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 was haunted 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? 

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Research, SEALs, and Presidents


I'm in the midst of writing PROTECTED BY A SEAL (a Hot SEALs romance), on preorder now for a Tuesday, July 21st print and eBook release. That means I'm also eyeball deep in research and articles and all things military because inevitably one search leads to an article that leads to another that leads to another... Before I know it, hours have passed, I've moved past Navy SEAL Close Quarter Battle training 30 minutes ago and I'm now reading an article about Teddy Roosevelt.

And who would I be if I didn't share the interesting tidbits that led me down that wayward path in the labyrinth that is the Internet. So here you go--The 4 Presidents With the Craziest War Stories.

4 US Presidents with the Best War Stories


Enjoy!
Cat Johnson

Sign up at catjohnson.net/news for new release alerts



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Navy SEALs vs. Cowboys: Sharon's Top Ten List

David Letterman will be missed. Love him or hate him, with his goofy smile and mischievous irreverence for almost everything except entertaining audiences, in true funny man fashion, we laugh at things that are sometimes uber serious today.

So, in honor of Mr. Letterman and the vacuum he will create with his leaving the Late Night program, here's another one of my Top Ten lists.

TOP TEN REASONS NAVY SEALS ARE BETTER THAN COWBOYS:


10.  Because a SEAL has just as much cool equipment as a cowboy but doesn't smell like a horse.

9.  The hats are smaller, they can get dirty, and have cool patches like Punisher, (Hello Punisher for the ladies), skulls and crossbones. 

8.  Hard to jump from 13,000 feet on a horse, even if he's riding in to save the day.

7.  He's equipped with high powered scopes, rifles and night vision goggles that would look funny on a cowboy.

6.  Navy SEALs kill swamp things. They don't make them into boots.

5.  Hard to get the horse on a SWCC boat, even if he is going to ride in to save the day.

4.  SEALs have cool tats.

3.  If there's trouble in the world, he'll be in the middle of it. He loves danger.

2.  A SEAL can't tell you where he's been, and that's okay.

And the No. 1 reason a Navy SEAL is better than a cowboy?
   
     A Navy SEAL can also be a cowboy, but not necessarily the other way around.




Now, I suspect Cat Johnson, J.M. Madden and others will have something to say about this list, so I lay down the challenge. You know I love them all, but my heart and soul will always belong to the SEALs and what they do for you and I every day.

Join Sharon and several of her writing buddies in upcoming anthologies this summer. Enjoy your ride and come play with us!



Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

To the best military spouse and mom around!

This post is going live a little later than I'd wanted it to. Sometimes life gets in the way. In this case, I've been traveling so much the past 2 months that my dog has developed an attachment disorder.

But I digress...

Yesterday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day and tomorrow is Mother's Day. And my blog post day falls squarely in between. So like any good daughter, my thoughts turn to my mother. Hey! I try to be a good daughter. I made the ultimate sacrifice of spending a long weekend in an oceanfront condo so that I could be with my mother on her birthday. If that's not a good daughter, I don't know what is!

I keep digressing...

By the time my parents married, my father had been in the Air Force for 10 years, well on his way to making it a career. As a college senior, I doubt she knew what she was getting into, marrying into the Air Force. Especially when, less than 2 years later, she had to move to Madrid with a 6 month old pain in the neck who turned into a toddler PITA (me). But she sucked it up and dealt with it, because that's what military spouses do.

This is my mom and dad in Spain (aren't they the best looking couple!). I'd tell you that this is a picture of my parents on their wedding day, but that would annoy my mother and as a good daughter, I'd never dream of annoying my mother. For the record, it was their second wedding. 



Any way, about 3 months ago, I posted a picture of my brother. It was his birthday and as his big sister, it is my job to torment him relentlessly. I'm really good at my job.


The fun thing about old pictures is that they come with stories. So my mom told me the story behind this picture. It was my brother's 6 month birthday party. We had it when I got home from school because daddy was TDY...huh? what? Back up the train. Daddy was TDY? I don't remember Daddy being TDY after Tony was born.

And then it hit me. That's what military spouses do. They keep the family fires burning. The keep the routines in place. The keep the children living typical children's lives. When there's absolutely nothing normal about your parent being done for months or even a year at a time. But they suck it up and deal with it, because that's what military spouses do.

So here's to my favorite military spouse and the best mom ever - Liz Forella!

To all the military spouses and moms out there, grab your favorite book and enjoy!

Happy Reading!

Felicia


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Win a SEALed at Midnight (Hot SEALs) Audiobook!


Hot SEALs by Cat Johnson

My SEALed at Midnight (a Hot SEALs romance) is in Audio!

Readers, do you do audio? I have to admit, I never did until I had to start reviewing the files from the narrator I hired to record my SEAL series and now I enjoy listening to my stories come to life. Although it is still odd for me, as an author, to hear my own words read aloud, particularly the sex scenes!!

Anyway, to help introduce readers to audio, or feed the audiobook habit for existing audiobook lovers, I'll give 5 (yes, FIVE) lucky readers a FREE Audible.com download code for my SEALed at Midnight. It's a great way to give audio a try and see if you like it.

The Rules: Email me at cat@catjohnson.net to enter to win one free audible.com download code for the SEALed at Midnight audiobook. One entry per person please. 5 (five) winners to be chosen at random on April 17, 2015 at 9 am Eastern Time and posted here. International entries accepted however, the winner must be able to access either the Audible US or Audible UK sites to retrieve their prize download.

Here is a little teaser. Please note the audiobook only contains the sexy male narrator's voice. All the extra sounds in this video (footsteps, squeaking door, etc) were added by me because I discovered a cool sound effect tool in my MacBook's video editor and I was having fun using it!

Enjoy!
Cat Johnson


More videos HERE

Download SEALed at Midnight for Kindle HERE

More Download Links and Info HERE


Friday, April 3, 2015

Long Awaited Stone Hard SEALs Duet—Get it now at a discounted price!


hot alpha seals cover
Last summer, Hot Alpha SEALs took the book world by storm, getting rave reviews for this collection of scorching military romances, and earning spots on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
Ryder’s story was such a hit, readers asked to read Drake’s story as well. Here, now, for the first time, are BOTH adventures!
The duet (a full length novel) will retail for $2.99, but I wanted to offer it at a discounted price during preorder for those of you who have read Ryder’s story and have been waiting so patiently for Drake. This is a great deal as well for your friends who missed the Hot Alpha SEALs Collection and are new to this exciting read.
Release Date: April 9, 2015 PREORDER NOW
Don't forget to enter to win the Stone Hard SEAL Tiara below! Tell your friends!

rsz_1rsz_stone-hard-seals-web are

STONE HARD SEALS A Duet of Steamy SEAL romance by NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Sabrina York 

Book One: Ryder A hostage rescue mission turns Ryder “Stone” Maddox’s world on its ear when he comes face-to-face with his greatest fear: A woman he cannot resist. But he has to resist Lily Wilson. He’s vowed never to fall in love. Besides, as the daughter of a senator, she is definitely off-limits. Lily sees things differently. Irresistibly drawn to this hot, hard SEAL, she is determined to prove they belong together…and that her man does not have a heart of stone.(Originally published in the NYT and USA Today Bestselling Hot Alpha SEALs collection)

  Book Two: Drake Drake Ronan is all man—a rock hard SEAL who doesn’t need help from anyone. Doesn’t need anyone. But when he’s shot during a dangerous rescue mission, and has to rely on a beautiful nurse to survive, he realizes he has to rethink his resolution. Suddenly he can’t imagine his life without Brandy in it. It’s a damn shame she has a secret that could ruin everything.

  READ AN EXCERPT

 “Are you hungry?” He asked because her belly growled loudly enough to attract pirates on the mainland.

“A little.” She licked her lips. “But I’m really thirsty.”

 He pulled out the straw of his CamelBak and leaned forward, holding it to her lips. He should have shuttled off all his gear and just handed the damn thing to her because when she leaned in close and he got a whiff of her, he nearly passed out. You would think a woman who had been held prisoner by filthy pirates for nearly a week would smell bad. She did not. She smelled like heaven. There was a light musky odor of sweat—it was hot in the tropics—but it twined with something that was essentially female. He’d never felt such hunger. It screamed through his soul. And, on top of that, their faces were close. And she was sucking on the nozzle.

And fuck.

He was a warrior. A trained weapon. On a mission. This was no time for a hard on. But he was hard. Damn hard. Her lashes flickered as she glanced up at him; she moaned as she swallowed. A shiver walked down his spine. Walked right down his spine and coiled in his balls. When she sat back with a sigh, he put the nozzle to his lips as well. Not because he was particularly thirsty, but because he wanted a taste of her mouth, while it was still fresh. What he really wanted was to kiss her. But she was the senator’s daughter and he was a grunt. That wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t.

 “Did…did you say something about food?” Damn lashes. Fluttering again. He had the urge to grab his Gerber and snip them off. He pulled an MRE from a pocket on his left leg, read the label, and grimaced. He hated the meatloaf. He should have paid more attention when he prepped his gear. He had more in his pack, but this would do for now.

“I have this.” Her nose wrinkled as she studied the silver foil. Yeah. Wait ’til she got a taste. He ripped open the packet, broke off a piece, and handed it to her. It was messy, because of the gravy, but he didn’t want to unload everything to find an implement. They needed to eat and go.

 She took a bite. Her eyes widened. “Yuuum,” she said in an unconvincing tone. It was all he could do to hold back his laugh. “What…” She swallowed heavily. “What is this?”

 “An MRE.”

 “What does that stand for?”

 His lips quirked. “Meals Rarely Edible.”

 Her brow wrinkled, and then she laughed. And ah, what a laugh. A melodic trill. Some kind of sound he figured you might hear in heaven. “Do you eat these often?”

 “Not if I can help it.” He shoved a chunk in his mouth and fired it back. “But we have a long way to go today, and these have a lot of calories.”

 She froze, a niblette of mystery meat halfway to her mouth. “How-how many calories?”

 “About twelve hundred a meal.”

 She gaped at him. “Twelve hundred?” She glared at the meatloaf as though it were made of turds. Then again, it might have been. “And you gave it to me? To eat?”

 “Yeah. You’ll need it.”

 “Why didn’t you warn me?” She smacked him. It was like being batted by a kitten. “Twelve hundred calories is my whole day!”

 He grinned. He could burn that much with a good fart. “Perfect. It’s probably all you’ll get. Eat up.”

 “For twelve hundred calories, I could have eaten a cheesecake.” He looked around for the cheesecake. She shoved her tiny chunk of meatloaf at him. “Here, you eat it.”

 He pushed it back. “You eat it. We have a lot of ground to cover today.”

 “We do?” She tipped her head to the side. “Where are we going?”

 “There’s an island to the south.” He grabbed a stick and sketched out a quick map. “We’re here. At the north end of this island. And the secondary extraction point is here.”

Her throat worked. “How will we get to the other island?”

 “Swim.” She paled. “I-I can’t swim.” It was probably rude to stare. But really? She couldn’t swim? Who couldn’t swim?

“You never wanted to learn?”

 “Oh, I wanted to.” She sighed. “My mother was afraid I would drown.”

 “Not drowning is kind of the point of swimming.”

 “She wanted to keep me safe.” He didn’t miss the exasperation in her tone. “I didn’t get to do a lot of things. Which is probably why— And wouldn’t you know it? The first time?” She gazed at him as though she’d finished a sentence. As though he’d understood a bit of what she’d said.

 “Well, don’t worry. We’ll get you home safe. And then everything will be just the way it was before.”

 Her sudden frown mystified him.  

  PREORDER NOW! Arrives April 9th 

 ARe | Kobo | Amazon 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway Read reviews of Ryder’s Story: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22591884-hot-alpha-seals  Sabrina_head_logo

About Sabrina York Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & snarky to scorching romance. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!   Bookshelf! http://sabrinayork.com/books/ Website: http://sabrinayork.com/ Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/SabrinaYork Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/