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, July 14, 2017

A trip to Scarlet Springs

I thought it might be fun to take you all with me on a trip to Scarlet Springs. Everyone needs a vacation, right?

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, right next to the mountains. My view of the world every single day included the incredible Flatirons. We lived a 10-minute drive across town to hiking trails and spent most summer weekends hiking somewhere on the Mesa or McClintock Nature trails or in the Chautauqua Area in general. I know those trails by heart.

The Scarlet Springs series is set higher up in the mountains — about a 30-minute drive up Boulder Canyon. In real life, the town of Nederland sits there, nestled in a little valley surrounded by mountains with the Indian Peaks as its backdrop. This is a look at Scarlet/Nederland from the other side of the reservoir where Moretti likes to boat and where Hawke taught Victoria to wakeboard.

A couple of weeks ago, Benjamin, my younger son who is a park ranger, went up there with me to show me his secret patch of columbines. I took advantage of being up there to take pictures to share with you.

At the top of this page is a small glimpse of that secret columbine patch. Why is this field of flowers a secret? It's a secret because people don’t follow the rules. When you go into the mountains DO NOT pick flowers. Not only will you be ticketed and fined if you’re caught, but you will be depriving plants in a harsh environment of their one and only chance to make seeds this year. If enough people do this in an area, those flowering plants die off, and there are fewer flowers in the mountains. That's why this is a SECRET columbine patch. It absolutely enrages me when I see people picking flowers in the mountains. It’s not your garden, folks. It belongs to everyone.

When I was little, my father, a semi-pro rock climber and alpinist, taught me this:

“Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.” 

That’s the proper ethic for time spent in nature. If everyone takes a pretty rock/pine cone/flower, there won’t be any left.

Here’s a closer look at Colorado’s state flower. Columbines are so delicate. They tend to cling to shady areas, often in glades of aspen where you also find poisonous hemlock.

On the hike up to the columbine patch, we passed this little pond where you can often find moose. There were no moose there that afternoon.

 Here’s a look at Mud Lake, what I call Moose Lake in the series. There are often moose there. I’ve seen them myself. This is the lake where Chaska takes Naomi where they see the mama bear and her cubs.

These are some of the wildflowers alongside the trails as you hike up to Mud Lake/Moose Lake. Penstemon was in high bloom, along with cinquefoil, columbine, and many other flowers. The pink/purplish flowers in these two photos (above and below) are penstemon.

On our way up to Scarlet/Ned, we stopped to hike up to the Crow's Nest, a feature on a parcel of country open space that gives you a 360-degree view of everything. The view below looks out over the damage caused by the Four Mile Canyon fire toward Sugarloaf, that rounded mountain just to the right of the dead tree. Sugarloaf is the place Chaska takes Naomi to watch the sunset. It truly does have the best views of the area. 

The tree itself was fascinating, and I took many photos of it. Wind shaped it; fire killed it. One of my readers felt there was a kind of poetry to this image. It was very poignant, she said.

This is a slighly better look at Sugarloaf. I’m going hiking there soon, and I’ll get photos when I do.

Cinquefoil blooming next to an old log fence.

 A pond near sunset. Still no moose, darn it!

Now, we’re in the town of Scarlet Springs. Above, you can see the little roundabout where two highways come together. That’s Bear's roundabout, where he likes to expound on the Gospel for spare change.

The average street in Scarlet Springs, busy with summer tourists.

The geod store I mention in the stories.

There isn’t a cryogenics business in Nederland, but there is a famous dead guy in a freezer in a tough shed. Locally, we all call him “Grandpa in the Tuff Shed.” A Norwegian guy who lived here many years ago put his deceased grandfather on ice in his Tuff Shed for the day when he might be brought back to life. After he lost his fight to stay in the US, locals felt they had an obligation to take over paying for the electricity and maintaining the Tuff Shed for Grandpa’s sake. Hence Frozen Dead Guy Days, probably the biggest event in Nederland each year. The cryogenics place in my series is a nod to this cultural element. A local ice cream store sells a Frozen Dead Guy flavor of ice cream — blueberry ice cream with crushed Oreos and sour gummy worms.

You can’t make this shit up. The real world truly is stranger than fiction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse of the area around Scarlet Springs (Nederland). I am headed up there today to visit the Nederland Mining Museum to do some research about the town’s mining history for Rain and Joe’s story. We’ll get Joe’s back story, which is really the history of the town itself. There will be historical flashbacks that show the ancestors of the characters you all love. I’m really looking forward to writing it.

If you haven’t tried the Colorado High Country/Scarlet Springs series, the first book, Barely Breathing, is only 99 cents. The fourth book in the series, Tempting Fate, came out a couple of weeks ago and is getting overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Pat F said...

Thank you so much for this tour of Scarlet Springs. I realize how little I've seen of the real Colorado. Picking Isla up from pre-school in Boulder I get a magnificent view of the mountains, pictures just don't do it justice!

No, they really don't. It's hard for the camera to capture how beautiful it is up there. :-)

And you're welcome, Pat.

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