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

Posted February 4, 2016

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

            “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.

 

BIO:

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

 

 

 

Amazon

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“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.

https://www.facebook.com/familymagazine

http://familymedia.com

 

 

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. www.southernwritersmagazine.com. 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!

Kathleen

 

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

by

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)

by

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.

 

 

Colleyville Book Club welcomes Johnnie Come Lately author Kathleen M. Rodgers

December 9, 2015

FR L-R Kathleen M. Rodgers, Tari Sanchez Bauer, Shirley Miller, Top R L-R Patricia Dede Larmon (holding portrait of Mandie Bauer), Shelley Stults, Tuula Westlake, Julie Moore, Sharon Nunez Couch. Photo by Mandie Bauer
FR L-R Kathleen M. Rodgers, Tari Sanchez Bauer, Shirley Miller, Top R L-R Patricia Dede Larmon, Shelley Stults (holding portrait of photographer Mandie Bauer), Tuula Westlake, Julie Moore, Sharon Nunez Couch. Photo by Mandie Bauer

 

Many thanks to members of the Colleyville Book Club for their warm welcome and lively discussion about my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately. As an author, it’s so gratifying to be invited to a serious book club where the members show up having read your book, some with notes in hand, and are eager to meet you and discuss a story that took six years to bring to life.

Hostess Tari Sanchez Bauer @ Colleyville Book ClubA big round of applause to hostess Tari Sanchez Bauer for selecting my novel for the December book club pick and a special thanks to her daughter and cohost, Mandie Bauer, for taking the photos. Deep into the discussion, Tari brought an element of magic to the evening when she shared a powerful and personal story about why cardinals are so meaningful in her life. The framed cardinal and centerpiece on her table is a gift from her daughter, Mandie.Hostess Tari Bauer' table for Johnnie Come Lately (1)

Not only were the members eager to discuss my novel, they also wanted to learn more about how the city of Grapevine, TX influenced the setting for my fictional Portion, hometown to protagonist Johnnie Kitchen and her family.

Everyone is excited that I’m working on the sequel to Johnnie, titled Seven Wings to Glory. Kathleen M. Rodgers signing Johnnie Come LatelyThanks to this great group of readers, I came away from the evening with a renewed sense of faith in my work and a whole new set of friends.

 

Tension abounds in this critically acclaimed debut novel by Andria Williams

The Longest Night releases from Random House 1.12.16The Longest Night book cover

What the critics are saying:

Starred Kirkus review. “Scintillating….A smoldering, altogether impressive debut that probes the social and emotional strains on military families in a fresh and insightful way.”

Starred review in Booklist. Kristine Huntley writes: “a luminous debut…utterly absorbing and richly rewarding.”

The Longest Night listed by Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert as one of “Five Key Literary/Historical Debut Novels”

The Longest Night will be a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick for Spring 2016!random-house-randomhouse-2-twitter-mozilla-firefox-10272015-40838-pm

My review:

From the moment I received an advanced reader copy from the author’s editor, Andrea Walker, I knew I held a treasured story in my hands. The ARC opens with a letter from Ms. Walker that addresses each reviewer in a respectful and endearing manner. She gives us a brief summary of the novel and ends her letter with these words: “In this atmospheric and immersive debut, big historical events play out in the intimate context of a marriage…”

The story unfolds with Army Specialist Paul Collier racing down a lonely road outside of Idaho Falls on the frigid night of January 3, 1961. All we know at this point is that something bad has happened at the CR-1, a nuclear reactor where Paul works as an operator. As he heads toward the reactor, his thoughts are on his men working the night shift and his beautiful young wife, Nat. She’s back in town fifty miles away at their cute little pitched roof rent house where their three young children are tucked in their beds. Would Paul ever see them again? And would he get a chance to apologize to Nat for the way he’d stormed out?

Then the story moves back in time to June 1959, when we first meet Nat Collier and her two preschool aged daughters, Samantha and Liddie. Nat, short for Natalie, plays the dutiful Army wife as she follows her husband on a cross-country move to his new duty station in Idaho. The story really gripped me at the opening lines of chapter one when Nat first steps out of their 1955 Desoto Fireflite: “Nat was the first one out of the car. She stepped into the dirt parking lot, her low-heeled shoes printing chevrons into the reddish dirt.”

After reading these lines, I kept going back to stare at the cream-colored pumps on the book’s cover. The shoes took me back to a time when women wore dresses and heels to clean house, run errands, and throw dinner parties to impress their friends and neighbors. For me, a former military wife, these pumps on the cover and the imprint Nat’s soles leave in the dirt, represent a formality that came with marrying into the military during this era.

But much of the story will resonate with today’s military spouses. In a passage where Nat is chatting with another young Army wife, the author says it all about the vagabond lifestyle and how quickly friendships are formed. “Nat was learning the hard way that if you wanted friends in the military, there was no time to waste. Years worth of closeness and trust and shared jokes were accelerated into weeks.”

Then there’s the temptation that comes from long separations during deployments and temporary duty assignments where the spouses are left to fend for themselves on the home front. Nat’s temptation turns out to be a local cowboy named Esrom, and wouldn’t you know, he turns out to be one of my favorite characters in the story.

For those characters you love to hate, especially the ones who abuse power, Andria Williams does a superb job with Paul’s boss, Master Sergeant Richards (who drives a 1957 Cadillac Coupe de Ville), and his perfectly coiffed wife, Jeannie.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who values good writing and a story that both entertains and educates. I’m especially impressed with how the author writes about a nuclear reactor on a level that I can understand, as I am not a science person. After reading whole passages aloud to my husband, he got so intrigued that he started researching the history behind the real accident that took place on January 3, 1961.

The Longest Night is one of those novels that will live on in your head as if you were actually one of the characters in the story and now these are shared memories.

Andria Williams, author of The Longest Night, Random House 1.19.16Author bio:

Andria Williams is a Navy wife, the mother of three children, and the founder of Military Spouse Book Review, a site which promotes the writing of women veterans and military spouses and publishes book reviews and essays. She holds a BA in English from UC-Berkeley and a MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota.

The Longest Night is her first novel.

Kathleen M. Rodgers to speak at Ozarks Writers League Conference

November 17, 2015kathleenmrodgers & Ozarks Writers League

 

I’ll be speaking about perseverance and writing through adversity at the November 2015 OWL Conference in Branson, MO. OWL stands for Ozarks Writers League and has been around since 1983. They welcome aspiring writers to seasoned authors. The conference runs November 20th & 21 at the Honeysuckle Inn & Conference Center. Jeanie Loiacono, President of Loiacono Literary Agency, will be taking pitches. For more information, click here.


OWL-Nov-Flier

New Book Trailer for Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers

November 5, 2015

I’m excited to share the new book trailer for my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, released by Camel Press and represented by Jeanie Loiacono, President of  Loiacono Literary Agency. Many thanks to LLA agent Melissa Carrigee for creating this moving trailer. 

Johnnie Come Lately Showcased in Southern Writers Magazine and listed as a “Must Read”

November 3, 2015

To read all the articles and other great features about authors and writings, go to the Southern Writers website and subscribe today at: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/
To read all the articles and other great features about authors and writings, go to the Southern Writers website and subscribe today at: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/

Kathleen M Rodgers - JCL QP ad (1)

KEOM Radio host Camille Turner wins a 2015 MARCOM Award for “On the Job” with Kathleen Rodgers, author

October 30, 2015

KEOM Radio host Camille Turner wins a Gold 2015 MARCOM Award for “On the Job” with Kathleen Rodgers, author
KEOM Radio host Camille Turner wins a 2015 Gold MARCOM Award for “On the Job” with Kathleen Rodgers, author. To listen to our three minute interview, click here.
MARCOM is an international competition for marketing and communication professionals. This year they received over 6000 entires from 34 countries. To see the full list of winners, click here.
MARCOM is an international competition for marketing and communication professionals. This year they received over 6000 entires from 34 countries. To see the full list of winners, click here.

 

 

 

 

CNN reporter Ashley Fantz interviews author Kathleen M. Rodgers about US troops staying in Afghanistan past 2016

October 16, 2015

CNN reporter Ashley Fantz interviewed me about US troops staying on in Afghanistan past 2016. I’m no expert on the military…just a military mama who cares. Click here and scroll past the video to read the entire story.Author Kathleen M. Rodgers interviewed on CNN about troops in Afghanistan