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

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.


Seductive Musings

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A rose by any other name

A perfect rose... A new bloom on Louise Odier, a Bourbon rose.

Thank you all for your supportive emails and messages. I feel so lucky to know you all and to have the chance to share my stories with you. I am feeling much better. I just needed to have a good cry and get the emotion out of my system. Now I'm anxiously awaiting word from my agent and from my editor in New York that the book is acceptable. It's really long...

In the meantime, my rose garden is in high bloom. I have two rose gardens, one in the front yard which takes up most of the yard, and the fairy garden in the back. Both have exploded with blossoms that smell so wonderful. I went out early this morning and took photos with my cell phone, but I'm hoping to have better photos later this weekend. These are all rebloomers, so the blossom-fest lasts most of the summer, though it's never this intense. The first round of blooming is always the most floriforous.

This shows two bushes — Anne Boleyn, the best-smelling rose in the world, next to Heritage, which is taller and is the other best-smelling rose in the world. The blossoms on Heritage are perfect pink cups. Both are old English roses.

This is the time of year I go around sniffing constantly. I plant all kinds of herbs and other flowers between the roses, including lavendar, so that I can just walk and sniff the whole time. Everything blooms, so there are layers upon layers of flowers — tiny ones, big ones, pink, purple, blue, red, white, yellow. And they're all mixed up. The photo above shows lavendar in the foreground.

This is a view of Heritage and Anne Boleyn with a King Arther giant delphinium in the foreground. I think these look magical!

So, yes, I am a flower 'ho'. No man could ever give me too many flowers. Ever.

This shows Carefree Beauty, another wonderfully scented rose, in front of a climbing rose that has perhaps 200 white blossoms on it.

The photo above is hard to see, but there's a climbing rose that's making an arch over our wooden fence. It is covered in tiny white roses, perhaps 200 to 300 of them. They have a very sweet, apple-y rose smell.

This isn't even a third of my bushes. And it doesn't show the fairy garden either. But it gives you a blurry sense of what I'm enjoying these days.

This weekend I'm going to shop for a glitter gown for the RITAs (only three weeks away!) and a suit for the more business-y aspects of the convention and, yes, shoes. I'm going to wish you were all here to help with this. I'm not much of a savvy shopper.

I also plan to plot my next contemporary and write a proposal for that. It will be Kat's story. She's going to fall in love with a mountain parks ranger, who saves her life when she falls while out hiking. (Does that sound vaguely familiar to anyone?) The names I'm toying with for the hero (and feel free to cast your vote) include: Gabriel (Gabe), Chase, Cole, Malachi. I kinda feel like I can't use Cole because I used it in Sweet Release. I'm leaning toward Gabriel and Malachi.

It's so nice to feel like the pressure is off for a while. After I get the proposal for my next RS written, I'm going to dive headfirst into Morgan's story. I left him at death's door a year a go and need to revive him. At the same time, I'm going to try to write my first erotic novel. Stay tuned for that...

Have a great weekend, everyone! And thanks again for being the greatest!
Monday, June 18, 2007

Cry me a river: Why authors are crazy

So I decided last night that it was time to run Marc and Sophie's story through my laser printer, put all 442 pages of it in a box and send it to my editor in New York. I spent the evening printing, then burned it on CD to provide an electronic copy, careful to keep my eyes off the pages. I knew that if I started reading text I'd find stuff I wanted to twiddle with, and that if I didn't quit fussing over the pages it was never, ever going to be done.

I'm a perfectionist, and I'm never, ever happy with what I write — not entirely. But I think there's more to the end-of-the-book fussing than just wanting to get it right. Yes, I want it to be as good as it can be. I want it to be perfect, in fact. I want my stories to break people's hearts — and then put them back together again, stronger than before. How often do I achieve that? I haven't done it yet, as far as I'm concerned.

But in addition to the manic perfectionism, I hate letting go. My characters are people I've lived with — intimately — for a long time. I've been writing Unlawful Contact for a full year. That's a long time to have someone in the front of your mind 24/7.

The first time I finished a book, I expected myself to feel elated. I typed the last few words, fussed over them for hours, then saved. I cheered — and then started sobbing. The grief totally took me by surprise. It wasn't a minor thing — it was truly grief. The second time, I told myself I was ready. And still it tore me apart.

Ride the Fire was perhaps the worst. I dug deep into my own personal well for that story, delving into some of my own worst experiences to craft the characters. For six weeks afterwards, I could barely talk to anyone.

It's gotten easier in some ways since then. But it's still hard to say good-bye.

I left the shipping store feeling numb, got through the work day not even thinking about it. Then I got home and found myself in a furious mood. I was angry at everyone about everything. Then I read Aimee's post (below) — and I lost it.

Writing is such an isolating activity. For months an author sits at her computer, sinking into the lives of her characters, opening her own emotions to their feelings and experiences. Then it's over. The last page is written, and then what?

I imagine this all sounds very silly. I think if I weren't a writer I would roll my eyes and chalk this post up to frufru silly behavior of attention-seeking fiction writers. But it's real for me and for most other authors, not just in the romance genre. You have to love to write. You have to give of yourself. You have to use your own emotions. There are no emotional short cuts, no faking it. As Robert Frost said, "No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."

Given that I cried the last 40 pages of that story — and apparently haven't stopped — I hope you all have tissues on hand in February. Now all that remains is to wait to see whether my editor accepts the story. If she does, then the next stop for Marc and Sophie is your hands.

After having such a hard crush on Julian, it's nice to end the book feeling every bit as in love with Marc the Badass as I did with Dark Angel. I can't wait to share him with all of you!

And thanks again for your support!
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Culinary orgasms and roses in Portland

I am back!

I spent the past three days in Porland, Ore., for the annual AAN conference and awards. AAN stand for Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, an organization that includes more than 100 weekly papers from across the nation. Journalists, including Jim Hightower and Arianna Huffington, met for three days of workshops, inspiring speeches and drinking — not necessarily in that order.

Portland is an amazingly beautiful city — urban without feeling dirty and frayed. The air was so lovely compared to Colorado's bone-dry air that makes it possible for people to mummify just by sitting on their front porches. Our hotel room had a view of the Willamette River in the foreground and Mt. Hood in the background — breathtaking! We slept with the hotel balcony door open all night just to enjoy the air.

My series about AIDS earned an honorable mention at the conference, which was nice.

In between workshops, lunches, dinners and trips to the bar, we journalist types were let loose on Portland — will it ever be the same? — to see the sights. Grace, the paper's managing editor, and I paid a visit to the Rose Gardens above the city and found ourselves in a state of rapture over the beautiful flowers. Acres of roses. I really don't know what to say beyond that. OMG! If you know me, you know I'm a rose whore. I loved this!!! I sniffed so much that I expect I altered weather patterns along the Pacific coast.

I also had the privilege of meeting with a couple of Left Coast RBLers — Linda T., with whom I had dinner one night at Andina, perhaps the best restaurant I've ever experienced, and Ronlyn and her DH and DS. Linda gave me a wee tour of the city, explaining the different districts with a bit of history. Lovely as always, she also suggested I try a drink called the "Secse Huamon." Now I'm not spelling that right — it's supposed to be a Spanish spelling of "Sexy Woman." And let me tell you, that was one amazing drink — jalapeƱo-infused vodka, passion fruit puree, sugar around the rim. Blew my mind! I understand Leiha and Lina and other traveling ReBeLs have enjoyed the drink, too. The dinner was to DIE for! I didn't have room for dessert, which was a shame, because I bet it would have sent me into a culinary orgasm.

I also got away briefly for a quick lunch with Ronlyn, who is expecting her second baby boy in a couple of weeks. She looked positively gorgeous. And her son was a doll! He counted in Spanish, told me lots of things about colors and a band called The Wiggles (a TV show perhaps?). Very sweet and polite. Ronlyn's DH is, I am happy to report, a real man in which he puts the needs of his wife and child foremost. He came all the way with her into Portland so she wouldn't have to face a three-hour drive alone. And he wasn't grumpy about it. In fact, he was very supportive and concerned for how she was feeling. He was also great with their son. It was precious to see.

Grace and I flew back, after attending many workshops and other AAN events, and had the flight from hell. First it was delayed due to mechanical issues (freaked me out). Then as soon as we lifted off, a baby started screaming — and he screamed all the way to the gate in Denver.

I'm editing the last 60 pages on my novel and will be shipping it to NY this week!
Sunday, June 10, 2007

And they lived happily ever after...

My parents on their wedding day, June 9, 1962.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. It marked my parent's 45th wedding anniversary. They met when they were 15 and in high school and have been together since then. How many couples can say that today? Congratulations, Mom and Dad!

Of course, the highlight of those 45 years of wedlock was the arrival of their firstborn child, a daughter. Me!

As you can tell from the yawn, I've always been sleepy.

But yesterday was auspicious for another couple, Marc and Sophie. Yesterday, I finished writing the book.


I'm not sure if I'm statisfied with the ending yet. Usually, I'm a weeping mess, but not this time. And yet it's the ending I wanted for them from the beginning. I got choked up thinking about it before I wrote it, just not when I wrote it. So now I need to edit/polish all 437 pages, a process that usually takes a couple weeks that I'm going to try to squeeze in to one day. Then I ship it to New York.

I don't know about other authors, but I never feel truly done with the book until I hear from my agent and editor that it doesn't suck. THEN I feel like champagne and dancing on tables. There's always a waiting period there during which I tend to feel alternately relieved to be done and stressed that my editor will toss it in the trash.

I apologize for missing so many posts and for not getting back to everyone. I will try to be better!

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who in one way or another supported me through writing this book: My sister Michelle, my SIL Timalyn, Kally Jo, Aimee, LibBAY, KrisTAY, Dede, Debbie H., Sgt. Gary Arai, SupaSWAT Dave, Scott and last, but not least, author Norah Wilson, without whom I likely would not have finished. YOU ALL ROCK!
Friday, June 01, 2007

Wish me luck!

Lookey what I found! Another photo of Marc Hunter. He looks good in white. I want to eat him alive, actually. If that could be arranged...

It's going to be a busy weekend. My son's girlfriend graduates from high school tomorrow morning. I know I'm going to be crying my eyeballs out, so I'm not even going to bother with mascara.

After that, I head home to edit the last chapter of my book and make it perfect, and then write the epilogue. If I get both of those things done, then I can start on my favorite part of novel-writing — the cover-to-cover edit.

I'm really hoping to get through it. I need to get it in to NY, and I need a break (not to mention the rest of the advance). So wish me luck!

Also, I found out for sure today that my mom is coming with me to Dallas. She'll be coming down on Friday and staying through Sunday morning so that she can be with me at the RITA Awards. I'm very excited because it will give her a chance to see what this part of my life is like.

As you can see from the photo, my mom is not your typical granny. So this ought to be fun.

Last night was the award ceremony at my son's high school. He was honored as one of two outstanding students in the junior class in Social Studies. His class has almost 500 kids, so that was a great honor for him.

On Thursday, I had coffee with Tara Janzen and met a couple of her friends, as well. What a bunch of articulate and kind women! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course I had to have my fan moment. I asked her to sign Crazy Cool, which is Hawkins' story. He's my fave, though I adore them all. Then I gave her copies of three of my books, which I forgot to sign.

Tara gave me a glorious photo of delicious British actor Michael Praed of Robin of Sherwood fame. YUM! I thought that was tremendously sweet of her.

I hope everyone has a good weekend! Send good writing vibes my way! Let me just leave you with this thought...

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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