Since the launch of volume IV of the series, I have been pretty busy. Already, I have done four book signing dates. I’ve reordered books twice. Needless to say, I’ve been very pleased with the reception of Shadows Over Shiloh.
Pictures in order from left to right.
- Book Launch at the Spider’s Webb in Walnut Ridge August 3.
- Book talk with the Paragould Ladies Book Club August 5.
- Cover of Beyond Shiloh, Volume 3 of the Shiloh Saga.
- My granddaughter Kennedy holding her summer reading at the beach. She chose her Nanna’s The Dream of Shiloh.
- Book Signing at First United Methodist Church Jonesboro August 11. This beautiful lady is Kennedy Seller, my granddaughter.
I have also been doing some traveling. I went on a research to trip to Cahaba, Alabama, late in July to visit the Civil War prison site. So interesting! It is now an archeological site near Selma. The historians there are trying to dig up the original state capital site of Alabama. So enjoyed the trip.
Two upcoming book talks will be held locally. I would love to see some of you at one of the talks.
- Sunday afternoon, September 8 at 1:30, I will be talking with some friends and avid fans at the Highland Drive Baptist Church in Jonesboro.
- Monday evening, September 16, at 6:00 p.m. I will be talking about the Methodist history written into the Shiloh books. This talk will be at the Hoxie United Methodist Church in Hoxie, Arkansas, and is being hosted by the United Methodist Women of that congregation.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Patricia Clark Blake
Native born and proud to be an Arkansan.
In 1836, the Federal Government cut a swath of land from the Louisiana Purchase and named it after an Indian tribe that at one time roamed the green hills and mountains of the beautiful, fertile land.
Our state was named for the Quapaw Indian tribe, which inhabited the northern part of the state—from the Mississippi River to the east and the Arkansas on the south. During the early time of French exploration in the mid 1600’s, this tribe came in contact with the Algonquin tribes from the Ohio Valley. In the language of the Algonquin, the word meaning “South Wind” was used to name the Arkansas tribe. In that language, the term for south wind sounded much like our state’s name.
Over the next three hundred plus years, Arkansas took on several names, mostly influenced by French explorers trying to mimic the Indian language they were unfamiliar with. In 1673, Marquette and La Salle recorded the name AKANSEA in their travel journals. La Salle came on the scene a decade or so later and put his French twist on the word and called the area ACANSA. La Harpe almost got it right when he named the river in the central part of the state Arkansas and the Indians who spawned the word Les Akansas. Not until Zebulon Pike arrived in 1811 did we earn our R that let us become Arkansas. Unfortunately, Pike preferred the W at the end, instead of our beloved second S.
The controversy remained until 1881. At that time the Arkansas General Assembly passed the resolution solving the question once and for all. They mandated our state would be spelled with its second S —ARKANSAS, but it would be pronounced with the W. The people approved. We didn’t want to be AR-Kansas, after all. Their action honored the original inhabitants of this land we now call home and also the earliest explorers who were among the first Europeans to visit this place.
Unfortunately, by the time of statehood in 1836, few Quapaw remained in Arkansas. The lands where they hunted and raised their families were rich and ideally suited to plantation development. The tribe was an obstacle. Years of turbulence and fighting with the white man and other Indian tribes, which were also being displaced, took its toll. In 1833, the Quapaw agreed to their final removal from Arkansas, still only a territory.
The tribes mistrust of the government was a major cause of the dissolution the Quapaws. Many refused to settle on the assigned reservation offered in the treaty. Some returned the Red River region where they had once lived. Others went to Texas. A number of families joined the Choctaws in Oklahoma. A few even tried to remain in Arkansas. The division of the tribe brought on the eventual demise of the Quapaws.
Thanks to the well- written history of Arkansas by Whayne, Deblack, Sabo, and Arnold, Arkansas: A Narrative History, University of Arkansas Press, 2002.