Author No. 4… Robin Patchen!!

I’m thrilled to be able to introduce another favorite Christian author of mine: Robin Patchen!! She has been so nice as to do this blog interview with me.

Robin Patchen, thanks a lot for taking this interview with me. I love your books, and learned from them. It is a great pleasure to have you here!

And for my readers, here’s another exciting author interview. I feel that y’all would be quite interested in who they are, what they write, and how they got on this exciting journey of being a novelist.

Robin Patchen

Bio: Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Patchen to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Find her on the web here at http://robinpatchen.com.

 

And here is the interview 🙂

How and when did you start to write? What (or who) influenced you to go down this road? 

I always loved to write. Unfortunately, I was a very shy and insecure girl, and I didn’t have much faith in my own abilities, so I didn’t share my dream of being a writer with anybody when I was a child. After one semester at business school, I knew business wasn’t for me. (Why do you need Calculus to get a business degree? After a semester of the class, I still don’t know what Calculus is.) At that point, I transferred to Northeastern University in Boston and studied journalism. I learned how to write and edit newspaper articles, feature articles, press releases, and marketing copy. I thought that was what I wanted, and I enjoyed it well enough. After college, I worked in marketing and public relations until my first child was born. Then I quit work to raise my kids. Fast forward many years, and for my fortieth birthday, my husband gave me a laptop computer. I’d had a story bouncing around in my head for years, and I decided to write it down, mostly in the hopes of getting it out of my head. Three months and 700 pages later, I’d found my passion—writing novels.

 Tell us about yourself in one sentence.

I am a Christ-serving, husband-loving, children-adoring, church-going, novel-writing, grammar-crazy short girl with a big smile and a talent for spilling drinks on unsuspecting dinner companions.

 What is most important to you when writing a book?

I want my readers to never get bored, to keep reading late into the night, to be compelled to turn the pages until they’re done. I want them to be thinking about my characters even when they’re not reading. And I want my stories to reflect the grace of God.

What held you on the track (of being a writer) through all the obstacles and trials toward being a published writer/author—before and after you first got published?

That’s such a good question, Odelia, because it’s not easy. When I wrote that first book—remember, 700 pages in three months—I thought I was the next Great American Novelist. I thought it was so good. The first slap in the face came when I realized what I thought was brilliant was actually, well, not. A lot of writers quit at that point, but I thought I could learn, and I poured myself into it. I was fortunate. I didn’t have a day job, and I did have that journalism degree so I knew how language worked. What kept me from quitting? The friends I met in my local writers group, the online critique group I joined, and other writing friends I met across the nation—and around the world—who encouraged me and taught me and shared resources with me. Also, I was given glimmers of hope from industry professionals. I’ll never forget the agent who said after reading the first few pages of my second novel, “You definitely have the chops.” She didn’t even request a proposal, but those words were fuel for months.

Which of your various novels is your favourite? Or are they all the same to you, after they’re published?

My favorite is usually the most recently published, so right now, Innocent Lies. I love the heroine’s determination to protect the man she loves and her son, even though I don’t really like the way she goes about it all the time. And I’d say second on the list of my favorites is Generous Lies, but that story is so close to home for me, it’ll always have a sweet spot in my heart. It’s about a man struggling to get his son help after discovering the boy is a drug addict. My eldest son is an addict, so my husband and I walked that path with him. I hope the story is an honest reflection of the feelings and fears we managed during that time.

 How do you use your free time—if any? What do you do for a living besides writing books?

Free time? What’s that?

I used to be so good at managing my time. It’s a skill I need to cultivate again. When I’m not writing a new book or marketing my existing books, I’m editing someone else’s books. I spend a good 12 hours a day in front of this screen. I need to build in more time for fun. What do I do for fun? Don’t laugh… I read.

 What advice do you have for budding authors—like myself—out there? Any sagely words of wisdom?

If someone tells you something like, “never use the word ‘was,’” ignore him. Like in most of life, the words “never” and “always” rarely apply to writing. But take most of the feedback you receive seriously and try to figure out what the readers didn’t like and learn how to do it better. Read a lot of craft books and try to apply what they recommend. Read a lot of other books, and read in and out of your genre. Analyze what you’re reading—especially if you love it. Ask yourself, what is it about this that resonates with me? What makes me want to turn the pages? The most important advice I can give you is to write often. Like every other skill, practice makes… well, not perfect, but better.

 I love the novel Convenient Lies: and can’t wait to read the rest of the series!! What inspired the Hidden Truth series?

I got an image in my head. No idea where it came from, but it was a picture of a woman holding a newborn and arriving in her hometown. I didn’t know where the father was, and I didn’t know what her story was. From there, I started filling in the blanks—where had she come from, who was she running from, what did she need? About halfway through writing Convenient Lies, I decided it would be the first in a series. It all started with that strange image.

Favorite quote on writing/life in general?

Favorite quote? That’s about as hard as narrowing down my favorite book! There are too many to choose from to pick favorites. I do love C.S. Lewis. This is one my favorites by him: “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Isn’t that a lovely thought?

 

And there you have it!! An insider’s look into the life and story of an amazing storyteller. And the best news is… Robin Patchen is giving each of you a free copy of the first book in her series Hidden Truth–the book that got me hooked: Convenient Lies!! Scroll down for the link: but don’t skim through the wonderful introduction to Innocent Lies!!

LATEST RELEASE: INNOCENT LIES

“Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.” –Robin Patchen, award winning author of Finding Amanda and Convenient Lies.

About Innocent Lies:

A lost little boy steals his heart.

When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He couldn’t be more wrong.

She’ll do anything to keep her son safe. 

Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.

The past catches up with them.

Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she’s ever loved…again?

 

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B0774WL7DR

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/innocent-lies-1

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127396772

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/innocent-lies/id1307084222

 

AND…. here’s the link to the free book: ENJOY!!

Download Convenient Lies absolutely free!

 

Thank you so much for coming on with me, Robin: I truly enjoyed doing the blog interview with you, and hope to be able to read more of you books in the near future!!

God bless you!! (and all those reading this:)

~~Odelia J.

I Give Up

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time… how insignificant we are, how minuscule our accomplishments, how small and unseen each of us seem.

Why give birth to a child, when having to raise her/him would be an extra load in your life, an extra burden on the monthly expense,  extra hours spent  feeding, changing diapers, and training? Why write another song when so many have been written, sung, and enjoyed? Why suffer torture for Christ when it would be so easy to say, “He is not my Savior anymore?” Why write another novel, another book, another article, when it’s all a waste of paper and energy?

Does our work matter at all, amidst the vortex and whirlwind of the others around us?

Why do we keep pushing on, the bound prisoners, the weary mothers, the exhausted artists? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Does anyone care? Do any know of the hours, the painful, tortured days and months spent striving for the impossible dream—for something?

Would it not be easier to throw everything to the wind, to forget the years spent over dreams that could never be? Would it not be simple to retrace one’s steps and fall back into the predictable, comfortable existence of ‘before’, drifting through life,with no definite, unrelenting resolve or dream that pushes one to the brink?

And the looming question… if through it all, you have done it: you have accomplished the calling of your life…. And no one notices. No one cares.

What then??

The choice is yours. To do…or not. To give up running where the brave dare not go, to step down the ladder because the last few rungs cause too much pain.

What is it that pushes one on, even when all seems lost? What causes one to endure the pain and loneliness of practice, of work, of persecution, of groping through a tunnel and finding no light?

Why is it that there are some who would not give up, no matter what?

The answer is simple: and although this may not apply to every person who have gone through trials and labor to emerge triumphant, I believe it rings true for most artists, most writers—for most of the people who have a dream, a goal they will not give up for anything.

They did not give up because, though the pain of striving, of living for and actually doing something is great, the pain of not doing, not achieving is far, far greater.

An unreachable star surpasses no star at all.

That is why a mother tenderly raises her child even when she/he ‘destroys’ the mother’s previous life, upsets her schedule completely, refuses to let her sleep a wink at night.

The pain and sorrow of losing that precious child is far beyond the temporary pain and sleepiness of caring for the baby.

That is why artists and musicians press on, through poverty and neediness, to bring beauty and enjoyment out of paint and sound. There was something to live for, something to hold onto when all else would not, could not satisfy that hunger in them.. the hunger to create. Not only to survive life… but to thrive. Not to be simply doing, but to be.

That is why a Christian goes through persecution, trials and tribulations, his eyes fixed on his Savior and God… because the abyss of a life without Him, the purposelessness of a life without his Creator, the very thought of there being no God is terrifying beyond comprehension. That is why we hope… because without that hope, without that faith in Someone Unchanging and Eternal, there is nothing in the world to live for.

That is why martyrs could die for their faith. They can gladly give up their lives for the light, the Light who has placed meaning in their lives

And that is why I write. Day after day, week after week I struggle, I cry,  I drag the pen across the paper…and when nothing happens(yet)…I continue.

Because the pain of not writing brings pain—deep, abiding, unendurable pain—incomparably greater than what I’ll experience if I keep pushing on.

So yes, I give up.

In fact, I’ve given up already. I’ve decided to give in to that small little voice, that gut feeling of letting go of something since it’s too hard. It will hurt, but I’m not looking back. I’ve told myself I’ll never give in, never give up and keep pressing on… but I will. I am giving up.

And I’m thinking I’ll not be regretting my choice either.

The title above says it all. I give up.

I give up on giving up.

It’s just not worth it.

Have a Blessed 2018!!

A once-new year has passed, and another is coming to our doorsteps.

The New Year is upon us.

The time when we dig up crumpled New Year resolutions and sigh over unfinished projects.  The time when we sit down for a few minutes, and reminisce about 2017, and all God has brought us to know and experience.

Happy vacations,  new livestock, baby lambs— a new car. God has blessed us with more, much more than we ever will deserve.

And as we look forward to 2018…..

Excited? Definitely.

Happy? Kind of… it’s always sad to see a year pass away.

Afraid? Maybe… because, who knows what will happen?

But something we know for certain.. one thing we know will never pass away.

The love of God. God’s mercy and His Plan of Salvation.

The promise that They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.John 10:28b (KJV)

Another promise.While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22(KJV)

There will be order in the world: even when a lot of other things, such as bitcoin crashes and biotechnology, confuses and radically changes the world, and the way we perceive the world.  There will always be Someone we can trust, Who we can lean on, Who will never, never change when everything else crumbles.

This is the message I pass on to you. Hope in the Lord, even when we cannot see the end of the tunnel. At least not yet.

But we know who will be Victor 🙂

A third promise for Two-thousand and Eighteen:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

God bless you all, friends, family :), and readers!!!

Love you all in the Lord!!

 

Thank you very much for supporting this blog and encouraging me onward!!

Today actually marks the 1 year anniversary of Odelia’s Blog”!!!!

(Should I change the name of the website? Comment below!!)

Goodbye, 2017!!

Hello, 2018!!

 

 

Petal in the moonlight

 

Petal in the moonlight

She scuffed her toes on the sandy ground, creating circles and ridges around her bare feet. The whisper of evening had long passed: the moon shone down gently, like the first rain of spring. She should have been asleep by now: but it was her special day. Her day to dream, to dance, to live.

She pulled her hair into a ponytail, and stood, pushing the stem of the desert rose into her hair. Her favorite color for her favorite day.

Smiling bashfully, she took a couple of steps forward, then turned to curtsey to her mother.

This was their ritual: the something that bound them together, through the rumble and rising of war, through the threat of death.

The chapped hands came together, a raspy applause by arthritic hands—love’s triumph over pain. The thin lips moved into a smile, as if it has forgotten what it was to be happy.

But today was to be a happy day. She was twelve.

She smiled back, and lifted her arms. Her feet moved to an inner music, her eyes half-closed, enchanted by something the evening air was telling her. The voice whispered on, the urge irrepressible.

Look at me… Everybody, look at me.

The ground gave way under her, submissive and smooth. She twirled, she twisted, she flew. The night was still: the lights were still: her mother was still. Everything has ceased to exist; for her. For her, and nothing else. It intoxicated her.

Her mind was filled with only one thing, the feeling pulsing through her limbs, the euphoria that enveloped her.

When she dared, she opened her eyes and met her mother’s. They were filled with so much joy, so much love for her that she wanted to cry.

Her eyes blurry, she dove even more into her dance, more to give her mother this speck of rainbow gold than to fulfil the hunger to move in herself. Tomorrow the sun would burn her back as she went about her chores. Her mother’s low voice would ride over the humid air soothingly, as flour and water submitted under her expert hands. Their arms would be sore through the night: but why think of that now? Why let anything smudge the present happiness?

Time itself fled. Joyous movement became all that mattered. She danced into the night, drunk with pleasure.

Then everything went wrong.

A shot rang out, deadly and crisp in its suddenness. Time stood still. She reeled from the impact, and fell face-forward, dust between her lips. Death was here.

But she was not dead.

Rough, enormous hands gripped her hips and slung her onto a shoulder. She could not close her eyes. She could not resist. She could not move.

The man beneath her turned around, walking away from the humble dirt-covered home she had spent all her life in.

Her heart stopped. She opened her mouth to scream but she could not, she clenched her hands, and found them senseless.

The body of her mother, her one friend lay sprawled on the rug she made herself, a crimson stain dripping from the hole in her forehead onto the sky-blue threads. The eyes were closed, her mouth open.

To say goodbye to me.

Her eyes moved away, as if knowing a young mind cannot bear such deep, dark sorrow. Such blatant murder. Such sudden death. Such ruthlessness.

The rose had fallen to the ground, one single red petal broken off, apart from the rest of the flower, illuminated by the moonlight.  Lonely, forgotten: like one drop of blood on the brown sand.

A petal in the moonlight.

She stared at that crimson petal until the night swallowed up the corpse, the rose, the petal.

*********************************************************************************

The barbs looked sharper than the knife her mother used to cut dinner with. Were they? She could barely remember the past, the happy past before her kidnapper took her here to be a slave to the carnal lust of the big boss.

She was a child of the harem.

They had given her the simple dress she now wore. The hem had once reached her ankles: now it was no lower than her knees. The simple rose patterns on the sack-like cloth were red and white: with a background of luscious brown. The colour of the sand.

The leering face scared her, even without its physical presence. Master had instilled terror into her young heart: horror that would never go away. The scar across his mouth and cheek rendered his face gruesome, like a living, mangled carcase. His thick fingers touched those places she intrinsically knew should never be touched, not at this young age, not like this. Her innocence had been stolen. Her body defiled. Her purity destroyed.

She was a child, and yet no longer a child.

She traced with her fingers the bruises and slits on her arms, wondering how the stretched, dry skin could still hold together over the bones. Hunger tore through her insides every night. Every morning a cup of dust and water was handed to her, at night a stripped bone.

She was a dog: she was less than a dog.

Her mouth was dry. Her eyes were dry. Her heart was breaking. But tears would not come. They could not come out of her heart. Something blocked them, something called fear.

They would whip her again if they saw her here, crouched by the side of her shack, her knees to her chest, her head in her arms. She bit her lips and looked up.

The moon looked down on her from his great height, so gently, so kindly. His glow was ethereal and soft. Only a crescent could be seen: only a slit curve existed to give her comfort. But it was there. It was there for her, for her only.

And for her mother who would never see this same moon again.

She dropped her eyes to the barbed fence all round her. In here was slavery: beyond it, freedom.

She could not run. The fence was too high.

She stood, and looked around to make sure that no glittering eyes were fixed on her, that she would not gratify the carnal thoughts of those who had destroyed her. No one would bother to walk so far, to a place so deserted, to watch a starved girl move her arms and feet. No one would bother her here.

Her body complained of the labour forced onto her from the first day: the heavy heavy buckets of water, the sleepless nights, the whip when she walked too slowly. She had borne it all silently, tearlessly, emotionlessly.

Now she was alone.

Never dance without a flower in your hair.

The tiny plant grew in the farthest corner of the confinement, embarrassed to be seen. The blossom pushed itself up bravely, defying the elements of its environment, thriving where others could not.

She knelt in front of the small plant, reaching out two fingers to stroke the petals. They were red. They were real. They were wondrous.

Her roughened hands disengaged the stem of the bloom from the rest of the plant, catching her breath with wonder as the moon light shone fully on the flower in her hands. Then she reached up, and nudged the rose into her tangled hair, like her mother always did for her.

This is for you, mother. This flower and this dance.

She stepped to the center of the square enclosure, froze for a moment before blowing a kiss to the heavens.

Then she danced, slowly, like the majestic swans, building speed as she went.

No one cared about her: no one cared that she could dance. None knew she could in these circumstances: without friends, without love and happiness. She did not know it herself.

But here she was, soaring through the skies, arms outstretched, her feet barely on the ground, spinning, whirling on to another world: a world where she was free, with the ones she loved.

Where she would be free from the torture and darkness of the place she was in now.

This is for you mother. Now. For you and for  me.

She did not here the footfalls outside the barbed wire fence, neither did she noticed the pair of eyes gazing wonderingly at her. She was only experiencing the sweetest joy, purest happiness ever since she had been here, because now she could dance. She could move. She could love. She could be herself.

Finally the tears came. They fell, one by one trickling down her dry cheeks, then in floods. They blinded her, drenched her, and spurred her on. She danced, clinging on to this tiny, transient moment of life, the life withheld from her for so long.

Her mother was with her, holding her hand, dancing with her, smiling at her, and wrapping her arms around her.

She smiled back: only there was no mother.

She was alone.

She flung herself to the ground, forgetful of everything, of the need for silence, and wept. Her heart felt torn to pieces, like the flower crushed on the ground beside her. She heaved, she cried, she could not hold back.

All the loneliness and sorrow of the past years fell on her, an unforgiving, exacting burden. She submitted. There was no other way.

*************************************************************************************

Two eyes saw what she did not see. Two hands did what she did not do.

The single petal, curved on one end and pointed at the other, lay a few feet away from the girl, between the fence and himself. He clipped apart the wires, and carefully squeezed himself inside the inhumane prison. On one knee, less than three feet away from the sobbing girl, he reached and touched the tissue thin petal, cradling it in his hand like an irreplaceable treasure. His eyes went over to the girl and back to the weightless object in his hands.

A petal in the moonlight.

*************************************************************************************

The sand beneath her feet was one thing she would remember, the waves rolling to the shore on her right, the muted dancing music from the indoors borne over the slight breeze.

All that mattered was the here and now. Him and her, standing here, alone, united as groom and bride, standing in each other’s arms by the sea-shore. Nothing else could compare to this.

He was her saviour, the man who dared to snatch her out of the deadly fangs of sexual slavery. He was handsome, the cleft in his chin and the dimples on his face irresistible, especially in the moonlight.

Like now.

A crown of roses was on her head, a cluster of fresh desert flowers on her chest. He said they matched her eyes, her pure white satin dress.

They both knew he meant more than that. So much more.

Wordlessly, he began to move, his arms still around her, their movements synchronized into one flawless dance. His eyes never left hers, building the magic moment by moment until it was more than she could bear.

He led her lovingly, like the moon leading the stars above them, his touch sending shivers of ecstasy into her.

Her eyes blurred, but her mouth widened into the largest smile she could ever give.

He leaned forward, brushing her tears away with his lips. She lifted her face toward his, and touched his lips with hers.

He returned the kiss: and thus interlocked, they rocked to the sound of the music that only the two of them could hear… the music of love.

She had a vision of her mother standing beside them, tears of joy running down her eyes, her arms wrapped tightly around her daughter and son-in-law. Then it was gone. Gone forever.

She held on to him as if he was the only thing on earth, the lifeline without which she would fall into the deepest misery and death no man could ever save her from.

He released her slowly, nestled her head against his shoulder, and stroked her hair—like my mother.

She opened her eyes, praying that doing so would not break the beauty, the fragile connection between the ethereal and the physical.

Something lay a few steps behind them. Something so small, so touching, so significant she held her breath.

Two tears rolled down her cheeks. She stared at it, unable to let go of it with her eyes.

A petal in the moonlight.