Thursday, July 20, 2017

E-Journal: I'm back...and I hope you welcome me back into you...

E-Journal: I'm back...and I hope you welcome me back into you...: It's been almost a year since I've posted my last blog. When I first began posting, I posted weekly and then backed down to monthly....

I'm back...and I hope you welcome me back into your blog readings.

It's been almost a year since I've posted my last blog. When I first began posting, I posted weekly and then backed down to monthly. In the beginning I had a lot going on in my life with writing, family and friends. I also shared a lot of teachings in writing I'd learned up to that point.

When Scott, my husband, passed in 2014 I left it for a while...not just blogging. I quit writing, going places, doing things. I stayed close to God and His Word but withdrew from the world around me. It was my way of dealing with my grief. Finally I came back for a very short time, but then my brother passed on as well...he was the last member of my original family, the one I was born into. That along with losing him a little over a year after losing Scott was hard to deal with...the double loss in such a short period of time helped me to hide away further from my life.

I didn't return to writing until 2016.

Two books were released that year; A new one, a woman's fiction, Hidden Secrets, as well as a reprint of All In God's Time, one of my earlier three novels that had gone out of print. Both Passion from the Heart and Grace, a Gift of Love will be republished as well, hopefully by the end of 2018.

In the meantime 2017 rolled around. This year Guidance from The Light was published. It was my first (and probably only) non-fiction. It's a 365 day devotional that God led me to write using Scripture He'd brought to my heart and mind in the first two years of my grieving period. During my third year I was going back through all my notes and highlights, He encouraged me to share them with you all in a devotional form. You'll find His words and the words I believe He encouraged me to write for each day very up-lifting. Writing it, I believe, was my break-through point. I still miss Scott. Tomorrow he would be turning 67. Sigh. But I know he wouldn't come back to earth for anything--as much as he loved me, our kids, and our grandkids. That wouldn't change his mind. Eternity is a beautiful place for believers of Jesus Christ. I'll be joining Scott one day too. God is so good.

After that book released I still hadn't heard from my old publishing company about book 4 of the Samantha Cain series. I ended my contract for the book with them and went on to release it for my readers. Against Her Will became available in the spring of '17.

My first young adult fiction, Chasing The Lights, is now available. In fact, I've put a link to each of my five books released since January 2016 so you can purchase them through CS. I just learned it could be done. Until now my books were only sold through Amazon and other bookstores who were linked to CS. This is exciting.

I also managed to share my ebooks through an ebook distributor that has my books linked to nooks and other ebook readers. In the beginning all my books in ebook form were only available for kindles. I didn't know that. So all you who don't have a kindle or those of you who don't feel the need to hold a book in your hand and turn the pages, you too can enjoy Deborah Lynne novels on your electronic reader.

To see more about my books go to MY WEBSITE . Click on the link "my website." Remember I quit writing for a while, so my website lagged behind a little too. Sorry. I'm so blessed God didn't give up on me to fulfill His plans for write inspirational fiction and non-fiction. I was blessed to retire early, spend a few more happy years with my hubby and family--and now I write and enjoy the peace that God pours over me daily as my family continues to grow.

Take care. I hope to blog again in about a month. At that time I'll share some more things I've learned in the newer writing experience that I am having now.

God bless you!  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Blast From The Past! Me!

Hello everyone. I started to say good-evening because it's after five here, but I have no idea when you'll be reading this.

Sorry to say I haven't written my monthly blog in a very long time. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

With each blog I have always kept my readers up on what's happened in my writing life as well as my personal life. It seems I was always sharing good news with everyone. You all know after Scott (my husband of 43 years) passed, I stepped away from writing all together...not just my blog but even my novels. After a year of no writing (2014) but a lot of time spent with God and His Word, He brought me back with a vengeance. The next year (2015) I not only started writing a devotional sharing what God had put in my heart while healing me of my loss, I wrote three fiction novels as well - all 3 mysteries. Two adult fiction - and one young adult. The YA I believe will be book one of a series for Junior to High School kids to enjoy. Cooper Parks' Adventures is the title of the series. I haven't given the first book a permanent title yet. After that I rewrote one of my earlier books that was no longer in print.

Five novels all together. Sorry to say, not all of them have been released, one I'm still writing (the devotional). But the good news is April 2016 All in God's Time - Revised became available. And then June 1, 2016 - Hidden Secrets was released as well.

Against Her Will, Book 4 of the Samantha Cain Series, is still waiting for release, but if I don't hear from my publisher soon, I will cancel the contract and go another way. I will connect with another house for publication. So don't give up on me or my Samantha Cain stories.

I've truly started putting out query letters to find an agent to represent me with  my YA fiction, so hopefully by 2017 I'll be connected with the right house--and more Cooper Parks' books will follow. I have ideas on 3 or is it 4 more. It's in my file so don't worry that I have to depend on my memory. LOL

The devotional is still free for your reading via my website - January through September is available at the present time. I found out after I'd gotten through a few months of reading them from my website, I could pull each month up from my iBook icon (the free reader on iPads and iPhones). All you have to do is pull it up through the website, then click that month. When it comes up it will ask if you want it in your iBook file, click on it and it will put it there. It's like opening your Kindle or Nook and clicking on it. It's pretty cool. Eventually it will be in book book...a yearly devotional. It all comes from words God has opened up to me...from Scripture and then how He blessed me with those words. I've gone on to share them with you in this devotional...hoping to help you through whatever you may be going through and encourage you to keep Him close through it all.

So I'm moving forward in my writing. Keep you eyes open for Deborah Lynne novels. If you live near me you can catch me at up-coming festivals or you can always order any on line or through your favorite book store. Here are my latest two:

This summer I took a trip with my dear friend Emy to Folly Beach SC. It is a beautiful little town. The sand is so white and the water so clear. We had a great time with her sisters and brother and their families. Most of you who know me, know I'm a beach lover. It's really the roar of the waves as they wash ashore that keeps me going back for more. To me it's the best setting to read another new novel. Yes, I have to say, I am an avid reader. I love mysteries and romance. If you're a writer, put a beach scene or a lighthouse on the cover and YES you've got my attention! The food and family time was a joy to share in. Two birthdays were celebrated - a sixty year old and a 30 year old. Perfect celebrations for both. I was blessed to be allowed to share in their summer vacation. Thanks Novaks!

A few days after I returned from SC, I went on another trip. This one took me to Green Bay Wisconsin. It was the Writers Police Academy conference. Not only did I get to hold a gun and shoot it, I took down some criminals (on the screen, simulation not real)...of course sometimes my shot was a little off kilter. Most of the time I fired three times quickly...because I was scared. I COULD NEVER BE A POLICE OFFICER, but it's fun to write as if I am. (because you know every author is their hero, heroine, and even some of the secondary characters...we play all the roles.) One thing I have to say I learned, and had already seen it in action sorry to say, is policemen are guilty until proven innocent, where as we the people are innocent until proven guilty. I know there are some bad policemen out there, but the majority of the officers are putting their lives on the line for us because they believe in what they do...serve and protect. At this conference we got to mingle with a lot of policemen, k-9 patrolmen, SWAT, firemen, and more. We learned about blood spatter, proper investigation procedures, TAZERs (I shot that too, Squealed when I did) and so much more. We got hands on experience at a crime scenes. We watched as Emergency Response stepped in at a head on collision, saw pictures of true crimes (not exactly as what the TV and movies get to portray--thank God), and more. It was a conference I'll never forget. I learned so much and am very grateful to the men and women who took time out of their busy schedule to help us grow as writers. If you write mystery or suspense I suggest you sign up next year, WPA, when it is offered. But you have to be quick. They fill up fast.

Before I returned from this trip, I got emails, texts and phone calls about the beginning of flooding in the Baton Rouge area. When I landed in New Orleans, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I kept believing my home would be fine. God answered my prayers. My kids were blessed as well. Unfortunately a lot of people lost their homes and its entirety. The massive clean-up has been going on for over a week now. The flooding extended well out and around the BR area, including several small towns around us. It even touched areas several miles east and west of us. Massive water is a very dangerous thing. Keep the victims of the destruction in your prayers. Thanks!

There won't be a little section in this blog helping you new authors today. Sorry. But know if you live near Baton Rouge I will be teaching a class at the Jones Creek Library to help beginners get their first book ready for publication, even if you are just thinking about writing a novel. I'll have a lot of handouts with helpful tips on the do's and don'ts of writing. I speak on each as well. So join us. It's a class you won't want to miss if you are thinking about writing or have already begun. I promise it will be a helpful class. Saturday September 24th from 2-4 at The Jones Creek Library on Jones Creek. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hello everyone. I hope everybody had a blessed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebration.

I’ve heard before, that these holidays are when you feel the loss of your loved ones the most. I can now attest to that, and I apologize for staying silent during these times. I have, however, done a lot of writing since my brother passed on into eternity in heaven with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

We lost him on October 20th. Our loss, God's gain. Richard was the best brother anyone could ask for. 

My heart lay heavy on the absence of Scott and Richard both during these times. 

I was extremely blessed on November 21st with the birth of my first granddaughter…Miss Hartley Madison Craft. (Chris and Rosie's little one) She’s a beauty! And look at those dainty little fingers.

Isn't she? The first two pictures, she's only a couple of days old. The last one, she's a month old. Little Hartley is growing taller and more beautiful each day. We all love her so much!!

I promise, I do try to write my blog monthly, even though I've missed a few. I write my blogs to encourage writer’s to follow their passion and for readers to encourage them to keep enjoying the entertainment that reading bring into their lives. I’m blessed to have all of you who enjoy reading my novels and for those who take things I’ve learned along the way in my writing, using these tips to help you in yours. Thank you for letting my books entertain you and my learned wisdom of writing to enhance your growth as a writer. I pray I never let you down.

We all have life that tries to slow us down (delays in finishing our novel, delays in being picked up by a publishing house, delays in finding an agent or editor who believes in you…and there is always our personal lives). It’s sad, it’s trying, but I tell you, don’t give up! Don’t give in. Keep going. Keep moving forward. Writers, write what you’ve been called to write. Those who aren’t called to write but read my blog because you read my books—keep following your vision for your life. Your passion. Your purpose. Each day we have different trials or situations to face. I’m not saying ignore them or act like they don’t exist. I’m saying walk through them knowing you have a purpose and that you will get through whatever has come your way if you keep moving, pushing forward. God gave you that passion for a reason. What He gives us, He makes sure we can complete it. It's up us to do our part.

Keep the hope burning in your heart for that purpose you have in you, that all-consuming passion on the inside of you. Know that as long as you keep your focus on the calling God has put on you, He will see you through.

I’m still waiting to hear back from my publisher as to when my next two books will be released. In the meantime, I want you to know I have started on a young adult fiction story about Cooper Parks, a reporter for his high school newspaper. It’s been fun gathering facts about high school. I have to admit it has been a very long time ago for me. Times have changed. I hope teenagers find my stories interesting. I believe there is more than one story here in Cooper’s life, three have already sparked an idea in my imagination. I believe this first book will turn into a series. We’ll see.

Also, as most of you know I’m working on a devotional. At any time you can pull up my website and go to the Devotional page. Five months are available now. Start at your convenience reading one day at a time. God has blessed me through this and I know He’ll bless you while you’re reading His Scriptures. The words I share about those Scriptures are what I felt He touched my heart with, and I’m sharing them with you.

Since my last blog in September I've been at a few festivals. I was scheduled for a 2 day festival…Poche’ Plantation. Due to Hurricane Patricia stirring the gulf waters and the air, the second day was cancelled. But I must tell you the one-day that I was there, there were so many people passing through. The music was great too. And food, they had so much to choose from. The owner of the plantation does this to raise money for charities. He came around and checked to see how we were doing. What a wonderful man to do all of this for others. If you live close enough to Convent, you should make it a point to be there this year. I’m sure it will be toward the end of the year like it was in 2015. I started my Christmas shopping at this fair. They had so many great venders and so many wonderful things to choose from. I had a wonderful time. In fact I was sorry we only had one day of the experience to enjoy. Can’t wait for 2016’s event. The people who stopped by my booth were so nice. I hope they all become avid readers of Deborah Lynne novels. And I hope to see them again...and you later this year.

On October 3rd I attended the Fall Antique Festival in Denham Springs. The spring one will be in April this year. I’ve already scheduled to be there. I hope my new books are available by then as well. The festival was an exciting time. The venders were lined up and down the center of the streets in the antique area. We had a great spot. It was amazing how many people were there. Many stopped at our booth, some already readers of Deborah Lynne novels and/or readers of Allyn Stotz children’s books. I love how people take time to talk to me when they stop by and look at my books. I look forward to speaking to you all again.

November 7th was the Livingston Book Festival. Even though the skies dropped scattered showers, the Livingston Library was prepared. They had moved everything inside this year and it was wonderful. A school bus shuttle was constantly dropping off new people under the covered crosswalk at the library. They still had food, activities for the kids, and many booths of authors. It was a busy day for me and I loved it and the people. I hope to see you all again at the end of this year for the next annual celebration. They also had a “first page” contest for three different age brackets. I’m not sure of all the winners’ names, but I know Miss Sidney Storey won in the teenage bracket. Congratulations girl. She’s in our writer’s group that meet at the DS Library. Livingston’s Library will have another contest this year, so join in if you love to write.


I try to end my blogs with a tip or two for you writers who read my blog. Today I thought I’d talk about scene structure. I mean, what is a book but a collection of scenes. However, we need to understand each scene must have a purpose.

Each scene must move the plot of your novel forward. It should reveal some new information that’s important to the story…that moves it forward. If the scene you want to put in your story doesn’t move it forward, you don’t need that scene. Cut it. If you feel you really need this scene, then figure out what purpose it serves (or find a purpose for it.)

The first scene in your novel should be setting up your hero/heroine’s life, with something dropped in on him/her that causes a change in their life. That’s called the hook. You need that early on, or the reader will just put your book down and find another one that interests them. This change or occurrence that happens in the protagonist’s life shifts their direction of focus. It interrupts that normal world they live in. Your hero/heroine will have to change their goal. From then on the scenes will center around this one purpose in their life. It will be a scene that will hinder or help the protagonist to move closer to achieving their latest goal, until their ultimate goal has been achieved.

Every scene should have a key moment that captures the point of your scene. It can be obvious or very subtle, but it should be a clue, or a bit of new information in your story, or it should reveal something about a character that’s important to the story. It should be significant to your POV character for that it moves the story forward.

Make sure you know whose point of view you need to be in for each scene…and stay in it for the entire scene. Show only what that person can see, hear, think, and feel. Sometimes you can have two or more different scenes in a chapter, depending on how you like to write. If you do, make sure the reader knows whose head (POV) you are in, and make sure the break in the scenes are obvious.

Your scenes should have established the setting. Sometimes I feel I don’t do as good as job as I should on this. BUT I’m working on it. Remember; don’t just dump all the details of date, time, weather, location etc. You want it threaded into your scene the way the POV character feels it or sees it, so the reader is submerged in the story feeling or envisioning it right along with that character.

In a story you have inner conflict – what the character’s struggle is that he/she is forced to grow and learn through and change the end of the story. Show the changing. You also have outer conflict. These are the interferences and obstacles that the hero/heroine are facing throughout the story. These obstacles should grow as the story grows, getting bigger and harder as the story progresses, keeping your reader turning those pages. Like your story, each scene should have conflict, or it too will fall flat and you’ll lose the readers interest. You must have conflict.

So when you write a scene in your latest work, make sure it
1.     moves the story forward
2.     sets a hook (the first scene for the overall novel, the others for each scene)
3.     the point/purpose of your scene
4.     the correct POV, with the reader seeing, feeling, tasting, touching along with character
5.     the scene setting
6.     conflict

Keep this in mind when you’re writing your next scene. NOW get back to writing and have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Good Reviews, Bad Reviews & No Reviews

Hello everyone.

I hope you have had a blast of this beautiful weather like we have had--Cooler temperatures with a light breeze in the air. It's made yard work so much easier and definitely more enjoyable.

I'm a few days late posting my September blog. Sorry about that.

I got word from a friend of mine today that she went to the library in North Carolina where her son lives (while she was visiting he and his family). She called to say my books are there! Yea!!! Two of the three that have been turned into hard backs. Crime in The Big Easy & Be Not Afraid are in a library in NC, as well as the collection of my books -- Bayou Secrets. That tells me I wasn't dreaming. My books are spreading across America...into bookstores and libraries all across the U.S. God is faithful!

While I'm waiting to hear back on two manuscripts from my publisher, I've been working on the devotional I've told you about before. Another month is being edited and will soon be added to my website. I'm working on the forth month now. I'd love to say I'll be finished with the whole book in a month or two, but I'm writing it a little different than I write my fiction novels. So it will be added month by month until completed. When all 12 months are available, I'll see about it being turned into a book. In the meantime, for free you can download any and all months for your reading pleasure. God is the inspiration of this devotional. It's from the heart and from His Word. So those of you who are interested, go to WEBSITE and click on Devotional page.

I've started gathering material for a young adult fiction novel I've wanted to write. Maybe by the end of this year or the first of 2016, I'll have the new novel ready for my publisher to review. It's to be the first of a YA series. My main character, Lincoln Parks, is a reporter for the High School paper. He has a nose for news while living the life of a teenage boy with all the drama that comes his way. Lately my middle grandson Koby, 13 years old, and I have been hanging out a good bit. He is such a character. The boy in my book is 14, almost 15. When the idea for this novel first came to me my oldest grandson, Scotty, was my inspiration. All grown up now, my attention has turned toward Koby in guidance of my main character's personality and the goings on at schools. Turns out he's applied to be on the school paper this year. How perfect is that? I told him if he makes it onto the school newspaper's team, maybe I'll get to come by sometime and sit in the back of his class. Observe and get the real feel for how things go down making a school newspaper. I reminded him it had been a very long time since Granny had been in school. He made a very 'high tech remark' letting me know exactly how long it had been. That's my boy! So smart! And cute too!

Normally I take time at the end of my blog to share writing tips for my readers who are working to become writers or those who are already writers but still growing their craft. As I've said many times before, I hope I never stop learning. This time, however, I'm going to discuss a topic that all writers may have to face one day. I know I did. I'd like to share that with all of you who are reading my blog.

The subject I plan to address in this blog for my writer readers is also something I hope you book readers will enjoy staying tuned-in for.

TOPIC -- Bad Reviews.

As a reader you should take time to review some of the books you've read if you've enjoyed them. A bad review, well that's up to you, but I do encourage the good reviews to be added. Your favorite author would appreciate it.

I normally get good feed back on my books from a lot of people. In my heart, I always hope they go put those words on a review at some site where my books can be found...all reviews would be awesome, but one is great. Every bookstore's website and on-line bookstores have places to add reviews on books you've purchased from them. Sometimes they help readers looking for a new author to read...pointing the finger in the direction of one of your favorite authors...if you take time to review them.

I received a bad review a few months ago. As far as I know it's the first one and I let it get me down for a little while. I may have more, but I don't go looking. When I read the review, I heard what she was saying. Her review was for After You're Gone. This is a romance about a young woman who had worked hard to make a name for her self in the world of art. And just when her big moment to shine was about to happen, an old friend called needing her help immediately. My heroine, Malila, was torn between staying home in San Francisco and taking care of business, or flying off to New York City to help a friend in a dire situation. It turned out her friend was dying. She has a baby and didn't trust her only living relatives to raise her child. Reasoning for the young mother's decision was explained in the book. Anyway, she felt it necessary to call on an old friend to come to her rescue before her death, trying to make everything right in her mind and heart. The bad review came due to this woman's decision. The one who was reading the book stopped reading it. She couldn't believe anyone would give away her child for any reason.

In real life we know for a fact this happens. My husband and his twin sister were given away by their birth mother. And it happens more today than it did back then. My husband's story is not the same story as mine in After You're Gone, but in real life it does happen. Mother's give up their children for adoption for many reasons.

So immediately, when I read this bad review I thought my book wasn't sending the right message. Because when God placed this idea in my heart, the message was about choices we make as believers. My heroine had to decide between herself and someone else. She chose helping her friend over her own desires. In the end, I'm not going to tell you in case you haven't read it yet, so many things happened to Malila that changed her life, that wouldn't have happened had she not done what God led her to do. He has plans for each of us, but it's the choices we make that keep us on His path or lead us down a road of our own choosing.

I'm sorry for the woman who didn't finish reading my story, but I feel it was her loss. And although she has a right to her opinion and I respect it, I still feel After You're Gone is a wonderful romance with a good message, You just have to give it a chance. Chapter one was supposed to pull the reader in, not push them away. I hope more of you have read it and found it to be a good read or even a great read. Your reviews would be most welcome, should you decide you want others to know what you think of my book.

In the end, I didn't let the one bad review dissuade me and stop me writing more. Like I said before, I have two completed manuscripts for my publisher to consider. So I'm still writing and have plans for more.

Bad reviews come to most authors from what I've been reading. In fact, here is one particular fact I learned about a book's bad review. Check it out:

"It was one of the most boring and shallow books that I have ever read."

That is a bad review. But guess what?! It didn't hurt the book one iota. Just because that person wrote the above review, it didn't stop the book from selling a lot of copies, and it didn't stop the book from being made into a movie. AND oh yeah, it was such a great book and movie that they remade the movie again. Both times I believe the movies were a great success with the audience. I know I loved the book and the movie. The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Robert Redford, playing Jay Gatsby in the first film and Leonardo DiCaprio, lead in the second one, had viewers enthralled. The costumes and the characters in the book were as vivid as they were in the movies. F. Scott went on to write more novels. I did a quick count off one site I pulled up. They had 42 novels listed by him. I didn't do a large search to get an exact number. I just wanted you to know that the bad review didn't stop Fitzgerald.

So don't let bad reviews stop you from writing the book that is inside you. Who knows? Maybe you too will have a movie made from your book as well. And you readers who stayed reading my blog to the end, think of some of your favorite books you've read lately and take a few minutes this week and go write a review for that author. He/she will appreciate you.

Have a great fall!

Again, check out my website.

On the Event page I have a few places I will be attending with my books available in case you are interested. Down south it's better to wait for the fall weather. Summers are just too hot!! I hope to see you soon! God bless you all!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hello everyone.

I hope you had a great summer. School started back, so be careful while you’re out running the roads.

Do I have a great blog in store for you today!!

As most of you know I’m working on the 4th book of the Samantha Cain Series – Against Her Will. While doing this, I connected with a very talented and gifted writer/freelance editor. She is amazing. Not only do I have a one-on-one chat with her to share with you, but also I’m going to follow it with tips I learned through the course she taught on adding tension to your novel. You will be doubly blessed for joining me today.

After she taught the on-line course, I picked up two of her novels, Chasing Amanda and Finding Amanda.

I started reading Chasing Amanda right away and found it constantly moving forward, making me keep reading until I finished the whole thing. I didn’t want to put it down. The first scene started with a marine, Mark Johnson, who was about to ship out to Afghanistan. Because of his training (and because this is just the kind of guy he is) he realized someone was about to do something so wrong…and he stepped in. What a man! The story grabs you and pulls you in. Then it truly keeps you turning all the pages. Great job Robin.

With the sequel, Finding Amanda, Robin doesn’t fail her readers. The story keeps you turning the pages. You won’t be disappointed.

GOOD NEWS – Those of you who want to win a free copy of her newest book – Finding Amanda be sure to leave a comment at the end of my blog. Those who comment will be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of Finding Amanda.

*The winner will be notified via email. That’s when I’ll request your mailing address to ship the book to you.

NOW, Id like to take this moment to introduce you to Robin Patchen. She is a freelance editor, writing coach, and author. I met her through ACFW, an organization we both belong to. She was teaching a course on adding tension to your fiction. It was amazing.  I feel I learned a lot from this on-line course. I spent the first two weeks of July rewriting what I thought was my final draft of book 4 of The Samantha Cain Series – Against Her Will. Since the course I’m going back through it adding more tension. I couldn’t believe how she made things sound so simple. While taking the course, I dared to ask her if I could interview her for my blog. When she said yes, I took time to find books shed written and ordered them for myself to read. I also found out she was more than an author. Shes a freelance editor. No wonder she is so phenomenal as a teacher of writing.  Not only was I blessed by her course, now you will be blessed by an interview with her.

DEBORAH: Hello Robin. It was a joy to learn from you how to add tension to my novel. Id like to share you with my readers and writer friends who read my blog. Im going to ask you a few questions I feel will encourage my writer friends to keep plugging away writing, and give my reader friends another new author to check out.

ROBIN: Thanks so much for having me, Deborah, and for your kind words. I'm so glad the tension tips helped you. Ive been told Im a master at adding tension, though Im not sure if its a compliment when uttered across the dinner table by your teenagers. (A little joke, of course. They wouldnt dare.) Im pleased to visit your blogits lovely.

DEBORAH: It sounds like your dinner table would be fun to be around. So what madeyou decide to become an editor? Did you have the desire to write before or after you started editing?

ROBIN: Interesting question, Deborah, because I don’t really know the answer. I majored in Journalism forever ago, and even then, I had a natural ability to edit, but it never occurred to me to pursue that as a career. Though I always loved to write, I got a job in pubic relations and marketing because it paid better than working as a reporter, and then I quit to raise my kids. It wasn’t until after I started writing fiction and joined a critique group that I remembered my love of editing. Even then, years went by before a friend encouraged me to start an editing business.

DEBORAH: It sounds exciting to me. Thank God for friends, right? Tell us about Robin’s Red Pen.

ROBIN: I’d often talked about doing some freelance editing, but I hadn’t done anything to pursue the dream until my friend Lacy asked me to edit a book she planned to self-publish. I did, and she was impressed. She was a multi-published author with a big house, and her support really encouraged me to give it a shot. She also referred other clients to me, and when she started her own publishing company, she asked me to be their freelance copyeditor. I probably wouldn’t be doing this if not for the support of Lacy and a lot of my other friends. Funny, but the name sort of came to me, because my friends in my local writing group often talked about my “red pen.” They’d share sob stories about how I’d taken my red pen to their babies (like I’m some sort of manuscript murderer.) Weirdly, I thought that was fun—which tells you a little bit about my personality—and Robin’s Red Pen was born.

DEBORAH: You have me grinning from ear to ear, again. I love it! Did you acquire an agent before getting published? If so, how did you find your agent?

ROBIN: I had two Christmas novellas published through Pelican Book Group before I signed with Chip MacGregor. Interesting story, how I came to be his client. He was slated to speak at a local writers conference, but right before the conference, he came down with strep throat and had to cancel. He invited all the attendees to send him a proposal. I had mine in the mail the following Monday, and then waited. And waited. A couple of months later, he spoke at an event at a friend’s house in Tulsa, just a 90-minute drive. A friend and I make the trek to meet him in person. He said during his brief talk that he usually tries to respond to a proposal within six weeks, so I very boldly (if you can call a chick shaking in her pumps bold) approached him after his talk and told him it had been a few months since I sent him my proposal.  He apologized and promised to look at it. Another month went by before I heard from him, and it was almost five months before I actually signed the agent agreement with him.

            Thats one way to look at the story. Another way is this: I worked very hard on my craft for years and prayed a lot, not just that the Lord would lead me to a great agent, but also that I would become a better writer. When the time was right, God opened the doors.

DEBORAH: His timing is always perfect! Who is your publisher?

ROBIN: I published two books with Pelican Book Group, and my latest two books are self-published. With the Christian fiction industry the way it is, Chip wasn’t able to place my book with a larger publisher. We talked about submitting to smaller publishers, but in the end, Chip encouraged me to self-publish. I’m so glad he did, because it’s been an awesome ride. I still dream of landing a contract with a major house someday, but right now, I feel I’m right where God wants me.

DEBORAH: That you are! I’m glad I connected with you. You’re writing is fantastic so keep it up!! Would you give us the names of your published titles?

ROBIN: One Christmas Eve came out in the fall of 2012, and Faith House released in the fall of 2013. Finding Amanda released this April, and Chasing Amanda, its free prequel, released July 2nd.

DEBORAH: I have two of the four. Now I need to go buy the other two. Love your writing, your stories. (There. It’s done. I love the computer age. J I just ordered your first two books. I can’t wait to start another read.) So what is your next book’s title, and what is it about? When will it be released?

ROBIN: Oh, such great questions. I hate that I don’t have a better answer. The next book is written but not edited yet. I’m playing with the title, “Resurrecting Reagan McAdams” or something like that. I’m terrible at titles. It’s a romantic suspense—“What happens when a woman discovers she accidentally married her arch-enemy?” (Although arch-enemy makes me think Lex Luther and mwha-ha-ha laughter.) That’s as much of a synopsis as I’ve come up with so far. The book is written, the back-cover copy, not quite.

DEBORAH: This gives me another book to look forward to reading. BTW, I loved that laugh!! Now for the big question, which do you enjoy more? Editing or Writing?

ROBIN: Depends on which one I’m doing. If I’m editing, then I definitely prefer writing. But if I’m writing, I long to be editing someone else’s words. Writing is hard.

DEBORAH: Loved your answer. You ought to try politics next, haha. Tell us about the blog site, Live, Write, Thrive that you appear in with 3 other editors. Do you write for them on a regular basis sharing tips on writing?

ROBIN: I blog for Live, Write, Thrive once a month this year on the Fatal Flaws of Fiction. It’s been great fun so far working with the other ladies. I think there might be a book at the end of the year, which is exciting to think about.

DEBORAH: I joined the blog site and already shared it with my writers’ group. I am amazed we got this interview done so quickly. I see how very busy you are; yet you took time for us…and had me laughing throughout it all…thank you! Also I see God working in your life and you are following the path He is leading you on. Awesome!! Thank you for your time. You are the best. Again, you are a joy to work with. Thanks again for the lessons on tension.

ROBIN: My pleasure. Thanks for having me!

Wasnt that a great interview? I truly enjoyed hearing straight from her. This should encourage you writers as it did me. Robin Patchen is gifted. I hope you take advantage of her expertise. Here is her bio:

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda,released in April, and its free prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn't writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin's Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian Fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website,

Robin's Red Pen:

The rest of this will be writing tips I learned on an on-line course. No matter what you write, take time to read and soak in the knowledge Robin Patchen shared with us, the group from ACFW who took the on-line course.

In the thesaurus tension & conflict are considered synonyms. But for writing purposes note the difference in the Merriam-Webster definition.

Conflict – Clash, competition, or mutual interference of opposing or incompatible forces or qualities…as ideas, interests, wills, etc.

Tension – Inner unrest, striving, or imbalance…a feeling of psychological stress often manifested by increased muscular tonus and by other physiological indicators of emotion.

So tension is not necessarily conflict (although conflict should always be tense). Sometimes tension is just a bit of uncertainty of things being different than we thought they would be. When characters are feeling inner conflict, that’s tension.

In writing, talking about tension, we’re talking about psychological stress. But remember, while writing about your characters feelings of tension (heartbeats race, etc), your true goal is to make your reader feel tension.

For our purposes as fiction authors the difference between tension and conflict:

            Conflict refers to your external plot points; tension refers to internal turmoil
            Conflict is overt; tension is often covert

You need the main conflict as well as smaller ones throughout your whole novel. A big plot point in your story could be the hero has to fight the dragon; or your heroine has to fight her teenage daughter. They are essential. Without them you don’t have a story. BUT that’s not how Donald Maass describes tension in Fire in Fiction. He describes it this way:

Micro-tension is the moment-by-moment tension that keeps the reader in a constant state of suspense over what will happen, not in the story but in the next few seconds.

While the plot of your story is vital, the tension is what keeps your reader engaged and turning the page. Robin shared with us specific ways to develop tension in four types of writing. Exposition. Description. Action. Dialog.

Tension in Exposition:

Often tension comes:

1.     From characters moving in opposing directions, or unanswered questions, and/or hidden agendas.
2.     When the reader expects one thing and gets another, that also causes tension.
3.     Often tension arises when the character isn’t aware of it. Perhaps the reader read a scene in which a bad guy planted a bomb beneath a cafĂ© table. Now the hero is sitting at that table reading the newspaper, sipping coffee. Enjoying the peace. While the reader is gripping the book with white knuckles knowing there is a bomb right there. You don’t have to write the tick-tick-tick. The reader’s heartbeat is supplying it.

Exposition is the moment in your manuscript where you’re explaining something. These are not necessarily entire scenes but sections of scenes in which your character is thinking. LOOK at each passage and ask do you really need it? What new thing are you telling the reader they didn’t already know? If there is nothing, then you have to either cut the section or create some tension.

How do you create tension in exposition?

Inner conflict: Your character wants one thing, and at the same time, he/she wants the opposite. (EX: Character knows he/she shouldn’t say something, and he/she does anyway.) (EX: Character longs for one thing and he/she fears it at the same time.) (EX: He/she feels one thing on the surface, but something unexpected or even opposite underneath.) If you add inner conflict to every scene, tension will follow naturally.

Tips on adding tension in your exposition:
1.     Never restate the obvious.
2.     When on the surface your character is feeling one way, figure out what is the opposite of that…think of 3 or 4 choices…and then work on one of those.
3.     Look for a source of inner conflict.
4.     What new thing can you introduce that sheds more light on what’s happening in the story? It can be a bit of the character’s history or a tidbit that makes him feel anxious, even when all should be well on the surface.
5.     When your character is wrestling with a decision, how can you make both choices seem equally appealing…or equally disastrous.

It’s important not to add tension for tension’s sake. Your tension needs to highlight real story issues, not make promises your book doesn’t deliver. Tension must be real.

Tension in Description:

Description can be some pretty boring stuff, but if doesn’t have to be. Well done descriptions can add immense tension to your story.

When writing the description, don’t just write what you see. The point isn’t to see the details and describe them; the point is to find the details that reflect what you want the reader to see, to hear, to smell, to feel. It’s not just about describing the obvious to the reader. Here’s an example from Charles Martin’s Chasing Fireflies:

     I stepped out into the sunlight humming a Pat Green tune, slipped on my sunglasses, and stared out over the courthouse steps. After three days of incarceration, not much had changed. Brunswick, Georgia, was like that. Discarded bubblegum, flat as half-dollars, dotted the steps like splattered ink. Lazy, blimpish pigeons strutted the sidewalk begging for bread scraps or the sprinkles off somebody's double-shot mocha latte. In the alley across the street, and entire herd of stray cats crept toward the wharf just four blocks down. The sound of seagulls told them the shrimp boats had returned. And on the steps next to me, two officers lifted a tattooed man, whose feet and hands were shackled and cuffed, up the steps and, undoubtedly, into Judge Thaxton's courtroom. Based on the mixture of saliva and epithets coming our of his mouth, he wasn't too crazy about going. No worries. Given my experience with Her Honor, his stay in her courtroom wouldn't be too long.

The tension is subtle. It's our first glimpse of the protagonist, and he seems as happy as can be. He shares these wonderful images--blimpish pigeons and sprinkles from a latte. He's even humming. So why does the reader have that sense of tension? That one little phrase changed the whole thing: "After three days of incarceration..."

Wait, what? The guy's leaving the jailhouse in the middle of town--presumably his own town, since he knows the place pretty well--and happy? How can that be?

That unspoken question would probably be enough to get you to turn the page, but then Charles Martin adds another image--the shackled man. Yes, it stays lighthearted, but there's ominousness about seeing someone shackled and dragged into a courthouse. And then one more line makes the reader wonder: "Given my experience with Her Honor..." So the hero's been in front of the judge before, enough to predict what she's going to do. And he's cheerful.

This guy's emotions are not conflicted. He seems as content as can be. But it causes some conflicting emotions in the reader, doesn't it? Normally someone just released from jail in his or her hometown would feel more--ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, dishonored, indignant--Content...never. So why does he? It makes you want to keep reading. The contrast of the two--how he should feel, yet how he feels brings about tension.

Word Choice, how your protagonist filters what she sees, hears, and feels, can add tension to your description. Word choice should do double-duty. First it needs to help the reader picture the setting. Second it needs to reflect the character in some way. It's not about the thing being described, it's about how your reader feels about the thing--be in the landscape or a new dress. The tension comes from those feelings.

Tips to adding tension to description:

1. Put yourself in the eyes of the POV character. Spend some time there and figure out what he/she would notice. You can't tell the reader everything; so choose your details carefully.
2. Start with a broad brush, then narrow into key details, details you can use to reflect your character's feelings.
3. Choose words that reflect the picture you're trying to paint. Hard words, soft words, whimsical words, or concrete words...they all subtly lead the reader to one place or another.
4. Go beyond the obvious emotion if you can. Sometimes, the obvious emotion is the one you want to convey, but sometimes it isn't what the protagonist feels.
5. Add a few key phrases that'll make your reader ask some questions, encouraging them to turn the page.
6. If you're working on a segment at the start of your story, before the inciting incident, think of your character's innermost desire. What does your character want? That can be the driving force of that first segment of description. Let that desire be reflected.

Don't skip the description in your book fearing it might be boring. The reader wants to be in the setting. They can't if you don't take them there. Find a way to make your descriptions drip with emotion and tension.

Tension in Action:

If you really want your action scenes to drip with tension, you need to do more than just provide a lot of action.

What is action? It is the parts of your book where your characters are doing something.

Tips for adding tension to action scenes:

1. Be unpredictable. Sometimes, your hero and heroine have to lose. Sometimes bad things have to happen. When you're writing an action scene, brainstorm five things that can happen, then brainstorm five more. Maybe choose an option from the bottom of that last list.
2. Increase the stakes. How else can your scene matter to your story, to the community, and to the world?
3. Get your heroes personally involved. Show us why this matters to the hero, to his family, to his community.
4. Raise questions...and don't offer answers right away. Never answer one question before you raise another.

Tension in Dialogue:

Tips to adding tension to your dialog:

1. Eliminate every predictable word. Tension arises in the readers when they are kept off-guard. So what things are predictable? Nicknames, pet names; nonsense words like Uh, um; Filler words like well, so, anyway, greetings; direct answers.
2. Eliminate as many dialog tags (he said, she said) as possible without confusing the reader. Eliminate EVERY dialog tag that accompanies an action beat. (EX: "Almost there," he said as he turned left.-- instead write -- "Almost there." He turned left.)
3. Eliminate all adverbs within dialog tags. (EX: "I love you," he said softly. -- instead write -- "I love you," he whispered.
4. Eliminate fancy words used for said. (EX: "I love you," he declared.) If you have to tell reader who said it, stick with he said or asked. Readers tend to skim over those words. EXCEPT when you are using a more specific word to describe how something was said and it's very important to whispered, shouted, or screamed. Use them, but use them sparingly.
5. Eliminate telling in dialog. (If you can start the sentence with "As you know," delete it. Find another way to tell the reader...better to be in exposition than in dialog.
6. Eliminate straight answers. (EX: "How's it going?" "Fine, you?" - write - "How's it going" "Don't start with me.") (that was unexpected and not boring. Now you want to know why they responded that way.) Another example. ("How's it going?" "Do you know what you get when you cross a train wreck and a category 4 hurricane?" Silence filled the room. "That's how it's going."
7. When you've cut out all the unnecessary stuff, see what you have left and figure out how else you can say what you're trying to say without saying anything obvious.
8. Ensure your characters all have different agendas, and find subtle ways or overt, depending on the scene, to show those differing agendas.

If a piece of dialog comes easily, you've more than likely made it too predictable. Try finding a unique way to have your characters respond. Make sure it matches their personalities though.

The tips above came from Robin Patchen's on line class I took. I hope they help you as much as I believe they are helping me. God bless you all.