There is nothing better than a friend,

unless it is a friend with chocolate.”

― Linda Grayson, artist

Oh, and trust me, people I had PLENTY of both last week when I attended the CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat) and the ACFW (Amercian Christian Fiction Writers Conference) in Nashville, Tennessee!

WOW, did I have a blast, which is why I didn’t have time to post a Journal Jot last week, so please forgive me. BUT … I have some fun things to share this week to make up for it, including the winner of my Inspired Reads contest PLUS … scads and scads of pix from both CFRR and ACFW, so I hope you check them out below.


WHOO-HOO … my prequel novella to Isle of Hope, A Glimmer of Hope is now FREE ON Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, so if you haven’t read it yet, now’s your chance!!

And if you have read it, can you spread the word for people to download it? The more downloads the better in this biz, so please SPREAD THE WORD!

She’s a wounded girl serving up trouble.
He’s a pastor’s kid bent on serving God.
But can they find a glimmer of hope
for a future together?

From the moment Jack O’Bryen kissed the sixteen-year-old tomboy next door, he knew he would love her forever. Lacey Carmichael was everything he’d ever wanted—intelligent, warm, and brimming with life, the perfect complement to his serious and sensible self. A girlfriend who not only shared his faith, but he hoped his future as well, the perfect mate for a would-be pastor.

Eighteen-year-old Lacey Carmichael has dreamed of marrying Jack O’Bryen since she was twelve years old, the boy next door who always picked up the pieces after her father shattered her heart. But when her cousin leads her astray while Jack’s away at school and her father’s rejection soars to new heights, Lacey finds herself at odds with the boy that she loves, not only jeopardizing their relationship, but Jack’s faith and heart as well.

BUT … I NEED YOUR HELP! If you have read AGOH and posted a review for it, can you please post that same review on both B&N and Kobo? If you do, please let me know via the CONTACT JULIE tab of my website or via a FACEBOOK private message, and I will enter you in a contest to win your choice of an ebook copy of Isle of Hope, A Light in the Window, my upcoming release, Love Everlasting, OR your choice of any of my novellas — “A Whisper of Hope” (Charity & Mitch), “The Best Gift of All” (Lizzie & Brady), or “Grace Like Rain” (Blake “The Rake” McClare).


I just received the jacket blurb for my upcoming Christmas novella, “Last Chance Christmas,” part of the Cowboy Christmas Homecoming collection with Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Anna Schmidt, which is now available for PREORDER! It’s a fun and heartwarming story about an accident-prone ex-saloon girl and a pastor, so here it is:

Accidents happen and then there’s Grace…

         Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s dyed his long johns pink and scorched nearly everything she cooks—even catching fire to the kitchen. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come.

         Though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died.

         When Grace’s past threatens his family, they have one chance to celebrate Christmas together at home. . . If Grace hasn’t burned it down by then.



A HUGE HUG to everybody who entered my last contest, and as always I wish ALL of you could win! But unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and that winner of a character named after her in Love Everlasting and a signed paperback copy as selected by Randomizer is …


SUPER CONGRATS to Mary, and I will be in touch!

And now, here’s a glimpse into my wonderful week last week, and I’ll just bet you may recognize a face or two!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, all!





Book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, available for PREORDER HERE!


I was privileged to be one of five guest speakers at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in Nashville last week along with Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz, Mary Connealy and Ruth Logan Herne, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was intimate mix of about 105 readers and authors who gathered for a full day to mix, mingle, worship God, and discuss books with speed chats, pucker-up panels, and so much more!

Here are the lovely ladies who planned it, who just happen to be some of my dearest blogger friends. Top row from left to right are: Moi, Annie C. from Just Commonly blog, Sydney Anderson from Singing Librarian Books blog. Front row from left to right are: Bonnie Roof from Overcoming with God blog and Carrie Schmidt from Reading is my SuperPower blog.

This is one of my favorite pics from CFRR — Tammy Alexander, me, and Laura Frantz during worship, which was absolutely awesome!!

Boy, was THIS fun!! It was an author panel on kissing called “Pucker up,” and let me tell you, I had a blast answering THOSE questions! 😉 From left to right: Pepper Basham, Ruth Logan Herne, Melanie Dickerson, Janet Dean, Kristi Hunter, and moi.

One of the worship leaders for the day was the lovely Melony Teague, whose excellent devotional — As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers — I endorsed and highly recommend.

This is a precious reader friend of mine, Cindy Martin, who lives in Nashville and volunteered to assist in any way she could, be it airport runs or bringing food. Meeting her just blessed the socks off of me!

And, WOW, is this a love story or what? This is Beth and Mike Miller, who came to the retreat together (and Mike was the ONLY man there!) because this was his birthday present to his wife. They are dear reader friends of mine, and seldom have I seen a man so over the moon for a woman! He and Beth could be one of my hero/heroine couples, as romantic as they are! And, of course, Beth reads my novels, so I’d like to think that maybe — just maybe — that lends a wee bit of inspiration too! 😉

I LOVED meeting sweet Amy Messer, a wonderful reader friend who made me laugh over her enthusiasm! Thank you, Amy, for your continued support!

 My first Uber ride!! My daughter, Amy, talked me into taking my first Uber ride, and it was fun! That’s my son-in-law, Nate, in the front seat.

It was SO fun meeting another dear reader friend, Kelly Goshorn, who actually won a character named after her in Isle of Hope!

And, of course, the love of my life was along on the trip, too, and we enjoyed seeing Nashville with my daughter and son-in-law.

This is another reader friend I was SO thrilled to meet — Rahcel Dixon — because I’ve been praying for her mom, who is ill, so it was a blessing to put a face with a prayer request. 🙂

And OH. MY. GOSH!! I had SUCH a blast with two of the gals from my new publisher, Gilead! This is Ruth Logan Herne and me shoring up these two young things who are SO darn cute and SO darn smart — Katelyn and Nichole. LOVED hanging with them … made me feel young again!!

One of my favorite get-togethers was with Casey Herringshaw — who won a character named after her in A Heart Revealed — and her sweet mom, Sue, who also made a cameo appearance in AHR as the character Casey’s mom! 😉

And I’ll sign off with this fun pic with a real Georgia sweetheart, Patti Jo Moore, who always taunts me with my favorite dessert — Georgia peach cobbler!