“Love your family.

Spend time, be kind & serve one another.

Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.”

— Anonymous

Boy, did I have fun last week!

Ten days ago, my hubby and I packed up the car and hightailed it to Birmingham to see my daughter and son-in-law, and we had SUCH a great time!

We biked, boated, manicured/pedicured, ate, watched fireworks with their friends, attended their fabulous church, and just hung out chatting and watching Person of Interest! It’s an 11-hour drive from Osage Beach to Birmingham (with food and restroom stops), but oh, SO worth it!!

I will admit, however, that I felt a wee bit guilty it rained/was overcast almost nonstop at Osage Beach the entire time we were gone while Birmingham was sunny and beautiful (albeit hot).

But hot or cold, rain or shine, isn’t family just THE BEST???

WHOO-HOO, I am SIX SCENES away from finishing book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, so prayers appreciated that I can get it wrapped up and edited this month for release in September. I do hope to put it up for preorder in August, so I will keep you posted here on Journal Jots. If you are not subscribed to Journal Jots, you may want to to do so in the “subscribe” box at the top right-hand side of this page.

Till then, I promised a sneak peek at the first chapter and am including that below, along with several great sales and a cool contest, so be sure to scroll all the way down!

Here’s to a sunny and rain-free weekend!




Blog Giveaway!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2016: Join me on Seekerville next week when I debunk the “Sticks & Stones” myth for writers and get a chance to win my upcoming release, Love Everlasting, book 2 in the Isle of Hope series OR your choice of Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope, or A Light in the Window. Here’s the link — hope to see you there!



HUGE Sales!

All four of the Seeker Christmas novella collections (two historical, two contemporary) are now on sale for only 99 cents, so if you haven’t read Charity & Mitch’s story, “A Whisper of Hope” in the Hope for the Holidays collection or Lizzie & Brady’s “The Best Gift of All” in the Home for Christmas collection, this is a GREAT time to dive in!

Not only do you get to catch up with the O’Connors again (and all that lovely fun, passion, drama, and angst), you get to read novellas by award-winning authors Mary Connealy, Janet Dean, Debby Giusti, Audra Harders, Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson, Sandra Leesmith, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens as well, and all for 99 cents per collection — that’s less than 25 cents per novella!!

Get a sneak peek at a scene from each of my novellas by clicking on last week’s Journal Jot link below and scrolling to the end of the page, then take advantage of this “cool” price for Christmas in July!


(scroll to the bottom of the blog)

 Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection

Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection

A Heart Full of Christmas Contemporary Collection

Home for Christmas Historical Collection





Heart & Soul 99-Cent Sale Starts July 11th!

Imagine getting five novels from five award-winning authors for only 99 cents! Now you can with Heart & Soul, a book bundle of novels by Ruth Logan Herne, MaryLu Tyndall, Sally Bradley, Naomi Rawlings, and moi. That’s less than 20 cents per novel, and the sale won’t last long, so check it out HERE!

HUGE Favor & Cool Contest!!

I know most of you reading this blog have read my Marcy/Patrick prequel indie novel, A Light in the Window, and if you haven’t, hopefully this VIDEO starring my daughter will convince you!

BUT if you have read it and posted a review, I am asking a favor. PLEASE post that same review for Heart & Soul, and I will give you 10 points in my newsletter contest to have a character named after you in my next book and a free copy.

If you read A Light in the Window and have not written a review, all you have to do is post a 1- or 2-line review on Amazon for it (or for any of the other books if you read them) on the Heart & Soul page, and you will also get 10 points in my newsletter contest to have a character named after you in my next book and a free copy.


Just FYI, the newsletter will be coming out in early September, so if you are not signed up to receive it, here’s the link:





Book 2 in the Isle of Hope Series

By Julie Lessman

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

Again I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt …

—Jeremiah 31:3-4


Chapter One

Isle of Hope, Georgia, May 2015

“Okay, smile pretty—hot guys at three o’clock.”

Shannon O’Bryen smiled, more because of her friend Margo’s mumbled man alert than the need to charm any “hot guy.” Tugging the neckline of her sequin halter dress a bit lower, Margo casually skimmed a pinky along the rim of her Diet D.P., nonchalantly chatting about a book she’d discussed with Shannon, Cat, and Amy not five minutes ago. When her finger slid from the rim into her soda, Shannon could do nothing but giggle. The sound set off a chain reaction of laughter around the table in the middle of a fancy fundraiser for Memorial Hospital.

Peeking over her shoulder, Shannon expelled a sigh of relief, grateful the “hot guys” were only her brother Jack and his coworker, Sam Cunningham. Because although each of the girls around the table were looking for Mr. Right, Shannon was definitely not one of them. Despite the slinky blue dress and four-inch heels her twin sister Cat had coerced her to wear. Nope, she preferred her Prince Charming confined between the covers of a book, thank you very much, where he couldn’t stomp on her heart.

“Well, one viable ‘hot guy,’ anyway,” Shannon’s twin sister Cat said with a lazy smile, a twinkle in her blue eyes as she fluffed the back of her long strawberry blonde hair. “My brother Jack is taken, but his doctor friend, Sam Cunningham, is still very available.”

“And very, very attractive,” Amy whispered with a gulp while Margo sucked DP off of her finger. Both girls covertly tracked the progress of Jack and Sam as they headed their way through a sea of people and tables.

Too attractive. Shannon watched as Sam flirted with every girl he could on the way to their table, Jack’s warning that Sam was a “player” resonating deep in Shannon’s soul. No matter the boyish twinkle in brown eyes that made every girl feel special or a crooked smile always tipped with tease, Shannon had no doubt that beneath that magnetic façade was a man whose good looks and lust for women spelled doom for any girl sucked into his orbit. Whirling them around and around in a lovelorn spin that only made them dizzy.

And so sick that avoidance was the only cure.

“Heeeeeey, ladies, I’m in dire need of a dance partner, so who’s willing to help me out?” Dr. Sam Cunningham ambled forward with hands in the pockets of his tux, his shirt and tie as disheveled as the dark curls that spilled over his forehead.

“You’re in dire need, all right,” Jack said with a slant of a smile, his eyes far more sober than Sam appeared to be, “of a lift home.” Looping an arm around Sam’s shoulder, he homed in on Shannon. “Shan, would you mind driving Sam home? I’m up next on the podium for some announcements, so I can’t take him right now, and he’s pretty hammered. He’s feeling no pain, but I’ll tell you what—his bar tab will give him sticker shock on the next credit card statement.”

Shannon blinked, stomach roiling over going anywhere with Sam Cunningham. “Uh … sure, Jack, but wouldn’t a cab be better?”

“I don’t wanna go home,” Sam interrupted, a faint slur of his words a perfect complement to the glassy look in his eyes. “I wanna dance.”

“Yeah, well you can dance your way to Shan’s car, dude, because you’re in no shape to do anything but crash.”

“I’ll drive him home.” Cat jumped up so fast, she jolted the table, sploshing everyone’s drinks along with it. She caught her lip with her teeth, giving a waggle of brows while she reached for her purse. “I’ve been wanting to get to know Sam better anyway.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Sam said with a wayward grin. “Jack’s been way too possessive of you girls, if you ask me.” He gave Cat a slow wink. “Forbidden fruit, I suppose.”

“In your dreams, Dr Love.” Jack flashed Cat a wry smile, resorting to his role of annoying big brother that Cat always accused him of. “Sorry, Catfish, but that would be the blind leading the blind, so I’ll stick with the sober and sensible twin.” He zeroed in on Shannon once again, the plea in his eyes weakening her defenses. “Shan, I really hate to ask, but I don’t trust Sam in a cab because he’ll just go to a club and drink.”

“What are you, O’Bryen, my mother?” Sam scowled, and even that looked good on him.

Shannon chewed at her lip, not sure why Jack would put her in a situation like this with a Romeo he’d warned both Cat and her about.

“Come on, Cat, let’s dance …” Sam extended his hand to her sister, practically tripping on the leg of a chair when he rounded the table.

Ignoring Sam’s comment, Jack bent close to Shannon’s ear, kneading her shoulder in a coaxing manner. “Normally I wouldn’t let Sam within a mile of either you or Cat, sis, but he’s hurtin’ pretty bad because Jazz showed up with another guy.” Jack glanced across the ballroom to where Jasmine Augustine—both his and Sam’s ex-girlfriend—laughed and danced with some good-looking guy. “So I don’t trust him to go straight home.” His smile was laced with apology. “Nor do I trust him with any woman in this room but you, Shan. Unlike most players, Ham has an innate kindness and sensitivity that naturally disarms people. I swear he’s so lousy with a bone-deep charisma, the man can charm the spots off a leopard. So I need someone mature and levelheaded, with an immunity to players.”

Shannon sighed. Ah yes, my immunity to players. I’ve definitely been inoculated by the best.

“All right, Jack.” She tossed her purse strap over her shoulder with a heavy sigh as she rose. Pushing her chair in, she gave him a twist of a smile. “But you owe me, big brother.”

“And then some,” Jack said with a kiss to her head. He tucked a finger to her chin. “And don’t let him bamboozle you, Shan. The man has a masters in roguery, so it might be good to lend him an ear, but nothing else.” He tugged on her hair. “He keeps a key under the potted palm by his front door, and his address is 665 Parkway, Apt. B.”

“The operative word being “potted,” she said with more sarcasm than normal.

He grinned. “I have his car keys, so Lacey and I will drive his car home later, okay? Just get him inside and make sure he stays there.”

Shannon’s mouth went flat. “You want me to tuck him in too?”

Jack grinned. “Might be a nice touch, but not necessary.” He leveled a finger at her with a mock glare. “I don’t want you within twenty feet of his bedroom, young lady, you got that?” He winked. “I’m trusting you, Shan.”

“Glad one of us does,” she mumbled, shaking her head when she turned to see Sam dipping Cat in a dance move next to the table, almost dropping her.

“Okay, come on, Twinkletoes.” Jack pulled Sam away from Cat to hook an arm over his shoulder, carefully guiding him toward the door. He tossed Cat an off-center grin. “And if I ever see you dancing with this joker again, Catfish, I’m going to toss you into the river, got it? He’s off-limits to you and Shan because he’s dangerous to women’s health.”

“Yeah?” Sam mumbled, stumbling along beside Jack, “then how come it’s my health that took the hit this time?”

“Have fun, you lucky duck,” Margo called as Shannon followed Jack and Sam to the door. “Sure wish it were me.”

“Me too,” Shannon muttered, wondering if she could talk Jack into putting Sam in the trunk.

“Jack, I’m fine, I swear.” Sam’s argument sounded convincing enough except for a near miss with a chair, and Shannon couldn’t help the ghost of a smile when her brother gave him a Gibbs smack to the back of the head.

Shannon could have kissed Jack when he dumped Sam into the back seat of her car instead of the front, where a low groan coaxed another smile to her lips.

“I think I’m gonna die …” His voice was no more than a croak as he lay face down across the seat of her mother’s 1999 Chevy Impala, his bristled jaw flat against her beige upholstery.

“No you won’t, Ham,” Jack said, employing the nickname Sam had earned in residency because of his practical jokes and show-off tendencies. “You just need to get past this obsession with Jasmine and move on with your life, man. There are other fish in the sea.”

A hiccough interrupted Sam’s moan. “I don’t like fish. I like her. She’s one in a million.”

“Yeah, and so’s the headache you’re gonna have come morning, bro, if you don’t get some decent sleep.” He shoved the rest of Sam’s legs into the car and slammed the door, opening the passenger side to offer Shan a penitent smile. “I can’t thank you enough, Shan. Jazz dumped him for some new intern, and it’s been a rough week for him, you know?”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she whispered, her heart aching for him despite his inebriated state. “Is there anything else I can do to help cheer him up?”

“Yeah, you can pray for him, and maybe even share some of that wisdom you’re so famous for. Never seen Ham this down before, and it has me a little worried, you know?”

“Sure, Jack.” She peeked into the back seat where snores could be heard while drool puddled on the upholstery. “I feel bad for the poor guy.”

Jack grinned. “I knew you would because of your oversized heart of gold, kiddo, but not too much, okay? Ham has been known to take advantage of the kindness of strangers.”

A grin tugged at Shannon’s lips as she glanced over her shoulder. “Doesn’t look like he could take advantage of much of anything right now.” She wrinkled her nose. “Except Mom’s car seat.”

“Yeah, well that’s when he’s at his most dangerous, I’m afraid, catching woman off-guard with his little-boy charm. So unconscious or not, keep your distance, okay?”

She started the car with its customary sputter and a growl, shifting into gear as she slid Jack a wry smile. “Distance would be a cab, Jack, but I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Good girl.” With two firm taps of her roof, Jack closed the door, hands in his pockets as he watched her drive away.

A snort sounded from the back seat and Shannon had no choice but to smile. A cab, definitely.

In another state