Jul 12 2014

Dogs can be Navy SEALs, too

I love incorporating dogs into my stories, and my readers clearly enjoy the addition of a canine. My heroine in The Protector owns a golden-retriever/German Shepherd mix named Winston, who helps protect her from the bad guy. Milly, the black Labrador retriever in The Enforcer, went from a bomb-sniffing dog to a therapy dog for my heroine with PTSD. And recently, I’ve incorporated a service dog in my latest novella, “Look Again,” about an injured Navy SEAL. Readers can’t get enough of these dogs!

I write mainly about Navy SEAL heroes, and as luck would have it, dogs can be Navy SEALs, too. I’m not kidding! The only named member of the DEVGRU SEAL Team that killed Osama Bin Laden was Cairo, a Belgian Malinois—a breed of dog that resembles a compact German shepherd. Belgian Malinois dogs are “faithful, fearless and ferocious,” just like their human counterparts.

The Navy takes their dog warriors very seriously, fitting them with super-strong, flexible body armor and high-tech equipment that includes specially designed and fitted dog goggles, called “doggles,” complete with night-vision and infrared capability! These dog warriors are trained to do almost everything the SEALs do, with the obvious exception of underwater ops. They can parachute out of planes in tandem with their handlers or alone, if the jump is into water. One dog named Cara and his handler, Mike Forsythe, have set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment. They jumped from the same altitude as a transoceanic passenger jet, more than 30,100 feet up. Like their human counterparts, SEAL dogs are “highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts” NavySEAL3).

I haven’t incorporated a SEAL dog into any of my stories, yet, but I’m sure that’s in the works. My peer and fellow-author, J.M. Madden, touches on the bond between dog and a handler in her short story, “SEAL’s Lost Dream,” featured in the SEAL of my Dreams Anthology. The love relationship between a man and woman is essential to romance, but when stories are layered with that special bond between people and their dogs, that makes for a truly satisfying read, especially when the dog proves to be as valorous as the hero.  NavySEALdogs1 NavySEALdogs

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Jun 05 2014

Hero Dogs

Prequel to the Echo Platoon Series by Marliss Melton

Prequel to the Echo Platoon Series by Marliss Melton

These days the relationship between man and dog has evolved into something truly special. Service dogs transform the lives of psychologically and physically injured veterans of war. They bring quality of life back to young people who have had it snatched away from them, as service dogs can perform tasks frustrating for the injured or provide emotional support and comfort to those with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. These dogs are truly a blessing to those who need them. That’s why I decided to devote my upcoming short story, Look Again, to the importance of service dogs. Look Again is slated for release in late June and serves as a prequel to my upcoming Echo Platoon series, introducing you to characters you will soon fall in love with. While the cost of this 50-page short story might seem high at $2.99, proceeds from the sale will be donated to this nonprofit organization: Hero Dogs. Be sure to check out their website here and watch the video at the bottom of the first page. Buy this short story and do your part to pair up a wounded service member with his newest best friend.

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May 20 2014

May and June are devoted to Hero Dogs

This month’s edition of National Geographic spotlights some present-day hero dogs and what happens to them when they’re retired from the military. The cover of the magazine features Kayla, a Belgian Mallinois, who took four point-blank shots from an AK-47 and still subdued her attacker, saving the lives of several soldiers. Kayla lost a leg and underwent emergency surgery. Today she lives very happily with her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, who argues that military dogs should never be considered outdated equipment once their services can’t be used anymore. To Julian and to all soldiers who have ever worked with military dogs or had their lives saved by them, these dogs are brothers-at-arms. While they may initially be more aggressive than your average house dog, they quickly adapt to their environment and are safe around children. The military should invest in each dog what each dog has invested in the military, ensuring them each a happy retirement. Don’t miss this heartening video about a beautiful and brave canine heroine! http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/war-dogs/layka-video

 

Hero Dogs deserve happy retirement.

Kayla with her handler Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald.

 

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May 12 2014

My Writing Process

Author Marliss Melton

Author Marliss Melton

I’m taking a brief break from writing about heroes and heroines to join blog tour started by Laurel Odonnell. It’s all about the writing process. You can visit Laurel’s site at www.laurel-odonnell.com

As part of the blog tour, I’m to answer four questions. Here they are:

1)        What am I working on?

I am currently editing the final copy of DANGER CLOSE, my upcoming August release and the first book in my Echo Platoon series, which is loosely related to my Navy SEAL Team Twelve series. Everyone loves those Navy SEALs, so I’ve got a new line up of hunky heroes coming your way!

2)       How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Thanks to Suzanne Brockmann who started a trend, Navy SEAL books are hugely popular these days. So what sets my books apart from all those other stories? I’d say realism and just the right blend of romance and action. Being the wife of a retired Navy veteran, with lots of contact in the Spec Ops community, I know what military life is like. My stories are realistic and heartfelt. I havee heard from many of my fans that my books are keepers. Read my latest release, CODE OF SILENCE, and find out for yourself.

3)      Why do I write what I do?

Well, I love a man in uniform; I’ve been around them all my life, so I know how alpha males talk and what motivates them. I have written medieval romance and inspirational romance, but military romance is definitely the best fit for me. I can’t get enough of that male camaraderie that exists among a band of brothers.

4)       How does your writing process work?

Stories are like seeds that start out small and grow and flourish, taking on a life of their own. I like to let a story idea percolate in my head before I begin to write. I need to know the true essence of both the hero and the heroine—what motivates them; what tragedies they have lived through; and which Myers-Briggs personality type they have. I pair up couples very intentionally. While I try to plot out my stories in advance, that never works. The characters take over and all too soon I’m writing by the seat of my pants! It takes me four to nine months to finish a story, depending on how complicated the plot is and how clearly the characters talk to me.

 

Next week, (May 19th) you get to visit three more Navy SEAL authors to compare their writing process to mine. They are:

Sharon Hamilton—http://www.authorsharonhamilton.com NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love.

JM Madden—http://www.jmmadden.com USA Today Bestselling author J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between ‘combat modified’ military men and the women who love them. An eternal optimist, she believes there is a soulmate for everyone, no matter what the situation or physical challenge. She’s written 15 romances in the past three years and has plans for many more.

Gennita Low—http://www.gennita-low.comGennita Low writes sexy military and techno spy-fi romance. She also co-owns a roof construction business and knows 600 ways to kill with roofing tools as well as yell at her workers in five languages. A three-time Golden Heart finalist, her first book, Into Danger, about a SEAL out-of-water, won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Romantic Intrigue

 

 

 

 

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Apr 23 2014

My latest Heroine

On my recent cruise to the Western Caribbean, I met a true heroine, a woman of strength named Bobbi Jo Bottomley. Bobbi Jo is a dog behavior expert who runs a business called Tri-State K9 University, based out of Indiana. Not only does Bobbi Jo take in abused, mistreated, and homeless animals—including a seven-foot, red-tailed boa constrictor—but she also teaches disabled veterans to train their own service dogs in an organization she founded in 2012 called Soldier Dogs for Independence.Soldier dogs help veterans with things like mobility and post-traumatic stress disorder. By teaching dogs to turn lights off and on, to open drawers, pick up fallen objects, even detect emotional and physical states through their senses and respond appropriately, Bobbi Jo gives dogs the skills to make disabled veterans more independent. When I think about what a difference dogs can make in the lives of our fighting men and women, I am so grateful for people like Bobbi Jo, who facilitate the bond between man and beast and make the world a better place for all of God’s creatures.

BobbiJoTo contact Bobbi Jo, check out her website at www.TSK9U.com.

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