ACFW Virginia Conference – Appointments

Our editor and head-shot photography appointments are now open. Head here to sign-up for a time slot.

If you haven’t registered for the conference, now’s the time. Early bird registration ends October 15th.

Join speaker, Dani Pettrey, for two craft sessions in the morning. Afterward, we’ll break for The Crown Award Luncheon and announce the winners of The Crown writing contest. Then choose from nine classes for the afternoon sessions.

Find more information on our conference page.

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The Crown Finalists

Announcing The Crown award finalists!

Young Adult/Speculative/Thriller

In the Middle of the Whirlwind

Water’s Break

Drafted to Deceive

Historical/Historical Romance

Counterfeit Love

The Red Canary

The Duke’s Refuge

Contemporary/Contemporary Romance

Take Two on Love

Remember Not

Red Carpet Summer

 

Congrats to the finalists! 

Gentle Earth Stewardship

When I was a relatively new Christian, I supported an environmental organization. I disagreed with most of their policies and stances, but I couldn’t find a Christian organization that actively supported the first commandment in the Bible.

“Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (HCSB®)
-Genesis 1:28b

The subduing might sound aggressive in our language, however it was anything but that. We are not a conquering creation by design. That violence of subduing only came through sin.

Anything the newly created man did was to be done in God’s image as his steward upon earth. So we likewise need to tend to the world around us as God does. And how is that? There are lots of Scriptures addressing God’s care for his creations, but I like one in Isaiah.

“He protects His flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them in the fold of His garment.
He gently leads those that are nursing.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
or weighed the mountains in a balance
and the hills in the scales?” (HCSB®)
-Isaiah 40:11-12

God is gentle. God protects and nurtures. He could obliterate everything with a move of his hand, but he chooses gentleness.

Gentleness lets the earth lay fallow at times so nutrients can return to the soil. Gentleness studies which plants work best together or how to avoid blight or disease.

Gentleness tries to minimize pollution or other unfortunate side effects of mankind’s step upon our planet.

Gentleness cares for whatever animals our under our notice. This could be putting out food for wild birds or taking regular care of the animals assigned to us—whether for livelihood or as pets.

Gentleness gives to others a share of what God has blessed us with from the earth. As Boaz instructed his men to pull out a little extra so Ruth could find enough food for herself and her mother-in-law, so we should spread that blessing however we can.

This is by no means the limit for living gently upon the earth. I’m sure anyone who reads this can think of a few more and that’s good.

In this month that celebrates the earth, as Christians let’s find ways to be gentle to all of God’s creation!


Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of four novels, award-winning writer, blogger, wife and mother to two homeschool graduates, writes in time snippets and on random pieces of scratch paper. She also enjoys training up the next generation of writers by coaching 6th to 12th grade homeschool students.

Autism Awareness Month – Asperger’s in Writing

If you’ve been a reader for a very long time, like I have, then over time you’ve no doubt loved many quirky characters in the stories you’ve read. They’re like the salt added to a recipe you’re cooking, to give it more flavor. The character whose lack of social insight gets him or her into trouble with others, often with comic results. The hero’s handsome geeky friend who somehow attracts females but once they get chatting with him they drift off in his direction.

There is argument within the field as to exactly what constitutes Aspergers Disorder and is it truly on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was a psychologist for twenty-five years during which time there initially was NO diagnosis of Aspergers. The fact that Aspergers has now moved on the latest Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) to the Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the code removed for Aspergers, doesn’t convince me that the diagnosis will stay there. There is a movement among people some to not consider Aspergers or mild autism as a condition but simply a variant in functioning. That is how it was treated in the past. Quirky kids, unless there was indeed a developmental impact (and per the diagnosis there is supposed to have been significant developmental impact) weren’t labeled.

Think about some of these characteristics and whether you have observed them in others, for example readers, writers and librarians: Excessive (obsessive) single interest, (books!), difficulty in social interaction (too busy reading or writing!), tendency to predominate conversations with long one-sided topics of their interest (usually their latest or favorite book), excessively involved in routine and order – ok, well that last one might only apply to the librarians! As a former psychologist, I’ve found these characteristics to be with some frequency observed in all those groups. But unless these individuals also manifested a significant developmental delay, they wouldn’t be diagnosed. Furthermore, you wouldn’t say they are on the ASD spectrum! They simply manifest some traits which can both help them in their vocations but possibly affect social relationships. Check out this online summary.

If you check out that article on Wiki, you’ll see that there are many more difficulties involved with those diagnosed with the disorder. I get concerned that writers who choose to include a character in a story, should be sure they’ve got it right as far as the criteria. I usually prefer to write stories where we have characters with all types of characteristics and issues and it isn’t necessary to identify the disorder. I’ve also noticed other authors doing the same. Readers comment in Christian readers Facebook groups things like, “I thought this character might have Aspergers.” I don’t think for the reader that having a label or diagnosis is that helpful in the vast majority of cases. The descriptions of the behaviors can allow the reader to draw her or her own inferences. After all, people have reading those kinds of books for hundreds of years without the need to have a character diagnosed!

What do you think? Do you prefer to draw your own conclusions about characters without an author spelling it all out? In my novel, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, 2016) my heroine has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which she overcomes with God’s help. And since she lived in the 1740s we don’t have a diagnosis – just a manifestation of her symptoms!


ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. 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. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.