Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!

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.


Seductive Musings

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A bit about Gabe Rossiter from Naked Edge

Sorry I've been MIA. We've reached what is probably the busiest time of year at the newspaper — a cluster of demanding special editions — and I've been working all day then taking work home at night. I've fallen behind on my blog, on emails, on laundry, and, yes, on writing.

I haven't written a word on Naked Edge in three weeks, partly due to work and partly due to the fact that my younger son, Benjy, was home on spring break last week. I had a lot of fun with him and chose to spend every free moment I had with him.

But, as of this weekend, with various crises and spring break behind me, I'm hitting Naked Edge hard with a goal of finishing it by the end of May. I'm not sure if it will be out next November, but I hope so!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a bit about Gabe Rossiter, the hero in the story. Gabe is a Boulder Mountain Parks Ranger, which means he's like a cop who works in the mountains. I've volunteered with Boulder's Mountain Park Rangers, doing naturalist work for them, and they're a wonderful bunch of men and women. They carry guns, wear Kevlar, and deal with everything from climbers who've fallen to injured wildlife to drug dealers to poachers.

Like most rangers, Gabe is a paramedic. He's also an expert climber. And by expert, I mean world class. Because most of you have had little exposure to what rock climbing is and probably don't know a carabiner from a cam, I thought I'd share a video from YouTube that shows Dan Osman free soloing, which is what Gabe does in his free time.

Free soloing means climbing alone without gear. People who do this have nerves of steel, are incredibly strong both physically and mentally and are perhaps also a bit nuts.

As some of you know, I come from a family of climbers and grew up in the mountains hiking and climbing. My dad taught rock climbing and alpine climbing and spent some years climbing with Layton kor, a very famous world-class climber who spent time at our house. The vocabulary of climbing and the gear involved have always been part of my life. I remember stepping over huge coils of climbing rope as a kid and watching my dad clean and check his gear. He once saved a man's life by stopping his fall (he was on belay when the guy fell). The rope dug into my dad's waistline by about a half-inch, leaving permanent scars.

I almost died doing alpine climbing in 1994 when I fell 40 feet after slipping on an overhang of ice on Mount Ida (highest peak to the right above). You can actually see where I fell in this photo. See the tiny fingernail sliver of snow almost in the center of the photo in the saddle between the two peaks? I slipped, fell, bounced over rock. But that's another story...

I might have died had it not been for a ranger who was mountain climbing off duty and found me. He called for a helicopter rescue and eight hours later I was safely in the Estes Park trauma center. Curiously, this is how Kat and Gabe meet, also.

Okay, I'm rambling...

Click on the link above to watch one of of the greatest speed climbers and free solo climbers in the history of climbing. Sadly, Dan Osman died base jumping when his rope broke (the last segment of the video). Watching him climb leaves me in awe! And it gives you a chance to see how Gabe spends his free time and to see what, exactly, he was doing when he first glimpsed Kat.

Poll results: Very interesting! Most of you — a whomping 67 percent — say that bad research and writing is the thing that most offends you in a romance novel. The next largest group — 27 percent — say that deliberate cruelty by the hero or heroine toward the other is what upsets you most. That's what I would have chosen. I cannot stand deliberate cruelty from either the hero or the heroine, and a hero who's Alpha male qualities are demonstrated in this way is what I call a "jerk." It turns a book into a total wall-banger for me. Two percent of you said that graphic sexuality is what upsets you most, with another 2 percent saying the same of foul language.

I thank you for your votes and for the fun discussion about pregnancy and birth in romances.

I'm not sure what the next poll will be, but keep watching.

In the meantime, prepared to be awed by Dan Osman.


Ronlyn said...

OMG. I have vertigo just watching that. That's amazing.

Anonymous said...

Impressive. Beautiful. Scary. Humbling too. Great vids. And the music that's in the background (Metallica) fits the images so well.
I wish I knew what was going though his head while climbing. What drives people like him doing things like that. And what was going through his head during his last fall.

Linda A. said...

Ditto on the vertigo.What a breathtaking video. Now I'm dying to see how you explain what makes Gabe do this.

I'd seen that video before! I thought he was such a cutie and then to hear he died, it was just too sad.

Hi, Ronlyn — Isn't it just awe-inspiring? I wish you were here to watch it with me so that I could name some of the moves he does, like "deadpointing," which Gabe does in Naked Edge. One of these days...

Hi, Stef — So good to see you again! I forgot to mention that this Metallica song is on my Naked Edge playlist. It's totally coincidental. This obviously isn't my YouTube video. As for that last fall — having fallen myself — he was thinking, "I'm going to die now." Unlike me, he probably had some time to think about that. I only had long enough to think it, and then I lost consciousness because I was actually hitting rock. He's free-falling.

In rock climbing it's called, "Rapid Deceleration Syndrome," i.e., the usually terminal disease that starts at the end of a long fall.

And it's utterly painless -- until afterward -- IF you live.

Hi, Linda A — I'm glad you enjoyed the video. As for why Gabe does this... I think it might be time for an excerpt. What do you all think?

Hi, Eugenia — Wow! Someone else who watches climbing vids? I usually watch them at my brother's house because he has a bunch of climbing videos. He's a serious climber himself, but he doesn't free solo. He mostly does alpine and ice (which is insane in its own way).

Pamela, when I was 19 my parents and younger sister drove to Colorado for our vacation that summer. We went all over the state so I'm not sure exactly where it was this happened. We stopped and had lunch at a public picnic area and afterwards decided to check out the dam.
My sister and I walked down the trail and over the bridge, but when it came time to go back up the trail just seemed like it would take forever. I wasn't feeling the best either, altitude sickness had hit me hard.
For some reason the best way up, that appealed to me, was straight up the cliff wall. I don't know why. I didn't have any experience, just started climbing. It was only about 40 to 50 feet.
When I was almost to the top, maybe 5 feet left, I ran out of hand holds, it looked like I was in a place where the water would run down and everything I tried to grab just crumbled. Right about this time my mom looked over the side and saw me, can you say instant panic attack? She freaked out. I had my body flat to the cliff to create friction so I wouldn't slip. I finally saw a way out, a foot hold that took some creative stretching ( sacrificing my favorite pair of jeans! totally ripped out the rearend!) that brought me high enough for a good hand hold and then the top. My mom told me during her lecture that I better never tell her I was afraid of heights again. I really am afraid of heights but I loved the feeling when I was climbing, even if it was the equivalent of a molehill compared to the mountains you have scaled.

Debbie H said...

OMG, that was beautiful! He has such grace and I'm sorry he died, but he died doing what he loved.

And he is HOT!!! Now I have another visual of Gabe. LOL

I could see this as a type of meditation, oneness with God or just a way to release stress.

haleigh said...

wow! I can't fathom doing that, but it's stunning to watch.

I was debating with someone a while back what makes a character an "alpha male." And if you look up the biological definition, it's someone who is respected and deferred to as the leader of the group. It's also someone who is willing to set aside their own needs for the good for the good for the group. So true alpha status is all about how others see and treat you. I found that really interesting, and totally agree that cruel men aren't alphas, they're jerks.

Kaye Manro said...

Rock climbing isn't for me, that's a sure thing! But hey, good luck with the writing, Clare. And yeah, newspapers can take up so much of your time.

Eugenia, you had me holding my breath! OMG! Your poor mother! LOL! I'm so glad you didn't fall. Statistically speaking, HALF of people who fall 20 feet die. So there's a pretty good chance you'd have died falling that far, or you'd have gotten pretty banged up. Keep those feet on the ground! That's my policy nowadays. :-)

Hi, Debbie — Wasn't he something? Very hot and unbelievably skilled and strong. And just a little crazy. I think a lot of climbers do this for the adrenaline high, but also as a way of clearing their heads, just like meditation. Except no one ever died falling out of a lotus position.

Oh, Haleigh, you hit the nail right on the head! In the American Indian world, a true warrior — their kind of "alpha male" — is a man who is strong enough and brave enough to put the needs of those who are weaker before his own. That's exactly what an alpha should be. I work off that idea of "warrior" for my heroes, not some notion of "sexy and arrogant," which can be a total turn off if not coupled with serious self-sacrifice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, because you really put it succinctly.

Hi, Kaye — Yeah, rock climbing isn't really for me, either, at least not like that. And thanks for the good wishes. I haven't started writing yet -- too many errands. Hope all is well!


Linda A. said...

It's also part of the Buddhist tradition - or more specifically, the Shambhala tradition - that a warrior is one who is brave enough to overcome their own aggression and be generous and kind. I loved Ian's reaction as a boy when Morgan blackened his eye - he wouldn't hit back because a true warrior wouldn't hit a child, even his bratty younger brother. That is real warriorship. It's one of the things that makes the MacKinnons so appealing to me. The true test of character is how we treat those who are vulnerable - human or animal, in my opinion.

Heather said...

I'm sorry...but that is nuckin futs...I couldn't even watch it beyond 20 made my head spin and I got sick at my stomach.

Heather <--- who happily admits she LOVES the ground and is a big ol' wuss!!!

Jane said...

Good luck finishing "Naked Edge." Wow, Dan was amazing.

Hi, Linda — I didn't know that about Shambhala. Boulder, of course, is home to a Buddhist temple and a Shambhala center. The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya sits above Boulder in the mountains. Lots of Buddhists here. But I didn't know that. How do they feel about warriors at war? In American Indian tradition, killing is a last resort, but killing when there is need to protect others is part of being a warrior, too. The whole concept — both the protective aspects and the fighting aspects — makes me a little melty. ;-)

Hi, Heather — You stopped watching?!? It does give one a bit of vertigo, doesn't it? I wanted you to see some of his amazing moves, in particular his amazing deadpointing. Making upward leaps with no rope. I prefer my feet on the ground now, too. I don't even like ladders. LOL!

Hi, Jane — Thanks very much! I really wish I were done already! It would be such a worry off my mind. Oh, well. Glad you enjoyed the video. :-)

Tena said...

OH I cant wait till your book is out, I understand the busy thing I have been working on writing a book but its hard when I work 6 days and 2 nights a week. When you said it might not be out in Nov did you mean for 2009 or 2010 I cant wait to read it and to hear of the rock climbing it would be so nice to do something like that but not to high lol

Anonymous said...

OMG, how did I miss this one?? Hey, Pamela!! First, I would never ever ever in a million years go rock climbing. I get nervous on the escalator at the mall, lol!!

Linda A. said...

There's a strong Buddhist community here in Halifax too. They followed their spritual leader here in the eighties, and they have close ties with the community in Colorado. Shambhala warriorship also allows for killing when it can't be avoided, but its essence is wisdom, strength, bravery and service. It's very close to the Native American definition of warriorship. There are some great books out there if you're curious.

Christine said...

That was intense! I had my roommate watch some of the crazier bits (like when he was SCALING the WALL) That was crazy.
But yes...I do believe it is excerpt time!

Christine said...

P.S. my personal fave was when he was hanging by his legs from under a rock outing (I don't know terminology, so...)

Hi, Barbara — I don't like escalators either. They never bothered me one bit until I fell. Now heights really bug me. I've been out of touch, I know. Sorry about that! It's going to be touch-and-go between now and the end of April for me because of work at the paper. I hope you're well!

Hi, Linda — Cool that the two communities are linked! And it's interesting to me that there are these similarities. Sadly, I have no time to read about anything. But I do find it really fascinating.

Hi, Christine — That's pretty neat where he tucks his knee into a little crevasse and then lets go. He's resting his arms a bit, I'll bet. Some of the time in this video he is speed climbing. But the harder climbs he's just free soloing.

And now here's your excerpt (posted above)...

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