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Memorial Day...Pause and Remember

Memorial Day...

Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U. S. soldiers who died while in military service.
Memorial Day began as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, but by the early 20th century, it was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.

Today, I would like to take a minute to thank all the women and men who are serving our country, who have served our country in the past and most of all those who are away from their families today as they protect my family and its freedom. You all have my utmost admiration and appreciation and deserve respect and honor beyond words to describe and beyond what is possible to imagine. The flag in our front yard is flying at half mast until noon to remember the more than one million men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. At noon, Husband, who is a veteran, will raise it to full-staff to let everyone know that those who have sacrificed didn't do so in vain, but their service will continue in the hearts of those living who fight for liberty and justice.

The theme for the Casablanca blogs in June, which is only a couple of days away, is amazing women, both fictional and real. Those women that we have known or would have liked to know that have touched our lives in some way. Since today is Memorial Day I'd like to recognize Sharlene Waverly, the heroine of Honky Tonk Christmas.

Sharlene came to the Honky Tonk in the days when Larissa was the owner. She started working part time and then lost her job at the Dallas Morning News and moved to Mingus. Larissa didn't ask many questions but it was evident that Sharlene had secrets. I wasn't even totally sure what she was hiding until I started writing Honky Tonk Christmas. In the first few pages of the book it is revealed that Sharlene was a sniper in Iraq and her job didn't stay in the sand or the bombed out buildings but came right back to Oklahoma and Texas with her.

The Army does not train women to be snipers. It's not in the job description anywhere on her records but Sharlene was secretly in black ops missions during two tours in Iraq. And when she came home she was afraid to tell anyone about what she'd done for fear of the repercussions that it would bring. What man would want a relationship with a former sniper? Commitment to her job at the Honky Tonk wasn't hard (she'd made up her mind to be the last owner); commitment to a relationship was near impossible, even though nothing did but sleeping in Holt Jackson’s arms erased the nightmares.

But a relationship with Holt was impossible. He was raising his niece and nephew and Waylon and Judd kept him way too busy to think about the spicy little red head who owned the Honky Tonk. Besides she was his boss since he was working for her adding an addition to the Honky Tonk. There was no way a relationship could even get off the ground with Holt, and if it did he'd be gone from Mingus as quick as he could gather up his kids and get the hell away from Sharlene if he found out she had been a sniper.
In the opening paragraph of the book Sharlene was having horrible nightmares about the day her spotter was killed right beside her. The more I wrote about her and the more that I understood the effect that being a sniper has on those who are trained for it, the more I began to appreciate those who serve our country .

When it came time to dedicate the book, I thought the best way to honor Sharlene's fabulous character was with the following:

Thank you to all the women who have served or are serving in any branch of the United States Armed Forces.

Today Sharlene Waverly, the spicy red haired heroine from Honky Tonk Christmas, is my candidate for awesome woman of the day. I'm forever grateful for those in real life who serve like she did in my book to keep us safe and I hope that they really do come home to their own Happy-Ever-After in their lives!


  1. Carolyn,
    My flag is out and flying high in memory and honor of all our sholdiers past and present. My father, husband, and son all proudly wore the Army uniform.

    A special ops heorine--wow! Very intriguing. I know it will be a hit!


  2. Amelia: Thank you! Mr. B was Army, our son Air Force, and our grandson is in his second year in the Army.

  3. Carolyn, I loved Honky Tonk Christmas and Sharlene is a favorite of mine among your heroines. We need to do all we can to help our returning soldiers deal with the effects of combat - I hope they all find someone like Holt to stand by them as well as the counseling and assitance they need. I was glad you brought some attentiontion to the issue with Sharlene.
    We have our flag out, too.

  4. Joanne: Thank you so much! Sharlene was probably the most complicated character I have written about.

  5. Great post! My father and grandfather served.

  6. I salute those who have served in our Armed Forces and who serve today. Most of my family served in the military and so did the women in our family-my mother, sister and me! :) My son is in the AF in navigator training currently.

  7. Shana and Terry: Thank all your family, with extra thanks to you, Terry, for me. Just looking at the flag out there blowing in the Oklahoma wind today makes me grateful and thankful to all those who have given so much so we can have freedom.

  8. Father and older brother served in my family. When I was researching my June release, "The Soldier" I came across the term "Soldier's Heart" for Post-traumatic stress disorder. The term alone is enough to make me cry...

  9. Grace: "Soldier's Heart". What depth. Enough to bring tears to any American's eyes.


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