What Keeps An Ad From Going Viral?

Have you got a favorite ad that’s gone viral on youtube? Maybe one with roller skating babies or a soft drink? That’s a marketer’s dream these days – to have an ad so compelling that people watch it as entertainment, and tweet, blog and Facebook about it! Would you be surprised to hear that there’s an entire branch of marketing research dedicated to studying what makes an ad go viral?

Per the Harvard Business Review  (which I peruse in support of the day job, not the romance writing LOL) viral marketing campaigns have five pitfalls to avoid. And if we the consumers know what the marketers know, we can avoid being manipulated! Unless the ad is just too cute…

1. Prominent branding puts viewers off. People focus on a few key things in an ad, like the actors’ facial expressions and brand logos. If a logo is too prominent or intrusive, we’re likely to stop watching, even if it’s a brand we like. To avoid turning us off, advertisers use “brand pulsing”, weaving the brand or logo throughout the ad’s storyline in quick flashes. So it’s there, but not in your face.

2. People get bored.  The marketer has to create joy or surprise in the viewer right away. Advertisers are still locked into the old paradigm of a commercial building to a dramatic climax or surprise ending, which loses modern viewers in droves.

3. People watch for a while but then stop.  To go viral, the commercial needs to take us on an emotional roller coaster. Feelings of joy or surprise fade pretty fast. (Unless maybe you are the winner of that $570M lotto this weekend.) Marketers say deliver a jolt, change up the emotion constantly. The best example the HBR researchers cited had a 15 second opening, followed every six seconds by another scene, seven in all. I was shocked that I can be so easily reeled in – give me six seconds of emotion and I’m putty in a marketer’s hands evidently!

4. People like an ad but won’t share it. If the advertiser creates an ad that hits all the marks, and people will watch it for the full sixty seconds over and over, the ad still never goes viral if viewers aren’t willing to recommend it. The primary barrier to sharing seemed to be “shock”. There was one cola commercial where the cast took their clothing off. The researchers found that while people might enjoy the ad (black bars covered any less than G rated moments) they wouldn’t recommend it to others. So the recommendation is to go for surprise, as with the roller skating babies, which has eleven different scenes of infants dancing, thereby surprising you over and over (but not shocking you). That ad hit the gold ring for a marketer – 50 million YouTube hits and counting.   OMG CUTE!

5. People still won’t share the ad. Not everyone is the type to take the time to tweet, FB, Like, tag or blog about an ad even if they loved it. I guess I’m blogging about it, aren’t I? Hmmm…..

HBR’s conclusion was companies need to think harder about what the video offers the viewer, instead of how well the commercial serves the actual brand.

The commercial sticking in my mind most at the moment was from the Superbowl – the truck that could survive the End of the World As We Know It (but I forget which brand it was – sorry, marketing team!) I just like dystopian themes…


Wednesday Whimsy – Children

Childhood is the world of miracle or of magic: it is as if creation rose luminously out of the night, all new and fresh and astonishing. Childhood is over the moment things are no longer astonishing. When the world gives you a feeling of “déjà vu,” when you are used to existence, you become an adult.


Truly wonderful the mind of a child is. YODA

All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.


Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.

Bill Cosby

Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry.


Titanic – Unsinkable Molly Brown

Other than fictional Rose and Jack, probably the most famous “character” in the sinking of the Titanic would be the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Not only is she a real person, she was a colorful American, widow of a mining baron and had a Broadway musical and a movie made just about her (“The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” 1964, with Debbie Reynolds).

The IMDb blurb about that movie sums up how most people think of Molly: “…uneducated, poor, mountain girl who leaves her mountain cabin in search of a wealthy husband, respect and a better life.”

Except….no. Her real name was Margaret Brown and she never went by Molly. The Broadway producers decided Molly was an easier name to work into songs. She did tag herself with the nickname “Unsinkable”, telling reporters “The ship can sink but I can’t; I’m unsinkable”.

Daughter of immigrants, born in Missouri close to the Mississippi, later in life she enrolled at the Carnegie Institute and studied literature, drama  and languages – she spoke French, Russian and German, which enabled her to communicate with and translate for the Steerage class survivors who spoke no English on board the rescue ship Carpathia.

 At age 18 she and her married sister moved to Leadville, CO, getting a job in a department store, working in the Carpets & Draperies department. She met and married J. J. Brown, who was not rich at the time. Here’s what she said:

I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown. I thought about how I wanted comfort for my father and how I had determined to stay single until a man presented himself who could give to the tired old man the things I longed for him. Jim was as poor as we were, and had no better chance in life. I struggled hard with myself in those days. I loved Jim, but he was poor. Finally, I decided that I’d be better off with a poor man whom I loved than with a wealthy one whose money had attracted me. So I married Jim Brown.

They did become rich later, through her husband’s work for a mining company. Eventually they moved to Denver, where Maggie (as she was known) became quite the society lady. Sadly the couple separated in 1909, although they never actually divorced.  Prior to sailing on the Titanic she had spent the winter in Egypt with the Astors, who were about as high society and rich as it got in that era. She was returning to America on the Titanic because her grandson was ill.

During the sinking, she was credited with encouraging many people to get into the lifeboats before she herself was convinced to get into Lifeboat #6. She and the sailor in charge of that boat had a quarrel as she wanted to row back and pick up survivors, while he was terrified that the suction from the sinking ship would take their lifeboat under.

 While still on the Carpathia steaming for New York, she established a Survivor’s Fund and raised $10,000 (about $250,000 in today’s dollars). She refused to leave the ship until all the survivors had somewhere to go. She arranged for a silver cup and medals for the Carpathia’s captain and crew in honor of their heroic rescue work.

According to the Encyclopedia-Titanica.org, here’s what she wrote to her lawyer after returning to New York:

“Thanks for the kind thoughts. Water was fine and swimming good. Neptune was exceedingly kind to me and I am now high and dry.”

She was a lifelong advocate for women’s rights, literacy and education. She was one of the first women to ever run for political office.  By one account, she also became an actress later in life!

From Wikipedia, here are the actresses who have portrayed this amazing woman:

I don’t have an Unsinkable Maggie Brown type character in my novel SFR Wreck of the Nebula Dream but I like to think my characters share her kind of determination and will to survive, and to help others escape the disaster as well.

Six Sentence Sunday

I know I said last week was the final excerpt from my new book Wreck of the Nebula Dream, science fiction with romantic elements, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, BUT then I thought maybe I’d introduce some of the other characters in Nick and Mara’s little band of survivors.

The situation: Nick Jameson, Sectors Special Forces, has unexpectedly wound up traveling to his next assignment via a new luxury liner. The ship has had problems already on the voyage but now has suffered a catastrophe of Titanic proportions.

In this scene, Twilka, a young  woman Nick rescued earlier, is afraid to re-enter the gravlift due to her fear of heights. Khevan,  member of a for-hire, assassins/bodyguards guild, who is temporarily allied with Nick during the crisis, talks her into going with them, rather than remaining behind alone:

It was as if he hypnotized her. A minute later the couple, entwined so closely they could have been enjoying a romantic encounter, floated past Nick in the gravlift. Reflexively, he checked to be sure the children weren’t watching this too closely.

Of course they were.

Khevan shot Nick a knowing glance, eyebrow raised, as he descended.

Hmm, I seem to remember the Red Brotherhood of D’nvannae aren’t sworn to celibacy…

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!

Is Your Supermarket Trying To Seduce You Into Spending More?

Retailers are having to work harder than ever to lure customers into their stores and get us to spend money. It’s not enough these days to just put the shiniest red apples on top of the bins in the produce section! Grocery stores have always been at the forefront of tactics to get us to buy more – pioneering the shopping cart, for example, which debuted around 1937 at the Piggly Wiggly chain.

Carts were not an instant hit. Apparently they were too reminiscent of baby carriages and the male grocery shoppers of the time didn’t want to be seen pushing them, nor did many of the ladies. “I’ve pushed my last baby buggy,” one female customer is quoted as saying. The inventor had to hire models to stroll the aisles of his grocery stores using the carts and greeters to offer carts to customers walking in, explaining the many advantages. Over time, the shopping cart has become popular with customers and the retailers learned that if they made the carts bigger, people bought more.

Another pretty commonly known grocery store tactic is to put candy and small impulse items at the checkout stands, so that as we wait in line – or our restless little kids do – we’re more likely to give in to that urge for some M&M’s or start reading a magazine we then have to buy to finish the story we started reading.

I recently learned that my overly friendly checker at the local supermarket chain may actually be acting upon training instructions, to chat as a distraction so I won’t notice if something gets mischarged due to a discrepancy between the posted shelf price and the computer price. I’ll be so busy chatting with her, I won’t see the problem and ask for the lower price!

But apparently nowadays the grocery business has  gone high tech in its efforts to garner more of our hard earned dollars. According to Business Week, there’s at least one hush hush facility outside of Chicago designed to test customer responses to different marketing strategies.

How about the “speed bump area,” designed to subconsciously invite the shopper to spend 45 seconds longer in a given spot? Statistics showed she would increase her average spend by 73% as a result. The floor surface was different in this aisle, making the cart wheels go clickety-clack rather than silently gliding, which caused the shopper pushing the cart to slow down.

Deeply ingrained in all of us is the primitive survival technique of hoarding food, just in case of bad times. The supermarkets play into that, keying off the physiological fact that when we come across a deal, our brains release dopamine, providing a rush of pleasure. This testing facility had run an experiment with cans of soup. In the first run, they put up a sign with a dollar sign in front of the price and no limit on the number of cans you could buy. They also provided smaller shopping carts and put down a quieter floor.

Next day they ran the same experiment with the bigger cart, the noisy wooden floor, took off the dollar sign in front of the price and put up a sign stating the maximum number of cans was three.


Day One,  1 in 103 shoppers bought the soup.

Day Two,  1 in 14 people bought the soup.

Deleting the dollar sign and setting a limit really pushed the right buttons to sell more soup!

And this was just one of hundreds of experiments being run nonstop at this facility, to figure out how to entice us to buy more items and spend more money once we were in the door. (Research on how to get us in the store in the first place is a whole other subject.)

So next time you go grocery shopping, will you look more closely at the signs, the floor, the cart, the specials? Knowing that it’s all been carefully considered to manipulate you into going off your list and seduce you into overspending your budget?

What’s your biggest impulse purchase at the grocery store?

Thursday Lucky 7 Lines Meme

Lucky 7 Meme

 I was tagged by my friend Robin Ashe for this meme, seemed like fun…. 
Writers, here are your rules for the Lucky 7 Meme:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 authors.

5. Let them know.

So I went to my new release Wreck of the Nebula Dream as instructed and here are the seven lines below, which are part of a desperate rush to go rescue some trapped children after the ship has suffered a catastrophe:

The bulkhead was indented at a sharp angle, as if something had tried to batter its way into the ship from the outside. The once beautiful panels of wooden veneer were splintered and shredded along the corridor, some missing entirely. Beyond, within the damage perimeter itself, there were no lights, other than a few sparking panels.

The wind picked up.

“It wasn’t like this when I left a few minutes ago, not this bad. I mean, the corridor wall was banged up, but everything else was fine,” Mara said, hand at her throat. “Lords of Space!”

Wednesday Whimsy – Shipwrecks! – Photos & Quotes

This week’s Wednesday Whimsy is in honor of my new book Wreck of the Nebula Dream, a reimagining of the Titanic disaster, set in the far future among the stars, available now from Amazon for the kindle and Barnes & Noble for the Nook! The sinking of the Titanic was nearly 100 years ago, on April 15th.

It is better to meet danger than to wait for it. He that is on a lee shore, and foresees a hurricane, stands out to sea and encounters a storm to avoid a shipwreck.
Charles Caleb Colton

The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea. Ovid

Each man makes his own shipwreck. Lucanus

“Words convey the mental treasures of one period to the generations that follow; and laden with this, their precious freight, they sail safely across gulfs of time in which empires have suffered shipwreck  and the languages of common life have sunk into oblivion.”

Anonymous, quoted by Richard Trench

Titanic in Space? Wreck of the Nebula Dream!

So is my newly published novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream meant to be the Titanic in space? The answer is both yes…and no…

I think there will be certain similarities to any catastrophe at sea, or in the vast ocean of outer space. Just recently the Italian liner Costa Concordia went astray and sank with tragic loss of life, which –  while thankfully not on the scale of the Titanic – was still deplorable and sad.

Growing up, I was fascinated by the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic (and this was wayyyy before the James Cameron movie), partly because my grandfather always said he had a relative on board –  a Second Class passenger who survived, which made me feel closer to the events. She even rescued a steerage baby! Now, as an adult having done some internet research, I’m not convinced she actually is related to us but her story had a profound influence on me as a child.

What do you do? Stay on board? Take a lifeboat? If you’ve waited too long and there are no more lifeboats, how do you try to survive?

Inevitably, given the family legend, some time ago I had the idea to write a novel loosely inspired by the events of Titanic . Since I have a science fiction kind of mind, I set the story in the far future, out among the stars, using a luxury space liner rather than an ocean going cruise ship. In the beginning I naively thought I’d stick rather closely to the historical events of the Titanic’s last few hours, reinterpreted for the spaceship and her passengers.  Well, as any writer will probably tell you, the characters have minds of their own and they grab the plot and guide it in unexpected directions – LOL!

I made my ship Nebula Dream the newest, biggest, most state of the art space liner, complete with new engines, a crew that hadn’t sailed together before, pressure from the front office to set speed records…and set her loose in the spacelanes to meet her Fate.

So there I was with my Sectors Special Forces hero Nick and my no nonsense businesswoman heroine Mara, and the assorted other characters who make up their small group of hopeful survivors…and the story took turns that have nothing to do with how the Titanic sank. I HOPE you’ll find the account of their struggle exciting. I put in respectful nods to the Titanic events wherever I could….

As my hero observes at one point:  “Disasters in space tended to be abrupt, over with in a violent moment. Whatever had happened to the Nebula Dream, it was nothing short of amazing they weren’t all dead already. Can’t push luck too far.”  So my little band of people soon realize they are stuck on this vessel drifting in space, without enough lifeboats and no rescue ship coming any time soon, racing against the clock and other forces, hoping to escape with their lives…

Available from Amazon for the kindle

Meet the Author & Character Interview Forbidden Fantasies by Jodie Griffin

(WARNING: May be just a tad steamy for those under 18 so only keep reading if you are 18 or older, thanks!)

Today I have the pleasure of hosting my friend Jodie Griffin, who has a very hot new release from Carina Press – Forbidden Fantasies! We’re going to interview her hero & heroine in a minute! But first the blurb (and an excerpt below the interview):

After fifteen years of marriage, Jessica Meyers’s sex life is, well, a little predictable. Her handsome husband turns her on, but missionary style once or twice a week? It just can’t compare to the hot new world she discovers in the pages of erotic romances. Her fantasies fuel the fire of her desire, adding a new spark to her and Alex’s lovemaking. But Jess is afraid to tell her husband what she really wants in bed–and her secrets start coming between them.

State trooper Alex Meyers is a master at uncovering the truth–except when it comes to his sweet, shy wife. She’s clearly keeping something from him. An affair? She wants out? When he finally confronts Jess, he’s shocked to learn she wants to turn her forbidden fantasies into nightly realities. But when he takes her to a unique B and B–Bondage and Breakfast–catering to couples and multiples, Alex is about to find out just how far he’ll go.

VS asks Jessica and Alex a few questions (and their author chimes in once or twice):

What was your life like growing up?

Jess:  Well, pretty low key. My parents were older when they had me, and I’m an only child.  I didn’t really start living until I went to college.  That’s where I met Alex.    *slides a smile toward Alex, who winks*

Alex:  Me, I was your typical kid. Baseball, baseball, baseball. Then girls, baseball, girls, more baseball.  *kisses Jessica’s neck and nips at her ear*  And then I met Jessica, and it was all Jess, Jess, Jess, baseball, Jess, Jess, Jess.

Before the action in the book, what were your plans/hopes for the future?

Jess:   The usual, I guess. Raising happy kids, taking care of my family. Life’s been good. Maybe a little boring sometimes, but good.

Alex:   With my job, I’ve always hoped I’ll be around to see my kids grow up.  And I want to have time to travel with Jess. We had kids pretty quickly, so we haven’t had a whole lot of time for just us.

What changed that?

Jess:  It all started with a book.  (Author note: this was the original first line of Forbidden Fantasies, but it got cut during edits.)   See, I found out I like reading erotic romances. Really, really, REALLY like.  *blushes*  And once I realized I liked them, and thought maybe our sex life could use some livening up, I got a little…restless. And kind of cranky.

Alex:  She’s not kidding, cranky.  *Alex grins, laughs when Jess pinches him*  You know, you think you know a person, and then something happens to blow your mind.  Like finding out my wife has fantasies of kinky sex. Am I a lucky guy, or what?

How would you describe your personality?

Jess:  Can I describe Alex’s, instead? *grins* He’s sexy as hell, my guy. Possessive and protective of his family.  A good cop who really cares about and believes in what he does. And he’s a great husband and father.

Alex:  *Alex squeezes Jess’s hand*  Thanks, love. My gorgeous Jess is sweet and kind, sexy and kinky. Before she started sharing her fantasies with me, I never knew she had a bad girl hiding inside her.  I love it when her naughty girl comes out to play.  She’s bad and needs a firm hand – sometimes I think she likes being punished. *winks again as Jess turns pink*

What one thing would you take to a deserted island?

Jess: Alex.  Or toilet paper.

Alex:  *Alex laughs*  I’m interchangeable with TP? Really? I was going to say “Jess” but maybe I should make it….I don’t know, sunscreen?

*they both laugh, and Jess settles back into Alex’s arms*

Where would you go on vacation?

Jess:  With the kids, the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Without the kids? I’d love to go back to the B&B.

Alex: *Alex’s eyes go molten hot* We don’t need a vacation for that, babe. I was going to tell you tonight after the kids went to bed, but I guess I’ll tell you know.  I just got confirmation we’re booked next month for a long weekend, Friday to Sunday.  Gabe, the guy who owns the B&B, says he has a seminar going on there that weekend, but he had one room left and we’re welcome to it.

Jess:  A seminar? On what?

Alex: *grins widely*  Bondage, what else? Remember what we saw in the lounge that night? Yeah. More of that.

Jess: Oh. My. God.  *squeezes eyes shut, then laughs ruefully* I’ve created a monster. So, where would you go on vacation?

Alex:  As long as I’m with you, I’ll go anywhere.  *kisses Jess*

 What is your most distinguishing characteristic?

Alex:    *opens his mouth to speak, winks at Jess as he stares at her cleavage*

Jess:   Don’t you dare!  *rolls eyes and elbows him 

Alex:  What? *rubs sternum*  I was going to say your generous….heart. Talk about creating a monster. *laughs*

Jess:  You’re insane.  *kisses Alex*  And you have a world class butt.  *turns to Veronica*  You should see him in his boxer briefs. Oh. My.

What is your major skill or talent?

Alex:    *opens his mouth to speak again*

Jess:   *covers his mouth with her hand as he does the same to her*

*both start laughing*

 What’s your favorite color? Favorite food?

Alex:    *scowls, turns to Jess* Color? Do I have a favorite one? Guys don’t think about that. Blue? I don’t know.  Food, that’s another story. Steamed crabs, shrimp, corn on the cob, chips, beer.

Jess:   Green in almost any shade. Makes me happy. And I’m with Alex on the crabs. Welcome to Maryland. We eat crabs here. *smiles*  Oh, and chocolate, although not at the same time as the crabs. *shudders*

 If you had to pick another career, what would it be?

Jess:  Oh, I don’t know. Lingerie model? *snorts*

Alex: *glares* Over my dead body.  No one else gets to see Jess nearly naked but me. Not funny, babe.

Jess:  I was kidding.  *strokes his cheek*  You know that.

Alex:  Sorry.  *blows out a long sigh, grins sheepishly*   Me, I’ve always wanted to be a cop. I don’t want any other career.

Which actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie?

Jess:  Movie?  *snorts*  My life? Hah.  But really, I have no idea.  Now, Alex? He’d be… Alex O’Laughlin. Oh, yeah.  *grins*

Alex:  Who?

Who are your closest friends?

Jess:  Alex.  My college roommate.  And I just met someone who’s dating one of Alex’s friends, and I think we’ll get along great. Her name is Bella.  I hope she and Marcus can make it work.

Alex:  Jess.  My partner. And Marcus.   He’s the one who told me about the B&B. I owe him one.

Who do you love?

Jess:  Alex.  Our kids. Our extended families.

Alex:  Jessica, Kara and Ben. Mom and Dad.  My brother and sister

What are your future plans?

Jess: I don’t think that far ahead.  Too much goes on in our lives between the kids and Alex’s job for that!  But I know what I’m doing this afternoon, before Alex’s mom brings the kids home. *winks at Alex*

Alex:  *Eyes widen, and a grin crosses Alex’s face.  He stands up from the sofa, holds out hand* It was nice meeting you, Veronica, but I think we need to go now. *winks* We’ve got….plans.

VS sez, Believe me this couple loves each other…and things in the book do get HOT. Here’s an excerpt before they go off to the bed and breakfast they so fondly talked about in the interview:

 God, she hated conflict, especially the kind between her and Alex. And really, if this whole emotionally draining, nerve-twitching situation was anyone’s fault, it was his. After all, he’d been the one to give her the gift card she’d used to buy the first book. And the second. And the third.

Jessica Meyers sighed disgustedly as she tested the water of her bubble bath. No, none of this was Alex’s doing. It was all hers, and she was going to have to find a way to fix it. Soon, before the confused frustration she saw in her husband’s eyes turned into something irreparable.

It was late, but she needed to unwind. The kids were sound asleep, and Alex, a Maryland State Trooper, was still at work. He probably would be all night, unless the MSP caught a break on the case that had been all over the nightly news. It was quiet for once, and maybe now she could figure out what the hell she was going to do to make things right again.

She lit some aromatherapy candles that matched the scent of her bubble bath, turned off the overhead light and climbed into the claw-foot tub, sighing as the steamy water did its thing on her muscles. She settled back and closed her eyes, breathing deeply, letting the soothing aroma of eucalyptus seep into her pores. Her hands drifted idly over her stomach, back and forth through the thick bubbles.

Alex. She loved that man so much, even more than the day she’d said I do. They’d been through a lot together these past fifteen years, but never once had she been sorry she’d married Alex right out of college. She still wasn’t sorry. She couldn’t imagine ever being sorry. And yet, as much as she loved Alex and their life together, she was restless and itchy, and it had all started with a book.

It had been another Friday night, and she’d been alone in the house. Ten-year-old Kara had been sleeping at her best friend’s house, and seven-year-old Ben had gone on a camping trip. Alex and Jess had planned a much-needed date night, but then Alex called her to say he’d caught a case and would be working late.

Jess was frustrated, but she’d been a cop’s wife long enough to suck it up and not blame Alex for things out of his control. Rather than sit home alone, she drove to the bookstore in Frederick, looking for something new and fun and distracting to read.

She picked up book after book, looking at the covers and reading the backs, but nothing caught her attention. She was kneeling on the floor, surrounded by possible choices, when she found it on the bottom shelf.

The cover drew her attention first. It showcased a hazy photograph of a wrought iron four-poster bed with plush white bed linens, rumpled as if someone had just woken and stepped out of the room. A silky black scarf, tied in a knot like a blindfold, lay at the foot of the bed. Men’s ties were looped around each of the four posts.

Her mouth went bone dry, her mind whirling with images of what might’ve happened in that bed. She flipped the book over to read the back cover copy and got sucked right in. The erotic promise in those words flowed over her like warm honey, and she turned to the first page. Exactly what she’d been looking for. She paid for her book and headed home.

VS sez Jodie’s next book will be: Forbidden Desires from Carina Press in November, 2012.  And her website is www.jodiegriffin.com or Follow her on twitter at @jodie_griffin

Forbidden Fantasies can be purchased at Carina Press  Amazon

Six Sentence Sunday

Here’s the fourth and final excerpt from my new book Wreck of the Nebula Dream, science fiction with romantic elements, available NOW from Amazon for the kindle. Nick Jameson, Sectors Special Forces, has unexpectedly wound up traveling to his next assignment via a new luxury liner. The ship has had problems already on the voyage but now has suffered a catastrophe of Titanic proportions.

At a certain point in the struggle to reach safety, Nick is faced with a difficult choice between his oath as a military officer and his desire to save his companions (trying to avoid spoilers here). Mara is speaking first:

“Do your duty if that’s the path you have to take, don’t worry about us.”

“How exactly am I supposed to abandon you, Mara? I’d give anything to get you out of this mess. I’d gladly die to save you.” Nick glanced at the oddly assorted little group, as important to him now as any team of Special Forces operators had been in the past. “All of you.”

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!