Monday, September 29, 2014

Typewriters, Alleycats and Answering the Call!

Well if you haven’t heard yet, I signed a publishing contract with Lighthouse of the Carolinas last Thursday at the ACFW conference in St. Louis. It is the first small step forward in a very long journey toward publication. Let me give you a quick flashback of inspiration.

I’m an Appalachian girl. In fact, I’m so Appalachian that Andy Griffith is my fourth cousin and “Mayberry” is my old stompin’ ground. Well, “Mayberry” (or Mt. Airy, NC) was considered the ‘city’ to where I grew up about ten miles away. My childhood world in the Blue Ridge Mountains consisted of a culture of storytellers, but not the kind that actually write the stories down – the storytellers I knew were those that shared amazing tales of generations ago. Scots Irish wanderers, stoic Cherokee, British rebels and French aristocrats, who journeyed to the Blue Ridge Mountains and decided build homes there. From those varied natives and immigrants developed a heritage of warriors, adventurers, and….storytellers.

I come from a long line of those storytellers, but I’ve chosen to take my stories and weave them into fiction with a colorful splash of Appalachian humor, romance, and faith.

I started creating stories pretty early in my childhood, but it wasn’t until my Granny Spencer bought a second-hand typewriter for me, that a dream was born.

I was ten years old and remember saying to her. “Thank you, Granny, but why did you get me a typewriter?”

She smiled, her gray-blue eyes twinkling. “Because a writer needs one.”

A writer? Me.

And thus began the journey.

I’ve been story-creating ever since – but I didn’t start “story-crafting” until about ten years ago when I began taking writer’s courses, reading craft books, and attending conferences. I wrote in the nooks and crannies of my life as a pastor’s wife, mother of five and full-time speech-language pathologist. I learned how to make the dream fit into my real world. It’s been a long journey with well over 40 rejection letters and a heap of disappointment to boot, but in the process I’ve strengthened my craft, met some AMAZING writers, joined a ‘sisterhood’ of the most wonderful ladies I know (Alleycats), and been given the opportunity to have a fantastic, compassionate and positive agent represent me. (Thank you, Julie Gwinn)

The dream didn’t come quickly or with fireworks and music. It came in a quiet, unexpected way.

After I met with the lovely Eva Marie Everson at The Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in May, had Julie Gwinn send my full manuscripts to them upon request sometime over the summer, I was pleased to receive a contract offer for one of my books last week.  After some prayer, then some chatting with Julie, we made a quick decision to sign the contract at ACFW so that as many of my Alleycats could be present as possible.  (Because, besides my parents, my granny, my kids, and my long-time buddy, Jessica, The Alleycats have been the BIGGEST encouragers in my life.)

I’m still in some sort of ‘dream fog’ about it all. I’ve been pursuing publication for ten years and now….? What happens next?

I’m getting ready to find out and I’m sure I’ll bring the wonderful Alley readers along with me as I discover what’s on the ‘other’ side of this dream J

I think my granny discovered this dream in me – a dream, designed by God, and cultivated through the care of encouragement and perseverance. God has dreams in all of us – dreams to glorify Him through our lives, whether it is to write a novel, serve a neighbor, journey to the mission field, be a loving parent, or teach in a classroom. He’s working His beautiful plan out in all of our lives. He has encouragers along your journey too.

Sometimes the journey is short

Sometimes it’s long

But there is never a time when it is purposeless.

You and I will fulfill the dreams God’s inspired in us.

Without further ado, here’s a blurb about my upcoming novel, A Twist of Faith.

Dr. Adelina Roseland feels confident she can correct anyone’s speech. Accent reduction is her specialty and she’s worked ten years in research with it to attain her dream job: Professor at the University of Virginia. Her dreams come to a full stop when she is sent to a tiny town in a crevice of Appalachia called Ransom, Virginia, to begin a new program for UVA’s satellite university there. Determined to prove herself, Adelina makes a daring wager with her arrogant supervisor. If she can pass Appalachian cow farmer, Reese Mitchell, off as a Harvard grad and help him with a job interview for a corporation in Chicago, then she can present her research at the National, launching her career to further heights and moving her as far away from Appalachia as possible.

But Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of single-dad Reese Mitchell or his chaotic family. Drawn into a culture she’d been trying to forget for the past fifteen years, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away at the deep wounds of her past. But when Reese discovers that he’s been a mere pawn in her step up the corporate ladder, will he be able to forgive her deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives. And will some good old-fashioned Appalachian grit from a meddling mother rescue this culturally-diverse couple?


With humor, romance, heartbreak, and a twist of faith, find out how this modern day bend on the delightful classic, My Fair Lady, teaches the timeless beauty of second-chances and the eternal truth of everlasting love.



Julia M. Reffner said...

You inspire ME big time, Pep! And I'm so excited about this!!! Can't wait to watch it all unfold!!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Pepper, I couldn't be happier for you. :) I love the glimpse of how your dream took root in you. What a wonderful granny you have (had?). Truly a blessing.

Your book sounds delightful! I can't wait to read it!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh my goodness, I love this! I am so excited for you sweetheart!

Jessica R. Patch said...

Such a great story, Pepper! A BIG hug and congrats to you!! Can't wait to read your book!

Joanne Sher said...

Tickled beyond belief! You can't imagine how excited I am for you - what a GREAT story! Also can't wait to read it!

Pepper Basham said...

You are so sweet! Thank you for saying that. I'm so glad I get to start this journey with YOU guys as my encouragers!
Can't imagine it without you all!

Anonymous said...

THanks, Jeanne. She was a WONDERFUL granny. One of my closest friends. She died about 3 years ago, but I can still feel her encouraging me along this journey. Can't wait to dedicate this first book to her!

Leslie Payne said...

Congratulations, Pepper! It was a wonderful conference and what a *special* event for you! Love your words about the journey, I'm going to hold on to those.

Courtney Ballinger said...

These are my favorite kinds of posts to read. Your grandma sounds wonderful. Congratulations!

Susan Anne Mason said...

I know I said this in person, but congratulations, Pepper!!! SO happy for you and so excited for whatever else the future holds for you!! I'm sure this is just the beginning!


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

This has gotta be my favourite ever Alley post. So proud of you, Pepper! Here's to dreams coming true! You never gave up, and it just proves what you're made of. That's some true Appalachian grit right there. :) Your journey and perseverance is such an inspiration to me. I love this line: "Sometimes the journey is short... sometimes it's long... but there is never a time when it is purposeless." Thank God for that! He uses it all. Your granny sounds like she was an incredible lady. What a gift to give you - not just a typewriter, but the seed of a lifelong dream. I'm sure she would be so proud of you today. Just as all of us are. YOU DID IT, honey!!! You really did it! xoxo

Keli Gwyn said...

Congratulations, Pepper! I'm so happy for you. I squealed when I saw the signing pictures on Facebook.

George Duncan said...

Let me know when your book is out. Will give it a plug on my blog, All my best

George Duncan

Janice said...

And then, of course, I called my good friend Janice to ask her to do the happy dance with me. She quickly obliged.

Unknown said...

Congrats again, Pepper! I'm looking forward to reading your book. :)