Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Post: Romy Sommer, author of The Trouble with Mojitos

It's always a pleasure to have our friend Romy Sommer stop by The Hot Pink Typewriter, and today she's chatting about the heroine of her second Harper Impulse release, THE TROUBLE WITH MOJITOS. (How fun is that title?)

Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos... Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!

Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.

But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust - although, they do say sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found....

Introducing Kenzie Cole, heroine of The Trouble with Mojitos, by Romy Sommer

Kenzie has definitely been my most difficult heroine to date. I struggled to get to know her and had several false starts on this story before I really understood her conflicts and what motivated her.

There were only two things I knew about her before I began:
(1) she’s petite and fragile-looking, looks younger than she is, and has ginger hair.
(2) she works as a film location scout.

On everything else about her life she was strangely reticent and I’d nearly reached the end of The Trouble with Mojitos before I uncovered the secret she holds closest to her heart. Trust me, that secret came as quite a surprise to me!

Kenzie lives in London where she shares a flat in Shoreditch with her BFF Lee. Lee’s an art director in the movie business and encouraged her to become a scout.

What does a location scout do? Kenzie takes the director’s brief then goes out looking for locations that match the image in the director’s head. She negotiates permission to film the locations, takes photographs, then sends the pictures back to the director and his production team for approval. If the director likes what he sees, she helps set up the shoot before handing over to the Location Manager who handles the actual shoot logistics.

It’s a fun job, and Kenzie is determined to be a success at it. After a series of bad relationships, all she wants to do is focus on her career. She doesn’t want a man upsetting her plans, and especially not another bad boy – enter Rik, oozing bad boy appeal...

For what happens next, read The Trouble with Mojitos, available from Harper Impulse from 17th October.
Join the release date party for The Trouble with Mojitos on Facebook on 17th October here. There’ll be virtual cocktails, fun games, eye candy and give-aways!

EXCERPT from The Trouble with Mojitos:

“A mojito, please.”
Kenzie sagged against the bar counter, not caring that her order sounded desperate or her body language suggested impatience. She needed alcohol, and she needed it now.
The benefit of an empty bar was that the drink came reassuringly quickly, poured from an ice cold jug ready and waiting, and complete with swizzle stick and paper parasol. She ditched both and tossed the drink back.
“Rough day?” The dreadlocked bar tender leaned on the scarred wooden counter.
“You don’t know the half of it.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“Thanks, but I didn’t come here to talk.” She’d done enough of that all day. Talk, talk, talk, and still nothing to show for it. Now she understood how used car salesmen felt. Used.
It was enough to drive a girl to drink. Or at least to the resort’s beach bar, since hitting the mini-bar in her hotel room was just too sad to contemplate.
She didn’t drink alone. For that matter, she didn’t usually drink. Not these days.
Beyond the thatched cabana, the sky flamed every shade of pink and orange imaginable as the sun set over the white sand and surf. But here inside the bar was dark, shadowy and strangely comforting after a day of white-hot heat.
“She’ll have another.”
She turned to the wryly amused voice, and wished she hadn’t as she spotted the dark figure at the shadowy end of the long bar. Great. The resident barfly, no doubt. As if she needed another reason to hate this resort, this island, and the whole stinking Caribbean.
“I can order my own drinks, thank you.”
The shadowed figure shrugged and turned his attention back to his own drink. “Suit yourself.”
What was it with the men in this place? Didn’t think a woman could order her own drinks, didn’t think a woman could do business, wouldn’t even give her the time of day. She ground her teeth, the effects of the first drink not quite enough to blur the edges of her mood. “I’d like another, please.”
She ignored the deep-throated chuckle down the other end of the bar as the barman removed her glass to re-fill it.
The second drink followed the first a little more slowly, and this time she took a moment to savour it. Now she felt better.
But she was still screwed.
Neil had known it when he sent her out here. He’d known she’d be stone-walled, he knew he’d set her an impossible task, and still he’d sent her. He’d expected her to fail. Perhaps even wanted her to fail.
There were days when her past seemed very far behind her. And then there were days like today, when it seemed she’d never escape the follies of her youth.
“Sod him!”
“That’s the spirit.” The stranger at the other end of the bar slid from his bar stool, out of the shadows and into the yellow lamplight.
In another time and place he might have looked gorgeous, but in low-slung jeans that had seen better days, black long-sleeved tee, with hair in drastic need of a cut, several days’ worth of beard, and darkly glittering eyes, he was devastating.
Pirate devastating. Bad boy devastating.
Kenzie swallowed. Double great. 

I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn’t even think of being an author until I realised that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!

By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?
You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook,Goodreads or on her blog.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Q&A with Special Edition Author Ami Weaver...and Giveaway

I'm happy to be chatting with fellow HPT member and Special Edition author Ami Weaver! Today we're discussing her latest release and her debut Harlequin Special Edition, THE NANNY'S CHRISTMAS WISH. One lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of this wonderful book. Let the holidays begin!

In her debut novel for Harlequin Special Edition, Ami Weaver gives a lonely single dad and his sweet son the perfect holiday gift—a nanny with a secret who just might heal their family in time for Christmas!

Josh Tanner and Maggie Thelan share one unbreakable rule: No romantic entanglements. Period. So the lonely doctor hiring the former teacher as a live-in nanny for his little boy shouldn't be any kind of threat to their creed. Especially since Josh won't let go of the past—and Maggie can't tell Josh who she really is….

But rules are made to be broken, and while Maggie only wants to know the nephew she never knew she had, deeper feelings keep getting in the way! As the holiday season creeps closer, his rules collide with her secret. Can their unexpected love survive the truth?


Welcome, Ami, and congratulations on the release of your debut Harlequin Special Edition, THE NANNY'S CHRISTMAS WISH. Can you tell us a little about the book? 
Hi Olivia! Thanks for doing this! THE NANNY'S CHRISTMAS WISH (formerly known on the contest circuit as THE NANNY'S SECRET) is the second book I ever wrote during NaNoWriMo. It's come a long way since that time. It's the story of Maggie, who, after learning she had a half-sister she didn't know about, sets out to be a nanny to her nephew. Her plan is to just get to know him, not put any pressure on him--until she meets his father. Widowed, Josh isn't going to get involved again--his plan is to be both parents to make up for Cody's loss. But after Maggie comes into their lives, he's not sure that's the best plan. 

This book was your first sale, and your entry for 2011's SYTYCW contest. We'd love to hear your call story! 
Yes, in 2011 they didn't officially notify finalists. They just said they'd narrowed it down to nine manuscripts, but had not notified the authors. When another author got the call, I just figured that was the end of that. Then in March, my phone rang with the Manhattan area code and I was like, Oh. My. Gosh! It was Gail Chasan, she told me she loved my entry and they'd been trying to get a hold of me for a little while (apparently there was some kind of mess up with my contact info!) and she wanted to buy it! Truly, it was a blur. She was so sweet and I was a wreck--in a good way--I was in the circle drive at the high school to pick up my kid so all these other parents and all these kids saw me freaking out on the phone! LOL. 

The journey toward publication is never easy. Can you tell us about your path leading up to this first sale? 
I had been writing for about eight years and I had (still have) the awesome support of my crit group and my local RWA chapter. I did some contesting, did some submitting, but had a slightly bizarre fear of--success. So that slowed me down a little.

As we've both learned, contests are a great way to be spotted by an editor. Can you give any advice to those polishing entries and hoping to catch an editor's eye? 
Yes! Take a chance and send it in! I sent this book in on the last day, after deciding what the heck? Otherwise, DO NOT edit your voice out. That's what catches the editor's attention. You DON'T have to re-edit based on every single critique of your pages--give them a hard look and decide what YOU think it needs. Also? Finish the book! When the editor requests it, you need to have something to send! (Personal experience here!)

Do you have a personal favorite moment or scene in this book? 
The pumpkin carving scene. That whole scene came to me whole, out of the blue, like a gift from my usually absent muse. :)

Were there any parts that were more challenging to write?
 Lucy, who is very much a character, even though she dies before the book begins. She was a little tricky to write. Also, the scene with Lucy's mom, where Maggie gets the answers she's looking for--and more questions. Overall, though, this was a pretty easy book to write.

What do you think readers will enjoy most about THE NANNY'S CHRISTMAS WISH? 
 It's a Christmas book, with an adorable little boy! I hope they will enjoy the warmth of family and the courage it can take to let go, move on and make a new life while not forgetting the old one. That's what Josh and Maggie are eventually able to do.

Do you have any special Christmas traditions in your family?  
The advent calendar. I buy a glittery German one from Bronner's each year and the kids sort out who goes in what order and every morning we open that day's window. It's fun. Also, making sure we get a deformed tree that draws blood. They always looks straight and full in the field but but the time we get it home, it's got a hole and is bent. :) Since we always get a blue spruce, it requires long sleeves and band-aids to decorate! Also the yellow snowman cookie. You'd have to ask my husband about that one!

Is there another Christmas book in your future? What can readers look forward to seeing from you next? 
Yes, I'll have a Christmas Special Edition out next year and another book in the late summer/early fall.  No titles yet, but next year's book takes place on a Christmas tree farm.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Ami. And remember, be sure to comment for your chance to win a signed copy of THE NANNY'S CHRISTMAS WISH. The perfect way to kick off your holiday season.

To learn more about Ami Weaver, please visit her web site at

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Victoria James: Does the Journey Really Matter?

At the beginning of September, I had a book deadline moved up-big time. I needed to finish the manuscript by October 7th. I was a *tad* panicked. Usually I have at least three chapters of a manuscript started-this manuscript had nothing. There was a synopsis, but that was it.

I thought the only way for me to tackle this deadline would be to plot.

Yes...the panster needed to become a plotter.

I have always been secretly envious of plotters. They seem so calm and organized. Glancing at their notes, writing in such a dignified, orderly manner. I should love plotting. I was meant to be a plotter. I mean, I thrive on organization in every other area of my life. I hate chaos. I love neat and tidy. Order. Plotting = Order.

I know Natalie Charles did a fab job at transforming herself into a plotter, due to necessity. I was thinking I should really give this a try.

First, I was going to buy index cards (I'd heard some plotters talking about these things, and I swear I was always so envious of the idea of neatly written cards. Some plotters even say they shuffle them around if they need to move a scene). OMG, this plotting thing is irresistible...

Here's the breakdown of my 7-day attempt at becoming a Plotter:

Day One: Buy Index Cards (I also bought these cute, bright pens which I thought would be perfect for colour-coding chapters/scenes/themes). Organize. Think. Make notes on synopsis. Doodle a few happy faces and hearts.

Day Two: Begin to plot...with new pens...chapter by chapter. Send email to Olivia Miles stating how great I think this plotting idea is (Olivia is the master plotter) and how I should have discovered this so much sooner. My life was now going to be so much easier! I had discovered the joys of plotting!

Day Three: Sit down to write a new scene that just popped into my head while driving kid #2 to school. Ooops, that scene wasn't anywhere in the stack of index cards! Rifle through index cards, make a new index card for new scene and insert it into the pile. Perfect. I can do this. Mental note: remember to refer to the damn cards before you start writing.

Day Four: Look at the index cards. Frown. Index Card 1A, written in pink pen is telling me to start the book with the heroine on the front porch. Hmmm. I'm not really sure that's how I want to start the book. Hmm. Scratch out a few things and start the book a different way.

Day Five: Look at index cards and try and write in order. But I rarely write in order. I eventually get there, because of course the story needs to be tied together, but I usually get down a bunch of scenes that are begging to be written. Frown. Drum fingers on desk. This writing out of order, whichever scene you feel like writing, does not sound like something a plotter would condone. Especially because the scene I write isn't in the index cards. It's a new scene. Which would lead to changes in the rest of the scenes-which means my perfectly plotted book... It's okay, you can still do this. Go back to Index Card 2A written in green pen and write the scene, like the card is telling you to!

Day Six: Glance over at index cards that have now become coasters for my coffee mugs and mumble a few curses in empty office at the cards.

Day Seven: Make all the pretty cards into paper airplanes and fly them, one by one from your desk to the four corners of your office, maybe with the occasional 'screw you' as one does a nose-dive on your desk.

So what's the point of my rambling? Don't try and change what isn't broken. I have always, always had scenes in my head about characters before the book was ever started. When I sit down to start that book, those are the first things I write. Or, most often, when I open the document those scenes have already been written because I had jotted them down and then saved them for when I was ready to start the manuscript. I'm always afraid that if I don't get those scenes written, I'll lose the passion and emotion I'm feeling for them. Often this leads me with a manuscript that is comprised of tons of scenes that need to be tied together. Or characters, that halfway through the manuscript decide to do something else. I can't deny them! I'm able to do that. It works for me. It may not be the cleanest, easiest way to do it, but it works. The manuscript gets written.

You write the way you write, and just because someone else's method looks like the 'right' way, doesn't mean it's right for you. We all have a point A and a point Z...does the journey really matter?

In case you're wondering, yes, the manuscript was handed in...

What about you? Are you a plotter wishing you could be more carefree and just let loose and write (though after reading my methods above, I can see why you'd be thinking 'hell, no!') Or are you a panster, secretly wishing you could change? Or are you just happy with  your method?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Best and Worst of Writing


© Antony Rufus | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

You know...writing makes me feel bi-polar.  LOL!

There. I said it.

But it's true!

Being an author has to be on the top ten list of professions with many ups and downs. I feel as if I'm on rollercoaster all the time. But maybe it's the unpredictability and those highs that keep us writing.

I suppose I'm getting philosophical because I just wrote "THE END" on my sixth manuscript.

Can I tell you how GREAT it feels?! (One of the HIGHS I just mentioned)

I thought for fun I'd break down what I love most and what I hate most about writing, since it's on my mind now. And I know in the next few weeks, I'll be back down at a LOW again. LOL

(It's the nature of the beast of writing) But one I wouldn't trade for anything.


1-Plotting:  Yes! I love to plot. I think I love to plot more than actually write. LOL! Plotting is where everything about your story is new and shiny. Even your characters names! Putting down a bunch of ideas down on paper gets me excited to write about them.

2—The End: I know. Most authors are sad to let their characters go. Not me. I'm thrilled. It's like going to a wedding. I had a great time, but we can't do the chicken dance all night. The couple needs to start their life together. :)

3—Editing: Seriously. I could edit a book to DEATH. It's getting it all out on paper first that is the hard part for me.


1- Beginning: I AGONIZE on where to start my stories and usually end up changing the first few pages a couple of times.

2—The Synopsis: I know I'm alone in this. But it is part of the submitting process I truly dread—until it's done.

3—Waiting: It takes so much time to write the book, then you have to WAIT to edit the book before you submit, then you submit the book and have to WAIT to hear from your agent or editor, then WAIT again for it to go through the process of preparing it to be published. UGH. Pure agony.

Do you feel dizzy from those highs and lows I mentioned?

What about you?
If you are a writer, what do you love most about writing? Hate most?


About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Samhain, Montlake Romance and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest release: A LITTLE BIT CUPID at an e-tailer near your computer. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Giveaway: Hard to Handle

Congrats to Teri Anne Stanley, you've won an ebook of Jessica Lemmon's newest release, HARD TO HANDLE!

Please email me at writeroliviamiles (at) gmail (dot com) for more details.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Post: Jessica Lemmon - Is Trope a Five-Letter "Four-Letter" Word?

We're happy to have Jessica Lemmon back on The Hot Pink Typewriter, and today she's asking: Is TROPE a Five-Letter, "Four-Letter" Word?  Jessica's latest book, HARD TO HANDLE, has just released, and she's giving away an e-copy to one lucky winner, so be sure to comment for your chance to win!

Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love . . .


Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?


Is TROPE a Five-Letter “Four-Letter” Word?
When I first heard the word “trope”,  I wasn’t sure what, in the romance-writing world, it referred to. Some writers believe it’s  synonymous with cliché. That a trope is nothing more than a collection of overused ideas or situations, tired and done way too many times. (Some familiar tropes: Love Triangle, Marriage of Convenience, Accidental Pregnancy.) I don’t believe that tropes are tired or overused, by the way. Tropes can be a fun way to spark your muse’s interest, and they give you an easy, relatable way to describe (and market) your book. My first book? Sexy billionaire hero. My second book? Lovers reunited. In a few words, I can let you know what my book is about, and in a few seconds, you formed an opinion about whether or not you might like to read it.

When I first started writing, I didn’t give much (okay, any) thought to tropes. What I focused on was hot, sexy heroes and how to blend the one-two punch of emotion and humor into a manuscript. I wanted my writing to be fun, heartfelt, and happy. Since becoming published, I was surprised to learn that my books do fit into tropes even though I hadn’t labeled them on purpose. Tempting The Billionaire fits into the Boss/Employee and Billionaire Hero tropes. BUT. Shane August is no Christian Grey (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Readers thought they had Shane all figured out. But Shane is an anomaly of a billionaire, and readers noticed. Several reviewers lauded the “fresh take” on the billionaire hero trope and noted they were “pleasantly surprised”.  So, while I didn’t consciously file my book into the “billionaire hero column”, everyone else did. Was it a bad thing? Quite the opposite. As a debut author, that title, that trope got attention. What kept it? A fresh, surprising story that wasn’t what readers expected.

What’s my point? I have two:
1) Tropes in and of themselves aren’t “bad”
2) A bit of thought and good writing can take something that sounds old or tired and flip it on its ear
My October release, Hard to Handle fits into the tropes of Redemption, Reunited Lovers, and the Tortured Hero.  Aiden Downey is a man who has loved and lost Sadie Howard, and still loves her so much it’s hard for him to accept that she’s the one who got away. How is my alpha motorcycle-riding Aiden different? For starters, he’s no bad boy. Aiden has sacrificed everything he had for his ill mother, and loves Sadie with a transparency and honesty anyone can appreciate. Sadie, my heroine, fits the plucky, determined mold, but breaks it because underneath that iron exterior of hers, she’s heartbroken and fearful. 

Throw your character’s unique attributes into the mix with a tried and true trope, and what you end up with is a story that’s  far removed from the same-ole, same-ole. Surprise and delight your readers, and you’ll find the path to their hearts. 

Writers, when approaching your story, don’t be afraid to think in terms of tropes. Are you writing a secret baby? A bet? A couple stranded in a snow storm? Ask yourself this: What makes my story different? I believe it boils down to two things: your voice and your characters. The way you execute the challenges they face will make your story different from every other “secret baby” story out there, and give the reader a way to return to something familiar, but be surprised by it at the same time.

Do I have a favorite trope? I do, indeed. Reunited lovers/second chance stories grab my heart and won’t let go. I am an absolute sucker for the angst between long-lost lovers (or lovers who never were lovers), which is probably why Hard to Handle (and its prequel Can’t Let Go) are so close to my heart. Oh, the angst! The longing! And a happily ever after that (in my opinion) is so, so worth the wait.

What about you? What are your favorite romance tropes to read (or write)? 

Thanks so much for joining us today, Jessica! To learn more about Jessica and HARD TO HANDLE, visit her website at

And remember, be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win an e-book!