Friday, April 5, 2013

Guest Author LK Hunsaker

Hello! It’s wonderful to see a new blog supporting and celebrating the military, romance style! I’m proud to help get things rolling as a guest blogger.

A little about me: I’m spouse of a retired career soldier and did 17 of his nearly 21 years with him while raising two children. When we met, he was an Army Spec 4 (a no longer used rank) in Texas and I was a small town girl in Central Illinois with no real knowledge of military life. My uncle and 4 great uncles had been in the service, but I didn’t hear much about it. You could say I jumped in heart first with no idea what I was getting into. He retired as an E7 (SFC) and here we are still together after 25 years. To me, romance is far more than heart flutters and passion. It’s also just hanging in there and getting through it, as all military spouses know.

I have eight books out under LK Hunsaker and one under a pen name, but I only recently began to
bring the military into my stories. The one I’m here to talk about today, Moondrops & Thistles, came about quite accidentally, you could say. In my 2009 release, Off The Moon, the main character is a rather arrogant and immature pop star who has to finish growing up, and his constant antagonist is his bodyguard, Daws. I knew while writing it that Daws had military background that related to Ryan being an Army brat, but that wasn’t Ryan’s story, so it stayed in my personal knowledge and I left it there. That is, until readers started to tell me how much they just loved Daws and wanted more of him and his story. Always one up for a challenge, I used Nanowrimo 2010 to figure out the rest of Daws and his background.

They say to write what you know, and because of Daws’s age in Off The Moon, I pushed Moondrops & Thistles to nine years earlier when he meets Deanna, which set the story back to 1991. With that timing, of course Daws is a Desert Storm vet. It worked perfectly, since my husband is a Desert Storm vet and those memories are something I intended to write at some point. The story is fiction. Many of the experiences are true. It is largely a tribute to the long distance part of the military relationship.

Love. Honor.


Daws, aka Sergeant Fred Dawson, U.S. Army, is a determined and highly respected leader. Called to serve in Desert Storm, he performs two impromptu rescue missions and manages to bring all of his men back home. While still haunted by the cost of his actions, he loses the most important person in his life, in an accident for which he feels partly responsible.

Deanna Meyers has had it with men. As far as she's concerned, there isn't a true loyal and honest gentleman left in New York City. In the midst of trying to advance in the world of advertising where the men in charge are more interested in her other attributes than in her skills, she finds herself in another destructive relationship, theis time to the possible detriment of her career.

When they run into each other at a bus stop in the pouring rain after midnight, Daws and Deanna recognize the spark of a connection that draws them in the way they are both drawn to the city lights at night.

At signings when readers ask which of the two related books they should read first, I always suggest Off The Moon first, since I wrote it first, and then there’s the effect of later reading Moondrops & Thistles and thinking... “Oh!” My husband, however, suggests them the other way around. They are related but separate and if you’re looking specifically for a military romance, start with Moondrops & Thistles, available in both print and ebook. As a warning, it is longer than normal romance length, so if you’d prefer shorter with less of the full military experience and with more spice, grab the shorter & spicier version instead, available in ebook only:

I’ll leave you with an excerpt of Deanna’s first time on an Army base, which is an experience I’ll never forget! If you’d like to read the beginning of the story, see the book’s site:

You’ll find a listing of my books here: to include Off The Moon, and a short, sweet homefront romance called Protect The Heart, dedicated to my great uncles. (The trailer for Protect the Heart features several actual photos from Desert Storm.)

Thank you to the Military Romance owners and bloggers for allowing me to join the party. Hooah!

Moondrops & Thistles  Excerpt:

Deanna handed Fred her state identification card when he asked for her license, to show the MP at the gate along with his military ID. The gun on the man’s hip made her nervous, but he was friendly and told them both to have a nice night. Even knowing it was nervy, she asked to see Fred’s card before he returned it to his wallet. With a curious expression, he handed it to her as he pulled through the gate. It was like a driver’s license except with a green background and no address. It showed his height as six feet, his weight as 215. His birthday December tenth. Five inches taller than she was, and nearly 80 pounds heavier. It was all muscle. She knew without a doubt, after seeing the flash of his bare chest and abdomen, that he had no extra fat. She couldn’t say the same. Not that she had a lot extra, she kept in shape, but she was built round. Hereditary. Nothing much she could do about it. He was built like a Mack truck. An extremely sexy Mack truck.

Trying not to think of that glimpse, she held the card in her hand and focused on the brick buildings all in a row, marked with numbers on their fronts and signs telling what was inside, she supposed, along with directional markers pointing here and there. She had no idea what some of it meant. Class VI. Mess hall she knew was the dining area. JAG? Commissary he’d mentioned – a grocery store. Shoppette? It had to be a mini shop of some kind. LSO. 10th Sustainment. Garrison Command. She felt as though she’d just landed in a foreign country.

“That’s our motor pool.”

Deanna looked over to where he pointed. A tall chain link fence was topped with barbed wire. Inside she saw ... tanks? And big truck-like vehicles that looked like they were meant to carry something. A helicopter.

Helicopter. He’d said his major died in a chopper crash. “Do you fly those?”

“No. I stay on the ground.”

“Don’t like to fly?”

“Not particularly. I do as I need to. And I can fix the things if they need it, minor fixes. I’m more an organizer. I make sure we have what we need to have when we need to have it, and then make sure it all goes back where it belongs.”

She nodded, too overwhelmed to ask about the so many things she saw since she didn’t know where to start asking. Soon, he pulled into the parking lot of a pretty brick building with a lot of windows and neat shrubbery. It even boasted flowers and colorful plants along the sidewalk. Everything she’d seen was perfectly cared for, neat, and pretty. Not what she would have expected.

“This is it.” He put the Chevy in park, turned off the engine, and grasped her hand. “Relax.”

“Who says I’m not?”

“I see it on your face.”

“Is there anything I should know to say or not say? How do I greet them? They won’t be in uniform, right? So I won’t know their rank...”

He squeezed her fingers. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll introduce you and they won’t expect you to remember all their names. They also won’t hesitate to remind you of them. It’ll be fine, Deanna. No different than meeting people at a regular bar.”

She rather doubted that was true. Especially since she’d never had to show her ID to get into an area and then drive past barbed wire and guns.

LK Hunsaker
~Literary Romance with an Artsy Twist~


  1. LK--I clearly remember the short story about Deanne and Daws meeting in the pouring rain at a bus stop. That was good.
    I enjoyed your excerpt--flawless and interesting, and the cover of Moondrops is gorgeous.
    The new blog concerning the military is a good idea, and I can say I know absolutely nothing about the military. It's always true--write what you know, and you know.

  2. Thank you, Celia! That short was intended to be all of Daws's story of his own, but when readers want more...

    ;-) Thanks for coming by!

  3. Sheri, thank you! There's more on the site that introduces the characters well.

  4. Hi LK,

    I enjoyed learning more about your association with the military and your books. Your covers are absolutely stunning!

    Best wishes for both books - loved the excerpts, too.

  5. Maggie, I appreciate you pulling time from your hectic schedule to drop in. Thanks for the compliment and the wishes!

  6. Enjoyed reading your excerpt and about how you grew to write Military Romance. I'm so glad there are avid readers out there who love this genre. So happy you could join the blog today. Going over to get your book now.

  7. Enjoyed reading this post & the excerpt from the book. I just added them to my TBRs. Thank goodness for Goodreads. I'd end up having paper & post its all over the place. You are a new author for me & I'm looking forward to reading Off the Moon first. Thank you for being here!

  8. Lorraine, I read that short story with Daws and Deanne in the rain. I know it's not easy being married to a miliary spouse. :) to you for making it last. I can honestly I have your story on my Kindle but I am terribly behind in my read. Hope to get to it soon!

  9. Sharon, it is nice to see so many interested in the lives of the military. I hope you'll enjoy the read.

    Jessie, I love Goodreads, too. I still have post-its all over but at least I don't have to have them for my to-read list, as well. Thanks for checking out my work.

    Steph, is there ever such a thing as not behind in our reading? There are so many great stories to find and get absorbed in. I look forward to your thoughts when you get there. :-)

  10. Great Except I guess I will be adding more to my tbr pile