Monday, June 18, 2018

The Backcountry Brides Collection with Carrie Fancett Pagels ends June 25th

Please welcome my sweet friend, Carrie Fancett Pagels this week! I'm so glad she could be here with us. Be sure to read on down to learn about her giveaway!

When The Voices Won’t Quit
Carrie Fancett Pagels

I was a psychologist for twenty-five years (and thought I would be until when I expected to retire at about seventy—then I would write for the Lord.) God had other plans. But in any case, don’t worry about me hearing voices—they are the characters I write. When you read about authors such as James Scott Bell talking about the “boys in the basement” I think—I’ve got a lot of ladies in the attic calling out to me. They want to be written into existence. Some characters won’t stop until they have their stories told. I have to think those are the ones God wants written and shared. Magda, in “Shenandoah Hearts” in The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour, May 2018)  is one of those heroines.

Magda Sehler lives in Philadelphia with her family from the Palatinate of Germany (which at that time was composed of several duchies). Some of her family members had to indenture themselves to get the family transported. Her mother is a semi-invalid (loosely modeled after myself as I am disabled from Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disorder.) Magda is a talented silversmith. Jacob Owens, her employer, calls her Ladysmith.

I’m all about following God’s lead and overcoming with His help (my blog is and my tagline is Hearts Overcoming Through Time). I think that’s why Jacob’s and Magda’s story had to be told—they are both following God’s lead and once they are where He has put them, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, they face much to overcome.

So, how do characters start rattling the chains on the attic door? I might read something for research in colonial America (I have another group blog and think—wow, wouldn’t that possible character have that as part of her story arc. I might be driving and see something. On a trip back from a research trip in Michigan, we drove by the sign for Ladysmith in Virginia. Now I had seen that sign a whole bunch of times, but driving back into Virginia and having just finaled in the prestigious Holt Medallion contest for my Virginia-set romance novella, The Steeplechase, things began to click. My brain was primed for unlocking that attic door and “hanging out” with Magda as a lady silversmith. Other times, I could simply be doing something, e.g., cooking something, and a character may “speak to me” saying that they do that kind of thing or they do it a different way and so I’ve learned a little something more about them.

If you’ve seen the movie about Charles Dickens as he wrote A Christmas Carol, then you get a glimpse into how some writers develop their characters. Sometimes Characters show up. But it is really only when they begin to “talk” to you that you begin to understand them. How they move. How they speak. The cadence or rhythm of their speech. Their facial expressions. Once they really bring their voice to some authors, like myself, it becomes impossible to ignore them until they are released onto the page. Often they love to show up just at bedtime and show a mini-reel of their “movie” to me. That’s usually a clue I better start writing their story or lose a lot of sleep!

Blurb: Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 - Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Questions: If you are a writer, how do your characters reveal themselves to you? If you’re a reader, are you surprised that this is how some characters come to an author?

Giveaway: Answer one of the above questions for a chance to win Carrie's a signed paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides with stories by Carrie, Shannon McNear, Pegg Thomas, Debra E. Marvin, Angela Couch, Denise Weimer, Gabrielle Meyer, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at 

My Pinterest page for 18th Century clothing


 Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Widow's Plight by Mary Davis ends June 18th

Please welcome Mary Davis to my blog this weekend. Mary is giving away a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Read on down to find out how to enter. 


I love my home state of Washington. I live on the western side of the state. The rainy side. The GREEN side!
I love how fresh and clean the rain makes the air smell and how green it makes everything.
And I love setting stories in my home state. Whenever I get the chance, I try to set my stories here, but I’m not tied to that. Not every story I want to write is suited to take place in Washington, and I’m good with that.
So when deciding where to set my Quilting Circle series, I naturally looked at Washington first. After considering the state as a whole and deciding “yes” Washington will work well, I looked at areas I have lived in before because I have a knowledge base to start with.

After some consideration, I chose the town where I went to college, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use a “real” town or not. As a writer, this is a question I face with each story. Real town? Or fictional? I have used both, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.
“Real Town” strengths; it’s already there so I don’t have to make up the town layout and such, readers can recognize the town therefore connecting with it, and readers get excited when their town (or a town they know) is mentioned in a book. Weaknesses; it’s already platted and the layout might not suit the needs of the story, readers recognize the town and someone will know when one tiny thing is wrong (even in a historical), and readers get pulled out of a story if the town doesn’t feel like the town they know or don’t have key figures they would expect.
“Fictional Town” strengths; the sky is the limit. I can layout the town to best suit the story. I won’t get the details wrong because it’s my own creation. Weaknesses; it doesn’t have that real-life personal connection, readers won’t recognize it, and with nothing concrete to look back to, I might forget things when the second book (which I’m currently writing) comes along and misplace a building or two.
So I chose a fictional town based off of a real town because my characters would be moving around in town a lot. But those who know Ellensburg will recognize it as such.

Now came the task of naming my town. I decided to name it after my residents hall, Kamola, and named a couple of the college professors in the boarding house after another residents hall (Mr. Lumbard) and the dining hall (Mr. Tunstall). Whenever I read those names it take me back to my college days.
In a novella that released in January 2018, I set the story in the real town of Ellensburg. Well, not really in the town but outside of it on a cattle ranch. I chose the real town name for two reasons. One, I loved my college years in Ellensburg and wanted to use it. Two, my characters weren’t in town much, just at the train station, so using the real town name worked well.
So to answer my title question, “Where in the world is the town of Kamola?” In my imagination, so wherever I am, there is Kamola. And wherever the reader is, there is Kamola also. =0)

Do you prefer reading stories set in real towns—even if the author changes some of the details to suit the story—or fictional where everything is fresh and new?
Answer the above question to be entered to win a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Don't forget to leave your email.

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893.

   When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

   Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?
   THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT will release in ebook on July 1, and will be out in paperback by mid-June.

About Mary:
MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; "Holly & Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

Monday, May 28, 2018

To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe ends June 4th

Please welcome Jodie Wolfe to my blog this week. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter to win her new book!

History, Quilt, and Heritage
By Jodie Wolfe

This September 16th will mark the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. If you ever saw the movie Far and Away, you’ve seen an accurate portrayal of the last great race for land in the United States. The land up for grabs was over 6.5 million acres in Oklahoma Territory. Nine different starting places were set up on both the Kansas and Oklahoma borders. 42,000 packets of land were available.

It was a desperate time in our Nation. Troubles with the railroads had caused the stock market to plummet, throwing the country into chaos. Banks closed or foreclosed on loans. Many places of business that were supported by the railroads had to shut their doors. Perhaps the state of the economic slump is why over 115,000 people showed up to race for land in Oklahoma Territory.

This race is of particular interest to me because several of my husband’s relatives participated in that race and found land. My mother-in-law introduced the topic to me 21 years ago. I vividly remember when I traveled to Oklahoma with her and saw the place where one of her relatives had staked a claim. My sons and I were able to see the house that was built into the side of a hill in 1894. They first had built a sod house, but it didn’t last very long.

By the time I saw the house, it was in a state of disrepair. It was gutted inside and parts of it were falling apart. A small creek trailed through the land, and the Gloss (Glass) Mountains were nearby. I could easily imagine characters trekking across the area.

My mother-in-law shared stories of an outlaw gang and my husband’s great, great, great grandmother’s encounter with them. I made sure to include this story in my recent release, To Claim Her Heart.

One of the favorite memories Mom shared with me concerns a Rose of Sharon quilt. From what I’ve been able to research, this quilt was first stitched by a family member in 1834. It’s a unique pattern and was often known as a ‘signature’ piece. At that time, twelve different quilts were stitched for a young lady. One was a signature piece that was unique—special. This quilt was typically only brought out on special occasions in the bride’s lifetime. I have the privilege of having this quilt passed down to me. It’s always been given to the oldest daughter. Since my mother-in-law only had sons, she gave it to me.

I mention the quilt because it has ties to the Cherokee Strip Land Run. It’s believed to have been brought along when my husband’s relatives participated in the race.

While my mother-in-law never lived to see this story in print, I’m thankful that she shared her rich heritage with me. How about you, do you have any significant stories that have been passed down through the generations that you’d like to share? Do you have any items from relatives that you inherited?
In memory of my mother-in-law, I’ll be giving away a print copy (US only) of my new book, To Claim Her Heart. (ebook for outside US) To be entered to win answer Jodie's question in the comment and don't forget to leave your email so we can contact you. 

Back Cover Blurb:
In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his 'Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.


Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior's faithfulness and forgiveness. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW and RWA. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at


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