Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Carol's Winners from Monday

Congratulations to Susan and Lilsis!  Please send me an email at with your snail mail address and your book preference:  Obsession, Eyewitness, or Intuition.

I chose two winners this week since there were so many comments on the blog.  I LOVED hearing about everyone's pets.  You all really brightened my day. 

My husband emailed me some pictures that the breeder sent of the Mastiff puppies.  What do you think?  Will one of these little rats soon become part of our family?

Where Romance Flirts With Danger

Monday, August 27, 2012

One of the Family

As fall creeps in and shuts the door on the sun-drenched (well, mostly except for the fog) activities and fun of the summer, I'm left feeling a little sadder than I usually am at this time of year.  Because this summer, we had to say goodbye to our lovable, adorable, precious English Mastiff, Dexter.

Dexter was 9-years old, which is pretty old for a Mastiff.  He came to us from Texas when he was 8-weeks old, a clumsy pup who already weighed in at 40 pounds!  That first year, he got most of his height and then he started filling in - and boy, did he fill in!  In his prime, Dexter weighed 210 lbs.  Even at the end, he was still 185 lbs. with a beautiful fawn coat, although his black mask was full of gray and his eyesight and hearing were fading fast.

Dexter was not our first Mastiff; he was our fourth.  What can I say?  My husband loves big dogs.  I wasn't a dog person at all when I met my husband. I had cats, but my husband is allergic to cats (so he claims!).  But it's easy to fall in love with a Mastiff.  They're called "gentle giants" because they're so laid back.  They're great watchdogs though because they have an enormous bark, and of course, they're huge.  Their favorite thing to do (besides eating and sleeping) is to lean against you.  If you stand next to a Mastiff, chances are he'll lean against your leg or put his paw on top of your foot - ouch!  (That's our big boy below at about 200 lbs.)

Having a Mastiff in the house is sort of like keeping a small horse indoors.  I'm pretty sure our house smelled like dog most of the time, and we had to sweep up the family room floor daily where Dexter had his bed and where we hooked him up on a long leash.  He was NOT allowed the run of the house, since that would be akin to letting loose a bull in a china shop.  And they drool.  Mastiffs have large heads and jowls - and really big teeth.

We all cried for a good two days (I thought my 16-year old son's heart would break), and then my husband's way of dealing with his grief is...get another Mastiff.  Apparently, that's my older son's M.O. too because he keeps asking when we're going to get another puppy.  My husband is already in contact with a  breeder, and her dog just had 13 puppies!  (That's Dexter below at 8 or 9 weeks - honestly, who could resist that puppy face?)

I'm ready to take a dog break and give myself time to get over the loss of Dexter.  While cleaning off the last bit of drool from the blinds above Dexter's bed the other week, I have to admit I thought..."I'd take all the drool back if Dexter could just be part of our family again."  :(  Of course, he'll always be a part of our family because that's what pets do - they love us and make us laugh and bring our families closer together and stay in our hearts forever.

Do you have a pet that's one of the family?  Are you a dog person, a cat person, or something more exotic?  Leave a comment today for a chance to win one of my Guardians of Coral Cove books:  Obsession, Eyewitness, or Intuition.

Where Romance Flirts With Danger

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 Questions People Often Ask Me

If some of you hang out at the Petit Fours & Hot Tamales blog, you may have seen this post there a while back. Apologies for the rerun, but with 2 deadlines this month, I'm trying to be frugal with my online time. The comments are always fresh, though. ;)

Now Available!

As the published author of nearly 50 books, I get invited to present workshops at conferences, speak at book clubs, etc. I get fan mail and reader e-mail.  I socialize on Facebook and Twitter, and am learning Google+.  I blog here on the Intrigue Authors blog, post regularly on the boards, and post a monthly newsletter on my website. Plus, I grocery shop, attend my son’s music and school events, work with the community theater and treasure time with my family and friends.  In other words, there is plenty of opportunity for people—readers and non-readers alike—to ask me about my writing.

Some questions make me laugh out loud; others make me wrinkle my brow and wonder what planet that person just transported from.  Many questions are from aspiring writers seeking to learn all they can, and the teacher in me feels right at home answering them.  A few comments touch my heart. As any shy person (like me) out there knows, it’s easier to jump into a conversation when someone asks me a question, and so I’m grateful to all the queries I’ve been asked over the years. I’ve started some wonderful friendships from just one little question.

Today I thought I’d share some of those questions that I’ve heard more than once over the years.  And I’ll give you a bit of my responses as well.  Enjoy!

1.  Is that you and your husband on the cover?
Yes.  Look at the cover of AT YOUR COMMAND.  I’m a tall, willowy blonde with a slammin’ body, and my hubby is a 6’4” lean, mean, muscle-packed Marine who goes through his daily life without a shirt.
Okay, that’s sarcasm.  Wishful thinking.  I’m married to the Marine’s comic sidekick.  I’m leaning toward middle age and have a sedentary job.  The only thing “slammin” about my body is when I trip down the stairs.  But I appreciate anyone who thinks we resemble the heroes and heroines on my covers.  Really.  Thanks!

2.  Your characters feel so real. You’ve lived through those experiences, right?
I write romantic suspense, folks.  Happily, I’ve never been a serial killer.  And while yes, I’ve been the victim of crime, I’m far less brave than my fictional counterparts.  I get a lot of my information from “life”, too.  In my other life as a teacher and IMPROV trainer and processor, I’ve been fortunate to work with trauma nurses, DEA agents, undercover cops, detectives, rape counselors, doctors, attorneys, ranchers, firefighters, computer techs, reporters, business executives and more.  I’m lucky that I’m a great observer of people.  I’m luckier that these people enjoy my company and are willing to answer my questions.  I’ve also worked with a lot of teenagers who’ve been through some unspeakable things as well as the usual issues all teens face.  I grew up in a Marine Corps family and am married to a former juvenile probation officer, so I’ve got a pretty good idea how military personnel and cops work, too.  Plus, I’m an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, a television watcher and movie fan. I immerse myself in how others portray the characters and situations I’m interested in—then I internalize those real feelings and responses and bring them out in my own unique characters.  It’s an acting technique I learned in the theater that also works well in writing fiction.

3.  I have a great idea for a story, will you write it for me? (and split the money, of course)
Um, no.  I have far too many stories of my own playing inside my head—stories I’m anxious and excited to tell.  It seems that with each story I write, new characters and situations pop into my head—a supporting character who calls to me to be featured in his/her own story, a plot-line that I’d like to try with a different character or setting to see how it would play out, etc.
I hope that these people learn how to write for themselves, or make the time to write their stories for themselves, whichever the case might be.  Those are THEIR stories to tell, not mine.  I need to conserve my creative energy and sore typing fingers for my own career.  But best of luck!  It’s a great time to be a writer, and there are numerous opportunities out there to get one’s work in front of readers.

4.  Are your characters real people?  Did the events in your stories really happen?  Where is this precinct/bar/school/hospital/etc. where your characters work and hang out so I can meet them?
Again, I’m writing fiction, folks.  While I try to make my characters as realistic as possible, they’re all figments of my imagination.  My Precinct books for Intrigue are set in Kansas City, Missouri—a very real, diverse, rife-with-potential-settings, city.  However, while I pepper in the name of a highway or art museum, historic landmarks, etc., in my stories to give it an accurate sense of place, the homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, etc. are created by yours truly to meet the fictional needs of each particular story.  I’ll take a real K.C. building and turn it into a local pub or penthouse lab
One fun thing I do for my family and friends is to drop in the mention of something real from our lives into a story—only the family member or friend will get the reference, but it’s a fun way to personalize a book without the readers never knowing.  For example, almost all the pet names I’ve used in my books are the names of pets I’ve had or have, or the names of friends’ pets.  So, there are some real inspirations in my books, but they’re truly works of fiction.

5.  Where do you get your ideas?
The short answer? Everywhere.  Observations of life.  Favorite tv shows, movies, fictional characters.  Travel.  Learning history.  News.  Reading other books. Writing my own books.  My imagination.  As a shy kid growing up, I spent a lot of time inside my head, creating stories to entertain myself so that I was never bored. It’s a habit that has continued my entire life.

So, do you have any questions you’d like to ask?  These, of course, were on the more humorous side of things, but I’m happy to talk more seriously, too, if you have questions about my books, about writing your own stories, the publishing market or whatever.  I’ll give away a copy of KANSAS CITY COWBOY to someone who posts a question or comment.

Best wishes,
Julie Miller
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Breathtaking Romantic Suspense

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Another Day... Right!

So last week, I had to take the pups to the vet. Booster shots. Three dogs, all who behaved extremely well. I drive a classic Jeep Cherokee--it's the kind you see in movies, the one the good guys are always escaping in, or chasing the bad guys. They're very good SUVs with great engines that last. I still see them everywhere on the road. In fact, we used to own two. The other saved our lives in an eight car pile-up.
ASIDE: if you've seen the movie TAKEN, Liam Neeson actually goes after the bad guy in a Jeep just like mine, only he's in France. I'm immediately taken out of the movie saying, "Really? An old Jeep in Paris? And he just happens to find one?"  LOL

Back to the story...

Our Jeep is 21 years old. We bought it used and a previous owner had replaced the ignition. Well, the dogs are loaded, I turn the key, but it won't turn. It's not the battery, alternator, or anything under the hood. Yep, it's the ignition New steering column needed. I'm stuck. Three dogs on a humid day. The hubby has to come pick us up, but he's an hour away.

Make lemonade, right? It's cloudy, there's a field, I have a blanket, I have great, calm dogs. I have a notepad...I have wifi on my phone.  BUT...  Ants. Everywhere.

So I pick up and head to the end of the road, to a grove of trees covering the dead-end, staying on the cement so the ants won't get us.  See the cars way over in the top right-hand corner of the photo (below) ....I'm parked waaaaayyyyy over off the picture. LOL  Arms full, three leashes.

I spread the blanket, sit down, open my notepad, dogs are content to lay on each corner. Plop. Plop. Plop. Plop. Rain.

Just enough sprinkle to keep us cool. But I can't write. Can't use my phone. Put everything into my waerproof purse. fold the corners of the blanket into the middle. Dogs can't sit still.

The little grove of trees at the edge of the field had a gravel walk path around it. Grapevines galore. Very pretty. We walked in the sprinkling rain. We actually got a good workout. Stopped raining--we'd sit. Start sprinkling--we'd walk. Three hours later...we were finally headed home.

Finding the steering column is another story, for another day.

Love my dogs.I actually enjoyed being STRANDED. LOL
Care to share a story?
Leave a comment and I'll keep your name for the next drawing I'll have in two weeks.

Dangerous Memories, February 2013
Protecting Their Child, May 2013

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Her Cowboy Avenger

A woman in trouble finds help from the last man she expected in Kerry Connor's new Thriller, Her Cowboy Avenger:


As soon as Matt Alvarez returns to his small Texas town, he knows the situation is worse than he thought. And yet the angry glares and muttered threats won't keep Elena Weston from proving she's innocent of murder.  Matt isn't at all surprised. Elena is as stubborn as she was ten years ago, when their love seemed limitless--until circumstances tore them apart. Now that he's back, Matt has no intention of allowing Elena to face her troubles alone. But the passion that still burns between them is as tempting--and dangerous--as uncovering the truth.  And their only chance at survival means baiting a killer lying in wait...a killer more than ready to bury his secrets with them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Copy That

Twin brothers find two times the trouble in HelenKay Dimon's Copy That:


Returning from his latest Border Patrol assignment, Jeremy Hill seeks sanctuary in his twin brother's home. The last thinghe expects to find is an armed man already inside, orMeredith Samms, a gorgeous tenant caught in the cross fire. Then he discovers that the gunman's attack is meant for his twin brother, who is nowhere in sight, and Jeremy must take matters into his own hands. Searching for his brother while trying to protect this girl next door, Jeremy finds himself caught up in the danger he'd become all too familiar with. In his world, everyone's a target and anyone can be a suspect, so Jeremy has no room for emotions. But what Meredith stirs within him may complicate this unexpected mission to the point of no return....

Monday, August 13, 2012

3 more weeks left of summer! Wow. Where did it go? Did you get any reading done? What did you read? I planned so much for this summer and haven't finished half. I still have some major landscaping to do. And I'd love to go down to the beach at least one more time. Do you have anything left on your summer To Do list? --Dana

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Mommy Midwife

A Mommy Midwife finds adventure and romance in Cassie Miles's latest midwife story:


Staying several moves ahead has kept Troy Weathers alive in the world's most explosive hot spots. So when this marine learns that Olivia Laughton is being stalked, he immediately takes her and their unborn child on the run. His instincts tell him it will require more than skill to keep them safe-and to prove just how much he wants to stay in their lives.

Olivia has no problem trusting Troy to keep her safe, or following his orders. It's believing their one night together was more than just a passionate fling that seems riskiest of all.Still, with time running out and an unsuspected enemy closing in, Olivia knows Troy is her best chance at survival...and their baby's only shot at a promising future.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Kansas City Cowboy

Julie Miller introduces readers to the latest member of The Precinct's Task Force, Kansas City Cowboy:


For small-town sheriff Boone Harrison, the investigation into a serial rapist turned killer is painfully personal. Boone's priority is to find the coward who murdered his sister. But to accomplish that, he'll have to work with Dr. Kate Kilpatrick, a secretive woman whose striking beauty and kind heart just may be the lawman's undoing....

Forensic psychologist Kate Kilpatrick was wrong about Sheriff Harrison. He's smarter and more resourceful than she'd given him credit for-and entirely too attractive. In their combined grief, Kate finds something she didn't even know she needed: protection. Because when the Rose Red Rapist sets his sights on Kate, she'll need more than the power of the badge to save her. She'll need her very own cowboy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Olympic Experience

Now Available!
I'm a big baseball fan.  I love cheering for the University of Nebraska-Kearney football team where my son goes to school.  I follow my alma mater, MIZZOU, in basketball. And I'm usually up for a brisk walk or game of miniature golf.  But my all-time favorite sporting event has to be the Olympics.

Winter or summer, I'm a fan.  There's something thrilling about the competition.  But even more than that, I'm captured by the emotional impact that comes with each country's patriotism and the fun, intriguing and often touching stories of the competitors.  For example, I can so relate to the emphasis advertisers and the media are putting on the athletes parents, families and coaches this year.

Michael Phelps accepting trophy for being most decorated Olympian in history
So for a couple of weeks this summer, I'm in fan heaven.  I'm also on a couple of tight deadlines this month, so I've been very careful about scheduling my Olympics watching.  But, knowing American Michael Phelps will be swimming for an historic achievement or that miracle man Oscar Pistorious of South Africa will be breaking a disability barrier when he runs the 400 meters or those Olympic darling gymnasts will be flinging themselves into the air more bravely and gracefully than almost anything I've seen sets up a true motivating reward for me--meet my writing goals for the day and I get to watch.  Fail my writing goals, and I'll miss the chance to see history in the making.

The Fab Five win Gold
One Good Man

Want to know how big a fan I am?  I've written fan mail to athletes.  (And got a reply from a cross-country skiier--he inspired me because, he, too had asthma)  As a teen, I never read TEEN BEAT or followed rock stars--I subscribed to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and had pix of athletes tacked up in my room.  Even my very first Intrigue, ONE GOOD MAN, featured a former silver-medalist swimmer (fictional, of course) as my heroine. 

Is anyone else out there a fan of the Olympics?  What event(s) do you like to watch?  Or is there another sporting event that pushes your emotional buttons?

Since I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll offer a copy of one of my backlist titles to a lucky poster.  Or, if the winner prefers, I'll send a copy of my brand new release, KANSAS CITY COWBOY.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Secret Assignment

Join Paula Graves as Cooper Security takes on a Secret Assignment:

His business is protection

Shannon Cooper came to Nightshade Island to carry out a mission. But she can't do it without the mysterious Gideon Stone. The enigmatic, battle-hardened former soldier is much more than just the island's caretaker. And the powerful feelings he's awakening go deeper than fleeting desire.

Former special ops, Gideon has seen danger up close and personal. Now, protecting Shannon from deadly mercenaries is his first priority. But who will shield him from the onslaught of emotion the beautiful computer tech is arousing? As a storm hurtles up the Alabama Gulf Coast, mirroring the passion raging through his defenses, Gideon will do whatever it takes to survive...and explore a relationship as impossible asit is irresistible....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Spotlight on August Intrigues: Gage

Meet the latest of Delores Fossen's Lawmen of Silver Creek Ranch, Gage:

"I'm the dead man who's going to save your life, darlin'!"

He faked his death for good reason, but CIA operative Gage Ryland has a better reason to come back from the grave. Though they had a bitter breakup years ago, Gage wants to save his ex-wife-his very pregnant ex-wife-Lynette Herrington from a vengeful hit man. Obviously the baby proves she's gotten over Gage. Or has she? While on the run, Gage feels the attraction between them heating up and yet he knows he must undo a decade of hurt and separation before she'll put her trust in them again. But complicating his emotions is Lynette's pregnancy...and how, as she claims, her unborn child could be his.