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

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A wonderful, beautiful day


Not much longer now... April 1 is just around the corner (well, sort of).

Today I had a wonderful, beautiful day. I really needed it, too, because this week started with a big blow. Mondays suck anyway, but mine really sucked. I found out early, early Monday morning that a friend of mine in Denmark had been found dead. It was really a crushing surprise, one of those kicked-in-the-stomach moments. I didn't even bother to wear mascara to work, because I knew I'd spend the day crying and that all that LancĂ´me would end up in my bra.

The blow was especially crushing because he called me in July and left a message that I never returned. When I got the message, it was 2 AM in Denmark. So I opted to wait till the weekend... and then I forgot. And now I have the message, and that's all I have, besides old photos.

Farvel, Henrik, min ven. Og tilgive mig!

But today, with this week's paper on the stands, I played a wee bit of hookie and combined work with adventures.

First I went to DSH Perfumes, the parfumerie I mentioned a while back. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz makes perfumes the way they made them in France 300 years ago, using all natural essences and doing it by hand, drop by drop. She has the most incredible sense of smell, and she's wildly creative. She has a lot of Hollywood clients, in addition to a strong clientele base on both coasts and in Paris. BUT she happens to live in my town. (She has all her scents online at www.dshperfumes.com. Too bad no one has invented an iSniff program yet...)

She and I got to know each other last summer, and when I suggested that we collaborate in connection with Unlawful Contact to create scents to go with the book, she thought it would be a great idea. So I gave her a finished copy of the manuscript to read, and today I went to her studio to see what she'd come up with.

It was fascinating! She'd taken notes from the books — about the scents I mention in the story, together with character traits for both Marc and Sophie, then had set about making "sketches" that she felt represented them. I sampled both and love them! We talked through her notes, and she let me sniff many other essences she was considering using in the final forms of the scents.


Would you like to know what Marc smells like? Mmmmm.

One of the things she wanted to make sure of was that the two go well together, because the thing that struck her most about the story was how much the two of them belonged together. She doesn't want a "Sophie" scent that clashes with the "Marc" scent. And I think she did a brilliant job of making the two of them fit and compliment one another. Sophie's scent has an innocent eroticism to it, a young energy that could be described as very "fairy sprite," while Marc's is darker, deeper and has a strong male sensuality to it. Both scents are very sexual.

Of course, when these scents are done, she will be making them available to customers as a limited edition, and I will be giving some away in contests right here on this humble blog. Dawn is one of those people who believes that all the good things in life should be affordable to everyone, so there will be "sample" quanties avialable for very little.

I can't tell you how fun it was to feel my characters turned into smells! There's really a "young, sexy fairy-girl" and a "older, sexy bad boy" feel to the scents.

But that's not all...

This past year, I also met Deanna and Tara from Vamp Bags. They make designer handbags that are super-sexy and eco-friendly. They're made in the good, ol' US of A, so no slave labor is involved. And I think they kick the pants off pretty much everything out there on the designer scene. (You can check out last fall's line at www.vampbags.com.)

Deanna and Tara are avid romance readers, so today we met for coffee and had what turned into a three-hour-long conversation (oops!) like long-lost friends. I now have the loveliest bag, which is perfect for a writer/editor. I can't tell you all how much I love it! AND I'm going to be giving away a Vamp bag together with the perfume and an autographed copy of the entire trilogy as a prize in honor of the book's release in April. So that's like a... $500 prize? Something like that.


A sample of the sexy stuff the Vamps turn out!

In the meantime, I plod away on Untamed. My characters are up to a wee bit of hochmagandie at the moment, and those scenes area always the toughest to write. I've been getting up at 3 AM — no, I'm not kidding — to write and then working all day, trying to get caught the heck up.

Oh, and, of course, I have ARCs for Unlawful Contact so I'll be giving one of those away soon, too.

Stay tuned for details!

Now get on the phone and call the people you love, okay?
Saturday, January 12, 2008

A writer's lament



Here it is:

Let's pretend you're at work. You're very busy with many things to do before the end of the day. If you don't get them done, your boss will be angry with you and it might well reflect on your over-all job performance. You want a raise one day; in fact, you hope to excel that this career and rise to the top of the ladder.

So what do you do when your mom or your good friend or your dear old auntie calls? Do you set aside your work to talk for an hour, knowing that it's going to be hell for you to catch up? Or do you say, "I'm sorry, I really can't talk now. Can I get back to you?"

Chances are, you'd do that latter if it weren't an emergency. And, chances are, your mom, your friend or your dear old auntie would understand. No one's feelings would be hurt because they would understand that you are at work. You are earning your livelihood. You are accountable to others and can't talk right then.

Let's play with that scenario a bit. Let's pretend that instead of working in an office, you're a novelist and you're working at home. Let's pretend your boss is far away — at a publishing house in New York. You still have deadlines. You're still very busy with a book that's due soon. And you have filing, research, and promotional work to do, as well. Let's say you have a day job and so the only time you can do this work is on the weekend.

Then someone calls. It's Saturday. You answer the phone because your conscience insists that you not ignore your mom/friend/dear old auntie. They want to talk about their week, your week, next week, and Britney Spears. Would you feel guilty saying, "I'm sorry, I really can't talk now. Can I get back to you?"

I'm betting you would sit and talk and feel more stressed by the minute, knowing your time to work is passing by. And if you did tell them you couldn't talk and let them go, you'd probably feel guilty.

I do.

And my question is why? Why do I feel guilty setting limits on the weekends when it's my only time to do my author work? Is the act of writing books not worthy of the same respect as the work I do at the newspaper? Is the income I earn not just valuable to my life and those of my kids?

And then there are all of the requests: family get-togethers, friends' birthdays, fund-raisers, endless events people want me to attend as editor-in-chief of the paper, my kids' special projects. I've gotten better at putting limits on these, prioritizing the needs of my kids and letting the rest fall away. It doesn't make me popular, but it's a survival technique. Believe me, I could be busy every second of every day and night just doing editor stuff — fund-raisers, ribbon-cuttings, endless receptions and so on. In and of themselves, each request is reasonable. And yet, each is like a grain of sand. Alone they are tiny. But taken together, they make a sand dune that could suffocate me if I don't watch out.

It's a real dilemma and one that I have resolved altogether well. And yet, how many women are E-in-C's of newspapers, single moms and novelists trying to produce two books a year?

Am I whining? I sure don't mean to.

I'm betting most writers have some version of this lament. I'd love to know how they deal with it.

I have fantasies about being by myself in a cabin in the mountains with a nice fire, a shot gun, good food, good coffee and my computer. No Internet. No telephone. No TV. (I don't have television at home as it is. Got rid of it years ago.) Just being alone over Christmas break made a huge difference in how much I was able to concentrate on my story.

Until then, I'll sit here by my fire, with my cup of coffee, within sight of my phone, and do my best to keep words flowing onto the page.
Sunday, January 06, 2008

Quote of the Week

This comes from a former reporter of mine named Matt, who was assigned to do some reporting on the Iowa caucuses by BBC. Matt is, as some of you no doubt have already guessed, the inspiration for investigative reporter Matt Harker in my I-Team series, though I will say that my real-life Matt wouldn't be caught dead in a stained shirt and rumpled tie.

Matt, who has moved out of journalism, was nevertheless asked to do some reporting and had this to tell me:

"You can take the boy out of the newsroom, but you can't take the tendency to spew half-formed opinions as if they were unassailable truths out of the boy."

LMAO!

I love you, Matt, dear.

Behind the Scenes at a Book Trailer Shoot


A still shot of Marc Hunter (Chris) taking Sophie Alton (Libby) hostage. That ain't no toy gun. (Photos by Mike Hupfer of Millennium Media, www.mlln.net.)

Want to know how to find out who your real friends are?

Say, "I need to make a book trailer to promote my next novel, but I have no idea how to do it. I don't have a camera, or models or a location. I don't have the computer programs or stock photos or a sound studio. Can you all help me with this? Oh, by the way, I can't pay anyone."

Then you see who steps forward.

So here's a huge shout out for: LibBAY and Chris and Gary Lennox of Dog House Music, and Olivia and the County Sheriff and the Boulder County jail captain and especially to Mike Hupfer of Millennium Media, who's a professional Hollywood sound guy who is handling the techno end of things. Thanks, too, to Dede and Wayne of The Rosary Project for conneting me with Mike.

For months, I've been wanting to get this together, and it hasn't been easy, largely because I have no clue what I'm doing and have no equipment to work with and no spare cash to pay a company to do it for me. Did I let this stop me? No! Because I know how to beg.

I begged my friends Dede and Wayne, who have a video production company with Mike, to help me get this shot. They couldn't be there personally, but they did connect me with Mike.

I begged Gary Lennox, who owns The Dog House, a rehearsal hall for rock bands, to let us use one of his studios to shoot.

But at the last minute I was still hunkless. Who was going to play Marc? That's where Olivia stepped in, offering up Chris, a decorated veteran from Iraq. He earned a Bronze Star as a platoon leader working in an area north of Baghdad for a year. The moment I heard he'd earned a Bronze Star, I felt it was a Good Omen, because, as a few of you FOPs know, Marc Hunter earned a Bronze Star, as well. (He earned his sniping in Afghanistan.)

Chris didn't know me from a hole in the ground, but called up and said he'd heard I needed help. "Um, yes," said I. "I need a sexy guy who will let me put him in handcuffs and display his biceps. Also, I need him to hold a gun to my friend's head."

It's a very strange request to make of someone, no?

Chris said he'd be happy to do it and he said he'd bring his real 9 mm semi-auto for the shoot so that we wouldn't have to use this toy Glock my son owns.

And then there was just the matter of finding Sophie...

I called LibBAY and said, "Do you think you'd have time to be in the video shoot for my book trailer tomorrow? We're not shooting faces, just torsos. [Libby has a very nice torso.] And then you can just stand there while a total stranger holds a gun to your throat."

All Libby wanted to know was: Will the gun be loaded? She felt that getting her head shot off was further than she wanted to go for the sake of friendship. She was willing to iron and dress up, but getting shot was just too much.

Friday morning comes, and I get a call from Libby saying she'll be late because she set her shirt on fire with the iron. I will leave it to Libby to tell that story on her blog. She showed up pretty much right on time with a new shirt she'd bought off the racks at K-Mart down the street from my house. Then we set off for The Dog House.

Gary arrives, lets us in, gives us his big concert hall, Studio A. Chris drives up, and I immediately think, "Yum." You know how some guys just exude sex appeal? That's Chris. Chris and Libby get acquainted, while Gary and I talk about things we might need. I've brought a bag of props: a jail uniform that was loaned to me by the County Sheriff and the County jail captain, my own police-issue handcuffs and several shims.


Here, Chris demonstrates how stylish a jail uniform is if accessorized properly. Notice the designer bracelets.

Olivia arrives with her daughter Molly to watch the fun, while I show Chris kinda how to use the shim to break out of the cuffs. Then Mike arrives, sets up a zillion lights, chats with Gary about using studio lighting, and we're off. Chris changes into his jailbird outfit (not in front of us, sadly) and we start with standing shots.

The last sequence of shots Mike shoots standing are the ones with Libby as Sophie with a gun to her throat. Libs kicks off her heels, goes up onstage, lets "Marc Hunter" grab her in a vicious hold and press a real 9 mm against her throat. Now is that friendship or what?

The most hysterical moment came when Chris said, "Is this uncomfortable? Oh, by the way, nice to meet you." We all laughed our butts off. Then, later, we agreed that that's what it must be like on the set of porn film. People must say exactly that.

The last sequences Mike shot involved Chris sitting and picking his way out of the cuffs. Because the shim that was most photogenic actually didn't work for picking cuffs, I stood nearby with the key and unlocked each wrist as the shoot progressed.

And that was that. Mike packed up, took a zillion hi-res photos back to his studio, and Libby, Chris and I went to lunch.

Mike and I are going to be getting together soon to edit the images, add sound and other fun stuff. Well, actually, he'll be doing the editing. I'll be watching and helping to shape it into what I want it to be. And, yes, when it's done it will be posted here for you to see. But these photos are a couple of the still shot taken that morning.

I'm so grateful to everyone who helped out. And I can't wait to see the finished product.

In the end it was a great day. I got to say, "I spent the day cuffing and uncuffing a sexy man."

Oh, the things we do for art!

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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