Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wednesday's Warrior - Aloha to Marilyn Pappano and A PROMISE OF FOREVER

Today I am honored to host Marilyn Pappano - a military spouse who writes military heroes.  From her bio,

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband's Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.


Marilyn joins me for a cozy chat ... 

Kim:  Thank you for husband's service, and yours, too, as a military spouse. Can you share one favorite memory from Navy life?

Marilyn:  You're welcome, and the same to you! One of my favorite memories came when we were stationed in Charleston SC. Bob was assigned to the USS Sierra, and they were returning from a brief cruise. The families, including our infant son and I, were waiting on the pier, all excited and anticipating a wonderful reunion. Arrival time came and went, people started getting restless, kids running in circles. To make matters even worse, our son, who'd woken with a cough, was quickly getting sicker. Finally, word spread: the ship had run aground in the channel just a few miles away. It took forever for them to reach the pier, everyone was cranky, and instead of enjoying a wonderfully romantic reunion (it would have been our first), we wound up taking our son to the ER at the naval hospital, where we found out he had pneumonia! In the end, it was all good: the baby recovered, and Bob and I had a little quiet time together. It was a good lesson for a new Navy wife: be prepared for anything.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Marilyn:  A long-gone editor at Silhouette (now part of Harlequin) helped me in an unusual way: she told me I had no talent for storytelling. I wanted to prove her wrong, so I finished my second book and submitted it to Leslie Wainger at the same house, who bought it right away. Leslie was a huge help; she spent a lot of time, not just telling me what I did wrong but why it was wrong and showing me how to fix it. I learned more working with her than any courses could ever have taught me.

Kim:  I know Leslie!  She is awesome!  I'll share the story of how I met Leslie in a future blog.  What inspired the Tallgrass series and A PROMISE OF FOREVER?

Marilyn:  An editor I'd worked with before asked if I was interested in doing a military-themed series for her. It took five or six months, but suddenly, on the 4th of July, it all came together. There are authors with military backgrounds writing from that view, but I was a Navy wife and an Army mom, so the natural focus for me is from that angle. A PROMISE OF FOREVER was one of those lucky books that just grew. Ben and Lucy appeared in previous books; Avi and Calvin just naturally filled in the blanks. Avi's my first active-duty female character, and I love her.

Mahalo, Marilyn, for sharing A PROMISE OF FOREVER.  I'll post my review on the 4th of July.

Sergeant First Class Avi Grant's return to Tallgrass, Oklahoma is a long-deferred wish come true. With her final tour in Afghanistan over, Avi can focus on her future-a job here at home and a family of her own. There's just one thing she has to do first: visit her beloved commanding officer's widow and share her grief. The last thing she expected was to feel an instant attraction to the woman's son. Too bad the sexy surgeon is impossible to ignore . . . and even harder to resist.

The sting of his parents' divorce still niggles at Ben Noble. So when a warm, funny, and beautiful young sergeant arrives, mourning his stepfather's loss as strongly as his mother does, Ben can't help but feel conflicted. If his parents taught him anything, it's that love doesn't last-especially with a career soldier. But try as he might to keep his distance, Ben begins to see that Avi-and the spark she brings to his life-is the stuff forever is made of. As Avi's leave ticks away, can Ben convince her to take a chance on forever with him?

Forever Romance offers a giveaway at this link ... and an excerpt from A PROMISE OF FOREVER:

Outside, the sounds of children playing were louder, the splashes indicating that the kids across the street were enjoying one of the last swims of the summer. Avi and Ben walked silently to her car, parked in the driveway.

She nestled the pie plate into the passenger seat, tucked her purse around to hold it in place, then closed the door before turning to him.

So . . . Would he ask for her cell number? Offer his? Make firm plans to see her again before driving away?

For the first time in a long time, the answers mattered.

Linking his fingers with hers, he pulled her to the driver’s side of the car, then stood, invading her personal She liked it.

“Do you have any plans for tomorrow night?”

Yes! “Not a single one.”

He combed his fingers through his hair. “Would you like to go out to dinner?”

She wanted to blurt out the affirmative as quickly as it had echoed in her head, but he went on. “You would have to drive to Tulsa. Tuesday is surgery day, so if I come here, I can’t get here before seven, and I’ll have to head back before nine.”

Drive to Tulsa? An hour or less. No big deal. She’d had commutes between apartments and forts that took longer, and that was just to work. An evening with Ben was such a nicer payoff. “I don’t mind.”

“I usually get out of clinic around six. We could meet at my house around six thirty?”

A smile spread across her face. “I can handle that.”

“Good.” He wasn’t smiling, but his eyes showed something just as encouraging. Relief, maybe, or satisfaction. Hmm. She could show him satisfaction.

He leaned closer, just slightly, and lowered his voice. “I’d kiss you good night, but we have an audience.”

Glancing over her shoulder toward the house, she caught just a glimpse of Patricia before the blinds at the living room window settled. Looking back at Ben, she smiled. “Kiss me anyway.”

He closed the last of the distance between them, lowering his mouth to hers, giving her a sweet, gentle, tender kiss that set her blood on fire. It was impressive and surprising and just a bit scary, considering she’d had tons of kisses that were a whole lot more passionate and evoked a whole lot less of a response.

When he lifted his head, her fingers curled, wanting to wrap around the back of his neck and pull him down again. Her heart skipped a beat or two, and something deep inside her felt deprived.

In the dim light, Ben looked impressed and surprised and a bit scared, too. For a moment, he stared at her, all intense and searching, then he gave a rueful shake of his head. Stepping back, he asked for her cell phone, input his number, and texted it to himself to get her number.

“Six thirty,” he said when he handed it back, his voice rough-edged. “I’ll send you the address.”

“I’ll be there.”