A Light in the Window

•April 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Marceline Murphy has returned to Boston and to her best friend Julie O’Rourke. The biggest problem in her life right now? The fact that she is still head over heels for Julie’s brother, Sam. But things are looking up as she and Julie plan the Christmas play for their church. But when Sam O’Rourke and Patrick O’Connor volunteer to help with the play and, not only that, but both seem to be vying for her attention, Marcy finds herself in bigger trouble than she anticipated.

Because one man stirs her heart, and the other her faith. How is she ever to choose between the two things that rule her soul?

One of the things I love about Julie Lessman is how she gets my stomach twisted into knots and my heart pounding so hard and my mouth smiling so big I think I’m about to explode any minute. That is exactly what she did to me in her eBook prequel A Light in the Window.

I have cherished every single novel about the O’Connor family. I went into this book, knowing exactly who was going to end up with who and yet my stomach still twisted up when Marcy and Sam were together! I almost started to doubt. I would think to myself, ‘Oh no, it’s all over, Marcy and Patrick will never be together!’ and then I’d go back laughing at myself.

This heartwarming story tested the boundaries of love, trust and faith. Patrick’s love for Marcy drove him to do incredible things. Sam’s love for Marcy was selfish and not based on faith and love for God. Marcy’s struggle throughout the book was so deeply felt and my heart broke with Patrick’s over and over again. But I loved how the ‘light in the window’ brought Marcy to the one she was meant to be with and led Patrick down the path that would lead to the greatest love he would ever know.

Like all of Julie Lessman’s stories, this one had me in tears closing in on the end. Knowing Marcy and Patrick’s story is so amazing!! Now, when I go back and read the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series over again (which I most definitely will!), I’ll be able to see Marcy and Patrick in a very new light. Knowing their story changes things. It makes their love even stronger and more faithful in my eyes. Thank you Julie Lessman for writing another phenomenal story! 🙂

a light in the window

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

•April 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Cassidy McClare leaves her home in Texas after a pretty boy fortune hunter jilts her. Heart broken, she goes to stay with her aunt and cousins for the summer, hoping that being with them will heal her heart. She never counted on meeting pretty boy Jamie MacKenna, who not only knocks her right off her feet at the train station, but is determined to charm and woo her into a courtship. But Cassie doesn’t know that Jamie has his reasons for wanting to court and oil heiress…and it’s not just because he’s falling for her!

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman was a beautiful example of handing over all of our struggles to God, putting our hearts, trust and faith in His hands and learning that no matter what troubles come our way, He will always be there with His perfect plan.

Cassidy McClare comes to San Francisco looking to forget the fortune hunter who jilted her and heal her heart in the warm, loving arms of her family.Jamie MacKenna wants nothing more than to marry well in order to provide a better life for his mother and sister, and to help get his sister the surgery she desperately needs. When Jamie meets the Texas oil heiress, Cassie McClare, he starts to believe that he can get love and money all in one package…until he finds out Cassie is probably poorer than he is.

You will find yourself swept into a whirlwind of passion, laughter and tension from the moment you open this book to the moment you shut it. From Cassie’s steadfast faith to her lovely relationship with her cousin, Allison McClare, to the love she tries to deny with Jamie. You will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, your heart pounding with worry and excitement. Will Jamie realize that loving Cassie is what matters, not whether she’s rich or poor? Will Cassie find it in her heart to forgive him? Can they both trust God to give them the desires of their hearts?

Oh my. Let me begin by saying that Julie Lessman is, and has been for quite awhile now, my favorite author ever!! And this book…OH MY! Putting this book down every time that I had to was painful! It was definitely lighter and funnier than her other books, which I adored because it separated the characters. At first I wondered if when I read about Cassidy, would it be like reading about Faith, or Charity or Lizzie, Katie, Emma and Annie. But it wasn’t! Cassidy was a whole new personality that I fell absolutely, positively in love with. And Jamie? Can all us girls say ‘swoon’? ;)

This book stole my heart in so many ways! The playful teasing and flirting between Cassie and Jamie, the light funny dialogue that had me laughing, not to mention the sweet yet steamy kissing scenes that never fail to bring a grin to my face. As Jamie and Cassie discover love, tension is thrown into the mix with the painful history that stands like a brick wall between Caitlyn McClare and Logan McClare. I refuse to give anything too important away, but those two are one of the many reasons I am now bouncing up and down, anxious to get my hands on the next book!!

Julie Lessman has once again weaved a tale of passionate love, unshakeable faith, and painful realities that are faced by each and every one of us every day. Releasing everything into God’s hands, especially the people you love so dearly and want to protect, can be a very difficult thing. But it is always the right and perfect thing to do. Once again, Julie has given me a story to cherish and has reminded us that every perfect love story always, without fail, has God at the center.

Thank you Julie, for your exquisite writing, your passion for romance but most importantly, your ability to put down on paper what we as weak human beings strive to achieve every day in our hearts. Eternal, steadfast, absolute faith in God.

Love At Any Cost

Contests, Contests, Contests!!

•January 13, 2012 • 1 Comment

So, I entered my first writing contest!! ACFW rocks, by the way. It is such an amazing writing organization that brings published writers and aspiring authors together. I was so nervous about entering my book in their Genesis contest, but now that it’s done I feel a lot more relaxed…sort of. 😉

When I was first writing this particular book I was so scared about sending it in to the Genesis contest. I had a feeling when I first started it that this would be the one to send in. I truly loved my story and my characters, more than I’d ever loved one of my books before. So I knew this was the one I would take a chance on. I will say I’m still nervous, of course. Who wouldn’t be? Putting your work out there is hard to do, especially if you’re the type who is afraid of rejection. And I am definitely one of those people. Especially since I do love this story so much.

But one of the things I’ve been learning from the authors I’ve interacted with on ACFW and even on Facebook ( 😉 ) it’s that the only way you’ll ever get published is to put your name out there. One of these days, someone is going to recognize your name, someone is going to notice you and if you just keep trying and keep putting your work out there, someone is bound to like what you’ve written. Contests are definitely the best way to do that.

One of the greatest things to have when you’re writing is confidence. Never lose confidence in yourself, or else your writing won’t be all it could be. And part of having confidence is sharing your work with others. It’s taken me a long time to learn that. Only recently did I start letting my own sister read my books. It’s a big step, going from handing your book to a relative to handing it to a complete stranger. But just think of all the benefits.

So, if you want to improve your writing, if you want to get better at the thing you love to do, then don’t hesitate to send your work into a contest and accept the feedback you get, negative or positive. You won’t regret it.

Book Review!

•December 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 I absolutely love Julie Lessman’s books and decided to put up reviews of all five of her books. Hope you enjoy them!

A Passion Most Pure:

A Passion Most Pure is probably my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. Faith and Collin are two of my most favorite characters! They’re two people so different, yet so alike because when they believe in something they believe in it with their whole hearts. Faith’s love for Collin causes her grief and pain, but she knows that she can’t change him, only God can and that was the most beautiful lesson of the book. That only God can change a heart, and if we follow His path, we WILL get the desires of our hearts. Julie Lessman is an amazing writer!!! This is most definitely a must-read!

A Passion Redeemed:

 I can’t decide which is my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed or A Passion Denied. They were all amazing, the whole series captured my heart and if I were to choose favorite characters…well I couldn’t because they each took a piece of my heart from each member of the O’Connor fa…mily to the best friends of the family like Emma. This book was meant to capture hearts, and the first and third book accomplished the same. This series wasn’t supposed to be your typical boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after that leaves you feeling somewhat indifferent, not really caring what happens to the characters. This series was meant to make you care. This series was supposed to make you love the characters. And that’s what Julie Lessman accomplished, along with a beautiful story of faith and love that rings true, with God always at the center. That’s what true passion is. That’s what true LOVE is. God at the center.

A Passion Denied:

Lizzie and Brady’s rocky road to love was a story that I will forever adore. Lizzie is one of my most favorite characters and I think that’s because of her faith in true love. Yes, she’s quite the bookworm–like me ;) –and I know that life doesn’t always turn out like the love stories, but that’s a lesson that’s learned over time and that’s the lesson that Lizzie learns. She discovers that no love story is perfect, that no man, including John Brady, is perfect, but that with God on her side she can have faith, forgive and love.
 A Hope Undaunted:This book was incredible. I cried SEVERAL times! Julie Lessman’s books are officially at the top of my list of favorites. I absolutely loved Katie and Luke’s story and I love the O’Connor family. One of the best things about Julie Lessman’s books is how close she makes you feel to the characters. So close that you tear up at the thought of the series coming to an end. This book was simply phenomenal and most definitely deserves the title of ‘epic romance’. ;)

A Heart Revealed:

Another epic romance from Julie Lessman!! Once again she has proven just how brilliant a writer she is! A Heart Revealed was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. From Sean’s determination never to get married because of a tragedy during the war, to Emma’s resolve to stay away from men because of a vow she took before God to a man who abused her mercilessly, this book takes you on a journe…y of love, loss, but most importantly, faith. Julie Lessman took two of my most favorite characters from her O’Connor series and brought them together. I absolutely loved this book, mostly because of my love for Emma and Sean. This is a series that’s about family, and you become a part of that family from the moment you open A Passion Most Pure to the minute you close A Heart Revealed. Keep writing Julie!! I can hardly wait for the final book of the Winds of Change series!!

Write Realistically, It’s the Only Way to Write

•December 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever read a book where you’re examining a character and notice that they’re one of those perfect, holier than thou, types? Yep, I’ve read a few of those. The characters never make mistakes, they’re so faithful, so flawless, so sinless…it’s just not convincing. The point is that people need to be real, especially in books. When you write a book, you need to make sure you’re writing according to the times and create your characters accordingly.

For example. Let’s say you’re writing in the early 1910s-1920s. Your female character is a Christian, beautiful, intelligent, stubborn and vivacious. She stands out in a crowd. More than likely, a girl with this type of personality was not only an incredible Christian, but she was a suffragette, fighting for her right to vote because she is intelligent, because she does have a brain. Not necessarily fighting for her freedom from men, but for her right to be acknowledged as a person who can think for herself. Now, let’s also add one more thing that might actually surprise you.

Let’s say that your female character is all of these things…but she’s also Irish and living in Boston. Surprise! You now most likely have an Irish Catholic girl. And you know what? Even if you’re not Catholic, that’s ok. The point is that you’re making your character believable. There were a lot of Irish catholics back then, and it’s more realistic if your character goes to Mass instead of to a Protestant church. Now, of course that’s up to you. I’m sure there were Irish Protestants as well. But if you dig deep into the times, then you’re going to want to make it as realistic as possible.

Sometimes in order to make your book real to the reader, you need to take some steps that you might not have been planning on taking. I know I have. Sometimes I’m writing and I look at the page and think ‘that is totally unrealistic’ so I go back and make some changes. Your book has to be real to the reader. That means writing some things that you might not have planned. It especially means that your characters aren’t perfect. They sin. They lie. They make mistakes. If your characters are going to be real people to the readers, they need to make mistakes.

What would you do to make your characters realistic? How would you change them? What kind of mistakes would they make? How would you adjust your characters according to the historical time period you place them in? Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say. 🙂

I’m Back!!!

•November 9, 2011 • 1 Comment

After a much too long break, I have returned! Pen to Paper is no longer dead!

Hi everyone. 😉 So glad to be back. I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately and both my blogs have suffered because of it. But not to worry, hopefully this will be the start of more regular blogging. I have certainly missed blogging about my writing, and about my favorite books, so I hope you’ll all continue to enjoy hearing from me. And please hop on over to my other blog By the Book: Diary of a Bookaholic. I just posted a new review on one of my favorite books To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer!

So, last time we talked about taking things slow and not rushing. What a great point that is! Sometimes writers just need a break to clear their heads in order to keep the story moving. Too much too fast can make for a really bad story. And rushing can also cause you to write a much shorter book than you’d first intended.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever had one of those moments where you ‘finish’ a book and are staring at the page number thinking ‘I wanted this to be so much longer! After all, it’s supposed to span over nearly two years!!’ ? I have had those moments more than once and let me tell you, it’s frustrating. That’s why I always end up going back and either starting over, or adding chapters in somewhere in the middle. If you just take your time, you discover that there’s so much more you can say, so many more plot twists you can add that make the story even better than it was when you first started.

Writing is an art. It takes time, patience and love to create that perfect picture. That perfect plot. The perfect ending. And if you do it right, you might end up with a bestseller in your hands. 😉

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!!!!

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, I haven’t posted in a REALLY long time and I am SO sorry!! Here’s what’s been happening:

  1. I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
  2. Because I joined ACFW I’ve been super busy and occupied with their e-loops. I spend a lot of time on my e-mail now, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!
  3. I’ve plunged back into writing a brand new novel and my head’s been spinning with so many ideas as I work hard to make it as big a success as I can. You know how this works. You get a new idea and you can’t do anything else until you’ve at least gotten it started.
  4. And last, but never least, I’ve been searching for new books to read. My reading list is getting short, and you know me. I can’t go for very long without having a new book to read. 😉

So, that about covers it. I’m hoping to get back to posting more regularly real soon!! 🙂