Friday, April 17, 2015

More UNFORGETTABLE military romantic suspense with Major Christopher Bergeron and Heather Ashby

Today we continue our spotlight on the new military romantic suspense, Unforgettable, from award-winning author Heather Ashby and Maj. Christopher Bergeron. 

Let's start with a blurb and excerpt:
Available for Kindle and Nook

The 9/11 spirits aboard USS New York are back! Their mission: help Adam, Gwyn, Mike, and Cate find their happily ever afters—and stay alive. 

As the only person who can see them, Lieutenant Gwyn Pritchard tries to help the spirits move on to the light. That is, when she’s not helping Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor heal from his PTSD—or falling madly in love with him.

Captain Cate Hawkins, has run from her unconventional childhood by becoming a Marine Corps pilot. But when a mission in East Africa goes awry, she finds herself in a race for her life. After burying the hatchet with Cate, Navy pilot Mike Nikolopoulos wants nothing more than to rescue his new love. If the spirits help him save her, they’ll finally be free to move on. But can Mike overcome a sudden fear of flying to find his way to Cate before terrorists repeat “Black Hawk Down”—with a female American pilot this time?

Here's another excerpt:


  Cate choked down the last energy bar as the final brilliant rays of the sun were winking out on the horizon and the moon began to rise. Granola was a lot easier to swallow when you’re not completely parched. She packed everything as quietly as she could and re-wrapped the splint bandana around her head, OD green being a lot less noticeable than blonde hair in the moonlight. 
   Ditto for her white skin. She pulled out the camo paint compact and applied a liberal layer of browns and blacks to her face and neck. She’d hated wearing war paint while training in the Quantico highlands during Basic School because it was a break-out waiting to happen. Now she was more worried about keeping her head attached to her neck.
   She got her bearings and set off eastward with her pack. The landscape could best be described as a flat and arid forest of bramble bushes about nine to ten feet tall. Occasionally she’d come across termite hills. Some were massive structures taller than the surrounding bushes. One had to be fifteen feet in height. Cate climbed it to have a look around. Brambles extended in all directions. To the south, they looked like they started to thin out, meaning it might be a creek. Good lord, please let it be water.
   She was about to slide down when something caught her attention to the west. Lights. A mixture of vehicle head lamps and what looked like flashlights appeared in the dimming light. Her heart rate slammed into high gear. She swallowed the best she could, both to counteract the anguish climbing up her throat and her killer thirst. No friendly military outfit would be out here searching with white lights and headlamps. It was most likely the last people she wanted to run into: al-Shabab. She eased herself down and slipped on her gear.
   Thank God, she’d been correct about the small clearing. It was a stream—or at least it was a stream when it rained. Right now it was a series of muddy puddles. She submerged one of her collapsible canteens in the muck and strained the water through gauze from her first aid kit. After dropping in two iodine tablets, she drank her fill.
   She was still being pursued, but at least she wouldn’t die from thirst now. She even allowed herself a small smile—but it was short-lived. When she raised her eyes from the canteen, sheer terror twisted her gut. Twenty yards away, two sets of amber eyes stared back at her in the setting sunlight. A pair of massive female lions stood frozen, their gazes fixed on Cate. Moving as slowly as possible, she reached to her side and drew her pistol. If they charged, she might get one or two rounds off, probably only wounding one—and alerting her pursuers at the same time.
   Cate was screwed either way.
   She prayed they were more interested in a drink of muddy water than the flight-suit-encased-Happy-Meal she was beginning to feel like. After staring for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only minutes, the lionesses lowered their heads and began to lap at the murky water. Cate hoped they would drink their fill and be on their way. She pressed her elbows painfully to her sides, trying to make herself as small as possible. Both lions turned suddenly and peered in the direction Cate had come. Something had alerted them. They slunk off into the brush.
   Suddenly she heard a motor growing closer by the second and she took off running. How could those men drive through the tall grass and brambles? Soon she could make out the sounds of undercarriages and brakes squealing. Surely this had been what had scared the lions away. Cate’s heart thundered as she picked up her pace. At times they would get close enough that she could hear voices as they called back and forth between the vehicles and men on foot. And then they called to her. “We know you are out here, Lady America. Make it easy on yourself and give up. We have water and food. We’re not going to harm you. So be a smart American lady and let us take you to safety.”
   And then, in the moonlit-speckled darkness, she heard another sound that made the whole world stop: the slow, throaty growl of an animal. Cate froze, then lowered herself to the ground. In her attempt to move away from the vehicles, she’d forgotten about the other pair of pursuers. Was it possible she was being hunted by two different sets of predators?

Meet the Authors

HEATHER ASHBY 
Award winning author, Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for their Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation in support of wounded warriors and their families. Her son serves as her cover model, helping to raise money for Fisher Houses around the world. Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her retired Navy husband. Unforgettable is the fourth and final book in the “Love in the Fleet” series.

Where you can find Heather:
Twitter: www.@HAshbyAuthor

CHRISTOPHER BERGERON
Christopher Bergeron is a retired Major in the United States Marine Corps, with twenty-four years of service. 

His ten deployments include combat tours in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Somalia; Kosovo; Haiti; Fallujah, Iraq; and Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Chris’s travels have covered the globe, including more than twenty countries. 

He lives with his wife and son in Rockford, Michigan, where he is currently a Communications/Marketing student at Grand Valley State University. 

Unforgettable is his first novel.

You can find Chris on Twitter: @acyclingfrenchy

Q&A

E.E., thanks for inviting me to Get Lost In A Story. I have to admit this is pretty cool, since Unforgettable is my first book. Although I was the military advisor for Heather’s 3rd book, Never Forget, I’m proud to be a co-author this time.

E.E.: How was it working with a co-author?
Chris: When Heather was looking for a USMC advisor for Never Forget, she shared the basics of the story and asked me if I’d be interested in helping her. The wheels in my head were already turning. I told her, “I’ve spent twenty plus years writing training scenarios for the Marine Corps and never got to use half of them. So I already know how we’re going to free those hostages from that consulate.” It’s been fun writing with her. We each start off writing certain parts of the story, but we often bleed over and finish each other’s sentences and scenes. Like I wrote some of the ghost parts because I got to know the characters. And when I got real busy with school toward the end, I told her to write the final battle scene, then send it to me and I’d “Marine-it-up.” I think it was a really cool compliment when our editor, Teresa Medeiros, said, “This is seamless. I can’t tell which one of you wrote which parts.” And considering that Heather and I both write scenes and chapters out of order as the mood strikes us, I’m kind of amazed that we ended up with a finished book. But that’s all been part of the magic of this publishing ride.

E.E.: When and where do you do your best writing?
Chris: You might think this is strange, but I do my best “writing” while I’m doing PT. That’s military-speak for Physical Training. I’ll head out for a run, or a swim, or a long bike ride—or even skiing since I live in Michigan now—and the scenes will just form in my head. I get all the details like the steamy air our heroine is running through, the buzz of the insects on the African plain, and even the shine of the villain’s gold tooth. All the thoughts tumble over each other in my head and when I get home, I just dump them into the computer. I don’t worry about grammar or spelling or paragraphs or anything. I just write it down and send it to Heather. She’s always telling me, “Just send me sand and I’ll make sand castles out of it.” I think it really frees people up to write good, creative stuff when they don’t have to worry about mechanics or that some teacher with a red pen is going to mark up what you wrote.

E.E.: Are there any bloopers in this book?
Chris: Yes, there’s one in the print copy of the book. It’s fun getting to use your friends’ names for characters. Heather had already named one corporal after her Marine friend, Shawn Garrett. I still had a friend I wanted to get in there with the last name of Ellis. So she changed a corporal’s name from Garrett to Ellis for me. Except she only changed it in one place and it appears twice. So in one scene Corporal Garrett is holding an M203 grenade launcher, but apparently changes his name to Corporal Ellis right before firing it.

E.E.: What do you do to relax?
Chris: Define “relax.” I’m not familiar with that word. LOL. I’m pretty high energy and need to be on the go all the time. It’s very important that I get a PT session in every day to work off some of my energy. But I’ve been a full time college student since retiring from the Marines, and sometimes PT just doesn’t happen. Spending time with my wife and son is a huge priority though, so I try to relax with them when I can. We like to fish and ski and I coach my son’s soccer team. And I love to shoot with my camera. (I shot the cover photos for Heather’s series.) And I’m told I’m a pretty good cook, so spending time in the kitchen is another way I can kind of let down and relax.

E.E.: Be honest. When reading, do you put yourself in the hero’s role?
Chris: Now this might sound funny, but in Unforgettable, I put myself in the heroine’s role. When Heather and I brainstormed this book, she said, “The USS New York will be off Somalia, so I’m thinking about a conflict with Somali pirates.” To which I replied, “It’s been done. I think we should do ‘Black Hawk Down’ with a female American pilot this time.” I have to tell you I have the utmost respect for the female Marine Corps aviators I watched take to the skies during my career. They are one of the last groups to brave the old boy network and succeed. I kind of based our heroine on Lieutenant Colonel Sarah “Diamond” Deal, who I had the honor of serving with during my final deployment to Afghanistan. So Heather and I wrote about Captain Cate Hawkins. Heather wrote her back story and I picked up the reins to shoot down Cate’s MV-22 Osprey and have her running from al-Shabab at the Somali/Kenyan border. Her journey is pretty darn exciting, if I say so myself. I’ve served in East Africa, so it was fun setting the scene for Cate as I repeatedly put her in danger. And, because she’s a Marine, she repeatedly gets herself out.

E.E.: What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse, pocket, satchel, reticule, or weapons belt?
Chris: I don’t know what a reticule is, but I know what Cate has in her flight suit pockets as she runs from the thugs. Among other things, she has: Iodine tablets to purify water, one 9-mm pistol with 45 rounds, one blood chit, and one freaking radio that isn’t freaking working. A blood chit is a piece of paper that says—in various languages—that the bearer is a member of a certain government’s military and anyone who gives that person aid and protection will be monetarily rewarded by the bearer’s government. Cate’s is written in English, Arabic, Swahili, and French.

E.E.: Can you tell us about a real life hero you’ve met?
Chris: Now that is an impossible question to answer. I’ve met so many real life heroes, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Several of them are sewn nicely into Unforgettable. But if I were to pick just one for this blog I have to say my dad. Little boys of my generation grew up on GI Joe. I was super lucky because I had a GI Joe in the next room. My dad served 3 tours in Vietnam, which included being awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and being fortunate enough to survive several helicopter crashes in triple canopy jungle. After 26 years in the Army, he went right back to work as a Department of the Army civilian with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. My dad deployed 4 more times to combat with them. I even had a chance to share a meal with him when our paths crossed completely by accident in Bagram, Afghanistan. He is the most humble and honest person I know. 

E.E.: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go?  
Chris: I would love to have served in the Grande Armée under Emperor Napoleon. Can you tell I love my French heritage?  That era—the beautiful uniforms and men of courage standing shoulder to shoulder advancing in lines to close with the enemy—it was the last truly Romantic Era of combat.


E.E.: If you could interview one person who would it be and Why?  
Chris: Epictetus the Stoic, hands down.  He was a man of great wisdom. I recently started reading his works. It’s amazing how many of his quotes hit home. When you dissect the work on its face value, life make more sense. The underlying theme of only worrying about things you can control, and accepting the things you can’t, really helps you deal with life. I enjoy philosophy in general, though. I think we as a culture are losing our appreciation for critical thinking.

Chris, fascinating interview! Thank you so much for joining us. Wow, I can see why Heather is so excited about writing this book with you. What an amazing life you've led thus far, and your experience and creativity really shine through in Unforgettable.

Readers: This week, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card from publisher Amber House Books to one luck commenter. Just answer the question and enter the raffle.

If you could interview one person from any time, who would it be and why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 comments:

  1. Thanks again for inviting us to GLIAS, E.E. Chris IS fascinating and he DID add a lot to this book. I'm so fortunate to be working with him. He said he will try to come by and reply to comments today, but it may be later on. He is a full time college student since retiring from the Marines, and he's right in the middle of final exams, so free time in precious. Again, thanks for sharing out story with your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Guys, really sorry I have not been able to make it back for this today, having an issue with scheduling and exams.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great interview Chris! I would interview my Dad who passed many years ago about his military service during WWII. I know some basics but after reading Heather and Chris's books I want more detail of what,where, when. Now I have to rely on computer searches for more detail. But I am comitted to keep digging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for you, Nancy! SO proud of you for following through and doing that research. And God bless your dad for his service!

      Delete
  4. As his editor I know I'm a little prejudiced but the action scenes Chris wrote with Heather are absolutely amazing! I think we're going to be hearing a LOT more about this writing team! And thanks so much for featuring Chris today! So proud of him! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto for me, Chris! It is so much fun working with you!! Write on!

      Delete
  5. Thanks for taking the time to join us for the interview, Chris. I really enjoyed reading more about you and your foray into writing. I agree with Teresa, the action scenes are amazing, and I'm looking forward to more books!

    Good luck with the finals!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loved Unforgettable and, yes, I found the "jump" . Chris, your description of the land taught me about it, while edge of the seat entertaining. Thank you. I look forward to more from both of you... for now though good luck with your studies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Heather and Chris I loved this book! And Elisabeth thank you for having them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My hero is my Dad. He kept every promise he made to Mom. Every one. And of course my children. A prosecuting attorney. A finished construction worker and of course, our baby girl. our Marine.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great to see you here, Julie and Cindy. Chris and I appreciate all of your support. And thanks so much for hosting him, E.E.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, can't wait to read "Unforgettable"!!! Really proud of my cousin Chris who reminds me a lot of my father (Chris's uncle) Kenneth W. Bergeron (My Hero). My father served 29 years in the U.S.A.F and retired as a Chief Master sgt. Miss him dearly as we lost him in 2010. But, looks like I have several books to get of yours and get to reading. They all sound quite interesting! Pretty excited!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like your dad was wonderful, Terrie. God bless him for his service. You were so blessed to have him in your life as your hero. And yes, feel proud of your cousin. Chris ROCKED it in this book! Welcome aboard!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would interview Elvis. I would want to know what kind of demons was he fighting for his life to end so sadly when so many people loved him.

    ReplyDelete