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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Book Journeys – Bath, UK #1

second-impressions-cover-embellishmentsMy upcoming novella, Second Impressions, which is released in a fun compilation called Love at First Laugh, takes place in the beautiful city of Bath, UK during the Jane Austen Festival.

 

A few things of note:13882671_10210072079179210_8611067354192595449_n

  1. Bath is a beautiful city.
  2. There’s lots more to see than just what is in the city.
  3. The spirit of Jane Austen is still alive and well in Bath – especially durin
    g this festival 😉

So, since Second Impressions is on the way, I thought I’d share some highlights from my visit in July 2016, so you guys could enjoy some of the sights.

My heroine, “Austen nut” Nora Simeon, arrives in Bath to her lovely inn. Now, my inn in the novella is fictional, so I’ve put a phot13654186_10210072085059357_6555886267897989381_no up of a LOVELY building in Bath that just looked delightful! The Huntsman.

There are all sorts of shenanigans that happen to poor Nora…and her new acquaintance, Ethan Keller.

One of Nora’s first stops is to practice dancing at the Assembly Rooms in Bath – so you’ll see a few photos of those and a FUN video of my daughter in the middle of one of the ballrooms.
The grand Promenade down the streets of Bath happens pretty early during the Jane Austen Festival – so here’s a photo of one of the streets and a few of the lovely buildings.

Now…Part 2 – I’ll share some photos of the Jane Austen Centre and Tea Room as well as the Roman Baths….the city’s namesake. BOTH play a fun part in my novella, Second Impressions.

Bonus points if you know why the title of my novella is important 😉

The novella is part of the Love at First Laugh collection which is ONLY .99!! That’s less than a dollar for 8 fun stories. You can preorder it HERE – and enjoy these stories in only a little over a week!

 

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?

 

Upcoming Writerly News

penned-in-time

2016 proved a pretty busy writing year for me.

In February, the second book in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Keeatwistoffaith-500x750_v2finalper, hit the shelves. In April, my first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, made its debut to kick-off the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, and my historical romance series came to a end (close to home) with the release of The Thorn Healer in December.

What’s on the horizon for 2017?

Well, it looks like it’s going to be a contemporary romance year for me!

In March, my first novella arrives as a compilation with a lot of wonderful authors. It’s romantic (because….why would I write anything else 😉 AND comedic. The compilation is entitled Love at First Laugh and my Jane Austen inspired novella is called Second Impressions. (Bonus points if you know why that title has a double meaning).

15941082_10211748002556247_3298997609762240397_nIn April, my favorite book I’ve written (to date) releases. Just the Way You Are is the first book in A Pleasant Gap Romance series. This is a lighter and much more comedic-styled book that takes all the things I love most and pushes them together in one story 🙂 I’ll be posting more about it throughout the weeks leading up to release, which is April 6th!!! If you’re fond of England, the Blue Ridge Mountains, swoony heroes, hysterical heroines, adorable children, crazy families, a teeny bit of matchmaking, AND a historical mystery…well, this book is for you 🙂  Oh, and if you like romantic comedies like those with Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, or Amy Adams…well, that sweet-spot of pixie dust has been reserved for this kind of story! Funny, romantic, and sprinkled with just a little bit of magic. 

COVER REVEAL is on Valentine’s Day!! 

And the long-anticipated second book to the Mitchell’s Crossroads series arrives in November. Charming the Troublemaker takes readers right back into Mitchell’s Crossroads where an unlikely hero and a reluctant heroine must work together to save a tutoring clinic. Sparks fly all over the place with these two. He’s a flirt. She hates flirts.  Makes for some funny conflict and great banter.

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.

moonbow-victoria-falls
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!!

 

 

Release Day!! Book Birthday #4

the-thorn-healer-finalWow! It’s been a crazy year, but after lots of hard work and some brainstorming help from my super duper brainstorming team and agent, Julie Gwinn – we have a new book baby!!

Yes! Today, the third book in the Penned in Time series is here!

This book is a little different than its two predecessors. Here are a few differences:

  1. The Thorn Bearer used both the Blue Ridge Mountains and England for settings. The Thorn Keeper used England. The Thorn Healer takes place completely in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
  2. The Thorn Bearer (TTB) and The Thorn Keeper (TTK) are best read together, but The Thorn Healer (TTH) can stand alone – although you might enjoy it more if yousee how the heroine, Jessica, changes from book one to book three.
  3. Though The Thorn Bearer has follows the timeline of the sinking of the Lusitania in its first few chapters and The Thorn Keeper has pinpoint historical events within it, The Thorn Healer follows a close set of historical events surrounding the small mountain town of Hot Springs. 

tth-rt-reviewpromoWhat else to know about The Thorn Healer? It received 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times and was listed as a Top Pick!! 

So if you’re looking for a good Christmas present for yourself…or someone else, try out this story. It’s even green for Christmas colors 😉

You can purchase it for kindle or paperback at: http://a.co/ifMvDfg

Want to know more? Watch the book trailer here

And join the Blog Tour happening this week and next through Singing Librarian Books!! YAY!

Special shoutout to Carrie Schmidt, Meghan Gorecki, Rachael Wing, Mikal Hermanns, Marisa Deshaies, Rachael Farnsworth Merrit, Judy Bush, and Julie Gwinn!!!

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In Pieces

christmas2016It’s Christmas!

So, of course, my family is enjoying the process of pulling out ornaments we’ve collected through the years and safeguarded for posterity’s sake 🙂 These are special treasures of time – a preschool craft, a specially designed momento, a uniquely-perfect gift.

So….it is ironic that just this morning one of my favorite ornaments fell from the top of our gorgeous tree and smattered into seven different pieces. It’s a sphere-shaped ornament, hand-crafted to display amatuer representations of each member of my family in-piecesfrom 2011. It’s personal. It shows our family. I MADE it.

And now it’s broken.

As I worked to piece back the ornament, which will clearly not go back together into its original form, I was reminded of my upcoming release, The Thorn Healer.

Why?

Because it’s all about healing.

But unlike my ability to get this ornament back into perfect shape, God is able to make things new.

Completely restored….or even better.

piecing-back-togetherBy the use of my own skills, I can only do so much to fix this keepsake. It will still look cracked and damaged, and I’m certain it will still have a hole in the back because some of the pieces were crushed too small to replace, however God (through Christ) restores our brokenness of soul and spirit to even better than what it was before.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.”

Ultimately, God is out to set things right in his vast creation. In Revelation 21:5, he says “I am making all things new.”

We are in a world of broken people and broken things. Many times the wounds and scars of others spill over to wound and scar us. And, let’s face it, we’re pretty good at bringing pain on ourselves too.

Our own works, strength, smarts…whatever, will never be enough to ‘make us new’ and completely heal our hearts and lives.
But Christ can do much better than my shattered ornament and man-made glue can do.

He can take the most broken heart

the most shattered spirit

the most confused mind

and make them new

Because of His great love.

My character, Jessica Ross, learns this lesson and God continues to teach it to me on a daily basis.

May His healing arms of love take our brokeness and make us new by His grace. 

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Creating a Word…Shakespeare-style

imageYou know what happens when you leave a creative mind in a car alone for too long?

Crazy stuff.

Like….creating a word that holds the essence of your brand! YES!

Historic note: It is theorized that playwright William Shakespeare first cited from over 200 to 1500 words! Whether he was the inventor of them or not, we can’t know for sure, but he’s given credit for a BIG bunch of them.

Another historic note you can use on Jeopardy some day: Author John Milton is said to have coined over 600 words still listed in the Oxford Dictionary! WOW!!

Word inventing is cool…especially if it is meaningful to the story or author 🙂

2011-05-14 11_16_52I have channeled my inner Williams Shakespeare/John Milton and created a word that embodies the type books that I usually write.

Are you ready for it? It’s the FIRST time anyone has EVER seen it in cyberspace. (except a very small group of individuals with whom I shared it first to make sure I wasn’t going completly off my rocker…or if I WAS going completely off my rocker, they were rocking right along with me. So I’m not alone 🙂

And…my agent approved…which means she’s off her rocker too – OR – she knows when to encourage a good branding strategy 😉

This new word embodies THREE key elements of my stories:

  1. Those of you who follow my writing know that I’m an Appalachian girl. The Blue Ridge Mountains are my home and such a part of my heart and stories. So many of my novels have some sort of Blue Ridge Mountain or Appalachian element in them.
  2. You ALSO know that I have an obsess….um….deep interest in all things British. From England to Scotland to Wales and Ireland, I love it – cheers and all. Many of my novels reflect this infatuatio…um…interest by involving a character and/or setting of the UK.
  3. Most of my novels hold some element of culture clashing. Yes, oh yes, I love to pair two different cultures together and watch the story unfold with all of its humor, conflict, and steps-to-understanding. SUCH fun!

day1So, without furthur embellishment from yours truly, here is the word I’ve created 🙂

Britallachian

Yes, you read that right!

I write Britallachian novels.

Woohooo!!! Just so you know, I will begin to use this word freely and probably drop it in the middle of conversations with unashamed and completely biased pride 🙂 (note the fun-loving sarcasm)

Have you ever created a word? Do you have a brand? If you’ve read my novels, do you think the word fits?

Share, oh share!!

The Thorn Healer – Cover Reveal

TTHgraphicYou guys know I love any excuse to party! And today I have a great one!!!

The third installment of the Penned in Time series (my very first series EVER published) has a cover! The Thorn Healer!!

And you all know that I’ll wait to the very end of the post to show the cover, right?….(okay, how many of you scanned down there early? Are you the same ones who read the last page of a book first?) 🙂

Anway, The Penned in Time series has such a special place in my heart because of the time period, the depth of story, and the fact that I survived writing two additional books within a year! The Thorn Healer is also close to my heart because, not only does it touch on some deep spiritual truth and take place in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it has a completely adorable hero! ADORABLE!!!

TTH graphic2August Reinhold!!! YAY!!!

If you’ve been following along with the series, you’ll recognize three main female characters introduced in the first book, The Thorn Bearer: Ashleigh, Catherine, and Jessica.

Each has her own story – and The Thorn Healer is Jessica’s. Ironic that the one who needs healing the most is also a nurse. We’ve seen Jessica throughout each book until finally we get to read her story…and hopefully, she gets to find her happy ending too.

The novel was the hardest of the three to write. I think it might be because Jessica’s personality was the most different from mine than the other three heroines, but I’m not sure. I might have been from exhaustion too 🙂

Releasing three books in a year and writing another within that same year is an incredibly difficult and daunting experience when you also have a day job, a full family, and other responsiblities. But I’m proud of this story of hope and peace.

TTH graphic1The story takes place in the real tow of Hot Springs, NC – a very small place couched by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unfortunately, the amazing Mountain Park Hotel no longer stands, but remnants of the hotel are still visible on the site – and the hot springs are still in use.

As far as the German internment camp goes, I found most of my information from Jaqueline Painter’s amazing pictorial entitled The German Occupation of Hot Springs. Up until rather recent history no one knew of the camp’s existence because the residents of Hot Springs refused to talk about World War 1 era Germans once World War 2 hit. It became a shameful memory, but Mrs. Painter (a native of Hot Springs) unearthed pictures and stories so that this amazing tale could now come to life in The Thorn Healer.

So…….

Without further ado, here is the most AMAZING cover of the three (in my opinion)

The Thorn Healer, available November 28, 2016

The Thorn Healer Final

And here it is – The Penned in Time series.

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