A Call to Adventure

This topic has been on my mind for about four years now--almost five. See, sometimes when I meet new military wives, we chit and chat and it's inevitable that some discussion on how long and what does he do will come up. And it's not like some of the crazy wives believe in which there's a rank competition going on. Sometimes it really is just curiosity. 

But the truth is, when the women are perfect strangers, and this is the equivalent of small talk, it's easy to wave off the catch phrases, the cliches. And many times, as I've explained that my husband was an accountant--a CPA--turned soldier, a new acquaintance will smile and say, "Ahh, just looking for a little adventure?"

And, I just laugh with a wave of my hand... yeah, yeah.

But no. I think the next time this happens, I will say, "No." I may even frown a little. Because despite the fact that these women mean no harm, at all. It makes me feel like I'm betraying the truth or my husband's trust. 

My husband wanted to join the military when he was 17. His parents wouldn't sign the forms and told him, "Go to college." So he did. Which then started a different journey for him, one that included me. And eventually 5 kids. And he definitely kept looking for that opportunity to fulfill a dream. At every turning point in our life, he would take time to see what his options were for the military. But it wasn't until 2010 that he could make that a reality. And it wasn't 'adventure' or the need to 'escape' or find 'fulfillment.' No, let's be honest about an accountant husband, who quit smoking because 'it was too expensive now.' He wanted someone to pay of his substantial college loans. Yup. He might have wanted this at 17, but it was the undergraduate and post graduate loans that really pushed him into making this happen. [sorry, honey, if I'm revealing your secrets] 

My husband has found adventure at every point in his life. He has made new friends. Learned new things. Answered 'The Call of the Wild'. Taken setbacks. And grown in leaps and bounds. 

And let's talk about what adventure means anyway.

Okay?

Kay. We'll do it a very simple compare and contrast kind of way so everyone understands. Ready? Here we go...

 

1. Travelling to distant countries to stand between your loved ones and enemy fire? 

Not adventure.

2. An African Safari?

Adventure.

3. Separation from your loved ones for months at a time?

Not adventure.

4. Hiking the Denali with your lover?

Adventure.

5. 14 hour days of dealing with training, classes, people?

Not adventure.

6. 14 hours on a lake in Lavonia, Georgia with your family?

Adventure.

 

See what I'm doing there?

Let's not forget why our soldiers fight.

Duty. Honor. Loyalty.

Love of country.

Love of family.

Love of Freedom.

To be very clear. I am not and have never been offended by the assumption that my husband was "looking for adventure". If you've ever said this to me, I'm not calling you out or want to stomp on your goodwill. :) The last woman who did it just happened to be the one that caught my attention and turned the tides--no hard feelings at all. And I never would have thought anything of her response if half of a dozen people before her hadn't said the very same thing. 

But this time...I stand true to my soldier instead of letting his sacrifice seem menial.

Let's be honest!!

If he'd joined at 17, I would have accused him of giving in to the proverbial "Call to Adventure!" 

Military Moves

The Military Life

We've been lucky...blessed. Our first duty station was a four year stay. That's pretty unusual. Two years, three years tops, is normal. So, we've been blessed.

But we've also grown roots. Four years is definitely a long time, knowing a move is imminent. Too long to avoid deep friendships. Not that we do that... but let's be honest, I'm an introvert, so holing up for a couple years is not a problem for me. I like things quiet. 

It's really hard to leave Colorado Springs, though.

Because Cindy and Jennie.

Dang! Not fair! How did this happen? What will I do? Who will satisfy the minimal socializing I can handle? Who will laugh with me as we sit in Panera? Who will investigate and speculate on the guy who comes in too often--every time with a different woman, every time as if he's doing an interview?? Is it a ploy? Is he a criminal? 

Who will I make eyes at over my laptop???

I don't know...

All I know is that it's very hard to leave. Because even with Sprint 2.0 on Messenger, it will not be the same again. Not until I can get back to this place I've called home for 4 years. A place that has become home because of the people I've met.

I don't know what I'll do without Starbucks (wine and beer included) and Panera (preachers and cons included). There will be a great void for a while as I fumble around and figure out what the freak to do with myself. :(

Cover Reveal for SEAL of Honor


First of all, let's just get this out of the way...as the wife of a soldier, I can appreciate what being a soldier does to/for a man. Besides instilling honor and loyalty and...a few good muscles, my husband does what he does because deep down, he loves us. He loves his country, his family, and rightness. 

So, a romance novel about our military men [and/or women] is perfectly understandable...and utterly enticing. 


~*~ COVER REVEAL ~*~
"...or revealing cover?" says my funny husband. 
He wants to know, "what's the title, 'My Eyes are Up Here'?"

I can make the cover bigger...



SEAL OF HONOR, the first book in a sexy new special ops series in which a Navy SEAL is offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team of military and government delinquents.


Title: SEAL of Honor
Author: Tonya Burrows
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Imprint: Entangled Select


Purchase from Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/atjme8d
Purchase from Barnes &Noble:   http://tinyurl.com/a4j9k
Add to GoodReads: http://tinyurl.com/a6ae84v


...A BIG congratulations to Tonya Burrows for her book coming out this year in May, SEAL of Honor. It's got a great looking cover. And I can't wait to read it...


Tonya Burrows 

 Writing has always been my one true love. I wrote my first novel-length story in 8th grade and haven't stopped since. I received a B.A. in creative writing from SUNY Oswego and I'm now working on a MFA in popular fiction at Seton Hill University.

When I'm not writing, I spend my time reading, painting (badly), exploring new places, and enjoying time with my family. Give me a good horror movie over a chick flick any day. (And, let's be honest, I'll take a bad horror movie too!) I'm a geek at heart and pledge my avid TV fandom to Supernatural and Doctor Who. I'm also a big fan of The Voice. What can I say? Guilty pleasure.
 

I share my life with two dogs and a ginormous cat. We live in a small town in PA, but I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust and usually end up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, my animals are all excellent travel buddies.

Author Website: http://www.tonyaburrows.com/
Twitter: @TonyaBurrows

7 people in a one bedroom

It's said that military families need to be flexible.
We're learning that now.
And learning that PCSing takes practice.
Permanent Change of Station
When a change of orders instigates a move to a new Post, the whole family picks up and follows along.
But I'm finding that it's not so much following...as leading the way.
Together, of course. But still, women think of things that men don't always think of...
and men think of things that women don't always think of...

Together is better.
We'll learn.

For example, next time... screw permissive TDY--paid-for leave, which is the time they allow you to find a place to live. But if you find a place to live before you get to your new station, you forfeit the leave. Well, forfeit the leave. It's no good, coming to a place and having to live in a hotel for almost a week. All that money you get to move??? It disappears PDQ when you live in a hotel. :D

No news here yet.
I did get some writing done this morning while all the kids slept. Yay!


3-2-1 Blast Off!


For Love or Duty

Growing up in the military is not always peaches and cream. Valerie knows it first hand. That's why she has spent an entire lifetime avoiding men in uniform. But meeting Captain Morgan is more than she counted on because he makes her laugh and shows her that sometimes love comes before duty.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes! It's finally available! [and just to get this out of the way]

BUY LINKS!
SMASHWORDS, where all formats are available: ePub-for Nook, Mobi-for Kindle, pdf [and a few others].
AMAZON
BARNES and NOBLE


I want to thank my friends from Passionate Critters for being here with me. 
Thanks to Debora Dennis, Jennifer Shirk, and Nina Croft for offering their books as giveaways. 
Congratulations to Molly Mclain, Becky Doughty, and Moira Keith!

And to the one person who commented this week and won MY BOOK! 
[hey! i have a book I can giveaway. LOL][drumroll please]
Mooshercat! 

All of you. Thank you for sharing my excitement over this book. I've had such a fun time creating this story, my first ever that didn't involve dead bodies. It is truly a sweet romance. I smile because I think of movies like Return to Me and Fools Rush In. They made me laugh and cheer for Love. 
I hope this book does the same for you...and that you'll come back for more, because 
there's definitely more where this came from...

~~~~~~~~~
EXCERPT

Two days later, Kevin slapped a small amount of cologne onto his neck and loosened the collar of his shirt. Tonight he had plans to loosen up and enjoy an hour of absolutely nothing. No meetings, no soldiers, no superiors or subordinates. A woman might be nice, but it had come to him recently that he needed to settle down and get serious about finding a wife. Ever since then, his desire to hook up had sorta disappeared.

Procrastination, probably. The thought of marriage had forced his brain to shutdown where women were concerned. What he needed was one last hoorah fling. Then he could go about the business of finding a wife. He'd pulled his black book and made lists of all the women he knew, separating them first by availability and then by characteristics.

The problem was they all liked him too much for a short fling.

If he could find a woman who didn’t even like him, he might be able to enjoy himself. No pressure. No expectations.

Valerie’s face with her hard, disapproving glances that had slid down her stuck up nose came to mind, and he grinned. Yeah, she’d be perfect. Not young. He didn’t want them so young they looked at him with stars in their eyes, like he was some kind of hero.

She was probably about his age, thirty or so. Maybe a little older.

Unfortunately, besides showing up at the convenient store, he had no way of finding her except to call Cheryl. Not an option. Calling Cheryl would surely make his conscience come to life and, after the weekend he had in the field, he could use some time out to relax for an evening--let off some steam.

He drove the short distance through town to his buddy’s restaurant. It wasn’t exactly a single’s bar, but he could still hope for a date. A date, he convinced himself, that could possibly lead to something else but not something more.

Good God! Who was he trying to convince? He could go on a date if he wanted without hearing wedding bells in the background.

He slammed his truck into park outside Dougherty’s Restaurant, took the stairs two at a time, and opened the front door for two young ladies. With a smile, he ushered them in. They giggled, making him cringe inside. He couldn’t help but be thankful the days of moony-eyed girls and courtship were over.

“Ladies.”

They laughed as they passed him and met up with two soldiers. The younger men apparently appealed to the women, and though Kevin tried to squeeze past without being seen, he caught the look of startled recognition before the men straightened. Don't salute. They didn't, but he could see they thought about it.

Now he felt old. “At ease, men. I’m on my own time, same as you are.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

Kevin held in a groan as he continued toward the back of the rough-hewn, wood-floored room. At the rear was a pool table, standard fare with a few bar stools lining the walls. It wasn’t crowded, probably because it was Monday night.

A band played a mix of southern rock and grass roots blues on the small stage to the right of the front door. The rhythm of the drums and earthy sounds of the guitars convinced a few couples to the dance floor.

“Hey, Kevin, can I get you a beer?” Joe tended bar most nights, and though Kevin never thought of himself as a regular, he’d gotten to know the man. Liked him, too. His wife worked the kitchen, and together they ran a good show. Didn’t own the place, but maybe that’s what allowed them to relax on the weekends. Whatever, it worked.

Kevin leaned over an empty stool and tucked a five into the tip jar. “Sure. That sounds great.”

He turned his head, the urge to at least smile politely at the person next to him too strong to ignore. His jaw dropped as the scent of Valerie filled his nose—a subtle hint of vanilla mixed with the exotic scent of her perfume—and he locked his gaze on her suspiciously narrowed eyes. “Well, I’ll be danged.”

~~~~~~~~
ps to those who made it down this far. Giveaway for the first three commenters today. shhh... don't tell. :D 
If you've made it this far, you've also noticed there isn't a BN link yet. Just a small glitch they don't tell you at the start of the process, but you can still get the epub and load it to your Nook manually through Smashwords. I'll update as soon as I have a viable BN link. Enjoy FRIDAY. Enjoy the weekend.
With Love
Bethanne Strasser

Memorial Day

I think we're the only military family that doesn't own a flag of the United States of America. It pains me to admit it. I've always wanted one, but never did anything about it. Why? Perhaps it was a budget issue. I don't know. When I've mentioned a flag to my husband, he brings up the maintenance aspect... who's going to bring it in at night? Or make sure it has a light shining on it?

Now that we're in the Army, I wish we had one even more. It's awkward to be the only house on your block that isn't flying Old Glory. So, I'll fly one here....



Remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and our freedom.
Celebrate the lives they lived and the families they left behind.
Memorial Day 2012

Proud and Disappointed at the same time

This might get a tad long...... [why is it, when someone says that, you know there's a rant coming?!]

But first, I had a few proud moments this week.
1) my son got reader of the year award for the Pre-K thru 2 category...for the entire school district. Wow! Way to go kiddo. He's a kindergartner who reads at a second grade level. Nice job!
2) at my other son's Boy Scout meeting this week, the Troop leader came over to me, confirmed I was his mother then proceeded to rave about what a great job my son had done on the camp-out the previous weekend. "He was the first to pitch in and get things done...and he knew what he was doing, too. From putting up a tent to cooking." So proud of him for taking camping [and all his dad has taught him] seriously, and having fun, too.
3) A couple of weeks ago, my daughter came home with an assignment I needed to sign for...a volunteer project. She told me she had a friend and they were going to go to a nursing home and volunteer. I admit, I was wary...sounded like a lot of work for me! They're only kids(13yo). Are they really going to find somewhere to go? Make arrangements? Get it done? At the least, I knew I was going to be doing an added amount of running around, not to mention that I'd only be lucky if the other girl's parents were willing to give as much as I would have to... that wasn't a statement about the parents. I didn't know them...yet. As a matter of fact, that was my Cynical Nature coming out. Here comes the proud part... they did it. My daughter spoke to the counselor at school, made arrangements with a nursing home and reported that they needed to go to the facility for orientation the next day. They picked a day and decided they would go in on Saturday.

Awesome! Really proud of her. She's getting so grown up and responsible. And she knows what's right... and I can tell because she called me this evening.

And this is where the disappointment comes in...

Because when I asked her about when they were going over to the Nursing Home in the morning she informed me that her friend hadn't liked going there and thought it was "freaky." But her friend's friend [or was it sister? I was too irritated by then to recall now] had a Special Olympics event going on tomorrow too and they were going to do that instead.

Really. Uh, no. Okay, I flipped a little at first. Did she really think I was going to let her go who knows where with who knows who to do who knows what? Not to mention the fact that she'd already made a commitment to something else. I'd signed my name to the form! Seriously. This other girl's parents were okay with this? She could just back out because..."old people are freaky?" I reminded my daughter that these people were God's people and that it might be a little uncomfortable and that it took some getting used to...to work with the elderly, but that she was going. She'd made the commitment...I'd signed the project slip from school that this is what she was doing.

My daughter did not fight it...she knew it was coming. Maybe she hoped for a different outcome. I suppose I don't blame her.

But I do blame that girl's parents. I sent my daughter to their house because this is what they had planned to do in order to get their project done... on the other hand, I'm getting the idea that I'm the only one who thought she was going there so they could "DO THEIR PROJECT." I conceded to picking her up at NOON...Noon! They had another friend over as well. Not just Virginia and this girl. I think I'll just show up at about 11:30.

I feel like shaking those parents...don't they know they are going to be OLD? And then what? They're going to roll around in their wheelchairs and bitch at the wall in front of them that no one comes to see them and young people just don't respect their elders and young people have no sense of commitment...

Kids today are not help accountable.
Not to sound self-righteous or anything...but mine are and will be held accountable. When they say they are going to do something, they will do it. Even if it's harder than they expected it would be.

Miracle Monday

I found a Parking Spot at Martin Army Community Hospital. 
That is a MIRACLE!  :D

I'm just thankful today for military life. Even with its ups and downs, I find it has an odd sense of order that I can understand and appreciate. Might make me one of a few..! But when it comes right down to it, I'd rather deal with the military's EFMP or ACS or whatever acronym I happen to need than head to the city or county or state human services... :P

And with a special need kid, that's what I'd be doing. 

Someone else commented about this, and I agree. The sense of community and helpfulness is greater within the Army family than I've ever found in the gov't system [with a few exceptions, of course].  I think it's because....

We're all in it together, working the system, benefitting from the system, trying to maintain or better our quality of life.

[not so]Wordless Wednesday

508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, photo credit:
http://www.508pir.org/odessey/belgium/ardennes_02.htm 
Sometimes, you wait for inspiration, and you think, read one more book. That will help. Watch a movie and that will help. Pray, meditate, chat, brainstorm... Read again. But then you realize, your focus has been wrong. You can't even really put a finger on it. You can't pinpoint it. But there it is--all of a sudden--staring you in the face.

An Idea!
And I don't mind admitting, an idea straight from heaven.
I know it because as soon as I start researching, details fall in to place.


I honestly feel inspired and unbelievably relieved...

I get to write a story. One set in a time I love.
How exciting is that?
Very.

Deployment Ideas--Sunday Summations

I think we've all heard of the paper chain idea for marking the days through a deployment. This is for the kids, mostly. Something fun and visual for them to count down the days. I stopped at Tips on the Tips webpage and Megan mentioned  a great way to send notes overseas with your loved one who is being deployed.

POST-IT NOTES!!

Those fabulous little pieces of paper with adhesive on the back. The paper everyone loves. :D Kids love it, moms love it. And now that special person in your life will love it!! By taking the time to carefully place a note on each page (without pulling it off), your soldier will be able to count down the days until he sees you again with little love messages, tearing one off for every day (if you're ambitious and steadfast) or even every other day (if you're...easily distracted) that he's gone. 

This is definitely going on my list of "things to remember for later." 

Let's just say, this idea goes beyond Military Life. You could do this for a friend who is far away and needs encouragement. It's personal. I like that best. Anyone can buy a book, Chicken Soup for the Soul or what-have-you, but this takes a little thought and because of that, means so much more. 

*  *  *
Sunday Summations

I've been thinking about a story for younger people, mid-teens... possibly a little older. A time travel. Time Travel!!! I don't know what brought it up and I honestly can't recall if I first thought of it before or after my discussion about speculative fiction. But it was before the weekend. A fantasy, of sorts, about a couple of people who visit a museum and end up on the battle fields of WW2. 

I'm looking forward to this project because it's going to mean I get to visit a museum... by myself--no kids invited (except Darla!). And I'm going to get to take notes!! I'm not a great museum attendee. I usually get bored because my husband reads every single word on every single display...until I start growling that the kids are restless and if I have to wrangle one more malcontent, I might lose my mind. Not only that, but when I visit the National Infantry Museum, I tend to skim over the exhibits, getting just the visual, because if I read too much I get teary-eyed. It's embarrassing!

Sooo, I'm into a bit of research in the next week. Not only will I learn something, I'm going to enjoy myself, too. 

Have a great week, friends!
With love,
Bethanne


Being the Oldest -- SWEET AGE of 35 [for Saturday's sake]

It's going to sound like I wrote this before bed last night...that's cuz I did!

My husband joined the military after we'd been married for 12 years. I think that's why we handled the transition so well. The separation didn't seem that big a deal like it did to some of the younger, less certain wives and girlfriends. My soldier and I had already been through more than a lot of couples--seven relocations,  five kids, three pink slips, welfare, arguments, mistakes...and lots of love--enough that I knew joining the Army would be a breeze. If you've been married or with your significant other as long as I have, you probably know what I'm talking about. 

It's what happens when you're confident in yourself. I don't question who I am or if I'm replaceable. 

Sooo, my crazy-butt issue this week [because, yes...i'm a woman, and I still have issues, even if I'm confident] is that I don't think I fit in very well. Maybe this isn't such a bad thing. Maybe it doesn't matter that I'm more than 10 years older than most of the wives associated with my husband's class [he's still in school/training], but that's how it feels to me right now. I'm older...

I'm OLD! 

I'm not hip, like other ladies.
I'm not stylish.
I don't give a crap about Target.
My kids sometimes wear clothes that are stained or NOT cute.
My hair isn't straight.
I'll never drive a new car.
I don't give a crap about Starbucks.
Living in a neighborhood with a homeowners association might kill me.

I don't fit in very well...

And right now, I just want to cry because my son has to wear these stupid braces on his feet. And after putting them on for the first time today, I pretended to be upbeat about them and encouraging but mostly I was just so stinking mad and disappointed and sad. They don't even have a hinge of some sort at the back of the heel! How is he supposed to walk "better" if there's no movement there? if he can't stand on his toes? if he can't extend and contract those muscles like he's supposed to? And I just hated it... because it was just one more thing that makes him different from his peers. He's never going to fit in either!

All of this... and maybe we're better off BECAUSE we don't fit in, but somedays that's harder to accept. This is one of those days, I guess.

I think I need chocolate...
Or wine...
both of which I have.

So, I don't care that this blog post has the feel of a cliffhanger. I'm going to sign out and dry my tears and go watch Knight Rider. 

Take care good friends.
With Love
Bethanne