Your Gift to Me by Bonnie Bartel Latino

Your Gift to Me by Bonnie Bartel Latino Purchase:

    2014  #1 Adult Fiction Winner, North Texas Book Festival Award (tied with The Art of Forgetting by Dr. Peter Palmeiri).
    2013 Best Indie Book Award/Romance, Kindle Book Review

    2012 Gold Medal Winner/Military Romance, Military Writers Society of America.

    2012 Silver Medal Winner/ Inspirational and Healing Fiction from the Stars and Flags Book Awards.

    Amazon’s #1 Top Rated War Fiction, July 2012-May 2013

    EMOTIONALLY SCARRED years after her husband died in a fiery Special Operations helicopter crash, Gulf War widow and Alabamian, Emily Ann Meade, is having a near-life-experience. She clings to her vow never to get involved with another man committed to a dangerous profession … until she meets F-16 pilot, Ted Foley, in Hawaii. Although they are mutually attracted, the charismatic widower’s fighter wing in Japan recently lost two pilots in unexplained air crashes.

    Allowing her mind to wander through fields of dreams on which she can’t afford the emotional mortgage, Emily lowers her barriers. She discovers Ted’s greatest virtue: he makes the ordinary feel sacred. Healing in shared confidences solidifies their bond. When another crash reignites her fears, the relationship shatters. Unless Emily finds a path through her emotional minefields, she risks never discovering she is rejecting the only type of man to whom she is genuinely attracted, a man who leads by example and from the front. And that man’s life could be in danger! Like STEEL MAGNOLIAS and TOP GUN, this inspirational love story and mystery celebrates the human spirit’s capacity to triumph over tragedy.

    >>> “What would you get if Stephen Ambrose, Patricia Cornwell, and Max Lucado teamed up to create a story? The result, I suspect, would turn out to be something very close to the compelling narrative found in YOUR GIFT TO ME.”
    — New York Times best-selling author, Andy Andrews 

    >>> “Your Gift to Me is an accurate, smart and sensitive look at military lives and military wives.”
    — Bob D’Angelo,  The Tampa Tribune

    >>> “This is a book you do not want to miss.” — Katherine Boyer, The Midwest Book Review

    About the Authors:

    Bob Vale
    Bob Vale

    A unique collaboration . . . Co-authors Bonnie Bartel Latino and Bob Vale met online in 1996 in CompuServe’s military forum. Although they have never met in person, their ability to seamlessly blend their individual points of view results in a single captivating voice with broad appeal. “Your Gift to Me” is the culmination of that collaboration. They have shared a by-line on stories for numerous Alabama publications, including The Birmingham News, the Mobile Press-Register, and numerous others.

    Bonnie Bartel Latino is a former freelance columnist for Stars and Stripes newspaper in Europe. A military wife for three decades, Bonnie was the recipient of the Military Writers Society of America’s 2011 William E. Mayer Award for Literary or Artistic Excellence. She also won MWSA’s 2009 People’s Choice Award. Her stories have been published in two MWSA anthologies, Military Times and other civilian newspapers. Bonnie is a correspondent for the Mobile, Alabama Press-Register book page. She lives in Atmore, Alabama, with her husband, retired Air Force Colonel Tom Latino, and their baby Bichon, Sweetie Pie.

    Bob Vale is an award-winning graphic designer, writer, and photographer. He founded and is President of Graphic Word, a full service creative agency on the East Coast. Bob provides creative services to a broad range of clients in addition to his collaborative writing projects with Bonnie. He has designed and produced three published works of non-fiction. Bob is also a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He and his wife Janice live in New Jersey. They have two adult sons, Nicholas and Bryan.

    My dream interview by Bonnie Bartel Latino, co-author of Your Gift to Me

    With Manti Te’o

    [Te’o is a San Diego Chargers’ linebacker and former Notre Dame football player and victim of a cruel Internet hoax. He fell in love online with a non-existent girl that many dubbed his imaginary girlfriend.]

    Bonnie Bartel Latino
    Bonnie Bartel Latino

    Manti Te’o: “Hello, ma’am. My agent thinks it’ll improve my image if I interview an author. So, your book, it’s a finalist in this year’s Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards contest or something?”

    BBL: “That’s right.”

    MT: “I gotta’ tell you, straight up, I wasn’t happy about having to read inspirational romance!”

    Bonnie Bartel Latino: “C’mon now. Everybody knows” (Grins) “you date online, so you must have a big heart.”

    MT: “Correction. I used to date online.”

    BBL:  “Sorry. I couldn’t resist. What changed your mind about doing this?”

    MT: My agent flat out loves Your Gift to Me. I told him I was leery about this gig, and he’s like, ‘Dude! Just read the freakin’ prologue.’ So I downloaded your eBook to my iPad, and it wasn’t mushy at all. Not at first, anyway. By page five, I had bought into the story. Right out of the box, there’s a scene from the Gulf War with this gnarly helicopter pilot dude yelling, ‘Roll Tide’ when his Pave Hawk lifts off in the middle of nowhere Saudi Arabia. Then his helicopter crew echoes his battle cry. For real, now before every Chargers’ game, I read that scene and yell ‘Roll Tide!’”

    BBL: (Laughs) “The thought of a former Notre Dame player yelling ‘Roll Tide’ might even make Alabama’s football coach, Nick Saban, smile. About the book though, you liked it?”

    MT: “I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I really like it. I’m from Hawai’i, and you nailed the Spirit of Aloha and how Hawai’i is a healing place . . . for those who’re open to it.”

    BBL: “It was exactly that for me. My husband and I lived there when he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base.”

    MT: “OK. So that’s why the setting was so realistic. I think I read on Twitter that you’re a former freelance columnist for Stars and Stripes in Europe, and your husband was an officer. I’d have never guessed a prim and proper colonel’s wife could write a character like N’awlins. That broad is certifiable, saying things backwards and all. The first time she pronounced Aloha as, ‘A-hola,’ I sprayed Red Bull all over my iPad. She got dyslexia or something?”

    BBL: “No, she’s just crazy. To write her dialogue, I just listened to her scream in my head.”

    MT: “Uh.” (Eyes widen.) You hear voices?”

    BBL: (Laughs.) “Only when I’m lucky. As for being a military wife, I always said in my next life, I wanted to come back as a honky tonk woman instead of a colonel’s wife. N’awlins allowed me to do that—without losing my sweet husband, but I digress. I bet you like the subplot about the F-16s.”

    MT: “Don’t tell me!” (Covers ears.) “I don’t want to know who or what’s killing the Viper pilots! I gotta tell you. The end of that Gulf War scene sent chicken skin crawling up my spine. The prologue is the bait, but man! Your subplot is the hook.”

    BBL: (Nods.) “Some male reviewers on Amazon have said that. The military setting is what you like best—so far?”

    MT: (Averts eyes, lowers voice.) “Well, I kinda’ like the love story between Emily and the fighter pilot, especially how he teaches her about imagery and all. Now, before every Chargers’ game, I visualize making big plays. But I’m kinda’ curious about this New Jersey guy you wrote the book with . . .”

    BBL: “Bob Vale.”

     MT: “Yeah. It said in the front of the book that you wrote a love story with someone you’ve still never met , even though Your Gift to Me has won two national awards from military-affiliated organizations—and  you’re both married to other people!?”

    Bob Vale

    BBL: “All true. Bob and I are happily married to other people. Years ago, my husband and I met Bob online in a professional military forum.”

    MT: (Eyes widen) “Wow!” (High fives BBL) “You’ve got an imaginary friend, too.”

    BBL: (Laughs.) “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”

    MT: “So why doesn’t Vale do interviews and stuff? It’s like he’s a ghost or something.”

    BBL: “Not really. He’s a very private person, and he owns a full-service creative agency on the East Coast. He doesn’t have time to promote our novel. I love this aspect of marketing, so it works out fine.

    MT: “Didn’t being geographically separated make it hard to write the book?”

    BBL: “Practically impossible, but I have the same passion for writing that you have for football, Manti. I’m compelled to write. Bob writes because he can—and he’s very talented.”

     MT: “So, does he fly F-16s or helicopters?”

    BBL: “Neither. He’s never been in the military. In fact, I wrote most of the hard-charging Air Force scenes. Bob contributed a lot of the lyrical prose.”

    MT: “No way! That’s crazy. (Looks at his watch.) Just one more question. I saw a picture of Vale on Amazon. Does he look like Nick Saban?”

    BBL: (Grins.) “People everywhere mistake Bob for him. Bob just laughs and says Nick Saban looks like him.”

    MT: (Rising, slaps his knee.) “Hey! I gotta’ figure out some way to punk Coach Saban after that beat-down his team gave Norte Dame in last year’s national championship game.”

    BBL: (Shakes finger at MT) “Manti, don’t you even think about trying to make a catfish out of Coach Saban.”

    MT: (Eyes widen in understanding. Shoulders slump as he stands.) “You’re right. I won’t and good luck in the Kindle Book Review contest. Aloha.”

    BBL: “Thanks, and Manti . . . “

    MT: “Yes, ma’am?”

    BBL: (Grins) “It’s A-hola!”