Once Upon a Time… There were fairy tales. And from those fairy tales came MORE fairy tales because fairy tales have an amazing way of bringing truth to light in the most subtle of ways.… More
In a world where image is ‘everything,’ it’s easy to play the comparison game and come up wanting.
I’ve struggled with body image issues most of my life and the constant media presence of ‘the perfect’ body doesn’t help.
And focusing on image isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it can be remarkably freeing – if we have the proper frame of reference.
In Psalm 8, David (the psalmist) asks God, “What is man, that you are mindful of him; the son of man that you care for him?”
From the earliest pages of the Bible, we learn that humans are image bearers of God. In Psalm 8, two crucial ingredients add even more poignancy to the idea that we’re made in God’s image. Did you catch them?
What is man that:
- You are mindful of him
- You care for him
We are not only made in his image, but we are on his mind…and his heart. We take up space in the mind and heart of GOD!
Should this knowledge make a difference in the way we view ourselves and our fellow journeyers on the road of life?
If God has made us in his image, and if he thinks about us and cares for us, it shifts the balance of how we should view ourselves. We are wholly loved. Focusing on his definition of who we are, instead of playing the comparison game with one another, gives a strength, confidence, and compassion we can’t get otherwise.
Knowing we are fully loved – so much that we are on God’s mind and heart – should not only make a difference in how we face our own insecurities and heartaches but also how we treat other image bearers.
Compassion, kindness, and mercy should be our guides. Why? Because God himself put on flesh in the form of Jesus and had his image marred by abuse, nails, thorns, and our sin, to rescue the other image bearers of the world. His kids.
How does knowing you are on God’s mind and heart change the way you view yourself? The way you face your day?
Maybe take an opportunity to read Psalm 8 today to remind you of God’s love, presence, and view of you in the span of creation. It’s an encouraging read!
I don’t know about other authors, but I have favorite couples in my books.
FAVORITES! (plural…so maybe that’s not quite as amazing as only ONE favorite)
And I LOVE rereading certain elements of my stories, especially when it comes to a few characters that make the top of my list.
So I was disappointed in myself when I allowed one of my FAVORITE couples to get forgotten beneath the crazy of a new book release.
Seriously! What kind of ‘mama’ author am I? Forgetting my children like that!
Today, we are celebrating one of my favorite couples: David and Catherine from The Thorn Keeper.
The Thorn Keeper came out on Feb 6, 2016, and was the first time I wrote a bad-girl-turned-good. Something about Catherine Dougall has held my heart ever since.
The “story” behind Catherine’s story is one of my favorites. You see, she was never meant to turn good. I hadn’t planned on redeeming her. She was going to go the way of the villainesses of the world and suffer the consequences of her actions in the most lost of ways.
But then…my heart wouldn’t let me do that.
I had finished writing book 1, with Catherine losing everything, and a still small voice in my heart ushered a statement that changed the course of Catherine’s fictional future.
I want her.
As the request solidified in my creativity, Catherine’s story of redemption began to unfold and it has ALWAYS held a very special place for me because it reminds me of what Christ has done for me.
He wanted me.
So he called me by name and made me his – despite all of my mistakes, blunder, blindness, and sin.
I wasn’t a lost cause.
And Catherine became an example of that change.
She’s still uniquely Catherine, but…she’s a redeemed Catherine and it was a delight to watch her step from the woman she’d been to the one God had created her to be.
Add the charming, unassuming, introverted, and tenderhearted Dr. David Ross – and the sweetness, romance, and adventure takes on a shinier hue.
Their story makes me smile and it’s one I LOVE to reread.
Yes, I reread my own stories sometimes. Or at least certain scenes.
Is there a particular bad-guy/girl-turned good that you’ve read and really fell in love with?
Giveaway open 2/25/19 – 3/3/19 11:59pm EST. To enter, comment on this blog post. Open internationally. Void where prohibited. One (1) winner will receive an eBook copy of The Thorn Keeper, provided by Pepper Basham.
Once Upon a Time…
It was RELEASE DAY for the fairytale-ish collection Finding Ever After.
It ALSO happened to be Valentine’s Day 😉 Nice combo, if you ask me.
YES! Today’s the day that readers get to step into four different stories all bound together by a fairytale book. It has been such an honor and delight to get to work together with three friends and authors to develop this collection for you all and I’m SO PLEASED you get the chance to enjoy the ‘magic’ of romance through these stories.
You can learn more about the series HERE
Today, I’m going to give you a little tour into the real places you’ll glimpse in my novella, Between Stairs and Stardust. It’s such fun to introduce you to James and Stella, an unlikely pair with kindred hearts.
Between Stairs and Stardust takes place in Asheville, NC – mostly at the grand Biltmore estate or in my fictional estate of Cravewood. Because I am a devoted admirer of Biltmore, I loved including it into this sweet story AND because it’s a REAL place, I can show you a few of the places Stella and/or James visit.
First, is the meeting place: The lagoon (pond) at Biltmore. Here’s a little video so you can see 😊 (taken a few days ago 😉)
There’s also the walled-garden. Here you can see the conservatory on one side of the walled garden and just near it is the gardener’s cottage – both part of a rather lovely (and snowy) scene.
Also as part of that scene is the tea house with a view of the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Mr. Vanderbilt owned land all the way from the house to those mountains. The tea house is situated on the far side of a long terrace outside the house’s library. Here’s a video of that too. (the wind gets crazy, so bear with me).
There are so many wonderful places to see and explore at Biltmore and because of all the fun research I’ve gotten to do there, I’ve LOVED creating my own two fictional estates. Cravenwood, which you learn about in Between Stairs and Stardust, but also an upcoming estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains known as Glastor Estate.
Here are a few more views to enjoy!
I hope you’ll take the time to check out this wonderful collection – 4 stories for only $4.99!!!
AND, if you want to check out my writing style before you commit, my novella, Second Impressions is on sale for only .99 from Feb 15-16! It’s a great opportunity to take a trip to Bath, England where romance brews between a straight-and-narrow hotel owner and a color-outside-the-lines Austenite. Homicidal bonnets may come into play.
So…if you could have one thing from a fairytale you’ve read or watched, what would you want?
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and you know what that means?
Chocolate? Candy? Kisses?
Well….um…maybe, but it also means the release of Finding Ever After, a compilation of four novellas that come with a fairytale-ish twist.
Want to learn more?? Here’s a little about the collection…
Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairy tales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.
Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the-box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.
Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.
Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family’s pecan farm… and the ex-fiance she left behind.
Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world’s best apple tarts.
To celebrate the fun and whimsy, I’m giving away paperback copies of my two contemporary novellas, Second Impression and Jane by the Book. Both stories take place in Bath, England, involving a little bit of Jane Austen-ish fun, and have ROMANCE…of course. And corgis. And homicidal bonnets.
My favorite movie-fairytale is Tangled. I absolutely LOVE the dynamic between Rapunzel and Flynn. Oh man, SUCH fun! I’m not sure what my favorite ‘book’ fairytale is…the Snow Queen is interesting.
To enter, leave your answer to this question – What is one of your favorite fairytales?
And don’t worry, if you’re not the winner, you can still get the novella, Second Impressions, in e-book form for only $.99 on Feb 15 & 16th on Amazon!
Submit your answer through the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win and happy reading!!
Move over Mr. Rochester, let me introduce you to a kinder, swoonier man of the manor!
About the Book
From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.
Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.
An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.
Abigail Wilson is giving off all of the Jane Eyre vibes in her debut novel, In the Shadow of Croft Towers. Told in first person, the story is a fun journey into a mysterious manor house that holds a wealth of secrets and a large cast of characters who leave you wondering just who to trust. Told from the perspective of the naïve, yet plucky, Sybil Delafield, this adventure into the shadowy unknown of Croft Towers and its mysterious mistress drips with wonderful regency delights and fun discoveries.
Wilson creates a wonderful sense of place in Croft Towers, drawing the reader further into the mysteries and…let’s just talk about Curtis Sinclair a moment. He STEALS the show. Easily my favorite character in this book, his complex personality is a wonderful pairing for the more innocent and uncertain Sybil. Unlike Mr. Rochester, who is sometimes brutish and definitely manipulative, Mr. Sinclair carries a noble air about him, even in his occasional broodishness and somewhat unpredictable life – and his subtle sense of humor brings levity and likeability to his intense personality. Clearly, I like him.
From highwaymen to ghosts to espionage, this story is filled with chapter after chapter of twists and turns that will delight the Regency-loving reader’s heart. A solid and delightful debut.
About the Author
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.
Evidently, I’m sending out all the Christy-vibes. Several readers have shared how my newest release, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, reminds them of Catherine Marshall’s classic, Christy. Well, besides being a wonderful compliment, it’s also not surprising. Since Catherine Marshall wrote Christy based on her grandmother’s adventures as a school teacher in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the early 1900s, it would make sense that my story in the Blue Ridge would have some similar themes. And I’m SO glad. I think all I’m missing is a lovingly disgruntled Scotsman!
While doing the research for my book (which has a lot of family history sprinkled in – like Christy) I decided to visit the real world of Cutter Gap. It’s definitely NOT like you see it on the T.V. series that came out over 10 years ago (love the t.v series, btw). Here’s a little snapshot into what’s left of the ‘real’ Cutter Gap. The church is the original church that Catherine’s grandmother Lenora (aka Christy) taught in, though it’s been moved to a different location a few miles from the “Christy Mission”. Why? Because trying to get back into the place where Lenora really lived and worked was TOUGH. Narrow and steep mountain road that required a solid vehicle to climb. It gave me a real sense of the remoteness that Catherine Marshall describes so well in her book. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into Christy’s world…and Laurel’s.
There are books that describe places and then there are books that TAKE you to places.
About the Book
Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.
Laura Frantz’s prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America. (From the author website)
In Laura Frantz’s newest novel, A Bound Heart, the reader is drawn into the world of Kerrara by the exquisite detail and descriptive beauty of Laura’s prose. As usual, reading a Laura Frantz book promises beautiful writing, and her newest offering to the historical fiction world (with romance) fulfills that promise. And as much as I usually fawn over Laura’s heroes in her books, the real star of this book is the heroine, Lark. Her story – the aches, uncertainties, compassion, and kindness – takes center stage, even as the dashing and honorable, Magnus MacLeish, plays a large role. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a formidable character – strong, thoughtful, kind…and intense. A true Scottish Laird. It was such fun to see his lighter side at times and any time he and Lark shared the page??!!…those were my favorites! (But I’m also a diehard romantic 😉
Now, this book was kind of like brownies cooking in the oven. It took a while to benefit from the full effects of the work. The start moved a little slowly, but there was a lovely aroma of both conflict and the romance to come, so that when they both came to fruition, the reader is left savoring both the sweetness and richness of the flavor. The friendship between Magnus and Lark was sweet, and Lark’s relationship with her granny and Larkin add so much to the story! I’m a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, and we are certainly rewarded with the tender romance by the end.
If you were a fan of Laura’s book, The Lacemaker, then you’ll enjoy her newest release. There are many similarities in the flow of this story and the careful unfolding of both romance and historical detail.
My Rating: I would rate this beautiful story a 4.5 out of 5.
It was a pleasure to read this story as my first of 2019.
Thank you to Netgalley for making it available. I was not required to write a review. These opinions expressed are my own.
Get your copy here
About the Author
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and The Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.
Less Than A Week!!!
And…you all get to meet Jonathan and Laurel!!
My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream comes out on January 1 and this story is close to my heart because I take the readers deep into my world of Appalachia. Gleaning from family history shared by my Granny Spencer and evoking a similar ‘storyworld’ as Catherine Marshall’s Christy, this book takes people on a journey to a very different place in time.
A place I love because it means family.
So, do you want to know more?
About the Book
Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?
I have high hopes to continue the story with some secondary characters having their own tales to tell, but for now, I can’t wait to introduce you to ALL of these characters, but particularly the world of Appalachia in Maple Springs, NC.
Want to know what early reviewers are saying about Laurel’s Dream?
From Karen R – “This book started out well, and just got better and better as it went. It had me smiling and chuckling one moment and holding my breath the next… Highly recommend this book to Christian historical romance fans! If you enjoyed Christy by Catherine Marshall, Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin, or These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart, you will love this one too.”
Tracey H says, “Pepper Basham’s book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is destined to be a classic! Reminiscent of the beloved Christy by Catherine Marshall, only with the main characters roles reversed. Jonathan Taylor is the new teacher to the impoverished mountain town of Maple Springs and Laurel McAdams is the Appalachian girl who has plenty to teach Jonathan herself, about living and loving, mountain style… I was left with that feeling of not wanting to pick up another book for a while so I could savor all the wonderful emotions and memories of it. That’s my gold standard for a book to make it onto my shelf of favorites.”
Trisha Roberson says this, “Pepper Basham eloquently captured the very essence of the Blue Ridge Mountains and warmly welcomed me home within the pages of this fantastic book. I loved this story and I seriously didn’t want it to end. The closer I got to the end of the book, the slower I read, savoring each word, each phrase!”
Susan Snodgrass shared this about the story, “Everything about this book touched my heart. The wonderful patterns of speech of these people was dear to my heart because I’ve heard my grandparents speak this way and sometimes my mother did also. Their hearts and their acceptance of the hardships of mountain living was amazing. I felt like I just fell into the book and knew everyone.”
This from Jen Galaxy, “Sigh. Like, seriously. After reading this book, a piece of my heart is definitely in Maple Springs, back in time, deep in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham was immediately engaging. Her love for the Appalachian people and their history is present through her vivid storytelling.”
Preorder is up NOW and the paper copy is BEAUTIFUL – so…I’m giving away one paper copy here on the blog! Just leave a comment below! I will draw a random winner using random.org on release day!
And don’t forget to spread the word about ANOTHER upcoming book that I can’t wait to read! Laura Frantz’s newest novel, The Bound Heart, debuts on Jan 1 along with mine so we’re having a party to celebrate.
Save the DATE: January 15th, Laura and I are going to be celebrating releases, chatting about heart-stopping heroes, and discussing the beauty of similar settings on two different sides of the ocean. RSVP HERE!
What are you most looking forward to reading about in either one of these books?
In December 2016, I received a fun gift from my husband’s cousin, Judy, who ALWAYS sends me a gift for a book release. This gift had a definite Christmas theme and not just ANY Christmas theme, but…Jane Austen. Judy sent me Mr. Darcy’s Night Before Christmas. Well, I read it on video in 2016, then in 2017, so now it’s become a little tradition. It’s such a fun book and it’s even more delightful to share it with friends. So…if you’re up for a little storytelling with hints of Austen, then grab your snack of choice, snuggle up with a cozy blanket, and enjoy this fun twist on the classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas.
About the Book
Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic meets Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy gets his own visit from St. Nicholas. In this parody of the beloved original poem, Santa teaches Darcy the true meaning of the holiday and helps him get what he’s always wanted—a wife!
JULIE PETERSEN has fond memories of hiding under her covers at night with a flashlight just so she could finish whatever chapter she was on and a few more after that. When not reading Jane Austen, she can be found singing and spoiling her nieces and nephews. Julie currently lives in Utah.
SHERYL DICKERT has illustrated four other Night Before Christmas books in this series. She lives in Salt Lake City.
Tune in on Facebook this Friday for another fun story read by yours truly!