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4

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: S IS FOR SISTERS EVERYWHERE!!!

S IS FOR SISTERS! SUNDAYS WITH SHARON! SISTERS ON THE FLY. SIN CITY SISTERS! SOMETHING DIFFERENT. SO HAPPY TO BE WRITING. SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE!!!

Spent this morning having a very naughty breakfast with my son. It was naughty because I’m sure it was about 1500 calories. I had a waffle with real maple syrup, applewood cured bacon hand harvested/cured just over the freeway by an artisan butcher, good cappuccino, and fruit. Then the table next to us had these chocolate looking things covered in powdered sugar and I had to have an order of that, too. I ate one, brought the others home for a late night snack, with the homemade berry jam on the side. Our favorite restaurant for this mother-son bonding time is Spinster Sisters.

On the way, I opened up a packet I’d gotten yesterday in the mail, and low and behold, my Sisters On The Fly membership certificate, card, patch (you know I love patches, right?), my blue bandana and newsletter arrived. I’m so excited to join this group. Next year, on my bucket list, is to buy an Airstream trailer, deck it out with red romancy things and take it on the road

with these gals for a few weeks. The rules of this group:

No men. No children. No pets. Play nice.

I am so in this group. I am going to have a ball traveling with these ladies. Here’s what their newsletter says:

Our purpose is really very simple: to re-introduce the idea of making girls out of women in glamorous camping and outdoor activities.”

Formed by two real-life sisters and honoring the amazing mother they were fortunate to have, Mazie, they named their group Sisters On The Fly because they like fly fishing (Ask me if I know how. Ask me if I care. Ask me if I’m going to learn) and they were never home. The more I read about the Amazing Mazie and her “sense of style including her red cowgirl boots and her evening martini, cigarette and occasional cigar” who passed on two days before her 95th birthday last year, the more I was hooked. My granddaughter’s middle name is Mazie. I own the red cowboy boots. The rest are just details.

Our Mission Statement

“Offering empowerment and sisterhood through exceptional outdoor adventures.”

As a group of women, we challenge ourselves in all that that we set our mind to. There is no age, color, religion or political group. All women who want to share in the adventures of “sisterhood” are welcome. This “sisterhood” has grown to over 4,000 women since its inception in 1999:

“WE HAVE MORE FUN THAN ANYONE”
We encourage you to join us on one of our adventures and let yourself be spoiled rotten, learn to fish, to be a real Western Cowgirl, run rivers, and enjoy pure highway traveling fun. The best part is meeting all those new sisters you didn’t even know you had. Our members range in age from 21 to 94, with most being in between. And just remember , our rules are simple…

“No men, no pets, no kids… and be nice.”

“See ya’ there!”

Can you see a romance: Travels With Mazie? Can you imagine what my romance-themed red interior Airstream will look like? Oh I do wish I could spend the entire day thinking about all this, but I have to get back to SEAL’s Code.
If someone had told me that life after 60 was going to be better than the first 60 years, I might not have believed them. And it doesn’t have anything to do with hospitals, walkers or wearing purple. It’s about romancing the life that I was fortunate to be given. Loving the people I’m fortunate to call friends. Write the stories of my heart and grow young. I love this philosophy of making girls out of women. What an adventure, and thank you all for coming along with me! Are you game for some fun!

Over and out. Permission to come in HOT!! Sister #5799, also known as Sharon Hamilton.

17

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON – I Will Miss Nashville

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: I Will Miss Nashville.

My plane doesn't take off for a few hours, and already I'm teary-eyed. I've been attending the Day With The Authors here in Nashville, organized by Sandy Sullivan, and I have to say it has been one of the best conferences, as a writer, I have attended this year. I nearly sold out of all my books.

Something about being in this part of the country tugs at my heartstrings (I guess that was a play on words). I know it isn't always green and warm, but Friday morning my storyteller, J.D. Hart, and I drove through the countryside and had an early breakfast at Loveless Cafe. Surrounded by pictures of stars from the 1950's on, I loved partaking of the biscuits, the bacon, sausage and ham with the baked cheese casserole hash browns, peach preserves and gravy. I don't eat like this in California, and even if I wanted to, there'd be no place like this. They were stoking up the BBQ in what we would call a summer kitchen outside the main restaurant.

Last night we went to a world class steak house, where I was surrounded by the gentle conversation washing over me like a light warm rain. People smile, they look you in the eyes, and they are gracious. As I said in my talk yesterday, there must be a Southern bone in my body somewhere, even though I've been born and raised in Northern California. They are an endearing kind of warm that really grows on me.

Today we visit Arrington Winery. But it's just a day to hang with my best friend, the man from Tennessee, and yes, I am his number one fan. I'll probably become incoherent by the end of our day together, so I'm bringing my Kleenex.

This trip has been inspiring. I've gotten way more out of it than the energy I've put in. Looking out at the sea of people as I gave my little talk, I felt honored and loved, truly loved. I like small, intimate gatherings where we can tell stories and just hang with our reader fans. The community of writers I've been privileged to get to know well is a family that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

This great country of ours is made up of different regions, each with its own special gifts. But leaving Nashville will be hard today. Going home will be nice, but I will miss this place, and the good friends I leave behind.

Until the next time!

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON:  N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

A friend of mine reminded me about writing caves and now the new trend, “She Sheds” and I got inspired again. I've still not given up hope that some day soon I'll have a writing cave of my own. I'm not complaining, but grateful for all I have, but the idea of having a place just for me, some place cozy and single-purposed, like for writing and messing around with my muse in private (like it was illegal or something) excites me.

I write now at a desk that also serves as a bill paying station, a catch-all for anything writing related. Bad news is that it's a mess most times, and I usually go off to bed without straightening it (bad habit). Good news is that if it is writing related, it's there. Might be under something, but this sacred space I don't even let the housecleaners mess with.

I once watched a video of an author building her writing cottage and she made the point that writing should be done in an uncluttered, free place where only that is done. She separated her space from reading area, writing area (with a view that inspired her – mine was to look over my garden and flower gardens which have not been returned yet) and then an “office” desk for all the business of writing, so the two don't get mixed up. I have no trouble focusing on bills and schedules and planning. My writing muse is something I have to guard carefully. She's a fragile angel of a thing, a lady, and very sensitive, as I want her to be.

I can write in coffee shops and cafes, at the airport (watching people), over a glass of wine or margarita at my favorite Mexican place, in fact, just about anywhere, especially if I have my headphones. Right now, I write on the “bridge” upstairs in my house, which is open down to the two story living room and near the stairs, so the dogs, my husband, anyone who passes interrupts me. Just hearing the paper shuffling downstairs in my husband's office (my old writing area I gave back because I found the view of the unfinished construction/driveway not inspiring), or the kitchen activity or TV downstairs is a distraction. Beauty of living in a church-like structure with 24′ ceilings and skylights is it's wide open and light. We have a 13′ glass garage door on one wall of the dining room. But everything echoes.

Writing cozy is beter, methinks. And some day, I'll have that. Thank you, Cherokee Hart, for reminding me of some of the ways I can inspire myself!

What about you? Do you have a craft room? Reading room? Writing area or “muse-inspired” place? Love to hear about it.

1

M is for Leslie Moon

M IS FOR MOONDUSTWRITER. Part of the reason I love the A-Z blog is all the new friends I make. I would not have met these people otherwise. We practically have nothing in common, except that we are poets, writers and just crazy people who like to share the connection. We are more connected than we are separate, did you know? There are those that don't want that secret to get out. Shhhh!! Leslie's post is not something I normally write about, but her words need to be heard. Enjoy, and thank you, Leslie, for stopping by my blog today.

Never Together by Leslie Moon #atozchallenge

2 Votes

newcago paper

I remember the first time we saw each other – We hadn’t seen each other since we were kids out in the country.

Then everything went haywire. Caesar took what he wanted including the lives of my parents.

At 17, I fled – their night screams chased me for years.

I was entranced by New Cago; she beckoned with her dazzling lights and her rich satins. I didn’t know about the slime underneath until it owned me.

Sam didn’t know how I was making it, I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

 When I wrote,  I told him I had a job and my own place.

Yeah, some call  it a job. The men liked my blue eyes ‘that girl has spirit!’

 But what the hell there was money and a bunk.  I wasn’t locked up in someone’s vault and the temple goons stayed away.

Caesar was murdered and we all celebrated in fountains of bubbly. Within days, the gangs took over and I learned to shoot a gun.

A gang lord wanted to claim me as “property rights.”

Sam showed up just when they were forging my personal chain.

Sam  always could look straight down to my heart. He knew but never said a word.

Sam was something those gangsters were not and they feared him.

Evil never sleeps though and on my birthday someone took a lucky shot.

Dog gone, I’ve pulled Sam into this rotten city and now I’m dead.

 My real name is Lucerne which means ‘Life.’  My blood is a type of antidote Medicago they call it. That’s why when the bullet passed through me and into Sam he didn’t die.

Sam, do what you’ve gotta do – my blood will keep you alive.

 

 

 

Image attribution:”75 Medicago sativa L” by Amédée Masclef – Atlas des plantes de France. 1891. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:75_Medicago_sativa_L.jpg#/media/File:75_Medicago_sativa_L.jpg

Did you know there are more than 10,000 children orphaned by Ebola in West Africa? Many of these children have nothing and are stigmatized by their communities (and extended family). We are trying to find a way to raise funds to help. More info here.

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9

L is for Lake Ozette

L IS FOR LAKE OZETTE

Have you ever taken a hike or walk through the forest and been so moved by the power and beauty of nature that you literally broke down and cried? I did.

The rainforest in the Olympic Peninsula up in Washington State is what I would call a little piece of green paradise. A number of years ago, I took a drive up to see my old roommate in college, and friends of hers described this trail that led through the forest of ancient trees, down the beach and up the other side on another trail. It was and still is approximately 3 miles each segment.

I believe the road to the campground is paved now, but at the time it was some 5 miles of dirt road with tons of potholes that took over an hour.  I was driving a 1947 Oldsmobile turtleback 4-door, which was the most reliable car we owned at the time. My rear seat cushion lifted up and I had the compartment filled with good Canadian beer I planned to smuggle home on my brief trip to Vancouver the day before. I took this walk on my birthday, alone, in late April. I didn't encounter a single person all the way down to the beach. Just me and the forest.

I understand this is where part of the Twilight forest scenes were to have been shot, but, during the filming, there was a freak snowfall and they couldn't access the area.

Winding down through these tall giant trees, I'd been told to watch for bears, as this was the time they'd come out of hibernation, and would be hungry. I found several trees with their trunks scratched by powerful claws as new mothers and hungry bear fathers began foraging for food. Oddly enough, I wasn't scared. I walked the entire distance to the beach on cedar planks lovingly laid by several boy scout troops and Rotary clubs, so the integrity of the forest floor would remain intact.

I like things that move me without trying. The trail awaits my return and some day, and I say this every April, I want to return there and take the hike on my birthday. Some day, I'll fulfill that promise. In the meantime, the beauty of this green temple to mother nature herself, awaits, like a lover gone too soon.

2

K IS FOR KILL OFF YOUR OPTIONS

KILL OFF THOSE OPTIONS!! Get rid of the choices and things become simple in a hurry!

Sometimes getting to the bottom can be a good thing, because it eliminates your choices. On the floor, only way to go is up. Everything is an improvement if you're not falling. Being at the bottom of the barrel takes away the fear of making the wrong choices. Of course, you give up peace of mind, and you are blown about by the wind of society. But your decisions are easy because you have less of them.

When you think of all the words that end in “cide”, like pesticide, suicide, homicide, we understand it means to kill off. But we don't think about that with the word decide, which mans to kill off your choices, your options.

But that's exactly what deciding is. We choose one course over another and forever altering our trajectory, our path in life.

I've always struggled with problems relating to concentration, because I have a touch of ADD. I was on a schedule to make so many cold calls and expired calls every morning, and nothing, except for a burning building, was supposed to interfere with my 3 hour block of sacred calling. I did it for nearly 20 years. But it never was easy, and I always struggled with my staying on task, focus. 

My staff knew their salaries depended on me making my calls every day, so they bet me, and it was a lot of money too, so that I would stay and do my calling, not pop out into the reception area to ask about a phone call I overheard or remind them to do something I'd tasked them to do. I wound up paying the fine so many times, they felt bad about it and we abandoned the practice. The money meant very little to me then. But my pride and vanity did.

So, they came up with another idea. I had to wear my bathing suit in my office, and they'd lock the door on the outside. When I was done with my calling, I'd knock on my own door and they'd hand me back my clothes. This actually kept me on track for several weeks.

Until they all left early one day, left me locked in my own office, with my clothes on the outside of the door. I was forced to climb out of a window, in my bathing suit, and face the steady stream of customers walking past, watching me crawl out of a window in my bathing suit. Yes, I was the top-producing Realtor in Sonoma County at that time, and I was in a bathing suit, crawling out of a window. I had to go to the main office waiting room in my bathing suit, ask to use the phone to get my husband to come down to the office, unlock it so I could get keys to get my clothes back.

I have hundreds of stories about those years. I was so driven I was nearly crazy with that competitive spirit. The discipline I learned in those early days have helped me be a productive writer today, even though I still struggle with my focus and is probably the reason I have so much trouble reading manuals. I'd rather go to get a root canal than read a manual. Even the “Dummies” books are way too complicated for me.

Love to hear if you have some strange way to overcome some behavior you want to alter. I've spilled my guts. Now you spill yours! I have a free Punisher Tee shirt (inspired by the movie American Sniper), for one lucky commenter!

If you want to follow along on the A-Z blog challenge, click on the blue sunflower button to the right and it will direct you to the blog lists of those still in this game. We are nearly half way, and I'm on track! Go follow or read someone else's blog and maybe you'll find a new friend!

8

J is for Junk On My Computer, SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

J is for Junk On My Computer!  I had a lot of extra files on my computer and yesterday I cleared out 120 Gigs of junk. I feel squeaky clean! Our family Apple Expert, Mario, came over and spent about seven hours with us both. Mine was the most difficult and detailed. But what I have now are 19 separate folders containing everything about my books. I have 14 novels, 2 Novellas and 2 of my own bundles, or boxed sets.

I had snippets everywhere, blog posts and guest spots, interviews and faq sheets filed sometimes by name, sometimes by kind of file, sometimes random, and then those dreaded “X Novel – FINAL FINAL FINAL” files. Some files were separated from others because one way editors or my formatter would send them without spaces, some with dashes between the book and the date of the edit, and others in all caps or upper and lower case with or without spaces. I was holding all this in my head, and boy was my head hurting. I had to remember which ones were which (oh yes, that was a novella of the same name, oh yes, that was the correction I made that came in late, etc.) 

In short, I was an accident waiting to happen. This morning as I wake up and go to the computer, my desktop is clean, organized and I know where all my important papers are. A good friend of mine used to look at my lists of “versions” of my books, and shake her head, “Sharon, you've got to get this fixed.” That was about 4 years ago. Did I mention sometime before I'm stubborn?

Now some of you saw the word Junk and were thinking of something else. And for you, all I have is a picture. Enjoy the view…the part that I can show! Enjoy your day.

If you are want to follow along in the A-Z Blog Challenge, just clink on the button at the bottom with the sunflower on it. You will be directed to a list of some 2000 other bloggers who have taken the challenge. This week, I'm number 573. Some are dropping out, so this number could change, but tell your friends about it. Enjoy!

3

H is for Heroes In Uniform and Hearts In Danger

I'm lucky I get to participate in several boxed sets this year. I said I would never do it again, but I guess I lied. I've worked with about half of these ladies on other projects. We are always coming up with things to cross-promote each other.

A good example of cross-promoting was today's launch for Sabrina York and her Sabrina York's Stone Hard SEALs Release Celebration (which is still going on until tomorrow, btw). We stop by, we have our fans stop by, we give away things and we generally have fun, sometimes we learn a thing or two. Great way for readers to find new authors.

These boxed and bundled sets are the same way. Both these sets are going to be awesome reads, with authors either already established, or up and coming ones you'll learn about soon. We pool our resources and release a set at a deep discount, so readers get a chance to sample several new authors without a huge commitment of $$. One set I participated in last year sold over 28,000 copies in its first week alone.
Heroes In Uniform:

Book Description

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Ten full-length books and one novella from NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors

A Romantic Suspense and Military Romance boxed set of 11 Sexy Contemporary Alpha Heroes, featuring Soldiers, SEALs, Spies, Agents, Rangers and Cops.
Brand-new, never-before-published stories: a novella from Gennita Low and a full-length novel from Nina Bruhns.
KAYLEA CROSS–Danger Close. With his cover blown, former undercover CIA agent Wade Sandberg finds himself, and an innocent woman, the number one targets of the world's most dangerous terrorist.
PATRICIA MCLINN–At The Heart's Command. Colonel John Griffin Jr. is a good and honorable soldier who faces the toughest mission of all when he returns home to Wyoming: Protect the woman he's always loved – especially from himself.
GENNITA LOW–Dangerously Hot. While working undercover, looking for his missing brother, Luke meets the mysterious Nina who appears to know more than she's saying. Can Luke charm the sexy and dangerous Nina into assisting him?
CARIDAD PINEIRO–Sins Of The Flesh. Ex-Army Ranger Mick Carrera has been hired to hunt down a woman who is nothing like he expects. As passion erupts between them, danger threatens from those who want to end Mick and Cat's lives in order to safeguard their secrets.
SHARON HAMILTON–Cruisin' For A SEAL. What starts out as a cruise vacation for 9 Navy SEALs and their wives, winds up a full scale Team operation, as they save the passengers from terrorists.
KAREN FENECH–Snowbound. FBI Agent Mallory Burke, injured and on the run for her life, is stranded in a snowstorm with a reclusive and secretive cop she's not sure she can trust but is falling in love with.
TONI ANDERSON–Her Last Chance. Eighteen years ago the Blade Hunter found his first victim on the streets of NYC. Now, unless FBI Agent Marshall Hayes can stop him, he's back to finish the job.
NINA BRUHNS–Barely Dangerous. Blue Wolf Cooper has a bear problem–as in, he suspects the pretty new USFS fire spotter is part of a vicious bear poaching ring he is trying to shut down. Margarethe “George” Johansen has a bare problem–as in, she keeps dreaming the sexy Fish and Game warden who's been following her around sneaks up into her isolated tower, strips her bare, and makes incredible love to her…right before he kills her.
LORI RYAN–Everlasting. Katelyn Bowden never imagined coming home would dredge up a twenty-four year old murder and put her life at risk. She also never expected the man to come to her rescue would be the one man she'd resented for years. The one man she wanted nothing to do with.
CRISTIN HARBER–Garrison's Creed. An injured CIA agent runs into the only man she can never see again–her first love, the one who “buried” her years ago.
DANA MARTON–Deathblow. Former small-town football hero turned cop, Joe Kessler never met a linebacker, perp, or a woman he couldn't handle. Then a troubled single mom walks into his life, and the only place this hot jock will ever see ‘easy' again is in the dictionary.

HEARTS IN DANGER:  

Book Description

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

FOURTEEN stories of thrilling romance to benefit the American Heart Association. These full length, Romantic Suspense stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS!
Accidental SEAL by Sharon Hamilton: Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom.
Pick Your Poison by Roxanne St. Claire: Meet Benjamin Youngblood – he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and … about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer.
Protective Custody by Paige Tyler: Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter.
Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris: When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there's only one man dangerous enough to help her–the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie.
SEAL's Honor by Elle James: Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.
Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane: Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief—he'll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.
Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCray: Tori is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough.
Dangerous Curves by Nina Bruhns: A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy—and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!
Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans: When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard.
Protecting Caroline by Susan Stoker: Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.
One Night Stand by Parker Kincade: Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret.
Brody by Mandy Harbin: Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs.
Enemy Mine by Megan Mitcham: Born in the blood of Sierra Leone's Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord's inner circle.
Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han: On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe.

I see some serious reading in your future, don't you? Ladies, start your engines!

6

G is for GETTING GREAT

Getting great happens when we keep working. Giving. Going. Webster's uses terms like, ample, being beyond average, mighty and intense. I love intense, can't you tell? I also love fun.

A fellow traveler told me, “Do what others won't do for the next five years and live how others can't for the rest of your life.” I like this, because it's simple. We burn the midnight oil at night. We play hard, and long. We enjoy things along the road, but we play hard and we play for keeps.

I used to wonder why people, even when given the keys to the kingdom, wouldn't take the chance to push themselves just a little bit harder. And pushing myself sometimes means I have to push myself to be emotionally balanced, mature. I can fly off the handle or misread something, and all I cause is pain to myself. I cause misunderstandings when I meant none. Being an adult sometimes is a lot of work.

I used to tell agents I trained that the winning lottery tickets are right in front of you, right within your grasp. You just have to pick them up and cash them in. How funny people hesitate to do that, again showing their fear. And it is a lot of hard work, too. Cashing in those lottery tickets means not doing something else, making a little sacrifice. Sometimes it means a lot of hard work. Doing what others won't do. That's how we get great.

If you want to follow along with the A-Z Blog Challenge, drop to the bottom of this page and click on the A-Z button, and be directed to another blog at random! You never know who you'll get to meet or what awaits you!

4

F IS FOR FLY (Learn to Fly On the Way Down)

I love country music, not only for the beautiful love songs, but for the words of wisdom, and the values that are so close to my own personal values, so close to my heart. I wasn't raised a country girl. I was raised a hippie Northern California girl, but there must have been part of me left behind in the generations of my family as they traveled this great country, and some of my roots are there.

This song, by Tae and Maddie, Fly, really says it all for me. I love the pictures of the little girl climbing up the ladder. That's me. The striving to reach for things other people perhaps might overlook. Finding the good in things, finding the gold in people's hearts, finding the deep side of the ocean in words, digging for emotions buried under layers of lifetimes.

Just keep on reachin' though the limb might break…
You can learn to fly on the way down.

We've been talking about taking chances, spinning the wheel of life, reaching out, playing for keeps, and now learning to fly on the way down, instead of being afraid of trying. Our big enemy: Fear. Fear is the only evil. The only one that robs our souls. Learning to fly happens when you're free-falling. When you're skydiving through the emotions of that person deep inside you that is awesome and is a giant. We learn to deal with it all by letting go. Taking chances. Risking our hearts and our emotions, but letting our souls soar.

15

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: DOING EVERYTHING

DOING EVERYTHING. We never know what will take off. We do things with intention, do things by accident, and sometimes the accidents work out amazingly well, sometimes the well-intentioned plans do poorly. These days I'm sort of thinking about life as one giant roulette wheel. You spin it, and it arbitrarily lands wherever it does. A huge game of chance.

But not really.

Those of you who follow my blog posts know that I'm a huge fan of “playing big.” In the real estate business, we used to say to agents, “play as if you've already won.” There are times when we question our abilities, and want to “quit” mentally from giving it our all. Luckily these things don't last long for me, and I'm pretty good about picking myself up, and usually holding up a couple of others at the same time. Can't help it, I raised 4 kids and sometimes I still feel like I'm raising kids today.

So the secret of success would be that we're out there playing big. We may not know where that roulette wheel will land (I have gambling on the brain because I'm writing this from Las Vegas), but we can control whether or not we take our turn. Opportunities are there, but only if we take them. Leading the horse to water, etc….Bella Andre paid me a nice compliment when she told an audience at the San Francisco Writer's Conference 2 years ago that she always gave writers advice they could bank on, but few really followed up or did what she said. And she complimented me on being one of the ones who listened, and executed her pearls of wisdom. I call them pearls of wisdom. She's far too humble to say it. But I will! Thank you, Bella.

So, here I am, taking chances, meeting people, saying yes more than no (and learning which ones to say no to as well), trusting that I'll get to work with people's highest selves and good part, learning when I don't, and paying it forward, both upwards in the food chain and down. It makes no difference where I am or what it means.

It matters that I play. That I DO EVERYTHING.

Happy Easter from the bottom of my heart.

If you want to follow along on the A-Z blog hop, click the button at the bottom of this page and you will be directed at random to some other blogger's posting for today. We're in this together. Every day a new letter. Today was a catch up.

2

C is for Count My Blessings

COUNT MY BLESSINGS. I forget this all the time. With so much abundance all around me, I forget to say thank you. I used to travel with a friend once a week, and we'd talk about our lives, our families, situations that sometimes frustrated each of us. Some days I'd remind him, and other days he'd remind me. But when we found ourselves complaining about something, we'd say to the other one: “Who haven't you thanked today that you needed to?”

I've noticed that when I get upset, if I stop and go to gratitude, soon the upset is gone. My friend, the DEA/FBI agent who did some incredibly dangerous under cover missions over his years at the Bureau, said that of the maybe 400 or so planned operations, there was only one, in all that period of time, that actually went along just as they'd planned. And they laughed about it afterwards, at how yes, it was possible to have a 100% mission.

Most the time their missions would go wrong. Something would be off, something unexpected would occur and threaten the whole mission. How many times have I thought a whole day, or a project was ruined because not everything went as planned? How many times does a plane stay on course during a trip from San Francisco to Paris? The truth is, the plane is being adjusted perhaps a thousand times. There is no such thing as following a perfect path.

Remembering to feel grateful for what I do have keeps me from dwelling on what I don't. And maybe that's why not everything is perfect, so we'll value it, like something rare. Just like in my Heavenly Lover book, Heaven isn't 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn't 100% evil by accident.

 

 

B is for Being Unstoppable

BEING UNSTOPPABLE!  This is Day Two of the A-Z Blog Challenge, and Being Unstoppable is something every writer needs. There are ups and downs in this business, most of them emotional. I never thought being a writer would require so much inner strength. Weathering the ups and downs, sometimes the miscommunications that can occur when you are dealing with people through the internet and not in person, wanting to do everything “right” when there is no “right” way to do things, except,

Just doing them!

The key for me is not letting things that could, snag me. I could dwell or worry about all sorts of things. I like this quote from Mark Twain” “I worried about a lot of things in my lifetime, and some of them actually happened.”

Being easy to start and hard to stop is what I go for. Some of my regular readers will remember this example, because I think about it every day. When you are getting the locomotive going (and that can be your writing career, your new venture, any new huge project) at first you step on that pedal, and no matter how hard you step on it, that locomotive is only going to start up at one speed, and it's slow. You're bouncing around on that pedal, and no matter how hard you push, the train will only start up so fast. Then momentum builds. At that point, when you're gliding down the rails, you can take your foot off the pedal and for a long time, that train will keep moving regardless of the lack of effort on your part. And yes, eventually, it will slow and stop again.

The hard work starts at the front end. Everyone knows this. I'm going to momentum, a long-lasting career that will build on itself. One day at a time, one story, book at a time, one communication or fan at a time. Maybe it won't always be this hard or require so much of my energy. But either way, I'm going to be hard to stop.

To visit the other sites on the A-Z Blog Hop, be sure to click on the A-Z button at the bottom of this page and choose one of the other 2000 blogs to read. Thanks for showing up today! Have a beautiful, unstoppable Thursday.

15

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: THE COMPANY WE KEEP (AGAIN)!!

I stumbled upon a video I loved this week and just thought I'd share it again. Just coming off an intense race to the finish line, doing my layers of editing all while traveling out of state and beginning research on my 10th SEAL book, I think the wanderlust hit me. I started thinking about other things I could be doing with my time, like a perfectly normal adult with ADD. I've accepted this will always be a problem for me. But I also think it makes me the type of person who loves adventure and the dreams of running away from it all.

Just to be clear, my life is great, and this is no reflection on that. I'm grateful for everything I've been blessed with. But there comes a time when I do feel like doing something completely different. My friend Jody and I attended the quilting retreat at Bishop's Ranch in Healdsburg earlier in March. I went to Tucson and Phoenix, even drove to Scottsdale to attend the Tucson Festival of Books, research at the UofA library, and enjoyed fellowship with other authors, some new friends and some I'd met last year at the event. Today, I attended the Sonoma County Library Local Authors Showcase and Symposium, connecting with poets, thriller writers, historical fiction authors, memoirists and grammar divas. People had such a varied background from former newspaper reporters to teachers, cops, misfits and wine critics. I learned from all of these wonderful experiences and heard voices I loved in genres I don't usually read.  

My schedule is very full this year, too. And I'm planning on launching another 4 books as well as attending 6 more conferences before December. So it's not surprising that I dream of just getting off the grid, unplugging everything but my laptop, and just going on a road trip, or maybe a cabin in Antigua looking for that cheeseburger in paradise again. I'm not running away, I'm running to something unexpected, something that makes me laugh and dream and maybe not do too much talking. Maybe lots of reading.

So when I saw the group Sisters On The Fly, I was enchanted. I was ready for a Calgon moment that might last 10 years. “No men, no kids, no pets and be nice.” What a wonderful dream that would be. Would I miss the men in my life? You bet. But there is something so uncomplicated in the company of women, when they want to be, that is, when they just sit and twitter like blackbirds on a telephone wire, shoot the breeze and laugh a lot.

I joined this group. I probably won't have a trailer until next year some time, and between trips, I can use it as a writing cottage. It would have everything I need: bed, internet connection, a decent shower, a microwave and an umbrella or two. I could pull it with my convertible Murano, stop and write when others are fly fishing. I might even learn how to do that myself. Bring my guns and my laptop and I'm all set!

I mean, what better place to cook up stories than taking a long road trip. I might find myself and never come back!

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Polishing The Book

Polishing a book for some is harder than writing it the first time. I write fairly fast, and when I was first starting out, I sent an email to Diana Gabaldon, asking her about her writing process. She was gracious to answer me. Aside from her writing into the wee hours of the morning, beginning after her family had gone to bed (I relate now but at the time it gave me a heart attack), her greatest tip to me was in the polishing.

“That's where the real jewels, richness and texture of the book happens,” she said. Because I don't read very fast, editing can sometimes be a challenge. It's taken me a long time to accept that my reading skill level is a disability. I can write like the wind, but editing? Hard to do. I've struggled with reading my whole life. It affected my career, what courses I could take in college. I understand what others feel who are handicapped in some way, because I am too. I am floored when readers say they read 1000 books a year. I'd be lucky to read 1000 books in my lifetime.

I get easily distracted by anything. My chickens used to distract me. My garden. The dogs. I usually have to write to instrumental music, and only certain kinds of music work. I like candles. I dress in loose clothing and put my hair up. I have my computer glasses that don't give me a headache. I wash my hands a lot and wear scented hand cream. I wear socks. I drink lots of water and coffee. I have to work at my focus as if I was adding a table of 7 figure numbers. That's how hard it is for me sometimes. 

Today I was challenged by the guy who came to work on our brick edging on the patio. He had one of those industrial grinders working from about 8:30 on. Around 11:00 I was seeing double. So I packed up my computer and worked down at the office for a few hours.

I rewrote a couple of love scenes and that helped. When I stay connected to the passion of the story, the heart of the love story, which is always about the couple, and usually about the relationship as well as the sex that describes their relationship, I can use that energy to finish and work on the rest of the book. In fact, in some of my books, I write the heaviest love scene first, to see how the couple develops organically on paper. I love to feel them evolve through my writing.

There is no rushing of this process, just like Diana Gabaldon told me years ago. I'm patient. It takes as long as it takes. I never give up or abandon a project. But I like to think that the harder ones to finish are also my better books.

We think the creative process should just “flow” and writers “get their muse” on. Nope. Sorry to say, it's just hard work, with a lot of discipline and focus. I guess I would call it Intentional Creativity.

 

 

12

Getting Out There to Get Noticed

Part of what we do as writers is to go to places we do not live, to reach readers and get our name out there. We also rub shoulders with our peers and learn tricks and techniques that make us all better.
So I’m sitting on a nice Arizona night, alone on the patio, with a good bottle of Coppola Claret (yes, a whole bottle because I’m writing tonight and not driving), listening to the tinkling chatter of the other diners, the piano player in the background playing Misty. This is one place the spirit of Clint Eastwood hovers over. I can feel it, just like I can feel the spirit of John F. Kennedy, who once stayed here and left his swimming trunks behind. Wonder what he did when he went on his midnight swim. Oh, just thinking about the stories this hotel could tell!
FDR stayed here. Clark Gable, Teddy Roosevelt and a couple of his buddies went deer hunting in the mountains nearby. I’m not a historical writer, but I’m drawn to places where others have played, been discrete, or in some cases, scandalous. The passion of life, right? Just the thought of this drives my muse crazy as if I was waiting for my lover to walk up and join me. I can imagine all sorts of behavior in living color. Do I want reality or fantasy? I guess I live in both worlds.

Tucson Festival of Books usually has over 150,000 people and over 1500 booths. I think this year it was less, just judging from the traffic. However, I enjoyed engaging in small talk, hawking my books and being gracious when people walk by, look at my covers and snicker to themselves or to their friends. Young Arizona male students find my covers the most fascinating. One even asked me if being a cover model might pay for his college education. I said no.

There is a gentle breeze brushing against my cheeks. The patio is surrounded in blooming orange trees, which waft in my direction. My waiter is tall and handsome, which helps. I am getting myself steeped in the research mode. Tomorrow to Phoenix where I have some appointments to meet some people who can help me with the Dine research I’m doing while here. I was told a story yesterday about the school basement with the “screaming voices” from their death march and internment. Symbols of the tribal culture and some of their myths. I’m stopping by the University of Arizona library on the way, though. And then there’s laundry to do. Ah, the sacred and the profane!

The waiter has just served me the roasted Brussels sprouts and panicotta. The tangy vegetables make me feel positively divine. The wine is warming me. The song now is Moon River. I feel Rod McKuen sitting across the table from me. He’s writing, just like I am. And then he looks up, and we smile.

I guess I have the wanderlust gene in me. I don’t mind being alone, because my heroes are all around me, speaking to me, whispering their stories, nudging me in ways I love. I look like one single lonely woman, but I travel with an entourage that would make Madonna blush. How wonderful to be a writer and to be able to have my job follow me wherever I go. I can feel worshiped and revered though there is no one here to say those words.

Tomorrow is another day in my patchwork life. I stitch the chapters together and weave a story of my heart, share it. Most important part is the sharing. That’s where the love is. Always.

4

RED FRIDAY READ

RED FRIDAY MEANS A FREE READ!!

To celebrate Red Friday, here's a tease for you guys who follow the blog.  This hasn't had the final finishes, but you get the general idea..  Enjoy! Tell all your friends!

(Excerpt SEAL My Home):

As she opened the front door to her little bungalow, feeling the closeness of this man, observing how her body reacted to the smell of him and the heat he emitted, she knew she was crossing a threshold that was ill planned and not carefully thought out. If he said one nice thing to her, one thing that smacked of a line or a practiced salesman’s pitch, she’d ask him to leave. Oddly enough, she didn’t want anything but the sex. The promises and words were what were damaging. The sex, she thought would be good for her.

What’s up with that?

            Her nerves were frazzled. She dropped her keys and kept her back to the stranger who was now standing in her darkened living room, who now deftly descended upon her like those dark vamps she liked to read about. She felt the vibration in the room when he breathed. Her ears buzzed. Her chest heaved as he touched her neck with the back of his fingers. She held her breath, waiting.

“You’re nervous,” he whispered.

It made her eyes water. She nodded. It was a little reveal, like peeling back one thin layer of an onion. One step closer to intimacy to let him know how she felt.

“I won’t hurt you,” he said.

It did cheer her slightly as she realized he was waiting for her to react, give him a sign she was willing.

Am I? Is this the right time and place?

            But was there ever any perfect time or place? She knew she’d have to some day get over the fear her heartache would eclipse her future and make it difficult to feel anything for any man again.

“Come here, Megan,” he said, even though she could feel his hard body pressed against her backside. Again, he waited. Damned he was slow. From what her girlfriend had said, these guys liked to get it on and get it on a lot. And they liked rough sex, or at least her friend’s husband did. Was it wrong that Megan was hoping for something other than ropes and handcuffs? Something soft and slow to build? Her insides had the potential to warm, but that still left them stone cold.

“Please?” he continued.

Relentless. Confident. He’ll never give up, will he? At least not until he gets what he came for.

Against the alarms screaming out of control in her head, she turned and focused on his lips. He inhaled and carefully removed her dark-rimmed glasses, setting them down on the table by her keys. He removed the clip holding her hair and let it fall, running his fingers through it. She felt his muscled arm drawing her in, the musky scent of his chest, the roughness of the stubble he’d not shaved off today. Deep inside his chest came the sound of a wounded animal just before he said her name.

“Megan.”

View SEAL My Home Book Trailer here.

10

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Goodbye to Rod McKuen

I totally missed the passing of Rod McKuen this January. Just like so many things in life, we miss important events when we're rushing off to do all the stuff we do, those endless activities we do to stay busy, become successful. I literally forgot to stop and smell the roses and missed this milestone.

A roommate of mine in college turned me on to Rod McKuen, in the height of his popularity. A poet who dared to say things about love and loving, he moved my heart in ways I knew were important, and would be more important later on. Filled with those flower-filled days of first new loves, I look back on that time with fondness, somewhat immune to the many heartaches that are now faded memories. The passion for love and the love of life lingers in all its living color, happily, even though the pain of loss, but more the loss of what could have been, has softened. 

I always wanted to meet Rod McKuen, who was born in Oakland, California, abandoned by his father at birth and ran away from home when he was 11. He would go on to write for Sinatra, and was recorded by Johnny Cash, Madonna, Barbara Streisand and many others. He sold out Carnegie Hall, and used to do a birthday concert there every year (I always thought it was fate that he and I almost share the same birthday). Who can forget his lovely song Jean from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie? He wrote about places the Bay Area used to be. Stanyan Street is one of my favorite poems here:

 

 

http://youtu.be/233rTu8wdhg

Some other great quotes from McKuen:

“This is the way it was while I was waiting for your eyes to find me.”

“I have fallen in love with the world
And I am aware that I have chosen
the most dangerous lover of them all.”

“No map to help us find the tranquil flat lands, clearings calm, fields without mean fences. Rolling down the other side of life our compass is the sureness of ourselves. Time may make us rugged, ragged round the edges, but know and understand that love is still the safest place to land.”

Thank you, my love, a lover I never met, kissed or held hands with. Thank you for sharing the insides of your soul, for awakening in me that true passion for life. I vow that, no matter how busy I get, that I won't forget to remember, and to listen to the warm, or forget the sea.

 

8

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: IT'S WHO WE ARE

I've been listening to some wonderful music by Jo Blankenburg, who has become one of my favorites. I have about 45 days worth of this kind of music stored on my computer, and yes, I know that's not wise. But I hear something I love, and then I get into a writing groove (I'll tell you some days it's way better than sex and trust me, I like that a lot too) and play the darned thing over and over again. Why? Because I love to be inspired. I think that's why I love to write.

I probably cruised through my early married life with rose colored glasses and missed so much along the way, but I'm defending my imagination and all the worlds I lived in while I was spending the 2 1/2 hours every day in my white Suburban, shuttling the kids from karate, to swimming lessons, acting classes, gymnastics, volleyball and soccer practice, listening to the music that would make my kids groan. Yes I've been an overbearing mother and they did it my way. Of course, now that they are older, I get some grief about it. None of them can listen to New Age music without losing their dinner. 

Where did I go when I was doing that? I went to other worlds. Fell in love with beautiful men and handsome warriors. I became the faery princess and the Queen of everything. I lived in worlds where love was supreme and feeling great about being alive was all that was necessary. That's where I was. For years I was there.

My kids? They were in the back of the Suburban. Okay, so I ruined it for them. My license plate was SNOWEYT, because I usually packed around seven or more dwarfs everywhere I went. I even took all four kids to listing appointments, lined them up on the couch and told them to behave while I told the sellers I had about 30 minutes before the wheels came off my little family and boy did we get down to business fast. I became the number one Realtor in my office, then my company, then the whole county while I was traveling to those distant lands and meeting those strange beautiful beings.

I guess you would categorize me as an adrenalin junkie. I want the best part of life. I like the chocolate centers of the chocolate candies at Sees, the soft part in the middle of a cinnamon roll, the “point” of the slice of pizza, the first sip of a cold beer, the part of a song that is so incredibly sweet you will put up with the whole rest of it just to hear those two stanzas again. I used to read to the sexy parts in books, and then read them again with heightened anticipation because I knew they were coming. When I'm writing I write until I get tired, go back to bed and wake up 2 hours later and get like three or four new mornings out of one day. When I listen to educational tapes I play them on triple speed so you can do 45 hours of continuing education in less than 5 hours (btw it only takes about 5 minutes to get used to Mickey Mouse speaking to you). I hate reading manuals and love having someone tell me a really good story. I believe in people and I never give up. I get discouraged, but I never give up.

I once heard a motivational speech by a lady who put it well. She said she wanted the “juice of life”, that sweet part of the orange that is so rare. And to get it, you have to squeeze it. You have to grab it.

 

Sharon Hamilton

Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
Author Page ** Sharon's Blog ** Sharon's Website ** Facebook**Twitter
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13

RED FRIDAY READ

Since it's Red Friday, I thought I'd take an excerpt from one of my SEAL Brotherhood Series books. This one is from the upcoming book SEAL My Home, which releases 3/31/15 but is on preorder now. Just like in SEAL'S Promise, a terrorist cell figures prominently in the story. Here's an excerpt that won't reveal a spoiler. 

Here's the blurb:

Bad boy Rory Kennedy was raised in foster care, bouncing in and out of trouble along the way. He finds his true family and real brothers as a Navy SEAL, one of the Navy’s elite warriors. When his BUD/S instructor barked the SEAL’s Motto: Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, he knew he had found home.

Megan Palmer works in a bookstore and finds her passion in life through reading steamy romance novels. Her brief affair with a man she later found out was married has left her damaged, until she meets the handsome SEAL, who stands ready to open her world and give her things she’s only dreamed.

On a skiing trip, Rory suffers a possible career-ending injury and also comes face to face with a past he never knew of, and a family who had abandoned him. His relationship with Megan is tested to the breaking point as Rory wades through the dark waters of recovery and whether or not he can live without the life he loves. A home-grown terrorist cell forces his hand and he discovers his true purpose.

EXCERPT:

“Detectives, I’ve spent less than ten minutes total talking to him. I barely know him. He told me he was a hedge fund trader. I got that he was successful, I mean, he arranged his private transportation to the hospital in Los Angeles from Big Bear. He had this guy Derek helping him, and he was on the phone and computer. That’s pretty much it. That’s all I know about him, other than the fact that he’d tried to find me when I was little, and failed.”

“And you’ve had no contact since L.A. No phone calls or internet with his office, with this Derek guy?”

“Absolutely no. I haven’t checked my emails in a few days, but last time I did, nothing.”

“Would you check it right now, please?” one of the detectives asked.

Rory got up slowly, positioning his cane for steadiness. Kyle stopped him.

“Let me. Where is it?”

“Next to the bed.”

           Rory walked slowly with his cane as a guide, leaned slighty into a stool, setting the computer on his eating bar, the two detectives looking over his shoulder. Scrolling through his gmail account inbox he did find something he’d never seen before.

            It was a single line item with a subject line: Raymond Corrigan, from Raymond Corrigan’s computer. Underneath there was a single picture which flashed slowly on the screen line by line. It was a picture of his father, bound and gagged, barefoot, sitting on a chair on a concrete floor of some dark warehouse. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit. On his lap was a copy of the New York Times dated today. His eyes were swollen shut with dark bruises. Underneath the picture were the chilling words:

            Proof of Life.

Do I have your attention? I hope so. Hope you join me in this journey for SEAL My Home next month, and then SEAL's Code in June.

 

 

Sharon Hamilton

Life is one fool thing after another.

Love is two fool things after each other.

Author Page ** Sharon's Blog ** Sharon's Website ** Facebook**Twitter

Sharon’s Newsletter