Archive

Monthly Archives: April 2015
17

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON – I Will Miss Nashville

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: I Will Miss Nashville.

My plane doesn't take off for a few hours, and already I'm teary-eyed. I've been attending the Day With The Authors here in Nashville, organized by Sandy Sullivan, and I have to say it has been one of the best conferences, as a writer, I have attended this year. I nearly sold out of all my books.

Something about being in this part of the country tugs at my heartstrings (I guess that was a play on words). I know it isn't always green and warm, but Friday morning my storyteller, J.D. Hart, and I drove through the countryside and had an early breakfast at Loveless Cafe. Surrounded by pictures of stars from the 1950's on, I loved partaking of the biscuits, the bacon, sausage and ham with the baked cheese casserole hash browns, peach preserves and gravy. I don't eat like this in California, and even if I wanted to, there'd be no place like this. They were stoking up the BBQ in what we would call a summer kitchen outside the main restaurant.

Last night we went to a world class steak house, where I was surrounded by the gentle conversation washing over me like a light warm rain. People smile, they look you in the eyes, and they are gracious. As I said in my talk yesterday, there must be a Southern bone in my body somewhere, even though I've been born and raised in Northern California. They are an endearing kind of warm that really grows on me.

Today we visit Arrington Winery. But it's just a day to hang with my best friend, the man from Tennessee, and yes, I am his number one fan. I'll probably become incoherent by the end of our day together, so I'm bringing my Kleenex.

This trip has been inspiring. I've gotten way more out of it than the energy I've put in. Looking out at the sea of people as I gave my little talk, I felt honored and loved, truly loved. I like small, intimate gatherings where we can tell stories and just hang with our reader fans. The community of writers I've been privileged to get to know well is a family that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

This great country of ours is made up of different regions, each with its own special gifts. But leaving Nashville will be hard today. Going home will be nice, but I will miss this place, and the good friends I leave behind.

Until the next time!

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON:  N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

A friend of mine reminded me about writing caves and now the new trend, “She Sheds” and I got inspired again. I've still not given up hope that some day soon I'll have a writing cave of my own. I'm not complaining, but grateful for all I have, but the idea of having a place just for me, some place cozy and single-purposed, like for writing and messing around with my muse in private (like it was illegal or something) excites me.

I write now at a desk that also serves as a bill paying station, a catch-all for anything writing related. Bad news is that it's a mess most times, and I usually go off to bed without straightening it (bad habit). Good news is that if it is writing related, it's there. Might be under something, but this sacred space I don't even let the housecleaners mess with.

I once watched a video of an author building her writing cottage and she made the point that writing should be done in an uncluttered, free place where only that is done. She separated her space from reading area, writing area (with a view that inspired her – mine was to look over my garden and flower gardens which have not been returned yet) and then an “office” desk for all the business of writing, so the two don't get mixed up. I have no trouble focusing on bills and schedules and planning. My writing muse is something I have to guard carefully. She's a fragile angel of a thing, a lady, and very sensitive, as I want her to be.

I can write in coffee shops and cafes, at the airport (watching people), over a glass of wine or margarita at my favorite Mexican place, in fact, just about anywhere, especially if I have my headphones. Right now, I write on the “bridge” upstairs in my house, which is open down to the two story living room and near the stairs, so the dogs, my husband, anyone who passes interrupts me. Just hearing the paper shuffling downstairs in my husband's office (my old writing area I gave back because I found the view of the unfinished construction/driveway not inspiring), or the kitchen activity or TV downstairs is a distraction. Beauty of living in a church-like structure with 24′ ceilings and skylights is it's wide open and light. We have a 13′ glass garage door on one wall of the dining room. But everything echoes.

Writing cozy is beter, methinks. And some day, I'll have that. Thank you, Cherokee Hart, for reminding me of some of the ways I can inspire myself!

What about you? Do you have a craft room? Reading room? Writing area or “muse-inspired” place? Love to hear about it.

1

M is for Leslie Moon

23262360-classic-style-english-alphabet-letter-m-monochromeM IS FOR MOONDUSTWRITER. Part of the reason I love the A-Z blog is all the new friends I make. I would not have met these people otherwise. We practically have nothing in common, except that we are poets, writers and just crazy people who like to share the connection. We are more connected than we are separate, did you know? There are those that don't want that secret to get out. Shhhh!! Leslie's post is not something I normally write about, but her words need to be heard. Enjoy, and thank you, Leslie, for stopping by my blog today.

Never Together by Leslie Moon #atozchallenge

2 Votes

newcago paper

I remember the first time we saw each other – We hadn’t seen each other since we were kids out in the country.

Then everything went haywire. Caesar took what he wanted including the lives of my parents.

At 17, I fled – their night screams chased me for years.

I was entranced by New Cago; she beckoned with her dazzling lights and her rich satins. I didn’t know about the slime underneath until it owned me.

Sam didn’t know how I was making it, I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

 When I wrote,  I told him I had a job and my own place.

Yeah, some call  it a job. The men liked my blue eyes ‘that girl has spirit!’

 But what the hell there was money and a bunk.  I wasn’t locked up in someone’s vault and the temple goons stayed away.

Caesar was murdered and we all celebrated in fountains of bubbly. Within days, the gangs took over and I learned to shoot a gun.

A gang lord wanted to claim me as “property rights.”

Sam showed up just when they were forging my personal chain.

Sam  always could look straight down to my heart. He knew but never said a word.

Sam was something those gangsters were not and they feared him.

Evil never sleeps though and on my birthday someone took a lucky shot.

Dog gone, I’ve pulled Sam into this rotten city and now I’m dead.

 My real name is Lucerne which means ‘Life.’  My blood is a type of antidote Medicago they call it. That’s why when the bullet passed through me and into Sam he didn’t die.

Sam, do what you’ve gotta do – my blood will keep you alive.

75_Medicago_sativa_L

 

 

 

Image attribution:”75 Medicago sativa L” by Amédée Masclef – Atlas des plantes de France. 1891. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:75_Medicago_sativa_L.jpg#/media/File:75_Medicago_sativa_L.jpg

Did you know there are more than 10,000 children orphaned by Ebola in West Africa? Many of these children have nothing and are stigmatized by their communities (and extended family). We are trying to find a way to raise funds to help. More info here.

fill logo

9

L is for Lake Ozette

L IS FOR LAKE OZETTE

Have you ever taken a hike or walk through the forest and been so moved by the power and beauty of nature that you literally broke down and cried? I did.

The rainforest in the Olympic Peninsula up in Washington State is what I would call a little piece of green paradise. A number of years ago, I took a drive up to see my old roommate in college, and friends of hers described this trail that led through the forest of ancient trees, down the beach and up the other side on another trail. It was and still is approximately 3 miles each segment.

I believe the road to the campground is paved now, but at the time it was some 5 miles of dirt road with tons of potholes that took over an hour.  I was driving a 1947 Oldsmobile turtleback 4-door, which was the most reliable car we owned at the time. My rear seat cushion lifted up and I had the compartment filled with good Canadian beer I planned to smuggle home on my brief trip to Vancouver the day before. I took this walk on my birthday, alone, in late April. I didn't encounter a single person all the way down to the beach. Just me and the forest.

I understand this is where part of the Twilight forest scenes were to have been shot, but, during the filming, there was a freak snowfall and they couldn't access the area.

Winding down through these tall giant trees, I'd been told to watch for bears, as this was the time they'd come out of hibernation, and would be hungry. I found several trees with their trunks scratched by powerful claws as new mothers and hungry bear fathers began foraging for food. Oddly enough, I wasn't scared. I walked the entire distance to the beach on cedar planks lovingly laid by several boy scout troops and Rotary clubs, so the integrity of the forest floor would remain intact.

I like things that move me without trying. The trail awaits my return and some day, and I say this every April, I want to return there and take the hike on my birthday. Some day, I'll fulfill that promise. In the meantime, the beauty of this green temple to mother nature herself, awaits, like a lover gone too soon.

2

K IS FOR KILL OFF YOUR OPTIONS

KILL OFF THOSE OPTIONS!! Get rid of the choices and things become simple in a hurry!

Sometimes getting to the bottom can be a good thing, because it eliminates your choices. On the floor, only way to go is up. Everything is an improvement if you're not falling. Being at the bottom of the barrel takes away the fear of making the wrong choices. Of course, you give up peace of mind, and you are blown about by the wind of society. But your decisions are easy because you have less of them.

When you think of all the words that end in “cide”, like pesticide, suicide, homicide, we understand it means to kill off. But we don't think about that with the word decide, which mans to kill off your choices, your options.

But that's exactly what deciding is. We choose one course over another and forever altering our trajectory, our path in life.

I've always struggled with problems relating to concentration, because I have a touch of ADD. I was on a schedule to make so many cold calls and expired calls every morning, and nothing, except for a burning building, was supposed to interfere with my 3 hour block of sacred calling. I did it for nearly 20 years. But it never was easy, and I always struggled with my staying on task, focus. 

My staff knew their salaries depended on me making my calls every day, so they bet me, and it was a lot of money too, so that I would stay and do my calling, not pop out into the reception area to ask about a phone call I overheard or remind them to do something I'd tasked them to do. I wound up paying the fine so many times, they felt bad about it and we abandoned the practice. The money meant very little to me then. But my pride and vanity did.

So, they came up with another idea. I had to wear my bathing suit in my office, and they'd lock the door on the outside. When I was done with my calling, I'd knock on my own door and they'd hand me back my clothes. This actually kept me on track for several weeks.

Until they all left early one day, left me locked in my own office, with my clothes on the outside of the door. I was forced to climb out of a window, in my bathing suit, and face the steady stream of customers walking past, watching me crawl out of a window in my bathing suit. Yes, I was the top-producing Realtor in Sonoma County at that time, and I was in a bathing suit, crawling out of a window. I had to go to the main office waiting room in my bathing suit, ask to use the phone to get my husband to come down to the office, unlock it so I could get keys to get my clothes back.

I have hundreds of stories about those years. I was so driven I was nearly crazy with that competitive spirit. The discipline I learned in those early days have helped me be a productive writer today, even though I still struggle with my focus and is probably the reason I have so much trouble reading manuals. I'd rather go to get a root canal than read a manual. Even the “Dummies” books are way too complicated for me.

Love to hear if you have some strange way to overcome some behavior you want to alter. I've spilled my guts. Now you spill yours! I have a free Punisher Tee shirt (inspired by the movie American Sniper), for one lucky commenter!

If you want to follow along on the A-Z blog challenge, click on the blue sunflower button to the right and it will direct you to the blog lists of those still in this game. We are nearly half way, and I'm on track! Go follow or read someone else's blog and maybe you'll find a new friend!

8

J is for Junk On My Computer, SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

J is for Junk On My Computer!  I had a lot of extra files on my computer and yesterday I cleared out 120 Gigs of junk. I feel squeaky clean! Our family Apple Expert, Mario, came over and spent about seven hours with us both. Mine was the most difficult and detailed. But what I have now are 19 separate folders containing everything about my books. I have 14 novels, 2 Novellas and 2 of my own bundles, or boxed sets.

I had snippets everywhere, blog posts and guest spots, interviews and faq sheets filed sometimes by name, sometimes by kind of file, sometimes random, and then those dreaded “X Novel – FINAL FINAL FINAL” files. Some files were separated from others because one way editors or my formatter would send them without spaces, some with dashes between the book and the date of the edit, and others in all caps or upper and lower case with or without spaces. I was holding all this in my head, and boy was my head hurting. I had to remember which ones were which (oh yes, that was a novella of the same name, oh yes, that was the correction I made that came in late, etc.) 

In short, I was an accident waiting to happen. This morning as I wake up and go to the computer, my desktop is clean, organized and I know where all my important papers are. A good friend of mine used to look at my lists of “versions” of my books, and shake her head, “Sharon, you've got to get this fixed.” That was about 4 years ago. Did I mention sometime before I'm stubborn?

Now some of you saw the word Junk and were thinking of something else. And for you, all I have is a picture. Enjoy the view…the part that I can show! Enjoy your day.

If you are want to follow along in the A-Z Blog Challenge, just clink on the button at the bottom with the sunflower on it. You will be directed to a list of some 2000 other bloggers who have taken the challenge. This week, I'm number 573. Some are dropping out, so this number could change, but tell your friends about it. Enjoy!

6

I is for I Smell Sheep

I IS FOR I SMELL SHEEP!

Welcome back to the A-Z Blog Challenge, those of you who are playing along this game. I've met some wonderful people so far and followed some awesome blogs.

I did an interview with a pair of bloggers, who just tickled my funny bone. Their blog is called I Smell Sheep, and ewe are in for a treat! Because they did such a great job with the Q&A I sent them, I'm going to just repost that interview, along with the quirky pictures they provided. Enjoy! And all of you who blog or like to follow fun things, (I mean why do the other stuff anyway?) here they are (used with permission):  Sharon and Katie.

  1. What kinds of books do you review and why?

Katie: First, thanks so much for having us over! We review paranormal romance and urban fantasy the most, but anything in the speculative fiction arena we will take a look at! Plus we review comic books and interview both authors and actors!

We're at comic book conventions and readers gatherings. The Sheep are taking over the world!

Sharon: I personally prefer dark urban fantasy, but I dip my toes into the paranormal romance pool occasionally…as long as there are monsters involved. I adore horror comics that have a dash of campy humor too.

  1. Do you review audio books and why?

Katie: We don't review audio books right now, but maybe in the future!

Sharon: I haven’t reviewed any because I don’t have slots of time conducive to listening. I can read faster than I could listen.

  1. Give us a little rundown on the blog's history: when formed, how it grew, how you helped make it grow and where you are headed in the future?

Katie: I started the website 5 years ago, after my Mom pretty much forced me to finally start writing down all my random and at times off-beat opinions. I'm not a strong writer by any means and totally admit that! I try and write from the heart and make, not only my writing tone colorful but add some facts along the way.

Not long after the site started, I reached out to some folks who were leaving comments and the first guest reviewers came on board. About a year into the site Sharon Stogner burst into the scene. She's now a huge part of what we do, while it's a collective, Sharon keeps us all in line and on track to meet deadlines. We wouldn't be where we are as a site today without her.

I don't know what the future holds for the Sheep, but I'm excited to find out!

Sharon: Don’t let her fool you…her writing style is truly unique and her enthusiasm, when she writes about a book she loves, is infectious! We also have some devoted followers who spread their love of all things sheep. The I Smell Sheep Facebook group is where the crazy happens. Everything from the reviews to the interviews to the guest post topics is quirky and fun. You never know what you will find each day when you visit us. But behind the scenes, we are serious about what we do and our professionalism when dealing with authors, publishers and readers has helped us become what we are today.

  1. How many followers on each post do you get per daily average?

Katie: It depends on the post and honestly we try not to focus on the day to day numbers of visits. For those out there needing a number, we have an average of 50,000 page views per month.

  1. In your opinion, why is your blog so successful? Why did it win the awards it has? 

Katie: I think the website has been successful from all our hard work. Through marketing on other online sources, creating a Facebook and Twitter page. Social media has really helped us spread the word about I Smell Sheep. Though it could also just be that we are something a little different. Strange even. Offbeat and proud of it. We are weird and we are proud to be this way. Normal is scary to us.

We recently won the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll for Best Review site 2014. That's still shocking to say, we never in a million years thought an award this big would come our way!

Sharon: Katie developed, before I came onboard, a quirky style for interviews. Authors/actors often thanks us for the atypical questions. We also have unusual guest post topics and features. We also try to be flexible when working with others. And under all the fun and quirkiness we have built a foundation of trust and integrity.

Shout out to our followers who voted for us! Big sheep kisses to everyone. It is quite humbling.

  1. If you could give advice to a struggling blog, or someone wanting to start blogging, what would you advise, based on your experiences.

Katie: I would say, do whatever you love. No matter what it is. Don't hold yourself back or shut any doors with inner thoughts of doubt. Be realistic though, there's a very slim chance you'll make enough money to blog for a living. But if you want to find another way to be creative, then go for it and don't look back!

Sharon: There are a lot of bloggers out there willing to help and give advice. Visit blogs you admire. Talk with the people behind the scenes and ask questions. We have an amazing network of blogging friends. We help each other out. Integrity and trust is crucial to success in blogging. You can’t build trust overnight, you have to earn it from readers, other bloggers, publishers and authors. Break that trust and you are done.

Thank you so much. Here's how you can stay in contact with Sharon and Katie. Ewe won't regret it! 

I Smell Sheep emails:

If you would like to follow the A-Z Challenge, click the button at the side/bottom of this blog page and you'll be directed at random (how fun!) to another A-Z Blog Challenge poster. Enjoy your ride. And may the sheep take over the world!

3

H is for Heroes In Uniform and Hearts In Danger

I'm lucky I get to participate in several boxed sets this year. I said I would never do it again, but I guess I lied. I've worked with about half of these ladies on other projects. We are always coming up with things to cross-promote each other.

A good example of cross-promoting was today's launch for Sabrina York and her Sabrina York's Stone Hard SEALs Release Celebration (which is still going on until tomorrow, btw). We stop by, we have our fans stop by, we give away things and we generally have fun, sometimes we learn a thing or two. Great way for readers to find new authors.

These boxed and bundled sets are the same way. Both these sets are going to be awesome reads, with authors either already established, or up and coming ones you'll learn about soon. We pool our resources and release a set at a deep discount, so readers get a chance to sample several new authors without a huge commitment of $$. One set I participated in last year sold over 28,000 copies in its first week alone.
Heroes In Uniform:

Book Description

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Ten full-length books and one novella from NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors

A Romantic Suspense and Military Romance boxed set of 11 Sexy Contemporary Alpha Heroes, featuring Soldiers, SEALs, Spies, Agents, Rangers and Cops.
Brand-new, never-before-published stories: a novella from Gennita Low and a full-length novel from Nina Bruhns.
KAYLEA CROSS–Danger Close. With his cover blown, former undercover CIA agent Wade Sandberg finds himself, and an innocent woman, the number one targets of the world's most dangerous terrorist.
PATRICIA MCLINN–At The Heart's Command. Colonel John Griffin Jr. is a good and honorable soldier who faces the toughest mission of all when he returns home to Wyoming: Protect the woman he's always loved – especially from himself.
GENNITA LOW–Dangerously Hot. While working undercover, looking for his missing brother, Luke meets the mysterious Nina who appears to know more than she's saying. Can Luke charm the sexy and dangerous Nina into assisting him?
CARIDAD PINEIRO–Sins Of The Flesh. Ex-Army Ranger Mick Carrera has been hired to hunt down a woman who is nothing like he expects. As passion erupts between them, danger threatens from those who want to end Mick and Cat's lives in order to safeguard their secrets.
SHARON HAMILTON–Cruisin' For A SEAL. What starts out as a cruise vacation for 9 Navy SEALs and their wives, winds up a full scale Team operation, as they save the passengers from terrorists.
KAREN FENECH–Snowbound. FBI Agent Mallory Burke, injured and on the run for her life, is stranded in a snowstorm with a reclusive and secretive cop she's not sure she can trust but is falling in love with.
TONI ANDERSON–Her Last Chance. Eighteen years ago the Blade Hunter found his first victim on the streets of NYC. Now, unless FBI Agent Marshall Hayes can stop him, he's back to finish the job.
NINA BRUHNS–Barely Dangerous. Blue Wolf Cooper has a bear problem–as in, he suspects the pretty new USFS fire spotter is part of a vicious bear poaching ring he is trying to shut down. Margarethe “George” Johansen has a bare problem–as in, she keeps dreaming the sexy Fish and Game warden who's been following her around sneaks up into her isolated tower, strips her bare, and makes incredible love to her…right before he kills her.
LORI RYAN–Everlasting. Katelyn Bowden never imagined coming home would dredge up a twenty-four year old murder and put her life at risk. She also never expected the man to come to her rescue would be the one man she'd resented for years. The one man she wanted nothing to do with.
CRISTIN HARBER–Garrison's Creed. An injured CIA agent runs into the only man she can never see again–her first love, the one who “buried” her years ago.
DANA MARTON–Deathblow. Former small-town football hero turned cop, Joe Kessler never met a linebacker, perp, or a woman he couldn't handle. Then a troubled single mom walks into his life, and the only place this hot jock will ever see ‘easy' again is in the dictionary.

Book Description

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

FOURTEEN stories of thrilling romance to benefit the American Heart Association. These full length, Romantic Suspense stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS!
Accidental SEAL by Sharon Hamilton: Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom.
Pick Your Poison by Roxanne St. Claire: Meet Benjamin Youngblood – he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and … about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer.
Protective Custody by Paige Tyler: Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter.
Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris: When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there's only one man dangerous enough to help her–the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie.
SEAL's Honor by Elle James: Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.
Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane: Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief—he'll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.
Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCray: Tori is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough.
Dangerous Curves by Nina Bruhns: A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy—and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!
Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans: When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard.
Protecting Caroline by Susan Stoker: Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.
One Night Stand by Parker Kincade: Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret.
Brody by Mandy Harbin: Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs.
Enemy Mine by Megan Mitcham: Born in the blood of Sierra Leone's Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord's inner circle.
Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han: On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe.

I see some serious reading in your future, don't you? Ladies, start your engines!

6

G is for GETTING GREAT

Getting great happens when we keep working. Giving. Going. Webster's uses terms like, ample, being beyond average, mighty and intense. I love intense, can't you tell? I also love fun.

A fellow traveler told me, “Do what others won't do for the next five years and live how others can't for the rest of your life.” I like this, because it's simple. We burn the midnight oil at night. We play hard, and long. We enjoy things along the road, but we play hard and we play for keeps.

I used to wonder why people, even when given the keys to the kingdom, wouldn't take the chance to push themselves just a little bit harder. And pushing myself sometimes means I have to push myself to be emotionally balanced, mature. I can fly off the handle or misread something, and all I cause is pain to myself. I cause misunderstandings when I meant none. Being an adult sometimes is a lot of work.

I used to tell agents I trained that the winning lottery tickets are right in front of you, right within your grasp. You just have to pick them up and cash them in. How funny people hesitate to do that, again showing their fear. And it is a lot of hard work, too. Cashing in those lottery tickets means not doing something else, making a little sacrifice. Sometimes it means a lot of hard work. Doing what others won't do. That's how we get great.

If you want to follow along with the A-Z Blog Challenge, drop to the bottom of this page and click on the A-Z button, and be directed to another blog at random! You never know who you'll get to meet or what awaits you!

4

F IS FOR FLY (Learn to Fly On the Way Down)

11080382_10205606824324043_405521621527742182_oI love country music, not only for the beautiful love songs, but for the words of wisdom, and the values that are so close to my own personal values, so close to my heart. I wasn't raised a country girl. I was raised a hippie Northern California girl, but there must have been part of me left behind in the generations of my family as they traveled this great country, and some of my roots are there.

This song, by Tae and Maddie, Fly, really says it all for me. I love the pictures of the little girl climbing up the ladder. That's me. The striving to reach for things other people perhaps might overlook. Finding the good in things, finding the gold in people's hearts, finding the deep side of the ocean in words, digging for emotions buried under layers of lifetimes.

Just keep on reachin' though the limb might break…
You can learn to fly on the way down.486492_311605755634121_781146200_n

We've been talking about taking chances, spinning the wheel of life, reaching out, playing for keeps, and now learning to fly on the way down, instead of being afraid of trying. Our big enemy: Fear. Fear is the only evil. The only one that robs our souls. Learning to fly happens when you're free-falling. When you're skydiving through the emotions of that person deep inside you that is awesome and is a giant. We learn to deal with it all by letting go. Taking chances. Risking our hearts and our emotions, but letting our souls soar.

15

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: DOING EVERYTHING

DOING EVERYTHING. We never know what will take off. We do things with intention, do things by accident, and sometimes the accidents work out amazingly well, sometimes the well-intentioned plans do poorly. These days I'm sort of thinking about life as one giant roulette wheel. You spin it, and it arbitrarily lands wherever it does. A huge game of chance.

But not really.

Those of you who follow my blog posts know that I'm a huge fan of “playing big.” In the real estate business, we used to say to agents, “play as if you've already won.” There are times when we question our abilities, and want to “quit” mentally from giving it our all. Luckily these things don't last long for me, and I'm pretty good about picking myself up, and usually holding up a couple of others at the same time. Can't help it, I raised 4 kids and sometimes I still feel like I'm raising kids today.

So the secret of success would be that we're out there playing big. We may not know where that roulette wheel will land (I have gambling on the brain because I'm writing this from Las Vegas), but we can control whether or not we take our turn. Opportunities are there, but only if we take them. Leading the horse to water, etc….Bella Andre paid me a nice compliment when she told an audience at the San Francisco Writer's Conference 2 years ago that she always gave writers advice they could bank on, but few really followed up or did what she said. And she complimented me on being one of the ones who listened, and executed her pearls of wisdom. I call them pearls of wisdom. She's far too humble to say it. But I will! Thank you, Bella.

So, here I am, taking chances, meeting people, saying yes more than no (and learning which ones to say no to as well), trusting that I'll get to work with people's highest selves and good part, learning when I don't, and paying it forward, both upwards in the food chain and down. It makes no difference where I am or what it means.

It matters that I play. That I DO EVERYTHING.

Happy Easter from the bottom of my heart.

If you want to follow along on the A-Z blog hop, click the button at the bottom of this page and you will be directed at random to some other blogger's posting for today. We're in this together. Every day a new letter. Today was a catch up.

2

C is for Count My Blessings

search-1COUNT MY BLESSINGS. I forget this all the time. With so much abundance all around me, I forget to say thank you. I used to travel with a friend once a week, and we'd talk about our lives, our families, situations that sometimes frustrated each of us. Some days I'd remind him, and other days he'd remind me. But when we found ourselves complaining about something, we'd say to the other one: “Who haven't you thanked today that you needed to?”

I've noticed that when I get upset, if I stop and go to gratitude, soon the upset is gone. My friend, the DEA/FBI agent who did some incredibly dangerous under cover missions over his years at the Bureau, said that of the maybe 400 or so planned operations, there was only one, in all that period of time, that actually went along just as they'd planned. And they laughed about it afterwards, at how yes, it was possible to have a 100% mission.images

Most the time their missions would go wrong. Something would be off, something unexpected would occur and threaten the whole mission. How many times have I thought a whole day, or a project was ruined because not everything went as planned? How many times does a plane stay on course during a trip from San Francisco to Paris? The truth is, the plane is being adjusted perhaps a thousand times. There is no such thing as following a perfect path.

Remembering to feel grateful for what I do have keeps me from dwelling on what I don't. And maybe that's why not everything is perfect, so we'll value it, like something rare. Just like in my Heavenly Lover book, Heaven isn't 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn't 100% evil by accident.

 

 

B is for Being Unstoppable

BEING UNSTOPPABLE!  This is Day Two of the A-Z Blog Challenge, and Being Unstoppable is something every writer needs. There are ups and downs in this business, most of them emotional. I never thought being a writer would require so much inner strength. Weathering the ups and downs, sometimes the miscommunications that can occur when you are dealing with people through the internet and not in person, wanting to do everything “right” when there is no “right” way to do things, except,

Just doing them!

The key for me is not letting things that could, snag me. I could dwell or worry about all sorts of things. I like this quote from Mark Twain” “I worried about a lot of things in my lifetime, and some of them actually happened.”

Being easy to start and hard to stop is what I go for. Some of my regular readers will remember this example, because I think about it every day. When you are getting the locomotive going (and that can be your writing career, your new venture, any new huge project) at first you step on that pedal, and no matter how hard you step on it, that locomotive is only going to start up at one speed, and it's slow. You're bouncing around on that pedal, and no matter how hard you push, the train will only start up so fast. Then momentum builds. At that point, when you're gliding down the rails, you can take your foot off the pedal and for a long time, that train will keep moving regardless of the lack of effort on your part. And yes, eventually, it will slow and stop again.

The hard work starts at the front end. Everyone knows this. I'm going to momentum, a long-lasting career that will build on itself. One day at a time, one story, book at a time, one communication or fan at a time. Maybe it won't always be this hard or require so much of my energy. But either way, I'm going to be hard to stop.

To visit the other sites on the A-Z Blog Hop, be sure to click on the A-Z button at the bottom of this page and choose one of the other 2000 blogs to read. Thanks for showing up today! Have a beautiful, unstoppable Thursday.

15

A is for Another SEAL Book

A lot has changed since I last did the A-Z Blog. Some four years ago, when I did my first one, I was still shopping my Accidental SEAL out there, looking for a home. I had written three paranormal romances, books I loved, and I was hopeful that if I continued to write, at about book 4 or 5, I would start to get traction.

And that was right.

Today, as I begin this A-Z Blog challenge again, I have a total of 14 books out there. Nine in the SEAL Brotherhood Series, five paranormals. I have been on the New York Times and USA Today lists multiple times, and I'm happy to say I could live off the earnings I make with my books.

This isn't meant to brag. Just to perhaps give hope to those who have the dream of following their dream. This has all happened in less than 5 years. And I didn't begin this journey until I turned 60 years of age.

A writer writes until he/she gets noticed. Very simple plan, really. No gimmicks to it. Just write things people want to read. That's my advice:  Never Give Up.