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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Preventing a Disaster...with Anna Campbell and Giveaway


ANNA CAMPBELL has written ten multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins. She has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Write Touch, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Her books have three times been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.

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Preventing a disaster on Christmas Eve with Anna Campbell

Hi Dani! Hi Ramblings Readers! I always look forward to Dani’s Christmas event where she gets a stack of authors to write a seasonal piece based on a suggested theme. This year, my theme was “preventing a disaster on Christmas Eve.” Now, given the potential for disaster on such an important night of the year, that leaves me lots of leeway, but I thought I’d go for a dramatic moment where the promised disaster was dire indeed. I hope you enjoy my short scene!

***

The Black Bull, Medford, Oxfordshire
Christmas Eve, 1822

Kate Hensley drew her hood closer around her face and slipped into the inn’s taproom from the snowy yard. If anyone recognized her, it would be disastrous, and on such a freezing night, the Black Bull was jammed to the rafters with villagers celebrating the joys of the season. Greenery decorated every available flat surface and goodwill to all men was in beery evidence.

Luck was with her. She managed to reach the corridor leading through to the kitchens and the back staircase without anyone noticing. To the drunken serenade of Christmas carols, she scuttled up to the first landing, then paused to catch her breath and rub her arms to restore circulation. She was cold with nerves, not just the weather. Automatically, her shaking hand slid into her pocket and her fingers curled around the deadly little instrument hidden there.

Carefully she climbed the second flight of stairs to the floor where the inn’s best rooms were located. She’d never been up here before, even though she’d lived in Medford all her life. Respectable young women from good families didn’t make assignations with men in public houses.

Her lips tightened as she acknowledged that in this case, respectable young women had mothers who unfortunately made just such assignations. It was to prevent an assignation that she risked her neck tonight.

But she couldn’t allow her reckless, selfish mother to wreck her father’s last Christmas. His health had steadily declined all year, and the idea that her mother could even now be planning to flit off with a new lover made Kate want to vomit.

When she’d discovered the unopened letter from Lord Paxham on her mother’s pretty little escritoire, Kate hadn’t hesitated to read then steal it. Lady Hensley had made her family’s life a misery for years—but she wouldn’t spoil this Christmas with a rendezvous with a scoundrel. Not if Kate had anything to say about it. She’d send the notorious Lord Paxham back to the London fleshpots with a flea in his ear, and her mother need never be the wiser about the invitation from a rake.

That was until Kate reached the top of the steps. She paused on a sigh of dismay. A short hallway extended before her—with no numbers on the doors. The purloined letter indicated Lord Paxham waited in room 3. But which door was that?

She bolstered faltering courage. She’d come too far to go back now. And none of the reasons that had brought her here had changed. She’d just have to trust to luck. Surely fortune favored the brave—and the righteous. She knocked softly on the third door along and was rewarded with a soft masculine “come in.”

She prayed she’d found Lord Paxham. Bracing her shoulders, she pushed open the door and stepped into a luxurious candlelit chamber containing one tall, dark-haired gentleman in breeches and shirtsleeves, sitting writing at a desk. He turned and glanced up as she slipped inside and shut and locked the door after her. She didn’t want any interruptions—or witnesses.

“Good evening,” he said calmly, although she caught the puzzled light in his dark eyes. He was a handsome devil. But then her mother’s lovers always were.

With a dramatic gesture, Kate flung back the hood of her thick black cloak. If she betrayed any hint of quite how frightened she was, she’d lose all advantage. “My lord, you must return to London this very minute.”

Very slowly, as if afraid the slightest unexpected movement might spook her, he stood and faced her. “Well, that’s an intriguing introduction. Am I permitted to ask why?”
“Lady Hensley won’t be meeting you.”

“Well, that’s a pity.” He didn’t sound too disappointed. But then she knew her mother had a regrettable habit of pursuing careless rogues. “But at least you’re here. We’ll have to make do.”

Her eyes narrowed on him, even as fear trickled down her backbone, colder than the snow outside. “I’m merely her messenger. It would be best for you if you left.”

He propped his hips against the desk with a casual air and folded his arms across his powerful chest. “Would it indeed?”

“Yes, there’s nothing for you in Medford.”

He subjected her to a long slow inspection, from the tip of her ruffled dark head to her sensible half-boots, and everything in between. “Oh, I wouldn’t say that.”

Dear God, no. She’d prepared herself for disappointment or anger, not to mention resistance. She hadn’t prepared herself to attract a rake’s interest.

It seemed despite her mother’s shenanigans, Kate still retained some innocence. And how she cursed it.

Still, she wasn’t without options. She drew out the deadly little pistol with its pretty mother of pearl handle. Keeping her hand steady, she aimed it at the tall, lean, spectacular man regarding her with such unwavering concentration. “I believe you’re about to change your mind about that.”

To her surprise, he smiled in wry appreciation. Although she couldn’t quite imagine him cowering under her weapon either. “Very resourceful, Miss…Hensley, I presume.”

“You presume too much,” she forced out through stiff lips. “I’m hoping you now see the wisdom of leaving Medford.”

He flattened his hands on the desk behind him and leaned back, the picture of ease. “Or what? You’ll shoot me? In an inn full of people on Christmas Eve? That seems a remarkably silly start to the season.”

“Worth it,” she said, even as she wondered what she’d do if he called her bluff.

“Really?”

“Yes, really,” she said. “The question, Lord Paxham, is whether you think a quick tumble with my mother is worth injury or death.”

“No, that’s not the question, my adventurous beauty.” That long, expressive mouth curled into another smile, this one faintly derisive. “The question is why the devil any clever woman would mistake me for that blackguard Paxham.”




Pursued by the pirate…

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…

Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.

A Christmas marked by mayhem.

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords |

 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 5 Kindle copies of A Pirate for Christmas

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Anna.
  • Please leave your email address along with your comment.

**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Anna Campbell for sponsoring this giveaway.

76 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I loved it. I knew I would. I've been reading and loving your books for awhile now. I'd love to read A Pirate For Christmas. Can't imagine a better way to usher in the Holiday then with a Pirate. :) Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks, Carol! I always have fun with these scenes of Dani's. And thanks for saying you've enjoyed the books - as you say, what better way to welcome Christmas than with a pirate? Good luck.

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  3. I loved it. I knew I would. I've been reading and loving your books for awhile now. I'd love to read A Pirate For Christmas. Can't imagine a better way to usher in the Holiday then with a Pirate. :) Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  4. I love it as I knew I would. :) Love your books as well Anna. I'd love to read A Pirat For Christmas. Thank you for the short story and the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  5. Dying to know what happens next! dfosterbooks@yahoo.com

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  6. I can't believe you left us hanging! Who is he? Thanks!
    suegaluska@yahoo.com

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  7. Love your stories and love the festive cover!
    Thanks and Merry Christmas!
    bossu49 at aol dot com

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    1. Thanks so much, Eva! Isn't that red great?

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  8. Oh, what a great teaser!
    Ekaf2022 (AT) gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, MK. Now I've got an urge to write the rest to find out what happens!

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  9. This truly does sound like a Christmas full of mayhem! Love the "rascally donkey"! meredithfl at gmail dot com

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    1. Meredith, the donkey was great fun to write!

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  10. there was never any doubt on my part but I love it even more and can't wait after reading that...

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    1. good too know hope it goes somewhere good... btw.. forgot to put email. moosehog83@gmail.com

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  11. Diana, actually that scene isn't anything to do with my pirate - it's something new I wrote to Dani's suggestion. I'm interested myself to see where it might go from there! Thanks for saying you enjoyed it.

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  12. Can't think of anything better than a handsome and misunderstood pirate for Christmas! 😉 Lvsgund at gmail.com

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  13. Thanks for the chance! I love the cover!

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  14. Silly me, I forgot to add my email...
    angela.guilherme AT gmail DOT com

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  15. I really enjoyed the excerpt. How terrible to grow up with such a selfish mother. It must be difficult for a Naval Captain to leave the sea, but I sure the heroine Bess will make it worthwhile.
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Jess, sorry for the confusion - that's NOT an excerpt. That's a new scene written at Dani's request for the blog. If you'd like to read an excerpt from pirate, you'll find one here: http://annacampbell.com/books-2/novellas/pirate-christmas/

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  16. I love that piece of snippet love me some pirates
    Happy holidays
    natasha_angel2009@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Natasha! Happy Holidays to you too.

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  17. Happy Holidays! Enjoyed your short and would love to read this book. Thanks.
    sheryll1974@netscape.net

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    1. Thanks, Sheryl. Glad you enjoyed the little teaser. Good luck.

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  18. Awww geesh, Anna did you have to leave it there? I'm dying to know what happens next! Will you let us know through your newsletter? PLEASE!!

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    1. I forgot email too... glendamartillotti@gmail.com

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    2. Glenda, I felt the same when I finished it - I really want to know what's going to happen next. Ya never know, this could end up being a story somewhere! Thanks for saying you enjoyed it.

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  19. Pirate & Christmas - it's all good. Stunning cover.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thanks so much, Mary. It's one of my fave covers - and I've had some beauties over the years.

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  20. I really enjoyed it. Can't wait to read A Pirate for Christmas.

    joylynne66(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  21. ooopsy ;) sometimes the wrong room could be the right room ;)
    gamistress66 - at - aol - dot = com

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    1. Gamistress, I think fate is definitely taking a hand in our Kate's future! Happy Holidays!

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  22. I liked your short story, Anna. Do you have any plans to expand it for publication? :)

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Marcy, when I started it, it was just a bit of fun, but I think it's got potential! Thanks for asking and for swinging by. Happy Holidays!

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  23. This would be a lovely mas prezzie!

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  24. Thanks, Linda. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  25. The book sounds like a really fun read. I'll definitely have to check it out. I look forward to all of these bonus scenes and snippets, so thanks so much for writing one.
    Jen@delux.com

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    1. Thanks, Jen. Just to clear things up - this scene isn't related to Pirate although it might end up being the seed of a Christmas novella another time.

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  26. Thanks for the scene. it was very good. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Forget the email: penfield716(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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    2. Thanks so much, Kim! Happy Holidays!

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  27. Just off overnight to catch up with some friends and I won't have internet access. I'll get back to respond to any comments when I get back tomorrow. Thanks so much for the great reaction to my piece, everyone.

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  28. that was fun

    dholcomb1 (at) aol (dot) com

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  29. Thanks for that short. Really want to know what happens next. Hopefully you'll continue it somewhere. I can't wait to read some of your books. You are a new author to me. Happy Holidays and thanks for the giveaway.

    iluvthebeach13(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for swinging by, Joanne! Lovely to meet you. Yes, I'm kind of intrigued myself to find out where this goes - this guy is obviously MUCH nicer than the dreadful Lord Paxham!

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  30. that was nice

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  31. Hi Anna,

    I wanted to ask: do authors plan in advance the length of a book? or is it something that changes as the book progresses?

    idebjames@gmail.com

    idebjames(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Deb, that's an interesting question. With books through traditional publishers, you're usually contracted for a word length - usually 90k to 100k for a full length book. For self-published ebooks, it's much more elastic. Most of my novellas have come out around the 40k mark.

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  32. I loved the short story!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  33. Hi Natasha! Thanks so much for saying you enjoyed the story! I want to know what happens now so I think I'll have to write the rest. Happy Holidays to you too.

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  34. I loved the story and I'm looking forward to reading A Pirate for Christmas. :D
    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  35. Thanks, Barbara. So glad you enjoyed it! Happy Holidays!

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  36. Happy Holidays Anna and I just have to say .... What, wait , where is the rest ? You just can't leave it there! So many questions and I must know what happens.

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  37. Crud, I was so caught up in wanting the rest of that story I forgot to say don't enter me in the drawing , I already have A Pirate For Christmas on my kindle.

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  38. Crystal, that was the perfect reaction! Thank you. Although I really think I need to write the rest, don't you? And thanks for picking up my pirate - Happy Holidays!

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    1. So sorry, I don't check this email enough lol! And yes , yes, yes please you must write the rest!! I want to know who the mysterious man is and what he is up to * desperate look here :)

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    2. Ha ha, desperate becomes you! I'll see what I can do!

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. I love all your books and this on sounds great.
    mybeach52 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thanks, Michele! That's lovely to hear. Happy Holidays! x

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  41. I love how, in trying to prevent a disaster, she precipitates another potential one!

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    1. jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

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    2. Janie, that was very much how I pictured it - of course, the disaster will end up being wonderful in the end, but that's the beauty of a romance story, isn't it? Happy Holidays!

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  42. Thank you for a chance to win, I have not read any of your books yet and hope to soon! Merry Christmas! cherylslife67(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Merry Christmas, Cheryl! And thank you for playing!

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  43. As someone who has never read your books, I'd like to know which is your favorite.

    bookaholicholly at gmail dot com

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    1. Wow, Holly, what a great question. Hard to give a definitive answer. One of my favorites is definitely Midnight's Wild Passion - I absolutely loved the characters in that one and it came closest in the finished product to what I had in my mind when I started (they often don't!). Of more recent books, I have a very soft spot for A Scoundrel by Moonlight. Those two had a really hard row to hoe before they got to their happy ending.

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  44. Thanks, guys. A great response. And thanks again to Dani for hosting me. Heppy new year! Good luck in the prize drawing!

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