Thursday, June 03, 2010

My First Continuity Story - Annie West

I've discovered a writer's life is full of firsts. The first exciting idea for a story. The first completed manuscript. The first rejection (so long ago I shouldn't be able to recall it but I can). The first contest placing/win. The first writers' group. First conference. First sale! First story in print. First editor. First time seeing your book in the store. First review. First reader mail!! First translation.

Now I've got another first to add to my collection: my first ever continuity story. You know the ones where a common thread weaves through several books, yet each book stands alone as an individual story?

Early last year my editor asked if I'd be interested in being part of a four part Presents continuity with a sheikh theme called DARK HEARTED DESERT MEN. How could I resist? I was particularly excited as it was a small series of books, following on from the Royal House of Karedes continuity. Being part of a small series appealed. Especially when I discovered my fellow continuity writers were some of my faves - Carol Marinelli, Trish Morey and Jennie Lucas. What fabulous company!

Soon I found myself immersed in a wealthy, exotic desert kingdom, with a challenging hero who was weary of the world and even of women, and who dreaded a reunion with his family in the country he'd left behind over a decade ago. But as soon as I began digging I found Tahir's cynicism was rooted in a painful past. Far from being simply a dissolute rake, this hero had perfected the art of hiding his weaknesses from the world and himself. Until he meets a special woman who threatens not only his comfort zone but his carefully constructed world. What happens after that - well you can find out more from SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD.

It's out this month in the UK and in July in North America, Australia and New Zealand. You can also read an excerpt on my website.

To celebrate this release I thought I'd offer a signed copy of my book to someone who leaves a comment. For a little challenge, how about seeing if you can write an interesting sentence or paragraph to hook a potential reader that includes one word from each title in the continuity? The words are: banished, king, forbidden and scandal.

Best of luck,


Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, I'm not surprised in the slightest that you were invited to take part in a sheik continuity series--you write such wonderful sheik heros. And to be working with those other wonderful writers must have added an interesting layer of creativity.
Tahir sounds like another sigh-worthy hero, I can't wait to read SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE CHILD!

Michelle Douglas said...

Hi Annie,

I can't wait to get my hands on Tahir's story -- I just can't resist your sheikhs.

Congratulations on your FIRST continuity, and may there be many more sheikhs in your future!

P.S. Don't put me in the draw, but... I can't resist word games either. So... Scandal: King Banished for entering Forbidden harem.

Ooh this could become a fun way to generate plot ideas!

Annie West said...

Oh, Kandy, that's sweet of you! I know you like my sheikh stories and I was just thinking recently that you'd probably enjoy Tahir. He's a strong character, very proud and driven but a wounded hero and, I think, definitely sigh-worthy.

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle. What a great idea! I'd never thought of that as a way to generate ideas for stories but I suspect you're right. Ooh, I love the idea of the hero who's banished for entering a forbidden harem! Makes my fingers itch to start writing. Of course there'd be a fascinating heroine in the harem... My mind's ticking over already!

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo Annie this is great news and I look forward to reading Scandal:His Majesty's Love-Child. I do love your heros.

The banished King fobidden because of scandal

I am not very good at these LOL

Have Fun

Annie West said...

Hi Helen, great to see you here. Ah, now that's an interesting sentence indeed. I'm thinking how apt it is for my hero Tahir. He was banished from a kingdom years ago because of a scandal. What a coincidence. I think you've done brilliantly. It's just meant as a little fun, anyway.

Hope you enjoy Tahir when you get to him.

Margaret M said...

Hi Annie,
Love the mystery of the sheikh, and you write them so well. Can't wait to read this new series. Here is my attempt at a hook. Her father’s scandalous affairs may be out there in the public arena but she wasn’t yet ready to face the reality about take place on the front porch of their Georgian style home.
Cheers, Margaret Midwood

Annie West said...

Hi Margaret. Thanks for the lovely compliment. I have to say I do enjoy writing my sheikh stories. They definitely have a different feel to the others. Ah, what an interesting hook based on 'scandal'. Now I'm intrigued, wondering what or who is waiting on their front porch!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Annie, congrats on this milestone! I'm with Kandy--your sheiks are just magnifique. I know I'll adore Tahir. I don't think he'd be impressed with my lame effort in this challenge, though. Helen and Michelle have already come up with brilliant replies. How about "A scandal over a forbidden affair with a banished romance writer puts a king out of his comfort zone"? (Groan! Sorry!)

Sharon Archer said...

Annie, I'm looking forward to meeting your sheikh! Not long to wait now and he'll be on a shelf DownUnder!

As for your four magic words... I've played and played because I just can't help myself! I'm thinking newspaper headlines which notoriously have rules all of their own!
"Forbidden Scandal Uncovered; King Banished!"


Annie West said...

Hi Vanessa, it's great to have another sheikh lover here.

Love the idea of a king having a forbidden affair with a romance writer! Yes please. Hm, I wonder if I know anyone I could use as a model for the romance writing heroine?

Annie West said...

Hi Sharon, yep, only a month till Tahir makes it to Australia and New Zealand. I'll have to sneak into the shops and see him there.

Hey, I like the headline idea. And the idea of a king being banished. I think Michelle was right - playing with these words seems like a great way to come up with some interesting story ideas. I think I'll have to jot down a few notes.

Denise said...

Hi Annie,

I can't wait to read Tahir's story!! You write such amazing sheikhs, and I'm sure your book is an incredible finish to a wonderful series!

I wasn't sure if we were supposed to be creating taglines for a hypothetical book, or for the Dark Hearted Desert Men series, so I have one for each! (Disclaimer - I'm a pretty terrible writer...)

For a hypothetical book: King Banished After Scandalous, Forbidden Love-Affair!

For the series: Dark Hearted Desert Men - Harlequin Present's newest series, rife with desert kings, scandalous affairs, banished lovers, and forbidden passion!

Julie said...

Yes, a great way to come up with plot ideas! here's my attempt:

The King's son exposes his father's scandal and is banished from the family, forbidden to ever return.

Virginia C said...

Hello, Annie! So nice to see your smiling face today : ) Congratulations on your "continuity story"!

Kadar, once a king, now banished and forbidden access to his home and family, vowed to clear his name of scandal and regain his heritage and his heart.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Silvia said...

Great scandal surrounded the king when he publicly indulged in forbidden fancies with the banished courtisan.

Trish Morey said...

Whew Annie! So glad I'm not the one judging your contest. Too hard.

But just like to take this opportunity to say how fabulous it was to work with you on the Dark-Hearted Desert Men miniseries!

I'm still waiting to read the entire series in one delicious gulp, but I know yours will be a treat indeed.

Can't wait!

runner10 said...

Can't wait for your book in July. I know it will be great.

The banished king was forbidden to see his family due to the scandal of the century.

Annie West said...

Hi Denise,

It's fabulous to hear you enjoy my sheikh stories. Goodness, I remember the days when I wasn't sure if I could write a sheikh hero and now I find I adore writing them (and others too - nothing like variety!).

Good on you coming up with not one but TWO hooks. I could see you writing back cover copy! I particularly enjoy the series one. You people are so much better at this than me.

Annie West said...

Hi Julie,

Now there's a great starting point for a story in one sentence. Good on you!

Annie West said...

Hi Virginia,

Thanks for the congratulations. Writing this continuity was a treat as it turned out as well as being a first for me.

What a terrific sentence. I do like the idea of Kadar needing to reclaim his heart.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Annie, I'm so excited that Tahir is hitting the stands. He's been my treasure alone for so long (hmm, and what's wrong with that? Need to rethink this!). He's just delicious and you know how I love a good tortured hero and Tahir is a GREAT tortured hero. Those opening scenes with their touches of James Bond? Luscious! Annalise is pretty special too! Congratulations on the release of this wonderful book!

And Trish, huge congratulations on making the USA Today bestseller list with FORBIDDEN: THE SHEIKH'S VIRGIN!

Annie West said...

Woohoo, Silvia! I want to read more about that story. I'm grinning at the idea of the forbidden fantasies with a banished courtesan.

Does anyone else have their mind ticking over at the wonderful possibilities in the sentences you're all contributing?

Annie West said...

Hi Trish, it's lovely to see you here. The feeling's mutual. It was a real treat being with you in the continuity. You had me in stitches of laughter as we worked out some of the timeline detail!

Congratulations on hitting the USA Today list with 'Forbidden: The Sheikh's Virgin'. I know it's going to be a huge treat to read.

Annie West said...

Hi Runner,

I'm glad the you like the sound of Tahir's story. Of course, for anyone who can't wait, it's available now from the eHarlequin site.

What an intriguing hook! I'm wondering what the scandal of the century could be - definitely something juicy.

Annie West said...

Anna it's lovely of you to pop in. Laughing at the idea of you keeping Tahir to yourself. I seem to remember you saying something similar in the past and me being ruthless about sending him out into the wide world.

Yes, I know you love a tortured hero. Poor Tahir. But you could say it's worth it in the end when he finally finds true contentment. Yes, I rather enjoy the James Bond touches at the beginning too.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Ms. Annie,

Banished! Scandal rears its tawdry head as the king finds himself part
of a forbidden relationship!

(I think my sentence would work
well as part of the blurb on
the back of the book! LOL)

Pat Cochran

Annie West said...

Hi Pat.

It's lovely to see you here. I like the way you start this with the single word exclamation. It does read like back cover copy!

Annie West said...

I realise it's getting late in the day so I've decided I'd better announce a winner.

Actually, it's been so terrific seeing all your contributions that I thought I might post two prizes - a copy of SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY'S LOVE-CHILD and a copy of my recent bestseller (what, me brag?) FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD. Thank you everyone who's provided a comment. I've so enjoyed playing this word game with you all.

So, here are the winners:
A copy of SCANDAL to Denise and
A copy of FORGOTTEN MISTRESS to Silvia.


If you contact me at with your postal address I'll send your prize out.

All the best,

Denise said...

Thank you so much, Annie!! I'll sent you an email right now! And congratulations on Forgotten Mistress, Secret Love-Child's success!! =)

Annie West said...

Hi Denise. Thanks for sharing your efforts with the romance hooks. I'm bundling up your book now.

Michele L. said...

Congrats to the two ladies! Enjoy!
I came here to late but enjoyed reading everyone's take on the word game.

Hi Annie,
Can't wait to read your book! It sounds fantastic! I have enjoyed every one of your books!