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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tempus Fugit — And the best of 2009 [updated]




When you’re a child, a single summer seems to last forever. Now, decades seem to fly past me in the same amount of time it took to live a year. What’s with that?

I just finished writing a 4,200-word retrospective on “the Aughts” — the name most of us media types are giving the past 10 years. We got into some fierce debates in the newsroom about the best CDs, TV shows and movies of the past 10 years. And it made me want to hear what you all have to say.

First, let me just say that any list of the best movies that doesn’t include the Lord of the Rings trilogy is both wrong and offensive. I mean, Viggo Mortensen, people. What else is there to say?



Now, moving on...

It would be hard to recount 10 years of entertainment on the blog, so I thought perhaps you could all tell me what your favorite books, TV shows, CDs, songs and movies have been for the past year. (You can’t include any of my books. So there.)

Here’s my list from the past year:

Best Book
Anna Campbell — Captive of Sin (historical romance)

Best Books I read in 2009 from prior to 2009

Kathleen Givens — Rivals for the Crown (historical fiction)
Joan Wood — The Road to Avalon (Arthurian fiction)

Television Shows
True Blood


Godric


Alex as Eric

Movies
I only went to one: New Moon. But I'm planning to see The Young Victoria, and I hope it will get my vote before midnight on Thursday.

Best Music
”Love Me When I’m Gone," 3 Doors Down
”Here Without You,” 3 Doors Down
”Landing in London” 3 Doors Down
”It’s Been A While,” Staind
(Okay, so none of these were released in 2009. I can’t help that I discovered these songs in 2009.)

By now, it's apparent that I rarely get to read, never watch TV or listen to the radio and rarely go to movies. I really don’t have much to add to this discussion.

But you do! So share with me your ”Best of” lists for 2009. And, remember. I’m always looking for new music.

Now, go for it.
Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Ready for a New Year



For a lot of people, New Year’s Eve is a time to cut loose, drink a lot and party. For me, it’s always been a very reflective holiday, a time to look back at the past year — and my life, in general — and to face squarely my own shortcomings and to plan how I'm going to live a better life over the coming year.

It’s always been a melancholy holiday for me, to say the least.

Even when I was a child, New Year’s Eve was a reflective time for me. I’d watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve and try to plan a better year for myself, not in terms of random things that just happen, but in terms of my own actions.

I have to say that 2009 feels in some respects like The Wasted Year. Down in the heart over my younger son’s departure from the nest to his college in New York and recovering from 2008’s string of disasters and near-disasters, it felt like all I could do to tread water. It took forever for me to write Naked Edge, and though I did some things, like experiment with growing my own veggies, mostly I let time get away from me.

So this coming year — 2010 — needs to be The Year I Got Over Empty Nest Syndrome and Started Living My Life Again.

Most people are older than I am by the time their kids are grown and off at college. I have friends my own age who have toddlers and kindergarteners, while my boys are 23 and 20 years old. I tell myself this is a good thing, because I now have the chance at age 45 to create a new life for myself. But...

Well, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

I was visiting my friend Kat over Thanksgiving when I realized that I still have the same furniture, dishes, dish towels, bath towels and such that I had when I got divorced and my kids were little. Yes, I still eat breakfast cereal from a plastic bowl with the genie from Disney’s Aladdin staring up at me. I kid you not.

Kat is an artist and has the most amazing house, with a mix of folk, Native and artisan dishes, furnishings and so on. Appalled to hear that I still have a household of old junk — my sofa and TV are 20 years old — she suggested I get rid of it.

All of it.

I'm not a shopper by habit, and I like to be frugal. But there’s frugality, and there’s stupidity. I think I’m closer to the latter.

So this year it will truly be a case of “out with the old, and in with the new.” Not that I’m going to blow money I don’t have on the latest trendy junk. But with Kat’s help, I'm going to replace things bit by bit until the stuff of my Mommy Years is replaced with things that feel more like me in the here and now.

I’m not sure how other single moms deal with Empty Nest Syndrome, so ideas are welcome. But it’s time to stop moping and start living again.

In turn, I’m going to help Kat gain mastery over piles of paper, i.e., filing. It’s overwhelming to her but not to me. If journalists deal with anything it’s documents, documents, documents. So I’ll be at her place on New Year’s Eve firing up the paper shredder and getting down to work. Then she and I are going to start revitalizing my home.

What are your New Year’s plans?
Thursday, December 24, 2009

A white Christmas in Colorado


A view of the foothills taken out my car window during my morning commute. The temperature was -8 F/-13 C.

Una vista de las estribaciones tomado la ventana de mi coche durante mi viaje matutino. La temperatura era de -8 F/-13 C.




Green Mountain and Bear Peak with the Flatirons. This is just down the street from the newspaper.

Green Mountain y Bear Peak con el Flatirons. Esto es sólo por la calle del periódico.


I wanted to share a glimpse of what I was seeing this morning. Fortunately, they haven't yet made it illegal to take digital photos while driving. The mountains are so incredibly beautiful with snow on them. When I was a little girl, I always thought it looked like someone had dipped them in powdered sugar.


Quería compartir una visión de lo que estaba viendo esta mañana. Afortunadamente, no han hecho todavía es ilegal tomar fotos digitales durante la conducción. Las montañas son tan increíblemente hermosa con nieve en ellos. Cuando yo era niña, siempre pensé que parecía que alguien había sumergido en azúcar en polvo.



Strangely, Christmas in Colorado is rarely white unless you’re high in the mountains. I remember Christmases where it’s been 60 degrees outside — sunny and warm. But every once in a while, we end up with snow on the ground. It’s snowed for the past two days almost non-stop, so there’s about a foot of freshly fallen snow, and it definitely makes my holiday brighter.


Curiosamente, la Navidad en Colorado es raramente blanca a menos que esté arriba en las montañas. Recuerdo que en Navidades ha sido de 60 grados exterior - soleado y cálido. Pero de vez en cuando, nos encontramos con nieve en el suelo. Es nevado durante los últimos dos días casi sin parar, por lo que hay alrededor de un pie de nieve recién caída, y sin duda hace que mi día de fiesta brillante.


I know some of you will celebrate Christmas tonight. In Europe, most of you are either home making dinner and preparing for a wonderful, magical evening or you’re rushing home from work to do just that. I don’t celebrate until Christmas morning, which is good because I haven't finished Christmas shopping yet.

Sé que algunos de ustedes se celebrará esta noche de Navidad. En Europa, la mayoría de ustedes son su casa haciendo la cena y la preparación para una noche maravillosa, mágica o estás corriendo a casa del trabajo para hacer precisamente eso. Yo no celebro hasta la mañana de Navidad, que es bueno porque no he terminado todavía las compras de Navidad.

My younger son is spending the holiday with his father on the other side of the mountains, while my older son will be coming to my place tomorrow morning. He works full time and can’t get away until late tonight. So it will be just the two of us.

Mi hijo menor es el gasto de las vacaciones con su padre en el otro lado de las montañas, mientras que mi hijo mayor va a venir a mi casa mañana por la mañana. Él trabaja a tiempo completo y no pueden salir hasta tarde esta noche. Así que será sólo el dos de nosotros.

I didn’t put a tree up this year because I haven’t had time. But there’s a wreath on the door. I might hang some lights around the house this afternoon if I get time between baking, shopping and wrapping my son’s gifts. (We work till noon at the paper, then have the rest of the today and tomorrow off.)

Yo no puse un árbol de este año, porque no he tenido tiempo. Pero hay una corona de flores en la puerta. Podría colgar algunas luces alrededor de la casa esta tarde si me da tiempo entre la panadería, de compras y envolver los regalos de mi hijo. (Trabajamos hasta el mediodía en el papel, y luego tener el resto del día de hoy y mañana libre.)

I hope you’re all doing well and that the craziness of the holiday season is settling down to peace and quiet.

Espero que todos están haciendo bien y que la locura de la temporada de vacaciones es de ponerse a la paz y la tranquilidad.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Feliz Navidad!
Saturday, December 19, 2009

Packages, packages everywhere



I've been running laps to the post office mailing everyone’s books. The lines have been outrageous! I actually got up at 6:30 so that I could be at the post office when it opened this morning and get the rest of your books in the mail. And there was already a line!

I managed to do this without coffee. Yes, without coffee. Which means some of these books might end up in Timbuktu. (Just kidding. I addressed them last night.)

But I haven’t just been mailing packages. I've also been receiving things from all of you. Thanks so much for the lovely Christmas cards! I cherish each and every one. I always hang cards on my pantry door so they're the first thing I see when I walk into my kitchen.

Last night, I got home to find a package on my doorstep that had come all the way from Antonia in Thailand. Inside were Thai translations of Extreme Exposure and Hard Evidence, together with the most adorable set of bookmarks and a scrumptious silk shawl.

The bookmarks each have a tiny figure dressed in traditional Thai costumes representing different peoples of Thailand. There are almost a dozen of them. They’re so cute that I’m not sure I could ever stick them in a book.

The shawl is of red embroidered silk. What Antonia didn't know is that I'm crazy about silk. If toilet seats came in silk I'd try to get one. Seriously! When I went shopping last night — my first attempt at Christmas shopping — I draped it around my neck and went out feeling quite happy about it.

Thank you, Antonia!

As for Christmas shopping, I'm woefully behind. I really don't like to shop so getting myself to the mall is going against the grain. I've gotten things for my sister, my mother and my niece. That leaves my dad, my two brothers and my two nephews. Not to mention my two sons.

I'll be spending the day shopping, wrapping and — I hope! — finishing the proposal for Natalie’s story, the next I-Team book. The story still needs a title, by the way. Any great ideas? Benjy’s suggestion is RANDOM INNUENDO, because that’s what he thinks all my I-Team titles offer. Smarty-pants!

I also wanted to wish my Jewish readers a late Happy Hanukkah. I totally missed it this year! I hope everyone had eight days of peace, good food and fun.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Web site is finally updated



I know, I know. My Web site really needed an update. Unlike a lot of authors who update their Web sites regularly, I use my blog to keep in touch and up to date with everyone and only update the Web site a few times a year. Because I didn't have a book out this year, my poor Web site was even more neglected than usual, as I focused on writing.

But it's done now. Hurray!

The new content includes this snaxy downloadable wallpaper that Jenn J made for me. It also includes the entire author's note from the back of Naked Edge, the back cover blurb from the book, and updated news.

As a quick follow-up on the book giveaway: The woman at the post office asked me why I don't sell the books on eBay rather than sending them to readers at my own expense. I told her that it's a lot more fun to give a gift and make someone happy than to sell a book to a stranger. And, besides that, it's actually a violation of most author's contracts for them to sell their own books for profit if they've received those copies free from the publisher.

I still have those copies of Für die Liebe, Für die Freiheit available, as well as a couple ARCs of Surrender and two copies of Rendición. First come, first serve.

Now to get back on track here...

Coming soon:
A review of Kathleen Givens' Rivals for the Crown
Interviews with I-Team heroes
A French perspective on Ticonderoga/Carillon (from Untamed)
Contests for copies of Naked Edge...
Not to mention excerpts!
Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Great Book Give-Away — Update 3



I am buried.

Not in snow, but rather in books. Every time one of my novels is released, I get copies of the book, most of which I give away to readers in contests. Then, when the story is published in another language, I get copies of that, too.


Estoy enterrado. No en la nieve, sino más bien en los libros. Cada vez que uno de mis novelas es liberado, puedo obtener copias del libro, la mayoría de las cuales me regalan a los lectores en los concursos. Luego, cuando la historia se publica en otro idioma, puedo obtener copias de eso, también.


Right now, my bookshelf is filled to overflowing with copies and translations of my books On the one hand I love it. On the other... Well, there just isn't room for any more books. With new translations coming out in Spain, Germany, Thailand, France and Norway — not to mention the impending release of Naked Edge — I need to clear some space.

Ahora mismo, mi biblioteca está llena a rebosar de copias y traducciones de mis libros Por un lado me encanta. Por el otro ... Bueno, simplemente no hay espacio para más libros. Con nuevas traducciones que salen en España, Alemania, Tailandia, Francia y Noruega - por no hablar de la inminente liberación de Naked Edge - Tengo que liberar espacio.

That means I am giving signed copies of my books away.

First come, first served.

Eso significa que estoy dando una copia firmada de mis libros de distancia. 'Primero llegado, primero servido'.

Here is what I have available:

Auf Deutsch:

3 Kopien "Für die Liebe, Für die Freiheit" (Sweet Release)
1 Kopie "Kold vie der Tod" (Hard Evidence)
2 Kopien "Süß ist die Angst" (Unlawful Contact)

En français:

The copy of "Méfie-toi, Kara!" (Extreme Exposure) went to Christine. Enjoy, Christine!

En español:

2 copias de "Rendición" (Surrender). One copy is now on its way to Argentina.

日本語に:

2つのコピー 事件記者テッサ 目撃の波紋 (ヴィレッジブックス) (Hard Evidence)
1つのコピー 事件記者カーラ 告発の代償 (ヴィレッジブックス) (Extreme Exposure)

In English:

3 defective copies of Surrender in which part of Page 3 is unreadable
5 bound ARCs of Surrender full of the original typos and one spectacular copy-editor mistake (Zou?)
6 copies of Carnal Gift. Two copies have already been given away.

So what do you have to do to get your signed copy? Simply send me an email at pamelaclare @ earthlink.net (remove spaces) and tell me what you would like. Make sure to give me your mailing address. I’ll include a bookmark from Untamed.

One copy per person.

Entonces, ¿qué tienes que hacer para obtener su copia firmada? Basta con enviar un email a pamelaclare@earthlink.net (quitar espacios) y dime lo que te gustaría. Asegúrese de que me dé su dirección de correo.

Una copia por persona.

It make take me some time to get them all mailed out, given that it’s the Christmas season and given that foreign postage isn’t cheap. But I shall do my best to get them mailed promptly.


Es que me lleve algún tiempo para llegar a todos ellos por correo, dado que es la temporada de Navidad y, dado que los gastos de franqueo no es barato. Pero haré mi mejor esfuerzo para obtener los envíen con prontitud.


(Megan, your ARC of Naked Edge is in the mail. You’ll probably get it Tuesday.)

I figure these books need good homes, and it's my way of sharing the holiday spirit with all of you. Thanks so much!
Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Who's going to RomCon?


A view of the Flatirons about 10 minutes away from my office

Please pardon me if my teeth chatter. It's been very cold here lately, and that blizzard that is now blowing its way across the Midwest just left us yesterday after four days of dumping flakes on those of us who live in the Rockies.

We got about a foot of snow in the end, with temps dropping to -15 F/-26 C last night. It was all of -6F /-21-ish C when I drove to work. But the view of the mountains completely covered in white with sun glinting off the snow was spectacular.

I'm not complaining. I love winter. I've spent those days with my sister Michelle, whom some of you have met on my Yahoo group. She’s visiting from Sweden. We’ve been keeping warm with lots of coffee and blazing fires in my fireplace. I think I’ve laughed more in the past few days than in the past few months put together. We have such a great time. She’s been coming to work with me and reading the Twilight series in my office while I do newspaper stuff.

Such are the joys of living at the foot of the mountains.

But it's not all snow and chattering teeth here. Come summer it will be 95 degrees and sunny. Every day. For weeks. It’s dry heat with very little humidity. Sometimes it gets as high as 110 F / 44 C or so. (Personally, I’d rather have snow!)



I hope some of you will experience this yourself when you come to Denver for the first annual RomCon this summer. The event was put together by some Denver-area romance writers — alas, not me — in an effort to create an event that focuses not on the romance industry but on readers.

I will be attending, as will Christine Feehan, Tara Janzen and... Anna Campbell, as well as many other authors. The entire focus of the event is getting writers and readers together in fun ways. I'm very excited about it. For one, I get to see Christine again and I get to meet Anna face to face. (Tara lives about 45 min. north of me, and we get together for coffee when we can.)

The conferences takes place July 9-11 in Denver. I hope to rent a bus and take a group of readers on a tour of the real places featured in the I-Team series and of places where the real investigations behind the series took place. Maybe we can even make it up into the mountains.

For more about the three-day conference, click here.

In the meantime, I'm putting together the proposal for Natalie’s book and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be writing now. I hope to be working on my next story before Jan. 1.

I've joined Goodreads, so if you frequent Goodreads please find me! I'm also on Twitter now, despite my promise never to tweet. There are so many social networking sites these days that it’s a bit overwhelming.

In other news, I've learned that my first three historicals are available on Kindle. I thought that would never happen. I'm also in the midst of a Web site update, so that will be coming soon, possibly by Monday.

OK, well that’s all there is to report today.

Thanks to Anna Campbell for sharing her time with us and to all of you for making her feel welcome!
Saturday, December 05, 2009

An interview with Anna Campbell



Today I get to put on my journalist hat and ask probing questions of an author who is a new discovery for me — the lovely and very kind Anna Campbell. As someone who got burnt out on Regency romance in the 1980s, I typically don't read them any longer. However, reviews of Tempt the Devil persuaded me to give Anna’s books a try. I’m so glad I did! She offers a fresh look at the Regency era, one that isn’t mired in cliches and which feels unique and real.

So far, I've read Tempt the Devil and Captive of Sin, with Claiming the Courtesan and Untouched waiting in my TBR. When I finished Captive of Sin, I knew I needed to get to know Anna better, so I suggested an interview.

Without further ado, here's what Anna had to say:

PC: First of all, can you tell us a bit about your background?

AC: Oh, goodness! How long have you got? All right, here’s the shortish version. I’m an Aussie, born in Queensland which is the state high up on the right-hand side, the state with Steve Irwin and the Barrier Reef! I’ve been in love with books as long as I can remember so the desire to be a writer was a natural follow-on to that. I did an arts degree at uni – hey, three years where someone actually wanted me to spend my days with my nose in a book? My idea of heaven! Then I worked at a variety of jobs, including a long stint captioning TV programs for the Deaf. Great training for a writer! I love to travel and as well as shorter trips, I had two years living in England in the mid-1980s and four months traveling the U.K. in 2004. That was great for a budding Regency romance writer — all those wonderful stately homes to check out! I now live on the Sunshine Coast about an hour north of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital. I’ve been writing full time since Avon bought Claiming the Courtesan in 2006 - a dream come true.

PC: What inspired you to write romantic fiction?

AC: My mother gave me my first romance novel when I was eight in an attempt to get some peace. It worked! Mind you, back in those days, you could give an 8-year-old a category romance without worrying about her reading inappropriate material! I’ve been addicted to romance fiction ever since and like lots of writers, I went from reader to writer. The next major leap for me was reading The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss when I was in my early teens. I adored that book, the passion and sensuality and emotion of it, and suddenly I’d discovered exactly what I wanted to write. I decided then and there I wanted to grow up to write historical romance for Avon — it still blows my mind that that’s what ended up happening!


PC: That’s pretty cool that your dream came true in such a literal way. What is the attitude toward romance novels and romance novelists in Australia as compared to that in the U.S.?


AC: Romance is definitely a bigger force in the U.S. than it is in Australia, although having said that, Harlequin Mills & Boon is huge here. A lot of romance novels are sold here in other guises — for example, Nora Roberts is often shelved in either women’s fiction or crime. You can strike snobbish attitudes about romance but that’s something education from Romance Writers of Australia and our wonderful local authors is slowly changing.

PC: You’ve got four books in print right now — Claiming the Courtesan, Untouched, Tempt the Devil, and Captive of Sin. Was Claiming the Courtesan the first book you wrote? How long did it take you to cross that hallowed threshold and become a published author?




AC: Sorry, I’m laughing hollowly at Claiming the Courtesan being the first book I wrote! Not by a mile! I wrote a medieval in between high school and university and actually finished the manuscript so if I consider that the beginning of writing with the hope of publication, I needed another 27 years before I actually sold Claiming the Courtesan. I’d decided Harlequin would be the best way to develop a career and I wrote eight rejected manuscripts for them before I decided to go back to my first love, historical romance. Then I started a stack of stories, finished the occasional one, didn’t submit to anyone — yes, clearly, you have to submit your manuscripts if you want to be published! Two things brought a big change. One was that I gave up writing about seventeen years in because I decided I was never going to achieve my dream. I couldn’t bear not writing so I went back to it after about eighteen miserable months. And it was then that I joined Romance Writers of Australia. I started an enormously steep learning curve (and made a lot of wonderful friends on the way) and eventually sold Claiming the Courtesan to Avon at auction in 2006.

PC: What inspired you to write the period that you write?

AC: I’d always read Regency-set romance, going back to Georgette Heyer and Pride and Prejudice as a kid. But for some reason, I resisted writing in the period and tried every setting except Regency England. Then I finaled in the first romance writing contest I ever entered (with a manuscript set in 18th-century Hungary, I’m not exaggerating about my exotic settings!) and suddenly thought maybe I had a shot at taking this further. If that was the case, I clearly needed to think of a more commercial setting than the obscure ones I was exploring, much as I happened to love them. I started writing a Regency comedy and it was like coming home — my voice really belonged and through reading thousands of Regency historicals, I already had an extensive knowledge of the world my characters inhabited. I haven’t looked back since. I write late Regencies (really reign of George IV) set in the 1820s. I love the decadence of that period just before Queen Victoria came to the throne.



PC: Your books have been — very accurately, I think — described as “Regency noir.” I’ve read Tempt the Devil and Captive of Sin and enjoyed that darker element very much. Where does that come from for you?

AC: Thank you, Pamela! It’s odd – if you met me, I don’t think you’d consider me a dark person. Or at least that’s the feedback I’ve had! I was an avid gothic reader, though, and I had a huge crush on Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester when I was a teenager so clearly something in me responded to the darker side of romance.

PC: Do you do research first and let your characters develop out of that, or do you get to know your characters first and then do the research to match their story?

AC: Luckily because I’ve now written five Regency noirs (My Reckless Surrender is out in June, 2010), I’ve got a pretty good handle on the period I’m writing about. So I have a good idea of what stories will work in that setting and what won’t. Before I start writing, I always have a hero and a heroine, a problem, occasionally a villain, and always the opening. Then I write organically, letting each scene grow out of the one before. Having said that, I usually have a few high points in mind and I know what the ending will be. Those characters often present something I need to research in depth. Which is great as I love research. With Claiming the Courtesan, I did a lot of research on courtesans and I found so many amazing stories in that research, Tempt the Devil grew out of the same body of research. Untouched meant researching the treatment of mental illness in the 19th century – scarier than most horror movies! Captive of Sin required a lot of research on the legalities of marriage and also on my hero’s backstory with the East India Company.


PC: What’s your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

AC: Definitely a pantser! I wish I was a plotter. It would save me a lot of rewriting but I find if I’ve already told myself the story, I lose interest in it so I guess I’m stuck with my messy process.


PC: Hurray! Another pantser! I’ve tried to change my process also, and I find that I cannot. What's an author to do? I always feel that I truly know my characters when I understand where their deepest fear and pain comes from. What has to click for you to feel like you truly know your characters?


AC: I think you’ve got a great point there. What amazes me about the writing process is that I THINK I know these people when I start writing the story as they’ve lived in the back of my brain for a long time by then. I put pen to paper (or hand to keyboard!) and they emerge with traits and behavior that completely astonish me. I truly know my characters once I’ve come to the end of what is always a really difficult first draft process. Then the editing is refining and clarifying and strengthening what I’ve learned about them in writing their stories. And yes, inevitably the painful stuff comes out in that process! I think that’s how you get the power into your stories, making these characters confront the things they really don’t want to confront.

PC: Gideon from Captive of Sin was a tortured, sympathetic and delectable hero. What inspired him?


AC: Thank you so much. I must admit I had quite a crush on him when I wrote him. He’s such a knight in shining armor, isn’t he? Actually the idea for Gideon came during that trip to the U.K. in 2004. I picked up a book called The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk in a bookshop in Oban on the west coast of Scotland. This was much more exciting than it sounds and was full of Indiana Jones-style spies and soldiers as the Russians and the British vied for control of Central Asia in the mid-19th century. One story in particular struck a chord with me – these two amazing warrior scholars called Arthur Conolly and Arthur Stoddart who were beheaded in Bukhara in 1842 after being kept in a pit in the central marketplace. Anyone who has read Captive of Sin won’t have to think too hard about the links with what happens to Gideon in India. I’m fascinated by Central Asia but sadly, writing in the 1820s, this imperial rivalry between Russia and England was a little too late to fit my period. So I started researching the British conquest of India and came up with plenty of options that allowed me to torture poor Gideon in an appropriately Conolly and Stoddart way! On a serious note, I find the warrior scholar archetype terrifically compelling and Gideon’s definitely an example!



PC: How wonderful to give Stoddart and Conolly that tribute. Your books are fairly gritty, and the characters have an intensity of emotion that I enjoy. Does that come at a cost to you as a writer?

AC: Oh, absolutely! I’m like a wrung-out rag when I finish a book. You have to live through these experiences with the characters and sometimes it’s tough.

PC: What do you do to refill your creative well?

AC: I love to look at water. I walk by the sea or swim. I’ve always felt I should have been a water sign (for the record I’m an earth sign!). I watch TV. I read – not as much I used to, sadly. I find a really good book gets my subconscious firing in the way nothing else does. I catch up with my friends. I listen to music. A break away really freshens up the brain too.


PC: Your next book, My Reckless Surrender, comes out on May 25, 2010. Can you tell us a bit about that?


AC: It’s about a dangerous seduction in Regency London. Here’s the blurb:

Headlong into sin...

A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women—and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick’s brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover! But it is neither Diana’s boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so—it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask.

Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft—never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching, his caress intoxicating—and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft’s dark allure.

Unwittingly yet most willingly, they are playing with fire. Now the fuse has been lit and there is no escape…except surrender.


PC: That sounds luscious! What are you working on now, besides cleaning your house for the holidays?

AC: Ha ha! Someone’s been reading my Facebook posts complaining about having to do so much housework! I’ve just started my sixth historical romance for Avon. I’m still at that lovely stage when everything’s fresh and exciting. This book will probably be out some time in 2011. I’m also writing a mini-novella (13,000 words) for an anthology — it’s my first reunion story so I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops. The Australian edition of Captive of Sin is just about to hit the stands (mid-December) so I’m also gearing up for local promotion.

PC: Good luck with your Australian release, and congrats on starting your sixth book. And thanks for taking time to chat with me. Your stories have touched me, and it's nice to get to know you better.

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Does anyone have questions for Anna? If so, fire away and she'll answer as she’s able to.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And the winner is...

Megan C!

Congratulations!

I should let you know that my dear friend Kat James did the honors and picked the winner from the hat. That might make it extra special for you.


I've been at her place since Saturday. I went to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with her and Uncle Ray, but got very sick that night with some kind of virus, which almost immediately became a raging sinus infection. She and Ray were very sweet and kind and took good care of me. In return, I went through all their Kleenex, lay around on the furniture moaning and ate my way through Kat's fantastic cooking. I am on antibiotics for my sinuses and was finally able to get on my feet and drive home today — and that wore me out.


This photo illustration shows what Kat and Ray got to look at in their house the past few days.

For those of you who entered but didn't win, don't be discouraged. I'll be giving away signed copies of Unlawful Contact, plus a few copies of Naked Edge once I get my author copies.

Coming up next:
An interview with the lovely Anna Campbell, interviews with I-Team heroes and a review of Rivals for the Crown, Kathleen Givens' powerful historical novel.

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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