World Building

Building a world for your story isn’t always filled with spacecraft and foreign planets. I love creating the place where my characters can thrive, grow, love, and heal.

What storyworld do YOU like to get lost in?


Original Post published 8/19/2015

firstclassdining Currently, I’ve been reading about creating a ‘story world’ and what’s involved in the intricate design of a world where readers can lose themselves in a story.

It may sound fairly straight-forward and simple, but it’s really quite complex. Readers need to feel the cohesiveness of feeling like they are really ‘there’ – in your story, during that time period. This not only requires crafting, but research too.

The most well-loved, memorable, and meaningful stories had a distinct time and place which couldn’t have occurred as effectively anywhere else. For example, Charles Dickens’ brilliant stories cannot be separated from London. I can’t imagine Frodo living anywhere else, except the Shire and Middle Earth.

071In A Twist of Faith, I’ve created the town of Ransom, Virginia – a small community that reminds me a lot of the Blue Ridge Mountain town in which I grew up: Small population, close-knit families, quaint downtown, and amazing scenic views. I want readers to walk the streets of Ransom and Mitchells’ Crossroads as they journey along with the characters.

TheThornbearer 500x750 (1)In my historical series, Penned in Time, I’ve tried to recreate the feel of the World War I era. The uncertainty, the change and energy… the small English villages, manor houses, and clothing.

All of those things make a storyworld.

Developing a strong story world helps readers take a trip and never leave their chair.

It gives me a great sense of joy and awe to think that, because of my Christian perspective, the stories and novels I write might give a sense of hope to those who read them. Through the time, place, characters, dialogue, and exposition – readers will sense the beautiful truth of hope in the Lord, no matter the circumstances. What a wonderful goal for which to aspire!

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To the Unassuming Superheroes

batman-1070422_1920This week fellow author Melissa Tagg shared some wonderful news about her brother-in-law and nephew, Chip and Ollie Reece. Chip, dad to Ollie, wrote a book for his son with Down syndrome about a super hero with…you guessed it, Down syndrome.

Evidently, Ollie LOVES superheroes and I bet Ollie already knows he’s living with one 😊

You see, in my twenty years of working with children who have special needs, I’ve met real-life super heroes. People who do extraordinary feats on a daily basis.

People who learn to think super creatively to help their child transition from the car into Walmart

People who are scared of next week but draw on super-human courage to step into tomorrow

superheroes-2People who have to wake up throughout the night well beyond the ‘baby’ days to help their kid out and STILL get up to face the next day.

People who cry themselves to sleep at night because they felt weak, but somehow garner strength to hope in tomorrow.

People who love tirelessly, provide boundaries so their kids learn how to be responsible adults, give with seemingly endless reserves, laugh even when they’re hurting, dream bigger than circumstances, take the stings of reality and bathe them with the balm of possibility.

Superheroes lives among us.

I’ve met them.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing more than one.

They’re parents of little superheroes like Ollie.

Like the ones I’ve had the honor to know throughout my career as a speech-language pathologist and Autism expert.

Many of them found hope and strength in their faith.

Most of them found courage and optimism from their communities.

And they walk among us. Loving their kids. Living their lives. Sacrificing in ways we can’t even imagine to unassumingly inspire. Yes.

I’ve met super heroes.

They’re those people who are helping their children feel like heroes too.

And I’m honored to live and work among them 🙂

Huge Multi-Author Giveaway!!!

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I am excited to be participating in a multi-author giveaway just for you!

HUGE “Thank you!” to the team at Celebrate Lit for organizing this fabulous giveaway!

Enter for your chance to win the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card or the 1st place prize of 20 books. Don’t miss your chance to win! Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/b638

Giveaway Meme 2

Grand prize is a $50 Amazon Card

1st place winner will receive:
Misty M. Beller, Author – The Lady and The Mountain Man
Molly Jebber – Two Suitors for Anna
Margaret Kazmierczak – How to Make Victoria Sponge
2 Square 2 Be Hip / Liwen Y. Ho – Straight to You
Cathe Swanson – Baggage Claim
Tamera Lynn Kraft – Alice’s Notions
Marguerite Martin Gray – Hold Me Close
Author Carole Brown – Undiscovered Treasures
Jennifer Beckstrand Author – Sweet as Honey
Sydney Tooman Betts – A River Too Deep, Light Birds Song
Joanie Bruce – A Memory Worth Dying For
Terri Wangard – Soar Like Eagles
Author JoAnn Durgin – Whisper to my Heart
Kathy Ide, Author/Editor – 21 Days of Grace
Loree Lough – Currency of the Heart
Author Dawn Crandall – The Cautious Maiden
Diana Wallis Taylor – May Chosen of God
Author Laura V. Hilton – The Amish Wanderer
Toni Shiloh, Author – Buying Love
Kara Swanson, Author – Pearl of Merlydia
Pepper D. Basham – Just the Way You Are
Caryl McAdoo – A Vow Unbroken
Carol E. Keen – Evil Forebodings

Fine Print :
This giveaway begins on April 23 and ends April 29. No purchase is necessary. This giveaway is in no way connected with Facebook. Please read the terms and conditions prior to entering.

Enter giveaway here: https://promosimple.com/ps/b638

Book Journeys – Bath UK Part 2

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my son ,”Jane”, me, and my hubby

On March 6, my first novella is released in a fun compilation entitled Love at First Laugh. Seriously, people, it’s 8 stories, to tickle your funny bones and tie up your heartstrings, for only .99!! WOW!

You certainly want to purchase those now. Right here 🙂

But in the celebration of my novella, Second Impressions, I’ve been taking you on a journey of the setting for the story. Bath, UK. A beautiful city that ooz13781894_10210072080859252_4424339124400341310_nes history from the mortar between the stones to the pavement in the streets. Part 1 is here

Now, in my novella, my heroine is in search of the epic Jane Austen experience – The Jane Austen Festival…some of the time in the story she’s in full regency apparel :0)

In the previous post, I talked about Bath, in general, and the ballro
oms. In this post, I’m going to show you two other important points of interest in Bath, that also show up in my novella.

A wonderf13775397_10210072081779275_6033081796946729175_nul scene in the story takes place in the Jane Austen Centre in the Tea Room. Oh my, that was such a fun experience. We have high tea in a room decked out in elegant fashion – and in the center of the main wall of the room? A portrait of Colin Firth as Darcy (a realization the hero doesn’t quite understand, so the heroine has to explain t
he full significance of the portrait).

Tea time is scrumptious, with lots of options. To see the menu, check out this link.

I, of course, had the delectable selection of Tea with Mr. Darcy. Yummy!!! My very own pot of tea and some tasty tre13873161_10210072081859277_4483649918944225108_n-1ats in a regency-styled tea room in Bath, England? People, I was livin’ it UP!!

My 19 year old was with me too – but he’s NOT a tea drinker…or a…um…regency fan – but
there’d been a dragon show up at the tea room, he’d have had a blast! (both figuratively and literally, most likely)

Another important point of interest in Bath, which relates to my novella, is the entire reason Bath has its name. The Roman Baths. The actual Baths found (and now excavated) were the main reason people came to baththis town to benefits from the ancient spa – where the hot waters are still active. A museum and the remains of the Temple of Aquae Sulis are on display for history lovers. Interestingly enough, the first shrine built on the baths location was built by the Celts – but the current spa was built during the Roman occupation of Britain in 75 AD.  (you can learn more info here)

My hero and heroine have quite a lovely scene that takes place in this particular spot, so make sure to check it out in the compilation Love at First Laugh which released on March 6!!

To hear the first page of the novella, check out my video here

Enjoy!!!

Cover Reveal…and massive celebrating

img_5842Okay, this week has been CRAZY…and it’s ONLY Tuesday!

At least it’s the good kind of crazy, right?

I have so much to share with you guys!!! (and….of course, I’m saving my favorite for last…so don’t scroll down and steal my thunder 😉

  1. There is a fabulous Scavenger Hunt going on right now involving kisses, misses, and chances to win 8 super novels! You can find out ALL about it here! And since I’m not above name dropping….can I just say it’s an honor to have my name beside authors like Melissa Tagg, Jessica Patch, and Sara Monzon 😉

2. My first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, is FREE on kindle this week. (So you can buy this and save your money to actually purchase the next two items on the list 😉 http://amzn.to/2ld5QjO   This story has garnered so much praise and it’s such a fun book. 16640751_487167148073737_1130643388656871229_n

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3. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to write my first
novella! A fun, romantic comedy with a touch of Jane Austen flair! It’s up for preorder in this compilation with some other fantastic stories (and authors). And the price is superb! Check out this beauty and make sure you preorder today for just .99!!!! http://amzn.to/2kMxOlP

This story is all about romance, humor, The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, UK, AND a homicidal bonnet. Be prepared 🙂

 

4. Okay, okay….arjtwyaback-coverwebjpege you ready for my Valentine’s GIFT???

That might be a bit melodramatic 😉 but I’m so excited about this novel. This romantic comedy releases on April 6th and is my very favorite book I’ve written so far.

Why? Because I poured all the things I love best into one story…and hopefully an entire series.

Just the Way You Are is the book equivalent of my FAVORITE dessert!

Filled with romance, humor, mystery, adorable kids, hilarious families, England, Appalachia, Blue Ridge Mountains, a swoony British hero, an adorable heroine….and Scooby Doo references. What’s not to like, right? This story may have more of me…and my heart than any other story I’ve written to date.jtwya-web-frontjpeg

So….without further drama. Let me show you the cover to Just the Way You Are!

Isn’t it sweet!!! AND you can preorder it NOW!!! http://amzn.to/2lJ6PGa

I cannot wait for you to meet Eisley, Wes, the Harrisons, the Jenkins, and Lizzie! This is definitely a romantic comedy….with a little bit of old-fashioned Hollywood magic sprinkled in!

Only $4.99 to preorder!!

So….what do you think? Sound like a story that’s up your alley?

 

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

514eaoj7mal-_sx322_bo1204203200_Of one thing I am certain, Laura Frantz’s writing holds as spellbinding a quality as the stories she weaves with such intricate detail. A Moonbow Night is no different. Steeping in imagery thick with the mountains and hollows of frontier Appalachia, Laura introduces us, not only to riveting characters as alive to history as the famous Daniel Boone, but also to a culture, faith, and setting that breathes off the page.

Tempe Tucker is a true-to-life Appalachian woman with grit, tenacity, and a strength to survive all that the beautiful-yet-dangerous landscape might provide. As one of the few inn’s along the Shawnee River in the wilds of Kentucky, her family live by ingenuity, hard-work, willpower, and faith.

One of the many passages I LOVED LOVED in this book is:

“Scripture.”

“Say any by heart?”

“Some. But I’d rather live it by heart.”

Sion Morgan enters her world as a Virginia surveyor looking for an experienced guide to lead his crew. He gets more than he bargained for in Tempe Tucker….but so does she. Sion’s quiet, somewhat aloof, and yet surprising personality tugs upon the strings around Tempe’s heart.

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http://victoriafalls24.com/blog/2013/07/03/moonbow-victoria-falls/

They seem to be two people born of a similar strength and a similar pain, yet of a very different spiritual views…until Tempe’s faith and directness wiggle through Sion’s doubt with a quiet perseverance. It’s beautiful to see how Tempe becomes Sion’s guide in more ways than a navigator through the Kentucky wilderness, but also a shepherdess, of sorts, toward a deeper treasure for his soul.

Secondary characters pack the pages with levity, increasing depth, heartache, and challenges, and as usual in a Laura Frantz book, just as no sense is spared, neither is any emotion.

Like the expert guide, Laura leads us on a journey as beautiful as it is dangerous. As gripping as it is revealing – and we are left with a masterpiece of words in our hands and hearts.

Someday I hope to write a story as poetic and profound as A Moonbow Night. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your gift of storytelling with the world.

I received this copy of A Moonbow Night from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Overwhelmed by Reader’s Responses!

tth-rt-reviewpromoIt’s true. The past two days I’ve been on the verge of tears from the absolutely BEAUTIFUL reviews that have come in about The Thorn Healer.

Why?

Well, because this story has been the hardest one to write to date (just as Julie Gwinn or Carrie Schmidt). Writing the hero wasn’t difficult, but ‘finding’ my heroine in the middle of all her pain (under deadline) nearly broke me! 🙂 Maybe that’s pretty appropriate since the book is about how God mends broken things.

More than that… this process and the readers’ responses have reminded me all the more that this story is God’s inspiration – not mine. Somehow, like in The Thorn Healer, God took my broken attempts and blubbering to piece together something beautiful.

I’m truly humbled.

the-thorn-healer-finalSo…to get back to those amazing readers?!? Here are a few quotes from the reviews that have come out so far. WOW!

“The Thorn Healer is my favorite book of the series, as it focuses on how God brings restoration to broken and hurting people. In the words of August Reinhold, “Nothing is too broken that it cannot be restored with the proper care.” – Angi Griffs

“The beauty of Pepper Basham’s writing is that you really live the transformation with her characters.  You feel their struggles, you share those moments when the light breaks through the cracks, and you experience the release when the truth finally breaks through and settles into their soul…You simply cannot read this series without having its characters take up residence in your heart. Do yourself a favour and read the whole series!” – Fiction Aficionado

“The heroine’s largest obstacle in her path to true love comes in the form of the great enemy of WWI— a German! The main pesky, problem with this German is—- nothing. He is perfect. August Reinhold, our hero, is so wonderful I just smile thinking about him. This man has an upbeat, loving, stable personality. He is a breath of fresh air in the middle of all the dark, moody, brooding heroes of some other Christian fiction novels I have read. August is witty in his own way, and loves to laugh. He spreads joy wherever he goes. I love that. We need more heroes like him in Christian fiction.” – Sylvia Miller

“Pepper Basham continues to write stories that sneak in and take up residence in my heart. The power of her words moves my soul. Make sure you grab your tissues before you crack the pages of this one!” – Rachel Dixon, Bookworm Mama

“It takes a truly God-touched author to so poignantly and truthfully deal with loss, the bitterness and anger that comes with it–and weave a story of redemption. Of God restoring to Jessica Ross what she thought she’d never have. Of August Reinhold walking out the love of Christ in every step of the story to Jessica. This story left me changed, and I am eternally grateful.” – Meghan Gorecki, NorthernBelleMeg

“The hope that permeates every single page makes this a beautiful story of grace and any bit of happy is hard-won, even from the wonderful side characters. (I personally really loved Cliff and Anna especially! 🙂 And per Ms. Basham’s usual, there are twists I was so not prepared for, yet her ability to draw me into her story so far that I struggle to come back to real life again is exceptional! I can but applaud her skills and only dream of writing so excellently myself because she goes far beyond the shallow romance here, there are depths of insight to be searched out if you’ll only begin with chapter one. Trust me, friends! It’s worth it. SO worth it. :)” Kara from Flowers of Quiet Happiness

“Ms. Basham is a wordsmith that has taken the genre of historical romance and turned into an art form to be savored for many years to come. Poignant and intense, this character driven story takes you into the heart of pain, deliverance, and healing.  There is humor, intrigue, and moments that had me on the brink of tears.  This book is very moving; staying with you long after the last page is turned and the back cover closed.” – Stacey from Beechtree Hollow

I plan to share more as I can, but I’m still marinating in such a sweet response to this release!! It can be read as a stand-alone or as part of the series!

Want to know more?

To get a sense of this story, check out the book trailer here 🙂

Or check it out on Amazon 

Thanks so much for being on this journey with me!!

 

 

God’s Story in The Thorn Keeper

TheThornKeeper 500x750 (1)Today is the release of my second novel, The Thorn Keeper, and I’m so thankful for the reviews that have come out so far. Here’s why. The main focus for most of the reviews is not the history or the beautiful romance, but the amazing love of a rescuing God.

Catherine Dougall made choices that branded her as a flirt and ultimately left her expecting a child outside of marriage. Now redeemed, she takes her tenacity and determination and turns them toward serving others, especially outcast women. In the middle of a war-torn country and a class system that leads to desperation and death for many ‘fallen women’, Catherine brings the same hope she’s come to know through God’s grace.

And since romance isn’t in her future, she’s ready to find a way to help rescue others in a similar situation as herself. However, God’s plans are quite different as he places the upright and distinguished Dr. David Ross in her life. His kindness, generosity, and ability to see beyond the stains of her past, bring them together and challenge the social systems plaguing on every side.

At the heart of this story is the truth that God is in the business of rescuing lost people. It’s what He sent Jesus to do over 2000 years ago, but is at the very heart of who God is. A rescuer. He doesn’t just give us second chances, he takes all of our mistakes, missed chances, and failed chances, and places them on his Son – so that He bears the brunt of our failures. It’s a beautiful love. A life-changing love.

An eternal, unfailing love that takes the remnants of our lives and fashions them into something beautiful.

Visit the book page of The Thorn Keeper. Read the adventure, romance, humor, and redemption story for yourself.

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Welcome Linda Glaz, LPC author

Louder101615With my upcoming release in April with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some new authors who are sharing the writing journey with me in that house. It’s my pleasure to introduce Linda Glaz and her new release, Fear is Louder than Words.

Check out that cover! Doesn’t the story look so intriguing!! Just wait until you hear about it from Linda.

Thanks for visiting today, Linda. Would you share with us the basic gist of your novel, Fear is Louder than Words?

We have no way of knowing just how difficult life can be for those in celebrity status, be it a talk show host, athlete, or medical pioneer. We only see dollar signs and assume they are happy. But life can be difficult for everyone. Louder explores these themes using creepy characters alongside a romance.
Oooo, creepy characters and romance combined!! Plus a look into the life of a celebrity! It sounds really unique and interesting.  What do you hope readers will come away with after reading your novel?
That there is always hope. That we have to be open to change, and that we have to try let people into our lives.
 
A theme very dear to my heart…hope! So as you developed this story, which character from this book became your particular favorite? Why?
Oh, probably Rochelle. She’s sassy, caustic at times, vulnerable, but tries to always do her best to help other people.
Nice. She sounds like a strong heroine. And speaking of heroines, as the main character of your own life, would you tell us a little about YOU – where are you from? hobbies? Best dessert EVER! Top movies of all time…you know, the basics 🙂
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Oh, boy. I was raised with brothers, so I love all things boy! LOL. I love sports…go Redwings! I reffed soccer for 25 years, taught karate and self-defense off and on for 30 years. Served in the Air Force when it wasn’t a fashionable thing to do in any sense of the word. I love theatre. To watch it, be part of it-sing, sew costumes, wherever I’m needed. I directed Oklahoma at a community theatre 8 years ago, and I still have such awesome memories. Godspell and Les Mis are probably my faves. I absolutely LOVE to redo recipes so that they are grain-free sugar-free masterpieces. Best movie ever? Hmmmm…it has to be a Christmas movie. I am a Christmas-aholic! Seriously! Majorly! Completely! Maybe…A Christmas Carol. The ’38 version.
What an eclectic life!! And you’re a ‘classics’ lover I can tell 🙂
 So, what’s on the horizon for you?
I have 5 other suspense novels that I’m editing, but also starting a new suspense around the topic of bullying. We’ll see how that evolves. Mostly, right now, I’m busy getting my clients’ works out there in a market that’s really tough for new authors, but quit is NOT in my vocabulary.

 

Good for you!! Fortitude and perseverance are definitely dietary staples in the life of a writer 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing about your book here today! To find out more, you can check out Linda’s book, Fear is Louder Than Words on Amazon or LPC.

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About Linda Glaz:

Linda is a wife, mother, and grandmother who draws most of her stories from life experiences and lifelong fears. Nothing like fear to weasel out a great suspense idea. Many of her story ideas come from her eclectic background. Linda is also a literary agent, so she stays on top of what the industry is looking for. Join her as she runs her characters through dark alleys, hospital morgues, and maybe a funhouse or two when she brings you heart-pounding Suspense Sealed With a Kiss.

 

Knowing Changes Things

aa322c2dI was at a writer’s conference once and started chatting with the person in line behind me. No surprise there. My dad says I could carry on a conversation with a block wall. It’s a family trait 🙂

Anyway, this lady and I had a pleasant conversation about life, family, her writing, my writing. Nothing spectacular. I didn’t think anything more of it than a friendly moment in time.

I finished getting my food and sat at a table when one of the other guests touched my arm.
“You looked like you were having a pretty good conversation with Angie Hunt.”
Angie Hunt? Angela Hunt! Award winning author of over one-hundred books!!
(To read more about Angie Hunt, go here!)
So the pleasant little conversation suddenly changed to one of those shocked moments that you write down in your journal to share with all of your posterity and even devote a blog-post to it 🙂
Knowing WHO she was, changed the way I saw the situation.
unsplashpic4It wasn’t just a sweet little moment in my day. It was momentous. Knowing WHO she was made a BIG difference on my perspective.
There’s a familiar story in the Bible about Jesus calming the sea. (And though Angela Hunt loves Jesus, knowing her and knowing HIM are two very different things 😉
To paraphrase the Gospels, here we go:
The disciples follow Jesus onto a boat and they head out onto the sea. A big storm whips up out of nowhere, so dangerous that the disciples start to freak out. They start crying out for help, and where is Jesus? In the middle of the howling wind, crashing waves, and pelting rain…sleeping!!
The disciples wake him up and say something like, “Don’t you care that we’re all going to die?”So…Jesus tells the storm to hush up. And it does. Then he looks at his disciples and says, “Oh you of little faith. Why are you so afraid?”
Now some Gospels put Jesus’ rebuke before the calming of the storm and some after. Just imagine Jesus waking from his nap to the hurricane-like conditions and screaming through the wind at the disciples. “Why are you afraid?”
I can only imagine the disciples giving him a look like Jesus, have you seen the size of those waves? This is NOT a dream. We’re going to DIE!
When Jesus calms the storm with his words, the disciples start to freak out in a very different way, because they suddenly were struck with the truth about WHO Jesus really was. The external storm on the water suddenly flew inside their hearts. Whoa! Jesus’ words brought calm to the chaos, as God- The Creator’s- words brought order to the chaos of the universe. Proving that he truly was, who he’d said he was. Spectacular.
So, in one respect, Jesus is saying: If you guys really knew who I was, you’d be able to sleep through a storm too.
There are a few poignant truths in this story.
1. The storm wasn’t a shock to Jesus. He knew it was going to happen and went to sleep anyway.
2. Knowing who Jesus really is, helps us see the storms of life from a new perspective.
Jesus leads us into storms sometimes to refine our faith. So the question is, how do we respond in the middle of the storm? It’s easy to view in hindsight, or predict your response in foresight, but what about in the very middle when the hurt, fear, worry, and grief are the greatest?
This was convicting to me, because if I really know Him, worry becomes obsolete and fear melts into a minor obstacle. His peace settles a heart during the most frightening storm or by streams of living water and green pastures. My heart should find rest in either/or.
The great thing is – he wants us to get to know him better, because he wants us to rest in him.
Psalm 62:1 reads: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.”
Psalm 119:1: Blessed are they that keep his statutes and seek him with all their hearts.”
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
When we know WHO holds us, who loves us, who guides us through the storm – then our perspective on the power of the storm changes and our security in the Maker of the storm overcomes our fear.
May we take this verse to heart and find rest in His promises:
Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”