Book Releases

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

My photo
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.

Members

Seductive Musings

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cover Reveal! — FIRST STRIKE: The erotic prequel to STRIKING DISTANCE


Remember how I’ve been promising you something to hold you over until the Nov. 5 release of Striking Distance? Well, here’s your first glimpse. I hope you like it!

First Strike, which I’m working on right now, is the erotic prequel to Striking Distance. And here’s the story of how it came to be.

When I wrote Striking Distance, I originally started with a prologue set in Dubai City in 2009. The prologue would tell how Javier Corbray and Laura Nilsson, the hero and heroine from Striking Distance, met and show the intensity of the attraction between them — some sensuality to hold us over through the action in the earlier parts of Striking Distance.

But the prologue didn’t work. For starters, it was too long. Also, it created a situation where another prologue was necessary to launch the story — that’s the current prologue for the book. Rather than have two extraordinarily long prologues, I realized I had to cut this one.

It was the right decision.

Laura, a dual U.S. and Swedish citizen who works as a journalist, and Javier, a Puerto Rican-born Navy SEAL, both think back to this weekend throughout Striking Distance. It was supposed to be a no-strings-attached fling, and yet both of them left Dubai City wishing wanting more — a way to stay in touch, a phone number, an email address. Before they have the opportunity to reconnect, the horrors of war intervene, and Laura is kidnapped by insurgents.

Given how important the weekend was to them, I decided before I even finished Striking Distance to take take this first prologue, to develop it, and to tell the full story of how Laura and Javier met and that first weekend when they got to know each other rather well.

Here’ what Javier remembers of the weekend early on in Striking Distance before he and Laura are reunited:


He’d been touring Dubai City on his way home after a long deployment.  She’d walked into a hotel bar where he was having a steak and a beer and had sat at a table nearby.  He’d recognized her instantly.  When two big Russian men had wandered over and started hassling her, he had intervened.  It had pissed her off—but it had also gotten her attention.

What had followed was a weekend of the most amazing sex Javier had ever experienced.  She might have seemed cool and reserved on the outside, but beneath her skin Laura Nilsson had been pure fire, igniting Javier’s blood, sending him into a kind of sexual meltdown, the two of them risking not only their careers, but also flogging and prison time to be together.  Unmarried sex was illegal in Dubai, even for foreigners.

If he closed his eyes, he could still taste her, still feel the softness of her skin, still hear the breathy sound of her cries as she came.  She’d been a fantasy come true, more woman than Javier had ever hoped to hold in his arms.  He was nothing more than a kid from South Bronx who’d enlisted in the Navy to give some meaning to his life, a simple man who drank beer and played guitar when he wasn’t deployed. She’d been classy, refined, and sexy, all silk and sophistication.  

She had blown his mind.

The only thing that had kept Javier from calling her and trying to see her again was their agreement that the weekend came with no strings.  Laura had told him flat out that she wasn’t interested in marriage or motherhood.  That had been fine with Javier.  He already had one divorce under his belt—a hazard of being a frogman—and didn’t want another.  He’d flown back to the U.S. hoping they could get together again.

Two months later, she’d been gone.


First Strike will be out by October 1 as an ebook-only special. My first erotic novella, it will be about 15,000 words long and only 99 cents. It will give readers the full story of that wild weekend when Laura and Javier risked everything as they gave in to their attraction to one another.

I’m writing the story right now and am eager to share it with you and to introduce you to the two characters who’ve taken up all my time and all the space in my imagination for the past year and half.

Stay tuned for updates on First StrikeStriking Distance excerpts, and I-Team games!

Monday, August 26, 2013

DEFIANT is out in audiobook! Let’s celebrate with a giveaway!



I hope this makes your Monday a bit brighter.

Defiant, the third book in the MacKinnon’s Rangers series, is out today in audiobook format narrated by the extremely talented and award-winning Kaleo Griffith. Now the entire series is available.

Defiant, like Surrender back in 2007, was a RITA finalist this year. The RITA Awards are the highest honor bestowed on romance novels by the industry. I was thrilled that this book, which came close to never being written, received such an honor. Now audiobook fans can enjoy it, too.

Working with Kaleo on this series was different than working on the I-Team series. For one, we know each other pretty well by now. But also, these books are drawn more from my inner history geek and historical romance lover, while the I-Team series books are based more on things I saw and did as an investigative reporter.

When he came to the RWA conference in Atlanta, he was in the middle of recording this book and told me he thought it was going to be his favorite. And it is.

I hope you enjoy the hard work that both he and I put into these 14-plus hours of listening. Click here for a sound sample.

This is the last chance for those of you with Obsessive Kaleo Disorder — also known as OKD — to get a fix from my books for a while. (He has done other romance titles and other non-romance books, so be sure to peruse Tantor Audio’s catalogue to see his other projects.)

Here are the links for Defiant:

Audible: http://bit.ly/1bQoCQA
Tantor: http://bit.ly/14zdylZ
iTunes: http://bit.ly/12E3Jp6

Now to celebrate!

What are the prizes? I’ve set aside two copies each of SurrenderUntamed and Defiant. Each prize-winner will win one of those copies.

How do you enter? It’s easy! Just comment and leave your email address below before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, and tell me which lines of SurrenderUntamed or Defiant you’re most excited to hear Kaleo perform, and you’ll be entered to win one of six copies. If you haven’t read any of the books from the MacKinnon’s Rangers series, you can enter by telling me how you first heard about it. I’ll draw the names of winners using a contest randomizer and post the winners on this blog on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Remember to leave your contact info! If you don’t claim your prize, it will end up going to someone else.

In case you missed them, here are the links for the other two audiobooks in the series:

Surrender — 
Audible: http://bit.ly/1d3d8fN
Tantor Audio: http://bit.ly/17Mk2Vh
iTunes:  http://bit.ly/17HV58I

Untamed —
Audible: http://bit.ly/16GbQBe 
Tantor Audio: http://bit.ly/16GbWZs 
iTunes:  http://bit.ly/1cHJjRY

Upcoming posts:
Cover reveal for First Strike: The Erotic Prequel to Striking Distance
Striking Distance excerpts and outtakes
I-Team games


Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to writing

Photo: Dubai City at night


I’ve taken a long break from writing — and I needed it. But as of this week, I’m back to writing again.

The first project I’m biting off involves the hero and heroine from Striking Distance. Because I rewrote that story about eight times, I have a lot of outtakes to share. That’s rare for me. In fact, it hasn’t really happened before. One of those outtakes is the original prologue.

Laura Nilsson, a broadcast journalist on her way to Pakistan, and Javier Corbray, an active-duty Navy SEAL visiting Dubai while on leave, meet in a restaurant in Dubai City. Their connection is immediate, and it is hot. They have a weekend of mind blowing sex in a place where sex between unmarried people can land a person in prison or get them flogged. This illicit fling is supposed to come with no strings, but both of them leave Dubai secretly hoping to see the other person again.

Neither of them knows what awaits Laura in Islamabad.

Yes, I’m writing a short erotic e-novella, and I hope to have it out to you by Oct. 1 so you can meet Laura and Javier before their story comes out on Nov. 5.

The original prologue didn’t work for a lot of reasons. It didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the novel. It meant I would have to have two prologues, which just felt silly. And it added thousands of unnecessary words to the novel. So I set it aside, penned the second prologue — the one posted here — and I knew when I started the second prologue that I’d made the right decision.

Now, I’m taking that initial attempt at a prologue and fleshing it out, so to speak, and getting it ready for you. In Striking Distance, Laura and Javier spend a lot of time looking back at this magical weekend, and I wanted it to be available for you either before or after you read Striking Distance.


The story isn’t romantic suspense, and it won’t contain any I-Team characters. Neither Laura or Javier have even heard of the I-Team at this point. But it should be a fun short story — maybe 15,000 words — about the intense liaison that neither Laura nor Javier can forget.

I’ve titled it First Strike to help make it clear that it’s a companion story for Striking Distance. I should have a sexy new cover to share with you in a week or so. The story will only be available in ebook. It makes no sense to offer a print version of something that can be read on a computer in a single sitting.

UPDATE: Just a quick FYI to my readers...

A reader emailed me to tell me that the special sale price for the mass market paperback edition of STRIKING DISTANCE isn’t just for Amazon Prime members. It’s open to everyone. I didn't realize that! It’s on sale for $4.79, which is a little more than $3 off the regular retail price. It’s always nice to save a buck or three.

Now I’m off to write. Have a good weekend!

Upcoming posts:
Defiant releases on audiobook on August 26 with an audiobook giveaway
Cover reveal for First Strike
Excerpts and outtakes from Striking Distance
I-Team games

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Saga of Iain MacKinnon



The wait is over, and the MacKinnon’s Rangers audiobooks are back on track!

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, Surrender (MacKinnon’s Rangers #1) was released in July only for those of us who listened to it right away to realize that something had gone wrong. There were so many editing errors in the audiobook that the listening experience was compromised.

Tantor Audio, which has released all of my audiobooks, immediately withdrew Surrender from the market, corrected the mistakes, and reissued it. But it took ages for the audiobook to be redistributed through all of the channels where it had been for sale for a short time.

Today, Surrender is finally back on Audible.com! Those of you who downloaded it right away from either Tantor Audio or Audible.com ought to be able to get the new, corrected version simply by contacting customer service.

In the meantime, of course, Untamed was released, but a lot of people held off from getting it because they were still waiting for Surrender. Now, both books are out and available on Audible, on Tantor’s website and on iTunes.

Here are the links for Surrender:

Audible: http://bit.ly/1d3d8fN
Tantor Audio: http://bit.ly/17Mk2Vh
iTunes: http://bit.ly/17HV58I

Here are the links for Untamed:

Audible: http://bit.ly/16GbQBe 
Tantor: http://bit.ly/16GbWZs 
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1cHJjRY

And this leaves us a mere six days away from the audiobook release of Defiant, the third book in the series and a RITA finalist for Best Historical this year. Click here for a sound sample.

Defiant is narrated by Kaleo Griffith, who has lent his tremendous talents to all of my audiobooks thus far. At more than 14 hours in length, it tells the story of Connor MacKinnon, the youngest MacKinnon brother, and Lady Sarah, the niece of Connor’ most hated enemy — Lord William.  

Kaleo told me he really enjoyed voicing the series and that Defiant is his favorite. I can never choose a favorite. I love each of them for different reasons. Besides, asking an author to pick a favorite book is like asking her to choose her favorite child. It just doesn’t work.

If you want to pre-order Defiant, here are its links: 

Audible: http://bit.ly/1bQoCQA
Tantor: http://bit.ly/14zdylZ

It’s not available on iTunes yet but will be on release day.

After this, I have no scheduled audiobook releases until Striking Distance (I-Team #6) in November. Those of you with bad cases of OKD — that’s Obsessive Kaleo Disorder — are going to have a bit of a wait for your next fix!

Have a great day, everyone! See you again soon.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Starting over... again


Anyone remember Project: Happiness?

It was supposed to be my focus during 2012 — a chance to remake my life and rebuild myself, a chance to start over. It didn’t get very far, despite a lot of thought, much of which was shared on this blog. Somehow, I got derailed.

Part of it was Striking Distance, the toughest book I’ve ever written. I have a tendency to lose myself in my stories emotionally, but this was more than that. I came face to face with my physical and emotional limits while writing this novel. Because writing was such a struggle for me, I made it my No. 1 priority. In doing so, I hurt myself — and that made writing harder. It was a downward spiral.

The result is perhaps my best I-Team story to date, but that doesn’t justify or make up for fourteen long months of treating myself like shit.

I tried in the immediate aftermath of finishing the book to be kinder to myself, to get away from the computer, to do things I enjoy and restore my sense of happiness. Benjamin and I went up into the mountains several times, disconnecting entirely, and enjoying the amazing beauty of what is kind of like our own backyard. And it felt great.


Photo: Mud Lake near Nederland

I kept very busy in June after turning the book in and on into July, catching up on almost a year’s worth of neglected projects, heading off to RomCon and then RWA.

While at RWA, a friend touched on a sore spot that drew an emotional response from me. This led to a personal conversation lasting hours that left me feeling shredded, raw, and exposed. It felt to me like my friend was saying, “Quit living in the past. Get over it, and get your shit together.” I know that wasn’t the content of my friend’s message or how the message was delivered — it was more compassionate than that and came with the best of caring intentions — but that’s how I heard it. That’s how it felt.

I cried for two days after I got home.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to “quit living in the past.” In fact, I think I’ve fought pretty damned hard to make something of my life. But when your past includes violence, sexual assault, being attacked in your own home by men with knives, falling off a mountain, and living with physical limitations and almost indescribable chronic pain for years, it’s not so easy to “get over it.” No one who has not lived through those situations can understand them. No one who has not lived with severe chronic pain can understand how much of your joy, your energy, your life it steals.

And yet this kick-in-the-ass conversation, no matter how much it hurt, had a point. This is my life, and every day I don’t claim it and shape it for myself, is a day lost that I can never get back again. Since I have no idea how long my life will last, I need to focus on being happy not in some theoretical future, but right fucking now.

Now.

I had to look at how far I’d come in the past couple years and admit that, although I’d written a novella and a novel, my personal circumstances and my quality of life hadn’t improved. I remembered Project Happiness — yes, I’d kind of forgotten about it. In fact, I’d given up without even realizing it.

I also realized that Project: Happiness was flawed in that it was a plan, but it wasn’t an action. I was thinking about things, but I wasn’t doing much. Change requires some forethought, yes, but more than that it requires action. I realized I couldn’t wait until my next book is done or my house is clean and organized or there is a royalty check in the bank to start taking care of myself. I realized I needed to do that now.

I was talking to my beautiful beloved sister about this when I had a pretty huge realization.

An image of a butterfly pinned inside a museum display case came to my mind, and I realized it was a metaphor for how I felt about myself and my life.

I have put off for so long things I want to do because work needed to be done. My life and who I am has been about some “to do” list that never gets any smaller. I want to get back into drawing and painting. I want to quilt again. I want to get back into shape and feel healthier. I want a rich life that’s about more than writing, a life that inspires and supports writing because of all the great experiences I have. And, most of all, I want to return to Denmark and travel.

Photo: Rådhuspladsen in downtown Copenhagen, my favorite city

I kept thinking there would come a day when I would magically have the time and freedom to do these things. But it has come to me that I have to make the time and give myself the freedom to do these things — or they will never happen. The rich life I want can’t happen if I don’t let it happen.

I’m pinned down because I pinned myself down. I have the freedom to live the life I want, and if not now, then when?

Upstairs on my bedroom wall is the artwork my kids made while in school. I love child art. There’s something so creatively fresh and compelling about it. One of my prized items is a collage by my younger son titled, “The Butterfly Who Flashed His Wings.” The words are written in a child’s scrawl above the painted paper butterfly you see at the top of this post.

It’s time to free myself and flash my wings.

Writing can no longer be more important than I, myself, am. Exercise and healthy eating have to be No. 1 right up there with getting enough sleep. I have to have a social life, time with friends, time to reflect and do other things. If I don’t have these things, my writing well will dry up, and so will I.

This is not a plan or simply rumination. These are actions. I’ve been going to the gym or taking a long hike or walk almost every day and have lost more than 10 pounds this month. I’ve been eating better. I’ve been reconnecting with friends — and making plans to spend more time with them.  I am taking “weekends” now, days when I don’t write but do something fun. Yes, fun. I’m spending less time on the Internet. I’m trying to do things that are difficult and physically painful for me for the sake of feeling more independent. And it feels good!

Perhaps most exciting, I am starting to plan for a trip to Sweden, Denmark, and France this spring to visit family and friends. I want to spend time with my sister in Stockholm, to spend time with dear Danish friends I’ve known and loved since I was 17, to hang with Benjamin in France and visit the battlefields of World War I. Whether it will happen depends in part on things that aren’t entirely under my control, but I will do all I can to be airborne by May 2014.

I will be writing again starting tomorrow, working on the erotic prequel to Striking Distance, which I have titled First Strike. It tells the story of how Laura Nilsson and Javier “Cobra” Corbray, the couple from Striking Distance, meet in a hotel restaurant in Dubai and then spend the next three days in bed together having mind-blowing “no strings attached” sex — only to go their separate ways wishing there were strings.

I plan to have First Strike, an erotic e-novella, out to you by Oct. 1 so that you can get to know Laura and Javier intimately before their book comes out. And though I will still give my emotions over to my writing, I will actively work to keep balance in my life and to feel good each day no matter how many words I put on the page.

For the first time in a long time, I feel excited not about plans that might be years down the road but by the opportunities I have today.

Coming soon: 
Excerpts from Striking Distance
Some I-Team games
A MacKinnon’s Rangers audiobook giveaway
The cover reveal for First Strike
Monday, August 12, 2013

UNTAMED is out in audiobook


Untamed (MacKinnon’s Rangers 2) is out in audiobook today!

Audible: http://bit.ly/16GbQBe 
Tantor: http://bit.ly/16GbWZs 
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1cHJjRY


For MacKinnon’s Rangers fans, it’s a chance to hear Morgan and Amalie’s story brought to life by the über-talented and very sexy Kaleo Griffith. If you’ve ever wanted to know whether he would sound like speaking with a French accent, this audiobook answers that question. And the answer is, “Mais oui!”

Click here for a sound sample.

I managed to sneak a listen, and I was very happy with Kaleo’s ability to voice the French characters, along with our Scottish Highlander brothers and Lord William, who comes across just like I wrote him — haughty and cold.

It has been a wild experience having these audiobooks come out one after the other — first the I-Team and now the MacKinnon’s Rangers series. As an audiobook fan, I’ve always wanted to have my books available for readers/listeners in this format. Having it happen all at once has meant that there was always something exciting right around the corner — another audiobook release, another chance to work with Kaleo.

Defiant will be out on August 26, and then there will be a bit of a wait for... Striking Distance (I-Team 6) on Nov. 5, which will mark the first time that a new print release and an audiobook release are happening on the same day. 

While I’m at it, I might as well share the cover for Defiant, which I got late last week. What do you think?





In other news, I am finishing up proofreads on Striking Distance. This is the last step before the book heads off to be printed. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the story, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Watch my blog for excerpts!



Monday, August 05, 2013

Catching up...

A snapshot of the view screen taken by a friend when the finalists for Best Historical Romance were
announced during the RITA ceremony


Sorry it’s been so long since my last update. Let’s see if I can get caught up here.

The Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta (July 16-20) was an absolute whirlwind. Between business meetings with my agent and folks from Penguin, my publisher, I got to spend precious face time with my author friends — Norah Wilson, Bonnie Vanak, Jenn LeBlanc, Courtney Milan, Julie James, Joyce Lamb, Jill Shalvis (though we barely had time to say hello) and some of the authors from Rock*It Reads. Writing is a very isolating profession, so any time we get to spend together away from our computers is precious.

The highlight of the conference had to be meeting Kaleo Griffith face to face for the first time and meeting members of the I-Team Facebook group at the I-Team party. There were people there from as far away as Canada and California. Some had driven for six or more hours to be at the party. I signed books and Kaleo signed audiobooks. We gave away a complete set of the I-Team audiobooks and a copy of the audiobook of Surrender as prizes.

I’m already thinking about how I can improve the experience for people at next year’s conference in San Antonio.



It was wonderful to be a RITA finalist. I didn’t win, but I wasn’t as disappointed by that as I had perhaps imagined I would be. Sharing the finalist honors with writers like Monica McCarty and Jade Lee made me really happy just to be in that circle. Monica and I sat at the same table — Table 69! — during the awards ceremony, both of us cheering for the other. Kaleo was my guest for the ceremony, and having his support was wonderful.

I got home feeling extremely sleep deprived and spent a week getting caught up on all the different post-conference emails and phone calls, not to mention sleep and laundry.

While I was at RWA, Surrender (MacKinnon’s Rangers #1) was released in audiobook. Unfortunately, it was released with some significant editing mistakes. Tantor Audio went into motion to correct the problem and is offering replacement CDs to anyone who got the flawed version. Contact them through customer service. The new corrected version will be up soon. Audible pulled Surrender from its offerings and will post it again once the new corrected version is available. My apologies to any audiobook listener who got the original, flawed version!

Although that was a disappointment, the audiobook itself got an A/A+ from AudioGals. This link includes a terrific sound sample showcasing Kaleo’s skill as a narrator — all three brothers plus Lord William — and offers information about the errors on the CD and what is happening to make sure listeners get the correct version. Thanks so much to AudioGals for their continued support!

So what am I up to these days? I’ve been taking a nice long break from writing to get my mojo back and to focus on all of the important things that were neglected while I was working so hard on Striking Distance, including sleep, good food, exercise and time with both of my boys. I’ve decided that writing can’t mean my quality of life goes to hell.

But more on that in my next post.

Also, watch for news on First Strike, the erotic prequel to Striking Distance.

Upcoming releases:

Untamed — audiobook — Aug. 12
Defiant — audiobook — Aug. 26
First Strike — ebook special — mid-September — This is the erotic prequel to Striking Distance. It is not romantic suspense, but tells the story of how the hero and heroine from Striking Distance met.
Striking Distance (I-Team #6) — print, ebook, audiobook — Nov. 5.

Untamed, Defiant, and Striking Distance are all available for pre-order, while First Strike is not.


Follow Me

Search

Seduction Game

Follow by Email

Blog Archive

Labels

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