Sunday, March 29, 2015

Inspirations by David L. Johnston

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  If life has taught me nothing else, I have learned that I am less than what I can be if I do not have others working with me.  So I pray y'all will feel free to suggest how I can improve my story telling, too.

My friends here in the prison frequently ask, "How long did it take you to write a book?"  You realize I am not able to use computers and modern technology.  I wrote the first part of the first draft on a ’40's or ’50's era Smith-Corona portable.  She was sweet but could be temperamental, and I did not realize how slow the machine was until I was blessed with an upgrade to a Swintec electronic machine.  Anyhow, Olive U is not a long story. And my Boss made the writing a real pleasure.  Still, what with prison being prison, I started working on the novel in 2009, had to take a long break when I was transferred to another prison, and finally picked it up and finished it in 2013/14.  All together, I would estimate I worked on Olive U three months.  Many of those days were 16 hours or more, but I loved every minute of it. Drove some roommates nuts and still get a death threat or two (not really), but I had a blast getting out of prison and hanging around with Pastor Best and Brother Eli and the boys.

Olive U was inspired by the testimonies of mighty men of God like Peter Fluer of the Newsboys and Dave Krumpe, a volunteer chaplain at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran, California (CSATF/SP).  Both these men told of serving God before they really knew Him.  We had a great praise and worship team in the chapel at A Facility back in 2008 and had included them in a couple of well-received dramas for the brothers.  We were praying for inspiration on a fresh Christmas play in 2008 when God gave me Olive U, the play.  After that performance, one old timer as he was wheeling out of the chapel in a chair looked up at me and said, "I've been going to church all my life, and that's the best Christmas service I've-ever been to!" Our praise team was phenomenal--they really were.

The next year, I had some time and asked God what I should write next.  He told me to make a novel out of Olive U.  And here we are.

I was a fairly new believer.  --Well, maybe.  I guess that depends on your doctrine.  I had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior as a child, joined the Navy at 17, then murdered two men in 1986. My first 20 years in prison, I was just waiting to die, really. I did not think I would ever get out.  But then 1 came to my senses or He called me again or He simply called me in 2005. Anyhow, I had been inspired as a young-in-the-faith Christian by the likes of Sheldon's In His Steps.  I loved the evangelistic message and the simplicity of his prose.  In His Steps and other classic Christian novels are beautiful in their simplicity.


Thursday, March 5, 2015


Patti Boeckman will be drawing one name for a free ebook, so be sure an leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.


Pit a feisty, she-cat against a reluctant interloper and watch the sparks fly.

When Elizabeth McDaniel's reclusive, sheltered existence on her grandfather's farm is invaded by Derek Huston, she cannot possibly imagine the stunning result of his intrusion into her life. And he has no idea how enchanted he will become with the lovely, spit-fire redhead who demonstrates her dead-eye, rifle aim on their first encounter.

Their first clash of wills precedes a budding romance, the flowering of Elizabeth's musical talents with a guitar provided by Derek, and Derek's acceptance into the family. No one suspects that Derek has a hidden agenda so explosive that, when revealed, it turns Elizabeth's world upside down and her image of herself inside out.

No longer able to trust Derek on any level, she erases him from her life and from her heart.

Is there any hope that Derek can regain her confidence and her love?

Find out in this delightful, warm, touching, compelling account of two people whose lives are dramatically changed by each other and who have to sort through the rubble of their existence before they can know if they have a future together.


“I’ll be glad to, Ma’am. As soon as you quit pointing that rifle in my direction.”

Quickly, the gaze from Derek Huston’s dark brown eyes swept down the long, gray gunbarrel and stopped at a pair of blazing green eyes set in a sea of light freckles and topped by a mop of curly red hair. Their slightly built, twenty-something owner wore a faded long-sleeved work shirt and jeans. Derek stood deathly still.

“You just turn around and march right back to where you come from. My grandpa’s dyin’, and he deserves to die in peace.” Her voice quavered as she blinked back tears. “Now, put your hands up, turn around, and get!” Her steely tone returned. She meant business. She backed up her demand with a threatening step toward him off the porch of the old, paint-weary house.

Derek’s attention flashed back to the spot where the May afternoon sun glinted off the business end of her weapon. “I’m here to talk to Oscar McDaniel,” he said, standing his ground.

“What’s the matter, Mister? You gone deaf?” Her squinted eyes and the almost imperceptible twitch of her trigger finger were obviously meant to intimidate him.

He carefully raised his hands above his head. “If you kill me, the sheriff will haul you off to jail. Then who’s going to take care of and protect your grandpa?”

“Nobody won’t know you’re dead if you just up and disappear. I got a shovel and I know how to use it.”


Barnes and Noble Nook                  Smashwords

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#FreeBook -- OLIVE U by David L. Johnston -- Free at Amazon

Free at Amazon Friday, February 13-16.

An aging Baptist preacher in small-town Kansas. The members of a band who play contemporary Christian music in Los Angeles. Beyond their love for the Lord Jesus and His people, they have only their struggles with failure and success in common—until tragedy brings them together on Christmas Eve. 

When Paul Knight joins the members of Olive U, the group instantly jumps from local cover band to sought-after opener at concerts across the nation. The problem is Paul may not know the Lord as well as he claims. 

After a tornado of historic proportions rips through Kansas, an elderly Baptist preacher, Ron Best, faces challenges to his doctrinal beliefs and failure after failure in his ministry. But the Holy Spirit keeps pushing him forward. 
Olive U is the story of how God brings these men together for Christmas Eve on the wind-swept Kansas Plains.

David L. Johnston has been in prison in California for nearly 30 years. He is an elder and assistant pastor (administration) to Dino Cardelli at the Church on the Yard at D Facility, Valley State Prison, outside Chowchilla. He is currently in his fourth year with Harvest Bible University School of Correspondence, Los Angeles, California, where he is studying for his bachelor of ministry degree. OLIVE U is an adaptation of a play Johnston wrote and directed while a prisoner at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran. Johnston is a native of Dallas, Texas, and a veteran of the US Navy. He is 50 years old.

What none of that sales copy tells you is that David Johnston is my cousin. When I was growing up, my grandmother and mother often had family gatherings on Easter and New Year's Eve, and I spent time with David at many of those, watching him hunt Easter eggs, shoot off fireworks, and generally horse around with me and my brothers and the rest of our cousins. He was always a bright, imaginative kid, and it doesn't surprise me a bit that he turned out to be a writer.

Bad choices landed David behind bars early in life, but he's been able to overcome that to change his life and become one of the leading figures in California's prison ministry. Now he's written an excellent novel in OLIVE U that's not only an inspirational story of people changing their lives with the Lord's help, but also a fine tale of the music business and its challenges and opportunities.

Prayers and Promises Publications published OLIVE U to help David share his vision with the world and also because it's a compelling, vividly written novel with a great story. OLIVE U is free for the next four days on Amazon and could really use some reviews. If you're a reader of inspirational fiction, please help us get the word out about this outstanding novel.

Winnie Griggs Interviews Cheryl Pierson about Prayers and Promises Publications

New and Inspired | Winnie Griggs Interviews Cheryl Pierson of Prairie Rose Publications

Hi! Winnie Griggs here, ready to bring you more on the Inspirational Romance front. This month I’m talking to Cheryl Pierson, the co-owner and Acquisitions Editor for Prairie Rose Publications. I asked her to give me a little history on her new Inspirational line and what offerings they have that readers can look forward to...   For the interview go here.

Prayers & Promises -- SHATTERED VOWS by Linda LaRoque


Annie and Stuart Rayburn have loved each other since high school. Their life is idyllic until their baby dies of SIDS, and Annie falls into a deep depression. Months of therapy help her recover, and they look forward to another child sometime in their future.

Despite his own grief Stuart tries to comfort Annie, yet when he reaches for her in the night, his advances are rebuffed. In a moment of weakness, he turns to another woman. Stu learns his night of infidelity produced a baby girl. The mother died in a car crash, and her will gives Stu custody.

Stu can’t deny the child is his, and he’s determined to raise her. He begs Annie’s forgiveness. Hurt and angry, Annie must face her demons, decide if she can forgive Stu, and love the innocent child, or divorce him and move on without the only man she’s likely to love.


    “Josephine Lawrence died in a car crash two weeks ago.”
    Josie dead? The nerves in Stu’s scalp tingled and shot down his spinal cord. He’d never wanted Annie to find out about his one-time indiscretion, but he wouldn’t wish death on Josie, either. “I’m so sorry to hear that. I didn’t know her well, but did know she was a valued associate at her company.”
    “Yes, it’s been a great shock to her co-workers and to her mother. And that’s why I’ve called you here today. She left you the sole custodian of her child.”
    His heart hammered in his chest. Why would she leave him custody? “I didn’t know Josie had children.” They hadn’t exchanged more than five words that night—that he remembered. “Why…why would she give custody of her child to me? We barely knew each other.”
    Mr. Hampton removed a 5x7 professional photo from the folder and laid it in front of Stu.
    Stu gasped for breath and pulled at his tie.

BUY LINKS  B&N Nook   Smashwords