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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