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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Navajo Code Talkers and Navy SEALs

In my new book,SEAL’s Code, which comes out Tuesday, I decided to create a hero character, Danny Begay, who is half Navajo. He’s raised on the res until he turns 12, when his mother, of Miwok ancestry, moves him to her people in Northern California.

I’ve enjoyed spending time in the Tucson and Phoenix areas the last three years, attending the Arizona Dreamin’ conventions, and the Tucson Festival of Books. This past year, I also spent time talking with good friends who have taught on the res, or have done FBI undercover work there. I wanted a character who was not okay with his roots. In fact, I wanted a character who washaunted by his past. And I want this character to discover that his past actually contributes to his becoming the best man he can be, a Navy SEAL. SEAL’s Code Book Trailer here.  SEAL’s Code Thunderclap Campaign.

Here’s an excerpt which shows his before state of mind:

The family gathered afterward at Wilson’s mother’s house which was on the res nearby. It was hard not to feel the eyes of his relatives on him, just as it was hard not to notice the pats on the back Wilson received. Lopez had been well coached and sought Wilson out to thank him for his service. Danny wanted to leave and told his mother so barely two hours into the get-together. He’d politely greeted all the relatives he recognized, and those who didn’t come up to him he figured didn’t want to be reacquainted. Not like Wilson.

As a youth, just hanging with Wilson would have been enough to make the afternoon interesting, but today with the frostiness between the two cousins, it was forcing him into a dangerous place even the sweet recollection of the night with Luci couldn’t heal. Making matters worse, Wilson made an off-color remark, about Danny’s activities last night which irritated Danny further.

The two ignored one another until, somehow, they wound up waiting to use the only restroom in the house.

“Your mom says you’re ready to go home,” Wilson said to his cowboy boots.

“That’s right.”

“I honestly don’t know why you came in the first place, Danny.”

Danny’s right eye squinted a little. “We never liked these things, Wilson. You know that.”

“You’ve been gone, what, eight years or more?”

“Twelve.”

“Okay, then. Twelve. And you can’t spend an afternoon giving these people the time of day?”

“I don’t belong here, Wilson.”

Wilson nodded his head. “Oh yeah. Forgot. You’re the one that got away. You trying to rub my nose in it, huh?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“So what are you saying?”

“I’m saying I don’t want to be here. I’ve done my farewells, and now it’s time for me to say adios.”

“You might consider your mother’s feelings.”

Danny drilled him with a return look that probably picked at a scab, inflaming Wilson further. “You hear the voices? Does the chanting get to you, Wilson?”

He could see his cousin was thinking about this carefully. It surprised him that Wilson didn’t give a quick answer no, which meant only one thing.

“Holy fucking shit, Wilson. You hear them, too. Just like I do.”

Emma Barnowl, one of his grandfather’s friends, opened the bathroom door and their nostrils were hit with room deodorizer, which did a poor job of masking the smell she’d left behind.

“Fuck me,” Wilson said under his breath. “I’m going out back.”

Danny followed his cousin, and within thirty seconds, was standing next to him, pissing on his aunt’s tomato plants just like they used to do when they were boys of five. To this day Danny hated tomatoes, especially home grown ones.

After they were done, they sat in metal lawn chairs. Wilson offered Danny a cigarette.

“I don’t smoke, and neither do you, or you didn’t,” Danny corrected himself.

“That’s funny,” Wilson said as he casually lit up and put his lighter and cigarettes back in his rear pocket.

“How come you didn’t wear your uniform?”

“It’s my choice. I didn’t think he’d like it.” Wilson took a long drag on his cigarette and blew it right at Danny’s face, but the wind carried it away.

“Thought you were proud of being in the Navy. Running little rescue boats around and shit.”

“I am. Got nothing to do with it. Kind of felt like it would be bragging or something, you know?”

Danny wondered about Luci, halfway expecting she’d drop by the gathering. Was he disappointed she’d stayed away? He couldn’t get the memory of her warm body against his out of his mind. This might be a reason to stay an extra day or two, but that would be a dangerous road, full of emotional potholes and entanglements. None of his liaisons ever lasted, so he figured it was better to remember her the way he’d left her. He remembered seeing her proud straight shoulders and those tight jeans, encasing her thighs and a world-class ass, as she walked toward her car and didn’t look back once. He knew the only good ones were the ones who didn’t look back.

Wilson’s voice snapped him back to reality.

“Look, Danny, I’m going to say this once, and then let you go. I’m sorry we got off to a bad start after so many years.”

“I was surprised you were around. Didn’t expect it.”

“So I was right, you’re not happy to see even me.”

“Again, putting words in my mouth.”

Danny looked down, eyes landing on Wilson’s scuffed cowboy boots, which were a mismatch to the clean suit pants and white shirt he wore. “I left this place with a lot of demons. I think I got just as many, maybe more than you, Cuz.” Wilson took a final drag, stomped it out on the patio, and then tossed the pieces into his mother’s vegetable garden.

A slight breeze shivered its way down Danny’s spine. A little group laughed from inside the house. He heard the tinkling of glasses and silverware, the sounds of cars arriving on the crushed rock roadway in front of his Aunt’s house, a doorbell ring, and the buzzing of a small plane overhead. The place looked, smelled and felt dangerously normal.

“I learned to tame those demons in the Navy, Danny. I’m not going to lie to you, but serving in the Armed Forces is giving me skills I can take out there in the real world.”

Danny found himself chuckling in spite of the fact that it was going to piss Wilson off. “Yeah, don’t see many rubber boats around the res, Cuz. You training to be a white water rafting guide in the Canyon? Shit, you coulda done that in high school.”

“Except I was getting stoned in high school, Danny. So were you. I heard you were a real mess.”

“Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I look like a mess to you?”

Wilson abruptly stood. “No, Danny, you look like a fuckin’ hero just like your grandfather.”

His cousin left and joined the gathering inside the house.

Question for you readers today? Do you like to learn about history with your romance reading? Or is it all about the romance? What balance do you like to give? And do you enjoy learning about Native American, or specifically Navajo culture? I’ll pick one winner and announce it here on this blog on my launch day, Tuesday, June 30. Won’t you join us?

Strange Bedfellows - Tour Banner

WLK synopsis

Strange Bedfellows - coverCan the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

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WLK Author Bio
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Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

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Winner’s choice of ebook from author’s backlist (excluding box sets or anthologies).

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Cover Reveal – Sunset Kisses – Angela Ford

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Alivia Jones set out to New York to become rich and successful. Her dream to work on Wall Street happened but left her heart empty. She sold her soul to the CEO of Financial Freedom, Brent Atwood. He had everything to give a woman except his heart. He referred to their relationship as a perfect arrangement. Her emotional struggle to stay with him tore her apart until she realized he didn’t own her.
 
Alivia quit her job, ended her ‘arrangement’ and left for Sunset Beach for her tenth reunion. There she’d left a broken-hearted Jacob Adams. Hesitant to see him again quickly disappeared with one sunset, one kiss. Will sunset kisses and one crazy idea with her best friends keep her in Sunset Beach?
 
 
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Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground!
DSC_0447 - Copy - CopyHer love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Now residing in Ontario, Angela works in Finance – numbers by day – words by night. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure – suspense with a dash of romance that hit the best- selling Action/Adventure and Women’s Fiction. Angela continued this FBI suspense with Forbidden and will deliver the final of the series in 2015. She also writes contemporary romance, sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy and sometimes with a dash of suspense. Unforgettable Kiss delivers a spicy romance with a dash of suspense. Blind Tasting of The Love List series and The Christmas Wreath of the Forever Christmas series are sweet reads. 2015 kicked off with a new Romantic Suspense Surrender.

Between two jobs, being a mom with a home always filled with young adults and rather interesting stories; she is lucky to have one very patient and understanding man. But it is the furry family members who rule the house – a Puggle (Pug/Beagle), a new Chug puppy (Pug/Chihuahua) and two loveable cats. Every possible quiet moment she finds, she treasures and just writes about the moments to come. Angela is an avid reader of romance, a member of the RWA, KOD (Kiss of Death – Suspense Chapter) and Mississauga Writers Group. You can follow her at BTGN www.bookstogonow.com or visit her website/blog Romantic Escapes athttp://www.angelafordauthor.com to connect with her on her social network sites. She loves to hear from her readers – they keep her smiling!

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Sunset Kisses
COMING END OF JUNE 2015

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Sundays with Sharon and Lori Foster? What? Best of the best!

SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2015

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

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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.                                      image 5

image 4Like 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.

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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:image 2

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.

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REMINDER TO WEAR RED ON FRIDAY!!!!!

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2015

Red Friday Post – This Is Why We Wear Red on Fridays

Bruce, Kally, J.M. MSgt Leroy Petry and Sharon, in Cincinnati

I’m at Lori Foster’s Reader/Author event #RAGT15 in Cincinnati. It’s the first time I’ve been here. Met up with good friends J.M. Madden, Bruce and Donna MacDonald, Karen Henderson, April Allen, Sabrina York, Darynda Jones, Kallypso Masters and the lovely Charlotte, and many many others. If I try to name them all I’ll forget one and it will ruin my night.

Bruce met and introduced us to Master Sergeant Leroy Petry, a proud veteran now a motivational speaker, who is a common man who did uncommon things. In fact, he was so uncommon, he was awarded many ribbons and medals, including the Army Commendation with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with a bronze Oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, andThe Congressional Medal of Honor.

Code Talker quilt


If you read about him in the link provided, you will find he also attended Indian school near Santa Fe, New Mexico. A statue of his likeness is located today at the Pojoaque Pueblo. I believe this fine warrior is Native American.

As I read further, I found this:

Tattered but still there
A Taliban fighter threw a grenade at their position which landed 10 meters from them; it detonated, and the blast knocked the three soldiers to the ground, wounding Higgins, and further wounding Robinson.[3] Shortly thereafter the three were joined by Staff Sergeant James Roberts and Specialist Christopher Gathercole. Another grenade was thrown by a Taliban fighter which landed a few feet from Higgins and Robinson. Petry, knowing the risk to his life, moved toward the grenade, picked it up, and attempted to throw it in the direction of the Taliban.[7] Petry later recalled his immediate reaction was “get it out of here, get it away from the guys and myself. And I reached over, leaned over to the right, grabbed it with my hand, and I threw it as hard as I could, what I thought was at the time. And as soon as I opened my hand to let it go, it just exploded instantly. And I came back, and the hand was completely severed off.”[8] The detonation amputated his right hand, and sprayed his body with shrapnel.[9] In throwing the grenade away, Petry likely saved the two other soldiers from serious injury or death.[10][6]
Petry placed a tourniquet on his right arm.[1] Roberts began to fire at the Taliban fighters, suppressing them in the courtyard. An additional fighter on the east end of the courtyard fired, fatally wounding Gathercole.[3] Higgins and Robinson returned fire, killing that fighter.[1] They were then joined by Sergeant First Class Jerod Staidle, the platoon sergeant, and Specialist Gary Depriest, a medic. Directing the medic to treat Gathercole, Petry was assisted by Staide and Higgins to thecasualty collection point.[3]
There are no accidents. I was meant to meet this fine young man who sacrificed himself that day to save others, and who fought to protect our way of life. What I didn’t know until I got up in my room and began to read the information on Petry was that he served with a young man our family knew from Sonoma County, Chris Gathercole. Every time I mail a package to some one of my fans, I see Chris’s picture on the wall at the Santa Rosa Main post office, along with the other dozen or so brave young men who lost their lives and are honored there.
And next week when I go home, and mail my next package, I will look at Gathercole’s picture, and I will silently thank him again, and let him know his teammate fights on for all of us. Because although Petry is now retired from active duty, there is still much work to be done amongst the community. My job is to watch, pay attention and record or bring light to it.
And to enjoy my life to the fullest. Thank you, Staff Sergeant Petry, and Specialist Chris Gathercole, for protecting my freedom with your precious blood.

EXTRA EXTRA!!!! Read all about it!!!!

Hearts in Danger is now ON SALE! 

This Romantic Suspense box set includes FOURTEEN thrilling romances to benefit the American Heart Association. These full length, stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS, including me! I’m honored to be a part of such an important cause. Click on the image to download all fourteen books for only .99 cents!

Hearts In Danger

Books included:
Accidental SEAL by Sharon Hamilton
Pick Your Poison by Roxanne St. Claire
Protective Custody by Paige Tyler
Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris
SEAL’s Honor by Elle James
Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane
Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCray
Dangerous Curves by Nina Bruhns
Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans
Protecting Caroline by Susan Stoker
One Night Stand by Parker Kincade
Brody by Mandy Harbin
Enemy Mine by Megan Mitcham
Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han