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!!

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

We Have WINNERS!

Okay – I love announcing winners, but also hate it, because not EVERYONE can win.

Of course, SOME people win much more than their fair share, no names mentioned (SHERRINDA!!!)

But for last week, let’s celebrate with our two winners.

Barb won Janet Dean’s novel, The Substitute Bride.

Barb, if you’ll send me your snail mail to pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com – I’ll get the info to Janet.

Julie’s newest novel, A Hope Undaunted, goes to …. Sherrinda.

I know, I still can’t believe it. That’s 6 books she’s won from Julie in about two years. Insane – but true.

Don’t lose heart though.

Tomorrow, Myra Johnson visits, with a chance to win her novel, Where the Dogwoods Bloom.

and on Friday, Jamie Carie is here with a chance to win her new ‘wintry’ release, The Snowflake. A lovely story.

Stop by and visit – but also visit Sherrinda’s blog and tell her that she can’t enter anymore Julie Lessman contests, okay? Tell her I sent you 🙂 http://sherrindak.blogspot.com

Sizzling First Encounters with Aspiring Author Sherrinda Ketchersid

 

Okay – so I love to brag. Lots. Especially about my favorite people – and it just so happens that one of those favorite people is my guest today.

We’re kindred spirits.

In lots of ways.

Both pastor’s wives, both moms of multiple kids, both somewhat smiley, and –low and behold- we both like to write.

 Aspiring to inspire together 🙂

 It’s no wonder that we’ve become critique partners along this journey.

Sherrinda started writing only two years ago and has already garnered an award – Finalist in the Touched By Love contest in May of this year. Now she’s waiting to hear the results, but either way, she’s a winner.

You can learn more about Sherrinda by visiting her terrific blog at http://sherrindak.blogspot.com

So Sherrinda, what do you think makes a great first encounter?

I think what makes a great first encounter is an instant awareness, maybe even attraction, yet knowing you cannot act on or further the connection with one another. It’s that tension of want-yet-can’t-have. I believe arguing and finding fault in the other as a way of coping with the “want” is another great way to bring the tension to the forefront. I know my characters argue a lot due to suppressed desire for one another (and when I say desire, I don’t necessarily mean what you think I mean).

 And exactly what is it that you think I think you mean? LOL.

Alright, I think you have an excerpt from your novel –  If My Heart Could Speak.

Set up:

Disguised as a boy, Jocelyn fled the convent holding her prisoner and found safe passage home squiring for the knight Malcolm who was on his way there for a tournament. He found out her ruse when she was wounded in a fight, but has agreed to keep her as squire—because he is a chivalrous knight. He does insist she take a bath, because he doesn’t want a scruffy squire shaming him at the tournament. This scene is his first encounter with Jocelyn looking like a woman and not a dirty boy.

“Are you bathed and presentable?”

Malcolm’s deep voice penetrated the silent darkness, sending a pleasant shiver through her. She gathered the cloak about her and found her voice. “Aye.”

She felt vulnerable, but garnered her courage as he came into view carrying a large bundle of wood.

He stopped midstride. His gaze found hers and pierced through her like sunlight spilling through dark clouds. She gripped the cloak tighter as he set the wood down at his feet and came to stand before her.

Jocelyn couldn’t find any coherent thoughts to string together to make speech. Malcolm stood in silence, eyes still on hers, gray on blue. 

Without breaking the stare, he reached out a finger and caught a droplet of water at the tip of one of the curls resting against her cheek. Her heart stuttered to a stop.

“By the saints, how could I have mistaken you for a lad?” he murmured.

His gaze moved over her face and lingered on her lips. Heat bloomed on her cheeks and her breath caught as his face inched toward hers. Faith, was he going to kiss her?

She wrestled with the desire to feel his lips on hers and the complete impropriety of such an action. She should push him away, and yet her eyes closed on their own accord.

She prayed for strength, her lips moving in silent supplication.

The sound of air sucked in over teeth jostled her back to reality. She opened her eyes to see Malcolm shake his head and back away from her. It was with a mixture of regret and relief that she squared her shoulders and smiled up at him.

He merely crossed his arms over his broad chest and lifted the corner of his mouth. “You clean up fairly well, for a girl on the run. ‘Tis possible you won’t shame me, little man.”

Woohoo! Sherrinda, that was beautiful. Oh my, what’s going to happen with the two of them? Sigh. I wanted to yell “Kiss de girl.” 😉

Thanks for showcasing your talent today. I’m so tickled to have two (possibly three) more aspiring authors willing to share their first encounters for next week. Prepare to see their work on Monday, Wednesday (and hopefully Friday).

Tomorrow, I hope to post my review of Mary Connealy’s newest novel, Doctor in Petticoats. Stop by to learn about it.