Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop: Always a Marine and the Gift of Recovery

Black Friday, that day when the sales go crazy and customers go crazier to find the best deal, the best price, and the perfect gift for someone they love. I think sometimes in the shopping madness, we forget it is about the gift--not the deal, not the price, and certainly not the long lines. As part of our Black Friday Blog Hop for Decadent Publishing, we sat down with James Westwood, a licensed psychologist at Mike's Place located in Allen, Texas. Mr. Westwood, a retired Marine, specializes in trauma recovery and works with recovering veterans and active duty personnel.

Mr. Westwood, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us today about survival and the gift of recovery.

Westwood: Thank you for having me, Heather. It's an important topic and one that I am passionate about.

Can you tell us a little about your work at Mike's Place? And what exactly is Mike's Place?

Westwood: Mike's Place is a combination medical center, treatment facility, and living quarters for injured vets and their family. Wounds come in all shapes and sizes and we can't always see the scars that our brothers and sisters bear during and after their service. Captain Luke Dexter felt very strongly that he wanted to continue helping those he served with and those who came after--so he started Mike's Place in honor of a fallen friend. We provide medical support, surgical centers, physical therapy, emotional and mental therapy and plenty of wide open spaces and living quarters for families to stay with their recovering vets. 

That's amazing. Is it okay to talk about some of the problems these vets face?

Westwood: Absolutely, we encourage discussion about the conflicts and their recovery not only to help the vets, but also to help others understand and seek assistance if they need it. Lost limbs, war injuries, physical scars and trauma number high in our population. But emotional wounds are experienced by everyone--they vary from mild cases of PTSD to depression and anxiety. Night terrors and night sweats aren't uncommon. One facet of our therapy program is exclusively devoted to helping every vet learn how to talk about what happened, how to reconnect with their civilian life and their family and at the same time, we offer therapy for families so they know they aren't alone and can develop the tools they need to connect with their military family member who was injured or is recovering.  It's about the whole process, the whole life.

Now I heard a rumor that some of the Marines recovering at Mike's Place used dating service as part of their therapy. What can you tell us about that?

Westwood: Several of us used an exclusive service, yes. It was an agreement we made to help those who struggled with integration. Some of us had girlfriends and some didn't. Some saw their relationships tank as they returned to civilian life. As a show of solidarity, we all signed up to encourage those who might have resisted the opportunity. The service provided a unique opportunity for two people to meet who might not otherwise have met.

Is it true that is how you met the actress Lauren Kincaid?

Westwood simply smiles: Mike's Place is there for our vets. It doesn't encourage dating, but it doesn't discourage it. Every man and woman who served faces unique challenges when they come home--we have their backs.

Thank you Mr. Westwood and the fine men and women of Mike's Place. We wish you continued success in your endeavors.  If you want to learn more about Mike's Place and the stories of these Marines check out the Always a Marine series. 

No Regrets, No Surrender

The emotional sequel to Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here.  Readers wished for more Jazz, Logan and Zach and the threesome are reunited when the unthinkable happens.

Always a Marine #6
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61333-420-1
Release Date:  20 Nov 2012

This sixth installment of the Always a Marine series for Decadent Publishing and a first for the series, as a spinoff of Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here. Jazz, Logan and Zach met via a 1NightStand. This is the business name of an exclusive online dating service run by Madame Evangeline who provides her clients with a possibility of happily ever after or happily for now.

At the end of their night of frenzied passion, Jazz Winters walked away from the only two men who’d ever made her feel like a woman. Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans let her go, but only if she swore all her future leaves to them.

Waiting fourteen excruciatingly long months, visiting Jazz when they can, is harder on the guys that they like to admit. But their work at Mike’s Place, a veteran’s rehabilitative facility, only lets Zach and Logan go one at a time. Jazz fears their unconventional relationship can’t last a lifetime. The stress of years of military service in hot zones, combined with life-threatening injuries pushed her to the edge. But when she comes home a wounded warrior, not the woman she believes they want, Zach and Logan are right there to help her, even when she resists.

She’s not alone. Whether she chooses one or both, they have no regrets and they won’t surrender.

For Black Friday, Heather is giving away one copy (winner's choice) of any of her Always a Marine series. Just hop in the rafflecopter and take it for a spin.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for participating in the hop, Heather! :)

  2. A fabulous hop thank you.


  3. Thanks for participating!

  4. Happy Black Friday! I am not one to shop on Black Friday, I would rather stay home and get Christmas up.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  5. Mike's Place sounds like a wonderful place and so does No Regrets, No Surrender!

  6. I never shop on Black Friday. Cyber Monday was made for me. And be still my heart, Team James got a fix today on your blog :-)

  7. I usually crochet my gifts or wait for cyber monday......way less Er trips that way lol

  8. We have talked before about how I would LOVE to work for Mike's Place. I finished No Regrets No surrender this morning! I loved it and will review it soon.

  9. Your books look great

  10. Thanks for participating. This series sounds awesome!

    bimmergrlmd at gmail dot com

  11. The book looks great. Thanks for the contest.
    Lorimeehan 1 @

  12. great giveaway~

  13. thank you for the hop.

  14. Thanks for participating. This series sounds awesome!