Camel Press acquires sequel to Johnnie Come Lately

December 11, 2015 (update Dec. 1, 2016)

Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Enterprises, has acquired the sequel to Johnnie Come Lately. The final draft of Seven Wings to Glory is due July 1, 2016. Update: Final draft approved July 25, 2016 with release date April 1, 2017.Version 2

I received this glorious news two days after I returned from the Ozarks Writers League conference where I gave a talk on perseverance and writing through adversity. My publisher offered the contract based on the first hundred pages.

It’s exciting to know they believe in the story, but at the same time the pressure is on to complete a polished manuscript and turn it in on time. My first two novels were written on speculation, and the writing process stretched out over several years. The last time I wrote anything “under contract” was for Family Circle Magazine many years ago.

My husband reminds me everyday that I am living my dream. I have a traditional publisher already lined up and eager to publish my next novel.

When the words, Seven Wings to Glory, woke me from my sleep a few years ago and demanded I write them down, I knew in my heart I had a new story to tell.


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.

The sequel to Johnnie Come Lately



Why there’s no “happy” in Memorial Day

Updated May 27, 2017

Mama at war memorial by Jenny Zovein (Johnnie Come Lately, published by Camel Press).
Mama at war memorial by Jenny Zovein (Johnnie Come Lately, published by Camel Press).

The following passage is from my second novel,  Johnnie Come Lately.  (Reader discretion advised).

     Johnnie was about to rave on Granny’s baked beans

when Callie Ann piped up, “Hey, D.J., tell everybody what

happened this morning when you went to buy cigarettes.”

     D.J. looked up from his plate. He put his fork down and

cleared his throat.

     “So, I’m standing in line at the 7-Eleven. The guy in front

of me pays for his stuff and says to this young female

cashier,‘Happy Memorial Day.’ Man, I thought that chick

was going to come over the counter. She shoves the guy’s change at him and

snarls, ‘What’s so fucking happy about Memorial Day?’ ”

     Johnnie cringed.

     Before anyone could say something, D.J. picked up his

plastic fork and stabbed at a pile of baked beans. “Sorry about

the F-bomb,” he apologized. “I’m just reporting what I heard.”

     Johnnie took a deep breath and reached for Brother’s head.

As usual, he was at her side, waiting for a scrap to fall. She

needed to hold onto the one member of the family who wouldn’t judge her.

Wouldn’t judge any of them.

     Running her fingers through his soft fur, she said what

needed to be said.

     “Well, considering that my father died in war, I have to agree

with that young lady at the 7-Eleven. There’s absolutely nothing

happy about Memorial Day. It’s a day set aside to honor the

war dead.”


“I’m frustrated by people all over the country who view the day as anything but a day to remember our WAR DEAD. I hate hearing “Happy Memorial Day.” Jennie Haskamp, United States Marine Corp Veteran, for Washington Post.


One day when we’re grownups…

One day when we’re grownups

we’ll leave behind

our schoolyard bullies

stop name-calling

and throwing spit wads and rocks

at others

for being different.

 One day when we’re grownups

we’ll hold hands

with our neighbors

step out of our comfort zones

and look into the faces of strangers

and see ourselves…


Author’s note: Please add your own line or two in the comment section. Let’s continue the dialogue.

The author at age ten.
The author at age ten.



Author Visits Dawson Middle School For Career Day

Posted January 30, 2014

kathleenmrodgers Dawson Career Day

I just returned from speaking to three different groups of seventh and eighth graders at “Career Day” at Dawson Middle School in Southlake, TX. This was my second time to visit the school, nestled in an affluent suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth, and talk about my work as an author. The students rotated between three different sessions and heard other speakers discuss careers in medicine, law, architecture, aviation, music, education, and graphic design to name a few.

The students get to pick what careers they are interested in, and I’m always intrigued by the ones who show up to hear me speak. Some are shy and won’t look me in the eye, while others are not afraid to ask questions. A few have landed in my room because they didn’t get their top career choice and others seem indifferent or bored.

But it’s those students who won’t look me in the eye, or the ones who hang on my every word, that might grow up to be writers. Truth searchers. Explorers of the heart. Daydreamers who weave stories out of thin air and end up touching lives.

As I read an excerpt from my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, acquired by Coffeetown Press, Seattle, WA, I was reminded of the man the school is named after. George Dawson, an African American, learned how to read at the age of 98. After he coauthored his biography Life Is So Good with Richard Glaubman in 2000, he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Mr. Dawson died in 2001.

From Lithograph "Motherly Secrets" by Thomas C. Rodgers. Used with permission.
From Lithograph “Motherly Secrets” by Thomas C. Rodgers. Used with permission.


One Writer’s Little Corner of the World

Updated Dec. 1, 2016

Kathleen M. Rodgers lives in a Fort Worth suburb.
Kathleen M. Rodgers lives in a Fort Worth suburb.


Kathleen M. Rodgers’ stories and essays have appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, and in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. In 2014, Rodgers was named a Distinguished Alumna from Tarrant County College/NE Campus. Three of her aviation poems from the book Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill) were featured in an exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, NY.

She is the author of the Amazon #1 Top Rated war fiction, The Final Salute, featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. In 2009, the novel won a Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America, and in 2016, The Final Salute received an Honorable Mention for military fiction from Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

seven_wings_300Seven Wings to Glory is Rodgers’ third novel and releases from Camel Press April 1, 2017. Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, has garnered several awards: 2015 Gold Medal for literary fiction from Military Writers Society of America, Bronze Medal for women’s fiction from Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards, Finalist for literary fiction in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards, First Place Winner for women’s fiction from Texas Association of Authors 2016 Best Book Awards, & 2015 Best Cover Awards from Southern Writers Magazine. The novel has been featured in Family Magazine, Stars & Stripes, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News, Southern Writers Magazine, and on “The Author’s Corner” on Public Radio. The audio edition is narrated by Grammy® Award-winning vocalist and Broadway Actress Leslie Ellis.

She and her husband, Tom, a retired USAF fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, reside in a suburb of North Texas with two big dogs, Denton and Jav. The mother of two grown sons, Thomas and J.P., she is currently working on her fourth novel. You can find Rodgers online at:


Thanks for stopping by,