Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BFF: BEST FRIENDS IN FICTION ... or Enriching Your Story with Friendship!


What do I do when my love is away,
Does it worry you to be alone?
How do I feel by the end of the day,
Are you sad because you're on your own?

A Little Help From My Friends, by the Beatles

Julie here, and everyone knows that when it comes to life and its problems, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

So why should characters in novels be any different?

I know, I know … it’s more work to flesh out another character or two, especially when they may not be necessary to the plot. But even if your story has no best friends who are integral to your plot, I believe they are integral to both the story and the hero and heroine you create.

YIKES ... thirty minutes ago, I clicked “send” for my final edits on the final book in the Heart of San Francisco series, Surprised by Love (isn't my brand-new cover pretty?), before I begin a year-long break from contracts and deadlines to get back to the sheer joy of writing. In the revision letter from my editor, I was deeply touched by her comment that said, “You never cease to amaze me how your characters just jump off the pages, living and breathing.”

WOW! “Living and breathing” … exactly what each of us hopes to achieve for those special characters in our books. So how does one go about creating “living and breathing” characters who will wend their way into the reader’s heart?

You guessed it … with a little help from their friends!

When I began writing my debut novel A Passion Most Pure (which — shameless plug  is now available for free download HERE), a novel about a close-knit Irish family of eight (six siblings and two parents very much in love), I already had a ton of characters to flesh out for the reader. So why on earth would I risk overworking myself and confusing the reader by adding a blind neighbor, a copywriter friend for the heroine at The Boston Herald, a scruffy drinking buddy for the hero, and a whole other family and cast of coworkers in Dublin, Ireland?

Simple. Because “fleshing out” a buddy or best friend is, to me, one of THE BEST ways to “flesh out” a hero and heroine. There’s only so much one can do with dialogue and introspection to create heart-tugging “living and breathing” heroes and heroines in your reader’s eyes. So why not deepen your characterization by showing them through the eyes of the best friend as well?

Case in point. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about King David and his best friend Jonathon because the loyalty and love between those two skyrocketed my devotion for David in so many ways. 1.) There’s just something about a deep and solid friendship between two men that enhances a hero. Women tend to have tons of BFFs, but men, not so much, which makes it all the more special in a story. 2.) David’s love for Jonathon gave him a sensitivity that is so attractive to women in a hero. 3.) Jonathon’s fierce love and loyalty to David strengthened David in my eyes as a man, a leader, and a hero.

In the following examples from my books, I will attempt to show how taking the time to create a full-bodied best friend can enhance your novel, giving the reader a glimpse of the hero or heroine in a way that will strengthen the reader’s bond with them too.

A.) Best friends Can Add Humor: My books are emotional roller-coasters, so they get pretty tense, which is why I like to sow humor throughout to lighten them up.

In this scene from A Passion Denied, John Brady’s best friend Collin uses humor to drive a point home, rounding out an almost too perfect hero with a human side to which readers can relate:

The bag hammered Collin’s jaw without mercy for fifteen seconds of bullet-fire pummeling. Brady’s breath was ragged when he stopped. “Michael may be my twin brother, but he’s the farthest thing there is from me. He’s a liar and a manipulator who has as much use for God as he does for Lizzie. He’s using her to get to me. I’m telling you, Collin, he’s no good for her.”
Collin stepped away from the bag to momentarily massage his jaw. “Well, no offense, John, but lately you haven’t exactly been good for her, either. And what do you mean, he’s using her? Do you really think so low of your own flesh and blood?”
“Lower,” he hissed, then followed it with a curse that sounded so foreign to his own ears, heat shot up the back of his neck. “I pray to God he goes back to the devil where he belongs.”
Collin arched a brow. “I’m not sure, but I’m guessing prayers don’t rise quite as well when anchored by a curse.” He butted his torso hard against the bag from his waist to his shoulders, obviously steeling himself against his partner’s wrath. “I could be wrong, of course, but it’s just an offhanded guess.”
“Shut up, Collin, this isn’t funny.”

In this scene from A Passion Redeemed, Emma Malloy is a quiet and gentle friend who uses quiet humor and truth to reveal an endearing side in a bull-headed heroine.


Charity’s face hardened. “Men. Worthless creations, the lot of ‘em.” She closed her eyes.

“Not Mitch Dennehy,” Emma whispered.
Charity grunted. “Especially Mitch Dennehy. It’s his fault I’m in this predicament in the first place.”
Emma didn’t answer.
Charity opened her lids a slit. “Don’t you? Think this is his fault, at least partially?”
Emma straightened her shoulders and clutched the bowl close to her chest. Her chin jutted the slightest bit, completely out of character. “No. No, I don’t. We make our own decisions, Charity, and you made a bad one. Just like I did with Rory. It isn’t Mitch’s fault that you fell in love with him. Nor is it his fault if he chooses to marry someone else. That’s his right, plain and simple. Just like it was yours to marry Rigan. Moronic as it was.”
Charity blinked. “Well, thank you, Emma Malloy. Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll lay my moronic head down on this pillow and put us both out of our misery.” She plopped back and squeezed her eyes shut, lips clamped in a flat line.
Emma’s chuckle floated in the air, followed by a light squeeze on her shoulder. Charity ignored it and pinched her eyes tighter.
“I love you, Charity O’Connor. And just for the record? When it comes to being ‘thickheaded,’ I’m afraid you could teach our Mr. Dennehy a healthy thing or two.”

B.) Friends Can Show Fierce Loyalty that translates into the reader's loyalty for the character.

In this scene from A Passion Denied, the hero John Brady is suffering from a hangover—both from alcohol and from guilt over “unpardonable sins” he has committed in his past.

Brady continued to stare, his bleary gaze lost in a sea of bitter coffee. “I’m not hungry.”
“Yeah, well you need a little something other than vodka to sustain that thick head of yours.”
That woke him up. His head shot up, and the red in his eyes singed like fire. “Go to the devil, Collin. As if I didn’t pull your head out of the latrine more times than I can count.”
Collin eased back into his chair, all humor depleted. “That’s right, John, you did. Which makes this all the more upsetting. What’s going on?”
Brady closed his eyes and ran a shaky hand over his face. “I can’t tell you.”
“Why? From the very beginning, you’ve known everything about me—my past, my present, what I think, what I feel. The best of friends, closer than brothers. Don’t you think I deserve the same?”
Brady lowered his head. “You do, but I can’t tell you.”
Collin’s jaw tightened. “Why?”
“Because I’m not ready.”
Collin slammed his fist on the table. “Not ready for what? To be a friend?”
Brady’s head lunged up, his eyes swimming with pain. “No, Collin, not ready to lose one.”
Collin blinked. He swallowed the emotion lumped in his throat and nodded. “If I leave, will you promise to talk to Father Mac?”
Brady nodded slowly, his eyes dull.
Collin stood. He glanced at Father Mac. “Can you try to get him to eat? I want him healthy at work tomorrow.” Collin gave Brady’s shoulder a quick squeeze. “I’m tired of carrying him.” He started for the door.
“Collin?”
“Yeah?”
“I’ll have half of day’s work done before you even shadow the door.”
Collin turned, hand poised on the knob. His throat tightened. “I want you to know, John, whatever you did, no matter how bad you think it may be, I will stand by you. I’m proud to call you my friend, because I know who you are—a man of integrity, honor and passion for God. And nothing—nothing—you can say will ever change that for me. I love you like a brother, John, and always will.

C.) Best friends reveal truth, giving opportunity to show humility in a hero or heroine:

In A Hope Undaunted, the hero Luke McGee is a godly but stubborn man bent on his own way, but his best friend Parker Riley is able to pull the rug out from under him with a truth that humbles him on the spot, softening his bullheaded personality for the reader.

Easing his head back on his chair, Parker assessed him through dubious eyes. “You’ve never been concerned about making an impression in your life, McGee. You wouldn’t even own a suit if I hadn’t insisted on you taking my old ones for this job.” He paused, studying Luke with a degree of fascination. “It’s this new volunteer, isn’t it? You’re shining up your image for her, changing who you are to impress her, aren’t you?”
A scowl tainted Luke’s lips. He slashed his hand through his hair, wreaking havoc with the Brilliantine. “You’re out of your mind, Riley, I’m not changing who I am for anybody, especially some spoiled rich kid with her nose in the air.”
“Oh, really? And how much did that suit set you back, Luke?”
Luke bolted up from the chair, the heat from the blasted suit bleeding into his face. “You looking for a fight, Riley? ’Cause if you are, just give me the word.”
“Well, that would be one way to get you to take the stupid coat off, I suppose.”
Luke ripped it off and tossed it over the back of the chair. “There, does that make you happy? All comfy-cozy now?”
Parker scrunched his face and scratched the back of his neck. “Not really. As long as I’ve known you, you’ve always thumbed your nose in high society’s face. For pity’s sake, I practically had to put a gun to your head to get you to wear a tie to your first interview. Now you’re not only trussed up with one that looks like it costs a week’s salary, but it’s choking you to boot. That’s not like you and you know it. I want to know—what’s going on?”
Luke glared at his best friend and felt his eyes burning all the way to the back of his head. His sarcastic comeback got as far as his teeth when the truth of Parker’s words struck like a blow to the gut. With a faint groan, he doubled over and exhaled, finally sagging into the chair with a hand to his eyes. “Dear God, is it that obvious?”
There was a hint of a smile in Parker’s gentle tone. “Well, not to someone who doesn’t know you, but to Betty and me? Uh, we’re thinking that maybe you hit your head on the tub.”

D.) Best friends can put up with a character’s bad mood to show the reader that the hero/heroine is worth it.

In A Passion Denied, hero John Brady is in the foulest mood of his life when his best friend Collin wakes him from a drunker stupor, demonstrating to the reader that Brady is worth any aggravation Collin has to go through to get him back on track.

“Okay, ol’ buddy, I don’t want to do this, but we need to wake you up.” Collin grunted and heaved him up and over his shoulder. He staggered under his weight before steadying himself, then wrinkled his nose. “Besides, you stink.”
He hauled him into the bathroom and laid him in the tub, then took his shoes off and dropped them on the floor. With a flick of his wrist, he turned the cold water on and flipped the shower lever.
Cold spray pelted Brady’s chest and face like a hailstorm, causing him to jerk like a drunken marionette. A curse word gurgled in his mouth. “What the devil are you doing?”
Collin’s smile was grim. “Cleaning ya up. You smell like a sewer.”
“Turn it off, you no-good …” A colorful string of words burned Collin’s ears.
He fought a grin as he turned the water off. “Drinking and swearing. Tell me, John, what other bad habits did you pick up in New York?”
Brady groaned, eyes still pasted shut. “Shut up, Collin.”
“That any way to talk to a buddy who got out of bed at six a.m. on a Sunday morning to brew you coffee? Now, do you want to take your own shower, or do you want me to give you one?”
“I don’t want coffee, and I don’t want a shower. Leave me alone.”
Collin reached for the faucet handle. “Fine, a shower it is—”

E.) Best friends can Ache for a Character, making the reader ache for them too.

In this scene from A Passion Denied, the hero’s best friend Collin has just spent his last evening ever with the hero, the best friend he would die for. His grief over the loss of this friendship is so strong that hopefully it causes the reader to grieve too.

“Was Cluny there?” Faith asked, obviously hoping to steer his thoughts, no doubt, away from the sister he blamed for Brady’s departure.
Collin kneaded the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Yeah. Cried like a baby when Brady finally sent him home.”
“He’ll be devastated without him,” she whispered.
“Won’t we all,” he muttered. He pulled a clean pair of pajama bottoms out of his drawer and headed for the bathroom. “I need to shower. I smell like Clancy’s on a bad day.”
A bad day. The worst in two long weeks of bad days. He closed the door behind him and turned on the shower, rotating the lever all the way to scalding. He brushed his teeth unaware, his mind too absorbed in the events of the last sixteen hours—the day his life would change forever. He swished water in his mouth and took a drink, spitting it out like he wished he could do to the sick taste in his throat. He discarded his underwear and stepped into the shower. The billows of steam flushed tears from his eyes.
They had prayed tonight. For the last time. And after a day of moving and an evening of reminiscing, John Morrison Brady had once again proven himself to be the man of honor that Collin knew him to be. John had wanted to pray for Lizzie and Michael, but Collin had balked. “I can’t,” he had said.
But he did, because John had taught him how. How to forgive and how to let go, lessons John had learned well, in far harder ways than Collin had ever known. He was a man of principle with an unprincipled past, bent on a path in which God would use both for his glory.
He would be a priest. The revelation stung all over again, as biting and searing as the hot water that pelted his body. A mentor to many instead of just a few, and a mighty force in the hand of God.

F.) Best friends can beat some sense into a friend—literally—to teach a spiritual lesson.

In A Hope Undaunted, the hero’s mentor and best friend, John Brady, resorts to tough measures to beat sense into hero Luke McGee with a lesson that has quite a punch—both spiritually and otherwise, showcasing both the hero’s strength and humility in the reader’s eyes.

He rebounded quickly, circling Luke in ready stance. His fingers clenched and unclenched at his sides as if he were just warming up, and the faint smile returned while he stared at Luke with that familiar white-hot calm. “I can’t help but wonder, Cluny, where you and Betty would be right now if God had used a fist instead of forgiveness.”
Brady’s words stung his pride, detonating his temper. He rushed again, hurtling a punch at Brady’s face that earned Luke a fierce blow to his gut, doubling him over and stealing his wind. Before he could catch his breath, an iron fist to his cheek sent Luke staggering back, momentarily stunned.
“Come on, Cluny boy,” Brady said with a twitch of his fingers, “I whipped you as a snot-nosed kid, and I’ll whip you as a man.” The smile eased into a savage grin. “And it sure beats the stuffing out of boxing with Collin.”
Luke studied the man who had saved his life, not to mention his soul, his muscled body crouched and ready and as powerful and menacing at the age of thirty-six as Luke was at twenty-two. Strength shimmered from his face and arms, now glistening with sweat.
“I don’t want to fight you, Brady,” he said, his breathing heavier than it should have been and moisture beading his brow.
White teeth flashed in the moonlight. “Afraid you’ll lose?”
Luke flashed some teeth of his own. “Nope. Afraid I’ll hurt you.”
Brady’s grin curled wide, taunting Luke with a gleam of a dare. “Or get hurt . . .”
Swallowing the bait whole, Luke pounced, landing a powerful thrust that sent Brady reeling back.
The blow seemed to ignite Brady’s temper, launching him forward in a blur of muscled arms and fists. “Better me than Leo,” he said with a grunt, delivering a clip to Luke’s jaw that hurled him into the grass.
Rubbing his chin, Luke jumped to his feet and stormed forward, his good humor fading fast. “Don’t worry, I have enough for you both,” he rasped. He drove his fist straight for Brady’s face.
With a duck of his head, Brady undercut him, blasting an iron jab to his ribs that felled Luke to his knees. “Not when I’m done with you, you overgrown street punk.”
In a final thrust of his foot, Brady discharged a kick that slammed Luke flat on his back with a gargled groan.
Brady dropped to the grass beside him and yanked a handkerchief from his pants, his chest heaving as hard as Luke’s. He wiped the sweat and blood from his face, then tossed it at Luke.
“Here,” he wheezed with sputtering rasps, “you don’t look so pretty anymore.”
Luke sat up and touched the handkerchief to his jaw, wincing at the pain. “Shoot, Brady, what are you trying to do, kill me?”
Brady rolled his neck. The smile on his lips was as peaceful as the black sky above studded with stars. “Nope, bud, just beat a little sense into you, that’s all.” He looked up, moonlight sculpting his features with a quiet reverence that was uniquely Brady. His words, despite being carried forth on short, heaving breaths, were soft and low. “He’s forgiven you, you know, and so has Betty. It’s time you move on to be the man God has in mind for you to be. No more dancing around the edge anymore, Luke, living for God when it’s convenient, living for yourself when it’s not. Accept his forgiveness for what you did to Betty, and then give it back to those who need it. Like Leo. We’re all sinners, bud, some of us more than others. And nobody knows better than me just how hard some sins are to forgive, especially in yourself. But I wasted years beating myself up, robbing myself of peace when forgiveness was as close as the repentance on my tongue.”
Brady clutched an arm around Luke’s shoulder, giving him a firm pat. He rose to his feet and extended an arm. “Don’t make the same mistake I did, Luke. Refusing God’s forgiveness only did damage to me and those I love. Don’t do that to Betty if you love her.” A nerve quivered in the hollow of Brady’s cheek. “Don’t do that to me if you love me.”

GIVEAWAY:
So there you have it—a few ways how friendship can enrich your novel. Leave a comment telling me of a favorite fictional friendship or how you have used friendship in a story, and I will enter you into a drawing for your choice of a signed copy of any of my books. Good luck!

Hugs,

Julie

ABOUT JULIE:
Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com.

204 comments:

1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Great post!

Let me just say, your editor sounds like a lovely person! What a really wonderful thing to say! My editor, Beth Adams at Howard Books, has really made me feel loved and appreciated, just by the simple ways she acknowledges a line she likes, or the way a revision worked out for the best. A good editor is like gold. This really made me smile.

About the BFF issue: I had the hardest time writing a heroine who didn't have close friends. It was SO hard. But that was part of her story, and that's the way it had to be, at least in the beginning. I was lonely for her!

P.S. Gorgeous cover. I'm a fan of that blue!

Helen Gray said...

Best friends make excellent characters for book sequels.

Thanks for the tips, Julie.

Coffee's ready.

Marianne Barkman said...

Yes, Helen and Julia. I think that is why I still prefer full-length novels to the Love Inspired or Novellas. Best Friends are the flowers in life, both fiction and real life. Waiting with anticipation for your next novel, Julia. Praying for all authors and aspiring authors taking part in Speedbo!

Tina Radcliffe said...

OH. MY. GOSH. That cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Emily Neyer said...

Julie--Wonderful post! As a person with a group of wonderful women who are my BFF's I could not imagine writing a story without a close friend to be that voice of reason to the hero and heroine. I can't wait to pick out that person in my story. I have a few friends for my heroine, but I may have to blend them together and create one really great BFF. (Carol Moncado and I talked about this on Sunday)

Thank you so much to you and the others who have been contributing during Speedbo. I am learning so much and I know my writing is going to benefit!

I would love to win a signed copy of one of your books! I am currently reading your Romance-ology 101 and I am cracking up at it. It is also very helpful!

No words for me today, but one of my several BFF's flew in from Ft. Worth today so I was getting my time in with her. Maybe tomorrow!

Wilani Wahl said...

Julie,

I love this post. I think my favorite fictional friends are from your book. I love Emma and Charity's friendship.

When will your next book be out. I love the cover.

Without even knowing I should have a best friend in my story, I have one written in almost from the start.

I did make my goal today! Actually i wrote even more. Although it seems so small compared to the writers in this group. I wrote 1,528 today for a total of 6,679.

Now it is time to read until I fall asleep I'll check back in tomorrow.

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

When you take the power of friendship and play it against the power of love the ensuing sparks can illuminate even the deepest recesses of the personality.

A great test of friendship happens when two best friends agree to compete for the love of the same woman. That’s what Sam O’Rourke and his best friend Patrick O’Connor do in “A Light in the Window”. Like three planets circling each other in close proximity, any change in one affects the other two. I think the friendship between Sam and Patrick had the most interesting and substainable impact of any of your stories. It is my favorite.

bonton said...

Hi, Julie!!

Your editor was SO right - YOUR characters DO jump off the pages, "living and breathing"!! Just one of the MANY reasons I love your novels so much!!

YOUR characters become your readers BFF's, so to speak, and seem so alive to them that it becomes difficult to say goodbye to them at each novels end, and they stay in the reader's mind long after he/she finishes a novel. It was even harder for me as I read all seven O'Connor family novels back-to-back.

BFF's are SO important to me as I don't have a spouse, and my children are grown and some of them, as well as my grandchild, live in another state. I would be lost without my Christian friends/spiritual mentors!! So - I love reading about BFF's in a novel, and you are right when you say they enhance the value of the heroine or hero in the reader's eyes.

My favorite fictional friendship is actually a non-fiction friendship which has also been portrayed in biblical fiction:
Ruth and Naomi. I don't know of any BFF's that have done more than Ruth did for her mother-in-law Naomi, and God certainly rewarded her for her faithfulness!!

Thank you, Julie, for the inspiration the wonderful BFF's in your novels have been to me!!
Love you and your novels!!

bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

bonton said...

P.S. I think you already know the BFF's in your novels are my favorite fictional friendships, because of my deep love for your novels, but in a non-fictional friendship portrayed in fiction also - it would have to be Ruth and Naomi!!

bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

Abbi Hart said...

I have never really thought about how best friends can help you get a better look at the hero/heroine but it's totally true! Thanks so much for pointing that out! I'm definitely going to be looking for that more as I read now!
Favorite fictional friendships...hmm...I'm having a hard time coming up with any besides Collin and Brady, and Charity and Emma, which are truly some of the best friendships I've read about!
P.S. I always love when it's your turn to post, Julie, not only because I usually learn something new but because you use examples from your books and it gives me a little O'Conner fix to keep me going!

Jackie said...

Hi Julie, great post. Definitely a keeper!

One of the best friends I've used is supportive of the heroine. Then the friend moves in with the heroine when she can't deal with her husband's jealousy issues. Heroine takes her in and protects her even though he begins to watch their house and stalk her. By the end heroine confronts the husband and and urges him to get counseling.

The was probably more than you wanted to know.

I love your new cover. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

Glynna Kaye said...

I love deep friendships in a story, Julie! Adds so much dimension allowing a reader to see the hero/heroine from another point of view.

Congrats on getting your edits out the door--and HAPPY SABBATICAL!

Debby Giusti said...

Lovely post, Julie!

I need to give more thought to BFFs in my stories, although with LIS, I'm somewhat limited because of word count.

Eager to see where God leads you in the year ahead. I know He has good things in store for you...and for your readers!

Hugs!

Annie Rains said...

Thank you for a wonderful post! I love to read scenes between best friends. Books shouldn't be all about the one relationship between the hero and heroine. I love to see friendship relationships, too, because they show a different side of our characters. People are very different with their love interest than they are with their BFFs. ... I can't think of a favorite friendship relationship though. Ahh! What about the Nicholas Sparks novel, Safe Haven, where the heroine befriends her neighbor. That was a great relationship with a nice plot twist attached at the end :)

Love your pretty new cover!

Dawn Janis said...

Julie,
I'd say that I've used a best friends' relationship in a short fan fiction (Harry Potter of course). I focused on the relationship between two cousins and how one of them was able to tell the other something she didn't want to hear.

But in the things I've read, I've seen how friendships help develop a strength in the main character.

I'd love to be entered in your drawing. :)

Jeanne T said...

Julie, I'm with everyone else. Your cover is BEAUTIFUL!!

I need to work on giving my characters more friends. And on weaving BFF's in more organically. I love the suggestions you made for how BFF's can enhance the main character. Sometimes I have to be careful that a BFF or a mentor doesn't only show up when the character needs a dose of truth. :)

I've always loved the story of David and Jonathan too.

Great examples as always! :)

Please do put me in for the drawing. :)

Janet Dean said...

Excellent post and excerpts to remind us of the importance of creating friends for the hero and heroine.

Why wouldn't we mimic real life? Friends enrich my personal story in countless ways. One glance at the framed photo at the top of your post stand twelve of those reasons. :-)

Thanks, Julie, for this lovely post!

Janet

Sherri Shackelford said...

The lovely part of friendship is that I have such great true life stories for inspiration!

DebH said...

Julie
I love your heros. I swoon over them every time. I need to remember the BFF thing to flesh out my characters - thanks for the awesome examples.

Ruth and Naomi of the Bible is definitely one of my faves. Fictional? Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. not sure why. just do.

and, i'm always in on a drawing for a book. especially when i can pass it on to my birth mother. she loves to read and i'm attempting to hook her on Seekerville ladies' books. i think it's working...

Eileen said...

Ohhh. Julie! I love your books, every single one! I do hope to be in that freeby drawing. Your characters, passionate scenes and intense story development are an inspiration for my own writing.

I was thrilled to look over your great list of 'best friend' attributes. In my story, I originally created the best friend in order to give pertinent information about the main character. However, the best friend evolved and has so many funny lines and great insights into the main character, she has developed a life of her own. Now she pops up everywhere. She is comic relief, she is the motivator and she gives insight into the the main character. Eventually, she will even save the heroine!

Your blog got me thinking though. The hero doesn't have a friend, and I wonder if I should develop one? Do you think all the main characters should have one?

On the other hand, he has a mother, and everyone knows how useful those are...right?

Olivia said...

So much to think about! Will read again when the toddler goes down for nap! Thanks for the book and please enter me in the contest for one of your marvelous signed books.

Liz Flaherty said...

Lovely excerpts. Best friends are some of my favorite people in so many books!

Eileen said...

Oh. And my favorite best friends are brothers, Wally and Beaver, or how about Laverne and Shirley? Or, Peter and Jesus. OK, I'll stop now.

Julie Lessman said...

AHHHHHHHH ... the joys of sleeping in late because ...

MY EDITS ARE DONE. MY DEADLINES ARE DONE. AND THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!

Sorry, I'm a little "frisk-ee" this morning as my ditzy former French character in Surprised by Love would say. But, sigh ... my editor shipped her back to France on a S-L-O-W steamer ... :\

Good morning, one and all, especially all my BFFs (Best Friends Forever) and my other BFFs (Best Friends in Fiction), and yes, I even have BFFFs ... Best Friends in Fiction Forever, which would be all the O'Connor and McClare gals. :)

And what's the place I always go when I have breakfast with my BFFs?? Why, I-Hop, of course, so this morning we have stacks and stacks of pancakes (extra light!), crispy bacon, juicy sausage links and eggs (scrambled light in butter with green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheddar cheese).

DIG IN, BBFF'S (Blog Best Friends Forever!!).

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VIRGINIA ... let ME just say that she truly is!! Don't get me wrong, she's tough at times, but one of the most knowledgeable and honest gals in the biz, and although we have butted heads a time or two in the past, God has granted me one of the MOST SPECIAL EBFF's of all time -- Editor Best Friend Forever!!

And, WOW, talk about "lovely," girl -- Beth Adams sounds WONDERFUL!! I love it when editors leave smiley faces and sweet comments, and my editor even leaves teasing remarks when I tend to get the hero and heroine TOOOO close together for Christian romance. She always says, "That's my Julie!" Right before she axes it ... ;)

I can't imagine writing a heroine WITHOUT a BFF, so I can see how that would be SO VERY hard! Did you ever give her a best friend by the end of the book, I hope?

And thanks for the sweet words on the cover. I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE it!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AMEN, HELEN!! In fact, they are ESSENTIAL for series, I would say, that essential network of lovable characters, be it a family, a group of friends, or a small town of quirky and friendly types. :)

Thanks for setting up the coffee, Helen ... can't believe I forgot to do that, but then my mind is a blank slate right now and happily so ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MARIANNE, both for reading my books AND for the prayers for Speed-bo-ers!!

And I'm with you -- I prefer a nice, L-O-N-G, juicy book (and I do mean "juicy"!!), with lots and lots of drama and angst, which you can certainly have in a shorter novel, but alas ... often it's not nearly enough for me. Unless, of course, it's a book written by Seeker! ;)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TINA ... I have to admit that it's my favorite of the Heart of San Francisco series, so what a way to go out, eh?

It releases October of this year, just FYI for the Seeker web album. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Hicks said...

Julie, you're so right about the value of our friends in the daily goings on in our lives. I can't imagine not having the many good friends that stand shoulder to shoulder with me every day.

Why would I not want the same source of joy and comfort for my pages friends? :-)

And the dialogue—what an opportunity for some interesting writing.

Good thoughts, thank you!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oooo, EMILY ... great idea to merge your current two best friends to make one fabulous one for your heroine!! And I LOVE Carol ... she's a doll, isn't she?

Sooooo glad you are enjoying Romance-ology 101!! If you like it and post a review, be sure to let me know so I can enter you in my random drawing to have a character named after you in my next book and a signed copy, okay?

And, I relate with those days of having "no words," because I haven't written on my WIP in a week due to edits. :( But you gotta roll with the punches, eh? Besides, BFFs are soooooooo worth it, my friend, so have a BLAST!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, LANI ... you go, girl!! I am sooo VERY proud of you for doing Speed-bo, my friend, and getting your word tally in -- YAY!!

Surprised by Love will release Oct. 7, and I have to say that my favorite thing about it is the substory between Logan and Cait -- WHEW!! There's some angst and drama going on there, let me tell you!! ;)

And THANK YOU, Lani, for reading my books and for your kind words -- you are definitely one of MY BFFF's (Best Friends Forever on Facebook)!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

kaybee said...

I like friends, but they have to have a purpose, to reflect the hero or heroine in some way. In "Trail," the Oregon Trail story I'm shopping around now, the heroine Caroline makes friends with an older woman, Martha. Though Caroline had been shunned by the women in her town after a serious mistake, Martha accepts her and shows her God's unconditional love. After Martha leaves the trail Caroline bonds with Jenny, a young woman with even more baggage, and she models God's love for Jenny, seeing her with God's eyes.
These are good points, Julie.
One thing I'm coming to dislike in TV and movies is the quirky best friend just put in there so there will be a "quirky best friend." Like Kimmie on "Full House." Puh-leeze, it's not the
80s any more.
Lucy had Ethel, but that was a completely different dynamic.
Thanks, Julie!
Kathy Bailey
Watching too much retro TV in New Hampshire

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: "When you take the power of friendship and play it against the power of love the ensuing sparks can illuminate even the deepest recesses of the personality."

WOW ... where did you get that, my friend -- from that red book you're reading???

I wish. I sincerely DO wish that I had 1/10 the brain power and creativity rolling around in that head of yours, sir, because you are truly one of the smartest (and most articulate and deep-thinking) people I know.

Thanks for your comment on Patrick and Sam. I have to admit, I absolutely ADORE male friendships in a book, and my faves are Collin and Brady, of course, Jamie and Bram, and believe it or not ... Patrick and Mitch. :) I do like the friendship between Sam and Patrick as well, but it doesn't have the meat of faith in it, so it's not at the tip top for me. :)

Hugs,
Julie

kaybee said...

Please enter me in the drawing if it's a PAPER book. I still don't have a kindle or nook.
Tks
KB

Connie Queen said...

You're right, friends can show us a lot about a character. I guess some of my characters should be nicer so they can have more. They're a little scarce in my books.

Julie, I can't think of a better compliment for an editor to give an author. You have a special talent...

kaybee said...

Then there are Frodo and Sam, who help each other survive and end up being much more than master and servant.

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE!!! Talk about BFF!!! You are definitely one of mine, my sweet friend, and I thank God for the day He allowed our paths to cross. :)

LOVE Naomi and Ruth, so WONDERFUL choice!! Talk about the true mettle of a friendship -- WOW!!

I can certainly see why friends are so important to you, Bonnie, with so many members of your immediate family out of town, but you are one of those very unique people who treat friends LIKE family, so I am blessed to be "related." :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, ABS ... thank you SO much for your kind words and especially your incredible support and friendship!! You are another one of my BBFFs (blogger best friends forever), so your sweet comments mean all the more to me.

Yeah, Collin and Brady's relationship is very special to me, too, and actually my favorite part (along with Marcy and Patrick's substory) in A Passion Denied. Of course, if we're talking heroines, Charity and Emma DO take the prize for me, too, as they are SUCH polar opposites and really balance each other beautifully.

Thanks again, Abbi, for being SUCH a great support. I treasure your friendship!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE, NO, that was NOT more than I wanted to know -- it's VERY intriguing, my friend, so thank you for giving us a little glimpse into what is obviously a VERY key BFF in a novel! I'm assuming it's women's fiction?

And thanks, sweetie -- I'm a little partial to my new cover as well. :)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, GLYNNA ... you certainly know what that feels like (getting the edits done, not the sabbatical, unfortunately!). It's coming at a great time for me, at the onset of spring when I can get out in the yard and garden again, something I haven't done in about six or so years. :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, DEB ... I'm pretty excited to see where God is going to lead me too! I have no clue, all I know is it will be WONDERFUL because it will be HIS path for me!!

Hugs,
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

Another great post, Julie, and wonderful examples! You always have the liveliest friendships in your novels--so fun to read those scenes!

A favorite friendship from my books is the one between Ryan and Kip (Ryan's mentor) in A Horseman's Hope. The accountability factor is an important aspect of a good friendship--having someone who knows you almost better than you know yourself and with the courage to tell you when you're about to head down the wrong path.

Jackie Smith said...

Wow, beautiful cover, Julie.....and beautiful book by a beautiful lady! Can't wait to read it.
I love the friendship of Charity & Emma...and David/Jonathan in the Bible.
I cherish my friends and also the ones on Seekerville!!
Praying for you wherever God next leads you!!!
Much love...

Mary Connealy said...

Julie this is a perfect fit with advice I got long ago that really stuck with me.
To make your character likeable, have someone like them.
WE often struggle with edgy characters who need to grow in their faith and in other ways. To make them perfect and sweet and flawless is just too boring.
But if we're not careful these edgy characters aren't likeable and then you're in trouble if readers (and acquiring editors) don't like them.
So the trick is, give them a loyal friend. And this isn't just an accident, like a friend who likes them in spite of the fact that they're an edgy jerk. No, in a scene with the hero/heroine and friend there has to be some kind of exchange that REVEALS their likeable side.

Julie Lessman said...

ANNIE, would you believe I have never read Safe Haven OR seen the movie??? But I LOVE Nicholas Sparks (even though I don't like pre-marital sex or adultery in my movies, which he has in all of his except in A Walk to Remember and The Wedding -- two of my faves). And the movie trailer looked SO amazing, I added it to my shopping cart on Amazon, so THANK YOU!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, DAWN, YES!!! Telling the hero or the heroine the truth is HUGE for BFFs and SO believable because let's face it -- that's where most of us finally begin to see our faults -- when an honest friend (or relative), will gently open our eyes to them ... or, not so gently sometimes too! :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the drawing!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DAWN, thank you!!

And, YES, I totally agree with your statement that, "Sometimes I have to be careful that a BFF or a mentor doesn't only show up when the character needs a dose of truth. :)"

That kind of ties in with Missy's post a few days ago about episodic writing -- conveniently including something in our book for a quick solution or laugh or whatever, which is never good. Key components have to be developed in order to be believable in the end, I think, so they don't come off a wee bit trite and shallow.

It's fun to weave in BFFs, so I hope you give it a try.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

AMEN, JANET ... why not??? Fiction is drawn from real life, after all, so why not use ALL of it, including friendships. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SHERRI ... YES!!! Thank God we have so many wonderful women/friends in our lives to encourage, comfort, inspire, help, and have fun with, eh?

Definitely one of God's greatest gifts -- FRIENDSHIP!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Ooooo, DEB H ... you said, "Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. not sure why. just do."

GREAT CHOICE!! And I know why -- it's because of those WONDERFUL movies with Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. -- absolutely TERRIFIC rapport between those two!!

Hugs,
Julie

Carol Moncado said...

JULIE! I love this! So much!

Gotta have friends!

Honestly, my SpeedBo project is a bit light on them.

[I wrote this last night... I was going to write something else... I forget what it was... But I'm glad you're my friend, Julie!]

Carol Moncado said...

Aw Jules! You made my day!!!

"And I LOVE Carol ... she's a doll, isn't she?"

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, EILEEN, you sweet, sweet girl, you!! Thanks SOOO much for your sweet comment -- I truly appreciate it!

YAY for your BF that took on a life of her own -- THOSE are the very best kind, I find. That's what happened to me with John Brady, Emma Malloy, and Cluny McGee, which are some of my FAVES of the BFFs in my books, so you go, girl!! ESPECIALLY if she provides comic relief -- SO very cool, especially the part about saving the heroine!!

You asked: "The hero doesn't have a friend, and I wonder if I should develop one? Do you think all the main characters should have one?"

No, I don't think both hero and heroine need them, but it's okay if they do -- it's just a little more work. What you could do is have the BF also become friends with the hero, if that's possible, because I LOVE when that happens, like with Emma and Mitch. Mitch ends up having a very strong respect for Emma, which I love.

LOL on your statement that, "he has a mother, and everyone knows how useful those are... right?"

LOL ... you bet!!;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

OLIVIA ... gotta love those naps, eh?? Now ... if only the moms could get one or two in ... ;)

You thanked me "for the book" ... did you mean today's blog ... or did you receive one of my books recently? Color me brain-dead if I sent you one and don't remember ... :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AMEN, LIZ ... same here!! I especially like using them for comic relief when one of the characters is overly serious, like my John Brady in his relationship with Collin, who's more of a cut-up. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, EILEEN ... good choices, and it's fun to see your suggestions!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY HICKS SAID: "Why would I not want the same source of joy and comfort for my pages friends? :-)

WHY NOT, INDEED!! :)

MARY ALSO SAID: "And the dialogue—what an opportunity for some interesting writing."

Oh, you NAILED it on that one, Mare -- sooooo much fun back-and-forth that can take place with best friends since the BF knows more about the hero/heroine than anyone, so lots of quips to make and secrets to share ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, KATHY ... you just may be watching too much TV, girl, or probably did in the past like all of us. But I'm sure your TV time has dwindled with your writing, like mine has, right??

GREAT POINT ABOUT: "I like friends, but they have to have a purpose, to reflect the hero or heroine in some way."

YES, YES, YES!! I didn't like Kimmie either, and I think most of the sitcoms today have gotten away from that occasional- friend scenario, I think. It seems when I see one (which isn't often), it's more of a cohesive group of friends (like the TV show Friends or How I Met Your Mother), which is SO much better!!

Oh, and Lucy and Ethel were GOLDEN, weren't they??

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, and KATHY BAILY ... it's your choice of book -- ebook or paper, so you're good to go if you win.

GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CONNIE SAID: "I guess some of my characters should be nicer so they can have more. They're a little scarce in my books."

LOL ... uh, maybe ... ;) Warm those pages up, girl, with a nice and fuzzy BFF, and you'll have a blast, I promise!

And, yes, getting a compliment like that from an editor -- especially a well-respected editor like mine -- is SOOO very nice and blesses the socks off of me! WHICH may not be such a good thing today since it was snowing when I woke up, and THIS after near 80-degree temps yesterday. Sigh.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MYRA ... I'll be honest ... I was a wee bit worried following your fabulously meaty post yesterday, so I appreciate your kind words.

And you said, "A favorite friendship from my books is the one between Ryan and Kip (Ryan's mentor) in A Horseman's Hope. The accountability factor is an important aspect of a good friendship--having someone who knows you almost better than you know yourself and with the courage to tell you when you're about to head down the wrong path."

Oh, YES, YES, YES on all counts, my friend. I LOVED that friendship between Kip and Ryan as well, which is only one of the reasons your books are some of my faves!!

Hugs,
Julie

Kav said...

There's something about a good friendship in a book that draws me in even more. A friend can be such a good sounding board -- and let's face it -- a friend can get away with saying stuff a family member wouldn't dream of saying. And I LOVE it when authors give friends their own book in a series!!!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, JACKIE -- both for your prayers and your kind words. You are definitely one of my favorite BRFFs (BEST READER FRIEND FOREVER), so I appreciate your friendship and support SO much!!

And, yeah, Charity and Emma are my all-time favorite female friendship in my books because they just work so well together ... AND Emma is one of the few people that actually likes Charity in the beginning, too, so I appreciated her support of one of my favorite characters. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY CONNEALY SAID: "To make your character likeable, have someone like them."

Let me pause here to say something: WOW, WOW, WOW!! Well-said, my friend ... or well pointed out, I guess!!

You also said: "WE often struggle with edgy characters who need to grow in their faith and in other ways. To make them perfect and sweet and flawless is just too boring. But if we're not careful these edgy characters aren't likeable and then you're in trouble if readers (and acquiring editors) don't like them.So the trick is, give them a loyal friend. And this isn't just an accident, like a friend who likes them in spite of the fact that they're an edgy jerk. No, in a scene with the hero/heroine and friend there has to be some kind of exchange that REVEALS their likeable side."

Heck, Mare -- those paragraphs above are worth my entire blog -- THANK YOU!! I should cut and paste those puppies and put them in this post today!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CAROL M. ... I'm glad you're my friend, too, you sweet thing (and I'm not just saying that because you are the Cookie Lady, either!!).

You are not only sweet, CM, but truly unique as well. I don't know anybody else like you, which is one of the reasons you are such a special friend in my book -- and actually would make a FABULOUS BFF in one of my books, so let me think on that for the contemp I'm writing ... ;)

LOVE you to pieces, girlfriend. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MARIANNE, both for reading my books AND for the prayers for Speed-bo-ers!!

And I'm with you -- I prefer a nice, L-O-N-G, juicy book (and I do mean "juicy"!!), with lots and lots of drama and angst, which you can certainly have in a shorter novel, but it's not nearly enough for me. :)

Hugs!
Julie

Chill N said...

JULIE! Congratulations on the finished edits and deadlines met! And now a year to get back to the joy of writing. What a blessing.

One of my favorite things about best friend characters is when they don't take the heroine/hero nearly as seriously as the h/h takes herself/himself. The "this too will pass" attitude of a best friend character leads to some humorous dialogue.

Thanks for posting the excerpts as examples!

Nancy C

Julie Lessman said...

NANCY C ... I have to laugh because every single time I look at your post name of "Chill'N," I get hungry for chili -- NO JOKE!! My eyes always see "chili" instead of "chill'n," so I guess I'm reading too fast ... or am too hungry ... ;)

You said: "One of my favorite things about best friend characters is when they don't take the heroine/hero nearly as seriously as the h/h takes herself/himself. The "this too will pass" attitude of a best friend character leads to some humorous dialogue."

Oh, you bet, my friend -- PERFECT POINT!! BFFS can get away with things most others can't, so that can make for some enlightening -- and humorous -- exchanges. :)

Hugs!! Off to see if I have ingredients for chili ... ;)

Julie

Chill N said...

Speedbo update. I'm 1/3 of the way to my goal ... not quite where I wanted to be by today but much farther along than I was at the beginning of Speedbo :-)

Go Speedbo-ers!!

Nancy C

Crystal Ridgway said...

Julie, wonderful post! I completely agree with this. In fact, I've learned that without supporting characters, my mss are very hard to finish. Even if they don't have any good friends, I've found it's better to plop my h/h right smack dab in the middle of town to avoid the isolation that makes a ms hard to complete.

Speedbo update: around 4K yesterday. Haven't started writing yet today. Hopefully this'll be another 6-8K day, though.

Please enter me into the drawing, and I LOVE the cover. I need to get a dress like that.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Julie!

What a great post. I know how precious BFF's can be in real life, but in books? They're the yeast that makes the bread rise :)

And one of the first lessons I learned here on Seekerville was that quote from Mary Connealy: "To make your character likeable, have someone like them."

Thanks for reminding me of what my WIP needs - the hero and heroine have family, but I need to give them some friends :)

Since I would love to win a signed copy of one of your books...my favorite fictional friendship is Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings. A beautiful picture of mutual sacrificial love.

DebH said...

Hi Julie
thanks for the "shameless plug" free download today. (forgot to say that before - I was all over that hershey's syrup on vanilla ice cream).

can you believe i haven't seen the Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr. Holmes movies? I was thinking more black and white era films from my childhood sat. morning PBS viewing habits.

i don't have a BFF for either of my main characters in current WIP i'm attempting for the Killer Voice contest. I think the hero will need one. Food for thought.

SPEEDBO update: only 300 words last night (toddler native was restless, needing mommy-time. is there a clingy stage for little boys and their mothers?) - but I DID write!!! every little bit counts... right?

Crystal Ridgway said...

Oops, missed the part where I'm supposed to tell my favorite fictional friendship. I'm thinking mine is Sophie McClellan and Luther in Mary Connealy's Petticoat Ranch . Gotta love when he tells her 'what now?'. :) Does that count?

Mary Connealy said...


Crystal, LOL I know the exact moment you're talking about.
Sophie with her, "Help me, Lord, Help me, help me, help me..."
And Luther 'hearing' her in a message from God and comes running from five states away to help her.
Except she doesn't know that and she's still praying and Luther is right there and he's still getting the message.
LOL

Melony Teague said...

Julie, first let me day how beautiful that new cover is! I love the colour!

Friends are so important and I think as a writer even more so because we need the support and encouragement of people who see the best in us.

What a great blog and thanks for the great advice.

One of my favorite relationships if friendship are the ones found in Pride and Prejudice with Lizzy and Jane and Sense and Sensibility! Although both of these are also sisters, their relationship goes further than that, they are friends.

Yes, I am a Jane Austin fan too!

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, NANCY ... that's nothing sneeze at, my friend, and a heck of a lot farther along than I am, trust me!!

I'd take it ... in a heartbeat!

Hugs,
Julie

Kathryn said...

Your comment about men having only a few best friends really touched my heart today...My Sweet Husband's best friend and business partner unexpectedly died last month...SO, SO hard on my precious hubby!!

Loved the examples from your books! My favorite fictional friendships were the gals in Steel Magnolias...I know it's a movie, but it was a play first!! I think I read it was based on the playwrights own experience...

Anyway...would love to win a copy of one of your books...

Wishing everyone a tea-lightful Wednesday!!

Savanna said...

Thanks, Julie, for a wonderful post! Your books and your articles are always so full of treasures. ;)

I loved your reference to David and Jonathon's friendship in the Bible. I recently read Beth Moore's study on David and I was so blessed by the story of these two men.

It's hard to pick just one example from the books I've read over the years. Of course, I've loved the relationships in all of your books. ;) Another I recently read was Karen Witemeyer's "Short Straw Bride". I loved the friendship between the four brothers. Like you said, a friendship between men can add a beautiful -and needed- layer to the story.

Thanks for the giveaway! Have a blessed day!

Julie Lessman said...

CRYSTAL ... 4K??? Oh, I am SOOOOO jealous! My daily goal is 1,000, and I haven't even been able to meet that due to rush edits. SUPER CONGRATS and here's to another banner day!!

You said: "I've found it's better to plop my h/h right smack dab in the middle of town to avoid the isolation that makes a ms hard to complete."

LOL ... oh, AMEN to that!! That's what I love about my family sagas so much ... I can plop that hero and heroine smack dab into the middle of a boisterous and fun family, which means half the work of setting is already done. :)

Hugs and thank you for your sweet comment. :)

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JAN SAID: "They're the yeast that makes the bread rise :)"

LOVE IT!!! Both the analogy AND bread ... especially hot out of the oven ... ;)

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have never read Lord of the Rings OR seen the movies, so I think I may need to remedy that soon. :|

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Connie Queen said...

WHICH may not be such a good thing today since it was snowing when I woke up, and THIS after near 80-degree temps yesterday. Sigh.

That sounds like our whether about a week ago. This time it wasn't such a drastic change.

Always love your posts.

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H, YES!!! Every single word counts, my friend, so good for you!

LOL ... there's a clingy stage for ALL mothers and kids ... when the kiddos are infants and toddlers ... and when the moms have teenagers they hate to see grow up! ;)

I have to admit, I'm not particularly into steampunk, but the Sherlock movies with Jude and Robert are pretty darn good. :)

And, YES, do consider a BFF in your book -- you will LOVE the layers it adds!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CRYSTAL ... you bet that counts, girlfriend!! And Mary Connealy has some of the BEST BFFs in the biz, so you're dead-on, girl!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

britt98 said...

Hi Julie!

Well, I did really enjoy the interaction with Brady and Collin. It was a fun friendship to watch.

Another important role that friendship can play in books is to allow the reader to really "see" the true heart of a character through their best friend's eyes.

I noticed this a lot in your book, A Light in the Window. We knew so much about Sam because of the background and knowledge that Patrick had of him.

Thanks for the chance to win one of your books!
Brittany McEuen
kbmceuen(at)yahoo(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MEL, and I totally agree with you about the "friendship" feel between Lizzy and Jane in Pride and Prejudice -- VERY special and very necessary to the story as far as emotion and texture. :)

Thanks for coming by, and GOOD LUCK in the draw!

Hugs,
Julie

Heidi said...

Great examples of how interactions with friends can be important in story telling. I recently read An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling and enjoyed the relationship Ingeborg had with her cousin, who helped her see that she was falling in love.

Heidi Reads...

Jennifer Smith said...

My favorite fictional friendship of all time is the one between Frodo Baggins and Sam on Lord of the Rings. :)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KATHRYN, I am so very sorry to hear about your hubby losing his best friend -- that is an ache that certainly lessens with time, but never really goes away. :( BUT ... the good news is that hopefully he will see his bud on the other side of eternity, so PRAISE GOD for that, eh?

Uh-oh ... I hate to admit it, but I have never seen Steel Magnolias except for clips here and there. I do know it's got a double advantage in that it's about BFFs in a small town, which really warms a story up A LOT!! :)

Thanks for coming by, and I would LOVE to send you a signed book, so GOOD LUCK!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, SAVANNA ... soooo good to see you, my friend!! It was so much fun connecting with you on your blog that I actually missed you! :)

And I totally agree with you about Karen Witemeyer's "Short Straw Bride". I absolutely ADORE sister or brother stories -- the closeness, the honesty, the humor, and the deep dark secrets that come to the surface, eh? GREAT example!

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CONNIE ... yeah, there's been some real squirrely weather this year, hasn't there??

Unfortunately, my hometown of St. Louis know for screwy weather. We always say if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes or so. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BRITT!!! Hey, girl, so good to see you here!!

Thanks for your comment about Collin and Brady -- I totally LOVE that friendship. It tore me up when Brady left and Collin had to cope with his grief.

LOVED your statement that said, "Another important role that friendship can play in books is to allow the reader to really "see" the true heart of a character through their best friend's eyes."

YES, YES, YES!!! Sooooo very true and sooooo very important in a deep and meaty novel, eh?

Good luck, my friend, and here's to a win. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, HEIDI, and regrettably, I haven't yet read that one by Lauraine, so I guess I need to.

ACK!! Soooo many fab books, and sooooo many things keeping me from them!! :|

Good luck in the contest, girlfriend, and here's to a win. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JENNIFER ... you're the second one to mention Frodo and Sam, so I best get crackin' and read that sucker, eh??

Hugs,
Julie

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Julie! Great post on friendships. Makes me want to go back and read a few of those novels, especially when I think about the beautiful friendships those O'Connors had, and were to each other. And congrats on the new cover. It's gorgeous!

Hmm, favorite friendships in novels...yeah, I'm going to harken back to my childhood favorite, the Anne of Green Gables series. I love Anne and Diana's friendship, so sweet and loving. And Anne's later friendships with her college friends and later, her older, married friends, are just wonderful. She shows that a true friend loves at all times, especially in her friendship with Leslie Moore in "Anne's House of Dreams."

I've been using a lot of friendship in my first novel. The heroine is away from her family, and has to rely on friends throughout the story. In my second novel, which I'm still fleshing out, the fourth thing I did, after characterizing the main character, love interest, and murder victim (it's a murder mystery!) is characterize the MC's best friend. Every girl's got one!

Have you heard anything about your son-in-law on the job front? Prayers keep wending their way to heaven! Have a great day!

Wilani Wahl said...

I haven't got any thing written today, but I did manage to get my hair cut and it is amazing how that makes you feel so much better. Plus I went into dollar tree and ate lunch at a Chinese buffet.

Now to buckle down and get to work since I have church tonight.

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, STEPH ... thanks so much, my friend!

And, gosh, I feel like a real dipstick, but I have never read Anne of Green Gables, and I even had a reader friend send me the entire set, so I am SO bad!! I think what stopped me is that it starts out as a really young girl, right? I'm such a romance freak, that I tend to put off anything that doesn't have serious romance in it. I know -- not real smart!! :|

Boy, girl, you're right on top of that BFF thing in your novel, so you go, girl -- sounds really good!

And, OH WOW ... WHAT a blessing to know you are still praying for my SIL!! He was a finalist in a great job in B-Ham where they are moving, but he did not get, which made all of us SO sad!! I'm sure you can relate, so I TRULY appreciate your prayers, my friend -- you ROCK!!

Hubby's job still going well, I hope, and he still loves it??

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oooooo, LANI ... a new "do" and Chinese food -- doesn't get much better than that ... uh, unless you do it with a BFF ... ;)

Hugs!
Julie

DebH said...

oh, i LOVE steampunk. guess i'm gonna have to bite the bullet and check out the movie now. will have to watch AFTER child unit is asleep. i think he takes after momma and has a very active imagination. must carefully monitor what he sees because it sticks around in his brain for a good while. on the flip side, it is quite entertaining to watch him re-create episodes from his favorite shows (sometimes melding two together). i've been recruited to be a colossal squid a few times now so he can rescue his Octonauts (like astronauts, only under the sea).

Carol Moncado said...

I've been trying to think of my favorite fictional friendship and I am just not coming up with one.

Maybe Bella Rossi and... shoot! I can't remember her friend's name off the top of my head, but her BFF becomes her SIL when the BFF marries DJ's brother (before Bella marries DJ) in Janice Thompson's Weddings by Bella series.

I'm awful with names though...

Or maybe Meredith and her cousin in Karen Witemeyer's Short Straw Bride.

I wrote 4K yesterday to get to 40% of my monthly goal. I managed to squeeze past 30K by a couple words. I wrote a blog for our new InspyRomance blog - I'm up next week - and then decided it probably won't work for there and will toss it up on my blog later this week most likely - and still have to come up with something for there.

But now... back to fictionland :D.

Susan Anne Mason said...

HI Julie!! What a great post and a gorgeous new cover! Love that hat, I must say!

Friends are SO important in stories. I always seem to have good friends in my books, now that I think about it. They add a lot of depth to the characters and like Mary said, show that someone else likes them!

I am so excited for your next year of writing - free and unfettered! Can't wait to see what comes from it!

I am happy to report that I finally have a release date for my debut novel, "Betrayed Hearts". It will release on AUGUST 7/14 from White Rose/Pelican Book Group. So I will have a book in my hand at the conference in Sept!! So excited!

We're being barraged by yet another snow storm today. Hope we can dig out by tomorrow since we're going up north to visit my mother in law who is housebound these days. The whole family in one car with a lot of snow. Prayers appreciated! LOL.

Cheers,
Sue

Dianna Shuford said...

Thanks for the advice, Julie. I like to include side characters for my H/H to interact with, but I hadn't thought about fleshing those side characters out the way I do the main characters. Definitely a hmmm moment.

In some of my favorite Lori Wick stories, she uses friendships to show more about the character. (I especially love the ones where the siblings are friends as well as family.) Then I feel like I can fall in love with the community as well as the characters. In that way I really think those friendships also strengthen the setting as well as the characterization.

Would love to read more of your books, Julie.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Julie, great examples and points about how friends help the h/h. I used a very strong best friend in my first novel, Highland Hearts. She was friends with both the hero and heroine so she brought out a lot in both of them and between them. She was so much fun to write!

Happy writing, everyone!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, DEB H ... "the child unit" ... I gotta remember that! :)

And, YES, you will have to check them out because Robert D. also has a love interest in Rachel McAdams, who I LOVE, so you've got your romance thread too, which is critical to us passionate types. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Meghan Carver said...

What practical advice, Julie. Thank you!! I love it when the BFF is also a family member, like a sister. Perhaps that's because I never had a sister? :-)

Julie Lessman said...

CAROL ... I definitely need to read Janice's books -- I'm ashamed to say I never have, but I hear they are wonderful. Is the romantic aspect strong? I mean you know my taste, right?

I'll tell you what, girl, you rock in the words-cranking category. I think we have another Mary C. and Ruthy LH going on here ...

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SUZI-Q!!! Sorry about the snow, but OH BOY, I cannot WAIT for Betrayed Hearts, girlfriend!!! I am soooooo darn proud of you!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DIANNA SAID: "but I hadn't thought about fleshing those side characters out the way I do the main characters. Definitely a hmmm moment."

YES, YES, YES!! Sooo glad I could instill that thought in your head, my friend, because it will be SO fun and SO beneficial, trust me!

And like you, I too "love the ones where the siblings are friends as well as family.) Then I feel like I can fall in love with the community (or family) as well as the characters."

And I totally agree with your statement that "I really think those friendships also strengthen the setting as well as the characterization."

AMEN!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MEGHAN ... you are MORE than welcome, my friend -- thank YOU for taking time out of your busy day to read it! :)

You said: "I love it when the BFF is also a family member, like a sister. Perhaps that's because I never had a sister? :-)"

Oh, me too!! That's one of the reasons I have so many siblings in my books -- it's just SO much fun to explore a close family and become part of them. And, yes, I do think you never having a sister plays a big part in the appeal of sisters as friends for you. I had (three are deceased) ten sisters, so I know the value of both that type of friendship AND that type of sibling rivalry. ;)

Hugs!
Julie

Olivia said...

Said toddler is down for nap! I am blessed as a grandparent to watch this little fellow. So on to retreading your blog carefully! I am thanking you for A Passion Most Pure. Your generosity presents a diificult decision this afternoon: to read or to write. Btw I have written 7000 words since I started last week. It is too bad that so many of us have been fearful to write and miss the peculiar joy that writers have. Hooray speedbo for making us write!

Patricia W said...

An author who nailed the friendship story for me is Francis Ray. In her Graysons series, followed by the Grayson's Family and Friends series, in addition to the central romance, the friendship of the characters was always upfront and often pivotal to the plot. She made me want to know her characters personally, to befriend them, invite them over, and hang out. There's nothing like a good friend which may be why I always seem to have one for both my heroes and heroines.

Linda Marie Finn said...

There you are my good luck charm ! I'll forgive you for not answering me lastnight on FB, only cause I know you are so busy. Now you will be sleeping in..my my, I guess only if no one has a book for you to read and throw against the wall. I'm over 7500 words and counting. In my new book I am using my friend Patty as my example of a great friends who stand by you and supports in good times and bad. Now don't you know I would just love to win another one of your books signed. I need the books that go with A Love Surrendered ! Since I have that one I sure need the rest. I am so glad to my dear friend to hear that Surprized by Love is so close to being in my hands to read....ouch !!! Hot Hot Hot Smokin !!! No one puts together a story like you Jules.
Hugs and Much Love
Linda Marie Finn
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ooo, Julie!!! Your new book cover is so beautiful!!! I love it!

Friends can be such life savers. I love friends. But sometimes I am lazy and have a tendency to not want to include friends in my stories, simply because they create extra work. But they can also be very important to the story. VERY important! As you have pointed out, Julie. :-)

I am a very friendly person, except when I'm feeling shy for some reason. I should probably make my characters more friendly. Good tips, Julie!

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, these are EXCELLENT examples of what friends can do for a character. Thank you for breaking it down this way and sharing!

Loving the photos! What great memories. :)

Carol Moncado said...

Hmm... Not to Julie levels. They're lighter, rom com stuff where yours are meatier. There's definitely meat there, though. You just laugh your way to it ;).

The Bella books are on sale right now:
Fools Rush In is 2.60
Swinging on a Star is 3.99
It Had To Be You is 3.99

Those seem to be regular prices but are on the low side for ebooks even :).

I need to reread them.

You know. In my spare time ;).

Following the Weddings by Bella series is the Backstage Pass series which has Bella connections. Her current series, Weddings by Design, takes place in Galveston with some of Bella's vendors. The book she's writing now is also a Bella book and her new series will have some connections too iirc.

Plus. Janice is awesome. :D

Olivia said...

Thank you,Julie, for your book, A Passion Most Pure! Said toddler is now down for nap and I am posed with the dilemma, should I read or should I write. Your blog needs to be savored as I reflect on those principles you give and then followup with dialogue. Btw, I have written 7000 word since we started speedbo. Thank you to the Seekers who have prodded us past our fears to write and thus experience that peculiar joy known only to writers. Henceforth, I will blog only one of my devices with a keyboard, my smartphone is out of correct autocomplete choices! Well I guess I will write.

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Great post, Julie. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the examples. I know God will bring you back from your sabbatical refreshed and renewed and raring to go!

Fabulous cover--can't wait for this next book!
Blessings!

Carol Moncado said...

And I've been too verklempt [did I spell that right?!] to comment on this:

You are not only sweet, CM, but truly unique as well. I don't know anybody else like you, which is one of the reasons you are such a special friend in my book -- and actually would make a FABULOUS BFF in one of my books, so let me think on that for the contemp I'm writing ... ;)


Julie - you have made my year. Even though it's only March. Thank you! I think I need a trip up I44 sooner rather than later. September is too far away.

Julie Lessman said...

OLIVIA, 7,000 words??? WOW, girl, that is AWESOME!!

Shhhh ... sorry I yelled with said toddler dozing! ;)

No, thank YOU, Olivia, for downloading APMP!! I hope you enjoy it, and if you do and post a review, PLEASE let me know so I can enter you in my contest to have a character named after you, okay?

Mmmm ... write or read APMP. I strongly recommend writing to your goal, THEN reading APMP as a reward (or at least I HOPE it's a reward ... :|).

Hugs and HAPPY READING, my friend!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PATRICIA!!! Long time, no see, my friend -- it's good to see you here!

You said, "(Francis Ray) made me want to know her characters personally, to befriend them, invite them over, and hang out. There's nothing like a good friend which may be why I always seem to have one for both my heroes and heroines."

WOW, sounds like I need to read this gal ... off to Amazon to check her out ...

WHOA, BABY ... just checked her out and sure love her covers -- especially the one called The Way You Love Me -- YIKES, what a bod!! These look REALLLLY good and she's got high ratings, so looks like my TBR stack just got a wee bit higher ... ;)

Thanks, Pat!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LINDA!!!!!!

Oh, girl, I am SO sorry, but in case you haven't noticed, I am weaning myself off FB, which is why I do not see when you comment on things unless you tag me. Also, since I just finished my edits, I am still a day behind on emails, so if you DID tag me, I haven't seen it yet. My so-called "sabbatical" does not just mean pulling away from deadlines, and promo, BUT FB, Twitter, and emails for the most part. I still have to do some, but there are days I'm not even on FB, so I'm not ignoring you, I promise. :)

And over 7,500 words??? HOLY COW, talk about "smokin', girlfriend! You go, girl!!

Oh, and since I just finished my edits YESTERDAY, please know that your name is now floating around in my ms., and I decided not to make you a lady of the night. Nope, but you're still red hot and a bit of a bad girl, so keep those sexy dresses handy ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MEL!!! You know what? I ALWAYS light up when I see your sweet face in the comments, God's truth!!

Hope things are going well for you, and yes, I do know what you mean about the "extra work" in creating BFFs in books, but they are well worth it, giving an otherwise great novel an extra layer of oomph! :)

Thanks about my cover -- I love it, too, although I have to say that YOU have some of the best covers in the biz, my friend. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, MISSY, I know!! I just wish we had more really GOOD pix of all 13 of us together, you know?

Maybe we can take a pic together at ACFW and then whoever is missing, I'll have Keith photoshop them in -- wouldn't that be fun????

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CAROL ... would you believe that I have several of Janice's books, including Fools Rush in and Swinging on a Star, but my TBR is as tall as my house, so I guess I'll need to dig in and put Janice's at the top. :)

And I have NO DOUBT that Janice is awesome! I know she's been a HUGE help to you (which makes me like her already), but she's funny, too, so that makes her doubly awesome in my book, NOT TO MENTION she's a fellow Revell sister! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE!!! You wanna know something, girlfriend??? One of the things I miss most about getting off FB and promo in general is not talking to YOU as much! It seemed like I would always see your posts, so I'd hop over and say hi, but now I go days without even looking at FB, especially since I turned my notifications off. :| Helped WORLDS with cutting back emails, but I sure miss my faves like you, my friend. :(

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CAROL ... you're year??? Oh ... that's right, it IS only March, so that tempers it a wee bit. ;)

Love you!
Julie

Linda Marie Finn said...

Jules, your so funny, I can still be my alter ego! Oh I added hot dresses to the 30's board and will keep adding things there to encourage others like yourself who use that era. That is the goal of the boards of clothind such. I am sitting here listening to the wind howl, its blizzard here with winds to 50 mph, normal wind at 30. Snowing and blowing snow. were to get 20 inches of snow today and tomorrow. Just when you thought it was gone ! Welcome to NY...Hey by the way Ruthy ???? Ruthy ???? I can't see you through all this. Are you ok ? or are you buried ? Its ok Ruthy, they say 44 on friday, if we can make it through today and tomorrow. Mary, hug the calves for me ok. nothing like baby animals.
It is my plan to put in over 4000 words this evening Lordwilling. Hey Jules, I messaged you directly, check you messages, your green light was on !!!!lol Must be age !!!!
Linda

Cara Lynn James said...

Julie, that's a beautiful cover!

I've had my BFF for over 50 years! Wow, that's a long time. So it seems natural for my characters to have close friends, too.

Sally Shupe said...

Thanks for this great post! Opened my eyes to what friendship could do in my current story. A little over 7000 words in. Speedbo has been such a great help. I'm going to save this link to refer back to. Thank you!

Natalie Monk said...

Love these examples, Julie!

That's an area in my WIP that can certainly use beefing up.

One of my favorite fictional friendships is Anne of Green Gables and Diana.

I also love the friendship dynamics in the The Fellowship of the Ring. So many colorful examples with Aragorn and Legolas, Gimli and Legolas, Sam and Frodo, Merry and Pippin, Aragorn and Gandalf, Pippin and Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo, Frodo and Gandalf. Each character as a different stage/type of friendship with each member of the Fellowship. Something I never thought about before. I need to read the book again in this light.

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Thanks for your kind words. You sure know how to make a person feel good -- both in your books and in your comments.

Along with BFF there is also a lot of emotional impact to be found in DFF, deeply felt friendships, even when these DFF only span a few pages.

The first thing I thought about when you mentioned friendships in this post were the friendships between the parish priest and his male parishioners. Playing basketball almost became a sacrament of male bonding.

These friendships carried a trust that it would be hard to develop anywhere else. Yet this experience happened within just a few pages. I don’t have to remember the name of the priest or the parishioners because I can still feel the emotions today that those passages conveyed so many months ago.

I am going to be thinking about how I can add DFF to my stories. I think these could work well in LI -- especially military romances. (The hero meets a man for a few hours in an airport who saved his life on the battlefield a decade ago. They share memories and a hug and then go their way. I think Mary would say this would help the reader like both characters.)

Vince

bonton said...

Julie,

The BFF's of the movie "Steel Magnolias" was mentioned in one of the comments. A new version came out a couple of years ago, but the original 1989 movie is the one to see - left a wonderful lasting impression on me. There is humor between the BFF's and while I'm not usually a fan of comedy in most movies - I appreciated it in this one. Have a tissue handy for your tears, also. The connection between the BFF's in this movie is "something to behold"!!

Thanks for your sweet comments - like you, I thank God that YOU are one of my BFF's, and am honored and thrilled that you are part of my "family" - especially since I never had a sister (another reason I enjoy them SO much in your novels)!!

BFF's who are also sisters-in-Christ are indescribable blessings, and forever friends in the true sense of the word!! Thank you for painting such vivid, life-like pictures of them in your novels!!

I'm SO anxiously awaiting the opportunity to hold that beautiful "Surprised by Love" cover in my hands, as well as the contemp WIP!! Love and treasure EVERY one of your novels for the way they have inspired me - and 1000X that for your personal inspiration, love, and sweet friendship!! Love you, my friend, and KEEP you in my prayers!!

Juanita Decuir said...

I CAN ELL YOU THIS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP...I MET HUSBAND HARRY WHEN I NEEDED A ROOMMATE AND AFTER A YEAR WE MARRIED NOT FOR LOVE BUT, FOR FRIENDSHIP AND COMPANIONSHIP, WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR MORE THAT 20 YEARS AND HAVE GROWN TO LOVE EACH OTHER, BUT THAT FRIENDSHIP HAD TO BE IMPORTANT I THINK IN ORDER TO DO SO, TO BE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER.

Regina said...

I believe God brings friends into our lives who need each other. I have a dear friend that is like a sister to me, we have been friends for almost ten years! We have been there for each other, the hardest part was when I moved away 5 1/2 years ago. Sometimes friendships break apart after a move but ours stayed solid. I thank God for her!

I am not a writer so I don't write about friendships.

Julie Lessman said...

LINDA MARIE ... thanks for trying to explain the green light ... heaven knows that's a WHOLE lot better than a red one!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CARA ... me too, have a BF for over 50 years, which is really nice to have such a good friend, but really scary that it's that long ... :|

Thanks, sweetie -- I like the cover too, a lot!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SALLY, you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and WOW, GIRL ... you are SMOKIN'!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

NATALIE ... you are about the 3rd or 4th person who has mentioned Frodo and Sam, so I definitely need to check out those books. :)

And Anne of Green Gables too -- that's another repeat. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: "The first thing I thought about when you mentioned friendships in this post were the friendships between the parish priest and his male parishioners. Playing basketball almost became a sacrament of male bonding."

SEE??? This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about with you, my friend -- your brain goes in directions that nobody else's does and yet it unearths SOOOO many truths and OMGs for me, truly!! I should pay you to analyze each book when I write it so I can fully appreciate it for what it is!! You ALWAYS make ME feel good about my own books with your insights, so THANK YOU for that as well. :)

LOVE the DFF concept, you brilliant man, you!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE ... you said: "BFF's who are also sisters-in-Christ are indescribable blessings, and forever friends in the true sense of the word!!"

Couldn't have said it better myself, my friend!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JUANITA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot tell you HOW fun it is to see you here, my friend -- do you come to Seekerville often? I haven't seen you around before, but maybe I just missed you.

You said: "I CAN TELL YOU THIS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP...I MET HUSBAND HARRY WHEN I NEEDED A ROOMMATE AND AFTER A YEAR WE MARRIED NOT FOR LOVE BUT, FOR FRIENDSHIP AND COMPANIONSHIP, WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR MORE THAT 20 YEARS AND HAVE GROWN TO LOVE EACH OTHER, BUT THAT FRIENDSHIP HAD TO BE IMPORTANT I THINK IN ORDER TO DO SO, TO BE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER."

WOW, girl, that could be a book, so I hope you consider writing one about how you and the love of your life met. And, YES, friendship is CRUCIAL in a marriage. My hubby is my best friend in the whole world, and I thank God every single day for him, as I'm sure you do too.

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest -- would love to send you a book!!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

REGINA SAID: "Sometimes friendships break apart after a move but ours stayed solid. I thank God for her!"

You are truly blessed, Regina, because it's been difficult for me since my prayer partner and mentor and best friend moved away, but you are right -- God does keep those kinds of deep friendships solid for us, a true blessing for sure!

And it's okay you're not a writer -- you can still read about friendships, right?

Hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

Love the new cover and love how you write BFF so well. I tend to make all my heroes loners, and my heroines are a bit on the loner side, too.

I can see that more BFFs are in order! :)

Lyndee H said...

Hi Julie,
I'm weaning myself off FB, too. I started it March 1 when I committed to SPEEDBO. It is freeing not to be tied down over there.

Friends - Melanie and Scarlet. Every inch of Melanie is just the opposite of Scarlet. I like the juxtaposition of their personalities, yet despite those differences, they are beacons for each other.

Julie Lessman said...

THANKS, PAMMY!!

And loners, huh? Maybe that's become we tend to think of the Wild
West and prairie stories as being a lot of loners -- you know, on a ranch in the middle of nowhere or no neighbors for miles around?

You had a pretty good BF in Jake, as I recall, so don't sell yourself short, my friend.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LYNDEE, you are SO dead-on with Scarlett and Melanie -- GREAT BFF!!!

And I'm proud of you for backing away from FB too -- I swear it's a black hole. ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Julie, love that rich friendship in your books. Oh yes, friends are so important, for confiding in, comedic relief, to bounce things off. In my WIP both the h&h have friends. Couldn't tell the story without them. Just skimmed through the comments today. Have a blog and my word count to get in.

Wilani Wahl said...

I managed to get 500 words written this afternoon and then it is off to church and Awanas. Hopefully I will be able to get a little more written after church.

It is so good for me to be able to check in like this.

Everyone has been an encouragement.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh I WIN!!!!

MY POST TOMORROW IS SHORTER THAN JULIE'S!!!!!

LAUGHING, LAUGHING, LAUGHING!!!

Julie, what a perfect analogy and a great example of how to flesh things out.

Marvelous.

I'm in the middle of a blizzard here in upstate NY so my day has been interesting. Winter does not seem to want to relinquish his grasp, so we're baking cookies, doing mailings, and we watched movies with the kids who were out of school because of the closings... So a funny day, but fine!!!

Andie said...

Great post! My heroine has a best friend and she is helping her deal with the news she found out.

I love the cover!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Jules, You always write the most interesting stuff. Great post. Thanks for all this wonderful info.

And my heroine Monica has a BFF who is always trying to fix her up with a date. Monica misses a great business tip because she thinks that is what her BFF is doing when she wants to introduce her to a business consultant.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb H., I'm using a Ruth and Naomi twist to a story.

Of course I love that beautiful Biblical story because of my name....

(Captain Obvious, right????)

But the story is just so beautiful, so heartfelt regardless of names.

And we can all relate to those women, alone, knowing there was no one to help take care of them but themselves.

And clinging together.

Love it!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, I think that's one of my favorite covers.... It's stunning, and what a standout.

SUHWEEEEET!

Thea Colebank said...

This is a fantastic post!! I love seeing different relationships and friendships in books. It makes them so much more relatable and realistic. I am an aspiring writer and I love the idea of weaving humor and friendships into books and stories. Julie, your characters jump right off the page and they become living and breathing people not just words on a page!! That is one of the many reasons I love your books so much. You are a gifted author and I thank you for being the writer that you are.

Tanya Agler said...

Dear Julie, Thank you for the post about how friendships can enhance characters.

I immediately thought of a friendship mentioned several times: Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables. Someone mentioned TV, and I love how in Friends and HIMYM, both shows featured couples who are best friends as well as couples. I also love Jane Austen's sisters who are friends as well.

Friendships are key to the book I'm writing. A big thank you to the organizers of Speedbo. So far I've written a little over 15,000 words this month: those 1000 word days do add up quickly.

Thank you so much for the insight on what friendships can add to the story.

Micaela Wood said...

First, may I just say that Surprised by Love is your prettiest book cover yet!! LOVE it!

I'm using the friendship angle to flesh out the hero in my WIP. The hero is not a Christian but his best friend is, which makes for an interesting little adventure every time i sit down to write! They have some unique best-friend conversations, shall we say ;) the fact that a best friend is a Christian and burdened for his friend's eternal security makes one want the hero to accept Christ all the more.
This post was so helpful, Julie...thank you!!!

Many hugs,
Micaela :)

bookworm9404(at)gmail(dot)com

www.micaela419.wordpress.com

Audra Harders said...

Oh Julie, MY FRIEND, you spelled out friendship to the most extraordinary degree. I'm such a fan of your writing, your characters, the relationships that blossom...

Oh my! Even in friendship, you showcase the essence of conflict. Every one of your characters is so inherently strong, they create a battle of wills without realizing what they're doing. I love how their BFFs have the chutzpah to tell them when they're wrong, and stand up to the inevitable denial for their friend's own good.

Don't we all want friends like that? It keeps me reading into the night because your characters feel like MY old friends.

I love it!!

LoRee Peery said...

What a terrific post, Julie. I used the friendship of sisters in my Frivolities series. A little bit of my sister made sneak appearances.
Speedbo is going great for me. Thanks for the incentive and prayers and don't give up if you have a down day, fellow Speeders.

LoRee Peery said...

What a terrific post, Julie. I used the friendship of sisters in my Frivolities series. A little bit of my sister made sneak appearances.
Speedbo is going great for me. Thanks for the incentive and prayers and don't give up if you have a down day, fellow Speeders.

CatMom said...

Awesome post as always, sweet Julie!! You are AMAZING!!
Two things my heroines always have: A BFF and a CAT! (okay, sometimes more than one cat, hehe). Maybe because friends are so important in my life, I figure I can't write a heroine without her own best friend.
Thanks for this post and these examples you shared---you are wonderful.
Hugs, Patti Jo

Karen McFarland said...

Hi Julie!

This is the exact reason your stories fly off the page! Best friends keep us real. They keep us humble. They're not afraid to say what we don't necessarily want to hear. Which helps to keep the conflict going in the scene!

Interesting. My character's BFF's do the same thing. I love the cause and reaction that happens on the page. It really makes things exciting.

Funny, this was done on a subconscious level. And now I see why it works.

Thanks Julie! You are so generous! This was an excellent post!

Angel Moore said...

There's so much excellent information here in Seekerville. I'm so glad I signed up for Speedbo.

Angel

Jenny Blake said...

Right now I cant think of a best friend in books right now. I do know of an aunt which was close to her niece. When the niece visited in Florida they had a connection and the niece was able to turn the grandmother around to give the aunt a life. I really loved this relationship as at the time I was a carer and could see the manipulation of the aunt (had dealt with alot of it myself). LOved how Myla (i think it was) helped Aunt Louisa by calling out the grandmother. The book was Simply Myla (I think). by Virginia Smith.

sorry im late. I had a day out Tuesday which has exhausted me. I am accepting pain is part of my life now just and need to find ways to deal with it.

Terri said...

Gorgeous cover! You always seem to have great covers though. In my novella, the BFF is why the heroine won't admit her attraction for the hero.

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, ELAINE, and smart girl having BFFs for both the hero and the heroine ... lots of extra depth there, girlfriend. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, LANI, I am SOOO glad you've been encouraged, my friend, and 500 words is WAY more than I wrote today, so you go, girl!!

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Ruthy, you are SUCH a little brat!! I actually considered cutting one of the scenes because I wanted to shorten the stupid thing, but you know how we are with excerpts! Although come to think of it, I don't really remember you posting too many excerpts. Mmmm ... you are obviously not as much of an exhibitionist as me. :)

Stay warm!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, ANDIE ... I'm pretty crazy about the cover too. In fact, it's my favorite one since A Passion Most Pure, although I have liked all my covers. BUT ... there's just something special about this one -- maybe because I know what a sweetheart Meg is. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, gosh, SANDRA ... thank you, my friend, but maybe it's because I'm just a little on the quirky side, so my posts are maybe a littttttle on the edge of the norm??? ;)

Oh, WOW, your story sounds reallllly good to me -- LOVE fix-ups and if you think about it, you really don't read about them too much in novels, do you? So it sounds really unique. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RUTHY ... LOVE the idea of a Ruth and Naomi twist, my friend, and if anybody can bull it off like a pro, it's you, so can't wait to read it!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, Ruthy -- I think so too! Like I told Andie above, it's my favorite cover since A Passion Most Pure, although I've liked all of them pretty well. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, THEA, I think you just made me cry, girlfriend -- thank you for your incredibly sweet comment, and I am SO glad you are an aspiring writer, my friend -- Seekerville is definitely the place to be for that. :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, TANYA, I am SOOOO impressed, my friend -- 15,000 words??? YIKES!! I'm embarrassed because I, too, set 1,000 words a day as my goal, but I got side-tracked by edits that took me a week, so I'm not in such good a shape as you. :(

Keep it up, girl, and you'll have a novella by end of month. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MICAELA ... I think so too, at least since A Passion Most Pure, which is my very favorite (who could NOT love a cover with Collin on the front ... hubba, hubba!!).

SO glad the post was helpful to you, and sounds like you have a very interesting scenario there with a Christian best friend to a nonbeliever. You can do a WHOLE LOT with that, girl, so go for it!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AUDS, you couldn't give me a nicer compliment because I SO respect your opinion and love you to pieces!!

AND ... somebody has a birthday tomorrow, I believe ... I got a little trigger happy on sending your e-card, but I hope tomorrow is the BEST EVER for you -- one of the BEST friends EVER!!

LOVE YOU!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LoREE ... ooooo, what a great name for a series ... "Frivolities" ... LOVE IT!!

And SO glad Speedbo is going well for you ... glad it's going well for someone ... ;) Edits put me behind, but life happens. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PATTI JO!!! Thanks, you sweet thing, and LOVE your statement that "Two things (your) heroines always have: A BFF and a CAT!"

LOL ... I gotta tell you that I am primarily a dog person, so most of my books have golden retrievers, which is what I had most of my life. BUT ... Emma, the heroine in my 5th book (A Heart Revealed) struck me as a cat girl, so I gave her two -- Guinevere and Lancelot, and GOSH, did I have fun with those two -- so much so that I will probably do more cats in the future. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, KAREN, thank you SOOO much for your kind words, my friend -- MUCH appreciated!

You said, "Interesting. My character's BFF's do the same thing. I love the cause and reaction that happens on the page. It really makes things exciting. Funny, this was done on a subconscious level. And now I see why it works."

See??? You are WAY ahead of the game, girl, so YAY!! Gotta love stories with BFFs because of the "cause and reaction" excitement in relationships other than those with the H and H! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, ANGEL, I am too, girlfriend!! Just having you in Seekerville adds to the fun, so we're glad you signed up.

GOOD LUCK and Godspeedbo!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, JENNY, NO!! You're still experiencing a lot of pain?? That is NOT right, and will have to step up the prayers, my friend. :|

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TERRI ... I think so too, especially this one -- I love it!!

And, ooooo, that's an interesting take on BFFs in a book -- I like it!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Jana Vanderslice said...

My favorite fictional friendship has to be from "Anne of Green Gables"- Anne and Dianna Barry! That friendship just can't be beat!

I can't wait to try the friendship angle in my story. It is actually a pretty big part of the plot already. I got the idea from one of my best friend's facebook post!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JANA ... would you believe you are like the 4th or 5th person who's mentioned Anne of Green Gables ... gotta be a trend there that says I need to read those books!!

And, YES, you will have fun with the friendship angle, I promise, so you go, girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

Starlight Starbright said...

One of my favourite character friendships is the friendship between Katniss and Gale in the Hunger Games :D they don't just seem like friends, they seem like flesh and blood.

Also, I love the friendship between Charity and Emma in your books Julie :) because it's so beautiful to see how they develop and mature together as they go through challenges that life throws at them :)

Tina Pinson said...

Great cover!

My characters must have friends. Although I've had a couple that didn't. several have the close siblings. Sisters most of the time since I have four who are close to me.

If they have close friends I might try to give them a dog or horse.

Sara Ella said...

I love the friendship between Mackenna and Veronica in Doon. This story really kept me turning pages. I liked how Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon wrote from each girl's perspective. Really gave me an inside look into how two friends who are so different can be just what each one needs:)

Edwina said...

Excellent post - fantastic tips! I love, love, love the book cover - I need that hat for Easter!

RATS SMITH said...

Hi Julie...Sounds like you have a great editor! Friends are the glue we all need to hold us together in time of need. Our only son died Jan 18, 2014 and with God's help and our friends physical hugs, we are gradually going on with our lives.
Thanks so much for sharing your God given talent of writing with all us readers. Anxiously waiting for your next book. God bless you Julie.

Julie Lessman said...

STARLIGHT SAID: "One of my favourite character friendships is the friendship between Katniss and Gale in the Hunger Games :D they don't just seem like friends, they seem like flesh and blood."

Ooooo, you're the first to mention them, Star, but I like how you put it -- "seem like flesh and blood." That's EXACTLY what we're going for here, and BFFs do help to do that A LOT, making the hero or heroine that much more ALIVE in our minds because we all relate to friendship, right?

Thanks SO much for your sweet comment about Emma and Charity, and I do think they are a perfect example of how much friendship deepens a hero or heroine, making them more real or "flesh and blood," as you said. Emma definitely does that for Charity. Without Emma in APR, Charity is nothing more than a vain, shallow, unfeeling woman, but Emma's beauty inside helps to transform Charity's inner beauty as well.

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TINA ... I really like it too!

LOL ... you said, "If they have no close friends I might try to give them a dog or horse."

:) Not a dog or a cat, eh? A horse? You are TOO cute!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SARA SAID: "I love the friendship between Mackenna and Veronica in Doon. This story really kept me turning pages. I liked how Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon wrote from each girl's perspective. Really gave me an inside look into how two friends who are so different can be just what each one needs:)"

OH,YES, Sara, I can see how each friend being written from a different author's POV would be an AWESOME way to incorporate friendship into a story.

We had Lorie Langdon on Seekerville last year, and I LOVED the concept of Doon, so I really need to read it.

Thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

EDWINA!!!! Sooooooo good to see you again, my sweet friend -- how the heck have you been??

LOL ... yes, that hat is definitely my fave of all the San Fran covers, as is this cover, in fact. I LOVE it, and I'm glad you do too! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RATS SMITH ... my stomach dropped when I read your comment about your son -- I am so very sorry to hear that and am welling up with tears even now as I write this. I am putting your name on a sticky note RIGHT NOW to pray for you and your family during this hard time. I am SO glad God is SO faithful to hold you and yours in His arms through the arm of precious friends in your time of need.

God bless you, my friend!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Wanda Barefoot said...

Rats Smith I agree with Julie. I am so sorry for your loss and can't even imagine what you are going through. My prayers are with you and your family.

My favorite friendship in a book?
I have to say Lily and Marcus in Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman. They were friends first and a couple second but their friendship was absolutely beautiful. They were each what the other one needed in their worst moments and, to me, that's what a friend is.

Thank you for the beautiful post on friendship Miss Julie! love you, Lady. :)

Linnette R Mullin said...

Hi, Julie! I left the page yesterday to download your Kindle, got side-tracked and didn't make it back. But here I am. Love the points on this post! Very helpful! Thank you! :D

Speedbo update: I finished my second guest blog post and am getting ready to hit #3 tomorrow!!! All in all, I've written about 3K so far. Not much, but I'm glad to be writing at all right now! :D

Julie Lessman said...

WANDA!!! Hey, girl, it's SO fun to see you here, my friend, and it sounds like I might have to get my hands on Anita's book because I like those slow friendship-blooms-into-love kind of stories, which was why I enjoyed writing Sean and Emma's story so much. Don't get me wrong -- I like writing the explosive relationships like Charity and Mitch in A Passion Redeemed or Katie and Luke in A Hope Undaunted, but there's something about that slow falling in love from a friendship that's VERY nice. :)

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and I love you too!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, LINNETTE, you go, girl!!

It's SO great to see you here, my friend, and I think you've been pretty darn busy with your new book, haven't you? I hope it's going well, Linnette, and that the experience was good for you. :)

And thank you for downloading APMP -- I think you read it already, didn't you, when it first came out?

Hugs and here's to a win!

Julie

Melody said...

I love how your advice is so practical and down to earth. Even for non-writers, it's a hoot to see what goes into all your books. Does your brain ever turn off? Does your husband have the switch?

Favorite character relationships...how Mellonie was so sweet to Scarlet even though Scarlet was a jealous stinker of Mellonie.

missionwife@hotmail.com

Rebecca DeMarino said...

great advice, Julie! and I think you are such a good example for your characters ~ truly a wonderfully good friend! i love your stories - please keep them coming!

Julie Lessman said...

MELODY!!! Always love seeing your sweet face pop up, you sweetheart, you! How's the mission field going?

And does my brain ever turn off? HA!! Only with 1/4 dose of Wal-mart generic sleep-aid -- knocks me out every single time. ;)

And does my husband have the switch? Oh, honey, he's got the switch, all right ... only it doesn't turn me off ... ;) Sorry ... TMI, but don't you just love that romance happens at ANY age???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, BECKY, SO great to see you here, my friend, and have I ever told you how much I love the cover of your debut book? I am SO excited to read it!!

Thanks for coming by! :)

Hugs,
Julie

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 204   Newer› Newest»