SOS Aloha blog, where she spotlights authors, sets up book giveaways, and does plenty more things to help support American military personnel.
Aloha, Kim! What made you decide to go into the Air Force?
I received an Air Force ROTC scholarship in Mathematics. The scholarship require I serve four years active duty, but I spent 12 years as a Communications Officer. I have spent the past 11 years as a military spouse and community volunteer.
Ooh, a smart cookie! I knew I liked you. *props chin in hand and leans forward eagerly* Tell us a bit more about your military career.
The "communications" career field includes traditional "comm" (i.e., telephone), computer networks, and more recently information management.
But I seemed to work the odd ball jobs within this career field. My first duty assignment took me to Hanscom AFB (near Boston) where I worked software requirements for the AWACS (surveillance) aircraft. I then moved to Germany (near Aachen) to work the same type job for NATO AWACS. I returned to Pentagon to assist with the infrastructure renovation (ultimately, the Pentagon Renovation strengthened the building when Flight 77 crashed on it on 9/11 - the renovation prevented further deaths and damage). I met my husband at the Pentagon and we married at Fort Myer (next to Arlington National Cemetery). I followed him to Scott AFB, where I worked as an duty offer in the Tanker Airlift Control Center (super command post for mobility airlift providing global reach).
That's quite a resume! How did your time in the military shape you as a person?
The military taught me that I could do almost anything (women were still restricted from flying fighters but I had no desire to fly). It gave me the confidence to become my own person - my Air Force friends would laugh to think that I was an introvert in high school! The military enabled me to fine tune my emerging personality. And the military showed me the world!
Has your service made it easier for you to be married to a military man (that's so sexy, by the way)? All those moves and upheavals across the globe... Not an easy life, and it takes a special couple to make it work.
Yes, I know my own service makes it "easier" for us to move. I had to do it for myself three times, so I can do it for the whole family! In fact, I've had to do it myself for the moves I've made as a military spouse - hubby was busy at work or had already moved to the next duty station!
I know you're a romance novel fan, and I think it's fantastic that you're highlighting books on your blog. Why do you love them so much, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I detailed my discover of "romance" on my blog for September 11.
As a math major in college and a contracts officer in the Air Force, I did not want to read books "off duty". I read magazines. But then I discovered romance books in the Netherlands and the rest is history! I prefer Regency romances and sporadically read contemporaries. But I appreciate all genres because they reflects why military personnel put themselves in harm's way. They defend our previous freedom to think, speak, read, and write as we choose. The various genres also demonstrate how our society has changed its attitudes towards women - I celebrate the fact that women can read and write what they want! Thus, I will interview authors and spotlight books of all genres. I appreciate the patience of some authors (whose genres I don't read) as I try to ask intelligent questions related to their books!
It's hard to identify who are my favorite authors because I love you all! But I defer to the first three authors I read - Cathy Maxwell, the master of love and laughter; Bertrice Small, a romance icon of engaging epics; and Diane Gaston, who writes from her heart. All three have military connections ... and all three have become my friend!
Tell us a bit about SOS America and how you get involved with them.
After discovering romance in the Netherlands, I subscribed to RT Book Reviews. Once we moved to Baltimore, I signed up for the RT Booklovers' Convention in Daytona/2006. I attended the SOS Military Mixer and connected with Kathyrn Falk, founder of SOS and CEO of RT. I also met Mary Gramlich, the Reading Reviwer. The resulting friendship - and inspirational support - is a story for another blog!
Nine months later, I invited Kathryn to attend the Old Fashioned Tea Party with the Fort Meade Spouses' Club. They joined 20 other authors I invited from the Washington Romance Writers - Mry Jo Putney, Cathy Maxwell, Diane Gaston, Sally MacKenzie, Tracy Anne Warren, Rebecca York, and many others. The tea party inspired me to join the SOS team.
I'm very glad you did! What would you like to see happen in the future with your SOS Aloha blog?
Kathryn created SOS as a means for the romance industry to support deployed personnel. And it has grown in three different directions. Kathryn built a Soldiers' Cabin on her Texas ranch for wounded warriors and military families to come for R&R. Three of the original volunteers - Katherine C., Richard C., and Kelley G., continue to send cards and packages. And I started a monthly newsletter in May 2009. I converted it into a monthly blog in March 2010. Now I blog daily because so many authors want to participate!
Our blog promotes military issues to romance readers. Likewise, I promote romance reading to military spouses. I add Hawaiian culture for good measure.
I'd like to see more authors of all genres join us. All authors are welcome, whether or not they have military connections. I'd also like to see readers as guests to spotlight their special activities. In fact, Jodi S. - a Navy brat - will join us on November 7 to talk about her blog on quilting! To be a guest at SOS Aloha, contact me at email@example.com.
What can people do to get involved with and help the SOS America cause?
We are currently promoting Operation Holiday Card to ensure 1000 deployed personnel receive a holiday card. To date, 225 personnel have been adopted! To join Operation Holiday Card, contact Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org
In the new year, we'll spotlight military charities that are making a difference - the USO, Operation Paperback, Special Operations Warrior Fund, and many others.
I heart the Special Operations Warrior Fund, but I'm probably biased :) What about specific things that authors can do?
Authors can be an SOS guest and refer their readers to our blog!
Thanks again Kim for coming by, and for all your hard work behind the scenes over at SOS Aloha.
So all you readers and authors out there, please contact Kim or drop by the blog and do your part to promote the publishing industry and the soldiers that safeguard our freedom.