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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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Annual I-Team “Favorites” Poll Results









Every year in the I-Team Facebook group, we have our "Favorite" polls. Here are the results of this year's polls. 



Favorite Hero — JULIAN DARCANGELO







We’ve had major upset. For the first time since we started doing these polls, Marc Hunter (Unlawful Contact) did not win. He was beaten by a margin of three votes by Julian Darcangelo (Hard Evidence). Zach McBride (Breaking Point) got a fair number of votes to come in third, with Gabe Rossiter (Naked Edge) coming in fourth. The rest lagged significantly, with Javier Corbray (Striking Distance), garnering only 10 votes and coming in behind Reece Sheridan (Extreme Exposure) and Nate (Skin Deep). 



Finally, Julian gets his due!

Favorite I-Team Heroine — NATALIE BENOIT







It’s Natalie Benoit (Breaking Point) by a landslide, followed by Sophie Alton (Unlawful Contact), Tessa Novak (Hard Evidence), Laura Nilsson (Striking Distance), Megan Hunter (Skin Deep), Kat James (Naked Edge) and, in last place, Kara McMillan (Extreme Exposure).

Favorite I-Team Couple — MARC & SOPHIE







Marc and Sophie (Unlawful Contact) are the big winners, followed by Julian and Tessa (Hard Evidence) in second place, and Zach and Natalie (Breaking Point) in third. Kat and Gabe (Naked Edge) came in fourth, with Reece and Kara (Extreme Exposure) in fifth and Laura and Javier (Striking Distance) in sixth, Megan and Nate came in seventh (Skin Deep), and Lissy and Will (Heaven Can't Wait) eighth.



However, there was some general agreement that the official favorite couple of the I-Team series is a character known as “Marcangelo.”

Favorite Sex Scene — ZACH AND NATALIE IN THE DESERT AT THE WATERFALL






The winner pants down is Zach and Natalie’s love scene under the waterfall (Breaking Point), followed closely by Marc and Sophie’s first sex scene after he’s out of prison (Unlawful Contact). In third place, is Nate and Megan’s first love scene when she kisses his burns (Skin Deep). Other notable mentions were Reece and Kara’s threesome with Mr. Jiggle Stick; Julian and his “sucky-swirly” trick and little strip tease; and Kat and Gabe making “snow angels.”

Favorite I-Team story — UNLAWFUL CONTACT





Unlawful Contact wins this year, with Hard Evidence in second place and Breaking Point in third. After that it’s Naked Edge, Extreme Exposure, Striking Distance, and Skin Deep. Novella Heaven Can’t Wait came in last.

Favorite Wrenching I-Team moment — GABE’S DEATH SCENE






Gabe’s death scene in Naked Edge won by a landslide, followed by the climax in Breaking Point where Zach flatlines. Marc’s death scene in Unlawful Contact tied for third with Laura’s final decision regarding Klara in Striking Distance. The ending of First Strike when Javier gets the news about Laura is fourth.

Funniest I-Team Moment — CONNOR AND THE JIGGLE STICK







The winner is Connor showing Reece Kara’s “jiggle stick” in Extreme Exposure, followed by a tie between Javier’s quip about Marc and Julian being married in Striking Distance and Marc’s used of “Dickangelo” and “Dorkangelo” for Julian. Fourth Place goes to Kara talking with Reece while drunk in the bar in Extreme Exposure and fifth to Javier walking in naked while Laura was on Skype with her mother and grandmother in Striking Distance.



Categories we might add next year: Sweetest Non-Sex Scene and Best Cover.



So what do you think? How would you have voted?
Saturday, January 18, 2014

All too soon a farewell


On Sat., January 11, my former mother-in-law, Rachel, died after being in a car accident. Doctors told us she was going to be fine. But she took a sudden turn for the worse, and within hours she was gone. The shock was overwhelming to everyone in the family.

Today, Sat., January 18, we said farewell to her. It was heartbreaking, especially to see the grief of her daughter, my former sister-in-law, with whom she was particularly close, and the grief of her grandchildren.

Not long ago, I saw a video where a father turned 60 photographs of his newborn son into a minute-long look at the baby’s first year of life. If one were to do this with Rachel’s life, the video would be 73 minutes long — shorter than the average Hollywood flick.

We always say that life is short, but it really is. At today’s service, I saw a former brother-in-law I haven’t seen for a decade. He lives in another state, and we have not stayed in touch. His kids are now teens and young adults. In the blink of an eye, they’ll be parents, and we will be the elderly generation — if we’re lucky.

I don’t think I’ve ever been aware how quickly a life can pass by. I remember meeting Rachel for the first time, remember laughing with her, remember looking for wedding gowns with her, remember her holding my first born for the first time. It seems like yesterday.

Rachel loved my books. She read them — and then said things about them that completely embarrassed my kids. No one wants to hear their grandmother talk about sex scenes from a book, especially their mother’s book. But Rachel was always open and honest, holding nothing back, even when other people might. She encouraged me in my career and my writing and told me more than once how proud she was of me and what I had done. It meant a lot to me.

I didn’t get to say farewell. All I could do was look at her body in a coffin and say goodbye that way. It sucked. I placed a scroll inside the coffin that contains the dedication to my next novel — it will be dedicated to her — and a print-out of a poem that she and Benjy had shared and enjoyed together.

One of my sons, in tears, asked me what the point of it all is. If we all die, then what’s the point of living in the first place, especially when no one can prove that anything exists beyond this life. (Such things are a matter of faith, not proven fact, he points out. He wants proof, facts, hard science.)

I think it’s fundamentally human to struggle with that question, and I’m not sure I was able to comfort him. I told him that NOW — this precious moment — is all that we have. Rather than building castles to our egos and slaving to gain wealth or fame or anything else, we ought to do our best to make a difference in the lives of others.

In other words, perhaps we should quit looking for the meaning of life and start living it, giving in service to others so that our existence has value to our fellow human beings.

If nothing we do is permanent, if we are guaranteed nothing beyond the breath we have just taken, then our most profound purpose ought to be to ease the suffering and the burden of all the other people who share this life and this moment with us. As Dickens said, we are all “fellow passengers to the grave.”

If we make a difference in another person’s experience of life, then we have lived our purpose in that moment.

My father once told me something that I found oddly comforting. In this culture of individualism, we all carry with us this great burden of trying to DO something, trying to BE something. When I was struggling with a particularly difficult period of my life he said, “Your life doesn’t belong to you anyway, so quit worrying about it.”

In our culture, a statement like that runs counter to everything we believe about what our lives should be. We focus on what we want, our hopes, our dreams. The idea that a life of service might be the most fulfilling option escapes most of us. If my life is just a borrowed gift, then suddenly there’s a lot less pressure to become what I am not, and a much greater call to serve, to live, to enjoy.

As Gandalf said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Life is so precious, so brief.

Forgive. Love. Laugh. Drop the petty stuff — who said what to whom and what you thought they meant by it. Who cares?

Live like you mean it, not later, but now.



Because Benjamin was unable to be with us at the funeral today — he is still teaching in Europe — he wrote a poem that was read at the service. It expresses so beautifully the unconditional love of a grandmother — and the child’s tendency to take those who love them for granted.

Fortunately, Benjamin did not take Rachel for granted, going out of his way to spend time with this grandmother. Rachel knew he loved her, and he knew she loved him. The photo above was taken during their last hour together at his farewell party before he left for Europe.

Who knew it was the last time they would see each other?

Here is his tribute to her.




It takes a lot of things
And a very long time
To make a grandma.
Start when you are very little.
Lots of love is the first ingredient.
You don’t know why she loves you,
But you accept it
Reaching up to her with stained hands.
Add the wonder of a trip
to Grandma’s house,
Like visiting a foreign country.
A grandma is a special thing, but
You do not understand.
Now wait a few years.
You’re too old for kisses.
You’re a big kid,
And why does she ask so many questions?
About me, my life, what I’m doing.
You don’t know it yet,
But this is the next ingredient,
Even if it bothers you now.
This desire to know everything about you,
To be part of your life.
You push back because
You still don’t understand.
But she persists for years.
Then, in an unexpected conversation,
You stumble on ingredients
You missed all those years.
Passions and interests
You never thought she had,
As if grandmas weren’t people.
You love photography too?
You like that movie also?
Add conversations that last for hours.
You don’t mind the questions anymore
Because you see other ingredients now
The birthday cards, the phone calls,
The inexplicable interest in your life.
You begin to understand.
But not quite.
Now take away all those ingredients,
Every gesture, every question,
Even the ones that used to annoy you.
A silhouette, the lack of an image,
Is easier to see than the form itself.
It’s like that with grandmas.
All the ingredients,
Even ones you never recognized,
Stand out so clearly
Once they’re gone.
And it is only then that you see,
At long last,
What makes a grandma.
And you finally understand.


Rest in peace, Rachel. You are loved, and we miss you so much already.
Thursday, January 09, 2014

Results of the I-Team Charitable Drive



I just wanted to share the final amount for the I-Team Charitable Drive. Together, we raised $2,685 for PHA’s pediatric research fund. That's more than 10 percent of one of their research grants. This amount includes only donations that were made in little Isla Fordyce’s name, so the actual figure is somewhat higher than this. 

THANK YOU to each and every one of you who participated and donated to this worthy cause! No matter how small your donation might have been, you have chosen to make a difference in the lives of others. That makes you special. Your compassion for others and your generosity is inspiring!


In book news, I have started writing Holly’s story. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I am jokingly calling it COVERT SHAGGING. Holly is a fun character, one of the I-Team characters I love most, so this should be fun.


What can I tell you about the story? Not much. I’m going to follow Stephen King’s advice this time around and write with the door firmly closed.


But I can tell you that your favorite I-Team characters will be back. Marc and Julian are already bickering in my head, and even Derek Tower from Striking Distance will have a role to play in this story.


I’m going to stay offline as much as I can during this process, so you might not see me for a while. 


In the meantime, First Strike, the sexy prequel to Striking Distance, is available as a perma-free download in most places online. Amazon.com has stubbornly refused to make it free on their site, even though it’s free on most Amazon sites. I’ve removed it from B&N temporarily and am going through Smashwords to make it available free for Nook there. It should be up on B&N again soon. 


Here are the links:



Smashwords: http://bit.ly/16p0nVV
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1b8HeJc 
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1bwV9f5
Amazon.UK: http://amzn.to/1l4vs7V
Amazon.au: http://bit.ly/1ju0cE0
Amazon.de http://amzn.to/1cJ4XjP
Amazon.es http://amzn.to/1duciFP
Amazon.fr http://amzn.to/1clwzRj


And for those who missed it, I did add to the MacKinnon’s Rangers series with a Christmas/New Year’s novella, Upon a Winter’s Night. All of the MacKinnon brothers are their wives are part of the story, along with Joseph, Lord William and Killy. There are some pretty big moments between Lord William and the brothers, as well as a surprise New Year’s wedding. The reviews have been gratifyingly high for this novella, which is available in both ebook and paperback. 

Here are the links:



Kindle: http://amzn.to/IpJDaP
Smash: http://bit.ly/IiIKle
Nook: http://bit.ly/1dyHAA1
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1bvnY8i
Kobo: http://bit.ly/19BsH8B
#Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/185wXlI
#Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/18xaNJK
#Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1eFVoVV


I’ll try to keep you updated on my progress with Holly‘s story.

Enjoy your New Year, and be good to yourself!

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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