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.

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 manyJohn Cunningham 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

 ~ ~ ~

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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Let’s Chat! Jill English Johnston

Welcome, everyone!

Jill English Johnston joins our chat circle this week. I’ve known Jill for several years through our local American Christian Fiction Writers group. We also attend the same church, although on different campuses.

Jill’s beautiful Christian devotionals, Praise and Wonder, showcase her husband Jon’s photography. She’s offering a print copy of Praise to someone who joins the chat below.

If I were asked to describe Jill English Johnston in a word or two, I’d say gentle soul. I think you’ll agree.

P.S. By the way, thank you for your service, Jill! 

Jill English Johnston Before Writing

I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania and raised in the country in northwestern Pennsylvania (near Edinboro), where my entire extended family also lived. My parents were blue-collar workers. Dad worked in a shop (Lord’s manufacturing making airplane parts). Mom worked odd jobs (Avon sales, egg farm, toy manufacturing, waitress, donut shop). Family was important, dysfunctional and crazy, but our main social circle. 

I loved to read, dreamt of traveling, and quite honestly, didn’t have my family’s cynical outlook on life. So I never quite fit in. I always thought I was an optimist. Then I met my husband and realized I was only the least pessimistic of the people surrounding me. I loved to read (books were my escape) and loved to write (had so many stories in my head). I dreamt of one day being published and influencing/encouraging young hearts as writers like Tolkien, Lewis, L’Engle, and Cleary had done for mine.

y dad served 4 years in the air force. Since my family didn’t encourage college and I wanted to travel and do something different than minimum wage jobs, I joined the navy.

I trained as a weather observer/forecaster and was stationed all over (many years in Asia). I planned to get out and do something different every step of my service time. But marriage, kids, and life kept me reenlisting—for 24 years!

Finally I retired in 2010, two years after my husband, and we moved to Texas and built our what-we-could-afford-dream home.  It includes my own study with a great view, plenty of bookshelves and lots of space to spread out, research and write. 

Jill English Johnston’s Debut Experience

ovels take a long time to write, especially when learning how. After moving to Texas, the Lord provided me amazing encouragers and writer’s groups who helped me on my writing/learning journey. I’ve attended workshops and conferences and have written hundreds of thousands of words, but have only finished one novel (book one in a trilogy) and have several trilogies in various stages of completion.

With the appearance of Amazon and Create Space (now part of Kindle Direct Publishing), I decided to publish my own devotional. Two things motivated me.

  • One: I wanted to have something to sell at our writer’s group annual Christmas book sale and

  • Two: My husband, Jon T Johnston, is a hobby photographer and has thousands of pictures on his computer. In 2017, I combined our talents and designed and self published our first book in our Be Still series together, Praise: Proclaiming the Glory of God (based on verses in Psalms). I did it mainly because I could, for the experience and also to share my husband’s photographs with others. 

What’s up With Jill English Johnston now?

his past Christmas, we published our second book in the Be Still seriesWonder, Contemplating the Mysteries of God. It is based on verses in Isaiah. The book was even more fun than the first because we took a camping road trip so my husband could take the pictures while I wrote a devotional for each passage/photo. This year we’re working on the third book in the Be Still series, Explore. It will be aimed toward young people, with plenty of photographs of God’s creation and questions to inspire/encourage. 

I’m still working on my novels. I plan to soon send proposals to editors/agents for the one I’ve finished, Mists of Time (book one in the Time Trilogy). While I wait, I will continue to work on the second book, Echoes through Time and outline the third, Truths in Time.

Jill English Johnston

I also write devotionals for my blog, my church facebook page and my writer’s group annual Christmas Advent devotional. I teach on prayer and serve as prayer ministry leader at my church. This month I will facilitate a writer’s workshop, aimed at those wanting to explore the idea of writing and listening to the Lord’s leading/direction.

How to Find Jill English Johnston





About Jill English Johnston

Jill English Johnston pours her heart and soul into writing both fiction and non fiction. Ever since childhood, she’s appreciated the power of story and is delighted God has finally brought her to the place where she, too, can put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, wings to words.

With her passion for prayer and prose and her husband’s love for capturing God’s glory in pictures, Jill English Johnston and Jon T Johnston, work together to create photo devotionals, the Be Still series.

They currently live in New Braunfels, Texas and spend their time writing/taking pictures of God’s creation, watching sunsets, kayaking, hiking, cycling and traveling to visit grandchildren, children, family and friends.

~ ~ ~
Dear Lord, You keep Your handprint ever before us. In Creation. Families. Love. Joy. And wonder. We praise You as the Origin of everything good. We pause to thank You for gifting writers with words and callings to write stories that lift You up and encourage others. Please bless each word Jill writes to Your glory.
~For Jesus’ sake

7 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Jill English Johnston

  1. Diane Buie

    I am encouraged by the fact that you kept writing and keep writing on those three novels you spoke of. They are still awaiting publication yet, you continued to write. 🙂 I am inspired to write more on my own novel geared for Middle agers and designed to encourage their faith development. Thanks for writing and for the chance to enter the giveaway.

  2. JANE WAUGHTAL (QUAIL-pen name)

    Jill, your blog evidences the humility that God desires for all His children. What a pleasure to meet you on paper. Do you attend any of the ACFW conference meetings in San Antonio? I would so enjoy having the opportunity to do so. My husband and I live in the Valley, and the trip that could be 4 1/2 hrs., for us becomes 6-7! My husband suffers with his back problems and stopping often is a must. Hope to make many new friends at one of the meetings, and you as well, Jill. God bless you richly!

    1. I’d love to give you a hug, Jane. Your heart is so good. We have an ACFW writers’ group in SA that meets 1x per month. Jill is an officer. Friend her on Facebook, and you can message her. (I’ve gone inactive for awhile.) She’s Jill Victoria English Johnston on Facebook.

  3. Hey, gang. Jill is vacationing this week and won’t be able to reply until she returns. But please do comment. You’ll encourage both of us.

    1. Jill Johnston

      Thank you Linda. What a wonderful article and a blessing to be invited.


    Thank you Jill for your Service!

    1. Jill Johnston

      Thank you Sarah. What a joy to see our country show appreciation to those in uniform.


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