Monday, April 09, 2012

Wild Adventures (AK and otherwise) with Rue Allyn

I can’t say that my adventures in Alaska were wild. Yes, I’ve actually been to the land of the midnight sun (when I was thirteen—so it’s been a while). The train that follows the gold rush trail from Skagway to Whitehorse, Yukon (in Canada) is a treat. I’ll bet that despite the passage of a decade or three you can still see some of the stuff left behind by people following the trail. Things take longer to deteriorate in Alaska because of the permafrost. I spent most of that summer in Fairbanks with my folks who were exchange professors at the U of A. I had my first fresh salmon (delicious, frozen can’t compare). I saw my first midnight sun (R. W. Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee has been one of my favorite poems since I started reading) and had my first experience of sleeping with aluminum foil covering the windows to block out the light.

I repeated that last experience when the Navy sent me and my husband to duty in Keflavik, Iceland. Our eldest child was three months old. Imagine trying to establish a night time routine when there wasn’t much of any night for several months. Add watch duty rotations (Days, Afternoons, Midnights) and parenting becomes a really wild adventure. Military service throws all sorts of monkey wrenches in to what civilians think of as ‘normal’ life.

That happens to Senior Chief Hank O’Mara and Lieutenant Bethany Morton in my erotic romance Off Limits (available now from Red Sage Publishing and other fine e-retailers). Both are happy in their lives as career Navy personnel and neither expects to have that life turned upside down by falling in love with someone who is literally Off Limits. But these two seasoned sailors roll with the punches. Like military parents, newlyweds, students and all our service members they make sacrifices to be able to love each other and serve their country too. Off Limits is available now from Red Sage Publishing. You can find an excerpt here. I’d love to have you leave comments either on this post or any other topic you choose.

A bit about Rue Allyn—I wrote my first story around the age of five and read my first romance at the age of eight. I’ve been in love with being in love ever since. I’m happily married to my sweetheart of many, many years. We share the home of two cats, who condescend to allow me to feed them and clean their litter box. They occasionally permit me to pet them but demand my love and attention as their right. I am in awe of their feline ability to dominate with half a glance or a mere twitch of tail. I am insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler. I love to hear from readers about your favorite books and real life adventures. I also love my work. Seriously, what could be more fun than sharing love and adventure with all your friends? For more about me and my books go to

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

For My Sisters

I just returned from a ten day trip to New York and Philadelphia. The main purpose of the trip was to attend my best friend's wedding in Philly, but, being from the New York area (Long Island, more accurately) I spent some time visiting my family.

Now, there's a reason why I live in Alaska and my family is back in New York. Don't get me wrong, I love them with all my heart, but there's also a lot of drama I'm not sorry to be missing. I'm also happier raising my kids in a less intense location, and that has nothing to do with my relatives.

While in NY, I stayed in my mother's place. She bought a house with my sister and brother-in-law a couple of years ago, so I got to see them a lot too. Which is great. I also saw my brothers and their families, which is also great. Mom and Sis had the week off, so we went out shopping, did lunch, got my hair done for the wedding, all sorts of fun things. I know it was a special time, not the day-to-day stuff we all go through. Spirits were high and the love was flowing. But it made me realize how much I miss having them around. My mother and sister share things I will never be part of as long as I live where I am.

"Let's get lunch!"

"Hey, can you watch the dogs/cats while I'm gone for the day?"

"How about roast beef for Sunday dinner rather than ham?"

Despite the frustrations of living near family, I miss them terribly. My kids don't have the opportunity to get to know their grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins like I did. Yes, I chose to move to Alaska, but that doesn't mean it's not without its shortcomings. Distance from family, mine and my husband's, is one of those shortcomings we've learned to deal with.

I particularly miss my sister. We weren't close as kids, running with two very different crowds, but now that we're adults we have a lot more in common. I want to share more daily things with her. I want to go shopping, ask her opinion on my hair and clothes (OK, maybe not). I want our families to get together for holidays, summer barbeques and Sunday football. I want my sister more than once a year, maybe, or as a voice across the continent.

But alas...

Sis, brother-in-law, and mom drove me to Philly, so our good-bye was not the teary-eyed airport event it could have been. Sad, yes, but we held together.

But I realized something over the next few days of wedding preparation with my friend: I was in the same situation with her as I am with my blood sister.

Sharron and I met in college in Fairbanks and became fast friends. For the last twenty-five years, we've managed to see each other almost yearly, talk on the phone just about weekly, and share parts of our lives like sisters. I cried with her when relationships went to hell and rejoiced when love was found. It was an honor to be in her wedding, as I was in my sister's.

Hanging out with my friend was similar to being in NY, not typical day-to-day stuff, but I still wanted to share that with her. I want to catch a movie or do lunch. I want to have her and her new husband over for dinner or for game night. I want my sister-from-another-mother.

Another friend was in for the wedding as well, and the three of us spent a day running around shopping, laughing, and making each others' sides ache. Again, not the daily angst of work and family, but I could see us helping each other through tough times and rejoicing in the good times.

Some of my sisters I only know through email or Twitter or Facebook. Some I may have met only once or twice. But it's there, that spark of recognition that we understand each other, that we can depend on one another to lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand.

Sisters share a special bond. These women are my sisters as much as my blood sister. I want them in my life. I want them with me through all the highs and lows. The distance makes it difficult, but the love makes it bearable.