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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I-Team Reading Challenge — Naked Edge chat


Calling Team Gabe! This is your chance to wax eloquent.

I meant to have this up this morning, but this week has been insane at the paper. I had a huge project more or less dumped in my lap and am trying to get it done before I leave for a week-long writing vacation that starts tomorrow at 5 p.m. Things have been so tense that I did something I really haven’t done in ages today — I got up in the middle of a meeting and walked out. Now I just want chocolate and a blankie.

::Deep breath::

Poor Kat and Gabe have been patiently awaiting their turn on the I-Team Reading Challenge stage so this blog is dedicated to their story, Naked Edge.

Naked Edge drew together some completely unrelated things. It combined my climbing accident — read all about it here — with my years of reporting on American Indian issue and my time volunteering as a naturalist for Boulder Mountain Parks (now called Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks). I borrowed names from my ranger friends, which amused them. More than that, however, this book was a very personal tribute to the Diné people and to my Diné friends.

Without a doubt, it was the most difficult book I’ve written. I wanted to make absolutely certain to be accurate when it came to the Navajo traditions in the story and to Native culture in general. That’s a very complicated, layered world to portray even when you’re familiar with it as I am — Kat’s Navajo heritage, the mixed cultures off the reservation where Native people from all nations come together for ceremony, friendship and a sense of belonging, their conflicts with mainstream society. I’ve said it a zillion times, but I wanted Kat to be Navajo through and through, not an “apple,” i.e., red on the outside and white on the inside. If I had to criticize most books, films, TV shows involving Native characters it would be for portraying Native characters in a way that makes mainstream readers/viewers feel comfortable.

At the same time, there were things I couldn’t write about. The real goings-on in ceremony, certain sacred words and phrases. Those things aren’t meant to be shared. Except how do you create an authentic Navajo heroine without going into those things? Well, you have to be creative and careful.

Kat became my favorite heroine. Strong and very comfortable being a woman, she knew exactly who she was. There was no need to “find herself.” She was herself. And some readers agreed at least, as she was voted Favorite Heroine in RBL Romantica’s Hughie Awards, ousting Eve Dallas from her multi-year hold on the lead spot. Go Kat!

But a lot of people didn’t care for her. The reviews range from glowing five-star reviews to a measly three stars from RT Book Reviews and one-star review in which the reader says the book was “incredibly stupid,” mostly because she didn't like the fact that Kat said she didn’t date. In fact most of the objections to Kat came as a result of her sexual choices. Some people got on Kat’s case for being a virgin and setting Gabe straight at their first real meeting (lunch). Some people got on her case for not wanting him to wear a condom the first time they had sex. Some people hated the fact that she went back to the rez to have her baby and for not having an epidural (!). Some didn’t understand how a woman could go to college and still have superstitious religious beliefs about coyotes and so forth. Allow me to explain:

Some women don’t date. Dating — i.e., sampling men to see which one you like, if any — is a serial event. Some women wait for a man who is interested in them as a wife and explore that territory very carefully. These are mostly women of strong religious conviction.

A lot of Native people — not just Navajo — don’t feel comfortable with contraception. In the case of the Navajo, the mingling of male and female waters is part of what’s sacred about sex. If you remove that, you’ve destroyed the significance of the sex act. So naturally Kat would want her first sexual experience to be all natural.

As for the birth at the end, if Kat hadn’t gone home, her daughter would not have been considered Navajo. To be Navajo, you must have a certain blood quantum AND be born on the rez. And not all women have epidurals. A lot of women prefer completely natural births. What’s the big deal about that?

And lastly, a lot of women go to college and yet are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever. They have beliefs that may seem strange, stupid and/or superstitious to outsiders, too, even though they’ve been to college. To suggest that going to college eliminates a person’s belief system is to fail to understand the importance of tradition and one’s connect to one’s own spiritual truth.

What struck me as so funny as I read through all of these objections to Kat’s character, particularly the sexual ones, is that they were coming from women. Haven’t women fought long and hard for the right to make decisions about how they live their lives? Kat was making choices that were right for her, but there’s a segment of the romance reading world that just is only comfortable with sex for fun and wants heroines to be rockin’ the contraception.

But I write stories about characters who feel real to me. Kat was a traditional Navajo. These things were natural for her.

I guess I needed to get that off my chest. Whew!

As for Gabe, there were some readers who felt he was so repugnant that he couldn’t be redeemed. I found that funny, given how many novels have man-whore heroes. Gabe isn’t a man-whore by nature, of course, and meeting Kat was a scary re-introduction to his core self. Ultimately, it forced him to confront his choices, his past and the way he had changed. But, yes, it probably took readers a while to warm up to him. That didn’t bother me, because I knew by the end they would love him.

Because this book took a lot of risks, I was pretty nervous before it came out. I even blogged about how nervous I was. Despite the fact that the story received some of the nastiest reviews any of my books have ever received, it’s getting nominated for all kinds of awards — and winning. Between AAR and the Hughies, it won six awards. So I think a lot more people appreciate the risks the story took and the different feel of it than hated it.

As for the Big Event at the end, you all have done such an amazing job of keeping that secret! I can’t thank you enough for that. It was a crucial moment in the story, the one where past and present come together and Gabe has to make a choice. And the only choice he can make is to express his love for Kat in the ultimate fashion. I wanted that to feel real and to break hearts. I think it succeeded because Naked Edge has been getting a lot of tear-jerker designations.

So, a year after it’s release, I stand amazed by the recognition the story is receiving. I hope with all my heart that it opened up hearts and minds to the contemporary Native experience. Much of what was in the book is real and those real events represent the kinds of things that happen to Indian people every day: the raid on the inipi, the theft of artifacts, the corruption and loss of sacred sites, the desecration of graves, the struggle to maintain identity, the fight to preserve one’s own spiritual beliefs and practices, and so on...

I’ve been an eye witness to much of that. The raid on the inipi really happened. The loss of a prominent sacred site really happened. I covered it, shared the outrage and wished I could have done more.

I suppose the ultimate satisfaction for me came when my friend Kat, after whom Kat is named, read the book. Her husband, whom I call Uncle Ray, is a full-blooded hereditary Navajo spiritual leader, and both of them are dear to me. Kat read the book and e-mailed me to say it was perfect and that it felt authentically Navajo to her. She saw things that no one else could see — elements of shared experience between the two of us, late-night conversations, jokes, my own personal experiences on the rez. There are elements of our friendship that are woven into those pages.

Maybe that’s what makes the book feel special to people, even if they don’t know what those elements are or realize they’re even there. (Egads, now I miss her so much!)

Today, she sent me a link to a hideous news broadcast in which a non-Native reporter took news cameras into an inipi ceremony. Cameras! She filmed it. They filmed the altar. They filmed the sacred elements. And they put it on TV. During the call-in portion of the program, a Lakota elder called in to say that what they had done was wrong. She cut him off! I was horrified. (I’m not posting the link because that would only perpetuate the insult and damage.)

I didn’t intend for this post to be so long. This is all really heavy stuff. I guess it’s okay to share it with you, though, because these are the things I think about when I put a story together.

So I’ll shut up now and turn it over to you.

33 comments:

Lucy said...

There are so many things I love about Naked Edge but I think Kat is what draws me to rereading it all the time (oh, ok, Gabe does too ). To me, she is your strongest female character. Her convictions and strength of character are such an integral part of the story, no wonder Gabe falls so hard for her :)

Hi, Lucy — Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One reviewer on Amazon said Kat was a "wimp masquerading as a heroine." I just totally didn't get that, because I felt she was my strongest heroine yet. So I' glad you agree with me. I think Natalie probably comes close, but Kat has the most unshakable sense of self.

I didn't even talk that much about Gabe, did I? Proof that I'm exhausted, I think. LOL!

Off to bed for me...

landipan said...

It's kinda weird for me to hear that so many people had a problem with Kat and Gabe,for I loved both of them immediately! I really loved this book
and am glad it has gotton the awards that it has!

One thing about this book that was new to me and something I actually had never read before in a romance novel(and I have read many lol) is the mention of Gabe being 'uncut',I thought it was nice to hear about the other side of things in the 'manroot' world in a romance novel lol.

I thought the ending to this book was so sweet and emotional,what with Gabe's brave decision and all,I was nearly in tears reading that part!

Thank you for writing such a well written,well researched and beautiful story Pamela,it was a absolutely wonderful adventure! Can hardly wait for Nat's story,only a little ways a way now(though I feel like it's forever a way haha)

I liked that you've said your piece about women make choices based on a set of belief system whether others understand that belief system or not. There are so many types of people on this planet and no one is identical in that inner aspect of their lives, and that is what makes each of us so special and unique.

I like your writing because you apply your experience and knowledge into your books, and that's what I feel makes them high standard even in this genre. Each of your book have its uniqueness backed by facts and yes, creativity.

I like the pureness in Kat that influences Gabe to re-look at his inner self. I feel that we need to apply that even in our lives, sometimes we're so caught up with so many things we don't have time to do an inner self-reflection to realise what are we and where have we arrived at a certain stage in our lives before embarking on the path again and moving forward.

And because of our constant rush in life, we forget, loose touch with our inner self that is also the very base where we, in turn, launch our thoughts, words and actions outwards to the people and our environment. A lot of that inner motivation gets reflected around us if we don't take a step back to really look at it and how we conduct ourselves towards others.

I hope that your books will continue to encourage many more fans and new readers to open up their minds and hearts to the variety of experiences that surround us and yes, not all of them are beautiful but they are also what life is about. The good and the bad...

Thanks very much Pamela for your continual efforts and the courage to illuminate the world with positivity through your writing be it in the papers or your books! :o)

Brett said...

WOW, I'm shocked that anyone could dislike Kat, or Gabe or the book as a whole. It was by far one of my favorites and I cry at the big event each time I read it.

Also, I wanted to thank you for turning me onto Maya Banks, WOW! :)

ahz1 said...

My I-Team reading challenge is complete.

I finished Naked Edge last week and I enjoyed it. It was not my favorite of the I-Team books, but I can't pin down why. I loved Kat and her commitment to her Navajo background. The inclusion of the coyote as almost a guide/warning signal was awesome. I liked that Gabe was a different kind of hero. How many park rangers do you actually read about in novels? Well done and I felt that you were very sensitive and respectful to the native customs. Loved Gabe's Indian nickname - Ranger Easy-on-the-eyes.

Can't wait for the next book.

The more romances I read, the more quickly I get bored with the 'sex for fun' aspect in most of them. One of the reasons I enjoyed Naked Edge so much is that the relationship came first. Kat's choices are completely in character, and I admire her for them. As for Gabe, it's clear that his choices are a result of the harm that's been done to him. I avoided the romance genre for a long time because I wanted real stories with fully developed characters, and you're writing them. Thank you.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

I've always had a thing for virgin heroines who are sweet, pure, and possess an inner strength (rather than being outright b*tchy), so that's what drew me into Naked Edge at first. It's hard to find stories with heroines like that in contemporary romance because we're all about the "strong, independent, alpha woman" now. That's why I also especially love your historical heroines; they are just so sweet and feminine. I also love it when this sweet heroine "tames" the restless "rake" Gabe :)

Back to Naked Edge- This one is my favorite I-Team novel so far. I very much enjoyed the cultural aspects of the story. And as always with the I-Team books, I appreciate how the love story actually has development instead of the pair falling in "love" with each other at first sight.

In the previous books, the tidbits about Kat made her sound kind of distant and cold, but in this book, we're able to see how genuine and warm Kat actually is. She's so pure and such a strong woman to hold to her beliefs, no matter how "silly" they might seem to others. She melted through Gabe's barriers and straight to his heart because she was so compassionate, genuine, and giving. And I'm really glad Gabe wasn't some cocky and arrogant dude without any depth or back story to him...otherwise I would have HATED him for how much he engaged in casual sex, lol.

Naked Edge was the most touching I-Team story to me so far. I loved each character's growth and Gabe's transformation. The love story was simply beautiful and the suspense elements were intriguing. Naked Edge will always have a place in my heart.

Scorpio M. said...

Naked Edge is my favorite I-Team book. Right from the beginning, I felt connected to Kat & Gabe.

Kat because her background rang with many similarities to mine and I understood her ties to her faith. She was feminine, filled with dignity & strength but not kick-ass (how many women, really are? not me! LOL).

Gabe because his was never a broken man, he was just a good guy (and I love those types of heroes) whose sense of fidelity & love was betrayed and shaken. I understood his genesis to the detached, daredevil man he became. His pain revealed to me how deep a man he really was and that is just a great facet for a hero to have.

I was a bit surprised also by some readers reactions to K & G, it made me wonder if those readers just preferred their fiction to be more escapist & fantastical than realistic & forgiving.

The other aspect of NE that I loved was the sense of location. As a citygirl, I just loved that feel of the mountains and outdoors that NE evoked. Gabe being a park ranger & skilled climber was *so* perfect. He just exuded organic masculinity (hence, the reason Gabe > Roark...hehe). Did I mention that Gabe is my favorite? ;)

NAKED EDGE just pushed all my right romance reading buttons. Great characters, believable dialogue (that Scooby Doo comment still makes me LOL!), chemistry btwn the H & h. What else?...oh yes, Pamela managed to surprise me! It is rare to be surprised in romance, but that decision that Gabe makes on the mountain...OMG, I need a hanky and a new heart cause mine is exhausted.

Anonymous said...

Well everyone knows how I feel about Gabe. He's absolutely one of my favorite heroes. But I really loved him before the Big Event, that just put him over the top for me.

Throughout the book I thought there was a risk of Kat becoming unlikable. She was pretty rigid at first, but I was consistently pleased at how she would work out in her mind why something was happening. It was a good example of how strong emotion doesn't have to stamp out logic. And I never thought the conclusions she was coming to were leaps, they were based on what she'd seen and experienced. That's all probably too vague, but I don't want to give anything away from this book.

I guess Gabe might have seemed unlikable at first ... not to me. I always thought it was obvious he'd been hurt badly at some point. I actually appreciated that he set parameters with the woman we first see him with -- parameters she agreed to -- and never lied to her. When she went off the rails, I didn't blame him for that at all.

The suspense was really good in this book, the action/adventure was great. The setting was well described -- I didn't feel like I was lost in any of the climbing jargon either, which is definitely a big success for you, Pamela. I don't climb at all -- that's a totally foreign world to me, but I didn't feel like I was lost.

The romance was really rewarding. Excellent chemistry. I always love it when the man-whore has to deal with a virgin and he really, REALLY cares. It's karmic, in a way.

I think this is the best I-Team yet. *hugs Gabe stuffie* What? I have a Gabe stuffie.

Beanbag Love

Ronlyn said...

I waited all day yesterday, checking back several times, for this post and when you did get it up (*giggle*) I MISSED IT?! Good Lord. LOL

NE is so special. As you said, Kat is not the "traditional" contemp/RS heroine, but that's what makes her uniquely wonderful. She has such a solid core and iron strength that you can't help (well, I couldn't help) but stand in awe of her. Gabe is her perfect match, despite my finding him aloof and something of a jackass when I first "met" him. He's vulnerable in a way that the other I-Team heroes haven't been and he reacted to his hurt as well as his protective instincts to Kat in a typically Alpha way. He's a perfect addition to the I-Team studs.

I have many more thoughts, but work calls...

Alison said...

I loved Naked Edge!

I disagree that Gabe was unredeemable, no he didn't deal with his betrayak in the healthiest way and he was an @ss at times, but deep down he's one of the good ones. I loved how protective he was of Kat and how he respected her wishes.

Kat is amazing. I know she didn't say much in the previous books, but when she did it was always something poignant. I liked that Kat knew her mind and would think things through and decide how she felt/what do to next.

I can't say enough how much I love this whole series!

Mary G said...

This book took my breath away. The Native references, language, symbolism, etc made it beautiful and magical. Gabe & Kat were magical together. I still love the line "Walk in beauty" which made me melt. I think that if pople had issues with this book it's because you dared to be different. I love when an author just blows it out of the water. I can't slot this book anywhere. it is special to me. It remains in a class by itself and incomparable.
As I've told you before, You, my dear, write in beauty.

Doreen said...

Finally, Gabe and Kat's turn! Now where to begin??
First, the title. Naked Edge. It has so many meanings to me. The literal meaning of the name of the side of the mountain where Gabe climbed to the raw emotion and feeling this book evoked and more. (Of course the getting naked parts are good too!)
I'm a voracious reader and have always been a huge fan of romance. Pamela, your I-Team books are my first foray into romantic suspense and I couldn't have found a better series to read!
Kat is a modern day heroine who not only knows herself, but is also so in tuned with the world and the people around her. I honestly don't think she has a jaded bone in her body. Kat's Native heritage intrigued me enough to do a little more reading on the Navajo. I know so little about modern Native life. It's hard to believe that people live in hogans with their families and extended family without the modern conveniences that I take for granted.
While Gabe is not Native, he too has a connection to and respect for the land and Native people that resonates throughout the book.
Now, for the love story. I adore this couple and by far, Naked Edge is my favorite of the I-Team books. The way they grew together as a couple, the love and emotion, it was very real to me. Gabe's ultimate choice at the end had me screaming in my head "No! Don't do it Gabe!" I could almost feel Kat's pain.
I really enjoy the epilogue's in your books and this one was wonderful. It's so nice to see what happen's to a couple beyond the climax of the story and last chapter.
All in all...a job well done Pamela! You're one heck of a writer! Looking forward to Breaking Point!

wavybrains said...

I loved, loved, loved, loved this book. What was fabulous about the reading challenge was watching your evolution as a writer and my reaction as a reader--I enjoyed EE, really really liked HE, and loved UC, and Naked Edge is a desert isle keeper for me. The writing, plotting, and POV in the book were just superb.

I loved everything about Kat--I loved that she was a virgin, and that it wasn't just circumstance or hang-ups keeping her one. It was an intrinsic part of her identity, and I loved that she was 100% upfront with Gabe about who she was and what she wanted--it made me respect her so much. She wasn't a virgin waiting to be talked out of it or swept away, and because she was honest about it, Gabe got that about her, and it influenced the rest of his interactions with her--in a good way. Because she was so honest with him, it continually forced him to look at areas where he wasn't being honest.

I loved Gabe as hero too. I love tortured heroes, and in his own way, he was every bit as tortured as Julian and Hunt. I mentioned this on another thread, but I really loved that he was uncut--a nice change, and it very much fit with Kat's need to have things as natural as possible. I loved his willingness to accommodate her and how hard he tried to do the right thing, right up until the very end.

Without giving away too many spoilers, I wonder if you considered ending it differently, with a less drastic result for Gabe? I can see why you ended it as you did for him, but I loved him so much that I really wanted something less permanent for him, and I loved him as a ranger. (Oh and I loved the epilogue. LOVED.)

I'm so sorry I've been AWOL all day. I blame my job. CRAZY week. And not in a good way, really.

But as of 17:00 Mountain Time, I left for a week's vacation. Hallelujah! I'm so glad to be off!

I'm going to spend the week with my son, Benjamin, who will be home from college for spring break and with Connor and Sarah, who will be getting intimately acquainted.

OK, NAKED EDGE...

I have to say you all have posted such touching things. This book has prompted extreme reactions from readers from love to loathing.

Hi, Landipan — Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Keep your fingers crossed for a RITA or the Daphne du Maurier Award!

Gabe's foreskin... Interesting you should mention that. Having come of age in Europe, so to speak, my experience of men started with guys who are not circumcized. Most American women don't realize that the rest of the world doesn't do this. I know one American man who thinks circumcision is a Catholic ritual. Um, dude, no.

The fact that I try to mention the fact that ALL my heroes are uncut — I don't always remember — is that I find it more attractive and more natural and more pleasurable. Plus, once you've grown used to one thing and then are exposed to another, you have both in mind. So for me, cut or uncut is as distinct and different as blue eyes or brown. And it feels like an important detail.

Only, what, 52 day till BP is out? I don't remember if I mentioned the state of Zach's foreskin or not... LOL!


Hi, Fuzzy Wuzzy — Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind post.

What you say is so true! There are so many kinds of people, so many ways of seeing the world, and most of us are exposed to only our own. There's a richness in human experience that is lost if we don't expand our horizons and try to see the world through new eyes. (Learning a foreign language is the best way to do that, I think, because you learn how to see the world in a different way.)

Thanks so much for your sweet words. I need the stories to be about something. I need them to feel like they have some content. Otherwise, writing them wouldn't hold my interest.

I like the way you put that — that we forget to examine ourselves because we're so caught in the rush of life. I think self-reflection isn't a popular activity these days, and there are so many ways to escape reality or to escape from ourselves and our problems.

As for the bad and good in life, there's an American Indian (Navajo or Lakota) proverb that goes something like this: If the eye sheds no tears, the soul would have no rainbows.

I probably butchered that.

And you're welcome!



I

Hi, Brett — You're welcome! I'm so glad you're enjoying Maya's books. I just finished reading Jaci Burton's THE PERFECT PLAY. She and I joked on Twitter that Jed Hill is two-timing on us because he's on her cover, too. LOL! Very good book. Hot.

Yes, you should check out the Amazon reviews. A few readers got into it there in the comments on the review that called the book "incredibly stupid." That's the first time that has happened, and it was somewhat entertaining for me as a lurker and the author.

Hi AHZ1 — Congrats on finishing the Reading Challenge! Hurray! I'm glad you liked the story, even if isn't you fave.

You know, I still get nervous when I see coyotes, which isn't all that infrequently. I hate it when they cross the road. I don't stop, but then I always wonder if I should have. I spent too much time around Navajo people to be able to ignore them. On the rez, a whole line of trucks will pull over while the grannies figure out where the coyote crossed and then do that little ceremony.

I'm not sure how many books are written about park rangers, but they are a sexy bunch. :-)

Hi, Jennie — I know what you mean. I want the characters in the books I read to have sex when it's right for them. I think there's a lot of emphasis on getting the couples to have sex early on in the story. And that's fine if it fits the story. If it it's gratuitous, then it kind of detracts from the story rather than building it up.

What's funny is that I kind of set out to write raw, edgy sexual books. But the boundaries have passed over my head, so now I'm kind of on the vanilla end of sexy. I won't write backdoor sex or real BDSM — I just don't find it sexy — and that's where the "edge" is these days. Periodically, readers thank me for having those boundaries, though, so I know I'm not the only one in Vanilla Land. :-)

And thank you so much for saying that. That really touches me. I'm so glad I got you back into reading romance. I do try.

Hi, Amy — I tend to like feminine heroines, too. I definitely don't like "she-roes," i.e., kick-butt heroines who are cold and tough. I guess I'm old fashioned that way. I think there are some amazingly wonderful things about being a woman, and one of them is being gentle and feminine.

I'm so glad you enjoyed NAKED EDGE. Yes, their journey to Happily Ever After is a long one, isn't it?

I think those elements of Kat seeming cold were her being painfully honest and direct in a professional setting. She definitely can be brutally honest. LOL!

It was hard writing Gabe because I had to hint that his compassionate, caring good-guy side was there (such as when he helped her when she fell and then at the raid on the inipi) tucked inside next to the horndog. And it's hard writing that kind of duality into a single character in 400 pages.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you so much! That means so very much to me to know!

Hi, Scorpio — I'm so happy you gave the book a chance and that you've read the others. I know this is your fave.

As for women being kick-ass, I've had to be tough at times, but I didn't like having to stand up for myself that way. The scarier parts of my job as an investigative reporter can sometimes be truly scary. It's a wonderful thing to feel protected and cared for. I raised my boys to believe that they have physical strength for a reason, and that's to help and protect those who are weaker than they are. The Indian concept of the warrior is just that — not a man who fights a lot, but a man who cares for all in his community who are weaker than he. Based on that definition, I wish we had a lot more warriors in this world. But I digress...

I think you've hit on something. I had one reader tell me once that she didn't want anything in her books to remind her of real life. I write stories that have their seed in the ugliness of the real world. Some readers just won't like that. It's true for my historicals, too. I don't write about ballrooms and gowns and parties and rakes. I write about war and torture and survival. I've seen too much of that real world to even care about ballrooms and gowns. I am probably the only romance novelist who knows what happens to human brains when they dry on the wall... And it's not something I want to know, believe me.

And I love that: "organic masculinity." Gosh, I'll take some of that, please!!!

I hope you come to Colorado one day. I'll show you my mountains. (Yes, they're mine — I even tell the my ranger friends that. LOL!)

I'm glad you liked the Scooby-Doo comment. It made me laugh to write it. In fact, I giggled quite a bit.

Thanks so much, Scorpio. :-)

Hi, Beanbag — Can I just say that it felt like a moment of true triumph to have you really love an I-Team story? It was. Truly.

I'm so glad to know Gabe is one of your favorite heroes. He almost unseated Roarke on RBL Romantica. TWO MEASLY VOTES!

I see what you're saying about Kat. A lot has been said about how Kat challenged Gabe's point of view, but he challenged her, too. I'm sure the last thing she imagined was that she would end up with a promiscuous, bilegana ranger for a husband. But what I always told my agent about her is that she's very perceptive. She sees the gaps between what people say and what they do, and she notices the emotional nuances. So she was constantly having to reassess Gabe as she learned more about him. She starts out wanting to protect herself and withhold herself from him and he becomes the man she wants to give everything.

And thanks for saying that! I am so with you. If someone sets limits in a relationship and you agree with them, don't blame them when you cross the line.

I'm glad the climbing and skiing scenes didn't lose you. I wrote them, then had my brother, one of my ski writers and one of my park ranger friends who is a climber/skier read them for idiocy. But I've lived with it, done it (skied, climbed, etc.), and even grew up with it, so I tried to describe it in ways that used the jargon but with enough context to where a person who has no idea what "taking face shots in fresh powpow" means can understand it.

There's a description of The Naked Edge (the climbing route) in the prologue that I was so darned proud of! When Gabe thinks of the climbing route as a "bad-tempered geological accident," I was just so bloody proud to be a writer. I shared it with my brother (who suggested the route The Naked Edge when I needed my climber to be on something reckless) and he laughed out loud. Rock geeks. (My brother has been known to climb his chimney when bored.)

I think you're right -- the karmic aspect of man-whore and virgin. Or maybe it's some kind of archetype confronting another. At any rate, I hoped in the end it would feel like balance for both of them. Balance is a huge concept in the Navajo worldview.

I wanted Gabe to truly respect her choices, including her decision to remain a virgin. Otherwise, he'd be a dick.

YOU HAVE A GABE STUFFIE? OMG! I want one. Post a photo!

Hi, Ronlyn — It's really unacceptable when one's job interferes with one's online activities. It happened to both of us this week. What is the world coming to?!?

I'm so glad you think Gabe belongs in the I-Team stable. He definitely had an edge at first. Did you throw the book when he did the thing with the knife? I'm trying to remember... LOL!

Hi, Alison — I'm so glad you've enjoyed the series. Thanks for giving it a try!

That's exactly how I saw Kat coming into NAKED EDGE — she doesn't say much, but when she does people listen because it's well thought out.

I was told once by my editor that readers don't like man-whore characters, and I didn't really get it or believe her. Now I do. I can think of a few reviews where the person wrote that even the ending didn't redeem him. Everyone is entitled to her opinion, of course. I'm not arguing. I was just really surprised.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Hi, Mary G — What a beautiful thing to say! Thank you. I can't take credit for that phrase, though. That's pure Navajo, pure Beauty Way. It's not something Navajo walk around saying every day because it's serious and very spiritual. But the goal of life is to walk in beauty.

I highly encourage anyone who's interested to rent or get from Netflix "Seasons of a Navajo." It's so breathtaking and so REAL to the experience of life on the rez that the first time I saw it, I bawled. The real Kat told me about it. She cried, too. LOL!

As an afterthought... I know Kat cries a lot in the book, but the Navajo believe that women's tears are sacred. So there's not the same shame attached. (Kat tells Tessa this in HE.)

Hi, Doreen — Finally! It's your turn! Hooray!

My brother gets a huge kick out of the fact that the book was titled NAKED EDGE. He likes to take credit for the title because he gave me the climbing route. LOL!

Wow! How exciting to be someone's first romantic suspense series! I'm so glad you enjoyed them.

So cool that you did some independent research on the Navajo. I really do recommend "Seasons of a Navajo" — it's a documentary. You'll probably recognize aspects of Kat's life in the experience portrayed in the video. You'll see inside a hogaan where they cook on and heat with a coal stove. People are always amazed when I tell them that 12 hours from here there are people living with no electricity or running water. But it's true.

I'm glad you enjoyed the love story part of the novel. I wanted Gabe's choice at the end to come as a complete shock. It wouldn't do that for anyone familiar with the world of rock climbing because that's always the last option for that kind of scenario.

I love epilogues myself. I love to SEE and FEEl the characters living in the fullness of their "happily ever after." I wanted us to see Gabe as he'd become and to see Kat stepping into the revered role of mother. Plus we had to have a scene with Grannie. :-)

And thank you so much! You're so sweet to say that! I do try.

Hi, Wavy Brains — Thanks for joining the challenge. I'm glad you feel my writing has improved. I really try hard to keep it fresh and to write stories worth reading. I don't plot the stories so it's all kind of seat-of-the-pants writing. I'm not sure how anyone gets better at that, but I'm glad you feel that way about it.

I'm glad you enjoyed the uncut aspect of Gabe. Interesting that two people have mentioned that today...

As for that ending, yes, I did. I knew I was making a really risky choice here, and I tried writing it differently, but it just didn't "feel" right. I guess having fallen myself and knowing how long-term and debilitating such injuries are I couldn't imagine having him do what he did without some kind of lasting impact.

But there was a spiritual element to it, as well. I felt there needed to be a visible, permanent reminder of what he'd sacrificed for the woman he loved. I saw it almost as a badge of honor. Yes, he lost this part of himself, but he'd have been willing to lose everything. He sacrificed everything he was to save the life of the woman he loved, and this was the proof of that. Truly a badge of honor, something he can be proud of and that anyone who meets him can be in awe of. Does that make sense?

I write by feel, following my emotions, so though I considered other things, this was the only one that felt right.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments! I really enjoyed them and hope you had a good time too.

Feel free to continue the discussion. Late-comers, feel free to join in.

Time for me to get some sleep!

OK, here is how it really goes: "The soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears."

Bethany said...

Now that you explain it so beautifully, it does make perfect sense that it's a badge of honor for him--and a reminder of how much he was willing to sacrifice.

Oh, and above where you said that your books are no longer on the "edge-y" side--I love exactly where your books are. I'm a bit tired of books adding a backdoor scene or extreme BDSM or a threesome just to prove how sexy they are. I just finished an otherwise extremely sexy book where it felt like the author was pushing the character beyond where she normally would go just to amp up the sexy. I thought Naked Edge was one of the sexiest books I have read in a long time, and most of the love scenes didn't even involve penetration.

Hi, Bethany — I'm so glad that made sense. It's very hard to put into words because it's more of a feeling. That's my job as a writer, of course, but it's still hard.

Picture these two scenes:

Gabe, who wasn't as permanently injured meets someone... And there's no sign of what he did.

Or

Gabe meets people, they see his situation (trying not to give it away), and they eventually ask. And then they hear what he did. And look at him in awe.

That to me is the difference. :-)

And thanks for your thoughts about sex scenes. To me it's about intimacy, not just body fluids, positions and banging.

I don't want romance novel love scenes to end up reading like the action and dialogue were taking from an online porn flick. Not that people don't experiment in all kinds of ways and use all kinds of language — they do. It just has to be right for the characters.

OK, I'm babbling. :-)

Thanks for stopping by again.

KayH. said...

Hi Pamela,
You & I "talked" about this last year. You said "Everyone has their own opinion". I said "Yea, but their opinion is wrong" to those we wrote Naked Edge was you're worst book. I just didn't understand it.
Well I guess all the awards coming in for NE proved who was right huh. : )
I'm not going to repeat what everyone else has written, but I agree 100% with what Amy & ScorpionM. said.

Enjoy Spring break with Benjy. : )

Anonymous said...

I liked Unlawful Contact too! I'm not that much of a curmudgeon. lol

RE: Gabe stuffie -- okay, so he looks exactly like a big teddy bear, but I can pretend it's Gabe. Can't I?

Roarke vs Gabe. That really is a tough choice and I'm a huge Gabe fan saying that. BUT, Roarke has something like 30 books worth of solidifying his lead so I'd say Gabe did very, very well for himself here. Now if you write 30 books with Gabe as the hero maybe our man will take the top slot. Just a suggestion. No personal agenda or anything.

RE: "bad-tempered geological accident" -- I love that you cracked your bro up with that. It's definitely an evocative description.

So, congrats on a great book (one I've recommended to many people) and good luck with the release of BP. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Beanbag Love

Scorpio M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scorpio M. said...

@Pamela - I may take you up on that offer. Colorado is on my list of places to visit. All that beauty. It's a must. I am so tired of subways and concrete buildings.

I am listening to the NAKED EDGE playlist now. All this Gabe & Kat talk got me in the mood for Metallica. :)

@Mary G - Walk in beauty. That was one of my favorite lines, too. :)

Ronlyn said...

Hey everyone: Pamela's modem died and won't be replaced until ~Wednesday. She's wanting everyone to know she's not ignoring emails or messages on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Hi All! The DA BWAHA Contest has begun!

Round 1 Set 3 has Naked Edge, so if you an I-Team-a-HOLIC, please vote Naked Edge!! :D
DA BWAHA
dabwaha.com

Alison said...

Thanks for the reminder! I voted for Naked Edge!

Caty said...

There are so many things I loved about Naked Edge. Besides the romance, the dialogues, the story in general, my love for Gabe and my girl crush on Kate, what I loved the most was the Navajo culture references.

I'm colombian, so I don't really know nothing about American Native culture; I think you did an amazing work portraying their beliefs and the struggle they have to go trough in order to preserve their traditions in the modern world.

Ok, I really could go on and on about how much I loved this story, but I just wanted to say that I think you wrote an amazing book, that the awards are totally deserved, and that Naked Edge is without doubt my favorite read of the year so far.

Thanks again for this amazing story Pamela!
Now I can't wait to read Breaking Point, and Natalie's story :)

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"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