Sunday, May 24, 2015

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









Sunday, May 17, 2015

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!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

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.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

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.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

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.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON - I Will Miss Nashville

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: I Will Miss Nashville.

My plane doesn't take off for a few hours, and already I'm teary-eyed. I've been attending the Day With The Authors here in Nashville, organized by Sandy Sullivan, and I have to say it has been one of the best conferences, as a writer, I have attended this year. I nearly sold out of all my books.

Something about being in this part of the country tugs at my heartstrings (I guess that was a play on words). I know it isn't always green and warm, but Friday morning my storyteller, J.D. Hart, and I drove through the countryside and had an early breakfast at Loveless Cafe. Surrounded by pictures of stars from the 1950's on, I loved partaking of the biscuits, the bacon, sausage and ham with the baked cheese casserole hash browns, peach preserves and gravy. I don't eat like this in California, and even if I wanted to, there'd be no place like this. They were stoking up the BBQ in what we would call a summer kitchen outside the main restaurant.

Last night we went to a world class steak house, where I was surrounded by the gentle conversation washing over me like a light warm rain. People smile, they look you in the eyes, and they are gracious. As I said in my talk yesterday, there must be a Southern bone in my body somewhere, even though I've been born and raised in Northern California. They are an endearing kind of warm that really grows on me.

Today we visit Arrington Winery. But it's just a day to hang with my best friend, the man from Tennessee, and yes, I am his number one fan. I'll probably become incoherent by the end of our day together, so I'm bringing my Kleenex.

This trip has been inspiring. I've gotten way more out of it than the energy I've put in. Looking out at the sea of people as I gave my little talk, I felt honored and loved, truly loved. I like small, intimate gatherings where we can tell stories and just hang with our reader fans. The community of writers I've been privileged to get to know well is a family that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

This great country of ours is made up of different regions, each with its own special gifts. But leaving Nashville will be hard today. Going home will be nice, but I will miss this place, and the good friends I leave behind.

Until the next time!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON: N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

SUNDAYS WITH SHARON:  N is for NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

A friend of mine reminded me about writing caves and now the new trend, "She Sheds" and I got inspired again. I've still not given up hope that some day soon I'll have a writing cave of my own. I'm not complaining, but grateful for all I have, but the idea of having a place just for me, some place cozy and single-purposed, like for writing and messing around with my muse in private (like it was illegal or something) excites me.

I write now at a desk that also serves as a bill paying station, a catch-all for anything writing related. Bad news is that it's a mess most times, and I usually go off to bed without straightening it (bad habit). Good news is that if it is writing related, it's there. Might be under something, but this sacred space I don't even let the housecleaners mess with.

I once watched a video of an author building her writing cottage and she made the point that writing should be done in an uncluttered, free place where only that is done. She separated her space from reading area, writing area (with a view that inspired her - mine was to look over my garden and flower gardens which have not been returned yet) and then an "office" desk for all the business of writing, so the two don't get mixed up. I have no trouble focusing on bills and schedules and planning. My writing muse is something I have to guard carefully. She's a fragile angel of a thing, a lady, and very sensitive, as I want her to be.


I can write in coffee shops and cafes, at the airport (watching people), over a glass of wine or margarita at my favorite Mexican place, in fact, just about anywhere, especially if I have my headphones. Right now, I write on the "bridge" upstairs in my house, which is open down to the two story living room and near the stairs, so the dogs, my husband, anyone who passes interrupts me. Just hearing the paper shuffling downstairs in my husband's office (my old writing area I gave back because I found the view of the unfinished construction/driveway not inspiring), or the kitchen activity or TV downstairs is a distraction. Beauty of living in a church-like structure with 24' ceilings and skylights is it's wide open and light. We have a 13' glass garage door on one wall of the dining room. But everything echoes.

Writing cozy is beter, methinks. And some day, I'll have that. Thank you, Cherokee Hart, for reminding me of some of the ways I can inspire myself!

What about you? Do you have a craft room? Reading room? Writing area or "muse-inspired" place? Love to hear about it.