Posts Tagged ‘piatkus’

Piatkus Entice Stocking Filler: Kate Doran

This week we have Piatkus Marketer Kate, who is celebrating a bit of a late Christmas (extended family, you know). She’s excited to share what she hopes to find in her (belated) Christmas stocking!

 

I’ve chosen Whispers in the Snow as my Entice stocking filler. Packed with secrets, tragedy and hope, Jessica Blair’s wonderful holiday novella is the ultimate Christmas read.  If you want something to make you feel warm and cosy long after the last mince pie has been eaten, Whispers in the Snow is the book for you.

Piatkus Entice Stocking Filler – Anna Boatman

Piatkus Senior Editor Anna Boatman is ready for some Christmas reading! So what does she hope to find in her stocking?

 

Only THREE DAYS to go till Christmas! This means lots of things, such as that I’m beginning to panic about my total lack of Christmas presents purchased (three days is loads of time though. 72 hours. Loads of time), and that I’m getting incredibly excited about drinking far too much and playing board games for a few hours straight until we’ve all fallen out over the rules (our family are cool like that . . .). But most of all, it means it is time for me to write about my perfect stocking stuffer!

I’m going with a slightly older book, one of the first I bought when I joined Piatkus, and that we published in 2013. It’s by Lindsey Piper and is called Caged Warrior, the first in a fantastic series called the Dragon Kings. From the very first moment that I started reading I was completely hooked.

The premise is brilliant: the Dragon Kings are an ancient race who humans once worshipped as gods (they have pretty amazing powers). Now, however, they face extinction at the hands of cruel humanity and the curse of increasing infertility. Those remaining healthy are being slowly captured by ruthless cartels, and forced to fight as gladiators in cages for the pleasure of their human masters. If they win their battles, they’re allowed the chance to choose a mate. We follow the story of infamous cage warrior Leto, as he is forced to train up a new ‘recruit’, Nynn, who committed the ultimate sin of falling in love with a human. As he tries his best to break her, forcing her to face up to the past she escaped from and embrace the warrior inside, he starts to release her incredible powers. Soon the heat between them goes nuclear . . . and the fall out will change the fate of the Dragon Kings forever.

It’s gripping, sexy, incredibly addictive stuff and anyone who loves JR Ward should pick up Caged Warrior straight away, particularly because it’s only £1.99 until the 5th January! Auntie Edna pretending she’s gluten intolerant when last year it was ‘diabetes’? Granny’s accidentally poured away the gravy while trying to help? Brother grumpy because his stocking wasn’t as good as yours? It’s all ok. Take a deep breath and pick up Lindsey Piper.

Happy publication day to Jessica Blair!

On a blustery winter evening, curled up in front of a fire or even snuggled up under the duvet, you’ll find the Entice team with (what else but?) a great read! And luckily, the perfect holiday ebook has released today!

Whispers in the Snow is the first novella written by saga author Jessica Blair and combines ghost story with Christmas in a bite-sized serving of period story-telling. And it’s out now!

 

December 1964.

Kate Slater has been brought up in London by an Aunt who she has always called Mum because she never knew her mother and father. Two years after her Aunt dies, Kate receives a letter from a solicitor in Lincolnshire, telling her that if she contacts him in person she could learn something which might be to her advantage.

Kate has never been north of London and does not relish heading to Lincolnshire especially as snow has been forecast. She is inclined to ignore the letter, but something or someone ushers her to head there. Kate learns from the solicitor that she has been left a property by an Aunt she never knew existed. She is taken to inspect the cottage. It is in bad repair, isolated, near an old wartime airfield. Kate’s immediate reaction is to sell it and return to London. But then the whisperings of ghosts grow stronger and urge Kate to stay.

A Christmas memory from Jessica Blair (William Spence)

Tomorrow we publish Whispers in the Snow by Jessica Blair, our first ever Entice saga novella! Just reading it gets us in the holiday spirit and inspires us to think of days gone by.

In this special author post, Jessica Blair shares her Christmas memory and how she found out Santa might be all that he seems . . .

 

 

****

He comes in the night! He comes in the night!

He softly, silently comes;

While the little brown heads on the pillows so white,

Are dreaming of bugles and drums.

 

‘Mum, I’ve asked Father Christmas for the Boy’s Own Annual and it will be too big to fit into this.’

 

‘Don’t you want me to hang your sock up as usual?’ his mother asked.

 

‘What’s the use?’ he snapped grumpily, throwing the sock off the bed.

 

‘As you wish,’ she replied.

 

With his lips tight, he thumped his pillows angrily.

 

‘Settle down, Billy,’ she said with soothing authority. ‘Go to sleep; otherwise Father Christmas won’t call.’

 

‘What’s the use?’ he muttered.

 

Mum was awake early, listening for any movement in Billy’s bedroom. Hearing him stirring, she slipped out of bed without waking Billy’s Dad.  She found Billy, emptying the contents of his sock, not looking particularly thrilled even though he knew later in day the there would be presents from his Mum and Dad and grandparents.

 

As she sat down on the bed, she said, ‘What’s this pillow doing on the floor?’

 

Billy craned over the edge of the bed. ‘Dunno, Mum.’

 

She picked it up.  ‘There’s something in it,’ she said, placing it on the bed.

 

His natural curiosity was sparked and he automatically looked inside. His attention was caught, but what was it? He reached in; his hand closed round something. He tried to drag it out but it was heavy. He stretched in with his other hand; his head disappeared into the pillowcase. He pulled. His head re-emerged and was followed by a large thick book.

 

His eyes widened, stunned by the title: Boy’s Own Annual.

 

He looked at her. ‘Mum, he got my letter!’

 

‘And he thought to bring a pillowcase!’ she pointed out quietly. ‘Come on. Let’s tell your Dad.’

 

Billy scrambled down off the bed, took the book into his arms, went out on to the landing and headed for his parents’ bedroom to find his Dad.

 

Then he stopped in mid-stride and looked curiously at his mother who smiled because she had read his thoughts. The last words of the poem, laced with his wonderment of discovery, came slowly from him.

 

‘Then, children, be good to the little old man,

When you find who the little man is.’

 

Whispers in the Snow by Jessica Blair is out December 4th from Piatkus Entice and is the perfect holiday read!

Cara McKenna on her inspiration for HARD TIME

Cara McKenna on why she didn’t have a Hard Time setting an erotic romance in a prison . . .

 

I couldn’t tell you precisely when I knew I wanted to write a book about a convicted felon, only that it was a year or more before I ever thought to pitch the idea to my editor. It was a vague sort of wish-list idea, jotted down on my mental notepad and left to sit around in a dusty corner of my head while I attended to contracted projects.

As I’d first envisioned it, the romance would be a purely epistolary one, comprised solely of letters between an inmate and a woman on the outside—a correspondence born of both curiosity and caution, then steadily evolving into something more intense and explicit, and always a touch dangerous. Though I never articulated it to myself, I had imagined that it would be a passionate but doomed affair, the felon serving a life sentence and having no chance at parole (and guilty of his crime, as well.) Loads of longing and hollow hope, leaving it to the reader to imagine what might have happened if the two had been able to be together, that sort of thing—more lit fic than a true romance. More of a concept piece than the novel that little seed ultimately grew into.

Last autumn I’d been struggling to come up with an idea that really clicked for my next book, the third of a three-book contract. I’d been wanting to revisit Darren, Michigan—the struggling Rust Belt city I created for an earlier story, After Hours—and had been wondering what sort of sub-setting I could use. After Hours was set on a locked psychiatric ward (I love grim, institutional stories, whatever that says about me.) Cousins Correctional Facility already existed in that world; many of its inmates wound up at the psychiatric hospital. The moment I realized I could set this new book in a prison, I was instantly infatuated with the notion. (Readers who are familiar with my backlist may have noticed that my heroes are often pretty pent-up, not having gotten laid in a while for a variety of reasons, so writing one who’s been locked up for five years…? Right up my weird alley.)

It took a little effort to convince my then-editor that a story about a felon could be sexy, as opposed to plain old scary, but in the end, I think my naked obsession with the idea swayed her. At least enough to run it by the editorial director, who thankfully shared my enthusiasm.

There’s a point in Hard Time, about halfway through the book, where the heroine discovers that the hero is about to be paroled. (She’s an outreach librarian, in charge of the prison’s literacy program.) By then they’ve been interacting cordially in public and exchanging secret, heated letters for months, but she’s suddenly faced with a reality she hadn’t anticipated. Every worry she has—Is he really as good a man as he seems? Is he dangerous? Is it wise to try to pursue him in the larger world? Will our heat even translate into a kiss, and beyond?

These are some of the same worries I had, myself. Or perhaps more pointedly, Can I pull this off? Will readers stand by this heroine, if she chooses to pursue a romance with a felon with a heinous crime in his past? Will readers feel the depth and strength of her infatuation and understand her decisions, or condemn her as an unforgivable fool?

Well, Hard Timee is out now, and I’m sure readers are falling into both of those camps. It’s not the easiest romance, certainly, but I hope some readers will enjoy that about it, and embrace the contentiousness. Many questionable decisions dot the paths of both characters’ lives before they ever meet and embark on their risky love affair, and writing it was a bit of a risk in itself.

I can say already, however, that the risk has paid off, at least for me—few books have been such a joy to create.

 

 

———-

Cara McKenna writes contemporary romance and smart erotica, sometimes under the name Meg Maguire, and has sold more than thirty-five novels and novellas to Penguin, Piatkus, Harlequin, Samhain and Signet Eclipse. She’s known for writing no-nonsense, working-class heroes with capable hands and lousy grammar. She was a 2010 Golden Heart finalist, and a three-time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee. Cara writes full-time and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her own bearded hero.

www.caramckenna.com

https://www.twitter.com/caramckenna

Erin Knightley’s English Adventure – Part 3

In this last installment of Erin Knightley‘s adventures in England, we come back to the beginning, to that fated day when she would finally try . . . black pudding . . .

Which brings us back to the hockey puck . . .

We were staying at a delightful little bed and breakfast that was probably a good 200 years old, tucked away deep in the country. The floorboards were squeaky, the stairs precipitously steep, and the bathroom roughly the size of my broom closet. In other words, it was terribly rustic and charming. But when the kind innkeeper got it in his head that we should try his famous black pudding, well, what was a girl to do?

So I ate it. The pudding, with the oh-so-appetizing ingredient of pig’s blood, somehow passed my lips, and it was . . . not awful. Meatier than I expected, a little bready like stuffing, and not at all gelatinous like us Americans expect when encountering something called pudding. Thank God – things would have gone very differently if it had been wiggly! Still, I can now say that I have experienced it, and when my characters refer to it, you can rest assured this author knows what she’s talking about.

And no, I won’t be eating it again 😉

So wrong-side driving, a bit of rain, and one slightly embarrassing mishap involving a radiator, a sleepy, robe-wearing innkeeper, and a nearly melted television aside, this trip was truly everything I hoped it would be. I certainly hope that my writing will be that much richer in the future because of it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to treat myself to a cream tea. I’ll leave the pudding to you, dear reader.

 

Come back soon, Erin! We promise we won’t make you eat pig’s blood again! WE PROMISE!!!!!

 

The Baron Next Door is out now in both paperback and ebook. The Earl I Adore releases on the 6th of January 2015  in both paperback and ebook!

Erin Knightley’s English Adventure – Part 2!

Read on for Part 2 of what happened once Erin Knightley alighted on English soil . . .

With my mother as my traveling companion and nine glorious days set aside for the experience, I anxiously awaited the trip for what it was: a dream come true. And was it ever! First things first: shortly after arriving, I met my editor, Anna, and publicist, Clara, at Fortnum and Mason for my very first tea. Oh, the decadence! Smartly attired waiters, gentle piano music in the background, personal pots of fragrant teas, and a delectable selection of finger foods. This was where I encountered that oft-mentioned treat of the Regency novels: clotted cream. My characters had eaten it, yes, but I had no idea what it actually looked like, let alone what it tasted like!

Astonished that I had never tried it, Anna and Clara watched with interest as I topped a scone. I was thinking it might be closer to whip cream, but quickly discovered it was more of a pot of buttery clouds than sweetened fluff. So rich, so creamy, so perfectly delicious – I could easily see why the lords and ladies of the ton would indulge!

Emboldened by the success, I eagerly went about experiencing even more. A tour of the Tower of London? Check! Hyde Park? Check! A spot of tea and a bun at The Pump Room in Bath? Check! We explored Sydney gardens, which was such a big part of The Earl I Adore, and we toured the Assembly Rooms, which was prominent in all three of the Prelude to a Kiss Series. We stayed in a Georgian townhome with its original 1790 kitchen (and kindly ignored the slightly burnt toast). We ogled Chatsworth and ooo’d and ahh’d our way through Blenheim Palace and Stourhead. I soaked in every detail of the fabrics, furniture, and furnishings of those glorious old homes, and paid more attention than was probably proper to the detailed and often naughty ceiling murals and statues.

It was all so very magical and wonderful (minus that one time I almost got us hit by a bus five minutes after picking up the rental car, which we’ll just pretend never happened).

 

Check back tomorrow for the final part of Erin’s trip! Does she eat the black pudding? Have we scarred her for life?!

Erin Knightley’s English Adventure!

Blightly was honoured recently with a visit from one of our favourite authors, Erin Knightley! Her warm and clever Regency romance The Baron Next Door had only just come out in paperback and we were getting reading for the upcoming sequel The Earl I Adore!

Over the next three days Erin will be telling the story of her trip to England where she visited the inspirations for her books! Keep reading below for Part 1 of Erin Knightley‘s English Adventures!

 

 

 

 

I sat there, staring at the plate before me, trying to figure out how I had gotten into this. The eggs, rasher of bacon, and toast were normal enough—delicious even—but beside them was a round, black, hockey puck slab of food, the likes of which I had never laid eyes on.

“Go on,” the innkeeper said, nodding encouragingly. “You’ll love it, I promise!” His charming enthusiasm was endearing, despite the eyebrow-raising breakfast he had just set in front of me.

Right. When in Rome, etc., etc. I took a deep breath, cut the tiniest morsel you have ever seen from the black disk, and crossed my fingers that my constitution was as good as my characters’ in the Regency world in which I write. 

I, Erin Knightley, romance author, world traveler, and thoroughly modern girl, was about to try black pudding.

So, dear reader, you may be wondering how I came about finding myself in this position, some 4,000 miles away from my cozy little house on a lake in North Carolina and the obligatory bowl of cereal with which I usually break my fast.

It had all started with an email. “Congrats!” it had said, the exclamation point effusive coming from my wonderful agent. “Piatkus has purchased the UK rights to both The Baron Next Door and The Earl I Adore!” It went on to explain that in a few short months, my Regency-set novels would be on the shelves of the country I had adored since the moment I picked up WHITNEY, MY LOVE back in the ‘90s.

And thus began my giddy, gleeful planning of a trip to England to coincide with the debut of The Baron Next Door. Not only could I meet my new publisher, sign books, and stay at the quaintest of quaint bed and breakfasts across the country, but this was my chance to really research the places I wrote about. Oh, to wander the venerated halls of manor houses, to visit the streets Jane Austen had tread, and traverse the ‘rolling countryside’ so often described in Regency-set novels (guilty!). I wanted to sample the traditional English fare, take tea with a side of scones, and discover what, exactly, clotted cream was.

Check back tomorrow for more of Erin’s story!

The Baron Next Door is out now in ebook and paperback!

FALLING AWAY cover reveal!

COVER REVEAL!!

Just when we thought we couldn’t be any more excited about Penelope Douglas’s Falling Away . . . We love this cover – hope you all do too!

Falling Away, Jax’s story, is out on the 6th of January – pre-order here:

Amazon UK

Apple

Kobo

Google

Too excited to breathe? CALM DOWN. We know how you feel. While waiting for Jax to grace us with his presence, why don’t you enter the competition to win a copy of Bully, Until You and Rival? It’s open internationally!

Enter here!