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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Debbie's favorite scene

Hi, all,

Debbie sent this in to me at work today. It's her favorite scene. She says she has lots of scenes she loves (and has the dog-eared pages to prove it), but that this scene always gets her. I'm betting you'll guess the book right away. Let's just hope this doesn't get me thrown off Blogger! LOL!

So Name Debbie's Favorite Scene...

It was then that she realized what he was about. It shocked her to her soul, drove the breath from her lungs, exited her beyond reason. "Nay,---! You cannae mean to ---!"

"Aye, I do." Warm fingers slowly spread the soap over her mound and outer folds, kneading it into her, the pressure sending tremors of delight through her belly.

"---, nay, 'tis indecent, and ...aah!" Her objection faded into a moan, and she found her hips lifting to meet his touch, shame forgotten.

"Hold still."

Those two words made her breath catch in her throat. Then she heard something swish in water.

The razor.

At the first sharp touch of the cold blade against her mound, she whimpered, as much fro arousal as from fear.

"Oh, please, ---, dinnae---!"

"Uist, a leannan! I willna hurt you." Brow furrowed, he slid the razor over her skin, one deft stroke after the next, pausing several times to rinse the blade in water.

'Twas like nothing ---- had ever felt before — the biting caress of the razor, the warm tingle that followed each stroke, the intimate touch of his hand as he held her for the the blade. Her fingers dug into the flesh of her thighs as she fought not to move, both afraid and unable to breathe. She saw the heavy rise and fall of his chest and the midnight blue of his eyes and knew that he was just as stirred to passion as she.

He set the razor aside, then lifted the bowl of hot water, spilling a gentle stream over her to rinse her, water splashing unheeded on the floorboards below.

"---!" The breath --- had been holding left her in a rush as the heat trickled over her vulnerable, sensitive flesh, flowing over her like the caress of hot silk. She closed her eyes, lost in the unimaginable pleasure.

Then she felt the brush of cool air.

And what happens next?

Clams — they're what's for breakfast!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Name That Scene — Mystery Excerpt #3

These must not be very difficult. Everyone keeps getting them right. Shucks! I'd like to think the characters are so distinctly drawn and the stories so unique that one couldn't not possibly mistake them, but that would be vanity.

So, yes, yesterday's NTS was from Ride the Fire. The tricky thing about writing that book was that I couldn't really make it sexual until after Bethie's baby was born. Though I personally have nothing against pregnant women having sex, I figured having a pregnant heroine having sex with a hero who isn't the father of the baby would be pushing it for most readers. I needed to ratchet up the sexual tension after Belle's birth, and this scene did that nicely.

Oh, I can so see Nicholas standing there, water sluicing down his scarred skin, his hair long and wet. There's a little thought Nicholas has following this scene that made me laugh. It came from him, I swear. After Bethie sees him bathing in the river, he thinks to himself:

Her gazed had traveled over every inch of him in seemingly innocent appraisal, her eyes growing wide at the sight of his penis. He might have preferred that her first sight of him come elsewhere, out of the icy stream, which tended to humble and wither a man. Still, he’d seen appreciation on her face.

Oh, yes, I do amuse myself. :-)

Ride the Fire is getting a new cover in October, and it will be coming out at a lower price. The idea is to encourage people who haven't read my historicals to try them so that they will (hopefully) read more. Of course, some people were turned off by the violence in my books. What can I say? It's not a ball room or a drawing room but the Colonial American landscape where they take place. And though I'm not a big fan of violence, I do like to see a hero tested and put through his paces... (Bo, are you with me?)

So Amanda won yesterday's signed copy of Surrender.

And now on to today's Name That Scene...

She met his gaze, felt as if she herself were on the drink. He looked so handsome in his fine woolen coat with its brass buttons. His shoulders were so broad, his jaw strong, and the way he looked at her…

He cupped her cheek in his hand, traced a circle on her skin with his thumb.

His touch left a trail of fire on her cheek, drove away all thoughts but one. She wanted to know. She needed to know. “Kiss me. I want … ”

She looked away, shocked and mortified at her own boldness. But the words were out. She could not take them back.

He lifted her chin, forced her to look into his eyes. “What do you want?”

The warmth of his gaze left her weak, spellbound. “I want to know what it feels like … to be kissed when… when I’m not afraid.”

His eyes closed, his brow furrowed. A low sound like a moan came from his throat, as if the idea brought him pain.

And she understood. Shame made her cheeks flame. He didn’t want to kiss her. She was naught but a poor Irish maid in his eyes, a destitute girl dressed in tatters. “I-I’m sorry. You don’t want to. I understand. I was wrong to—”

His eyes opened. He chuckled, and then his voice softened. “I’m afraid you don’t understand, my sweet. I want very much to kiss you. I want it so much it hurts. But be sure it’s what you want.”

Sure and this was not what she had expected him to say. His words made her heart beat faster, made it hard to speak. “That night, I felt… But I was so scared, and … I need to know. Just a kiss.”

His gaze locked with hers. “Aye. Just a kiss.”

She closed her eyes, fisted her hands in the folds of her cloak, unable to breathe. Just standing near him she could feel the enticing masculine strength of his body. She tilted her chin up to him.

She felt his arms enfold her, the hard press of his body against hers. At the first tentative brush of his lips against hers, she thought she would melt. He kissed first her upper lip, then her lower. Then his mouth gently took hers, his lips warm and soft, and she did melt, sinking against him with a whimper, her palms flat against his chest.

But the kiss wasn’t over.

She felt his tongue trace the outline of her lips and found her lips parting of their own accord. Heat flared in her belly as he tasted her, penetrated her. This was much better than what she remembered, much more potent, more thrilling.

When his lips took hers again, all gentleness was gone, replaced by an intensity that almost frightened her. She could not breathe. She could not think. Rather than pulling away, she found herself clinging to him, returning his passion with a fervor of her own. Their tongues twined, caressed, parried.

It was like nothing she could have imagined. She was on fire as he held her, consumed her, ravished her mouth.

He twined his fingers in her hair, pulled her head back and trailed kisses along the sensitive skin of her throat. She gasped at the delicious new sensation. When his tongue traced the whorl of her ear, her knees gave way.

Gently he lowered her to the ground, the thick grass a blanket beneath them. He cradled her head in the crook of his arm, continued to kiss her throat. His body stretched, hard and strong, beside hers.

Through a haze of pleasure, she felt a hint of alarm. “Just a kiss. You said—”

He lifted his lips from her quivering skin, looked down at her, his eyes dark with passion. “My sweet, this is just a kiss.”
Monday, September 22, 2008

Name That Scene — Mystery Excerpt #2

Hooray for Stef, Debbie, Ronlyn, Jenn J, and Bo! They all got it right — and Stef hasn't even read the book yet. Our first Mystery Excerpt was the (in)famous manacles scene from Sweet Release.

The funny thing about that scene is that I wrote it after the book was finished. Alec and Cassie were still in my head, and the scene just came to my mind as if it were already written. I sat down and worked it in, enjoying every second of writing it. It made me laugh and it made me love Alec even more for being a strong enough and sexy enough man to play games like that with his beloved.

Little did I know that an editor was about to make an offer on the book — eight years of hard work finally paying off (seven to write it, one to revise it and get it to an agent). My editor loved it, and it was officially part of the story.

In writing Sweet Release, several things surprised me, two that stand out. The first was how determined my characters were in their own right. They knew what they wanted to do, and if it wasn't part of the plot, so what? They became real people -- something I never would have understood before writing. And No. 2 -- I never would have imagined how SAD it can be to finish a book. For seven years, all I'd thought about was finishing the book. I had imagined how I would dance for joy when it was done. And what did I do? I typed the last word, smiled, drew a deep breath — and started bawling!

I have since gotten used to being bossed around by fictional people, and though I'll never get used to saying goodbye to people I love, I'm at least prepared for a few weeks of post-partum blues after each book.

Now on to today's Name That Scene. Enjoy the art!

Name That Scene #2

She worked her way down the riverbank, keeping a safe distance from the swirling waters, peeled soft moss from the earth, placed it in her bowl. She walked quietly, warily, remembering the war party that had passed this way only weeks ago. But the air was so sweet and the singing of the birds so lovely that she could not linger on dark thoughts.

On impulse she began to pick the wild violets that grew beneath the trees. They would make a pretty bouquet for the table. Or perhaps she would tie them at the head of Belle’s cradle. She followed the violets around a bend in the river, picking them in clusters of purple, white and yellow, when a movement caught her eye.

Heart in her throat, she froze.

He stood with his back to her in the river just around the bend, water up to the middle of his thighs.
And he was completely naked.

She meant to avert her eyes, to turn away, to flee before he saw her. But she could scarce breathe, much less move. She had never seen a naked man before. Oh, aye, she’d cared for Andrew in his illness and after death. But he had not looked anything like… this.

His body was all muscle, lean and hard. His thighs were heavy and corded, his bum twin mounds of smooth muscle that tightened and released as he moved his weight from one leg to the other. Dark, wet hair clung to his skin, hung down his powerful back all the way to his narrow hips. The muscles of his arms and shoulders bulged and stretched as he washed himself. His skin, bronzed from the sun, was slick and wet.

’Twas like stumbling upon some heathen river god.

She stood as if under a spell, her mind beyond fear or reason. And although some part of her knew what she was doing was wrong and sinful, she could not make herself turn away. Never would she have imagined that she could find a man beautiful. Yet beautiful he was.

Time was measured in heartbeats as she stood, watched.

And then it happened. She could not say when, but suddenly she became aware that he was looking straight at her.

Blue eyes.

Even at this distance, they pierced her.

She felt naked. And although she knew she should turn away, apologize, leave him in peace, she continued to stare. Against her will, her gaze dropped from his bonny face to his broad chest, with its sprinkling of dark hair and wine-dark nipples tight from the chilly water. Then, as if by some deviltry, her gaze was drawn down along the trail of hair to his rippled belly and then, further still, to his sex.

She felt her womb lurch.

Bereft of thought, of breath, she stared at what she had never seen before. To her eyes, he seemed huge, his shaft thick and heavy, his stones full and nestled in dark curls.

Heat and heaviness seemed to spread through her belly, a new sensation and more than a little frightening. She meant to look away, tried to look away, but his raw maleness enticed her, called to her.

And some unknown part of her answered.
Sunday, September 21, 2008

Name That Scene — Mystery Excerpt

The Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Trilogy art by Jenn J

Time is moving so quickly these days, I can't keep up with it. I see on my Widget that there are only 64 days until the release of Untamed, the next book in the MacKinnon's Rangers series. (Notice I didn't say "trilogy"... )

But before Morgan and Amalie arrive to share their story with you, something else exciting is happening. My entire backlist is being re-released. That includes the Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Trilogy that most of you have never been able to find, as well as the first book in the MacKinnon's Rangers series, Surrender.

So I thought I'd steal an idea from RBL Romantica and play some rounds of "Name That Scene," featuring mystery excerpts from my first three books — Sweet Release, Carnal Gift and Ride the Fire. Then, when I post the answer, I'll tell you a little about writing that scene and that particular novel, giving you a bit of background.

Some of you will know these because you've stuck with me these past years and met me by reading my historicals. Others only know the I-Team and perhaps don't even read historicals... yet.

For those of you who've never visited RBL Romantic, Name That Scene is a guessing game. I post a scene with the hero and heroine's names removed, and you try to guess which book it's in. Post the answer. People who come after you won't be able to see your answer until they go to post their own (no peeking). We'll see how many recognize each scene. I will be giving signed copies of Surrender away to those who play, and the good news is you don't have to get it right to be eligible to win a book. Just participate.

I might do several scenes from the same book. I might skip around. Who knows what I'll do to try to stump you...

Without further blather or ado, let us begin.

This ought to be easy for you veterans, not so easy for others...

Name That Scene #1:

She stifled a giggle at the thought of what she was about to do. When she'd told him she would punish him for defying her, she'd been jesting. Then an idea had begun to form in her mind — a startling, irresistible idea. Over the course of the evening, the idea had become a plan. She'd decided at least a dozen times not to go through with it. It was, she knew, not the sort of thing young ladies from good families did with men — even after they were married. It was positively indecent, which made it all the more enticing. In the end, curiosity — and the desire to give him the surprise of his life — had won out over propriety, and she had decided to stick with her plan.

She glanced nervously into her mirror and smiled conspiratorially at her reflection. Her hair was twisted stylishly upon her head, a few curls tumbling down her temples and at her nape. Her cheeks and lips were touched with rouge, her eyes lined with color. She wore the same ivory silk-and-lace gown she'd worn to Geoffrey's birthday party — the one she'd worn when she'd first called him by his real name. She looked ready for the ball — except, of course, there was nothing beneath the gown. Nothing.

She smoothed her skirts and looked around the room one last time. He'd arrive any minute. The candles on her bedside table cast a warm glow over the room. The covers of her bed were already turned down. In the middle of the bed lay the only pair of shackles she'd been able to find on the plantation. Though old and unused for years, they still worked. The key hung on a silken cord between her breasts.

The creaking of footfalls on the stairs told her he had come. She smoothed her skirts nervously, her heart pounding. Could she really do this? She felt herself smile, but forced it away.

A quiet knock came at the door. The handled turned. He stepped in and turned to close the door. He looked so handsome, dressed in a clean linen shirt and breeches. She had to fight the urge to rush forward and fall into his arms.

"XXXX, love, I..." He turned toward her, staring. "You look beaut—"

"You're on time, convict." It took every ounce of determination she had not to smile or giggle. "That's good. It will go easier on you."

She could see in his eyes the moment he understood her game. His look of confusion was replaced by surprise and then amusement before his gaze grew cold and hard. "I'm to be punished then?"

"I can no longer tolerate your insolence, convict. I mean to teach you a lesson." It was good she had rehearsed her lines. It would have been impossible to say them else. Was she really going through with this?

He leaned against her bedpost nonchalantly, crossing his arms. Defiant and confident, he reminded her so much of the man he'd been when she'd first purchased his indenture. "And what makes you think I'll cooperate, mistress, when I could just as easily break your pretty neck?"

"You'll find what I have in mind far more pleasant that what you'll receive if you disobey."

"I see." His gaze raked over her body in blatant sexual appraisal, and she shivered in anticipation. "And just what do you have in mind?"

"Undress — slowly."

He raised an eyebrow, then untied his shirt and slowly pulled it over his head. It fell, forgotten at his feet. Candlelight cast the bronze muscles of his arms, chest and abdomen in glorious high relief. He reached for the opening of his breeches, his muscles shifting, and began to untie them.

She felt desire flow like warm brandy through her veins. "Slowly, convict."

His gaze locked with hers again as ever so slowly he pulled on the ties , undid his breeches, and let them drop to the floor. He was rock hard, his sex thick and heavy.

She found she could scarcely breathe. "Your hair. Remove the thong."

Not breaking eye contact, he reached back with one hand, and his dark hair slid free, falling just below his shoulders. He looked untamed, primally male, and, with his lash scars, not a little dangerous. He stepped toward her.

She stepped back. "Stop! The shackles." She pointed to the bed. "Lock one end around your right wrist, then pass the chain behind the bedpost, lie down and lock the other end around your left wrist."

He looked at the bed and saw the shackles. She heard his quick intake of breath and saw a shadow pass over his face. Then it was gone. "Don't you trust me, fair mistress?" His voice was dark as sin and soft as velvet. His eyes held the allure of every man who'd ever tried to beguile a woman into a false sense of sexual safety.

"Never." She smiled and spoke in a rich, seductive voice she didn't know she had. "But I will have your complete cooperation."

"I see." Naked, he walked to the bed, picked up the shackles, and closed one end around his right wrist. It locked with a click. He sat and moved backwards across the bed, then reached behind his head and passed the chain behind one of the bedposts. "What makes you think these chains will protect you?"

"Do it, convict."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please welcome Denise A. Agnew, our guest blogger

Delicious Research: Time Traveler
Denise A. Agnew

First of all, a hearty thank you to Pamela Clare for inviting me to her blog. I first started reading Pamela’s books earlier this year, and I’m so glad I did. All her books are awesome, and like all her fans, I can’t wait to read the next one.

I’ve written historical romances in the past, but have taken significant time out to write contemporaries. Why? Because my interest in historical writing comes as it comes. I can’t really write them on demand any more than I can write other novels on demand. I have to have a spark, and idea that grabs me by the throat. My time travel BRIDGE THROUGH THE MIST takes the reader back to 1318 Scotland. The hero, a Highlander, demanded that his rough and tumble world be created, and I said yes. After all, he did have that big sword and...oh, did I just say that out loud? I loved researching Scotland via books and computer, but in the 90’s I had the great fortune to visit Scotland several times. There’s nothing like being there...books and research can never convey quite the sounds, smells, visuals that visiting a country can. There’s nothing like standing in front of a great castle and savoring the wonder.

On the other hand, what if you’re writing a book set during the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 London, England? I’ve always had a fascination for writing fictional stories based around true events, and because I’d been interested in Jack The Ripper’s antics for quite a while, I’d researched the heck out of it. When I took the plunge to write MIDNIGHT ROSE, I found all that fascination paid off.. It took about five months to create the first draft of the story, plus a few months more to revise and edit. I ended up with a very long manuscript, but one I was so proud of, and one that satisfied me to the core. When I had that big ole book in hand, I sighed with relief. Yes, this felt good. No, it felt fantastic.

When I wrote LOVE FROM THE ASHES, my story set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the research once again consumed me. Because I’d always been interested in earthquakes, the science and the history of the event swept me up. Like an adventure, I rode the tide with the real life people who experienced the event, learned a lifetime of details. Again this story took me a long time to write, but once more the satisfaction was beyond compare. Where did I get the original idea for the story? I’d read that many marriage licenses were taken out the day after the earthquake. How romantic is that? So guess what my hero and heroine did? Yep, that’s right.

In ’06 a burning ache to write another historical started to consume me. Soon I possessed an inkling of where and when I wanted to set the story. Roman Britain. Oh, boy. If you want to cause shudders of dread in an author, tell them you are research ANYTHING to do with the Romans. Well, okay, some authors’ eyes will light up, other author’s mouths will round in a big O of admiration. Some will grunt and say how would I stand the research? I located tons of stuff on line and gobbled it up. I’d already accumulated two books on Roman Britain and read those. Then I bought books on the Roman Army and digested them with complete fascination. Watched my Gladiator DVD again. Watched my HBO Rome DVD set again. Sucked it all in. Wrote my notes about the plot, the characters, thought of their names. Soon I had a big, big idea for my book. Eventually I wrote the entire tome, then ended up having to clip away at it after my agent and I realized I’d overdone the history. (SIGH). And that heart-warming, excited feeling of accomplishment built within me. I love this story, and I hope someday you will all get to read it and enjoy as well. Wish me luck!

Earlier this year, I researched 1840’s and 1850’s Philadelphia and the surrounding area, the politics, the upheaval, the immigration of Irish to the area. I completed that book as well. Beyond that I’m also researching for a novel set in 1700’s France. I’m enjoying learning something new every day as I search the Internet and tap into research books.

As I explore history, I notice that nothing is new and everything repeats itself. These themes allow an author to create in infinite new ways. I’m continually drawn to big events and writing about how those events changed and altered people. How do a man and woman survive catastrophic occurrences and what do they learn from them?

Most of my historicals are out of print right now, but you can stop by my website any time and read excerpts from my contemporaries and from my time travel.

As a reader, what makes you happiest when you’re reading a historical? What draws you into the story? At the end of the day I’ll pick one person to receive a free download of my out of print historicals LOVE FROM THE ASHES or MIDNIGHT ROSE.

Thanks again, Pamela, for inviting me to your blog today.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Author adventures

A map of Fort Carillon back in the day.

Sorry to be MIA for so long! Work at the paper continues to be extra busy and probably will be through the Nov. 4 election (which can’t be over soon enough to suit me). On top of that, I’m behind on Naked Edge and stressed about that. I’m just not sure how I could have managed to write more on the book, while doing as much writing and reporting as I’ve been doing lately — not to mention the chaos of the DNC.

I am slowly adjusting to Benjy being so far away. It still feels very much like the center has gone out of my life and that all the crazy busy-ness swirling around me is part of someone else’s life (or maybe that last part is just wishful thinking). He and I communicate every day either by text message or by phone or both, so it’s not like he’s dropped out of my life. Thank goodness!

I mailed him a couple of care packages already, including one that contained a batch of our favorite chipless chocolate chip cookies, which he and his roomie devoured. He’s getting settled into a schedule, but I think he’s a bit homesick. The good thing is that our next visit is next month.

On Oct. 15, my mom and I are flying out of DIA to Ithaca, where we will let Benjy give us a tour of his new world before driving north to… Fort Edward and Rogers Island!

“Why is she so excited about this, and what is place?” you may be asking yourself.

Fort Edward is the real name of Fort Elizabeth, the setting for the MacKinnon’s Rangers trilogy. When I wrote the series, I took Fort Edward and renamed it Fort Elizabeth. (Wow, how creative.) Rogers Island, just off the banks of the Hudson beside the fort, I renamed Ranger Island (likewise stunningly creative).

Fort Edward was where a bunch of British Regulars stayed during the French and Indian War, and Rogers Island was home base for Major Robert Rogers and his Rangers, whose deeds and daring I have stolen and given to Iain, Morgan, Connor, Joseph and the men.

As you might imagine, I’ve spent a lot of hours looking at historical maps of the fort and Rogers Island, trying to describe them in the story. I’ve also spent many, many, many hours researching Robert Rogers and Colonial American Rangers. But living here in the Wild West, I’ve never had a chance to visit the place.

Well, now’s my chance.

We’re going to spend a day in Fort Edward — now a small town, not a fort — during which we will visit Rogers Island. Although the site, currently being excavated by archaeologists under the direction of David Starbuck, will be closed by the time we arrive, Eileen, the manager of Rogers Island Visitors Center, is going to give us a private tour.

Here’s another cool thing: Eileen is a romance reader — and she loves historicals. I sent her a copy of Surrender last month, which she has read. Here’s what she said about it:

“I thoroughly enjoyed your writing style and can’t say that I’ve ever been so immersed in a book. In my job I spend my time looking backwards to the past where your novel took place, but Surrender took me right into the time when this area was a hot bed of danger. You captured quite well the fort and the surrounding area and I could see Rogers in Iain. Maybe Rogers wasn’t counterfeiting after all and like Iain he was blackmailed into service by an agent for the king – hum, interesting thought.
“I must say that I only saw ‘Edward’ when you wrote ‘Elizabeth’ – the mind is a funny thing… This year was the 250th anniversary of Abercromby’s (or, yes, Mrs. Nanny Crombie’s) defeat at Ticonderoga, and this area has been entrenched in telling that story this year, but then to read of it in your book in the ‘you are there’ perspective made it more real. Good job!!”

I was thrilled to hear she enjoyed it and will be sending her an ARC of Untamed when I get them, which will be about a month or six weeks from now.

Eileen will be showing us around Rogers Island, and I hope, too, to meet David Starbuck, the archaeologist. He has unearthed all manner of artifacts on the island, including burials. My college degree and graduate school work was in archaeology, so it will be a real thrill for me to get down on the ground and look at the what’s left of the world I’ve been writing about — historical artifacts of a time that lives in my mind.

Yes, I’m going to bawl like a baby. I already warned Eileen.

The next day, we’re driving up along Lake George (OMG!) to Ticonderoga. Yes, Ticonde-frickin-roga! I just spoke with the curator of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, who is going to give us a tour behind the scenes, pointing out things that we wouldn’t otherwise get to see — like the remaining bits of the original Fort Carillon, where Morgan is held captive and meets Amalie.

Fort frickin’ Carillon, people! Do you get me?

I’m also going to visit the Falls — a location about a mile from the fort where the crux scene of Untamed takes place.

I don’t think I warned Mr. Fox, the curator, that I’m going to bawl…

Our last day there, we’re taking a boat trip up Lake George. As I type these words, I get half teary-eyed and at the same time want to scream and jump around. I’m taking a freaking boat trip up Lake freaking George, okay? Much of the shoreline, particularly on the steep, east side is unchanged since the time of the Rangers.

Remember Iain and Annie’s journey down Lake George?

From Surrender:

Annie was so tired. Someone was trying to wake her. But her entire body ached, and she needed so desperately to sleep. She let herself sink deeper into darkness and dreams.

And it was a good dream. A man was kissing her, his lips full and hot against hers. He kissed her gently at first, brushing his lips over hers as if to tease her. Then he took her mouth with his, and pulled her against him.

Her lips tingled, and she found herself kissing him back, wanting more, reaching for him.

“Oh, Annie, I knew you would taste sweet.”

It was the Highlander. Major MacKinnon. Iain. He was kissing her, and she wanted him to keep kissing her. ’Twas after all only a dream.

His mouth closed over hers again, and his tongue traced the line of her lips, parted them and thrust—.

Annie’s eyes flew open, and she might have screamed had her tongue not been entwined with his. She meant to push him away, to slap him soundly, but her arms were already wrapped around his neck, her fingers clutched in his hair.

’Twas he who ended the kiss.

He clamped a hand over her mouth, held a finger to his lips. Even in the darkness she could see the intensity of his gaze.
She heard the gentle lapping of water, felt a rocking beneath her, and remembered.

The boat. The lake. The attack.

Her heart, already racing, lurched in her breast.

He leaned close, whispered in her ear. “’Tis almost dawn. We must go ashore and hide the boat. We are goin’ in blind, wi’ no idea who might be encamped there. Be silent. Do exactly as I tell you, aye?”

Yes, that Lake George. Sadly, there will be no Iain MacKinnon to kiss me awake. But I doubt I’ll be sleeping anyway.

We're also going to visit some historical sites along the way, including Rogers' Rock and whatever there is to see of Fort Billy-Hank. That's what Ben and I, who love this period of history and are obsessively familiar with it, call Fort William-Henry. Standing there with Ben will be especially amazing because it means so much to both of us. To any of you who've watched Last of the Mohicans, that's the fort featured in the story, the one the French take from the British and then destroy.

Then on Sunday, my mom and I will fly back to Colorado, saying goodbye to Benjy again — but only for a month. He comes home again during Thanksgiving vacation, during which time he will have his 19th birthday.

I have gotten permission both from Fort Edward/Rogers Island and Fort Ticonderoga to take pictures and film while there, so you can expect copious photos, as well as video filmed by my filmmaker son. I also intend to buy some prizes to give away in contests on this blog. So some of you — who knows who? — will have something from these special places, too.

Sound good?

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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