Saturday, 18 February 2012

Army Officer vs Writer by Jessica Scott + Giveaway

Button made by the very talented Susi! Thank you!!

I have the highest respect and amazement for today's guest: Jessica Scott is not only a career woman (an army officer at that!), wife and mother of two young daughters, she is also a newly published romance writer and all around nice person. If you like your romance novels to have emotional depth and wounded characters you must read her debut novel Because of You (you can get a first taste by reading my review here). So please give the warmest welcome to Jessica and read on, she has some wonderful surprises for you at the end!

Army Officer vs Writer 
by Jessica Scott

First, I have to thank Stella for inviting me to celebrate her blogoversary here at Ex Libris. I love anything that has to do with books so I’m happy to help celebrate! Congrats, Stella for so many wonderful years and more to come!

So when casting about for a topic, Stella suggested that I write about how my life as a company commander impacts or rather conflicts with my life as a romance writer. I thought about it for a little while and then figured this is a pretty good topic, honestly.

If you’ve read Smart Bitches for any length of time, you see that one thing Sarah has been been wonderful about is defending the romance genre from literary snobs who look down on it because not only is it the dirty word of genre fiction but it’s also romance, which is only one step above, well, I’m not sure. And yet, despite people looking down on it as beneath them, annually, romance is the top selling genre across the board. And yet, the very name of Sarah’s site says it all: we’re not some dumb, ditzy females who shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.

Military women have faced many of challenges, too, in seeking and earning respect. A friend and mentor of mine flew combat mission during Vietnam. You know, when women were still “not in combat” then either? Even after a decade at war, military women are still seeking respect, not so much from our male peers but from society at large who still seem to think we’re some helpless damsels who shouldn’t be allowed off the FOB because of our delicate emotions.

Military women are smart, savvy women who do everything from fly combat aircraft in Vietnam to set up communications networks in Afghanistan or run combat patrols in Iraq. Romance novels are smart, emotional reads that connect readers with characters who mean something to them. And yet, both are still struggling for a very basic thing: respect as equals.

In many ways, I’m living that dual life. As an Army officer, I’m focused on training my soldiers for the next mission. On the other hand, I’ve written what many folks have said is a very emotional story in Because of You. I guess for the Army, I tend to shut down the things that are tough to deal with. Losing a soldier is terrible, losing a friend is crushing. And you never know what people to your left and right have dealt with during their own combat tours.

I guess I take a lot of the emotion in my daily life and channel it toward my writing. Maybe it’s a more appropriate outlet than therapy at work. And maybe it’s a way to keep me focused on my work, knowing there’s a place to put the emotional goo, you know?

There are a bunch of combat vets writing these days and I’m lucky to have the good fortune to have corresponded with many of them. I’ve written for IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. I’ve gotten the chance to read an advanced copy of Brandon Webb’s The Red Circle, which is about his life in the Navy SEALs and how he grew into a sniper instructor but it’s more than that. It’s about his life as a guy who grew up, went to war and came home a little different. The acknowledgements in Brandon’s book made me tear up and it’s a really great book.

I also just started reading J. Robert Dubois Powerful Peace, another retired Navy SEAL. I’ll be honest and tell you it’s a tough book to read but its focus is about using the force we have available smartly. It’s an incredibly powerful book and I’m really grateful Rob sent me a copy because, well, I think I can learn a lot from it.

Before you think I’m just shamelessly plugging my buddies (okay maybe a little bit) the point of me bringing up their books is that they went to war, too, and their experiences shaped them, just as my experiences shaped me. We’ve all taken our time in hell and put it to the page in different forms. Maybe it’s naive on my part to write about love and romance in the middle of war but I don’t think it is. Because it’s about relationships and every book you read about combat experiences, you’ll read about relationships. My romance novels still deal with those fundamental things any war novel deals with: loss, injury, but also victory and friendship and yeah, even love.

I’m incredibly lucky to have two things in my life I’m passionate about. I love my career in the Army. Joining the Army was the first best choice I ever made. And I’m incredibly lucky to have found my voice as writer but more, to have found an editor and team that supports what my books have to be. A gal can’t be too grateful!

Thanks so much for having me here today, Stella and congrats again on the anniversary!

Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

You can find Jessica at her website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Because of You by Jessica Scott

Book #1 in the Coming Home series

From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.

Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.

Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.

Buy at Amazon


Jessica has generously offered an ebook copy of Because of You to a lucky commentator and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble to another commentator!

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. leave a comment and tell us: What are you passionate about? (besides reading of course ;-)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 March 2012.

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