book review, giveaway

Review/Giveaway: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, Laurel’s Dream

A British Missionary Meets a Chilly Welcome in a Remote Appalachian Community. 

my heart belongs_blue ridge_pepper basham

About the book:

Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination.

Faced with parents angry over his teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom

Journey into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman’s dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long-held traditions.

My thoughts: 

Pepper Basham has done it again! While I love her contemporary “kissing books”, I was captivated by this story set in the Blue Ridge mountains, rich with Appalachian culture and lore. From the quaint Appalachian speech to the lusciously painted setting, each page drew me into a world I’d never experienced, yet came to love.

This is one of the sweetest love stories I’ve read in a long time. Laurel is tenderhearted and kind while being amazingly strong in the face of difficult circumstances. Her wisdom and spiritual insight combined with her innocent faith make her a compelling character that you grow to love and want to protect. Jonathan is not unlike Laurel in his good-natured personality and innate sense of right and wrong. He, like Laurel, is a kind soul who learns to love the foreign culture of the mountains even though he is like a fish out of water.

The growth of Laurel and Jonathan’s friendship is sweet and delicately blooms into a  beautiful love that satisfying and very swoon-worthy. Yes, Pepper writes kissing scenes that rivals that of Julie Lessman.

I highly recommend this book to any reader of historical romance. It’s rich in history and culture while giving a fantastic romance that will put a smile on your face.

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I’m giving away a print copy of  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream! If you would like to enter, please leave a comment below.  Giveaway ends Friday at midnight. Winner will be drawn using random.org. Only US citizens eligible.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can purchase a copy HERE.

UPDATE: Winner of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is:

Caryl Kane

one word, personal, writing

My One Word for 2019

One Word 2019My One Word for 2018 was CULTIVATE. As I look back on what I wanted to cultivate last year, I’m amazed at how I was able to work on the different areas of my life, cultivating and growing those areas to where I was able to accomplish more than I thought possible. True, some of my ideas didn’t come to fruition, but I grew in my writing, my home, my relationships, and my beautiful garden. It was a good year.

As I prayed over what my word for 2019 should be, I kept seeing the word WHISPER show up in different writings I was reading. I thought that was a weird word to choose, but after many confirmations, it is the word I ended up with.

WHISPER:  to speak very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy.

VERSES FOR 2019: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, “This is the way you should go”, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 NLT

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I want to be still enough to quiet my soul from the world’s chatter so I can hear His whisper. I want to hear his directives for my life and step out in faith to follow Him wherever He leads.

I also want to whisper Him to everyone in everything I say and everything I do. I don’t want to shout about Him and turn people away. I want to whisper Him…a subtle thing…a tantalizing whisper that makes people lean in to hear.

One of the beautiful things about the word whisper is that you use your breath to speak. The English word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin word ‘spiritus’, which means breath. The Spirit of God is the breath of God.

I want to feel God’s breath move over me…to know Him, experience Him. I want my words (spoken or written) to breathe His Spirit into all aspects of my life. I want to be fruitful for Him.

So that is my word for the year. Do you have a word for the new year? Resolutions? Goals? What are your hopes for 2019?

Sherrinda Signature

writing

Are you NaNo-ing?

NaNoingTomorrow, November 1, begins National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is the month where writers all over the country attempt to write 50,000 words on their current work-in-progress (WIP). That means you have to write 1,667 words a day, which is about seven pages a day.

I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo twice and failed both times. There were several factors contributing to my inability to finish, including a stressful full-time job and, of course, all things Thanksgiving.

But this year is different!

This year I am at home with only a part-time job where I set the hours. This time I have prepared. I’ve had an idea for my second medieval and have four chapters written, but I knew if I wanted to be successful and write quickly, I needed a roadmap for my writing.

So this week I’ve worked out a skeleton plot, with ideas for about 25 scenes. I’m hoping as I get into the story, my imagination will spark with even more ideas.

I’ve worked a little on a Pinterest board with pictures of my characters. You can go to this link to view how I picture the characters I will be writing about: His to Keep Pinterest Board

Plus, I’ve set up a file in Scrivener (an organizational writing program), included some character sketches, research on certain topics like handfasting, inheritance rules, etc… Everything at my fingertips.

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I’m set!

Now all I have to do is sit down every day and write, write, write!

If you are a writer, are you NaNo-ing?

If you are a reader, dd you know that some of the books you’ve read have been written during NaNoWriMo? 🙂

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personal, writing

The Value of Writerly Friends

Ladies_StockSnap_pixabayWriting is a solitary adventure. Writers spin tales inside their heads, then spend hours pouring their stories onto the page … alone. But there comes a time in every writer’s life when they need people. They need a hug. They need encouragement. They need a friend who truly understands.

Writers need writerly friends. 

I’m writing my second book. I have a good foundation for this story, but at the end of chapter three, I froze. I had just finished a massive edit of my first book and I was paralyzed by the fear of writing a book that needed so much rewriting. I would start and stop, start and stop, thinking everything I wrote would have to be deleted and rewritten.

I don’t want to have to do that! But I need to write, especially when I’m supposed to take ten pages to my critique group.

I belong to a fabulous critique group that meets every other week. We share chapters/scenes and discuss them … the good and the bad. This week I had nothing to bring because I choked while trying to write. I was embarrassed. Writers write and I hadn’t written anything in two whole weeks! I didn’t go because I was so embarrassed.

I forced myself to go. I forced myself to be honest with the group and share my frustrations and my fears. And you know what? These ladies hugged me. They shared their own stories of fear, of writer’s block, of frustration. They prayed over me and then we brainstormed possibilities for where the story could go.

These writerly friends lifted me out of the pit of writer despair, and I left with a sense of peace and hope.

Friends, hope is such a powerful thing and gives life to the soul. 

Writerly friends – those people who think like you, daydream like you, talk to imaginary friends like you – these are the people you need to surround yourself with on this writing journey. They are the ones who will encourage you on the road that God leads you on. They will pick you up when you fall, and they will speak hope into your dark days.

There’s nothing more valuable (besides the good Lord) than writerly friends. I know I’m thankful for mine!

Do you have a writerly friend(s)? Do you have support on your writing journey?

Sherrinda Signature

**Photo by StockSnap at pixabay.com