Book Releases

Tempting Fate (Colorado High Country #4) —
Chaska Belcourt’s story will be out at the end of June. Head back to Scarlet Springs for more Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team adventures and more humor and sexy romance. The book will be available in ebook and paperback.


Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now on 99 cents! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Naked Edge odds and ends

Gabe climbing

No, Man-Titty Monday has not been extended. Today is Tuesday, and so today we set the man-chest aside and get on with other things, important things, things of consequence.

I've had readers ask me if I have any specific images in mind when I write. Most often they're referring to characters when they ask that question. And I do try to piece together images that evoke my characters, particularly the heroes.

The image above is a favorite of mine. I love it. The model isn't really rock climbing, but if you squint your eyes and turn your head sideways, all you see is his nicely haired chest, his muscular arms and his six-pack, and you don't care what he's doing. So that's a nice image of Gabe when his feet slipped when Kat found him climbing at Mesa Butte.

But I also collect images of objects: Reece's Sphinx, Julian’s SIG, Marc’s Glock. I had lots of photos of the Capitol when writing Extreme Exposure, gang graffiti when I wrote Hard Evidence and a black Jag when I wrote Unlawful Contact.

I had to look at bridal catalogues when writing Heaven Can't Wait to see what kind of gowns Lissy might have chosen. So the Vera Wang (or Very Wang as Will calls it), the Badgley Mishka, and the others were real gowns I saw in magazines. For that story, I also bought a Scrabble board and played Sex Scrabble myself to map out their moves and the points Lissy and Will earned. (Wait... If I play Sex Scrabble by myself, is that Masturbation Scrabble?)

I didn’t collect a lot of images for Naked Edge, in part because it was derived heavily from things I’ve seen and done. No hogaans. Been in plenty. I didn’t need to look at a sweat lodge because I can go sit and pray in one every other Saturday. I didn't need photos of buttes because we have one right here... And climbing — I grew up stepping over coils of rope and nylon cords hung with pitons and carabiners and crams. In our house it was normal to see people hanging from door jams and doing fingertip pull-ups. One day when he was bored, my brother went outside and climbed his chimney. (No, I'm not kidding you, and this was after he was a grownup.) So no climbing photos were necessary.

Kat's wedding ring

I did keep a photo of Naked Edge, the climbing route, handy. I watched some hardcore free soloing and skiing videos. And I did search the 'Net for photos of their wedding rings as if I myself were shopping for them.

Kat’s is above — an antique white gold setting of turquoise and diamonds. I had this to look at as I wrote the end of the story.

Gabe's ring, below, is the signature style of a local jeweler, who makes rings to match a number of mountain ranges.

Gabe's wedding ring


The mountain range inset into this ring is the one I see every day of my life. It’s very recognizable to anyone from Boulder. It's the backdrop against which our little town is set. Pretty cool, I think.

This last photo is just a fun extra. It's the couple from the book trailer in a slightly more erotic pose than the ones Jenn and I chose. I thought it was really sexy, so I just kept it.

And Kat and Gabe lived happily ever after and were very often naked.

Thanks to those of you who hopped over to read the I-Team hero interview that I had promised you. Cecile and Jenn were great to put all that together. I had a lot of fun with it. And just to be clear, Marc isn’t really wearing an edible licorice thong purchased for him by Julian. They’re close, but not that kind of close.

For those of you who didn't go to Cecile's blog yesterday, I'm sure the post is still up. And Julian had news: Tessa is pregnant. We’ll hear more about that in Natalie and Zach’s book. I finished the synopsis over the weekend, and I now need to write a sample chapter or two, and then the proposal will be done. At that point, I’ll just keep writing. I hope to fly through it, so that it will be out a year from now.

So is anyone working on I-Team slash? Maybe I should host a contest and put the winners on my blog and/or Web site.

Coming soon:
—An interview with a true Colorado powder hound, together with videos he made of himself and his buddies skiing
—Updates on the shackling bill
—I-Team trivia
—And Fiction Friday — readers share their current reads and recommendations

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Man-titty and gardening



First, the man-titty. I feel better now. How about you?

I'm busy writing this weekend — I threw out everything I had for Natalie’s story and went in a completely different direction — but I thought I could share this with you. It’s a bit of inspiration for the day. My muse and I both say, “Yummy!”

So what is this new direction, you ask? I don’t think I’m going to say anything yet, except that Zach MacBride is still a deputy U.S. Marshal and the story still begins in Cd. Juárez, Mexico, with Natalie being kidnapped off a bus full of journalists.

I spent yesterday thinking through this new direction on her story while spreading compost over our vegetable garden. And I have to say that being able to spread compost that my son and I made — through both thermophilic composting and vermiculture (i.e, worm composting) — was very exciting. I’m serious! With our little worm buddies, we turned all kinds of kitchen scraps, garden waste and coffee grounds into rich, black dirt.



Yes, this is the dirt in my garden. The lighter patch in the center is the unamended soil, while the darkest patch is the compost. The other areas show where I had raked it in to the topsoil.

I hope to plant spring greens today or tomorrow — if I can reach a lull in my writing when it isn’t snowing.

Last year, Benjy, my younger son and I, began the process of transforming our yard — or at least the part of it that isn’t a rose garden — into an urban homestead. Eventually, we plan to grow most of our own fruits and veggies. We already have raspberry bushes, herbs and a huge vegetable garden area. Last year we used only 1/3 of it and grew green beans, broccoli, zucchini, butternut squash, cucumbers and tomatoes, together with herbs. This year we're going to cultivate 2/3 of it, adding more of the stuff we eat a lot of, but also adding the greens and kitchen veggies like carrots and radishes, as well as turnips, beets and chard.

We plan to add fruit trees soon, as well as chickens for fresh eggs and a beehive for honey. It's legal here to have hens and bees in your backyard, and we mean to take full advantage of that.

It's lots of work but it’s the best kind of work, far better than being in an office. And the reward is huge. Not only do we save money on food, but we don’t have to worry about getting e-coli or pesticides with our dinner.

Do any of you garden? Are there any other urban homesteaders out there?

Coming on Monday: Hop over to Cecile's blog for an interview with the I-Team heroes. Reece, Julian, Marc and Gabe will all be there, and Julian has some news to share with the guys.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Answers, news and videotape

Navajo National Monument at sunset

First the news:

Heaven Can’t Wait is now available on Kindle for real. There was some kind of glitch that told readers it wasn't available in the United States, but that has been resolved. If you don’t have an e-reader, it is available in some formats that enable you to just read it on your computer.

Surrender is now available in Japanese. The title translates to something like, “Kissing the Warrior in the Kilt.” So we’re not the only ones obsessed with Scottish heroes. Nice to know! I love the cover!

How did Annie's head get stuck in the trees?

I’ll be spending most of Thursday at the state capitol meeting with the senator who is carrying the shackling bill and others who are interested in supporting the bill. As soon as I have a bill number, I’ll write about it for the paper, as will other reporters I know who want to support what I’m doing. Hey, I can’t help it if have great media connections.

Also, I won First Place in SPJ’s regional journalism contest (Rocky Mountain states) in the Legal Affairs reporting category for an article I wrote last year about kids awaiting trial who are kept in 23-hour lockdown. The purpose of the lockdown is to segregate them from adult male offenders for their own protection (they're mostly boys), but the result is that panicked kids who haven’t yet been found guilty are treated in the same way as the most dangerous and worst of adult felons. They’re given a level of isolation that is reserved as a punishment for misbehaving or dangerous and violent adult inmates. And some kids, in a panic and alone, have committed suicide in their cells. Truly tragic and utterly unnecessary!

And now for the answers:

I combed through more the 70+ pages of text from the spoiler chat and found a few unanswered questions. Given how fast the text was flying by, I’m amazed that I didn’t miss more. Heck, maybe I did. But here are two I plucked out of obscurity.

Dana asked: “I liked all the overs of the I-Team series, but unlike the others, Kat’s face was covered. Why?”

Answer: First, let me say that Kat’s face is covered with man-chest. That’s waaay better than a burka or something. See the comparison below.


Above: Man chest. Below: Burka. Which would you rather have on your face?



But, you're right. Her face isn’t showing. Since I didn’t really participate in the creation of the cover, I can’t really say why. It might have had something to do with not finding finished art of a heroine who has American Indian features. Or maybe they felt that seeing the heroine from behind like that so that the image focused more on the hero’s biceps would be a fresh look.

Ronna asked: “Are we going to see deleted scenes [from Naked Edge] or Natalie/Zac scenes soon?”

Answer: No and no. My editor didn’t cut anything out of story, so there’s nothing lying on the cutting-room floor for me to share with you. The only thing that my editor had me change was the beginning of the epilogue because she felt people would be too freaked out reading about a woman who was nine months pregnant having sex. I changed the scene so that it starts after Kat and Gabe have, er, finished. So unless y’all want to read that...

As for Natalie and Zach — I changed the spelling of his name — I will eventually post excerpts, but I have to write something first. I have only eight pages written, and I’m throwing out half of that. The story has evolved by leaps and bounds in the past few days, and now I have to start over more or less.

What you might be able to read off and on are “scenes between the books,” i.e., scenes that fill in the stories of certain couples between the books. That might be anything from the I-Team heroes going to a baseball game together to the birth of Julian and Tessa’s baby girl to who knows what.

And, unlike some authors, I have no problem with readers writing fan fic/slash. In fact, I post it on my website. The only thing I ask is that the writing be tasteful and true to the series and characters. So if anyone writes any more of that, you’ll have that to tide you over, too.

And now for the videotape:

Shortly after I finished Naked Edge, I came across a VHS documentary about the traditional Diné titled, Seasons of a Navajo. Filmed in the 1980s, it shows the lifestyle of a traditional Navajo family over the course of year. It is truly beautiful and captures the rhythm of life among the traditional Diné. I shared it with Kat and she had the same reaction I had: tears. We both freaking loved it.

The hogaan, the sheep pens, shade houses, the Navajo version of a sweat lodge, people speaking Navajo, frybread, mutton, a Navajo grannie weaving — this has it all. This would be like seeing Kat’s grandma and her Uncle Allen going about their daily lives. It would be seeing how Kat grew up. I thought you would really like that.



So I bought two copies of the tape — one for myself and one to share with all of you. Here’s how it will work:

If you’re interested in seeing the video, let me know by posting here. I’ll draw a name from all of those who want to see it, and that person will be the first to see it. Then she will mail it to the No. 2 person, who will mail it to No. 3 and so on. Or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your address with someone else, that person can mail it back to me, and I’ll mail it to you.

The only drawback is, obviously, paying for postage (though it’s probably going to be roughly as cheap as renting it) and the fact that you must have a VHS player to watch it. A lot of people have only DVD players these days.

Let me know if you want to participate!

You can also post responses even if you don’t want the video, just let me know whether you want to be in a link in the video chain or not.

Did any of you try the frybread recipe yet?

Coming next week: The I-Team heroes recently got together for a group interview, and the results will be posted soon as part of a guest blog.
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Get me to the powwow — frybread recipe


“Get me to the powwow.”

That’s a line that always draws chuckles from my friends when we watch Dreamkeeper, a wonderful family film about Native legends and the preservation of Native culture. I recommended the DVD a couple months back both for adults and for kids. It’s perhaps the best film I’ve ever seen about the need to preserve Native stories and culture, bringing to life the legends and history of many Indian nations as a grandfather attempts to help his troubled teenage grandson.

Grandfather is a traditional storyteller, an elder who keeps the dreams of his Lakota people. His grandson, Nathan, has gotten himself into trouble with a rez gang and doesn’t want to drive his grandfather to the All Nations Powwow far away. But, of course, Grandpa gets his way, and Nathan’s life is forever changed.

If the Indian aspects of Naked Edge interested you, I can’t recommend Dreamkeeper highly enough. Get it through Netflix, borrow it from your library or buy it from Amazon. It is absolutely 110 percent worth it. The ending brings me to tears every single time, and it’s wonderful watching Native people acting out their own stories. Plus, the actor who plays the leader of the rez gang is a friend of ours who got his start in acting in Dances With Wolves.

Speaking of powwows, today is the culmination of the Denver March Powwow, an annual event that draws thousands. Denver lies in the heart of Indian Country, sitting between the reservations to the north and those to the south. So it’s a natural meeting place.

Those of you who've read Naked Edge might remember that the heroine, Kat, met Grandpa Red Crow, a Lakota holy man, at the Denver March Powwow, where she’d gone in search of decent frybread (though I suspect she makes good frybread herself). The real Kat is there now, along with other friends. I have chosen stay home, in part because I need to write and in part because Benjy left this morning and I'm moping. But back to frybread...

At the recent spoiler chat, someone asked for a frybread recipe. In honor of Kat’s search for frybread — and the deep friendship that she discovers with Grandpa Red Crow — I thought today would be the perfect day to share what I found.

Navajo frybread

What you’ll need:
  • Crisco, oil or lard for frying melted to about 1/2-inch depth
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 T baking powder
  • 2 T salt
  • 2-1/2 cups warm milk
In a heavy frying pan, melt lard or shortening and heat to 356 degrees F. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix well. Kneed a bit. When the dough has pulled together, divide it into balls that roughly fill your hand. Flatten these into tortilla-shaped rounds. Place one at a time into the hot oil. When the rounds bubble up, test with fork to see if you can flip them. Flip and cook until golden. Set aside on power towels. Serve hot.

If you want to watch the process before you try it, there are many frybread videos on YouTube. This one includes some tips on turning the frybread and shows some different ways of stretching the balls of dough. This one is fun because it shows a group of women making frybread on the rez over a communal fire at a community event. The guy in the background goes back and forth between speaking English and Diné, so you get a chance to hear that. Plus, one of the women is turning her frybread with a very basic cooking tool — a long stick.

So what do you do with frybread once you make it? You can eat it with a meal or as a snack. You can put seasoned ground chicken, bison, beef, elk or whatever meat you like on top a piece of frybread, add black, pinto or refried beans, shredded lettuce, shredded jack cheese and salsa for what’s commonly called an “Indian taco.” Yum! I also like to eat it with warm honey as a kind of dessert. Powdered sugar probably works nicely, too. Maple syrup? Could be tasty.

However you choose to eat it, eat it all, because by morning your luscious frybread will have become cold, greasy, doughy discs. I have tested this theory myself, having taken a bunch of frybread and honey camping with me in the desert on the rez. I thought I had breakfast all ready and waiting for me. Instead, I had a mouthful of ewwww.

Enjoy!
Thursday, March 18, 2010

Want another quick dose of the I-Team?



Not long ago, I had what was actually a good idea. It happens now and then, particularly after a strong cup of coffee.

I was thinking about the one and only novella I’ve ever written and how nobody in the world seemed to know that it existed. Heaven Can’t Wait originally appeared as part of chick-lit-ish anthology titled Catch of the Day. I was the pee-wee author of the group, new to the contemporary romance scene, with only three historicals and Extreme Exposure to my name. The anthology came out, and that was pretty much all I ever heard about it.

Some of you have read it, I know, but a lot of you probably don’t realize there’s a story set between Extreme Exposure and Hard Evidence that features I-Team characters. Now you have a chance to read that story for much less than the cost of buying the anthology because it’s available in e-book format.

I called my editor a few months back and suggested that it be carved out and set loose for fans of the I-Team series. And now it is. Hurray! So those of you who haven’t read it don’t have to wait for another dose of the I-Team.

Here's the info:

Heaven Can't Wait
Price: $2.99
ePub ISBN: 9781101217917
Adobe ISBN:9781101217900


I had to hunt for it, but I found it only at Barnes and Noble at this point. If you find it elsewhere, please share the link. I imagine it will be available through Amazon at some point, as well.

I posted an excerpt from the story not long ago here on this blog. (Click here to read it.) Heaven Can’t Wait is perhaps the hottest story I’ve written in that it deals with a couple — Lissy and Will — who have a bet about who can last till after their wedding without asking for sex. Each wants the other to lose so that they win the bet — and have sex, too. There’s no serious investigation in this story. Lissy is the paper’s fashion editor, and Will is a former college football star turned sports reporter. So it’s the lightest story I’ve written.

Those of you who enjoyed Gabe’s alternative to playing checkers will find Lissy and Will's game of Sex Scrabble entertaining.

I just wanted to make you aware of it because otherwise you probably wouldn’t hear about it. I don’t think you need an e-book (a Kindle or Nook or whatever) to read it. I think it can be read on your computer. So that ought to mean that everyone has access to it.

Chat transcript is up!
The transcript from last Saturday’s spoiler chat is posted on my Goodreads page. If you’re not signed up with Goodreads it might be worth exploring. I edited the transcript lightly to fix spelling errors and remove exits and entrances. It was more then 77 pages of text when pasted into a Word document. No one would want to read through that! But be warned: It was a spoiler chat. The purpose of the chat was to give those who rushed out, got the book and read it a place to talk about it without having to watch themselves when it came to spoilers. Click here to check it out, though you probably have to be a Goodreads member to access it. There are two parts because it was very loooooong....

Coming soon!
I went through the transcript of the chat and found some questions I missed. I’ll post answers to those here.

Also, there was a request for a frybread recipe. I’m working on that and will have that for you, too.

Plus, I have something very special to share with those of you who want to learn more about the Navajo and want a chance to see life on the reservation.

Then, of course, there are interviews with I-Team heroes that I keep threatening to unleash on you, more contests, trivia games, updates on my shackling bill (yes, it’s really happening!) and more. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, everyone have a wonderful weekend!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The matter of the I-Team's Matt

I've always pictured Matt as a rumpled Paul Bettany.

I've had a chance to read through much of the transcript from Saturday’s spoiler chat, searching for questions that I missed and might be able to answer here. Given how fast the text was flying by, there definitely were questions that I didn’t see, so expect answers soon.

One funny thing came up during the chat, brought to my attention by Rachel. I was talking about future I-Team books. Natalie’s story is next, I said. And then Joaquin’s. Someone asked if I planned a story for Holly — yes, but she’s last — and whether I intended to write one for Matt.

I answered that I might give Matt his own story in the background, rather than giving him his own book.

Rachel then very sweetly asked whether Matt was already married.

I, the authority on the I-Team series, said that he was not.

What a silly goat I am!

A couple days went by, and Rachel contacted me directly to let me know that on Page 89 of Extreme Exposure, Tom is described as having begrudged giving Matt time off for his wedding. Rachel told me she hadn’t pointed this out at the chat because she didn’t want to embarrass me.

Fortunately, I am very hard to embarrass. I found this revelation about Matt to be hilariously funny, given that I should know more about him than anyone.

Of course, Rachel pointed out that maybe Matt’s bride left him at the altar or maybe they’re not together. Anything could have happened, right?

My reluctance to give Matt a story is based on years of working with male journalists. Not to insult my male counterparts, but desk jobs just aren’t that sexy to write about when we’re talking about heroes. I prefer some action, some ruggedness. How could beta hero Matt, with his freckles and rumpled tie, stand up to Julian, Marc and Gabe, or even Reece?

Photographers are different. They’re the action-adventure members of the editorial staff. So Joaquin is no problem for me. It doesn’t hurt that I see him in my head as a young Antonia Banderas.

In other news, Gabe’s utter and complete lack of parentage and family was discussed at the chat. It was decided that 1) his parents died when he was younger and 2) he was an only child.

I do try to wind up all threads. And I try to remember each and every characteristic about my characters. But, obviously, I don’t. D’oh!

Thanks to Rachel for sharing news of Matt’s potential wife with me.

Now here’s a challenge for all of you:

One regular character in the I-Team series undergoes an unintentional shift in eye color early in the series. Be the first person to name that character, and you win a signed copy of your book of choice, either from the I-Team series or one of my historicals.

Happy hunting!

In completely unrelated news: I wrote a draft of the bill I hope to see passed to end the shackling of pregnant inmates in labor. I was supposed to meet the senator who’s carrying the bill, but she got tied up in committee and the meeting was postponed. I have to say that writing a draft of a proposed bill is easier than writing a novel.
Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chat prize winners!

Thank you to everyone who joined in my first-ever spoiler chat. I can't tell you how fun it was to hear your thoughts about Naked Edge and the other I-Team stories and to be able to share the inside experience of writing the book with you.

It moved really fast, so I hope I didn’t miss anything or leave anyone out. I typed and read as fast as I could. If you have questions you want to ask still, please message me through Facebook or Goodreads or send me an e-mail through my Web site's guestbook and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

Remember, we will be doing this again for those who couldn’t make it tonight with the same prizes then, as well. Stay tuned for details!

I want to thank SueZ for helping me to manage certain aspects of the chat, including keeping track of everyone who was there. Because of her, I was able to include everyone who participated in the random drawing for prizes.

And here are the winners:

The signed copy of Naked Edge goes to Beanbag!

The $25 Borders gift card goes to Ann M!

Congratulations!


Everyone who participate in the chat is welcome to a signed bookmark and bookplate for their copy of Naked Edge if you don't already have one. Just send me an email or message me through Facebook or or send me an e-mail with your mailing address, and I'll get them in the mail to you.

Thanks so much for your kind words about the book and for your support. It means so very much to me.

Have a great Sunday!

After the Epilogue — Naked Edge spoiler chat

To reach the chat, click here: http://www.chatzy.com/NakedEdge

Bring your questions and just be yourself. What we talk about is up to you, but I’ve got discussion questions if we need them. Don't be shy! If you've never done a chat before, you’ll find it painless.
The fun starts at 9 Eastern/8 Central/7 Mountain/ 6 Pacific.

Prizes include:
A signed copy of Naked Edge
A $25 Borders gift card
Bookmarks and bookplates for all who request them

I look forward to seeing you there!

Remember: this is a spoiler chat. If you haven’t read Naked Edge yet, you might want to wait till the next chat a couple of weeks from now.
Friday, March 12, 2010

After the Epilogue — Saturday's spoiler chat

And Kat and Gabe lived happily ever after


Howdy!

Sorry to have vanished. I typically like to reply to each and every one of you, but this week has been a madhouse. I might still get a chance to go back to my previous post and reply. If not, please know that I’ve read your posts and really appreciate them.

Also, please know that if you’ve sent me e-mail, I'm behind on that, too.

First the news: I have a senator willing to carry the bill about the shackling of inmates in labor. I’m meeting with her on Tuesday afternoon to help write it. Now, that’s something I've never done before. Draft a bill. OK, sure.

“And there shall be cookies and milk for all at precisely 3 p.m., followed by nap time. Bedtime stories shall consist of romance novels with heroines who present positive role models for inmates. Sexy man posters shall be posted in all cells so that all female inmates get their recommended daily allowance of man-chest and six-packs. Chocolate shall be included with each evening meal. And there shall be absolutely no shackling of pregnant inmates in labor! Duh! What were you people thinking?”
Hmm... Probably needs some work.

Some other folks have connected with me hoping to be a part of pushing this forward. But, typically I guess, there are people who want this bill but want it on their own time. As in, “How about we do this next year?”

Call me naïve. Really, call me anything you want. I don’t care. I want to do what I can while I can, not next year. There are inmates who will be having babies this summer whose experience will be different if we pass a bill before the session recesses in May. So I remain undeterred.

Less interesting news: I want a new back! I‘m taking steroids and narcotics, and every day is an exercise in endurance. I am not enjoying this. Obviously, as I'm whining about it in public.

And now on to the fun stuff!

On Saturday, I’m inviting any of you who’ve read Naked Edge and want to talk about it — but don’t want to spoil it for your friends — to join me for an After the Epilogue chat where you don’t have to worry about spoilers.

Here’s how it will work:

I will put up a new blog post tomorrow at about 7 Eastern/6 Central/5 Mountain/4 Pacific time right here on this blog with a link to a Chatzy chatroom. These are just chatrooms you can create and sign into on Chatzy.com. Registration is minimal.

You’ll just follow that link to the chat, register and pop in.

The chat itself will begin at 9 E/8 C/ 7 M/ 6 P and continue as long as you like. This is for you, and I want it to be fun for you.

During the chat, I'll take down the names of participants and someone will win a signed copy of Naked Edge, plus a $25 gift card to Borders.

Spread the word. Bring your friends.

I’ll be having another one in a couple of weeks because there are people who want to participate but who can’t.

If you have questions, post them here or e-mail me: pamelaclare @ earthlink.net (remove spaces). Also, feel free to propose discussion topics, but if please be careful not to post spoilers or at least to warn people before you do.

This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so I’m very excited!

See you tomorrow night!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giving birth in chains — my day at the state capitol

This shouldn’t be part of any woman's prison sentence.

What a day. It started with a really awful night.

Y'all know that my body has been through the wringer. There’s the whole falling-of-the-cliff gig. There’s the broken neck thing. And then there’s the gave-birth-to-a-baby-with-a-15-inch-head incident, which tore my cervix, caused permanent damage to my lower spine and even made my hips hemorrhage internally. (Can they really do that? Yes. TMI? Sorry, I’m a journalist. There's never any such thing as TMI.)

Somehow yesterday I did violence to myself and set off the lower spine problem. I’ve had physical therapy, massage, steroid injections and every other thing that can be done short of that special Klingon spine replacement surgery they do for Worf on Star Trek. I would sign up for trials for that, but no one’s doing them yet...

To make a boring story shorter, I couldn’t even lie down last night without serious pain. I finally took narcotics and got maybe four hours. What does a newspaper E-in-C do she's been awake all night? She gets up and goes to work.

Today was our press day — and we made our deadline — but it was also the day I was supposed to meet the president of Colorado’s Senate to see whether there was any chance of getting legislation going to make it illegal to put women inmates in chains when they're in labor.

And... It went really, really well. I took the packet of materials I had put together out of my own research on the topic, met with him privately in his office, and gave him my impassioned plea to end this practice. He got a funny look on his face and said, “Do you mean to say that they actually shackle a woman by her wrist or ankle to a hospital bed even though she’s already under armed guard?” And I said, “Yes."

He read through the materials I’d brought and told me that he’d give his approval for the introduction of this as a late bill — we are past the legislative deadline for new bills for 2010 — provided I can find a senator willing to introduce it. Too bad there isn’t really a Reece Sheridan for me to turn to... (for this and other reasons)

The photo I had in mind for Megan when I wrote Unlawful Contact.

Elated, I left his office and got lost. Then I got on the elevator and meant to go to a different floor and wondered why the elevator wasn’t moving. Then I realized I kept pushing the button for the second floor... and I was on the second floor. And that explained why the lobbyist in the elevator was giving me strange looks.


The Colorado State Capitol in downtown Denver

So there’s a lot more to do to get this effort underway, but I feel things are converging. When I got back to the office — which entailed driving through a short blizzard — I found I had a message from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) saying that they had hoped to get legislation rolling about this for next year but that if I already had something underway they’d throw their weight behind it. And so it’s on!

I feel very happy about this. It’s something I’ve tried to make happen for a long time, but I haven’t been able to persuade a lawmaker to take up the challenge. Now I’ve done the research they’ll need to pass the bill, and I’m willing to throw the newspaper behind it. Is that objective journalism? Do I care?

Back when the Founders created the First Amendment, newspapers played an advocacy role on behalf of things they believed were important issues. Nowadays “advocacy” is saved for the editorial pages. But sometimes that’s not enough.

Too many people don’t care about women, and especially about women in prison. I have to change that somehow. I can’t exactly say why this became so important to me, but it is. When my mother told a friend what I was working on, her friend said, “Well, I guess they shouldn't have landed in prison.”

But birth impacts the baby, too. And no prison sentence should include being chained while doing that uniquely beautiful thing that only women can do — bringing a new life into the world.

I am staking myself to this one.

I know it has nothing to do with fiction or Naked Edge, which I’m supposed to be promoting now with tireless zeal. And though it was mentioned in Unlawful Contact through the character of Megan, it really has nothing to do with my novels. But it has to do with what’s important to me on a soul-deep level. And so here it is.

If you’re interested in checking on or changing the policies in your state, please let me know! I’ll hook you up. If you want me to blog on this topic, baby, I’m all yours.

Time for more percocet... If only I had some chocolate!

Now back to your regularly
Monday, March 08, 2010

Bits and pieces: Chat, prizes, women in prison...

The Colorado State Senate


Hey, everyone.

I wanted to let you know that those of you who’ve won copies of Naked Edge (and who’ve sent me your addresses) can expect a package in the mail very soon! I still need address from some of you, however. If I don’t hear back by the end of the week, I’ll pick new winners. So please send me your addresses!

After the Epilogue Chat update: The chat will be held this coming Saturday, March 13, at 7 p.m. MST (that’s 9 PM for the East Coast and 6 PM for the West Coast) in a Chatzy chatroom. I will post the URL of the chatroom here that afternoon, so check back here before the chat starts, and click the link to join us. Chatzy is very easy to use with only minimal registration required.

Remember this is a spoiler chat for those who’ve already read Naked Edge and want to talk about it with others.

Blogging today: I'm blogging with Denise Agnew and The Branford Bunch today at http://tinyurl.com/yz7rkec. It’s another chance to win a copy of Naked Edge and to ask questions.

Women in prison:
Those of you who read Unlawful Contact know that it focused heavily on challenges faced by women in prison. That’s a topic I’ve covered a lot over the years, most recently when I wrote about the treatment pregnant women receive in prison. Part of the HEA in Unlawful Contact ** mini-spoiler ** is that Reece, the senator hero from Extreme Exposure, passes a bill that makes it illegal to shackle pregnant inmates in labor.

Yes, unbelievably, most states in the U.S. allow incarcerated women to be shackled during this most vulnerable and sometimes scary time of their lives. Not only do they give birth surrounded by strangers — even the baby’s father isn’t allowed to be in the room — but these women are also chained to their beds and kept under armed guard. Talk about overkill!

Can you imagine a woman in active labor trying to run away from an armed guard?

I’ve been trying to bring attention to this abuse (as I see it) for a long time. My most recent article on the subject seems to have caught some attention. So on Wednesday I’m having a private meeting the president of the State Senate to discuss the issue.

Wish me luck! I hope I can make my state lawmakers understand that chaining women to a bed during this time only further damages already damaged human beings. And it puts their babies at risk. This is so important to me. I became a journalist to help people who otherwise would be ignored by our society, and this is an issue that tears at my heart.

This will be a busy and somewhat stressful week for me, but I’ll be back and we’ll move on with the fun stuff I have in store for us, like an interview with Gabe Rossiter.

And THANK YOU for your messages and e-mails! I’m delighted that so many of you have enjoyed the story and happy to know that Julian and Marc have some competition in Gabe. One reader described Gabe as “a hero for the ages.” That would probably embarrass him, but I bet that Kat would agree.
Thursday, March 04, 2010

NAKED EDGE contest winners / Come chat!



Congratulations to Lori, Joy, Liz P, Ronna and Alba!


You each won a signed copy of Naked Edge! E-mail me your mailing address, and I’ll pop your books and matching bookmarks in the mail.

Sorry to have vanished. No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth or get arrested. I simply was consumed by problems at the paper this week. We missed our press deadline by more than an hour due to serious, prolonged computer problems in the production department, and it wasn't pretty. But we did eventually get the paper out. And we're getting a new computer for production.

As a result of the chaos, however, I missed hanging with you on release day — the problems started Tuesday morning — and am just getting caught up now.

I’m starting to hear from those of you who’ve had time to read the book, and I’ve been relieved and thrilled by what you’ve shared with me. Several of you have told me you wanted to talk about the book with others who've read it.

So... I’m setting up a chat. It’s the “After the Epilogue Naked Edge Chat” for Saturday evening, March 13 at 7 p.m. MST (9 Easter/6 Pacific). If anyone has a chatroom, let me know. Otherwise I’ll set it up at Chatzy and post the link.

What will we do in this chat? Well, we'll chat about the book without worrying about giving spoilers away to those who haven’t read it. You can ask me anything you’d like, and you can compare your thoughts and favorite scenes to those of other readers. You don’t have to be a regular poster on this blog to participate. Whether I know you from my blog or Facebook or Goodreads or a past life, you are welcome!

Everyone who participates will be eligible to win a signed copy of the book with a bookmark. Think of it as a perc for those of you who zipped out, got the book and read it — people like Kara C, who seems to have inhaled it. I’ll share some things that you don't know about the story — not the boring stuff about my falling off mountains, but more the specific details in the story.

It's also my way of thanking you for not giving away the surprises at the ending of the story in your reviews. I’ve been amazed at everyone's restraint, and I'm very grateful that no one has spilled the beans! Since you've all been so circumspect, you deserve a place to hang out and talk all you want about you know what!

So here were some fun things from the first couple of days of the book’s release:

Chatting at Leontine's Book Realm, Sapphire Romance and Borders True Romance.

Leontine's question about the kind of personal ad Gabe would run had people laughing, including me. Jenn J at Sapphire Romance asked some insightful questions based on her deep knowledge about the story. At Borders, I met a lot of new people.

And then there was the review at Smart Bitches. I loved it! SB Sarah gave the book a B+ and offered my favorite description of Gabe so far:
"[Y]ou see him act so honorably one moment, like when he comes to the heroine’s rescue after another police officer way oversteps his boundaries, and then you see him act like a callous, heartless self-absorbed dickbag and wonder how it can be the same person.”
I fell in love with the word dickbag and have tried to use it in as many situations as I can since then. I may have to put it in my next I-Team book.

I still have bookmarks. If you work at or own a bookstore and would like some, please let me know. Or if you’re a reader and would like one, also, let me know.

Other fun and games to come:
More contests
An interview with Gabe Rossiter
Naked Edge trivia
An interview with a true powder hound/extreme skier friend of mine (complete with video)

So has anyone seen the book on bookstore shelves out there anywhere? Does anyone have any release week stories to share?

Also, please RSVP if you'd like to come to the After the Epilogue Chat. I'll need your e-mail address to invite you in.

Thanks!
Tuesday, March 02, 2010

NAKED EDGE is out!



Thanks to those of you who joined me through the countdown to the release of Naked Edge. That day is finally here! It's been one year and 11 months since Unlawful Contact brought you Marc and Sophie's story, so it's about time!

Today, help me celebrate the book’s release. There are lots of fun ways to do that.

The best way to celebrate is to get your hands on a copy of the book and spend the day or the evening reading, and then to come back and share your thoughts on the story. There are drawings for free copies of the book going on across the 'Net.

Chat with me here and be entered into a drawing to win one of FIVE autographed copies of Naked Edge that will be given away during the course of the day. Just share with me your favorite moment from a Naked Edge excerpt (listed here on this blog), and you’re in!

Or come to Borders True Romance, where I will be blogging all day, and be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of the book there.

Visit Leontine's Book Realm to read an interview with me about the book and to be entered into the drawing there. We had a lively chat yesterday.

If you're out and about and see displays featuring Naked Edge, snap a photo, email it to me and I'll post it here.

Here are more ways to join in the fun:

If you are a reader and would like a matching bookmark or a signed bookplate to put in your copy of Naked Edge, send an e-mail or contact to me through my Web site's guestbook with your mailing address.

If you represent a readers group and would like bookmarks for your entire group, or if you want to set up a speaker phone chat with your readers group to discuss the book, please contact me, and we’ll set it up!

If you are a bookstore owner or employee and want bookmarks for your customers, let me know and I will get them in the mail to you.

If you love the cover of the book, go to my Web site and download the free wallpaper for your desktop.

Then stay tuned, because I'll be having an After The Epilogue chat later this month so that those of you who want to talk with me about the book can spend a couple of hours doing just that without worrying about spoilers.

Plus there will be more contests and craziness to come.

So get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and help me make this the best I-Team book release party ever!
Monday, March 01, 2010

Final Countdown: 1 is for...



Today is brought to you by the Number 1. One is for... One man’s determination, one man’s love for a woman, one man’s astonishing sacrifice.



Gabe wasn’t looking to get involved with a woman. Especially not a virgin who believes in happily-ever-afters. (A virgin! When was the last time he'd heard that word associated with anything other than olive oil? He really can’t remember.)

But from the moment Kat enters his life, she begins to challenge everything he thought he knew about himself. She sees things in him that he doesn't see — which, frankly, scares the hell out of him.

When her investigation into events at Mesa Butte puts her life in danger, he can’t let her face that alone, whether that includes flying bullets…



Or much more stealthy and sinister weapons.

Keeping Kat safe will take every bit of his strength… and his courage…

And before it’s all over, he’ll find himself willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep her alive.

It seems that somewhere along the way, Gabe fell in love.

“There is no greater sacrifice than when one lays down his life for another.”

That brings us to the end of our countdown. Now only hours remain until Naked Edge is released in bookstores. I spent more than a year working each and every day on this book, and I hope with all of my heart that Kat and Gabe’s story will be one that stays with you for years to come.


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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