Swoony Saturdays – William Preston

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

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Who? Will Preston

Where can we find this dreamboat?  The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips (releasing Nov 2017)

Personality summary: Will is a good guy who’s made some pretty impulsive mistakes that’s turned his world upside down. He’s trusting and kind, but struggles with trying to live up to the expectations of others instead of always choosing what’s best. Though his heart is mostly in the right place, he’s driven to find identity in his career, which sometimes places him in the wrong place at the wrong time. He used to be a dedicated Christian, but a painful wound has left him struggling with his faith and God’s Sovereignty. Thankfully, God never loses hold of His own and He’s placed Will right in the perfect spot to eat a little humble pie, rediscover some perspective, and…maybe even find the love of his life.

What makes us swoon?

I’m a sucker for broken heroes – guys who really need to be rescued. Will is definitely one of those.

His intentions are usually in the right place, even if his follow-through isn’t the best.

He loves his parents. A lot. Family is a heartbeat for him. (which also comes out when he’s hanging out with the heroine’s father. SWEET)

He apologizes to coffee! (you’ll have to read the book to get this one. LOVED LOVED this scene) (Preorder link is below 😉

He looks fabulous in a suit or flannel. Clean-shaven or five-o’clock shadow

Beth Erin says “He rescues damsels from kitchen mayhem”

She also says, “He bakes a mean humble pie and eats it too.”

He has a tender heart and desires to protect the heroine from further hurt at all cost.

Did I mention he looks like Tom Cruise???

Kissing level of such swooniness: Will is a 4 level kisser. Passionate yet also moments of intense tenderness.

What does the author, Krista Phillips, say about her creation?

While it might be dumb and not swoony to others, I love how Will eggs Hanna on, and his ability to carry on banter. I love that he bought Hanna the ring she wanted, no questions asked. I love that he has real regrets and remorse for his actions. I love that even though he is far from God at the beginning, he still saw something precious in Hanna that attracted him to her.

About the Book

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Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations. Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?

Pre-Order Now!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
CBD.com

About the Author

Krista PhilipsKrista Phillips writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at www.kristaphillips.com.

Book Journeys – Reality TV Style   

I just finished fellow Alleycat and dear friend, Krista Phillips’s upcoming novel The Engagement Plot and people…

It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

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I’ll let you read the blurb HERE – but today on Book Journeys we’re going to travel to various places that the characters visit in the book.

If you do not know, it’s a story about two reality TV stars whose onscreen relationship took a pretty nasty turn and now they’re both trying to pick up the pieces of their very public explosion.  I don’t want to give too much of it away, but you need to know three things:

  1. Krista might deny it, but she writes some super duper kisses
  2. The coffee scene. I mean, seriously. You’ll know it when you get there. LOVED IT!
  3. Will has toes of steel.

Our first stop on this book journey is Embarrass, Minnesota

Embarrass, Minnesota - 15 Most Unfortunate Town Names (funny town names, funny city names, weird town names, strange town names, bizarre town names) - ODDEE
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Embarrass, known lovingly as The Cold Spot, got it’s name from the river’s notorious ability to confound/confuse explorers/travelers who were trying to navigate their way through its waters. Early explorers were French, and since the French word for confound/confuse/complicate is similar to ‘embarrass’, the name stuck.

Finnish Dovetail House circa 1900 Embarrass, Minnesota
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A small mining town, Embarrass is known for its Finnish-American Homestead Tours, Ice Candle festivities, small town aura, and…ice fishing (which you read about in the book 😊) Our heroine, Hanna, grew up and lives here.

Which is VERY different than the two homes of hero William Preston.

Downtown Nashville TN [OC] [5660x3773]
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William works as a high-class CEO in Nashville. Now we’ve looked a little at old Nashville last time with Tamara Alexander’s book, but today we’re going to see a few pics of downtown Nashville. “Music City U.S.A” is the largest city in Tennessee and features various ‘parts’ of the city for various tastes 😊

Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee (aka Music City) I can't wait till October and I get to see and experience this!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so exited.
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The Central business district, where our hero Will works, is on the northern side of the city and features Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. The cityscape really is pretty (as far as cities go 😉)

The Parthenon Centennial Park, West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203 USA 615-862-8431
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Because of its musical history, Nashville is home to some of the top recording studios in the nation. It also boasts from great history, from Belle Meade Mansion to the Parthenon, there’s PLENTY to see and experience. And DO NOT forget Music Row!!! (such a colorful place)

21074264_10214025730218015_1511006592_n.jpgKrista’s characters also spend time in the NY/NJ area where Will’s parents live. I LOVED meeting them and I’m sure Krista has a much better picture of their house in mind. But isn’t it just BEAUTIFUL!!!

As November draws closer, I’ll have my review for The Engagement Plot featured, but for now, I just want to introduce you to Krista’s story world AND…of course, introduce her swoony hero on Saturday.

Krista Philips.jpgTo learn more about Krista, check out her new website at www.kristaphillips.com

And learn more about The Engagement Plot HERE (or pre-order…because you’ll want to read it 😉)

Pepper

Year To Date: Change and Abide

christmas2014familyWell, it’s been quite a year – probably one of the most difficult ones of my life, and that’s saying something. For the past three years I’ve chosen a ‘one word’ to focus on throughout the new year. In 2014 my word was Change – and it has definitely been a year of change, transitions, upheavals, and surprises.

In February my husband was offered a full-time job that fit his skill-set and passions perfectly – Pastor of Music Ministry in a  church in Asheville, NC. This meant relocating our family from a place we’d lived for eight years, from a house I’d spent two years renovating, and from a job as a university instructor I loved with friends I adored. For the next four months, my husband stayed in Asheville most of the week and commuted home to us (about an hour and a half drive) for Friday and Saturday. There was so much to do to prepare for the move, of course, including finding a house, checking out schools, and looking for a new job for me. Those months were tough as the rest of our family prepared to transition to our new home with hubs.

IMG_1526Within this craziness, I had three wonderful opportunities. The first was to make a surprise road-trip to St. Louis to visit my crit partner and brand new mom, Amy Leigh Simpson. Along the way I had lunch with Julie Gwinn and dinner with friend and Alleycat, Krista Phillips. IT was a fantastic break in the middle of all the transition.

Secondly, I worked at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference as support staff for Edie Melson and Alton Gansky. It was so much fun to have the opportunity to give back to a conference and a community who had been such an encouragement to me over the years.

Last but certainly not least, was signing with my amazing friend and agent, Julie Gwinn. Wow, what a great match! I’m so thankful. She’s been a wonderful encourager and herald for my stories

IMG_1008We moved to Asheville in the middle of June, the same day I started my new job in a private outpatient clinic. The summer moved along at record speeds and I tried to learn a new paperwork system and adjust my skill set to meet the demands of something quite different than I’d done the previous thirteen years. I missed my colleagues, my students, and teaching. My kids were adjusting to missing their friends and school.

But behind the scenes, Julie was working her magic by beginning a massive network of my writing. She edited my manuscripts, encouraged me in the move and the writing journey, and believed in my writing more than I did at the moment. At the beginning of September, I received my first contract offer. My fun, 10646741_10204870944154085_8514285265217180766_nAppalachian modern day My Fair Lady story, A Twist of Faith, was headed to publication. I officially signed the contract at ACFW with many of my wonderful Alleycats present. God certainly knew what I needed most when he brought them into my life!!!! They’d been such a part of my writing journey I couldn’t imagine signing without them to celebrate with me!!

This conference I also spent time with fantastic encouragers like Jeanne Wynn, Julie Lessman, Beth Vogt, Susan Mason, Rachel McMillian, the amazing Janice Thompson, Jim Rubart, and SO MANY MORE! Wow, I’m blessed!! It was an amazing boost of support to head me into the next big transition.

 

In the middle of November, I received a contract to be a coauthor for a YA book coming out in 2015 associated with a new video game. The game creators, 2nd City Studios, have developed a Steampunk-like game called The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance. It’s been such a fun experience to get to work with these guys in creating a companion novel to go along with their MMO Role Playing Game.

On the heels of this contract came another at the beginning of December – a three-book deal with Vinspire Publishing for my historical romance series, Penned in Time Series. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it was to have an editor be as excited about my book as I was.

jetpackwithcutieI’m in awe, a bit overwhelmed, and really nervous about making this all work for 2015 while being a mom of 5 FABULOUS and FUNNY kids, wife of a minister, and full-time SLP, but I’m finding great encouragement in my new Word for 2015: Abide.

There are many things in this world. Good, bad, crazy, painful, thrilling, unpredictable – but one thing remains the same. God, and his ever-present, all-consuming love for his children.

In John 15, Jesus talks about how to abide, but what does abide mean? In a very generic way, it means to ‘live’, kind of like I abide in my house, but there is much more to it.

It means to rest, to find security, shelter, a ‘framework’ for my life, the structure for what is true and certain.

It’s a beautiful thing to consider abiding in Christ. There is a comfort, strength, and rest in it. It gives us strength because we know our foundation is secure and we’ll always be welcome. We are not called to abide with him because of our goodness, strength, power, beauty, or anything else of our own making, but all because of Christ’s love. That’s it.

As I go into 2015, I pray that throughout all the change, transition, and new adventure, I will keep my heart, mind, and spirit at home in Christ’s love.

Happy New Year and many blessings for 2015

News to Share

10646741_10204870944154085_8514285265217180766_nWell, so much has been going on lately that I figure it’s time for a recap…and just maybe I’ll get back on track to posting at least once a week on this blog 🙂

Ever hopeful!

God has an amazing way of surprising us with more than we expect.

I’ve been pursuing writing for the past ten years and in that time God’s done some amazing things like:

Introduced me to the fabulous Alley Cats

He brought the FABULOUS, Julie Gwinn to be my friend first – and then my agent

Brought wonderful authors like the Seekers, Janice Thompson, Beth Vogt, and so many others into my life

He’s brought teaching and resources to help hone my skills.

And now..well, I’ve joined the roller coaster of published authors.

1. I signed my first contract with Lighthouse of the Carolinas for my Contemporary Romance novel, A Twist of Faith, at the end of September. It’s a fun story that is a modern day retelling of My Fair Lady set in Appalachia. It’s scheduled to release in June 2015.

2. I signed my second contract in mid-November to co-author a Middle Reader/YA novel that accompanies a new video game releasing in 2015.

3. Yesterday I signed a three book contract with Vinspire Publishing for my historical romance series, beginning with The Thornbearer to be released in October 2015. This Penned in Time series takes place during World War 1 and follows the lives of three friends who each struggle with forgiveness and the definition of true beauty as they face a world at war.

I’m excited about these new opportunities but also nervous about how to make it all fit into a very busy schedule as a full-time speech language pathologist and mom of five. It’s great to know if God provided the opportunities, He’ll also provide the ability to complete them 🙂

Here’s to seeing what God ends up doing with MY story in the middle of writing these stories!!

Vacation and GREAT timing

I’m sure many of you understand the thrill of a BREAK! Oh yes, the lovely thought that sleeping in late is okay, that your schedule can feel more relaxed.

Change of scenery.

Ahhh…. my whole body relaxes.

This time it has been particularly cool so far. We started it with a parents’ retreat 🙂

Dwight and I went to the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference on Sunday and came back yesterday. REtreat for Dwight = getting to hang out by himself, sleep, and read. Totally fit the needs he had for ‘relaxing’.  Retreat for me = hanging out with other writers and chatting about imaginary friends. 🙂 Perfect.

I gleaned encouragement, inspiration, and much needed ‘like-mindedness’ among other CHRISTIAN authors. Words are sometimes useless in expressing my joy and gratitude for such an opportunity.

God brought amazing people into my life like Beth Vogt! And I had the opportunity to celebrate with Lisa Carter over her 3 book contract. Ramona Richards surprised me with an amazing gift – Krista Phillips DEBUT novel!!! Then there was amazing introductions with fabulous author Susan May Warren, who is just a wonderful person and wears great shoes 🙂

I got to hug Alley Pals like Melissa Tagg – so sweet and felt a kinship with beautiful Marney McNall – wow, what a lovely person!

There were so many fantastic opportunities and divine appointments 🙂

And now….

We’re headed on vacation with the family (my parents included). Lake Lure! Looking forward to some more opportunities to relaxand create.

Thank you, God!!!

A Visit with Author Krista Phillips

If you don’t know this already, I am a member of a fantastic group writing blog known as The Writers Alley. It’s such a fun place to be – with nine awesome aspiring authors to help bounce ideas, share prayer requests, enjoy funny moments, and gab about writing. Interestingly enough though, many of us have never met in person. We started the Alley online last May with five: Mary Vee, Casey Herringshaw, Krista Phillips, Sherrinda Ketchersid, and me.

In the fall of 2010, God sent five other authors our way: Julia Reffner, Angie Dicken, Sarah Forgrave, Wendy Miller, and Cindy Wilson.

Since ten is one of my favorite numbers, I think our group feels pretty complete. But what would make it even better is to get to meet in person.

We’re all scattered throughout the U.S. so that makes meeting very hard, but this weekend I had the opportunity to meet Krista Phillips. Unfortunately, we met at the hospital where she’d just brought her sweet baby girl, Annabelle, back to the PICU. To learn more about Krista’s amazing journey with Annabelle this past year, you can visit her fantastic blog here.

It’s such a blessing to meet any of these ladies who’ve inspired and encouraged me so much this year. I was grateful to meet Wendy, Sarah, Angie, and Cindy at ACFW last year (and that was WAY before The Writers Alley ever came to be – cool, huh?!?)

With ACFW 2011 just around the corner, I look forward to meeting more of the Alley Cats. Particularly, Casey and Mary – but we’ll be joined by Sarah, Wendy, and Angie too.

Other writing buddies will be there – such as the EXCELLENT Seeker-gals! Oh dear, I love them!

And friends, Carol Moncado, Keli Gwyn, Laura Frantz…and so many more!

Any writing pals-meetups in your future? Whether at ACFW or otherwise?

Also, here are a few pics of the Parthenon in Nashville- a exact replica of the original Parthenon in Greece.

The GENESIS of Friday the 13th

Friday was a very special day. You know why? I started off my morning by taking a driver’s training. Yep – I was chosen from the other faculty members at the university where I work to take the training to drive 15 passenger vans. Exciting stuff, let me tell ya.

I think I heard the phrase “Large passenger vans have a longer stopping time.” “Create a cushion of safety around the van.”

Enthralling, really.

Another repetitive mantra? Don’t BACK UP unless you HAVE to. Hmm….life motto? 😉

This past year, particularly this past semester has been a tough time for me and my writing. Between my first grandmother’s death in October (which shook my world), then an insane work schedule in the spring, plus two boys who needed lots of extra school support, a pastor hubby’s crazy regular schedule, a pretty intense family sickness, and finally my other grandmother’s death two weeks ago – writing time has taken a seat in the trunk….until this week.

What was so special about this week?

Monday – I turned in grades for the semester. PRAISE GOD  I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!

Tuesday – I went to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference as a day-guest….with NO agenda at all. I went for the ‘soul’ purpose of fellowship and encouragement with other Christian writers. DiAnn Mills Writing Romance course was fantastic. Lisa Carter was SUCH an encouragement. I had the fabulous opportunity to meet Gina Holmes, author of Crossing Oceans. It was a beautiful day!
(you can see pics on my facebook page )

Wednesday – I drove back to BRMCWC. Chatted with Deb Raney. Revelled in Ramona Richards “Writing a Lady to Love” workshop (FABULOUS!!!)
Just felt an overall encouragement to start fresh – but don’t BACK UP!!! Start where I was and move forward.

Thursday – Had a great lunch with friends and was promoted to Assistant Director of Clinical Services at East Tennessee State University.
Pretty cool, eh? Sounds fancy, which means a lot more work 😉

Thursday night I prayed for all of my wonderful pals who awaited news about the Genesis. Especially my Writers Alley Buddies, Angie Dicken, Krista Phillips, and Sherrinda Ketchersid. Other pals were Susan Mason, Jeannie Campbell, Jessica Nelson, Anita Mae Draper, Diana Sharples, ….so many wonderful ladies.

Friday – Drivers Training course, then I had to drive to my children’s school during my lunch break to remove a tic from my daughter’s head (happy times – that’s a story for another day). I got back to work. Around 1 (EST)I got a call from  Erica Vetsche. My heart started doing the mamba in my chest. I was either excited or the 24oz of Mountain Dew I’d just consumed was starting to cause arythmias. My YA had finaled in the GENESIS!!! NO STINKIN’ WAY!!!

I’m sure Erica thinks I need medication, btw.

I called my mom right away and while I was on the phone with her,  another call was trying to come through. Since I work with college students from all over the world, I’m used to seeing phone numbers from different places – so I told mom I’d call her back.

When Becky Yauger said my name on the phone, I answered with a VERY shaky ‘yes’. She informed me that my CR had finaled too.

Whether it was professional or not, I did a little happy dance (including junior-high scream) right there in the middle of my very
professional office…(if you don’t count the toys on the bookshelf, the Dr. Pepper lunchbox in the corner, the happy face coffee mug full of chocolate, and
the stuffed chicken in the corner) It was AWESOME!!

I called back my mom, Casey Herringshaw (who told me so), Ruth Logan Herne, Sherrinda Ketchersid, and left a disturbing message on  Mary Connealy’s voicemail (something about how her demotivational technques really worked – I was sHOCKED).

I wish SOOOOO much I could celebrate with my buddies too. Of course, I can. I know my Alley Cats are celebrating with me. I love them for
that. They’ve given me so much love and encouragement this year. You guys are AWESOME!!! (GO ANNABELLE)

Congrats to Jessica Nelson – who is a partner in crime with me in the CR category.  I wish you the best of luck with my whole heart, Jessica!

Now, I’d better start writing, eh? DO NOT BACK UP unless I have to – and move forward…to whatever God has planned.

I’m pretty sure my dear sweet beautiful Grannies are up in Heaven smiling. I know I am.

Thanks all of you who’ve prayed, encouraged, and loved me.
It’s wonderful to share this news with all of you!!!

Blessings,

Pepper