About Elizabeth Aslakson
Since leaving home after high school, Liz has lived throughout the United States and Europe as an Army wife. However, with her husband recently retired from active duty, they’ve moved back to her hometown of Cleveland to be near family and their three young adult sons.
Liz is also a volunteer Puppy Raiser for Canine Companions, and is training her lab, Plum, to work as a therapy dog. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy travelling together and working on their forever home which includes making their property into a wildlife garden.
Liz holds a BS in Psychology through the University of Maryland (Europe) and MFA in English and Creative Nonfiction Writing through Southern New Hampshire University.
My goal as a writer is to create a world from reality, connecting emotionally with readers, while providing an entertaining and unique perspective through shared experiences.
My experiences as a military spouse defined my adulthood. However, my intended audience is broader because exposing the realities of Army life reveals universal truths. By doing so, I hope to bridge the gap of understanding between the military community and the nation it serves.
Why Pepper and Bear?
My work is inspired by the places I’ve lived, people I’ve met, and being an Army wife and mom to three boys.
Military life included frequent moves and long separations from loved ones. With this came feelings of isolation whether living overseas in rural areas or busy capital cities. In addition, prior to 9/11, recourses were limited for spouses. The old saying, “If the Army wanted you to have a wife, they’d have issued you one,” rang true. Additionally, expectations for officers’ wives to uphold customs and become a professional volunteer, with a big smile, were even higher.
At age 19, I was a teen bride. The spoken and unspoken rules of military culture and living in quiet, conservative regions of the south and of Germany were a culture shock, forcing me to reevaluate my goals and figure out not only what I wanted to do, or could do, but who I was.
However, despite not following the career I first had in mind, I gained a distinct perspective. Me, and the wives I hung with, learned to rely on each other. Our relationship became a sisterhood.
My fellow milspouses got it. Differences didn’t matter because we focused on shared experiences and valued being part of something greater than ourselves. The bonds were special, hence my symbolic title named after two pups that were pals, “Pepper and Bear.”
Pepper was a black lab mix and my friend, Nicki’s* dog, and Bear, my black German Shephard. Pepper and Bear were symbolic of my friendship, not only with Nicki who I’ve known since our first assignment in Vilseck Germany, but those I’ve befriended on my milspouse journey.
Now that Bear has passed, my husband is retired from the Army, and we’re living in Cleveland, Pepper and Bear has evolved into Cleveland chapter. Two pups I raised for Canine Companions, Beckham, and Plum (Plum’kin), are now my pets.As I continue to train and have adventures with Beckham and Plum’kin, I’m finding new meaningful connections. Therefore, the title remains fitting in my next phase of life as I hope to make an impact on people with both my dogs and my writing.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.