On Love and Honor with Keira Andrews and her release, Semper Fi! (book tour and contest)

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With one story, A Forbidden Rumspringa, Keira Andrews, jumped into the hearts and minds of so many readers, including myself.  Now Keira Andrews is back with her latest book, Semper Fi.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity (because today is Veteran’s Day) to talk to Keira Andrews about our soldiers, DADT, and the issues they face.  Here is my interview with Keira Andrews (and don’t forget to check out the blurb, excerpt, and contest below as well):

~~~~~~~

 

Today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Commonwealth countries, and I’m honoured to be here to discuss Semper Fi, my new romance novel.

In WWII, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — and its repeal so that queer soldiers can serve openly — was decades away. Anti-sodomy laws were still on the books, and gay servicemen and women had to hide who they really were (with few exceptions). While reading a nonfiction book on the bitterly fought battle for Guadalcanal in the Pacific, I began to wonder about the Marines who fought there. Since I always have M/M romance on the brain, I wondered if any of them were gay, and what their lives would be like after the war. Thus, Semper Fi was born.

I was also greatly inspired by this picture:Korean War comfort

This evocative shot from the Korean War so eloquently shows the comradeship and tenderness that can exist between soldiers fighting and suffering together. I wanted to explore the evolution of a close friendship when two Marines fall in love. Intense bonds form in boot camp and foxholes in the heat of battle, but what happens to that relationship back in the real world?

And what happens when the love at the heart of a friendship blooms into something more? For me, an HEA is a necessity as a reader and a writer. What does happily ever after look like in 1948? Can two men have a life together and raise a family?

So many questions! I hope you’ll enjoy my answers in Semper Fi.

semper-fi-web-largeThe war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

Discover how love finds a way in Semper Fi!

Buy Links:

 Semper Fi Excerpt

1942

Bellowing black smoke in its wake, the train swayed as it crossed the Rappahannock River, the boisterous singing and chatter of the men inside muffling the creaking wood of the ancient cars. As Cal stumbled, a strong hand on his arm steadied him, and he smiled down at the man before flopping into the opposite seat. He held out a bottle. “Drink? It’s allegedly bourbon.”

A small smile lifted the man’s lips. “Sure.” He took the bottle and tipped it back. He tried to hide his grimace, but couldn’t quite. “I’ve never really liked the hard stuff.”

“Well, in defense of bourbon, this isn’t exactly Kentucky’s finest.” Cal peered out the window past the sleeping man beside him, who drooled against the streaked glass. The sun splashed orange across the horizon as it sank out of sight. “Hard to believe we’ll be in South Carolina in the morning. Assuming this dirty old pile of planks doesn’t disintegrate along the way.”
A pot-bellied stove in the middle of the train car belched, emitting only a small amount of heat in the January chill. Cal shivered against the competing drafts, wishing he’d brought a warmer jacket. But he supposed they’d all be trading their civvies for uniforms soon enough, and he’d yearn for the northern cold before too long.

“Let’s hope we’ll be shipping out in something a little sturdier,” the man said before passing the bottle to the recruit beside him, who stopped screeching an Irish sea shanty long enough to gulp down a quarter of the swill.

“I’m Cal, by the way.” Cal extended his hand. “Cal Cunningham.”

“Jim Bennett.”

If Jim noticed how smooth Cal’s palm was in comparison to his own, he didn’t let on. His neatly combed hair was a blond that probably lightened in the sun, and there was a general wholesomeness about him that indicated he spent significant time outside. Faded freckles dusted Jim’s pale skin, and he wore a blue button-front shirt that couldn’t match the brilliance of his eyes.
As most of the men around them launched into a recitation of a limerick about a man from Nantucket, a fresh waft of burning coal drifted on the air. Cal chuckled ruefully. “I think this is the Marine Corps’ way of telling us not to expect many creature comforts where we’re going.” He reclaimed the bottle and took another swig. “Where do you hail from?” he asked Jim.

“Outside a little place called Tivoli, New York.”

“We must have been on the same train down to DC. I’m from Manhattan.” Cal thought he’d gotten a good look at everyone, but he’d definitely remember handsome Jim Bennett with the blue eyes. “How far is Tivoli from the city?”

“About three hours or so.”

“Hey, we’re practically neighbors.”

Jim smiled. “I suppose so. I’ve never been out of the Hudson Valley before today.”

Cal laughed before realizing Jim was serious. He ran a hand through his thick hair. “Uh, so what do you do? No, no, let me guess. Farming.”

“Of a sort. My family owns an apple orchard. You?”

“I guess you could say I’m in the family business too. Truth is I don’t do much of anything.” He put a cigarette between his lips and offered the pack to Jim, who shook his head. Cal opened his lighter and struck a flame.

A few kerosene lamps shone through the car, casting shadows and light over the faces of the recruits. In the flickering glow, Jim’s expression was placid. He seemed to be waiting for Cal to say more.

Exhaling a cloud of smoke, Cal leaned forward in his seat, talking quietly in the cacophony surrounding them. “After Princeton, my father just assumed I’d come work for him. Gave me an office and everything. Great view of the Statue of Liberty, but I’ve never had much to do. He doesn’t trust me with anything important.”

Jim took this in. “What’s the business?”

“Banking.”

“You don’t mean…Cunningham Savings and Loan?”

“My father’s pride and joy. My grandfather came over from Scotland and built himself a little empire. I’m Calhoun Cunningham the third, so I guess one day it’ll all be mine.”

Shaking his head, Jim laughed incredulously. “Geez, couldn’t you have gotten a commission in the army or navy? How did you end up here?”

The wheels of the train shrieked as it rumbled south. Cal shrugged with a grin. “Couldn’t think of anything that would piss off the old man quite so much as enlisting in the Marines.”

Jim returned the smile. “I suppose that’s one reason for joining up.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fighting for my country and destroying the forces of evil. What about you?” He sat back, inhaling a lungful of sweet smoke and relaxing against the seat.

“After the Japs hit Pearl Harbor, I enlisted as soon as I could. My father’s not doing very well these days, but my wife will look after him.”

Disappointment flickered through Cal. Not that he expected clean-cut apple farmer Jim Bennett to be anything but a straight arrow. “Wife, huh? Did you get hitched before you left?”

“No, not long after high school. I took a few night classes at the local college and met Ann there. She worked at the café.” He opened his wallet and handed over a picture of a pretty brunette and a young girl. “My wife and my daughter, Sophie.”

“That’s a real nice family you’ve got. How old is she?” Cal pointed to the child.

“Two and a half. She was actually born on my twentieth birthday.” Jim gazed at the photo and smiled wistfully. “She’s my special girl.” He glanced around as another bawdy song began and tucked the picture away. “Are you married?”

Cal grinned. “Nope. In twenty-four years there hasn’t been a woman yet who’s been able to pin me down.” He didn’t add that there never would be.

The train shuddered alarmingly, wheels wailing as everyone held on. A recruit near the end of the car stood on his seat with arms out for balance.

“All right, boys. We’d better all sing this train along or we won’t live to see boot camp, let alone the war!” He launched into “Chattanooga Choo Choo” with a voice that wasn’t half bad.

As they joined in the chorus, Cal and Jim shared a smile.
~

Author Bio:

Keira Andrews author pic small_200x200After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Contest:  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is offering up a $15 Amazon gift card as a prize for this tour.  To enter to win, leave a comment below, perhaps about our soldiers, and Veterans Day.  Leave an email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Ends 11/28.

24 comments

  1. Shirley Ann Speakman · November 11, 2014

    It’s 11th November so it is Armistice day and Remembrance services will be taking place in towns and cities across the UK. I think everyone will remember this year as it’s a 100 years since the beginning of WW1. I think we should all remember the great sacrifices soldiers and their families have to make every day of the year.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

    Like

  2. Serena S. · November 11, 2014

    We don’t have Veterans Day here but I hope everyone to have a great day. Thanks for the giveaway, too.
    serena91291@gmail.com

    Like

  3. jenf27 · November 11, 2014

    On Veterans Day and Armistice Day – Remembering and thanking all the veterans and their families who have served and sacrificed.

    Thanks also for the post and contest. I loved Semper Fi! And the pic above from the Korean War is amazing.

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

    Like

  4. Keira Andrews · November 11, 2014

    Thank you so much for having me, Melanie! So glad you enjoyed my new book. 🙂

    Like

  5. Janie · November 11, 2014

    Thank you to all the Veterans who have sacrificed so much for others. You can never know how much you truly mean to everyone. janieklaus@hotmail.com

    Like

  6. Lynn Fredrick (@FredrickLynn) · November 11, 2014

    My family has always served in the military so this day holds a special meaning to me. Its a day of remembered everything for those that are here and gone but never forgotten.
    The book sounds wonderful, can’t wait to read.

    fsteph55(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Like

  7. Lisa G · November 12, 2014

    My dad served in Vietnam and my brother in Iraq. I’m so blessed they are still with me today. To all our veterans – thank you!

    Like

  8. Vicki Potter · November 12, 2014

    My pap was a seaman in the navy in ww 2. Thank you to all of the veterans for defending our country. dale.earnhardt03@yahoo.com

    Like

  9. Lucy Felthouse · November 12, 2014

    I’ve already read this book and thought it was fantastic – definitely recommended to M/M romance fans.

    lucy at lucyfelthouse dot co dot uk

    Like

  10. debfirpo · November 12, 2014

    Thank you for the contest. I really want this book! My father in laws was in WW2.

    Like

  11. Jen CW · November 12, 2014

    Thanks for the excerpt and post. My grandfather barely survived WWII and spent a year in traction. I barely got to know him before shrapnel from his injuries killed him many years later. Surprisingly, many of my uncles and cousins have served in the military too. I always think about their sacrifices on this day.
    Jczlapin(at)gmail(dot)com

    Like

  12. looney589 · November 12, 2014

    i feel very strongly about Veterans Day. I come from a semi military family. My grandfather was a WWII veteran he served on the USS Huron. My dad was Air Force, my brother was Army and then later a Guardsman and I have numerous 1st and 2nd cousins that have served. This is definitely on my TBR list.
    looney589@msn.com

    Like

  13. Amy · November 12, 2014

    I lost my grandfather to the Vietnam war. Remembering and honoring all those who have served and sacrificed their lives ❤

    Like

  14. alison · November 13, 2014

    It is very kind of you to offer this… Thank you!

    Like

  15. Jbst · November 13, 2014

    Deep appreciation to all of the veterans that have served our country.

    Like

  16. Dawn · November 17, 2014

    I read this book on Veterans Day and loved it. Am thankful for all our servicemen, especially the many in my family who have served in all branches.

    Like

  17. Riina YT · November 21, 2014

    Keira is one of my favorite authors, and this is such a great story.
    Though I’m thankful for everyone protecting their country, I wish it would never have to come to war in the first place. It’s simply the WORST thing…

    Thanks for the contest; I’m happy to join. coigocoro(at)gmail(dot)com

    Like

  18. Jeffrey Owens · November 22, 2014

    I just found out about website and contest today so I am a bit late in adding my own comments. I was in the USAF from June 1980 to August 1983 so I have a special place in my heart for veterans. I really want to read this book because I was a gay airman in the USAF decades before it became legal in this country to be out, gay and in the military. Thank you to all out veterans who have served or are serving to keep this country strong and free for all. May we always be a beacon to the world.

    jeffrey.barron.owens@gmail.com

    Like

  19. Alana Rock · November 25, 2014

    It’s after Veteran’s Day now… though I may prefer peace for myself, I still support all those that have chosen to serve (past and present) in our military. Also, I’d very much like to read the book. =)
    loonyalana(at)yahoo(DOT)com

    Like

  20. BabyBarlow · November 27, 2014

    We don’t have veteran day in here..
    Thank you for this post and giveaway.
    babybarlow78@gmail.com

    Like

  21. tea58 · November 27, 2014

    Thank you very much for this very important post. We don’t have veteran day but we remember our lost soldiers or all the victims of different wars. It’s important to remember. I lost my grandfather in the WWI.
    teacontu@gmail.com

    Like

  22. Dreamy · November 27, 2014

    I come from of several generations of soldiers and we’re very close to all the celebrations my country does. Thank you for writing this book, Keira and thank you guys for the giveaway.
    dreamerbookslover@gmail.com

    Like

  23. R.M. · November 27, 2014

    I lost a dear friend of mine in Iraq a couple of years ago and my brother was a soldier so I’m very close to our soldiers. Thank you for the post (still have to read this book) and for the giveaway.
    mistresswhitlock@gmail.com

    Like

  24. juliesmall1959 · November 27, 2014

    I got to go to Washington DC with my granddaughter last year for Veterans Day! What an experience…as she is Navy. She and I always take a week every year to go and celebrate something! Thank you for the post!

    Like

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