Thursday, April 16, 2015

UNFORGETTABLE New Release from award-winning author Heather Ashby with Marine Major Chris Bergeron

Over the next two days, you're in for a special treat! We're spotlighting a new release from award-winning military romance author Heather Ashby, and her writing partner retired Marine Maj. Christopher BergeronThis fascinating partnership puts readers in the pilot's seat for a thrilling, romantic ride you won't want to miss. We'll chat with Heather today, and Chris will join us tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a peek at Unforgettable:
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?

Excerpt:
   What had Adam Connor been thinking when he’d agreed to hypnotherapy to heal his inner-freaking-child?
   “You promised,” Gwyn said. “If I gave up the intelligence to your Colonel, you agreed to talk with my mum.”
   Adam raked his fingers through his short Marine Corps haircut as he paced in the confines of their hotel room. After the successful rescue of forty hostages in Tangiers, the sailors and Marines of the USS New York had earned liberty in Rota, Spain. And when the hot British exchange officer had suggested getting a room together? Well, what was Gunny Connor to do? Turn her down?
   He stopped pacing and knelt by the bed. Gwyn sat cross-legged, giving him the stink eye. Maybe he could distract her from this whole healing thing. He took her chin in his hands. “Look, baby,” he said, laying on his Oklahoma accent as thickly as possible, because he knew she liked it.
   She pushed his hands away. “Don’t you baby me, Gunnery Sergeant. You promised.”
   Dang, he loved it when she called him by his full rank with that British accent of hers. Always made him feel like a schoolboy who was in trouble with a sexy teacher. And he usually countered with his pet name for her, the British pronunciation of her rank. “Come on, Left-tenant, be reasonable.” He pointed to her laptop computer, open on the bureau. “I’m not going to spill my guts to your mum with you sitting here listening. Maybe it would be better to wait until the deployment is over. Then I could fly to Wales and talk with her in person, or something.”
   “You’re stalling, Adam. It’s either here or aboard ship. If you think you’re nervous with me leaning over your shoulder, imagine trying to do it with sailors and Marines scurrying about.” She stood and pulled down the tails of her shirt in indignation. This only served to highlight the breasts he had had the good fortune to get to know in the past—although it wasn’t looking like he’d get reacquainted with them any time soon. Especially if he refused to Skype with her mama.
   “I’ll set you up with Mum and then I’ll leave. You can text me when you’re done. I told Cate Hawkins I’d meet her for a beer.”
   “You mean, that Osprey pilot drinks? Good. Maybe it’ll loosen that pole she’s got—”
   “Be nice, Adam.” Gwyn touched him on the nose with her fingertip before grabbing her phone and key card. “Everyone is carrying some kind of burden. You, of all people, should know that.”
    “And if I talk with your mama, then what?” He waggled his eyebrows. “Can we use this room for what it’s intended for?”
   “One hour, Adam. Talk with her for one hour. And then we can discuss what this room was intended for.”
   He threw his head back, let out a sigh of resignation, and accepted there’d be no lovemaking if he didn’t let Gwyn’s mum dig through his overloaded brain and peer into his bruised and battered soul. Unless he could get Gwyn to listen to reason. Adam pulled her into his embrace, lifted her chin, and kissed her long and hard. Then he gazed at her with what she called his bedroom eyes and gave it his best shot. “Come on, baby, you know it’s not going to be easy for me to let down my guard and share my stuff with the Voodoo Queen.”
“Well, guess what, Adam,” she replied. “It wasn’t exactly a piece of cake for me to talk to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel and share intelligence I received from ghosts.”

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.

Heather, let's chat with you first. Tomorrow, we'll bring Chris in and grill him!

E.E.: What do you do to unwind and relax?
HEATHER: Sleep. In the fall I was pulled out of retirement and asked to teach middle school. Therefore, I have been teaching Gifted Language Arts this year, while completing Unforgettable. I haven’t been this tired since boot camp. But, unlike some years in my life, all the stress I’m facing right now is positive stress. I love writing, I have a fabulous co-author and editor, and my students are the best! I remind myself that I chose everything that is happening right now, so I don’t allow myself to complain. Sometimes all we need to do is to put things in perspective, and remember to be grateful for the good in our lives. I try to run on the beach after school, but often take a nap instead.

E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for your book?  
HEATHER: Unforgettable features two love stories. My awesome USMC co-author, Christopher Bergeron, and I each brought one of the story lines to the table. I am going to focus on one hero and heroine today and Chris will discuss the other couple and their harrowing adventure tomorrow. My Marine hero and his issues are introduced in Book 3, Never Forget, and he is healed in Unforgettable by a hypnotherapist. Before you scoff, let me explain. 9/11 occurred a month after the unexpected death of my only sibling. My Army son left for war several months later, and I assumed care of my eccentric, elderly mother—while I was teaching elementary school. I resumed smoking cigarettes, a habit I had kicked twenty years earlier. After my son was safely home and the dust had settled, I went to a hypnotherapist as I had become a completely addicted smoker again. She not only removed smoking from my life in one day, but healed all the reasons I ever smoked in the first place! My immediate reaction was: “Can this heal combat PTSD?” To which she replied, “Absolutely.” Then and there, I knew I had to write this story. For more information, check out my interview on NPR: http://closingtheloopradio.com/?s=heather+ashby

E.E. What is your hero’s “Kryptonite?” What will bring him to his knees.  
HEATHER: Sharing. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor hates the word and he hates sharing his pain even more. This is typical of those with emotional burdens—especially men. I had to ensure that Adam’s healing rang true, so I had him drag his feet about seeking help. The heroine sort of tricks him into trying hypnotherapy, because no way is he going to do this on his own…Until his emotional pain gets so bad that he utters the statement that leads many to seek healing: “I’ll do whatever it takes to heal my life.”

E.E.: What has been your most rewarding publishing moment? 
HEATHER: In February I was signing books at the Amelia Island Book Festival here in Florida. A woman approached my table and thanked me for the healing properties in my books. She said she was a physician in the Washington, D.C. area and that she recommends Book 2 in my “Love in the Fleet” series, Forget Me Not, to her military couples dealing with PTSD. My jaw dropped and the following words echoed in my head: Mission accomplished. She said that not only were there psychological steps to healing in the book, but “it is told in story form, not preaching to the reader. And it appeals to female and male readers—both the romance and the military action. Plus, much of it is told from a male point of view.” Not only have I spent a lot of time around military men—my retired Navy husband being one of them—but the military advisors for all my books are male. One recently said, “You’ve created a new genre, Heather: The technically-correct-modern-warfare-self-help-romance novel.”

E.E.: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
HEATHER: Besides my awesome Marine Corps co-author, Christopher Bergeron, I have another special Marine in my life. I met Staff Sergeant Shawn Garrett, USMC (ret), through social networking. When I read that he had healed his PTSD through writing fiction, I was hooked. I got in touch with him and we talked. He is not only a hero to me for serving his country and figuring out how to “get back to normal,” but he wrote a novel to help other troops do the same thing. However, it was when the teacher in me learned that Shawn is dyslexic and struggled in special classes all through school, that he truly won my respect. He told me, “Growing up, I did battle with the English language. Now I come to find that it saved my life. I truly fell in love with writing and wish I had found this passion as a young person.”

I have been mentoring Shawn with some of his marketing. He, in turn, mentors me. Shawn is a strong, yet humble man. When I get caught up in numbers and sales and reviews, he reminds me of our writing mission—to help others. I thanked him once for showing me how to be humble. He replied, “I’m just a man trying to do what God put me on this earth to do.” His book, 500 Miles An Hour, released in January and is making quite a statement in the Marine Corps. Shawn has been asked to speak about his healing journey and we are thrilled to see his book appearing on military and law enforcement reading lists. Ooh-Rah, Shawn!

E.E.: What is your favorite tradition from childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
HEATHER: On Easter morning, my parents used to hide our Easter eggs and write riddles for us, giving clues as to where to find them. I continued this for my own children, as we moved around the world as a Navy family. Our clues often had to do with unique features in a particular home, like our Japanese house with the tatami floors, sliding paper doors, and butsudan, a household altar. Another year we were at the Pyramids for Easter. THAT made for some fun clues! When my oldest left for college, my high school son still wanted me to do the clues. So, a few years later when he was serving in Afghanistan, I continued the tradition. Here are some of the clues I sent in plastic eggs, along with Easter candy in 2003:

To find the next clue for can-dee, look in the bottom of your MRE (Meals Ready to Eat).
Too much candy makes you toot. Look for a clue in your combat boot.
The next clue for a candy bar is on the road to Kandahar.

He wrote back. “Thanks for the clues and the candy, Mom. We all enjoyed them. Some of these guys don’t even get mail, let alone care packages.” I’m hoping my children will pass on “The Easter Clues” to their children.

Thanks for inviting me today, E.E. and for letting me share our story with your readers. Since I’m writing about the healing aspect of Unforgettable, I’d like to close with Christopher Bergeron’s closing words in the acknowledgements: “Last, thanks to all my brothers and sisters who came home wounded in ways no one could see. I hope you find the healing I have found. Never give up the fight to be you again. It’s the most important battle. Semper Fi to all.”

Please join Chris tomorrow when he will share the adventure and suspense in Unforgettable on Get Lost in A Story

Now, I have a question for your readers. Who is a real live hero you know?

Just comment and enter the raffle for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card from publisher, Amber House Books.

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37 comments:

  1. My father was my real life hero. Such a gentleman. A great sense of honor. I miss him.

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    1. You were blessed to have such a wonderful dad and I bet you miss him. My dad and my husband are the same way. As a matter of fact, I have written both of them into some of my characters. I love writing about gentlemen with integrity. Blessings.

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  2. Beyond any military service member and fire/police... people who do the right thing, have an ethical way of life are my heros.

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    1. I totally agree with you, girlygirl. I love people with integrity. I have quite a few of them in my books BTW. One character is modeled after my husband, whose nickname used to be Lieutenant Integrity in the Navy. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Heather, welcome. So good to have you back on GLIAS. Your books are just wonderful because they're steeped in real heroism. They give me hope.

    I'm so impressed by how you and Chris collaborated. What a joy it must be to work together! He's a keeper!

    My father is gone, but he was first hero.

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    1. Thanks again for inviting us today, E.E. You were blessed that your dad was your first hero. My dad was my first hero, as well. As a matter of fact, I modeled my fictional hero, Adam Connor on him.

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  4. Heather and Chris, Congrats on your new novel. Your new novel is so amazing and thank you for bring out the story. Heather, thank you for being a really huge fan and great friend. Thank you for taking the time to mentor me in this process with 500 Miles an Hour.
    Semper Fi
    Shawn Garrett Staff Sergeant USMC (ret)

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    1. I am always humbled by you, Shawn. You have been a wonderful influence in my life, as I wrote above. You remind me to "I am just a woman trying to do what God put me on this earth to do." God bless you and yours.

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  5. My husband is my hero. He sacrifices so much for me and my boys. He's a great example for my boys in love, trust, integrity and honor. I am truly blessed. He's not perfect by any means, but he stands by his actions and you don't find that everyday.

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    1. He sounds wonderful, Dana. You ARE truly blessed. And know that your boys will grow up with that love, trust, integrity, and honor instilled in them. I have a line I use for my husband (Nicknamed Commander Integrity for many of the same reasons.) I say, "He's not perfect, but he perfect for me."

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  6. I have loved all of Heather's books and look forward to reading Unforgettable. But, now that I have "sort of" met Shawn Garret, I downloaded his book as well. My most recent book out is about a female Marine returning from a war zone with her own issues of fitting back into her civilian life and I am currently writing a book about a man who's been a career Marine until an injury sidelined him. Our men and women in uniform are my heroes and heroines and I am thankful every day for the sacrifices they make on the behalf of every American. I admire them tremendously and keep them all in my prayers.

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    1. Yes, readers, you need to check out Skye Taylor's book, LOVING MEG, about a returning female Marine who has some issues to deal with. Glad to see you writing about our troops, Skye, and thanks for all of your support!

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    2. Thank you so much Skyewriter. I am humble that you would read 500 Miles an Hour. Thank you so much for your very kind words.

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  7. Awesome to have you back with us Heather. Thanks for coming.

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    1. Thanks, Angi. It's always great to be on GLIAS.

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  8. Great excerpt, sounds like an awesome read and I would love to read it. Thanks for sharing with us today. Entering under the name of Virginia

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    1. I don't really have a hero now. It would have been my dad but he has been gone many years now

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  9. Great excerpt, sounds like an awesome read and I would love to read it. Thanks for sharing with us today. Entering under the name of Virginia

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    1. Then he's still your hero, Quilt Lady. He helped to make you the wonderful person you are today. He lives on through you and the good things that you do to make the world a better place.

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  10. My father is my hero... growing up and seeing how much he did for our town as both a cop and as a volunteer fireman... he was even burned once going back into a fire to save a fellow firefighter.

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    1. He sounds like a wonderful man, Colleen. You were blessed to grow up with your dad as your hero! And thanks to him for his service to the community.

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    2. Heather and Chris congrats on what I am sure will be an awardwinning book! You know that my dad who served as a Navy Officer in the Supply Corp! during WWII is my hero. A real officer and gentleman. Nancy S.

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    3. I bet he is, Nancy. They just don't quite make them like those of the Greatest Generation. God bless him for his service and for being your hero.

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  11. My Dad is my hero. We lost him September. That was a man who kept every promise to my Mom he made. He always told us God came first, Mom second, and then everything else. My kids certainly are heroes! A prosecuting attorney, a finished construction worker and of course the baby, our Marine. Heather and Chris you're a true blessing. And Elisabeth thank you for having them!

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    1. Sorry to hear of your dad's passing, Cindy. You were so blessed to have him in your life. I love "kept every promise…God first…Mom second…" And yes, your kids are heroes, as well. Bless all of them and be sure to thank that awesome USMC daughter of yours, "thanks for her service." Hugs.

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  12. My parents. They showed by how to live a Christian life by example. Always helping others and being there when I needed them.

    Congrats on a wonderful series. May the book get into the hands that need it.

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    1. Yay for your parents, Lynne! You're very blessed and I'm sure you passed it all on to your children.

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  13. My maternal grandmother. She raised seven children--all daughters--and kept her family afloat even after my grandfather was unable to work due to a leg injury. And she did all this in the 1950s. She's still strong and fit now, still active and hardworking.

    Catherine, Australia

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    1. Your grandmother sounds awesome, Catherine! I love the stories you've told me about her and how she kept the family going. You've had wonderful female role models to look up to, probably why you are such a strong woman today. Blessings - to both you and your grandmother.

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  14. My parents are awesome examples of being there and caring (well dad won't admit to that) and both of my grandmothers...one went back to school at 55 to fish high school and went on to be LPN until she retired at age 73..And my other grandma has shown us all how to live gracefully through unbelievable changing world's times with turning 101 last Dec.

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  15. My brother is my living hero. He served in the Air Force, but what makes him extra special is he stepped up and took care of my two sons at a point in my life I was incapable of doing so. Now he takes care of our widowed mom. He's as unselfish as a person can be.

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  16. Bless your brother for stepping and taking care of both your sons and your mom. And bless you for appreciating him and calling him your hero. Be sure to share this with him. God bless, Julie!

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  17. I volunteer at the USO in my local airport. I meet heroes all the time. I also volunteer with the Honor Flight program here. I was lucky enough to be a guardian for an Honor Flight trip last year. Every one of those veterans, a hero. There was a woman world war ll veteran on that trip. She was amazing. The whole lot of them, they had no idea what the big deal was. "Why are people applauding? I just did my job."

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  18. Awesome, Krazymama! Thanks for your volunteer service, fellow volunteer. (I volunteer at MY airport USO, too, and YES, meet all kinds of heroes.) The Honor Flight sounds fabulous and yes, many of them are so humble. (My mom was a WWII Navy veteran. Dad was a Marine.) Love, "why are people applauding?" Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your heroes!

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