John M. Cunningham, Jr: Let’s Chat!


linda brooks davis

Welcome, everyone

John CunninghamJohn M. Cunningham, Jr visits with us today. John is a Southern boy, professional writer, and former history teacher. He writes both nonfiction and historical fiction. His articles have appeared in numerous publications. He’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Gather ’round for a delightful chat with this intriguing author. John is offering a giveaway to someone who joins the chat below.

John M. Cunningham, Jr: Roots

John M. Cunningham

John’s Past

John Cunningham
I learned how to hunt and fish at an early age.

My family roots are deeply Southern, and I do mean Deep South. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama. Like many Southern boys, I learned how to hunt and fish at an early age. My older sister and my father were the real athletes in the family, my father an avid golfer and my sister a tennis player.

Because I possessed no athletic gifts, I developed a love for reading. Dreams of becoming a writer often entered my thoughts.

One Christmas my parents gave me a present that changed my life’s trajectory: The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War. Pulitzer-prize winning historian Bruce Catton wrote its narrative, and it sparked my interest in that conflict which soon broadened into other historical eras.

Though I’ve never served in the military, I have a military background that’s helped me with my novels.

John’s Youth

On my way to school

In the late 1960s and early 70s, I attended high school at Marion Military Institute, an ROTC-sponsored military academy in Marion, Alabama. At the time, it had both a high school and a junior college. Though it has since discontinued its high school program, its junior college continues. Many graduates go on to a military career.

John Cunningham
Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Also during my high school years, I participated in the Naval Sea Cadet program sponsored by the Navy League of the United States. My father, a World War Two Navy veteran and dentist, served as our medical officer. This program gave me many wonderful experiences. I  spent two weeks at a Canadian Forces military base in Nova Scotia, two weeks at Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, went on a turnaround cruise in Boston Harbor aboard the USS Constitution, spent another two weeks on the training carrier USS Lexington (based in Pensacola, Florida), and even spent the day on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico aboard a Coast Guard cutter. Many a time, I’ve drawn on these memories when writing my historical novels.

John’s Professional Life

Upon graduation from the University of Alabama with a degree in history, I moved to the New Orleans area where I taught high school. Here, the Lord launched me into a professional writing career with my first published article, a devotional I sold to The Upper Room in 1983.

John Cunningham
Book Signing in Gretna, Louisiana

During my time in New Orleans, I taught a writing class, sold numerous articles to Christian magazines and Sunday school publications, and contributed to a men’s devotional series published by Broadman & Holman.

My devotional book, Reflections of a Southern Boy, was published in 2019 under the byline Jack Cunningham. My three Civil War novels are published under the byline John M. Cunningham, Jr. The third novel is a dog story set during the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana (1863) titled Squire, A Mascot’s Tale.

John M. Cunningham, Jr: Present

Currently, I’m working on a novel set against the backdrop of Thoroughbred racing in antebellum Mobile. Horse racing was a huge sport in this era. I do not have a definite title for the book yet.

John’s Books

John Cunningham

What do kudzu, fiddler crabs, and an undeserved trophy have in common? They’re all part of Mister Cunningham’s experiences growing up in the Deep South. He compiles these stories and others into a series of devotionals and Bible studies. A few stories, though, just have a Southern theme. Some are humorous and others more serious, but all teach life lessons readers can apply to their own faith journeys. or  
John M. Cunningham, Jr.


At the outbreak of the Civil War and against his wife Rachel’s pleadings, Captain Jesse Webb takes his beloved dog Squire to war as his regiment’s mascot. Will Squire survive his ordeal and find his way home while the Union army battles the Rebel garrison? John M. Cunningham, Jr.


Southern Sons ~ Dixie Daughters

John M. CunninghamA sweeping saga of the Civil War’s western naval campaigns, with a large cast of characters, Book 1 in the Southern Sons-Dixie Daughters series follows four Southern families living on the Gulf Coast—the Westcotts, the Jessups, the Soileaus, the indomitable and devout slave Danny who escapes bondage and finds service aboard a Union warship and his wife Nancy, cruelly whisked out of his life decades before the war. John M. Cunningham, Jr.


John M. CunninghamWhile Moxley Westcott flees to Mobile to escape arrest by the Union army his brother Ben, a critically wounded prisoner, hovers at death’s door. Their parents and their sister Annie return to their plantation upriver, unaware that danger lurks very near in the person of the evil Xavier Locke, who plans their demise.

This second installment of Southern Sons-Dixie Daughters continues the triumphs, conflicts, and tragedies of these four Southern families against the sweeping saga of the Civil War’s western naval campaigns. Who will live to see the end of the war? Who will die? And who will choose change rather than a hardened heart?  John M. Cunningham, Jr. 

John M. Cunningham, Jr: Links

Facebook John M. Cunningham, Jr, Author
Blog  John M. Cunningham, Jr: The Author’s Cove

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Dear Lord, please bless each word John M. Cunningham, Jr. writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

9 thoughts on “John M. Cunningham, Jr: Let’s Chat!

  1. My father loved the Navy. I get my love of the sea from him.

    1. Welcome to the Let’s Chat family, John.

      1. Thank you so much, Linda.

  2. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds

    Looks like I need to put these on my wish list.

    1. Thanks, Leila! If you do, I sincerely hope you will enjoy them.

    2. Thanks for dropping by, Lucy. You’re an encourager. You name’s in the hat. Bless you.

  3. Paula Shreckhise

    I love Christian Fiction with a Southern flair. These look especially good. My hubby was in the Navy from 1968 for 6 years. I got to accompany him to Homestead, Florida, Portsmouth, Virginia and Guam.

    1. Hi, Paula. Great to see you in our circle. You encourage John and me both. Bless you.

    2. Thanks, Paula. I’ve always wanted to visit Guam and other islands in the South Pacific since that’s where my father served during World War Two.


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Mary Gant Bell: Let’s Chat

linda brooks davis

Welcome, everyone

Mary Gant BellMary Gant Bell honors us with a chat this go-round. Mary began her writing career about fifteen years ago to give voice to the ideas rattling in her brain. She started with genealogy books and later Christian fiction romance novels.

Mary married a man who craves adventure. Together they parent one daughter and a gaggle of attention-seeking cats.

When Mary is not writing, she quilts or cleans seashells from her latest trip to the beach. She never learned to cook, so don’t show up at dinner time. She’d much rather chase her characters from chapter to chapter than preheat the oven.

Mary is offering a giveaway: an ebook of Tell Me It Was Just a Dream to someone who joins the chat below. 

Mary Gant Bell: Let’s Chat

Mary Gant Bell
t seems strange to say this, but I never dreamed of being an author when I was a kid. As I got older, I thought it would be fun to be published, but still didn’t envision it as an on-going interest. After my first genealogy book was released, I put my pen down and figured that was the end of my writing career. One genealogy book led to seven more, and before I knew it, I was writing fiction, too.

My novels come from what I believe is missing in today’s marketplace. So many fiction books focus on a politically correct issue, in my opinion. I have nothing against authors using their platform to express their viewpoint, however. But as a reader, I want to be entertained in a thought-provoking and inspirational way. I crave a story that makes me think, challenges my brain, and uplifts my soul. That is what generates my characters and their stories.

Writing Dreams

Mary Gant Bell

Other books, however, come from dreams. Blame it on menopause or the full moon. All I know is – I have weird dreams. I wake up remembering every detail and emotion. One particular dream followed that pattern. Vivid colors. Clearly defined people. Pain. Suffering. Unity. And survival.

The only difference between this dream and the other visions I have had was that this one continued for four nights. Night two picked up where night one ended. Night three picked up where night two stopped. You get the idea. Each morning found me scribbling notes on the journal I keep in my nightstand.

Mary Gant Bell

It was a disturbing dream. For days, I caught myself pondering its meaning. Was it just a dream or more like a prophecy? Did it predict the future or replay some past, long-forgotten event? Had God revealed His truth to me? I spent significant time trying to decipher what God wanted me to learn from these four – but really one – dreams.

Then it occurred to me that maybe God intended for me to be His messenger. Perhaps I was to tell the story in addition to learning from the story. It could be that’s just what my author’s brain assumed. But once I started putting the words on the page, the point of the dreams flowed like an avalanche down the side of a mountain. (Although at times it felt like blood pouring from a head wound, too.) It came together very quickly and effortlessly. Even though it had been months since the actual dream, I knew this was a story God wanted others to hear.

Mary Gant Bell: The Writer

Tell Me It Was Just A Dream is the story revealed to me in those dreams. The book is in four parts, as the dreams came to me. The book, like the dreams, ends with an important take-away for all ages to apply. The message is as timeless as it is important – and urgent – for our world. Order your copy today and begin changing the world. You won’t regret it.

Mary Gant Bell

After this book, I wrote the Under the Garden Tree series. It was originally intended to be three books, but quickly turned into six. I am currently working on book three of my second series, The When Series. Those characters haven’t told me yet how many books will be in that collection! After that, I plan to write another devotional (the topic will surprise you, so watch my website for details as they develop.)

If you’ve ever considered being an author or believe you have a story to tell, I strongly encourage you to go for it. It’s challenging, rewarding, and tons of fun!

Tell Me It Was Just a Dream

Mary Gant Bell

It’s been said that everything can change in an instant. Valerie Walker can testify to this. One day her idyllic life was consumed with the mundane tasks involved with being a mother of three active children and the wife of the mayor. From one breath to the next, all of that changed.

Now Valerie struggles to salvage the shattered pieces of her life.  But where doe she begin? Her mother’s heart wants to comfort her husband and children. Unfortunately, their very survival must take precedence over luxury. If Valerie and her husband cannot keep everyone alive, there’s no point in soothing their souls.

Will they survive this tragedy, this shocking surprise? If they do, will they be able to rebuild the peaceful lifestyle they all enjoyed before the catastrophe uprooted them from their tranquility?

Or will this disaster tear them apart?

Other Books by Mary Gant Bell

Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell
Mary Gant Bell Links:

Buy link:

Social Media Links:


Instagram:  mary_gant_bell_author

Lulu Author Page:

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Lord, please bless each word Mary writes for You.
~For Jesus’ sake

4 thoughts on “Mary Gant Bell: Let’s Chat

  1. Anthea Kotlan

    Dear Mary,
    Fascinating to gain some insight on your writing process and to hear about your vivid dreams. Hope you and yours are staying well.


    1. So good to see you in our circle, Anthea. Say Hi to the gang 🙂

  2. Wow. You’re book, Tell me it’s just a dream. sounds adventurous and interesting.
    God bless you Mary, as you continue to write for His glory!

    1. Thanks, Penny. It was definitely an adventure to write it. Have you read any of my other books? I hope you are well and surviving this lockdown without incident.


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