Annie West Goes Italian!

Annie hard at work researching in Italy!

Annie hard at work researching in Italy!

Delighted to have as my guest today Annie West, who is here to tell us about her fabulous new novella, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN, book 2 in the Hot Italian Nights series.

I’ve read this story and believe, it’s a sizzling little romance. And all for the princely sum of 99 cents. If you want to buy it for Kindle, just click on the cover below. For other formats, Annie has given us links.

Road Trip to Romance

Hi Anna! Hi Banditas! And hi to the GR dude too. It’s lovely to be back, visiting in the lead-up to the festive season. Anna, thanks for letting me share my little adventure with you all.

Sometimes the life of a writer is so tough – solitude, writers’ block, aching body from being attached to a computer too long, concerns about sales or marketing or bad reviews. But at other times, a writer’s life is sheer delight. I want to share one of those times with you.

For a couple of years in high school I studied geology. That’s when I saw my first photo of the Dolomite Mountains in the north of Italy. Instantly I was in love. I vowed to visit. Of course I didn’t. I was busy with family and work, mortgage and commitments. Till this year when I was in Europe for a readers’ convention and convinced my husband we really needed to drive over the Alps…as you do. He took a bit of convincing but finally he agreed and we found ourselves driving from Austria to Italy and spending time in the Alto Adige aka the South Tyrol.

bbti 4Heaven! At almost every hairpin bend (and there were lots, I counted), another ‘Wow’ would burst out (usually from me). The scenery was stunning. The roads, well, they were an experience in themselves, especially as we arrived on a holiday weekend so everyone in Italy who owned a pushbike, motorbike or luxury car (as well as tourists like us) were out to enjoy the balmy weather and great scenery. And occasionally overtake just before a hairpin bend…

We found lovely towns with friendly people. We discovered at least some of those people take their dogs up the mountains in cable cars! We tasted lovely food, both Italian and German style (since this used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). We got snowed on and sunburnt. We walked in mountain meadows and saw marmots up close. We heard the local language, Ladin, an ancient tongue used by only about 30,000 speakers, and only heard in these mountain valleys. (As Mr. West is a language buff, he was thrilled.) We tasted wonderful regional wines and basically soaked it all up.

By the time we left I was even more in love with the place than I’d been when it was just an armchair travel dream.

bbti 5Because I’m a writer, that meant I had to write about it. I’d already published a novella earlier this year (BACK IN THE ITALIAN’S BED) and readers had been asking about a story for Chiara, a character in that novella. I had deadlines for my longer books. but the lure of the mountains won out and I carved out time for a second novella, inspired by my trip.

I was also inspired because, browsing the net, (as you do when you have several deadlines looming and you really should be writing so of course you need displacement activity…) I found a photo that WAS Chiara and her lover Gennaro. I wrote BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN, inspired by the photo you see on the cover now, and by my memories and photos of the Alps. What a happy ending!

bbti 3It’s not the end though, because I have half an idea for another story that might just start in this part of the world. I’m wondering if that means another research trip, but Mr. West is looking at me with raised eyebrows, which means I may have to wait awhile.

If you’re interested in the story inspired by these mountains and my road trip, here’s a taste:

She’s up for sale, and he’s the highest bidder.

Gennaro De Laurentis might prefer motorcycle leathers to Armani, but when it comes to what he wants, he’s as ruthless as any corporate raider in a killer suit. And he wants Chiara, the unforgettable woman who denied the passion sizzling between them and walked away without a backward glance. Now he has the high society princess back in his power – and he’ll risk everything to make her his.

bbti 2When glamorous fashion designer Chiara Armati goes up for auction, she’s selling her company over dinner for charity. Nothing else. As bidding rises to astronomical heights, she gets nervous. Yet only when she discovers her purchaser’s identity does she realise she’s caught in a trap. She’s never stopped wanting Gennaro or forgiven his betrayal. Now she’s at his mercy – and he’s as irresistible as ever!   

BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN is on sale for just 99c at:


Barnes and Noble:

and Smashwords:

Have you ever been on a great roadtrip? Or is there one you’d love to take? I’m up for suggestions!

I’d also like to take the chance to wish all of you a safe, happy and wonderful Christmas!

1BanditBootyThanks, Annie! Get commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two commenters today their choice of her full-length romances (international). Good luck!


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  • Kaelee says:

    Is the GR making a road trip to Calgary?

  • Kaelee says:

    I haven’t been on a good road trip for a long time. Some Autumn I’d love to just get in the car and head over to eastern Canada and then the New England states and follow fall along to the Great Smoky Mountains. Then another year I’d love to make the trip in reverse and follow spring back up the route.

    • Annie West says:

      Kaelee, that sounds terrific. I’m imagining that in autumn the colours would be fantastic. Nothing like seeing spectacular scenery along the way. I’m assuming it would take quite some time.

    • Kaelee, I’ve always had a dream of doing that east coast of America too. It just looks so beautiful and I’d love to visit those rugged New England places.

  • Amy Conley says:

    any that sounds like such a wonderful trip lucky you. We’ve been a lot of road trip I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that would really make me want to write about it. I know there’s lots of places I’d like to go may be right about but no place we’ve been although we’ve been a lot of places and taking lots and lots of road trips.

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Amy,

      I think with road trips the secret is travelling with the right people. Did you find that? Sometimes it’s the company more than the scenery that makes a trip memorable. Having said that, one of the things I loved about this one was that it was so very different to where I live and also extraordinarily attractive. Hope your next road trip is lots of fun.

    • Hi Amy! One thing I love about a road trip is that you can get to the tiny little inaccessible by public transport places.

      • Amy Conley says:

        Anna, I live in one of those tiny little places with no public transport I sure don’t want to visit anymore!

        • Amy Conley says:

          Anna, but if you come for a visit I’ll take you to two other no transport of public short places that are very different I’ll take you to Santa Claus,Indiana and I’ll take you to where Abraham Lincoln grew up.

  • Jan VanEngen says:

    Haven’t done a long trip for a long time last time I went to Fiji mid 80’s love to go to Dubai, UK and Europe and Egypt and do the Nile. Went to Sydney this year and had a ball with all my lovely writers. *waves* Great book Annie love her latest Hot Italians Nights. 🙂 Watch out for those flying phones 😉

    • Annie West says:

      Oh, Jan, you’d love cruising down the Nile. It’s an amazing experience and I suspect you’d get lots of inspiration for a story. Wasn’t the conference in Sydney this year marvellous?

      Smiling at your feedback on the Hot Italian Nights novellas. So thrilled you enjoyed ‘Bought by the Italian’. Snickering at you liking the scene with the phone. I’ve had a lot of feedback on that, mainly along the lines of it being hot.

    • Jan, isn’t the phone scene a corker? Oooh, that Gennaro!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Annie and Anna

    I do love the sound of this one and it is waiting on my kindle for me to fall into 🙂

    The last road trip we did was to Brisbane for ARRC 2013 and we did have a great time but for me I would love to do a road trip around the Scottish Highlands this is a place that I have always wanted visit maybe one day we will 🙂

    Congrats on the release and Merry Christmas to you Annie

    Have Fun

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Helen, lovely to have you back from your trip!

      How lovely to think of you with ‘Back in the Italian’s Bed’ already waiting for you. Hope you enjoy it. As you might be able to tell from this post, I had a great time writing it.

      Love the idea of a road trip through Scotland. Ms Campbell threatens me with that idea from time to time. I say ‘threatens’ as I’ll end up doing all the driving, and if Anna navigates I wonder if we might end up in a loch somewhere. I’m sure you’d have a ball up there. Hope you manage it one day.

    • Helen, Scotland is the most glorious place to drive around. Hope you get there one day – don’t be fooled by the distances on the map, though. It’s quite slow going. A lot of it’s windy one lane tracks!

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    Haven’t been on an out-of-state (or country) road trip for a while. But we did live in Spain for 4 years in the late ’70s and our road trips sound a lot like your trip through Italy. Wonderful memories, beautiful scenery.

    • Annie West says:

      Ooh, Sally, driving around Spain sounds amazing. I’ve heard it’s beautiful there. I confess I haven’t thought of driving through there. Maybe one day. I’ve never written a Spanish hero…

    • Wow, Sally, how lucky are you. I spent three weeks there in 1985 and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Ooh, the food!

  • Princess Joy Palo says:

    Aw. Wonderful! Wishing I could have a trip like that, too! Lucky you 😀

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Princess Joy Palo. It was the most marvellous trip. I’d go again any day, though perhaps not in winter when the roads would be icy. Hope you get to make a great trip like this too one day.

    • Joy, I was green with envy at all Annie’s Facebook updates! She went to some gorgeous places.

  • Franca Poli says:

    Annie, I’m glad you came in Italy, and that the trip has inspired you to write a book set in Italy! 🙂

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Franca, lovely to have you drop by here. Visiting Italy was fantastic. You have such a beautiful country. I’m already looking forward to writing another book set there. I’m open to suggestions for a location too.

      • Franca Poli says:

        There are many places where to set a book, such as Sicily, Sardinia, and then the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany! 🙂

        • Annie West says:

          Franca, there are several of those I particularly want to visit. I’m hoping to go to Sicily one day, and Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast…actually to lots more of Italy! 🙂

    • Franca, Italy is so beautiful – how could Annie fail to be inspired?

  • Mary Preston says:

    When I was a child my Father had long service leave. We took off in the old Holden and tented our way around Australia for months.

    We got so proficient at setting up camp & pulling it down we could have won gold at the Olympics.

    My Mother was fond of saying: “We were never lost, just having an adventure”. It truly was too.

    I’d love to experience this magical adventure through the eyes of grown-up. (Maybe with just a few more creature comforts though.)

  • Annie West says:

    Mary, that sounds absolutely fabulous! What a great time you must have had. My parents had a penchant too for following roads just to see where they went. They say they often ended up at either the cemetery or the garbage dump, but along the way found lots of interesting things. I hear you on the creature comforts. Hope you manage to get your trip in.

  • Shannon says:

    Someone got back from London at work, and I was remembering my last road trip (more train) trip from London to Brighton to Folkestone to Dover and back to London.

    I’m plotting my next trip to the UK, probably in 2017. I was looking on line (rather than doing what I should) at one of the castles I want to visit. Fortunately for me, there are two castles in the same area. My main problem is that I cannot imagine driving on the left hand of the road.

    • Shannon, I’m plotting a UK visit early next year. Can’t wait. I haven’t been since 2007!

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Shannon,

      Two castles for the price of one? Sounds marvellous. I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself. I adore castles, possibly because they were the stuff of fairy tales when I grew up.

      Hope you make your trip. As for driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road – it’s tough but you pick it up. We drive on the left side of the road in Australia, so driving in France, Germany, Italy and Austria was a real test for me, but we survived.

  • sandyg265 says:

    I’ve done a bus trip through the canyon lands of the western US. We saw the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce, as well as several smaller canyons.

  • Laurie G says:

    We took a month long , camping, honeymoon, road trip from Wisconsin and traveled to Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Glacier, the Cascades, Olympic Parks, then drove down the coast all the way to Laguna Beach, California before heading back via Las Vegas and Rocky Mt National park. We had a fantastic time!

    More recently we traveled out west and saw the North rim of the Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Loved Zion! The Subway hike was amazing! I want to go back.

    • Wow, Laurie, your post gave me such itchy feet. I’ve wanted to see Wyoming since I read the Mary O’Hara books as a kidlet.

    • Annie West says:

      Laurie, you’ve described the sort of trip I’d adore to make if I made it to the US (I still haven’t been there!). What an absolutely wonderful honeymoon. The hiking you mention is giving me itchy feet, just like Anna. Sigh. Lovely! I do hope you make it back for more sightseeing and hiking.

  • Peggy Kuntz says:

    I have always wanted to go to Italy. My grandmother is Sicilian and my great grandfather (her dad) was born there. I knew him growing up but he passed away when I was a young teen and had no interest in genealogy. I would love nothing more than to tour Italy from border to border, north to south and east to west, and then Sicily. I am happy for you that you enjoyed your trip and experiences. When visiting another country it is often difficult to truly enjoy the people and the culture so kudos to you for doing both!! Merry Christmas and happy new year!!!

    • Peggy, I hope you get your dream one day. I’d love to visit Sicily. I have a friend who’s married to a wonderful man of Sicilian descent and they’ve been there often. Their photos are absolutely breathtaking.

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Peggy, I do hope you get to Italy one day. How marvellous to visit and have a family connection, maybe looking up places where the family lived! Seeing the whole country would take some time but wow, it would be worth it. The trouble is there’s so much to see everywhere you visit there. I’ve been to Italy a couple of times now but I’ve only seen a tiny bit of it. I’m torn – if I ever manage to get back there I’d want to see new places but also go back to the ones I’ve seen and want to experience again.

  • catslady says:

    My maiden name is Dichiara and was probably DiChiara so I find your female heroine fascinating. We have a distant family member that was into genealogy and I heard the name went back to royalty but unfortunately I never got to see it. I would love to see Sicily some day where my ancestors came from.

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Catslady, what a coincidence about your name and Chiara’s! Her name always appealed to me and then a good friend revealed it was her middle name. Of course I had to use it as a heroine’s one day.

      Sigh, maybe you could take me to Sicily when you go. It’s on my list…

  • DiChiara sounds like music, Catslady. Sicily looks absolutely gorgeous. I’d love to visit one day too.

  • bn100 says:

    not a fan of road trips

  • Mozette says:

    I’d love to go on The Great Roadtrip … you know, where you pack your bag, money, a diary, camera and charger and computer and just lock up the house and run away into the distance with no real plans but to enjoy the scenery? Yeah… that kinda road trip. But living in Australia, that’s not really a good idea. People have to know where you’re going… especially with a person like me – on medications and all… *rolls eyes dramatically*… silly medical conditions getting in the way of a good time.. 😛

    The ultimate road trip would have to be Route 66 … yeah… I’d love to do that one in a Mustang. I was going to get a 1965 model but they have all kinds of problems mechanically. So, please do give me the modern 2015 model! I’ve seen it advertised… yummo! 😀

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Mozette, what a shame about not being free to just go as you please. Hope you make it on your Route 66 road trip. That would be wonderful, especially if you got to travel in the car of your choice. Sounds like you’ve got it all planned!

  • Laney4 says:

    My family and I drove over 2000 miles to the Calgary area (but didn’t see Kaelee, LOL) – many moons ago. Would love to do it again, but, alas, not enough money. Thankfully, my sister and her husband visit us here instead. Balances out well, as we used to visit them before and after we had kids (and their kids were older).
    Today I restrict my “road trips” to day trips with my daughter. Doesn’t matter where we go or who we see, as we have a blast together. THAT’S what counts.

    • Annie West says:

      Hi Laney, that sounds like a real adventure. Maybe one day? 2000 miles is a long way. I think the longest I’ve done is about 2000km on a return trip. That was fun.

      Love the sound of you having a blast with your daughter – that always makes the travel worthwhile.

    • Laney, I’d love to do a big trip in Canada one day – it looks like such a beautiful country.

  • Thanks to everyone who swung by to say hello to Annie and wish her well with her new novella BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. And thanks to Annie for being such a great guest. \

    Don’t forget to check back to see who won the books!

  • Martha Hawkins says:

    Like reading about Italy. Would like to go someday.

  • Cathy P says:

    The last good road trip I took was in 1986. My husband, I, and some friends of ours toured the East Coast and saw a lot of Civil War battlefields.