Mystery of The Heart
Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Jillian Kent is the award winning author of The Ravensmoore Chronicles; three romantic mystery/suspense novels set during England’s Regency: Secrets of the Heart, Chameleon, and Mystery of the Heart will keep you turning pages. Jill is a full-time counselor for nursing students in Cincinnati, Ohio and a passionate advocate for mental health. E-mail: Website: where you will also find Jill’s Quill, her blog. Twitter: @JillKentAuthor and like her on Facebook

Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can and loves annoying her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and the second novel The Thorn Keeper in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 and has already garnered a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can connect with Pepper on her website at, Facebook- or Twitter at and Instagram

The Well Writer

Do the Next Thing

by Pepper Basham

For thirty-five years of my life, I was blessed to know an amazing grandmother. A woman with a generous hand and an even more lavish heart. An Appalachian woman through-and through, she knew the hardships of life and the struggles of choosing to wake up the next morning.

Raised by a violent alcoholic for most of her life, to the point the children hid for their lives when he was ‘on a drunk’, she learned the art of finding hope in difficult circumstances. When her husband died young, leaving her to raise six children on her own, she took the challenge and bore the responsibility with amazing strength and grace. The trials continued – financial crunches on every side, the natural struggle of raising children, and then the death of her parents (at which time her father had become a Christian – a remarkable story I’ll have to share at some point).

I’d always respected this beautiful woman. The thread of God’s redemption wove through her with such transparency, drawing family and strangers in without reservation. She’s the first person who ever called me a ‘writer’, and bought me a second hand typewriter as proof of her faith in that calling.

I grew up with her stories, generations of our family history passed down in the beautiful art of Appalachian storytelling – each story, somehow displaying how God takes broken, hopeless things and makes them into something beautiful for His glory.

As I grew older and became a mother of five, I marveled at how Granny survived raising 6 children in a time before social security, while working 2-3 jobs to make ends-meet, and still keeping her sense of humor, sanity, and grace. I knew the stressors of working full-time and being a mom, but I couldn’t imagine her plight. (Although let me add that a sense of humor is a necessity)

One day I asked her how she did it.

Her first answer (humor) was “I can’t remember”, as if she’d blotted out the thoughts or was too busy to keep her wits around her at the time.

And then her smile softened and her gray-blue took on their tempered glow of faith.

“I prayed…and did the next thing.” The Thorn Keeper

God first…and then get out of bed the next morning. Take the next step. Do the next thing. Breathe.

Prayer gives us the perspective of our own dependency on God for things we cannot change and do not have the strength to manage (aka…pretty much everything), and perspective in His lovingkindness and control gives us the ability to ‘do the next thing’.

This writing journey, just like life, can be a harrowing roller coaster of disappointments, successes, rewards, frustrations, and everything in between.

A lot of times all we can do is remind ourselves of our calling to write and then….pick up the pen and do the next thing.



Do the next thing.

And remember the joy God has planted in our hearts to fulfill the calling He’s placed there.

In life and in writing, He who calls also equips, but our focus drifts from what we ‘see’ to what we can’t always see. Remembering His dreams for us, his plans for us, helps encourage our hearts in the middle of the most discouraging places, and brings hope.

And hope in Him doesn’t disappoint.