I've written before about the paths we take, the steps we take in the shoes of our choice, and how our choices make us the people we are. Sometimes we surprise ourselves and we are stronger than we thought possible. Other times, we are weaker. We've done a lot of traveling, and unfortunately that took a toll on us, health-wise this season. It was unexpected and unusual for us to be so ill for so long. I'm never at my best when I'm sick, or when a loved one is sick, or hurting. I remember the last Christmas we had with my Dad, and how weak and frail he looked at the end. I see the vacant chair at Christmas morning when we open our stockings, and I miss him. This year, even though it's been 3 years now, I missed him more than ever.
IMG_6227 He'd love to see the grandkids and their sparkly faces. He'd love to see how they enjoyed seeing the Crystal Palace at Disney World, the Osborne light show at Disney Hollywood, IMG_6042 how the kids greeted me at the door at my daughter's house for Christmas morning. With a living room so filled with packages all colorfully wrapped, there wasn't room for furniture. A sea of abundance.
There was that ache in my heart, partly from missing those that have passed on, partly because I just felt something was missing. My life is truly blessed. I have everything I've always wanted, and more. And yet something was missing. I thought a lot about it during these past four days. This morning I found the answer.
My best friend sent me some music and it made me cry. I'd been staying off the internet, trying to be present with the people physically around me, trying to get over this lonely feeling something was lost or missing. But I opened my computer and saw a post from Mark Divine, who is a SEAL trainer and one of the smartest men on the planet. With the beautiful music as my background, I read his blog, “The Secrets of Resiliency.” And that was what I was missing.
Being a romance novelist I am very sensitive. When I was little, I would cry at movies and TV shows, my family often making fun of me. I was just like my grandmother Fox. When I stayed with them, we would sit on the couch and cry together. Shows like Come Back Yeller and Lassie just broke us up into pieces. Our big red puffy eyes testament to how deeply we felt things. Two of a kind. We wore our badge with honor.
Mark asked the question, “Do you tend to back off when you get overwhelmed emotionally and let fear, uncertainty or frustration derail you? I had to answer “yes” to that. I've been halfway around the world. Had a scare with my husband's health and a diagnosis I was afraid to hear. I'd just finished a book in a new genre for me, which turned out to be more work than I'd anticipated. My year was huge in terms of what I accomplished. And yes, I've been overwhelmed. Though I'm proud of all these great things, I was letting fear take a front seat in my roller coaster ride of life. What if next year is even harder? Am I prepared? Have I made the right choices?
The miracle of life, of the season, and the answer I got this morning was that yes, I have been making the right choices. Feeling emotionally vulnerable prepares me for the next big challenge. Of one thing I am certain, there will be challenges and failures next year. People will disappoint me. I will disappoint those I love. Nothing is, afterall, perfect.
But it still is. Because the perfectness of life is that we get to learn how to be more resilient by being challenged. We don't learn to walk except by falling down. We don't learn to do anything outstanding without having first experienced failure. But if we let fear stop us, we don't progress. And by progress I mean we get resilient, not perfect. We learn how to dust ourselves off and get up and try again. We get the opportunity to have a breakthrough. Without the toughness and the fears we have to face, we don't get those breakthroughs. We don't get the silver linings without the clouds.
We got to share our Christmas Eve with a couple from Croatia and their four year old daughter. What a blessing it was to see their faces light up as they watched their daughter, only here seven months, be able to speak English and share her first Christmas in a new land with an American family. It was an honor to share our home with them. It was my greatest Christmas gift.
So I have the gift this season of being emotionally challenged, overwhelmed, with my heart bursting with gratitude for all the opportunities I have now, and in the future. Oh yes, fear will still be my familiar friend, but now I can thank him for making me a stronger person. For reminding me that my job is to feel. Not just be, but to feel. And the more resilient I become, the more gifts of feeling I will be able to experience.
Nothing stays the same. Everything passes on, fades and dies. Everything. What I see now at my age is different than what I saw as a child, a young bride, mother, daughter, grandmother. I don't have to be perfect. I just have to fill my days with enough of all the good things I can stand.
Happy, Bright, Shining New Year. May it be the first of many.
About the Mega-Set:
12 New York Times, USA Today or Award-winning bestselling Hot Alpha Authors brings you this Military Romance Megaset for your reading pleasure:
THE KISS OF A SEAL by Award-winning Author Anne Elizabeth — Jessa Grainger’s world is rocked by the kiss of a SEAL, SO-1 Link Tyler. It wouldn’t be a problem for an ordinary person, but being a Navy Consultant working on the Amphibious Base as well as being engaged to a SWCC man make the situation very sticky.
NIGHT WITH A SEAL (Hot SEALS #1) by New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Cat Johnson —When navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy, it makes SEAL Jon Rudnick question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the one woman he can’t get out of his head.
HOT BAYOU SEAL by Award-winning author Cindy Dees — SEAL Ford Alambeaux is a busted up SEAL on his way out of the teams. Trina Zarkos is being tossed out of SEAL training like every other female candidate…until they’re thrown together on a way off-book mission to see if she can play with the big boys or not.
DELTA: RETRIBUTION by USA Today bestselling author Cristin Harber — Fallen Navy SEAL and Titan Group’s Delta recruit Trace Reeves wants nothing more than a one-night stand to forget that his twin brother was killed-in-action. But when his one-time fling becomes his high value target, the lines blur between her rescue mission and saving himself.
WATCH OVER ME (An Uncharted SEAL story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Delilah Devlin — Deke Warrick’s unsanctioned detail is to keep tabs on a congressman’s niece while she vacations in the Caribbean. He’s determined to keep his distance, from the beautiful Nicky Martir—until she’s snatched from their hotel room.
SEAL'S OBSESSION (A Take No Prisoners story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Elle James — Mission: Halt pirate activities off the coast of Honduras. SEAL TEAM 10's Jack Fischer goes undercover as a deck hand on a medical boat where he finds himself falling for the dedicated Dr. Natalie Rhoades.
The SEAL (a Sex, Lies & Spies novella) by USA Today bestselling author Gennita Low — Mari Lords is tasked by her father to steal the seal that is an important clue in a round-the-world treasure hunt called The Game. When her opportunity comes during a party, she finds another kind of SEAL, Angel Marcello.
UNBREAKABLE SEAL by USA Today bestselling author J.M. Madden — Maxwell Tate fights against a psychotic dream world, until he no longer knows what’s real. Lacey Adams knows she can’t save all of her cases, but can she salvage the unbreakable SEAL?
MISTER BLACK by Award-winning author P.T. Michelle —He is Black: a deadly enforcer and masterful seducer. I am Red: a justice bleeder and willing participant. When our secrets converge in a passionate encounter, stepping out of the shadows just might be worth the risk.
STONE HARD SEAL by Award-winning author Sabrina York —When Ryder “Stone” Maddox’s meets Lily Wilson—a senator’s daughter who is definitely off-limits—he’s determined to keep his distance, despite her irresistible allure. But Lily has plans of her own…to put his heart of stone to the test.
SEAL’S PROMISE by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Hamilton —Navy SEAL T.J. Talbot, SEAL Team 3's bad boy, makes a deathbed promise to protect and care for his fallen buddy's wife and child. The only problem is, she hates him.
BREAKING TIES (a SEAL Team Heartbreakers story) by bestselling author Teresa Reasor — Navy SEAL Oliver Shaker is blindsided when he learns that not only does his wife, Selena, have a life-threatening illness, but she’s also pregnant, stretching their marriage to the breaking point.
12 New York Times, USA Today or Award-winning bestselling Hot Alpha Authors bring you this Military Romance Megaset for your reading pleasure:THE KISS OF A SEAL by Award-winning Author Anne Elizabeth — Jessa Grainger's world is rocked by the kiss of a SEAL, SO-1 Link Tyler. It wouldn't be a problem for an ordinary person, but being a Navy Consultant working on the Amphibious Base as well as being engaged to a SWCC man make the situation very sticky.NIGHT WITH A SEAL (Hot SEALS #1) by New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Cat Johnson –When navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy, it makes SEAL Jon Rudnick question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the one woman he can't get out of his head.HOT BAYOU SEAL by Award-winning author Cindy Dees — SEAL Ford Alambeaux is a busted up SEAL on his way out of the teams. Trina Zarkos is being tossed out of SEAL training like every other female candidate…until they're thrown together on a way off-book mission to see if she can play with the big boys or not.DELTA: RETRIBUTION by USA Today bestselling author Cristin Harber — Fallen Navy SEAL and Titan Group's Delta recruit Trace Reeves wants nothing more than a one-night stand to forget that his twin brother was killed-in-action. But when his one-time fling becomes his high value target, the lines blur between her rescue mission and saving himself.WATCH OVER ME (An Uncharted SEAL story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Delilah Devlin — Deke Warrick's unsanctioned detail is to keep tabs on a congressman's niece while she vacations in the Caribbean. He's determined to keep his distance, from the beautiful Nicky Martir–until she's snatched from their hotel room.SEAL'S OBSESSION (A Take No Prisoners story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Elle James — Mission: Halt pirate activities off the coast of Honduras. SEAL TEAM 10's Jack Fischer goes undercover as a deck hand on a medical boat where he finds himself falling for the dedicated Dr. Natalie Rhoades.The SEAL (a Sex, Lies & Spies novella) by USA Today bestselling author Gennita Low — Mari Lords is tasked by her father to steal the seal that is an important clue in a round-the-world treasure hunt called The Game. When her opportunity comes during a party, she finds another kind of SEAL, Angel Marcello.UNBREAKABLE SEAL by USA Today bestselling author J.M. Madden — Maxwell Tate fights against a psychotic dream world, until he no longer knows what's real. Lacey Adams knows she can't save all of her cases, but can she salvage the unbreakable SEAL?MISTER BLACK A Billionaire SEAL Story, Part 1 (In the Shadows) by Award-winning author P.T. Michelle –He is Black: a deadly enforcer and masterful seducer. I am Red: a justice bleeder and willing participant. When our secrets converge in a passionate encounter, stepping out of the shadows just might be worth the risk.STONE HARD SEAL by Award-winning author Sabrina York –When Ryder “Stone” Maddox's meets Lily Wilson–a senator's daughter who is definitely off-limits–he's determined to keep his distance, despite her irresistible allure. But Lily has plans of her own…to put his heart of stone to the test.SEAL'S PROMISE by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Hamilton –Navy SEAL T.J. Talbot, SEAL Team 3's bad boy, makes a deathbed promise to protect and care for his fallen buddy's wife and child. The only problem is, she hates him.BREAKING TIES (a SEAL Team Heartbreakers story) by bestselling author Teresa Reasor — Navy SEAL Oliver Shaker is blindsided when he learns that not only does his wife, Selena, have a life-threatening illness, but she's also pregnant, stretching their marriage to the breaking point.
Thank you to Close Encounters with the Night Kind for hosting this fun blog hop! I love joining in box sets, whether it be my own books or joining with other authors to create a box set! Recently, I released SEALs of Summer Box Set,which made the New York Times Bestseller list! For this blog hop, I am giving away 1 kindle copy of SEALs of Summer Set.. Enter in the rafflecopter below.
SEALs of Summer: Military Romance Superbundle, Navy SEAL Style
Military Super-bundle of ten novellas and novels by New York Times, USA Today and award-winning bestselling authors: Delilah Devlin, Sharon Hamilton, Anne Marsh, Cora Seton, Zoe York, Roxie Riviera, S.M. Butler, Kimberley Troutte, Jennifer Lowery, Elle James.
IT TAKES A SEAL, An Adventure Girls, Inc. story by USA Today Bestselling author Delilah Devlin: A travel agent visiting friends in the Bahamas is stranded on a desert island with a sexy ex-SEAL after their private pleasure cruise is interrupted by men who mistake her lover for a reclusive billionaire.
SEAL OF MY HEART by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Sharon Hamilton: Kate Morgan’s engagement is at risk the instant she sets eyes on the handsome elite warrior sitting next to her on a plane trip to visit her sister. Navy SEAL Tyler Gray had thought he knew what he wanted in life, until he meets Kate and their obvious attraction for each other sparks something deep in his soul. What starts out as innocent letters between friends turns out to be much more. Can someone fall in love deeply just with words and letters exchanged, or is this just a pleasant fantasy that will ruin their lives forever?
SMOKING HOT by National Bestselling Author Anne Marsh: When an ambush kills his teammate, Navy SEAL Tye Callahan vows to spend the summer in Strong, California, fighting fires with the smoke jumper team and looking out for Katie Lawson, his teammate's fiancée. Now, as the summer heats up, they must decide if the chemistry burning between them might just be their second chance at living their own lives… together.
THE NAVY SEAL’s E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE by National Bestselling author Cora Seton: If Mason Hall, Navy SEAL, can’t find a wife and get her pregnant—and convince his three brothers to marry, too—before the year is up, he’ll have to forfeit the ranch his family has prized for over a hundred years. Who knew one city girl and three wayward brothers could put up such a fight?
FALL OUT by Zoe York: Drew Castle is a Navy SEAL with a bad case of indifference. Until
Annie Martin shows up on his doorstep, scared out of her mind, and all of a sudden, keeping
her safe becomes the most important mission of his life. And this time, he’s on his own.
CLOSE QUARTERS by Bestselling author Roxie Rivera: Nationally Bestselling author Roxie Rivera brings you Close Quarters. Getting tangled up in Jamie Pearson's latest hot mess—or her sheets—is the very last thing Navy SEAL Leland Gates needs, but in close quarters like these, there's no denying the white-hot passion blazing between them.
KILLING HONOR by International Bestselling author S.M. Butler: Returning home after a disastrous extended deployment, Navy SEAL Brody Battles struggles with nightmares and government secrets building a wall between him and his wife, Devyn, especially when a security breach compromises his identity. While they’re adjusting to being a family again, an old enemy waits in the shadows, salivating for the sweet taste of revenge.
COMING IN HOT by Award-winning author Kimberley Troutte: For Navy SEAL Mack Riley, rescuing a family in Colombian jungles isn’t as hard as seeing the admiral’s daughter again, but since Jenna is joining the hostage rescue team, his orders are to protect her. In the heat of battle, love breaches their defenses just as missiles lock onto their coordinates …can they save the family and get out alive?
A SEAL’s SONG by Golden Heart Finalist author Jennifer Lowery: Navy SEAL Jack Taggart’s plans to catch some much-needed downtime between deployments are demolished when he risks everything to rescue beautiful wedding singer, Darci O’Shea, from a band of thieves. Will the battle between their inner demons be the hardest one to fight, or will they find rescue in each other’s arms?
SEALS’s EMBRACE by USA Today Bestselling author Elle James: Injured Navy SEAL and the critical care nurse he's attempting to woo join forces to stop a terrorist attack.
GENRE – Romantic Suspense
PUBLICATION DATE – June, 1, 2014LENTH (Pages/# Words) – Full Length NovelPUBLISHER – Al Publishing
Navy SEAL Luke Paulsen, on the verge of PTSD stemming from the death of his fiancée and a brutal tour overseas, knows he is damaged goods and unsuitable for relationships. While paying respects to a fallen comrade, he is unprepared for the chemical attraction he feels for the carefree dark-haired beauty playing in the surf one evening.
Julie Christensen befriends the troubled SEAL, motivated by her yearning to soothe the young man’s troubled soul. Fueled by intense mutual desire, they succumb to one night of mind-numbing passion. Afterwards, he is unable to shed the memory of his lost love and disappears.
When they meet again at a wedding that will forever bring their two families together, their passion and longing for one another forces them to confront their pasts in order to find a future together.
But soon the trauma of his service separates them. Julie goes back to teaching and Luke deploys for North Africa with SEAL Team 3. Upon his return, he receives a frantic call that Julie's life is in danger. Will he make it in time to save the woman he now knows he wants to marry and spend the rest of his life with?
Sharon Hamilton takes you on amazing journeys filled with such emotions and stories that touch your hearts in so many ways. Another great addition to her list of amazing books.— Pamela Reveal, Amazon Reviewer
Publish Date: March 1, 2014Publisher: AL PublishingGenre: Romantic Suspense, Military RomancePrint Length: 275 PagesBook Summary:
Marc Beale and several of his brothers from SEAL Team 3 board a cruise ship to bury a fallen buddy's ashes at sea. A risky affair with a beautiful Italian the night before they leave begins to ease his survivor’s guilt.
Sophia Negri, suffering jitters over her engagement, falls for the handsome SEAL and pretends she speaks no English, letting their bodies do the talking. When Marc finds her on the ship and learns Sophia is half American, he is angry at first, but falls for her all over again as they set sail.
Terrorists take over the ship and hold the passengers for ransom, Marc and the other SEALs are the only ones who can stop the plot. Will Marc’s actions be enough to save Sophia or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the woman he loves?
Published: November 27, 2013
Special Operator Nick Dunn gets the call he has been dreading since before his last deployment. His sister is in her final stages of cancer. He and his Team 3 roommate drive up to Sonoma County from Coronado to help her shut down her failing nursery business and tie up her final affairs.
Nick only vaguely remembers Devon Brandeburg, his sister’s best friend, but boy has she grown up. Last time he saw her was five years ago when he graduated BUD/s and completed SEAL qualification to obtain his Trident. Sparks begin to fly between the two of them, but not in the normal way for Nick. The woman wants nothing to do with him.
Devon Brandeburg has created a small financial fortune through her success in real estate. Her career is her main focus, but a closely guarded secret is her total lack of experience with men. After all, who needs them? Especially when their testosterone-stuffed egos suck all the air out of the room, like Nick’s does.
Nick’s sister requires two things of the both of them as her dying wish. 1. Nick and Devon must find a buyer for the nursery together, not allowing to her nasty winery owner neighbor next door to get his hands on her piece of heaven. 2. They date at least five times before she passes on.
What starts as a deathbed promise turns out to be a hot affair neither one expected. Nick becomes Devon’s teacher in her journey to womanhood. As she comes alive in his arms, the student brings the teacher something he’s never allowed himself to want, and now knows he needs.
As his sister's life is ending a sinister plot to take over her property comes alive. Nick finds out both the women he holds most dear to him are in jeopardy. He's too late to save one of them, but will he be able to save the other?
Navy SEAL Armando Guzman has just returned from a difficult tour in Afghanistan only to find his sister still making choices that land her in the company of a San Diego drug gang. Vowing he will save her from the bad environment she has placed herself in, he is blindsided by his sister’s hotter-than-hot best friend, Gina.
Gina Mancuso is working her first under cover detail, trying to prove herself on a male-dominated police force, even if it means she has to work side by side with the SDPD officer with whom she had a brief, abusive relationship. She is not prepared for the chemical attraction that slams her against the hard body of her subject’s Navy SEAL brother, Armando. Their hot affair not only threatens to ruin her mission, but could engulf Armando in a career-ending dispute with local law enforcement.
Armando is unwilling to walk away from his sister, especially as tensions rise between he and Gina’s ex-lover. Gina is in a race for time to keep her secret identity from the man she is now sure she loves with all her heart. But will she have to sacrifice their relationship in order to accomplish the mission she was sent to do?
Nebraska born and bred Navy SEAL Calvin “Coop” Cooper, after his own family has perished in a tornado, is ordered to meet the family of a prominent San Diego psychiatrist. The doctor’s brother is a fallen SEAL medic who died in Grenada. There, Cooper meets Libby Brownlee, the beautiful niece of this fallen hero. Heavily influenced by her father, “We don’t speak military here,” is her comment about the military in general, and the SEAL community in particular.
What starts out as a frosty debate between two people privately dealing with their own personal grief, turns into a passionate affair neither expected. Just as Cooper realizes perhaps Libby is the woman he’s always been looking for, she is snatched out from under him by a psychopathic killer bent on revenge.
Cooper, along with his buddies in SEAL Team 3, use their training to find Libby, but it might be too late. Will Cooper be able to survive the loss of the woman he loves, or will his duty, honor and self sacrifice be enough to keep her safe?
Christy Nelson embarks on her new career in Real Estate by holding her first open house. Entering the wrong house, by accident, she finds the nude sleeping body of a young man.
Navy SEAL Kyle Lansdowne, on a mission to find his AWOL Team buddy, is staying at his buddy’s home while investigating the disappearance. When someone breaks in, he takes protective measures. He doesn’t expect to find that a beautiful young woman is responsible for his teammate’s abduction.
What starts out as a meeting by accident becomes a hot affair neither one is ready for. Kyle is conflicted about getting Christy involved in his mission, but his hand is forced when he learns the same San Diego gang responsible for his teammate’s abduction has kidnapped her.
Battling 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.
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.