Johnnie Come Lately
Johnnie Come Lately

Publisher - Camel Press Author - Kathleen M. Rodgers

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, both living and dead, reveal themselves.

Reviews
"Have a tissue handy, as you will feel lots of emotion while reading.... Kathleen M. Rodgers' book is truly an inspiration to anyone who has gone through an eating disorder.... Johnnie Come Lately is a great book. It’s a little hard to read this and not feel for the characters."
    --Sharon Salituro, Fresh Fiction, Posted January 26, 2015

"Johnny Come Lately is a thoroughly compelling story of a family in crisis. Rodgers has combined humor, tragedy, and ultimately love, in what is an uplifting story of the human spirit. There were times that I laughed and cried and shouted for joy, and I am not ashamed to say it."
    --Dwight J. Zimmerman, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Lincoln’s Last Days

"The remnants of Johnnie Kitchen's childhood traumas threaten the life she needs and wants now--a deep and enduring love, children, and an orderly family life. Award-winning author Kathleen Rodgers has written a brave and uplifting novel that will move anyone who has faced a long, lonely road back from disaster and despair."
    --Joyce Faulkner, past president of Military Writers Society of America and award-winning author of Windshift and In the Shadow of Suribachi


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Keep reading for an excerpt:
Granny Opal blasted her horn and Johnnie sprang down the front steps to greet her.

"You look a little thin," Granny called out. She was wearing that loopy grin that seemed to grow more lopsided every year. She wore purple gauchos, a short denim jacket--to conceal her expanding waistline--and her trademark red cowboy boots. Big silver hoops looped through sagging earlobes dangled below her cropped hair.

Out of respect for her grandmother, Johnnie tried to appear cheerful, although a cloud of lead had fallen from the sky over 420 Merriweather. "Granny, I've been the same weight for years. Here, let me give you a hand with that."

Granny Opal placed a three-layer coconut cake into Johnnie's outstretched hands. "I may be retired from the business, but I can still bake a mean cake."

Johnnie smiled, taking care not to drop it. "I'm sure it will be delicious."

Early in her recovery, when she avoided sweets for fear they would trigger a binge, she refrained from saying anything derogatory every time her grandmother appeared armed with a dessert. Then one year, the year Johnnie was pregnant with Cade, she thought Granny Opal finally understood. After a meal of baked chicken and tossed salad, Johnnie's grandmother sailed into the dining room with a large head of cabbage on a crystal cake pedestal. Planted in the middle of the cabbage was a fat pink dinner candle. After everyone stopped laughing long enough to sing "Happy Birthday," Johnnie blew it out. When Johnnie quietly sighed with relief and started to open her presents, Granny Opal appeared in the doorway with a Texas sheet cake, much to the delight of a young D.J. and Dale.

Later that night, when they were getting ready for bed, Johnnie grumbled to Dale that Granny Opal was trying to sabotage her progress. Dale, to his credit, simply remarked, "Maybe she just likes baking cakes."

Granny Opal linked one arm through Johnnie's and together they mounted the steps onto the large porch. "Everything looks lovely," her grandmother commented as they entered the house.

Cade and Callie Ann were out back, playing fetch with Brother Dog. As Johnnie went to place the cake on the long farmhouse table that served as a room divider between the kitchen and the family room, she saw Granny Opal poke her head out the back door.

"Cade, when's your next baseball game? I'll come if it's not too hot."

Johnnie looked up, wondering how Cade would respond, but her grandmother had already stepped outside onto the deck and shut the door. A few minutes later, while Johnnie set out dessert plates and forks, the back door opened, and Granny Opal filed in, followed by Brother Dog. He trotted straight to the laundry room, where Johnnie could hear him lapping from his water bowl.

Granny Opal went to the sink and helped herself to a glass of tap water. "Cade told me what happened."

Category: Fiction | General Suggested Price: 14.95 Release Date: 02/01/2015 ISBN: 978-1-60381-215-3 Product Type: Paperback # Pages: 292