Love at First Thought with Margaret Brownley

Well, Margaret Brownley already knows this, but I’ll just share it again.

I absolutely loved all the kissin’ that took place in her novel, A Suitor for Jenny. Love it. And it had such a great mix of humor and conflict (with nicely placed smooches inbetween), I could help but enjoy the read.

Her first inspirational novel, A Lady Like Sarah, has been my FAVORITE of her novels so far, but as far as lip locking action, A Suitor for Jenny is the winner of the two.

Both books are fabulous fun to read.

If you want to get an idea, check out my reviews here:

A Lady Like Sarah

A Suitor for Jenny

Well, Margaret is going to share some inspiration for you.

Years ago I cut a picture from a magazine of a bride hanging upside down from a tree branch. She didn’t seem to care that her hair was mussed, her dress dirty or even that the groom and guests and, heaven forbid, her mother might be panicked.  Who was she?  I wondered.  What was going through her mind?  Who was she marrying?  Love at first thought?  Not exactly, but one day the muse kicked in and I finally had my answers.

Her name is Lucy Fairbanks and you’ll meet her in my June 2011 release A Vision of Lucy.  Lucy is a photographer and will do anything to get the perfect photograph. To that end she climbs trees, jumps fences and falls onto a run-away stage.  She also learns the hard way to never, never ask an outlaw if you can shoot him—whether with a camera or a gun.  As for hanging from a tree, you’ll have to read the book to know how that turns out.

Woohoo, Margaret, I cannot wait to find out more about Lucy.

Thanks for sharing this with us today.

Inspiration from “Beginnings”

Psalm 111: 9-10

He provided redemption for his people;
   he ordained his covenant forever—
   holy and awesome is his name.

 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
   all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
   To him belongs eternal praise.

I heard someone say once “Knowledge may be the right thought, but wisdom is having both the right thought and the right action.”

True wisdom is all based on our starting point, and the best beginning is in the Creator. Why? Because we only see a very small puzzle piece of a very large picture. Our lives are minute segments on a grand palate of eternity, so trusting only in our own finite perspective may seem a bit…foolish?

God Word is a guide of GBR – God’s Best rules. If we trust, respect, and honor our heavenly Father, we try to obey His Word.

Do we fail? Sure, and that’s why we need Jesus, but for the most part God’s ‘rules’ set up a guideline for our safety. His guide for us reigns in the, otherwise, chaos of the world.

We act wisely when we put our trust, confidence, and honor in God by putting it into practice. Doing something.

The ‘beginning’ of wisdom is the recognition and acceptance that God knows best.

Not always easy, but the road that leads to Him is worth the heartaches along the way, because there is a guaranteed ‘happy ending’.

Stop by on Friday for Ruthy Logan Herne!!



Love at First Thought with Mary Connealy

Ever wondered where story ideas come from?

Especially the stories that linger in your thoughts long after the last sentence.

Do the authors filter through pages and pages to create these novels? Are they inspired by family histories, television shows, strange and stranger occurrences, other stories?

Well, if you want to find out, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to the first post of my blog series, Love At First Thought.

I can’t think of a better way to start than with cowboy-author-extraordinaire, Mary Connealy.  In Mary’s free-time, she writes.

A lot.

The evidence is in the fact that she turned out five new books last year, and has four more on the way for 2011. It’s astonishing what this lady can do.

I want to be like her. Do you think she’s share her DNA? Or at least her creativity? 😉

Speaking of creativity, let’s go back to the beginning with Mary’s first book, Petticoat Ranch.

In Mary’s case, her first novel was inspired by Dirty Harry.

That’s right.

In fact, here’s what Mary has to say:

Petticoat Ranch started with two ideas.

The second Dirty Harry movie, the one about vigilantes, and he said/she said.

A man in an all girl world.

(And if you’ve never read Petticoat Ranch it’s a MUST. SOOOO hilarious, with a hefty dose of Mary’s trademarks: male/female banter, adventure, gunfire, and humor. WONDERFUL!!!

But Mary didn’t stop there. To get a good taste of the various ways in which inspiration may come, here is a quicklist of Mary’s novels – and the ‘thoughts’ that inspired them. (my comments are in italics)

Petticoat Ranch: Vigilantes. Dirty Harry, the 2nd one with vigilantes. I think it’s Magnum Force. (faith message, how does a Christian handle very justifiable hate) A movie inspiration

 Calico Canyon: A Sunday School class I taught once. (faith message, you’re not truly free if you’re living with constant fear)

Real-life inspiration

 Gingham Mountain: Orphan Trains (in the beginning, in Gingham Mountain, Charlie was an angel, really, but when that got vetoes, I made him a seriously badly behaved little trouble maker. But he saves the day in the end and that was the remnant of the angel)

Historical research inspiration

 Montana Rose: Love Comes Softly (by Janette Oake)…with gunfire and mayhem (abuse can break the spirit and it’s hard to heal when your self-doubt is deeply embedded)

Novel Inspiration (stealing from someone else…with a twist 😉

 Wildflower Bride: Two people who belonged nowhere except with each other. Faith message (How does a strong, independent man turn his life over to God.

A ‘what if’ inspiration

There you have it, guys. Some tips about where Mary’s books originated. Have you ever gotten a novel-idea from a movie?

Give us a glimpse into your story the movie inspired.

And thank you, Mary – for letting us have a little glimpse into your creative world.

Inspirational Thought:

For the length of this series, I want to introduce you to some verses in the Bible that have the phrase ‘in the beginning’.

The very first one?

Genesis 1:1 “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

In the beginning, God’s story began. A story he would write from His first ‘Word’ to the very last. He took the emptiness of darkness, and filled it with His light, and the great Storyteller began to weave a tale greater than any other in all of history.

A tale of rescue, redemption, riches, ruthlessness, and royalty.

But most of all – a story of love.

Into the darkness, God brought forth light with just a word.

And into our lives, he brings forth stories. Inspired by His ways, wisdom, and words.

In this world, created by His words, we step with wonder- waiting for inspiration to unfold at any turn.

Out of a darkened, empty page – God guides us into situations that dawn a novel in our minds. He’s created us as writers – for His glory.

But most of all – He’s brought us out of the darkness of our sin, and lightened our soul with His love. A love that should inspire us to show the world what true love really is.


Stop by Wednesday to find out the inspiration behind Margaret Brownley’s first inspy novel, A Lady Like Sarah.

Love At First Thought – Weekly Lineup

Well, this first week of Love at First Thought is getting ready to start. I’m so excited about my first guests.

Love at First Thought lets readers enjoy the spark of inspiration behind some of the stories they’ve enjoyed. A story begins somewhere, somehow, and basically ‘anything’s possible’.
 Amazing Monday with Mary Connealy


Wonderful Wednesday with Margaret Brownley


Fabulous Friday with Ruth Logan Herne (affectionately called Ruthy)

New Blog Series on the way….

Okay, so I’ve been a bad blogger.

And I have a loooong list of great excuses, but I’m sure you’d much rather hear my other news 😉

Starting next week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll start a series entitled: Love At First Thought

Stories start from somewhere and sometimes in the most unexpected places – so…

Award winning authors will let us in on the inspiration behind their first novels.

Get ready for some fun, faith, laughter, and love…and maybe a little bit of weirdness (so come with your imagination firmly intact).

We’ll hear from authors like:

Patti Lacy

Julie Lessman

Mary Connealy

Ruth Logan Herne

Tina Russo Radcliffe

Siri Mitchell

Missy Tippens

Jamie Carie

Keli Gwyn

Margaret Brownley

and more….

Starting Monday, February 7th!

Come join the imagination…and allow the overflowing creativity to inspire you too.


photos above  from:

A Suitor For Jenny by Margaret Brownley

What’s the best way to send a book into romantic orbit? Put a kiss between two opposing forces within the first 2 chapters.

And in Margaret Brownley’s newest book, A Suitor For Jenny, there is a WHOLE LOT of kissin’ goin’ on!

It all starts with a stubborn and guilt-ridden big sis, who wants to see her two younger sisters in good marriages, so she sets out to do just that: Interview men and make the perfect match so her sisters will be given the life and love Jenny knows she can never have. By following a simple book, The Compleat and Authoritative Manual for Attracting and Procuring a Husband, Jenny plans to see her sisters never have to live through the poverty they’d known as children. But she might be consulting the wrong book – because God’s plans and man’s plans can end up looking very different.

When Jenny’s antics puts her in the way of Marshal Rhett Armstrong, a whole lot more than stubbornness starts taking place her head…and her heart. As her best-laid plans dissipate one by one, can Jenny come to terms with the fact that God’s designs create the greatest invention of her life? Will her past come back to steal her hope for a future? And in all reality, which sister will get married first – if at all?

The Abigail Adams quotes throughout the book were priceless. I’m going to read it all over again just for the quotes, but Margaret is FABULOUS at painting pictures filled with poignancy and humor. Oh what a fun read!!

Here’s a blurb about the book from Amazon:

After their parents died, Jenny felt responsible for seeing that her two younger sisters were well taken-care of. Tipped off by an article naming Rocky Creek the town with the highest number of eligible bachelors, Jenny rolled into this Texas town with a clear objective: find suitable husbands for her two sister and then start fresh somewhere far, far away.

Jenny believe that women who fall in love at first sight often wish they’d taken a second look, so she diligently begins to follow all the rules set forth in her handy manual on how to land a husband.

But while Jenny is interviewing the less-than-promising candidates, her sisters are falling in love the old-fashioned way–with men of their choosing. And the longer Jenny stays, the more her sense of control slips away. The town isn’t living up to her expectations, her sisters are rebelling against her practical choices, and soon her own heart starts to betray her, as US Marshall Rhett Armstrong stirs emotions in her that weren’t part of her plan.

To relinquish her control to God and calm her restless spirit, she’ll need to give her foregone conclusions about marriage, love, and faith.

A wonderful way to spend Christmas Break…or any break for that matter.

Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Margaret Brownley

Her  inspirational novel, A Lady Like Sarah, was fantastic and her second book in the series, A Suitor for Jenny, has already received praise from readers. If you’ve never had the opportunity to read Margaret Brownley’s novels, then get to the nearest bookstore as soon as you can.

I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in on her class at ACFW – with a load of resources.

Today, she is my special guest and I’m so happy to welcome her to Words Seasoned with Salt.

Margaret, welcome – and thank you for being here today.

Hi Pepper, lovely idea.
So, Margaret, what do you think makes for a nice ‘falling into love’ scene?
Falling in love can be beautiful but it can also be torturous.  The hero in my book A Suitor for Jenny accidently killed his best friend during the War Between the States, and he’s never forgiven himself.  For this reason he doesn’t believe he deserves any sort of happiness.  Realizing he is in love with Jenny nearly kills him.
Oh Margaret, I cannot wait to A Suitor For Jenny!! Do you have a sneak peek for us today? Yes, you say!!

Excerpt from A Suitor For Jenny
The following scene picks up after Jenny’s two sisters tell the marshal that Jenny likes him.
  Rhett sat at his desk in a state of confusion. She liked him. He shook his head. Jenny likes him?  Not possible.

            He didn’t meet her standards. His bank account was pitiful. What extra money he had, he sent to Leonard’s elderly parents. It was the least he could do for killing their son.

            Her sisters were simply . . . what? Confused? Misinformed? Imagining things!

            And what did it matter if she liked him or not? She’d been nothing but trouble since blowing into town. Thumbing her nose at his profession. Stirring up the men.

Riling up the women. Now that she was leaving, maybe the town could get back to normal, and he could concentrate on restoring order.

            Yes, it really was for the best, Jenny leaving and all.

He stood and paced around his office. Of course, Rocky Creek would never be the same once she was gone. Big blue eyes that seemed to change color at the drop of a hat. Yellow hair that turned to liquid gold in the moonlight.

            He shook the thought away. Maybe once she left town, the annoying memory of her sweet lips would go away. Perhaps then he could concentrate on work instead of wasting time watching for her to pass by his office.

            The last thought struck him like a bolt from the sky. He hadn’t really thought about it, but that’s exactly what he did. He stopped pacing. He smiled at the memory of her walking by in that determined way of hers, shoulders back, head held high. His smile faded away. No denying it; he waited for her to walk past his office. Now why would he do that? To make sure she stayed out of trouble? Or . . . ?

            He shook his head. There was no other possibility. He was simply doing his job and that required him to watch her like a hawk.

It didn’t matter that she was leaving town. Didn’t matter all. He didn’t care if she stayed or left. Made no difference to him either way.

            Oh, but it did. It did.

            No matter how hard he tried to convince himself he wanted her to go, he couldn’t ignore the pain that ripped through him. Mary Lou’s words continued to claw at him and refused to go away. Jenny liked him.

And he liked her.


He’d denied it, ignored it, and pretended it wasn’t true, but no matter how hard he fought his feelings for her, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. It started with a simple kiss—a kiss meant to disarm her, nothing more. Instead, it broke through the guilt and grief that had encased his heart all these years. He had killed his best friend. He didn’t deserve to love or be loved. He didn’t.

And yet . . .

He couldn’t bear the thought of her leaving town.

Leonard, will you ever forgive me, my friend? Will you ever ever forgive me for wanting what you can no longer have?

            With quick, determined movements, he plucked his hat off a nail and pressed it hard on his head. He had run his share of misfits and troublemakers out of town since taking over as marshal, but never had he wanted anyone to go as much as he wanted Jenny to stay.

Thanks so much for being here, Margaret, and sharing this excerpt from A Suitor for Jenny. If it’s as good as A Lady Like Sarah, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Inspirational Moment:

Ephesians 1:3-6

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Remember, there is nothing you have done or will do to make God love you. He just does.

In the same way, there is nothing you have done or will do to take his love from you. He just will. Always. The most beautiful part of His love, His ‘lavish gifts’, is that he takes pleasure in it. He loves loving us. Oh what a Savior!

Seasons Change and WINNERS!

Well, well – it’s another wonderful week of authors and excerpts and moments of revelation.

I took this picture last weekend, just as the leaves are starting to change. What a view! What a GOD!

So – before we get to the weekly lineup – let’s announce some winners.

Winner of Mary Connealy’s new release Wrangler in Petticoats, is Cindy Martin.

Casey Herringshaw is the winner of Patti Lacy’s book, What the Bayou Saw.

Please send me your snail mail address to pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com

Congrats to the winners!!

Okay – so what’s happening this week?

On Monday, we welcome author Margaret Brownley. Margaret taught a wonderful class at ACFW on writing historical fiction. LOTS of resources.

Wednesday, Janet Dean joins us. (she’s the lovely lady in middle of this picture)

Friday brings the Queen of Kisses, Julie Lessman.

Stop by and join the fun!

I Need A Hero – Intelligence

Myra Johnson, Love Inspired author gives her hero answers today. I can’t wait to get my hands on Myra’s newest novel, Romance By The Book, It sounds like something right up my alley. Sweet, romantic, wonderful hero. Sigh. Anyway, Myra happens to be one of the lovely Seekers too.

If you’d like to learn more about Myra’s books, visit

To take a peek at Seekerville, visit

 So, Myra – what are your top three hero characteristics?

Hmmm, had to think about this for a couple of days. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Intellectual intelligence

2. Emotional intelligence

3. Quiet courage

 Oh, what fun. She used big words!

Who doesn’t like a hero with smarts? Really. No one wants to read about a dense hero, unless it’s the vulnerability of social awkwardness – as in Siri Mitchell’s new novel She Walks In Beauty. The hero, Harry, has spiritual and emotional insight, but he doesn’t quite ‘get’ the social nuances of high society rules, which makes him all the more endearing.

Intelligence, both intellectual and emotional, is a hallmark of a hero. Think of some of the most memorable heroes and try to imagine them without ‘smarts’ or emotionally insight for the heroine or his family.

Mr. Darcy without his quick wit or concern for his sister – eventually  his concern for Elizabeth.

Rhett Butler without his brilliant schemes and wooing charm.

Sherlock Holmes without his unprecedented intellectual prowess

From some more recent examples,

Mary Connealy’s hero, Red, in Montana Rose  has emotional intelligence toward Cassie – which is a catalyst for her growth.

Justin Wells in Margaret Browley’s book A Lady Like Sarah has spiritual intelligence, even if he fumbles taking out a man’s bullet and building a campfire. It’s this spiritual depth and compassion that shocks poor Sarah into contemplation about her own soul.

Okay, so to be perfectly honest, I love the socially clumsy sort, who are trying to figure their ways into their lady-loves hearts There’s something endearing about a guy who is trying to do the ‘right’ thing and fumbles about with a little bit of nerves. Even Mitch Dennehey in Julie Lessman’s book A Passion Redeemed gets a bit shocked by the daring and passionate Charity O’Connor. 

but smarts are definitely a plus, in whatever form.

What is one of your most brilliant heroes? Why?

Hero Quote:

It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” – Rene Descartes

Inspirational Quote:

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.

You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross.

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
I Corinthians 2:6

True wisdom comes from God. True ‘smarts’ – and the best inspirational heroes either start out knowing this, or learn it along the way. The PERFECT hero is the best teacher for increasing intelligence.