Thursday, August 31, 2006

Suzanne Brockmann GuestBlog: Be A Real Life Hero

Nina, you've won! Email me with your address, Bella! romance@ibsys.com Thanks for joining Suz, Bellas, and special thanks to all Suz's friends who stopped by today. Please come back often to chat more!

Every once in a while we get to do something good, have some fun, and e-meet someone very special. When SB's publisher sent an email about this cool project of hers to help a SEAL, I wanted to jump on board, especially cause I've been blessed with 18 years of healthy life since I received a kidney transplant.

So, please, read on, and enjoy one of the best GuestBlogs ever...

I've got a lot of ground I want to cover in this blog -- I have some important info to share with you about a Navy SEAL named Justin who needs our help.

So let's get introductions out of the way.

I'm Suzanne Brockmann, and I write military romantic suspense for Ballantine Books. My latest hardcover release, INTO THE STORM, in book stores right now, is my nineteenth book with a Navy SEAL hero.

Yeah, you read that right. Nineteen.

And no, I will never tire of writing about Navy SEALs.

Why?

Two words: Duct tape.

See, here's the deal: every SEAL -- officer and enlisted alike -- has made it through a hellish program called BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training.

BUD/S is notorious for chewing up the biggest, toughest, strongest guys and spitting them out. In fact, BUD/S classes often have a huge drop-out rate -- most of the SEAL candidates quit or ring out of the program.

The highlight of BUD/S is a brutal endurance test called Hell Week, which pushes the SEAL candidates to the extreme -- and beyond.

Picture the agony of basic training -- ramped up to the nth degree. For an entire week, sleep is limited to a few short hours, usually doled out in ten minute increments. These guys who want to be SEALs endure surf torture, where they're made to link arms and sit together in the freezing ocean for hours on end, battered by the waves. And then, when they finally are allowed out of the water, the instructors start sugar cookie drills -- where the candidates end up covered with sand.

Aching and wet, chaffing from that sand in places no human should chafe, they're brought into overheated classrooms and ordered not to fall asleep as they do intricate math problems or write essays.

Then they might go for a twenty mile run, in wet, leaden uniforms and soggy boots, carrying their IBS -- inflatable boat small, which isn't small at all -- atop their heads.

On and on it goes, nonstop for an entire week, with the instructors shouting at them the entire time, tormenting them, trying to get them to quit.

"All you have to do, Ensign, to end this torture, is step over to the bell and ring out. We both know you don't have what it takes. You'll never be a SEAL. You're not fast enough. You're not smart enough. You're not man enough. You're not good enough..."

See, the instructors are looking for the men who have what it takes, the men who will never quit. Because in a battle situation, you cannot call a time out.

Years ago, as I first learned about the SEALs, I fell in love with the idea of these men who would push themselves far beyond most people's breaking points -- and not for big bucks and glory. No, SEALs do what they do because they love our country, because they want to serve. No matter your political beliefs, you've got to respect that. And the more I found out about them, the harder and deeper I fell.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know a SEAL named Chris. He looks kind of like Viggo Mortensen's cuter brother. Smart, funny, honorable... He's like one of my fictional heroes, come to life.

We were hanging out together a few years ago, and I asked him the questions I always ask whenever I get a chance to talk to a Navy SEAL.

And, by the way, I always frighten SEALs, because I never ask what they consider to be standard questions about ops or equipment. Instead, I ask questions like, "How did you feel when you found out you'd gotten into the SEAL training program...?"

Total deer in the headlights look. The voice might even crack. "Feel?"

"Yeah. How did you feel when you went through Hell Week? What was it like to have men quitting around you, left and right?"

Chris had told me that in his BUD/S class, out of something like eighty-seven men who started the program, only thirteen finished.

Thirteen out of eighty-seven. Can you imagine?

"How did it feel -- to watch so many of your classmates leave?" I asked him. "How did you keep from quitting, too?" (Quitting, you know, can be very contagious.) "What were you thinking?"

Chris laughed. "I'll tell you what I was thinking," he said. And then he told me this story.

It was the very end of Hell Week. Chris and his twelve remaining teammates were cold, wet, chaffing, and hallucinating from lack of sleep. He told me that the palms of his hands had been rubbed completely raw. No skin left. None.
But that was okay, because in mere hours their week would end and the instructors would tell them that they were secure -- that this hellish phase of their training was officially over.
Except... an instructor led them into a classroom and told them all to sit. And he didn't look happy.

In fact, he was looking at them as if they were something nasty he'd found on the bottom of his shoe.

He finally spoke: "You are the worst BUD/S class ever. Not one of you has what it takes to become a SEAL. In fact, we're kicking you out. You're all going home. Right now. Today."

Chris told me he couldn't believe it. None of them could. Some of them even started to cry. They'd come so far, worked so hard...

But then another instructor came into the room, pulled the first one aside. They whispered together, then announced: "Okay, ladies. Here's the deal. The top brass wants to get rid of you, but we've convinced them to give you a second chance. You can stay in the SEAL program.

"If," the instructor continued, "you do Hell Week all over again. Starting. Right. Now."

Chris told me that, at this news, they were all crying. These big tough men. Tears just streaming down their faces. Hell Week. Again?

"Okay," the instructor said. "I know. It's too much to ask of you. So... there's the door. No one, absolutely no one, is going to think less of you if you stand up and walk out that door."

Chris told me he was sitting there, weeping, and looking at his raw, battered hands.
And you know what he was thinking?

Not of quitting. Not about the hot shower and soft bed that would be waiting for him if he gave up and went through that door.

No, he was thinking, "Duct Tape."

He was thinking: "If I wrap my hands with duct tape, I can make it through another week."

Do you know that not one of those thirteen young men walked out of the room that day? Not one of them quit. Like Chris, they were willing to go through Hell Week all over again in order to become SEALs.

After waiting a good long time, the instructors finally stepped back and swung a blackboard around. And on the flip side it said, "Gentlemen, you are secure."

Hell Week was over.

You see, this had been one last mind-game, one last test. One last chance to weed out the quitters from the men who were willing to wrap their hands with duct tape to make it through another week.

Chris and his classmates didn't have to go through Hell Week again. They just had to be willing to.

They weren't the worst SEAL candidates these instructors had ever seen -- they were among the best.

The best of the best.

If I wrap my hands with duct tape, I can make it through another week.

These are the men who become Navy SEALs.

These are the heroes of my books.

Do you understand why I'll never tire of writing their stories?

So now let me tell you about Justin, another Navy SEAL. He's a lieutenant, just twenty-eight years old. He's also a newlywed, despite having to reschedule his wedding when Hurricane Katrina trashed his home last August. He's been married for just seven months to a lovely young woman who, like me, is named Suzanne. The first year of marriage should be a time spent exploring a new phase of a relationship, giddy with hope and the promise of a long, fulfilling life spent by one another's side.

Instead, this past June, Justin was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

But hey, in this day and age, that kind of cancer is curable, isn't it?

For Justin, the bad news just kept on coming. Due to something called the Philadelphia chromosome, his only hope for a complete cure lies in a bone marrow transplant. Such a transplant requires a donor who is a bone marrow match, and unlike blood transfusions, that match has to be exact.

Neither of Justin's two sisters could provide that match.

Which leaves Justin hanging. Waiting. Hoping.

The chance of him finding a match is one in 20,000.

And yet Justin and his family remain undaunted. Justin is, after all, a Navy SEAL. He's a fighter, and his cancer is just another hurdle to overcome. When he heard that his chances of survival were thirty percent, he laughed and noted that his chances of becoming a SEAL had been only ten percent.

Still, despite his upbeat attitude, Justin knows that roles have been reversed. The SEAL who's used to saving lives is the one who now needs help.

And we can help.

There's a national bone marrow donor registry program (visit www.marrow.org) that allows regular, non-SEAL people like you and me to take on the role of hero for a change. It doesn't involve surf torture or a single sugar cookie drill.

All you have to do to help is register as a bone marrow donor. If you're between 18 and 60 years of age, there's a simple, easy test you can take, done by rubbing the inside of your cheek with a Q-tip-like swab. And yeah, okay. I've heard that the actual bone marrow transplant process can be uncomfortable on the donor's side. I'm certain, however, that it's nothing like Hell Week. And if it means saving a life...?

Sign me up.

You know, if they were characters I'd created for one of my books, Justin and his Suzanne would have to face hardship and conflict -- that's part of what makes a great romance novel. But the conflict they'd encounter would make them learn and grow closer than ever, and by the end of their book, they'd earn the right to a happily-ever-after ending.

Which, in their case, would include locating a donor -- that one person, one-in-20,000, who happens to be Justin's bone marrow match.

I wish I could write that happy-ever-after ending for Justin and Suzanne, but I can't. I can, however, do the next best thing. I can write and talk and shout about the need for each and every one of us to contact the bone marrow donor program, take the test, and be added to the registry.

You are out there, somewhere, you one-in-20,000 -- maybe you're reading this right now. Or maybe you're not Justin's one-in-20,000, but you're someone else's match. Someone else's chance to live happily-ever-after.

You can save someone's life, be someone's hero.

And the best part is that you don't need to wrap your hands with duct tape to do it.

New York Times bestselling romance author Suzanne Brockmann took the test to be added to the national bone marrow donor registry and is waiting to hear if she'll provide someone's real life happily-ever-after. She is the mother of two (and a PFLAG mom) who lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband, Dell author Ed Gaffney. Visit her website at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

How to help:
Find out more
about being a bone marrow donor. Visit the National Marrow Donor Program, www.marrow.org and request a test kit.
(Note: Military personnel and their families can also contact www.dodmarrow.com)
Organize a bone marrow registration drive in your neighborhood. Call Eddy at the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program at 800-627-7693, ext. 223.
Make a donation
to the National Marrow Donor Program at www.marrow.org to help offset costs of testing.
Spread the word!
Email the link to this blog to your friends and family.

Visit www.ImASwabbie.blogspot.com and www.soldierangels.org

Please.


77 comments:

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Suzanne! Thanks for stopping by, and for helping Justing.

Oh, and thanks for your books! Let me tell you what I like best. I love that your writing is so honest, and that your guys talk like guys. It's a soap box issue of mine, but it bugs me when macho alphas have sordid pasts and/or presents and never drop the f-bomb, etc.

I think guy-talk, when it makes sense and is in context, makes heroes more realistic, more appealing, thus, more romantic in a gritty, sexy way.

The Bellas and I have really been looking forward to your being here, so thanks once again for the great blog.

Anonymous said...

The strength and courage of the SEAL's amazes me. I have yet to be bored by reading about them. And I doubt I ever will. I have seen a few speacials about "Hell Week" and I was shocked at the mind games that goes on. I know they do it for a reason but it was just so mindblowing to see it play out on TV. And now to hear the "duct tape" story. You know that man REALLY wanted to be a SEAL! And he is very determined.

I hope Justin and his wife get the news they are waiting for and a match is found. It is awesome that you have gotten involved in helping to save his life.

I am looking forward to meeting you in person when you visit the Beverly Library in a couple of weeks. :)

Kelly Francis

MaryKate said...

Hi Suz - I know you get gushing fan girls all the time, and I'm certainly one! I so admire your writing. I can honestly say there's not one of your books that I haven't enjoyed.

I actually dated a SEAL for almost a year in college. I'll never forget meeting him. I was in my junior year, and had recently broken up with a serious boyfriend. My girlfriends had taken me out to a local bar to cheer me up. As we're sitting there enjoying our beers, in walks 16 big men. BIG men. It was like a candy shop. All of them had that gorgeous "V" shape and were one better looking than the next. LOL! Well, they never had a chance. I had six girls with me, and we culled one each from the heard like a methodical hunting pack. He remains the only guy I've ever picked up at a bar.

I remember going to his apartment in Norfolk and going down the hallway and there are these black and white gory pictures of feet. Up close shots. Each set of feet is torn up, covered in blisters that have popped, mangled. There were 11 pictures. Rob, my boyfriend, was an amateur photographer. The pictures were of his BUD/S teams' feet after they'd finished Hell Week. He said he had them so that they would never forget what it took to get there and that no hurt was big enough to walk away from serving his country. I liked that.

I just finished INTO THE STORM. I really enjoyed Jenk. I liked that he was "little." Rob was too, he was 5'10", and his Team used to call him "Midge" so I really got the small but mighty thing.

Have you said who is up next? I think I need it to be Izzy. He's got to get a HEA! I'm sure you get requests all the time. I can already tell that you haven't put Sophia and Decker through enough torture yet, so I'm trying not to be impatient about them, so if it's not Sophia and Deck, then I hope it's Izzy.

Thanks for all you do to support those who serve their country. It's a very noble thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting the story about Justin out. Let's hope that a mtach is found very soon.

INTO THE STORM and LADIES MAN have been my last two great reads.

Sue S

Playground Monitor said...

If Suzanne is talking about Chris Berman, I had the privilege of moderating a chat he did for the website I review for. Awesome, awesome guy.

Duct tape takes a ribbing in the south for being the all-purpose solution to anything (well, duct tape or WD-40) but I'll never think about it quite the same again.

Marilyn

azteclady said...

Thank you, Suz, for reminding us again just how incredibly special these guys are--a cut above and beyond, indeed.

Like Michelle, one of the things I really enjoy about your books is the language. Both the dialogue between characters and the inner-dialogue from different characters points of view.

These characters *are* people who react and think and talk like people. They curse and they cry--it's what they do with those emotions and how they face obstacles that sets them apart.

Thank you for briging them to life, Suz!

[And to Chris: I will never see duct tape the same way again!]

Anonymous said...

Suz, WOW!! I became a swabbie in Atlanta. Justin is a real deal hero and deserves a real deal happy ever after with his wife!

amy*skf said...

Hey Suzanne, I love starting my day out with a good cry--I've been feeling a littles stressed out lately, and now...maybe my life is a day at the fair.

I started reading you yesterday--yup, I must have been under a rock. I LOVE Navy SEALS, but just never thought I'd want to read Military Romantic Suspence.

I was wrong.

Every scene of this book is so damn believable--Michelle, the guys *do* talk like guys--I can't put it down.

How do you know so darn much?

And I'm a donor on my D.L. but never thought to register for bone marrow.

I have to work all darn day so I won't be chatting as much as I'd like--but I'll try.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Suz, this is from one of the Bellas, a HUGE reader/fan of yours. Blogger ate her post, and she had to run to work. I'm posting for her:

Suz, I have been a huge fan of your books since I read your '96 Loveswept "Kiss and Tell" and totally fell in love with Marshall Devlin, and I've been hooked ever since. Your writing captured my attention then and has gotten even better over time - you are the only author I will buy in hardcover. Like everyone else, I am anxious for the next story because no one tells them like you do. You own me LOL.

One of the reasons I LOVE your stories so much is that I believe you set the example by how you live your life and are so accepting of all kinds of people and relationships, which is how real life is - messy and complicated and sometimes not very easy. Your characters are people with real problems and flaws and attitudes - some of them are true heroes and some just ordinary people, but the honesty and raw emotion is so real that I feel like I "know" them. Sam will always be my favorite, but I also have a soft spot for Kenny and Wes. Both were so vulnerable and wore their hearts on their sleeve that I just ached for them and I'm so happy they both got their HEA.

Thank you for sharing your story about Chris and duct tape - it fits your SEALs and symbolizes never giving up. No matter how painful, how agonizing, how endless it seems, ultimately there is always hope. I can see how that would inspire you to honor these men again and again, not just the heroes of today, but those from the past as well. We have a lot to be grateful for because of them. I truly believe that.

I'm sorry you won't be making it to Chicago this year. I met you a few years ago in Naperville and you were very friendly and gracious, and it was fun meeting Ed and Eric. You all do so much for your fans - thank you.

I also want to mention that I love how involved you get and really admire how you've supported the troops. As for Justin, I really hope he finds a donor - he is a real life hero, and deserves to have his HEA with his family and getting the chance to continue tolive his life as a SEAL - just as he's always dreamed of doing. Your involvement has been so inspiring that I've since ordered some brochures and can hopefully get my employer involved as well. I hope everyone will be inspired to do the same. You have a great team over at your message board.

Suz if I don't get a chance to stop by later, I wish you and your family all the best. I hope you don't mind the fangirl post. I have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to my favorite people. Please don't let that scare you from visiting us in the future LOL..

Thank you Michelle, for bringing Suz to your cozy little on-line home. As always, you give us what we ask for and then some - you constantly amaze me with your powers. As for the rest of the Bellas - have a great day and I'll catch ya later.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

STACY, the previous post's from Stacy.

Ann M. said...

Waves hi to Suz. As I read this I hear your voice and your energy.

So glad that I got to see you again last weekend. Hope you enjoyed the play.

Ann M.
Central NJ (not the one with the e)

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Suzanne! I was prepared to be a new gushing fan. The Bellas had me go out and get one of your books yesterday and I was up all night reading THE DEFIANT HERO (I still have about 100 pgs to go). The book began with a punch and hasn't slowed down since. It has blown me away!!

But now after reading your blog, I am speechless. I don't know how to tell you how terrific I think that what you are doing for Justin and the SEALS is. You are bringing to light a division of the military that we all have heard of but didn't know nearly as much about and making us see how special and brave they truely are.
And Justin's plight is one that I am familiar with on a smaller scale. A co-worker of mine has a little boy who just went through a bone marrow transplant. He is 5 years old and his 8 year old brother was a match for him. Not all people are lucky enough to find a match as easily. Thank you for telling the tough stories and making us appreciate what we have and reminding us we can do something to help. :o)

emma said...

hi sUZANNE,
london calling............i'm a huge fan of your SEAL BOOKS, WOW YOU'VE WRITTEN 19..............WELL ROLL ON THE NEXT 19 IS ALL I CAN SAY.
Your books just keep on getting better,
they are gritty,
some a little dark,
as for the LOVE SCENCE...........RED-HOT!!!!!!,
i love the way you hero / heroine get great spunky lines,
great "put-downs", and very hot "come-on" lines,
non-stop action,
twists and turns,
a helter skelter ride,
sit-of-your-pants writing,
there is so much going on in your books.
i started with "Prince Joe" and i wish you well and look forward to the next book in the series ,
emma
from ole london town

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Well met, Emma! So glad you've joined us! Please let me know if I need to translate anything for you here at RBtheBlog, cause, as you know, we Yanks speak nothing close to real English. :)

JulieO, is your co-worker's son doing well? My girlfriend's father had the marrow transplant and it saved his life; it was miraculous.

It's just so hard to find perfect marrow matches, which is why what Suzanne's doing is so important.

Won't it be great if this good deed of Suzanne's outpaces all the snark being spread on the Inet today?!

Greetings, Ann (sans e), glad you visited, hope you'll come again.

Congrats on your swabbiness, anny!

I'm with ya, Azteclady. I can't think of our military without getting that proud, teary feeling. I'm crazed for em.

anny, i'm lovin ladies' man, too.

Marilyn, did I ever tell you what we used to do with duct tape back in the day when I was competing for Miss PA?

MK, I'm jealous. That's like a romance novel. But the story about the photos? Perfect. What those guys go through for us.

Joyce said...

Hi Suzanne, I have loved your books, especially your Seal books for years. I have a great admiration for the men and women in our military.

Eliza Gayle said...

As a former Marine who has spent more than her fair share of time duct taped to various objects thanks to her fellow marines, I just want to say thank you for your navy seal books. I am a romance junkie but when I can get it mixed in with my military I am in heaven.

Thanks, Julie

Playground Monitor said...

Ah... Michelle, I've heard stories of taping certain body parts to make them uhm... perkier. Is that the use to which you're referring?

Years ago my son's truck was broken into. "Bunch of no-good redneck white trash," he told me. I wondered why he thought that and he explained "They stole my radio and a roll of duct tape. Who the hell else would steal a roll of duct tape?" Nuff said. :grin:

Marilyn -- who has a half dozen Red Hat ladies coming for lunch in 2 hours

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

ElizaGayle! Thank you so much for your service, Bella! And to your fellow marines for supporting the duct tape industry.

Mostly, so psyched to hear you love romance. Did you find many of your fellow marines who were women read it? And men?

Hey, Joyce, thanks for joining us!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Marilyn, you're the only person I know who's ever known that! Good luck with your Red Hat ladies; those dames can get off-the-hook!

Julie in Ohio said...

Michelle, the little guy is doing better. He isn't 100% yet but he is ornery as a dickens so I take that as a good sign. His mom is hoping that he'll be able to start school soon but nothing is concrete yet. It has been almost a year since his surgery so we keep our fingers crossed. His brother bounced back like nothing ever happened. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that all remains on the up and up.




Boy, I'm long winded today. It must be that extra cup of coffee I had. I hope you have room for me... :o)

Julie in Ohio said...

Michelle- OUCH!!!

Nina said...

Suzanne -

Have loved your books for years and have hooked many onto you! I'm the military brat who wrote you years ago about growing up with UDT's (the original name for SEAL's - underwater demolition team)on a Navy base in the Philippines. They were always stand-up guys. We used to have a friendly competition each year for charity between the high school cross country team & the SEAL's - we girls ran way behind and enjoyed the view!

I had the opportunity to be a bone marrow donor two years ago for someone who had the same disease Justin has. It was not painful at all and the people in the program are so great to donors. I did have a few weeks afterward where I wasn't 100% energy-wise, but I considered that nothing, compared to what my recipient had to endure. Justin's SEAL training will come in handy for what he'll have to go through when he finds a donor (I'm thinking positively!)
I've posted the site for www.imaswabbie.com on my high school alumni web site (we have people all over the world - many still in the military). If everyone else will pass the word along - that would be great!

Keep bringing out those great books and I hope your son is doing great and finding success! (ps my daughter wears hearing aids too!)

Nina

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Nina! I'll post the url for imaswabbie.com. I meant to and forgot. [sheepish look on face]

I'm so glad you've written to talk about your experience as a donor. Many people fear marrow donation for many reasons, not the least of which is they think it's painful.

You've told us it isn't painful. I'm sure your growing up "military" helped you make the decision to step up the the plate and be heroic. Though I'm also sure you'd say you didn't do it for that reason.

My bro was a career Navy guy who gave me his kidney. Like it was nothin. He's my hero, hands down.

JulieO: ? Did I write something mean?

Vivi Anna said...

Hi Suzanne, welcome to RBTB!

mmmm, I love me some SEALS...

And this Chris is he looking for a woman to take his mind off those rough hands...at least for a few hours...??? Because I'm your girl...you know after Hell Week, they should give them Heaven Week...you know 7 days of mind-blowing pleasure...can I sign up for that????

Julie in Ohio said...

NONONONONONO, Michelle. OOPS, I was referring your use of duct tape during pagent years. It sounded really painful.

Sorry for not making that clear.

Suz Brockmann said...

Hey, Michelle and gang!

It's nice to be here -- thank you all so much for the warm welcome!

I'm glad you enjoyed my "duct tape" story -- I've told it at booksigning Q&A sessions many times, but this is the first time I tried to put it down on paper (or in this case, virtual paper!). It's actually fun to tell -- to take on the role of the instructor and glare at the crowd! LOL!

But aside from being a great story, it really does define EXACTLY why I admire the SEALs.

And you know, those of you who are writers out there, as a writer, it helps to embrace some that same "never, never, never give up" attitude. (To quote Winston Churchill.) Frankly, it's a good attitude to have, whatever you do!

Justin's clearly applied it to his medical situation.

Speaking of Justin... For those of you who are looking to get tested and added to the national bone marrow donor registry -- there are a number of drives coming up -- the biggest one being on 9/11, sponsored by NASCAR.

You can get info on that (plus a listing of other drives) at a blogsite called "I'm a Swabbie." The name refers to the easy, cheek swabbing DNA test that puts you on the registry. The url for that is www.imaswabbie.blogspot.com In addition to a list of upcoming drives, the blogger over there is also hoping to keep folks updated as to Justin's progress.

Oh, and if you're thinking about holding a drive in your community and want info on the best way to set it up -- feel free to email me at SuzanneBrockmann@aol.com -- I'll put you in touch with some wonderful people who have experience in setting up drives.

Speaking of THAT, I've just been invited to speak at the SEAL Muster in Ft. Pierce, Florida in November. Every Veteran's Day, there's a SEAL gathering at the UDT/SEAL Museum, and I've been contacted by folks from the museum who plan to set up a drive at their event. (For more info about the SEAL Muster -- parts of which are open to the public -- visit www.navysealmuseum.com )

Last but not least, I'm going to be holding mini-drives at many of my upcoming signings as I go out on tour to promote INTO THE STORM. I'll be visiting Pittsburgh and Ohio starting next Tuesday, and I'll have plenty of free test kits in hand. We'll have a table set up for the testing at some locations, but some stores have corporate policy that don't allow this. Still, if you ask us, we'll be able at least to give you a free test kit. You can access my full tour schedule at my website, at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com/appearances.htm

-- Suz

Nina said...

Michelle,

Thanks for the kind words. I signed up thru a Rotary drive to find a donor for a little girl at our elementary school who was in need of one. Although I wasn't a match for her, I did end up being a match for someone else! And the person I think is heroic is the guy I sat with at a Red Cross banquet who had donated bone marrow three times to three different people - two of them young children. Your bro sounds like a great guy!

Suz Brockmann said...

Okay, now that I've finished the "important info" note, I can respond to your comments!! LOL!

Kelly: There's a great Discovery Channel program on Hell Week -- it's available at the Discovery Channel store -- really terrific program.

And I'm looking forward to returning to the Beverly Public Library. Did you know that I wrote a large part of BODYGUARD there? My son attended a filmmaking/acting day camp in Beverly, and it was too far for me to drive him there and go back home, so I hung on the beach in the a.m. and went to the library to write in the afternoon!

Marykate: Easy there -- I'm a gushing fangirl myself (Buffy, Star Trek)! LOL! I love that image of the feet, photographed. That is just so... SEAL-like. Another great story!

As for who's up next: The book is tentatively titled FORCE OF NATURE, and it features a character who appeared only briefly in GONE TOO FAR. His name is Ric Alvarado, and he was the Sarasota Police Detective who came to the crime scene when Gina's motel room was broken into. (Yeah, it's kind of a different direction, but still part of the Troubleshooters series, I promise!) FON will also have another major installment in the Jules Cassidy story arc. So that's what's coming next.

You'll have to be patient re: Izzy, Sophia, Decker and Dave! But rest assured they're in the on deck circle!

Sue S: Amen to that match for Justin! Please help spread the word!

Marilyn: Yes, that's the Chris I'm talking about!

Hey Azteclady -- nice to see you here!

To everyone who's already become a "swabbie" -- THANK YOU!!!

amy*skf: I'm glad you're enjoying the books!

Stacy: Wow, thank you. I'm sorry we won't make it out to Chicago this time, too. I just couldn't make the mileage work. (Son about to graduate with a (at the time) mystery performance schedule. We had to set up the tour so that Ed and I were able to get to NYC on every weekend in case Jason's musical theater showcase was that weekend. Ya gotta love performing arts schools, but face it, scheduling isn't one of their big strengths.)

Hey, Ann M! (Waving back!) I had so much fun in Jersey last weekend! (We actually brought my son Jason to the signing -- he loved signing copies of HOT TARGET!!!)

Julie in Ohio: Ah, THE DEFIANT HERO -- naked hero on the hood of a car in the rain. LOL! Say no more. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Thanks for sharing your good news about your coworkers son!!!

Emma: Thank you! I'm hoping to visit the UK some time in the next few years! Maybe we'll get a chance to meet in person!

Joyce: Thank you! You know, many of my readers have family members in the military, and I can't tell you how awed I am by their sacrifice. I'll do a book signing, and someone will come up to me and say "Will you sign it for my daughter, she's in Iraq..." There's such pride -- and worry -- in that mother's eyes.

We talk about the men and women who serve -- but the entire family serves, too.

Eliza Gayle: Thank you!!!

-- Suz

RandomRanter said...

Huge Suze fan! I also became a swabbie in Atlanta. Just wanted to mention that I am ineligible to donate blod (live in Scotland in the 90's) but this program has different rules. So if you're worried about that - don't!

Alison said...

Hey Suz!
Can I just tell you how consistantly amazed I am with you? Between the quick release of your books (umm.....I'm SO spoiled by that by the way, I almost had a heart attack when you said it would be over a year between Breaking Point and the next one (at the time you hadn't released the name) and then when it was pushed up to Oct. and then Aug....point being, when's the next one due out?), you're tireless work for the troops inspires me, how you interact with your fans....but most of all, every book I read, your writing just gets better and better. I want to be a character in one of your books (Gillman's love interest, please *wink wink*), I feel like these characters are my friends/family/neighbors, as silly as it sounds. After reading ITS I even got a dose of girl power asking myself "what would Lindsey do?"
I am attending the day seminar in Portland, ME to learn something from the best. I've met you at a signing a few years ago and you were so gracious and down to earth, I can't wait to hear you speak.
See you soon!
Alison
P.S. Seriously though.....who and when is the next one??

Suz Brockmann said...

Playground Monitor: LOL!

Nina: Thank's for sharing the fact that being a donor really isn't that uncomfortable.

Vivi anna: Sorry, hon, Chris is married! LOL!

Okay, gang, I've gotta run, but I'll drop in again later!

-- Suz

Playground Monitor said...

I thought everyone knew you could tape your boobs with duct tape. I've never done it, but I had a girlfriend who was on the pageant circuit in Georgia. She was Miss Atlanta or Miss DeKalb County or something. She told me about duct tape and the tennis grip stuff you put on your butt to keep your swimsuit from riding up. I was going to call her when I was in Atlanta for RWA but she wasn't in the phone book. Waaaah!

I can't donate blood either (lived in Germany from 1976-1980) and wondered if the same restrictions held for bone marrow donation. Because of some health issues, I need to talk with my doc when I have my yearly physical next month about whether marrow donation would be wise for me.

Marilyn

Nina said...

Suz,

I know that you've said that you weren't sure if the public would accept a book with Jule's story as the main one, but I disagree. You have your fans and they're true blue. I think as long as you have a secondary/complimentary story (like you've done before with the WWII themes) with your usual hot, strong, sexy alpha male & realistic, assertive female, you'll have a winner of a book. I luuuuuuuv Jules and really want to see him get his HEA (with Robin, hint hint). You know London is the scene of many an international incident...... what a great excuse for you to take a trip there for "research purposes"!! And thanks for the little snippet of Sam & Alyssa at the end of Into the Storm - love it!

Julie in Ohio said...

OMG, Suzanne! You are a Buffy fangrl, too?!?! WOO HOO!

Yes. Naked hero on hood of car in the rain. That is the best scene ever... :o)

Cherie Japp said...

I can't believe what Seals have to go through to pass Hell week. Now wonder so many don't pass. I am new to your books. Someone just gave me Over the Edge try out and it is toward the top of my TBR pile. I am almost afraid to start reading it because it sounds so good that I may get hooked. :-)

Julie in Ohio said...

I've only just met Jules but I agree with Nina. I would love to see him get his HEA. Although, I have only just begun reading these books so you have a little while before I start begging as I whittle my way through the backlist... :o)

robynl said...

Go Justin, go!!! He is a great hero. What an awesome thing for someone to donate to help others live.

Stephanie H., Brooklyn NY said...

Thanks Suz for always using your celebrity to help others. You're an inspiration. Thanks for all the romance and the friendship. As others have said:
Go, go, go Justin!

Cheers,
Stephanie

Alison said...

Nina & Suz -
I agree with Nina completely. I got my aunt hooked on Suz's books and every time I call her with an update she CONSTANTLY asks me "when is Jules getting his HEA?" (lol...like I know how Suz's mind works!) But my point is if a 50-something (obviously not as conservative as I thought but still conservative) downhome woman from KY is excited to see Jules' story, you should have nothing to worry about. You have created such an amazing and complex charcter, Suz, people feel they know him and they can relate to him, gay or straight. I understand the thought behind your hesitation, but just look at the doors you've already busted open, what's one more? ;)

Umm....am I allowed to start a "side converstation" about what's your favorite "naked hero on hood of car in the rain" moment?
I have a lot, but one has to be "G-Man hero helps Gina walk out of plane on her own" and "humble but HOTT hero holds up real sized girl on a rope wall" :D I do love me some heros

Monica Burns said...

Welcome Suz, we're delighted you popped in! It's wonderful what you're doing for Justin. My own mother died of AML (just a different form of leukemia). I've been registered with the National Registry since 1999 because of that. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a romance reader, writer, or author were the one who became a match for Justin!

I also have to say that I've particularly loved different articles you've written or contributed to on the craft of writing. As the Queen of Deep POV, I've learned a LOT from you! Thanks!

Louisa Edwards said...

Just wanted to drop by and say that I've spent most of the morning wrestling with myself over whether to dive immediately into the new hardcover, or to go back and reread HOT TARGET and BREAKING POINT first. See, HOT TARGET is my favorite of the books so far, I think (I can't get enough of Jules) and I've been meaning to reread it since it came out in paperback. But there's that brand new INTO THE STORM waiting for me.

Yeah, these are my tough decisions. Not exactly the makings of a fantastic duct tape story (which actually made me tear up.) Anyway, thanks for guest blogging, and for the info on Justin, and for opening up a whole world for us, and making these larger-than-life heroes feel human and real.

Krys said...

I LOVE these books..the first one i ever read was INTO THE NIGHT. Once i realized there was a whole series i was hooked! ALthough Mike remains my favorite NAVY Seal, I have been waiting on Mark to have his story told. I can's wait to get to the store...i guess i will be re-reading these guys this weekend!!

forever a fan,
Krystal

Eve Silver said...

Hi Suzanne. Please excuse the hyperventilating... I'm having a rabid fangirl moment, LOL!

Love every single SEAL book (Your heroes are so HOT!!!!). Special kudos on Hot Target. You touched on issues that are so relevant and real in our society, and you handled them with such a delicate touch. I adore Jules, and I really hope he gets his HEA. I'm dying to read his story.

Also, your words about your son touched me so deeply. A parent loves her/his children unconditionally and accepts them for exactly who they are without conditions or constraints. Your prose summed that up perfectly.

Thank you for being a brilliant author. Prayers for Justin and his framily.

Nina said...

For those of you that haven't read Suz's books, they are all stand alone - but to really get to know the characters (and start rooting for them like all her fans do!) it is an even better experience to read them starting with Unsung Hero. Because her stories are about a SEAL team, characters are always dropping in on the current story and life is changing for them as well. Jules is the prime example - he's a complex character and to get a glimpse of him in one book doesn't do him justice. Also, the stories of Sam & Alyssa and Max & Gina are so much more than "their books". I have all Suz's books and when turning on a new friend to "the gang" I give them my keeper set and have them start from the beginning. By the time you're finished with the current one, you feel like they're you're second family.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Two things have literally astounded me since I started reading romance: the empathy and compassion of the readers, and the willingness of most of the majority of romance writers to reach out to those readers.

It's one thing to be a fangrl, another entirely to feel connected to an author because her books speak to you. Even more special, is when an author connects with one personally, or can make us feel that way when we e-meet her, or meet her in person.

I'm so enjoying sitting back and reading what you have to say about Suzanne, clearly a very special person.

Now, deep emotion and supportive connection the Bellas understand well. But I need some clarification, Alison, on what you meant here:

Umm....am I allowed to start a "side converstation" about what's your favorite "naked hero on hood of car in the rain" moment

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

And welcome to all you readers new to RBtheBlog. You fit right in, and I hope you'll stop back to chat with us often.

I want to write more, but I need to dive back in to some actual work. This is so much more fun today. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne - I've never done this blogging "stuff" before, so that should give you an idea how much I love your books! (Yes, I'm one of those comp. illiterates). Anyway, I just finished reading Into the Storm (for the 2nd time!) and loved it even more. I've gotten my mom to read your Troubleshooters' series and we have a great time talking about the characters, plot, etc.

I hope to meet you at your signing at the B&N in West Chester, OH; however, kids' schedules may interfere. (My 13 yr old daughter has graciously offered to skip soccer practice so that I can make it).

In case I don't, please know that I think you're a wonderfully gifted writer and a truly caring and compassionate person. Thanks for being you!

Leah

alison said...

Hey Michelle,
Basically I was just wondering if this was a forum that would allow people to post thier favorite scenes from Suz's books or if not. I know Suz doesn't usually have a set agenda for web discussions but I certainly don't want to overstep anything.
I just love discussing my favorite scenes and characters with other people. I used to have "Suz parties" with 2 of my best friends. We would sit around (like the dorks we are - in a good way of course) and all read the books together, complete with our never ending stash of what we called SEAL food (peanut M&M's - which I don't even like) and then discuss chapters. Yeah....I know...I'm a dork.......

Patricia in South Africa said...

Hey Suzanne, I managed to buy "Into the Storm" and a friend has shipped it to me in South Africa. I will donate this book to the local library here and introduce your wonderful stories to many people.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Leah! So honored you came all the way over here to post your first blog comment. It is intimidating, isn't it? It truly shows how much you love Suz's books. Welcome, and now that you know how, please come comment again!

Alison: Sure, we don't post long sections, but we love to say, "oh remember that scene when Valerius was on his knees with his head in the lap of the heroine? And him being a Roman general and all?"

Yeah, we love that. Have at it.

Dork? I recently had a Pride and Prejudice party (i know, Bellas, I'm repeating myself) where we drank a toast every time the character Bingley came onscreen. and we yelled, "Bingley!"

Dorkissimo!

Julie in Ohio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
Thanks for your amazing books.
I think you are doing an amazing job of spreading the news about Justin and I hope he gets good news soon.
I am a big fan of Seal Team Ten. I have just read the whole series, yet again, and I can't wait for the next one. I would love to read Thomas King's story (I am really hoping he ends up with his Russian Princess).

Caroline (Another fan in London, England)

Meg said...

Hi Suz,
I love, love, love your sense of humor! Every time I spontaneously burst into laughter, tears, or sigh with contentment, my boyfriend looks at me and says, "You're having a SEAL moment aren't you?" lol I also love how you write these characters so realistically. Men who cuss, cry and even act like giant babies every now and then. Military or not, they're still people with real emotions. I come from a military family and have several friends in the service. Just because they're heros doesn't mean they don't feel everything we do.

PS. I know Izzy is going to suffer hard-core before he gets his HEA, but I'm still looking forward to his story. :o)

Suz Brockmann said...

Hey, gang!

Thanks to all of you for dropping by the blog!

Randomranter (love that name!) is right. There are different rules for being a bone marrow donor -- there's an entire list up at www.imaswabbie.blogspot.com.


Alison: The next book is tentatively titled FORCE OF NATURE (scroll up a bit, I mention it above). Due date is next summer. We're currently talking August, but don't write that in pen! I'm betting it'll be more like June!

See you at the all-day workshop in Portland, ME in September -- it's going to be fun!

Marilyn: I hear you re: potential health issues. The way I understand it is, if you take the bone marrow donor test and are a match, you first undergo a complete physical to make sure you are healthy and can spare some marrow.

Nina! I've recently announced my intentions to go ahead and write Jules's book! I'm definitely going to do it, and FORCE OF NATURE is another step forward in Jules's story arc, moving him closer to his HEA.

Thanks for your kind words and your support!!!

Julie in Ohio: I only started watching Buffy after getting hooked on FIREFLY. It's all about Joss Whedon. He is my Writer God. LOLOL!!! So I watched all of Buffy on DVD, which, IMO, is the best way to do it. Four, six hours at a time...

I'm in the Angel camp, BTW, in terms of that eternal question "Angel or Spike?"

Gotta run for a bit (literally). I'll be back again later,
Suz

Alison said...

I just thought of something I was thinking about the other day....any news on when your series might hit the small or big screen??? And if so, can I play casting director?? :)

Nina said...

Marilyn,

Suz is right, you have to have a complete physical and give up lots of little vials of the red stuff before you can donate bone marrow....and tell several people intimate details of your life...but it's worth it if you can help someone.

Julie in Ohio said...

"I'm in the Angel camp, BTW, in terms of that eternal question "Angel or Spike?""

OMG!! That's it. I will follow anywhere you lead... I liked Spike as the villain, but Angel is my vamp hero...for Buffy. :o)
I agree, Joss Wheden is a genius.


I would like to know how you keep up with your characters. I am almost done with THE DEFIANT HERO and it has been very hard to put down to work because I'm afraid they will run ahead of me... :o)

Playground Monitor said...

I went to imaswabbie.blogspot.com and read the minimum health guidelines.

Most diseases which may be defined as auto-immune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, will prevent you from registering to become a potential volunteer donor.

I'm out. I have fibromyalgia which for some strange reason has flared up big time this week and is driving me nuts. My arthritis was acceptable, my mild asthma was okay and my allergies were okay. But the damned fibro...

Marilyn

Maureen said...

Suzanne,

Thanks for your SEAL stories. I agree with the others that they seem so real to me.

Jill said...

Hi Suzanne-
Blogging is new to me too. I am hooked on your books!
Sam and Alyssa are big favorites, but Jules is the one I really can't get enough of. I love the short story at the end of Into the Storm. I thought it was hilarious when Sam called Jules 'sweetie'... what a change from their first encounters! My opinion of Jules was pretty much the same as Sam's, (when they first met) but you have won me over. I hope that nothing is held back when Jules (and Robin?) find their own HEA.
Can't wait for your next book!!

ev said...

Trying to catch up since I was on the road all day. eek!!

Suz- Yes, Izzy and Jules both need their stories told. Although, with Izzy, it can't affect his ability to be where he is needed with that uncanny ability he has to know it.

I love your stories. I look forward to each of them. When I first came across Prince Joe, I went and found everything else to read. The stories and secondary ones that always run through them have me coming back for more.

I cried at Justin's story. I hope he finds a donor. Due to medicine allergies, I am not eligible as a donor. I have volunteered with Make-A-Wish for many years and know how each donor who signs up is one more who can help save a child's life.


Michelle- My son-in-law had a kidney transplant 4 years ago- his best friend was a match! I am so glad that your brother matched! Imagine what we would have lost had you not had a HEA!!

Marilyn- If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape... if it isn't moving and it should, use WD-40. It's not just the south that says that!!

Nina- No spoilers!1 I haven't gotten it yet!! ;)

Eliza- Semper Fi!! (And yes, I do know why they call you jarheads.)

Spike...No Angel... No Spike... No, oh to heck with it, Buffy can be a vampire oreo!! Right Vivi???

Vivi Anna said...

That's right Ev! Sandwiches for everyone!! :-)

Kris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kris said...

I just came to gush and then spread the word about being a bone marrow donor. I love your books, SEAL Teams 10 and 16. Your books got me hooked on military heroes. I cannot wait for the next one, Thank you for writing them, we appreciate it.

PS. I just disovered Firefly and I love it, I love his humor.

Kris said...

LOL Vivi

Jennifer Y. said...

Hello Suzanne! Sorry that I haven't been around today...I have heard great things about you and your work!

amy*skf said...

Ev-lol.

Suzanne, I already can't wait to read the next one, and I'm not done with this one--MaryKate's Fave--Over The Edge. I'm loving me some Stan.

Carol said...

I've just started reading your books. I'm reading Prince Joe right now and I love it. I can't wait to read more of your stories!

Stacy~ said...

Michelle, thanx for posting my message. I was so frustrated w/ Blogger this morning - how dare it cut me off LOL.

Wow I am so psyched to hear Jules will soon be getting his HEA! That's awesome news, and he sure deserves it. I also can't wait for Izzy's story. He really revealed a different side to himself in ITS, and I liked what I saw. I just love it when they fall hard ;)

And you're a Buffy fan. YES! I go back and forth between Angel & Spike, but I gotta say that Angel's the long-term, real deal. But oh, being a vamp oreo sounds rather appealing....

I love reading the posts from all the first-time fans - I remember that newfound excitement well...I still get it every time I read a new SB book.

Okay I have a question about being a donor: I'm usually turned away from donating blood because my iron is low. Will this be a problem trying to be a marrow donor?

Suz Brockmann said...

Okay, gang, I surrender.

I was going to try to respond to everyone's post, but you have crushed me! LOLOL!!! Too many wonderful comments, too little time!!!

THANK YOU to everyone for all the kind words. I appreciate it so much.

And thank you, too, for everyone who has expressed concern for Justin.

DO spread the word.

I've been told that since word of Justin's illness has gotten out, the bone marrow donor registry has added 20,000 new donors to its list.

I've also been told that I got my math wrong (no big surprise there! LOL!!!!) and that Justin's match is more like 1 in 25,000.

So we've got another 5,000 people to go. And, as one of my friends pointed out, if for some reason Justin's match isn't in that 25,000, we'll just keep spreading the word and test ANOTHER 25,000 people!

Stacy and everyone: As I understand it: Low iron is not a problem for bone marrow donors. (But dang, woman, have some spinach!!! You need that iron to keep you from feeling so tired!)

And re: Angel vs. Spike. Don't get me wrong -- I adore Spike as a character. He's amazing. I love him. But that Buffy/Angel thing from the early seasons of the show.... Sigh. It really, really worked for me. Really.

Michelle -- thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me be your guestblogger today. Your site is wonderful -- I hope you'll invite me back!

-- Suz

Julie in Ohio said...

Thanks for coming to visit, Suz. It was fun and informative. I had a ball. :o)

I am going to go and finish THE DEFIANT HERO. I am so anxious to see how it ends. Then I need to get to Amazon to get the rest of the books. :o)

Thanks again, Suz!! I hope you won't be a stranger. Visit anytime. :o)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Suzanne, you are most welcome any time. Your readers are marvelous;

Hey, new Bellas: please come back again and again; we love talking Suz's books.

I've added a link to www.ImASwabbie.blogspot.com to the RBtheBlog sidebar.

Announcement: Today's Guestblog has been the single most successful in the history of RBtheBlog!

It's all because of Suz, and I pray that we got lots of new folks interested in marrow donation.


Thanks for your books, Suzanne, and most of all, thanks for being you.

Molto grazie, Bella Suz!

azteclady said...

Thank you for having us, Michelle

Vivi Anna said...

Thank you Suz! It was fantastic to read about Justin's story and to hear about Navy Seals.

Please come back and play with us whenever you want!

We like to play.... :-0

catslady said...

I'm late but just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading all the posts. I have to admit I've not read anything by you as yet but I bought two of your books that are going to the top of my tbr pile :)

kim said...

thanks for stopping. can't wait for the books.

dreamer said...

hey there Ms. Suz! Ahm, is this still site updated? Anyways. I would just like to ask if Thomas King's story together with his two friends are already written? I'm really looking forward to reading their stories.
Anyways. I super duper love your love your works. ^^.