What Lies Behind The Mask?

What lies Behind The Mask, the title of my novel launching today, is such a fun and intriguing story. 

In celebration, my publisher has featured a blog post about the way it came into being. Click here to read the full article. 

Thank you for sharing my writing journey!

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Love After Love By Derek Walcott

In memory of the great poet, Derek Walcott, whose poem, Love After Love, is a personal favorite, I’d like to share it.  For more on his life and accomplishments visit  The Guardian.

 The time will come 

when, with elation 

you will greet yourself arriving 

at your own door, in your own mirror 

and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 
and say, sit here. Eat. 

You will love again the stranger who was your self. 

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 
all your life, whom you ignored 

for another, who knows you by heart. 

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 
the photographs, the desperate notes, 

peel your own image from the mirror. 

Sit. Feast on your life.

Thank you, Derek Walcott, for your words. 

Renee Johnson is the author of Behind The Mask, Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray. She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food. She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

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Official Cover Release for Behind The Mask

My last three novels have all been released in the autumn.  So I am especially excited to have an early spring release for Behind The Mask, my suspense romance published by The Wild Rose Press and available worldwide March 24, 2017!

Today, we are announcing its release date and sharing the cover–another beautiful design by Rae Monet–with a quote from Justen Ahren.

Thanks to everyone, especially my editor, Maggie Johnson, for the assistance in getting this novel to the presses.  I hope you’ll read it, and if so, enjoy it as much as I did while writing it.

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

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My grandmother always said to plant rosemary for remembrance.

How poetic that this huge one behind me should be in the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA, alongside the graves of Confederate and Union Soldiers.

Lest we forget.🌹

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

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Bonne anniversaire, Maurice!

In memory of Maurice Goyard, who I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with during my 2010 visit to Essoyes, France, I am sharing Janet Hulstrand’s interview with him on the occasion of his 95th birthday. Please take a minute to read about this man’s life.

Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road

Maurice, notre bien aimé doyen du village, in 2011

The purpose of this post is to wish a happy ninety-sixth year of life to the wonderful doyen of our village on the occasion of his 95th birthday.

Our oldest citizen is thankfully in good health and good spirits. His cheerful, gentle smile brightens everyone’s day whenever they see him, as he makes the rounds of the village shopping for bread and groceries, always ready with a kind word, often with a mischievous quip and a twinkle in his eye.

A few years ago, he kindly took the time to share with me some reminiscences of his long life. Apart from time spent in Paris in his youth for professional training as a coiffeur, and a few months in the South of France at the time of the invasion of France in 1940,  Maurice Goyard has been right here in…

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Herald Angels–Released and Examined!

A novel’s official Release Day is a cause for celebration.

It’s a bit like the day a new child enters the world.  Gestating for months, even years, its arrival is expected.  But seeing it, holding it, brings all the efforts of nourishment into perspective.

Today, 12.09.2016, is just such a day for Herald Angels, my latest novel with The Wild Rose Press.

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On further examination, this novel has been years in the making.  I’m sharing my secrets as to what inspired the locations of New York City and Bland, Virginia, my characters, and how both mesh, on my publisher’s blog.

I hope you’ll visit.  Click here!

perf5.000x8.000.inddRenee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

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One thing to never tell a child at Christmas!

 

etch

I don’t recall the year, how old I was, or even what Santa brought me that Christmas.  What I do remember is the etch-a-sketch debacle.

My sister, older by three and a half years, had received two brand new ones with pristine screens and shiny silver knobs.  When turned and twisted, those knobs made lines appear on the screen.  As if by magic I could make staircases and houses and Christmas trees.

It was all very linear.

I wanted one of hers.  She didn’t wish to share but our parents urged her (strongly) to reconsider for the short time frame in which they would be required in the kitchen to finish dinner.  Guests were due to arrive at any time.

Another oddity that year was my father assisting my mother at the stove.  (He must have issued the invitations.)

Begrudgingly my sister handed over the etch-a-sketch and I retreated to the den, away from the noise and bustle, and herein lies the crux of this story.

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My sister and me by the Christmas Tree

Precocious and curious, it wasn’t long before I wanted more than routine designs.  My mind swirled with questions.

How was this possible?

How did knob-turning make images on the screen?

With innocence, I ran to the kitchen.  My father was holding some heavy roasting pan over another pan in which my mother was furiously stirring—gravy-making I’m assuming.

“How does this work?”

My mother:  “Ask your father.”

My father:  “I’m busy.  Figure it out for yourself.

Whoa!  (Dads, here’s a hint.  Never—ever—not even once—should you say this to a child who will do exactly that!)

I knew where my parents kept their household toolkit—you know the kind—full of hammers, sparse nails, needle-nosed pliars.

After failed attempts at disassembly, I finally could stand it no longer and smacked the thing with a hammer.

To this day, I can’t figure out why my parents were angry, even though the metallic dust covered the whole house before the event was over, the tiny magnetic ball was lost in the shuffle, and even if it hadn’t been, would have been totally useless in the busted-up etch-a-sketch.

I thought I was the only person in the world to have such an experience until I saw this on you tube. 

Do you have a favorite memory of messing something up at Christmas?

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

 

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A quiet recognition

MJ and I have been blogging buddies for some years. She has delightful posts and has impressed me many times with her responses to readers. But this post really nailed the importance of reading and what it teaches us through the journeys writers take us on. I am thrilled to share it with you. Most of you know MJ already, but if you don’t, check out her blog. Thanks MJ!

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

Emjayandthem's Blog

Sunday morning, coffee’s hot; it’s hazy and cold outside.  There’s a whoosh as the furnace kicks on.  One lone squirrel scampers through the snow in search of something for his winter larder.

The hardest decision of my time off lies before me: which book to start next.

Last weekend, when all the kids and grands were here, our grand-daughter found my box of children’s books and happily marched herself over to my big leather chair, curled up and read.  Hubbs told me later, as he came in from outside, he caught a glimpse of her there in my chair, leg tucked under just as I do. Head tilted just so.  The resemblance gave him pause.  And me  ~ joy.

Some read because they have to ~ she reads because she wants to.  And my heart swells in quiet recognition of a girl who reads.

“You should date a girl who…

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Cover Release for Herald Angels

Drumroll please:

Unveiling just in time for the holidays, my Christmas romance novel, Herald Angels.

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For a reserved copy, order now! Available at The Wild Rose Press!

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

 

 

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Inspiration for The Haunting of William Gray

It’s October.

autumn-leaves-spectacular

Although the temperatures where I live have maintained unseasonable highs until yesterday, they are now beginning to dip a bit lower.

The holidays loom: Halloween, Thanksgiving, then…gulp…Christmas.

Leaves are changing from their summer green to their dormant shades of gold and red.  Some appear nearly purple.  While parts of my state have experienced flooding recently, we’ve remained dry in the mountains.

This lack of moisture has made the leaves more brittle.  They eagerly release in the first wind, filling porch corners and even the garage if we fail to shut the doors.

Fall festivals are dotting towns with carnivals, hayrides, trucks loaded with pumpkins, haunted houses.

autumn-table-arrangement-cropped

Haunted houses?  Yes, many of us love to be frightened.  We adore a good ghost story.

In the South, ghost stories are prevalent.  Perhaps it is the heat and the haze, that undulating steamy air that can’t be contained in our hands, but can be seen shifting on the horizon.

Maybe it’s the dripping Spanish moss, lonely forested roads, large abandoned houses missing windows in shapes of eyes, and doors looking like mouths frozen in silent screams.

Whatever the reason, every family seems to have their own ghostly ancestor.  Although I named my main character after one of my ancestors, the plot and the setting came from a place much further south.

Georgetown.

I know what you’re thinking…that suburb of Washington, D.C.? 

No.

Georgetown, South Carolina.

I wrote a post for my publisher’s blog back in May of this year.  Given the season and the many reasons this makes a good ghost story…in  my opinion…I thought it worth a second look.

Click here for the full article.

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Renee Johnson is the author of Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

 

 

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