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Annie West, Defying Her Desert Duty and Giveaway!

We have Australian author Annie West and she came with a question and a giveaway! So over to Annie now....
Judging a Book by its Cover (or Title)!

We all know the adage about not judging a book by its cover, don't we? Well, I feel I should widen that to include titles.

It's not that my current title 'Defying Her Desert Duty' doesn't fit the book. It does. My heroine is desperate not to return home where she'll have to marry the man she's been promised to for years. Not because he's evil or ugly but because she's experienced a taste of freedom after her cloistered early years and has begun to dream of making her own future, following the career she loves. Doing her duty takes her into the desert, so that's right too.



Plus, as you'd expect with a title like that, there's a sheikh hero. An enigmatic man with a propensity to take charge if she'd let him, and with an untamed toughness that reminds Soraya of desert warriors. But this hero is at home, not only in the desert, but undertaking diplomatic negotiations in a custom-made suit and, (possibly my favourite) in motorcycle leathers.

The book is about Soraya defying her duty, even as she attempts to go along with it. Her problem? Well, it starts with the instantaneous sizzle of connection when Soraya and Zahir meet. One look is all it takes to charge the atmosphere between them. Matters grow worse when Soraya discovers he's the man sent to take her home to her arranged marriage. For Zahir, nothing could be worse than the news he has to take time out of his schedule to act as minder to the one woman who can tempt him to forget about honour. This is a story about forbidden love and the clash between duty and passion.

And the title? It fits the book admirably, except for one thing. Readers may expect it to be a desert romance, and it certainly ends that way. But much of the book takes place in France where Soraya has been studying. In fact Soraya and Zahir meet in cosmopolitan Paris, one of my favourite cities. From there they wend their way through rural France and the north of the Mediterranean before flying home.

So if you fancy a sheikh romance,with a touch of French panache thrown in, 'Defying Her Desert Duty' may be just the book for you. Here's the back cover copy:

Chained by silk and jewels

Across the bustling nightclub bodyguard Zahir El Hashem watches his latest charge swaying temptingly on the dance floor, his pulse quickening. Returning the Princess to her bridegroom might not be such a simple operation after all...

Soarya Karim has always known one day she must resume her royal obligations - just not so soon! Clinging to the shreds of her freedom, Soraya insists they take the long way back to Bakhara - and their attraction reaches a dangerous fever pitch...

Once they reach the gates of the palace such a liaison will be utterly forbidden. From then duty must reign...

Have you ever picked up a book (or bought anything else) and been surprised by the contents?

Annie is offering a signed copy of 'Defying Her Desert Duty' to someone who leaves a comment here.

59 comments:

  1. Yes I once bought a book by a author that I had never read as her titles did not really sound that nice and I heard or rather read some pretty aweful reviews about her books but this day the cover just looked incredible and I was totally surprises and today I am hooked on her work!

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    1. Desere, how wonderful! Isn't it strange the way we do judge the contents of a book by all sorts of external things. I'm glad you found the books so good despite the awful reviews.

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    2. Welcome to Romance Reader, Annie!

      Hi Desere, thanks for commenting!

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    3. Nas, it's lovely to be here. Thanks so much for the invitation!

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  2. I read a famous romance author's book and wrote down, "Boring; didn't like it much, but maybe I'll like her other books better". Read the same book a second time (Lord knows why) and actually enjoyed it. Go figure!
    Tried a second book. Definitely didn't like it. Was slow in several parts and I didn't like the hero's attitude throughout.
    Tried a third book. Wrote down, "Okaaaaay." Not a glowing reference.
    Doubt I try a fourth book, but it just makes me wonder when she is really famous and has dozens and dozens of books published. Lots of people must like her writing!

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    1. Laney, I suppose it's that adage about 'to each her own'. Interesting though about liking the book better a second time. I remember for years attempting to read a book I'd heard rave reviews about. Each time I only got a few pages in then gave up. One year though I picked it up and barely put it down. I just zoomed through. Maybe it was just the right time for me. I'm sure there are times when certain stories resonate with us more. Good on you for being so persistent, Laney. I usually only try two books by an author and if I'm still not enjoying the writing then I turn to something else.

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    2. Hi Laney!

      Thanks for reading along. All the best in the giveaway!

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  3. Yes, both good and bad surprises by authors I like and those who are new to me. I love the good surprises!

    Waving to Nas :)

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    1. Carol - I'm with you - I love the good surprises. There have been a few of those lately for me. Not books I expected not to like but books I wouldn't normally have picked up and then discovered wonderful writing.

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    2. Hi Carol!

      Waving right back at you!

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  4. I picked up a book by an author I only knew for romance novels. It turned out to be a paranormal. I did enjoy the book though.

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    1. Hello Chey!

      Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Oh, Chey, that's quite a change. How terrific that you enjoyed the different genre too. I wonder if many of their readers cross genres when an author they know tries something new.

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  6. Hi Annie, just writing to say I cant WAIT to read this :) Have a great rest of week.

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    1. Hi Tash!

      I hope you get to read this. Its a beautiful story.

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  7. Tash - you make me smile. I'm so glad you're excited. Not long now. It should be in stores next week.

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    1. Annie, you probably should know this, Tash is one of my reviewers and she does great job with catagorary romance!

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    2. Nas, no, I didn't know Tash reviewed for you. Small world, Tash!

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  8. Annie, what an interesting take on your book. I loved the road trip element of this one with them wending their way through France and fighting their increasingly powerful passion with every mile. Yum! Perhaps given French food and how lovely it is, they should have called it Defying her DESSERT Duty! ;-) Although having said that, it's pretty delicious anyway! Congratulations on your new release!

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    1. Ha! I've already had someone inadvertently refer to her Dessert Duty, Anna, and I thought that would really be a luscious story!

      Glad you liked the setting of this one. I have to say I had a marvellous time recreating a number of places I'd been for that one - which definitely brought the scenes alive for me.

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    2. Hi Anna! Welcome to Romance Reader!

      I also loved the setting of this book! Wish I could go and visit Paris and take the trip this two took!

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  9. Sometimes a bad review can make me curious. I just read a Susan Stephens that had a heap of bad reviews but I really enjoyed it. I also picked up a self-published first effort by someone I never heard of and loved it too. A good day.

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    1. Hi Princess Fiona. How great you've had to enjoyable books in a row, despite the reviews. It's a bit of a gamble trying someone new isn't it? So glad it worked out. I love putting down a book with a satisfied smile and wishing there was more.

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    2. Hi Fiona,

      Reviews I guess are subjective. If a person loves the genre, review would be good. But if a reader hates romance and reads mysteries only..... they'll feel let down by all the love!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your latest story Annie and how ingenious to set a desert romance in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world, or so I hear!

    I love your stories and can't wait to read this one and put it on my Annie West shelf with the rest of the keepers!

    Cheers,
    Margaret

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    1. Margaret - I love your confidence in me - thanks so much. I hope this one makes it to your keeper shelf too.

      Well, I didn't set out to write a desert romance in Paris. But the story depended on Soraya being in a city a long way from home, so that when they travel by road it takes some time. Paris seemed ideal. As it's about the tension between duty and love I needed time to develop that along the way.

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    2. Hi Margaret!

      You'll love DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY and it will grace your keeper shelf!

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  11. Sounds like a great story! I love those characters who sizzle with chemistry! :)

    there are some titles I'm not sure about until I read the book and then I realize it works perfectly!

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    1. Jemi, I'm glad the story appeals. It was wonderful to work with all that simmering intensity - it really made the story spark.

      Interesting point about titles working when you finish the book. I should check that more often.

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    2. Hi Jemi! Thanks for coming by!

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  12. Sounds very romantic! And yes, I have picked up something based solely on the cover art and been very disappointed. I've learned!

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    1. Shelly, it's hard when a cover really appeals, isn't it? Personally I make my buy decisions based more on the back cover copy and friend's recommendations, or whether I know the author. But a great cover can make me pick up a book to investigate.

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    2. Oh Shelley,

      You should see my impulse bought items -not all books - based on cover art!

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    3. How fascinating, Nas. I hope some of those impulse buys were gems.

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  13. This book sounds awesome. What is the heat level?

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    1. Beth, I'm so glad you like the sound of it. The book is published in Aust/NZ as 'Sexy' which is the equivalent of the North American 'Presents' and the UK 'Modern'. Hope that helps.

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    2. Hi Beth!

      Its sensual without being erotic as romance and duty -emotional conflict is main focus!

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  14. Wow sounds so interesting!! I wonder how fun it was researching for this : )

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    1. Hi Clara!

      Thanks for coming along to read the post!

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  15. Clara, it was definitely fantastic researching for this story. Often I use places I haven't been to for a while as settings but in this case I was researching specifically during a trip to France. I can say it was wonderful!

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  16. After covers, titles are the next thing to gain my interest. Love this post. Now to put more thought into my titles.

    Sounds like a great story, Annie. :D

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    1. Thanks Stina, for reading along and for your comment, I agree titles should be catchy!

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  17. Hi Stina,

    I suppose one of the difficulties is that we don't always get to choose our titles. I'm never sure if that's a good thing or not.

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  18. I once saw on the cover of Cosmo that there was an article called 'Heavy Petting' inside. When I got to the article, it was all about how to take of your cat or dog. Apparently a lot of readers didn't like the misleading title and complained, I read in a later issue. I actually thought it was quite a clever title for an article. It was certainly a good hook.

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    1. Maria, that IS a clever title and such a good hook, but misleading. I suppose if you bought it expecting one thing and got something different, it would be a disappointment. I like to have some inkling of what I'm getting before I buy, unless I grab a book on impulse or on a recommendation.

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  19. Maria, now that would be a surprise. I suppose if you bought the magazine expecting one thing and got something completely different it could be a disappointment. I'm with you though - it was definitely a clever hook.

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  20. well....i think i've never read your book. but i see them in the public library...but i'll try to read one of your book...to see if i like it... i like the tittle...make me curious to read it...
    it's nice to chat with you Annie and Nas.

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  21. Hi Rizki,

    I get a real thrill walking into a library and seeing some of my books on the shelves. Especially the ones that look rather worn from use! I hope you enjoy whichever of my books you pick up. Thanks for dropping by to comment.

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  22. I've definitely been surprised by the content of books. Usually it's a pleasant surprise--even if it's not something I'd normally pick up, there's always the fun of exploring a different genre. :)

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  23. Hi Golden Eagle,

    How great that most of your surprises are good ones. I have to admit I've picked up a few books lately, a little outside my usual reading, and had a ball - really intriguing reads. I suspect it's a good thing to widen our reading from time to time even if we come back to favourites again.

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  24. I've been surprised. Sometimes it's because of a twist in the story or I was mistaken about the genre.

    This sounds like a great story that sizzles.

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    1. Hi Medeia, I'm glad you like the sound of Soraya's story. There's definitely sizzle.

      Oh, I love a twist in a story - it keeps me interested and it's great when the plot isn't too predictable.

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  25. I usually don't pick up a book based on just the title, although a title and cover can intrigue me to read more about it. Now if the book doesn't sound like the book description, then that might be a bit of a let down (unless it's a fabulous book).

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    1. Cherie, I'm like you - I don't buy just on title. From my own experience I've seen how titles can change. Isn't it annoying when the book description leads you to think it's a particular sort of story and it's not like that? I don't want to know it all in advance, but generally I like the description to give me some inkling of what it will be like.

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  26. All that and Paris, too? Hmm, I'd like to hear more about these motorcycle leathers...

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  27. Hi Deniz - yes, indeed. I had a lovely time picturing him tall, dark and brooding in leather after a long ride into Paris. But most of the book he's in other clothes - or less.

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  28. Just popping in again to say thank you, Nas, and thanks everyone else who stopped by for a chat. I've drawn a winner to receive a copy of DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY and it's Shelly. CONGRATULATIONS, SHELLY! If you email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)come with your postal address I'll pop the book in the mail to you.

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  29. Argh. Shelly, that email address is annie(at)annie-west(dot)com

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