A recent post to my Sergeant Mike’s Facebook page reminded me how crap I am at marketing/promoting sometimes. Part of the problem is that Literotica discourages writers from promoting their ebooks in any easy or meaningful way. But when you have three books in a series out and someone wants to know when Book Two will be out…you know you messed up. So today I thought I would update you on Mike’s travels so far.
Master Sergeant Michael O’Malley is a man on a mission. After over twenty years in the US Marine Corps and more tours of duty than he wants to remember, his retirement plans are simple: hop on the back of his brand new Harley and tour the country, checking in on the men and women that he served with…and the families of the ones that never made it back.
My Country Tis of Thee is the first novella in the Sergeant Mike series. It is the story of a young Latino, who gave his life for a country that was not even his own. As with all of the stories in this series, it will touch upon the complex issues of how our country treats tens of thousands of soldiers and their families who defend their adopted country so valiantly. It also includes a motely band of Vietnam and Korean veterans, who honor their comrades and country by attending all the military funerals in the area.
“Your bike is out back. I was just checking her out myself. Making a few adjustments. Can’t let a fellow Leatherneck down,” he clapped one of those mammoth arms about Mike’s shoulders and steered him through the corridor and out another door.
Mike smiled as the sun hit the shining chrome almost winking at him. He fought back the urge to push the man aside and run to her like that kid once had. But this time, she was all his. Earned honestly with blood, sweat and tears too. The sweat and tears were his own, genuine enough. But it was the blood of his men that haunted his dreams and stole his soul.
“So what you gonna name her?”
“Yeah. Like a ship. I always name my bikes. It’s a tradition. Of course, me, I’m stupid about it. I always named mine after whatever woman I was with at the time,” laughter boomed from the man’s gut. “My bikes lasted longer than my marriages. All except Little Kim, of course.”
Mike gave the man another quizzical stare. As he walked over to the motorcycle that had been his only passion for so long. Well, almost. “Esther,” he whispered the name with almost reverence.
Highway to Heaven meets the U S Marine Corps
Honour, Oklahoma is Mike’s second stop on this tour of duty as he stands in for the best friend that he lost over twenty years ago. The man’s father is dying and though he remembers neither Mike nor his dead son, he feels duty bound to be there for the man since the son that died in Mike’s arms could not be.
Mike turned towards the door and stepped back in time. “Hey, Dad, is Isabel still around?”
He gripped the counter to remain on his feet. Cousins or not, the young man looked exactly like Billy, right down to the high and tight haircut that marked him as a Marine despite the dusty jeans and faded t-shirt that he wore just then. Mike shook his head as he looked from the new arrival to the older man.
“Billy, I’d like you to meet Mike. He’s an old friend of your namesake. They were best friends and served in Iraq together.” The man looked nervous as he turned to Mike, “This is our oldest son, William Clyde Hall.”
Mike held out his hand to the younger man, who even shared that same country boy smile that seemed to spread ear-to-ear. None of it made sense. Or maybe it all did? Mike looked to Josh Hall as he took Billy’s hand. He could almost feel the same tug, that instant bond that he had all those years ago when he had first met the boy’s father. And there was little doubt in his mind that this young man was his best friend’s child, not the man behind the counter.
Is love or heartache in the cards when Sergeant Mike finally meets his dream woman?
Esther Samuels is a woman in pain. Her only son was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Now this old-maid school teacher is stuck in her job, while battling small town prejudice and her grief. She is more dead than alive until…
Master Sergeant Michael O’Malley is a man on a mission. After over twenty years in the US Marine Corp and more tours of duty than he wants to remember, his retirement plans are simple: hop on the back of his brand new Harley and tour the country, checking in on the men and women that he served with…and the families of the ones that never made it back.
The third stop on his new tour of duty is the small Texas town that was home to one of his best friends. The young Lieutenant, Thomas Samuels had been one of the finest men it had been his pleasure to serve with. Until an IED ended that promise.
Now Sergeant Mike is here to check in on Tommy’s mom…and offer an extra pair of hands and a strong back for her annual Halloween party that is a mainstay of Sebida, Texas. Problem is the only thing smaller than this town are the minds in it.
Can Mike just ride off to leave the woman he has secretly loved for years, to face their wrath? Can Esther let the only man who has ever brought her to life just ride away?
A loud knock startled her. She almost lost her balance on the small ladder on which she stood. “Damn,” she cursed. “I’m coming,” she yelled as she stepped down. “Who the hell can that be?” She was not expecting anyone this late on a Friday evening. Most of the town would be at the high school. Football was, after all, the second religion in this part of the world.
Tommy had once been the starting quarterback, earning a full scholarship to college for his efforts. It had been a load off her mind. His college fund had been paltry at best. Saving money was hard for a single parent, whose salary as a teacher barely stretched to cover the mortgage, car payments, food and the few extras she could afford to give her only child.
She padded barefoot across the rough wooden floors, down the hallway and into the dark living room. She did not bother turning on the table lamp, instead she flipped the switch on the wall that flooded the front porch with light.
Her heart froze in her chest. When it finally restarted, its pace was twice as fast as usual. Its pounding was so loud that she could not hear herself think. Her chest felt as tight as it had that day. The day when she had opened this same door to find two men adorned in the bright red and blue uniform of the US Marine Corps.
This was not the same Marine. In fact, he was not even wearing a uniform, but his shortly cropped hair and stance would have given him away, even if she did not know him. But she immediately recognized him; she would know this man anywhere.
Master Sergeant Michael O’Malley. She had seen his face in dozens of photographs that Tommy sent home from Afghanistan. She could not even begin to count the number of times she read or heard, ‘Master Sergeant says this or did that.’ Towards the end though it had been simply Mike. Mike said or Mike did.
I am currently re-editing (perfectionist) all of them with plans to release them to other distributors, including iBooks, Nook and OmniLit/AllRomance by American Memorial Day. I am also hoping to add a 10,000 to 15,000 word short story to the mix at the same time…but no later than July 4th.