Thursday, August 3, 2017

Speak Up Talk Radio Small Town Roads Interview

I had an author interview by Speak Up Talk Radio yesterday during my lunch break.  I made sure the house was quiet so Abby our senior rescue Labrador retriever would bark as it was done over the phone. She did bark, but at such a moment of exquisite timing that I knew Angel Barkley had a hand (or paw) in that and it made both my husband and I almost tear up as we laughed, listening to it afterward.

The Speak Up Talk Radio Interviews fund the SewPort project which provides handcrafted bedding items (pillowcases ) to soldiers serving overseas where a bit of homemade cheer lifts the spirits, as well as shelters for the homeless, domestic violence shelters and cage comforters and cat-nippers to rescue shelters.  So for that, I've been proud to be interviewed twice, knowing my author fee and those that donate after listening is doing a lot to provide comfort to those in need.

http://www.thesewportproject.com/

For the interview where I talk about the writing process and my latest fiction characters (in a voice I'm told sounds like "Erma Bomback"), the link is here.

http://www.speakuptalkradio.com/lb-johnson-returns-to-spea…/

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Readers' Favorite Gives "Small Town Roads" FIVE Stars.


"Small Town Roads is a Christian literary fiction novel depicting the lives and reflections of small-town inhabitants. Evelyn, Harry, and Ruby have outlived their spouses and remain in the same homes and neighborhood. They have been friends for many decades. Rachel lost her brother to cancer, her mother to Alzheimer's and then her father passed away, leaving her the only surviving member of her family, outside of her elderly aunt, Ruby. Now, several years later, after Rachel has finished her schooling for her four-year degree in Criminal Justice, her aunt Ruby is also gone and has left her home to Rachel. Rachel moves into her aunt's home and takes a job in the local police department. Alone and a newcomer in the area, Rachel befriends her Aunt Ruby's old friends and neighbors, Evelyn and Harry. Taking care of her ill and dying family members had put Rachel's life on hold. With a home of her own, new job and new friends, can life get any better?

Small Town Roads by LB Johnson is an eloquent Christian novel portraying the introspection of a community. This literary work is a lovely depiction of the characters' thoughts and motivations, although there is no action and the story can seem to move slowly. The author has a wonderful grasp of the English language, and her words flow together smoothly, creating a beautifully formed sermon. Rachel's and Evelyn's reminiscences and musings about life and faith are almost poetic. Despite their ages and generations, each of the characters portrayed displays their personal and spiritual growth, providing a thought-provoking and insightful story. It was encouraging to see Rachel's faith progress and blossom. This is an inspirational novel that will please those who enjoy reading meaningful Christian-based, faith-inspired books. Five Stars."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

NPR Author Interview



Small Town Roads, my first fiction novel after two non-fiction books, was one of four selected by NPR WNIJ/WNIU for their 2017 Spring Read Series and I was interviewed AND read an excerpt for the Series. (Note: there are two links on the page, one for the excerpt that was picked by the station and one for the actual interview).  Thank you WNIJ and Dan Klefstad - it was an honor.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Reviews for Small Town Roads

If you're looking to get lost in a small town fiction, this is the book. L.B. Johnson is incredible when it comes to descriptive narratives. It's impossible to read her books and not feel as if you're standing right in the scene with the characters.
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I was given a copy of this book as a gift. It took me back to being a child when you were told to play outside in the morning and didn't come in until dinner! No one worried about where you were, or what you were doing! We rode our bikes everywhere, played in the woods, and walked to school. What a different world we live in today.

 L.B. Johnson has captured the magic of those days perfectly!!!
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LB Johnson has a winner here. Well written, with fully developed strong characters who move realistically through life. The friendships developed ring true, and the importance of faith in our lives is well done. Highly recommended!
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This story is largely told through the journal musings of its young protagonist, a young woman who has lost all of her family and her confidence in God as a result. An elderly neighbor also provides a point of view as the two become family to one another. From these two perspectives, we view lives well lived in a small town, quietly and faithfully remaining true to themselves and their roots. Faith is rediscovered, and a good and heroic heart lives for God and country. I loved the gentle pace of this tale and how L.B. Johnson drew characters we truly care for and admire. I wish the world contained more people like these.

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Great read. I had thoroughly enjoyed the author's previous non-fiction concerning rescue labs and adoptions. Her first fiction was work was no less impressive and a quick, breezy, fun read. Thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of small town policing which resonated with my own experiences as a Town Constable.
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L.B. Johnson's novel is about self-discovery in a small town. What really shines is less the story line than the psychological exploration of the heroine. That exploration (and her lush writing style) makes the characters come to life. Indeed, it makes us consider our own lives - as someone who has a family member struggling with dementia, this bit about the heroine's mother and her struggle with Alzheimer's jumped at me.

 "Initially, she had little moments of forgetfulness, like any person of her age, but she was such a bundle of energy, still active in church and volunteering, taking dance classes, working in the garden. Then one morning, out of the blue, she came into the kitchen and sat down, looking at me and I realized she did not have a clue as to who I was. What struck me was not that but the look on her face as she realized this, realized she should know."

 Johnson's ability to make you stop reading and think about your own life is remarkable, and is spread throughout the book. This about a rescue dog is one of a million similar gems:

"On my couch is the form of a little black dog. I do not know why Clyde was a stray. He responds with great plaintiff urgency to the sound of small children laughing, looking around for them as to say "my kids, my kids" only to get this look of pure sadness when he sees they are strangers. The first time I witnessed it, I cried."

Johnson tells you a story not by telling it, but by showing you these scenes, one after another. I found it a slow book to read because I would suddenly snap back from where I had been mentally wandering, remembering a time when I too had had an experience like what was being described.

This book asks big questions: What is it to be human? What is it to live the Good Life? What is it to leave that Good Life?

I cannot recommend this book more highly.
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This is a wonderfully sincere book by a gifted author. She artfully paints a picture of small-town life in which neighbors help one another, friendships span generational boundaries, and life is not lived in anonymity.
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If I write in a book or dog ear page corners it is an honor to the author. It means they have written something I found artistically poignant and want to remember. My copy of L.B. Johnson’s book, “Small Town Roads” now has many page corners bent and lines marking passages. May you find her words just as memorable and moving.
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A good read. I felt like I knew the characters personally.
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 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. Highly recommended.
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Great author, I  have her other two books, The Book of Barkley and Saving Grace; very impressed with how she can describe the situation and you are there.
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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!
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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.
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 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.
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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 so worth the time to curl up and get lost in the vibrancy.
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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.