Optical Illusions and Autism Awareness



Have you guys ever seen those black-and-white drawings that display an optical illusion of two different pictures? If you look at it one way, you see one picture and if you look at it another way it shows a very different picture.

The first one that comes to my mind is of an old woman…or a young woman, depending on your perspective. Another shows either a candlestick or a silhouette of two faces staring at each other. I have a whole book of these optical illusions and I take the book to work to use with my middle schoolers. Most of the kids can see both perspectives, but some of them can’t. In all honesty, some of the pictures are a lot harder to decipher than others.

But perspective does make a difference!

A big difference.

I think my lovely Blue Ridge Mountains are enormous and grand, but if I ask author Beth Vogt or Casey Herringshaw about their Rocky Mountains, their perspective on what big mountains look like would be very different than mine. REALLY different!!lake-mcdonald-2124702_1920.jpg

Perspective also changes depending on the relationship. My 20-year-old son is viewed differently by his college professors than he is by his peers, his siblings, and then by me. The relationship I have with him changes the perspective.hat-1674894_1280.png

OK, so why am I talking about perspective?

April is Autism Awareness month.

autism-1417942_1920.pngAs some of you may know, by day I am a speech-language pathologist who works primarily with children on the autism spectrum. I love working with “my kids”. Lots of times I feel like they teach me more than I teach them. They’re tender hearts, their unique views of the world, their perseverance against odds that are tremendous and complex and confusing?

Many times, when people hear the word Autism, a vision comes to mind of a child who speaks very little or not at all, who is rigid, unemotional, throws tantrums, has a hard time learning, isn’t probably going to have any friends, and definitely not a job, and let’s not even talk about an actual family with kids.

There may be some kids both on and off the spectrum who would fit that description… But not the majority. Those would be the extreme minority.

steven-libralon-570406-unsplash.jpgLet’s try a different perspective. What about kids who are extremely honest, even to the point of saying things that appear rude sometimes. Kids who value what is good and right and have a hard time figuring out why people would want to do something bad to another person. Kids who accept people because they’re people…not a socio-economic state, or race, or sex. Just as they are. Kids who see far enough outside the box to try things typical folks are too afraid to try.

Kids who laugh unhindered, hug like you’re their favorite person, crave connections with others even though they may not always understand how to get them, grieve their mistakes with such penitence, and live life authentically.

Now that’s a different perspective.

Those kids sound pretty cool, don’t they?

light-bulb-1246043_1920.jpgDo “my kids” get hyper-focused? Do they completely misread the social cues (or not read them at all)? Do they blurt out inappropriate things sometimes? Do they ‘lose it’ in a large way that may require others to help them find their way back to calm? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

But they also inspire me to open up my heart. They astound me with their amazing passions and focus. They humble me with their questions that see beyond the externals and superfluous. They remind me of the importance of relationship and the need to see life from a different point of view.

They have weaknesses.

They have strengths.

We all do.

heart-700141_1920.jpgAnd if we wore our struggles as obviously as these kids wear theirs, we’d want other people to have a positive perspective about us too. We’d want them to try and see beyond the weaknesses, the struggles, to the heart.

God takes a different perspective.

The Bible says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

Thankfully, if we belong to Christ, he also sees us through the lens of His Son’s sacrifice – we’re seen a beautiful and right and good. What a perspective!!!

Life is too hard and too short to view people through the gray lens of judgment and negativity.

Just like in those black-and-white drawings I share with my middle schoolers, there are other perspectives. We may see both of them, but we get to choose which one we plan to focus on.

Choose wisely…



A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

I love celebrating great books – and this author holds a special place in my heart because she was one of the first authors I read who really inspired me in Christian fiction. Yes, yes, I DO love the fact that her kissing scenes are OUT OF THIS WORLD (#kissingbooksrock), but I also appreciate her depth of story and complexity. Oh…and did I mention the kissing scenes? 😉 To celebrate some of her stories, today I’m reposting my review of her novel, A Hope Undaunted, which is probably one of my FAVORITES for Julie’s books.

About the Book

What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman–smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband–good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

My Thoughts

An Undaunted Hope.png

(Review originally published September 2010.)

Well, the Kissing Queen is back with her newest novel, A Hope Undaunted, and let me just tell you guys – you will not be disappointed. Cluny McGee (aka Luke) is a FABULOUS hero. Fabulous. Rivals Collin – and that says a lot.

And Katie O’Connor is SUCH an adorable brat. If you’ve followed Julie Lessman’s books at all, you’ll have met most of the characters in A Hope Undaunted – and Julie has a beautiful way of bringing out those stories, keeping them consistent, and giving the reader a feel for the dynamics of a close-knit family.

And let me just tell you – there are so many varied types of love that Julie introduces in the story, the reader gets an opportunity to cringe, laugh, and hope along with the O’Connors – and particularly Katie and Luke McGee.

Two things:

  1. 1. Prepare your heart for a LOOOOONG agonizing journey of conflict.

Did I say long? How about agonizing? The reader is suffering and waiting right along with Katie O’Connor as her heart is pitched, pulled, and pried in various directions without any hope for true love. Or at least the true love her soul craves in Luke McGee. I ended up holding my breath more times than I can count, and endlessly wanted to email Julie Lessman to say – “What ARE you doing to these poor people?!?”

2. (And I CAN’T believe I’m writing this) I could have taken another whopper of a kiss at the end, Jules. I mean, after all that heart trauma of the last 150 pages, another kiss-me-till-I’m –dazed liplocker would have been a generous reward 😉

I COULDN’T put the book down.

 HAD. To. Finish. IT.

An Undaunted Hope2.pngWhich is the hallmark sign of a good book. No surprise there, if Julie Lessman’s name is on the cover. It’s a fabulous story about what true love really looks like and how it can often surprise us – especially those of us who want to have our lives all figured out ahead of time. But it’s also about sacrifices of the heart for the good of others. And sacrifices are painful.

But – as the old adage goes – no pain, no gain.

Read the book for the treasure chest at the end of the marathon journey.

Go Julie. Go Revell. Keep those passion-filled books coming!!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Published September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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About the Author

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.

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Cover Reveal – Timeless Love & Giveaway

You have probably heard by now that I have collaborated with a few other (AMAZING) authors to bring you a Novella Collection this Spring. This collection, Timeless Love, is unique in the fact that we span several eras of history, and conclude with a contemporary romantic comedy! And today…You can officially Pre-Order Timeless Love, for just $0.99!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?! SEVEN stories for less than a dollar! And the cover…SWOON!

You may have seen that one floating around the internet in the past few weeks. TODAY, I am revealing the cover for my story in this collection. First, here is a little bit about Timeless Love…Timeless Love

This 7-novella romance “sampler” collection will only be available until the first week of July, and then it will be “unpublished” from sell sites. *The ebook edition of the collection will remain on the buyer’s device after the ebook is disbanded. 

And then all of the novellas and short stories in the collection will be published separately in print and ebook!

Here’s the line-up for the Timeless Love Romance Collection:

Regency Era
Give Me Thine Heart
by Andrea Boeshaar
1812: England 

Early Victorian Era
The Freedom Journey
by Misty Beller 
1833: Colorado

Civil War Era
The Heart of Home
by Stephenia H. McGee
A companion novel to In His Eyes
1865: Mississippi

The Gilded Age
Enchanting Nicholette 
by Dawn Crandall
An Everstone Chronicles Novella
1893: Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts

Teach Me to Love
by Kari Trumbo
A Brothers of Belle Fourche Novella
1899: Belle Fourche, South Dakota

by Pepper Basham
1942: England

Bookishly Ever After
by Sarah Monzon
Current Day: Seattle, Washington 

And now…are you ready? Did you notice the era that my story is set in? WWII! I have not yet published a book set in this era. I am so excited to share this story with you! And the cover, designed by the fabulous Roseanna White….


And the back blurb…

A reclusive academic
who would do anything to save her brother.

A reluctant spy
willing to risk his life to save the woman who broke his heart.

Olivia Rakes has the unique gift of observation, which suits her well since she prefers her books over the general populace, but when her brother goes MIA over France, Livy’s unique skills and her determination to save her brother force her into a world of espionage, deceit, danger…and the most frightening of all–romance. 

Agent Jonathan Dawson has never forgotten his childhood friend, and first love, Livy Rakes, but since she broke his heart, he’s avoided seeing her for years…until the search for his best friend brings them both together in the most unlikely of ways.

In a world where war changes the rules of life and love, can Jonathan and Livy work together work together to unveil the mascarade before the enemy catches them?


Ahhh! I am so thrilled with how it turned out! You can see the rest of the covers in this graphic…

Timeless Love Covers

Click the image to Pre-Order your copy now!



Drop a comment below about this cover and/or the collection and you will be entered to win YOU CHOICE of ebook of ANY of my published books!
Winner will be selected on Monday 3/26/18. Open internationally. Void where prohibited.

(Review) Five Days In Sky by Carla Laureano

Sweet, Sassy, and Scotland? How can you go wrong?

FIve Days in Skye.jpg
New Cover!

In her amazing contemporary, Five Days in Skye, Carla not only displays her talent as a writer, but pulls together two remarkable characters with the tight threads of a beautiful romance. Andrea Sullivan is broken and tries to find her savior in her work as a hospitality consultant. When a rash decision leaves her trying to salvage her job by taking the renown celebrity chef James MacDonald on as a new client, she’s determined to suffer through five days in the cold land of Skye and seal the deal.

Despite her preconceived notions, James’s genuine charm, humor, and tenderness awaken her heart to the terrifying realization…she wants to love again. But love can’t bloom in five days, can it?

Especially between two opposites…


You’ll have to find out what happens for yourself!Five Days in Skye.png

Let me just say that Carla’s writing is intense, clean, with powerful forward momentum. Jamie MacDonald is a hero-extraordinaire 🙂 I don’t know how she could top him. Andrea’s struggle is beautifully woven through the choices she makes and the constant battle of her heart for hope, with a lovely element of faith, gently piecing so many broken threads back together.

I loved it! And am going to have to find more of her books to read – whatever the genre 🙂

If you are interested in a book with fabulous dialogue, excellent scenery, a dashing hero, and a powerful spine of hope – this one is for you!

Review originally published 12/05/2013. Updated 3/15/2018

About the Book

Five Days - Original
Original Cover

Winner of the 2014 RWA RITA Award for Inspirational Romance!

Andrea Sullivan is so consumed by her hospitality consultant job that she’s forgotten what brings her joy. She dreads her new assignment–a last chance to snag a high-profile client in Scotland. Yet the lush Isle of Skye transcends her preconceptions. As does the man she must impress–the rugged, blue-eyed Scotsman James MacDonald.

He’s passionate about cooking, but after six restaurants, four cookbooks, and his own television show, he’s grown weary of the scrutiny that comes with living in the public eye.

Soon Andrea and James begin to sense these five days together may just be God’s wild invitation into deeper life…and truer love.

Author’s Note: The MacDonald Family Series was purchased by Tyndale House Publishers in early 2016. Paperback copies of the first edition are still available at some retailers. The e-book version with the new cover will be available beginning June 3, 2018, with a paperback reissue coming in 2019.

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About the Author

Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

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New From Carla

The Saturday Night Supper Club

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The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Sometimes writers can highlight truth through the avenue of story that others cannot. Sarah Monzon accomplishes this in her beautiful novel, The Esther Paradigm. Here’s a little about the story:


Genre:  Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.


As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?


Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance. 

Interesting premise, right?

The Esther Paradigm 2.jpg

And impressive story concept – to step into two worlds that appear very different and show how there are many things that are the same, one being the heart’s search for love.

Monzon creates a captivating tale by painting an almost fairy tale like world of colorful tents blowing in a heated wind, sandstorms, forbidden romance; it even has a prince 😊 (okay, he’s a sheikh, but you get my point 😉) Add a commoner to win his heart (who isn’t really that common, by the way) and you have a beautiful tale that resembles the ancient Biblical story of Esther.

Hannah cares deeply for the Gospel and for the people in the Bedouin community she’d grown up in as a child. Her missionary parents, and her love for Jesus, have nurtured a beautiful compassion in her “adopted” people. Karim is the Muslim leader of the community, determined to bring honor to his father’s memory and Allah, and he includes Hannah’s family in that community.

When a disease attacks their livelihood and Hannah’s family is blamed for the blight (due to their Christian faith), Karim’s only way of protecting her in his own strength, is to marry her.

The Esther Paradigm.jpg
Designed by Marylin Furumasu

The beauty of their friendship-turned-romance, Hannah’s innocence and trust, and Karim’s protectiveness is sweet. Karim is strong, serious, and bound by a generations’-old duty and Hannah…well, she brings color into his life. Karim doesn’t see it as her faith at first, but as the story moves forward, and as dangers threaten to destroy the tenderness of their newfound love, Hannah’s faith is tried, Karim’s authority is challenged, and their lives are put to the test.

Monzon’s brave pen-dip into the Muslim-Christian dynamics results in a beautiful story of romance, not only of two human hearts, but also the romance of a loving Father for His people. The Esther Paradigm is a stand-off-the-bookshelf kind of story that you’ll want to discover.


About the Author

Sarah Monzon.jpgSarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.


Peace, Peril, and Teapots

Here is a wonderful quote/prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson, the 19th century author who penned the books: Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped (and so many more).

Robert Louis Stevenson at Vailima, Samoa not long before his untimely death in 1894
Robert Louis Stevenson – Pinterest
“Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come,
that we be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving one to another.”
WOW! What a powerful quote.
tea-2090190_1920 (1).jpgInteresting that he doesn’t assume that all of his endeavors, even his ‘innocent’ ones will be rewarded with peace and prosperity. In all truth, the measure of our faith shows in trial, not in fortune. What comes out of our ‘teapots’ when we are put under pressure by life’s difficulties, heartaches, or disappointments proves how much we really believe what we say we believe. Oooh, that’s a humbling thought.
Lots of times what comes out is an overflow of what we’ve been putting in. That’s very convicting for me.

Am I willing to be….

Brave in Peril – Ready to take the next step despite the dark and uncertainty because I know God is with me.
Constant in Tribulation – Trusting God even when I’m hurting.
Temperate in Wrath – Not letting my anger control me.
And above all….Loyal and Loving



This is a high standard, but not an unreachable one. God is big and gives us the power to do what He’s called us to do. As we switch our perspectives and renew our minds with His Word and Truth, we become more of what he’s calling us to be. May we fill our minds and with Him, so that when the pressures of life come (and they will), we show how much we trust His control and love.

The Greatest Showman – Review



If you’re looking for a movie with  thought provoking depth, The Greatest Showman isn’t for you, but if you want to watch a movie that is optimistic, fun, exciting, and plays upon the trope of rags-to-riches…with panache, then you will enjoy this story based on the life of entrepreneur and showman, P.T. Barnum.

This movie does exactly what it advertises. Entertains.  I think it tries to capture the bigness of PT Barnum’s imagination by bringing that creativity,  charisma, and larger than life character, into the 21st-century.

It’s a magical adventure sprinkled with more fairy dust than reality, but oh, what a treat! The music, to my surprise, was more modern than historical, but I found myself enjoying most of the songs. They really set the stage (no pun intended) for the emotional power of the story.

The choreography? WOW! There were so many beautiful moments in the blending of song and movement that told their own stories I wanted to watch it again!

Hugh Jackman’s excitement about this movie comes through in every scene. The sweetness of a childhood romance that blooms to adulthood, the strength of family, the power of imagination, And the bonds of finding community are all elements that bring this musical to life.


With a stellar cast, a heart-warming storyline, a message about family, acceptance, and the love for what’s important, and the show-stopper tunes, this movie is a delightful step into the world of entertainment.


Is it predictable? Yes. Are their deeply developed characters? No. Are we left with a heart-stirring truth to ponder for the rest of eternity? Definitely not. But it was never touted as such a movie.

Show business entertains – and The Greatest Showman does just that. It’s a family friendly, energy-packed, sing-along adventure that will be worth another watch or two.

A 2017 Thank You

The older I get the more21762093_1656474161084250_1278632755604947540_n I appreciate priceless gifts.

No, I don’t mean the grand English estate of my dreams

The perfect dress size despite the food intake (though this one continues to vie for top on my Christmas wishlist every year)…

or the one publishing contract to rule them all 😉22089935_10214336915037441_6920393314400122921_n

I mean the sweeter, longer lasting, more eternal type things, like…people, kindness, laughter, memories…time.

There are SOOOOO many precious people who’ve joined the journey of my life with me.

My family is awesome – and I’ve really had the opportunity to watch my kids bloom this year after recovering from a really hard move in 2014 – yeah…it took this long to recover!!


I’ve watched hubs blossom in his calling as a music minister. He truly has a gift to not only create beautiful music, but also encourage the hearts of the people he ministers to.

I’ve seen God save my brother’s life from a horrible car accident – and though there’s been a long recovery, God’s grown my brother’s faith and his family’s closeness in the process.

I’ve experienced another year of awesome sisterhood with the Alleycats, who have added more books to the world, but (more i20770420_1443221062425014_986107590090278444_nmportantly) more sweetness to my heart.

I’ve developed some of the most wonderful friendships through the writing journey – with amazing people like Carrie, Beth, Rachel, Marisa, Meghan, and Rachael…and got an amazing virtual assistant in the process.

I’ve met new inspirations – like Kim Duffy, Hope Welbourn, Denise Hershberger, Erica Hogan, Amanda Wen, Jennifer Rodewald, Becky Hrivnak and so many more… and been inspired by faithful inspirations like Rebecca Maney, Ane Mulligan, Deb Rainey, Mikal Hermanns, Laura Frantz, Beth Vogt, Rachel Hauck, Caryl Kane, Lindsey Brackett, Rachel McMillan, Sarah Monzon, and tons of others (too many to name).

I’ve been able to bathe in the beauty of long-time friendships july2016walkfrom sweet friends like Teresa, Marie, Lindsay, and Jessica.

I’ve enjoyed finding ways to ignite my day job with creativity for my kiddos who have social communication disorders (and work with a few of the BEST spec-ed teachers on the planet)

I’ve been boosted, encouraged, and loved by an AMAZING street team of AMAZING ladies 🙂 (You ARE AMAZING!!!!!!) They’ve celebrated two novel releases and a novella release with me this year – and they’ve put up with my craziness like the champs they are!

20799280_1443220985758355_4275977119238547206_nI’ve gotten to celebrate a big contract with my super-encouraging agent, Julie Gwinn (and have hopes for more exciting stuff in 2018)

And my extended family from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia have just wrapped their love around me with encouragement, sweetness, and loads of prayers.

None of these things are tangibly measurable, but they’re more precious.

17523595_10100184002765259_5459739672877700907_nI suppose Dr. Seuss says it best:

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.19424472_10154721941581453_3098481778719198287_n

Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with me in 2017 – whether through emails, conversations, hugs, notes of encouragement, a listening ear, talking me off ledges (Carrie, Rachel, and Krista), guidance, reviews, prayers, or a varied number of other ways. Presence (through your kindness) trumps presents any day!!


I’m looking forward to journeying into 2018 with you all!!


Pepper Basham 


Book Journeys – Ransom

Creating fictional worlds is one of my favorite things. My 19-year-old, who is also a writer, says that his favorite part of writing is world building and BOY does he love world building. He has documents upon documents about his fantasy worlds, along with languages, cultures, histories, etc.

Now, I’m not too sure I go as in-detail as my son, but I sure do like to know about my fictional places. So instead of taking you on a book journey of a ‘real’ place, today I’d like to introduce you to the town of Ransom from my Mitchell’s Crossroads series.


Ransom is a small town in the southwestern part of Virginia. Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s located about 2 hours (give or take) any direction from a sizeable ‘city’. Ransom boasts somewhere between 7500-9000 people, depending on which old-timer you ask in the General Store.

Moses Cone House - BR Parkway. Must see to appreciate. Bring your walking shoes for a stroll around the lake. Plus, they have a really nice gift shop with many local products that support this beauty!

Originally a lumber town, because of the Tali River, the town housed mostly hardy Scot-Irish immigrants and a few Cherokee until about the Civil War when wealthy southerners wanted to get away from their war torn lands and disappear. Businessman, Anthony Everett discovered Ransom when his northbound train broke down halfway to Richmond. With the benefits of the river, the somewhat temperate climate, and the abundance of natural resources and lumber, Everett bought property and built his country home he called Windermere House. The house was sold in the 1930s to the Adderly family, who soon turned it into an inn with a fantastic view of Canopy Falls and the Tali River.


these old movie theaters were so fun to go to...

Another famous person moved into Ransom’s vicinity. Timothy Crescent, an Englishman from a wealthy family, discovered Ransom when he was passing through on a hunting expedition with some of his friends. He immediately fell in love with the location surrounding Ransom and purchased one hundred acres of land from the surrounding Appalachian people to build The Havens, a sprawling estate passed down for generations. Now a tourist’s dream, the late 1900s Gothic Revivalist manor showcases a bygone age with beautiful gardens and a country house as lovely as any in Europe. Owned and operated by family, The Havens provides continued revenue for the town of Ransom and a historical experience for guests around the world.

Keep it simple and thay will come.  Learn what's important in starting your shop at www.darrylsicecreamsolutions.com

The township of Ransom sits on a level property surrounded by mountains, with the Tali River wrapping around it on two sides. Houses are scattered throughout the mountains and forests surrounding the town, which is where you’ll find Mitchell’s Crossroads. Just take a left at the movie theater and follow the road out through the countryside. 😊

Wytheville, VA
Wytheville – Pinterest


In my imagination, Ransom became a combination of two of my favorite towns near where I grew up. Wytheville, VA and Mt. Airy, NC (Mayberry). Ransom has all the modern conveniences, but Main Street keeps a sense of a “place out of time”. You’ll probably find a Wal-Mart back off the main road. A hospital tucked away from the town closer to the highway, and several schools in various locations outside of the downtown, but Main Street keeps its timeless appeal with a movie theater, ice cream shop, bookstore, etc. Tree lined streets and a fountain in the middle of the town make it almost iconic 😉 Hey, I’m the author, I can make it that way, right?

Mount Airy, North Carolina - Wikipedia
Mt. Airy – Pinterest

What do YOU think are some buildings that MUST be on Main Street in a small town?

CharmingtheTroublemaker 500x750
Charming the Troublemaker is available now!
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Check out Ransom in Minecraft! It is hard having only blocks to build with, but this will give you a visual!

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Upcoming: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, right?

Chestnuts and ornaments and fire’s glow.

Stockings and wisemen and fresh snow.

It also means… MOVIES!

sounf-of-musicAny of you who know me, realize that I’m a big fan of movies, and Christmas movies? Oh YEAH!

There are SO many options and Hallmark usually kicks off the season with a whole host of fun, sweet, magical, and sentimental options. Then, of course, there are the all-time favs, The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, and my brother would add Elf to the list 😉

But there’s one that I’ve watched around Christmas ever since I was a little girl. Music, family, Austria, a few of my favorite things… yep, you guessed it! The Sound of Music.

Julie Andrews, a class act and beautiful lady, paired with the devilishly handsome and charming, Christopher Plummer, bring to life a story of opposites attracting, conflict, hope, finding your dream, and embracing plan Bs.

This holiday season Christopher Plummer is teaming up with another talented (and quite handsome) actor to bring us a new Christmas favorite about one of the most well-known authors of history. Charles Dickens.

Although Mr. Dickens doesn’t have the most glowing personal history, his stories have become classics and one of his classics really brings about the beauty of second chances…and throws a few ‘spirits’ into the mix. A Christmas Carol

christmasBut this year, we get a chance to look behind the scenes of this iconic Christmas film in the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Here’s a little about the film:

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on November 22.

 Want a sneak peek? Check out a film featurette here.

LEAVE a comment and you’ll be entered to win 3 Christmas DVDs – The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol, and Beauty and the Beast (2016)

So…as we start into this holiday season, what is one of your favorite Christmas movies?