18 July 2019

The Mosaic Collection: Johnnie Alexander | Guest Post + Giveaway

For His glory…
The Mosaic Collection is an international community of women authors who use faith-based fiction to touch hearts with the good news that Christ’s finished work on the cross has made us one family, and to nurture affection for the people God has placed within our circles of influence, so that the grace and glory of God may become visible and personal to everyone we meet.

…and our good
We are sisters, a beautiful mosaic united by the love of God through the blood of Christ. We have experienced the redemptive, restorative power of God’s grace in our marriages and families, and we believe our God is able to heal, restore and redeem our brokenness. His love fills us with the courage to persevere, and to offer others a Christ-like compassion that is full of His wisdom and grace.


Though I live in Oklahoma now, I lived most of my adult life in central Florida. Mention the Sunshine State, and most people think of theme parks, beaches, and palm trees. But we lived in an area with a strong pioneering heritage of cattle ranches, rodeos, and citrus groves. Even in the 21st century, ranchers round-up the cattle on horseback and come to town wearing boots, buckles, and Stetsons.

About ten or fifteen years ago, several long-time ranching families moved their operations--cattle, horses, personal belongings--to Texas. Developers needed their land to provide housing for the multitudes moving to Florida, but these families didn’t want to give up their way of life. The money they received wasn’t as important to them as working from sun-up to sun-down, raising their cattle, and preserving a legacy for their children.

I had interviewed the patriarch of one of these families a few years before their move for my graduate thesis on the human-canine bond. (It was a creative nonfiction project for a Master of Liberal Studies degree.) Over time, this man’s family had developed a breed of cur dog that was popular with the area’s ranchers. The puppies were trained by the adult dogs to work the cattle. 

But this patriarch also used the latest scientific research and testing and up-to-date technology for his longhorn cattle breeding program. I was fascinated by how he seemed to straddle two centuries and united the “old ways” with the new.

To me, rural Florida lost something precious when families like this one moved. The Orlando Sentinel carried a lengthy (and I mean lengthy) interview with this same cattleman. I kept that article and I still have the cassette recording of my interview with him. All these years later, I’m finally pulling together ideas from those events into a story. 

The hero of One Sun-Kissed Summer, Shane Sawyer, is proud to trace his Florida roots back to the mid-1800s in a state populated with people from somewhere else. When other family members moved away, he stayed put. Despite the pressures to sell, Shane seeks to conserve the state’s agricultural history. 

Children’s illustrator Chloe Reisser shares Shane’s interest in Florida history even though she’s from “up north.” As a part-time wildlife rehabilitation specialist, Chloe wants to protect the state’s native habitats. Her interests and Shane’s will sometimes collide, and they’ll face other conflicts as their friendship deepens into something more.

I gave Chloe a passion for wildlife so I could share with readers the unique species found in the state along with the “cowboy culture” seldom associated with Florida. 

Just another little tidbit to add. 

Floridians know that wherever there’s water, there’s a gator. An alligator used to sun itself near the retention pond at the end of our street. One evening, we discovered a gator, about three-foot-long, beneath my car. All part of life in the Sunshine State!


Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget. Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale), is a CBA bestseller. She writes contemporaries, historicals, and cozy mysteries, serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon.

Cornerstone message from the collection: One of the first verses I ever claimed as my own was Proverbs 31:25. The translation I love most reads: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.

The first part of the verse is almost a mantra, a phrase I repeat to myself when I need courage. Maybe I’m faced with something as simple as a phone call I don’t want to make. Or maybe the situation is much more serious. An ectopic pregnancy. Family tensions. Divorce. A dying parent.

Life takes courage. And at the heart of courage--true courage--is trust. We can smile at the future, no matter what difficult, frightening, horrible situations we face because of God’s steadfast love and His promise of eternal life with Him.


(1) winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card & an ebook prize pack*!

Winner will receive an ebook of:

Where She Belongs
Pieces of Granite
Christmas on a Mission
Other Side of the River
The Third Grace
Carolina Grace
The Benefit Package (a devotional)
Dance of Grace
When Love Calls

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 10, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open internationally, but international winner will receive a gift card only (may be substituted for a Book Depository gift card if winner cannot accept from US Amazon)

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Johnnie. I love the idea that true courage comes from trusting God, no matter what we are going through in life.