This is me conducting research for “Thrown” in front of the Silver Queen gondola in Aspen, playground of the rich and famous and snow-addicted. Tom and I went this past Sunday, but since then I have been stumped by my blog because it was misbehaving. I figured it out, and I thank you for your patience. We went up for the day, which is foolish, as it’s a four-hour drive from Denver. I always kid myself into thinking it’s only three, but believe me, it’s four. We would have preferred to have stayed overnight, but our schedules wouldn’t permit it.

We had lunch at the Ajax Tavern (at the base of the mountain, near where I’m standing), which is part of the Little Nell hotel. Some of my characters are staying at the Little Nell.

After lunch we took a gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain (a.k.a. Ajax Mountain). This is me on the Sundeck, where you can enjoy a meal and the spectacular scenery all year ‘round. Note my “Lost” hair (see previous post for details). Full disclosure time: The gondola ride was scary, at least at first. I’m not so good with heights, and um, sometimes the gondola would stop and sway in the wind (aaaaaahhhhh!! Try not to hyperventilate!). But it was fun, ultimately, and we didn’t even come close to dying. Which was good. I’m putting a gondola ride in the book, but my heroine will be quite brave about it all. That’s the beauty of writing fiction—your characters can be perfectly brave during activities that cause you to practically have a coronary.

We wandered around after the gondola ride and ended up at the Hotel Jerome. This is me in the Garden Terrace restaurant, making notes from our day. Tom took great pictures and put up with me saying things like, “Quick! Take a picture of that bench! They have to sit on a bench!” As though the bench was going to move.

Yes we were only there for a few hours, but it was great fun. Aspen is an interesting collection of contradictions—its local paper is in a tiny, old-fashioned storefront that looks as authentic as all get-out, and yet, Chanel and Dior are there too. There’s a McDonald’s, but you’d never know it. No big golden arches, no sirree. And several of the people were frighteningly fit—those folks who run twenty miles before breakfast as a warm up. Makes you think twice before going into that McDonald’s! Not that they stopped me from getting the famous double cheeseburger and house-made fries at the Ajax Tavern. It was, after all, in the name of research.

  • This is what I’m doing with my free weekend. This is me and my dog Galley (the black Portuguese water dog on the left with the standing-up ears) and his BFF, Ben (the chocolate lab). We were hiking at Golden Gate Canyon State Park yesterday, which we haven’t done in quite a while due to the fact that I was busy revising my manuscript this summer, especially on weekends. (Please do not report me to park rangers, as the dogs should have been leashed. Galley already has a record in Jefferson County.) I’m about to throw an orange “bumper” into a pond for Ben to fetch. Galley will steal this right out of his mouth as Ben approaches shore. Ben is arthritic, so clearly, Galley has questionable morals. Oh, and I’m not wearing a mike, that’s my hair.

    “Thrown” is now with its readers: Hal and Elizabeth in California and James (a writer/editor/friend from work) here in Denver. This is the first weekend in about a year that I haven’t done any writing, and the first since the beginning of July that I haven’t worked on “Thrown.” I have to admit though, I have glanced at Tom’s notes—I couldn’t resist. I am successfully resisting the urge to call each reader every hour on the hour to see how far they’ve gotten and how they like it. The waiting is driving me mad, which is why I have to distract myself by doing things like hiking for four hours on trails labeled “difficult.”

    Here’s another picture of Galley and me. Tom took the photo. It was another glorious day in Colorado with all that sparkly water.

    And here’s most of me and the top of Galley. I did my “Lost” hair, where I cleverly pull my hair to one side, which I learned to do from watching the actresses on “Lost,” and also on “The Tudors.” It really works. Do I look like I’m stressed, waiting for comments from my readers? Do I look like I’m THIS FAR from grabbing my cell to try to get a signal and call one of them? See what a good actress I am? See how my “Lost” hair disguises my real feelings?

    My thanks to Tom and my good friend Mary Jo, who were the other humans on the hike, and thanks to Ben and Galley. And thank you for reading my blog!

  • Hijacked!

    4 Sep

    This is Tom Auclair here, guest-writing Colette’s blog. I had started this last night, but SOMEONE didn’t plug in their computer, so when the power cord accidentally came undone, the computer shut down.

    Twice. So you’ll just have to bear with me. My first two lost blogs were hilarious — honest — but I’ll try and re-create them for you here.

    As you all know, Colette asked me to proof/copy edit her novel, which is a daunting task for any significant other: I mean, what if it was terrible? I love Colette, and I don’t like lying to her, but I saw myself through gritted teeth saying, “Oh, yes, honey, the part where the dancing bear comes in playing the accordion was very believable.”

    Thankfully, there’s no dancing bear. Not even one accordion note. I’m impressed. Despite the horror of finding out that my sweet little petunia mistook “phase” for “faze” — she was horrified when I pointed it out — the writing was clean. I’m not much of a thematic editor — I look for technical errors, and I was relieved when I found out that Colette really DOES know the difference between their/they’re/there and its/it’s, and realizes that “a lot” is actually, really, honestly, two words.

    OK, that’s it for the mad ramblings of a copy editor.

    What surprised me? How engrossing it was. I told my sweetums that I’d try to get the book done in a week, but honestly, after starting to read it, I couldn’t stop reading. I ended up completing it in a little less than 2 days, finishing the job up at a McDonald’s in Longmont, Colorado, while a Mother of the Year candidate suggested, at full volume, that her two shrieking children come out of the play area RIGHT NOW or they were in for trouble. Yay.

    I loved how the relationship between Amanda and Grady seemed so real, how their conversations rang true. I loved how the hurdles they encountered seemed like problems any couple can go through, and weren’t contrived.

    And before I knew it, I was done.

    I’m so proud of her — so many people talk about writing a book, but she’s done it. Twice. Amazing. And it’s not a steaming pile of poo.

    And damn her, she made me cry not once, not twice, but three times with scenes in her book.

    Now I’m just wondering, should I bring the black turtleneck when she goes on the book tour, or the gray?

    OK, Colette appears to be waking up, so I should probably start making hair jokes. Gotta go.


  • Tom Auclair is reading “Thrown.”

    I am a wreck.

    Note the grim set of his mouth, the flashing, laser-sharp eyes gleefully scanning for errors, the red pen poised to attack like a sabre. He even wears the shirt of a Red Sox pitcher, as though he is ready to decimate the opposition—my manuscript.

    I sit next to him and hear the pen’s scratches, like fingernails of the condemned on dungeon walls.


    So maybe it’s not all that bad, and to tell the truth, it was exhilarating to pick up the box of my printed book from FedEx/Kinkos. In fact, I actually squealed as I left (well out of earshot of the FedEx/Kinkos staff), and had to pull out random pages to read when I got in my car. I felt so…authorly. I HAD A WHOLE BOX OF PAPERS, ALL OF THEM COVERED WITH WORDS THAT I PUT THERE! How cool is that?

    (Okay, Tom is writing something long. I daren’t look. But what could he be writing? I don’t think he’s made it past the first page! I’ve never taken a sedative in my life, but perhaps now is the time?)

    So Tom has the first printed copy of the official second draft, and I emailed one to Hal (see “Icebreaker” post) and will get a hard copy to my friend in California, Elizabeth, who is both a writer and a fast reader. My manuscript has left the nest to be scrutinized by friendly eyes that want me to succeed. But boy oh boy, am I on pins and needles now!