Monday, March 22, 2021

Sword of Trust FINALLY Releases!

Welcome to Sword of Trust Blog Hop!

Have you ever wondered why we've always heard that men are taller than our predecessors? I've read and heard that our ancestors were short and just assumed that meant every generation before us, but that just isn't the case.

According to the book, The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger, one of the first things noticed about people living in or around the year 1000 is they were tall--very much like we are today. 

The truth is we are taller than most of our more recent ancestors (1700-1900). Georgian and Victorian England residents, who were malnourished and overcrowded, did not have the good health nor the stature by the end of the twentieth century that we share today with our access to food and medicine.

So when we picture those knights in shining armor as tall and muscular, good news, you are correct! According to Lacy & Danzinger, nine out of ten people lived in the country. A lush green and unpolluted land that provided plentiful food and nourishment, allowing the medieval man to grow strong limbs and very healthy teeth. So that knight who is the hero, guess what? He really does have a full set of white teeth!

If these people were so healthy one would think they'd live as long as we do, but here the differences are drastic. Life was short. A simple cut or wound could take a person's life. In the medieval time period, an illness or childhood disease that today we can stop with a visit to the doctor could spread like a fire and wipe out a whole village.

Because of this, a boy of twelve years of age was considered old enough to swear an oath to the king. Young girls were married off in their early teens to much older men. Life expectancy was almost half of what it is today. Most people died in their forties, and for a person to reach into their fifties was quite impressive and they were revered.

Goodness, no wonder the population has exploded. As the centuries passed, people began living longer and longer. Today it is not unusual to see people reach 100 years of age or close to it.

Thank you for helping me celebrate Sword of Trust! I'm giving away choice of my books! Leave a comment about what you learned here, about the book or ask me a question to be entered!

Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love. Bryce Warwick discovers the “boy” caught with his livestock is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancĂ©e who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard's distrust of the nobles.
With old wounds in need of healing and adversaries who would ruin their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.
The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away.

A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness. Eager to find the traitor that caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass's hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dogwood Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagels, ends 10/14

When Hard Truths Surface in Fiction 

Dogwood Plantation 
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D. 

Please welcome one of my crit partners, Carrie Pagels to my blog. Congratulations, Carrie on your new release! Thanks for coming by. Carrie is giving away a signed copy of her book, Dogwood Plantation so be sure to read on down on how to enter. And as a special treat I will be giving away a copy as well!

When I first began to write Dogwood Plantation, almost a decade ago, I had been a psychologist for twenty-five years. Although I had to leave my trained vocation because of my disability due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I found that some of the “sins of the fathers” that I’d seen over the years came to manifest themselves in my story. Although the main storyline has to do with Cornelia Gill and her childhood sweetheart, Carter Williams, there is a secondary plotline between her second cousin, Hayes Davis and Carter’s deceased sister-in-law’s sister, Mariah.

Mariah is a fairly self-centered woman who manipulates and tries to control others yet she also neglects the nephews supposedly in her care. Hayes is a devout man, ardent for the Lord and for his country, who sees the War of 1812 as something that could destroy liberty. Hayes doesn’t usually work at anything in the foreground—rather he’s there working out deals with mariners to assist in the war effort and he helps others without getting in their face about it. Mariah is intrigued by the wealthy horse farm owner. Her reality, some of which was brought on by childhood sexual abuse, has now erupted into an unmanageable situation. Hayes feels convicted that he must minister to Mariah, even as he is beginning to fall in love with her.

There are many behaviors we observe in life that aren’t what they seem to be. Victims of childhood sexual abuse, for instance, often end up sexually acting out and some end up involving others in sexual “misuse”—people who are near their same age.

I won’t do a “spoiler” as to exactly how Mariah’s background affects the ending of this story, but I will say this—even I, the author, am not exactly sure about some specifics. But in the story, like in real life, God knows and He works things out according to His purpose.

Giveaway: An autographed copy of my new release Dogwood Plantation. USA only—an unsigned copy can be won through Book Depository for those outside of the USA.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is a Christian fiction bestselling and award-winning author of over twenty books—tagline, “Hearts Overcoming Through Time”. Possessed with an overactive imagination, that wasn’t “cured” by twenty-five years as a psychologist, she loves bringing characters to life. Carrie enjoys American history, listening to audiobooks, walking the family’s adopted Kelpie, and visiting beautiful places surrounded by water.

Carrie’s novel, My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island, won the Maggie Award, and was a Romantic Times Top Pick. Her romance novella, The Steeplechase, was a finalist in the prestigious Holt Medallion Awards. Her short story, “The Quilting Contest”, was Historical Fiction Winner of Family Fiction’s The Story national contest. Her novella, The Substitute Bride was a Maggie Award finalist. All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were long list finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year and The Fruitcake Challenge was a Selah Award finalist.

Back Cover:
When a deadly yellow fever outbreak draws Cornelia Gill back home, her new independent life must be abandoned. Injured veteran, Carter Williams, likewise must return to Dogwood Plantation when he suffers grievous family losses. Both become caretakers to younger family members. As the War of 1812 heats up, two wounded hearts begin to heal. But can they manage all that life has handed them?

Connect with Carrie online:
Facebook Author Page
See images related to Carrie’s books on her Pinterest Boards
Contact Carrie through her website www.carriefancettpagels
& sign up for Carrie’s newsletter

Links to purchase:
Barnes and Noble
On goodreads

Monday, August 10, 2020

Five Years Cancer Free! Choice of my books ends September 17th

It's been a crazy 5 years for us. Our journey started with Joe's cancer and along the way he lost his mother and I lost my father. But through it all God has been so good to us, always working things out for us. I am finally returning to writing. Maybe not 100% full-time but I hope to be back to writing a couple books a year. By the end of August, Bride by Blackmail, is scheduled to be released, and I am well over half-way through my medieval sequel to Sword of Forgiveness! It's good to be back doing something I love so much.

Five years cancer-free!
We've had a busy few years since we came back from Houston. We started building our new home. We moved in 9 months ago. Building a house has been time consuming but also good for both of us to get busy and work on something together. I know we are both glad that all the hard work is done and what we have left is less physical! It's been nice to focus on something other than MCL. 

God is so good. MCL’s life expectancy at the time of Joe’s diagnosis was 2 to 5 years. But we are approaching five years cancer free! So what is it like now for us? We have moved into the house that we built. Joe continued to work a full time job and build this house. It has been quite an undertaking I have to say. We’ve been working on this house for 3 years now from groundbreaking but praise God we are in! We have graduated to returning to Houston for checkups from every 4 months to every 6 months. However, on our last checkup we got some tough news. Yes, Joe is still in remission (good news) but 19 out of the 131 windows trial patients have relapsed and 3 have passed away. So what does that mean for us? The patients that relapsed were in what they called ‘high risk’ meaning they have 1 of 5 high risk factors. Joe unfortunately falls into that category. So for the next two years Joe will be on what they call a maintenance treatment. He won’t be on the harsh chemo which made him lose all his hair but will be on the trial drugs that actually put him in remission. He will take a pill every day and will go into the hospital for an infusion of another drug every month.

I don’t question why God has chosen to do it this way. I’m just thankful that He has provided a way to keep Joe in remission. So do I think that God didn’t heal Joe after all? Absolutely not! God did not give Joe a miracle, He gave him a healing and He used the doctors to do that. This next round of treatment is just another part of Joe’s healing and I am so thankful for it.

If you haven’t read our story, read on to see where God has taken us and the AMAZING way He ordains people, places, and events in our lives, For us we see His hand 20 years ago when He began moving people for this very time in our lives.

The following are posts I wrote at different times in this journey. I am so thankful I have a Father in Heaven who loves us so much and cares for us each and every day.


Life prior to MCL
My husband went to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor discovered a lump near his collarbone. Well, Joe knew it was there and had ignored it, thinking it was nothing. The doctor sent us to another doctor.

This doctor thought it was a fatty tumor—nothing to worry about. But at the last minute (and I'm sure the looks of concern on our face played a part) he said, "Well, there is no way to know for sure without a biopsy. So I'll send you to a surgeon to have it biopsied."

Two days later we are sitting in the surgeon's office and he is telling us it is in the wrong spot to be a lymph node. He thinks it is a benign fatty tumor, come back on Friday and he will remove it. So we returned on Friday. Half way through the surgery he said, I'm beginning to think this is a lymph node. Several minutes later he reached the lump and confirmed it is a node. He sent it off and told us it isn't big and he isn't to concerned that it is cancer.

A week passes while we wait and pray. We return to the office to find out Joe has a rare form of Non- Hodgkins Lymphoma called Mantle Cell. Suddenly our lives are turned upside down!

Next week we are in the Oncologists office scared to death. He's telling us how we will put this into remission with some very tough chemo and then a stem cell transplant, but it isn't curable. It will come back, the question is when. Wow!!! These things happen to other people right? 

This was a barn raising! Friends came and helped 
us put up a barn for our horses for shelter while
we were gone. 
After several more tests we were to start the next week. However our daughter who is a PA and a dear friend who is a NP talked us into going to MD Anderson and getting a second opinion. Three weeks later we are in Houston at MD Anderson and they are telling us about a clinical trial they'd like to see Joe in. They ran more tests and repeated some that had already been done. What they discovered in the CT scan was that in a month Joe's lymph nodes that were swollen throughout his body hadn't grown. And though there are a lot of them, they aren't large like a lot of Mantle Cell (MCL) patients.

God is so good! Had Joe taken just one treatment of Chemo he wouldn't have qualified for the clinical trial which will eliminate the stem cell transplant!  Dr. Wang at MD Anderson is the top MCL doctor in the nation. He said since Joe's nodes hadn't grown they would take the 'watch and wait' approach. We will return every 3 months for another CT scan to see if anything is changing.

The 3 month reprieve is an answer to prayer. We are now juicing and eating fresh fruit and vegetables trying to get Joe's immune system up along with lots of vitamins! Everything we read tells us that building his immune system is the key to beating this 'so-called' incurable disease.

But I know God is bigger than MCL and I truly believe God is going to heal Joe. Now whether it is through divine healing, healthy eating, or the wisdom God has given doctors, I don't know. But I do know Joe will beat this!

My life was turned upside down this past April when my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma called Mantle Cell. He wasn’t even seeing the doctor because he was sick. The man is never sick. And I mean never
George W Bush Library
Since April has been living in Houston more j than South Carolina. But God has been here with us in amazing ways!

The first thing I did as a Christian, I fell to my knees and cried out to God. I don’t mean just pray I cried out—out loud—pleading with God. I contacted every person I knew who would pray and asked them for prayers. And God moved. First He guided us to MD Anderson. A dear friend and nurse practitioner from Dallas called when she heard about Joe. She convinced us to come to Houston to MD Anderson for a second opinion. She then called her best friend in Houston and got us a place to stay when we came.
George W Bush Library
Then I got an email from a lady who had called me weeks earlier about getting a sheltie puppy from me. This woman knows nothing about Joe. Her email goes something like this. “I don’t know what is going on but God told me to tell you that He’s got this.” I cried. I responded and told her what WAS going on. She told me that she didn’t want me to think she was weird or anything but that she’d been driving down the road and God told her to pray for me. She said I thought to myself okay God I’ll pray when I get home, but she felt like God was yelling at her in her head saying pray now! She said she almost pulled her car over. Then people started telling me they were praying and they really felt like God told them He’s got this! I probably heard that at least 6 times. And no one knew what this other woman had told me.

It seemed every time my faith got low, God sent someone else to remind me He had this! It was so amazing. I’m a person who believes in ‘bugging’ God. I remind Him of His promises. I am like the man in the bible who has company come in the middle of the night and so he goes to his neighbors and won’t quit knocking on his door until he gets up. God wants us to cry out to Him.
My babies happy to see me

In the lowest valley we’ve ever walked, God has been there every step of the way. We never said why us? Things like this can bring a person closer to God. I know I want God to use me through this. It has been amazing to watch God move. I’ll quick give you some ways He blessed us.

Friends, neighbors, and family stepped up to the plate to help. It was unbelievable. You see I have 3 shelties, 1 German Shepherd, 1 cat, 5 horses (one is a young colt), and a miniature donkey. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Friends and family take care of our animals when we are gone. 
Some of our other 4 footed family
We went to the hospital and Joe was put with Doctor Wang. People ask us, How did you get in with Dr. Wang? You see he is one of the 2 top doctors for Mantle Cell Lymphoma in the World!

Joe has probably had MCL for 2 to 4 years. But God wanted us at MDA at this time. Because it just so happened that Dr. Wang was starting a clinical trial for MCL patients and Joe was immediately accepted into the study! Had his Mantle Cell been discovered earlier we would have missed the trial.
Our PA daughter, Kacie, Dr. Wang, Joe and me

We fell in love with the woman we were staying with. She’s like family. She offered her home to us every time we come down and even when we have to stay for 5 months!

God has been so good to us and I am so thankful for all His blessings. That’s not to say we never have hard days. We do! We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. But keeping our eyes on the Lord is the key to keeping a good attitude. I don’t think God is disappointed with us for hurting sometimes or getting discouraged. But what He does want is for us to know where to turn when that happens. He wants us to look up and run into His open arms.

Today I’d like to share what it is like after the chemo and the words remission. When we first heard those magical words a weight lifted off our shoulders and
Ringing the remission bell!
each day was like a new lease on life. But every four months we have to return to MD Anderson for PET/CT scans and that reminds us that the doctors aren’t so sure this cancer will never return.

God healed Joe—he just used MD Anderson to do it. So when we return every 4 months for those rechecks Satan wants us to live in fear that the mantle cell has returned. He wants to rob us of the joy and assurance the Lord has given us. It’s hard sometimes not to look over your shoulder to see what is there, but God wants us to look up rather than back.

So how does one go on after beating a cancer like MCL? Joe and I have found that keeping our eyes focused ahead of us and on God keeps us putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been a year this month that Joe was declared cancer free. When we walk out
of MDA with the new results it is always a positive feeling. And the next three or so months we continue on with our normal life which is always busy.

But as the weeks creep by to the next four month checkup, there is Satan whispering fear and negativity into our ears. I am the one who sees a glass half-full and Joe is the realist. LOL! His words. Mine are more like pessimist. We agree to disagree on that title. So I expect him to worry but not me! No, I am the positive one. I’m not supposed to have these doubts. However, try as I may to keep my faith and not let fear get a foothold, many times it does.

Like countless other things on this journey, God had already put things in place, this time a scripture to cling to when my faith waivered. Several years ago our pastor chose Mark 9:24 for our verse that year. Many of the sermons throughout the following months tied in to that verse. Mark 9:24 is a short verse and reads, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

It’s a reminder to me that though God wants us to have faith and trust Him, He recognizes that we are human and at times our faith is going to waiver. For those times He has given us a verse to cling to. It’s a verse that shouts out to us that God wants to help us when we face hard situations where our faith wanes.

Leave a comment, ask a question, share your story, to be entered to win choice of my novels/novellas and choice of format.