What I Learned at Ken-Ten Writers Retreat

My Dear Writer Friends,

      Do you know the most important tool in your writer’s tool box is passion?  This is the theme of the enthusiastic, poignant message from the final speaker at our get-together Bar-be-que on opening night at the retreat in Montgomery Bell State Park. Mr. Guy Robbins presented this concept in a moving tribute to his late wife, Sandra Robbins, one of the founding writers of the Ken-Ten Writers Group.  Mrs. Robbins passed away in January.

      Mr. Robbins spoke of his wife’s love for writing. Among her talents he listed, intelligence, wit, tenacity, willingness to help other writers, and her ability to make and keep friends.  But in closing, he said all those things which she possessed in abundance were outranked by her passion for her craft. Mr. Robbins recounted her long career in writing.  He said she had published at least thirty-five novels, but Guy felt her greatest contribution was her encouragement to other writers.  That “Passion”  led her, through a friendship with Kathy Cretsinger and Susan Davis, to begin a group for writers in Western Tennessee and Western Kentucky.   From their work came to the development the Ken-Ten Retreat, which last year opened their event to writers from other states. This June 11-14, approximately thirty writers from six states were afforded the opportunity to “hone our skills, like striking iron against iron”.

       I didn’t personally know Sandra Robbins, but in a brief conversation  in the parking lot, Guy told my friend Martha Rodriquez and me of his  great loss.  Now his passion is to assure her work continues. Sandra was indeed blessed to have a life mate who cares so deeply for her and her passion.  I have been blessed with her passion, too.  Thanks to Kathy Cretsinger and Susan Davis and the other Ken-Ten members, the retreat was a wonderful week.  Guy impressed me with his closing charge to the members of our retreat: Write always and write with passion. We were recharged in the beauty of God’s beautiful world in the glorious park.  We were revitalized in the energetic atmosphere of the Ken-Ten Retreat. I pray we will use the gifts we received last week and let our passion make us all better writers to the Glory of our Lord.

Write Passionately,

Patricia Clark Blake



_DSC0232 TUMy New Author Picture

thSandra Robbins



A Yellow Rose of Arkansas

A Yellow Rose from Arkansas
In Memory…H. Gene Clark

Father’s Day is near.  My daddy passed almost eighteen years ago.  Not one day goes by that I don’t miss him.  He loved yellow roses.  I place this picture him in his memory.  It is an Arkansas yellow rose that I grew in my front yard.  He would have loved it.  Gene Clark was the greatest dad.  Thank you, Lord, for all the great fathers everywhere in all ages.

Why Historical Fiction?

As I complete the edit on third volume of the Shiloh Saga, I am looking on to what I may write next.  Of course, I plan to finish Mac and Laurel’s story, but after that I wonder where I will find my next story line?  I am sure it will be historical fiction.  Recently I read a devotional that confirmed for me why I find this genre so important and special.

In the tenth and eleventh chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses commands the people he has brought out of Egypt to tell the children of the deeds God did to bring them safely to the Promised Land.  He reminds them they did not see these miracles and had not experienced the acts that lead them through the Red Sea and fed them in the wilderness.  He said, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…”  Deut. 11:18-19

Moses was talking about the need to save their history.  That is what I love about historical fiction.  When good writers weave the past into their storylines, they are preserving bits of our story that may be lost without their telling.  That is why their research is so important.  Plot lines and good characters are the vehicle to carry the past.  Good writers of historical fiction generate interest in those places and events of times past, and the stories they weave helps their readers remember.  It is the responsibility of our generation to pass on what we know about our country, our culture, and our families to the next generation.  Without this, they will have no history to pass on to their children.

For Christian Historical Fiction writers, I believe, it is crucial to tell young people how God has impacted us.  We have an obligation to show them how faith, Christian values, the perseverance of the early church, and lives of the people who came before us have made the world we live in possible.  This is our witness to the next generation.

And we tell it in a story…because we want them to remember what the Lord has done for us.

This is the site of preserved homestead near Dalton, in Randolph County, Arkansas.  This an example of a single pen cabin.  There were no glass paned windows.  The logs had been hewn to make them fit together more evenly.
Eli Lindsey Marker
Rita Thomison very graciously sent me this picture to include with this story. This marker is on the site of the Lindsey home place in Lawrence County about a mile from the Eli Lindsey Memorial Methodist Church.  John Stoll and his wife Elaine minister to this congregation today.