Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Because Military Heroes are Awesome, by Kaylea Cross

Hi there! *waves* I'm Kaylea Cross, and I love military heroes. A lot. Now, because my friends and family know I'm actually a pacifist wimp, I get asked all the time why I write about military characters and military themes. The answer is, because they're awesome. (I mean, hello.)

Writing about men and women who stand up for what they believe in, serve their country with honor and who are willing to do whatever it takes to protect the lives of their teammates and loved ones--come on, what's not to love about that?

One thing I put a lot of effort into is my research. In every one of my books I weave in bits of information that I hope readers will be interested in. Most of all, I love showing what our men and women in uniform are doing out there in harm's way.

My latest series is the Bagram Special Ops series, which features AFSOC Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen, along with female pilots and a Security Forces member. Doing research for this series was so interesting and fun. I interviewed several pilots, including one who survived a crash so I could get the details of a crash scene just right (in book one, Deadly Descent), and through a friend I got to meet a recently retired Pararescueman (PJ) who's been invaluable in answering all the questions I've thrown at him. That Others May Live, baby!

Book two of the series, Tactical Strike, just released lat month, so in honor of my first post here I'm giving away a digital copy to a commenter! The contest will end Friday May 3rd at 6 pm EST. To enter, just leave a comment about why you love military heroes.

 Blurb: Gunship pilot Captain Candace Bradford has worked long and hard to earn her rank and position within the male-dominated world of Air Force Special Operations. She's not about to let anything or anyone jeopardize that, let alone one sinfully tempting man who seems determined to cause her nothing but trouble. Even if she's starting to fall for him.

As an elite Combat Controller, Staff Sergeant Ryan Wentworth is used to overcoming adversity in order to complete a mission. Breaking through Candace's prickly exterior and into her heart is a challenge he can't let go. But just when he's begun to gain her trust, they're thrown together in the field facing an overwhelming enemy force.

Candace and Ryan find themselves on the run, searching the skies for an emergency extraction. But one dangerous enemy has an agenda in mind and he'll use whatever means necessary to achieve it, including using American forces to do his dirty work.

Happy reading!

Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She and lives in Vancouver, BC with her family.
You can find Kaylea through her website, Twitter, Facebook, and blog.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meet Lililan Hart & The Military Man Closest to Her Heart

This is my introductory post for our new military blog, and it’s probably the hardest one I’ll ever have to write. I’m sitting in the hospital, watching my father struggle to breathe as he goes through the last stages of lung cancer. He’s developed pneumonia and they’re hoping to get that cleared up so he can at least go home for a little while.  Hospice has already been called.

I’m going to save future blogs to talk about the military men in my life, but I want to devote this one to one very special military man—my dad. He was fifteen years old during World War II, and he still talks about how frustrated he was that he wasn’t old enough to enlist—he tried anyway only to be told to wait until he had a few hairs on his chest.

When he turned eighteen he immediately enlisted in the Air Force, and it wasn’t long after he was sent to Korea. For three years he served overseas as an air traffic controller, and it’s not a time he ever talks about very much other than to say it was a stressful job. That’s probably an understatement.

I can talk about what a great dad he is—about how his dry sense of humor would sneak up on you or that I get my love of sarcasm naturally. He’s a good man. The best I know next to my husband, and he’s a hero. He’s also one of my biggest fans and supporters. I remember when I finished writing my very first romance novel, I gave it to him to read and waited anxiously to see what he’d say. It was a spy thriller where my hero and heroine both had a military background, and I can honestly say it was like most first novels—it was terrible.

He finished reading and looked at me in that quiet way he has and said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with one, but I’m almost certain that’s not how a virgin would act during sex.” Other than having to sit through that completely mortifying conversation where my dad critiqued my sex scenes, he offered a lot of insight into that book. And twelve years later it’s much easier for me to laugh at that conversation than it had been at the time.

It’s fitting that we’ve come full circle. I have another military spy thriller, KILL SHOT, coming out on May 14th, and he was able to read it several months ago before he was diagnosed with cancer. He finished reading it and the next time he saw me he said, “You got this one just right.” I couldn’t ask for better praise than that.  

I also can’t think of a better way to honor him than by dedicating that book to him. So I’ve decided to donate $1.00 of every pre-order of KILL SHOT to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. My hope and prayer is that he’ll still be with us May 14th when the book comes out and he’ll be able to see how much was donated in his name to help find a cure for this terrible disease.

I know everyone who is reading this has been affected by cancer in some way—either through your own illness or watching it happen to a loved one or a friend. We’ve raised more than $3,000 so far, and I hope you’ll pass the word along and join the cause.

I just want to end this by saying, “Thanks, Dad, for being my hero.”

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon UK:  http://goo.gl/tUDPk

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Now out and on sale!

Trying to get the online bookstores to help with preorders and release dates is not easy for a selfpubbed author. While Amazon allows some authors the privilege, I do not get it. So to make sure that it wasn't late, I loaded Leonardo early. Of course, they released it in hours. <G>
But, that is good for you! Leonardo will be on sale for .99 until May 5th. And, if you didn't know about this nifty little feature, you can gift it and set the date for delivery. Know a mom who like military romance? Lock in the rate right now and it can be send to her on Mother's Day!

Readers are loving Leonardo and I promise, the three other books will be released in May. I have also been hinting at a spinoff but I will announce that later:)

Here is the trailer and a little bit about Leonardo. Make sure you pick it up at that low price!

Book One
All Ordering Options
Read the first chapter

Leo Santini is a man who always has a plan. It is the way to live a well-ordered life. He never planned on dealing with the hardheaded physical therapist who is taking care of his friend. He definitely never planned on being so totally infatuated with her.
Maryanne Johnson doesn't have time for a romance—especially with a military man. Sure, Leo is drop dead sexy, but more than one man in a uniform had hurt her before. Unfortunately, she can't seem to resist him or his kisses. It doesn't help that the man is as sweet as he is sexy. Falling for him is easy, but she does her best to keep herself from admitting it to him.
Leo knows she wants to keep things simple but when a Santini is in love nothing will stop him from achieving his goal—even the hardheaded woman he loves.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ten Things a Navy SEAL Would NEVER Say (plus one super bonus selection)

TGIF! We get to celebrate Fridays, but to our men and women in uniform, Friday is just like any other day. But in the spirit of the upcoming weekend, the upcoming RT Convention where several of us from this blog will be signing books, I'm going to put forth a lighter workout.

So, in my twisted way, here are the Ten Things (actually eleven) A Navy SEAL Would NEVER Say:

10. I loved every minute of BUD/S because it was a great male bonding experience.

9.  Hop and Pop? Is that some new kind of dance move?

8.  Too much action stresses me out.

7.  Guns? I'm kinda skittish about the noise and the kick.

6.  I need a full 8 hours of rest or I'm wasted the next day.

5.  I prefer my wife to be fully clothed because I like to use my imagination.

4.  I like it when things are quiet. I also love soft music. I dream about little boats floating on an inlet somewhere in sunny San Diego.

3.  We'd prefer to be working than home for the holidays.

2.  I was a good, obedient child growing up. Good grades in school. I never caused problems for my

1.  Do these cami's make my butt look too big?

And the LEAST likely thing a Navy SEAL would say Special Bonus:  I hope one day, if I work hard enough, I can join the Army.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

With it or on it.

Okay, so here I am two days from my blog post and for once in my life I don’t know what to say, so I’m just going to speak from the heart and see where it takes me. (By the way, after I wrote this, I had to amend, because of a big surprise I received.)

I’ve just spent the last two weeks seeing my boys off to deployment. My youngest is a combat medic in the Army. He flew out to South Korea two weeks ago. The other is a Marine, who has returned to Afghanistan for his second deployment. Both of their wives are pregnant. My youngest son’s wife is due any day with his first child.
There are few times in my life I have seen my son tear up. This is one of them. His duty assignment to Korea has become a “deployment”, which means it's unlikely he will be home for his daughter’s birth. In fact, they told him he may not see her for her first year, maybe even longer. This is one of the challenges our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen face daily, the separation from those they love.

Please let me share this picture of my daughter-in-law when the bus carrying my son pulled up in front of us after months of deployment in Afghanistan. She hates it. I love it. It tells a story of love. It says more than I ever could about how you feel when your hero returns. Sometimes the picture speaks for you, and I think I will let it.
When our young men and women serve in the military, they don’t just risk life and limb, they give up precious time that they can’t get back. My oldest son was here for his first daughter’s birth, but he missed the first time she rolled over, her first steps and first words. Now, he faces the same situation as my youngest. His wife is also pregnant, with her second child. He too will miss the birth of this child.

I understand what they are going through  all too well, know what it is to be that soldier and know what it is to be the family member left behind while their warrior goes off to war. Yes, I was once that soldier, and I was also the pregnant wife, waiting for my hero to set foot on US soil again.

For those that have been there, you will understand when I say this. While your loved one is deployed, especially if it is into a hot situation, where there is combat daily, it’s almost as though you forget how to breathe. You hold your breath. When you receive word their plane has touched down in the United States, for the first time since they left—you exhale.

So, last night I went out to dinner with my husband and daughter-in-law. I'm sitting there, looking over the menu when someone comes up behind me in my seat and hugs me. I turn to look, and my youngest son is standing there in an Army tee-shirt and his shorts. I was speechless. My husband was talking with my daughter-in-law's father and wasn't aware he was standing there, until I elbowed him. This was an amazing moment, and I can't say how happy I am that he can be home for her birth. I imagine my face looked very much like Cate's does above. There are tears in my eyes as I write this. Yes, his duty will eventually call him back to Korea, but for now, he is here and I can not thank those who made it possible, enough. They are heroes too, and perhaps it's because they've been there too.
“With it or on it.” This phrase is attributed to Spartan mothers when they presented their sons a shield the first time they went off to battle. It is a phrase of great courage, not only for the one receiving the shield, but the one who presents it. It says we know this fight is worth the sacrifice. It says come home, but not as a coward, serve honorably. Come home the sons we raised you to be. Men of honor. Men with a deep sense of sacrifice. Men who are willing will give all to make this country safe for their families, friends and posterity. Come home heroes—on your shield or with it.
And so to my sons I say.

“With it or on it.”
God bless. We’ll be right here when you get back, but while you're here, we'll embrace you with all we have.

Mom, and US Army Veteran.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Author Capri Montgomery

Hey there. I’m Capri Montgomery and I’m guest blogging today. Since we’re here about military related blogging I’m going to talk to you a bit about some of my military men.

My first military guy was Ethan Sheppard from Death Before Dishonor. A U.S. AF Colonel friend of mine answered questions for me and told me her take on Navy men. She painted them to be very sexy, determined and honorable and I knew that was the perfect brush for my leading man. After Death Before Dishonor I actually stayed away from military characters for a while, but one day I had another character in mind and I thought he would be great in the military. I started The Admiral’s Daughter which was the first book in the Men of Action series. The Men of Action series was never set to be just military men. I always knew there would be men of action in different fields, but military men did seem to take over the series. It’s not the uniform; it’s the integrity and the heart of the military man, or woman, that makes the characters so appealing.

While writing the Men of Action series I decided that I wanted to do another series. I knew it would be a four segment series. I called it Special Ops. The first segment follows four retired military men who have joined together to set up their own search and rescue company. They are the men who go in and retrieve the package that nobody else can retrieve. If ever anybody finds themselves being held against their will in a foreign country or at home, these are the men for the job.

The first book started in a rather interesting kind of way. But before I tell you about that I guess I should tell you about the book. Heart of Danger has four men going after a package that means a lot to them; somebody who is more than just a package. Natalia Bright is their administrative assistant, but basically she’s the backbone of the company. Without her they wouldn’t function as well as they do. She does so much more than file papers or answer phones. She literally makes sure these guys get home. Of course it’s easy to not recognize what you have until you almost lose it and that’s what happens with these guys.

When a Columbian drug lord takes Natalia prisoner Micah, Alex, Preston and Jet, man up and go after her. Of course getting her home is just the beginning and it’s going to take all four men to make sure they keep her safe.
This story took off from the bar and grill scene at the start of the book, and that scene took off from a song—Selena Gomez’s Love You Like A Love Song. It’s the song Natalia is shaking her butt to when Micah starts to realize he’s looking at her as more than just an employee.

I think the character that surprised me the most in this segment is Jet. Jethro a.k.a. Jet Jackson gave me details about his life that I didn’t even realize he had until I started writing his story. I love his character because he was just a regular kid who could have gotten into so much trouble, but one event in his childhood changed his fate forever. He joined the Air Force and it shaped the man he is. Fast forward to his new line of work and he is the guy who gets in and out with ease—a skill that comes in handy when he goes to Alaska to rescue World Champion Figure Skater Akira Bowman. She’s in love with him. He’s playing the “she’s too young card” but when she gets abducted on national television he is out the door to go get her before anybody even has a chance to ask him to go.

Heart of Danger, On Thin Ice, and the books in the Men of Action series are available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Lulu (print). On the Line will be out in May. If you would like to get to know more about my military men, or any of my other works, stop by my official Capri Montgomery website at: www.caprimontgomerybooks.com subscribe to the newsletter for updates at http://caprimontgomerybooks.com/blog and join me on my Facebook fan page at: https://www.facebook.com/caprimontgomerybooks?ref=hl.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

For the Love of Military Romance, Indeed! by Laura Kaye

Credit By His Boots
Hey everyone! Welcome to our new digs and to the first author blog dedicated to military romance! I wanted to share a little about why I love military romance, introduce you to my series, and pass along a funny or two!

I’m often asked why I write about military heroes, and I have a couple of answers to this question. First, I’ve worked for the Navy as a civilian professor at the U.S. Naval Academy for the past seven years, so I’m surrounded by military culture all the time. Not only do I find it fascinating, but I have a real respect for the people with whom I work, their families, and the midshipmen who are dedicating their lives to the service of their country. 

Second, the U.S. has been at war for a dozen years, touching a whole generation of Americans in some way. I think it's important to talk about what the impact of these wars have been on ordinary people. I'm interested in telling all of these stories - the stories of military combat, the stories of personal sacrifice by military members, the stories of sacrifice by families and loved ones, and the stories of loss and grief and post-service injuries and adjustment. Some of my most satisfying moments as an author have been when I've received messages from military spouses telling me how much I've gotten right, or how much a character's struggles with post-traumatic stress syndrome remind them of someone they know and love.

I also enjoy writing military history because I have quite a few members of my family who served in the military. My father was a Marine during Vietnam, and my grandfather served in the Army during World War II. An uncle I admire greatly is an active duty Army doc. And, of course, military romance is so much fun to write because military heroes are strong and brave and alpha and protective, and that makes them so very compelling to read and write about! All of these have influenced me in writing my military romance series.

I have two military romance series underway: the Heroes series and
the Hard Ink series. The first two books in the Heroes series are out and follow the stories and struggles of prior Army Special Forces soldiers back from war. The Hard Ink series releases in November and is about how five members of an Army Special Forces unit who survived a deadly ambush in Afghanistan only to be blackballed in a conspiracy that ruined their reputations, ended their careers, and tarnished their honor, fight back to clear their names. I'm having so much fun writing both!

Finally, take a few minutes and watch this spirit video by midshipmen at the Naval Academy. Too freaking funny, guys, for real!

Why do you enjoy reading military romance?

Thanks for reading!

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guest Author Rosalind Hartmann

Hi there.

My name is Rosalind Hartmann and I'm a first time, self-published author of paranormal/action/adventure/romance series called 'Blood Memory'.

Book 1 was recently indie-published in October 2012 and tells a story between rival supernatural species – the vampires and werewolves.  The Blood Memory is genetically passed down from one werewolf gifter to a new fledgling werewolf in the initial bite, carrying with it a blue print of abilities, events, and in this case, a horrible nightmare of betrayal and rage for Simon Huntington and his vampire partner, Ellis Duban.

This story tells of the adventure Simon has with Vivienne, the outcast werewolf who is in love with the Commander of the Pipers – descendants of two families that carry the Blood Memory , which curiously, no one can remember the details of; neither the Pipers or Simon for that matter.  Simon and Vivienne strike up a partnership to seek out the truth of the memory before her lover and his pack of Pipers stop her and kill Simon in the process.

I grew up in a Navy family and married an Air Force member, so I grew up with military influence my entire life.  When I created the Pipers several years ago for a role-playing message board (http://www.sanguineaffliction.com) , they grew from a throw-away idea to being my complete universe.  I love the Pipers as if they were real. They were created with some of the men I met growing up in my father's navy career – polite, very handsome, but gentlemen to a young high-schooler.  Probably helped I wasn't trying to date them, but I digress.

The men I met through my husband's career are where the rawness of their personality is developed. What these men do, what they see changes them – inside and out. There is an abundance of cursing I really didn't write in, but their professionalism and skill definitely shows in the Pipers.

The loyalty – family and within their military structure – is very real. The Pipers are all distantly related to one of two families: the Hammerthynns and the Jamesons. I tried to stay as close to true military structure as possible, save for their ranking, but I did a ridiculous amount of research for the weapons, military maneuvers, equipment, and vehicles. On a personal level, I absolutely enjoy military movies and books, so when I see something wrong, it infuriates me.  I really tried to achieve a level of realism that I hope comes through in the stories.

Book 2 and 3 will be coming out this year and will feature more of Vivienne and her Piper boys.  Book 1 excerpts for Chapters 1-5 are free, as well as the entire ebook/pdf, on my website.

Currently my Air Force family is stationed in Colorado Springs, CO.  My 20 year, high school
sweetheart Michael and I have 2 kiddos, Catherine (13) and David (5).

Free Download - http://www.rosalindhartmann.com/download/ (LIKE THE PAGE FOR THE LINK)