My family is spending this week on Maui so I am posting this blog early. There is so much to celebrate that you won't miss me.
October 5 is Super Tuesday!
- It is our 14th wedding anniversary! We met at the Pentagon, married at Fort Myer, and moved 5 times: Scott AFB, Illinois; Yokota AB, Japan; Brunssum, Netherlands; Fort Meade, Maryland; and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
- It is also the 47th wedding anniversary for NYT's bestselling author Bertrice and Army veteran George Small. After serving in WWII, George returned home to meet his future bride. We'll hear more about their love affair as a special celebration for Veterans' Day!
|Mr. Romance 1945|
- Bertrice also celebrates the publication of her 50th book, THE BORDER VIXEN. I know from her acknowledgement pages that George inspires her to write the romance sagas that we all come to expect from Bertrice.
- Jeannie Lin celebrated the release of her debut book, BUTTERFLY SWORDS, on October 1.
Jeannie and Sandy are teachers-turned-award winning authors, so let's meet them:
Jeannie Lin started writing in 2005 while she was teaching high school. After a long journey through rejections and contests and revisions, her manuscript, Butterfly Swords, won the 2009 Golden Heart® award for historical romance. Harlequin® Mills & Boon has bought the manuscript and she is thrilled that a major publisher is willing to take a chance on such an unusual setting! She has completed three full-length manuscripts and several shorter works set in the dramatic Tang Dynasty. She serves as vice-president of her local RWA chapter in St. Louis, MORWA. Her principle online writing community is Romance Divas and she recommends that any writer looking for like-minded individuals come and take a look. As of May 2009, Jeannie is represented by Gail Fortune of the Talbot Fortune Agency Inc.
Sandy James is a graduate of Indiana State University (B.A. Criminology) and Indiana University-Purdue University (M.S. English Education). Currently teaching at Greenwood Community High School, she has been employed as a social studies instructor for sixteen years. She is an adjunct professor of psychology to Indiana University. She is a multiple year nominee to “Who’s Who Among American Teachers?” and has been named on the “National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers.” A proud contest diva, she has finaled or won thirty-four contests with eight different stories including being a HOLT Medallion winner, an Aspen Gold Readers’ Choice winner, a Write Touch Readers’ Choice winner, a Booksellers’ Best finalist, a double EPIC finalist, and a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence finalist. She has five published books with Siren-BookStrand. She is proud to be represented by Maureen Walters of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
My hubby is also a Boilermaker.
My mother-in-law is a retired school teacher and military spouse.
Kim: What inspired you to become a teacher?
Jeannie: My mother trained to be a literature teacher (can’t say “English” LOL) in Vietnam. She was about to graduate and had her placement, but the Vietnam war was coming to an end. She fled the country as a refugee before she could ever teach. It must have been that story that put the dream of teaching in my head.
My first career was in computer integration software. I was traveling and consulting nearly every week and got burnt out. When I quit, I tried to decide what to do next. I knew I wanted to teach, but I’d always thought it was something I’d do “when I retired”. How silly is that? The one thing I knew I wanted to do…why wait until I’m old and retired? So I started looking into teaching programs, got my Master’s in Education, and a year later, I was in the classroom.
I stopped teaching when I moved out of state, but when I think back on the energy and effort it took to do the job well, I can’t believe I ever thought of it as a soft job for a retiree.
Sandy: My mother was a teacher before she retired. I always looked up to her and envied how much her students adored her. I also saw how she touched so many lives. Since I have such a love for psychology and history, becoming a social studies teacher seemed natural. Although I wanted to be a lawyer, I’m so grateful I chose this path instead. I can’t imagine doing anything else!
Kim: What inspired you to become a writer?
Jeannie: It must be my mother again. She’d always dreamed of teaching during the school year and writing during the summers. One summer, a colleague of mine and I were planning curriculum for the next year. We started chit-chatting about what other job we’d like to have besides teaching. Hers was surprisingly construction. She was a tiny thing and had done it one summer. She wanted to operate the big heavy machines with the big boys. I laughingly said “I’d write. And I’d write romance novels.”
Funny how when you say something that rings true, your heart immediately recognizes and clings to it. My heart said, “Yes, yes, you silly girl. You already know these things you want. You just won’t admit it!”
I signed up for a romance novel class and started writing. Interesting trivia: That friend’s name was Ailey Kato. Ai Li is the heroine of Butterfly Swords. The hero, who can’t speak Han Chinese, calls her Ailey.
Sandy: One of my junior high school English teachers always told me I’d be a writer, but I had neither the time nor the inclination to sit down and write a book. When the younger of my two children was a senior in high school, that time was suddenly available. Couple that new free time with a book I read where the heroine was thirty-nine but the author said—several times—that she still looked like a teenager. It made me so angry, I sat down to write a story about a thirty-nine-year-old heroine who was truly thirty-nine. After that first book, I was hooked.
Kim: What is your favorite Teacher Quotation?
Jeannie: This is from my mentor teacher Joshua Hartford during my student teaching rotation. We taught science: “Never let the truth get in the way of good teaching.”
My second favorite quote is also from him: “Sometimes you get kicked in the balls for doing the right thing.”
Sandy: "One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings," Carl Jung.
I salute Jeannie, Sandy, and the teachers of the world who shape our lives. I also salute my mother-in- law and other military spouses who teach, move, and volunteer in their communities.
In honor of International World Teachers' Day, I invite you to leave a comment about your favorite teacher.
I will also mail a 2011 Hawaii calendar to any teacher in the US - send the mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The calendars will warm you up in the coming winter months.
Have a great week - we'll wave from Haleakala!
Kim in Hawaii