Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 3rd book in the Truman brother miniseries!

If you've read Hiding His Witness, you know Reilly has two equally amazing brothers. Brady's book will be published in the fall of 2013 (it seems like a long wait, doesn't it?).

The 3rd brother, Harris, will have his book published at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

The most fun news from my editor was that HRS offered my last contract as a two book contract! I'll start work on that book soon after I get my thoughts organized.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Winner!

The winner of a signed copy of Hiding His Witness is...

*drumroll, please*

Jessica Lewis!

Jessica, please email me (cj AT cj-miller DOT COM) your mailing address and I'll get your copy in the mail this weekend! I hope everyone had fun and GOOD LUCK with the GRAND PRIZE!

Harlequin Holiday Open House - Clue #3 The Hero


Thank you to ISAFMEDIA for this photo.

A Killer Christmas Clue #3: Nicholas not only had to finish the marathon, he had to finish it in better time than Michael. Being the first in their squad to cross the finish line would mean a lot to him. Pride and bragging rights were at stake. He had been training for months. A few feet to his left, Jessica was putting her all into the run and wearing a pair of running pants that showed off her athletic figure. Not that she needed to put in much effort to look good. Jessica was beautifully strong and incredibly sexy. Nicholas turned his focus back to the race. Their team had to finish ahead of Michael’s.

Your clue is : The Sexy Marine

To play A Killer Christmas:
Gather other clues here.

To Win the Grand Prize, an HRS Book Bundle:
Save this clue to enter it here by 6pm EST for a chance to win an HRS Book Bundle!

To Win a copy of Hiding His Witness:
Who makes the best hero? The rugged cowboy? The rogue detective? The cute fireman? Leave a comment about your favorite romantic suspense hero for your chance to win a copy of Hiding His Witness! We'll randomly select one commenter. Check back at 3pm EST 7pm EST to find out if you've won. (We've extended the time to give more readers/commenters in other time zones a chance to play the game! )

Friday, November 30, 2012

Save the Date : eHarlequin Holiday Party


Save the Date! Everyone is invited!

Visit the e-harlequin Harlequin Romantic Suspense holiday party on December 14th from 11am to 3pm EST for a chance to win prizes, talk to the authors of Harlequin Romantic Suspense books, and celebrate the holiday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Duo: Hiding His Witness and The Cop's Missing Child


A few books showed up on my doorstep today. It was Hiding His Witness paired with the Cop's Missing Child. I had no idea my book was being released with a Karen Whiddon book!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Signed up to be a RITA judge and Hiatus

I signed up today to judge the RITA contest. It will be my first time judging and I'm excited about it!

This week kicks off So You Think You Can Write. If you want to write for Harlequin, do it! As the winner of New Voices in 2011, author Natalie Charles has some advice to share.

As for my next book, I'm deep into my revisions, although I might be suffering from revision fatigue. It could also be that I'm almost 39 weeks pregnant :)

This will be my last blog post for awhile as I take some time off to spend with the new little one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book giveaway at Riding With The Top Down

I'm blogging today at Riding With The Top Down and giving away a copy of Hiding His Witness. Leave a comment on the site for your chance to win.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hiding His Witness: debut book on Dear Author


I'm talking about my debut book today on Dear Author!

The Pink Heart Society : Hiding His Witness call story


I'm sharing my Call Story with the readers of the Pink Heart Society today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Accepted to PAN

I've been accepted to RWA's PAN (Published Author Network)!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hiding His Witness reviewed on cataromance

"Plenty of danger plus intensely moving scenes make HIDING HIS WITNESS an intriguing debut novel."

Read more at cataromance.

The Hot Pink Typewriter interview


I'm being interviewed today at the Hot Pink Typewriter! Stop by and say hello!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sold!

My editor called today to let me know that Harlequin wants to buy my second book!

If you enjoyed Reilly's book, Hiding His Witness, I hope you'll enjoy his brother Brady's book: Suspect Reunion.

More to follow!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My book is available on Harlequin.com!



I wonder if authors who have published dozens of books still get the same thrill of excitement seeing their book appear on the web?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hiding His Witness reviewed at RT Book reviews

I've never written a book review on a website, I avoid public exchanges about controversial writing issues (although my writing buddy Cera Daniels has received a good number of "what in the world is this?" emails from me), and I don't log in to social media on a daily basis.

Primarily, this is because I spend my non-writing, non-working, non-other life duties time reading romance novels.

Imagine my surprise to learn my book has been reviewed by RT Book Reviews! (requires subscription to see review)

Excerpt: "Great characters, fast-paced action and a well-developed plot make this a great read."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

RWA PAN

I sent my application to RWA to join their Published Authors Network!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway through August 11th



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Hiding His Witness by C.J. Miller

Hiding His Witness

by C.J. Miller


Giveaway ends August 11, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blog Tour

Announcing the Hiding His Witness Blog Tour:

- Thursday, August 16th: Hot Pink Typewriter


- Wednesday, August 22nd: Pink Heart Society


- Wednesday, August 29th: Riding with the Top Down





Monday, June 18, 2012

Editing Symbols

I got a good laugh out of this: editing symbols




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hiding His Witness book cover



(c) Harlequin 2012

"Which of you is the real Carey?"

Detective Reilly Truman has dealt with frightened witnesses before, but his gut tells him Carey Smith is on the run. And whoever she's running from terrifies her far more than any serial killer. Carey trusts no one. But Reilly is determined to protect the vulnerable beauty despite her resistance.

As they hide out together at his family's secluded ranch, there's no escaping the desire simmering between them. Carey knows better than to fall for her protector. For Carey, falling in love is more terrifying than her peril. Because to get his revenge her vicious pursuer will kill anyone she cares about....

Pre-order:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Books-A-Million


IndieBound

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hiding His Witness Back Cover

"Which of you is the real Carey?"

Detective Reilly Truman has dealt with frightened witnesses before, but his gut tells him Carey Smith is on the run. And whoever she's running from terrifies her far more than any serial killer. Carey trusts no one. But Reilly is determined to protect the vulnerable beauty despite her resistance.

As they hide out together at his family's secluded ranch, there's no escaping the desire simmering between them. Carey knows better than to fall for her protector. For Carey, falling in love is more terrifying than her peril. Because to get his revenge her vicious pursuer will kill anyone she cares about....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

E-Reader

I've been thinking about buying an e-reader. I usually read paperbacks or use my laptop, but neither fits neatly into my handbag. I would never be caught bored in a long line / waiting for a show to start / waiting for a seat in a restaurant if I had an e-reader.

Recently, we've had to clear out closet and bookshelf space, and I had to part with some paperbacks. If I had those same books on an e-reader, I wouldn't have had to let them go!

If only I could load all my favorite books onto the e-reader without re-buying copies.

Any suggestions for one e-reader over another? Pros and cons?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Deep in Revisions on Book 2

I received a revise and resubmit letter from my editor at Harlequin. It took about 3 months from the time I sent my query and manuscript to receive the letter.

She made some great suggestions and I feel like I should have seen some of the problems in the novel.

Her ideas sparked other ideas, and I am in the midst of major revisions. Major, as in I deleted 30,000 words of 73,000 word novel.

If I can keep to my schedule, I should be able to resubmit within 4 weeks, my goal for revisions.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Great items and a great cause

Brenda Novak's Annual Auction for the Cure for Diabetes: Many exciting items for readers and writers and it's all for a good cause!

I'm scrolling through the hundreds of items and deciding which ones I'd like to bid on. Autographed copies of books! Critiques!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Next Book

I have more ideas for stories than I have time to write them. The bigger problem is whether I can turn a story into a full length manuscript with enough conflict and twists to make it interesting and that others will want to read.

I am writing the final chapter of my third book targeted for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and the next book idea that is nagging me isn't a romantic suspense. It's a contemporary romance.

I've written a plot outline for the book and no where did suspense elements appear. Not even a sliver of one.

I'm trying to decide with my very limited writing time: should I follow my muse and write the contemporary romance, or stick to romantic suspense and work on one of my dozen ideas in my idea file. (Yes, I actually have a file where I keep my book ideas).

Or both. I could write both at the same time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Author Alterations (AAs)

I received my Author Alterations from Harlequin today.

This is the last opportunity I'll have to make changes. The next time I see my book, it will be in print!

I need to read the manuscript carefully and look for problems. I feel confident that most of the issues have been worked out during revisions, line edits, and copy edits. Still, it's good to check that nothing is drastically wrong!

I'm not sure any book is 100% perfect. I've read New York Times bestsellers that have had grammar issues. I even read one where during the final scene, the heroine called the hero by her brother's name.

I have two and a half weeks to review this document and send back any changes.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Copyedits

I received my copy edits from Harlequin. The copy editor processed the changes my editor and I made to the manuscript, and made grammar, spelling, and formatting corrections.

She had a few suggestions for additional edits, including an inconsistency in character introspection, a dialogue change, and a legal process that needed clarification.

Overall, not too difficult. For those keeping track of timing and other post-call activities, I was given four days to complete them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My book is available for pre-order!

Hiding His Witness is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

I wonder if every book will bring this much of a thrill. It's still about 6 months until the release date, but it's starting to seem real.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Resarch

I've been doing research for my current work in progress. As I write, when I don't know something or need a fact check, I make a note in the margins and keep typing. with this book, the margin questions started to pop every paragraph. I knew I had to step back and take some time to figure out the details.

I've chosen a part of the world I am not as familiar with: the Middle East. My husband and his family lived there for a number of years and they have been great providing information, books, and personal anecdotes about their experiences. Internet searches have helped a little too.

I've having fun with this book and learning a lot, although the extra research has slowed the pace of my writing a bit. Once I hash out the details, I hope the flow of words will increase.

What are your favorite ways to research? Do you research your book first and then write, or write and research in tandem?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Front Matter

The next step in the publishing process is completing the front matter for my book.

This includes:

- Author biography : short and to the point

- Dear Reader Letter : From the ones that I've read, this is usually 3-4 paragraphs about what the book is about or what inspired the book. Sometimes, the author shares a personal story about writing the book.

- Dedication (optional)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Love Scene

Love scenes in romance novels (or any type of novel really) should be organic to the story. I don't believe in writing love scenes to meet a quota and thankfully, this isn't a problem when writing for Harlequin. Some of the lines have different heat levels, but there's no number of pages or certain number of love scenes required per book.

In my current work in progress, I have two characters who come from very different backgrounds, culturally, socially, and economically. The heroine of my novel is Muslim and she believed until recently that she would have an arranged marriage. For this reason, she isn't experienced with men and generally avoided being alone with them.

When the hero becomes part of her life, because her arranged marriage is no longer an option, she is thinking differently about what she wants for her future and from a relationship with a man.

The dilemma I have is that I am not sure how she would react to a new sexual experience with the hero (at this point, kissing/touching). Would she feel excited? Guilty? Awkward?

And how would the hero react to knowing she is inexperienced with men? Would he be hesitant? Try to resist her?

How do you get into the emotions of a love scene and explore what your characters are feeling?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Line Edits

If you've been following my progress in preparing my contracted book for publication, the next step in the publication process is completing line edits. I was given a week to complete this task.

Line edits are revisions to the completed manuscript, but less intensive than the story revisions I completed earlier.

My editor made notes throughout the manuscript for me to address.

Line edits included:
1. changing words (for example, in cases where I use the same word(s) or phrase close together).
2. adding clarification to scene details or removing sentences/phrases that didn't fit
3. moving sentences around to make the scene/emotions flow smoother

My editor also:
1. added missing words
2. corrected words / sentences
3. added missing / removed extra punctuation

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How I Avoid Writer's Block

I've never had writer's block. I don't allow myself to believe in it. I tell myself I am too busy to waste my limited writing time NOT putting words on the page.

I turn off the TV. I close my internet browser. I go to a quiet place in the house.

I keep book and story ideas in a spreadsheet and use it when I need inspiration.

I have days when the words don't flow as well or when I've written myself into a corner and don't know how to take the current scene into the next one. I've also had days when I write complete garbage that has to be deleted and redone.

I resolve this by either (1.) writing something completely new. (2.) skipping over the current problem scene and starting with the new scene. I know I'll have to come back at some point and resolve the problem, but by then, I'll have been thinking it over and will have some fresh take on the scene.

I also think it's important to my creative process to read. Not just romance novels, but newspaper articles, nonfiction, books outside the romance genre, and magazine articles. It keeps fresh ideas in my head.

What ways have you found to combat writer's block? What do you do when the words just aren't flowing?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Promo

The closer it gets to the month my book will be released, the more I've been thinking about how to promote my book. Social media - twitter, facebook, blogs, and google+. Online advertising, newsletters, and book tours. It can get overwhelming fast.

This post by Maisey Yates struck a chord: The Most Important Thing

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New submission to HRS

This past weekend, I emailed a query, synopsis, and new manuscript to my editor at Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I wrote, critiqued, revised and organized the submission in 4 months. Four months was my target time frame when I started writing the book in October 2011. I wanted to know if it was possible for me to complete a book in 16 weeks, especially one that is longer in length. (The new word count for HRS is 70-75,000 words.)

Turns out, it's completely possible. I didn't feel as though I needed to go to any extremes (skipping sleep, canceling plans, missing events) to meet it either.

I have my fingers crossed that Harlequin will want to buy it!

The day after I submitted the manuscript, I started my next manuscript. I already had an idea and outline lodged in my mind, so it was easy going.

I was talking to another writing buddy and she mentioned that it helps her to take a break between books.

I haven't taken days off from writing since I had my son a little over a year ago.

Do you think time away helps creativity or hurts it? How much time away is TOO much time?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

F.A.Q. How many books have you written?

I've written 1 contracted soon-to-be published book with Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

At last count, I have written 16 complete manuscripts and dozens of partial manuscripts and scenes I wrote for practice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

F.A.Q. How do you write?

My writing process changes over time. The only consistent element is that I write 6 days a week. Here's a basic idea of how I write.

I start with an idea. I flush it out and outline the main components, like the hero and heroine's inner conflicts, the external conflict, twists in the plot and the general sequence of events. I usually get a strong sense of the beginning and the ending.

I write the first draft. That takes 6-8 weeks working at least an hour a day, more often 2-3 hours. While I write, I re-read in blocks and ship chapters off to my critique partner. She sends those back and I review her comments in case the book has gone off the rails completely. I make some changes, leaving most of the comments as items to review later.

I don't write with the TV on, the radio playing, or with an internet browser opened. It's just me and my characters. When I need to multitask or when I know I'll have distractions, that's when answer emails and work on promotional stuff.

I start writing the query letter, usually just key phrases I think might work and jot down a skeleton synopsis.

Occasionally (more often then I'd like), I realize a major problem and do a massive rewrite. But those situations I try to avoid. *smile*

I periodically email myself copies of the manuscript for back up purposes.

When I've finished the draft and have had all the chapters critiqued, I read through the entire manuscript with the remaining comments. Sometimes, they are suggestions I wasn't sure I liked or changes I wasn't sure worked. I make revisions taking into account revelations I've had while writing.

I revise. I make more comments and changes. Layer in details. Repeat this step some number of times.

I re-read the entire book and smooth out problems. I resolve all comments and suggestions. At this point, the book is almost finished.

Then I re-read the entire revised manuscript. If I can read it without needing too many changes (typos: fine, major flaws: not fine), then I feel like it's ready to be sent out.

I revise the query and synopsis. I read it every day for a week, tuning and changing, editing and tweaking. When I can read it for 3-5 days without thinking parts need to work, I consider it ready to mail off to Harlequin.

What's your writing process? Have a time saving process?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

F.A.Q. Where do you get your ideas?

When someone learns I'm a soon-to-be published author with Harlequin Romantic Suspense, the most frequent question I'm asked is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

The answer is simple. Lots of places! I can normally pinpoint exactly what set off a story idea or who inspired a character's traits.

Real life is a great source of inspiration.

I have a friend from another country who came to America, fell in love with an American man, and they wanted to marry. The American man and America was okay with it. The woman's family - who were royalty in her country - were not happy with the marriage. Her parents wanted their daughter to marry someone of her social and economic stature - and from her native country.

I have another friend in the opposite situation. She went to another country, met a man, fell in love. She wanted to marry him and bring him home to America. They married and then learned that America was not okay with allowing this man inside the border. He had committed a crime in his youth, and despite petitions and the amount of time that had passed since the crime, this couple had to jump through fire hoops to be together in America.

I was even-exchanging a shirt I received as a gift for a different size and due to the difference in tax rates, the balance was $0.05. I didn't have cash on me and was getting ready to charge the $0.05. The man behind me, a complete stranger, hands over the nickel. I turn to thank him and I find myself looking up at a tall, handsome paramedic with a 1000 watt smile. Hero material for sure.

I also get ideas from the news, music (especially country music), television, conversations I overhear, and nonfiction books (plenty of, "but what if such-and-such had happened instead?").

Everything goes into my mind, gets twisted together with my imagination, and out pops a book idea. Sometimes the idea is not complex enough to form an entire book and it gets jotted into a notepad text file and saved for later. Other times, it spawns a complete novel.

Where do you get your book ideas?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Harlequin Pitch Contests

I received an email from one of the winners of the Harlequin Romantic Suspense Pitch Contest asking me about my online pitching experiences.

Harlequin holds online pitch contests quarterly, possibly more often, for various imprints. It's a chance to enter a contest (a FREE contest) and win time with an editor to sell them on your book idea. Worst case, it's pitching practice. Best case, you get a request and can send your materials as REQUESTED MATERIALS.

I thought I would share what I told her in case anyone else finds this helpful:

- If you can, have a one line blurb ready to answer the question, "What is you book about?" When I did the pitch contest, I was given 10 minutes with an editor in an online chat room. The time flies and you don't want to waste time thinking over how to succinctly discuss your book. For ideas, read the back cover blurbs on HRS books (they are on the Harlequin website)

- Prepare a few statements about what makes your book unique from other HRS books. Maybe you have a hero with an interesting job or a setting that hasn't been used often. Bringing this to the editor's attention will show how your book is "the same, but different", which is a phrase I've heard several times from Harlequin editors.

- HRS is more romance than suspense (as opposed to Intrigue, which focuses more on the suspense), so I'd have in mind a few ideas about how to discuss the romantic conflict, and the internal conflicts for both the hero and heroine.

- If you haven't already listened to them, the HRS podcasts are useful.

In my experience, the editors are really nice and understand we're nervous. So if you have typos or fumble a bit, that's fine. Just keep going!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reviews

My book is soon-to-be published and therefore I have not been reviewed on any websites, magazines, or newspapers. I have begun to think about (and prepare) for when my book is reviewed. Not everyone is going to like it. Some of those people may be book reviewers.

This is a great post on what to do about a negative review: what to do

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My First Book Title

My first book with Harlequin Romantic Suspense has an official title:

Hiding His Witness

I love it. So excited. Thrilled, in fact.

Most of the Harlequin books I've read have titles that clearly spell out what the book is about and mine is no exception. I had some other title suggestions, including one that my editor also had thought of and liked, but the title can't be too similar to other books due out around the time mine is released.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Art Fact Sheet and Book Title

If you've been following my progress since receiving a contract offer from Harlequin Romantic Suspense, I've been doing my best to track my writing activity on this blog. I hope it is helpful to get details from a soon-to-be published author about what happens after The Call.

Yesterday, I was introduced to the system Harlequin uses for creating cover art and back cover copy. The artists and editors ask for author input, such as suggested scenes, descriptions of characters, and plot synopsis. The hardest part for me is explaining the book briefly to someone who has never read it. I sink into the thick of my plot and my characters and it's hard to take a step back and type a few sentences explaining clearly what the book is about.

My editor (every time I type those words, I feel like a rock star...) also asked for a few suggestions for titles. My working title is Double Witness, which is lacking on the romance side. I'm doing some brainstorming at the moment and have a list of possible words to use. I'm trying some mixing and matching to see what I can come up with for a good book title. I have a few pet peeves about books titles, and while I don't have final say on the title, I'd like to steer mine away from those.

In other news, my first draft of my next book is complete. I'm starting revisions today.

Thanks for reading!