An Exclusive Interview with Romance Luminaries Paris Afton Bonds and Rita Clay Estrada in Southern Writers Magazine

May 2, 2016SW Cover May 2016 FB

What an honor to interview Parris Afton Bonds and Rita Clay Estrada for the May/June 2016 issue of Southern Writers Magazine. Many thanks to Editor-in-Chief Susan Reichert for accepting my proposal and to Gary Fearon, Creative Director, for coming up with a beautiful cover. To read the complete interview, click here to order your copy now. RWA article teaser SW May 2016

Loiacono Literary Agency presents collaborative author signing Mother’s Day weekend

Updated May 1, 2016

Autographed books make perfect gifts for those you care about. If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Saturday May 7, stop by Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX from 1-3 p.m. and meet authors Diane Yates (Pathways of the Heart and All That Matters), Drema Hall Berkheimer (Running On Red Dog Road), Jan Morrill (The Red Kimono), and Kathleen M. Rodgers (Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute). We’d love to see you there.BN Four Author Event flyer jpg
















4 Author Book Signing, Dallas Morning News, online May 1, '16



Running On Red Dog Road: “The Waltons meet Little House on the Prairie told with Mark Twain’s humor”

April 12, 2016Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 6.43.48 PM

Every once in a while, a voice comes along that makes you yearn for a childhood you never lived. Author Drema Hall Berkheimer invites you to skip along with her, big sis Vonnie, and best friend Sissy into the coal mining hills and hollers of West Virginia, at a time when gypsies and hobos were as common as doctors who made house calls.

My husband is a longtime fan of Drema’s work. Tom calls Running On Red Dog Road “The Waltons meet Little House on the Prairie told with Mark Twain’s humor.”

We both highly recommend this book.

Drema and I met at the The Writer’s Garret, Dallas, TX in 2008. I fell in love with this book the moment she started reading those early chapters in critique.

Dallas Morning News says, “The narrator’s sometimes saucy voice is that of “the little girl I once was.”

Publishers Weekly says, “Berkheimer’s voice is captivating, bringing a vast array of strange but thoughtful characters to life: vagabonds, faith healers, farmers, and miners.”

About Drema Hall Berkheimer:

Drema at the 2016 Public Library Association annual conference in Denver, CO.
Drema at the 2016 Public Library Association annual conference in Denver, CO. To read more about her visit, click here.

Born in a West Virginia coal camp called Penman, Drema Hall Berkheimer now lives on Word Street in Dallas, so maybe writing was her destiny all along. Her memoir, Running On Red Dog Road, is a testament to her life in small town Appalachia, the child of a miner killed in the mines, a Rosie the Riveter mother, and devout Pentecostal grandparents. Chapters from Running on Red Dog Road won First Place Nonfiction and First Honorable Mention Nonfiction in the 2010 WV Writers Competition and were published in WV South, an award-winning magazine where she has been a frequent contributor. She has memoir, fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and essays published in numerous online and print literary journals and other publications. Affiliations are WV Writers, Salon Quatre, and The Writers Garret in Dallas, where she lives with her husband and a neurotic cat who takes after her. Her husband is mostly normal.

She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency



Artist Jenny Zovein creates watercolor depicting key scene from Johnnie Come Lately, an award-winning novel

March 28, 2016

Mama at war memorial by Jenny Zovein (Johnnie Come Lately, published by Camel Press).
Mama at war memorial by Jenny Zovein (Johnnie Come Lately, Camel Press)


Author’s note: In the following passage from my novel, Johnnie Come Lately (Camel Press), the protagonist, Johnnie Kitchen, is standing at the kitchen sink reflecting on her mother who’s been missing for twenty-three years. Johnnie’s husband, Dale, spotted Mama at the war memorial the day before. 

Chapter 16

“Go Army”

Her mind drifted to the empty bench in front of

the war memorial a few blocks to the west. She imagined a

woman, limber and lithe, making her way to the bench. Once

seated, the woman tilted her head and said something to the

soldier. Then the birds scattered and the woman rushed away,

leaving nothing behind. As if she’d never been there.

“What are you thinking so hard about?”

Startled, Johnnie turned from the window and caught Dale

gazing at her.

The cherry tomatoes were still cupped in her hands. Water

dripped everywhere. She swallowed. “Mama.”

Amazon & B&N

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency


bio for artist Jenny Zovein for Kathleen M. Rodgers' novel, Johnnie Come Lately (1)A note from the artist:

My name is Jenny Zovein. Colorado has been my home for the last 47 years. I was born in Pennsylvania in 1949. Shortly before my first birthday, my family moved to Colorado. During my childhood I lived throughout the United States in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah, California, Alabama, and Maryland. Doing a full circle brought me back to Colorado in 1969. I am retired and spend many hours doing my artwork. I started when I was a little child but only started watercolor painting in 2014. 

I am the mother of two grown children. My son and his wife live in San Francisco and my daughter lives near me. They both give me inspiration to continue what I love doing.  

I was fortunate to travel to Europe and visited Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, and England. This trip was a big factor in my love for art and culture.

To see more of Jenny’s work, click on the following links:

Jenny’s art page on Facebook

Jenny at Paintings I Love









Johnnie Come Lately Wins First Place for Women’s Fiction in Texas Association of Authors 2016 Best Book Awards

March 1, 2016womens fic


We are pleased to announce that Johnnie Come Lately wins another book award, this one for Women’s Fiction from Texas Association of Authors 2016 Best Book Awards. To date, the novel has garnered four awards: three for content and one for cover art. The other awards are: Gold Medal for Literary Fiction from Military Writers Society of America 2015 Book Awards, Bronze Medal for Women’s Fiction from Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards, and 2015 Best Covers Contest from Southern Writers Magazine. To see the complete list of winners click here or watch a brief video. Buy Johnnie Come Lately at Amazon or B & NTexas Best Book Awads 2016 First Place Women's Fiction, Johnnie Come Lately by kathleenmrodgers


My Ode to the Jonquil

Posted February 13, 2016

Jonquils, photo courtesy Ms. Starlene DeBord
Jonquils, photo courtesy Ms. Starlene DeBord


I saw the first jonquils yesterday.
Maybe six to a cluster,
dressing up an otherwise
barren garden in late February.
I was just passing by
on my way to the house
when I looked up from the road
and was taken back by this sudden gold.
Buttery trumpets
turned up to the sun,
a subtle sign that spring had come.
They’re the jonquils!
Some call ‘em daffodils.
The first to sprout forth
after winter’s kill.
From gnarled old bulbs
planted deep in the earth,
come these bright sunny jonquils
to welcome in spring.
But they’re more than just pleasing
and pretty to me.
They’re proof that life,
though harsh as it seems,
still gives us a flower
to rekindle our dreams…

Kathleen M. Rodgers 

Author’s note: Jonquils make an appearance in my 2nd novel, Johnnie Come LatelyThis poem holds special meaning because I wrote it in 1986, three years after losing my youngest brother and months after giving birth to my first son.

Writing from Your Soul, new book from author Linda Apple

Posted February 12, 2016

Guest author: Linda Apple

Writing For Your Soul by Linda Apple

Writing From Your Soul is a small book with big ideas, encouragement, instruction, and tips. It is an inspirational tool for everyone who wants to make a worthwhile difference in the lives of their readers.

The book covers the following topics:

  • The POV of inspirational writing
  • Using the Creative Nonfiction style of writing
  • Finding a story
  • Encouragement for growth as writers

Passage on what inspirational writing is and what it isn’t:

There is a fine line that defines inspirational writing and divides it from all other forms. In my years of teaching, I find there is a lot of confusion about this type of writing. Some writers immediately equate it with religious writing. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Some think if the story is uplifting, it is inspirational. It might be, depending on the focus. Is the focus of the story on the writer or the reader? All inspirational pieces should be written with the reader in mind.

Most writers are familiar with the acronym POV—Point of View. In order to illustrate the difference between Inspirational writing and all other kinds, I’ve come up with another POV: Purpose, Objective, and Vision. These three elements are what make the defining fine line I wrote about in the introduction.

BIO:Linda Apple, author

Linda Apple is a Mississippi gal whose roots run deep in the South. Her stories flow from generations of southern women who share their tales while cooking, enjoying meals together, and rocking on the front porch in the velvety, magnolia perfumed evening breezes. From these memories, her debut novel, Women of Washington Avenue, the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series, was born.Women of Washington Ave by Linda Apple

She also writes Inspirational Nonfiction. Linda has a strong conviction that we need to write our personal experience stories, our observations and epiphanies for future generations, which is why she wrote, Writing Life: Your Stories Matter and Writing From Your Soul.

In addition to writing, she is also a public speaker. Through workshops and motivational presentations, her desire is to encourage, affirm, nurture talent, and equip people in order to help them achieve their goals and follow their dreams.

She lives with her husband, Neal, in Northwest Arkansas. They are the parents of five married children and have ten of the most beautiful grandchildren ever born.  And she’d like everyone to know she is, “*ahem* a very young grandmother . . . really!”

To read more about Linda Apple, click here.

Find her on Facebook and Twitter

COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE: flash fiction & art by author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Posted February 4, 2016

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


            “Farewell, Rob.” I laid my battered dog tags on his grave.

            Prostate cancer took him. Doctors say I’m next.

            Please try to understand. We were soldiers following orders.

            “A little defoliating agent to clear the jungle and expose the enemy.” Our commanding officers assured us. “Nothing that will harm a human.”

            I had to go back and see for myself.

            Last night I visited a children’s hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where the fruits of our labors languish with twisted or missing limbs and eyes that bulge from enlarged skulls.     

            We have exposed the enemy, and he is us.



Wall crop 2015Kansas City native Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is married to a veteran of the Viet Nam Era and the Gulf War. A woman of Jewish descent, Rochelle is the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants whose close personal connection to Jewish history is a recurring theme throughout much of her writing. Growing up, she was heavily influenced by the Sholom Aleichem stories as well as Fiddler on the Roof.


Psk Cover IIHer novels Please Say Kaddish for Me and From Silt and Ashes were born of her desire to share the darker side of these beloved tales; the history that can be difficult to view, much less embrace.         

Before becoming an author, Rochelle attended the Kansas City Art Institute, where she studied painting and lithography. Her preferred media are pen and ink, pencil, and watercolor, which she uses in her book covers, character studies and will be used in her upcoming companion coffee table book for the series, A Stone for the Journey (Argus fall 2016).

FSAA Front Cover
Rochelle’s short story “Savant” was published in Voices, Vol. III; “The Swimming Lesson,” in Echoes of the Ozarks, Vol. VI; and “Reap the Whirlwind” in Voices, Volume IV. Two of these are included in her own short story collection, with original artwork, This, That and Sometimes the Other (High Hill Press). She is currently working on the third in the series, As One Must, One Can (Argus, 2016.

She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

99 cent special for Johnnie Come Lately, winner of two national book awards!

February 1, 201699 cent sale for Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers





B & N



“Book Club” welcomes author Kathleen M. Rodgers

January 26, 2016

L-R: Susan Wright, Shawna Shlock, Kathleen, Elizabeth Tessler, and Beth Moore.
L-R: Susan Wright, Shawna Ashlock, Kathleen, Elizabeth Tessler, and Beth Moore.

A book club founded ten years ago in North Texas (and still going strong) invited me to their January meeting to discuss both of my novels. Many thanks to Elizabeth Tessler for selecting Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute for a two book discussion in the warm surroundings of La Madeleine in Arlington, TX. The group was genuinely interested in my writing process, and they seemed pleased that I’m working on a third novel. When I told them I have a tight deadline, they cheered me on with words of encouragement and asked lots of good questions that will help me as I complete Seven Wings to Glory.

Club member Shawna Ashlock gifted me with this beautiful bookmark at the end of the evening.
Club member Shawna Ashlock gifted me with this beautiful bookmark at the end of the evening.

Our cashier’s face lit up when she discovered I’m an author. Turns out she’s an aspiring writer with dreams to publish one day. I gave her my card and invited her to contact me. We writers need all the encouragement we can get. Thanks again to “Book Club” for investing your time and emotion in my stories.




Johnnie On the Spot: Family Magazine features Kathleen M. Rodgers in the January 2016 issue

January 2016Johnnie On the Spot in Family Magazine Jan. 2016 issue

So honored to be featured in the January 2016 issue of Family: The Magazine For Military Families. The magazine is distributed free at U.S. commissaries worldwide the middle of each month (500,000 circulation). Family and I have been around since 1958. In 1988 (the magazine’s 30th anniversary), they published two of my short stories, “Happy Landing” and “On Top Of the World.” In 2009, they interviewed me about my debut novel, The Final Salute.

This past July, my husband and I were thrilled to meet the executive editor, Dina Santorelli, and feature writer, Barbara Jarvie Castiglia, when they came to see some of my work on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, New York.  I’m blessed to have such support from a top-notch publication that gives back to military families by providing valuable coupons for items in the commissary.  This is another full circle moment in my writing career.

Terri Barnes, author of the book Spouse Calls and a former columnist for Stars & Stripes Newspapers, was shopping at the commisary this morning at Charleston Air Force Base, SC when she spotted the article in Family. She says she stopped by the peanut butter and jelly section to snap this photo.
Terri Barnes, author of the book Spouse Calls and a former columnist for Stars & Stripes Newspapers, was shopping at the commissary at Charleston Air Force Base, SC when she spotted the article.
With NJ based writer Barbara Castiglia (L) and Long Island based editor/author Dina Santorelli at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island, NY. Barbara and Dina have known each other for years and we are all Facebook friends, but this is my first time to meet them both in person. Barbara drove two hours both ways to come see me.
With NJ based writer Barbara Castiglia (L) and Long Island based editor/author Dina Santorelli at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island, NY. Barbara and Dina have known each other for years and we are all Facebook friends, but this is my first time to meet them both in person. Barbara drove two hours both ways to come see me.



Literary Agent Jeanie Loiacono interviewed in Southern Writers Magazine

January 2, 2016

To read the full story in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue, click here to subscribe or order a one-time copy of the print or online edition. A huge thanks to Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, for accepting my proposal to interview Jeanie and a round of applause for Gary Fearon, Creative Director, for the super graphics.
To read the full story in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue, click here to subscribe or order a one-time copy of the print or online edition. A huge thanks to Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, for accepting my proposal to interview Jeanie and a round of applause for Gary Fearon, Creative Director, for the super graphics.
Love seeing Jeanie's name splashed on the cover.
Love seeing Jeanie’s name splashed on the cover.



Thank You for reading my work!

January 1, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,Thank You from a writer

From reading passages of my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, on “The Author’s Corner” on Public Radio, to seeing my work on display in a museum on Long Island, New York, 2015 proved good to me as a writer. Thanks to each one of you who invested your time and emotion in my writing. I appreciate all the reviews, interviews, blog posts, word of mouth recommendations, book club selections, and sharing your copies of my books with your family and friends. I’m  working away on my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, due at my publisher by July 1, 2016. 

Happy New Year and Blessings to All!



To read my full bio, click here.

I Did Not Break You: a love letter from a mother to her daughter (and her daughter’s response)

Posted December 17, 2015 

I’m honored to present two poems that have touched me deeply this year. Please leave your comments for both authors. I know they would love to hear from you.

I Did Not Break You


Randi S. Cairns

I come from broken.

I come from “be quiet” and “know your place”.

I come from “don’t be seen” and “do as you’re told”.

I come from secrets and broken promises and scars.

And yet there you are.

You live in high volume.

You sing in the shower, and the car, and anywhere your voice will carry.

You dance in public.

You look in the mirror and smile at your reflection.

You paint in bright colors and outside of the lines.

You speak candidly.

You defy respectfully.

You share your heart freely.

I look at you with amazement.

How did you come from me?

You so whole and me so broken?

You stand in defiance to the idea that the universe hates me.

How could a universe that hates me give me such a gift?

I wonder at the magic of all you are and all you will become.

And marvel that all of my dark and twisty places have not diminished your light.

When I have taken my last breath, my greatest accomplishment will be this.

I did not break you.


An Unconventional Love Letter (A Response)


Katherine A. Cairns

You are not broken.

You’ve felt loss.

You’ve been bruised.

You’ve been beaten down.

But you are not broken.

You have given life… and saved it.

You’ve brought college graduates, musicians, and artists into the world.

You’ve given voices to those who could not speak for themselves.

You are not broken.

You have, however, been given a broken ship.

The sails were torn and the bottom full of holes.

You were set to sea in choppy waters.

But this does not make you broken.

With no crew but yourself you have kept that ship afloat.

Exhausted from trying to keep the water at bay?

…A lesser woman would have sunk.

A broken boat does not a broken captain make.

I will be your anchor.

I will be your safe harbor.

For you have been mine.

I was given a mighty ship, but did not know how to sail.

You were my anchor.

You were my safe harbor.

And I learned how to sail by a captain who had been through choppy waters.

With a boat full of holes and sails torn.

A mighty ship and calm waters do not a good sailor make.

You are not broken.

You are fierce.

You are brave.

Your ship does not define you.

I have heard your heartbeat from inside.

You are not broken.

Randi S. Cairns

Randi Cairns is a nonprofit professional, consultant and freelance writer. She is one of the coauthors of Stories Around the Table and a frequent blogger in the military spouse space. She has written for NextGen MilSpouse, Spouse Buzz, Homefront United Network, and the Military Family Advisory Network. While she wears many hats, Randi’s favorite gig is parenting the world’s four greatest children.

Katherine A. Cairns

Katie Cairns in her junior year of college, majoring in Business. She shares her mother’s love of words.

Randi explains why she wrote her piece:

I grew up “hard” and way too quickly. I vowed that when I had children of my own – they’d grow up “easy” and at their own pace. I had no real frame of reference for the right way to raise your kids, but I knew for sure what didn’t work. I created a backwards guidebook and promised myself that if I simply did the opposite of everything I knew, my future offspring might have a chance. Then I crossed my fingers and prayed.

My prayers were answered with four amazing munchkins who every day remind me how blessed I am. No really – every day I hear some version of, “Aren’t you lucky to have us?” I agree with them wholeheartedly. They were the inspiration for the first part of this piece. When I shared what I had written with my first born, Katie, she responded in kind with the most beautiful words I’ve ever read. Her response (given with her permission and blessing) is the second poem.

Camel Press acquires sequel to Johnnie Come Lately

December 11, 2015

Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Enterprises, has acquired the sequel to Johnnie Come Lately. The final draft of Seven Wings to Glory is due July 1, 2016.Version 2

My agent and I received this glorious news two days after we returned from the Ozarks Writers League conference where I gave a talk on perseverance and writing through adversity. My publisher offered the contract based on the first hundred pages.

It’s exciting to know they believe in the story, but at the same time the pressure is on to complete a polished manuscript and turn it in on time. My first two novels were written on speculation, and the writing process stretched out over several years. The last time I wrote anything “under contract” was for Family Circle Magazine many years ago.

My husband reminds me everyday that I am living my dream. Not only do I have a super literary agent who believes in my work, I have a traditional publisher already lined up and eager to publish my next novel.

When the words, Seven Wings to Glory, woke me from my sleep a few years ago and demanded I write them down, I knew in my heart I had a new story to tell.

The premise:

After sending her youngest son to war in Afghanistan in 2009, Johnnie Kitchen finds herself battling a war of racial injustice in her small hometown of Portion, Texas. Will she back down after being threatened for speaking out? Or will she do the right thing and pursue justice? And will her Army son, who took an oath to protect ALL Americans, return home safely to Portion.