Military Life: The Gumby Principle

People often ask me: What’s military life like? To this day, I haven’t come up with a pat answer and I guess that’s because the answer changes daily. I will say the best trait a military spouse can have is adaptability. You must learn to be as flexible as Gumby!

Military life is about change and unpredictability. During my husband’s twenty-one years of service, we lived in nine different homes across the US. Our four children were all born in states far away from our family roots. (But they had the best Halloween costumes EVER!)

My oldest son went to three junior highs in three different states, then two different high schools. As a family, we’ve faced more TDYS and war deployments than I can count. During one move we made without my husband, the kids dressed up a teddy bear as “Dad” so he could come along too.

It has made us close. It has made us strong. And it has made us very independent. (And no, I wasn’t just outside cursing at the automatic sprinkler as I hit it with a brick, in the dark, trying to make it rotate cycles again before all the grass dries out. Okay, maybe I was cursing a little.)

Reminds me of the time I wrote the final chapters for a book using a generator because a tropical storm had knocked out our power. There’s a bit of a fear factor when your teenage son is the one cranking the generator and warnings of carbon monoxide poisoning are posted in the directions! Luckily, my son had listened to his father’s instructions well. The boards we put over the windows even stayed in place. Mostly. 😉

While we joke about those times, there’s no question that we would have all preferred to be together more. My husband grieves over how much he has missed of our children growing up. But even if we had it all to do over again, I’m not sure we would change our path. We’re a military family. We’ve all been called to sacrifice for our country.

Through the changes, stresses, adventures, reunions, more stress of goodbyes and Murphy’s law that everything will break the minute my husband leaves the state, I have carried a deep respect for our men and women in uniform. I believe in their dedication, their selflessness and their bravery. I can only hope that I do them justice in the military novels I write.

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy COVER ME, the first book in my new “Elite Force” series. HOT ZONE follows in December and UNDER FIRE in May. Happy reading!

In keeping with the “Gumby Principle” of flexibility, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to figure out how to fix on your own? (Or if that’s too whacky a question, how about what’s your favorite cartoon character?)


It should have been a simple mission…
Pararescuman Wade Rocha fast ropes from the back of a helicopter into a blizzard to save a climber stranded on an Aleutian Island, but Sunny Foster insists she can take care of herself just fine…

But when it comes to passion, nothing is ever simple…
With the snowstorm kicking into overdrive, Sunny and Wade hunker down in a cave and barely resist the urge to keep each other warm… until they discover the frozen remains of a horrific crime…

Unable to trust the local police force, Sunny and Wade investigate, while their irresistible passion for each other gets them more and more dangerously entangled…


USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has over two million books in print in more than twenty-five countries. A RITA Award winner, she resides in the Florida panhandle with her military flyboy husband, their four children, and an ever growing menagerie of pets. Find Catherine on Facebook at Catherine Mann (Author) and Twitter @CatherineMann1. Or check out her website at:

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Leave a comment for the chance to win one of two copies of Cover Me. Open to US and Canada readers only please.


  1. Good morning, Cathy! Gotta say hi before I have to run. Loved this blog post the most so far. It reveals who you are as a person. Thanks for opening the veil a bit. Thank you for the sacrifices you made as a military mom. The “Gumby” principle is definitely the best way to describe what it’s like being a military family. I think you really hit the mark in your books. You really get it. Thanks again for sharing. Have a great day here, and I’ll see you around the cyberverse.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  2. Catherine, I just came aware of your books a couple a weeks ago on another post and I must say I am glad I came upon that chat group..
    I guess it would have to be, and although not strange, for me it was how to fix certain things on my car.. You never knew what was going to happen or where you were going to be when something went wrong with my car. I had an uncle who was pretty good at turning his hand to most things and taught me a thing or two… I had the worst luck with cars. Always had the one that got the major thing go wrong.. oh well life goes on and so do I.
    I can’t wait to read this series.

  3. Thank you, Paula! It’s a little scary sharing about the personal things in life – glad to know what I wrote touched you. 🙂

  4. Kathleen, truly one of the most exciting things for a writer to hear is…. “I just learned about your books!” I hope you enjoy the “Elite Force” series – and my other backlist books as well. Please do drop me a note and let me know what you think. I can always be reached by e-mail on my website. 🙂 Thank you!

  5. For sure I will Catherine…

  6. I have an unwavering respect for the men and women of our military and all the sacrifices they and their families endure. My husband is always home, so it is rare that I am subjected to fixing something!

  7. Thank you, Kris!!! 🙂

  8. I want to second what Kris said ~ I too have deep respect for the military men and women and their families. Without them we would not have the freedoms we do have.
    Although not from a military family my father worked in the oil business and moving was a way of life so I can sympathize with you to some extent.
    I have a niece who is in Germany with her husband and two girls at the moment.
    As for as fixing strange things well this isn’t too strange but replacing a flat tire comes to mind. I had a brand new car and when it came to changing the tire I could not find the jack and the other things I needed. In this particular car they were under the hood!!! I was use to cars having them in the trunk with the spare tire.

  9. Hi Catherine,
    I agree whole-heartedly that military life is about about change and unpredictability and really adapting lifestyle. I have no personal connections to the military lifestyle but I do respect those who do. I can only imagine that the mental ability to adapt and handle the unexpected is not just for the men and women but their families as well. I applaud that and love reading stories that represent their world. They are definitely alpha males in my eyes and I am looking forward to reading COVER ME. I have it on my wishlist.


  10. I complete understand, Cathy! I am scared about sharing personal stuff online, but when you meet a person you can trust it definitely makes things easier.

    I forgot to add this earlier…please don’t count me in for the contest. I already have and read Cover Me. Whoever wins this book will be very lucky.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  11. Hi Ellen! I agree they seem to put spare tires in the strangest places in cars now! LOL!

  12. Na, thank you so much for placing COVER ME on your wish list! XXOO!

  13. Hi Catherine,
    Thanks for sharing those pics. Congrats on the new release. No need to enter me for this giveaway.

  14. Hi Jane! Glad to hear you enjoyed the photos… I had fun looking through old pictures to choose which ones I wanted to use. 🙂

  15. I love your books….cannot wait to read this one.

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