Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Marshal's better than...

Lena Diaz and Angi Morgan have a lot in common. They're Unsinkable Sisters, both 2010 RWA® Golden Heart  finalists, are celebrating the release of their third books, both won the Daphne du Maurier (unpublished) and both have U.S. Marshal stories out in February: DANGEROUS MEMORIES & THE MARSHAL'S WITNESS (click on the title for an excerpt).

EXCITING !! So exciting they decided to share a blog today and talk about their heroes!

U.S. Marshals make great heroes. What's not to love about a man who's willing to die for someone? Criminal or innocent witness, Marshals put their lives on the line protecting people every day. And of course, in Angi and Lena's stories, Levi Cooper and Ryan Jackson are sexy protectors doing just that. Levi has known Jolene for several years, but Ryan has just been assigned Jessica Delaney. Reading these similar--yet completely different--stories should be lots of fun.

So Angi and Lena thought they'd compare Marshals in a fun way. 
Remember that old tune MY DOG'S BIGGER THAN YOUR DOG?  by Tom Paxton? Well the fun "sharing" became a very fun "comparison."  LOL

So Angi, why don't you start us off …

Well, I never claimed to be a song writer, but here goes.
My guy's bigger than Lena's guy,
My guy's bigger than yours,
My Marshal's bigger
and he chases big bad men,
My guy's bigger than yours.
So not a song writer.

Lena’s turn…
Size DOES matter Angi and I assure you my guy is the PERFECT size!
My guy’s tougher than Angi’s guy,
My guy’s gorgeous too,
My Marshal’s a former Green Beret (top that Angi!),
And a much better lover!
My guy’s tougher than yours.

A better lover, Lena? I don’t think so. One kiss rocked my heroine’s world for four years. LOL
Our train's faster than your car,
Our running's faster than yours,
We have sirens,
and murder and lots of guns,
Our train's faster than yours.
Just remember to smile while you’re reading this and think of the tune. LOL

Faster isn’t necessarily better, darlin’. Remember that better lover line above? Ha!
Our explosions are louder than yours are,
Our guns are louder than yours,
My heroine’s in trouble,
So my hero’s there on the double,
My Marshal’s bigger, tougher, louder than yours!
And he has stubble. Who can resist stubble???

Can anyone resist stubble? Angi?

My Marshal has stubble… and I think Lena's much better at song writing than me. (grin)
My Marshal's …umm. My Marshal's…well, darn. UNCLE. 
I give up since I'm making my Marshal sound, well… (grin)  

Marshal Levi Cooper is committed, loyal, dedicated and--of-course--gorgeous (did you see how cut he is on the cover?). He's the go-to guy in the Denver office. A work-a-holic who longs for more when he meets Jo. Deep down he knows his Sunday afternoon check-ins on the Atkins duo are more than routine visits. And then his witness, Jo's father, goes outside the program and is murdered. Levi vows to protect Jo no matter what and hates hurting her by dredging up buried memories. IF she remembers, he'll lose her to WITSEC. If she doesn't…she'll be killed. DANGEROUS MEMORIES was a cool story to write and I can't wait to hear from readers about their impression of Levi.

(Thank goodness she cried Uncle because I was so there, ready to cry off!)

Okay, Marshal Ryan Jackson would totally look cut on my cover if it weren’t for the long sleeves he’s wearing. But he’s smart enough not to wear short sleeves in the Smoky Mountains when it’s late fall. But come on, look at his face! He’s HOT. What I love the most is his sense of honor and justice. And since the heroine is a former criminal, it takes a LOT for him to move beyond his distrust of her and to allow himself to see past the crimes to the real person, and to understand why she made the choices she made. But even before that, because of his deep sense of honor and duty to the witness he’s sworn to protect, he risks explosions, fires, bullets, and bears to save our lovely heroine! I’m excited to see what readers think about THE MARSHAL’S WITNESS and my sexy, honorable hero.
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LENA DIAZ is a romantic suspense author. Her debut novel, HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT, released by Avon Impulse in 2011. The story was a finalist in the 2010 RWA Golden Heart and won both the 2009 TARA and the 2010 Daphne du Maurier awards.   

Website   Facebook   Twitter @LenaDiaz    Goodreads
~ ~ ~
Angi Morgan writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier.

Website   Connect on Facebook   FB Fan Page   Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr
A Picture A Day   Goodreads  (separate book give away)

ENTER TO WIN Angi’s January monthly contest.  The January Giveaway ends on January 31st, winner announced February 2nd. Registration is through Rafflecopter.

Angi's giving a copy of Lena's book to a lucky blog commenter today (don't forget your email).
WHAT DO YOU THINK about our Marshals? Or can you add a verse to the impromptu song?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Amarillo by Morning

by Angi Morgan

The best thing for a writer is to have another deadline. Woot! 

I just submitted a 2014 manuscript--my title is DOUBLE TAKE (I'm not certain they'll keep that). And while I was in NYC last week, Intrigue bought amy seventh book proposal: THE MARINE'S LAST DEFENSE. My editor wanted two things in the story: a Texas location & a Blizzard.

Blizzards in Texas? Well, yes. There's quite a bit of snow in West Texas and the Panhandle. But that meant the new location I was thinking about visiting (somewhere southwest of Dallas) would now be in ... the Panhandle. I love writing about real locations. For me, I was having trouble writing PROTECTING THEIR CHILD (May '13) until Tim and I visited the Davis Mountains. When I visit a location, it's like the characters find out where they're supposed to go and what they're going to do. 

If you go to a map and take a look, you'll see there aren't too many cities in that Panhandle of Texas. I've driven the long, back roads way on a long weekend searching for a windmill (not kidding). And we've driven through OK City, turned west on I-40 and taken the highway through Amarillo. But that's about it.

So sure, I set THE MARINE'S LAST DEFENSE in Amarillo with the intention of driving up sometime in the spring if I sold the book. Well, there's no time like the present since I'll be starting the book this week. No time like winter to write a blizzard. Shiver. I sure hope the snow holds off next weekend. I don't want to experience TOO MUCH of the book.  LOL

But even waiting until March (spring) wouldn't have made a difference in 2009. A freak blizzard hit the Panhandle and Oklahoma. 

So it's not exactly where I was planning a short drive and a bunch of picture taking...but it'll be a good road trip. Amarillo not by morning, but definitely in the next week or so. >>grin<<

Ever take a road trip? Spur of the moment, chasing a picture of a windmill at sunset? LOL Tell me about it !! And be sure to get registered for my monthly giveaway through Rafflecopter? I'm giving away some of my Favorite Memories: a Harlequin puzzle, a KNIGHT & DAY DVD, a Barnes & Noble gift card, and other little Texas mementos.


Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Bridal Falls Ranch Ransom

A mysterious hero comes to the aid of a woman in need in Jan Hambright's Bridal Falls Ranch Ransom:


Former FBI agent J.P. Ryker was hired by reclusive Idaho ranch owner Eve Brooks after a kidnapper threatened her for the second time in a year. He is determined to keep his new boss safe, even if he only catches glimpses of the mystery woman through heavily curtained windows. But when the threats to Eve's life become more deadly, J.P. convinces Eve to let him see her face-to-face. One look and J.P. knows all of Eve's secrets...and can't resist the once-famous beauty who hasn't been seen in public in months. With every reason to protect her and few clues about who is after her, J.P. is the only one she seems to trust. A trust he knows will be shattered when she discovers his connection to her tragic past....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Internal Affairs

Alana Matthews takes readers on a dangerous ride in Internal Affairs:


When the call came in over the radio, Sheriff's Deputy Rafe Franco thought he would be responding to a typical domestic dispute. But he didn't know that the perp was St. Louis's most notorious mobster-or that the victim was his college sweetheart, Lisa Tobin.

Now, as Rafe is drawn into a web of crime and danger, he discovers that his feelings for Lisa are stronger than ever. And her three-year-old daughter, Chloe, is melting his heart in ways he'd never imagined possible. But Lisa's ex is a powerful sociopath who will stop at nothing to get her back-or destroy her. As Rafe's instincts as a man battle with his duty as a cop, he'll do anything to ensure their survival...and their future as a family.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods...Not

Coming March 1, 2013

 Maybe I should title this, "When it rains, it pours."  Or even, "What I did on my holiday vacation."

When I first signed up to blog today, I'd planned to share pix and talk all about the highly anticipated Christmas visit with my mom.  Since my dad's passing, she's spent the holiday with each of my brothers, but not with us--because we get the crazy winter weather here in Nebraska, and she's pretty leery of traveling in bad weather.  Who can blame her?  But I digress...

Nothing about the last couple of weeks of December and New Year's was what I'd planned for or expected.  I'd cleaned my house within an inch of its life.  I'd decorated like I haven't in years.  I planned menus.  Scheduled travel dates.  Planned my writing schedule so I could have 2 weeks to just enjoy the time with my family.  Now as a Girl Scout, a teacher and a mom, I know that life rarely goes exactly as expected, and that I should be prepared for anything.  But, I will confess, the chaos and emotional upheavals of my holidays this year got to me.  At first, I was depressed.  There was anger in there along the way--frustration, too.  Finally, I just had to laugh.  And count my blessings.

So let me share some of the highlights of my holiday.

1.  Traveling down the highway on my way to Missouri to pick up my mom in Kansas City and bring her home to Nebraska, my car died.  Didn't just get a flat or pop a hose. The engine was completely blown and my faithful vehicle died at the intersection of two highways.  Fortunately, I could get off the Interstate. Fortunately, there were many wonderful people who helped me that day.  I was completely safe.  But my car...?  Rest in peace.

2.  After getting back home, making arrangements to borrow a generous friend's car to make the journey (hubby needed his truck for work, and the shop didn't have a verdict on fixing my car yet), and reassuring my mom that I could get to Kansas City safely... we got hit with a blizzard.  No one was going anywhere for a couple of days.

3.  Plan C (or maybe we were on F or G by now).  The dealer who was trying to repair my car said there was nothing they could do but put in a new engine for several thousand dollars. At that price, we figured we'd take the plunge and invest in a new car (it was nice not having a car payment while our son is in college, but we needed a vehicle).  Highways clear.  New car ready and prepped to go. Mom's visit will be much shorter, but I miss her and want to spend some time with her.  So, of course...

4.  My mom went into the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. I can't tell you how frustrating and frightening it is to live so far away from a parent who needs you. Fortunately, she was already in Kansas City, visiting friends, so she got treatment right away. Plus, my younger brother lives in the area, and he got there pronto and kept us all informed on Mom's condition.  Thankfully, it turned out not to be a heart attack, but with all the tests the hospital ran on her, they diagnosed two conditions that did need treatment, and she is home and well and getting stronger and sassier every day.  But, as you might guess, Mom never did get up to Nebraska to spend the holidays with us.

I talk to my mom nearly every day, and count my blessings even more often.  So I didn't get my big Christmas. My mom is safe and being well-taken care of. My guys and I had a quiet, fun Christmas Day. No one if my family had any problems with the weather.  And I have a spiffy new (to me) car.

But times like that does wreak havoc on one's emotional equilibrium. I found it practically impossible to write through all that, and I have a deadline. So now, I have to knuckle down hard this month. I have to remind myself that writing books is a job.  And like any other job, I may not always want to do it, but I must do it. My family, my editor, my readers and my own sense of accomplishment are depending on me doing that job.  Fortunately, I can let my characters take over and tell their story until I can get on my creative and emotional feet again.

And should I mention that our furnace broke down during the cold weather? It's still gerry-rigged to run until a replacement part arrives.  I'm a writer, and I can't make this stuff up.  Sigh.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  And please, count your blessings!

Accidental Bodyguard plus a Bonus story--ebook only
Tell me something you did over the holidays.  I'll give away a Kindle or Nook copy of my current release, ACCIDENTAL BODYGUARD (digital reissue this month) or a print copy of my upcoming release, TACTICAL ADVANTAGE, as soon as my author copies arrive, to one lucky poster.

Happy Reading!
Julie Miller

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Alpha One

Meet the first of Cynthia Eden's Shadow Agents in Alpha One:


The minute he got the message, undercover agent Logan Quinn sprang into action. Getting Juliana James out of Mexico alive was the Elite Ops covert agent's only priority. But once the senator's daughter was safely back in their Mississippi hometown, Logan had a new mission: to get another chance with the woman he couldn't lose again.

Juliana had never forgotten the day, ten years ago, when Logan left her heart in pieces. Now he was back in her life, sworn to protect her from the ruthless weapons dealer who wanted her dead. As passion blindsided her-and she was once again thrust into danger-Julie realized how much she'd riskfor one more day in Logan's arms.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Soldier's Redemption

Alice Sharpe concludes The Legacy with a Soldier's Redemption:


For former Special Forces officer Cole Bennett, there's no room for error or emotions on his latest, all-too-personal mission. Hiding his identity and getting much too close to artist Skylar Pope is the only way to get some long-overdue justice. But keeping his simmering desire under control is one battle Cole would give anything to lose.

Suddenly Skylar discovers everything she believes in is a lie. And if finding the truth means confronting her family's and Cole's most wrenching secrets, she'll go as far as she has to. Yet the explosive chemistry between her and Cole is a temptation more dangerous than any betrayal. And putting herself in harm's way might be their only chance at a future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Good morning Intrigue lovers. 

I hope everyone survived the "holiDAZE" and unlike me, you have all your lights down and decorations put away. I have a deadline this week and a trip to NYC tomorrow. So why am I blogging? LOL  Well...what was the question again? >>>grin<<<

The beginning of the year's normally a time to reflect and evaluate what went right and what went wrong...and make goals to be better.   So my contest to celebrate my February release is called FAVORITE MEMORIES. 

One of the things my husband and I do is short trips around the country, mainly in a pop-up camper or connected to one of his business trips. We love to take pictures (as many of you know I post on Facebook and A Picture A Day)-- What you may not know is that almost every picture in our house was also taken by us (just recently printed two by my cousin Rick Minick) or has been painted by my mom. I love this. (We do have professional portraits of kids. LOL) 

Having the pictures around us (which we rotate throughout the year using the same frames), well, it reminds us of the fun and good memories we had from that trip. So some of our favorite memories are constantly in view.

I hope 2013 is filled with lots of memories that become favorites !!
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Register for my January FAVORITE MEMORIES basket contest through Rafflecopter. You can get started by watching my book trailer (below).
I'm adding to the basket every week... right now, I have one of my favorite movies KNIGHT & DAY; and one of my favorite puzzles which features classic Harlequin Covers. No tellin' what favorite thing I'll add next week. You can earn an extra entry by tweeting about my book trailer every day.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE MEMENTO or souvenir or gift that you see to remind you of happy times. Leave a comment and you're name will be added to the Basket Drawing as an additional entry.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Native Cowboy

Travel back to Bucking Bronc Lodge as Rita Herron introduces a Native Cowboy:


There was no man more dedicated to his job than Detective Mason Blackpaw. Yet when he discovers a dead body at the Bucking Bronc Lodge, he's forced to confront his moment of greatest weakness-and a reunion with the very pregnant Dr. Cara Winchester....


Cara fell for the sexy Comanche officer the moment she laid eyes on him, captivated by his loyalty and fiercely protective instincts. Their romance was brief but intense, and when it ended, he left part of him with her. Now a killer was kidnapping her patients' babies, and Mason was on the case to stop him. But how would he react once the killer targeted her...or when Mason found out her child was also his?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spotlight on January Intrigues: Standoff At Mustang Ridge

Join Delores Fossen for a Standoff At Mustang Ridge:


When Deputy Sheriff Royce McCall responds to a break-in at his family's cabin, he doesn't expect the intruder to be beautiful Sophie Conway-in her nightgown! The last time he saw her, she wasn't wearing much else, although the details of their New Year's Eve encounter are sketchy at best. Then she admits that not only has she become a killer's target, she also lied about carrying Royce's baby in order to escape an arranged marriage. With too many unanswered questions surrounding this woman he barely knows, Royce still vows to protect Sophie when the bullets start flying. But when the memories of their one-night stand become clearer, so does the fact that she may not be lying about being pregnant after all....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's On Your Office Wall?

If you missed the Intrigue Authors' Newsletter, each month we ask the authors a question. 

WHAT’S HANGING ON THE WALLS OF YOUR WRITING AREA? Don’t forget to let us know why J

JANA DeLEON:  A television. :)  I started writing in cafes and acclimated myself to writing with noise. Now, I can't work if it's quite. I tried music, but I'm a classically-trained violinist and get distracted by music, so I queue up Netflix to something I've already seen and type away.

LENA DIAZ: Most of the wall space in my office is taken up by bookshelves crammed with research books, writing craft books, and of course romance novels. But I do have two areas not covered by books. The first is a collection of family pictures. My favorite is a silly one where my two kids and four of my nieces and nephews are lying on the floor like the petals of a flower, or the spokes of a wheel. The photo is taken from overhead. It's absolutely adorable. We had the same picture taken several years later to show how they've all changed and grown. Such fun and so very special. My other non-bookshelf covered wall isn't nearly as exciting, but it's still fun. It has some of my writing awards. It's my inspiration when I'm having trouble with a story.  

CYNTHIA EDEN: Currently, I’ve got a framed painting of the Eiffel Tower on my wall—it’s the work of my six-year-old son.  Every time I look at it, I smile…then I go back to writing about danger and suspense in my Intrigues!  

ELLE JAMESMost of my walls are taken up with book shelves, windows and my desk unit. The one wall I have room for pictures is covered with a map of the world. I love dreaming about the next place I want to go visit, or I look for the next location for the next Intrigue I want to write. I have a bucket list of places I want to go to before I die. I think I could live to be 200 and still not see them all! The map is an inspiration in many different ways.

MALLORY KANE: My office is a big room on the back of our house that includes my crafting area, my writing space and a conversation spot for friends. On the walls are a couple of prints and a poster from the Jackson, Mississippi Zoo that features 2 tigers painted by Walter Anderson. It hangs over the fireplace made of Crab Orchard stone. The reason the room is my writing and craft room is because of the windows. They make up the entire rear wall of the room and look out over our back yard.
I've included a picture of the print and the view. It's an incredibly inspirational place to work. I truly love it. I hope all of you have a happy and healthy new year.  

DANA MARTON: No office. I like to be in the middle of things, so I write in a corner between the living  room and the kitchen. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year! 

CASSIE MILES: On my wall:  Since I have the attention span of a 3-year-old and am easily distracted, I keep the walls around my computer mostly blank.  There is, however, one bulletin board with revolving photos.  Current postings: family pictures, Elvis, a sailboat, a flying pig and a leopard scarf.   

JULIE MILLER: I have lots of sentimental items in my office because I like to surround myself with things that are meaningful to me. When I go to work, it's like nestling into a secure place, rich with pictures, family heirlooms and collectibles that I find both comforting and creatively motivating, making it a place where I like to go and spend a lot of time (which is useful for getting work done!).  I have an antique child's bed that dates back to the Revolutionary War era that has been handed down through my family against one wall.  Above that is a Monet print from the Jeu de Paume in Paris.  Besides reminding me of a wonderful trip, I find Monet's use of color very soothing.  At a recent trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, I studied a Monet painting and thought of how it just made me feel good to look at it.  

Another wall holds a bookshelf where I keep reference books, keeper books I've read over the years, and lots of knick-knacks and pictures.  Then there's a pie safe where I store my old manuscripts and other stuff related to my writing business. On top of that sits part of my Pepsi collection.  I also collect Beauty & the Beast memorabilia, dolls and antique toys.  So things don't get too cluttered, I rotate what's out on display throughout the year.  That makes it all seem fresh and new.

ANGI MORGANI’m fortunate to have my own office in the house. I’m surrounded by my husband’s support as he built the desk and cabinets and also keeps me up-to-date with electronics. The walls and shelves are full of pictures of where I’ve traveled, mementoes, writing prizes or awards that spurred me to keep writing while waiting to sell. The first copy of my first book hangs there, too. The one unusual thing hanging on the wall, is an old shelf my grandfather made. As a kid, I’d carefully dust all the little knick-knacks my grandmother had collected. When she passed, she left the shelf to me. I haven’t had the heart to re-finish it yet, so it still has the paint streaks from when a cousin painted around it, instead of removing it from the wall. LOL 

ROBIN PERINI: I'm lucky enough to have an office. Above my computer area I have way too many books, including a dictionary, a thesaurus, an emotional thesaurus and the coolest book ever, Word Finder. It's out of print, but it will give you lists words that modify other words. I was able to find a 1947 edition. If you come across a copy and are a writer...grab it!

Above my desk next to my reference books is a 2x3 foot white board, that I use as a plotting board/story board. If I'm writing an Intrigue, the story board has four rows, with 3 boxes in the first and last rows and four boxes in the middle two rows (14 chapters). Inside each box I have post-it-notes with scenes from my current book. (Yep, I plan my books out). Of course, the great thing about post-it notes is I can move them around. I will admit that sometimes things just happen. In Christmas Conspiracy (October 2012), Deke came out of nowhere and ended up being a really important character.

I also have my favorite writing reminder quotes...and of course, one of my mottos...'Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!' A verbal kick in the pants can come in mighty useful!   

JENNA RYAN: What's hanging on my office walls? Two large and very soothing abstracts, and directly in front of my desk, a totally kooky impressionist cat. She's snooty and smug, and I have her there because every time I look at her, she makes me smile. Stress just slides away. I wouldn't part with her.   

AIMEE THURLO: When I look at that wall, I see memories, and life. The cuckoo clock was an incredible find for me. I lost my mother when I was six and my grandmother and I would travel to the US from Cuba (my birthplace) and have many adventures. Finding a cuckoo clock was one. I always like the Swiss girl types. To me it was almost enchanted, since Cuba and snow... well, it wasn't happening.

Next to that is the quote I received from Tony Hillerman when we wrote Black Mesa for Intrigue. Tony had helped me a lot with that book, including sharing some of his sources. When it was done, I called to thank him, and he asked me to send him a galley and if he liked it, he'd give me a quote. Tony was larger than life, and the thought terrified me. I hemmed and hawed, and finally said, "Tony, it's not a mystery, it's more like a romance." His answer?  "What? You think I read only Hemingway?" He gave me a wonderful quote - two in fact - and I've kept and framed his handwritten note.  In the center is a plant that represents life. It was given to us as a gift after a talk at one of the state libraries, and represents the present and ongoing renewal.   That's what I see when I look at my wall.

JOANNA WAYNE: The largest thing hanging on the wall of my office is a poster of Hugh Jackman. It's one I got when I saw him in New York in person last year. If you've ever seen him, you know why he's there. He's HOT! Great inspiration for writing my sexy heroes. I also have pictures of my grandsons because I love seeing their smiling faces. I have the cover of Alligator Moon hanging there because it's one of my favorite of all my books. And I have a picture of my hubby and me to round everything out and to remind me that I'm loved even when I'm in a terrible deadline mood. 

REBECCA YORK: I take my laptop and work all over the house.  On cold evenings, I love to work in bed, and cats just have to crowd in and make it difficult to type.  Here I am with Ozzie and Harriet.  I might also work in the sun room which is full of plants and flowers.  It’s also a great spot on cold winter days because the greenery is a respite from the frigid air outside.  I’ve got various outdoorsy things on the walls like a ceramic lizard and a parrot sitting on a vine plus some primitive farm scenes I picked up in China a few years ago. In summer, the cats and I go out on the screened porch or “catio” which I made so we could all enjoy the great outdoors together without being able to escape.  We’ve got one geranium flag picture hanging up to block the sun when it comes in from the east but basically we look up and see birds and squirrels.   

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