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

Updated February 24, 2015

Claudia's Book Talk, March 2, 2015Claudia’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). I will be available to answer questions during the discussion.

For more information or to join the group, please click on this 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

 

 

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.

***

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.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Red-White-True-Veterans-Families/dp/1612347010/ref=la_B002ZNYLMI_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421171636&sr=1-3

Getting my books in the door at Barnes & Noble…a dream come true

B & N postcard announcing Johnnie Come Lately book launch

  A month before the official book launch of my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, I stopped by the Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX, to meet with the Community Relations Manager, Casey Dickey, and go over last minute details for the Feb. 7, 2015 event. Not only was this Casey’s second day on the job (she served as the CRM at the Midland, TX B & N until her recent move back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area), she had things under control and made me feel welcome.

Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager Casey Dickey (Southlake, TX B & N)

Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager Casey Dickey, Southlake, TX B & N

What a feeling as an author. To be treated with professional courtesy in a major bookstore, to be considered “good enough” to sign copies of my books, is heady stuff. I’ve been writing professionally for over thirty-five years. For much of that time, I was a frequent contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. My essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. Even after my first novel, The Final Salute, won a national book award and was featured in USA Today, I had never been asked to sign copies of my books at a major league bookstore.

Until today.

Kathleenmrodgers signing copies of The Final Salute at Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX

Signing copies of the 2nd edition of The Final Salute at Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX

After Casey showed me to a table and provided me with my choice of pens, I signed copies of the second edition of The Final Salute, repackaged and released by Deer Hawk Publications. Then Casey placed an “Autographed” sticker on each cover.Autographed copy of The Final Salute at Barnes & Noble, Southlake, TX

 

 

Copies of Johnnie Come Lately should arrive any day now at the store, and I’m looking forward to Saturday, February 7 at 2 p.m., when I’ll greet the public and sign copies of my second novel, a novel that took six years to write, four months to find a good agent, and two months to find a good home with Camel Press. 

Johnnie Come Lately kathleenmrodgers, camel press 300Book 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’ll also be signing copies of the 2nd edition of The Final Salute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathleen M. Rodgers’ novel, Johnnie Come Lately, reviewed on Midwest Book Review

Katherine Boyer’s review of my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, appears on Midwest Book Review for January 2015. Thank you, Katherine! Katherine Boyer's review of Johnnie Come Lately posted on Midwest Book Review Jan 2015

 

 

 

 

Johnnie Come Lately kathleenmrodgers, camel press 300Click here to read Katherine’s review

For ordering information, please visit my website:

 

 

From Fighter Pilot to Book Publisher…RIP Lt. Col. Neil Levin (USMC Ret.)

My former publisher passed away on January 1, 2015, in Oceanside, CA. The day after his passing, I reflect on what this man did for my writing career. Before 2008, I was a longtime freelance writer with multiple credits in national publications. But my one dream…the dream that eluded me for nearly two decades…was to get my first novel into the hands of a traditional publisher, i.e., a publisher who believed in my work enough to invest time and money into my work.

“My favorite TOP GUN, fellow warrior, author, and friend - Neil was truly a man’s man and the very living image of a Leatherneck! He and I had many long engaging conversations over the last decade - about books, the Vietnam War, life, spiritual matters and family. He will not be forgotten by me and those who had the pleasure and honor of getting to know him.”    Rev. Bill McDonald, Founder of Military Writers Society of America

“My favorite TOP GUN, fellow warrior, author, and friend – Neil was truly a man’s man and the very living image of a Leatherneck! He and I had many long engaging conversations over the last decade – about books, the Vietnam War, life, spiritual matters and family. He will not be forgotten by me and those who had the pleasure and honor of getting to know him.” Rev. Bill McDonald, Founder of Military Writers Society of America

On June 29, 2008, Neil Levin, Founder and CEO of Leatherneck Publishing, said YES to my first novel, The Final Salute. After sixteen years and over one hundred revisions and that many rejections, I finally found that one person in the universe who believed in my story enough to publish it. The novel was released in paperback that October, just in time for my 50th birthday.

Looking back, I don’t think Neil had any idea what he’d just set into motion.

About nine months after my book came out, Neil decided to leave publishing and closed his business, but he didn’t leave me hanging. He switched from being my publisher to becoming a supportive friend, and my book continued to sell on several online retailers.

"Giving Voice to these ghosts" appeared in all the editions of Military Times. Similar stories ran in USA Today and The Associated Press.

“Giving Voice to these ghosts” appeared in  Military Times. Similar stories ran in USA Today and The Associated Press.

Four months after Neil shut down Leatherneck Publishing, my book won a national book award from Military Writers Society of America. That same year, Army Wife Network selected it for their monthly book club pick. In early 2010, USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times carried the story of my sixteen-year journey to bring the novel to life, and the book hit #2 on Amazon’s paid bestseller list for Military Aviation. In 2011, Navigator Books released the Kindle edition with a new cover, and in 2012, the book hit #1 on Amazon’s Top Rated War Fiction. In 2014, my literary agent and I signed a contract with Deer Hawk Publications, and the second edition of The Final Salute once again soared to the top of Amazon’s bestseller charts for several days in December. To date, I have 137 reviews and most of them are five and four stars.

My only regret is that I never met Neil in person. But he knew that I never stopped being grateful. The last time I heard his voice was on my home answering machine last April when he called to check on us after my husband underwent major surgery. I can still hear Neil’s voice in my head. He was a big old gruff teddy bear. He was my hero.

From Neil’s daughter’s Facebook post moments after his death: “Talk about a lovely exit. My sister and I opened a bottle of champagne and went into my Dad's room. Turned on some jazz music and raised our glasses in a toast to Neil Levin and the grand life he led. We left the room for a couple of minutes and when we stepped back in he was gone. Good-bye Daddy Boy, now go dance with your Laurie in heaven!” Debbie Clolinger, Neil’s daughter

“Talk about a lovely exit. My sister and I opened a bottle of champagne and went into my Dad’s room. Turned on some jazz music and raised our glasses in a toast to Neil Levin and the grand life he led. We left the room for a couple of minutes and when we stepped back in he was gone. Good-bye Daddy Boy, now go dance with your Laurie in heaven!” Debbie Clolinger, Neil’s daughter’s Facebook post moments after his death.

Because of Neil Levin, I became a published novelist. He was the catalyst that started everything in motion. My second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, has just released from Camel Press, and I’m currently working on the sequel. When I started my first novel in 1992, I had no idea that a retired Marine fighter pilot would become my publishing angel.

To read more about my work, please click here:

Kathleen M. Rodgers

Loiacono Literary Agency

 

 

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.