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

Friday, November 04, 2011

Countdown to SURRENDER

Time flies when you’re writing a novel. Now, suddenly, summer is over. Several inches of snow lie on the ground outside, with more snow on the way. Breaking Point is six months behind me, and Defiant is 10 chapters plus an epilogue away from being done.

And suddenly, without any warning, I find myself a month away from the reissue of Surrender, the first book in the MacKinnon’s Rangers series. How can that be? Surrender wasn’t slated for release until...

December 6!

Well, now that’s just a month away.

I haven’t had a historical romance out since Untamed was released in 2008. My historical readers — bless them! — are the most patient people in the world. They’ve put up with this long wait while I’ve worked on I-Team books. And now finally they’re going to get some attention.

So here’s a big ((((((((((((Hug)))))))))))) from me to those of you who consider yourselves to be fans primarily of my historical novels. Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long! Thank you so much for your patience!

For those of you who’ve never read one of my historical novels, let me introduce you to the MacKinnon's Rangers series:

Set in far upstate Colonial New York during the tumult of the French and Indian War, it tells the stories of three brothers — Iain, Morgan and Connor — exiled from the Scottish Highlands as adolescent boys who grew up alongside the Mahican Indians. Forced by an unscrupulous British officer, Lord William Wentworth, to fight in the French and Indian War against the French, who are the traditional allies of the Catholic Scottish Highlanders, they forge a new breed of warrior.

The series grew out of research I did for the third Blakewell/Kenleigh book, Ride the Fire. I had come across references to Robert Rogers and Rogers' Rangers in the course of my work on that novel, and I decided to dig deeper. Robert Rogers is considered to be the father of the U.S. Army Rangers. He combined American Indian woodcraft and fighting techniques with European techniques and created a new kind of warfare Without him — without his contributions — the French might have well won the French and Indian War.

Rogers created this new kind of warfare, establishing what was the first special forces. The Rangers were the special ops teams of their day. They fought by rules that other units knew nothing about, accomplishing deeds wearing wool, carrying awkward tumpline packs and heavy rifled muskets, and using nothing but compasses and the stars to guide them that would push today’s special forces equipped with polypro, GPS, sat phones, and modern weaponry. You’ll find no greater fans of the Rangers than among U.S. Army Rangers, who revere them.

I found this fascinating and thought I would create a series out of this concept. I love the time period and the history, so it really came together for me as a writer. I have loved writing MacKinnon’s Rangers series.

The first book in the series is titled Surrender. It sets up the series and tells the story of the eldest brother, Iain, and Lady Anne Burness Campbell, who is betrayed by her uncle and sold into indentured servitude in the Colonies. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

A hand-picked cadre of warriors, they had the fierce courage of their Scots forefathers, combined with the stealth and cunning of the Indians who lived beside them in the wilderness. Battling the French in no-holds-barred combat, they forged a new brand of honor, became a new breed of men…

MacKinnon’s Rangers

Iain MacKinnon had been forced to serve the British crown, but compassion urged him to save the lovely lass facing certain death at the hands of the Abenaki. He’d defied his orders, endangered his brothers, his men and his mission, all for a woman. But when he held Annie’s sweet body in his arms, he could feel no regret. Though he sensed she was hiding something from him, it was too late to hold back his heart. In love and war, there are times when the only course of action is… Surrender.

The first time Surrender was released, it had a gawdawful cover. The initial rejected version (at top) showed a guy who looked like Daniel Boone standing in the distance in front of a village of tipis. There are no Native cultures in New York that lived in Plains Indian-style tipis. And what’s with those mountains? Is this the Alps? It’s certainly not the Adirondacks.

The version that was part of the books first release, above, features the same image, but with the model’s shirt removed — and his sexy chesticles hidden behind what I call a modesty plaid. Why in the world did the publisher do this? I believe the distributor was pushing them to create “family values” covers or some other nonsense. Sadly, the tipis remained. It was a terrible cover, and a lot of readers bypassed the book for that reason, which left me very sad.

The book might not have captured the attention of readers who didn’t know my name, but it did get fantastic reviews and was a RITA Finalist, which was very exciting. This inspired the initial publisher to reissue the book with a new and improved cover (below).

This version was released just before Untamed, Morgan’s book, came out. Ride the Fire was reissued at the same time with a similar cover.

But then the publisher started having trouble. Before I could start the third book in the series, Connor’s story, my editor left, and the publisher quit publishing books in print. Which meant no book for Connor. I was so afraid the series was dead, and that broke my heart.

Fortunately, my editor at Penguin, which publishes my I-Team series, was pleased enough with the I-Team to be curious about my historicals. She read them and decided she wanted the series. Keep in mind that it’s almost unheard of for a publishing company to buy a series mid-stream. But that’s what Penguin did.

Rather than just putting out Connor’s book, which is titled Defiant, they decided to buy the rights to the entire series and start over. This past summer I got the chance to so something an author rarely gets a chance to do — revisit a story and make changes.

I gave Surrender a fresh edit, changing the way some parts were written to improve them. I also added some new scenes. A few of them are events that happened “off stage” in the original version of the story but now happen on stage where the reader can experience the full scene and not just a brief recap. One of the scenes is from scratch and shares a key Lord William moment toward the end of the book.

The new cover is historically accurate in every detail — the leggings, the rifled musket, the Mahican lodge, the New York forest, the strip of MacKinnon plaid, the hero’s hair. Does it scream romance? No. But I hope it’s appealing.

I like the shiny, gold medallion that screams, “Includes New Material.”

I want to make it clear that this is a reissue, so if you’ve read Surrender, you know what happens in this book. The plot doesn’t change. But the writing is re-edited, and there are a handful of new scenes. A reader emailed to ask me whether I felt the new scenes made the new book worth buying. I can’t answer that question.

But for those of you who didn’t catch MacKinnon’s Rangers the first time around, now is your chance to get in on the ground floor before Untamed comes out in January and Defiant, Connor’s book is finally, finally released in July 2012.

Only one month to go before Iain and Annie’s story is available again!

So which version of the cover do you all like the most?


Dolores Fuentes said...

YES!!! I hadn't realized the time for the reissue was so close!! I already own and have read Surrender but I'm definetly purchasing the reissue! I'm curious about the new scene's.

Thank you Penguin for being interested in Pam's historicals and wanting to publishe them again!

Dolores F.

Hi, Dolores — Yes, time got away from me, too. But now it's just 30 days away. I hope you enjoy the new scenes.

And, yes, thank you, Penguin! My editor's name is Cindy, so you can thank her specifically. She rescued MacKinnon's Rangers from the dustbin of fiction.

Good to "see" you, Dolores!

I'm a historical romance junkie, but I found your books via your Romantic Suspense. When I found out the books were being reissued with new content I decided to wait to read them and can't wait until Dec 6th.

And to answer your question, I like the new cover the best. The first cover is ok, but I'm so tired of seeing Nathan K on covers that I kind of avoid them if I can :) I like that it represents the story so I kind of get a feel of what the book is about before even reading the back cover.

landipan said...

Wow,time really does fly,I seriously feel like Breaking point came out just last week! As for which cover I like best,I'd definitely say the new one.You can just feel from looking at it more thought and detail was put into it than just your average novel and I really appreciate that.

I can't wait to buy the new reissue of Surrender! Super excited to re-read Iain and Annie's story!

Also,a huge thank you to Cindy for saving the Mackinnon brothers!

Hi, Booklover — That's so funny! You know, my first editor, the wonderful Alicia who bought my first book and all of my historicals before she left for another publishing house, said she couldn't imagine me writing romantic suspense. My editor for my romantic suspense was surprised to know I wrote historicals.

I think it's funny that you found my books through the RS when you love historicals. There are people on both sides who don't know I write the other.

I have Nathan Kamp fatigue, too. I like the new SURRENDER and UNTAMED covers (especially the cover for UNTAMED which looks like a page from the story) quite a bit.

Hi, Landipan — I know, right? Like five minutes ago we were talking about Zach and now...

I know the art department and Cindy put so much work into the details of all three covers, and I really appreciate it after those horrible tipis.

I'm so glad you're excited. So am I!

I prefer the newest version for sure. It does look more historically correct. And the model reminds me quite a bit of a younger Mark Wahlberg.

And since I love both genres you write - I've been happy all along :-)

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