Family, Friends, and Duty, oh my!

I think everyone understands the delicate line we all walk between looking after our own

Anne Gracie, Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney
Anne Gracie, Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney

interests and looking after friends and family. So I hope you’ll understand that I’ve been treading that line a lot lately. It’s really hard to keep our balance when the unexpected occurs, even harder when tragedy strikes. We’re pulled toward those who need us most and forget the mundane. If you want to see what has me spinning, please read the post in the Word Wench blog about losing Jo Beverley.

My book characters probably reflect some of my own dilemma on how to handle this tight rope, because they’re human, and I want them to take familiar human paths, but I’ve never really considered this a theme until this week. As WHISPER OF MAGIC gets ready for release and I struggle through the current manuscript, I have become aware from my own struggle for balance that family, friends, duty, and my characters’ own selfish desires all provide conflict in my books. Awareness apparently comes through living and losing.

Whisper of Magic by Patricia RiceI don’t know how much of “me” can be found in WHISPER’s Lord Erran Ives, a brilliant barrister with a dangerous gift of persuasion. But his struggles to find the dividing line between his own needs and his family’s should be familiar to most of us. And of course, because he’s young and this is romance, when a lovely woman with a celestial voice is thrown in his path, his struggles are completely derailed. And now that I think about it, the ending might be symbolic for all of us trying to keep our heads above water!

Do you have any secrets for balancing “me” needs and “family/friends” needs?


10 thoughts on “Family, Friends, and Duty, oh my!”

  1. I am reading this now because I received and email from Amazon telling me a new book from Jo Beverley is coming out in May. I am so happy that she left us one last gift. After her passing I re-read most of her books, I know I still have some to find either in my huge collection or by buying either second had of from Amazon.
    I just can’t believe that it will be a year soon of her leaving this world. I never met her but I felt that I knew her through her work. Now I make sure to let all of my favorite authors, like you Patricia, know how much your work is appreciate it and loved. In other words I try to do the same as I do with my daughter every day by telling her how much I love her and how proud I am of her. I do agree with what you said in your blog, moments like this makes you realize what is important in our lives.
    Looking forward to reading your latest work and I will be re-reading your previous work. I am glad I found you again. Peace and blessings.

    • Oh, now I’m teary-eyed. Jo did her very best to finish that book before she passed, because she felt obligated to her readers to do so. She knew you all were out there. The world is a much sadder place for her loss, but I suspect she’s happy where she is now. Jo was like that!
      And thank you for the kindness of letting us know your thoughts. We should all do the same–pass on our appreciation for those we love.

  2. Pat, I read to learn about the world, now and earlier in centuries . I also read to honor my beloved Dad who told me at a young age that to read you would never be lonely. And it is so my life time I have read when I had a spare minute.i have no idea how many books, articles,even cereal boxes I have read. ????
    So with that in mind, just let me say that I have enjoyed your writing for years.i am a older women 80 to be honest. I have had an amazing life. Nothing special, but a full life with wonderful family and friends. One who has lasted 74 years. We are still active on computer..

    Keep writing these books Pat.


    Jane Stratton Comer

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know! And brava for conquering the computer at a time when so many people quit exploring new worlds. Reading is my life and it has brought me much joy. I hope you can say the same!

  3. Dear Pat.

    I’m sorry for your loss of Jo Beverley. I share that sorrow. You may or may not know I was her first American book editor and her first American agent, after I moved to that side of the business. I heard early on of her passing and went to the Word Wench blog where I let my grief pour forth at some length. By the time I finished, my hands were trembling so hard I did something wrong in the posting process and my outpourings were lost. I simply couldn’t bring myself to write them again and maybe couldn’t have anyway. Jo meant so much to me, and I treasure the privilege of knowing her. She was a dream to work with and a magnificent woman.

    As for your large question – I have absolutely no idea how to balance my needs with those of others around me. They are all hopelessly mashed together in my heart. I’ve made some improvement in that I’m not thrown quite so far off-kilter when those mish-mashed needs collide. On the other hand, I believe I’m in the process of deciding not to chastise myself for my heart’s imbalance – in the process of embracing that very basic part of me instead. I will go off the rails every now and then into a morass of trying to serve too many masters (or mistresses) but that’s me. Perhaps even a best version of me. Meanwhile, in my relationships, I try to remember what the Buddha said about trust. “You can trust people to be who they are.” I think it might be time to trust the same of myself.

    Blessings. Alice

    • I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner. May I pass the part about Jo on to the other Wenches? Jo was one of a kind, the kind of person you could trust, and that doesn’t happen often in this world. And yes, trusting our inner instincts is probably the best way to be the best we can be. Thank you for expressing what we all feel.

  4. Hi Pat, I just read the news today about Jo Beverley. I’m so sorry for the loss of your good friend and colleague. She will be greatly missed, but remembered on forever in the stories she created. I had several close family friends who went through similar situations and it is never easy. You just have to enjoy the time you do have to the fullest.

    As to your question about running that fine line between family, friends, and work – it is never easy you just do the best you can. The last couple months my dad was alive, we knew the end was near. I was traveling home every two weeks and feeling torn every day. I was in sales at the time, and looking back realize I was not in the frame of mind to be calling customers to set appointments. I was more easily irritable and remember starting to have an argument with a gentleman who wanted to argue semantics. I thankfully caught myself before I took it too far, but it was not my most professional moment.

    Unfortunately, there are not a lot of situations where you get to forget everything else and just deal with that one problem. You just have to muddle through the best you can, and try and compartmentalize as best you can. On the really bad days, give yourself a pass and take a break. Go to a place that meant a lot to that person and just enjoy some time there. Don’t make yourself socialize, just float in your head and remember good times. It really can help. But most of all, give yourself time. It never completely goes away, but you begin to remember the good times more than the sadness.

    • very very wise words. When my mother was dying, I was on the book tour of my life, all the glitz and glamour of limos and hotels and receptions. It was terrible trying to do my duty to my publisher while keeping in contact with those who were caring for her. So I completely understand what you’re saying. But it’s hard to float in our heads when we have to work, isn’t it? And our heads get all scrambled with grief, so we can’t even tell ourselves to let go. Thank you!

  5. I have no great wisdom to share. I think we all struggle as you are. Jo became one of my favorite writers with the first work of hers that I read and I found myself haunting used book stores for all the works I’d missed. My condolences to and your fellow Word Wenches on the loss of your friend.


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