Saturday, December 20, 2014

Author Interview with Bestselling Author Carrie Francett Pagels

Today I'm so excited to introduce my friend Carrie to ya'll! Her new Christmas book The Fruitcake Challenge is this week's giveaway, and has recently reached #1 on the Amazon bestseller list for Christian Historical Romance! Congratulations, Carrie!

A little more about her accomplishments: Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D. “Hearts Overcoming Through Time,” is an award-winning Christian historical romance author. In 2015, Carrie’s novel Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter will release with Pelican Book Group. Carrie’s Amazon Christian Historical Romance #1 Amazon bestselling Christian historical romance novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, released September, 2014. Her short story, “Snowed In,” appears in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (2013). She’s the Amazon best-selling and top-rated author of Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2013). Her short story, “The Quilting Contest,” appears in Family Fiction’s The Story 2014 anthology. Carrie received Honorable Mention for the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence for her unpublished novel Grand Exposé. Former psychologist (25 years) and mother of two.

Welcome Carrie! We're so glad you could visit Stitches Thru Time today!
Thanks for having me on, Amber!!! Glad to be here!!!

What made you decide to become a writer? 
 I wanted to be a writer since I was a child. But then I was drawn toward psychology. I became a psychologist for 25 years. Although I felt the calling from God to be an author, very honestly I’d still be a psychologist if it weren’t for my disability from multiple forms of arthritis. You can’t schedule clients for appointment just when you “might” feel well enough. But with the writing, I can do that any time I feel up to it.

If your question is really “why” I write—it is to please God and obey Him. And I hope that I bless others with my stories and draw them closer to Christ!

Where did the inspiration for your latest book come from? 
I wrote a story “Snowed In” that was published in A Cup of Christmas Cheer by Guidepost Books last year. The girls in the story had come out of a lumber camp for their “best Christmas ever” but I’d wanted to do a story about a great Christmas spent IN the lumber camp! And when I went up to Michigan to do a book signing at the Tahquamenon Logging Museum, I kept thinking about a Christmas revolving around the cook house. My mother and grandmother are the inspiration for the story. I never met my grandmother, who died in her early forties from cancer. My mom, who’d survived cancer when I was 12, died four years ago. I’d like to think that this story would make both of them smile!

How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing? 
No nudge from God—no writing. It’s that simple. He’s told me to stop at times and I stop. Also, I write Christian fiction for the Christian market. My stories all have a strong method of faith. That’s the difference between a Christian fiction and a clean secular fiction. Here’s a link to an article I wrote for Seekerville about this matter.

What are you working on next? 
PTL I am under contract with Pelican for my first published full length novel. I have another half dozen novels written but this is the first one that will be published. “Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter” is the working title and should release in 2015. So I’ll be editing that a couple of times. Set in the mid 1700’s, my heroine has escaped Versailles, after her Protestant nobleman father has been killed for his Huguenot beliefs. A woodsman accompanies her to the German Palatinate and makes plans to get her to the American colonies. But the plans go awry!

I’m also writing one, possibly two, sequels to The Fruitcake Challenge. Jo’s brothers will get their own stories. In the next one, which should release in February, her talented wood-working brother also wants to leave the lumber camp life. He’s obtained a job making cabinets for a mercantile. The owner’s daughter, who has survived a murderous assault years earlier, begins to trust the big burly man who so lovingly constructs the masterful cabinets in their shop. As the Lumberjack’s Ball approaches, he asks her to attend. But will her fears keep her back? And possibly result in a terrible outcome? It’s a little creepy and was inspired by a real-life lumberjack song that I listened to on the internet. But the love story is tender and sweet! And justice will prevail!

That's great! Jo's brother's really cracked me up, so I'll be interested in reading their stories as well.

Amber, Thanks for having me and I’d like to offer a giveaway of ebook to any reader OR a paperback (or ebook) USA-only.  Glad to be on your blog again. Blessings!

Carrie, thank you so much for joining us, and for your generosity.  All right folks, you heard the lady, so leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for this fantastic story!

The Fruitcake Challenge
When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on! All the shanty boys and Jo’s cooking helpers chip in with their recipes but Jo finds she’ll have to enlist more help—and begins corresponding with Tom’s mother.

Step back in time to 1890, in beautiful Northern Michigan, near the sapphire straits of Mackinac, when the white pines were “white gold” and lumber camps were a way of life. Jo is ready to find another life outside of the camps and plans that don’t include any shanty boys. But will a lumberjack keep her in the very place she’s sworn to leave?

Keep up with Carrie:

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Christmas Carol with Guest Deb Garland

Oh, what joy it is to sing Christmas carols to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Do you have a favorite song? A favorite musical arrangement of a holiday carol? Perhaps you have a favorite memory of singing carols in the past? And if you’re like me, you wish to discover the origin of one of these traditional Christmas carols.

Silent Night was written by Josef Mohr and set to music by Franz Gruber in 1818. The traditional story speaks about actors arriving at the Church of St. Nicolas in Oberndorf, Austria, on December 23rd to re-enact a musical drama of Christ’s birth. But mice had damaged the organ’s bellows, rendering it inoperable—silent.

Bill Egan, Christmas Historian, tells the true story. On December 24th, Father Josef Mohr asked the church organist, Franz Gruber, to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for a six-stanza poem he’d written two years earlier. The two men sang, the choir repeating the last two lines of each verse, while the priest played the carol on his guitar at Christmas Mass.
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
‘Round yon virgin mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
But the story doesn’t end there. Karl Mauracher, a well-known organ builder, often fixed the organ and heard Franz Gruber play Silent Night. He shared the composition in his hometown of Kapfing where two families of singers, the Rainers and the Strassers, included it in their Christmas programs. In 1838, the Rainers sang Silent Night in German in the United States, but the carol wasn’t translated into English until 1863 by John Freeman Young.

Today, Silent Night is a favorite Christmas carol sung around the world.

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

Deb Garland writes Christian historical romance novels set in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska. She is an ACFW First Impressions and My Book Therapy Frasier Finalist. She enjoys sailing, horseback riding, sipping tea with her husband and friends, and stamping greeting cards. You can connect with Deb at her website:, or on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Unexpected Delight - Love Unexpected!

Love Unexpected is a delightful romance with a plot reminiscent of Love Comes Softly, with a dash of mystery and adventure to keep things exciting. With well-drawn characters, a sigh-worthy romance, and a page-turning ending, this book is a great read for lovers of historical fiction. It’s also set in Michigan (my home state) so I loved the details about places I’ve actually been. And did I mention lighthouses??

If you’ve never read a Jody Hedlund novel (or even if you have), treat yourself and indulge in this fantastic book!

Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

About the Author
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured By Love, Rebellious Heart, and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence and a finalist for the 2011 Carol Award in First Novel. She received a bachelor's from Taylor University and a master's from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She can be found online at