I was raised as a Navy brat. That's the long and short of it right there. My dad loved the Navy!! When he left home as a teenager, the Navy became his home and he wasn't shy about letting people know how proud he was to serve. He didn't have an easy job—he was a boiler tender, one of the men who worked in the bowels of the ship and worked with the giant boilers used to power the ship. Lots of noise, heat, and (we found out later) asbestos everywhere, used as fire retardant. He was gone at least eight months out of every year, except for his two tours of shore duty, a total of 6 years out of the 24 he served. It wasn't an easy life, but still he loved it. The reasons why are part of why I wrote Naval Maneuvers. I really wanted to highlight these three factors about military life, and especially about the Navy.
1. Military service isn't only hard on the men and women who leave their families, it's hard on the families. When a spouse is gone for months at a time, the person at home is responsible for the children, the home, the vehicles, their own jobs (because pay in the military is often not enough to support children, homes, and vehicles by itself), and everything that stuff involves. On the one hand, it's an honor to represent the service member, but on the other hand, it's like having a fist fight with one arm tied behind your back. Then, after handling everything for months by yourself, your service member comes home and expects to take back have the responsibility. That is very hard! It's difficult to hold a relationship together and those who do deserve a lot of credit and respect.
I highlighted the family situation especially in Weighing Anchor, when Mel Crandall refused to fall in love with a serviceman because of her childhood memories. Her father seemed to miss all of the important events in her life because he was away. Yup, that really happens. My dad missed holidays, birthdays, and my mom's serious illness.
2. The military isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle. On our block in Virginia Beach, only one neighbor was not in the Navy. So a certain camaraderie developed. We all knew when ships had to be met or farewells had to be made. A wife at home had support from others who went through the same trials. It wasn't the same as having the spouse at home, but every wife (or now, husband) knew there was a lifeline of sorts in others experiencing the same thing.
I highlighted this in Weighing Anchor, also. Mel's mom reminds her of the "family" they had in the service families they had around them.
3. Someone has to do the dirty job of keeping the nation safe. This has been a truth since countries first had boundaries and armies and navies to defend them. I wanted to highlight that service members are not social misfits who can't do anything else so they entered the service. Unfortunately, that is a view held by a lot of people—that if you can't get into college or learn anything else, you can always go into the service. In each Naval Maneuvers story—Weighing Anchor, Dropping Anchor, and Anchor Home—I wanted to show that whatever you do in whichever service you join, the job is an important one. A necessary one for the existence of a sovereign nation. If not our service members—and in Naval Maneuvers, obviously, our Navy—where would we be?
Now, I know that every serviceman or woman isn’t a saint. The military is, after all, a microcosm of the general population. But I also know the sacrifices members make to go to foreign lands to guard and protect our interests, and I know through experience the difficulties their families go through while they’re away. While I tried to make the book fun to read, and yes, sexy (because after all, that's fun!), I also wanted to show the three points made above.
I am unashamedly patriotic and pro-military, despite its problems and shortcomings. I was raised in the service and married a man who also was raised in the service. And, yes, I'm proud of that fact. So my life served as my muse for writing Naval Maneuvers. I hope readers enjoy it!
Blurb for Naval Maneuvers:
Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of "duty, honor, service" as a man might apply them to a woman's pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you'd better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors.