Thursday, April 01, 2010

Guest Blogger - Julie Miller

Julie Miller has long been a friend to the Playground. She's a fantastic writer, a generous person and someone we're very happy to count as a friend. Please show her a warm April welcome!

RT Does Series Romance Right

Ha! Tricked you. You thought I’d be blogging about April Fool’s Day today. I figured most bloggers on the web would be, so I opted for something different. I’m just one of those out-in-left field kind of gals.

Happy spring! Besides the thankful end (fingers crossed!) to all the snow and cold of our long winter in Nebraska, did you know that spring is also the time for the Romantic Times Convention?

That’s right, the magazine/website that profiles authors and publishers, and reviews so many wonderful books every month also hosts an annual Book Lovers’ Convention. This year it’s being held in Columbus, Ohio at the Hyatt Regency Hotel from April 28-May 2. I call RT a “schmoozefest.” It’s a great opportunity for readers to meet with their favorite authors, to network with readers and librarians and booksellers and authors and publishing professionals, to pick up LOTS of books (many of them free!) and other goodies from authors and publishers, for aspiring authors to get some one-on-one advice from established authors and attend several invaluable sessions led by authors and industry professionals, to meet some gorgeous cover models, and to have a boat load of fun! Whew!

This year, in particular, I had the honor of being selected to captain the Series Romance panels at the convention. That means lining up some of your favorite Series Romance authors to speak at not one, but two, different workshops. I’ve also arranged for Harlequin/Silhouette/Kimani/Spice to give away free books to workshop attendees—and we’ll have a stellar bag of books, goodies and prizes to give away to one lucky winner at each workshop. This is a win-win event for everyone who comes to RT (have you registered yet? If not, check out all the details at Free books? Great prizes? Your favorite authors? Some so new, their books haven’t been released yet. Plus, reader favorites and NYT and USA Today bestselling authors. They ALL write Series Romance. And they’ll be at the convention to meet with you.

RT is doing an amazing job of promoting Series Romance this year. Check their website, flyers and magazine. And check out the great reviews Series romance books are getting now. Series Romance books are no longer just those books that your great aunt Fifi read. They’re comfort reads. Thrilling reads. Emotional reads. Complete reads. They aren’t just a stepping-stone to writing single title books. They make bestseller lists. Single title authors are looking to break in to Series Romance. In fact, they’re the biggest, most consistently-selling section of the romance market during these tough economic times. RT even features at least one Series romance cover on the Top Pick! page of their magazine now.

My workshop authors will be on hand to answer questions about their books, the lines they write for, and more. If you’re a writer, we’ll be talking about tips and tricks for breaking into the series romance market, and about how you can have a career writing series romance. So come and pick our brains (gently, if you don’t mind). If you’re a reader, this is your chance to ask about favorite characters or tell us about story trends you’d like to see (or would like to see go away ;))

And if registering for the convention is out of the question for your time or pocketbook, how about coming by the hotel to attend one of the two great author booksignings—one for ebook and independent publishers on Friday evening, and another huge signing on Saturday of the conference featuring the print (and Series Romance!) authors in attendance. You may bring your own books to have them signed (be sure to register them when you enter) or purchase the latest release by your favorite author.

Now, let me rattle off the names of the Series Romance authors who’ll be at RT on the Series Romance panels with me. Brenda Jackson. Debra Webb. The Playground’s own Problem Child, Kimberly Lang. Lisa Childs. Anne Calhoun (a brand-new Spice Briefs author with 3 upcoming releases!). Delores Fossen. Ann Voss Peterson. Kimberly Kaye Terry. Nina Bruhns. Donna Hill. Lynn Raye Harris. And yours truly, of course.

Sounds pretty diverse and exciting to me. I hope we can see lots of readers there. I’m not schlepping all these books and prizes on the plane for nothing . Hope to see you at RT. If you’re there, be sure to introduce yourself and say hi. If you’re a reader, I just might have a book for you!

So, tell me what you love about Series Romance. What are your favorite lines? Authors? What would you like to see more of/less of in Series Romance books?

If you haven’t read a Series Romance in a while (and especially if you’re a big fan!), I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my April release from Harlequin Intrigue, TAKEDOWN. It’s everything you love about romantic suspense packed into a neat package that you can read fairly quickly. And then move on to your next Series Romance novel!

I’ll give away a copy of TAKEDOWN to one lucky poster today.

Happy Reading,

Julie Miller


Jane said...

I'm a big fan of romantic suspense. Beside the Intrigue line I also like Silhouette's Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Blaze lines. A few of my favorite authors include Lori Wilde, Elle James and Debra Webb.

Playground Monitor said...

I didn't begin reading romance until about 9 years ago but series romance was what I began reading and it still constitutes about 99% of my reading. I love the shorter length and the strong emotional elements of a series romance. I believe I've read somehting from every line and I have lots and lots of fave authors. Right now I'm concentrating on reading Silhouette Special Edition and Harlequin SuperRomance because those are the lines I think I fit best.

I'm just sorry the Next line folded. I loved the older heroines (being an older gal myself).

RT sounds like fun! Please look after our Problem Child and make sure she doesn't cause any... well... problems. ::grin::

Minna said...

Some of my favorite lines are Nocturne, Intrigue and Suspense. And some of my favorite authors are Sharon Sala, Merline Lovelace and Karen Whiddon.

Anonymous said...

Heya Julie! Thanks for an April-Fools-free post! ;) Series romance is such a fascinating aspect of publishing, and I'm a big fan. You have to respect and ADMIRE writers who consistently offer such great books that readers want to read. That takes real dedication, knowledge of craft, and grit. I'm currently really into Sarah Mayberry's books, and Nancy Warren is another one of my favorite authors. And of course, I love getting my Intrigue fix via your KC cops...just wish I'd see more of your Marine Blazes, too!

I'm looking forward to RT - hope to see lots of Playground fans there!


PS - Another awesome cover for you. ;)

CrystalGB said...

I love category romance. My favorite lines are Silhoutte Desire, Harlequin Presents, Silhoutte Special Edition, and Harlequin Historicals.

Julie Miller said...

Hey, gang--thanks for the warm welcome!

Jane--you've listed some of my favorite authors, too. Debra Webb's SOLITARY SOLDIER is on my all-time favorite romance list.

Did you know that Elle James comes from a military background?

And Lori Wilde is just totally cool. I've had the opportunity to meet all of them (Deb Webb is my on my best buds!) and have discovered some nice friends who are fabulous writers, to boot!

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Marilyn!

Yes, I've heard that from several readers about the NEXT line--they were also a good place to go for some true comedy that's hard to find these days in romance books (Comedy is so subjective, I think it's hard for publishers to build a big enough market to sustain such a line in these competitive times) Lisa Childs and Peggy Webb's books were some of my NEXT favorites! Oh, and Debra Webb's book about the heroine who cleaned up crimes scenes--I loved that one! (The title escapes me at the moment)

Hmm... so the Problem Child earned her nickname, eh? I'll do my best to keep an eye on her at RT. ;)

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Minna--haven't seen you on the blogs for a while. Of course, I've been absent a lot lately the past couple of months with family stuff.

I think I need to read some more Nocturnes--I love paranormal, and so many readers are recommending them to me. I just need more time to read! Ugh. Merline Lovelace is a favorite SRS author of mine. She knows how to write a tense, emotional military romance.

I don't know if I've ever read a Karen Whiddon. I'll have to try her books. Thanks for the rec!

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Anne--good to see you here. Did you all know that Anne has not 1, not 2, but 3 Spice Briefs coming out in 2010/2011? Pretty impressive, I think. I'm looking forward to reading them.

I like the cover for TAKEDOWN, too. The design was my editor's suggestion--a tweak on something I'd proposed. But I love the hero on the cover, with his crisp white shirt and badge and gun (all about to come off!)--it's a good mix of sensuality and danger.

And it gives a whole new meaning to the term "Takedown", yes? ;)

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Crystal--welcome!

Looks like you read some lines I'm less familiar with. Don't get me wrong, I cut my romance teeth on Harlequin Presents--I especially loved Janet Dailey's series featuring all 50 states!

And although I'm not much of a historical reader, I read everything Cheryl St. John writes--I just love her books--straight historical and now Love Inspired Historical. Her Harlequin Historical (the only historical in my Top 10, mind you) LAND OF DREAMS is also on my all-time favorites list.

denise said...

Welcome to the playground!! Hot cover. Would love to read your book.

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Denise--welcome to the Playground!

I agree on the cover. It wasn't what I had pictured, but I like it better than what I'd proposed. (I'm glad Harlequin has professionals to do cover art;))

Playground Monitor said...

Deb's crime scene cleaner book was NEVER HAPPENED. I loved it!

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome, Julie. Glad to have you back. RT has always sounded interesting. Hopefully one day I'll have a good reason to go, even if its just to dress up at all the fun parties.

My favorite line... that's hard. I like Blaze and Modern Heat because I like a snappy, sexy book. RS and Intrigue are fun because I like to solve mysteries. Nocture has the paranormals I like. No wonder I'm having trouble figuring out who to write for...

Virginia said...

I love the romantic suspense book! They keep you on your toes! The Intrigue line is one of my favorite! I started reading them about five years ago! I was always a historical person but I found out I like other books too! Please enter me!

Kathy said...

Yes I think April Fool's will be on every site so thanks for a bit of something different. :-)

I read a blog yesterday about making your website fit your genre I was like hmm I read all over the palce and tend to write the same way. I love paranormal, romantic suspense, suspense with romance for spice all of it historicals. I just love to read and love to write what fall out of my brain into the fingers.

RT would be fun if it were a tad closer to TX. I'm saving everything for a trip to (my first one) to Nationals this year in Nashville. Columbus is a bit farther away than Nashville for me.

Sherry Werth said...

Congrats on the new release Julie! The book sounds great and I love the cover.
My favorite line...all of them! LOL I skip around a bit depending on my mood and reading time frame. But they all have one thing in common..Romance!! :-D

Julie Miller said...

Thanks, Marilyn! NEVER HAPPENED was probably my favorite NEXT book. For a while, they were publishing a few NEXT books within the Superromance line (along with some of the now defunct EVERLASTING books) I wonder if they'll have any more?

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Smarty Pants! I feel your pain.;)

I love to read a lot of different H/S/Spice/Kimani/Steeple Hill lines, and would like to try my hand at writing a few others. (I'd love to write a Nocturne, for example) But Harlequin is very adamant about building authors in their "home" line, and having them be a mainstay for that line. Don't get me wrong--I love Intrigue! But even to branch out and write a Blaze every 18 months or so stresses my editor.

Good luck finding your niche with your stories!

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Virginia--I'm a longtime Intrigue lover, too.

I started reading the line from the very first book when it came out in 1984 (I was in college then, just a wee babe ;))--THE KEY by Rebecca Flanders. I've been a fan ever since.

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Kathy--glad to oblige on the April Fool's Day overkill. ;)

I think you'll really enjoy the RWA conference. Unfortunately, I may not be able to make it this year. But Nashville is a great city, and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex is fabulous. Plus, the opportunity to attend so many wonderful workshops and network with authors and industry professionals is invaluable to aspiring authors and romance fans.

Just be sure to rest up before you go--and wear comfy shoes. That first conference can be overwhelming because there's just so much to take in. But once you're rested and have had a chance to process everything you've learned, I think you'll discover it was well worth the trip.

Enjoy! Safe travels.

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Sherry--glad you stopped by.

So you like a little of everything, eh? Isn't it wonderful that Series Romance gives us so many types of stories and tones, settings and genres, and talented storytellers to choose from? Something for every mood!

robynl said...

great times ahead at the conference; I can't attend, sobbing here. LOL.

I like Intrique, Silhouette's Romantic Suspense and liked the Next line also.

I like that they are quick reads. Authors have already been mentioned: Debra Webb and Nancy Warren.

Julie Miller said...

robynl--oh yes! Nancy Warren is absolutely one of my favorites. Her Blazes are what got me hooked on the line originally. And she's just a super cool lady, besides. ;)

Wish everyone could go to RT, just for one day, even, to experience the chaos and wonder of the convention.

Laure said...

Thank you for the prank free post. I personally can't stand that holiday. sigh.

I love a good series romance. Perfect comfort reads, and some wonderful emotional storytelling.

I snap up all the Blazes I can. I love that they're starting to include more themes like historicals and paranormals. Joanne Rock, Jo Leigh, Jill Shalvis are all favorites.

I also like a good Historical and the occasional Nocturne or previous Lunas when they aren't vampire/wereworlf/demon related. It's been too long since I read an intrigue or Super. I'll have to fix that.

Julie Miller said...

Laure--I hope you'll give Intrigues another try. They hold a special place in my heart, of course, but the line is producing quite a variety of stories these days. They're all romantic suspense, of course, but many of them are deeply emotional reads, too. Some focus more on atmosphere and psychological suspense while others are more about slam-bam action and danger. Intrigue has cops, cowboys, paranormal, medicals, thrillers, and more. If you like suspense at all, there's probably an author and story you'll like in Intrigue.

To be honest, I haven't read a Jill Shalvis Blaze yet, but Joanne Rock (loved her Baseball Encounters book!) and Jo Leigh (I'm reading her Encounters book right now) are two of my faves.

Thanks for stopping by the Playground!

Linda Henderson said...

I read a lot of different series romance lines, Intrigues, Nocturnes, Blazes, Desires, Presents, Romance, American, Special Editions, you name it and I will read it. I really enjoy the Intrigue line because I have always enjoyed mystery and suspense as well as regular romance so these suit me very well. I have always enjoyed your books and I can't wait to read your latest.

Danny said...

Hi Julie,

your Taylor Clan books got my completely hooked on Harlequin Intrigue books. I love the continuity in the books, like the Taylor clan books. Beside Intrigue I have read NASCAR, Blaze, SIM, American and Superromance. S

Julie Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

Wow, you really are well-read across many lines. Wish I could take you to RT with me as a Series Romance expert! ;)

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Danny--good to "see" you here. Will you be at RT this year? I know it's a long journey for you to get there.

What a lovely compliment about my Taylor Clan books drawing you to Intrigue--I deeply appreciate that.

Take care.

Danny said...

Hi Julie,

unfortunately I won't be able to attend this year's RT but maybe I will be able to attend RWA in Nashville this year. Will you be there?

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Danny--
I'm still on the fence about going to RWA. Right now it doesn't look as if I'll be there.

With a kid in college, I find myself looking at my budget in a whole new way.

But I miss RWA--haven't been to a conference for a few years now. I need a fix!

Danny said...

For me it looks like I will be attending RWA in the future instead of RT, because if everything goes well I will start teaching this summer

Julie Miller said...

And the winner is...


Instigator will get your mailing info, and I'll get a copy of TAKEDOWN (or another backlist title if you already have it) ASAP!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by!


Danny said...

Big congrats Kathy!