Patricia Johns

For a while, I thought I’d never be able to keep busy enough with Harlequin writing, but as it turns out, I’ll be able to stay occupied with Harlequin writing quite well. Instead of splitting my focus, I’ve decided to work exclusively on Harlequin for the time being.

For the foreseeable future (and I can only peek so far into the future…) I will be busy with Harlequin where I write under the name Patricia Johns. I won’t have any more books coming out under Patty Froese for next year or so, so I won’t be updating here as often, but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing like crazy! I find it difficult to keep two blogs and Facebook pages running while writing books, parenting and being the spectacular wife that I am (wink, wink)… so I need to streamline a little in 2014.

If you’d like to keep up with me and my writing, please come by my Patricia Johns blog where I update every Monday.

I can also be found on my Patricia Johns Facebook page, where I stay even more updated on the general goings-on around my writing life. Come by and give me a like!

If you enjoy Inspirational Romance, I’m still around–just under the pen name Patricia Johns. (See how I slipped that link in again? Please come by. I’ll miss you otherwise!)

DSC02391

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing the Perfect Guy

With Christmas coming, I’ve been staying extra busy. I’m sure you have been, too! Not only did I have my Christmas novella come out (and I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you to check it out. ;) ) , but I’m getting ready for all the holiday cheer. It’s fun–I love it! And it’s served to distract me from novel writing.

I got my book plotted, which took a couple of weeks to do it properly this time around, and now I’m poised at the first page. It’s hard to start. The first scene throws my reader into the middle of a relationship between my heroine and a “certain man.” That’s all I’ll say about him right now, but he’s got to be perfect. And I mean Perrrrrr-fect.

The whole book hinges on him in all his splendor.

How’s that for some first page pressure?

Don’t worry. I don’t stay daunted for long, and I’ve determined to start the actual writing of this novel today. I’ve procrastinated all I can. I finished watching all the Bones episodes on Netflix. No more distraction.

Duster_2Except for some housework, perhaps. Have you ever noticed that when you’re a bit intimidated by something, every speck of dust feels so much more important?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Release Day!

A CHRISTMAS BONUS is now available for purchase for only $2.99.

***

When Millie’s boss asks her to work over Christmas, she’s hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can’t refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated…

 

AChristmasBonusCoverArt72dpi(1)

Amazon

Desert Breeze Publishing

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Christmas Tree

Web1By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Some believe the Christmas tree started during the Winter Solstice when Druids worshiped trees. But from the beginning, Christmas trees have been used as Christian symbols to teach about Christ.

450px-Christmas_tree_sxc_huThe Upside Down Fir Tree

During the 7th century, a monk from Devonshire spent time there preaching the word of God. He used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to teach about the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By the 12th century, the Fir tree was hung upside down from ceilings in Central Europe as a symbol of Christianity at Christmas time.

Boniface and Thor’s Oak

St. Boniface became a missionary to the Germans in the 700′s A.D where he encountered Druids who worshiped trees. To stop their sacrifices at their sacred Donar Oak near Geismar, St. Boniface chopped the tree down in 725 A.D. With one mighty blow, Saint Boniface felled the massive oak, and as the tree split, a beautiful young fir tree sprang from its center. Saint Boniface told the people that this lovely evergreen, with its branches pointing to heaven, was indeed a holy tree, the tree of the Christ Child, a symbol of His promise of eternal life. He instructed them to carry the evergreen from the wilderness into their homes and to surround it with gifts, symbols of love and kindness.

The Paradise Tree

From the eleventh Century, religious plays called “Mystery Plays” including the popular Paradise Play depicting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Eden. An evergreen tree was used for this winter festival and decorated with apples symbolizing the forbidden fruit. The play ended with the promise of the coming Savior. Wafers were also hung from the tree symbolizing the forgiveness of sins in communion making it now not just the tree of knowledge but also the tree of life. This resulted in a very old European custom of decorating a fir tree in the home with apples and small white wafers representing the Holy Eucharist at Christmas time. These wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut in the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers, and bells. In some areas the custom, was still to hang the tree upside down.

In addition to the paradise tree, many German Christians set up a Christmas Pyramid called a Lichstock – a open wooden frame with shelves for figurines of the Nativity covered with evergreen branches and decorated with candy, pastry, candles, and a star. The star represented the star of Bethlehem, the candles represented the light of Christ coming into the world, the evergreens were the symbol of eternal life, and the candy, fruits, and pastries, the goodness of our life in Christ, the fruits of the spirit, etc. By the seventeenth century the Lichstock and the “Paradise Tree” became merged into the modern Christmas tree.

Luther’s Christmas Tree

There is a popular tradition that Martin Luther was walking on a bright snow-covered, star-lit night pondering the birth of Christ. Enthralled by the evergreen trees, the stars and the landscape, he took a tree inside and put candles on it to represent the majesty he felt about Christ’s birth as Jesus came down from the stars to bring us eternal life.

The Moravian Christmas Tree

In the 1700s, Moravian missionaries brought the tradition of the Christmas tree to the United States. They would build a wooden frame and decorate it with greenery from spruce, fir, and pine trees. They would set candles on the wooden shelves symbolizing that Christ is the light of the world and would hang verses on the tree showing that Christ is the Word of God. Under the tree, they would place a putz, an elaborate nativity including many scenes from the Bible. On Christmas day, the family would read the verses to each other. I used this tradition in my story, A Christmas Promise, about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio.

*****

AChristmasPromise_medA Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Amazon

Pelican Book Group

Christian Book

Christmas Blog Hop

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A Christmas Bonus

When Millie’s boss asks her to work over Christmas, she’s hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can’t refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated…

AChristmasBonusCoverArt72dpi(1)

 

Excerpt

“So, Millie says she’d like to stay,” Andrew announced.

“Good.” Louise shot her a smile. “Do you like fruitcake, Millie?”

“I think so.” Mille sank into a seat next to her boss.

“Me, too…” Louise disappeared into the fridge, her voice meandering out from the chilly depths. “Except I always hate the fruit in it. So I just make the cake. But the cake is rather dry.”

“It’s more like a Christmas cracker,” Andrew murmured, and Millie repressed a laugh.

The dense, dry confection that landed with a heavy thud on the tabletop looked nothing like the fruitcake she’d seen in the past.

“Guests first.” Louise announced cheerfully, and when Millie shot Andrew a “help me” look, he pointed under the table.

“Give it to the dog,” he mouthed.

The dog? So far, Millie hadn’t seen a dog in the house, and when she slowly raised the plastic tablecloth to peer under the table, she was met with the biggest canine face she’d ever seen in her life. Stifling a yelp of shock, she turned her ashen face towards Andrew.

“That’s Edgar,” Andrew said.

“Edgar?”

He nodded. “Get used to him.” When she turned her attention to the plate deposited in front of her, Andrew leaned in and murmured in her ear. “Thanks for coming, by the way.”

Coming December 1, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Writing what you read?

I have this fabulous new book idea that has been brewing for a few weeks, and when I told my good friend about it, she said, “That sounds like Women’s Fiction to me.”

Now that I think about it, it really does! And I realized something–I don’t like to write the same kinds of books that I like to read.

Книги_3

This surprises me, because most authors write in the same genre that they read. They love reading mysteries, so they write them. They love reading romance, so they write it. I’m the opposite. I love reading mysteries and historical royal family fiction, but I don’t like to write it. I really enjoy putting together romances and women’s fiction, apparently. But I’m not crazy about reading them. Writing them, however, is hugely fun! And when I challenged myself to come up with a story that I really wanted to write, ignoring genre, what did I come up with? Women’s fiction. And I’m serious–I really want to write this book!

I’d be curious to know how many other authors function the way I do. I’m sure I’m not alone.

But I’m relieved–what really inspires me DOES fit into a genre! I was half-afraid that I’d find myself writing something that didn’t fit anywhere. And fiction that doesn’t fit onto a bookstore shelf has little hope of getting published.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Siren Call of Lay’s

After a big edit of my Harlequin manuscript, I’m on “free time.” Well, not really free, exactly. Writing something that “genuinely inspires me” is way more pressure than you’d think. It’s hard to get out of the mindset of writing for a particular market. While, I WILL have to choose another market to focus my work on, I first need to figure out what I really want to write, besides Inspy Romance.

So for the moment (as in the next day or two) I’m just relaxing and getting my balance back with some friends. I’m tired, kind of moody and desperately craving comfort food. This is a warning to anyone who knows me personally to approach slowly and hold a bag of chips in front of you. That’s mostly joking… But the chips wouldn’t hurt.

800px-Potato-Chips

One of the difficulties of being an unbalanced writer is that I don’t pace myself. When I write, I throw myself into it. When I edit, I don’t stop until I’m done.  And when I’m waiting for an editor to respond, I feel rather confused and aimless.

And potato chips call to me.

I should probably start writing something.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Guest Post: LoRee Peery

Writers love to experience “ah-ha!” moments when the spark of a story idea
strikes. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes we have to seek out the
beginning.

We’ve all heard the authors who claim a whole book or a series came in a
dream. I remember nothing of my dreams. The creative process is unique to
each of us as we are created differently. And each project for me works in
its own way. I have yet to write a whole first draft from the heart,
without editing a thing from my head.

La_bella_durmiente_(8254770088)

My idea for the heroine, Dahlia Delisi, began with a picture from a
magazine of this exotic, mysterious looking woman who immediately brought
to mind The Black Dahlia of Hollywood fame. At some point, I must have
listened to a song or two with the word blue and that evolved into the
title, A Blessed Blue Christmas.

I have a file of resources that consists of names, occupations, story
ideas, newspaper articles, and a few pictures. My process begins at
different places but ends up with a bit of a routine now. First, I created
a goals list, a timeline, and then went to work brainstorming. Characters
come first, and I consult a list of names I’ve already compiled or I
search for new ones. I had yet to choose a U.S. Marshal as my hero’s
occupation, so Sloan Letheby and his past with Dahlia came into being
first.

Along the way, I came up with a scene involving a weird farm accident. I
called my brother to ask if he had any ideas along those lines. He had to
think about it and called me back. It had to be a God-thing when his idea
was the same as mine. But I’m not going to give away that accident here.

This past summer I read a wonderful book on creativity by Brenda Ueland,
If You Want to Write. If my math is correct, she wrote the book at age 46
and the Preface to the second addition at age 91. She lists 12 pointers
near the end of the book for why we should do them. “Because the best way
to know the truth or beauty is to try to express it.”

 

***

A Blessed Blue Christmas

GetAttachmentDahlia Delisi has poured her life into her store, The Blue Dahlia.  Once
her faith was strong, and her life was on a different course.  But when
Sloan Letheby left town, Dahlia drifted away from God.
Sloan Letheby has been transformed. His brush with death brought new
meaning to his faith in God, and he needs to right old wrongs.  However,
there’s a murder plot in the way of his reunion with Dahlia. Can he find
a killer before it’s too late?  And can Dahlia accept him…and God, back
into her life?

$2.99 on December 1

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Mama’s got to get paid

I’m a very all-or-nothing person. When I’m pouring over my romance writing, I absolutely love it. I’ve worked hard to get into Harlequin, and I really do enjoy writing the novels. When I’m working on a romance, I often ask myself why I’m even bothering with short stories. I mean, it’s a mill of rejection, and I don’t feel secure in it. I don’t know exactly what they want, and I’m used to catering my writing to a particular market, not just writing whatever inspires me. Mama’s got to get paid.

shakespeare-got-to-get-paid

 

But when the romance writing slows down (and the editors in the office are doing their part, leaving me to wait), I find myself thoroughly frustrated and pour myself into the short stories. It’s then, when I’m not getting paid, that I think about what kinds of short stories I want to write, and I wonder if my view of the world will be considered literary or not.

I’m a Christian. I’m an optimist. To me, the world sparkles with the possibility of heaven brushing earth at every moment. Canadian lit doesn’t tend to be that cheery. Gotta say. Do I write it the way I see it? Or do I write what I think they want?

You probably know how that shakes out for me. I write what I see, and cringe as I submit, because I’m not sure that what I see is what others want to see.

And then–thank God!–I hear back from a Harlequin editor who diverts me from the crushing frustration of starting out at the bottom.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

First official rejection

 

I got my first rejection letter for a short story today–a fast one! That means it took them no time at all to toss that one out the door… ;) And while I’m tempted to tell you that it’s not that big of a deal, I did mollify myself with some potato chips.

DSC02359

Luckily, not being a novice at this, I knew what to expect and prepared a little padding for myself by sending out a couple other stories, too. As long as I have another story out there, there is still hope for an acceptance, and the current rejection doesn’t sting so much.

These short stories matter to me more than you’d think. I’m used to writing for a genre where I know the rules I need to follow. Romance, for example, uses a flexible formula, but a formula nonetheless. I’m happy to play by the rules in order to get published and build my career, but these short stories are more personal–they are my attempt to write the world the way I see it. No formula.

Will that appeal to the literary community? We’ll see! I know better than to quit after one rejection. I’ll keep at it. I’ll collect all sorts of rejection letters, I’m sure, and eventually (I’m hoping) I’ll get an acceptance.

It kind of reminds me of when I was just starting out, hammering out article after article and mailing them out from my little apartment in Toronto. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment