Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adventures in Outlining, by Natalie Charles

Hello. My name is Natalie, and I am a pantser.

I blame it on my fourth grade teacher, who made me outline my social studies reading every. single. night. Night after night of Roman numerals and capitalized letters. The worst part of it was that she graded it. Let me say that again for emphasis: she graded my outlining, so misusing a subheading became a black mark on my report card, not a mere difference of opinion. Scarred? Why yes, I am.

I hate outlines. I hate the look of them. They are bloodless, soulless things, and they have no place in my fiction-writing life.

Well, until now.

The thing is, I hate outlines. But you know what I hate even more than an outline? I hate writing steadily and knocking up against a metaphorical brick wall because the muse I've been following has decided to do something more interesting. When I was writing my second book—a book that nearly killed me, but that's a post for another day—I pantsed it and encountered so many brick walls and roads-to-nowhere that I slammed my fist on a hard surface and vowed never again! I will outline, and I will spend more than five minutes on said outline, and in the end I will have a lighted path from word one to happily ever after, and life will be easier, flashbacks to fourth grade notwithstanding.
Here's another thing. I still hate outlines. I can't help it. So as I'm plotting my next novel, I'm trying to figure out a method that works for me but isn't quite so outline-esque. I plan every aspect of my life, but I like pantsing it because, hey, it's kind of fun to get those little surprises as you write! For instance, I had no idea when I set out to write The Seven-Day Target that the plot would involve a serial killer who left six signs over six days and killed on the seventh. That was pure pantsing, and it seemed to work out okay. I want to keep some of the joy of discovery, but maybe eliminate some of the frustration that comes when the muse goes off shopping.
I'm playing with a couple of different methods right now, including colored index cards and long synopsis-writing. I'm even toying with the idea of writing a bare-bones book and filling in the details later. I thought this might be a sneaky way to trick myself into believing I was pantsing it. I promise to update you further into the process to let you know if I can change my pantsing ways!
So tell me: are you a pantser or an outliner, and do you think it works for you?

Monday, March 25, 2013


I mentioned on my home blog today that I decided to stop working on my WIP. (Long story. You can read more here)

It was a hard decision to make and one I discussed in length with my critique partners. But I finally decided it was the best thing I could do for my writing, and I feel as if a weight has been lifted.

Nonetheless, it still makes me feel like I failed.

Have you ever felt like a failure?

If you have, you're definitely not alone.

I read in a devotion a few months ago about Abraham Lincoln and a little bit about what he went through in his lifetime. I decided to pull it out again and read it because I found it every encouraging. Maybe you will too!

According to Jim Burns, our 16th President had more failures than victories, yet many count him among the greatest presidents the United States has ever had. But I'm sure at one time Lincoln probably felt he was spinning his wheels too.

Take a look at his life:

  1. "He grew up on an isolated farm with only one year of formal education. In his early years he was exposed to barely half-a-dozen books.
  2. In 1832 he lost his job and was defeated in the race for the Illinois legislature.
  3.  In 1833 he failed in business.
  4. In 1834 he was elected to the state legislature, but in 1835 his sweetheart died, and in 1836 he had a nervous breakdown.
  5. In 1838 he was defeated for Speaker of the House, and in 1843 he was defeated for nomination for Congress. In 1846 he was elected to Congress but in 1848 lost the re-nomination.
  6. In 1849 he was rejected for a federal land officer appointment, and in 1854 he was defeated for the Senate. In 1856 he was defeated for the nomination of Vice President, and in 1858 was again defeated for the Senate."

Now, was Lincoln a failure? No. In fact, Stephen Spielberg, the director and producer of the movie, Lincoln, even said that Lincoln was, “arguably the greatest working president in American history doing some of the greatest work for the world.”

What does all this mean?

It means I want to see the movie Lincoln. LOL!
But also, Burns goes on to say all this means this: "There is one word that comes to mind when I think of failure: perseverance. To persevere means to hang on, to stick with it, to press forward! "

I really liked that. I think we can apply this lesson to writing as well.
Sometimes we'll be able to begin writing a story and finish it, sometimes we'll be able to sell that story, sometimes we'll get great reviews, sometimes the book will be a bestseller and sometimes...

none of that will happen.

But it's okay. The point is we press forward, we stick with it, and have perseverance.

I'm starting from scratch and trying out a new plot today. I'm pressing forward.

How about you?


It’s a Golden Heart/RITA PRE-Party!!!

by Jennifer Faye

Can you believe it’s GH/RITA week already? My 2012 certainly buzzed by quickly. And this particular week is always such a nerve-racking/exciting week for so many romance writers.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m sooo excited that I wasn’t eligible to enter. :-D

Of course the reason for my excitement, if you didn’t already know, is that I sold to Harlequin Romance in 2012 making me ineligible for the Golden Heart and since RANCHER TO THE RESCUE won’t debut until July, I’m not eligible for the RITA either.

Which puts me in the awesome position of rooting for all of you who had the courage to put yourselves out there. So this blog post is dedicated to every talented writer that had the courage to follow your dreams.

I applaud you all!

And I wish you the best of luck!!!

Now I’d like to turn this post over to you. Since this is your week. *grabbing my popcorn and settling on the couch*

Now take a walk down HPT's pink carpet and toot your horn.

Tell us the title of your entry and in which contest/category, so that we can cheer for you and watch for you name on the big day.

Also tell us any new exciting writing developments that have happened since you pressed ‘send.’ Or what you’re working on currently.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Q&A and Giveaway With Author Michelle Smart

I’m so excited to welcome debut author, Michelle Smart to our Hot Seat today!

This is a huge year for Michelle, with debut releases from Entangled Publishing Indulgence and Harlequin Presents.

Michelle’s debut book Indulgence book, TEMPTED BY TROUBLE has been receiving awesome reviews.  I've just finished reading it-and loved it!

As far as Marco’s concerned, wild child Pippa has ruined his life once and he’ll be damned if he lets her do it again. But it’s hard to reconcile the adolescent he knew with the mature, beautiful woman who stands before him. Soon he's questioning if everything the media is claiming about Pippa is the truth, or if he should trust his heart.

Socialite Pippa Rowantree has always provided excellent fodder for the UK’s gossip rags. After another unfortunate scandal sends the gossips into a feeding frenzy, her shamed family retaliates by forcing her into hiding at old family friend, Marco Capello’s lush Caribbean estate—literally the last place on earth she wants to be.

Available Now:
Amazon  Amazon UK B&N


I’m so very thrilled for you, Michelle, congratulations!

Thank you so much, and thank you for having me here!

Q: Michelle, can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?

It’s been a long journey involving plenty of rejections and a huge learning curve – I wrote my first book five years ago. Somehow, last year, it all came together and I was contracted with both Harlequin Mills & Boon and Entangled Publishing. This is my debut release.

Q: Can you tell us the difference between what you write for Indulgence and Presents?

The main difference is that my Presents books have a much darker side to them.

Q: What are some of the challenges in writing for two different lines?

The processes are so very different! It’s all the little things – for example, I write in my own voice of English/English for Presents but with Entangled I have to use American/English, so I have to Americanise my spellings (see, that would become Americanize!) and make sure I don’t use colloquialisms that can get lost in translation. But it’s more than just that – everything’s different.

 Q: How do you balance writing, social media/promotion, and family?

Badly. These past couple of weeks are the first time I’ve really had to deal with promotion and it’s eaten into everything, especially my writing. At least I’ll know what to expect next time and will, hopefully, be able to manage my time more effectively (oh look, there’s a flying pig!).

Normally it’s much easier to manage everything and everything runs like clockwork (oh look, there’s another flying pig!).

 Q: Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

I’m a complete pantser. I tend to get the kernel of an idea, dream up the characters, and then off I go! It’s such a wonderful feeling running with an idea and making it all the way to the end of the book without any pause or hesitation. At least, I assume it’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve yet to make it to the end of a book without rewriting sections, hitting the saggy middle, and thinking at least a gazillion times that what I’m writing is a pile of pants.

 Q: What is a typical work day like for you?

I get the kids to school and am back home by 9am. I get the minimum amount of housework done that I can and am generally sat down with my laptop by 10am. I’ll procrastinate for an hour or so and then write until around 3pm. I then collect the kids from school and do family stuff until around 8/9pm, and then I’ll sit down again and write until around midnight. As you would expect, I never allow myself to be distracted by trivial things such as twitter, or get lured into playing Angry Birds. Honest.

Q: Can you tell us what you’re busy working on now and what/when your next release will be?

I’m currently working on revisions for book two with Presents – book one releases on the 23rd July and is entitled The Rings That Bind. And guess what? It’s available for pre-order at all good book selling websites, ha ha ha!

Visit Michelle Smart's website:

Follow her on Twitter: @chellebellwrite

Facebook Page


Thank you so much for being here today, Michelle. Once again, I’m just so thrilled for you and wish you nothing but success! Be sure to check out Michelle's book, I'm sure you'll love it! And don't forget to enter the giveaway below!

Thank you for having me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be given at the end of Michelle's Blog tour to one international winner.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sparks of Story Ideas--by Ami Weaver

So, as I thought and thought about a topic for this blog, I tossed aside several topics. Many have already been done, and done well, here already. (Dialogue and POV, I’m looking at you!) And then I started thinking, I need a spark--just like when I start a new story.

    I’m an out-of-the-blue writer. I have yet to start a story with, I’d like to write about xyx. Instead, something kind of pops in my brain and it will spark off another random idea. Rub each other the right way--or the wrong way, as is often the case in the beginning of a romance novel--and there’s the little teeny flame that will become my story.

    I’m actually quite good at dousing the flames of story. This is something I’ve had to learn to NOT do over the years. If I over think, attempt too much plotting, or take a seriously wrong turn, I’m out in writing land with no fire. Usually, I can backtrack and get it going again, but not if I’ve over plotted. (That’s a whole ‘nother post!) It’s a lot more work to get back on track, though, so I have learned over the years to keep an eye on the fire. What are the flames doing? Are they getting low? One sign of that, for me, is the daily word count drops off. If that happens, then I’m probably heading down the wrong path.

    Every writer is different in what sets off those sparks. I love how it can be something totally unrelated that gives that aha! moment. For my Christmas Special Edition debut, it was the slightly frayed belt loops on a pair of guy’s pants. Those pants ended up on my doctor hero and it’s one of the first things my heroine notices about him. The connection? Who knows? I never tried to reason it out. But it was the (admittedly odd) spark that brought the story to life.

    Other times, it’s more obvious. In my April Harlequin Romance, my heroine owns a flower shop. There is a lovely one in my town, and after driving past it for years, it hit me it’d be a great place for a romance heroine to work. Of course, the flower shop itself is not a novelty. But it was the thing that set off the spark for that particular story on that particular day.

    So, I’ve learned to trust myself, even when it seems odd. Because when two ideas bump up against each other, you never know what kind of magic will spark from there.
    How about you? How do your ideas become books?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Q&A with Author Victoria James: A Risk Worth Taking

It is always a pleasure to chat with my good friend and fellow HPT member Victoria James, and I am delighted to have her with us in the hot seat this morning in celebration of her newest release, A RISK WORTH TAKING. For those of you who love a great reunion story or small-town romance, Victoria's second release won't disappoint. I read the book cover-to-cover in one sitting, and only found myself let down when I reached the last page and realized the story was over. Well, lucky for readers, this book is also the first in Victoria's new Red River Series!  

Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again...

Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way... and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take...

Congratulations on your newest release, Victoria! Can you tell us a little about your second book, A RISK WORTH TAKING?
Thanks so much, Olivia!
Sure, A RISK WORTH TAKING is about second chances at first loves, letting go of fear, and the finding the inner strength to persevere.  It’s set in the fictional town of Red River.  I love small town settings so I had a blast creating some eccentric, nosy townspeople.  My heroine, Holly returns to Red River after living in the city for ten years.  She thinks she’s back to sever ties with Red River once and for all.  She is there to renovate her grandparent’s old Victorian house and then sell it.  Quinn and Holly both have very strong personalities, so when it’s time to collaborate, sparks fly-especially because they have so many unresolved feelings from the past.

This book is the first in a series. What can we expect from this series?
Family drama, passion, emotion, and humour.  The heroes and heroines are the types of people you’d meet in real life, with problems and insecurities that anyone can relate to. 

Did you always plan this book to be part of a series, or did the other ideas come after you wrote this one?
When I cast my hero, Quinn I knew he had two brothers and I knew I’d want to write their stories.  As I wrote RISK, his brothers sort of came to life and their personalities really emerged.  I kind of had an idea that I wanted to get Holly’s best friend, Claire and the middle Manning brother, Jake together.  I’m busy working on the last Manning brother’s book-and he’s quite different from his older brothers-he’s much more difficult, lol.

If you had to pick one scene in the book that was your favorite, which would it be?
Definitely the night of the big rainstorm.  I don’t want to give too much about this scene away, because it ties in a few different threads from the book and I’d hate to spoil it.  But, Quinn and Holly’s personalities really clash that night, and the exhaustion and emotional toll of everything they have been dealing with culminates into, well…you’ll have to read it to find out!

What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote this book a few years ago and I’ve re-written it once before it was bought by Entangled.  Someone very close to me had suffered through many losses and I was in awe of her and her husband’s strength and faith.  People who go through really traumatic losses and go on to live life to the fullest really inspire and humble me.  I find that kind of strength of character admirable, and I’m desperate to see people who’ve gone through so much receive the best possible happily ever after-in real life and in fiction.

Small-town settings are always my favourite to read and write.  We have a place we go to regularly to that is on Lake Erie, it’s in a small town, and every time I go I’m inspired.  We take the country roads to get there and I find it so scenic and so relaxing (well, if the kids are sleeping in the backseat.  If they’re awake, it’s not really a relaxing ride).  Red River is loosely based on this town-including the old lift bridge that Holly mentions in the book. 

With your debut already under your belt, can you tell us what you learned from that experience and how it shapes the release of your second book?
I’m still learning.  But I vowed that this time around I’d be less nervous.  I was a basket-case last time.  I really want to have fun this time, and not be ready to hurl whenever a new review is posted.  I’m normally a very positive person, so I need to apply that attitude to my writing career as well.  I need to crush the insecurity and enjoy the ride!

If you could give any piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Write what you love, and not what you think you should be writing.  Sometimes I think when you’re just starting you can get so caught up on targeting specific lines (if you write category) and you can be so focused on the guidelines that you forget to let your characters tell their story.  You might discard ideas that you really want to explore because they don’t fit.  Be true to your voice, true to your real passions.   And of course, never give up.

Can you tell us what you are working on now and what we can expect from you next?
I’m working on a few different books at the moment-which is exciting and a bit crazy at the same time.  I’m trying to finish up the third book in the RED RIVER SERIES, while also working on a really special project for Entangled as well.  The second RED RIVER book will be released in July, and then the last book in the series will come out in November.  

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Victoria!
To learn more about Victoria, please visit her at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Out with the old and in with the new, old dogs and new tricks, rolling stones gather no moss …

I do love a good handful of clichĂ©s to kick start my day, something to appall my inner editor, something to make me feel as if I've been very naughty and just got away with it, when what I really want to talk about today is technology. Yes, technology, new-fangled gadgety, microchippy stuff that you can’t make yourself. Well, not usually anyway, unless you’re one of those genius type prodigy people. We’re surrounded by it, it’s part of daily life, but there are times when it has me running for the hills and a much simpler life – one that runs on wood and coal ...

Here’s a good example of one of my personal Technology Terrorists; the intruder alarm system.  Picture the scene, all is calm and tranquil in Lyndhurst land when there is a loud beep. I dismiss it as something passing in the street or a very modern birdy outside that’s imitating a car alarm. I hear it again and a prickle of something goes up my spine, it’s coming from inside ... Instinctively I ask The Exec if he's heard it and get a shake of the head and a monosyllabic “nope” – he’s watching rugby after all (on a great big cyber- connected, very-technically superior screen which runs on remote controls I have never dared touch). Another beep, I swear it’s getting louder and more sinister but know in my heart now where it’s coming from. The intruder alarm system panel in the hall confirms it with an even louder beep and an ominous flashing orange triangle with an exclamation mark in it.

Neither of us knows what the orange triangle means. We spend a fruitless hour searching for the instruction manual, while the steady Beep of Doom keeps on beeping. And we know the beep will go on FOREVER because the panel is connected to the mains electricity and we daren’t disconnect it in case The Machine thinks it’s being tampered with by a burglar and will go off all bells ringing (also FOREVER). And someone will call the police eventually even if it’s just to complain about the noise. The Exec jabs a finger randomly at the control panel keypad (and I really do mean randomly) until I completely lose it because the longer he does that, the more likely it is he’s going to set the tamper alarm off and we won’t know how to turn it off because we can’t find the wretched, rotten, pristine wherever-it-is instruction manual.

I start to sneeze from the dust we've stirred up hunting for the elusive document. The beep is relentless. The cat sits and looks at us as if we’re quite mad, he’s probably wondering what the horrid beepy thing is as well. I am SO stressed that I actually squeak when The Exec calmly sits back down in front of the telly to watch sport – how can he be so composed when I’m going into panic meltdown?! I want to scream “Just fix it!” as he picks up his iPad and languorously strokes its sleek black screen, no doubt checking a cricket score or a share price or something equally male and mysterious. He suddenly gets up and starts jabbing at the control panel again and I feel like ripping the sofa apart with my teeth.

“Three AAA batteries,” he announces on his return. “Got some?”

“In the electric tin opener,” I reply sulkily, exhausted by the Beep of Doom and his apparent lack of interest in the current crisis.

“Good.” He points to a wireless sensor above the fish tank.” Because the beep is telling us that the batteries in that unit are low. Clever isn't it? I downloaded the instruction manual from the internet.” He smiles as I visibly wilt with relief. “Easy”

And, lo, human male plus internet plus swish technical device saved the day but I still wanted him to disconnect the entire system, which would be daft (and he hasn't! ) but technical crises like that can really do me in mentally.

So it's clear that technology scares the pants off me sometimes and it's a nightmare when it misbehaves, but there’s no escaping the fact that, in the last year since Entangled publishing took a risk on me and my Greek Billionaire, technology has changed my life. All my books are distributed in digital form, which is mega technological and means they can only be read on a machine of some sort. No paper cluttering up the place, but without the chips and screens and cables I’d have no readers. Even if I stood on a street corner wearing a The End is Nigh Buy My Books While You Still Can placard round my neck it would make no difference, because without an internet connection nobody can even buy them. Here's a pretty (and completely gratuitous) picture of my latest book on a Kindle Fire to illustrate the fact:

I can’t ignore it, I can’t ‘unplug’ it and I can probably never manage without it again. If it wasn't for technology, I wouldn't be here writing on this blog via my computer and you wouldn't be reading it. (You are reading it, aren't you? Not just looking at the pictures and clicking on all the book buy links? Ah, good.).   So there’s no getting away from the fact that technology pays my Visa bill and that really is useful. As is the dishwasher, washing machine and wireless router. I still loathe that alarm system though and would love to stamp on my Blackberry …

How about you? Is there a modern device that messes with your inner tranquility? What amalgamation of microchips couldn't you live without? Am I the only person who can remember sharing a bedroom with a big grey night storage heater that was the size of a coffin? Those were the days … ;0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And we have a winner! "MUST LIKE KIDS"

Congratulations to Jane Linfoot for winning a copy of Jackie Braun's KISS release, MUST LIKE KIDS!

Jane, to claim you gift, please contact Jackie via her contact page on her website:

A big thank you to everyone for stopping by and saying hello.  

And Jackie, thank you for visiting. We hope you'll come back again real soon. :-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

KISS author, Jackie Braun Q&A plus GIVEAWAY

Please welcome Jackie Braun!

Jackie is a RITA award and National Readers’ Choice Award finalist. She has penned over 29 romances for Harlequin. Her latest book, “Must Like Kids” is part of Harlequin’s new and exciting line KISS.

She has generously offered to giveaway a copy of her KISS novel to one lucky commenter. So make sure you leave a comment before you go. We’d love to hear from you. J

Thanks for stopping in and chatting with us, Jackie. And congratulations on being chosen to head up the new Harlequin line KISS. There’s lot of exciting buzz going around about this fun and flirty line. And let me tell those covers really catch a person’s eye—they’re beautiful!

              Now available at:


Could you share a little with us about your first KISS novel, “Must Like Kids”?

Alec McAvoy is the single CEO of a fictional company called for Best For Baby. After a seemingly anti-child remark that Alec makes goes viral, his company’s board of directors brings in an image consultant to do damage control. Julia Stillwell is a widowed mom of two. She’s not looking for love, but she can’t deny the sparks that fly whenever she and Alec are alone. Thanks to her efforts, she eventually has the public believing that Alec will make the ideal family man. But is the transformation only skin-deep?  

And could you tell everyone a little about the KISS line? What should the reader expect between the colorful covers of a KISS novel?

These are fun and flirty contemporary reads with varying heat levels. They’ll find a little sass. A little humor. And a lot of sexual tension. 

How does KISS differ from the other Harlequin lines?

It’s the writers’ voices, I believe. Our writing is very contemporary and in the moment.

Are KISS novels steamy? Or sweet? 

They’re both! Each month readers will find two steamier novels and two that are more “closed door” when it comes to sex. The titles and covers are good indicators of the heat levels readers will find. 

Now, tell us a little about yourself: 

I am a Michiganian born and raised. Other than a summer in New York City as an intern at Good Housekeeping magazine and 10 months at The Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls New York, I have lived in “the Mitten” my entire life. I’ve wanted to write since I was in grade school, and followed my dad’s advice to “get a day job.” I chose journalism, since it involved writing, and have spent the past 25 years working in various capacities for newspapers. For the past nine years, however, my full-time gig has been writing books. I’m married, with two kids, and we recently added a dog to the mix.

I read on your website that you spent six years writing your first really, really long manuscript. Talk about determination. It never took me quite that long but sometimes it sure felt like it. J How do you manage your writing now that you have deadlines? Do you have a regular schedule? Any quirks?

Before I was published, I foolishly waited for my muse to inspire me. I had plenty of excuses for not sitting down at my computer, sometimes for weeks at a time. That all changed when I went to my first RWA conference, pitched that abomination of a book to an agent and realized it was, well, crap. When I got home, I started another book. This one took me a few months to write. It eventually sold to Silhouette Romance. More sales followed until I was writing about three books a year in addition to regular freelance work for the local newspaper. Now, I usually write every day—yes, even weekends and sometimes even holidays.

What does HEA mean to you as an author for the KISS line?

It means the same thing it always has, I guess. My hero and heroine ultimately overcome all of the obstacles I cruelly place in their way and wind up together. Whether that means getting married or finally admitting their love, they know there’s no one else on the planet more perfect for them.

If you could only share one bit of advice with an unpublished writer, what would it be?

Don’t give up. And don’t keep massaging those first few chapters trying to make them perfect. Write the entire book and THEN go back over.

Before you go, could you tell us a little about your next release and when we can expect to see it on store shelves and the Internet? 

I have two releases coming up, both in September at this point. One is another KISS titled Greek for Beginners. It’s about a woman who finally works up the courage to dump her dud of a fiancĂ© and then goes alone on her honeymoon in Greece, where she meets and falls for a sexy Greek businessman.  

The other is a novella in an anthology from Entangled Publishing that includes stories by Susan Meier, Barbara Wallace and Shirley Jump. I’m not sure of the title yet, but it features a matchmaking Jack Russell terrier named Charlie who helps reunite my hero and heroine.

Jackie, it’s been wonderful having you. Thank you so much for stopping by The Hot Pink Typewriter!!! We hope you’ll stop by again soon.

Thanks for having me! I enjoyed being here. And I’m eager to give away a copy of my book to one lucky reader!

And readers, please don’t forget about the chance to win a copy of “Must Like Kids” by leaving a comment. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

"Children have a place and it's anywhere I'm not!"

It was one off-the-cuff remark. But when it goes viral, Alec McAvoy is labeled the playboy CEO of Best for Baby—who hates kids!

Enter Julia Stillwell, image consultant extraordinaire. The widowed mom of two has a knack for changing public opinion, and she'll teach Alec all he needs to know. But once they start this makeover, they don't want to stop…and that's when one little kiss leads to many, many others!

So now Julia's worked her magic, but is Alec's transformation only skin-deep? Or can this hunky executive convince her that he is ready to become a family man—so long as it's with Julia?