Sara Blackard

Non-stop action when the Stryker Security Force is involved.

I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. I think I came right out of the womb ready to read. As a child with a severe articulation disorder that left only my mom able to understand me, books were my escape.

Eventually, I received the help I needed in order to talk, but books remained my constant companions. Once I learned how to write, an entirely new world of expression opened up to me. I’m not sure how many journals I filled with stories and poetry growing up, but they were numerous.

I’m not sure about you, but one of my favorite things to read has always been series. Maybe it was getting to come back to Anne on Prince Edward Island or Aslan in Narnia. I think I’ve always enjoyed being able to visit friends or places I grew to love over and over again. It may also be why I will still reread favorites several times, almost like having a cup of coffee with a good friend.

Maybe that’s why stories don’t come to me as individuals. They seem to spring up in tight bunches, like the low bush cranberries of Interior Alaska. My mind spins with families and groups of friends that find excitement as they make their way through life together.

I’ve had people ask how in the world I’m going to come up with the next idea. I always chuckle, letting them know God’s already planted five more series in my head. They’re there, growing along the cranberry bush’s branch. Waiting for their turn to fruit bright and red, tempting people to snatch them up.

So, it wasn’t a surprise when the men and women of Stryker Security Force overtook my imagination. What better group of people to get to know than those banded together through the rigors of war? I’ve loved diving into who they are with each book that I write.

When the single mom needed help from a man the exact type her mother always warned her about, I bit my nails, wondering if they’d embrace a new family.

When the introverted inventor had to go on a cross-country road trip with a guy who always struggled through school … oh, and dodge the fiery attacks of terrorists, I bounced my legs in anticipation.

The last adventure threw together a quiet, wounded warrior with a bubbly country starlet in a struggle against nature. It was unfortunate my children needed to be fed and I needed sleep, because I did not want to leave those two in their predicament without knowing how it ended!

November’s release, Celebrating Tina, finds the Stryker Security Force celebrating the holidays, though one of them gets caught up in helping the local police find kidnapped children. Y’all, my house is filthy. The predicament of those two is much more important than clean floors.

Since I love the Stryker team so much, I’m going to be giving away the first three eBooks in the series along with the new Christmas novella when it releases in November.

I hope you enjoy getting to know my friends (yes, I know they’re imaginary — geesh, I’m not that pathetic) as much as I have! Now, I’m jetting the team to Alaska to write the last book in the series!


Dana Mentink

Come find me in my happy place!

Greetings! Can you sense Fall in the air? Though I live in Northern, California, we really do have four seasons. We’re transitioning from a very hot and dry summer plagued by tremendous wildfires, to shorter days and cooler nights. The fog has begun to roll in some evenings and the summer leaves are showing the barest tinges of red and orange. Though the seasons are changing, the news doesn’t seem to be. We are still under threat of a virus, a contentious election, dangerous weather and economic ruin. It’s reinforced to me that my favorite spot in the world is only a few steps outside my back door.

My sweetest spot, my happiest place, is my beloved garden. I’m not much of a gardener, mind you, but the butterfly bush is alive and blooming, my garden beds are offering up a few zucchinis and even the straggly tomato plant has been kind enough to squirt out a few fruits. I am thrilled that the bougainvillea I bought before the world closed up in March, has stubbornly survived the triple digit heat and that little trooper is covered with fuchsia blooms. I have an old rickety chair in the corner where I perch with my laptop and my dog, and type away on whatever novel I happened to be writing. Today, in the middle of chapter five, an enormous black bee visited my squash blossoms. Not to be outdone, a fat lizard sometime scoots between the raised beds. If we’re especially lucky, a dragonfly or a hummingbird will stop to say hello.

Now that fall is arriving, I fold up the old faded umbrella to let the sun warm my toes as I write. The squash are almost done, and my thoughts turn to planting beets and broccoli. We’ll see if the seeds can survive long enough to produce anything. As for me, it doesn’t really matter how many vegetables I harvest, or how raggedy the roses look, or how painful the state of the world. In my garden, it’s just me and the little creatures and my imagination. Time to put on my coat and plod ahead to Chapter Six. Who knows what surprises are waiting for me in the garden?