Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NOT SO STUPID IN LOVE!

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree
was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom,she took some and ate it. 
She also gave some to her husband,
who was with her, and he ate it.

-- Genesis 3:6

Julie here, and there you have it—the first recorded case of “Stupid in Love” and, man, was it was a doozy!

So … what exactly is “stupid in love”? Check out my original Valentine Day post three years ago—Stupid in Love—where I give fun examples of just why women want a man who’s “stupid in love” and my version of heroes that reflect it. 

It’s actually a phrase my artist husband coined when I asked him once just why he puts up with me:

      “I don’t deserve you, babe,” I say for the millionth time. 
      “I know,” he admits with a quirk of a smile. “And I don’t deserve you either.” 
      I laugh and caress his stubbled chin. “Why do you do it?” I ask, suddenly serious, not sure if he was a glutton for punishment, short on brain cells or both. 
      “I don’t know,” he says, giving me a quick kiss on the lips. “I guess I’m just stupid in love.”

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

Few things, yes, but there are some, and one of the most important is a key component in Christian romance: a hero who is “not so stupid in love.”

Confused? Yeah, me too … at first. Because if the perfect hero in a romance novel is a man who’s stupid in love, then how can the opposite be true as well? 

Simple. A hero who's “stupid in love” gives of himself for a woman.

A hero who's “not stupid in love” gives of himself for God.

That’s right—faith—pure and simple. Because you see, despite my love for hunky heroes and hot kisses, for me there’s something even more attractive than bad boys and rogues.

Gasp!

Bad boys and rogues who bend their knees before God. 
Brooding and angry men who admit they need God. 
Sacrificial heroes who deny themselves for God.

As a Christian romance writer and reader, to me nothing adds more strength or character—or attraction—to a hero than a man who needs/loves God. Because boy meets girl is fine, certainly, but when boy meets girl and faith, it creates a romance that transcends to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. 

A cord of three strands not quickly broken.

—Ecclesiastes 4:12

No Inspy reader wants to see a hero cry, get on their knees, or surrender … unless it’s for God, so take advantage of this opportunity to show a powerful side of your heroes with a passion for God that rivals their passion for the heroine. And how do you do this without the guys coming off as wimps? DRAMA! And here's a few tips how I try to do it:

— Internal Monologue (the hero's thoughts)
— Show extreme emotions (anger, shock, awe, resignation)
— Use Scripture
— Teach via a Spiritual Break-Through
— Directives from God via Thoughts 

So ... in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to show some of the ways I like to depict heroes who are “not so stupid in love,” demonstrating a faith in God that for me, only enhances their strength and masculinity. But that’s just me—I’ll let you be the judge!

1.) A Hero Who Can Fall on His Knees Before God. In this scene from A Passion Most Pure, Collin McGuire—a “bad boy” who has bucked God at every turn—has just discovered he’s lost the woman he loves to another. Entrenched in the horrors of war, he finally succumbs to “The Hound of Heaven.”

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
“She is the desire of my heart!” he hissed, and heard Brady rustle in the bunk below. Collin squeezed his eyes shut and tried to remember exactly what Brady had said. Something about delighting yourself in God and seeking Him first. That when you did, your desires became one with His, and He gladly gave them to you. Unfortunately, he learned that too late. He spent his whole life seeking his own desires––in alcohol and women––and in the end, it had been nothing more than a chasing after the wind. 
Collin vaulted off his bunk and bent in to where Brady slept, reaching for the Bible he always kept by his side. He clutched it to his chest and hurried outside the billet, the moonlight cutting shadows around him like the noon of day. His fingers fumbled the pages in a rush, seeking the Scripture he had read before his last shift in the trenches.
      “For he giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge,  
and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail to gather and to heap up, that he may 
give to him that is good in God's sight. This also is vanity and a chasing after the wind.”
The verse pierced his heart. Overwhelming grief brought him to his knees in the dirt, not caring who might see or who might hear. He had spent his whole life chasing after the wind, and it had never yielded anything more than emptiness that blustered cold in his heart. No more, he thought, it was over. The life he led was over, and with God’s help, a new one would begin. He had allowed the prayers of Faith and Brady to go forth on his behalf, but had never uttered them himself.
And looking up into the heavens, he cried out to their god, and in the instant it took for him to speak, that God became his. Like the shaft of moonlight washing over him, a holy peace flooded his soul. For the first time, he understood the fervor he’d seen in Faith, the peace he saw in Brady, and he was filled with awe. Every conversation he’d ever had with Brady convinced him he would never be happy until the desire of his heart was one with God’s, just like Faith had said. Only, his heart had heard it too late to have her. 
Slowly Collin rose from the dirt, astounded at the serenity he felt. He breathed in deeply to fill his lungs with the cool, night air. He couldn’t have her, but she would always be a part of him, and he knew to the depth of his soul that it had been her prayers that had saved him. It was a debt for which he would always be grateful. He wished her well. No, he thought, there was no wishing to it. He would pray that God would bless her with the marriage she deserved. He owed her that.
Quietly, he entered the billet and returned the Bible to Brady’s side. Crawling into his own bunk, he closed his eyes and slept, finally, the slumber of a man with peace in his heart.

2.) A Hero Who Can Admit He was Wrong, Weep, and Pray to Change. In this scene from A Love Surrendered, Steven O’Connor—a former “bad boy” turned strait-laced prohibition officer—has accomplished everything in his life through his own willpower and strength, without God. Until he hits a brick wall where his guilt-driven morality is no match for the temptation that’s destroying his life.


“God will help you do the right thing.”
His father’s parting words opened his eyes, prompting him to search the heavens. “Will you, God? Will you help me to do the right thing—not just with Annie, but with the rest of my life? I . . .” His whisper broke in the dark, hoarse and cracked and so desperate for change that emotion choked the words in his throat. “I-I’ve made so many mistakes . . . with my father, with Maggie, with you. I’m begging you . . .” A heave shuddered his body. “Forgive me, please . . . and change me like you changed my father . . . and help me to become the man you want me to be.”
The steady beat of the rain drummed on the roof while the cold air chilled his body, the cool and damp of impending winter heavy in the air. And yet somehow, Steven felt warm, his breathing shallow as his eyes scanned the sky. There were no bolts of lightning to illuminate the dark nor peals of thunder to herald anything new. Only the still small voice of God in his heart, stirring a flame of hope that brought peace to his soul.
He leadeth me beside the still waters . . . He restoreth my soul . . . He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness . . .
“I don’t understand,” Steven rasped, eyes brimming with tears. “Why do you even care?
Because you are mine, the thought came, and Steven bowed his head and wept.
Because for the first time in his life, he finally understood.
He was.

3.) A Hero Who Will Pray for the Woman He’s Loved and Lost. Once in my early 20s, during a particularly difficult breakup with a boyfriend, God revealed a unique concept for getting over heartbreak—pray for the person until the hurt fades. Which is exactly what I had the hero do in A Passion Most Pure, endearing him to me and—I hope—to my readers.

He sat up abruptly. A flash of heat soaked him, causing sweat to trickle his neck. He found himself falling to his knees beside the bed, hands grasped tightly in prayer. His muscles, layered with sweat, strained in the dark. “Oh, God, You’re the desire of my heart now, not her. Help me to let her go. All the longing and passion I have for her, take it and use it for You. Use me, God, anyway You want. Just take me where You want me to go.”
Slowly he rose from the floor and tumbled back into bed, all energy depleted. He closed his eyes again and saw her face, but this time peace filled his soul. He loved her. Loved her with the spiritual intensity she had always longed for, an intensity she had introduced him to, an intensity sanctioned by God. Love like that just didn’t vanish with the utterance of a prayer. It took time to heal, time to redirect. And so he would use it instead––the beautiful power of it to do God’s bidding. He would pray. Every thought of her would become a prayer, a blessing on her head. He would return to her, through the depth of his love, the good she had brought to him. And he knew to the core of his being, that in the process of blessing the one he could never have, he would find his way to peace. 

4.) A Hero Who Will Surrender to God and Forgive His Enemy. In this scene from A Passion Redeemed, Mitch Dennehy battles a deep hatred for the man who seduced, hurt, and killed Mitch’s wife years ago.
     
A quiet thought slowly drifted through his brain, as inconspicuous as the tiny wisps of whiskers scattered in the sink. He could have it. That quiet strength, that solid peace, a true commitment to a Being who shouldered burdens and carried you through. That’s what he needed. A depth of faith that was more than a pass through a Bible, a visit to a church. A living, breathing relationship with a living, breathing God.
      His eyes blurred as he stared in the mirror. He blinked once, and everything shifted into focus while he released a draining breath. “All right, God, I’m done. Done keeping you at arm’s length. Done doing it on my own. I’m ready to give you everything—my life, my hopes, my desires. Help me. Guide me. Show me what to do.”
      Forgive.
      His jaw tightened and then released. Slowly, he expelled a weighted breath, like fingers being pried away and letting go. “Okay, I’ll try. But not on my own. Help me.”
      Pray for him.
      The concept was clear, but the application was as foreign as the Greek in which the apostle Matthew had penned it: love your enemies … bless those who curse you … pray for those who persecute you.
      Mitch closed his eyes, unable to imagine ever uttering a prayer for Rigan. “I can’t.”
      Pray.
      His fists balled on the edge of the sink. Faith had once told him when you can’t pray, pray that you can. He opened his eyes to glare upward. “All right … help me to want to pray.”
      His fists relaxed. The tension eased from his face. Hope overtook him like a flash flood. Mitch exhaled, aware that his hands were trembling. He looked up at the ceiling. “Dear God in Heaven, where have you been all my life?”
      Sucking in a deep breath, he carefully tested his mind, edging toward thoughts of Charity. A surge of heat rolled over his body like a hot summer breeze off the coast of Donegal. Mitch sobered considerably. He doused cool water on his face and reached for the razor, then put the blade to his throat. He exercised extreme caution while his lips flattened into a hard line.
      Charity.
      Obviously an area that still needed some work.


GIVEAWAY!!
Leave a comment to be entered in the contest for winner’s choice of any of my books and GOOD LUCK!

FYI, OTHER FREEBIES GOING ON!!
FINAL "FREE DOWNLOAD" OF ROMANCE-OLOGY 101 TODAY THROUGH FEBRUARY 16, SO DOWNLOAD NOW!!  Award-winning author Mary Connealy says, "this is a writing book that needs to be on the shelf of every author because nobody does romantic tension better,” so get your copy “hot” off the e-press HERE February 12-16 only.

FEBRUARY 3-17, 2014:
Join me for an blog article/giveaway of your choice of my books including my newest release, Dare to Love Again, at Carla Laureano's blog, All Things Romance. Hope to see you there!

FEBRUARY 13-15, 2014:
Join me for an interview/giveaway of your choice of my books including my newest release, Dare to Love Again, at Carole Jarvis's The Power of Words blog. Hope to see you there!

FEBRUARY 14 - 28, 2014:
Join me for an interview/giveaway of your choice of my books including my newest release, Dare to Love Again, at the Remain in His Love blog. Hope to see you there!

Hugs,
Julie




120 comments:

Marianne Barkman said...

That's why I love your novels, Julie. Not only do the characters reflect you in ways you don't see, but they reflect God's love! YOU GO, GIRL!!
Cinnamon rolls to go with that coffee and tea that Helen's brewing! Thanks, Julie

Lyndee H said...

Thanks, Julie! Your examples are stellar. Every time you post, I have an ah-ha moment. Now I get it.

Bringing waffles topped in low-fat ricotta and berries. Eat up.

bonton said...

LOVED your post, Julie!!

You touch my heart EVERY time one of those strong bad boys bows and surrenders to God's will!! True examples of strength made perfect through weakness (submission)!

I've, so MANY times, said the same thing as Marianne - your characters not only reflect God, but are also a reflection of YOUR heart. Loving your novels means loving you too, Julie!!

Thank you for using each of your books to point the way to the only perfect love - God's - and one's need for a 3-D marriage!!

Cindy W. said...

Awesome post today Julie. I love it when the hero is brought to his knees before God and arises up with God. Powerful.

I would love to be entered to win one of your books.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, your busyness always boggles my mind!!! Of course most would say, that's not hard to do, but I love your lists of where to find you!!!!!

I'm generally hiding out in thick socks with my laptop, head-ducked!!!!

I love that the strongest of men turn to the stronger God. This is the crux of good Christian fiction to me, that admission of humility, the turning to God the Father Almighty and just giving it over.

WONDERFUL!!!!!

COFFEE!!!!!

I brought a full coffee system and a whole bunch of milks/creamers and my FROTHER!!!!!

FROTHERS ROCK!!!!!!

And it's almost Valentine's Day, I'm just over-the-top excited what amazing thing Dave is going to do this year!!!!

(that was tongue-in-cheek, do you HEAR the sarcasm dripping from that???? If not, I didn't try hard enough!!!)

I'm holding out for a Friday night fish fry... And a quiet evening of writing! HASHTAG HAPPY AUTHOR!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cinnamon rolls, Marianne????

GIMME!!!!

Jackie said...

Hi Julie,

We had dinner with friends last night. The husband said some days he and his wife might not like each other, but they always love each other. With God's help, they work things out.

I love you post today. Stupid in love plus faith. Thanks for sharing!

Piper Huguley said...

Excellent examples and a perfect explanation of how Inspy heroes differ from the rest. So many don't understand how inspys work and this is a great approach. Thanks Julie!

RATS SMITH said...

loved your examples of stupid in love..love a man that is not afraid to say he loves Jesus!..and puts God first in his life. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest. May God continue His blessings on you!!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Great explanation of what "stupid in love" is Julie, just what every reader enjoys in a good book (real life too for that matter). Happy Valentines Day, or "Stupid in Love Day" to everyone!

Connie Queen said...

Couldn't agree more, Julie. A man w/conviction is so much more attractive.

DebH said...

Definitely a man who needs God, knows it and submits to HIM is uber hero. I love your heroes, Julie, for just that reason. As I think on your post, I realize my two brothers are not so Stupid in Love men. My brothers are your romance book hero types. Isn't that cool??? and they are stupid in love with their wives too.

this post is awesome! the examples you've given make me swoon just reading them. i'm going to go look at the stupid in love post too and take careful notes. i want write my heroes as good as you do.

as for V-day, my four year old told me he and daddy went and got me presents the other day. now if only i can figure out what to give a man who flinches at "mushy stuff".

Mary Hicks said...

Wonderful post, Julie! It's a keeper.

I just finished reading Romance-ology 101 and it's staying in the writers help section of my KindleFire library.

I have a feeling I'll go to it often. :-)

Audra Harders said...

Powerful. Very powerful.

Julie, you hit the core of romance on the head. A hero strong in himself, who knows what he wants and will move heaven and earth to get it, yet he acknowledges God and His ultimate direction for the hero's life. A hero bent and forged by God.

Ahhh, catch me as I swoon!

I write in layers as my threads come to together in a book. The hopes, dreams, conflicts and the resolutions. But it's the heart and emotions poured over the final product that give it life.

The selfish characters who become selfless.

The "Godly" who become "God-filled"

I'm doing final edits right now for my March book. Digging deeper and deeper...until my characters give it up for God!

Checking my printer for paper now. Don't want to run out before this entire post is printed, LOL!!

kaybee said...

Thank you, Julie. I struggle with conversion scenes, men OR women. This is helpful.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

HELLO TO RUTHY AND MARY,
Following up on yesterday, I get the heart-shaped Junior Mints at the Hannaford supermarket in my town in the seasonal aisle, not the regular candy aisle. They are in the regular Junior Mints sized box, the one you buy at movie theaters. I don't know if there's a Hannaford in Upstate, probably not in Nebraska. I don't know why Amazon is charging so much unless it's a really large box, YUM.
Kathy Bailey
Craving chocolate in New Hampshire

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I remember talking with an author a long time ago about how I wanted a redemptive spirit in my books and she said...

in all seriousness...

That her hero's change was like a redemption because he allowed the heroine in.

That was way far from what I meant, but I knew she didn't "see" faith as a component. She saw "acceptance" as redemption, but it was man-made.

But I also love being able to write gently inspirational indie books for those folks who might now willingly pick up a Love Inspired... I've gotten so many e-mails from folks who say "Oh, I didn't think Christian fiction could be like THIS."

We have a wide-ranging audience, and I think we've barely tapped into it.

I love that authors can embrace a broader spectrum and use both publishing options to reach readers (and expand readership) with sweet, warm reads.

Linda Finn said...

Yup Yup would so rather that my DH be sold out to God then to my whims...not that I have many mind you, but as I read your article to Him, I GASPED in just the same place... He wonders why I am so taken with your writing and now he knows...We are two peas in a pod !!!! Your my blessing, not my good luck charm ... Here is to a long and lasting friendship and many more years of health, happiness and writing !!!
Linda
Hey you need to check out my pinterest board for the 30's LOL I am the chick with the Long wavey hair, awesome makeup and the slinky dress, long and tight...lol I told you I am going to fill my armour with stuff for my new position !!!!

Jeanne T said...

I loved this, Julie. A hero who comes to love God always moves my heart as a reader! Thanks for the four tips to make my heroes "stupid in love." This is a post I'll be referring back to. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ohh MARIANNE I know how good those cinnamon rolls are. Pass them down. smile And thanks for bringing them. They go well with a cup of coffee while I digest JULIE"s sage words of advice.

JULIE you do write the best heroes. Now I see what gives them that third dimension.

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would love to win one of Julie's books, thank you for the chance.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING AND YIKES ... it's Valentine's Week, and believe it or not, despite being a romance writer, I have never put much stock in Valentine's Day.

To me, love is something we should be giving away every day of the year because God knows that sometimes it's in short supply in our world. So today I wanted to give you a different take on romance that ventures away from ... GASP ... the kiss!!

It's 10 degrees in St. Louis right now, so to warm you all up (since there are no kisses in sight), how about a full brunch spread complete with omelet, waffle, blintz and kringle tables, manned by attendants who look like Chris Pine, Zac Efron, Patrick Dempsey -- and for us older gals -- a Cary Grant look-alike. We have maple-cured bacon, smoked ham and smoked sausage from Mr. Jimmy Dean himself, along with every K-cup known to man, both coffee and tea, so dig in!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARIANNE ... thank you SO much for your kind comment, my friend, and YUM ... cinnamon rolls ROCK!! Would you believe I use butter on cinnamon rolls too? Talk about double damage!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest, girl!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, LYNDEE ... truly??? An "ah-ha moment"??? Uh ... if I give you my agent's email, can you please tell her that because she's very big on "ah-ha moments"!! ;)

Seriously, thank you for your sweet comment and ESPECIALLY for the ricotta and berries -- Zac forgot to bring berries, so I'm not going to hold it against him ... darn! ;)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, BONNIE ... thank you, my sweet friend, and HEY, wait ... "3-D Marriage" ... mmmm ... do I smell a book title brewing???

If anybody knows my books are a "reflection" of my heart, it's YOU, girlfriend, so thanks for all of your incredible encouragement and support. Your statement reminds me of what a girlfriend told me once after she read APMP and APR. She said, "Julie, reading your books is like going to lunch with you," and that always tickled me because it's pretty darn true. :)

Love you!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, CINDY, me too!! For me, there is something SO strong and masculine about a man bending his knee before God. To me, that takes more strength and character than anything, so bring on those kind of heroes!!

Hugs and good luck!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY ... well, I have GOOD NEWS for you (and for me!) ... no more mind boggling come end of February, because I am dropping off the face of Facebook and the promo world to spend six glorious months seeking God and write, so wish me luck!

And, pray tell -- what's a "frother"??? Or rather, how does it work?

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE ... you said, "The husband said some days he and his wife might not like each other, but they always love each other."

Oh, AMEN TO THAT, girl!! Thus the crux of a Christian marriage. It's my contention that the longer a Christian couple is married and the more Christ is the center of that marriage, the "love" quotient FAR, FAR outweighs the "NOT LIKE" one, so thanks for sharing that great thought.

Hugs,
Julie

Tina Radcliffe said...

NOW THAT'S a hero!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, PIPER ... I totally agree that many (i.e. the secular market) do not understand how an Inspy novel works NOR that those our type of novels offer the reader SO much more than a cheap rush or a thrill with a kiss or otherwise. To me, the soul is a little bit emptier after a book like that -- at least mine is -- while an Inspy novel fills a soul with hope and peace and wonder, which is what true romance -- with Christ in the middle -- truly is.

Hugs and good luck!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

RATS SMITH ... now, I have to admit, that addy intrigues me and I would LOVE the explanation for it, girl ... uh, or guy???

Thank you for your blessings, my friend, and here's hoping I can bless YOU with a win!!

Hugs,
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

Beautiful examples, Julie! During Valentine's week, it's nice to be reminded about the qualities of a real hero!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, TRACEY ... and "Stupid in Love Day" to you, too, you sweet thing!

And I SO agree that that's what readers are looking for in a "good book" ... the "good" part belonging to God, of course! ;)

Hugs and good luck!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, yes, CONNIE ... we are definitely on the same page there ... and in the same book (of Life)!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, DEB ... YES, that is VERY "cool," indeed!! It sounds like your parents did a BRILLIANT job with you kids if you have two brothers like that and you are in love with God like you are!

LOL ... a guy who doesn't like "mushy stuff"... there's a whole store devoted to a guy like him ... it's called Cabellas!! ;)

Hey, girl, been praying for your video biz that you're hoping to start, so give me an update, okay?

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MARY, thank you SO much for downloading Romance-ology 101 -- SO appreciate that, girl. And just an FYI ... if you post a review, DO let me know so I can enter you in my newsletter contest & random drawing to have a character named after you in my next book and a signed copy. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

AUDRA SAID: "Checking my printer for paper now. Don't want to run out before this entire post is printed, LOL!!"

Oh, you little brat!! I'll have you know that I cut out tons of scenes I wanted to show because I was trying to shed my reputation for being long-winded, but it's a good thing "salvation" is not tied to brevity. :)

You also said: "The selfish characters who become selfless. The "Godly" who become "God-filled"

YES, YES, YES!! That's really the crux of why we write, isn't it? To show the world how God can change us for the better!!

God bless you as you do your final edits for your FABULOUS book, although I thought it was pretty darn perfect the way it was. But LOVE your comment that you are "digging deeper and deeper...until my characters give it up for God!"

You go, girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KATHY, I am SO grateful that this was helpful. I tried to figure out what components go into my conversion/God scenes, although there are tons more, I'm sure, that others could contribute.

Hugs and good luck!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KATHY ... heart-shaped Junior Mints??? How did I miss that??? Junior Mints are some of my ALL-TIME favorite candies, and in hearts???

I am SO THERE!!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY SAID: "We have a wide-ranging audience, and I think we've barely tapped into it."

Agreed, my friend, and you are doing a STELLAR job of nibbling away at both ends with your LIs and your indies. We need more Ruthys to follow suit!!

Hugs,
Julie

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Julie,

This is one of your best posts yet! It really hit home with me - what I need to do more of with my heroes! So thank you!!

Having all those examples right in a row to read was wonderful! Powerful stuff!

No need to enter me in the draw as I have every one of your books!!

Have a great day!

Cheers,
Sue

Julie Lessman said...

LINDA!!! I looked for your Pinterest-board pic that you mentioned and couldn't find it -- give me the link to it, you sweet thing, because I'm DYING to see it!!

Hugs and not even going to wish you "good luck" ... ;)

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JEANNE T ... Thank you, my friend, and they aren't real in-depth tips, but hopefully they'll be somewhat helpful. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Susan Anne Mason said...

P.S. We are going to miss you!! But will look forward to your next book!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, SANDRA ... but I'd say all of our heroes are TRUE hero material because of the TRUE HERO we all love and serve, eh?

Love you!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

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

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

TINA ... AGREED!! Give me a hero with a heart for God, and I'll give my heart to that hero. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Connealy said...

Ah, Julie, you did such a great job with this.
Wonderful post.

I think I do this poorly, show the vulnerability of the men toward God at the same time making them strong and Alpha in the rest of their lives.

I think Wade Sawyer in Wildflower Bride was one of my best truly broken and beautiful heroes, but he may have almost been too broken. He was such a loathsome character in Montana Rose and to redeem him was maybe almost beyond my ability as a writer.

I loved him though.
His mantra...I should say PRAYER but he let it run through his head in times of trouble was, "Whom shall I fear?"
Because Wade was raised to be afraid of his father and he let that feeling of fear, which he saw as weakness, nearly destroy him before he broke with his father and turned to God.
"Whom shall I fear?"
"Whom shall I fear?"
"Whom shall I fear?"

Sherri Shackelford said...

Great blog! Loved the examples :)

CatMom said...

GREAT post (as always) Julie!! You are SO talented, and your posts always offer such clear examples for our writing.

I especially LOVE the 3rd hero example: A hero who will pray for the woman he's loved and lost. ~ WOW! For some reason, that hero gets to me the most.

Thank you so much for sharing today (could you also share some of your ENERGY?? LOL).

I've set out some Georgia Peach muffins (still warm) to go with the cinnamon rolls and waffles already here--YUM! Had to use my electric oven quickly in case we lose power (looking out my windows at the lovely ICE-coated trees).
Hugs, Patti Jo

Debby Giusti said...

Julie,
You've warmed up this icy day in Georgia! Love your heroes! Such manly men but when they turn their hearts to God, I'm even more in love with them! Powerful writing...always!

kaybee said...

My heroes DO NOT break easily before God. For example, Pace Williams in my current WIP, was abandoned by his father and had a horrific childhood which included sexual abuse. His childhood ended at the age of 11 when he walked away from the orphanage after witnessing a brutal murder and rape. He "let God go his way and I'll go mine" until he is completely broken. Still needs work, but here we are...
Lot of food today! Yay! (but glad it's only virtual...)
KB

Meghan Carver said...

Such beautiful words and amazing heroes, Julie! Thank you for making so clear the truly heroic part of a hero. I just downloaded Romance-ology and can't wait to read it. Thanks so much!

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, I always love your heroes. I guess this is why! :)

You're so right about women wanting to be cherished. At least I want to be! So I need to remember that in my writing. Definitely a good lesson I need to study again and again!

DebH said...

Julie
my MOM did a good job of raising us and I think we all learned very early on about the power of prayer and submitting to God's plans. She led by example. I am definitely super blessed to have two wonderful, Godly brothers who are always looking out for me - even now.

and yes, Cabellas or Bass Pro Shops or (for DH) any scuba diving place. Unfortunately the things he'd want are so out of budget *sigh*. must think outside the box...

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MYRA -- I agree, Valentine's Day IS the perfect time to focus on the part of a hero that TRULY makes him romantic!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, SUE, thank you SO much for your kind comment -- it blesses the socks off of me, but then you usually do, my friend. :)

Hugs and more hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Well, I'm not going too far away -- just away from FB and emails and promo for my books as much as possible. You'll still see me here, on my Journal Jots blog occasionally, and on FB when I am promoting someone else. :)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh my goodness, Mary, I LOVED Wade Sawyer!! That was one of my favorites of your books, although I must admit, all of them are my "favorites." :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, SHERRI, and here's to a win, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, PATTI JO ... WOW, the muffins are TO DIE FOR, but then I'm a sucker for anything with peaches in it ... especially YOUR peach cobbler!

Goodness, "ice-coated trees" is a real rarity in your neck of the woods, girl, so I'm praying you get all the beauty of it without all the hassle! Stay warm and keep baking!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, DEBBY! But we both know any "powerful writing" comes when HE is involved in the characters' hearts or minds.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, KATH ... LOVE the name "Pace Williams"! And there's nothing wrong with a hard-headed hero who doesn't "break" until the end of the book ... as long as they finally DO. And actually, it's more dramatic that way, girlfriend, so you go for it!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MEGHAN!! Thank you SO much for downloading Romance-ology 101 -- I hope you enjoy it.

God bless and hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Yeah, MISSY ... the "C" word is HUGE in romance as we both know, and we are blessed to be among those who know about it first-hand. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, DEB H ... while I was reading your comment, you know what came to me? Don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I instantly thought of you either opening a savings account for your hubby's love of scuba OR giving him a piggy bank (or some bank more masculine like those at http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/02/10-awesomely-manly-un-piggy-banks/), in which you promise to put $2.00 in once a week till he has enough for a scuba trip with YOU!! ;)

HUGS,
Julie

Elaine Manders said...

Julie, Julie, Julie

I love your take on romantic tension. I'm reading Romance-ology 101 now and it's helping me with my WIP where the hero has to find God before winning the girl. You have so many great tips for bringing out that chemistry that every romance reader looks for.

Hoping the lights don't go out in Georgia.

Lynda E. said...

I love this post! I had never thought about heroes in exactly these terms before. And thanks for the giveaway, too. danandlyndaedwards(at)msn(dot)com.

Sharon Timmer said...

I would love any of your books - the only one K have read is A Passion Most Pure & I don't have anymore money budgeted for books this year so unless they go free on Amazon :(

Candice Valdez said...

Love a man that is strong enough to get on his knees and admit he needs Jesus! Nothing more romantic that that!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Awesome post, Julie! God is top of the priority list, or should be. It's just not that romantic if the guy isn't more in love with God than he is with the heroine. :-)

Julie Lessman said...

ELAINE, ELAINE, ELAINE ... thank you SOOO much for your sweet comment, my friend, and I am THRILLED that Romance-ology 101 is helpful to you -- YAY!!

YIKES ... I hope the "lights don't go out in Georgia" either, my friend! Saying one RIGHT NOW for all our Georgia friend to stay safe, warm, and connected online!

Hugs,
Julie

P.S. Elaine, if you post a review on Romance-ology, be SURE to let me know so I can enter you in my newsletter contest to have a character named after you in my next book and a signed copy, okay?

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LYNDA E, I am SO glad I could get you to think in another direction for heroes because that was my hope.

Here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Julie! I love those broken heroes, turning to God to find their strength. My husband and I talk a lot about comic book characters (I know WAY too much about Superman for never having picked up a comic book!), and he tells me that the newer adaptations of the heroes, such as Batman, Superman, etc., are all much darker and more broken today than in the "Golden Age" of superheroes in the 1930s and 1940s. I think it's because we all want to relate to these heroes. They may be super, but they are still flawed individuals that need something more. As far as I know, there are no Christian superheroes out there, but interesting that even the secular world is seeing a brokenness that needs redemption.

Loved rereading those excerpts from your books! Reminds me that I need to pick up your latest...or win it ;)

Stay warm!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, SHARON, I totally understand, which is one of the reasons I posted all my current giveaways at the end of this post -- give it a shot, girl, because the odds are pretty good.

I have one reader friend who has won three books from me, a Kindle, a $50 gift card, and will get her name in my next book. So if one person can win all that, that shows you how good the odds are in my blog giveaways.

GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AMEN, CANDICE!! Which is why I felt this post was particularly important for Valentine's Week, to show what a true hero is in Christian fiction.

Hugs,
Julie

DebH said...

oooo, Julie
that piggy bank idea is WONDERFUL!!! awesome idea which I shall immediately implement. my hubby will probably thank you profusely (once we're on that trip, that is...*heh*)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, MEL, I'm with you on that one, that's for darn sure, although Rhett managed to get around that stipulation when I was 13. Of course, God wasn't as important to me back then as He is now ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, STEPH ... wouldn't that be AWESOME??? A Christian superhero??

I work in the bookstore in church, and I LOVE looking at this kid's bible they have that's written like a super-hero comic book -- it's called The Action Bible, and it makes me smile every time I look at it. :)

Hey, how's hubby's job coming? And if you think about, I need some prayers for my son-in-law for a good job, so toss a few up for me, okay?

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

YAY, DEB H!!! Sooooo glad you liked the piggybank idea!! I kinda thought it might be from the Holy Spirit because it just floated down in my brain real gentle-like, which is usually what happens for me -- that still, quiet voice, you know! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Great post, Julie! Love the 3-D romance!!! Just love your writing and you! I'm enjoying a mix of lemon tea and English Breakfast tea as I fight off this cold! Hugs!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, CARRIE, noooooooo!! You have a cold?? What a bummer. Someone told me Zicam is good to shorten a cold, my friend. And, prayer, of course, which I am doing for you RIGHT NOW!!

Hugs,
Julie

Janet Dean said...

Julie, this is a beautiful post with wonderful emotional excerpts showing your points! Thank you! I love bringing heroes to their knees or rather I love when circumstances are so dire that the hero is brought to his knees, FINALLY releasing control and turning his life over to God.

Janet

Chill N said...

>> Julie Lessman said...
no more mind boggling come end of February, because I am dropping off the face of Facebook and the promo world to spend six glorious months seeking God and write, so wish me luck! <<

Glorious months, indeed! That means more Julie books to read. Thanks for the thoughtful post and examples.

Nancy C

Kav said...

This totally sums up why I'm such an emotional basket case when I'm reading one of your books. Stupid in love, that's me with everyone single one of your heroes. :-)

Barbara Latta said...

Wow, all of those scenes are so great and full of spiritual truth. And they all sound like hunks!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, if anyone deserves a rest from promo, it's you....

You don't know what a frother is???

JULES!!!!!

It's the handy dandy little electric wand that froths milk for specialty coffee drinks, delicious and FATTENING lattes that I shouldn't drink, and this little "wand" whirs around (battery operated) and makes FROTHY MILK!!!!

And I have a Mr. Coffee Latte maker now, a new TOY!!!! It has it's own heat element to heat the milk and an automatic FROTHER wand to froth it... and then it brews the strong coffee right into the heated milk.

I try to convince myself that I need DAIRY.

God just laughs at me!!!!

Heidi said...

I love the passion that you infuse into your characters! Include me in the giveaway please!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Janet ... so you love bringing heroes to their knees, eh? ;)

Me too! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

NANCY ... well, one more "Julie book" anyway! :)

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and for your sweet comment.

Good luck!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KAV SAID: "This totally sums up why I'm such an emotional basket case when I'm reading one of your books. Stupid in love, that's me with everyone single one of your heroes. :-)"

LOL ... your comment above sums up only one of the many reasons I love YOU, my friend -- you are SUCH a blessing, Kav, truly. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, BARBARA! I think they're "hunks," but then they reflect what I like in a hero, so I'm a tad prejudice. ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, RUTHY ... God's not the only one who laughs at you, my friend ... there are 12 of us in Seekerville whom you crack up on a regular basis ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, HEIDI, and you're in, girlfriend, so GOOD LUCK!

Hugs,
Julie

Melody said...

Your characters always have a positive influence that brings the others looking to God. Thank You for that!

Julie Lessman said...

MELODY SAID: "Your characters always have a positive influence that brings the others looking to God. Thank You for that!"

Thanks, Melody, for your kind comment, but it's I who needs to thank YOU for reading my books in the first place!

Good luck, my friend, and hugs,
Julie

Natalie Monk said...

Love this post, Julie. I just commented to one of my CPs today, there's nothing quite so attractive in a hero as vulnerability. That willingness to take away the shield and open himself up as a target for the sake of his heroine or his God.

Thanks for these lovely examples!!!

maudemaxine@gmail.co, said...


Hi sweet Julie. Now you have me crying. I couldn't read this without doing so. Your writing is Fantabulous! Really! And, you said it all right on the nose about what we should do. Give GOD complete control of our lives. Will be so different. I always think about what the Bible says about marriage. We are to marry another Christian of like faith. Too many don't even think of that when they meet someone they want to be with. Would resolve a lot of problems in marriage. I love that you always this great parts about GOD into the story. And, I love that your strong faith in GOD shows through you like a bright light. I got here too late for all of that good food and it sounded so delicious. Especially since I haven't eaten since noon. GOD bless you every day. <3 Maxie

Cara Lynn James said...

Great post, Julie! It's hard for anyone, especially a man, to turn himself over to the Lord. But that's what makes certain men so good and so lovable.

Jenny Blake said...

Have to say I love the top graphic.
Love the bible verse also.
A little tired today Started working on my album yesterday and lets just say certain parts of my body object to sitting to long. (but I am healing).
Thanks to all who have sent messages. (always room for more).

All I can offer to share is Ice cream.

Terri said...

You could base an entire book around that phrase!

Callie said...

Thanks for such an excellent post and giveaway opportunity, Mrs. Lessman! I'm sorry about it being so late; I was watching the Winter Olympics. All I have to offer as recompense is some dark, dark coconut chocolate (my favorite). Will that work? ;)
Thanks again,

Callie Barrett

Julie Lessman said...

NATALIE SAID: "I just commented to one of my CPs today, there's nothing quite so attractive in a hero as vulnerability. That willingness to take away the shield and open himself up as a target for the sake of his heroine or his God."

Oh, AMEN to that, my friend -- for me, it's the ultimate swoon. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, MAXIE, thanks SO much for your kind words, my sweet friend -- I would LOVE to see you win a signed book, so fingers crossed for you, girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, CARA -- boy, you are SURE right about that, especially stubborn IRISH heroes, which are the only kind I write about. ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JENNY!!! Ice cream is good, you sweet girl, so THANK YOU!!

I bet it's fun working on that album, and therapeutic too!! Your body will get used to it in a day or two, I'll bet. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, TERRI ... you are sure right about that, and I just may, so thanks for the great idea!!

Vince is responsible for Romance-ology 101 because he was the one who suggested my Kiss-ology 101 blogs would make a great book, so I take these ideas VERY seriously. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Callie ... you bet, girl!! I used to HATE dark chocolate, but since my daughter-in-law (who LOVES dark chocolate) left some in my pantry, I've been developing a fondness for it, so bring it on!! And I just appreciate you coming by at all, girl, so here's to a win!!

Hugs,
Julie

Abbi Hart said...

I'm getting here late due to being thoroughly distracted by the Olympics but I just couldn't not comment!
Loved this post! I agree that there is nothing more attractive than a hero who not only loves God but truly recognizes his need for Him! I love all of the scenes you mentioned so very much! One of the times I cried the most during your books was when Brady thought he'd done that horrible thing when he was younger and was completely broken by the thought that he'd sinned against God so terribly! This element is what makes your heroes so amazing, sure they have the handsomeness and the passion but if they didn't have God in the mix they would fall so far short of how awesome they are!

Jackie Smith said...

Hi Julie,
I could not get online yesterday (yucky weather), but wanted to pop in and say we will miss you...during your break! But I know you will come back stronger and more inspiring to us than ever..lol. You are such a blessing to me!
I have all your books (love them) and do look forward to your future writing.
Take care!
Love ya,

Julie Lessman said...

ABS!!! Thanks SO much for coming by, my friend, and YES, I realllllly wanted to include a clip from that scene (it's one of my faves too), but it would have made the entire blog too long, so I let it go. But I agree with you -- I cry during that scene too AND the one where Collin comes home after being with Brady for the last time. I just LOVE the depth of their friendship. :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Dear JACKIE ... thank you SO much for your very sweet comment, my friend -- I'm going to miss interacting with all my dear reader friends like you as well, but it's definitely time for a rest. And, God willing, I will have something to show for it in the form of a book that will bring tears to both of our eyes. :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Kayla(kaykay)- Julie Lessman Fan! said...

Always love reading your post. Would love to win a copy of Dare to Love Again.

happygurl1807(at)yahoo(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, KAYLA, thanks for coming by and you are IN THE DRAW, my sweet friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Walt Mussell said...

Julie,

That was a wonderful post. Seeing strength in a hero willing to give up everything was my favortie part.

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, Walt ... coming from you (a guy) means more than I can say. If I can writing convincing heroes for a male author, then that is a true compliment!

Hugs!
Julie

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Thanks for the book, Julie!
Just downloaded it. :)

Your examples really help me "get it." Fantastic!!!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Yes, yes, yes! I just finished reading the "Hunger Games" trilogy and while it's not focused on the romance, I really missed the hope and spiritual message from Inspy fiction. The characters could have used a lot of that ... Peeta's pretty sweet though --I didn't expect such a gentleman ... but he gets called stupid in love too. =)

Ah, Colin ... I need to reread these books soon!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, KC, for downloading Romance-ology -- really appreciate it, my friend, and hope it contains at least a nugget or two.:)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LDK ... I SO relate!! I am judging Rita books right now, and there's not an Inspy in the bunch, which has really be disheartening. There was one book that was pretty good with no sex (thank God!), but NO mention of God, and it just leaves an emptiness in me. Kind of like Hollywood secular movies where they try to convince you it's happily ever after for a couple who live together or commit adultery -- so unreal because we all know it's not true if God isn't in it.

Hugs!!
Julie