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18

CINDERELLA LIVES!

Yesterday I babysat my two grandchildren. I'd finally received my copy of Cinderella, the new Disney movie that has outsold all other Disney movies to date. I wasn't able to see it in the theater, but when I stumbled upon the soundtrack, I had to have the movie. The three of us watched it.

This story is so important, not only because she gets the handsome prince in the end, although that is part of the happily ever after we like to read and write in romance. What was important to me was that it was the first story I heard that I can remember feeling the joy of belonging somewhere. Being wanted. Finding my magical doorway to the rest of my life. It was such an uncommon thought for someone less than three years old. I can remember it as if it was yesterday. It has colored everything I do, every choice I made in life since. And it started with a story, a little record player and a picture book to go along with it.

And a room by myself in the upstairs of my huge house. It was like Cinderella's attic. Where all the dreaming and magic happened.

One of the things that graces us when we age is that a lot of things fall away. We forget some hurts. We are smoothed over by the passage of time so that the sun comes out again after a long night, bad feelings and hurtful situations soon fade into the patchwork that is our lives.

One of my favorite songs is “Why Don't We Just Dance.” I've used it in several of my SEAL books, because, when things are strange, when things are perched on a cliff of unknown height, when we aren't sure what to do, I think it's just a good idea to kick of your shoes and just dance. That's how the record ended, with the song, “So This is Love.” and she is dancing in a beautiful ball gown in front of a crowd of people who wished they were dancing too.

Another favorite song of mine is The Dance, “I could have done without the pain but then I would have missed the dance.” What a wonderful line that is.

I was Cinderella in those days. Every fibre of my being was forged into the romantic with rose colored glasses, a dreamer. I learned how to let myself feel. A gift from my three-year-old self to the woman I am today. I am grateful to that little girl who had the courage to take that first step out on the dance floor.

This week, we are launching a beautiful documentary called Love Between The Covers. I financially supported this film (if you scroll down slowly you'll see my name!). I did it because the story has to be told. When I started writing, I had no idea it would be so. It has made me a successful author who can support myself living just about anywhere in the country. It's also important that the world knows what romance does for us. It heals us. I want everyone to know this.

I took a writing workshop very early in my career, and developed the tagline:  True Love Heals In The Gardens Of The Heart. I wanted to have gardens in my website and use it on promotional things and was talked out of it. Experts. Some day I'll write a post on experts. Thank God I haven't listened to them all the time! And yes, sometimes you have to do things wrong first before you learn.

The story that I'm not ashamed to tell is that romance is good for us. You can read my posts of the last month, and just about all of them are on this subject. What happens to our brains, what happens to our general mood when we fall in love, deep, satisfying romantic love.

I watched transfixed as Cinderella danced in that beautiful blue dress, in the arms of the handsome price who twirled her and took her places she could not go by herself–but places she had dreamt.

I think we were meant to dance all our lives, just like we were meant to read about falling in love, letting it make us feel good. To whisper our love stories to the crickets and stars at night, to feel the old earth rotating slowly, oblivious of the passage of time. It all starts with believing in the dance of the heart.

4

CRAZY THINGS WE WRITERS DO TO GET NOTICED: SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

I can't tell where the idea came from to dress up as a pregnant bride, but before I knew it, I was in a bridal store, buying a beautiful gown on sale, with my husband of 44 years. It was so funny how the owner of the store, a man, came up to us, smiling.
“When's the big day?”
“Oh, we've had it,” Don said.
The owner didn't quite know what to say.
“It's a costume. We've been married 44 years,” I said. I was thinking to myself, as I stood in this beautiful white satin dress with beaded bodice, I'd never owned something so nice. I didn't really have a wedding dress, although the one I wore those 44 years ago I made myself. I also made Don's shirt. I was stitching the buttons on it as he was racing to the wedding site. But now, after 4 children and 44 successful years of marriage, I was finally buying a wedding dress.
My husband was beaming and gave me a big kiss. “You look prettier today than you did back then,” which was something this lady can never hear enough.
“You okay with this?” I asked him.
He shook his head, and with that twinkle in his eye, said, “Am I going to be able to stop you?”

Of course, the answer was no. “Well, I'm using my money from my book sales.”
“I know that. It's yours to spend however you want.”

The Russian lady who did my fitting asked me, “So when are you getting married?”
“I'm already married.”
(silence)
“I'm buying the dress for a costume.”
“Oh,” she said as she cinched up my bodice. It kind of hurt.
“I'm doing a book signing, and sponsoring a bachelorette party. We're doing fun games. It's a chance to have fun with readers, my fans, and other authors.”
“You do this book signing in a book store in a wedding dress?” she said in her thick Russian accent.
I knew I'd lost her.

Whether or not it was wise, I'm sure the moment was memorable. I'm sure people remembered me, and they certainly did have a good time. I missed the raunchy music, low lighting and some candlelight, but it was okay. There were no male strippers even though there had been rumors of such. But it was a photo op time. A chance to get WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone.

Like the time I drove to SFO in an MG with the top down (my roommate's boyfriend drove me), dressed as a nun. I was going up to Portland to see a boyfriend who swore if I transferred to Santa Clara I'd become catholic. My friends in the dorm helped me “act nun” like walk leaning into the walls and to keep my eyes downturned. No one sat by me in the waiting area, or on the plane. When I walked past, people stopped talking. One woman came up to me and said, “Oh honey. You're so beautiful,” like I should be making babies instead of helping the poor.

When TJ took pulled up to the SFO terminal, we happened to park behind a taxi full of real nuns. And because his door was broken, I had to climb out by standing on the seat and climbing over the side of the car. The nuns stopped and looked at me, and then went on.

Well, it would have been nice to have my cinderella dress and dance the night away to a full orchestra, doing big turns and waltzing until I dropped. I was looking forward to one nice dance, but that was not to be. Perhaps that will be another story. Now I just look forward to coming home to my prince charming, who has watered my roses, fed the dogs and been more than patient in my folly of the past few days. The wonderful thing about him is that he has learned to take me with a grain of salt, and to patiently wait until my feet hit the ground again.

14

LOVE AND LUST Part II: Long Term Love

I love the chemistry of this couple.

I got married in 1971, and back then, I didn't understand what I do now about long term relationships. As I've said so many times before, I got lucky. I stumbled along the path of hearts and flowers, probably because my head has always been safely tucked in a rich fantasy life. I remember things as no one else does and I've stopped second-guessing this and just accepted this fantasy world as being every bit as real as anything else I've actually experienced.

The topic of love is fascinating to me and I've been a student of the effects of love on brain function. People meditate for lots of reasons–for clarity, peace, to calm their anxiety–why not for love?
Did you know that married people are five times more likely to have sex two or three times a week than are singles? A Vanderbilt study said, “While people get older and busier, as a relationship proceeds they also get more skillful–in and out of the bedroom.” There are the seasons of the heart, too: when we're close, when we're in our separate worlds, when we fight, when we make up. We aren't one thing all the time. I didn't understand this when I was young. Yes, I write younger women as perhaps a fantasy ideal to fit in with the genre or characters I'm using, but I'd much prefer to be the age I currently am, compared to the care-free 20-something. And to be that woman, all I have to do is close my eyes or pick up my favorite book. I have learned we can actually physically change our brain and that this change is now being studied in psychology today as totally healthy. Yes, I said reading love stories, fantasizing and meditating on love, lust, sex and all parts in between, is actually life sustaining. It's good for you!
A recent study of long term marriages and passion says this: “One thing you learn over time is that no matter how log you live together, two people always inhabit separate worlds. Some part of your partner is deeply unknowable.” Who besides me thinks this is sexy? Sara Ban Breathnach calls it “the search for the undiscovered other.” Like an explorer of old, searching for love, for the adventure of love and being loved, is one of the sexiest things we can do. And it doesn't mean you have to sleep around. In fact, I'll wager sleeping around actually ruins it. One study calls it sexual mystery. I laugh when mystery writers tell me they can't write romance–the biggest mystery of the ages!
In a long term relationship my experience is that you wander around the halls of the heart, not knowing when the encounter will stop and start, but you know the potential is always there, might happen when you least expect it, but you have certainty that it is there, ready to surprise and thrill you.  “The familiarity of a partner is soothing. Is it too calming for couples to get it on? Or does it open the door for intense sexual arousal?” Quite different than being out on the prowl, looking for something else when the perfect love is right at your side. 
I allow myself to be conquered and captured, and all the sexy implications that that brings. I willingly submit to one man only, and turn that submission into a creative exploration of passion. That keeps sex fresh and new, ever-changing. It isn't dependent on frequency or some other arbitrary criteria. We are for each other what we want to be for each other. I will feel this way still even if he precedes me in death. The fantasies and the memories will never leave me while I live and breathe. 
I guess I would have to say that perfect love is what you dream it to be. That place I take with me everywhere. Always.

And is there anything more sexy than the picture of a bed with tussled sheets?


Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
15

LOVE AND LUST: Becoming Your Own Courtesan

Not to worry. This will be very PG in words, but hopefully a little X in the fantasy of our minds. I'm a collector of ideas, especially about love and lust. Partly it's my job, and partly it's because it interests me more now than at any other time in my life. I used to wonder what it would feel like (and yes, I might have dreaded it a bit) being over a certain age (a lady never reveals her age but she will get nekked with the right guy). I distinctly remember being in my twenties and knowing my life would be over at 29. Anything after that didn't look interesting to me at all. And boy was I wrong.

In fact, I think love, romance, sex, lust and all things in between, either practiced, dreamt about, read or listened to is even more important the more mature we become. Nice thing that happens and a little secret to aging: we don't get old. We just enjoy all those fantasies in our head more than the reality of what's really going on as we climb the ladder of life.

I've read a lot of Sarah Ban Breathnach and find her writing touches me deeply. Her discussion of the word Casanova, that mythical great lover every woman wants to meet, literally means new house. She suggests a woman cannot be in love with herself or life if she is living in the wrong place. I think men are the same way.

I have Romancing The Ordinary by my bed and often read a chapter before I fall asleep. Here's a little quote: ‘The true courtesan was traditionally more than a beautiful prostitute. Many of the most successful courtesans in history were cultured and sophisticated, enjoying considerable power and prestige. Courtesans were accomplished women of great beauty and intelligence. Highly sought companions of royalty, prime ministers, and wealthy gentlemen, they were expertly skilled in the elegant arts, which, besides lovemaking, included conversing, flirtation, entertaining, music, poetry, art, sports, politics and intrigue. The courtesan might seem at first to represent the antithesis of love, but in many ways her history is spectacularly romantic…These women often commanded intense love and prompted great works of art.'

Is there anything more exciting than sharing our passion?

She also talks about falling in love with love, how, she smiles more, expects to see her lover, whether real or fantasy, around every corner. She possesses more of the 2 extra senses SB says woman have: knowing and a sense of curiosity and exploration. Food tastes better. Drinking wine is a sensual ancient act. Shower gel and bubble baths are more important. Intimate tucked away places and soft music, tuscan orange hand lotion and bright fabric clothes and smooth Egyptian Cotton sheets that are way more expensive than we can afford — all these things come into our lives.

Why do we do these things? Does our lover make us do them? No. We do them because we want to enhance our own lives, because it feels good to be in love, especially to love intensely, deeply. She calls it the practice of the sacred self-nurture. We listen to or write poetry, paint, sew, garden, listen to music, AND WE READ LOVE STORIES!

In short, we become the courtesan of our own bodies, our thoughts and dreams. We seek to create the environment where love is not only something that feels good, it sustains us, and alters everything around us.

SB calls it the place of belonging. And isn't the state of love, bliss, lust and excitement where we all belong? Is there any wonder why so many men and women read/write and enjoy romance? As I've said before, when we love deeply our truest, most generous and miraculous selves are revealed, unfolded like the shedding of our clothes. When there isn't anything separating us.

Nothing at all.

21

Navy SEALs – What’s Not To Love? SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

Print/Audio books Available 9/25

Navy SEALs. As readers, we can't live without them. Like pirates of the High Seas and heroes of the Wild West, Navy SEAL heroes are big, big business in romance today. Mystery and suspense writers are having Navy SEAL and former SEAL characters show up in books. Paranormal writers have been adding SEALs to their menu of colorful characters. They are indeed the stuff of legends.

I'm not a purist, and I certainly take great liberties with non-fiction stories I've read, people I've interviewed and conversations I've overheard. I would hope that no one takes any fiction writer's words as gospel because the knowledge of the community is all over the lot when it comes to military romance. Some complain about the lack of “getting it right.” I say a story is a story. We get ideas when we go to movies, but does anyone really believe the plots we view on the big screen are real? Even plausible?

After all, life is a story. It's all made up, anyway. We're all here acting out our little drama for this brief time on this planet. If we were all seeking pure truth, we'd still be arguing about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin and still we wouldn't have the answer.

Releasing 10-14-15 including Audio

Good stories are just that, good stories. A kernel of truth, some mixture of angst, lust, love, desire to become better, more whole, loved more, respected, rooting out bad guys and seeking the elusive Happily Ever After – all these things make up for a good story. When we suspend disbelief, when we believe in things greater than ourselves, we say a book or a story inspires us. As writers, we all want to write that book that makes someone stay up all night long finishing. Grabs hold of you and never lets go.

When I first wrote my Navy SEALs back in 2011, there weren't a lot of other writers doing it. Now it seems like everyone is, and I say all the better. My first book faire was miserable. I sat and asked if people liked reading military romance and readers looked at me like I was nuts. Like the words military and romance didn't belong together. I even had a lady ask me, “What's so romantic about war?”

Heck, today we have zombie, ghost and caribou shapeshifter romance. I can remember when the critics used to argue with how much action and how much sex a military romantic suspense novel should have. Say what? That's like the judge who marked me down for having a female guardian angel, “because everyone knows guardian angels are all male.” Apparently her antennae was not as bent as mine is and she got the straight scoop.

Well, I'm completing my 11th Navy SEAL book as you read this. And someone in advertising said no series should go beyond five or six. Meanwhile, I'm disobeying some law of fictioncraft (happily, I might add) and don't see an end to this series on the horizon.

I've attached some new covers of things you'll see coming soon, most of them will be completed before the end of the year and some of them on preorder or better.

I can honestly say to you dear friends, that I am not chasing the trend. I prefer to think I helped start it. The sound you're hearing is a big old pat on my back. But now I have to get back to my computer. After all, we are only as good as our latest book.

11

WRITING COTTAGES: Sundays With Sharon

I've yearned for a writing cottage since the first publication of one of my novels in 2011. Just a place to dream, to play my favorite music, a place to take myself away to the fantasy of my stories. I can do that well with an empty house and a good set of headphones with some of my 50 days of music stored on my computer. I once read a writer's blog about how she set up her writing desk separate from all the rest of her “office activities” as a writer.

“Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become
quiet, and still, and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked.
It has no choice;
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
Franz Kafka

A very necessary part of our routine in life is paying bills. I know some feel it's a spiritual experience, but for me, the opposite happens. For years I took care of paying all the bills and for the past year, my husband has taken that over, and I'm grateful. Still, there are things I have to take care of, certain bills, reservations, emails and “stuff” of writing that isn't fun. I don't include in that sending off SWAG, because I truly enjoy it, and often make it the first or second thing I do in the day. So having a dedicated place for just writing has become more important to me. I blogged about the idea earlier this year. There are places you an rent a cabin for a week or two or a month.

Whitby Island Writer's Refuge

I've toyed with using a shed from one of those improvement stores, and we put a deposit down on one. Like most projects around here, it grew to huge proportions as we calculated what it would cost to lay a slab, or build a perimeter foundation, or lay down rock and drainage. The cost of the shed turned out to be the small expense and we abandoned the idea.

An Airstream trailer was my next dream, and I began looking all over the country for some used ones we could refurbish. We thought perhaps getting one that could be towed by my Murano so I could take it to Bodega and Marin beaches for a day of writing would be ideal. New ones were prohibitive, but beautiful. Much more fun getting an older one and fixing it up like the gypsy inside me. But then we stumbled upon the rock wall project in our rear yard, which seemed a better idea for the overall value of our property, and in the design there was no way to put a ramp to

Heaven on wheels

the backyard. The alternative of writing in my driveway was not sexy enough. And then the cost of the beautiful walls and concrete patio shot up in price, and the budget fell short. I again pushed the idea aside.

My desire to have a traveling cottage isn't dead, just on hold until next year. I vow it will be done, even if I have to be helped up into it in a walker or by cane! Some day I'll have one. Trust me, eventually I get my way. And I'm not complaining. Life is a series of choices and then adaptation to those choices and circumstances beyond our control. That's where the fun is. I still have the dream, and that's even more important than having the cottage at this point.

So, for now, I purchased another computer and Thunderbolt Screen, and when I write, I sit at my adjustable desk. I can stand, or sit on the stool. I light my candles, and inspiration does come. I usually have two sleeping Dobermans at my feet, vying for attention, so I have a jar of cookies nearby to reward their loyalty. I don't pay bills or even do anything email-wise or business-wise on that computer. I don't even write these blogs there. It was expensive to do this, but ever since, I have found it to be liberating. I've written poetry here. Sometimes I do a little research for my stories, but everything I do is related to a current book I'm working on.

And like all of you, I'm still waiting for my Happily Ever After. But this is my Happily Ever After, for now. Doesn't it make the goal, once achieved, that much more delicious?

4

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Living The Dream

Sometimes we aren't thankful enough for our successes. The world has gotten to be a strange and dangerous place. In my talk yesterday, I discussed how now is the perfect time to be a writer. And who can forget the 2008-2009 time when we were worried the stock market would crash and there'd be war right around the corner? Some writers wrote their best works, and great movies were produced during another dangerous time.

Here's what was happening some 70+ years ago:

Major Political/World Events:
            General
Franco and his Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War
            Germany and
Italy sign the “Pact of Steel”
            Germany
annexes remaining Czech territories, Czech Republic is dissolved
            Italy
occupies Albania
            Soviet-Japanese
border war erupts
            Nazi-Soviet
pact formed
            Germany
invades Poland (beginning WWII)
            Britain,
France, India, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany
            US decides
to remain neutral, but begins to arm for war to help ease
                        effects
of the depression
            USSR
attacks Finland
            USSR is
expelled from the League of Nations (precursor to UN)
Albert Einstein writes letter to
FDR about the possibility of an atomic bomb
and the Manhattan
Project is launched

Other background for those times:
World Leaders are:
            USSR:              Joseph Stalin
            UK                   Neville Chamberlain
            USA:                Franklin D. Roosevelt
            Japan:             goes through 4 in less than 8
months
            Australia:        goes through 4 in less than 5 months
            Germany:       Adolf Hitler
            Italy:               Benito Mussolini
And then some major accomplishments:

            Gone With
The Wind is made from Margaret Mitchell’s book in 1936
            Heinkel He
178 is the first jet aircraft to fly
            John
Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath
            Of Mice and
Men was made
            The
Jefferson Memorial is started in Washington, DC
            Hewlett
Packard is formed
            The first
air conditioner is offered in a car: Packard
            New York
World’s Fair is hosted by US
Here’s what things cost:
            Average new
home price: $3,800.
            Average
wages per year: $1,730.
            Cost of a
gallon of Gas:  10 cents
            Average
cost to rent a house:  $28. Per month
            Loaf of
bread:  8 cents
            1#
Hamburger:   14 cents
            Average new
car:  $700.
            Toaster:  $16.
            Due to
increased usage, cost of electricity is cut ½ in 10 years
Do you know that people thought publishing houses and the movie studios were done? That no new books would be printed, movies made?
They were wrong then. They are wrong now. Keep Writing!! 
4

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: S IS FOR SISTERS EVERYWHERE!!!

S IS FOR SISTERS! SUNDAYS WITH SHARON! SISTERS ON THE FLY. SIN CITY SISTERS! SOMETHING DIFFERENT. SO HAPPY TO BE WRITING. SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE!!!

Spent this morning having a very naughty breakfast with my son. It was naughty because I’m sure it was about 1500 calories. I had a waffle with real maple syrup, applewood cured bacon hand harvested/cured just over the freeway by an artisan butcher, good cappuccino, and fruit. Then the table next to us had these chocolate looking things covered in powdered sugar and I had to have an order of that, too. I ate one, brought the others home for a late night snack, with the homemade berry jam on the side. Our favorite restaurant for this mother-son bonding time is Spinster Sisters.

On the way, I opened up a packet I’d gotten yesterday in the mail, and low and behold, my Sisters On The Fly membership certificate, card, patch (you know I love patches, right?), my blue bandana and newsletter arrived. I’m so excited to join this group. Next year, on my bucket list, is to buy an Airstream trailer, deck it out with red romancy things and take it on the road

with these gals for a few weeks. The rules of this group:

No men. No children. No pets. Play nice.

I am so in this group. I am going to have a ball traveling with these ladies. Here’s what their newsletter says:

Our purpose is really very simple: to re-introduce the idea of making girls out of women in glamorous camping and outdoor activities.”

Formed by two real-life sisters and honoring the amazing mother they were fortunate to have, Mazie, they named their group Sisters On The Fly because they like fly fishing (Ask me if I know how. Ask me if I care. Ask me if I’m going to learn) and they were never home. The more I read about the Amazing Mazie and her “sense of style including her red cowgirl boots and her evening martini, cigarette and occasional cigar” who passed on two days before her 95th birthday last year, the more I was hooked. My granddaughter’s middle name is Mazie. I own the red cowboy boots. The rest are just details.

Our Mission Statement

“Offering empowerment and sisterhood through exceptional outdoor adventures.”

As a group of women, we challenge ourselves in all that that we set our mind to. There is no age, color, religion or political group. All women who want to share in the adventures of “sisterhood” are welcome. This “sisterhood” has grown to over 4,000 women since its inception in 1999:

“WE HAVE MORE FUN THAN ANYONE”
We encourage you to join us on one of our adventures and let yourself be spoiled rotten, learn to fish, to be a real Western Cowgirl, run rivers, and enjoy pure highway traveling fun. The best part is meeting all those new sisters you didn’t even know you had. Our members range in age from 21 to 94, with most being in between. And just remember , our rules are simple…

“No men, no pets, no kids… and be nice.”

“See ya’ there!”

Can you see a romance: Travels With Mazie? Can you imagine what my romance-themed red interior Airstream will look like? Oh I do wish I could spend the entire day thinking about all this, but I have to get back to SEAL’s Code.
If someone had told me that life after 60 was going to be better than the first 60 years, I might not have believed them. And it doesn’t have anything to do with hospitals, walkers or wearing purple. It’s about romancing the life that I was fortunate to be given. Loving the people I’m fortunate to call friends. Write the stories of my heart and grow young. I love this philosophy of making girls out of women. What an adventure, and thank you all for coming along with me! Are you game for some fun!

Over and out. Permission to come in HOT!! Sister #5799, also known as Sharon Hamilton.

17

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON – I Will Miss Nashville

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: I Will Miss Nashville.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time!

11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

M is for Leslie Moon

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

Never Together by Leslie Moon #atozchallenge

2 Votes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

75_Medicago_sativa_L

 

 

 

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

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

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9

L is for Lake Ozette

L IS FOR LAKE OZETTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

2

K IS FOR KILL OFF YOUR OPTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8

J is for Junk On My Computer, SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

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

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

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

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

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

6

I is for I Smell Sheep

I IS FOR I SMELL SHEEP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Do you review audio books and why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Smell Sheep emails:

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

3

H is for Heroes In Uniform and Hearts In Danger

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

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

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

Book Description

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

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

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

Book Description

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

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

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

6

G is for GETTING GREAT

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

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

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

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

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

15

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: DOING EVERYTHING

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

But not really.

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

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

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

It matters that I play. That I DO EVERYTHING.

Happy Easter from the bottom of my heart.

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

2

C is for Count My Blessings

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

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

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

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