Friday, February 22, 2013

What Should I Write?

Coming March 1st!
It's list time again. ;) (aka Julie's on deadline + directing THE MOUSETRAP at my local community theater + teaching + promoting my upcoming release + reading my RITA books + digging out from a whole lot of snow!)  So I have an informal survey for you, and I'd love to hear some feedback from readers.

As I'm finishing up one manuscript and starting in on the last book of my Precinct: Task Force miniseries, I receive an email from my agent telling me I need to be thinking about my next proposal to my editor. I love coming up with new story ideas, especially when I'm slugging my way through a manuscript--but there's one problem...I never have a shortage of ideas for stories I want to write. But I can't just throw a hundred what if's at my editor.  How do I narrow them down and select the best ideas for me and my readers?

So, I'm enlisting your help.  Here are some of my ideas.  Which ones do you like?  Not like as much?  Please share your opinion on any or all.  Thanks!

I'll give a print or ecopy of TACTICAL ADVANTAGE to one lucky poster!

1.  A new Precinct miniseries.
Brotherhood of the Badge
 Maybe linked by a theme, like The Precinct: Cold Case
 Maybe linked by a family of cop brothers like the Taylor Clan or Kincaids?

2.  A miniseries featuring cowboys.
Maybe bring Sheriff Boone Harrison's 3 brothers to Kansas City?









3.  More stories featuring Marine Corps heroes?
Hope Lockhart in my September book, TASK FORCE BRIDE, has a brother in the Marines.








4. 2 or 3 stand-alone stories that feature supporting characters from, say, my Precinct: Task Force miniseries?
Some of my favorite titles, like BEAUTY & THE BADGE and NANNY 911, were spin-offs from previous miniseries







5.  Something completely different.
Accidental Bodyguard
Every now and then I get to write a story set in the mountains of Wyoming or Washington, DC or elsewhere. They're still romantic suspense, but may feature a government agent or military hero. No Kansas City cops.








June 2013
6. Something steamier?












7.  Do you have a particular character from one of my books whose story you'd like to see? If so, who?

8.  Do you have a favorite storyline you'd like to read more of? (Beauty & the Beast, reunion story, friends becoming lovers, amnesia, pregnant heroine, etc.)

9.  Do you have a storyline you're tired of reading?

10. Anything else?

I appreciate the feedback. It will help me fine-tune my proposal for upcoming books. And remember, the next book in my Precinct: Task Force miniseries, comes out March 1st. Or you can get it early at Harlequin.com. I'll pick the winner and post the name here tomorrow.

Julie Miller
www.juliemiller.org

45 comments:

  1. I'm always drawn to cowboys. I just can't seem to get enough. They are rather special. I will always like marriage of convenience stories. I love the bumpy journey to the HEA.

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    1. I love the marriage of convenience stories, too, Mary! There is all kinds of wonderful conflict when you throw 2 people together for some other reason besides love, and then you get to see the attraction and love grow between them.

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  2. I just love the cop ones so I would pick A new Precinct miniseries. Not to say you could not bring in the Cowboys to that series also show how for new books. Not sure if you did books about Matthew and Mark Taylor (Gideon's sons). I know Alex and Pike are in books but if those get completed it would wrap up that family.

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    1. I do love my Precinct books. ;) Glad you do, too, Renee.

      And I have been brainstorming ways to bring my cowboy brothers from central Missouri into Kansas City to integrate them into my Precinct books.

      Originally, I wanted to do Matthew and Mark's story as young romantic suspense for the HQ TEEN line. But the proposal didn't fly with my editor. And the TEEN editor said the books that are really popular are either straight teen angst or paranormal--and my romantic suspense ideas didn't fit either slot. But I suppose I could have them grow up quickly--soap opera style. You know, where the character is a kid one day, goes off to school and comes back as an adult next time we see him.

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  3. I loved your story in the THREE COWBOYS Intrigue and would like to see more cowboy stories. The push and pull of a relationship is always fun when mixed with intrigue...smile.

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. THREE COWBOYS was fun for me creatively--I enjoyed indulging my MAGNIFICENT SEVEN/BONANZA fantasy and writing a romantic suspense with that different set of characters.

      Are you talking about a stand-alone story? Or are you interested in seeing another anthology with connected stories like Dana Marton, Paula Graves and I did for THREE COWBOYS?

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  4. So there's no glut of too many COWBOY stories, eh?

    Only 3 answers thus far, but I'm sensing readers can't get enough cowboys in their romantic suspense books?

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  5. I really enjoy firefighter books! Course I never get tired of cowboy stories or your Precinct books either It'd be fun to see the "next generation" of Taylors also.

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    1. I'd love to do a "next generation" miniseries. But so far a straight proposal has been nixed--maybe the ptb think the heroes would be too young? I've been sneaking them in, anyway, with MAN WITH THE MUSCLE and TASK FORCE BRIDE ;)

      Would love to do another firefighter, too. Good ideas!

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  6. When I read Boone and Kate's book, I thought to myself, she should really do the brother's stories. But all your ideas are good ones. Love the brother's books and Marine books too. Not much help to you. But I'm sure you'll come up with something amazing!
    DeniseB

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    1. See what you could do it brother's books, but stand alone books, set in some place other than Kansas City. Coming a couple of your ideas.
      DeniseB

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    2. that's supposed to be combining - not coming. Happy fingers today I guess. DeniseB

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    3. I think that's a natural way I write, Denise--to populate my books with interesting supporting characters. When I wrote KANSAS CITY COWBOY, I was feeling BONANZA, I think, and had germs of ideas for each brother's story. I would love to write them!

      I like your idea of combining some things. That would give me the creative challenge I enjoy, but still make readers happy. I hope. ;)

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  7. Follow your heart, Julie. If you write it, I will buy it. i like all of your ideas. Keep the books coming and say hello to Maggie. I love her picture on your Facebook page.

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    1. Bless you, Tammy. Thanks!

      Lost Maggie in a snow drift yesterday. Not sure how much snow we got, but I'm guessing a foot. We had to shovel some paths in the yard to get her to go outside again. Such a brave little toodle. ;)

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  9. Cowboys...marines...firemen...cops...FBI...SEALS....sigh...you really can't go wrong with any of them, right?! Especially when they're romantically suspenseful. Did I mention...sigh...?? ;)

    Since I'm into the precinct series right now -- re-reading the first two books of TASK FORCE in preparation of the new one! -- I'm partial to the cop storyline right now. But I would never ever turn away any of the others! Maybe even think about making our heroes a combination of two, like a cowboy cop, or former Marine who's a cop? Or...well, you get the idea. :)

    I'm also thinking a stand-alone would be nice if it was of novel length. The only problem with that is stand-alones always leave me wanting more -- I always want to see other characters in the stand-alone developed!

    That's really no help at all, is it?? ;)

    Whatever you choose, have fun writing it! I know I'll enjoy it no matter what!!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie--that's good, honest feedback. ;)

      I know what you mean--my KC books tend to share some community characters whether they're stand-alones or part of a miniseries. So you never know who'll show up and become part of a bigger story.

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  10. Julie, I loved Boone's story and would love more with cowboys! I love the one's with some sort of disability like, blindness, deafness, and such. Since you know Jenny and I share our thought's on so many of your stories I'd like to see one about sister's or maybe brother's that have lot's of suspense!! Throw in some comic relief, maybe. I can't wait for March 1st's next series.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I figure there are other writers out there who know more about cowboys than I do. But I know enough from favorite shows and movies--and have a super resource in my CP, Sherry James, who owns/trains horses--that maybe I could do justice to a few more cowboys. My agent liked that idea, too.

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  11. So far Julie, I haven't found one of your story lines that I did not like (except for the first book I read and the rewrite was FANTASTIC). I do love cowboys! But then the KC ones really draw me in. Loads of help wasn't I? I just know that I like your style of writting and enjoy all of your characters. Keep them coming!

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    1. Thanks, Connie! And I'm glad you enjoyed my rewrite of IMMORTAL HEART. I dearly appreciate your friendship and support!

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  12. Oh my goodness... you sure know how to make it hard... so many great avenues to choose from... I love Marines, law enforcement, cowboys, etc... enjoy when characters have to overcome the roadblocks they put in place... thinking they are not good enough or worthy of someone in their life for whatever reason... a dash of danger... oh no matter the direction you take... I know you will have something wonderful to share with us all! Good Luck!

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    1. I know, Colleen--it's a dilemma for me, too. (See how I cleverly recruited you guys to help me make some decisions?) This feedback is wonderful.

      You've touched on some of my favorite storylines. Glad to know readers like them, too.

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  13. Can I choose #6 Steamy and #3 Marines :)

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    1. Two of my favorite things, Ro! ;)

      Say, do you have another book coming out soon? I always look forward to your military heroes and heroines.

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  14. Nice ideas. How about a combo of 5 and 6?

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    1. So something fresh (new characters/outside of Kansas City) and steamy? Sounds like either a great side-dish or a fun story to write.

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  15. I do want something steamier and a new Precinct series or more Marine heroes are also on the list.

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    1. I'm wondering if there's a trend toward steamier in Intrigues, Jane. At least some of the upcoming cover blurbs I'm reading seem to indicate it. I don't think they'd ever go as steamy as a Blaze, though.

      Glad you guys are liking my Marines. I've missed writing them.

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  16. Julie, Like so many of the others have said, if you write it, I'll read it. I absolutely LOVED Takedown. I enjoyed the older hero with a younger heroine. I don't know if an older heroine and a younger hero would work. It might be too cougarish (if that is a word!) Since I'm "mature" I liked having at least one of the characters with a little grey hair. I'm a Marine junkie too, but I love the KC cop line just as much. I'd also vote for a book as steamy as the Intrigue line would allow. I'm eagerly awaiting March 1st and your next book. Hope that snow wasn't too hard on you. My daughter in Kearney got about 12 or so inches!! The snow blower is working overtime!

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    1. I love that you enjoyed TAKEDOWN so much, Kathy! That was one of those extra stand-alone books I wrote, based on two previous supporting characters--and I ended up getting a whole new series idea out of it! I have written a couple of younger man/older woman stories--BABY JANE DOE and THE ROOKIE. But I'd do another May/December romance, too.

      Yes, my son was happy to have no school/no internship/no work Thursday in Kearney. I think he needed a day off to relax since his last semester there has been soooo busy!

      Hope you enjoy TACTICAL ADVANTAGE!

      Stay warm. ;)

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  17. Okay, some Precinct characters I've wondered if they would get their own stories: Kate Rinaldi (Search & Seizure), Dean Murphy (The Marine Next Door), the rest of the Rodriguez sisters, and the Fensom family (I know, most of them are too young at this point, so maybe in the future???). I've also just recently read the Ladytech series and wondered if Kel Murphy and Rafe Del Rio will ever get stories. A Precinct Cold Case series sounds interesting, too.
    Stand alones are great, but I prefer the continuity of a series or at least characters across books (ok, fine, so Beauty and the Badge is one of my favorites). You get to know the characters a lot more that way.
    However, in the end, I will agree with everyone else and say, if you write it, I will read it!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer, for the lovely compliment!

      I do have a stand-alone story in mind for Theresa Rodriguez, so maybe I'll pull that idea out for you. ;) At one time, I thought about making Dean Murphy a surprise villain, but a lot of readers seem to like him from THE MARINE NEXT DOOR and KANSAS CITY'S BRAVEST, so maybe I'd better start thinking in terms of a heroic storyline for him.

      And yes, someday, I want to write stories for Kel Murphy and Rafe Del Rio--even have Rafe's started. But Harlequin has kept me so busy, I haven't had time to finish up those indie books and get them out there. Still hope to one day soon. I'll definitely keep you posted on those.

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  18. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceFebruary 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I have enjoyed all the books I have read by you. I keep finding older ones and buying those. Last week I picked up: Last Man Standing & In Blink of an Eye. So to answer your questions I like ideas 1-4 best along with the idea of combining some ideas. I like the idea of the Precinct Cold Case series but if you wanted to expand out of Kansas City the first cold case it could be discovered to be part of a series of cold cases around the country with similar styles of death which was because of a traveling serial killer who is still at large. But I know you are working on a serial rapist so maybe do Sheriff Boone's brother stories first. :)

    I also enjoy when the editors have a bunch of authors do a continuity. Like the Situation Christmas a few years ago or the Three Cowboy's story you, Dana Marton, & Paula Graves did last year.

    Say Hi to Maggie for me!

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    1. Thanks, Laura--Maggie will appreciate the attention ;)

      I talked to my editor last year about the multi-author continuities, and she said they don't have any planned at this time. I think readers really like them, and many writers do (I've always enjoyed my continuity experiences with Intrigue), but I guess they're a real hassle at the production end of things. But if you really want to see one, I'd suggest posting the request over on Harlequin.com--maybe on the Intrigue discussion or reading challenges, etc.

      I think the trilogies (3 connected novellas in 1 book) are the way they're going right now. Dana, Paula & I talked about doing another anthology. B.J. Daniels, Delores Fossen and I have discussed it, too. We'll see.

      Hope you enjoy LAST MAN STANDING and IN THE BLINK OF AND EYE--Mac Taylor is one of my fave heroes ever!

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  19. I'm still in love with Holden Kincaid. So I am game for anything that brings him and his brothers back into the picture.
    I would like to see someone tackle a story about a school lockdown situation. I have great ideas for this and thought of writing one myself but never got around to it. Maybe there is a SWAT cop, who can look just like Holden, that would be even better, and he is going to the school to fight with his wife because she wants a divorce and he doesn't. She claims he is married to his job, which of course he is and he doesn't spend time with their child. There child is a student at the school and the wife is a teacher or maybe a school nurse. If she is a nurse, they would have access to the medical supplies needed. They get locked down in a small space together overnight and must rescue their child, as well as stop the bad guy. No children die, but maybe some teachers wounded? I know it is a touchy subject, but might be intriguing and fun to see the heroes win and the bad guy brought to justice. If anyone could do this one, it would be you......and Holden of course. I did mention Holden right?

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    1. Wow, Teresa--that sounds like a great storyline! Certainly there'd be plenty of opportunity for the deep emotions and tense action I like. And I do have some insight into teaching...

      But maybe you should write it? Sounds like you've thought it through.

      And yeah, Holden Kincaid is a pretty special hero. You never know what characters are really going to resonate with readers. I get a lot of fan mail/email on him. ;)

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  20. Since I absolutely loved the Taylor clan I would pick option 1. Although I'd read anything you write so that's probably not much help to you. Something steamier would be great too but I don't know how much steam you are allowed to put in an Intrigue.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I love those family connections, too. I've done it two ways--like the Taylors, where the stories are all stand-alone, but the family members appear in each of the books--and like the Kincaids where there's also an over-arching storyline (in that case, their father's murder) that weaves throughout the books.

      Any preference that way?

      The Intrigues I've written and read lately have varying amounts of steam, depending on the characters, story demands, length of time in story, author style, etc. So you could find many different levels for different tastes. I've heard comments from some readers that Intrigues are too sexy; while others say they want more steam. Can't please everyone, I suppose. ;)

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  21. Well I like cowboy stories (probably because I live in Texas) but I also like Marine stories and I like stand alone stories as well so I guess I'm not very helpful. But then I would read whatever you write.

    Guess I'm not much help am I????

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    1. Too funny, Ellen. But I appreciate the feedback.

      I'm pretty partial to the Marines and would like to do more of those. But my agent/editor also like that I'm the "Kansas City Cop" writer for Harlequin. Creatively, it's fun to do something different from time to time. But I never want to make my readers go huh? What was she thinking? ;) You know, have them looking for a certain type of story from me, but it's too different.

      I tend to worry more than I should. ;)

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  22. Sorry, lost Internet yesterday afternoon. Had to get new router? modem? thingee from service provider. Nice to be online again.

    I'll go through your responses and pick a winner today.

    Thanks for your patience! And I think it's so cool to get this great response. Definitely helps me with some proposal plotting.

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  23. And the winner is... Tammy!

    Maggie's got your number. ;) She nosed your name out of the pile and selected you as the winner. So send me an email, and let me know if you'd like a print copy or an ebook copy of TACTICAL ADVANTAGE (along w/ mailing addy or email addy) and I'll get it to you ASAP!

    Thanks again, everyone, for stopping by. I'm printing off your suggestions to help me with that new proposal. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

    Thanks!

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  24. Hey Julie!
    I like options 1, 2, and three. I know that isn't much help, but those three ideas are good. Your Precint series are the best, and it would be cool to bring the rest of the Harrison brothers to KC. Maybe to help out with Kate and Boone's wedding, and then find damsels in distresses? I don't know. I agree with others about reading Mark and Matt's love story, but don't speed up their age! After all, readers had to wait ten years to read about Alex's. Soon we'll be reading Pike's :). Maybe in a year or two, you could combine two favorite families and make them one! What if you do a story on Nadine Fensom and Matt or Mark Taylor. There's a real surprise. Alex and Nick would be in-laws!

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