Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Joys of...Shopping - Annie West

I don't know about you but I often find shopping a chore. Supermarket shopping is a case in point. It seems to take far too long, especially when there's an essential ingredient shelved in a bizarre place. Too often I head to the shops intent on finding a particular item, or if I'm optimistic, a whole list of necessities, only to find that none are available/the right size/the right price.

I have friends who thrive on shopping. Who look forward to a day out at the shops as a real treat and who come back with a stack of bags loaded with goodies, impressive credit card bills, and the most amazing clothes or jewellery or shoes to show for their efforts.

I don't know how it is but I seem to have missed that shopping gene. Don't get me wrong - snaffling a great sale item or finding the perfect present for a loved one is a real thrill. If I have time I love window shopping, and yes, even to pastry shops. What gets me down are those times when I have to find the right thing and it eludes me. You know - for some reason you need a plain white shirt, or a pair of comfy shoes and no matter how you try, that's exactly what you CAN'T find. Every store has just sold out. Grr.

I've decided that the shopping I adore is the serendipity shopping - when you go out not expecting to succeed and out of the blue find the perfect item, or the dress you've been wanting for years, or something absolutely delightful that you can store for that special birthday gift you need to give in a month's time.

This post was inspired by two things. One was the fact that I went out today with plenty of time and no menfolk in tow, to do birthday shopping for my husband. Not only did I find the items I wanted (quickly!) I also made time to check some of the sales and unexpectedly found some comfy, good looking, uncrushable clothes for myself - perfect for an upcoming trip. And they included some long black trousers. I mean loong. Being tall I always have difficulty finding trousers long enough and these are so long I have to wear heels with them. I nearly swooned! A red letter shopping day.

The second impetus for this mail was that I was discussing my latest books with someone and realised both stories have an interesting twist on the shopping theme. In PRINCE OF SCANDAL Luisa is an unwilling princess, made over despite her wishes. She's given couture gowns and wonderful jewellery, which she rather enjoys, but what makes her happiest of all is when she gathers the courage to wear the clothes she likes best - casual but chic, flattering but not too formal. Then in RAFE'S REDEMPTION Antonia plays the role of mistress to a wealthy man, a man she doesn't at first like. When he demands she dress the part she takes delight in finding glamorous, provocative clothes that wipe the smile from his face when he realises the depth of his reaction to her. Shopping becomes a weapon in Antonia's fight for independence, and a bone of contention between them. The fact that she sources her designer gear in second hand shops rather than live up to Rafe's expectations that she's interested in his money, adds extra spice.

Do you enjoy shopping? Is it a chore or a pleasure? Have you ever had the perfect shopping experience, and if so, what were you buying? Personally I love browsing in book stores (surprise!) and have lots of fun too eyeing off shiny new cookware and stationery.

I'll give away a signed backlist book to one person chosen at random from those who comment. Or, if you have all of mine, a copy of another romance.

Talking of shopping, if you're interested in acquiring new books, look out for my latest releases, both Harlequin Presents titles are available now. RAFE'S REDEMPTION can be bought from the Harlequin website in paperback or ebook (it's not available in stores) and PRINCE OF SCANDAL is out whereever Harlequin titles are stocked. To read more details about either, including some excerpts and review quotes, just pop by my website.

All the best,


marybelle said...

I even enjoy grocery shopping. Window shopping & browsing rate high on my list of great ways to spend time too. I don't know about the PERFECT shopping experience, but looking at & buying beautiful homewares like china comes close.


Jo's Daughter said...

I don't like to go shopping alone, when I need a specific item I get overwhelmed. So I prefer to go with my sister, she's an expert shopper and knows what will work for me. Or how you can combine things for more than one outfit. I always listen to her advice.

Grocery shopping is never fun, you need to buy SO much and can you affort it all, is a new thing tasty or will you stick to the same type of food...

Funny is that when it comes to romances I always know what I want to get, and what books I'm leaving behind. But then I read things about them online and have already made up my mind. It's different with close and food.

Annie West said...

Hi Marybelle,

I'm impressed that you enjoy grocery shopping! Though I have to say shopping in a market for fresh produce can be fun.

I love looking at nice homewares. When David Jones (a large department store here) has its big sale I adore browsing.


Annie West said...

Jo's Daughter - it sounds as if you take your romance buying very seriously. I don't blame you!

Like you I prefer to look for clothes with someone else. Preferably another woman as men sometimes are tempted to say what they think you want to hear instead of answering truthfully. Or is that just here in my house?


Sonali said...

Oh my gosh...i absolutely love shopping...but not for groceries though - in my opinion thats not shopping its a My friends call me a shopaholic when it comes to buying shoes. I will buy something that appeals to me although i know that i will only wear it once.

When it comes to buying romance books i'm like a little kid let loose in a candy store. I don't know which one's to get because they all look so tempting.

Annie West said...

Hi Sonali,

I know that feeling of being like a kid in a candy shop when I'm let loose in a good bookshop. Bliss! I love being surrounded by books and my fingers itch to get my hands on them.

I'm glad I included a photo of shoe shopping since you're such a fan. I must admit I am too, though I don't indulge too often. My current faves are a pair of long blue suede boots that look good but are as comfy as wearing slippers. Now that was a good buy!

Fiona Lowe said...

Annie, I missed the shopping gene too, although last week when I took my mother shopping for an outfit for her 80th birthday, we both hit paydirt! I have the cutest top for the summer. Sadly, that is still a few months wear away!
Your new book sounds fab.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Annie,

I love browsing, well it is different than shopping! I don't feel like spending money on clothes I may or may not like later.

Congrats on the release of both your titles. They both sound awesome!

Annie West said...

Hi Fiona,

How terrific that you had a successful shopping trip for your mum's special day. Roll on summer too!

I hear you have an exciting new single title out soon. Can't wait to read it!

Annie West said...

Hi Nas,

Thanks very much for the congratulations. It's exciting to have not one but two books out at once.

I'm with you on the browsing being fun. No pressure to buy! No, that's my style!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Annie, I am putting my hand up and stating: "My name is Kandy Shepherd and I am a shopoholic."
Shopping for clothes, shoes, homewares,gadgets, books... I love it all. Bricks and mortar stores, on-line stores, markets count me in. In particular I love shopping sales, and outlet malls in hunt of a bargain. Even if I don't buy a single thing, I love the process.
We are the gatherers of the tribe--genetically programmed to relentlessly seek out things we need (or in today's case, don't need!) Seriously, I think there really may be a gene for it!
I hope you bought two pairs of those long, black pants. When you find something perfect like that, grab it in multiples!
Next on my shopping list? Your two new books!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Annie. I enjoy shopping especially for books, clothes and shoes. I am always thrilled when I find items I want on sale. :)

Laurie G said...

I dislike shopping. I get the deer in the head light look when I enter a store. I find it overwhelming. I get an instant headache. However, I do like book shopping.
This past week I went drapery shopping with my daughter. She recently bought her first house. We found living room drapes at Target. Master bedroom, office and another bedroom at Bed Bath and Beyond, nursery at Babies-R-Us, kitchen at Walmart. She has one more bedroom and the family room to finish. I was so happy to find nice e drapes that went well with the wall colors.

Your books sound wonderful!

johnslake at usa dot com

Laney4 said...

I would be happy to never go shopping again (but apparently we need food and occasional new clothes).
That being said, I DO enjoy getting a bargain on something, especially if it is reduced, reduced, and reduced and then I have a coupon to make it free!
But I'd rather be home.
Home is where my heart is.

Annie West said...

Ah, Kandy, I confess I'm in awe of your shopping skills. Seeing the wonderful clothes you wear at conferences and hearing about your forays into stores I never visit in search of great finds and amazing bargains, I'm always impressed and a little dizzy. The results are always so impressive.

I LOVE your idea of us being genetically programmed to search out the things we need. You know, I think that's right. Surely that's why it's so often the women who deal with all the birthday presents, clothes when children grow out of their old ones, clothes for husbands who'd rather run a mile than shop, etc, etc.

Thanks for popping by to comment!

Annie West said...


Aren't sales terrific? My fave is when I just decide to have a quick peek and then discover something reduced that I've been looking for for ages.

Annie West said...

Hi Laurie,

It's different shopping for something you really enjoy, like books, isn't it? There are some wonderful book stores in Sydney I like to visit if I'm in town and I can usually happily fill out a few hours there without even noticing time drifting by.

Hey, great going with the drapery shopping. Your daughter must be so excited with her first house. I still remember the first set of curtains we bought for our first house. The rest of the house had sheets on the windows and hand be down curtains for some time.

Annie West said...

Hi Laney, it sounds like online shopping is definitely for you!

Thanks for popping by.

Leni said...

I prefer making lists and researching for bargains over the actual shopping experience. If I could find everything at one store and have the correct price be on the items it might be another story. I don't like having to try clothes on, but I take my time because that will save me a trip to return something that doesn't fit properly.

Annie West said...

Hi Leni,

Oh, bliss! Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could get all you wanted in one place?

As for trying clothes on - definitely - each brand seems to cut to different sizings.

Annie West said...

It's getting late here so I think it's time to draw a winner.

So, from my random draw I'm pleased to say the winner of my backlist book is JO'S DAUGHTER. CONGRATULATIONS!

If you email me at with your postal address, and tell my which of my backlist books you'd like, I'll pop it in the post to you.

Thanks, everyone, for chatting. I've had a lovely day here!