Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When It Comes To Writing ...


Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking—this is an odd subject for someone who pushes the limits of romantic passion in Christian fiction, but even I will admit there’s a grain of truth to the statement that sometimes less is more.

For instance, in the case of spaghetti sauce, I learned the hard way that less—way less, to be exact—is definitely more. You see, I was only 22 and single and just learning to cook for myself, so I got this hankering one night for some homemade Italian meat sauce made from scratch. The recipe called for two cloves of chopped garlic, and yes, I was really this stupid—I thought a “clove” of garlic was a bulb of garlic. With all the flair of a naïve Julia Child, I chopped that sucker up until I had a mountain of garlic so high, it could have been in the Himalayas. I remember squinting at it thinking, “surely one is enough …”

As luck would have it, I only used one pile of garlic in the sauce … which I then proceeded to slow-cook overnight in the crock-pot … and then all day while I was at work. When I got home that night, my apartment smelled wonderful, teasing my salivatory glands with the promise of the world’s best spaghetti sauce. And it was—absolutely delicious—so I had several servings before I got ready to go to the theatre with my girlfriends. The moment I stepped foot in the car, my friends cranked their windows down with a collective gasp and shouted, “Omigosh, what in the world did you eat?” I told them I made my own spaghetti sauce, and when they found out how much garlic I used, they were rolling in their seats (heads out the windows, of course), quite certain that I was not only the world’s stupidest chef, but now also the stinkiest.

What happened next was not pretty … or sweet smelling, for that matter! We found our seats at the theatre, and as luck would have it—bad luck—my seat was right next to this incredibly good-looking guy who was sitting by himself. I can still hear my friends snickering that the poor man would need a gas mask before the evening was done, so when he left at intermission, everyone was certain he was gone for good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that lucky. Because when he came back, the hunk tapped me on the shoulder and gave me a tentative smile … uh, right before he handed me a little bottle of breath drops. “I thought you might need this,” he said quietly, loud enough for my girlfriends to hear. Trust me, not only did I learn a valuable lesson that night that sometimes more is less, I also learned that one’s chances of making a good impression on a good-looking guy become WAY less—as in “less” than nil—when one dabbles in garlic.

As an aspiring writer, it didn’t take me long to figure out that sometimes in writing, “less” can also be “more.” For instance, when it comes to heart-throbbing romantic passion, all one has to do is glance at the CBA Bestseller List to see that a whole subgenre—Amish Romance—has sprung up on this very philosophy.” Likewise, the ornate and flowery “purple prose” of yesterday’s Victorian Romance with its abundance of adjectives and adverbs, forced or ridiculous similes, alliteration and/or clichés has long since given way to today’s cleaner, simpler style of writing where less is definitely more.

Take it from a woman who edited her original manuscript of A Passion Most Pure from 726 pages to 443 pages—I have learned that the key to “less is more” is revise, revise, revise. One of the most valuable things I gleaned from contests was a simple statement made by a very wise judge who told me “the best writers say the most in the fewest amount of words.” One of my favorite examples of this has always been a line I read in a Nora Roberts’ book years ago called Irish Born: “They were lace-curtain Irish, righteous as three popes.” Wow … in nine words, this woman gives you a microcosm of the heroine’s Irish family. I was in awe of anyone who could say so much in so few words, which means as an author who writes 500-page books, I obviously have a long way to go! So for we long-winded types (ahem … like Ruthy and me) and really every writer on the planet, most of the time “less” is definitely “more,” because revisions and edits—sentence by sentence—are essential to the rhythm and flow, clarity and impact of any novel, taking your baby from less to more by editing it from more to less.

So, how do I personally do that? Well, I have a number of tricks I’ve learned through contests, seminars, critique partners, my fabulous copy editor at Revell, and just plain trial and error, so I thought I’d share a few of those with you today. Ready? Here we go:

1.) LESS adjectives/adverbs and MORE powerful verbs. When you’re trying to convey a feeling it’s easy to throw in a bunch of adverbs and adjectives to accomplish this. BUT, too many extra words can clutter and steal the impact of a sentence and thereby, the scene, diminishing its power and in the particular case of this scene of passion I’ve posted below, make it sound like a cheap dime novel.


In a quick, harsh catch of her halting breath, he took her soft, pink mouth by lightening force, his gruff, late-day beard incredibly rough against her smooth and silky skin. A faint and quivering moan weakly left her quivering lips and all firm resistance was gone, achingly burned away by the fiery and hot heat of his touch, leaving her woefully weak and wanting. His hungry mouth moved wildly at will, no longer gentle and kind as he roughly kissed her, ravenous against the smooth, white curve of her soft and slender throat, the soft, tender flesh of her ear. With a deep and growling groan, he tightly pulled her achingly close with powerfully muscular arms, taking her mouth with a kiss surely prompted by the sheer will to take control.


In a catch of her breath, he took her mouth by force, his late-day beard rough against her skin. A faint moan escaped her lips and all resistance fled, burned away by the heat of his touch, leaving her weak and wanting. His mouth roamed at will, no longer gentle as he devoured her, ravenous against the smooth curve of her throat, the soft flesh of her ear. With a guttural groan, he jerked her close with powerful arms, consuming her mouth with a kiss surely driven by the sheer will to ravage.

A Hope Undaunted.

2.) Avoid overuse of names AND use direct-address names sparingly. When I speak to people, I tend to say their names a lot because I want them to know they are special, which is nice in the real world, but tends to get old in novels. I’m grateful to my wonderful copy editor Barb Barnes who’s gone a long way in curing me of this “more vs. less” tendency. Here’s an example of what I mean, exaggerated so you can see how annoying it can come become to repeat a name two or three times in several paragraphs:


“Emma, Mrs. Peep loves you and wants you to be safe. She’ll watch your cats, she already told me so.”

“But I can’t,” Emma said.

The blue of Sean’s eyes steeled to gray as he peered at Emma, the flicker of a dormant temper in the hard muscles of his face. “I won’t stand here and argue with you, Emma. I’m not a volatile man, and you know that, but this is too important. Trust me on this—I will take you by force if I have to. So I suggest you pack your bags, while I warm up the soup. Do you understand?”

Emma nodded, and Sean moved down the hall where sunlight streamed into Emma’s kitchen.


He turned, hands on his hips and a wariness in his eyes. “Yes, Emma?”

“Thank you,” Emma whispered.


“Mrs. Peep loves you and wants you to be safe. She’ll watch your cats, she already told me so.” The blue of his eyes steeled to gray as he peered at her, the flicker of a dormant temper in the hard muscles of his face. “I won’t stand here and argue with you, Emma. I’m not a volatile man, and you know that, but this is too important. Trust me on this—I will take you by force if I have to. So I suggest you pack your bags while I warm up the soup.” He turned away, disappearing down the hall where sunlight streamed into her kitchen.


He turned, hands on his hips and a wariness in his eyes. “Yes?”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

A Heart Revealed

3.) Avoid clichés and over-used phrases. When I was a travel writer, one of the first lessons I learned was NEVER to use the word “beckon.” Why? Because back then, it seemed almost every travel piece you read used the word “beckon” as a “lure” to a given destination (i.e. Kauai beckons with sugar-white sand and swaying palms). So, since I have been an author, I couldn’t help but notice that there is one phrase that I see in almost every book I read, including my first novel. It’s become SO obvious to me (and readers, I’m sure), that I literally groan when I see it. The phrase? Here it is—some variation of “his smile didn’t quite reach his eyes,” or “she smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.” So, tell me—have you seen a version of this phrase in any of the books you’ve written or read? I’m betting every one of you has!

4.) Use speaker attributions (he said, she said) sparingly and mix in beats instead (actions to show whose speaking rather than a speaker attribution).


“Patrick, you’re tired, and you’ve been drinking. Come to bed, and we’ll discuss it in the morning,” she whispered.

“Did you kiss him?” he said.

“No, of course not!” she responded.

“Did he kiss you?” he asked again.

She gasped for breath.

“Answer me!” he screamed.

“Yes!” she said.

“Well, Mrs. O’Connor, and how do I compare?” he asked.


“Patrick, you’re tired, and you’ve been drinking. Come to bed, and we’ll discuss it in the morning.”

“Did you kiss him?”

“No, of course not!”

“Did he kiss you?”

She gasped for breath.

He gripped her arm and shook her. “Answer me!”


His eyes glittered like ice. “Well, Mrs. O’Connor, and how do I compare?”

A Passion Denied

5.) I ALWAYS avoid sentences longer than three lines. This is a little rule of thumb that I use constantly, eyeballing sentences that take up more than three typed lines. When I see this in the editing phase, I immediately pare the sentence down. Following are some before and after examples of my copy as originally written, followed by the pared-down version:

Here’s a sentence in which I eliminated eight words by deleting unnecessary phrasing (which I underlined) for what I think is a cleaner, sharper sentence.

The door slammed behind them, and Katie found herself racing to catch up with Betty as she marched down the glossy wooden hall lined with closed doors, high heels clunking like a small army.

The door slammed behind them, and Katie raced to catch up as Betty marched down the glossy wooden hall, high heels clunking like a small army.

No amount of paring down is too small. Here’s an example of eliminating one unnecessary word because it’s already understood.

“You jump higher than Luke does when I sneak up on him.”

“You jump higher than Luke when I sneak up on him.”

Phrases of three words can often be pared down to one or two words as seen in these two examples where I cut the underlined words for the final copy:

Both words and air pasted to the roof of Sean’s mouth as his eyes flipped open, glazed in shock at the picture of Mr. Kelly looming in the door, slack-jawed at the sight of Sean holding Rose in his lap.

Words pasted to the roof of Sean’s mouth as his eyes flipped open, glazed in shock as Mr. Kelly loomed in the door, slack-jawed over Rose in his lap.

A Heart Revealed

Phrases and words that are understood can always be eliminated, such as these I’ve underlined:


Bobby screeched to a stop, his spindly chest heaving from his sprint to catch up with Sean. Twenty feet behind him, his mother was walking at a brisk pace, obviously hot on his heels.

In the second edit, I eliminated the underlined phrases above because they were already understood from the action in the scene and, of course, the phrase “hustled at a brisk pace” is redundant since it’s understood by the phrase “hot on his heels.”


Bobby screeched to a stop, spindly chest heaving from his sprint to catch up. Twenty feet behind, his mother hustled at a brisk pace, obviously hot on his heels.


Bobby screeched to a stop, spindly chest heaving. His mother hustled twenty feet beyond, hot on his heels.

A Heart Revealed

Did you know that you can eliminate the word “that” most of the time? Such as in “Did you know you can eliminate the word “that” like you did in this sentence? When I cut A Passion Most Pure down, one of the ways I did it was by going through the entire book and eliminating every “that” that I could … uh, I mean eliminating every “that” I could … J Here’s another example.

Clara shook her head as she watched the newlyweds duck into the taxi that was waiting at the curb.

Clara shook her head, watching the newlyweds duck into the taxi waiting at the curb.

A Heart Revealed

So there you have it—ways I go for “less” to achieve copy that’s hopefully “more.” Now it’s YOUR turn. Post a before and after of one of your sentences that you’ve pared down or give me one or two of your lanky sentences, and let’s see what we can do with it, okay? Everybody who comments is eligible to win their choice of any of my signed books or a top CBA book chosen from the list I am offering.

And remember—in writing especially, less is usually more—a lesson I obviously have yet to learn given the length of today’s blog. Sigh.


  1. Oh, but Julie - love more and more from you! Okay, more less is more? Whatever. More Julie is good.

    And if I wasn't exhausted, I'd make more sense, but I was so close to 12ET, I stayed up to read this.

    I have my hard copy gone through again. And I have removed about a million thats. I'll try to get an exact count when I go through it tomorrow, but I bet I'm averaging at least one a page [probably more like 2 and I'd cringe at what that does to my word count except that, er, except I'm adding a bunch too].

    I've also deleted lots of names in the past. This one is one someone mentioned to me several years ago so not as big a deal as the that thing. She said that people don't use names in conversation nearly as often as we think they do. I started paying attention and sure enough she was right. I've cut out a lot of them since then.

    Now, time to finish a quick blog post then to bed. Busy day tomorrow.

    /sets out the Practically Perfect Percolator and IV drips of both DP and Diet DP/

    Anyone got any cinnamon rolls?


    Okay, coffee's on (cinnamon hazelnut, of course AND Southern pecan), lots of flavored teas and a breakfast bar to die for because everyone KNOWS that when it comes to food ... less is NOT more!! Chocolate Chip pancakes, peach blintzes, cinnamon-pecan cheese streudle, maple-cured bacon and brown sugar ham, so DIG IN!!


  3. CAROL, you Energizer Bunny, you!!! You beat me to the punch, kiddo, and here I was SO proud of being first!!

    And I'm adding cinnamon rolls to the buffet in honor of you, sweetie -- the big, fat Cinnabon kind, with and without nuts!!

    Get some sleep, you crazy girl!!


  4. Thanks for the laugh Julie you need to use that scene in a book. I am still hopeless at cooking but as I dont like garlic I would leave it out.

    I dont write but have done reports and learnt how to write these. they also say dont over use words. I have read books where they have overdone descriptions and it can get annoying.
    Oh and on the name thing there is a guy who goes to the cricket who uses your name all the time ie.
    Jenny what did you think of that shot, Jenny what happened there, (Me after the 10th time) what do you think happened you're watching the same game. or i dont know cos I wasn't watching the cricket. But this happens every ball with the sentence starting Jenny! It really gets annoying.
    (PS the rains stopped for now just finished getting water out of the neighbours carport for them.)

  5. I'm just off to bed, but I wanted to chime in and say how much I LOVE the pictures at the top of this post. Hilarious and perfect, and you look gorgeous, Julie!

  6. This is the heart and soul of avoiding boring backstory dumps. It's not that you don't say every bit that you need to say, but you use the PERFECT word. Instead of an imperfect sentence.

    Perfect sketches with minimal words that say EVERYTHING. Yes, this is hard work. Revision definitely is vital. No first draft is ever polished.

    Less is definitely more

    You are, as always, both brilliant and CUTE, Jules. :)

  7. LOL, Julie! You are so funny, girl!! LOVE the garlic story!! My hubby asked what all the laughing was about, so I read it to him, too. Needless to say, he cracked up!!! :D

    Thanks for another chance to win a book! You rock, and I love ya bunches! :-)

    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

  8. Great tips, Julie. I learned some of these from a generous author who critiqued my first chapter last year. I love supportive writer pals. =)

    Those pictures at the top of the post are great. A wonderful way to illustrate your main point.

  9. Okay, you've taken care of the coffee. So here's the teapot for the non coffee drinkers.

    Good stuff.

    See how wordy I am???


    Huh? My word verification is dumblepo!!

  10. I'm like Carol, tired and incoherent. This post was great, and I know I'll make great use of it sometime in my future. But I've got to get the blasted first draft done before I can revise it. I can't make it less until I make it more first. :) (see, incoherent.)

    I'd love to win a Julie book. Any Julie book. Carol told me she bought a few for Christmas presents, and I tried to tell her one of them was for me, but she was having none of it. Stingy thing, and after all the nice things I say about her too!

    I'll be back later today, when it's actually today in my mind and not still yesterday.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

    word veri: sarribl sounds like a Dr. Seuss creature.

  11. Ooh, well, I'm pulling an all nighter --I have three papers I want to turn in 12 hours from now, LOL. I don't drink coffee, but if that tea is caffinated, I'll try some. ;-)

    Here's a bit I have --a knight and his apprentice sparring . . .

    "As Sir Edwin parried, catching the flurry of strokes with his sword, the sounds of the wooden training weapons filled the empty courtyard with a staccato beat. But Edwin barely managed to deflect Dathan’s last blow, driving him off balance. Sensing an opening, the squire pressed in, the force causing Edwin to fall on one knee."

    ... and revised:

    "As Sir Edwin parried the flurry of strokes with his wooden training sword, the courtyard was filled with a staccato beat. He barely managed to deflect Dathan's last blow and it drove him off balance. His squire pressed in, sensing an opening, the force of the blow causing Edwin to fall on one knee."

    I don't know if that's better or not . . . =)

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!


  12. wow I think I'm gonna have to read those! definitely awake now! Do they go in a particular order? I'll look them up!

    can't sleep - used to night shift and woke up after 2 hours thinking about my mom and couldn't sleep again. Think I'll take the girls for a walk and see if we can get all the dogs here to barking then come back inside and try to read Yuletide Cowboy by Debra Clopton. Usually a cowboy or hot military guy can get my attention but too much on my mind I guess. It's a good story though so maybe I'll get sucked into the story.

    yum chocolate chip pancakes!


  13. Just wanted to say what an awesome post this is! Thanks so much, Julie! The garlic story (thanks so much for sharing!), the pictures, and the tips were just what I needed today.

    I agree with Carol, More Julie is good! :)

    Here's one of my looonger sentences (it translates into about 2.75 lines in my word processor). I'd love to hear suggestions! :)

    "Awkwardly aware of the pastor's wife sitting straight-backed on the old couch beside her, Sheri didn't want to appear too transfixed by her boyfriend's spiritual ordeal, or by the pastor's stereotypical yet somewhat anticlimactic supplication for healing."


  14. Thanks so much for the tips, Julie! :D You are an awesome writer, and I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to read your books--and to "meet" you in the blogging world! Ever since that first comment when I told you I started reading your book in Borders, it's been a beautiful friendship. ;)

    Have a wonderful day!



    P.S. The "Love Finds You" Blog Party is still going strong over at my blog if anyone's interested in stopping by! We've got some great giveaways, and a door prize involving CHOCOLATE...

    Just sayin'. ;)

    Hope you don't mind the shameless plug!

  15. I love the sauce story!

    And the advice of less is more. I just removed a whole chapter because it didn't move the story forward at all.
    My tendency in rough drafts is to give extra info not needed, so I can remove pages when I refine the story and take care of all the that's and which's and cut all the weak verbs in favor of stronger, more descriptive ones.

    And thanks for the Southern Pecan coffee and maple-cured bacon. Mmmm, mmmm! :D

  16. Lots of great advice in that post to apply, many thanks Julie.
    The longer I'm at the writing lark, the more I realise how much I don't know - or have forgotten!

  17. Love this post for so many reasons. I am printing it out.

    I used to write devotionals and dictionary entries so know how to write sparingly but my inclination is to use every word I know. So I always write three times as much as I should. Sigh.

    I hadn't thought of the name thing but as folks have pointed out, we just don't do that in real life.

    I am also a recovering "that-o-holic" who must seek out those little buggers in everything I write.

    Laughed so hard at the garlic story. I am going to tell my husband about it as soon as he wakes up. I can tell where he eats lunch every day by the amount of garlic on his breath.

    A truly lovely breakfast. Thanks!

    Peace, Julie

  18. Thanks for the writing tips Julie!! And I love the your picture's!!

  19. Clear concise reminders, and (hurray) I think I know them enough to recognize when I'm editing. I guess 10 years of training is starting to pay off!

    As for the garlic, Julie? Just hang out with other people who eat it and no one complains. That guy in the theater obviously wasn't right for you anyway!

  20. Julie, you are too funny! Glad I stopped in this morning because you put a smile on my face. Love the pics!

  21. OOoooooo Cinnabon!!!! Thanks, Julie!

    And I was almost asleep in my chair writing that. But by the time I was actually ready for bed, it was like 1050 and I thought "Julieness... 10 more minutes of sleep" /holds out hands like a scale/ "Julieness... 10 more minutes of sleep" /scales tip/ "Julieness".

    If I'd known my 3yo would be up at 545, I might have changed my mind. But I was up at 530 though so...

    Anyway... I'll post an example or three later.

    But I also didn't enter the drawing - ACK! And if I were to win, then I could send Andrea that Christmas present she's angling for ;).

    I still am not going to get a tattoo on my tush though.

    It's 15* here right now - stay warm, ya'll.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  22. Awesome post, Julie! Chockful of tips that I can use. :) Here's a long-winded sentence that I broke down into two simpler ones.

    BEFORE: Ivy sat on the cold driveway staring down the length of a U-haul at her parents’ ranch-style house, a broken high heel in one hand and her cell phone in the other.

    AFTER: Ivy sat on the driveway, a broken high heel in one hand and her cell phone in the other. She stared at the U-haul in front of her parents’ ranch-style house and glared at the boots peeking out from behind the cab’s window.

  23. Good morning, Julie! Love the more/less pics! And GREAT examples for trimming & tightening sentences!

  24. Julie, guess vampires won't be figuring in any time soon with all that garlic! :)
    That story is a HOOT!

    From my WIP:

    "Miss May, I have some thing to show you. Hurry up! Make a decision and come up here. I want you to see this."

    With (hopefully Julie's less is more timely principle applied) changes:

    "Miss May, come up here and look at what I will show you. Hurry!"

    Question: do you think alliteration is alright for kid lit? I'm thinking so. Used sparingly but strategically...

  25. RSWhoops - please enter me at may at maythek9spy dot com

    Thx Amber will stop by later...

    Mary, this is why yoir books are such a pleasure. You find the perfect WORD!

    And yes, Julie love the B4 and after photos. Too wonderful.

  26. Oh Jules,
    I've no time to leave examples right now. Off to teach class. But wanted to say - LOVE THE POST.
    I'm writing a little card to place over my desk: Less is More (this can apply to my desire to lose weight too ;-)

    can't wait to read the comments later.
    and the tips were WONDERFUL!!! Much needed for me - as you WELL know.


  27. Julie,

    Great post, as always! I almost choked on my coffee when I read the garlic story. A recent less is more lesson I learned is about facial expressions, especially the eyes. I’m an eye person, and in one of my recent manuscripts I found my poor characters’ eyes rolling, twinkling, rounding, squinting, flashing, etc, etc, until they were dizzy with all the motion. Another thing brought to my attention is I had the habit of describing in too much detail how a character got from point A to point B (i.e. they stand, put hand on face, open car door, get in, close car door), and I needed to remember people in books can move by magic.

    I’ll be printing this post off as a reminder to keep on the lookout for scenes filled with “more.” And I’ll try to get a sample posted later today. Right now I’m off to a meeting.


  28. Great article, Julie. Will share with my crit partners, too. LOL about the garlic and the hunk with the "gift" for you!

  29. Oh, one thing before I run off to class - when Ruthy looked at one of my novels, she thought my poor heroine had a neurological disorder due to all her twisting, turning, spinning, head-jerking...

    In her usual comical way, she let me know which meds my heroine needed.
    I think she's better now

  30. This is a REALLY great post, Julie!!! I loved seeing how you pared down those sentences and scenes. Very helpful.

    I am reading A Hope Undaunted and it is wonderful!!! (I finally got in the mood to read. Takes my mind off my horrible reviews on Amazon! HA!) Anyway, your book really has me caught up in the love triangle. Oh my gosh! I totally love Luke! I'm on about page 130. Luke is the bomb! Just love him.

    Don't put me in the drawing. I already have, and love, all your books. :-)

  31. As the nurse looked back at Stacey again, her eyes widened a millimeter, realizing Stacey had opened her own eyes and was peering up at her.

    What do you think?
    Susie Sheehey
    susiesheehey (at) verizon (dot) net

  32. Oh, JENNY, that drives me UP A TREE when someone overuses a name like that, although I was certainly guilty of that before my copy editor got a hold of me!! And what a sweetheart you are to dry out your neighbor's carport for them!!

    SHAMELESS PLUG HERE: Since Jenny didn't mention it, I will. Today and tomorrow are the LAST days for my blog interview/giveaway at Jenny's blog and my very LAST blog interview/giveaway for probably six months or so, so CHECK IT OUT at:



  33. Thanks, ERICA, for coming by before bedtime AND for the sweet comment, BUT I seriously doubt my husband thought I was "gorgeous" by the time I got done with him and his tripod camera, two million poses later!!! I swear the man is a saint ... which would make me ... the devil??? :)


  34. MARY!!! "Brilliant and cute"??? Okay, what cold medicine are you on, sweetie, because I think you need to cut back ...

    You said (beautifully, I might add!!):

    "This is the heart and soul of avoiding boring backstory dumps. It's not that you don't say every bit that you need to say, but you use the PERFECT word. Instead of an imperfect sentence."

    Amen to that, Ms. Connealy, and nobody does that better than you, honey, which is only one of the many reasons I love to read you SO much!!


  35. Excellent post, Julie! A great reminder to all of us on how and where to pare down our wordy manuscripts. Loved your examples! And your hilarious spaghetti sauce fiasco. LOL I'm sure those garlic bulbs were meant to ensure you ended up married to your d/h.

    Off to write. I can't pare down now. I'm desperate for word count. LOL Later, I promise.


  36. MICHELLE!!! Glad I could make you laugh, sweetie, although I guarantee you, I wasn't laughing at the time!! One of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but worth it, I guess, because I walked away with a great story if not the great guy!! :) AND I got my "great guy" in the end anyway with my own sweet hubby ... uh, WITHOUT garlic involved, I assure you!!


  37. Thanks, KELI, for the compliment about the pic, but my husband gets ALL of the credit!! I used every pin and earring in my jewelry box to try and gaudy up my sweater, but my hubby is an artist and Photoshopped a lot more in ... and, the sweet boy, one or two wrinkles out ... :)

    HELEN!!! Gotta tell you, sweet stuff, that one of my goals was to beat you to the coffee this morning, so I win!! And gosh, I only WISH I could be so "wordy" ... and so does my daughter!! She thinks her mother talks too much ...

    ANDREA!!! Hey, I've heard about you from Carol, and you know what??? You sound just as crazy as she is, girl, which means I would like you A LOT!! We'll just try to get you a signed book here and then you can rub it in Carol's face, okay? And you may as well hop over to Jenny's blog, too, for a second chance for a win (see link in comments above), don't ya think?? Good luck!!


  38. LDK, you poor thing -- THREE papers???? In 12 hours??? Saying one for you RIGHT NOW, girl!!

    Oooo, I remember this story from last time and I LOVE it!! Okay, you did a nice job of paring down on your edit, but I was curious to see if we could take it a step farther, so see what you think:

    "As Sir Edwin parried, catching the flurry of strokes with his sword, the sounds of the wooden training weapons filled the empty courtyard with a staccato beat. But Edwin barely managed to deflect Dathan’s last blow, driving him off balance. Sensing an opening, the squire pressed in, the force causing Edwin to fall on one knee."

    "Sir Edwin parried with his wooden training sword, filling the courtyard with a steady clacking beat. His attempt to deflect Dathan's last blow drove him off balance, and sensing an opening, his squire pressed in. The force of his blow brought Edwin to his knees."


  39. That pic at the top of the blog is adorable. :)

  40. Julie,
    You think I could stay away from your post!? No way. girl!!

    First of all, LOVE that vest! Seriously had me laughing really hard, you looked mahvelous dahling.....

    Anyway, I'm obviously NOT a writer, but as I've always said, this is an excellent resource! If ever I get to the point that I start truly writing, I will cherish Seekerville even more than now! Right now it's definitely for the friendships and relationships I've formed through here : ) Eventually I might be able to pull it to it's full potential for myself though!! LOL!

    YES everyone should check out Amber's party!! It's going really, really well so far : )

    I'm also doing a Christmas Blogfest right now. So far we've had interviews from Renee (steelergirl), KC, and Ruthy's is today!! Our favorite redhead is tomorrow ; ) And Missy is on Friday, followed by Amber on Saturday! Lol! If you've got time, I know we'd all LOVE to see you around : )

    There, that's my shameless plug *blush*

    Talk to you soon!

  41. Great post, Julie. I love your books! Please enter me in the drawing.
    Linda Cacaci

  42. This doesn't mean I need to throw away my blinking Christmas tree earrings, does it?

  43. And my blinking Christmas tree sweatshirt.

  44. And my tennis shoes with the elf toes?

  45. And the antlers? I swear I only wear them in December.

  46. I have a purse that will play Jingle Bells if you squeeze the right buckle.


    I suppose I oughta put that away, huh?

  47. And the hair bow that makes me look just exactly like a wrapped up present with a shiny golden bow on top.

    I think it makes me look like that. I might not have a very good ... what's that word ... realistic self-image?

    Not, that's not right.

    Ho Ho Ho

    Less is more

  48. Julie, you crack me up!! That garlic story is HILARIOUS!!

    I'm going to throw in a reader's comment here...about succinct, powerful word choice. Steven James is masterful at this. He can make a single word pop off the page. Granted, he writes suspense thrillers instead of romance, but he is masterful at saying a lot with a little.

    Just an observation.

  49. SUSANNA, no particular order, that is if you're talking about the points I listed in the blog. Just cut words wherever you can, sweetie because less is more!! And you said "usually a cowboy or hot military guy can get my attention but too much on my mind I guess." You MUST have a lot on your mind, girl, so I am saying one for you and your mom right now! Dive in to the chocolate chip pancakes, girl, and enjoy!! :)

    Thanks, DANA, for the sweet comment, and let's see if we can't pare that sentence down a wee bit:

    "Awkwardly aware of the pastor's wife sitting straight-backed on the old couch beside her, Sheri didn't want to appear too transfixed by her boyfriend's spiritual ordeal, or by the pastor's stereotypical yet somewhat anticlimactic supplication for healing."

    "Painfully aware of the pastor's wife sitting stiff-backed beside her, Sheri struggled for nonchalance over her boyfriend's spiritual ordeal and the pastor's stereotypical supplication for healing."

    Note: Dana, I'm not sure what you mean exactly by the term "stereotypical supplication" -- do you mean it was shallow? Stiff? Pompous? Phony? Although I like the alliteration, I think I would go for something simpler and clearer. What about something like:

    the pastor's lame attempt at healing?

    the pastor's pompous prayer for healing?


  50. AMBER, plug away, darlin' -- no problem here since I did the same above!! Sounds yummy, so I'll try to get by ...:)

    PAMMER!!! A WHOLE chapter??? WOW, you are good, girl!! If I removed a chapter from one of my books, that would be a 1/4 of the story practically!! :)

    JOANNE ... move over, sweetie, because it's the same for every one of us, or at least for me!! Of course, I haven't been at it all that long, but I have learned TONS in a short time. Critique partners, copy editors, contest judges and painfully honest friends will do that to you (if you're lucky!). :)


  51. Made it to Panera and into a good booth with outlet access, only to discover that the outet only has one good plugin and it's being used by someone else :p. Maybe she won't be here long? Hate the dim screen but would hate a dead laptop battery even more...

    Off to plug away on edits...

  52. JULIE ... SO glad you enjoyed the garlic story -- it's been one of my favorites for years now. :) And, of course, my friends have NEVER let me live it down!!

    And you said "I used to write devotionals and dictionary entries so know how to write sparingly but my inclination is to use every word I know. So I always write three times as much as I should. Sigh."

    Boy, I know the feeling, girl -- I'm a vocabulary and rhythm freak, so I tend to try and shove as many words in as possible, and to be honest, I WILL do that for rhythm's sake a lot, even now. But ... sigh ... even so, less is usually more.

    Thanks LISA ... the pictures were actually fun to do, but when I said to my hubby (after umpteen poses/trips to the computer), "Now, isn't this fun?" his response was not all I'd hoped it would be ... :)


  53. Oooo, DEB, great suggestion!! But then I'd be an old maid hanging out with people who smell, so maybe I'll rethink that ...

    RENEE ... Soooo glad I could put a smile on your face this morning, girl! Have a great day!

    CAROL SAID: "Julieness... 10 more minutes of sleep" /holds out hands like a scale/ "Julieness... 10 more minutes of sleep" /scales tip/ "Julieness".

    LOL!!! You are SUCH a hoot, girlfriend!! And, uh, I'm good on the tatoo ... ;)


  54. Actually, Julie, when I first saw the pictures and title I thought you were making a play on your name.

  55. Very interesting post, and although tightening up excess words, we must be honest...a Julie book could never be too long!


  56. Julie,

    Thanks for my smile for the day! I can't believe that guy actual got you breath drops!

    Great advice on editing. Will be printing this one off for sure!

    Pepper, I laughed at your heroine's 'gymnastics'. I think I'm guilty, too, of doing that a lot!

    Have a great day everyone. (No need to enter me in the draw. I have multiple copies of your books,Julie. Just ordered two for Christmas presents!)


  57. SARAH, LOVE IT!!! I actually wouldn't change a thing, but thought it would be fun to see if I could delete any words if somebody put a gun to my head, so here's what I came up with, which I don't think is as good as yours:

    Ivy sat on the driveway, a broken high heel in one hand and her cell phone in the other. She stared at the U-haul in front of her parents’ ranch-style house and glared at the boots peeking out from behind the cab’s window.

    Ivy sat on the driveway, broken high heel in one hand and cell phone in the other. She glared at the U-haul in front of her parents’ ranch-style house, noting the boots peeking out the cab’s window.


  58. GREAT advice!!! Love your post. I need to print it out and hang it on my bulletin board.

  59. Thanks, GLYNNA!! Although poor Keith quakes in his boots every time I have a Seeker blog coming up ... :)

    KC ... GREAT JOB!!! And, YES, I think alliteration is ALWAYS okay, if not overdone because as we all know ... less is more!! ;)

    PEP ... "much needed" for ALL of us, kiddo, trust me. There isn't a writer alive who can't use SOME revision!!


    I’m an eye person, and in one of my recent manuscripts I found my poor characters’ eyes rolling, twinkling, rounding, squinting, flashing, etc, etc, until they were dizzy with all the motion.

    Grin ... I'm a jaw/tick/mouth kind of gal myself, KIRSTEN, so I totally understand!! I still haven't mastered the fine art of less is more, but I'm learning ... VERY slowly ... :)

    Thanks, CARRIE! I thank God for garlic because who knows?? Maybe that guy and I would have hit it off if I hadn't smelled so bad and then I would have missed out on my saint of a husband!! :) Could be a prime example of "all things working out for those who love God and eat garlic ..."

    Oh, PEP, I get cold chills just THINKING what Ruthy would do to one of my manuscripts!!! Actually, Ruthy critted A Passion Most Pure WAY back when, which is probably why it's most people's favorite! :)


  61. I love these little sneaks of Julie's upcoming works, if only a sentence at a time :)

    As an English major in my Undergrad, I used to add words and phrases to bulk up the essay ... in my personal writing, it's hard to par down to the bare essentials, but I agree it's always better.

    What helped me was when I had a poetry teacher assign a prompt that was simply "no pronouns, and no "this-that-the". It sounded difficult, but it made me realize how much I over-explain. The pared down version made the writing really sing.


  62. are the best, girlfriend :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  63. I am completely with CarolM. LOVE this post (very helpful, in so many ways) and reading all those excerpts has me salivating to read any of the Passion books again. My TBR stack is pretty short right now too, so I should take advantage of the lull. It's a hunger I need to satisify.

    And that story you told! Oh, I needed a good laugh to start my day! Now if that had been your husband, he REALLY would be a saint. :D

    I learned the "that" thing a while back. WOW, why is that word even in the English language?? It's hardly needed!

    This is longer than a sentence, but I hope it is okay:


    I dug through my purse, taking my own sweet time. Shoved aside the lipstick tube. The wallet and checkbook, the picture of Greg and I on our wedding day and slapped the required documents into his out stretched palm. He stood to the side and back of the door as if afraid I might charge through and run for it. Not that the thought hadn’t entered my mind.

    AFTER (with crit partner's help. :)

    I dug through my purse, taking my own sweet time. He stood to the side and back of the door as if afraid I might run for it. Not that it hadn’t entered my mind. I yanked my wallet from the tangle of lipstick tube and bills and slapped the required documents into his outstretched palm.

    Sooo...I am sure there is something else to change, so have at it! :)

    Also, I will admit that I just about cried after reading your Monday Jot. The thought of saying "good-bye" sounds SO FINAL! PLEASE don't say such things.

    BTW, (my comment is definately not less is more) the pics of you are so very flattering! No double chin in sight. :)

    Oh and please enter me, I would love to regift your books. :)

  64. I forget whose advice it was, but I'm taking it. Think it may have been Glynna's? Dunno why I think that.

    Starting at the back of the hard copy and working my way forward so it doesn't screw up the page numbers. Such brilliance.

    And avoiding doing it by hanging out over here and refreshing to see what nuggets Julie is dishing out.

    @Kirsten - MAGIC! I LOVE IT! I struggle with it. Like 'how can she be running up the sidewalk to the door when she never got out of the car?'


    Anyone wanna do my edits for me? I'm not getting nearly enough done [when I'm not procrastinating] and I'm starting to think there's no way on God's green earth I'll get this out by Friday given everything else I have going on.

    I'm starting a tally of 'that' deletions though...

    And Mary - LOL! Love it! I wanna a pic ;).

    Captcha - parest: seems appropriate

  65. MEL!!! Oh, I am SOOO glad you are enjoying AHU!! And I have to admit that I am absolutely ga-ga over Luke -- hubba, hubba!! Between him and Mitch, I'm fanning myself a lot when I write!! :)

    As the nurse looked back at Stacey again, her eyes widened a millimeter, realizing Stacey had opened her own eyes and was peering up at her.

    Okay, girl, I took a shot, and here's what I came up with -- see what you think:

    Obviously aware she'd been caught staring, the nurse blinked and looked away when Stacey glanced up.

    Oh, JANET, I LOVE being "desperate for word count," because I am SOOO good at that! ;)


  66. Aw, thanks ANN!! I'm not sure my hubby would have used the word "adorable" when we were done, but what the heck -- the man knew what he was getting when he said "I do." Or maybe he didn't ... :/

    HANNAH!!! Thanks, sweetie, and your Christmas Blogfest sounds WONDERFUL, so I will definitely stop by ...

    LINDA ... double thanks, girl, for liking both my blog and my books -- MUCH appreciated on both counts! :)


  67. Julie, LOVE the photos! Too cute and so clever! You look so pretty, as usual!

    I'm with Carol...anything Julie is good whether lengthy or not!


  68. LOL, MARE!!! Now that's a picture of you I'd pay serious money to see, truly -- all decked out in your Christmas finest! I'm guessing that could be a blog post in and of itself, sweetie! :) PLEASE tell me you don't really have all that stuff, do you???? Because if you do, you MUST post a picture SOMEWHERE!!

    Oooo-oooo, KIM, I've never had the pleasure of reading Steven James, but I would LOVE to see an example, so if you swing back by here today and have the time, post a line or two, okay???

    CAROL ... I don't think I have ever met someone who does more things in a day than you, girlfriend!! Hey, you wanna take a road trip to St. Loo and train me???


  69. HELEN ... uh, don't think I didn't try to work that in, sweetie, because I did. But it sounded so hokey, I thought I better pass. I get enough roll of the eyes when people ask me to spell my name and I say, "L-E-S-S-M-A-N. You know, less man, more woman???" Groan ...

    Aw, HOLLY, what a sweet thing to say -- THANK YOU!! But I'm afraid my publisher may not agree with you!! :) Actually, I told my editor that for the next series I was going to shape up for the market and write shorter books with less steam, and my jaw dropped when she told me no!! "Just keep doing what you're doing," she said. I guess that's a good thing ...

    WHOO-HOO, SUE, thank you SO much!! Appreciate your support, my friend, and if you would like bookplates for those Christmas presents, drop me a line with your address and how you want the plates signed, okay?


  70. Okay - that stats ;).

    54/254 pages done - working backward have gone through ch. 28-33+Epilogue.

    I am now SEVENTY-ONE thats lighter!


    Extrapolate that over another 200 pages and I'll be deleting another TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY thats.

    And, Julie, I am so there!!! Road trip, baby! Except that [see there - one of 'em jumped over from my manuscript] I'm really good at making lists and needing to get things done but they don't always actually GET done.

    I was going to do about 50 pages then have lunch but the line is insanely long so I'm going to edit a bit more then eat...

  71. TINA!!! Oh-oh, missed you a while back, so my apologies, girl! Thanks for the sweet comment and good luck in the contest!

    NOSE-IN-A-NOVEL (great addy, by the way!!) -- THANKS for you kind comment!! And that would be a relief when a teacher says "no pronouns, and no "this-that-the," because I bet you really can fly while writing, almost like stream of consciousness, can't you??

    For years, I would proof my daughter's essays/papers ... uh, that is until she interned at a law firm in D.C. one summer and had to write an article for a medical journal for the top boss!! I proofed it and added a lot of flair and fun to it, which the boss totally scratched, opting for cold, hard legal terms instead. Sigh. I think that's part of the legal strategy -- bore the reader to death so they just skim and miss the fine print.

    KAREN!!! SO ARE YOU, SWEETIE!! Thanks for coming by!


  72. This comment has been removed by the author.

  73. Hi Julie!

    Again, thank you for the post! I shared it with my writing group. I love how you use examples from your own work so we can see the evolution of your writing.

    Side note: Sean always seemed to be above the whole falling in love business so in your new book, I can't wait to see him fall HAAAARRRRRDDDD. Yes!


  74. CASE SAID: "Now if that had been your husband, he REALLY would be a saint."

    GRIN ... you got THAT right, kiddo!! And Don't worry, I'm not saying "good-bye" on Journal Jots, just desperately trying to discipline myself to write books instead of jots that end up being books!!! And of course there's no double chin -- the "saint" also performs miracles in that area too!!:)

    And GREAT edit on the paragraph, girl!! You done good. Can I find anything else to cut??? Mmm ... now you've challenged me to try. Let's see ...

    I dug through my purse, taking my own sweet time. He stood to the side and back of the door as if afraid I might run for it. Not that it hadn’t entered my mind. I yanked my wallet from the tangle of lipstick tube and bills and slapped the required documents into his outstretched palm.

    I dug through my purse, taking my sweet time. He butted against the door as if I might bolt. Not that it hadn’t entered my mind. I yanked my wallet from the tangle of lipstick and bills and slapped the required documents into his outstretched palm.

    Six or half a dozen ...


  75. Hi Julie:

    Love your ideas! As someone who spent a career trying to say more will less words, I am a true believer. Just imagine if you had to pay $10 a word (sometimes over $100 a word in national advertising) for each world you wrote and give it to your editor. That would really get you thinking.

    BTW: Lace curtain Irish were just shanty Irish who put up lace curtains in an attempt to at least try to improve their situation. They were the first to make it out to the suburbs.

    Example: I cut 177 words and came up with the below:

    In 1776 this country was established in liberty espousing that all are created equal. This civil war is a survival test. Today we dedicated this battlefield as a cemetery for our fallen heroes. This we should do. Yet it is not for us to hallow this land. That has already been done those who have given their lives. What we say today may soon be forgotten. It is the sacrifice of those who rest here that will speak forever. Let their deaths not be in vain but rather spur us on to victory so this nation, under God, shall not perish.

    I just noticed that “A Hope Undaunted” is now available on Kindle. Happy days!


  76. Oh, but weren't you glad that WASN'T your husband? What a story to tell the grandkids. Not sure it would be one I would want to relive over and over... ;)

    Oh I knew you wouldn't be saying goodbye about Jots, but about when you said to come by AusJenny's giveaway and say "goodbye" THAT is when something sank within me. Don't say such things!! ;)

    But keep writing, the world needs LOTS more Lessman books!!!

    Thanks for looking that over! I appreciate the help. :D

  77. CAROL!!! GET BACK TO WORK!!! Don't make me come down there ...

    CHERYL!!! Loving that I'm seeing you around more, girl -- YEAH!! And thanks for the kind words. Oh, yeah, I'm real "cute" ... just ask Keith ... :/

    VINCE -- what a hoot!! Only you would think of editing the Gettysburg Address, you clever thing, you!! GREAT JOB, although I'm not sure Lincoln would think so ... :) Fun tidbit about "lace-curtain Irish" -- thank you!! And, YES, AHU is FINALLY on Kindle. Should have been out the gate, but my publisher said Amazon was having problems converting it. Mmmm ... possibly because at 505 pages, it was too long???



    I haven't even broken for lunch yet - mainly because the line is insanely long. I am keeping an eye out for an individual seeking a table to eat at because I'd be willing to share...

    So that stats update:

    Pages 149-199, chapters 21-27 - 57 thats deleted or replaced with something else.

    I really need to go use the little authors room and am getting hungry but I hate leaving my stuff unattended when it's so busy and the line is just too long right now... maybe it'll slow down in the next 30m or so... It's taking me about 30m to do 50 pages of these edits so I'll be down to 100 pages then :).

  79. I read this earlier, how wonderfully you put this my friend! Oh my stars, this is just so wonderful that when I had to leave the computer my first thought was:

    Why do I have to ALWAYS FOLLOW JULIE????

    I do believe I repeated the lament a number of times, much to the chagrin of my small charges who wonder who or what JULIE is...

    I'll read comments later, but what a fun day around such a stellar (and long, YES, you go, girlfriend!!!!)post.

    But I do intend to see Ms. Radcliffe about re-scheduling me after someone boring, but then I looked at our list and....


    No stinkin' boring Seekers.



    And I agree, more Julie is always good, but I loved how she meted things out in A Hope Undaunted, just lovely, lovely work.

    Kudos, my friend.

  80. Julie I cracked up with the garlic scene at the theater. That has got to show up in one of your stories. LOL

    Great tips from a terrific writer. I always listen to you because you are a great writer. I love your books.

    Thanks again.

  81. That Stats:

    Pg. 100-148, Ch. 14-26:
    Deleted or replaced 43 thats.

    Added one. Deleted it.

    Pg. 100-254, Ch. 14-33+epilogue

    171 thats deleted in total.

    And Panera is starting to slow down/clear out so soon I should be able to eat lunch!

  82. I've never seen anyone whose before and after pictures are just as gorgeous!!

    Oh my goodness, Julie! Your writing sounds so you no matter which way you write it, LOL!! Beautiful examples and yikes! I see a lot of pitfalls that beckon me...

    I'm printing this out as I make my final revisions for my next book.

    I can't believe how you and Mary knew I needed these pep talks right now. You, for making each of my words count and Mary, reminding us all to leave bread crumbs and hints as we write.


    I knew I loved you guys for a reason, LOL!!

  83. CAROL ... "The little authors room"???? Between you and Mary Connealy, you guys keep a smile on my face, I can tell you that. And, yeah, like you would get ANY work done with somebody at your table ... :)

    "Why do I have to ALWAYS FOLLOW JULIE????" LOL ... that's funny because Julie always thinks:
    Why do I have to go before Ruthy???? But thanks for the kind words, my friend -- especially about Undaunted. When somebody you respect and admire and whose writing you LOVE gives you a compliment, trust me, it's like a whisper from E.F. Hutton: you sit up and take notice ... and glow!

    SANDRA, you are SUCH a sweetheart and encourager, my friend. Can you drive your RV to St. Loo and park it in front of my house??? I'll pipe your initials in baked potatoes, I promise ... :)


  84. Great lesson on less being more. And I loved the cute opening with the garlic.

    True story? Really? I am laughing, not at you but with you!

    Also loved the Christmas photos, which drove home the point as well.

    Most of all, I love your books and the romance and passion you write so, so well!

  85. @Carol, that's what I always thought when I read a book, but I think I took it too far and my romance turned into a handbook on how to safely drive an SUV! :o) Once pointed out, I'm loving MAGIC. He's across the room--Nope he's right behind you. ;o)

  86. /beats MS/

    Well, those 171 thats turned into a thatless 502 word addition of the hero kissing a girl he's so not supposed to be kissing [well he is, but he isn't because she's not the heroine]. Ugh.

    And his reaction to that kiss means I need to go make a few other edits later. Of course, this started on page 92, not page 192 so...


    Julie. I thought less is more. Take it out for me, would ya?

    /sets out Panera bread bowls and soup of choice for lunch/

    Oh, and in 9 more pages, I deleted 6 more thats.

    Er, and one that in those 502 words...

  87. I'd hate to be someone watching me -

    running my hands through my hair
    viciously yanking my headband out
    silent screaming

    alternates with:

    toe tapping
    chair dancing [remember Cliff and Claire?]
    mouthing words

    /sigh/ Yes, I'm procrastinating again...

  88. Am I the only one that would kill for that extra almost 300 pages?? *wink*

  89. AUDRA ... aw, thanks, sweetie!! I am NOT photogenic as a rule, so it takes LOTS and LOTS of trial shots to get one I will even consider posting on the Web!! Trust me, at 60, vanity is one of my greatest assets!! :) And LOL to your comment that you "see a lot of pitfalls that "beckon" you ... Too cute!!

    DEB ... True story, no joke and hand on the Bible!!! Hard to believe, I know, but when you are a CDQ like me, things like this just seem to happen all the time. My daughter says it's because "I'm special," only when she says it, it doesn't sound so good ... :)

    CAROL ... calm down, girl, or Panera will oust you ... :)


  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. Trying that again, the last one didn't make sense.

    Here's something I'm working on now.
    I'm having fun.

    Original Version
    The thunder slammed into her body. The house shook and she threw her arms up to protect herself. Her eyes flickered open to see the window light up with a blaze of lightening. It was coming again. She braced herself for the explosive burst of thunder.

    It crashed over the house. The window rattled from the force of it. She felt moisture on her face and dashed the tears away.

    The window lit up.

    Compelled to face the onslaught of the storm standing, she swung her legs out of bed. Pain like lightning jagged through her head. Lurching as if she were drunk, she fell back onto her pillow. She gasped aloud from the agony but preparing for the coming thunder was paramount.

    She shoved at the pillow to sit upright. The thunder streaked across the sky, building force as it came for her. It shot into her like a million tiny knives, slashing. She almost fell back again but she fought to stay sitting as if she fought for her very life.

    New Version
    An explosion shook her awake.
    Her eyes shot open. A window lit up. Lightning. Thunder streaked across the sky growing in speed like an incoming missile. She braced herself.
    It crashed. The window rattled. Her scream was just part of the tumult. She felt moisture on her face and dashed tears away.
    Every instinct told her to get up, run, hide. She realized it was a mattress beneath her. She swung her legs out of bed. Lightning-sharp pain jagged through her head. She gasped and nearly fell back.
    A cry of pain escaped but she gritted her teeth and shoved at the pillow to sit upright. Thunder streaked across the sky, building force. It came for her like a hungry predator. She fought to stay sitting as if she fought for her very life.

  92. Now I want to go revise the revised version.


  93. Aaaaghhhh, it's been one of those days. I read this post first thing this morning and haven't had a chance to reply until now.

    I LOVE these kind of 'exampley' posts. They make more sense to my poor addled brain! I never thought about how redundant 'that' could be. Poor that -- to go through life so unwanted! :-(

    And I loved your examples -- especially the sneak peek into Sean's book which isn't come out in -- like forever!!!!

    I'm at work and my wip is at home but the first chapter has tons of examples of less is more thanks to my seeker critique!!!! (alas I haven't gotten over my penchant for excessive punctuation yet...)

  94. MARGARET!!! LOL, sweetie, you wouldn't trust me!! Although I did have one reader friend tell me that she would read anything I wrote, even a grocery list, which made me laugh too. Probably because people enjoy watching me make a fool of myself ... :)

    WOW, MARE, you had me by the throat on the second version, seriously!!! You nailed it, so not sure how you could make it any better, but if you, we wanna see it ...

    NEWSFLASH, KAV ... less is more in everything EXCEPT exclamation points, no matter what anybody tells you!!!!! :)


  95. @Julie - Can I read your grocery lists too? LOL

  96. Thanks for the plug Julie, Im sure its my most commented on post and I have learnt about Hawaii too.

    the neighbours carport is also my landlord but I do get on well with them.
    It felt good helping them as they are good to me and I know it helped her as she was sorting material that got wet. Thank goodness it happened when it did and not in the next week or so when they would be away.

    In business studies they say on the phone with a customer when they give there name use it to help remember it not over do it but by using there name it puts them at ease. (of course when I have to use my official name Jennifer they tend to use that and im Jenny will do!)

  97. I want the pages and the grocery lists.

    DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [see? Exclamation points!]

    Except for going over the line edits an editor friend gave me [I think I caught most of them myself though - once I'd gone through a couple of chapters from her]. And changing a bit after the new 502 words :p.

    So that stats:
    Pg 46-99, ch. 7-13:
    56 Thats deleted

    Pg. 1-45, Ch. 1-6:
    63 Thats deleted

    That's a grand total of


    thats deleted in what is now 255 pages.

    Now to see if I can get my review of APR written and posted before I need to leave to pick up DS3 in about 20 minutes...

  98. Hi Julie:

    I just downloaded “A Hope Undaunted” from Kindle and did you know they got it down to 292 pages? That’s what took all the extra time. They took the passion out.



    Just as there are people who should never be given pruning shears, there are writers who should remember that ‘more is more’ when it results in a more enjoyable reading experience and ‘less is more’ when the same thing happens.

    While being long is no sin, seeming to be long is. Your books read like shorter works. (Of course, now we know they actually are shorter works!) That’s the saving grace of longer books. It’s all about making the reading experience better.


    P.S. I actually did just download “A Hope Undaunted” and I think you made one of the most heartwarming dedications I’ve ever read. How lucky it would be to be your daughter.


  100. And review is done and posted :).

    Link is in your inbox, Julie.

    I'm off! Will check in later to see what other pearls of wisdom and/or humor have shown up in the meantime :).

  101. Deep breath. Deep breath.

    Okay- Dr. Jules,
    Here's my attempt. How many points do we get per 'ly' word? How about 'that's?


    "A black lace overdress, which conformed to her figure, covered a dress the color of cranberries, highlighting the blush in her cheeks.
    She’s like a sister to me. A little sister. That’s it. Sam stood in shocked stillness and tried to swallow the growing lump in his throat. Pigtails. Scraped knees. Dirty overalls. Heat scorched his cheeks from the inside out. She looked beautiful…and unfortunately for him, no hint of pigtails.


    A dress the color of cranberries peeked from behind black lace. It conformed to her figure like saran wrap - a figure Sam never knew existed.
    She's like a little sister to me. That's all. He tried to swallow the growing lump in his throat and ignore scorching heat in his chest. Pigtails. Scraped knees. Dirty overalls. A hint of a smile played across her lips. She looked beautiful - and there were no pigtails in sight.

  102. Confession time! I've been out ALL day reading A Passion Most Pure! Julie, I now understand why everybody here says you're evil. LOL It's one of the best books I've ever read and is definately going on my favorite book-list! Wow! It makes me want to take another look at my novel and see if I can add more depth to it. Oh my!

    I'm off in a hurry to get some cleaning done after all the time Ive spent wiling away the day with your book, but I'll be back to read the post for sure!

    Please include me in the drawing:
    lr dot mullin at live dot com


  103. LOL, MARGARET!!! Well, actually, they are pretty nice because I am so anal that I drew out the aisles of the grocery store one day, labeling where everything was, then went home and put it all on the computer. Would you believe that I even typed "Happy Shopping!" down at the bottom of the list ... in script???? Yeah, we're talking anal here ... :)

    JENNY ... yeah, it was fun learning more about Hawaii from LDK, wasn't it, though?? Uh, especially since a certain brat who shall remain nameless is going there next month ...!!!

    CAROL ... Come on, fess up -- you HAVE to be ADD, right?? Because NOBODY can go in that many directions at once, seriously. You teach, are a wife and mom, revising a requested ms., charm the people at Panera, leave umpteen posts on Seekerville today and STILL manage to write and post a review for A Passion Redeemed on your blog??? Excuse me, I gotta go take a nap ...


  104. Julie, about three more lightning flashes and she finally sees the dead body.

    Soon after that, she realizes she can't remember where she is, how she got there or HER OWN NAME!!!

    My heroine's life goes down hill from there...but a hero comes....

  105. Mary,
    Did your heroine wake up wearing those antlers you were talking about?
    Or a Rudolph nose?

    Just curious. That could REALLY give us some insight about her

  106. Fabulous post, Ms. LESSman. :)

    "How lucky it would be to be your daughter."

    Uh, the jury's still out on that one, I'm afraid, Vince, because my daughter is living at home while she's in law school ... :) But THANK YOU for the kind words nonetheless!! AND for buying AHU on Kindle -- YEAH!! And they really got it down from 505 pages to 292??? Gosh, I hope they left in the passionate scene in the office between Katie and Luke -- it's my favorite!! :) Thank you again for your sweet comment, Vince -- talk about "heartwarming"!!

    CASEY ... LOL!! You guys are too cute, you know that??? BUT ... you do give me an idea to post a great love scene my editor made me cut out between Mitch and Charity in A Heart Revealed on Journal Jots!!! It was my VERY favorite love scene and my editor made me shorten Mitch and Charity's substory, so it had to come out. :( But look for it in Journal Jots, okay??? Maybe this Friday??? :)

    CAROL ... "off to explore" worlds other than Panera, I'm guessing. Well, have fun, sweetie, and THANK YOU for the great review!!


  108. Julie,

    Loved the pictures and the post!

  109. PEP!!! AWESOME JOB, GIRL!!! WHOO-WEE, this sounds like a great book, sweetie-pie, seriously!! You nailed the edits on the first line especially -- fabulous!! I only saw one bitty thing I'd change -- I'd take out the words "there were" out of the last sentence so it reads: and no pigtails in sight. Great job!!

    LINNETTE!!! HOLY COW, "one of the best books you've ever read"???? That's enough to make my day,girl -- THANK YOU!! That's definitely the kind of "evil" I can live with!! :)

    MARY, have I ever told you how in awe I am of your plotting skills?? You and Ruthy can come up with fabulous plots faster than anybody I've ever seen and I would hate you both if I didn't love you so much.

    Thank you, EDWINA!! Grin ... VERY cute! ;)


  110. Julie a certain brat cant wait.
    Hey anyone can come to. The brat as you call me is going to be alone for 13 days.

  111. Put me in line for Mary's book. And Steven's story from Julie. And just about any of the others...

    But now I'm home, but sent a couple of emails, put a former student in touch with my dad [I went to school where he taught], talked to kids and successfully avoided folding laundry.


    Forgot DH has a Christmas party tonight.

    Now, don't have too much fun without me.

    And I've realized I've gone all day without coming up with anything I'm willing to submit to the hordes, er helpful FoS...

    If something comes to me, I will...

    Oooo - was thinking it needed to be from the current MS, but who says it has to be? I'm not quite sure this is right. I don't really know what to post. But here we go anyway...

    "I'm sorry." I took a deep, shaky breath. "I'm not ready for this." I turned away from him and pulled his discarded robe with me as I fled to the bathroom.

    In seconds, I was standing under the scalding hot spray of the well-appointed shower.

    Obviously much nicer than the room Vicki and I were supposed to be sharing, I was also certain it wasn't the nicest room in the hotel either. I wasn't sure what exactly that meant.

    I had been in the shower for an exceptionally long time when the tears finally slowed and I turned off the flow of water. I dried off and wrapped the robe around me, a towel wrapped around my hair, as I finally walked through the door and returned to the bedroom.

    My clothes were laid neatly on the bed. They'd been strewn about the floor when I'd fled. This time, I took them with me and dressed quickly with the bathroom door locked securely behind me. I took a deep breath to steady myself before I went back through the door.

    [Hero] was standing there, back to me, as he stared out the window. I just watched him for a long moment as he watched the city. His black collared shirt fit well across his muscled back – snug but not tight. His tan pants were obviously well made and probably quite expensive. They weren't bought off the rack, I could tell that much.

    [Okay - I could go on, but that's enough. I struggle with how much description is too much, how little is not enough and there's no other passages that just jump out and say 'POST ME ON SEEKERVILLE' except the one that explains how the government in a made-up European country works and I already know that's going to get deleted... I don't even know... Any thoughts or suggestions or...]

    Posting before I change my mind...

  112. Julie, I'm starring this post. Bookmarking it. Copying it into a Word doc for reference. Printing a copy.

    Thanks for a very practical look at revision. I'm in the same group with you and Ruthy, as far as wordiness. No secret there. The pointers you offer will be a big help.

    Another word I try to eliminate in revision is "so". Typically, it means my sentence is longer than it needs to be because it includes some type of explanation, which probably also can be deleted.

    Are you and Patti going to be teaching that workshop again this year?

  113. *claps hands giddily* Oh, you just made my ENTIRE DAY! Can't wait for Friday now!!!!!

  114. She ISN'T wearing Rudolph's nose but you know what, Pepper, that would really add to the scene. Waking up with amnesia...wearing antlers. Now there is a confused young lady.

    It'll work great.

  115. Great, great, great post, Julie! And aren't you soooo cute in those photos!

    Hey, your garlic story ALMOST tops my pumpkin pie story. A million years ago, in my only attempt to make a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin, I used the stringy/seedy parts because I didn't know any better! Aaaack!

  116. '

    “Waking up with amnesia...wearing antlers. Now there is a confused young lady”. Not if she was the entertainment at a stag party. Does she have any cake frosting on her?

    I hope this is a real story and that you are not just teasing us.


    P.S. I want to win that story Mary is writing.
    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net
    (I have all of Julie's books.)

  117. Julie thanks but I meant if your books go in order when I read them. thanks for the prayers - my mom should find out tomorrow afternoon what they're going to do and when. My brother and I are getting conflicting information ranging from they don't know the size of the tumor to it's small to it's too small to really tell if it's a tumor or not but looks like it's one..either way their doctor wants her to see this doctor and get it out.


  118. The lesson was hilarious and the writing examples worth printing. Thanks Garlic Girl!!!!

  119. Julie, I'm not a writer so don't have any examples to share. However, I did enjoy reading and learning. I also loved your garlic story!
    I've read all your books; winning one would be a pleasure.


  120. Someone has to buy it and print it for me first, Vince. It's not exactly romantic comedy with cowboys. But who knows? It could happen.

    No frosting....silly. She's soaked in blood of course.

    In a remote, spooky house clinging to a sea swept cliff. Road washed out. Another death, then another.

    Everyone has a motive, including the heroine...who can't remember killing anyone but from what she's learning, she had ample motive.

    A madwoman lives there and she knows all the answers, including the hiding place of a long lost treasure and family secrets that could destroy them all.

    I'm just having the best time imaginable writing this.


  121. CAROL!!! Oh-oh, not sure what's going on here with her picking up his discarded robe and taking showers, BUT ... you may be writing this for the secular market, so who knows? Since this is supposed to be a "sentence" mini-critique, how about we look at two paragraphs that caught my eye. I cut a few things out, not much, though, and I REALLY like the 2nd paragraph -- good job!

    My clothes were laid neatly on the bed. They'd been strewn about the floor when I'd fled. This time, I took them with me and dressed quickly with the bathroom door locked securely behind me. I took a deep breath to steady myself before I went back through the door.

    [Hero] was standing there, back to me, as he stared out the window. I just watched him for a long moment as he watched the city. His black collared shirt fit well across his muscled back – snug but not tight. His tan pants were obviously well made and probably quite expensive. They weren't bought off the rack, I could tell that much.

    My clothes were laid neatly on the bed. They'd been strewn about the floor when I'd fled. Snatching them up, I bolted for the bathroom and dressed, door securely locked. With a steadying breath, I returned to the room where he stood, staring out the window, watching the city as I watched him.

    His black collared shirt fit well across a muscled back – snug but not tight. His tan pants were obviously well made and probably quite expensive. They weren't bought off the rack, that much I could tell.


  122. PATRICIA!!! "SO" -- I forgot about that one!! I guess because I like it SO much and refuse to cut it ... :) Glad this was a help to you -- we verbose types have to help each other out, right?? Thanks for coming by, sweetie.

    CASEY ... well, good, girl ... that means there will be one person reading my Journal Jots for sure ... :)

    MARE, I LOVE IT!!! Do it, PLEASE!!

    Hugs, Julie

  123. PATRICIA!!! Forgive me, please -- I forgot to answer your last question. No, neither Patti nor I will be teaching at Green Lake next summer. They asked us to return, but Patti's done it for a number of years now and ready to quit, and I've only done it once, but it was enough to know I would NEVER do it without Patti! I think I need to stick to writing ... :)

    MYRA, I absolutely LOVE your pumpkin pie story, girl -- it makes me feel less stupid about the garlic. Not much, but enough. :)

    Thanks, VINCE, for purchasing all of my books, but I'm with you -- I WANT that story Mary is writing ... :)


  124. SUSANNAH!!! Oh, in order, PLEASE!! This is one series that really should be read in order due to a number of big surprises that would be ruined otherwise. They CAN be read separately, of course, but the read is much better if in order. And I am encouraged that the doctors are thinking it may not be a tumor at all -- saying another one for your mom RIGHT NOW!!

    TINA ... "Garlic Girl"??? Well, it's catchy and I guess it fits, but I'm worried they may think my writing stinks ... :)

    PAM, thanks SO much for reading my books, and I would love for you to win one too, so good luck, sweetie!


  125. oh, Julie - I love your stories, you really need to write your own story - it would be a bestseller!!
    I can so relate to the garlic story...I thought I was the ONLY one who did that.. I wanted to make fresh guacamole and it was the first time I used fresh garlic and I thought too that the whole bulb was the clove! WOW... did the whole house smell by the time my hubby got home - it did cure my cold! grin...

  126. I was scrolling though my 300 something blog feeds tonight (fell behind on the social networking this week)...and that picture of Julie in the holiday sweater caught my eye. I almost spit diet coke all over my computer screen.

    My sweet grandmother never got the whole "less is more" concept when it came to apply her rouge...and I don't have it down in my writing.

    But I'm putting a star on this post to come back and read the whole thing. You definitely caught my attention. LOL.


  127. What a great post, Julie! I read it this morning but didn't have time to comment. Now I show up and see a gazillion comments!! :)

    I'm still laughing about your garlic breath!! Poor guy. LOL

  128. JOETTA!!! OMIGOSH, yet ANOTHER thing we have in common. This is getting downright scary ... for you!! :) Can't believe you did it with the garlic, too, but at lease you were already married to Todd -- I didn't even have a prayer. Of course, I wasn't a Christian back then so I REALLY didn't have a prayer ... :)

    JOY ... soooo glad the Christmas sweater caught your eye!! Actually, it's a plain red sweater that I hooked every Christmas earring I had on it and pins and necklaces. Then my hubby Photoshopped even more of them in, so I look like a flippin' Christmas tree! :)

    MISSY ... "poor guy"???? What about me, a mortified woman with garlic seeping from her pores ... for days!! Let's put the sympathy in the right place, shall we??? :)


  129. Are you KIDDING?? I wouldn't MISS it!! :D

  130. Yes, Julie! And I don't give compliments like that lightly and I don't give just anyone five stars. Most books I really like get four stars. It has to really be amazing to get five from me and you did it. Can't wait to read the next in the series.

    I'm getting ready for company tomorrow evening, but I'll have a review on Goodreads soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I'll tell you all the things I loved, well maybe a lot of the things I loved about A Passion Most Pure. :D


  131. Hi Julie, I LOVE the garlic story! What a great illustration. the photos are wonderful too!

    Thanks for giving us examples to help illustrate how less can be more in our writing. I tend to be too wordy, so this is good advice for me.

    One thing that has helped me is writing novellas. You have to squeeze the whole story into 20 K, so every word has to do its job.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  132. Argh - had a whole post written out on my phone while waiting for a train but the captcha doesn't work on my phone :p. See if I can remember the main points before heading off to grade papers.

    *Secular market - not so much. But I should probably mention they're in Vegas. ;) From what I understand, it also has a bit of Mary Connealy in it [though I've only read Petticoat Ranch so I could be wrong on that and I don't have time to search.]

    *So glad you liked the second para.

    *I like what you did with it! This
    is why you're the pubbed author and I'm not :).

    *2 sentences. Right. That's what I meant. Actually, I missed the two sentences part but really the part you looked at Julie is where I was curious...

    And now that I've managed to screw the 2 sentence part up, I'm off into the dark night. Or off to grade papers. Which is pretty much the same thing.

    Captcaha now that I have one: conesco - I think that's the name of a baseball stadium or something...

  133. CASE!!! You better not, sweetie-pie!!

    WHOA, LINNETTE, now I am doubly blessed knowing that because on A Hope Undaunted I have gotten a lot of 4-star reviews where the reader absolutely LOVED the book and couldn't put it down, and yet it's a 4-star, so that always throws me. But it must be people who save 5 stars for books that are totally over the top, which REALLY blesses the socks off of me then, with you on APMP!!

    Don't know if you ever post reviews on, or other book sites, but if you do and you sign up for my newsletter too, you can enter a contest where you might win a signed copy of A Heart Revealed (next book in the Winds of Change Series), a $50 gift card to or AND the person who posts the most reviews (can be anywhere ... Goodreads, Shelfari, blogs, etc.) will have a character named after them in A Heart Revealed. Either way, I am incredibly blessed by your kind words -- THANK YOU!

    Hey, CARRIE, hi and thank you!! And I SO admire anyone who writes novellas like you because I am not sure I could keep the word count that low. I tend to be pretty verbose. Uh, with 500-plus-page books, ya think??? Thanks so much for dropping by, my friend -- great to see you here!


  134. I love how inspirational and funny your writing is.

  135. thanks I'll be sure to read in order!
    According to my brother Mama told him it was small so that's the hesitation in knowing for sure - but she also told me yesterday that they hadn't seen the scans so not sure why she's saying it's small now. I'm going up there in the morning to sit in on the dr meeting. My mom seems to be acting like this is a day surgery procedure and she'll be making the 4 hr drive to Houston next week for my dad's treatment. I told her she's likely to be in recovery for a bit then she said they'd have to wait and do it the week of Christmas w hen they get back. sigh..

    anyways..finished Yuletide Cowboy LOL! good one but I love that mule hollow series and this one had some of the cute stuff in it.

  136. I've eaten roasted bulbs of garlic. It's delicious.

    The part I loved most was about using verbs. There's an author in my writer's group who I once told that one of my favorite things about her books was the way she used her verbs. (She said that it was first time she'd ever had anyone tell her that, but she thinks it's funny.)

    I try my best to get rid of the "that's" and the speaker attributes.

  137. Ooo hahaha I'm not even going to attempt this one, I'm the queen of the run on sentence. :-P

    You poor thing you it sounds like you needed to stay out of the kitchen like I do now! I can't even bake a frozen pizza. Yeah, I take the plastic off but I tend to leave the cardboard stuck to the bottom of the pizza. It's a wonder I haven't burned my house down. What's even more hilarious is the last time I made a pizza that came wrapped in plastic with the cardboard on the bottom I said to my dad I'm going to remember to remove the cardboard...yeah right, didn't happen. I'm soooo scatterbrained, you are not alone!

    Thanks for sharing and making me laugh.

    XOXO~ Renee

  138. I love the photos Julie! You all work so hard on this blog, thank you!

  139. CAROL, I wouldn't be surprised at all that your writing has a touch of Mary Connealy in it because you and she are two of the funniest people I know, so you go, girl!!

    MARYROSE ... thank you SO much!! I actually never think of myself as funny, to be honest, just a little quirky, but I'm glad you think so! :) And, goodness, I'll take being "inspirational" any day of the week!

    Oh, WALT, me too!!! Strong verbs are THE BEST, and I actually get a chill when I open my Synonym Finder to look for them! And the roasted bulb of garlic? Actually sounds pretty good to me. I love Macaroni Grill's Chicken Marsala because it has the roasted whole garlic cloves!! My husband went to a garlic restaurant in California called The Sinking Rose once, and they actually had garlic ice cream!! Uh ... a little over the top for even me, I think ... :)

    Oh, RENEE, what a hoot!! Hate to tell ya, kiddo, but we sound alike, which is NOT a good thing for you, girl!! Thanks for making me laugh too!

    EVA MARIE -- THANK YOU!! We certainly try, that's for sure! Don't miss tomorrow 'cause Ruthy has a fun one coming up, okay?


  140. Julie-- glittering like a Christmas tree! The breakfast bar is scrumptious. Too bad I'm so late. :-(

    Great post, and obviously one that is popular with us. Editing--such an exhilarating exercise.

    Before: “Good morning, beautiful.” Ben’s voice wrapped around her like a warm towel in the North Carolina sun.

    After: “Morning, beautiful.” Ben’s voice enfolded her like a warm towel in the Carolina sun.

    Just 3 words difference, but I prefer the flow and cadence of after.

    Mary Kay
    mary [at] marykaymoody [dot] com

  141. MARY KAY!!! Oh, you NAILED it, girl, seriously!! LOVE the sentences to begin with, but you REALLY aced it on the revision!!

    And cadence and flow is SO imperative to me too. I don't think a lot of people get just how important it is!! Mmmm ... I feel a Seeker blog coming on ... :)


  142. Julie,
    Awesome post! I find myself using the word 'that' a lot, too! I like your examples and will be putting this information to good use!
    Thanks : )

  143. KAREN ... SO glad you found it to be helpful, girl. We writers have to stick together, right? Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the contest!


  144. Thanks Julie for the examples you gave, I am going over a few articles. I appreciate this lesson and will remember the garlic story.
    Please put me in your drawing for a book.

    Draw my name for a book.
    Draw B. Schwind.

  145. Glad I could make you laugh Julie! :-P

    XOXO~ Renee

  146. Julie, you and I write like twins. I've had to learn these trimming and tightening techniques over the years. I took a 325K manuscript down to 128K using many of these you posted--no sentence is safe! And they really DO work. I'm employing them now on my WIP, which thankfully came in at 133K for the first draft. After that last tome-trimming, this has been a breeze. Current count is 126K. Going to see if I can knock off another K or 2.

  147. Wonderful post. Learned a lot! Would love to win!

    Cindy W.


  148. B. SCHWIND -- LOL, nice editing, girl!! :) And that's certainly one way to win a book, I suppose, emphasize the request in the edits!! :) Good luck, smart lady!!

    RENEE, honey, you don't just make me laugh, you make me smile! :)

    Oh, LORI, don't I wish!!! It would be nice to have a twin sister like you because that would mean I'd be a looker too!! :) And, WHOA, what a nice trim job, girl -- that's some serious editing!!

    CINDY!!! SO glad I could pass on the basic lessons I've learned since I started nine years ago, but OH MY, I have SO far yet to go!! Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and good luck in the contest!


  149. Julie I am loving your garlic story, I can relate to this cause I have done this before too in my early years of cooking. I believe practice makes perfect though. he-he Not that I am perfect, not by long shot.

    Loved your post and all the neat ideas. Especially about the word "THAT". I am guilty of over using this word also, I'll remember this tip and practice it. Thank You and it may have been long, (it needed to be to get all your points across) but very well written.

  150. ROSE ... thanks for commiserating with me, my friend -- it's nice to know I'm not alone in my culinary failures!! :) And thanks for coming by to read the post -- MUCH appreciated!!