A bit about Gabe Rossiter from Naked Edge

    Sorry I've been MIA. We've reached what is probably the busiest time of year at the newspaper — a cluster of demanding special editions — and I've been working all day then taking work home at night. I've fallen behind on my blog, on emails, on laundry, and, yes, on writing.

    I haven't written a word on Naked Edge in three weeks, partly due to work and partly due to the fact that my younger son, Benjy, was home on spring break last week. I had a lot of fun with him and chose to spend every free moment I had with him.

    But, as of this weekend, with various crises and spring break behind me, I'm hitting Naked Edge hard with a goal of finishing it by the end of May. I'm not sure if it will be out next November, but I hope so!

    In the meantime, I thought I'd share a bit about Gabe Rossiter, the hero in the story. Gabe is a Boulder Mountain Parks Ranger, which means he's like a cop who works in the mountains. I've volunteered with Boulder's Mountain Park Rangers, doing naturalist work for them, and they're a wonderful bunch of men and women. They carry guns, wear Kevlar, and deal with everything from climbers who've fallen to injured wildlife to drug dealers to poachers.

    Like most rangers, Gabe is a paramedic. He's also an expert climber. And by expert, I mean world class. Because most of you have had little exposure to what rock climbing is and probably don't know a carabiner from a cam, I thought I'd share a video from YouTube that shows Dan Osman free soloing, which is what Gabe does in his free time.

    Free soloing means climbing alone without gear. People who do this have nerves of steel, are incredibly strong both physically and mentally and are perhaps also a bit nuts.

    As some of you know, I come from a family of climbers and grew up in the mountains hiking and climbing. My dad taught rock climbing and alpine climbing and spent some years climbing with Layton kor, a very famous world-class climber who spent time at our house. The vocabulary of climbing and the gear involved have always been part of my life. I remember stepping over huge coils of climbing rope as a kid and watching my dad clean and check his gear. He once saved a man's life by stopping his fall (he was on belay when the guy fell). The rope dug into my dad's waistline by about a half-inch, leaving permanent scars.

    I almost died doing alpine climbing in 1994 when I fell 40 feet after slipping on an overhang of ice on Mount Ida (highest peak to the right above). You can actually see where I fell in this photo. See the tiny fingernail sliver of snow almost in the center of the photo in the saddle between the two peaks? I slipped, fell, bounced over rock. But that's another story...

    I might have died had it not been for a ranger who was mountain climbing off duty and found me. He called for a helicopter rescue and eight hours later I was safely in the Estes Park trauma center. Curiously, this is how Kat and Gabe meet, also.

    Okay, I'm rambling...

    Click on the link above to watch one of of the greatest speed climbers and free solo climbers in the history of climbing. Sadly, Dan Osman died base jumping when his rope broke (the last segment of the video). Watching him climb leaves me in awe! And it gives you a chance to see how Gabe spends his free time and to see what, exactly, he was doing when he first glimpsed Kat.

    Poll results: Very interesting! Most of you — a whomping 67 percent — say that bad research and writing is the thing that most offends you in a romance novel. The next largest group — 27 percent — say that deliberate cruelty by the hero or heroine toward the other is what upsets you most. That's what I would have chosen. I cannot stand deliberate cruelty from either the hero or the heroine, and a hero who's Alpha male qualities are demonstrated in this way is what I call a "jerk." It turns a book into a total wall-banger for me. Two percent of you said that graphic sexuality is what upsets you most, with another 2 percent saying the same of foul language.

    I thank you for your votes and for the fun discussion about pregnancy and birth in romances.

    I'm not sure what the next poll will be, but keep watching.

    In the meantime, prepared to be awed by Dan Osman.

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