Spent last weekend on the beautiful Queen Mary Hotel, in Long Beach. Originally, the book signing was to have taken place aboard her, so I booked a suite where I expected to perhaps host a little after signing party.
As fate would have it, a small war broke out amongst the promoters and some of the authors, so the venue was moved to a nearby hotel. I elected to keep my suite.
I’d never stayed at the Queen Mary, or set foot on her, and I was curious. With my heart set with a sense of adventure I sailed off to her in Long Beach Harbor, after a smooth ride from San Francisco to the pleasant little airport I can’t wait to come back to. I was used to being on cattle trucks from one of the crowded terminals at SFO, so to leave from the International Terminal, with it’s wide spaces and tall ceilings emulating wings on some giant flying ship, I was transported back to the 1930’s and the art deco beauty of a bygone era.
So while the book signing was very pleasant and fairly well attended, especially compared to some larger gatherings I’ve been to with nearly no readers in attendance, the stay at the Queen Mary was the highlight of the weekend.
We took the ghost tour, an hour of bone-chilling tales of the history of the ship, and some of it’s inhabitants, including platoons of troops during WWII. Sir Winston Churchill was said to be seen smoking his cigar in the suite next to mine from time to time. The lady in the white dress followed the large grand piano and appeared wherever it was moved. A children’s playroom looked eerily as if the children had been asked to leave in the middle of their play. We toured the engine room, and a dark, dank, and musty boiler room. A cast of actors was getting fitted for the Zombie Ball happening during Halloween season.
The ticket office looked like it had just booked another cruise for some lucky couple. Sir Winston’s restaurant, as well as the main dining hall downstairs served up world-class cuisine, including oysters and aseafood chowder to die for.
I opened the two porthole windows in my bedroom and slept like a baby both nights. The suite had built in art deco furniture in light browns, beautiful frosted fixtures and plastic “air conditioning” vents in the walls, which certainly must have been a luxury back then.
It was a great place to take my muse. Watched Outlander on my computer, which seemed somehow fitting as I sat in a suite created during a bygone era, once occupied and operated by people no longer living.
One of my next stories will be Be With Me, and it is a time travel romance. As a special treat, here is an excerpt no one has read before. You are some of the first. Enjoy!
“Lady, lady, you don’t want to go here. This, Lady is not the right pier. This is the old pier, for fishermen and such. Please, Lady I take you to the pier that is correct.” The cab driver was unhappy with Louisa’s choice of dropping off point.
“No, this is it.” She held up a picture of the steamer Princess Star, and clearly this was the location, although the background looked different. “Thank you.” She reached over the front seat and handed the driver a purple banknote. She was still getting used to the feel of the foreign currency.
The driver got out and opened the rear door, muttering to himself in some dialect, and then he opened the trunk and pulled out her suitcase. She had purchased it two days ago at Goodwill. Its ivory and brown-stripped design with an amber-colored Bakelite handle called to her the instant she walked into the store. It had been well used, but the hinges were good and the purple satin lining inside was completely intact, but faded.
“Lady, please, I beg you. This is not such a safe place. I should not leave you alone here. I am sure your ship is around the corner. That is where all the cruise ships dock. Please, Lady.”
“Thank you, but I am meeting someone here. They will come by shortly. Don’t worry. Please.” She reached to touch his arm but he recoiled in horror. She wasn’t sure of the customs, but she knew he didn’t consider it appropriate to have contact. Shaking his head, he drove off.
The pier was abandoned except for a solitary figure, wrapped in white robes, fishing off the end. Two little brown boys were running away from her, playing a game of tag. As she walked down the wooden planks, she looked at the numbers painted years ago on the wood, now almost illegible. A half sunk fishing vessel was tied up near the shore, but aside from that, nothing was attached. Her picture showed several small ships looking like water taxis and commercial boats on each side of the white sleek steamer. At number three, like on the picture, she stopped. She stepped to the edge of the walkway. There was no sign of a white ship anywhere in the vicinity.
Looking down at her feet, she stepped from the pier over the water, and then stepped back. What could happen? The worst would be I’d fall down about thirty feet to the water below with my suitcase. No telling what kind of sickness the waterway held. Would be a hard one to explain, but she had to take a chance.
She leaned forward and stepped over the water again, and then down. Just as she felt she was going to fall, her foot hit solid wood, and suddenly the white steamer came to view. She was on deck of the elegant ship from the photograph in the magazine. Everything around her changed as well. Gone were the tall buildings at the customs house, the bazaar for tourists with corrugated metal roof. A series of shanties sat there in their place.
“Ma’am. Your cabin number, please?” He was dressed in a navy blue uniform with hat adorned in gold braid.
“Um, I don’t know. I didn’t make the arrangements.”
“Your name, Ma’am?”
Louisa hesitated. “Louisa…Dawson. Louisa Dawson.”
The porter looked down a list from his clipboard. “Ah, yes, you are in my section, actually. Right this way, please, Ma’am.” He bent to take her suitcase. “This all?”
“Yes. I didn’t have time to pack much else.” Louisa was thinking it wouldn’t have worked to pack jeans and a tee shirt. She packed a nightie and some toiletries, and several pairs of fresh underwear. But her dress today was one she found in a costume shop. She looked more like a wench from a Renaissance Faire, complete with bloomers. It was a lot of clothes for the stifling heat.
“This is a right handy apparatus, Ma’am.” He was examining the suitcase.
“We call them suitcases.”
“Makes sense. Thoroughly modern, but I see it is well used already.” He tore his eyes away and Louisa followed him down the deck. “Here we are, Ma’am.” With white gloves, he produced a brass key and unlocked the white louvered door, and opened it. Detaching the key from the gold chain protruding from his pocket, he handed it to Louisa. “Ma’am, your key.” He bowed. “The name’s Sampson, at your service, Ma’am.”
He left to attend to other passengers.
Louisa’s heart was in her throat as she pushed open the door. There was a small bed in the corner, with a highboy dresser and mirror on the opposite wall. A lower dresser with drawers and oval mirror with a padded stool was on the same wall as the door. She placed her suitcase down on the bed, examining the washing chamber containing a wooden tub coated with a yellow resin. She heard the door open, and turned around.
Anthony Francis Markham stood tall and straight perfectly framed in the white doorway. He was not a ghost. He looked at her face, then his eyes slid down examining her body slowly all the way to her shoes and then back up. Louisa’s chest felt like it was going to burst; the thumping roar in her ears raged as hot sweat poured down her spine.
After all the near close encounters with him in her fantasy life, the kisses she had felt but could not see being given to her, the man was now standing in front of her. Flesh and blood. Very much alive, as he had been in 1860.
Thanks for stopping by this week's Sunday Post! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and never forget to Support Our Troops!
SEAL of My Heart, book 7 in the Seal Brotherhood series is now available in audio format from Audible! Listen to a snippet below and be sure to grab your audiobook copy today!
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Kate Morgan is engaged to the most eligible bachelor in Sonoma County, the son of a wealthy wine family in Healdsburg, California. On a flight to visit her sister in Portland she is seated next to a young hard-bodied elite soldier who ignites her insides in a strange attraction she cannot deny.
Navy SEAL Tyler Gray plans to spend a weekend home before deploying to North Africa with the rest of his SEAL Team 3. But the conversation with Kate has him rethinking his future.
The encounter has both of them feeling fate has stepped into their lives and altered their course. Unable to just say goodbye as lovers, they agree to carry on a correspondence. Kate becomes the girl Tyler wants to come home to while she is pressured by her family to reconsider her broken marriage plans.
Family secrets are revealed from the past regarding a young Marine and Kate’s mother which brings both heartache and a sense of clarity as old loves are unearthed. From the grave, a Marine’s love letters from the past affect the new love between Kate and Tyler in the present. And when Kate’s life is endangered, will Tyler be the man to save her without sacrificing his own?
It was the summer of 1966 and I walked down the streets of the Haight-Ashbury, inhaling all the scents of the time, the music and all the colors. I’d never known a place that had taken on a personality, like some living being. I got sent home from work for wearing a mini skirt, a good 4” above my knees. I can remember the first pants suits being sold in the department stores. A group of new Freshmen at Stanford picked a few of us out of our high school yearbooks and it was the first time I met someone who lived in New York City. He talked funny.
That was the summer I was kissed for the first time. He was my best friend’s boyfriend and he did it at her request so I wouldn’t have to say “never been kissed.” Three boys from my high school class were killed in Vietnam that summer. Two kids died of overdoses and several in car accidents. I told the minister’s son I’d had a crush on him for three years. My hands were stained from cutting apricots all summer long. The fields were bright orange with the drying fruit as we drove by. My little brother pitched a no-hitter and got written up in the paper. We had a serial running in the school paper I was editor of, written a la Ian Fleming, including our superhero, Ferdinand, the teacher we used to sit and mark down how many times he said utilize in History class.
I told my English teacher he should marry me (yes I did). I hitchhiked in Mexico and met two boys from LA who drove the longest candy apple red Caddy convertible I’d ever seen. I slept in a fisherman’s trailer at a little village. My friend’s little brother borrowed his car, had a small accident with it. The Bonneville without the rear passenger door was convenient for picking up hitchhikers. I carved my initials into an oak tree at the golf course because I thought I was in love. Saw my great grandfather’s church in a museum in Nebraska.
People often ask me where I get my story ideas. That’s where.
This week, I was challenged to the ALS Icebucket Challenge by Kris Calvert. I accepted, and put my own spin on the challenge! If you would like to donate, visit the ALS Site.
1 lucky commenter (US only) will win the copy of Cruisin' For A Seal featured in the Icebucket Challenge Video! So, leave a comment to win, must be 18 or older. Contest will run from today, Sunday August 24 through next Saturday, August 30 at midnight.
Leave your comment below to enter!
Thanks for joining me today for Sundays with Sharon!
I did it, I joined this pinterest thing. I'm not entirely sure how it works yet, but my assistants are helping me learn. If you have any tips for me, leave them in the comments, and be sure to follow my pin boards!
Recently, at the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, I met my new book cover model, Justin Thomas. Justin was quick to work with me and he is already on the cover of my recent release, SEAL's Goal. For today's Sundays with Sharon, I decided to interview Justin and share that interview with you all!
lot of looking into my eyes. But its kind of awkward when it happens, or when you have to look into another models eyes for an extended period of time. A lot of time it results into nervous laughter. Im pretty good at staring contests so playing the no blinking game makes the situation a little easier, or looking at the persons forehead makes is a little less weird.
Sharon and narrator JD Hart will be featured on Self Publishing Round Table's podcast TONIGHT! The show will air live at 6 pm PST/9 pm. You can head over to the Self Publishing Round Table site for more info.
Stop by, listen in, and help spread the word!
Claire, an unconventional Guardian angel sent to save a sexy Brazilian-born painter from killing himself, discovers Daniel has been preyed upon by a powerful dark angel posing as his best friend and agent. Although successful in saving Daniel’s life, Claire is in danger of losing her own when attraction to her handsome charge blooms into a forbidden love.
The dark angel offers her what she’s only dared to dream about—an eternity with Daniel. Will she sacrifice her soul, or sacrifice a lifetime with a man she knows she was created to love?
Learn more about Heavenly Lover
To celebrate the very first Guardian Angel book in audio format, it's giveaway time! This giveaway is for a box of books (various authors), swag (various authors), and all kinds of reader-ific goodies (not all goodies are pictured, items kept getting added to the box…)!
The giveaway is open from now through August 31 and is open to US only (sorry, shipping restraints). Must be 18 to enter. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:
Join the authors in celebration this evening on Facebook. There will be author chats, contests, games and more! The event runs from 5PM – 10:30 Central Time. Sharon Hamilton is the featured author from 5:30-6, so be sure to be there and invite all your friends!
If you haven't picked up your copy of Hot Alpha SEALs yet, what are you waiting for? Get this BESTSELLER Today!
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I’ve been thinking of my gardens and how I’ve missed having a cut flower garden over the past year. We’ve been working on our backyard, slowly making progress. But my deadlines and the scope of the work have meant there were no cut flowers for my house that usually display all over the place. I am reminded of one of the poems my favorite poems of Rod McKuen People With Flowers. Sadly, my album is gone, and so is my book of poems I used to read practically every night in college, from Santa Clara to Portland, and back again. Portland especially has a special place in my heart because of the love gained, and lost there.
I loved the angst I used to hear in his voice, the sensual poet and singer/songwriter. All he wrote about was love and love themes. To a young girl who had yet to fall in love (real love) his dreamy songs and poems really helped me dream of a life I had yet to live. Even experiencing his sadness was exciting for me. Like I was listening to parts of my life that would be. I guess I was a budding romance writer at 19. That’s when I started listening to him. I think the first poem I heard was “Listen To The Warm.” I didn’t know men could feel like that. I didn’t know I would ever make a man feel like writing me poems, or songs. I never knew what it was like to love so deeply that I couldn’t do anything but feel it. Ah! To be young again!!
Listen to the second stanza. Did I think about him when I wrote the scene with Kate and Tyler in Portland? My college was on the hill. I used to sit at my window, and watch the Columbia River drain by me, glisten, and think about, what else? Love!
http://youtu.be/233rTu8wdhg Stanyan Street is one set I’ve listened to maybe 200 times. I even explored the street, trying to find the house on Stanyan Street where this man loved this woman. Thinking of a lost love.
Welcome to my world. The beginning of my romantic journey. This man made me fall in love with love.
I have a storyline where an aging poet falls in love with a young writer. One of my bucket list items is to meet this man, and tell him what he did for a young girl of 19.
Welcome to my first Sunday With Sharon! I love you. Have I said that today yet?
I'm always looking for more, easier ways for readers to connect. So, I now have a Bloglovin' Account. You can follow posts, updates, contests, new releases and more via Bloglovin' RSS Feed. Click the link below to follow
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With multiple releases, Facebook parties, conventions, and contests galore, this summer has been very, very busy! Because of the craziness, the August Giveaway will be nice and simple!
1 Subscriber/Follower will win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!
The main requirement to enter the contest is to be a newsletter subscriber. Following this blog, liking facebook page, and other entries are all extra, and very much appreciated. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
The Winner will be announced in the Newsletter, not posted to the blog, so open those newsletters for winner announcements, new releases, events, and more contests to come! The contest will run through midnight August 31.