Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday News from Abby T. Lab

The reviews for Mom's book are coming in.  She knew that a Christian fiction genre book wouldn't sell like her two non-fiction books but it was important for her to share her values with her family - her dad especially as he is in the last days of congestive heart failure after outliving two wives and two children (Mom is all that is left).  It's not a "preachy" book and not for one particular denomination, more the telling of simple small town values of caring and fellowship with our neighbors of divergent ages and backgrounds and a story of how we need to rely on things other than just ourselves in times of deep loss or danger.

The fact that her Dad  loved it was good enough, but she would like to get the message about it to sell a few more to donate to animal rescue. One review she was particular excited about was a name she knew was the pseudonym for a famous writer, as he had already dropped her a personal note to let her know how much he loved it even if he normally doesn't ever read the Christian genre, just action, and adventure books (though he was a Book of Barkley fan).  She said thank you so much to everyone for the kind reviews.

Mom said the Publisher will be lowering the Kindle Price in December, as it was higher than she wished, but she said if anyone that's a member of Blogville buys a Kindle between now and Christmas she will mail them a free autographed copy of the paperback to give someone as a gift .  Just leave the first few words in the first sentence in chapter FIVE in a comment so she knows you have it, with your address for the paperback to be mailed before the holidays.

Abby T. Lab
Editor in Training, Book Marketing, and Pizza Wrangling

Rachel Raines is looking for a place to hide a heart full of loss, and a quieter patrol than Chicago. The bequest of her aunt's house seems like the perfect opportunity for both, if she can survive the gigantic spiders, creaky plumbing, and inevitable challenges of being the rookie on a small town force.

Down the street, her aunt's best friend, Evelyn Ahlgren, marks the passing of seasons and neighbors, long mired in her loneliness as a widow. When the young woman with scars of her own befriends her, they strike up an unlikely friendship across generations that just might help them both heal.

A beautifully told, heartwarming story of finding the best in people and the small towns, this book is like finding a treasure in an old attic. Enjoy!
LB Johnson, author of the best-seller "The Book of Barkley", has done it again. This heart-warming, true to life story of a young woman who finds herself pursuing a career in law enforcement, but in a small town instead of the big city she'd imagined. John Lennon famously wrote, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." But with the help of a neighbor, life, and the persistent nudging of the Holy Spirit, she finds herself opening up to an existence she'd never considered.
Having read the author's other two books, I was excited to pick up her first fiction piece. This book has a similar feel to her previous works, with warm and flowing descriptions, meriting multiple re-reads to catch all the nuances of her prose. I was curious how the issues of faith would be handled, this being published by a Christian publishing house. In fact, it was a sublime and personal handling of faith. Her characters are well fleshed out, and interesting, as they explore loss, life, and love across generations.

This book would make a fine Christmas gift, for the well-read teen on up to your grandparents. And as a plus, the author also donates profits from her book sales to various charitable animal rescues and other animal service organizations.
I opened this book eagerly. L.B. Johnson writes with ease and experience, openly sharing the truth of life in concepts and images all too real, yet lyrical.

Examples that light up a scene and illuminate the story:
"... a statement of endurance too abundant for human speech ..."
"... colorful wildflowers splashed on the ground ..."
"...the odor of a whetted knife carving shadows into the night..."

Johnson uses the present tense, a confident author's voice that's an immediate witness, up close and personal. The story is a first-person account by an intelligent young woman, alone, a new cop with big city experience transplanted to a small town, after inheriting her elderly aunt's home, an old house cluttered with bittersweet childhood memories.

Joining a small town police force means dealing with gruesome tragedies up close, mishaps typical of a small town, death and injuries that devastate loved ones. Johnson's young female cop tussles with the hardship of loneliness, and she uses this fictional first person journal to speak of her faith, devotion to duty, and the abundant human warmth of Small Town Roads.
Sometimes heroes are not bronze muscled doers of great deeds. Sometimes heroism is getting out of bed when every joint hurts, and doing a difficult job when everyone else turns their back, and knowing there are a thousand days ahead of you just like this one with few breaks and fewer opportunities for joy. Sometimes heroism is having a big heart when having any heart at all seems to be a liability. Most of us never have the opportunity to be the type of hero action movies are made about, but we all can be heroic in our day to day lives just by caring. That is what lies at the core of this book, and the big heart and caring shine through
This book is in one word: rich. The imagery is vibrant; you feel as if you know the characters.It is a tender, lovely story told from the heart. I've read this author's other efforts, and this doesn't disappoint. Not a quick read but worth the time to curl up and get lost in the vibrancy.
Small Town Roads is kind, gentle, poetic, but grippingly bittersweet in the meeting and meshing of the times and values of two distinctly different -- but so much the same -- women in a small American town. L.B. Johnson is a writer to watch for tomorrow, but she is also someone to enjoy today".
-- John L. Moore
Award-winning novelist and journalist, author of The Breaking of Ezra Riley and other novels.
 In the tradition of Kent Haruf's bestselling Plainsong, L.B. Johnson has written a lyrical, meditative story that acknowledges the dangers and comforts of our world. Small Town Roads is a loving story about an old, slow place where the terrible loneliness of grief eases because ordinary people decide to be community.
--Katie Andraski
Author of The River Caught Sunlight
Heart-warming and endearing, this read brings the reality of small town life and the meaning of community, life-long friendships and the healing of a grieving soul to readers. Refreshing and uplifting, L.B. Johnson has eloquently portrayed the different seasons and paths that life takes us on. Through a series of journal entries by Rachel as one of the main characters and a beautifully written narrative, the author sheds light on renewed hope in God's purposes and will, despite the past and current circumstances."


  1. Off to a great start! You must be very proud of your mom!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  2. Wow, I was familiar with your book about Barkley, but not your second book or now your third book. I really like the cover - I know you are not supposed to judge a book by it's cover (LOL), but this cover definitely makes me want to read it!

    1. Thank you! The cover was a photograph of a very old barn I used to drive by on my way into Indianapolis from an outlying suburb where I lived. I always wanted to take a photo of it but didn't want to trespass. One day a "for sale" sign went up on the property and a realtor was there so I got permission to photograph the barn and land (no house). The second book was Saving Grace (on right sidebar) and it is about human and subsequently, animal, adoption.

  3. OMD I know you are so proud of your mom. The cover and the title is great. Mom still likes to hold a book in her hand and dog ear the page she stops on, something about old dogs and tricks.

    Aroo to you,

  4. Mama just bought her copy! We think it is very refreshing to see a Christian fiction novel. Mama is hoping to read it and recommend it to her church book club!!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  5. Thank you SO much. Everyone said NOT to publish under this genre but Mom felt strongly about it, wanting to send a message to her children and grandchildren that you don't need zombies and R-rated stuff to tell a tale.

    The Kindle should be down to $2.99 for Christmas - so hopefully the club will be interested. Again - bless you.
    Abby Lab and her Mom LB and Dad Ezekiel (Mom named one of the neighbors in the book after him)


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on our Lab Rescues that have joined our household since Barkley left us.

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