Friday, June 5, 2015

Just Keep Writing

with guest Pepper Basham.


I’m so tickled to be back at Seekerville!! Oh my, what a wonderful group of ladies, and a definite ‘full circle’ moment for me. Mary Connealy introduced me to the lovely Seekers in 2008 – and it was a meeting that changed my world. 

If you’ve ever been in a van full of kids for a long trip you know the inevitable chain of questions that happen about an hour, two hours, two hours and fifteen minutes, 3 hours, etc into your trip. “When will we get there?”, “How much longer?”, “Are we there yet?”
No matter how many activities I plan, interesting stops I make along the way, or well-placed snacks to distract, inevitably the question is always asked …. More than once. As a parent, I know the trek, which roads to take, which to avoid, when to make a detour, when the breaks need to happen and when I can push forward an extra hour – but my kids don’t know that. They wait, somewhat impatiently and with lots of questions, eager to arrive at the destination.
Pepper's junior storytellers.

Boy, oh boy, does that sound familiar. I started on this writing road trip by attending my first writer’s conference in 2004. After the first day I realized how very little I knew about writing, even though I’d been writing since I was a little girl. So over the next few years I studied craft, took a few classes, and had a critique. I didn’t have visions of grandeur or anything. My life was much too full with other paths like a job, children, and a husband in full-time ministry. All those things are good and right, but it made my journey much slower.
But … I just kept writing.

And prayed God would give me the wisdom and strength to create beautiful stories to touch ‘waiting’ hearts with His truth.

Discouragement almost ran me off the road many times. Detours left me disillusioned and impatient. The ever-present questions “How much longer?” kept going off like a siren in my head, but I just kept writing, praying, and hoping. (Sometimes complaining and often doubting).

I was beginning to understand how the Israelites felt when they were wandering in the wilderness for forty years.

During the long wait, there were times I had to stop writing for a time because of the natural demands of having a large family, while working full-time to help put my husband through seminary. At that point, I had to pull completely off the road. But writing was a gift, burning in me to come out in stories. During my break, I wrote story ideas on napkins, took fifteen minutes to compose songs or develop poems, and held the dream in my heart by reading great writing.

And waited. (Sometimes not very patiently). I’ve wanted to give up so many times, but couldn’t. Truly. God would always bring something into my path to get me back on the road. I would read my work and look to heaven asking, “Am I there yet?”, but He knew the best timing.

So the real test for me was not only waiting, but trusting in His timing.

In June 2014 my family made a BIG move to Asheville, NC. It has been a tough transition for everyone, especially my older kids. I didn’t write a word for three months because of the massive demands of a new job and transitioning my kids into a new school. The journey seemed too long and hard. Maybe it was time to make a big U-turn and give up altogether – but then something happened.

Thirteen years after my first conference, I received a contract for my first book in the middle of September. By the end of November, I had two more contracts. I’m headed into 2015 on a new road of publication and the way is new, uncharted, exciting, and a little scary – so I’m … writing and praying God will give me the same patience, strength, and wisdom to create beautiful stories to touch ‘waiting’ hearts with God’s truth.

What can I tell you to encourage those of you wandering on the road-trip?

1. Find ways to enjoy the journey. 
The scenery is lovely if you take the time to look. God is teaching you things in the waiting period. New ways to trust him, to build faith in you, to look to Him for strength and creativity instead of ourselves. There is natural joy in the creative process of writing, so delve deep and relearn the joy of story.

2. Enjoy the people within your journey. 
God’s placed specific people in this proverbial car with you. For some, it might be kids, a spouse, or parents – for others it might be writing friends or a church family. Don’t forget to celebrate those around, beside you, encouraging you along the way. When we get so distracted by our own ‘waiting’ or detours, we lose sight of what (and who) is really important.

3. Make detours  and ‘pull-overs’ work for you

When life happens and you have to take a break or slowdown in your writing journey, remember that this detour is not a surprise to God. Find small, little ways to remind yourself of His call on your life to write. Take some time to read good books or listen to presentations about writing. Take a nature walk or watch a favorite movie. Stories are EVERYWHERE. Just because you don’t have time (or can’t) write at the moment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the God-given fascination of story in almost every facet of our lives. Reading, watching, or listening to other people’s stories many times help encourage our own when the time is right to write again.

4. Remember “Not everyone who wanders is lost” (Tolkien)
When the writing well feels dry, try another creative route. Creativity can come out in so many ways, such as writing in a different genre, or developing another skill in yourself, or finding creative ways to serve in your church or teach your kids. Just because you’ve hit a dry-spell, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your way.


5. Keep writing
I may sound too simple but it’s incredibly important. KEEP WRITING. Just because you have to slow your pace to napkins or scratch paper, if God has called you to share the art of story, then WRITE. When He sends you on a detour? Write. When you feel bereft of creativity? Write. When you are angry at waiting? Write (I get some GREAT scenes of conflict out of this one). When you’re sad about a rejection or critique? Write.
Just keep writing.





Remember who’s driving the car of your life? God – and he knows the perfect road to get you to where he wants you to be. It may not be the route you’d choose, in fact it usually isn’t, but it is the path that’s best for you – for your good and His glory.

You may not be ‘there yet” and you may have no clue how much longer, but have faith in the One who gave you the gift of Story and – Just keep writing.

The One who called you to be a Storyteller has the right destination in mind for you. 

What's your destination? Tell us about your route to that destination. 

Comment today to win an ecopy of the The Thorn Bearer. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can, usually writing Blue Ridge Romance peppered with grace and humor. Usually you'll find her hanging out with her family, working with kids who have special needs, searching for unique hats, or plotting new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of Seymour Literary Agency. 

Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, came out in May 2015 and is the first book in the Penned in Time series. Books 2 and 3 of Penned in Time, come out in 2016.  

Her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, is slated to release later this year. You can find her at www.pepperdbasham.com or follow her writing antics on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or Twitter at https://twitter.com/pepperbasham



The Thorn Bearer by Pepper D. Basham




From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all. 

When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? 

In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone. 

Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion. 

As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. 

When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.


106 comments:

Cindy Regnier said...

Very encouraging post, Pepper. All of our writing journeys are different and yet they're so much the same. Waiting is a part of the journey for almost everyone. I am so happy for your success and looking forward to reading The Thorn Bearer. Thank you for sharing with us at Seekerville.

Vince said...

Hi Pepper:

Great cover on your book. It will really attract the attention of all those who loved the Titanic story. What an exciting point in history to set a story. I look forward to reading it.

However, please tell me you have not outgrown those wonderful hats that help make you the most memorable writer ever on Seekerville!

Vince

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Wonderful post! I loved the part about "not all wanderers are lost". I really believe creativity grows creativity. The more creative we are, the closer we become to the Creator. Whether that's quilting, cooking, painting, teaching, playing an instrument, or writing, it all brings us closer, centering us on the One who gives all good things.

And I loved The Thorn Bearer, so no need to put me in your drawing. I was so impressed by the way you started that book, and held the tension through to the end. As a writer afflicted with the dreaded saggy middle, I was noticed how well you did that.

Mary Preston said...

I always feel that it is very important to enjoy the journey.

bonton said...

Loved your post, Pepper, and learning more about your writing journey. Thanks for the reminder that God's timing is always right, His plan - the best one, and the tips to make our periods of "waiting" more meaningful.

Congrats on "The Thorn Bearer" - I love the story line and can't wait to read more!! Please enter my name in the drawing to win a copy.

Keli Gwyn said...

What a great post, Pepper. So uplifting.

I've done my best to enjoy this wild, crazy and sometimes frustrating journey. If it's all about doggedly pursuing publication, one can miss out on the joy to be experienced along the way. There are friendships to be formed, encouragement to be given and received, disappointments to be shared and successes to be celebrated.

And speaking of successes... I'm so happy for the exciting things that have come your way. You're a wonderful example of perseverance that paid off.

Cindy W. said...

Good morning Pepper! I LOVE the cover of your book! I'm always drawn to book covers and yours definitely pulls me in and makes me want to read it.

I loved your post and found it quite encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

Have a blessed weekend!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Pepper Basham, published author.

Have a seat in the diva chair. You get to be the hostess with the mostess today.

We are your kingdom! Enjoy! You deserve it.

Pepper is the poster child for perseverance.

She so gets it.

When it rains.

Keep writing.

When it snows.

Keep writing.

When the sun shines.

Keep writing.

Look neither to the right, nor to the left.

JUST KEEP WRITING!

Bettie said...

Thank you, thank you. Your post really spoke to me as I travel on this journey. Please enter me in the drawing.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the encouraging post, and congratulations on your new release.

Now, I'm off to write.

Pepper said...

Good morning, Cindy!! Thank you. We are all on a same-but-different journey and I'm so glad we are not alone!!

Pepper said...

Donned one just for you this morning, Vince! :) I'm a big fan of the World War 1era

Pepper said...

I'm making flapjacks for the fam before I head off to work so I thought I'd throw a few more on for the Seekerville crew. We top them with black raspberry jam and whipped cream :)

Pepper said...

Virginia, you just made my day!!! Coming from someone whose stories snappy dialogue and wonderful romantic tension that means a lot.
I loved what you said about creativity. So true...

Pepper said...

So true, Mary... And to remember who is REALLY driving the car ;)

Pepper said...

Thanks, Bonton. Good luck with the drawing. I had an amazing time creating this story

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Pepper! I LOVE hearing the tales of a writer's journey. For most of us it's long and winding, a bit on the bumpy side, to say the least. Dead ends. Steep inclines. Backtracking to find the right trail.

I'm so thankful that you persevered and God's led you to fulfill a long-held dream to tell the stories in your heart. The challenges aren't over, as I know you're already well aware!! :) But I have confidence that with your positive attitude and your faith in God that you'll "journey on." Congratulations, Pepper! We're so proud of you!

Pepper said...

Keli,
You NEVER cease to bring such sweet encouragement! Thank you! Sometimes it's hard to remember the joy along the way. I'm learning that even on this side of publication.
But I have to say, just like with all the stages of raising my kids there have been trials and unique struggles to their developmental level, I've found I've loved each stage too - for different reasons that the first.

You hit on such an important piece to the journey. Making sure we not only 'remember' joy, but seek after it.

Pepper said...

Cindy W
Oh my, when I first saw that cover I was so tickled! It really sets the mood for the story. I can't wait to see what they come up with for book 2 :-) (giddy giggle)

And I'm so glad my post could be an encouragement to you! I've been encouraged by so many of the ladies here on Seekerville. They've really been such wonderful examples.

Mary Hicks said...

I really, really, really enjoyed your post . . . really, I did.:-)

Everything you said just 'felt' right. I believe in enjoying the journey and you've proved it's possible to have a 'life' and still be a writer.

I'm going to skip over to your website and browse.

I'd love to win a copy of your book—love the cover and you look great in your hat! :-)

Pepper said...

Tina,
Thanks so much for having me today! I am honored and thrilled to share my story so that it will encourage others. And I can't thank the ladies of Seekerville enough! Meeting you guys really gave renewed my spirit along this journey

Pepper said...

Beattie,
I'm so glad you found encouragement here. May the Lord bless you with perseverance on this journey!

Pepper said...

Thanks, Jackie
And happy writing :-)

Pepper said...

Glynna
Thank you! You are so right in saying 'the challenges aren't over'. Oh goodness, a whole host of new journey challenges come up on this side of publication, but I'm thankful God's keeping me on the road.
And I have this tiny hope that MAYBE I can move to part-time in my day job so I can have more heart-time for writing :-)

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Pepper! I'm so thrilled for you! And I'm glad you hung in there and didn't give up.

Love your beautiful cover! Like Vince said, it'll really attract readers.

Missy Tippens said...

Virginia, I agree. At times when I wasn't writing, I was making jewelry. Or trying my hand at drawing. There seems to be a need to create burning within me.

Pepper said...

Mary,
I hope you enjoy the website. I'm still trying to learn how to juggle the 'media' thing consistently with everything else.
Sometimes it feels like a dance...and I'm pretty clumsy :-)


Debby Giusti said...

Pepper, lovely post! I can so relate. As an Army wife, I've traveled the world with little ones in tow...and always heard, "Are we almost there."

My journey to publication was long...very long. I wrote poetry too about the inner need to write and wondering where I would find time and if I would survive long enough to come to the end of the journey. Eventually I learned that the journey was equally as important as the destination. And, as you mentioned, everything depended on God's perfect timing. :)

Your latest release sounds intriguing. So proud of you! A Mama with five children, a dedicated speech pathologist who helps so many find their way and a gifted writer penning stories that touch the heart and soul! Congrats on living life to the full and living life according to God's plan!

Hugs and love!!!

Pepper said...

Thanks so much, Missy! I was tickled to place the lovely Seekers in my very first acknowledgments!!

Debby Giusti said...

Your beautiful quilt picture deserves it's own story. Lovely!!!

Pepper said...

Debby,
Oh how sweet you are!! Thank you for your kind reply.
I wrote poems like that too! LOL! One was actually entitled "The Time to Write" and was a Dr. Seussish plea

Pepper said...

I totally agree, Debby! It's a family heirloom

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Pepper and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for sharing your journey and what great advice. Unfortunately I haven't followed your advice and have paid dearly for it. But then we all have our own journey. smile

Thanks again.

PS Love the hat.

Love your cover also.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love this analogy, Pepper. It's so true, it can be such a tedious road sometimes, then a glorious race down the highway at others.

Congratulations on all of your good news! I love your new location. Every time I come to North Carolina, I love it a little more!

And the hat! Love the hat, love it, love it, love it! Vince and I are in total agreement!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love this analogy, Pepper. It's so true, it can be such a tedious road sometimes, then a glorious race down the highway at others.

Congratulations on all of your good news! I love your new location. Every time I come to North Carolina, I love it a little more!

And the hat! Love the hat, love it, love it, love it! Vince and I are in total agreement!!!!

Pepper said...

Sandra,
You are so right! We are all on a different journey and God has a specific plan in mind for the road we're traveling.
And I do love the hats :-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I had the pleasure and the honor of reading much of this in its infancy. I love how Pepper's endurance has paid off... and how her distinctive voice rides the hills and valleys of this book.

Of course the flapjacks are MARVELOUS!

And I see Tina's support of the Keep Writing mantra. I am a BIG FAN of just keep writing!

Caryl Kane said...

I enjoyed reading about Pepper's writing journey. It is a reminder to me to keep my eye on the prize. Patience DOES pay off in the end.

HAPPY FRIDAY SEEKERVILLE!

Pepper said...

Ruthy
Do you know how much I love you!?!
North Carolina is lovely and I'm hoping we'll eventually feel like it's 'home'. You have been such a great encouragement (and butt-kicker)all these years for me. Where would I be without your snark and...wisdom :-)
Thank you so much

Barbara Scott said...

Congrats on your new book release, Pepper! Like you, my writing journey has been long and convoluted since I wrote my first book in the third grade. I think it was a romance about having babies with a boy because I remember my mother spanking me--the first time I ever experienced censorship. I was born to write romance!

But I had encouragement along the way too. One of my high school English teachers wrote "Keep writing!" in my school annual.

Can't wait to read your new book! Please put me in the drawing.

Becky Dempsey said...

I am sort of new to the writing journey although I've been writing for 35 years or so. I will attend my first conference in October. My last few months have been slow on writing. I've basically just done blog posts and my monthly articles for an ezine I contribute to. Now that school is out, I'm not sure what the summer will hold, but I plan on carving out time to write. Thank you for the reminders of this journey.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww good to know Ruthy isn't just kicking my behind. LOL But she is great at encouraging isn't she. And I guess I need to admit that I needed the kicks.

Pepper said...

Caryl,
Patience is a great character trait when being a writer (or person for that matter)! And I think if our 'prize' (or focus) at the end becomes something other than publication, but more of "God's glory", it takes some of the edge and pressure off.
Because we know God WILL complete what he's started in us.
I need that reminder right now while I'm on deadline :-)

Pepper said...

Oh Barbara!
Hello, you lovely lady, you!!!
Yeah, I know that feeling. I still have one of my early books - I think I wrote it when I was 9 (and illustrated it poorly)
Isn't it amazing to see how God is the one who began those stories in us long before we really understood what a 'writer' was.
:-)

Myra Johnson said...

Congratulations on your whirlwind success, Pepper, and it's great to have you as our guest in Seekerville!

Believe me, I understand about delayed dreams. My girls were around 10 and 11 when I first really got serious about writing. During the summer months, when they were out of school and involved with swim team and had friends over all the time, I rarely wrote a word. Being an "available mom" seemed much more important.

Twenty-five years later I finally sold my first novel (thank goodness for regular magazine sales and some contest success in the interim to keep me encouraged!). God absolutely does know our needs best, and his timing is perfect!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, and I have to add it was BARBARA SCOTT who made my dreams of publishing my first novel come true!!!!

Audra Harders said...

PEPPER! What an encouraging post! I love hearing "journey" stories. You've weathered the storms, babe. I'm proud of you!! What a gorgeous cover. I'm so glad you came to Seekervile to share your success!

Audra Harders said...

Oh, I forgot to say you really know how to rock the hat look, my friend!!

Pam Hillman said...

Ah, it's the incomparable Pepper Basham!!! Girl, do you have to be so cute, smart, and funny, not to mention an amazing mom and author? And you have cute hair, too. Sigh. :) Love you, sweet girl!!!

Congrats on your not-so-overnight success! Keep calm and keep writing is the mantra of the day. :)

Audra Harders said...

Barbara Scott said: having babies with a boy because I remember my mother spanking me--the first time I ever experienced censorship.

LOL! I'll be chuckling about that all day long! Thanks for the morning giggle, Barbara!

Tina Radcliffe said...

So, Pepper, tell us what other fingers you have in the publishing pot. What else is going on? When do your next books in the series release?

And um, gee, five kids and a full time job outside the home. When was it you said you had time to write?

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks for the encouraging post, Pepper. Great analogy comparing writing to a road trip. I have had plenty of detours the last few years when so many other things in my life have seemed to keep me from writing. But I just need to keep doing it. I am trying to write my first novel and also trying to sell some short stories again. I have sold a lot in the past, but many of the markets I'd sold to are gone and others just aren't buying mine right now, but I need to be persistent. As a substitute teacher, I am now on summer break, so have no excuses, do I? :)

Congratulations on your success and proving how hard work can pay off. I love all the encouragement I get from Seekerville. It was a year ago this month I started joining everyone in Seekerville.

Please enter me for the book. It looks good!

Vince said...

.
View from the Other Side

You may well have heard, "When are we getting there?" but what I always remember hearing was "Don't make me stop this car!".

Vince

"When the reader is ready, the classics become fascinating."

Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, let me add one slight twist to this.

I think, as a rule, if you love to write, you really can't stop. You just sort of CAN'T.

So I say if you get too hurt, too wounded by a rejection and you want to quit....just do it. Quit.

My guess is that you can't.

So yes go for it. I QUIT. And maybe you do quit for six weeks or six months or six years. But in the end, you'll be back at it. You'll rediscover the fun of it. Or a story will come to you and haunt you and lure you back.

Then get back to writing for the love of it.

So my utterly contrary advice to KEEP WRITING is....if you CAN quit, and your WANT to quit, then quit.

See how long you last. :)

Mary Connealy said...

PS just bought my copy of The Thorn Bearer.

sounds like a great book!!!!

Rhonda Starnes said...

What a wonderful (and timely) post! Thank you, Pepper!

Deanna Stevens said...

“Not everyone who wanders is lost” (Tolkien) LOL this is on a sign in my town this week. Now I know where they found it. They put up a different quote each week. I enjoyed your post today :)
I am sure wanting to read The Thorn Bearer.. It's on my TBR list..

if there are any drawings please toss me into the hat :)

Carolyne Aarsen said...

What a great post! And a good reminder at any stage in the publishing journey. Just like every turn of the wheel, however insignificant brings one closer to the end of the journey so every word, every sentence, every paragraph does the same. I have to remind myself of that at times too. Just a few more words. Even if it's only 100, that's 100 less I have to write another day. Anyhow, blessings on your many journeys, Pepper! And thanks so much for the encouraging post.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Keli Gwyn, first I love you. Second, that is the exactly beautiful, perfect way to say that.

The friendships I've formed, the paths this love has taken, the new journeys: So wonderful!

And even though our journey's differ, the sojourners find their way.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, I love kicking butt! Thank you for appreciating my unique talents, darling!!! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love when Carolynne Aarsen stops in! Hey, my friend!!! Waving!

Pepper said...

Becky,
I think conferences are phenomenal for new-eR writers because it gives you some wonderful tools and also can help you find a "community" of other writers for encouragement and brainstorming :)

Pepper said...

Sandra,
Ruthy is an "equal opportunity" butt kicker :)

Kathryn Barker said...

I needed this! Thank you Pepper!

Not sure I could continue writing with hope without the Lord and good friends to share the journey...

I'm always writing a story...sometimes it's just in my mind...but as others have said...if you're a writer...you can't quit...even when you try! LOL

Congrats on you new book! The Thorn Bearer sounds intriguing!

Happy Friday~~Happy Weekend!

Pepper said...

Giving therapy to middle schoolers right now but I'll be back soon to answer and comment :)

Cara Lynn James said...

Pepper, I agree the best route to publishing to keep on writing, no matter what the situation you're in. But at the same time, don't beat up on yourself and expect perfection.

Carolyne, every step we take no matter how small or insignificant brings us closer to our goal. I forget that sometimes and then I feel overwhelmed by the long journey.

Lyndee H said...

Congrats, Pepper!

Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I've been pecking away at reading Thorn Bearer because I am SUPPOSED to be writing right now. But the story is compelling and I'm loving your voice, so I treat myself to a few pages here and there as time allows.

What an encouraging post. I think of that time we met at ACFW. Seems like a long time ago now. Look at all you've accomplished! Thanks for the inspiration.

Pepper said...

Myra,
You are such a model of perseverance and encouragement!!
But you know what, keeping those priorities in order is so important. I LOVE my kiddos! I LOVE being a mom and enjoying that journey too.

Pepper said...

Audra,
You know what! If I close my eyes I can still feel your hug from about 3 years ago at ACFW! And the prayer you prayed with me! Oh my, what perfect timing. Your heart is so genuine and tender. Thank you for sharing those moments with me!

And....I do love those hats :-)

Pepper said...

Pam!! I could just hug you right now!!! (imagine cyber hug anyway)
Thanks for saying all those sweet things!
It's definitely not been overnight, but it's been on time :-)

Pepper said...

Tina,
I am so excited to say that I have my first contemporary romance coming out in December!!! It is such a FUN story and one that both you and Ruthy have seen in various stages. It's a modern-day retelling of My Fair Lady set in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Speech Pathologist (my profession-by-day) meets rustic cattle farmer.

Books 2 and 3 in the Penned in Time series are slated to be released in March and October 2016.
Currently I have about 3 other books 'out there' being reviewed and am in talks about books 2 and 3 for the contemporary romance. We'll see. Right now I'm just trying to keep up with the publishing crazy and marketing. Wow! That's been a new addition to my life :-)

As far as when to I write? That's a great question, especially recently. As anyone who works in the school system knows, April-June are 'killer' months for paperwork and testing, so I've had additional responsibilities in my daytime job plus helping my fantastic-five kiddos prep for end-of-the year stuff too. It's been pretty crazy. I'd appreciate any prayers or wisdom in trying to eek out some extra time with deadline looming.
Writing under pressure and with a timeline is quite a bit different than taking 10 years to finish a book ;-)

DebH said...

Hi Pepper
Thanks for such an encouraging post. I'm not really in the "are we there yet?" stage of the journey... I'm more on the possible flat tire side of the road stage. I do like the "keep writing" reminder (which is the constant mantra here @Seekerville).

Don't know how you do things with five children. I only have one (5 yrs old) and struggle with the keep writing part.

Either way. LOVE the post - uber encouraging. Love your cover and blurb (sign me in for the draw to win please), and especially love the hat. You rock the look.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra and Pepper: I do what I can, my friends!

Honestly, this is such a simple solution: Write, write, write.

And when you can't write, plan what you're going to write.

And then write, write, write.

Pepper, your productivity is amazing. You go, girl!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, I love that story of my Blue Ridge buddy and the speech pathologist. I'm smiling just THINKING about that story!

Happy dancing!

Cara Lynn James said...

Kathryn, you're so right about the importance of having the Lord and good writer friends to help you along your writing journey. I can't imagine doing this entirely by myself. Glad I don't have to.

Pepper said...

Sandy,

Good luck with your writing!

I hope your summer proves productive and rewarding for you!

Thank you for the congrats!

Pepper

Pepper said...

Vince,

That's hilarious! I'm sure I've been that parent before too! :-)

Chill N said...

A pep talk from Pepper! Thank for for the encouragement to continue the journey.

So nice to see "enjoy the people within your journey." Speaking of which, have you taken the kids to Mast General Store? Best one is the old one in Valle Crucis, but that drive might start the "Are we there yet?"and "When will we get there?" questions :-) Memory is there's one in Asheville, too.

Wishing you all the best with your writing. Congratulations!

Nancy C

Pepper said...

Mary,
Totally agree. If you CAN quit...then go ahead and try.

There are times I've tried....it didn't stick, obviously :-) And I'm so glad!

Might I add that I'm honored and terrified that you're going to read my book! I don't have one man with a gun...but I do have a sinking ship!

Pepper said...

Rhonda,
I truly hope it encouraged you :-)

Pepper said...

Deanna,
Good luck in the drawing!
Tolkien has a whole lot of re-quotable quotes :-)

Pepper said...

Carolyne,
I loved this quote from you: "Just a few more words. Even if it's only 100, that's 100 less I have to write another day."
Oh, so true! And it IS a good reminder because etching out each word in the middle of life

Pepper said...

Ruthy,

I try to give excellent skills the proper appreciation. :-)

Pepper said...

Kathy,
you said: Not sure I could continue writing with hope without the Lord and good friends to share the journey...

EXACTLY! It takes a village :-)
But in truth, without the support and encouragement of fellow sojourners...wow, what a lonely road it would be.
God certainly knew what he was doing when he created 'community' because we all need it :-)

And yes...If He's called you, the stories keep coming, don't they? Just like Mary Connealy was sayin' :-)

Pepper said...

Cara Lynn,
It's hard not to 'beat ourselves' up and play the comparison game. Oh my goodness! Right now especially, I fight against comparing my words to others to make mine better OR I feel the weight of trying to write a book 2 (with the same quality as book 1)

But God is still the same God for me who helped me write book 1, who created MY stories in my heart to tell for His glory. Gotta keep reminding myself. It's His story in Me and I'm the only one who can write that particular story :-)

Pepper said...

Oh Lyndee,
You just made me smile!! (I'm so glad you're enjoying the story..) said in a whisper ;-)

But it's important to keep writing! Of course, I do find that reading good stories helps encourage my creative mind (wink, wink)

Vince said...

Hi Pepper:

Are the books in your "Penned in Time" series 'time travel' adventures as are so many books with 'in Time' in the title?

On Quiting

To write, or not to write,
that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler
in the mind to write
while one possesses
the power to quit

Or

Whether 'tis Nobler
to forever write
when one lacks
the power to quit.

Therein lies the rub:
If one compulsively does
the right thing
is one truly acting morally?

Especially when the right thing
is the write thing.

***

(Just a little spice : ))

The Artist Librarian said...

That's a beautiful analogy. My "journey" is finishing "library school" and then getting a job as a librarian hopefully. I always assumed it'd be in my hometown, but lately I've been thinking maybe of looking outside "safe and comfortable home" ... maybe even out of state. Praying about it. =)

Pepper said...

DebH,
I've totally been in the 'flat tire' department of writing. Praying you find an enjoyable balance to get you back on the road in God's good time!
Five year olds are fun....and very busy :-)

Pepper said...

Thanks, Ruthy
And 'planning' while you can't write is SUCH a key component to being productive! Oh my goodness! If I wasn't using productive daydreaming on a daily basis there's not way I'd get done what I'm...attempting to complete :0)

And YES! I can't wait for this story to be in print. It's such a love of mine - enjoying my Appalachian culture with some homespun romance. Yipee!! Hoping for a GREAT cover!

Pepper said...

NancyC
When our kids were younger we took them to Mast General in Valle Crucis! Oh what a fun trip - but yes, they have one in Hendersonville, which is quite a bit closer to where we are in ASheville. We've already visited a couple of time. SUCH a fun store and a great little morsel of history

Sherida Stewart said...

Pepper, sharing your travels along this writing road provides great encouragement. Congratulations on your book and contracts!

I don't know my destination yet, but the journey is fascinating and the friendships along the way are a blessing. This advice is perfect for me:

The One who called you to be a Storyteller has the right destination in mind for you.

Thank you for your thoughts! Enjoy your roadway ahead!

Pepper said...

Vince,
You are AWESOME!! Love it!
And 'no', the Penned in Time series is called that because letters are used to communicate some pretty important truths in each of the three books. I do love the idea of doing a time travel book though. My newest story concept is a cross between Austenland and Downton Abbey.

So much fun! Not 'quite' time travel, but the boarders who pay to get the "Downton Experience" are usually pretty ...eccentric :-)

Pepper said...

Artist Librarian,
What a wonderful journey...and opportunity! May the Lord help guide your path and may you enjoy the trip to His best for you!

Pepper said...

Sherida,
I'm so glad this post was an encouragement. It's been a good one for me to reread too reminding myself of the same thing. God's got this....and He's calling me to trust him. :-)

Many blessings on your writing!

Tanya Agler said...

Pepper, Thank you for the encouraging post. First of all, I love your hat. Second, thanks for sharing how you kept persevering with your writing. It's always great to read how other people kept at it. Third, how do you get your kids to wait an hour before the magical question of "are we there yet?" (I'm laughing as I wrote that last sentence). We just got back from South Carolina, and we weren't even on the highway before my five-year-old asked if we were there yet. I think she only made it 15 minutes.

I liked the part where you said to celebrate. I loved your positive spin on it. So often with writers, it's couched in more negative terms-don't compare yourself to other writers. I love the mention of celebrating in the same paragraph as writer friends. When I look at it from that angle, it's a nice spin.

Thanks for your post and the encouragement.

Pepper said...

Tanya,
So glad it was an encouragement... and maybe I should have decreased my "are we there yet" time. My 8 year old daughter asked me the question yesterday on our way to the doctor...15 minutes away ;-)

I think it's important to keep things positive. We get bombarded with so much negativity both within and outside of us. The Christian community of writers allows us to have a 'safe haven' of mutual cheerleaders all striving for the same goal: glorifying God! I LOVE IT!

R Merr said...

I wanted to be a teacher from the age of five. I loved school, and I've always loved school. I didn't even want to graduate. However, at the age of 16, I came down with an illness....by the age of 20, I was in a wheelchair. I thought my dream was over. I was so very wrong!! God sent an amazing man to marry me...yes,, wheelchair and all. I had no diagnosis...no promises...no idea of what the future held. He married me for better or for worse. We eventually adopted a beautiful four year old girl who could only say a few words that were intelligible. She didn't know any colors, numbers, or letters. I was able to teach her. For many reasons, I am homeschooling her. My dream of being a teacher came true, just in a much better way than I ever imagined!!! I learned SO much patience and trust in God's work and his timing in this journey. I also learned that what God had in store for me was so much better than what I had planned.

Pepper said...

Rachael,
You truly need to write your story one day! It's amazing!

Courtney Ballinger said...

My journey lately seems to be full of, "Write any time you have a spare minute." This newest novel I'm writing is giving me a tingly, Get-me-typed-ASAP kind of feeling.
A hard goal to accomplish with the hours I'm working, but not impossible. I'm getting pages ready for my agent's approval this week.

The ACFW conference is the finish line I'm running toward. Since I won a scholarship, I WILL have this book revised and ready by September. (Gotta keep telling myself this.)

Your journey is encouraging. :) God has blessed us with Seekerville and writing friends.

Pepper said...

Oh Courtney! How great that you are coming to ACFW!
You are so right! God has blessed us with Seekerville and friends along this journey. Nice to have fellow encouragers and...might I say, mentors! That's what the Seeker gals have been to me and to so many others

Mary Curry said...

I'm squeaking in under the wire to say hello, Pepper! Great post.

I'm one of those weird folks who never knew she wanted to be a writer. And truth be told, I didn't think it was something ordinary people like me could ever do.

My trip took a little longer than yours but I had very many detours (mostly lack of confidence-driven) along the way. Perhaps the point was to make me appreciate that first sale more.

Pepper said...

Tina, Ruthy, Mary, Janet, Myra, Cara, Audra, Sandra, Julie, Debbie, Pam, Missy, and Glynna,
Thank you so much for allowing me to host on Seekerville today. You all will never know what a delight, joy, and encouragement it has been to know you. Seekerville has provided so much to pilgrims on the journey toward publication who needed guidance, support, hope, and some good humor to keep them going.

I'll stop back into check on additional comments in the morning, but bedtime's closing in for me on the East Coast.

Thank you!

Pepper said...

Mary,
God knew your journey...and gave you a surprise. I'm so glad He brought you to publication!! Woohoo!!

Edwina said...

Hi Pepper,

What a great post! Thank you for your transparency about your journey and for your encouraging words!

Blessings!
Edwina

Deanna Stevens said...

Congratulations to you.. enjoyed reading about your journey.
toss me into the drawing for you wonderful book please.. I'd
love to read it.. It's in my TRB list :)