Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arabian Nights Fantasies - Annie West

One of the great joys of writing fiction is the freedom to indulge in a little fantasy when it comes to setting my stories. Most are set in real places, yet others are my own creation, often based on places I've seen or read about, or if I'm lucky, visited.

My current story is set in a fictitious desert kingdom based loosely on an amalgam of places I've visited, ones I've seen in movies and documentaries or read about. Yes, I do my research, but more, I dream. And I wanted to share just a few of the pictures I've collected that to me are evocative of the spell I want to weave in my own stories.

Since I was a young girl I had a special soft spot for fantastic stories that might have come out of the Arabian Nights. Yes, I watched Sinbad and Ali Baba and all those corny old Hollywood movies. I loved stories where swashbuckling warrior heroes braved the evil emir's court to rescue a gorgeous heroine with flashing eyes, gauzy veils and independent spirit, from a fate worse than death at the hands of the villain. I Dream of Jeannie was my favourite TV program for years - just loved Jeannie's costume and the way she could do what she wanted with a blink of her eyes. Genies in bottles? Definitely my cup of tea.

More recently I've had a chance to visit a few places that surely could inspire a middle eastern romantic fantasy or two. Just like palaces and castles elsewhere in the world, some of these heritage buildings or even modern hotels seem just the place for exotic tales of danger or desire or intrigue amidst unbelievable luxury.

I suspect the gorgeous architecture in these buildings taps into my deep romantic streak. I love the archways, the courtyards with tinkling fountains, the carved privacy screens that give a hint of intrigue (OK, so I have a vivid imagination). The mosaics, lush fabrics, gorgeous jewellery and exquisite tiles. The sense of luxury. The idea of a secluded harem! Now there's a thought to spark an interesting romance!

Are you a sucker for an Arabian Nights fantasy too? Can you relate to a heroine in a gilded cage of a palace? Do you get a kick out of stories with flashing-eyed horsemen, of rescues from the harem, fights with scimitars and a love more precious than a sultan's hoard of gold and gems?

Annie's latest book, THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE, is a Harlequin Presents Extra release in mid April. It's already spent weeks on the eHarlequin bestseller list. To find out more, visit Annie's website at . Or you can buy it at Harlequin or Amazon.

Annie will give one of her backlist books (maybe even a sheikh fantasy) to someone who posts a comment.


Helen said...

Oh Annie I would love to be Maggie and live in such a wonderful place and have Khalid there for me what a hero.

I too loved I Dream Of Jeannie and love all of those Arabian movies those heros really know how to save a heroine.

I loved The Desert King's Pregnant Bride it is a fantastic book

Have Fun

housemouse88 said...

Hello Annie,

I enjoy being about to escape to different places around the world. The desert has always been a fascination of mine. Love stories that are located in this part of the world. Have a great day.

Linda Conrad said...

Oh me too, Annie! I remember dreaming about Arabian romances and dark heroes when I was a kid.
Love them!
Just ordered your book and can't wait to read it!

robynl said...

what a beautiful picture of the water fountains in front of the Palace- so dreamy, so romantical.
I, too, love this kind of story.

Kara said...

I love Arabian romances!! Just something about the desert.

Annie West said...

Hi Helen,

It's lovely to see you here. You pop up all over the place!

Sorry to be so late getting here to chat.

How cool that you enjoyed 'I Dream of Jeannie' too! Wasn't it fun? Thank you for the lovely comment about 'The Desert King's Pregnant Bride'. That's so nice to hear.

I can just imagine you lapping up the luxury of an exotic palace!

Annie West said...

Hi Housemouse!

I know what you mean about escaping to other places. That's one of the things I so enjoy about reading. Open it up, delve inside and suddenly you're somewhere completely different!


Annie West said...

Hi Linda.

You've ordered Maggie and Khalid's story? How terrific! I do hope you enjoy it.

Yes please to those dark heroes. When I was young I wondered if I was the only one daydreaming about being in some exciting Arabian Nights romance. I'm so glad to have discovered I'm not (G)!


Annie West said...

Hello Robyn,

I'm glad you liked the picture of the fountains. I can't tell you what fun I have looking for inspirational pictures for my books. And there's something so attractive about the soft sound of fountains in an arid landscape that is lovely and cooling and soothing. I love the backdrops to my sheikh stories!


Annie West said...

Hi Kara,

I was in the desert a couple of months ago, watching the sun go down over the dunes and it was just magical. Really a special place.


Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Miss Annie,

"Jeannie" was a family favorite in
our house, too! Your DKPB is on my
to-be-purchased list for my shopping
trip this weekend!

Pat Cochran

Ash said...

I've never read an Arabian romance before, but I think it would be lovely.

Annie West said...

Hi Pat, nice to see you here. Wow, you're buying Khalid and Maggie's book? How lovely. Hope you enjoy it!

Wasn't 'I Dream of Jeannie' enormous fun? I haven't seen it in years though I suppose it's still showing somewhere, just not here.


Annie West said...

Hi Ash,

Oh, you have a treat in store. If you haven't read a desert romance then there's a whole new set of romance stories waiting for you to discover them!


Michelle Douglas said...

Annie, I love Arabian Nights tale. There's something about the contrast between all of the luxury of an Arabian palace and desert oases... and the elemental, untamed sheikhs who own them. It really is sort of delicious, don't you think?

Ooh, 'I Dream Of Jeannie'. The only time I ever wanted to be blonde was when I was going through my 'I Dream of Jeannie' stage.

And for all who are yet to dive into the pages of The Desert King's Pregnant Bride, you are in for such a treat. It's a wonderful read!

Annie West said...


'Elemental, untamed sheikhs' sound just fabulous to me. I think you're onto something with the difference between the arid, dangerous desert and the soft luxury of the palaces. Yum!

Thanks for the wrap! It's great to hear you enjoyed 'The Desert King's Pregnant Bride'.


Michele L. said...

Hi Annie,

Those hot, dreamy heroes of your's in your books make me drool! Definitely love Arabian night heroes with their smokin', sultry looks, their romantic palaces, amidst the foreign landscapes. It sure makes for a sizzling romance!

I was a Dream of Jeannie fan too! Loved her costume! Her sister was a riot also! Such a fun show!

Have a great week!

Annie West said...

Michele, wow, I'm so enjoying this feedback on my books! (G). "Hot, dreamy heroes"? I take that as high praise indeed.

Wasn't Jeannie's costume terrific? Obviously she wasn't plagued by Easter chocolate that just had to be eaten. Ah, I'd forgotten all about her sister!


Annie West said...

Just wanted to mention that I'm about to go out for several hours for an appointment but will check in later and announce a winner for my book. Don't forget to check back later for details!


Michele L. said...

Ha,ha,ha! You are so right Annie! How did she keep that fantastic figure of hers? Obviously the Easter Bunnie did not visit her Gennie bottle, leaving chocolate easter eggs for her to eat!

I think it was her *poof*-ing her way out of trouble that kept her so slim! I loved the smoke trails she left behind!

Annie West said...

Michele, obviously no easter chocs in Jeannie-land! Either that or she worked very hard...


Annie West said...

Hi everyone,

I've just put contributers' names into a draw, from which my son randomly chose. The winner of a signed copy of one of my backlist titles is HOUSEMOUSE.


Housemouse, can you email me at and give me your postal address and tell me which book you'd like? You can find a list of them on my website:

THANK YOU everyone for coming and chatting. It's been fun catching up with other people who appreciate a good desert romance, or 'I Dream of Jeannie'! I'll look forward to seeing you again some time.


Cheri2628 said...

I just wanted to pop in and say that I have read THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE (thanks to you, Annie!), and I loved the story. It is on my "keeper" shelf.

Annie West said...

Ooh, Cherie, how fantastic to hear The Desert King's Pregnant Bride is on your keeper shelf. Yay! That's excellent news. So glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I'll head back to this new manuscript now with renewed vigour.


RachieG said...

Props for the "I Dream of Genie" picture! :D Fun post today too!