December 31, 2017
Military Writers Society of America held its 2017 conference at the historic Menger Hotel in downtown San Antonio, TX. The hotel is located across the street from the Alamo and a couple of blocks from the Riverwalk. The weekend was packed with informative workshops led by speakers and panelists on a variety of topics pertaining to writing, editing, publishing, networking, and marketing.
On Friday, I participated on a panel titled “I’ve Written My Book, Now What?” During my ten minutes at the podium, I discussed the pros and cons of working with literary agents and why each writer must find a path to publication that fits his or her needs.
Don Helin served as the moderator. Dennis Koller and John Trudel each discussed their author experiences in an industry that is constantly in a flux. Members in the audience asked lots of good questions afterwards.
MWSA Vice President Bob Doerr organized this year’s conference. Bob did an outstanding job selecting the location and hotel.
MWSA Book Awards Director John Cathcart and his team of reviewers/judges selected the top books that received Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals. To see the complete list of winners, visit the MWSA website.
If you’d like to learn more about Military Writers Society of America, please visit our website. I’ve made lifelong friends since I joined MWSA in 2008. Even my husband, Tom, enjoys coming to the conferences.
PS: Thanks to Jeanette Vaughan and Sandra Linhart for taking the photos
February 11, 2017
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.
Updated Dec. 1, 2016
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.
The sequel to Johnnie Come Lately
October 11, 2016
The Snow Comes Early
in the high country of Alaska.
The midnight sun
has long since vanished.
The days are now short-lived;
dawn, noon and dusk less than a handful of hours.
The birch are stripped naked;
their chocolate chip trunks
sticking out of the snow.
The hills of Tanana Valley
are like mounds of flour dumped on the floor
from an opened sack.
And we are the inhabitants
in this whitewashed land,
where sixty degrees below zero
can kill even the strongest of men.
But we are risk takers!
Riding the open road of the military…
a journey we often complain of,
but a dream voyage for others
fenced in by fate.
So let us be thankful
when winter sets in,
that we are here, at the top of the world-
Closer to our Maker,
when the snow comes early
in the high country of Alaska.
© Kathleen M. Rodgers — Alaska 1985
May 2, 2016
What an honor to interview Parris Afton Bonds and Rita Clay Estrada for the May/June 2016 issue of Southern Writers Magazine. Many thanks to Editor-in-Chief Susan Reichert for accepting my proposal and to Gary Fearon, Creative Director, for coming up with a beautiful cover. To read the complete interview, click here to order your copy now.
March 28, 2016
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
dripped everywhere. She swallowed. “Mama.”
A note from the artist:
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:
Jenny’s art page on Facebook
Jenny at Paintings I Love
Updated February 17, 2018
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.
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, re-releasing in hardcover large print February 21, 2018 from Thorndike Press, the leading large print publisher in the United States. This poem holds special meaning because I wrote it in 1986–three years after losing my youngest brother in a tragic car accident–and months after giving birth to my first son.
I’ll be speaking about perseverance and writing through adversity at the November 2015 OWL Conference in Branson, MO. OWL stands for Ozarks Writers League and has been around since 1983. They welcome aspiring writers to seasoned authors. The conference runs November 20th & 21 at the Honeysuckle Inn & Conference Center.
November 3, 2015
October 30, 2015
Three of my poems from the book Because I Fly (McGraw-Hill 2002, edited by Helmut H. Reda), are on display in this new exhibit which asks the question, “Why do we fly?” Most writers dream of getting their books on bestseller lists or made into movies, but how many authors see their work featured in a museum?
Aviators, Poets and Dreamers runs from July 18th through Labor Day. The exhibit will then travel to libraries across Long Island. A photo of my husband seated in an A-10 cockpit (circa 1980) appears with my poem, “A Little Boy’s Dream,” penned in 1986 when we lived in Alaska.
To read more about the exhibit, please click here.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Charles Lindbergh Blvd.
Garden City, NY 11530
General (516) 572-4111
Reservations (516) 572-4066