It Begins with a Mask + Giveaway!
by Dani Collins, author of The Ultimate Seduction
About this time last year, I was collaborating with the wonderful Maya Blake and Victoria Parker on this series. We were all under the gun with deadlines and life stuff like jobs and kids. The project was exciting and we were charged with inventing the secret club. We popped on to Skype to work out some rules.
First a shout-out to Maya and Victoria—reading the thread made me laugh all over again. The best thing about hanging out with writers is that we make one another laugh. Maybe it’s nervous laughter because we don’t spend much time in society, always locked in our writing caves, but I couldn’t have asked for nicer, funnier women to collaborate with. By the time this posts, I’ll have met Victoria in person at the conference in San Antonio. I can’t wait!
Top of mind for our Skype meeting was working out how members were allowed in. I’d done some research on exclusive clubs and they’re often invitation only. Usually prospective members must be recommended by a certain number of current members to be considered. But those clubs have boards. Ours is privately owned. “Zeus” decides. That made the first part of the job easier.
Then we asked ourselves how an invitation is issued. We all loved the masquerade idea and each wanted a ball, but we were planning to have our books in consecutive quarters, not all taking place at the same time as the others.
Side note: I’m glad I cut my teeth on this sort of collaboration. The kind where you are intertwining your characters’ actions with another author’s characters would be very challenging. I think I’d have to be in the same house with the author for six weeks to write it. I have questions All. The. Time. And yes, by admitting that, I just frightened off the entire Presents line of authors from ever collaborating with me.
Back to QVirtus, which is the name we gave our club. We decided the members walk around masked because it’s so überconfidential. That way people don’t always know who is talking to whom. The owner remains a mystery. Members could also take private meetings in very private settings… This was another advantage to our having quarterly meetings in different locations. I was able to do things with my location—sliding doors à la Maxwell Smart, underwater meeting rooms—that Maya and Victoria weren’t then bound to use.
The masks, we decided, were the invitation. They have a chip embedded with the member’s identity, which allows them to pass through security. Just before each quarterly meeting, the location is inscribed with the date inside a mask and sent to the members. So the masks change for each meeting, thus improving privacy, and also because it was easier for us as authors.
This is how my heroine, Tiffany, discovers she is a member. She walks downstairs to see her father and brother grumbling that the mask is for her. Much like a writer, she has been living like a shut-in since her wedding-day accident that killed her groom and left her scarred. She doesn’t want to go anywhere, but her family business and her father’s aspirations hinge on her meeting with Ryzard at QVirtus.
Pressed into going, she quickly discovers the mask restores her confidence by hiding her scars. Feeling pretty and free, she joins the party and lets an intriguing stranger dance with her, then seduce her. It’s a memory to keep her warm through the rest of her spinster life, she reasons.
Until she walks into her high-level meeting the next morning and discovers her stranger is Ryzard, the man she’s come to meet. I’ll let you read the book to find out what happens next.
If you could invent a secret club, what criteria would you have? We place clubs in Macau, Venezuela and Zanzibar. Where would you set yours?
I’d love to send a signed copy of The Ultimate Seduction to one lucky commenter. If you’d like to enter to win a masquerade mask, please visit my website: danicollins.com.
Giveaway! Let us know all about your secret club to win. Contest will end on August 26th at 11:59 pm ET, and a winner will be selected by random draw from all eligible comments on August 27th. Open to residents of US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full giveaway rules, click here
Update this giveaway is now closed.
About The Ultimate Seduction:
“I’m about to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
Tiffany Davis takes her first delicious step into the exclusive masquerade ball hosted by the secretive Q Virtus gentleman’s club. Here, behind the mask, Tiffany can hide her scars and reveal her true self—a powerful businesswoman with an offer for the president of Bregnovia, Ryzard Vrbancic. Astounded by her audacity, only the fire in Tiffany’s eyes makes Ryzard look twice. He has no interest in her business deal, but the promise of a woman who can match his ruthless determination makes him eager to seduce from her the one thing she’s not offering…