Book Releases

Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — Look for the first book in my new Colorado High Country series on May 10! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and adventures of members of an alpine search and rescue team. It will be available in print and ebook, with audiobook coming sometime this fall.


Soul Deep out in audiobook! — Jack West, widower, rancher and former Army Ranger, gets his own love story in this special I-Team novella, which was picked by readers at Grave Tells as the Best Contemporary Romance of 2015. It will be out in audiobook any day now.


Seduction Game is out in paperback, (I-Team #7) — Holly and Nick’s story is out in all formats — ebook, audiobook, and paperback. Look for it in Wal-Mart, the Kroger chain of stores, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookseller.


Dead By Midnight: An I-Team Christmas is out! — The grand finale of the I-Team series finds all the couples you love brought together when terrorists attack holiday festivities at a historica hotel in downtown Denver. It’s bad news for the terrorists. They have no clue what they’ve done when they take Marc Hunter and his friends hostage. Featuring cameos by the men of New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross’s Hostage Rescue Team series. Available in ebook and paperback.

About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Amalie, Morgan & Wentworth

Just a quick pop in to share some images with you.



I've long said that Duncan McLeod is the model for the brothers of the MacKinnon's Rangers series — Iain from Surrender, Morgan from Untamed, my WIP, and Connor. Jennifer Johnson put this bit of artwork together, transforming Duncan into a Ranger a wampum belt over his shoulder... And she put him with my idea of Amalie (the beautiful Sophie Marceau).



And this is my idea of Lord William Wentworth. And, yes, he will get his own novel, provided I'm still allowed to write books after this...

Just thought you might want to see.
Friday, December 28, 2007

Ramblings on prison


The Colorado State Penitentiary, where Sophie gets reacquainted with Marc.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your responses below. Sorry I didn't get back to you individually, but Christmas and then work had me busy. Plus, I have a deadline hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles...

But Bo brings up something very interesting, a topic that SueZ brought up from a different angle in a private email to me. Bo points out that she doesn't feel sorry for people like child molesters who are in prison. SueZ asked me if I would feel sorry for the men who attacked me with switchblades if they'd spent Christmas in prison.

And the answer to both, I guess, would be that I don't necessarily feel sorry for people just because they're in prison. The men who attacked me got two months — two lousy months — in jail before being deported on a deferred 2.5-year prison sentence. (That means that if they were found back in the U.S. again, they'd automatically go to prison for 2.5 years. If not, they were free.) I, on the other hand, was sentenced to five years of post-traumatic stress disorder, which included an inability to sleep at night (they broke in just after midnight) and terrible nightmares and depression. I still have trouble sleeping, and it's been 20 years.

Not really fair, is it?

As for child molesters, you can read Ride the Fire to get my own personal experience with that. Again, the harm is lifelong.

Do I feel sorry for them when they go to prison? Nope. In fact, a part of me wants to watch them being force-fed their own genitalia on live television. Violent offenders belong in prison, some of them belong in prison forever, child molesters and rapists especially.

But most people in prison aren't violent offenders. Most are in there for drug-related charges and crimes relating to mental illness and poverty. I do feel sorry for them.

However, my biggest issue with prison isn't so much that people are there; it's what happens while they're there that bothers me. Inmate violence and abuse by correctional officers is a real thing. I write about it in Unlawful Contact as fiction, but it's not pretend. Rape, beatings, gang activity, mutilations, medical neglect, and other forms of abuse are only too real, and the government should not be in the business of sentencing people to death-by-broomstick.


A very posh, upscale jail cell. Most aren't this nice.

Among women in prison, despair is such a real problem. Most of them are mothers, and the overwhelming majority have done nothing violent. Drunk driving, not having car insurance, narcotics abuse, theft, forgery — those are the crimes the women had committed that I met while I did my 24-hour stint as an inmate. One was there for assault, and she was newly pregnant with a 3-month-old baby at home. Her boyfriend had done the assaulting, but she'd been with him at the time. She cried and cried and cried about wanting to go home to her baby, and she had no idea when she'd be able to leave again.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here...

As we get nearer to the release date for Unlawful Contact, I thought I'd do a series of posts about my 24 hours in jail. Call it "Pamela's Prison Diary." (Makes me sound like a badass. LOL!) And then I'll tell you all about it, from the moment I was "arrested" and cuffed through the strip search to the morning, when I was released and debriefed by the jail captain. Sound interesting?

I'll even try to locate my mugshot. I look like a frightened 2-year-old in the photo. Was I scared? You bet your bra, I was. It had dawned on me at some point how ridiculously stupid I was to think going to jail was a good way to get a story.

HA!

One last thing: This past year, on the 20th anniversary of the attack, I had LibBAY, KrisTAY and SueZAY with me. We were supposed to commemorate the event somehow. That's what I wanted to do, anway. Some sort of observation of that terrible, terrible night. What did we end up doing? Laughing our butts off, drinking lemoncello, and sleeping very deeply (at least I did). And you know what? That's probably exactly the right way to commemorate a night of horror — with a night of fun and close friends. Those men wanted to ruin my life by raping me in my own home. But who had the last laugh?

Thanks to my Gangstas — I love you! — I had the last laugh.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Marc's Christmas in prison — web exclusive



One of the most moving experiences of my life was the 24 hours I spent as an inmate in the women's unit of the county jail. "Arrested" as part of a deal with the county sheriff, I went in as a felony arrest, which meant enduring a strip search. I hoped to reveal to my newspaper readers what life was like in the overcrowded jail. Kind of an extreme way of doing it, I know, but if you know anything about my journalism career, you know I rarely take the easy way out of a story. Whether that's a good thing or whether it means I'm crazy, I'll leave for you to decide.

Most of us give little thought to people who are locked behind bars. We tend to dismiss them because, well, they're criminals. They've broken the law. Their lives are a mess. And we just don't care. I find that sad. No matter how messed up a person's life has become, all human beings are entitled to compassion. Having seen exactly how desperate, lonely, miserable, violent and frightening life behind bars can be, I made it one of my missions to write about inmates, in particular women in prison.

The novel Unlawful Contact grew out of my experiences covering prison issues as a reporter. And I know that today, Christmas Day, there are tens of thousands of inmates who are serving their time, completely forgotten by the rest of the world.

That's part of the reason for what I'm posting today.

The other reason is that Marc won't leave me alone! And as I thought about inmates in prison this Christmas, I thought of my beloved Marc, and I realized that this is another Christmas in prison for him. (It's his last Christmas in prison, but he doesn't know that...)

I tapped into Marc, and this scene popped into my head. It's not in the novel. It fits in between the Prologue and Chapter 1. And it's my Christmas present to you, my dear friends. Thanks so much for your support!

Merry Christmas, and enjoy!

Christmas Day, 2007



Marc forced out one more sit-up, then leaned back on his arms, breathing hard, the strain taking only the slightest edge off his black mood. After six years of living in a nine-by-nine concrete box you’d think he’d be used to this. But maybe that was part of the punishment—you never got used to it.

He stood, threw himself down for a set of push-ups, the pain a kind of anesthetic, a way to focus on something besides the nothingness that was his life.

Seventy-five, seventy-six, seventy-seven.

He pushed past 100, then sat back against the wall to catch his breath.

Other men read their kids bedtime stories or made love to their wives before they went to sleep. He kicked his own ass. And he rarely slept. Not deeply, anyway.

From down the cell block came the muffled sound of crying. The new kid. Only sixteen, he’d been drunk and fucking around with daddy’s gun when it had shocked the hell out of him and slam-fired into his best friend. The judge had been in a kick-ass mood and decided to make an example of him. He’d been sentenced to sixteen years.

Helluva thing to happen.

Still, someone needed to tell the kid to shut up. Show too much vulnerability in this place, and you’d find yourself on bitch duty. Marc would have a talk with him tomorrow.

Tomorrow—Christmas Day.

He’d forgotten about it completely until Cormack had wished him a Merry Christmas during evening count an hour ago. It would be like any other damned day, except the kitchen would turn out some dry fucking shit that was supposed to be turkey together with blobs of canned cranberry sauce. The luckier inmates would get photographs or Christmas cards or maybe even cash for their commissary accounts. Everyone else would watch those lucky few—and think about the families they left behind on the outside, families that no longer gave a damn about them.

Marc reached for the photo of Megan holding little Emily, let his gaze travel over the familiar image. Megan, her hair drawn back in a pony tail, exhaustion on her face, her ankle cuffed to the bedrail. She looked exhausted but happy, her gaze fixed on her baby girl, a look of wonder in her eyes.

Emily was almost six months old now and thriving with her Mennonite foster family. As unexpected Megan's pregnancy had been, Marc was grateful that his niece had come along when she had. Megan had quit using drugs the moment she’d realized she was pregnant. If she stayed clean, she’d be out of prison and in a halfway house in a little more than a month — and she’d be able to see Emily again.

If Marc had still believed in prayers, he’d have prayed for that — that his sister would be reunited with her baby and live a long and happy life. The two of them still had a chance at a normal life, and he would do anything — anything — to make sure they got that chance.

Of course, there wasn’t much he could do, given that he was locked in this place and would be for the rest of his life.

L.W.O.P.

Life without parole.

He set the photo down and reached for the newspaper article on the shelf beneath, his gaze seeking the byline.

By Sophie Alton

He ran a fingertip over the ink, ran her name through his mind.

Strange that she of all people should end up writing articles about his sister’s struggle. Compassionate, smart, a damned good writer—Sophie had made her dream of becoming a top-notch journalist a reality. And Marc respected her all the more for it.

If he closed his eyes, he could picture her clearly even though twelve long years had gone by since the last time he’d seen her. Straight strawberry blonde hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Delicate features.

Fairy sprite.

That’s what he’d called her that night so long ago—the night he’d taken her virginity and
spent the night with her beneath the stars. It was a dumb nickname, really. But then he’d been only eighteen.

Sophie was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He’d spent one night with her, and somehow she’d changed his life—at least for a little while. He’d give whatever little bit of his soul he had left to see her again, except that he didn’t want her to see the man he’d become.

Did she regret that night? Did she remember him the way he remembered her?

He began to read through the article, when the lights went out.

Eleven P.M. Another day done.

He set the clipping back on his shelf, then stretched out on his bunk and stared into the darkness. Down the hall, the kid was still crying.

And then he heard it—someone singing.

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.”

How long had it been, how many years, since Marc had heard the carol? His throat grew tight as the song went on, the words with their hope so out of place in this godforsaken hellhole. Nights were never silent in prison, and nothing even close to holy ever happened here.

"Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”

He didn’t even know what peace was any longer, and he wished whoever was singing would shut the fuck up.

But another voice took up the words. And another. And another.

”Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah. Christ the savior is born. Christ the savior is born.”

And Marc found himself singing along, the lyrics coming to him out of some forgotten memory.

“Silent night, holy night, son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from they holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace.”

But the last words died on his tongue. There would be no redemption for him, no second chance.

“Jesus lord at thy birth, Jesus lord at thy birth.”

The song finished, leaving a bittersweet silence in its wake.

And then Marc heard.

The kid down the cell block had quit crying.

And for the first time in years, Marc closed his eyes and prayed—for Megan, for Emily.

And for Sophie.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Surrender in Norsk



I got home today to find a wee box on my steps. It was from my agent. I thought it might be anything. Who knows? She periodically sends stuff she thinks I might like.

I opened it and discovered copies of Surrender in Norwegian. The title of the book has been changed to The Brand, referring, of course, to the terrible brand Annie wears on her inner thigh thanks to her dear Uncle Bain. (Norwegian is very easy for me to read; it's almost exactly like Danish.)

The blurb on the back is very well done, I thought. Authors have very little involvement with foreign publishers and foreign-language translations (though I would love to be more involved in multi-lingual events and such and maybe adding foreign-language pages to my website soon).

The back reads:

" Lady Anne Campbell was betrayed by her own uncle and sent to the English colonies in America, where she was sold as an indentured servant. It was a hard life, and Anne survived an Indian attack... only because a scout, Iain MacKinnon, was willing to risk his own life and his position in the army to save her.

"Warm feelings arise between Anne and Iain, but he has nothing to offer her. He is bound to the English army, and his commander, Lord William Wentworth, is willing to do anything to have Anne for himself... "


Anyone have Norwegian friends or relatives who might want a romance in norsk? I've got five copies. I'm actually reading Surrender right now to keep in a Ranger mood during the work week. It might be fun to see how they translated it.

Okay, so maybe this is only interesting to me. If you're bored, just look at John DeSalvo's awesome nipple on the front cover. That ought to tide you over until my next post.

Only a week till Christmas, and I haven't started shopping yet!
Monday, December 17, 2007

Jayne Ann Krentz and Me


Lost and Found by Jayne Ann Krentz and Pamela Clare (Kindle Edition - Mar 3, 2007) - Kindle Book


It's every author's dream. You open your browser, go to Amazon.com, and there on the screen is your book! You stare at it, thinking, "Wow! I wrote that. I wrote that!" Ah, yes. Such a special feeling.

And then there are those rare times you log on and see your name and think, "I wrote that?"

Such was my experience today when I went to Amazon to see if the cover of Unlawful Contact was up and discovered that I had co-written a book with none other than Jayne Ann Krentz! The title of the book was Lost and Found, which seemed to be very appropriate because I'd lost any memory of ever having worked with Ms. Krentz and had only just now found the story.

Imagine my swelling sense of pride. Me and New York Times bestseller Jayne Ann Krentz writing together. Any author would be proud to be part of such a partnership. I found myself full of questions: Did Jayne and I work well together? Were our styles compatible? Which one of us wrote the sex scenes? Who handled characterization best? When is our next co-authored book coming out? And why if I co-authored that book is my name not on the cover?!?

The most amazing thing about this novel is that I wrote it with zero stress. None at all. No long hours agonizing over which word comes next. No brainstorming character. No research. I would love to write more books in this fashion.

The first thing I need to do is find out how to contact Jayne and find out if she'd like to continue this partnership. But just between you all and me, I'm guessing she thinks she did more of the work and considers me a freeloader. Well, she may have something there.... Hmmm...

Seriously, it's a funny mistake. I'm not sure how the folks at Amazon accomplished this, but it made me laugh. I suppose in their rush to "kindle-ize" her book, someone got a wee bit confused. Now I can only hope that having my name in close proximity to Ms. Krentz will result in magic author fairy dust rubbing off on me so that I can find my way on the New York Times bestseller list, too, one day.

Thanks, Jayne. :-)
Friday, December 14, 2007

Galleys and Gift Baskets — Contest Time!



I have on my desk the edited galleys for Unlawful Contact. Which means it's Contest Time!

In honor of the holidays and in gratitude for the friendship and caring you all have shown me, I'm giving away an autographed galley of Unlawful Contact and a gift basket from Blue Moons Bliss. These products are hand-made by a friend of mine and include only all-natural ingredients and essential oils. I use them myself, and Luscious Lavender is the scent I prefer, so that's what I'm giving away.


Check out all the wonderful stuff at www.bluemoonsdesign.com, and tell Benecia that Pamela Clare sent you!

So how do you enter this contest?

Simply reply to this post or send me an email at pamelaclare @ earthlink.net (remove spaces). Tell me what you prefer most in a contemporary hero, and I'll put you in the contest. Deadline: Sunday at midnight.

Update: I've been busy at work, and that's about it. The holiday season is always very busy for newspapers. Fortunately, January and February give us a chance to catch our breath. I'm understaffed in the newsroom right now, so that has made for some late nights and crazy days. I haven't gotten any Christmas shopping done. I guess I'm hoping there is a Santa and that he can do it all this time. (His sleigh, his reindeer, his credit cards.)

When it comes to fiction, I'm behind on Untamed, the sequel to Surrender, but there's not a lot I can do about it at this point. Being short on staff at the paper means that for the first time in six years, I won't have vacation through the holidays. But I do hope to post a few excerpts soon.

And speaking of excerpts:

From Unlawful Contact

Clutching the arm that imprisoned her, Sophie struggled to keep up as Hunter pushed her down the empty, silent hallway, gun near her cheek. Her mouth had gone dry, and her heart beat so hard it hurt, her sense of unreality growing with each forced step.

This couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t be real.

It was only too real.

His breath hot on her temple, his hold on her never letting up, Hunter half-dragged, half-carried her toward the security checkpoint where only thirty minutes ago she’d overheard Sergeant Hinkley saying something to Lieutenant Kramer—she couldn’t remember what.

Dear God, what if Lieutenant Kramer is dead?

They reached the gate, found it locked.

“Crappy hospitality.” Hunter hit a button on the control panel with the butt of the gun, and the gate clicked open. “I guess we’ll have to show ourselves out.”

“They’ll catch you sooner or later.” She barely recognized the sound of her own voice.

“I’m hoping for later.” He didn’t sound worried in the least. “Now hush your pretty mouth, and keep moving.”

It seemed to her she watched from outside herself as he drew her through the checkpoint, down the hallway, and through Lieutenant Russell’s station with its metal detectors, ink pad and black light scanner. She felt an absurd impulse to hold out her hand and run it under the scanner as she always did on her way out.

You’re in shock, Alton.

That must explain why she couldn’t think straight, why she was stumbling along with Hunter like a puppet, why she hadn’t tried get away from him. Well, that—and the fact that he’d threatened to kill her and had a gun to her head.

And to think she’d come here to help his sister.

Rage, hot and sudden, burned through Sophie’s panic and fear. She twisted, kicked, scratched, brought her knee up hard.
“Let… me… go!”

“Son of a—!” His curse became a grunt as her knee met his groin.

In a heartbeat, Sophie found herself pinned up against the wall, the hard length of his body immobilizing her, her arms stretched over her head, his forehead resting against hers.

His eyes were squeezed shut, breath hissing from between his clenched teeth, his face contorted in obvious pain. He drew a deep breath, then opened his eyes and glared at her, his expression shifting from pain to fury.

“I’ll give you that one because, God knows, I deserve it. But don’t try to play rough with me, Sophie! You’ll only end up getting yourself hurt!”

He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then his gaze dropped to her mouth.

For a split second, she thought he might try to kiss her, and a completely new fear unfurled in her belly. “Don’t!”

He thrust her in front of him and pushed her down the hallway. “I’m a convicted murderer, not a rapist! Besides, now isn’t the time. Move!”

Her rage spent, she did as he demanded, trying not to trip, trying not to cry, trying not to throw up. Just ahead lay the lobby and beyond it the front entrance and visitors’ parking lot.

When I’m safely away, I’ll let her go.

His words came back to her, and she latched onto them, clinging to the hope they offered, repeating them in her mind like a mantra.

I’ll let her go. I’ll let her go.

They passed the abandoned registration desk where Sergeant Green had checked her in, and hurried through the now vacant lobby. And then they were outside.

Sophie barely noticed the cold wind or the fat snowflakes that had begun to fall or the fact that the sun had set, her thoughts riveted on Hunter and what he would do next.

He surprised her by stopping just outside the door and drawing her back against the brick wall with him. “Give me your keys! Which one is yours?”

“Wh-what?”

“Which car?”

“The blue Toyota. But you can’t—!”

“There’s no time for this!” He covered her mouth with his hand. “Listen close, Sophie. The moment we step away from this building, a dozen snipers with high-powered rifles will sight on my skull. Perhaps that idea pleases you, but it makes me a little nervous. I don’t have time to call a cab, so we’re taking your car. Understand?”

He lifted the hand from her mouth.

She nodded, her pulse skyrocketing. “Y-yes.”

He was kidnapping her!

No! No! Please, no!

She swallowed a sob and fumbled in her purse for her keys.

Marc heard Sophie’s breath catch, felt her body jerk and realized she was crying.

Goddamn it! Goddamn it!

He fought the urge, so instinctual, to reassure her. He couldn’t afford to think about what she was feeling. Not now. Not yet. One mistake out here, and he’d be a dead man.

She drew her keys from her purse and held them out for him, metal jangling. “P-please just take my car and leave me!”

“No can do, sweetheart.” He grabbed the keys from her hand, glancing from the parking lot, which was flooded by search lights to the lobby, where a dozen C.O.s had gathered, waiting for him to slip and offer them a clear shot. “Go!”

He realized his mistake as soon as they hit the parking lot. Dressed in those ridiculous heels, she could barely walk on the ice and snow, much less run. She skittered and slipped, more than once nearly toppling them both to the ground. If she fell, she’d give the snipers the clear line of fire they were waiting for.

“Jesus Christ! It’s winter, woman, or hadn’t you noticed!” Marc lifted her off her feet, held her hard against him and ran, his prison-issue tennis shoes offering little more in the way of traction, the skin on his back prickling with the imagined heat of red lasers. He’d worked the other end of the rifle for too long and could almost hear the snipers' thoughts in his mind.

Slip. Drop the girl. Raise your head up just an inch, you bastard!

Her car was parked nearby—the first space in the second row. He fought for footing, skidded into the door, his knees crashing against metal as the first shot rang out.

Sophie screamed, and for one terrible moment Marc feared she’d been hit. Then he felt it—searing pain in his shoulder.

“Shit!” He slipped the key into the lock, jerked the door open, then shoved Sophie through the door and piled in behind her. “Scoot over!”

An explosion of weapons fire.

A barrage of bullets.

The driver’s side window and mirror shattered, glass spraying through the air as rounds shredded the door where he’d been standing a split second ago.

Keeping low, he slammed the door, slid the key into the ignition, and gunned the engine. Then, both hands on the steering wheel, he fishtailed out of the parking lot and toward the highway. “Put on your seatbelt, sweetheart. This ride is likely to get rough.”
Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Finally! A historical that I love!



After what feels like a century trapped in the desert, I have discovered a new-to-me author and a historical novel that I loved! The last time this happened was years ago when I was writing Ride the Fire and read Elizabeth Lowell for the first time. Apart from a handful of books I read written by her, I'd begun to think that it was impossible nowadays to find a historical author who writes what I want to read.

Okay, so I know I'm picky. When I read a historical novel, I want complex characters, a story that seems epic in nature, and historical veracity. I want dialogue that, as much as possible, feels genuine for that time and place. I want believable heroines who feel like real women, not proto-feminist "sheroes." I want heroes who feel like men, not metrosexuals. I want to feel the past surrounding me, carrying me away. I want a meaty story. And I want it to be as seamless as possible.

I don't want wallpaper historicals. I don't want "light, breezy" reads that feel like foam in my brain. I don't want novels about gowns and frippery and ballroom banter — unless they go to a deeper place than the wardrobe and the ballroom. I don't want anachronistic novels that put modern-day heroines into historical settings.

This week, I dug around in my TBR and found a novel I'd brought back from RWA this summer. It was Kathleen Givens' On a Highland Shore. I opened it up, plopped onto my bed... and vanished into 1263 Scotland.

Here's a description I stole from B&N:

On Scotland's western shore, the village of Somerstrath prepares for the joyous wedding celebration of Margaret MacDonald, the laird's daughter. But a dark storm of bloodshed and betrayal is closing in, as a merciless band of Vikings threatens the Highlands. Margaret is determined to hold the MacDonald clan together and to locate her abducted younger brother. But can she trust the noblemen from King Alexander's court, who insist that only by adhering to a betrothal conceived for political gain will she find safety? Or should she put her trust in an imposing half-Irish, half-Norse warrior? Gannon MacMagnus alone offers her hope of reuniting her family and vanquishing the barbarous Norsemen who would continue to rob her people of their God-given right to determine their own destinies. In whom should Margaret entrust the fate of the rugged, magnificent land she calls home?

There's sexual tension in this book, but very little sex. It's not a "hot read," but it's an amazing story. I ate it up, and at the end I wanted to read it again. That never happens to me. As I read the last page, I had a rush of goosebumps such as I haven't had... I can't remember when, really. I felt so satisfied by the story.

It's dark, gory, rich in history and full of believable, wonderfully drawn characters.

Kathleen Givens rocks. She's a RITA winner, and I can certainly see why. I sent her a slobbering fan-grrrl email, unable to help myself.

Historical novels are my absolute faves. And it's funny that any time a message board or readers' group asks readers to list their all-time favorite novels, so many of those are historicals. But, in part due to worries about being politically correct, and etc., historicals have been so muted lately. I think the publishing industry is in part to blame for that, as few houses want to venture outside the realm of Regency or European historicals. But that's another topic.

I don't make recommendations all that often, but I loved this book. It's a five-star keeper for me.

Needless to say, I haven't been writing...
Friday, November 30, 2007

Foreign covers, fun stuff and wallpaper!



Sorry I vanished from the face of the earth. I blame the Pilgrims. They started this whole stuff-your-face tradition a long time ago, meaning that we, their decendents, must do the same each year. So I went out of town and spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents on Colorado's Western Slope. Then because I'd actually had time off, I had to catch up at the newspaper. The thing that stinks about working at newspapers is that you can't just say, "That's enough news," and publish whatever you feel like writing. You have to fill the entire paper. Every time. No blank pages allowed. It's irritating.

Anyway, here we go, catching up...

Kalt Wie Der TodCold As Death. That's the German title of what I think is actually Hard Evidence. It could be Extreme Exposure, but who knows? I find out about these things after everyone else. A friend from Germany let me know about this one. I guess when I get copies I'll know which book it is. What the heck? I'm just the author.

Still, I think it's a pretty cool cover. I'm not sure how they got Angelina Jolie to agree to pose, but she looks great.

And now for something completely different...

A reader, Jennifer Johnson, sent me a few emails and we ended up chatting back and forth. She told me she'd started with my second book, Carnal Gift, and then worked her way through my titles. I told her how Carnal Gift had been cut dramatically in order to comply with an arbitrary maximum page length and how the cover had always bugged me because it looks like late summer in the Louisiana Bayou and not winter in Ireland.

Then one day I opened my email, and found this....



What do you think? (You can view the original further down on the right side of this blog.) I absolutely love this! Carnal Gift is going to be reprinted in October, and I wish they could use this as the new cover. I love the blue colors. I love the Irish castle. And that castle is from Meath, the county where Jamie and Bríghid spend most of their time before fleeing Ireland.

But Jennifer was on a roll. One day she sent me this....



A nice and very sexy bit of art that she said I might want to include on the website. It reminds me of Kat James and her Mountain Parks Ranger lover Gabe Rossiter. I haven't written their story yet. It's up next.

Then Jennifer sent this:



It's perfect for my contemps, with the Rockies in the background and nice little bullet hole in the foreground. It makes me think of Julian and Tessa because of the blonde hair.

Here's what Jennifer did in honor of Unlawful Contact:



And the above image doubles as a fun bit of wallpaper. So if you'd like this image for your computer screen, let me know and I'll email it right over! It's on my desktop right now. I love staring at those biceps. I think a bit of fireplace sex is the perfect thing for the holidays.

Jennifer also took the cover for Surrender and tried to put something together that was more like what I had wanted for the book. If you recognize the face, that's because I told her I always thought of Iain and his brothers as resembling Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod.



So thanks, Jennifer, for all this fun and wonderful art!

I'm guessing most of us look at some of the covers on these books and wish they were different. What is your favorite romance novel cover?

And while you're at it tell me about your holiday plans!
Saturday, November 03, 2007

Contest/Excerpt — When Marc meets Julian...


I'll take what she's having.

Unlawful Contact isn't out until April 1 — that's 149 days from today. It would be 148 days from today, but I have a birthday this year. Please don't begrudge me that single day. I like having the occasional birthday.

So, Unlawful Contact will be out on April 1, but to thoroughly enjoy the story one probably ought to have read Hard Evidence. The stories stand alone, of course, but there's this Julian character in Unlawful who plays a pretty significant role. Unless you know him, you won't "get" everything I've written into the story for you to enjoy.

In honor of that — and to get your hormones flowing — I've got a special contest. If you haven't read Hard Evidence, simply post and tell me that you'd like to read it. Yes, you can enter on behalf of romance-reading friends who you believe ought to have read it. I'll pick a winner at random and send that person an autographed copy of the story. If you're new to this blog and have only lurked, welcome and please don't hesitate to post.

For those of you who have read Hard Evidence, I have this contest to offer: Tell me why you liked Julian so much. I'll pick one winner at random and send that person an autographed HARD COVER copy of Hard Evidence.

Now only Aimee is left out because she already has a hard-cover edition. Sorry, Aims, but I guess the consolation is that Julian is yours.

To whet your lust for prose, I offer the following short excerpt from Unlawful Contact:

“You should have come to me with this, Sophie.” Julian stood in the doorway dressed entirely in black—black leather jacket, black turtleneck stretched over Kevlar, black jeans, black boots, black scowl on his face. His gaze passed over her and settled on Hunt, who was already on his feet, weapon pointed straight at Julian’s chest.

“No!” Heart pounding, Sophie jumped up and put herself in the line of fire between them. “Please, don’t do this! Please don’t!”

“Sophie, move!” the two men barked in unison.

“No! I won’t let you shoot each other!”

Julian looked past her. “He’s not going to shoot me.”

“You willing to bet your life on that, cop?” Hunt’s voice was ice cold.

“I already have.”

And then Sophie saw.

Julian wasn’t holding a gun.

“He’s unarmed, Hunt. You can’t—”

“Like hell he is! He’s got a piece in a shoulder holster, and I bet he’s lethal on the draw.”

“If you wanted me dead, Hunter, I’d be dead.” Julian stepped sideways, making himself a target again. “You’re one hell of a shot. Set a new record for your sniper unit, didn’t you? Eighty-five confirmed kills.”

“Eighty-six.” Hunt held the gun steady, his gaze unwavering.

“Yeah, that’s right—eighty-six. Including that Taliban leader you took out from a hillside three-quarters of a mile away. God knows how you were able to adjust for wind speed and bullet drop at that distance. That was one in a million. You’re deadly, Hunter—stone cold.”

----

And the winners are...

Paperback version for a new reader (I drew two instead of one) — Elli and Sara

Hardcover version for an FOP (that's "Friend of Pamela") — Cheryle

The drawing was blind with strips of paper in my son's fedora, and Ben drew the names. I couldn't draw two names for the hardcover version because I only have one to give. There are a few used hardcover editions on Amazon, I think.

Congrats to the winners! Please email me at pamelaclare at earthlink.net (remove spaces, add the correct symbol), and give me your mailing addresses, and I'll get these out to you. Then be sure to pop back in and tell me what you think of Julian. Oh, okay, and of Tessa, too!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are ye fashed when ye cannae read the brogue?



Lucy from RBL asked me a very interesting question this morning via email. She wanted to know if the Scottish dialect in my books had received criticism. I told her that, indeed, some people didn't like the way I represented a Scottish accent in Surrender. I only heard objections from a few people, but still.

All authors write dialect differently. Some pour it on very thick. Others add just a dash to flavor their prose. Often a reader gets used to the way a favorite writer portrays dialect, so that reading another author's work seems jarring when they do it differently.

I derived my way of portraying "brogue" — not really an accurate word — from the way Scotts portray it themselves. I've been a fan of Celtic music forever and I have the advantage of having studied several languages. I'm fluent in Danish, and there are many Scandianavian-derived words in Gallic (Scottish Gaelic).

So I took the way the accent was portrayed in Scottish documents, including transcriptions of lyrics from medieval folk songs, and then I toned it down a bit, because it's quite possible to lay it on so thickly that most people can't understand a word of it. When I play my favorite Scottish CDs, my kids and my brother can't understand the majority of it, while it's totally transparent to me.

sic = sikke in Danish = such in English
sten = sten in Danish = stone in English
ben = ben in Danish = bone in English

And so on and so freaking on...

So here's what Lucy, who is a very talented writer, wanted to know: What turns a reader off when it comes to reading dialect? On the RBL board some said they didn't like reading dialect from the heroine, and I'm guessing that's because we all want to identify with the heroine. Make her too exotic, and that becomes more difficult.

Jump in and share your opinions!

Coming this weekend: Get lubed for Unlawful Contact!

Let me put it this way: Before you crawl between the covers with badass Marc Hunter, you need to feel the heat of Julian Darcangelo. Therefore, I will be offering an authographed copy of Hard Evidence to a reader who hasn't read it yet. Once I announce the contest, just post, tell me that you haven't read it but would like too, and I shall draw a name out of a hat. It's as simple as that. Or email me at pamelaclare @ earthlink.net (remove spaces).

Those of you who have read both books — yes, I have a sneak-preview team — feel free to explain why Julian's story serves as great foreplay for Marc's.

I hope everyone is having a safe and Happy Hallowe'en!
Friday, October 26, 2007

The Scent of a Man


Scratch and sniff? I wish!

Take a moment to imagine Marc Hunter. Six-feet-four of alpha male, 200 solid, muscular pounds, green eyes. If you nuzzled against Marc's chest, how would he smell? What scent would his skin exude? How would his natural animal scent make you feel?

The answer to that question is coming soon.

I am beyond myself with excitement to announce that I am collaborating with Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of Parfume des Beaux Arts in the creation of perfumes that represent the characters of Sophie Alton — and my favorite convicted murderer — Marc Hunter.

Dawn and I met when I went in search of ambergris. I've always had a sensitive nose — a boon and a bane — and wanted to know what ambergris smells like. This was related to an erotic romance that I may or may not be writing. I found her via Google, and was thrilled to know that a real perfumer — as opposed to a stink scientist — lived in my town.

I discovered that, though I hadn't heard of Dawn, the editors at Oprah magazine had. So had an A-list of Hollywood celebrities who wear her hand-crafted scents, not to mention a host of people on both coasts and in Europe. I visited the studio and was deeply impressed by her creativity and the magic that goes into creating a true perfume.

Dawn uses mostly natural essenses and makes her perfumes drop by drop just as European parfumers did two hundred years ago. She was recently invited to speak at the Denver Art Museum in connection with their ongoing exhibit of treasures from the Louvre. There, she talked about the kinds of scents that 18th century Frenchmen and woman might have worn, unveiling perfumes she'd created for Marie Antoinette and Madame du Pompadour.

Needless to say, I sniffed myself silly at her studio, and we started talking about ways that we might work together. This afternoon, we sorted through some ideas and decided to collaborate on scents for Sophie and Marc. Depending on how this goes, we might develop scents for all my characters.

Yes, Aimee, Julian, too. And, no, Boadicea, I won't forget Iain.

How do you bottle raw, sexy Alpha Male? If anyone knows, it's Dawn.

I've been wearing some of her scents lately and loving them. Typically I don't wear perfume because it's so powerful that I gag. A woman will step out of an elevator or walk past me on the street, and I choke at the toxic fumes wafting off her skin. But because Dawn uses real oils and not chemicals created in a lab, her perfumes are much more subtle — and very sexy. I also bought some essenses from her — ambergris and Arabian musk — which I play with, too.

So far, my faves are "Seduction" and "Lili." When I first wore "Seduction," I kept waking up at night thinking, "What's that wonderful smell?" It was my wrist. LOL! I started wearing "Lili" recently. She described "Lili" as being a young woman in Paris in the springtime. All I know is that it's very sweet and innocently sexy. I also wear the Arabian musk. For some reason, Arabian musk, which I know now is one of four "animal" scents, drives me bonkers. I swear, I could huff it all day long. At any rate, I love her scents.

The cool thing is that Dawn makes perfumes that everyone can afford. Just because Cher is one of her customers (no kidding!) doesn't mean I can't be, too.

Go poke around on her website...

https://www.dshperfumes.com/

Or read my article about her online...

http://www.boulderweekly.com/?site_id=619&id_sub=10397&page_id=10397

In the meantime, Dawn is reading an ARC of Unlawful Contact, and I'm working on Untamed. (No, really, I am. Honest.)

I hope everyone is ready for a relaxing weekend!

UPDATE:

I just learned that Benjy, my younger son, is a FINALIST for an all-expenses-paid four-year scholarship to Yale! Now I want to drink instead of write. LOL! Woohoo! Of course, that doesn't mean he'll get it, but it's still a wonderful thing to make the final cut.
Sunday, October 21, 2007

Your favorite scene



We got our first snow this morning — big, fat wet flakes that drifted slowly to the grass. I'm sure the high country is buried under several inches or more. When the clouds lift tomorrow, I'll be looking at snow-capped Rockies running from as far north as I can see all the way to the southern horizon.

Gotta love Colorado.

I'm sitting in front of my fire writing — or trying to write. I think Morgan and Amalie are aggravated with me, and I dinnae blame them. I'm irritated with me, too.

So I thought I'd turn to you for inspiration. Yes, you, my friends.

Please, if you would be so kind:

1. Share with me your favorite scene from one of my books. (If you have multiples, you can list more than one.)

2. Why it is your favorite scene?

3. If you got to spend the night making hot, sweet love with one of my heroes, who would it be?

OK, back to Upstate NY, ca. 1730, where Amalie has the key and is going to unlock Morgan's shackles — sort of....
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm a star?



So you've seen what the front side looks like (above). Today, I got an e-mail from my editor with the text for the back of the book. It's always strange to see 400 pages that you've worked on so intimately and for such a long time be distilled down to a few paragraphs, but I think my editors do a great job of it.

So here's what the back cover will say:

He’s on the run.
She’s on the story.
And the heat is on the rise...


Pamela Clare’s novels have made her a star of romantic suspense. Her new novel is a scorchingly sensual tale that twists and turns on a dangerous—and potentially fatal—journey...

Journalist Sophie Alton is investigating the disappearance of a young mother named Megan, recently paroled and now running from the law with her baby daughter. The search leads Sophie to Megan’s brother Marc, a convicted killer—and the man she shared an unforgettable night with twelve years ago.

Condemned to life in prison, Marc uses Sophie to escape so he can find his sister and protect her from the monster who’s pursuing her. Sophie knows she should fear Marc. But the heat and hunger of his touch still linger in her mind—and body—after all this time.

Together they will follow a dangerous trail, as people on both sides of the law do everything they can to keep them from finding Megan—and a shocking truth about the past…

“Powerful, sexy and unforgettable, Unlawful Contact is the kind of story I love to read. Pamela Clare is a dazzling talent.”
—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster


I have to admit that I got all excited when I read that I am a star. Hurray! And I'm still over the moon about the Lori Foster quote. I also like the "both sides of the law" bit — a reference to the activities of the bad guy, of course, but also of a certain Julian Darcangelo.

So... What do you think? Would this make you want to read the book?

I know that when I'm looking for a novel, I think of authors I want to read. Then I judge books according to their covers — don't we all??? I look at the art on the front, and I look at the text on the back. And usually that's what makes the decision for me as to whether I'll buy the book. Sometimes, I read the excerpt on the inside. If it's not hot and romantic, the book goes back on the shelf.

How do you pick a book? Do you judge books by their covers?
Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tales of Rangers


A rainy day in the Rockies.


It's been cold and rainy this weekend. This makes me very happy because I get to use my fireplace for the first time this fall and enjoy the flames. I love to write in front of a fire. In fact, most of Hard Evidence and Unlawful Contact were written in front of a crackling fire.

With the rain and the fire, it's been a perfect writing weekend. I've set Untamed aside for a moment to work on the proposal for my next romantic suspense, which will tell Kat's story. I've known for a long time that this story would include my experience falling off a cliff and that Kat would end up falling in love with a mountain parks ranger. I also knew the main story would revolve around a struggle over sacred land — a constant struggle for American Indian people.

After writing the synopsis and prologue, I met with Ranger Rick Hatfield, a friend of mine. He and I were both volunteer naturalists with Boulder Mountain Parks — Boulder is one of few cities in America that has its own parks system in the mountains. He focused on monitoring raptor nests, while I led hikes of grade-schoolers and other visitors. Then I began writing seriously, and he became a Ranger.

Nowadays when I see him, he's all official — uniform, big pick-up truck, geared up. My biznatches SueZAY and KrisTAY met him when they were here. We ran into him up at NCAR. He was there because some stoopid drunk dude had driven his car up the Mesa Trail. The first quarter-mile of the trail is flat. Then you come to a very steep, very rocky dropoff. You can imagine what happened to the car. But I digress...

So I met with Rick today and he showed me all the gear on his belt. Glock 21 .45 caliber sidearm. Baton. Mace. Cuffs. Two spare magazines with hollow-point rounds. Pager. Radio. I got to handle his Kevlar and ask a bunch of questions. It was fascinating and a great excuse to hang with him for a while.

It struck me as funny that I'm writing a historical about the original Rangers — the men who served during the French and Indian War under that name — and that when I'm done with that, I'll be writing a story about a modern-day Ranger. Because I'm still searching for a last name for the hero — Gabe won the vote with you all, by the way — I was thinking of calling him Gabriel (Gabe) MacKinnon and having him be the many-times great-grandson of Iain MacKinnon. He could tell Kat how he learned that his ancestors were Rangers in the old-fashioned historical sense. Silly, perhaps, but a fun way of linking my current historical series with the I-Team series.

In the meantime, I'm recovering from the VOTE edition and taking tomorrow off.

I'm on Shelfari now for those of you with "shelves." Find me and let's link up there!
Thursday, October 04, 2007

On Cloud 9



Sorry I've missed so many days of posting! I've been working on the newspaper's annual election issue — the only time of the year I wish we lived in a monarchy instead of a democratic republic. This is probably the last you'll see of me until after it goes to press on October 10.

But I had to dash in to share some exciting news. Unbeknownst to me, my editor at Berkley sent a copy of Unlawful Contact to romantic suspense superstar Lori Foster, who read it and sent back this quote for the cover: “Powerful, sexy and unforgettable, Unlawful Contact is the kind of story I love to read. Pamela Clare is a dazzling talent.”

Imagine how surprised I was to get the email from my agent with this quote inside. I gave a squeeeeal — but I was at work in the middle of putting a paper to bed. So I had to suck that squeal in and get to work.

I've never met Ms. Foster, but she writes superhot romantic suspense. Her new L.L. Foster paranormal series is just launching with Servant: The Awakening. I know a lot of you are gonzo about paranormals, so check it out. She's got wallpaper and banners for download on her site.



Naturally, I wrote to Ms. Foster to thank her, and she sent a very gracious reply, telling me she thought I had a "huge hit" on my hands. I'm very excited about the book, of course, and can't wait to see it on shelves.

Only 179 days to go...

Sheesh.
Friday, September 28, 2007

Untamed has a pub date!



That's the good news. After having precisely ZERO books out in 2007 — count 'em, zero — I will have two books out in 2008. The bad news — and it's not really bad news — is that it's November 4, 2008. The long lull is due to the excruciating amount of time I put into Unlawful Contact. Hopefully, the books will be worth the wait, and you will all still remember who I am. Pamela who?

Yes, I write at roughly the same speed that sap flows in January. A large part of that is due to being a single mom. Unlike a lot of authors, I don't have a spouse working to pay the bills while I climb the lists. And I don't have another person in the house to take care of things like proofing college applications and soothing teenagers with broken hearts.

I am just starting Chapter 7. Other things have taken center stage the past few weeks, as you all know, and I'm hoping to make real progress this weekend.

Thanks so much for your wonderful, healing words for Ben. He is doing better than he was a week ago, for certain. I've gotten great support from his teachers at school, who know him well enough to realize his world had just been toppled and took the time to call me.

Aimee and Bo, I haven't gotten your cover flats mailed off yet. Sorry! I will do it soon!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Love sucks!!!



I didn't mean to fall off the face of the earth, but while I was busy planning my next blog and working on my next book, life happened.

On Friday, my son got a phone call from his girlfriend (see beautiful, romantic photo below), who, after being away at college for three weeks — three short weeks!!! — broke up with him. OUCH!

Ben was and still is absolutely crushed. I've spent pretty much every waking moment since then either working or helping him. I've baked and cooked, as if home-cooked meals and cookies can actually help him. I've listened to him pour out his agony and tried to offer advice sparingly. But there's no way around the fact that I can't really do anything for him.

To complicate matters, I adore the girl in question myself. She was like a daughter to me. I loved spending time with her and seeing the two of them together. She interned at the paper with me. I have cried my eyes out, too, both for Benjy's loss, and for mine. I don't dislike her. I'm not angry with her. I just regret the horrid grief my poor kid is enduring. (He's 17, almost 18.)

So now I turn to you, my friends, and ask you to share what worked for you the last time you were drop-kicked to the curb. How did you cope? Did you do anything you regretted? How long did it take you to get over him/her? Have you found true love again? What did you learn? Why do we risk having our heart broken again by loving again?

I will share your bon mots, your wisdom, the fruit of your suffering, with my beloved son.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cover for Unlawful Contact!!! With EXCERPT

I've been waiting and wondering and waiting and wondering, and it just arrived!

Without further ado....



Click to make it bigger.

So what do you think?!?!?!

Update:

In honor of the cover, how about an excerpt? This exerpt is the scene that inspired the cover.

WARNING: Sexually explicit!!! Spoilers!!!! (Oh, yeah, like that's going to stop you!)

From Unlawful Contact

Two white candles sat in silver candleholders in the middle of a coffee table, their golden flames reflected in the dark, polished wood. The coffee table sat in the center of the room between two plush sofas and across from the fireplace, where a cozy fire crackled. Two places had been set with linen, silver, and crystal. Nearby on the floor sat a silver champagne chiller filled with crushed ice. The sultry sound of jazz drifted in the background.

Hunt poured out the champagne. “How’d it go?”

Wow.” For a moment, that’s all she could say.

“Are you hungry?” He bent down, stuck the bottle in the chiller, then stood and walked toward her. He was still wearing his jeans, but he’d put on a sleek black shirt and had rolled up the sleeves. He looked casual, sexy… delicious.

“This is amazing.”

When was the last time a man had done something romantic like this for her?

Never. That’s when.

“I hope you like salmon.” He slid his arm around her waist, ducked down and brushed a kiss over her lips.

“I love salmon. What are we celebrating?”

He pressed his forehead to hers, looked straight into her eyes. “Now, Sophie—we are celebrating now.”

She felt her breath catch, something bittersweet rushing through her, part hope, part despair. And suddenly she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“Go make yourself comfortable.” He released her and strode down the hallway toward the kitchen.

She walked over to the coffee table, sat on the thickly carpeted floor, and stared into the fire, its warmth seeping into the cold places inside her.

There’s no “happily ever after” for us, sprite. There’s now. Only now.

Could it be that simple?

Could it be any more simple?

Neither of them had any idea what was going to happen tomorrow or even five minutes from now, but rather than worrying about it, Hunt was savoring every moment, trying to experience as many of the pleasures of life as he could before they were taken from him forever.

Tears pricked Sophie’s eyes, but she fought them back, determined not to spoil the mood Hunt had obviously worked so hard to create. She needed to put her fears aside and take hold of this little taste of heaven he was offering—if not for her own sake then most certainly for his. This was as close to a normal life as he was going to get.

There’s now. Only now.

Well, happy endings were overrated anyway.

Hunt walked back through the doorway and set two dinner plates on the coffee table. Sophie’s mouth watered. On each sat a grilled salmon filet covered with a relish of tomatoes and black olives next to buttery baby potatoes and steamed asparagus.

“I didn’t know you could cook.”

“I can’t—but I can read a recipe as well as the next guy.” He sat, a lopsided grin on his handsome face. Then he picked up his champagne glass and fixed her with his piercing gaze. “To now.”

She raised her glass, smiled. “To now.”

Champagne tickled its way down her throat straight into her empty stomach. She set her glass down and tucked her napkin in her lap.

He picked up his napkin. “So what did they say?”

It took her a moment to realize what he was asking. “Tom said he’ll follow up on the request for the report and do the background checks. My attorney said he’ll subpoena the halfway house’s surveillance records if they have any.”

“How long do you think it will take?”

“I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing we’ll have the information from the background checks by mid-day Monday. That usually takes only a couple of hours.”

“Perfect. That means we can spend the weekend searching this place for information about Megan’s life.” He picked up his fork. “Bon appétit.”

The food was delicious, the salmon soft and flaky, the relish adding tang and saltiness, the asparagus cooked to a perfect crispness. The champagne was cold and dry with a long mineral finish that went straight to Sophie’s head. The tension of the past week began to melt away, the shadows chased away by good food and drink, the warmth of the fire, and the heat of his gaze. She found herself telling him about her parents’ restaurant—how she’d all but grown up in the kitchen, being coddled, fed and fussed over by a staff of finicky French chefs and a sommelier who took her wine education seriously, even when she was six.

“That sounds like a wonderful way to grow up.”

“I probably would have become the manager or maybe the wine buyer if… ”

If her parents hadn’t been killed.

Marc saw the grief in Sophie’s eyes and knew where her thoughts had taken her.

She cleared her throat. “Sorry. I’m babbling.”

“No, you’re not.” He reached over, took her hand, gave it reassuring squeeze. “It must have been the most horrible thing in the world to lose your mom and dad.”

She nodded, took a deep breath—and then changed the subject. “So tell me about the Army. Did you grow up wanting to be a soldier?”

He couldn’t help but laugh. “Hell, no! I grew up wanting my mother to stop drinking and using and start acting like other kids’ moms. I didn’t spend a single moment thinking about the future. By the time I was a senior, it was clear that the Army was the my only chance to avoid mowing lawns and changing oil for the rest of my life.”

As they finished the meal, he told her about boot camp and how the meanest master sergeant on the face of the earth—a bastard by the name of Stracher—had kicked his ass into gear. He told her how he’d discovered he had skill with target shooting. He told her how he’d been transferred into Special Forces after 9/11 and deployed to Afghanistan as a sniper, where he’d spent a winter high in the frigid mountains near Tora Bora.

“It must have been very hard.” Her cheeks were flushed, her body relaxed, her gaze focused on him, a dreamy look in her big blue eyes. She was obviously feeling the champagne. “I’m so glad you made it home in one piece.”

“You know what kept me warm at night?” He leaned in closer, brushed a strand of hair from the satin of her cheek. “I kept thinking about this beautiful girl from my hometown. I only spent one night with her—just one night—but it was the sweetest night of my life. She gave me her virginity and told me to shoot for the stars. I tried, Sophie. I tried to shoot for the stars.”

He must have been feeling the alcohol, too, or he never would have said anything like that. Or maybe it wasn’t the champagne. Maybe it was just being near her like this. He seemed to be running at the mouth a lot lately.

She turned her head, nuzzled her cheek against his palm, her skin unbelievably soft, her eyes drifting shut. “Did you really think of me these past six years?”

He ran the pad of his thumb over her lower lip. “Oh, yes. I thought about you. Dreamed about you. Fantasized—”

Her eyes flew open, her pupils wide and dark. “About me?”

“Yeah.” Slow down, Hunter. Do you really think a woman wants to know that sort of thing? “Does that bother you?”

She shook her head, the flush on her cheeks going deeper, her lips parting on a breathy whisper. “I was just thinking we could… you know… try out a few of those, um, fantasies. While we have the chance.”

And that right there blew away any fantasy.

His tried to say something, but all the blood in his body had rushed to his crotch.

“So, Marc Hunter, where do you want me?”

Geez-us!

Where did he want her? God, he wanted her everywhere. Against the wall. Spread-eagle on the bed. On her hands and knees. In the hot tub. On the dining room table. In the Jag. Hell, on the Jag.

But one fantasy stood out above the rest. “It’s not so much where I want you, Sophie, as it is how. Nothing tastes quite like a woman, and no woman tastes like you.”

She gave an almost inaudible gasp. “Then you want…”

“I want dessert.” He stood, reached for her, drew her onto the couch beneath him.

He kissed her out of her blouse, suckling her through her bra until she was whimpering and writhing, her nipples straining against the wet lace. Then he moved on to her pants, drawing the fabric down her long legs, tasting his way down her silky skin, over her sensitive calves to the tips of her little toes. But as scrumptious as her skin was, this wasn’t the taste he hungered for most.

He worked his way back up her legs, nudging her thighs apart with his hands, inhaling the wild, musky scent of her arousal, filling his lungs with her. Yes, this was it, the scent he’d wanted inside his head for so, so long. But now he wanted a taste.

He licked her inner thighs along the edge of her panties, heard her gasp, her fingers sliding into his hair, rough lace and soft skin both sweet against his tongue. Then he drew back and licked his way up the lace where it covered her cleft, the soft folds of her labia beneath. When his tongue felt the tiny bud of her clit, he held himself still, flicking it through the thin cloth, feeling it swell.

She whimpered, lifted her hips eagerly toward his mouth. “Please, Hunt!”

He chuckled. “Sorry, but this is my fantasy, and I’m going to take my sweet time.”

She gave a pained moan. “Is this your ‘torture Sophie’ fantasy?”

“No, it’s my ‘Sophie lets me do whatever I want to do’ fantasy. I’m going lick you everywhere, until your scent is imprinted on my brain, until I can taste you in my dreams, until you saturate my skin. So settle in because this is probably going to take a while.”

He saw her belly contract, felt her shiver, and knew what he’d said excited her.

“But… what about you?”

“Sweetheart, this is for me.”
Saturday, September 15, 2007

ペーパーバック — My name in Japanese?

Terje Langeland, where the heck are you when I need you! In Japan, of course. If you see this, please email me so that we can catch up! And also, be aware that you can buy my books on Amazon.jp. No more excuses, Ter-hay!

著 — I belive this is is the Japanese character for "author." I'm not sure because my idiot friend Terje lives in Japan and isn't available at this moment to translate. He's Norwegian and 6-feet-7. Which means that everyone in Japan, from his wife to his boss to the toughest street thug, all look up to him. He's a true FOP, and I adore him, though I'm a bit pissed that he no longer works with me. He was a member of the Dream Team, the group of journalists I worked with that is the basis for the I-Team in my contemps. He was one of the amazing group that won the National Journalism Award with me.

Where is this leading? Well, I went hunting for foreign-language covers, and I found a few. Ben scanned in a few, as well.

So now we're going to play a game called "Guess that Novel." Anyone who gets them all right, gets an autographed cover flat (the English-language versions). Silly prize, I know, but, hey, this isn't freakin' Jeopardy. I hope those of you who lurk will join in, particularly those of you I know come to peek from Danmark, Deutschland and Sverige.


This one ought to be easy. Strange, though, because I don't remember writing a scene in which the heroine breastfeeds the hero...


This cover makes me laugh. I have a single copy of this translation. If you know German, it will be a cinch. If not, you might be guessing for a while. And, no, I never wrote a novel in which the heroine raids the closet of a Texas drag queen, either.



Here's a tough one. No art and a minimalist title. No clues from me.


Another tough one. How much of a cunning linguist are you? Hint: the cover art has nothing to do with the story. *EG*

And saving the, er, best for last...


Nice to see John DeSalvo's chest again, but that chick's hair scares me!

Good luck! And may my best fan win!
Friday, September 14, 2007

Estoy escritoria

I'm home with a sick kid today. Ben has what the doc says might be West Nile Virus. High fever, chills, body aches. He called me from school yesterday afternoon, shivering so hard that he could hardly speak through his chattering teeth. He's doing better today. Boulder County is No. 1 nationwide for West Nile, so I'm not surprised given how many nights he spent out this summer making his movie.

Ann, did you get bitten by any skeeters while you were here? Maybe Linda didn't have a cold after all. I hope you're both feeling better.

I was worried that my Gangsta Bitch sistas would get sick because we got bitten a fair amount the last night they were here, but they seem to be fine.

So today was fun because FedEx brought a package of books — the Spanish translation of Hard Evidence, titled only Evidencia. I know some Spanish — I have studied 9 languages formally in school and a few others on my own, but have forgotten most of them — and have been getting my kicks reading passages of it to my sister, who does speak Spanish quite well.

Apparently, the Spanish edition (in Spain) of USA Today reviewed it and gave me a great review. (Why won't they review it in the U.S.?) The cover blurb quotes that review: "Una escritoria maravillosa que te cortará la respiración." (A wonderful author who will take your breath away.)

See, I'm spending too much time with Evil Libby, BWP, GB, because the next thought that pops into my head is, "And what will I do with your breath once I have it? Bwahahaha!"

Here's a cool thought: My books are out in six languages. This same Spanish publisher has also published Extreme Exposure. There are French and Norwegian translations of Carnal Gift, French and Portuguese editions of Extreme Exposure, two different German translations of Sweet Release, the covers of which frighten me, an Italian edition of Surrender and various translations in these same languages of Ride the Fire. I can read the Norwegian and German translations and get a kick out of that.

And, see, there goes Libby in my head again... These translations are my first step toward global domination!

Yes, I'm taking over the world. I need to get some writing done first, of course, and I'd like my house to be clean beforehand. I'm in desperate need of a pedicure, and I haven't had a drip of caffeine today. But once all of that is taken care of, it's chocolate and naked men for everyone!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rebel Summer


Elk do their thing in Rocky Mountain National Park.


This must really be my summer to meet women from RBL Romantica — known affectionately as the Rebel Board.

First there were the AAN awards in Portland. I got to meet Linda T. for the first time. We had dinner in the best restaurant I've ever experienced. And the very next day, I met a very pregnant Ronlyn and had hamburgers, fries and shakes with her, her son and her DH.

Next came RWA. I got to hang with Leiha and Su again. RBL author Gennita Low was there to help me get into trouble (as always). But I also met Emma Holly for the first time — a thrill — as well as Debbie H, who is both funny and very nurturing. That was a wonderful experience.

Then Gangsta Bitches paid me a visit — Evil Libby, KrisTAY and SueZAY. We had a blast, nearly laughing ourselves to death over three days of great food, fun company, alcohol and a bit of Rebel debauchery. The pygmys — that's Kristi and Sue — got their first view of the Rockies, while Libby and I got to show off our home state.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have three more Rebels pay a visit when Linda, Beaty and Ann came to Colorado. I'd met Linda in 2005 in Reno, but I'd never had the pleasure of meeting Beaty and Ann. Ann arrived first by perhaps an hour. Then Linda drove up in her new car with Beaty. And Ann, Beaty and I went shopping (an experience Ann said would be akin to herding cats). We were actually pretty organized, I have to say, and came home with lots of goodies.


Ann stands with Mount Meeker in the background beneath a wide Colorado sky.


Ann cooked her world-famous ziti with lots of delicous Italian sausage and ricotta cheese, while Linda put together some delicous bread recipe using rolls, Lipton onion soup, butter and parmesan. We gorged, and it was delicious. We stayed up late that night talking and talking and talking.

Ann must have 10,000 friends — no surprise given that she's an absolute sweetheart — so I feel like I've met at least a dozen of them. She shared stories of their exploits, making us all laugh. Linda, too, had lots of stories to share. Beaty was the quiet one of the three (at first), but she's the expert with the one-liner. The three of them know each other so well that they ought to be part of a sit-com.


Long's Peak — the big one with the flat top — dominates the skyline as a storm moves in. I can see Long's from my front yard.

On Saturday, we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Ann had been there before and remembered much of it. We saw elk and a bunch of human males (distinguishable by their lack of antlers) crossing the street. It must have been a vacation day for a rugby team or something. Then we drove home and had 'za. (That's PIZza.)

Libby drove down from her home in LaLa Land, about 25 minutes away, and brought a batch of lemoncello. Now, don't ask me how it happened, but we didn't drink it. I think it was some kind of Jedi Mind Trick Libby used so she could take it home, chug it in the garage and then tell her DH that we drank it all. Sure, Libs. All I know is that I had to either be really tired or under some kind of spell NOT to drink it. The stuff she and her DH brew in their still is yummy!!! It was great to see her, but sometime after midnight she decided she had to go home (to drink the lemoncello, I'm sure).

I woke up Sunday to discover what a bunch of SNEAKS these three are. There was a card with TWO Starbuck's gift cards in it, one of which I had placed the order for in the Starbuck's drive-thru the day before. Ann said her cat needed to get a thank-you gift for her roommate for cat-sitting while she was away. And I believed it. Turns out it was a sweet gift to me. Thanks, you three!

We had breakfast Sunday morning and spent most of the day talking until it was time for Ann to leave to catch her flight. Beaty and Linda stayed for dinner — I made a pot roast — then headed back to their hotels in A-Town (that's Aurora for the uninitiated).

So now things are very quiet here at Pamela Clare Inn and Eatery. Rebel Summer is coming to a close. No more visits on the horizon. (WTF?!?) But it sure was fun while it lasted!

Thanks, Ann, Linda and Beaty for making the long trip!


A photo Ann took of some of my sunflowers. Good-bye, summer.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Torture by Excerpt — A scene from Untamed

Hey, what's with the freakin' insects outside that click? We don't normally have those in Colorado. It feel like I'm surrounded by strange aliens or something — all that klicking. Are you hearing them, too, Liberty Loo?

But annoying insects are not the topic of this blog. I'm sure you're happy to know that.

Yesterday, it was just a threat. Today, I'm acting on that threat.

Bwahahaha!

Yes, it's another round of "Torture by Excerpt," in which I, the socially maladjusted author, force you, the hapless, innocent FOP — that's "Friend of Pamela" — to read an excerpt from my work in progress. By so doing, there shall be kindled inside you a desire to read more (one hopes), and yet, seeking relief, you shall find none. For the book is not yet finished.

See what happens when a romance writer doesn't get her chocolate? Already insane, she becomes dangerous!



From Untamed

Amalie bathed the Ranger’s face with a cold, wet cloth she’d dipped in water sprinkled with wild sage and juniper. It was a cure she’d learned from her grandmother’s people. The wild sage would purify him, and the juniper would cleanse away the remnants of his sickness. His fever had broken early this morning. There was no doubt now—he would live.

His skin was no longer pale but flushed, his dark hair slick with sweat, little rivulets trickling down his temples, his neck, his chest, drenching the linens beneath him. He slept peacefully, his long lashes dark against his cheeks, his jaw shadowed by many days’ growth of beard, his chest rising and falling with each deep, steady breath. But his peaceful rest would not last long.

The laudanum would soon wear off, and whatever pain he still had would return. Monsieur Lambert, hoping to save their dwindling stores of the precious medicine, had given the Ranger his last dose a few hours past, vowing to force water down his throat if necessary. But that was not the worst of it. When she’d come down to breakfast, she’d overheard Lieutenant Rillieux and Bourlamaque discussing what to do with the Ranger next. As soon as he was able to stand, they would move him to the guardhouse—and his suffering would begin anew.

And this time…

Amalie did not wish to think on it.

She dipped the cloth back in the scented water, squeezed it out, and nudged the linens down to his hips. She bathed first his arms, which were still stretched above his head, each wrist shackled to a bedpost. Then she wet the cloth again and bathed his shoulders, working her way over his chest and down his belly.

Although she knew it must be sinful, she couldn’t keep her gaze from following her hands, his man’s body so different from hers, the sight of him both disturbing and intriguing. His skin was soft, but the muscles beneath it were hard, the feel of him like steel sheathed in velvet. Although his nipples drew tight from the chill of the water as hers did when she was cold, his were dark like wine, flat and ringed by crisp, dark hair. Where her belly was soft and rounded, his had ribs of muscle—and a trail of dark curls that disappeared beneath the linens.

As if drawn by a will of its own, her hand left the cloth behind to press against those ridges, her fingers playing over his sweat-slick skin as she slid her hand slowly from his belly up to his chest, something tickling inside her at the feel of him. Her hand came to rest above his heartbeat, its rhythm steady against her palm.

“Your touch could bring the dead to life, lass.”

Amalie gasped, jerked her hand back and saw to her horror that the Ranger was watching her. Heat rushed into her face, made her cheeks burn, English words forsaking her tongue. “M-mon Dieux! Pardonnez moi, monsieur!

He watched her through dark blue eyes, his gaze soft, a hint of amusement on his face. “Easy, lass. I didna mean to frighten you.”

“Forgive me if I offend, monsieur!”

Morgan’s mouth was as dry as sawdust. His chest ached. His right leg throbbed. But at the moment he didn’t care. He watched the play of emotions on the French lass’s face—fear, shame, wariness—and found himself wanting to lessen her unease. “’Tis only nature’s way for a maid to be curious about men. Besides, I wouldna be a Scotsman if I shrank from the touch of a bonny lass… a beautiful woman.”

Did she understand him?

The deepening flush in her cheeks told him she did.

And she was beautiful. Her eyes seemed to hold all the colors of the forest—greens and browns mixed together. He’d never seen any like them. They seemed to slant upward at the corners, or perhaps that was just the effect of her cheekbones, so high and delicate they were. Her nose was small and fine, her lips full and well-shaped. Her skin was flawless, almost luminous. Her hair was the color of sable, dark and gleaming. It hung to the floor when she sat, tresses so long and lovely they made his hands ache to touch them.

She was French—that much he knew—but he’d bet his ration of rum she was also Indian. Her cheekbones, the slight slant of her eyes, the hue of her skin—like cream with just a hint of coffee—bespoke a mixed ancestry. And then there were the herbs she’d placed in the water. No simple French lass was likely to know about such things. Was she Huron? Abenaki? Mi˙kmaq?

What did it matter?

She’s like to be the last lass that e’er you set eyes on, MacKinnon.

As Morgan has always loved the lasses, ’twas was a strange thought.

Roused by the blessed relief of a cool cloth against his skin and the fresh scents of sage and juniper, he’d come slowly back to awareness, thinking for a moment that he was a lad again, that he’d fallen sick and was in Joseph’s mother’s lodge in Stockbridge. Then he’d opened his eyes to find himself being perused by the same lovely French angel who’d haunted his fevered dreams, and it had pleased him to know she was real.

He’d watched through half-closed eyes while she’d bathed his body, her gaze traveling over him with innocent curiosity. Then she’d laid her small, soft hand upon him, her timid touch burning a path over his skin, threatening to rouse him in an altogether different manner.

“The Abbesse says I am far too curious.” Her accent was soft and sweet.

“The Abbesse?”

She nodded. “From the convent where I was raised.”

Aye, and that explained her bashfulness.

“Och, well, if you were raised in a convent amidst womenfolk, ’tis even more reason for you to be curious, aye? No wrong has been done, lass. Dinnae trouble yourself. What is your name?”

She looked as if she did not want to answer. When she spoke, her voice was almost a whisper. “Amalie Chauvenet.”

“’Tis a bonny name. I’m thinkin’ you already ken who I am.”

She nodded gravely. “Morgan MacKinnon, the leader of MacKinnon’s Rangers.”

There was a hint of—was it anger?—in her voice when she spoke.

“How long has it been?”

She glanced at the window, at the ceiling, at her hands, which lay folded in her skirts—but she did not look at him. “Fifteen days since you were wounded.”

Fifteen days!

No wonder he felt so bloody weak!

Connor, Joseph and the men would have long since made their way back to Fort Elizabeth. Surely, even Iain would have the news by now. Did his brothers believe him already dead? Would they blame themselves? He pushed the question from his mind.

“Might I have some water, Miss Chauvenet?”

She reached for the water pitcher, a surprised look on her face. “You no longer seek your own death?”

He shook his head. “I have lost that battle.”

Her lovely face grew troubled. She poured water into a tin cup, then lifted his head and held the cup to his lips. Silken strands of hair slipped over her shoulder to fall against his chest, the scent of her like lavender, fresh linen and woman. “Drink.”

He asked her to refill the cup four times before his thirst was quenched, wondering as he drank at the distress he saw on her face. Had the Sisters raised her to be so primsie that she still felt guilt for touching him? Perhaps she was afraid of him and did not wish to be here. “I thank you for your care of me, Miss Chauvenet.”

The troubled look on her face became genuine anguish.

And he understood.

“You ken what awaits me, and it troubles you to be speakin’ wi’ a dead man.”

She stood so quickly that her stool toppled over. Then she stared down at him with eyes that held the first sheen of tears. “I do not care what becomes of you, monsieur! Why should I? You and your Rangers killed my father!”

Then she turned and fled in a swish of skirts.

And as he watched her hurry to get away from him, Morgan knew that his sins had caught up with him at last.
Monday, September 03, 2007

Ring around the rosaries

Authors do strange things sometimes to get in touch with their characters. A lot of us become so close with the people whose lives we write that we end up talking to them in our heads — or even out loud. Yes, I've done that, and when it happens in public it's a bit embarrassing.

When I start a new novel, I try to find ways of invoking those special characters, of bringing them closer to me. I always create a playlist on i-Tunes that evokes the "feeling" of the novel and its characters, but there's more. When I wrote Carnal Gift, I burned a Virgin Mary candle, saying the novena on the back and lighting it each time I sat down to write in honor of Bríghid's defiant Catholicism. When I wrote Ride the Fire, I had the diaries of the soldiers from the siege of Fort Pitt to bring home the daily experience of my characters. I also had — and still have — a painting of Fort Pitt as it looked that year. (It's visible to the viewer's left of the photos with the Gansgta Bitches taken in front of my desk, posted below.) For Surrender, I used mostly music, particularly Old Blind Dogs.

For Untamed, I knew I wanted something that I wished I'd had while writing Surrender — the little wooden rosary that hung around Iain's neck and which, I presumed, hangs around the necks of his brothers, Morgan and Connor, and a great many of their fellow Rangers, all of whom are Catholic. So I went hunting...

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a plain, wooden rosary with no adornment on it? I finally found one on a website that sells Polish religious goods to immigrant communities in the United States.


The plain wooden rosary worn by the MacKinnon brothers, specifically Morgan MacKinnon.

Of course, in the process of finding Morgan's rosary, I looked at a great many rosary websites and saw some truly beautiful rosaries. I decided I'd like to have Amalie's rosary, too. Raised by the Ursulines in Trois Rivieres in Canada, she is French Métis and very Catholic. The daughter of a French officer, it seemed she should have something a bit more upscale than Morgan's simple carven rosary.


Amalie Chauvenet's rosary. The white fresh-water pearls represent her innocent nature to me.

By then, I had decided these things were very pretty and that I now collect them. Then I saw that Anglicans pray with rosaries, too. This came as a pleasant surprise, as I am officially Anglican. So I looked around to find one I loved, and bought this:


Notice that it has a cross instead of a crucifix. It also has a different number of beads than the Catholic rosaries.

I hang Amalie's and Morgan's together on my computer, and I must say they look good together. The soft pearls and bright crystals contrast nicely with the more masculine wood. I hold them when I'm writing and pondering my words, and I think they do invoke the characters nicely.

I actually use my rosary. Though officially Anglican, I follow the Red Road — Indian spirituality — in practice. The two aren't incompatible by any means, so that's nice. But anyone stepping into my house would be perplexed and confused about what religion I am. And that's fine with me.

There's Bríghid's Virgin Mary candle on my mantle. There's a menorah on my kitchen shelf. There are several bundles of sage and an ear of dried corn from Black Mesa in my kitchen and a Sun Dance crown on my bedroom wall. There's a Celtic cross on the wall near my desk, and three different rosaries — two Catholic and one Anglican — on my computer, next to a necklace of turquoise turtles. A turkey feather, the words of a Psalm, a Bible, Buddhist meditations, and a book of Cherokee spritual writing round it out.

You gotta love the First Amendment. It protects my fiction, and it ensures that I can pray (and write) in any wacky way that works for me.

In other spiritual news, my beloved friend Kat is leaving the Rez and moving back to Denver! Thank GOD, and hurry the hell up, will you, Kat?

Next post: Torture by excerpt!

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Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale