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.
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.
My 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.
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?
I 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!
Santa Rosa, California
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.
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.”
(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.
(He did come home safely. He went off to war a boy and came back a man.)
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?
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.
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.
QUICK UPDATE FEBRUARY SIGNING:
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
MARK THE DATE AND SIGN UP EARLY FOR VALLEY FORGE IN AUGUST:
🇺🇸MILITARY AUTHORS & READERS🇺🇸
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!!
AUTHORS WE HAVE LIMITED TABLES AVAILABLE GET YOURS NOW!
📄Intrest doc ~ https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSd1_DOBOJ7OLJj1BF…/viewform
🎭FB group for readers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1175125239241447/
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…
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
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:
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!!