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
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?
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!
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
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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.
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.
I have a special connection to the Navy SEALs, and editing my first SEAL romance, writing the second in the series I call SEAL of Honor. We were just in San Diego this past weekend, and I never hesitate to watch the boat crews work on the beach, as a new class is molded, melded and forged in steel. As I have said earlier, many men try out to become a SEAL just to find out where their limits are. You never know until you try.
D is for DOR. It means Drop On Request. There is no shame in trying out for the teams. There is also no shame if a man finds he can't complete the training. Many of them get injured, some seriously, and have to roll back to another class after they are healthy. And some, find out where their limits are.
The reality of that is also just that: reality. Doesn't make you a better or lesser person. It is in the trying that all the courage and mental metal is produced. Many, though disappointed, will say that it was the one thing in their lives they truly were glad they did. Imagine that in this world of instant gratification (a funny spin on the word gratitude, don't you think?). Going through all the grueling training, and failing, but being glad they did.
I interviewed one graduate, who was barely out of high school. He said he felt lucky to have found the SEAL teams at such a young age. He was glad that he didn't have to wait until he was 30, or 40 or beyond in years before he could find out what he loved to do, who he was. Lucky. He felt lucky to go through the harsh training.
There are many great books about the teams. Dick Crouch wrote a compelling book, The Warrior Elite, about one particular class, and in that graduating class, several of the men from Blackhawk Down prepared their way, even though some would not survive. Lone Survivor is the story of one of those boys, Marcus Luttrell.
I'm grateful for many things, especially the men and women who put themselves in harm's way so we can go to the store, to school, to church, so we can spend a leisurely day shopping or just having coffee with friends. Because of the sacrifice of a few we have today and tomorrow as gifts.
I'm also grateful that we get to try, and that we fail, and we get up again and try again. Remember, it isn't in the falling down, or failing that all the miracles come. It is what you do with yourself, how you pick yourself up afterwards that counts. We live to fight another battle another day. One day at a time.
Whoo Hoo Navy SEALs!
Gotta love a guy in and out of a uniform, but especially SEALs out of uniform!
I'm blogging today over at Ravencraft Romance Realm about the new movie out today, Act of Valor. Get some background information on this fantastic film that is highly regarded by the SEAL community.
I found this inspiring inscription at the Superior Court building in San Francisco. I was taking a tour, with a number of my writing friends. Employees there had created a wall to honor and thank the Vets who served in WWII.
I loved Galaxy Quest. The law of unintended consequences made this a funny twist on real vs. simulation. The “simulators” became real, actually accomplished in reality what they were acting in the show.
Spent all day today driving from San Diego to Santa Rosa. My husband and I finished a book on tape called Vanished, and it was wonderful. A real thriller. Highly recommend the unabridged version. I suddenly feel in awe of this author, doubting myself again. This happens sometimes when I read too much while I'm trying to create. But I wanted to hear the pacing of the tension, the way he chose his chapter hooks (and he did it very well), the complicated plot that was just difficult enough to make it unpredictable, but not too confusing. It was riveting. Testament to that was the number of wrong turns we took. We ignored the very polite woman on the GPS and found ourselves listening to her say, “recalculating” several times. Now, that's a good book, right?
I got the opportunity to visit Coronado Island and watch as SEAL class 288 was doing their boat crew exercises. Watching them learn to maneuver as a team, hauling those heavy boats up and over the rocks over and over again, I felt exhausted. At the end of their training, the ones that are left, would be a well-oiled machine, operating as one unit. But yesterday, it was obvious to all of us onlookers they were clearly not there yet.
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