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.


M
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


N
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?


T
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

Facebook 

Blog

Amazon

Goodreads

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

    Jill,
    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.

       
       
  4. SARAH TAYLOR

    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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Let’s Chat! Author Louise Looney

Meet Louise Looney

Louise Looney. Meet her and never forget her. Louise refers in her interview below to Hidden Manna, a Christian Retreat Center she managed for fifteen years. I first met Louise, first sat at her feet, and first gained from her wisdom at Hidden Manna.

I know you’ll be glad you met her. And you won’t forget her either.

**The winner of one of Louise’s books is Judy Goshy! All Judy did to enter the drawing was comment below.** 

Who Is Louise Looney?

I entered the world in one of the worst of times, the Great Depression, the eighth child, and with a misshaped head. But my parents loved me anyway. And throughout the years, in spite of my misshapen life, my Heavenly Father loved and blessed me anyway.

Athough poor, my family stressed the need for education. I graduated from Abilene Christian University. I earned my master’s degree from the University of Wyoming and did Post Graduate work at East Texas State University. I never studied journalism or creative writing because I didn’t dream I’d become a writer.

Louise Looney, Teacher

I taught all levels of education, in the prison system and on four occasions in a Bible training program in China. Adult students arrived from all over the country and stayed in hiding—in tiny places where they slept on the floor and weren’t allowed even to go out for a walk–for three months to do an in-depth study of the Bible

I enjoyed the wonderful experience of managing a Christian Retreat center, Hidden Manna, for fifteen years. When I turned seventy-five, I stepped away from cooking, mowing, cleaning, etc.

Louise Looney, Writer

I wrote my first book at age 79. (Tweet That!) My computer crashed, my printer acted up and I stepped on the flash drive that contained the backup for the book. Though I had hard copies of some of the chapters, I still had to redo much of the book. I was almost in tears when I called a friend to ask for prayer.


She failed to answer her phone, and I left a message, asking her to pray for me. A few hours later, she stopped by the house. I thanked her for responding to my call, but she said, “I never got a call.” That night, a young man phoned me. “My name is not Bette,” he said, “but I want you to know I got your message this morning and I’ve been praying for you all day.”

I moved to a retirement community, where I saw many people who complained about the aging process. And the Lord nudged me to write a book looking at this season of life from His perspective.


S
olomon’s description of aging is dismal, but God whispered, “Solomon wrote about the outer man. Look at the inner man.” My first book, Hidden Treasures for the Golden Years, addressed this issue and won the “Best Book on Christian Living,” 2011.

The second book came as the result of taking the yellowed notes my deceased psychologist husband had written over 35 years before. I struggled with the skeleton of this book for a year, attempting to resurrect his dream. Ultimately, the Lord spoke to my heart, “Use your voice, not his.” Then, ideas began to flow. This book is entitled Splashes of Living Water.

Marvels and Mysteries, is about the wonders of God’s creation, the intricate details of human organs and attributes of animals and their migration habits.

Louise Looney, Encourager

As an encouragement to seniors, I decided devotionals with humorous and heart-warming stories of encouragement would be a welcomed message. Over the Hill, Onto the Mountaintop, contains stories of hope for those growing older.

The Lord encouraged me to use our five senses like rungs of a ladder to climb out of the pit of depression. My latest book, Out of Darkness, Into His Marvelous Light, provides exercises at the end of each chapter. 

Three of my books served in fellowship groups: Hidden Treasures for Golden Years, Splashes of Living Water, and Out of Darkness, Into His Marvelous Light.

Louise Looney, Speaker

Currently, I write short humorous You-tube videos called “Looney Tidbits” that end with a spiritual message. They’re published each Friday on social media. I pray even non-believers will watch them for their humor, but grow curious about Christianity and check it out to find answers to life.

I speak to groups frequently and delivered a keynote address at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May. Recently, I participated in interviews on two television programs, two radio programs and am scheduled to appear on another television and radio show this next week.

My heart’s desire is to encourage those who live in the autumn and winter seasons of life. And assure God’s older children that He has a purpose for each of us until we take our last breath. (Click to Tweet!)

Louise Looney, Survivor and Thriver

Other of my experiences—the death of my son by suicide; my husband’s brief unfaithfulness; nights when my family—including a two-year-old, a one-year-old, and a third child on the way—slept on the floor of a church building because we had no place to stay and no money; the dark days when my husband fought and lost the battle with cancer in the prime of his life; a five-year period when I was faced with the death of five members of my family; my daughter’s battle with cancer; and the death of a newborn grandson—I leave to another interview, another time.

Louise Looney, Award Winner

Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference honored me as “Writer of the Year” in May for Out of Darkness, Into His Marvelous Light.

Find me at my website, www.louisellooney.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter. 

~ ~ ~

Oh, Lord, our Unchanging God, Jehovah, You set Your hand on Louise Looney. You walk alongside her through valleys and on mountaintops. You smile as she ministers to so many in Jesus’ name. Through her You convey messages hope and encouragement for others in the autumn and winter of their lives. Bless Louise’s every word for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake.

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13 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Louise Looney

  1. Anthea Kotlan

    What a wealth of encouragement this lady has to offer. Thank you for sharing your chat with Louise, Linda. Her legacy is amazing as I can testify to the life saving intervention her son gave to my father-in-law a number of years ago. I needed to read this tonight as a reminder of what God can do with a willing vessel.

     
     
    1. You used the perfect words to describe Louise, Anthea: “what God can do with a willing vessel.” (She lives in your area, by the way, and she loves to speak to groups.) Paul and Teri have done so much for the Lord’s kingdom in ways few know about. They are an amazing family.

       
       
  2. Marilyn R

    Wow, God never ceases to amaze me when individuals allow Him to lead them. I enjoyed the legacy and testimony Louis Looney shared here. Her books sounds amazing and I’m going to have to check them out. Thank you for the introduction. Each day is a blessing no matter the age, as I tell my friends who complain about a big 0 birthday. Live each one to the fullest as some never reached that 60, 70 or 80 milestone.

     
     
  3. Judy Goshy

    I met you at your son’s (Paul) relationship conference in early 2014. Later that year, my husband had a stroke. This summer, I turned 65 and although I don’t feel older, I see the number and know my time is limited to leave a positive legacy. My dad died in the spring of 2014 but he was always positive about growing older. The only downer he ever said about aging was “The first 80 years are easy. After that, it’s harder.”
    I look forward to reading your words of encouragement.

     
     
    1. What a wonderful connection, Judy. Like Louise, no one can ever forget Paul. So happy you stopped by. You’re entered!

       
       
    2. What a blessing to get back in touch with those whose paths have crossed. Thank you for your encouragement.

       
       
  4. Bonnie Mae Evans

    Dearest Louise,
    I just love that you wrote your first book at 70! That proves that as long as we are willing to let God use us He will! That statement alone gave me a much encouragement today!
    Bless you as you seek to serve Him more!

     
     
    1. Bonnie, I was actually 79, but the amazing thins is that
      God often chooses unlikely people at unlikely times to prove He had to be involved. Your comment was a blessing.

       
       
    2. So glad you stopped by to chat a bit, Bonnie. You’re entered in the drawing! 🙂

       
       
  5. Ann Ellison

    I new to me author. I enjoyed the interview and her books sounds like good ones.

     
     
    1. Louise is a one-of-a-kind, Ann. So glad you joined us today. You’re entered in the drawing!

       
       
      1. Thanks for adding the reply. I wrote one, but somehow it didn’t show up. Perhaps I’m to put my name and address below (?)

         
         
        1. You’ve done exactly what you need to, Louise. You’re not at all “technology challenged.” Love you!

           
           

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