Monday, October 14, 2013

Aloha to Fleet Week, Heather Ashby, and FORGIVE & FORGET

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We return to our celebration of Fleet Week with Heather Ashby!   From her bio (link):

Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran, whose mother was one of the original Navy WAVES in WWII. 

After leaving the service, Heather taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East.

In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to support wounded warriors and their families.

An award-winning author of romantic fiction, Heather is a member of Romance Writers of America, and also belongs to regional/specialty chapters, including The Golden Network and First Coast Romance Writers. Additionally, she holds memberships in RomVets and the Military Writers Society of America.

Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida, with her retired Naval Engineer husband. 




Heather:  Happy Birthday, U. S. Navy! Thanks for inviting me today, Kim, to share some of my Navy memories.

Kim:  Please share a special memory from the Navy.


Heather:  Nothing beats reunions on the pier when the love of your life returns from deployment. One of the Navy’s finest traditions is that the new fathers are the first to disembark the ship to meet their children for the first time. Fortunately my husband was present for the births of both of our children. It was getting him home to get married in the first place that was the problem. 

Fortunately, I was a Navy veteran when I attempted to marry a Navy man, so I understood “Needs of the Navy.” My husband and I planned to marry as soon as I was released from Active Duty in October 1976. Unfortunately, it requires a bride and a groom to have a wedding. Pete was the Executive Officer on a fleet tugboat at the time. Fleet tugs don’t have schedules; they go where they’re needed, when they’re needed—including overseas. 

The USS Shakori received orders early that summer to tow a section of dry dock from Norfolk to Scotland. Once there, the ship was in the perfect position to help locate an F-14 Tomcat that rolled off the USS John F. Kennedy in the North Sea. Since the Russians were cruising around the site, hoping to locate not only the jet, but also the top secret Phoenix missile on board, the fleet tug found itself in the national news for the next several months. Since the ship was not large enough to warrant mail delivery while at sea, at least now I was able to plan my wedding around articles in the New York Times and on the evening news.

After postponing our wedding six times, we were finally married on December 4, 1976. To this day, I smile at expensive weddings where every detail has to be perfect. We couldn’t even book a venue, because we couldn’t give a firm date. But somehow we and our fifty guests managed to have a beautiful, last minute, home wedding, and so far that marriage has lasted 37+ wonderful years.

My favorite Navy memory was the day the USS Shakori returned home so we could marry. Because he was the XO and the Navigation Officer, Pete was responsible for docking the ship. There he stood on deck, so handsome in his dress blues, supervising the docking—with his eyes repeatedly darting back to me on the pier. The look in his eyes and the fact that he was finally home trumped even our wedding day—five days later.


Love conquers all ... including unexpected deployments.

Kim:  If you could vacation one week at a Navy base, where would it be? 

Heather:  It would have to be Hawaii! I’d say I’ve never been there, but I technically have. I’m embarrassed to say that I actually got there as a Navy dependent, but never left the airport. Traveling Space Available with an 8-year-old and a layover of anywhere from 1 to 48 hours was not conducive to venturing off the base. Of course we ended up being bumped from all early flights and stayed for 48 hours, sleeping in the USO lounge. So I feel like I’m owed a trip to Hawaii. And since this is fantasy trip, where’s my ticket?

Hawaii beckons Heather ...

Kim:  What does this verse mean to you (from Anchors Aweigh):

Faith, courage, service true. With honor over, honor over all.

Heather:  One of the attributes I admire most about my husband is his integrity. This is the go-to-guy if you ever need to check your moral compass. He always does the right thing, because it is the right thing to do. I used to attribute it to his solid upbringing, but the more time I spent with his Naval Academy colleagues over the years, I see how much was also instilled in him at that fine institution on the Severn River. 

The series I write, “Love in the Fleet,” centers around three Naval Academy classmates as they navigate both the seven seas and the magical world of falling in love. The debut novel, Forgive & Forget, focuses on Philip Johnston, who is nicknamed, “Lieutenant Integrity.” Imagine his surprise when he discovers that Hallie McCabe, a “college student” he has given his heart to, is actually an enlisted sailor stationed aboard his aircraft carrier. (Well, she does take college courses.)

The reason she fails to share her Navy status is because he is exactly the kind of man she’s been looking for. A man of honor—unlike her rat bastard father. But if she tells Philip she is in the Navy, he will walk because his deep-seated integrity would never allow him to break fraternization rules. So he remains blindly in love, while Hallie scrambles to cover her tracks while she figures out how they can legitimately sail off into the sunset together. 

File:US Naval Academy 1894.jpg
Graduating class, 1894, United States Naval Academy.
Public Domain (link)

You asked me what the above verse means to me. I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world, married to the real Lieutenant Integrity, who demonstrates “honor over all” on a daily basis. So much so, that I made him the hero in my first novel.

You’ll have to read Forgive & Forget to see if Hallie and Philip can combine deception, integrity, fraternization, and trust—plus a visit from al-Qaeda—to find their happily ever after. Good news! It’s on sale for $.99 on Amazon through October 15th.

I have a copy of Forgive & Forget for one lucky commenter below. What does “honor over all” mean to you?



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Mahalo, Heather, for your service as a Navy child, spouse, and veteran!   To enter Heather's giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about what "honor over all" means to you.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 19, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 20.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

To learn more about Heather and her books, check out her website at heatherashby.com.

Coming December 2013




31 comments:

  1. What an amazing love story with your husband, Heather! And I love that the hero in "Forgive & Forget" is not some macho, shoot before he thinks kind of guy. He's sensitive and real and the kind of man that is not written about often enough in romance novels :-)

    Catherine, Australia

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  2. Awwww, thanks for appreciating Philip. I agree. We don't see enough nice guy, beta heroes in romance novels. Yet, I think they make for awesome happily ever afters - in novels and in the real world. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hi Heather! Your family & you are amazing & you have my utmost respect.

    My fav hero trait has always been the honorable hero; the one who put honor & what he feels is right above all even if it means a personal sacrifice.

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    1. Oh, I agree, Linda. They say integrity is what we do when no one is watching. I SO respect those who stand up for what they feel is right and do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. And those who make a personal sacrifice to demonstrate their belief are tops.

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  4. Such a fabulous post thank you.

    "honor over all" - not letting yourself or others down.

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    1. It is nice to know who we can count on, isn't it, Mary? Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Hi Heather. Great post. Oh, tears stung my eyes at learning new fathers are the first to disembark off a ship. I did not know that. Wow! No need to enter me in the contest. I've read your wonderful story and it's sooooooooo good. I'm in love with your characters. And your writing is great! Thanks for the interview.

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    1. New babies at post-deployment reunions are the most poignant thing I've ever witnessed, whether I see them live or in the news. To think that those dads have never seen or held their babies before, makes me cry every time. And then I cry for how strong those women are to go through much of their pregnancies and deliveries without their husbands at their sides. Spouses and children are the unsung heroes of the military. (I love that dads get to watch deliveries on Skype these days!) Thanks for stopping by today, Kathleen, and thanks for loving my characters. :-) Hugs.

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  6. What a beautiful love story! I had not idea either that new fathers were the first ones off the the ship.

    Honor over all -- be true and honest.

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    1. Hi, Danielle. I always love to watch reunions on the pier. To see that it's not the Commanding Officer who disembarks first or any other senior officer - unless he's a new dad. Sometimes rank has its privilege - and sometimes it doesn't. And you're so right about being true and honest. I always say "Trust" it my favorite "Love" word. Without it, no relationship can flourish. Parents and kids, lovers, friends, colleagues, whoever. Thanks for joining me today, Danielle.

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  7. What a great post. Thanks so much.
    It means doing the right thing.

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    1. I agree, Debby. Doing the right thing - even when it's the hardest thing to do. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. I loved this post, and like the others, had no idea that new fathers were first to disembark the ship.

    Honor to me means doing the right thing, and not letting others influence your decision.

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    1. Thanks, Diane. I agree. I always love to see people standing up for principles. And - as a teacher for many years - the ones that always touch me the most are when children - especially teens - do the honorable thing. Thanks for stopping by. P.S. I curious about your avatar "England." I mention this because book 3 in my series is about an exchange officer program with the Royal Navy. I will be looking for beta readers to read advance copies to check my British-speak :-) Please let me know if you are interested. HeatherAshby@aol.com

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    2. Hi Heather,

      I don't know if you will see this, but I've tried to email you without success. AOL says that there's an error with your email address. You can contact me at dpd333(at)aol.com.

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  9. Thanks for the awesome post! You sound like you've had a rich, full life. I think you've already explained the meaning of "honor". I think all of the men and women in the armed services daily demonstrate this and I have the utmost respect and admiration for them. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. And thanks for acknowledging our men and women in uniform. Please keep their families in your thoughts as well. They serve our country too, although most of it is behind the scenes. I'm so glad you stopped by today.

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  10. Wonderful post and I'm thinking in today's world we need a lot more of that honor over all!

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  11. I know. Every day when I watch the news I think of this. Wouldn't it be nice if everybody just did what they're supposed to do? Thanks so much for visiting today, Catslady :-)

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  12. I think it means you do what you think is right in any situation you find yourself in.

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    1. And wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone did this, Maureen? Thanks for the comment.

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  13. To always do the right thing is what it means to me. Thank you for your service!

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  14. And thank you for stopping by, girlygirlhoosier52 (Great name :-)

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  15. Great post - I loved reading about your hero husband and experiences. Thanks for sharing with us. To me it means do the right thing all the time, even when it isn't the easiest thing to do.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. You're right; it's not always easy to do the right thing. I've heard that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. Thanks for visiting.

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  16. Integrity to me is epitomized in the life of my son, Robert T.White, Jr., Naval Academy Class of '85 and "Winningest Coxswain in Naval Academy History," who coxed the Heavyweight 8 to win the National Championship. Though he's now in the Fleet in Heaven, he, too, was Lt. Integrity, and my pride and joy forever. Jane Nixon White

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  17. This brings tears to my eyes, Jane. How awesome to have Lieutenant Integrity for a son! How proud you are of him - and always will be. I know you are a super mom and that's probably much of the reason he was Lt. Integrity. God bless you, your family, and your warm memories of Robert T. White, Jr. Hugs, Heather

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  18. Doing the right thing at the right time

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  19. Hi, Heather! I am kind of late for this, but I loved your story and interview. It is always special to see the one you love look at you through eyes filled with love and wanting. Especially if they are in the service and you don't get to see that much of each other. Honesty and integrity go hand in hand no matter how hard it may be.

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  20. Aw, thanks, Cathy. Honesty and integrity DO go hand in hand. And sometimes it IS difficult to do the right thing. Thanks for stopping by.

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