The Chatsfield Uncovered! Read on for an exclusive interview with Abby Green

rival's challengeCreating a world as large as The Chatsfield must be very exciting – did you discuss the hotels with the other authors?

It was very exciting! And yes, we set up a group to talk and discuss our stories.

What was the most fun bit about creating this luxurious, scandalous world?

It was like stepping into a glamorous setting from a movie and meeting all the characters was as exciting as meeting your own.

Did you do any extra special research for writing this book? A sneaky cocktail at an exclusive hotel perhaps?

Any excuse for research – especially if it involves cocktails in a plush exclusive hotel bar.

What did you most love about writing your story?

I loved the fact that Antonio and Orla are on opposite sides of the conference table, literally, but their attraction keeps getting in the way.

When writing your hero and heroine’s story, did they surprise you in any way?

I was surprised by my heroine’s willingness and readiness to change.

To your mind, who is the most scandalous Chatsfield?

I’d have to be loyal to my hero and say Antonio. After all, he is the eldest. After a debauched youth falling out of nightclubs, he went off to join the French Foreign Legion, you can’t get much more scandalous than that!

If you could have given your hero or heroine a piece of advice before they started on their journey in your story, what would it have been?

I would say to my heroine: beware of tall dark strangers in dimly lit seductive hotel bars.

Name five things on your table when you write.

Paperweight
Cup of tea
Lamp
Cork-board with printout of continuity details.
Lots of pens!

Do you listen to music when you write?

No, I find it distracting.

What is your worst habit when writing?

Checking the internet – emails, Facebook, Twitter…sigh.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, could you share a bit about it with us?

I work best in the mornings.
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Excerpt: A Night in the Prince’s Bed by Cathy Williams

In the latest Presents from Cathy Williams, an actress must prove she hasn’t been using a handsom prince for her own publicity!

About A Night in the Prince’s Bed:

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princesbedActions speak louder than words 

Beautiful Mina Hart has overcome her hearing impairment to become a leading theater actress. But one stolen night with a gorgeous stranger turns into headline news when it’s revealed he is the prince of Storvhal.

Devastated when he accuses her of using him for publicity, Mina travels to his icy Scandinavian country to proclaim her innocence. But while she’s hiding in his car she falls asleep, and wakes up at Prince Aksel’s private retreat!

A heavy snowfall traps them in, and now she must rely on her senses to read this haunted and intensely private prince!

***

He was here. Again.

Mina had told herself that she would not look for him, but as she stepped out from the wings her eyes darted to the audience thronged in the standing area in front of the stage, and her heart gave a jolt when she saw him.

The unique design of Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank meant that the actors on stage could see the individual faces of the audience. The theatre was a modern reconstruction of the famous Elizabethan playhouse, an amphitheatre with an open roof, above which the sky was now turning to indigo as dusk gathered. To try to recreate the atmosphere of the original theatre, minimal lighting was used, and without the glare of footlights Mina could clearly see the man’s chiselled features; his razor-edged cheekbones and resolute jaw shaded with stubble that exacerbated his raw masculinity.

His mouth was unsmiling, almost stern, yet his lips held a sensual promise that Mina found intriguing. From the stage she could not make out the colour of his eyes, but she noted the lighter streaks in his dark blond hair. He was wearing the same black leather jacket he had worn on the three previous evenings, and he was so devastatingly sexy that Mina could not tear her eyes from him.

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Get to Know Associate Editor for Presents Pippa Roscoe!

by Pippa Roscoe, Associate Editor, Editorial-Core Series

This post was originally featured on the Harlequin Blog.

What do you wish people knew about your job as an editor?

Probably just how fabulous it is. You hear it a lot, but this really is my dream job. From the wonderful authors we work with who write truly amazing, breath-taking stories, to my colleagues who – each and every one of them – are an inspiration and a never ending source of support. You never stop learning and there is always a surprise waiting just around the corner.

What’s your favorite TV show?

This is a really hard one for me. I LOVE TV. It’s another realm of fantastic story telling. My rental list is the best way to give you an idea of what I’m currently watching:

House of Cards, Arrow, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Haven, NCIS, Game of Thrones, True Detective, Covert Affairs, The West Wing, The 100…

As you can see, it covers quite a few genres. But for me the most important thing is clever writing, character driven stories with strong conflicts, and always the twist!

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Yay! Another great question! (You’re asking me about my favourite things here!)

This too depends on time and season. I make a mean Carbonara, my love my Dad’s Kedgeree, and anything my sister cooks. When I go to stay with her, we’re always drawn to the kitchen, music playing, catching up over a glass of wine and cooking up a storm! Our favourite thing is a recipe for pot-stickers (a Chinese dim-sum) that we make from scratch.

What is your all-time favorite book?

I take it back. This is a cruel and unusual question. How on earth am I supposed to pick just one?! I always associate books with a time in my life. So at university it was Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy (which I wrote my dissertation on). Then just after university it was Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series. And a little later, it was Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. More recently it a novella by Alan Bennett called The Uncommon Reader. I’m still looking so there will always be more to add to this list!

What is your advice to someone submitting to your line?

Write the story that your heart wants to tell, not the one you think an editor wants to read.

When submitting to a series, it’s easy to think that you need to hit every ‘hook’ or trope… but in doing so you run the risk of forgetting what we look for most; your voice, your story and rest assured, the love of the series you are submitting to will shine through.

Why should a person who’s never read your line, or hasn’t read it in a while, pick up one of your books?

*hummingSimplyTheBest* while trying not to do the hard sell. :)

If you’ve ever dreamed of escaping into a glamorous world, full of passion and alive with deep emotions… If you’ve ever fantasised about being whisked away to a beautiful setting by a commanding alpha male, holding your own against him, falling madly in love… If you’ve ever wanted to take a moment out of time and follow a journey from heart-brake to the happy ever after…

Pick. Up. A. Presents!

 

Now it’s my turn to hand over the microphone to you ladies. Are there any questions you would like to ask me? (Within reason of course!!)
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Fifth Avenue: Where It’s All At! + Giveaway!

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Well, ladies, what an exciting, thrilling and scandalous three months it has been on one of New York’s most famous streets! Notorious philanthropist and celebrated legal mind Jason Treffen revealed on prime time during an interview with TV host extraordinaire Chelsea Maxwell that he prostituted female members of his staff!

We should have known that beneath his smooth exterior lay something dark, but who could have known the extent of his depravity? Thank goodness we had three heroes who were willing to risk everything to bring him down. Austen Treffen, Hunter Talbot and Alex Dias, three of New York’s most notorious players were ready to take a stand against the injustice that had lain buried for ten years.

Austin Treffen had the plan… With proof that his father had abused his position, his staff and his friend, he was determined to bring his father down to the lowest of depths.

Hunter had the money…to ensure that Jason Treffen’s financial destruction was complete once Austin had ensured his family was protected.

And Alex had the power…to use his media empire to spread the news across the world so that there would be nowhere left for this villain to hide.

Have you seen the trailer? If not, why not?

What Readers Had to Say:

 “I cannot say enough good things about this book. It was delicious. It was satisfying. And man, oh man, I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series after reading this first book!”

—Tory Michaels on Avenge Me
http://www.torymichaels.com/review-avenge-me/

“I highly recommend Scandalize Me for anyone and everyone who loves a dark hero gone bad and then brought back out into the light by the woman sent to tame him, what could be more fun! The bonus is that Caitlin Crews wrote it and she knows her stuff!”

—Goodreads user Desere
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5680505-desere

“Hewitt does do a beautiful job of teasing us along, dropping bits and pieces about their lives, why Chelsea is so cold, the attack, what caused Sarah to commit suicide, about Treffen. She drops those hints, tugging us along the trail, making me more and more desperate to find out what happened and what will happen.”

—Goodreads user Kathy Davie on Expose Me
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1003112855?book_show_action=true&page=1

From the Editor:

As an editor it is my privilege to work on hundreds of wonderful stories featuring fantastic heroes and heroines from all walks of life. But the characters that have populated the Fifth Avenue series have stolen my heart and set it on fire with the passion and power that each book contains. If I were to pick a song to play while reading these books it would be “In for the Kill” by La Roux because these books will grab you and they won’t let go until you reach the stunning conclusion.

Or perhaps, at least until you think you’ve reached the end.

Because ladies, I’d like to let you in on a secret. Scandal never sleeps, the wicked never rest and the good never stop fighting for justice. So look out in 2015 for the next installment of Fifth Avenue!

The players have changed, the scandal is bigger and the thrills are even better!

And remember:
Revenge is a dish best served in three courses!

 Giveaway! We have all of the Fifth Avenue books, including signed copies of  Take Me–the prequel by Maisey Yates, Scandalize Me and Expose Me. To win all the books in this exciting series, head on down to the comments and let us know who your favorite Fifth Avenue man is. Contest closes August 27th and a winner will be selected by random draw on the 28th. Open to residents of US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full giveaway rules, click here.

Update this contest is now closed.
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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:

theultimateseduction “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…

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