Scene Commentary w/ Anne Barwell + Giveaway

January 10, 2018

Scene Commentary


Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.

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.

Unfortunately due to my days off since the beginning of the year being stat holidays my hardcopies of the book are still sitting at the Post Office ready to pick up—I hope!—so I opened my galley and chose my excerpt using a random number generator instead.  I’m not including an excerpt with this post as you’re getting an exclusive one as part of the commentary.

“Joel’s very good, isn’t he?” Mavis asked, yet it sounded more like a statement than a question. “I often hear him playing when I’m in my garden, although I haven’t for a few months. I had hoped I’d missed it because I’d been out rather than he’d given up. Talent like that should be nurtured, don’t you think?”

Mavis is Joel’s neighbour.  She reminds Joel of his gran, always knowing what’s going on, but would be the first to offer help if it was needed.  I included her in the story as I wanted to show a bit more of Joel’s world apart from his immediate friends, family, and work mates.  And it’s always nice to know neighbours are looking out for you.

“Yes. He is very good.” Marcus glanced at his watch. He’d been gardening for an hour, his thoughts distracting him for a good amount of that time. Good thing he did a lot of this kind of work on autopilot. Nevertheless he double-checked to make sure he hadn’t targeted anything that wasn’t a weed. He stood back to take a better look and smiled, satisfied with a job well done.

While Joel plays piano to relax and work through whatever is getting to him, Marcus gardens.  I liked the way they’re different, but in some ways the same in that.

“You’ve been working hard.” Mavis nodded approvingly. “If I get to the point where I can’t do my own gardening, I’ll keep you in mind.”

This is a reminder that although Marcus enjoys being outside and what he does for a living, it is still his job.  The fact that he does gardening for Joel because he wants to says a lot about how he feels about him.  Usually people don’t want to continue their job at a weekend, but do something else.

“Thanks.” Marcus didn’t want to get into a discussion about how what he’d done that afternoon was something he’d wanted to do for himself—and for Joel. “I should probably head inside. It’s been nice talking with you again.”

“Thanks. I’d hoped to catch you at some point so I could thank you for your work in person.” Mavis handed him a small basket. “I’ve made some muffins and thought you and Joel might enjoy some.”

This also shows the tone of the neighbourhood, that people are looking out for each other. It’s one of the reasons I like living where I do—we’re still part of a city, but it’s not a huge one so still very personable.  Also, as a side note, I usually make a batch of muffins each week which is why there are muffins in her basket.  Although it’s not specified, they’re blackcurrant/blackberry as that’s what I was making when I wrote that scene, and I have bushes/vines in my garden which keep me well supplied each year. It’s also another case of whatever I’m baking making its way into the story.  Or vice versa. I made several batches of scones a few years ago while writing Cat’s Quill.

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.” Marcus was surprised by her generosity.

Mavis smiled. “It’s the neighborly thing to do. I’ve kept an eye on Joel for some time now, as he does work so very hard.” She lowered her voice. “It’s lovely seeing the two of you together and knowing he’s got someone like you looking out for him when he gets caught up in things and works too hard. Sometimes you have to help people who don’t help themselves, you know?”

Mavis is very observant, and knows Joel a lot better than he realises.  But it’s not just Joel who needs Marcus as Marcus needs Joel to remind him when he’s withdrawing and not talking about stuff he should be.

Marcus wasn’t sure how to reply to that. Joel hadn’t been kidding when he’d said that Mavis knew everything that went on in their neighborhood. “Thanks,” he said again. “When is the best time to return the basket?”

“Oh, just leave it on my front doorstep. Goodness me, it is late. I’d better go fix dinner. Bye, Marcus.”

Marcus doesn’t know the half of it. Mavis wasn’t in my original outline. She turned up when I was writing  with the comment that those boys need someone to look out for them, and then was in more than just this one scene. I’m reminded of the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently it needs pretty much that to get these two together too!


Check out Prelude to Love today!




Dreamspinner Press
Barnes and Noble



Music speaks directly to the heart.

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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



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 Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up 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:
Facebook page:
Queeromance Ink Author Page:
New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:
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