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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 01, 2011

I-Team Reading Challenge — Unlawful Contact chat


Welcome back to the I-Team Reading Challenge!

First, let me apologize for Blogger. The colors in my sidebars here are all wrong, and they are unfixable. So if things seem weird looking, they are. It’s not you.

Second, I’d love to hear from those of you who are participating in the challenge to hear how far you’ve come. I know some of you are already done, which is amazing.

Third, thank to all of you for the wonderful birthday wishes! I had a wonderful day yesterday. Ronlyn sent me flowers at work, which helped brighten the day considerably. Beautiful yellow roses and daisies, they are so cheery and lovely! Then last night I went out to dinner with my parents, and my mother surprised me — that is far too mild a word for it really — by giving me my grandmother’s wedding ring as a gift.

The ring — antique gold with an antique solitaire diamond — is so delicate and beautiful. My grandmother wore this ring on her finger when my grandfather was off chasing German U-boats in the U.S. Navy during World War II. She had two young children and a baby — my mom — and had to take care of them, plant and harvest the garden, tend the chickens and the goat. She had to wash laundry in a tub and run it through a ringer. Wearing it on my finger makes me feel very close to her and puts me in mind of the lives women used to live.

Needless to say, I got all teary-eyed.

But on to Unlawful Contact! Marc has waited long enough. And now I turn my blog over to Kara... Oh, wait.

I guess I’ll share my thoughts about this book first.

As all of you know by now, Unlawful Contact was based on real horrors that occurred in Colorado’s prisons. I began covering issues related to women in prison in 1997, when it dawned on me after some high-profile violence in the men’s unit at the local lockup that we never heard about women at our county jail. I called the sheriff and asked rather stupidly, “Do we have women in our jail?”

Indeed, we did. But no one was looking at their situation. No one was reporting on issues that were affecting them such as separation from their children or the lack of training programs for women as compared to men or substandard health care for women. So I jumped into the deep end on these issues — quite literally.

I worked with the county jail captain to be arrested on a bogus felony and locked away for 24 hours in the women’s unit with the inmates. It was the 24 scariest hours of my journalistic life and, I believe, my finest. During that 24 hours, chronicled in detail in my Goldilocks Goes to Jail diaries, I learned so much about the impact of violence on women’s lives. What is the No. 1 thing that most women in prison have in common? Childhood sexual abuse.

I could go on and on and on and on about the things I learned in that precious, terrifying 24 hours. But we’re here to talk about Unlawful Contact. It was actually the second book I had planned for the I-Team series, but my editor thought the content was too dark.

“You had some other idea, didn’t you?” she asked. “Why don’t you write that instead?”

Okay, sure, except that human sex trafficking isn’t a light-hearted either. If the sexual abuse of female inmates is too dark, what about the sexual enslavement of teenage girls? Well, I didn’t ask that question. Instead, I wrote Hard Evidence, afraid the entire time that she would reject it for being too dark. She didn’t. And she let me move on to Unlawful Contact at that point without a single word about how dark the subject matter was. I guess I had convinced her I could handle it and still have a romantic story.

There are so many real things in this story, from prison slang to inmates OD-ing in prison to the sexual abuse of teenage girls by adult male guards to the rape of parolees by a parole officer to the stillbirth of an inmate’s baby that resulted from neglect on the part of the guards to the shackling of pregnant inmates during labor.

I lost sleep over these abuses. I lay awake at night thinking about these women, feeling rage and despair that we as a society could take people and treat them like this. It wasn’t the fact that they were behind bars. It was the fact that their sentence came with grotesque violations of their human rights. The guards who methodically raped those teenage girls got less time in prison than the girls were serving in juvie. Rape and abuse and the loss of one’s baby should never be part of a person’s prison sentence.

All of my passion for this topic — women in prison — went in to writing Unlawful Contact. I actually got out my old case files and read up on minute details. The autopsy report I describe in the story is from a real autopsy of an inmate who overdosed. The details of certain acts of violence are straight from my interview notes. (Note to the reader on Goodreads who said that the violence in the book is clearly exaggerated and that the author resorted to hyperbole: In fact, she did not.)

Then at the end of the book I engaged in a fantasy that all the wrongs were corrected, that new laws were passed, that the bad guys were defeated and there was liberty and justice for all who deserved it. But it was a fantasy.

Unlawful Contact came out in 2008. I tried that year to get a senator friend of mine to carry a bill that would outlaw the shackling of inmates during labor and delivery. He was not interested in carrying such a bill. I waited, did other things. And still I was haunted by the idea of women being chained to beds during the hell that is labor.

As most of you know (or maybe not), last year I took up that issue again. I started from the beginning, spending months negotiating my way into the Denver women’s prison. I was not honest about why I was there; I told them I wanted to see what kind of prenatal care the women got. What I really wanted to do was get the inside scoop on shackling. Within a month, I had the detailed research I needed to take to lawmakers. I arranged for a meeting with the senate president (a wonderful man from my town). He listened. He was appalled. And thus the ball finally started rolling on what eventually became Senate Bill 193. I wrote the first draft of the bill, was the primary expert who testified on this practice in the House and Senate committee hearings — and the damned bill passed with only one “no” vote (from a lawmaker who is currently hungry for my support of one of his bills). The whole drama of the shackling bill is preserved on this blog for anyone who wants to search for that label.

For me, the bill’s passage felt like the culmination of so many years of hard work. More than that, it made it easier for me to sleep at night. And a strange thing had occurred — fact had become fiction had become reality. Is that life imitating art? Not sure. But can you see what it meant to me?

When I think of Unlawful Contact, that’s what comes to my mind. Let me put it this way: Extreme Exposure was based on one five-month-long investigation. Hard Evidence grew out of a single cover story and several interviews. But Unlawful Contact was the bringing together of more than a decade’s worth of experience covering prison issues.

(Similarly, Naked Edge was more than a decade of reporting on Native issues and close ties and friendships with Navajo people, as well as my own catastrophic climbing accident and a lifetime lived with rock jocks and other crazies. But Gabe has to wait for his own turn...)

In terms of the fiction, writing Marc was pure pleasure, though Julian was such a tough act to follow that I was really off-kilter for a while. Julian kept stealing scenes, and I had to keep cutting him out. The scene in the cabin when Julian finds Sophie... Let’s just say no one who loves Julian loves him more than I did in that moment when I wrote that scene.

The tension between Julian and Marc was the beginning of a wonderful bromance that has continued to bring me joy in my writing up through and including Breaking Point. In fact, I think it kind of reaches new heights in Breaking Point.

As for the scene that made some readers hate me: Sophie spat out the morning-after pill. Get over it! I am not a guidance counselor, sex educator, nurse, Planned Parenthood PR person or in any way responsible for ensuring that people use contraception. Sophie loved Marc. She knew she might lose him at any moment. Quite literally any moment. And she let nature take it’s course. I would do the same in her shoes. If you don’t like that, feel free to throw the book against the nearest wall.

To this day, Unlawful Contact is a very special story for me. I cried so hard when I wrote that scene at the end that made all of you cry. I played “A Time for Us,” the love theme from the 1968 Romeo and Juliet over and over again to make myself as sad as I could possibly be, and I wrote my way through an entire box of tissues to make that dark moment seem real.

If I can say one thing about all of my books, it’s that I’ve always felt that romance could be about something. I’m not trying to push a political agenda. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to vote or what to think. I just want to write stories that reflect the world in some way and that resonate back out into the world.

And that’s what I have to say about that book. If anyone has actually read this far, congratulations! And I appreciate it.

So now I yield the floor...

42 comments:

Oh, so now Blogger makes a liar out of me and looks normal again. Sheesh!

And sorry this was so long!

landipan said...

Loooved Unlawful contact! I adored both marc and sophie,but my favorite couple of this book?

Marc and Julian lol! There's something about the bromance that is sooo cute to me,I adore it!

Before reading this book I had no idea that pregnant prisoners were shackled while giving birth,I cannot not imagine a worse pain than going through labor and feeling trapped at the same time! This book was a real eye-opener to how woman are treated while in prison!

I have to say The ending of this book was probably one of the best endings I have ever read in a book,you really just wanted to stand up and cheer!

Amy said...

I agree with landipan, the bromance between Marc and Julian. They are absolutely hilarious together!

I must say, the prologue of Unlawful Contact is the sweetest thing ever! It was nice to see right from the start that Hunt/Marc wasn't some jerk who plays with girls. It was so sweet and romantic how he actually made love to Sophie multiple times, and then stargazed with her. The prologue was when I first fell in love with Marc, as Sophie did as well. Of course, then he grew up into a sexy, sexy beast ;)

RitaSV said...

Well, Unlawful Contact is my favorite of the I-Team series (so far). It allows me the perfect balance of processing some serious issues while enjoying a really passionate romance. I dig this book out of my collection of keepers on a regular basis and re-read it. LOVE it! =D

Reg said...

WARNING; this will be long.
Hi Pamela :) I'm so sorry I missed your birthday, I resumed university again this week and have been a bit busy. So... HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAMELA!
Conveniently, when I checked your blog today, the discussion seemed to be about 'Unlawful Contact', which you may recall (or not, which is fine!) is my favourite of your I-Team novels. It was my first, and Marc had an irrevocably profound impact on me. You might also remember those "MARC FOREVER!" comments... that was me. I think why I enjoyed it so much was due to the clever intertwining of the under-current story covering the atrocities to female prisoners (well done on all your years of work to accomplish that!), with the romantic one between the two protagonists. One particular detail in novels that really appeals to me is when the hero and heroine know each other as youngsters, but grow apart as they grow up, only to get their act together as mature, sexy adults. Let me share some of my favourite 'Unlawful Contact' moments with you: Sophie as the nerdy virgin with the forbidden crush on the bad boy Marc; Marc's adorable "you can hit me with it (the tire iron) if I do anything you don't like" speech; Marc walking around in long johns; his "manberries" (HAHA!); Marc in aviators, the suit and trench coat; Marc driving the Jaguar, and 'other things' regarding its use; Sophie's desire to have Marc's child (don't worry Pamela, I was thrilled she spat it out!); when Marc stumbles whilst trying to carry Sophie back to bed for round two; when Sophie kisses his scars; when Marc sneaks into Sophie's apartment and plays Peeping Tom; Sophie and Marc going at it after arguing in her apartment; Julian showing Marc the ultrasound image; Marc dropping on his knees against Sophie's pregnant belly; Marc with little Chase at the end; his jibe about Sophie's breast milk versus ice-cream... getting the picture? Oh, and the sushi scene... farrrr outttt! Wish I had my own Marc. There are probably more, but I had an incredibly long day at uni and my brain wants sleep. I'm truly thankful for the day I stumbled upon this one in the library!

Wildcat78 said...

Ah Marc. UC was my first I-Team book (read them a bit out of order!) but Marc and Sophie's story was one that kept me thinking about it for days after I finished the book. All the relationships were so amazing and it's one of the books I always grab first when I need a reread to take me away.

~Jess

Tonya said...

I have to agree with Reg. Those are some of my favorite parts, too. I also like when he first calls her Sprite in the cabin & she realizes who he is & when she helps him with the bandage. And OMGoodness the prologue. After I read it, I don't think I stopped reading until I finished the book. Also, I was silently begging Sophie not to take the pill. I would've done the same thing, anything to hold onto any part of him that I could. UNLAWFUL CONTACT is the first one I read. It's my favorite book from the best series ever. I recommend the book & series to all my reader friends & even the ones that don't read. I tell them if they only read one book in their life, it should be UNLAWFUL CONTACT! I can't wait to read BREAKING POINT.

I was planning on doing this challenge, but I haven't had a chance to get to the books here recently. BUT I did re-read the series not long before the challenge was issued. I have read them so much that my books are starting to fall apart. So with that said I am still going to give my opinions. lol
What can I say about Marc that hasn't already been said....there probably isn't much. So I will say that I had just a touch of personal experience to this book. My brother is serving time now an even though he is there for legitimate reasons. He was always my protector growing up. Anyone so much as looked at me wrong and he was all over them. I remember one time this jerk said something very offensive to me and my brother heard about it. He drove 3 hours to come have a "chat" with the guy. lol So even though he isn't serving time for me or to protect me I know he would in a heart beat.
Marc is a real life hero in my opinion. His story is something that I can picture happening in life. He is the type most girls fantasize about growing up.(Or as adults) He is honorable and loyal to the end.
Pamela there are very few books(if any) that move me emotionally like Unlawful Contact. Your writing in this book is truly amazing.
I always claim to be team Julian/Marc they are both ~~~swoon~~~ worthy in my book. But IF someone put a gun to my head and said I HAD to choose one! It would be Marc. From what I have heard though there is a very good chance Zach can take the crown. :)
All I can say is KEEP UP the GREAT writing Pamela!!

Ronlyn said...

***Jumping up and down clapping***

YAY! It's Jag Shag time!! I mean, er...
There are so many things I love about UC. The moment in the cabin where he calls her Sprite, beautiful. Sophie's fight during her capture and the conflict Marc has about terrifying her. His realization that she doesn't recognize/remember him. LOL.

SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ IT YET.....SKIP TO BELOW....




I remember calling PC after Marc had been shot. My wonderful hubby trying to console me saying, "You know he's just a guy in a book, right?" I was devastated by the *thought* of Marc being killed. I think PC said she was going to hide in her basement until I'd finished. LOL





OK, SPOILER OVER.......
And of course, Marc & Julian. The Epilogue which shows hints of the bromance yet to come is awesome. I remember many a conversation comparing them and analyzing their differences as well as their similarities. Love them!

I agree with Amy the Prologue had me hooked...knew after that he was always a good guy with some obstacles in his way...gosh where to begin....page 1 to the end....it was my favorite...love marc & jullian....loved he got back what belonged to him...now i was shocked that all this was really going on...what an eye opener. so many scenes stood out to me...but I love the "hotdog" scene in the prologue...and the scene where the finally get back together in the biblical sense and his emotions are too much...it was just sooo real...of course not that I have experienced but they way you write puts the reader there....I cried soo many times...and laughed as well sometimes at the same time!!!!!

loved the bromance, did i say that? now i know i need to stop...but i could go on and on and on

lets just say LOVED IT/its my fav sooo far...but that changes everytime I read or even re-read your books

Hi, Pamela.
Happy birthday!

I love Marc. He was my first. ;) I saw the title Unlawful Contact, and I thought any book with THAT title has got to be good. Lol. And it was. Marc is wonderful. For awhile, I was more a Julian girl, and I still love J, but I think Marc is now my fave. I agree with the other poster who talked about how important the prologue was. He was so sweet there, and it just killed me that he drove away from Sophie. I love your epilogues too. They really help to round out the stories and make the reader feel confident that things are going well in the long term. That's something I think is very important to us romance readers.
Now I've finished re-reading all the books, so I'm good and ready for Breaking Point!

Tori Minard
The Heart Moon
Temple of the Heart

Tori Minard said...

P.S. The way women are treated in prison is deplorable and I'm so glad your bill passed. Good work.

Mary G said...

Marc -SIGH.
Trying not to have a fave because all your books are great but Marc was my first so UC will always be special.

To this day I don't know why I had the faith that a guy escaping from prison would be a great hero. I only read the back blurb not the prologue. All I know is that my chest hurt (a good sign LOL) while I read this book. Loved the ending of course - tears, sighs and I couldn't get the book out of my head for days. It remains the book I've reread most often. All my fave parts have been listed BTW.

One other neat thing happened. I was a Candian bloggers meet. Kristie J of Ramblings on Romance mentioned she loved Pamela Clare. I said, "Oh yes, Unlawful Contact -one of my fave books." I was going to say you can't imagine how neat it is to bond with a stranger over a book but I guess we all know that already LOL.

Ronlyn said...

I'm thinking I need to head out for sushi for lunch because of today's MARC discussion...

Bethany said...

I did your challenge and read the books back-to-back over two weeks. I liked Extreme Exposure, really enjoyed Hard Evidence, but the prologue of Unlawful Contact is where you became an auto-buy for me. While reading the book, I kept thinking "I shouldn't be liking this, dude kidnapped heroine, held her against her will more than once, took things (including some really expensive!) that didn't belong to him, and did any number illegal actions--I *should* have hated Marc, but I didn't because Marc *did* have a moral code. And he's damn hot. But mainly moral. And speaking of moral, I understood why Sophie did what she did with the pill--for all she knew it was her ONE chance and his too. And I'm probably in the very small minority, but I would have been okay with a slightly different ending, one that gave him just a bit more consequences (still a HEA, just more delayed or slightly muted by the realities of probation/parole), but then I read Naked Edge and loved Marc/Julian together, and I decided I was okay with the ending as it set up future books nicely :) Also Marc does deserve happiness :) And I loved that Sophie stayed on with the paper--after EE and HE, I was afraid that all the heroines would be leaving the paper for their HEA. My favorite scene from the book is when Sophie surprises him in the bathroom--that conversation that followed absolutely broke my heart.

Anonymous said...

The prologue is such a beautiful way to start this book. And Marc's whole story was so poignant. And he was hot. The whole time it was obvious that he and Sophie were perfect for each other no matter how nobly he wanted to fight it. I was so glad when she followed her heart with him.

Another issue raised in this book is the treatment of men in prison. I am always appalled by the jokey references to male prison rape made publicly by people who should take it much more seriously. Every time they do it they should be asked if they support it as an element of our justice system. Watch their faces turn red. Grrrr!

Anyway, the sushi scene is one of my all time favorite scenes. And the climax -- in the snow, at night, guns blazing, danger, suspense -- excellent.

The epilogue was the perfect topper to a great story about a man who deserves happiness and the woman who wants nothing so much as to share it with him.

One of my reread books. :)

Beanbag Love

Hi, Landipan — I had to laugh when I read who your favorite couple was. LOL! I think a lot of readers would agree with you. :-)

The people in our state government had no idea women were shackled during labor and birth. It was just one of those things that happened that no one knew or cared about. The biggest obstacle I faced in getting the law passed was people's disbelief.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the ending. It felt very emotional when I wrote it. (SPOILER SPOILER) I wanted the gift he received from Sophie at the end to really touch people. I figured readers had forgotten about it and to bring it back would really create closure for them, because that's where they fell in love.

Hi, Amy — I wrote the prologue and first chapter of the story in a rush of inspiration over a single weekend. I sat down and played a bunch of really sappy, romantic 50s songs and just let the feel of that carry me. I wanted the prologue to have kind of a feeling of nostalgia about it because it would be something they looked back to for so many, many years.

Hi, Rita — I'm so glad you enjoyed the prologue, too. I hear about it quite a bit from readers, and that always makes me very happy. And, yes, it was necessary to show that Marc wasn't always a terrible convicted murderer type of guy. The story took a risk by making him a convict and having him take Sophie hostage. So I had to instill faith in Marc somehow so that the reader would want to bear with him while the story sorted itself out.

I'm so happy it's a reread for you!

Hi, Reg — I'm happy you wrote something long. Work has been STUPID this week, and right now I'm taking a moment to escape. And thank you for the birthday wishes! :-)

I think I do remember those "Marc Forever!" comments.

I loved all those moments in the story, too. As an author, I write a scene and never know how people will perceive it. I don't plot much, so the story really happens inside my imagination and heart. (I think there's actually a hidden bodily organ that combines those two.) Then I put it on the page and I just don't know if people will see everything I tried to put there.

My fave part of the cabin scene when he first calls her sprite: their hands subtly shifting from him pinning her down by her wrists to the two of them interlocking fingers and holding hands. (I describe it better in the story. LOL!)

That's the sort of thing I wonder: will readers see that or zip right over it.

I'm glad you were with me on her spitting the pill out. I thought hard about what she would do, really put myself in her shoes. And there was never any doubt how she would act. If that's all the time in the world she gets with him, why would she give up that chance to have his baby and to let him be a father. He has some good arguments against it, but his sex drive and passion for her overrides his reason. LOL!

I had fun showing Julian slowly hating Marc less (i.e., the ultrasound).

And of course one big scene for me was Julian revealing himself and confronting Marc up at the camp in the mountains. I teased you all for endless chapters about what would happen when the two of them finally faced off. That was a fun scene to write.

The sushi scene was fun, too, and involved some cameos of friends of mine.

Hi, Jess — I'm so glad that UC brought you into the I-Team. And I'm thrilled that you thought about it for days after finishing it. That's always my hope — the my stories will stay in readers hearts.

Sorry I have to keep popping out and popping in. I keep stealing moments. We're putting the paper to press.

Be back again soon!

ahz1 said...

You sure do lead a fascinating life.

I just finished Unlawful Contact this week. I really enjoyed it. I loved both Sophie and Marc. It was so very touching when Marc called Sophie sprite. Marc and Julian - so cute as best buds.

So, 3 books done on the challenge. Can't wait to read Naked Edge!

Hi, Tonya — Goodness! I don't even know what to say. Favorite book ever? That's amazing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm so glad you were rooting for Sophie to spit the pill out. I wanted that to be a tense moment. I did get a LOT of dings about that, and I understand people want to see women be responsible. But there's being responsible, and there's loving someone. And sometimes those two things conflict. We all know Sophie would take care of a baby by herself if she had to. And we know she's surrounded by good friends who would take care of her. So, I didn't really see it as an irresponsible action on her part.

And thank you so much for spreading the word. It's very hard to get ahead as an author. My dream — my biggest goal in life — is to write full time. I have so many stories I want to tell and share, and I just can't get to them because of my day job. So every time you mention the books to another reader, it helps me reach that goal. THANK YOU!

Disappearing again to edit... (Snore.)

Hi, Crystal — Sorry to hear your books are falling apart. I remember loving Kathleen Woodiwiss's SHANNA to death as a teenager. When the pages from the love scenes start falling out, you know you have a problem.

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I think when someone has a family member in prison, the entire family "does time" with them. I can completely see how that would influence your emotions toward Marc. ((((Hugs))))

After the book came out, I got an e-mail from a reader, who told me that her brother was serving time in Colorado and had been subject to some of the violence described in UNLAWFUL CONTACT. I was about to look into it for her as a journalist and ride DOC hard about it, when they moved him to a different facility. So these issues do affect real people.

And thanks so much for your sweet words. I'm so glad the story moved you so deeply.

RONLYN! Your pretty roses have been a comfort for me today. Thank you! I hugged them and buried my nose in them.

So, about the Jag shag, er... the book.

Those prison escape scenes were so hard to write! OMG! To make it feel immediate and terrifying, while at the same time having that conflict inside Marc about what he's doing to er... Not easy. I think I spent two or three months on the first five chapters of this book. Seriously!

I remember that phone call. Can I come out of hiding now? LOL!

Hi, Chele — Another reader who loved the prologue. I'm so glad! I didn't want it to come across as corny, and yet it needed to have that innocence and sense of nostalgia to it.

And, yay! You liked the "hotdog" mention. LOL!

Their first post-reunion sex scene was a tough one to write. I wanted so much from it emotionally. I wanted to drive it to a place my love scenes hadn't gone before. And it finally came to me -- the touch that I felt pushed it at least close to where I wanted it to be. And that was when he said, "Help, Sophie! Help me!" He doesn't even know why he's saying it or what he needs from her.

We'll have to see what you think of BREAKING POINT. EGADS! Will it ever be May?!?

Hi, Tori — Thanks for the birthday wishes!

So you lost your I-Team virginity to Marc. Nice! I take it it was good for you. LOL!

Some readers do find it hard to choose between Julian and Marc.

As for prologues and epilogues... A prologue completely depends on the needs of the story. NAKED EDGE has a prologue; BREAKING POINT doesn't.

But epilogues are a necessity. As a reader, I want to SEE the h/H living their HEA. I want to have as many threads as possible resolved. As a writer, I want to FEEL that HEA along with them, after having been through hell with them for 400 pages. I need it as much as readers do. :-)

Congrats on finishing the challenge! I really wish BREAKING POINT were coming out sooner.

And thanks for your kind words about the bill. Knowing that the situation is different because of something I did — I can't tell you how that makes me feel.

Hi, Mary G — Interesting! Some people were turned off by the description of him as a convicted murderer. I'm so glad you went past that.

Too cool that you connected with Kristie J! I love that woman! She has done so much to support my books for so long. Please tell her hi for me next time you talk to her. :-)

Hi, Bethany — Congrats on finishing the challenge! I'm glad you've enjoyed the books, and I'm glad UNLAWFUL touched you.

Sometimes stories that push us out of our comfort zones — if handled well — become the books we enjoy the most because they take us someplace new. I'm not sure why you connected with UC the way you did, but I'm glad that you did. :-)

I understand what you mean about the ending. But, yes, for me to get Marc into law enforcement and have him connect with Julian the way they did, he couldn't be on parole (which can have nightmarish limitations, including not being able to see Megan). Still, I totally understand how sentencing him to another six months or a couple of years of parole might have felt a bit more realistic.

I think, too, by the end, I was so engaged in them, I just wanted them to be together.

I appreciate your honesty! :-)

And thanks so much for posting!

Hi, Beanbag Love — Terrific to see you here!

I know the I-Team has been hit-and-miss for you, but I'm so glad you enjoyed this one enough to reread it even.

And you're 100 percent right on about the prison jokes. There is nothing funny at all. One man whose plight I almost reported on was beaten so badly that his heel bone was entirely crushed along with his rib cage. He was in the hospital for months.

People shouldn't be sentences to rape or sodomy or physical abuse or the loss of a baby. The loss of freedom by itself is enough. Good for you for helping people to remember that.

That climax scene at the end -- just the violent part of it, not the teary "death" scene -- took three three-day weekends to write. No joke. Getting the action right and the emotions layered in there...

Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

Hi, AHZ1 — A weird life is more like it. LOL! It works as fodder for fiction, though.

Congrats on finishing three books in the challenge. Enjoy NAKED EDGE!

Alison said...

I'm Team Marc all the way! I've loved him since the prologue, when he protected Sophie and was so sweet with her.

I was so happy at the end when I saw he and Julian were BFFs! He deserves all the good things in life after all he did to protect his baby sister! When he got his car back...that was perfect!

I loved Sophie too! The love she showed Marc when he told her his experiences in prison. She was a tough little cookie too...helping Marc investigate what happened to his sister.

I'm a little sad...I shouldn't have re-read these books so fast! Now I'm stuck waiting...for Breaking Point.

Kara C said...

I am so sorry that I am late. I will blame it on teens (well, mine), the fact that my own in-house author accidentally deleted his newest book (major trauma) a few days ago, and work, work, work.
PC, I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but I rather enjoyed UC. I've read it a time or twelve, including just last week. There is one character in particular that gets my attention every time. I think his name is Marc, or something like that.
"And then it hit her -a terrible possibility. Marc and Julian facing one another. Both armed." LOVE that.
"But when you say "Pistol Pants" were your referring to my firearm - or my gun." LOL!
Lots of great moments to make you smile, but the reason this book is such a winner is that it stays with you long, LONG after you've read it. My heart races everytime I read the book, as if maybe this time the outcome will not be as happy. ;) Marc's childhood is so similar to some of the kids I work with, I can't help but feel an attachment.
"And then it hit her. This was goodbye." Oh, someone hand me a tissue!! I ALWAYS get scared when Sophie is arrested, as if I'm going with her. (And, yes, Julian is SO wonderful with her throughout.)
This is most definitely one of my very favorite books of all time. LOVE it. I could go on (and on and on and on), but duty calls. Must go to swim lessons. I do have one question - "The word phobia impies there's something abnormal about my reaction to spiders - horrid little monsters!" Does that sound like someone very, VERY close to you?

Sincerely,
Capt, Team Marc

Doreen said...

Well Pamela...I have finished the I-Team reading challenge. Revisiting these books on a regular basis is a must for me. Unlawful Contact was one of those books that makes you think hard about the abuse and perfidities heaped on our most vulnerable of all citizens...our babies. Every baby who is born in prison already has a tough start in life. The mothers have already been dealt their sentences and unfortuately, the children are sentenced too. In my mind, they're the injured party in all of this.
I really loved Marc and Sophie as a couple. Setting the story from the beginning of their romance makes it so much more satisfying and of course getting a peek into their future lives is the best. You are a master of your craft Pamela! (Now...when do we get to talk about Gabe??)

Ronlyn said...

~snicker~

Kara blames ME for her not showing up earlier. I have the email to prove it.

P2 said...

What i like about these books is that they make you really think about these issues. Especially Unlawful Contact.

Hi, Alison — Congrats on finishing the re-read, but, yes, perhaps you needed to budget them out a bit. Only 61 days and a few odd hours till BREAKING POINT is out.

It's actually two months from tomorrow. Woohoo!

I'm glad you enjoyed those aspects of the story. Was UC the first I-Team book you read?

Hi, Kara — So the Captain of Team Marc finally decides to show up. LOL!

Sorry to hear your son lost his manuscript. I hope everything is okay now. That is a traumatic experience for any writer.

I laughed out loud reading your post, Kara. So you think the character's name is Marc? LOL!


I forgot about the “Pistol Pants” bit. How like a man to turn every discussion into a penis reference. LOL!

I can see how as a teacher you could feel a connection with the kids that Marc and Sophie are -- or Hunt and Sophie at that time. And stories like Marc and Megan's are all too common. You know much more about that than I do, GF.

Sophie's arrest was so fun to write, because I got to use all my juicy (and brief) time behind bars to flesh it out. (I used more of it for the scenes where Marc is behind bars, including the guy who screaming and kicking his cell door. IRRITATING!)

As for Sophie's hatred of loathsome spiders, are you implying somehow that it's related to MY hatred of loathsome spiders? Each one is a tiny bit of Satan let run loose upon the earth. EW! Clearly, Sophie has a very sensible approach to arachnids.

Hope swimming lessons went well, Kara, and thanks for taking time to hang with us.

Hi, Doreen — There’s no doubt that the children of women in prison suffer, even if they’re already born when their mothers are incarcerated. Kids whose mothers are in prison have a much higher chance of landing in prison themselves one day. It’s an extremely complex issue, with women facing an entirely different set of obstacles to rehabilitation than men face, and a system that doesn’t do enough for these kids. It’s heartbreaking.

Gabe will be next Wednesday. So hopefully you can join us then. And congrats on making it through all of the books. Is NAKED EDGE your favorite?

Ronlyn, dear, you and Kara crack me up! Did you take care of your UC-induced sushi craving? :-)

Hi, P2 — Thanks so much for posting. And thanks for sharing your point of view about that. I'm glad you feel that way. Like I said, I'm not writing political books at all but taking objective journalism on a subject and fleshing it into fiction.

It’s therapeutic for me because seeing some of these things is very, very hard.

I'm so glad to know you've enjoyed the stories!

So a teeny bit of news from here: I just bought tickets to go see Benjy’s senior thesis film on 5/13. So 10 days after BP comes out, I’ll be in NY seeing my son’s film. That’s kind of exciting!

Wendy said...

Checking in to report I will begin to re-read UC this week, probably. But it hasn't been long since I last re-read it. I'm a pages-falling-out fan LOL.

It was SO WONDERFUL to go ahead and pick up UC for the first time back over a year ago, thinking, "Well, this guy can't be any Julian, but whatever."

...And then discover that, Damn, he is just as sexy, just as funny, just as warm, just as romantic, just as everything as Julian. I absolutely love them both equally. And it's fun to let my mind wander and try to decide who's my favorite. I'll never get there.

Favorite scene? Actually I love Marc breaking into Sophie's house. I loved that he knew he shouldn't but did anyway, and how he looked her over, already back in love with her from high school, and I loved the anger flare-up that suddenly became passionate on the floor. Nice!

This book also got me thinking about inmates and their rights. Something I never considered before. Another true crime case captured my attention around the same time as UC, and between the two I did an awful lot of study and research and I have what I think are really interesting and enlightened opinions on the matter. My husband and I talked about it together quite a bit.

Also, shackling during labor? I spent almost all 10 hours of my labor in the shower. I can't imagine someone telling me, "No. That's not an option for you. Stay in bed." Those poor women!

Hi, Wendy — Thanks so much for joining in the discussion.

Interesting that several people mentioned the scene where Marc broke in to Sophie's apartment. I'll need to go back and look at that and figure out what's so fun about it. LOL!

Personally, I like the fact that you can't decide whom to love more.

It is a TERRIBLE CHALLENGE for an author to follow up a beloved book and an favorite hero. I remember wondering how I could possibly top Julian. The answer is not in topping him (unless we're talking about sex, um...) it's about creating heroes who are unique, dynamic and sexy as hell in their own right who can be EQUAL to Julian (or Nicholas and Iain in the historicals).

It's a nice problem to have, I guess, but it's VERY intimidating for an author.

Re: Shackling of pregnant and laboring inmates... Yes, no tub, no shower, no walking the hall. In one case when a woman needed to walk, the guard made her do it with the shackles on her ankles so that she ended up with blistered, raw ankles in addition to labor pain -- that's absolutely medieval!

In another case a woman started to hemorrhage and her heartbeat slowed almost fatally, but she was chained to the bed and the guard was taking a leak... The doctor got on the bed with a hacksaw to try to save her life. (The guard returned in time to unshackle her, but she and the baby almost died.)

In another case (this in the 8th circuit and the cause of a huge lawsuit that the inmate won), a female guard chained an inmate to the bed by both ankles (spread eagle) and one wrist. She forced the inmate to labor chained spread-eagle on her back like that despite pleas from the medical staff to unlock her. The guard refused and wouldn't even unshackle her to let her use the toilet. The woman suffered damage to her pelvis as a result and sued and won.

Having given birth with no drugs, not even an IV, I cannot imagine the pain of being chained onto your back.

So I got into work this morning to find a letter from an inmate telling me that the guard used a belly belt and full restraints on her when they took her to a prenatal visit. But that's illegal. The guard insisted it wasn't illegal, but he is wrong. How do I know?

I wrote the law.

So I called DOC and I'm working on that today. Sigh.

Ronlyn said...

YAY for seeing Ben's film in NYC!! SO COOL!!
And, sadly, no. No sushi for me yesterday. I'll have to drag my honey out this weekend to satisfy that UC induced craving. LOL. He likes when I satisfy my PC induced cravings.

I remember talking about the scene where Marc broke into Sophie's apartment because I remember once again calling you and saying, "Is it REALLY that easy to do?!" and you confirmed having been told that the only thing that stick in the door is good for is to smack the intruder...much like Marc told Sophie. I'm still faintly horrified by that thought each time I lock my slider.

ClaudiGC said...

Hi Pamela!
Just wanted to tell you how I love Unlawful Contact (and every other book you've ever written)! It was one of my first Romantic Suspense books and I got sucked right in (yeah, so Marc popped my RS-cherry and he was very good lol)! I really really appreciate how much research and effort you put in every book. And with every new book you point out a new dreadful issue of which I hadn't really been aware of. Oh, and you do some of the best heroes out there. They are so tough and strong but still need their heroine's love. Absolutely adorable! Thank you so much for all that! Ok, I think I'm finished now with praising you (even though I could go on)! :)
So, keep up the great work!

Mary G said...

Pamela
You're my hero.

ClaudiGC said...

Hi Pamela!
Just wanted to tell you how I love Unlawful Contact (and every other book that you've ever written). It was one of my first Romantic Suspense books and it sucked me right in (yeah, Marc popped my RS-cherry and he was really good lol)! I really really appreciate the research and effort you put into every book. With every new book you point out another dreadful issue I hadn't really been aware of. They are always real eye-opener to me. Oh, and you write some of the best heroes out there! They are such tough and strong guys but they still need their heroine's love. So adorable! Ok, I think I'm done with praising you, even though I could go on. :) Keep up your marvelous work! Can't wait for Breaking Point!

oklanannie said...

So sorry I missed the party on the first day of March. I've been inundated with extra hours at work. I would never ever ignore Marc on purpose. I've read the I-Team series several times (always in order!!) and just recently reread Unlawful Contact again. It is a beautiful love story between Marc and Sophie. I could probably fall in love with Marc myself BUT I have never ever like a cheater and my heart b elongs to Julian (at least until I meet Zach!). After each new hero is introduced, I tend to do a reassessment. Gabe gave me heart palpitations and I had guilty feelings for weeks. But each and every one of these guys is a steal-your-heart kinda guy. I love their friendships, their banter and loyalty and determination to right the wrongs. Of course, they have the best of strong women supporting them and guiding them and loving them! The I-Team won me over from the very beginning and it's not hard to take "reread challenges"!! Bring it on anytime!

P.S. and most important: BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES PAMELA!!!! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your special day and received special gifts! Wishing you many, many more!!!

Doreen said...

I can't help it...Naked Edge is my favorite and on so many levels. Sigh! I can wait for Gabe...maybe I'll reread it again for the hundreth time just to get me through til his book comes up!
Marc and Julian are great too..somehow Gabe just struck a chord.

Hi, Ronlyn — I remember talking about that, too. It was a cop who told me the dowel is only good for hitting people if they break in. Not very reassuring, is it?

Sorry about the sushi.

Hi, Mary — What a sweet thing to say! Thank you!

Hi, Oklannie — Thanks for the birthday wishes. Since I didn't really have a birthday, I can't see that they could possibly be belated. LOL!

So your devotion to Julian is at least in part a fidelity thing. I see... :-)

That's okay. Don't go making yourself feel guilty. Be careful around Zach, though.

Hi, Doreen — We'll be talking about Gabe next week, so get revved up. It sounds like you already are. :-)

Thanks, everyone, for the fun chat!

Anonymous said...

I'm anxiously awaiting "Breaking Point", but I don't know if anything can ever top "Unlawful Contact" for me. There's just something so special about this book, as I read, it's like I stop breathing, it grips me so powerfully...and it's not just Marc...everything about that book moves me. Megan's story and Sophie's story were so very powerful also, and Marc's story was the icing on the cake. I remember, when I was reading it, I cried in a few spots, and it was the first time, in a LONG time, that a book had made me so emotional. A book that can do that, is not one you easily forget. Also, I am usually not surprised in a book...I can generally figure out what's going to happen...but this one...well, let's just say, I didn't see it coming (don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it).

I did do the I-Team Reading Challenge, and I'm amazed at how re-reading these books, have seriously shown me what a truly gifted artist you are. Re-reading them make me look more closely at the nuances that I missed the first time around (because I was flipping the pages so fast to find out what was going to happen, during my first reading). I was able to savor the stories this time, and really appreciate the writing and the weaving of the tale.

I say we definitely do this again, with MacKinnon's Rangers when Connor's book is about to come out, because I definitely want to re-read those as well.

Heather

Hi, Heather — Thanks so much for saying that! That makes me feel good.

I'm so glad you're coming out of the re-read feeling that way and not the opposite. :-)

Are there any specific things that struck you this time through?

As far as a MacKinnon's Rangers reread goes — absolutely! It's been longer for most folks since they've read those books than these.

I need to do a reread myself, but I haven't had time. I'm kind of reading SURRENDER while writing DEFIANT. LOL!

And instead of trivia, or in addition to trivia, we can have a "Match the Word to the Definition" Contest.

1. Collishangie
a. a fecht
b. an argie-bargie that gets physical
c. a dance with fiddle music
d. a special kind of Scottish herding dog

Wow, I'm really a geek because I find that hilarious!

OK, back to Connor. He just saw Sarah for the first time. Been working on the same section all day.

Reg said...

So I'm reading 'Extreme Exposure' (I know, completely out of order!) on my way to uni and back home on the train... it's a bit difficult trying to keep the pages hidden from adjacent passengers who try and read your novel, especially when it gets steamy! Anyway, back to my point, do you think Kara looks like Jennifer Connelly? Black hair, green eyes, elfin-looking...? Random question, but Marc will understand.

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