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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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting in the mood — and a shackling bill update

Reach, girl, reach!

I hope everyone is doing well. It was a crazy-busy week here on Colorado’s Front Range. We’re heading toward the biggest special edition of the year at the paper, and that requires a lot of preparation. On top of that, of course, there’s the anti-shackling bill.

But before I update you on all of that, I wanted to talk about music again. This week, I thought I’d share the songs I typically listen to when I’m gearing up to write love scenes, and also my preliminary playlist for Zach and Natalie.

Some of the songs on Zach and Natalie’s list are completely new to me — “Beautiful” by 10 Years; “Santa Monica” by Theory of a Deadman; “Call Me” by Shinedown; “Bother” by Stone Sour; “Break Me Shake Me” by Savage Garden, which one of you suggested.

Of those, “Call Me” resonates for Zach at the moment — at least the first several lines — because he’s certain he’s going to be dead in the next couple of days. I like “Santa Monica,” too, though it has no application to the story itself. Again, a lot of the music I listen to is just to help set the mood.

“Champion in Me” by 3 Doors Down is a great song for a Navy SEAL, as is “Shine.” And “Landing in London” is just one of my favorites songs over the course of the past two years.

As for the sexy love songs, they range from Madaonna’s “Justify My Love” to Brian Adams’ “Everything I do (I Do It For You),” which together have more plays than any other sexy-ish, romantic song. If I find a song that hits the mood of the story, I’ll play it over and over for hours.

Also on that list: “Kiss from a Rose,” by Seal; “Chasing Cars,” by Snow Patrol; “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” by Savage Garden; “Unchained Melody” by U2; “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye; “Feelin’ Love,” by Paula Cole; “Nights are Forever Without You,” by England Dan and John Ford Coley; “Freak Me,” by Silk; “Could I Have This Kiss Forever,” by Enrique Iglesias; and “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, as well as many others.

I have another list that’s just romantic songs, and one that’s more down and dirty sexy songs, like “Closer,” because sex isn’t always about romance. Sometimes it’s about sweat and pheromones and coming hard and fast.

I am always, always open to new music. Suggestions are welcome! When I get a chance, I'll publish these as iMixes on iTunes so you can browse through them that way.

Now for an update on Senate Bill 193:

Wednesday, as you probably know, was its first hearing. That gave us a taste of who might be opposing the bill and why. No one showed up to oppose the bill at all. Because politics are so partisan these days, I expected the senators who weren’t in Sen. Hudak’s party to oppose it just for fun, as both sides do. However, though they asked the most questions, the questions they asked were thoughtful — a good thing because they’re all male.

One of them seemed not to believe that any women in Colorado was ever shackled. He asked, “Do we even know that this happens in the state?” sounding very doubtful. Ironically, he’s from the district where our state prison department is headquartered, and being on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he’s supposed to be an expert. I got a silent laugh out of that.

I was, indeed, nervous, but not as much as I expected to be. As soon as the senators started asking questions that other witnesses couldn’t answer, I felt like the know-it-all kid in the classroom — the proverbial Harmione Granger who just has to raise her hand and answer. Of course, in legislative committee hearings, you don’t raise your hand; you wait your turn. And that was hard!

I thought I did a decent job of testifying. I had to stop a couple of times to make sure my mouth was keeping up with my brain. I made the male senators grimace when I talked about the guards strip-searching women with stitches. So that was fun.

My mother went to see what it was all about and ended up passing a note to one of the lobbyists who handed it to the senator carrying the bill explaining that the immediate postpartum recovery period is about 42 hours for a vaginal birth and 72 for a c-section. She used to work as a labor and delivery nurse, so she was able to make her contribution, too.

The midwives who work with incarcerated moms-to-be sent a representative to speak on their behalf, and when I saw her my jaw dropped. She was the certified nurse midwife who caught Benjy when he was born. I said, “You were my midwife when my second son was born!” And she said, “I thought you looked familiar.” That was wild!

As people were testifying on behalf of the bill one by one, I had a surreal moment where I realized none of them would be there if not for me. That felt good — and very strange. And then I almost got choked up because here was a room full of people talking about the humanity and the needs of women in prison. How often does that happen? Rarely.

The committee couldn’t vote because the bill has moved so fast that we don’t yet have a fiscal note — an analysis of how much the bill will cost the state. Typically in Colorado if a bill has a fiscal note, it’s dead. However, the fiscal note in this case is attached to a provision of the bill that I created to guarantee public accountability by requiring a report to be filed any time a woman is shackled. Why did they do it? For how long? What kind of shackles did they use? It’s an attempt to make sure they’re following the law. And it guarantees nosy reporters access to a font of public records.

Remember how the I-Team heroines are always filing open-records requests? That’s what investigative reporters do. So I’m trying to set it up so that there will be public records to request.

However, I won’t kill my own bill to accomplish that. So if the fiscal note means death, then we’ll cut that provision.

I got a firm sense that if this bill were about nothing other than not shackling women during labor and birth, it would sail through. So that left me feeling very optimistic. If we pass through Senate Judiciary and the appropriations committee (for the fiscal note), then the bill will be off to the Senate for debate. If it clears the Senate after three readings, then we start over in the House. I do have a House sponsor now.

Afterward the hearing, I spoke with one of the witnesses. She’s a legal expert on birth-related issues. She asked if I’d like to participate in setting up an online database so that other women in other states can download the info and use it to get shackling banned in their states. And, of course, I would love to do that. We’ll wait till this bill passes. I’ll do some writing for that project, and hopefully women across the country will get ready for next year’s legislative session and change the lives of women in prison.

We’ll take the bill up again next Wednesday for a vote.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few more historical novel sketches to prep for my agent, as well as Chapter 2 of Zach and Natalie’s story to write. I want to get through Chapter 3 this weekend. I need to make some writing goals and see what kind of ridiculous schedule I need to keep to finish the book by August, which is my plan.

I won’t be online much, because I really, really don’t want you all to have to wait forever for this book.

Have a great weekend!


I love Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman. I have "Call Me," but I don't think I have "Santa Monica" on my iPod. Off to buy! I'm going to check out that 3 Doors Down song, too; I don't think I've got it, either.

I love "Closer," too, but I don't get to listen to it too often. The perils of having four kids in the house!

Kara C said...

Music/ book link? - really, really good
Not having to wait forever for the next I Team book? - beyond wonderful
What you're doing for the women of your state now, and maybe women nationwide? - priceless. :)

Some of those songs are new to me. Can't wait to try them out. Congrats on how well things seem to be going with the bill.

Scorpio M. said...

Great news on the bill.

Loved "Surrender". Just dl'd the missing chapters for "Untamed". Bummed about Connor's story =(

Happy writing!

Hi, Ellen — Shinedown is new to me, but I'll be going back to sample their stuff. Got any faves to share? I can see how having kids in the house would keep "Closer" off the speakers. LOL! How old is your youngest now?

Hi, Kara — Aw, you're so sweet! Thanks! I hope you enjoy the music.

Hi, Scorpio — So glad you enjoyed SURRENDER. Hopefully, UNTAMED wasn't too much of a letdown from Iain's story. As for Connor... I am hopefully optimistic and keeping my fingers crossed. You'll get him one way or another.

OK, it's almost noon — past time for coffee, breakfast and writing!

Ronlyn said...

I'm proud of you girl. And I looked and saw that WA passed a similar anti-shackling bill earlier this year, which is good.

I'll have to check out your new music. You and I like a lot of the same music, so I think (based on past conversations) you already know a lot of the music I have. LOL. Finger 11 is one I like. And Buck Cherry.

My work piles aren't getting any smaller as I'm putting out fires I got with my trusty fire extinguisher.

Scorpio M. said...

Hi Pamela,

I haven't started UNTAMED yet, saved it for this rainy weekend. I just wanted to make sure I had EVERY snippet ready. I think Morgan will end up being my fave MacKinnon, just a gut feeling :-)

Will have to check out your new songs, too.

Pamela, my favorite Shinedown song is "What a Shame." My second fave is "Second Chance."

My youngest is five now!

Hi, Ronlyn — Yes, Wash. has joined the ranks of civilized states. Hopefully, Colorado will be right behind Pennsylvania. :-)

Sorry about the perpetual combustion going on in your workday. Hopefully people will behave themselves.

I'll check out the two groups you mention.

Hi, Scorpio — Wow, that's a smart way to do it. Everyone else only got the extra scenes AFTER the book came out. I didn't want to cut those scenes of course, but...

Hi, Ellen — FIVE???? I remember when you were pregnant. Egads! Are you getting more time to write now?

I'll go check out those songs right now...

RitaSV said...

That is so exciting about the progress on your shackling bill! Hope it meets with success. :o)

Loved hearing the music that inspires you. I think the song 'Get Higher' by Matt Nathanson has the most incredible sensual and loving lyrics with a beautiful melody but I'm not sure if it would fit Zach and Natalie's relationship or not. YouTube has a video of it if you'd like to hear it...

JennJ said...

Hi Pamela I love hearing what music inspires you when you are writing I always find that interesting.

Have you tried Within Temptation? They have a lot of great music! :) And Dark Passion Play from Nightwish is a great CD too. Lots of dramatic sound to that one.

You go girl stick to your guns on the bill and I hope it continues to go well hon!

Lori said...

So proud on your behalf for the work you are doing on this bill. Congrats!

Don't know most of this music, but the Bryan Adams tune had been a favorite of mine for a long time. Good luck with your writing weekend, and hope the bill flies through!

Debbie H said...

Love "Closer" *BEG*

I have what I call my hammock songs. Basically, love songs of the 60's and 70's. Songs that put me a lovey mood. I also call those my Sunday morning sex songs. Then there are the down and dirty, up against the wall, sex songs I like, too. :)

I will keep my fingers and whatever else it takes, crossed the bill passes with little battle.

Wildcat78 said...

Hi Pamela!

Loving your music posts. I love when books have soundtracks to them, it just adds that little extra 'something' :)

This week I've have a couple artists on repeat. Matthew Mayfield's EP is excellent. "Better" is one of my favs, great sound. Editors is another goodie. I never get tired of "An End Has a Start" Love em!

Have a great weekend :)

Crystal said...

I want to say something really profound, but I have this giant lump in my throat and I'm all teary just thinking about women giving birth in those situations.

I'm just blown away by the immensity of your humanity.

Your kids and your parents have to be so proud of you. I know I am. And I'm a little bit in awe, too.

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
Okay the Bill update gave me goosebumps. That's amazing!!
Thanks for keeping us posted.

I love Sexual Healing & Nights Are Forever Without You. Brings back good memories. Have a wonderful weekend. I going back to rereading the end of Naked Edge for the umpteenth time.

Hi, Rita — Thanks for that. I'm going to download it, for sure. And thanks for your good wishes on the shackling bill. I really appreciate it.

Hi, Jenn — I'll check those out when I hop over to iTunes here in a bit. I spend a lot of time there. LOL!

And thanks! I have fended off what I hope will be the last round of dealing with other people's agendas. We'll see.

Hi, Lori — Thanks so much! Anyone who wanted to take this on could do it, so in that sense it's really not that special. I'm just glad it's happening. :-)

Hi, Jennie — Thanks! I hope you have a good writing weekend, too. I'm not sure what I like about that Bryan Adams song so much, but I do. It's kind of cheesy, I know, but I still like it. :-)

Hi, Debbie — Thanks for the crossed fingers.

It sounds like you have a similar musical division going on with regard to sex.

Hi, Jess — Thanks for the suggestions. I will be sure to sample them at iTunes. I always love new infusions of music. There's nothing like falling in love with a new song.

If I had known people would enjoy this so much, I'd have done it sooner.

I have the historicals still to share, and that will because some of the songs are sung by the characters in the stories, such as the song Annie sings to little Iain Cameron.

You have a great weekend, too!

Oh, bless you, Crystal.

One of the witnesses read a letter written by a woman who gave birth while shackled. The woman said it made her feel like the guards and the people at the hospital thought she was nothing more than an animal. It was a very heart-wrenching letter. She pleaded with the senators to pass the bill so that no one would have to go through what she went through.

Don't be in awe! That's very sweet of you to say, but anyone could do this. Truly!

I think my family really is excited about this though, and a little astonished. LOL! It's nice.

But, really, we all have the power to serve others and to make change in the world.

MLK said that greatness is measured by service and that's why we all have the potential to be great.

Hi, Mary G — Thanks. I will. I was hoping that it wouldn't bore everyone. :-)

You're rereading the end of NE again? How many times have you read it? Where do you start to re-read the end?

I'm in the middle of it. I haven't made much progress with my reading, I have to say.

OK, back to writing...

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
I've probably picked it up about 5 times since I read it. I just opened it up at the part where he's about to cut himself loose.
That's the mark of a great book. It hasn't left my head yet. Also it's on my desk. I'm having trouble moving it to the bookshelf LOL. It's part of the decor now.
I have 2 of your historicals. I should get reading those when I need a fix. I got Ride the Fire last year when KristieJ told me
about it.

Hi, Mary — Five times is a lot of times! I'm glad the story touched you so deeply.

I got my first one-star review on it on Amazon this weekend. A reader hated it so much she didn't make it past the beginning. LOL!

Oh, well.

Which historicals do you have?

Speaking of historicals, I've spent all weekend so far sketching out possible historical stories for my editor. Connor's was the first. But I've sketched out a few I feel really excited about, one of which is medieval England and the other of which is ca. 1600 Scotland.

Now back to Natalie and Zach...

A one star Amazon review? You're in good company. The Bible was reviewed as 'boring and harder to get into than the Lord of the Rings' (Do you hear the Almighty and Tolkien chuckling?)and the Diary of Anne Frank was panned as well. There's a delightful article about Amazon reviews on the blog 'The Chatelaines', (I think that's the right link.)

Aly said...

Bravo to you and all your hard work on the shackling bill! I know how hard that stuff can be since I worked on adoption stuff with my parents for years! You rock!

I am not the music buff in my house but thanks to my husband I love Theory of a Deadman, Stone Sour, 3 Doors Down and Shinedown!

If You Only Knew by Shinedown - Its 4:03 and I can't sleep without you next to me I toss and turn like the sea - is my husband's ringer for me when he is out of town! Granted the rest of the song doesn't necessarily pertain but that part does :)

Zzyzx Road by Stone Sour is another favorite.

Some of my favorites right now are Matt Nathanson (I Saw, All We Are, Car Crash and Fall To Pieces), A Fine Frenzy (Almost Lover and Near To You) and Fisher (You).

Thanks for sharing the music and for your shackling bill updates!

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
I can't imagine that rating at Goodreads. I have heard of a "did not finish" rating but she did not even start it. How can you rate a book you haven't read? Maybe it wasn't her cup of tea but that's what she should say. It's a most wonderful book. I have Ride The Fire (thanks to KristieJ's recommendation0 & I won Surrender.

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