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Monthly Archives: November 2013
6

Thankful For A Great Adventure

Tomorrow we start our great adventure on the cruise ship that will take us from Italy to Brazil. Part of this will be a fact-finding mission, since my next story takes place on a cruise ship.

I haven't been to Italy in ten years. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy being here. I love the language, the romantic timbres and staccato bursts of passion. Everyone thinks of Paris as the place for lovers, but I think Italy would have to be my first choice.

Maybe it's the coffee, or the anticipation of the voyage, but I've had a hard time sleeping. My internal clock doesn't know what time it is. Lots going on, I admit. My Book 4 of the SEAL Brotherhood, SEAL The Deal is out as of tomorrow officially, but came out last night. My narrator, JD Hart, even managed to find the time to create the amazing trailer for this new release:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxsteiBlsQ0&feature=youtu.be

JD also did the audio version of Accidental SEAL. What a labor of love that has been. One of the best parts of my cruise will also be to listen to the chapters in Fallen SEAL Legacy he has completed so we can have this out to everyone before Christmas, God willing.

While one door opens, another has closed. I'm really feeling this next book, and it started yesterday as I was wandering down the cobblestoned alleyways in Savona, sipping cappuccino and loving the sounds of accents all around me.

My husband is studying his Portuguese for Brazil. I've made a study of Richard Burton (the explorer) for an upcoming time travel romance. The way he studied languages back in the 1860's, when he self-taught 27 languages good enough to be mistaken for a native, is what they teach at Penzler. Oh yes, I can feel him now in the archways and streets here he frequented.

Lots of luscious images and thoughts spinning around in my head. My SEALs will start their journey here, and, just like today, will be buying Ferrari jackets and warm clothes in preparation for their shipboard adventure. I'm right there with them. I can hardly wait.

 Ciao!!

17

Diana Cosby: Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity Home Challenge

I am honored and proud to host Diana Cosby today, so we can help support her Habitat For Humanity Home Challenge. I love it when I can help another author do things that come from a grateful heart. Successful people do these things. They reach out and help others. Won't you help her today? Thanks to all my readers and fans!  Now, take it away, Diana!
There’s
only one thing better than curling up with a good book on a chilly day, and
that’s building a warm, safe, and secure Habitat house for a deserving
family.  It gives families more than just
a home; it provides a foundation on which to start their future and build their
dreams.
Diana’s
readers have an opportunity to build such a house.
How it works:
As
readers send contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County, the
bookshelf will fill with every donation. The goal is to fund an entire home –
$55,000.  Send your donation via PayPal
using the Donate link in the menu bar or
donate funds the old-fashioned way—a check works just fine!
Address:
Habitat
for Humanity of Grayson County
901
N. Grand Avenue
P.O.
Box 2725
Sherman,
TX 75091
With
each donation, watch the bookshelf as it fills with colorful books! 
Tally
to date as I write this blog: $2335!
*Readers
groups, please challenge others to match your donation!
*I
kicked off the challenge with a donation of $200!
***My
humble thanks to Sharon Hamilton for having me on her blog today, and another
huge thanks for her generous donation of a set of the SEAL books (Books 1-Accidental
SEAL, Book 2-Fallen SEAL Legacy and Book 3-SEAL Under Covers) PLUS one audio book, Accidental SEAL, and a dog tag and wrist band to one person who stops by and posts today,
the 22nd of November

I’ll add in a signed copy of the 1st book in the bestselling
MacGruder Brothers series – His Captive. 
Once I draw the name tomorrow using random.org, I will post the winner’s
name here, and I’ll need the winner to e me with mailing details.
My
sincere thanks for your time, may your holiday season be filled with blessings.
Sincerely,
Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.
International Best-Selling Author of the
MacGruder Brothers series
www.dianacosby.com
Okay Ladies, start your engines!!!
Thanks, Diana. I hope we get some good support for you today.
Sharon Hamilton
8

On Not Forgetting To Say Thanks

I won't be on land this Thanksgiving, so I guess this will be my Thanksgiving post. God willing, I'll be somewhere in the Atlantic. I will start out in Italy and will wind up in Brazil. I plan to sleep in, write my heart out every day, have meals served just the way I want them, and watch the big blue ocean all around me. I'm going to read some of my best friend's books. I'm going to work out every day and get a massage every week. I want to meet the captain and the staff, put my hands on the wheel and feel the power of the ship.

I'd like to meet new friends, learn how to talk to someone in a language that I didn't grow up with. Watch how other people treat their children. Look into the eyes of the elderly passengers and maybe ask them questions about things I will never see. Learn from them. I want to soak it all in so I can put some of it, maybe only about 1% of it, on paper.

Something I hadn't thought about when I booked this vacation was that when we travel across the Atlantic, we will be leaving the winter of Italy to the Summer of Brazil.

I plan to stand on the deck of the ship, because I want to see if I can feel it. Do you suppose I will? Will the water swirl in the opposite direction there? Will the stars look different? Would it be good luck to make love to my husband when we cross the Equator like all those seamen's legends?

A whispered wish on a starlit night,
The warmest kiss, quickening the fire.
Romance that lingers and never says goodbye.
Uncovered treasures of an ordinary life

I don't think I've ever studied the night sky from the southern hemisphere. There are people I have never met I will meet. I will learn about places I've never seen before. I've never been to South America. I'm going to walk off the ship and think of my hero Daniel, the Brazilian painter who stole my heart in the very first book I wrote, and who turned me into a writer. I didn't do it. The characters in my book did.

Because I can.

Are we all so insane we don't cherish every day? That we fill our lives with “news” when everything we need to know is all around us, in the magic and love of those around us? When the greatest gift is our ability to imagine things that could be so strong that they feel real. To connect people instead of running away from them. To give more than we take.

I want to leave a hole the size of a continent when I'm done being here. Like my beautiful (unnamed) heroine for a book I'm working on says to her damaged SEAL hero after he's told her he doesn't like complicated (excerpt from SEAL Destiny, a novella in High Octane Heroes):

She took in a sudden brief inhale. Her gaze quickly diverted to the ocean, giving him a full pure look at her upper torso, every curve and valley, until he thought perhaps he could even taste her skin. What Luke saw in profile was a strong, handsome woman with a body made for hard loving, who was unafraid. 


Then she turned back and faced him fully. Her body dropped to her knees in front of him so quickly he thought perhaps she'd gotten suddenly ill. “I don't do uncomplicated,” she whispered. “I like it complicated and rich. I like entangled. I like feeling everything and being sorely missed when I'm gone.”


My wish for you at Thanksgiving? Turn up the intensity and the capacity of your love.

14

Flying The Flag. Making the Choices.

Before you read this blog, read this great article about Ernie Napper and the flag retreat at Disneyland.

You're going to probably wonder what this post has to do with Veteran's Day, one of the holidays our family celebrates in our own quiet way. Stick with me for a few minutes.

Wanted to make it to the Petaluma parade today, but have other blogging and writing obligations. I'm a big fan of parades, though. I remember my grandpa riding his horse, Bobbie Rex, in the DAV unit in Fresno. 
I also love to look at the cemetery when it's filled with flags. The sounds of them rustling in the wind makes me cry every time I see/hear it. I heard the rush of acres of flags at a WWII cemetery in Tunisia a few years ago and I had the same reaction then as now. At local celebrations I love watching the older men and women who've served this great country get up out of their wheelchairs sometimes to salute. And the motorcycle riders who block the demonstrators with their hateful banners aimed at the families of the fallen, a right of free speech others paid for with blood.

I'm reading a great book, oddly recommended by our Romance Writers of America magazine this month (I know), called Getting More, by Stuart Diamond. It isn't what you think. It isn't about winning at all costs, or carving out your piece of the pie. It's about understanding where you fit in, where you can collaborate, where and why you should connect and give back, sometimes with the ultimate sacrifice. Here's a great example:
“Too often people think they can meet their goals only at the expense of others…If you meet your goals today at the expense of the long term, you have served yourself poorly. Getting More means meeting your goals for all relevant people and periods…”
He goes on to say, “Once you have identified your goals, it is important to keep asking, ‘Are my actions meeting my goals?' The world is full of people who fail to do this. They get emotional or distracted or are just not thinking this way. It goes for you and it goes for others you care about.”

The getting emotional part I just cannot contain. Guilty as charged. My grandmother and I used to sit together on her overstuffed couch in the parsonage in Napa and cry during Lassie. That was back in the day when my brother and I would spend part of our summer vacation with them. Sometimes we'd get moved to that couch in the middle of the night if a woman and her children needed a home for the night to get away from an abusive relationship. I thought every family fed homeless people, sent cookies to shut-ins at hospitals, and took in badly battered women and their scared-to death-children. That was what I grew up with.

So why would I focus on goals today when we are celebrating veterans this weekend? Because they blazed the path, paid the sacrifice so we could live lives of meaning and purpose, so we could give back where we can and not worry about what we can't. So we can say thank you to those that make it their mission in life to serve, with only the minimal recognition we give them. Because that's not their goal. They don't need the parades. We do. So we never forget to be grateful.
Sacrifice is never fair. Trust me, having raised 4 children, I'm not always fair, and I used to tell them all the time I would screw up, and did often. But the goal in our family has always been to celebrate life, all forms of life, to treat people with respect, and to work for things worthwhile.
Earl Nightingale used to define success as, “The achievement of a worthwhile goal.” He used to say that, “Successful negotiation is the result of a good presentation.” I think Stuart Diamond would agree with this principle. You have to know what you want to get the things you want out of life. You have to know what people around you want to create, that “clan” of supporters that help you along the way, as you help them. It is in the helping others that you become a better person, which in turns brings more success, and certainly a lot of satisfaction into our lives. And helps us give more. 

And there is one other person I check with on a regular basis. The great man upstairs. He's never given me bad instructions and when I listen, he is patient and wise. I may not be one who is called on to fight on a battlefield, like my imaginary SEALs do, like the men I love so dearly do in the real SEAL community. But my mission in life is to stay aligned with a plan and purpose bigger than I am. 

And to thank those who died or suffer ongoing so that I can live the life of my dreams. My goal is not to waste, but use fully what I have been so generously given, to live with the full-on intensity of my being.

7

Putting My SEALs in Audio

I've been spending the last two weeks working on my audiobook version of Accidental SEAL. I've learned so much in the process. My narrator, J.D. Hart, is an accomplished actor, recording artist and spokesperson for Chevrolet and other campaigns. I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon him, and quite by accident. Just like in the book, the things that have happened by accident have turned out to be the things I've needed the most. I listened to an interview with him from a Nashville Podcast and have permission to share it with you.

Fate works in strange ways. His story is laced with things similar to mine, although his was music/entertainment and my trajectory was toward going for a big Big 6 contract. I'm proudly an Indie Author, not because I wasn't good enough for New York, but because I followed the path, like JD did, of being true to myself. What works for me might not work for everyone. And I certainly don't have nearly all the answers. Like I used to say to my Real Estate coaching clients, “I know what I think I know but I can put it aside for what I have yet to learn.”

Listen to him talk about being authentic and following his passion. Talks about what he wanted to do, and how his “hats” have changed over the years. Fascinating story. Listen to how he continually tries new things, hones his craft and is true to himself. How he works so hard getting noticed, connecting with good people all around him. His reading my audio book is more than just an accident, Deepok Chopra would call it Syncrodestiny.

He does all my characters. In fact, I didn't realize I had so many characters until I started listening to him narrate. I know, you're shaking your head, saying, how could she not know, but I didn't even think about it. He “gets” them so that I get to hear these guys out loud just like I've heard them in my head. Only an author who has done this knows what this feels like.

The whole process, for my first time, has been nearly seamless. Big learning curve for sure. But I willingly embark upon the next great adventure as we bring to you Fallen SEAL Legacy.

http://musiccitysocial.net/jdhart/

We've even added my favorite clip from Two Steps From Hell, Undying Love (by permission) to the audio book. Enjoy!

Accidental SEAL opening credit with music Mixdown 1_01.mp3

4

SEAL Brotherhood Continues!

SEAL Under Covers is Book 3 in my SEAL Brotherhood series. I knew when I wrote Book 1, Accidental SEAL, that the missing SEAL, Armando Guzman, would have his own book eventually. Book 3 is his.

He was born in Puerto Rico, and his father, a good cop, was gunned down on the job, so his mother brought young Armando and his sister to Los Angeles to grow up. He got involved in some unsavory activity, but the Navy has smoothed out some of his wrinkles. In fact, due to his model good looks and luck with the ladies, the other guys on my fictional SEAL Team 3 call him Armani.

Here's the blurb:

Navy SEAL Armando Guzman is trying to help his sister clean
up her life, but he is unprepared for the chemical attraction of his sister’s
new best friend.

Gina Mancuso is working her first under cover detail for the
San Diego Police Department. She didn’t expect that the man of her dreams would
be the brother of the woman she’s planning to arrest.
I had written a big portion of this book before I went to the Writer's Police Academy this Fall. I was worried that perhaps I would find some huge flaw in the story, and grilled the police and DEA agents there, especially the ones who went deep under cover, to see if I got the details correct. Relieved to discover I had not only done it right, I had actually made up scenes in my own head they had actually experienced in their years in law enforcement, I felt like a mystic, a clairvoyant.

Armando is his LPO's best friend and swim buddy during BUD/s. As many of you know, the BUD/s training is so grueling, and encompasses such a variety of skills that test their physical and mental abilities, friendships and alliances are formed that last a lifetime. Kyle and Armando both credit the other for having survived and passing the training, to go on to SQT, and then to get their Trident.
Here is an excerpt from SEAL Under Covers:
That left Armando holding the door open to the old beater
truck. Damn, but the guy was cool. The happenings in the strip joint hadn’t
seemed to ruffle him one bit. He’d have been just as comfortable getting black,
blue, and bloody. Gina wondered where he would draw the line.
Do I know where to draw the
line?
Well, his was
personal. Hers was her job. But it was definitely fucked that her ex-boyfriend
had to land himself in the middle of her professional world too.
But that’s what kind of a
choice you made, Gina.
Always
making the wrong choices when it came to men. In a way, very much like Mia.
She watched Armando standing there, waiting for her. The
other car was waiting for her as well.
Never waste an opportunity
to make another bad decision.
Her
roommate in college used to say that every day, while at the same time managing
to bed most of the football team and as many of the soccer players as she could
get. Gina always waited up for her, just in case she needed a ride or got too
drunk. Just like she was now trying to do for Mia. It was the reason she became
a cop. Another bad decision? Well, it certainly was something that had been
locked and loaded way down inside her soul after she got the call from the
police that fateful night. That night when her roommate became someone’s victim
and Gina had sat waiting for a call that would never come.
She wondered what would ruffle this man of steel, amazed
that he could make choices so quickly as he had just now. Was he ever afraid in
his job like she was in hers?
What threshold am I walking
through tonight?
She leaned over to look around the SEAL, checking on Mia in
the passenger seat of her own car. Of course she would be safe with the little
warrior, a guy who would probably die trying to protect her, from what Mia had
said. But this one standing in front of her, balancing on one hip, leaning
against the door, his muscular arms worthy of any Popeye character, was
dangerous.
To her heart.
“Do I have a choice?” she said to him, watching that smirky
little smile and sexy eyes making fun of her while her heart did flip-flops.
She’d been close to peeing on herself while she sat and watched her
ex-boyfriend nearly call out the brother—the SEAL brother of the woman they were working. It had been wrong on
so many levels, even the Pope couldn’t dish out enough forgiveness.
“Get in.” It was a command that made her tense, but the
smile he flashed afterwards made her panties wet. Suddenly her ankles wobbled
and she nearly fell, which would have been totally uncool. And damn, if he
didn’t reach out and put a strong, muscled arm around to steady her. He let her
go after he gave her one hurried squeeze, just tight enough for her to learn he
was aroused.
Another footnote to a
perfectly fucked evening.
Her
mission was nearly blown. Why did she feel guilty for that? They were supposed
to be hanging out with the gang by the stage. Well, she couldn’t help it if Sam
and the rest of the crew had decided to pull a game change on her. As she slid
onto the torn leather seat of the old truck, she smiled at the recollection. It
had been damned satisfying, slapping Sam and tossing the drink into his face.
She’d stared right back at him when he showed his anger. And she didn’t flinch
or cower this time. She was filled with pride. She’d stood up to him, finally!
But now what? On any other evening, getting into a truck
with a SEAL would be a no-brainer. Nothing wrong with a night of sex with a hot
guy, if that was where he was headed. She wasn’t completely sure, but she
wasn’t that rusty that she couldn’t
recognize a good, clean come-on. The fact that he was the brother of their
party of interest and it was totally forbidden only heightened her
anticipation. But decisions like that were never good ones. She had to put a
stop to this somehow.
Tell that to my body. She watched him walk around the front of
the vehicle and, yes, she squeezed her eyes shut and imagined him naked.
Get a grip, Gina. As much as she hated to admit it,
something about the man set her insides on fire. He was all the right kinds of
dangerous for her. A hero. Breathtakingly good-looking in that Latin Lover way
she loved in men. Shiny black hair worn a little too long. Tanned complexion
with just a hint of stubble. Body well-honed and disciplined. He knew what he
wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. And he loved his sister, which was the
biggest heart-snag of all.

He got in the driver seat, slammed the rickety door closed
and sighed.

Did all the air just get
sucked out of the truck?
It
seemed like minutes as she watched him blankly stare through the windshield,
his face illuminated by the red taillights of Mia’s vehicle, now pulling away
in front of them. Those dark eyes with long lashes and succulent, full lips.
She shouldn’t have stared so long, but she couldn’t help it.
He tilted his head and turned in her direction. The eyes
didn’t lie. He had the fire inside that his sister had, but in all the right
places, not the wrong ones, like Mia. She let him appreciate the red fuzzy
dress with the scoop neckline. She didn’t care if her chest got blotchy with
nerves or if her cheeks flushed. And, of course, her nipples perked right up
“So how is this going to work?” he asked. The words slid out
like satin sheets.
“I’m not quite sure I know what you mean,” she heard herself
say in response. She made a point to beat the waver from her voice.
“I take you to your place, or to Mia’s?”
“Mia’s.”
“Your car there?”
“No, I took a cab.”
“And so how would you get home?”
“You assume I want to go home. Maybe I’m going to stay
over.”
“I don’t see a pajama bag.”
The crease at the side of his mouth dimpled and she watched
the tip of his tongue running across his bottom lip. The words “pajama bag” had
never sounded so sexy.
She stuck her chin out, looking back at him with
heavy-lidded eyes, and whispered, “I don’t wear pajamas.”

Common to both these books is the character Calvin “Coop” Cooper, who has been one of my fan-favorite SEALs. His story is Fallen SEAL Legacy, and is included in the Dangerous Attraction. Book 4 in the series, due to come out in late November. The anthology comes out November 10th.

I hope you will continue the ride with me for the rest of the SEAL Brotherhood series.

You can listen to the music I listen to every day when I write these books:

No military men or women were harmed in the making of this blog post, nor in the creation of my stories. Enjoy!

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.