Sharon Hamilton

Author Archives: Sharon Hamilton

12

FROM KENWOOD TO LAS VEGAS – Slowing it Down and Heating it Up!

View from my window

I just finished my new novella, Nashville SEAL. It is going to be included in an anthology coming out this December, called Holding Out For A Hero. I plan to release a print and audio version as well.

I've thoroughly loved writing this book, as I do all my books. These colorful characters come to life as I put the story on the page, and I see opportunities to add fun details, sketches of people who would fit in, or, in many cases, don't fit into the story – because I find the deets that don't fit in are sometimes the best and most likeable for readers.

Fireplace, tossed sheets, what could be better?

So I put myself up in the lovely Kenwood Inn & Spa in Kenwood, a place I have gone to before when I needed a story “recharging” and what I call growing the kernels of my story in my own cornfield.

It is impossible to live in a heightened state of emotional intimacy 24/7 with anyone, let alone a fictional character, but when I travel to some place like the Kenwood Inn, my regular life fades into the distance and I get to live in my story. I've heard other writers do the same. I try to pick not just a “motel” room stay unless I'm writing about college dorm life. In this case, I was writing about a young singer-songwriter who is experiencing a good degree of success, and decides he wants more out of life, right at the same time something very moving and important from his past comes back on the scene.

Wine bar writing

Room service keeps me in the story because I don't have to stop and prepare or share my dinnertime with anyone (yes, this is a solo trip, by necessity), I can go to sleep when I want to, stay up all night and write, edit and doze by fireplace. Just walking the grounds gives me ideas. I have a time-travel romance set in this location, and have referred to it in Underworld Lover, and several of my SEAL books. In my books, it's called the Waterwheel Inn.

With my chapters done and not polished, I decided to finish that job at Las Vegas, since I was going there this weekend for an author signing put on by my friend, Crystal Perkins. I've done events with her in the past. Met up with Lance Taubold, and met a couple of new shining stars in my collection of author friends. I have some posts planned later for that.

Everyone should lick responsibly, don't you agree?

So I ran across this store here off the Flamingo, called LICK. Okay, yes, it's a candy store, but OMG I should have shopped here before my bachelorette party at RomCon. Every imaginable thing that had to do with candy, and lollipops, and (ahem) licking, was present. The atmosphere couldn't be more different, but the end result: I still focus on the romance. Watched the beautiful Bellagio water shows several times, wandered along the promenade and did a little naughty shopping. Cherry stuff, like oh, warmers and such, lip gloss, and my Lick Responsibly tee shirt. Some of these things are going to have to stay private, but boy did I have fun! Love the beer cozies, don't you? Not sure where I can wear the tee shirt, but it could be a nice message to wear around the house. Oh yes, the tit mints are kinda cool too. Yes, I am two women wrapped up in one. Well, perhaps three or four, but if you can't have fun, what good is it to be alive?

Even got red Tootsie Pop glasses for my new Romance Rider!

And it gave the right amount of kink and spice I needed to polish the book to it's jewel essence. And I had fun in the process.

I go home to hopefully a pad ready for my Romance Rider, and now that the book is finished, I can start to clean out my office and get her all set up! Life is good!

14

WRITE, PRAY, LOVE, WRITE PRAY INSPIRE, WRITE PRAY HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH FEAR, PASSION, PERSISTENCE AND MY FAERY GODMOTHER

Carneros Inn

WOW. Just Wow. I spent yesterday at an all-day seminar in the beautiful Carneros Inn in Napa, with the awesome Elizabeth Gilbert. It was a gift to myself for a year of inspiration, frustration, tears and mostly wonder. I'm at the point in my career I'm ready to hit the re-set button. Taking classes outside of writing, more in inspiration, the brain function and what it means to be in connection and relationship. That goes everywhere. And right now all these thoughts are like a school of colorful angel fishes swimming around my brain as I write them down.

To say I got inspired is to say I am alive. Several things she gave to me, but the first one was her connection with her readers and her audience. Her new book, Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear is a #1 Bestseller, and there is no wonder why. It is, as she puts it, her manifesto. I think every writer on the planet should read it. Here are only a few of the things that have settled in enough to be identifiable. And how perfect is it that I've booked a room at the Kenwood Inn for 3 days of writing, reflection and planning out next year's schedule for me. The Kenwood Inn has been prominent in some of my yet-to-be works, and some of my SEAL stories. I have an encounter with the uncompromisingly hunky Victorian British explorer in a time travel novel that is half finished, based upon bringing Sir Richard Burton (the explorer) to modern times, where he would have lived a perfect life. A man living before his time, for sure.

Anyway, that's another story or ten. Here's what I learned yesterday:

Have a conversation with Fear. Let Him Speak. Yes, for me, Fear is a man. He asked me some questions and suggested that perhaps I don't want to run away so fast from him, that his rooms were populated with some of the most interesting characters I've written, hope to write and real-life people who scare me with their brilliance. He was sultry and suggestive, I have to say, even sexy. Does that sound insane? He suggested I hang out with him more, that life would be a little more exciting, that he'd have my back, and would make sure I didn't really get into the kind of irreparable trouble I worried about…He asked me this question, “Sharon, when was it that you stopped riding on roller coasters you loved as a child?” And then he asked, “When was it you decided safe meant you'd live longer?”

Have a conversation with my Faery Godmother. She wrote me a long letter about what's in store for me. It involves dressing up in costumes, going to exotic places, going dancing in a big ball gown by candlelight. “Claim back some of the fun you folded and put away in lavender-scented drawers. They looked nice, Sharon, all folded up, and you thought you were practicing good self care.”

Better to eat more gelato

Like the Velveteen Rabbit conversation, she suggested my fun have all the hair rubbed off it and get squishy joints. It doesn't deserve to be folded in a drawer, even if it is lavender-infused…

She also suggested more hair color. More laughter. Finding more people to share the vision with. Oh! I loved this lady, and she didn't look anything like Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, HBC, but she would have been her sister.

Write a Permission Slip. You know the ones, the hall passes you used to get in High School, the permission to do X,Y and Z. What if your inner principal gave you a permission slip for the rest of your life? What would it say? Some of the things on mine were:  Permission to be inconsistent. Permission to play the music too loud. Permission to feel and to mine for the feelings. Permission to express love, to be deserving of pure everlasting love.


This was the hardest list of all for me to write in. My inner principal is looking for another appointment. Summing it up, I think he wants to give me Permission to be happy.




Elizabeth gave me permission to do a creativity triage. Suggested we read this poem every day, and I will, by Louise Erdrich

Advice to Myself 


Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first



what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons 
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

My hope is that I be able to play in this arena forever and that all of you who chose to join me will find your lives inspired as much as I have been by all the wonderful people around me. Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. May it be this way forever…

21

Pirate Bounty (and lots of Booty) At KallypsoCon SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

We've had a wonderful two days at KallypsoCon. I got to meet readers I have never met. We had lots of opportunity to sit, have dinner with, and play games with readers, about half of whom were from the New England area. I had never been in New England in the fall, and, although the bright colors were gone, I still got to see the tail end of it. One more thing checked off my bucket list.

Kallypso Masters does a great job bringing together other authors and readers at every venue she's at. Her loyal fans soon became my fans, and vice versa. In the true spirit of love and friendship, we all help each other as authors, by serving the readers. A reader-centric convention is unusual in this business. In my opinion it is something I wish more conventions focused on.

So what did we do? We had panel discussions about why we write military heroes, how we got started being interested in our genre, what's new for us, and how we write. We told stories and played games that brought tears to our eyes. I met readers from the UK, from Canada, and even Puerto Rico.

There were several husbands who attended, and I was happy to see that. Great to see how they support their author wives, all of them had military backgrounds we could learn from.

Next year's KallypsoCon will be a cowboy theme, and I don't write those, so I won't be in attendance, but if you're a reader and you want to get up close and personal with some of the best cowboy writers in the business, I'd look to book your tickets for KallypsoCon in Casper, Wyoming, early. It will sell out. I already know they have a stable of great authors ready to thrill your reading needs.

We continue this morning with more craft events and some games, and more reader interaction. We had a grat time using old keys from my house fire, making necklaces that readers will enjoy for years to come. Wasn't sure how it would go over, but it was very popular. Now I get to lug that 15# anvil home!!

Sold lots of books, and networked with bloggers and several reviewers who had reviewed my books. It was an honor to be part of this group. Can't wait to get home today, but it was fun being part of this great event.

24

MY NEW WRITING COTTAGE: 1950 GLIDER My New Adventure…

Bought this for Romance Glider's walls yesterday!

I've wanted a writing cottage for several years now. We attended a vintage trailer show recenly, and I bought this 1950 Glider for my writing cave. I need the dedicated space, where I can close a door and be in a different world, without the interruptions of daily life. Not complaining, but I have problems concentrating. My husband has been spending more and more time running his business out of the house, and, though I love him, I can't write around him and his booming voice and shuffling of papers. His personality fills the house.

My Romance Rider

My writing area, “The Bridge” is beautiful, but the house is so open, with the acoustics like a church, anything gets magnified. I don't like to have to turn my music down or change it!! So I've got my own little space to do all my crazy writer stuff in. The Glider was beiing outfitted with a new red canopy awning and arrives Tuesday!! So excited!!

Bunk beds in the rear. Middle bed. Waiting for red curtains!

This RV is fully self-contained, even having a full bath with shower. The man who restores them redid all the undercarriage, installed AC and heat and completely re-acid washed the outside and replaced the skin on one door and the roof. Everything works. All it takes is for my customizing. I have already raided the local antique market for my 1950's memorabilia, including an original Post Magazine with Perry Como on the cover, and a Marilyn Monroe calendar. I've bought Bakelike utensils and cherry juice cups. My theme will be Route 66/Romance Red.

It's 65 years old, so I won't be taking it on long trips. Except in my head. I plan to share all the pictures as I go along, but there are just a few of my faves! More to follow.

Kitchen, soon to be outfitted in red accents. My view. The chrome handles are really cool.

The interior has bunk beds in the back, perfect for babysitting grandkids, and will double as some storage. I'm working on quilting some coverings and curtains. Little by slow, because I can't drop everything to do it – got books to write – I'll have the cottage of my dreams. And how great that, just like my life, just like the house I live in, it's recycled from the past, pulling all the great things in my life forward, leaving behind what doesn't work. Hope you'll go on this journey with me.

Next year, I'm going to get a smaller trailer so I can still have that adventure with the Sisters On The Fly (remember that blog post? No men, no children, no pets, play fair). I became an honorary member in May. I intend to follow that conference. And write romance on an outing. Create a story on the road. What do you think?

LATE EDITION:  Thanks to a reader who sent this link. It applies, don't you think?  Love Shack.  Gitter on the highway…hmmmm. Love it.

11

SEAL BROTHERHOOD, Band of Bachelors is here! SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

Releases tomorrow!

My new release, Band of Bachelors: Lucas, will be here tonight at midnight. I've loved writing this story from beginning to end. The idea first came to me when our son moved from New York City, to Park City, Utah, and then home to California. I go into this in depth in my Newsletter this month. Be sure to sign up, if you're not already a subscriber.

We get our stories from real life. You've all seen the tee-shirt: “Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book,” and for some, this can be dangerous. For others, it could be flattering. I'm working on a new story this week for another anthology I'll be in that's due early November, and I've promised the real person I'd make a character that was as yummy as possible. You can bet I'll be taking all the good, and making up the bad.

DJ's experiences living with a household of bachelors in Park City was life changing. I can say here what I couldn't say in my newsletter (did you subscribe? LOL), that in addition to the fact that these men were older and divorced, they were also excommunicated (if this is the correct term) LDS members. I presume that's because of the raucous activity they participated in, namely the use of alcohol. But I imagine their language, general lifestyle and the use of “professionals” for their dating needs didn't ingratiate them to the church. It almost certainly made the possibility of a reconciliation with their wives a zero percent chance of success, on purpose. I certainly couldn't use any of that in the book, not that other authors don't, but I don't believe in knocking anyone's beliefs, whether they be traditional or otherwise. Besides, this has nothing to do with religion, but a lack of faith in something greater than themselves. My hero, Navy SEAL Lucas Shipley, eventually parts ways with them, just like DJ did.

My son came home with lots of material, and we actually had fun thinking up how we could turn this experience into some kind of TV show. The bachelors were always giving him horrible advice. Very bad advice. Being single and young, he knew he had to leave when, as he says in his words, “Mom, I'm starting to believe them.”

And that's the kernel of what began to grow when I thought about the Band of Bachelors. The book trailer J.D. Hart, my awesome Storyteller and best friend, captures it perfectly.

It's always kind of cathartic when I finish one book. I never really want to say goodbye to my characters. So I try to weave people from one book into another, but not leave a future reader lost if they haven't read the whole series. It rewards the repeat and returning reader by allowing them to experience the whole chain of events, the arc of the whole team, from the first book, Accidental SEAL (still free) to the current one, Band of Bachelors: Lucas. Little novellas or boxed sets with other material are branches off the main tree of my Brotherhood. I want that tree to grow wide, have many strong arms and branches, and grow forever, or as long as my fingers and brain hold out.
So today, I prepare for my launch day. I'm not doing the crazy big parties I used to do, just trying something more generic and sane. Doing some promo today, tomorrow and during the next 2 weeks. I'd love for you to join me from 7-8 PM tonight, where I'll be at Authors Appreciation facebook event where I'll answer questions and we'll do some prizes and giveaways, and I'll also be at a live chat (my first one) from 9-10 PM Eastern at Writer Space here
Well, if you and I get to talk at a conference, or online, or in a chat, or by email or anywhere else you channel me, perhaps one day you too will become part of my story. I've been known to bend some rules and make my friends into dancers, heroines and heroes and everything in between.
Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. 
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.

6

SMORGASBORD OF LOVE: Overindulgence Is Good For Me. Good For You.

Smorgasbord of Love: Overindulgence Is Good For Me. Good For
You.

Lucky for me, if you binge on love, it doesn’t make you fat,
it makes you whole. Last night at the IRC conference, we were discussing the
Happily Ever After phenomenon in Romance writing today. Critics of romance call
our novels trashy and “simple”, and those of you who read or write it, know it
is anything but that. Almost like it isn’t cool to say we want more romance in
our lives. Makes us needy. I say, hell yes, I love being needy! I want more
romance, don’t you?
 I read the following
passage from Your Brain on Love, which I referred to in my newsletter last
week. See if you can read it to someone you love without crying. I hope you do!
The chapter is called “Sexuality and Spirituality: Divine Balm For
Your Soul and Brai
n.”
Before he starts the chapter, he has this quote: “Eroticism is….where a man experiences a
woman with all his senses and not just his eyes. It’s the insatiable desire to
know someone completely.” 
–Rabbi
Shumley
Here’s the excerpt I love:
I was just a sophomore
in college when I began working as an orderly in a nursing home…in Mankato,
Minnesota….In the home was one couple I’ll never forget: Henry and Martha. I
think they were the only married couple in the nursing home at that time. He
was ninety-eight, and she was ninety-six. They had been married for more than
sixty years. And this was the second marriage! Henry would wait (from what I
learned from the other nurses and the other staff) for the day I would be working.
I worked the three to eleven shift, and as the clock inched closer to eleven
o’clock, Henry would buzz the nurses’ station, and I would go down to his room.
Henry always wanted the same thing: for me to help him from his bed over to his
wife’s bed. I think he was embarrassed to let one of the female nurses or aides
help him into his wife’s bed. But since I was a guy, it felt okay for him to
ask for my assistance. (He’d worked out a similar deal with the morning janitor
to move him back to his bed the next morning.)
Now Martha was mostly
blind, but when I’d help him over to her bed, I’d see this wonderful smile come
over her face. She could no longer see him, so she was responding to the sound
of her husband coming near and crawling into bed beside her. She beamed when
she felt his arms enfold her. They were a part of the blessed few—Master-Level
Lovers.
I thought that scene
was the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. After all these years, I
still think that.

Being a master-level lover is more about the heart than the
sex we usually think of as being a master of love. When you analyze it, really,
being a master-level lover is being full out. Not holding back. Giving 100% of
what you have to give. If you play at 100%, there are no limitations.
Age, space and time cease to exist. This is what true
romance is. And what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. What’s good
for the brain is good for life itself.

The miracle is we can feel it any time we choose.

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.
Sharon’s
Newsletter
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?

5

GOING AND COMING: Life

Going and Coming: Life

Ethan Aged 1 hour
Ethan's birthday was yesterday, and I had to miss it because I've been sick in bed for the past 3 days. Getting better, but still too sick to be around a group of little ones. I'm reposting this from the week of his birth. The theme still holds up today. Enjoy

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.

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Disney Touch of Magic

My favorite

I traveled home to San Francisco with this pin on my chest. I wore it proudly, like a true time traveler, reminded of my six days at Walt Disney World and the magic it inspired in me. I once got to spend some time with a long time friend of Disney, who told us tales of how the original park was built, the obstacles Disney overcame, and the vision and dedication of “getting things right,” from the simple to the complicated.

At every turn, the branding that Disney does is consistent. Bus drivers to and from the parks play videos, and even the shuttle going from our Animal Kingdom Lodge and the sister lodge on property pumped in African songs, just like the lobby of the hotel. I have never been to a hunting lodge at Lake Tanganyika, or ridden the train to the Mountains of the Moon west from Kenya into Uganda, or stayed at the Treetops Lodge, but I'll bet some of what Disney created would feel similar. Sitting out by the pool, I got to listen to the piped in music of my favorite African performer, Samite and his lovely voice. The rhythms he plays are universal and would find a home in many genres, including folk and country. If you want a history lesson on some of the hardships he endured growing up in East Africa, you can read more about him here. A voice of inspiration and hope for a world that needs so much of it.

I admit, I have a problem.

I have to admit that, during this trip, I got my family addicted to collecting pins. I'm not proud of the fact that I spent easily a day or two's lodging on getting these pins, then trading them all over the park. It gave us something to do during those long line waits. We scouted out clerks and customer service reps who had whole books of pins we could trade, just two at a time. But if going overboard is a religion, I am a true believer. Those that know me well know that I don't do things half-way. Throwing myself into the pin trading game, including learning to negotiate with my very savvy 6 year old granddaughter (who really didn't need her parent's help to draw her line in the sand) was one of the highlights of the trip.

My second favorite.

My granddaughters got to be made up as princesses. Not sure what I was expecting, but walking into a magical makeup room, set with at least 10 beauty stations, all manned by Fairy Godmothers, making their little charges into princesses, was just simply enchanting. The message was clear: anyone can be a princess. To watch the little girls walk out of that dressing room, transformed into a make-believe character, and expecting a happily ever after was awe-inspiring. The old cynical me, before children, before grandchildren, would have said, “For what purpose? They're living a lie.”

Not true. It's fantasy. The stuff of fairy dust and happily ever afters. The things your heart dreams about when you let it follow it's natural course. All things seek love. When you realize this, the world suddenly becomes a different place. We are lucky enough to be able to feel it every day in our lives. Our destiny is to spread it all over the world. It's the only reality we can truly create, after all.

10

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: LAND OF LEMONY SNICKET (Sage Words from an Unlikely Source)

Our recent trip to the Sonoma County Fair was charmed and enhanced by the incredible Florence, the Land Yacht built by Gypsy Time Travelers. You can look up their website at www.gypsytimetravelers/com. I think we are planning a visit to Mendocino County for the incredible Kinetic Carnivale.

We are lucky to live in California, where all the strange and unusual things are. Northern California is like the Lemony Snicket of the United States. Strange. Beautiful. Fun. Unpredictable. We don't have the drama or harsh weather or horrible economic conditions that seem to plague the rest of the nation. People frolic here, come here on vacation, and scrape everything they can to “get by” just to live here. I was just lucky. I was born here, second generation, in fact.

Florence

Florence is such a curious structure. It's a vehicle, but it's also something much more. It's a stage, a living quarters, a happening, borne out of pure creativity and fun. Michael is a blacksmith. His creation is a magnet for kids and adults alike. We are oddly curious about things we know little about–things cloaked in mystery, with a little magic and sparkly stuff (perhaps some black faery dust too).

I loved the Lemony Snicket series on TV my two oldest kids watched years ago, brushing aside the concerns about “dark fantasy”. I truly think dark fantasy has always had a place in our culture. Look at Hansel and Gretl, or Snow White, for instance.

I'm going to have more pictures in my Newsletter this month. We are trying out an expanded version and I'd love to hear what you think. Part newsy and part fun.

By the time you read this, my family and I will be in Disney World. I think that one of the most wonderful things about raising a child, or having grandchildren is the fact that for some space and time, we get to return to that age when we didn't know everything and everything grownup was a true mystery. Time enough for being an adult. For the next week, I'm going to be a child, and live through the eyes of my grandchildren.

We don't have Florence, but we have the adventure in our hearts! And just like the crew of Florence, we're keeping a sharp eye out for pirates!

13

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Romance At 35,000 Feet

It's all fun and games until someone
winds up in a cone.

I'm looking down at the US from above the clouds, on my way back to California. I never know what I'll discover when I go on these trips. I have given up making long lists of things I want to accomplish. Besides, being a storyteller, I kind of like letting things go the way they go, not the way I go. Still, I can't help but have a few expectations.

I needed this trip, because nothing that I expected to happen, actually happened. I say this in a good way. I wasn't feeling that way last night. In fact, I sort of cried myself to sleep, asking myself why I did this in the first place.

But the beautiful thing about morning is that it is a new day and a fresh start. I hit the reset button. I read a little meditation this morning that talked about telling the truth, and I discovered (huge palm to my forehead), I'd forgotten to do so.

First let's talk about the weather in Orlando this time of year. Humid, raining torrentially and then next minute so sunny and hot, when I walked outside, my glasses fogged up. People used to this didn't blink. California is dry and almost never humid, or at least not enough to fog up your glasses.

I knew going in that most the authors would be unknown to me. I knew of no readers who were from this area, and I didn't do any advance promo because, well, my head was frankly stuck in another world in the weeks prior to the convention (truth coming with the fresh morning).

I participated in panels, participated in an online interview with my narrator, J.D. Hart (which was fun), all unscripted and without all the proper equipment, and listened to what panels were saying. I got two really great marketing ideas out of it. And of course, I got to spend time with my storyteller, who has become my best friend and biggest fan.

Blinding flash of the obvious

He was the grounding device I needed, and I'm so happy I had him come to help with the signing, and just mingle with other authors and readers, who always love him.

I also met my PA's incredible 13 year old kid, who is doing things with YouTube that made my jaw drop. I heard this morning he hadn't been looking forward to telling me about it, but I understand he enjoyed it, and his mom was sure proud. This awesome kid stood there, discussed what he does just like any college professor. I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Honest.

In short, I got what I was supposed to get. God gave me these cards, one of those unlikely hands that you don't have much hope for, but brings you everything you really need.

I'm happy to put back the crown as Queen of the Universe. I'm just a writer. I make mistakes, I enjoy some of them more than others. I just keep opening the doors and being willing to let in what's supposed to be there.

It was a perfect trip, not for what I got, but for what it was. It was everything I needed, and more.

I know this has happened to you. Love to hear about it? Are sometimes our unexpected miracles the best afterall even though they might not look like them at the time?

12

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Living in Cinderella

Harry Chapin once said that every song he wrote had some little part of his life, some emotion he was feeling, or experience he remembered, and that it was impossible to be a songwriter without this “gift” as he called it.

I feel the same way as a writer. My early days as a child molded me in a very big way. We lived in Oakland when I was little, until my family moved to Palo Alto, where I lived until college. My parents bought the house from our pastor. It was way bigger than we needed, so my parents had two “grandmothers” who boarded two of the upstairs three bedrooms. The third bedroom was mine. My windows faced my mother's flower garden, some half acre going up a hillside. I used to spend hours and hours looking out that window at the garden and imagining all sorts of things in my future. Adventures and stories, and most of them love stories.

My best friend sent me this, the exact player I used to listen to!

I think I was about three when I moved in there. At first, I was scared, being all alone. We didn't get
the boarders for the first year. So I had the creaking upstairs all to myself–the locked attic doors at the side of the large staircase, and the empty rooms waiting for someone to come stay with us. My parents bought me a little record player, and I used to sit there all alone and listen to my stories on that single switch player, playing Walt Disney '45's, of Snow White, Cinderella, Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales sung by Danny Kaye.

These tales, especially Cinderella, resonated with me. It didn't take much imagination for me to put myself in Cinderella's shoes, waiting for my handsome Prince Charming to come take me away. I loved the beautiful blue gown with the lace trim made by her bird friends, as she danced the whole night in the arms of that dark-haired prince. I matched the tilt of her head, imagined what the feel of his hand would be on her tiny waist, imagined what the stars would be like as we'd twirl, and the ballroom would be transformed into some magical place where all things are possible and the future is brighter than the present.

I think I never stopped living there, really. I played those records so often, it's a wonder they didn't

wear out. I'd cry at the sad parts, and cry really hard at the Happily Ever After. I think those days were the happiest for me as a child. Being left alone, listening to songs and music and the spoken word of a love story.

And now it resonates with me. Life has come full circle. I've completed perhaps my “job” of being a mother, a dutiful wife, a career and income generator. I've done all those things for others, as well as myself. Now these days are for me, my gift to myself for a life worked hard for. I get to experience the fantasy of a life in the Happily Ever After, even if reality isn't there yet. I get to live in the fantasy of what could be. I no longer wish for the same things I did as a younger woman. I want to wrap myself in love stories and I don't care about reality.

I'm lucky enough to be living in Cinderella. It's as if I will manifest this fairy tale the more I write about it, the more I feel it. I gladly give up this world for that one.

I hear music. I feel like dancing. Won't you come along?

8

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Honoring Those Who Serve By Living Our Lives

My heart bleeds for the families of the men lost in the recent tragedy in Tennessee. These types of things should not be happening, but, unfortunately, our world is becoming smaller every year. We are closer and closer to each other through social media. Along with this benefit, comes the unadulterated fact that we are also connected to the very worst of humanity. These cretins, as my SEALs like to say, can use our own freedoms, to take advantage and try to rob us of them.

They won't succeed.

I had a difficult time at first when I was plotting out SEAL's Promise. Oddly enough it was about a year ago now. I wanted to insert the plot line of home grown terrorists, or terrorists who come to our shores, familiar with our ways and customs, able to blend in and use that information to take advantage of us. I considered that perhaps I was going overboard, even though I knew the military had recently requested families get off social media, be very careful about who they invited into their circles, and to be watchful and observant.

I continued with that theme in SEAL My Home, using the scenario that someone from overseas would be allowed entry to the U.S. and would stalk and try to harm one of the SEAL warriors he'd encountered in Afghanistan. I used the theme of human trafficking and sexual slavery in SEAL's Code, which was a slight departure, but still focusing on a great evil in our world today. In Code, we discuss how heroism is handed down, is our birthright, and that love is always stronger than evil.

I firmly believe this.

Even if we all lived in cages, we wouldn't be safe. It is a great testament to our fighting forces that we haven't had to experience the ravages of war as some societies have. Here at home, we can't protect against every eventuality. But the steady tide, the history and the honor and love for our flag and our respective countries, fought and paid for with human life's blood, the vast freedoms we have to read what we want, speak what we want and live and do what we want, worship where we want, that overwhelms the evil little plans of the most evil amongst us.

It's hard to understand why someone would want to harm people who protect and defend our way of life. It's hard to figure out why a cause or movement that takes away more than it leaves, would be something that would be attractive to anybody. As I've said before, sometimes the cost of freedom is too great. It's not a burden shared equally. But we equally share in the benefit, whether we appreciate it or not. And just as I was blogging a year ago, the landscape of this evil has changed. Now some of us innocents, some not even wearing a uniform, will pay the ultimate price.

I am so thankful that I have a job writing heroes and happily ever afters, being able to bring fantasy to people's lives, to enrich them in some small way. Because the best way we can honor the fallen, both men and women who don a uniform and protect us, but innocents who just happen to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time, is to go on enjoying those freedoms. The best way to honor the fallen is never to forget, always to remember, and always to live life to the fullest.

I happen to think that's what every true hero would want.

We've just wrapped up SEAL's Code on audio. Our last audio release, SEAL Brotherhood Box Set No. 2 is out on audio as of last week. You can hear a couple sample audio clips on my website, or click on the snippets I've provided you below.

Hope you'll continue the journey with my new series, Band of Bachelors, releasing in novella form, 8/4/15 in Cat Johnson's Hot SEALs Kindle World. More to come!

https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/seal-brotherhood-series-set-two-sample-3
https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/are-you-an-audio-virgin
https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/seals-code-danny-talking-to-grandfather

Book trailers: SEAL's Code, SEAL My Home.

Until we meet again, have a safe, and love-filled week. Don't ever stop believing we can all have our dreams become reality. Don't stop remembering love is always much stronger than hate. It's what we were made for.

8

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Worshiping At the Altar of My New Computer

WORSHIPING AT THE ALTAR OF MY NEW COMPUTER….

Cleaning up my desk is good for my muse! The clutter-free space allows the stories to flow, allows me to get into my stories. It helps that lately I've been taking naps in the afternoon, and writing at ungodly hours of the AM, and late at night. I actually prefer it when I can have total and utter silence, except for the music or things I select to alter my environment.

My computer was acting wonky. That is a technical term. And yes, it did blow up and had to have a data transfer. I'm always part of it, but this time, I think “it” was feeling “unwell.” I was forced to be off most social media for 3 days. I almost went through withdrawals, but my muse was dancing a jig.

So off I went to the Apple Store, and they hooked me up. Got another iMAC with a Thunderbolt accessory screen, so I could have a larger desktop. And like I said in my title, I'm worshiping at the altar of my new stand-up adjustable desk and the beautiful MAC computer and display. I'm in Heaven. Even my sunflower outside the second story window is happy.

I read a little bit in a mental warfare book that's part of my daily devotional at sunrise, and the message for today was about being focused. How perfect.

Environment makes a big difference to me in writing stories, especially stories that have to have emotion to make them believable, and “hooky” to readers. My son has recently gotten a part time job at my favorite country inn here in Sonoma County. It was rated the best country Inn in the whole US some years ago. In my books, I call it the “Waterwheel Inn”, but its real name is the Kenwood Inn. I go there sometimes to hole up and write, away from my normal life, the barking dogs, the work being done on the house, where I can order room service, sleep in a big bed like my heroes and heroines do, write by the fireplace all night or all day long.

Some of my best sexy scenes have been written here. I've spent some verra verra nice Valentine's Days here, too. Some of the upper rooms have views of the Kunde Winery across the highway (it's only 2-lane, Highway 12 that winds from Santa Rosa through Sonoma and on to Napa). The lobby is decorated with old map drawings like in my yet to be finished time travel, Be With Me. Maybe my muse is taking me on another wild ride, but I have 2 SEAL novellas to finish this month, and I'm trying to focus on those while the luscious story of this WIP calls to me, like a hunky lover in a dream. And what's so funny, is the hero in this story comes to her from a hundred and fifty years in the past the same way.

So, I'm enjoying my Sunday, reading in a new world I'll be writing in for Cat Johnson, her Hot SEALs world, finishing up that and one other committed novella before I head off to Florida for the Indie Bash in Orlando, and then a week with the grands at Disney World.

But my muse is sitting with a pitcher of Sangria, listening to the music “Lips Taste Like Sangria”. And I'm really sitting on a beach near Nelson's Dockyard on Antigua and writing another story, in another place in time.

To celebrate the release of our 15th audio book, J.D. Hart and I are offering a free audio book from Sharon's backlist, including the brand new SEAL Brotherhood Box Set No. 2.  If you want to enter, leave me a PM on my Sharon Hamilton author page on Facebook. 

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