Enter the Piatkus Valentine's Day Writing Competition to win a set of Piatkus' hottest romance reads

Enter the Piatkus Valentine's Day Writing Competition to win a set of Piatkus' hottest romance reads

Posted by in Book Extracts, Book News, Competition News, Competitions, Fiction


With a list as heaving with Regency romance and paranormal passion as ours, who better to inspire readers to try their hand at writing their own stories in the run-up to Valentine’s Day?

Eloisa James's light and hilarious quartet of romances are each based on a well-loved fairy tale, reimagined through Eloisa’s unique eyes and set in Regency England – a place of dashing men and daring damsels, constricting clothes and loose morals.  Her first, A Kiss at Midnight, gave us Cinderella with a steamy twist, while When Beauty Tamed the Beast reworked Beauty and the Beast.  Her latest, The Duke is Mine, which was published on the 5th January, sees Eloisa work her magic on The Princess and the Pea.  The final book in the series is The Ugly Duchess, due to be published on the 4th October.  Scroll to the bottom of this post for a brief extract from The Duke is Mine.  And there’s a treat for ebook-owners when we publish the e-novella, Winning the Wallflower, on Valentine’s Day on our brand-new digital-first romance list, Piatkus Entice! Sign up for the newsletter and watch out for updates here: http://www.piatkusentice.co.uk/ | https://twitter.com/piatkusentice.

Piatkus invites all readers and aspiring writers to put pen to paper and come up with a short reimagining of their favourite fairy story or folk tale.  The story can be set in any era or place, and can be any length up to 500 words.  Please submit your story to PiatkusCompetition@littlebrown.co.uk by midnight on 14th February 2012.  Please also include your full name, email address and telephone number, as well as a note of which fairy tale inspired your story.

The judges will be Piatkus Fiction commissioning editors Donna Condon and Lucy Icke.  We will be in touch regarding your entry within two weeks of the closing date.

Winners will receive a set of Piatkus’ ultimate Valentine’s reads which will include six of our newest romance releases from 2012.  The winning entry will be posted on the Piatkus website.

Competition opens 14th January and closes 14th February.  Click here for terms and conditions


Once upon a time, not so very long ago . . .                                                                                                                                                                                (or, to be exact, March 1812)

. . . there was a girl who was destined to be a princess.

Though to be absolutely precise, there was no prince in the offing. But she was betrothed to a duke’s heir, and from the point of view of minor gentry, a coronet was as good as a crown.

This story begins with that girl, and continues through a stormy night, and a series of tests, and if there’s no pea in the tale, all I can say is that if you read on, you will encounter a surprise in that bed: a key, a flea—or perhaps a marquess, for that matter.

In fairy tales, the ability to perceive an obtrusion as tiny as a pea under the mattress is enough to prove that a strange girl who arrives on a stormy night is indeed a princess. In the real world, of course, it’s a bit more complicated. In order to prepare for the rank of duch-ess, Miss Olivia Mayfield Lytton had learned something from virtually every branch of human knowledge. She was prepared to dine with a king, or a fool, or Socrates himself, conversing on subjects as far-flung as Italian comic opera and the new spinning machines.

But, just as a single dried pea was all that was needed to determine the authenticity of the princess, one crucial fact determined Olivia’s eligibility for the rank of duchess: she was betrothed to the heir to the Canterwick dukedom. Less important were the facts that when this tale begins Olivia was twenty-three and still unmarried, that her father had no title, and that she had never been given a compliment such as a diamond of the first water. Quite the opposite, in fact.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          None of that mattered.

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