Posts tagged with: Annie West

Foanna’s 2014 Best Romance Winner

1BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to recommend the books they enjoyed in 2014. I’m delighted now to announce the winner of my giveaway:

JANE!

Jane, congratulations! You’ve won your choice of Annie West‘s REBEL’S BARGAIN, Kandy Shepherd‘s THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT, or THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE by Vanessa Barneveld (ebook only).

Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) and let me know which book you’d like and your snail mail if you’re choosing either Annie’s or Kandy’s book or the format (Kindle or whatever) if you’d like Vanessa’s. If you need help choosing, I’ve given a short precis of each book in yesterday’s post: http://romancebandits.com/foannas-2014-reading-roundup-part-1/

Happy reading!

Foanna’s 2014 Reading Roundup – Part 1

rr 1Happy new year, Banditas and Bandita Buddies! I hope 2015 is fantastic for you.

That’s enough of the looking ahead. Let’s look back to 2014 and some great books.

I thought I’d devote my spots on the Romance Bandits for January and February to listing some of the wonderful reads I found last year. After all, we all love recommendations for our towering TBR piles, don’t we?

Today, I’m going to talk about romances. Next month, I’m going to talk about books that aren’t romances (or at least not primarily – I find my favorite books nearly always include some sort of romantic plot, even if only as a subsidiary). You’ll notice that I’ve steered clear of books by my tremendously talented Bandit sisters – if I included theirs, we’d be here all year!

rr 2I blogged a couple of months ago about how I was on a major Nora Roberts kick. That looks like it might continue this year. Of the many Noras I read in 2014, my favorite is THE WITNESS, her story of a super-intelligent, high achieving teenager who finally kicks over the traces and rebels, only to be forced into a living nightmare when she witnesses a mafia killing. The woman grows up, always on the run, always smart enough to stay alive – but what happens when she falls in love with the local police chief? Is it time to stop running and finally face her enemies?

This one has two wonderful central characters (I love Abigail’s dorky but smart take on life), a lovely romance and some seriously good suspense. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you grab it now! For a peek at some of the other Nora books I read this year, here’s my blog on the subject: http://romancebandits.com/im-in-the-mood-for-love-and-nora/

rr 3The next book, THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT by Kandy Shepherd, is by a friend of mine. It just happens that some of my favorite reads last year are by people I know – they’re all well worth picking up! Summer is simply gorgeous, a lovely story about two damaged people who were in love as teenagers and reconnect after life hasn’t been kind to either of them. It’s a story about bad timing turning into forever after. I laughed and cried in this one – and you’ll fall in love with the town of Dolphin Bay where the book is set. You can read an interview with Kandy here: http://romancebandits.com/kandy-shepherd/

The next sooper-dooper read for you is THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, the debut novel by Vanessa Barneveld, another friend of mine.

rr 5This YA is a beautiful story about coming to accept who you are and finding the right person and learning that life is a mixture of happy and sad. It’s also a darn good ghostly mystery story as heroine Keira struggles to answer the questions surrounding the death of high school hero Jimmy and in the process realizes that she’s always loved his older brother Dan. Even if you’re not usually a YA fan, give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed. You can see where Vanessa visited the lair and gave us the lowdown on her book here: http://romancebandits.com/vanessa-barneveld/

With my next recommendation, I’m cheating slightly as it’s a series of six, M.C. Beaton/Marion Chesney’s The Travelling Matchmaker books. These are trad Regencies full of wit and romance and classic period touches like duels and highwaymen and marriages of convenience.

rr 4When housekeeper Hannah Pym unexpectedly receives a bequest from her late employer, she determines to seek the adventure that her quiet life in domestic service has so far prevented. She sets out on various stagecoaches and meets danger and excitement and young lovers and a chance to discover talents she never knew she possessed. These books are such fun – definitely a series to put a smile on your face. Here’s a link to a more detailed review of the six books that I did on the Romance Dish: http://www.theromancedish.com/2014/06/regency-charmers.html

My next choice from 2014 is a corker of a steamy reunion story from lair favorite Annie West. For some reason, I couldn’t link this one through the cover, but here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J2ZVDSM?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00J2ZVDSM&linkCode=xm2&tag=romanbandi-20

rr 6I love all Annie’s stories but this one really hit it out of the ballpark for me. Orsino Chatsfield and his estranged wife Poppy have so much passion between them that when they come together in a glamorous French chateau, they set the Loire Valley aflame! This is part of the Harlequin Chatsfield continuity but you can read the story as a stand-alone. Give it a go – these characters are unforgettable. Here’s a link to where Annie visited the lair to talk about this book: http://romancebandits.com/annie-west-6/

My last favorite book of the year is one I read in December. Who doesn’t like a Christmas charmer? Mary Jo Putney‘s collection of four Regency novellas plus a contemporary, CHRISTMAS REVELS, is uber charming. All the stories are great, but my particular favorite is The Christmas Cuckoo where a capable young woman who believes she’s on the shelf collects the wrong man from the local inn and takes him home for a family Christmas. A lovely story about life delivering some gorgeous surprises just when you think your chances have run out. And you’ll fall in love with Jack Howard just like Meg does.

So that’s my romance round-up. I’ve got a mixture of women’s fiction and mysteries and nonfiction coming next month so make sure you check in.

In the meantime, what were your favorite romances of 2014? I’m always looking for recommendations.

1BanditBootyAnd because I love to share my friends’ books, I’ll give one commenter today their choice from THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT by Kandy Shepherd, REBEL’S BARGAIN by Annie West, or THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE by Vanessa Barneveld. The prize is available internationally. Good luck! 

Annie West’s Winners!

1BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to say hello to Annie West this week when she visited to talk about her new novellas BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN! The winners of a signed copy of a book from her backlist are:

SALLY SCHMIDT!

PEGGY KUNTZ!

Congratulations! Please contact Annie on annie @ annie-west.com with your snail mail details and she’ll get your book off to you. Happy reading!

‘Tis the Season…

Earllowres..of goodwill to all men and of great reading for us gals!

Christmas seems to bring a  million books out of the woodwork – all that kissing under the mistletoe obviously inspires romantic thoughts.

Today, I want to introduce you to three stories of mine with Christmas themes and mention two more Christmas anthologies well worth your time – and then, just as a ring-in, a new novella from Annie West that while it’s not a Christmas story, will definitely light up your Yuletide.

TWW low resAll are available digitally on multiple platforms. If you’ve got a Kindle, just click on the cover and it will take you to the page on Amazon. We like to make it easy for our Bandita Buddies!

First up is HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA which has been going like hotcakes, I’m pleased to say, including reaching the number 1 spot on a number of Amazon lists, including Regency romance. This is a story of a mishap on Christmas Eve that leads to an unlikely marriage of convenience – and of course true love!

It’s available for the princely sum of 99 cents. You can read the blurb and an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html

anthologyIf you’re a member of the den (and why wouldn’t you be? Just click the members button on the top toolbar for information and registration), there’s another exclusive excerpt of Earl available this month here: http://romancebandits.com/exclusive-excerpt-from-her-christmas-earl/

My second recommendation is my 2012 Christmas novella, THE WINTER WIFE, which is a reunion story featuring a Scottish earl and his headstrong countess. You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/winterwife.html

The last of my Christmas stories is such a bargain, it’s FREE! Last year, I teamed up with Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble on an anthology called A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS. My story, “His Christmas Cinderella,” is, you guessed it, a Cinderella story about a girl from a humble background who dares to love a Scottish earl. Scottish earls seem to proliferate in my Christmas stories!

ChristmasRevels1-187x300Now for the other books I want to bring to your attention. First up features the debut of multi prize-winning Bandita Buddy Louisa Cornell. Her novella “A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” is included in the anthology CHRISTMAS REVELS, just out! I’ve got this on my Kindle and I’m saving it as part of my Christmas book wallow. It sounds delicious.

Next is another freebie that gives you so much Christmas reading, you’ll still be going next year! A whole stack of authors including Banditas Trish Milburn, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Suzanne Ferrell and Tawny Weber got together to put together a free Christmas themed anthology called TINY TREATS. I don’t know about you but at this time of year, short really suits my reading requirements and this is like a big box of chocolates!

Tiny treatsMy final recommendation isn’t exactly a Christmas book but it’s just come out from the brilliant Annie West. Annie visited us yesterday to tell us about her latest release in the Hot Italian Nights Series, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ve read this little treasure and it’s a fantastic story – not to mention an absolute steal at only 99 cents.

You’ll notice that none of these books are exactly going to break the bank which is great news at this time of year where everything else seems to require major spending!

bbti 4The other great thing about all of these is that they’re bite-size chunks of romance goodness. Another item people are short of at this time of year is time. We’re all so busy running around, it’s the ideal occasion for some stress-busting reading, but it’s finding space to indulge in it, isn’t it? Well, all of these will take you a couple of hours at most, mostly less. A sweet moment of bliss to reward you for all your Christmas hard work.

So go ahead, why not treat yourself to some great reading this Christmas?

This is my last blog for the year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015. Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

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:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bought-Italian-Nights-novella-Book-ebook/dp/B00QER7U2Y/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417415094&sr=1-8&keywords=Annie+West

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bought-by-the-italian-annie-west/1120836889?ean=2940149986385

and Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/497810

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!

 

December’s Coming Attractions!

100_6265Welcome to the Holidays, Bandits and Bandit Buddies!

Have we got a Jingle Bell Lineup for YOU!!!

On December 5, Allie Burton returns to the Lair with her newest LOST DAUGHTER OF ATLANTIS book

– ATLANTIS GLACIAL TIDES

Atlantis+Glacial+Tides+final

On Tuesday, 9th December, lair favorite Annie West (www.annie-west.com) returns to talk about the latest instalment in her HOT ITALIAN NIGHTS series, the sizzling novella BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN.

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover down below there on the right?

ChristmasRevels1-187x300On December 12th, we have a very special interview in the Lair!  Longtime Lair Buddy and dear friend Louisa Cornell!  We who know Louisa have waited a long time for a story from her, and A PERFECTLY DREADFUL CHRISTMAS – in the brand new Christmas Revels anthology – is worth the wait.

Louisa’s fantastic regency story warrants a souped-up, chandelier-swiging, full bucket-boots-and-regalia celebration!  Join us as Bandita Cassondra hosts Louisa for her debut guest spot in the Lair!!

Then….drum roll please….

You’ll have to come party with us on FB on the 11th of December as we launch the beginning of our annual 12 Days of Bandita Christmas!!  The FACEBOOK ARTY, THURSDAY the 11th of December, and the Holidays kick off on the blog on SUNDAY, December 14th!annieitalian

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11!  FACEBOOK PARTY!!!!  WOOT!!!

Prizes, books, fun, laughter, nog, grog, and nosh!

The 14th is Tawny’s Holiday Blog day

ClosetoChristmasfinalforBarnesandNobleThe 15th is Trish’s Holiday Blog day

The 16th is Nancy’s Holiday Blog day

The 17th and the 18th will feature one of Bandita Cassondra and Bandita Jeanne’s famous (or is that infamous…?)  FOOD FIGHTS!!  What kind of food?

Well you’ll just have to tune in and find out, right?

The 19th is Susan’s Holiday Blog day

The 20th is Suz’s Holiday Blog day

The 21st is Caren’s Holiday Blog day

The 22nd is Anna S’s Holiday Blog day

The 23rd is Donna’s Holiday Blog day

AJewelinTimefinalOn the 24th…The Night Before Christmas…Our own Bandita Jo will take center stage

On the 25th,  The Very Merriest of Christmas Days, Kate Carlisle will blog!

There will be cookie, candy and sweet recipes.  There will be prezzies and prizes.  There will be fun galore!  Be sure to stop in once a day and comment for a chance to win a HUGE PRIZE BUNDLE on December 25th.

Also…There are lots of wonderful Christmas and Holiday novellas out!  Just the right “bite-sized” story between shopping and cooking, working and the holiday party, etc. And fabulous for that rare moment where you just have a little while to put your feet up and get away…

In that spirit, don’t forget to download your copy of Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection, a collection of micro holiday stories by nearly 30 authors, including Banditas Nancy Tiny TreatsNorthcott, Suzanne Ferrell, Tawny Weber, Donna MacMeans, Anna Sugden, and Trish Milburn.

Sign up for our Members Only Newsletter for a chance to win a monthly book-pack!  This month’s prize includes….

A Perfect Gift  (Novella) by Jo Robertson

 An ebook copy of CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS by Suz Ferrell

 Her Christmas Earl (Novella) by Anna Campbell

Cross Springs in Bloom (Novella) by Caren Crane

Both A Jewel in Time and Deadly Delivery (1 Novella, 1 Anthology) – by Jeanne Adams

A Perfect Distraction (full novel) by Anna Sugden

 In News…. Bandita Kate Carlisle made the NEW YORK TIMES list with the first book in her new series, HIGH END FINISH!!  WOOT!! GO KATE!!!

anthologyHER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA by Anna Campbell is burning up the Amazon lists, making it to the number one spot in Regency romance and Scottish romance. Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Christmas-Earl-Regency-Novella-ebook/dp/B00OQY2X06/ref=zg_bs_158573011_2

 Anna also has a contest on her website…go check it out!TPG Final cover

And don’t miss out on the FREE anthology A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS with stories by Bandita Anna Campbell, Vanessa Kelly, Shana Galen and Kate Noble. Currently in Amazon’s top 1000 free books.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grosvenor-Square-Christmas-Shana-Galen-ebook/dp/B00FSLF4NO/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1416347343&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=christmas+in+grosvenor+square

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-grosvenor-square-christmas-vanessa-kelly/1117251695?ean=2940045347853

Annie West’s Winners!

BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to wish Annie West and her REBEL’S BARGAIN well. We had a great day in the lair.

Annie has chosen her two winners to receive the signed copy of REBEL’S BARGAIN. They are:

EFTHALIA!

JENNIFER TANNER!

Congratulations, girls! You’ll love this story. 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!

 

Annie West and the Rebel

Annie researching at Chateau Chenonceau.

Annie researching at Chateau Chenonceau.

It’s always a pleasure to host Annie West and hear about her latest release. This month, she’s put out a doozy of a contemporary romance with REBEL’S BARGAIN, a tempestuous, emotional and very sexy reunion story set in a glamorous French Chateau.

Um, I’ll have what she’s having, thanks!

Here’s the blurb:

When the thrill–seeker strikes a deal!

Five years ago, Poppy Graham married Orsino Chatsfield beneath a confetti of paparazzi flashbulbs. But Orsino spent more time chasing the rush of adrenaline than with his wife and, in her darkest hour, he let her down. Their split was bitter and Poppy’s striven for independence ever since. But now her arrogant husband is back…

Injured in a climbing accident, there’s only one person Orsino can turn to…his deceitful wife! They have unfinished business and he’ll face it before he walks away for ever. But the blazing passion between them reignites in an instant, leaving Orsino to wonder whether it will kill or cure!

You can read an excerpt on Annie’s website here: http://www.annie-west.com/books/rebels-bargain/

I’m not the only person raving about how good REBEL’S BARGAIN is. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars and called it “imaginative and intensely thrilling.” Coffee Time Romance called it a “delicious concoction of sultry passion and angsty second chance romance.”

Annie, congratulations on the release of REBEL’S BARGAIN, your addition to the steamy Chatsfield continuity for Harlequin. Can you tell us about this story?

Thanks so much for the invitation back to the lair, Anna. You know how I love visiting!

Rebel is my first full-length reunion story and I discovered the situation was rife with emotion and passion. Poppy and Orsino met and married quickly, falling headlong into instant attraction. But when things got tough between them neither had what it took to keep the relationship together. Orsino even believed his wife had betrayed him.

Annie 9They parted on bitter terms and have spent the intervening years burying themselves in activities that keep them from dwelling on the past. Orsino dives into more and more reckless adventure and Poppy concentrates on building the career she thinks will give her security.

But when Orsino is buried in an avalanche (yes, I DO torture my heroes) then spends time in hospital, he realises he still has unfinished business with his wife since he can’t get her out of his head. He ‘persuades’ her into looking after him while he recovers. He thinks a couple of weeks’ proximity will cure him of his lingering feelings.

How wrong he is!

Annie 7The pair are stuck together at a French chateau while Poppy finishes a modelling assignment. Sounds hard to take, doesn’t it? But close proximity (and there’s a lot of that) leads to all sorts of fireworks. They’re forced to face all the problems and the feelings they’ve tried to hide from.

I can attest to the fireworks. I think this is one of your most sensual books ever. How does REBEL’S BARGAIN fit into the Chatsfield series?

It’s fascinating seeing how the stories relate to each other. One thing I enjoy is that, while the stories do link, each can be read as a totally stand-alone book, so if you pick one up out of sequence it’s still a whole complete and hopefully satisfying story.

Annie 3The series centres on the Chatsfield family and their international chain of luxury hotels. Gene Chatsfield has quite a few children and none of them had an easy family life. Now they, and he, are paying for that.

Orsino Chatsfield (yes, it’s an Italian Christian name, because of his Italian mother) is notorious to the world’s press for rebelling, risking his neck again and again in perilous adventures, almost as if he doesn’t care if he lives or dies. My story is about what happens when his devil-may-care attitude finally catches up with him.

There’s a terrific section on the Harlequin website devoted to the series. Here’s the link if you want to check it out. http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=622516

What were the inspirations behind this story?

Well, Anna, I don’t think I need to say much. These photos show you some of the places that inspired the story.

Annie 8Chateau Chenonceau is a gem of a palace that spans the Loire River in France. I knew I wanted to write about it and then along came this story. I found myself putting Orsino and Poppy in that gorgeous Rapunzel tower near the Chateau. Other scenes take place along the riverbank and inside the Chateau itself though in the book the place is never named as I took a few liberties with it.

Another inspiration was the gorgeous antique jewellery I saw in European museums. Poppy is modelling jewellery for an ad campaign for a fabulous design house that has made jewellery for royalty for centuries (think Faberge and Cartier). In my book I got to put her in all sorts of period settings with matching clothes and jewels from the 18th century to the roaring twenties to ultra modern. It was delicious fun.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m thrilled to have a duet out early in the new year with Harlequin – two linked stories (which can be read as stand alones) called THE SULTAN’S HAREM BRIDE (Jan/Feb) and THE SHEIKH’S PRINCESS BRIDE (Mar/April).

Annie 10

Watch out too for a novella I hope to bring out very soon – the second in ‘Hot Italian Nights’ novella series, called BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ll leave you to ponder what that’s about.

Ooh, lots coming up for your fans. I know, like many writers, that you’re a voracious reader. Do you have any recommendations for us on books that you’ve recently read and loved?

Some recent fabbo reads have been Christina Brooke’s THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE (what a story, Christina!), Cathryn Hein’s romantic adventure quest THE FRENCH PRIZE (sadly not yet available in the U.S.) and among the a non-romance titles, Julia Spencer Fleming’s marvellous THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS. In shorter stories, I’m currently reading and enjoying Caitlin Crews’s sexy UNDONE BY THE SULTAN’S TOUCH. Plus of course there’s your new Regency novella, Anna, HER CHRISTMAS EARL, which hit the spot beautifully! Just right for a lush, pre-Christmas escape.

Annie 11Great recommendations. I’m chuffed you enjoyed my novella! Thank you. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita buddies to get the conversation going?

Poppy gets to wear some glamorous jewellery in this story (from cabochon rubies in old gold to gem-encrusted armbands straight from a flapper’s wardrobe). I find it impossible to choose a favorite.

But how about you? Do you have a favorite piece of jewellery? Maybe something special because of its sentimental value? Alternatively, is there a piece you’d buy for yourself if money were no object?

BanditBootyGet commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two signed copies of REBEL’S BARGAIN (international) as prizes to people who visit the blog today. Good luck!

Annie West’s Winners!

1BanditBootyThanks so much to everyone for giving Annie West such a lovely warm welcome yesterday. The winners of Annie’s DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR are:

DEANNA

JANE

Congratulations, Deanna and Jane! Email Annie on annie @ annie-west.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your book off to you. It’s a doozy of a read so I’m sure you’ll love it!

Annie West Claims an RT Book Reviews Top Pick!

Annie 6I’m delighted to welcome back to the lair one of our favorite guests, Australian author Annie West. Annie is here to tell us about her latest Harlequin Presents, the passionate and emotional DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR.

Damaso is making friends all over with some wonderful reviews, including a Top Pick and 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews. How’s this for a wrap? “West’s page-turner set in colorful Brazil is impressively perfect, starring her well-matched, rags-to-riches hero and her unjustly scandal-ridden royal heroine. Her illuminating, expert narrative brings the breathtaking story and the explosive lovemaking to life.”

Annie 2You can find out more about Annie and her books on her website: www.annie-west.com

Annie, congratulations on your Top Pick review from RT Book Reviews for DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR. Well deserved! Can you tell us about this story?

Hi Anna, and thanks for having me to visit again! I always feel warm and fuzzy opening the door into the Banditas’ lair. Or maybe it’s those cocktails!

Snickering here at the way you seamlessly lob in the reference to the RT top pick review. Thank you, dear. I do so love it when someone (other than me) enjoys my characters’ journey.

In DAMASO, a slumdog millionaire meets a society princess and sparks fly. Their passionate affair ends in pregnancy and a proposal. But Marisa won’t settle for less than love. The question is whether she can find it with a man who doesn’t know what love is.annie 3

It’s a great read. What were the inspirations behind this book?

I’m fascinated by the idea of people who put on one face to meet the world, hiding a wealth of emotion in private, especially those living in the public eye. I came up with an idea for stories about three royal sisters, variations on that theme of a hidden inner world. But it became obvious that one was a loner and her story would work better if, instead of having devoted sisters, poor Marisa was alone in the world.

Marisa is a twin, and in my imaginings she’s just lost her twin brother. Imagine how much harder it would be for Marisa if she’d only had one sibling, one true friend in a world where she didn’t fit. So the sisters had to go, though I’m hoping to write their stories separately.

So there was Marisa, lost and alone, disapproved of by her extended family and even the public. She hides her true self behind smiles and a penchant for extreme sports. Enter Damaso, who built his wealth and power after a childhood of deprivation. He sprang fully formed into my head some time ago after watching a program about street kids in South America.

Annie 7Damaso also hides his real self. He’s never learned to love and he’s not interested in it. But he is interested in Marisa. For one glorious night they let down their guards, till things go wrong. Damaso has his own demons that drive him away from anything that makes him feel too much. So of course they were going to have to find themselves in a situation where they couldn’t just turn their backs on each other. That’s when Marisa discovers she’s pregnant. The book is about how two almost-strangers, each hiding their vulnerabilities and hopes, each with problems trusting, deal with this most momentous change in their lives.

What’s coming up next for you?

In November REBEL’S BARGAIN hits the stores. It’s my first reunion novel and a scorching hot lovers-into-enemies-into-lovers story. It’s part of a continuity of linked stories about the Chatsfield siblings and their family hotel chain. Rebel isn’t set in a hotel though. It starts in the Himalayas where my hero has been badly wounded while ice climbing (it’s dangerous being an Annie West hero – I love doing nasty things to them) then most of the story is set in a chateau in France’s gorgeous Loire Valley. Le sigh.

Part of the booksigning queue in Berlin.

Part of the booksigning queue in Berlin.

My secret squirrel agents tell me you haven’t been to Brazil and yet I found the setting one of the most compelling parts of this story. Can you tell us how you got into a Brazilian frame of mind?

Anna, I’ve wanted to visit South America for years but still haven’t made it, so I made do with books, television documentaries and the web. I’ve been in love with the idea of Brazil since I watched a long running Brazilian TV show years ago and fell for the look of the place and the cadences of the language. On the latter, I was lucky enough to be able to check the little Portuguese I used with a native speaker who was wonderfully helpful. I’ve spoken to people who’ve lived or visited there and tried to use some of what I learned in the book. One day though I want to visit and do some in depth research.

Annie working hard – researching her current wip in Prague.

Annie working hard – researching her current wip in Prague.

Those secret squirrels have been busy! They also tell me that you’ve recently had a European trip, including an appearance at the big Love Letter convention in Berlin. Can you let us in on some of the highlights of your travel? Can we expect to see any of those glamorous places making an appearance in forthcoming books?

What is it with you and furry little animals, Anna? Obviously they’re a good source of information.

Yes, I made a quick trip to Europe earlier in the year. Considering that’s 24 hours of flight time from Australia you can tell I really wanted to be there. The Convention was terrific, having the chance to meet up with so many other romance readers.

Other highlights? Prague. Big smile. If you haven’t visited Prague you have a treat in store. I’m just writing a wedding set in the old town there and it’s wonderful reliving my visit.

Annie getting a taste of Italy, researching her next novella.

Annie getting a taste of Italy, researching her next novella.

Also the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy. I got to drive the multiple hairpin bends over the high alpine passes, surrounded by luxury sports cars and still found time to admire the views. That setting is going into a Hot Italian Nights novella I’m currently plotting. And I even managed to fit in a night in an alpine castle. We had a spare night and no accommodation booked so I did an internet search on castle stays in Austria, as you do, and hey presto! More fodder for future stories. Sigh. I do love research.

Sounds like a fantastic trip, Annie. I look forward to reading those wonderful settings in future wonderful stories! Do you have a question for the Banditas to get conversation going? Or should we all just go and have ice-cream? 🙂

I want to visit Brazil one day, especially after writing Damaso and Marisa’s story. I want to taste the food, see the sights and get a feel for the place after all the research I did.

Is there somewhere you’ve read about and long to visit but haven’t yet made it? Have you ever looked forward to visiting a place (maybe after reading for writing a story set there) and then found the reality far different to what you’d imagined? Were you disappointed or intrigued?

1BanditBootyAnnie has very generously offered two commenters today signed copies of DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR (international). So good luck people! 

Next Page »