The Return of MTM — Men in briefs

    Still recovering, but I thought I’d do a quick Monday update and share some sexy men with you all. Who wants a Monday when you can have a Man-Titty Monday?

    This week’s theme: Men in briefs.

    The gentleman in the photo above appears to be just as excited about MTM as we are. I don’t know about you, but my gaze sort of fixes on one thing there...

    The sleeping Adonis above looks like he needs to be wakened with love’s true kiss. Any volunteers?

    I don’t really have anything to say about this one except mmmm....

    Surgery news: My strange allergic reaction is gone. The docs must have been right about its cause. That’s a huge relief! Now that I’m not on prednisone, however, I’m a bit achier. It has a wonderful way of masking pain. But things are getting better. I'm excited thinking about how fantastic I might feel six months down the road.

    Novel news: I’m gearing up for a big push on Breaking Point, hoping to meet my deadline despite my operation. I’m dying to see the cover art featuring the utterly amazing Jed Hill. I know my publisher is trying to do something different with this cover, changing things up a bit. And you know I’ll share it as soon as I get it. In the meantime, I hope to begin presenting you all with a series of three book trailers beginning this winter just to titillate you.

    Take care, everyone, and have a great week!

Selection 2010 - Jared Prudoff

Selection 2010 - David Charvet

You've seen Zach. But what about Natalie?

    I’m so happy that you’re as excited about Jed Hill being on the cover of Breaking Point as I am. As I sat basking in the shadow of his biceps, I remembered that in this case, I also have a physical model for my heroine, Natalie Benoit. And here she is.

    Natalie had her I-Team debut in Unlawful Contact, taking Tessa’s place on the cops and courts beat. She keeps to herself, and we don’t know much more about her other than that she’s from New Orleans and that she lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. In Naked Edge, Kat senses something tragic inside Natalie, but we never get a glimpse of what that is. But in Breaking Point, Natalie’s story, we do.

    I’ve posted a couple of excerpts on this blog here, and here and read the back cover blurb here, so you all know how the story starts.

    So tell me — do Zach and Natalie make a nice couple? I think they certainly would make beautiful babies. And if they do, you just might have a front row seat. D’oh! Did I just say that?!?

    I’m not sure how often I will be updating my blog over the next few weeks. I think I need to take it a bit easier than I’ve been doing. I seem to have a good day and then a bad day. I think the bad days come from doing too much on the good days. So...

    In the meantime, however, you’ve got Zach and Natalie.

    By the way, Natalie Benoit has a Facebook page, for those of you on FB. (If we’re not friends, hunt me down!) She’s been talking about taking a trip to Mexico...

Breaking Point cover news! We got him!

    I just got confirmation from my editor that the photo shoot with Jed Hill happened and that he will be the model on the cover of my next I-Team book, Breaking Point. So, everyone, feast your eyes on Zach MacBride. Not sure what he's doing with boxing gloves. Maybe as part of staying fit — after all former Navy SEALs who become Deputy U.S. Marshals still need to stay in good shape — he took up boxing.

    And football, too. Why not? Strap into some shoulder pads, grap a pig skin, skip the T-shirt and the athletic cup (he ain’t wearing one), and get hot and sweaty tossing the ball around. I’m all for that.

    Though I think it’s safe to say that Jed Hill deserves the Gold Medal for Obliques, he has a beautiful body over all — and a beautiful face. I love the intensity of his gaze. I love the masculine jawline. I love the full lips.

    The man is, in a word, purrfect. And he is the perfect Zach.

    Neither my editor nor I have seen any of the art yet, but when I have something to show you, you know I will.

    So, you ended up with an MTM anyway — just several hours late.

Selection 2010 - Fernando Bacalow

    Classement 2009 - 95°

A daytrip through the Rockies

    I’m still at home recovering, but other members of my family are doing what they do on the weekend — hiking and climbing in the mountains.

    Since most of you probably haven’t been to Colorado, I thought I’d share some photos of my dad and brother's hike up to Blue Lake. My brother David took the photos. Blue Lake is situated high in the mountains just below timberline — the point where trees cease to grow on the mountainsides. The total distance of the hike to the lake is about 12 miles, much of it at high altitude.

    The photo at the top is a view of Blue Lake from above.

    There are still patches of snow up there, though not much, I’m told. It’s been a hot summer.

    Here’s my dad, an avid mountain climber at the age of 66. He climbs fourteeners — mountains higher than 14,000 feet in elevation — every summer and has climbed all but two of the state’s 53 fourteeners. My brother Robert has climbed all of them, some alone in the dead of winter. My dad and brothers have been pushing these past few years to climb 12- and 13,000-foot peaks, which there seem to be an unlimited number of in Colorado.

    This is Blue Lake. Not so blue when you’re right up against it. You can see that the lake is right at timberline, with the trees surrounding it being the last on the mountainside.

    Here’s a little friend — well, not so little, really — that they met along the way. Between us, I and my family have seen deer, bear, mountain lions, bobcats, rattlesnakes, moose, foxes, eagles, hawks galore, coyotes (get the corn pollen!), elk, porcupines, big horn sheep, mountain goats... Well, pretty much everything we have here. I personally have seen everything in that list except moose and rattlesnakes.

    I truly grew up doing this almost every weekend. It may sound corny, but I try to channel a little bit of my love for Colorado and its wide-open skies into my I-Team stories.

    Here’s my dad sitting at the summit cairn of whatever peak it is that Blue Lake rests below. Look at the sky behind him. Those little, barely visible flecks of color in the short tundra grass are wildflowers, some no taller than your thumb. It’s a tender environment, with beauty being reduced to bare essentials. I’ve always said that the scenery above timberline is scenery you must earn by dragging yourself up the trail through the thin air. But it’s truly breathtaking.

    The nice thing is that David and my father always share their photos, so even though I haven’t gone with them for a couple of years, I get to share in it and enjoy the scenery without earning it.

    I hope you enjoyed it, too!

    Surgery update: I broke out into hives on Tuesday, and they wouldn’t go away, even when I rendered myself all but unconscious on high doses of Benadryl. (Hate that stuff!) I started having a little trouble breathing again and that meant a trip to the ER. There’s a very small chance that my body could be reacting to the titanium implants, but the doc thought it was a reaction to a medication they’d given me. So now I’m on steroids again. I was relieved that she felt pretty certain it wasn’t the implants, because going through this surgery again is not on my list of things to do. The hives are fading. My neck continues to get better. And I’m really looking forward to feeling good again one day soon.

    Urban farm news: I can’t work in it, can’t harvest it, but I sure can enjoy the bumper crop of green beans and swiss chard we've got going on. Broccoli, too. I probably need to eat veggies for breakfast to have any hope at all of keeping up. I’ve been giving lots away. My mom has worked out there a lot, and I send her home with gallon bags of green beans and swiss chard as thanks. My sister-in-law and niece (who is a writer at age 10 — yay!) are on their way now to pick green beans. I told them they could take whatever they pick.

    Book news: Because I spent so much time away from the manuscript for Breaking Point, I started reading it from the beginning two days ago to reacquaint myself with the details and pick up the emotional threads again. (For me, it’s all about the emotion.) So far... It’s coming together. It’s good that you Reece’s Pieces included Zach on the mug because I think some of you might be switching teams come next July. Then again, I know how fiercely loyal you are.

    Inspired by you all, I do intend to try to open a little Pamela Clare shop that will include I-Team and historical mugs, T-shirts and such. I’ll give some away as prizes, and those of you who want can buy whatever excites you the most.

    No word on the cover yet. Still awaiting news on that...

Stitches coming out today / BREAKING POINT cover blurb

    Sorry, it’s not MTM, but it’s still pretty. These photos were taken by my son Benjamin’s wonderful girlfriend, Lucy Gram.

    This is one of the lakes near my home where I often go for walks. I hope to be walking there soon as I get back on my feet. In the background, you can see Longs Peak, one of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks. My family has climbed it many times, and my father thinks that its summit should be my goal for next summer.

    It’s a 12-hour climb to the summit for most people. My brother did it in 3.5 hours last time he climbed it. I expect it will take me longer than that, even if I train seriously for it. My brother is 6-3 and climbs like he was born to it, which he pretty much was.

    But first things first. I get my stitches out tomorrow. My mother is actually removing them. I see no point in paying a co-pay and driving to Denver for something that I could even do myself.

    I am getting better gradually. It’s still hard for me to swallow, but I’m having no trouble breathing. I tend to hurt a lot in the morning when I wake up. I've been trying to take as few pain pills as possible, but I haven’t yet had a day without them. I try to remind myself that it hasn’t quite been two weeks, and that I have two artificial vertebrae, not to mention hardware, in my neck. But still, I hate to take so many pain pills. Today, I’ve taken two.

    It’s hard to say yet how much nerve pain I’m going to have once the surgery heals. The bone grafts won't be healed for another six weeks. Then it could be six months before I have any idea how much pain relief I'll get in my arms and legs. So I appreciate your continued prayers.

    Thanks so much for your posts, e-mails, cards and packages. I can’t tell you how much they’ve all meant to me. I apologize that I haven’t been able to reply to them all. I still can’t take sitting at a computer for long, and I spend much of each day sleeping. But know that your kindness means so much to me.

    Attention Reece's Pieces! You know who you are! You completely made my day when your package arrived. I only saw the front side of the mug at first. But then I sat down and saw the backside and almost popped my stitches laughing. You are too sweet!

    Team Jag Shag? Team Jiggle Stick? (Forget the typo. I love it!) Team Sucky Swirl? Absolutely freaking PRICELESS! I'll have to post a photo of the mug later. I haven’t eaten the chocolate yet — swallowing is hard enough to be scary at times — but I will.

    Also, if anyone needs anything bubble-wrapped, Ronlyn is the one to see. That mug was the most completely bubble-wrapped piece of porcelain ever to travel across the country.

    Not sure if many of you saw the post I did on Facebook about my mom’s mishap. While I was sleeping one day, she went around sniffing all the perfumes I have scattered around my house. I have a good friend who’s a parfumier, so I have a lot of them. But one of the vials my mother picked up was actually a canister of MACE disguised as a pen (making it easier for me to carry into courtrooms, etc., because reporters carry pens, right?). Yes, my mother maced herself. Go Mom! I knew nothing about it. I slept through the entire thing.

    When I woke up later that afternoon, she asked me what that horrible perfume was that didn’t smell good and which burned her nose and face. I had no idea what she was talking about until a few days later when, a little less groggy, I noticed the MACE sitting among some perfume bottles on my desk. I asked her if that’s what she’d sniffed and she said yes. I laughed so hard that it hurt.

    I imagine my parents will drive me home tomorrow. I have veggie and rose gardens they need to water and harvest (lots of cucumbers, Swiss chard, squash, green beans and tomatoes ripening these days), as well as a lawn that needs watering. And then I’ll have to face the empty house. My folks will be coming by to do the outdoor chores (watering, harvesting, mowing), so I’ll see them every couple of days. That will help take the edge off Benjamin’s absence.

    Also, I bought a 12-gauge shotgun for home defense. When MACE doesn’t work, there’s lead.

    And now for something that’s more interesting than my neck... The back blurb for Breaking Point.

    Here you go:

    While investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive.

    Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman.

    Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach’s battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

    But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

    Does that sound interesting to anyone?

    No word yet as to whether the photo shoot with Jed Hill happened, but you can rest assured I’ll let you know when I find out! And just in case you forgot who he is, here's this:

    See, a little touch of MTM anyway. Just looking at him makes me feel better.

Selection 2010 - Alexander Prinz

Selection 2010 - Sean Faris

Selection 2010 - Michael Milton

Quick update

    Thanks, everyone, for your continued good wishes.

    I think I've turned a corner here. I'm now one week out from surgery, and the pain is really very manageable at this point. Not that it's not uncomfortable, but I've been able to cut back on the narcotics, which is nice.

    As my sister shared with you, I had a night earlier this week where the swelling in my throat got so bad that swallowing was very difficult and breathing even became hard. That was scary. We went in to see the doc the next day and he prescribed steroids, so I'm now taking prednisone to reduce the swelling.

    The swelling is caused because they went through the front of my neck and used some kind of clamps to hold my esophagus (which connects your mouth to your stomach) and my trachea (which is what you breathe through) to the side, clearing space to operate on my spine. When the swelling reached its peak, I suddenly had a very hard time swallowing anything that wasn't liquid and couldn't sleep because I had to really push air in and out to breathe.

    But the prednisone is working very well. It's not good for bone grafts. I have two areas that are full of bone grafts. They more or less took out two vertebrae and used a polymer and pieces of the removed bone to reconstruct vertebrae, which they then bolted into place with two titanium plates and eight screws.

    I look like I've been partially beheaded. There's an four- or five-inch incision that runs along the bottom of my throat from about the center off to the right. Sexy!

    As for how much relief I get from the nerve pain that made my life hell for two years, it's too early to tell, in part because of all the drugs I'm on and in part because it will take the nerves some time (and no one knows how long) to heal.

    So that's the news from Colorado...

    My parents, especially my mom, have been amazing in helping me. Benjy, my younger son, leaves for NY for college on Friday, and that is going to suck. Many tears that day, for sure.

    Thanks to all of you for your cards, e-mails, messages and so on. Each and every one touched my heart.

Selection 2010 - Jeff Tomsik

    Classement 2009 - 96°

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