Springs of Inspiration with Julie Lessman

ImageShe’s known as the “Kissing Queen” of Edgy Inspirational Fiction. Her historical romances entertwine historical detail, family sagas, and high romantic tension – but more than that she writes novels strumming with the heartbeat of redemption.

Julie Lessman’s novels may leave you breathless, but not before giving you a spiritual anchor before you fall 🙂

She’s an amazing encourager, especially for those of us floundering around on unpubblished island.and her joy in the Lord is contagious.

AND I just HAD to put in this CUTE pic of Julie and Casey….just because they are both so daggone adorable!

Let’s see what she has to ‘inspire’ us with today 🙂

1.) Favorite inspirational scene from my work?
Not sure if it’s my favorite, but it’s definitely one, and that would be a forgiveness scene from A Passion Denied between the hero John Brady and his priest mentor friend Father Mac. The reason I love it so is because I LOVE King David, who was the one person in the Bible God called “a man after His own heart,” and yet he was such a sinner, just like me! Here’s the clip:
He heard Father Mac flinch, the faint intake of breath piercing Brady’s consciousness anew. He was an infidel. A lost soul. A man who committed vile sins to gratify his own flesh.
He staggered to his feet, suddenly craving the numbing effect of the bottles he’d stolen from Michael’s stash. “I’d rather you leave, Matt. I feel sick and need to lie down.”
A firm grip fisted his arm. “No, John, we need to deal with this now. Once and for all.”
Brady jerked away, his eyes itching with tension. “And how do you propose to do that, Matt? What exactly do you have? A potion or magic formula that will make it all go away?”
Father Mac stared. The brown of his eyes deepened with intensity in a face that radiated pure peace and calm. “No potion, John, and no formula. Just the saving blood of Jesus Christ.”
The impact of Matt’s words pierced his heart. He looked away. “Maybe that’s not enough this time.”
“It’s always enough, John.” Father Mac pulled out a chair. “Sit. Please?”
Brady hesitated, then did as he asked, slowly sinking into the chair. He leaned his elbows on the table and put his face in his hands. “How can God forgive something like this?”
Father Mac exhaled and sat down beside him. He placed a hand on his shoulder. “He does it all the time. I know a man who committed adultery and then murdered his lover’s husband, but God forgave him.”
Brady looked up with shock in his eyes.
A faint smile shadowed Matt’s lips. “In fact, he called him a man after his own heart.”
“King David?”
Father Mac nodded. He removed his hand from Brady’s shoulder and took a drink of his coffee. He wrinkled his nose. “Cold. Want me to warm it up?”
Father Mac didn’t wait for his answer, but dumped both cups and replaced them with hot. He set them on the table and sat back down. “King David was an unusual character. Loved God with all of his heart, but had this unfortunate flaw.” Father Mac paused to taste his coffee, then quirked his lips. “He was human. For instance, one day he’s dancing before the Lord in a linen ephod, not giving a whit that his wife thinks he’s making a fool of himself. Then down the road a bit, he’s lusting after a married woman he sees taking a bath on the roof of her house. And what does he do, this man who loves God with all of his heart? He takes her to his bed, then has her husband sent to the battlefront to be killed.”
Father Mac leaned in, his gaze intent. “He committed adultery and murder, yet he’s still the only man in the Bible God refers to as ‘a man after His own heart.’ Now why is that, I wonder? I’ll tell you why. Because David was a man who had a love affair with God. Imagine that—emotionally involved with the God of the Universe. Trusted Him, worshiped him, sought after him—and all without restraint. Did he mess up? You bet. Did he repent? With all of his heart, aching inside whenever he offended his God. Why? Because he had a Father-son relationship with him, loved him and wanted to please him.” Father Mac hesitated, slowly tracing his finger along the rim of his cup. He finally raised his eyes to capture Brady with a fixed stare. “Just like you, John.”
(I LOVE this scene, Jules)
2.)  Favorite Scripture when in a writing slump?
Oh, that’s easy — the #1 Scripture I’m betting most authors say — Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Jules, thanks so much for reminding us ofour strength in the Lord!
Wonderful reminder 🙂
Blessings,

Springs of Inspiration with Myra Johnson

My apologies.

Since my family moved to a new house a week ago, I’ve had lots of trouble getting online. Unfortunately, it’s messed up my Springs of Inspiration schedule, but I’m hoping we can get back on track this week.

Myra Johnson was supposed to be my guest on Friday, so I want to share her response today. Jamie Carie should be here on Wednesday and Julie Lessman on Friday.

Let me just say that I got a ‘sneak peek’ into Myra’s WIP and I LOVE it!!!! She peaked my special interest – Autism. That’s all I’ll say unless she wants to bait you with more. It’s such a SWEET story!!!

So let’s see what Myra has to say about Inspiration!

 1. This excerpt is from my debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas. Thirteen-year-old Lissa has just confessed some very serious meddling to Natalie, her mother.  Natalie also has much to be forgiven for, and in this scene they finally reach a place of healing.

 Lissa joined her next to the library table, silently intertwining her fingers with her mother’s. Her gaze fell upon the ceramic baby Jesus, sleeping in the manger between the kneeling figures of Mary and Joseph. “I guess Jesus is the only kid in the universe who never goofed up and did something stupid.”

 “I bet Mary and Joseph would disagree.” Mom released a gentle laugh. “I can just imagine how worried they were the time they searched and searched for him, only to find him talking with the teachers in the temple.”

 Lissa’s stomach tightened. “Like you and Dad worried when I ran away and hid in Granddad’s barn?”

 “Exactly.” Mom fixed her with a sad-eyed stare and squeezed her hand. “I worried, yes, but more for selfish reasons, because I didn’t think I could handle one more problem. I was hurting so badly myself that I didn’t even try to understand the pain you were going through after your dad and I separated.”

 Lissa curled her tongue over her upper lip. “I didn’t try very hard to understand how you were feeling, either. You were so upset about Grandma, but I just wanted to find a way to get you and Dad back together. Mom, I . . . ” She drew in a shaky breath, afraid to meet her mother’s eyes. “I have to tell you something.”

 “Lissa, you know you can tell me anything, don’t you?” Mom gulped suddenly, her lips flattened into an embarrassed frown. “Okay, maybe you don’t know that. I haven’t been very easy to talk to for quite a while now.” She led Lissa to the chair and ottoman, where they sat facing each other. She clasped Lissa’s hands. “But I’m listening now. What is it, sweetie?”

 Taking courage from her mother’s reassurance, Lissa inhaled deeply and poured out the same story she’d confessed to her father two days ago. Only when she finished did she lift her eyes to meet her mother’s stunned gaze. “Are you mad? Will you ever forgive me?”

 Long moments of silence passed while Lissa tried to read the myriad expressions flitting across her mother’s face. Everything she’d expected was there—shock, disbelief, con- fusion, regret. Then, finally, understanding.

 Mom squeezed her hand. “Remember what Grandma told me the day she got so sick?”

 Lissa spoke softly as the remembered terror of that afternoon ripped a wider hole in her heart. “She said it wasn’t your fault. She told you to forgive and learn to love.”

 “It’s taken me until this morning for those words to sink in. Grandma never once blamed me for not being there to help her the day she had her stroke. But I wouldn’t listen to the truth—about what happened to her, about what forgiveness means, about how much you and your dad needed me.” Her voice became breathy. “About how much I needed your dad and you. I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved, so I pulled away from everyone I cared about most.”

 Lissa sniffled. “I kind of feel that way, too, after what I did to you.”

 “Then it’s time we both learned that’s not what families are all about.” With misty eyes Mom glanced toward the nativity scene. “God gave his most precious gift to us by creating a special family. I’m sure it was so Jesus could learn firsthand about loving and forgiving.” Her eyes twinkled. “Even when we really, really goof up.”

 “I think I get it.” A pleasant warmth spread under Lissa’s heart. “Family should mean we don’t ever have to wonder if we’re good enough or if we’re forgiven. Our family loves us no matter what.” 

2. One verse I find very encouraging is taken from Philippians 1:6.  “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse reminds me that God is in perfect control. Whatever He calls me to do, whether in my writing or in any other aspect of my life, I can trust God to provide the resources I need and to bring about the results He desires.

 Thanks so much, Myra! BEAUTIFUL reminder of God’s work in us. His Call. His Talents. Our Peseverance.

Love it!

Springs of Inspiration with Mary Connealy

Okay – I have every book this woman has ever written…except her newest one. But I can assure you that as soon as I can find my purse (we moved to a new house this weekend. I can’t find anything), then I’m off to BUY it!!!

Mary Connealy is not only a wonderful and quite prolific author, she’s a fabulous encourager. Her ‘cowboy’ books wrangle in your emotions and keep you on the edge of your saddle from page one. With humor, adventure, and romance braided through the pages, and a smattering of faith to bind them all together, they’re such delighful reads.

So- What does Mary have to say about Inspiration?

 What is your favorite inspirational (i.e. salvation, repentence, forgiveness,) scene you’ve ever written from one of your published works?

My favorite moment in this category is, I think, an odd one. But maybe that’s just because I knew what was going on in my head when I wrote it.
In Calico Canyon, Grace is trapped in their cave/home by an avalanche with one of her troublemaking stepsons, John.
 
The air is running out. The fire is dying. They have no idea if the rest of the family survived the avalanche. Grace feels herself falling asleep.
And Grace realizes she’d been running for a long time. She’d allowed herself to become this frightened rabbit after spending most of her childhood facing danger constantly to protect her little sisters. She was bold. She took her little sisters’ punishment for them. She fought and kept thinking and learning. Then she needed to run to save her little sisters and somehow running was more than just jumping on a train, in her mind she started running, fearing everyone and everything.
And since she’s gotten married she’s doing the same thing.
There, in that dark cave, facing death, she pulls John onto her lap and says, “I was brave.”
 
Here are a few sentences of the scene:
She wrapped her arms tightly around John. “You just did something wonderful for me, John.”
He looked up at her. “You mean praying for you?”
That pulled Grace up short. No, she hadn’t meant that. But maybe, just maybe, praying was what it all came down to. She settled John firmly against her. “Praying for me was wonderful. Thank you. And you did something else for me, too.”
“What’s that?” John rubbed his head against her neck when he looked into her eyes.
She glanced at the dying fire and heard the dripping of the melting snow. She felt a pang of regret that she hadn’t been able to do more to save this precious little boy. She felt even worse to think that she would never have the pleasure of being his mother.
Her chin trembled but she held it steady. “You reminded me of who I am.”
“The teacher?”
Grace shook her head. “No, before I was a teacher.”
“You worked somewhere else?” John shifted his weight around as if getting comfortable for story time.
“Oh, yes. I worked very hard somewhere else. But I’m not talking about what I did. I’m talking about what I was.”
John shrugged and looked confused. “What were you?”
“I was brave.”
 
This moment is the changing moment in Grace’s story. She goes into that cave a frightened woman, a slave to her fears and unhappy about the marriage she’s been forced into.
She comes out restored. She’s regained her courage. If she doesn’t like her life (and she doesn’t) then look out because she is going to FIX IT.
This is almost a resurrection moment. Almost a salvation moment. Grace finds the courage to stop running and face her life bravely, shaking off the enslaving chains of fear and claiming true freedom by claiming God.
It’s a quiet moment but one I think of often.
(LOVE IT!)
 
2. When you’re in a writing slump (or frustrated in your writing journey in some way) what is one verse that encourages you?
The one that comes to mind right now is Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?
 
To me, in many ways, the whole Bible is almost summed up in this one sentence (I know it’s not…but there is so much in this one sentence). If we could just remember that God will be with us, even in death, we could face everything. Fear nothing. I think the whole world would change and our whole outlook would change if we could just feel the depth of God’s protection–the beauty of His salvation. It’s a part of His love, and key to remembering He’s always with us.
 
And I’m speaking as a woman who is a pretty major whimp.
 
Thanks so much for visiting today, Mary. And I’d say that we’re all wimps and need the strength of the Lord to get by!
 
Blessings, 
 

Springs of Inspiration with Ruth Logan Herne

I know you’ve heard me talk about her before (eye roll) It’s no secret that I’m a big-time Seekerville fan.

And you’ve heard how much I love this woman (and her novels), but I’m just going to say it again.

The main reason I love her is for her cookin…er…wisdom. Yeah, that’s right.

Ruth Logan Herne is my guest today on the Springs of Inspiration series and I affectionately refer to her as my ‘writing Mom’. My real mom doesn’t mind sharing at all, because she’s already quite aware that it takes more than one mom to try and keep me straight.

Anyway, Ruthy is one of the Fabulous Fifteen of Seekerville and a Love Inspired author. Prolific would be an understatement for her writing since 2010. She’s been on a high-speed roll with seven published novels and two more on the way. WOW!

So heeerrrreeee’s Ruthy!

Hmmm….

 Favorite inspirational scene:
From Winter’s End when Kayla’s left the North Country, thinking she’s following her dream, moving south to Virginia for a new job, less snow, less cold, less barren land only to discover that she left her heart up north, and that despite Marc’s flaws, he makes her feel whole. The Holy Spirit gives her a smack-upside the head, reminding her the choice is hers. And while she’s dealing with that, Marc has his own epiphany in the North Country and realizes that he really hadn’t tried to change at all, that his stubbornness and pride got smack-dab in the way. It takes an invite to a new church and snuggling a mop-topped baby for Marc to finally hear the words of goodness his soul craves. But he’s let a lot of time slip by… How will he ever be able to fix things now?
What keeps me out of a funk?  “Pull up your big girl panties and move on…” (Pepper here: That’s the ‘Mama’ part coming out 😉
Oh, wait, BIBLE verse….
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.”  Ecc. 3:1  KJV   🙂
This verse is my mantra. That and the Serenity Prayer. They’re my mainstays because I like simple. Simple works for me.
Thanks so much, Ruthy!

Springs of Inspiration with Melanie Dickerson

Are you a fan of fairytales?

What about fairytales with twists?

Author Melanie Dickerson is known for her beautiful novels that do just that – take a familiar, classic fairytale and place it within the framework of YA medieval! Woohoo! Good stuff.

Let’s hear what Melanie has to add to our Springs of Inspiration series:

1. What is your favorite inspirational (i.e. salvation, repentence, forgiveness,) scene you’ve ever written from one of your published works?
(The scene is attached. I hope it’s not too long.) In this scene from The Merchant’s Daughter, Lord le Wyse is talking with his servant, Annabel. She is upset and feeling guilty about something that wasn’t directly her fault. Lord le Wyse is trying to get her to apply the forgiveness she already knows about to her own life and thoughts. Then they begin to talk about pain and sorrow. I enjoyed this interaction between the two characters, as they have deepened their friendship over reading the Bible together.
CHECK OUT MELANIE’S SCENE 🙂

“Annabel, listen to me. It was not your fault. You struggled. You tried to scream. You did all you could. I heard you when I was on my walk, but I didn’t reach you in time. Stephen heard you too and he was closer. You have to stop torturing yourself.”

“But God must be angry with me. He intends to punish me.”

“No. Don’t you remember what we read a few days ago? ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Are you saying you don’t believe He will forgive you when he has plainly said He would?”

Peace washed over her. “You are right. I’m sorry.”

They sat looking at each other for a long time.

“The verse says, ‘If we confess our sins,’ so I must confess. I didn’t trust God as I should have.”

“And God forgives you.”

But does he forgive me for wanting you to hold me in your arms? For thinking about kissing you? Annabel shuddered at the thought of her lord finding out.

“What is it?”

“Nothing. I-I just wonder if God’s tired of hearing all my confessions lately.”

“I don’t think God gets tired of hearing you. I never could.”

The light was so dim she couldn’t read his expression, but his words made her heart flutter. As she watched the candle and firelight flicker over his face, she was struck with the thought that she knew little about him, about his family or past, except for the wolf attack and his wife’s unfaithfulness. “You said the abbess is your mother’s sister. Is your mother still alive?”

“She died seven years ago. My father died last spring. My brother and sister have been gone a few years as well. The worst may have been my sister—she died the same week as my wife and child.”

“I’m so sorry. That is grievous indeed.” He was all alone. “Were you married long?”

“Two years.” He blinked twice, as though he were erasing all emotion from his face and voice. “But there was no love between us—at least, not on her side. She never cared for me.”

Annabel swallowed. Her heart seemed to expand toward him, reaching out to him. He had endured so much pain. She longed to do or say something to comfort him.

“In truth, no one knows if the child born to her was mine or … his. Though I was determined to claim him for my own. After all, it wasn’t the child’s fault his mother was … as she was.”

“You speak of it as if it is no longer painful, but I know you must have suffered.” If ever anyone deserved a noble, loving wife, it was Lord le Wyse.

“Time,” he said, pausing and leaning back in his chair. He stared into the fire. “Time blunts the pain and creates a mist over one’s memory—at least in the case of death and sorrow. Other types of pain linger longer.”

No doubt he was thinking of his wife’s betrayal. How could anyone be so false? Annabel hated her with an intensity that took her breath away.

“Perhaps time is an inconsistent healer,” he said, “but God can purge even the most painful memories.”

What was Annabel’s most painful memory? Her father’s death? Bailiff Tom’s lifeless body in the forest? Nay, it was the terrifying moment when she realized the bailiff wanted her to marry him and was willing to resort to violence. Raw fear had shot through her stomach as he grabbed her and kissed her. Fearful thoughts dogged her steps from that moment to this.

But God had taken care of her. When the bailiff was near, a protector was always there as well. Usually it had been Lord le Wyse, and Stephen had appeared the final time.

Lord le Wyse’s questioning look brought her out of her reverie.

“Shall I read?” she asked.

“As you wish.”

She opened to the second epistle to Timothy. After reading a short passage, she came to the verse, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Forgive me for my fear, God. It did not come from You. I pray you will cast out this spirit of fear. And replace Lord le Wyse’s pain with a spirit of joy.

FABULOUS scene, Mel. Can’t you guys see why she’s winning awards? 🙂

2. When you’re in a writing slump (or frustrated in your writing journey in some way) what is one verse that encourages you?
I have several Bible verses taped to my old desktop monitor. When I get discouraged by criticism, I am encouraged by 2 Corinthians 12:10. “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When I can accept my own human frailty, the fact that I do sometimes get discouraged by criticism and bad reviews, then I can trust in God’s strength. It is His strength that gets me through the rough spots, not mine. And God’s strength is all that I need.
Great reminder, Melanie. What a beautiful thought about how Christ is our strength – how our stumbles and brokenness are a part of his great plan to develop His truth within us.
Whew…nice to know we’re not reliant on our own skills – but His.
Blessings,

Springs of Inspiration with Siri Mitchell

Anyone else ‘Spring Forward’ yesterday? 🙂

Hopefully most of us did…or at least have caught up with the ‘springing’ now.

To bring in the spring, I’m starting a month long series on Springs of Inspiration – spiritual change in fiction.

Siri Mitchell is my guest today. I just finished reading her newest novel, The Messenger, and as usual it was BEAUTIFUL! If you enjoyed her novel, Love’s Pursuit, you’ll get a similar flare with The Messenger yet set during the Revolutionary War. Two totally different main characters, of course – and I love them. Siri has an amazing way of getting into deep POV with her characters. I never imagined to find a hero in Jeremiah Jones -but WHAT a hero he becomes 🙂

So happy to have you with us today, Siri – and WHAT a blessing to have just been ‘inspired’ by your writing. Finished The Messenger, Saturday night.

1. What is your favorite inspirational (i.e. salvation, repentence, forgiveness,) scene you’ve ever written from one of your published works?

My favorite inspirational scene was in Love’s Pursuit at the very end of the book when my heroine finally came to an understanding of God’s grace. I cried buckets when I wrote that scene. I still cry whenever I think of that scene. (Thanks, Pepper! {sniff})

Sorry, Siri – if it’s any consolation, I cried when I read it.

 2. When you’re in a writing slump (or frustrated in your writing journey in some way) what is one verse that encourages you?

When I’m in a slump or frustrated, I always look at a card I keep in front of my computer screen:

 “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:11-12 (NIV) It’s very encouraging to me. I don’t have to match the novel I envision in my head. I don’t have to write the best book of all time. I just have to write the best book I can, using the skills that I have right now.

Great reminders, Siri. Thanks so much!!

God’s called us to write (or live) for His glory. He hasn’t called us to be anyone else than the person He’s made us to be. We look to Christ as our example, but we also are blessed with God-gifted abilities.

So we are called to use what he has given us.

Who we are.

Where we are.

Blessings,

Pepper

Springs of Inspiration Series

Well, I am certainly going to start this blog series, but I have to put it on hold for a week.

So…..

I wanted to give you an idea of the lineup starting NEXT week!

Monday – Siri Mitchell starts off the week

Wednesday – It’s all about fairytales with Melanie Dickerson

Friday – The week ends with the blast of Ruthy Logan Herne!

Stop by and be ‘inspired’ starting Monday, March 12th.