Southern Writers Magazine presents “The Journey to Johnnie” by Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of Johnnie Come Lately

Posted May 4, 2015

Kathleen M Rodgers - SW May 2015 teaser

Click the photo to enlarge the image. If you aren’t a subscriber to Southern Writers Magazine and you’d like to read the entire article, please click here to order the May/June print or online edition with my story featured on page 30.    

 

01 SW Cover May 2015 (1)

Honored to see my name featured with other contributors on the cover of the May/June 2015 issue of Southern Writers Magazine.

Signing copies of my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, at Hastings Books in Clovis, New Mexico. To read more about my work, please visit my website @ www.kathleenMRodgers.com

Signing copies of my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, at Hastings Books in Clovis, New Mexico. To read more about my work, please visit my website @ www.kathleenMRodgers.com

Featured author in Southern Writers Magazine:blue

 

Former Clovis, NM resident Kathleen M. Rodgers visited Clovis on May 1-2 signing copies of her latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately.

Updated: May 4, 2015

Marquee in front of Hastings Books in Clovis, NM. :)

Marquee in front of Hastings Books in Clovis, NM. 

Kathleen signed copies of her latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, at Hastings Books in Clovis, NM on Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, she spoke about her writing journey at Clovis Carver Library.

Kathleen with her literary agent, Jeanie Loiacono, at Hastings Books in Clovis, NM.

Kathleen with her literary agent, Jeanie Loiacono, at Hastings Books in Clovis, NM.

Display at Hastings Books in Clovis, NM. Photo courtesy Debi Smith, friend of the author.

Display at Hastings Books in Clovis, NM. Photo courtesy Debi Smith, friend of the author.

 

 

 

Many thanks to Mel Eperthener, Manager of Hastings Books in Clovis, and Margaret B. Hinchee, Library Director Clovis-Carver Public Library, for hosting both events.

Purple PressOn Friday, May 1 at 11:20 a.m., Kathleen spoke with the staff of The Purple Press (the high school newspaper). Margaret Hinchee, Director of Clovis Carver Library, joined her. Margaret and Kathleen, Class of 1976, both served on the high school newspaper, Margaret as editor and Kathleen as student writer.

Award-winning members of The Purple Press Staff, 1976, L-R: Michelle Williams  (1976-77 editor-in-chief), Debbie Wetchensky (1975-76 outstanding typist), Margaret Burns (editor for Best Page), Kathy Doran (most improved writer and best story recipient), and Linda Taber (outstanding typist).

Award-winning members of The Purple Press Staff, 1976, L-R: Michelle Williams (1976-77 editor-in-chief), Debbie Wetchensky (1975-76 outstanding typist), Margaret Burns (editor for Best Page), Kathy Doran (most improved writer and best story recipient), and Linda Taber (outstanding typist).

Poster courtesy Camel Press. Library flyer  by Sarah Lewis, Adult Services Librarian, Clovis Carver Public Library.

Poster courtesy Camel Press. Library flier by Sarah Lewis, Adult Services Librarian, Clovis Carver Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIO:

Native New Mexican Kathleen M. Rodgers started writing for her high school newspaper, The Purple Press, her junior year.  She didn’t take the writing gig seriously until she won First Place for Feature Writing from New Mexico Press Women her senior year. The winning story, “Strange Blobs of Light Whiz Through the Night,” was inspired by the UFO sightings over Clovis in 1976. Kathleen is the former Kathy Doran, Clovis High School Class of 1976. Go Wildcats!

To read more about Kathleen, please visit her website.

Former ENMU Student publishes second novel. Story by Wendel Sloan, Director of Media Relations at ENMU.  

 

War Memorial in Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Posted April 14, 2015

A war memorial plays a significant role in my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately.
Photo courtesy Brian Brown/Vanishing South Georgia

Photo courtesy Brian Brown/Vanishing South Georgia

 

Siobhan Fallon, Army wife and author of the critically acclaimed collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone, says this about my novel:  Johnnie Come Lately evokes the pathos of family life—secrets, betrayals, misunderstandings, heartbreak, and just enough love and forgiveness to make it all worth it. Kathleen M. Rodgers treats her haunted characters with keen insight and empathy, offering them the second, third, fourth chances that all of us flawed human beings need.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnnie’s Journal

December, 1979

Portion, Texas

 

Dear Mama,

I’m up here at Soldiers Park, hoping you might come

swaying by with the breeze. Most of the leaves have dropped

and it’s getting cold. I asked the old soldier, the one you talk to

from time to time, if you’d happened by here lately, but he just

stands high on his pedestal, armed and ready, and gives me the

silent treatment.

He’s not about to give up your secrets—the secrets you pour

into him from this bench. Dark things hidden behind bronze

eyes that only seem to come alive for you.

Pick up the novel at www.johnniecomelately.com

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

North Texas Book Festival, April 11, 2015 in Denton, TX

Posted April 1, 2015

NTBFlogoDENTON – The 15th annual North Texas Book Festival, which celebrates all genres of writing, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2015 at Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts. More than 50 authors from Texas and Oklahoma will sign and sell books.

The festival is free and open to the public.

The center is at 400 E. Hickory St., Denton, TX.

 

Schedule of events, including children’s activities

9:00  a.m.  North Texas Book Festival opens

9:30-11:30  a.m.  Balloon artistry by Al Curlett of Totally Twisted Balloons, the exhibit hall

General Interest Presentations in Craft Room (east wing):

9:15-10:00 a.m.   Children’s Story Time, featuring children’s book authors Andrew Fairchild (“Bali and Blu: Friends of a Different Color”) and Danielle A. Vann (“Gracie Lou and the Bad Dream Eater”)

10:00-10:45 a.m.   Featured Author Shelly Tucker: “Ghosts of Denton”

10:45-11:30 a.m.   Stories and Songs by Caryl McAdoo, a contemporary Western romance author

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  Performing Poetry with cowboy poetry recital by Elaine Fields Smith

12:15-1:00 p.m.  “Boy! That Air Feels Good: The Untold History of Car Air,” by Rod Barclay

Writers’ Block presentations on writing and publishing (east wing):

1:00-1:45 p.m.   Kathleen M. Rodgers and Jeanie Loiacono on working with an agent

1:45-2:15  p.m.   Gale Cochran Smith and Treva Tindol Dawson on writing with a partner

2:15-3:00 p.m.   Miracle Austin, Dancing with Rejection: How early publisher rejection strengthens one as an author

4:00 p.m.  North Texas Book Festival closesUPDATED ROSTER FOR NTBF 319

 

For an in-depth story on the festival, click here:

http://www.dentonlifestyles.com/2015/03/2015-north-texas-book-festival/

 

 

 

 

“No Stress Book Club” of Grapevine, TX discusses Johnnie Come Lately

Posted March 26, 2015

Dr. Cindy Ryan lead the discussion

Dr. Cindy Ryan led the discussion

Dr. Cindy Ryan, a minister at First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, TX,  read about Johnnie Come Lately in the book section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and ordered the novel. She was intrigued by the book’s description:  “Johnnie Come Lately is set in historic Portion, a Metroplex suburb that is loosely based on Grapevine, and follows Johnnie Kitchen, a 43-year-old housewife with a secret.”

After Cindy read the novel, she contacted me through my website and told me she’d picked Johnnie for her book club’s March selection. She invited me to attend the “No Stress Book Club” which started in 2006. They’d never had an author visit before.

Last night, this warm and fun-loving group welcomed me with open arms. 

 

Members of the "No Stress Book Club" of Grapevine, TX met at the home of Trudy Hughes (bottom row, far L) to discuss Johnnie Come Lately.

Members of the “No Stress Book Club” of Grapevine, Texas, met at the home of Trudy Hughes (bottom row, far L) to discuss Johnnie Come Lately.

“A beautifully crafted story about family secrets and second chances, Johnnie Come Latley is a guaranteed book club favorite.”  Barbara Claypole White, award-winning author of The Unfinished Garden and The In-Between Hour

To learn more about Johnnie Come Lately, please visit my website.

“When I Became My Words” by Zachariah Claypole White

March 20, 2015

"At age 9, Zachariah had just won first place in the Carolina Parent Magazine writing competition, and his prize was to read his story at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. (He needed a stepping stool to reach the podium.) After the event, the wonderful Cathy Davidson asked how it felt to read his words. In response, Zachariah wrote his first poem. He hasn't stopped writing and performing his words since…”  Award-winning novelist Barbara Claypole White

“At age 9, Zachariah had just won first place in the Carolina Parent Magazine writing competition, and his prize was to read his story at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. (He needed a stepping stool to reach the podium.) After the event, the wonderful Cathy Davidson asked how it felt to read his words. In response, Zachariah wrote his first poem. He hasn’t stopped writing and performing his words since…” Award-winning novelist Barbara Claypole White

When I Became My Words

by Zachariah Claypole White

I stepped up to my fate

All my work lay before me

My legs were shaking

My heart was quaking

My hands became a mouth

And I became my words

My skin became pages

My heart became a pencil

And I wrote my soul

My legs were shaking

My heart was quaking

When I became my words

©2004 Zachariah Nigel Claypole White

Barbara Claypole White with her talented son, Zachariah, this past  Christmas.

Barbara Claypole White with her talented son, Zachariah, this past Christmas.

Zachariah’s bio:

Zachariah Claypole White is a multi-published poet and an award-winning singer-songwriter.  His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Highlights Magazine, and both his poems and lyrics have received many awards including a silver medal at the national level of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. He is a former winner of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series (middle grades) and was featured in the Durham Magazine as one of the “best and brightest” high school students in The Triangle area of North Carolina. In honor of his openness about fighting obsessive-compulsive disorder, the magazine dubbed him The Warrior Poet. He is currently a student at Oberlin College, where he is majoring in creative writing. YouTube video of Zachariah performing one of his slam poems about OCD: ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdCxeUFupCc

 

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole WhiteEnglish born and educated, Barbara Claypole White lives in the North Carolina forest with her family. Inspired by her poet/musician son’s courageous battles against obsessive-compulsive disorder, Barbara writes hopeful stories about troubled families with a healthy dose of mental illness. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Garden, won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book, and The In-Between Hour was chosen by SIBA (the Southern Independent Booksellers) as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick. The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypole WhiteHer third novel, The Perfect Son, has a publication date of July 2015. For more information, or to connect with Barbara, please visit barbaraclaypolewhite.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Kathleen M. Rodgers on Wall of Fame at Tarrant County College/NE Campus

Posted March 18, 2015

What a kick to walk into the library at Tarrant County College/NE Campus and see my mug shot and name on the Wall of Fame. In 2014, I was named a Distinguished Alumna, but I hadn’t returned to campus to see the display until today. To read about the Wall of Fame, click here. In my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, my protagonist, Johnnie Kitchen, returns to college later in life. Portion Community College is modeled  after TCC/NE campus.

Kathleen M. Rodgers on the Wall of Fame at Tarrant County College/NE Campus, 2014 Distinguished Alumna Award

Kathleen M. Rodgers at the Wall of Fame at Tarrant County College/NE Campus (2014 Distinguished Alumna Award).

Kathleen M. Rodgers to speak at Houston Writers Guild Pre-Conference Workshop, March 28, 2015

Posted March 9, 2015

Houston Writers Guild announcement for Kathleenmrodgers   workshop March 28

Houston Writers Guild March 28 Conference with Kathleenmrodgers

Date: Saturday, March 28, 2015

Time: 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Location: Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston, TX  77055

Short presentation about Kathleen’s writer’s journey and how she acquired an agent

For more information, visit http://houstonwritersguild.org

BIO:

Kathleen with her literary agent, Jeanie Loiacono, in front of "Johnnie's house" in Grapevine, TX. The red brick bungalow in the background served as the inspiration for Johnnie Kitchen's home in Kathleen's second novel, Johnnie Come Lately.

Kathleen with her agent, Jeanie Loiacono, in front of “Johnnie’s house” in Grapevine, TX. The bungalow served as inspiration for Kathleen’s second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, set in the fictional town of Portion (based loosely on Grapevine).

Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. She is the author of The Final Salute and Johnnie Come Lately and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Tarrant County College/NE Campus. You can read more about the author here.

Gift From A Reader

Posted March 6, 2015

A handmade dishcloth sent to me from a loyal reader named Sheri. I was honored to sign her copy of Johnnie Come Lately. She was also kind enough to post a short review on Barnes & Noble.

A handmade dishcloth sent to me from loyal reader Sheri Anderson.  I was honored to sign her copy of Johnnie Come Lately. She was also kind enough to post a short review on Barnes & Noble.

 

From page 22 of the paperback edition of Johnnie Come Lately:

     “She shuddered and hid her face in the dishcloth. In her rush to save him, she’d made a horrible mistake.”

BIO:

Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. She is the author of The Final Salute and Johnnie Come Lately and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Tarrant County College/NE Campus. You can read more about the author here.

 

Johnnie Come Lately & The Final Salute featured on endcap at Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX

February 26, 2015 

Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute, novels by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute, novels by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Barnes and Noble, 1430 Plaza Place, Southlake, Texas, Southlake, Texas B&N

www.kathleenmrodgers.com

Johnnie Come Lately published by Camel Press 

The Final Salute published by Deer Hawk Publications 

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency 

Johnnie Come Lately & The Final Salute are available at Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX

February 14, 2015

Southlake Barnes & Noble 1430 Plaza Place Southlake, TX 76092 

Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute are available at Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX (located minutes from DFW Airport). Both titles are upstairs in the Fiction and Literature department.

Autographed copies of Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute at Southlake, TX Barnes & Noble 2/14/15

Autographed copies of Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute at Southlake, TX Barnes & Noble 2/14/15

Johnnie Come Lately is set in the fictional town of Portion, Texas, a North Texas suburb based loosely on Grapevine, TX. The Final Salute is set at fictional Beauregard Air Force Base, based on England Air Force Base which closed in December of 1992.

 

View of the lobby and people waiting for me to sign books

 

A few days after my February 7, 2015 book signing at Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX,  I received a surprise message from Dr. Cindy Ryan, a minister at First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, TX. Dr. Ryan read about my latest novel in the Sunday book section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Feb. 1, 2015), ordered the book, then fell in love with the story. She is an active member of her church’s No Stress Book Club, and she’s picked Johnnie Come Lately for their March selection. On March 25th, I will have the honor of attending  their meeting to discuss my novel.

Both books are also available in paperback and e-book at most online booksellers.

Claudia’s Book Talk selects Johnnie Come Lately for book club discussion March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015

Claudia's Book Talk to discuss Johnnie Come Lately by kathleenmrodgersClaudia’s Book Talk, an online book club, selects  Johnnie Come Lately for discussion on Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 8:30 pm EST (7:30 pm CST, 6:30 pm MST, 5:30 pm PST). Anyone can join in on the discussion. All you need to do is ask to join the group. No hurt feelings if you “unjoin” following tonight’s event. Hope to see you there. All you have to do is click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Claudiasbooktalk/

 

Claudia Stephan

Claudia Stephan

“Every once in a while I come across a book that moves me deeply at the core of my very being. Johnnie Come Lately falls into that category with ease. This beautiful character study of the Kitchen family in Portion, Texas touches on so many issues we all can relate to at some level.” Claudia Stephan, creator of Claudia’s Book Talk

Congratulations to book club member Brenda Randolph on winning an autographed copy of Johnnie Come Lately after participating in the discussion.

Congratulations to book club member Brenda Randolph on winning an autographed copy of Johnnie Come Lately.

 

 

The book is available in paperback and e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and many other online booksellers. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, please visit the Southlake B & N to pick up your copy.

Author & Journalist Deborah Kalb interviews Kathleen M. Rodgers about her latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately

February 2, 2015

Author and journalist Deborah Kalb grew up watching her famous father on CBS News, NBC News, and as the moderator of Meet the Press. In 2011, Deborah appeared with her father and co-author, Marvin Kalb, on C-SPAN2 BOOKTV where they discussed their book, Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings Institution Press), with moderator and television journalist Ted Koppel.

Deborah Kalb with her father and coauthor, Marvin Kalb, discussing their book, Haunting Legacy, with Ted Koppel on C-SPAN2 BOOKTV in 2011.

Deborah Kalb with her father and coauthor, Marvin Kalb, discussing their book, Haunting Legacy, with Ted Koppel on C-SPAN2 BOOKTV in 2011.

 Johnnie Come Lately kathleenmrodgers, camel press 300On Monday, January 26, 2015, Deborah called me to discuss my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately. The first thing Deborah said was, “I loved Johnnie Come Lately. Your characters are so well drawn.” She also told me how much she enjoyed the journal entries woven throughout the narrative. To read our full interview, please visit  Books Q & As with Deborah Kalb.

Marvin and Deborah June 27 2012

 

 

 

Deborah Kalb is a freelance writer and editor. She spent two decades working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for news organizations including Gannett News Service, Congressional Quarterly, U.S. News & World Report, and The Hill, mostly covering Congress and politics. Besides co-authoring Haunting Legacy with her father, Marvin Kalb, she is also co-author or co-editor of two books published by CQ Press (The Presidents, First Ladies, and Vice Presidents; and State of the Union: Presidential Rhetoric from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush).

You can follow Deborah on Twitter ‪@deborahkalb‪  or 

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahKalbBooks

Johnnie Come Lately made the Sunday book section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

February 1, 2015

Johnnie Come Lately made the book section of the  Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the same day the novel was released from Camel Press, a traditional publisher based in Seattle, WA. While the country was tuned into the Super Bowl, I was still celebrating the official launch of a book that took six years to complete.Johnnie Come Lately in Fort Worth Star-Telegram kathleenmrodgers

 

Book Launch for Johnnie Come Lately, Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX
Date: Saturday, February 7, 2015
Time: 2-4 p.m.
Where: 1430 Plaza Place, Southlake, TX 76092 (Southlake Town Square)
817-442-0735
I will also be signing copies of the 2nd edition of The Final Salute

Johnnie Come Lately in book section of 2:1:15 Fort Worth Star-Telegram kathleemrodgers

An Interview with Tracy Crow, editor of the new anthology Red, White, & True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present

Tracy_Crow_bio_photo_for_EYES_RIGHTI am pleased to introduce Tracy Crow, editor of the new anthology Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present (Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press).

Kathleen: Welcome, Tracy. Please give us a brief description of the book. What is the genre and who is your target audience?

Tracy: Thanks for this opportunity to introduce my newest labor of love!

Crow-RedWhiteTrue_high_resRed, White, and True is a collection of 32 TRUE military stories that stretch from WWII to present. Each story has been written by a veteran or military family member.

I like to imagine the collection as a mosaic – in that individually, each story provides provocative insights about the impact of military experience, whether rendered directly or indirectly in the case of spouses and children or grandchildren – while collectively, they reveal something much deeper – something we’re just now beginning to understand: the cross-generational impact of the U.S. military experience from WWII to present, which includes such things as military customs and traditions, long absences, combat or training deaths, life-changing injuries –the physical and the emotional – and survivor’s guilt.

Most would assume RWT’s target audience is veterans. But because this collection includes stories from families, the audience quickly and considerably widened. As a former professor, I can also envision RWT as a college text for war/literature classes, women’s gender studies, and memoir writing workshops.

KMR: How did Red, White, and True come about?

Jeffery Hess, editor of two anthologies from Press 53: Home of the Brave: Stories In Uniform and Home of the Brave: Somewhere In The Sand

Jeffery Hess, editor of two anthologies from Press 53: Home of the Brave: Stories In Uniform and Home of the Brave: Somewhere In The Sand

TC: A dear friend, Jeffery Hess, is the editor of two excellent volumes of military fiction (Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform and Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand), and one day suggested that I compile an anthology of military nonfiction. Something about the idea immediately resonated. I began to imagine a volume of noteworthy nonfiction that would portray a no-holds-barred look at the impact of U.S. military service. Not just the impact on veterans but on families, too. I also wanted to approach the idea of how today’s military service might influence future generations.

When I couldn’t find anything on the market like RWT, I was ready to pitch the idea to my editor.

KMR: You have some impressive credentials. Not only are you a former Marine Corp officer, you are an award-winning military journalist and an author nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. What was it like to switch roles from being an author to an editor? Or have you done this before?

TC: Actually, switching roles from writer to editor is fairly easy for me. My writing life began in the late 1970s as a Marine Corps journalist, but during my ten-year career, I was often assigned as press chief or media chief – editing positions.

At the time I began work on RWT, I was the nonfiction editor of Prime Number Magazine, a Press 53 literary journal. I was also teaching journalism and creative writing at Eckerd College in Florida, and working as the adviser to our award-winning college newspaper, the Current. In my roles at Eckerd, I wore an editor’s hat: my job was to lead student writers from their shaky first drafts toward work that was worthy of publication in our newspaper or beyond, and in the case of my short story or memoir writers, several steps closer toward publication in a literary journal.

Eyes_RightKMR: You seem to have a great rapport with the University of Nebraska Press. Did you get to work with the same editor or team of editors that edited your memoir Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine (Nebraska, 2012)?

TC: I’ll always be grateful to Ladette Randolph who was the acquiring editor at Nebraska Press when I submitted the manuscript of Eyes Right. The day I received her acceptance letter ranks high on my list of Best Days Ever. But a few months afterward, Ladette accepted an opportunity at Emerson. You probably know, it’s every writer’s fear to learn that the editor who loved a manuscript enough to acquire it has left, turning over said manuscript to another in-house editor; I’d heard plenty of horror stories. But I lucked out when Eyes Right fell to Bridget Barry, who delivered unwavering passion and compassion to my project. Bridget’s entire team at Nebraska is top-notch.

Soon after the release of Eyes Right, Nebraska acquired Potomac Books, which is a notable publisher of military titles. When I pitched Bridget my concept for Red, White, and True, she readily agreed the project had merit, and championed it before the board.

Right now, Bridget and I are wrapping up our third project together with the working title, “On Point: A Guide for Writing the Military Story,” in which I attempt to lead veterans and their families through the often emotional process of recording a military experience, whether for self-exploration, a family legacy, or for publication. We’re looking at a fall release for this book, but I’ll share that “On Point” has been the most challenging project of the three because of the mountain of self-doubt that had to be scaled every day. Bridget, thankfully, brought her usual passion and editing chops to the work, and the result for “On Point” is a military writing craft book that’s part memoir, part meditations and musings, and part writing maxims.

KMR: I remember the day I saw your call for submissions on the Military Writers Society of America Facebook page. I fired off an e-mail to you, inquiring if previously published work was eligible. You were quick to respond, and I immediately sent you my essay, “Remembering Forgotten Fliers, Their Survivors.” Did you receive an avalanche of submissions once your call went out? Where else did you place your call for submissions?

Red, White and True anthology, Potomac Books, Univ. Neb Press, origianl essay kathleenmrodgersTC: I knew I wanted your story before I reached the bottom of the first page!

I wouldn’t call it an avalanche of submissions, but the work steadily flowed in for several months. Besides approaching the Military Writers Society of America, I reached out to college writing instructors within Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) programs who were working with veterans, and this step provided a handful of quality essays and easy acceptances. Writer friends from graduate school (Queens University of Charlotte) also helped by spreading the word among their writing circles. I solicited work from writers and writing instructors whose work I knew well and admired – work from Tracy Kidder, Jeffery Hess, David Abrams, Kevin Jones, Lorrie Lykins, Matt Farwell, Kim Wright, and others.

Getting submissions is easy, actually. The two biggest headaches in the process of compiling an anthology, for me anyway, were gaining reprint permissions from book publishers and negotiating the reprint fees, which I had to pay. The latter is probably why you won’t see many calls for submissions that invite previously published work.

KMR: How many submissions did you receive and how many made it into the finished book?

TC: I received about a hundred and fifty submissions. Some were quickly rejected because they were merely bios revealing a laundry list of duty stations and awards; they weren’t storytelling narratives that revealed what William Faulkner described as the “human heart in conflict with itself,” which is what I intended to publish.

While I never had a particular number of essays in mind when I started the project, and neither did Bridget, we did have an agreement on the maximum word count, which was generous. To reach my goal of portraying the U.S. military experience from WWII to present, and from as many voices and perspectives as possible, I needed the thirty-two essays in RWT.

But given a choice, I will always choose even numbers over odd, for some reason.

KMR: Since you are also an author, was it hard to turn away other writers’ work?

TC: At the risk of appearing callous…not really, thanks to a lengthy background in editing. I quickly knew which essays were hitting, or had the potential to hit, their emotional truths and targets…and which essays I could most likely help develop within my deadline constraints. You see, editors have contractual deadlines, too. But as a writer who has experienced a landslide of rejection, I was certainly aware of the tone I wanted to apply within my rejection letters; I wanted to write the sort of rejection letter I wished other editors had written to me.

KMR: Once you made your final selections and sent them to your editor at UNP, did you have much say from that point on? Did all of your selections make it into the final book?

TC: Bridget provided insightful feedback for each essay, and in some cases, the writers and I needed to go back to work to develop even stronger essays. But yes, all my final selections made it, and so did my ordering of the work within the anthology. Even the stirring cover image of the dog tags against a backdrop of the American flag – an image I found online and recommended to the Nebraska/Potomac marketing team – made it!

KMR: As a writer, I am thrilled to have my essay appear in a body of work that includes a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a novelist with a New York Times Notable book award. That being said, I’m equally honored to appear in a collection where one of the authors is making his publishing debut. From an editor’s standpoint, what is it like to work with all these authors who are at different levels of their career?

TC: Humbling…thrilling…challenging…

But each of the 32 writers rewarded me in some special way, and each continues to reward me with news about how this publication is still affecting their lives months after its release. We’ve become a family now, a forever interconnected community of writers. In November, RWT was invited to the prestigious Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, and I had the opportunity to introduce a handful of our RWT contributors to a large crowd that came to hear our contributors read from their work and to have them sign copies of RWT. Many other contributors in other parts of the country have also read their RWT essays at writing workshops and veterans’ organizations.

KMR: Since most contributors aren’t financially compensated for allowing their work to appear in an anthology, what do you think is the appeal? Why are writers excited to have their work published in a collection?

TC: Oh, how I wish financial compensation was possible!

One appeal, I think, is the sense of validation. Sure, everyone has a story, but not everyone can write that story in such an artful way as to ensure its place within a publication that will stand the test of time, as I firmly believe RWT will do. Another appeal is the opportunity to lend a voice to the overall conversation – in RWT’s case, the cross-generational impact of military service.

KMR: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

TC: If I could be granted one wish as a take-away, I’d wish for RWT to inspire its readers to reflect on how their lives have also been affected by military service or by a parent’s or grandparent’s service, and to record those reflections as a way to understand and heal old wounds, or as a way to leave a family legacy. At the Tampa Bay Times event, a gentleman who looked to be in his mid-eighties approached me after the RWT reading on the walk to the book signing, and shared that his daughters and granddaughters had been pleading with him for years to write his military stories “before it’s too late.” Choking back emotion, he added, “I’m finally ready.”

Tracy and her husband, Mark Weidemaier, who is the defensive coach with the Washington Nationals.

Tracy and her husband, Mark Weidemaier, who is the defensive coach with the Washington Nationals.

KMR: What is it like to be married to a major league baseball coach? It sounds so glamorous.

TC: Guess that depends on one’s definition of glamorous! I eat way too many hotdogs every year.

It’s glamorous for him – he gets the best view of each game; awesome dining all day in the clubhouse; chartered flights around the country; his underwear and uniforms washed, folded, and packed for road trips by the clubhouse crew, etc. When he finally comes home, I sometimes have to remind him this isn’t Nationals Park or the Marriott!

I doubt most coaches’ wives would consider our side of baseball life quite as glamorous. For eight months each year – nine if the team makes it to the post-season – most of us live alone, holding together life at the family’s home base, and catching up with our husbands for a home stand here and there, or on the road if the team is playing closer to the family’s home, and for what I jokingly refer to as the conjugal visits. Of the seven years my husband and I have been together, we’ve actually lived together less than three.

Fortunately, I love baseball. I could watch a game every day. Last year, I watched 150 of 162 games because I scheduled my writing time around the television broadcast of each Washington Nationals game. Even though I know every team loses about seventy games each year, every Nats loss still feels like a sucker punch.

The real glamor of this life, for me anyway, arises from the satisfaction of supporting my husband’s passion. He’s as passionate about baseball as I am about my writing life. Besides, all that alone time…for a writer? Now that’s glamorous!

BIO: Tracy Crow is the author of the critically acclaimed military memoir, Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine (University of Nebraska Press, 2012)—winner of the bronze medal in the 2012 Florida Book Awards competition—and the military novel, An Unlawful Order, released under her pen name, Carver Greene.

Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies, and has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the former nonfiction editor of Prime Number Magazine, a Press 53 publication, and is the editor of the military nonfiction anthology, Red, White, & True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present (University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, 2014).

Crow is a former Marine Corps officer and an award-winning military journalist. As a former assistant professor of creative writing at Eckerd College and visiting instructor at the University of Tampa, she taught basic and advanced courses in all facets of journalism, fiction, playwriting, poetry, and memoir.

Today, Crow and her husband, Mark Weidemaier, who is the defensive coach with the Washington Nationals, live on ten acres in North Carolina with their four dogs, Molly, Cash, Fenway, and Hadley.

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Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Her essay “Remembering Forgotten Fliers, Their Survivors” originally ran in the 3/16/92 edition of Air Force Times and appears as Chapter 3 in Red, White, & True. This essay served as the seed that grew up to become the author’s first novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA Today and recently released in both paperback and e-book. Kathleen’s second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, officially releases from Camel Press Feb. 1, 2015 and has already garnered several endorsements. Kathleen will sign copies of both novels at B & N Southlake, TX, February 7, 2015 from 2-4 pm. She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

 

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