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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

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Connor MacKinnon

Isle of Skye — homeland of the MacKinnon brothers

So, guess what I’m doing?

Before I answer that, let me just say that the ballgame yesterday was wonderful. We sat in the infield box behind the Rockies dugout watching the men, er, game, as the Rox beat the Padres 7-0. Because it was the home opener, there was lots of extra celebration — fireworks, troops from the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, fighter jets flying overhead. I loved the part where the fighter pilots were introduced. Why are fighter pilots so consistently snaxy? Has anyone met or seen a fighter pilot who wasn’t flat-out hot?

My son Alec took this photo, but the seats are so crammed together that his phone was only inches from my face.

Diane W asked a question in one of her posts to my last blog entry, asking me if I had unchained poor Zach yet. I wanted to answer that here.

Zach, if you'll remember, is a former Navy SEAL currently working along the U.S. Mexico border as a deputy U.S. Marshal apprehending fugitives. Except that he was just betrayed by a compromised INTERPOL agent, drugged and handed over to a cartel to be tortured for information and then cut into small pieces.

The answer to Diane’s question is this: No, I haven’t unchained him yet. I’m not going to unchain him. Natalie is. But she can’t do it yet, because...

I have to spend this weekend preparing several concepts for historical novels to run past my editor, rather than working on Natalie's story.

As some of you know, historical romance is my first love. I haven’t written a historical for a while, not because I don’t want to, but because there were things that needed to be sorted out. I left the publishing house that was publishing those books, but hope to be writing historicals again soon.

Right at this moment — KarLynP & MelissaB, can you hear me? — I am working on an overview of Connor MacKinnon’s story. That’s obviously the story I want to tell next. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that. It’s up to my editor.

I’m about to enter in to a new contract, so my agent has asked me to work up quick sketches of every historical novel in my head, not just Connor’s. I can't take that literally or I'll never get anything else done. So I'm limiting it to a half-dozen stories, some of which take place in the more popular European settings.

I’m not sure what’s so special about European settings. Personally, I love pre-Revolutionary Colonial America, but I am not in the majority on this.

But in the meantime, I’m playing my MacKinnon’s Rangers iPod playlist, which I love. It feels like a family reunion, except that the reunion is with a bunch of Rangers who live in my head, so it’s fairly quiet as Scottish family reunions go.

I have several Medieval Scottish stories rattling around in my brain, plus one story set during the 18th century in England and Scotland, one set during medieval times in England/Wales, and one set during the 18th century in Scotland.

I can’t say why, but the moment we cross into the 1800s and onward, I lose interest in history. I like the ancient world (Rome, Minoan, Egypt), Vikings, the medieval period and the 18th century. Sadly, some of those periods are no more popular with romance readers than Colonial America. D’oh! Just my luck.

But I promise not to abandon Connor no matter what. I get e-mails every day from readers who want the rest of that series. I want it, too! I love them more than any of you, believe me, and if I have to delay his story much longer, I’m going to cry.

I won’t know for several weeks what decision is reached about my next historical, but when I know for sure what I’m writing, I’ll post the news here.

On another note, sorry it took so long to update the blog, but my dorkwad neighbor cut through my phone cable, leaving me without phone and Internet all day. It was just repaired.

For those of you following legislative news, the shackling bill was introduced Friday and might go before its first committee hearing as early as Wednesday. I’m a bit nervous about that. I’ve never testified at a Senate committee hearing before...

There could be a highlander in our future...

Okay, back to hanging with Connor, who has not forgiven himself for the carnage he unleashed against the French when he believed that they’d slain Morgan. He and Joseph are in a Shawnee village just now, trying to forge an accord that will keep the Shawnee from fighting for the French. But as they begin speaking with the Shawnee leaders, a young Irish woman is brought into the village, newly taken as a captive by one of the Shawnee warriors to be his wife in place of the wife he lost to the British. Exhausted and terrified, she sees Connor, the only other white person in the village, and in her eyes is a silent plea for help.

Let's eavesdrop a bit, shall we?

"Black Feather is said to be a good man. Submit wi'out quarrel, Mary. His anger with you will soften after he has lain with you as your husband. ’Tis the way of men.”

“He killed my mother, my sister and my little brothers. I watched him stitch upon my mother’s scalp. I’ll not lie with him. Please help me!”

“I’ve come to forge an accord with the Shawnee. If I fail, many more just like your mother and wee brothers will die.”

“But you must help me. You’re one of the MacKinnon brothers. I heard your Indian friend speak your name.”

“I am the least of those who bear that name. There’s naugh' I can do, lass."

Do you think Connor will allow Mary to be taken against her will? Or will he imperil his mission of peace for the sake of one wee lassie?

Have a good weekend, everyone.


Debbie H said...

Fighter pilots are hot! Well mannered, too!

Poor Zach, his hands are going to turn blue, or he may be putting a lot of pressure on his lungs hanging like that.

I, too, loose interest in history around 1895. Could care less what happened after that.

Now you know Connor can't leave her there. He's not that cold hearted. Stressed out, but not coldhearted.

You can do the senate hearing with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath, let it out, and remember who you are standing up for.

Will your Arthur book still be in the works? You know I will read your books regardless. I love your writing and always will.


Lori said...

I'm constantly amazed at the number of different stories authors can have rattling around in their heads at the same time! Buthappy you're working on Connor :)

You'll do fantastic at the hearing. And it's such a wonderful bill anyway that I can't even imagine anyone voting against it (although I'm sure some doofus will- there's always at least one!)

Wendy said...

A little off-topic, but I thought I read somewhere (your blog??) that the Kenleigh/Blakewell series was meant to be a quintet. So, okay, Ruadrhi's story, right? And who else? Bethie's little Isabelle? This has stumped me forever!

Hi, Debbie,

Yes, fighter pilots are SO hot. Egads!

Zach isn't hanging by his wrists — yet. He's chained by his wrists to a wall with enough length on the chain to sit and lie down. But the cell is full of spiders and scorpions, and he is blindfolded and substantially hurt.

Yeah, the modern world is distinctly lacking in romance.

Yeah, Connor might have to help Mary somehow.

Thanks for your faith in me. There's a distinct protocol that I know nothing about: how to answer, when to speak.

I want to write Arthur, too. I need three of me writing books. Or I need to do it full-time.

Hugs to you, too!

Hi, Lori — Yes, we're all a bit crazy, aren't we? It's like having multiple personalities or something.

I'd like to think that everyone will support this, but these days parties vote against things just because the other party is presenting it. And there will surely be some folks who say, "These women don't want to be shackled? Well, they shouldn't have landed themselves in prison!" I find that response to be shockingly lacking in compassion, but then some people ARE lacking in compassion.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that it's an easy process. Thanks!

Hi, Wendy — I had intended to write Ruahdrí's story and Emma Rose's story — Alec and Cassie's youngest daughter. But what a great idea! Isabelle's story.

I still need to write the epilogue for RIDE THE FIRE, don't I?

OK, everyone, here's the quote of the night:

"It's like having an egg beater stuck up your butt with a wild man on the crank — it'll get you out of the water fast."
—A retired Navy SEAL describing what it's like to have a hand grenade go off nearby in the water...

Made me laugh, as horrible as it must be to experience.

Wendy said...

AH! Emma Rose, of course! Well, I can't wait to read books about both of those girls. (Pamela Clare rolls her eyes, adds "Isabelle Kenleigh" to the bottom of her to-do list)... ;)

Wendy, you make me laugh.

All I know is that I really need to get that clone! :-)

I think Isabelle is a great idea. But they have other kids, you know, starting with a boy who looks like his father (minus the scars, of course).

KarLynP said...

OMG!! Happy dance!! Woo hoo!! More historicals!! Heck, just more books!!! Yippie!! Connor's story, and more?!! OMG, this is just too good to be true. I LOVE your new publisher!!! And I so agree about the time period and regions. It's not all about 1820 England. I am so f'n thrilled!!

Scorpio M. said...

I just started SURRENDER, takes a bit getting used to after the I-Team gang, but really liking the brothers MacKinnon so far.

Ooh, how I wish you went ahead with your original idea to make Gabe a MacKinnon! Then I could be thinking as I read that somewhere down the line Iain or Morgan will have an uber-sexy many times great-grandson that acts every bit the warrior. Rangers across generations. That would've been SO cool. Rossiter is good, too ;-)

I am preemptively declaring that I NEED Connor's story, too. Do we need to send a petition to your publisher or something?! The historical market is so saturated with Euro-centric (totally non-realistic, more often than not) crap, uhm, books.

If you write about a Duke, I think I'm gonna puke. I channeled my inner-5 year old for that rhyme, lol. OK, back to serious, I trust your writing & your code of writing ethics. I know you will not put out anything you don't fully support.

Saw the Rox score on Sportscenter and figured you were happy. Enjoy the wkend!

Hey, KarLynP — So you DID hear me. :-)

I don't know for sure that they'll want Connor's story, at least not right away. They may want one of the other historicals first. Who knows? But I am drafting an overview of his story for them and hoping they'll pick it.

I do miss those MacKinnon Brothers.

Hi, Scorpio — Yes, there's a pretty big difference between my contemporary voice and my historical voice. Hopefully, the switch won't throw you too much. Iain can be a bit of a jerk sometimes — I guess Gabe could, too, huh? — but I'd like a jerk just like him in my life. :-)

If I write a duke, I'm going to puke!

I love that rhyme! How many dukes were there, anyway? Two? Four? Surely not 18,000. A duke on every block, at every card table and in every brothel. London was overflowing with dukes in that 10-year period, you know.

And thanks for having faith in me! No, I won't write something just to be commercially appealing. I have to FEEL the story to want to write it. Otherwise, I think I'd develop terminal writer's block.

You enjoy the weekend, too!

ronna15 said...

Hey Pamela!

So yeah, I'm not a big fan of history 1895 and before. But I do love late 1800s-WWII, or ancient(like Egyptian, Greek, Roman, English)

No, Zack!! I can't believe he's being tortured right now and about to be cut in pieces. I hope Natalie rescues him soon.

And Connor, ah Connor, how I've missed you. Please tell him I've missed him. It's been too long. And I hope, no erase that, I know that he wouldn't leave poor Mary like that. He's too kind. I hope the best for you Connor, you deserve love too. I can't wait to read your story.

Have an awesome day Pamela!!

-ronna ;D

Sounds like Connor is about to follow in big brother's footsteps and risk everything for a lass. He's likely to have a very angry warrior on his trail. Of course, I know that whatever book comes next, it'll be great. And we'll all celebrate with you when your bill passes - yes, it is YOURS.

P.S. My captcha word is 'flort' - lol!

Debbie H said...

LMAO at the retired Navy Seal's comment. That would do it for me. Actually, I wouldn't be a Seal, because I don't like being in water I can't see the bottom.

Ronlyn said...

Er, my cousin is a fighter pilot. He flies F18 Hornets for the Navy. I do not find him hot, although I've been assured by many, many friends that he is. LOL. I still call him by his childhood nickname and have to resist tugging on his ears every time I see him. *G* Must be a big sister/cousin thing I have going on.

And, Connor is still having his little trist here in my on my computer. LOL. I think there's more to the short than what I've sent you PC. :-) Connor is a doll.

Helen said...

I am another one hanging for Connor's story and there is no way he will leave her there.

I have just finished reading Extreme Exposure and WOW awesome fantastic what more can I say other than I will be ordering the rest of the I Team books asap can't wait to read them

Have Fun

Diane W. said...

Oh, poor Zach!! You know, if Natalie can't make it to untie him.....I'm available! ;)

Diane W.

PS. Love Connor!! And no, he's not going to leave that girl....he'll find a way to take her with him.

JennJ said...

Hi Pamela ooooooooooooooooooo I can't wait to hear more about the possible books! I love love love Scottish novels as you know but I also love the other ideas! I really like Colonial American novels as well its such a shame there isn't more of a market so that you could just write whatever you wanted to in whatever setting. Girl I would read your book if you wrote about a midge in a swamp though cause yes you are that good! ;)

I'm a history buff myself I love reading about all sorts of settings and I find them MUCH more fascinating to read about that the modern settings for the most part. I really wish the period during the Civil War was done more as well I love that era and it was so pivital to the way the US is today but you don't see many books in that time period it's a shame.

LOVEDDDDD the teaser of Conner now you can't leave us hanging there too long! *beg* (can't wait to see more on Zach and Natalie too!

You go girl big hugs!!!!

Hi, Ronna — So we're historical opposites. You take up where I leave off. :-)

I will pass your greeting along to Connor. I had a great time spending the weekend with him rummaging around in my brain.

Yes, poor Zach! He went to meet with an INTERPOL agent, who gave him a beer as they talked through an operation they were working on together... And the next thing he knows he wakes up in the clutches of a cartel. Lots of questions he can't answer, and so on.

He's been chained up for six days, tortured for six days, and is hoping his body will give out before his mind gives in.

Fortunately, his miracle is about to arrive. But she's a prisoner, too, and they don't want to torture her. They want to have a little fun with her — and then kill her.

I write such cheerful stories, don't I? That's what world I've seen as a reporter, so that's what ends up in my books.

Hi, Jennie — Funny capture word! We should play a game where you make up a definition of what your word is and the most convincing one wins something. LOL!

Yes, there may be an angry warrior after them. And then there are explanations to Wentworth. And then there's the matter of this lass who, according to Shawnee custom, is now his wife... What's a Ranger to do?

Hey, Ronlyn — I am dying to read more of Connor's tryst. Get to it! LOL!

Glad you're not hot for your cousin. Can I have him?

Hi, Helen — Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about EXTREME EXPOSURE. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book. That's wonderful to hear.

I hope you don't have to wait too long for Connor. The wait isn't easy for me, either.

And you're probably right about him. As jaded as he is after four years of war, he probably won't leave her to her fate.

Hi, Diane — If Natalie can't hack it or doesn't want Zach in all his half-naked, tied-up and wounded glory, I will call you. 1-800-SAVE-ZACH.

You guys have already figured out the plot with Connor. ;-)

Hi, Jenn — So good to see you!

You make me laugh! A midge in a swamp? OK, well, that was my NEXT book. LOL!

I'll be moving away from Colonial America, sadly, but I still hope to get Connor and Lord William (OK, I hear the screaming) and Joseph out there if I can. It totally depends on sales.

The way you feel about the Civil War is how I feel about the French & Indian War. What made us think of ourselves as "Americans" and not British subjects? There used to be lots of Civil War books. Not so much now. Maybe it will come back.

I probably won't have more Connor snippets to share for a very long time -- September at the earliest. Sorry, but I guess I am leaving you hanging. :-D

ronna15 said...

Oh no, Zach! 6 days? That's terrible! And now, Natalie's a prisoner too. And the men are thinking of having "fun" with her? Zach better rescue her!

Oh well, I trust you Pamela. I'm really glad that all of your heroins(except Bettie) were not sexually harrased(I'm glad it worked out with Bettie and Nicholas at the end). I just really think that rape/sexual harrasment is the worse the thing that could happen to woman. In my opinion, it's not even murder. Because you know, rape deals with womanhood, something very, very, very personal and special. I'm just really disgusted with those rapist that think they could just steal virtues of women. There's just so much more a rape victim has to deal with. Emotional trauma, fear. It's sad.

There's this author, Alice Sebold. I've read her book a few years ago. I think they made it into a movie, The Lovely Bones(which is really good by the way--the book). Anyway I remember when I read it, I was just so sad to what happened to the main character(she was raped then killed). Then I learned later when I was looking at her site, the Alice Sebold was raped when she was 18. I was so amazed how she turned that horrible event of her life, into something she molded into her writing. So she could help fellow victims. It made her stronger. I'm really amazed and admire her for that.

It's sad that that's what you encounter in being a journalist. When I was younger, I've considered being a journalist. I wanted to travel the world and report about amazing events and uncover truths. But I am a very emotional person. I think my values would get away with me if I decided to be a journalist, especially if it covers something that I think with my whole heart is wrong--rape. Besides, my first love is art, so I decided I'd just try help the world some other way.

Ok, I'm ranting now. But I just really wanted you to know that, cause I was reminded by it when you said what/where Natalie is into right now.

Have a nice day Pamela!
I can't wait for your next books

-ronna ;D

Hi, Ronna — I completely agree with you about the awfulness of rape, and I know far more about it personally than I'd like. It's the reason I became a journalist. I'm very emotional about that, too, but when I saw male reporters writing about sexual assault, I realized they just didn't get it. So I started writing an opinion column that focused on rape and other related issues. One thing led to another, and the next think you know I was a reporter.

I've been open as a journalist about the fact that I was sexually assaulted as a child (same age as Bethie — 10). And, yes, something like that leaves a lifelong mark. I think I probably get some sense of relief from "saving" my heroines from being raped because of that.

Not to make you all uncomfortable with this revelation (I've actually mentioned it before), but I do want you to know that I understand exactly how you feel about it, Ronna.

And thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently. :-)

JulieMarie said...

Love this snippet of Connor & Mary! What is it about these MacKinnon brothers that makes their dialogue SO sexy?? Must be the genuis of the author! But the thing I don't understand about rape or the threat of rape as a plot device in romance novels is that it seems SO unsexy. Not exciting, not thrilling, but just plain scary and traumatic. How does being saved from a rape make good foreplay? I just don't see it . . .

JulieMarie said...

Yes, please, no more dukes! Since when is entitlement, self-centeredness, and promiscuity considered sexy? I'll never understand the appeal of that formula. Let us hope that some through-the-roof sales of Connor's book will embolden your editor to let you pick the time periods that inspire you most! Because you OWN the French & Indian war.

Hi, JulieMarie — The F&I War is definitely my favorite period of Colonial U.S. history. I lose myself in it and just want to stay there, despite the gore and the violence. So I really do hope Connor's story sells well enough for my editor to want Lord William's and Joseph's stories. (Right now neither are even on the table.)

As for promiscuous, entitled self-important nobility... Yeah, I just don't understand why that's sexy either. A guy who wears gallons of lace and snorts snuff for the thrill of sneezing sort of grosses me out. I prefer the frontier types. :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt as well. In this case, I see what you're saying about the threat of rape not being sexy. I think there are probably a range of opinions on that topic. Certainly, sexual threats to the heroine are a staple in romantic fiction. Perhaps I overuse it?

In this case, I'm paying homage to a real-life woman, a true heroine, who endured this situation without Connor to rescue her. :-(

For me, Connor's mission vs. Mary's dire predicament makes an compelling equation to try to balance, a high-stakes problem that can't easily be resolved. Hopefully, in the story it will come across as a serious thing.

I do hear what you're saying, though. I don't deliberately try to include sexual assault or the threat of rape as a plot element in all my stories. I try to be sensitive to what we're really talking about here and not just turn it into titillation.

And thanks for all of your thoughtful comments, JulieMarie. I really appreciate them. :-)

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