Monday, September 24, 2012

Aloha to Lisa Becker and CLICK: AN ONLINE LOVE STORY

Online Dating Inspired Click: An Online Love Story
By Lisa Becker

I first met my husband while wearing my pajamas. Really! No, we weren't at some kinky singles party. I was sitting comfortably in my apartment and he was hanging out in his. But, I will never forget his email introduction via an online dating service, which invited me to check out his profile. It was sweet, endearing and intriguing enough for me to log on to learn more about him. After a week of emails, followed by a week of phone calls, we met for our first date - a traditional dinner and movie outing. Even before I opened the door to greet him, I knew he was "the one." Considering he lived 30 miles away, I'm not certain our paths would have typically crossed. But after 11 years together - including 9 years of marriage (which in Los Angeles is apparently no small feat!) and two beautiful daughters, I have no doubt he is my soul mate.

After my now-husband and I met online, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had during the whole online dating experience. How could I forget the guy who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking one night.” I decided to capture some of them in writing and, from there and based loosely on my own experiences, my novel Click: An Online Love Story emerged. The entire story is told in emails between our heroine, Renee Greene, her three best friends and the gentlemen suitors she meets online. The format felt like a modern way to tell the story that fit the topic, and allowed readers to develop an intimate relationship with the characters.

Clearly, I’m a big fan of online dating and find it to be a useful tool for young professionals who are busy working and finding it difficult to make the right connection at the gym, bar, coffee shop or grocery aisle. I say, people today are “married” to their cell phones and laptops, so why not use that technology to really get married, right?

While Click doesn’t end with a wedding (sorry for the spoiler!), during Renee’s road to happiness, we find many advantages to online dating. My five favorite are:

· On Your Own Terms – Online dating provides a relaxed, anytime and on your own terms experience. Share as little or as much information as you want. Avoid people you are not interested in. Communicate at your convenience. But, don’t send a message at 2:30 am. Nothing smacks more of desperation than an email from someone trolling the Internet for a date in the wee hours of the morning.

· Multi-Tasking Enabled – Flirt while filing your taxes. Chat and trim your nails. Meet a mate while making breakfast. It’s a well-known fact that women are great multi-taskers. Take full advantage of that skill. As Shelley, the over-sexed character in Click says to the about-to-try-online-dating Renee, “A whole host of hot and horny single men that I can review, chat with, judge and mock – all while sitting in my office looking very busy. Maybe I should give it a try myself.”

· Trade the “Meat Market” for the “Meet Market” – Now you can avoid the “meat market” scene of bars and clubs and instead enjoy a “meet market” – an international bazaar (but let’s hope not too bizarre) of prospective mates. The Internet allows you to make an online introduction to thousands if not millions of people around the world. So, if you want to meet someone in Katmandu, well then, can do!

· Save Time, Money and Energy – Let’s face it. Dating isn’t cheap. It takes time, money and, likely your most valuable and scarce resource, energy. With the “try before you buy” environment of online dating, you don’t have to meet for a drink, grab a coffee or sit through a long dinner only to discover there’s no physical attraction, you have nothing in common, conversation is lacking, etc.

· Rejection Made Easy – In Click, Renee gets an email from someone halfway across the world looking to meet someone willing to move for him. After sending a polite and diplomatic “thanks but no thanks” email message, she proclaims to her friend, “It’s so much easier to reject someone over that Internet than in real life. Score one for online dating!” While rejection is easier for both parties when done online, it’s important to remember that people still have feelings.

As I've said many times before, if it happened for me, there's hope for you. So log on and take a chance. To purchase Click, please click here. To follow updates on Click and share your stories about online dating, visit the Click Facebook fan page.

The ladies from SEX IN THE CITY share their dating stories ...

Mahalo, Lisa, for joining us at SOS Aloha! I posted my review of CLICK: AN ONLINE LOVE STORY on Amazon at this link and Goodreads at this link. I am giving away a Hawaiian calendar to keep track of your "dates" - for PTA meetings, soccer games, or dentist appointments. To enter the giveaway,

1. Do you type on the computer ... or do you hen peck? I type ... and my kids' henpecking drives me bananas! 

2. This giveaway is open to all readers.

3. Comments are open through Saturday, September 29, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 30.


Kim in Hawaii

These wahine (women) are available for Hawaiian blessings
... for dating prospects?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aloha to Mike J. Krentz and RIVEN DAWN: A Flagship Novel

On this day in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sailed with 270 men to circumnavigate the globe.  The US Navy continues his legacy to promote regional security and support humanitarian missions.  Today's guest, retired Navy doctor Mike J. Krentz, knows something about circumnavigating the globe:

Mike J. Krentz writes short stories and novels about the lives of military men and women, especially their relationships and families. He draws on twenty years Navy experience that included assignments to ships, air wings, and fleets that deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and Western Pacific. From personal immersion with courageous yet sometimes flawed warriors, he portrays the human dramas that challenge military men and women -- conflicts often more provocative than combat action.

Following a successful civilian career as an emergency physician, Dr. Krentz rededicated his professional life to serve America's heroes and their families, and to honor the sacrifices they make in defending our freedom and way of life. His last assignment was as 7th Fleet Surgeon on board the flagship, USS BLUE RIDGE -- the inspiration for the FLAGSHIP! series.

File:USS Blue Ridge Mount Fuji.jpg
USS Blue Ridge from Wikipedia
U.S. Navy photo by Heidi McCormick

Kim:  Thank you for your military service! What was your favorite port of call?

Mike:  It’s been the highest honor of my life to serve our American heroes in the Navy and Marine Corps. I will always look back on my service with pride and thanksgiving.

My family and I loved Japan so much that we begged for a second tour, and we got to live there five out of the last six years. We especially appreciated the Japanese people, all so very friendly, polite, and honest.

For port visits, I enjoyed Hong Kong the most, a vibrant cosmopolitan city with something for everyone. I’m a bit of a foodie, and I enjoyed some wonderful meals there, ranging from hole-in-the wall cafes to a five-star hotel restaurant. The city offers engaging sight-seeing and great shopping, including a tailor where the fitting and buying experience was fun in itself.

The most moving port of call for me, however, was Da Nang, Vietnam. A group of us brought our bicycles on the ship, and we would get out and ride in most of the ports we visited. We rode every day in Da Nang. Imagine the thrill for someone of my generation to ride a bike in the open in Vietnam. I once thought the only way I would ever go there would be with a rifle on my shoulder. The people were so friendly that we asked a couple of them why they seemed to like Americans. Had we not been at war with them? The reply, “Vietnam has always been at war. Only the Americans treated us with dignity.”

File:Marble Mountain Gate, Da Nang.jpg
Marble Mountain Gate near Da Nang from Wikipedia

Kim: Tell us about your Flagship series and how your time on board the USS Blue Ridge inspired it.

Mike:  I spent three years with the 7th Fleet staff, the only afloat fleet staff in the Navy, on the flagship, USS BLUE RIDGE – literally a floating office complex, and we went wherever she did. I worked for three commanders, two chiefs of staff, and several hundred staff officers – each with a different personality and leadership style. (Both chiefs of staff were great human beings, not at all like the nefarious Leo LeBlanc in RIVEN DAWN.) One of the commanders put it about right when he said, “Staff work sucks.” Those men and women, officers and enlisted sailors alike, worked as hard as I’ve seen anyone work in the Navy. They put in long, thankless hours -- no matter if the ship was in homeport or underway, in calm seas or rough -- answering near-constant demands from higher headquarters, or responding to an endless succession of real or potential crises in an area of the world defined by national leadership as critical to U.S. interests.

Those with families moved them to Japan, then left them on their own for extended periods of time. We were away from home 190 to 200 days per year, or more. These men and women are consummate professionals, dedicated warriors, and some of the keenest intellects I’ve known in or out of the Navy. And each one had his or her own personal stories, issues, and challenges – quite apart from defusing the next international crisis or rushing humanitarian assistance to the last natural disaster. As the fleet doc, I got to know many of them on a level other than their warrior personae. As Americans, they faced the same personal and family challenges as any other human being, but they did so within this milieu on the flagship that often redefines reality down to the confined spaces within the ship. One can easily lose a grip on what’s really important in life if you’re working long hours, and also living and eating, inside a floating steel office complex, twenty-four hours a day for weeks at a time.

When I started writing the first novel, I thought my focus would be on the military scenarios, which are compelling enough in that part of the world. Then I realized that the real stories, the true grit and emotion, are in the men and women themselves, and how they manage the various compartments of their lives – with diverse motivations and varying success. The challenge facing Kate Mahoney, the lead character in RIVEN DAWN, is similar to that staring down warriors around the world, fictional or real: The security of the region and my country depends on me executing my mission, even as my personal life crashes down around me and the demons of my past rise up to haunt me. Talk about high stakes conflict. Therein you find the true heroes.

USS Nimitz salutes the USS Arizona Memorial

Kim:  What's next for Mike Krentz?

Mike:  I’m working on the second book in the FLAGSHIP! Series, and I’m already thinking about the sequel, and the one after that. There are many stories yet to be told. Also, I’m developing an idea for a fantasy piece that has nothing to do with the military.

And, having just retired from the Navy, there’s that whole transition thing, and fixing up our house in Norfolk, which is almost a hundred years old. No dull moments ahead, but no underway time either. That’s a blessing, and a curse.

Mahalo, Mike, for joining us today!  I posted my review of RIVEN DAWN:  A FLAGSHIP NOVEL on Amazon at this link and Goodreads at this link.  I am giving away an Kindle copy of RIVEN DAWN:  A FLAGSHIP NOVEL to one randomly selected commenter:

A senior naval aviator/single mother at the pinnacle of her career deploys in a Navy flagship as director of operations for the U.S. 7th Fleet, where she confronts a cross-fire of military and personal challenges. A conniving superior seeks to discredit her, while an enigmatic yet alluring colleague cycles between nemesis and confidante.

As she struggles to defuse escalating military tension in the western Pacific, her rebellious teenage son -- beguiled by a mysterious Internet predator -- acts out and forces her to re-evaluate life choices and to face down personal demons from her past. As her self-assurance crumbles, she confronts and overcomes her own history of an abusive childhood and toxic marriage. When the unexpected specter of her destroyed marriage threatens to take her son, she brings to bear her aviator instincts and combat-honed courage in a desperate battle far more dangerous than a shooting war. 

To enter the giveaway, 

1.  Leave a comment about a port you would like to visit.  Would you bring your bike?  Ride a local bus?  Catch a cab?  Or enjoy the view from your stateroom balcony?

The Pride of America offers a seven day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.  I've heard it is particularly breathtaking to sail by the Na Pali Coast of Kauai.  So I would enjoy the view from my stateroom balcony.

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 22, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 23.


Kim in Hawaii

Pride of America

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11 and Honoring Our Heroes

Firefighters raise an American flag at the World Trade Center. 
Photograph by Thomas E. Franklin

I received this letter in the mail ....

Our unit here in Afghanistan recently received an envelope full of heart warming cards and letters from some wonderful children and young adults.  The messages of thanks and encouragement to all of us soldiers was the highlight of our day.  Often times over here it is easy to forget why we are here and what we are protecting and defending.  The messages from the cards was a welcome reminder.  

We are blessed to live in the USA and it our hope that the people of Afghanistan can someday have the same liberties and freedoms that we enjoy.

Likewise, it is great to know that we are remembered.  Their lives are very busy and fro them to take the time to write us letters makes us all feel very good.

Please convey our gratitude to all of the children.  

Major JH
Kandahar, Afghanistan

Today we remember the murder of innocent people aboard four flights, inside the World Trade Center, and inside the Pentagon; the sacrifice of first responders in New York; the sacrifice of military and civilian personnel who fight terrorism; and the families who lost loved ones in the past 11 years.   My thoughts and prayers are with you everyday.

Ahuwale ka po’okela I kāu hana iā ha’i.
It is through the way you serve others 
that your greatness will be felt.


Kim in Hawaii