I've walked past this little store for what I thought was a year. Turns out it's been open for three. Who would have thought this little hat store would thrive in the heart of Wine Country where we have foodies and wine enthusiasts from all over the world descend. But apparently it does. What makes it special is that they custom make their hats. Except or the special ones for the Kentucky Derby, they specialize in making men's hats. I didn't even know there was an industry for this, but I'm not a guy.
Every Easter, my mother would wear the widest brimmed hat she could find. She'd wear it straight on her face, bisecting her large square forehead and covering up her widow's peak someone from one of her father's churches said was the sign of the devil. I always thought she looked like Saturn with its rings. I wasn't into hats or gloves, another thing we wore on Easter and when we went to New York City, where every other person would yell “tourist” as we walked down the street. Made absolutely no difference to my mother, no matter how mortified my little brother and I were. It was a Miss Jean Brody kind of moment, “Come along,” and of course we would. I mean, how would we get back to California?
Later I would love the big floppy hats wit huge flowers all over it in my hippie youth, wearing them with granny dresses, platform shoes with real hardwood heels that really hurt when you turned your ankle, peace symbols and the biggest hoop earrings we could manage that wouldn't drag on our shoulders. Wearing a hat was a statement, just like the statement my mother made in church. With that straight brim and her strong brown eyes that could see right through a person, she might as well have worn a holster and a Colt .45. She was aiming for souls. I was so glad to be invisible and only in grammar school, where acting up was still a little on the cute side. I didn't have the taste for conquest. That wouldn't happen until later and then, well, that's another story.
This hat store was enchanting. Hats are very personal things. I became a different character with each little hit I tried on. A small green pointy hat screamed for a clown face and big red nose. The black clutch hats with a veil made me feel like the merry black widow plotting murder and mayhem. And then I came upon the mushroom hats.
Made in the mountains of Transylvania! How perfect for a pre-Halloween post. These hats are actually made from a special mushroom only grown there, and being harvested right now. I'm not sure if this was the birth of the phrase, “I'll eat my hat,” but in California you never eat mushrooms without a spirit guide, not to mention an Emergency Room close at hand. They are odd little buttons, but very velvety and look more like imitation mushroom instead of the real thing. But they are the real thing. They even smell like real mushrooms.
I rather liked this one in the end. It wasn't hippie, but had an ancient ancestor there. It was already folded and scrunched, which is more my style than the straight brimmed hat that had to live in a hat box three feet in diameter on a top shelf forever. I can't do the little feather and things the Queen Mum used to wear, but this one seemed to suit me.
So, hat's off to a great little store. As I wear two hats and launch into my 8th SEAL Brotherhood Series book, SEAL's Promise, I'm also promoting my paranormal series The Golden Vampires of Tuscany and The Guardians. Who says you can't wear two hats? I'm rather proud to say I can.
NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Best Selling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance. A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.
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Originally published: February 10, 2013
Now in audio format!
Golden Vampire Paolo Monteleone begins raising a son he did not know he fathered, after the murder of the boy's mother. He meets a beautiful human college professor, Carabella Sampson, at a Halloween costume ball. She is an expert on vampire lore, but doesn’t quite believe in their existence. Paolo dresses up as himself: a vampire.
A dark coven leader has targeted her for elimination, before she can reveal secrets of the Golden Vampire lineage she's obtained from an ancient book. Can there be a happily ever after if either his lover or his young son has to pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect the Golden Vampire race? And how in the world will Paolo be able to choose which one to save?
I have been this. In fact, I don't think I have ever spent much time being alone ever since I discovered the opposite sex. I mean, why? Things are so much better.
I'm thinking of all the lines about Love and Sex I've used over the years. Here are a couple of them that stand out to me:
1. “I was looking for Mr. Perfect and forgot to look for Mr. Right.” SEAL The Deal
2. “I am still willing to be your meal.” Honeymoon Bite
3. “He had the brass band, the pom poms and the cheerleaders all working for him now.” SEAL My Destiny
4. “Sometimes things that are oh so good for you are also bad for you.” Fallen SEAL Legacy
5. “Too small,” he whispered. When she turned to look, his eyes focused on her lips. Her knees were shaking. She melted when she heard him murmur, “But it will have to do.” Accidental SEAL
6. “Life is full of complications.” Heavenly Lover
7. “I like entangled. I like rich and deep and I like to be sorely missed when I'm gone.” SEAL My Destiny
8. “I'm entranced by your scent. Do you taste as good?” Mortal Bite
9. “Because,” he grabbed her hand and pulled it to his mouth, kissing her knuckles, “she won't be afraid to tell me what I need to do to please her, with or without the pajamas.” SEAL Under Covers
And to wrap up, here is an excerpt from one of my favorite books that gets little love. So, today, won't you love a tiny bit of it? It is the meeting between Josh and Melanie and sets off the uncontrollable craving of the Dark Angel for the human woman who runs a flower shop.
It involves the crushing of some beautiful red roses. How perfect for Valentine's Day. Enjoy:
Excerpt from Underworld Lover:
He wanted to keep her from being captured.
I remember attending my first RWA Convention in New York several years ago. I sat in on a JR Ward panel discussion about writing Alpha heroes. Her comment was something like this:
Finally we get all dressed up and attend that wonderful Halloween Ball. That night at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, I truly did step right into the pages of my story. We entered the room under a canopy of twinkle lights as if we were entering the realm of a faerie castle. I found the anonymous nature of not knowing anyone there except my husband very sexy and alluring. Everyone was painted, masked, padded or wigged up. The mobile DJ was the devil himself!
I can't remember eating, or sitting down, but at some point we did retire to a dark little corner of the bar. We sipped port. And that's when the story began to take shape….
(Excerpt from Mortal Bite)
port. He preferred to have the enticing sweetness of
port on his breath, should he meet a lady he wanted to speak with. His fangs
craved the flesh of a mortal woman tonight.
Who doesn't love a good Halloween haunting story? Like dusty old vamps that come back to life at night, I've neglected my paranormal series and have chosen Sable Hunter's blog hop to kick it off. So help me show it some love.
Two years ago, my husband and I attended the Afterlife party in San Francisco, at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. I went as an angel, and my husband a vampire. We had a ball. There were little green faeries, pods of Smurfs, vamps, sexy witches, ghosts and costumes of famous people. Music was rockin.
I used that party (and of course embellished it) to use in a chapter for Mortal Bite, Book 2 in the Golden Vampires of Tuscany series. My hero, Paolo Monteleone, is a real life Golden Vampire. He dresses as himself for this party, and there, meets a beautiful young college professor who studies vampire literature and lore.
Here is a very brief excerpt from Mortal Bite where the hero is readying himself for that great Halloween costume party where his life will change forever:
Come back to visit tomorrow, and you'll get to read some of the hero/heroine's first ghoulish words to each other. Spoken over a thick glass of port.
Today and tomorrow, we're going to have a giveaway, a $50 Amazon gift card for each day. In order to win, you must leave a comment here. Answer this question: What do you love the most about reading vampires? If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, you will get a special Blood Never Lies necklace as pictured above. One $50 winner will be announced on this blog site at midnight tonight! But, even if you don't win the Amazon gift card, you can still win one of these blood dog tags just for leaving a comment here today. Enjoy, and thanks for showing up today.
Don't forget to find the schedule of all the other blogs participating in this huge event by clicking on the Halloween Blog Hop button at the upper right of this page. Tell everyone about what you've read and commented here. The Main Event is October 26th at 5 PM on Facebook. Details on the button above.
Kay Dee Royal: Sharon Hamilton ~ Goddess of penning Navy SEAL romance ~ Interview -n- Giveaway
Welcome to my twisted version of Lucky in Love for the famous blog hop of the same name. Since I'm promoting my newest book, Mortal Bite, I'm talking about 300 year old Golden Vamps getting lucky. So here is the list of the top 10 worst things he could say.
Between today and the 18th at midnight, you must leave me a comment with your email address, telling me which one is your favorite (or give me one of your own). I will pick 10 winners to get a free book of your choice: Book 1, Honeymoon Bite or Book 2 Mortal Bite. One lucky winner will win a poster signed by Jimmy Thomas himself! Although the grand swag prize is not international, I will send the poster ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! Yes, I love my international fans! I sent a poster to Latvia last blog hop.
Here's my top 10 list of what a Golden Vamp should never say if he wants to get lucky:
And the #1 thing he DEFINITELY should never say:
Don't forget to leave your email address if you want to be entered in the drawing.
Go to the other sites for more chances to win prizes and a chance at the grand prize by clicking here. Good Luck!!
On my friend, Ally Thomas' blog today.
Promoting Mortal Bite today.
Come join the fun.