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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

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Final Countdown: 2 is for...



Today is brought to you by the Number 2. Two is for... Two people, a man and a woman — opposites who most definitely attract.




Yes, he’s male — six-foot-four of dark-haired, blue-eyed male, to be precise — and she’s female. But there’s much more than that.

Kat is deeply spiritual. Gabe believes in nothing — and no one.

Kat is thoughtful and a bit introverted. For her, a quiet hike is a great way to relax. Gabe’s idea of a good time is rock climbing without ropes and skiing off cliffs.

Kat gives selflessly to her friends. Gabe has no close friends.

Kat is saving her virginity for one man; she wants marriage and lots of children. Gabe drifts from one emotionless sexual relationship to the next, with no interest in being a husband or father.

Kat believes in love that lasts. Gabe believes “love” is nothing but a hormonal haze in the brain, a matter of chemistry. From his point of view, a good relationship involves good sex with no strings attached.




Deep down, Kat has an unshakable but quiet self-respect. She makes no apologies for her choices in life. Gabe behaves as if he’s the only center in his universe, but in reality he can’t stand himself.

These two never would have connected on Match.com or eHarmony, where matchmaking is built around shared interests, commonalities and compatibility.

But connect they do. When Kat is caught in a rockslide while hiking and is badly injured, Gabe, a park ranger who just happens to be rock climbing nearby on his day off, rushes to help her, saving her life. They meet again when he’s ordered to shut down a sacred inipi ceremony on Mesa Butte.



The results of these two chance meetings go beyond what either of them could imagine.

Tension. Heat. Passion. And a struggle to stay alive.

Gabe will have to summon every fiber of his strength and courage to keep Kat alive. And Kat will find herself in the fight of her life, trying to save the soul of a man who no longer believes he has one.

Only two days till release date! I can’t wait to share this story with all of you!

Join me tomorrow for the final day of our countdown, which will be brought to you by the Number 1: One man’s determination, one man’s love for a woman, one man’s astonishing sacrifice.
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Final Countdown: 3 is for...


Today is brought to you by the Number 3. Three is for... Three men, each with his own background, who must work together to keep Kat alive.

Gabe Rossiter, a park ranger and expert climber and skiier.



Gabe Rossiter never planned to get caught up with a woman again. But Kat is not like any woman he's ever known. And when her life is in danger, he willingly takes on the task of protecting her. By the time he finds he can’t keep his emotions from getting involved, it's too late.

But what he needs to do for Kat requires some backup. For that he turns to two men who, in the end, become his friends.


Julian, the former FBI agent turned vice cop.




A man who has seen the darkest side of human nature, Julian has a serious problem with any man who hurts women. When it’s clear that Kat is in danger, he’s more than willing to step in and help Gabe in his quest to protect Kat.


Marc Hunter, a former Army sniper and DEA agent who was once sentenced to life without parole.



Marc doesn't trust Gabe — at least not at first. Kat's like a little sister to him. But when the bullets start flying, he steps up as tactical support. If helping to protect Kat happens to involve a couple of days out in the wilderness... so much the better.

Three men working together to protect one woman.

Before it's over, Kat will need them all.

Tomorrow will be brought to you by the Number 2: Two people, a man and a woman, opposites who most definitely attract.
Friday, February 26, 2010

Final Countdown: 4 is for...



I’ve decided to do a different kind of countdown. For each of the four remaining days, I’ll post that number — and how it relates to the novel in some way. Think of it as Sesame Street for romance readers.

There are four days till Naked Edge hits bookstore shelves, so today’s blog is brought to you by the Number 4.

Four is for...

The Four Directions and Native ways of life





Native traditions and culture make up a big part of this story. If the love story between Kat and Gabe is the beating heart of the story, then Native traditions and ways of life are its soul.

This image above depicts a medicine wheel, representative of many things — among them, the circle of life; the hoop that ties all living things together in existence, and the Four Directions. Different Indian nations have different meanings for each of the Four Directions, and I've seen different spiritual leaders assign different colors to every direction but one: East.

East, which is always yellow, is sacred to many Native culture. Among the Navajo, East is a sacred direction. When they awake in the morning, many traditional Navajo offer a bit of corn pollen to the East or say a prayer or sing a song to the east. Some run toward the east. During her kinaalda (puberty rite), a young woman runs to the East every day. Hogaans are "sung into being" with the door facing east. When women give birth, they face the East. When offering of tobacco is made to the Four Directions, it is first offered to the East.

The heroine of Naked Edge, Kat James is Navajo and grew up in her grandmother's hogaan on the reservation near K'ai'bii'tó in Arizona. She had no electricity or running water and spent her time when she wasn’t in school helping her grandmother by herding and shearing sheep, planting and harvesting corn, and carding wool. She lives a traditional Navajo life — with her share of hardship and heartache.

When she leaves the reservation and moves to Denver to work on the I-Team, she's far away from the songs and ceremonies that are a part of traditional Navajo life. But she's taken under the wing of a Hunkpapa Lakota medicine man and joins in Lakota ceremonies, like so many other displaced Native people of all Indian nations.

Kat's beliefs guide her actions in life. She wants to walk a good path, to walk in Beauty, even though living a good life isn't necessarily easy. She plans to remain a virgin until she meets her true "half-side" — her perfect matching male half.

From the moment she sees Gabe until the last page of the epilogue, Kat holds true to her beliefs, perhaps one reason why she is, in my opinion, the strongest heroine I've ever written. She's not a "kick-ass" heroine, but in her own quiet way she is utterly indomitable, drawing her strength from a deep knowledge of who she is.

It's this very quality that Gabe senses. A man who believes in nothing, he is drawn to her rock-solid goodness and her spiritual strength. In the end it is her inner strength that saves him.

Tomorrow, we look at Number 3... and the power of three friends — Gabe, Marc and Julian — and how they come together to save a woman who is special to all of them.
Thursday, February 25, 2010

Julian, Marc and Holly tell us about Gabe




First, I want to say how much fun it was to have Christy Reece here on Monday. Thanks to all of you who posted, and congrats to the contest winners! I know you’ll enjoy your books when they arrive.

As release day for Naked Edge draws closer, I’m getting more and more excited. I thought it might be fun to share that excitement, or at least to torture you a bit while I still can. And what better what to do that than to give you a glimpse of the man you’ll be meeting between the covers… (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Those of you who’ve read the second and third I-Team books (Hard Evidence and Unlawful Contact) are familiar with Katherine James. I’ve been getting reader e-mails about her since her debut in Tessa and Julian’s story. Readers seemed to connect with her in some way, or at least found her interesting due to her Navajo heritage, and wanted to know when she would get her own book.

But very few of you have met Gabe Rossiter, the hero in Naked Edge. I thought it might be fun to share a little bit about him. And who better to tell you about him than his fellow characters? I’m thinking particularly of Julian Darcangelo, aka Dark Angel, and Marc Hunter, who get to know Gabe quite well during the course of the story. So I’ve asked them to join us today.

(Julian and Marc walk in, look around and wonder how they got here and where here is…)

PC: Hi, guys. How’s it going?

Julian nods, sits, leaning back in his chair, one long leg stretched out in front of him. “Going great. How are you?”

Same as always, I tell him. Not enough sleep, long days at the paper, longer nights writing.

Marc turns his chair backward and straddles it. “You know, you really ought to get out from behind that computer and meet a man. There’s more to life than writing.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Is there someone you’d like to hook me up with, Marc — a fellow SWAT officer, maybe? If not, then we’d better just stick with the blog topic. If we talk about my sex life, this is going to be a very short and boring blog post.”

He laughs. Julian grins.

Julian: “So what do you want to know about Rossiter?”

PC: “Why don’t you each tell me how you met him and describe your first impression of him.”

Julian: “I met Rossiter a few years back when Hunter here broke out of prison with poor Sophie as his hostage and tried to evade law enforcement—

Marc: “You mean ‘succeeded in evading law enforcement,’ don’t you? Because — let’s be honest — you didn’t have a clue where I was.”

Julian glares at him, but goes on: “—and disappeared into the high country. We needed help from officers who could handle the deep snow, the sub-zero temps and the terrain. The last thing we needed on a manhunt was injured, hypothermic or missing men. Don’t forget that we knew Hunter was armed and dangerous. We knew that anyone we sent into the mountains might find themselves in a firefight with him. We had to send men who could handle that, and Rossiter was one of the few who could.”

PC: “What skills did he have that set him apart.”

Julian: “Have you watched him ski? There’s no terrain he can’t handle. He has all the outdoor survival skills, plus he’s good with firearms.”

Marc grins: “But you all froze your nuts off for nothing. You had no idea where to find me.”

Julian: “Ah, but I did find you, didn’t I?”

Marc frowns: “Yeah, because you cheated.”

Julian gives a snort. “Right. Cheated. You were armed, had an innocent hostage, had broken out of prison, but I cheated.”

PC: “So, Marc, how did you meet Gabe?”

Marc: “Sophie got a call from Kat one night. Kat was very upset and needed a ride home. I picked her up at Rossiter’s house.”

PC: “What was your first impression of him?”

Marc: “I took one look at him and figured him for a horn dog. It seemed to me that he just wanted to get between Kat’s legs. She had absolutely no experience with men, and I wanted to make sure Rossiter didn’t take advantage of her, even if I had to kick his ass.”

Julian laughs, shakes his head: “This from the man who put a gun to his future wife’s head and took her hostage.”

Marc: “That was different. Besides, I’m not proud of that. [silence] But, yeah, Rossiter can ski like no one I’ve ever seen. And in the end he turned out to be a good guy. What he did for Kat… I respect the hell out of him.”

Julian nods: “The man’s got balls of granite.”

PC: “Can you tell us what he looks like?”

Julian and Marc look at each other, obviously confused.

Marc: “He’s a guy. What do you want us to say?”

PC: “Is he, you know, ripped, hot?”

Julian laughs: “You’re asking the wrong people.”

Marc: “He’s a good guy and all, but he’s not what I’d want in bed next to me, if that's what you're asking.”

PC rolls eyes: “Okay, guys, thanks for your time. Can you send Holly in? I think she can tell us what we want to hear.”

Julian nods, grins: Sure thing.

Julian and Marc stand and head off. A few minutes later, Holly hurries in, a big smile on her face, her heels clicking on the floor.

Holly: “They said you wanted to talk about Gabe.”

PC: “Give us the inside scoop, Holly. Woman to woman, is Gabe hot?”

Holly moans: “He’s so incredibly sexy! Six-foot-four, dark hair, blue eyes and the body of a god — not that I’ve seen all of it, mind you. And the way he moves… He could have been a dancer if, you know, he didn’t ski and climb and stuff. Kat is soooo lucky! And when I think what he went through for her… I wish he had a brother!”

PC: “Thanks, Holly.”

Holly’s eyes narrow: “While I have you here alone, when am I going to get my book? Everyone else has one. How much longer do I have to wait?”

PC: “You know I adore you, Holly, and I know I'm not the only one who does. I hope to give you a story soon, but I can’t say for sure when it will happen. Don’t worry. I won’t forget you."

Okay, so there you go. I’m not sure that Julian, Marc and Holly were as informative as I wanted them to be, but I guess the best way to learn about Gabe is to get inside his head, which you’ll be able to do in five short days.
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chatting with Christy Reece/NO CHANCE giveaway


Today is Feb. 22.

Do you know what that means? Do you?

It means that tomorrow is Tuesday, Feb. 23, the release date for No Chance, the latest release from talented romantic suspense author Christy Reece.

Here's the cover blurb:

DO OR DIE

Skylar James told a lie to the man she married, and eight years later she still bitterly regrets the deception. Unknown to Skylar, her husband, Gabe Maddox, now lives in the dangerous shadows of elite operatives who rescue victims. When Skylar tries to save a naïve young beauty, kidnappers come after her. For Gabe, Skylar had been his last shot at trust and love. But news of her disappearance battens down his anger and launches him into action. Saving Skylar is Gabe’s only chance for peace and his last chance for happiness.

The book got 4-1/2 stars and a rave review from Romantic Times, as well as a starred review from Publisher's Weekly. Wowsa!

Christy is a new discovery for me. Her books came to my attention in part because she and I have seem to have a significant overlap in readers, and they can’t quit raving about her. But that’s just fine with me. I love finding a new author, because that means I can look forward to a new trove of books I’ve never read before. It also means that I’m able to connect with a colleague and talk about writing in a way that only writers can.

Because I want to share her and her books with all of you, I decided to get in touch with Christy a few weeks back and interview her. Some of you have already read her romantic suspense series. For those of you who haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Christy will be popping in today to answer your questions. And she’ll be giving away TWO COPIES of No Chance to readers who post today. But if you don't win, don't worry. The book comes out tomorrow!



Pamela Clare: Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up writing romance.

Christy Reece: Pamela, thank you for allowing me to come here and visit. I adore your books and cannot wait until March 2 for NAKED EDGE!

PC: Oh, you’re so sweet to say that! I’m excited, too!

CR: Okay, about me…I’m a southern girl…born and raised in Alabama. Grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. True story: I was grounded once from reading. I didn’t want to do my schoolwork…just wanted to read!

I graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in Social Work and did what every college graduate does who has no clue what she wants to do. I took the first job I was offered. And there I stayed…for eighteen years at an insurance company. It was a great company and a good job, but I realized I had no passion or love for my career. It was a job, nothing more. Yes, it only took me eighteen years to figure that out!

After much soul searching, prayer and discussions with my husband, I left my job without any clear idea what I would do. I just knew there had to be more. While I pondered my future, I read voraciously. My former career had prevented me from reading as much as I wanted.

I’ve read various genres through the years, but kept coming back to romance. I love the optimism, the passion…the beauty of falling in love. Characters and story lines have always run through my mind. Occasionally I would write a chapter or two, but had never tried to finish anything. In 2001, I issued myself a challenge: Complete a full manuscript. And in May 2002, I achieved that goal. One of the best feelings in the entire world! And it created an obsession. Once I got started, I didn’t want to stop.


PC: It’s not easy to walk away from a career and start over, so kudos to you for having the courage. Life is too short to spending it doing things you don't find rewarding. What drew you to romantic suspense as opposed to historical or paranormal romance?

CR: Romantic suspense has always been my preferred reading choice. I love historical and some paranormal, but romantic suspense just seems to be a natural fit for me. The television dramas I watch are suspenseful, the movies I enjoy usually have an element of suspense. Heart wrenching emotion blended with the blazing passion of two people falling in love combined with the thrill of danger — my idea of a perfect read!


PC: That sounds good to me, too! Are all of your titles part of the same series? Tell us a little about them.


CR: Yes, all six books are a part of the Last Chance Rescue series. Each book is a stand-alone title and one or both of the main characters are employed by LCR. Every storyline involves a rescue and while the hero and heroine are working toward saving victims, they’re falling in love. Or in the case of NO CHANCE, falling back in love.


PC: What inspired the Last Chance Rescue Enterprises, the organization around which your books center?

CR: It began with a wish. We had a high profile disappearance of a young girl here in Alabama and I so wanted an organization like Last Chance Rescue to exist. Thus, LCR was born: Highly trained mercenaries with one priority and purpose, to rescue victims. With worldwide connections and a phenomenal success rate, LCR operatives find and rescue victims when all other avenues have been tried and failed. They do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, to rescue the innocent.


PC: What a wonderful wish! We all read about so many horrible things happening. How much better the world would be if LCR were real! What would you say your heroes have in common? Your heroines?


CR: Most of my heroes and heroines have been tortured or hurt in some way. LCR is composed almost entirely of damaged people who, having been in the midst of hell, have an extra incentive to rescue others from their hell. My heroes are strong, compassionate, stubborn, courageous and often very arrogant. When it comes to the women they love, they’re protective, passionate and totally devoted for life.

My heroines are a blend of kick-ass heroism, delicate femininity, spines of steel and touching vulnerability.


PC: Your books are very sensual. Do you find writing sex scenes to be fun or hard work?

CR: It depends upon the characters. I find it very hard to write a love scene if I don’t know the characters and what makes them vulnerable. I see each love scene as an advancement of the story and the developing relationship. The hero and heroine may not be in love with each other yet, but subconsciously they recognize their mate. I love revealing who the characters are within the framework of a love scene. So, yes and yes. They are fun and they are hard work!

PC: You put that so beautifully! The sex scenes can’t just be about sex. They have to further the relationship and the story. You’ve been compared to Cherry Adair, a name familiar to any fan of romantic suspense. That must have been a thrill.


CR: An incredible compliment, but also very daunting. She’s a wonderful writer and that kind of praise, though most welcomed, is always scary. The reader might expect an exact replica and be disappointed when they realize there are differences. But it is a tremendous honor to have that comparison made.


PC: You are one prolific writer! Your first romantic suspense, RESCUE ME was released in April 2009. Now, on Feb. 23, your fourth book, NO CHANCE, is about to hit bookstores. To put it in perspective, I’ve been writing romantic suspense since 2005, and my fourth RS title will be out ten days *after* yours. By the end of this year, you’ll have six romantic suspense titles on the shelves. That’s amazing! How do you stay inspired and productive?

CR: Contracts and deadlines are my inspiration. As long as my publisher asks me to write, and I’m able to, that’s what I want to do. Having discovered the career later in life than some, I want to write as many as possible!

Also, my readers inspire me. Receiving emails from them is one of the wonderful rewards of being a published author. To know that I’ve entertained someone…taken them away from their worries or problems for a while is both inspiring and humbling.



PC: Your upcoming release, NO CHANCE, will be out tomorrow. (Everyone plan to hit the bookstore!) Tell us about it.


CR: NO CHANCE is a reunion romance, which is one of my favorite themes. Gabe Maddox and Skylar James met when they were young, fell in love and rashly married. Days later, they were torn apart. Eight years pass and though they’re still married, they haven’t seen each other in all that time. When a young friend of Skylar’s goes missing, she goes searching for her and ends up abducted. Gabe is an operative for Last Chance Rescue and he’s the one assigned to rescue Skylar. Putting aside the anger and pain he still feels, he embarks on her rescue.

There are a lot of surprises and secrets within the story. I love reading books where the story goes in a direction I never anticipated. I try to do that in my own writing.


PC: It sounds wonderful! My copy has shipped, so I’ll be reading it soon. Do you have a favorite book? Is there one that was more difficult to write than the others?

CR: Like every author, I’ve loved every book I’ve written. However, if I absolutely had to choose a favorite, it would have to be RESCUE ME, which was the first book in the series. Not only was it my first published book, I found my author’s voice while I was writing it. So many of those pages in that book are me discovering myself as a writer.

Though none were easy, one book in each trilogy has been more difficult than the other two. In my first trilogy, that book was RUN TO ME. My heroine went through some horrendous events, I put a secondary character through hell, and my villain was off the charts evil. By the time I finished, I was physically exhausted. In my upcoming trilogy, SECOND CHANCE was the most difficult. Both main characters are tortured in their own way, my villain is sick and twisted and some of the secondary characters are just plain mean, with few redeeming qualities. By the time that one was finished, I was emotionally drained.



PC: What are you working on now?


CR: I’m working on a new Last Chance Rescue trilogy, scheduled to be released spring/summer 2011. Each book will have characters who were secondary characters in this year’s trilogy. Haven’t announced the titles yet, but I’m working on the synopses and the ideas are percolating!


PC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today! And best of luck with the release of NO CHANCE!

OK, everyone, now you get your chance to ask Christy whatever you want to ask her. She’ll be checking back throughout the day to answer as she can. And two of you will win a copy of NO CHANCE, which sounds like it’s going to be a scrumptious read.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Naked Edge book trailer



So, I’ve been sharing excerpts from Naked Edge for a while now. I think there are several scattered between this blog, my Yahoo group, Goodreads and my Facebook notes. But sometimes a person needs visual aids.

So with the help of the talented Jenn J — thank you, Jenn! — I offer this book trailer for Naked Edge.

It’s up on YouTube, as well, so feel free to embed it and share it wherever you’d like.

Also, I wanted to let you know that we'll have a very special guest visiting this blog on Feb. 22 — the prolific and talented Christy Reece! I decided to play journalist and interview her, and I’ll be posting that interview on Feb. 22. Christy will stop by as she’s able to answer your penetrating questions.

Christy’s next book, No Chance, hits bookstores on Feb. 23, and I know I’ll be dashing to Borders after work that day to get my copy. Christy will tell us all about her new series — and give us a glimpse of what’s next. Plus, she's giving away TWO COPIES of the book. So put the date on your calender: Feb. 22 for a day of chatting with Christy Reece, and Feb. 23 for the release of No Chance.

Another couple of reviews have gone up online. There’s one from Romance Junkies here, and a more personal one by that same reviewer, Laurie, here.

I’ll be doing some guest blogging as the release date for Naked Edge nears. I'll be at www.SavvyReader.com tomorrow (Feb. 18), at Leontine's Book Realm on March 1, and on the Borders blog on March 2. Stop by because I’ll be giving away signed copies of the book.
Monday, February 15, 2010

A couple of reviews


Hi, everyone,

I’m just checking in from my desk at the newspaper to share links to a couple of reviews of Naked Edge.

Only 15 days till it’s out!

The first review went up at FreshFiction.com. Click here to read it.

The second was just posted today at Dear Author, which is also giving away five copies of the book. I wouldn't be a nice author if I didn't share that news with my FOPs. (That's "Friends of Pamela," in case you didn't know.) Click here to read Dear Author’s review or to learn about the giveaway.

Dear Author’s review is particularly satisfying because my reasons for being nervous about the book were the things that she enjoyed. Also, I know the reviewer by and large hasn’t cared for the I-Team stories for a variety of reasons that I understand. As I recall, Tessa from Hard Evidence earned a big TSTL for leaving the newspaper and almost getting killed.

(For those of you not up on romance jargon, TSTL means "too stupid to live.")

I would share with you some of the stupid things I've done as a journalist in real life. They're enough to earn me TSTL status, for sure, and enough to earn me five to a dime in Club Fed. Because I'm not sure what the statute of limitations is, I won't recount these escapades in public. We'll have to do that in a bar sometime.

OK, back to writing this week's cover story. My topic? Pregnant women in prison.

Have a great week, everyone.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bookmark! Bookmarks! Want one?



Today I got home from work to find a big box and a padded envelope waiting on my front steps. I got very excited because I thought my author copies were in the box and the bookmarks that my publisher had made up for me were in the padded envelope.

Other way around!

I have a single lovely copy of Naked Edge that I shall be cuddling tonight and about a zillion sexy Naked Edge bookmarks. That’s just an estimate, of course. There could be more than a zillion.

Which means I’m giving bookmarks away!

Anybody want one? Yes?

Well, then all you need to do is complete one of the following I-Team hero quotes:

Reece: “You need a man, Kara. A man you can open up to. A man whose passion for life matches yours. A man who grabs your hair in big fistfuls and twists and pulls it when he’s fucking you. A man willing to .....”

Julian: “If you try to tell me next time I see you that you haven’t been thinking about fucking me, I’m going to....”

Marc: “It’s not so much where I want you, Sophie, as it is how. Nothing tastes quite like a woman, and no woman...”

Extra points for anyone who can complete this quote:

Will: “I agreed not to have sex until after the wedding. But I didn’t agree not to touch you, Lissy. I intend to touch you every day. Get ...”

Double extra points for this one:

Gabe: “If I can’t be man enough to keep my hands off you like I should, then at least let me be man enough to ...”

E-mail your answer to me at my e-mail address, together with your address. If you’re suspicious that “Pamela Clare” is just a cover for an international crime syndicate and don‘t want to give me your address, then just mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope to: PO Box 1582, Longmont, CO 80501.

Have fun!
Saturday, February 06, 2010

EXCERPT: I-Team Male Bonding — Gabe meets Marc, then Julian



I posted this excerpt to my Yahoo group, but I thought I would post it here as well. My last post was so serious, and I know how hot men cheer you all up.

These scenes take place in the first half of the story. The first scene shows when Gabe meets Marc. The second is their second meeting, but this time Julian is along for the ride. Since there are those of you who never, ever seem to get enough Julian and others who can't get enough Marc Hunter, I thought you might enjoy these little snippets.

When Gabe meets Marc...


“Kat!” Gabe was on his feet, blocking her path, drawing her into his arms,
relieved when she seemed to come willingly. He ran a finger over the curve
of her cheek. “It wouldn’t have been like that, not with you. If we’d had
sex—”

The doorbell rang, stopping him from saying God only knew what.

“That must be Marc.” She drew away and hurried off to get her things.

Gabe opened the door and found a man about his own age. With shoulder-length brown hair and wearing a faded denim jacket, the man stood tall enough to look Gabe straight in the eye, and Gabe was certain he’d seen him somewhere before.

“I’m guessing you’re here for Kat.” Gabe moved aside to let him in.

The man stomped the snow off his boots and stepped inside, sizing Gabe up like a big brother who’d found a stranger sniffing around his little sister. It made Gabe wonder whether Kat had mentioned their little make-out session when she’d spoken with her friend. And why did the bastard look so familiar?

The man held out his hand. “Marc Hunter, Denver PD.”

And then it clicked. This was the son of a bitch Gabe had spent three weeks chasing through the mountains in the dead of winter, the son of a bitch whose face had spent the better part of a month hanging on Gabe’s office wall — on a wanted poster.

“Gabe Rossiter, Boulder Mountain Parks.” Gabe shook Hunter’s hand, giving back as good as he got. “I busted my ass trying to bring you in.”

“It’s lucky for both of us that you didn’t find me.” Hunter glanced about, obviously looking for Kat, his gaze falling on a climbing harness that Gabe had overlooked on the hallway floor. “You’re a rock jock, huh? I bet that helps you out when it comes to scrambling up the east face of the Third Flatiron and shit.”

Third Flatiron above Boulder

<----East Face/West Face--->

“No, not the east face of the Third.” You prick. “But it did come in handy when a couple of guys got stuck in a freak blizzard climbing the Diamond on Longs Peak not too long ago.”

The Diamond

Hunter’s eyebrows rose a notch, and he nodded. “Thanks, by the way, for saving Kat’s life this past summer and for stopping that son of a bitch who pulled her hair. I’d like to kick his ass.”

“That makes two of us.”

And later in the story.....

You saved her life, man.

The thought struck Gabe right between the eyes, seeped through him, leaving him with a bone-deep sense of… satisfaction. He was used to saving lives, but not like this. To know that Kat was alive tonight because of something he’d done…

Maybe you don’t suck after all, Rossiter.

He turned the water in the shower and stepped under the warm spray, washing dirt, sweat, and blood from his skin, letting the water loosen his tense muscles. Then he got out, dried off, and dressed his wound, the sting of antiseptic making him cuss a blue streak. He’d just covered it with a large bandage when his doorbell rang.

He skipped the underwear and slipped into a pair of jeans. Taking no chances, he picked up his HK .40-cal semi-auto—he’d seen the last of the Glock, which belonged to Mountain Parks — and walked quietly to the door. He looked through the peephole — and felt his heart knock against his breastbone.

Kat.

She stood on his doorstep flanked by Hunter and someone else — a man in a black leather jacket whose face he couldn’t see. He tucked the firearm into the waistband of his jeans, unlocked the door and opened it. And for a moment all he could do was stand there, staring into her eyes. She looked exhausted, overwhelmed, beautiful.

Had she been crying?

“Good to see you in one piece, rock jock. I see you took a hit.”

Gabe tore his gaze from hers, gave Hunter a nod, rubbed his fingers over the bandage. “It’s just a graze. Hey, Darcangelo, how’s it going? You hang with this guy? That’s ironic.”

Julian Darcangelo, the best damn detective Gabe had ever met, shrugged then reached out and shook Gabe’s hand, a grin spreading over his face. “What can I say? Every superhero needs a sidekick. Plus, it’s a good way to keep an eye on him, keep him out of trouble.”

Hunter glared at Darcangelo, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like “fuck you.” Then he frowned, pointing back and forth between the two of them. “So, you two know each other?”

“Of course we know each other. We met chasing your sorry ass through the snow. Rossiter here is pure hell on a pair of skis.” Darcangelo shifted his gaze back to Gabe. “Is Kat going to be safe here with you tonight?”

Gabe met Kat’s gaze again. “Yeah, she will. Do you boys want to come in?”

Hunter’s gaze dropped to Kat, as if trying to gauge his response from her. “I think we’ll head home and let you two get some rest.” Then his gaze shifted to Gabe. He drew out a business card and held it out “Give me a call. Let us know what we can do.”

“Will do.” Gabe pocketed the card, watching as Kat thanked her friends and said her good-byes. Then he took her hand and drew her inside, the two men’s voices drifting back as they headed down his front walk.

“You didn’t tell me Kat’s rock jock was Gabe Rossiter. He’s not a rock jock, Hunter, he’s a rock god.”

“How the hell was I supposed to know you knew him?”

Gabe closed the door and locked out the night, while Kat hung her coat on the coat rack and slipped off her boots. They turned and faced one another, and for a moment neither of them moved or spoke, Gabe drinking in the sight of her, from the dirt smudge on her cheek to the shadows in her eyes. Then he did the only thing he could do. He drew her into his arms, and held her, just held her, his face pressed against her silky hair, the honey scent and soft feel of her a balm for all the rough edges inside him.
Friday, February 05, 2010

Five Reasons Why I Almost Didn’t Write Naked Edge




As I write this, there are only 25 days until Naked Edge is released, and I’m getting the butterflies in my stomach that I always get before a book is released. I know you other authors know what I mean when I say that a book’s release date feels a lot like the day you send your kindergartener out into the big, cruel world for the first time. Books are our babies, and no matter what we write and no matter how hard we try to write the perfect, engaging story, someone will tell us our baby is ugly and stupid.

I tell my family that writing novels is an act of will. From the story concept to filling yourself with the emotions of your own characters to seeing the story through page after grinding page, hour after hour, day after day, month after month, you must fight discouragement and frustration that threatens to psych you out and make you quit. That’s true for every novel I’ve ever written.

But before I sat down to write Naked Edge, I had to decide whether I really wanted to do this — whether I really wanted to write a romance with a traditional Native heroine and all that implies. I’d sworn at one point early in my career that I would never write Indian romance. Far too often the Indian romances I’ve read are filled with stereotypes and often include assumptions that many Indian people find offensive. And though I’m not concerned with political correctness, particularly in a historical setting where life was anything but politically correct, I am close to a number of Indian people who would expect me to produce something that was accurate and culturally sensitive.

I’ve been asked by three different Native leaders from three different nations — Diné (Navajo), Hopi and Lakota — to act as a bridge between the Indian world and mainstream America. It’s a responsibility I’ve taken seriously through more than a decade of reporting on Native issues, and it’s a responsibility I have to take seriously as an author, as well. It seemed to me that the best way to deal with the complexities and risks involved was simply not to write novels with Native heroes or heroines.

Except that, because my life is deeply entwined with those of several Indian people and because my work as a journalist has so often involved Native issues, my head kept filling up with ideas.

So here are the 5 reasons I almost didn’t write Naked Edge — and what led me to change my mind.

5. There is very little about contemporary American Indian life that isn’t highly political. That’s just a fact. I decided I would have to find a way to remove the politics to the best of my ability. This is a romance novel, after all.

4. Someone somewhere will use the word “half-breed” to describe the heroine. This word is roughly the same to Indian people as the “n-word” is to African Americans. It’s right up there with “redskin.” I would hate for anyone to use this word to describe Kat, but I decided that it would give me a chance to do what I just did — to explain to people that they shouldn’t use the word unless they’re trying to anger someone. (And while I’m at it, the word “thoroughbred” refers to horses, not people.)

3. Modern Indian life can be confusing, and I would want to depict it as accurately as possible. There is so much most people don’t know about contemporary Indians. The idea that most Indians have gotten rich off casino money is absurd. Some have; most have not. Most don’t live on reservations. Most don’t speak their ancestors’ languages. Many have little idea about the traditions and spiritual beliefs of their ancestors. Some have adopted the world view of mainstream culture and Christianized. In cities, it’s not uncommon for Indian people from many different nations to practice a sort of mix of traditions. So you’ll find people from many different backgrounds participating in Lakota ceremonies, and you’ll find Lakota who’ve never been to a sweat lodge (inipi) or Sun Dance (wiwang wacipi).

On the other end of the spectrum are families that live on reservations in extreme poverty in homes without electricity or running water. Some speak almost no English. The struggles of their daily lives are beyond the imaginings of most Americans.

Sifting through all of this — and much more that I won’t go into — would make writing this book very difficult. And, indeed, it took more than a year as I tried very hard to make the story reflective of this complex reality. Inevitably, someone whose great-great-grandmother was a third Cherokee (or whatever) is going to point to something that they believe is inaccurate. But everything in the story is based on things I have seen/done personally during my time on the Navajo and Lakota reservations.

2. In a society rife with stereotypical depictions of Indian people, I wasn’t certain that readers would be able to relate to a more realistic Native heroine. Too many books and films seem to present the Indian world as if it had been created by Disney. There are almost 600 federally recognized Indian nations — and there are many that for bureaucratic reasons are not recognized. Each nation has its own history and culture. It is impossible to generalize, and yet most depictions of Native people contain lots of generalities. I decided I would do my very best to avoid that.

1. The book is bound to anger some Indian people who justifiably wonder what a chick with blond hair and blue eyes is doing writing about Native issues. Some might see the book as exploitation. This, more than anything, gave me pause. I decided that there really was no way to avoid this. I’ve tried to act with integrity during my years of reporting on Indian issues. I’ve never gone anywhere I wasn’t invited to go. I’ve never participated in a ceremony that I wasn’t invited to attend, nor have I ever participated in New Age copycat ceremonies run by non-Indians. There’s nothing I’ve done as a journalist that I wasn’t asked to do. Because I know this, and because the Indian people who are my friends know this, I won’t be hurt by what might be said in this regard.

But there’s something else: I participated in the events that inspired this story, so, although the story deals with contemporary American Indian issues, the kernel of real life that the story contains reflects my own life as a journalist. In that way, aspects of this story are my story, too.

In addition, I have committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to programs on the Navajo reservation that serve women and children.

I wanted to go on the record with all of this before the book comes out. That way, my response to these things, should they arise, can’t be dismissed as “sour grapes.”

Ultimately, this book produced more anxiety for me than most of my other novels because it required me to take more risks. I felt a enormous sense of responsibility. I have done my best to address the problems and potential pitfalls that come with wading into these waters, and I’ve done so as respectfully as I know how.

The result will be on bookstore shelves in just 25 days. I hope people will enjoy Kat and Gabe’s story, and I hope they’ll learn a few things about the Native world they didn’t know. I hope that the book will act as the bridge I’ve been asked to be, fulfilling the expectations of the elders who trust me.

I did my best to tell a sensual love story between a contemporary Navajo woman and a white Park Ranger. He saves her life; she saves his soul.

Judging the story is up to you.

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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