Monday, December 2, 2013

Aloha to Bethanne Strasser and LETTERS FROM HOME


Thanks to Kim for inviting me over to SOS Aloha! It’s been a while since I was here in 2012 with my debut release, For Love or Duty. I’m really excited to be back… for more than one reason. One, because I have another book that came out on November 25th. Letters From Home is a contemporary romance Novella that I sold to Entangled Publishing at the beginning of this year - a Christmas story of finding love where you least expect it.  It’s been one of my favorite projects since starting this writing career. It highlights the best of military life, affection between friends, and the true spirit of Christmas—Love.

All that being said, one of the reasons I love visiting this blog so much is because I get to experience the world. Kim has taken me to continents I’ve never been, through books I’ve never read… and today, I thought I’d take Kim to the Philippines. It’s been on my mind a lot since the typhoon. 

In 1995, I traveled to Manila for World Youth Day. I won a contest by writing an essay—a bit foreshadowing-like, wasn’t it? :D And the prize was an all-expense-paid trip to the Philippines to see the Pope. It was amazing. I saw so much… the history, the culture, and family.

Even back then, I loved reading and learning about WWII. So I was excited to eat in a restaurant MacArthur had eaten in, and know that he and other US figures had stayed in the hotel where we ate. There was pride, being in the place my own Grandfather had been during the War. It was so easy to imagine all these young soldiers, walking the streets of Manila. So much about the city remained the same. My favorite time was our walk from the school we were staying to where the Pope was addressing the masses. We walked along the waterfront, where palm trees grew and Naval ships sat out on the bay.

While I was there, I got to meet my Filipino relatives..that’s me in the photo, visiting a distant relative. My grandfather’s uncle went to the Philippines and married a Filipino woman. Unfortunately, he was killed during the war by the Japanese. My grandfather, Bud, and his brother Joe were both stationed there and after finding Aunt Paula, helped out—there were several children. My Aunt Peggy remembers for a while—as a young girl –that every year, Grandpa would get a case of San Miguel at Christmas time.

Though I didn’t start writing romance until I was 24, I was destined for it. We all know war is a terrible thing. It separates families, brings devastation. But the human spirit survives. It flourishes in the midst of hardship. Love is the Key. Amazingly enough, I knew that at 18. And it’s one of the reasons I can write about happy endings for people in our military. Because I know that even in the darkest hour, there is light.

Bethanne Strasser writes about her favorite things: family and love. When she isn't writing about it, she's living it with her Army husband and their five kids. She lives in the beautiful state of Colorado, where she gets her fill of cool weather, running, camping, and coffee drinking.

Bethanne writes romance--suspense, contemporary, and an occasional paranormal. She loves stories that encompass the world. You can find her reading just about any genre of romance, but her favorites are fast-paced suspense, where life is on the line and love is the only saving grace. She wants a book that makes my heart pound and her pulse race.

A member of RWA, PPRW, PPW, CRW, and Passionate Critters, she believes surrounding herself with people who know more than she does has been the key to learning and succeeding in an industry where so few people learn or succeed.

An Army doctor, Lena Rodriguez has always been too busy with school or the Army for romance. But the letters she received during deployment have captured her heart. Back home for the holidays, she awaits Christmas morning to meet the man who has turned her life upside down.

When Zack Benson watched his best friend's sister Lena leave for Afghanistan, he knew he had to tell her he loved her. So he sent her anonymous love letters. Now that she’s home, he realizes he's made a tactical error. Lena has fallen for the man in those letters but still thinks of him as a brother. He has to convince her otherwise because if he succeeds, he’ll get the best Christmas present ever. But if he fails, he could lose her for good.

Buy Links:

Deployed medical personnel who
received mail from readers!

Mahalo, Bethanne, for sharing your story of hope ... and writing about military personnel.  I also salute your family for their service!   I am giving away an ecopy of LETTERS FROM HOME to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the Philippines - what do you know about it?   I love lumpia that many military spouses (from the Philippines) make for pot lucks!

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 7, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 8.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

To learn more about Bethanne Strasser and her books, check out her social media at



  1. *mwah* Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

  2. The only thing that I know about the Philippines, is the helper that my son had when he was working in Hong Kong a few years ago. She was a lovely girl, and she still stays in touch with me through Facebook. She calls me "Nana".

    1. I met a Filipina while I was there and she was wonderful. I remember her name but have lost track of her since. We wrote back and forth for a year or two... and then life. You know. :( So hard to keep up those relationships. Her name was Honey Barba.

  3. I have an online friend who lives in the Philippines. She's told me about turon - like a banana eggroll that's fried.

    My hubby also has a co-worker who's from the Philippines and whenever she brings in her homemade food to work she sends a plate home for me since she knows I'm a fan. ;)

    Marcy Shuler

  4. My son is studying the Spanish American War in school. So I know now that the Philippines became a US territory after the war.

    Congrats to Bethanne on her new book!


    1. Wonderful, Dorothy! If you're son is at all interested, there is a good page here, on the history following the Spanish American War. The US recognized the Philippines indepedence in 1946. :D I love the History Channel. ;)

  5. I had a friend who almost moved to the Philippines before the volcano destroyed the US air base. I also like lumpia!

    I second Kim's thank you to Bethanne for her family's service!


    1. What a place to live, ya? typhoons, volcanoes, earthquakes... I have a story that is partially set there. I'm finishing it now... not sure how to work the typhoon into the story.

  6. I don't know a lot but I did have an acquaintance who was born there but she moved here soon after. I remember tasting a rice and bean dish that she said was from there.

  7. Every Oct the church by my house has a Fall Festival and I got to it every year (twice) so that I can get my Filipino food plate. It is all so yummy.