US Veteran Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen's LogoAside from being a terrific story teller, a veteran, and a friend, Kayelle Allen is one of the most generous, hard-working people I know. Please welcome her to Author Travels and let her know how much you enjoy her visit by leaving a comment. Also, leave a note for an active duty soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. I’ll make certain the notes get to the right service member. Now, here’s Kayelle to tell you a little about herself and her newest book, Bringer of Chaos.

First, I’d like to thank Rue Allyn for the opportunity to share what being a veteran means to me. Opening her blog to fellow RomVets (female veterans who write romance) is an action I wholeheartedly support. I have a similar program on Romance Lives Forever, my guest blog, on Veteran’s Day every year.

When I joined the US Navy back in 1973, I was a single woman. I had lived in the Las Vegas metro area since I was twelve years old. There were few jobs that didn’t relate to one or more parts of the gaming or hospitality industries. I wanted more. To find it, I entered the military. When I was transferred to a training base in Memphis, I had no idea that I’d meet my future husband. We’ve been together ever since.

The one thing I’d like others to know about being a veteran is that when you raise your right hand and swear to uphold the constitution of the United States, you are doing more than serving your country. You are embarking on a journey that will change you forever.

When I joined, I had no idea how much risk I was undertaking. It’s only years later that I’ve come to understand how much I laid on the line to protect my country. When you’re in the midst of a situation, you are too busy dealing with the details to look around and grasp the significance of each action. That comes later, after the smoke has cleared and you have time to think about it.

Bringer of Chaos, the Origin of Pietas

I was never in combat, and I was put into no life-threatening situations. However, because I was on active duty, I agreed to be willing to go. That willingness came out of my desire to serve. I was twelve when President John F Kennedy was assassinated. His death had a profound effect on my life. I had heard him speak in person only a few months prior. My parents had been big supporters of his campaign. When he died, I swore not to ask what my country could do for me, but to ask what I could do for my country. When the opportunity to join the military came, that was my chance to fulfill my oath. I have never looked back with regret.

Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas is military science fiction set in the far future. Two enemy warriors: one human, one immortal. Different in belief, alike in spirit, marooned together on an alien world. Traitors took everything. Except their honor.
Excerpt     Amazon   Print

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She writes in multiple genres and non-fiction. She is founder of the author-mentoring group Marketing for Romance Writers, manages the successful Romance Lives Forever blog, and is a member of RomVets. Kayelle is married, has three grown children, and five grandchildren.

Join Kayelle’s Romance Lives Forever Reader Group and you’ll get sneak peeks of new books, plus find out about special contests just for members. Want other options to know when a book is released? Join AuthorAlarms and get one email when a new book is out. Follow Kayelle on Amazon. Visit her homeworld, or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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Kathleen Jabs Brings Mystery to Friendship Friday

Kathleen Jabs at the beachMy guest today is Kathleen Jabs, author of the military mystery Black Wings and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She holds an MFA from George Mason University. Her stories have been published in a number of literary journals and received several prizes, including selection in the NPR Selected Shorts program. She lives with her husband and two children in Virginia. I’ve asked Kathleen to tell us more about herself, her book, and of course, to answer her selection of my weird questions–my favorite is her answer about her worst enemy. Now, here’s Kathleen.

I’m a writer, wife, mother of two teenagers, daughter, sister, friend, public affairs officer, Navy reservist and insatiable reader. I grew up in Boston, left for the Naval Academy in 1984 and have lived around the world – in Japan; Hawaii; Panama; Washington, DC; Miami and New Hampshire. I live in Virginia now, but I love to travel. I served 6 years on active duty and have been a Navy reservist for the last 15 years.

My mystery novel, Black Wings, was published in December 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! It was published by Fuze Publishing, a small Cover art for the novel Black Wingspress, www.fuzepublishing.com and I’ve had a wonderful experience with them. Fuze is co-owned by Molly Tinsley who was my advisor at the US Naval Academy. It was very inspiring to reconnect with her and work with her to get my novel ready for publication.

1. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Orange.

2. What cd is in your cd-player right now? I’ve got Celtic Women Christmas Carols – it reminds me of my Irish heritage and gets me in the spirit.

3. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods)I hate ketchup! 1!

4. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an old Samsung – it embarrasses my kids because it is not “smart” and I need them to look up maps and phone numbers for me.

5. What’s the size of your shoes? 8 ½.

6. Is your middle finger longer than your ring finger? Yes.

7. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:30.

8. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? I’ve been to the DMZ on the border between North and South Korea.

9. How often do you brush your teeth? 2-3 times a day.

10. Do you like carrots? Yes.

11. The size of your hard-disc? I don’t know…

12. What’s your favourite word? Serendipity.

13. If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A Birch!

14. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best.

15. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Dansko clogs – I live in them.

16. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

17. Who told you they loved you last? My daughter.

18. Your worst enemy? Time! There is never enough.

19. What is your favorite cheese? Machengo.

20. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Acacia Pinot Noir.

Please Welcome Ella Quinn to Friendship Friday

US ARMY LOGO

US Army logo

Author, Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn is one of my favorite people whom I’ve never met in person. She is a fellow veteran–although Ella chose the US Army, while I chose the USN. That link, shared service, has been the foundation for a friendship that has lasted more than ten years. In addition to being one of my favorite people, she is a talented author and a fascinating person. But I’ll let her tell you about herself, so you’ll see how fascinating she is. Please welcome, Ella Quinn.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: I had several lives before deciding to be a writer. I dropped out of college and to tend bar and play in a rock band. Enlisted in the Army for five years. Got out and went back to college. After getting an MS in International Relations, I attended law school and went back in the Army for several years. I’ve lived all over the world and now reside in the Caribbean. About a year and a half ago, I decided to write Regency romances. I have an agent and am currently on submission, but not yet published.

Please share with us your current project (does not need to be a writing project) I’m writing my 6th book which is the second of my second series. It’s about a very politically conservative, priggish, young marquis who falls in love with a reformer who is the daughter of a country baronet.

1. Please answer at least five of the following questions.  Your answers may be but do not need to be ‘true.’  I highly recommend using no names or changing names to protect both the innocent and yourself.

2. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Blue and white, because I could find a different color.

3. What cd is in your cd-player right now? It’s a Beautiful Day.

4. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods) 1

5. Are you a “dogperson” or a “catperson”? Both. I have a Great Dane and a Chartreux cat I picked up in Belgium after our old cat died. Americans were not allowed to adopt from the pound.

6. What’s the meaning of life? Love.

7. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an iPhone.

8. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:00 PM

9. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? Home is wherever I am.

10. In scale from 1-5, how afraid of dark are you? 1

11. The person you would never want to meet? Georgette Heyer.

12. How much cash do you have on you? $7.00 and 50 Euros.

13. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best

14. What shirt are you wearing? Tank top.

15. What do you label yourself as? I don’t.

16. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Teva flip-flops.

17. Bright room or dark room? Bright

18. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

19. Where is your nearest 7-11? Probably about 1500 miles away.

20. What’s a saying you say a lot? Spit in one hand and wish in the other, see which one gets full faster.

21. Who told you they loved you last? My husband.

22. Last furry thing you touched? The dog.

23. Favorite age you’ve been so far? The age I am now.

24. What is your current desktop picture? Palm trees and water.

25. What was the last thing you said to someone? Actually talking to a person? I love you.

26. If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose? The million bucks.

27. What is your favorite cheese? Smoked Gouda.

28. What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking a bath? I was in the Army in the woods for a week.

29. What is your best physical attribute? (Then, you can dare the person to show you their best physical attribute.) My smile.

30. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? Austria. The ski lifts are open.

31. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Cripes! Now that you are in the new location, where are you gonna go to spend that? Lift tickets.

32. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Châteauneuf-du-Pape

33. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? I’m going to Regency England to study the culture.

34. What is your favorite expletive? Shit.

35. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno? My laptop.

36. The Angel Of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel Of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour? Make love to my husband.

37. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be? Wiggle my nose like Samantha.

38. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be? That’s hard. Either The bistro in the bistro on the corner of Avenue de la Motte Picquet  and Avenue Bosquet in the 7th arrondissement Paris or La Chevre d’Or in Eze, France.

39. The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? My mother.

Giving Thanks with Friends~~Friendship Friday Welcomes Kim Lowe

I’ve often written about the sacrifices made by US military service members and their family’s.  Today, I’m delighted to welcome USN veteran and one of those family members. Kim Lowe.  Kim and her children will be spending this Thanksgiving without her active duty husband.  She’s got a terrific perspective on the situation and I’m proud to call Kim friend.  I’m also grateful that while I’m on vacation Kim will be here for the entire week and through the holiday weekend.    Please stop by often, drop a comment and share your Thanksgiving Day plans.  Now here’s Kim.

Giving Thanks with the Aloha Spirit 

We are fast approaching Thanksgiving in the US – six days to the Turkey Dinner. I’m hoping to be invited by a neighbor. If no invitation materializes, I am taking the kids to the Officers’ Club for their buffet dinner. I am thankful that I can celebrate Thanksgiving with Aloha spirit – no matter where the dinner is served.

I’m sure my husband will be doing the same – hoping for an invitation or eating at the O’Club – as he is currently working in Korea for a year. We are making the best of a tough situation – I am thankful that we can be in contact by phone, Skype, and emails. It keeps the Aloha Spirit alive in our family.

My husband returns to Hawaii for the Christmas Holiday. I am thankful that he can be with us, especially my children, who miss him.   I cannot be his substitute at Scouting meetings, bowling practice, or putting on the green.   Our holiday will be touched by the Aloha Spirit.

Next summer, he will move onto his next assignment. We will follow, leaving behind fond memories of Hawaii.  But I will carry the  Aloha Spirit with me, no matter where we move. The Aloha Spirit is best described by Duke Kahanamoku, Olympic medalist and surfing enthusiast:

“In Hawai’i we greet friends, loved ones and strangers with Aloha, which means with love.
Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawai’i renowned as the world’s center of understanding and fellowship.”

Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha. You’ll be surprised by their reaction. I believe it and it is my creed. Aloha to you.

Whether you eat turkey or lau lau for Thanksgiving Dinner, I wish that your time spent with family and friends is touched by the Aloha Spirit.

Kim Lowe is a military veteran and military spouse.   She currently lives near Pearl Harbor.   Check out her book blog, SOS Aloha, at sosaloha.blogspot.com, and her travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND, at alohaonmymind.blogspot.com.