Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!

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.


Seductive Musings

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—”


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, 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.



Anonymous said...

A friend of mine went to Ireland last year and posted some beautiful pictures of Ireland's countryside and the old charm of the little towns they visited. Did you know you can buy a little piece of Ireland? She was only like a square foot or something but it was a romantic gesture on her part to remind them of their time there.

Ursula said...

I would love to see the rolling green countryside of Ireland. It is one of the places to visit on my bucket list. Someday I will get there. And if I have a chance, buy a piece of it.

Lori said...

Yay! Can't wait to read it again.

Ireland? I adored it. My hub was transfixed by the Cliffs of Moher, bit I adored Inish Oirr. Like stepping back on time, and the amazing walls just dumbfounded me. What a gorgeous country! And the people were so nice, too!

I think Ireland is such a beautiful country! So green... I'd love to go there. ;)

What better way to celebrate than with an Irish Blessing:

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

And what can be a nicer thing to say about Ireland than Muse worthy Irish actors Michael Fassbender, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Jonathon Rhys Meyers!

You know that I love your I-Team series, and that I also love historical romances so I can't even begin to tell you how hard of a wait it was to this book. After reading the I-Team I wanted to devour these as well, but knew from your blog posts that updated versions were on the way so I decided to wait to have the complete book, not a butchered story. I'm so glad authors are able to re release their backlist in ebook, and write the books they envision instead of it all coming down to the bottom line...that never works out well. Hooray! and Congrats!

Susie said...

I've never been to Ireland, but everyone who has been there talks about how green everything is. A Visit to Ireland is on my bucket list, partially because one of my ancestors came from there prior to the American Revolution.

Hi, Elizabeth — I've seen those ads — Buy a piece of Ireland. It is a romantic gesture for many people with Irish roots. And so many people here in the U.S. have Irish roots. The same is true for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Hi, Ursula — It's on my bucketlist, too. Maybe I'll see you there.

Hi, Lori — I'll be interested to see what you think of it when you're done. To me, it's a totally different story because Jamie's character is very different. Pretty much everything that was cut had to do with him. I would love to see the Cliffs of Mohr in person — they're in MY county, i.e., County Clare. I've also wanted for a long time to live on Innish Mor or one of the islands. How cool that you've been there.

Hi, Myranda — It's so much greener than Colorado. Of that I'm sure. All of those areas — Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales — are so green compared to my state, even in the winter.

Hi, Booklover — That's a lovely little blessing.

And you're right — the number of super-hot men who've come out of Ireland is a long one.

Also, it's home to so much fantastic music and a long musical tradition that has had a big impact on all kinds of American music from folk to gospel to rock and roll.

And let's not forget literature — ’tis the land of scholars and poets. James Joyce, WB Yeats... Well, I don't have a list in my head.

And then there's U2, one of my fave bands.

I really hope you enjoy the stories. And thank you!

Hi, Susie — One of the interesting things about Colonial ties to Ireland is that most people who came here from there prior to the Revolution and for a time after were from Ulster. In other words, they were "Scots Irish," or Scottish immigrants to Ireland. They called themselves Irish because that's where they'd come from, but they were ethnically Scottish. I wonder if that's the case for your family or if they truly came from Ireland as ethnic Irish. I find this stuff FASCINATING!

ClaudiaGC said...

Hi Pam!
It's so great to hear that you can finally release your old books the way you wanted them to be in the first place. It's so obvious that it is very dear to your heart.
I was only this year on vacation in Ireland. We stayed one week a bit south of Dublin visiting friends and another week doing a road trip along the coast. It was so lovely! I adore the countryside and the people. They seem grumpy sometimes but are so nice once you get to meet them.

Anonymous said...

About a quarter of my ancestors were Irish - some from County Clare. Back in the 1980s my sister and I had the chance to visit there. I have fond memories of a particular B&B, where the proprietor went walking in the dewy morning, picked field mushrooms, and promptly cooked them for our breakfast - delicious.
Lesley (in NSW)

Sheri RF said...

My husbands family is Irish. Thank goodness they came here or we would never have found each other! :-)

Ireland is a beautiful country and on the list of places to visit when I have the means. =)

Angie said...

I must admit I don't know much about Ireland, but those countryside images are magnetic and make you wish to live there in a nice little house away from the bad news that plague the world. Carnal Gift was my favorite book from that series and I haven't read the new version... I'm sure I'll love it even more now

Rach said...

In Nov 2009 my husband and I went to Dublin for a few days. We took a bus tour to a nearby castle and before the journey started we were chatting with the bus driver a bit, a really sweet old Irishman. Throughout the tour he was giving commentary over the speakers on what everyone could see out the windows. Then he started talking about love, gave advice to Tim and I (by name, over the speakers, lol) and then started singing "Red is the Rose" in that unique a capella way Irishmen have. It was the highlight of my trip!

Pamela, I'm very excited to read these new released books. Do they need to be read in order?

Diane W. said...

Oh, I love Ireland!! My next door neighbors as a child were from there and they would travel back for a month every summer. I was always so excited when Katherine (their daughter who was my age) would returne with so many fun "treasures" from the Emerald Isle. She was so sweet and generous and shared all of the fabulous "sweets" she'd stuffed into her suitcase with me. To this day, the "Crunchie" bar is my favorite candy!

And seriously...I cannot wait to read this book again in its entirety. What a horrible thing to do to an author...kind of the equivalent of chopping off a limb.

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