Monday, August 22, 2011

Life Happened and You Get a Giveaway!

Okay so I know that I have been quiet for a few weeks...I apologize for that! But in my defense, life happened in a big way and I've been just trying to play catch up.

SO, first, I went to RomCon in Denver and had a great time talking to readers, bloggers and authors. I also got to meet Kasi Alexander, fellow Omnific author, and author of one of my favorite books, Becoming sage. Kasi and her family were so great and she gave me a beautifully signed copy of her book along with some awesome jewelry that they made. Thanks, Kasi!

Then I had a girls' weekend with some of my closest girlfriends. We spent the weekend laughing and talking and lying in the sun. We also saw The Help (which was our last book club book - and I will be posting the review of both the book and movie soon!).

The day after I got back from my little getaway my kids started back to school! This is the one that gets me the most bogged down because I can't believe that my kids are as big as they are, and I'm not happy about it! My daughter is in third grade now (and you can probably tell by the shoes, thinks that she's 16!) and my baby is in second grade...where did the time go?

And speaking of my baby...he started playing football - like real tackle football - this year and had his first game this past weekend. He made an amazing tackle, and I may have jumped up and yelled, "That's my baby!" I have since been told that I was not supposed to do that, but there is no stopping a proud mom!

I almost forgot the girls and I were lucky enough to get a Meet & Greet with the 100 Monkeys before their concert last week. It was so fun hanging out with all my favorite ladies for a night, but I've quickly discovered, after getting home at 1AM, that I'm too old for that kind of thing!

To top things off, in between all of this crazy somewhere, I got an email from a local bookstore that they wanted me to do their "Local Author Showcase" on October 11! I will definitely be posting more information about this as it gets closer, but if you live in the Salt Lake area, come and see me at The King's English.

This would be where the giveaway mentioned would come in! I will have to read an excerpt from Indivisible at the Showcase. I want your suggestions for what I should read. It is a 5 minute reading (that's a loooong time!)and I live in Utah - so it can't be one of the more racy passages?? I will take suggestions until September 15th and then I will randomly draw a name from all the suggestions and you will receive copies of both Summer Lovin' Anthologies (my story is in the Heat Wave - which I will sign). So leave your suggestions in the comments (just describe the scene for me - you don't have to have word for word or anything...) and I will be so very grateful!!

Promise next post will be my review of The Help (both book and movie!).

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Heart Hurts...

I am sure that everyone has heard about the helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan over the weekend, and that it was carrying members of SEAL Team 6. This made me so so very sad.

There is nothing that I could write about this that would be more touching than the people that knew these brave men who served and fought for our country and ultimately gave their lives for it.

My heart aches for the families of these men, and I just wanted to let you all read some of the articles that I found where their families talk about them. I will be forever thankful for all that these families have sacrificed...

Family of SEAL Aaron Vaughn : ‘Only in his death can we celebrate who he was in life’
By Sarah Anne Hughes

The family of Aaron Vaughn, a Navy SEAL killed in a deadly helicopter crash Saturday, remembered their son and husband as man who loved country, family and God.

“We’re really sad that our son is gone. But we know that he would have done it all again,” Karen Vaughn, Aaron’s mother, said on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. “He loved every minute of his life.”

Vaughn was one of 30 U.S. service members, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6, and eight Afghans who were killed Saturday when insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.

“Aaron was an amazing father and I’m proud that I will get to carry on his legacy through his children,” his widow, Kimberly Vaughn, said. The couple welcomed a daughter just two months ago.

His father Billy Vaughn said that his son wanted to become a SEAL from the time he was a child but especially after 9/11. His mother said she “was most proud of Aaron’s humility and his nobility,” as well as his faith.

“Everything he did was secret, and it just feels really strange right now that only in his death can we celebrate who he was in his life,” Karen Vaughn said. “It’s a very difficult concept to understand.”

Information and interviews about the other fallen service members have been collected by the Washington Post’s Checkpoint Washington.

When asked what Vaughn’s children, 2-year-old Reagan and baby Chamberlyn, will remember about their father, Kimberly Vaughn replied, “They will take away his love for Christ. They will take away is strength and his love for this country.”

And in a heartbreaking moment of realization, an emotional Kimberly Vaughn concluded, “And they will know what an amazing man he is — was.”
--Washington Post

Troops killed in helicopter crash praised by grieving loved ones

Some had young children, wives and girlfriends. Others were just starting to make their way in the world.

But the brothers, fathers, sons and uncles who died when a U.S. military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan all had something in common: a love of family and country, according to friends and family members. Here are some of their stories:

'He wanted to go'

Patrick Hamburger planned to propose to his girlfriend, but had a job to do first: a mission in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old sergeant from Grand Island, Neb., joined the Nebraska National Guard when he was a high school senior, but had never been deployed, his brother Chris Hamburger told the Associated Press on Sunday.

"He wanted to go because his group was getting deployed. He wanted to be there for them," Hamburger said.

Patrick Hamburger was the kind of guy who helped his girlfriend raise her 13-year-old daughter as well as the couple's 2-year-old daughter and planned to propose when he got home, his brother said.

'Loved making people laugh'

If someone was sad, Michael Strange tried to make them smile.
"He loved his friends, his family, his country; he loved making people laugh. He was one of a kind," Strange's brother, Charles Strange III, 22, said Sunday outside the family's Philadelphia home.

Strange, 25, decided to join the military when he was still in high school and had been in the Navy for about six years. He became a SEAL about two years ago, said his mother, Elizabeth Strange.

"He wasn't supposed to die this young. He was supposed to be safe," Strange said.

'The ideal model of a soldier'

If Elizabeth Newlun wanted to have a serious conversation with her son, John Brown, she had to shoot baskets with him.

"I realized that you have to get into other people's comfort zone to get information," said Newlun of Rogers, Ark.

She said her son, an Air Force technical sergeant, decided to join the military after seeing a video of a special tactical unit, she said.

The airman was a paramedic, ready to attend to anyone rescued, his mother said.

"When you think of what the ideal model of a soldier would be, he would be it," said Arkansas state Rep. Jon Woods, who went to high school with Brown.

'Tough warrior, gentle man'

Aaron Carson Vaughn was a man of deep faith, insisting to his family that he didn't fear his job as a Navy SEAL "because he knew where he was going" when he died.

"Aaron was a Christian, and he's with Jesus today," Geneva Vaughn of Union City, Tenn., told the Associated Press.

"He was a tough warrior, but he was a gentle man," she added.

Vaughn said her grandson, 30, a husband and father of two, joined the SEALs straight from boot camp and was a decorated fighter when he was asked to return stateside to be an instructor. But he applied to SEAL Team 6 after two years, earning a spot in 2010.

'Childhood friends'

Robert Reeves and Jonas Kelsall had been childhood friends in Shreveport, La., Kelsall's father, John, told the Times of Shreveport and KLSA-TV.

Both joined the military after graduation, father Jim Reeves told the newspaper.
Reeves, 32, became a SEAL in 1999 and served on SEAL Team 6, and Kelsall, 33, was one of the first members of SEAL Team 7, the fathers said.

Many neighbors in the area decorated their homes in red, white and blue in support of the families.
--Detroit Free Press

Those are just some of the stories, but there were 30 people killed that day. Here is a partial list that I found at - which if you have't been there to see the list of fatalities and casualites, you really should, the impact is heartwrenching.
Vaughn, Aaron Carson
Strange, Michael
Brown, John
Mills, Matt
Houston, Kevin
Ratzlaff, Tommy
Reeves, Robert James
Kelsall, Jonas
Vickers, Kraig
Hamburger, Patrick
Duncan, Spencer
There are still almost 20 people who have not been identified or their names released, but I plan to keep checking and update when they are. They all deserve our gratitude as do their families. Thank you…

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thank you Al Gore!

I love the internet!! There are so many things in my life that have been made easier because of it. I can work from home and still be here for my kids every day. I was able to help my daughter with a school project because I have a friend in Australia because of the internet. I can figure out when Sons of Anarchy starts up again because of the internet. AND I have made friends that I know I will have forever on the internet.

I was on a sort of vacation…again (the benefit of working from home is that “home” is wherever my laptop is!) for the past few weeks. Every year during the summer I load up my kids and make a trek to my in-laws for a couple of days, and then head to my mom’s to stay with her for about a week. I love this trip because; a) my mom does all the back to school shopping for my kids and b) since my mom still lives where I grew up, I can usually get together with some old friends.

This year, however, I was lucky enough to get together with some great new friends that I’ve made because of the internet. In fact, while I do have some really good “real life” friends (heading out on a girls’ weekend trip with them in a few weeks and I can’t wait!!), I have several women (and a few men) that I’ve met on-line who have become very important to me.

Earlier this year, I was invited to a Facebook group by a friend from high school. There were about twenty or so people in this group, some of whom I knew from school, and others that knew my friend from other parts of his life. The funny thing is that even though I only actually knew about 3 or 4 people, there were several that I found I had a connection with. It was kind of a “Six Degrees of Separation” thing. One woman was married to my best friend from high school’s cousin (who also went to school with us) and another actually hung out with my brother in-law in high school.

The three of us have become really good friends on line over the past seven months. We PM almost daily and share a lot of things among the three of us about things going on in our lives. I’ve come to consider both women as close friends, and was so happy to spend several hours talking and laughing with them while I was “home”.

This was the second time that I’ve been lucky enough to meet up with my new friends, and it’s just one of those situations that felt like we’ve been friends for years.

There’s always that moment right before you meet new people, especially people that you consider friends in a virtual world, that you have a moment of panic right before actually coming face to face with them that maybe they won’t like you in person, or that maybe they aren’t who they portrayed in person. And when you are a writer…the different scenarios that flash through your mind are frightening!

So, when I knocked on the door of another friend that I had met in the Facebook group and had been come pretty good friends with, I was nervous! But, everything was great! We took our kids to a local miniature golf course where they played and we talked. We talked and laughed all morning until of course the whole “ticket spending” thing when our kids started fighting…oh well, just another thing we have in common!

So, I want to thank Al Gore for inventing the internet and allowing me to be a writer and to make some great friends!

I’ll be announcing the winner from Lisa Sanchez’s Author Extravaganza giveaway later this week, and next week I’ll be talking about Rom Con, which I will be attending next weekend! And don’t forget that the Summer Lovin’ Anthologies benefitting Save the Tatas Foundation is still available from Omnific Publishing. There are some REALLY great stories , including my SWAT boys and all the profit goes to such a great cause! If you want to get in on a chance to win signed copies of both anthologies, go follow Omnific's new Blog. Today is a new feature called "Ask an Editor" where you can ask all the questions you've had about the process.