Missing in Action!

Hi, folks! I was supposed to be interviewing Mary Gilgannon today, but we had some extenuating circumstances. So thought I'd step in and share a bit of my experience from RWA Nationals. Actually, this is from Kiss of Death, the online romantic suspense/mystery chapter. Each year we meet wherever the conference is and we go on a tour that has to do with suspense & mystery. This year we went to Lackland Air Force Base to learn about the special forces and then we went to Fort Sam Houston to learn about Combat Medic Training.

Here are a few pics from the tour:
Originally we were supposed to meet the soldiers who work with the dogs, but they were called away through the night before. So we went around various parts of the base and saw this statue.
I just thought this pic was cool. We were on our way to watch how some of the Air Force special forces trained. The special forces we met were like the police for the base, which I didn't know.
This is an example of a vehicle used by medics.

This is one of the mannequins involved in training medics. In here they learn to put all the information from their brains to practical use.



Harlequin Intrigue

USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Miller returns to The Precinct with a tale of a killer on the loose and a tornado about to hit Kansas City

There was no way Deputy Commissioner George Madigan was going to let his beautiful assistant fall prey to a stalker. Because Elise Brown wasn't just another employee. Her vulnerable blue eyes triggered all of George's protective instincts…and now her life was in jeopardy.

Working together almost 24/7 to bring the perp to justice—and sharing kisses passionate enough to ignite a Kansas City heat wave—George and Elise had forged the kind of partnership that could keep her out of harm's way and potentially lead to happily ever after. 

Until a deadly tornado struck and Elise was taken hostage….

Read a little, buy the book

JULIE MILLER is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 50 books--with a National Readers Choice Award and two Daphne du Maurier awards among other prizes. She was also honored with a Career Achievement Award in Series Romantic Suspense from Romantic Times Book Reviews. Many of her books have appeared on the USA Today, Amazon and BookScan Top 100 Romances bestseller lists.

Julie joined the Harlequin family when her first Intrigue, ONE GOOD MAN, was published in 2000. Since then, she has crafted the best-selling, award-winning Taylor Clan series for Intrigue, as well as its equally successful spin-off series, THE PRECINCT. While she continues to write about cops and crime scenes for Intrigue and other special projects at Harlequin, Ms. Miller has also published military romantic suspense and paranormal romantic suspense books herself. Millions of copies of her books have been sold around the world.

Julie is a teacher who grew up in Missouri and now lives in Nebraska with her husband (a teacher and YA author), son and an assortment of spoiled pets. She's been dubbed the resident "Grammar Goddess" of her local writing group, The Prairieland Romance Writers. You may write Julie at P.O. Box 5162, Grand Island, NE 68802-5162, or contact her through her website at www.juliemiller.org. Check out Julie's book giveaway contests, monthly newsletter and more on her website.

Hey Julie, You've been writing for several years about THE PRECINCT. The last time you were on GLIAS I asked:
How do you keep the series fresh and what's different about this mini-series?
YOU ANSWERED:  I think the Precinct is different because it’s that unique blend of urban cops and that small-town, Midwestern vibe that you find in Kansas City, where the books are set.

ANGI: Is THE PRECINCT modeled after a real Kansas City precinct?
JULIE: No. The real KC precincts are named after areas of the city, such as Metro, Central, North, etc. I’ve given them numerical titles to emphasize that I’m writing fiction, not true crime stories. Most of my Precinct stories take place in the fictional Fourth Precinct. I’ve based the building designs I use in my books on the real KCPD headquarters in downtown Kansas City. Historic limestone and granite. Marble floors. Elevators. Cubicles. Layers of security. The different departments housed there (admin, dispatch, investigations, SWAT, etc.). The details are real. Some of my characters are even inspired by real officers/staff I’ve met and seen there. But my Precinct is a conglomeration of research and observations I’ve had with different KCPD members at different sites in different parts of the city.

ANGI: How did you get the idea for a tornado in KCPD Protector?
JULIE: KC is in the heart of tornado alley. I’ve always wanted to do a “natural disaster” story, but I knew I had to keep the romantic suspense elements going, too. I knew this book was going to come out in the heat of summer—and summers in KC can be pretty hot and humid, with all the water in the area. Prime magnets for severe weather. I’ve hidden in the basement many times during tornado warnings, and I’ve even been in a situation where the weather hit before a “watch” turned into a “warning” and the sirens went off--so I could write realistically about the weather in this book. The weather became a secondary character as I wrote—a villain of sorts that mirrored the villain stalking the heroine. The weather worsened each time his terror campaign escalated.

ANGI: What's your favorite thing about George in KCPD Protector?
JULIE: His name? My late father’s name was George, as is my “baby” brother (soon to be a Lt. Colonel in the Army!). George tends to be a name that gets made fun of or used in cartoons—but to me, it has always been an heroic name. So I’m glad to give the name some positive press and do justice to the Georges in my family. I like, too, that George Madigan is a mature hero. He figures love has passed him by, so falling in love surprises him. But because he is that seasoned veteran of life and love, he takes things seriously. He’s a rock of dependability. A true leader. He commands the respect of the entire department because he’s earned it. He’s a man who uses his brain, authority and life experience as much as his gun and brawn. I loved writing him!

ANGI: What are who inspired the hero for KCPD Protector?
JULIE: My dad. He used to say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I figured the same applied to the leader of cops as well as the military. “Once a cop, always a cop.” In fact, that was the original title of KCPD PROTECTOR, Once a Cop…

ANGI: Your favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. Is BEAUTY AND THE BADGE anything like the fairy tale?
JULIE: It’s my favorite romantic storyline. So yes, I created a “beast” of a hero in Det. Kevin Grove. He’s big and strong, definitely not handsome, and not real smooth in the romance department. It takes a woman with a “beautiful” personality to find the heart inside him.

ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading KCPD Protector?
JULIE: My instinct is to say some mellow jazz to suit George’s maturity. But I think he’s probably got some 80’s rock secretly blasting inside him. And for some reason, I keep hearing the music from The Wizard of Oz. Must be the cyclone in the story. And you know it and the bad guy are coming. So yeah, I hear that pulsing Wicked Witch theme in my head.

ANGI: Your favorite villain is the Wicked Witch of the West. Did you like what ONCE UPON A TIME did with her story line?
JULIE: I am a HUGE fan of that show. But I will confess, that that wasn’t my favorite storyline. Although, I loved that Regina got to be “good” for a change—I loved her romance with Robin Hood (knew it was too good to last!) and that it was her true love for Henry, her adopted son, that broke the spell. I know they tried to do a riff on WICKED, but as a big fan of that show, as well as the Oz stories, it just didn’t quite work for me. But I’m stoked to see the Snow Queen stepping through the time portal at the end of the season finale!

ANGI: If you could portray the Wicked Witch…what would you like best?
JULIE: I love playing a good villain! The wicked laugh (a la Margaret Hamilton) would be a lot of fun. Say something pithy or threatening, then laugh like that? Love it. And transporting from place to place on a puff of smoke would be pretty cool, too.

ANGI: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
JULIE: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. ;) I love my heroes. So falling in love every day and living a grand adventure (there’s usually some part of me in every heroine, so that’s where I fit into the story) is pretty exciting stuff.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: I know that you are a star in your local theater company. What do you like best about being on stage?
JULIE'S GOTTA ANSWER: I love inhabiting another person. There’s an intellectual challenge and a creative fun involved in discovering that character’s motivations and goals, and in experiencing their joys and fears. It’s a chance to be somebody different in a totally safe way. Despite being so shy, I’ve never had stage fright—because it’s that character onstage, not Julie Miller. That has always been an emotional freedom I’ve loved. Plus, I’ve made some wonderful friends in our community theater, so it’s a lot of fun to hang out with them and work together to entertain, educate and enlighten our audiences. Some people knit or make scrapbooks or run for a hobby—I do theater (onstage, backstage, directing). It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun!

Website   Facebook   Twitter @JulieMillerAuth   Goodreads  
Previous GLIAS interviews

Harlequin Intrigue 
Oct 21st

Intrigue Noir
November '14

Catch up on all the PRECINCT series






JULIE is giving away  a copy of KCPD PROTECTOR (winner's choice in print or digital). International giveaway

Note: COMMENTERS are encouraged to leave a contact email address to speed the prize notification process. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

 ANGI'S back next Wednesday with
UP NEXT ON GLIAS:  Mary Gillgannon
Get Lost on Goodreads, Facebook
or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

JULIE WANTS TO KNOW: What's your favorite hero name? Or tell me about scary weather where you live.


Get Lost in a Riveting Southern Mystery and Author Lisa Turner

Get Lost in a Story Readers, Lisa Turner's debut, A Little Death in Dixie, took the mystery world by storm.  She's done it again in The Gone Dead Train.  And we're lucky enough to learn just how that happened.  Please welcome Lisa Turner to Get Lost in a Story!

About The Gone Dead Train

A riveting Southern mystery in which Memphis detective Billy Able descends into the bizarre world of flawed heroes, Santería voodoo, and cold-hearted killings linked to a damning photograph and a stunning betrayal by a civil rights icon

Burned by his last case, Memphis detective Billy Able is at a crossroads. He doubts himself. He doubts his career. But he can't turn off instincts honed by a decade on the force.

The suspicious deaths of two legendary bluesmen are ruled due to natural causes. Convinced that a crime has been committed, Billy Able and straitlaced female cop Frankie Malone refuse to let it go. A voodoo curse, a Santerían priest, and a decades-old photograph may connect the seemingly unrelated homicides. But the clues don't add up until a third victim is cruelly murdered. Guilt-ridden, Billy swears to dig into the city's dark history for answers, then finds himself caught up in a web of incriminating evidence. Hunter becomes prey. Frankie has his back as they race to solve the deadly puzzle from which Billy may not come out alive.

DONNELL:  Let's Welcome Lisa Turner to Get Lost in a Story!  First of all,
readers, I have to tell you this author can tell a story.  If you haven’t checked out A Little Death of Dixie, please do.  But today, we’re going to focus on The Gone Dead Train.  First of all, Lisa, you’re an interesting case!  Your first book was published through Bell Bridge Books, correct?.  Harper Collins discovered your phenomenal writing and like the train you write about in book two said, All aboard!  So question number one is, did you or did they come up with the title, Gone Dead Train, and please tell readers what it means?

LISA: Hi Donnell. Thanks for the invitation. I arrived at HarperCollins with the title, The Gone Dead Train. At first they weren’t too sure about it. Six months later they decided it was perfect. They either took a poll or it grew on them.  

Creating stories has taught me to ask myself a question and leave space for an answer to show up on its own. I didn’t have a title for my latest book, but I knew that if I waited it would come.

One stormy morning I was looking through research materials when the tornado sirens went off. We don’t have a basement, so I grabbed a book of blues lyrics meant to be read as poetry and settled in a chair away from the windows. A train motif runs through the story, probably because the Norfolk Southern tracks are about a mile from my home, and I can hear the trains running day and night. I heard a train whistle blow just as the book fell open to “The Gone Dead Train,” a blues song recorded in 1932 by King Solomon Hill. I got the chills and knew I’d found my title.

Later in the day, I learned a neighbor’s tree had been twisted out of the ground like a corkscrew. A tornado had passed right over our heads.

DONNELL:  Your reviews on your debut novel are terrific!  They rave about how you take the reader through Memphis, and about your ability to write police procedurals.  Do you have a background in law enforcement?  And how did you make Detective Billy Able so spot on?

LISA: I have zero background in law enforcement and didn’t start out to write a book with a detective as the lead. In A Little Death in Dixie, Mercy Snow, whose sister goes missing, was the original protagonist. But the detective, a secondary character, took over. Local homicide detectives, criminal attorneys, and a private eye gave me hours of their time, answering questions and telling me their stories.  

Procedural research for The Gone Dead Train was easier with the help of my brilliant cousin, Lieutenant James Flatter of the Monroe County Sherriff’s Dept. Key West. He told me amazing stories and walked me through some of the inside baseball of law enforcement. James Freeman, a character in the book, is modeled after him. Sadly, James passed away suddenly a little over year ago. I miss him terribly.

DONNELL:  Voodoo and a Santerian priest—there’s tremendous cultural references here. When I think voodoo, I think of Louisiana.  Santerian I think of Africa.  First, do you believe in voodoo?  I confess someone sent me a doll and it’s on the top of my closet, unopened.  Is this something you’ve dealt with personally, or did you have to do a lot of research to write this story?

LISA:  You’re right, Santeriá and voodoo are not the same, although you can find evil curses in both. The form of Santeriá I researched is specifically Cuban, which has migrated to Key West. Again, my cousin, a thirty-year veteran cop who spent most of his career in Key West, was the reason I included Santeriá in the book. He described finding curses at murder scenes that told him the victims were believers, and in some cases, that the curses were involved in their deaths. I’ve included those details in a scene in my book. So James had the firsthand experience, not me; however, I’ve read several books on the religion (it’s not a cult). When the publisher asked me to expand Santerá in the storyline, my one-scene witchdoctor became the enigmatic Dr. Sergio Ramos, a highly regarded psychologist and practicing santero. And he’s a cutie. Think Antonio Banderos.

          The voodoo doll wrapped up in your closet is called contagious magic. It’s believed that whatever happens to that doll will happen to the person it’s fashioned after. From what I’ve read, I’d talk to an expert before disposing of it.

DONNELL:  How would you categorize your books?  Are they straight thrillers, suspense, any romance included?  What is the easiest thing to write about Billy, and what would you say is the hardest.  Does he ever surprise you?  Can you picture Bill in you head?

LISA: Your category question sent me trotting off to omnimystery.com for their genre list. According to their definition, I write mysteries with a continuing detective. That means there’s a crime that’s solved by the end of the book, and the writing is atmospheric with character development of the protagonist and antagonist. I touch on relationship development, but a hard-working cop like Billy Able doesn’t get a lot of time off for the ladies.

There’s nothing easy about Billy. He claims to be a simple guy just doing his job, but that’s bull hockey. Yes, his mission is pretty straightforward: representing people who can’t stand up for themselves. And that’s not just for murder victims. It’s Billy’s nature to call out all forms of injustice.

This will sound a little crazy, but Billy tries to hide things from me . . . you know how men are. I have long discussions about Billy with my husband, Rob Sangster. Those talks tell me a lot about both men.

Can I picture Billy in my head? He keeps changing, which is the reason I generalize his physical description. I’ve put up a board of his current iteration on Pinterest.com.

DONNELL:  What comes first for you, plot or character? Or other?

LISA: Memphis comes first because the city and Southern culture are major players in my books. The concept for the plot is next—hopefully it’s a high concept that immediately grabs the imagination. Then Billy and the characters gather around the plot. It’s as if everything about the story already exists, and it’s my job to be a story archeologist.

DONNELL:  You’re living in the fabulous area of Nova Scotia now, a far cry from Memphis.  What do you miss about Memphis, and what’s your favorite thing about living in Nova Scotia?

LISA: We split the year between places, which is ideal. I miss everything about Memphis when I’m gone, but mainly the giant hardwood trees. Oh, and the food, the rhythm of the place, and the sense of fun. I can’t say music because there’s amazing music in Nova Scotia. People put on home concerts for professional players. I’m talking Nashville studio musicians who back up stars on tour. We set up folding chairs and they play for the love of it.

Nova Scotia is a land of people with tough jobs and big hearts. I have a Nova Scotia board on Pinterest. My husband took many of the photos.

One more thing. Nova Scotia is called the Riviera of Canada because the Gulf Stream flows right up the coast. Seven months out of the year the weather is lovely. But don’t tell anyone. We’re trying to keep the place a secret.

DONNELL:  What would you say is the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve ever learned researching a book?

Looking into the Santeriá aspect of The Gone Dead Train, I found myself studying anthropology, religion, and psychology. I would like to have gone into more detail in the story, but pacing wouldn’t allow it.

It’s tempting to sit in judgment about things we don’t understand—things that possibly scare us, but that’s where I want to go with my research.  

DONNELL:  When you’re not writing, where will we find you?

LISA:  When I’m not writing, I’m talking about writing or editing or reading. Rob writes these amazing thrillers about cutting edge issues. His first novel is with Bell Bridge Books entitled Ground Truth. His second manuscript is with the editor, and a third story is cooking on the back of the stove. Rob and I have very different voices and strengths, which makes us a great fit. We have a wonderful time brainstorming story ideas. I fantasize that we’re Dashiell Hammet and Lillian Hellman. I told Rob he gets to be Lillian. You should have seen the frown!

I cook. Writers have to eat. I make jewelry with trade beads. We all need a little bling in our lives, right?

DONNELL:  If you could meet anyone, past or present, living or dead, who would it be and why?

LISA: I’d track down my sixteen-year-old self and have a conversation about the consequences of choices, especially the early ones. As Billy said in The Gone Dead Train, “There are some decisions you just don’t come back from.” The man knows what he’s talking about.

DONNELL:  What comes next for Lisa Turner?

My third novel is underway with the story built around a venerable Memphis law firm. It opens with Billy and Frankie investigating the early morning shooting death of a young female lawyer. She’s dressed in a designer wedding gown and there’s a herd of buffalo that gets involved. Multiple complications set in. This book is very Old South with a few scenes taking place at a Mississippi plantation.

Oh. And Billy is going to have to watch for some competition coming from my bad boy character, Judd Phillips. I’m already falling for him.   
LISA, thank you for being our guest today. Readers, Lisa will be doing a drawing from those who comment today, and extra, extra, A Little Death in Dixie is still $1.99 on Amazon Kindle the next couple of days.  Don't miss out. 




JULY FUN "Live in San Antonio" WINNERS

Please contact us at GetLostInAStory@gmail.com

$10 Gift Card
winner:  Donna D.

Handmade Earrings
winner:  ADA H.

RITA winning autographed book
winner:  Amy C.

1 Book from her backlist
winner: Anita H.

RITA finalist autographed book
winner:  Jan V.E.
winner:  Sarah M.


Live from San Antonio --Day Four

THE FUN continues...
Don't miss the interviews from 
Before San Antonio,
Day OneDay Two, or Day Three

Lara Lacombe interviews debut author Danica Favorite!



Jane Porter & Jan Schliesman

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Live from San Antonio --Day Three

THE FUN continues...
Don't miss the interviews from 
Before San Antonio or Day One or Day Two

Feel like a princess when you're a RITA finalist.
This Historical RITA Finalist book was inspired by a dream.
Just in case you're curious about Frances' Chieftain's Curse...
~ ~ ~

I caught RITA winner and #1 NYT best-selling author Stephanie Laurens
in a cab to the Harlequin Party.
Her October book from MIRA is available for pre-order everywhere.
Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love.

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Live from RWA San Antonio Day Two

MORE interviews and pictures from #RWA14
And don't forget our preview or catch Day One
How do I say your name??
Behind the Camera, Angi Morgan

Jan Schliesman Meets RaeAnne Thayne!
RaeAnne Thayne & Angi Morgan share a smile while E.E. Burke provides the first photo bomb of conference!   Behind the Camera, Angi Morgan

Jan Schliesman Meets the Front of the Line

Jan Schliesman Meets THE END of the Line

Jan Schliesman and Robin Covington

Liz interviews 2014 RITA Finalist Tessa Dare!

Jan Schliesman and Jane Porter

Angi Morgan and Christie Craig
Late Night interview with one of the funniest writers around!

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