It finally happened. I finally went gaga over toe rings. I bought a silver one that has two dolphins on it and I keep looking at my toes and thinking, wow, that looks sooo cool. Yeah, I need a hobby. Oh, wait, I DO have a hobby. It’s called writing and it’s not a hobby but a freaking profession! Yeesh.

Tonight is critique at Borders. I certainly hope it doesn’t take me an hour to drive 5 miles this time. I HATE that. Still reading Forever Blue. (Okay, I just learned how to do that link thingie, so now I’ll go nuts with that. 🙂 ) It’s hard to put this book down, even with the minor military quibbles I have with it. Some of the military stuff just doesn’t ring true for a person who grew up with and is still associated with the military. But so the heck what. The story is really good and I don’t care. Besides, I think Ms. Brockmann has gotten her research right since (this book was published in 1996).

Remember, if you’re writing military romance, officers–without exception–have four year college degrees. Some branches of the service send them to school for it while they are enlisted and then commission them as officers, but they MUST have at least a 4-year degree. No community college associate degrees only, and no getting promoted from enlisted to officer just because you’re a darn fine soldier/sailor/airman/marine. Four years, no exceptions. That is the modern military. There is also an age limit by which you can be commissioned. In the Air Force, you gotta be accepted into OTS (Officer Training School) by your 34th birthday and commissioned by your 35th. There are exceptions to the age in some career fields, like doctors and nurses for instance. Doctors can pretty much be 80 (not really) and join. I knew someone who did it when he was in his 50s. I also knew a 33 year old woman with a degree in music who got accepted to OTS.

And there are plenty of enlisted folks with college degrees, sometimes even advanced degrees. They were either too old to make the cutoff or they didn’t want to be commissioned for some reason or another (it’s complicated, and I had a whole description of a reason involving the time commitment–years, not hours–but I finally cut it because it’s not relevant to what I’m saying and it’s too confusing for anyone not aware of how the military works). Never make the mistake of thinking an enlisted person is not educated or is too dumb to be interesting as a character. Most of those SEALS and spec ops guys would be enlisted anyhow. I believe it’s two, maybe three, officers to a squad. The rest are enlisted.

All that aside, I still enjoy this book. Not that that stuff is a big part of it, but I had noticed in another of her early books that nearly all the guys of Alpha Squad are officers. Not likely in real life. On the other hand, this book proves that a really good story is the most important element. You can get some of the details wrong, for heaven’s sake, if you get the drama right. I’ve seen friends obsess over details, especially in a Regency romance, and the story somehow gets pushed aside. I am aware that Regency fans in particular are likely to call an author on that stuff (Eloisa James for instance), but I don’t think you as a writer should neglect the drama for the costume details. In truth, the most jarring element of this book for me so far is Blue wearing sandals with his choker whites (hmm, a costume issue….). The military guys I know would consider that disrespecting the uniform. It’s equivalent to stomping the flag or something for these guys and they would never do it. The uniform is that important.

Anyway, all that BS aside, the book is still good and I still want to be Suz when I grow up. The woman can tell a story. She deserves her success, even if I skim the WWII plot lines when I read her other books. Ha! (My minor is history, especially WWII history, so I love it. I just don’t want it to muck up my modern romances. If they’d let her write a book set solely in that time period, I’d probably read it.) I love the way she moves a story along, and how good her sexual tension is. Great stuff.

Okay, today’s goal, since I need to shut up and get busy, is 5 pages. I’m pushing it since I have to leave for Border’s at six and it’s almost noon now. Don’t ask what kept me busy this morning. I can’t even remember, exactly, but I think it was email and bills. Time-sucking black holes!

Aloha.