On The Side
Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for One Word, the 3rd book in my Hidden Places series from Dreamspinner Press.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter. Dreamspinner Press also have the ebooks for Cat’s Quill (book 1) and Magic’s Muse (book 2) on sale for 75% off on 6th November as part of their daily deals newsletter.
Although One Word is book 3 of the series, it’s a side story to book 1, Cat’s Quill, and takes place during the six weeks that Tomas and Cathal are in a world parallel to our own called Naearu. Donovan and Ethan will play a big part in the revolution that is coming to that world, so I wanted to tell their story first.
Writing a book that takes place before the events of books already written and published was a challenge. Ethan and Donovan couldn’t find out the truth about where Ethan’s missing friend, Tomas, is, but readers of the series already know. Continuity was essential so it didn’t negate what I’d already written so before I started One Word I went through the first two books—Cat’s Quill and Magic’s Muse—and wrote a long list of what I could and couldn’t refer to. I also needed to tread a thin line between having a story that both new readers of the series could follow, and existing readers would enjoy.
Then there was the problem of Tomas’s disappearance. That one couldn’t be answered or I’d have a huge continuity mess, and although it is what brings Ethan to Oakwood and drives that part of the plot, I needed to find another mystery to add suspense and help bring my characters together. Neither Donovan nor Ethan are looking for a relationship, and Ethan in particular tends to be a little…. literal…in places, so I figured introducing a dangerous situation which makes both of them realise what or rather who they really want, was the way to go.
One of the other perks of writing One Word was being able to revisit Oakwood, and let some of the minor characters in the first two books shine. I love reading and writing stories set in small villages, and although Dragon’s Price—the final book in the series—will start in our world, it will very quickly move into Naearu.
The story of Donovan’s and Ethan’s first meeting and their friendship which grows into more was the fun, easy part of write. I also enjoyed the opportunity to explore both men’s history and previous relationships. The first two books in the series are told from Cathal and Tomas’s perspective so I was limited in what they’d know. Although Ethan and Donovan are already a couple by Magic’s Muse, that book wasn’t the right place to tell their story and do it justice.
The first draft of One Word included a few scenes which I deleted before submitting as I was concerned they might bog down the story. However, when I received the first edit, the editor asked questions about what I’d taken out, and putting most of it back in solved the problem, and made for a smoother read.
In the finish I ended up with a book very close to the original with a few extra bits and pieces. There is one scene set in a library I am still very fond of, which sadly didn’t end up in the finish so I’ll be sharing that on another stop in the blog tour.
I also got around the time frame in which One Word is set, as opposed to it being the third book in the series, by having a prologue and epilogue that is set two years after Magic’s Muse, so the mystery of Tomas and Cathal is answered for new readers, with a glimpse of familiar characters for existing readers. Also… with Ethan and Donovan already an established couple, an important question needed to be asked. Readers will have to wait to read the epilogue for the answer, and in the meantime join both men as they remember how they first met, and nearly lost any chance for a relationship before it had truly begun.
Follow the rest of the tour HERE.
Title: One Word by Anne Barwell
Hidden Places Series Book Three
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 200 pages/Word Count: 64,365
A Hidden Places story
Ethan Leavitt arrives in the idyllic village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend. Having always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations, Ethan’s trust in concrete evidence and logic is tested by the mystery of Oakwood and Tomas’s disappearance.
Donovan Campbell’s happy, sometimes flippant, exterior hides a past he’d rather forget. As he struggles with his memories and to hold on to the inn he owns with his best friend, the last thing Donovan needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin. When a bank robbery escalates into a dangerous situation, Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist.
Ethan learns that often the person you’re looking for is not the one you find. But have he and Donovan both realized that too late…?
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“If you want to talk anytime, I don’t mind listening.” Donovan glanced at the screen, then back to Ethan. Everyone else in the room was focused on the movie, and he’d kept his voice low so they wouldn’t be overheard. “Not now of course, but later.”
“I’m fine,” Ethan repeated. He edged toward the other end of the sofa, away from Donovan. “Thanks, though,” he added quickly. He did appreciate the offer, but it wasn’t a good idea.
“Time for a break,” Heidi announced, grabbing the remote and hitting Pause. “Doug and Mikey, come help me make drinks and bring in supper.”
“I don’t—” Mikey started to stay.
Doug cut him off. “I don’t know about you, Mikey, but one of the first things I learned about Heidi is that she means she really needs help but doesn’t want to admit it.” He winked at Mikey. “I’m sure Indy wouldn’t leave a lady in need to fend for herself.”
“Well, if you put it that way, I suppose.” Mikey got to his feet and followed Heidi out of the room. “Heidi, do you think Dad would mind if I texted him to see how Granddad is?”
“I’m sure he wouldn’t,” Heidi replied. “I think it’s a great idea.”
“Nice psychology there, Doug,” Ethan said. He didn’t think for a moment that Heidi needed the help, considering how organized she was.
“About as subtle as Heidi,” Donovan murmured. “The two of you are a match made in heaven, I swear.”
“There’s nothing wrong with my hearing either,” Doug said, although he didn’t sound offended by Donovan’s comment. “I’m going to help out in the kitchen.” He collected the empty popcorn bowl. “We’ll be at least five minutes.”
“Yeah, real subtle,” Donovan said.
“Huh?” Ethan wasn’t sure what Donovan was on about. “I think it’s sweet that Doug likes helping Heidi in the kitchen. A lot of guys don’t, and one person in the relationship gets to do all the work.”
Another mark against Duncan.
Perhaps the long walk Ethan had taken that morning hadn’t been such a great idea. It had given him too much time to think, and reflection wasn’t something he did well, especially of late.
“Yeah, he looks after her. I’d be having words with him if he didn’t.” Donovan cleared his throat. “You seem real distracted this evening, Ethan. Did something happen?”
“I’m not distracted,” Ethan said. “I’m enjoying the movie.”
The last part of what he’d said was true, at least. It appeared there was something to the genre Tomas had spent years trying to get him to read and watch after all.
“Uh-huh.” Donovan put his hands behind his head and leaned back on the sofa, keeping his tone casual. “That’s what all the stuff about helping out in the kitchen was about. Doug and Heidi are both good at reading people. You’ve gotten more and more distracted and agitated over the past twenty minutes or so. I bet if I asked you what was happening in the movie before Heidi hit Pause, you wouldn’t be able to tell me.”
“I know exactly what’s going on,” Ethan said indignantly. “And weren’t you supposed to be watching the movie instead of me? Can you tell me what happened in the last five minutes?”
“I’ve seen it before. I can quote this movie in my sleep, so answering that question isn’t going to prove anything.”
“So you admit you were watching me?”
Donovan blushed bright red. For a moment, he seemed flustered as hell. “Umm… I mean…. You’re changing the focus of this conversation onto me.”
“So?” Ethan brushed imaginary crumbs from his jeans. He sighed. As much as he thought Donovan looked hot—
No, not going there.
“Look, I’m sorry,” Ethan tried again. “I appreciate your concern, but it’s not something I want to talk about. With anyone.” He attempted an olive branch, not because he wanted to, but because…. The last thing he wanted was to upset anyone, and especially not Donovan.
“Don’t worry, it’s not about Tomas. If I’d heard something, I would have told you, okay? I know you’re concerned about him too.”
“Okay.” Donovan raised his arms in mock surrender. “I won’t ask about your crap if you don’t ask about mine.”
“I was only being concerned last night,” Ethan protested. Surely Donovan wasn’t going to bring that up now, after pretending it hadn’t existed all day?
“That’s all I’m doing now,” Donovan said softly. “Deal?”
“Oh.” Ethan ignored the way his cheeks flamed. Donovan had neatly turned Ethan’s indignation back on himself. “Point taken.” He took a deep breath, knowing he didn’t have any option but to agree. “Deal.”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
Author Links: Website * Facebook * Facebook Group * Dreamspinner * DSP Publications * Email * Goodreads * Google+ * Instagram * Queeromance Ink Author Page: * New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:
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Follow the rest of the tour HERE.