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Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas (Colorado High Country #5) —
Rain and Joe's story is out! Head back to Scarlet Springs for a very snowy Christmas story, complete with a look at the history of Scarlet Springs. There are sexy times, as well as a lot of humor. You can grab your copy here: Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo Smashwords Paperback

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, January 20, 2012

DEFIANT is done!



Done!

It’s more than 129,000 words and 467 pages long.

I am now going to take some time to myself and will be back soon with lots of books to give away and lots of fun.

See you soon!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finishing touches on DEFIANT

Writer at work
Sorry if I haven’t been around a lot lately. My head is firmly in the 18th century.

I’m down to my last three days of polishing Defiant. Almost all of that will probably be spent working on the denouement and epilogue. They’re already written, but I want them to be perfect. That means adding one more scene, revising a couple of existing scenes, then working through every word to make them sing.

I turn it in on Friday, probably in the wee hours of the morning. And then I’m going to take some time for myself. I am determined to make the most of my new freedom for taking care of myself — that’s my New Year’s resolution — and for enjoying life again, something I’ve lost track of in all the craziness of working full time, being a mom and trying to write decent books.

I will be bringing you some Ranger-related fun in the coming weeks as we get closer to the release of Defiant in July, including contests, book giveaways, and interviews. And once I’m rested up and in a good and healthy routine, I’ll be working on a trailer for Defiant, a couple of I-Team related novellas and the next I-Team novel.

In the meantime, I’ll be savoring these next few days as special time finishing a series that has meant so incredibly much to me.







Friday, January 13, 2012

Special Guest Blogger — Elisabeth Naughton




Hi, all

First, an update on Defiant. I’m deep into polishing the manuscript and working out all the kinks. I’ve been very focused on it at the expense of many things, but I am enjoying it, which is wonderful. I’m very excited to share this book with all of you.

In the meantime, I’ve asked author Elisabeth Naughton to come talk with us about her latest release, Wait for Me, and her love of reunion stories. I’ve written only one reunion story — Unlawful Contact — but that seems to be a favorite. So what is it about lovers getting a second chance that we cherish so much?

Here is Elisabeth to share her thoughts...

Thanks so much to Pamela for having me here today!

I have been a fan of reunion stories as long as I can remember. My very favorite is Paradise, by Judith McNaught. For those that haven’t read it (and you should!) it’s a book about a man and woman who meet when the heroine is still a teenager. They have an intense fling, get married on a whim and find their relationship torn apart by time and distance. Years later, they meet up again, and that’s when the real story starts—as the lies and betrayals they each thought were true in the past are seen in a whole new light.

While I love reading reunion stories, writing them is an entirely different story. The toughest books I’ve ever written have been reunion stories—STOLEN HEAT, ENTWINED, ENRAPTURED—primarily because there’s so much angst from the past an author has to convey to the reader in order to make them work. Every time I write one, I complain to my critique partner and make her promise to slap me upside the head if I start to write another. She agrees. Then forgets. And months later I find myself ready to tear my eyelashes out as I’m stuck in the middle of yet another one. It really is like a sickness – I love them so much I can’t stop writing them. But at the same time they test my writing patience and push me to the limit. The only consolation is that at the end—when it’s all said and done—those reunion stories are my favorite books that I’ve written to date.

WAIT FOR ME is one such book. It’s a romantic suspense about a happily married man—Ryan Harrison—whose life is torn apart when his wife is killed in an accident. The book opens five years later with Ryan’s life being turned upside down—yet again—when a woman who looks just like his deceased wife shows up on his doorstep. It’s angsty, it’s emotional, and it’s filled with romance and mystery as the two work together to find answers as to what really happened five years before. And even though it was a very hard book for me to write, it is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorites.

Are you a fan of reunion stories? What do you like about them? I’m giving away a copy of WAIT FOR ME to one lucky commenter today!

***

A woman without a past…



After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.



A man desperate for a reason to live…



Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.



Two lives about to converge.



As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.

“Full of twists and turns, lies and deception, and the ultimate revenge, WAIT FOR ME is a great romantic suspense read.”
—Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick
***



A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards including the prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, The Golden Leaf and the Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ballpark or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com to learn more about her and her books.
Friday, January 06, 2012

Why I Write About the French & Indian War

A view of Lake Champlain from the walls of Fort Ticonderoga

First for the really exciting news: Connor’s book is written! Yes, Defiant is written. Right now I’m revising it and polishing it — my favorite part of writing. Writing is not getting any easier for me, but rather seems to get harder. Perhaps my expectations for myself are getting higher, or maybe I just keep biting off more in my mind than I can manage in words.


Indian writer Anita Desai said, “Usually a feeling of disappointment follows the book, because what I hoped to write is not what I actually accomplished. However, it becomes motivation to write the next book.”

I have that same experience.

The beautiful Eileen Hannay and I standing on Rogers Island across from the site of Fort Edward

What’s in my mind is a shadow of some greater, more profound reality that I want to share. What ends up on the page is a shadow of what was in my mind. It can be very frustrating.


However, I’m almost 100 pages in and pleased with the those 100 pages.


I wanted to muse a bit about why I write about Colonial America and particularly the French & Indian War. A reader on Goodreads asked why I would set a book during a period of history that was so horrendously violent and brutal. I’m taking the question seriously and want to answer, because there is a reason. Or rather there are many reasons.

Romantic fiction has a long tradition that goes back long before Jane Austen. Although many credit her with inventing the romance genre, in truth there were romances in the 16th and 17th centuries that were very popular and available to those who could afford them. Still, the fact remains that much of historical romance focuses on the Regency period, a reader favorite.

A powder horn, rifled muskets and leg irons from the French & Indian war
 Many readers enjoy escaping into the beauty of the idealized Regency world. For them, romantic fiction is synonymous with beautiful people, opulence, beautiful clothing, romantic adventures, witty banter, comedy of manners, and so on.

So why would I write historical romance that lacks most of those elements?  And why would I choose to set a historical romance at what was arguably THE most violent period in North American history?

The easy answer is this: These are the stories that are in my heart to tell.

The waterfall where Amalie and Morgan make love for the first time (son Benjamin is guarding it)

The more complicated answer starts with my own interests and life experience.

As an investigative reporter, I saw and experienced a lot of things people do not see. I met people who were downright evil. I also met saints. I saw violence. I saw dead bodies. I saw a kid with his head shot off. Yes, off. I know what happens to human brains when they dry. I know the hollow look in a rape victim’s eyes and the hate-filled look in the rapist’s. I’ve had two stalkers, gotten death threats, and survived sexual assault as a child.

Sorry, but I can’t even fantasize about an idealized world of beautiful people. For me to believe a story, it has to begin in the world I know — the imperfect world of strife, poverty, and violence. That’s true for my I-Team stories, too. (Side note: I think this is true for a lot of paranormal writers and urban fantasy authors, too. The darkness of the paranormal/fantasy world is a kind of metaphor for the evil in our own.)

The fantasy for me is taking that world — and healing it. In real life, I have very little control over the terrible things that happen. The bad guy often gets away. The innocent are often the ones who suffer. The poor get poorer. The rich get richer. Women and children take the brunt of the world’s brutality. But in fiction, I can have control of that outcome and make the right thing happen.


That’s part of it.

But I also love this period of history. So many cultures are coming together. An English family on the frontier would have neighbors from Ulster, Germany, Holland, not to mention American Indian nations. The cultural clash and mixing fascinates me as a student of history — my degree and graduate work was in archaeology — and as a lover of languages.

As an archaeology student, I found the golden troves of treasure from the graves of kings and pharaohs to be only of passing interest. What fascinated me most were everyday objects used by everyday people. I fell in love with archaeology as a kid when someone handed me a potsherd from ancient Athens. And there on the ancient clay I could just make out the potter’s thumb print.

I felt connected across centuries to a human being who’d devoted a small portion of his/her life to crafting that very pot. The thought stole my breath. I was completely carried away, connected to a sense of humanity that sprawls millennia. It’s really hard to explain what that feels like, but it ignited a love in me for the ordinary human being through history.

So many novels, not just in romance, focus on the doings of the wealthy and famous. What about the ordinary people? What about the farm wife and the shopkeeper and the blacksmith? I love the details or everyday people’s lives, and I enjoy putting them into stories.

Also, I love nature, and the forests of New York, Pennsylvania, the Ohio Country, and the New England states were vast on a scale that we can’t really imagine. Nature, therefore, becomes its own character in the stories.


The eastern shore of Lake George, well known to the Rangers

All of this rolls together with a specific interest in — no, a passion for — this time period. Life was raw. It hung by a thread. The French & Indian War has been called the First World War by many scholars. And although people didn’t realize it at the time, it was also the war that led to the American Revolution. The latter is unthinkable without the divisions and strife of the former. I could go on forever. I’ll stop there.

This all fascinates me, and, yes, I find aspects of it romantic, just as other aspects are tragic and terrifying.

I find that great adversity makes for the creation of strong heroes. Think about World War II movies and the way that era is romanticized. And yet the violence of that war and the events that went with it, such as the Holocaust, is some of the most appalling ever to take place on this planet.

Great heroes arose from that time, men and women who were equal to the challenge of that war, who rose above their own imperfection to make great sacrifices for the sake of others.


The darker the night, the more horrendous the evil, the brighter the dawn, the more heroic the hero. That’s how it feels for me, at any rate.

William Falkner once said there were only three kinds of stories worth telling: man vs. man, man vs. nature or man vs. himself. Setting aside his sexist language, I guess I agree.

I find that mixing those three up in a single story — nature, war, internal conflict — makes it challenging to write and worth my time. If I can add a love story to that — and some hot sex — then I feel like it’s a book I would want to read.


The site of Fort Edward looking across the Hudson River to Rogers Island (Ranger Island)

I’ve always said that one thing that makes romantic fiction great is variety. People who enjoy light, breezy reads have plenty to choose from, as do people who enjoy cowboys, vampires, shape shifters, firemen, Amish tales, futuristic romance, other worlds and so on. And every romance writer makes her contribution to that variety, adding her own bit of color to the rainbow, so to speak.

My contribution thus far has been Colonial American romance, focusing largely on the French & Indian War and the American frontier, and the I-Team, stories based on my own work as a reporter. I also have some medieval stories in my head that need to come out at some point, as well as some set during the Dickensian period.

I write these books because the stories are in my heart. I write these books because I want to write them. I can’t fathom trying to write 120,000 words that weren’t really in me. Talk about difficult!

My hope for every romance reader is that you find lots of books this year that satisfy your heart.

Happy Reading!

Coming soon:
An interview with Eileen Hannay, an expert on Rogers Island
More contests
The MacKinnon’s Rangers Reading Challenge

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Untamed 2.0 is out today! CONTEST


I’ve been so busy working on Defiant, that it completely slipped my mind that today is RELEASE DAY for Untamed 2.0.

I’ve blogged lots about it, and there are excerpts below and on my website, so if you want a sneak peek you’ve got it.

This version has all the cut pages restored and the original death scene for the villain which was cut from the first published edition of the novel and happened “offstage” and in a very different way. The original way I wrote it was much more satisfying.

I’m very excited to find out what readers who read the original version think of the new version, particularly that death scene.

Untamed is available at Amazon.com in print and on Kindle, on BarnesandNoble.com both in print and for Nook and at bookstores.

To celebrate the book’s release — and to celebrate having finished Connor’s story at 1:04 AM —  I’m giving away three signed copies of the book.

Just comment below to be added to the drawing.




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Favorite Writing Quotes


"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