My second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, moved up from finalist to the short list and is in the final rounds of judging for the 2016 SOMERSET Book Awards novel competition for Literary, Contemporary, and Mainstream Fiction. The Somerset Book Awards is a division of Chanticleer International Book Awards and Novel Writing Competitions.
The sequel, Seven Wings to Glory, releases from Camel press April 1, 2017. The novel can be read as a standalone story.
As an American novelist, I realize it’s a privilege to write fiction. I never want to take my freedom of expression for granted.
Books make great gifts for any occasion. Check out all the books featured in the 2016 Holiday Catalog from Southern Writers Magazine. The online catalog is free. Click here to grab your copy.
Seven Wings to Glory releases April 1, 2017 from Camel Press
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.
What a thrill to learn that my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is now a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards. Many thanks to Camel Press for believing in my story about family secrets, redemption, second chances, and scars of war.
To see the complete list of finalist and semi-finalist, click here.
An hour before I attended my 40th high school reunion in Clovis, NM, my agent notified me that my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, is a semi-finalist for literary fiction in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards. What a thrill to learn of this honor in the town where my writing roots took hold my junior year on the high school newspaper, The Purple Press.
Thanks to every person over the years who believed in me as a writer.
To see the complete list of semi-finalist, click here.
Grammy® Award-winning vocalist Leslie Ellis has sung with many artists including as a featured vocalist with Celine Dion on “My Heart will Go On” and Thomas Dolby on his latest album “Forty.” She sang the original soundtrack “Six Times Around the Sun” for the CBS mini-series, “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town,” and she’s done countless TV/radio jingles and song demos for SONY Music.
In 2007, her self penned “The Flyer Song” was adopted by the US Navy and made into a video tribute to the troops and their families. She’s had dozens of cuts by other artists including The Bellamy Brothers and NYC based singer/songwriter David Ippolito.
As an actress, Leslie has appeared on television and the Broadway stage including leading roles in CATS, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, and CITY OF ANGELS. She’s performed roles in the films “My Name Is Wallace” (2007) which was invited to the Cannes Film Festival; “The New True Charlie Wu”; The feature film “Unconditional” and “Happy New Year Mr. Kates.” She won a best actress award for her roll as Tiffany in “My Name Is Wallace.”
Audio book narrating and production are a part of her world as well, so look for her on Audible.com. Leslie has released three solo albums, “Standing at the Moment”, “Leslie Ellis,” and “Making the Best” available on Working Jane Records. Leslie performs live across the USA and Europe with hit songwriter Casey Kelly.
Author’s note: In the following passage from my novel, Johnnie Come Lately (Camel Press), the protagonist, Johnnie Kitchen, is standing at the kitchen sink reflecting on her mother who’s been missing for twenty-three years. Johnnie’s husband, Dale, spotted Mama at the war memorial the day before.
Her mind drifted to the empty bench in front of
the war memorial a few blocks to the west. She imagined a
woman, limber and lithe, making her way to the bench. Once
seated, the woman tilted her head and said something to the
soldier. Then the birds scattered and the woman rushed away,
leaving nothing behind. As if she’d never been there.
“What are you thinking so hard about?”
Startled, Johnnie turned from the window and caught Dale
gazing at her.
The cherry tomatoes were still cupped in her hands. Water
My name is Jenny Zovein. Colorado has been my home for the last 47 years. I was born in Pennsylvania in 1949. Shortly before my first birthday, my family moved to Colorado. During my childhood I lived throughout the United States in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah, California, Alabama, and Maryland. Doing a full circle brought me back to Colorado in 1969. I am retired and spend many hours doing my artwork. I started when I was a little child but only started watercolor painting in 2014.
I am the mother of two grown children. My son and his wife live in San Francisco and my daughter lives near me. They both give me inspiration to continue what I love doing.
I was fortunate to travel to Europe and visited Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, and England. This trip was a big factor in my love for art and culture.
To see more of Jenny’s work, click on the following links:
We are pleased to announce that Johnnie Come Lately wins another book award, this one for Women’s Fiction from Texas Association of Authors 2016 Best Book Awards. To date, the novel has garnered four awards: three for content and one for cover art. The other awards are: Gold Medal for Literary Fiction from Military Writers Society of America 2015 Book Awards, Bronze Medalfor Women’s Fiction from Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards, and 2015 Best Covers Contest from Southern Writers Magazine. To see the complete list of winners click hereor watch a brief video. Buy Johnnie Come Lately at Amazon or B & N.
I saw the first jonquils yesterday. Maybe six to a cluster, dressing up an otherwise barren garden in late February. I was just passing by on my way to the house when I looked up from the road and was taken back by this sudden gold. Buttery trumpets turned up to the sun, a subtle sign that spring had come. They’re the jonquils! Some call ‘em daffodils. The first to sprout forth after winter’s kill. From gnarled old bulbs planted deep in the earth, come these bright sunny jonquils to welcome in spring. But they’re more than just pleasing and pretty to me. They’re proof that life, though harsh as it seems, still gives us a flower to rekindle our dreams…
Author’s note: Jonquils make an appearance in my 2nd novel, Johnnie Come Lately. This poem holds special meaning because I wrote it in 1986, three years after losing my youngest brother and months after giving birth to my first son.
A book club founded ten years ago in North Texas (and still going strong) invited me to their January meeting to discuss both of my novels. Many thanks to Elizabeth Tessler for selecting Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute for a two book discussion in the warm surroundings of La Madeleine in Arlington, TX. The group was genuinely interested in my writing process, and they seemed pleased that I’m working on a third novel. When I told them I have a tight deadline, they cheered me on with words of encouragement and asked lots of good questions that will help me as I complete Seven Wings to Glory.
Our cashier’s face lit up when she discovered I’m an author. Turns out she’s an aspiring writer with dreams to publish one day. I gave her my card and invited her to contact me. We writers need all the encouragement we can get. Thanks again to “Book Club” for investing your time and emotion in my stories.
So honored to be featured in the January 2016 issue of Family: The Magazine For Military Families. The magazine is distributed free at U.S. commissaries worldwide the middle of each month (500,000 circulation). Family and I have been around since 1958. In 1988 (the magazine’s 30th anniversary), they published two of my short stories, “Happy Landing” and “On Top Of the World.” In 2009, they interviewed me about my debut novel, The Final Salute.
This past July, my husband and I were thrilled to meet the executive editor, Dina Santorelli, and feature writer, Barbara Jarvie Castiglia, when they came to see some of my work on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, New York. I’m blessed to have such support from a top-notch publication that gives back to military families by providing valuable coupons for items in the commissary. This is another full circle moment in my writing career.
From reading passages of my latest novel, Johnnie Come Lately, on “The Author’s Corner” on Public Radio, to seeing my work on display in a museum on Long Island, New York, 2015 proved good to me as a writer. Thanks to each one of you who invested your time and emotion in my writing. I appreciate all the reviews, interviews, blog posts, word of mouth recommendations, book club selections, and sharing your copies of my books with your family and friends. I’m working away on my third novel, Seven Wings to Glory, due at my publisher by July 1, 2016.
Many thanks to members of the Colleyville Book Club for their warm welcome and lively discussion about my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately. As an author, it’s so gratifying to be invited to a serious book club where the members show up having read your book, some with notes in hand, and are eager to meet you and discuss a story that took six years to bring to life.
A big round of applause to hostess Tari Sanchez Bauer for selecting my novel for the December book club pick and a special thanks to her daughter and cohost, Mandie Bauer, for taking the photos. Deep into the discussion, Tari brought an element of magic to the evening when she shared a powerful and personal story about why cardinals are so meaningful in her life. The framed cardinal and centerpiece on her table is a gift from her daughter, Mandie.
Not only were the members eager to discuss my novel, they also wanted to learn more about how the city of Grapevine, TX influenced the setting for my fictional Portion, hometown to protagonist Johnnie Kitchen and her family.
Everyone is excited that I’m working on the sequel to Johnnie, titled Seven Wings to Glory. Thanks to this great group of readers, I came away from the evening with a renewed sense of faith in my work and a whole new set of friends.
CNN reporter Ashley Fantz interviewed me about US troops staying on in Afghanistan past 2016. I’m no expert on the military…just a military mama who cares. Click here and scroll past the video to read the entire story.