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Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas (Colorado High Country #5) —
Rain and Joe's story is out! Head back to Scarlet Springs for a very snowy Christmas story, complete with a look at the history of Scarlet Springs. There are sexy times, as well as a lot of humor. You can grab your copy here: Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo Smashwords Paperback

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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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AAR Favorite Books by Favorite Authors results




The results of All About Romance's Favorite Books by Favorite Authors poll are up, and I was surprised.

Here's the order in which you, my readers, put them:

1. Hard Evidence
2, Unlawful Contact
3, Ride the Fire
4. Untamed
5. Surrender
6. Extreme Exposure
7. Sweet Release
8. Carnal Gift

I'm not surprised by the last one, but I am surprised that Hard Evidence placed first, ahead of Unlawful Contact and Surrender. I'm also surprised that Untamed placed ahead of Surrender.

On Amazon, Surrender has by far the most reviews — 47 — and most are very positive. (Believe it or not, my mother and I don't post reviews for my books, and I don't know most of the people who do.) Unlawful Contact comes in just behind Surrender with 30 reviews, most of them five-star.

Hard Evidence, by contrast, took some serious knocks from reviewers, who found Tessa to be an irritant and TSTL. (To which I've always wanted to say, "I'm an investigative reporter and I've done some of those things. Am I TSTL?") Of course, Julian is pretty popular with all of you. No doubt about that.

And speaking of Julian, someone sent me this photo today to cheer me up, and I thought immediately of Dark Angel...



You should check out the Faves by Faves page at AAR because it has a pretty substantial list of authors whose books readers have ranked according to which they liked most. It's a great way to get acquainted with a new author and reassure yourself that you're not starting with her worst book.

I fully expected Surrender and Ride the Fire to be at the top, along with Unlawful Contact, with Untamed coming in at No. 4, perhaps.

And thanks to all of you who took the time to vote!

I told Lee Brewer, AAR's publisher liason and pollster, that I feel like a real romance novelist now that I'm included on the Faves by Faves page. She very generously replied that having a single book published makes a person an author.

So what do you think? Did the vote go the way you expected? How would you change it if you didn't. I know what Kristie J will say...
Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Flowers/Naked Edge update


What it's like right now in Colorado's high country

I thought these photos were kind of fun and wanted to share them with you. A couple weekends ago, I went for a drive in the mountains with my younger son, Benjamin, and his girlfriend, Lucy. We drove along Trail Ridge Road to give Lucy a view of the real Rocky Mountains. She'd never seen mountains like this before. And although it was technically late spring, up there it was still winter. We got caught in a bit of a snow storm, which made me nervous. Anyone who has driven on Trail Ridge Road will understand why.

We drove Lucy to an overlook where she'd be able to see where I almost died — but the clouds were so thick and the snow falling so heavily that the entire mountain range was obscured. D'oh!


A look at the snowpack along the Continental Divide

The photo above shows where ploughs cut through the snow to clear the road. Just to give you some perspective, my son is six feet tall.

Meanwhile, down at 5,000 feet elevation, my garden is in high bloom. It's so lovely I could sit out there all day.



Here's a glimpse of our King Arthur giant delphinium, which just popped. It's so majestic. I tried to get a close-up so you could see the details inside the blossoms.


Click on photos to enlarge for more detail

This is a shot of the middle bed in my front yard rose garden. You can see the King Arthur delphinium in the background. Anne Bolyne and Heritage are the pink roses toward the front. Beside them is lavender, which is just starting to bloom. There's penstemon, a Rocky Mountain wildflower, and purple coneflower, which hasn't yet bloomed.

Update on Naked Edge: I saw that they've moved the release date till March 2010. The book is due on July 15. If I can make that deadline, there's still a chance the book might be bumped to April or May. Hopefully not. So I might not post again after this until the book is done. I really need to focus every word my brain can conjure on the story.

I am taking vacation from the newspaper in the beginning of July and can't wait! I'll spend the time writing and sleeping and sniffing roses.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bite me



My brother ran into this fellow while hiking this weekend. He always sees rattlesnakes. I've never seen a single one, not even when I was volunteering for Boulder Mountain Parks and patrolling trails for 12 hours every weekend. Then again, I've seen a mountain lion up close — very close — and a mama bear with three cubs, and he hasn't. So...

We had another special edition at the paper, this one devoted to green living, and it took far more time than anyone had imagined. For the past two weeks, I've been working, eating and sleeping — and that's about it. Thank goodness this is sort of the last one for a while. Okay, okay, we have another for the Fourth of July, but that's nothing like these others.

These past two weeks have also been extremely unusual in that every single day we've had torrential downpours — sometimes two or three times a day. Even stranger, we've had tornadoes almost every day. I grew up here being told that "we don't have tornadoes here because we're too close to the mountains." Well, someone needs to tell that to the eight tornadoes that have touched down around here in the past two weeks. Obviously, they didn't get the memo.

We had our first tornado in 1996 — two on the same day, actually. I watched one of them touch down, utterly fascinated. They were pretty small. A friend of mine from Alabama just laughed at them and called them "cute." Then we didn't have another till last year when that enormous mile-wide twister touched down in Windsor. That's the tornado that wrecked my roof. It also killed someone. And now eight this year.

I hope to be back in the writing swing this weekend. Naked Edge is due in New York on July 15. I can't miss that deadline. So that means I might be taking an Internet break. The pub date has been bumped back to March '10, and I expect it might hit April '10 before long...

I have eight chapters plus and epilogue to write.

I hope everyone is well.
Sunday, June 07, 2009

A lazy June Sunday among the flowers

Actually, it's not such a lazy day. I'm writing my behind off. I finished Chapter 21 yesterday and am one-third through Chapter 22 of Naked Edge. That means I'm more than 67 percent done with the book. I must be done by July 15. And that's a lot of writing...

I want to get back to book piracy for just a quick moment, but not yet because I'd rather talk about...

Flowers!

My garden isn't in high bloom. Not yet. That will happen within the next 10 days or so. But here's what I found outside this morning...



Red Yarrow. The bunnies like to nibble this. I love how the color contrasts with all the green foliage around it. It's self-seeding, so it spreads on its own. This patch grew from one bedding plant we put in a few years ago.




Louise Odier is a Bourbon rose that was bred in 1851. It has a beautiful, rich old-rose smell. It's one that Benjy wanted to plant when he was younger, so it's kind of "his" rose bush, along with Hot Cocoa, which hasn't bloomed yet.




This is Golden Wings, a beautiful yellow rose with only a handful of petals on each blossom. It has a fresh rose scent and can be grown as a climbing rose. It's our only yellow rose, because someone (i.e., me) is stuck on pink. What can I say?




Stef, here are the peonies in full bloom. They're quite eye-catching!



This is Anne Bolyne, an Old English rose. It's scent is so fantastic and amazing that I almost get high off it. I planted lavender around it (that's lavender just below the bloom), so that I can smell both. Together. At the same time. Both scents are beautiful. Together, they're unbelievable!



Here is a view of my massive sage plant in full bloom. That's about the size of a queen-sized bed, actually. Right now, it sounds like the plant is buzzing. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. There are zillions of bees on those tiny blossoms.



Here's red yarrow bumping up against a bud on our Abraham Darby bush, which produces fully cupped, enormous flowers, also with a lovely Old English rose scent. I love it when the various flowers overlap. The colors, the scents, the foliage all make it a very sensual experience.

Thanks for indulging me. I hope you enjoy the photographs.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prayers needed — and a cool poll


I more or less grew up here...


Most of us have people in our lives who at one time or another make a big difference. John and Connie are two such people in my life. They're my parents' ages. They met my parents because my father and John worked together at Rocky Flats, the former nuclear trigger plant south of Boulder.

I was 2 years old when John and my father met and our two families became friends. They had two girls, too, and their daughters were the same ages as me and my younger sister — that is to say, 2 and newborn.

As time went on, my parents had a boy. And they had a boy. Then my parents had another boy, and they had another boy. Same ages. Kind of funny, really. Naturally, this only made for a closer bond.

They lived up in the mountains, and I can say that the happiest days I had as a young child were spent at their house, running around like a wild child in the mountains. We played outside until it was dark, then slept on their upstairs deck out under the stars. It was kind of like camping, because we were in the mountains, except that we were also at home.

I spent countless nights at their house. I couldn't even begin to guess how many. Every Sunday morning included an enormous pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage and French toast. Everything you could want for breakfast. They always held hands and said grace. And I always went to Sunday school with Debbie.

I grew up to take a different spiritual path, but John and Connie have always represented to me what "real" Christians should be. If you've already realized who they are, you win the prize.

When It came time to name the pastor and his wife who take Megan into their home in Unlawful Contact, the choice was easy for me. I named them John and Connie — Pastor John and his wife Connie — as a tribute to the two people whose home had been such a haven for me. A couple months ago, I had dinner with them and with Debbie and her three boys and got to tell them about the book. I guarantee you they would never read one of my stories, but they're the most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.

Sadly, John is struggling with lung cancer, and Connie, who a few years back had to deal with breast cancer, is now facing colon cancer. It would mean a lot to me if those of you who pray could include them in your prayers. They're wonderful, wonderful people, and they've been such a blessing in my life.

Thank you!

On a completely unrelated topic, All About Romance is hosting their Favorite Books by Favorite Authors poll. It's not a competition between authors. Authors are competing only with themselves. I've been chosen to be featured as one of the authors this time around — ! — so AAR wants to hear from my readers as to what books of mine are their favorites. Just go to to All About Romance and fill out the form. There are 13 authors listed, and you can sound off on as many authors' books as you choose.

I'm interested to see the results. Somehow I think Surrender and Unlawful Contact and Ride the Fire will be toward the top of the your favorites. But I could be wrong.

If you have time, pop by. AAR uses the list to provide readers with a guide or resource for when they want to decide which books to start with for a new-to-them author.

OK, almost done with Chapter 21 and counting...

Oh! I almost forgot!

When I got home from work yesterday, there was a box waiting for me. Inside the box, I found a beautiful engraved marble pen stand (is that what you call them?) announcing to my surprise that I am Colorado Romance Writer's Author of the Year. I was floored! The conference was at the beginning of May, and I wasn't able to attend because I'd just broken my foot. So I missed getting the award. They apparently decided to surprise me — and mailed it.

So that's pretty exciting!

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"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