Geri's Take...

Where Geri's insights on life, love and living may provide a clue as to how a U.S. Naval Academy graduate became a romance author. She's lived it, now she writes it.

Thank You, Dear Reader

The Whidbey Series is fueled by Readers, with a little cappuccino thrown in

The Whidbey Series is fueled by Readers, with a little cappuccino on the side.

You’ve made The Whidbey Island Series successful, and continue to offer me support and inspiration on a daily basis. When I’m in my workout clothes all day, drinking espresso and wondering why my hero picked this moment to throw in a character flaw that I have no idea how the heroine will react to, you’re with me. Thank you.

 

 

News from Geri Krotow with a Special Announcement

Great news: my wonderful web team has upgraded and enhanced the security of  my  newsletter, and it includes my new Geri Krotow Loyal Reader program! Due to this upgrade, I need you to please sign up here to keep getting my newsletters. And, as a bonus, you will become a Geri Krotow Loyal Reader, eligible for a great prize each month (see below*).

I hope this finds you warm and not under the ice and snow that my part of the country has been battling all season. No matter where we live, we all need some love, and Valentine’s Day is a great way to give yourself or loved ones a little treat. What’s your pick–chocolate, a mani-pedi, or a new romance novel? I tend to used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to bake a very decadent dessert to share. If I don’t share, I will look like said dessert (chocolate bundt belly is not pretty!). I’ve had one author event already, and one more to go on February 13th at the Free Library of Philadelphia. I will send out a newsletter after the big Valentine’s weekend with photos from each event and to update you on the wonderful news happening for my stories in 2014.

*That brings me again to the most important point of this newsletter: please sign up here  to continue to receive the Geri Krotow newsletter. The newsletter will come from Newsletter@gerikrotow.com. You will be automatically enrolled in my new, exciting Loyal Reader program, which will chose at random one lucky loyal reader each month to receive a signed copy of one of my novels. All you need do is sign up!

 

 

Bird Paradise or Birdie Buffet for a Red-Tailed Hawk?

Deep into writing NAVY CHRISTMAS, out in November this year, I have to force myself to get up out of my chair and walk around…and take some photos. From my pet parrot to the wild birds just outside my window, I get so much joy watching feathered creatures. But I must admit I have a little guilt lately… a red-tailed hawk has been gracing the area, no doubt to find a quick lunch. Our dog Misha does a good job of startling the hawk away, but not always. If you enjoy bird watching please join me at my Author Page on Facebook as my writer friend and Romvet sister Diana Cosby and I engage in some friendly “bird wars.” Of the photo variety.

Do you want me to smile for the camera? Mocking Bird

Do you want me to smile for the camera? Mocking Bird

 

WWII Wednesday: Krakow, Poland

View of Krakow from Bell Tower

View of Krakow from Bell Tower

Poland saw unspeakable hardship during WWII. My family traveled to Krakow several years ago and was delighted by the beautiful, historic town we discovered. Because my children were still too young, we didn’t tour the historic Jewish ghetto, and didn’t see Oskar Schindler’s factory. My heart still broke as I realized the horrific events that transpired to such a peaceful people, on such pristine ground, not only in the city but in further parts of Poland like Auschwitz. I will travel back there one day and pay my honor and respect to those who gave all during WWII.

 

WWII Wednesday: Feels Like Yesterday

London Skyline

London Skyline

History can feel so out of reach when it’s presented as a paragraph in a textbook, as it was when I studied World History in Middle and High School. I didn’t grasp the richness of it until I was able to live and travel in areas that had seen things I’d only ever read about. The Blitz, for example. What the people of Britain endured is unbelievable when I look at the tranquil photo I took several years ago. And yet, if not for their steadfastness and bravery, the outcome of WWII may have been much different.

 

Flashback Friday: A Veteran’s Gratitude Check

Monday will be only the second Veteran’s Day in thirty-one years that I haven’t either been in uniform or married to a man in uniform. And it’s only over the past two years since dh (dear hubby!) retired from the Navy that I’ve been able to take a step back and appreciate what a gift it was to serve our great nation. From my first day of Plebe Summer on a hot July day in 1982 until our small, intimate retirement ceremony for Steve at The Army War College in Carlisle, PA (yes, my navy guy served his last year at an army post), it’s all been a gift.

It didn’t always feel like a gift, a blessing. As much as I always wanted to serve my country since at least high school if not earlier, following one’s dreams comes at a price. I didn’t have college summers to get a “real” job and play during off-hours. When dh and I married three days after my graduation (did we really do that, that young?) we had a month or so together until we faced months, possibly years of separation. Fortunately the navy was always good to us as far as co-location is concerned. Because of my active-duty training and deployment schedules, it was my experience that a lot of my emotional maturation took a back seat until I was in a more “regular” environment, the Naval Post Graduate School. Besides earning another degree courtesy of the navy, I was able to make life-long friends and take a hard look at my life–what did I want out of it?

For me the answer was clear: I wanted to have a family and write. I was lucky–I was able to keep serving our country as a navy spouse, since dh had found his calling (let’s just say he knew he wanted to Fly Navy since he was three years old) while having our babies and pursuing my writing career.

When the time was right I resigned my commission and became the “stability” factor for our family, most importantly, our children. Scary thought, right? Yet I had as much fun as they did. When Dad was off on deployment, meals became simpler as did our routine. It was the only way to maintain the energy level needed to raise two active kiddos while Dad was away. I was always grateful I was able to be home with the kids, writing in the wee hours of the morning or late at night after they were asleep. I lived one dream–having a family–while going after another–being a published author.

Again, it wasn’t always easy to be thankful. DH was deployed on 9-11, and I’ll never forget our first phone conversation and having to confirm that yes, he’d heard right, we’d lost friends. During the war dh was interviewed on CNN in-flight, and I learned to hold my breath and pray at the same time. Explaining war to young children–can anyone?

The best part of being a navy family was of course the wonderful places we lived, and the incredible people we’ve met. Our last tour in Moscow, Russia, we met many public officials and even celebrities. And yes, we really did meet the President of the United States. I blogged about it, have photos of it, and still people ask me if it really happened. Or maybe that’s my elementary-girl self asking if it really happened. What all of it has done has allowed my children to be informed, globally-oriented kids who will make a much larger impression in their world than I ever have. This was all made possible because dh continued to serve his country.

This Veterans Day I am so grateful for those who serve, who have served, and for the small contribution I’ve been able to make.

 Leave a comment by November 11 and be entered to win a copy of Navy Orders or Navy Rules–your choice! I’ll pick one winner at random. (North America only. I’m sorry to my dear international friends but postage costs and different mailing systems make overseas mailings cost prohibitive).

 

WWII Wednesday: More on the Home Front

When I hear “Home Front” and “World War II” together I think of the U.S. and how American women rallied to fill in for the men who were sent overseas to the Pacific and Europe to fight. The home front existed in every nation at war.

My Grandmother at Westinghouse Decades After WWII

My Grandmother at Westinghouse Decades After WWII

Esmee, my heroine in A Rendezvous to Remember worked with Belgian Resistance, but most home front jobs weren’t so glamorous. My hometown of Buffalo, New York, strengthened the war effort with many factories to include Curtiss Wright as I mentioned in last week’s blog. Regular, everyday Americans fought the good fight.

The photo was taken decades later, in the Westinghouse Factory in Buffalo. My grandmother was fashionable while being a great worker! I’m so proud of her, my family, and my hometown. We’ve all made a difference.

 

Gratitude Check: A Rendezvous to Remember is Back in Print!

Dearest Reader,

It’s hard to believe it’s November 1st. This was my grandfathers’s birthday, and is always a special day for me. All Saint’s Day is always November 1st, the day after Halloween.

Misha Makes me Grateful Everyday!

Misha Makes me Grateful Everyday!

When our family was stationed in Italy with the Navy we were able to see every single church and legal holiday celebrated as if it were the only holiday ever. I love November 1st because it heralds the beginning of the holiday season, and another chance for me to step back and plan so that I actually enjoy the holidays and not rush through them. My wish for you is that you, too, get a chance to catch your breathe and remember to slow down when you can throughout the next couple of months!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your overwhelming response to my first-ever published novel, A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER. It’s back in print for a limited run and this new print edition is available only at my publishers website. It’s still available digitally at all the usual places, too, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

RendezvousReReleaseCover

Harlequin’s Art Department Rocks!

I am so grateful to the Harlequin Art Department for the beautiful new cover!

As a special treat I’m opening up the availability of my signed bookplates (sticker) to you if you live in North America (sorry internationals)! Write to me via my website, Facebook or Twitter (direct message) by November 15th  and I’ll send you the address where you can send a stamped, self-addressed envelope in which I’ll send out a signed bookplate for you to put in your new “vintage cover” copy of A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER. I know I love to have the complete collection of my favorite stories, and for all of you who’ve asked how you can get a copy of my previous novels, this is your chance for this first book! Please don’t delay–the print run is limited and once the books are sold out, there’s nothing I can do to get you more copies.

Since November is the month of Gratitude here in the U.S. with our Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for great writing friends like Linda Cardillo and Ann DeFee. Both are wonderful writers and I’m blessed to call them my friends. We’ve been with each other from the start of our paths to publication and I wouldn’t pick anyone else to take the roller coaster ride with. Yes, it’s a ride, indeed–often the kind with upside-down loops. At times, I’ve felt as though I’m not wearing a seatbelt! But Ann and Linda keep me buckled in and remind me of what’s important in our writing journey.

Ripley is Grateful for His Toys!

Ripley is Grateful for His Toys!

Speaking of gratitude, there is no greater sacrifice than to give one’s life in service to our nation. For this reason I’ve donated the name of one of my characters in NAVY CHRISTMAS (November 2014, Harlequin Superromance) to the winner of the POW-MIA Families Raffle. For only $1 you can purchase a chance to be a literary character! More details are at the POW-MIA Families website. Much thanks to POW-MIA families for the privilege of serving with them in this great cause.

You’ll see more and more World War II history tidbits on my site, especially on my WWII Wednesday blog. I’m in the midst of writing a WWII subplot for NAVY CHRISTMAS and with the re-release of RENDEZVOUS it’s always on my mind. We owe much to this great generation.

It wouldn’t be November without a Thanksgiving recipe–here’s my quickie Roasted Brussels Sprouts that my family always asks for (really!).

Geri’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts, olive oil, kosher or sea salt, fresh ground pepper. Toss all ingredients together after you’ve halved the sprouts. Use as much oil as needed to make the sprouts glisten with Thanksgiving gratitude. A sprinkle of salt, a dash of pepper. Sometimes I mix in Turkey bacon that I’ve cooked up ahead of time. Spread it on a jelly roll pan or even better, a stone pan or enameled bakeware. Roast it all at at 375 or 400–depends on how long until the gravy is done for the turkey (real or tofu, your choice). When the sprouts start to brown, pull the tray out!

Please note: I’m a decent baker, not quite as good a cook. Can you tell?

Much Gratitude and Love to you and yours as we step into the holidays for 2013. Please take a moment to remember those who can’t be with their families for whatever reasons, and spread your joy wherever you go.

Peace,

Geri