About the Book
Would life have been different for Johnnie if she'd been named after a woman rather than her dead uncle? Or if her mama hadn't been quite so beautiful or flighty? The grandparents who raised her were loving, but they didn't understand the turmoil roiling within her. And they had so many, many secrets.
Why did her mama leave? Would she ever return? How did her Uncle Johnny really die? Who was her father? Now Johnnie Kitchen is a 43-year-old woman with three beautiful children, two of them grown. She has a handsome, hardworking husband who adores her, and they live in the historic North Texas town of Portion in a charming bungalow. But she never finished college and her only creative outlet is a journal of letters addressed to both the living and the dead. Although she has conquered the bulimia that almost killed her, Johnnie can never let down her guard, lest the old demons return. Or perhaps they never went away to begin with. For Johnnie has secrets of her own, and her worst fear is that the life she's always wanted--the one where she gets to pursue her own dreams--will never begin.
Not until her ghosts reveal themselves.
Being a military mom isn't easy.
Ask Johnnie Kitchen.
She's just going about her day-to-day life in her small town Texas home when her son, Cade, drops a bombshell. He's quitting the high school baseball team. He's giving up on the chance at a scholarship because he doesn't want to go to college anymore. He wants to enlist in the army.
Too bad if Johnnie is vehemently against his decision.
But she has her reasons. Her father died in combat. A neighborhood boy just got the left side of his face blown off in Iraq. And she really doesn't want the "Proud Army Mom" mug that Cade picked up for her at the recruitment office. She just wants her little boy back.
But as her husband, Dale, reminds her—that's not going to happen. Their son is old enough now to start making his own decisions, and he's never seen him so committed to anything before. Cade has his heart set on this, and there's no way they're going to dissuade him. It's time for them to let go.
But on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Johnnie wanders out into her backyard and looks up at the sky. They live near an airport and she remembers how on that fateful September night, there wasn't a plane in the sky. And now years later, her son wants to go overseas and fight for his country.
In her heart she feels:
"I don't want my son sacrificed for anyone."
She never knew her father. She only remembers visiting him one time on an army base when she was a little girl and he sided with her when her mother kept scolding her for chewing on her hair. That one memory along with two old photos of him are the only things she has left of him.
Taking a walk around the local park, the soldier monument calls out to her, as if:
"Hundreds of thousands of young men in battle calling across the waves of time, crying out in pain and anguish, 'Mama, Mama' before they took their last breath."
She does not want this to be her future. She doesn't want to ever lose her precious son.
But when Cade calls home after starting boot camp he starts having second thoughts when he has this to say about his instructors:
"They hate us."
He's alone and scared and away from home for the first time in his life. But Johnnie stands firm, encouraging her son to take heart, telling him:
"When things get rough, remember the spirit of [your grandfather] walks beside you."
She knows her father would never abandon his grandson. The military thread that binds their family together will not fray. Even if she doesn't like it, she'll continue to support her son on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and every day in between.
Because she's not just a mom, she's an Army Mom.
Johnnie Come Lately can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Special $2.99 ebook sale!
now through July 31, 2015
Genres: Military Family, Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Release: February 1, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press
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About the Author
Award-winning author Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle magazine and Military Times. Her work has also appeared in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. She is the author of the award-winning novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. Deer Hawk Publications reissued the novel in e-book and paperback September of 2014.
Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, released from Camel Press February 1, 2015. Barnes and Noble in Southlake, TX hosted the official launch on February 7, and Kathleen signed copies of both novels for three hours straight. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Alumna from Tarrant County College/NE Campus.
She is the mother of two grown sons, Thomas, a graduate of University of North Texas and a working artist in Denton, TX, and J.P., a graduate of Texas Tech University and a former Army officer who earned a Bronze Star in 2014 in Afghanistan. Kathleen’s husband, Tom, is a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, and they reside in Colleyville, TX with their rescue dog, Denton. Kathleen is working on a new novel titled Seven Wings to Glory and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.
Links to connect with Kathleen:
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