Giveaway + Blog Tour: One Word by Anne Barwell

Welcome Anne Barwell! She's making her clubhouse debut with BOTH a deleted scene and an excerpt of her new novel, One Word! Be sure to enter her giveaway of a $10 DSP gift card too! Good luck!

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.

With One Word being a side novel to book one in the series—Cat’s Quill—I had to walk a fine line between writing a story that new readers could follow, but existing readers would still enjoy. There is a scene set in the library where Donovan and Ethan search for clues as to who Cathal is, and how he is connected to the stories of someone in Oakwood by the same name in 1918. That scene was originally a lot more detailed and showed a clue they did find, but in the finish I decided to cut some of it out. I’m sharing that missing bit with you now. ...


“Look at this.” Donovan held a copy of an old black and white photograph. Judging by the clothing worn by the people in the background, it had been taken nearly a hundred years ago. The building behind them stood in ruins, but it was the two men who were the subject of the photo that caught Ethan’s attention.

Neither of them seemed to have noticed the camera, although one of the men appeared to be looking at something or someone behind the photographer. They both wore long boots with their trousers tucked into them, and their hair was longer than was fashionable for the period. The man on the right wore a loose shirt—the top buttons were undone. His face was marked with soot, and held a child close to him, protecting her. She didn’t look to be more than five years old. A young boy, much the same age, clung to his leg.

“Who is that?” Ethan knew he’d seen both those men somewhere before, but it took him a few moments to make the connection. “Bloody hell. It’s—”

“Alice’s husband, Christian, and....” Donovan shook his head and turned the photograph over. “Library fire, 1918,” he read.

“It doesn’t give any names,” Ethan said. “May I?” He took the photograph from Donovan and studied it. “The man with the kids is his cousin, Cathal. I recognise him from the sketches Alice did, although I....”

“I thought those sketches might have been faked despite them supposedly being close ups of that painting hanging in the inn.” Donovan confirmed what Ethan was thinking. “The ones of Cathal then and now looked too similar. I knew the one Mikey drew was real as it’s definitely Cat and Tomas saw him draw it, but the one in 1918... No one looks that much like their great-whatever grandfather. It’s too much of a coincidence.” He peered more closely at the photograph, and then pointed to the man with the children. “That’s Cat, Ethan. He’s the man I met, I’m sure of it. I told myself it couldn’t be when I saw the sketch but...” He pointed to Cathal in the picture. “Even the style of clothing he’s wearing is similar.”

“That’s crazy,” Ethan said, “and makes no sense. How can it be the same man? This was taken nearly a hundred years ago. You saw Cathal last week.”

“I asked him whether he was a time traveller,” Donovan said. “He said he wasn’t but he claimed an old poetry book was his. I figured Mikey might have copied his great-grandmother’s style and drawn something for his granddad, and used Cathal as a model. He and Christian are quite similar in looks after all, but....”

“Photographs can be faked too,” Ethan pointed out, “but this is a library archive. Why would they? I don’t see the point.” He didn’t get any of this. Instead of finding answers, they’d discovered something that must be impossible.

“There is one other explanation,” Donovan said, “but as things go it’s out there.”

“More out there than your theory about time travel, and some bloke looking exactly like his great-grandfather?” Ethan asked.

“Yeah.” Donovan flushed. Whatever this new theory, it had to be a real doozy. “You know the stories of the ghost? What if I was wrong and I had seen him. Maybe that’s what we’re looking for and why we can’t find him.”

“You said you saw him and Tomas kissing?” While it was an interesting theory, Ethan could see the holes in it almost immediately. “And you touched him, right?”

“I didn’t but Tomas did, and he held that book I told you about in his hand. He was real, as real as you and I are now.”

“So he can’t be a ghost,” Ethan said firmly. “Ghosts are incorporeal.”

Or at least they were supposed to be, if the research he’d read about the subject was to be believed.

Donovan didn’t look as convinced. “Perhaps we need a description of this ghost,” he said. “Mikey’s dad lived at the inn before they sold it. I’ll ask Phoebe if we can take a copy of this photo. Even if he didn’t see the ghost, he might know of someone who has.”

“Maybe,” Ethan said. He doubted it was going to be that easy. God, what was wrong with him, discussing ghost sightings as though they were real? He’d never put much stock in any of that stuff. “I hate to admit this, but I’m thinking your time travel theory sounds more likely.”

“Yeah,” Donovan said, “and although Cat denied it, it doesn’t mean he was telling the truth. He spoke in riddles half the time and a lot of stuff he said didn’t make sense. It’s all about perspective.” He flicked through the photographs on either side, but there wasn’t anything there that was useful. It seemed to be the only photograph connected to the night of the fire. “Listen to us. I can’t believe I’m contemplating this.”

“That makes two of us.” Ethan placed a brief hand on Donovan’s shoulder, then removed it when he realised what he’d done. “Why don’t you go talk to Phoebe about making that copy? I’m going to hunt through the 1918 newspapers for anything else about the fire. If nothing else, I think we’ve found a place to start searching.” Someone had to have taken the photograph, and if there was one, there might be others stored somewhere else. “We’ll find this bloke, one way or another, whatever it takes.”


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.

Buy Link:

Enter to win a $10 DSP gift card!

You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

(Or, if you prefer here’s a coded list of the sites):
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


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.

Website & Blog:
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Dreamspinner Press Author Page:
DSP Publications Author Page:
Queeromance Ink Author Page:
New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:


  1. Thanks again for hosting me <3

  2. Thank you for this post and for sharing an excerpt. I enjoyed it :)