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Story of the 2 Jakes

Thank you, readers, for my great launch week for Jake2. I truly appreciate your feedback and support! Loved writing this book!

Sometimes you get into a story, and it becomes deeper than you'd planned, or you get caught up in a secondary character who makes his/her appearance on stage and completely takes over the storyline for a time.

With Band of Bachelors: Jake, I had one of those occurrences.  I loved writing about this dysfunctional family and all their problems. Jake, based on a real SEAL I knew briefly, had fathered four children with three different women, not because he was a bad person, but because he couldn't say no, and wasn't careful. It didn't matter to him if sex brought him more children because he loved his children.

I know there are “norms” and I get hit with occasional comments from the Reader Police, informing me about how I've bended or broken the rules. In the words of one of my delightful writer friends, “You don't have to worry about breaking the rules, just understand the rules you are breaking.” She breaks them all the time, and so do I. I think that gives variety and spice to the romance genre, and we also get to try out things that perhaps we wouldn't have been able to if we all subscribed to the same lock-step rules.

So my guy is one of those who doesn't pay attention to the seed he spawns. Okay. That still doesn't disqualify him as a hero, because he makes good on his intentions – just learns the lesson later than most. And that happens in real life, right?

So, at the end of Band of Bachelors: Jake, I already knew there had to be a Book 2. I also am aiming more toward things that could be made into TV or movie pilots, and, from talking to screenwriters and others who produce TV pilots, they usually want the same character in each episode, not different couples, like I have in the beginning of my SEAL Brotherhood Series. So, I've been testing how I could do this, and have done it now three times: with Jameson in Nashville SEALs, Fredo in Fredo's Dream, and now with Jake2.

As a writer, I try to look for new projects for me, experiments that tickle my fancy (maybe some other things too, but I won't mention them!) and keep the creative part, well, creative! In Paradise, I wrote that book in first person. In SEAL Of Time, I created a paranormal Navy SEAL, son of Poseidon, who is an immortal healer.

As a reader, you like that, right? I know as a reader of some of my favorite authors, I sure do. I love seeing new things my favorite authors can accomplish. It's like opening a new chapter on a familiar book, and discovering something you hadn't read before. Thanks for taking the journey with me!


DISNEY AND WRITING ROMANCE – I am Alice in Wonderland

When I was little, my parents gave me a record player with one red button on it. The arm was red, and the volume control was on the right side. It played a number of 45 rpm records such as Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and others. The machine, like the one pictured here, had Alice in Wonderland characters painted on it.

This may very well be the exact machine I used to listen to those many many years ago. I was about 3. We had a large house in Oakland, California, and the upstairs had three bedrooms and two attic doors. We later had boarders, “the grandmothers” who helped my parents with expenses. But for a long time, I was alone in the entire top floor of this old home. My fantasy life bloomed into something so strong, I know it will always be with me forever.

We raise our kids on all sorts of stories now, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and others. But back then, I think the very first records for children were fantasy love stories I listened to over and over again.

Alice In Wonderland is celebrating it's 65th anniversary this year. Perhaps that's why this RCA Victor record player had those characters. But my 3 year old mind and heart was stolen by the fantasy of true love. It has been something I carry with me to this day. I can still hear the songs, the music and the voices. I see the dancing. The idea of finding my handsome prince and dancing off in the moonlight is a vision for my generation that will thrill me until the day I take my last breath. I'll sail off to that other world, and hope to meet every one of my fantasy men, who will of course greet me like the queen of romance I am!

We've just spent a week in Orlando at Disney World. Children and adults from all different cultures and races can relate to the magic of family, of love, of finding a place that is safe and wonderful, and, for a few hours, forget the cares of the world and just explore their own childhood. John Lennon's words come to me, “Imagine all the people…” and I saw evidence that people could stand side by side when they have at least one thing in common. We don't ask what we don't share. We live by the things we do share in common.

I guess I could call Disney World and Disneyland (my home turf) my Mecca of sorts. We bring the grandchildren there to share with them what we shared with our kids. Our kids share their love of fantasy with their own children. It's an indescribably wonderful way to spend a few days together, memories that will last a lifetime. Because we never know when we'll be separated.

I once talked to a partner of Disney who said WD had taken his daughters to a park and found the merry-go-round animals had chipped paint and some of them didn't work. He vowed that when he built Disneyland, “It will be a place with no chipped paint and everything works.” His legacy lives on.

My worlds are internal. I am the stoker of the fire. I plant the seed and the reader takes that and grows it into a fantasy of their own choosing. Maybe I am the cage around the tomato plant, that keeps it from falling over. I losely guide the reader here and there, like a painting instead of a photograph. This is fiction. Blurry, fuzzy fiction, with enough grit, heartache and emotion to make it just real enough to ask the reader to come along on the ride.

Aside from trends, the writer in me knows I have to keep it fresh, and unlike other authors. My voice has to be unique. I have to weave universal themes such as true love, love heals, love conquers, and love everlasting. I'm not a billion dollar business (yet), but I'm inspired by the world building and that little touch of magic Disney has given me. I'm grateful my childhood was the way it was, every part of it, even the parts that weren't so much fun.

How lucky I am.  I create the fairy tale of the ball, the handsome prince, and the big beautiful blue dancing gown. Oh yes, and the promise of Happily Ever After.



I get kind of crazy when I'm finishing a book, which usually means I'm anti-social and hermit-like. Not this time. This time, for whatever reason, I'm connected with lots of people. I've been working on Romancing The Vines, book signing at Coppola Winery on 2-20-16, coordinating things with the wonderful event staff there and making sure all of us are on the same page. There's more about that, but I best not put it in writing until after the event.

Then I fly to Hawaii to participate in an author's conference, and then another book signing in Honolulu for military writers. I'm sponsoring a trip to Pearl Harbor, and the Missouri and Arizona memorials. While I'm there, I'll be going to a swing dance (stag), but who knows? Perhaps I'll find a young officer to dance with, since my husband has to stay home this time.

End of February I'll be attending an Indie Un-Con in San Francisco. Next week I give a luncheon address for a group, talking about Navy SEALs and the heroism they display. This will not be my normal group of writers and avid romance fans, so I'm bringing to them brand new material.

We saw 13 Hours, which is a movie everyone should see, and watched some interviews with the real survivors. I finished Black Sails and Mozart In the Jungle, two new programs for me, which rival my previously favorite: House of Cards.

I've completely straightened my writing area, AGAIN! I've uncovered my gym, put material and quilting supplies that were encroaching into bins and boxes so I can see what I have. I've raided the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa and walked out with every aloha shirt I could find for my quilt.

This is behavior I had when I was pregnant! Impossible now, but perhaps the birth of the book is bringing out all the nesting instincts in me. And I'm still enjoying Christmas, even though the tree is torch-like dry. I'm leaving up all the decorations until the book is done. I have other writer friends who are stressing over deadlines farther out, and I've kept my mouth shut.

And I've done all this without coffee, can you believe it? And I've stuck to my diet, and have lost about 6#, perhaps more now.

I guess what's happening is I'm organizing my whole world so my focus is sharp and detailed. I call it Fierce Writing. In the zone, as one of my good friends says. I love writing this way. When I walk in and out of rooms, I get excited because they're clean, orderly and I'm not distracted. I don't feel bad because everything else has been allowed to slide. This is a planned attack, just like my SEALs do in the books I write. Writing fiercely and clear-headed is a practice, a devotion to something hopefully greater than myself.

Interesting that when I decide to clean up my spaces, I write better. My relationships are cleaner. Even three of my kids said thank you to me for being the mother I was. Two of them actually asked for advice!

Yes, I've gone to Heaven.

Okay, now back to the book. I'm working hard, and I do it for you!


Saying Goodbye

I am moved by events that happened today to some dear friends who experienced a tragedy. I know they are struggling with the pain that they must bear very privately, and how I wish I could take some of the burden from them. But I cannot. 

So I thought I'd do a post on the daily inspirational message I read every morning, but on this particular morning, had such a profound impact on me. I hope that it finds its way to your heart somehow, either now, or when you stumble upon it some days or weeks or years from now.


The pain of leaving those you grow to love is only the prelude to understanding yourself and others. 

I next read the message at the bottom of the devotional so I know where the message is taking me, and it read, “Today will bring both good-byes and hellos. I can meet both with gladness.” 

I wasn't sure I was going to like this passage today. But I read on:  Life is a process of letting go, letting go of conditions we can't control, letting go of people–watching them move out of our lives, letting go of times, places, experiences. Leaving behind anyone or anyplace we have loved may sadden us, but it also provides us opportunities for growth we hadn't imagined. These experiences push us beyond our former selves to deeper understandings of ourselves and of others.  

So often those experiences that sadden us, that trigger pain, are the best lessons life is able to offer. Experiencing the pain, surviving the pain that wrenches us emotionally, stretches us to new heights. Life is enriched by the pain. Our experiences with all other persons thereafter are deeper. Instead of dreading the ending of a time, the departure of a loved one, we must try to appreciate what we have gained already and know that life is fuller for it.

My grandfather, who was probably the greatest man I have ever known, the handsome preacher who called on people to rise up above themselves, out of the flaws of this world for the possibility of a more perfect world yet to be, conducted  my grandmother's funeral and called it a Victory Memorial. I can't quite go there today, especially in light of what my friends have had to bear today. But what he meant was that death wasn't the end of things.

It's a doorway to the next thing. We each see that doorway, depending on where we stand in connection to it, so that every person has their own perspective of it, experience of it uniquely their own.

My grandfather's message to us was that there were other doorways, and everyone has one we will enter when that time comes. Until then, life is to be cherished. Every minute of it. That we feel pain is evidence that we are alive, lucky to be alive, living amongst each other, and that there is sunshine ahead.

Some day. 

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.


Happy New Year – Love Those Navy SEALs!

Welcome everyone to the New Years Blog Hop. There are a ton of prizes you can win, which I've described below. In addition, someone on this blog will win a set of dog tags (3 covers of my SEAL books) and my new release, Fallen SEAL Legacy.

But that's not all. EVERYONE who leaves their email address wins something: either SEAL Encounter, the prequel/short to Accidental SEAL, or SEAL Endeavor, the prequel/short to Fallen SEAL Legacy. Yup. Everyone!

Your mission, if you so choose, is to leave a comment here on this blog, with your email address. We're sorry, but the Grand Prize #3 SWAG Pack offered on the site that is won internationally may have postage charges added.

You have a lot of other great blogs to follow and enter for freebies, so this post will be short. Here are the 10 things a Navy SEAL would NEVER SAY.

1.  Let's go hang out at the mall.
2.  I'm not a risk taker. I like it safe.
3.  I'm not really a great swimmer and don't much care for the water.
4.  I have a replica DOR bell on my keychain, just to bring back the fond memories.
5.  Getting wet and sandy is my idea of fun on a Saturday night.
6.  I sometimes have trouble making quick decisions.
7.  I can't live without 8 hours sleep every night.
8.  I'm just as happy reading a book as getting into a fight.
9.  Will you pack my chute for me? I'm just too tired.
10. I don't ever think about the sacrifices my family makes for me at home.

Can you add to this list? Which one is your favorite?

Good luck with the grand prizes, listed below:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! 

Join the other blogs to sign up for more freebies and enter for Grand Prize drawing here


New Year’s Blog Hop Coming January lst.

It's another year over! Can you believe it? Well we authors, readers, and bloggers sure can't. And to celebrate the New Year with bang, we're going crazy and sending out so many prizes, fun parties, experiences, and other goodies, that it's a bit scary. Each author has a favorite New Year memory, book, idea, or way to party and we're going to show you! Can't wait to see you January 1st – 6th!
And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all….

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

In addition, each person who leaves a comment on my personal blog will be entered to receive a set of Dog Tags from the covers of my SEAL books, as well as a free copy of Fallen SEAL Legacy, my new book. Every commenter will also receive a free short (SEAL Endeavor or SEAL Encounter). Be sure to leave your email in the comment. 

Enjoy your adventure into the NEW YEAR!


Come back and join me here on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013.

Here are all the blog participants

Forwarding encouraged!


Angels at Christmas: The Start of the Writing Journey

Angels and the Heaven
That Could Be
I was raised in a traditional family, or as traditional as a
family could be in Northern California during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. And yes, we
had our fair share of quirky characters, as all families do. Laced in there were
some serious hours doing service at our local church, mostly because that’s
what my parents had done, how they had met, in the shadow of my grandfather,
who was an evangelist.
Let me set you straight here, this blog isn’t about religion
or much of anything in the way of values, other than as it relates to my
characters. I’ve always said I’m a Christian with a bent antennae. I’ll
I was given a unique view behind the curtain, to see what
went on behind the production number that was the stage. And that’s where I
think the real story is. I got to see the women, kids in tow, coming to my
grandfather’s house in the middle of the night, after being beaten by a raging
husband. Those things really do happen in the real world. I’d see them at
breakfast the next day, and watch as my grandfather would hand out a free meal
or a little money to people out of luck. He told me the “hobos”, as we used to
call them, marked his fence so one that followed would know there was a kind
person living there who might share a scrap of food. I once gave my favorite
teddy bear to a little girl who was about 4 and clearly was afraid. I was
afraid too. Afraid for her future. I often think of her little face, standing
in my grandfather’s kitchen, barefoot, with syrup running down her chin.
What has always interested me is what makes people do the
things they do. And what choices they make in life. I didn’t want to go into
religious studies. I wanted to know what motivated
them. So, in college I majored in Psychology.
Years later, after raising a family of my own and now
beginning to see them have children, I still don’t really know what makes
people do what they do. But I know how to write it down.
Heavenly Lover is
my first book, and it was the book that seized me one cold December day when I
was visiting my daughter for her college graduation in Portland. We were snowed
in that day, and the graduation (mid-year, smaller) was cancelled. And like the famous story of Mary Shelley, who wrote
Frankenstein, we started talking about stories as we went around the room. I
had been dreaming about angels, but not anything close to the angels I’d
learned about in Sunday School. These were fully fleshed out beings with
personalities, in a beautiful place with gardens and classrooms so they could learn
about human life.
My blonde angel character was innocent, but drawn to the
human world like a moth is drawn to a light fixture. The story developed that
her attraction to all things human was what made her such an effective Guardian
Angel. And she had a 100% track record, unlike anyone else.
I constructed a world around her and the possibility that
she might fall in love so hard, that she wanted to give up her wings and become
human. And so I explored what that would look like, how she would feel, and
what the consequences would be.
The premise became: 
Heaven isn’t 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn’t 100% evil by
I began thinking that she would test the premise that all
beings had free will, human as well as angelic. And I wanted her to push the
boundaries. And not just push them, I wanted her to fall off the edge and watch
her recover, if she could.
Thirty days later, in mid January, I had that first draft
done. It was 92,000 words. I asked other writers I was becoming friends with if
that was normal, and realized I am a prolific writer. Now that version has been
re-written over 50 times now, vetted and critiqued on the contest circuit,
where it did very well. It took a lot of people to help me wrestle with this
behemoth first novel. But the end result is something that is near and dear to
my heart. The premise and the ending remained the same.
I’m now on my 4th book in the angel series.
You might ask me if I believe in the presence of a higher
power. And I have to say, when I shut my eyes and tune out everything else,
that someone else is there.
I hope you enjoy the journey I’ve taken. No, it probably
won’t send you back to church. But it might make you believe in perfect love.
For life doesn’t have to be 100% perfect to be fully enjoyed. We don’t have to
be 100% perfect to love or be loved.

All I Want For Christmas is my Husband

There are a lot of military families out there who are separated this Christmas. Thank you for stopping by to help remember them today. It's easy to forget about our fighting men and women when we are just going about our daily lives. In this picture, my husband and I are at the wedding of our oldest son, which took place amongst the redwoods. I'm holding our grandson.

But these precious days wouldn't be possible without those that have sacrificed, and in some cases, given their all so we could have a “normal” life, free from the worries and dangers we might otherwise face.

I think about the families separated this Christmas, and my heart goes out to them especially. They are having a Christmas dinner in a temporary home, sleep on a cot, love getting letters and packages from home. They play video games and read, and they think of their families. I include them in my family. And if I could rule the world, like I do in my military romance novels, I'd bring them all home safely tomorrow. Before Christmas.

But I'm a realist. The world doesn't always have a happily ever after, like in our books. And, sadly, some must pay the ultimate sacrifice or come home wounded. I can only imagine the pain their absense causes.

And so I say thank you, for all you do for us. For giving me a Christmas and a whole life I will not squander.

Please leave your email in your comment for a free short to my new Navy SEAL Brotherhood series, SEAL Endeavor. This is the prequel to my new release, Fallen SEAL Legacy. You must also leave your email addy to be entered in the grand prize drawing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, and be sure to share this post with everyone you know. Remember, EVERYONE who leaves a comment and their email address will win a short. Everyone.

And be sure to stop by all the other author blog sites for other free prizes to make your Christmas that much merrier:

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

After you leave your comments, join the other hoppers by clicking here.


Welcome Kaylea Cross

Today I am thrilled to welcome Kaylea Cross. She is a new author I have just discovered, and I love her writing. She also writes about military heroes, but from a detailed perspective I find rare in romantic suspense. You can tell she has studied many disciplines. Hope you will enjoy my new find as much as I have!
Tell me how you got started writing military romance? How many books have you written?
I’ve been a military history nut ever since I can remember, so I guess it’s little wonder that I chose to write about military characters when I decided I wanted to write romance. To date I’ve written 16 books under two different names (because they write different genres).
Why do you think these Alpha military heroes (and heroines) are so popular? What makes them heroes?
I think—I hope—they’re popular because people admire our men and women in uniform. They sacrifice so much, and so do their families.
They’re heroic because they serve and defend their country at risk to their own lives, and they do it with little or no recognition. Or much compensation, in my opinion.
How do you compliment the heroine to a strong alpha military guy? Do you write them strong? Compliant? Kick-butt?
I personally like heroines that are smart and have a backbone. Though if they’re civilians who suddenly find themselves in harm’s way, they’d better listen to the hero and do what he says without argument. I can’t stand it when a clueless heroine starts arguing with a seasoned soldier/operator in a dangerous situation about how things should be done. Hello? He’s the expert—just do as you’re told!
Do you like writing in series, or single?
Series! I like it best when we get to meet a whole cast of characters and get to know them, so we really care about each of them throughout the entire story arc of the series. When it comes time for each character’s story, the reader will hopefully be that much more invested in the book.
Who is your favorite character you've created? Why?
Hands down it has to be Luke Hutchinson, my former SEAL turned CIA contractor who features in my first romantic suspense series (the hero of Absolution). He’s fifty years old and has gone through hell for his country, including sacrificing his family life in order to hunt down the monster he created early in his career. If anyone deserves a shot at happily ever after, it’s Luke. And he’s CRAZY sexy. For real. Gah! I love him so much.  I have to admit I haven’t started Absolution, but after reading Cover of Darkness, I had to go out and order it. I mean, Yum.
Do you find it easier to write the bad boys or the good boys? I'm assuming both are heroic, but which ones are more fun to write?
I’m going to say good boys, since most of my heroes have very strict moral compasses and high standards of conduct they hold themselves to. Their training and experience in the field mature them in a quick hurry as well. I have written a couple of heroes that have a bit of a bad boy persona, but they know when to stop and put on their game faces.
What about the heroines? Do you find it easiest to write the bad girls or the good girls?
Definitely good girls. They might have an attitude or be able to kick ass at any given moment, but they’re always good people. Not perfect, mind you. Nobody wants to read about a perfect character, since that’s boring, not to mention unrealistic. Each of my characters has to grow and change during their book, struggling to overcome some sort of fear or flaw. I think that makes them easier for readers to identify with.
I did just finish a book with a sort of bad girl heroine (Maya, from the Bagram Special Ops series), but she changes a lot during her story because she lets her defenses down once the hero earns her trust. Not an easy feat, I’ll tell you that much. But so satisfying in the end.
If you could have a date with one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Where would you go?
You mean if we were both single and unspoken for? *g* Oh, that’s so hard! I immediately want to say Luke, but we wouldn’t be compatible for a lot of different reasons. So, I’d have to go with either his son, Rayne (from Out of Her League), a former Marine now SWAT officer, or Cam, the Air Force Pararescueman from Deadly Descent (first Bagram Special Ops book).
They’re both sweet but highly trained and very protective of the women they care about. Alpha males for sure, but not so much that they require special feeding and handling, like some of my other heroes do.
If you could go to a desert island with two companions, who would you bring? What would you do there? What would you bring if you could bring anything?
I love my husband, but he’s an accountant, so I doubt he’d be much good to me on a desert island. (Don’t tell him I said that!) I’d want someone with survival training, and they’d have to be both calm and decisive. Can I take a SEAL and a Pararescueman with me?
Aside from food and water, a GPS and a way to find a rescue? I’d want practical stuff like tools, shelter, etc. And a never ending supply of pen and paper to write with.
Pretend you have just sold your 100,000th copy of one of your books. What will you do to celebrate?
Ah, an author can dream… I’d probably plan a surprise trip to Disneyland for my hubby and kids.
Tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know or guess about you?
I’m a total wimp! Reading my books you might not think so, but I hate conflict of any sort. Gives me hives.
I like being at home with my kids or writing, puttering in the garden, quilting, painting or reading. Though I do own a collection of Civil War weapons… (And up here in Canada, owning any sort of gun is considered very weird if you’re not a hunter. So I’m considered to be a very strange duck.)
Who are your favorite authors/books?
Linda Howard’s All the Queen’s Men is my favorite romantic suspense book of all time. If you haven’t read it, do. I was inspired to write Cover of Darkness because of it.
I also loved the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward (up ‘til Vishous’s book). Those characters seem so real, I got sucked right into their world.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the first book of a new single title series I hope an agent will be interested in, featuring a group of ex-Spec Ops heroes now working as military contractors. Fingers crossed!
Excerpt: From Deadly Descent, book 1 of the Bagram Special Ops series
She kept firing, heartened that some SEALs remained out front. It wasn’t like they’d deserted her.
Her gun clicked when she squeezed the trigger. Empty.
Shit, out of ammo again. She reloaded. Her gaze swept past the SEALs toward the Chinook. She cried out in relief when she saw Cam running flat out toward her. He moved like a blur, weapon firing.
He came barreling into the rock shelter and skidded to his knees beside her. “Come on,” he yelled over the noise.
Still holding her weapon, she grabbed a fistful of his uniform as he levered her onto his shoulders. Amidst the whine and ping of the rounds landing around them, he ran for the Chinook. She kept firing in bursts toward the enemy, and stopped only when she felt the heavy rotor wash beating at her back. A howl of agony ripped from her throat as Cam flipped her off his shoulder and all but tossed her into the cabin.
Someone grabbed her under the armpits and hauled her backward away from the ramp as Cam jumped inside. Black spots swam before her eyes.
“Talk to me, Spike.”
She turned her head at Ryan’s voice. “I’m okay!”
He moved away toward the cockpit. The inside of the bird was so crowded with bodies she couldn’t tell who was who. The pitch of the big engines changed, rising to a shrill scream as the bird struggled to take off. Fighting back the pain, she found Cam at last near the ramp and met his stare. The gunners were still firing from their positions. The bird shuddered and strained under the burden of all its passengers.
Oh God. They were overweight. The engines were already maxed out.
Cam exchanged a long look with Jackson, then pushed his way over to her. She grabbed his upper arms and leaned forward to shout. “They need to throw some ammo and equipment out, or—”
“Listen to me.” His eyes were the most intense she’d ever seen them. She stilled.
He surrounded her with his arms for a second before kissing her hard and pulling back. He shook her once, staring down intently at her. “I love you.”
Her heart stopped beating.
He wouldn’t. She read the intent in his eyes. “No, don’t—”
“Hang on to this for me,” he shouted. He yanked out the chain she’d given him and put it in her stiff hand. Then he turned and disappeared down the tail ramp.
She threw out a hand to grab him. Stop him. But her fingers only grabbed air. “Cam!” He didn’t stop. Didn’t so much as hesitate as he jumped off the tail ramp and joined the SEALs still on the ground around the Chinook.
“Cam, no!” Heedless of the pain in her leg, she pulled herself toward the closing ramp. Desperate to get to him before it was too late.
She tripped on someone’s leg and went down, crying out in agony as her wounded knee smashed into the steel floor. Hard hands gripped her waist. Yanked her up and back. She fought them.
“Dev, don’t.”
Ryan. Mindless, she ripped at his restraining hands. “Let me go! He’s going to get killed!”
Ryan hauled her up and into his arms, holding her tight as the Chinook lifted off the ground. She fought him with all her strength. “Is he on the Hawk?”
“Is he on one of the Hawks!”
“I…I don’t know.” He held her tighter. Cutting off her breath. She weakened and stopped fighting.
Her body was stiff with denial. She was sobbing now, hysterical. “W-we have to g-get him.”
“He’ll get out, Dev. I promise you.”
The pain was suffocating. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t ease the splitting sensation in her chest. The tears flowed fast and hot down her cheeks. They soaked the front of Ryan’s fatigues as the bird rose into the dark sky and left the man she loved behind.
Bio: Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She is an active member of the Greater Vancouver Romance Writers of America chapter and lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband.
All buy links can be found on my website: http://www.kayleacross.com
You can find Kaylea through her websiteTwitterFacebook, and her blog.
 Thank you, Kaylea. We wish you all the success with your hunky heroes.

Never Quit: Plan B

More about this guy who never quit. We should all have it so tough. Look what he overcame. When I think of all the sacrifices others have made so I can have a “normal” life, sometimes taking for granted my health, and then someone like this comes along, well, it's a good reminder of what is important in life.

Enjoy the short video and watch it to the very end.

The Amazing Transformation of a Guy Who Didn’t Give Up!



Not Quitting

Nano has been a bust for me this year, and unless I pull “two-dayer”, which I don't do any longer, I will not make the word count. Of course, I could figure my edits in that, but they aren't new words, or at least half of them aren't, so that would be cheating. My new book comes out in December, and there were last-minute edits I chose to do, and I hadn't planned on them right in the middle of Nano. It was the right thing to do.

But I'm not quitting my Nano goal. I'm going on to see how many I can do. Complicated with family drama over the Thanksgiving Holiday, which always seems to happen. As someone much wiser than me said, “It rarely is a Normal Rockwell moment,” meaning, my expectations almost always exceed what happens in real time. But getting real has been what this year has been about, so I accept that. No, my dinner was perfect, was not a Norman Rockwell picture, but pretty darned close. It was Sharon's family, and that's more than fine for me.

My 3 year old granddaughter brought a stepstool into the kitchen and said, “Grandma, I help you now.” I like that she didn't ask me, she told me what she was going to do. Good going, little one. You have learned something at 3 it took me many years to master. Her sweet little face looking up at me caused me to realize that, of course, everything goes better with sugar. And of course I said yes. And as daunting as the other drama of the holidays can be, it is the beginning of her life, her memories, and I'm here and present and clear of mind to enjoy them, and help make them happy ones. What better gift can I give my grandchildren than the gift of a happy childhood? Not me alone. It does take a family. But I'm part of that family, even though parts of it don't work well.

That's what's real. That is something I am thankful for.


Black Friday Blog Hop

Welcome to the Black Friday Blog Hop event. This day is about you: the freebies, the swag, the new authors you'll get to discover. And you don't have to get out of your house or brave the long lines and crowds to do it.

I want you to be able to stop by and see all the other authors participating too, so my post will be short (for those that know me, you're gonna say, “wha?”)

Here's to all the men and women who serve our great country. Let's remember to say thanks for all they do, and remember they need our love and support – and a little romance in their day. Can we make this friday a No Dear John Letter Day?
We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

In addition, and exclusive to just this blog site, one commenter will be chosen at random on this site to win a free autographed copy of my PRINT BOOK: Accidental SEAL, and a poster, signed by Jimmy Thomas. Remember, to be entered in either the grand prize or my giveaway, YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT.
You have 200 chances to win, plus all the other author freebies. 
Have a great Black Friday Blog Hop. Enjoy!


Playing With The Food

We have a small gathering this year, which suits me. We've also opted out of the gift giving for Christmas, but will do some things for the grandkids. On Black Friday, I'll be participating in the Black Friday Bloghop, checking Amazon and reading instead of standing in line.

I am not in the least bit tempted by the seasonal craziness. Didn't we just have a year of that with the election? Just not feeling like being a lemming. Still recovering from the years of overdoing. Things are simple these days. I cherish the time spent with the family rather than the exchange that used to take up most the day. The excesses of the holidays starts with Thanksgiving. No wonder everyone goes on a diet in January. In more ways than one.

I bought my Willie Bird turkey yesterday at G&G Market, along with everything I'm going to use in the stuffing. Bought some special mushrooms for my famous soup and even found some 1/2 & 1/2, string beans, apples, potatoes and shrimp on sale. Bought the last jar of oysters, which we also like in stuffing.

Don and I will be making the house festive today, which is, I think, my real Thanksgiving. The more I do today, the more I get to enjoy tomorrow. All the desserts are going back with the people who bring them, so I won't be tempted. I'll save enough stuffing for my hubby, but I can have beans and mashed potatoes and the leftover turkey and stay on my food plan.

Waiting for my book to come back from the editor, and yes, I'm always nervous at this point. The last 6 months I've worked harder on my writing and the writing business than I ever have. I know I've put in the time and done the things I need to do. It's the waiting to see how it is received that is the hard part. But, need to remind myself, it's all in just doing what I love and know how to do. I just have to have trust and faith the rest will come along, in good time. Remind myself, it really isn't up to me, anyway.

I'm grateful my Dad is able to celebrate one more Thanksgiving. He will be missed. Read someone else's post about collapsing with tears and I burst into tears, too. I'm thinking about all the family meals we all shared, and all the people that are no longer with us–I hear them in my head and feel them in my heart like characters from my books. All the sights, smells and feelings of my childhood are washing over me. I wonder how I will be thought of some day, when I am gone too.

As someone much wiser than I said a few months ago, “Sharon, your job today is to just feel.”

Come back Friday for:

It makes a lot more sense spending Friday with your favorite authors than spending too much money, braving the crowds. Find some great new authors. Buy their books for your yourself and indulge in the freebies given away JUST THIS FRIDAY.


Golden Vamps and No Teenage Angst: Free

For a couple of days, my Honeymoon Bite will be free. As of this morning, it has soared in 24 hours to the #6 spot for Freebie Amazon in the Fantasy category. Almost in the top 100 overall.

So, if Edward and Bella's story has got you craving for more, take a gander at some adult entertainment. Strictly over 18 stuff, but I'm proud of the redemption through true love, which is the thread throughout all my books.

I loved writing this, my first vampire story. Book 2 is next, after lauch of the Fallen SEAL Legacy.

I know, I know. SEALs and vamps, you say? Well, these are fictionalized stories based on legend, myth and snippets of things I've either read or discussed with other people. Like any good storyteller, I take the things I didn't like from some of the vamp stories, like their plumbing issues (thank you Anne Rice for your great characters, but no thanks on the lack of sex), and their need to sleep in a coffin (love True Blood but it's getting kinda out there, still fun) and need to stay out of the sun–and I fixed those problems. Why? Because I can.


Excerpt, Honeymoon Bite:

“Does your husband know about your appetites?”
From behind Anne came a gravelly male voice that sent shivers down her spine.
The screams of the Starbuck’s espresso machine made her wonder if she’d really
heard the voice. But the male scent of him was impossible to miss. The hairs at
her neck stood at attention, telegraphing urgency. The urgent sensation
extended well beyond her waistline. Time stood still before she could bring
herself to turn around and fall under the warm gaze from this tall dark male
that covered her.
Not man. Male.
He held her gaze as she stood,
transfixed, unable to move or to speak. That was the way it felt. Being held.
“I’m sorry?” she blurted out finally.
“Don’t be sorry, my dear. It’s a simple
question.” The ends of his lips curled up at the corners. When he inhaled, his
chest extended, and he appeared several inches taller. Then he exhaled and she
was covered with the same musky scent, incapacitating her, wrapping around her
like a warm shroud. It was familiar.
She heard mournful viola music drip with
slides and rifts that pulled on her heartstrings. She felt dizzy. Did she hear
him murmur a groan? Or maybe it was a small earthquake? Probably an ordinary
person wouldn’t hear or feel it. But she did.
Anne was on alert; this male took
liberties with her feelings.
a crazy thought. Ridiculous.
He leaned forward, grazing just the edge
of her forearm with his warm hand. An electric spark pricked her. He leaned
against the counter and looked at the barista, not her. “I’ll pay for the lady’s
She noticed the strong pulse at his neck.
Healthy. Smells wonderful.
“And what would you like, sir?” The young barista was pert. Anne didn’t like her
perfect white teeth. That and the fact the girl’s shirt was made for a
ten-year-old, showcasing her pierced bellybutton.
“I have all I need.” The rumbling words
sparked shivers again down Anne’s spine. He said it just next to her ear,
barely touching the small of her back . . . He was facing the barista, but deep
inside Anne knew the words were meant for her ears only.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Anne
suddenly found the urge to speak.
“My pleasure.” He removed his hand and
gave a slight bow.
No one had ever
done that before. Anne had just fed. She wasn’t hungry enough to play the game
this afternoon, having gorged herself on a salesman who liked to eat garlic
fries. His blood was thick with fat globules she could almost see as well as
taste. But it went down smooth.
So maybe she would play along. This
stranger might be a good candidate for a snack tomorrow. She had never fed
twice in one day. She wondered what being too full would feel like in her
current state. It would probably make her horny. Well then, maybe she should
reconsider. She should do a wet feeding. That way she wouldn’t have to be too
careful, could gorge herself on him. He’d be wonderful to look at in the
shower, and his hands might do something unexpected to her. Something memorable
in a string of unmemorable feedings.
His hand gently touched the small of her
back again, and she allowed herself to be ushered to a corner table, flanked by
two purple velvet overstuffed chairs. They sat, facing at right angles to each
other. The counter girl called out Anne’s drink. He was up and walking over to
pick it up for her before she had a chance to react.
She watched him cross the coffeehouse
like a thirsty traveler eyeing a pitcher of water. He was probably six foot
six. His dark hair was pulled back in a short ponytail. His black leather bomber
jacket showed his nice ass and those long lanky legs that went all the way to
Heaven. Even for his size, he appeared graceful. Unassuming. Confident. And the
nicest looking male from behind that she had ever seen.
And then he turned, holding the little white
paper cup with two fingers, the other ones splayed out, large as antlers. She
could see how long his fingers were, how substantial. She envisioned what those
hands could do to her. But as sexy as he was, he also made her mouth water to
His prominent jaw line sported blue-black
stubble. His strong pulse would be no problem at all, but she would have to
bite a little harder to crack the skin. Maybe he would let her take him slowly.
Then she could kiss other parts of him in between while his heart pumped more
of the blood she craved. His lips were bright red and full. She would enjoy
sucking them, licking them. Perhaps biting them.
His eyes found their way to hers, and
when she met his gaze, she became self-conscious of her thoughts, as if she
knew somehow he could read her mind. Anne told herself it was her craving for
blood that caused the almost sexual attraction for this male. After she fed,
surely she wouldn’t feel this way, she thought.
He delicately deposited the white cup
delicately in her hands. One finger touched and almost seemed to rub against
hers. She thought she was imagining the touch, of course. Between her legs, a
warm pool had formed. It was a curious place to feel hunger, a hunger of
another kind. She blushed at her erotic thoughts.
“You like cappuccino?” He seemed
intrigued by the idea.
“Yes. I need the caffeine in the
“And here I thought your cheeks were
flushed and ripe from a good meal.” Those black eyes peered right to her soul. Almost
as an afterthought, he smiled, and the dark became brown, ringed with a coppery
color that drew her in.
play your game.
“Yes. After a big meal, I get tired
He nodded. “I remember that.”
Anne looked out the window. This was
beginning to feel dangerous. She grabbed her drink and stood. He stopped her by
placing one hand on her wrist. His action was soft, but deliberate. This male won’t be denied.
“Please, sit just a little longer. Then I’ll
let you go home to your husband.”
“Go? You’ll let me go? What kind of talk
is that? I think . . .” She began to rise again, but his firm grip on her
forearm stopped her.
“Hear me out just a bit.” He did appear
to be begging. Could it be she saw a flash of pain there? No way.
“How do you know I’m married?” she
snapped out, letting her impatience show.
“You wear a wedding ring.” He fingered her
ring slowly, sensually. She let him touch her, perhaps a bit too long. She was
going to correct his misconception but decided to leave him thinking she was
protected by another man. Safer that way.
But was she looking for safe?
There was an obvious physical attraction
between them. She had not felt this before, not since before she was made.
“Do I know you?” she asked, ignoring the
comment about her marriage.
“No. Ask it another way.” The huskiness
of his voice made her ears buzz, like he was brushing his lips across them,
like they were in bed whispering unmentionable things to each other.
“Do you know me?” Her eyebrows rose at
the ridiculous suggestion.
He very lightly nodded. “Oh, yes. I have
waited a long, long time for you.”

New Cover for SEAL Endeavor

Just like when I released Accidental SEAL, I created a short, SEAL Encounter, a prequel to the full length book. It has sold almost as many copies as the Accidental SEAL. This book was 12 weeks in Amazon's top 100 for Romantic Suspense. I have been a top 100 Amazon Romantic Suspense author almost every day since they started the program in September of 2012.

I'm doing the same promotion for Fallen SEAL Legacy. The new prequel for this one is SEAL Endeavor. Isn't the cover wonderful? I have dog tags and bookmarks for the new book, too. Posters signed by none other than Jimmy Thomas.

Edits have taken a little longer than I wanted, but that's my fault, not anyone else's. We've been a busy family over the last 2 months. And family comes first. Always.

Hopefully, the first week in December SEAL Endeavor will be out. Can you tell Cooper and Libby almost meet at the Monterey Bay Aquarium?

I hope you'll continue the journey with me. There will be some fun prizes and swag. Oh yes, I take care of you big time. Stay tuned for the big day!


Sacrifice and Service

This very moving piece was sent to me yesterday and brought me to tears. This woman's son has just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Her other son will be graduating from West Point next year. I think those of us who are raised in the U.S. sometimes forget all the gifts and benefits this great country has to offer. I think it is a great reminder to all of us to be grateful for what we have received. And say thanks to those that would honor us by serving to protect us.
I have the agreement from the writer to use this, but have agreed not to use her name. Just wanted to share with all of you who read this blog.    Sharon
Coming home from a quick run to the store, I noticed the “trick or treat-ers” on the streets…..Ahhhh, it never gets old with me!
22 years ago, Oct 31st …Halloween day…the day we arrived in US.
We landed in Green Bay WI, after midnight. A small crowd of people was waiting for us at the airport, people we never met before, having sweet smiles on their faces and weaving small American flags.
Alex and I were walking towards them, exhausted after the many hours on the planes and airports with two small kids and me…very pregnant. We were a sight to see….I was pushing a stroller with little Thomas in it and holding David’s hand. Alex was carrying all we had, two big suitcases and a backpack.
 I got sick so many times on the plane…I remember being hungry and thirsty and as soon as I would eat…out it went. We could never afford to buy coke before, and on the plane it was free, as much as I wanted. Ah, I remember David (he was 2 and a half), telling me that he will put a band aid over my mouth, to not throw up anymore.
Getting in the car, I was so impressed with the “little seats for the kids” (car seats) how special!  I was thinking. On the way home I learned that one will get a ticket if kids are not traveling in those seats, lol!
Less than half an hour we were home.  Our home. Our first home! It was at night and we couldn’t see much outside, but we got in….it was warm and welcoming! Had everything in it!
Our sponsor, a sweet lady, Miss Marianne H, bought this old house and remodeled inside and out to perfection. We were getting the tour of the house….tears were rolling down my face….the kitchen was decorated, even pictures on the wall, table and cushions on the chairs to match with the wall paper. The pantry was stuffed with food, the fridge also, even milk for the kids! Homemade meals in the freezer for a whole month! With directions how to heat/cook them.
We went in the living room….even pillows and throws on the couches…then bedrooms. The boys had each their own twin size bed with matching All Sports bed sets! And a little crib….for the coming baby. Toy box filled with trucks and building blocks. I couldn’t contain myself when I discovered pajamas for the boys and even for us, in the drawers.  Before she left, Marianne showed us one more thing: a phone book! Our name was in there highlighted! OMG!
Then she left. It was almost 4am!
Tired and overwhelmed I couldn’t stop looking through the kitchen drawers, with everything that a kitchen and a cook needs, from pots and pans to fine silverware and cloth napkins and place mats and so many weird tools that I never saw in my life, nor knew how to use them.
Alex and I prayed and cried for a long time….then the sun came up! We went outside in the front yard first. Beautiful gray house, with white shutters! And we could see the park from our front door! Then we went in the back yard! Big and beautiful AND it was all fenced in! Painted gray, to match the house. The fence was a tip given to Miss Marianne by her son in-law who was a missionary in Romania. To help us feel more safe and at home.
We finally went to bed late morning. Slept thru afternoon when we heard the door bell ringing. Who could it be?! Nobody knew us, and Marianne made it clear that unless we call her, she will not bother us till we are fully recovered from the jet leg…etc….Alex went to the door and picked thru the curtains! He looked at me mortified! Masked people! Lots of them! And they kept ringing the doorbell! He calls Marianne and told her what is happening, I could hear her laughing loud saying: “Oh dear, I forgot to tell you….It’s Halloween Day!  Look in the pantry and you’ll see a big basket with candy. Then open the door and give them some candy, they will leave!….And be ready for more trick or treat-ers!”
 Closing the door Alex let out a big sigh! He then told me why he was so scared…Before leaving the refugee camp in Austria, reading thru American History, he learned about KKK , their hate for blacks and immigrants, and how they would go after them wearing white hoods. That’s the first image that came into his sleepy brain when he saw those masked people at the door. . “how did they know there were immigrants here?. How did they found us?!” Lol
Well, that was our first day in America!  
For the next couple of years it was a learning everyday thing for me, for our family. Language was the hardest thing. I did not know more than: Please, Thank you and Good bye! Alex was my translator everywhere. I remember crying all the way home on Sundays, because I did not understand the sermon, and could never keep up with the singing…so today, I wrote this story all by myself!

Happy Halloween

Just a few little pictures to remind you of this time of year. I've been taking a bit of a break, being guested on other's blogs.

We've got rain tonight, and the Giant's parade was wet, but typically San Francisco.

But I still feel sorry for the kids. Rain really spoils Halloween, IMHO.

With all the election hoopla, I admit to being a little burned out. There is so much at stake and people are mincing over soundbites. And now with the massive storms in the east coast, so many people are hurting.

The economy sucks–can we just say it like it is instead of pretending everything is great? After all, you can't change anything unless you first acknowledge what's so. Truth is in short supply these days.

But most important, let's not forget our men and women who have to face danger every day. I know many of them wish they were home to help their families in their time of need. I hope they stay safe and understand we apreciate them, and haven't forgotten what they are doing, and why. They do it so we can have a life.

Even at our worst, we still have the best country in the world. I hope it stays that way for generations to come. Time to stand up and be strong. Tell the truth. Give thanks.

I hope that we never lose sight of that.


Heroes of Every Genre: Who’s the Best?

What is your favorite thing about Alpha Heroes? Well, we authors are ready to share our favorite Alpha Males, our favorite things about them, and everything sexy and heated about those Alpha Males you can think of. *wink* Starting on Friday and ending on Oct 22nd, over 200 Authors and Bloggers will share their favorite things about those sexy men we know and love.
And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.
But that's not all….
We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!

So, here's my blog and giveaway, and you have until October 22nd to leave your comments. If I had a big Highland Games event and I invited all the heroes of the six books I've written, who would win? Yes, I want you to pick the winner, after I give the evidence. And I'll even make it more fair. You can pick a hero from someone else's blog or book and vote for them here too.

Every comment gets entered into our Grand Prize giveaway, and every commenter will receive something, and YOU EVEN GET TO CHOOSE. Now, when were you ever given the choice of prizes on a blog hop? Be sure you follow the instructions at the end of this post.

We have 6 Alpha Heroes: Daniel DePalma, Joshua Brandon, Marcus Monteleone,  Paolo Monteleone, SOC Kyle Lansdowne and SO Calvin Cooper. You get to vote for one of them (or another hero, if you must), by leaving a comment and telling us all why you think they should win, and what would you do with them to celebrate?

So, since this is election season, here are the descriptions of the candidates, and their Hollywood likenesses:

Daniel DePalma: Brazilian-born painter of colorful wall-sized jungle prints. He does not know his best friend, posing as his agent, is a dark angel who has hooked him up with a very bad girl. The relationship nearly destroys him. Not realizing there are forces of good and evil at play, a guardian angel comes to his rescue. He falls in love with her in spirit, until he falls in love with her in the flesh. He is willing to spend his life separated from his angel lover just to see her safely home.

Joshua Brandon: A colorful dark angel who was looking forward to an eternity of partying with his former best human friend, Daniel, bedding women in the Underworld as well as “on top” in the human world, until the guardian angel intervened. He has a fondness for redheads, especially redheadded guardian angels. He hates birds and detests order and rules. But he soon finds that, among other things, he has grown a conscience and finally meets a soul he cannot claim. He faces the ultimate sacrifice when he is asked to deliver that very woman to the Director of the Underworld to become a concubine. He discovers there are rules worth dying for.

Marcus Monteleone: A 300-year old golden vampire, has spent most of those years searching for his fated female, only to find her dying in his arms. He saves her life by turning her, only to be enjoined by the rules of his breed, to not interfere with her once human life. He does not believe he has fathered a child by a half vampire half witch/villainess, but he feels an obligation to take responsibility for the boy.  In the end, he is willing to spend eternity without her if it means she will be safe from the jealous mother of the boy.

Paulo Monteleone: Brother to Marcus. He loves human women, and, unlike his brothers and sisters, does not take golden vampire mates and chooses to marry outside the fating, resisting a fating that went terribly wrong. He falls in love with a professor of legend and myths, who claims she knows everything about the “non-existant” golden vampires of Tuscany. He finds he is willing to sacrifice his immortal life to rescue his human lover from those that want her silenced.

Kyle Lansdowne: SEAL team leader sent on a mission to find his AWOL swim buddy, who has been kidnapped by a drug gang. The gang's intent is to get weapons and equipment from the SEAL community for their illegal use. By accident, Kyle runs into a newbie Realtor, and he finds in her the woman he has always wanted, just when she is nearly taken from him forever. He is forced to choose between her and his SEAL team buddy's life.

Calvin Cooper: Nebraska farm boy turned U.S. Navy SEAL. A specialist with gadgets, a medic and one of the tallest SEALs to ever graduate BUD/S. He is ordered to meet the family of a fallen SEAL medic, to help him heal the loss of his own family in a tornado. He helps a prominent psychiatrist protect his family, including his lovely daughter, from a psychopathic killer bent on revenge.

Now for your choice:

1. Dog Tag from Accidental SEAL
2. Amazon Kindle version SEAL Encounter.

Be sure to leave your name, AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, and please do so in code like: Jane Doe (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have fun, and good luck!!

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
Accidental SEAL   SEAL Encounter    all available through Amazon

Accidental SEAL Book Trailer

Go to another blog here.


Interview: In The Shadow of Greatness

Joshua Welle and Graham Plaster, I must say, it is entirely a privilege to interview the two of you. Can’t wait to spread word about your wonderful book.

We military romance novelists write stories with military heroes. Different genre than yours, of course, but our readers like to learn about heroes and heroines who do the right thing, rise to the challenge and, against all odds, achieve a happily ever after. We wish it was always so in real life for these brave men and women.

In romance, we create fictional stories, based on things that could happen, not what did happen. Our average romance reader reads 3-4 books a week. It is estimated to be upwards of 51% of the publishing market. There is currently huge interest in things military, especially Special Ops.

So, thank you not only for your service, but for your time. I've written some questions about this book I think other writers and readers would want to know. So, welcome, and let's begin.

Tell me how you got the idea to put together the stories in this book? Who came up with the idea and how did it happen?

The concept for the book was originally a solicitation to our classmates, the first class to graduate from the US Naval Academy following 9-11, asking them to write something reflecting on their experiences over the past 10 years. We received 63 submissions over the course of three years and spent a considerable amount of time processing the themes that were emerging in the short stories.  

Our primary reason for writing the book was to give voice to our current generation of leaders, promoting an honest but hopeful vision for the country.  We're excited about the result because the book is exceeding our expectations.  Not only was there a lot of interest to write, but there has also been tremendous energy and support from those who are reading the stories.

Whose idea was it?

Joshua Welle, our class President, along with the elected leadership of the class, initiated the project.  Josh deservers the lion's share of the credit for networking with veteran's groups and book endorsers, but we've also assembled a highly talented team of editors, PR and social media professionals.  It has been a team effort.  The four editors on the cover, Josh Welle, John Ennis, Katherine Kranz and Graham Plaster, worked with the content of the book and created the anthology which is the final product.

Who do you want to read this book? Why?

As Tom Brokaw has already said, this book is a “must read for all Americans.”  We think that it is a book that can be read by young and old alike, military and civilians.  The stories are short and inspirational, providing insight from up and coming military leaders. They would make great leadership case studies for any group working through particular issues.  

The broader theme of the book is bigger than military service.  By honoring veterans in the book, we also want to cultivate a national dialogue surrounding the enduring qualities that make America great.  These qualities – cherished, defended and exemplified by our veterans, are worth discussing as we continue to grapple with strategic decisions for America.

Tell us how the book is structured and some of the tales it contains.

The book is structured thematically, starting with short stories about experiences at the Naval Academy and remembrances of 9-11, followed by war stories and anecdotes of heroism.  Finally, there are several stories about life after the military, the impact of military service on community leadership and major changes to military and civilian culture over the past 10 years.

Some folks tend to think of their 20s as a carefree decade in their lives…yours was not. Would you have had it any other way?

This is a question that is best answered by reading the book. The answer is mostly no, but there are shadows in our stories.  Not everything is black and white. When we applied to the Naval Academy, we were attracted to the crisp distinctions between navy blue and white, good and evil, satisfactory and unsatisfatory.  These paradigms were tested.  Read the book to get an inside glimpse of how we navigated those waters.

Only 1% of Americans are wearing the uniform and fighting the nation’s post-9/11 wars…should this be a concern?

There is a different opinion on this for every contributor to the book, and the editors cannot speak on behalf of everyone for questions like this, but even in leadership classes at the Naval Academy we discussed the widening culture gap between the military and civilian life. This is a concern to some people, and simply par for the course if you ask others.  

There is a culture gap in any specialization, and in some cases the military does a much better job of keeping the public informed about our values and sacrifices.  We rely heavily on the non-profits, civic organizations and veteran support groups to ensure this gap is bridged.  We are so thankful to those who do understand military sacrifice.  This book is a bridge across that gap.

How has the military treated you and your family?

The military has tremendous programs in place to support families, and the close knit communities that form on far flung bases are the bedrock of American society.  Supporting families is a high priority to our leaders in the military, which is why failures in the system get so much scrutiny.  It is through the difficult process of discussing shortcomings in the system of support that we make it better.  We have confidence that as we raise issues, leaders from our generation will continue to rise to the challenge of supporting military families in the years to come.

And by supporting those families, we learn to heal our nation as a whole. How did you decide who to invite into this endeavor?

The entire class was invited to participate.  Not everyone wanted to write, felt like they were in a position to write.  Because we are still mid-career, there are many questions that go into a project like this.  Am I writing for a good reason?  Am I writing what needs to be said?  Am I correcting a misconception?  We wrestled with these questions as writers and peer editors.

Tell me your most inspirational story and why?

One of the most moving accounts is written by Lisa Freeman, mother of Matt Freeman, who was killed in action.  She writes from the perspective of her son.  When she was first approached to write, she was still too raw from the loss of her son.  Through the process of putting words to paper, and working with the classmates of her son to edit the story, she was able to work through some of the difficult emotions.  She spoke at our national book launch at 9-11 and received a standing ovation for her courage and the great work being done in Matt’s name through The Matthew Freeman Project (freemanproject.org).

Let's hope that some of our readers today can help you and Mrs. Freeman with that goal. Do you have plans for future projects along the same lines? Or, anything you felt got left out because it needs a separate book?

We have 30 more stories that will be published directly to eBook, hopefully soon.  All profits from the book and eBook go to veteran charities.  Our only goal is to make sure the stories get told.

What would you like readers to know about this book?

This is a really unique book.  Many memoirs are written at the twilight of a career, this is a slice of life from 33 mid-career leaders.  Who knows what will become of them?  There may be a future government official or CEO in the mix.  This hall of heroes is an exciting glimpse into the making of America’s next generation of leaders – where they are now and where they might be headed.

What would you like readers to know about you, your team of writers?

We had a few professionals help us with editing, but for the most part, the writing was done by the “doers”.  We had over a hundred submissions by the time we were done, but had to edit it down to reduce redundancy in some of the themes, and find a common thread.  The common elements are leadership, sacrifice and service – across the board.  These are men and women who have done incredible things and will continue to serve our country in heroic ways when they are out of uniform.

Especially with what has happened with current events, why is reading this book so important? What will readers find here they won’t find elsewhere?

Hollywood and newspapers give their accounts of war, but this book allows us to speak for ourselves.  We were eager to write the book to clarify certain misconceptions and help bridge the cultural gap between military families and non-military families.

I'm sure others will agree with me, it is truly an honor to have you here today, and we thank you, not only for your service, but for helping us understand what it takes to be a true leader, told by those who are living it every day.

Some of our readers may have questions and comments. We welcome one and all. Those of you who can, leave them some likes and tags on Amazon here.

Thank you both,

Sharon Hamilton

Excerpts are available at http://shadowofgreatness.com/lookinsid

In The Shadow of Greatness interview this Friday

This Friday, come back to this site for a gripping interview of the two editors/authors of the new Leadership book, In The Shadow Of Greatness.

This was the first graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy since the 9-11 disaster. It is a non-political book about what courage it takes to be one of America's leaders and the sacrifice it requires.

In my opinion, this should be read by every American citizen. Please show these men and women your support as they shape the vision for this great nation, which isn't always about black and white, red and blue, male and female. Leaders are born and created and step up to the plate every day. And they die that way too.

I am very honored and proud to bring it to you.