Birthday Giveaway #2 With Special Guest Author, Julie Lessman!

As you may already know one of my favorite authors and friend of this blog is Christian fiction author, Julie Lessman. Her Daughters of Boston series is a huge success and I'm sure her latest series Winds of Change will be too.

To help me celebrate my birthday and the release of A Hope Undaunted (my review here) Julie has so graciously offered to give one lucky reader their choice of one of her books either from the Daughters of Boston series or A Hope Undaunted.

If you would like to learn a little more about Julie check out some of the Q and A's from past interviews that she has dug out of the archives, hey you might learn something! Also be sure to read the rules below for all the details on today's giveaway!


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1. Describe yourself for our visitors.

I'll give you a hint: When I was little, my brothers and sisters used to call me “Walking Nervous Breakdown.” Okay, so I'm a bit wired … there's no harm in that, is there? I mean I do everything fast (except interviews!). I walk fast, I talk fast and I eat fast--a natural byproduct of being # 12 in a family of 13. Imagine 15 people at a Last Supper-style Formica table with long red vinyl benches on either side. Like a school of sharks waiting for meat to hit the water. If you didn't grab for the grub, chances are there wouldn't be anything left. Can you say “plague of locusts”? To this day, buffets put a twitch in my eye because I feel like the food will run out. :-)

And, yes, I am dramatic … okay, “melo”-dramatic, but in my opinion that makes for a good storyteller. I like drama and passion-- LOTS of it--especially in my reading material, which is why my books are not sweet, easy reads. But the flip side is that ALL that PASSION and ENERGY are also channeled into my love affair with God, which is a very good thing!


2. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I RUN … not walk … to the throne of God! He is my high tower, my place of refuge in ANY storm, be it professional or personal. For me, He has never been a last resort, but the FIRST thing I do when life's hurried pace overwhelms me. A good example is a story on my Web site about when a doctor told us he thought our college-age son had cancer. Now I am a wired individual under the best of circumstances, so this had the potential to fell me like a tree. But I sprinted to God faster than Jackie Joyner Kersee going for the gold, and the prize was God's peace. You can read the steps I took in maintaining my sanity at http://julielessman.com/from-the-heart/.


3. Your books do a good job of illustrating the passionate side of love. Why do you think that is so important?

Are you kidding? Look at the world today--it's obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today, Christian or no. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples' throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended--to teach people God's precepts and therein, His love. It's the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.


4. You frequently mention Gone With the Wind as the book that sparked your love for romance. Scarlet was a pretty selfish, manipulative female ... a stark contrast to what you feel forms the basis of a God-centered love. What did you find about Scarlet that drew you to romance?

Excellent question! Yes, Scarlett was selfish, but what drew me was the pull she had over Rhett--a man who wanted her but couldn't have her. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn't the marrying kind” give in and marry her because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me. Even as a little girl, I sensed that was what romance was all about--finding a man who couldn't do without you and to whom you were the most important woman in the world. It wasn't until I gave my heart to the Lord that I learned it was a foreshadow of how God sees romance in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now I am not saying that Rhett Butler typified the kind of love Christ had in mind, but he wanted Scarlett so badly, he was willing to give of himself to get her. No other woman alive could do that to him, only her. Now to me, that's romance! :-)


5. How important is faith in your books?

Oh, my goodness, MONUMENTAL!!! I'm sorry, but to me, romance is just not romantic unless God is in the middle! For my tastes, there's nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I've had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Are you kidding me??? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! Maybe that's just me, but I personally can't enjoy romance (in a movie or book) unless it is according to God's precepts OR unless it uses sin to point the reader TO His precepts. That's the reason I LOVE Inspirational Romance so much. And, yes, “faith” (or spiritual passion) is the key component in my novels … with romantic passion hot on its heels! :-)


6. In the acknowledgements at the back of A Passion Most Pure, you mention “Windowsill Jesus.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, as a child, I had an imagination like a runaway train! And, of course, I was a very emotional kid (big surprise there). I wanted to relate to Jesus on an intimate and personal level--you know, see Him … feel Him? So I would press my nose against the screen of my bedroom window and squint toward my sister's bedroom right next to mine. I'd imagine I see Jesus' sandals kicking in the breeze along with His long, white dress as he sat on her windowsill. That image comforted me so much as a child--and took a lot of heat from me as a bitter teen--that I never forgot it. Through at all (even agnosticism in my early twenties), Windowsill Jesus never let me go, finally bringing me into a truly intimate and personal relationship with God at the age of 23, which became THE turning point for a very lonely and very angry little girl. I owe Him my life.

To learn more about Julie visit http://www.julielessman.com/!

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What happens when the boy she loved to hate ... becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

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Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES visit Julie's site HERE and let me know what you liked best!!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*

Comments

  1. Oooh, what a great interview and giveaway for your birthday! I learn something new about Julie Lessman in all her blog interviews. Great questions, Renee. I'm a follower and on her website I really like reading her Journal Jots. :)

    s(dot)bofferding(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  2. Hi Julie and Renee! :D

    No need to enter me in the contest, as I already have all of her books and I am currently enjoying A Hope Undaunted! :D Just wanted to say thank you for sharing that great interview, and happy birthday, Renee!!!

    ~Amber

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  3. OMG
    I SO agree on Bridges of Madison County.
    What is sexy about infidelity?
    Great post.
    I would love to be entered.
    suitejujuATgmailDOTcom
    PS I love Julie's photo gallery :)

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  4. RENEE!!!! HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SWEET FRIEND!!!! I am saying one for you RIGHT NOW that you have the best birthday ever. And I am blessed to be here celebrating it with you, so thank you for that honor!!

    SARA SAID: "I learn something new about Julie Lessman in all her blog interviews." GRIN ... my husband says the very same thing, Sara, which is ... uh, not always a good thing for him ... :)

    AMBER ... SO glad you are enjoying AHU!! Looking forward to your review (uh, I hope!) :)

    JUJU ... YEAH, somebody else who doesn't think adultery is sexy!! Good luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  5. Great interview. I haven't ever seen Bridges of Madison County, and after the comments, I don't think it's one I'll be adding to my see list. My favorite thing on Julie's website is her new Journal Jots.

    Holly
    oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. I surely must agree about Gone With The Wind. What young girl watching that movie didn't want to be Scarlet? Great interview and best success to you!

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  7. Thanks for offering this book during your birthday week.
    I am a follower.
    I liked From the Heart on Julie's website.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  8. How fun is this? Thanks for the interview and the giveaway. And Happy Birthday to Renee!
    I just became a follower via google friend connect.

    angelahipp (at) charter (dot) net

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  9. HI Julie and Renee,

    I loved this interview...You guys are great!

    Thanks for the chance to read Julie's masterpiece, Renee....and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  10. Julie, I always enjoy visiting your blog site...and 'journal jots', too :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  11. Hi guys! Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! It's 81 degrees and sunny here so I'm definitely having a happy day! :-D

    XOXO~ Renee

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  12. Happy Birthday, Renee!! Have a great one!!

    Another fantastic interview! Thank you for entering me. I'm a follower.

    Michelle
    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

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  13. +2 entries! Julie's entire site is great, but I especially love reading her "Journal Jots". : )

    Thank you,
    Michelle
    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

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  14. Hello there, I'm a new follower, don't you just love Julie?

    ~Lauri (lulu)
    http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com
    l_meinhardt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  15. +1 What do I like about Julie's site?

    Love the Calendar, it's been great visiting all of the new blogs, I also enjoy the Journal Jots.

    ~Lauri (lulu)
    http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com
    l_meinhardt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  16. +2 What do I like about Julie's site?

    Love the Calendar, it's been great visiting all of the new blogs, I also enjoy the Journal Jots.

    ~Lauri (lulu)
    http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com
    l_meinhardt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  17. Hey HOLLY ... you and Michelle are making the rounds tonight, girl -- THANK YOU!!

    And I'm thrilled that you like Journal Jots, but I have been SOOO behind this week with being out of town five days and my aunt in and out of the hospital, tons of e-mails and comments behind and a book launch going on. BUT ... I hope to write a jot tonight or tomorrow about a spiritual blessing I received at ACFW, so be sure to check it out, okay? Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and good luck.

    JAN ... AMEN TO THAT!! I actually used to practice hiking my brow in the mirror when I was about 12 or 13, trying to mimic Scarlett's withering look when Rhett forced her to go to Ashley's birthday party in that scarlet dress!! Thanks for dropping by, and good luck in the contest.

    WENDY ... soooo glad you like "From the Heart." That's a special tab on my website because I am BIG on spiritual warfare, which is what that story about my son is all about -- fighting the devil in the battlefield of our mind, just like Joyce Meyer likes to teach. It's powerful stuff, I'll tell you that!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  18. Hey, ANGELA, thanks for coming by to wish Renee happy birthday and to leave a comment. Here's to a win!!

    KAREN ... you know, I just gotta love a gal who calls my book "a masterpiece"!! :) I have discovered that the people who love my books like you do, Karen, are the kind of people I'd love to have as close friends because you guys are just like me -- LOTS of passion for both God and romance!!! Thanks for always being there with your support and good luck in the contest, my friend.

    RENEE!!! SOOOO glad the weather is cooperating for your birthday, sweetie, and I hope your family is treating you like a queen today (and all week!). What kind of cake did you have?

    MICHELLE, you must be a shaker and a mover, girl, because you are EVERYWHERE!!! If you don't watch out, you're gonna win a book or two. Your hubby must want to pound me for all the time I steal from you, but tell him these giveaways won't last forever and I only have a book out once a year, so soon things will calm down again ... :)

    Aw, LAURI, I love you too ... you guys are more like friends than readers, so seeing your names pop up on these blogs is SUCH a blessing, truly! Here's to a win, girl, 'cause we have to get you the first three books ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  19. ROFL @ "A walking nervous breakdown"...that is sooo me. But I come from a long line of high strung women so there must be a hereditary component (that's my excuse anyway).

    Happy Birthday (again) Renee. :)

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  20. I'm a follower bkhabel at gmail dot com
    I liked looking at the photos in the gallery on Julie's site +2

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  21. Thank you everyone for the birthday greetings, good luck!

    Julie, my family always treats me like a queen...wellll most of the time LOL! I actually didn't have cake today but my brother's birthday was Friday so we celebrated together and we had a white cake from the local bakery that was to die for! Yum!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  22. Hi there,
    I don't qualify - what with living in New Zealand on the other side of the world - but wanted to comment and say hi! I loved reading your answers Julie and enjoyed the clear format of your blog Renee! :o)
    Oh, and I asked Julie a question on 4 the Love of Books today which she has already answered here! Whoops!! :o)
    God Bless you both!

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  23. JOY ... "a long line of high strung women," eh?? Sounds like my family of ten girls!!!

    KATHY ... Gosh, I'm embarrassed because I haven't updated that photo gallery in YEARS, it seems, so you just reminded me that I need to get busy ... Thanks for coming by and entering the contest.

    RENEE!!! WHITE CAKE???? Oh man, that is my all-time favorite (along with red velvet!), so I am jealous!!

    ELIZABETH, I honestly don't mind that you enter, so Renee, can you please include Elizabeth in the drawing for my book since I will be sending it out?? Thanks, Elizabeth, for your support, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. I found the Windowsil Jesus idea comforting. This looks like a book I would enjoy.
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

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  25. RENEE ... thank you! The Windowsill Jesus idea STILL comforts me as well, even at the ripe, old age of 60!! :) Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. Happy Birthday Renee! I am a long time follower of your blog and really enjoy it!

    +2 Entries: I love Julie's FROM THE HEART section on her site. It really touches my heart!

    Blessings,
    Molly
    Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

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  27. Why hello there Renee and Julie!
    At first I thought that this was just for A Hope Undaunted, which I'm waiting to get in the mail! Lol....so I read the interview and was very happy. But then I noticed that you said it was for ANY of the books!!! Woot woot!! Hahhaahaha! I have the first on my Kindle, but I want all of them in actual book format because that's what I do especially for my keeper books. Julie, yours are for sure keepers! So, yeah just putting that out there! Lol...

    GREAT interview, ladies! Renee, you're a good interviewer and Julie, you're a good interviewee, so it makes it good all around : ) I just have to tell you, Julie, that we just studied Song of Solomon in my Desire class! Crazy coincedence, but I definitely see why you'd bring it up.

    As others have said, I really like your Journal Jots and read them pretty much daily, lol! I also love the photos page because it's really cool to see all the Seekers and others that are on there.

    Okay, so now that I have talked your ear off, hope you guys have a GREAT day!! I have my ultrasound tonight so hopefully we can get to the bottom of this thing and my doc's diagnosis can be definitely 100%!
    Talk to you later!!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RENEE!!!!!!!
    Hannah
    hccelie[at]gmail[dot]com

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  28. Hi Hannah! These are great interview questions, I wish I could take the credit for them but they are actually favorite questions that Julie was asked in the past that she liked so much she wanted to share again! And yes Julie's books are keepers! Good luck!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  29. Renee (love that name) thanks for stopping by!

    Molly, hey there thank you for the birthday greeting! It's nice to get them even after my official birthday. I'll have to make sure I do this on my blog every birthday week to make sure my birthday continues for 5 days instead of just one! This is fun!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  30. Hi! Happy Birthday!! This is a pretty cool givaway week! I'd love to win this book, I've been wanting to read it!
    I visited Julie's website, and my fav part was her photo gallery.
    Thanks! ~Donna djkeoppel(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  31. Happy birthday! Thanks for the amazing giveaways. renahe_90(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

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  32. MOLLY ... I am thrilled that you found "From the Heart" because it is just that -- from my heart to my readers' because it works!! Thanks for coming by, girl, and here's to a win!

    HANNAH ... SOOO good to see you here, girl, but catch me up -- why do you need an ultra-sound?? And Song of Solomon in your "Desire" class?? How cool is that ... and, uh, can I join?? :) We'll have to see what we can do about getting you a signed copy of APMP, my friend.

    DONNA K ... thanks for putting my book on your TBR list, girl, and hopefully we can get you a win here, but if not here, I have TONS of other blog giveaways going on -- just check my website calendar, okay? Good luck!

    RENAHE ... You're more than welcome, and thanks for coming by to enter -- good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. @ Julie you should send copies of AHU to Hannah's entire class so they can discuss your book! ;-)

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  34. Hi Renee!! Happy birthday!! I love the 1920's and you have had me hyped up for this book since before it was released :)

    +2 on Julie's site I liked her FAQs section the best!

    thanks for the contest!!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

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  35. RENEE ... mmmm, what a great idea ... uh, if my husband doesn't shoot me first! :) I give so many books away (most of which I have to buy!), he said, "Julie, I thought your writing was going to MAKE money, not spend it ..." :)

    CARRIE ... soooo glad Renee has you stoked for this book, girl! Good luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. Yeah Julie I kinda know what you mean, I would love to giveaway more books on here but the cost of buying them AND shipping gets out of hand sometimes! Maybe we can just get Hannah to recommend that the class read your book. ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee

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  37. Julie is my favorite newly read author and I love her passion and zest that so explicitly shows out of her writings. Does that make sense? Julie will know what I mean...she understands me. All joshing aside, she is a wonder with the words and I admire her creativity. Thank you for offering your new book in honor of Renee's birthday, Julie. Renee, thank you for the chance to win Julie's book. I hope I do! Much joy on your birthday.

    Blessings,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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  38. Oh man....you guys totally made my day after reading these comments!! LOL! Seriously, I was at school yesterday when I read them in the computer lab and I just burst out laughing! I definitely got a few...okay many, looks! Bahahaha!

    Julie, please do join Desire! Lol...I'm sure you'd love it. It's cool, I'm enjoying it so far, we'll see if I'm saying that at the end of the semester : P

    A signed copy, pour moi!? That'd be really exciting...lol!

    I WISH we could read it in class, that'd be beyond words!! Sooooo amazing, lol! However, no offense Julie, but my professor is from Poland. I have a feeling she's never heard of you : / I'll have to introduce her *wink*

    I don't usually have to send things, BUT that doesn't mean I'm stupid, lol! It's gotta really add up sometimes. But we really appreciate it! Lol...you know what I'm excited to be getting now??? I won the LI package on their blog this time (who knew!? That must've been luck) and Ashley's contest! Soooooo I'm waiting for Camy and Ashley to send those to me, lol...everyday I check my mail! The people behind the desk must think I'm desperate or something! It's just sad because EVERYONE gets packages at school, except ME! Because I live so close to home....hahaaha! Ah well, I'm hoping they're headed and I'll get them this week

    : D

    Anywho, I'll stop rambling now!!
    Hope to see you around here, Seekerville, or my blog really soon! I love talking to both of you ladies!!
    Hannah

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  39. I'm a follower and would love to win this book! I've loved all Julie's books. I just wish they'd been around when I was young . . . reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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  40. I love this cover more each time I see it. The title says so much in a couple words. Would love to win a copy.

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  41. BARB ... YES, I "understand you," which SHOULD worry you ... :) I would LOVE to send you a signed book, my friend, so close your eyes and say, "Wish Cotton was a monkey, wish Cotton was a monkey ..." :) And, Barb, you know what??? You and I are probably the ONLY ones that know what that means ... :)

    HANNAH GIRL, you must be on a roll, winning all those great books!! Maybe your luck will hold here ... :) Mmmm ... join "Desire," eh? Can I? Really and truly??? If so, send me the link, girl, and I'll look into it! And as far as your Polish professor goes, my 92-year-old aunt's last name is Chrzanowski, and she LOVES my books, so who knows???

    LoREE ... thank you SO very much -- I love it too, and kudos to Revell AGAIN!! And you know what? It is SOOO freaky how the titles fit the story even before I know they will, truly. It's like they're anointed, you know?? Which, of course, I believe they are since I pray for YEARS before a book comes out!! But as a romance writer, YOU should know about that, right?? I have already heard about your book, Moselle's Insurance (maybe on the loop???), and it sounds GREAT!! Love the cover too!! Anyway, thanks for coming by, girl, and good luck in the contest AND with the new book.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  42. Thanks for the interview. I loved the part where you talked about having passion in your stories, but it does not have to be the Hollywood style passion that seems to be the norm of the world. Thank you for showing us that we can still have a clean Godly passion in a relationship.
    From your website, I like the from the heart section and the uplifting verses.
    cynthiakchow(at)earthlink(dot)net

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  43. Hey, CYNTHIA, you're making the rounds -- good girl!! I've had three different people win 2-3 books in the last month or so, so your odds of winning are very good. Good luck, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. Hello, again Julie :)
    I love you more each time that I read another interview. You share more of yourself each time!
    Your honesty and walk of faith encourages me as well as so many others. I love it that you said that you RUN to the throne of God!! He is ALWAYS there for us, isn't He?
    Now, back to my previous suggestion: A good Christ-centered read during the Civil War written by YOU would surpass MM because your Christian readers don't find Scarlet's selfish nature appealing!
    Luv ya,
    Charlotte
    char saltz (at) yahoo (dot) com

    +2 I love Julie's Journal Jots AND From the Heart!

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  45. LADIES! WOW thank you so much for stopping by to celebrate with Julie and me, I wish you all could win! Be sure to check out the other four giveaways and interviews with Candace Calvert and Penny Zeller too!

    Hannah, I'm so glad that we made you laugh, I know how stressful school can be and I know I always loved it when there was an extra reason to smile! Enjoy all those books you won. lucky girl!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  46. Aw, CHARLOTTE, thanks, sweetie!! Yeah, I don't run a lot, but I do run to God every chance I get. And, YES, a thousand times Yes -- He IS always there for us, praise God!!!

    Oh-oh, I'm a Christian and I LOVED Scarlett -- do you still like me??? Actually she's one of my favorite characters ever, shocking as that may be. I think because I was so impacted by her and GWTW when I was young, but also for her strength and her unwillingness to "fake it."

    And, girl, you tenacious with that Civil War idea, aren't you!! Pray I get an idea, then, will ya??? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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