Book Releases

Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — Look for the first book in my new Colorado High Country series on May 10! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and adventures of members of an alpine search and rescue team. It will be available in print and ebook, with audiobook coming sometime this fall.


Soul Deep out in audiobook! — Jack West, widower, rancher and former Army Ranger, gets his own love story in this special I-Team novella, which was picked by readers at Grave Tells as the Best Contemporary Romance of 2015. It will be out in audiobook any day now.


Seduction Game is out in paperback, (I-Team #7) — Holly and Nick’s story is out in all formats — ebook, audiobook, and paperback. Look for it in Wal-Mart, the Kroger chain of stores, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookseller.


Dead By Midnight: An I-Team Christmas is out! — The grand finale of the I-Team series finds all the couples you love brought together when terrorists attack holiday festivities at a historica hotel in downtown Denver. It’s bad news for the terrorists. They have no clue what they’ve done when they take Marc Hunter and his friends hostage. Featuring cameos by the men of New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross’s Hostage Rescue Team series. Available in ebook and paperback.

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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

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Day With Connor MacKinnon


You’ve read excerpts, gotten a glimpse of Lady Sarah Woodville’s world, and you’ve told me you can’t wait to get your hands on Connor MacKinnon. Today, you’re going to get as close as you can get to him until July 3, when Defiant is finally on bookstore shelves.

You haven’t read a word I’ve written, have you? Your eyes are glued on the amazingly handsome man with the freaking fantastic body in the image above. Can’t say that I blame you. I spent Saturday with him. I even drew on his skin. Whoa! That got your attention! Now follow along...

As I was saying, I’m going to give you a glimpse of Connor MacKinnon today, and there he is. It goes like this...


Author and photojournalist Jenn LeBlanc of Illustrated Romance is a friend of mine. We met at the journalism awards ceremony where I was given my Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2010 and Jenn picked up an award for photojournalism. Only we didn’t actually meet. We probably ended up competing for space at the very small bar at the Denver Press Club, but I didn’t stay long that night, hitting the town with my posse for champagne and overpriced food.

Jenn and I met again at Lady Jane’s Salon in Denver. I was there to read. I walked in, and this woman with lovely blond hair said, “Oh, my God! You’re her!” I was confused, and Jenn introduced herself, explaining that she’d been there that night and had heard my acceptance speech (which is on YouTube for those of you who are bored out of your minds at work on a Monday morning). 


Long story short, we both write romance. And she does something that I really appreciate: She takes photos of extremely sexy male models and couples for her books and for romance novel book covers. Jenn is the photographer who brought you the cover of Skin Deep — all that chiaroscuro and man muscle. Yes, that’s her work.

A few weeks back, she sent me a photo of ripped, half-naked man with the text, “Connor?” My response was something like, “Yum!”

The half-naked man turned out to be Karl — who was much hotter in person than that smartphone image could possibly convey. His presence, the fact that he largely fits the description of Connor, and my son’s film degree kind of coalesced into an idea: make a live-action trailer for Defiant.

And that, my friends, is what we’ve spent this past weekend doing.


Benjamin and I set out early Saturday — shortly after fuck-o’-clock in the morning — with some props, including my Brown Bess 1757 musket, lead balls (ammo for the gun), a powder horn, a leather medicine bag to use as a parfleche, and some other junk. We headed south to meet Jenn, Karl and Cora, another photojournalist who assists Jenn and often models for covers, at a park outside Lakewood where there was a lake. (Jenn had scouted out locations earlier in the week.)

Benjamin and I got there a bit early and sat there in the cool morning air watching a rabbit hop around and talking about firearms. Then Jenn pulled up in her Jeep with Karl and Cora. We were supposed to follow them, but I had left the lights on, so my car wouldn’t start. A sexy Ranger came along and gave us a jump — gotta love sexy Rangers — and we were off.


Now, when you’re in public and your grand plan is to get someone mostly naked in strange public places and to brandish firearms, you do wonder whether you’re going to end up getting arrested and making very awkward phone calls to family. We had this in mind as we reached the lake and hiked back to a less public beach. While Jenn, Benjamin and Cora talked about lighting, Karl took off his clothes, stripping down to a pair of swim trunks, and walked into the water.
 
God, I love my job!

 At that point, I could have started photographing the scene for a “making of” documentary. Instead, I was standing there trying not to stare, something akin to “Oh, holy God!” running through my mind as my estrogen levels abruptly shifted from “nice” to “very, very naughty.” I wondered for a few minutes how I was going to get through the day without acting like a 16-year-old in the midst of her first crush. (Jenn says I blushed. She does not have photographic proof of this, so I choose not to believe her. I do not blush.)

The water portion of the shoot lasted for close to an hour. There was chest washing, water trickling over pecs and abs, biceps washing. I gave Karl an overview of the story and what the hell Connor would be doing in a lake — taking a bath to wash away the blood of battle, it so happens — and then Benjamin coached Karl through some shots based on that bathing scene. It’s a good thing Benjy was directing, because I love men in water and would likely have kept reshooting those scenes until Karl’s toes turned to prunes.

While this was going on, Jenn was live tweeting it to an audience of our readers, who were waiting with photos on my Facebook page and on Twitter with the #StudioSmexy hashtag. 


When the water games were done, we packed up, remarking that we hadn’t yet been arrested, and headed off to our next location — where we found a sign telling us that we couldn’t use firearms. Since the legal definition of “use” is somewhat unclear and given that the place was crowded and that two Ranger vehicles were nearby, we decided that discretion really is the greater part of filmmaking and went somewhere else — Cora’s parents’ house. 

On our way, we passed what was clearly Jack West’s ranch, the Cimarron, but that’s another story.

Cora’s folks have a beautiful mountain home with lots of acreage of forest, where we set about the forest part of the shoot. Now, a Colorado forest looks nothing like a forest from upstate New York, but we couldn’t replant the whole thing. We had to make it work. We got out our props, had Karl switch from swim trunks to breeches, and got out Bess — my musket. 

Benjamin directed the shooting, while Cora helped with lighting and Jenn took photos. What did I do? Well, I drew the tattoos on Karl’s arms. 

This was not a hardship for me. Take an eyeshadow pen, draw designs on a sexy man’s muscular arms. Sure, okay. I’ll do that. I didn’t even lie and make up some story about Connor having extensive tattoos on his chest, thighs, back, butt cheeks, and lower belly. I could have done that, you know. (Sometimes, I’m too well-behaved for my own sake.)

 

The forest shoot lasted the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon as Karl was put through the paces of being Connor MacKinnon. Even though the costume was not historically accurate and the whole operation was ultra-mega-low-budget, there came a moment where Karl was running full-tilt through the forest when both Jenn and I got goose bumps.

There running through the trees was Connor MacKinnon, in the flesh. As Jenn later wrote on Facebook, it was like being in the forest with my muse.



Karl took the job very seriously, doing everything that was asked of him and handling the physical demands of it well. Fortunately, he has firearms experience, so we didn’t have to show him how to hold the musket. Working with people who’ve never held a gun and making it look natural is a filmmakers’s nightmare. We didn’t have to deal with that.

Benjamin came up with some clever ways of getting the footage he wanted, though I don’t want to give too much away. I won’t say more about that.


 After we were finished, I took everyone to lunch and got to talk with the man I’d spent the past six hours staring at. Karl is intelligent and concerned and fun — not at all self-centered or arrogant like some male models can be. We all had a great time.

And on July 3 to celebrate the release of the book, Reel Films (that’s Benjamin’s film company) together with Illustrated Romance (that’s Jenn), and I will bring you a live-action trailer for Defiant. I’ve seen the rough cut edit of the footage, and it’s fantastic. We’ll be getting together for some pickup shots next week — we’re adding Wentworth and Lady Sarah to the trailer — and then we’ll be down to sound and the soundtrack.

Only 15 days to go until Defiant is finally out and you get to read the book and see Connor in action!



16 comments:

I can only imagine how exciting it was, putting this all together. I can't wait to see the actual video in its entirety!

landin said...

Oh.....my..., this has to be one of my top favorite posts from you, if not number one!

There is nothing about this I don't love! All the work and details put into it make it so mouth watering delicious! Can't wait for the finished product!

P.S Tell Karl he can come over to my place anytime if he's ever in GA! ^.~

Melanie said...

So glad you had a successful and fun day, Pam!! Can't wait to see the trailer. :D

I LOVE the flip flops!!!! Thanks for sharing Pam.

Looking forward to the trailer but I think the trailer is going to leave me hungering for the MOVIE!

Leslie S said...

Sounds like a fun day. So excited to see the trailer!

Looks like a fun day out in the woods.
Clare

Jenn said...

This has been such an incredibly fun project! The minute I started shooting Karl, I knew I had to show him to Pam, and now look what we've gone and done for all of you readers....you're going to love the final.

Jenn

What wonderful post! A day in a life of a Ranger, writer, director and photojournalist.
I am so glad you guys did this. I love every bit of it.
~Angela

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, can't wait to see the trailer and read the book. Is it just me or is that hand cocking the musket in the first photo rather erotic?

Danielle said...

That sounds like so much fun. Karl is not only gorgeous, but seems like a great guy. I'm glad everything went well, and I applaud your restraint!

UM, I can't wait for you to see it either!

Hi, Landin, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. This was such a fun weekend. I haven't had that much fun in ages. I'll pass the, um, message along. ;-)

Hi, Melanie — thanks so much! I can't wait to share it.

Hi, Janet — Those are period-accurate flip-flops, ca. 1760 model. LOL! They won't be in the trailer thanks to the magic of filmmaking.

Hola, Timbera — I know! I would love to see it as a live-action film. Actually, I started envisioning Karl as Julian Darcangelo. Hard Evidence could be made on a relatively low budget, and he looks the part.

Hi, Leslie — Thanks! It was SO fun.

Hi, Clare — It's definitely the first time I've spent a day in the forest doing something like this. :-)

Hi, Jenn! I'm so glad you shared him with me. He was fabulous, and I had so much fun. Every time you and I made eye contact, we grinned. I didn't really blush, did I?

Hi, Angela — Thanks so much! I' so glad you enjoyed the post. Wait till you see the trailer!

Anonymous, it is not just you. Karl's hands — well, everything about him, really — is very masculine and sexy.

Hi, Danielle — He is a great guy with a very fun smile. I think he enjoyed himself, too.

I have been watching Jenn and her picture taking since I first saw The Rake & The Recluse with pictures. The total reason i bought it. And loved it. What a marvelous idea it was. And I love watching her getting better and the pictures getting sexier. LOL I love watching this.

Jenn said...

Aw Krazymama!! THANK YOU!!!! I love what I'm doing, I'm glad it shows :)

Pam, you did, though momentary, I saw it. ;)

Jenn

Letitia said...

Holy hotness.You have a a rough, rough job... :-) Drawing on that man's skin... yes, please! Lol.

Dalila G. said...

What an awesome post!!
I can't wait to get my copy of DEFIANT!

Looks like a lot of hard work went into this, but I'm sure you toughed it out, YAY you!

Having Karl around made it a tiny bit easier. ;-)

Thank you for lettinh us peek into your world for a bit. :-D

Have a wonderful weekend!

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