and contests. My mind boggles....

    I've already been lucky enough to win at copy of LAAC on one of the blogs, and can't wait to receive it!

    Something to look forward to.

    LOL at KAV. Sounds like something I'd do. With me it's usually burning dinner! Oops, did I have something on the stove? Ruined a few pots that way!

    Have a great day!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  50. Thanks for the tips, Julie!! I'm looking forward to reading this new book. It took me a while to figure out that picture too. LOL
    You're such a cutie!!

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  51. WOW!!!! Loved this post, Julie--and your video trailer is AWESOME (that music is perfect for it, imho). ~ You are not only a super-talented author, but how creative to use the comparison of childbirth to "birthing" a book (and going through each stage for us)--love it.

    ~ I hope I will FINALLY be able to meet you in person at a conference this year *sigh*---Will you be attending ACFW or RWA? Lord willing, I'll be at both (looking dazed and confused as usual, LOL). Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

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  52. I would love to win one of your books!

    By the way if you were in a town close enough for me to go for an autographed book I would be there with bells on.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  53. Congratulations, Julie! Thanks for all the tips and I loved your trailer. :)

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  54. Love the trailer Julie.

    I don't normally watch trailers mainly because my computer is slow and takes forever to load.

    Great way to look at the writing process. And I think this is the first time I've seen how you write a proposal for a series. I just assumed you write one for the first book in series and mention there are 2 more coming. Shows what I know!

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  55. Julie, loved this, and adored your new mom shot with your new baby!

    Congrats Mom!

    And, Kav, I can just picture you riding the bus all day tomorrow, round and round and round.....

    Take a sandwich and a bottle of water just in case! lol

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  56. love the picture love the book cover would love to win a signed book thank you

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  57. LOL, WALT ... I actually thought about you and Vince when I wrote this blog, thinking you might not relate ... ;)

    And guess what??? JUST received my box of author books SATURDAY, so I'm boxing yours up TODAY and shipping it out, my friend, so YAY!!

    LOL, MISSY ... thanks!! Clever ... I think "crazy" might be a wee bit more apt ... ;)

    Hey, WENDY, thank you!! Good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  58. PATRICIA ... well, this wasn't the WHOLE 30-page proposal ... didn't want the Seekers to kick me off the blog, after all ... ;)

    LOL, MEL ... keep saying to yourself, "I was an unsaved brat at one time, I was an unsaved brat at one time ..." Because you see, both Katie and Charity are the two girls in the family who have no use for God, so OF COURSE they are going to be brats!! I was, too, before Christ, and unfortunately, VERY much like both of them in the beginning. BUT ... that's the beauty of Christian fiction ... characters get saved and GROW, not only in their personal lives ... but on the reader too, I promise!! :) Hang in there with Katie ... she turns around A LOT faster than Charity ... ;)

    CHRISTINA ... LOL, yes, it's the book by Stanley, who also looks at me askance like Natasha does when I try to nail down my moral premise ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  59. SUE, YES!!!! I have your book sitting on my kitchen table and would have mailed it today but my hubby was pacing furiously, so I told him he could take the rest tomorrow, but it's coming ... !!!!

    And I have to laugh about you burning dinner and Kav missing her bus stop because I actually got a Google alert about a gal talking about APMP on her blog. She said she started it at night, read till 2:00 AM, then thought she'd read a bit in the tub in the morning and spent the WHOLE day in the tub finishing the book (475 pages!!). I was so amazed, I contacted her to ask if she was wrinkled at the end of the read. Lack of sleep is one thing, but when my books give a gal wrinkles, that's just plain wrong ... ;) And then another favorite author friend of mine, Betsy St. Amant, told me she almost her burned her spaghetti because she was reading APMP in the kitchen while cooking ... ;)

    Can't wait to see what you think of LAAC, Sue -- I'm anxious for feedback from some of my favorite reader friends. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  60. LOL, JESSICA ... did you recognize me??? I actually realllly liked that curly-do back then ... soooooo easy!!

    PATTI JO, YES!!!!!!!!! I will be at ACFW in Indy and am soooooooo excited I will finally get to meet you, girl!! The only thing that would be better is having some of your peach cobbler with you over coffee ... :)

    Aw, GLENDA, that is a reallllllly nice thing to say, my friend, not only because I would love to meet you, but because it would be fun to hear bells ringing before I look up to see you!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  61. Thanks, ANNA ... I appreciate you checking the trailer out and I hope you entered the JJ contest too!! :)

    CONNIE ... thanks for taking a look at the trailer, my friend, and as far as proposals go, I am NO expert, trust me, just a realllly anal gal who likes to be very detailed in my synopses and overviews, primarily to help me write the book!! I saw a GREAT blog on writing proposals on Rachelle Gardner's blog once, so Google that for REAL advice on how to write a proposal ... :)

    Thanks, Pammy ... it was fun to do. Uh, for me, that is ... not Keith!! :|

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  62. Really should be working LOL but had to run over here and support my friend!

    Yeah...y'all are all my friends! Alas, I just don't have time to visit daily.

    Love the Trailer Julie! Watched it and shared it on FB, Twitter & Google Plus.

    Congratulations, Good luck & God's Blessings with your new series!

    PamT

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  63. I've always thought of producing a book like having a baby, and you're right it takes more than 9 months. I couldn't see your trailer because my computer messes up. I'll have to get it fixed.

    Thanks for mentioning your premises, Julie. I know why they sold. They make me want to go out and buy the books.

    I love series. One book is never enough. Congratulations on yours.

    Elaine

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  64. You were such a beautiful young mother, Julie! Still are!!! :-)

    My Family Christian store already had copies of this book a week ago! You are big time, Julie! (Unlike me. They don't usually even stock my books! Haha! :P)

    Anyhoo, I am so proud for you, Julie! A new series! It's so exciting!!!!!

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  65. Julie, love the birthing story. And your pic holding the new babe. Cute mom who looks so fresh after a long labor. Pretty curls too!

    Great info about promo. Thanks for sharing what you've learned. :)

    Congrats on your success! San Francisco is hubby's hometown. Plus, his dad was 100% Italian so the series is calling my name!

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  66. Hi Julie:

    I really enjoyed your ‘giving birth’ analogy. Those 2660 words read with the ease of great fiction. I’ve already imported your post into my Scrivener project on writing resources. That post is a great example of how to write creative nonfiction. (I’m taking a creative nonfiction course right now.)

    Disclaimer: I’ve read enough midwife medical romances to ‘talk the talk’ but I sure couldn’t ‘walk the walk’!

    Truly, Julie, I just didn’t want your post to end! There are yet so many questions unanswered.

    Why there’s the importance of prenatal care and prenatal vitamins! What’s the analog to that?

    Will there be Lamaze training? Who gets to be your coach? Isn’t that like a critique partner?

    Oh yes, do you want to know your baby’s sex? Pantsers will want to want wait until D-day. Why if they knew the sex ahead of time, it would take all the fun out of birthing.

    There is always the possibility of a multiple birth. Are you really ready for triplets?

    Don’t forget Braxton Hicks! Just when you think the long wait is over, you find out it’s just more late revisions from your editor!

    Of course, then there is the question of do you go natural with a midwife (pantsers will do this) or will you plan your due date (for strict plotters only!).

    Who gets to name the baby? You? Your husband? Or some outsider with a lot of influence (and money)!

    Wow! All this is just up to the delivery date. This alone is enough to give one postpartum depression. Are book signings showers?

    You sure gave us a lot to think about.

    BTW: Were you planning on any of your Boston people making it to California when you set the original date at 1933? I think Gabby would make a wonderful California girl.

    Vince

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  67. Awww, Melanie, you're big time to me!

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  68. The day has just about got away from me -here it is in the afternoon already and you all look busy as little bees with all the comments. I always like to see what Julie has to say and wow what a beginning, A Book in arms, well many books as it is series, congrats gal and unless I am mistaken I didn't see one reference to GWTW-haha.
    I will be looking for this series to read thanks for all your hard work.
    Paula O

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  69. Love the analogy, Julie, and the photo at the top was AWESOME! Ha!

    Very excited about this new series - can't wait to read!

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  70. Love the analogy! Makes complete sense AND shows all the hard work that goes into writing a book!

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  71. I love your book Julie! I cant wait to start your new series!! :) I wish Amazon would hurry up I wangt April 15th to get her to I can get my kindle copy!! The Word you put in your books really minster to me and make me want to wait on the Lord for my future husband someday!

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  72. Thanks so much for sharing, Julie! This makes a lot of sense and your "pregnancy story" is really cute! I love your tips about what worked and what didn't. Glad God showed you what is best for promoting your work! Blessings!!!

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  73. Thank you for sharing the whole birthing process. What a clever analogy! What a complex and exciting process! Loved the photo!
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  74. Julie, I am so excited to be able to start this series with the birth of book one. I did not know of your other series at their conception, lol!

    Thank you for sharing with us. It sounds amazing!

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  75. I'm looking forward to this book!
    makeighleekyleigh at yahoo dot com

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  76. This is a very entertaining and informative post, Julie. I so appreciate all you go through to write those books I love to read! I'm looking forward to this new series. I really like how you have a moral premise and scripture for each book.
    I watched your video and "liked" it. I agree that well-done trailers can make a difference. There are some books I'm not sure I want to read, but then I watch the trailer and it really grabs my interest.
    I wish you much success with this new series.
    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  77. Congratulations, Julie! Love the advice and the analogy. Novel writing is hard work. In a sense, we are putting our best efforts into creating a "baby" that we hope will receive a warm welcome into the world.

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  78. I've gotten three people to "like" your video trailer!

    Amazing post! I don't know if I'd have the patience to go through that whole big entire long process to write, so I'll just stick to reading and reviewing :).
    Congratulations on this new series! I've already read book one and am excited for book two!

    Callie

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  79. 'Nor is the humiliation when only three people show up, two of which are church librarians who take you to task for the passion in your books … true story! :\).'

    *Grinning* THAT right there made me laugh out loud. Haha. Oh, Julie. How we love thee. You are just too cute and funny, girl. (Just like I've been told I am too. Isn't that fantastic? ;)

    WHOO-HOO!!! Bring out the cake, (chocolate, preferably), the baloons and the ridiculous hats. Celebrating JOYFULLY with Julie Lessman! You get em' with this one, friend!

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  80. LOL, PAM ... thanks for taking a moment out of your incredibly busy day (and I know being both an author and running a magazine canNOT be easy!) to leave a comment AND to promote me as well -- you are a living doll, you know that?? Hugs!!

    MEL ... HA!! That'll be the day that I take precendence over a two-time Christy nominee, you little brat. I'm guessing they just sold out of your books and they were on back order ... ;)

    DEBBY!!! 100% Italian and from San Franciso??? Oh, yes, you are definitely gonna like book 2, then, guaranteed!! And the "fresh" part after labor??? That's only because I'm vain. Looked like a dog when I had my son because I went to the hospital in the dead of night, no makeup, bad hair, so I VOWED that on the next baby, I'd doll up, so I did!! The minute my water broke, I put on makeup and fixed my hair. Now how's THAT for true vanity????

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  81. Congratulations on the birth of your newest series, Julie. Loved the picture. And thanks for all the marketing tips.

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  82. VINCE!!! As usual, you made me laugh, my friend and amaze me all at the same time!! I want just ONE miligram of your brain and creativity, mister, because I would be a real dynamo if I had that extra "you" in my personality. :)

    And you said, "BTW: Were you planning on any of your Boston people making it to California when you set the original date at 1933? I think Gabby would make a wonderful California girl."

    Actually, now that I am thinking about your question, YES, I did briefly consider having Cassie come from Boston instead of Texas, where she would know the O'Connors, which would have been realllly cool. But for some reason, the Texas personna just really clicked with me, so I went for it!!

    Seriously, my friend ... you have one of the MOST fertile brains I have ever seen. I am in awe ... and sometimes "shock" and awe ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  83. Wow Julie, This blog is soooo helpful and interesting. It always amazes me how marketing works and doesn't work. I'm so glad you have found ways to make it work for you.

    And congrats on getting the series accepted. Love San Francisco since I grew up there. smile

    And I'm half way through the book and am LOVING it. You are a fantastic author Miss Julie.

    Thanks again for sharing all you have learned.

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  84. Um, yes, Julie, if you didn't have to write a proposal for your publisher, you are definitely more big time than me. ;-) And trying to get my local book stores to stock my books is like trying to keep an ice cube from melting in Alabama in July. Nigh impossible.

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  85. And I am impressed that you write a moral premise before you even start the book! I've never done that.

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  86. I loved this article...so helpful and a good insight to start to finish...so glad you stuck with it and found what works for you..

    thanks for the giveaway too

    truckredford (at) gmailDOT com

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  87. And I LOVE that trailer, Julie! It really makes me want to know what happens to Cassidy and Jamie! Wow!

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  88. I can't wait to read Love at Any Cost!! Super stoked!

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  89. Know I will love the new series! But I've loved all your books, sweet or sweeter!

    Janet

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  90. PAULA ... Oh, as my teacher aunt would have said, "Demerits, demerits!!" for not mentioning GWTW!!! I guess I just didn't think my new book could even be mentioned on the same page as GWTW because that's like comparing a child's prayer book to a Gutenberg Bible ... :)

    WARRIOR PRINCESS ... first of all, I consider that high praise from anybody with a wonderful addy like yours, my friend -- care to give me the background on that?? Good luck, my friend, in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  91. VINCE! You're so witty you have me in stitches!! Thanks for all the possible scenarios. Thankfully, Julie left them out or her post would be longer than her books. ;-)

    Janet

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  92. JULIE...
    I love this posting...you know it's right up my alley :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  93. LISA ... thank you, my friend, and I am SO thrilled you are enjoying APMP!! Hopefully I'll get to send you another signed book ... :)

    Aw, SIA , that blesses me to no end that my books encourage you!! Good luck in this contest, my friend. :)

    CARRIE!!! I just got home from biking with my hubby, and in the car I get to read your novella -- SO fun to read your wonderful work!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  94. Thanks, KAY ... it is a complex and exciting journey, that's for sure, and just like giving birth ... it can wear a body out. Especially if that "body" is a 62-year-old CDQ!!

    DONNA ... oh, me too, my friend!! I feel so bad for those reader friends that read the O'Connors out of order, but sometimes it just can't be helped. SO glad you're getting in on the ground floor with the McClares! Happy reading and GOOD LUCK!!

    Hey, MEGAN -- I hope you enjoy it when you get your hands on it, sweetie, and good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  95. PAM, THANK YOU!! Did you "enter" the Journal Jots contest by clicking on the "viewing the video" tab, I hope?? Don't miss out on that, my sweet friend, and here's hoping I get to send you a signed book!

    Thanks, BRANDI, and yes, we sure do hope for that "warm welcome," but it's not always forthcoming, as I have discovered from time to time. But goodness, I love my "babies" anyway, warm welcome or not. :)

    CALLIE, you sweetheart, you -- THANK YOU sooo much for working so hard to get people to "LIKE" my video -- sooo appreciate that and you sure deserve those extra points!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  96. GANISE, SWEETIE, yes it IS "fantastic" that we are alike, which is only one of the MANY reasons I love you so much -- we are two peas in a pod, my friend!! :)

    PAT JEANNE, you are certainly welcome, girl, and I love the picture, too, because it was a very happy day for me ... when I had my daughter, that is ...:)

    SANDRA!!! You know, I don't think I knew you grew up in San Fran, did I??? YIKES ... and you're reading the book? Sure hope I do your home town justice! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  97. MELANIE ... well, let me clarify that proposal point. I always provide my publisher with three synopses, but this last time I pulled the stops out and did a really detailed proposal, which really helps me more than my publisher! :)

    You said, "And trying to get my local book stores to stock my books is like trying to keep an ice cube from melting in Alabama in July. Nigh impossible."

    Are you talking about regular bookstores that aren't Christian? Because I wouldn't think they'd want to carry too much Christian fiction at all, so that's not you, girl. You can't mean Christian bookstores or Barnes & Noble, though, can you, because I don't believe it!!

    LOL ... this last series was the first time I wrote the moral premise first -- never have before, but I wanted it clear in my mind, so like I said, I pulled the stops out. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  98. Thanks, ELIZA, and me too!! Here's to a win, sweetie, and good luck in the contest!

    LOL, MEL ... you must be putting off work, girlfriend, because FOUR comments??? Thanks for taking the time to check out the video -- it is way cool, isn't it??

    MARISSA!!! Trust me, I'm "super stoked" for you to read it too, my friend. I always like to hear what my favorite reader friends think, you know?? Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  99. Aw, thanks, JANET ... and you know I feel EXACTLY the same!! Always love diving into one of your books, girlfriend. :)

    JANET DEAN, you little brat, you!! The old one-two punch, eh? A compliment comment, then BOOM ... another with a slam about the verbosity of my posts!! You are a stinker!! :)

    Yes, KAREN, I do know that because you are one of my most loyal and favorite reader friends, so I figured you would like anything talking about my new book ... WHICH I hope I get to send you if you win this contest, so GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  100. "Love will take care of them both"

    Is that a wonderful line! A delightful book trailer, Julie. The music is just perfect -- relays a brightness and hopefulness.

    Enjoyed reading about the process and am impressed with your "one sentence, moral premise, scripture verse" approach. What focus zeroing in like that must provide.

    Nancy C (who is hoping to read other comments later)

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  101. Julie, I'm sorry I'm so late to the party. My internet has been on and off all night.

    Fantastic post!!! Great info and I need every word of it. Did you dye your hair brown for the picture???

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  102. Hey, NANCY, thanks SO much for checking the trailer out, my friend, and I love that last line and the music too! Yeah, getting so detailed on this series really helped in writing it, so I will probably do it this way again in the future. :)

    LOL, CARA!!! YES, I did dye my hair brown for this picture ... and got a facelift too! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  103. WooHoo, Julie! Celebrating another heart-pounding series from my favorite CDQ author! You make Margaret Mitchell so proud!

    I love your process. Especially the Labor and Delivery. LOL! How dare anyone call our baby ugly? My maternal instincts are on edge, snarling and growling. Don't you worry Jules, I've got your back, too : )

    The Cousins McClare promises to be just as great a series as the others. And my prayers are all over your entire writing process to give us MORE!!!

    Yes, al' MM is mighty proud of you, JL!

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  104. This made me smile! Loved the way youlaid the post out!

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  105. Good heavens, Julie I feel like I've been at the hospital yelling push push breathe breathe. I'm worn out. That was a very interesting post. Well done.

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  106. Oh Julie, This is the best of any of the book promotions I have seen. I LOVE it. As for as your new baby, I hope your new book will be a great success, and have no doubt it will. But, I do have to say you always give me laugh when I read your writings. I know I won't be in the high scores for I don't know how to do some things like copy and paste, and sometimes the links. But I do try to always share on my Facebook, as I have with this one. BUT, congratulations on your new baby! Hugs! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  107. What a fabulous post to read through thank you.

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  108. AUDRA!!! Your favorite CDQ author??? I'm soooo proud!!

    And, OUCH ... it does hurt when somebody calls your baby "ugly," that's for darn sure!! Somebody called one of my babies ugly just yesterday, and Keith had to hold me back!! ;)

    I miss you, my friend, and hoping you are hidden in a cave, writing up a storm!!!

    Love you!
    Julie

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  109. Congratulations on your triplets. :)

    Thanks for a great article.

    Ginger

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  110. ABBI ... glad I could make you smile, you sweet thing.

    NOW ... when are you going to get moving on reading the rest of my books!!?? ;)

    Hugs and may that TBR list dwindle quickly ...

    Julie

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  111. LOL, TINA ... I know what you mean, girlfriend ... I'm EXHAUSTED too!! ;)

    But you have to admit, it IS a lot of "pushing" ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  112. Very very very very VERY informative and PAWSOME!

    Thanks Julie, for sharing the process, especially the one-line, theme and moral premise, and the book trailer- stunning! Gold mine today any way you slice it.

    So excited for you!!!

    Interesting about character naming too. A reader asked me about naming an animal after him in the next story and so... Goatee Sam Toggs was born. :) Ha!

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  113. Late with my comment. Don't you just hate it when those babies are overdue? Happens to me all the time. Thanks a bunch Julie - I love to write in series format as I never want to say good-bye to my characters. Same reason I like to read series. I'll be saving your suggestions and congratulations! I foresee lots of readers in the future of your new arrival.

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  114. MAXIE ... I am SO glad I can make you laugh with my writing, which is SO important in today's sometimes stressful world. Of course, the drama and angst in my books ALSO cause some of the stress ... ;) Good luck in the contest, my friend -- you are a blessing to me!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  115. MARY, thank YOU for taking the time to even read it, my friend -- hope it nets you a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  116. GINGER, LOL!!! VERY perceptive of you, girl -- I never even thought of triplets, but OUCH, that's gotta hurt!! ;)

    Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  117. I love your style, and especially the way you use moral and Scripture to help readers grow. Congratulations on your Series! This is exciting and I'm heading over to the next stop for any entry there.

    Be safe and thanks for offering the giveaway. Someone is going to be so blessed!

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  118. KC AND MAY!!! Always love when you come by, guys, because you make me so dog-gone happy!! ;)

    You said: "Interesting about character naming too. A reader asked me about naming an animal after him in the next story and so... Goatee Sam Toggs was born. :) Ha!"

    LOL ... LOVE that, my friend -- TOOOO CUTE!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  119. CINDY SAID: "Late with my comment. Don't you just hate it when those babies are overdue?"

    LOL, my friend, yes I do, but late on commenting on a blog is no big deal since this contest will run through Friday afternoon, so GOOD LUCK!!

    I LOVE to write series, too, Cindy, for the same reason. I was SO sad after the last O'Connor book (A Love Surrendered) that I immediately sat down and wrote Marcy and Patrick's (the parents) prequel, A Light in the Window. For some reason, that helped me ease the transition out of the O'Connors to the McClares in my new series. :)

    Here's to a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  120. JENNIFER, thank you SOOO much for heading over to my other contest as well -- MUCH appreciated!!

    Here's hoping it nets you a win, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. CONGRATULATIONS on the series Julie!!!
    I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com
    N.C.

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  122. Hey, SARAH, thanks for coming by, my friend, and consider yourself entered!!

    Here's to a win!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  123. Omgosh!!!! I can't wait to read all three.Your birth of a book was fantastic. :)

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  124. I'd love to win!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  125. This was so interesting to read! Thanks for posting the writing process. Oh.My.Word! I can't wait to get my hands on Love at Any Cost, and the next two books in the series! I am SO excited to read all three! The second one about the cop sounds pretty intriguing!

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  126. Thank you for sharing the process you use, what works and not works for you as a writer.
    This may help me as a painter.
    Blessings,
    Wendy

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  127. Hey, JAIME -- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, my friend!! I sooo appreciate you dropping by AND tweeting my blog URL -- you are an absolute doll and I hope you win!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  128. I absolutely LOVE this post, Julie! You always have such a way of putting things. Your books trailer is amazing, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! I hope the release of Love at Any Cost is just what you're hoping for! I know it's number 1 TBR the minute this semester is over. And I mean the VERY DAY! ;) lol! Can't wait to dive in!

    Thanks for everything! You're amazing!

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  129. SUSANLULU ... and I would "LOVE" for you to win, too, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  130. LEAH ... I am SO excited for you to get your hands on this series,too, my friend because it's such a departure for me from the O'Connors, I need the feedback from my favorite reader friends!!!

    OH MY, you are going to LOVE book 2 -- Nick Barone is TO DIE FOR and the romantic tension is too ... and they almost do ... die for it, that is!! ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    JULIE

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  131. WENDY ... LOL!! Gosh, never thought about it for an artist, but I'm glad I could help you out, my friend!!

    Thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK IN THE CONTEST!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  132. EM!!!!! Sooooo glad you made it over her, my sweet friend, and like you, I cannot WAIT to have you read LAAC because like I said in a comment up above, I am realllly anxious to get feedback from my favorite reader friends ... like YOU!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

    Julie

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  133. Books and Babies do take a long time to arrive but both are worth waiting for.
    Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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  134. Thank you for the opportunit(ies!) to win a copy of your newest book--it sounds fabulous...and I love the comparison of writing to being a new mama!
    karen@fallotfam.com

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  135. LOL, JANET, I sooooo agree, my friend, and I LOVE your addy -- Library Lady!! VERY COOL!!

    Here's to a win ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  136. Hey, KAREN, thank YOU for taking the time to come by and read my blog. I sure hope it nets you a win, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  137. Love it Julie!! You are so creative with your analogies!! :) So looking forward to receiving LAAC on kindle on the 15th!!! Not long now! :) And I'm glad that you still make time for your reader friends!! You've got my loyalty as a result! So it's gotta count for something, right?! But I do wish you lots of time for writing too! :)

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  138. Hey, ELIZABETH ... SO good to see you here, my friend, and YIKES ... only five more days and Jamie and Cassie will be sparring in your home!! I hope you like this lighter, funner, less complicated Julie Lessman read!!

    And here's hoping you win so I can put your name on the next book in line, Dare to Love Again ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  139. YAY JULIE!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! :) (hehe I LOVE your post!!!) And, as you know, I LOVED Love at Any Cost, and I'm sooo super excited for the next books in the series!

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  140. Julie,
    Many congratulations! So happy for you. I love the post - the comparison of birthing a baby and birthing a book is delightful!

    Blessings!!

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  141. KELS!!! I am THRILLED beyond belief that you would show up here on one of my blogs!! And I cannot tell you just how much your e-mail meant to me, my sweet friend -- thank you SO much!!

    And if you win this contest, I will put your name down for a signed copy of the next book, Dare to Love Again, which is soooo fun!! You haven't seen this much head-butting since Katie and Luke, so GET READY!!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  142. Is there any room left for me to comment here? I usually stay quiet in the Seeker room because you all are so amazing and overwhelm me. The picture is fabulous and the post is a really neat way to think about the process. I've heard people say it but haven't ever thought it put that far being on thereader side of things. The video is amazing! I'll have to come back again and try to like and share ito couldn't figure out how to do it kn a mobile site. I got goose bumps and the image of Jamie is fabulous. I'm about half way through he adventure and like you said its different but it is fabulous.

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  143. MARGARET!!! WOW, it is SOOO good to see you here because you're right -- you lay pretty low, my friend!!

    And I agree -- Revell did an absolutely STELLAR job on this video -- I can't watch it enough. I just wish all my "views" counted toward the number talley ... ;)

    Oh, I am SO excited to hear what you think of this varied style of mine, MJ, because it is a departure, but I'm hoping it's more acclimated to the CBA market, so THAT'S what I'll be asking you when you're done.

    Good luck in the contest, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  144. Love this post! I am so excited for your new release! Counting down the days and am going to make sure my house is clean and laundry us done before I dive in because I know when I do, I won't want to come up for air! :)

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  145. Love this post! I am so excited for your new release! Counting down the days and am going to make sure my house is clean and laundry us done before I dive in because I know when I do, I won't want to come up for air! :)

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  146. Love this post! I am so excited for your new release! Counting down the days and am going to make sure my house is clean and laundry us done before I dive in because I know when I do, I won't want to come up for air! :)

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  147. Love this post! I am so excited for your new release! Counting down the days and am going to make sure my house is clean and laundry us done before I dive in because I know when I do, I won't want to come up for air! :)

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  148. EDWINA!! Thanks for the congrats, my friend -- this has been a fun release with the video and all!!

    Good luck in the contest!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  149. Great post Julie! I always love hearing more about the writing process. I'd love to be entered to win one of your wonderful books!

    ecriggs1990(at)aol(dot)com

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  150. Hey, LIZ, thanks for coming by and I'm hoping we can pull out a win for you in one of these contests going on, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  151. I have NO idea how I managed to miss this post, so I'm a little late to this party :)

    But congratulations Julie, I am so excited for your new series. As much as I adored the O'Connors, I'm also so excited to meet a whole new cast of characters to fall in love with :)

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  152. KARA!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend, late or not!! And I hope you enjoy the quirky McClares ... they're a fun lot! :)

    Hope to see you in Indy!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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