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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meanwhile back on the urban farm...

Lilacs are one of my very favorite flowers.

Just a quick blog update...

This is the craziest spring weather I can remember. Spring in Colorado is usually all about snow. But this year, we’ve had incredibly mild weather and very little moisture. The state is a tinderbox with fire conditions very high as we head toward summer. 

And down on the urban farm — that’s my house — everything is a few weeks ahead of where it ought to be this time of year. Our lilacs normally don’t bloom till May. Irises bloom in late May or early June. But we’ve got irises in bloom in the back at the same time that tulips are still blooming. The lilacs are out of control. And our peonies have big buds on them. 

Benjamin plants a mahonia bush.
As some of you know, I believe very much in growing as much of one’s own food as one can, even in a very urban setting. All that space taken up by useless grass can put food on the table and make a family less dependent on jobs, on credit, on all of the unhealthy systems that exist in our society. By taking food production into own hands, we boost our independence. 

The other benefit of growing one’s own fruits and veggies is that you can control what goes on and around them. Food safety has become a huge issue lately, and it’s a proven fact that certain chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides that are commonly sold in the U.S., contribute to cancer rates. I’d rather work a little and have a healthy meal waiting for me outside. We generally don’t shop for vegetables between June and September, which is nice.

My grandparents on both sides grew most of their own fruits and vegetables. The lived in the city, but had big lots. They grew and canned so many different things. My mother’s parents had a grape arbor, an orchard and an enormous veggie garden that fed a family of eight. My grandfather gardened up till the very end of his life. Maybe it’s in our blood.

Our vegetable garden has been tilled and is ready to plant.
Last year we had an incredible year, though insects were more of a problem, too. I imagine it will be worse this year with the mild weather. We haven’t completed our garden plans quite yet — Colorado is still quite capable of dumping a blizzard on our heads — but I know for sure we’ll be planting: arugula, romaine lettuce, dino kale, swiss chard, carrots, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.

We have full southern exposure on the side of the house (as you can see), so we can really grow a wide variety of foods.

Another view of the lilacs and one of the veggie beds.
We don’t have an orchard yet, but once the big cottonwood is down in the backyard — I have to pay a small fortune to have it removed before it kills someone — I’m thinking that sweet cherries, plums and apricots or pears can go in the space taken up by the cottonwood.

Benjamin wants an oak tree.

We shall see.

They look pretty empty now, but these rose beds will be alive with color soon.

Of course, out front we have our rose beds.  We are rosarians — lovers of the rose. I don’t care much for typical hybrid teas and prefer historical roses that aren’t so cross-bred that they don’t even have a scent. I have three rules for any rose bush that is planted in my garden.

1. It must have a strong scent. Why have flowers if they have no scent?
2. It must be a proven rebloomer. I want flowers all summer long.
3. It must be capable of surviving in this climate.

Fortunately, historic roses and shrub roses generally fit those criteria.

Of course, tending the garden takes a lot of time during the summer. There’s planting, daily watering (it’s very arid here), weeding, harvesting, replanting... And it goes on typically until the first frost sometime in September/October, when I end up running out with kitchen scissors for one last quick harvest, usually of greens and broccoli, before winter arrives.

This enormous cottonwood is coming down soon. It’s almost dead and dangerous. I love it and will miss it.
In the meantime, I’m working on SKIN DEEP and getting nearer to the end. I probably won’t be posting again until the story is done. But I did want to offer an update. Excerpts of the book are posted here on this blog if you’re curious.

Only 70 days until DEFIANT is released! I’m so excited to share the story with you!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

SKIN DEEP update — With Excerpt!

My first goal was to have Skin Deep up by the end of March. But I had pneumonia all February and couldn’t write. Then I planned to have it up by mid-April. Well, here we are, and I’m probably four chapters away from the end.

Sorry it’s taking forever. I really care about what I write. I don’t want to give you anything less than the best story I can write, and I don’t want to give Megan, who has had such a hard life, anything less than the happy ending she deserves.

Since I’ve kept you waiting so long, I think you all deserve an excerpt. Don’t you agree?

I knew you would.

For those of you familiar with the I-Team series, Megan is a character who tugged at your heartstrings. For those of you who haven’t read the series, I suggest you read Unlawful Contact before reading Skin Deep. You’ll understand the relationship between Megan and her brother, Marc, much better if you do. And the difference could mean crying your way through a few tissues — or wiping out the box.

Before I commence with the excerpt, I’ll just point out the sexy little Rock*It Reads logo on the cover of Skin Deep. Thanks to all of you who celebrated the launch of Rock*It Reads brand with us. And watch for more events on the Rock*It Reads Facebook page and our website.

From Chapter 9 of Skin Deep:

“Be careful.  It’s hot.”

“Thanks.”  Megan took the mug of steaming chamomile tea from Nate, a part of her craving something stronger.

While he put more wood on the fire, she sipped, struggling to pull the pieces of herself back together.  She felt drained, weak, ragged.  It seemed unreal to her that she’d just bared the darkest side of her soul to a man she’d known only for a week, but she had.  She’d told him everything. 

More than that, she’d buried her face in his shirt and sobbed while he’d held her.  The only other men she’d let touch her like that were Marc and Julian, but that was different.  Marc was her brother, and Julian… Well, he was like a brother. 

What she felt for Nate was very different.

She couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him.  Usually that meant she’d want to get as far away from him as she could, and yet something about him set her at ease. 

He poured himself another drink and sat on the sofa.  “Are you warm?”

She nodded, grateful for the blanket he’d wrapped around her shoulders.

He leaned back into the cushions, his eyes narrowing as he looked at her.  “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.  Why not?”  She no longer had any secrets where he was concerned.

“That reporter your brother took hostage when he broke out of prison—he got her pregnant while they were on the run, and she married him, didn’t she?”

Nate’s question, as blunt as it was, wasn’t what Megan had been expecting.

She laughed.  “He and Sophie have been married for almost four years now, and they have two kids—Chase and Addison.”

Nate shook his head, a bemused expression on his face.  “That’s … interesting.”

Megan smiled.  “Believe it or not, Marc can be very sweet.  You haven’t exactly seen his soft side.”

“No I suppose, I haven’t.”  Nate chuckled.  “I don’t blame him for watching over you the way he does.  If I were in his shoes and spotted some strange guy walking up to my little sister’s front door after she’d been attacked, I probably would have done the same thing.” 

“Marc knows I get … uncomfortable around men, and I guess he does his best to make certain I feel safe.”  Megan looked away, took a sip of tea.

“Do you feel uncomfortable around me?”  It was a sincere question, no defensiveness in his voice, no hint that she needed to lie to protect his ego.

Megan found herself studying him from his short sandy brown hair to his deep set blue eyes to the tanned skin on the left side of his face to the scars on the right.  “No—which is kind of strange.” 

It was both fascinating—and frightening.

“Well, that’s good—I think.”  The smile lines around his eyes crinkled, a hint of humor in his voice. 

And she knew she would never get a better time than now to let him know where she stood.  “I’m never going to be with a man, Nate.  I’m telling you this now because … because I don’t want to mislead you.  I don’t like being touched.  I don’t like sex.  I’ve never once enjoyed it.”

“Never?”  His brows bent in a frown.

“Never.”  She glanced away for a moment, unable to bear the scrutiny of his gaze.  “When a man touches me, I feel … revulsion.  I instantly feel sick to my stomach.  It’s all I can do not to shove him away.  What those men did to me—it’s in my DNA.”

Even years of therapy hadn’t changed that.  A hug from a male acquaintance, a man’s arm around her shoulders, an overly long handshake—they all made her want to pull away and run.  She couldn’t even go to a male doctor.

“I’m sorry.  If I’d known… ”  Nate’s frown deepened.  “Did I make you feel that way just now when I held you?”

“N-no.”  Warmth rushed to Megan’s cheeks. 

“I’m glad to hear that.”  His forehead furrowed, and he seemed to think about this for a moment as if it were a puzzle he needed to solve.  “How about when I caught you when you fell getting off the horse?”

“No.”  Her cheeks burned hotter.

“What about the times I’ve held your hand?”

Could he see that she was blushing?  God, she hoped not!  “No, not then either.”

His gaze locked with hers.  “And last night—when I kissed you?”

“No.”  She rushed to explain.  “But we were interrupted, and I… I think maybe there just wasn’t time for me to react.”

Nate set his drink down on the coffee table.  “Do you want to test that theory?”

Megan’s heart took off at a sprint.  “Wh-what do you mean?”

“I could kiss you again just like I did last night—soft and easy—and since we’re not going to be interrupted this time, you’ll be able to see whether that sense of revulsion kicks in.  If it does, we stop.”

“And if it doesn’t?”

He gave her a lopsided grin.  “We’ll know you’ve been kissing the wrong men.”

She felt that flutter in her belly again, and time was measured in heartbeats as he watched her, waiting for her answer.  Some part of her was afraid their little experiment would fail.  Some part of her was afraid it would succeed.

There’s no point in trying.  You know how this will end, girl.

But did she?  Everything had been different with Nate so far.

She drew a steadying breath.  “How would we do it?”

“We could do it like we did last night.”  He spoke matter-of-factly, as if they were discussing how to change a tire.  “I’ll sit close to you and kiss you nice and slow, and we can see where that takes us.”

She nodded.  “O-okay.”

In a single slow motion, he shifted so that he sat beside her, his face inches from hers, his arm stretched out on the back of the leather sofa behind her.  “You tell me if you start to feel queasy or repulsed, alright?”

It was hard to think with him sitting so close.  “All right.”

“Ready?”  He reached out, stroked her cheek with the knuckles of his right hand.


Without closing his eyes, he leaned in, brushed his lips over hers once, twice, three times, the feather-light contact sending shivers through her. 

“How are we doing so far?”  His eyes looked straight into hers, his voice husky.

“Good.”  She didn’t wait for him this time, but rested her palms against the hard wall of his chest, rose up on one knee, and caressed his lips with hers, increasing the pressure.

More shivers.

His eyes drifted shut, his lashes long and dark.  One big hand came to rest on her hip as he steadied her.  He caught her lower lip between his, and gave it a soft tug.

Belly flutters.

Her eyes drifted shut, her hands finding their way up his chest and over his shoulders as she drew herself against him, needing to be closer to him, her arms locking behind his neck.  She tilted her head, kissed his upper lip, then his lower lip, then the corners of his mouth, her tongue tracing the outline of his lips, her senses stirred by the taste of him, by his masculine scent, by the hard feel of him.

And Megan forgot she’d always been repulsed by this.  All she knew was that she wanted more.

Excerpt (c) copyright Pamela Clare 2012

~ ~ ~

 I hope you enjoyed that little sneak peek. Chapter 9 is where we get to turn on the sexy. Because this won’t be up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Smashwords before it’s actually available — no pre-orders on indie published books, unfortunately — I’ll be sending out an email blast to let people know when it’s done. So if you don’t receive my newsletter, be sure to click here to sign up.

My current target date is early May.

And now I need to get offline and write!

P.S. I have been going to the gym five days a week. Yeah. I rock.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rock*It Reads has official launch today!

Here’s the big news I’ve been promising.

Today is the official launch of the Rock*It Reads brand, of which I am a part.

So what is Rock*It Reads?

It used to be that the “slush pile,” as it was called, sat on the desks of agents and editors. They would sift through it and decide what manuscripts they wanted to take on. This often excluded brilliantly written stories — but it also separated the chaff from the grain.

But with the advent of digital indie publishing, the slush pile has been placed in readers’ hands. The good thing about this is that there’s a lot more variety from which readers can choose, not just ideas and settings that New York publishing houses believe they can sell. Also, ebooks are often cheaper than printed books, making it easier for voracious readers to stay within a budget.

The downside is simply that there are so many books to choose from, and readers can’t be sure about the quality they’re getting.

Enter Rock*It Reads. Our slogan is, “Authors you love. Stories that rock.”

Rock*It Reads is a group of  New York published authors who are also self-publishing romances. We’ve each made a commitment to ourselves and to each other to put out only high-quality self-published works, and the logo is intended to communicate that.

When readers buy a story that bears the Rock*It Reads logo, they can know they’re getting a story that has been tended with the same level of attention and professionalism as we give our New York works. The logo is meant to be a sort-of “seal of quality,” because we care as much about writing great stories as you do about reading them!

Rock*It Reads is not a publisher or a publishing imprint. These are 100 percent self-published works, done by each author, on her own dime, on her own time.

We’ve simply banded together to form Rock*It Reads to help our readers find other high-quality self-published works.  We’re hoping that the logo will be a like a little beacon or guide though the world of self-published romances.

Rock*It Reads includes: Monica Burns, Lila DiPasqua, New York Times best-seller Cheryl Holt, Vanessa Kelly/VK Sykes, Kris Kennedy, Margo Maguire, Mia Marlowe, Elisabeth Naughton, Sharon Page, Joan Swan—and me.

Stop by our Facebook page today — April 11 — to join in the launch-day celebration, which includes hourly ebook giveaways from Rock*It Reads authors. And be sure to visit the Rock*It Reads website to learn more about the indie books by these authors.

Also, watch for our column, LOVE ROCKS, which will debut on April 23 on Barnes and Noble’s website. We’ll be reviewing the latest and greatest self-published books, helping to sift through the titles for those hidden gems. 

If you’ve been watching closely, you’ll have noticed the addition of the Rock*It Reads logo to my indie published books — Sweet Release and Carnal Gift — as well as to the cover of Skin Deep, which isn’t quite finished yet. (Ahem.) Also, I announced it in the News section of my official website, which was updated last week.

My first official Rock*It Reads release will be Skin Deep, which will be done and online by the end of April or early May. Sorry it’s late, but as you can see, I have been busy.

Watch for an article about Rock*It Reads coming soon to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, or read more in the May RT Book Reviews.

So there you have it — my big news. I’m very excited to be working with these 10 other authors and look forward to exploring the world of self-published books!
Sunday, April 01, 2012

A Project: Happiness Update — The Mind

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks since my last blog post. I’ve been working on Skin Deep, but I’ve also been taking time to go to the gym and to stay on top of things around the house. With all the unseasonably warm weather we’re having, I’ve also needed to spend time outside watering my rose bushes, my flower beds and our trees and shrubs. Between all of that, my column for the paper, my work for the Happy Ever After blog, and getting a new endeavor off the ground — you’ll hear about that soon — there hasn’t been much time for blogging.

So it’s time for a Project: Happiness update.

Last time I talked about body, not only my own experience with my physical self, but also that of women in general and the ways that society influences how we live our lives in our bodies. This week I thought I’d talk about the mind.

Way back when — it really does seem ages ago now — I explained how I viewed the human experience as being comprised of three elements: body, mind, and spirit. Mind being in the middle  is kind of appropriate because I think it links the three together. Our spiritual self starts in the mind, and mind has a powerful influence over body, too. The brain, the organ that houses the mind, is a bodily organ.

So what does it mean to have a healthy mind? It’s not about being intelligent or educated. I’ve always been very confident of my intellectual abilities. My brain comes with some unique talents — a facility for foreign languages, for example.

A healthy mind is more about how you think about life. Maybe because of this, most people associate the mind closely with happiness.

Of course, we know that body influences mind. The intense spinal pain I endured from January 2008 through August 2010 proved that to me. I went from optimism to frustration to despair. Chronic pain can have a real impact on how a person thinks. That was true for me.

Physical pain and lost sleep tends to bring out the worst in me in terms of my mental attitude. So doing whatever I can to decrease spinal pain is very important. I had a bad week last week and into this week, and I got a refresher course in how much it sucks not to be able to sleep.

But I really realized I needed to re-vision my life was when my own “inner monologue” became darkly negative. And that had very little to do with pain and everything to do with writing. Writing is a very stressful activity at times, and writing under the conditions I faced toward the end of Defiant resulted in my feeling extremely depressed and negative.

My sister was here at that time, and thanks to her, I caught of glimpse of how my self-talk, if you want to call it that, looked from the outside. It wasn’t good.

I had to be honest and realize that I often get that way while writing. It wasn’t just Defiant. I very often reach a point of self-loathing when I’m writing because I just can’t accomplish on the page what I’m trying to accomplish. What I feel inside about a story so rarely makes it into a book. And the frustration that causes is overwhelming at times.

“You need a new routine,” Benjy told me after Defiant was done.

By that, he meant that there has to be a happier way to write books. Project: Happiness grew out of my desire to create this new routine.

I knew my new approach could not include the positive self-talk modeled by Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live: “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!”

Puhleaze!!! I’m too cynical for daily affirmations, even ones that aren’t silly.  A good Buddhist koan or a line of poetry, sure. Affirmations? No.

So what is my new routine?

No more self-hatred. If I start getting into that mode, then it’s time to do something else no matter how much writing I got done.

Get enough sleep. A mind can’t work well without rest. The book deadline isn’t as important as a full night’s rest.

Get exercise. It has been proven to help mental function and mood. The brain and the mind it contains are part of the body, after all.

Accept that nothing I write will be perfect. This is really, really hard, because I am a perfectionist. I want to write something perfect. So even as I try to accept this, I’m still fighting like hell to achieve it.

Do nice things for myself—things that are healthy. A nap, a trip to the theater to see a film, a bit of Angry Birds — try to incorporate fun, not just work, in to every day. All work and no play makes Pamela a bitch. But I think a lot of people do things to be “nice” to themselves that aren’t good for them in the long run. That chocolate bar. Spending too much money on clothes. Sitting in front of the TV too often and for too long. Food has long been the “nice” thing that I do.

So far, the first three and the last one are moving along pretty well. But accepting that I will make mistakes and fail at my goals to one degree or another is very, very hard for me.

I will persevere. 

In other news:  

Skin Deep is moving along. I’m more than 25,000 words into the story. I ran into a really tough scene, which I wrote and now must rewrite. I anticipate two more weeks of writing, a week of editing and then a few days to get it uploaded and see it go live. So probably the end of April. Sorry! It’s that perfectionism problem I mentioned.

I will be certain to make a big announcement about it — you can read more about the story in the blog post below this one — and send out a newsletter so that no one misses the release of the novella. You can also stay in touch by joining my Facebook page.  If you want to sign up for my newsletters, click here. I only send them out when I have news, and I don’t share the info with anyone.

The copy-edited pages of Defiant are on my computer. I need to proofread them one last time and get them back to New York. So advance review copies will be going out probably at the end of the month. I’m putting together a list of events and fun ways to celebrate the release of Connor’s story, so stay tuned for that.

The Defiant discussion group has launched. Today’s chat about Surrender was a lot of fun for me. We continue through July, working our way one by one through the books in the series and ending with Defiant.  Thanks to Jenn LeBlanc for setting this up!

On Tuesday, April 3, I’ll be receiving the Colorado Coalition for Sexual Assault’s Excellence in Media award for my work on the issue of sexual assault. This is an amazing honor, given my own background and the fact that I went into journalism almost entirely because I wanted to be a voice for women. The ceremony will be held on the steps of the state capitol in Denver. I am deeply touched and honored by this.

Also, I’ll have an announcement possibly this week, maybe next, of a new endeavor that I am a part of and very excited about. If you read the article in RT, you might already know what I’m talking about. If not, expect an announcement shortly.

Last but not least, it will soon be planting time on the urban farm. We’ve got most of the prep work done. Depending on the weather, we’ll be planting our crops soon. We try as much as we can to eat food we grow because it doesn’t come with e coli or listeria or pesticides/herbicides. The new studies that showed a strong tie between certain cancers and common pesticides/herbicides really strengthened my resolve to have as much control over our food supply as possible. We rarely eat anything that isn’t organic.

Last year we grew: arugula, kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, onions (red and yellow), green beans, broccoli, acorn squash, delicata squash, zucchini, summer squash, radishes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. We lost a lot of the broccoli to some damned egg-laying creature — white flies, I expect. So this year, I may get floating row cover to protect everything.

Growing food is such intensely difficult work requiring a lot of attention and time. But the result — being able to grab dinner out of the garden and know it’s good for you — is wonderful. As much as I think, “Maybe I’ll just join a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year and let someone else do the work,” there’s something about this time of year that calls me back to the dirt.

Have a lovely week, everyone!

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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