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Tempting Fate (Colorado High Country #4) —
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Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now only 99 cents at all ebook retailers! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


About Me

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

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Seductive Musings

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, little sister!





One of the luckiest days of my life was August 27, 1966. That’s the day my baby sister was born. She was my baby sister and no one else’s baby sister.

I cherished her, played with her, cut all her hair off. I did my best to help take care of her. She was so important to me that I had nightmares about her getting hurt or getting lost. I remember one night waking up in tears and screaming because I dreamed she’d chased a ball into the street and a car had come. My mother had to wake Michelle up and show me that she was okay to stop my crying.

I was 4.



She and I shared a bedroom until I was about 10. We shared lots of toys and a love of plants and animals, too. We had guinea pigs, a hamster, a cat and mice. I named my mouse Rush, after the rock band and the fact that it ran very fast, she named hers Mousie. Then there was the time she brought home a white kitten and kept it hidden in her bedroom closet. She named it White Kitty. When the kitten finally came out of the closet, we renamed it Noël, because it was white and it was almost Christmastime.

Of the two of us, I have the flare for naming things.



We played outside all the time during the summer, swinging on our swing set, making up games in the back yard, sneaking off to a candy store called The Strawberry Pony — which I accidentally called The Pink Horse many times — for ice cream.

We were inseparable.



If I could tell you all one thing about my sister it is that her disposition has always been sweet. You can see it in her lovely face in these photos — a genuine sweetness. When I had nightmares, I would crawl in bed with her and feel safer even though I was older and bigger than she was.



In the summers, we watched re-runs on TV, and I can remember a time when we sincerely wanted to be genies as in I Dream of Jeannie. We talked about our bottles — how they looked, what was in them. We did our best to blink spells. Nothing happened.

We both loved Star Trek, too, and together with our two brothers watched it every day, acting out the episode afterward. To this day, we are a family of Trekkies.


Michelle had a talent for gymnastics that I as a klutzy left-handed person simply did not share. I remember watching her do walk-overs and wishing I could do them, too. I had to be content with cartwheels.



We both had stick-straight hair as little girls. Then around the age of 10, our hair got curly. In the age of straight hair and feathered bangs, this was agonizing. Now, however, we have gotten the last laugh, as other women spend hundreds for spiral curl and we just wash, rinse, comb.



I have no idea what this photo is from. Choir? Marching band? Concert band? We shared a love of music, as well. We still do. Rock. Classical. Celtic. We both love to sing, and when we're together we inevitably end up singing along to whatever happens to be playing.

Sometimes one of us gets the lyrics wrong. This has been the source of much hilarity. I mean what is a “studded sharfore” anyway? If the lyric describes something that does not exist, shouldn’t that be a clue that you’ve got it wrong?


I wasn’t around when Michelle went to prom. I was in Europe, but she soon followed me over there, living in Sweden while I was in Denmark. I think her date here is a Finn kid named Pekka. Many Finns are named Pekka.


Michelle was a beautiful baby, and she grew up to be a beautiful woman. Her sense of humor is sharp and can be very cutting at times. Like me, she discovered her temper later in life. But even when she’s really pissed off, she makes me laugh.


But we never spent enough time together as adults. For a while I was in Europe. During our college years, I had babies, while she had a social life. She moved to California for a while, and that was probably the time when we had the least contact.


From there, she went back to Sweden, where she now has citizenship. I had two kids to raise and couldn’t leave the United States. (That’s ironic because I was the one who’d wanted so badly to settle in Scandinavia and live the rest of my life there. Life is not without a sense of humor.)


She was my maid of honor at my mountain wedding (I’m in the poofy white Princess Di knock-off, and she’s standing behind me). And although the wedding should never have happened — women, just throw yourselves a fancy party with a beautiful dress, an elaborate cake and gifts, then get artificially inseminated — we had fun getting dressed up and playing with the flowers and our hair.

We talk on Skype almost every weekend. Sometimes she calls me at work — always a welcome interruption. And she always comes home for Christmas. But I miss her every day.

We never run out of things to talk about. There’s True Blood and Game of Thrones and Spartacus and Jack Bauer. And there are my books.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of hours Michelle has spent with me on the phone or on Skype talking about whatever novel I’m writing, reassuring me, supporting me, letting me “talk” the story out. Without her, I don’t know whether I’d have nearly as many novels written or whether any of them would be any good.

No one lifts my spirits when I’m down the way she does. My boys tell me that she and I are always laughing when we’re together, and that’s true. We’re both single and talk about living together again. To end my days living in a flat in Stockholm with my sister and a bunch of cats would be just fine with me because I know I’d die with a smile on my face.

I don’t know that I’ve been as good a sister to her as she has been to me, but I have loved her every day of her life.

Happy Birthday, Michelle!



Sisters and friends forever.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Presenting the ‘author’s cut’ of CARNAL GIFT



You can’t imagine how exciting this is for me.

Back in 2003, as my first novel, Sweet Release, was hitting bookstore shelves, I was hard at work on my second novel, Carnal Gift. This one told the story of Jamie, the little brother of the heroine from Sweet Release. All grown up, he’s in Ireland and Britain on behalf of the colony of Virginia to get the British to take seriously the conflict against the French and their Indian allies in North America.

Why does he do this? Because his nephew, his sister’s firstborn son, Nicholas Kenleigh, was taken in a skirmish with the Indians and burnt to death. (Nicholas makes an appearance, alive but changed, in the epilogue. That was cut from the original version.)

This deep personal incentive is what drives him throughout the book. But, if you read the version that was published, you never knew this because this entire thread — what happened to Nicholas, Jamie’s guilt over being unable to save his nephew, his efforts to win the support of Parliament for a fleet of ships and more soldiers — was cut from the book because the book was too long.

Yes, the book was too long.

I cried for a month when I was told by my editor that they didn’t make any exceptions when it came to their maximum number of pages. The weight/thickness of the books determined how many could fit in a box and how much it would cost to ship them. Fewer books per box and heavier boxes means higher shipping costs. And so Jamie’s story landed on the cutting room floor in pieces.

When I got the rights back to Carnal Gift last October, I was so excited because it meant that for the first time I would be able to share with you the story I had written. The story that was published has never felt like my books. How could it with more than 20 percent of the pages gone?

And now the full story is available at last. Jamie and Brighíd finally get their full story told. The copy on the back of the book is the same:

“I expect you to show my friend just how grateful you are. Your willingness is everything.”

With those harsh words, the hated Sasanach earl decided Bríghid's fate: Her body and her virginity were to be offered to a stranger in exchange for her brother’s life. Possessing nothing but her innocence and her fierce Irish pride, she had no choice but to comply.

But the handsome man she faced in the darkened bedchamber was not at all the monster she expected. His green eyes seemed to see inside her. His tender touch calmed his fears while he swore he would protect her by merely pretending to claim her. And as the long hours of the night passed by, as her senses ignited at the heat of their naked flesh, she made a startling discovery: Sometimes the line between hate and love is dangerously thin.

But what’s inside includes those 100 pages, re-edited by me. When I got the chance to go through the book again, I was blown away by how much better my writing had gotten between Sweet Release and Carnal Gift. Also, I’d forgotten the story, partly out of a desire not to think about the fact that the book I’d written had been butchered. Reading it for the first time in eight years, I fell in love with the characters all over again and found myself really wanting to get to Ruaidhrí's story as soon as possible. (Those of you who’ve read the book know that Ruaidhrí is the heroine’s smart-mouthed 16-year-old little brother who almost gets himself hanged.)

Set in Penal Era Ireland, it tells of a history that is largely forgotten over here, when Catholicism was outlawed and priests could be hanged for performing mass. Jamie, our Tide Water plantation hero, sees the world with very different eyes than average subject of His Majesty King George. Taking a look at the biases of Britain through Colonial eyes was fun for me.

The plot remains unchanged. Jamie is given a sex toy by his friend Lord Byerly, but that toy is a terrified young woman whom Jamie is expected to force into sex in front of Byerly. Brighíd expects to be raped, but the man to whom she is given is, unbeknownst to her, trying to do all he can to spare her that fate. What follows is a serious falling out between Jamie and Byerly, with the earl holding all the power — and Jamie having all the balls.

Here’s an excerpt taking from material cut from the book:

“You’re talking about starting a war, Master Blakewell.” William Pitt grimaced, adjusted his swollen foot where it rested, covered in foul-smelling compresses, on a cushioned footstool. “Damned gout!”

“I’m talking about winning a war, Sir, for the war has already begun.”

Pitt seemed to consider this, his forehead bent in a pensive frown beneath his powdered wig. His large, almond eyes, set in a pale oval face, gave him an intelligent, slightly melancholy appearance, and Jamie knew the man’s hard-won political successes had come through wit and oratory. Of all the members of Commons, he was Jamie’s best hope — and the most influential.

“What do you suggest?”

“A fleet of ships designed to fight in the lakes and rivers of the north — and well-trained sailors to man them. Attack the French where they’re most vulnerable — their supply lines, their own towns. Draw them away from English families on the frontier.” Jamie returned Pitt’s steady gaze, waited.

“That’s a bold plan. It would inevitably force them to fight on two fronts or abandon the frontier.” Pitt reached for his teacup, took a sip.

“There’s more to it than that, Sir.”

Pitt raised an eyebrow. “Explain.”

“The French have allied themselves with numerous Indian nations — foremost the Huron, Ottawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwa. Most are led by Obwandiyag, whom some call Pontiac. His intelligence and influence should not be underestimated. Not only is he capable of leading his men in battle, but he could easily win more tribes to the side of the French. He is metai, a spiritual leader, and his words carry great meaning for many.” Jamie took a sip of tea, let his words sink in, trying not to overwhelm Pitt.

“Go on.”

“If we shift the battle to the great lakes and rivers, the French lose whatever advantage they’ve gained through such alliances. While Pontiac’s men are more than capable of defeating British troops on land, they have no means to counter English warships.”

Pitt brow furrowed. “What makes you so certain Indians can defeat trained English soldiers?”

“The Indian way of warfare is not the English way. They attack through ambush, not from battle lines drawn up in the open. The French have largely adopted their techniques. At Fort Necessity, they fired at us from high in the surrounding trees. Good Englishmen died, shot down by an enemy they could not see.”

Pitt’s upper lip curled in disgust. “That’s barbaric.”

“Perhaps, Sir.” Jamie wouldn’t bother trying to explain to Pitt the Indian point of view on warfare. What warrior in his right mind stood out in the open in front of enemies who were firing at him? “Still, that’s the way it is. An English regiment might easily wander into such an ambush — on a road through the forest or on the banks of a river — and lose every man. To win this war, Britain must adapt, Sir, or British claims along the Ohio will be lost.”

And Nicholas’s terrible death will have been for naught.

For a moment, Pitt said nothing but gazed broodingly into the distance.

“Very well, Master Blakewell, I see the point you’re trying to make.” Pitt wiggled his swollen toes, winced. “But tell me—who would supply such ships?”

“My brother-in-law, Alec Kenleigh, has already drawn up plans for a small fleet of warships specially designed to navigate the northern waterways.”

“Of course.” Pitt smiled. “War is a bloody profitable business.”

Jamie refused to let the comment bait him. “Aye, it can be, Sir. However, Alec is willing to build these ships at no profit to himself.”

Both of Pitt’s eyebrows shot upward. “At cost? Remarkable.”

“My brother-in-law lost his eldest son at Fort Necessity.” The pain, the guilt welled up inside Jamie. “He was taken captive and later … burnt alive.”

Pitt’s eyebrows shot up, before his face shifted into a scowl of outrage. “I do say—how unfortunate and appalling.”

Jamie beat back his grief. “It is war, Sir.”

“My condolences on your family’s loss.” Pitt took another sip of tea. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about your brother-in-law. I’m sorry he should suffer such tragedy.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Jamie decided to press his point. “The longer Britain delays in meeting the French threat, the greater that threat becomes. English families are dying on the frontier — men, women and children — and the French are working hard to persuade Britain’s Indian allies to switch sides. We dare not dally, Sir.”

For a moment, the two men sat, gazes locked.

“Very well, Master Blakewell, I shall represent the Colonial cause in Commons. But I warn you, it won’t be easy. Most Englishmen are more concerned with events on the Continent, as the results will have very real consequences here in Britain. Most believe the Crown can force concessions from the French with regard to the American frontier by dominating them in Europe.”

“They are blind.” Jamie stood abruptly, walked to the nearby window. “They would not tolerate the slaughter of English families on British soil here on this island, but the slaughter of British families—”

“Colonists.”

Jamie spun to face him. “—British families on the American frontier means nothing to them. For are the colonists not also subjects of His Majesty, equally deserving of his protection and consideration? And what will happen if colonists begin to feel Britain has turned her back on them? It shouldn’t surprise me that many would turn their backs on Britain.”

“I admire your passion, Master Blakewell, and I agree with you. But it will be an uphill battle, all the more so thanks to your friend.” He pinned Jamie with his gaze. “Or should I say erstwhile friend?”

“Lord Byerly.”

“He’s spreading some rather distressing rumors about you, rumors of collusion with traitorous Irish Catholics. I need to know what truth lies behind these rumors so that I can prepare a proper response.”

Jamie had known this would happen. “Of course.”


As you may be guessing, this was my first contact with research on the French & Indian War (Seven Years War) and led not only to Ride the Fire, in which Nicholas gets his own story, but the MacKinnon’s Rangers series, too.

The book is up and available on Amazon.com, on Barnes and Noble’s website, and at Smashwords. It takes forever to get things up on the Apple store for iPads and pods and such, but it will eventually make it there, too, as will Sweet Release.

I would appreciate anything you can do to help me spread the word, including posting reviews after you’ve read the story if you feel so inclined.

Thanks to Jennifer Johnson of Sapphire Dreams for the lovely cover.

I would love to hear what those of you who’ve read the original published version think of the difference between the two books. Although some people loved Carnal Gift, some feel it’s my weakest book. But they haven’t read this version...

To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of the ebook. To be entered, simply post something nice about Ireland below.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something for history geeks


(The brave souls of The Edwardian Farm together with a randy ram and one of their
big shire horses used for plowing and pulling wagons.)


I don’t watch television. I don’t have cable, and in Colorado if you don’t have cable you can’t watch TV. The mountains block signal. I remember growing up how irritated I was by this. Even with an antenna, the picture was always fuzzy and prone to disturbance.

But I do love a good documentary. If our local cable providers would permit it, I would order the History and Discovery channels a la carte. But they don’t. So about six or so years ago, I told them to take their converter box and shove it. I haven’t missed television (which I rarely watched even when I had cable) at all.

When I do watch television programs, it’s usually a DVD I’ve bought or sometimes a program on Hulu, such as Castle, which I love. (The writer jokes crack me up.)

But my sister knows me very well. She sent me a link to a new program that I've absolutely fallen in love with and which I want to share with the other history geeks out there. Of course, there’s every chance you’ve already discovered it. I’m a bit slow.

The name of it is The Edwardian Farm. It’s a BBC program that shows life on an Edwardian farm as lived through two archaeologists and one historian who move into an Edwardian farmhouse and begin living the way people lived in that area back around 1900. My degree is in archaeology, and the daily lives of ordinary people is one thing that draws me to writing fiction. No detail is too small. I find everything utterly fascinating.

(Here, they’re working a cider press on cider apples. That pile of straw in the middle is actually layer upon layer of crushed apples with the straw folded over and laid on top. It's called a “cheese.”)

And this program goes into great detail. How do you clean germs out of an outdoor privy in that time period? How do you maintain the hedgerows that keep your livestock from running off or getting into your crops? How do you plow a field with horses? How do you make quicklime? How do you preserve food without refrigerators? How do you clean a stopped chimney?

I have loved every episode I’ve watched — all of them on YouTube — and I can’t recommend it enough.

As some of you know, I’m very involved in urban farming and what’s called the “localization” movement. Localization is the reverse of globalization. It’s about making sure that your community produces what it uses, especially where food is concerned. The idea is to prevent unnecessary pollution and to make your community secure in case of a catastrophe. If you grow your own food and your community produces almost all of the food and goods and services humans need to live and thrive, then the global economy can go to hell without your family being hurt.

On a personal level, it means learning skills your grandparents knew — knitting, quilting, sewing, canning, growing gardens, having orchards, keeping chickens and bees. A person on an ordinary lot can do most of these things (depending on climate), and so provide most of the food their family needs. My grandfather built his own house and fed his six children on an orchard, grape arbor and vegetable garden that he cultivated in their backyard. They also had pigeons, rabbits and a goat (for milk).

We outsource most of that nowadays. Rather than doing these things ourselves, we’ve grown dependent on others to do them for us. That gives us more time, but what do people do with that time that really counts? Not only are we less connected to our own lives, we are at the mercy of the entire chain of people who supply the goods and the labor. This fact was driven home to me in December 2006 when six feet of snow fell in four weeks in my front yard and the grocery store shelves became empty. Empty. You couldn’t even buy sugar.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be dependent on an entire global mechanism for feeding my family. I don’t want to “outsource” my life. I’m trying very hard to “insource” it. (I invented that word, by the way, as far as I know. I’m involved in the localization movement here in the county and was trying to find a term for what we’re doing.)

This topic fascinates me, so if any of you are interested in the “transition movement,” which got its start in Great Britain and is also called localization, let me know. I may start a separate blog about that.

I enjoy being able to do things for myself and being reconnected with my own life in that way, rather than simply working for a paycheck and spending all that money on things I can learn to do myself. I find it very wholesome and appealing somehow, even if it is a lot of work. And this program, The Edwardian Farm, is basically about these three people learning the skills their great-grandparents had — i.e., reskilling themselves — and learning to be self-sufficient again.

So how do you clean a stopped up chimney back in the day? One option was to stuff a chicken down your chimney. It would flap and claw and break the soot free. But it was also kind of mean to the chicken — something that probably didn’t matter back in 1900. Another less chicken-y option was to take branches from a holly bush, bind them together and shove them up the chimney. Fascinating!

Apparently, prior to this, these three had a program called The Victorian Farm, which is equally fascinating. During the Edwardian period, technological advances included combustion-engine plows, indoor plumbing, gas ranges and so forth. When I’m done watching these episodes, I’m going to dive into The Victorian Farm and see what things were like back then.

Update: I’m still going to have the Dessert Diva as a guest together with Natalie. The two will be baking pies. I intended it to be a summer blog, but I have been so, so, so busy that it’s now going to preview holiday recipes.

Also, Carnal Gift will be live any day now on Amazon.com. It’s been edited and uploaded, and now I’m just waiting. This will be a very special release for me because finally — finally! — the book will be available as I wrote it, instead of missing 100 key pages.

It has taken a lot of time and effort to get the books online. Fortunately, my son Benjamin has handled a lot of it. I’ve been working on Defiant and trying very hard to stay off the Internet, which has a huge impact on my ability to focus and get work done. So if I’m not around, please forgive me. I need to write!

I’ll be back soon to announce the winner of the e-book copy of Sweet Release.

Thanks for being so patient! I owe it to you to put my time into my books and to make them the best they can be.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sweet Release available as an ebook! EXCERPT




Sorry I’ve been away so long. RomCon took up last weekend, and work has been so incredibly busy that I’ve barely had time to breathe. I had a wonderful time meeting readers — thank you, Batbabes for my lovely bracelet! — and other authors. I met Julie James in person. She’s gorgeous and smart as a whip. I got to spend more time with Tara Janzen and Cindy Gerard, the dynamic duo. Loretta Chase got my bracelet untangled from my hair. Good times!

And now... I have an announcement.

It took much more time than I thought it would, but Sweet Release, my very first novel, is available again. For the past year, the only place readers have been able to find it is in used book stores. Even the ebook versions were taken down after I got my rights to the novel back from the original publisher.

Now, Sweet Release is available for download on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com and a bunch of other formats.

What a strange experience it was to go back to this book, which I hadn’t read since it was published in 2003! As I read it, I decided that my writing has improved dramatically since I wrote that first book. Some things actually made me cringe.

But the story is still incredibly precious to me. It took me seven years to write, a year to edit and then I had to find an agent…

In all a decade of my life went in to Alec and Cassie’s story. I started writing it when Alec was 7 and Benjy was 4. Benjy’s fascination with pirates folded into the story in Jamie’s character, which was created with him in mind.

The book doesn’t contain new material, but it is freshly edited. I took the published version of the manuscript and edited it line by line, removing all the cringe-worthy bits and improving the actual writing without changing the story.

For those of you who haven’t tried my historicals or haven’t tried this series, here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

For five pounds in sterling, the convict was hers. Though Cassie hated the slave trade, her Virginia plantation demanded the labor, and she knew this fevered man would surely die if she left him. But as his wounds healed and his muscled chest bronzed in the sun, Cassie realized Cole Braden was far more dangerous than his papers had indicated—for he could steal her breath with a glance and lay siege to her senses with a touch.

Abducted, beaten, and given a new name, Alec went from master of an English shipbuilding empire to fourteen years of indentured servitude in the American colonies. There, he was known as Cole Braden, a convicted ravisher and defiler of women. And while he longed to ravish the auburn-haired beauty who owned him, he knew his one hope of earning her love—and his freedom—was to prove his true identity. Only then could he turn the tables and attain his ... Sweet Release.



And here is an excerpt from the “shackling scene” that everyone loved when Cassie decides to play a game with the convict she owns and loves:

“You’re on time, convict.” It took every ounce of determination she had not to smile or giggle. “That’s good. It will go easier on you.”

Cassie could see in his eyes the moment he understood her game. His look of confusion was replaced by surprise and then amusement before his gaze grew cold and hard. “I’m to be punished, then?”

“I can no longer tolerate your insolence, convict. I mean to teach you a lesson.” It was good she had rehearsed her lines. It would have been impossible to say them else.
Was she really going through with this?

He leaned against her bedpost nonchalantly, crossing his arms. Defiant and confident, he reminded her so much of the man he’d been when she’d first purchased his indenture. “And what makes you think I’ll cooperate, mistress, when I could just as easily break your pretty neck?”

“You’ll find what I have in mind far more pleasant than what you’ll receive if you disobey.”

“I see.” His gaze raked over her body in blatant sexual appraisal, and she shivered in anticipation. “And just what do you have in mind?”

“Undress—slowly.”

He raised an eyebrow, then untied his shirt and slowly pulled it over his head. It fell, forgotten, at his feet. Candlelight cast the bronzed muscles of his arms, chest, and abdomen in glorious high relief. He reached for the opening of his breeches and began to untie them, his muscles shifting beneath sun-bronzed skin.

Cassie felt desire flow like warm brandy through her veins. “Slowly, convict.”

His gaze locked with hers again as ever so slowly he pulled on the ties, undid his breeches, and let them drop to the floor. He was rock hard, his sex thick and heavy.

She found she could scarcely breathe. “Your hair. Remove the thong.”

Not breaking eye contact, he reached back with one hand, and his dark hair slid free, falling just below his shoulders. He looked untamed, fiercely male, and, with his lash scars, not a little dangerous. He stepped toward her.

She stepped back and pointed to the bed. “Stop! The shackles. Lock one end around your right wrist, then pass the chain behind the bedpost, lie down, and lock the other end around your left wrist.”

He looked at the bed and saw the shackles. She heard his quick intake of breath and saw a shadow pass over his face. Then it was gone.

“Don’t you trust me, fair mistress?” His voice was dark as sin and soft as velvet. His eyes held the allure of every man who’d ever tried to beguile a woman into a false sense of sexual safety.

“Never.” She smiled and spoke in a rich, seductive voice she didn’t know she had. “But I will have your complete cooperation.”

“I see.” Naked, he walked to the bed, picked up the shackles, and closed one end around his right wrist. It locked with a click. He sat and moved backward across the bed, then reached behind his head and passed the chain behind one of the bedposts. “What makes you think these chains will protect you?”

“Do it, convict.”

He lay down, then reached back to cuff his left wrist. Click. He lay diagonally across the bed, completely vulnerable. His arms were stretched over his head. His chest rose and fell with each breath. His rigid sex stood defiantly against his abdomen. His legs, spread slightly, stretched the length of the bed, his feet hanging just over the edge. A tremor passed from Cassie’s belly to her sex.

His gaze, cold and menacing, bored through her. “Do you like what you see?”

“Aye, convict. And it’s good for you that I do.” Almost trembling with excitement, she loosened her bodice until her breasts were visible. Then she moved to the bed and began to caress him, first his feet, then his ankles and calves. Where her hands touched, her lips and tongue soon followed. She heard his breath quicken, felt his muscles tense, and reveled in his response. She worked her way up his muscular legs and over his powerful thighs, but, although she touched the sac that carried his seed, she did not touch his shaft. “You’ve a remarkable cock, convict.”

He groaned in frustration. The chains caught on the bedpost, clinking as he strained against them. “Is this to be my punishment then? To be tortured with kisses, soft hands and words?”

Some part of her she’d never known awoke within her, and she felt herself grow more daring. Like a cat toying with its prey, she stretched across the bed beside him. She ran her fingers teasingly on his abdomen, outlining his erection.

“Your punishment is that you shall see, but you shall not touch. You shall want, but you shall not receive—not until it pleases me.”


Coming soon... Carnal Gift.

This is Jamie’s story. All grown up and off to Britain to ask Parliament for help at the beginning of the French and Indian War, he visits a friend of his, a nobleman, Lord Byerly, to ask for his support in Lords. But Byerly is a changed man, and offers him a poor Irish girl as a gift to warm his bed.

That’s how the story begins, but this won’t be Carnal Gift as you all know it. More than 100 pages were cut from the story before it was published, changing the book entirely. I finished writing it after covers were printed, and it was simply too long. On top of that, the original publisher had a limit on how many pages they would publish. They didn’t bother to tell me that. So I had to endure the distress of seeing an entire subplot disappear from eh story and then watch as a book I hadn’t written was released with my name on it.

But now the book will be published as I wrote it with all 100 pages restored. Not only that, but I gave it a re-edit, as well. I have to say the writing here was light years ahead of Sweet Release, but it was still good to clean it up and update it a bit.

Carnal Gift isn’t up yet, but it will be sometime next week. I’ll let you know when it is available. It’s a long, meaty read now. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have the book I wrote available for you to enjoy.

Please help me get out the word about these two stories through Twitter, Facebook, reviews, blogs, etc. Thank you!

To celebrate the re-release of my first novel, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Sweet Release. To be included in the drawing, all you need to do is post below.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It's RomCon time again!


It’s RomCon time again!

This weekend, I’ll be hanging in A-Town — that’s Aurora for those who haven’t read Hard Evidence — and spending some time with other romance novelists and, best of all, romance readers.

I wanted to share my schedule for those of you who plan to attend RomCon so that we can make sure to hook up somewhere during the course of the weekend. I’m not staying at the hotel — I just don’t feel like it — so connecting with me will only happen before/during/after these events.

Thursday

8:30-9:30 PM, RomCon Social — I think this is in the Vail room. This is where RomCon “buddies” meet up. This pairs experienced RomCon people with newbies and authors with readers.

Friday


11:10 AM-12:05 AMContemporary Author Panel. I’ll be on the panel with a wonderful group of authors: Carly Phillips, Dee Davis, Meg Benjamin, Pamela Clare, Shayla Black, Sherrill Bodine. Some of us are bringing books to give away. I’ll have copies of Breaking Point with me.

6:30-10:30 PM, Wild West Night Dinner — I hope to saddle me a cowboy. (Unlikely since mostly women attend this conference, but one can hope.)


Saturday

10:10-11:05 AM — Pamela Clare’s True Stories Behind the I-Team — Featuring special guest Vince Darcangelo. (Does anything about that name sound familiar?) I’ll be bringing actual copies of newspaper articles, photographs and maybe video (if I can figure that out). Vince, who worked with me for three years, will help me share details about the investigations that eventually fused with my imagination to create the I-Team series. This should be a lot of fun. I just hope someone attends! If not, I guess Vince and I can do a lot of catching up.

11:20 AM-12:15 PM — Intimate Chat /BatBabes Reader Group & Pamela Clare. Who are the BatBabes? I guess I’ll find out, won’t I? Vince Darcangelo might also attend this event.


Sunday

9-9:55 AM — RomCon Readers' Crown Social. Breaking Point was a finalist for the Readers Crown for Romantic Suspense. It didn’t win, but, hey, it was a finalist, right? This is a pre-brunch social for finalists, readers and winners. It’s very early in the morning, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be there.


10:10 AM-11:30 AM — READERS CROWN Awards Brunch. Last year, I sat with Tara Janzen and Cindy Gerard. We were like this Romantic Suspense power table or something. They wonderful, and I adore them both. The food was quite good for a breakfast brunch buffet. I had a custom-made omelet.

12-2 PM — RomCon® Rumble. I have no idea what this is, but apparently I signed up to participate. Yeeha!

This is the only conference I’m attending in 2011 due to the demands of my job and of my writing schedule. I’ll be meeting with authors who are old friends and some, like Julie James, who is a wonderful new friend. Jenn LeBlanc will be there with her cover model. I’m hoping to get some MTM action at the conference.

If you’re at RomCon, be sure to track me down to say hello!

In the meantime, I’ve been very busy trying to get Sweet Release and Carnal Gift, my first two books, re-edited and up as ebooks. Sweet Release will have a fresh edit but no new material. Carnal Gift, however, will have 100 previously unpublished pages, and I can’t wait to have it up. But I’ll share more on this next week.

I am also working on Defiant, of course, and eager to finish it and get Connor into your waiting arms.

Also, those of you who want to hang out and have some I-Team fun — okay, so it’s mostly hot chesticles — should join the new private Pamela Clare’s I-Team on Facebook. I decided to start a new group and set it up as private so that our posts are visible only to members and not all of the Facebook universe.

Have a good second half of the week, everyone. I haven’t been around a lot lately, but I’m still here.
Monday, August 01, 2011

MTM — A search for chesticles with Jenn LeBlanc





Editor’s note: Welcome back to MTM. Sorry I didn’t get this up on time. I have been incredibly busy trying to get books ready for you, so I hope you’ll forgive me. This week, photographer, journalist and author Jenn LeBlanc returns to share with us some of the male beauty she finds as she tries to cast models for the role of her heroes for her illustrated romances. Enjoy!

Helllooo ladies, and possibly gentlemen. I am so excited to be back here for another guest Man Titty Monday post. Last time I was here, I brought my own personal collection of Man Titty from my novel. Images I photographed during my day job as a professional photographer.

I am a lucky, lucky girl. That benefits you because I like to share.


My novel The Rake And The Recluse has been very popular. What does this mean for you? It means I’m working on the sequel to the novel. It means, dear readers, that I need to find more chesticles. It means I have been spending an inordinate amount of time looking at beautiful men, for my day job. And I brought some of them with me today.



My twitter followers love the days and nights I spend casting, they follow my model surfing with the hashtag #castingPerry , and they recently convinced me to start tumbling these lovely models as well. Oh dirty bird, on Tumblr.



I have brought some of my favorites for you, right here, right now.



Man Titty Monday meets Casting Perry.



Th beautiful man at the top of this blog was one of my first choices for Perry, and I know you know who he is if you are on this website. He is a little bit more bulky than what I want for Perry, and he has been building more muscle lately, so he ahs fallen a bit off the radar, but the fact that I found him laying on a large black horse made me very happy.


Say hello to Jed Hill photographed by Michael Downs.


Quickly while we are on the subject of larg black horses and beautiful men how about Chad White and his Friesian. Friesian’s have a very special role in my novel, the hero breeds them. Why? Look at that horse. What horse you say? Oh sorry, it is behind the naked man. (so sorry - there are no chesticles here.)





So moving on back to casting. This image. THIS IMAGE. Which I loved so hard I even shared with Pamela and the gang on Facebook, killed me. Dead. Why? The saddle is On him. On. Him.






This man’s name is Steve Boyd and I am enamoured with him. I need to sell a WHOLE lot more books to be able to afford him in my studio, but as of this moment, he is my ultimate Perry. But let me show you why:




Sun God




Sassy beach bum




Brazen beach bum




Just plain raunchy.




Attitude. He brings it in spades. Some models are kinda…blah. This guy has personality. I know that’s what you’re looking at right now, his personality. Right?



Anywhoo, because Mr. Boyd is so popular for (DUH) reasons, I continue to look for Perry. Starting with the saddle, I decided to see who else tried that bad boy on and OH MY. This was sent to me by Kati over at Romancing Rakes , who loves to help me with my casting via twitter.






Yeah. Oh my.



Then there was this guy and his sexy boots. Do you love boots like I do? Because I love boots.







Say hello to Bryce Thompson



Well. That’s an awful lot of chesticle for one post isn’t it? I suppose I should save some for another time.



Catch up with me anywhere. I’m around and love to talk Man Titty.



Enjoy

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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