Saturday, December 27, 2014
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.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I decided to give you a little short story to sketch out a new character I'm going to be writing for my next SEAL book in the Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3 of my SEAL Brotherhood series. His name is Rory Kennedy and I'm already in love with him, and he's only nine in this story, until the very end.
Enjoy! Merry Christmas to you all!
Rory Kennedy didn’t believe in Santa Claus when he was a child, because there were no pictures in the orphanage he spent five of his young years in. There was a Christmas Tree, but they removed it when Rory and a number of the boys took the glass ball ornaments outside and tossed them at each other like snowballs.
They’d missed their dinner that night too, but the giggles continued all through the evening. Instead of Christmas carols, they told ghost stories in the corner of the locked room they shared. The room was always locked at night from the outside because these were the incorrigible boys, and though the oldest was seven, they had earned a reputation they liked: impossible to live with. They figured if they’d continue screwing up, they could stay together until their teens, and then be a pack of friends “on the outside” as they referred to it. Though they’d been scolded and reminded of it many times, it still felt like a children’s prison.
Rory’s parents were said to be still alive, but he didn’t believe it. The nuns had two classifications of children: orphans and true orphans. This made a difference since the center was given an allotment of new clothes every year, along with hand-me-downs given by the community. The true orphans got the new clothes, and the orphans, like Rory, got the hand-me-downs.
Rory didn’t mind this arrangement, because he didn’t like the look and feel of stiff pants that made skinny underweight kids like himself look like cardboard stick figures as they walked around in their new finery. The fact that his clothes had smudges and tears made him more comfortable, and less guilty when he damaged them further.
His mother visited him one time. She brought a boyfriend with her, and afterwards he realized he’d not passed the test she was hoping he would and they never returned. No doubt, the man was looking to see if Rory could come home and live with them and evidently he decided he couldn’t. It hurt a little bit. Would have been better, he thought afterwards, if she’d never come. It was evidence that she’d abandoned him, and not the other way around. And that sucked big time.
But fate had a way of messing up his community, and one by one the boys were sent off to foster care as the aging nuns began to close down the orphanage. The Diocese was in need of money, and this enterprise was considered expendable, especially since there were other agencies who could handle children that needed homes.
The first foster care home only kept Rory for a week. The second was another zoo of unkempt children with snotty noses and Rory took ill and wound up in the hospital. They discovered he’d picked up a tapeworm and along with other things, removed him from the home.
He’d developed an allergy to strawberries, of all things. His new foster mother liked to put them in everything, and Rory was soon covered in spots. At first he was quarantined like he had chicken pox, but when the spots continued for a month, the allergy was discovered. Rory had liked his quarantine. He’d started reading Playboys he’d snuck from his foster older brother, who also was a good source for alcohol and cigarettes for the nine-year-old Rory, who acted as lookout for some of the teen’s more questionable activities. But all that dried up when young Frank was sent to Juvenile Hall for some infraction he swore he never did, involving a girl at his high school. Rory was, once again, left alone.
He knew he’d developed an addiction to cigarettes. He’d heard and seen things enough to know that’s what happened when you smoked several a day. Sometimes he’d steal a whole pack from his foster mother when he learned where she stashed them after Frank was carted off. But then she discovered his sinister deed and kept her smokes in a locked cabinet.
Frustrated and telling himself he needed some kind of distraction or he’d start thinking about running away, he began a love affair with fire. He liked to set small fires in the rear yard, raking up leaves and burning them, thinking he’d been helpful to The House as he called it. His foster mother seemed to be okay with it, for some reason, since Rory was the only one to rake the leaves or do any work around the house. He liked tinkering with things.
He started tinkering with bottle rockets when he was given some firecrackers by a Chinese kid at school. Then he began unpeeling the paper on the little explosive devices and filling plastic straws with a longer fuse, which really sent the projectiles into the air. Of course he could never tell where they’d land. Only one of them landed on a car and set off the alarm. It left a large crater in the roof, though.
He found some shotgun shells in the old garage that was more of a toolshed than garage and he knew he was in like Flynn. He accidentally set one off on the workbench. He was lucky to get away with only losing the fourth finger on his left hand, but the ensuing fire burned down the garage and once again, Rory was sent to his fourth foster home after his surgery and hospitalization.
Now, as a grown man, and a Navy SEAL, he sat in the coffee house/book store and watched the chubby and well-loved children huddle at a book reading with a woman dressed as Santa Claus, telling stories to her little horde of fans. He allowed himself to drop the window on his calluses, and enjoy the scene, even though he felt a pang of hurt. It was like the caramel salted latte he sipped: some salt and some sweet. It was the story of his life.
Hope you enjoy your Holidays with friends and family. Let's remember those who are no longer with us this Holiday season as well. And the men and women who stand for us in harm's way. God Bless.
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
Author Page ** Sharon's Blog ** Sharon's Website ** Facebook**Twitter
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Audray has just assumed the title as first-ever Queen of the Underworld. As she attempts to consolidate her rule, characters from the past threaten to destroy her and the love she shares with Jonas Starling, a 300-year old dark angel. When she discovers she has been the recipient of a miracle, suddenly their whole immortal lives are changed forever. Will they survive the coming war or get snagged in the power struggle over not only the underworld, but the human world as well?
Radio Interviews with Arial Burnz
Sharon Hamilton and JD Hart Speak with Arial Burnz
Sharon Hamilton Speaks With Arial Burnz
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Creating the Happiest Place On Earth hasn't been easy, but it's been a labor of love. I can't imagine what kind of powerful leadership it takes to create and run an organization like Disney did. But he was the spark. And today, his legacy lives on because he was able to light that spark in hundreds of thousands of his co-workers and "cast members" around him. Yet, even after all the success he had in business, he never forgot that he was first an illustrator, and never tired of drawing pictures for children, being with children and helping to create happy memories for children of all ages.
Being here in Orlando the past 2+ days, I'm amazed at the lights, the way millions of people wander through his vision, his land, from all over the world, a place where I couldn't wait to go to as a child, took all my children to, and now my grandchildren. A place where imagination can run wild. We want to share in the experience together, even though the lines are long, the restaurants are hard to get into, where you have to plan ahead to get to go on favorite rides - we all do that willingly and mostly without complaint. Because we want to be connected. People are using their mobile devices to make reservations and work through all the limitations of being in a setting and sharing it with hundreds of thousands of strangers.
We are all connected, and this place shows it, though we are different individuals, we still strive for that "happy" place where we can join our way. The park offers hundreds of ways people can do this. Kids and adults have their favorite lands, favorite characters, favorite experiences from the the choices offered. Entertainment is connection, where we are moved by a performance or talent outside ourselves. We go back again and again to the same things, experiencing the promise consistently delivered over and over again, like a great movie or thrilling book we've watched or read or listened to over and over again.
It was powerful last night to watch as the lights on the Castle turned the whole area into a shimmering Frozen wonderland. My little voice was just one. My grandkids screams of enjoyment a few more. Together we shared in the magic of connection with strangers all over the world. And we walked away with a little more sparkle dust. I'm sure when I get home today, there'll be some glitter in my clothes when I unpack.
I know there's lots of sparkle in my heart.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Nelson's Shipyard was originally founded in 1740, but the great Admiral himself lived there only 3 years in the 1760's I believe. It was fascinating to read about this garrison, founded before the Revolutionary War, and England's plans to not only protect its interests in the Caribbean, but to establish a safe harbor from the hurricanes that would sometimes decimate a fleet in this region. They also were attempting to stop local pirates from having their way with merchant ships that frequented the Caribbean, loaded with money and other goods bound for England. I was fascinated by the accounts of family life, with "no women allowed" yet where evidence that the sailors and some of the workers they brought from overseas developed relationships with the local women, sometimes raising families, even though there was a wife and family at home. There was one account where a sailor's grave was repositioned, to find that he had been buried with an infant son on his chest, probably due to Yellow Fever. Very touching.
An unexpected miracle was the fact that there was a charter yacht convention going on. They are gearing up for a Sailing Week coming in 2 weeks, where the rich and richer gather with their "boats", will race, party and party harder. I'm sure it will be a wild time. I was in awe as I walked down the pier, passing probably fifty ships that cost more than I'll earn in 10 lifetimes. Some of these were for sale. Some prospective buyers were charter tour operators and people who liked to own a percentage share of a "boat" like owning part of a racehorse. New stuff for me. And fascinating.
The internet was spotty around the dockyard, where I'll definitely come back to again, so we took local advice and hopped on a dingy, a water taxi, and headed over to Galleon Beach, and had, yes, a cheeseburger in paradise at Roxy's Beach Bar. I was introduced to their version of rum punch, both the old fashioned kind and the standard variety. I got a nutmeg moustache, enjoyed the sun on the water, sat under the fronds and umbrellas, and checked my FB and internet messages. While there, a woman from one of those huge boats tied up her dingy, bringing her chocolate lab to the ocean for a swim. And she stood in the water while he had his fun, a romance novel clutched in her hand. I found this woman fascinating! She said she brought 75 romance novels with her on this trip. Good for her! Wish I'd had a spare book I could have given her, although she was into historicals.
I talked last week about going through doorways and unexpected turns. The trip on the water taxi was a whim for us, just to see something new. Now I feel like the whole trip, the whole cruise was created just so we could have this day at Galleon Beach. We met a group of prospective yacht buyers from the UK who were going home that day, a couple from South Africa, another handsome bartender from South Africa, and Joshua, originally from Guyana, but who came to Antigua when he was 15. I felt the westernized stiffness leave my bones as I relaxed, loved the sounds of the gentle waves, the music and light chatter, and just unwound. Found a part of myself there I didn't know I'd left behind. A new story developed, I'm itching to get to, but I lined it out briefly, shared it, and hope that I can keep the fire burning after I complete some edits I have to start working on tomorrow.
Wonder what Admiral Nelson would think of these boats that are probably worth more than the entire net worth of Antigua itself as a country. One thing is for sure, he probably sat on this beach and enjoyed the sounds of the bay and felt the warm breeze on his face, saw the blue sky and big billowy clouds, and knew that this was indeed paradise.
This day changed me in ways I cannot calculate at the moment. I had it all: romance, lazy Caribbean breeze, beach, stories and, of course, rum. I could get lost here, if I chose to. Perfect!
Saturday, November 29, 2014
We grace many doorways and walk through many gates. Some of those were locked, some were left ajar so we'd find our way onto the garden paths that take us on life's journeys. I love doorways, gates and unexpected voyages.
I started photographing doors, gates and pathways some years ago, and I think I probably have enough for a nice colorful picture book. Perhaps some day I'll collaborate with someone who knows how to do this, and will produce one. But more important to me is the significance of gates and doorways, what they mean to all of us in the larger sense of life.
None of us knows what will befall us when we start out on our journeys. I like the accidents best because it teaches us how flexible we can be in the face of usually our own fears. Just like Robert Frost said in his wonderful poem, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, which was read at John F. Kennedy's inauguration, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep." This poem and Robert Frost's reading was not supposed to be on the program. Kennedy's featured poet (sorry, name escapes me), came down with a cold and could not speak. At the last minute Robert Frost was asked to do it. And he chose this poem, which was one of Kennedy's favorites, and history was made. It talks about choices, and which path to take, and whether or not it did or didn't make a difference.
The process of being a writer is about making choices with the lives of our characters. We decide what to put in, what to reveal, or hint at and reveal later. We decide to show an awkward moment, or that moment when suddenly a sunny window in the heart opens up and true love is first revealed in the warm apricot glow that true love lives in. I think of my characters sometimes as curious children, finding something to explore, and then finding the Secret Garden where all things miraculous happen.
What makes a good book a wonderful one we'll fall in love with is in the choosing choosing Like a good chef, just the right amount of spice and aroma. Like a painter, just enough color and texture. Like a songbird or a storyteller, just the right amount of passion in the voice or the soothing words of love that helps the body to vibrate to some mythical pattern somewhere between sound, color, space and emotion.
That's where I live. When they say a tale is woven, it is true. One golden thread at a time. We suspend disbelief. We believe in angels. We believe in true love that never dies. We believe in heroes that ultimately become greater than they ever thought possible. We believe in that perfect place, that Happily Ever After.
It's always there. It's just around the bend. Beyond that closed gate that opens with a loud metallic creek. Just beyond where we hear the sound of running water, the music of our souls, the sounds of birds calling to us, and the way our hearts feel when we are on an adventure. Or when we stand very near those we love.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Catch up with the authors of Passionate Bites over at PNR Radio. I had so much fun talking to Arial Burnz over at PNR Radio. The things my characters make me say! Grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and click on the link below to listen - and I hope you enjoy.
Click here to listen to Passionate Bites at PNR Radio
And remember to enter our fantastic giveaways. You won't want to miss out!
Ten hot vampire romance novels by NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors.
Do you like stories that are a little bit decadent, indulgent, delightfully perverse, and dirt cheap?! I have teamed up with 8 other authors for a vampire boxset coming out November 25th. PASSIONATE BITES is now available for pre-order. And it's only 99cents!
We have 3 big giveaways - all the details are at the bottom of this post. There's even a Kindle Fire looking for a new home :)
Out November 25th
Barnes & Noble
Passionate Bites is a paranormal romance collection loaded with sizzling hot alpha-males & badass heroines. From vampires to werewolves to witches & demons, these dark, sensual tales of romantic suspense weave a tapestry of intrigue, desperation, betrayal, & enough steamy desire to satisfy every taste.
DARKNESS SERIES, 1 & 2 - K.F. Breene
Sasha has grown up with one surety: she’s not normal. Since she was little, she’s had unexplained talents & seen strange shapes in the shadows no one else can see. One night, everything changes. Suddenly she is immersed in a world full of danger & magic. She must finally reveal her secrets in order to survive.
LUCA’S MAGIC EMBRACE - Kym Grosso
In the Big Easy, vampire, Luca Macquarie, & witch, Samantha Irving, embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical relic. With cryptic clues & clandestine allies, will they destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it? Will Luca give in to his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures his heart?
DAMON - Teresa Gabelman
Damon DeMasters, vampire warrior, has taken an oath to protect his own kind as well as humans. Social worker, Nicole Callahan, fights for the right of every child placed in her care. Damon has been ordered to train Nicole & her colleagues against the dangers they now face. Even as sparks fly, Nicole & Damon depend on each other to protect the children of both races.
DESTINED - Brenda K. Davies
Terrified of becoming mated like her parents, Isabelle has locked herself away to avoid their fate. Despite her determination to remain alone, her world is rocked when Stefan arrives at their door. Just as she begins to let her guard down, Stefan’s dark & deadly past catches up to him & threatens to destroy them both.
HONEYMOON BITE - Sharon Hamilton
Anne caught her husband cheating before their wedding cake was cut, so she takes her honeymoon in Tuscany alone. Bitten by a vampire on her wedding night, she is left for dead, until Marcus Monteleone, her 300 year old fated mate, rescues her. Will they be able to navigate Marcus’s rocky & dangerous past to have an immortal future together?
A SUMMONER’S TALE - Victoria Danann
The devastatingly seductive ex-vampire, Istvan Baka, is forced to relive his tragic life as human & confront his past as vampire while his friends search for him. That search ultimately proves that love waits patiently through lifetimes for a second chance.
BLOOD AND SNOW VOLUMES 1-8 - RaShelle Workman
“Lips red as rubies, hair dark as night. Drink your true love's blood, become the Vampire, Snow White.” Every thousand years the Vampire Queen selects a new body, always the fairest in the land, & this time she’s chosen Snow White.
THE NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO - Travis Luedke
Vampires, Mafia & Sexy Mayhem: EMT on call, Adrian Faulkner resuscitates a beautiful woman after a mafia shootout. He can't explain why he picks her up in the hospital parking lot three days later, then ducks the police. She wanted to escape. He wanted to get laid. They both got more than they bargained for.
MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE - Arial Burnz
After seven years, James Knightly returns as a master swordsman, ready to captain a ship & wed his childhood sweetheart, Cailin MacDougal. Waiting for him is a dagger-toting hellion for a bride, an immortal father-in-law, & an enemy bent on threatening the family James holds most dear.
3 WAYS TO ENTER 3 DIFFERENT GIVEAWAYS
Win Signed Paperbacks,
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Saturday, November 22, 2014
Sundays With Sharon
Many of you remember the cruise we took last year from Italy to Brazil, and all the amazing places we visited. I took over 300 pictures and posted many of them. I plan on doing the same this year. Once again, we are cruising from Savonna, Italy to a mysterious and exotic destination: Miami. By the time you wake up and read this, we will be leaving port.
Today we wandered around Savonna, after catching a train from Genoa. Our hotel is right at the port of Savonna, and we had a day there twice before when we boarded the ship from this location. It was here during breakfast I met the Brazilian dance instructor, Roberto, from Cruisin For A SEAL. I also had the chance meeting between Mark and Sophia in the little piazza where this picture was taken. Sophia was speaking with her mother, and Mark couldn't help but watch her out of the side of his eyes as he sipped his cappuccino. Remember the description? There was a statue of the Virgin Mary embedded in the building? She's there in the picture.
The other SEALs hung out at the Ferrari store, sat and drank espresso and beer by the boats in the harbor. Remember Jones was hoping to get lucky and wanted Mark to go with him? But Mark had a date with Sophia, who lived in an appartment in one of these little winding streets off the Piazza?
In earlier books, Anne goes to the chapel here (although I do not call it Savonna, taking literary license) and prays for true love. Little does she know that Marcus Monteleone is in the chapel at that very moment, can hear her prayer and feel that she is the woman he's waited for for 300 years.
Just about everything I do I can make into a story. Today I watched another young couple kiss goodbye and I found myself staring. I love watching people in love, kissing in public. It makes my heart sing. In Italy, they do it a lot.
I wrote nearly 60% of Cruisin For A SEAL on the cruise we took last year, finding the lifeboat Mark and Sophia would have their rendezvous, and later where the Team would pull off a daring rescue. I climbed aboard this lifeboat and sat on the seat where they made love by candlelight. I found a secret way to enter the deck through a door covered by a curtain by accident. It was the perfect plan!
So, coming to Italy and going on another cruise has lots of meaning for me. I hope my readers will enjoy some of my next adventure. I've also got a setting in the Caribbean I'm wanting to research, and looking for a house to rent so I can explore next year further, perhaps stay a month or two and write. Another thing to add to my bucket list.
How about you? Do locations create stories in your head. Even if you're not a writer, do you make up stories about people just by watching them like I did with the young couple today? Are there places that get your creative juices flowing? Or make you so romantic you practically can't stand it? I want to hear it!!
Enjoy your Sunday.
I just love this video of a little piece of Italy!!
Friday, November 21, 2014
Click on the link to listen in: http://ilovevampirenovels.com/podcast/sharon-hamilton-viola-rivard-giveaways/
Sunday, November 16, 2014
PNR Radio: http://ilovevampirenovels.com/podcast/sharon-hamilton-viola-rivard-giveaways/
iTunes podcast channel – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pnr-radio-paranormal-report/id828094403?mt=2&uo=8
Stitcher Radio Channel – http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=45888&refid=stpr
I also have a great giveaway in conjunction with my podcast: audiobooks of books 1 & 2 in Golden Vampires of Tuscany series – Honeymoon Bite & Mortal Bite. This giveaway will run from November 17-23, 2014 with one lucky winner being picked on Monday (11/24). You can enter the giveaway here: http://pnrradio.com/contest
In partnership with ILoveVampireNovels.com, author Arial Burnz is the host of the podcast PNRradio.com, where she features entertainment that goes bump in the night. If you love paranormal and fantasy books, TV shows and movies, you’ll love PNR Radio! Guests include bestselling authors e.g., Nalini Singh, Kami Garcia, Kelley Armstrong, Sharon Hamilton & Patrick Rothfuss and celebrities from TV shows like Supernatural and Dracula, and every show has a giveaway.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Yesterday, my brother and I went to visit our step-mom, who is downsizing. She wanted to return items we had grown up with, now that our father had passed. These were things coming back to our family that were owned and enjoyed by our mother and dad during their nearly 60 years of marriage. You haven't lived until your father starts courting at 80, and then remarries. Being an engineer with good humor, although dry, and not known for being a "player" he still managed for part of his last years to have a wife in both worlds, here and in Heaven.
Some of these things had been in drawers, unseen, because there were so many of them. My brother and I appreciated that great care was taken not to dispose of anything the family would want to be passed down later on. A a suggestion my father should mark and label everything, he scoffed, "I don't want to be living in a museum of my own things." Point taken. And so, we know Dad loved them, tucked them away in a special place, but left no notation about it or its significance. We had to guess.
I think everyone wants to be like the kids in Madison County, finding an old love letter from someone not of their father's lineage, a great love secretly tucked away and hidden from family. In reality, I'm not sure that happens very often. We didn't expect this, nor did we get it. But it's always fun to revisit the things our father held, loved and decided to save in a special place.
We found these glasses. My brother and I had never seen them before and there wasn't anything indicating what they were. We guessed they belonged to a bachelor "uncle" of my mother's who lived in San Francisco and was a dental salesman for a time. He's buried along with his two spinster sisters, Aunt Mary and Aunt Elizabeth, in a cemetary in Galt, California. We knew Uncle John wore glasses, but not a double-lensed monocle.
Until we stumbled upon this picture. This is my great grandfather Fridell, on occasion of his 25th wedding anniversary 99 years ago. I remember this man, and so, I think I did see these glasses worn by him. Although his beard is short in this picture, he grew it long after my great grandmother passed, and used to separate it and tuck each half into his vest pocket. I remember playing with his beard while I sat on his lap as a toddler. He used to chase me around the house, saying "bitte, bitte Sharon" and I can remember screaming and nearly running into things as we played this little game of chase.
Grandpa Fridell came over from Norway as a young Baptist minister, seeking religious freedom in an environment where it was said the children could not go to school unless they were Lutheran. For a time, he traveled the midwest in a buckboard, with eventually 9 children, living from house to house as he cared for three churches in Nebraska, where there was a large Scandanavian population. My grandmother was the oldest, and had been born in Norway.
I can remember him talking about my great grandma, not by name, but always by his name for her, which was "My Beloved."
He became the pastor at the church California my mother's father would one day lead, which is where my parents met. It was the church where my grandmother and two of her sisters met and married my grandfather and two of his brothers.
And so the lost is found. The mystery solved. No steamy love letters amongst my father's things, but a story of dedication, and sacrifice, of new beginnings in a new country and a dynasty to follow. And yes, like everything in my life, a love story.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Warrior Mine: Military Romance Anthology
Meet six HOT alpha warriors and the women who tame them!
Box set includes six novels by six amazing authors.
Get ready to swoon over sexy SEALs, Soldiers and Marines!
Authors: Sharon Hamilton, Lizzy Ford, Amy Rachiele, Amanda Hough, AJ Bennett, Janie Storer
“Accidental SEAL” by Sharon Hamilton
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.
“Semper Mine” by Lizzy Ford
A freak accident landed both of the Khavalov twins under my command, just before a routine mission turned into a nightmare. I brought home one twin in a coffin and the other in a coma missing his leg. I did everything right – and still people died. I can’t forget that night or how many lives it changed, including mine.
“Shrapnel’s Kiss” by Amy Rachiele
It’s love and war! Captain Tyler Alexander, U.S. Army, Infantry: Mission first and mission ready is his motto, but he realizes it all has a deeper meaning when he meets Junie--a Flower-power Peace Corps volunteer. Can they have a relationship in the midst of terrorists and firefights?“
"Fight to Win” by Amanda Hough
Navy SEAL, Jaxson Avery followed the example of his father, Mike—he became an elite fighter for the United States military. And he let no one get in the way. Jaxson became the youngest SEAL to complete BUD/S SEAL training at age seventeen. By twenty, he was leading a team. By the time, he was thirty his squad had hunted, captured or killed some of the deadliest murderers in the world. Can Jaxson convince Talley that she is the one regret he refuses to carry anymore? And will he ever see that look in her eyes? Can he be her hero again?
“Now or Never” by AJ Bennett
Twenty-one year old Grayson Alexander finally breaks away from an abusive relationship and finds herself free for the first time in three years. Determined to enjoy her new-found freedom, Grayson is intent on sticking with 'no strings attached' relationships—one-night stands, and steamy sex.
But she didn't plan on Derrick.
Her attraction to the sexy man in uniform quickly turns into an unhealthy relationship. They both try to resist the pull, but neither can stay away.
When tragedy strikes, Grayson realizes it's now or never—walk away or make it work.
"Bittersweet" by Janie Storer
Jeoff has an accident whilst on his way to a date with Flora, and doesn't make the date. Flora thinks he has stood her up and goes home emotionally upset. It takes a few days for Flora to learn what happened to Jeoff, a serving member of the British Armed Forces. As soon as they do eventually meet, they realise there is something between them, and they begin to date.
A disgruntled man who Flora prevents from assaulting another woman at a wedding, bears a grudge against Flora, and has a sinister plot. Can her Soldier save her in time?
Monday, November 10, 2014
Barnes&Noble - coming soon
Special Operator T.J. Talbot had watched from afar as his best friend married the love of his life. Raised in and out of the foster care system and nearly ruining his chance to become a SEAL, he figured his Happily Ever After would never be. But Dr. Death plays a heartbreaking trick on him and he winds up being the man’s father confessor, where he makes a promise to the dying SEAL to look after his friend’s wife and baby.
Back in the states, Shannon Moore is grateful for the baby she is carrying, though she is a constant reminder of the man who no longer lives at her side. She is not ready for the attention from the community she receives, especially from T.J. She’s decided to honor her fallen husband by giving her whole life to the child he left behind.
Recovering from his wounds, Talbot is plagued by the depth of the wounds he still carries inside him, as he tries to perform a mission he wishes he was not given. Rebuffed at every turn, he struggles but understands his promise might not be able to be fulfilled. He does not want to take what was never given to him in the first place.
But what starts out as an improbable love story begins to bloom and grow. When Shannon and the child are endangered, he will not quit fighting for the family he now knows he was meant to love forever.