Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Cowboys are H.O.T . . . especially the Triple Cs!

I mean, come on! Hard-working men just make us swoooonn. So it’s no wonder we love a bit of Western action. And good thing we have Laura Wright, our resident expert on the topic, to introduce us to the world of the Cavanaugh Brothers . . .

 

COWBOYS.

Just the word conjures up all sorts of images: Handsome, rugged, hardworking, alpha, sexy, strong, blue skies, miles of green and brown landscape.

Wait, did I mention, sexy?

:-)

When I decided to write a four book series about cowboys, I knew I wanted all of these elements. But I also wanted it centered around a ranch – the Triple C – that held both wonderful and horrific memories. This ranch was where life was given and taken away. Where guilt and cruelty, lies and betrayal, broke a family apart. And sent the three brothers who had grown up there running – trying to find a life outside and away from those dark and painful memories.

And then I thought . . . what if they are all forced to come back again? What if they’re forced to deal with death and guilt, a brother they never knew they had – and women who are every bit as tough as they are?

Hell, maybe tougher.

I hope you enjoy my Cavanaugh Brother series. I’ve put together some pictures of my cowboys for you. Let you see what I see when I write them.

What do you think?

Pretty nice, eh darlins?

Presenting: Deacon Cavanaugh

Presenting: James Cavanaugh

Presenting: Cole Cavanaugh

Presenting: Blue Perez Cavanaugh

 

Branded, the first in the Cavanaugh Brothers series, is out now on Entice! Broken is out in October . . .

Your questions . . . ANSWERED! A.L. Jackson lifts the veil . . .

Remember those brilliant questions you sent to A.L. Jackson? And how we were all like, ‘GAHHHHH so many good ones!!’

Well, we couldn’t send them all but the ones we picked pretty much covered all the bases, so most of you will see the answers you’ve been waiting for.

And we’re so not surprised, but A.L. Jackson has given some very kind, very insightful and deliciously teasing answers! We simply cannot WAIT now for Come to Me Softly!!

Thank you, thank you A.L. Jackson!

 

  • Where did the idea for the Closer to You series come from? – LAURA

Thanks so much for the question, Laura! The roots of Come to Me Quietly goes back a long way, back before I ever wrote Take This Regret. I was writing a paranormal romance, and the hero was none other than our Jared Holt. But as I got deeper into the story and Jared’s character grew, I knew he belonged in a different story. I so clearly saw this beautifully broken boy, and his story began to weave itself in my mind. So I shelved the paranormal and went with the story that spoke to me, which was Come to Me Quietly

 

  • Did you always want to be a writer? – KATE

Hi Kate! That’s kind of a difficult question for me because I think I was always a writer, although I never imagined I would it become my career. When I first started back when I was in college and a young mother, I just loved the feel of words and used them as an emotional outlet. I loved weaving them together, and it was pretty much poetry that came out in a free flowing stream of thoughts. It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I sat down and tried my hand at writing an actual novel, and that was when I really fell in love!

 

  • Can you give us any hints about what’s coming next in the series? – CHARLENE

Oh Charlene . . . just you wait! Book three is Christopher’s story, Aly’s brother from Come to Me Quietly and Come to Me Softly, and I’m absolutely in love with his story. It’s intense and sexy, and of course a little bit sad, but if you all loved Jared, I think you’ll love Christopher too! 

 

  • Who do you think would play Jared in a film? – BECCA

Becca, I’d say it’d have to be Charlie Hunnam. He’s just rough all around and has that edge to him that Jared possesses. 

We had to . . . we simply . . . HAD TO . . .

  • What was the hardest scene to write? – JOLENE

Hi Jolene! Without giving too much away, in both Come to Me Quietly and Come to Me Softly it was the two scenes toward the very end when Jared comes head-on with his past. Both catapult him to different places of healing and I don’t think one is more important than the other, but his path to finding joy and happiness and peace. Both scenes had me weeping when I wrote them.

 

  • Do you ever get embarrassed when writing the sex scenes? ;) – RACH

LOL Rach . . . yes!! I have to admit one scene in Come to Me Quietly, I was so into it I had to jump up and run out of my office to get some fresh air. I was a little overheated ;)  

 

  • Was Christopher’s story mapped out from the beginning of Jared and Aly’s story or did his story unfold for you as you were writing theirs? – WENDY

Great question, Wendy! And no, definitely not. Christopher really grew right along with Jared and Aly, and as I he was in different scenes in the first two books, his story was taking shape in my mind. By the time I finished Come to Me Softly, I couldn’t wait to begin the third book. And one of my favorite things about it is it’s a companion novel, so while you don’t have to have read books 1 and 2 to read book 3, Jared and Aly still play a huge role in Christopher’s life. I love being able to continue to grow all these characters as they support and care for each other. 

 

Come to Me Softly is out on June 24th, 2014! Start Jared and Aly’s story with Come to Me Quietly, out now!

Digital Romance Festival!

It’s only two days until the world’s first all-singing, all-dancing, all-digital Romance Festival!! We’re delighted to be taking part and if you love to read or write romance, this is an event not to be missed.

How will it work? Saturday 7th of June will be the Professional development day, with tips from industry professionals, Google hangouts with global bestselling indie authors, and a chance to get your manuscripts read by expert editors. Sunday 8th June is all about the readers! That’s the day when your favourite authors will be available for one-off Q&A sessions, and you’ll hear behind-the-scenes info from some of the biggest names in romance.

We have a great selection of Piatkus authors involved!

Plus many more from Piatkus, such as Darynda Jones, Chelsea Fine, Laura Wright, Tim O’Rourke and Samantha Young!

Just to make this even more awesome, all of this is available absolutely FREE! Just sign up HERE to see the full schedule and go HERE to see the full author line up.

Join us, along with load of other publishers and authors, in this history-making event! Well, in our history books, at least . . . :-)

Happy Publication Day to Laura Wright and Erin Knightley!

Happy Tuesday! And what a great one it is, because we have not one, but TWO incredible publications out today for Entice! Where do you wish to go first? The Cavanaugh Ranch or Regency England?

Have a look below and pick your (tasty) poison . . .

Branded by Laura Wright

In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C – a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers . . .

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life – a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.

 

The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley

Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal:


1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London
2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love

After an exhausting Season spent at the mercy of the whispering Ton, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape: freedom to indulge her true passion and play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbour tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum.

Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, is in Bath to heal hidden wounds, both mental and physical. He may think he’s finally put an end to the noise next door, but he has no idea what he’s begun. The more he discovers about Charity, the more he finds her bothersome, vexing, and . . . inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

Samantha Young – Deleted Scene 2!

And Samantha Young has done it again! Another sneaky deleted scene for readers to enjoy before the publication of Fall from India Place . . . TOMORROW!

Try to breathe now, peoples . . .

 

 

****

It wasn’t snowing. For this I was thankful. Snow was for when you were curled up safe inside with a fire roaring in a grate. It wasn’t for when you were driving a rental and taking the less than direct route to Dunoon, Argyll. Rather than driving west toward Greenock and then catching the ferry over, we were driving northwest to Loch Lomond and then turning back on ourselves but on the other side of the lochs that convened into the Holy Loch at Dunoon.

We were doing this because we wanted to take in a bit of the country, and although it was cold, no snow meant driving conditions were good.

Mostly we were doing this because Ellie hated the ferry.

Joss, Braden, Nate and Liv left at the same time as us in their rental late Friday afternoon for the large lodge Joss and Braden had booked for the weekend in one of his favorite spots. However, they were taking the ferry so they’d be arriving before Marco and I, who were riding in Adam’s rental with him and the ferry-hating Ellie.

Marco didn’t mind. He hadn’t seen much of the highlands and was sitting in the front passenger seat quietly taking in the passing scenery.

“I don’t know why Jo decided not to come. I thought she was going stir crazy in the flat,” Ellie said.

I glanced to my side, looking up from my ereader to take in Ellie’s frown. Her cheeks were even puffier now, as were her lips. Her baby bump was pretty huge, too. She was wearing a thick, knitted, turtleneck sweater, wooly leggings and Uggs. Her long hair was stuffed under a knitted hat that had a giant bobble on it.

Completely adorable. As was the way Adam hovered over her every second of every minute.

“She was. But her hormones are all over the place. Cole said he wasn’t going because he didn’t want to be a third wheel to four couples and then Jo decided she didn’t want to go either. One minute she was fine, the next a mess. And being around you, Els,” I added dryly, “Someone who is handling this pregnancy with the same aplomb as your last doesn’t help Jo feel any better.”

“Aplomb?” Adam grinned teasingly at me in the rearview mirror.

Marco snorted.

I narrowed my eyes on my boyfriend. “What are you laughing at?”

He threw a small smile at me over his shoulder. “Babe, you used the word ‘aplomb’.”

“It’s a good word,” I huffed.

He chuckled, turning to look back out his window.

“I have to say it’s nice to have an American guy in our group, Marco,” Ellie said randomly. “We’ve only had the American female perspective until now.”

Confused, I wrinkled my nose. “And how is being an American going to change his response? He’s a man. As far as I can tell they generally think the same way whether they’re Scottish, American, Chinese or Lithuanian.”

“Lithuanian?” Ellie wrinkled her nose right back at me. “What an obscure choice.”

“It’s hardly obscure. I could have said Tuvaluan.”

“Tuvawhatan?”

“Tuvaluan. The country of Tuvalu.”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

“Exactly.”

Adam glanced at Marco before looking straight ahead at the road. “You sure you want to get involved with a Nichols sister?”

I watched as Marco smirked at my brother-in-law. “At least they’re not boring.”

Adam grunted. “You might make it after all.”

Great. There was no telling what could happen if Marco actually became friends with Adam and Braden. I shot a panicked look at Ellie but she grinned at me like an excited five year old.

~

Marco, Adam, Ellie and I followed Joss down the wood-cladded hallway of the huge lodge we found ourselves in. Situated on the hill of the holiday park, set somewhat away from the other, smaller lodges, the massive open plan lounge and kitchen had floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a deck with a hot tub. It also looked out over the stunning Holy Loch. A coal fire was already burning by the time we arrived. Nate and Liv were curled up on one of the many sofas, a blanket wrapped around them, looking like something out of an advert for lovers’ weekend breaks.

Delicious smells wafted toward us from the opposite end of the room in the kitchen where Joss and Braden were already cooking. As soon as we arrived Joss led the four us into the back of the lodge. We hit a T-hallway and Joss pointed left at the top.

“Els, Adam, you’re across the hall from me and Braden. The door on your left.”

Ellie nudged past us grinning. I couldn’t help but laugh. My sister was in such a good mood these days she’d make even the grumpiest person happy.

Well, maybe not Jo.

Joss looked at me and then Marco and a knowing gleam appeared in her eyes. “You two are on the right across from Nate and Liv. Door on your left. Dinner will be ready in half an hour.”

She wandered back down the hallway and Marco picked up our weekend bags and led me into our room. It was a great size and we had our own ensuite.

“This is nice.” He dropped the bags on the bed and looked at me. “Like really nice.”

I shrugged. “Braden has a taste for luxury.”

“I know. I build his apartments and houses.”

I smiled. “Right.” I looked back at the door, chewing on my lower lip.

“What are you thinking?”

“Two things really.”

He slowly made his way over to me, sliding his arm around my waist. I moved into him naturally, my hands coasting up his chest. Nothing felt as good as being in his arms. Nothing. “I was thinking you seem pretty comfortable here. Not that I’m not glad… I’m just surprised.”

Marco frowned. “What’s surprising about that?”

“You’ve never really come across as the weekend-break-in-the-highlands kind of guy.”

His features softened with understanding and he gave my waist a squeeze. “I’m here because your family is important to you and I want to get to know them.”

I melted into him. “That’s such a good answer which makes the next thing I’m thinking a real bloody pain in the arse.” Marco waited for me to elaborate. “The walls are thin and Nate and Liv are across the hall. We can’t have sex.”

Marco bent his head to scatter barely-there lip brushes along my jaw. He whispered into my ear. “We can’t have loud sex.”

I shivered and sighed, turning my face to nuzzle his jaw. “No sex.” But I didn’t sound that convincing.

His hand slid down my back to caress my butt. “I think I can change your mind.”

“Mmm.” I pushed my hands under his shirt, feeling his hard abs. “I think you can too.”

“We better not start anything.” Marco replied gruffly. “We’ve got dinner in a little while and I don’t think I’ll make the right impression if I go out there sporting a hard on.”

I giggled, wrapping my arms tighter around him. “Perhaps not the right one but I’ll definitely be the envy of all the women.”

He laughed, kissed my neck and patted my bum. “Let’s leave this room before I throw you on that bed and fuck you senseless. Loudly.

I laughed and reluctantly let him drag me out of the room.

 ****

Samantha Young – Deleted Scene!

Guys, it’s only four days until Samantha Young’s next book in the On Dublin Street series!

Because even four days seems like far too long to wait, Entice are delighted to reveal that we have not one but TWO exclusive deleted scenes from Fall From India Place to reveal!

Read on for the first, and check back on Monday, 2nd of June for number two . . .

 

 

 ****

I pressed save on Marco’s English discursive writing piece and slid the laptop over to him. “I’ve made some notes. Once you go over them, you’re good to go.”

“Thanks,” he muttered, scrolling down the screen to see what I’d typed into the comment boxes.

We were sitting in Stockbridge Library instead of the school library, because last time we did that we could barely get anything done. This was due to the whispering going on around us as people wondered what we were doing together. Word had long ago reached enquiring ears —a.k.a my friends and his—that we hung out sometimes, and people were curious as to what was going on with us.

Unfortunately, the answer wasn’t as exciting as I’d like.

After I’d kissed Marco he’d avoided me for a month. But kissing him and being rejected had actually been somewhat liberating. Okay, it hurt like hell and I felt humiliated, but after a while I began to realize that the world hadn’t ended. I’d done something for me, something brave, and I’d made it out okay. It had changed my perspective. I spoke up in class now, and I stood up for myself and for my friends against petty name-calling. I entered my short story into the junior writing competition my English teachers had urged me toward, and I joined the debate team.

That’s sort of why Marco started speaking to me again. I, of course, missed the bus after my first meeting with the team and when I walked outside, there he was.

He never said a word to me about the kiss. He just pretended like it had never happened. I didn’t feel great about that but I was happy he was at least talking to me again. A few weeks after that I discovered his English tutor had up and quit on him because of her own workload. She had been helping Marco with Higher English.

Although I was a few years younger, I was ahead of the curve in English so I talked through his requirements with my English teacher and I’d offered to help him.

Thankfully, he’d taken me up on the offer and we met up once a week to work on it and anything else I thought I might be able to help him out with. I wasn’t surprised to discover that Marco’s problems with English were mostly a lack of confidence. Reading over his discursive piece only highlighted to me how much smarter he was than he realized.

“Now we need to work on your personal essay.”

Marco shut the laptop, covering his yawn with his fist. He blinked sleepily at me. “I’m trying. I’m pretty beat.”

I knew his Design and Tech teacher had helped get him an apprenticeship with a local independent tradesman in carpentry and joinery. It was a requirement that Marco had employment with someone in the trade in order to get onto the course at Edinburgh College for carpentry and joinery. Technically, he didn’t need Higher English or Higher Maths, but I felt like it was a challenge he’d put upon himself to prove that he could do it.

And he could do it. If he would organize his workload a little better. He’d gotten permission to leave school to work on his apprenticeship during his free periods and he worked all day Saturday with his new boss. He worked full time during the holidays, too. I knew he was tired. But I also knew that when it came to his personal essay, he was procrastinating.

Marco wasn’t really into oversharing.

“Have you picked a subject at least?” I asked quietly, unable to stop my eyes as they roamed his face, studying every little thing about it. I squashed the butterflies, as always, and waited.

He looked up from the desk, those amazing eyes of his staring right into mine. “Not really.”

“What about your grandparents or your life back in Chicago?”

“Hannah,” he smiled sadly, “Nonno pretty much hates me and I was bad news in Chicago. I hung around guys that were getting into really ugly stuff. That’s why my grandparents sent me away. That’s not really something I want publicized on an academic paper.”

Intrigued by this new information, I leaned forward. “Why do you think your granddad hates you?”

My mum’s dad had died before I was born but my dad’s father was still alive and he always showered me with love the few times a year I got to see him. I couldn’t understand a grandparent hating his grandchild.

Marco leaned back in his chair, his jaw taut as he stared at the desk. “I’m half African-American. My Italian grandfather can’t stand the fact that his precious daughter slept with a black guy.”

My lips parted in shock. “He’s racist?”

Marco shrugged. “My dad could have been Japanese, Jewish or Mexican and it would have pissed Nonno off. What mattered was that my dad wasn’t Italian and my parents weren’t married when my mother got pregnant. Nonno is really old-fashioned and a total traditionalist.”

You could call it whatever you wanted. There was no excuse for mistreating a child ever, and for the excuse for it to be based on simple genetics? I was furious for Marco. “Was he awful to you?”

Marco shrugged again but this time he met my gaze when he said, “My mom pretty much disowned my dad and my grandparents wouldn’t let him near me. He gave up, took off before I was even one. My mom stuck around for a few years but she couldn’t take being a mom. She was only seventeen when she had me. And she couldn’t take the fact that her dad, who’d once idolized her, couldn’t stand the sight of her and the massive disappointment she represented. So she took off too. Left me with them.”

My stomach felt heavy. “How bad was it?”

He looked me straight in the eye and I knew by his expression he wasn’t going to tell me. By not telling me my imagination worked on overtime and I felt nothing but fury at his grandfather and a need to protect Marco. “Nonna’s great. She tried to make up for… everything else. And most of my Italian side of the family are great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to live with them.”

“So you got in trouble and they sent you here to your uncle?”

He nodded, a scowl forming on his handsome face. “My mom’s big brother. My Aunt Gabby is Scottish-Italian but her family is originally from Chicago. She came for a visit years ago and my Uncle Gio fell for her. They came up with the idea for the restaurant, her parents had capital, he moved here with her and D’Alessandro’s was born.”

“Is he okay with you?”

Marco’s upper lip curled. “He’s had his head filled by Nonno so make what you will out of that.”

“Marco,” I reached for his hand before I could stop myself, sliding my fingers through his. I waited as he stared at our hands clasped together.

I felt his fingers tighten for a second before he gently pulled his hand away. He cleared his throat. “I haven’t told anyone else that. I’d appreciate it if you don’t repeat it.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

There was a moment of charged silence between us.

Marco inhaled, as if trying to catch a breath in the suddenly thick air. “My personal essay?”

I shook my head. “You don’t need to make it too personal. Why don’t you write about working with your wood?”

He grinned suddenly and it took me a second to understand why. I blushed, realizing my inadvertent innuendo.

“No.” I pushed him playfully and he chuckled. “I mean write about one of your projects in woodwork. Write about why you do it, what it gives you.”

He stopped laughing. “Okay. I’ll give it a try.”

“Okay.” Still blushing I quickly stood up to escape my embarrassment. “I’ll just put this book back.”

I grabbed the book up off the desk and hurried down the aisle to where we found it. It wasn’t until I was there I remembered we’d gotten it off the top shelf, a shelf even I couldn’t reach without a stool. Marco had retrieved it.

And then he was there. The heat of his chest against my back. “Let me,” his voice rumbled in my ear and I tried to stop the shiver that chased down my spine and failed.

He took the book out of my hands and reached up above me, going on tip-toe so his chest brushed my back. As he slid the book back in place I turned around, thrilled by his proximity. Marco’s eyes dropped to my face and I flushed again at the sudden intensity in his expression. His arm lowered but instead of dropping it to his side he gently tucked my short hair behind my ear, his fingers brushing my skin as he did so.

I felt the heat and surge of attraction between us. I wanted to throw my arms around his neck and kiss him again, but I was frozen by the fear that if I did, this time he would stop talking to me for good.

“Thanks for your help,” he said gruffly, dropping his hand to his side and stepping back.

“Anytime,” I whispered, but he was already walking away.

****

A.L. Jackon is answering YOUR questions!

Are you as excited about Jared and Aly’s return as we are? Come to Me Softly is out June 24th 2015!

We’ve missed them so much! WAHHHHHHH!

Even though we have around one month to wait, A.L. Jackson has basically become the best person EVER and agreed to answer some fan questions. We know, pretty incredible, right?

Do you have a burning question that you need answered before the next story starts? Perhaps you want to know where A.L. Jackson gets her inspiration from, or what’s coming next?

Simply enter your question in the comments box below (be sure to include your name!) or email piatkus.entice@littlebrown.co.uk and we’ll post her answers in the week after the UK bank holiday weekend! So better hurry! You have three days to put your questions down.

We already have like, twenty. They might all be questions about Jared. NO shame.

Eloisa James on Potent Pleasures . . .

Do any Enticers dream of being a historical romance author? Or any kind of author?

Here at Piatkus, we’re constantly seeing our authors encouraging new writers on their websites, on social media or in essays for magazines/blogs. They’re right – reach for the stars!

And sometimes, when someone you really admire, tells you a story from their past, about starting out and perhaps making a few mistakes, it’s tempting to think, ‘Yeah right!’

But yeah . . . RIGHT! Everyone was once in your shoes and in Eloisa James‘s first year as a published author, she learned and grew and was basically a totally tough battle warrior!

With the help of intelligent readers like you, some tough times led to one of her most well-loved books, (Potent Pleasures, the first in series that has just become available in the UK for the first time) and inspiration for all others that followed . . .

****

Remember how much you longed to be a teenager?  When I was unpublished, the published state looked just as glorious as the magic year thirteen does to a eleven-year-old girl.  I had no problem visualizing myself signing my name with a flourish and meeting my editor at fancy New York lunches.  But First Years are often not exactly as one visualizes.  Take the First Year of Marriage, for example.  Magazines and movies portray it as a blur of romantic dinners and surprise gifts from one’s dearly beloved.  Yet even as my husband and I wander into our second decade together, I shudder to think of our first twelve months.  I am not just complaining about the state of the bathroom, either.  Why doesn’t anyone tell you that supposedly intelligent men turn out not to have balanced their checkbook for years?

And what about that long-awaited First Year as a Teenager?  I expected something marvelous to happen.  OK, breasts might have been a long shot, but secretly I hoped to transform into a graceful, slender girl with blond hair.  Needless to say, my hair remained obstinately red, my clumsiness was unmatched by anyone else trying out for the cheerleading squad, and my waistline was a matter for tears and French fries.  The year is summed up, in my mind, by one day at lunchtime when the boys (who generally stuck to their side of the room), were acting like rampaging animals, tossing about a garment of clothing.  I hadn’t the faintest idea what they were so excited about.  And it wasn’t until the said white scrap of cloth shot over to the girls’ side of the room and draped itself on my head (rather like the homecoming crown I longed for), that I discovered the existence of the jock strap.

I guess my real point is that First Years are often painful.  My first year as a published author was no exception.  The shock was all the greater because I so enjoyed the unpublished life.  I don’t happen to be someone who was wise enough to attend creative writing classes, or join the Romantic Writers of America, or learn how to ride before jumping in the saddle.  Nope, I hopped right on and started writing.  And because I loved it, I kept going.  The year I spent writing Potent Pleasures will always remain, in my memory, one of the most charmed experiences of my life.  I was juggling my job, my three-year-old son, and our household (my husband never did learn to balance a checkbook) – but at four o’clock every day I would sink into the story of Alex and Charlotte.  And I loved it.  Writing was something I felt I could really do well.  I don’t know about you, but I have to work hard at mothering.  It’s the toughest job I’ve done, and if I ever meet someone who says out loud that they do it very, very well, I will likely consider a citizen arrest on the grounds of criminal insanity.  As for being a wife, I was never much good at math.  And as for my job…it’s a job.  Hard one day, excruciating the next, kind of fun one week, stressful for a month.  But writing Potent Pleasures was pure pleasure.

So my first year as a published author should have been bliss, right?  Everyone who picked up the book would say, “Hey!  This is great!” and write me a letter saying so.  What’s more, the publication of Potent Pleasures was not the only wonderful thing that happened to me in 1999.  My second child, Anna, was also born.  Oh bliss!  Oh glory!  Oh desperation!

Why had I not realized that juggling a job, a household, a second book, a four-year-old son and a new baby added up to INSANITY?  At the same time that Potent Pleasures was hitting the bookstores, I was struggling to finish my second novel.  The contracted due date for Midnight Pleasures came and passed.  It wasn’t that the book wasn’t done – it was, sort of.  Sophie and Patrick was a gloriously funny couple.  I adored them and their jokes, their love for each other and their griefs.  The problem was their sex life.  They didn’t have one.  Well – I hardly had one, so why should they?  Anna was born at a low birth weight, and woke up every two hours for a feeding, every night for months.  And if she didn’t wake up, I was under strict instructions to wake her up.  Who needs sex?  Sleep is the ultimate pleasure.

The second problem was my readers.  About half of them loved Potent PleasuresUSA Today loved it, Booklist loved it, and Publishers’ Weekly loved it.  Half of my readers fell into Charlotte and Alex’s story just as I had hoped when writing it:  with pleasure and affection.  But the other half of my readers wrote me blistering letters.  Charlotte and Alex dance a quadrille in 1803 – and there were no quadrilles in England until 1815.  Even worse, Alex wears pajamas – and there were no pajamas worn until the 1930s!  Here’s where my mortification came in.  You see, in my day-to-day job, I am a scholar.  Facts are my business.  I spend most of my days teaching undergraduates how to write footnotes and how to do research.  The mortification of being crowned by a jock strap was easily surpassed when I became the queen of the anachronism.

In my defense, I had no idea that some readers treasure historical accuracy.  Back in my blissful pre-publication state, my husband pointed out that men didn’t wear pajamas in the old days.  I dismissed that suggestion out of hand.  My Alex couldn’t wear a nightshirt!  Yuck!  My husband also thought that prostitutes were not known as hookers back then.  But I liked the sound of a Hookers’ Ball.

Now that Potent Pleasures was actually on the stands, more letters went up on Amazon.com every day.  Outraged letters battled supportive letters.  My editor described my Amazon site as a war zone.  My husband described it as forbidden.  After visiting the site, I invariably spent the whole day in tears (mind you, lack of sleep doesn’t make criticism any easier to handle).

Fortunately, there was a good nine months before Potent Pleasures was to be published in paperback.  I spent two of them in a frenzy.  A few anachronisms couldn’t be changed as they were woven into the texture of the story.  But some pages underwent as many as seven alterations.  Words changed.  Details changed.  Alex lost his pajamas and went to bed naked.  Charlotte’s garters descended to her knees and she attended a Cyprians’ Ball rather than a Hookers’ Ball.  Baby Pippa, alas, was forced to eat cake rather than ice cream.  I turned in the revised draft of Potent Pleasures in a state of complete exhaustion.

In my first year of as a published author, I learned that the art of writing is just as difficult as all the other good things in life, such as parenting or staying in a marriage.  But like those other things, the pleasure of writing well is far keener than the pleasure of writing easily.  By talking back to me, irate readers helped me become a better writer, in a way I may never have learned on my own.  The paperback of Potent Pleasures represents, to me, the very best story that I could write at this moment.  And yet the paperback is no longer just my property.  It is a collaborative effort, written with the help of intelligent, conscientious, and vocal readers.

My baby, Anna, not only sleeps through the night, but bops around her room listening to Justin Bieber.  My husband may not balance our checkbook, but he cooks a great pot of pasta, and he does all the laundry – and he even sorts the colors sometimes.  Sophie and Patrick regained their sex life, and became a more passionate couple for having lived a celibate existence.  I’m still writing novels, but now I find myself looking forward to letters from readers, whether they be irate, supportive or otherwise.  How else will I grow as an author?  I still don’t have time to take a creative writing class!  What was most difficult about my First Year as a Published Author has become a crucial source of help and inspiration.

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Potent Pleasures and the rest of the Pleasures trilogy is available now in ebook from Piatkus Entice, and in paperback July 3rd, 2015!

Welcome to Entice, Penelope Douglas!

Piatkus Entice are absolutely delighted to welcome the phenomenal Penelope Douglas! On June 5th, her bestselling romances Bully and Until You will be available from Entice. Together they have sold over 250,000 copies since 2013 and trust me, it’s for a good reason! Penelope’s writing is some of the most addictive we’ve ever come across – be prepared to lose yourself completely for a day . . .

Even more exciting, her brand new next book Rival will be available in August – stay tuned for more news, competitions and info for this fantastic author.

Penelope Douglas is a writer living in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to “just get the damn degree!” She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she HATED public administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked that his son was hot, and three years later she was married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, The Originals, and she shops at Target almost daily.