Here Come the Bone Frogs and Silver SEALs

Bonefrog (1)I've loved writing SEALs ever since my first novel in 2012. At the time, my son was serving as a SEAL, and I had been very moved about his service, how he had changed from a boy to a man, and how he was committed to such a program at such a young age. Most of us don't find out life's passion until we are well into our 30's. He did a little interview with me for a mastermind group of high-powered real estate professionals, and said, “I feel so fortunate to have found something I love so early in life.” That was when he was a new “tadpole”, and single. Now, with a wife and family, of course I've seen his priorities change.


Coming to you 3-19.

This is what inspires me about writing. We take the everyday, and we make stories about it. None of what happens in my books really happens in real life. You readers don't look for detailed accounts of perhaps things that shouldn't be written about SEALs. I write fiction, and romantic fiction at that. Everything is seen through my rose-colored glasses. My stories are about finding love, sometimes losing it too, but mostly the Happily Ever After. My SEALs are the vehicle I use to tell those stories.

So it would come to me, as I see the journey of some of these men I've met, as they age and go on to other careers, so too do my characters. And the Bone Frog Brotherhood was born. My new release tomorrow, SEAL My Love, explores my older characters as they also find true love.


Gretchen is Kate Morgan's older sister. Many of you will remember her from SEAL Of My Heart, when Kate and Tyler fall in love on an airplane from San Francisco to Portland. This was based in part on a true story. I met a young marine coming home for Christmas from Vietnam, and we made one of those connections in the stars. At the time, I was not free to accept his beautiful letters and the flowers he sent afterward. And it wasn't until years later that I got to see him again, and I apologized for having to break it off when he went back to Vietnam. I was delighted to hear that he had survived. “Yours was the face I was coming back to. It didn't matter.”

So this became part of my story. What if I had gone a different path, followed his invitation and spent a life with him? Just before I released this book, I tried to look him up, and sadly discovered that he had passed away the previous summer. Gretchen says a prayer to her father, that marine in my story, in much the same way as I have prayed to him for the safety of my then-serving son as a SEAL. He would have been proud to know I had a son who went into military service. He was the first in my immediate family to do so without being drafted during either WWII or Vietnam.

So Gretchen has had three girls, and decides to take an adventure with Kate and Tyler and a bunch of their SEAL buddies and families. And that's where she meets Trace, an older SEAL, just attached to Team 3 from an east coast team, after a messy divorce. His wife ran off with another SEAL from another east coast team. Unfortunately, I have also heard that this happens in real life. So, it goes into my story.

These two mature, slightly damaged people find a way to fall in love again like it was the first time. And I believe I do show that this love is the forever love they never had before. I hope you'll enjoy their satisfying story.

SharonHamilton_SEALedAtTheAltar_800My new release in April will be the continuation of my Bone Frog Brotherhood Book 1, the novella that started with a new years wedding and one-night stand that becomes something else. More to come on that later. But here's the cover reveal below.

Thank you for following me on these Sundays with Sharon. I love to hear your comments. I thank you for your readership. We all celebrate together the miraculous healing powers of true love.



Things We Do On Sundays

Romance readers get to do things on Sundays other people never do. They get to travel with Navy SEALs, conquering bad guys and falling in love with strong, courageous women.

They get to travel back in time with warriors of immortal and noble lineage.

They get to live in palaces with knights, kings, princesses and handsome princes.

They get to fly with vampires under the full moon.

They know about all the great spots to have a Sexy Sunday Picnic.

Flowers are brighter to romance readers. Kisses are slower and more sensual. Sex is beautiful. Talk is sometimes cheap and dirty. Sometimes it's passionate. Rain is sexy. Eating ice cream can be orgasmic.

Good wine flows at all the right times. They share sunsets with handsome heroes.

Romance readers get to turn off the news more. They turn on their devices and get transported anywhere else with a listen to an audio book. They are often seen smiling, in the middle of traffic. They sometimes don't even mind that it takes them longer to drive somewhere.

They get to fall in love every day. They discover new stories and authors all the time. They explore new worlds with heroes who have super powers.

They think reading is sexy.

What are you doing this Sunday?


Coming to you 3-19.


“Words mean. Words point…”

Iunnamed came across this little article in my Brain Pickings newsfeed (always something I look forward to reading, and it's a treat when I look up from my computer, take a break and read them). “Words mean. Words point. They are arrows. Arrows stuck in the hide of reality.”  –Toni Morrison

Lately I've explored my theory of Fierce Writing now that I am, once again, up against a deadline. I love deadlines and I hate them. The Fierce Writing makes me do something I want to do and love to do, but forces me to do it, in a type of BDSM world where I wrestle with my own talent, ego and time module. I do see this life as a time module. What will I accomplish in this lifetime, this module?

In between books I have to wander, change my focus, interact with different people, and sometimes get a healthy dose of aloneness. It must be like dealing with the butterflies for an actor before they go on stage. It's deeply personal, and everyone goes about it differently. Toni Morrison's quote is important to me, although probably not in the way she envisioned it when she gave her Nobel Prize acceptance speech. I am not an activist in the common sense of things. But I am a romance writer, and that makes me an activist for love.

Like others who are activists in a minority cause, romance writers often stem the tide of criticism from the literary world, where it's not all about book sales or the money.  It's almost like the whole world is twisted these days: people talk about being decent and honest to one another, but downgrade Love and Romance as valid themes or “values” in our everyday lives. I suggest more romance, more love would make the whole world a better place. Romance readers know this. But I can't tell you how many times I've had to defend that theory.

My mind is inspired as I finish these next 2 books. My hands are like sandpaper as the result of some gardening projects I'm doing. I've transplanted more than 200 seedlings in the past week, negotiated some old contracts and bills, and helped with some family issues (big families sometimes have big issues, right?). All of this has made me a better person, writer, mother, partner and friend. Can you hear me singing? I'm dawdling again, getting pumped up to a whole day of writing. The chill is in the air but my heart is burning like a furnace. The pots of water are on my wood-burning stove. The dogs are sleeping and dawn has just broken over my hill revealing all the white frost over new bright green grasses. The birds are beginning to look for nesting places and yesterday Rosa found a huge gopher (and promptly ate it, giving her a stomach ache) that was clearly over 2# in weight.

And I'm about to birth another great book for all of you. I can hardly wait to send out “there” SEAL My Love. Like every book I write, I attempt to show the healing power of true love. This is all about finding love a bit later in life, and how sweet it can be when you've gone without it for so many years. I know you'll love it.

How lucky I am!

Sharon Hamilton

March 2018

Santa Rosa, California



Book Signings – Where Authors Show They Care

As an author, we are constantly bombarded by choices, and most of them are choices to either spend money here, or there. There are so many conventions these days, and events, we do have to be careful or we'd be spending all our earnings and then some, just traveling from event to event. I wish I could attend all of them, but then I'd not be a writer, I'd be a professional attendee. My readers would be just as unhappy as I would.

But there comes a point in an author's career when we feel the need to give back. I try to do my best for readers and their causes and events they are involved in. (Here's a hint, if you're attending something and there is a chance to submit a gift basket or tote, I'm your huckleberry! Tell me and I'd gladly participate…end of hint). I do support Wounded Warriors and the UDT/SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida. I also support the Navy SEAL Foundation, the Kris Kyle Foundation, and several other new ones I'm learning how to connect with.

But an important part of being an author is to meet readers. Not many signings pencil out, when it comes to making back the money spent on travel and shipping books, but that's not the point here. Readers pay a lot of money to attend these events, on the chance of getting to meet an author they've loved or followed. Not just to get a book signed, but to get to take a picture, talk with them, and just feel connected.  

Perhaps non-romance authors don't understand this. We are perhaps unique to this phenomenon in the romance genre. I can guess many horror or mystery writers might not want to meet their fans! LOL. (Just speculating, having fun with you here…) Some authors can be pretty scary, but so can some readers! In romance, there is very little of that.

I have a policy if a reader shows up to one of my events wearing one of my tee shirts, or something they've made using one of my books, they get a free little token from me, usually a free book. I love seeing my pink camo tee shirts show up to these. They also get to identify other readers of my books, especially the SEAL Brotherhood Series.

My table at Love And Fifty, Sacramento, California

Last weekend, I attended the Love And Fifty signing, and this was my third year. It isn't important about the numbers. It was Sacramento, I got to see old friends, sit with Jody, my quilting and Navy Mom buddy, and catch up with other authors. On the way home I got to visit with my Stepmom, who is really my only living Mom, in Davis. High off the love of my reader friends, I had a nice three-hour chat with her.

So, when I'm asked by others if signings work for me, I have to say, Yes, they do! Nothing like watching Fifty Shades in a theater of other romance authors and their fans! We could cat call, and make giggles we would normally refrain from doing. I had a wonderful time. Not to be missed. But it's for the readers, and there doesn't have to be a line around the block to meet them, but a chance to reach out and say thank you for buying my books. It's the least I could do.

That's why I'm careful where I go, and I like to adjust or move around to different venues each year in different parts of the country. I try to limit them to a handful, but I always do twice as many as I should.

When I did an event at Valley Forge back in 2016, I was struck with what a perfect spot this venue was for a military author/reader event. And so, with the help of Renee Fisher, a super-organized and awesome author, as well as friend, we created Salute With Love. It's an event that's coming up this August, and I wrote about my experiences here at Valley Forge in my blog back then. Please read about it here. 

If you find yourself drawn to the stories of military authors, and you are a lover of early American History, you'll love this venue and all that Renee and I have planned for you. I promise you won't be disappointed. We have a few spots left for authors, and of course we welcome readers with open arms. We can hold a ton.

It was very special that we were allowed to hold this event at this very revered venue. We can not only celebrate the birth of this country, appreciate all the sacrifices our fighting men and women and their families went through then as well as now, but can also celebrate our love of military authors. If you are of like mind, we need to have you there. You can join the FB page here. And then sign up here! Consider this an order!  

As the words so beautifully spoken by a Navy SEAL Masterchief, the best way we can honor those who came before is by living our life the best we can because we can:

“It takes a little courage, and a little self control. And some grim determination, if you want to reach the goal. It takes a great deal of striving, and a firm and stern set chin. No matter what the battle, if you really want to win. There's no easy path to glory. There is no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, is no simple parlor game. But its prizes call for fighting, for endurance and for grit. For a rugged disposition that will not quit.”

Carry on.


Letter From A Mother to her SEAL Son

(Written on the eve of his first deployment)

I wouldn't be able to mail this letter to you before you leave because when it just comes down to it, your mother is a big chicken.

We've been so proud of you, what you've accomplished and how hard you've had to work. Being 7 to graduate out of a class of 192 is awesome. We knew we'd get that call saying you made it through Hell Week. I didn't practice my speech, telling you there was no dishonor in DOR, because there certainly is is none, because I knew you'd make it.

My emotions go between being proud, and hoping for purely selfish reasons, you don't pay the price you are willing to pay. And I guess if you can make that decision, then I can decide to be strong. My life is safe and warm and comfortable because of men like you. A mother never raises her children, especially her sons, to defend her. I'd gladly die in any of your places, in a heartbeat, to spare you having to sacrifice yourself. The most I can do is honor you by living my life and not wasting it.

Your Dad and I have talked about this many times. You were born for something special. Not knowing it would turn out this way, you were named after a proud, loyal family ancestor, a general, from a lowland clan with integrity, loyalty and honor. You carry on the tradition of the best of all of us. You embody it. It makes it so touching to see in someone so very young in years.

I have conjured my angels to watch over you. You have some of the best and the bravest from our family up there protecting you. These were not only soldiers, but ministers, teachers, people with strong backbones who came to America to be able to live their lives in freedom. They didn't all forge their paths with guns, in fact most of them didn't. They did it with words and deeds.

I know you are strong in your faith. We saw you grow into it. I can't take any credit for this. You came to it as a natural part of who you became as you grew up. And, like I said before, being special has its unique burdens. You get to lead us all who are lesser in our faith, teach us about duty and honor.

Nothing is free. I love this country with all my heart and I know you do too. I hope it survives these challenges. I think it will. Just like what happens on Wall Street doesn't affect what you'll face in Afghanistan. That's how I'm going to take it too–like a faint tape running in the background with symbols I don't understand–our blood is not in that stream of letters. They are just letters and symbols. Our heart beats with real red blood. I don't want you to consecrate a speck of dust over there with one drop of yours. You bring it all back. All of it. I want to live to be an old woman and see you turn grey a bit, and I can't wait to tease you about it.

I will honor you and make this next 30-60 days until I see your smiling face again, my most productive ever. Go, by the Grace of God, minister to other mothers' boys. All of them are lucky to have you there having their backs. Save lives, but don't hesitate to take them if you have to. Be safe. Protect yourself and your buddies and the innocents caught in the Hell of War. I can't wait to put my arms around you and welcome you home.

I now do something I never thought I'd do growing up. I join the millions of women throughout the ages who have sent their sons off to war. It's an exclusive club. Even with all the fear and heartache this brings me, I am still proud of you, my son.

God speed.

(He did come home safely. He went off to war a boy and came back a man.)


Tucker Gets A Cone

Tucker's days of being a care-free teenager are over. He had his little “visit” to the vet, and now is adjusting to the cone they placed on his neck to keep him from getting at the stitches. He knew the vet visit was something more than just shots. They also had to remove his dew claws, and kept him overnight. Yesterday, when we picked him up, the whole staff told me over and over again how everyone had fallen in love with him. Dr. Hoskins said he was the best Doberman he'd ever met. That says a lot from someone who's been in business over 40 years.

Tucker does that to people. He certainly does that to me.

I took pity on him and agreed to let him sleep on my bed. He likes to snuggle, and, cone and all, he attempted to do it last night. I think overall I got about 3-4 hours of sleep, and none of it in long stretches, so my energy level is a little on the slow side today. But he's worth it. After raising 4 kids, I'm still a full time mother, with this new little one, and the previous Dobermans we've had, and of course Blue and Rosa, the ones we have now.

We aren't a red, white and blue family. We're Red, Tan and Blue. Tucker is the tan, Rosa is the rose, and of course Blue is the blue. We like to keep things simple around here.

One of Tucker's favorite things to do is to run “balls to the wall” as my SEALs say (which is now not possible), trying to overtake Blue, who is a 90 pound very strong male. Tucker is now 66 pounds, but he's fast, and he's just been able recently to beat Blue. That's been a source of conflict for the two males. The vet said, as we were leaving, “Just make sure he doesn't run for the next 14 days.”

He came home, and was excited to see Blue and Rosa. The first time he tried to give them a kiss, he (of course) hit them both with the cone. So he got growled at.

It took him a couple of seconds, but he sat down and I could see he was considering his new standing with his pack. Rejected. His friendship refused. Right there, he laid down, sighed and took a nap.

I suppose we'll all get used to the bruises that darned cone leaves on our shins. He hits every cabinet handle in the kitchen when he's passing through. But he's learned how to walk down the stairs, keeping his head high enough so he doesn't choke himself on every step. But 14 days does sure seem like a long time.

Tucker's worth it. I'll bet you mother your pets too. This sound familiar?


One of Those Days

Ever had one of those days where no matter what, the day just went sideways? I did. Here's what happened.

We were to receive a cashier's check from someone who owed us a considerable sum of money. It wasn't enough to change my life, but it would have been annoying to lose it. It was supposedly sent overnight mail, except we never received it. I suspect the Post Office placed it in someone else's box, who is perhaps away on a long vacation (or just doesn't go to his box often). It happens.

In this case, the person who sent the check is rather prickly and unpleasant. I received a nasty email from him basically saying I was to pound salt. I discovered I could take a copy of the check to the bank it was written on, and ask for a replacement. So far so good.

When I got there, I filled out the proper paperwork, after being told twice this was impossible to do, and was told I had to obtain a surety bond, which cost me about $100. Still worth it. The paperwork had to be notarized, but their notary was out to lunch. And it had to be paid for by a money order. I trotted next door to Safeway and got my money order, and then went to the nearest notary about 5 miles down the road. I had already burned up about an hour. No problem so far.

My husband had to accompany me, since both our signatures were required. We headed off to the notary, when we got stopped by a huge accident (involving a melted car). An hour and a half later, we were on our way back to the bank with our notarized paperwork. Their notary was back by then. Discovered the notary did the paperwork wrong, but after several calls to the corporate offices, the paperwork was accepted. Okay, now we are into this process about 3 hours.

Eventually the new cashier's check was issued to us. I had started this episode at 10 AM yesterday. I was finally finished at 4:30. I got to my bank just before they closed and was able to do the deposit. End of story.

I could be angry about this, except for the fact that my other choice was to wait weeks for a replacement to come from the sender. Or, wait until April when the uncashed cashier's check would be considered dead.

A lot could happen between now and April. In this case, the $100 was well worth it.

Something like this ever happen to you?

New Year, New Habits, New Bone Frog Series

Those of you who follow my newsletter know that my new series will be the Bone Frog Brotherhood.

I decided to show some older men, former SEALs, based on the audience response to my newest full-length novel, Bachelor SEAL. Men of Valor, men in action often choose careers where they can stay on the cutting edge of the action their whole lives, even after they migrate from the Teams. Talk to any sports hero, actor or industry titan just after they've retired, and you will find a little piece of their heart attached to that old personna. In these Bone Frog Brotherhood stories, I hope to explore this, and the life that comes after for these honorable men.

Aging in romance is something new to me as a writer. I know some have been doing it for many years successfully, but this begins a new foray for me. A new mission! I'm also going to explore heroines who are less than perfect.

I got the idea by polling my reader group, and several mentioned they'd love to see other types of heroines other than Barbie Dolls. In real life, many SEALs are handsome, in fact, I would say that most of them are. Physically, they are about as fit as they can be, or they wouldn't be on the teams. They do deal with injuries, and some of these are career-ending ones, which I've written about. My SEAL Zak, in the True Blue series is injured on his very first deployment, an eye injury which ends his life as an elite warrior. But his desire to serve and be part of the brotherhood doesn't diminish.

I remember hearing a conversation between two former SEALs, one older, one younger, and there was expressed emotions, and the obvious questions asked back and forth, “Do you miss it?” The age-old question really is, “What Do I Do With The Rest Of My Life?”

For those of us who are fairly mature, we don't worry about these things, except when they occur to members of our own family or close friends. We have found a meaningful way to live, express ourselves and give back by stumbling around a bit, but ultimately finding the right field of endeavor. But for a younger man, who is still vital and full of passion, perhaps he wonders if he will still have “it”. Could he still compete if all the chips were down? It's a sensitive issue for some. More for others. And some men never stop being grown up kids. They find the Boy Scout in everything they do, regardless of what their families might want or need.

There's lots to explore there for a writer. I hope you'll enjoy this new journey of mine. January 30 is the release date for New Years SEAL Dream.

Tucker and Brandy are looking forward to becoming part of your lives, and blending in with the other wonderful characters in the SEAL Brotherhood I've created. Hope you'll join me.



Are you going to be in the Sacramento area on February 9th? Come see me at the Love And Fifty Author/Reader event here:

Fifty Shades of Grey #3 is coming! I'll be signing books, and you can preorder books to bring to the event for me to autograph. Preorder here: http://bit.ly/2oito5r

For event info, Go here:http://bit.ly/2CK5T0B



Salute with Love Military Romance Author Event 2018
This event will be held at the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, 1601 Valley Forge Road, Phoenixville, PA 19640 (Martha Washington Building next to the Gigantic flag) 
Hosted by Authors Renee Lee Fisher and Sharon Hamilton, we have the date set for August 18, 2018!! 📅

Readers there are LIMITED V.I.P tickets.. get them now before there GONE!!


Website ~ http://salutewithloveauthorevent.weebly.com/

📄Intrest doc ~ https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSd1_DOBOJ7OLJj1BF…/viewform

🎭FB group for readers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1175125239241447/

🎫 Tickets https://www.eventbrite.com/e/salute-with-love-tickets-30011…

NOTE: once you commit to purchasing you table through Eventbrite it is nonrefundable.

What a great way to visit some Early American history, while we celebrate and enjoy meeting the best military suspense authors on the planet! Don't be missing this one. It's the first time we're doing this, and the only one of its kind. See you there…


Writing And The World Within Us

We all carry that inner world no one else sees. As writers, we get to explore and press those boundaries a bit. We lace truth of the past, overlayed with fuzzy fiction and hopes for the future, string in various pieces we've experienced elsewhere from others. What we get when we write a book is a mosaic of all these trapppings. A quilt.

I'm often asked where my stories come from, and I sometimes have a hard time explaining this. How does a painter explain why they chose to use the colors or textures they used, or do they try to paint what's in their brain pallet, or do they just use that pallet to inspire the final project? I can't tell you where my inspiration comes from: it comes from everywhere. It comes from the past, the unreality of what could have been, it comes from what makes me laugh and what moves me.

The one thing I can say for certain is that if I create a story worth telling, it has to move me, or I work it until it does. I cut it, dash it, slash and insert until I'm happy with the result. I want to make sure it is a story I'm proud of (not perfect, mind you), but something that's worthy of being called entertainment.

The only dirty word in my writer vocabulary is RULES. I hate that word. I feel like I want to break every one of them, occasionally, don't you? Aren't the best adventures sometimes the ones never planned, when things go seriously off-track and the consequences are not fully understood until it's too late? And isn't reading an adventure? A walk with the writer on a journey of their own creation for a time?

Is there a formula for a good book? A great character? I've studied this in my early writing. To be honest with you, it now confuses me when I look over those old notes. I've just burned about 3 crates of old classwork I did when I first started out to purge my writing area with things I no longer use. I had this temptation to sit down and read those notes. I held my breath, thinking I might find some huge mistake I was making that I might not want to embrace. What did I find?

Nothing! I found confirmation of the journey I'd followed. Looking at those notes is like examining crutches or bandages from an old wound instead of looking at the healed part of the body. They were the things I needed to become whole as a writer. They didn't make me a writer. They were tools. Valuable tools. But no magic, nothing there I wouldn't have gotten on my own.

The journey is the destination. The art of writing is doing what a writer does: process, gather, discard and present. Then recharge, process, gather, discard and re-present again. Over and over again. It's like a garden that never ends. A quilt that just gets bigger and bigger, a heart filled and refreshed with stories of love and Happily Ever After.

“Every human person is inevitably involved with two worlds: the world they carry within them and the world that is out there. All thinking, all writing, all action, all creation and all destruction is about that bridge between the two worlds. All thought is about putting a face on experience… One of the most exciting and energetic forms of thought is the question. I always think that the question is like a lantern. It illuminates new landscapes and new areas as it moves. Therefore, the question always assumes that there are many different dimensions to a thought that you are either blind to or that are not available to you. So a question is really one of the forms in which wonder expresses itself. One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.”    –John O'Donohue


How You Can Tell 2018 Is Not Going To Be Great

Happy New Year!

I'd like to start off this year with some humor. Here are my 10 best reasons why your 2018 will not be your best ever:

  1.  Your free satellite connection that came with your new TV turned off at December 31, just as the ball was dropping.
  2. The $50 bottle of champagne you opened didn't have any fizz.
  3. You got ten marriage proposals from African princes named “Jeff” within the first 10 minutes of 2018.
  4. You were placed in a messenger group with 500 other beings who like to talk a lot.
  5. Your son's ex-girlfriend posted New Years pictures of her and your first husband. Nekked.
  6. You drag yourself to bed at 1 AM and discover your dog with muddy paws has decided to snuggle there too.
  7. You discover your print book order got sent to one of your readers (you forgot to change the address).
  8. Your new neighbors move in and now have twenty Harleys parked on their front lawn for New Years.
  9. Your new release on Amazon today contained the unedited snarky file you made when you were drunk and emailing your writer friend, and you had forgotten to change the manuscript before you hit send.
  10. You told off that annoying friend who was always trying to get you to sign up for her Tupperware parties, and you accidentally emailed your entire contacts database of some 33,000.

I'm sure it will be much better than that. Do you have one you could add?

Hope you have the brightest of New Years. I know it will be your best. I'm counting on it being mine. And with you by my side, it will be!!

Love you all, my beauties!!


On Becoming Real

My favorite Christmas passage I'm sharing with you today. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! Until next year, read romance and give all the love your heart has the capacity for. Love you all…..

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. ‘It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

‘Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, ‘or bit by bit?'

‘It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”    —The Velveteen Rabbit

I hope that all your hair is rubbed off, and your joints get loose and you get good and shabby. I hope you are loved hard, and forever.

Christmas Lights and Hope For A New Year

Christmas and Hanukkah mean so many things to me, as I'm sure they do for you. It is the season of family, new beginnings, and a festival of lights signaling the brightness of hope. This year, the lights in Windsor Town Green were made even more special by the outpouring of thanks for our First Responders.

Many of the grammar school classes chose to honor these heroes, who helped protect many of us and our homes from the devastating fires in Sonoma County. Our heart goes out for the loss of life and property we experienced as a community, and for what's going on in Southern California now.

We know what they're feeling, because we lived through the same. There are families spending the holidays in an apartment, or rented home, instead of the family home they celebrated in for years. For some, it will be truly a new beginning. For others, it chronicles the end of an era, and how some things will never be the same again. Displaced and evacuated peoples are finding all sorts of new ways to celebrate this end of 2017 as we mourn the past and adjust to the future. It's what we do.

House Lights In The Town Green

I make a pilgrimage to look at favorite house lights and the trees in the Town Green every year, but this year affected me more. My grandkids enjoyed looking at each and every one of the trees — I think there were over 100 — all decorated by classrooms, families, businesses and civic groups from all areas of our county. I would say that the overarching theme was that of gratitude, how we are family, all of us, and how we'll all survive.

We ran into a group of carolers strolling down the streets, a gathering of Santas and elves celebrating at a local pub, and a vendor on the square selling bright flashing wands and glow-in-the-dark necklaces. We finished off our meal with ice cream at Powell's, and of course couldn't resist bringing home some peppermint bark, Giants Pez and salt water taffy.

I like it when the windows in local restaurants fog up, when the laughter behind glass as office parties and family get-togethers take place. I found myself missing the family members who will not be with us this year, and it gave me an improved opening scene for a novella I'm trying to finish.

We've had a mild, crisp winter so far, with a cold snap. I harvested a dozen pomegranate fruits, about two dozen new mandarins and some Meyer lemons. I came home to a cracklling fire and turned in early, wearing socks and a flannel nightgown. I considered penning a note to Santa myself.

And I dreamt of what glorious things were in store for me next year — for all of us. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. May the joys of the season be many for you and your family.

(PS – Blogger is not letting me respond to your lovely responses, but know I've been reading them all one by one. Thank you all!)  — Sharon

Love is All You Need


Honoring Home Town Heroes serving the military



Planning My Writing Year

Every year I start planning my writing year in the fourth quarter. When I used to coach Realtors, my line would be, “The most important quarter of next year is the last quarter of this year.” That way, when you start out January 1, you hit the ground running.

It's the same for writing. In fact, all my nearly 30 years selling real estate and coaching agents for the top-rated professional coaching organization I was part of, has only underscored these business principles. We think of writing as an emotional journey. People think we writers write when we feel like it, and when “the muse strikes us,” and for some, that definitely is the way of it. But for the successful authors, which I strive to remain part of, it takes prior planning and discipline.

I used to think that writing was different than selling Real Estate. Well, after some 7 years, I can tell you it isn't. Everything is sales. Relationships are based on sales. Raising children is a huge sales job (and sometimes a battle between who is doing the better sell job on whom). Falling in love is sales. Having clients or fans is sales. Associating with other authors or other business people, is sales. Maintaining your positive energy and mindset is a tricky and important sell job we do on ourselves.

So, once again, I've stripped off the cloak of confusion, hiding and secrets, and jump head-on into the Business of Writing. After all, we are not hobbyists with our writing. We are professional authors. And to call us such, we have to have a business plan, a direction and a template to repeat or build on our successes and strive to eliminate what didn't work well.

In the old days, I started by telling a story:

What Went Right
     What Needs Improvement

Then I gave my numbers from the previous year, and used a percentage at the sidebar, stating if it was up (an improvement) or down (a decrease), or stayed the same. I listed my 5 most important goals for last year and how I did on all 5 of them. After all, a year cannot be evaluated based on one thing alone. There are always things that are better or worse than before. It's never totally a success or a failure, right?

Then I decided what were my new goals for this upcoming year, and the numbers that supported that success. I broke it down to the number of work days, weeks, time off, conventions and events I wanted to attend, vacations, and came up with a total number of days I wanted to work. I backed the numbers into those days, figuring how many it took of each category to achieve what my goal was. For instance, if I made 42 cold calls a day, for 5 days a week, it automatically guaranteed an income of $X, based on my ratios. I knew how many appts. I needed to make, how many listings I would take, buyers I would have, and how many of those would turn into successful transactions, even figuring what my average transaction income was.

I've done the same for my writing year. I know there will be fluctuations in the marketplace, just like there is in Real Estate, and those are out of my control. But I can figure on a general figure, and I usually aim low. I know that certain books will generate what average income, whether it be by genre or length of book. I estimate how much I need to spend to promote and achieve those numbers, but I weigh them not on the promotion costs, but my activity costs. (I'm not buying the business, I'm generating a writing income. I've seen writers, as well as Realtors spend money to achieve ranking rather than actually creating it, which is the long-term sustainability goal).  A book takes X number of days to write, and X number of days to edit, get the cover done, have formatted and upload. I have to take into account all these time factors to realistically estimate how much time it will take to achieve my goal. I may have to adjust by: being more consistent with my writing day, or, spending less on costs, or learning to write or edit faster, or change the environment around me as far as helpers and people who I pay to help me produce my product. Perhaps I need to trim staff. Perhaps I need to add. Perhaps trim the number of conventions, perhaps increase certain ones. You see how it goes.

And then the fun part happens, I mark it all out on a yearly calendar. I have eBooks, Audio Books, and Print Books. I have swag and other things I buy to promote. I put a budget to all these things, and then track it. And I keep a tight leash on my writing day vs. my promotional part of the day. For me, I like to keep the writing together, and the promotional days together so I don't have to keep switching hats all the time in the same day.

The last phase is How We Do It Here. I love Michael Gerber's books like e-Myth. I love the SEALs code of Prepare, prepare, prepare, train, train, train, action. Then aim. I like to aim after I've executed. I like to prepare after I've trained. I like to prepare for my training, and so forth, working backwards. Saying it more simply:

     I dream about what I want to achieve
     I plan for success
     I train and focus on the plan
     I execute** (notice I don't adjust during execution-“Balls To The Wall”)
     I track and evaluate constantly
     I adjust my plan

We often see the routes an airplane takes as a straight crescent from Point A to Point B. But in fact, it is a series of hundreds, perhaps thousands of adjustments along the way. If you were to see the path the plane took, it would look like wiggly lines a mouse might make traveling from one place to another, as he makes adjustments and perhaps gets distracted. We are the same as writers!

Why should we plan as writers? Well, my mentor used to say, “You get what you think about most the time.” He'd add to someone in the audience, a male he could joke with, “That means you'd turn into a blonde 30 year old bombshell.” But in seriousness, we have a plan so we have the vision to achieve it, and the backup to that vision, the way we're going to make it happen. This way, we get to launch into our next year with confidence. Those first few weeks of our year are like the Honeymoon Event, when everything is possible and nothing hasn't turned out wrong — YET! But the plan keeps us on track, so we can adjust, perhaps see where we made a miscalculation and make that correction before we have to work out the whole year in a mode that isn't going to work. Our plan is adjustable, because it's a working plan.

And any good working plan needs the courage to follow it, to track and look at it critically to make those adjustments. Otherwise, the plan is an exercise in futility. I knew a lot of Realtors who made a plan, but never concentrated on the execution or the little tweaks that could have paid them huge dividends. Writers are the same.

We learned to walk as toddlers by bumping into things and falling on our rears. No plan is perfect. No execution is perfect. But if we focus on it, focus on the training and preparation, the execution will come easier. Or rather, we can execute without second-guessing ourselves in the process. If we prepare and train, we don't hesitate. If we have a plan for the year, each day becomes more relevant instead of slipping away. Every story becomes part of the fabric of our writing year. Every character sketch or re-write brings us more jewels, more clarity and better books.

And it makes the whole process more fun.

I hope your 2018 is the very best year of your writing or reading life. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a New Year that will sparkle with all the magic success brings us all. After all, you deserve it!

Now, go!

***Late Note: Blogger is not allowing me to respond to all your wonderful comments. Just know that I'm reading each and every one of them, and taking them to heart. Feel free to pass along this column if you wish. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!***



Family Traditions

Making soap for mom and dad.

Most of us have fond memories of the holidays when we were children. I can still remember making Swedish Tea Ring with my grandmother Christensen, in her kitchen in Fresno. My little hands worked the dough, and sliced little holes as the wreath was made, revealing the red and green candied cherries, the nuts and cinnamon tucked inside. It wasn't Christmas unless I could do that.

My grandparents sang Christmas carols in Danish, as well. My grandmother Fox told the story of how, as a new bride, they were snowed in one Christmas, and she couldn't get to the store.  Instead of having a big feast, they had frozen sausages, pineapple rings, which she made with sprinkled red and green sugar, with red candy dots making the berries at the bottom of the wreath. To this day, we fry these little pineapple wreaths as we tell the story to the younger generation.

Our 37# bird this year. Cooked in a bag.

My little brother sang “Binkle Bells” at night when he was about three or four, when the whole house was quiet on Christmas Eve. I will never forget the sound of his sweet little voice echoing throughout our house.

We'd invite Stanford students from different countries to share our Thanksgiving tables. I remember Lali from Turkey, Bobo from France (his real name was Hubert), and our favorite vagabond traveler who had been all over the world, Currie. I could listen to his stories about his travels throughout the jungles and beaches of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand years before there was a war there. My mother taught him how to bake bread and cook because he'd hired on to an Alaskan exploration crew as a cook, and didn't know the first thing about it. Our friend, Harold, another student, taught my brother and I how to collect pennies.

I loved listening to Grandpa Fox's sermons, and, although I was embarrassed having to walk down the church aisle behind Grandma Fox (because she wore 7 purses), it was a special time for the Fox grandchildren, because the church body loved us as much as they loved Grandpa. He was and still is the largest person in life, who had a big God and the heart big enough to envelop us all.

Butternut Squash from the garden

When my brother and I sometimes stayed with them in Napa, sometimes women and children would be sheltered there, hidden away from an abusive husband. We would be awakened, and asked to sleep in the living room, so the mother and her children could have a warm bed to safely sleep in at night. We also learned that homeless people learned they could get a free meal at my Grandmother's rear kitchen door, and we knew there had been marking left on the fencepost, although we could never tell where those marks were.

When our kids were younger, we took a cruise at Christmas to the Caribbean, and were entertained by a local children's choir with their island-flavor Christmas carols one special Christmas Day. We watched monkeys come up to us on the beach and large parrots with colorful foliage robbed us of our fruit at a picnic.

I remember my oldest, D.J., arguing with children at a Macy's in San Francisco, talking to the “Talking Christmas Tree” and defending his honor, when these children called him stupid and made fun of the tree. “I'm your friend, Mr. Christmas Tree,” he told him. I was never more proud.

I was lucky. And so now I complete the cycle, spreading the stories. It's so difficult now, because we can't all sit at the same table. The little ones are so precious. My next-to-the-youngest last night told me this, “Grandma, I wish it was Christmas.”

I agree. With all four of my children safe and in the US out of harm's way, their spouses and children by their sides, we were all together this year. I think that makes it about the most perfect Thanksgiving and early Christmas it could ever be.

What about you? What's been special about your holiday so far? I'd love to hear about your traditions…



They stared into each other’s eyes for several seconds. They
never used to do this. It was all go at it, get to the sex or the argument. But
tonight, they just looked at each other’s faces and absorbed what they saw. She
saw a man damaged by his own hand and burdened by a past that wasn’t his fault.
She saw a man who had one speed, and that was fast. On. Present. No daydreams or
visions of greatness. He used to tell her he was just a man who was hired “to
get ’er done” because he could. He did the things others couldn’t do, and for
that, he’d paid a heavy price. But he also didn’t want anyone’s pity.
And she was a woman who couldn’t take the energy because it
interfered with her own. He needed someone who could support him. She needed
the same thing, and neither one could give the other what was needed. That was
the long and the short of it.
Unmasked and without the emotional overtones, the angry
upsets, and hurts, she could see better who this man really was. And he wasn’t
so threatening. Or maybe he’d learned to couch some things, change his behavior
in ways she’d not noticed. This could be the way he was all along, and she just
never saw it.

Any way she served it up, she came to the same conclusion.
She’d heard people say it on military blogs or at functions she used to attend.
She’d seen it written on a plaque located on an island in the South Pacific,
carved by men who knew what they were talking about and who’d just lost their
best friends on a foreign beach. She stepped toward him without touching,
inhaled, and said, “Thank you, Morgan for all you’ve done and continue to do to
keep me safe. Thank you for my freedom. I appreciate you more than I’ve ever
told you before.”
He was going to grab her and kiss her, but she pushed him
“Whoa! I didn’t mean that. I said
‘thank you’, not ‘come fuck me.’”
His smirk was so disarming, in spite of how wrong it was to
love seeing it. He was forbidden fruit all the way. Every part of him. The way
he looked, the imaginary way he made love to her in her dreams—full tilt
without holding anything back. He made quick decisions just like she did, like
it was ready, fire, and then aim. He’d always give his all and bear the
consequences of the haunting afterward. He wouldn’t change for anyone or
anything because being damaged looked good on him. Like a uniform that was
perfectly tailored. His scars were his medals. He was a hurricane sometimes without
a focus, and he’d never be tethered to anyone, no matter what the cost. But he
could, and she honestly believed this with her whole heart, that he could save
her from whomever was after her.

Just before he opened the door, he turned. “Darlin’, I’m
revved and ready to go if and when you ever decide to drop that gate.”

Thought you also wouldn't mind a couple of other shots of my San Francisco model, Justin Thomas (who is about as nice to meet as he looks). Just 2 more days. Ok ladies, start your engines!

You can order Bachelor SEAL here. Enjoy!



Who could resist this face? We visited with some people who were trying to care for this little orphan puppy, once loved, but the product of a divorce. My heart broke when I saw such a sweet dog having to live in an environment that isn't healthy for Dobermans. They need a lot of affection, and a lot of connection to their humans. They are working dogs, so they need a place to run. The pup practically wouldn't let me leave, and his behavior told me he was starved for affection. I knew we could give that affection and the right environment for him to heal.

When we left, I mentioned that if they needed a home for this darling, sweet tan Doberman, that we could provide a loving home. They of course had to check with the original owners, and the next day, they delivered this pup to our front door. He's scared, very skinny, but has one of the sweetest temperaments I've ever seen in a dog. It's a pure joy to see him running in our seven acre fenced yard, trying to keep up with the older dogs. He's already faster than Rosa (who is a bit chunky and everyone mistakes her for a Chocolate Lab).

We named him Tucker, since he's a Tan. Now we have a Blue, (Blue), a Red (Rosa), and a Tan (Tucker). Blue and Rosa are adjusting surprisingly well. Both of them are rather spoiled, so there have been some growling and boundary setting issues, but so far it's been better than we expected. And he didn't cry all night long. He can't make it up stairs yet (probably never experienced them), nor does he know what a dog toy or a dog treat is.

He slept on a new bed I bought him with a fleece cover, and when I showed it to him, he lay right down on it like he understood. We have beds all over our house for the other dogs, but I wanted a fresh one without a scent to be his. My two older ones are delighted they can have the entire upstairs to themselves – their sanctuary. He doesn't pee in the house either, which is the one phase of puppyhood I wasn't looking forward to.

We think he'll be big, as we estimate he's about 5 months old. He goes to the vet this week for shots and a checkup. We'll get a little meat on him, if we can, so we don't see those ribs, which are painful to watch.

But what a joy, and a pure love. Next issue will be having him neutered, but one event at a time. We'll let him get adjusted first. Then we'll deal with his manhood issue. LOL. Rosa and Blue are both fixed. We want him to heal when he feels more confident in his surroundings.

We felt we saved this sweet dog's life. Welcome to the family, Tucker.


My Own Arizona Memorial Story

Our President has visited the Arizona Memorial today and I was reminded of my trip to Pearl Harbor in February of 2016, while at a writer's conference. Each time I visit this sacred site, my love for the military and all those who sacrificed for me and my freedoms increases. Words cannot express how it changes a person to see the oil still leaking from the bow of the great ship, now residing in the shallow waters of the Bay, with some of its crew forever enshrined.

I wrote about that visit on my blog from December 2016 here

During that visit, I was able to see several Japanese visitors pay their respects to the fallen. The flowers I wore that day floated out to sea with the flowers and water contributed by those visitors in a shared time and place that was over 75 years in the making. For this memorial is their memorial too. It is a memorial for the whole world. It's a reminder of what was, what was done, and what remains to this day. It's the ongoing saga of war and peace that has haunted mankind for centuries. It is the best and worst of times all in one.

We study history through the lens of our own experience and to each one of us, that history is slightly different with many thoughts and feelings in common. But not all. History is personal. And it needs many voices to tell the story in all its detail. For one person alone could never do it. Even one nation couldn't tell the story of why so many men and women die while serving those they protect honorably, and why and how those of us who remember and live on are grateful.

I write about fictional heroes, who don't always die. I am saving fictional characters, one at a time. It's all I can do, by adding names and stories from my head, putting them on paper for readers to love and enjoy. It's another fantasy view of the history of the world inside my brain. Writers have the joy and the burden of not only telling stories of what really happened, but what could be. In that way, these men and women live forever. My stories will outlive me some day.

On this rainy day in Northern California, I'm remembering those wind-swept afternoons I walked along the beach in Honolulu and traveled on a little boat to visit a part of my history. And I'm grateful to be here to reflect and share. Throwing my words like leis on the water going out to sea.


Rising From The Fire

My parent's old home was left standing. Melted shutters.

Many of you familiar with my history and my work know that in 2008 our house burned down. I had, up until that time, maintained a busy and successful Real Estate career. It was a challenge, in a falling market, working with two other family members and a team of assistants, but it was a well-oiled machine that left us in the top 10 of just about every category in Northern California. I was proud of it.

When our fire occurred, it gave me the opportunity to do something else. Insurance gave us some living arrangements (a small one bedroom apartment), which I mainly stayed in by myself. Our property and house were an all-consuming job for my husband. Plus we had about 50 chickens, our Dobermans and “visits” by people who thought it was a good idea to help themselves to some of our things. He was doing battle with the insurance company, contractors and cleanup crew. All my clothes were either burned or affected by smoke.

Here are some scenes from the recent Wildfires in Santa Rosa. Not my house this time, but way more devastating.


I had a couple of choices. I could go replace everything, pretend nothing had happened and just resume my former business, or I could take a little time to sort out what exactly I wanted to do. We had to decide whether or not to rebuild the house, where we would live, what things we would throw away and what things we'd save for later sorting. My head was spinning.

Because I was alone with the apartment, next door to our office, I solved my lack of sleeping problem (too much to think about) with some late-night movies, and some reading. I did more reading than I'd previously done in years. I discovered Outlander and it got me hooked into good old fashioned storytelling. I even began an email dialog with Diana Gabaldon at one point.

Although very stressful, the fire actually became the catalyst for my writing career. I think opportunity comes from stresses that seem at the time to be overwhelming. Just like diamonds created by millions of years of pressure and heat from earth masses, the creative side of me, one that hadn't been tested or expressed, began oozing out and I spent more time in my fantasyworld than I did on reality. I did it first out of self preservation. And then I began to do it because I felt it was my calling.

I wish I could say the process was clear, direct and in a straight line to success. Just like everything worthwhile in life, there are ups and downs. But, looking back, if I had to do it all over again: sacrifice some of my very precious things for a chance adventure into a new realm, or to wake up my fantasy world, I'd do it all over again. I really would.

Like the Phoenix, I emerged from the fire a completely different human being. I think about this these days as I drive past burned out homes and consider all the decisions and issues affecting people's lives who have survived our horrible wildfire.

Remember my premise: circumstances don't make a person. They reveal a person. This path wasn't one I'd planned on following. But it's one I chose once I had the options. I guess that's why they say we have to understand the difference between what we can control and what we cannot. And be good with it, focusing on what we can control.

In a way, my house burning down was a blessing. I hope some of this will be the experience of some others this year. Terrible tragedy in most ways. But not all ways. There are some people who are going to be given choices they'd never really had before. And that's where the rising, the magic comes.


The Chase for Great Story

Watched the documentary on Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip. I'd never been a Dead Head, though I lived amongst people who knew them well, and have meet several of the Dead band members. I had to be introduced because I wouldn't have recognized them.  I sold a house to one of their Sound Engineers and he had to go see the property at 2-3AM to make sure the countryside was sufficiently quiet enough so, when he came home from work, he could sleep.

We don't think about all the sacrifices people have to endure to make creative endeavors. How some endeavors overtake us, some make us whole and happy, and others haunt our very lives. I do understand the burden of having to be the leader of a band and a movement not of Mr. Garcia's own creation. He just wanted to make music and help people have fun. Period.

I've said it many, many times: Circumstances don't make a person. They reveal a person. How we react to the forces in our time on this earth is our choice, our focus. Some people try to change it, direct it. I see it like raising a child. You can't tell them everything they will need to know to grow up straight, resilient, happy and strong. But you gently guide them and introduce them to different directions, and some of these may take hold. There is no right nor wrong of it. It's what we do.

It's the same for creative endeavors like writing a story. We fall in love with characters, bring them to the edge and just before they fall off the cliff, we save them. It could be something that randomly comes from their past, or something deep inside them and brings a strength they didn't know they had inside until they are tested. Compelling stories in romance tell how a person becomes a better version of him or herself, due to the love relationship that changes their lives.

If I do it right, I take the reader on a journey. The reader knows things the character doesn't yet know about. Of course, things have to be a surprise too, we want the character to do or say things outside his or her usual sphere, and we can have fun with that as they experiment with something new. We do this as writers all the time with our own worlds — I mean, the worlds inside and outside my head.

I had trouble sleeping last night, so I spent it with my characters, former SEAL Morgan Hansen and his ex-wife, supermodel and women's empowerment guru, Halley (who still goes by the last name Hansen). In this story I've gotten to explore the chemical attraction between the two of them, now tempered with the passage of alone time, while her career has spiked and his as a former Navy SEAL has ended. Except, once a SEAL, always a SEAL, there is danger and a forced collaboration that results in an almost pre-determined series of events neither one is able to control.

You can preorder the book here: Bachelor SEAL

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bachelor-SEAL-Sleeper-SEALs-Book-ebook/dp/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Bachelor-SEAL-Sleeper-SEALs-Book-ebook/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Bachelor-SEAL-Sleeper-SEALs-Book-ebook/dp/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20
Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/Bachelor-SEAL-Sleeper-SEALs-English-ebook/dp/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/Bachelor-SEAL-Sleeper-SEALs-English-ebook/dp/B072BWYC76/?tag=sharohamil-20

Barnes & Noble: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bachelor-seal

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bachelor-seal/id1212824382?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bachelor-sealAnd I love the idea of control as a theme, or rather, how we have little of it. We don't control mother nature (our recent wildfires), or how God has made each one of us unique (the birth of my 6th grandchild, Lily Aria), or when we have set the forces of the universe on a particular path that will have a collision course with other forces in motion and out of our control.

Having fun. Eating doughnuts, drinking coffee, and I'm going to take a couple of hours off this afternoon for some grandbaby time.

Life is good. Another story is nearing it's HEA. Once it's out there, I will have no control. I think I like it better that way.


Is It A Battle or A Marriage? Creative Brain vs. Logical Brain

She's in the fantasy of the story. He eats cake.

I always told myself that I loved writing my stories so thoroughly that I would never experience burn-out, or need a break. I told myself that was what other authors did who perhaps had overwhelming things come up in their lives: family concerns, economic downturns or just life in general, and this somehow wouldn't apply to me. Because none of these things would happen to me. I always thought of myself as bullet-proof. Unstoppable. I'm a great one for giving this kind of advice too. Just ask me.

And then June-July of this year happened. I can't say what it was. I knew something was up (still in denial mode) when I knew I shouldn't read my reviews and couldn't stop from doing so, when friends who had phenomenal success suddenly made me feel like a loser, or when I made up stories about the significance of book sales, how fast people got back to me, and on and on and on it went. You know the drill. Your mind goes on a dribble like chasing oversized zucchinis down a hill. These lumpy thoughts felt like my brain was filled with busy little ants trying to make a kingdom of my gray matter.

Seeking vehicular meaning. Not.

Every one of my calendars was still on July, until last week. My desk looked like a hamster was nesting there. I hated to check social media, stayed off Facebook and especially Messenger, but a few got through. When people started thinking perhaps I was dead, I had to laugh. Even then I didn't respond sometimes. I know. It was selfish, self-absorbed, poor manners. But I needed a break.

This December 15th it will be ten years since I started writing. It will be eight years since I published my first little novella, and five years since I published my biggest seller, Accidental SEAL, my first book to take off and begin to make some serious money. I've taken roughly sixty online writing classes, attended about a hundred RWA Chapter meetings, attended probably close to that number of book signings and online FB events. I have a huge following and newsletter list, and lots of adoring fans who fill me with delight. So, what's the problem?

The emergency brainectomy of life.

At first I thought I'm boycotting social media because, after all, this last election cycle had to be one of the nastiest one in our history. I was so disappointed to read how my very good writer friends had positions I thought were crazy, or how they thought my positions were. I stopped talking politics except at home, but I should have stayed out of it there too. There was nothing redeeming on social media and I felt like a mouse in that enormous flywheel, running, running, running to catch up. I still missed things, deadlines snuck up on me, and others I had to just walk away from.

But social media wasn't the reason for my situation. Amazon wasn't the big bad monster interfering with discoverability and book sales. I wondered if my Red-White-and-Blue-Rah-Rah-Love-The-Military themes in my books were getting shoved down in the algorhithms. Was there too much competition? Or, did I not work hard enough? Did I believe in myself enough? Where was God, my family and my friends and how come they couldn't fix me? Help me?

I expected to look 20 when I peeled this off.

Facials and massages didn't work. The soapmaking classes, collage classes, walks in the park, gardening, starting a new business, traveling to Mexico, didn't work. I dyed my hair red, and that made me laugh, but it didn't put the fire in my soul. I listened to music, burned a ton of candles, stayed out in the sun as much as I could stand, and even tried to go vegan for awhile. I tried to read and couldn't get through any of the first chapters. I got more sleep than I've had in years. I cancelled seven events, dealt with a blood clot to my leg and a minor stroke my husband had. Everything is fine. No life-threatening things on the horizon then or now.

So, what was it?

It was my logical mind trying to do a BDSM session with my creative mind. It took special glee in whipping and tying my creative self up with “that doesn't works” and “you are so stupid” comments, humiliating that part of me where all the magic lives. And the longer it went, the more my logical mind tried to be in control. I was trying to figure it all out.

I love the story about the two dogs. One dog is the vicious, fearful one, and the other dog is the excited, loving and creative dog that loves affection, connection and that sense of coming home. That famous Native American story goes that we have to decide what dog we feed.


The only way through it is to give myself over to the Creative Brain. There is no real control, is there? We don't know why music fills our soul, or why flowers make us happy, or why sun brings us some sort of divine energy from the Heavens. Our creative side has no limits, no borders, no barriers and no regrets.

And it's a choice. That's what I've chosen.

Will I go back to being a social butterfly? No. I'm going to be careful. I'm going to pace myself. I'm going to be careful who I hang around, who fills my day. But I'm going to make most of it filled with my characters from the books. I've been missing them.

And unlike real life, I can have as many lovers in my fantasy life as I choose. I guess what I found, after all this wandering is not my brain, but my heart. Writing stories is the most enjoyable activity in my life. That's the dog I'm feeding.

What do you think? I'd really love to hear it…(kiss, kiss).

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