What was supposed to be a romantic weekend in Monterey with my husband has turned into something else. I've done a lot of adjusting these days. And gracefully. He came down with a bug, and, rather than expose me and others to it, decided to stay home.
I'm here to hear my friend, Tina Folsom, speak to the Monterey RWA chapter today. And, as luck would have it, we are going to be able to spend a little more time together, which I love doing with this prolific and creative writer who has inspired me greatly.
I was on my way last night to Moss Landing, and got lost, which is where all the real adventures lie, don't they? Between rows of brussels sprouts and lettuce, dodging the big trucks and farm workers finishing out a week of toil in the fields, I felt lucky to be alive and able to watch, life just go on. Don't know what excites me so much about brussels sprouts, but those beautiful plants did it for me. Row after row of perfectly formed, dark leafy green goodness, appearing to lack the aphids my plants often have. I sometimes wonder if it is worth it to even grow them in my garden. I've invested in scores of ladybug tubs, and though voracious eaters, I'm still stuck with those stubborn aphids. I refuse to spray.
Had dinner at Haute Enchilada, which was a really fun place, and managed to have an abstinent seafood dinner with local vegetables done to perfection. I picked out a dark corner, got out my laptop and worked on some social networking things.
I'm trying to finish my next SEAL book, Fallen SEAL Legacy, and I'm still about 20k from the end. I have about 40k words I won't be using, but can use on other books. Not since my first book have I had to re-write so many chapters, but I've strengthened the story, and some things just take longer. I'm relaxing into that.
And what has happened? You can guess, if you know me well. Another story has come over me, and I'm taking notes so I don't forget key points when I get ready to write it, which won't be now until next year. It is another contemporary series, but with older H/H, and involves a heroine on a road trip after the death of her husband. No, this is not in any way biographical. My husband is, thankfully, very much alive. But I got to “feeling” this story as I listened to a lot of Pat Metheney, some new music by Lyle Mays and other things on the Sirrius Satellite network, which is the best thing about my new car.
Road trips give me time to think. So, while there was that momentary “aw shucks” when my husband told me he wouldn't be going, I knew I'd make something productive and fun out of it. Have laptop will travel. I write well on the road, unlike lots of other writers. I don't like everything in its place. I like variety, and get inspired by new places. And then I come home, for what I hope will be a home stretch where I can really polish up and finish this puppy.
These are pictures and a little of the feel of this area. No, there are no pictures of the looming power plant. Makes the growing brussels sprouts, art galleries and eclectic places like The Whole Enchilada or Haute Enchilada even more special. After all, we don't live in a vaccuum. And I'm very grateful for the electricity which allows me to write, and to have readers find me.
I can't imagine a life of standing by the side of the road hawking my books to bicyclists or horse and buggy goers. Life would indeed be different. I won't have time to stop by again on my way to the meeting. I'm sure today will be just as filled with great memories.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend, wherever you are.
Excerpt: FULL SURRENDER: http://joannerock.com/full_surrender.html
I am thrilled today to welcome Marliss Melton, the bestselling author of the Team Twelve Navy SEAL Series. I asked her to give us a glimpse of this outstanding series, and what she's working on now. So, Marliss, what are you up to these days?
Tens of thousands of readers read and loved my Award-winning Navy SEALs which carried them through seven books, starting with FORGET ME NOT and ending with SHOW NO FEAR. (It isn’t too late to read them if you missed out). While it’s natural for me to write about Navy SEALs (my husband is US Navy retired), I took a slight detour lately with my newest Taskforce Series, expanding to an Inter-Agency Counterterrorist Taskforce group that is headed up
My son went to New York at the end of August, 2001, to attend NYU as a film student at the Tisch School of the Arts. Being a native of Northern California, like both my husband and myself, and both our dads, it was a big adjustment. So, my husband flew out with him to help get him settled. Our son wanted to be “at the center of the world,” and he felt NYC was the place to be.
After helping him get set up in his apartment, there were still things to be completed, so my husband considered staying another week, but decided at the last minute to let our son make those decisions himself. So, Don came back on the Newark to San Francisco flight on Monday morning, 9-4-01, instead of the Newark to San Francisco flight on 9-11.
Early Monday morning on 9-11 our son left a voice message, telling us how clear and beautiful New York City was at 6 AM. He'd had a party in the apartment the night before, and there had been thunder and lightening all evening. But this day was clear and “perfect.” He luckily decided to go back to bed, rather than get up early to head downtown as he often did. His apartment was about 20 blocks from the World Trade Center.
What occurred later we all know. We talked to our son on his cell while he watched the second plane hit the WTC from his room, as we were watching it on TV. We watched the buildings collapse. Over the weeks that followed, many of the NYU students gave blood, donated water and sandwiches from the cafeteria, and my son thanked rescue workers, saying, “This is from my parents in California.”
The following Spring, Don and I went to New York to visit our son. We wanted to see the 9-11 makeshift memorials springing up all over the area: posters on iron fenceposts with letters from school children and pictures of loved ones lost or never heard from again. There had been some extra “walls” created so people could express themselves, leave mementos and just read the posts and feel a part of the experience.
While we were waiting in line to visit the Ground Zero site, there was work being done to clean up the white chalky debris still left behind after 5 months, righting flattened tombstones that had stood for a hundred years or more, cleaning up piles of twisted metal. We stood beneath a tree that was trying to send out new green shoots. Building material was still stuck in its branches. When I looked more carefully, the twisted pieces of metal that looked like cream-colored oversized bunches of grapes were actually mangled miniblinds whirled in a twisted sculpture. And the mossy-like substance that hung from the branches? Shredded upholstery fabric and pantyhose.
I would learn years later that the valedictorian of my graduating class in Palo Alto was giving a presentation for a non-profit Jewish organization helping young women to become successful. She was hosting a luncheon at the “Windows On The World” restaurant at the top. Her name was Naomi Solomon.
Several years later, another member of our graduating class, an exchange student from Algeria, told me at our 40th reunion party, when he brought his wife, children and his parents, introducing them to our class, that the year he spent in California was the greatest year of his life. He told me he carried a deep love of our country with him back to Algeria, where he worked for the U.N. there. Where his wife worked at a school for girls. A year later, he was killed in the 2007 suicide bombing of the U.N. Refugee Relief center. His name was Chad Hamza.
20% of the people in the U.S. knew someone who lost their life on 9-11. Citizens from more than 40 countries were represented among the dead and dying. The average age of the loss of life was between 30-39. Thousands of pints of blood were collected and less than 300 were actually used.
There are thousands of stories told by millions of people. We wish the world was a safer place, but wishing it doesn't make it so. We have a lot to be thankful for. We have a lot to love. We have a lot to protect.
And may we always remember.
No Easy Day, the compelling book by former Navy SEAL Mark Owen, just released last week, is hard to pick up, and hard to put down. It recounts the events, including the almost 10 years of training, intelligence gathering, and coordination of hundreds of personnel who helped SEAL Team Six carry out the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
But more importantly, it gives us a private glimpse into the lives of those elite warriors, who do so much and ask so little in return. He says in the dedication:
My hope is one day a young man in junior high school will read it (No Easy Day) and become a SEAL, or at least live a life bigger than him. If that happens, the book is a success.
His words so beautifully illustrate what the SEALs symbolize: young men who are living a life bigger than themselves. They are trained to do what is required to get the job done. Do it quietly, with humility, and unemotionally. To set aside personal feelings, to stay alert to danger so that they can protect the lives of everyone on the mission, and the innocent.
He recounts how his upbringing in Alaska prepared him for his journey. How his parents at first didn't want him to put himself in harm's way and how he got his college degree first, but still had that burning desire, forged when he was a young teen, to become one of these elite men.
I enjoyed hearing stories of what the SEALs did to take their minds off the stress of waiting for orders to do dangerous things. The pranks they played on each other, and the close bond formed between brothers who would lay down their lives for each other without hesitation. Deadly serious, I've also read in other SEAL books about the special underwear with Superhero logos, or other cartoon characters they wear. Owen talks about playing fantasy football in the Afghani desert.
The author chronicles how he trained to become part of the elite Green Team, Seal Team Six, or DEVGRU. He also describes how he almost didn't make the team. Only one out of a thousand regular Navy men is able to even try out for the teams. And of those who have completed two deployments, some are invited to try out for the Green Group, where you are on call almost 24/7, without the time offs and vacations with family. Hard on loved ones, but it's what is required to be a part of this special unit.
There are less than 2000 active SEALs currently. DEVGRU is the professional team to the varsity team of regular SEALs. They are responsible for the high profile “snatch and grabs”, the team who rescued Paul Schoon, the governor-general of Grenada, who was facing execution. They were responsible for capturing Manuel Noriega during the invasion of Panama, capturing the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and Bosnian war criminals, including Radislav Krstic, the Bosnian general who was later indicted for his role in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. They rescued Jessica Lynch and conducted the daring rescue at sea from Somali pirates. The little picture I've seen of a disheveled Saddam Hussein in handcuffs is posted on a bulletin board in a SEAL bar in San Diego and speaks volumes.
Like all things in life, everything is connected. He says this book was written because he decided to put his Trident away and return to civilian life this year. And his reasons are personal. He and the publisher originally wanted this book to be released on 9-11, in honor of the anniversary of that tragic event. But as he states in the book, this was not written from a particular political viewpoint.
We are all red, white and blue, in my opinion, and Mr. Owen makes this point very well. The color of our blood is red, though our opinions, political affiliation, background and skin color vary. As he says, you don't run to your death. A bullet doesn't know how to discriminate a rich kid from a poor one, a Democrat from a Republican. Their SEAL training just makes them “the guy who can get it done.”
I doubt this fine young man ever would do anything that would harm a fellow in the brotherhood of warriors. He's mentioned several times that if one wanted to look for military secrets, his is not the book to read. But, I'm not an expert. Others that are far more knowledgeable than I will have to weigh in on this.
No Easy Day reads like a good suspense novel, except we know in advance how the story ends. But, unlike most stories we read, what happens in the middle is what we didn't know about until now. I came away with a renewed respect for these men, and for the hard work that goes into the training to become a SEAL.
I ask myself every day if I would have the guts to ever do anything so brave.
So, what did I find was the most enjoyable aspect of this book?
Come join the fun and meet lots of other great authors. Loads of freebies. Great blogs to visit!
One lucky commenter on my blog will win: Poster Accidental SEAL signed by Jimmy Thomas himself! One free Accidental SEAL book in Kindle format (2 winners for this prize). Also, every commenter will receive a Kindle version of the prequel to Accidental SEAL, SEAL Encounter – free. Be sure to leave me your email address.
Leave a review and send me a link, and you can win another one of my posters, signed by Mr. Thomas.
Contest ends Monday, September 4th at Midnight.
Today I am pleased to introduce to you a new author friend of mine, Marilyn Baron, announcing her new release, Dead Mix. She's prepared a post you are going to love. So appropriate to the SEAL theme of the last few weeks.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had our own private matchmaker to help us find our soul mate? In my newly released humorous paranormal e-short story, Dead Mix, villain Devlin Burns tries to turn the tables on hero Daniel Craig (not 007) and heroine Tia Stavros in their hunt for lost souls, as he engineers a match, not exactly made in heaven. In my e-short story Follow an Angel, Eden Eastman despairs she’ll ever find her soul mate and flees New York City, the Land of Bad Dates, for the Atlantic coast of Florida, where she hopes to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. When an angel on a mission drops into her 5th floor beach condo, all Heaven breaks loose. In both of these stories, a higher power (Angel or Devil) intervenes in the love match.
In Dead Mix, the devil goes down to Georgia. Roswell, Georgia, and more specifically, The Lion’s Den music store. Enter at your own risk. The proprietor there specializes in mixing music to die for…on CDs that are guaranteed to knock you dead by the final note. As the citizens of Roswell go missing, one man, Daniel Craig, ventures into town on the hunt for lost souls, a search that will change his life, forever.
I am filled with gratitude. Great friends. People around me willing to join the journey, lending me a hand, giving me encouragement. Family living as examples. I'm at a doorway. A changing of the guard. Almost feel like I'm walking along a garden wall and can see both sides. They are equally lush and inviting, and I cannot decide which place to go, so I keep walking.
We are living in a time of great change. I have hope for where we are going. There isn't anything I have to do, but be present. Someone much wiser told me, “Your job today is to feel, Sharon.”
Today, I get to have a full day of writing. I have to pinch myself I'm so happy. Settle into my favorite leather writing chair, and compose. No places to go. Listen to the sounds of the world coming alive. The moon is a bright orange orb in the early morning sky as I look West. Someone has blogged that it's called a Blue Moon, and hasn't happened since the 1960's, also a time of great change.
I'm looking forward to stimulating conversations over coffee, and the sharing of ideas that help make this world a better place. Here's to choice. And living.
And, of course, love.
A visit to the doctor reminds me of how fragile life is. I'm well. But I get to see a lot of not-well people. And right now experiencing some un-wellness in my immediate family. Along with new birth. I guess I've begun to get it, now that I am 6 decades old: life goes on. I can scream and yell and protest its passing, but it still goes on as if I never said anything.
I guess that's why writing has become so important to me. Taking stories from real life and weaving them into other worlds is what we do as writers. And we take the pain, the emotions, from those life events, and use them. I blogged today about Editing Woes over at RRR, and one of my points was that the reader reads for the emotions in the story, the emotions of the characters, the love scenes, not just the description of what went on and who did what to whom.
We are cheering Ethan's birth and how strong he is, while we are saying goodbye to my dad, who has lived a wonderful life, and been the best dad a girl could ever want. Good time to remind myself it's not all about me, but the people around me. My job is to feel. Sometimes I run away from my feelings because they are just too much to handle. But my job is to feel, and then write them down.
We don't get do-overs like some of our characters get in our stories. Actually, that would make an interesting story concept. Life is not permanent. Neither are feelings. What we do about it is. We love babies because we know we are only going to be around long enough to perhaps see them get married and perhaps have children and grandchildren of their own. These little ones, in the beginning of their lives, will know us, the older ones, at the end of our lives. We each get to discover what the world is like before or after the loved one has been born, or passes on.
It's a pea soup kind of day here in Sonoma County, which is good for the grapes. This misty fog means I can be a bit lazy with my watering, I'm tempted to make a fire, but know my house will heat up like a firecracker soon enough. My hubby is away getting inspiration from a mastermind meeting, and I anticipate seeing lots of friends at the Silicon Valley Romance Writers meeting tomorrow, where I will be a panelist and hopefully will give some nuggets of things I've learned along the way.
Book sales are going well. Accidental SEAL has been in the top 100 for Amazon Kindle paid sales for 9 weeks in a row and made some serious money. Over 13,000 people downloaded Honeymoon Bite on a free promotional 4 day blog, and it shot to #1 for Fantasy Romance for 3 days in a row. Same thing happened in June for Heavenly Lover. So, despite the occasional stinker review (which doesn't affect sales at all) people are liking my books. I don't go trolling for the 300+ reviews like some do. I have a problem with faking things to look like they aren't. Just being honest and taking my lumps as they come. And writing is the best cure for anything that ills me. Anything.
My family is safe for now. Prayers go out to those that have suffered with loss of life: the SEALs and other military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice recently, and all their families who proudly bear the mourning. The people who have lost their life in senseless acts of violence, and their families. My shock and dismay at the truth being distorted so much in our political campaigns, and all the hate it spews. How people fall like lemmings after slogans and catch phrases like “war on women” when we have more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world. And people have died to make sure it stays that way. I was thinking we were going to take the higher road this election season. I was wrong.
So I guess with this theme of what I have and don't have, in the going and the passing of life, what I'm feeling today is being connected.
And that's a good thing.
I love the Sonoma County Fair. I used to go to gawk at the diverse (not in the political sense, please) population of the fairgoers–everything from bikers, young couples, old hippies, awkward teens and teens trying to look like street walkers. Maybe everyone's fair is like that. How would I know?
But our fair has really upgraded. We have a large 4H group and I enjoy watching the young kids who work so hard on their animals. I don't want to know what happens to them afterwards, which is why I could never get my kids into 4H when they were at home. I evaluate the chickens and bunnies and donate to the bird rescue. My granddaughter and I peered into the baby chick hatchery and watched those fuzzy little yellow things cling to life and then start to run around an hour later. Fascinating.
This year they had a display of recycled things. I think I'm a recycled thing, so I spent a lot of time there. Lord knows I have enough junk around the property, if I ever gave up writing, I could become a junk sculptor. I'd be careful. With my history around fires, safety would be No. 1.
In my garden, I have two “flying pig” sculptures made from recycled oil cans. They stand guard, along with my Dobermans. There is a local artist who does huge sculptures out of recycled metal things, using washing machines, hubcaps and old lawnmowers–turns them into arcs and animals and characters. I'm excited when I see things being reused, like we did on the siding for our house.
Makes a good case for hoarding. Uh Oh. I'm still trying to get rid of books…Big trouble.
In the Arts and Craft Palace this year there were quiltmakers doing zombie quilts. Next to the two guys who demonstrated making bugs for fly fishermen.
There was a dress made from old maps. Garden bench made from the tailgate of an old Ford pickup. A fish made out of beer bottle caps.
And pedal cars made from everything you can imagine, even toaster ovens!!
I doubt I could ever make a zombie drive-in movie miniature like these creative artists at the fair. But I celebrate their creativity. I can see how they put together things to come up with an image, a story, if you will.
Just like a writer. We put together phrases, “tone poems” of words and ideas on the page. We surprise, and hopefully, engage the reader.
And show them something new from something old. Something that wasn't before we put our hands on it. How inspiring!
I admit to mourning the end of summer. But not for long. The fall in Sonoma County is absolutely beautiful. Time for a writing weekend at the Kenwood Inn and Spa. Expensive, but worth it, I have a gift certificate from a grateful client.
We usually rent a room up top, where we walk out of the heavy metal doors, can sit out on a tiled patio and overlook about 300 acres of turning vineyards. My favorite time of year here. The days are warm, the nights starting to chill but still sweater weather, and the colors of the valley floor are spectacular.
We usually leave the heavy curtains over the door, but leave the door open so we can hear the waterwheel churning all night long. We ask for extra wood for the fireplace. When I've stayed here by myself, I write sometimes all night. It is the setting for my time travel romance. I have a steamy scene in this very pool which finaled in an erotic contest in 2010. My heroine goes for a midnight swim in the nude, comes upstairs to her room, and watches the man of her dreams materialize in the mist at the pool's edge.
Some places are just conducive to writing. Some are not. And it changes, for me.
This time around, I'm going to focus on finishing Fallen SEAL Legacy. The story is really starting to excite me again. I love it when loose ends start being clipped or woven into the story, and the whole piece becomes a rich tapestry.
I love the great quote I just got from award-winning author of SEAL Team Twelve series Marliss Melton:
“Fans of Navy SEAL romance, I found a new author to feed your addiction. Finely written and loaded delicious moments, Sharon Hamilton’s story-telling satisfies like a thick bar of chocolate.”
This means a lot more to me now that chocolate is no longer in my food plan. Did I tell you how much better I feel without flour and sugar? It has literally changed my life. But I get the quote. Being compared to rich chocolate is not a bad thing at all.
Yes, I will mourn the loss of summer. Time to get ready for the deluge of plans I have for the new release. A book trailer coming up. We're trying to organize a trip back east to be with my son and his family there. Want to visit the SEAL museum in Florida and maybe rent a house on one of the outer islands for a week.
Lightening up our load here in California (getting rid of the chickens, the koi and being less fussy with the gardening this year) has given me more free time to do other things. Writing is one of them. Like an old friend, it welcomes me. And now I have a best-selling book to boot. Accidental SEAL has been in the top 100 Amazon Kindle Store for 6 weeks in a row. I'm stoked.
Life is good. Very good!
We had 109 comments left, and 13 reviews (which counted double). 14 people started following my blog. The odds of winning the Kindle Fire were pretty good.
Several of you did everything I asked to win this. Special thanks to all my regular readers and other writers who stop by my blog and post every time.
Wanted to give a shout out to BN 100 who didn't win the Fire, but who has won just about every book I've written from previous contests. Need your address so I can send you a little extra. Please email me at sharonhamilton2001 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get your prize off to you.
But the winner of the Kindle Fire is the person I picked at random. Yes, this was totally at random. I gave every comment/review/entry a number and drew Number 57.
CONGRATS, Judy. I need your address where you want the Fire sent. Please email me at sharonhamilton2001 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thank you everyone for a great month+ of blogging and sharing our stories. I've had a blast. Accidental SEAL has remained in the top 100 in Romantic Suspense for Kindle for almost 5 weeks in a row!
My critique partner's daughter got married last summer. I think this is one of the funniest YouTubes out there. It went viral, wound up on America's Funniest Home Videos, the Ellen Degeneris show, and one guy from Africa pirated it and almost won second place in a wedding photo contest.
I do have permission to post this. But after all the attention last year, it was taken off for a bit. Well, now it's back. And I'm thrilled the couple allows us to share this with you. I wish all things on the internet were like this. But yes, I understand the rules.
It isn't a perfect world, is it? I watch this video and I'm reminded of my writing journey. Reminded of my 41 year marriage. Reminded of the ups and downs of raising 4 children. Reminded of all the best things in life, and all the little detours and unexpected paths that give us all that richness and meaning.
I've learned not to react so much. Oh, but I still do now and then. I've learned that I'm human, not perfect, and not going to ever have a day where everything goes 100% the way it should.
I do know that my life is pretty darned good. That most people would trade places with me. That looking across the dining table at my 3 year old granddaughter, who has just spilled her Lucky Stars soup all over my tablecloth and my Persian rug, I know the most important thing about this moment is her beautiful smile. Devilish as it is.
So I guess being unlucky sometimes means I enjoy the lucky things even more. What about you?
4TH of JULY CONTEST: LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG POST FROM NOW THROUGH JULY AND BE ENTERED TO WIN A NEW KINDLE FIRE ON AUGUST 1ST. You can also get 3 extra points for leaving a review on either/or Goodreads or Amazon or any other review site, and send me the link to that review. You can get 2 extra points for following this blog.
I couldn't understand my historical writer friends who said they would get so caught up in the research, it would put a major crimp in their daily writing. One friend said she spent about three hours in research for every one hour of writing.
Now I get it. It's been happening to me.
We are so lucky to be living in the digital age, where things are available with the click of a button (or two). We get impatient with sites that aren't intuitive, and we leave, because there are ten others we could use as a resource. If a web page doesn't load in three seconds, we're off to the next one that will.
I've been doing lots of research on Navy SEALs for my series. I've subscribed to some loops for families of military, as well as some facebook pages that post information, and great pictures. I've made the mistake of reading some of the comments. And it distresses me a little.
Is it just me, or is everyone going bonkers all of a sudden? Or was it always this way, and I'm just now sensitive because of the election? Regardless of what side of the spectrum we are, there are some really mean, hateful people haunting certain groups or pages. And, like driving past a bad accident, I sometimes have a hard time not reading the comments. There are some seriously disturbed people out there. And the rumors! Yesterday someone commented that the government had killed the entire SEAL Team 6 in a secret helicopter crash. There's a novel in there somewhere…
I guess there will always be conspiracy theorists. Men and women fought and died for our freedom to express ourselves, to live the open and wonderful lifestyle we now have. So I guess we all have to put up with the crazies. God forbid anyone would label me such.
I have no problem turning off the TV or the radio. None whatsoever. For me, the ads are what I cannot handle any longer. I listen to Sirrius Satellite as much as possible.
That's why I like to write fiction, romance in particular. Fantasy. Make believe. Where everything has a happily ever after, and I can clip or trim the dialogue of my characters to my own choosing without causing a stir. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. Heaven help us if I would get to be Queen of the World. Now that is truly a dangerous thought!
What about you? Do you get sucked into doing too much research, or reading too many “other” opinions it interferes with your real life? Your writing life? How do you cut it off?
Some great research books on the Teams below. Amazon spiders must have found me out!
Why isn't everything just perfect all the time? Perfect balance. You either have all the time in the world and no money, or all the money and no time. Walking that tightrope, getting that perfect balance is something that eludes me.
Recently, I've been busy with the success of my new book, Accidental SEAL. I am thrilled with how well it's doing. And it has helped me in writing the second one, just knowing I can sell that one too. I think about all the angst and worry over its acceptance, which I think every author does, and when you press the “enter” key and it's uploaded, there you are, exposed to everyone in cyberspace. Will they like it? Will it take off? Will it slowly grow? Will it pop and then fizzle? Who knows?
I guess what sustains me is I just keep writing. And I write things I love to read, and to write. I keep connecting. I've been reminded very nicely I need to keep my blogging up, and I go hot and cold with this. Hardest to do when I am busy, but when I'm busy, that's when I need to do it.
So then I have to look at all the other things I can cut out. Water the garden? No. Feed the dogs? No. Critique Group? No. Writer's Meetings? No. Office Meetings? No. Client Meetings (I still sell real estate)? No.
Ah!!! I HAVE IT!!!!!
HOUSEWORK? Y E S !!!
My husband and daughter are coming home from China on Thursday. Can't wait to hear the stories. My daughter emailed me this morning and said Don has learned to suck the heads off shrimp just like any good Chinese. He's been daring. He's been a good sport.
I knew he would be.
I didn't get nearly enough done while they were gone. I had great plans. There's tonight and tomorrow for some general straightening.
But like I've said before, we do “Hello” very well.
I did okay on my own. Blew a head gasket on my pickup truck. Had to replace a cracked rim on my sedan, and two new tires. Picked up the car two days ago with a big dent in the trunk from the shop they aren't going to take responsibility for. The well went out on the 4th of July, but I got it fixed. Blue got a foxtail in his left eye and had an emergency Animal Hospital visit.
And then there was the dental implant I had completed on Monday which left me “wavythinking” until today. Drove myself to Walgreens to get my meds and scared off the line of patients with my bloody gauze in the mouth.
Along the way I've learned a few things. Adjustments. Recalculating. That's what life is all about, right?
I was on three blogs this week, plus my own twice, and a two-day six-blog tour the week before. I had a ball!
Got my book cover posters I sent to Jimmy Thomas signed by the man himself!! Yum.
Heavenly Lover made it to the #1 spot for Fantasy Romance on Kindle for 3 days. Over 11,000 downloads taken. Yup. I got a screenshot of that one!
My new book, Accidental SEAL is doing really well, and still climbing the charts after its release on June 18th. The short, SEAL Encounter made it into the teens for part of the promotional giveaway. I made new friends, joined with other authors I'd been reading about for years. Cried on a couple people's shoulders. Got my first really crappy review. My friends directed me to some doozies authors like J.K. Rowling, Tom Clancy, Scott Turow and others have received. My soft little pink bubble is burst, and I'm alive, excited and full of energy!
Life is good. I am surrounded by miracles, when I remember to look for them. When I listen to the stories in my head, and in my heart.
What about you? How has your last week gone? I'd love to hear it. Any of it.
I was getting some photos together for my son's visit from back east, and for my other son's wedding. I have boxes of stored photos in special paper, which turned out to be somewhat of a miracle. The house burned down less than 6 months later, and all these precious photos were miraculously saved. Well, there were the guys in big yellow suits that knew how to cover up antiques and things in chests, but the heat alone could have melted these old photos.
We walked the bridge that day back in 1987 with all 4 of our children. Little did we know that the bridge actually flattened out in the middle. But, by the time we were there, in the middle, no one could move. It took roughly 2 hours to get off at Doyle Drive. Walking through the toll booths was interesting.
I was reminded today about the time our entire family went skydiving in San Diego. All 6 of us in the air at once. And, just like that day in 1987, we threw caution to the wind and risked our entire unwritten family story to thumb our noses at death and soar through the air like the birds we clearly were not.
I wonder about how our lives would have been changed had something very wrong happened. I had trust and faith in the military men who trained us. They did, after all, train some of the best of the elite special forces on a daily basis. In the end, as I stood at the gaping doorway, I just had to jump and trust that my life was not about to end. Even though for just a second, I had to consider the possibility it would.
Looking over all the old photos I'm reminded of choices I made with my life, resulting in the affect it had on those in my whole family. And how one choice added to another, made every day, without really knowing fully what the consequences were, leads to a life well lived. Where there is the possibility of anything happening when we fish the spaces of the future.
And I also thought about how very little of it is of my own control. I truly think that is a good thing.
This post will probably surprise some of you. My husband's family is related to Alexander Hamilton, our country's first Secretary of the Treasury. He was born on Nevis, an island in the Caribbean. The house is now a museum and island treasure.
Hamilton, the illegitimate son of a Scottish Laird, was the assistant to a merchant's agent, and also helped his mother with her general store. John Adams would some day call him, “the bastard brat of a Scottish peddler.” Starting to work when he was only 11 years old, he ran the office for several months while the owner was away in Paris. Hamilton might have done business with British ship captains, and possibly pirates looking to sell their booty! Who knows who he could have met?
My Danish relatives on my father's side had a contingent that settled in the Caribbean around that time as well. Ever since I began writing romance, I wondered if a relative of mine could have fallen in love with a relative of my husband's? Possibly the great man himself?
So, I bought a book on the islands, and oddly enough, found an old letter tucked in the pages, from another relative of Alexander Hamilton, asking for the author's help in locating certain family members they'd lost track of during WWI. Sad to say, I don't recognize the names, but a plot was forming in my writer's brain.
An old book purchased online through Amazon. An old letter. A young man who leaves the islands and becomes embroiled in a revolutionary war that wasn't his country's. Who befriends the first President of the United States. Who dies in a gun duel over the honor of a woman.
And then yesterday, I was emailing other authors on a writer's loop, and had a chance encounter with a lovely writer from Nevis. She's written several romances in the Caribbean, and is somewhat of an expert on Alexander Hamilton. A family member owns property nearby.
I would have never made this connection with her without the writer's loop on the internet. I would have never found this book without Amazon and the online order I placed. What a wonderful time we live in.
So, this 4th of July I'll be thinking about our young country and the many players that sacrificed so much to see to it that we grew into the great nation we are today. There are plenty of other days for politics. We always remember those men and women who serve to protect and have helped us carve this legacy with the blood of their bodies.
But today, I'm thinking about what was, and what could be, and how connected we all are. And what a small world it is, after all. And how exciting to celebrate the birth of a new story.