On June 28, 2005, Operation Red Wings was carried out, resulting in the loss of life of 19 US soldiers. Many of them were U.S. Navy SEALs.
As I have blogged before, the day is chronicled in the excellent book by Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor.
Marcus Luttrell (born November 7, 1975) is a former Petty Officer First Class and United States Navy SEAL. He received the Navy Cross for his actions in 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings.
He has also written a new book, Service, A Navy SEAL At War, an excellent handbook for anyone who has the determination to lead, and lead under pressure.
Regardless of how you feel about political decisions and how they are made, let's not forget the people who made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep us free, and the families who shall forever mourn them. It is sobering. It is sad. But I am so very proud of them. And we should never forget them.
In addition to the giveaways below, one commenter between today and August lst will get the above iron-on patch. All the other terms of the giveaway below apply.
Yes, I want you to get my books. But I want you to read Marcus Luttrell's books, and the other books written about our fine group of men we know as the Navy SEALs. Follow SEAL of Honor on Facebook here for more information on all these men and their stories. You might find ways you can make your voice heard, ways you can give back to their family and friends, in exchange for what you have been so generously given.
June 28, 2012
House Millar (Review)
Full Moon Bites (Giveaway)
Ramblings From This Chick (Giveaway)
Reading with Holly (Giveaway)
Wickedly Sexy Writers (Giveaway)
Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess (Giveaway/Review)
Bookin' It Reviews (Giveaway)
Tomorrow, June 28, is the anniversary of Operation Red Wings. We lost several SEALs in that raid, which is chronicled so well in Marcus Luttrell's great book, Lone Survivor. Luttrell is also one of the SEALs Dick Couch wrote about in his book about the SEAL training, The Warrior Elite, The Making of SEAL Class 228.
I understand that as civilians, we might not fully grasp or understand, let alone believe, what a man has to do to graduate from BUD/S training. And I've been told the TV documentaries and these books don't show everything, maybe perhaps half of what kinds of endurance is required to graduate. They say the failure rate is 70%-76%, but that only accounts for people who wash out and then are re-admitted, or are rolled back until they heal their injuries. Yes. They break bones. They get Mono. They get shin splints.
Some men don't make it, don't make it through the training. No shame in that. Anyone who would even try is a hero in my book.
But also some don't come back. I've included some pictures of brave young men who did not come back. People you should know about. Good people with lives, parents, grandparents, children, friends and buddies. And while every loss of life in war is a tragedy, we honor those who serve to protect and defend, without questioning the orders given. It does take a special person to do that. They act outside of politics. They complete the mission they are given.
In writing Fallen SEAL Legacy, the second book in my SEAL series, I've had to spend quite a bit of time there, thinking about the ones who didn't come home, because that is the premise of my book. Due to a Fallen, the hero, Navy SEAL Calvin Cooper, and heroine Libby Brownlee, get together in a way that heals them both.
Some days I feel totally ridiculous making romance out of such courage and sacrifice. Feel almost guilty I get to work the rich dark soil and fresh green produce in my vegetable garden. Get to cut the fragrant roses and lilies this time of year. Dead-head the Sweet William and daisies. My ordinary life seems just that: ordinary.
But that's what the stuff of life is all about. Beauty of life and death. Frail exquisite beauty of everything around us, no matter where we live, no matter what our mission. And the mission I was given: bring these and other stories to light. Give a reader a few hours of pleasure, a few hours of fantasy.
Because that's what these brave young men would want.
It never ceases to amaze me how many worlds we can go to when we read a good book. I have to stop myself when I begin a new story, make sure I have my “reader” hat on, not my “writer” hat. Since becoming a full time writer, it's difficult to read for pleasure. I find little things that bug me, and sometimes it takes me out of a good story.
I'm being interviewed at Self Publish Or Die today. Come on over and join the fun!
Today is wedding day for my son. I will be off the computer most of the day, but have a great weekend all. The grandkids gave me a doozie of a cold, so pray I get some relief today.
Now back to bed…
So excited that yesterday Accidental SEAL was up on Amazon. It was my wedding anniversary, my daughter's birthday, I picked up my youngest at the airport for my other son's wedding on Saturday, and my first in the SEAL series went live. Life just doesn't get better than that.
Starting today, and for the next 3 days, SEAL Encounter will be free on Amazon. It chronicles the two primary characters in Accidental SEAL, but comes just short of actually letting them meet. To do that, you have to buy the full length book. Have I hooked you yet?
Excerpt, Accidental SEAL:
This week I'll be releasing my new short story, SEAL Encounter. I'll be offering it for free at Amazon for 5 days.
It is not a complete story, but a tease, a small taste of the two characters in Accidental SEAL, which is the full length novel also coming out this week.
If you like the short, I'm hoping you'll go over and purchase the novel, Accidental SEAL. Although Kyle and Christy get close, they don't quite connect in SEAL Encounter. But O.M.G. do they in Accidental SEAL. I can't wait for you to read it.
So, I'm hardly able to sleep. Still a few posts I have to get done. Family is coming in for my son's wedding, and I'm reviewing the final edits to make sure everything is up to the standards all of you have expected of me.
This will be book 1 of what I hope will be a long and luscious series about these great warriors, and the women who are lucky enough to be loved by them.
About Accidental SEAL:
a cadre of dirty law enforcements hell-bent on getting military equipment,
especially state-of-the-art firepower, Kyle is forced to admit that he would
die to protect her.
Title: Once Her Man,
Always Her Man (Always a Marine, Book 1)
Please post your comment here to be entered in the drawing for free books.
For more chances to win, please follow the CBLS Blog Hop here.
Thanks, Heather, for joining us today. Good luck, readers, with the contest and giveaways!
I know, call me crazy. But I do love this whacky place. Every time I think about leaving, I wonder if anywhere else would just seem, well, dull.
I have never had to work so hard for so little here, too. But I do enjoy the people. Some of the people anyway. I love street faires, farmer's markets, craft faires.
My husband and I took all 4 of the kids on the Golden Gate Bridge the last time there was a celebration–and the span between the two towers literally flattened. By the time we all realized it, there was such a crowd, we couldn't get off the structure. A big black guy shouted ahead of us, made a space so we could walk through the crowd behind him with our double stroller.
I've walked on Doyle Drive, named after a businessman from Santa Rosa, who was one of the top hats you see pictured on the Opening Day almost 100 years ago.
Last week we had the AmGen tour start here in Santa Rosa. Today, it was the Bay to Breakers. Northern Californians are a different lot. We don't need much to celebrate. In fact, we don't need to wear much clothing, either! I digress.
Back to the Amgen day on Mother's Day. I had a blast. From the guys blending their own smoothies with their Safeway Trainers in tow, to the odd Pedal Cars and Paella Guy, it was a feast of the senses. And that was before the cyclists (sorry about the hairy guy's arm. I'm not a professional photographer, can you tell?).
Yes, we are an eclectic group, a huge financial disaster looming right on the horizon. Real Estate prices at historic lows (we can help you there), and our governor we used to call (in the day), Governor Moonbeam.
On the brink of disaster, we have Facebook's IPO, and a Silicon Valley that is going strong, despite rumors of it's demise.
I just found out we have a local Roller Blade team, and one of the gals is a tenant of mine! I can see a romance novel brewing.
After all, in this place of so many contrasts, it is perfect fodder for my writer's brain. So next time I consider leaving, would you please spank me?
Welcome back to the last day of the A-Z Blog Challenge. This April has been the Letters of Gratitude. Some of you have stopped by every day. I owe you a badge! Others are new friends we have picked up along the way. Very excited to have all of you, both old and new friends.
Z is for zone, as in writing in the zone.
There are many things that put me in the mood. I subscribe to a number of travel blogs. I love looking at the gorgeous pictures, and fantasizing about a story that would take place there. Especially a steamy romance. Something created where the odds were not in the couple's favor, but survived and thrived in spite of the odds. Almost seems like it should be illegal, I'm having so much fun.
Right now I'm listening to Green Meadow by pianist Denise Young. Music puts me in the mood. With my Dr. Dre headsets, I can write just about anywhere. Tomorrow, as I travel home, I will be spending about 3 hours in airports on layovers.
I've spent the last 3 days in an intense class, learning about one aspect of the Real Estate market I wasn't versed in.
The gentleman I took the class from has a unique perspective on family. He grew up in an orphanage run by Catholic Nuns. He had an older brother who was in a different section of the orphanage. On occasion, his mother would come visit him for a weekend, he says when her conscience got the better of her. So, even in the pecking order of the orphanage, he wasn't a “true” orphan, because he had a mother. She just didn't want to visit very often. So, the better socks and clothes went to the “true” orphans, the ones who had no one.
He became a successful man, worked hard and didn't expect he'd ever have a family because he had no concept of what that was about. But then he met Her, and without any training, without anyone to model after, without the loving guidance of a sister, or mother or grandmother, he fell in love with this young woman. And his life has been enriched beyond his wildest dreams.
His story touched me yesterday when he told me about it. Today, at the end of the day he teared up, as we were preparing to go. He spoke of how lucky he was to have found her.
“Whatever does she see in me after all these 50 years? I will never be able to figure that out, Sharon.”
I thought about this. Looked him in the eyes, and said, “Your heart. You have a heart of gold, and always have. That's what she sees.”
I find inspiration for love stories in unlikely places, from unlikely people, doing unlikely things. For, as powerful or successful as we all are in our lives, I still think the greatest thing is to love and be loved in return. My favorite line from Moulin Rouge.
I'm grateful for the gentle guidance others have given me, not only in how to make a financial success in this world, but how they share their love stories.
Welcome back to almost the end of the A-Z Blog Challenge. My theme has been the Letters of Gratitude.
Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm in San Diego, taking a class for my Real Estate business. It is 3 intense days from 7:30-7:30 at night. I am exhausted. Not been on the computer much (well, I guess I can do that afterall), and trying to cram all the numbers and ideas into my head. Honestly, I can't think straight.
So, in order to lighten up my day, I'm posting the top ten reasons YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET THERE.
*****Idiot Alert*****This post has no redeeming value*****
10. One of the several characters in your head said you'd arrived.
9. No one else is anywhere around you.
8. You now know being lost is normal. Being found is close to going to jail.
7. Your computer keys are worn out and they smell like salmon.
6. The review you got for your last book made you blush, and then you realized it was written by your father.
5. You find yourself staring at kissing couples.
4. You talk to books in the library.
3. The books talk back.
2. You're starting to think the garbage men uniforms are sexy.
And the number one reason you'll know when you get there is:
1. Your dog whispers in your ear, “I always knew you were crazy.”
Humor. Friends. New Words. Good Books. Jimmy Thomas. Great stories. For all these things, I'm grateful!
The definition of xanthoma, the meaning of the word Xanthoma: n. – A skin problem marked by the development (on the eyelids and neck and back) of irregular yellow nodules; sometimes attributable to disturbances of cholesterol
In this case, my post will be short, because the attached Press Democrat article says it all. In the end, it wasn't really a disaster, and I'm happy to report the couple is still married, which is saying something, considering the stats.
One of my critique partners, Robin Moore, shared a YouTube video of her daughter's wedding. It went viral after they posted it, and, unfortunately, is now blocked. It came in second place in a contest, entered by some guy from Africa whom they never met. It was played on the Ellen DeGeneres show. I had it posted on my blog at the side, so I could come back and have a laugh on a day when I sorely needed it. But hey, I understand their need for privacy, and I would feel the same.
Enjoy this article on their wedding disaster. What you cannot see is a huge wave completely overtaking the bride in all her white finery, the rainy day that almost blew all their tents over, and the love that warmed everyone's hearts that day. Needless to say, this photo was taken a few seconds before the big wave. Sort of like God's blessing to them, right?
I happen to think it was a perfect day.
I love violas. They are cheerful, easy to grow, and make me look like I know what I'm doing as a gardener. They are perfect for filling in a potted grouping – they just grow where there's space and fill in the gaps other plants create. They are like the connectors in the flower container world, like Alyssum, another favorite of mine.
There are many beautiful varieties now. I usually grab them all. Last year I found some that were nearly black in color. Can't find them this year.
I want color year-round, so I'm grateful these guys bloom their hearts out early, as the warm-up act to the showy zinnias, day lillies, roses, snapdragons and sweet williams that bloom for me in the summer.
So, from my garden to yours, have a wonderful April day.
I was going to originally title this post: Understanding winning and losing. But that has the wrong connotation, because if someone “wins” that brings to mind someone else “losing.” And isn't life a tapestry of both? And many would say you learn more from your losses than from your wins.
Tomales, California is a great little coastal town, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, in Marin County. We used to take long drives through the countryside when my husband and I were first married, so I've driven these winding roads through forests, grasslands and over craggy outcroppings with stunning ocean views many times over the years.
It's been over 30 years since I started the trip this way. Though I've been a Sonoma County resident for almost 42 years, I've been doing it backwards, not from South to North. Saturday it was like driving on them for the very first time. A different perspective.
Took my breath away.
Before children, a group of us young marrieds would gather together at Marshall or Nick's Cove, and eat oysters (and yes, drink a little bit of vino) until we could barely walk. You could spend $20 on food and drink and not break the bank. Saturday's lunch, for instance, without all the extras, came to just under $100. The cottages they rent are spectacular, and would not have been available to us starving students, but are on my TBD list for later in the year. Things have indeed changed.
But not the stunning scenery, or the beautiful little town.
I grew up in Silicon Valley when Los Altos was dusted with apricot orchards. Moving to Sonoma County felt like stepping back in time about 50 years. I've read stories about Jack London haunting these places, and how he used to steal oysters by moonlight. Robert Louis Stevenson and his new bride honeymooned in parts of the Valley of the Moon. Even Sir Richard Burton made a trek through these parts in 1860, the year before he returned to England to marry Isobel, in his search for the spirit of the west. Among other places, he visited Brigham Young in Salt Lake City and his 17 wives.
The remnants of bawdy roadhouses are now upscale motels and bakery/espresso cafes, perfect for a long meandering afternoon of caffeine, conversation and reading.
I'm a great fan of just getting in the car and getting lost some place. Discovering something new. In this case, re-discovering why it is I live in Northern California, and why it feeds my writer's soul.
The favorite part of my writing day is the very early “wee hours of the morning,” as the song says. Before the house wakes up and the activities of a busy family begin, the early morning quiet has always been so important to me.
My husband and I have gotten into the habit of soaking in the hot tub, waiting and watching the sun rise. These days, there is the shadow of a chalky moon in the sky, and the last few stars. I love the canopy of black turn into a deep vibrant blue, and then lighten until everything is covered in a golden glow.
Hard not to be inspired with this splash of color. Nature's bounty. Evidence of a great day unfolding. I also spend a half hour writing in my journal, and reading some select pieces that bring me things that enhance the quality of my life.
But when the owls are hooting and the early birds are just beginning to stir, there is a magic that descends over my laptop. I love the words written then.
What about you? What do you do in the early “wee hours of the morning?”