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Monday, November 18, 2013

Julie Miller: Celebration Time



Thanks to Lee Hyat for inviting me to be a guest on her blog today!

November 19th marks the release of my 50th book, YULETIDE PROTECTOR.  The holidays seem like an appropriate time for the story to come out because I’m already in a celebrating mood.  As a treat, I’m sharing some pictures that inspired the setting of the story, including the beautiful lights on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri—as well as my own Christmas tree, with its mix of handmade and collectible ornaments.


As you can see, I love the lights of Christmastime.  In YULETIDE PROTECTOR, Detective Spencer Montgomery needs some light in his life to erase the darkness in his soul.  The witness he’s assigned to protect is Bailey Austin, a woman whose sunny beauty, unflinching bravery and determination to celebrate the holidays crack open his hardened heart.  Here’s a teaser from the back cover:

As the lone surviving victim who can put her attacker away in prison, heiress Bailey Austin becomes the key to the D.A.'s case against a notorious criminal. As lead detective, Spencer Montgomery must prep her for trial. But he becomes her personal protector when she starts receiving terrifying "gifts" meant to scare her away from testifying.

Spencer is a cop on the fast track to making captain one day, if he can keep his emotions in check. But as the stalker's threats escalate, he can't deny that Bailey has thawed his icy heart. Her courage touches him in ways no other woman has, and reminds him that she's more important to him than any investigation.

While in hiding, Bailey decorates a fern in Spencer’s apartment with those cut-out paper snowflakes many of us made as kids.  There’s a relentless action scene that takes place on the Plaza in Kansas City, amidst the holiday shoppers and extravagant Christmas lights and d├ęcor.  Then there’s a sweet scene with some family heirloom ornaments.  So I’ve managed to incorporate some of my favorite holiday decorations amidst the driving suspense and terrifying action of this intense love story.

Here’s what RT Book Reviews had to say about my 50th book:

4 1/2 stars, Top Pick! - "Miller's conclusion to the intriguing Rose Red Rapist storyline is picture perfect as she neatly wraps up multiple plotlines and brings justice to all the rapist's victims in this viscerally compelling tale."  Thanks, RT!

Until the book is released tomorrow, you can read an excerpt from YULETIDE PROTECTOR at www.juliemiller.org.


So what are your favorite holiday decorations?  Handmade treasures?  A certain collectible?  Lights?  Yard sculptures?  Big tree or small?  Real pine or artificial?  Are you more Clark Griswold and Tim the Tool Man Taylor when it comes to decorating for the holidays?  Or do you favor a simpler, more traditional decor?

Celebrate book #50 and the holidays with me.  Share your favorite holiday decorations from whatever holiday you celebrate.  I’ll give away a copy of YULETIDE PROTECTOR to one lucky poster. 

Thank you to all my readers!

Julie Miller

***LilSis is the winner for this contest! Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing info!***

30 comments:

Laurie G said...

My daughter made huge 3 dimensional snowflakes that were stapled together and hung on string about the room. I made homemade ornaments for the tree: the little wreaths out of scraps of cloth and ribbon and embroidered ornament kits of Santa, angels and words like joy. The largest homemade item on our tree is a stuffed 18" Santa which was made in college and still sits on top of our tree almost 40 years later! My M-I-L also crafted several stockings out of yarn and those white mesh plastic pieces in different shapes covered with colored yarn.

Julie Miller said...

I love the homemade tradition you have, Laurie. I've discovered my son didn't make many ornaments over the years--but he made lots of wall hangings, mobiles, etc., and I put those up around the house every year.

Valri said...

Even though my kids are all adults now and have "left the nest", my hubby and I still enjoy putting their homemade ornaments on the tree! Because they all live far away, they usually don't come home for Christmas so when we decorate the tree each year, we do it slowly and enjoy each ornament - remembering when they made it. It's a way to pretend they are there! They grow up so fast! We only have one grandchild and she's too young to make an ornament but one of these days maybe she'll add an ornament to our tree!

penney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Miller said...

Sounds like a fun way to take a trip down memory lane, Valri. ;) My mom has a Christmas room, with a tree she keeps up all year (it's a Scandinavian-design wood one my dad made years ago)--and she keeps many of the ornaments my brothers and I, and now her grandchildren have made up year round. It's like putting up a family picture.

Julie Miller said...

Sounds wonderful and colorful, Penney. What a nice gift to get inside a Christmas card, too!

Lilsis said...

My favorites would be the ones made by my kids. I have tried themed trees but always go back to the kids especially since they have taken all the ornaments we purchased for them each year. IU do have one favorite. My Aunt made styrofoam snowmen for my brother and I when we were 3 and 1. My mother saved it and gave them back to us when we were in our 50's.

Looking forward to this book!!!

Gayle Cochrane said...

Congratulations,Julie Miller, on your 50th book. I cant wait to read Yuletide Protector. The whole series has been wonderful.
I have some special felt mice from my childhood, that always help me decorate the tree, an angel bear ornament that was my grandmothers, and the ornaments that my daughter makes. This is our first Christmas in years with a cat in the house, so we are making plans to protect the special ornaments from his curiosity.

CrystalGB said...

My favorite ornaments are a glass bell and a glass santa claus that my mom used on our tree when we were children. I cherish those ornaments now that she has passed on.

Julie Miller said...

From Janelle Hartzell: it wont let me post a comment on the blog but excited for your 50th book congrats and hope to see a lot more from you

Julie Miller said...

From Pam Jones-Hamblin: i can't enter either, Julie. It doesn't have anynon. and i dont have a google account and it doesn't accept my aol name! can u add us anyways?

Julie Miller said...

How fun that your mother returned the ornament to you. That's a real family tradition.

When I have extra time (don't seem to have much of that, anymore-sigh), I've done themed trees. My favorite has been our Star Trek tree. Hubby is such a fan. Have also done patriotic theme. And always set up my little town (my mom has given me the Hallmark home/business ornament every year--up to 30? I think now). Hubby added his collectible Matchbox cars to my town last year. ;)

I'd love to do a Star Wars/Lego tree for our son. And we could do a Charlie Brown one, too. We could do a lot of themed trees at our house.

Julie Miller said...

Thanks, Gayle!

We haven't had a cat for years (extremely allergic!). But I remember "protecting" ornaments from our menagerie. A dog with a strong wagging tail can spell disaster, too. ;) Learned that one a few years back.

Sounds like some wonderful family ornaments at your house. Love that kind of tradition!

Julie Miller said...

Mementos like that are especially important at holiday time, Crystal. I always hang up something I associate with my Gran and Dad. And that represent family members who simply can't be with us because of travel distance, work and school commitments, etc.

Beautiful Disaster said...

I enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I decorate for all 3. I think Halloween and Thanksgiving are such fun with the pumpkins and various gourds. I just love the cuter Halloween decor-don't really like scary. Christmas I also have a lot of fun with the tree. We have a big window in our living room and we place the tree there and decorate it with our 6 children's handmade ornaments. We also put a train display around the tree. I really enjoy the lights too.
Thanks :)
Lori

Cathy P said...

Hi, Julie! Congrats on your 5th book, Yuletide Protector. Do you live in Kansas City also? I love to drive around in the Plaza after the lights are lit. It is so very beautiful!

My favorite ornament is one I made when my DH and I got married 39 years ago. I put our names on it. He passed away from cancer on August 1st this year, so the holidays just won't be the same without him. We were never able to have children, but he does have 2 brothers, a sister, and numerous nieces and nephews. My family lives in Arizona and New York now.

elizabeth said...

My Dad used to love to decorate our house and front yard, until he couldn't anymore because of his strokes. One of my favorite personal decorations is the ornaments I had made for every cat I've owned. Each one has their name engraved on it.

Eli Yanti said...

Our tradition when new year is just clean house, put flowers :)

Pat Cochran said...

My favorite decorations are those made in school by my children
and grandchildren, then brought home to share with the family.
Also some ornaments, using each child's photo, which we made
up at home and display each year.

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

I have Christmas decorations that the children made years ago at pre-school & school. They are most precious. It's surprising how well they have held up over the years.

Laney4 said...

Congrats, Julie. That's incredible!!!
I don't have a specific item but rather a whole bunch (homemade wreaths, hand prints, tiny stockings, big paper stockings, decorated pine cones, etc.). I saved all the decorations my kids made in school (only throwing out the broken ones, albeit begrudgingly), quickly learning that I needed to label each because of my poor memory. Today my adult kids still enjoy seeing all those decorations hanging on the tree (and around the room), and occasionally I find my kids turning them to the back to read the date, who received, and who gave them said items. Once they have their own Christmas trees, those decorations will most likely go to their homes. (Here's hoping that they want to enjoy them for more decades to come, like we have done through the years!)

Julie Miller said...

Sounds like you keep a fun, beautiful home, Lori! I usually decorate for Halloween, too. Like Christmas, hubby is in charge of the outside display, and I'm in charge of indoor decor. We do a little bit of spooky atmosphere--but mostly fun stuff.

Julie Miller said...

Cathy--I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. But what a special treasure to share.

I used to live in the Kansas City area. And I still have lots of relatives there, so I visit several times a year. I, too, love going down to the Plaza at Christmas time to see all the lights!

Julie Miller said...

Hey, Elizabeth! How fun that you have an ornament for each cat. I confess, we've always had an ornament for our dogs. One year, I even made 4 small stockings for our dog, Duke--one for each paw. And Santa filled each one with a treat!

Julie Miller said...

That IS a bonus to decorating for me, Eli--I clean the house up pretty well first. ;) Fresh flowers? That sounds like lovely way to start the New Year.

Julie Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pat! I love the memories and mental pix associated with our children's, grandchildren's, friends' gifts--I just pulled out a construction paper turkey my son made in 3rd grade. He's in grad school now. It's fun to have it sitting by my desk for a bit. But I will put it up for Thanksgiving.

Julie Miller said...

You're a good caretaker, Mary! I started out with a dresser drawer dedicated to my son's art work. But once we outgrew that, I've stashed things in various places around the house. Every now and then I'll find something I forgot was there. It's a nice surprise. ;)

Julie Miller said...

That's smart to label them, Laney. My mom taught me that trick. I only have one kid to keep track of--she had 3--but it's still so much easier to write lightly on the back of something the age or grade. And that's precious that your grown children are looking and reminiscing, too. That's the blessing of family traditions!

And thanks! I'm pretty proud to have 50 books under my belt. 51, actually, now. I'm currently writing #52. (No wonder my fingers are sore!)

Julie Miller said...

Hey, gang--I appreciate everyone stopping by and celebrating with me. I enjoyed reading all your stories and decorating traditions. Thanks!

It's my understanding that our gracious hostess, Lee Hyat, will leave the blog up for a few days, and will be picking a winner later this week. I'll keep checking in, and will send a print or ecopy to the winner as soon as Lee has a name for me.

Best wishes!
Julie

Eli Yanti said...

We are not usually decorate house when new year. just pur up curtains and tree :)