Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cool News from the RT Conference!

Hey, gang--I'm still recovering from a week at the Romantic Times Conference in Orlando, but I had a great time.

Harlequin celebrated its 60th anniversary by hosting a Mashed Potato Martini Bar luncheon (cool idea for a buffet!) and giving out awards to lucky readers. They also had a display of Harlequin covers through the decades--I saw lots of people getting their pictures taken beside a cover that spoke to them somehow.

We also had a Harlequin/Silhouette authors panel, which included editors from Kimani Press and Spice, as well as Randall Toye. Yours truly, Anna DeStefano, Joanne Rock, Olivia Gates, Brenda Jackson, Caridad Pinero, Beth Ciotta, Amanda McIntyre, Catherine Mann and Linda Conrad also made appearances there. (hope I haven't left anyone off!) That workshop was well attended--we answered questions about the lines from readers and aspiring authors alike. The authors had put together some nifty gift bags to give away there, too.

I'm pleased and proud at the continued growing success of the SOS Military Mixer. We had a bigger crowd than ever this year, honoring our country's veterans, active military and their families. Harlequin donated some books to give away in goody bags to our honored guests (thanks to my editor Allison Lyons for helping with that!). We had representatives from all branches of the service, sang their military hymns (From the Halls of Montezuma... I was worried I'd be the only rep from the Marines and singing a solo--but thankfully, three retired ladies who had served or been married to vets eventually came up to join me Cool). Semper Fi! A big thanks to Kim Lowe, the crackerjack volunteer who organized the reception, and to my fellow sponsors, which include Harlequin authors Rebecca York, Elle James, Dana Marton, Delores Fossen and Catherine Mann, as well as Sherry James and Robin Rotham, who write for another publisher.

And finally... my big news? I won an award! I had to give a speech and everything. Wink What a true honor, especially since it was presented by Jill M. Smith, who reviewed my very first book for RT back in 1997--and loved it!! But, I won a Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense. Cool, yes? Cool It's for Intrigues and Blazes and paranormals alike--my body of work. Yikes! That all makes me sound older than I feel. Tongue out But I was truly honored to receive it. If you promise not to notice the double chin that mysteriously shows up in photographs, that's me with my award just after the ceremony

Several other Harlequin authors won awards as well, for Career Achievement (yay! Kylie Brant!) and individual books (go Debra Webb, my good buddy!) and kudos to Sara Mitchell (a delightful lady I made friends with at the massive RT signing--she won for Best Steeple Hill Historical of the year), and many more, of course. Congrats to Harlequin for the great showing at RT!

We're doing all right for a sixty-year old gal, right? Wink

Anyone else have stories to share from RT?

Julie Miller

OUT OF CONTROL--Blaze--April 2009
PULLING THE TRIGGER--Intrigue (Kenner Country Crime Unit)--June 2009
RT Career Achievement Award Winner in Series Romantic Suspense!
Check out the latest news at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where do you get your ideas

The other day there was a discussion among writers about titles. One author said she started the book with little more than the title. It was an odd title but she got a book out of it.

Which brings me to where writers get their ideas. Anywhere. Everywhere. In the strangest of places.

For most of us, it's just letting the imagination run wild. That's easy for me. When I get in a car, I always check the back seat. I can scare myself way too easily. I also always keep an eye on the car behind me. In Montana, there is usually only one or two cars behind me for miles on end. That's because I usually drive over the speed limit. :)

But what if one of those cars is following me? I mean really following me. I start thinking about who could be behind the wheel. Why they're after me. What I've done to make them want to kill me. (All logical steps in a writer's crazed mind.)

When I was writing short stories for Woman's World magazine, I would get a lot of my ideas from country western songs -- the sadder ones the better. Now I find myself getting ideas from TV commercials. One the other day involved a house and a porch swing. A short story came to mind and I was tempted to write it even though I need to work on the six books I'm writing this year.

I have dreamed some pretty wild entire plots. I usually wake myself up if I think the plot is too good to waste. Unfortunately the plots often have some major flaws once I'm fully awake.

I've seen cowboys at the rodeo, overheard conversations at the grocery store and read billboards that have inspired entire books. Last year I saw one line: Can you keep a secret? I quickly reached for my AlphaSmart and started writing. I wrote the opening of Big Sky Dynasty, part of the Corbett Brothers, Whitehorse, Montana series that comes out in June.

Next month's book, Hunting Down the Horseman, came from stories about old ghost towns in the area of Montana where I live. Like Stephen King, I'm intrigued by the idea that evil remains in some places -- and invites more evil to stop by.

My September book, Smokin' Six Shooter, started with a woman finding out that she'd inherited some property in Montana that she'd never heard about. What she inherits is far more frightening and mysterious of course than land. Ever thought about what would happen if you found out you aren't the person you thought you were and that your entire life has been a lie?

Probably not. I often ask my husband questions like that. Funny but he doesn't think about those kinds of things. Then again, he writes nonfiction. Now where is the fun in that?

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Giveaway

Things have been pretty quiet on the Intrigue Authors blog the past week, no doubt with many authors hard at work on their latest book or at the Romantic Times Convention. What better way to get things going again than by having a giveaway? I have three "larger print" copies of my October release, BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, to give away. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post by the end of the day Tuesday. The names of the three winners will be posted Wednesday. (And of course, my latest release, A STRANGER'S BABY, is in stores now!)

Harlequin has been branching out into additional formats in recent years, with larger print editions of several lines and e-books of all of its titles. Some titles have also been released as audio books. Have you tried some of the alternate formats? If so, what did you think? Or do you prefer the regular editions? (Or if those questions aren't interesting enough, feel free to say whatever you'd like if you just want to enter to win :grin: ).

Friday, April 17, 2009


As you may know, I’ve got a new book out this month. It’s ETERNAL MOON, the tenth book in my Moon Series.

How do you keep a series going that long? For me, it’s a matter of finding a theme that works and fitting in stories, the way I do with my 43 Light Street books. I mean, I don’t have some grand plan like say a season of 24. You don’t have to start at the beginning of the series to get into each book because each of them is a complete story with a beginning, middle and end and a new hero and heroine. Well, there are two Light Street books where I brought back a hero and heroine at a point of crisis in their marriage. One is CRADLE AND ALL and the other is TANGLED VOWS. My next Light Street book is MORE THAN A MAN, and it will be out in August.

ETERNAL MOON is part of my other long-running series. And, in fact, I didn’t even know I was starting a series when I wrote the first book, KILLING MOON. I just had a story I was burning to tell. About a werewolf who desperately wanted to fit into humanity but felt alienated by his–uh–hairy problem. Ross Marshall was the first of my Marshall men. He’s a private detective who uses his werewolf senses to solve crimes. And he comes back to play a secondary role in all of my other Moon books.

Megan Marshall, his life mate, was my first heroine who had to be strong enough to stand up to a guy who can change from man to wolf. Since then, I’ve matched each of my Marshall men with a dynamic mate. In ETERNAL MOON, it’s P. I. Renata Cordona whose lived in Costa Rica when she was young. As you can imagine, I had a wonderful time working in details from my trip to Costa Rica last year. Little details, like the bright color of Renata’s house out in the countryside. The washing machine out on the back porch. And the typical Costa Rican dish of black beans and rice.

The story starts with Renata on an under cover assignment to lure out a serial killer who has been murdering female real estate agents. A vicious pack of dogs is about to attack her when a lone wolf makes them stand down. Minutes later, Jacob Marshall materializes and, with his electrifying touch, Renata suddenly knows the truth. Jacob is her life mate. Yet Renata is a woman who guards her heart because everyone she has ever loved has died a horrible death.

As Renata and Jacob discover, she’s the reincarnation of an ancient goddess and he’s her consort. Down through the ages, they’ve met again and again, only to the destroyed by a malicious demon. Is werewolf Jacob Marshall the key to breaking the ancient curse that hangs over them? Or will the evil stalking them through time destroy them both?

Of course, a werewolf is the ultimate alpha male. And finding women strong enough to stand up to them is one of the challenges of writing the Moon Series. That’s why most of the heroines of these books have paranormal powers.

Do you like the paranormal mixed with your suspense? If so, what are your favorite kinds of paranormal stories?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I'll bet you thought it was my birthday. Nope, that big 5-0 is a memory. As is book number 50. The thing that amazes me is that I just sold my 50th Intrigue-SAVING GRACE-to Harlequin.

Amazing that Intrigue still wants my stories...amazing that the line still exists (remember Young Love? Shadows? Harper Monogram? Bombshell? I wrote for them, too)...amazing that I still want to write for the same line after 25 years.

I'm one of those people who gets bored if I do the same thing for too long. They say that the average person has 3 careers in her or his life, and for me that has been true-media production, writing and teaching. Only I've been published for 26 years now (teaching for nearly 20) far longer than the average career would last in the three career life. When I was supervisor of television production for a community college, I realized I was ready to leave when I'd done all I could to improve and expand the facility and learn every aspect of production that I could. And started to get bored. Luckily, I was already fairly well published. So I made the switch to full time writer.

How have I lasted writing the same type of book for so many years?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baby Bling on the Waldens-Borders List!

Okay, I'm stoked! My April Intrigue release BABY BLING made the Borders-Walden's bestseller list. Yay! It's so cool when a book you totally enjoyed writing makes it to a list, but this one was even more special because it's in a series called Diamonds and Daddies. A series that four authors came together to create. And it turned out to be a action-packed, fast-paced series we all loved writing. Here are the books in the series if you want to check them out:

Platinum Cowboy by Rita Herron (Feb 2009)
Desert Ice Daddy by Dana Marton ( Mar 2009)
Baby Bling by Elle James (April 2009)
Priceless Newborn Prince by Ann Voss Peterson (May 2009)

All are set in Texas and all of the heros are alpha male rich men targeted by someone out to destroy them and those they love.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All this talk of spring!

I had to laugh when I saw all the flowers from across the country marking spring in those author's states.

It is spring in Montana. At least technically. Yesterday it was 65 and sunny. Today the weatherman is calling for possible snow showers before the day is over. That's spring in Montana!

I'm working on a book for next April right now. I keep telling myself that by the end of the month things will be greening up. Heck, the ice might even be off the lake. My heroine won't even be getting stuck in her driveway.

That is the fun thing about writing about Montana -- the weather. Need a character trapped in storm? No problem any time of the year. Getting trapped in my part of Montana is a regular occurrence -- especially in the spring when the roads out of town are often impassible.

But even my editor sometimes questions Montana weather. I remember in Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch she asked me about the January thaw. It can't be THAT warm in January in Montana, she said. Are you kidding? We live for our January thaws when a chinook blows in and we wake up to warm wind and no snow. It never lasts but it's a nice break.

Selling the weather in April even in books though is tough. No one likes gray days with no leaves on the trees, no green grass, nothing but that brown-gray color across the landscape. But by the end of April, there will be some green showing up on the rolling prairie. There will be lilacs about to bloom. There will be that wonderful blinding light green color on the trees along the Milk River.

I love setting books in a Montana spring. There is an excitement in the air, a feeling of hope, a promise that everything is going to turn out just fine -- once this snow shower blows through. :)

Whitehorse, Montana series book The Corbetts: Shotgun Bride, out today (yeah!), is also set in April. Only last April was much warmer so that book reflects that since I try to be true to the weather. :)

What's your favorite season? Also do you notice seasons in the books you read? Does it matter if you read a book and it's the wrong season?
B.J. Daniels

Monday, April 13, 2009

More to Love About Spring and Texas

My azaleas were riddled by a recent hail storm, but in this part of Texas beautiful wildflowers line every highway, even the small country roads that I love to travel. Every year my husband and I take off to wander the back roads and let the beauty of spring seep into our souls. My camera failed to work this year, but thanks to a friend, I have this marvelous picture of cattle grazing peacefully behind a field of brilliant bluebonnets, the state flower of the Long Star State. And what's a Texas drive without a few Longhorns?
But now it's back to writing for me. But not only do I have the inspiration of spring in Texas, but the marvelous rescue of the brave ship captain last night by the daring and skilled Navy SEALs. My current series, Special Ops, Texas, is all about former Special Ops guys who bring their talents, training and unbelievable bravery to play to save the woman they love. Thanks for all the wonderful emails I've received about COWBOY COMMANDO. If you don't have your copy yet, you can still buy it online frome,, or order it direct from my website at You can also read an excerpt there.
HAPPY SPRING! And if you're looking for a place to visit, come to Texas! The wildflowers are in full bloom!

Friday, April 10, 2009


I should be editing a novel. It’s due soon, and I need to go through the whole thing, trimming wordy sentences, adding character development, and making sure I tied up all the loose ends in the plot. Instead, I keep slipping outside to wander through the garden. So far I’ve only got daffodils, vinca and violets blooming, but the redbud is about to pop. And the pear trees across the street are beautiful white mounds. The tulips I planted last year have come up, and the annuals like hostas, tall phlox and black-eyed Susans are poking their heads up through the ground.

This year I did some very unusual planting–a new rock in my front yard. It’s hollow, to hide the cleanout for the sewer line. (Not a very romantic reason, I know.) But I love the effect. It might be plastic, but setting it in place was a major construction effort. It looked so massive sitting in my front yard, that I dug a hole big enough to bury it four or five inches all around–under the disapproving eyes of watchful neighbors who were doubtless wondering if I’d gone crazy. To commemorate the occasion, I’ve posed with my new lawn ornament. I’m wearing the great dragon jacket that I got in China last year.

But my favorite spring event is a trip to Brighton Dam Park. I tell people that if they live around here and don’t go there in the spring, they’re crazy. It borders a reservoir, and the Water Commission made the acres along the water into azalea heaven. There are lots of natural trails, leading through acres and acres of flowering bushes. They’ll be fantastic in a couple of weeks. Many of the plants are twenty or thirty years old, and they tower over you. So you walk through a woodland that takes your breath away. Or you can climb the hill and look down on a panorama of pink, salmon, purple and white. The National Arboretum has similar trails. But it’s farther away. So we’re more likely to drive the fifteen minutes to Brighton.

My own yard’s not quite so spectacular, but my azaleas will be out soon. I call them my spies, because they tell me when it’s time to for a trip to azalea heaven.

My latest release is ETERNAL MOON, out this week.

Rebecca York

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Have you noticed holidays = food?

It is almost Easter and all I've been thinking about this morning -- instead of writing -- is what I'm going to cook. Not that I don't think about food a lot. If you've read my books, you know that my characters always eat. I actually hate characters who don't eat.

I remember one mystery writer's book where her heroine was captured by bad guys. One of them was making his famous enchiladas and what did she do? She escaped before she dinner. Can you believe that?

So I've been going through my recipes (I have stacks of torn-out magazines recipes that one of these days I'm going to organize) looking for something fun to make.

Have you noticed the lines at the grocery stores before any holiday? It doesn't matter how minor a holiday it is, we use them all as an excuse to eat -- and usually something we probably shouldn't be eating.

So what are you planning for Easter Sunday? My husband and I are going to some friends house. There will be tons of food. I'm still undecided what I will make.

But I did stumble across this cookie recipe, one I think the kids would like. They always arrive hungry and like to snack before the meal. :)

It's called Devil's Food Sandwich Cookies. On second thought, that might not be appropriate for Easter huh. Maybe I'll just call them Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. :)

Here's the recipe:
A box of devil's food cake mix
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 t. almond extract
16 oz. powdered sugar

Combine cake mix, shortening and eggs. Form balls and flatten slightly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. In medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter and almond extract. Gradually blend in powdered sugar until desired consistency. Beat with a spoon until smooth. Refrigerate.
When cookies are cool, spread filling between two cookies. Repeat. Keep refrigerated. Makes 2 dozen.

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter. If you have a recipe to me at

The Whitehorse, Montana series continues this month with Shotgun Bride as the five Corbett brothers hit town and of course there will be lots of eating and lots of good food.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes: A Stranger's Baby

This month marks the release of my third book, A STRANGER'S BABY. In the story, the pregnant heroine finds herself targeted by people who are after her baby, and even with the killers on her trail, it's hard to tell who endured the tougher gestation: the heroine in this book, or me while trying to bring this story to life. ;)

When I wrote my first Intrigue, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, I had stories in mind for four additional books. Unfortunately, when I turned to the second of those stories (what was intended to be the third overall), I ran into a few problems. One of the reasons I write romantic suspense is for the emotion, something I hope comes across in my books. Not only do I enjoy writing action, mystery and suspense, I particularly enjoy exploring the emotions of the characters caught up in these life-and-death situations and puzzling mysteries, seeing how they react and how they're affected on a personal level by these events. For me, that's one thing that makes Intrigue so great. In the case of my original story, I had a premise that I loved and a great mystery I had entirely plotted out, right down to identity of the killer. What I didn't have was the emotion. There simply wasn't enough of an emotional investment in the mystery for the main characters, or a deep enough emotional conflict for the romance. Without that, I wasn't excited enough by the story, even with a great premise and plot.

Suddenly I needed a new story that 1) fit what I had in mind for the hero; 2) was different from the other four books; and 3) had a premise that allowed for a title with the word “Stranger” in it. Eventually I had an idea: What if a woman had a one-night stand and became pregnant, something she thought was an accident, only to learn it might not have been an accident at all? I immediately loved the idea, as I thought about what it might mean to this woman to learn her child’s conception might have had something sinister behind it. How would she respond to learning the baby she carried had been fathered by someone who may have been a bad guy? How would those revelations affect her feelings about the baby she’s about to have? Then there was the hero. I thought about what it would be like for a man who's never really known what it is to have a family, who thinks he has no business or interest in getting involved with a woman about to have a baby, to be drawn into the heroine’s mystery. I finally had what I was looking for: a premise with the potential for not just plenty of mystery, but plenty of emotion as well.

Unfortunately, I soon ran into the opposite problem. I had my emotional premise and characters I loved. Now I had to figure out the plot and answers to the questions I'd raised.

I don't know whether it says more about how my mind words or how scary the world can be, but I had no trouble coming up with reasons why someone might have targeted the heroine or why someone would be after her baby. Finding a reason that worked for the story was much more difficult. Some of the reasons I came up with were too dark, some didn’t offer enough story to sustain an entire book, some had too many plot points I couldn’t resolve. As a result, this is a book I wrote and rewrote numerous times, going through multiple versions as I tried to find a solution that I was happy with. Characters were added, then dropped. Entire chapters were written, then rewritten multiple times, or deleted entirely. The motives and explanations behind everything were changed again and again. There were at least three times when I got good distance into the story, stopped and thought "This isn’t working," and scrapped most of it to start over.

Through it all, one thing remained the same: the main characters. These were two people in whom I was greatly invested and whose story I wanted to tell, if only I could figure it out. At times, it certainly seemed as though it would be easier to scrap this idea too and try to come up with yet another one. But my level of investment in these characters kept me determined to bring their story to life.

Finally, though there were many (many) times I thought it would never happen, I came up with a solution and a plot I was satisfied with and was able to finish the book. Of course the only thing that really matters with any book is the finished product, and it will be up to readers to decide whether I succeeded in finding the right plot and satisfactory answers to the mystery. I hope anyone who decides to give the book a try enjoys it, and will be as caught up in the emotion of these characters' story as I was.
To celebrate its release, I'll give away a copy of the book to one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post sometime today (4/8/09). The winner's name will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Movie Review Tuesday: I "Heart" INKHEART

Earlier this year I got to see one of my all time my favorite books that had been adapted to the silver screen. INKHEART by Cornelia Funke. It’s one of my family’s favorites as well. We listened to the book on tape on a long car trip several years ago and all fell in love with the story. I remember that special family vacation every time I think of INKHEART. The movie had some “big shoes” to fill.

For those of you not familiar with the book, click here for the Yahoo movie synopsis or (spoiler alert) here for the Wikipedia book synopsis.

For me, INKHEART is a magical tale about the power of the written word—the unique worlds where books can take you and the wonderful escape they can be. It’s everything I love about writing and reading all rolled into one.

I approached going to the movie with misgiving because, as we all know, Hollywood can sometimes monkey around with a good book. But I was pleasantly surprised. While some aspects of the story did change, for the most part they stayed very true to the central message. And they gave a satisfying ending that didn’t leave me yearning for a sequel (even though the book has two other installments.) One didn’t have to have read the book to understand the movie (big plus) and you didn’t leave wondering what in the world was going to happen to these characters you’d come to care for so much.

My question of the day you can answer one of two ways: what have been your favorite (or least favorite) movie adaptations of books?

Kay Thomas
BULLETPROOF TEXAS ~ April 14, 2009
4 stars ~ Romantic Times 4 1/2 stars Cataromance reviews

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Yin and Yang of my Writing Life

I currently write for 2 different lines at Harlequin--Intrigue and Blaze. In the past I've written for other special projects, and for another publisher.

On many days--say the currently chaotic first two weeks of April when I'm on a mid-April deadline, I'm prepping for going to the Romantic Times conference April 21st, I'm trying to work a second job to help catch up on bills (putting a hubby and son through college at the same time is expensive!), gearing up for my hubby's graduation from grad school in early May (a big woo-hoo to him for completing several years of hard work!) and all those regular day to day things that we have to do to keep our homes and family running--I wonder WHY? Isn't there enough stress in my life? Why do I feel the need to keep 2 different editors happy? Why do I force my brain to transition from one plotting/storytelling frame of mind to another? Why don't I just give up this crazy writer's life where my dual storyline work requires me to multitask out the wazoo, and just go back to teaching full time? (well, okay, parent-teacher conferences, state assessments and biannual curriculum rewriting have a lot to do with why I don't teach full-time anymore)

The truth is, I like writing more than one kind of book. And I know I'm not alone. There are many authors out there who switch from contemporary to historical, or suspense to fantasy, or series to single title work, etc. Their reasons may be different than mine, but here are two reasons why the whole creative split-personality works for me.

1. There some good business savvy in the idea. An adage learned long ago in childhood. Don't put your eggs all in one basket. IOW, if the market changes, an editor leaves, a line closes, or something else beyond my control that makes me unable to earn a living writing a certain type of book, then I have options. I won't be completely out of a job. I can refocus my energy on one line/publisher/genre or another, depending on what's currently working. And in today's economy, especially, keeping job opportunities open just seems smart.

2. Good economy or no, changing the way my brain thinks is actually very good for me creatively. While almost everything I write has some element of romantic suspense (What can I say? I write what I love!), I find that writing for Intrigue and Blaze satisfies two very different creative needs in me. Intrigue is a much more intellectual process for me. I'm a puzzle-lover. I've read mysteries since I was in the second grade. I love the plotting and planning and where can I insert this clue and what's a good red herring and just how wicked can I make my villain or what kind of heroics can my larger-than-life hero accomplish, how twisted can I make the backstory, how complex can I make the emotions, etc. Writing an Intrigue exercises the intellectual side of my brain. Writing an Intrigue is an intense experience, but a very satisfying one.
On the other hand, writing a Blaze is a much more by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writing for me. Sure, there's some plotting. I focus especially on characterization. I keep the mystery elements at a minimum, though I've been know to throw in lots of danger and action in and out of the bedroom. But I feel my steamier romances really do use a different part of my brain. It's a lot more instinct and a lot less planning ahead of time. It relaxes one part of my brain and engages another. I know I want my characters to face danger; I know I want their relationship to become more intimate at a faster pace than in my Intrigue--but beyond that? Well, it's a lot of... I know I want them to be in this place or this situation by Chapter 6. This morning, I'm going to sit down and see what happens between now and then. How I get to Chapter 6 will be a process of discovery rather than planning.
In other words, by writing for more than one line, utilizing and resting different parts of my brain, I find I avoid the burnout of tackling one type of writing over and over. And trust me, I know about burnout.

In my current release, OUT OF CONTROL, from Blaze, I did have to do quite a bit of research and interviewing to get some background on the world of drag racing, which is the setting for the book. It's part of the "From 0-60 miniseries" of books set in the drag racing world of Dahlia, TN. They're unconnected stories, save for the location and racing backdrop. But beyond that research, it was very much a process of , "Let's see what Detective Jack Riley is up to today." Or "Just how much trouble can I get Alexandra Morgan into this morning?" In fact, Jack's and Alex's backgrounds changed as the story progressed and I got better/deeper ideas for their characters. It was very much a journey of discovery.

In my June Intrigue, PULLING THE TRIGGER (I'm still lusting after that cover, btw!), though, I found myself plotting more chapter by chapter. Partly because I needed to make sure I coordinated my story with the bible for the series and clues other authors wanted me to plant, but mostly because I was back to deep, complex romantic suspense. I had a particular challenge because my H/h spend most of the short 72 hours in which the story takes place stranded up in the mountains. Alone. Beyond the beginning and ending, once they're cut off from civilization, there's no one else to interact with. Yet, I still have to move the story and series along. I had to make sure I had enough story to sustain a 2 character book. I was given a general picture for a puzzle, and I had to come up with the pieces and make them fit. Crazy challenge. But I loved it!

I enjoyed both writing processes. As I'm speeding toward my April deadline, my brain is glad I gave it a break and switched it up a bit.

Does anyone else out there have a similar Jekyll and Hyde personality? One that's necessary for sanity and survival? Maybe you have two diverse hobbies? Read more than one genre? Please tell me I'm not alone in my craziness. ;)

Happy Reading!
Julie Miller

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Available in April

Here's what's coming in April from Harlequin Intrigue:

1125. SHOTGUN BRIDE by B.J. Daniels
Handsome as sin and wild as the western wind

That's the Corbett brothers for you, and Shane's no exception. No way is he settling down just because of some ridiculous marriage pactespecially not with a cowgirl from smalltown Whitehorse who seems so young and naive. At least that's what this hardened lawman keeps insisting.

But when Maddie Cavanaugh's kidnapped and drawn into a world of violent greed and despair, Shane jumps into action. While he has no trouble subduing her captors, resisting the force of Maddie's charm is harder than he could've imagined, and it seems as if stubborn Shane may be the first of the Corbett boys to surrender his bachelorhood.

1126. CRIMINALLY HANDSOME by Cassie Miles
Criminologist Miguel Acevedo had come facetoface with his biggest challenge--Emma Richardson, guardian to a newborn baby and admitted psychic. The Native American beauty claimed to have information that could bring down a notorious criminal, but Miguel wasn't about to buy into her "abilities" so fast. Before long, though, Emma's leads attracted a killer and Miguel became her bodyguard. Now, as he watched her with the innocent baby and became captivated by her blue gaze, Miguel sensed his ordered world tilting on its axis. First he'd gone from skeptic to believer. Could the switch from confirmed bachelor to family man be far behind?

1127. BABY BLING by Elle James
Shipping tycoon Jackson Champion hadn't become a Texas billionaire by crumbling under pressure. So when his sexy assistant, Ysabel Sanchez, decided to walk away from him and his megasuccessful corporation, he wasn't taking no for an answer. After all, memories of their recent onenight stand had consumed him, and now Ysabel's inability to meet his eye made him wonder what she wasn't telling him. But exploring their feelings had to wait. An unknown enemy intended to bring down Champion Shipping, and Jackson was an expert at protecting what was his. But could he also lay claim to Ysabel and the secrets she had yet to reveal?

1128. RESCUING THE VIRGIN by Patricia Rosemoor
Quinlan McKenna Farrell has seen the family legacy of love work for other McKennas, but he has also seen the darker side of human nature. Hounded by his failure to bring down a human trafficking ring, the rugged special agent has returned to Texas more determined than ever to succeed...only to discover temptation beyond his wildest fantasies.

Luz Delgado is the virgin sold to Quin as he works undercover, but she's hardly the underage illegal he is expecting. The abducted American is courageous, true of heart and in desperate need of his help. To save her and reveal the identity of the ringleader, he enters into a reluctant alliance with the beautiful captive. Except survival isn't a guarantee.

1129. A STRANGER'S BABY by Kerry Connor
Jake Armstrong had no intention of getting involved with his very sexy--and very pregnant--nextdoor neighbor...until the night she was attacked. His only goal these days was recovering and getting back in the game, not playing bodyguard to the most vulnerable of victims. Still, leaving her to fend for herself was out of the question, especially once they learned it was her baby someone was desperate to get their hands on. As they unearthed shocking truths about her baby's family history, Jake sensed something growing between them, an attraction that became more intense as her due date approached. He knew this tiny family had no place in his future, but walking away seemed impossible--and practically broke his heart at the thought....

1130. BULLETPROOF TEXAS by Kay Thomas
Escorting Dr. Maxine O'Neil into the cave known as Devil's Hollow was Zach Douglas's job. Relishing the sparring matches with the typeA scientist was his pleasure. He ran the show in the Texas Hill Country cavern--until sabotage and murder struck the site. Hours spent in the dark, cozied up in tight quarters with Maxine had shown Zach her passionate side. Now he wanted to see the truthful one. What was in that cave that was worth dying for? Only one thing was for sure: whether Maxine liked it or not, Zach would do everything in his power to keep them from being Devil's Hollow's next casualties.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Take stock of your blessings

Many times I have to stop and give thanks for the good things that happen in my life. I have a book coming out this month with Harlequin Intrigue called Baby Bling. It was action-packed and a fun book to write. I spent last week in lovely Colorado skiing, in fresh snow, snowmobiling in the national forest and loving every flake of snow that fell. I came back home to Arkansas to spend the weekend at the hospital with my 72-yr-old father who had triple bypass surgery. He's not in good shape, so losing him at that point was a definite option. I can't describe to you how wonderful it was to see him wake up after the operation. He smiled despite the pain of having his ribs cracked open and a large slice run down his leg for a spare vein to use in the bypass. The smile was so wonderful, because he was so happy to be alive! He's not out of the hospital yet, but everyday is a blessing to have him around still. It reminds me how inconsequential a lot of things are in life that we think are so darned important and how important some things are that we take for granted.

Look around at the good things in life and take stock of your blessings. If you'd like to share what you are grateful for, please leave a comment. Have a glorious day!