Tag Archive

Tag Archives for " Sharon Hamilton "
18

CINDERELLA LIVES!

Yesterday I babysat my two grandchildren. I'd finally received my copy of Cinderella, the new Disney movie that has outsold all other Disney movies to date. I wasn't able to see it in the theater, but when I stumbled upon the soundtrack, I had to have the movie. The three of us watched it.

This story is so important, not only because she gets the handsome prince in the end, although that is part of the happily ever after we like to read and write in romance. What was important to me was that it was the first story I heard that I can remember feeling the joy of belonging somewhere. Being wanted. Finding my magical doorway to the rest of my life. It was such an uncommon thought for someone less than three years old. I can remember it as if it was yesterday. It has colored everything I do, every choice I made in life since. And it started with a story, a little record player and a picture book to go along with it.

And a room by myself in the upstairs of my huge house. It was like Cinderella's attic. Where all the dreaming and magic happened.

One of the things that graces us when we age is that a lot of things fall away. We forget some hurts. We are smoothed over by the passage of time so that the sun comes out again after a long night, bad feelings and hurtful situations soon fade into the patchwork that is our lives.

One of my favorite songs is “Why Don't We Just Dance.” I've used it in several of my SEAL books, because, when things are strange, when things are perched on a cliff of unknown height, when we aren't sure what to do, I think it's just a good idea to kick of your shoes and just dance. That's how the record ended, with the song, “So This is Love.” and she is dancing in a beautiful ball gown in front of a crowd of people who wished they were dancing too.

Another favorite song of mine is The Dance, “I could have done without the pain but then I would have missed the dance.” What a wonderful line that is.

I was Cinderella in those days. Every fibre of my being was forged into the romantic with rose colored glasses, a dreamer. I learned how to let myself feel. A gift from my three-year-old self to the woman I am today. I am grateful to that little girl who had the courage to take that first step out on the dance floor.

This week, we are launching a beautiful documentary called Love Between The Covers. I financially supported this film (if you scroll down slowly you'll see my name!). I did it because the story has to be told. When I started writing, I had no idea it would be so. It has made me a successful author who can support myself living just about anywhere in the country. It's also important that the world knows what romance does for us. It heals us. I want everyone to know this.

I took a writing workshop very early in my career, and developed the tagline:  True Love Heals In The Gardens Of The Heart. I wanted to have gardens in my website and use it on promotional things and was talked out of it. Experts. Some day I'll write a post on experts. Thank God I haven't listened to them all the time! And yes, sometimes you have to do things wrong first before you learn.

The story that I'm not ashamed to tell is that romance is good for us. You can read my posts of the last month, and just about all of them are on this subject. What happens to our brains, what happens to our general mood when we fall in love, deep, satisfying romantic love.

I watched transfixed as Cinderella danced in that beautiful blue dress, in the arms of the handsome price who twirled her and took her places she could not go by herself–but places she had dreamt.

I think we were meant to dance all our lives, just like we were meant to read about falling in love, letting it make us feel good. To whisper our love stories to the crickets and stars at night, to feel the old earth rotating slowly, oblivious of the passage of time. It all starts with believing in the dance of the heart.

6

SMORGASBORD OF LOVE: Overindulgence Is Good For Me. Good For You.

Smorgasbord of Love: Overindulgence Is Good For Me. Good For
You.

Lucky for me, if you binge on love, it doesn’t make you fat,
it makes you whole. Last night at the IRC conference, we were discussing the
Happily Ever After phenomenon in Romance writing today. Critics of romance call
our novels trashy and “simple”, and those of you who read or write it, know it
is anything but that. Almost like it isn’t cool to say we want more romance in
our lives. Makes us needy. I say, hell yes, I love being needy! I want more
romance, don’t you?
 I read the following
passage from Your Brain on Love, which I referred to in my newsletter last
week. See if you can read it to someone you love without crying. I hope you do!
The chapter is called “Sexuality and Spirituality: Divine Balm For
Your Soul and Brai
n.”
Before he starts the chapter, he has this quote: “Eroticism is….where a man experiences a
woman with all his senses and not just his eyes. It’s the insatiable desire to
know someone completely.” 
–Rabbi
Shumley
Here’s the excerpt I love:
I was just a sophomore
in college when I began working as an orderly in a nursing home…in Mankato,
Minnesota….In the home was one couple I’ll never forget: Henry and Martha. I
think they were the only married couple in the nursing home at that time. He
was ninety-eight, and she was ninety-six. They had been married for more than
sixty years. And this was the second marriage! Henry would wait (from what I
learned from the other nurses and the other staff) for the day I would be working.
I worked the three to eleven shift, and as the clock inched closer to eleven
o’clock, Henry would buzz the nurses’ station, and I would go down to his room.
Henry always wanted the same thing: for me to help him from his bed over to his
wife’s bed. I think he was embarrassed to let one of the female nurses or aides
help him into his wife’s bed. But since I was a guy, it felt okay for him to
ask for my assistance. (He’d worked out a similar deal with the morning janitor
to move him back to his bed the next morning.)
Now Martha was mostly
blind, but when I’d help him over to her bed, I’d see this wonderful smile come
over her face. She could no longer see him, so she was responding to the sound
of her husband coming near and crawling into bed beside her. She beamed when
she felt his arms enfold her. They were a part of the blessed few—Master-Level
Lovers.
I thought that scene
was the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. After all these years, I
still think that.

Being a master-level lover is more about the heart than the
sex we usually think of as being a master of love. When you analyze it, really,
being a master-level lover is being full out. Not holding back. Giving 100% of
what you have to give. If you play at 100%, there are no limitations.
Age, space and time cease to exist. This is what true
romance is. And what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. What’s good
for the brain is good for life itself.

The miracle is we can feel it any time we choose.

14

LOVE AND LUST Part II: Long Term Love

I love the chemistry of this couple.

I got married in 1971, and back then, I didn't understand what I do now about long term relationships. As I've said so many times before, I got lucky. I stumbled along the path of hearts and flowers, probably because my head has always been safely tucked in a rich fantasy life. I remember things as no one else does and I've stopped second-guessing this and just accepted this fantasy world as being every bit as real as anything else I've actually experienced.

The topic of love is fascinating to me and I've been a student of the effects of love on brain function. People meditate for lots of reasons–for clarity, peace, to calm their anxiety–why not for love?
Did you know that married people are five times more likely to have sex two or three times a week than are singles? A Vanderbilt study said, “While people get older and busier, as a relationship proceeds they also get more skillful–in and out of the bedroom.” There are the seasons of the heart, too: when we're close, when we're in our separate worlds, when we fight, when we make up. We aren't one thing all the time. I didn't understand this when I was young. Yes, I write younger women as perhaps a fantasy ideal to fit in with the genre or characters I'm using, but I'd much prefer to be the age I currently am, compared to the care-free 20-something. And to be that woman, all I have to do is close my eyes or pick up my favorite book. I have learned we can actually physically change our brain and that this change is now being studied in psychology today as totally healthy. Yes, I said reading love stories, fantasizing and meditating on love, lust, sex and all parts in between, is actually life sustaining. It's good for you!
A recent study of long term marriages and passion says this: “One thing you learn over time is that no matter how log you live together, two people always inhabit separate worlds. Some part of your partner is deeply unknowable.” Who besides me thinks this is sexy? Sara Ban Breathnach calls it “the search for the undiscovered other.” Like an explorer of old, searching for love, for the adventure of love and being loved, is one of the sexiest things we can do. And it doesn't mean you have to sleep around. In fact, I'll wager sleeping around actually ruins it. One study calls it sexual mystery. I laugh when mystery writers tell me they can't write romance–the biggest mystery of the ages!
In a long term relationship my experience is that you wander around the halls of the heart, not knowing when the encounter will stop and start, but you know the potential is always there, might happen when you least expect it, but you have certainty that it is there, ready to surprise and thrill you.  “The familiarity of a partner is soothing. Is it too calming for couples to get it on? Or does it open the door for intense sexual arousal?” Quite different than being out on the prowl, looking for something else when the perfect love is right at your side. 
I allow myself to be conquered and captured, and all the sexy implications that that brings. I willingly submit to one man only, and turn that submission into a creative exploration of passion. That keeps sex fresh and new, ever-changing. It isn't dependent on frequency or some other arbitrary criteria. We are for each other what we want to be for each other. I will feel this way still even if he precedes me in death. The fantasies and the memories will never leave me while I live and breathe. 
I guess I would have to say that perfect love is what you dream it to be. That place I take with me everywhere. Always.

And is there anything more sexy than the picture of a bed with tussled sheets?


Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
15

LOVE AND LUST: Becoming Your Own Courtesan

Not to worry. This will be very PG in words, but hopefully a little X in the fantasy of our minds. I'm a collector of ideas, especially about love and lust. Partly it's my job, and partly it's because it interests me more now than at any other time in my life. I used to wonder what it would feel like (and yes, I might have dreaded it a bit) being over a certain age (a lady never reveals her age but she will get nekked with the right guy). I distinctly remember being in my twenties and knowing my life would be over at 29. Anything after that didn't look interesting to me at all. And boy was I wrong.

In fact, I think love, romance, sex, lust and all things in between, either practiced, dreamt about, read or listened to is even more important the more mature we become. Nice thing that happens and a little secret to aging: we don't get old. We just enjoy all those fantasies in our head more than the reality of what's really going on as we climb the ladder of life.

I've read a lot of Sarah Ban Breathnach and find her writing touches me deeply. Her discussion of the word Casanova, that mythical great lover every woman wants to meet, literally means new house. She suggests a woman cannot be in love with herself or life if she is living in the wrong place. I think men are the same way.

I have Romancing The Ordinary by my bed and often read a chapter before I fall asleep. Here's a little quote: ‘The true courtesan was traditionally more than a beautiful prostitute. Many of the most successful courtesans in history were cultured and sophisticated, enjoying considerable power and prestige. Courtesans were accomplished women of great beauty and intelligence. Highly sought companions of royalty, prime ministers, and wealthy gentlemen, they were expertly skilled in the elegant arts, which, besides lovemaking, included conversing, flirtation, entertaining, music, poetry, art, sports, politics and intrigue. The courtesan might seem at first to represent the antithesis of love, but in many ways her history is spectacularly romantic…These women often commanded intense love and prompted great works of art.'

Is there anything more exciting than sharing our passion?

She also talks about falling in love with love, how, she smiles more, expects to see her lover, whether real or fantasy, around every corner. She possesses more of the 2 extra senses SB says woman have: knowing and a sense of curiosity and exploration. Food tastes better. Drinking wine is a sensual ancient act. Shower gel and bubble baths are more important. Intimate tucked away places and soft music, tuscan orange hand lotion and bright fabric clothes and smooth Egyptian Cotton sheets that are way more expensive than we can afford — all these things come into our lives.

Why do we do these things? Does our lover make us do them? No. We do them because we want to enhance our own lives, because it feels good to be in love, especially to love intensely, deeply. She calls it the practice of the sacred self-nurture. We listen to or write poetry, paint, sew, garden, listen to music, AND WE READ LOVE STORIES!

In short, we become the courtesan of our own bodies, our thoughts and dreams. We seek to create the environment where love is not only something that feels good, it sustains us, and alters everything around us.

SB calls it the place of belonging. And isn't the state of love, bliss, lust and excitement where we all belong? Is there any wonder why so many men and women read/write and enjoy romance? As I've said before, when we love deeply our truest, most generous and miraculous selves are revealed, unfolded like the shedding of our clothes. When there isn't anything separating us.

Nothing at all.

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.

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Disney Touch of Magic

My favorite

I traveled home to San Francisco with this pin on my chest. I wore it proudly, like a true time traveler, reminded of my six days at Walt Disney World and the magic it inspired in me. I once got to spend some time with a long time friend of Disney, who told us tales of how the original park was built, the obstacles Disney overcame, and the vision and dedication of “getting things right,” from the simple to the complicated.

At every turn, the branding that Disney does is consistent. Bus drivers to and from the parks play videos, and even the shuttle going from our Animal Kingdom Lodge and the sister lodge on property pumped in African songs, just like the lobby of the hotel. I have never been to a hunting lodge at Lake Tanganyika, or ridden the train to the Mountains of the Moon west from Kenya into Uganda, or stayed at the Treetops Lodge, but I'll bet some of what Disney created would feel similar. Sitting out by the pool, I got to listen to the piped in music of my favorite African performer, Samite and his lovely voice. The rhythms he plays are universal and would find a home in many genres, including folk and country. If you want a history lesson on some of the hardships he endured growing up in East Africa, you can read more about him here. A voice of inspiration and hope for a world that needs so much of it.

I admit, I have a problem.

I have to admit that, during this trip, I got my family addicted to collecting pins. I'm not proud of the fact that I spent easily a day or two's lodging on getting these pins, then trading them all over the park. It gave us something to do during those long line waits. We scouted out clerks and customer service reps who had whole books of pins we could trade, just two at a time. But if going overboard is a religion, I am a true believer. Those that know me well know that I don't do things half-way. Throwing myself into the pin trading game, including learning to negotiate with my very savvy 6 year old granddaughter (who really didn't need her parent's help to draw her line in the sand) was one of the highlights of the trip.

My second favorite.

My granddaughters got to be made up as princesses. Not sure what I was expecting, but walking into a magical makeup room, set with at least 10 beauty stations, all manned by Fairy Godmothers, making their little charges into princesses, was just simply enchanting. The message was clear: anyone can be a princess. To watch the little girls walk out of that dressing room, transformed into a make-believe character, and expecting a happily ever after was awe-inspiring. The old cynical me, before children, before grandchildren, would have said, “For what purpose? They're living a lie.”

Not true. It's fantasy. The stuff of fairy dust and happily ever afters. The things your heart dreams about when you let it follow it's natural course. All things seek love. When you realize this, the world suddenly becomes a different place. We are lucky enough to be able to feel it every day in our lives. Our destiny is to spread it all over the world. It's the only reality we can truly create, after all.

10

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: LAND OF LEMONY SNICKET (Sage Words from an Unlikely Source)

Our recent trip to the Sonoma County Fair was charmed and enhanced by the incredible Florence, the Land Yacht built by Gypsy Time Travelers. You can look up their website at www.gypsytimetravelers/com. I think we are planning a visit to Mendocino County for the incredible Kinetic Carnivale.

We are lucky to live in California, where all the strange and unusual things are. Northern California is like the Lemony Snicket of the United States. Strange. Beautiful. Fun. Unpredictable. We don't have the drama or harsh weather or horrible economic conditions that seem to plague the rest of the nation. People frolic here, come here on vacation, and scrape everything they can to “get by” just to live here. I was just lucky. I was born here, second generation, in fact.

Florence

Florence is such a curious structure. It's a vehicle, but it's also something much more. It's a stage, a living quarters, a happening, borne out of pure creativity and fun. Michael is a blacksmith. His creation is a magnet for kids and adults alike. We are oddly curious about things we know little about–things cloaked in mystery, with a little magic and sparkly stuff (perhaps some black faery dust too).

I loved the Lemony Snicket series on TV my two oldest kids watched years ago, brushing aside the concerns about “dark fantasy”. I truly think dark fantasy has always had a place in our culture. Look at Hansel and Gretl, or Snow White, for instance.

I'm going to have more pictures in my Newsletter this month. We are trying out an expanded version and I'd love to hear what you think. Part newsy and part fun.

By the time you read this, my family and I will be in Disney World. I think that one of the most wonderful things about raising a child, or having grandchildren is the fact that for some space and time, we get to return to that age when we didn't know everything and everything grownup was a true mystery. Time enough for being an adult. For the next week, I'm going to be a child, and live through the eyes of my grandchildren.

We don't have Florence, but we have the adventure in our hearts! And just like the crew of Florence, we're keeping a sharp eye out for pirates!

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?

12

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Living in Cinderella

Harry Chapin once said that every song he wrote had some little part of his life, some emotion he was feeling, or experience he remembered, and that it was impossible to be a songwriter without this “gift” as he called it.

I feel the same way as a writer. My early days as a child molded me in a very big way. We lived in Oakland when I was little, until my family moved to Palo Alto, where I lived until college. My parents bought the house from our pastor. It was way bigger than we needed, so my parents had two “grandmothers” who boarded two of the upstairs three bedrooms. The third bedroom was mine. My windows faced my mother's flower garden, some half acre going up a hillside. I used to spend hours and hours looking out that window at the garden and imagining all sorts of things in my future. Adventures and stories, and most of them love stories.

My best friend sent me this, the exact player I used to listen to!

I think I was about three when I moved in there. At first, I was scared, being all alone. We didn't get
the boarders for the first year. So I had the creaking upstairs all to myself–the locked attic doors at the side of the large staircase, and the empty rooms waiting for someone to come stay with us. My parents bought me a little record player, and I used to sit there all alone and listen to my stories on that single switch player, playing Walt Disney '45's, of Snow White, Cinderella, Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales sung by Danny Kaye.

These tales, especially Cinderella, resonated with me. It didn't take much imagination for me to put myself in Cinderella's shoes, waiting for my handsome Prince Charming to come take me away. I loved the beautiful blue gown with the lace trim made by her bird friends, as she danced the whole night in the arms of that dark-haired prince. I matched the tilt of her head, imagined what the feel of his hand would be on her tiny waist, imagined what the stars would be like as we'd twirl, and the ballroom would be transformed into some magical place where all things are possible and the future is brighter than the present.

I think I never stopped living there, really. I played those records so often, it's a wonder they didn't

wear out. I'd cry at the sad parts, and cry really hard at the Happily Ever After. I think those days were the happiest for me as a child. Being left alone, listening to songs and music and the spoken word of a love story.

And now it resonates with me. Life has come full circle. I've completed perhaps my “job” of being a mother, a dutiful wife, a career and income generator. I've done all those things for others, as well as myself. Now these days are for me, my gift to myself for a life worked hard for. I get to experience the fantasy of a life in the Happily Ever After, even if reality isn't there yet. I get to live in the fantasy of what could be. I no longer wish for the same things I did as a younger woman. I want to wrap myself in love stories and I don't care about reality.

I'm lucky enough to be living in Cinderella. It's as if I will manifest this fairy tale the more I write about it, the more I feel it. I gladly give up this world for that one.

I hear music. I feel like dancing. Won't you come along?

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.

4

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Living The Dream

Sometimes we aren't thankful enough for our successes. The world has gotten to be a strange and dangerous place. In my talk yesterday, I discussed how now is the perfect time to be a writer. And who can forget the 2008-2009 time when we were worried the stock market would crash and there'd be war right around the corner? Some writers wrote their best works, and great movies were produced during another dangerous time.

Here's what was happening some 70+ years ago:

Major Political/World Events:
            General
Franco and his Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War
            Germany and
Italy sign the “Pact of Steel”
            Germany
annexes remaining Czech territories, Czech Republic is dissolved
            Italy
occupies Albania
            Soviet-Japanese
border war erupts
            Nazi-Soviet
pact formed
            Germany
invades Poland (beginning WWII)
            Britain,
France, India, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany
            US decides
to remain neutral, but begins to arm for war to help ease
                        effects
of the depression
            USSR
attacks Finland
            USSR is
expelled from the League of Nations (precursor to UN)
Albert Einstein writes letter to
FDR about the possibility of an atomic bomb
and the Manhattan
Project is launched

Other background for those times:
World Leaders are:
            USSR:              Joseph Stalin
            UK                   Neville Chamberlain
            USA:                Franklin D. Roosevelt
            Japan:             goes through 4 in less than 8
months
            Australia:        goes through 4 in less than 5 months
            Germany:       Adolf Hitler
            Italy:               Benito Mussolini
And then some major accomplishments:

            Gone With
The Wind is made from Margaret Mitchell’s book in 1936
            Heinkel He
178 is the first jet aircraft to fly
            John
Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath
            Of Mice and
Men was made
            The
Jefferson Memorial is started in Washington, DC
            Hewlett
Packard is formed
            The first
air conditioner is offered in a car: Packard
            New York
World’s Fair is hosted by US
Here’s what things cost:
            Average new
home price: $3,800.
            Average
wages per year: $1,730.
            Cost of a
gallon of Gas:  10 cents
            Average
cost to rent a house:  $28. Per month
            Loaf of
bread:  8 cents
            1#
Hamburger:   14 cents
            Average new
car:  $700.
            Toaster:  $16.
            Due to
increased usage, cost of electricity is cut ½ in 10 years
Do you know that people thought publishing houses and the movie studios were done? That no new books would be printed, movies made?
They were wrong then. They are wrong now. Keep Writing!! 
8

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Celebration of Fathers Everywhere

Today we celebrate fatherhood. It takes a lot to be a father, and not much of it has anything to do with blood or actual paternity. A real father is one who sacrifices much for the care and protection of his children.

I think it is the greatest test of a man practicing fatherhood. It is a somewhat difficult job at times, often thankless and unnoticed. We make a big deal about motherhood, and I think fatherhood is often missed or glossed over.

And it shouldn't be. I am so fortunate to have had my husband of 44 years right along side me as we raised our 4 great kids. I'm sure their lives wouldn't be the same without his guidance. Men and women bring balance to the partnership of parenting. I know my husband's different style is often ten times more effective than mine.

I can remember once he came home to find our son, aged about 10, just getting ready to jump from our second story master bedroom window onto the trampoline he'd pulled over. “Watch this, Dad,” was his comment. Don said he was afraid to stop him, and just watched as our son did a somersault and spiked a perfect landing on the trampoline, a skill he'd obviously been practicing all afternoon when he was left unsupervised by his older brothers and sisters. And his comment afterwards? “Well that's fine. Just don't do that in front of your mom.”

One of my favorite things to do is to go to Disneyland and watch fathers and their children, sharing the happy memories of their childhood with their kids. You see dads in Mickey Mouse ears or Goofy caps, skipping, singing, eating ice cream or holding a child who has gone “comatose” in front of the light parade, fallen asleep from overload.

I think of the Navy SEAL dads and how they are known for “wrestling with their kids in their batman pajamas.” I think any man who has opened his heart up to not only a life partner, but a child, has a special place in Heaven. Falling in love and being the hunky sexy hero of a woman's fantasy is one thing that probably stems from genetics and the basic sexual drives of our species. But being a father is something learned, practiced. It isn't always a natural act, and you get better at it the more you do it. Notice I didn't say it got easier. You just get better at it.

So, fathers, I salute you. I love who you are and what you stand for. It takes unselfish courage to be a true dad to a child, to stand for something, and stand with them when they need it. My own dad was a remarkable man, and the first man I ever loved.

12

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Not Missing The Dance

I've heard some beautiful recordings of this song. Garth Brooks recorded it. So have many others. I've had this song sung to me live, once on stage, recorded for me, dedicated to me on a radio station once. It's a song that means a lot to me for a lot of reasons. Old boyfriends, new friends, people I've loved and love still, people who I knew that have passed on, people I loved who were killed in battle, or at home fighting the fight at home.

Just like the words say, “Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance,” our colorful stories are made up of good days and bad days. Strung together like multi-colored beads in a glass necklace, or christmas twinkle lights, chapters of a book that holds our attention, the whispered words of love in a dark night, or memories of those loved and lost, loved and gone away, except for our memory. And we are better for it, right? Some pain, yes, but better for it.

Another haunting song I love by Jimmy Webb, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, I heard again about a year ago at a Pat Metheney concert. Talking about love, love found, love lost, and the journey to and from love. Beautiful, painful, like life itself. Who will forget the wonderful voice of Glen Campbell, now silent, singing this beautiful song.

Experience makes us the people we are, gives us the stories of love and pain, the yearning for something more miraculous than our ordinary lives. Like Liam Neesom's child says in Love Actually, “Let's go get the shit kicked out of us (by love).” Drunk on love, or drunk on the creating the fantasy of love – it's all the same. Drunk on writing is the same as living the experience. I travel all the places my heroes and heroines travel, feel the warmth of arms around me, the love I get to feel and express without holding back. And yes, there's pain too along the way sometimes.

You and I get to dance together for as long as we wish. There is no beginning and no ending. Our capacity expands the more we fall into the twinkling fantasy of what love could be like in it's perfect, most intense form. We're hopeless romantics, you and I. We live in the possibility, in the moment that is miraculous and pure.

And the pain? Well, that's the dance, isn't it? The backdrop for all the miracles that happen. When things hurt the most, especially when someone you love is hurting, all the more reason to cover ourselves in the fantasy of a good love story that heals all. I still believe in love, though I've been hurt. I still believe I get richer, deeper and stronger every day I live.

Because I'm dancing. I'm still here. I'm still dancing.

11

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: If It’s Sunday, It Must Be Cincinnati

Me with Lori Foster at #RAGT15 in Cincinnati

I had a wonderful time here in Cincinnati at the Lori Foster reader and author get together. This completes my 7th conference so far this year, with 4 (possibly 5) more to go. I'm finally getting the hang of it. The more I do it, the more I enjoy it. Even managed to watch history being made while having a nice dinner with friends. American Pharoah won the triple crown, something which hasn't happened in 37 years and I was there watching the big screens, cheering him on.

There were a lot of personal victories for me this trip. It continually amazes me how as a romance writer, I can touch so many people's lives. I started out this writing journey creating stories for myself that I couldn't find anywhere else. And now I write for everyone else. The more I get to know some of the authors I love to hang with, the more I understand that we all absolutely love what we do. I could never say this about anything else I did, even things I was highly successful at.

I've been working on finishing my SEAL's Code story. Like every story I do, I fall in love with the hero, love to feel the chemistry of the couple and their complete surrender to each other. Hanging around people in my stories who have a happily ever after gives me great satisfaction and pleasure. I sincerely think it makes me a better person, too. Love always triumphs over hate, good wins out over evil eventually and the most unlikely and improbable odds turn out to be what saves the day.

Like my heroes and heroines, I try and fail. Do things I'm proud of and things I'm not so proud of. When I'm done with the story, I do feel like it's the end of a relationship for me, and I do have a hard time letting go. But that only lasts until I get engrossed in the next story, and so on and so on.

Someone at dinner tonight talked about being afraid to show her work, to even read her own work. I completely understand that. My friend Karin Tabke gave me some great advice on that, which I gave to this newbie author: “Finish your story, send it out, put your blood spatter apron on and get ready.”

I told her that the only way we get better is to fail. And if we fail big, we win big eventually. When I think of all the lessons I've learned this year and last year, my biggest failures have also been my biggest wins.

And yes, love conquers all, heals all, enlightens us all and brings us to the most blissful and perfect self we can be. It's the place where the magic happens, where men wear Mickey Mouse ears and dance along little paths through castles, merry-go-rounds and pirate villages. It's the place where people trust and enjoy spending time with each other loosely, unselfishly.

Flying into Cincinnati

Like Walt Disney said, “Where all the animals go up and down and there is never any chipped paint.” We get the prize when we jump in, connect, strap in for the ride of our lives, not knowing the outcome. Where we take a chance on each other.

I decided I'd give you guys an excerpt (very short one) from SEAL's Code. This is not the hero or heroine, but two FBI guys working on a case, minor characters in my story that give color and texture to the fabric of the word weaving. One guy, Cortland Drews, is a huge FBI agent in charge, and is forced to work with his sidekick, Daryl, a skinny agent right out of school. Like my SEALs, I liked their smack talk and banter. I like to watch them squirm and fail a bit, and then pull things out of the fire at the last minute, just like my hero and heroine. Enjoy. Can't wait to let you guys read it. Remember, this is an unedited excerpt, so tread on me lightly. But enjoy nonetheless.

Excerpt, SEAL's Code:

He’d been assigned a kid straight out
of school named Daryl.
            “Cortland,”
Daryl said in his whiny nasal tone, oblivious of how it made him want to grab
the guy by his neck and wring it. “You like anybody we’ve interviewed for
this?”
            He
didn’t want to tip his hand just in case there was a secret mission necessary.
“Not sure yet. I’ve cleared all the women so far and most the tribal men.”
            “Which
leaves me,” Daryl said pointing to his own pigeon breast of a chest, “And the group
from Gallup and Phoenix.”
            “Very
good,” Drews said.
            “What’s
your theory?” Daryl didn’t seem to mind that he was on Drews’ short list.
            “I
smell money.”
            For
being so clueless, Daryl knew when to stop pushing for answers. That made him a
perfect assistant. “Whew. Well, that rules me out, since I don’t have any.” His
half-hearted attempts to crack a joke fell flat at first. Then Drews bellowed
as if it had taken him a long time to catch the subtlety of the joke. He never
left an opportunity unused to demonstrate how slow he was. It gave him an
advantage over everyone if they thought so of him.
            To
their own peril.
            “You
hungry, Daryl?”
            “Does
a chicken have lips? Does a snake chew gum?” Daryl scrunched up the side of his
face, obsessed with his own cleverness.
            “That
fuckin’ doesn’t even make any sense, Daryl. The answer to those questions would
be no, so I guess you’re not hungry. You want to wait in the car then? It’s
only one hundred six today.”
            “Well,
I’ll take some pie for lunch. The lady who bakes here is supposed to be the
best on the whole reservation. Her name’s Emma.”
            Drews
started to relax. Maybe some day he could just have an ordinary twenty-four
hours, so he could walk into a diner, sit down to the counter and order a piece
of pie without seeing body parts splayed over everything and the dark thoughts
of every male in the place. He thought women were the only things that made men
human. He used to tell his friends he thought God figured it out right away
he’d fucked up when he made Adam, or the First Man like the Navajo’s believed.
So he made woman to balance him off, distract him into behaving nicely just
like leaving a little trail of pills for a junkie to find. If he was unlucky to find a bad woman, once the man was trapped,
the woman would tie him up and eat him little bites at a time. Like a frog in
water that was brought to a slow boil, men would think they liked it, until it
killed them and their manhood. Even good women did this to men all the time, he
thought. He didn’t want to change, had no intention of changing anything for
anybody except himself.
            So,
Drews was going to stay free forever. He’d live alone and die alone. He’d make
sure not one piece of his DNA was left behind afterwards. He wanted to be
remembered for the impact he had on the cycle of life and death, how he played
the game, not the life-long friendships and satisfying work everyone else was
seeking. If it was Halloween, he’d dress up as the grim reaper.

            Every
day.

12

SUDAYS WITH SHARON: REMEMBERING VETS ALL OVER THE WORLD and (GULP) Some Numbers

I try not to listen to the news, but most days I can't seem to avoid it. Even going for coffee I'll stumble upon the headlines in our local paper. My eyes drift off toward that first page as if it was a new erotic thriller. Human nature, I guess.

We hear about the explosion of bad deeds, both in the name of religion and in the name of some nationalistic cause, and we sometimes wonder who we can trust. Can we trust our world leaders? Do we have to put up with dishonest dealings and back room deals? Do we have to tolerate our fine men and women being sent in to do jobs and then neglect to take care of them after they are back? And do we forget to say thank you?

Oh yes, we do. Our need for the smutty and salacious is overwhelming, like how my eyes wander to the headlines. Truth is, we've been fairly well insulated from most of the bad things of this world because there are men and women who laid down their lives so we could live the life we have, relatively unfettered. I guess that's why I don't like to hear about how bad things are. Things for you and I and most the people reading this post, are pretty darned good. And someone else paid for that freedom. There are those doing it still today.

Every death in battle, every innocent death, every death due to lack of services or neglect or ignorance is one death too many. Today we remember those who fought and died during times of war. It crosses all races and religions, all nationalities, both sexes, all ages, all economic levels and all languages and cultures. Our war heroes and those that support them come home, remembering those who did not. Our uniforms are bloody, our hearts weep, and our flags are frayed. But the cost is worth it.

Something someone once showed me made a big impression, and I guess that's the lesson in today's post. I pass this knowledge on to you, just in case you didn't hear it. For however you may think about what's been going on recently in the war arena, here are some facts you might want to remind yourself of.

You can read the whole article here. It only covers American lives lost during conflicts from the Revolutionary War to today. But here are a couple of startling things to remember. During the first 100 years of our country's existence, 683,000 Americans lost their lives (91% of that during the Civil War). During the last 100 years 626,000 Americans died (WWII being 65% of that figure).

Revolutionary War                25,000

War of 1812                          20,000

Mexican-American War       13,283

Civil War                            625,000
WWI                                   116,516
WWII                                 405,399
Korean War                         36,516
Vietnam War                       58,209
Persian Gulf War                     258
Afghanistan (13 yrs)             2,356
Iraq (9 yrs)                            4,489

Since 1945, the end of WWII, Americans have lost 102,264 lives. Yes, it should be zero. One is too many. We want them all to come home and come home whole. But there's a reason we've lived in relative safety. Our men and women in the military all over the world are the biggest reason. They don't make policy. They do what they're told. And they pay the price for us.

Thank You


17

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Wrapping Up My RT Convention

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON:  Romantic Times Convention and what I learned.

My Pirate Storyteller, J.D. Hart
I've filled my calendar with travel this year, and have loved meeting new readers and getting to meet face to face with readers I've seen only online. I think writers in general are a giving people, always helping each other. This convention's good will and positive energy starts from the top. Kathryn Falk and Ken Rubin, who run this with their stable of wonderful volunteers, share the same caring and positive attitude. Makes such a difference to me as a writer, to be in the company of people who like being with each other.
My Hunky Heroes quilt raffle.
I learned I could travel with wine in my boots – literally. What a great way to store these bottles. We had 2, and I sent the other 2 home to my pirate and his lovely wife to enjoy.

My quilt was a hit, and the lovely Kathryn Falk won the raffle. We raised $323, which will be sent to the UDT/Navy SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida when I get back Monday. Thank you everyone who donated. 

I wrote myself into a box a bit with my timing, and so didn't get in on the parties much this year. I think that was a mistake I made, and next time, I think I'll stay more involved. Even J.D. said I should have tried riding the mechanical bull. I know some line dancing, and I think I could have brought a costume. So, next time, that's what I'll do. I still didn't get all the writing I wanted to do, and I missed some great get-togethers. But I also got some much-needed words down, and had a nice balance between meeting fans and getting re-connected with my writer peeps. This was a measured trip, not throw all caution to the winds. But that's the way I wanted it. Focused. Maybe next year I'll let my hair down a bit more…who knows….

Sylvia Day and Karin Tabke at RT
My storyteller, J.D. Hart, came to help me, and what a Godsend he was. Not only physically helped me with the books and SWAG for the book signing, but was there to meet readers and help me sell my brand. Came all the way from Nashville with his pirate outfit, which was awesome. We got a lot of attention with his unique brand of eye candy at my side, and helped make this convention a success for me.
View from The Tower at Dallas Hyatt Regency – it revolves!

Now, as I sit here and look out my early morning window, thunder and lightning brightening the sky (and yes, drowning out the couple next door again…lol…did a whole FB post on this last night), I'm just very grateful I get to spend so much time doing what I love to do: being a full time writer.

Being successful does mean you have to write good stories. But without getting out there to promote them, and be a face behind the stories, even a good writer will falter. It's a joy to be able to support our family with something I love so much. My goal is to retire my husband within 3 years, after his many many long years of hard work. And to leave a legacy of great stories hopefully generations to come will enjoy. 

The pirate and me at the book signing
Thanks for being on the journey with me.
Military Tribute with fans and Susan Stoker
Boots package wine quite well!
7

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.
4

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: In Graton, California for Mother’s Day

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: Graton, California

We sort of have a tradition of going to the Wildwood Cafe in Graton for special events. I'm late because I've spent the morning eating way too much, with syrup and butter and all kinds of unmentionable things like bacon and french toast – things I don't eat very often. But I ate light yesterday, planning for this event.

It's special being a mom, missing my mom who has gone now for over ten years, and having a daughter who is a mom of her own twice over. Watching the next generation has become one of my favorite pasttimes. Those that said being a grandparent is more fun than being a parent didn't lie.

 My husband is planting some roses I bought online (recommended by a reader), and I'm finishing up packing. Just sent a load of books, posters and SWAG to April and Christopher, to prize winners and street team members – the post office ladies love me because I bring them tee shirts occasionally, and books, of course. These will be mailed by my husband because I'm going to be on a plane to Dallas tomorrow, on my way to RT.

 I've cleaned up my sewing mess, shipped everything I could, gotten out my clothes, so I'm pretty good to go. A meni/pedi is coming up in a couple of hours, then hopefully an early trip to bed as I catch the 3 AM Airporter for SFO airport. Don't ask me why I decided to travel on a Monday, but guess what? I managed to pick the one day out of the week with sunshine, so I guess I must have known. I will be holed up in the hotel writing tomorrow night and Tuesday, as well as evenings and times when I'm not involved in something at RT. This will be a working vacation, and I do it well. I actually write well on the road.

 I got my crown (people have been giving me tiaras and crowns lately) this morning at breakfast and wore it until the trip home. We took pictures. I'm amazed my 2 year old grandson can use an iPhone to take selfies and decent pictures. They both learned to watch things on their iPads before they could even talk. What an amazing time we live in.

Yes, that's me with the crown.

Hope your Sunday was special. There are a lot of moms out there who have given us way more than they received. Probably more than we deserved. They give us the gift of their unconditional love, and it transcends everything and extends to us long after they pass on.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a mother. Yes, every minute of it. It's been an honor.

4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Mission Statement

“Offering empowerment and sisterhood through exceptional outdoor adventures.”

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

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

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

“See ya’ there!”

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

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