Character Spotlight Cassidy McClare & Jamie MacKenna from Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman with Giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Please join me in welcoming Julie Lessman to my blog! She is my absolute favorite, and I am thrilled to have her here!

 Spotlighting Cassidy McClare

Describe Cassidy McClare. 
Cassie is a sweet and sassy Texas oil heiress whose daddy’s wells have run dry, leaving her high and dry when her “pretty boy” fianc√© dumps her. But that tough Texas veneer of hers hides a vulnerable and tender heart inside this quirky but lovable cowgirl who’s as natural and down to earth as cow patties in a field of Texas wildflowers.

Here’s a clip from the book where we see this lasso-loving heroine through the eyes of our handsome hero Jamie MacKenna:

At twenty-five and newly graduated from Stanford Law, he was used to a warmer reception from women—a lot warmer, as a matter of fact—and although the petite blond was pretty in a cute and clumsy kind of way, she certainly didn’t compare to some of the women who vied for his attention. A slow exhale breezed over his lips. Although never had he seen more unusual eyes—the color of his favorite green agate marble as a boy—like pale green jade, hypnotic, mesmerizing, fringed with honeyed lashes as thick as her Texas drawl.

Does she have a passion for something?

You mean besides hogtying pretty boys and sending them packing?? Yes! Cassie has a passion for the underdog, those people who have been ostracized and ridiculed by others. Because of her commitment to teach on the local Indian reservation and her close friendship with two young women who are Indians, Cassie is shunned by the prissy debutantes and their upper-crust mothers, never quite fitting into the high society of Humble, Texas. Which is why her Aunt Cait’s Hand of Hope School for disadvantaged young women in the Barbary Coast is so appealing to her, to once again be a teacher there who can reach out to the underdog.

Is there something that gets on her nerves?

HA! The hero Jamie MacKenna, BIG TIME!! Not only does he remind her of the “pretty boy” who just jilted her back in Texas, but she sees him as nothing more than a “yellow-bellied snake of a womanizer” after he steals a kiss.

Does she have a quirk?

Well, she’s rather fond of electric cattle prods—especially when Jamie gives her problems, but she also packs her lasso in her suitcase wherever she goes, along with her boots and spurs. More cowgirl than wealthy oil heiress over the years, Cassie was the type of little girl who slept with her lasso rather than a bear.

What drew you to make her a pool shark and a cowgirl?

Well, I wanted a quirky heroine, someone who was down-home and natural beneath the Gibson Girl hairstyle and stylish clothes that mama forces her to wear when she visits her wealthy and proper San Francisco cousins. Cassie’s basically a tomboy, the only child of a formerly prosperous Texas oilman and rancher, so her daddy teaching her to be proficient at the three “p’s,”—poker, pinochle and pool—gave her the quirky edge I needed when she trounces Jamie at all three. I chose pool as the main pursuit for several scenes because it was a sport that requires skill and movement, which made the scene more fun and lively than a simple card game.

Did you have someone in mind as you wrote her? If so, who?

I really didn’t have anyone particular in mind when I wrote Cassie’s personality, although I did send Revell a picture of a blonde Rachel McAdams, which is how I pictured her to look.

 Back Cover Blurb:
Fooled by a pretty boy once, shame on him.
Fooled by a pretty boy twice, shame on me.
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassady McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?
Here is the book trailer: 
Spotlighting Jamie MacKenna


Mmmm … how ‘bout I describe him through Cassie’s eyes when he “bowls” her over at the train station in their first meeting?

“Are you okay?” Nudging the boater up, he held out a blunt hand attached to a muscled arm that strained beneath a crisp, white pinstripe shirt, its casually rolled sleeves in stark contrast to a meticulous four-in-hand tie and a high starched collar. He could have walked off the pages of Men’s Wear Magazine, easily six foot one with a boyish smile that lent a roguish air Cassie recognized all too well. A thick curl of dark brown hair that was almost black toppled over his forehead, obviously a stray from the slicked-back style of the day. Hazel eyes the color of coffee with cream assessed her with a crimp of concern wedged between thick, dark brows, reminding her so much of Mark, she cringed.
Make that cold, bitter coffee.
Hand still extended, he eased into a smile that at one time would have generated as much heat as the platform beneath her body, a gleam of white in a chiseled face that sported a California tan. “I beg your pardon, miss, but I never even saw you.” A sparkle warmed his gaze as it slowly trailed down the upturned brim of her hat, past renegade curls from her upswept hair to her white silk shirtwaist, hesitating long enough to prompt a blush in her cheeks. “Which is pretty hard to believe,” he mumbled, almost to himself. His bold look continued to roam her gored navy skirt only to halt with several blinks at the peek of her forbidden cowboy boots—the ones she’d put on after Mama and Daddy left the station. A grin inched across his face as his eyes slowly trailed back up as naturally as his dimples deepened with the lift of his smile. Heat suffused her cheeks, as much from the obscene number of petticoats Mother had insisted she wear as the Romeo’s frank perusal. Flattery will get you nowhere, mister. Her lips took a slant. Though it’d certainly gotten Mark’s ring on her finger. She issued a silent grunt. A history lesson unto itself, she thought, the smell of horse manure from buggies lining the terminal oddly comforting.
And appropriate.

Does he have a passion for something?

Ah, yes—as a street rat who grew up in a brothel on the Barbary Coast, Jamie’s passion is to afford a surgery for his crippled sister whose infirmity he blames on himself, and to see both is mother and sister living in the lap of luxury on Nob Hill.

Is there something that annoys him?

Actually Jamie is pretty easy-going, but he does get miffed when anyone mistreats the prostitutes who used to be his neighbors or the young street urchins who roam the streets of the Coast. He also gets rather ticked at Cassie mid-book when she agrees to consider courting him only if he goes to church twice a week, reads Pilgrim’s Progress with her, and keeps his hands to himself. :)

Does he have a quirk?

Not a “quirk,” per se, but a definite mindset about marrying well, taking great pains to pursue only wealthy young women with political connections so he can afford an operation for his sister. The illegitimate son of a 15-year-old girl who worked in a dance hall to avoid starving, Jamie is also determined to become a senator so he can legislate productive change in the Barbary Coast, making sure young women aren’t trapped in the same vicious lifestyle as his mother had been.

Did you have someone in mind as you wrote him? If so, who?

Oh, yes! I pictured Jamie and his personality a lot like this picture of Matt Bomer (from White Collar TV show). Gorgeous, mischievously handsome, and the type of man who sets a girl’s pulse a-pumping at first sight.


Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was ACFW’s 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, #1 Historical Fiction Author, #3 Author, #4 Novel, #3 Series, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and recipient of 14 RWA awards. Contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at


Thanks SO much, Andie, for this wonderful opportunity! I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at

Also, I am running a HUGE contest on my Journal Jots blog right now where entrants can win a Kindle, have a character named after them in my next book, win a signed copy of that book, and five top, brand-new CBA books from library.” Here’s the link:

Readers can also check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

And just as an FYI for your readers:

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS/SALES GOING ON RIGHT NOW: For those interested in reading my books, I have a number of fun things going on, so I hope they’ll take advantage of these opportunities:

SALE!! My Irish love story, A Light in the Window is almost half price at $3.99 at Amazon and B&N.

FREE DOWNLOAD!! A Hope Undaunted, book 1 in Julie's "Winds of Change" series is currently available for FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon, B&N or CBD.

5 GIVEAWAYS ON GOODREADS: “Sweet Thunderation," my publisher Revell is giving away five free copies of my upcoming release, Love at Any Cost, book 1 in my brand-new “Heart of San Francisco” series. All you have to do is click on the Goodreads link below and enter—it’s that’s easy! Good luck and here’s to a win!

Julie is being gracious and will giveaway a copy of Love At Any Cost to one of my readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


56 Responses to “Character Spotlight Cassidy McClare & Jamie MacKenna from Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman with Giveaway”
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Oh, Julie! You are making me REALLY want to read this new book of yours!!! That guy is ADORABLE. And so is the girl! Seriously, the book sounds AMAZING! And you are amazing. You are a hard-working, serious writer, Julie. Don't ever stop!!!

Fun, Andi & Julie :)

I would love to win this book for my church library.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

Really looking forward to reading this book!


Great post! I loved reading more about the characters :).

btw, I thought I would tell you that I couldn't see the side of your post--it cut off some words....

Hey, MEL, he's pretty hot, isn't he?? Gosh, I am SUCH a juvenile delinquent in a geriatric body!!! Guess some of us never grow up ... ;)

Thanks for coming by and YES, that's EXACTLY what I hope Matt Bomer would do for this book -- sell the heck out of it like Collin McGuire did for A Passion Most Pure. Nothing like a hottie to turn a girl's head ... ESPECIALLY Jamie MacKenna with Cassie McClare!!

Can you say "sparks"?? And ALL from a cattle prod ... ;)


Hey, REL ... SO fun to see you here, my friend!! You and Andie are the ONLY bloggers I know who do character spotlights, and they are SO fun, aren't they???

I saw from one of your tweets that you just received LAAC in the mail, so HAPPY READING!!

PLEASE keep in mind that it's a huge departure from the O'Connors in that it's shorter, lighter, funnier, less complicated and less passionate -- both romantically and spiritually. I did this on purpose to appease my hubby who wanted me to write more for the market, so this is my attempt. Be gentle!! :|


JANET!!! Hey, girl, I sure am hoping you will win because libraries are some of my favorite places to be!! I have a number of giveaways going on out there so PLEASE check out my JOURNAL JOTS BLOG to make sure you've hit them all, okay? Here's the link and GOOD LUCK!!



Oh, PATTY, trust me, girl -- I'm really looking forward to you reading this book, too, so you go, girl!! And like I told Janet above, PLEASE check out my Journal Jots blog for other giveaways so you don't miss any, okay?

Here's the link and GOOD LUCK!!



LOL, CALLIE ... okay, fess up, girlfriend!! Yes, I'm sure you enjoyed getting a sneak peek at both Jamie and Cassie's personalities, but it was the picture of Jamie that REALLLLY got your attention, right?? And rightfully so ... that Matt Bomer is one adorable hunk!! :)

Good luck, sweetie, and hugs,

This book is so good!!!! Cassie is just too fun. I tell you having a husband who is a cowboy I have decided that I need a cattle prod for just poking him in fun! :)
Julie has out done herself again!

Oh this book looks so good! And a hero that reminds you of Matt Bomer?! I need to read this book! Thank you so much for the chance to win!
GFC: Gatorade

I'm halfway through with another of her books right now - I hate putting it down till my work is done!


That is what is so HARD about Julie's books, is putting them down. I was falling asleep on my Kindle last night. I do feel like I need to be reading this one with my cowboy boots on. :)

a great posting...looking forward to reading Julie's latest novel ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

LOL, ANDIE ... you don't want a cattle prod with THAT sweetheart of yours, girlfriend ... he's TOO darn cute and sweet!!;)

Glad you're enjoying LAAC!


LOL, ABBI ... I know!! One look at Matt Bomer, and who wouldn't read this, right??? He is sooooo Jamie with that look!!

Good luck in the contest, my friend!!


MELODY ... which one??? ALITW or ALS??? Or are you behind and reading AHR??

Whatever it is, I'm praying it captivates you to the end!!

If you like it, I hope you consider entering my newsletter contest!! If you don't like it ... uh, never mind ... ;)


LOL, ANDIE ... I imagine your hunky cowboy would have something to say about that ... ;)


KAREN ... GOOD LUCK, girl, you are just about due to win a book, aren't you??

Jackie Smith just won one last week, so it's your turn ... :)


I'm getting really excited about reading this book; it would be fantastic to win a copy of Love at Any Cost. I've read all of Julie's other books and liked them very much.
Thanks for the chance to win this one.


I would love a chance to win this book! You are one of my favorite authors!

PAM!!! Like I told Karen above, Jackie Smith just won this book last week, and you and Karen and Jackie are the most faithful commenters I have, so you are due, girlfriend!!

Good luck!!


WOW, LISA, thank you SO very much!! And I would LOVE to send you a signed book, so here's to a win!!


Love this cover and the book sounds sooo good!


I blogged this contest on my blog:


I can't wait to read this new one by Julie!! Super excited!


WENDY, Thank you -- I love the cover, too, but then Revell does a great job with all their covers! Thanks for blogging about this contest -- MUCH appreciated and hope it nets you a win!!



Hey, MARISSA, you already KNOW that I can't wait for you to read it either!! Since it's such a different style for me, I'm especially anxious to see what good reader friends like you think about it, so be sure to let me know, okay?



I can't wait to read this book! I am glad the characters are so good-looking! ;)
Thank you for this giveaway!
Dymesich at Juno dot com

This book is on my wish list. I would love to win a copy.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

LOL, LEAH ... I'm glad the characters are so good-looking, too!! Trust me, with Matt Bomer in mind, it sure made it easy writing Jamie ... ;)

GOOD LUCK, sweetie!!


Hey, KAY, I would "love" for you to win a copy, too, so here's hoping this blog will pull out a win for you, okay? But if not here, I do have other giveaways going on, so be sure to check my website calendar.

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!


HI Julie,

Here I am joining to try to get a book of yours to read.. I so enjoy your writing and look forward seeing who wins this one. The Lord bless you and keep you.
Linda Finn

LINDA!!! Sooooo nice to see you again, my friend, and I appreciate you coming by because blog giveaways, believe it or not, are a GREAT way to get a free signed book. I win at least two or three a year myself this way, and I really don't post comments on blog giveaways all that often. Plus, I have AT LEAST six reader friends who have won books from me four or five times each, so the odds are really pretty good. Here's hoping they are good to you soon!!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!!


I am so excited Julie has a new series to look forward to losing myself in... please add me, I'd love to win!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

MERRY!!! And I'm excited that YOU'RE excited, my friend!! I hope you like the McClares as much as I do. Keep in mind this series is a big departure from my first two with the O'Connors -- shorter, lighter, funnier and less passionate, both spiritually and romantically. My hubby wanted me to write more for the market, so this my attempt. I would LOVE to know your opinion when you read it, okay?



Thanks for the giveaway! I really appreciate it:) Can't wait to read this book.

Oh, SALYNA ... can't wait for you to read it, either, my friend, so here's to a win!!


Oh Julie, I so want to win this book. Only have one chance tho, because the 4 other chances won't open without The top two both being open and I don't Twitter, which is the 2nd one. :( But maybe that 1 will be enough. I want all of your books. I don't get to buy many books, but ordered "Hope Undaunted" and should be here tomorrow. That makes 2. I love the trailer of yours so much. Best I've seen. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Hey, MAXIE, I am going to have another chance this Friday on my Journal Jots blog, so between that one, the Rafflecopter contest on JJ going on right now, this giveaway and my newsletter giveaway (even one review posted enters you to have a character named after you in my next book and a signed copy of that book) PLUS the several upcoming giveaways on my website calendar, there are still plenty of chances coming, my friend, so don't give it!!

PLUS ... ta da ... I have it on good authority that the e-book for A Passion Most Pure will be available for free download VERY SOON, so keep your eyes peeled on my Journal Jots blog every Friday for any updates and future giveaways, okay?



They sound like such fun characters! I can't wait to read it.


Hey, HOLLY ... I have to admit, I think the McClares are definitely quirkier than the O'Connors, which automatically makes them a little more fun, I think, so I hopefully you will think so too!!

GOOD LUCK in the contest!!


Hi Everyone!!! I am so glad you stopped by for this! This has been so much fun!!! Just a reminder if you have entered the contest to win Julie's new book Love At Any Cost but are not following my blog I will delete your entry. Those were the rules, and it is not fair to the other followers.
Thanks and Good Luck!

Thanks for a chance to win.

I had to laugh out loud, when I read these lines: "...the smell of horse manure from buggies lining the terminal oddly comforting.
And appropriate." I really am looking forward to reading this book and series!
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Really want to become acquainted with Julie's writing - hope I win her book!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Hey, DEANNA ... good to see you here, my friend -- here's to a win!!


LOL, KAY ... if you liked that, then you are going to LOVE Cassie McClare, my friend because she's a Texas cowgirl that calls 'em like she sees 'em and can spot "bull" a mile away!! ;)

Good luck!!



I just saw where you signed up for my newsletter, my friend -- THANK YOU!! You should have it in your inbox now. :)

And if you would like to get familiar with my writing, I would STRONGLY recommend you check out an excerpt or two from my EXCERPTS tab on my website because I have posted my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books there. That will give you a very good idea of my style of "passion with a purpose" writing and whether you are going to like it or not. If you only have time for one except, I recommend scrolling down to the romantic scene for A Hope Undaunted -- it's my fave!! :)

Here's the link and good luck!!


As another church librarian, I'm always on the lookout for new books to add! This looks like a great one! I think I've read all your others and LOVE THEM!


You have NO IDEA how happy that makes me, my friend -- I have been lambasted by more church librarians than you can imagine, and some of my best 1-star reviews have come from church librarians, so THANK YOU for redeeming church librarians in my eyes!! ;)

Seriously, Cyndi, thank you for coming by and for your kind comment -- made my day!!


I love the characters that were's always fun to imagine a celebrity that reminds you of them...thanks so much for the chance to read...this looks like a great book.

Hey, ELIZA, thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!


THE WINNER IS #84 TARAH SCOTT!!!! Thanks so much everyone for entering and coming by to chat. This was a lot of fun!

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