While living overseas our family took one Thanksgiving break to tour London. Since I’m married to a WWII expert and enthusiast, of course we had to visit where PM Churchill and his staff kept the country running while the German’s pummeled the city. The simple, Spartan lifestyle they maintained is at once sobering and inspiring. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that Churchill kept to his usual routine which include naps as much as possible. Great minds need their rest, too.
Author: Geri Krotow
World War II Wednesday: How Jack reached Esmee: Westland Lysander
When I was writing A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER, we lived in Belgium . I didn’t even have to close my eyes to see Jack and Esmee, my hero and heroine, meet on a cold winter night when he landed in her farm field. Jack was an RAF operative who sought shelter with Esmee, a Resistance fighter. The aircraft he crossed over the English Channel in: The Westland Lysander. Photo is from a website you’ll love if you enjoy browsing WWII aircraft.
An Interview by Navy Times–We made the Cover Corner, Too!
[Click the image to zoom in and read the article!]
World War II Wednesday!
Welcome to a new part of my work–my World War II fiction. I’m honored to be able to write about this pivotal area in all of our histories, and grateful to those who sacrificed so much.
With the re-release of my first novel, A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER, November 2013, and the upcoming NAVY CHRISTMAS (Whidbey Island Series #4, November 2014), I’ve discovered that so many of you are as interested in WWII history as I am. As I’ve researched my novels I’ve found few sites and/or books that answer at least half of my questions on any one area. Inspired by the lovely author Candice Hern who has created a Regency area on her website, I’ve decided we need a similar place to go to when we’re interested in anything WWII. It will take many blog posts and lots of additional content. Disclaimer: I live with a WWII military history expert, so I have content support here, for sure!
On this first WWII Wednesday, I’d like to take a minute to share with you why I picked Belgium as the historical setting for Rendezvous. Rendezvous has two parallel plots, one historical and one contemporary. I’d always wanted to write a WWII story, and when the opportunity to write one appeared, we were living…in Belgium! I composed Rendezvous from a tiny office in our home overlooking a quiet park in the village where we lived. As the re-release gets closer I’ll share my thoughts on this experience, to include a special anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge my family and I were privileged to attend.
I’d love to hear back from you on your interest in WWII history, as well.
FlashBack Friday: Naval Aviation Observer Wings
This goes waaaay back, folks. Many of you have asked what exactly I did while I was in the Navy. Remember, it was in the last century and I was um, not as “seasoned.” I like that. Yes, I’m getting spicier as the years fly by!
Anyhow, I dug up this report of when I earned Naval Aviation Observer Wings. When I found it I had to giggle as I remembered my squadron mates putting stickies on the original hard-print of this article. “Nice make-up job, Krotow” was one of them. The photos were done for the news release, not during an actual mission when I would not have bothered with makeup and been more worried about the mission than what I looked like. In reality it’s the aircrew that earned me my wings–the patient Senior Chief who held my head in the garbage can while I puked during a rocky flight over the Bermuda Triangle during a storm, the dedicated weapons and radar experts who made sure I didn’t pull on the wrong circuit breaker during drills. The full story is on pages 18-19 of Naval Aviation News from May-June 1990.
Naval Aviation News May-June 1990
Have you ever found an old clipping, photo, or story from your past that makes you believe you lived a different life back then?
A Purr-fect Book Signing
Before I ever sold one book I dreamt of how it “would be” once I’d published. I’d make the NYT bestseller list within a few months, be on Oprah (dating myself, I know), be interviewed by Charlie Rose as I’d seen him interview Robert McKee about his book STORY. And the book signings…I’d walk into independent bookstore after independent bookstore, booksellers so pleased to see me and my avid readers lined up around all of the quirky bookshelves. I’d be dressed like Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail,” a tweed skirt with cute tights.
Enter reality–it took far longer to sell and publish than I ever thought it would. The Information Age bloomed into the Digital Revolution. Print runs are down, there are too few books and too short a time for bookseller to order my novels. That’s if said bookseller will even consider hosting a genre author. You don’t want to know the mental revenge one-liners I’ve practiced after being told “we don’t carry your kind of book.” My kind? Oops, that’s another post, or better, an op-ed like Eloisa James did.
Then enter Michelle Mioff-Haring, owner of Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, PA. A dedicated professional who is passionate about books and the romance genre, she garnered the Romantic Times (RT) bookseller of the year award in Kansas City this past May. This is where Michelle and I met. I know, I had to travel far away to find the treasure right in my own backyard. Kind of cool, though, that I met her in the Land of Oz…
Ronda, Michelle’s assistant, contacted me and we set up a date for me to sign my latest, NAVY ORDERS. Could I please bring copies of NAVY RULES with me, as they were only able to get NAVY ORDERS? I tingled with glee–they had done their homework and knew what I wrote. Then, when I arrived, Michelle told me she’d read my book and enjoyed it. If you’re a writer you know how rare this is. In our age of information and entertainment inundation, it’s totally understood that a bookseller doesn’t have time to read all of the authors she hosts for signings. But Michelle makes the time, as does Ronda.
But wait–the best part of all of this is the bookstore! As soon as you open the door, the serenity-infused aroma of paperback and hardback books assaults you and leaves you in a warm state of reader bliss. Row upon row of neatly arranged books, by genre and author, await. Clean, neat, organized, welcoming. The shelving goes up to the ceiling…well, almost. The shelves actually go up to where there are wooden plank walk-ways for the rescue cats that reside at Cupboard Maker Books. Safe, sterile cages house the newly rescued, who graduate to wandering the tomes at will, serving sentry over centuries of story.
Back to the signing–I confess, I brought me knitting with me. But it never left the car–I was talking and selling books for the entire two hours, all to new readers who loved romance and many who had an affinity or bona fide connection to the U.S. Military. I spoke with a US Marine Corp vet who’d taken photos of the USS Pueblo (no link–if you don’t know, it’s worth looking up, like when your teacher told you to look up the word in the dictionary yourself). I spoke at length with an Army spouse whose husband was now retired from the military, like mine. I talked with a high school senior who is a writer and had the best questions of all–when did I know I was a writer? What keeps me going?
Back home I have rolled my writing sleeves back up so that I’ll have two Whidbey Island books for you in 2014. True confession: hoping to sign at Cupboard Maker Books again is a big incentive.
Do You Know What a Romvet is?
A Romance Veteran–a woman who had served her nation in uniform and also writes romance. Founded by our fearless leaders Merline Lovelace and Lindsay McKenna in the last century, Romvets is a unique group of talented women that I know have my six! Joyce Adams Counts and I caught up at RWA in Atlanta this month.
A Little Bit of This, A Little bit of That
Okay, my editor would slay the title for this post–tres cliche! But I promised to share my RWA 2013 experiences. Rather than bore you with a long post and excruciating detail, I think a photo says so much. Take a look at this–Linda Cardillo, Tracy Wolff and I all met when we won Harlequin’s Everlasting Love contest, back in 2006. Lucky us, seven years later, to meet for breakfast at yes, 8 am on Saturday of RWA. I love my writer friends!
Romance Writers of America Atlanta GA 2013
Since 2000 I have attended RWA’s national conference whenever my life and our family’s Navy travels have allowed. The passage of time has never been more evident to me than this year, this day, this moment. Maybe it’s my impending empty nest in just over a year, or my, ahem, maturation process, but I realize that relationships formed over the course of these conferences have become the sparkling diamonds in what is often a tough yet rewarding process.
NAVY HOPE Chapter Twenty
By Geri Krotow
Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Books S.A.
“To bring a soldier back from the brink of insanity, like we do with the newly returning vets, is one thing,” he began. “It’s rare that I get to see what kind of success I’ve had—the soldiers go through treatment with the goal of being released to a local program, in their hometown or wherever their unit’s stationed, if they’re going back to active duty.” He turned to face her, Val and put both arms around her. She laid her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat underneath her cheek while he spoke, his chin on her head.
“Here, these folks don’t have the burden of wondering if they’re going to make it. They have made it, through tremendous grief and loss. The choice they have at BTS is whether they’re going to simply keep surviving, or try to go beyond that. To thrive.”
His hands were massaging her back, exactly where the strain of the day had pooled.
“To see such courage, Val, and to know they let me in, let me be part of their decisions, is the most moving therapy I’ve participated in.” He leaned back and raised her chin so she could see his unshed tears. “What you’re doing here is vital. You understand that, don’t you?”
“Yes.” She swallowed. “It means the world to me that you think so, too.”
He stared at her and she couldn’t break the connection between them.
“Why didn’t you ever try to find me after college?” she asked. She didn’t want to sound needy but at this moment she couldn’t grasp how they’d lived apart from each other for so long.
“You already know, Val. The same reason you didn’t look for me. We moved on.” He stroked the side of her cheek. “And I didn’t think I deserved you after leaving the way I did.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” God, he’d been helping his family.
“No, but it wasn’t yours, either.”
“That was then.” She smiled and turned her lips into his palm.
“Can you let go of our past, Val?” he whispered.
She lifted her head. “I already have. You must know that.”
He touched her lips with his tongue, a warm caress, and then he moved his hand to her nape and kissed her.
Val met him with no restrictions. No hurt, no questions, no resentment from the break-up of long ago.
Lucas pulled back. “I’m staying, Val. We’re going to make this work.”
“What do you mean by this?“
“I mean BTS, if you’ll let me sign on as a full-time team member.” He traced her lips with his fingers.
“And I mean— us. You’ve become my best friend, Val. But I’d like to make it more—a lot more.”
He kissed her again and she accepted everything he had to give.
“Do you think you can live on an island forever, Lucas?”
He laughed. “With you, my dear Valentina, I could even live on a ferry.”