Kathleen M. Rodgers’ second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, has come early! And Just in time for Christmas.

A little bird told this Christmas Angel that Johnnie Come Lately has come early. If you love cardinals, I hope you'll love the one that appears in the pages of my novel.

A little bird told this Christmas Angel that Johnnie Come Lately has come early. If you love cardinals, I hope you’ll love the one that appears in the pages of my novel.

The official release date is still February 1, 2015, but some retailers have the paperback and e-book in stock now.

Published by Camel Press http://camelpress.com/

Amazon  Fish Pond  BAM  B&N  The Book Depository IndieBound  Wheeler’s Books  Shelfari  Powell’s Books

“He was her savior and she was his saint. But she didn’t feel like a saint. And Dale would surely reconsider his high opinion of her if he knew the secrets she kept.”  From chapter one

Endorsements and Reviews

“A beautifully crafted story about family secrets and second chances, Johnnie Come Lately is a guaranteed book club favorite. Former bulimic, Johnnie Kitchen, battles insecurity and doubt but never lets failure win. I loved her imperfections; I marveled at her strength. Reminding us of the true nature of courage, Johnnie is one of the best heroines I’ve met in years.”

Barbara Claypole White, author of The In-Between HourThe Unfinished Garden and Easy to Love, but Hard to Raise

“The Kitchen family could be any wholesome All-American family, and like any family, they have secrets. In Johnnie Come Lately, Kathleen Rodgers brings to life an extended family that could be yours or mine. Their secrets will draw you into this book, and Rodgers’ characters — from Johnnie Kitchen to her lovable chocolate lab, Brother Dog — will jump off the page, grab your heart, and won’t let it go until the very end.”

Terri Barnes, author of Spouse Calls: Messages From a Military Life and a columnist for Stars and StripesJohnnie Come Lately kathleenmrodgers, camel press 300

“With Johnnie Come Lately, Kathleen Rodgers has crafted a story that hits every emotion and is, in many ways, cathartic. This deeply-felt family drama resonates on multiple levels, ultimately leaving you inspired.”

Angela Ebron is a former magazine editor and the author of Blessed Health: The African-American Woman’s Guide to Physical and Spiritual Health

Johnnie Come Lately is a thoroughly compelling story of a family in crisis. Rodgers has combined humor, tragedy and ultimately love, in what is an uplifting story of the human spirit. There were times that I laughed and cried and shouted for joy, and I am not ashamed to say it.”

Dwight Jon Zimmerman, New York Times #1 bestselling and award-winning author, Lincoln’s Last Days, radio show host, producer, and president of the Military Writers Society of America;

“Kathleen M. Rodgers captures several life-changing events in Johnnie Come Lately with empathy, seriousness and humor.  Her characters are well-defined; her plot is very credible and her use of schemes to further her story all combine to make this a completely entertaining read.”

Katherine Boyer, Retired Librarian and Book Reviewer

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.”

Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone 

Johnnie Come Lately is why humans have gathered for eons around the fires to listen to the Storyteller.  Kathleen M. Rodgers masterfully unfolds the faded, damaged petals of her flawed characters to reveal their glorious essence in this gripping story about the soul’s risk and its inevitable redemption.”Camel Press Poster announcing Johnnie Come Lately

 Parris Afton Bonds, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Purple & cofounder of Romance Writers of America and Southwest Writers Workshop

“The remnants of Johnnie Kitchen’s childhood traumas threaten the life she needs and wants now – a deep and enduring love, children, and an orderly family life. Award-winning author Kathleen Rodgers has written a brave and uplifting novel that will move anyone who has faced a long, lonely road back from disaster and despair.”

Joyce Faulkner, award-winning author of Windshift and In the Shadow of Suribachi

Trust the Creative Process…Even If It’s Messy

In my last post, “Building a Scene: One Writer’s Process,” I touched briefly on how I start each writing project with nothing more than a few scribbled notes on scraps of paper. I thought it might be fun to follow up with a few photographs that capture the messy process and the final product.

“Driven to Distraction”  

kathleenmrodgers working on Driven to Dristraction for Family Circle Magazine 1998

With notes fanned out in front of me on my living room floor, I attempt to puzzle together what will become an article about attention deficit disorder for Family Circle Magazine. I’d already signed the contract so the pressure was on. (Photo by Tom Rodgers, circa 1998.)

Notes for ADD story for Family Circle Magazine 1998 kathleenmrodgers

What a mess! I took a deep breath and plowed in.

 

 

After several revisions to the manuscript, Driven to Distraction appeared in the October 1998 edition of Family Circle Magazine, where it was read by millions of readers around the country.

After several revisions to the manuscript, Driven to Distraction appeared in the October 1998 edition of Family Circle Magazine, where it was read by millions of readers around the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnnie Come Lately

messy notes that grew into new novel Johnnie Come Lately

This pile eventually grew into my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately. The day I took this photo, I reminded myself that my first novel, The Final Salute, was cobbled together using sticky notes and index cards. For me, the only way to bring order to chaos is to wade through it.

About eight months before I finished writing Johnnie Come Lately, I dumped my work onto my kitchen table and went to work organizing the chapters. I'm old school in that I need to see the physical pages of the manuscript as I work.

About eight months before I finished writing Johnnie Come Lately, I dumped my work onto my kitchen table and attempted to organize the chapters. I’m old school in that I need to see the physical pages of the manuscript as I work.

Camel Press Poster announcing Johnnie Come Lately

Johnnie Come Lately releases from Camel Press Feb. 1, 2015 and has already garnered several endorsements. I will sign copies at B & N Southlake, TX, February 7, 2015 from 2-4 pm. I am represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visual artist interprets “trust the process”

Thomas Rodgers' design

About a year before I finished writing my second novel, my oldest son Thomas presented me with this illustration of a design he was working on at the time. He said, “Mom, this piece is to remind you that all art is a process.” His framed gift hangs over my workspace.

Design by Thomas C. Rodgers, designer at Pan Ector, Industries, Denton, TX.

Design by Thomas C. Rodgers for Pan Ector, Industries, Denton, TX.

Building a Scene: One Writer’s Process

One day soon, these scribbles on leftover notebook paper from my grown sons’ school days will grow into a polished scene in my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory

The Seven Wings to Glory bracelet was designed by my dear friend, Starlene DeBord, owner of Scarlett Sage Designs. Even when I'm not wearing the bracelet, I carry it with me everywhere I go during the process of writing this next novel. It serves as a talisman for me and keeps me motivated and focused on the work at hand.

The Seven Wings to Glory talisman bracelet was designed by my dear friend, Starlene DeBord, owner of Scarlett Sage Designs. It helps keep me motivated and focused on the work at hand.

Writing is a messy process, but after nearly forty years of writing for publication, I’ve learned to trust what works for me. Every article I sold to Family Circle Magazine, Air Force/Army/&Navy Times, and many other publications started out like this: first thoughts scribbled on whatever paper is at hand.

Sometimes I use legal pads or journals given to me by family members or friends. I joke that my first novel, The Final Salute, was cobbled together using sticky notes and index cards.

For Johnnie Come Lately, releasing from Camel Press February 1, 2015, my first thoughts were captured in a spiral notebook for a novel writing class I took at Southern Methodist University. Once I get a few words down, then I move to my trusty laptop. My job is to turn chaos into what I hope is an entertaining story.

If you’re a writer, what is your process? I’d love to hear. I’m always intrigued how other authors get their stories down. Whether you’re new to the business or you started out like me, tapping away on a manual typewriter, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

***

Kathleen M. Rodgers is the author of numerous articles and stories published in national and regional publications and in several anthologies.  Her first novel, The Final Salute, was featured in USA Today and won a Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America. Deer Hawk Publications recently released the second edition in both paperback and e-book. Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, 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.

 

 

Saying Good-bye To Bear

When Bethany Croyle lost her six and a half year old Great Dane, Bear, I sent her a private message on Facebook to let her know I cared. After she wrote me back, I asked if I could share her story with my readers. She agreed. Here’s Bethany’s story in her own words.

37353_1416418542388_2536506_nLast night was very difficult. Ben says that it takes a few weeks to learn new routines, and stop looking for them each time you come home. Let’s hope today is better than yesterday. I’m of the opinion that there’s one special animal that is significant above all the others in a person’s lifetime. For my sister, it was a Great Dane named Stubby. Bear is mine. I don’t know if I will ever get another dog. Right now I can’t comprehend it. But maybe someday there will be another.

He was and is an incredibly special dog.

My daughter, Evie, about seven at the time, is running with Bear at his favorite romp spot, the Bruneau sand dunes.

My daughter, Evie, about seven at the time, is running with Bear at his favorite romp spot, the Bruneau sand dunes.

I understand that connection that happens when they walk beside you through emotional hardship. He picked me at the least opportune time for me to have a dog- much less a Dane puppy. I’d just ended an abusive marriage and decided to move back to Idaho to be near family. So much easier to be a single parent with family around!

I rolled in to town, after five days on the road, and had been crying ever since the Idaho border. My sister met me in the driveway and pushed me in her car, saying “good! You’re here. Welcome home. Let’s go look at puppies!” Such a bizarre homecoming. I never even got in the house.

1918458_1173824997701_1295119_nBear picked me that day. I almost missed it. After playing with them all, we were loading the puppies in to the truck bed, and he crawled into my arms with his wise, worried eyes. I put him back with the herd. It was hours later that I thought of him again and said, “I’d name him Barron.” That was it. He picked me.

But I was technically a homeless, unemployed single parent. I felt like I was walking around with a scarlet A on my chest, labeling me as abused. I was a mess, and really had no business getting a dog. But he picked me, and I never had reason to regret it.

The service tag was for me. At that point, Bear was about five. I have severe Celiac disease, and when I am exposed to gluten I pass out. So he wore the tag when I traveled with him. That way he was there to guard me if I passed out. So he traveled in style, and I took him to restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. He really was a beautifully mannered boy.

The service tag was for me. At that point, Bear was about five. I have severe Celiac disease, and when I am exposed to gluten I pass out. So he wore the tag when I traveled with him. That way he was there to guard me if I passed out. So he traveled in style, and I took him to restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. He really was a beautifully mannered boy.

The next few years had exciting elements to them. I got the bookstore, found a tiny house to rent. However, they were dark emotional times for me. Bear was beside me every day. He went to work with me, slept with me, and was a constant source of comfort while I cried myself to sleep some nights.

 

 

 

20141117_150927When the vet was here, I was cuddling his face telling him how much I loved him, and thanking him for these years. But he held on until I told him I would be okay if he left me. Then I felt him go.

The support from everyone has been wonderful. It’s helped knowing that he was loved by so many, and that I’m not crazy for grieving like I am.

 

Bio:

Bethany Croyle always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Deciding that dream was too far fetched, she chose to be a gemologist, gluten free baker, exceptional barista, and bookstore owner while raising her daughter. She’s now chasing her first love and writing fiction in a town where cows outnumber the people. The only things she misses about city life are sushi and designer shoes. Bethany found love again with an Air Force crew chief named Ben.

***

Kathleen M. Rodgers’ work has appeared in national and regional publications and in several anthologies. She is the author of two novels, The Final Salute (featured in USA Today and reissued from Deer Hawk Publications), and Johnnie Come Lately (forthcoming from Camel Press, Feb. 1, 2015). She is working on a third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

 

Book Signing for the second edition of The Final Salute

Author Kathleen M. Rodgers signs copies of the 2nd edition of her award-winning novel, The Final Salute, in Southlake Town Square (Southlake, TX).

TFS poster

When: Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time:   12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Soma, 301 Grand Ave W, Southlake, TX 76092

Phone: (817) 416-4757

 Buy an autographed book from the author and Soma will take 15% off your purchase of anything in the store.

ENDORSEMENTS:

“Ultimately, her tale is a realistic yet heartwarming and reaffirming assessment of life and love and dedication by the very people who guard our own lives.”

Parris Afton Bonds, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Purple & cofounder of Romance Writers of America

***

“Gripping Insider’s Story of A Fighter Pilot’s Life Out of the Cockpit.”

Dwight J. Zimmerman, New York Times #1 Bestseller writer of Lincoln’s Last Days, President of Military Writers Society of America

***

USA Today ~ Air Force wife’s novel set at fictional England AFB.

Military Times ~ The Final Salute: Giving voice to these ghosts.

Mobile, Alabama Press-Register ~ Rodgers has created richly layered characters that compel readers to keep flipping the pages.

Midwest Book Review ~ I recommend this novel as a good description of the military life and the inner works of the way things are done, including the cover-up process.

Fort Worth, Texas Magazine ~ Until the very end, readers are intrigued by her colorful cast of characters that bring everything from love to betrayal amid the added struggle of military life.

Winner of the Silver Medal for fiction from Military Writers Society of America

Amazon’s #1 Top Rated War Fiction

Author Bio:

Wearing my new Soma jacket, pink T, and navy leggings. I'm holding Reader, who will become my grandson when his mom and my youngest son marry. Reader's mom named her son after her passion of books and reading.

Kathleen in her new Soma jacket, pink T, and navy leggings, with Reader, who will become her grandson when her youngest son marries Reader’s mom. 

Kathleen Rodgers’ second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, releases from Camel Press, 2/1/15. Her work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Air Force/Army/Navy Times, Family: The Magazine for Military Families, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Albuquerque Journal, Clovis News Journal, and in the following anthologies: Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill), Lessons From Our Children (Health Communications, Inc.), Stories Of Faith And Courage On The Home Front ( AMG Publishers, Inc.), Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand (Press 53), Our Voices (Military Writers Society of America), and Red, White, & True (University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books). She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

 

 

 

This Is What Happiness Looks Like…When A Son Comes Home From War

At 6: 45 a.m. on the 1st Cavalry parade ground, Fort Hood, TX, we welcomed home our youngest son, 1st LT J.P. Rodgers, from his deployment to Afghanistan. Instead of my usual gift for gab, I’ll let these photos speak for themselves.

Author Kathleen M Rodgers welcomes home her youngest son, 1st Lt. J.P. Rodgers, from Afghanistan.

Author Kathleen M. Rodgers welcomes home her youngest son, 1st Lt. J.P. Rodgers, from Afghanistan.

Thomas Rodgers tackling his little brother on the parade grounds at Fort Hood. Thomas was the first one in our group to spot J.P. in the crowd.

Thomas Rodgers tackles his little brother on the parade grounds at Fort Hood. Thomas was the first one in our group to spot J.P. in the crowd.

Trinity Jackson moments after her first hug with J.P.

Trinity Jackson moments after her first hug with J.P.

USAF Lt. Col. Tom Rodgers (Ret) hugging his youngest son and thanking God for his mercies.

USAF Lt. Col. Tom Rodgers (Ret) hugging his youngest son and thanking God for his mercies.

Kathleen with future daughters-in-law Brittany McDaniel and Trinity Jackson at Fort Hood Visitors Center.

Kathleen with future daughters-in-law Brittany McDaniel and Trinity Jackson at Fort Hood Visitors Center.

J.P. looking at Trinity's son, Reader, held by his grandpa, JJ Jackson. With Trinity, Kathleen, Thomas, and Brittany.

J.P. looking at Trinity’s son, Reader, held by his grandpa, JJ Jackson. With Trinity, Kathleen, Thomas, and Brittany.

Trinity with her son, Reader, and her mother, Lisa Jackson, at Fort Hood Visitors Center moments before we drove to the parade ground to greet J.P. as he climbed off the bus.

Trinity with her son, Reader, and her mother, Lisa Jackson, at Fort Hood Visitors Center moments before we drove to the parade ground to greet J.P. as he climbed off the bus.

Thomas Rodgers with his fiancée, Brittany McDaniel, moments after Thomas spotted his little brother on the field.

Thomas Rodgers with his fiancée, Brittany McDaniel, moments after Thomas spotted his little brother on the field.

Lt. Rodgers walking toward Trinity's dad, JJ Jackson, as he holds his grandson, Reader.

Lt. Rodgers walking toward Trinity’s dad, JJ Jackson, as he holds his grandson, Reader.

Tom and Kathy leaving the parade grounds. We are feeling pure joy and relief. And grateful to God that our son came home alive from a war zone.

Tom and Kathy leaving the parade grounds. We are feeling pure joy and relief. And grateful to God that our son came home alive from a war zone.

Thomas helping carry his little brother's duffle bag as we leave the field. Trinity is to the left of J.P.

Thomas helping carry his little brother’s duffle bag as we leave the field. Trinity is to the left of J.P.

J.P., Trinity, Reader, Lisa and JJ Jackson, and Tom and Kathy at the Hilton Garden Inn in Temple, TX. The hotel went out of their way to make us feel welcome and the staff greeted J.P. on his arrival into the lobby on his first morning back in America.

J.P., Trinity, Reader, Lisa and JJ Jackson, and Tom and Kathy at the Hilton Garden Inn in Temple, TX. The hotel  staff greeted J.P. on his arrival into the lobby on his first morning back in America. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathleen M. Rodgers’s work has appeared in national and regional publications and in several anthologies. She is the author of two novels, The Final Salute (reissued from Deer Hawk Publications), and Johnnie Come Lately (forthcoming from Camel Press, Feb. 1, 2015). She is working on a third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Stars & Stripes columnist Terri Barnes interviews Kathleen M. Rodgers about her new book, overcoming struggles, and more…

 

Terri Barnes, columnist for Stars & Stripes

Terri Barnes, columnist for Stars & Stripes

 

What an honor to be featured in Terri Barnes‘ popular column in Stars & Stripes! After Terri read an advanced reader copy of my forthcoming novel, Johnnie Come Lately, she offered to endorse it and she also requested an interview. We talked for over an hour. Please click the red link to read the story she gleaned from our conversation.

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/spouse-calls/spouse-calls-1.9571/defeating-a-monster-1.307741

 

 

 

 

Terri’s endorsement for Johnnie Come Lately, forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15

“The Kitchen family could be any wholesome All-American family, and like any family, they have secrets. In Johnnie Come Lately, Kathleen Rodgers brings to life an extended family that could be yours or mine. Their secrets will draw you into this book, and Rodgers’ characters — from Johnnie Kitchen to her lovable chocolate lab, Brother Dog — will jump off the page, grab your heart, and won’t let it go until the very end.”

Terri Barnes, author of Spouse Calls: Messages From a Military Life and a columnist for Stars and Stripes 

Terri’s full bio:

Terri is the author of Spouse Calls: Messages From a Military Life and is the special projects editor at Elva Resa Publishing. A well-respected columnist, Terri is the writer and creator of the weekly Stars and Stripes column Spouse Calls, which first appeared in 2007. Now published in print editions worldwide and online, Spouse Calls serves as a voice for military spouses and families, through personal stories, incisive interviews, news analysis, and interaction with readers. Terri has been a member of the Washington, DC, press corps and has contributed to several other books about military life. Her work has appeared in Air Force/Army/Navy TimesThe Huffington Post, and Books Make a Difference, as well as newspapers, magazines, and base publications in many of her adopted hometowns around the world. Her other media appearances include CNN Newsroom, Positive Parenting with Armin Brott, and Semper Feisty Radio with USMC Life. 

 

 

The Final Salute lives on in this second edition from Deer Hawk Publications

New back and front cover for 2nd edition of The Final Salute published by Deer Hawk Publications.

For sixteen years I believed in this novel. Snarled at rejection. Revised. Raised two sons. Sold stories to national magazines. Stayed true to my dream of finding a traditional publisher. And then it happened. On my 50th birthday. Then USA Today, The Associated Press, & Military Times took notice. And now almost six years later, my little book that grew legs and took off running and learned to fly is back in paperback and e-book. Who says a little girl from Clovis, New Mexico can’t dream big. ;)

Press release issued by Loiacono Literary Agency:

The Final Salute, a story of honor, integrity, dedication and survival by Kathleen M. Rodgers is now available: Amazon  BAM!  Barnes & Noble Powell’s Books  Wheelers Books

Published by Deer Hawk Publications www.deerhawkpublications.com

ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS

“It’s the details that change your life — Kathleen M. Rodgers’ The Final Salute is a moving, compelling story of military life, yes, but of so much more. Rodgers writes with insight and knowledge of military life and just enough solid, factual detail to enthrall me, to make me feel as if I am experiencing that walking-the-perilous-edge along with the main characters. But it’s the heart-tugging emotions that she weaves through the story that alert me to what a spellbinding storyteller she is. Ultimately, her tale is a realistic yet heartwarming and reaffirming assessment of life and love and dedication by the very people who guard our own lives.”

—    Parris Afton Bonds, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Purple & cofounder of Romance Writers of America and Southwest Writers Workshop

***

“Gripping Insider’s Story of A Fighter Pilot’s Life Out of the Cockpit —Kathy Rodgers’ award-winning novel, The Final Salute, tells the story of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Tuck” Westerfield, an A-10 pilot, career Air Force officer on the cusp of promotion and senior command, loving husband, and devoted father of three who, while struggling to deal with the news of his best friend’s death in an aircraft accident, finds himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person when he stumbles upon his commanding officer in the middle of an affair with his female executive officer. What happens next is a series of escalating and emotionally wrenching actions and decisions that not only threaten Tuck’s career, but also his marriage. Rodgers’ characters are all well-rounded and complex and the story pulls you in from the very beginning. The novel’s climax and its aftermath are one of the most moving and satisfying I have ever read.”

—    Dwight J. Zimmerman, New York Times #1 Bestseller writer of Lincoln’s Last Days, President of Military Writers Society of America

***

USA Today ~ Air Force wife’s novel set at fictional England AFB.

Military Times ~ The Final Salute: Giving voice to these ghosts.

Mobile, Alabama Press-Register ~ Rodgers has created richly layered characters that compel readers to keep flipping the pages.

Midwest Book Review ~ I recommend this novel as a good description of the military life and the inner works of the way things are done, including the cover-up process.

Fort Worth, Texas Magazine ~ Until the very end, readers are intrigued by her colorful cast of characters that bring everything from love to betrayal amid the added struggle of military life.

Winner of the Silver Medal for fiction from Military Writers Society of America

Amazon’s #1 Top Rated War Fiction

Kathleen Rodgers’ second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press, 2/1/15. She is working on the sequel, Seven Wings to Glory. Her work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Air Force, Army & Navy Times, Family: The Magazine for Military Families, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Albuquerque Journal, Clovis News Journal, and in the following anthologies: Because I Fly, McGraw-Hill, Lessons From Our Children, Health Communications, Inc., Stories Of Faith And Courage On The Home Front, AMG Publishers, Inc., and Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand Press 53. Her essay, “Remembering Forgotten Fliers, Their Survivors” was recently published in Red, White, & True, a new anthology from University of Nebraska Press (Potomac Books). This essay is the seed that grew up to become The Final Salute.  www.kathleenmrodgers.com

 

 

Author Kathleen M. Rodgers chats with Military Mom Talk Radio host Robin Boyd

On Monday, August 25th at 5 pm EST, Rodgers discussed her youngest son’s deployment to Afghanistan and her passion for writing about family relationships.

You can listen to the show’s podcast here:
http://toginet.com/shows/militarymomtalkradio

New back and front cover for 2nd edition of The Final Salute published by Deer Hawk Publications.

New back and front cover for 2nd edition of The Final Salute published by Deer Hawk Publications.

Kathleen M. Rodgers is the author of the award-winning novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA-Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. The novel soared to #1 on Amazon’s Top Rated War Fiction in 2012 and is being reissued by Deer Hawk Publications Sept. 9, 2014.

 

Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press February 1, 2015.

Forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15.

Forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15.

“With Johnnie Come Lately, Kathleen Rodgers has crafted a story that hits every emotion and is, in many ways, cathartic. This deeply-felt family drama resonates on multiple levels, ultimately leaving you inspired.”  

Angela Ebron, former magazine editor and the author of Blessed Health.

 

Besides writing novels, Rodgers’ work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, Family: The Magazine for Military Families, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Albuquerque Journal, Clovis News Journal, Her War Her Voice, “Spouse Buzz” at Military.com, Women’s Independent Press, and in the following anthologies: Because I Fly ( McGraw-Hill), Lessons From Our Children (Health Communications, Inc.), Stories Of Faith And Courage On The Home Front (AMG Publishers), Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand (Press 53), and Red, White and True (Potomac Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press).

The author's sons and the inspiration behind much of her work: Thomas Rodgers, an award-winning artist, and Army 1st Lieutenant JP Rodgers.

The author’s sons and the inspiration behind much of her work: Thomas Rodgers, an award-winning artist, and Army 1st Lieutenant JP Rodgers.

 

She is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumna Award from Tarrant County College/NE Campus 2014. She lives in a suburb of North Texas with her husband, a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, and their dog, Denton. Her oldest son, a working artist, is a graduate of University of North Texas and resides in Denton, TX. Her youngest son graduated from Texas Tech University and is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

Kathleen is working on a sequel to Johnnie Come Lately and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Military Mom Talk Radio logo

 

 

 

Military Mom Talk Radio is co-hosted by Sandra Beck and Robin Boyd, hosted by Toginet Radio and powered by Motherhood Incorporated. Military Mom Talk Radio supports and helps bring information to the families, moms and wives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and is dedicated to serving our friends and family in the Armed Service. We are proud supporters and members of the Military Writers Society of America as well as proud supporters of Operation Gratitude, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Shining Service Worldwide, Fisher House and the Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America.

The Lady Let Him Fly … a poem that keeps touching lives

Susan Hunter's first husband, Bruce Netardus, was killed 8/10/92.

Susan Hunter’s first husband, Major Bruce Netardus, was killed 8/10/92. Her mother had it rendered in needlepoint.

I wrote this poem for the wife of a USAF fighter pilot after his plane hit a mountain in Norway in 1987. Over the years, the poem has appeared in numerous military journals and in the book Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill 2002). It’s also depicted in needlepoint and cross-stitch, and I am always honored to learn how it keeps touching lives years after I wrote it. (Click on each photo to enlarge the image.)

The Lady Let Him Fly

 Never once

did she bind his wings;

take away his boyhood

paper-airplane-dreams;

Matt and Amy Netardus at their father's grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

Matt and Amy Netardus at their father’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

nor try to force him

down to earth

when it was the air and sky

that beckoned his worth.

 

Matt and Amy Netardus as adults revisiting Arlington.

Matt and Amy Netardus as adults revisiting Arlington.

Never once

did the lady

hold him back,

or trounce his joy

for an air-to-ground-attack;

nor weep like a spoiled child

when he ventured into the blue wild.

USAF fighter pilot Bruce Netardus clipped this copy of my poem from the Spring 1992 issue of Daedalus Flyer and stuck it under a piece of glass on his desk. After he died a few months later, his wife found the poem and she contact me 22 years later to tell me her story.

USAF fighter pilot Bruce Netardus clipped this copy of my poem from the Spring 1992 issue of Daedalus Flyer and stuck it under a piece of glass on his desk. After he died a few months later, his wife Susan found the poem and contacted me 22 years later to share her story.

 

In the background she would wait

chasing away twinges

for her fighter pilot’s fate.

 

With wings straight and unfurled

he and the titanium bird

lifted above the runway’s end

seeking freedom on the wind.

And when he did not return

the lady waited proud and strong

knowing he’d been – “happy all along.”

From the book Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill 2002).

From the book Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill 2002).

 

And when the aged hands of Father Time

called him home

beyond the sky,

the young flyer smiled

because the Lady Let Him Fly.

© Kathleen M. Rodgers, 1987 Alaska

After Paul's first husband Mike Ayotte was killed in a plane crash in 1990, she found comfort in reading The Lady Let Hm Fly. A few years later she met Dave Mills and he made her smile again. They are pictured here with their daughter, Maddie.

After Paula’s first husband Mike Ayotte was killed in a plane crash in 1990, she found comfort in reading The Lady Let Hm Fly. A few years later she met Dave Mills and he made her smile again. They are pictured here with their daughter, Maddie.

 

 

 

 

USAF Lt. Mike Ayotte killed April 4, 1990.

USAF Lt. Mike Ayotte killed April 4, 1990.

Paula (Ayote) Mills cross-stitch peom PG

After Paula’s first husband was killed in an A-10 crash over Louisiana, she had “The Lady Let Him Fly” cross-stitched and framed. It hangs in her home today. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

MWSA Dispatches Magazine, November 2011.

MWSA Dispatches Magazine, November 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author BIO:

My first novel The Final Salute is being reissued this September in paperback and e-book from Deer Hawk Publications. First published in 2008, the novel garnered a national book award from Military Writers Society of America and was featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. “The Lady Let Him Fly” will appear in the new edition. My second novel Johnnie Come Lately is forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15. I am represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Country Music Star Kevin Fowler Presents Signed Guitar to Army Lieutenant Deployed to Afghanistan

Country Music Star Kevin Fowler with a signed guitar for First Lt. J.P. Rodgers.

Country Music Star Kevin Fowler with a signed guitar for Army First Lieutenant J.P. Rodgers, deployed to Afghanistan.  J.P.’s girlfriend, Trinity Jackson, and her parents JJ and Lisa Jackson, are good friends with the musician. When they told Kevin that J.P. is a huge fan of his music, Kevin dropped by the Jackson’s home with this signed guitar. Trinity recorded a short video and sent it to J.P. I hear through the family grapevine from my oldest son Thomas that his little brother was pretty stoked. Many thanks to the Jackson family and to Kevin Fowler for boosting my youngest son’s morale.

You can watch the video here: IMG_5036

To learn more about Kevin Fowler, visit his website: http://www.kevinfowler.com

BIO: Kathleen M. Rodgers’ latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15. Her youngest son introduced her to Kevin Fowler’s music several years ago. She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

“Remembering Forgotten Fliers, Their Survivors” republished in a new anthology from Potomac Books

Fighter pilots.

I’ve written about them often over the years. About their hell-raising good times at the Officers Club, living life to the fullest…on the edge of the envelope at a speed faster than the rest of us.

I’ve written about them at other times, too, when they have slowed down to a snail’s pace. When a hush goes over a squadron of men like a black veil because earth and sky have collided and one of their brothers isn’t coming home. A young wife is widowed, a child left fatherless, an older couple wandering around confused, their future of grandchildren and the good life destroyed in a fireball. “Weren’t we supposed to go first?” they ask.

So when my essay “Remembering Forgotten Fliers, Their Survivors” first appeared in the pages of Air Force Times, March 16, 1992, I felt a sense of joy mixed with sadness. Joy because I was happy to have another byline in a national publication that treated me like a professional, but the sadness came from the fact that once again I had written about loss­­––the loss of fighter pilots dying in peacetime training missions. This subject would be the driving force behind my debut novel, The Final Salute, first published in 2008.Remembering Forgotten Fliers in AF Times & Red, White & True anthology kathleenmrodgers

Fast-forward twenty-two years later and the republication of my essay in a prestigious new anthology titled “Red, White, & True,” released from Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press. Edited by Tracy Crow, a former Marine Corp officer and an award-winning military journalist and author nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, this provocative and powerful collection presents thirty-two true stories about the enduring impact of U.S. military service from WWII to present. The writers include a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a novelist with a New York Times Notable book award for 2012, and a writer seeing his name in print for the first time.

Today, I take pride in the fact that my story made the final cut as it “passed for review” in front of Tracy Crow and her editors at the University of Nebraska Press. Sometimes my job as a writer is to give a voice to those who are no longer living. In my own small way, I help keep their legacies alive. In Chapter 3 on pages 16 – 20 of “Red, White, & True,” I give a voice to the names of too many good men who flew west before their time.

This collection of powerful true stories would make a great gift.

To order, please visit potomacbooksinc.com or call 800-775-2518

Amazon

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble online and in some bookstores around the country:

 

headlines from anthology and origianlBIO:

Kathleen M. Rodgers is the author of the award-winning novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA-Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. The novel soared to #1 on Amazon’s Top Rated War Fiction in 2012 and has been reissued by Deer Hawk Publications September 2014.

Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press, February 1, 2015.

Besides writing novels, her work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, Family: The Magazine for Military Families, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Albuquerque Journal, Clovis News Journal, Her War Her Voice, Spouse Buzz at Military.com, Women’s Independent Press, and in the following anthologies: “Because I Fly,” McGraw-Hill, “Lessons From Our Children,” Health Communications, Inc., “Stories Of Faith And Courage On The Home Front,” AMG Publishers, “Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand,” Press 53, and “Red, White and True,” Potomac Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press.

She is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumna Award from Tarrant County College/NE Campus 2014. She lives in Colleyville, TX with her husband, a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, and their dog, Denton. Her oldest son is a graduate of UNT and resides in Denton, TX with his partner, Brittany McDaniel. Her youngest son graduated from Texas Tech and is deployed to the Middle East.

Kathleen is working on a sequel to Johnnie Come Lately and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Herod’s Babies

Mary Elizabeth Todd was moved to write “Herod’s Babies” after learning that a woman everyone trusted in the animal rescue world was arrested for ill treatment and neglect.

Herod’s Babies

The stories I heard wretched my heart;

The pictures seared my mind, and

The faces of the survivors scarred my soul.

It is the pictures I see when I close my eyes

Of tiny kitten feet lying in the rooms,

Alone and how their mothers must have hurt for them.

 

I saw the eyes of the mothers who grieved their little ones.

The depth of their loss was so deep

I could not perceive.

I thought of a story I heard- some say it is not true,

These forlorn mother cats and their lost kittens

Reminded me of the baby boys that King Herod killed.

 

King Herod heard that a new king was born;

He could not have that happen.

He sent his men to make sure that it did not occur,

For if this king dies as a toddler or a baby.

He could never be crowned king,

But he forgot about the mothers.

 

Mothers can be fierce when their children

Are at risk. The soldiers did not expect this-

Women obeyed and did what they were told,

But these women fought because they were mothers.

We never hear when the story is told

Of how those mothers had fought.

 

Those mothers whose infant sons were ripped

From their arms, and killed before their eyes.

Mothers who died trying to guard

Their toddler sons from the slicing swords of men.

Men who grew sicker of their task,

And just wanted it to be done.

 

When it was done the soldiers rode from town

With images of mothers weeping over their tiny boys,

Of mothers lying dead beside their infant prince

For in a mother’s heart her son is always her prince.

They reported the job was done but in their heads

The images never went away.

 

It is the images of those kitten feet

And the eyes of their haunted mothers

That stay with me and make me wonder- what went on in that house?

 

Mary Elizabeth Todd

July 1, 2014

 

One of the saddest stories is about Big Boy. He was a big white cat from Greenville County Shelter. He was the staff’s favorite and was a big white hunk of love. The officers there at the house heard noises coming from the underneath the house, and they opened the crawlspace door.  Big Boy walked out and fell down. He died in route to the shelter.

One of the saddest stories is about Big Boy. He was a big white cat from Greenville County Shelter. He was the staff’s favorite and was a big white hunk of love. The officers there at the house heard noises coming from the underneath the house, and they opened the crawlspace door. Big Boy walked out and fell down. He died in route to the shelter.

Mary writes: “On June 19, 2014, the trust we had was shattered. Since she has not been convicted, she allegedly neglected the cats in her care and was arrested and charged with a felony act.  From her house 50 plus dead cats and kittens were removed and 32 were removed alive- four of which died since then. They were starved and had no water. Some were never even removed from the carriers when they were handed over to this woman. The others are now in rescue with various degrees of medical issues. 

I saw these Cats on June 26, 2014 at Anderson County P.A.W.S., the shelter that had them at that time. 

 

There was one mother cat whose eyes haunted me. 

I have seen pictures of her from the shelter. She was a protective mother and had lovely eyes. Now she was battle-scarred and losing one of those lovely eyes but the depth of her sorrow spoke volumes. She had no heart to live for. I believe it was broken.  She died over the weekend. 

Ash Truesdale compiled a massive photo album of these poor creatures rescued from shelters of their photos from the shelter.  There was close to 500 photos from at least 16 shelters over the southeast from approximately April 2013 until June 2014.  One friend had been to what most of us call the house of horrors and took pictures the Sunday after she was arrested with the landlord’s permission. The house and its lovely hardwood floors are ruined. 

It is what I saw in these pictures in almost every room (the deceased cats were removed by this time) that has haunted me: tiny kitten feet. 

Many of the rescued cats have medical issues, and the shelters are full. If anyone wants to help, please send me a private message on Facebook and I will get you information on how you can help.” ~ Mary Elizabeth Todd in Starr, SC.

http://www.examiner.com/article/prominent-anderson-county-animal-advocate-charged-with-ill-treatment-of-animals

Bio:

Mary Elizabeth Todd wrote her first poem when she was ten years old. Her father was also a poet, and she remembers growing up observing him composing and reciting his work. Her poem “Hiding Axes” was published in the Oberon Poetry Journal.  Mary is a retired foster care worker with the Anderson County Department of Social Services. She worked in that capacity for twenty-eight years. A 1974 graduate of Erskine College, she began doing cat rescue work in 2013. She lives in the woods in Starr, South Carolina.

Seven Wings to Glory: My bravest novel yet

 

Display of talismans and symbols for Seven Wings to Glory. I draw inspiration from creating a small still life depicting certain aspects of my novel.

Display of talismans and symbols for Seven Wings to Glory. I draw inspiration from creating a small still life depicting certain aspects of my novel in progress.

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?

A brief excerpt from Seven Wings to Glory:

“The white goblins in hoods and robes had already vanished, taking their evil laughter with them. They’d done their ugly deed and left Santa Claus dangling from a tree, his charcoal body stripped naked, ‘cept for the furry red Santa hat they left hanging from his head. I peeked through the dry brittle vines from my hiding spot in the woods, too scared to breathe and shaking like a rabid dog. The air smelled of smoke and the promise of snow, but the joy of Christmas was gone. I was covered in my own slime from the snot and tears running down my face.

That’s when I saw them. They flew up out of the water where the town of Glory used to be before the lake came in. Like a dark mist at first, they swirled toward the shore and formed a circle around the body. There were seven of them…I’d just learned to count using my fingers. I cried like a baby when I recognized their faces. They heard me and shushed me ever so gently like Mama had done. Then like a gospel choir, they lifted their sweet voices to the heavens and sang Thurman Blue home.”

Roosevelt Hill, 76, retired truck driver and longtime resident of The Pasture, a neighborhood located on the outskirts of Portion. Mr. Hill is a part-time caretaker of Baby Head Cemetery and lived in Glory as a small child. He was five when he witnessed the lynching.Baby Head Cemetery

 ***

After taking a year off from actively working on a new novel, I finally took the plunge from daydreaming and journaling and started writing scenes. About a week ago, I took out my mechanical pencils and a new legal pad, and I wrote the first sentence of the first scene of the sequel to my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately (forthcoming from Camel Press 2/1/15).

While seated in my favorite reading chair, I scribbled for an hour before I moved into my home office. Surrounded by walls of books and meaningful art in the room where I’ve composed two completed novels and numerous articles for national and local publications, I opened a new document and typed the four words that woke me up in the middle of the night two years ago and demanded I write them down:

Seven Wings to Glory

 

An enjoyable lunch in historic Grapevine, TX this past spring with my agent, Jeanie Loiacono, and my dear friend, Rhonda Revels, turned into an impromptu plotting party for Seven Wings to Glory. The piano plays a role in both novels featuring protagonist Johnnie Kitchen.

An enjoyable lunch in historic Grapevine, TX this past spring with my agent, Jeanie Loiacono, and my dear friend, Rhonda Revels, turned into an impromptu plotting party for Seven Wings to Glory.

Once again I am feeling my way through the story, but this time I already know most of the plot. I’ve never written a sequel before, but I’m upping the stakes and headed into some scary subject matter. At least it’s scary for me because I’m writing about issues that matter to me and keep me up at night. I hope they matter to my readers.

After a week of writing, pacing, discussing plot points with my husband Tom, my agent Jeanie Loiacono, and my dear friends Rhonda Revels and fellow author Drema Berkheimer, I took a deep breath and sent Chapter One to my good friend and beta reader, Bonnie Latino, coauthor of the bestselling and award-winning novel, Your Gift to Me. Bonnie wrote back with a few suggestions and her blessings. She said Chapter One was “compelling.”

Feeling brave, I took one more risk and sent the opening chapter to Joyce Gilmour, my trusted copyeditor and owner of Editing TLC. Here’s the informal text Joyce sent after reading the opening chapter:

“Beautiful start to your new novel. Great introduction to your characters. Way to go setting the reader up for tension. The emotions. The dynamics between characters. Well done.”

To clarify, the excerpt I included above appears later in the book and is not from my opening chapter.

An upright piano similar to the one that plays a role in both novels featuring protagonist Johnnie Kitchen.

An upright piano similar to the one that appears in both novels featuring protagonist Johnnie Kitchen.

Bio:

Kathleen M. Rodgers’ work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, and other national and local publications, including several anthologies. Her Air Force Times’ essay, Remembering Forgotten Fliers…Their Survivors, will be republished in the new anthology, Red, White and True, forthcoming August 2014 from University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books. Her debut novel, The Final Salute, has been featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and several other publications. Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press Februrary 2015. She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

Stories In Uniform: One Editor’s Perspective on Military Short Fiction

Editor Jeffery Hess

Editor Jeffery Hess

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffery Hess in 2009 at the annual Military Writers Society of America conference in Orlando, FL. Jeff was there to receive a Gold Medal for his anthology of short fiction  Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform published by Press 53. That same year he appeared on The Dennis Miller Show. In 2013, Press 53 released Jeff’s second book Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand. An excerpt from my latest novel Johnnie Come Lately appears in this edition. In the following article, Jeff explains his criteria for selecting the stories that appear in both anthologies. 

 

By Jeffery Hess

cg56 moored bowThe proudest moment of my Navy enlistment came on the morning of December 7, 1989 as I stood in my dress blues on the bow of the USS San Jacinto, looking at the row of other ships pier-side at Norfolk Naval Station. Our ship had only been back a few days from a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Black Seas. I was due to receive my Honorable Discharge the following week and my task that morning was to raise the Union Jack, which I did, as the sailors aboard the other ships did at the same time. All these years later, I’ve never forgotten that moment. It was a routine, daily task, but one that I’d never been assigned until that day. Even then, I knew it was a way of honoring my service while also honoring every sailor at Pearl Harbor forty-eight years earlier.

As I write this, it is June 6, 2014 and I have a similar honor, because as you may know, today happens to be the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Instead of raising the Union Jack, I’ve been asked to write a few words about how I came to select the stories included in a pair of military-related anthologies. It’s a fitting occasion to discuss all things military, which I’m always happy to do, in a humble effort to honor and remember everyone who has worn a uniform, as well as anyone who has been affected by someone who has.

press 53 logoThat was my hope in publishing the two Home of the Brave anthologies of military short fiction with Press 53.

As a reader, writer, editor, and teacher, some of the most fulfilling work I’ve been lucky enough to have done involves assembling and editing stories for these two anthologies.

Over the years, people have asked why I enjoy sticking to the military theme. For me, it seems the stakes tend to be higher in stories of this sort. Hemingway said, “War is the best subject of all. It groups the maximum of material and speeds up the action and brings out all kinds of stuff you have to wait a lifetime to get.”

 

2009 Gold Medal Winner from MWSA

2009 Gold Medal Winner from MWSA

I don’t read military journals exclusively, but I do enjoy finding military stories in regular journals and collections. I’m always amazed by the way in which writers interpret the topic.

Writing military fiction, myself, I learned from the stories I read. My stories focus on the Navy, Cold War era, mostly, but as an editor, I was given insight into a world of military experiences I had no way of knowing about first hand. This is another reason people read.

In addition to securing reprint rights to well-known stories by Kurt Vonnegut, Tim O’Brien, James Salter, and Tobias Wolf, I sought out other great stories from writers who aren’t as well known, but should be—writers like Pinckney Benedict, Benjamin Percy, Fred Leebron, Amber Dermont, Tracy Crow, and Court Merrigan, to name a few. But I also worked with up-and-coming writers, some I’ve known for years, many others I’ve never met. For both volumes, I received submissions from all over the country. Not all of them were perfect. Many had potential, but needed polishing. A number of stories I chose needed a lot of work, sometimes, more than I bargained for, but there’s just something magical about the excitement of finding a character in a situation that people need to read, no matter the shape the manuscript might be in, and helping the writer achieve his or her vision and then sharing it with the world.

 

Spring 2014 MWSA Recommended Reading List

Spring 2014 Recommended Reading List from Military Writers Society of America

I put together the second anthology in the aftermath of Seal Team 6’s killing of Osama Bin Laden. There was a lot of “heat of battle” stories flooding in. It seemed battle-front stories were everywhere during this time. But, violence is only one segment of the equation. I’m also curious about the other portions of the conflicts.

Tolstoy famously wrote, “…each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Everyone in uniform has a family and friends and neighbors. I’m interested in a mother’s reaction. In how the wives feel. How new fathers fear what might become of their sons.

During my selection of stories, I recalled favorites I’d read in the past and I contacted the authors to get permission to include their stories, often this involved contacting publishers. I sent emails to every writer I know telling them what I was looking for. Some offered me stories. Others sent people my way. Some did both.

Narrowing the search quickly became an issue. So much material was being generated on this topic, I could pick and choose. My main criteria was based on Interest and Impact.

To gain my Interest, the stories have to convey a sense of authenticity. Whether stories about direct military action or a civilian’s reaction to what they see on the news, I need evidence to prove (or, at least, provide the illusion) that these people and these worlds are absolutely real.

Aristotle said, “For the purposes of story, a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility.”

 

HOTB:SITS launch party in WInston-Salem, NC. Pictured are: Jeffery Hess, Jim Walke, Paul Strobel, Robert Wallace, Tracy Crow, and Joseph Mills.

Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand launch party in WInston-Salem, NC. Pictured are: Jeffery Hess, Jim Walke, Paul Strobel, Robert Wallace, Tracy Crow, and Joseph Mills.

To make an Impact on me, I have to care about the characters. I look for the stakes Hemingway mentioned, as well as how each character deals with their situations. As this is fiction, I willingly grant creative license, because it’s the emotional truth that we’re after. This requires a connection to the characters, their physical, emotional, and intellectual selves.

The stories that received an automatic rejection were the ones that were faked or half-assed.

Ultimately, I looked at how each story made me feel when I finished—if it made me say, Wow, Damn, or Oh no, or if it just left me shrugging and reaching for another one. And, most importantly, did the story make me think about it after I put it down?

The one element I found in common with all the stories I selected is passion. Whether about a wounded warrior or a worried widow, or about a mother or children, or overcoming enemies on either side of the wire, or any of the other scenarios that appear in these stories, each of them separated themselves from a number of stories that lost out due to the writers having a good idea, but not a true passion for the topic. During the process of finding these stories, I came to learn that the passion for the characters and their situations is contagious.

Tell us something, we’ll forget it. Show us something, we’ll see it. Makes us feel something and we’ll remember it.

This approach isn’t limited to stories about military events. The notions of authenticity and specificity make characters memorable no matter if they’re war heroes, gangsters, housewives, siblings, psychopaths, depressed boomers, or a Harry Potter wizard or whatever he is. My goal, with the forty-six stories selected for inclusion in these two volumes, is that they become memorable to readers for years to come, because, as Calvin Coolidge said, “The nation which forgets its heroes will itself be forgotten.” That won’t happen on my watch.

About Jeffery Hess

Jeffery Hess is the editor of the award-winning anthology Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform, and the recent follow-up, Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand (both from Press 53). Prior to earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Florida, he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the fleet’s oldest and then newest ships. He’s published a number of short stories that recall this period of his life in print and online journals. He’s held writing positions at a daily newspaper, a Fortune 500 company, and a university-based research center. He lives in Florida, where he’s completing a novel and has, for the past six years, led the DD-214 Writers’ Workshop for military veterans.

Helpful links:

-Home of the Brave anthologies website:

http://www.press53.com/HomeoftheBrave.html

-Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/HomeOfTheBraveStoriesInUniform

-Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/HomeOfTheBraveSomewhereInTheSand

-Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform – Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Brave-Stories-Jeffery-Hess/dp/0982441606

-Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand – Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Brave-Somewhere-Jeffrey-Hess/dp/1935708856/ref=la_B00DIEBKMM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401910392&sr=1-1

-DD-214 Writers’ Workshop website:

http://www.dd214writers.org/

 

Jeff appeared on The Dennis Miller show June 10, 2009 and again on June 4, 2013.

Jeff appeared on The Dennis Miller show June 10, 2009 and again on June 4, 2013.

-Dennis Miller Interview – June 10, 2009

https://www.dennismillerradio.com/b/Jeffery-Hess-Interview/6373.html

-Dennis Miller Interview – June 4, 2013

https://www.dennismillerradio.om/blog?action=blogArchive&blogTag=Jeffery%20Hess

-Tampa Tribune article about Anthologies and Workshop:

http://tbo.com/list/military-news/out-of-navy-veterans-labor-of-love-new-anthology-is-born-20130624/

-Interview with Jeffery Hess

http://rkvryquarterly.com/interview-with-jeffery-hess/

Kathleen's author bio as it appears in Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand

Kathleen’s bio as it appears in Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand

Kathleen M. Rodgers  second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is forthcoming from Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press, 2/1/15. An excerpt from the novel appears in the pages of Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand. She is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.