I have just published my second romance novel, No Way to Win. It’s the second in a series of novels I plan to write about a small-hotel development company in Palm Springs, Casa de Buen Dia. I wrote about this series in a blog post last August ( http://www.marjcharlier.com/author-blog/now-for-something-completely-different-a-romance ), describing the novels as “smart girl” romances about women looking for meaningful work as much as for meaningful love, but the love thing gets in the way.
The first novel in the series, One Way to Succeed, is about Amy, a 30-year-old woman who has let her TV-anchor boyfriend move on without her so that she can finally focus on building a career. She takes an admin job at Buen Dia, hoping it’ll give her a foot in the door to a real management position. She and Buen Dia owner, Rick, hit it off, but he won’t promote a woman because he thinks she’ll steal his company from him the same way his mother absconded with his father’s business. Meanwhile, Amy fights her attraction to Rick because she doesn’t want to succeed the “one way” her mother always predicted she would—and it isn’t by excelling at the job.
In No Way to Win, Sandra is ready to get back to her career in hospitality management. She’s been working as Buen Dia’s receptionist while nursing her mother, who was dying of cancer. Now she has a chance to get promoted within Buen Dia to the hotel management arm, but the immediate and mutual attraction between her and Brian, the man who’s supposed to make the hiring decision, complicates things. Making matters worse, his brother demands Brian pay him back for some past injustice by hiring his new girlfriend, Gloria, instead.
What is fun about writing a series like this is looking ahead and setting up new characters for the next novel. I’m always on the lookout for someone in the current novel who will step up to the challenge of looking for love in all the wrong places (that’s what romances are really about, after all) in the next one.
While you’re reading No Way to Win, watch for Sandra’s best friend, Caitlin. Caitlin (who suggests you call her Bruce, thank you) is saddled with more restaurants to her name than she can manage, all left behind by a husband who disappeared with one or another of his concubines while she was doing all his work. The restaurants are community property, so she can’t abandon them, but unless he shows up, she can’t sell them either. Caught between the reality of being married and being alone—as well as overworked—Caitlin becomes romantically entangled with another of the Buen Dia employees, threatening both her sanity and her livelihood.
I hope you like No Way to Win, and I hope you’re looking forward to Caitlin’s story. Meanwhile, I’ll take suggestions for the title for Caitlin’s novel. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(I am publishing these romances under the pen name, Marjorie Pinkerton Miller. The name is a combination of my full first name, my grandmother Charlier’s maiden name, Pinkerton, and my other grandmother’s married name, Miller.)