Two Events for SoCal Romance Readers

March 22, 2017

Are you ready to blossom?

Happy spring! It's a cold and windy day here in Los Angeles, but the sun is shining bright. After a rainy winter, I'm happy to be out and about, especially to attend two events perfect for book lovers like you and me.

The first event is the California Dreamin' Writers' Conference this weekend, March 24-26, 2017, in Brea, CA. If you are an avid romance reader, book blogger, or reviewer, there is a readers' appreciation event at 1:30 pm on Saturday followed by a free signing with 59 (!) authors in attendance. If you're in SoCal this weekend, make sure to drop by.

The second event I'll be attending is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which takes place next month on April 22 and 23, 2017, on the campus of USC. This is the largest book festival in the United States with a weekend attendance of 150,000. Best of all, it's free. Please come say hello at the Romance Writers of America booth.












Behind the Book: Hollywood Honkytonk

January 25, 2017



It's been almost two weeks since the release of my book Hollywood Honkytonk. I'd like to thank everyone who purchased a copy, wrote reviews, and sent me such sweet letters about Jack and Riley. I've been lucky to connect with a few new bloggers who shared excerpts, reviews, and even playlists for the story.

This week I'd like to try something new. Here's a little trivia and some backstory about Hollywood Honkytonk.

 

Riley, the heroine's name

Riley is the name of my friend Mark's dog, a reddish-brown puggle. As a puppy, Riley was very rambunctious, so once when we were visiting, my friend had to call her out again and again and again. After a while, the name stuck with me, and when it came time to give my heroine a name, Riley was the name in my head.

 

Waylon Jennings

While I was revising this book for the first time in 2015, I was listening to a lot of music by the Highwaymen: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings. Jennings' voice is my favorite of the four, and "Honkytonk Heroes" is one of my favorite songs of his, a celebration of "lovable losers and no-account boozers." It tells the story of down-to-earth people who would feel out of place in Hollywood, who'd be outsiders just like Riley. The song inspired the title of the book, Hollywood Honkytonk, and in honor of that, I named Riley's dog Waylon. Waylon in the book looks just like my dog Frances, who sometimes gets in trouble for her howlin' and wailin' ("waylon").

 

Thai food

There are hundreds of Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, and many excellent ones in Hollywood. My favorite Thai restaurant in Hollywood is called Hoy Ka, which means "to dangle your feet." The original owners had a restaurant in Thailand where customers would sit at tall tables and dangle their feet over the river as they ate. Malibu is not close to Hollywood, but I guarantee that the people of Malibu would want their own Thai restaurant. Malibu Thai is a fictional restaurant whose delivery man interrupts Jack and Riley's first almost-kiss.

 

Riley's red carpet dress

I love, love, love the dresses of the Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad. The boutique that Riley visits for her fitting is what I imagine (daydream?) a visit to a Zuhair Murad couture boutique would be like. If you search for strapless Zuhair Murad evening gowns, you will see some examples of what Riley's dress might look like. Hers would be emerald green, to match her red hair.

 

First book

Hollywood Honkytonk is my seventh published book since 2015, but it is the first book I ever completed. Five years ago, in 2012, a friend of mine told me that she and her son wanted to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I told my husband about this madcap idea. Participants in the program write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. My husband, an adventurous sort, said he was in. Together, all four of us embarked on our first novel writing experience. For me, the 50,000 word goal came and went. By the end of the month I had 70,000 words and by the end of January almost 125,000.

The original title of this book was Song and Dance, and the original first scene was an extended prologue where high-school aged Jack and Riley are on stage together during their final performance of Romeo and Juliet. It's the last scene. Riley is supposed to kiss Jack, stab herself, and die, thus ending the play. But Jack, who is supposed to be dead, reaches up, pins her to him, and gives her a real kiss--something he's been dying to do all his life. This leads to Riley's boyfriend Tommy beating Jack up in the parking lot, a detail that I hint at in the book. (Jack and Riley's names are a reversal of their roles in the play, Romeo and Juliet, R and J.)

In its original form, the book was a rambling, confusing, happy mess, so much so that my publisher actually first bought my second book, the sequel to Hollywood Honkyonk, Jack's older brother Sam's story, Deep Down. Two revisions plus three rounds of edits plus two rounds of copy edits transformed Hollywood Honkytonk into a lean, mean 80,000 words. When I think about Jack and Riley now, I look at them as old friends I've grown up with. I look at the structure of the book as a gentle box-step, the work of a brand-new author afraid of making a mistake. In the pages I see myself, that writer, falling in first love not just with the characters but with the act of storytelling itself. In this sense, Hollywood Honkytonk was my first real kiss. A little awkward, a little too earnest, but--I believe--the start of something beautiful.






HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK: Playlist and Giveaway

January 17, 2017

Hi, everyone!

For today's post, I've got two things to share.

First, I'd like to share a playlist of songs inspired by my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, Hollywood Honkytonk. I'm including a link to a Spotify playlist.

Second, to celebrate the release of the book, I'm sponsoring a giveaway with the help of IndieSage PR. One winner will receive a signed print copy of Hollywood Honkytonk plus a beautiful rose gold necklace from one of my favorite local jewelrymakers, Seoul Little. You can enter using the link below.

Thanks for reading!



Music from HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK 


When I came up with this playlist, I imagined the music playing on Riley’s old tape deck as she drove from Nashville to Hollywood. To get ready for his movie role as a shirtless superhero, Jack has to work out all the time. I imagined the classic hard rock he’d play to keep himself motivated. I added a couple songs for Jack and Riley’s surfing lesson and a few songs that are perfect for cruising around Los Angeles. Enjoy the music!

Click here for the Spotify playlist…

Guitars, Cadillacs – Dwight Yoakam
Get Rhythm – Johnny Cash
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? – Dolly Parton
Ramble On – Led Zepplin
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Back in Black – AC/DC
You and Your Heart – Jack Johnson
Stir It Up – Bob Marley
Let Me Ride – Dr. Dre
California Love – 2Pac
Como Ves – Ozomatli
Entre Dos Tierras - Heroes Del Silencio
One Time One Night – Los Lobos
Honky Tonk Heroes- Waylon Jennings

Special Giveaway

 


Click here to enter the Rafflecopter.




 
KINGS OF CALIFORNIA, BOOK 2
 
AVAILABLE NOW IN PRINT AND EBOOK

Can their love survive the limelight?


With nothing but her dog, her guitar, and her cowboy boots, songwriter Riley Marion arrives in Los Angeles on the run from her abusive ex. A quiet job teaching music sounds perfect, but her low-key lifestyle is threatened when she reunites with a sexy old flame—now an up-and-coming celebrity who’s constantly dogged by paparazzi.

Charming and driven, Jack Lamont is a Hollywood actor on the rise to stardom. Ready to outgrow his playboy reputation, he’s happy to leave the hard partying to his entourage. Romantic entanglements? Jack’s not interested. At least, not until he gets tangled up with the one who got away—a smoking-hot woman whose memory has haunted him for the last ten years.

Kings of California: Special Giveaway for New Release

January 10, 2017

Have you met the Lamont brothers yet?

Sam is a fisherman. Jack is an actor. Adam is an attorney. All three of them are sun-kissed boys from the Golden State, and they are the stars of my contemporary erotic romance series, the Kings of California.

DEEP DOWN is Sam's story. It's available now in print and ebook. Click here for more information.



HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK is Jack's story. It's available for preorder now in print and ebook and will be released this Friday from The Wild Rose Press.  Click here for more information.



To celebrate the next release in this series, I'm sponsoring a Rafflecopter giveaway with the help of the wonderful folks at IndieSagePR.

You can win a signed print copy of DEEP DOWN and this absolutely gorgeous gold and abalone necklace from the Los Angeles jewelry maker BubuRuby. Click here to enter this giveaway.




P.S. I regularly run secret giveaways just for newsletter subscribers. Click here to subscribe.









#TeaserTuesday: Hollywood Honkytonk

January 3, 2017



Happy new year, everyone!

For my first post of 2017, I'd like to share an excerpt from HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK, my next full-length novel out Jan. 13 from The Wild Rose Press. It's a standalone read, book two in the Kings of California series.

Jack and Riley's story is sweet and spicy, a puff of cotton candy with hot sauce on it.

What, you don't like your cotton candy with hot sauce?

No...don't try it. I'm just kidding.

Or am I?

HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK is available for pre-order today. Check out the teaser below. 





AVAILABLE IN PRINT & EBOOK (JAN. 13)

Can their love survive the limelight?


With nothing but her dog, her guitar, and her cowboy boots, songwriter Riley Marion arrives in Los Angeles on the run from her abusive ex. A quiet job teaching music sounds perfect, but her low-key lifestyle is threatened when she reunites with a sexy old flame—now an up-and-coming celebrity who’s constantly dogged by paparazzi.

Charming and driven, Jack Lamont is a Hollywood actor on the rise to stardom. Ready to outgrow his playboy reputation, he’s happy to leave the hard partying to his entourage. Romantic entanglements? Jack’s not interested. At least, not until he gets tangled up with the one who got away—a smoking-hot woman whose memory has haunted him for the last ten years.


EXCERPT

© 2017 by Mia Hopkins


“So, do you feel lucky?” she asked.
 
 “Always.”

“How about tonight?”

Was she flirting with him? Or making fun of him? Or both?

“I always feel lucky,” he said again. “Tonight’s no different.”

The breeze kicked up again. Jack caught her scent—herbal shampoo, almond lotion, and sun-warmed skin. He had never smelled anything so wholesome and appealing his whole life, and his body responded, stirring, tightening, hardening.

He shifted his weight on the lounger, trying to get some control of himself while simultaneously trying to breathe in the essence of her, his high school crush, this glorious, ghostly woman come back to haunt him again.

God, I want to be haunted by you again. 

He leaned forward a millimeter, testing the waters. She latched her dark eyes on him and parted her pillowy lips in invitation.

Gently, so as not to spook her, he reached up, traced his fingertips across her cheekbone, and cupped her cheek in his hand. She shivered, staring at him as if he’d cast a spell on her. He leaned down farther and looked at her lips. With the pad of his thumb, he touched the tiny divot at the center of her cupid’s bow, stroking it gently back and forth. He had never touched anything so velvety soft in his entire life.

Desire, lust, and adrenaline coursed through him all at once. His heart kicked like a racehorse against its gates.

The words came out on their own, soft and ragged. “Can I kiss you?”

#TeaserTuesday: Hollywood Honkytonk

November 29, 2016


Hollywood Honkytonk, book two in my Kings of California series, will be released on January 13, 2017 from The Wild Rose Press. It's a second-chance romance about a country songwriter and a Hollywood actor whose star is finally on the rise.

Hollywood Honkytonk is available for pre-order today. Click here for more information.

For now, meet Jack and Riley. Here's a long teaser for your Tuesday. <3




EXCERPT

© 2016 by Mia Hopkins


When Jack pulled back into his driveway, Riley opened her purse and pulled out her keys.

He put the Audi in park. “Hold your horses, cowgirl. It’s only five. Hang out a little longer.”

Riley wanted nothing more than to “hang out a little longer” with Jack, especially when he looked at her with that Hollywood-honed smolder. To make things worse, his slate-gray shirt amplified the already-absurd blue of his irises. He smiled and traced the back of his index finger along her jaw. She shivered.

“Stay.” His soft voice heated her blood.

Her willpower was taking a serious beating. Riley rubbed the worn-out brass key of her Datsun between her thumb and forefinger, wishing she could put this particular genie back in his bottle.

“Jack, listen. I have a favor to ask.”

“What do you need?”

What I need has nothing to do with what I want. “I’ve been thinking about what happened on the beach.”

“On the beach? When we…?”

“When we kissed. Made out. Almost…you know. It made me realize something.” She unclipped her seat belt and turned toward him. “I’m not ready.”

“Ready?”

“Ready…to take things further with you.” The words made her wither a little inside. Embarrassed, she didn’t know how to talk about sex. “I was married for a long time. And Tommy—he was my first. My only. There’s been no one since.”

Jack frowned. “Do you still have feelings for him?”

“No. Not at all. That’s done.” She licked her lips and looked up at him. “I know that since high school our lives took two very different paths. And I’m happy to be here with you, now. But, if it’s all the same to you, could we maybe”—she cleared her throat—“take things a little slower?”

Jack stared at her and said nothing.

Riley backpedaled, trying to make him understand. “I know, it’s a really old-fashioned thing to ask. If this doesn’t work out for you, I’ll be happy to be on my way. We can be friends. Grab a drink or two when you want to reminisce. No problem. I completely understand.” His hands rested calmly on his knees, but his jaw tightened a little. “I think I get what you’re saying.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to—”

“Don’t want to what?”

“Jack.”

“Jesus Christ, Riley. We’re grown-ups. Say what you don’t want to do. I want to hear you say it.” Jack raised his eyebrows. “Go on.”

Riley fidgeted. “It’s not that I don’t want to…sleep with you.”

“So you do.”

“Do what?”

He grinned. “Want to sleep with me.”

“Stop putting words in my mouth.”

“Trust me, sweetheart.” His eyes crinkled up with silent laughter. “Words are not what I want to put in your mouth.”

She looked at him, and her jaw dropped open.

He started to laugh. “That doesn’t make things any better.”

Riley snapped her mouth closed and slapped his meaty shoulder with the back of her hand. “I’m baring my soul to you and you’re making fun of me. You big jerk.” She slapped his shoulder again.

“Ow! Okay, okay.” He held up his hands. “I couldn’t resist. I’m an asshole. Sorry. I’m sorry.” As she seethed at him, he reached forward and stroked her cheek with his fingertips. “Don’t be mad.” He took her hand in his and brought it to his lips. The gentle kiss calmed her. He did it again. When he did it a third time, the tension drained from her shoulders.

“Listen,” he said, “when you came back into my life, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I would see you again, much less have a chance at spending time with you like this. Today was…for lack of a better word, today was fun. You’re fun to talk to. Smart. Passionate. It’s refreshing.”

In spite of her annoyance, Riley gave him a small smile. “I had fun too.” “Then let’s keep it here for a while. I’m not in any rush.” He glanced up at her. “All right, that’s a bald-faced lie. I’ve been thinking about you all week.”

Her cheeks warmed up. “Really?”

He nodded. “Thinking about you. Fantasizing about you. Yeah. A lot, actually.” He ran his fingertip over her knuckles. “But that’s a conversation for another day, right?”

One more mischievous grin and he let go of her hand. Riley stared at him, wondering if she shouldn’t have shut her trap and jumped into bed with him like the wanton love goddess she wanted to be.

He walked her to her car and held the door open for her as she climbed inside. She cranked the window down and put the key in the ignition. Her crotchety old engine coughed to life.

Before she could drive away, Jack reached forward through the open window and took her face gently in his hands. Without a word, he kissed her—a deep kiss full of longing and sweetness. He slipped her a little tongue and she smiled, eyes closed, sparks falling like rain through her nervous system. Too soon, Jack let go and took a step back, his eyes locked on hers.

“Have a good week,” he said. “Call me.”

****


Want more? Click here to pre-order Hollywood Honkytonk.

#CyberMonday Sale + Cover Reveal: HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK

November 28, 2016

This is a quick post to let you know that All Romance Ebooks is having a CyberMonday Sale!

You can save 50% off many of my titles, today only, including my latest...

HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK, out January 13. 2017! Click the link below for more information.

Yay!



HOLLYWOOD HONKYTONK
KINGS OF CALIFORNIA, BOOK 2

Can their love survive the limelight?

With nothing but her dog, her guitar, and her cowboy boots, songwriter Riley Marion arrives in Los Angeles on the run from her abusive ex. A quiet job teaching music sounds perfect, but her low-key lifestyle is threatened when she reunites with a sexy old flame—now an up-and-coming celebrity who’s constantly dogged by paparazzi.

Charming and driven, Jack Lamont is a Hollywood actor on the rise to stardom. Ready to outgrow his playboy reputation, he’s happy to leave the hard partying to his entourage. Romantic entanglements? Jack’s not interested. At least, not until he gets tangled up with the one who got away—a smoking-hot woman whose memory has haunted him for the last ten years.

50% OFF TODAY ONLY
RELEASES 01.13.17