A Life in the Day of Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D

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by Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Today, I welcome author Carrie Fancett Pagels to give us her experience with that ever-present need to make room for both life and writing. Welcome, Carrie!

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Apparently some people think our story world characters are not “real” and that authors must enter into reality of everyday life. Yikes! Spoilsports AKA family and friends! But when one emerges from the writing cave, clothing has not washed itself, meals have not magically been prepared, and no driverless car has escorted children to appointments! Pesky, and sometimes boring, real life is also not under the writer’s control. That’s one of the benefits of being in story world – it can be written, changed, edited, and made to behave as the author wishes. Not so in everyday life.

Remaining grounded in Christian faith, and keeping Biblical mandates in mind, there is nothing that says escaping into a fictional world should take precedence over family life responsibilities. Keeping that in mind, and being obedient to Christ, lessens the obsessive draw to jump back into the writing cave when my son needs me or my husband. I’ve seen a number of authors fail to remain grounded in what our faith requires of us as parents and as spouses. And I’ve been guilty, too, of overextending myself with writing. There’s always a cost when doing so, and it isn’t pretty.

I’m certainly not great about keeping God’s priorities for my life in proper order, but one thing I try to do is to schedule myself for only a certain amount of writing activities a day. I also discuss my upcoming deadlines and responsibilities with my husband so that we are on the same page. I don’t normally write if my husband or son are at home. I try to keep myself available to them, although I do make exceptions. While my teen is at high school and husband is at work, I allot time to work at my writing. When our adult daughter needs me, I try to make myself available – she’s far more interesting than any of my characters!

Writing is a calling but God has blessed me with a family and He’s given us great guidelines for prioritizing those gifts. If you’re an author struggling to balance your schedule, like I often do, ask God – What would you have me do? What would please You? Then do it.

Are there certain times or days when you will or will not write?

 

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ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as apsychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

Seriously Write: When Inspiration Requires Assembly by Hillary Manton Lodge

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Sometimes, the ideas just don’t come and we’re stuck. Panic time, right? Maybe not. Read today’s Seriously Write post for Hillary Manton Lodge’s advice for those times when those ideas stop flowing.

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Do you have a secret for opening those creative doors in your mind?

 

Historical Flavor: “One ringy dingy…”

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

If, like me, you still remember talking on a Princess phone, you also remember those words in the title and the accompanying snort from Lily Tomlin’s telephone operator character Ernestine on Laugh-In. In case you don’t remember, below is a sample. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now Ernestine would never have been given the opportunity to pester poor Mr. Beadle if it hadn’t been for Alexander Graham Bell. On March 7, 1876, the Scotsman received his patent for the telephone.

Ah, who could forget the first words he spoke to his assistant, Thomas Watson, “Watson, come here, I want to see you.” Really? He couldn’t come up with something more clever and befitting the occasion?

Aside from the sheer genius of the invention and how it has progressed through the years, I think what struck me most about Bell was his age at the time of the patent. He was twenty-nine. (Watson was only 22.) Ah, I remember when I was twenty-nine…. Well, we won’t go there.

I don’t know why I was surprised by his age when we have among us these days people like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat, all in their twenties—younger than AGB—when their pet projects came to fruition. 

So, let’s give a hand to those creative young’uns who have given us the wonders of technology that have provided our lives with more convenience—not to mention, a hectic pace, less privacy and more stress. 🙂

What is the ONE technological invention you could not live without?

 

 

Seriously Write: Motivation in Writing and Life by Terri Reed

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

As writers, we all have different reasons for doing what we do. Today, on the Seriously Write blog, author Terri Reed provides insight into what keeps her creating.

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What motivates you as a writer? 

Book Review: To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden

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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Another beautiful cover for an Elizabeth Camden historical. Her newest, To the Farthest Shores, takes place in 1904 California.

At the beginning of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Jenny Bennett is a civilian nurse at the army base at the Presidio in San Francisco. She’s fallen in love with a sailor, Lt. Ryan Gallagher, a patient in the hospital. After a whirlwind romance, they make plans for their future. Then he’s sent away, presumably to take part in the upcoming battles.

Skip ahead six years and Ryan has never returned. Jenny still works at the base, regularly checking with officials about his fate. But when he suddenly shows up at the Presidio, it throws her life into turmoil.

Jenny was born a tough, outspoken street kid until an impulsive jeweler took her in and gave her a stable home. Still, she’s guilt-ridden about things she did at a young age and feeling unworthy of forgiveness. Ryan is the son of missionaries. In dealing with being a minority in a foreign land, he  learned at a young age to stuff his feelings and opinions.

‘Why didn’t you tell me you had returned to California?’ she asked. ‘I thought you would have gone back to Washington, D.C after the war.’

His brows lowered and he looked confused. ‘Why would I live in Washington?’

‘It’s where you lived for three years after you graduated from college.’

‘I never lived in Washington.’

She blinked, for it was a bold-faced lie.

Whenever Elizabeth Camden releases a new book, I’m all over it. This one sounded intriguing and, honestly, I found it hard to put down. As always, the historical aspects were fascinating and unusual—references to life in turn-of-the-20th-century Japan and the early days in the production of cultured pearls. The characters are deep, flawed, and created sympathy in me. Yet… (There’s always one of those, right? 🙂 )

Individually, I liked the main characters. Together … not so much.

Ms. Camden is generally a whiz at creating strong heroines and lovable bad boys, but I had a hard time getting into the romantic thread in this one. In the scenes in which they were together, I felt more connection between Jenny and secondary character, Finn Breckenridge. As for Ryan, I kept seeing an Alan Ladd character in my mind—blonde, soft-spoken, reticent. He’s good at hiding the truth. Okay, he downright and purposely lies. Some of it I understood. I also understood they provided the conflict between the hero and heroine. However, there were times when I thought the lies went too far, even for his character, and wanted to urge Jenny to run in the other direction.

I can recommend To the Farthest Shores as a historically-rich novel built on intrigue and interesting characters. Who knows? You may not agree with my assessment of the romance and can decide for yourself. I only know I sure hope she brings back that lovable bad boy and scoundrel, Finn, for a future story.

If you’ve read the book I’d love to know your thoughts. If not, have you ever read a novel in which you wished you could nudge the romance in a different direction?