Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 4 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Author, Bandita Booty, Blackmailed Bride Innocent Wife, Captive in the Spotlight, Category Romance, Harlequin Presents, Imprisoned by a Vow
It’s always a treat to welcome my fabulously talented critique partner Annie West to the lair with a new release.
Today Annie’s going to talk to us about her spectacular new Harlequin Presents CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT that is being released concurrently this month in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom. So pretty much all our Bandita Buddies can rush out and buy this passionate story of enemies into lovers with a touch of forbidden love thrown in as well. Yum!
I’m not the only person to love CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. RT Book Reviews said, “Readers will enjoy West’s passionate star-crossed romance, set in picturesque Italian splendor, with a couple facing almost insurmountable obstacles – except in the bedroom.”
Here’s the blurb:
Out of the limelight…
Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.
And into the fire!
Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight “accepts” his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy’s guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade….
You can find out more about Annie and her books at her website: www.annie-west.com
By the way, don’t be misled by the photos. Annie and I don’t spend ALL our lives sitting in restaurants, whatever the pictorial evidence indicates!
Welcome back, Annie! And huge congratulations on your latest book CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi, Anna, and thanks so much for the invitation. It’s always a treat to be here in the realm of the Bandit girls and their minions. I have a secret fear that one day the Banditas won’t have me back to visit and I’d miss the drinks (make mine bubbly), the company and the chat.
CAPTIVE is about two people who shouldn’t fall in love. Their pasts should prevent it, his family loyalties scream out against having anything to do with her, and the world’s press is waiting, salivating for the opportunity to make scandal out of the pair of them.
Domenico is the sort of alpha hero I’ve got a huge weakness for: he’s sexy and strong and he gets things done his way but he’s driven by a sense of honor and the need to protect. Right now he aims to protect his brother’s widow and young son from the renewed media hype when the woman who killed his brother is released from prison. He’s determined to keep her from the press till he can persuade her to sign an agreement accepting payment (though he hates to do it) for her permanent silence about her affair with his brother.
Guess which lucky woman he falls for? You guessed it! Lucy, the once young and innocent au pair who found herself embroiled in manslaughter and a legal nightmare where no-one believed her innocent. Imagine how she feels when she comes out of prison to find Domenico, waiting for her.
This is my ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ book, when for various reasons Lucy and Domenico hide away on his private island off the Amalfi Coast of Italy and things begin to steam…
What were the inspirations behind this story?
Inspiration came from my lovely editor. We were chatting about ideas for my next book and she suggested a story about a public scandal, something attracting media attention. Her idea resonated and I found my self thinking through and ejecting a lot of potential scandals. They’d have made a juicy story but for some reason didn’t seem quite right. As soon as I thought of a high profile (and deliciously charismatic) Italian aristocrat falling for the woman who’d been in prison for killing his brother, I knew I had to write it. Imagine the divided loyalties and conflicting emotions for both of them. Imagine the media frenzy. As anyone who’s read my books knows, I love making things difficult for my characters. I wasn’t sure how I’d rescue them from the tricky situation I’d put them in, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try.
American readers who pick up CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT will get a great bonus with the volume including your marvelous BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE. Can you tell us about this story?
BLACKMAILED BRIDE was a bestseller when it was first released several years ago. This is a chance for people who missed it then to get it free with CAPTIVE. It features another dark, sexy Italian hero and a marriage of inconvenience. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be ‘convenience’ but in this wedding is the last thing either Dario and Alissa want. One of my favorite reviews called it ‘a luscious read that should not be missed’ (CataRomance).
What’s coming up next for you?
August brings IMPRISONED BY A VOW, a marriage of convenience story with a twist and a half. Leila marries Joss to escape an untenable situation but finds both marriage, and walking away from her convenient husband, far more difficult than she’d expected, and not just for the reasons most romance readers will suspect.
Hm, I’m wondering if I detect a theme here – a CAPTIVE followed by IMPRISONMENT. No, don’t tell me what you think that says about the way my mind works, Anna. Perhaps that I’ve been hanging around with you?
Hey, don’t blame me! I think you’re doing fine on your own! What other exciting things have been happening in Annie West world?
Excitement? Well, there’s the fact that CAPTIVE is out in all English-speaking markets in the same month (March). Yay! That’s a first and makes it so much easier for readers. Then there was the recent Australian Romance Readers’ Convention just days ago in Brisbane which was enormous fun. Plus I’m counting down to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. It will be in Fremantle, Western Australia, a place I’ve never visited. One of the things about writing romance – it gives lots of excuses for travel!
This current edition contains two Italian-set books. Do you have a special fascination for Italy?
There are just some stories that cry out for an Italian hero, especially ones involving questions of family loyalty and honor or maybe revenge. Sometimes too, I just lock in on the idea of a volatile, flashing-eyed Italian hero – and who am I to ignore temptation? Plus of course the settings in Italy can be fabulous. This book is set in Rome and on island off the Amalfi Coast. Every time I worked on the book I could feel myself soaking up that lovely Mediterranean warmth.
One of my favorite scenes in CAPTIVE is when Lucy and Domenico watch the sun set from his speedboat, just off the Italian coast. It’s a balmy summer’s evening and a romantic scene. To be in the draw to win one of my two prizes, how about sharing what you’d like to be drinking if you were in Lucy’s shoes? What would be the perfect drink for a romantic Mediterranean assignation?
Get commenting people! Annie has very kindly offered us TWO giveaways today. One lucky person will win a signed copy of the marvelous CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT with its bonus book BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE. Another lucky person will win a signed copy of their choice from Annie’s backlist (excluding CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT). You can check out her other books here: http://www.annie-west.com/books.html
Posted by Anna Campbell Jun 7 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Beauty and the Beast, Blue Mountains, Category Romance, Defying her Desert Duty, Guests, Harlequin Presents Extra, Protected by the Prince, RT Reviewers Choice Award, Sydney, travel, Undone by His Touch, Write Touch Readers' Awards, writing life
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to welcome back lair favorite and fabulous writer Annie West who is here to tell us about her latest North American release UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH. UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH recently received a glowing review from RT Book Reviews magazine where they called it “an emotionally compelling read.”
Annie’s books are receiving accolades all over the place. At the recent RT Reviewers Choice Awards, her wonderful PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE was chosen as best Harlequin Presents Extra of 2011 and RAFE’S REDEMPTION recently placed in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Write Touch Readers Awards.
Congratulations, Annie! I’m not surprised. Your books are fantastic.
You can find out more about Annie and her books on her website: www.annie-west.com
You can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annie.west.9619
To buy a print copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, just click on the cover below.
Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Undone-Touch-Harlequin-Presents-ebook/dp/B007BBVEJC/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338847220&sr=1-5
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Undone-by-His-Touch-Annie-West/9780373528691
Welcome back, Annie. Congratulations on the North American release of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, your latest Harlequin Presents Extra. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi, Anna, and thanks so much for having me back to visit the Bandits. I’m so pleased I haven’t worn out my welcome. I’m waving to Banditas and friends, and putting in my order for a long glass of bubbly if there’s one in the house.
UNDONE is about a scarred, reclusive hero whose main interest is in finding the woman he blames for his brother’s death. Declan is determined to wallow in regret and guilt until Chloe, his new housekeeper, drags him, protesting, to the realisation he’s not ready yet to give up on the world. In fact she makes him feel emotions he’d never expected to experience. She brings him hope. But Chloe’s no plaster saint. She’s got problems of her own and dealing with an anti-social boss is one of them. Until she sees beneath the surface to the man of integrity and honour who’s struggling to find a foothold in a world that’s changed around him.
Of course I had to make it interesting by ensuring each was the worst possible person for the other to fall in love with! That’s where the fun began – and the intensity and passion.
I had a ball writing this dark hero who eventually finds the light. I’ve been having fun lately, thinking of who I’d cast in the role of sexy but prickly recluse and I’m torn between Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman. I think either would be perfect as Declan.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Cast into a world of black, Declan Carstairs is a man in torment. Consumed by guilt, he sees no way out of the darkness his world has become. Only one thing drives him – finding the woman who caused his brother’s death, and the accident that took his sight.
Housekeeper Chloe Daniels refuses to pity her devastatingly gorgeous boss, but treating him as the strong, capable man he is soon proves dangerous. As Chloe falls deeper under Declan’s spell, awakened by his touch, she forgets all about the secret she keeps that may destroy them both…
I loved this book. I think it’s one of your best. What inspired you to write this story?
Maybe it’s your influence rubbing off on me, Anna – the fact that when I read your books I’m so often reading a Beauty and the Beast style story. Who knows? But I can tell you I had two ideas in my head for a long time. One was of a dark haired man with intense eyes and a bad attitude, who’d turned into a recluse after his brother’s death in a climbing accident. The other was of a love triangle between the brothers and a woman. The woman was rather shadowy but fortunately she came to life when I started to write. It just took me a couple of years to pull the various ideas together.
I should add that the settings were part of my inspiration for this book. I had vivid images in my head of both the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and of inner city Sydney too. I’ve sent through a couple of photos to share with this piece so you can see why the mountains in particular are one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a world heritage site – perfect for bushwalking, climbing and canyoning. But as well as that it’s a plateau studded with quaint villages and gorgeous gardens. It’s just perfect for visitors. I love to go there and pretend I’m fit by tackling one of the walks and then relaxing in a coffee shop or bookstore and feeling I’ve earned a treat.
By the way, thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. You need to add photography to your list of talents! Can you tell us about your next release?
I’d love to. Next cab off the rank is called DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY. It’s out in the U.K. in October but I’m waiting for news on the North American release. The title is a little misleading. Yes, the hero is from the Middle East, but most of the book is set in western Europe – principally France. And boy, did I have a wonderful time with that setting!
It’s a story that owes a lot to the Tristan and Iseult legend. The hero is sent to Paris to bring back the woman who’s been betrothed to the king, ready for a royal wedding. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for the king’s fiancée or to discover she’s falling for him too. Now that spells trouble! Add to that the fact that my hero is absolutely loyal (the king is like a father to him) and my heroine has strong reasons of her own for needing to go through with the royal wedding and the scene is set for drama and high emotion.
I’ve had a sneak peek at this book and it’s a classic Annie West. Romantic, dramatic, emotional, a real page turner. Readers will love it! Can you give us a sneak peek at what you’re currently working on?
I’ve just handed a book in to my editor. Superstitiously perhaps, I don’t want to say too much about it until I’ve had some editorial feedback, but I can tell you it’s a story with quite a twist. It features a very suave and self-assured Italian hero and a heroine who’s just starting her life again after the most horrendous ordeal. Lucy refuses to let anyone, especially a bossy businessman, dictate to her. Lots and lots of sparks in this one, but I hope, plenty of tenderness too.
We’ve had you as a guest so often on the Banditas and I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what you do when you aren’t writing. What sort of things do you like to do to refill the well?
I’m wary about admitting that I do anything other than write, since I don’t want that to get back to my editor. I’m trying to persuade her I’m glued to the computer, slaving over a hot story! Actually I am, most of the time. But as you say, it’s important to fill the well occasionally.
I count my visits to you, Anna, as one of my well-filling activities. Good company, good food, good wine and far too much chat, make for a wonderful time. They always leave me energised to tackle almost anything.
Actually that picture of us together is from a lunch out near when I live when you were up. Always lovely to see you. What else do you like to do?
Other than that, in my down time I like to do some of these:
Reading! Actually, I think you could put this down for my top 5 pastimes.
Walking, preferably in the bush (wilderness if you’re not in Australia) or by water.
Visiting new places (I’m dreaming about another Europe trip). If I can’t travel, then hearing about someone else’s trip or poring over maps and pictures of far away places is fantastic.
Cooking – not the just home and must get dinner organised cooking – that’s no treat. I mean cooking when you’re actually in the mood for pottering and trying something new, or tackling an old favorite. I love it when people ooh and ah over home made baklava for instance, and even better, when the family gets involved in the cooking with me.
Cross stitch. True to my recent resolution I’m trying to find time to get back into the sewing I haven’t touched for years.
Movies. Love them, particularly (yes, I know I’m predictable) if they leave me feeling good. Theatre fits in here too – a real treat.
Long bubble baths with a good book, especially if someone else is cooking dinner while I relax and soak in the tub.
Ooh, lots there to inspire new stories which is what we dedicated fans like to hear. Annie, is there anything you’d like to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
Since we’re talking about refilling the well, can you share your favorite activities that leave you relaxed and rejuvenated ready to tackle the daily grind? Is there one perfect experience that still makes you smile and feel better every time you think of it? Right now, my favorite perk me up experience is remembering a marvellous high tea at Claridges Hotel in London. So refined, so luxurious and so yum!
Thanks, Annie. Get commenting, people. There are two separate prizes today – a signed copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH and a signed copy of Annie’s RT Reviewers Choice Award winner PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE. Great reading! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 3 2012, 11:00 pm in Annie West, Bandita Booty, Girl in the Bedouin Tent
Thank you to everyone for a splendiferous day of blogging yesterday when Annie West visited. And thank you to Annie for being such a great guest. And North American readers, don’t forget to check out Annie’s latest GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT. You won’t be sorry!
Annie very generously offered us two prizes. The winner of the signed copy of GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT is:
And the winner of their choice from Annie backlist (go to www.annie-west.com/books.html - offer doesn’t include anthologies – to choose which book you’d like) is:
Congratulations, girls. Please email Annie on annie @ annie-west.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and Annie will give your book off to you ASAP! Happy reading!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Mar 1 2012, 12:23 am in Addison Fox, Anna Campbell, Annie West, coming attractions, Diane Kelly, Jana Oliver, JD Tyler, Jo Robertson, Joan Swan, Jules Bennett, Kate Carlisle, Robin Perini, Teresa Morgan, Trish Milburn
Wheeeeeee! Welcome to March!
Is it blowing in like a Lion where you are, or as mild as the proverbial Lamb? Aas usual, we’ve got a great lineup for March and a lot of exciting things going on. There’s also the Ides of March and the ever popular, green-beer-drinking joy of St. Patrick’s Day! WOOHOO!
We’ll all be lifting glasses of Guiness in March (or other beverages of choice…Irish Coffee, perhaps?) to celebrate book releases and MAJOR MILESTONES!
Lesseeee, where do I start? Bandita Trish has a fabulous new book coming out with Harlequin American. Her March release is COWBOY TO THE RESCUE, second in her Teagues of Texas trilogy.
Bandita Jo’s wonderful FRAIL BLOOD will hit the market later this month as well. It’s another brilliant read from Bandita Jo! (And I’m dying to get it b/c I only got to read a little bit….)
Our own Bandita Kate has a great new book out, ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, and yes, I know we talked about it last month, but did you know it hit the
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST!? Kate’s latest debuted on the list at #15!! She also hit PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! Garnering a Starred review (nearly impossible!) and making a splashy #9 debut on THEIR list of great books!!
WOOT!!! Party Hats and Shamrock stew for EVERYONE!!!
Let’s see…ahem…okay, back to our regularly scheduled Coming Attractions pot….
So, what’s up in MARVELOUS MARCH?
Look out tomorrow, March 2, becauase our own Anna Campbell is coming on with the fabulous Annie West! (www.Annie-west.com) It’ll be a rocking day in the Bandit Lair with those two! Annie’s popping in to tell us about her latest American release, teh fabulous GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT. Get out your Lawrence of Arabia gear for this wonderful sheikh romance, gals!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for (har, har!) a great read from Annie West! And when you get Anna and Annie together, in the same blog space….WATCH OUT!!
Diane Kelly makes her Lair debut on Saturday, March 3, with Bandita Nancy.I f you’ve never seen the humor in the IRS, prepare to have your eyes opened. Diane’s second mystery, DEATH, TAXES, AND A SKINNY NO-WHIP LATTE features the return of IRS agent Tara Holloway. Diane and Nancy will chat about Tara’s adventures and the hunky boyfriend she romances when the bullets aren’t flying.
Now you KNOW you want to be here for that! I’m betting that something goes BOOM! in this book, so I’m going to be front and center on Saturday to chat with Diane!
Now, as much fun as that’s going to be, brace yourselves for the wild and wonderful trio of authors coming on March 5! JD Tyler and Addision Fox visit with Bandita Suz to talk about their forthcoming e-novellas BLACK MAGIC and WAVE OF MEMORIES. A lot of you have your e-readers poised and ready to go for this one, I know. With all the wonderful success of Suz’s book, and the fabulous following both JD and Addison have garnered, this should be a fabulous day to tune in and hear about the amazing world of the e-novella!
March 6 is going to be yet another rockin’ day as Joan Swan (www.JoanSwan.com) visits the Lair with Anna Campbell again acting as hostess! This is Joan’s debut visit to the Lair with her debut book. She’ll be telling us all about her hot new romantic suspense, FEVER. Wow, that’s some cover!
On March 8, join Bandita Nancy for a Reader-Writer-Roundtable! Nancy hosts Maureen Hardgree, Eilis Flynn, Gerri Russell, Louisa Cornell, and Barbara Monajem for a discussion of who’s reading (and writing) what this month. I know you’ll want to join in THAT as all the Banditas, and Bandita Buddies are constantly updating their To Be Read piles!
Then we’re headed back to the dessert climes as Teresa Morgan, author of CINDERELLA AND THE SHEIKH, HANDCUFFED TO THE SHEIKH, AND SHEIKH WITH BENEFITS will guest with Jo on March 12. She’ll be discussing “What’s Your Hero Fetish?”
Oh my, THAT should get some interesting posts going, don’t you think? Hmmmmm? Grins.
Be sure to stop in. Sven and the gang are making hummus, importing a wide variety of olives, dates and other “desert-y” foods. (But don’t worry, if you don’t like hummus, he’ll have his usual array of other delicious delicacies!)
And Bandita Donna brings Jules Bennett to the lair on the 16th for an inaugural visit! Woot! We love meeting new authors in the Lair!! Jules new book IN THE SPOTLIGHT will be out this month from Harlequin Desire.
The ever-popular and well known Robin Perini guests with Nancy on the 18th, celebrating the release of her first Harlequin Intrigue, Finding Her Son.
And last but not least, join Bandita Nancy again on the 21st as she welcomes Jana Oliver to the Lair. Jana Oliver will return to the Lair with her demon-trapping heroine, 17-year-old Riley Blackthorne. Jana and Nancy will talk about Riley’s latest adventure, FORGIVEN.
Contest, contest, contest! Check it out!
In March and April, Bandita Anna Campbell is running a Catch Up on the Campbells Contest. Anna’s giving FIVE lucky people the chance to win a book of their choice from her backlist. That’s CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN, MY RECKLESS SURRENDER or the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance of 2011, MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. Just email Anna on email@example.com and tell her which book you’d like and you go into the draw. The contest closes 30th April, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Anna’s contest page: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 23 2011, 10:07 pm in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Bandita Booty, Girl in the Bedouin Tent, Harlequin Presents, The Savakis Merger
From Annie West:
Yay! At last I’m back and with names of winners from the draw. Thank you everyone who took the time to stop and chat and even share their fantasies. Particularly those clever people who put their thoughts in verse. I’m so impressed.
Okay, CONGRATULATIONS to
who have both won copies of THE SAVAKIS MERGER and
MARY PRESTON who has won GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal addresses and I’ll get the books in the mail to you!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 21 2011, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Bandita Booty, The Savakis Merger
By Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to welcome back lair favorite Annie West who has a wonderful new story to tell us about and some news of recent travels to share.
I loved THE SAVAKIS MERGER and you will too. It’s got all Annie’s trademark passion and emotion and drama – and one VERRRRRRRY sexy scene in particular that readers are going to adore. I’m not alone in my enthusiasm for this book. The reviews have been great, including a rave from Romantic Times who called this book “a warm, passionate tale of revenge, betrayal and the healing power of love.”
Here’s the blurb for THE SAVAKIS MERGER:
From society queen…
Only hours ago she was a tempting stranger. Now Damon Savakis knows who she really is – Callie Manolis, society ice-queen and duplicitous niece of his arch enemy…
…to his unwilling mistress!
Yet when Callie’s avaricious uncle loses the Manolis money, she is at Damon’s mercy and is forced to become the Savakis mistress. But Damon is unprepared for her bravery, poise and purity in a world full of greed. She’s paid her dues as his mistress… he’ll take her as his willing wife for free!
You can read an excerpt and see pictures of some of the places that inspired this story here: http://www.annie-west.com/savakis.html
And don’t forget you can find out more about Annie and her books on her website.
Welcome back, Annie. I’m so excited to have you in the lair to talk about your wonderful THE SAVAKIS MERGER which is out this month from Harlequin. Can you tell us about this story?
Well, you may have heard of it under the title ‘The Savakis Mistress’ (its UK and Australian title). It finaled in both the Australian Romance Readers Awards and in the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence Contest and I’m so chuffed it’s finally on sale in North America. It’s intense and sexy and very emotional. Callie and Damon are two of the most vivid characters ever to inhabit my head and I sometimes felt I wasn’t creating their story as much as taking notes about one that I was privileged to eavesdrop on.
After being railroaded while young into an arranged marriage and suffering nightmarish years tied to a controlling older man, Callie is free at last. Now she’s just had her first taste of passion – with a stranger. To her horror she finds the sexy guy who’s just swept her off her feet has arrived in her home not to claim her, but to take her shy, unwilling young cousin in a business deal marriage like the one Callie’s just escaped. She’d thought she’d learned all there was to know about manipulative, cold-hearted men, but now she revises her opinions. She’s determined to thwart his plans any way she can.
As for Damon, after a lifetime pursuing his goal of righting past wrongs, he’s on the verge of success, only to be distracted by a woman who slices straight through his plans. Discovering she’s there as part of her uncle’s stratagem to save the family fortune means she’s played Damon for a gullible fool and he’s only too ready to turn the tables, no matter what the cost. When she challenges him to release her cousin he agrees to be persuaded, if Callie becomes his lover.
This story plumbs Callie and Damon’s deepest held emotions and their weak points. But they also get an unparalleled opportunity to discover what makes the other tick. And they’re surprised to discover there’s a lot to like.
What inspired you to write this story?
I’d once written a story about an extravagantly wealthy and in control Greek businessman who is busy celebrating his engagement to a gorgeous woman when a stranger gatecrashes the exclusive party. The stranger turned out to be the wife he’d thought dead for several years. You can imagine what fun I had with that little scenario…Anyway, as I was writing it I discovered I was fascinated by the fiancée who got jilted when he wife appeared. Not that the fiancée was in love with the hero, but I began to question why she’d agreed to a loveless marriage in the first place. I wondered about her past and more, her future and wanted to write her story. However, the story didn’t come together until I realised that Callie (the woman I’d been imagining) had a different backstory completely. Instead of being jilted out of a loveless marriage, she’d been forced into one and now bears the scars. I pictured her as stronger for it, but damaged too. She’s learned to hide her feelings and project an image of elegant disdain that’s far from the truth. Seeing history about to repeat itself with her docile young cousin, she’s determined to step in and save her.
The other inspiration for the story came from Greece. You know those gorgeous photos of emerald green water and white secluded beaches rimmed by pine forests? I saw Callie and Damon there in my first scene and from there the story just ran away with me.
As you know, I adored GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT, your next U.S. release (currently available in the U.K. and Australia). Can you tell the Bandita buddies about this story?
I let myself go with this book. You know when you have those flights of fancy and then crash back to reality and realise you can’t write that? Well I decided to write it anyway. It was such fun. Cassie is travelling through Tarakhar when the bus she’s on is surrounded by bandits from across the border. Twenty four hours later she finds herself in a desert encampment, being given to a visiting sheikh. Bad gets worse when her captors chain her to his bed.
Amir is visiting the renegade encampment on serious business – to put an end to the dangerous incursions into his territory. The last thing he needs while trying to negotiate a settlement is to be distracted by a sexy love slave in a skimpy dancing girl outfit. Nor does he expect her to attack him the moment they’re alone.
For various reasons they’re stuck with each other for a week, till they can return to Tarakhar. Cassie finds a week sharing a bed with a strong, sexy hero difficult. As for Amir – well, I admired his fortitude. Both are slow to trust, especially Cassie who’s seen what being a kept woman did to her mother. Being cast as a sex toy, even for show, forces her to face her darkest past. Meanwhile Amir has his own reasons for not wanting love or anything approximating it. But, since neither can get away they have to face both their fears and the storm of desire that batters them. It’s a story about passion, trust, betrayal and love. It’s out in North America in March.
Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?
Well, I’ve just finished my first ever Beauty and the Beast story (you know all about those, Anna) and I’m in the very, very early stages of a story about a couple who have the odds stacked against them. She’s promised to another man and the hero is (you guessed it) that man’s best friend. They’re driven together by circumstance and kept apart by duty. I’m guessing it will be a story packed with tension, anticipation and strong emotions. And that’s just for the author! If I can manage to get all that onto the page I’ll be very happy.
I’ve been lucky enough to read this. An amazing story. You’ve recently been on a fantastic European trip. Please tell us about that and perhaps share some highlights.
Anna, it was truly terrific. I’d love to go travelling every year. Wouldn’t that be glorious? I was away through September and part of October, first in England, where I met my lovely editor over lunch, and then some wonderful British and Irish Mills and Boon authors over lunch, bubbly, dinner, bubbly and breakfast. Though it was a quick trip we also got to see other friends which was brilliant. In addition we visited Hadrian’s Wall, the remains of a Mithraeum (I’m an ancient history geek and this was right up my alley), ruined castles, Buckingham Palace, the marvellous Claridges Hotel for high tea, and various other sights. We stayed in an oast house and went to dinner at a pub called The Rat. Where but in England? France was fabulous too. We stayed in Paris’s smallest apartment just a hop, skip and a jump away from Notre Dame. We walked till our feet were ready to drop off and then we hired a car to investigate places like the Loire and the Perigord. We ate too much wonderful food, spent sunny days visiting quaint villages, elegant chateaux and farms where walnuts where being harvested. We (temporarily) lost our luggage to the bowels of Air France and spent a lovely end-of-trip week in Berlin with family and enjoying pure luxury of the sort to which I’d love to become accustomed. Did I mention I was introduced to the best chocolate croissants ever (in Berlin not France)? Adjusting to life at home has been challenging. The good news is it was all marvellous inspiration.
Annie, do you have anything to ask the Bandits and Bandit Buddies?
Since my heroine in ‘Savakis’ finds herself with an invitation to share a stranger’s bed (or else) and my heroine in ‘Bedouin Tent’ is actually chained to a man’s bed – how about sharing with us your thoughts on whose bed you’d like to find yourself attached to and why? Real or fictional is fine by me. I’ll give away signed copies of THE SAVAKIS MERGER to two people drawn at random from those who comment. If anyone stuns me with their ingenuity (like a rhymed or haiku or otherwise brilliant answer) I’ll offer one of my Aus copies of GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT.
Ooh, double the joy! Thanks, Annie. Get commenting, people! And remember there’s a bonus for ingenuity
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 23 2011, 3:00 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Bandita Booty, Prince of Scandal, Rafe's Redemption
Wow, what a huge day we had in the lair yesterday. Thanks to Annie West and everyone who swung by to turn her visit into a party.
Annie very generously offered commenters two prizes and without more ado, the winners are:
ANTONIA (PRINCE OF SCANDAL)
GANNON (RAFE’S REDEMPTION)
Congratulations, girls! Please email Annie on annie @ annie-west.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your books off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 21 2011, 4:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Bandita Booty, great guests, Harlequin Presents, Marriage of Convenience, Prince of Scandal, Rafe's Redemption
by Anna Campbell
Annie West is one of our lair favorites and I’m delighted to have her back again to talk about not just one, but TWO new releases. Oh, lucky Romancelandia!
PRINCE OF SCANDAL is a luscious royal romance with touches of Pygmalion – you’ll love these two characters right from their first meeting which is an absolute doozy.
RAFE’S REDEMPTION was originally published in the U.K. as THE BILLIONAIRE’S BOUGHT MISTRESS. It’s one of Annie’s sexiest and most compelling love stories, full of drama and emotion.
You can find out more about Annie and her wonderful books on her website: www.annie-west.com And don’t forget if you click on the covers, it takes you right to Amazon. We make it so easy for our Bandita Buddies!
Annie has very generously offered two prizes today so two lucky commenters will win either RAFE’S REDEMPTION or PRINCE OF SCANDAL. Good luck!
So without more ado, here’s ANNIE!!!!
Annie, delighted to have you as my guest again on the Romance Bandits.
You’ve been really busy lately with not one, but TWO U.S. releases in the last few weeks. Let’s start with your wonderful PRINCE OF SCANDAL featuring the gorgeous and very tortured Prince Raul (that’s RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROWL to any red-blooded woman). Can you tell us about this story?
Hi Anna, it’s fantastic to be here with the Banditas again. Thanks for slipping me into the packed schedule! Waving here to all the Banditas and guests. I feel I’ve been missing in action for a while due to a recent tough schedule and severely limited time online (advice to all other computer users – NEVER neglect a back problem – it won’t magically fix itself, as I’m learning to my cost).
Ooh Anna, I’m so pleased you like Raul (I can hear that RRRRROWL from here!). But of course, as he’s tortured he’s right up your alley. I know you have a fondness for wounded heroes. I suspected you’d like him even while he gave me a difficult time as I wrote. What is it with princes wanting things to go their own way?
Ahem, OK – that question again? Well, no prizes for guessing it’s a royal story. Plus it’s a Marriage of Convenience story (no, I wasn’t ticking off themes – it’s just the way the story worked out). Take one serious, and seriously gorgeous prince who must marry (not just anyone but the woman specified in a dynastic marriage contract) before he can inherit the throne he’s spent his whole life preparing for. Ensure his past and present circumstances make it imperative he do his duty by inheriting. Mix with an independent business woman who wants nothing to do with her mother’s long lost aristocratic family or the perks of royalty (she’d seen the negative side of that world of privilege and position as a kid). Stand back and enjoy the sparks.
I have to admit (and Anna will bear me out on this) that I snickered with anticipation over this story from the moment I imagined Raul and Luisa meeting on her farm. He’s all Armani tailoring, serious shoulders and lean, dark looks. Luisa’s in dungarees, a battered hat and head to toe mud after an altercation between a cow and a flooded creek. He’s expecting a princess. She doesn’t own a dress. He’s come looking for his bride to be, expecting excitement and gratitude. Being ordered off the property comes as something of a shock. But being a true alpha hero he recovers quickly and sets about getting what he wants.
There’s a touch of Cinderella to the story but Luisa isn’t a woman to be ‘made over’ and quietly defer to other people’s expectations of how she should look and behave. That was part of the fun of this story – watching Luisa do things her way, not taking the tried and true route expected of her. She takes the wind out of Raul’s sails more than once, which is fair since he plays havoc with her expectations of a buttoned up royal. She’s never sure what to expect next. There’s a fair bit of sizzle in this story and reader feedback so far has been very nice indeed.
I’m not surprised. It’s a brilliant classic love story. American readers have a bonus Annie West available now in your wonderful RAFE’S REDEMPTION which was originally released as THE BILLIONAIRE’S BOUGHT MISTRESS. Can you tell us about this story?
Oh, I’m so very pleased Rafe and Antonia are finally crossing the Atlantic to visit North America. This book was written in response to a request from my editor for a three story anthology to showcase new authors. It was one of my favorites to write – it kept me on the edge of me seat all the way through – I think that’s a good thing. Speaking of sizzle, this one has it in spades. It’s available now from the eHarlequin site but don’t look for it in other bookstores as it’s a limited release.
Rafe Benton is planning revenge against the man he’s grown up hating – his estranged father. He will do whatever it takes to succeed, including using a stranger as a pawn in his plans. He sees Antonia as his father’s latest favorite and decides to steal her from under his nose, flaunting her as his mistress while he brings down his father’s business empire. Antonia is between a rock and a hard place, not because of what she’s done, but because of her beloved, recently dead father. Why else would she even consider accepting a position as a rich man’s mistress? It’s a story about redemption and the power of love.
This book was a real challenge to write and I’m so glad I did. The clash between these two is so strong, as are their feelings. Frankly I was a little scared about whether I could do Antonia justice as it would be too easy to write her into a situation where she was simply a victim. I needn’t have worried though as I discovered the more difficult her position the stronger she grew, finding new and inventive ways to assert her independence even when Rafe thought he was the one in control. It’s had a few reviews already including “Sizzling, emotional and poignant…” Pink Heart Society (5 stars) and “will keep you turning the pages late into the night with its captivating blend of drama, passion, intrigue and romance”(CataRomance 4.5 stars).
Congratulations on the wonderful reviews. It has to be asked – what is it with you and heroes whose names start with ‘R’? Was your first boyfriend a Rasputin or a Rattlepate?
If only my first boyfriend had been anything like so interesting! No, I wasn’t going through an R phase. The books were written a couple of years apart so it’s coincidence. But I do like R, I have to say. Just think about Rupert Carsington or RRRRichard Armitage.
What’s next for you?
I’m putting the finishing touches (fingers crossed) to what I hope will be my first Beauty and the Beast story. In the meantime, my next release is for those who enjoy a sultry hot sheikh romance. GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT begins with my heroine being given as an unwilling sex slave to a visiting prince. Again, Anna will confirm I couldn’t wait to get started on that one – it was a treat to write.
GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT is up for pre-order at the Book Depository at a bargain price – check out this link: http://www.bookdepository.com/Girl-Bedouin-Tent-Annie-West/9780263886900
I don’t know when the North American release will be but I’ve seen the UK edition (it’s out in September) and the cover is my fave so far. Here’s a link if you want to check it out. My next American release is THE SAVAKIS MERGER in November – about a clash between two very passionate Greek lovers. The opening scene from this story is one my writing group will never let me forget (in a good way!).
Ooh, I remember that steamy opening scene! A little bird (well, you, actually!) tells me you’re about to embark on another wonderful European trip. Given the last one inspired your beautiful fairytale romances PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE and PRINCE OF SCANDAL, we avidly await the fruits of the inspiration you’ll find from your journeyings. Can you tell us about your travel plans?
Try to stop me, Anna! We’re away a little over a month. During that time I’ll be in London catching up with my editor and some other authors (can’t wait!). I’m hoping for time to visit the Faberge collection at Buckingham Palace as well as see some other sights. There’ll be a week in a tiny Parisian apartment with, I hope, lots of strolling and window shopping and café sitting while I people watch. Did I mention tasting the marvellous food and wine? A short stay in the Loire Valley learning about Chateaux, a longer stay in the Dordogne which I think will be a real highlight, and a quick visit to Germany where my daughter will be studying. Jealous yet? Yes, I’m already thinking of using some of this in an upcoming story or two. How could I not be inspired?
Ooh, I’m envious! Have a wonderful time. So do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies?
Thanks so much, Anna. I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone.
I’m giving away two books so maybe I should combine two questions to give people a chance to win.
Since I’ve been spending so much time lately thinking about fantastic heroes, and just a little time looking forward to my next vacation, how about telling me your perfect match – who you’d feature as the hero of your perfect romance and where they’d be.
Since the letter R was mentioned I’ll venture an example – Anna’s personal fave, RRRichard Armitage in a castle in Romania, surrounded of course by dark woods that harbour wolves and at least one daredevil heroine. Of course it would have to be a gothic romance.
How about you? What combination of hero and location match. Of course you can throw in the heroine too if you like.
A signed copy of PRINCE OF SCANDAL and a signed copy of RAFE’S REDEMPTION are up for grabs today. So let’s get this party started!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 10 2010, 4:01 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, ARCs, Bandita Booty, Christine Wells, historicals, My Reckless Surrender
by Anna Campbell
I went looking for a line of nice male rear ends to illustrate this post – and do you know what? I couldn’t find one! Plenty of girls but no guys! Clearly we need to man (or woman!) the barricades of sexual equality, girls!
Anyway, I thought the elephants illustrated my point well enough although nowhere near as prettily!
Actually this isn’t anything about nicely shaped rear ends! It’s about taking your story to its most basic elements so when people ask you about it, you can answer them without stuttering or spending an hour recounting the whole plot. I’ve tried that – the glazed eyes have to be seen to be believed!
By the way, stop press, thanks to Avon, I’ve got another ARC to give away today! Yes, comment on this post and you can win an advance reader copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER! Get commenting, people!
Double stop press! I couldn’t find a line but I did find a very nice single example of getting to the bottom of things! For your viewing pleasure, ladies!
Just recently a friend of mine emailed me in a panic because she needed an article for a newsletter and for various reasons that were nobody’s fault, the person she’d lined up couldn’t do it. Could I help? I was having the day from the proverbial but because she’s a friend, I put something quick together about MY RECKLESS SURRENDER.
And I realized that sometimes it helps not to over-think stuff!
One of the wonderful things about promoting CAPTIVE OF SIN, my last book, was that just before it came out, I worked out that it was a classic marriage of convenience story in Regency noir guise. Nice little soundbite to deliver when people asked – and intriguing enough to get readers interested in the story which is just what you want.
MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is about a dangerous seduction in Regency London which is an OK description as far as it goes but I want something to draw a reader in. I stewed and stewed about what I could say about this book – we all know the popular themes in romance. Secret baby. Cinderella (actually there’s elements of that in this story). Marriage of convenience. Revenge plot. Fish out of water. Friends into lovers. There’s a stack of them – and I think we’ve covered most of them in Bandita blogs at some stage.
Anyway, writing this piece for my friend while juggling various tradesmen (none of whom looked like the guy in the photo, sadly!), I sat down to do a quick description of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER and I automatically described it as a ‘ticking bomb romance’.
Diana Carrick makes a deal with the devil which will give her everything she’s ever wanted. To make her dreams come true, she agrees to commit what she believes is a victimless crime and seduce the notorious rake Tarquin Vale, the Earl of Ashcroft.
But of course, there’s no such thing as a victimless crime…
Tarquin and Diana find themselves caught in a liaison that is nothing like either expected and which plumbs dangerously profound emotional depths. With every moment, Diana is trapped more inescapably between her deception and her growing love for this man who is nothing like the careless, heartless rake she expected. Her secrets threaten to destroy both of them, but she’s gone too far now to retreat.
I love ticking bomb plots! You know, the ones where the readers know more than either the hero or heroine and are just waiting on tenterhooks for that moment of revelation where everything blows sky high. Then of course, the characters need to gird their loins (nothing like that moment when the characters gird their loins!) and deal with the fall-out which takes all their courage and strength and love. Great high-stakes romance!
I’ve seen my first review for MY RECKLESS SURRENDER and it’s a beauty. Romantic Times Book Reviews chose the book as a June Top Pick and called the story ‘enthralling’, ‘complex’ and ‘passionate’ and finished the review by saying “Quite a book!”
Clearly they like ticking bomb romance plots too!
So thinking back over one of the books you’ve read recently, how would you describe the story at its most basic level? For example, Annie West‘s wonderful FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD (which recently hit the USA Today list – huzzah!) is an amnesia/secret baby story with a dash of Cinderella thrown in. CLAIMING THE COURTESAN is Beauty and the Beast. Christine‘s debut SCANDAL’S DAUGHTER is friends into lovers. So how would you describe your recent reading?
Don’t forget there’s an ARC of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, now christened a ticking bomb romance, up for grabs! Good luck!