Where does Time Go?

Since I launched Beyond Shiloh with a group of friends at the  Bobbie Jean Memorial Library in Imboden, time has simple disappeared.  But being a writer of fiction, I am learning I am suppose to show and not tell so I will show you what I’ve been up to.

On Saturday, December 1, I launched the third volume of my Shiloh Saga.  Many of my friends from Imboden have been reading the series, and I was so blessed they asked me to come over to present the third volume in Imboden.  I spent twenty-one years teaching at Sloan-Hendrix High School prior to my retirement, and I have many friends from the area who have been so supportive of my writing.  I enjoyed seeing people I had worked with, parents I had known, and meeting a couple of new people who have moved to the area since I retired. The newcomers have been introduced to the Shiloh stories through mutual friends.  I even got to hug the necks of former students who drove in to see me.  One came from Mountain Home, two from Benton, and one from just outside town.  I always love seeing my old tadpoles. Beyond Shiloh was well launched, believe me.  Thank you to the Friends of the Library.

The next Monday on December 3, 2018, I made a short trip over to Paragould to talk to the Paragould Book Club at the Belle Meade Senior Center.  I appreciate the gracious hospitality of Ms. Pam Biggs, the administrator, and her staff for allowing us to use their beautiful facilities.  This is my second trip to speak with these great novel lovers.  They are so knowledgeable about our part of the state.  I think I learn more from them than learn from me.  We spent a good while talking about Shiloh…the community where the books are set.  One of the ladies told me she had family ties to the community, and family buried in their well-kept beautiful cemetery up near the Greene County line. 

Mrs. Lillian had told me there would be six or seven people there, but it turned out to be about twelve.  I sold every book I had taken with me…I still owe her sister two Christmas sets!  They wanted books not only for themselves to give as gifts. Believe me it is an humbling experience to be so well received.  

I also had the opportunity to go to Walnut Ridge and visit with a local bookstore/giftshop owner, Penny Sloan.  Just walking through her store is a delightful experience. She has been offering all my Shiloh books for sometime.  She told me they are very popular with her customers.  That is always music to an author’s ears.  The Spider’s Webb, the name of her business, is located on Main Street in Walnut Ridge.  If you are in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit her.  I’m sure you’ll find some fine last minute Christmas gifts.  While we visited, she invited me to come on December 20th at 6:00 p.m. to do a book talk for readers in that area.  I’d love to see you there.

Choosing a new career as a writer can keep you on the go. Come and see me at a local event if you have the opportunity.  I love to chat with my readers.  Bring your books. I’d be glad to sign them. 

Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year in 2019.

Let Me Tell you about my Book Covers

Many of my readers have commented that my book covers are beautiful.  I am happy they are appealing and pretty, but I want you, my dedicated readers,  to know they are meant to be so much more.  Believe it or not, I spend quite a bit of time planning, choosing pictures for a background, and wording the title and subtitle of each volume.  I want to tell you about the scheme I came up with before I created the first one and continue to use on each new volume I publish.

Take a really close look at the picture below, the background for The Dream of Shiloh: An Arkansas Love Story.  Pick out the thing that most draws you to this picture.  I’ll try to tell you why I chose this photograph.

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This is the first picture I chose.  What brought me to choose this photograph which became the template for the others?  Can you guess?

First, this picture could have come from any county in the state of Arkansas, I believe.  When I think of my native state, I think of the beautiful trees that still fill much of the acreage that makes up Arkansas.  They border fields, follow many of our major roads, even interstate state highways, grace our state parks, cover our mountain sides, and enhance nearly every yard in every neighborhood across “The Natural State.”  When I think about why I love this state so much, part of that reason is that we still have trees, forests, and so many natural places.  Arkansas is beautiful , partly because we haven’t lost all our natural places.  I chose this picture because it reminds of home.  

Secondly, the beautiful stream of light pouring through the tree branches provides a promise about the story I hope I have written.  This image represents God’s grace.  Laurel Campbell’s journey in this saga is more than moving from one cabin in one Arkansas county to another.  With the help of people she encounters throughout the books, she moves from a person who knows about God to a woman who knows Him.  Over the period of nine years, Laurel changes from a fearful, dependent girl into a mature, interdependent woman who learns about love, able to love people who love her because she comes to understand the concept of grace.  Like all of us, the MacLaynes go through times when the grace shines through strong and bright and other times when tragedy and difficult times try to cover the grace. Yet, like the promise of faith,  grace  is never lost. 

I had two purposes for my writing when I started my new career after retiring from teaching more than forty years.  I wanted to tell stories about my home state that puts Arkansas in a positive light. Secondly, I hoped to honor God for the role he has had in building Arkansas and the lives of many of us who call ourselves  Christians. I hope I have recounted the history of the Arkansas pioneer as I found it through the research I did. I didn’t intend to tell an exaggerated fairytale about this state, but I want to tell the story as I believed it happened.  Hardworking, ambitious frontiersmen built a good place to live.  They depended on each other and their faith to survive.  They used the fertile land of opportunity to build good lives for themselves and their families.  They dreamed, built, suffered loss, mourned, and started over at times, but they persevered and succeeded.  The history of those who built this state deserves to be saved.

If you have a question about something else on the cover that struck your fancy, send me a message and tell me what you want to know.  I’d love to talk to you about what I’ve learned about Arkansas or try explain something about my cover I overlooked.  Blessings, Patricia


Coming soon…Beyond Shiloh

I’ve promised many people I’d get Beyond Shiloh out before summer is over.  I am trying very hard to keep my promise.  The past three weeks have been quite productive.  I still have forty-three days to get the book finished.  Just as a little teaser, I have already gone over the first four chapters of the fourth volume of the saga.  I have even started outlining the last book in the series.  Neither of them have a title yet, but I pretty much have them planned out in my head.

I will share a couple of things about Beyond Shiloh with you as a way of pre-publication marketing.

Tag Line

           “This land isn’t our home, darlin’.  Our faith, our love, and us together–always.                    That’s our Shiloh.”

What is a Tag Line? You know!!! It’s that short quote on the movie posters to entice people to go see the film…except its for reading a book.

Cover Preview

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Blurb

A second enticement to read the next installment of my Shiloh Saga.  For those of you who’ve read the book already, I’d appreciate some previews.  I know there are at least five of you.  If you’ve read either of the earlier two books, it’s never too late for a review on Amazon for those two, either.  Thank you for helping me get my literary children known out there in the big world of independent publishing.

Blurb

Pretty pleased with this one, too.  I am so blessed by all the wonderful encouragement I’ve received from y’all.  I never thought so many people would love my Arkansas stories.

Please write me a comment and give me some feedback.  It’s still not too late to make changes.

God is good…All the time.  All the time…God is good.

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

Arkansas

 

_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.