Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 9 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Back in the Italian's bed, Bargain Books, Bought by the Italian, contemporary romance, ebooks, Hot Italian Nights, novellas, travel
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.
Heaven! 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.
Because 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!
It’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.
When 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: 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!
Thanks, Annie! Get commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two commenters today their choice of her full-length romances (international). Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 4 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, contemporary romance, Destiny Romance, e-books, interviews, Jennifer St. George, Penguin Australia, Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon, travel
One of the fun things about being a Romance Bandit (and believe me, there are LOTS of fun things about being a Bandita!) is that I get to host some of my favorite people on the blog. Aussie author Jennifer St George fits the bill admirably. She’s always fun and smart and ready to support another writer so I’m delighted today to have her as my guest in the lair.
Jen’s latest release is the sparkling and sexy contemporary romance TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON. Here’s the blurb:
Three strikes and you’re out…
A series of strange accidents are occurring at Sirona, a luxury spa resort in the picturesque English countryside. Billionaire owner Nic Capitini wants the person responsible, the resort’s GM Poppy Bradford, sacked. But the law requires he give three official warnings. Nic checks in undercover to gather the evidence he needs.
Despite first impressions, it isn’t long before Nic realises that not only is Poppy beautiful, she’s a brilliant manager who runs the resort superbly. And the chemistry between them is undeniable. When Poppy herself is threatened, it seems clear the incidents are part of a systematic campaign of sabotage. Even though he believes she’s innocent, Nic knows Poppy is hiding something. But will learning her secret mean losing her forever?
Hmm, a resort in the English countryside? I’m there!
You can find Jen on social media:
Blog: http://www.jenniferstgeorge.com/blog and http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com.au/
Jen, I’m delighted to welcome you back to the Romance Bandits and congratulations on the release of TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON. Can you tell us something about this story?
TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON is the second book my Billionaire Romance series with Destiny Romance.
What were the inspirations behind this story?
TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON was inspired by two recent trips. One to a health retreat which gave me my heroine’s profession and one to France and the UK which was the inspiration for the luxury locations in which the book is set. Each time I visit Paris (and during a trip to Versailles for the first time) I’m in awe of the beauty and romance of France. My heroine, Poppy feels this too as it is her first trip to this amazing country. My hero of course has seen it all before, being an international entrepreneur, but it all feels that little bit different now he is with Poppy!
Me with Aussie authors Helene Young and Jennifer St. George at the Gold Coast Libraries Literati Event in 2012.
What’s coming up next?
I’m currently working on the third book in my Billionaire Romance series. I’m currently playing with lots of different characters and settings waiting for it all to come together.
We’re very nosy here in the lair. We’d love a peek at your writing day. Was there anything you learned during your time as a corporate wonder that has helped you in settling down to life as a writer?
What did I learn from my corporate career that has helped me with writing? Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. Getting my head down and getting the job done. I get up early every day (and I’m a night owl…definitely not a morning person) and get 1000 words done before the rest of the house wakes. That way, no matter what the day throws at me, I’ve got words down on the page. Also, you can never stop learning, improving, refining your skills. I continually find ways to learn and I know I can always do better.
Contemporary romance is taking the world by storm. Have you any theories as to why this genre is the flavour du jour right now?
Great question and I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because people can relate to the stories as they are written with contemporary themes and situations. Although, my stories do have a lot of ‘escapism’ elements. I mean, it’s not everyday you stumble into the glamorous world of a billionaire and he sweeps you off your feet into the world of luxury only accessed by the mega-rich.
Oh, if only I would! Is there another genre you’d like to try?
I love reading crime. I love a good thriller – Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci. I’d love more time to read crime and I’d like to one day have at go at writing it. I have a story in my head that won’t leave me alone (it’s based on a dream I had when I was twenty, so it’s been tapping on my brain for a long time), so I hope one day to get that story down on paper and out into the world.
Ooh, sounds intriguing. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita buddies to get conversation going?
So I love featuring glamorous locations (Paris, Barbados, Brunei) and having my characters engage in luxurious activities such as slipping over to Paris on a private jet for dinner, cruising on a super yacht or dining on a Caribbean beach. If you could have a billionaire lifestyle and money was a non-issue, what would you like to do?
A bit of a twist in today’s prize. Jen has offered a download of TEMPTED BY THE BILLIONAIRE TYCOON but for people in Australia only – so if you’re an Aussie, please tell us so in the comments so we know you’re in the draw. Jen’s book is available internationally from all good e-book retailers!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 3 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bought by the Italian, contemporary romance, Continuities, Harlequin Presents, interviews, Rebel's Bargain, Reunion Stories, the Chatsfield, The Sheikh's Princess Bride, The Sultan's Harem Bride
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.
They 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!
The 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.
The 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.
Chateau 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).
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.
Great 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?
Get 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!
Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 22 2014, 10:49 pm in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Bloomsbury Spark, Debut authors, ebooks, This Is Your Afterlife, Vanessa Barneveld, young adult
Thanks to everyone who swung by yesterday to turn my friend Vanessa Barneveld’s launch of her debut YA THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE into such a party. I’m delighted now to announce the winner:
Donna, please email Vanessa on ness @ vanessabarneveld.com (no spaces) with your preferred ebook format and the address where you’d like Vanessa to send both your Amazon $20 gift card and your download of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 21 2014, 12:01 am in Afterlife Goes On, Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Bloomsbury Spark, Debut authors, Ghosts, interviews, This Is Your Afterlife, Vanessa Barneveld, young adult
I’m delighted to host for the very first time in the lair, my very dear friend Vanessa Barneveld, a triple Golden Heart finalist. Vanessa’s debut young adult romance THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE comes out from Bloomsbury Spark today!
Vanessa and I met some years ago, working as captioners on television programs for the Deaf. We bonded over a mutual love for romance and a shared dream to be published romance writers. I’m so happy for Vanessa that her dream has come true in such style!
Here’s the blurb for THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE:
When the one boy you crushed on in life can’t seem to stay away in death, it’s hard to be a normal teen when you’re a teen paranormal.
Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.
Keira’s determined to do anything to find Jimmy’s killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira’s ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.
You can find out more about Vanessa and her books on her website: http://www.vanessabarneveld.com/
By the way, I love the ‘ghostly’ pics Vanessa sent to accompany this article. The cemetery ones are from Camperdown in Sydney – and of course every paranormal writer needs cats, especially black ones!
Check out the great trailer Vanessa made for her book. That Dan’s a bit of all right, isn’t he?
Vanessa, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to host you at the Romance Bandits to celebrate the release of your first book THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE. Can you tell us something about this story?
Anna, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be in the Lair as a debut author! You and the Banditas have been so good to me over the years. (Waving to the Golden Rooster and the trusty cabana boys!) THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE was a finalist in this year’s Golden Heart YA category. It’s a paranormal that brings new meaning to “teen spirit.”
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this story?
The idea of ghosts is endlessly fascinating to me. As a child, I fed my imagination with a UK series of magazines called THE UNEXPLAINED, which was chock-full of paranormal phenomena. So it’s no surprise that this led me to writing ghost stories!
As with most of my books, it was the title that came first. I don’t remember the exact moment it hit me, but from then on, characters started “talking” to me. Jimmy, the dead guy, had looks, talent and his own fan club. The world was at his feet, but it was ripped from under him in one terrible moment. My heroine, Keira, is clairvoyant. That means she sees dead people. Her character is loosely based on a member of my husband’s family who was psychic and helped police with investigations many years ago. Keira was a card-carrying member of Jimmy’s fan club. “What bugs me is that I’ve been invisible to Jimmy for years. Now that he’s dead, he finally sees me. There is no justice in the world,” she says.
Oh, no wonder Keira’s a bit annoyed! What’s coming up next?
I’m partying for the next week – literally! I’ve got a stellar line-up of YA authors sharing spooky stories on my blog. Once the paranormal party’s over, it’s back to work on my follow-up book, AFTERLIFE GOES ON. I may or may not be traveling to Amsterdam to research that story. I’m partway through a UFO abduction book. It’s a ton of fun! I may or may not be traveling to another galaxy to research that story. Next year, I hope to continue my master’s degree in writing.
We love, love, love call stories in the lair. Can you please tell us yours?
With pleasure! I’ve been writing with the aim of publication since 1997 and have written eight or nine paranormal and contemporary YA manuscripts since then. In 2007, after facing more than 100 agent rejections on three different books, I signed with Writers House. (Third time lucky!) Then we proceeded to rack up so many rejections I was sure I’d make the GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS. The rejections were rarely about the writing—that was comforting!
THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE was the fourth of my books to be shopped. Rejections galore, which I had come to expect. My agent submitted to Bloomsbury’s New York office in July 2013. A few days later, my sister and I went to London and we kept drifting toward the Bloomsbury area. Just by accident, but I thought it was a nice omen.
In March this year, my agent emailed me when I was at the day job and said she wanted to call me. I immediately thought, “Maybe she wants to drop me!” I quickly emailed a very wise and trusted friend who told me I was a total loon. (Not in so many words.)
As it turns out, my agent had the best news of all — an offer from Bloomsbury Spark! My workmates managed to find a bottle of champagne at 10 o’clock in the morning and we had a little celebration. The book received a Golden Heart nomination a few weeks after that.
Great story! Young adult books are huge in the market right now, with all ages. What do you think is the appeal of the genre for the general reader?
I can speak for myself in that teen fiction allows me to see the world through a younger person’s filter. I like seeing how teen characters react against the problems they face and choices they have to make. It brings back great (and not-so-great!) memories of firsts – first kisses, first dates, first time you felt like you were growing into your identity.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Simplest advice? Read! Study the masters of your genre. I recommend reading out of your genre for a fresh perspective, too. If there’s one thing I know about writing it’s that I don’t know enough about writing! So whatever level you’re at, keep learning through workshops or craft books and blogs. Join an organisation for writers (e.g. RWA) where you can find a critique group, learn from others, and importantly, share what you’ve learned. And one last thing—just write. It doesn’t have to be Pulitzer Prize-winning prose, not in the first draft, anyway! Good luck!
Great advice, Vanessa. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies to get conversation going?
If you could have a paranormal power, what would it be and why?
Get commenting, people! Vanessa has very generously offered a download of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE along with a $20 Amazon giftcard for someone who leaves us a message today. Good luck!