I won't lie. I LOVE this piece. Sort of sums up my life at the current time. I'm an eclectic mix of traditional and quirky, all tied up in a collection of “found” pieces like this artist depicts. He doesn't solder anything, rather “screws” them together. That's not a dirty word, but it's somehow fitting.
We are arranging our things and planning a minor remodel in the midst of moving some 400+ boxes. There's still the landscaping and the garden to tend. I added extra fertilizer to the roses today because it's time. I want to have a going away party on August 4th and I want those ladies to bloom special for us.
Notice the old school globes, the propeller and the upside down frame of a candelabra. The burner element from a oil lamp makes a perfect “burner” for the hot air balloon going to who knows where. Because that's exactly where I am going – who knows?
Had fun listening to some people who traveled in a Pusher for about 5 years last night. I almost wet myself with the stories they had about their bus 8′ slide-out all of a sudden coming unhinged, and he thought he'd blown a tire. Of course, someone was fast asleep on the couch, oblivious to the fact he was in the path of oncoming traffic. Yes! This happened while they were traveling down a 2-lane road! The family screamed until they were able to pull over to get the slide-out put back into place, which is when he woke up.
I was still laughing as I drove home, thinking about taking off from campgrounds in a hurry and leaving their awning behind.
Some of you are feeling concerned right now. Don't be. Think of the stories. You were there when I went on that 23-day cruise from Italy to Brazil when I wrote Cruisin' For A SEAL. You know what can happen in a kitchen, or a lifeboat! You also know why the shades were pulled as we sailed down the coast of Africa, and yes, that went into my story, too.
One of the fantastic things about being an author is that I learn so much from my nearly 7 decades on this planet, things that happened in the 1950's, '60's and beyond. Lost memories now re-found and memorialized in stories, woven in there, making them last forever.
The story I'm finishing is Love Me Tender, Love You Hard. Those of you who read the KW version novella that preceded this novel I'm releasing 7-30, remember the term:
I dare you to tell me if you remember what that means. That little eclectic detail actually happened, and luckily, not to me!
There are no accidents. There is only life, in full bloom. I intend to live every minute of it, enjoy every rose and every gardening session!
What about you? Are you yearning for a new adventure?
I woke up this morning and cried for the third time in 24 hours. Not tears of joy. Last night before I went to retire, all three of my dogs perched on my bed, as if asking, “Are we coming along too?” I have to say it nearly broke my heart.
But when I am able to be logical, I know it is the best thing for them to have a place to go where there will be land, not a rumbling diesel engine and highway. My dogs have always left me, not the other way around. Boy, does this one smart!
The sting is somewhat softened to know that the new owners will love this property as much as I have, and had the same reaction seeing everything we've done. They'll also have the money to continue to work on it as it deserves. Nothing lasts forever. Places don't last, things don't last. Memories do. It makes sense to do the move while we are healthy, and able. So, the time has come at last.
My husband is more excited looking at pictures of motors, storage space, electrical panels and tires. I'm looking at the interior of these coaches and trying to figure out how I'll feel rambling down the road, armed with a roving internet access and my computer. I won't be able to stop and pick a few roses when I'm at a stopping place in my stories, but I can still have a nice glass of wine before I begin my next love scene…
Like a bad boyfriend (stay with me here a moment), no way to experience the “new adventure” when the past is grabbing me and has me tied up in barbed wire wrapped around my heart. You know the song, “How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?” Well, I miss this place already and I'm still here. When my roots are severed, then we'll see how I function. And for sure, there will be lots of emotion to draw on. Oh boy, I'll bet I will be able to write some killer break-up scenes.
The good news is that no one has died. I'm just more used to adjusting than streaking out and making the big decisions. Everyone I love will still be around, just not so close by, but they'll be there when I can visit. I'm not doing this out of fear, out of necessity or due to illness or hardship. It's just time. That's the honest truth of it.
The big panties thing comes to mind a lot. I went out and bought a new pair of red sunglasses and a new MacbookPro, which I'm taking back. I don't need it. My old one is fine, once I get rid of some of the stuff on it. I'll store that data too, like my cabinets, my china and silver, the pictures, my quilting fabrics and sewing machine, the seeds I didn't plant this year (maybe I'll sprinkle them across the country as we travel like Johnny Appleseed), my favorite rose trimmers and my colorful purses and scarves. Paring down to the bare necessities. Oh there's another tune I'll be humming too.
When this house burned down in 2008, the change resulted in me becoming a writer. This change will result in something equally as spectacular.
But why is it easier to adjust than to make the bold decision to take a conscious step forward? Must be like skydiving. You just have to jump out and trust that the buddy on your back will help you safely land.
Have you ever had this happen to you?
I've said it before many times, it doesn't take much to father a child, but to be a father, that has nothing to do with Biology, and everything to do with Heart. I have had the honor of knowing several fathers who loved and cared for those who were not his own offspring, yet you'd never know the difference. That's a special man, who can love a child, bring them into his life, and make them his own by actions of his heart, not with the other body part!
My own father has passed now several years, yet I remember all the things we did for him those 9 decades I got to honor and love him. He thoroughly embraced being a father. It was his job. He was a great husband to my mother, and, when she passed some 14 years ago or so, he was left with both my brother and I as his children, but half of his “job” had been taken away by my mother's passing.
So the biggest lesson I learned from him was that love knows no bounds. His job of being a partner and husband was not over, though his wife had left this earth. So, at 80, he re-married. And we were grateful because we got to have him around for another 10 years. He showed us that falling in love can happen at any age. Through the great power of love, he was a complete man.
Good men understand this concept in spades. Like everything in life, there are good ones and bad ones, and I was fortunate to live with and love a good one. It was never hard to love him. He made it easy. He spoke his mind, was honest with the things he should have been honest with, stubborn at times, but mostly wide open with his acceptance and love.
They say that a little girl's first love is for her father, and that was certainly the case with him. My husband of 47 years fulfills that role now for our two girls. I miss the days when the hand-painted ceramic plaques came from Kindergarten or preschool, the carefully crafted cards with glitter that always went outside the lines–the cut-out shapes and scribbled messages my kids made on their Father's Day cards, just like the ones I used to make. My son and son-in-law now get those, and I'm delighted they get to revel in the joy and miracle of the lives they've brought into this world.
We should make it a bigger thing, this Father's Day event. Somehow, it gets eclipsed by graduations, upcoming 4th of July and prior Mother's Day. My son-in-law is getting to play golf this morning and is having a massage this afternoon. My husband gets the gift of his daughters helping him finish packing and staging his office, and his bedroom. It's been a non-stop process, and we're both hobbling around the house like a couple of cripples. But thanks to their help, the work will be done, and the house will officially go on the market this week.
So, this won't be a day of rest for my husband. But it will be a day when our kids will give something back. We
have the celebration too of my oldest son's promotion and move cross country to Vermont. We celebrate the wonderful father my other son is back east. We celebrate the help to us and joy our son-in-law brings to our daughter and their two children.
It's a picture, a postcard in time, about a family in transition, moving on to the next stages of our lives. We walk that path together, in love.
What are you doing special for that special Dad in your life?
As most of you know, Kindle Worlds is ending. That means that two novellas I wrote for Bella Andre's Game For Love and Marina Adair's St. Helena Vineyards worlds will now be able to be expanded, and released anew. That means you'll be getting announcements on the two new books: SEAL's Goal and…
Love Me Tender, Love You Hard coming in July and August. Once the packing and staging are done, you'll see that preorder notice go out. Stay tuned!
And here's a little fact for you. I wrote SEAL's Goal, about an American goalkeeper on an English Premiere League team, who wears a green jersey (goalkeepers always wear odd colors so they aren't mistaken for regular team players). A reader pointed out to me that Steve McQueen's grandson, Trace, plays professional soccer in the U.K., and wears a green jersey. How did I know? I guess it was written in the stars.
Enjoy these covers and the new books coming next month and August. Tons of other news coming your way as well.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
The adventure continues. I write this post, getting ready to leave for my book signing at Lori Foster's #RAGT18, while at the same time putting back my office after nearly 2 weeks of painter experience.
Those of you who have done this know what I mean. They disconnected both my computers and our internet, and painted over things, moved things, put things on top of things, and so now I'm unburying. And, they'll be back on Monday. NOT COMPLAINING! I'm just happy they're coming back (but not 100% sure they'll be here Monday)…it has been a roller coaster, for sure.
My dogs stand in the house, look at everything all mixed up, their dog beds thrown on top of tables or couches or scaffolding, and they just whine. They look at me as if to ask, “Mom, what are you doing with us?”
They don't really have to worry. But we'll all be glad when it's put back together. And then we have to get ready for what we hope is an onslaught of interested buyers. We have something very unique here, a 4200 square foot house on nearly 61 acres, bordering a 1200 acre regional park and Kendall Jackson winery. I'm holding hope we can make a fair exchange: enough money to have a decent retirement (not from writing) for my husband, giving them the property to continue the love that I've put into it. That's the right person for us as a buyer. Someone who will love it the way it is. Who sees it for what I do.
Oh, I know all the stuff about selling because I've done it for nearly 30 years and I counseled and lectured many sellers. But this is my house. This is a one-of-a-kind property, and certainly the last nice piece of property I'll ever own. It's time for phase II of my next great adventure. I'm going to have the flexibility to choose where I live and what I want around me. I did it once. I can do it again.
We're exploring the idea of getting a good Class A Diesel and having it customized. Check this out: http://livingvehicle.com. Here's another: https://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/tumbleweed-tiny-house-photo-gallery/#!
I can see us doing this. Even has a shower on the back for dogs. Is there a Happily Ever After in my future?
And while you're at it, check out this book:
You can order it here. Wonderful message and so perfect for me today.
What about you? Are you on a journey back to your wings? It isn't a freefall. It's a planned fall. Like a planned burn. Planned chaos. I'm actually doing this because I want to.
Somehow, I think it will be fantastic for me.
I took a deep breath when my husband said, “I'm retiring, and we're going to sell our home.” I'm not a good one for change, as most of you lovely readers know. I hang on to the bitter end sometimes. Most of the time, it has served me well.
But the reality of our aging bodies, and the toll working on the huge house and many acres of garden and land has come to greet me at last. My fantasy world will not give up on this dream of living here, so I'll be able to take some of it with me forever. Not to worry. But the real world has tapped me on the shoulder and told me, “It's time.”
We can embrace change in any number of ways. I like to say Change (or circumstance) doesn't make a person, it reveals a person. I'm wanting to kick that particular “ism” all around the bedroom, get it to get dirty with the dust bunnies hiding under my bed. But all that does is mask the knowledge that I have to make lists, and I have to pack from now to oblivion, it seems.
But I've done it! It doesn't matter how many times I think about my husband's decision, it won't help me get into action. I can ruminate about it all after we're done. Right now, we're in purge, staging and beautifying mode. I'm learning to revel in that, and what a surprise, it's not so bad! I have new lawn, new planting boxes. Part of the strategy is protecting and packing away a lot of me in this house, and revealing a lot more about the house, the structure, the land and the gardens. So, in a way, all my lovelies are safely stored, all my personal things I prize are gone and hidden away. All they are going to see are a few selective things that might elicit a smile or warm feeling about the home and the lovely grounds on which it sits.
Part of my consternation was, “Where are we going to go?” I'm looking at lots of places. Franklin, Tennessee, is top of my list, mainly because I could create a nice lifestyle there with a quarter of the funds. But my heart has grown to feel at home there now that I've visited it, and visited Tennessee several times. I have lots of writer friends and other dear friends in the area, and nearby.
But staying in California is also an option, or moving East nearer to our other son. There's the beach in Florida calling me, perhaps North Carolina or Virginia. My husband likes Oregon so he can be close to his brother. I'd like to do all of it, but it all depends on what we get for the property.
Just like so many things in our lives, it is up to someone else. As much as we plan and strategize, the truth is that a new buyer we accept will determine where and how we live in the future. I've always been lucky with decisions we've made. I can write anywhere. But finding a place I will love living in is most important. Being close to my children and grandchildren is also important. I've cast those nets out into the universe, and something will happen that will allow me to do most of what I want.
So, it's interesting how I'm coping with the change. I'm getting up, checking my lists, putting on my work clothes, planting flowers in the garden like I'll be here for years to enjoy them come up year after year. Planting vegetables perhaps that will be edible after we move. It doesn't matter, does it? None of us know how long we'll be anywhere in life. As my son said recently in the most beautiful letter I've received from any of my children, “Mom, in your case, if life gave you lemons, you'd make lemon meringue pie!” That's what I'm going to think about.
I haven't been writing for a month. And, for the first time, I'm not sure what I feel like writing next. But I know a good book is in me, waiting to be born. Another love story, that will help heal the little wounds that sometimes come up.
Until then, I'm enjoying the treasures of looking at things I possess I haven't looked at in a long time. I found some baby teeth. Someone's awful wisdom teeth! Found a piece of pottery my daughter made in kindergarten. Found a Parchessi board I had written on when I was about five. We all do that, don't we? Save things for our future selves to enjoy, right? And that has made the packing and path toward this major relocation all the more sparkly. Not the shininess of my tears!
Now's your turn. Where is your favorite place to live if you could live anywhere, and why? I'd love to hear it!
I've loved writing SEALs ever since my first novel in 2012. At the time, my son was serving as a SEAL, and I had been very moved about his service, how he had changed from a boy to a man, and how he was committed to such a program at such a young age. Most of us don't find out life's passion until we are well into our 30's. He did a little interview with me for a mastermind group of high-powered real estate professionals, and said, “I feel so fortunate to have found something I love so early in life.” That was when he was a new “tadpole”, and single. Now, with a wife and family, of course I've seen his priorities change.
This is what inspires me about writing. We take the everyday, and we make stories about it. None of what happens in my books really happens in real life. You readers don't look for detailed accounts of perhaps things that shouldn't be written about SEALs. I write fiction, and romantic fiction at that. Everything is seen through my rose-colored glasses. My stories are about finding love, sometimes losing it too, but mostly the Happily Ever After. My SEALs are the vehicle I use to tell those stories.
So it would come to me, as I see the journey of some of these men I've met, as they age and go on to other careers, so too do my characters. And the Bone Frog Brotherhood was born. My new release tomorrow, SEAL My Love, explores my older characters as they also find true love.
Gretchen is Kate Morgan's older sister. Many of you will remember her from SEAL Of My Heart, when Kate and Tyler fall in love on an airplane from San Francisco to Portland. This was based in part on a true story. I met a young marine coming home for Christmas from Vietnam, and we made one of those connections in the stars. At the time, I was not free to accept his beautiful letters and the flowers he sent afterward. And it wasn't until years later that I got to see him again, and I apologized for having to break it off when he went back to Vietnam. I was delighted to hear that he had survived. “Yours was the face I was coming back to. It didn't matter.”
So this became part of my story. What if I had gone a different path, followed his invitation and spent a life with him? Just before I released this book, I tried to look him up, and sadly discovered that he had passed away the previous summer. Gretchen says a prayer to her father, that marine in my story, in much the same way as I have prayed to him for the safety of my then-serving son as a SEAL. He would have been proud to know I had a son who went into military service. He was the first in my immediate family to do so without being drafted during either WWII or Vietnam.
So Gretchen has had three girls, and decides to take an adventure with Kate and Tyler and a bunch of their SEAL buddies and families. And that's where she meets Trace, an older SEAL, just attached to Team 3 from an east coast team, after a messy divorce. His wife ran off with another SEAL from another east coast team. Unfortunately, I have also heard that this happens in real life. So, it goes into my story.
These two mature, slightly damaged people find a way to fall in love again like it was the first time. And I believe I do show that this love is the forever love they never had before. I hope you'll enjoy their satisfying story.
My new release in April will be the continuation of my Bone Frog Brotherhood Book 1, the novella that started with a new years wedding and one-night stand that becomes something else. More to come on that later. But here's the cover reveal below.
Thank you for following me on these Sundays with Sharon. I love to hear your comments. I thank you for your readership. We all celebrate together the miraculous healing powers of true love.
Romance readers get to do things on Sundays other people never do. They get to travel with Navy SEALs, conquering bad guys and falling in love with strong, courageous women.
They get to travel back in time with warriors of immortal and noble lineage.
They get to live in palaces with knights, kings, princesses and handsome princes.
They get to fly with vampires under the full moon.
They know about all the great spots to have a Sexy Sunday Picnic.
Flowers are brighter to romance readers. Kisses are slower and more sensual. Sex is beautiful. Talk is sometimes cheap and dirty. Sometimes it's passionate. Rain is sexy. Eating ice cream can be orgasmic.
Good wine flows at all the right times. They share sunsets with handsome heroes.
Romance readers get to turn off the news more. They turn on their devices and get transported anywhere else with a listen to an audio book. They are often seen smiling, in the middle of traffic. They sometimes don't even mind that it takes them longer to drive somewhere.
They get to fall in love every day. They discover new stories and authors all the time. They explore new worlds with heroes who have super powers.
They think reading is sexy.
What are you doing this Sunday?
I came across this little article in my Brain Pickings newsfeed (always something I look forward to reading, and it's a treat when I look up from my computer, take a break and read them). “Words mean. Words point. They are arrows. Arrows stuck in the hide of reality.” –Toni Morrison
Lately I've explored my theory of Fierce Writing now that I am, once again, up against a deadline. I love deadlines and I hate them. The Fierce Writing makes me do something I want to do and love to do, but forces me to do it, in a type of BDSM world where I wrestle with my own talent, ego and time module. I do see this life as a time module. What will I accomplish in this lifetime, this module?
In between books I have to wander, change my focus, interact with different people, and sometimes get a healthy dose of aloneness. It must be like dealing with the butterflies for an actor before they go on stage. It's deeply personal, and everyone goes about it differently. Toni Morrison's quote is important to me, although probably not in the way she envisioned it when she gave her Nobel Prize acceptance speech. I am not an activist in the common sense of things. But I am a romance writer, and that makes me an activist for love.
Like others who are activists in a minority cause, romance writers often stem the tide of criticism from the literary world, where it's not all about book sales or the money. It's almost like the whole world is twisted these days: people talk about being decent and honest to one another, but downgrade Love and Romance as valid themes or “values” in our everyday lives. I suggest more romance, more love would make the whole world a better place. Romance readers know this. But I can't tell you how many times I've had to defend that theory.
My mind is inspired as I finish these next 2 books. My hands are like sandpaper as the result of some gardening projects I'm doing. I've transplanted more than 200 seedlings in the past week, negotiated some old contracts and bills, and helped with some family issues (big families sometimes have big issues, right?). All of this has made me a better person, writer, mother, partner and friend. Can you hear me singing? I'm dawdling again, getting pumped up to a whole day of writing. The chill is in the air but my heart is burning like a furnace. The pots of water are on my wood-burning stove. The dogs are sleeping and dawn has just broken over my hill revealing all the white frost over new bright green grasses. The birds are beginning to look for nesting places and yesterday Rosa found a huge gopher (and promptly ate it, giving her a stomach ache) that was clearly over 2# in weight.
And I'm about to birth another great book for all of you. I can hardly wait to send out “there” SEAL My Love. Like every book I write, I attempt to show the healing power of true love. This is all about finding love a bit later in life, and how sweet it can be when you've gone without it for so many years. I know you'll love it.
How lucky I am!
Santa Rosa, California