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7

Father’s Day Greeting and News!

I've said it before many times, it doesn't take much to father a child, but to be a father, that has nothing to do with Biology, and everything to do with Heart. I have had the honor of knowing several fathers who loved and cared for those who were not his own offspring, yet you'd never know the difference. That's a special man, who can love a child, bring them into his life, and make them his own by actions of his heart, not with the other body part!

My own father has passed now several years, yet I remember all the things we did for him those 9 decades I got to honor and love him. He thoroughly embraced being a father. It was his job. He was a great husband to my mother, and, when she passed some 14 years ago or so, he was left with both my brother and I as his children, but half of his “job” had been taken away by my mother's passing.

So the biggest lesson I learned from him was that love knows no bounds. His job of being a partner and husband was not over, though his wife had left this earth. So, at 80, he re-married. And we were grateful because we got to have him around for another 10 years. He showed us that falling in love can happen at any age. Through the great power of love, he was a complete man.

Good men understand this concept in spades. Like everything in life, there are good ones and bad ones, and I was fortunate to live with and love a good one. It was never hard to love him. He made it easy. He spoke his mind, was honest with the things he should have been honest with, stubborn at times, but mostly wide open with his acceptance and love.

They say that a little girl's first love is for her father, and that was certainly the case with him. My husband of 47 years fulfills that role now for our two girls. I miss the days when the hand-painted ceramic plaques came from Kindergarten or preschool, the carefully crafted cards with glitter that always went outside the lines–the cut-out shapes and scribbled messages my kids made on their Father's Day cards, just like the ones I used to make. My son and son-in-law now get those, and I'm delighted they get to revel in the joy and miracle of the lives they've brought into this world.

We should make it a bigger thing, this Father's Day event. Somehow, it gets eclipsed by graduations, upcoming 4th of July and prior Mother's Day. My son-in-law is getting to play golf this morning and is having a massage this afternoon. My husband gets the gift of his daughters helping him finish packing and staging his office, and his bedroom. It's been a non-stop process, and we're both hobbling around the house like a couple of cripples. But thanks to their help, the work will be done, and the house will officially go on the market this week.

So, this won't be a day of rest for my husband. But it will be a day when our kids will give something back. We

have the celebration too of my oldest son's promotion and move cross country to Vermont. We celebrate the wonderful father my other son is back east. We celebrate the help to us and joy our son-in-law brings to our daughter and their two children.

It's a picture, a postcard in time, about a family in transition, moving on to the next stages of our lives. We walk that path together, in love.

What are you doing special for that special Dad in your life?

NEWS!

As most of you know, Kindle Worlds is ending. That means that two novellas I wrote for Bella Andre's Game For Love and Marina Adair's St. Helena Vineyards worlds will now be able to be expanded, and released anew. That means you'll be getting announcements on the two new books: SEAL's Goal and… 

Love Me Tender, Love You Hard coming in July and August. Once the packing and staging are done, you'll see that preorder notice go out. Stay tuned!

And here's a little fact for you. I wrote SEAL's Goal, about an American goalkeeper on an English Premiere League team, who wears a green jersey (goalkeepers always wear odd colors so they aren't mistaken for regular team players). A reader pointed out to me that Steve McQueen's grandson, Trace, plays professional soccer in the U.K., and wears a green jersey. How did I know? I guess it was written in the stars.

Enjoy these covers and the new books coming next month and August. Tons of other news coming your way as well.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

19

Letter From A Mother to her SEAL Son

(Written on the eve of his first deployment)

I wouldn't be able to mail this letter to you before you leave because when it just comes down to it, your mother is a big chicken.

We've been so proud of you, what you've accomplished and how hard you've had to work. Being 7 to graduate out of a class of 192 is awesome. We knew we'd get that call saying you made it through Hell Week. I didn't practice my speech, telling you there was no dishonor in DOR, because there certainly is is none, because I knew you'd make it.

My emotions go between being proud, and hoping for purely selfish reasons, you don't pay the price you are willing to pay. And I guess if you can make that decision, then I can decide to be strong. My life is safe and warm and comfortable because of men like you. A mother never raises her children, especially her sons, to defend her. I'd gladly die in any of your places, in a heartbeat, to spare you having to sacrifice yourself. The most I can do is honor you by living my life and not wasting it.

Your Dad and I have talked about this many times. You were born for something special. Not knowing it would turn out this way, you were named after a proud, loyal family ancestor, a general, from a lowland clan with integrity, loyalty and honor. You carry on the tradition of the best of all of us. You embody it. It makes it so touching to see in someone so very young in years.

I have conjured my angels to watch over you. You have some of the best and the bravest from our family up there protecting you. These were not only soldiers, but ministers, teachers, people with strong backbones who came to America to be able to live their lives in freedom. They didn't all forge their paths with guns, in fact most of them didn't. They did it with words and deeds.

I know you are strong in your faith. We saw you grow into it. I can't take any credit for this. You came to it as a natural part of who you became as you grew up. And, like I said before, being special has its unique burdens. You get to lead us all who are lesser in our faith, teach us about duty and honor.

Nothing is free. I love this country with all my heart and I know you do too. I hope it survives these challenges. I think it will. Just like what happens on Wall Street doesn't affect what you'll face in Afghanistan. That's how I'm going to take it too–like a faint tape running in the background with symbols I don't understand–our blood is not in that stream of letters. They are just letters and symbols. Our heart beats with real red blood. I don't want you to consecrate a speck of dust over there with one drop of yours. You bring it all back. All of it. I want to live to be an old woman and see you turn grey a bit, and I can't wait to tease you about it.

I will honor you and make this next 30-60 days until I see your smiling face again, my most productive ever. Go, by the Grace of God, minister to other mothers' boys. All of them are lucky to have you there having their backs. Save lives, but don't hesitate to take them if you have to. Be safe. Protect yourself and your buddies and the innocents caught in the Hell of War. I can't wait to put my arms around you and welcome you home.

I now do something I never thought I'd do growing up. I join the millions of women throughout the ages who have sent their sons off to war. It's an exclusive club. Even with all the fear and heartache this brings me, I am still proud of you, my son.

God speed.

(He did come home safely. He went off to war a boy and came back a man.)

8

Rich Like Chocolate, Strong Like Coffee, and then there’s Berzerker….

If you hadn't met me, you'd think I was seriously mixed up. Well, maybe I am. Here I like flowers and gardening, romance and all that goes with it. Expensive lingerie and kids and family and kisses. Going barefoot at the beach, and Happily Ever After.

But I also love my men to be men. Having a man's man around makes it easier to be a woman, I mean a real woman. That is different things to different people. But I find a man who respects women, who honors our country and protects me and my freedoms, is worthy of my undying love and loyalty. It is something bred into my DNA. I can't speak for all women, but this is what it is for me.

So when I read about this real hero, believe it or not, it makes me want to sit down and write romance. I can't explain it, but it brings out all the romance in my body and soul. I'm sure there is some biological chemical reaction to this, which is way beyond me, and not important for me to understand fully. It is what it is.

I'd like to share this interview with the folks at Black Rifle Coffee Company. I am a coffee club member, and I get these shipments regularly, and I have since stopped buying anything from those big box places. This company is owned and operated by Veterans, who help other veterans. And it's darned good coffee too. I love their attitude, their very non-PC approach to freedom, living a life full-out, and being men among men and the women who are lucky enough to love them. It's a family and kith not everyone can understand.

But I love them dearly.

So hope you'll read this newsletter, and perhaps subscribe yourself. And with your first cup of Joe, you let me know which blend is your favorite. I haven't tried Berzerker Blend, but I'll be ordering it today.

My favorite so far is Black Beard's Delight, with the flag logo of Edward Teach, the most notorious pirate of the Caribbean. I got the patch, the hat and the thermos to go along with it.

Enjoy and I hope I've expanded your world today.

Here's an excerpt from their blog and the link to read more:

Kyle Lamb is a man who has lived a life most can’t even dream of. He grew up in a small town in South Dakota, but by the age of 24 he had been selected into the most elite special operations unit in the military. He went on to serve in “The Unit” for the next fifteen years with deployments to Somalia, Bosnia, and Iraq on multiple occasions (among many others).
Since Kyle’s retirement from the Army, he has authored two books on topics ranging from marksmanship to leadership, and founded Viking Tactics, Inc. which specializes in tactical training and equipment. You may have even seen some of his articles in Guns & Ammo Magazine, or his face on the Outdoor Channel.
Black Rifle Coffee recently caught up with Kyle to talk about everything from combat in Mogadishu to his passion for history. Check it out:
You spent the vast majority of your career as a member of the military’s premiere special missions unit. There’s a lot of mystique that (rightfully) surrounds that world, but what is the one thing that would surprise most people about what it’s like to live that life?
Probably how normal those guys are. Not everyone there is like that, but there are a lot of really normal husbands and dads. They go to work in street clothes, then put on their commando costume and go do crazy stuff. Everyone expects those guys to look and act a certain way, but a lot of them aren’t like that at all. Their neighbors don’t even know what they do. It’s just a different world.
You can read more here.
Have a powerful day and enjoy your freedoms.
8

On Being Super Human

Long before I was a romance writer, I was fascinated with what made people do things. It's why I was a Psychology major in college. I loved reading about what made people do things. Originally, I thought I'd like to study lands and cultures – what made a whole country or group of people do things. The career choices were limited (or appeared limited) back then. My love of travel and foreign lands spurred me on to thinking being an International Affairs major would get me where I wanted to be.

But no, I took a detour into Sociology, and then wound up finally in Psychology, bringing it all back to the individual. I was looking outside myself for reasons, and found them inside myself instead.

Now that I write romance, the study of character and calling is more important than just about anything else. That's why I enjoy writing about the Brotherhood, specifically the SEAL Brotherhood. These are men who put aside their fears (have them, but set them on the back burner) to do the things others cannot or will not do. I'm not naive to think that that makes them perfect. It makes them the ones who do not quit.

Navy SEALs go through the grueling BUD/S training not to find the strongest and most well qualified, but to find the ones who will not quit. People who don't understand this don't understand SEALs. Men who have passed the SEAL training look on those who have washed out or DOR (Drop On Request) in a different light than others do, perhaps. They don't see them as failures. They see them as men who discovered where their limits were. The real SEAL training makes them a SEAL. The BUD/S portion of it is just to see who is qualified TO START the training.

Everyone wants to be rich. Everyone wants to be handsome and beautiful. Everyone wants to be successful, to be well liked. To raise a family that leave their mark. Everyone wants to be a good friend, someone to be counted on. Not everyone is willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

I listen to blogs and read about heroes every chance I get. One of the men I study I will not mention here, but he has given me so much wisdom about what it takes to be a true hero, a real man, a warrior of the first caliber. And although he speaks in terms of being a man, it also works for those who are not men, but those who wish to be a warrior at whatever they are passionate about. Writing? Love? Family? Being the best person I can be? Whatever the driving force inside of us, one thing is clear: it is the best part of all of us.

He defines Brotherhood in this way:  “Mutually held feelings of love, possessiveness, and respect that improves the current or future situation(s) of each member. True brotherhood is created by shared experience and defined by feelings. The experiences must be:  1) Difficult  2) Tied to ones survival.”

We live in an age and time when “getting along” is the norm. When getting pampered is mistaken for care. When right thinking or silence is preferable to conflict. We are taught to avoid battle in all it's forms: battle of wills, battle of negotiation, taking risks, being unrelenting and unstoppable. Being unbeatable becomes fiction in such a world. Striving to go beyond our own limits something of fiction and fantasy and not real.

I write about the heroes who transcend all this, who are not perfect men by any stretch of the imagination, but who are blessed with the singleness of purpose: to serve and protect at all costs.

And to never quit.

Wonder what kind of a world we would have if everyone felt the same way.

4

RELEASE WEEK! A New Bachelor is Released: Jake

On Tuesday, we release Book 3 in the Band of Bachelors series (part of the overall SEAL Brotherhood series). I've had a great time writing this hero.

I have a printable book list on this website, if you go back to the Home page. That will give you the reading order, and the series, as well as other books, box sets, and novellas.

So here's how I got the Band of Bachelors. I was going to do a SEAL for Cat Johnson's Kindle World. Cat is a good friend of mine, and a great writer. I got Lucas' story done in novella format, and then had to change plans. So this book became a full length novel, Book 1 in the Band of Bachelors.

All my books are part of the overall SEAL Brotherhood series. My publicist at the time told me that I shouldn't have long series. So I decided to break up the titles to focus on the unique group of SEALs in each group. In real life, there are different types of SEALs. Ones that stay in for twenty years, married and divorced SEALs, SEALs who get out after six years, ones who are single, ones who are happily married, ones who have to roll out due to injuries, and everything in between.

So my Bachelor SEALs then are those who have been married before, and either get married multiple times with kids all over the place (like my Jake), or go through messy divorces. The one thing they have in common is that they rely too heavily on their own form of Bachelor advice. They live like a bunch of bachelors, and haven't yet figured out what all the fuss is about housekeeping and decorating a home. In fact, they are enjoying the fact that they don't have to do that anymore.

But one by one, they fall. I love the concept.

In contrast, my Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3 are men who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, from often foster care or tragic family lives. Men who found their true calling by becoming a SEAL. Of course, one by one, they each find their Happily Ever After, and rise to become the warrior they were destined to be.

True Blue SEALs is going to be a series of injured warriors, starting with Book 1, Zak. This story was based in part on the story of Adam Brown, who lost an eye and then have to re-qualify to go back on the SEAL Teams. Very inspiring true story. I used the idea of what impact a freak injury can have on the life of a warrior. Zak of course opens the door to the winery life in Sonoma County. I wanted to be able to include that in the future for some of the guys who get out and go on with their lives.

Nashville SEALs was inspired in great part by my narrator, J.D. Hart, sort of as a romanticized version (although J.D. needs no enhancement) of his early life as a country-western star in Nashville. In getting to know him over the twenty plus audio books we have done together, his story came out, and I asked for and received permission to tell an exaggerated tale of it, tailored to my SEALs. He could have been a bad boy, but I don't see J.D.'s young single life as being bad at all. But that's just me. My hero is the same. He gives more than he takes, but he decides there's more to life than backstage hookups and short term relationships, and rises to the call.

And now I have the Trident Legacy, my first paranormal SEAL. Tay Demmett makes your acquaintance on 3/28/17 when Kathryn LeVeque and I release the duet Trident Legacy. I hope you will go buy that book as soon as you finish Jake.

What's next? It will be another SEAL story, in one of these series. It might be Bad Boy #4, Bachelor #4, Tay's full length story, another SEAL Brotherhood story in the original series, a continuation of Lizzie and Jameson's story, or a continuation of Fredo's Dream with Fredo and Mia.

In any event, I hope you use this as a reference to what has come before, and where I'm going. After all, it's been a fun journey and I couldn't do it without you, the readers, and my wonderful sister authors, who have taught me so much.

Thank you for a great year so far. I've only just begun!!

6

SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: SEAL STUFF!!

Yes. I'm all in for SEALs. I have some precious mementos, collected during my journey as romance writer. One of the most cherished items is my plank from the Navy SEAL/UDT Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida. I am a supporter of the museum, and have donated a portion of all my sales there for years, as well as raised money from quilts we've had made and auctioned off.

This last year we earned over $400 on our Operation Aloha Shirt Quilt project. I rounded it up and we sent $500 to the Museum. This quilt contains Aloha shirts sent to me by people from all over the US, lovingly stitched together by Sandie Greis, and quilted by the women of the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, the oldest of this group who is 90 years old.

When a SEAL detaches from his Team, he is given a plank, like the one in the picture. I was so surprised when I received this. If you ever want to learn about the history of the Teams, how they came to be and how they have developed, you'll love spending a day there. This museum is run by the SEAL community, friends and family of the community. No Federal funds are used for its support.

Another of my cherished possessions is a signed autograph by the man who eliminated OBL, Rob O'Neill, who says “SEALs are sexy!” It hangs just above my plank from the Museum. Thank you, Rob, and thank you Cherokee and J.D. Hart for helping me get this cherished gift.

I received a Challenge Coin from Anne Elizabeth's former Navy SEAL husband. Anne (who also writes Navy SEAL Romance) and I were in an anthology together a couple of years ago, along with a dozen other of my favorite military romance author friends. Anne awarded us all this Challenge Coin. It is a symbol of a mission, a job well done, and I have to say it was! Thank you, Anne.

I have my tattoo of the Hippy Bone Frog, as I call him. Made a little alteration to this picture, and sucked it up and had it done. I also have a frog print frog print tat on my right forearm for every SEAL book I've written. I'm going to have to start on the other arm now…lol.

I was honored to be given this helmet for safekeeping. It's now been returned to this SEAL's children, but it was on my desk for nearly six years while I wrote my first SEAL Brotherhood stories, and was a constant source of inspiration. These helmets are worn by BUD/S recruits on their way to becoming worthy of wearing the Trident. Whenever things get tough for me, I look at that picture and I remember, “Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.”  How true.

It's been my honor to write about Navy SEAL heroes for these past six years. I hope to be doing so until they have to yank my laptop from my lifeless body!!

Working on a Son of Poseidon SEAL duet with another author which you will hear about very shortly, and then comes Jake, my 3rd book in the Band of Bachelors. I can hardly wait for you to read them both!

21

My SEALs Have A Winery!

Greetings from Frog Haven Winery!

I'm Amy Chambers, your hostess for this Thanksgiving event. Zak and I are so happy you've decided to join us. We've set a table up outside on the porch, so we all have a place to sit together. Zak found some timbers he and Marco Zapparelli salvaged from the winery construction next door. These huge timbers used to hold up part of the tower that fell during the bombing at Zapparelli Winery, and is now being restored. Since they are nearly twenty feet long, we can serve all of our best friends!


Things here are much simpler than over at Marco's winery (and he says hi, by the way). The crush is fermenting and we've had a decent harvest. We've interviewed and are hiring our first real winemaker shortly. Up to now, we've had nothing but research going on and instead of a lab, we have our kitchen. We are getting ready to make our first batch of beer. Zak has been experimenting with fermentations, but without the hops we've grown. I've attached a picture of our harvest.

Marco has brought over his favorite Cabernet Franc blend. Nick and Devon and their little one are coming and they're bringing some of their wines that placed at the LA County Fair as well as the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Sophie's Choice winery has beautiful lavender tee shirts for everyone. Do you like the lavender logo she designed? She's promised to bring some samples of her lavender-infused soaps and salt scrubs, and should have a whole line of bath products available next year.

Next year, some of our first Frog Piss and Punish Yourself Beer will be available in the tasting room, and soon to be in your local store. So, here's the menu:

Main Course & Soup


Willie Bird Turkey (we have three: 1 brined and baked, one stuffed and baked and one deep fried).
Mashed potatoes from Nick and Devon's garden
Giblets Gravy (Amy's specialty)
Sweet potato mash with sugared sour cherries garnish
Zucchini torte with cranberry garnish
String Beans with bacon (Zak's mother's recipe)
Fresh Acorn Squash Soup
Stuffed red, yellow and orange bell peppers with wild rice and cheese
Amy's famous whole wheat biscuits
Grandma Chamber's cranberry sauce
Pineapple/kiwi/tangelo and apple fruit salad with nutmeg and Cointreau garnish
Romaine lettuce salad with Caesar dressing
Marco Zapparelli's homemade linguini pasta with Mama Zapparelli's famous 100-year old meat ball sauce

Dessert
Lime Meringue Pie
Marco Zappareli's tiramisu
Hand cranked Coconut ice cream
Raspberry and blueberry sorbet
Pumpkin Pie and whipped cream

Hope you come with a big appetite. And come to our table with a thankful heart. Each of us will tell our table what we are most thankful for this year.

Many blessings.


Share this blog post with someone else, or on your FB page, share the link in the comments, and one commenter will win all 4 labels (yes, these are real labels). They are suitable for putting on your own bottle of wine or beer!

Happy Thanksgiving!
15

NASHVILLE – MY HEART TOOK A DETOUR

Many of you know my narrator, J.D. Hart, has become my best friend. But there was a day when we first met in person. Now, this man has read my most intimate sex scenes, and lived the ups and downs of a writer who wants to become more and more successful. It's a bumpy road, and with already a lot of things on my plate, I decided to jump into the world of audio books. We started working together and I think after five or six books, I had the opportunity to come to Nashville for a conference, and meet him for the first time.

Talk about butterflies! 


I stayed at the old Union Station Hotel, right downtown. J.D. came to meet me that evening I arrived. I must have changed my clothes three times. All sorts of things went through my head, like, what if I just can't stand the guy? What if he can't stand me? How will this affect our working relationship going forward?
We met, and OMG, I was shaking like a leaf. We went on a carriage ride down Broadway, while he pointed out all the joints that were famous, listened to the music floating everywhere and had a wonderful crab dinner.

Next day he took me on a tour of places that were meaningful to him – these were all things I'd asked him to show me. We saw where he first lived when he came to town as a young songwriter, where he wrote music, where other famous stars had lived, or performed for the first time. I got to meet his lovely wife, Cherokee, and have dinner at the Grand Ole Opry We went to a Country Diner taping at Northstar Studios, where I personally met Roy Clark, Larry Gatlin and others.  


That was nearly two years ago and our friendship is stronger than ever. Our audio book production tops 24 now. He has become a character now in my books, because the books are seen through his eyes, as he tells the story according to his interpretation.

This talented actor, singer-songwriter, voice over artist and now narrator has done for me what no one else has ever done: take my stories and turn them into additional works of art.

As he told me about his many stories, I asked permission to write a story based on him as a character. So, Nashville SEAL, the novella came out last year as a Christmas present to my readers and you guys loved it. We then recorded the audio book and it was in high demand, still is. J.D. sings in this audio book some original works he performed years ago. Book 2, which is to be released tomorrow, is Nashville SEAL: Jameson. It is the ongoing story of this young CW star who marries Lizzie, and who goes on his first deployment with SEAL Team 3.

My SEALs are buying a vineyard and will be expanded into Wine Country as a theme in upcoming books. Since most SEALs don't stay in 20 years like perhaps other branches of the military, some of your favorites, like Nick, Zak, and others, will find their way to Sonoma County to get into the wine and beer business. Oh yes, they'll have Frog Piss beer, and it will be green.

More will follow in upcoming stories, but I hope you'll read along with me as we continue to tell the stories of young brave warriors who change, take different life choices, fine the women of their dreams, and still remain in a very tight community as they raise their children. I plan to have other authors write in this Wine Country world as well. More about that later!

Enjoy Nashville SEAL: Jameson!! You'll get to hear J.D. sing again…I promise you'll love it.

Join us on Monday for the big release party. We know how to party! Link here.

14

ROWING TO THE OLYMPICS AND OTHER PURSUITS

Ricky, Matt and their coach. What an honor.

I'm in San Francisco at an Indie UnCon, sharing ideas and brainstorming with other author friends. I ditched my writer's hat and went across town to the Mission District Vanguard Properties office, to attend a special talk given by Matt Brown, National Elite-Level Single Scull Champion, and six time American Record Holder on the Concept2, Yale Grad, Masters Degree in Science and Medicine of Athletic Performance from University of Oxford, and Olympic Contender.

I love meeting people like this, because it reminds me of what I enjoy writing about my Navy SEALs. I've always been a student and avid fan of winning, of pushing ourselves to peak performance in all things in life. Anyone who endeavors to become an elite athlete like Matt and his partner Ricky are, understands the mindset it takes to win. And I'm not talking winning that hurts others, but winning for the sheer joy of winning, for the juice of life and the passion of being alive. It's what drives being in love, living a truly artful and passionate life, as well as achieving all our physical, mental and financial goals. I could attend a talk like Matt's every day for the rest of my life and still want more. I hope I never stop seeking this information.

Here's what he said, in a nutshell:

Vanguard office has a conference room in an old bank vault. Why not?

1. You have to be coachable, desire to set goals and obsessed with achieving that goal. I counted nearly thirty times Matt used the word Passion in his talk. As a romance writer, I get what he's talking about. Sure, we like our books sexy in the bedroom, fearless when it comes to throwing all caution to the wind and going for that perfect love experience – I get that my job is to deliver that elixir to my readers. And getting there requires I be coachable, that I set goals in several arenas (my energy level, my financial goals, my word count goals and new release or projects goals). Living a passionate lifestyle is what I'm all about. I had the cheesy grin in the back row all the way through his talk. And we weren't talking sex or romance, but it's all the same mental and emotional energy.

2. Passion means to suffer. He used examples of a rowing champion who suffered from severe dyslexia, so severe he sometimes had difficulty signing autographs. He had Type I Diabetes, had a family to support and a string of near career-ending injuries. But he was one of the most decorated champions the sport has ever produced. He didn't walk in and have it handed to him. He carved it out of granite.

Having that desire to fail is what leads to mastery. One of my early Real Estate affirmations I used to shout into the phone with my realtor mentor daily was, “I love rejection. The more rejection I get the larger my bank account becomes.” Not a lot of people get this concept. It really has nothing about money and everything to do with seeking those things that will make us elite at whatever we do. The struggle, suffering that must occur is part of that track to Mastery. SEALs don't quit if they're going to become a SEAL. They practice with pain and suffering so they are ready for every eventuality they can think of. And even after that, mentally train for anything that might come up (and probably will) that they hadn't planned on.

Matt talked about it not being a dream to be an Olympian. It is his obsession. It isn't reasonable or realistic to want something so badly. Greatness transcends mediocraty.

3. Mastering the elite level is paved with tons of little achievements along the way, little daily victories, seeking failure, pushing ourselves to new extremes, never accepting that “reasonable” excuse not to have a life filled with passion and excellence. We used to train Realtors about repetitious boredom. Sticking to the path even when it's not as sexy or fun as we want it to be at the time. Learning to be uncomfortable. As my SEALs have been told, “getting comfortable with Dr. Death.” We get better by seeking to expose ourselves to our limits, and then learn to push beyond them. If we never came up to that limit and push just a little harder, we'd never achieve it.

4. Discouragement and self-doubt are part of the process. It affects some people more than others. I loved his example of how coach Wooden took his dream team at UCLA and began coaching his young elite athlete recruits by first showing them how to tie their shoes. Some of these guys were saying, “Hey coach, don't you know who I am?” Being great starts with the little things, victory over little mindset lapses and emotional quagmires. Seeking them out and getting comfortable with the flame. Being excited about the danger involved. And it starts with the simple things. Wooden was teaching his players not to make the mistakes with the fundamentals. Do seek to push yourself to make the mistakes when you are testing your limits, but never the fundamentals.

5. Compete. I loved his concept of working competitively against another teammate to become better yourself. And what would it take to tell that person what you see as a flaw so that they could get better, therefore becoming a harder competitor against you. But you get great in the process. I love this. My Cheerios this morning! Don't be afraid to go for the gold medal, not the participation certificate. Losing is healthy if you learn from it.

6. Get comfortable with stress. The right kind of stress diverts energy to your working muscles. Mouth dryness when you are under stress is your body's way of giving your muscles every ounce of energy they require to perform at an elite level. But worry, is a wasted energy. Pushing to failure is the good side of it. Worry is the destroyer of everything. I got a great character image of a SEAL I'm going to use in my next book, who will go on a date with someone he's terrified around. It will feel like he's just had a shot of espresso and attending a really nasty Horror film with the love of his life. LOL. I loved hearing this. Nothing is more terrifying than letting go, falling in love and allowing that to become life-changing. “Get those butterflies in your stomach and make them fly in formation,” was his quote.

7. Great competitors are great actors. (Yes, J.D., this is for you!!) To become master at anything you have to take how you really feel, and turn it into the way you need to feel to do the job. I used to say it all the time in real estate. We aren't salesmen. We are entertainers. Being someone who can do something even though they are feeling something else is a skillset that isn't given, it's learned, and actors do it every day. Your brain and body don't know the difference between the real smile and the “fake” smile. Life is about performance, not just living. Religion is a practice. Marriage or being insanely in love is a practice. Living with purpose and passion, playing a role, fulfilling a destiny. Playing big. Feeling strong. Playing for keeps, like it matters, because it certainly does.

8. You have to be tough as nails. Nuts to say we get the most joy out of the toughest things in our lives, but when we are in training for anything in life, it's true. Toughness is learned, again, not organically bubbles up. It's created by the unique little things we achieve every day. The little joys that add up to a life chock full of everything, especially love and the love of life.Writing about Navy SEALs reminds me about that part of myself that is a SEAL.

Even superheroes need to practice

I've mentioned it before, but getting comfortable with mistakes, making a fool of yourself, pushing to the next level is how you learn to be tough.

There was much more I could write about, but not all of you are going to read all of this. I make no apology for being inspired this morning. The right people will show up to read this, and it will mean the right things to those right people.

We are not lost, we are found. Have I found you? Have you found me? Are we on this path together?

Have the best day of your life today. I sincerely mean that.

14

Canary Island Tale – Using places I’ve traveled in books.

Many of you know we've traveled on some long cruises, usually starting in Italy, and going across the Atlantic. These are not nearly as exclusive as they sound, and are quite affordable. Since there are a lot of days at sea, and the weather is warm, it's perfect for writing. I could hardly stay in a hotel anywhere for the price of these long distance cruises. They have to move the ship from Europe to the Caribbean, or South America when the seasons change and their routes expand, so they take on passengers for a very affordable price. I think the cheapest was like $800 for 21 days, believe it or not!

We opted not to do one this winter, so these pictures are from the 2014-2015 trip. I needed a location that was away from Europe (the Secretary of State meets with a Moroccan leader secretly), wanted the meeting to look like a vacation, and needed it to be close to Africa. The Canary Islands was one stop we've made a couple of times. This was perfect!

I like writing about places I've visited because it not only gives me a point of reference to be accurate with some details, but also because it gives me a focus if I can feel I'm in the place as I'm writing it. Sometimes I search the net for pictures of properties for sale, with lovely photos to choose from. Often we can use these in our book trailers. Getting a “feel” for a place is important. One speaker told me that the location becomes a character in your book. I think that's right.

I try to give variety to my books, not have the same theme, except the arc of the whole series, which is that these SEALs learn to overcome everything: from international events, to local home grown terrorists, to just plan evil bad guys. They save the day. They get thrown into things they didn't expect.

So I guess I use the place as the anchor, and then weave tales around these points, like spinning a spider web, hoping to snag readers and bring them into my world of the Brotherhood. Traveling gives me lots of dreams for my muse. It's fun to bring all my readers along on these adventures, both real and imagined.

Here's a snippet of the new book, which releases next month, and is on preorder, True Blue SEALs: Zak. It is Book #13 in the SEAL Brotherhood Series. Enjoy!

Where have you always wanted to travel? If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

See book trailer here.

20

2015 Was A Banner Year – What Lies Ahead (sounds like a book title)

I used to have a friend in real estate, from Colorado, who always did a ton of business each year, and each January lst, she would call a couple of friends, in a total panic, not sure she could do it again. For some reason, that never happened to me, because what I did was so well planned out (yes, this is me, not some alien), I knew exactly what to do to get there again, even exceed those plans.

I used to coach realtors, especially on setting up their business plans. Here are a couple of things I learned.

1. IF IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU EXCITED, REDO IT. Make the goals specific and achievable, and track them daily. Make sure they make you shiver with excitement, too. If they don't, you aren't thinking big enough. And thinking big doesn't mean being unrealistic, or changing something big about yourself, just something you can stretch into (unlike that one size up stretch thing). Like exercise, if you don't invest in yourself and your direction, you will never have any control over your future. It is impossible to have more than a bit of control, so part of that plan should include “screw around” time, or time for daydreaming, thinking, and not doing anything by the clock, or numbers. Put everything in there that will get in the way if you don't schedule it. It's the law of business: if it will get in the way it will come up fast.  Now you get to say, “Oh yeah, that was in the plan!”

2. KNOW WHERE YOU STARTED. Take an evaluation of what you did last year, plan to improve on what went right, eliminate what went wrong. Or make it an interim goal to improve by so much. Don't plan on a 100% turnaround. We used to go for a 20% increase in business each year, then, when our in success was established and we had a certain percentage of business that just walked in the door without our actions (other than being open), we changed that to 10%.

3. EXPECT SUCCESS. We overestimate what we can do in one year, underestimate what we can do in 5. My favorite quote from my friend Tim Woods, is “Do what others won't do for the next 5 years and live how others can't for the rest of your life.”

I wrote this statement down some 5 years before my books started to sell in great numbers. It's amazing to me to see how much of this has already come true. I just ran across it in a sealed envelope while I was cleaning my desk this past week:

We are not yet bicoastal, and the cruise on The World hasn't happened yet, but we're working on those things. Some day. Some day.
4. EXECUTE. After you've determined what it is you want, and how to achieve it, EXECUTE! Like the SEALs say, 80% of the mission is in the identification of the target, mission, the planning with Plans A-Z, so every eventuality is taken into account, planning for something popping up that you didn't plan on. Then you go for it, for an 80% outcome. The fear, the hesitation, the concern for the plan goes out the window. You go “balls to the wall”, as some of my SEALs and some real SEALs I know say. The time to worry about it, or wonder about it is long past. In execution mode, you are going for results because you have planned for it. Now it's part of your DNA.
I'm making a dreamboard this week. I'll be sharing a number of pages from my last one, as days go by. Hope you all have a fantastic 2016. Let me know if any of these ideas work for you, or if you tweak them into something even better. I'd love to hear about it.
#weareexceptional.

12

JOHN F. KENNEDY AND U.S. NAVY SEALs – A New Commander in Town

Today we commemorate the death of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963. This isn't the celebration it once was. I remember those days, when it was the “Land of Camelot” as they called it, the handsome president and his beautiful wife, someone we looked up to, even if we didn't vote for him initially. It was a different time and era in this country, and one I barely became part of. I was in high school when he was shot. I was in College when Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. It was a horrible time with lots of uncertainty. But we survived as a nation.

How soon we forget these things. I remember watching the funeral, sitting beside my mother, both of us in tears, especially when John-John saluted his father's casket.

Normandy

But most people are surprised to learn that President John F. Kennedy formally recognized and created the U.S. Navy SEALs in 1962. While he didn't invent them, as is sometimes claimed, he was the first to sign into legislation the formal elite branch of the Navy that became the SEALs. Prior to that, SEALs had been known as UDT or “elite frogmen”, since World War II. Learning from some of the heartbreak of earlier beach invasions, under water demolition (UDT) groups were trained to remove some of the land mines and obstacles to future invasion landings. These men were in fact the early SEALs.

In 1962 President Kennedy outlined in his now-famous speech to Congress that he desired to implement an elite fighting force that was well-trained and ready to respond to any “hot spot” or emergency that developed that threatened to destabilize our interests or those of our allies, or American citizens. Most people remember the speech as mentioning “putting a man on the moon,” but he also talked about implementing the birth of the Navy SEALs. Kennedy was controversially interested in restructuring the military to make room for quick, unconventional forms of warfare, to augment and in some cases replace, the massive troop buildup and operations. He didn't create the SEALs, but he was the one who realized their importance and formalized their status and training, and helped gather the funding so the program could go forward and expand into what it is today. He had a vision for us all, some would say.

The two groups formed in 1962 later became 10, with other ancillary teams and crews of special operators from other branches, such that today we have arguably one of the best (not the only) highly trained elite fighting forces the world has ever seen. The gold standard.

You can read more history on the birth of the SEALs here. There is a great quote from Pierre Salinger, the John F. Kennedy biographer, part of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, I found fascinating.

The 1960's were a great time of political turmoil and upheaval in this country. Kennedy's presidency was questioned, frought with problems, and then untimely ended, ushering in another era we all endured: Viet Nam. Those of us who remember those days may find some similarities to events of today. But out of necessity, comes innovation. For a brief time we had Camelot. Kennedy's vision gave us two things: A man on the moon, and the U.S. Navy SEALs.

12

FROM KENWOOD TO LAS VEGAS – Slowing it Down and Heating it Up!

View from my window

I just finished my new novella, Nashville SEAL. It is going to be included in an anthology coming out this December, called Holding Out For A Hero. I plan to release a print and audio version as well.

I've thoroughly loved writing this book, as I do all my books. These colorful characters come to life as I put the story on the page, and I see opportunities to add fun details, sketches of people who would fit in, or, in many cases, don't fit into the story – because I find the deets that don't fit in are sometimes the best and most likeable for readers.

Fireplace, tossed sheets, what could be better?

So I put myself up in the lovely Kenwood Inn & Spa in Kenwood, a place I have gone to before when I needed a story “recharging” and what I call growing the kernels of my story in my own cornfield.

It is impossible to live in a heightened state of emotional intimacy 24/7 with anyone, let alone a fictional character, but when I travel to some place like the Kenwood Inn, my regular life fades into the distance and I get to live in my story. I've heard other writers do the same. I try to pick not just a “motel” room stay unless I'm writing about college dorm life. In this case, I was writing about a young singer-songwriter who is experiencing a good degree of success, and decides he wants more out of life, right at the same time something very moving and important from his past comes back on the scene.

Wine bar writing

Room service keeps me in the story because I don't have to stop and prepare or share my dinnertime with anyone (yes, this is a solo trip, by necessity), I can go to sleep when I want to, stay up all night and write, edit and doze by fireplace. Just walking the grounds gives me ideas. I have a time-travel romance set in this location, and have referred to it in Underworld Lover, and several of my SEAL books. In my books, it's called the Waterwheel Inn.

With my chapters done and not polished, I decided to finish that job at Las Vegas, since I was going there this weekend for an author signing put on by my friend, Crystal Perkins. I've done events with her in the past. Met up with Lance Taubold, and met a couple of new shining stars in my collection of author friends. I have some posts planned later for that.

Everyone should lick responsibly, don't you agree?

So I ran across this store here off the Flamingo, called LICK. Okay, yes, it's a candy store, but OMG I should have shopped here before my bachelorette party at RomCon. Every imaginable thing that had to do with candy, and lollipops, and (ahem) licking, was present. The atmosphere couldn't be more different, but the end result: I still focus on the romance. Watched the beautiful Bellagio water shows several times, wandered along the promenade and did a little naughty shopping. Cherry stuff, like oh, warmers and such, lip gloss, and my Lick Responsibly tee shirt. Some of these things are going to have to stay private, but boy did I have fun! Love the beer cozies, don't you? Not sure where I can wear the tee shirt, but it could be a nice message to wear around the house. Oh yes, the tit mints are kinda cool too. Yes, I am two women wrapped up in one. Well, perhaps three or four, but if you can't have fun, what good is it to be alive?

Even got red Tootsie Pop glasses for my new Romance Rider!

And it gave the right amount of kink and spice I needed to polish the book to it's jewel essence. And I had fun in the process.

I go home to hopefully a pad ready for my Romance Rider, and now that the book is finished, I can start to clean out my office and get her all set up! Life is good!

21

Pirate Bounty (and lots of Booty) At KallypsoCon SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

We've had a wonderful two days at KallypsoCon. I got to meet readers I have never met. We had lots of opportunity to sit, have dinner with, and play games with readers, about half of whom were from the New England area. I had never been in New England in the fall, and, although the bright colors were gone, I still got to see the tail end of it. One more thing checked off my bucket list.

Kallypso Masters does a great job bringing together other authors and readers at every venue she's at. Her loyal fans soon became my fans, and vice versa. In the true spirit of love and friendship, we all help each other as authors, by serving the readers. A reader-centric convention is unusual in this business. In my opinion it is something I wish more conventions focused on.

So what did we do? We had panel discussions about why we write military heroes, how we got started being interested in our genre, what's new for us, and how we write. We told stories and played games that brought tears to our eyes. I met readers from the UK, from Canada, and even Puerto Rico.

There were several husbands who attended, and I was happy to see that. Great to see how they support their author wives, all of them had military backgrounds we could learn from.

Next year's KallypsoCon will be a cowboy theme, and I don't write those, so I won't be in attendance, but if you're a reader and you want to get up close and personal with some of the best cowboy writers in the business, I'd look to book your tickets for KallypsoCon in Casper, Wyoming, early. It will sell out. I already know they have a stable of great authors ready to thrill your reading needs.

We continue this morning with more craft events and some games, and more reader interaction. We had a grat time using old keys from my house fire, making necklaces that readers will enjoy for years to come. Wasn't sure how it would go over, but it was very popular. Now I get to lug that 15# anvil home!!

Sold lots of books, and networked with bloggers and several reviewers who had reviewed my books. It was an honor to be part of this group. Can't wait to get home today, but it was fun being part of this great event.

11

SEAL BROTHERHOOD, Band of Bachelors is here! SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

Releases tomorrow!

My new release, Band of Bachelors: Lucas, will be here tonight at midnight. I've loved writing this story from beginning to end. The idea first came to me when our son moved from New York City, to Park City, Utah, and then home to California. I go into this in depth in my Newsletter this month. Be sure to sign up, if you're not already a subscriber.

We get our stories from real life. You've all seen the tee-shirt: “Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book,” and for some, this can be dangerous. For others, it could be flattering. I'm working on a new story this week for another anthology I'll be in that's due early November, and I've promised the real person I'd make a character that was as yummy as possible. You can bet I'll be taking all the good, and making up the bad.

DJ's experiences living with a household of bachelors in Park City was life changing. I can say here what I couldn't say in my newsletter (did you subscribe? LOL), that in addition to the fact that these men were older and divorced, they were also excommunicated (if this is the correct term) LDS members. I presume that's because of the raucous activity they participated in, namely the use of alcohol. But I imagine their language, general lifestyle and the use of “professionals” for their dating needs didn't ingratiate them to the church. It almost certainly made the possibility of a reconciliation with their wives a zero percent chance of success, on purpose. I certainly couldn't use any of that in the book, not that other authors don't, but I don't believe in knocking anyone's beliefs, whether they be traditional or otherwise. Besides, this has nothing to do with religion, but a lack of faith in something greater than themselves. My hero, Navy SEAL Lucas Shipley, eventually parts ways with them, just like DJ did.

My son came home with lots of material, and we actually had fun thinking up how we could turn this experience into some kind of TV show. The bachelors were always giving him horrible advice. Very bad advice. Being single and young, he knew he had to leave when, as he says in his words, “Mom, I'm starting to believe them.”

And that's the kernel of what began to grow when I thought about the Band of Bachelors. The book trailer J.D. Hart, my awesome Storyteller and best friend, captures it perfectly.

It's always kind of cathartic when I finish one book. I never really want to say goodbye to my characters. So I try to weave people from one book into another, but not leave a future reader lost if they haven't read the whole series. It rewards the repeat and returning reader by allowing them to experience the whole chain of events, the arc of the whole team, from the first book, Accidental SEAL (still free) to the current one, Band of Bachelors: Lucas. Little novellas or boxed sets with other material are branches off the main tree of my Brotherhood. I want that tree to grow wide, have many strong arms and branches, and grow forever, or as long as my fingers and brain hold out.
So today, I prepare for my launch day. I'm not doing the crazy big parties I used to do, just trying something more generic and sane. Doing some promo today, tomorrow and during the next 2 weeks. I'd love for you to join me from 7-8 PM tonight, where I'll be at Authors Appreciation facebook event where I'll answer questions and we'll do some prizes and giveaways, and I'll also be at a live chat (my first one) from 9-10 PM Eastern at Writer Space here
Well, if you and I get to talk at a conference, or online, or in a chat, or by email or anywhere else you channel me, perhaps one day you too will become part of my story. I've been known to bend some rules and make my friends into dancers, heroines and heroes and everything in between.
Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. 
21

Navy SEALs – What’s Not To Love? SUNDAYS WITH SHARON

Print/Audio books Available 9/25

Navy SEALs. As readers, we can't live without them. Like pirates of the High Seas and heroes of the Wild West, Navy SEAL heroes are big, big business in romance today. Mystery and suspense writers are having Navy SEAL and former SEAL characters show up in books. Paranormal writers have been adding SEALs to their menu of colorful characters. They are indeed the stuff of legends.

I'm not a purist, and I certainly take great liberties with non-fiction stories I've read, people I've interviewed and conversations I've overheard. I would hope that no one takes any fiction writer's words as gospel because the knowledge of the community is all over the lot when it comes to military romance. Some complain about the lack of “getting it right.” I say a story is a story. We get ideas when we go to movies, but does anyone really believe the plots we view on the big screen are real? Even plausible?

After all, life is a story. It's all made up, anyway. We're all here acting out our little drama for this brief time on this planet. If we were all seeking pure truth, we'd still be arguing about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin and still we wouldn't have the answer.

Releasing 10-14-15 including Audio

Good stories are just that, good stories. A kernel of truth, some mixture of angst, lust, love, desire to become better, more whole, loved more, respected, rooting out bad guys and seeking the elusive Happily Ever After – all these things make up for a good story. When we suspend disbelief, when we believe in things greater than ourselves, we say a book or a story inspires us. As writers, we all want to write that book that makes someone stay up all night long finishing. Grabs hold of you and never lets go.

When I first wrote my Navy SEALs back in 2011, there weren't a lot of other writers doing it. Now it seems like everyone is, and I say all the better. My first book faire was miserable. I sat and asked if people liked reading military romance and readers looked at me like I was nuts. Like the words military and romance didn't belong together. I even had a lady ask me, “What's so romantic about war?”

Heck, today we have zombie, ghost and caribou shapeshifter romance. I can remember when the critics used to argue with how much action and how much sex a military romantic suspense novel should have. Say what? That's like the judge who marked me down for having a female guardian angel, “because everyone knows guardian angels are all male.” Apparently her antennae was not as bent as mine is and she got the straight scoop.

Well, I'm completing my 11th Navy SEAL book as you read this. And someone in advertising said no series should go beyond five or six. Meanwhile, I'm disobeying some law of fictioncraft (happily, I might add) and don't see an end to this series on the horizon.

I've attached some new covers of things you'll see coming soon, most of them will be completed before the end of the year and some of them on preorder or better.

I can honestly say to you dear friends, that I am not chasing the trend. I prefer to think I helped start it. The sound you're hearing is a big old pat on my back. But now I have to get back to my computer. After all, we are only as good as our latest book.

5

GOING AND COMING: Life

Going and Coming: Life

Ethan Aged 1 hour
Ethan's birthday was yesterday, and I had to miss it because I've been sick in bed for the past 3 days. Getting better, but still too sick to be around a group of little ones. I'm reposting this from the week of his birth. The theme still holds up today. Enjoy

A visit to the doctor reminds me of how fragile life is. I'm well. But I get to see a lot of not-well people. And right now experiencing some un-wellness in my immediate family. Along with new birth. I guess I've begun to get it, now that I am 6 decades old: life goes on. I can scream and yell and protest its passing, but it still goes on as if I never said anything.

I guess that's why writing has become so important to me. Taking stories from real life and weaving them into other worlds is what we do as writers. And we take the pain, the emotions, from those life events, and use them. I blogged today about Editing Woes over at RRR, and one of my points was that the reader reads for the emotions in the story, the emotions of the characters, the love scenes, not just the description of what went on and who did what to whom.

We are cheering Ethan's birth and how strong he is, while we are saying goodbye to my dad, who has lived a wonderful life, and been the best dad a girl could ever want. Good time to remind myself it's not all about me, but the people around me. My job is to feel. Sometimes I run away from my feelings because they are just too much to handle. But my job is to feel, and then write them down.

We don't get do-overs like some of our characters get in our stories. Actually, that would make an interesting story concept. Life is not permanent. Neither are feelings. What we do about it is. We love babies because we know we are only going to be around long enough to perhaps see them get married and perhaps have children and grandchildren of their own. These little ones, in the beginning of their lives, will know us, the older ones, at the end of our lives. We each get to discover what the world is like before or after the loved one has been born, or passes on.

It's a pea soup kind of day here in Sonoma County, which is good for the grapes. This misty fog means I can be a bit lazy with my watering, I'm tempted to make a fire, but know my house will heat up like a firecracker soon enough. My hubby is away getting inspiration from a mastermind meeting, and I anticipate seeing lots of friends at the Silicon Valley Romance Writers meeting tomorrow, where I will be a panelist and hopefully will give some nuggets of things I've learned along the way.

Book sales are going well. Accidental SEAL has been in the top 100 for Amazon Kindle paid sales for 9 weeks in a row and made some serious money. Over 13,000 people downloaded Honeymoon Bite on a free promotional 4 day blog, and it shot to #1 for Fantasy Romance for 3 days in a row. Same thing happened in June for Heavenly Lover. So, despite the occasional stinker review (which doesn't affect sales at all) people are liking my books. I don't go trolling for the 300+ reviews like some do. I have a problem with faking things to look like they aren't. Just being honest and taking my lumps as they come. And writing is the best cure for anything that ills me. Anything.

My family is safe for now. Prayers go out to those that have suffered with loss of life: the SEALs and other military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice recently, and all their families who proudly bear the mourning. The people who have lost their life in senseless acts of violence, and their families. My shock and dismay at the truth being distorted so much in our political campaigns, and all the hate it spews. How people fall like lemmings after slogans and catch phrases like “war on women” when we have more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world. And people have died to make sure it stays that way. I was thinking we were going to take the higher road this election season. I was wrong.

So I guess with this theme of what I have and don't have, in the going and the passing of life, what I'm feeling today is being connected.

And that's a good thing.

13

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Romance At 35,000 Feet

It's all fun and games until someone
winds up in a cone.

I'm looking down at the US from above the clouds, on my way back to California. I never know what I'll discover when I go on these trips. I have given up making long lists of things I want to accomplish. Besides, being a storyteller, I kind of like letting things go the way they go, not the way I go. Still, I can't help but have a few expectations.

I needed this trip, because nothing that I expected to happen, actually happened. I say this in a good way. I wasn't feeling that way last night. In fact, I sort of cried myself to sleep, asking myself why I did this in the first place.

But the beautiful thing about morning is that it is a new day and a fresh start. I hit the reset button. I read a little meditation this morning that talked about telling the truth, and I discovered (huge palm to my forehead), I'd forgotten to do so.

First let's talk about the weather in Orlando this time of year. Humid, raining torrentially and then next minute so sunny and hot, when I walked outside, my glasses fogged up. People used to this didn't blink. California is dry and almost never humid, or at least not enough to fog up your glasses.

I knew going in that most the authors would be unknown to me. I knew of no readers who were from this area, and I didn't do any advance promo because, well, my head was frankly stuck in another world in the weeks prior to the convention (truth coming with the fresh morning).

I participated in panels, participated in an online interview with my narrator, J.D. Hart (which was fun), all unscripted and without all the proper equipment, and listened to what panels were saying. I got two really great marketing ideas out of it. And of course, I got to spend time with my storyteller, who has become my best friend and biggest fan.

Blinding flash of the obvious

He was the grounding device I needed, and I'm so happy I had him come to help with the signing, and just mingle with other authors and readers, who always love him.

I also met my PA's incredible 13 year old kid, who is doing things with YouTube that made my jaw drop. I heard this morning he hadn't been looking forward to telling me about it, but I understand he enjoyed it, and his mom was sure proud. This awesome kid stood there, discussed what he does just like any college professor. I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Honest.

In short, I got what I was supposed to get. God gave me these cards, one of those unlikely hands that you don't have much hope for, but brings you everything you really need.

I'm happy to put back the crown as Queen of the Universe. I'm just a writer. I make mistakes, I enjoy some of them more than others. I just keep opening the doors and being willing to let in what's supposed to be there.

It was a perfect trip, not for what I got, but for what it was. It was everything I needed, and more.

I know this has happened to you. Love to hear about it? Are sometimes our unexpected miracles the best afterall even though they might not look like them at the time?

8

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Honoring Those Who Serve By Living Our Lives

My heart bleeds for the families of the men lost in the recent tragedy in Tennessee. These types of things should not be happening, but, unfortunately, our world is becoming smaller every year. We are closer and closer to each other through social media. Along with this benefit, comes the unadulterated fact that we are also connected to the very worst of humanity. These cretins, as my SEALs like to say, can use our own freedoms, to take advantage and try to rob us of them.

They won't succeed.

I had a difficult time at first when I was plotting out SEAL's Promise. Oddly enough it was about a year ago now. I wanted to insert the plot line of home grown terrorists, or terrorists who come to our shores, familiar with our ways and customs, able to blend in and use that information to take advantage of us. I considered that perhaps I was going overboard, even though I knew the military had recently requested families get off social media, be very careful about who they invited into their circles, and to be watchful and observant.

I continued with that theme in SEAL My Home, using the scenario that someone from overseas would be allowed entry to the U.S. and would stalk and try to harm one of the SEAL warriors he'd encountered in Afghanistan. I used the theme of human trafficking and sexual slavery in SEAL's Code, which was a slight departure, but still focusing on a great evil in our world today. In Code, we discuss how heroism is handed down, is our birthright, and that love is always stronger than evil.

I firmly believe this.

Even if we all lived in cages, we wouldn't be safe. It is a great testament to our fighting forces that we haven't had to experience the ravages of war as some societies have. Here at home, we can't protect against every eventuality. But the steady tide, the history and the honor and love for our flag and our respective countries, fought and paid for with human life's blood, the vast freedoms we have to read what we want, speak what we want and live and do what we want, worship where we want, that overwhelms the evil little plans of the most evil amongst us.

It's hard to understand why someone would want to harm people who protect and defend our way of life. It's hard to figure out why a cause or movement that takes away more than it leaves, would be something that would be attractive to anybody. As I've said before, sometimes the cost of freedom is too great. It's not a burden shared equally. But we equally share in the benefit, whether we appreciate it or not. And just as I was blogging a year ago, the landscape of this evil has changed. Now some of us innocents, some not even wearing a uniform, will pay the ultimate price.

I am so thankful that I have a job writing heroes and happily ever afters, being able to bring fantasy to people's lives, to enrich them in some small way. Because the best way we can honor the fallen, both men and women who don a uniform and protect us, but innocents who just happen to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time, is to go on enjoying those freedoms. The best way to honor the fallen is never to forget, always to remember, and always to live life to the fullest.

I happen to think that's what every true hero would want.

We've just wrapped up SEAL's Code on audio. Our last audio release, SEAL Brotherhood Box Set No. 2 is out on audio as of last week. You can hear a couple sample audio clips on my website, or click on the snippets I've provided you below.

Hope you'll continue the journey with my new series, Band of Bachelors, releasing in novella form, 8/4/15 in Cat Johnson's Hot SEALs Kindle World. More to come!

https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/seal-brotherhood-series-set-two-sample-3
https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/are-you-an-audio-virgin
https://soundcloud.com/j-d-hart/seals-code-danny-talking-to-grandfather

Book trailers: SEAL's Code, SEAL My Home.

Until we meet again, have a safe, and love-filled week. Don't ever stop believing we can all have our dreams become reality. Don't stop remembering love is always much stronger than hate. It's what we were made for.

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RED Friday Reads

Got a sexy Red Friday Read for you today. This is from SEAL's Code, my third book in the Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3, the SEAL Brotherhood series. I love the chemistry between these two. It was hard to distance them, alienate them, but you know that has to be done in a good book, right? Interested to know what you think. This is not a PG excerpt, just warning you.

Excerpt SEAL's Code (not PG folks):

           “There’s no rush, little fox.” He
watched her as he dipped his tongue down for another taste.
            Luci
was wild with need and understood he was deliberately slowing things down.
            “You
thrash like an injured deer,” he whispered to her sex. “She knows what’s coming
next, yet is powerless to stop it,” he said as he scanned the juncture between
her legs eagerly.
            Am I injured? It was a totally curious
thing for him to say. He had become the hunter of her soul, but was it a death
she sought, or freedom from her earthly body she craved? But yes, it was
dangerous. Wreckless.
            And
the only thing she wanted.
            The
voices rose in a chant, a chorus of angst and pain, passion and desire so
fierce it would scare off anyone but the most fervent. As those ancient voices
began to screech and crescendo out of control, he climbed atop her, spreading
her thighs wide open, positioning himself for unfettered entry. His left hand
gripped her chin, forcing her lips to pucker as he covered them, his tongue plunged
inside her mouth as his cock found it’s home.
            Silence
followed, the chanting cut off mid-stanza, startling her. She heard the sound
of a large bird of prey flying through the sky, as if marking his territory
with his calling, his whistle just barely discernable above the rush of the
branches in a deep forest underneath. Maybe it was the waves slapping
themselves on the shore. Maybe it was the sound of a cloud of black starlings
twirling like smoke up through the sky to the heavens. Whatever it was, the
silent force of nature hit her in the middle of her chest as she watched him
root deep, command her body to rise up out of the ashes of her cold past and
come alive. Had she ever felt this way before?

            She
gave herself to him with complete abandon, and it scared her. Whatever remained
of her previous life was left torn apart and dead like an old skin, lying in a
heap at the side of the bed. In her new persona, the uncontrolled intensity of
something so fantastic flowed into every cell of her body, and she began to
cry.
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