Mary Alice Kenley: Lessons from Kenley Cove

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Mary Alice Kenley author of  “Lessons from the Porch at Kenley Cove.”
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Have you ever wanted to just sit on someone’s porch in a big old teak rocking chair, looking at a beautiful lake, and just pour out your heart?  Have you ever wanted someone who’s been around a while to listen and use personal experiences and lessons learned from years of Bible study to prayerfully guide you, so that when you left, your load was a little lighter?

That’s what happens almost every day on the huge back porch of our home in rural Alabama, which

photo credit:

A retired DC lobbyist, Mary Alice Kenley spends peaceful days writing on her back porch in rural Alabama.

we’ve dubbed Kenley Cove.

In my career as a lobbyist, I traveled almost all the time—Montgomery, Birmingham, Atlanta and Washington, DC.  The days were long with l

ots of meetings, but the evenings were mostly quiet.  I’m not a lover of TV, so I worked on my Bible study and journals.  Because the actual act of writing is restful for me, I hand wrote journal after journal of reflections, revelations and ruminations.  As the reader can imagine, I filled many of the little spiral bound journals (no 8x10s for me—they had to be pretty) with my thoughts and discoveries.

After I retired, I went back to school to become a Christian marriage and family counselor.  The constant, though, was the thoughtful writing in the pretty little books.  One day, one of my sons was visiting and asked what the stack of books was.  Not wanting to be overly serious, I said, “There’s bound to be something in there that you can say over my body when I’m dead!”

Kenley coverHe picked one up and started reading.  It was his suggestion that I start posting on social media.  He’d heard me ranting about bad stuff on the internet, and reminded me that perhaps I could be a force for change, at least in my own little neighborhood of social media friends.  Being the dutiful and obedient mother I try to be, I thought I’d try it.  I am now in my third year of posting on a daily basis Monday through Friday, and I find many are ministered to.  (You can read them, if you like, on the Facebook page that bears the name of the title of the book.)

It was that very venue that led to Lessons from the Porch at Kenley Cove.  At first I had a few printed by a printer for gifts for family and friends.  The week I went to the post office TEN times, the decision was made to seek out a publisher.  The book is now out, the marketing has begun, and my primary prayer is that people will be encouraged by the words between its covers.

Come on over and join me for a big old glass of sweet tea.  We’ll sit on the porch and talk a while!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.




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