A salute to libraries across the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand: Thank You for carrying the hardcover Large Print editions of my latest novels, Johnnie Come Lately andSeven Wings to Glory.
I am most grateful to Thorndike Press, the leading large print publisher in the United States, for releasing these lovely new editions, and to Camel Press for first saying “YES” to my main gal, Johnnie Kitchen, and her loyal companion, Brother Dog. And a big virtual hug to readers who’ve invested their time and emotion in my stories.
When I was a little girl growing up in Clovis, New Mexico, my big sister and I used to ride our bicycles across town to visit our local library. We’d prop our bikes on kickstands and step into a world infused with the sweet aroma of old books and magazines. A friendly librarian greeted us over the rim of her spectacles, and sturdy tables and chairs offered us a quiet place to read and rest before we checked out a week’s worth of books and pedaled toward home. While my selection mostly consisted of picture books, my sister, Laura, was already devouring chapter books by then.
When I declared myself a writer in high school, I could only imagine what it would be like to see my byline in a national magazine or on the cover of a book. Nearly forty-five years later, I can look back and see how every story I wrote and got published served as a steppingstone to the next level.
Today, I’m grateful for every opportunity that’s come my way in the publishing world, from my bylines in Family Circle Magazine and Military Times, to the publication of my three novels, which all portray military families in contemporary settings. As I work to complete my fourth novel, a story that deals in part with the family of a MIA Vietnam War pilot and also the mysterious death of a lecherous cad, I’m reminded that hope and hard work and lots of good people have helped me along the way.
Take care and happy reading,
My original plan was to compile a list of the libraries who’ve ordered the large print editions and publish it here on this blog. But to my amazement, I soon discovered that the list far exceeded a hundred and counting so I stopped counting, too. It’s a glorious feeling as an author to know my work is getting out there and into the hands of readers. Worldcat.org, the world’s largest library catalog, features a listing of many of the libraries carrying both titles in large print, but also trade paperback and e-book. Not all of the libraries carrying my books are listed on Worldcat. I found many other libraries simply by searching the Internet. Both titles are available from Thorndike Press under their clean reads program.
Seven Wings to Gloryreleases today, March 21, 2018, in hardback large print from Thorndike Press, the leading large print publisher in the United States. As an author, it’s exciting to know this latest edition will be arriving in libraries around the country (and Canada). Although this book is a sequel to Johnnie Come Lately(which released from Thorndike Press in large print last month.), it can be read as a standalone.
Seven Wings to Glory wins Honorable Mention for War & Military in the 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards.
Over 2,000 entries were submitted in 68 categories, with Foreword’s editors choosing the finalists, and a panel of over 150 librarians and booksellers acting as judges to pick the winners.
A round of applause to the judges for selecting my book, to Camel Press for launching this story and the prequel, Johnnie Come Lately, into the world, and to Thorndike Press for releasing both novels in hardcover large print.
About Foreword: Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc. is the only media company completely devoted to independent publishing. Publishers of a Folio: award-winning bi-monthly print review journal, special interest products, and daily online content feeds, Foreword exclusively covers university and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish, and their authors. Foreword is based in Traverse City, Michigan, USA, with staff based around the world.
Thorndike Press calls Johnnie Come Lately “contemporary, issues-driven women’s fiction featuring warm and spunky Johnnie Kitchen and her family.”
The hardcover large print edition releases today, February 21, 2018, and received top billing under the publisher’s “Clean Reads” line on page 22 in the February 2018 catalog.
Many public libraries carry large print books. Check with your local library to see if they’ve ordered the large print edition of Johnnie Come Lately. Make sure you mention the book is available from Thorndike Press.
You can order the hardcover edition at the following booksellers:
My third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, gets top billing in Thorndike Press’s March 2018 catalog. Thorndike Press is the leading large print publisher in the United States. The book releases in hardcover large print March 21, one month shy of the anniversary of the original publication in 2017 from Camel Press.
I wrote this novel under contract on a tight deadline. I’m thrilled that Thorndike bought the rights for the new edition, and I’m equally thrilled to see the blurb from Southern Writers Magazine.
Thorndike Press will release the prequel, Johnnie Come Lately, in hardcover large print on February 21, 2018. I posted about it here. Both hardcover copies are available at most online booksellers, including Amazon, B&N, BAM, & Indie Bound. Libraries can order directly from Thorndike Press.
Meanwhile, back at the writing desk, I’m working on my fourth novel which deals in part about the family of a military pilot missing in action since 1972.
What’s the best way to review a book written for children? With the help of children, of course. And when the subject matter leans toward the somber and serious, in this case prisoners of war and service members missing in action, I enlisted the help of two children who live in my subdivision, a civilian community far away from bombs and bullets.
William is an athletic seventh grader who tells me he enjoys reading books he can check out from the library. His third grade sister, Kaili, loves to play dress up and wasn’t shy about speaking up as we discussed many of the tough themes in author Nancy Polette’s latest book for middle-grade readers, N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z (Elva Resa Publishing, 2017) and illustrated by Paul Dillon, the son of a WWII POW.
A few years ago, this brother and sister duo, along with another neighbor boy, showed up on my doorstep with homemade cookies and handwritten signs for my youngest son before he deployed to Afghanistan. To my knowledge, this is the closest these kids have come to personally knowing a soldier going off to war.
So, with William seated to my left at my dining room table and Kaili to my right, we began to discuss the stark and haunting images on the book’s cover. William pointed out the guard tower and informed his sister that there was probably a soldier up in the tower with a gun pointed down at the men huddled in coats. Kaili mentioned the snow and how cold the men looked. Then she mimicked an invisible guard up in the tower and said gruffly, “I’m warning you, don’t try to leave.” Throughout the reading of the book, she put herself into the story, imagining what it would be like to be taken prisoner, to be held against her will, and wondering if her family back home would know her whereabouts and if anyone was trying to save her. That’s what a good book does: it invites the reader to participate.
As we turned to the first page, I started to explain how the book is organized using a word starting with each letter of the alphabet. Kaili chimed in and said, “Yeah, it’s sort of like another book that might say, ‘P is for Princess or M is for Monster.’” And so we began with Artists and how “artwork reflects the hardships of prison life.” In a few brief paragraphs, the author explains how a British soldier held captive by the Japanese in 1942, fashioned a paintbrush out of human hair and used berry juice to depict the harsh treatment he and other prisoners experienced during the war. Although the guards confiscated many of the secret sketches, some of the sketches survived and show the hardship and sometimes death that prisoners endured at the hands of the enemy.
Later in the book, the images of barefoot children in threadbare clothing with downcast faces, and imprisoned behind barbed wire, prompted a lively discussion about Internment Camps and concentration camps during WWII. After William read a few lines out loud from that section, we talked about what it would be like if tanks and military trucks started rolling up and down our street and yanking people from their homes. Since my intent wasn’t to scare the children, I reassured them that hopefully our present and future leaders learn from the mistakes of the past. I appreciated that the author and the illustrator didn’t candy-coat this dark aspect of our world’s history, and the presentation of the material was age appropriate and tasteful.
One illustration shows a prisoner’s hands all cut up and bruised as he sews a crud American Flag out of scraps of material. This led to a discussion about why a prisoner might put his or her life at risk to create symbols from home. Another section talked about how Americans held in captivity during the Vietnam War created “Tap Codes” that help them communicate with other prisoners throughout camp when communication was forbidden. We role-played this part. I held up a notebook to represent a wall dividing two cells in a prison camp. William pretended to be in one cell and Kaili in the other. They couldn’t see each other or speak, not even a whisper. Then they each took turns tapping on the table, and we all three marveled at how prisoners in real life came up with secret codes to communicate. We studied the “tap chart” in the book showing letters of the alphabet and how they corresponded with the number of taps that spelled out words.
In the section, Missing In Action, a special team of investigators searches through a roped off area on a hillside deep in the jungle at what appears to be the sight of a military jet crash. The hillside is bare in places and we imagined what might have happened to the pilot and crew when the plane crashed decades ago and was never found until now. Between the illustration and the author’s explanation, we learn that every effort is made to recover and identify the remains of those missing from battles dating back decades.
At some point in our discussion, I had Kaili run into my home office and bring back a small black and white POW-MIA flag I keep on my desk. We talked about the symbolism of the flag. Then we remembered that a neighbor down the street flies a POW-MIA flag everyday, along with the American flag, on a tall flagpole in his front yard. My hope is that these children will glance up every now and then when they’re riding their bikes past the house and think about the meaning behind the black and white cloth with the silhouette of a man, a watchtower, and barbed wire, flapping in the wind.
When we turned to the section about Sacrifice, I hesitated. A part of me wanted to shield these kids from the truth. In the first illustration, a uniformed honor guard stands next to the casket of a fallen service member while members of the guard fold an American flag to present to the family. On the next page, we see the family seated near the gravesite; several generations are represented. A handsome Marine kneels before a woman as she receives the flag. A young boy clings to her side while a little girl a few feet away looks on.
As the kids and I took turns reading the short passage that accompanies this section, I realized at once why this book is so important. Military kids of all ages understand the sacrifice for the most part. Many of them have lived through the trauma of sending a parent to war, and all too many have experienced the grief that comes with sacrifice, be it death or a disability. But how many civilian kids have been sheltered from the harsh reality of war? How many civilian parents talk to their young children about those who serve in the Armed Forces?
N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A-Z should be in every elementary and middle school library in this country. One of the goals of the book is to tell the military story to the civilian sector of our society. The book is ideal for a classroom discussion or for families who are looking for meaningful ways to honor veterans in their communities. This book can serve as a guide to help parents and educators teach children about service and sacrifice.
Librarians might consider ordering this book for their school or city libraries. Suitable for ages eight and up, patrons of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from the information presented in straightforward easy to read language. A discussion guide and a glossary explaining a few military terms are included at the back of the book.
As my young neighbors left to go home, I watched them through the eyes of a military wife and mother who’s sent loved ones into harm’s way. My hope is that more Americans can teach their children about the true cost of freedom. Reading this book is a good place to start.
Nancy Polette has written more than 170 books! She spent five years researching the life of Virginia Hall for her middle grade biography, The Spy with the Wooden Leg: The Story of Virginia Hall and worked alongside the president of the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum president to create N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z.
Paul Dillon is an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist whose work has appeared in more than thirty children’s books. He digitally painted the illustrations in N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z, a middle-grade nonfiction picture book honoring the legacies of prisoners of war and those missing in action. Paul is president of the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum. His dad was a WWII POW.
Elva Resa Publishing, a military spouse-owned company, is the leading US publisher of resources for and about military families. Elva Resa’s mission is to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. The author of three novels, she is working on her fourth novel, which deals in part with the family of a pilot missing in action in Vietnam.
I’ve been sitting on a secret since May. I’m thrilled to announce that Thorndike Press, the leading large print publisher in the United States, will release my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, in hardcover large print library binding February 21, 2018. The sequel, Seven Wings to Glory, will follow on March 21, 2018. This is a dream come true and will help my books find a whole new audience. Thorndike Press calls both novels “contemporary, issues-driven women’s fiction featuring warm and spunky Johnnie Kitchen and her family.”
Johnnie Come Lately received top billing under the publisher’s “Clean Reads” line on page 22 in the February 2018 catalog. To view the catalog, click here.
To pre-order either title, please visit the publisher’s website
Check with your local library to see if they carry large print books. Ask them to order both books.
I am deeply grateful to Camel Press, the original publisher forJohnnie Come Latelyand Seven Wings to Glory, for making all of this possible. Both books are available in paperback and e-book. Johnnie is out on audio.
Books make perfect gifts for all occasions. The2017 Holiday Catalog from Southern Writers Magazine showcases a variety of books to choose from. The online catalog is free. Clickhere to find the perfect book for someone on your gift list or why not treat yourself to a good read.
If you haven’t read my latest novel, Seven Wings to Glory, I hope you’ll give it a try.
If you missed my live interview on The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio, you can tune in to thearchived edition where I chat with radio host Jim Christina and his co-host Russ Avison. We discuss my latest novel, Seven Wings to Glory, and about writing in general. Great fun.
I’m also glad I had the opportunity to talk about our military and veterans. BTW, Jim Christina is a Vietnam Vet and Purple Heart recipient.
Signing a copy of my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, for the one and only Parris Afton Bonds, my writing mentor since 1984 when she was the keynote speaker at a special luncheon at the Fort Hood Officer’s Club. Parris is a NYTs bestselling author of over 40 novels. She co-founded Romance Writers of America with her dear friend, Rita Clay Estrada. This superstar writer raised 5 sons.
Patron of the arts Tom Rodgers and NYTs bestselling author Parris Afton Bonds meet each other for the first time after they’ve both been encouraging my writing for years. A sweet moment I will always cherish. Parris showed up with beautiful flowers.
With Tom and Brian (a super cool manager at B&N in Southlake, Tx) who is a proud military brat and also served as a pararescuman in the Air Force. Their motto is “That others may live.”
Longtime church friend Tari Sanchez Bauer stopped by with her daughter Mandie. Tari’s bookclub read my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, and they were such a welcoming group.
Janet Terneus, a loyal reader who loved Johnnie Come Lately, grabbed a signed copy of my latest.
With good friend Joyce Hegeman, a fun-loving gal and fellow pilot’s wife. And dog lover, too.
Neighbor and friend Kathi Marrs (a military mama), Katherine Boyer (Retired Library Director of Roanoke Public Library) and dear author friend Drema Hall Berkheimer.
Rhonda Revels (far right) and our mutual friend Leisa Price Rintala. What a glorious day. Rhonda has supported me through three novels…My sons grew up thinking of her as a second mama.
Beverly Logan Jones and I finally met in person after being FB friends the past couple years. We have a mutual friend Wendel Sloan and she wanted to make him jealous. LOL Beverly drove in from Mt. Vernon, TX.
With my best friend from high school, Sherry Dodson Christian, and my best friend Rhonda Revels (since 1992). What a joyous moment! Sherry surprised me. She snuck up and sat down next to me while my head was turned. I had no idea she was there or that she was coming to the launch.
Always fun to connect with FB friends in person. Loved meeting Julianne Hart and her writer friend Scherry Lewis who says she’s been wanting to meet me for a long time. Thank you, ladies.
Four authors in a row…L-R Parris Afton Bonds, Jan Marler Vanek, yours truly, and Jerry Gundersheimer.
With longtime writer friend Melissa Embry. Mellisa went to a writers conference at Tarrant County College/NE campus and stopped by to say hi before heading home clear across the metroplex.
Jerry Gundersheimer, author of the new novel Face of the Bell Witch. Jerry and I have been FB friends for over a year and he drove all the way from Sherman, TX to meet me. Wow, so honored! Such a cool guy!
Family support from son Thomas, DIL Brittany, and Tom.
*Special thanks to B&N Community Relations Manager Casey Dickey for setting up the event.
Early in the writing of my third novel,Seven Wings to Glory, I reached out to watercolorist, Jenny Zovein, whose work I’d admired on Facebook. Her whimsical style appealed to me and I wondered if she could paint a few scenes to inspire me as I worked to bring the story to life. I was on a tight deadline. She agreed and we arranged a time to discuss the project by telephone. Each time she sent me a completed painting, I propped it up in front of my computer and felt the spirits of my characters come to life.
Thorndike Press, the leading large print publisher in the United States, will release Seven Wings to Gloryin hardcover, large print library binding on March 21, 2018. The prequel, Johnnie Come Lately, releases on February 21, 2018. Both books come under the publisher’s “clean read” category. Both hardcover copies are available at most online booksellers.
My third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, releases today from Camel Press. The novel is a sequel to Johnnie Come Lately but can be read as a standalone story. The book is available atAmazon, B&Nand most online booksellers.
Endorsements and additional buying information can be found on my publisher’s website.
I’m excited to announce the April 1, 2017 release of my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, published by Camel Press. Sometimes small towns harbor big secrets. And sometimes things just can’t be explained. Early praises are coming in from top authors around the country. To read their endorsements, please visit my website.
The print edition will be available on Amazon, B&N, and other online retailers April 1. The Kindle and Nook editions are out now.
You can ask your local bookseller or library to order the book. If you’re a member of a book club, I hope you’ll consider choosing Seven Wings to Glory for a future discussion.
The official book launch will be held at B&N, Soutlake, TX, Saturday, April 8 from 2-4 pm CDT.
All the best,
Johnnie Kitchen is finally living her dream, attending college and writing a column for the local paper. She adores her husband Dale and chocolate Labrador Brother Dog, and they reside in a comfortable home in the small town of Portion in North Texas. Their three children are thriving and nearly grown.
But Johnnie is rattled when her youngest boy Cade goes to fight in Afghanistan. The less frequent his emails, the more she frets for his safety. On the home front, Johnnie learns that Portion is not the forward-thinking town she believed. A boy Cade’s age, inflamed by a liberal bumper sticker and the sight of Johnnie’s black friend Whit, attacks them with the N-word and a beer bottle. After Johnnie writes about the incident in her column, a man named Roosevelt reaches out with shameful stories from Portion’s untold history. More tears and triumphs will follow, as Johnnie’s eyes are opened to man’s capacity for hate and the power of love and forgiveness.
You can read my complete interview with copyeditor Joyce Gilmour by subscribing to Southern Writers Magazine. The magazine is a great resource for both authors and readers and is available in print, online, and digital editions.