Her many historical novels, most based on the lives of actual people, speak of timeless themes of hardiness, faith, commitment, hope, and love. We are speaking of Jane Kirkpatrick.
She is a New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of over 39 books and numerous essays.
Jane said, “I like helping people from the distant past step from their generation into our own to teach and touch us with their lives.”
Jane has sold over 1.5 million copies, and has won literary awards such as the Wrangler (National Cowboy Museum), WILLA Literary (Women Writing the West), Will Rogers Medallion (Will Rogers Foundation), and the Carol (American Christian Fiction Writers). She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times in 2012, the Caldera Achievement Award from The Nature of Words in 2006, and the Distinguished Northwest Writer award in 2005 from the Willamette Writers Association.
Coming in September her newest book, The Healing of Natalie Curtis.
Pre-order The Healing of Natalie Curtis, Jane’s new novel!
“Another enthralling work of historical fiction inspired by real events. Kirkpatrick’s portrayal of Natalie’s fight for equality and cultural preservation will resonate with readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“Jane Kirkpatrick presents us with talented musician Natalie Curtis, a woman broken by the very thing she loved, in search of hope and healing yet extending both to those Native singers her path inevitably crosses. Natalie grows across these pages to be a heroine worth rooting for—all the more because this story is true.” – Lori Benton, award-winning author of Burning Sky, Mountain Laurel, and Shiloh
Suite T is bringing author and playwright Sara M. Robinson to our blog today for readers to get to know more about her personally and her books.
Suite T asked Sara why and how she became a poet. We think you will agree, she has been able to answer our question.
She will tell you it is important that we know poetry and why and how it works for all of us as well as writers. Join us as Sara shares her journey.
I’m not sure I can start this by answering the “why” part, so I’ll start with the “How” part. But as I start, I beg your indulgence for a bit of backstory. I am a Virginia local, but only 2nd generation born in America. My paternal family originated from Lithuania, only then it was Russia.
A few brothers settled in the Shenandoah Valley, and my grandfather, along with an arranged marriage bride, settled in the little town of Elkton. I was born and raised in this area, as was my dad.
After college and grad school I went into the industrial chemical mfg. and minerals mining sectors for the remainder of my principal career. I spent around 35 years travelling internationally, publishing loads of papers, getting a patent, attending conferences, giving presentations, and not concerned or interested at all in poetry. So, you can now see I had a lot of catching up to do.
After I retired, friends told me I needed to write a book capturing all the stories I had told for years about my famous photographer father, and my enigmatic mother. Oh yes, there was enough dysfunctionality to make this book interesting. Since I was also an only child, I didn’t need sibling collaborators either. I wrote the book, included some photos, then shopped for a publisher. I found a small boutique publisher and she agreed to take it on. So, in 2009 I became a published author of a memoir.
I thought after that I might want to write short fiction, so I took a creative writing course, and set about to see what I could do. I joined a local writing group and showed up one night at an open mic and read a story. Here comes the poetry part! One of the attendees was a well-known poet who ran a poetry critique group by invitation. She approached me, saying I should be writing poetry. I said I wasn’t sure I even liked poetry much less set about to write any. She recommended some poets to read (i.e., Elizabeth Bishop, Mary Oliver). She left by saying she would see me the following Friday and I should bring a couple of original poems to read.
I responded … “But” … she was out the door and gone.
I read the books, jotted down some lines, then a couple more lines. I went to the workshop and a year and a half later my first book of poetry was published, by a noted Virginia-based small publisher. In that year and a half, I found I was now hooked on poetry. I can’t get enough of it. Reading and writing both!
That’s the backstory. About 7 years ago, my publisher told me of Southern Writers Magazine, and I contacted Susan and Gary. We agreed that a regular poetry column would be a good addition. Thus, began Poetry Matters, the column. I have loved sharing my experiences of writing poetry with others. Now with the Suite T blog I can continue with my little essays on the craft and philosophy of poetry.
Poetry does matter, and we have total and complete proof of this, starting with the works of Homer, Virgil, through Chaucer, though all the centuries, right up until now. Look at all the poetry that has come out since the death of George Floyd and the pandemic. I don’t know who begat who, poets or activists, but I do know that if we are to attempt to understand each other, one way could be through poetry.
Needville is now a play! First performance March 4, 2020
Needville is now a play. The first performance was March, 2020.
one of my Holocaust poems as I read aloud for you:
I’ve been fortunate to read my poetry at the The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, VA., while I was a guest lecturer. The times I have been there have been so fulfilling and magical.
I enjoy so much the enthusiasm of the students and the atmosphere of sharing those envelopes with the entire campus and town. In a next life I would hope to come back there to stay and teach.
Why? Because poetry is the best connector of writers. It is the “hello” of the literary genres.
Poetry starts conversations and then challenges a reader to explore. Emily Dickinson has said this about poetry: “To pile like Thunder to its close / Then crumble grand away / While Everything created hid / This—would be Poetry— …”
For this life I am content to continue to practice my craft. Poetry has given me a whole new persona. So distant from the aloofness and sometimes indifference of corporate life, I find now I want to experience more deeply relationships with people, places, and nature. I am a better partner. I take more time to savor life. For over 9 years I have volunteered at a local senior retirement village. These folks have contributed immensely to my personal growth. Every week we discover new poetry and poets together. We will never run out of resources! What a joy.
I would wish for everyone to have an accidental brush with Poetry.
We want to thank Sara for sharing her story and journey with us today and for the many hours of enjoyment she has brought to her listeners and her readers.
There’s nothing better than discovering an authentic-feeling
novel that makes you experience the settings and truly know the characters.
how do you create that sense of realism in your own writing?
on where you’ve been in the story, not where you’re going
It’s tempting to write toward the
next plot point that needs to happen,
or some phenomenal ending, but be prepared for a stilted, unnatural narrative if
you make these your focus. Instead, return to the story you’ve already written
and sink back into it, immersing yourself in the story and allowing for a
natural progression. Hold those future plot points and fantastic ending ideas
loosely—let the story unfold itself rather than forcing it to meet certain
Constantly ask yourself, what would actually happen next? What would my
characters really do here? Let yourself go down that path, even if it takes you
somewhere you hadn’t planned. Sinking into what you’ve written and letting the
existing narrative guide your next words will make the story seem like an
organic thing unfolding piece by piece.
your characters’ lives
latest novel is about the Victorian ballet theater. I’ve never lived in
Victorian England, nor am I anywhere close to a ballet dancer, but you better
believe I bought myself ballet shoes and tried out all the moves. I drove
myself and my daughter to live performances and soaked in the environment.
I sank into novels that were written during
(not about) the Victorian time
period. This allowed me to experience the language, the nuances of society, and
the feel of the place as much as possible.
read a lot. I also experienced a lot.
I saturated myself in dance and rhythm and theater, in Victorian England and
the bustle of London. I wanted to understand what my heroine loved about the
beauty and symmetry of ballet, and what that sort of passion feels like.
your characters breathe
Try not to assign them strict numbers
on the enneagram or the 16-point personality profile, because that’s not realistic.
No one’s a sold number four or a complete INFJ. We tend toward one type, but
there are always invading traits from other categories too, aren’t there? Let
your character be wonderfully complex and unique, with natural contradictions
and surprising combinations of traits. Let them be human.
Along with this, sink deeper into
their point of view as you write. Be in their head and approach every plot turn
and character as they might—let the words on the page be in their voice,
commenting on things they would notice. You as the author are not the
voice—your character, whoever is leading a particular scene—is the one telling
the story. Infuse your story with the color of their unique personality and
heart and watch it come alive.
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, and The Love Note. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone's story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.
Heidi's thirst for adventure plays out in her writing. If she can't visit in person, especially during the Covid-19 Crisis, why not visit in her mind, and eventually in writing? When mishaps are shared in her stories, a slightly tweaked personal incident could be possible,
although she will most likely deny all reference to reality.
Heidi has been married for nearly 30 years and lives near Charlotte, NC where she spends her days having fun with her grandson. When she isn’t playing, you’ll find her cooking, scrapbooking, or writing.
Anyone who attended high school or college had to write a story for an English assignment. Some dreaded the task, others relished in the exercise. (I was the latter.) Upon graduation, a majority of people never write another story. A select few become successful award-winning authors.
I’ve always considered myself in the middle category. A self-published author that entered contests and submitted my books for awards, but always received the dreaded, Thank you for your submission, however… Ugh. I love to write. I love to solve mysteries. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I wanted a win in my repertoire.
Never give up!
My latest entries were in two categories for the annual League of Utah Writers Quills Conference. Eleven days before the conference, I received an email. Dear Quills Awards author, Congratulations! This email is to let you know that your book is going to be recognized at the awards banquet.
My heart stopped for a few seconds. I was in shock and ecstatic at the same time. For the first time, my work was being recognized by a group other than family and friends. I told a few people, still unsure what the email entailed. Did I receive fourth place or an honorable mention? Not once did I contemplate a win.
The food and company (a multiple winner and writer of the year) at my table kept my butterflies in check until the awards ceremony began. I sat, listened, and clapped as fellow writers achieved success. When it was time for my first category, the Olive Woolley Burt Award for Creative Writing, First Chapter (Novel), the butterflies swirled. The League President, John Olsen, announced first through third honorable mentions. Not me. Third Place. Not me. Second Place. Not me. I thought, better luck with my other category.
Then, the most unbelievable thing happened. John announced my name! I received First Place for the first chapter of my upcoming mystery novel, Butterfly Premonitions (due to be released in 2022). I couldn’t text my husband fast enough to announce my achievement.
When the coveted Quill Awards for Published Books began, I assumed my chances were slim. I’d already received an outstanding honor. In the Novel category, John announced the four recommended reads and Silver Quill winners. Then, for the second time of the night, he announced my name. I had won the Gold Quill Award for my novel, The Accident. I was ecstatic, thrilled, elated, euphoric, and twenty other synonyms. My feet still haven’t touched the ground since the night of the banquet.
Never stop writing. Never stop submitting your work. Always believe in yourself. The most surprising events can happen to you too!
Nancy Roe is an Award-Winning Author and Professional Formatter. She has self-published seven books and is writing her next mystery. (Butterfly Premonitions. A missing father. A murdered stepmother. A reopened cold case. Can Merli find the truth among the lies, or will the murderer get deadly revenge?)
Nancy served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter, The League of Utah Writers, Just Write Chapter, Writer’s Circle, and Communications/Publicity Chair of the Newcomers Club of the Greater Park City Area. Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and lives in Utah with her husband and four-legged children, Max and Addison. NancyRoeAuthor@gmail.com
I have been doing some research in my ancestry lines and have come to appreciate the authors who write historical fiction. Why? Well, they must do research, a lot of it, if they are going to use history in their stories.
So why the question, “Are You a Detective”? Because you must dig out and follow clues. Remember, writing historical fiction is writing truth and creating a story to go with it even characters and dialogue, settings, plots, it is definitely hard work and a balancing act. In other words, they are telling a true story but using a creative license. When you use real events as your backdrop, it can make it easier to develop the story. Remember, when writing historical fiction, the main consideration for the writer is to make sure of the authenticity as well as the historical accuracy.
Some authors create a fictional character and base it on a real person or they take an interesting historical episode and use elements of it in their stories.
One thing a writer wants to make sure of is to learn about the period they are writing their story in, and what happened in that period. Make a list of things you need to know and search for that information. The more information you have, the more you will have to use to weave into your story.
Don’t become overwhelmed. Remember, you are not a historian. As a writer you use your imagination to fill in the gaps. That is true even with dialogue. There is no way for you to know what a person said, but that is when we use imagination. When we are filling in the gap, we must make sure our interpretation is believable.
I do suggest when researching that you take a lot of notes. Make sure you write down where you got the information, who wrote it, and a website if there is one. Cross referencing helps to weed out errors.
To reconstruct a past historical event and tell it in a fictional story is exciting; especially if you love history.
Most of us have heard our parents, or grandparents tell us stories of their past and as kids found it interesting. My great uncle on my mother’s side, ran away from home when he was young and traveled out west and became a cowboy. Hearing that story as a child I was mesmerized. I heard about him going on cattle drives, being with the calvary at a powwow with the Indians. He told of the unbelievable cold weather in Wyoming Territory (he was from the South) and the stories of how the cattle ranchers didn’t like the sheep ranchers.
Hearing that story, if I were an historical author, I could research and probably write a fiction story on what I remembered him telling me and combining all the research. Perhaps somewhere in me is a little bit of detective, right?
The thing is, how will you know if you don’t try!
Susan Reichert, author of Listen Close, Between Me and You,God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life. Published numerous magazine articles and stories in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, and libraries.
She is the founder of Southern Author Services, and Editor of Suite T. She is the retired Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine. Reichert has a passion for writing about God in devotionals, prayers, and inspirational works.
She and her husband live in Tennessee. They have four grown daughters with families of their own. Susan is a member of the DAR and a member of the First Families of Mississippi
I have a long-time friend, who in the height of her career was a well-known and highly regarded fashion illustrator. She and I compare notes frequently on techniques for each of our crafts. She wants to write poetry, but I really want to steal some of her ideas. One of my techniques she often brings up is my use of white space. She is intrigued as white space is an essential tool for the artist. I like to think of my white space as an insertion of “pause.” She uses the space more for defining her intended subject. She uses white pigment to create white space while my “writing canvas” is simply left blank.
In some works of art, the artist has created pathos or chaos or poignancy. Think of Van Gogh or
Cezanne. In paintings the artist has a number of ways for expression to not only get a viewer’s attention, but also to invoke an emotional commitment. Since we can’t “write” with colors, texture, or perspective, we must use words to present the same effect. In past columns, I’ve mentioned metaphor and simile as tools. But it all comes down to language. For example, how would you describe a southern mansion, abandoned, in shadows of live oak and Spanish moss? Your decision might be influenced by what emotions you wanted to bring out. Do you want this mansion to be creepy? Or do you want it to be sad? How would you put each into words for a poem?
So, in all this, I’m suggesting that you write as a painter would. Moss, for instance, has a muted green color that is anything but vivid. How does it hang from the trees? Do breezes move the moss in a certain way? Look at the live oak branches. How do they appear? Stately? Forlorn?
Or maybe the branches are still and waiting. As I drive up to this mansion, I see sheer cotton curtains emerge from windows like little thin translucent ghosts escaping the heat.
My friend created an illustration for a play based on my Needville poetry book. It was a coal miner standing in front of a cart of coal. He held a pickaxe on his shoulder. His look was one of stern conviction and accomplishment. I wrote about him in my book that he had to always put on a brave front for his family. Art can give us many ideas to choose from in our writing.
Here is an exercise to consider: Find an illustration and see what you can write about it as a poem. Study it for details that might normally be missed. Your topic might not even have anything to do with the art, but for one little, small detail.
In all your writing, have fun. Write to the end of the page and wrap it around the edge. Like an infinity canvas. A key word or line around the edge could be an interesting surprise.
Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).
What will be different about your writing after going through a pandemic?
Honestly, I can’t say anything will be different about my writing. While I
hated the pandemic like everyone else, it probably didn’t affect this introvert
too much in terms of my writing. Pre-pandemic, my days were usually spent at my
desk in front of my laptop. During the pandemic, it was pretty much the same.
All that to say, my writing has stayed and will stay the same in terms of story
type, character type, suspense, and romance content, etc. because I believe
that’s what the readers want.
Will You be able to schedule your writing and family and other responsibilities
and keep them balanced?
Yes. I hope. Ha. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and unless
something drastic happens, I’ll continue on doing what I’ve been doing. Because
if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? I do have two children at home for the
next couple of months and then I'll have an empty nest!
I've had one before fora short time, but this time it's probably a little more long-term
as both of my kids have purchased their own homes. All that to say, I'll
probably find myself writing even more than usual once the dust settles and the
house is quiet.
With your new book, Hostile Intent, do you feel you spent more time
developing the story, characters, plots, or dialogue?
I always spend loads of time on character development. I don't feel like I can write a story if I don’t know my characters
inside out. Therefore, I have a character sketch that I fill out with each book
so i have a really good grasp on their personalities. That’s not to say they
don’t tell me something new about themselves as the story progresses, but
that’s the fun part. :)I love itwhen
that happens. It’s exciting. The plot comes as I write. I’m mostly a pantser.
Meaning, I don’t know all the details -the plot-when I start writing. As for
dialogue, I simply write what I “hear”. I kind of see everything playing out in
my head like I’m watching a movie on a screen. Then I transcribe what I see and
hear onto the page. I know it sounds weird, but it seems to work for me.
Suite T:With this new book, Hostile Intent, what, if anything, do you want
the reader to know about you as an author?
Lynette:I supposed I want readers to know that I appreciate them and their support of my stories so very much. Writing is a difficult career and it’s not always kind to those who are in the profession. Just knowing the readers love the books is a blessing. And if the readers want to sign up for my newsletter, that would be amazing. They just need to click on my website and go to the contact tab and sign up. They can also follow me on social media, they can find me here:
Jack London famously wrote, “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.”
Modern day writers have summarized it as this: You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
If the last year has taught me anything about writing, it is this hard truth. How wonderful it would be to wait for inspiration to strike and write when the muse is fully at play. But that’s neither practical nor very productive.
While I was writing my latest novel, Beyond the Tides, a worldwide pandemic struck, forcing me out of my usual rhythm of writing in coffee shops and restaurants. Shortly thereafter, my dad suffered a heart attack, and I moved in with my parents for more than a month. My writing time was suddenly replaced with precious family time. And my muse curled up for a lengthy hibernation.
Honestly, I was so shaken by my world being upended that I wanted to write about as much as I wanted to stub my big toe.
But I still had a book due. My deadline didn’t care that I’d almost lost my dad or that I no longer had the privacy of my own home. Words had to make it onto the page. Which meant, I had to pick up my club and go after inspiration. And I knew that was easier said than done.
Here are 4 ways to pick up your club even when your world feels upside down.
1. Find space for both family and your writing. After my dad’s heart attack, I was afraid of missing out on time with him. But I discovered that we didn’t need to talk to be together. I’d wake up early in the morning, help him get his coffee and cereal, and then I’d open my laptop and write while he did the daily crossword.
Writing even though I didn’t feel like it didn’t mean removing myself from my family. It simply meant finding quiet times where we could just be together. Of course, finding time to write means finding a balance too. But just because you’re writing doesn’t mean you can’t snuggle with reading kids or sip morning coffee with your spouse.
2. Ask someone you love to keep you accountable. If you’re not writing because your inspiration has vanished, ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable for half an hour or more. For me this has looked like meeting with writer friends twice a month for years. We talk over dinner and then write together. It builds community and friendship, but it also keeps us accountable to be working toward our goals and deadlines.
During the pandemic, I heard of several writer friends who would write together over zoom. They’d each stay on the call for an hour as they wrote—not talking, but being productive. Isolation can hit inspiration hard, so invite your friends to be part of your writing life.
3. Talk to someone who understands. Sometimes my emotional and mental health take a beating—as they did this last year. And that’s often why my muse hides, and my inspiration vanishes. If you find yourself in a difficult, dark place, talk to someone about it. Perhaps your doctor or a pastor or a mental health professional. Sometimes you need to borrow someone else’s club. And that’s okay.
4. Set unintimidating word count goals. When I don’t feel like writing, the idea of getting in 1,000 words is overwhelming. I start telling myself I can’t do it. But you know what I can do? I can write 200 words. And when I sit down to write 200 words, I usually write a whole lot more. But the goal isn’t the more. The goal is simply to write. Because just opening up my laptop and tapping out some words is the club I need to find that inspiration.
This last year has reminded me that even when I feel isolated or unbalanced, I can still write. And even if I don’t feel like writing, I can still write. It may not be perfect—what first draft is? But once I get started, inspiration usually finds me. Or at least something that looks remarkably like it.
Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the Georgia Coast Romance series and the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She works in marketing and makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.
Suite T is bringing author Patricia Bradley to our blog today for readers to get to know more about her personally and her books.
If you ask Patricia Bradley what is her top priority she says, "To honor God through my writing." She has done this in every book she has written.
She is a Romantic Suspense writer who lives in the "Deep South." It is often said "She writes suspense with a twist of romance."
You will be interested to know that Patricia's first published works were short stories that Woman's World published. You won't want to miss reading one of these stories. Here is a link to one of those short stories called Blood Kin~A Biter-Bit Story
From there her writing took off with her creating those wonderful romantic suspense novels we can't get enough of. She also created a couple of novellas. Everytime she has a new book out readers are waiting in line to get them. How do I know this? I know because I am one of them. I hate for the book I am reading to end!
We talked about how she became a writer. She said, "I was a reader until I turned thirty-five. That was also the year I couldn’t sleep, and one night as I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, an older man appeared in my vision. He stood at a window with smoke stacks billowing behind him. He turned to me and said, “This isn’t the way my life was supposed to turn out.”"
I wanted to know more about this man in the vision. She continued, "After hearing the man's statement, I was intrigued and I began telling myself stories of the different things that went wrong in his life. It wasn’t long before other people came to live in my head, and they refused to leave until I wrote their stories down…on a blue Hermes 3000 portable typewriter. Woman’s World bought the very first short story I wrote—"The Snow Leopard.”
Patricia is a goal setter in her writing on word count verifiying often where she stands with her word count and how many more words she needs to in order to reach her goal.
But what does this author do when she is not writing? One outlet is speaking to groups, such as students and adults on abstinence and healthy relationships.If you would like to have Patricia speak to your group you can contact her here.
So what does she do when not writing or speaking? She throws mud on a wheel. She said, "I try to make something beautiful! Long before I became a published writer, I saw a potter working the clay, making beautiful vases and bowls. I immediately knew I wanted to write a story with a potter as my heroine. Since I knew nothing about ceramics, I took lessons for a year and a half. That was back in 2001. It was another ten years before I’d use what I’d learned in a story. But I did use the pottery in my “day” job as an abstinence teacher to show teens how they could reclaim their lives if they made a mistake in the same way a potter reclaimed clay he messed up. At the end of our sessions, I took a portable potter’s wheel into the class room and demonstrated how easy it was to ruin a vase or bowl on the wheel. Then I showed how I reclaimed the clay to use again, and how once it was fired, no one knew a vase or bowl was made with reclaimed clay. Sometimes I think that demonstration spoke louder than anything I said.
You will enjoy this short video of Patricia on her wheel as she reveals how it relates not just to the pottery but the analogy of our lives.
Patricia's first series was Logan Point. There were four books in the series: Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, Gone Without A Trace, and Silence in the Dark. Revel, a division of Baker Books published her first series. Click here to find out more about Logan Point Series . . . "The quiet town of Logan Point, Mississippi, set just outside of Memphis, is no stranger to evil, and each story is a classic tale of good triumphing over the villain.
Her next series, Memphis Cold Case had four books in the series. Justice Delayed, Justice Buried, Justice Betrayed, and Justice Delivered.You can learn more about this series here. The series has the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense. Award Winning Author Patricia Bradley invited her readers to crack the case––if they can––alongside the best Memphis as to offer.
She also wrote a straight romance in September 2014 Matthew's Choice: A Clean Romance and found out it was a lot of fun. So in 2015 she added The Christmas Campaign and in 2020 The Gingerbread Pony.
The next series is Natchez Trace Park Rangers. The books are Standoff, Obsession, and Crosshairs releasing in November and then Deception releasing in the spring of 2022. Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder. You can learn more about that series here.
In talking with Patricia about the Natchez Trace Park Ranger series she related an interesting story that happened during her research pertaining to one of the books. Here it is in her own words:
"While researching Obsession, the 2nd book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, I needed a place to bury a body, and I knew I wanted it to be at Mount Locust. The historic site is filled with so much history and is the oldest “inn” on the Natchez Trace that still stands. It has two cemeteries, and I wanted to hide a body in one of them.
"I stopped at the ranger station and the park ranger, bless his heart, didn’t faint when I asked if there was a way to get a body onto the Mount Locust property from the backside. He told me how to get to the road that ran behind the property, but once I was done, to be sure I took a right at the next road.
"After quickly discovering the perfect place to bring in the body, I drove on, looking for that road to the right…and drove…and drove as the road wound down to a one lane sand road with bayous on each side. There were no houses and absolutely no place to turn around until about five miles later. At that point I questioned my sanity of being a lone woman on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere.
"When I finally did get turned around and back to Mount Locust, I found the road I was supposed to turn on. I had missed it because the road I was on curved to the left, and I thought the little lane on the right was a driveway."
You will want to go over and visit Patricia on her website, https://ptbradley.com/. While you are there check out her blog, you will enjoy her post and be sure and sign up to get her blog post so you will not miss it. It is very informative and a lot of fun. She has a great segment called CRIMES GONE AWRY––MYSTERY QUESTION
Be sure and sign up for her newsletter and for doing so, you will receive her novella Revenge!
You will be glad you did. It's a suspense novella about a murder that becomes a case of mistaken identity at a remote drug rehab facility. An old threat resurfaces and Andi Hollister finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer. You will not want to miss this!.
Patricia Bradley has won an Inspirational Reader's Choice Award in Romantic Suspense, a Daphne du Maurier Award, and a Touched by Love Award, and she was a Carol Award finalist.
She also has won readers from all over the world who never miss reading her books. If you have not read one, choose any one of them, and you will not put it down until you finish it, and then you will find yourself reading all of them.
So what is next on the horizon for Patricia Bradley?
"In November, Crosshairs, the third book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series releases, and then in the spring of 2022, Deception, the fourth and final book in the series comes out. By then I’ll have the first book in my next romantic suspense series, tentatively called The Pearl River Series, almost finished. That series is set in the Cumberland Plateau somewhere around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and features a female sheriff doing battle against the evil trying to infiltrate her small county.
"And last of all, I’m excited to take part in an anthology of short stories based on the titles of the Oak Ridge Boys’ Christmas Cookies album. Joe Bonsall, the Oaks’ tenor, is also contributing to the anthology."
We want to thank Patricia Bradley for listening to the voices that came to live in her head and writing these great books to entertain us.
It all started about 20 years ago. I was browsing through the children's section of my local bookstore and discovered a book about Jesus. Delighted to see such a book in a secular bookstore, I opened it and began to read. What I read literally caused me to weep.
The book did not present Jesus Christ as true God and Savior of the world. Instead, it presented Jesus as simply a good teacher among many other good teachers, like Buddha, Mohammed, and Hare Krishna. With broken heart, I closed the book and vowed to write a children's book presenting the truth about Jesus Christ.
Immediately after my bookstore visit, I went home and began to write Who Is Jesus?, eventually published as a picture book in 2014. That book launched my career as a children's writer. Who Is Jesus? was followed by seven other books for children, all of which seek to promote the truth about life as taught in God's Word.
The latest of these books is a series of chapter books for children aged six to ten years old, titled The Penelope Pumpernickel Series of Chapter Books for Children. Targeted to early and reluctant readers, this series features eight-year-old protagonist Penelope Pumpernickel, a feisty little girl with a heart of gold, a propensity for adventure, and a character that wants to obey God despite her many temptations against doing so.
As in the situation with Who Is Jesus?, The Penelope Pumpernickel Series came about as a result of my exploration of current children's literature. What I found was a major dearth of books written from a Biblical worldview. Indeed, books reflecting a Biblical worldview were few and far between.
Instead, far too many of the current children's books I read reflected the decline--and depravity--of our current culture. They presented worldly philosophies blatantly contrary to the Holy Scriptures--philosophies steeped in humanism and selfism.
Again, I wept.
And again, I did something to change the situation. I decided to create a series of chapter books for early readers in which the Biblical worldview is paramount and upheld throughout. I wanted to create a character who struggled with the same issues with which other children struggle, but who depends on the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ to guide her decisions and her actions.
And so was born Penelope Pumpernickel.
Truth be told, Penelope had been roaming around in my mind for many years, but I wasn't sure how God wanted to use her. After my research into current children's books. I knew that God wanted Penelope to serve as an example of courage to young children to choose righteousness in the face of temptation simply because it is the right thing to do.
In this entertaining, exciting, and humorous adventure series, Penelope Pumpernickel takes on Grandville Ungerleider (Grandy, for short), fellow homeschool student who symbolizes compromise with the world. But by speaking the truth in love to Grandy, Penelope points him to Jesus Christ, the One Who loves Grandy and will give him the grace to choose good over evil every single time.
Six books are planned for the entire series. Summaries of the two books available thus far follow below:
In Book One, titled Penelope Pumpernickel: Precocious Problem-Solver, Penelope Pumpernickel (Penny Pump, for short) runs into a big problem. His name is Grandville Ungerleider (Grandy, for short). Grandy wants to be Penny's friend, but he has a strange way of letting her know. Maybe his father's recent death has something to do with it.
Penny's sidekick and best-friend-forever, Matilda Mendoza (Tilly, for short), offers Penelope some good suggestions about what to do with Grandy. Tilly is the "Queen of Ideas."
When Grandy disrupts the Homeschool Consortium with his crazy antics, Penelope must find a way to solve the big problems he causes.
In this first book of this funny, adventure-packed series, Penelope learns that no matter how big a problem one faces, there is always a way to solve it with God's help.
In Book Two, titled Penelope Pumpernickel: Dynamic Detective, Penelope has another encounter with homeschool trouble-maker Grandville Ungerleider. Grandy says he has discovered a treasure chest in the basement of the church where their Homeschool Consortium meets every Thursday. But is Grandy telling the truth? How can Penelope find out? Students are forbidden to go down to the basement.
And then there's the case of the missing maps. Who stole them and why?
Book Two provides another exciting adventure as Detective Penelope solves another homeschool mystery. In this second of the delightful Penelope Pumpernickel Series of chapter books for six-to-ten-year-old children, Penelope learns that no matter how hard it is to do right, doing right is always the right thing to do.
Benefits to Children
Why should children read the Penelope Pumpernickel books? Here are a few reasons:
1. They are entertaining and fun.
2. Their page-turning adventures motivate early and reluctant readers to read. 3. They build character by presenting a child protagonist who faces normal temptations--like the temptation to lie or steal--and show how choosing good over evil always results in blessing and how choosing evil over good does not. 4. They are thoroughly based on the Word of God and present a solid, Biblical worldview.
It is my heartfelt hope that the Penelope Pumpernickel series will serve as a major influence in raising up a generation of children who love God, who are not afraid to proclaim Truth, and who will point others to Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world.
In so doing, they "will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations" of righteousness and truth. They "will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses" (Isaiah 58: 12).
And then, perhaps, good will once again prevail in the land.
MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of books for children and adults. A former university professor of Romance languages and Writing Fiction for Children, she holds the PhD in French and the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. MaryAnn resides in New Jersey with her husband of 51 years, a retired ER physician. They are blessed with two amazing daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. In her spare time, MaryAnn loves to paint in oils and acrylics, to play the piano and mandolin, and to make up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn at https://www.maryanndiorio.com.
Ane said, “When I received my first critique, I discovered I knew nothing but good dialogue … and I mean nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zip. I’d never heard of POV and had no idea what it even meant.” She went on to say, “I didn’t have any problem accepting the hard critiques. The difference was, while they were hard, I never saw them as harsh. It’s all a matter of POV. I wanted to learn. I read those critiques from the POV of being taught – not attacked.”
And there is the “Point”. It is how we see the critique. For many writers critique is commonly considered as someone finding fault with our writing, and we probably feel we are being judged in a negative way. We take it personal.
No one wants to sit and hear someone find fault with anything they do. Right? However, it is how the person critiquing begins their sentence that can open you up to hear constructive words or close you off and refuse to hear.
In writing, the only way to learn is to do along with studying and honing our craft. But in that process, we need people in our corner that are sincere about helping us move forward in our writing process. People we can trust and know they are helping us not hurting us. We need a good someone who can critique our work and help us see the things that need to be worked on and the whys.
Ane Mulligan went on to say in that post, “We need to trust our critique partners won’t let us get away with anything less than our best.”
Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her website, Amazon Author page, Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads, Pinterest, Twitter, and The Write Conversation.
On the surface, social media appears to be all about amassing numbers, increasing reach, and generating sales. Everywhere we look we’re being told how to get more hits on our blogs, generate new followers, and strengthen our web presence. After all, the higher our numbers, the more valuable we are. Right?
In actual practice, that is a perversion of the truth.
I’m not doing this writing thing to win some numbers race. I write because I want to reach people, to help them, and have a positive impact on the world around me.
If all I’m looking for is higher numbers, I’ve missed the point. I’ve set a course that leads to certain frustration and ultimate failure. So if it’s not for the numbers, then what’s the point? Why even bother with social media?
The point is what the numbers represent.
The point of growing my social media influence lies with the individuals who can be impacted by what I write, challenged by what I say, and changed by what I share.
When I get caught up chasing the numbers, the significance of what I’m doing diminishes.
But when I step away from the race and concentrate on who I’m writing and who I’m writing to, things fall back into place.
I’m first and foremost a writer. For me, social media is a tool. It’s the means to an end. It helps me find my audience. But when I begin to measure my worth as a writer through the numbers of social media, I’ve gotten off course.
My worth is not determined by my numbers.
For me, the blog posts that mean the most are rarely the ones that generate the highest numbers. The ones that mean the most are those that help someone, that connect the dots for an individual who’s hurting or help someone who’s frustrated finally see the light. It’s when I pen those words that I feel true satisfaction in my calling.
So how do I avoid the numbers race when everyone is pushing for more? I quit talking about myself on social media—completely. Instead, I work hard to help someone else succeed or reach a new level. This takes my focus off me. I volunteer. I offer to write an article or blog post for someone who doesn’t have the same size audience as me.. I issue an invitation. I ask someone who doesn’t have as much experience and/or exposure to contribute to my blog. I watch the clock. I limit my time on social media to a strict thirty minutes a day. With that, I don’t have time to obsess over my numbers. I reveal something new about myself. I know this seems like the opposite of the first bullet, but it's really not. I'm talking about being vulnerable, not saying come look at me. I've discovered that I make those important heart-to-heart connections when I open up and I'm vulnerable. When I revert to slick slogans and polished posts, I'm really just hiding.
As twenty-first century wordsmiths, social media & blogging are important additions to our toolboxes, but it’s not the focus of what we do.
This media driven world we live in ebbs and flows. One second we’re on top, the next we’re at the bottom of the pile. When we measure our worth through charts and graphs generated by numbers we’re certain to fail. But when we look at the lives that are impacted by our words, success is guaranteed.
Edie Melson is the co-author of the bestseller Social Media for Today’s Writer. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.