Book releases can be crazy things. I’m a little behind with celebrating on my blog because other life things have been busy…but here we are now! And I’m so excited that Jon and Emma’s story… More
My husband and I took a little trip this past weekend over the mountain to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I say, “over the mountain” because the Blue Ridge Mountains blend into the Smokies, so in reality, we went over a LOT of mountains, taking the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville.
While in Gatlinburg, we took a lesser-known hike that runs along the Little Pigeon River and leads to a hundred-fifty-year-old Appalachian barn and homeplace. Over four hundred families lived up in this area of the mountains, a community of people, their houses based with fieldstone and creek rocks, their walls built with hand-hewn logs. Fences of rocks marked homesteads, now mounds of rubble.
It was a beautiful hike. The welcome babble of the river followed us along most of the walk as we climbed deeper into the woods. No phone service for over an hour or two.
Off this path, upon a little knoll surrounded by trees and brush, a blast of color and stone caught our attention. Upon investigation, we found a small, mountain cemetery of about 20 to 25 graves, mostly of infants and young children, almost all dying around the years 1909-1910. Flowers still decorated the graves, as if these little lives were not forgotten by time and distance. Only two gravestones were made with smooth, store-bought granite, the rest were etched hand-carved rock. Some had names – Lillian, Hettie, Ruth, Jessie, Rosalia – and some had been so worn away with time, the names no longer showed, but the size from headstone to footstone showed a small grave.
Stories breathed on the mountain breeze. Untold. Waiting.
When we returned to the bed and breakfast we were staying in nearby, the owner (a native) told us that the area was hit with a horrible epidemic of scarlet fever around that time – and likely those graves are from that time.
Some people may ask “Where was God in this moment? For these families?”
The answer? As present as the mountain breeze, the sound of the cascading river, or the lilt of birdsong.
Our world is a broken one, filled with unimaginable pain, shattering heartbreak, and deep longing. It has been broken for a long time because of human hearts.
And where is God?
He offers a perfect and future hope, but not only that, he is with us now. He came into this world and KNEW the unimaginable pain, the shattering heartbreak, and the deep longing so that we can be comforted by a God how not only knows but understands.
Our hearts are made for another world. They always have been.
Some of us recognize the otherness, see it in glimpses, in rays of light, or a baby’s laughter.
Our vision, though fogged by the grief of this world, knows that beyond the darkened horizon lies a better world, one where tears are no more, longings are fulfilled, and the broken hearts are mended.
Our stories matter to him – whether they are decorated with simple flowers on the edge of a mountain path or going through the everydayness of life. Our stories are not forgotten, lost, or unimportant.
They matter, every single breath, ache, or joy, because they belong to HIS story
I’m a big royals fan!
When photos of Queen Elizabeth or any of her grandkids (or great-grandkids) pop up on my screen, I usually take a few seconds to read about the events and look at the pics, as if I have some kind of connection with them.
Due to their placement in their culture and life, they hold a special significance. Queens, princes, princess, duchesses, and dukes. The titles alone place them in a realm above the regular average Jane on the street. I love watching how the Dukes and Duchesses walk near the regular folks on the streets and talk with the children…and how the faces of the commoners beam with smiles from the select attention of a royal.
What an even more precious awareness we have as children of the eternal God!
The one who created the universe, spoke the sea into existence, and folded the land into its shape, should inspire our awe and wonder, yet to an even greater degree than our earthly royals, Christ didn’t just walk near the commoners, he walked among us. He put on human flesh and lived as one who hadn’t known the splendor of Heaven and the power of all creation. He comforted the wounded, wept for the broken, and loved the unlovely…and then, in an act of divine beauty and pain, the Prince of Heaven took on our sin to give us his future.
His life, death, resurrection, and ascension secured the hope that commoners have ready access to the throne room of heaven…and not only THAT, we are seen as having royal blood now.
Because of the sacrifice Christ made for us, his royal status has transferred to his kids so that we have access to Heaven! And, as prince and princesses ourselves, we have been given the opportunity to weep with the broken, comfort the wounded, and love the unlovely, allowing others to ‘see’ the love of a King through us.
It’s time for a COVER REVEAL!!! I’m so excited for this story!!! And so excited to finally share the cover with you today!
This cover was a delight to get to design. I paired up with the amazingly talented Roseanna White to make sure the finished product fit the heart of this sweet and humorous friends-to-lovers story.
And OF COURSE, I had to get those Blue Ridge Mountains in there 😉
About the Book
Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.
When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.
With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?
Are you ready for this???
I give you…
A Match for Emma
A Match for Emma will be available for preorder at the end of August.
Release day is Thursday, November 21 – just in time for the holidays!
And HERE’s the back cover…Because it is just so beautiful!!!
Tell me what you think!!!
I have NO idea why I waited so long to read an Amelia Peabody book, but suffice it to say, I am thoroughly hooked! Humor, history, romance, mystery, and a clever, though flawed, woman at the helm! Oh yes!
About the Book:
Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn’t need a woman’s help — or so he thinks. (From Goodreads)
I’ve never been to Egypt except through my occasional visits through movies or Agatha Christie’s Poirot episodes. Now, I can add Elizabeth Peters’ series about Amelia Peabody, because I just finished reading the first book, Crocodile on the Sandbank.
What did I love? Well, what’s NOT to love!! From the first-person perspective of Amelia Peabody, the independent, strong-willed, confident (sometimes arrogant), but incredibly fair with a kind heart woman, readers jump on a wonderful trip of learning about the wonders of late 1800s Egypt. The humor was wonderfully British, the mystery delightfully interesting, the romance subtle, surprising and perfectly placed, and the history…an eye-opening account into a very new place for me to travel.
The four main characters, including one important secondary character, are all well-drawn out and multifaceted. Oh my! It was just so much FUN!! Cairo, the Nile, Armana, mummies, excellent male-female banter, sweet romance, and…a wonderful example of grace!!
Caveat: this is a general market book, so there is some mild language, but don’t let THAT stop you from enjoying this amazing trip with remarkable characters (and a somewhat reliable guide into Egypt).
There are many places to visit in the first Amelia Peabody book, Crocodile on the Sandbank, but I’m going to stick with a few of the more featured sites in this story. Of course, Amelia arrives from England into Alexandria, but her first visit of any time is spent in Cairo…and particularly at Shepeard’s Hotel, a particularly elegant place for tourists to experience the best of Egypt.
While in Cairo, we visit the pyramids, which would be a horrible thing to miss, since these ancient structures are the most recognized historical sites in Egypt and remarkable architectural feats as well! (Plus, we learn from Amelia, they provide a lovely view of the surrounding countryside).
Next stop was more fluid. Our narrator takes us on a journey down the Nile in a dahabiyas, a sail-powered river boat – but this is not your usual boat. It’s a small hotel on the water. An open-air drawing room on top, closed drawing room below, bedrooms, kitchen, dining room…truly, traveling down the Nile in one of these (for the right price) definitely improved the journey. Plus, going down the river came with an additional breeze that had to help with the arid temperatures of the ancient country.
Amelia (and her fellow characters) spend most of their time in Amarna on an archeological dig. Most of the descriptions of this area are regarding the filth of the villages outside the archeological dig with their flimsy huts and growing mongrels posed against the cliff-tombs and stunning sunsets. Sand, patches of cultivated green, and the crescent blue of the Nile in the different frames the adventure Amelia, Emerson, Walter, and Evelyn have in this part of the world.
I can’t wait to travel again with Amelia and her cohorts!!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.
Mimi Matthews is a new-to-me author who revives a gothic-like romance with Jane Eyre flair, historical intrigue, and a wonderfully redeemable rogue.
About the book:
She Wanted Sanctuary…
Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.
He Needed Redemption…
Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.
Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?
If you are a fan of historical romance, particularly more dramatic type, set in 1800s England, this story is likely to check all the boxes on your list. Brooding yet compassionate hero = check. Independent, intelligent, and kind heroine = check. Suspense = check. Accents = check. England = check.
There is also a Beauty and the Beast vibe, a moment where “cliffs of insanity” take on a whole new meaning, and some of the tenderest romantic vibes expressed in such subtle ways. This was truly a fun and beautiful story to read plus the hero is fantastically drawn and the heroine is strong minded/willed yet tempered with kindness. Her storyline is so interesting.
AND at least there is a kiss or two (for my sake, if for no one else’s)
One of the many things that is brought to life in this book is the setting. The story begins in London, but the largest portion of it takes place in North Devon, switching between a small country village and Greyfriar’s Abbey. The cliffs, sea, and countryside are used well to create a sense of both isolation, stark beauty, and…interestingly enough, freedom.
But what makes North Devon a worthy place for this story? Well, there’s a little bit of everything. Moors, hills, cliffs, quaint towns, and the SEA!
Let’s take a look.
Personally, my favorite thing is…the CLIFFS!!!
And the SEA!!!!!
And, of course, there is the mysterious Greyfriar’s Abbey – the home of Justin Thornhill (btw, can I just say I LOVE his self-discovery of what love is. Oh heavens!! And I adore the way he shows his love to Helena – his protection!!! It’s beautiful).
In North Devon there happens to be a popular abbey known as Buckland Abbey that I’m showing as an example of what Greyfriar’s might have looked like – for your viewing pleasure. You can find more images of Buckland Abbey HERE on Pinterest.😊
Ooh, just imagine this abbey a little more run down and cloaked in dusk. Fun stuff here 😉
I’m absolutely in love with the photos from this link (and this town) so I’m sharing it with you as a ‘taste’ of the setting for Matrimonial Advertisement 😊
They really give you some beautiful view of the cliffs and the sea. I can imagine Helena looking out over that view for the first time.
Have you read any of Mimi Matthews’ books?
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.
It has been four years since my debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, was published by Vinspire Publishing and my life as a published author began.
Since then, I’ve expanded my “published’ library to include more traditional books as well as independently published ones. Some received broader recognition, others found favor with a quieter group of readers, but with each story, I hope I’ve continued to grow as a writer – and that I continue (overtly or covertly) to show the beauty of the Gospel.
Writing has been such a journey. Each story forces me to look inside my own heart and well as draw from my thoughts and energies to pour into fictional people and worlds. Each story challenges me to improve my writing skills and story creating. Each story inspires an opportunity for the joy of creativity and the frustration of stubborn mental fatigue. AND each story provides a blank canvas of another way to show hope to a world in need of hope.
But within all of that, each story also makes my writing community richer and larger and so full! With each not book I write, I gain new readers who join with me on this journey and I am SO thankful for them! For you!
The Thorn Bearer began the first page of a lifetime of stories to be written. Since April 2015, I’ve had six novels published and four novellas. I have other novels that haven’t met readers’ eyes yet and dozens of ideas for more. I’ve gotten to try my hand at nonfiction. It’s been SUCH an amazing journey.
As I celebrate the bookiversary of The Thorn Bearer, I want to thank all of you who’ve joined me on this journey. Thank you for your encouragement, your notes, your reviews, and messages. Thanks for reading sneak peeks and hosting me on your blogs. Thanks for sharing my graphics and letting me know how much a quote meant to you.
This debut doesn’t get a lot of reviews anymore, but I was recently surprised by someone who found the key heart of the story worth a few words.
This is an amazingly powerful book! It’s a tough read in that it covers some difficult topics, but it is so well done. Every aspect and piece of the story is expertly and thoroughly woven together. It’s hard to even put into words just how well this author handles everything in this book from the difficult things to the romance to the healing and hope to the reminder that God is always there and we are never alone. It’s a tale full of redemption and hope and healing and the love story of a Savior for every single one of us no matter where we come from, what we’ve done, or what has been done to us. I highly recommend it! – Julie Jobe
To celebrate the bookiversary of The Thorn Bearer, I am giving away one of my books (winner’s choice) to two commenters! All you have to do is answer this question:
What is a theme you enjoy reading about in books?
We have THREE winners of audiobooks for Charming the Troublemaker!!
Alicia M. Laxton
Please email me at pepperdbasham (at) gmail.com to let me know you’d like to claim your prize!! Congratulations!!!
The third book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Match for Emma, is slated to come out in November 2019!! Woohoo!!!! I can’t wait to introduce you to a few new characters and celebrate familiar ones too!
A cover reveal is coming soon!!!!!!
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. This quote by author Ursula Le Guin or the one by famed Madeleine L’Engle puts the world of fairy tales into a bigger perspective.
And fairy tales have a way of community deep truth that few other tales can do.
So…how have fairy tales been woven through some of our more contemporary-published works? I asked readers and they gave me a few to share with you!
So, what are some great stories from the last decade that have been inspired by fairytales? Check THESE out!
The Not-So-Fairy Tales series by the amazing and hilarious Chautona Havig.
Sara Ella’s Unblemished Trilogy – which kind of ROCKED the CBA world with its awesomeness
Tinsel in a Tangle by Laurie Germaine (which has rave reviews from authors Chautona Having and Janine Rosche)
Melanie Dickerson, the ‘queen of inspirational fairytale-ish spinoffs’ just released a new one based on the story of Mulan called The Warrior Maiden, but if you’re wanting to know about MORE of her fairytale-ish stories, you can learn about the full gamut here. My daughter’s favorite is The Merchant’s Daughter!
AND since we’re celebrating fairy tale-ish stories, I’m giving away a paperback copy of my newest novella, Between Stairs and Stardust – a story inspired by Cinderella. This novella came out in the Finding Ever After compilation in February and you can get your copy of ALL four novellas (which are interlinked through the creation of a fairy tale book) HERE for only $4.99!
Just answer this question to be put into the drawing:
What is one fairy tale-ish story you’ve read recently that you’ve loved? If you’ve not read any fairy tale-ish story, share what one of your favorite classic fairy tales is?
I’m really curious!
How many of you guys listen to audiobooks?
It seems to be a rising trend and I can definitely see the allure. Recently, I listened to a few books and it was this amazing hands-free opportunity. I’m not saying I want to leave the paper/print world for full-blown audio, but I’m definitely planning to incorporate more audiobooks onto my TBR list 😊
Today I have some audiobook news, an audiobook GIVEAWAY, and some novella sales – so I wanted to take the opportunity to share the news with you guys!
Are you ready?
My #britallachian romance, Just the Way You Are, is coming to Amazon on AUDIOBOOK in April!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! Narrator Catherine Gaffney took on the daunting task of trying to get all of the personalities and accents together in this funny culture clash between Britain and Appalachia. If you like lighthearted romcoms (except with an inspirational thread), this story has it! And there’s a fun historical subplot along with it too.
Then, if you LIKE it…you’ll be pleased to know that one of the most adorable introvert-heroes on the planet is in book #2 😊
The second novel in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, Charming the Troublemaker, is OUT ON AUDIO!!!! YAY!!!! Now you can ‘hear’ all about #adorkableAlex and Rainey while doing other things like…washing dishes, driving, walking your dog, etc. Cool, huh?
So today I’m giving away THREE copies of the audiobook of Charming the Troublemaker. All you have to do is answer this question in the comments below: When you think of the word ‘home’ what comes to mind? Your existing house? A different place? Heaven?
Apart from Heaven, 😊 I get this general idea of my childhood surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I also have my kids all around me. Sounds weird, but my family and these mountains make up ‘home’ for me, wherever that may be. We’ve physically moved so many times, it’s hard for me to think of a physical ‘house’ as home at this time in my life.
But what about you? Where is home? What makes you think of home?
SNEAK PEEK at a little of Charming the Troublemaker? This excerpt is from one of my favorite scenes in the book!! #underoos
The interior of the car was dark behind the tinted windows, but she could make out Alex’s silhouette, so she tapped on the window. With a pregnant pause, the window began to descend enough to see Alex’s signature grin.
“Hey Alex, are you ok…” Her eyes widened as the lowering window revealed his bare shoulders and chest. “What?” The window glass graciously stopped lowering as she realized Alex’s computer bag probably blocked a lot more than his belly button. “What on earth…?”
His grin brightened, too much. “It’s a funny story actually.”
She blinked, still trying to get her thoughts to congeal into words. From her standing position, even in the fading light, she caught a clear glimpse of a broad chest and muscular arms. Her brain just couldn’t figure any excuse in the world about why Alex Murdock would be sitting on the side of this country road in nothing but his underoos.
“I ran off the road and dropped by phone.”
She studied him, trying to find the logical connection between dropping his phone and dropping his drawers. “Which automatically meant you stripped down to your skivvies in forty degree weather on the side of the road?”
He laughed. Laughed. Which immediately caused a responsive crash of two thoughts in her head. One, she wanted to chuckle too – at the sheer ridiculousness of the entire scene. In fact, a tickle waited for release in her throat as she wrestled with thought number two – Alex Murdock was crazy.
But she did like his laugh. And his boyish smile. Which might mean she was the crazy one.
“My cell flew out the window.”
“Your cell flew out the window?” Yep, he was crazy.
She tilted her head, playing along with the crazy. “Did the fairies take it?”
Free Book (and one on sale 😉)
Now for the SALE!!!!!
My two Jane Austen-inspired e-novellas are on SALE!!!
Leave your answer to the question below and be entered to win one of three copies of Charming the Troublemaker on audio!! Woohooo!!!!
Well written stories take us to places and times that linger long after the final page.
About the Book
In the spring of 1917, all of Britain’s attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.
A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country’s cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.
But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death. (From Bethany House)
Reading Kate Breslin’s novel, Not by Sight, was like stepping into the world I love researching so much. I almost expected some of my very own characters to emerge among the excellent prose and touch of suspense.
I loved witnessing Jack and Grace’s slow growing friendship and reading their snappy repartee. The way Grace’s personality, her kindness, and intelligence, melts away and the cynicism and wall around Jack’s heart like nothing else.
With romance, some humor, suspense, and weaving in of the power of faith, this story leaves the reader soaking in the light of story even after the book finishes.
Jack’s character was wonderfully wounded. Oh my, Breslin wrote him with such feeling and intensity. I loved being inside his head, a world shrouded in the darkness of sight and heart.
Grace was delightful. Young, faithful, generous of heart, and just enough temper to increase the spark in conversations.
The two of them on the page together brings a smile to my face…except when it broke my heart!
And the well-developed secondary characters (Marcus, Claire) round out this delightful story set in the English countryside in 1917.
This book is definitely going on my favorites’ read of 2019!
About the Author
A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at http://www.katebreslin.com.
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!