Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Question Of The Month: The Dream Job Edition

This month we asked the Super authors to answer an oldie but a goodie: 
What is your dream profession, and why? (Other than writing, of course.) 


Tara Taylor Quinn: My dream profession really is writing!  From the time I was six years old and had my first short story published in a grade school publication I told everyone that I was going to be a writer someday.  When I was fourteen and received a free copy of Harlequin Romance from the grocery store checkout line, I announced that I was going to write for Harlequin.  I got a lot of pats on the head.  But I didn’t care.  I didn’t ever change my mind.  I can’t think of any other job I’d be happy doing.


Jennifer Lohmann:  Besides librarian? My dream job would be epidemiologist. Sadly, I didn't realize that was a *thing* until too late in college to easily change. I guess I could have changed later and stayed in school longer. Anyway, as a kid and teen, I loved reading books on yellow fever, Ebola, cholera, etc. I thought that meant I would have to be a virologist or cell biologist or something, so I worked in labs in high school. I HATED lab work. HATED it. I thought I must just like reading about disease, not studying it. I looked for something else to study that would be practical and result in job opportunities after college--economics. Then in an economic demography class my fourth year of college, I learned the term epidemiology and realized that the patterns--more then the biology--were what interested me in all those outbreak books. Looking back, it probably wasn't too late to adjust my studies and follow that path, but I'd taken almost no hard science in college, though economics gave me a good grounding in statistics and modeling.

All that said, I love being a public librarian. I love my job. I just wish it involved more travel.


Kris Fletcher: Singer, hands down. I love to sing and my kids all know that in my world, life is an Elvis movie and everything is a song cue. I wouldn't need fame. But to have the ability to move people with my voice? To give voice to joy, to let people know they're not alone when they hurt, to just plain get people up and swaying and singing along? Yeah. That would absolutely work for me. 
Too bad I sound like a cow in labor when I try to sing ...

And now, readers, we're dying to know - what is your dream job? 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ships Ahoy!

The Oxford English Dictionary Online has recently added the word “ship” to its hallowed pages. I’m not talking about a boat, or the verb that means to transport something from one place to another. I mean ship as a verb, short for “relationship.” It expresses the desire to put two people together in a relationship, usually romantic, and has been in use by writers of fan fiction for many years.

Example: “I totally ship Sherlock and Irene Adler. There isn’t a greater romance out there.” Or, “I know they’re brothers, but I can’t help but ship Sam and Dean Winchester.”

For some, the addition of this word signifies a degradation of the English language. I disagree. Apart from the fact that language is an ever-evolving, fluid entity, the addition of “shipping” signifies an acceptance of fandom culture into mainstream media. People who love and are devoted to a TV show, book series, movie, comic book, etc. are no longer “nerds” who are seen as anti-social and overinvested in their chosen fandom. We're all fans of something, and “shipping” is a big part of that culture.

Without further ado, I bring you my favorite ships:

Captain Swan: Captain Hook + Emma Swan, Once Upon a Time

There’s nothing like a bad boy, but even better is a bad boy who can redeem himself in the name of love. The one-handed self-proclaimed dashing rapscallion is a fan favorite character who's been vying for the affections of  Emma Swan for a little over a season now. The “savior” who helps to save the residents of Storybrook time and again is herself a woman who has a hard time trusting, making her relationship with Hook classically fraught with push and pull, all while the two of them smolder very prettily on screen.




Olicity: Oliver Queen + Felicity Smoak, Arrow

Slightly nerdy, awkward, beautiful and brilliant, Felicity Smoak is Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen’s computer-hacking partner in crime-fighting. She was so popular with viewers, her one-off appearance became a regular gig, despite the fact that the character was never in the original comic book canon. Even the show’s star, Stephen Amell, recognized that fans would love to see her begin a romantic relationship with damaged playboy Oliver. He’s even an Olicity shipper himself.





Zutara: Zuko + Katara, Avatar: The Last Airbender

It was a kids show on Nickelodeon and this particular unrealized relationship that got me started writing. These two were literally fire and water, wielding their respective elements to create some real steam in fans’ hearts. I recognized in these two the romantic concepts of opposites attract, redemption, better halves, forbidden love and the forces of push and pull. Unfortunately, the show took their romantic lives in separate directions.





Spuffy: Buffy + Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Before True Blood and Twilight, this was one of TV’s most toxic and intriguing relationships between a human and a vampire. Buffy had already parted ways with her first undead paramour, Angel, and it seemed she’d never have another love like him. She was right. Spike, the swaggering, Billy Idol-haired British vamp started having a thing for Buffy in season 4. Their relationship grew more and more twisted over time, and there are some genuinely horrible and disturbing moments from it. Yet, watching the two interact on screen generates some amazing tension. I guess sometimes forbidden fruit really can be sweet…even if it’s poisonous.




Who do you ship? Why do you find their relationship so fascinating? What two characters have you always wanted to be involved romantically? If the pairings never happened on screen, why do you think that was? Have you ever thought about two fictional characters from different universes who would be perfect together? Comment below!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making a farm life

I loved reading Rogenna and Geri's interviews with each other and it gave me the idea for today's blog post.

My June book is set in Durham, North Carolina, where I live. As part of my research, I spent several hours at Elysian Fields Farm, the farm that has been supplying me with fresh vegetables for seven or so years. And I thought it would be fun to post a short interview with Elise, the owner of Elysian Fields.Elise has been incredibly generous with her time and what I learned about the work every one at the farm puts into my food has made me more appreciative of each and every bite.


Elysian Fields Farm



Could you tell us a little about your farm? What you grow, how long you've been farming, etc?

Elysian Fields Farm, in it's 14th year of production, is located in Cedar Grove, NC and is owned and operated by Elise, her recent business partner Beth and 2-3 seasonal interns.  We grow a wide variety of vegetables for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and for twice weekly Carrboro Farmers Market.

How did you get started farming?


Feeling unsure of where my future was heading during my senior year in college, I began looking into jobs on small family run organic vegetable farms after learning from some friends that such jobs even existed.  I went straight from school to my first farming job in upstate NY and learned about the wonders of CSA program's and how to make a living off of farming.


What do you like best about farming?


So many things, yet if I had to name a few specifics it would be working outside, with the natural environment day after day and season after season.  I have developed a relationship with my land and its ecosystem.  I also enjoy a bountiful beautiful harvest, and displaying it like artwork at the farmers market ;)


What's your favorite thing that you grow? Do you have a favorite way to prepare it?


I love to grow carrots and tomatoes best of all.  These two crops are very challenging, yet when done properly, can be very rewarding in flavor, in customer appreciation, and financially.  I enjoy tomato salads with basil, oil and vinegar...simple yet delicious.  Or the first BLT of the season.....yum.  I have learned a lot of fun carrot salads as well, shredded with lime juice and fennel seed for example.


What do you wish you could grow that hasn't worked for you?

Sweet Corn!!!  I mean, its just so good, who doesn't love fresh corn on the cob in the summer?  My very sandy soil just has a hard time holding onto enough nutrients to feed such a hungry crop, and the raccoon's seem to like it as much as we do. 



Tomatoes at the farm


I can attest to how delicious that first BLT of the season is, though I usually use that first tomato to make a tomato sandwich with just tomato and Duke's Mayonnaise (only ever Duke's). What produce do you look forward to every summer and what is the first thing you make with it?

I'll be giving away a print copy of Weekends in Carolina. US winners only. Void where prohibited. Comment to enter. I'll run the giveaway from today until May 30th, posting the winner on the 31st. Please include your email so I can contact you about your prize.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Winner—ALWAYS EMILY

Congratulations, MarcieR! You've won a copy of Always Emily. Please contact me at:

maryes@rogers.com

Can you provide me with your mailing address? Thanks!

Thank you to everyone for your great, healthy ideas for snacks and meals!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Another Superromance Bundle Winner!

I'm happy to announce that Kaelee has won the May 2014 Superromance bundle that includes three Supers: The Seal's Special Mission by Rogenna Brewer, Always Emily by Mary Sullivan and Navy Rescue by Geri Krotow. Kaelee, please email me to claim your prize. I'm sure I speak for all of the Super Authors when I say this is the best part of participating in this blog--connecting with readers and giving out the prizes!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bonus

I spent much of Mother's Day pulling weeds in my front garden. I know - doesn't that sound like fun? And honestly, it's not something I would ever imagine doing. Until this year, I stayed as far from our gardens as possible. I hate the feel of dirt on my hands, hate gardening gloves even more, and really don't like all the crouching and bending  and stretching. Most of all I hate the thought of what might be lurking beneath the dead leaves. I am well aware that the outdoors belongs to many of God's creatures, and I have no more right to our patch of dirt than the mice and snakes and bees that also live there. But that doesn't keep me from looking at the garden and thinking that all God's critters are setting up a schedule to determine who is going to jump out at me when. Either that or they're pooling their money to hire a grizzly to take me out.

But the garden was a mess, and this year I girded my ample loins and waded in. After a while I decided it wasn't so bad. Usually I can only fit in  few stolen minutes before the morning walk/jog, but on Mother's Day I had hours to spend in the gorgeous sunshine while the kids played all around me, feeling the immense satisfaction that comes with yanking on a weed and pulling up a root that's longer than my intestinal tract.

As I crouched and hummed and yanked, I noticed one little bird hopping around me. She was small, grey'ish blue, and seemed more comfortable on the ground than in the air. She popped from the roses to the forsythia to the weeping cherry, coming close to me but never intruding on my space. I talked to her. She didn't talk back, but I hoped she could sense what I meant when I assured her I wasn't going to harm her.

Then, as I stretched to remove a dandelion from near the rosebush, something caught my eye. Something pink. Something MOVING.

My first thought was that it was a mouse. Specifically, a Wild Killer Mouse, a cousin of the rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, waiting for the perfect moment to leap up and devour my face. (Sometimes, having a writer's imagination sucks.) As I prepared to run for my life I got a better look. And what did I spy with my terror-filled eye?

Can you see it? There's a nest there, tucked beneath the branches of the rose bush. And in that nest there's some gray and pink fluff with a dot of yellow. Babies. Three baby birds, so tiny and new that when they stretch those scrawny little necks up and open those yellow beaks in search of food, they don't make a sound.

All of a sudden, that hopping bird made sense to me.

I backed away and worked extra carefully for the rest of the day. The mama wouldn't return to the nest when we were too close so I moved my work to another end of the garden (trust me, there were plenty of weeds in need of dispatching) and watched from afar. And thought of how I'd been so busy bracing for something unpleasant that I almost missed the amazing gift of this nest, these birds, this glimpse into a new world.

And then I thought - you know, our stories are often like that. Our characters are muddling along, living their lives and usually doing a fair job of it - or at least that's what they tell themselves - until something happens to throw their world upside down. Things are a mess. They anticipate all kinds of complication and trouble and weeds. (Also, possibly grizzlies.)

But while they're fixating on the trouble that's befallen them, something else happens. Love happens. They aren't expecting it, aren't looking for it, and sometimes it's the last thing they want. But there it is. New and fluffy and almost silent, but oh so real. Oh so precious. Oh so alive.

There are people who think that all romance novels are about nothing more than a girl catching a guy, or any variation thereof. Those folks are wrong. Romance novels are about people trying to uproot the weeds that have taken over their life, only to stumble into love in the process. The love isn't the goal. It's the bonus, the reward for the struggles, the precious discovery they never expected but which ends up being the new focus of their lives.

Just like that tiny nest and those even-tinier babies are now the focus of my messy but immeasurably amazing garden.

Now tell me, readers - how do YOU feel about gardening? How about surprises? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

To your good health!

Mary Sullivan

My apologies for being late with this blog. I had completely forgotten that the electricity in my building would be turned off this morning until after lunchtime. Fortunately, I had food on hand that didn't have to be cooked, so I had a good breakfast—LOL!—and a morning away from the computer didn't hurt at all!

Yesterday, I spent Mother's Day with my daughter—always a pleasure. One thing we have in common is a real joy in preparing and eating healthy food.

She gave me a small food processor and a cookbook we have both been waiting for, by a local blogger who makes up the best, healthiest recipes. The cookbook author's blog is called Oh She Glows, as is her book and it's wonderful. I can't wait to read it and try the recipes.

Our dinner was a selection of recipes my daughter had chosen from the book. Delicious.

My interest in healthy eating started very early. I remember in my late teens and early twenties horrifying my family with the new things I wanted to try, like gasp, brown rice. Keep in mind this was a looooong time ago.

One of the recipes I enjoyed, starting way back then and continuing on to this day is also one of the most simple, but it delivers an amazing shot of nutrition. I have it for either breakfast or lunch.

I chop up a small unpeeled apple into a bowl and cover it with plain, unsweetened yogurt. Then I top it off with a variety of seeds, any combination of the following—pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds. In the last few years, I've added chia and hemp seeds to boost nutritional value and to increase staying power, so the dish will fill my tummy for longer throughout the morning. If you like nuts, they can also be added.

Do you have any healthy favourites you turn to regularly?

I'd like to give away a copy of ALWAYS EMILY to anyone who comments on this blog. I will announce the winner on the weekend!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Interview with Rogenna Brewer

   Today we get to learn more about bestselling author Rogenna Brewer, who has a new book out with The Seal's Special Mission. Since her insights are fascinating, let's get started. If you leave a comment I'll enter you in a drawing for one digital copy of the May SuperRomance Bundle 2 that includes Ro's The Seal's Special Mission, my Navy Rescue, and Mary Sullivan's Always Emily.  Enjoy!

     Why do you write romance, and military romance in particular?

I was the girl in high school who carried a book—usually a Harlequin Presents, sometimes Stephen King—along with her schoolbooks.  I read between classes, in class between bells and often got in trouble for having my nose stuck in a book.

From the time I was eleven there was never a doubt in my mind that I would one day write for Harlequin.

Then I joined the Navy, discovered boys and got married. 

My husband was out to sea, a lot! While he was cruising the world, I was home alone with two boys under the age of three and a third on the way.

Just before his last cruise—which was going to be a long one, seven months—we were standing on the Golden Gate bridge saying our goodbyes and I made the off handed comment that I could be pregnant and have the baby all before he returned.

Guess what J

There were no cell phones or social media sites to keep in touch back then.  For the first several years of our marriage I wrote long letters, ten and twenty pages a day and not just to my husband. 

My mother-in-law called them my novels.

By the time my husband got out of the service I had a daily writing habit, no one to write to and a romantic distance from the realities of active duty.

That’s when I really started writing.
   
Why did you enlist? Did you think officers had it easy?

No money for college and a high school guidance counselor—shame on him—who stared out the window when I talked of attending college and law school.

I didn’t have a plan for getting there other than to start with community college, find a full time job, a place to live and hope that I could do it all on my own.

Around this time I took an aptitude test that pegged me for librarian or clergy.  It sounded like a lifetime of boring and I rebelled big time.  The military just happened to be my outlet.

Following my sophomore year in high school, I received an invitation to join the JROTC women’s drill team for tea.  It was like cheerleader tryouts, but for geeks, and with nobody trying out, I was a shoe in by virtue of showing up. 

For the first time ever I fit in. 

I’d taken the ASFAB as part of the JROTC program.  The Army recruiter—since I’d taken the exam through Army JROTC—started calling, but wasn’t offering me anything I was interested in.  He either had a quota to fill or thought because I’d taken four years of Deutsch I’d make a good dog handler.

Although I think dog handler is a really cool job it just wasn’t me.
   
I’m a fire sign, but a water lover.

I met with the Navy recruiter and discovered the Navy had a paralegal program.  Only it was a long road from Yeoman, which was where I’d have to start.  At this point I was still thinking college and law school were in my future and the services have programs to pay for college.

There was a WWII poster behind the recruiter’s desk:  Gee!! I wish I were a man.  I’d join the Navy.  Because it summed up my struggle at the time.  I told him if he could get me a copy of that poster I’d sign up. 

He was a man who kept his promises and got me a billboard size poster. 

It hung on the wall above my bed until my brothers destroyed my room while I was in bootcamp, but that’s another story ;) 

The recruiter also got me a paying job in his office for the nine months I had to wait for a Yeoman billet to open up.

So the short story is I joined the Navy for a poster.  The long story is, well, you got the gist, but not all it.
          

What made you leave the service? Do you miss it? What about it has been good for you for a lifetime? What parts are you happy to forget?

So I joined to become a Leagleman, which would have been about five years down the road from yeoman.  Bootcamp pretty much sucked.  Two-minute showers with eighty women fighting over eight stalls being the least of it. 

Our CC—Company Commander—was going through a nasty divorce from our brother company’s CC.  She was a miserable witch.  I’m told Navy bootcamp isn’t generally that hard.  You’re thinking extra push ups.  I wish.  I think her husband must have fooled around with a recruit at one time because she was hell bent on breaking us. 

After that it was Yeoman “A” school.  Being new on base is like walking naked through a construction site.  Everywhere you go, men out number women and the catcalls can get pretty ugly. 

Other than stepping off the bus to the call of “fresh meat”, school wasn’t so bad.  And we had weekends off.

My first duty station, Midway Island, holds some of my fondest memories.  Though I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.  My first day went something like this…

“Hey, newbee!  I’m leaving.  You want to buy my room?  A hundred and fifty bucks.”

“I have a room assignment, thank you.  Why would I want to buy your room?”

“You don’t want the room they assigned you.”

“I’ll take my chances, thanks.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Seventy-five bucks.  I gotta plane to catch.”

“I’m not paying you for government housing.”

“Your loss.”

I get to my big corner room and it looks like a tornado whipped through it.  Two walls of windows—think 1940’s clapboard housing and window slats that work like mini-blinds—half are broken out with glass and dried palm fronds all over the floor.  Beds and lockers are overturned. It’s a mess. 

Probably hadn’t been lived in for years. 

My guess is everyone else paid for a room while I stayed up until two in the morning cleaning before I even had a place to unpack my seabag.

A guy my age, from my state, came knocking around midnight.  He helped me set the furniture right.  Sounds like a nice guy, huh? I thought so for about six months.  He turned out to be a hard lesson that took me almost four years to learn. 

I intended to write my first novel on Midway.  Remember I wanted to be a writer from the time I was eleven.  Settled in under a tree and pulled out a notebook, but discovered a world full of real men and never looked back.

Thank God for Seabees.  Turns out, there was furniture all over the island in the abandoned housing slated for demolition.  The cheesy office kind, but I snagged a bamboo couch and chairs with matching orange vinyl cushions. 

They even carried a bamboo bar half way across the island for me, which I fully stocked for less than $30.  Why, because I could.  The Navy sold liquor cheap and let me buy it and drink it at nineteen.  I wasn’t really a cocktail girl.  A beer on the beach or out on the boat was more my speed.

Eventually, I got a roommate and a bar was a cool thing to have for entertaining.  Until we got a third roommate who drank us dry on her first day.  She spent her first night in the clinic and was shipped off the next day to alcohol rehab. 

We didn’t bother restocking the bar.

Midway was a little like McHale’s Navy—sometimes we were stupid, but we had a whole lot of fun.  Beach, beer, men—Navy and Coast Guard.  The only civilians on the island were a couple of Aussie marine biologists.  This was my coming out party. 

But not what you might think—every day I got to hang out with honest, hardworking guys who did crazy things to get a girl's attention.  Dated a few.  Learned a lot about men, how they talked, thought and acted without a lot of women around.  And was never once harassed or disrespected.

Chivalry in the military is not dead. 

After Midway, DC was a culture shock.  Small spaces, smaller people.  Lots of pressure to type fast and error free, often with an officer proofreading over our shoulders, even holding the page so it could be ripped from the old Selectric and couriered over to the Pentagon. 

Sometimes we even had to courier ourselves.

It was the only job I ever had to “interview” for while in the Navy.  Don’t know why I had to interview since I already had orders—though I figured out why once I got there, and it wasn’t for my 30 wpm typing speed—even our social hours were dictated.

DC was a hub of young low-ranking enlisted women and high ranking older men and we were expected to work 12 hour days.  Bad, bad combination.  Welcome to the world of sexual harassment and politics.  I requested a transfer within weeks of my arrival. 

I’d already gotten approval for a rate change from Yeoman to Religious Program Specialist while on Midway.  The Chaplain had pulled rank on the CO and stole me as his yeoman because I liked hanging out at the chapel and volunteering at the library on my off hours.  And those four more years until I could request Legalman were starting to feel further and further away. 

Anyway, they’d both written glowing recommendations for me, which is how I wound up in DC.  And now I wanted out of there bad.  The same commander who denied my transfer later approved it after he got drunk and pulled me into his lap at one of our “mandatory” social events. 

And that’s how I wound up finishing out my year in DC at the Naval Intelligence Command in Maryland while I waited for a billet in my new rate to open up.

Awesome group of people at NIC.  Half the time I didn’t even know what I was working on.  Couldn’t tell you if I did.  But I was involved—at a very basic level—with the release of the Iran Hostages.  Even met and partied with them the night they hit US soil.  It was a very exciting time.  And I enjoyed the work immensely.   

And then it was back to Florida.  Where I spent the next three years working as an RP at the Naval Hospital in Orlando.  I attended collage at night and earned a degree in Interior Design. 

My first hitch had already ended and my one year extension was coming to an end when I met my husband.  He was in Nuclear Power School, near the top of his class.  He had his choice of Reactor Schools, which should have been New York, but we were both making stupid decisions to stay together, considering we’d just met.  When he picked Idaho for no other reason than it was closer to Colorado, I hitched my wagon to his star and went along to Idaho for the ride.  

We got pregnant and married in short order.  Eventually, transferred to California.  I stuck with the reserves for a couple of years. But soon learned what it was like for  both of us to be deployed at the same time with a new baby and another on the way.  So I decided it was time for me to let go of the Navy.  It was a hard decision, but long over due.

Sometimes I regret not staying in.  Mostly we regret that my husband didn’t stay in long enough to see shore duty, but after two years of school and four years at sea, he’d had enough.

Overall my Navy experience was wonderful, but it can be a hard life so that’s why I needed some “romantic distance” before I could write about it.  Even just answering these questions for Geri, I find myself going off on tangents and having to reign myself in. 

You don’t need to know everything about me.  And trust me I haven’t told you the half of it J 

What advice would you give to new authors, especially those who want to write military romance?

You can’t imagine, you really can’t imagine what it’s like to have served unless you’ve been there, done that. 

That said my experiences are different than my husband’s, Geri’s or anyone else I know.  Sometimes the most honest bits I add to my books are those my editor or readers find hardest to believe. 

If I wrote about the black market sale of barracks rooms, who’d believe me?  And yet it happened. 

Also, the post Vietnam era of the 80’s military is different than the Gulf War era military of today.  So even I am constantly updating my knowledge.  

Just fact-check and make sure what you’re trying to do is in the realm of believable or possible and you’ll do okay.    

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interview With Geri Krotow

by Rogenna Brewer

Geri Krotow and I both served in the Navy.  We both married Navy men.  And we both write romance from our Navy backgrounds.

This month Geri's book--Navy Rescue--and mine--The SEAL's Special Mission--are out together.  We thought it would be kind of fun to interview each other about our Navy experiences.

Today I'll be interviewing Geri and Friday she'll be interviewing me.  Hopefully, you'll learn something about us that you didn't know before.  I can tell you Geri was an officer and I was enlisted and we both had very different and unique experiences in the Navy.

Gwen Brett, the heroine in Navy Rescue is a P3 pilot, shot down during a disastrous mission.  Gwen manages to survive and rescue a baby.  She returns home after six months to the care of her ex-husband.  I wanted to find out how Geri's experiences compared to her heroine's.

Rogenna: Why did you join the service?

Geri: I always wanted to serve my country. I’ve had a fascination with the Revolutionary War since I was very young. I thought about enlisting but in 10th grade a classmate did a speech in English class (remember those?) on the service academies and once I heard about the Naval Academy, I was hooked.

Rogenna: Why did you leave?

Geri: Many factors. As Intelligence, I saw the best and worst of people and situations. I saw a senior Intel Officer taking disrespectful behavior from an “operator,” a Surface Warfare Officer, yet they were both the same rank. I thought I deserved better than to dedicate several decades to my service only to be treated so rudely by the forces I support. Also, the writing was calling by then—I knew it was time to make a change. Resigning my commission gave me the opportunity to stay home to raise our kids as my husband was regularly deployed, and give them the stable environment they needed. It allowed me to start writing daily.

Rogenna: Why do you write romance?

Geri: The HEA, Happily Ever After, is as much a part of my author’s voice as is the suspense. I am a huge fan of genre fiction and romance is the number one genre! I’m also quick to educate any one who makes a comment to me contrary to this—you know, the “why aren’t you writing ‘real’ books?”

Rogenna: What was your "job" (position, rank) in the service?  Have you ever flown (or flown in) a P-3C or gone through survival training like your heroine?

Geri: Yes, I flew in a P-3C Orion—many times, many missions. I was the first woman on the East Coast to earn Aviation Observer Wings. I planned to go to SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training) as it had just opened up to women in the late 1980s (maybe sooner but that’s when our squadron/wing made it available). My husband came back from his SERE and said “I love you and you know I support you in all you do in the Navy, but I don’t want you going through this if it’s not absolutely necessary.” I was due to leave my operational tour in a few months, so I opted to not push it, and didn’t end up going.
I’ve seen Russian planes, submarines, and other vessels from a P-3C, and I’ve worked alongside many of our most trained specialists in all fields.
I got out as a Lieutenant Commander (O-4), the equivalent of an Army Major. I’d been promoted a year early but never received the pay—I didn’t stay in long enough to get it.

Rogenna: 1976 being the first year women were accepted into the military academies, you attended the Naval Academy in what year?  Do you consider yourself a pioneer? 

Geri: The first class of women graduated in 1980 from the service academies. I went in 1982, and graduated in 1986. Am I (and my classmates) a pioneer? Hell, yes! I wish I could say it was easier for my class or the classes ten years after me, but all you need do is read the national news—women are still struggling more than they need to at the Academy. It’s unacceptable and I wrote an op-ed to the Washington Post last year (that was never published) about it. I’m a big supporter of having agencies outside of the chain-of-command to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault and harassment crimes (against both sexes). My husband was the commanding officer of a squadron and we disagree on this. I understand that discipline in ranks requires complete trust in authority, but I can tell you first hand that whether it’s at the Academy or in a military unit, it’s all too easy for those in command to pay lip service to protecting their troops while not pursuing justice as needed.  

Thank you Geri for a great interview.  I'm giving away the one digital copy of the May 2014 Bundle 2 of 2 which includes both mine and Geri's books, along with another great Superromance by Mary Sullivan. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

New Releases: Harlequin Superromance May 2014


The Secrets of Bell River
Kathleen O'Brien
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

Always an outsider… 

Armed with only her suitcases and secrets, Tess Spencer arrives at Bell River Ranch. She'll work temporarily at their spa and never tell the Wright sisters her true connection to them. Meeting gorgeous carpenter Jude Calhoun challenges those plans, however. Strong and capable, Jude makes Tess want to share the burden of what she knows…. 

That confession may come sooner than she wants when her past intrudes at the ranch. But if she reveals the reasons she's here, she will definitely be the outsider—unwelcomed and alone. And leaving Bell River could cost her the one man she wants….


The SEAL's Special Mission
Rogenna Brewer
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

"You and the boy are coming with me." 

Navy SEAL Kenneth Nash has one objective—protect the son he's never known. If that means dragging along his former sister-in-law Mallory Ward, then so be it. But while hiding out in a rustic cabin in the Rockies, Nash faces an unexpected problem. 

Suddenly he's feeling things for Mallory that he has no right to feel. Regardless of how this turns out, he could never be the family man that his son and Mallory deserve. Yet as danger approaches, Nash and Mallory's attraction persists—and it could jeopardize the entire mission.



Home to Hope Mountain
Joan Kilby
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

A place called Hope 

Hayley Sorenson uses horses to help people heal. But when neighbor Adam Banks asks for her expertise with his teenage daughter, she says no. How can she get involved when all she sees is their past? And the attraction Hayley feels for Adam makes her anything but objective! 

Yet Adam isn't deterred, and in getting to know the woman they call the horse whisperer, he realizes that she's dealing with her own pain. As Hayley etches a place in Adam's heart, all he wants is to give her the home she truly deserves.




Always Emily
Mary Sullivan
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

This time, it has to be forever 

Emily Jordan has been in and out of Salem Pearce's life for years. As an archaeologist, her work often took her far away—even when he asked her to stay. She called it bad timing. He called it running away. Now she's back and asking for one last chance. 

But Salem is a single father with more than himself to think about. If he gives Emily another shot and she takes off again, it'll hurt his daughters, too. He can't take that risk. But deep down, he needs Emily. He always has. Maybe this time she'll stay....




Silver Linings
Mary Brady
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

Fate has reunited them…but for how long? 

Life took a detour when Delainey Talbot became a mother. There's no better job but that doesn't mean she isn't excited about finally becoming a lawyer—a dream she's this close to fulfilling. So when the partnership at Bailey's Cove's only law firm goes to Hunter Morrison, she's devastated. 

Hunter and Deelee haven't seen each other since their ill-fated romance ended suddenly—he doesn't even know about six-year-old Brianna! Deelee wants him out of her town and her job. Too bad her heart says this could be their chance at the life they were meant to have.


Navy Rescue
Geri Krotow
Harlequin Superromance
May 2014

She saved a baby, but can she save her marriage? 

Navy commander and pilot Gwen Brett is shot down in a disastrous mission—and survives six months in terrifying circumstances. She manages to escape with an orphaned baby she rescued and is determined to bring home. 

Devastated when she was presumed dead, her ex-husband, Drew, is overjoyed by her survival. He offers Gwen and the baby a place to stay, to recover. Gwen accepts, convinced their love is gone. But almost losing her for good makes Drew realize he wants her back—and Gwen feels the same…. However, this rescue might be the hardest one yet!

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