Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Diamond Lust

A note from Opal: Hi. I've had an amazing new project land in my lap with a very short time frame (and two current projects already underway), so my friend, Madelle Morgan, has agreed to fill in for me for my September and October posts. Madelle is also Canadian and writes Hot Romantic Suspense. She has a facinating story to tell you about the inspiration for her book, Diamond Lust.

In a place where the sun doesn’t set, where can a girl hide from the bad guys?
I set my debut romantic suspense novel, Diamond Lust, at a mine site accessible only by air in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The spark for a novel about a beautiful young geologist who poses a threat to desperate diamond smugglers originated in the 80s when I was an adventurous junior engineer travelling to construction sites throughout the Arctic. Back then most remote communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories had populations of less than 300 (not including sled dogs). For those inland from the ocean and the Mackenzie River, the only access was by air. To combat alcoholism, several community councils had banned alcohol.
One summer day my survey equipment and I were flown in a tiny plane to a native community of picturesque log cabins clustered along the shore of Great Bear Lake. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer greeted me and the pilot at the dirt runway. Because this was a “dry” community, he met every arrival to inspect the baggage and freight for smuggled alcohol.
Later, the very cute young officer entertained me with tea and stories of how creative locals had attempted to sneak alcohol past him. One method especially impressed me: in a crate of oranges he’d stuck his hand under the top layer of fruit to discover some squishy imposters. They’d replaced the oranges with round plastic bladders filled with alcohol and individually wrapped in green paper. Twenty years later I adapted the method when devising a way to smuggle diamonds through very tight security at the fictional Ptarmigan Lake mine.
Petra Paris discovers diamonds aren’t her best friend when murder traps her at the mine. Her only ally, an undercover RCMP officer with the Diamond Protection Unit, races to find the killers before Petra becomes the next victim. In exchange for Seth’s protection, Petra reluctantly agrees to let him pretend to be her boyfriend so he has an excuse to overnight at the mine. Here’s an excerpt.
Shortly after midnight, Seth quietly let himself into Petra’s room with his key card. Soft rhythmic breathing emanated from a mound under the bedding he could barely discern in the dimness. She’d closed the curtains to block the daylight. In mid-July this far north the sun barely kissed the horizon to mark the transition from one day to the next. He advanced in the gloom and cursed as he tripped over the duffel bag he’d left just inside the door.
The mound erupted. “Who’s there?”
“Seth,” he said in a normal tone, moving to part the curtains a crack. “Time to get up.”
Petra levered herself into a sitting position and clutched the blanket to the neck of her white thermal underwear. “What are you doing here?” Sleepiness fuzzed the edge of her words.
A grin tipped the corners of his mouth. She apparently shopped for lingerie at Work Warehouse. “This is my room too, remember?” Seth dropped heavily onto the edge of the bed to remove his boots.
“What are you doing?”
He quirked a brow. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m preparing for some shuteye.”
“Oh no. Not yet! I mean, let me get dressed and out of here first.”
“Don’t panic.” Seth patted the two lumps that were knees drawn up to her chest. “I’m so beat I can barely keep my eyes open. Besides, you’re sporting long underwear like ever-lovin’ armor. It’s hardly a turn-on.”
“These are my p.j.’s.”
“Right. Well, I don’t wear any.” He shucked his T-shirt and tossed it on top of the leather jacket draped over the back of the chair.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” came the mutter from the other end of the bed.
“Pardon me?”
“Nobody’s forcing you to watch.” He unbuckled his leather belt and unzipped his fly to the accompaniment of a muffled moan.
“Where’s your gun?”
“I’m undercover, remember? A gun sure woulda triggered the security alarms.”
“Get undressed in the bathroom. Please,” she pleaded, her voice pitched high.
“Too late.” Seth, naked but for boxer briefs, yanked at the blanket she clutched in a death grip. “Move over, darlin’.”
The e-version of Diamond Lust is available for only $1.49 or less at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Ellora’s Cave. Read Chapter 1.
Madelle left Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, now known as the Diamond Capital of North America, after the birth of her son and one too many close calls in small planes. She moved to Ottawa, Canada and joined the local chapter of RWA. After completing three novels “for practice”, she sold the fourth to Ellora’s Cave who had faith in the hot but not erotic Diamond Lust. Recently retired from a demanding management position, Madelle is working on a romantic suspense novel (the story of Sophia from the free short read The Next Big Thing) and a steamy novella for publication in 2013. Find Madelle at www.madellemorgan.com and on Goodreads.


Dana D'Angelo said...

Great interview, Madelle! Loved the excerpt too!

Madelle Morgan said...

Thanks, Dana. It seems like just yesterday that I was flying into remote Arctic communities. It was back in the era before GPS, and it was not unheard of to get lost or run out of fuel.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Madelle,

Welcome to Romancing The Genres! Sarah and I are thrilled you can fill in for Opal through October.

Thanks for the economics lesson. To be honest, I didn't know diamonds were mined in Canada!

Diamond Lust looks like a great read! Loved the excerpt...is he really that tired?

Madelle Morgan said...

Thanks for the opportunity to blog, Judith.

Yes, Seth was super tired. In summer that far north there is no darkness to signal time for sleep. Miners work shifts over 24 hours. As for the diamond smugglers…well, no rest for the wicked!

In the high Arctic communities, kids on summer break from school play any time during the 24 hours of daylight, eating when they are hungry and sleeping when they are tired. In an Inuit community on Holman Island north of the Arctic coast one July, I was woken by kids playing outside my window at 3 a.m. That was normal!


Judith Ashley said...

One of the things I love about Romancing The Genres is I learn so much. While I knew the sun never sets during the summer in the far north, I didn't know that people changed their living habits. It sounds somewhat ideal to eat when hungry, sleep when tired, and do whatever else when one wanted to.

Sarah Raplee said...

It's wonderful to have you visit for a couple of months, Madelle! I LOVE that your book is set in the far north. I lived in Alaska for five years and love to read about that way of life.

Your excerpt is funny and sexy. I'm looking forward to reading DIAMOND LUST.

Madelle said...

Thanks, Sarah. I have a collection of books set in Alaska. I love to read about the north too.

People living in the northern frontiers are really special. They're strong characters, independent, adventurous, and very, very hardy. They have to have resilience to withstand long dark winters, terrible storms and frigid temperatures.

Have you watched Ice Road Truckers or Ice Pilots NWT? http://www.icepilots.com I swear I flew on a Buffalo Airways DC-03 back in the 80s before they bought it from another airline.


Diana McCollum said...

Great post, Madelle. I didn't know about diamonds being mined in Canada. I love the show Ice Road Truckers, and Deadliest Catch. Your book sounds really good. Can I buy it on my Nook e-reader?

Anonymous said...

Hi Diana,

Diamond Lust is a Nook Book available at Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

I haven't watched Deadliest Catch yet. I'll have to check it out. What's worse than being outside in a raging snow storm in the north? A raging storm in a ship tossed around in the OCEAN way up north far from help…


Opal Carew said...

Thanks again for filling in for me, Madelle.

I loved reading your post and I also love the Arctic. I spent two university work terms at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus. I remember my friends and I playing badminton in the backyard after midnight! My favourite thing is the northern lights, though, which I loved watching during my winter term there.

Paty Jager said...

Sounds like a great story and what a great way to use the life you know in your book!