Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogoversary Day 3: Welcome Back Julie Lessman!

Welcome to the third day of my blogoversary extravaganza! Today is actually my official blogoversary, as I started blogging March 30, 2010. =) To celebrate today we're looking back to two special events from this past year: Reading Retreats Week and my interview last July with author Julie Lessman!

For those of you who are visiting or are new to the blog (or if you just want a blast from the past!), here are the links to the posts from Reading Retreats Week:
And here's the link from my last interview with Julie Lessman:
I have to say, Julie is like a rock star in the Christian fiction world. ;) It's so much fun to have her visit!

Amber: It’s such a pleasure to host you here at “Seasons of Humility” again! It may not be a “Hot Summer Day” for this particular interview, but I’m sure we can pretend, right? ;) Could you share with us what you’ve been up to in your writing career since Summer 2010?

Julie: Well, book 1 in the “Winds of Change” series came out September 1st, A Hope Undaunted, which is Katie O’Connor’s story (and Cluny McGee’s), and I am thrilled to say that it ranked #5 on the Booklist “Top Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010,” which blessed the socks off of me!!

Then I started in on the final book of the O’Connor saga, A Trust Restored (working title), which is Steven O’Connor’s love story with a new heroine who is mentored by Faith O’Connor. I did this because I wanted to bring the saga full circle with a heroine who is as strong in her faith as Faith O’Connor was in A Passion Most Pure.

Finally, I just submitted a new proposal to my publisher for a 3-book series entitled “The Cousins McClare,” about the struggles of heart and faith for three cousins in 1933 San Francisco amidst the glitter and glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill to the seedy dance halls and gambling dens of the Barbary Coast.

Amber: Well, you've been keeping busy, which is good new for all of us readers! ;) What’s on the agenda for this next year? We’d love to hear anything you can tell us about your next release! (And if you have a sneak peek to share, that would be absolutely wonderful!)

Julie: Book 2 in the “Winds of Change” series, A Heart Revealed, releases September 1st (August 1st on and I was doing cartwheels this week because Mary Connealy (one of my favorite authors and people who has graciously agreed to endorse my book) said: "It's the best yet, Julie. Beautiful, powerful, funny at moments, so wise in others that I'm humbled. Fantastic book."

I have to be honest—I was pretty worried because although A Heart Revealed is my husband and crit partner's favorite books of all those I’ve written, it’s not mine by a long shot and I actually wasn’t sure if it was any good or not. Trust me, it’s one thing to have your husband say it’s the best so far, but somehow SO much better when an author the caliber of Mary Connealy says it is!

Here’s the overview for A Heart Revealed:

'The ring on her hand belongs to one man…
but her heart belongs to another.

As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a man who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed.'

And, because you asked, here is a sneak peek at a scene at Dennehy’s Department Store where Emma is manager and Sean is now a temporary Assistant Manager since he lost his job during the Great Depression. Sean is desperate to regain Emma’s trust after an incident where he lost his temper in a violent manner, nearly destroying their ten-year friendship.

~Excerpt from A Heart Revealed~

“Oh, I love the smell of rain,” Emma whispered.

“Me too,” he said quietly, suddenly aware he’d been holding his breath. Easing back in his chair, his chest slowly contracted as the air left his lungs in one long, silent release. He thought he had known her, but she had surprised him more than anyone ever had, slipping out from the shadows of ambiguity to become a strong and steady force in a world where men reigned supreme. He’d watched her dicker with a salesman over surcharges on a foreign shipment, battle a shipping agent over late delivery, and soothe a disgruntled customer, all in one day. She was calm and kind to her staff without leaving any room for lax behavior from any employee whose paycheck she signed. And yet through it all, she was Emma, a woman who preferred to fade into the background, and yet wielded a power that was serene, gentle, and strong. His neck warmed. And somehow—in the intimacy of this setting—sensual.

The fawn-colored eyes opened, revealing a hint of pale green hue, and he suddenly saw her as she must have been years ago, perfect features, hypnotic eyes and a magnetic innocence so strong, it aroused both a strange longing within and an ache in his chest. He observed the faint scars on the left side of her face—and realized that for him, they had never hindered her beauty. “You’re different here,” he whispered, “secure, resolute, invincible.”

She smiled, and weariness weighted her delicate features. “That’s because too much rests on the success of this store—my debt to Mitch and Charity, the livelihood of every employee here …” She drew in a frail breath and buffed her arms. “My own peace of mind.”

“You’re a special woman, Emma Malloy. I’m honored to be working with you.”

A wash of color ebbed in her cheeks and she quickly rose to her feet, avoiding his eyes. “Well, if I can’t convince you to go home, then the least I can give you half of my supper.” She peeked up, her manner tentative despite a shy smile that quickened his pulse. “It’s not Bert’s meatloaf by a long shot, but it should be enough to tame your hunger pangs for a while.”

His lips parted in a grin. “Sounds good. And while we’re dining, I’ll share some of the ideas I have for increasing market share.”

She paused, her hesitation halting the breath in his lungs. “Sorry, I’m … afraid I have a lot of work I need to finish before I go …”

“Ten minutes,” he said quietly. “That’s all it’ll take to bolt some food and hear my ideas.” He studied her profile, stomach cramping at the reluctance he saw in the downcast eyes, the shift of her throat, the hand on the knob. She was no longer comfortable being alone with him, and the very thought twisted his insides into a knot. Her lips parted in slow motion, and he held his breath, unwilling to hear the wrong answer. He rushed on, his voice quiet but resolute. “Emma, we need to talk. To clear the air. Please … if only for my peace of mind?”

His words stilled her for a moment before she finally nodded, rib cage slowly deflating. Without another word, she slipped from the room, leaving him alone with his regret.

He released a weary breath and dropped his head on the back of the chair, a bittersweet smile edging his lips at the thought of dining with Emma and clearing the air. Whatever it took, he would regain her trust. Her friendship was too important. And so was the harmony they’d need to work side by side.

“I assume being a full-blooded Irishman, you like corned beef and cabbage?” she asked upon her return, gaze averted despite a faint smile on her lips. She deposited a small basket on the edge of his desk and popped the lid to unearth slices of corned beef swaddled in wax paper and a small bowl of cabbage sealed with aluminum foil. Smoothing out the foil, she carefully placed a sliver of corned beef on top and then scooped a child’s portion of cabbage alongside. She produced two forks, obviously from the makeshift kitchen at the back of Bert and Alli’s office, then placed the rest of the corned beef into the bowl with the cabbage. With an almost childlike focus that made him smile, she carefully slid it across the desk, keeping the smaller portion for herself.

He pushed it away. “Oh, no you don’t—you take more than that.”

“Don’t make me pull rank on you, Mr. O’Connor. This is all I want.” She nudged it back.

His tone was gentle. “You haven’t called me Sean once since I started, Emma. Why?”

She fumbled with her foil, suddenly preoccupied with positioning the corned beef just so. “I just thought you’d appreciate more formality in the work place, you know, in front of the employees.”

“Emma,” he said quietly. “Will you look at me?”

Her gaze lifted slowly, and his heart squeezed at the caution in her eyes. “We’re alone now, but even if we weren’t, I’d prefer you call me Sean.”

She nodded and looked away, apparently reluctant to maintain his gaze.

“Emma,” he said again, his voice as serious as it had ever been, and this time her eyes met and held his. “I hurt you deeply I know, losing my temper at Kearney’s that day, and I want you to understand that it will never happen again.” He swallowed hard, emotion thickening the walls of his throat. “That degree of anger … well, it’s only happened twice in my life, and I regret one of those times was with you.” He paused, seconds ticking away like minutes. “Will you forgive me? Please?”

“I’ve forgiven you,” she whispered, but it didn’t ease the wariness in her face.

“No, I don’t think you have. We’re friends—good friends. But somehow I feel that friendship has been cut off—”

“That’s not true …” she said too softly, a twinge of pain in her eyes.

“Isn’t it? You’re not comfortable with me anymore, and you avoid me like the plague.”

The timidity of her manner broke his heart as her gaze lowered once again. “You scared me, Sean,” she whispered. “I thought I knew you …”

“You do know me, Emma. We’ve known each other through thick and thin, weathered crises together, partnered in Pinochle and Dominoes and horseshoes in the summer. I’ve told you things I’ve never told my sisters, and we’ve given each other advice and support during rough times. Please don’t let one stupid mistake on my part take that all away.”

Her fingers shook as she picked at her food, gaze fused to the beef on the foil. When she finally spoke, her words were frail and low. “Forgive me, Sean, please, but I’m afraid that when one has lived with a violent man, fear can become a constant companion.” A muscle jerked beneath the creamy skin of her throat as she continued, the waver in her voice piercing him as her eyes trailed into a cold stare. “The first time Rory lost his temper in a fit of rage, he broke my jaw. Until then, I never knew he was even capable of such anger because he was always so gentle and kind, so devoted while we courted, and even after.” The faintest of shivers skittered over her like a ripple on a mirror lake. “I remember feeling so safe with him because he was nothing like my father, nothing like the man who would rage and roar over the slightest little thing.”

“Emma, I’m sorry …” he whispered, the pain in his heart bleeding into his voice.

“I know you are, Sean, and I’m sorry too.” Her gaze rose to meet his. “But the truth is, once that happens to a human heart, ‘sorry’ is never quite enough again.”

He swallowed the ache in his throat. “What can I do, Emma, to win back your trust?”

The barest of smiles tempered some of the wariness in her eyes. “You can give me time and patience, Sean, until this uneasiness fades. You can understand that although I value your friendship immensely, a part of me is not only struggling over trusting you again, but also a little angry that I even have to.”

He leaned forward, eyes intense. “I will win your trust, Emma, you have my word.”

“I know,” she said quietly. “But it will take time.”

Exhaling deeply, he slowly rose and extended his hand across the desk. “Well, there’s no time like the present.” His manner was easy despite the vise crushing his chest. “Shall we start over?”

She looked up, staring at him for several moments, as if torn between her fear and her willingness to give him another chance. He watched the muscles in her face slowly relax and felt the knot in his chest unravel like a clenched fist unfolding into an open palm. She gave him a gentle nod, and carefully shook his hand, releasing it almost immediately. “Thank you,” he whispered, his stomach beginning to rumble. He quickly reached for his fork and speared the beef, grinning like a little boy with a big crush on a little girl. “This looks incredible. When do you have time to cook like this?”

Some of the stiffness left her body as she eased back in the chair. “On Sundays. It’s the only day I really get to rest and forget about the store. I enjoy fixing dinner for my eighteen-year-old neighbor, Casey, and my elderly landlady, Mrs. Peep. We have a lot fun together—the three of us generations apart, yet giggling and playing dominoes like school girls at a party. Livvie’s mother Susan used to work here at Dennehy’s, but she returned to Kansas to care for her sick mother. She asked me to watch out for her daughter, so Casey and I have become very close.”

“Let me see,” Sean said with an exaggerated drawl, “you single-handedly manage one of the most popular stores in Boston, you make time for my family, Alli and Mrs. Tunny, you befriend my sister, which is a full-time job in itself, and now you also play nursemaid to a teenage girl and cook for your neighbors?” He took a bite of the corned beef and chewed, his eyes warm with approval. “You’re amazing.”

A soft blush dotted her cheeks. “As far as managing the store, you forget I don’t do that alone anymore,” she said with a shy smile. She bit off a tiny corner of the beef. “You’ve only been here a week, and I honestly don’t know how we managed without you.” She hefted her chin in an uncustomary show of pluck. “It appears Mr. Kelly is not only a moron, but a fool.”

He laughed, something he did a lot in her presence, and it felt good. He snatched some meat and took a bite while he leaned back in his chair, more relaxed than he’d felt in a long time. “I do believe that’s the harshest thing I’ve ever heard out of those soft-spoken lips, Mrs. Malloy,” he said, teasing her with his eyes. “Obviously my sister’s a bad influence.”

A low laugh rippled from her lips. “Don’t be too sure about that. With Charity, at least one knows where they stand, which in some ways, is the height of honesty, being a woman so forthcoming. While I on the other hand, remain a mystery—even to myself.”

“A mystery,” he whispered, the very word intriguing him—like the woman herself. He chewed slowly, his blood warming at the prospect of exploring the inner recesses of this woman who drew him. For the first time, he understood fully the true treasure she was in his life, and his heart began to thud at the prospect of slowly unwrapping the gift that was Emma Malloy ...

~End of Excerpt~

Amber: Oh, thanks so much for sharing that, Julie!

During “Reading R
etreats Week” last year, I told my story about reading your debut book A Passion Most Pure in Borders and up in a tree during the Senior Picnic at a Boy Scouts camp. Do you have a favorite reading retreat—a place where you most like to read? Or do you have a fun story about the strangest place you’re been caught reading?

Julie: A favorite “reading retreat,” eh? Well, I’m afraid my reading time is not very glamorous as the only time I have to read is in the car when my husband is driving, in the powder room, doctor appointments, standing in lines at stores or briefly before I go to bed. I carry a book and a little book light in my purse at all times, so surprisingly, I can read about six books a month that way, which is pretty good, I think.

As far as the strangest place I’ve read, I once read a review by a blogger I didn’t know who said she read about four chapters of A Passion Most Pure one night, then got up the next morning and decided to get a bath while reading some more and ended up finishing the book … in the bathtub!! I figured if she could do it, I’d try it, but I didn’t like it at all as it was uncomfortable holding the book out of the water. So I guess the craziest places I’ve read is when I am driving and stopped at a red light or a train crossing because if a book is really good, I will literally read it at every stop light.

Amber: It is hard to read in the bathtub and keep the book from getting wet! ;) And you know you're an avid reader when you always carry a book with you at all times (like in the car!), right?

If we could celebrate this blogoversary in “real life” (as a tangible party and not just a cyber party) and you were asked to help come up with ideas for party costumes, what would you suggest?

Julie: Oh, no question about it—a Gone With the Wind party!! My friends at work actually threw a Gone With the Wind surprise party for me after I got published, which was SO much fun!! When I arrived at the house, there was a big poster of Scarlett with her fist in the air with the caption: As God is my witness, I will never go unpublished again! I was met at the door by one of the gal’s moms who is four-foot-eleven 92-year-old everybody called Grammy, and she was dressed in a “Mammy” outfit with head wrap and all. They rented a Scarlett dress for me to wear and piped Tara’s theme throughout the house while they served mint juleps and a Southern-style luncheon. It was WONDERFUL!! Also, when I was sixteen, my first job was at a theatre showing GWTW, and the manager paid for us to be costumed in hoop-skirt Southern belle ball gowns with upsweep curly hairdos. That was SO much fun, that I would LOVE to have a GWTW party with authentic Southern belle dresses like that, fun updos and a Southern BBQ with all the fixin’s. Sweet tea in Georgia, that sure does sound wonderful!

Amber: Sounds awesome! Do you have a funny memory you can share with us from a party/celebration that you attended or hosted this past year?

Julie: No funny stories in the last year, but I did have a very questionable dinner party I threw years ago that was a total disaster. As you know, I joke about having MSD (Martha Stewart Disease) because I have been known to pipe dinner guests’ initials into their twice-baked potatoes! At times I would throw elaborate dinner parties in various themes and one time decided to do an authentic Italian dinner with veal parmagian, Italian broccoli, pasta and an Italian dessert called Spoom. I had never made veal before and asked the butcher for veal patties. They looked so small to me, that I doubled them up and they ended up looking like blimps on the plates with almost no sauce. I followed directions for the broccoli to a T, but all the heads fell off, leaving only tree trunks. The dessert was a frozen custard/pudding with strawberries in it that you pulled out of the freezer and poured champagne over.

The dinner went from bad to worse. The minute I cut into the veal, I made the mistake of saying something like, “Gosh, it’s hard to believe veal is made out of baby cows.” All of a sudden you heard forks clink to the plates as everybody lost their appetite for the veal blimp on their plate. They had to scoop the broccoli floret pieces up with their spoons like tiny peas and when it came to the dessert, all you heard were forks clinking against glass because the pudding froze rock solid. All in all, it was a REALLY embarrassing experience that my friends and I laughed about later.

Amber: Hahaha, nice one, Julie! ;) Reminds me of the scene in the first Anne of Green Gables movie, when Anne tells Miss Stacie not to eat the pudding because a mouse drowned in it!

Thank you so much for being our guest today, Julie--it's always a treat to host you!

The Giveaway

Julie has generously offered to give away a signed copy of the winner's choice of one of her books (including A Heart Revealed!!!) to one lucky commenter! To check out all of Julie's books, you can visit her website.

Just leave a comment for Julie along with your e-mail address for a chance to win!

(Everyone loves a good mystery, right? Well, don't forget to join me tomorrow for some mystery fun with author S. Dionne Moore as we reminisce Mystery Week!)


Linda said...

Am so anxious to read A Heart Revealed! Your books are such a mix of anticipation and spice! Please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, LINDA, thanks SO much for coming by, and I just finished proofing the first galleys for A Heart Revealed and went through ten Kleenex, so I hope you will like it as well.

Good luck in the contest, sweetie.


Unknown said...

Oh, I cannot WAIT to read AHR!!! And I loved all the funny party stories that Julie shared...gave me a chuckle this morning, for sure. ;o)

orca0024 at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

CHRISTY!!! Thanks, sweetie. A Heart Revealed is definitely a different type of story than I'm used to writing -- WAY more spiritual than the other books and WAY less passionate romantically, but Emma Malloy and Sean O'Connor surprised the living daylights out of me with how much I have come to love them. Amazing characters, both.


Critty (Christy) said...

Happy Blogaversary Amber! We have a lot in common...including a love books and one Mrs Julie Lessman :)

This is one of my favorite interviews with you Julie! And the excerpt....sigh... waiting for a book is always the hardest part...

A Gone with the Wind party.... GENIUS. And that dinner story is hilarious! (initials in the twice baked potatoes...I want to come to your house for dinner haha!)

Holly said...


That excerpt was such a tease! I can't wait to read AHR either! I loved Katie's story, although at a couple points I had to set it down for a while, a bit too much for me.


Carolynn said...

Wow, that was wonderful!
Julie, thank you so much for sharing these excerpts with us...they keep us going till the book comes out. :)
Don't enter me for the giveaway. Thanks!

Casey said...

Oh. My. Goodness.


Naw... ;)

I tell you, this is still totally unreal!

Okay, I'm NOT going to steal the party.

Julie, that dinner is too funny. Surely there was something redeemable for you! :)

Great interview ladies, and Amber, that is SO true, Julie is an amazing rock star. We should get her husband to photoshop her into the outfit and everything. :)

(Please enter my name-I'll give it to my Mom. :)

TheAtticGirl said...

This sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing the excerpt and the interview. I am once again trying to win one of Julie's books. I have seen lots of good teasers from her books! Thanks for the chance.

donnyandshelly at yahoo dot com

Amanda Stanley said...

Nice interview ladies! Julie that excerpt was really sweet. Steven has always been gentle, especially with Emma, but this scene really showed his love for her :) And I have to say seeing our dear friend Casey in this excerpt was a thrill! :D CONGRATS Casey!!!

Oh, and you made me LOL with that dinner party! My big Italian family loves veal and they probably would have felt bad for a few seconds then quickly recovered with a, “Get over it! Let’s eat!” Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh this morning :)


Amanda Stanley said...

*blushing* sorry, Sean not Steven!!! :)


Emy said...


I really enjoyed you excerpt! As always, I can't wait to get my hands on your next book.
Be blessed!


Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

deeply moving share,Julie ~ thank you for keeping me spellbound {and distracted frm work!}
bless you for being who you're called to be...

cynthia said...

I love the scene from your upcoming book. I can't wait to read more about Emma. Ever since you first introduced her, I've been intrigued to know more about her character. I can't wait for your newest book to come out in the fall. Every one of the books that I've read written by you has touched my heart in some way. :) Thanks for the giveaway.
cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

Michelle said...

Wonderful interview. I loved the excerpt. I was going to wait to read it later today, after I come home from apartment looking. But I decided to go ahead and read it. Just want I needed this rainy, cold, late morning. Thank you!

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net.

Laura Frantz said...

JULIE! It's an honor to even be back to back with you on Amber's great blog! And your excerpt just makes the wait all the harder! I was so thrilled to endorse your last book and this one looks just as yummy. You sure know how to create a delicious novel...

Casey said...

Amber! My goodness, I forgot.

HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY!!!!!!!!!! That is SO HUGE! And AWESOME! Here's to another GREAT year for you!! :D

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I think you might be a bit of a tease. : )

How come you are always telling us about books we can’t buy for months when you have a perfectly good book, “A Hope Undaunted,” we can buy right now? How about a little excerpt from that book?

I know you’re way into the future writing these books, but we’re not. Don’t get too far ahead of your marketing.

I know the new baby you are going to have is really going to be cute but what about the baby in the bassinette over there in the corner? She’s cute, too. : )


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

Julie, Julie, Julie, you're such a tease! I can't stand it when I get into one of your scenes that you post and then all of a sudden it's dot dot dot and I have to wait till September to read the rest! The suspense is kiiiiiilling me :-P Hahaha well I still love ya and someday we'll have that big GWTW themed party since it seems everyone just loves that story/film, wouldn't that be a blast? :-)

I can't wait for A Heart Revealed...please sign me up to win Amber.

XOXO~ Renee

Sara said...

I love that Julie Lessman is a frequent guest of your blog! Great interview and I love the excerpt. A Heart Revealed is one of the books that I'm most looking forward to this year! Happy Blogoversary!! Glad that we all get a chance to celebrate. :)


April said...

I cannot wait for AHR!! I read AHU in 3 days! Julie you are the best, I hope that your publisher accepts your plan for your next series, it sounds great to me! :)


Julie Lessman said...

WHOA ... I go away to write a love scene (which always keeps me occupied WAY too long ... :)), and BAM!! We've got visitors, Amber!! SOOO great to see some of my favorite people here today. :)

CHRISTY!!! Girlfriend, you can come to my house for dinner ANYTIME ... my husband would welcome the opportunity for me to cook again. Don't do that much anymore ... along with shopping, laundry, cleaning ... :) But I DO love to write, which is good, I suppose. Now if I can just make enough money to pay for a maid and cook, I'll be in business! :)

Hey, HOLLY, thanks for coming by, my friend, but oh-oh, AHU was little too much for you at times??? You didn't throw it across the room, did you, like I've had several people tell me they wanted to? Okay, okay ... so I like a little drama with my romance, is that a crime???
Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

CAROLYNN ... I'm glad you like the excerpts, but sometimes I wonder if I'm giving away too much of the story, ruining the read. But then I think, naw ... it's too much fun to tease y'all!! ;)


Julie Lessman said...

CASEY!!! Honey, YOU'RE the rock star, posting so many reviews that you get your name in my book!! But, OOPS ... I just noticed I left Livvie's name in there -- Livvie was the name of your character before I changed it on my galleys, so I better go check to make sure I DID change that one on the galleys ...

SHELLY ... do I detect that you have never read one of my books before??? Oh, girl, we gotta remedy that real fast!! I will be having TONS of giveaways in August through October, so be sure to check my website calendar at that time. BUT ... I am ALSO having another giveaway NEXT WEEK on Miss Casey Herringshaw's blog, so do check my website for the dates and link to that, okay?

AMANDA ... LOL, I'll just bet your big Italian family wouldn't have missed a beat. You know, I love Italian families SO much that I considered writing a series in the future about one of them, so you never know. They sure have the "passion" that draws me ... :) And, yes, you will discover in AHR that Emma and Sean's relationship is VERY sweet and VERY tender ... blossoming from a close friendship into gentle love, so I hope you will like it.


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

This was a wonderful post! I'm more excited about the book from sneak peek at the new book. Why does September have to be so far away. Julie Lessman is the BEST! I'm also excited about the Faith story line, I feel I connect most with her character. SO EXCITED!!!!! I would love to win Heart Revealed.


Julie Lessman said...

EMY, thank you SO much for the blessings -- I'll definitely take them and thank you, too, for your kind words. Good luck in the contest!

FAITH HOPE CHERRYTEA ... have I told you just how much I LOVE your addy??? Cherrytea for Charity -- how cute is that!! And, oh-oh, sorry to "distract" from your work ... NOT!! :) Thank you for coming by and for your sweet comment!

Aw, thanks, CYNTHIA -- I always appreciate your wonderful support. And I gotta tell you, I think you are going to be absolutely CRAZY for Emma. After reading the galleys last week, I realized that what my husband said is true -- Emma is one of the kindest, most gentle and best characters I have ever written. She will steal your heart if she hasn't already, I guarantee!


Julie Lessman said...

MICHELLE!!! Sooo glad I could warm you up on a cold, damp morning, but if you want warm, you should read the love scene I just wrote -- YIKES, we're talking heat wave ... :)

LAURA, LAURA!!! Talk about "yummy," girlfriend, your books could be sold in a chocolate store -- LOVE THEM and cannot WAIT to get my mitts on The Colonel's Lady ...

CASEY ... YES, I am SO impressed that Amber's only been blogging a year because she's got it down cold and does a FABULOUS job, especially for someone going to school full time!


Andrea Strong said...

Julie~ I am another who has never gotten my grubby little fingers on any of your books (My good friend CarolM doesn't trust me with her autographed copies). But I love the excerpts you post here and there.

Obviously, I'd love to win one. Preferrably the first one since I can't start in the middle.

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Ah, VINCE ... I can always count on you to stir the pot, my good friend. Don't you know you should NEVER ask someone like me to post MORE excerpts??? Especially for A Hope Undaunted -- that is my FAVORITE BOOK, neck-in-neck with A Passion Redeemed, probably because Luke and Mitch are my favorite heroes. Also I LOVE Katie and Charity, who are both cut from the same cloth, albeit Katie is a little be less conniving. I usually try to post scenes from upcoming books because most of the people who leave comments on these blog giveaways are dear reader friends who have already read AHU, so I like to tease them with the next book.

Uh, and OF COURSE I'm a "tease," as if that's anything new! Where do you think Charity gets it??? :)

RENEE, RENEE, RENEE!!! Grin ... I just LOVE dot, dot, dot, don't you??? Like in Mama Mia when Sophie is reading her mother's diary to her friends? :) And, boy, there are few things I'd rather do than have a GWTW party in costume with some of my favorite blogger friends who love it too -- sigh, that would be SO fun!!

SARA, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words that AHR is one of your most anticipated books this year. YIKES -- I sure hope it doesn't disappoint! :/


Jackie S. said...

Love the Julie interviews/posts!!! And love her books...please enter me for this one! Hope she makes the book signing in GA that I am looking forward to!!?!?

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, APRIL, thank you, my friend -- I hope my publisher accepts my idea for my next series too! :/ And you read AHU in three days??? Gosh, I hope nobody's mad at me ... like your family or anybody else you may have slighted while you were following Katie and Luke around. But I don't blame you ... Luke just has a way of making you turn the pages, doesn't he? Sigh.

KAYLA -- hey, girl, how the heck are you?? THANK YOU for your incredible support, my friend, I appreciate WAY more than I can say. When you say the "Faith story line," do you mean in A Hope Undaunted? Because that's the book in the Winds of Change series that has Faith's sub plot in it. Unfortunately, Faith does not have a sub plot in A Heart Revealed because my editor did not want me to put a sub plot for each couple in each book like I originally intended. She said it would be too much, and I think she is right. So Charity get's the sub plot in book 2, and Lizzie in book 3. BUT ... Faith does play a larger role in Steven's story as she is the mentor for Annie Kennedy, the heroine who is also the sister of Steven's old girlfriend, only HE doesn't know it ... Oh the webs we weave ... :)

ANDREA, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Say it isn't so!!! You haven't read any of my books??? What kind of friend IS Carol, anyway?? Well, we are going to have to see what we can do about that, so make sure if you don't win on Amber's blog this week, stop by Casey's blog next week where I will be talking about purity before marriage in my own life and how it gave me the marriage of my dreams. Check my website calendar for the date and link, okay? And good luck!


Unknown said...

I have to say your books are apsolutely AMAZING! i've started reading ever since the first one and i have to say they are my number 1 top favorite books ever!! may God bless you for all the work you've put into them because you truly deserve it! God bless!

you HAVE to come to binghamton NY for a signing!:) p.s. i'd love to win the latest book :)

Diane said...

Beautiful cover and thanks for the sneak peak at your interview. Exciting! :O)

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JACKIE, SO good to see you here, my friend!! And trust me, if I can make it to Atlanta this summer, I definitely will and YOU will be among the first to know. Believe me, I want to meet YOU as much as you do me, so say one it all works out, okay? Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

MARYANA ... WOW!! What an incredible compliment, you sweet thing -- THANK YOU!! And, boy, if I could come to New York, I sure would because there are LOTS of people up there I'd like to see, and you would be at the top of the list, kiddo, after that compliment,let me tell ya!! Here's to a win in the contest, my friend.

Hi, DIANE, thanks for the compliment on the cover -- Revell always does a wonderful job, I think, so I am blessed. Thanks for coming by, and good luck in the contest!


Joy Tamsin David said...

What a great bloggiversary post! It makes me feel like we've come full circle. Amber, do you know I found your blog because Julie sent me a link?

So big thanks to Julie Lessman for introducing me to one of my favorite blogging buddies. :)

Love the excerpt...I think someone needs to make a countdown widget again. Where's Angie when you need her?

Pam said...

I love these little tantalizing excerpts that Julie posts on various blogs! I can hardly wait to read the next book in her series. I would dearly love to win!
Thanks for the interview, excerpt, and for giving away a book.


Susan Anne Mason said...

Hey Julie,

Nice to see you here! And Happy Bloggiversary, Amber!

Thanks for the sneak peak. I can tell I'm going to LOVE this one, too!

Happy writing!!

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Julie Lessman said...

JOY!!! Great to see you, my friend. And no kidding -- I sent you to Amber's blog?? I don't remember that, but then I don't remember what I had for lunch yesterday either, so no biggie there. Oooooh, a countdown widget -- I need to put one of those on my website too!! Problem is, I'm a computer/Internet illiterate who can't even figure out how to put RSS feed on my Journal Jots. Sigh.

Oh, PAM, I love that -- "tantalizing excerpts"!! Hope you think that about the book, too, when you finally read it. Good luck in the contest, girl.

SUE ... nice to see you here, too, my friend -- thanks for stopping by. My husband and crit partner assure me that you are going to "LOVE" this one, too, because it's their favorite, even though I'm not real sure about that. Obviously I can't have a lot of "romance" going on between Sean and Emma because she's married, but Katie and Charity?? OH, YEAH!! Both of their sub stories are SOOO fun!!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Sigh, I'm late to the party as usual...but happy blogoversary day, Amber!! I'm in awe of your blogging and all your great ideas. I have a hard time coming up for air :)

Julie, you gave us a little tease into Casey's scene. Thanks :) I always enjoy reading your interviews. Even though you're everywhere around the web you always manage to share something different.


Nia for Jesus said...

It's beyond me,how can a excerpt can drive someone insane!

We know a gift when we see one!

niastrong21 at gmail dot com

Amber Holcomb said...

Thank you all so much for visiting!!! Julie, you sure know how to rock the blogging world! ;) Thank you for letting me host you and for responding to all these comments--it really shows you care when you respond personally to each one! :D

CRITTY (CHRISTY): I think you're right--it sounds like we do have a lot in common! ;) Thank you so much for stopping by!

LAURA: *Blush* Thank you for your sweet compliment about my blog! :)

CASEY: I'm so excited for you about having your name in one of Julie's books!!! :D

And thank you so much for the kind wishes and words! I have been so blessed to meet you and all of my other wonderful blogging friends and have this experience writing. :) I love blogging!

SARA: I know, isn't Julie great? :) And I'm so glad you could celebrate with me, too! Thank you!

JULIE: Good grief, that is so sweet of you to say! :D I'm so flattered that you think that about my blog. Blogging is a fun and meaningful way to spend my free time. :)

JOY: Awwwwww, I'm so glad Julie sent you my way--it's a privilege to call you my dear blogging friend, as well! :)

JULIA: Thank you so much! I love blogging and coming up with ideas, although I'm sure sometimes I do get a bit carried away... ;) Thank you for sticking with me and helping to make blogging so enjoyable for me! :)


Robin in NC said...

My heart began to thud at the prospect of slowly unwrapping the gift that was A HEART REVEALED! ;-) I'm ready to read, Julie!

Happy blogoversary Amber!

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

Amber - you have been so faithful. Congratulations on the Blogoversary! Super fun! Thank you!!

Julie spices up my day any time I think of her. Way to go! 10 Kleenex?! Oh my - sign me up! may at maythek9spy dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JULIA ... yeah, I do like to tease with those scenes, don't I? BUT ... if you want a real tease with a "Casey" scene, you will see it on Casey's blog next week when I am writing a guest blog on Purity Before Marriage during her "Purity of Hearts" week. I am actually going to use one of my favorite spiritual scenes with Casey in it. I think I posted a paragraph of it once on Seekerville, but this will be a longer piece of that. Casey's link is on my website calendar for anyone who would like to head there next week.

Aw, NIA, what a really sweet thing to say!! And I've told you before, I think, but I LOVE your addy -- Nia for Jesus!! Good luck in the contest, and FYI if you're interested -- I am posting two additional scenes of AHR on my Friday Journal Jots and next week on Casey's blog (along with a giveaway), the link for which you will find on my website calendar.

RW1010 ... LOL!! Very cute, sweetie. I almost didn't put that line in because I thought it was a bit suggestive, but would you believe that my editor wanted me to make Emma sexier??? So I sowed lines like that in throughout, showing Sean being drawn to her in a physical way as well as spiritual and emotional.

K.C.!!! Well ... keep in mind that that's 10 Kleenexes for the CDQ here, who cries at the drop of a hat and sobs her heart out during a worship song on the treadmill. But, even so ... there may be a tear or two in it for everybody else. :)


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


Hey I am doing much better now that I have gotten over the worst of being sick. Sorry misunderstood what you were talking about, about the Faith story line. I just don't remember her mentoring anybody in A Hope Undaunted or did you mean that she becomes the girls mentor in Steven's story? Hope all is well with you! God Bless and Good Luck!

Your Friend and Fan-Kayla

Cindi said...

Hi Julie! I love your books and I am so excited to get your new one! Time cannot pass quick enough for me to get the rest of the scoop on the O'Conner family! Just from reading that little taste.... I know I will love everything that you write! I am a fan for life! Thank you for writing such great books that I want to read over and over again!

Katie Marie said...

(Hey! I think blogger ate my comment, so Im posting again. if not....sorry for the repeat!)

Amber - your blogiversary is going awesome. You have such wonderful, talented authors on here. Way to go!

Hi Julie! So glad you were able to stop by today and share with us! Great interview. As I am reading more and more books these days, APMP continues to creep to the top of my TBR pile. I can't wait! :-D Talk about being giddy with excitement! I've heard so many good things about it, that I can't wait to experience it for myself!

Thanks for the excerp from A Heart Revealed. It sounds REALLY good and made me want to read on and on! Can't wait! :-D By the way, I was many books will be in this new series? 3 books? 4 books?

I'd love to be entered into the giveaway. Thanks!

~ Katy

Julie Lessman said...

KAYLA, oh, gosh, did you have one of those horrible bugs going around? I'm glad it's behind you now, my friend, because it's no fun being sick. When someone's sick, they usually don't even feel like reading, at least I don't. And NOTHING makes me "sick" like not being able to read!! :) Regarding the "Faith story line," yes, I was talking about Steven's story, A Trust Restored (working title), which I'm working on now. Faith talks Collin into letting her teach Catechism class one night a week where she meets the heroine and mentors her -- much to Steven's shock ... and then the family's when they learn she is Maggie's kid sister, the "bad" girl that Steven had wanted to marry in A Hope Undaunted.

CINDI!!! "A fan for life"??? Gosh, can I get that in writing??? :) The next series will be pretty different from the O'Connor saga, but I hope you will fall in love with this family too, before all is said and done. The books will be about 100-150 pages shorter and less sub plots, so I should be able to get books out more frequently and a little more quickly, say every 7-9 months instead of once a year. Good luck in the contest, my friend.

KATY -- YIKES!!! I always get a little nervous when hopes are built up on a book because what if it doesn't measure up??? But most young Christian girls (ages 13-30) do seem to take to my style of writing, so hopefully you will too since you look like a sweet "young" thing! :) Can't wait to hear what you think ...


Michelle said...

Hi Amber and Julie! Sorry I'm late to the party. Better late than never, right? ;-)

LOVED the interview and the excerpt! Like others have said, I enjoy that Julie always shares something new (even if she does tease us to insanity!). : )

Amber, I love when you said Julie is like a ROCK STAR in the Christian fiction world, because I agree with you 100%! ROCK ON, Julie!

Julie, commenting on what you said to Laura . . . "LAURA, LAURA!!! Talk about "yummy," girlfriend, your books could be sold in a chocolate store -- LOVE THEM and cannot WAIT to get my mitts on The Colonel's Lady ..." I couldn't agree more!! I recently described Laura's writing as each word being like a "scrumptious morsel to be savored," I think that definitely falls along the lines of CHOCOLATE!!! I think we'd all agree that your books would be right there next to hers!! :D

Thanks for entering me in the contest. If I win, I'll pass the book along to a friend.

Sweet Blessings to all of you,

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your books! When I first got them, I read them all so quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, and so now I'm revisiting them- they're even better the second time! I've also been sharing the books with my friend, and we've been fighting over who gets to read which book first, as well as reading them in study halls at school! Thank you so much for all the time you put into these books, I can't wait to read A Heart Revealed! -Ellen

Julie Lessman said...

MICHELLE!!! Are you kidding??? YOU AND CASEY are the rock stars as far as I'm concerned, knocking yourselves out posting reviews to win my newsletter contest. You guys are TOP DRAWER!! As far as this "ROCK STAR" stuff that Amber started ... uh, can you please tell my publisher, because both them (and me) are in the dark on that point, I'm afraid! The only thing about me that pertains to "rock" are those in my head ... oh yeah, and my rock-stubborn anal personality. :/ Sooo glad you loved Laura's book -- it is at the top of my list as one of my favorite books in the CBD.

ELLEN!!! Talk about a "rock star" -- THANK YOU for not only reading my books, but spreading the news -- MUCH APPRECIATED, my friend!! And I have to admit, that I read my own books over and over because I write them for me as well as for God and for you. :) Every August I start with A Passion Most Pure and go right down the list till my new book comes out, so I'm "up to speed" on what happens! ;) Thanks again, sweetie, and good luck in the contest.


Alex Brown said...

Hey Mrs. Lessman it's Alex!

Every time I read an excerpt from A Heart Revealed -either from your Journal Jots or blogs- I get even more excited for it, which is next to impossible considering I am DYING to get my hands on it!! I just reread APMP and am working through A Passion Redeemed, and they keep getting better every time, which is one of the MANY things I love about them!!

I would love to be entered in the contest!

Love, Alex Brown

Julie Lessman said...

ALEX, you sweet thing, you -- you came by!! Thanks SO much for taking the time out of your busy reading schedule (grin) to drop in and say "hey" -- MUCH appreciated, my friend. And here's to a win in the contest!!


Jo said...

Wonderful interview and I really look forward to reading more of your books.


Anonymous said...

Hiya, Julie!It's're faithful stalker :-) LoL...j/k. Still think you outrank you know who ;-)

Happy Blogoversary, Amber!

Molly AT reviewsbymolly DOT com

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, JO, REALLLLY appreciate that AND the blessings. I'll take ALL I can get!! Good luck in the contest!!

MOLLY!!! Long time no see, sweetie, and what a GREAT picture of you!! You know I ALWAYS appreciate hearing that I "outrank you know who," at least with you, so THANK YOU!! Stalk away, my friend and check my website calendar for a book giveaway I have going NEXT WEEK on Casey Herringshaw's "Purity of Hearts" week when we discuss purity before marriage. The link and dates are in my website calendar. Good luck!!


Ann Lee Miller said...

Julie, I adore your books. :) I just recommended you to my best friend who wanted Christian romance to toss into her office pool of secular books they pass around and discuss.

Julie Lessman said...

ANN!!! Thank you SO much -- gotta a feeling I will adore yours too one of these days as we are kindred passionites, I believe. And I can't thank you enough for recommending me to your best friend to be included in a secular pool of books to be discussed. YES, go God!!! Good luck in the contest, my friend, although with you, that's already a given ... :)


Lady DragonKeeper said...

Ack, can't believe I almost missed this! Gotta make this quick since the family's going to watch the new BBC's "Merlin" episode --off topic, I love Collin Morgan's Irish accent (he plays Merlin), but you only hear that during actor interviews. =) Which brings me to my question ... Ms. Julie, would we be correct in assuming that Emma (and Mitch) have Irish accents since they're Irish natives? I don't remember it being mentioned in the books ...

Have a happy "blogaversary" Amber! I'm a first time visitor to your blog and I have to say the layout is gorgeous! Thanks for the chance to win!


Julie Lessman said...

LDK!!! Hey, girl, GREAT to see you here, and you're in time for the contest, so YAY!! I've not seen BBC's Merlin, but I LOVE Collin Morgan's name and ... uh, his face!! VERY cute guy!! :)

It is SO weird you asking that question, Jen, because 1.) That is the FIRST time anyone has ever asked me that before, and believe me I've been asked over 1,200 questions from over 120 blog interviews I've done, and 2.) My editor actually MADE ME go back into A Heart Revealed and ADD a brogue for Emma here and there. It's not in there a lot, mind you, only two or three times to show you that Emma does, at times, slip back in to a bit of the brogue.

As far as the rest of the O'Connors, they have been born and/or raised in the U.S., so there's not much of an Irish accent there other than Patrick's pet name of "darlin'," even though they live in the Southie neighborhood of Boston, which was known as "Irish America" back then.

Good luck in the contest, Jen!!