Today I am pleased to introduce to you a new author friend of mine, Marilyn Baron, announcing her new release, Dead Mix. She's prepared a post you are going to love. So appropriate to the SEAL theme of the last few weeks.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had our own private matchmaker to help us find our soul mate? In my newly released humorous paranormal e-short story, Dead Mix, villain Devlin Burns tries to turn the tables on hero Daniel Craig (not 007) and heroine Tia Stavros in their hunt for lost souls, as he engineers a match, not exactly made in heaven. In my e-short story Follow an Angel, Eden Eastman despairs she’ll ever find her soul mate and flees New York City, the Land of Bad Dates, for the Atlantic coast of Florida, where she hopes to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. When an angel on a mission drops into her 5th floor beach condo, all Heaven breaks loose. In both of these stories, a higher power (Angel or Devil) intervenes in the love match.
In Dead Mix, the devil goes down to Georgia. Roswell, Georgia, and more specifically, The Lion’s Den music store. Enter at your own risk. The proprietor there specializes in mixing music to die for…on CDs that are guaranteed to knock you dead by the final note. As the citizens of Roswell go missing, one man, Daniel Craig, ventures into town on the hunt for lost souls, a search that will change his life, forever.
I am filled with gratitude. Great friends. People around me willing to join the journey, lending me a hand, giving me encouragement. Family living as examples. I'm at a doorway. A changing of the guard. Almost feel like I'm walking along a garden wall and can see both sides. They are equally lush and inviting, and I cannot decide which place to go, so I keep walking.
We are living in a time of great change. I have hope for where we are going. There isn't anything I have to do, but be present. Someone much wiser told me, “Your job today is to feel, Sharon.”
Today, I get to have a full day of writing. I have to pinch myself I'm so happy. Settle into my favorite leather writing chair, and compose. No places to go. Listen to the sounds of the world coming alive. The moon is a bright orange orb in the early morning sky as I look West. Someone has blogged that it's called a Blue Moon, and hasn't happened since the 1960's, also a time of great change.
I'm looking forward to stimulating conversations over coffee, and the sharing of ideas that help make this world a better place. Here's to choice. And living.
And, of course, love.
A visit to the doctor reminds me of how fragile life is. I'm well. But I get to see a lot of not-well people. And right now experiencing some un-wellness in my immediate family. Along with new birth. I guess I've begun to get it, now that I am 6 decades old: life goes on. I can scream and yell and protest its passing, but it still goes on as if I never said anything.
I guess that's why writing has become so important to me. Taking stories from real life and weaving them into other worlds is what we do as writers. And we take the pain, the emotions, from those life events, and use them. I blogged today about Editing Woes over at RRR, and one of my points was that the reader reads for the emotions in the story, the emotions of the characters, the love scenes, not just the description of what went on and who did what to whom.
We are cheering Ethan's birth and how strong he is, while we are saying goodbye to my dad, who has lived a wonderful life, and been the best dad a girl could ever want. Good time to remind myself it's not all about me, but the people around me. My job is to feel. Sometimes I run away from my feelings because they are just too much to handle. But my job is to feel, and then write them down.
We don't get do-overs like some of our characters get in our stories. Actually, that would make an interesting story concept. Life is not permanent. Neither are feelings. What we do about it is. We love babies because we know we are only going to be around long enough to perhaps see them get married and perhaps have children and grandchildren of their own. These little ones, in the beginning of their lives, will know us, the older ones, at the end of our lives. We each get to discover what the world is like before or after the loved one has been born, or passes on.
It's a pea soup kind of day here in Sonoma County, which is good for the grapes. This misty fog means I can be a bit lazy with my watering, I'm tempted to make a fire, but know my house will heat up like a firecracker soon enough. My hubby is away getting inspiration from a mastermind meeting, and I anticipate seeing lots of friends at the Silicon Valley Romance Writers meeting tomorrow, where I will be a panelist and hopefully will give some nuggets of things I've learned along the way.
Book sales are going well. Accidental SEAL has been in the top 100 for Amazon Kindle paid sales for 9 weeks in a row and made some serious money. Over 13,000 people downloaded Honeymoon Bite on a free promotional 4 day blog, and it shot to #1 for Fantasy Romance for 3 days in a row. Same thing happened in June for Heavenly Lover. So, despite the occasional stinker review (which doesn't affect sales at all) people are liking my books. I don't go trolling for the 300+ reviews like some do. I have a problem with faking things to look like they aren't. Just being honest and taking my lumps as they come. And writing is the best cure for anything that ills me. Anything.
My family is safe for now. Prayers go out to those that have suffered with loss of life: the SEALs and other military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice recently, and all their families who proudly bear the mourning. The people who have lost their life in senseless acts of violence, and their families. My shock and dismay at the truth being distorted so much in our political campaigns, and all the hate it spews. How people fall like lemmings after slogans and catch phrases like “war on women” when we have more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world. And people have died to make sure it stays that way. I was thinking we were going to take the higher road this election season. I was wrong.
So I guess with this theme of what I have and don't have, in the going and the passing of life, what I'm feeling today is being connected.
And that's a good thing.
I love the Sonoma County Fair. I used to go to gawk at the diverse (not in the political sense, please) population of the fairgoers–everything from bikers, young couples, old hippies, awkward teens and teens trying to look like street walkers. Maybe everyone's fair is like that. How would I know?
But our fair has really upgraded. We have a large 4H group and I enjoy watching the young kids who work so hard on their animals. I don't want to know what happens to them afterwards, which is why I could never get my kids into 4H when they were at home. I evaluate the chickens and bunnies and donate to the bird rescue. My granddaughter and I peered into the baby chick hatchery and watched those fuzzy little yellow things cling to life and then start to run around an hour later. Fascinating.
This year they had a display of recycled things. I think I'm a recycled thing, so I spent a lot of time there. Lord knows I have enough junk around the property, if I ever gave up writing, I could become a junk sculptor. I'd be careful. With my history around fires, safety would be No. 1.
In my garden, I have two “flying pig” sculptures made from recycled oil cans. They stand guard, along with my Dobermans. There is a local artist who does huge sculptures out of recycled metal things, using washing machines, hubcaps and old lawnmowers–turns them into arcs and animals and characters. I'm excited when I see things being reused, like we did on the siding for our house.
Makes a good case for hoarding. Uh Oh. I'm still trying to get rid of books…Big trouble.
In the Arts and Craft Palace this year there were quiltmakers doing zombie quilts. Next to the two guys who demonstrated making bugs for fly fishermen.
There was a dress made from old maps. Garden bench made from the tailgate of an old Ford pickup. A fish made out of beer bottle caps.
And pedal cars made from everything you can imagine, even toaster ovens!!
I doubt I could ever make a zombie drive-in movie miniature like these creative artists at the fair. But I celebrate their creativity. I can see how they put together things to come up with an image, a story, if you will.
Just like a writer. We put together phrases, “tone poems” of words and ideas on the page. We surprise, and hopefully, engage the reader.
And show them something new from something old. Something that wasn't before we put our hands on it. How inspiring!
I admit to mourning the end of summer. But not for long. The fall in Sonoma County is absolutely beautiful. Time for a writing weekend at the Kenwood Inn and Spa. Expensive, but worth it, I have a gift certificate from a grateful client.
We usually rent a room up top, where we walk out of the heavy metal doors, can sit out on a tiled patio and overlook about 300 acres of turning vineyards. My favorite time of year here. The days are warm, the nights starting to chill but still sweater weather, and the colors of the valley floor are spectacular.
We usually leave the heavy curtains over the door, but leave the door open so we can hear the waterwheel churning all night long. We ask for extra wood for the fireplace. When I've stayed here by myself, I write sometimes all night. It is the setting for my time travel romance. I have a steamy scene in this very pool which finaled in an erotic contest in 2010. My heroine goes for a midnight swim in the nude, comes upstairs to her room, and watches the man of her dreams materialize in the mist at the pool's edge.
Some places are just conducive to writing. Some are not. And it changes, for me.
This time around, I'm going to focus on finishing Fallen SEAL Legacy. The story is really starting to excite me again. I love it when loose ends start being clipped or woven into the story, and the whole piece becomes a rich tapestry.
I love the great quote I just got from award-winning author of SEAL Team Twelve series Marliss Melton:
“Fans of Navy SEAL romance, I found a new author to feed your addiction. Finely written and loaded delicious moments, Sharon Hamilton’s story-telling satisfies like a thick bar of chocolate.”
This means a lot more to me now that chocolate is no longer in my food plan. Did I tell you how much better I feel without flour and sugar? It has literally changed my life. But I get the quote. Being compared to rich chocolate is not a bad thing at all.
Yes, I will mourn the loss of summer. Time to get ready for the deluge of plans I have for the new release. A book trailer coming up. We're trying to organize a trip back east to be with my son and his family there. Want to visit the SEAL museum in Florida and maybe rent a house on one of the outer islands for a week.
Lightening up our load here in California (getting rid of the chickens, the koi and being less fussy with the gardening this year) has given me more free time to do other things. Writing is one of them. Like an old friend, it welcomes me. And now I have a best-selling book to boot. Accidental SEAL has been in the top 100 Amazon Kindle Store for 6 weeks in a row. I'm stoked.
Life is good. Very good!
We had 109 comments left, and 13 reviews (which counted double). 14 people started following my blog. The odds of winning the Kindle Fire were pretty good.
Several of you did everything I asked to win this. Special thanks to all my regular readers and other writers who stop by my blog and post every time.
Wanted to give a shout out to BN 100 who didn't win the Fire, but who has won just about every book I've written from previous contests. Need your address so I can send you a little extra. Please email me at sharonhamilton2001 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get your prize off to you.
But the winner of the Kindle Fire is the person I picked at random. Yes, this was totally at random. I gave every comment/review/entry a number and drew Number 57.
CONGRATS, Judy. I need your address where you want the Fire sent. Please email me at sharonhamilton2001 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thank you everyone for a great month+ of blogging and sharing our stories. I've had a blast. Accidental SEAL has remained in the top 100 in Romantic Suspense for Kindle for almost 5 weeks in a row!