Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WHEN THE PLOT THICKENS ... ALL THE WAY TO CONCRETE !!( And Giveaways)

Julie here, and you know, concrete’s okay when you’re talking in-ground swimming pools or Ted Drewe’s frozen custard, but in your book plots???

Uh … not so much.

Come on, you all know what I’m talkin’ about — or maybe you don’t. There’s been so many times (at least once a book, in my case) when my plot is just a-churnin’ away and suddenly the old mixer (my brain) grinds to a groaning halt for whatever reason — faulty research, unhappy editor/agent, or just plain comatose boredom. The next thing I know, I’ve run into a concrete wall as hard and unmovable as my plot. Nowhere to go. And no way to get to the other side of the story.

THE TALE OF A CONCRETE TRUCK ...
You see, story plots are a lot like making concrete in a concrete truck. You mix sand (the premise), stone/gravel (characters/era/locale), water (the flow of ideas), and cement (GMC … or “goals/motivation/conflict) in a mixer, whether stationary or on wheels, and Voila! It produces a tumbling, rolling, almost fluid plot that thickens beautifully into a strong solid story.

But … what if that plot thickens to a concrete wall where you and your plot are “stuck” in a quagmire with nowhere to go? What’s an author to do?

BRAINSTORMING YOUR WAY THROUGH CONCRETE ...
Well, I did some research on this and found some great “brainstorming” ideas listed on a cool blog called “The Other Side of the Story” by Harper/Collins author Janet Hardy who writes fantasy and science fiction for teens. Which is probably why this woman came up with 11 excellent ideas on what to do when your plot hits the wall — her mind is apparently used to bending in bizarre and creative ways! BUT … instead of repeating Janet’s ideas like they are mine, I strongly encourage you to check the list out here: “Living on the Wall: Not Knowing What Happens Next in Your Story.”

Another very good resource I found is a blog entitled “5 Tips to Brainstorming a Limp Story to Give It New Life – Limp Noodle Revolt” by Michelle Lim, the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy and President of MN N.I.C.E., a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, so I encourage you to check it out!

Here's a very cool site that lists the "Top 10 Sites for Brainstorming/Mind Mapping," which is a wonderful resource.

Not that I don’t have my own ideas on brainstorming, of course, because I do and wrote a very detailed (and, yes, very long — 12 points long!) blog two years ago on brainstorming story ideas/plots called "DIGGING DEEP … Unearthing Story Ideas From Your Own Backyard." If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to check it out if for nothing else, to find out what a sliced ham, frozen chicken, and shaving cream have in common.

BUT … today is not a blog on “brainstorming,” oh no. Today is the day I talk about “God-storming.”

LIGHTNING-BOLT BRAINSTORMING
What is “God-storming” you might ask? Well, for some people it’s a last resort, but for this author, at least these days? It’s the VERY first thing I do when my plots thicken to concrete. And in almost every case, it’s been like a bolt from the blue.

For example, take my very first novel, A Passion Most Pure. Yes, I was a newbie, no doubt about it — SO green that when my agent labeled my book a “historical,” I actually argued with her, saying, “but I don’t write “historicals, I write romance.”

Let’s pause here for a moment of silent prayer on behalf of my agent Natasha Kern.

Sigh. Yes, I really was that green of a writer, one who actually didn’t consider the historical aspect of my story as important as the emotional tug-of-war between the hero and heroine. I mean, come on now, everybody knows the most important thing is WHAT happens in the story, not WHEN it happens, right?

Wrong. That misconception almost derailed my plot for A Passion Most Pure completely, a HUGE research blunder that got past me, past my critique partners, and past my editor. You see, the first half of APMP takes place in Boston, and when WWI breaks out, the 2nd half of the book shifts to Dublin, Ireland. It was essential to the plot that the O’Connor women and children travel to Ireland mid-book, but during 1916, the only way to do that was by ship. No problemo—I simply plopped them all on a comfy-cozy passenger ship.

Beep, beep … back the truck up … or in this case, the passenger ship!

“No can do,” says my editor, whose husband just happened to be—what are the odds?—an Irish historian! He innocently pointed out to his wife that the O’Connors traveling on a ship to Ireland during World War I would not have been feasible as passenger ships at that time were commandeered for war. Not to mention the annoying fact that German U-boat warfare made it too dangerous for ship travel. Double sigh.

So, what did I do when my editor called me with the dilemma?

I had a meltdown. Cried for days. Walked around in a fog. Then frantically began researching other “Irish” destinations (other than Europe) that the O’Connors could possibly travel to via ship. Main ports for Irish immigration were New York, Boston, and Canada. I nixed New York because the plot for book 2 A Passion Redeemed needed days and days of ship travel. That narrowed it down to Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, Canada, neither of which gave me the warm, fuzzy feeling that Ireland did. Consequently, I was a basket case, not only because of the MAJOR research and rewrites looming, but because I had fallen in love with Dublin, Ireland and mourned the loss of it.

GOD TO THE RESCUE!!
“Pray for a simple solution,” came the thought one day after I’d spent hours and hours laboring over daunting research.

Oh. What a novel idea for a Christian author!

So I did. And guess what happened? An old friend called me for lunch and when I told her about my dilemma, she squinted at me and said, “You know, it seems like I just read something recently about freighters during the war. Have you considered sending them over on a freighter?”

Uh. No. Never even knew that supply freighters sailed from the U.S. to Europe during WWI delivering supplies to the troops, but guess what? When I researched her suggestion further, I discovered that merchant and troop freighters began sailing in convoys with a navy escort because it reduced the risk of being sunk by German U-boats dramatically. WOW … who knew?? Well, God apparently, because He Masterminded the lunch with my resourceful friend who just happened to have read an article on freighter convoys during WWI.

So … by adding a freighter convoy, a menopausal wife having a breakdown because her grandmother is dying in Dublin, and a cousin in the freighter business, my massive plot rewrites/research dwindled down to two measly paragraphs—count ‘em, two!—added to the book to make it historically accurate. And here they are:

     “I can’t believe your father is letting you go!” Maisie cried, “It’s just plain crazy, Faith, to even attempt ship travel right now. What about the German U-boat warfare? Isn’t he afraid?”
      Faith pulled back and took a deep breath. “Yes, he’s afraid, but he’s more afraid that Mother will have a breakdown while he’s gone. With Mima near death and Father drafted, Mother begged to go to Ireland. She simply wouldn’t relent, and I think she just wore Father down. He contacted his cousin, Thomas, who owns a freighting company, and although all passenger-ship travel has been suspended, apparently freight shipping is going strong, especially in convoys. Thomas convinced Father that losses for ships sailing in convoys have fallen dramatically.” Faith sucked in another heavy breath and lifted her chin. “So he agreed to take us. With God watching over us, we’ll be fine.”

Ta-da!! “Fine,” indeed. And—I’m happy to report—so was I!

A HOPE DAUNTED BY CONCRETE ...
The brick wall I hit on A Hope Undaunted was a real doozy, reinforced by a concrete wall that had me backsliding into tears, rants, and a black hole for almost a week.  It took me nine months to write that book and it’s my absolute favorite, so I was really excited. Instead of popping the huge surprise at the end of the book like I did in the prior three novels, I pulled the old grenade pin mid-book, blowing up both my hero and heroine’s future together and, hopefully, the reader’s mind as well. Unfortunately, my editor tossed her grenade first, demolishing my plot so completely, a total rewrite/replotting appeared to be in store.

That night my husband held me while I sobbed in his arms. “We’ll just pray about it, Julie,” he said softly, “and God will get you through this, babe — He always does.”

“No, you don’t understand,” I wailed, lying in a soggy pool of tears on my pillow, “the heart and soul of my plot has been destroyed, and now I have to start over, coming up with a whole new book!”

Oh ye of little faith.

So, yes, we prayed and God showed up carrying a few grenades of His own. Talk about a wall-crumbler! One minute my editor is mentioning total plot rewrite, and the next she’s saying, “What if we just shift things a bit, deleting my main surprise component — a component she patiently explained I could not do in Christian romance — making it vague enough that the shock value was still in effect.

Say what? I blinked. I squinted. I caught my breath. A slow smile curved on my lips. Oh. My. Goodness! One minor shift, and the entire plot remains intact with nothing more than a few line revisions. WOW—from total rewrite to total peace for my editor and me in a blink of a prayer!!

MY MOMMA DIDN’T RAISE NO DUMB CHILDREN
Okay, by my 5th book, I was confident that I was finally getting the drift of this plotting thing, so when it came time to write A Heart Revealed, I was ready. As an author who incorporates a hairpin twist at the end of each of my books, I was a wee bit concerned about this story. Emma and Sean’s romance was not my typical romance where boy meets girl and sparks fly like in all my other books. Instead, this plot hinged on a ten-year friendship that grows spiritually and emotionally, ripening into unconditional love where two people sacrifice themselves for the other. Great story, I thought … with one itsy-bitsy problem.

There was no way I could surprise my readers at the end of this one. Why? Well, because Emma Malloy is married to an abusive husband named Rory who is very much alive back in Dublin, and since both she and Sean are Catholic, the two of them can’t get together until the slime-bucket husband kicks the bucket. I figured everybody who read the book would assume I had to X the ex in order to make this plot work, and regrettably, they were right. Believe me, I researched divorce and annulment ad nauseum in the Catholic church back then and frankly, they pretty much were not a viable option for my story, so I was stuck.

Well, I thought to myself, I don’t have to have an earth-shattering plot twist at the end of every one of my books, do I?? I mean, if it’s a good story, does it really matter if I shock my readers senseless?

Sigh. Unfortunately, to this CDQ, it does matter. I just get such a thrill out of those high-voltage electrical twists that cause my readers to jolt right up in bed so hard that they wake their husbands up, a true story that one of my sweet readers actually wrote me about.

But … how do you write a jaw-dropping climax when there’s only one predictable, ho-hum ending in sight? “I know, I know,” I scream wildly, waving my hand in the air, quite certain that this was a lesson I had finally learned well.

You call the God Squad.

Without question, I would have to say A Heart Revealed was the coolest (and most concrete-busting) brainstorming experience I have ever had. There I am praying on my lower deck one crisp autumn day, staring at the kaleidoscope of color in my sun-dappled woods when I looked up into the sky. “God," I say, "You are the God of creativity and You have an ending for me that I just know will blow everybody way. Would You mind sharing it with me, please?”

As God is my witness, within ten seconds, an idea fluttered into my brain like those scarlet and gold leaves that were fluttering all around me. The idea was SO masterful and SO genius, that I literally shot straight up in the chair and started laughing, knowing that I could never have come up with anything like that on my own. And do you know that to this day, no one has guessed the ending so far?

Now that’s the kind of brainstorming partner you want!

***

EXTRA CHANCE TO WIN “LOVE AT COST” TODAY ONLY — WED. 6/12, 1-2 PM CST — AT REVELL’S AUTHOR CHAT!!!  

Here’s the link:





JULIE’S SEEKER BLOG GIVEAWAY TILL FRIDAY NOON, 6/14:
Share your experiences where God dropped an idea or a plot into your brain that you just knew was from Him … or just leave a comment, and I will enter you in my drawing for a signed copy of any of my books, including my upcoming January release of Dare to Love Again or a spiral-bound printed copy of A Light in the Window.

EXTRA BONUS CONTEST — “HAVE A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU” GIVEAWAY TILL FRIDAY NOON, 6/14!!  This is it—my VERY last “have a character named after you in my next book” contest this year!! I am trying to crank up the views on my video for Love at Any Cost, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, just click on the video link below, watch it, then arrow back to fill out the Rafflecopter box in order to be entered in this SEPARATE contest for a signed copy of my book.

Already viewed the video?? No worries—I will give entry points for every person you send the video link to AND they watch it OR if you watch it on a different computer than before. Just fill out the Rafflecopter box below, and the person who gets the most people to watch the video will have a character named after them in my next book Dare to Love Again PLUS a signed copy of that book and their choice of any of my other books as well. 

HERE’S THE VIDEO LINK AND MAY BE THE BEST ENTRIES WIN!!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

144 comments:

Clari Dees said...

God is so Good! I love that you make him your brainstorming partner!

He dropped a synopsis hook into my brain this evening on the drive home from work that opened up my in-research-stage hero's background. I'm still grinning.

Kara Isaac said...

Great post Julie - so nice to know even great authors like you find themselves banging their heads against plot walls!

And I love the "behind the scenes" look at the writing of your books :)

Jenny Blake said...

As I am a reader cant answer where God gave me an idea for a book.
But I know there are times he has given me an idea or thought which has helped with a situation, like a comment in a devotional that has changed my thinking. Even thinking back to last year (and its hard to believe its almost 12 months) when I landed in hospital due to blood loss he provided choruses and hymns that kept me going.

Right now could I have some of that concrete to make set my wrist? maybe that will stop the pain! Saw the dr today got some new meds and a referral. As it can takes months (and sometimes longer) to get into see the specialist I need prayer that these meds work without side effects. its over 6 months and I feel I am constantly complaining. If these meds work I wont need to see the specialist (which I really can't afford right now cos it includes a trip to the big smoke and at least one if not two nights in a hotel). end of pitty party.

Abbi Hart said...

This was a really neat post! I love hearing about how God works in the seemingly little ways that make a big difference!

Jackie said...

I think I've got three comments Julie.

1. I can't believe you own a T-shirt. You always look so feminine. I've got tons of t-shirts and have thought more than once I need to shop with you.

2. I'm working on a story God gave me at church one morning.

3. God is the best brainstorming partner.

Thanks for sharing.
Jackie

Mary Hicks said...

Julie, you make me think of all the times I've struggled to fix things and shed tears of defeat, only to have the spirit nudge my shoulder and say "I'm here, I'll help if you ask."

We have to be reminded—thanks for an enjoyable reminder to start my day!

Mare

Elyssa said...

Great post, Julie! It's amazing to see how God works when you're stuck on something and have a feeling that it won't get fixed. =)

Thanks for the great giveaway!

P.S.

Love the pic- very cute! ;)

lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

Kav said...

Julie, this is such an encouraging post. I love reading about how authors birth their books and I hope you don't think me mean-spirited to feel a certain thrill over your 'concrete struggles'. It just gives me hope, you know? Because I'm wearing cement shoes right now and am about to be drowned in a gnarly plot problem that I've been avoiding for way too long so this is a very timely post.

Love the links -- what great blogs and great advice! But I especially love how you've testified about involving God in your writing struggles. This is something I don't do enough. I feel like my puny writerly struggles aren't worth His notice. I know that's wrong -- that He is eager to be involved in all aspects of our lives -- but I still hesitate. I resolve to do better! Thanks for inspiring me!!!!!

Naomi Rawlings said...

Well, Julie, I think I tried to enter your fancy-shmancy raffle giveaway thing. But knowing me, I probably screwed everything up. :-/

Anyway, I wanted to leave a normal Seekerville comment too, which says . . .

1.) Our agent deserves a nation-wide moment of prayer for working with me as well.

2.) I LOVED the twist at the end of Emma's story. ;-)

3.) Yes, my plot has thickened into concrete on more than one occasion, but for stories where my plot flows pretty well, my characters have a habit of turning into concrete blockheads and needing to get half their scenes rewritten.

Maybe one day, if I write for, like, 40 years, I might manage a concrete-free novel. Until then, I better invest in lots of prayer and a jackhammer!!!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Oh, Julie the Passionate! God is amazing that way. Often He wants to see if you will turn to Him and then, viola. The solution appears.

I had that experience with my first manuscript. My book takes place in WWII Washington DC. Now I didn't know that there are limited pictures of DC at the time. Black out, you know.

I had to figure out a way for the heroine to communicate with family in Europe. Now there are plenty of resources on military communications and family communications TO military. But civilians? Nada.

I was about to give up on the story line when I went on a research trip to The Library of Congress. I spent hours going through their Washingtoniana files taking pictures of DC in wartime.
I wasn't finding anything and needed to decide whether to fish or cut bait when I saw a tiny caption under a picture of Red Cross volunteers at the US library. They were translating and redacting CIVILIAN messages from oversees!

I had never seen details in print before! Definitely a God thing.

There were more incidents like that and they kept me writing when I just wanted to stop.

Now I have my first manuscript. It needs a lot of work but it is done and finished. Thanks be to God.

Blessings, Julie the Peaceful.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Fabulous post! And like others side, a great behind-the-scenes look at story writing. People see the finished product and don't realize the truth...That probably wasn't how the book started out.

kaybee said...

I am dumbfounded at this look into the inner workings of a PUBLISHED writer. Thank you Julie.

Audra Harders said...

LOL, Julie. I could visualize every aha moment and meltdown you had. Not that I'm laughing at you, my friend, I'm just saying...that's so JULIE!!!

Brainstorming is so necessary to a great story. Like you said, you don't want any ho-hums to slip in and make the plot a snoozer.

I have complete faith that will never happen with a JL romance!

God is good. The ultimate crit partner and concrete buster. DEFINITELY call upon Him at ALL roadblocks and catastrophes!!!

You've left me with some definite visuals of you having meltdowns, Jules. I'll be snickering all day : )

Janet Dean said...

Julie, love your transparency! No concrete in your veins! Your experiences prove God cares about us and our stories, especially when we're writing for Him.

I've mentioned this earlier, but it's worth repeating. God gave me a sentence, the nugget for the story I'm writing. When I feel inadequate, I remind myself I'm not writing solo!

Janet

Piper Huguley said...

Julie,

Thanks for your post. It's a great reminder that those really good plots take time and patience. And it's wonderful that God has blessed you with a wonderful and understanding dh for when the going gets rough.


Piper

Susan said...

Good reminder to storm Heaven with our needs even the ones that are so deep they come as groanings. Thanks for telling us about your gracious agent ... we should all be so blessed.

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, ALL!! I'M RUNNING LATE TODAY BECAUSE MY "RORY" CLOCK IS GONE!! HAD MY 20-MONTH-OLD GRANDBABY "RORY" FOR FIVE DAYS AND I MAY NEVER GET UP THAT EARLY AGAIN ... ;)

BUT IT WAS WORTH EVERY LOST WINK, LET ME TELL YOU -- SOOOOO FUN!! NEVER, EVER BELIEVED IT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME, BUT I LOOOOOOVE BEING A GRANDMA (OR "JU-JU" AS I AM KNOWN AROUND THESE PARTS), AND YOU CAN SET THAT IN STONE ... OR CONCRETE!!

SPEAKING OF WHICH ... WE'RE GOING TO BUST OUT OF THE MOLD TODAY AND SERVE TED DREWE'S CONCRETES ALLLLL DAY LONG, SO PICK YOUR FLAVOR AND HERE'S THE LINK:

TED DREWES' MENU

HUGS AND HAPPY BUSTING!!

JULIE

Naomi Rawlings said...

Will I be kicked out of Seekerville if I don't know what Ted Drewe's is?

Mary Connealy said...

I lay awake at night and brainstorm.

I have this image of myself juggling ... ideas.
I toss up 'what if this' and 'what if that' and it's just amazing the things that come to me.

I used to keep a white board beside my bed to jot down ideas but I don't even do that anymore. It's almost like KNOWING there's a new idea is enough. Even if I don't remember exactly what I brainstormed the night before, I can remember that I came up with SOMETHING and that's enough.

Knowing there's a way foreward.

I love brainstorming and I really love the idea of God Storming, Julie. Excellent.

Marianne Barkman said...

Great post, even for me as a reader only, nor a writer. Often I'll be reding a novel and God uses a sentence to turn my thinking around! How awesome is that?

Playground Monitor said...

Plotting. UGH! I have the same comment for brainstorming. It takes me FOREVER to work through the basics though now I've found a friend in Florida who'll let me bounce ideas off her via email and I do the same for her. And I do love those lightning bolts!

Thanks for sharing your secrets.

Marilyn

Mary Connealy said...

And of course, if I can't come up with anything......I just shoot someone.

Julie Lessman said...

CLARI!!! SUPER CONGRATS for being first, my friend!!! And OH MAN, don't you just LOVE that??? Uh ... unless, of course, you veer off the road trying to write it down, WHICH I have done on many an occasion!! Grinning with you, so GOOD LUCK, both with the synopsis and this contest!!

KARA!!! Gosh, girl, I didn't even realize how much I missed you till I just now saw your name -- how the heck have you been?? And BLESS YOU for tossing me in the "Great authors" category, but the only "great" I am is a "great" grandmother ... as in "great fun" because I make octopus hot dogs and do wheelies with the Little Tykes car!! ;)

Aw, JENNY, you need a break, my friend, and I'm not talking the wrist kind!! Praying RIGHT NOW that those meds work GREAT and this chapter gets buried at the bottom of the lake with a concrete block!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, ABS, and oh, me, too!!! Testimonies help to set our own faith in stone ... or concrete, whatever the case may be, so here's hopin' you have a testimonial win in this contest -- GOOD LUCK!!

LOL, JACKIE ... you nailed me, girl! Not about the "feminine" part, but that I NEVER ... let me repeat ... NEVER wear T-shirts because I don't like high-collar shirts. And DOUBLE LOL ... thank you, but you don't need to shop with me, you need to shop with my fashionista daughter ... like I do!! ;)

Hey, MARY, why is it that women with strong faith such as us STILL need to be reminded over and over again that the Holy Spirit is just a breath away?? Glad we (me and the H.S.) could start your day with a smile.

Hugs,
Julie

Jan Drexler said...

Let's get the important stuff out of the way: I'd like a chocolate concrete, please!

Julie, I can just see you banging your head against the wall while God is patiently waiting for you to calm down enough to listen to Him :)

When I run into concrete, I've learned to close my eyes (while sitting up so I don't sleep too long) and just let the story play in my mind. There's something to be said for being still - and much more productive than trying to dig my own way through the wall.

Thanks for the "behind the scenes" look! I would never guess A Passion Most Pure was written by a newbie. I loved it from the get-go.

Tara said...

Love this post, Julie! I know exactly how you feel. During my first novel, I wrote myself into a corner right at the climax of the story. For days I freaked out, seeing no way out of it. I mean, the hero and heroine are facing death and the hero's spiritual journey consists of surrendering his plans for God's. The hero had already surrendered all his resources, ALL of them was facing certain death. Lo and behold, when I asked God for help ("God-storming"), a quirky character from the town ends up saving the day with, what else, the very quirk that made him so comical. Love it when God does that!

Tara said...

Love this post, Julie! I know exactly how you feel. During my first novel, I wrote myself into a corner right at the climax of the story. For days I freaked out, seeing no way out of it. I mean, the hero and heroine are facing death and the hero's spiritual journey consists of surrendering his plans for God's. The hero had already surrendered all his resources, ALL of them was facing certain death. Lo and behold, when I asked God for help ("God-storming"), a quirky character from the town ends up saving the day with, what else, the very quirk that made him so comical. Love it when God does that!

Julie Lessman said...

ELYSSA!!! Hey, girl, ALWAYS fun to see you here, my friend, and thanks about the pic -- my hubba-hubba hubby did the honors with Photo-Shop, so I am VERY grateful for such a creative man in my life. :)

KAV ... trust me, girl, it's something I didn't do enough either for WAY too long, but I'm older and wiser now (emphasis on "older"), so I now know from whence my help comes from!! Glad I could encourage you because He cares about every jot and tittle in our lives, so we need to take advantage of His grace and love as much as possible. :)

LOL, NAOMI ... you sound like me with the fancy-schmancy raffle jitters. But I have to admit, Rafflecopter is a breeze, so if I can do it, trust me, a monkey could do it with a banana in one hand!! Double LOL on the prayers for Natasha ... she sure deserves them, doesn't she??? Thanks for loving Emma's twist -- it was the Big Guy's idea, not mine, but I'll take it. :) And, sorry, girl ... there are NO "concrete-free novels" this side of Paradise. :|

Hugs,
Julie

Sherida Stewart said...

Thanks, Julie! God sent me an idea when I was stuck in concrete concerning how the granddaughter would know where her grandmother's necklace was hidden---very crucial to the story. Zap!

Currently I'm stuck again, so I will be praying for a "simple solution" to zap me again.

Thanks to all who shared their experiences of brainstorming with God. Inspirational!

And I'm another person who doesn't know about Ted Drewe. I'll go check on that and the other links...then back to my Writing Wednesday!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Great post, Julie! Except I have a feeling we might hear from Vince later about the "joys" of plotting and how it might have saved you the agony of banging your head against that wall so many times.

However, the occasional mid-manuscript head-banging episode is MUCH more preferable to me than one long, drawn-out, miserable, brain-mauling attempt to outline my plot BEFORE writing the book.

As for saying a collective prayer for our beloved and savvy agent, count me in! Mine will be of utmost gratitude!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, JULIE THE PEACEFUL!! I imagine being in a room with you would be like a cup of peppermint tea (calming) or a sip of wine for this CDQ, so I sure hope I get to meet you someday!! And, WHOO-HOO!!! Sooooo thrilled for you with the finished ms., my friend, and D.C. during WWII??? Sounds absolutely WONDERFUL and I'll be honest -- I've never seen another book with that setting in WWII, so VERY cool!!

Oh, SHERRI ... AMEN TO THAT!! It would be fun to have a brief overview at the end of each book of the trials and setbacks overcome during the writing of a novel. :) Except in my case, I'd worry the overview would be longer than the book ... ;)

KAYBEE ... oh, honey, the fun really just begins after a writer is published because it's kind of like a sucker punch -- you think all the worry and waiting, angst and drama is over after publication, then BAM!! Fortunately, we have a pretty Big God in our corner ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

LornaFaith said...

I love it that God is your brainstorming partner Julie. I had a few 'walls' that I ran into with my 1st book...and so I prayed. God showed up not only letting me know why I was writing this particular story but with a different angle for the antagonists and the story's ending too.
Now I'm believing for the same brainstorming help with Book #2 :-)

Would love to be entered for your new book!

thanks, Lorna

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

AUDRA!!! GOSH, I MISS YOU, YOU SWEET THING ... SOOOOO MUCH!! And, LOL ... yeah, you've seen me in meltdown mode before, you poor girl, and still sane enough to talk about it. :)

Oh, JANET, AMEN TO THAT!! We definitely have a Co-Author in this gig of writing, and He's a Pulitzer-Prize winner from start to finish. And I'm a fishbowl, no doubt about it -- everybody gets to see me glug and tread water!

PIPER ... oh, honey, you have NO idea what a saint that man is. Or after reading some of my hare-brained blogs and roller-coaster books, maybe you do ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Cindy Regnier said...

Some of my best scenes have come from dreams - God given dreams I don't dare ignore. So Awesome. I don't know - maybe I don't listen so well when I'm awake. Thanks for a great post Julie.

Pam Hillman said...

Love this Julie! I remember several of these meltdowns! :)

And...back in April I blogged about the USS America in WWI on the CFHS blog. 4th USS America Christened in 2013

Be back soon with a song dedicated to Julie... :)

pol said...

Hi Julie, pic looked like you were getting run over by concrete truck till I read the post...wow aren't you clever to (mix) the two...
I liked reading your comments though I don't write..indeed everything is better with God leading...
Love to read your books.
Paula O

Julie Lessman said...

SUSAN ... yes, I wish every writer here today to be blessed with an agent like mine and if prayer is involved, they should be!!

LOL, NAOMI ... no, you won't be kicked out, sweetie 'cause it's a St. Louis tradition -- the best frozen custard around a little storefront with lines a block long, so I forgive you. :)

MARE ... excuse me, but you ARE a never-ending brainstorm session, my friend, with more crazy and fun ideas than Carters has pills. Wait ... does Carter have pills?? Or sleepers???

Hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

Only a girl named Julie
Only a little book
Only a girl named Julie
How she could pray and write, write, write

Only a girl named Julie
Only a twisted plot
Only a girl named Julie
Five little scenes she took

And one little scene went in her head
And her head went round and round
One little scene went in her head
And her head went round and round
And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round!

One little prayer went up to God
And the wall came tumbling down!

Julie Lessman said...

MARIANNE ...VERY awesome, my friend. He's definitely an equal-opportunity God when it comes to the children He loves, eh?

MARILYN ... Oh, YES, "lightning bolts," indeed!! I'll take 'em in any form God wants to send them!! :)

LOL, MARE ... so THAT'S the secret of your success ... ;) Hey!! You'll be glad to know that I shot my first person ever in any of my books, and two people, actually, both sent to their great reward. Only mine are a wee bit bloodier than yours, Mare, and Keith was a nervous wreck after he read the scene because he didn't expect it. :) See what a bad (or good) influence you are???

Hugs,
Julie

Angi said...

Julie! Great post. I love that you trust God to help you when you come up against a wall that seems like it won't budge. He does have a way of surprising us, doesn't He? And I love that you're so candid about your writing experiences. What an awesome teaching tool. :)

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, JAN ... a girl after my own heart!! And DOUBLE LOL on the head-banging ... you got my number, my friend, and so does God. :) And, yes, there IS "something to be said for being still" ... now if you will just tell this CDQ HOW to be still, I will buy you a concrete. :)

Oh, TARA, that sounds absolutely WONDERFUL, my friend, and soooo fun!! There is NO plot or twist as good as a God plot or God twist, eh?

SHERIDA ... oh goodness, the ZING we get when God drops an idea/solution in our head is soooo cool, so I can just imagine the big smile on your face when He did that with your story. And Ted Drewes is a St. Louis tradition, with concretes so "concrete," you can turn them upside down and they won't come out. :) Happy Writing!!

Hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

Jan, I wasn't sure if there was really such a thing as CHOCOLATE CONCRETE, but it sounds just like something I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

I googled it, and lo and behold, there is a Chocolate Concrete recipe.

Who'da thunk it?

Melanie Dickerson said...

This is awesome, Julie. I really need God to intervene in my plotting too. :-) But first, I need Him to intervene and get me a new contract. :-( Or maybe that isn't what I need first. Maybe I have it backward. :P

Great post!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MYRA, yes Natasha deserves ALL the prayers we can send her way, that's for darn sure, ESPECIALLY our prayers of gratitude!! And I agree -- MUCH prefer the mid-ms. head-banging over the hair-pulling outline. :)

LORNA, sooooo glad God busted some walls in your first book and praying for the same demolition in the 2nd!! GOOD LUCK with both book 2 AND this contest!!

LOL, CINDY ... "maybe I don't listen so well when I'm awake." Move over, sweetie -- I'm right there with you!! And dreams are THE BEST, aren't they?? I mean look at Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series -- all from a dream!!

PAMMY ... LOVED the blog on the USS America -- VERY cool!! But uh-oh ... a song dedicated to me??? As long as it's not "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles, we're good ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Naomi Rawlings said...

Julie, you and I shall have to sneak out of ACFW next year and go to Ted Drewes then. That's in St. Louie, right? ;-)

Julie Lessman said...

PAULA!!! Believe me, girl, there is more than one person out there that would LOVE to see me run over by a concrete truck or at least my books run over ... I'm glad you're not one and YES, EVERYTHING is better with God leading ...

PAMMY!!! Did you write this? We need the music, darlin', so what song should we sing it to??

ANG, you made it -- YAY!! And I have to be "candid," my friend ... my mouth is too big to be otherwise. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PAMMY ... oh, honey, not just "CHOCOLATE," but every kind of chocolate imaginable mixed with every kind of yum ingredient. :)

MEL!!! He's got it ALL worked out, darlin', so don't you worry about it ... just enjoy the freedom from deadlines for the moment. :)

Oh, NAOMI ... you are SOOO smart!!! And, YES, that would be a totally COOL field trip during ACFW, and it's not all that far from the Hyatt either. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

Sing to Only a Boy Named David

Our words and motions are a bit different, but this is pretty close.

And we always sang at the end "One little prayer went up to God, and the giant came tumbling down!" :)

Tina Beam said...

Julie,
It's an awesome blog. I have started writing and i wasn't sure that this was what I was to write when God revealed the same thing 5 times I knew i had to write it. I started and i still get stuck and I have no clue how to even get published but with God all things are possible. I love your stories. Keep doing Gods work through writing. Because the best author knows the best ideas, I mean who could have fathomed the idea of the reason for Jesus, the creation and fall and redemption. Only God!

Tina Beam said...

I forgot my email its Shawntinabeam at yahoo dot com

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Julie with your little school girl figure, but I know with all those books and a grandchild you can't be one.

I like those twists and surprises in the books I'm reading or the ones I'm writing.

Thanks for reminding us that God is there to help us with anything. I think He delights in being asked.

CatMom said...

WOW, Julie! Amazing post, and I love how you open up with us and share the frustrations that come with writing (and in your case--I need to add "writing EXCELLENT stories" *smile*).

Yes, God is THE BEST, and I honestly believe that sometimes He must watch us, shaking His head, as we try to figure out things on our own. Then, when we finally call on Him for help, He guides us!

Thanks so much for sharing this with us--you are wonderful.
Hugs from hot, humid Georgia,
Patti Jo

CatMom said...

P.S. Was going to bake some Georgia Peach goodies today, but it's TOO HOT to turn on my oven....*sigh*...

Anna R. Weaver said...

Wow, I kinda feel like an idiot. Maybe that's what has been wrong with my writing lately: I haven't been brainstorming with the One who gave me the talent and desire to write in the first place. I foresee some heavy duty prayer time in my not-too-distant future. Thank you for sharing, Julie.

Piper Huguley said...

Doesn't anyone want to have their concrete (a thick concoction crossed up between a milkshake and ice cream) on this hot day (and you are right Patty Jo, it is going to be hot down here in the ATL...)

I saw Ted Drewes on the Food Network, so I know what it's all about. For me, it's a tie between Frisco and Abaco Mocha. They both sound interesting!

And no, I'm not concerned that the Spanx I bought yesterday to go underneath my GH dress were just a tad too small! It is a blessing that Target has such a lovely exchange policy.

Piper

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I'm in contest overload... Must breathe....

Inhale... Inhale... Exhale, slowly..

Okay, whoa, I'm lovin' on the concrete mixer analogy and pic. So much truth in this here blog post!

And since Patti Jo is too hot to bake, we did round two of cookies for our Seekerville buds!

Patti Jo, you come on up here to WNY. We've got tacky room air conditioners that make baking a year-long thing.

And I love great ice cream places! I've promised Dave a trip to St. Lou to see the Cardinals play because that stadium is gorgeous and I'm taunting him into going up the arch in the tiny pod!!! He'll go crazy but he'll survive, so I'll catch the ice cream then. Because I love ice cream!

Mary Connealy said...

Julie, It's a true universally acknowledges that shooting solves most plot problems.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love Audra's advice of God as ultimate critique partner. I have to totally agree, and I love the image of that!

And I love that Julie-the-Passionate kind of sounds like a Catholic Saint...

St. Leo the Great

St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Francis of Assisi

It's got that kind of ring, right? :)

deloresliesner.com said...

Julie, I love your writing whether in the books or your blogs. Could it be the heroines in both are one and the same? A feisty yet loveable character is most akin to who many of us are and want to be! I'd love to win a copy of A Light in the Window - or any other Julie Lessman book.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JULIE, Don't you love rafflecopter? Its so fun. And I love seeing how many have logged into it.

Great analogy of that wall to a cement truck. So love that story of you sitting on your deck and getting that brainstorm from God. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

MARY shooting is good. I'm reading Buffalo Gals now. Don't know how I missed that earlier but am trying to use my kindle and get used to it. lol

Sandra Leesmith said...

JULIE, will try to get on chat with you. Sometimes Internet too slow here though. Couldn't get through on Missy's chat the other day.

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, PAMMY ... you have WAY too much time on your hands, girl, but I sure appreciate you're spending it on me with songs and lyrics!! ;)

TINA ... PREACH IT, girlfriend!! You are soooo right because God is THE BEST AUTHOR ever with the GREATEST STORY ever told!! God bless you with your own story, my friend -- I'd say with God nudging you not just once, but five times, He's got a plan for you AND that story!! :)

ELAINE ... OH, YESSSS!!! He DOES delight in being asked, doesn't He?!! And I delight in your reference to a "little school girl figure," but a big T-shirt is one of the wonderful things I like to call a GBT shirt (gut, butt & thigh) because it hides a multitude of sins. Now ... if I can just find something for the face ... ;)

PATTI JO!!! What?? No peach cobbler??? ;) Thanks for the sweet comment, though (almost as good as your cobbler!) and I will take Georgia humidity over St. Loo's any day!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, PATTI JO ... didn't see the next comment, but you are forgiven, my friend, because at least you thought about it ... ;)

ANNA, LOL ... move over, darlin', 'cause I bet I spent A LOT more time being an "idiot" than you, so I'm glad I could give you a nudge, which coming from a tried-and-true idiot, means all the more ... ;)

LOL, PIPER ... that's the spirit, girl -- Spanx to the rescue!!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RUTHY ... does this mean we will see you at ACFW next year, I hope, and Dave too??? I am SOOO pumped!! Gotta meet this guy who lives with the lovable Miss Snark. Does he get a word in edgewise, I wonder??? ;)

LOL, MARE ... at least in your books, right?? I'll just bet the gun lobby loves you!! ;)

And yes, RUTHY, "Julie-the-Passionate" does have that ring to it, but I guarantee you, there will NEVER be a "Saint" in front of it ... :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DELORES ... uh-oh ... you got me pegged, girlfriend, at least when it comes to the heroines!! Every one of them has some CDQ in them, which is my trademark, after all! Thanks for your sweet comment, and GOOD LUCK!!

SANDRA ... yes, RAFFLECOPTER ROCKS!! I absolutely LOVE it!! Oh,and I would LOVE to see you at the chat, my friend, so thank you, but if not, no worries, okay?

Hugs,
Julie

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hahahah on the no saint, LOL!

I think when we come to St. Louis it will be just to have fun, no conference involved. I'm not sold on conferences per se, so why shell out the bucks?

But seeing you and Keith... Seeing St. Louis and a game with Dave, that will make it just plain fun.

Conference stuff would drive Dave crazy and we're both still full-time workers so I'd rather use my vacation time with him.

With a side of SEEEEEEKERS AND VILLLLLLLAGERS!!!

Clari Dees said...

Yum! Count me in for some Ted Drewes. Love that place, and thankfully for my pocketbook, it's just a bit to far to drop by on my way home from work. :-)

But we have a brand new self-serve frozen yogurt place in town (called JuJu Cup, coincidentally enough) that has a plethora of flavors and toppings to choose from.

Heavenly!

I know where my extra pennies are going this summer. :-)

Jeanne T said...

Julie, it's so fun to read how God has shown you amazing surprises when you've sought Him. Sometimes in my excitement to write the story, I forget to stop and ask Him for guidance and His plot twists. :)

I had a very bland scene I was struggling with. When I asked God about what to do to add tension, He gave me a great character who really grew on me. He gave me the mindset of the character and the scene came together. He's done that a few times. I love it when He reveals new ideas!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RUTHY, I would LOVE that, truly!! And you MUST stay with us, my friend -- no hotel for you, capiche?? That would make it REAL cheap, plus we will wine and dine you ... er ... I mean cup and sup you ... ;) Maybe Mary or another Seeker can fly in and join us -- we have two spare bedrooms now, you know. Julie's B&B!!

CLARI ... LOVE the name "JuJu Cup"!!! Soooo cute and sounds soooo good!!

Oh, JEANNE, I do too!! It's SO much better when the ideas/twists come from God instead of our pea brains ... uh, my pea brain, that is ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Julie,

After reading this post, I just HAD to reappropriate one of my favorite quotes from The Princess Bride:

"Have fun God-storming the castle!"
"Think it'll work?"
"It will take a miracle."

And God is in charge of miracles, big and small, plot-wise or otherwise! Thanks for this most excellent and timely post. I have a plot hole as big as a castle I'm trying to fill, but with God's help, I'll get a miracle in there.

Thanks for being a faithful friend and writer, Julie. Hubby is still looking for a job, but I appreciate your prayers. God is in control.

Have a great day!

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Like always, I loved reading your post, Julie!!!

Loved how the smallest things can change everything!

Lyndee H said...

Great post, Julie. And the video - loved it!

Piper, I'd never heard of a concrete until we moved to IL and received a coupon for a free one from Culvers. We were worried about leaving our Timmy's (Tim Hortons) on the east coast, but Culvers has filled the void with new treats!

Debby Giusti said...

Love the God Squad.

He helps me out all the time!

As we say in my family, GO GOD!

Debby Giusti said...

Piper, Target sells Spanx? Who knew. I'm so there.

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, STEPH ... LOVE IT!!! And, YES, God IS in control and has the perfect job for hubby, so I won't give up till I receive your e-mail praise report!! :)

EVA MARIA, THANK YOU!! Both for stopping by here AND on the Revell chat -- MUCH appreciated, my friend!!

Oh, LYNDEE, you and my hubby -- CULVER'S FOREVER!! ;)

HUGS,
Julie

Barbara Shelton said...

Whew...Julie...I loved all those concrete suggestions...and I''m going to follow your example. When the sun/son shines on concrete, it becomes boiling hot...just like your writing! Did I ever tell you how envious I am of your writing blessings? Well, I am! And I love ya...for sure. By the way, my first name is means foriegn and strange - but I like my middle name better...Janet means "she knows" in Hebrew: Gift of God in English: God has been gracious in Scottish....just for a few ideas! Oh yes, my name on FB is barbjan10....I'll let you figure that out! Now I need to go look at all those ideas you gave us for good advice. Thanks for always being a friend in spite of the concrete walls. LOL

PS - I have 8 kids - all with different names. LOL

Piper Huguley said...

Debby,

Yep. They sell Spanx in store and online. And there is an additional sale in Target's online. I may return these in store and by the size (one bigger) that I know I need online!

Lyndee,

Tim Horton's is awesome too! God knows where to put me--there are no concretes or Tim Horton's close to me or I would need even bigger Spanx!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

The "Spanx" topic has come to Seekerville!!! :)

Women talk about the most fun things and I'm going to have to do a survey monkey about Spanx vs. Pantyhose....

STUPID CELLULITE!!!

:)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, up here (not off-topic, just on-topic for ice cream) Tim Hortons has paired with Cold Stone Creamery to share building space, so we have a couple of "Cold Stones" on our side of town now.

But I'm still an Abbott's Frozen Custard girl, a local franchise that butters my biscuit!

Pam said...

Since I absolutely love all your books, it is great fun to read about your writing process and to hear the behind the scenes stories. God is the best partner for any endeavor!
I also enjoyed your chat party this afternoon. Thanks for sharing your time.

Susan Anne Mason said...

What a fun post! I love the idea of God providing plotting help.

I'm asking a lot for the new book I started last week. Haven't thought the storyline all the way through yet, but some new ideas are coming.

One whole book was a true gift from God. I don't know where it (all 112,000 words) came from but it spewed out in 6 weeks. Still revising and editing it but I LOVE the characters and the story. One day I hope everyone else will love it too!

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed "Love At Any Cost"!! So much fun to have a new family and new characters.

Cheers,
Sue

Julie Lessman said...

DEBBY!!! I love the "God Squad" too, and would be dead in the water (or concrete) if I didn't have Him!! And I'm with you on the Spanx ... YAY, TARGET!!

BARB!!! SOOOOO good to see you here, my sweet friend, and I did not know that "Barb" meant "foreign and strange" ... are you sure that's not the definition for Julie??? ;)

LOL, PIPER ... I doubt that!! You look like an itty-bitty thing to me in that pic ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY ... YES!!! Spanx vs. Pantyhose, and I'm here to tell you that in my household, Spanx would win. I was crazy busy yesterday, so didn't chime in on the pantyhouse convo on the Seeker loop, but I would have NOT been in your pantyhose camp, I can tell you that. NOT that I wouldn't want to be or NEED to be because I would (freckles, age spots and psoriasis on these old legs), but Amy has scarred me for life, assuring me no hip person wears pantyhose anymore. Of course, that was BEFORE I knew about you ... ;)

DITTO ON THE "STUPID CELLULITE" COMMENT!!

LOL ... "butters my biscuit" ... don't you mean "sugars my cone" ...??

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PAM ... thank you SO much, my sweet friend, both for your kind comment AND for coming by the chat today -- YOU are a blessing for sure!! Here's hoping it nets you a win. :)

SUZI-Q!!! Seriously??? 112,000 words in SIX WEEKS???? Look out, Mary Connealy!! That is incredibly fast, my friend, and I cannot wait to hear a praise report SOON on things I've been praying for in your writing world ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

We're talking about pantyhose on here? I just have to say, I still wear pantyhose (or tights!) in the winter if I'm wearing a skirt, and pantyhose for dressier functions. C'mon, it helps you look like a lady!

(But for the record, I don't wear it if I don't have to...like today.)

Julia M. Reffner said...

I truly don't involve God enough in my writing struggles. Why is it when I'm going through a personal problem or someone else is I pray...yet of course if he desires me to write then I should be more prayerful about my writing.

As another NYer, I have to chime in on ice cream. Abbotts is truly wonderful. We have a homemade ice cream place down the street from us and it has absolutely spoiled me. When you have the fresh stuff with simple ingredients, so hard to go back to the chains.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Loving you on the construction site, Julie.


And thank you for the link to Janet Hardy's site.

kaybee said...

JULIE, do you actually own a cement truck? Or was this Photoshopped?

Julie Lessman said...

STEPH, really???? A young chickadee like you, wearing pantyhose??? My fashionista daughter frowns on pantyhose, so I've steered clear, even though I agree with you and Ruthy that it does look better. But they are hot, no question ... especially on days like today when it's 94 in St. Loo!!

JULIA ... I know, it doesn't make much sense, does it?? As Christians, we usually are pretty good about praying about problems in life, but in our writing??? Not so much, which is almost laughable for Christian writers, isn't it?? Now you and Ruthy have me chompin' for some Abbott's ... :|

TINA ... thank you, sweetie, and you will note that I refuse to wear a hard hat ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Wonderful post, Julia. I loved hearing how a friend made it possible for you to find a solution to a roadblock. I had to smile when I read the part about placing characters living in the States during wartime on an ocean liner bound for Ireland. I've made the same historically inaccurate blunder. Thanks to my hubby, a WWII history buff, for catching the error. I put my heroine, an ordinary civilian, on the Atlantic Ocean bound for U.K. during wartime and on a ship that'd been commissioned as a military vessel. Thanks to all those friends God sends our way whose expertise is invaluable and who give support when we come up against brick walls. Wll check out all those links, too. Thank you, Julia.

Jenny Blake said...

Pam I knew what song it was it hit straight away "only a boy like David" so I sang it in my mind (to early to sing out loud woops thats wrong been singing country roads since I woke up!")
But love your new version.

Dont think I have ever had frozen custard. (not mad on custard but I bet this is differeNT) I saw caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and hot fudge and Im gone.
glad its cyber food cos I have finally almost got the weight I gained off.

Donna said...

Julie, I rarely get here this late. I missed your author's chat! Crazy day, sick dog. :(

But I entered the contest and enjoyed the post! :)

Marissa said...

I love Julie's books! I have Love At Any Cost on my TBR stack!

marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

Chill N said...

Marvelous 'behind the scenes' examples that make the walls I've encountered look like worn down speed bumps.

And what a delight to see Janice Hardy's blog listed. Hers is the other blog I visit without fail. It's an amazing resource.

Thanks for sharing what you've dealt with and how. Very reassuring and encouraging!

Nancy C

Julie Lessman said...

PAT!!! I'm glad to see I'm in good company, my friend, and LUCKY YOU, with a WWII history buff for a hubby!! I sure could use that when I embark on my own WWII series down the road with the O'Connor cousins!! And, YES, friends are one of the KEY ways God reaches out to us, for sure!!

LOL, JENNY ... yeah, those cyber foods ROCK, don't they?? In the weight department, that is. In the taste department??? No so much ... :| And frozen custard tastes EXACTLY like ice cream, not like the custard they put in pies, so I think you would LOVE it!!

DONNA, no worries about the chat, my friend, because at least you're in the draw here for a signed book, right?? GOOD LUCK!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARISSA!!! Oh, I cannot WAIT to see what you think of LAAC, my friend, because it's always fun to see what my favorite reader friends think. :)

LOL, NANCY ... "speed bumps," eh?? Bet they didn't feel like only speed bumps at the time, did they? And, I just discovered Janice's blog, so you're WAY ahead of me, my friend!!

Hugs,
Julie

Carol Moncado said...

Okay. So there's like 90 some comments on this post. I'm on my phone at the pool (becaus I was gone all day - and really? Only 90 some Julie?!)

The correct answer is always to shoot someone right? ER, a fictional someone mostly.

Seriously though, I had one time where I knew why my character was upset (in keeping with my locale, lets say my heroine really really wanted to swim but she had strep throat. Stinks but give it a week, right?). Or rather I thought I knew. It wasn't until (literally) I read it on the screen that I knew what she was REALLY upset about (in that scenario, turns out the poor girl has a recently developed allergy to chlorine. She'll never swim again :().

And I sat back and stared at the screen, mouth agape, going, "well DUH! Of COURSE that's why she's so upset!!!"

Sadly, that series will likely never see the light of day :(.

More recently, I had a sticky plot point (actually two similarly sticky plot points in two different MSs) and after praying (and crying and whining and moaning) the perfect answers appear (and though the initial problems were sort of similar, the solutions made them VERY different (and one quite funny with a stamp of approval from someone in that industry - SHOCKED she even took the time to write back)).

Gotta love it when God steps in!!!

Ill enter everything officially after I get home. Or while I'm giving a text tomorrow. So far summer is waaaaaay busier than the school year - and that doesn't even include the vacay busyness. Oy.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And I must go back to practicing the cup song.

:)

Just because.

Carol Moncado said...

And still bummed we didn't go through ol' St. Lou last week :(.

I'm totally crashing that weekend with Ruthy btw. Or at least the ball game. CARDINALS BABY!!!!

Jenny Blake said...

as the topic turned to ice cream. i found some yummy ones in the states. in washington DC I found a place that makes sorbet ice cream and boy is it nice. never had it before.

bonton said...

Julie,

You "crack me up" with that humor of yours! I can just picture those melt-downs & the facial expressions from the subsequent brainstorming going on in your head.

In 1995 - the Lord used a passion play on the life of Christ (4 1/2 hours from my home) to speak to me, so much so that about every 3 weekends, for several months, I made repeat visits to see it. Imagine my surprise when the pastor (& originator of the play) said one night - "why don't you move down here & become a cast member of the play, I will find you a place to live & a job during the day & you can be in the play at night? I'm thinking - "duh", how did he know I would like to do that, I hadn't dared to tell anyone that such an impossible, I thought, idea had even fleetingly crossed my mind? "Duh", indeed! I experienced the most spiritual moments of my life, while serving as a cast member in that play.

God works in mysterious ways - His wonders to perform! So glad He is able to plan a future beyond our wildest dreams - if we will just submit to His will.



Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CAROL, yes, SOOOOO love it when God steps in, my friend ... that and shooting someone ALWAYS works ... ;)

RUTHY ... how ARE those cups going, girlfriend?? I want to see a video!! :)

CAROL ... I was bummed too, but there's always Indy, right???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Ooooo, JENNY, sorbet sounds realllll good right about now -- it was 96 in St. Loo today and is STILL 91!!

OH, WOW, BONTON ... that story gave me goose bumps, my friend ... WHAT a intervention by God!!! And THANK YOU for sharing it with us, and especially this line, "So glad He is able to plan a future beyond our wildest dreams - if we will just submit to His will."

Balm to my soul!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julia M. Reffner said...

Julie,

Come to upstate NY and I'll treat you to a monster Abbott's cone! Plus, we got Ruthie up here, what's not to love about upstate!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, JULES honey, I would dearly LOVE to come to upstate N.Y. ... uh, ANYWWHERE in N.Y., for that matter, and you don't even need Ruthy or ice cream to lure me. Honestly, I need to start doing more trips to places I want to go because I'm not getting any younger, and N.Y. and Boston are at the TOP of my list!! And YOU, my dear friend, will be the 1st to know ... after Ruthy!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Lisa Medeiros said...

I'm not a writer... But I take God with me to work lol he's not my brainstorm partner... He's my brain... I am a nurse in emergency and I see everything... So I talk to him a lot during the day to give me wisdom and to help my patients and their families... And do I ever notice when I forget to bring my brain with me :)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LISA, that makes me soooo smile, my friend -- absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! And you know what??? If I were in ER, I would SO want a nurse like you because that's where the rubber meets the road, my friend, and YOUR "God" role in people's lives is where it matters most!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!

Julie

Brianna Roth said...

I was raised as a missionary kid in Kabwe, Zambia in Africa. It was after sundown and pitch black outside. I was in my nightgown, brushing my teeth by the sink outside the bathroom. God prompted me to look down and I shifted my gaze towards my feet. A black, poisonous two-foot long snake lay not more than six inches from my bare toes! I screamed and leaped away from the coil poised by the corner in the hall. Mom ran out of her room and shoved me behind her as she processed the situation. She screamed for Dad. He sprinted through the house and skidded around the corner. Mom hollered, "Snake!" and Dad just missed the slithering serpent in a wild arc across the tiled floor. My parents decapitated and disposed of the deadly snake using a shoe and a squash racket. Oh Africa! <3

Brianna Roth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Lessman said...

BRIANNA!!! Girl, I am SOOO thrilled to see you here, you sweet thing!! And, WOW, that snake story gave me goosebumps!!! A PERFECT example of God's loving intervention in our lives, whether we are brainstorming or snake-storming!! ;)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK, my friend. :)

Julie

Melissa Jagears said...

Ha, I know I'm late on this post, but my crit partner gets to listen to the "I'll have to rewrite the entire book because one sentence of a history book DESTROYED my story!" breakdowns. Poor Naomi

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MELISSA ... are you serious??? You have breakdowns over plot destruction too??? You don't seem like that type, but one never knows. :)

Naomi has been here today at least three times, so she has 2-upped you, my friend. Are you can put up with that???

Hugs,
Julie

Debra Ullrick said...

Julie!! Had to drop by and tell you what a great post! Can't have my friend here and miss saying hello. "Hello." Okay, Bye my friend.

Julie Lessman said...

DEB!!! Thanks SO much coming by, my friend, and I saw your pic on FB today and LOVED it!! You should make that your posting pic -- it's VERY COOL!!

Hugs,
Julie

Walt Mussell said...

Julie, that was amazing post. I'm not sure what else to say about it. I truly enjoyed the challenges you had in dealing with historical details. It makes me feel better about my struggles.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, WALT, I am soooo glad I could make you feel better!! You know, a lot of people think I have this charmed life as a writer with big sales and no struggles, but the truth is "struggle" is the key word for Christian authors today because if anyone thinks the devil is going to let Christians off scott free, they are SO in the dark!!

The truth is, without God smack dab in the center, it's NO FUN at all, and He's really what it's all about anyway, right?

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

G. said...

Awe, missed the party.

Would have loved to have been there!

Love your beautiful books!

Dana McNeely said...

Thanks for sharing your plot walls and God-assisted breakthroughs, Julie.

Dana McNeely said...

Thanks for sharing your plot walls and God-assisted breakthroughs, Julie.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, G. ... you didn't miss the party, darlin' ... this giveaway ends Friday at noon, so you're GOOD TO GO!! Here's to a win and THANK YOU for reading my books!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DANA ... you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and thank YOU for taking the time to come by and read it! Good luck in the contest!

Hugs,
Julie

Liz Tolsma said...

Wonderful thoughts! Thanks so much for sharing. I ran into a concrete wall on the second book in my Women of Courage series. My crit partner and I brainstormed my conundrum for quite a while before we came up with the perfect solution.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, LIZ ... those concrete walls can be quite stubborn, can't they, though? Well, PRAISE GOD for crit partners ... whether they are human or supernatural!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

britt98 said...

Hi Julie,
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your article! You obviously have a good sense of humor to be able to share those concrete wall moments. I read your article yesterday, but started having computer problems, and wasn't able to stay on and comment.
Brittany

Melissa Jagears said...

Yep, I am a worst case scenario person, so Naomi has to talk me off the ledge and say "there's got to be an easier way" than rewriting everything. Now, my breakdowns don't look like "breakdowns", but I'm an awful fatalist when it comes to your "concrete wall" and just declare fixing it futile!!! and I want to abandon it all and leave it in the dust.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, BRITT ... thanks for coming back to comment, you sweet thing, and here's hoping it nets you a win!!

GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL ... who knew??? Besides Naomi, that is!! You look like a Rock of Gibraltar, my friend, which is why your "breakdowns" don't look like breakdowns, as you said.

Sounds like you and Naomi are perfect for each other!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Whitney said...

Out of the four books of yours I've read, A Hope Undaunted is my favorite. It's lovely cover sits happily on the shelf beside other fav books.

shirley Blanchard said...

Interviews are a great way to know the author, thank you for this giveaway i sure hope i win
jcisforme@aol.com

Linda Marie Finn said...

As always My Dear Friend, I so love your books and any interviews I can read about authors like yourself. Iam so glad that you are there to encourage me in writing and in life.
Would love to win a book written by you.
Blessings
Linda Finn
faithfulacres7@gmail.com

Renee said...

What a fun post, thank you so much for your transparency and willingness to share :) My moment was when I realized I should pursue my degree in English/Library Sciences so I can work as a librarian but also-hopefully-as an editor. It was such a God thing, the idea just dropped into my head one day while I was looking through the class list. Knowing what my end goal, my God goal, is makes going to class and completing all those assignments just a little easier :)

Virginia said...

Julie you are so fun and funny!!!!! instead of a book, instead of a character named after someone, I think we need to do....
"A WEEKEND WITH JULIE!!!" But as 2nd choice I'd take the 2 before that. vrush729@aol.com

Julie Lessman said...

WHITNEY, YAY!!! AHU is my fave too, mostly because I love the head-butting between Katie and Luke and Charity and Mitch. :)

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, SHIRLEY, I sure hope you do to, you sweet thing, so GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Melody said...

I loved all your insights and discussions about your book plots. Just like you...your stories are so real and bring us in till we're hog tied till the very last word!

The video won't run for me - perhaps because I'm far, far away at the moment. Bet it's great!

Julie Lessman said...

LINDA MARIE!!! Girl, you have to be one of my favorite people, you sweet thing, and have I ever told you that I LOVE your addy -- "faithful acres"???

I am hoping Randomizer pulls your name out of the hat, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RENEE, that is SO very cool -- library or editor or BOTH!! And, YES, knowing it's GOD'S IDEA makes it ALL the easier to do, doesn't it???

Hugs and happy schooling!!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, VIRGINIA ... as long as it's nothing like "Weekend With Bernie" ... :)

I can be fun if I don't have a deadline hanging over my head, crazy fun, if you must know, but you have to be able to put up with a VERY wired individual!!

But somehow, I think you would be good at that, right??

GOOD LUCK, you sweet thing!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MELODY!!! Thank you SO much for your sweet comment, "Just like you...your stories are so real and bring us in till we're hog tied till the very last word!"

That blesses the socks off me because if there is one thing I am, it's "real"!!

Real crazy, real dramatic, real loud, real honest, and real out there, so, YES, I am "real" ... ;)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK, my friend!!

Julie

Bianca Rachele said...

I really enjoyed this post! :) I feel like that I'm always thinking that authors just naturally write their books and they don't really have to work hard at doing so.... I use to write in high school and I took a writing class my first year of college and got so down about my writing abilities. I then got pregnant... so since having kids I haven't taken the time to really write again. But I would love to write again and begin a book.... maybe one day I will do so. I sure hope. Thank you Julie for allowing us to see the process and understanding what it truly is like. I really enjoyed it! Very encouraging.

onorman said...

Loved reading about hitting those concrete walls and how you overcame them. Keep up the good work.

Julie Lessman said...

BIANCA!!! Sweetie, if you have the desire to write, don't give up on that dream.

I started writing my first book, A Passion Most Pure at the age of 12 after reading Gone With the Wind because like you, I wanted to write. I never gave up on the idea of becoming an author, even though it took over 40 years for that dream to come to pass. In my 50s -- after my kids were raised and gone -- I finished APMP, so it's never too late!!

Just pray for God's timing, and He will guide you. And as far as being down on your writing?? THAT, my friend, is part of being a writer. Every single time I get a 1-star review, I question my writing ability, ESPECIALLY when that 1-star reviewer says I can't write my way out of a paper bag!! :)

I'm glad I could encourage you today, and I hope you will start dabbling with your writing again. Most of the gals who write that I know did so while they had young kids, so the timing can be anywhere from NOW to my age and beyond.

Good luck with your writing AND in the contest!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, ONORMAN, for your encouragement and for coming by! I hope it nets you a win, my friend. :)

Hugs,
Julie