Guest Post: Writing from the Heart

Guest Blogger: Robin Patchen

They say write what you know. There are some things I’d rather not know, even if they lead to good stories. This is one of those things.

I have three children. The oldest, Nick, was my easiest to raise. He was compliant, helpful, and eager to please. And then he turned sixteen.

And started smoking pot.

Nick quickly graduated from marijuana to harder drugs. That school year was filled with one battle after another. And then in June, Nick met the Lord. Overnight, he quit using drugs and threw himself into working at the church. The transformation was amazing, and his Dad and I marveled at what God had done in his life.

And then, in April of his junior year, Nick decided he’d just smoke pot one more time.

That was the big lie.

By that summer, he’d become a full-blown addict. In August, his father and I gave him an ultimatum. We told him that if he wanted to live in our house, he couldn’t use drugs. My 18-year-old son set his phone and his car keys on the counter and walked out.

For six days, he lived in a tent, barely ate, never showered. But a friend of his convinced him to come home. He did, went to rehab, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, just over a month after he got there, he left rehab. He relapsed immediately and moved out of the house again.

Through it all, my life was walking, talking, eating, sleeping, and breathing prayers. Constant prayers, usually accompanied by tears and outbursts and recited Scriptures. God was so very gentle with me as I ranted and begged Him to intervene.

Throughout the journey, we learned about addiction, about the millions of Americans who suffer with substance abuse, about how the problem is growing every year, and about how so many people get lost in addiction and never get found again.

There was nothing we could do but pray.

God was so merciful. Nick came home on Thanksgiving morning two years ago. He told us he couldn’t live like that anymore. When I told him how many people had been praying for him, he said, “I know. God never left me alone.” 

This November marks two years since Nick quit using. It wasn’t easy. He had to go back to rehab, then spend months in sober living homes. But today, he’s free and serving as a missionary with Youth with a Mission, telling the world about Jesus, the Savior who rescued him and made him new.

Right after Nick agreed to go to rehab the first time, his father took him to his folks’ house in New Hampshire for a week to get him away from home until a bed became available in rehab. That week was a turning point in their relationship, and it sparked an idea for me—a father, a son, and an addiction. That idea became Generous Lies, the third book in the Hidden Truth series.

When you read the book, you’ll notice it’s dedicated to Nick. When I say I couldn’t be prouder, I mean it. The journey he’s traveled, the things he’s overcome—let’s just say a lot of adults couldn’t have handled it, and he did it all at 18 years old.

Do you have a similar story? I’m amazed at how many of us do. If you’re walking through something like this right now, please reach out for help. We were so blessed by the people who came alongside us, offered us advice, and walked us through this difficult time. You can find them at organizations like Al-Anon and Celebrate Recovery. If you just want someone to pray with you, reach out to me. I would be honored.

This is not a story I would have chosen to live, but my whole family is stronger as a result of it, especially Nick, whose testimony has already touched so many lives. On the Promised Land side of that terrible story, I can’t despise those months in the desert. God knew exactly what he was doing.

If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of Generous Lies. The story is completely fabricated, of course, but the heart of it comes straight from our lives. I’ve already heard from so many readers who’ve been touched by it. Maybe it’ll speak to you, too.

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About the Author:

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.

Connect with Robin through her: website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Most-Anticipated Reads of 2018

A new year means new books. I’ve compiled a list of some upcoming releases I can’t wait to get my hands on this 2018.

The Saturday Night Supper Club (Supper Club #1) by Carla Laureano

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back … even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life–and love–outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

Look for Me (D.D. Warren #9) by Lisa Gardner*

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

If I Live (If I Run #3) by Terri Blackstock

Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

The House at Saltwater Point (Lavender Tides #2) by Colleen Coble

Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a young house flipper. But when her sister disappears, she can’t focus on anything but finding out what really happened. Blood on the floor might indicate that MacKenzie was killed and her body was removed.

Ellie is at odds with Grayson Bradshaw, the handsome Coast Guard intelligence officer who thinks MacKenzie faked her own death and is off enjoying her ill-gotten gains: billions of dollars in cocaine.

They both want the truth, but truth—and family—is often more complex than it may first appear.

Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey

Private Investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving Luke Gallagher after he disappeared. Now he’s back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal while on the brink of a biological disaster that will shake America to its core. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next target?

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

Thirst of Steel (The Tox Files #3) by Ronie Kendig

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father’s life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram’s long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddux, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram’s secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them.

Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue #4) by Susan May Warren

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants–except a happy ending. Or at least that’s what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra’s relationship.

What books are you looking forward to the most this 2018?

*All the books except the one marked with an (*) are Christian Fiction novels.

Why I Read

Have you ever wished you could do a million different things? Unfortunately, or fortunately, we only have one life to live. Time, money, and skills don’t always allow us to do everything we want.

I once saw a quote, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” The same rings true for reading. I read not to escape life, but to live it to the fullest. While time and resources force me to choose between the dreams I pursue and the ones I let go, books allow me to travel all those paths and more.

the-story-keeperSometimes I wonder what it would be like to be an editor at an established publishing house. How would it feel to discover the next bestseller? The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate helped me do just that.

Scotland has long ranked high on my “to-visit” list. I’d be lying if said I didn’t imagine what it five-days-in-skyemight be like meeting a handsome local with a killer smile and dreamy Scottish accent. Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano accomplished that. To make it even better, the hero, James, is a world-renowned chef, which fed the foodie in me and catered to my fairy-tale dream.

conspiracy-of-silenceWhat would it be like to be a hero who can kick some major rear end and save the world? What if I could meet a Mossad agent? Or be a spy? Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne and Ronie Kendig’s Rapid-Fire Fiction novels allow me to do all of the above from the safety of my couch.

Regarding my dream of running a B&B, I’ve gone as far as imagining the-red-door-innhow I would decorate the rooms and what themes I would follow. Thanks to Liz Johnson’s The Red Door Inn, I not only experienced bringing a B&B to life, I also traveled to Prince Edward Island — another location on my “to-visit” list.

When it comes to novels, I can be anyone, do anything, and go anywhere. Books know no bounds. That is one reason why I read.

Why do you read? What books have helped you fulfill some of your dreams?

Spotlight: Books and Beverages — The Shoppe!

I’m excited to share something extra special with you! My friend, Jamie Lapeyrolerie, has just opened an online store. Books and Beverages — The Shoppe! is great place for bloggers and book lovers. It offers a number of fun, bookish items, including iPad covers, planners, postcards, and more. I’ve had the privilege to check out few of these goodies and thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.


The Book Blogger’s Planner: A reviewer’s best friend! It includes six non-dated months, weekly checklists and note pages, a section to record the books one has read, and pages to write down quotes. I especially like the Post Checklist. It helps me keep track of the social media and review sites where I need to share my posts.




The Inklings Collection Stickers: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fans will love this set of stickers with quotes from the classic authors.



For the Love of Literature Postcards: Combining two of my passions, letters and literature, these postcards are my favorite item in The Shoppe! E-mails are great, but they can’t compete with a hand-written note. Each card features a well-known book quote, making it extra meaningful as it allows me to share something I love with someone I love. It can’t get much better than that.



The Inklings Collection Bookmarks: A reader can never have too many bookmarks. When I’m not losing mine, they buckle beneath the heavy demands of an avid reader. So, I especially liked the sturdiness of these. Finally, a bookmark that can keep up with my reading habits!

To learn more about the owner, The Shoppe! (like the great organizations it supports), or to claim some of these fun goodies for yourself, hop on over to Books and Beverages.