Just attended Bob Mayer's class for Sacramento Valley Roses chapter of RWA. Outstanding.
My blog post for Savvy Authors is up today as well.
I feel like I've just jumped out of an airplane at 12,000 feet. Yes!!
Excerpt: FULL SURRENDER: http://joannerock.com/full_surrender.html
I am thrilled today to welcome Marliss Melton, the bestselling author of the Team Twelve Navy SEAL Series. I asked her to give us a glimpse of this outstanding series, and what she's working on now. So, Marliss, what are you up to these days?
Tens of thousands of readers read and loved my Award-winning Navy SEALs which carried them through seven books, starting with FORGET ME NOT and ending with SHOW NO FEAR. (It isn’t too late to read them if you missed out). While it’s natural for me to write about Navy SEALs (my husband is US Navy retired), I took a slight detour lately with my newest Taskforce Series, expanding to an Inter-Agency Counterterrorist Taskforce group that is headed up
Jennifer grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer. Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.
My son went to New York at the end of August, 2001, to attend NYU as a film student at the Tisch School of the Arts. Being a native of Northern California, like both my husband and myself, and both our dads, it was a big adjustment. So, my husband flew out with him to help get him settled. Our son wanted to be “at the center of the world,” and he felt NYC was the place to be.
After helping him get set up in his apartment, there were still things to be completed, so my husband considered staying another week, but decided at the last minute to let our son make those decisions himself. So, Don came back on the Newark to San Francisco flight on Monday morning, 9-4-01, instead of the Newark to San Francisco flight on 9-11.
Early Monday morning on 9-11 our son left a voice message, telling us how clear and beautiful New York City was at 6 AM. He'd had a party in the apartment the night before, and there had been thunder and lightening all evening. But this day was clear and “perfect.” He luckily decided to go back to bed, rather than get up early to head downtown as he often did. His apartment was about 20 blocks from the World Trade Center.
What occurred later we all know. We talked to our son on his cell while he watched the second plane hit the WTC from his room, as we were watching it on TV. We watched the buildings collapse. Over the weeks that followed, many of the NYU students gave blood, donated water and sandwiches from the cafeteria, and my son thanked rescue workers, saying, “This is from my parents in California.”
The following Spring, Don and I went to New York to visit our son. We wanted to see the 9-11 makeshift memorials springing up all over the area: posters on iron fenceposts with letters from school children and pictures of loved ones lost or never heard from again. There had been some extra “walls” created so people could express themselves, leave mementos and just read the posts and feel a part of the experience.
While we were waiting in line to visit the Ground Zero site, there was work being done to clean up the white chalky debris still left behind after 5 months, righting flattened tombstones that had stood for a hundred years or more, cleaning up piles of twisted metal. We stood beneath a tree that was trying to send out new green shoots. Building material was still stuck in its branches. When I looked more carefully, the twisted pieces of metal that looked like cream-colored oversized bunches of grapes were actually mangled miniblinds whirled in a twisted sculpture. And the mossy-like substance that hung from the branches? Shredded upholstery fabric and pantyhose.
I would learn years later that the valedictorian of my graduating class in Palo Alto was giving a presentation for a non-profit Jewish organization helping young women to become successful. She was hosting a luncheon at the “Windows On The World” restaurant at the top. Her name was Naomi Solomon.
Several years later, another member of our graduating class, an exchange student from Algeria, told me at our 40th reunion party, when he brought his wife, children and his parents, introducing them to our class, that the year he spent in California was the greatest year of his life. He told me he carried a deep love of our country with him back to Algeria, where he worked for the U.N. there. Where his wife worked at a school for girls. A year later, he was killed in the 2007 suicide bombing of the U.N. Refugee Relief center. His name was Chad Hamza.
20% of the people in the U.S. knew someone who lost their life on 9-11. Citizens from more than 40 countries were represented among the dead and dying. The average age of the loss of life was between 30-39. Thousands of pints of blood were collected and less than 300 were actually used.
There are thousands of stories told by millions of people. We wish the world was a safer place, but wishing it doesn't make it so. We have a lot to be thankful for. We have a lot to love. We have a lot to protect.
And may we always remember.
No Easy Day, the compelling book by former Navy SEAL Mark Owen, just released last week, is hard to pick up, and hard to put down. It recounts the events, including the almost 10 years of training, intelligence gathering, and coordination of hundreds of personnel who helped SEAL Team Six carry out the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
But more importantly, it gives us a private glimpse into the lives of those elite warriors, who do so much and ask so little in return. He says in the dedication:
My hope is one day a young man in junior high school will read it (No Easy Day) and become a SEAL, or at least live a life bigger than him. If that happens, the book is a success.
His words so beautifully illustrate what the SEALs symbolize: young men who are living a life bigger than themselves. They are trained to do what is required to get the job done. Do it quietly, with humility, and unemotionally. To set aside personal feelings, to stay alert to danger so that they can protect the lives of everyone on the mission, and the innocent.
He recounts how his upbringing in Alaska prepared him for his journey. How his parents at first didn't want him to put himself in harm's way and how he got his college degree first, but still had that burning desire, forged when he was a young teen, to become one of these elite men.
I enjoyed hearing stories of what the SEALs did to take their minds off the stress of waiting for orders to do dangerous things. The pranks they played on each other, and the close bond formed between brothers who would lay down their lives for each other without hesitation. Deadly serious, I've also read in other SEAL books about the special underwear with Superhero logos, or other cartoon characters they wear. Owen talks about playing fantasy football in the Afghani desert.
The author chronicles how he trained to become part of the elite Green Team, Seal Team Six, or DEVGRU. He also describes how he almost didn't make the team. Only one out of a thousand regular Navy men is able to even try out for the teams. And of those who have completed two deployments, some are invited to try out for the Green Group, where you are on call almost 24/7, without the time offs and vacations with family. Hard on loved ones, but it's what is required to be a part of this special unit.
There are less than 2000 active SEALs currently. DEVGRU is the professional team to the varsity team of regular SEALs. They are responsible for the high profile “snatch and grabs”, the team who rescued Paul Schoon, the governor-general of Grenada, who was facing execution. They were responsible for capturing Manuel Noriega during the invasion of Panama, capturing the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and Bosnian war criminals, including Radislav Krstic, the Bosnian general who was later indicted for his role in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. They rescued Jessica Lynch and conducted the daring rescue at sea from Somali pirates. The little picture I've seen of a disheveled Saddam Hussein in handcuffs is posted on a bulletin board in a SEAL bar in San Diego and speaks volumes.
Like all things in life, everything is connected. He says this book was written because he decided to put his Trident away and return to civilian life this year. And his reasons are personal. He and the publisher originally wanted this book to be released on 9-11, in honor of the anniversary of that tragic event. But as he states in the book, this was not written from a particular political viewpoint.
We are all red, white and blue, in my opinion, and Mr. Owen makes this point very well. The color of our blood is red, though our opinions, political affiliation, background and skin color vary. As he says, you don't run to your death. A bullet doesn't know how to discriminate a rich kid from a poor one, a Democrat from a Republican. Their SEAL training just makes them “the guy who can get it done.”
I doubt this fine young man ever would do anything that would harm a fellow in the brotherhood of warriors. He's mentioned several times that if one wanted to look for military secrets, his is not the book to read. But, I'm not an expert. Others that are far more knowledgeable than I will have to weigh in on this.
No Easy Day reads like a good suspense novel, except we know in advance how the story ends. But, unlike most stories we read, what happens in the middle is what we didn't know about until now. I came away with a renewed respect for these men, and for the hard work that goes into the training to become a SEAL.
I ask myself every day if I would have the guts to ever do anything so brave.
So, what did I find was the most enjoyable aspect of this book?
Today, I'm blogging over at Ravencraft's Romance Realm.
Do you have a favorite place to write romance? Do certain places “call” to you, create stories? Love to hear it. Small excerpt from a story I haven't touched in a long time, and won't be finishing until next summer.
Come join me.
Come join the fun and meet lots of other great authors. Loads of freebies. Great blogs to visit!
One lucky commenter on my blog will win: Poster Accidental SEAL signed by Jimmy Thomas himself! One free Accidental SEAL book in Kindle format (2 winners for this prize). Also, every commenter will receive a Kindle version of the prequel to Accidental SEAL, SEAL Encounter – free. Be sure to leave me your email address.
Leave a review and send me a link, and you can win another one of my posters, signed by Mr. Thomas.
Contest ends Monday, September 4th at Midnight.