Wednesday, September 9, 2015

READ ‘EM & WEEP: Implementing Kleenex Moments in Your Novel


Okay, I have a confession to make. I cry when I read my own books. A lot. And, no, not because they’re that bad—although there have been times I’ve felt that way—but because I am a bona fide WCDQ.

Weepy Caffeinated Drama Queen. 

Sigh.

Yes, I know a lot of authors cry when they read their own novels, but how many do you know who actually rate their books by how many Kleenex they go through when reading the galleys? Mmm-huh … I thought so.

I actually have a Kleenex rating system that tells me just how much of a tearjerker my books may be. My average per book is 12 Kleenex, but my final O’Connor book, book 6, A Love Surrendered, literally filled my wastebasket with over 30 soggy tissues.

Now, yes, I realize that this was the final book in a seven-book series where I literally fell in love with each and every character, so it was like saying goodbye to family. And then, of course, there is the WCDQ factor, which most people don’t have to my extreme. So the number of tears I cry per each of my books does not translate into the number of tears my readers expend, certainly, but it does significantly increase the chances that a reader may experience tearjerker emotion. Whether it’s saltwater slithering down a cheek, a mere sting of moisture beneath the eyelids, a lump in the throat, or a good ol’ sinus burn as painful as snorting milk, all qualify as tearjerker emotions in my opinion.

So, why do we as authors want to make people cry? 

Well, because when you capture readers’ emotions, you capture their hearts, their interest, their loyalty, and if you are a Christian author, you capture inroads into their souls where God can use you to bring them closer to Him.

So I thought it would be fun (in a weepy kind of way) for me to analyze my own favorite tearjerker scenes to see just what they have in common and just why they make me cry. And what I found is that my personal tearjerker scenes always have to do with the human condition, tapping into that place that we can all relate to. Using our words and our experiences to make people feel what we feel … or what we have felt in our own lives. 

For me, personally, the trigger components I found in some of my weepiest scenes are things that relate to:

—God/Faith/Revelation
—Family
—Sacrifice
—Wounded Children or Pets
—Memories
—Pain/Death
—Abuse
—Relatability
—Sympathy
—Tragedy
—Underdog

And, of course, the list can go on and on. But … as authors we need to remember that it’s not just about the situation, setting, or scenario, it’s about the words we use to emotionally draw the reader into that situation, setting, or scenario, so let’s analyze the following scenes for some emotional clues as to how we can do that.

1.) The following clip is from A Passion Redeemed in which the heroine Charity O’Connor returns home to Boston after suffering a personal tragedy that draws her closer to God and to her family, especially her estranged father. What I noticed when I studied this scene is it’s loaded with emotional clues—thoughts and actions the reader can see, feel, and relate to, hopefully to elicit an emotional response.

        She felt Myrna’s arm encircle her waist and looked up, tears streaking her face. “Oh, Myrna, God is so good.”
        Myrna leaned her head against hers. “He is for a fact.”
        They stood there, arm in arm, until the ship docked at the shore where crowds milled at the gangplank. Charity’s heart began to race. Her gaze anxiously probed the throng, searching for the one face that could heal her heart. And when she spotted a zoot hat waving wildly above the crowd, she laughed, the sound winging in the air. 
        “Father,” she screamed. She jumped and waved and cried till she laughed, hugging Myrna with more joy bubbling inside than she’d known in a lifetime. 
        Her father stood tall on the shore, dressed in his best suit and a grin, pressed in on all sides by people he probably didn’t even see. She’d forgotten how handsome he was, and her heart swelled with love. Daddy, oh Daddy, I missed you so much. She wiped a sleeve to her eyes and stifled a sob. One of the last, she hoped, for a long, long while. 
        He blew her a kiss, and she caught it, holding the fragile gift in her hand. She pressed her lips to her palm and held it to her heart, then swooned. The giggle of a little girl took flight from her throat.

Emotional clues I tried to utilize to draw the reader into Charity’s experience are:

—Gratitude toward God
—The closeness of friendship conveyed through tender actions
—A father’s love and excitement to see his daughter
—Charity’s own physical reactions/actions: tears, laughter, jumping, waving, bubbling, sobbing, heart swelling, swooning

The one KEY thing I noticed in this scene and ALL weepy scenes is that you MUST show an emotional reaction on the characters’ part if you want to elicit the same from your reader. Which is why it’s critical to convey physical reactions, especially through tears, misty eyes, a bob of a throat, trembling lips, shaky hands, a clutch of the stomach or heart, whatever can transfer the character’s emotional experience to the reader. This is where personal memories and experiences come in handy … uh, along with a mirror! 

2.) This next clip is from A Light in the Window, where the heroine Marceline Murphy  is holding auditions for a church fundraiser play in which a frail little girl in a wheel chair auditions with little or no chance of winning a part. 
        
        Marcy swiped at the wetness that pricked in her eyes and leaned forward, noting the faded calico dress the little girl wore that appeared three sizes too big. Her pale face made her appear like a china doll with liquid-brown eyes, twisting Marcy’s heart. “Holly, do you know the Christmas carol, Oh, Holy Night?”
        The little girl nodded, chestnut hair trailing fragile shoulders as she gave Marcy a sweet smile. “Yes, ma’am,” she whispered, her voice so soft and wispy, Marcy worried no one would be able to hear.
        “Perfect.” Marcy glanced up at the piano. “Julie, let’s try C major, all right?”
        Whether it was the fact that it was late and everyone was tired or whether it was the sight of a frail little girl in a wheelchair who longed to be a part of the play, the room stilled to a hush. Marcy’s breath suspended as she waited, the pounding of her own pulse in her ears drowning out Julie’s musical intro. And then, in the sweet and soulful song of a little girl, a steamy and noisy auditorium became the gate of heaven itself as a sound so poignant rose in the room, Marcy had no power over the tears that slipped from her eyes. 
        For several thudding heartbeats after the last note was sung, the silence was almost painful, an ache in Marcy’s chest over the loss of a voice that had ushered them into the very presence of God. And then, in a blast of applause that swelled to the ceiling, the audience shot to their feet along with Marcy and Sister Francine, dewy-eyed over a delicate little girl who may not be able to walk, but whose voice could soar to the sky.

Emotional clues are:

—A soft-spoken and frail child in a wheelchair who elicits sympathy for her plight
—A steamy, noisy auditorium filled with tired and cranky people juxtaposed against the sweet and soulful song of a little girl
—Marcy’s worry/sympathy that the little girl wouldn’t be able to do it
—The crowd’s reaction with deafening applause, cheering for the underdog
—Conveying Holly’s song as almost holy, likening it to entering the presence of God
—Marcy’s reaction with suspended breath, tears, thudding heartbeat, and an ache in her chest

A tiny and tattered little girl in a wheelchair in and of itself is heart-rending, but when you utilize that same little girl to transform a rowdy audience into silent awe, hopefully the reader’s emotions are being stirred along with the characters. Again, showing the characters physical reactions is key to transporting your audience.

3.) Nothing tugs at the heartstrings quite like a strong, silent male teetering on the emotional edge when he expresses his love for someone he loves, especially an innocent child. In this next clip from my novella in the upcoming Seeker Home for Christmas Historical Collection “The Best Gift of All,” the hero is going through a rough patch in his marriage where his wife becomes distant and removed, devoting most of her time and attention to their children. 

        Brady watched as Lizzie bounded down the hall with Molly in her arms. He studied the contour of his wife’s beautiful face when she paused to blow him a kiss at Molly’s door, those near-violet eyes entreating her cause. He’d married the perfect mother, a thought that unsettled him for the very first time. Hoping to put her mind at ease, he returned her smile with a faint one of his own before following behind to say good night to his son. 
       Teddy was fast asleep, curled in a ball with his stuffed monkey by his side, and Brady bent to kiss his cheek. He smelled of toothpaste and soap and just a hint of chocolate, and Brady’s throat swelled with emotion so quickly, he fell to his knees to give him a fierce hug. Sweet heaven, how he loved his kids! He stared at Teddy through guilt-stricken eyes. Which made the feelings he was having the last few weeks all the worse. Rising, he silently padded from the room and closed the door, a heavy exhale threading his lips.
        Jealousy.

Emotional clues:

—A strong and stoic man who seldom appears emotional breaking down to express love for his child
—Words like “Brady’s throat swelled with emotion so quickly” are so powerful and relatable that they almost make my throat swell too in context with this tense scene. —Actions like “he fell to his knees to give him a fierce hug” are compounded with thoughts of love for his children, hopefully to evoke an emotional response from the reader as well. 

4.) There are all kinds of triggers to make people cry and care, but none touch me more than spiritual revelation and connection with God because the bottom line is, that is why we were created. As a Christian author, touching the hearts of my readers for God is my highest priority. Which is why most of the Kleenex I expend when reading my galleys are connected to spiritual scenes that remind me just why I write—to touch people’s hearts for God like He has touched mine. 

The following scene is from A Love Surrendered, and I have to say, it’s one of my very favorites of all, where the hero—a good man motivated solely by guilt and self-condemnation—is finally set free through the love of God.

        “Pop!”
Patrick turned on the bottom step, eyeing his son through tired eyes.
        Striding forward, Steven clutched him in a tight embrace that thickened the walls of his throat. “I love you, Pop, and if gratitude to God means anything, then I’m already halfway where you want me to be. Because I can never thank him enough for sparing your life.”
        Voice gruff, Patrick slapped Steven on the back. “I love you, son.” Heading up the stairs, he stopped to circle halfway. “You know, you might consider giving that young woman another shot, Steven, because I believe God will help you do the right thing. Good night.”
        Steven watched his father scale the steps, no way to stop the gratitude that leaked from his eyes. He swiped at his face and headed back to the parlor and then stopped, moving to the front door instead with a purposeful gait. Stepping outside, he sucked in a deep breath, thick with the loamy scent of wet leaves and wood smoke. He found himself surrounded by stillness except for drizzle on the roof, the distant yapping of a dog, and the pounding of his pulse in his ears. Hands braced on the porch railing, he stared up into a sky as thick and foggy as his brain had been over the last month and wondered if it were really true, that God could help him be the man Annie needed him to be. The man that Steven had longed to be all of his life.
        “I don’t know, Pop,” he had said, “it all sounds too good to be true . . .” And yet, what if it was true? He trusted his father with his life . . . but what if he could trust God with it as well? Closing his eyes, he thought of Annie and knew she was a woman he could love to the depth of his soul if only he could trust himself to do the right thing.
        “God will help you do the right thing.”
        His father’s parting words opened his eyes, prompting him to search the heavens. “Will you, God? Will you help me to do the right thing—not just with Annie, but with the rest of my life? I . . .” His whisper broke in the dark, hoarse and cracked and so desperate for change that emotion choked the words in his throat. “I-I’ve made so many mistakes . . . with my father, with Maggie, with you. I’m begging you . . .” A heave shuddered his body. “Forgive me, please . . . and change me like you changed my father . . . and help me to become the man you want me to be.”
        The steady beat of the rain drummed on the roof while the cold air chilled his body, the cool and damp of impending winter heavy in the air. And yet somehow, Steven felt warm, his breathing shallow as his eyes scanned the sky. There were no bolts of lightning to illuminate the dark nor peals of thunder to herald anything new. Only the still small voice of God in his heart, stirring a flame of hope that brought peace to his soul.
        He leadeth me beside the still waters . . . He restoreth my soul . . . He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness . . .
        “I don’t understand,” Steven rasped, eyes brimming with tears. “Why do you even care?
        Because you are mine, the thought came, and Steven bowed his head and wept.
Because for the first time in his life, he finally understood.
        He was.

Emotional clues:

—A prodigal son expressing and receiving love from a father he once defied who now points him to his ultimate Father in heaven
—A repentant and broken conversation with God that restores his soul and his life
—A strong, stoic, and good man with little use for God breaking down emotionally to bend his knee before His Savior

GIVEAWAY!
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone through at least ten Kleenex writing this silly blog, so now it’s your turn to tell me what makes YOU weepy in a novel or one novel that made you cry and why. Leave a comment telling me, and you will be entered to win an early e-copy of my upcoming contemporary novel, Isle of Hope, which will be released late October or early November OR an e-copy of any of my books of your choice.

ABOUT JULIE:
Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named 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. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie 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, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.
Hugs and pass the Kleenex!
Julie


104 comments:

Annie Hemby said...

Love this post today! I love Kleenex momments in novels! Little kids in books make me weepy. And redemption and forgiveness.

Happy Wednesday, Seekerville!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Haha, love Julie on the color coordinated tissue box. And if a book can make me cry and laugh, big big kudos. It's a keeper!!!

Barbara Scott said...

You ALWAYS make me cry in your books, Julie. Always. Especially when a strong man breaks down and finally seeks redemption. I do love a bad boy who turns good.

Love the pic of you on a Kleenex box! How did you do that? LOL

Jill Weatherholt said...

Wonderful post, Julie. All of the trigger components you mentioned, make me reach for a box of Kleenex. Issues I might be dealing with in my own life, can really turn on the waterworks too.
The Isle of Hope cover is fabulous!

Jackie said...

Great post, Julie!

My chest aches more at sad moments, and I cry more at the joyous and tender moments.

What a beautiful cover on The Isle of Hope! Thanks for sharing today!

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, SEEKERVILLE!!!

Crying tears is hard work, be they happy or sad, so to boost us for the effort, I've got a full IHOP spread since IHOP makes my favorite pancakes. Dig in to omelets, waffles, blintzes, and more ... with a side of any kind of pancake your heart desires. YUM!!

Agreed, ANNIE, little kids can wring those crocodile tears out of you for sure, but NOTHING does it like scenes of redemption and forgiveness, so I am with you, girlfriend!

May all your tears be happy ones!

Hugs and good luck in the contest,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, TINA ... "color coordinated" is a pain (and tear) free venture when one is married to an artist. Now book covers and newsletters??? Uh, not so much! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, BARBARA, THANK YOU!! That is a true compliment because what makes me weepy doesn't always do the same for somebody else. Uh-oh ... that COULD mean we are a little alike and gulp, isn't THAT a scary venture for you!! Enough to make a person tear up ... ;)

Oh, and YES, YES, YES, I do love a bad boy who turns good as well, so I can't wait to read it, my friend!

My artist hubby usually takes a pic of me in whatever pose I need, them plops me down in whatever setting I want. The Kleenex box was relatively easy because we already had a pic of me sitting that he took a while back (and one which I have used numerous times, sitting on various things (i.e. a box, a lightbulb, etc.)). That is, however, my own personal Kleenex box that sits on my counter, which he just shot out on our porch because we couldn't find any pix of Kleenex boxes at the right angle. :)

It pays to marry an artist, I think. Uh, pays me, that is, NOT him ... ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, JILL, I really like the cover for Isle of Hope, too, which almost surprises me. I'm a pretty tough customer, so much so that when I gave my ideas to my artist hubby to make a "comp" I could send to my cover designer, I wasn't even sure I liked it. But when Kim of The Killion Group got a hold of it, WOW, she had the magic touch to bring to life what I had seen in my head, and beautifully so, so THANK YOU!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE SAID: "My chest aches more at sad moments, and I cry more at the joyous and tender moments."

Good observation, my friend, and I would have to agree with that. It's the tender and poignant moments that get me every time and the most often.

Thanks for your feedback on the IOH cover -- I hope you enjoy the story as much as the outside. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Jeanne T said...

What a great post. I always try to figure out what kind of end I want to my books, and often I want one with happy tears. You've helped me figure out some of the components that can lead to this sort of ending (and for good emotion throughout the book too!). Loved LOVED this post, Julie. Thank you!

Cara Lynn James said...

Love your picture on the box of tissues!

You have a real gift for evoking emotion, but I can see you're also very much aware of how it's done.

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Julie, I love stories where the characters "is finally set free by the live of God." It makes me misty because it brings to my mind all the times I keep repenting and asking God for forgiveness, which he does without hesitation.
Don't put my name in the giveway!! I already won a copy last month here on Seekerville. Just anxiously waiting for Isle of Hope to release, so I can read it. God bless!

Cindy Regnier said...

Hi Julie. Great post and pictures! I am not much a crier in books and movies. However - and I think I have told you this before - one of your books recently made me cry. Twice! That's unheard of for me, and makes me admire you all the more. In A Passion Denied (which has remained at the top of my favorite book list for quite awhile now), it was 1. a heartbreaking moment between Marcy and Patrick and 2. the scene when Collin comes home devastated and despairing after a day of helping Brady pack to leave. So you see, what jerked my tears wasn't necessarily the romance of the main characters, but the friendship between the two male characters and the incredible hurt Marcy endured in her relationship with her husband of many years. So, suffice it to say, I ache at the sad moments. The joyful, tender moments tend to make me smile. And Julie - if I'm in a mood to have my emotion pulled out and stretched to the very end of my heartstrings - YOU are my go-to author. Nobody does emotion better than Julie. Thank you for all the beautiful reading moments you've given me!

Caryl Kane said...

Good Morning JULIE! Pardon me while I dry my tears. *snif snif* You have a beautiful way with words. I enjoy books that stir up my emotions and connect me to the story. Please put me in for the draw for one your books.

psalm103and138[at]gmail[dot]com

Carolyn Astfalk said...

I don't cry easily - unless I'm pregnant. That's a different story. What gets me most though is sacrificial love. Particularly when a man sacrifices everything for the woman he loves by doing what's right no matter the cost. Especially if that means he can't be WITH the love of his life. That's most likely to draw some tears from my eyes.

Myra Johnson said...

A Kleenex rating system--love it, Julie!

Yikes, I teared up this morning watching the replay of Venus hugging Serena at the end of their match last night! And, naturally, my mind started toying with all kinds of story ideas about two sisters in competition.

Wait--JULIE LESSMAN ALREADY DID THAT!!!!

Sarah said...

I've never read your books Julie, just happened to stumble across your blog! Love this post. Have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning JULIE, Well my dear you do know how to make us grab that Kleenex box. smile. I love that scene of the girl in the wheel chair singing in your book A Light in The Window. That moved me the first time I read it and still does.

Thanks for sharing the clues on how to achieve the teary emotions. You are my favorite WCDQ. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Love the photo of you sitting on the box of Kleenex. You should print that and frame it for your office. chuckle

Julie said...

Hi Julie! You know me, I'm the non-CDQ that hates to cry or get emotional. That being said, I think a few of your books have been the cause of many teary reads! I think what triggers my emotions the most are the repentance scenes where the character finally turns to God and scenes where someone dies, but before they die they are able to help another soul in their path to faith. For the most part I'm not a fan of a man breaking down in tears a lot, but I do like to see a man get emotional over his family, the knot in the throat, and the heart swelling with love. Great post :) Looking forward to your new book coming out!

bonton said...

Good morning, Julie!! Loved your post, as always!!

Which elements in a novel make me 'weepy'?? Each of the ones you mentioned - however, the scenes that make me the most emotional are those with children, those prompting memories, or relating to my own life, and those of characters being redeemed through the love of God!!

Which books have made me weep?? Yours, my dear - EVERY one of them!! YOU take the Kleenex award!!

Love the cover on 'Isle of Hope' - the joyful, bright colors beckon and draw me in!! I'm a 'goner' for water scenes of that type. Impatiently awaiting the opportunity to read 'Isle of Hope' and 'The Best Gift Of All' - thanks for dangling that scene from 'The Best Gift Of All' before my eyes and making me weep!!

Love you, love your books - Julie!!

Pam Hillman said...

Great post, Julie! You definitely know how to tug at our heartstrings. Maybe we should offer a box (or a case? lol) of tissue with every one of your books! :)

My most recent crying jag was when I was about 2/3 of the way through writing All Aboard: Destination Christmas in that Home for Christmas Collection above. [[[Still LOVING on that cover!]]] But the crying was because I was ... as usual ... in that place where the story is just NOT working. Then I got all tingly and sorta weepy after I finished, went through 2-3 rounds of edits and realized I'd pulled it off! lol

Jackie Smith said...

Julie, you made my day......as you always do! Love your post and love your books! I will be sure to have plenty of Kleenex on hand when I read your new book, Isle of Hope. I am so anxious to read it...so please enter me.
Thanks for your giveaway and for all the ways you inspire us readers!

DebH said...

I don't know what it says about me that even commercials get me weepy. *sigh*

Most of the Seeker ladies books have me grabbing a tissue box. I'm mean, even Mary Connealy's stuff gets me in tears. It's usually because of relationship parent/child stuff or abandonment. Ruthy with her heart, hearth stuff gets me every time. And that wheelchair girl? Yeppers. Had to grab another tissue and got a funny look from the hubby. He teases me about my "boo-hoo"ing.

Cool post Julie. As a graphic artist, I knew how you got that sitting on tissue box, and appreciated the skill of your hubby to pull it off so nicely.

DebH said...

p.s.
I'm always in for a Seeker book. Especially a guaranteed four to five tissue opportunity of one of yours. (a new book rating system instead of stars perhaps?)

Myra Johnson said...

DEB H, those heart-tugging Hallmark Card ads get me every time!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks JEANNE T -- I'm thrilled you got something out of this besides a sinus headache! ;)

Happy tears is where it's at for me, too, so those are definitely the ones we should be going after in our writing!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, CARA, it would be a sorry day, indeed, if a bonafide WCDQ couldn't evoke some emotion -- there have to be SOME perks to being a hyper DQ, after all, right???

Yeah, and trust me, smack dab on a box of tissues is where I've been living since the move two weeks ago coupled with an impromptu visit to the ER for my hubby, so this post helped me to decompress! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KELLY, AMEN!!! I'm right there with you, girlfriend, in loving stories where the characters "are finally set free by the love of God." Nothing wrings tears from my eyes like that, let me tell you@

And, YES, you will be one of the very first ones to receive a copy of IOH, which hopefully will be in early Oct. :)

Hugs!
Julie

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

EXCELLENT point, Julie about showing the reaction in your character too.

My fab editor keeps trying to pound this into me but I keep thinking... "Surely the reader knows this. It's overkill."

But - you've made the same points and therefore, I must learn and obey the masters. :)

Thank you. Still slogging through these edits and hoping I succeed at a few Kleenex moments, though we are talking about a K9 Spy. ;)

Sure appreciate the prod to USE the lesson today!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, CINDY, you just made my day, girlfriend (again!) -- so THANK YOU!!

You said: I am not much a crier in books and movies. However - and I think I have told you this before - one of your books recently made me cry. Twice! That's unheard of for me ... in A Passion Denied 1. a heartbreaking moment between Marcy and Patrick and 2. the scene when Collin comes home devastated and despairing after a day of helping Brady pack to leave. So you see, what jerked my tears wasn't necessarily the romance of the main characters, but the friendship between the two male characters and the incredible hurt Marcy endured in her relationship with her husband of many years."

YES, YES, YES, I remember you telling me this, my friend, and it blessed the socks off me then and does so again now. I think I told you then that the friendship between Brady and Collin in that book ripped my insides out and is my FAVORITE male friendship I've ever written, including Luke & Parker's, which is saying something. That scene you mentioned is a 3-tissue scene for me every single time, so I'm glad it gets to you too. :)

You also said: "And Julie - if I'm in a mood to have my emotion pulled out and stretched to the very end of my heartstrings - YOU are my go-to author. Nobody does emotion better than Julie. Thank you for all the beautiful reading moments you've given me!"

Okay, now you are just flat-out gonna make me cry, which is certainly appropriate today, my friend, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my soggy heart!! :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Lyndee H said...

Thanks for the post, Julie. You always hit the nail on the head for me with your excellent examples.

The last scene in one of my WIPs makes me cry every time. In fact, I cry when describing it to others. When I told my dh the ending, I sobbed, barely able to catch my breath. He was driving, glancing between me and the road, trying to decide if he needed to pull over. I thought he was going to wreck the car. Whew. Love those fictional people...

Kav said...

Julie you are Queen of the tissue alert reads!!!!! I tend to sob quietly through your stories (when I'm not fuming made and raging at a character...or two...or three) Or laughing hysterically. But mostly fuming and sobbing. No wonder I'm emotionally exhausted after reading a book written by you. LOL

Curious to know if you weep your way through scenes while writing them too. If so, aren't we blessed to live in the computer era? Because if you had to handwrite each page your tears would wash away the words before anyone got a chance to read them!!!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CARYL, sorry about the tears ... NOT!! ;)

You said: "I enjoy books that stir up my emotions and connect me to the story."

YES, YES, YES, because NOTHING connects a reader to a story like stirred emotions, so the harder I can stir, the better I like it!

Hugs and good luck in the contest, girlfriend!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CAROL SAID: "I don't cry easily - unless I'm pregnant. That's a different story. What gets me most though is sacrificial love. Particularly when a man sacrifices everything for the woman he loves by doing what's right no matter the cost. Especially if that means he can't be WITH the love of his life. That's most likely to draw some tears from my eyes."

Oh, CAROL, me too!! LOL, and yep, pregnancy will get you every single time, doesn't it??? HA! As a WCDQ, I would have had to add an extra letter to the acronym if I were pregnant: PWCDQ!! And when I was in menopause??? Cold chill ... let's not go there, okay?

Hugs and here's to a win!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MYRA ... yup, already nailed that one on my very first book, but they were wielding fingernails instead of tennis racquets ...

You said: "Yikes, I teared up this morning watching the replay of Venus hugging Serena at the end of their match last night! And, naturally, my mind started toying with all kinds of story ideas about two sisters in competition."

Oh, YES, Myra, you ought to do that -- VERY cool concept!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, SARAH, we are definitely going to have to rectify that, sweetie-pie, aren't we??

And guess what? I just so happen to have my Irish love story, A Light in the Window on sale right now for only 99 cents, so I hope you consider reading it. It has won three awards and currently has 260 five-star reviews on Amazon, and you can even check out the cool video my artist hubby did for ALITW starring my daughter at this link:

A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

And if you read it soon and like it enough to post a review, I can enter you in my contest to have a character named after you in my next book, but you have to hurry 'cause the contest ends in October, okay?

Here's hoping I can send you a signed ecopy of my latest if you win today on this blog, so good luck!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, SANDRA, thank you -- I love being your favorite WCDQ, my friend, AND your friend too! Glad the audition scene resonated with you. Hate to think I would be alone in that ... ;)

Love you!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, SANDRA ... we're trying to downsize, remember??? True as it is, I'm pretty sure Keith wouldn't let me hang another thing on the walls considering we have unused pictures stacked up and down our veranda outside, hoping to find a home in a VERY tiny town house!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JULES!!! LOL ... my "non-CDQ" fried who is definitely not fond of the "D" word -- how the heck did we ever become such good friends???!!! ;)

You said: "I think what triggers my emotions the most are the repentance scenes where the character finally turns to God ..."

Oh, ME TOO!!! Those are the pinnacle scenes for me and turn me inside out every single time, so THAT must be our true connection ... :)

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE!!! Gosh, it seems like eons since we've really spoken in email, and I hope to rectify that soon, my friend -- miss you!!

LOL ... "YOU take the Kleenex award!!" GLADLY!!!

We are such a close match both emotionally and spiritually, my friend, that it's no surprise you cry during my books, but you are definitely not a CDQ. More of a WDEA -- weepy drama and emotion afficiando ... ;)

Love you!
Julie

kaybee said...

I haven't cried much since I stopped having PMS. The last time I cried over a book was one of Ruthy's Kirkwood Lake stories, the one where Charlie Campbell told his wife he was dying.
I'm of Old New England stock and am trained as a print journalist, so getting emotion on the page is hard, hard, hard. I did read Cheryl St. John's book last year and am applying the lessons to my own work.
Thanks for a great post, Julie.
Kathy Bailey

Mary Connealy said...

People sometimes tell me my books make them cry and my response is always, "Really? Where?"

My own books sometimes make me LAUGH but never cry.

But then I'm just not a crier. I don't cry at my children's graduations, their weddings, the birth of grandchildren.

I just don't.

Once in a long while something WILL make me cry though, so I know it's not a tear duct deformity.

But what makes me cry in books is (I've analyzed myself on this) self-sacrifice.

I remember one book that made me cry like a total nutcase. The beloved aunt who'd been raising her nephew after the mother's death is confronted with the birth father who wants his son.

Well, she thinks he's an abandoning rat fink and that's the conflict. Her trying to 'save' this child from this playboy, handsome...whatever, something big, a hockey player or baseball player, can't remember.

Finally she realized he does love his son and the abandonment wasn't him, the deceased mom never told him or something like that.

And the aunt can see the child is falling in love with his father and she knows he'll be a good dad so she agrees to give him up even though it's ripping her heart out.

It was just so beautifully done. And of course, Dad and Auntie got together like any decent romance. But I cried buckets over how beautifully done it was. The honor of her stepping back to let that little boy be with his father.

There are other books like that...and an occasional TV show. I can consciously FEEL myself being manipulated, but I always think 'good for you. well done!"

But my own books, even though I do set up scenes meant to touch your heart, never get me.

I'm sort of jealous Julie. I can't quite figure out if I'm just too analytical to be affected or ....I'm really not that good at it.



Julie Lessman said...

PAM SAID: "My most recent crying jag was when I was about 2/3 of the way through writing All Aboard: Destination Christmas in that Home for Christmas Collection above. [[[Still LOVING on that cover!]]] But the crying was because I was ... as usual ... in that place where the story is just NOT working. Then I got all tingly and sorta weepy after I finished, went through 2-3 rounds of edits and realized I'd pulled it off! lol"

LOL IS RIGHT!! That's exactly what has happened to me, too, Pam, so that makes me feel worlds better that I'm not alone!

Cannot WAIT to read All Aboard -- it's such a unique premise, my friend, so I'm chompin' at the bit for it and the other novellas too. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE!!! Always so great to see you, girlfriend, so THANK YOU for coming by and for your ongoing support. And I'm anxious to see what you think of IOH, so here's hoping I get to send you a copy, okay?

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H SAID: "I don't know what it says about me that even commercials get me weepy. *sigh*"

LOL ... I'll move over, Deb ... there's plenty of room on the ol' Kleenex box with me! And I know what you mean -- the Hallmark commercials make me a blubbering mess every single time!

Yeah, you graphic artists have all kinds of tricks up your sleeves, and I soooo admire it!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest, my friend. :)

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H SAID: "I'm always in for a Seeker book. Especially a guaranteed four to five tissue opportunity of one of yours. (a new book rating system instead of stars perhaps?)

Ooooooo, good idea, Deb -- hadn't thought of that, but why not?? Although there are plenty of readers who do NOT want to cry, I guess, so the tissue rating would certainly help them to avoid tearjerkers ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MYRA, YES!! Those Hallmark card ads are like mini-movies that carve out your heart every single time!! But I gotta admit -- I love 'em!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KC SAID: "My fab editor keeps trying to pound this into me but I keep thinking... "Surely the reader knows this. It's overkill."

LOL ... yeah, "normal" people tend to think that way, but drama queens instinctively KNOW that when it comes to drama and emotion that wring tears from our eys, there's no such thing as overkill! ;)

You also said: "Thank you. Still slogging through these edits and hoping I succeed at a few Kleenex moments, though we are talking about a K9 Spy. ;)"

Girl, I have no doubt WHATSOEVER that you and May will manage more than a few Kleenex moments because dogs and kids are a cinch, especially when coupled with writing as good as yours!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LYNDEE SAID: "The last scene in one of my WIPs makes me cry every time. In fact, I cry when describing it to others. When I told my dh the ending, I sobbed, barely able to catch my breath. He was driving, glancing between me and the road, trying to decide if he needed to pull over. I thought he was going to wreck the car. Whew. Love those fictional people..."

OH. MY. GOODNESS, LYNDEE!!! This was SUCH a wonderful visual, my friend -- made me grin ear to ear!! Reminds me of that scene at the beginning of the movie, Romancing the Stone, where Kathleen Turner is an author sobbing while typing the final scenes of her book. LOL ... the heck with the "fictional people" ... gotta love us writers!! ;)

If you come back and read this, girl, tell me what the scene is about, okay? Weepy minds want to know ... :)

Hugs!!
Julie



Julie Lessman said...

KAV SAID: "Julie you are Queen of the tissue alert reads!!!!! I tend to sob quietly through your stories (when I'm not fuming made and raging at a character...or two...or three) Or laughing hysterically. But mostly fuming and sobbing. No wonder I'm emotionally exhausted after reading a book written by you. LOL"

LOL, indeed, girlfriend -- trust me, I am too! ;)

You also said: "Curious to know if you weep your way through scenes while writing them too."

Oh, honey -- is the sky blue??? Well, it is here today, anyway, but in answer to your question, YES, I am just like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone where she's sobbing as she finishes a scene and moans the words, "It is sooooooo good!" This is actually a standing joke between my hubby and me when he catches me crying during the proofing/editing stage. To deflect my embarrassment, I always look up at him with a soggy Kleenex in hand and say, "It is sooooo good!" But mostly to tease him, of course. ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KATHY BAILY SAID: "I haven't cried much since I stopped having PMS."

ROTFLOL!!! This had me in stitches, girlfriend, because it's a hoot!! Menopause and PMS are two of the weepiest stages I have ever experienced except for post partum, so I hear you!!

You also said: "The last time I cried over a book was one of Ruthy's Kirkwood Lake stories, the one where Charlie Campbell told his wife he was dying."

No question that Ruthy's books are tearjerkers that don't just tug at the heartstrings, they twist them over and over until the reader is a soppy mess. But the beauty of her books is how she can make you feel soooooo good about being wrung inside out with beautiful endings that are balm to the soul.

You also said: "I'm of Old New England stock and am trained as a print journalist, so getting emotion on the page is hard, hard, hard."

Gosh, I guess it would be, Kath, because being trained in journalism doesn't lend itself to emotional expression, but you have a wellspring of emotion roiling inside of you, girl, just by virtue of the fact you are HUMAN, so you'll get there sooner than you think.

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Connealy said...

You know what always gets me? The end of Armageddon, the Bruce Willis saving the planet from an approaching meteor movie.

At the VERY END, Willis is the one left behind to blow the meteor. In other words, he's sacrificing his life to save the world...and what could be more noble, huh?

And THAT'S not what makes me cry, he has this 'last phone call' with his daughter, Liv Tyler, and it's heartbreaking but THAT'S not what makes me cry.

At the very end of the call, Bruce Willis pushes the button to detonate the bomb to blow the meteor and there's this PAUSE and this flash of pictures.

Children playing, flags waving, flash, flash, flash, all these very human pictures of life on earth...and THAT MOMENT sets me off.
I've tried (again) to analyze this and I can't quite get it. It might be the waving American flag. Or the combo of all these images. And the set up of the grieving daughter and the self-sacrifice of Bruce Willis.

But BAM I'm crying. And I've seen this movie easily a dozen times, so I'm not sure quite what it is that does it. Again, I think it's the flag, maybe mixed with children? Strange really. I can't remember the other images.

And then after the survivors of that flight return to earth, the pilot, one of the few people on that space flight who was military as opposed to this bunch of crazed oil drillers, comes up to the daughter and says, "I'd like permission to shake the hand of the bravest man I ever knew."

And that gets me, too.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY CONNEALY SAID: "My own books sometimes make me LAUGH but never cry. But then I'm just not a crier. I don't cry at my children's graduations, their weddings, the birth of grandchildren. I just don't."

Which is soooo odd, Mare, because you are sooooo good at evoking emotion in your books! One of your secrets, I think, is you keep your readers laughing/smiling so much that when you hit them with a weepy scene, it catches them so off-guard that it's all the more powerful. You've done that to me a number of times, my friend.

You also said: "I'm sort of jealous Julie. I can't quite figure out if I'm just too analytical to be affected or ....I'm really not that good at it."

LOL ... you are such a hoot! A lot of that could be good ol' humility, ever think of that? And don't be "sort of jealous" of me, girlfriend -- I've said WAY too many prayers, asking God to take away 40% of my emotions because then I'd figure I'd be more normal, but it is what it is. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I love high intensity, tissue-driven, spirit-led moments!

SIGH.

Be still my heart!

I love stories that emote, stories that make me feel, and I honestly love that you waxed on a little today because I'm doing a Release Party tomorrow, and I kept it short and sweet!

So your beautiful post will fill the fact that I'm putting on my party hat and serving food in proper Irish fashion... and not much else, LOL!

Bring on the apple and pumpkin desserts. It's September in upstate!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I love Hallmark card commercials, too.

The one where they adopt the baby????

The one where the son comes home?

The one where the whole family gathers for Great-grandpa's birthday?

OH MY STARS.

Heritage.

Family.

SIGH.

Barbara Scott said...

YIKES! I've been editing a manuscript like crazy all day so I could jump back on Seekerville. I couldn't stop though. Talk about a gut-wrenching ending! The manuscript has some problems, but the ending really nailed it. Sob worthy, indeed.

My husband used to say I cried during Toyota commercials. His way of saying I cried at the drop of a hat. Now that I'm properly medicated (TEE-HEE), it takes a really good tear-jerking scene to squeeze a few sobs out of me, but you never fail, Julie.

And Mary, I know exactly what you mean about that Bruce Willis scene!! Kids and laughter and flags. Anyway, your books usually give me a good bellylaugh. :)

How great is it to talk about this stuff and nobody thinks you're one brick shy of a full load?

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Julie! I have to admit, I avoid sad scenes in my books! I probably should not do that. I am such a crier, but I pretty much NEVER cry when I read/write/edit my books. I think the only exception might be The Golden Braid. My heroine was abused psychologically by her insane mother, and there were a couple of scenes that made me tear up. And since I feel such an emotional attachment to that book, I'm thinking I might oughta start incorporating more emotional situations like that in my future books.

It's weird though. I cry at movies and LOTS of commercials and short videos I watch on facebook and youtube, I'm talking buckets of tears sometimes, but I almost never cry at books. The exceptions are Little Women and Old Yeller. :-)

Julie, you keep writing those emotional scenes! Your readers love them! I love that you cry over your own books. You are good at being you, Julie. Never change! :-)

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, thanks for pointing out the emotional clues of each excerpt! It's helpful to break down emotional scenes to see how you did it.

Connie Queen said...

Julie, I'm w/Mary.

I'm not a crier. Especially on the scenes that seem to choke everyone else up.

In life in general, I'm not a crier. And if I was to cry, it would most likely be out of anger, not something sad. It's weird to be at a funeral where everyone is in tears and I feel like I should explain that I really did love the person.

CatMom said...

Great post, Julie, and I like how you broke down these scenes for us. Even though I tend to be an emotional person (read: cries easily) I am working on adding more emotion to my stories. And YOU are one of the best at that! :)
Love the ISLE OF HOPE cover! Will it ever be available in print (I plan to purchase if it is - - still don't have an e-reader).
Hugs, Patti Jo (who keeps extra Kleenex on hand!)

p.s. LOVE the photo of you on the big tissue box - - you are SO cute!!

Wilani Wahl said...

I am afraid I am a crier. We call it the Wahl curse. (It is inherited from my father who is emotional and a preacher. It was nothing to see him get chocked up while he was preaching. I love that about him.) I am afraid it is nothing at all for me to be crying while I read. It is not always because it is a sad scene some times it is the happy scenes. I remember that when I read Rebecca DeMarino's debut novel, I cried for the last 30 pages of the book.

I can't wait to be able to read your next two books. Sorry it has taken me so long to make my way to Seekerville today. I have been getting everything ready for Awanas tonight. I love teaching the Cubbies.

Have a great evening everyone.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY, gosh, I've never even seen that movie, but you had me tearing up with your description of the ending. Granted, we've already established I'm a WCDQ, but even so, that's pretty strong for a comment description of a movie!!

I guess I'm going to have to watch it sometime, although those types of movies are not usually my cup of tea. Uh ... does it have romance to sweeten the pot???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, RUTHY, you had me on pumpkin desserts, sweetie, so bring 'em on!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, me too, Ruthy -- Hallmark commercials are almost better than their movies!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BARBARA,

Thanks for coming back, my friend, and glad you got the ms. done. I LOVE gut-wrenching ending as long as they end happy by the last page, but it doesn't sound like this one did???

You said: "How great is it to talk about this stuff and nobody thinks you're one brick shy of a full load?"

LOL ... or in my case, they don't tell you if you are ... ;) See, Barbara, this is only one of the MANY, MANY reasons I love you!! You are so darn real!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, MEL -- you always have a way of brightening my day, my friend!

OH. MY. GOODNESS, Mel!! You almost never cry reading books??? That totally shocks me because I know you are almost (if not as much) emotional as I am, so I would automatically expect you to be be a weeper during books. But that's okay, because as long as you cry at commercials and short videos, I'll forgive you!

How 'bout movies? Do any of those make you cry? The #1 movie that rips my heart out every single time almost the entire last half is A Walk to Remember. WOW ... I could watch that movie a million times and go through a six-pack of Kleenex doing it!!

Always SO good to see you, Mel!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie
It's weird though. I cry at movies and LOTS of commercials and short videos I watch on facebook and youtube, I'm talking buckets of tears sometimes, but I almost never cry at books. The exceptions are Little Women and Old Yeller. :-)

Julie Lessman said...

I have to admit, Missy, that I thought this blog would be easy since I am a WCDQ, but it was the hardest blog I've written because it's tough to figure out just why a scene makes me cry in one simple blog.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CONNIE SAID: " It's weird to be at a funeral where everyone is in tears and I feel like I should explain that I really did love the person."

LOL ... Connie, you are TOO cute!! I can just see you doing that, and I would do that, too, if I wasn't already balling. ;)

I actually love noncriers because they are a good balance for us weepy types. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PATTI JO, I can hardly believe that YOU have to work at adding emotion to your writing -- doesn't seem possible since you have SO much life and emotion in your personality! I just assumed it would be a breeze to incorporate it in your writing too.

Thank you for your sweet comments, my friend, and yes, Isle of Hope will eventually (emphasis on eventually) be in print, probably by next summer, God willing.

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Gosh, LANI, I would have pegged you for a crier, so I'm glad I am right. LOVE that it's inherited from your preacher father AND that he was emotional too. LOVE emotional men (I'm married to one, although he contains his emotions, where his wife does not!).

Becky DeMarino's debut was wonderful as I recall, so I certainly understand how it brought on the tears.

Hugs and have a great evening as well, my friend!

Julie

Mary Connealy said...

Julie Armageddon is mostly just hilarious. Willis and his oil drilling crew are insane and they do a good job of being total balls of quirks.

Then add the meteor crashing toward earth.

Billy Bob Thornton as a truly dedicated man running things from earth.

Liv Tyler in love with Ben Afflack and her dad Bruce Willis so opposed to their relationship he spends time trying to shoot Ben, with Liv following her shotgun wielding father Bruce Willis/Harry Stamper around the oil rig saying, "Harry, this isn't funny."

Very funny tons of action, powerful ending.

Karen Hadley said...

I love your books. I do like a book that can make me cry. Is that weird? I love the ones that make me laugh too. You have a gift in bringing the two together into a great book. Keeping up with Charity through her rebellious time about done me in but she came through stronger and turns to the Lord!

Bettie said...

Loved your post. Your examples also demonstrated how well your writing paints a picture of the backdrop...dogs barking, neighborhood noise. I'm a cryer and the thing that gets me the most is when someone is wrongly accused. I cry again when the wrong is righted. I would be very happy to win one of your books so I can use up some tissues.

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

I know I've written a great scene when I'm bawling my eyes out!!! Then I'll send that to my critique partner and hope that it makes them cry with the emotion, too! That seems mean, but it isn't lol! Great post, Julie! You always know how to stir the emotions, Julie! I was listening to Angela Breidenbach's audiobook, A Quilts of Love story, and I don't normally enjoy contemporary stories very much but this is so good and she had me crying over a dog!!! She did a super job with the tear-jerker quality in that scene! Looking forward to your next releases!!!

Marissa C said...

I've cried reading the ending of both A Light in the Window and A Love Surrendered because both are so beautiful. I guess happy endings make me cry. Looking forward to your new books :)

Angela Breidenbach said...

Lovely and educational, thanks. And a thank you to Carrie Fancett Pagels for your thoughtful mention :)
Angie

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, as always a wonderful post. Sorry I'm so late. Finished a manuscript yesterday and had to run errands all day to catch up for my many days/weeks at the computer. I'm pooped, as you can imagine! :)

I don't cry reading my books, but I do get breathless. Sometimes hubby peeks into my office and scares me. I have to explain that my heroine is on the run and danger is looming, thus my fright when he surprises me. :)

I always learn something good from your writing, Julie! Thank you!

Julie Lessman said...

Okay, MARY, you had me at Ben Affleck!! I am sold, and Keith and I will be hunting this one down soon!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, KAREN, I am sooooo glad you hung in there with Charity -- she is one of my favorite -- and most misunderstood -- heroines. Would you believe I actually received letters from readers asking me to slap Charity for them or saying they wanted to see her maimed or killed?

Thanks for reading my books, Karen, and good luck in the contest!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, BETTIE ... I'll tell you what. If you win, I will also send you a box of Kleenex, so good luck in the draw, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY, I wrote this comment and never published it -- shows how crazy today has been, so here it is, but you already answered about the romance.

I have never seen Armageddon, but the way you described that last scene had me tearing up, and I'm only seeing it in your imagination!! Now, granted, we've already established I'm a WCDQ, but still, pretty darn good for a comment on a blog, girlfriend. Now I want to see that movie, and those types of movies don't usually appeal to me. Uh ... is there any romance to sweeten the pot???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL ... me, too, Carrie! And you're pretty darn good with those emotions as well. LOVED Lilacs for Juliana, my friend, but between moving and Keith ending up in the ER for pneumonia, I've been sooooo crazy (or crazier than usual!), but I plan to write an endorsement and post a review, so bear with me, okay?

And I LOVE tearjerkers, so it sounds like I need to read Angie's story ... :)

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MARISSA, it's so nice to know I wasn't the only one who cried after A Love Surrendered -- saying goodbye to the O'Connors about tore my heart out ... WHICH, as a matter of fact, is why I wrote ALITW in the first place. I needed closure on the O'Connors, so what better way than to write a prequel that brings it full circle?

Thanks for coming by, my friend, AND for reading my books in the first place!

Hugs and good luck!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks for coming by, Angie, and I always love when one author brags on another. Not only is it such a blessing to hear, but you find out about a LOT of great books that way! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL ... DEB, that is soooo darn cute about you getting "breathless"!! Writing suspense novels, I guess that would preclude crying ... ;)

SUPER CONGRATS on finishing the ms., my friend -- another award winner, I'm pretty sure!

Hugs,
Julie

Mrs. Curry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cate Nolan said...

Julie, this triggered a funny/happy moment. I was a teenager and reading on my parents' back porch. My father caught me sobbing as I finished some book. He thought he was being cute and went in to my mother who was almost asleep and said, "Mary's crying her heart out on the porch." Of course mom came running. She wasn't quite thrilled with dad when she saw it was "just because of a book."

I think crying because of books is cathartic. My daughter used to have several books and or movies she'd rely on when she felt like she "needed a good cry."

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MARY, that's a really cute story! What a sweet mom you have, too! And a stinker of a dad ... ;)

Yes, I do believe crying is cathartic as well, and after the last couple of weeks I've had (we just moved for the 2nd time and I had to take hubby to the ER on Sunday for pneumonia, but he's doing better), I just may hunt down the weepiest book I can find!

Hugs!!
Julie

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Thanks so much for your kind words about Lilacs for Juliana, Julie!!! As if you didn't have enough to deal with then the ER and pneumonia for Keith? ACK!!! Praying all will settle down soon! Yes, you need to listen to Angie's audiobook and keep a tissue box handy! I cried reading this post for goodness sakes!!! You and my pastor would get along great - Rev. Jones ALWAYS has a tearjerker story in his sermon, which is one of the reasons I love to listen to him preach, as he understands emotions. Hugs!!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks for understanding, Carrie -- I loved the book and can't wait to write the endorsement, my friend, so soon -- very, very soon!

Your pastor sounds WONDERFUL! That's one of the downsides of moving -- we have to find a new church home, which is soooo hard when you LOVE the church you left. But we're going to give it our best shot ... AND our best prayers!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Terri said...

For some reason I cry in books where the heroine is mistreated. Two books always make me cry - Double Standards and The Baby Bargain.

Hope to see some Seekers and Villagers at ACFW. Is anyone planning on attending?

Sarah Claucherty said...

Ooh a Julie post!!

Jackie and Caryl about summed me up.

HA! Mary's talking rat finks!

Julie, I'd forgotten that moment in ALITW...I remember now that I could see that scene playing out in my mind like a film...there was definitely tears and tissues involved!

Mostly I get emotional or weepy when an author has so invested me in her characters that it feels like whatever happens to them, happens to me, too. For example, Faith in APMP! I fell for her within the first couple chapters; and for the rest of the novel, I felt like Faith's invisible shadow, phantom-feeling her pain and sadness and mixed-up emotions.

Now I really wish I had time to sit and re-read all of the O'Connor family books! Sadly probably won't have that kind of time till the semester ends and it's Christmas.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Am I too late to hop into the drawing? Had the longest day :(

Julie Lessman said...

TERRI, that's certainly a good reason to cry, my friend, which sounds to me like you might be partial to women's fiction? Women's Fiction definitely has the weepy factor going on since the reader bears the heroine's problems along with her!

Oh, Terri, unfortunately, this is one year that most of the Seekers will not be at ACFW!! I think Pam Hillman is the only one going as far as I know because a lot of the Seekers went to RWA this year, so do look her up or contact her ahead of time if you want. I do believe this is the FIRST year ever that the Seekers haven't gone en mass to ACFW, so it is kind of sad. BUT ... I do know most of us are planning on Nashville next year, so hopefully we will see you then!

Hugs and have a GREAT conference!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CAROLYN!!! I just noticed that I inadvertently skipped over you, my friend, so please forgive me!!

You said: "I don't cry easily - unless I'm pregnant. That's a different story. What gets me most though is sacrificial love. Particularly when a man sacrifices everything for the woman he loves by doing what's right no matter the cost. Especially if that means he can't be WITH the love of his life. That's most likely to draw some tears from my eyes."

Gosh, I actually did respond to your comment now that I'm rereading it, so I guess Blogger ate it or I did something wrong, which is more likely! :| And, yeah, those hormones will get you every single time. So much so that I even wrote a Seeker blog about it once called CAUTION: HORMONE-FREE ZONE! about contest horror stories. :)

And, YES, I agree about sacrificial love, which is one of the reasons my 4th book, A Hope Undaunted, is my favorite, because of the sacrificial and unconditional love of the hero.

Thanks for coming by, Carolyn, and GOOD LUCK!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, SARAH, you never fail to make me smile, my friend -- thank you for your kind comment and your incredible support!

I would have to say that Faith is a favorite of a lot of my readers, and I suppose that is because she was so strong in the Lord and yet so human as well.

Sorry about the long day -- goodness, you wrote your comment at 3:20 AM??? And what's so terribly odd is here I am reading/responding to it at 3:41 AM CST, so I certainly relate. Although I'm up because I couldn't sleep, while you're probably up from studying/working. Hope you get to sleep in!

And, YES, you are in the draw, my friend, so here's to a win!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

The Artist Librarian said...

It's often when I'm attached to the characters ... also, I never cried when reading books when I was younger --I blame adolescence and hormones. J/K =P

"I Really Do Miss Your Smile" by Susan May Warren was the last novella that sparked some tears. Kind of like "A Light in the Window" you know what the endgame has to be because it's a prequel, but the journey there was a roller coaster: crazy-sweet-beautiful-romatic that it was. =)


Also: first time I've seen the "Isle of Hope" cover! Ahh, it just got more real! Can't wait ... =)

Barbara Latta said...

When boy meets girl and the friction rises throughout the book stretching to the final culmination when one of them realizes what they have done to keep each other apart, I reach for the kleenex.

Abbi Hart said...

I really need to get better about getting to your posts on the day they go up but sometimes I just get too busy to look at blog posts and I miss them till the next day or so! Sorry!
Loved this post! I don't often get weepy in books but a good emotional scene can have me tearing up in no time! Big triggers for me are deaths or huge heartbreak! And I agree with your comment about the character needing to show the emotion in order for the reader to feel it, totally true! The books that first come to mind when I think about crying while reading are yours, Sarah Sundin, The Healer and The Rescuer by Dee Henderson, and Deluge by Lisa T. Bergren!
Fantastic post Julie!

Julie Lessman said...

ARTIST LIBRARIAN/JENN, Susie May Warren is wonderful, so I don't doubt that she got to you with that book!!

And I know what you mean -- Isle of Hope just got more real to me, too, when I saw the cover, so I hope you like it. We'll see if I can write contemporaries or not, eh?

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

YAY, BARBARA, as long as you reach for that Kleenex, that's a win, eh? Both for the Kleenex company, the author, AND you!! :)

Good luck and here's to a win!
Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, ABS, I always LOVE seeing your sweet name and face pop up, so thanks for taking the time to come by. All those authors you mentioned are FABULOUS in the emotional realm, so I am honored to have you list me among them!

LOVE those emotional scenes!!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie