We’re so pleased to have author Anne Barwell joining us today to celebrate the release of her newest book from Dreamspinner Press, One Word, book three in the Hidden Places series. Anne has a lovely guest post and an excerpt from the book to share, as well as the chance to win a $10 Dreamspinner Press store credit, so be sure to enter below.
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.
Finding blog post topics when writing heaps of posts for a blog tour can be a challenge. A friend suggested I flip through the book, see where it opens, choose a paragraph or two from that page, and blog about it. I did that years ago with a story, and wrote it like a DVD commentary so here goes.
As the hardcopies of One Word are still somewhere between the U.S. and New Zealand, I opened my galley, took the page count, and popped it and #1 into a random number generator to find my couple of paragraphs.
Most of this scene sets up for the next one which is the inn’s weekly movie night, and it also provides continuity to the previous books in the series—Cat’s Quill and Magic’s Muse.
Heidi poked her head around the kitchen door, phone still in her hand. “We have an extra tonight. Edward’s father-in-law has pneumonia so he’s sitting with him at the nursing home this evening. He’s asked if we can watch Mikey.”
“Sure, no problem.” Donovan frowned. “I hope Wynne’s going to be okay. Does Edward want me to pick up Mikey to save him coming out here?”
Mikey is the great-grandson of Cathal’s cousin, Christian, which, much to Tomas’s annoyance, makes them cousins. Mikey’s family used to own Crossroads before it became an inn, and now his father runs the local post office. Wynne having a bad bout of pneumonia is mentioned in Magic’s Muse, so this ties into that continuity, and further places the time period in which this takes place. Mikey insisted he wanted to play a part in Ethan and Donovan’s story too. Like them he plays a decent sized role in the final book in the series which is set three years after this scene, so he’ll be eighteen then.
“I’ve already offered, but if you’re going into town…?” Heidi put the phone back to her ear when Donovan nodded. “Yes, that’s fine. Donovan will pick Mikey up later. One of us will text him to let him know when Donovan’s on his way. We’ll keep Wynne in our thoughts, and don’t worry about Mikey. He’s welcome to stay here as long as you need him to.” She hung up and returned the phone to its cradle. “Thanks, Donovan. I’m going outside to meet Sally’s kids and say hello to Chester.”
Sally is a neighbour who is mentioned in passing in Magic’s Muse, and like most of the villagers has a slightly bigger role to play in this story, although she’s only seen ‘on screen’ a couple of times.
“Do you know Wynne very well?” Ethan asked. He’d hoped to visit Wynne Edmonds at some point, although Donovan had told him the old man didn’t know where Cathal was.
“No, but the sketches I showed you were his. That’s how we found out In Hidden Places was based on his mom’s journals. We hadn’t made the connection until after Cat disappeared.”
The book, In Hidden Places, is where the series gets its name. That and the fact that Cathal comes from a world that exists parallel to ours. Wynne shows Tomas sketches of Christian and Cathal after Cathal goes missing. The artist is Wynne’s mother, Alice, and they’re dated 1918.
“That book isn’t a true story.”
Of course it’s not, but there are some elements of truth in it, depending on whether you believe in dragons. Or not.
About the Book
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…?
“I’m so sorry, Jane,” Ethan said, “and I apologize for my insensitivity earlier. It was completely out of line.”
She managed a shaky smile. “Thank you for being understanding. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I guess it’s a good thing that I have the day off, isn’t it?”
“I’m sorry for kicking you,” Donovan said after she’d left.
“I can be an insensitive jerk at times. Lord knows, I’ve been told that often enough.”
“Not always. You’ve got a kind side to you too.”
Ethan’s concern for Jane had been real enough, as was his mortification that he’d been rude once he’d seen that she was upset.
“You say that like it’s a good thing.” Ethan retrieved his napkin from the side of his plate and wiped his mouth. “Sometimes it’s not, you know. People take advantage. Not that I’m saying she is, but….” He sighed. “Just forget it, okay.”
“Okay.” Donovan wondered who had hurt Ethan and recently. He’d seen enough to connect the dots. “Lots of assholes in this world, unfortunately.”
“And some decent people too. Oakwood’s been good for reminding me of that.”
“Are you sure you’re okay to come to London with me tomorrow?” Donovan couldn’t help but think that something in their conversation had triggered Ethan’s reaction. He’d said Mitchell and Vincent were good friends. Perhaps it was this acquaintance he’d mentioned? The one who had introduced him to them.
“I’m looking forward to it.” Ethan glanced at Donovan’s empty plate. “Have you had enough lunch?”
“Yes, thanks. I was hungrier than I realized.” Donovan finished the last of his beer.
“I went to see the owner of the Chronicle the other day, but he was too busy to talk and suggested we meet briefly today instead. I’m hoping, as he’s been working at the newspaper a while, he can tell me some old stories about Oakwood that didn’t end up in print. You’re welcome to come if you’d like.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I need to do some work at the inn this afternoon. We had to replace some weatherboards a few months ago, and I need to get them painted before winter.” Donovan wished he could have said yes, but Heidi was stressing about it. If he didn’t get onto it soon, she’d be out there doing it herself, and she did enough already. Part of their agreement in taking on the inn was that they split the workload between them, and Donovan made sure he pulled his weight. “You’re okay to find your own way back?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine. Thanks for asking.” Ethan pushed back his chair and walked over to the counter to pay for their meal. “I’ll see you later, at the inn.”
“Okay. Sounds good.” Donovan didn’t follow him immediately but instead stayed at the table watching Ethan at the counter. His hair curled up slightly at the back, his jacket falling to mid-ass, not quite covering it. He had a very nice ass.
Bet he kisses well too.
Oh fuck. Donovan closed his eyes for a moment. Where the hell had that thought come from? He was falling for the guy, wasn’t he—falling for a guy who wasn’t interested and would be walking out of his life in a couple of days.
Donovan heard footsteps walking away. He opened his eyes just in time to see Ethan disappear out the door. It was time to leave and bury himself in the work he needed to get done. He stood and headed for the door, giving Eoin and his friends a wave as he passed their table.
He hadn’t missed the money the three men had given Craig or the grins they all wore.
Donovan groaned. Great, that was all he needed. The pub door slammed as he stalked through it. Yep, they were running another betting pool all right.
It wasn’t his fault they were wasting their time. They’d find that out soon enough for themselves.
About the Author
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.
Follow the Tour
November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
November 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy
November 6 – Top to Bottom Reviews
November 6 – Two Men Are Better Than One
November 6 – Gay Book Promotions
November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
November 8 – Happily Ever After Chapter
November 9 – Love Bytes Reviews
November 10 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
November 10 – Nic Starr
November 13 – The Novel Approach Reviews
November 14 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 15 – Aisling Mancy