Let’s Get Acquainted

Note: Just like me, this page is a work-in-progress. In the next day or two, I’ll add photos of the alpacas, of Rugby and Griff, and even my Vibe. [Smiles!]

The Charm of Country Living

When I moved from a quarter-acre suburban lot in sunny Florida to a farm outside Memphis a few years ago, I traded worn-out flip-flops for boots. I wore out one pair and got a second.

They may look spiffy in this photo, but it wasn’t long before they were as dusty-dirty as the first pair. So my third pair are heavy-duty black.

I seldom wear them anymore though. Two of the pigs were sold and two others ended up in the freezer. The chickens–well, let’s just say the foxes and raccoons ate heartily. (The experience was so unnerving I doubt I’ll ever raise a chicken again.)

Long ago, while living in that Florida suburb, I got a strange whim I never expected to come true.

I wanted an alpaca.

In a strange turn of events, God gave me not just one but an entire herd. Yes, my friend, even pipe dreams come true sometime.

During this season of my life, I’ve done things I’ve never done before. But the season is winding down. The alpaca were sold and sometime next year I’ll be leaving this place I’ve come to love and moving back to the Sunshine State. Another place I love.

The Love of Random Travel

“On the road again!”

This Willie Nelson classic phrase is the text I send to my kids whenever I hop in my car for a road trip.

With an audiobook rented from Cracker Barrel in my CD player, my GPS stuck to the windshield, and a full tank of gas, I’m ready to roll.

The odometer on my little black Pontiac Vibe shows I’ve driven over 145,000 miles since I bought it seven years ago. Together we’ve been in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Without my Vibe, I’ve been to — states, and I’m hoping to make it to the rest.

My most recent trip–another dream come true–was to Canada. I share photos in a series of posts called Exploring Prince Edward Island.

The Joy of Treasured Moments

[to be written]

The Grace of Writing

[to be revised]

If I’m not too distracted by the outside view, the story taking shape in my head and my heart comes to life beneath my fingertips.

Perhaps the tingliest thrill of writing comes when the characters do the unexpected.

I love those moments.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete offensive or off-topic comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

28 thoughts on “Let’s Get Acquainted

  1. I’d love to leave Florida and live on a farm. 🙂 I have chickens! We give eggs to the neighbors. Raised bobwhites for a few years…and rabbits. We have a white dove who is very elderly, but a sweetheart. Enjoyed looking at your pictures. Thanks for the “follow” on Twitter.

  2. Johnnie, I loved reading your unpublished WWII secret agent introduction–wow, you really brought to life the setting and characters, a great model for me. I’m working on a WWII series, too. Also enjoyed learning about your new Tennessee lifestyle.

    We live in rural Iowa, but I’m in the AZ mountains right now for health reasons, so elk, javelina, and deer populate our yard betimes.

    Thanks,

    Gail Kittleson

    • Gail, thank you so much. I love Marie’s story, though the ending is still a muddle. I finished it a few years ago, but because a couple of the plot elements resemble those in Where Treasure Hides, I need to make changes. Soon Marie will meet the dashing British Army officer Ian Devlin who is the hero of WTH.

      I hope you enjoy your time Arizona and your visitors. (I’m connecting with you via email.)

  3. I just finished Where Treasure Hides. It was an amazing story. I can hardly wait to read the next book you write. I am avid reader, sometimes 2 or 3 books a week. I live in Mankato, Minnesota, but originally from Pennsylvania. I was raised on an 8 acre truck farm. Keep up the good work. Thank you.

    Nancy Schriber

    • Nancy, thank you so much. I’m glad you loved the story (and that you came by here to tell me). I grew up in Ohio so we’re almost neighbors! But I’ve never been to Minnesota. You know, I’m not sure I know what a truck farm is though I’ve heard the term before. What did your family grow?

  4. I just finished Where Treasure Hides and I’m sad to say goodbye to these characters. I was SO moved by the story, your exquisite writing, and the ending. (I won’t give anything away, for those that haven’t read it yet!) I do hope you write a sequel where certain characters are reunited if you know what I mean. I really appreciated the character Count Theodor. He wasn’t a black and white evil character, his actions kept me guessing. I loved the children in the story from Josef to Libby, Aaron & Anna. My whole family is Dutch, so I enjoyed reading the sections that were placed in the Netherlands. Are you of Dutch ancestory?
    I’m from Woodbury, Minnesota.

    • Hi, Linda. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words. I’m contracted to write a series of contemporary romances right now so I don’t know when I can get to the sequel but I truly want to write it. (Actually, I have a very messy draft tucked away.)

      I also appreciate what you said about Theodor because it was important for me to show his point of view and why he did the things he did. The most surprising character, for me, was Alison’s father. I never expected him to be who he became on the page. I know that sounds odd, but he definitely took control of his own part of the story.

      I’m not Dutch but I read a lot about Holland and the Dutch Masters and, of course, about the Nazi art looting. I also watched a video called The Hidden Child which told about Holland’s protection of Jewish children.

      Here’s a link to the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Child/dp/B000OCY65E/ref=sr_1_6?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1452629593&sr=1-6&keywords=hidden+child)

      Thanks again for sharing your love of the story and characters. It means a great deal.

  5. I thought I left this reply already, if this is a duplicate please forgive me.

    Maybe a prequel to Where Treasure Hides would be a good idea. I had lots of questions about Poster’s growing up years, why he went to America, how Alison’s experience was when she was dropped off in Rotterdam, how Alison met Theodor, etc… I wondered if some of these things were in your novel but we’re edited out.

      • Oh, auto-correct. I haven’t given much thought to a prequel but it’s an intriguing idea.

        Before I wrote Where Treasure Hides, I wrote a novel about an American actress who falls in love with a German agent. Sound familiar? Yep, I wrote all about Ian’s mission with Marie before I ever wrote about Ian and Alison. That novel isn’t published, but I’m sharing it a bit of a time on my blog on most Fridays.

        Thanks for the idea–I’ll be pondering it.

  6. I just finished reading your novel, WHERE TREASURE HIDES, loaned to me by a good friend, Bonnie Harker. I enjoyed it very much. It inspires me to read about courageous people in all the European countries that risked their lives to fight evil during that time. As you can see by my last name, I’m Polish by marriage, but really came to love the Polish people on 2 mission trips to Poland, one with Bonnie. I’ve always had an interest in God’s chosen people and going to Auswitz on that trip is a day imprinted in my memory. I look forward to reading more from you pen.
    Fran
    PS I love alpacas – My Polish sister-in-law raised them until a few years ago in Northern Ohio.

  7. I just finished reading your novel, WHERE TREASURE HIDES, loaned to me by a good friend, Bonnie Harker. I enjoyed it very much. It inspires me to read about courageous people in all the European countries that risked their lives to fight evil during that time. As you can see by my last name, I’m Polish by marriage, but really came to love the Polish people on 2 mission trips to Poland, one with Bonnie. I’ve always had an interest in God’s chosen people and going to Auschwitz on that trip is a day imprinted in my memory. I look forward to reading more from you pen.
    Fran
    PS I love alpacas – My Polish sister-in-law raised them until a few years ago in Northern Ohio.

    • Hi, Fran. It’s so nice to meet you! Bonnie is such a blessing to me. I’m familiar with the mission you’re talking about. A lovely woman from there spoke to our Sunday School class a few months ago. How exciting to visit Poland, and I can only imagine that touring Auschwitz must be an unforgettable experience.

      Alpacas are definitely fun to raise. They have such interesting personalities. Where does your sister-in-law live? I grew up in central Ohio (southwest of Columbus).

      Thanks for your message, and I’m so glad you enjoyed my novel. God bless!

  8. Hi Johnnie,
    I just finished ” Where Treasure Hides”. And I loved it and I too would love for you to write a sequel. Allison just has to find out that her son lives. I live in a small college town in Oregon. The only animals we have are two indoor spoiled cats and one outside stray that we have adopted. Neighbors next door have chickens and they do share eggs with us. I tend to read novels set during this time period in History. And my heart is touched with each one. Be Blessed, Erma

    • Hi, Erma. Thank you for your sweet note. I’m so glad you loved “Where Treasure Hides.” I loved writing that story though sometimes I cried while I did so. The characters became very real to me.

      I need to update this page because we no longer have chickens. The Raccoon and Fox families enjoyed several meals as did a mystery intruder who found a way into what we thought was a tightly secured coop. The flock had been safe in it for over a year then one morning I opened the door and . . . well, it was a massacre. Now we get our eggs from the store.

      Raising animals is not for the faint of heart.

      Thanks again for connecting. My best to you!

  9. I recently took pictures of the brick house in OH. If you will PM me your email address on Facebook, I will send them to you. I have read your books and enjoyed them very much. Can’t wait for the next one!

    • Hi, Brenda. Wow! I’m sorry not to have replied sooner. Somehow I missed a few notification emails. I would love to see the photos. My email address is JohnnieAlexander at iCloud.com

      So good to hear from you. (Also PMing you!)

  10. Hi Johnnie, not sure if you remember me from Mt. Sterling but I am a good friend of Brenda Maxie and I remember you and your family from the Church of Christ. I gave my sister “Where Treasure Hides” for her birthday and she can’t put it down. I’m saving my copy for beach reading in NC next week! Glad to hear you are a successful writer and can’t wait to read all your books! Let me know if you ever get to Columbus area and maybe we can reconnect!! Give my regards to your mom and Hebe – guess she is all grown up now too!

    • Hi, Faith. I owe both you and Brenda apologies for not seeing these comments sooner. The summer went by faster than I did!

      I’m so glad to hear your sister loved Where Treasure Hides and I hope you did, too. Was it the perfect beach read??

      Sadly, my mom passed away in February. (Another reason why I’ve not quite been on top of things for a while.) Thank you, though, for thinking of her and Hebe both. God bless!

  11. Oh I am so very, very sorry to hear about your mother. You and your family have my deepest sympathy. It is so hard to lose a loved one – you are certainly in my prayers. Since Brenda moved to AZ we don’t talk as much as I would like – not sure if she heard the news about your mother. I will certainly tell her when we next speak. She is scheduled to come back to OH for her birthday near the end of October and I am very hopeful we will see each other then. Last time she was in OH was for the high school graduation of Maria’s son Nick. We had an entire day and part of it was spent at a nearby Christian bookstore where she purchased two of your books. I did not have an opportunity to read your book on vacation. Unfortunately I still have not gotten to it but since I am home from a two week vacation out west I hope to get to it very soon. Again, my deepest sympathy. I appreciate your reply and hope to hear from you again in the future. Keep writing and I will keep reading!!