Thursday, November 5, 2015

Author Of The Month - Shira Anthony - Week One



This month we are celebrating the super talented 





In today's post, we'll talk about the Blue Notes series, including two excerpts, plus Shira's favorite things. And, of course, there'll be a chance to win one of her books!


First up, Blue Notes



Blurb:

Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancee, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he's forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment's notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason's leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn't take them long to fall into bed, but as they're both about to learn, they can't run from the past. Sooner or later, they'll have to face the music.




Excerpt:


“May I join you?” the violinist asked, a coy grin on his delicate lips. Jason figured that he might be nineteen, tops. As his companion brushed a stray lock of shoulder-length black hair from his eyes, Jason realized that he had one brown eye and one green. He was a waif of a kid, his face uniquely French, from the slightly pronounced nose to the sharper edge of his jaw. Even seated as he was, Jason could see that the kid’s body swam in a large pair of jeans that hung low on his hips, exposing blue plaid boxers. On top, he wore a body-hugging black T-shirt with the word “Quoi?” splashed across the front in bright red.


“Be my guest,” Jason replied in French, still unsure of what to think about the kid. “Seems as though you’ve already invited yourself.”


“You’re French-Canadian?” the newcomer inquired, grin widening.


“American.” Jason noted the rough edges of the uneven tattoo on the kid’s right forearm. Homemade, no doubt.


“Really? Your French is excellent.”


“And your music’s good,” Jason countered playfully. “What’s your trio called?”


“Dunno. We haven’t named it yet—we don’t play that much. Wouldn’t have played tonight except the group Maurice booked canceled and he couldn’t find a replacement. My roommate’s the dishwasher here.” He gestured at the drummer, who was watching them with interest from the edge of the small stage. “So, do you live in Paris?” he added after a moment’s pause.


“Visiting.”


The waiter deposited two drinks on the table and winked at the violinist.


“My name’s Jules. Jules Bardon.”


“Jason Greene.”


“Enchanté.” Jules took Jason’s hand across the table. The gesture was far too friendly. Flirtatious. Jason pulled his hand away and raised an eyebrow. Jules appeared unfazed. “Here on business?”
“No.”


“Pleasure, then?”


“No.”


Jules laughed—a soft, almost girlish laugh. “Do I make you uncomfortable?” He fixed his gaze on Jason.


“No,” lied Jason, finding Jules’s gaze a bit too intense.


“I could make this a pleasure visit for you.” Jules absentmindedly traced a long finger across his own lips.




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Second in the series, The Melody Thief


Blurb:

Cary Redding is a walking contradiction. On the surface he’s a renowned cellist, sought after by conductors the world over. Underneath, he’s a troubled man flirting with addictions to alcohol and anonymous sex. The reason for the discord? Cary knows he’s a liar, a cheat. He's the melody thief.

Cary manages his double life just fine until he gets mugged on a deserted Milan street. Things look grim until handsome lawyer Antonio Bianchi steps in and saves his life. When Antonio offers something foreign to Cary—romance—Cary doesn’t know what to do. But then things get even more complicated. For one thing, Antonio has a six-year-old son. For another, Cary has to confess about his alter ego and hope Antonio forgives him.

Just when Cary thinks he's figured it all out, past and present collide and he is forced to choose between the family he wanted as a boy and the one he has come to love as a man.


Excerpt:


Cary stood with his cello at his side and bowed as he had been taught not long after he learned to walk. The accompanist bowed as well, smiling at him with the same awed expression he had seen from pianists and conductors alike.

In that moment, he felt like a thief. A liar. The worst kind of cheat.

“Young man,” the woman in the red cocktail dress with the double strand of pearls said as she laid her hand on his shoulder, “you are truly a wonder. You must come back soon and play for us again.”

He knew how to respond; he’d been taught this, as well. “Thank you, ma’am.” 

His voice cracked, as it had on and off for the past six months. His face burned. He was embarrassed he could not control this as well as he could his performance.

“He’s booked through the next year,” his mother told the woman, “but if there’s an opening, we’ll be sure to let you know.” She would find an opening, no doubt, even if it meant sacrificing his one free weekend at home. His mother never passed up a chance to promote his career.

Back in the green room, his mother looked on as he wiped down the fingerboard of his instrument and gently replaced it in its fiberglass case, then carefully secured his bow in the lid. He’d barely looked at his mother since they’d left the small crowd of well-wishers who had gathered in the wings. He didn’t need to see her face to know she was displeased. He didn’t really want to know what he’d done wrong this time, so he started to hum a melody from a Mozart sonata he’d been studying. Humming helped take his mind off his guilt at letting her down again.

“You rushed through the pizzicato in the last movement,” she said. “We’ve been over that section so many times, Cary Taylor Redding. You let your mind wander again.”

He tried not to cringe; she only used his full name when she was very disappointed in him. “I’m sorry.” His voice cracked again, and he inwardly winced. He didn’t have to fight back the tears anymore. He’d stopped crying years ago.

“We’ll just have to practice it some more.”

He’d also long since stopped asking her why she always said “we” would practice something when he was the one doing the practicing. The one and only time he had pressed the issue, she had responded with a look of long-suffering patience. For days after, the guilt had pierced his gut and roiled around inside until he had apologized for several days running.

“Hurry up now,” she told him. “We have a long drive back home.”

“Did Justin call?” he asked with a hopeful expression.

“Why would your brother call?”

“He said he’d let me know if his team won tonight.” He pulled on his thick winter jacket, grabbed the handle of the cello case, and dragged it across the floor on its roller-skate wheels.

“He can tell you all about it tomorrow.”

He fell asleep in the front seat of the minivan as they headed back to Missouri. He did not dream, or at least, he didn’t remember what he had dreamed about. He never did.




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Third in the series, Aria



Blurb:

Five years after a prestigious scholarship jump started his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his façade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan never moved on after his partner died, though he tried. Instead of dating, he keeps himself busy with work—but when he unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Aiden while on a rare vacation in Paris, he’s inspired to give their love a second chance. First, though, he’ll have to get Aiden to forgive him. Because when Sam was still grieving five years ago, he broke Aiden’s heart.

When rekindled lust blossoms into a true romance, it seems like the start of something wonderful. But Aiden’s career has him on the road much of the time, and the physical distance between him and Sam starts translating into an emotional disconnect. If Aiden and Sam can’t learn to communicate, their separation may prove more than their love can bear.



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Fourth is Prelude


Blurb:

World-renowned conductor David Somers never wanted the investment firm he inherited from his domineering grandfather. He only wanted to be a composer. But no matter how he struggles, David can’t translate the music in his head into notes on paper.

When a guest violinist at the Chicago Symphony falls ill, David meets Alex Bishop, a last-minute substitute. Alex’s fame and outrageous tattoos fail to move David. Then Alex puts bow to string, and David hears the brilliance of Alex’s soul.

David has sworn off relationships, believing he will eventually drive away those he loves, or that he'll lose them as he lost his wife and parents. But Alex is outgoing, relaxed, and congenial—everything David is not—and soon makes dents in the armor around David's heart. David begins to dream of Alex, wonderful dreams full of music. Becoming a composer suddenly feels attainable.

David’s fragile ego, worn away by years of his grandfather’s disdain, makes losing control difficult. When David’s structured world comes crashing down, his fledgling relationship with Alex is the first casualty. Still, David hears Alex’s music, haunting and beautiful. David wants to love Alex, but first he must find the strength to acknowledge himself.




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In the fifth spot, Encore





Blurb:

Cool kid violinist Roger Nelson doesn’t give a damn about anything. Wannabe conductor John Fuchs is awkward, effeminate, and just figuring out he’s gay. Despite their differences, they become friends—then lovers—and after college, they try to make it work. But it’s the 1970s, and Roger can’t bring himself to admit he’s gay. Worse, after his brother is killed in Vietnam, Roger tries to live up to his memory and be the perfect son. Then after suffering one tragedy too many, he makes the biggest mistake of his life: Roger pushes John away.

Through the years, they dance around the truth and in and out of each other’s lives, never quite able to let go. Twenty years later, Roger still carries the pain of losing his dream of a brilliant career with him, while John is a superstar conductor with a wild reputation. John’s off-stage antics get him plenty of attention, good and bad, though deep down, he wants only Roger. Finally determined to hold on to what really matters, Roger asks John for another chance, and when John panics and runs, Roger has to convince him to listen to his heart.



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And sixth in this series, Dissonance



Blurb:

British noble Cameron Sherrington has hit rock bottom. The love of his life, opera sensation Aiden Lind, is marrying another man, and Cam knows it’s his fault for pushing Aiden away. As if that’s not enough, someone is trying to take away his family business, and the US authorities are pursuing him on charges of money laundering. Fearing for his safety and unable to return to London, Cam runs, but he’s too broke to find a place to stay, and his fugitive’s life doesn’t even remotely resemble a Hollywood thriller.

Desperate and betrayed by the people he thought cared about him, Cam takes refuge in the subway station where Galen Rusk plays his trumpet for tips. Though Cam hears the beauty in Galen’s music, it’s Galen’s firm hand on his shoulder that stops him from throwing everything away. Their unusual relationship takes a turn that surprises them both, and neither man is sure he wants the complication. Galen is fighting the ghosts of his past, and Cam has his own nightmares to face. When Cam’s troubles threaten to tear them apart, Cam figures he had it coming—that it’s all penance due for a life lived without honesty or love. But he never considered the possibility that he might not survive it.



Get the book:





Additionally, these two book are also available:


Knowing, a free sort-of-prequel to Blue Notes. Click the cover to read the book right on Shira's website!


Jason Greene is just discovering his sexuality, but he never expected to be attracted to the outcast and awkward Robbie Janson. He's a guy, right? Guys aren't supposed to be attracted to other guys. And yet there's just something about Robbie that Jason can't seem to shake.

Free read written as part of the Goodreads Gay-Straight Alliance Group's "Traveling to Better" writing project. My topic, suggested by a reader, was "Am I gay or am I straight?" Each story is 5K words or less and is based on readers' suggestions.





And from between books 4 and 5, a holiday novella to let you catch up on the couples from the first four books, we have Symphony in Blue



Blurb:

Are you a fan of the Blue Notes series? Would you like to know where the couples from the first four books are now? This is your chance to catch up! Aiden and Sam are finally getting married. But when Cary and Antonio’s baby daughter makes her appearance a bit earlier than planned, the big reception is put on hold. David Somers normally conducts orchestras, but this time he devotes his energy to “conducting” his friends so that everyone can join him at his Milan villa for a reunion at an intimate Thanksgiving dinner.

Sam and Aiden, Jules and Jason, David and Alex, and Cary and Antonio are soon assembled, and each couple shares something they are thankful for. Played out in four movements, this symphony is a celebration of friendship and love, orchestrated by David.



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While all (but the holiday novella) can be read as standalone, here's the chronological order of the series:

1) Encore
2) Prelude
3) Blue Notes
4) Aria
5) The Melody Thief
6) Symphony in Blue
7) Dissonance






Shira's favorite things:



  • chocolate and anything covered in chocolate, especially Reece's Peanut Butter Cups
  • exotic food/restaurants (Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, Indian, you name it!). The little hole in the wall, family run restaurants are the best!
  • classical music, but I particularly love late Romantic Period classical (Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Sibelius) piano or violin concertos
  • rock/pop music: just about anything, but it needs to be sung by someone who has a good voice (little or no autotune) and the lyrics have to speak to me. I especially love Elton John, Fountains of Wayne, Coldplay, and early Neil Diamond (Solitary Man, anyone??)
  • books: Anything from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series (sci fi fantasy with strong romance elements)
  • drinks: mojitos, aged rum, tequila, hard cider
  • place to vacation: somewhere warm, where I can snorkel or scuba dive, or on our sailboat
  • place to blow $100: TJ Maxx or the massage place (depends on how sore I am!)
  • favorite clothes: costumes - I'm a total geek. It's probably why singing opera was so fun - I got to have my makeup, hair (or wig) done, and I wore great costumes!
  • favorite holiday: Halloween, of course!
  • favorite convention: Yaoicon in San Francisco
  • favorite thing to do when I'm avoiding writing or editing: watching Japanese anime on my computer
  • favorite animals: I love all animals, but I particularly love dogs (I have 2 of them!)





More about Shira:

Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira writes what she loves, be it contemporary musicians, shifter mermen, or time-traveling vampires. Her Mermen of Ea Trilogy book, Into the Wind, was named one of the best books of 2014 by both Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and Hearts on Fire Reviews, and was a finalist in the 2014 Goodreads M/M Romance Member’s Choice Awards. Her Blue Notes series of classical-music-themed gay romances was named one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word’s “Best Series of 2012,” and the most recent book in the series, Dissonance, was named one of the best books of 2014 by Hearts on Fire Reviews.


    





Giveaway:







Thanks for joining our celebrations this week. We hope to see you again next week, with info about the Mermen Of Ea series, plus five little known things about Shira, and another chance to win.

Until then, happy reading!!









9 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Sandra and company! You guys rock!

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  2. I love the covers and the excerpts for the books in this series. I love the favorite things too! San Francisco is a great place to visit.

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  3. Great post! The book covers are lovely and I enjoyed Shira's favorite things list. And thanks for the contest. :-)

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  4. Love the covers! Great interview to! Elton John and Coldplay fan here also. Would love to see Elton John live one day.

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  5. Read books 1 & 2 and loved. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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  6. I have heard of this series but have yet to read any, but am looking forward to it! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

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  7. Angela:
    Thanks for this post, i love the favorite things :) thanks for the giveaway chance.

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  8. I have most of the books of this series and have enjoyed them. I would choose a massage too. It helps with stress are tight muscles.

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  9. I love the Blue Notes series and what interesting facts, I remember reading Marion Zimmer Bradley and I can easily find and spend money at TKMax :)

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