PLEASE VISIT JULIE’S NEW WEBSITE

Thanks for your interest in Julie’s writing. We’ve launched a new website at www.juliecantrell.com. We look forward to seeing you there!

Growth Spurt: Lots of Exciting Changes!

Hi Friends,

I’ve received quite a few emails/messages from readers struggling to find copies of Into the Free and When Mountains Move.jpcoverphoto

The good news is, my backlist is moving over to my new publisher. That means Harper Collins Christian now owns the rights to the first two novels that were published by David C Cook. That’s a good thing because now my work is all being produced by one house. Positive stuff.

The bad news is, unfortunately, there will be a lag time of a few months w9780781404259_3D (3)hile the new pub house gets their revised editions ready. Both books will be re-released in 2016 with new covers, etc.(YAY!) In the meantime, the titles may be hard to find. Even the eBook editions are “on hold.”

However, where there is a problem, there is always a solution. Readers still have several options.

For now, paperback copies are still available from booksellers who already had the books in stock. Square Books in Oxford, MS. has signed copies in store. I believe Cavalier House in Denham Springs, LA. still has them as well. Both stores can ship. (Other Independent bookstores may have them. Please check your local Indie location.)

Other than that, some used copies are available online. Also, some of the Barnes and Noble stores still have them in stock, especially in the South. Otherwise, I’m afraid y’all may have to wait until Spring/Summer 2016 when the new editions are scheduled to be released.  

God-is-with-me-through-the-dayAs for the children’s books, they are now out of print and, as far as I know, are completely unavailable unless you find some used copies online (which, wowza, I looked at the prices and geesh! SOMEbody is making money off these things!). I don’t even have any of those books! I do have several emails a week asking for these, and I hope Harper Collins Christian will re-release them as well. Time will tell. (Maybe y’all can start a grassroots campaign to bring them back in boardbook form with updated photos. Wouldn’t that be fun?!)

FeatherBone_CatalogMORE GOOD NEWS: The Feathered Bone will release January 2016. We’re about to launch a brand new website (any day now) and I’ll be sharing some more exciting news with that launch. Stay tuned!

Thanks SO VERY MUCH for your continued support and interest in my work. The bottom line is this: 2016 will be an exciting year!

Good News: When Mountains Move Wins 2014 Carol Award!

AmandaBostic_JulieCantrell_2014ACFWThis weekend, I traveled to St. Louis, Mo. to join nearly a thousand folks for the 2014 Carol Awards Gala.

When Mountains Move had been shortlisted as one of three finalists in the Historical Fiction category, alongside two extraordinarily talented authors: Liz Tolsma for Snow on the Tulips (a stunning WWII tale), and Diana Wallis Taylor for Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate (a fresh look at this historical icon).

I was stunned (to say the least) when Millie’s story was selected. The Carol Award was formerly known as “ACFW’s Book-of-the-Year Contest” before being renamed in honor of editor-extraordinaire, Carol Johnson.

What an honor it was to join so many talented authors who were being recognized for the LONG hours and HARD work they have put into building works of fiction.

Because I never expected to win (and because I’m a complete ditz and usually make a total fool of myself in public), I stuttered and stumbled my way through the acceptance speech, huffing and puffing in a flawed effort NOT to cry. My hands were shaking and I was trying to talk super-fast so I wouldn’t bore everyone in the room.

Needless to say, the entire event is a blur to me, but when I viewed the video — I realized I had failed to mention so many people who deserved recognition, including my sweet friend and brilliant critique partner Lisa Wingate, my devoted and dear publicist, Jeane Wynn, and my incredible tribe of author pals, especially the ones who blog with me daily at Southern Belle View.

If my head had not been spinning, I would also have thanked my faithful friends who have saved me this year, again and again, in ways too large to measure: Chris Greissinger, Kerri Greene, Gina Beltz, Ken and Teresa Murray, Larry Wells, Christa Allan, Carol Langendoen, and others (in no particular order).

Because I’ve had a few requests from folks who wanted to see the acceptance speech, I’ll post it here — for those who are curious, or who need a good laugh, or who simply want to make fun of me to break up the workday. (I’m game. It’s all in good fun.)

But before you begin, let’s add a little lagniappe to this “good news” report. (I’m a Louisiana girl after all and we always like to add a “little something extra.”)

I’m THRILLED to introduce y’all to my new editor, Amanda Bostic (see her celebrating with me in the photo above), who will be working with me to produce a third novel with Harper Collins Christian under the direction of publisher Daisy Hutton and her BRILLIANT team.

We are hoping the book will be released November 2015, and it will be a contemporary work of women’s fiction set in my home state of Louisiana. Please stay tuned for more information to follow in the months ahead, and thank you all for your tremendous support.

 

The Survivor’s Side of Suicide

Jeff2bSuicide is one ugly word. It’s the kind of word that swings heavy from lips. The kind that is whispered, and stilted, never sung.

As an author, I build my life around words. Every word has worth. Even those words we are not supposed to say.

But suicide is the one word I do not like. I wish there was no need for such a word in our world. Especially since 1997, when my teen brother ended his own life two months before his high school graduation.

It is one thing to be on the other side of suicide, where you may offer prayer or casseroles or even a hug. It is another thing entirely to be on the side of the survivor, after a loved one puts a gun to the head or a rope to the neck or a blade to the vein.

That dark depth of despair is no easy channel to navigate because unlike every other form of death, this one was intentional. This one could have been prevented. This one carries immeasurable sting.

The what-ifs and but whys and I wonders never cease. They haunt all hours, whether moonlit or shine.

And the stares don’t stop either, the constant conversation that hangs silently between friends — at the grocery store, or in the church pews, or at the birthday party. No one says it, but they are thinking… That poor mother, how does she stand it? Or – That poor child, knowing his father took his own life.

What people on that side of suicide don’t understand is that we, the survivors left in the wake, are barely keeping our heads above water. We don’t want pity, or sympathy, or stares. We don’t want whispers, or questions, or help. We want one thing only. We want our loved ones back.

And there’s one simple way you can give this to us.

Talk about the people we loved and lost. Don’t dance around us as if their ghost is in the way. Acknowledge the lives they lived. Recognize the light they once shined. Laugh about the fun you once had together.

There’s nothing you can tell us — no detail too small, no memory too harsh — that will hurt us. We crave it all. We are hungry for any piece of time travel you offer. Bring us back, to that space, when the one we loved was in the here and now.

Suicide is something most of us struggle to understand. It is difficult to rationalize the selfish part of such an act. How could someone not care about the pain they would throw on their loved ones? How could someone not be strong enough to stay alive?

But here’s the truth: suicide was not the cause of my brother’s death. Depression was the cause of his death. And depression is a beast unlike any other. It is an illness we still struggle to cure, despite all the therapeutic and pharmaceutical intervention available today.

Sometimes, even with all the help in the world, a person cannot see through the pain. They cannot imagine a better day ahead. They see only more hurt. And when I say hurt, I mean suffering. Blood-zapping, brain-numbing, soul-bursting agony.

Imagine this: you wake every day as a prisoner. You are trapped in a cell with no freedom in your future. You are tortured — physically, emotionally, psychologically. The anguish never stops. Just when you think you cannot survive another blow, it comes again. More pain.

You try to ignore the ache. You cannot. You try to numb the hurt. You cannot. You try to rise above the pain. You cannot. The brutality persists. And you see no end to it.

If you knew you had to endure only one more round of abuse, or one more month, or even a year, or longer — If there was an end in view, you could be strong enough to handle it. You could take whatever is thrown at you because you want, more than anything else, to live.

You are a sensitive soul and you have so much left in you to give. You want only to love and be loved. But the cell has you trapped. You have tried everything. There is no end to the insufferable situation.

A person with depression becomes suicidal when they finally give up all hope. When they accept that nothing they do, no matter how long they survive, no matter how many medications or prayers or therapists they turn to, the pain will never end.

Can you imagine the pain you would have to be in to take your own life? Can you imagine the fear of a suicidal person (regardless of faith), daring to face the unknown because even the possibility of eternal hellfire or permanent purgatory or absolute absence seems less scary than another day in this world?

When Robin Williams passed away, the world was abuzz weighing the controversial issues of mental illness, depression, and suicide.

While some people were unable to extend kindness or understanding, proving we have a long way to go in our culture’s recognition of chemical imbalances, the international conversation gave me hope. It proved that people are finally willing to say the word SUICIDE out loud, without the hushed whispers and back corner gossip.

Putting this word on equal footing with all the other words in our vernacular is important. It lessens the sting.

I consider this progress, and I am optimistic the forward momentum will continue.

It is time.

I write this blog today for several reasons:

  • One, I am proud to have been the sister to an amazingly bright spirit who left this world too soon and whose memory I want to keep alive.
  • Two, I want to increase understanding and support for the millions of people struggling with chemical imbalances.
  • Three, I want to offer support and empathy to all who have lost a loved one to suicide and encourage you to speak out loud to honor their spirit and to educate those on the other side.
  • Four, and most importantly, I have a very important message for anyone struggling with depression.

One week after my brother died, we received notice that he had landed the career opportunity he wanted with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. That job may have been enough to offer him the key to that cell, the something to cling to, the reason for reason. Maybe, if he could have stuck it out one more week, he would still be alive today. Seven days, and he may have had hope again.

Today, when I see someone struggling for hope, looking for a signal, a reason, proof that their life matters and that the pain will indeed end, I think of my brother and that phone call that came one week too late.

If you are struggling with depression, please remember... you are in this world for a reason. You have a very important journey you must complete. You were born to accomplish something, something only you know. You will suffer, you will hurt, you will feel hopeless and alone at times. But you are not in that space forever. Keep walking, keep moving forward, and you will find your way through in time.

When you hit bottom, please remember this: You are loved. You are never alone. You were born with everything you need to survive this journey. You matter.

And once you are on the other side, as you will soon be, then, you will look back with wiser eyes, the eyes of a survivor. You will know your soul survived the stretching season. And you will move through the world with greater empathy and understanding, a gift like none other. For you, sensitive one, are the blessed. And we need you here. In this life.

Be brave. Wage war. Hold fast to the light inside of you.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

This post will be shared across multiple platforms for National Suicide Prevention Week. Learn more about suicide prevention by visiting: http://www.suicidology.org/

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Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Into the Free and When Mountains Move. She works to promote suicide awareness and prevention in memory of her brother, Jeff Perkins. Learn more: www.juliecantrell.com

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

9780781404259_3D (3)April is BOTH National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In hopes of drawing attention to these important issues, David C. Cook is offering WHEN MOUNTAINS MOVE for FREE across ALL E-Book Platforms through April. 16.

Please click to DOWNLOAD your free copy of this novel today, and please share with others who may find hope and healing in this inspirational story.

Also, be sure to check out my latest newsletter to discover important statistics, resources, and updates.

Thanks for your continued commitment to making this world the best it can be.

Peace and love to all — and Happy Reading!

julie

What Kind of Person are You?

heartSometimes, readers ask me why I choose to write about dark topics such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, addiction, betrayal, and hypocrisy.

My answer is simple. I don’t know anyone, no matter how much they pretend it to be so, who hasn’t been touched by struggle in some significant way.

So my goal as an author is to explore these human journeys and to remind each reader that we are never alone in our suffering.

I also hope to show readers that recovery is possible, and that faith is the key to healing.

forgiveI’ve been thinking a lot lately about life, love, and the redemptive power of forgiveness. I realize, as Millie points out in Into the Free, that Forgiveness is a heavy word. To forgive someone is never easy, especially when we seem to have been hurt beyond repair. And let’s be honest…who hasn’t?

I know too many people who have been violently attacked, verbally abused, emotionally destroyed, or sexually victimized. I know soldiers who have sacrificed limb (and sometimes life), left their families, entered the battlefield, and returned with wounded body, mind, and spirit.

I also know parents who have lost their children to addiction, wives who have been betrayed by their adulterous husbands, men who have sold their souls to the fantasy of porn, and children whose parents have hurt them in ways too horrific for our imaginations.

Best friends and coworkers betray one another, fractured families carve deep ravines between loved ones, and the race for wealth, fame, or power lead many well-intentioned individuals to corrupt and selfish paths.

But despite all the hurt in this world, here’s what I believe.

  • Honest people trust others.
  • Joyful people love others.
  • Secure people see only the good in others.
  • Selfless people take great risks in order to help others.
  • Genuine people never turn their back on others.
  • Grateful people do not envy others.
  • Kind people do not intentionally hurt others.
  • Humble people celebrate the success of others.

What kind of person are you? Take away all the hurts and scars and protective barriers and now tell me, what kind of person are you REALLY?

Today, I challenge you to trace back through your life and find the true you. The YOU you were born to be before anyone hurt you. I am willing to bet you are honest, joyful, secure, selfless, genuine, grateful, kind, and humble.

Remember, you were born for a reason. Your life is for a purpose and no one has the power to strip you of your destiny.

Today, I am thinking of each of you. I pray you find the strength and the courage to stay the course. I pray you will never lose yourself because of other people’s destructive choices. And I pray that you will always keep in mind this one simple lesson: Love wins.

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If you haven’t yet read Into the Free and When Mountains Move, please check your local library or Indie store for copies near you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Be sure to join us for daily discussions on the Southern Belle View porch, where I blog with the fabulous bestselling author Amy Hill Hearth on Wednesdays.

There, Amy and I gather with 8 other Southern Inspirational authors for lively chats. We offer special giveaways and engage with our readers, so come join the fun!

Powerhouse Team of Southern Authors on the Porch!

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HIGHLY POPULAR SOUTHERN BLOG WELCOMES POWERHOUSE TEAM OF AUTHORS TO THEIR PORCH

OXFORD, MS. – The Southern Belle View (SBV) writers are pleased to announce the addition of five new novelists to their already popular blog line-up. This expansion allows readers to follow daily posts from 10 leading inspirational authors.

The team, which seeks to give their online gatherings the chatty, down-home feel of a Southern porch, now includes novelists Julie Cantrell, Eva Marie Everson, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Rachel Hauck, Amy Hill Hearth, Denise Hildreth Jones, Jolina Petersheim, Nicole Seitz, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and Lisa Wingate, writers who have garnered nearly 60 literary honors and awards.

Together, this group of female authors has published more than 50 novels and 23 works of nonfiction, as well as three children’s books, a Broadway play, and a feature film. Their works have been translated into multiple languages and include numerous national and international bestselling titles.

“We have created a place online to discuss family, faith, fiction, and all things southern,” Julie Cantrell said. “It’s become a space for us to share our lives and examine the challenges we all face, especially as women. We particularly enjoy interacting with our readers and discussing the quirks of Southern life.” Cantrell’s bestselling novel, “Into the Free,” won the Christy Award for Book of the Year and the Mississippi Library Association Fiction Award. The sequel, “When Mountains Move,” was recently released.

Amy Hill Hearth will now be blogging opposite Cantrell on Wednesdays. This Peabody-award winning author penned “Having Our Say” which spent 113 weeks on the New York Times list and was produced as both a play and a feature film. After a successful career in nonfiction, Hearth released her debut novel, “Miss Dreamsville,” to rave reviews.

“We are a sisterhood of writers, who are also mothers, grandmothers, daughters, businesswomen, teachers, and neighbors, each with her own unique voice and her own unique Southern experience. Southern Belle View gives us the opportunity to welcome our readers to a central place and join us on our journey,” Hearth said.

Bestselling and award-winning author, Lisa Wingate, who has just published her 21st novel, “Wildwood Creek,” explained the overall goal of SBV. “In a world where we seem to have gotten away from chatting over the fence with our neighbors, we’ve built a front porch for our greater neighborhood, so to speak. Even though it’s online, it has an old-fashioned, Southern vibe, where women of all ages kick off our shoes, sip sweet tea, laugh, cry, and support each other through it all.”

Join these ten acclaimed authors at www.southernbelleviewdaily.com where they engage in open dialogue with readers and frequently offer prize giveaways.

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