Welcome to our third week of celebrating the amazing and talented
In today's post, we'll talk about the BLOOD trilogy, plus a personal story Shira has chosen to share. And of course, there's another chance to win one of Shira's books!
But first, the BLOOD trilogy...
Book 1, Blood and Rain
Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.
After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
Adrien rose quickly, knowing sleep would not come again. A band of light illuminated the sky, a hint of the sunrise yet to come. The small inn where Adrien had stayed since he’d arrived in Lyon was quiet save for the sounds of the barmaid in the kitchen below, preparing food for the day’s meals. Adrien descended the steps to the street in silence and ignored the cool chill of morning as it stung his face. Late August, and already he sensed autumn in the air.
On the market square, vendors had begun to set up their stalls. Hungry, Adrien headed down a narrow cobblestone street in search of the small bakery where he had eaten the day before. The scent of baking bread wafted through the air and mingled with the more pungent smells of the city. He rounded a corner and nearly collided with a hooded figure.
“You really should be more careful” came the voice of a man from underneath the cloak, resonant and warm like the sound of a river as the water washed over smooth stones.
“My apologies, monsieur.” Adrien wanted no trouble. To wear a cloak in summer meant one had something to hide.
The man pushed off his hood to reveal porcelain skin and long black hair tied with a ribbon at the nape of his neck. Adrien instinctively reached for the hilt of his sword. A vampire. Adrien sensed it the moment he looked into the other man’s eyes.
“I’ve been looking for you, Monsieur Gilbert.” The vampire was tall, nearly as tall as Adrien, although his body was leaner, more graceful. His brown eyes, which appeared almost amber in the light of the early-morning sun, betrayed no fear. In fact, Adrien thought he looked intrigued.
“You know who I am?” The man’s forthrightness surprised Adrien.
“I know many things, monsieur,” the vampire replied with a smile. “I know why you are here. I know whom you seek.”
“Who are you?”
“I am Nicolas,” he replied. “Nicolas Lambert.”
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Second in the trilogy, Blood and Ghosts
With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.
On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.
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And coming in 2016, book 3, Blood and Eternity
When he finds himself in a future he doesn't recognize, Adrien must make a devil's choice between the life he dreamed of with Nicolas and trying to repair a badly damaged past. If he chooses to go back in time to challenge Pelletier for the soul of the Council of Hunters, Adrien must first master the demon who lives inside of his mind and controls the ability to manipulate time. But there's a caveat to the fight with the powerful being who shares his thoughts and body: if he loses, Adrien will die.
Writing from the Heart
I first "discovered" opera in my first year of college. I had sung in high school musicals, and I loved rock and pop music. I knew every word to every Elton John song ever written, and would sing whenever I had a chance. I had also studied violin for about fourteen years, only to give it up when I went to college.
Second semester of my first year at Brandeis University, a friend suggested I pull the violin out of mothballs and play in the pit orchestra for a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's, "The Gondoliers." I remember looking up on stage and thinking, "I can do that!" My mother, a professional musician (harpsichord), suggested I take a look at Bizet's, "Carmen." It was written in French, a language I spoke, and I sang through it a few times.
I was hooked. Utterly and entirely. That next fall, I transferred to the Cleveland Institute of Music as an opera performance major. I got my undergrad and master's degree in opera.
Fast forward sixteen years. Married, with a two year-old daughter, I was living in New York and performing opera when I could get the work. I sang the lead roles in "La Traviata," "La Boheme," "Tosca," and other operas. But it didn't pay the bills, and it took me all over the country (the world, really), away from my family. My husband and I decided we wanted to have another child, and when he was offered a job teaching outside of New York, I decided it was time to move on and have a "normal" career.
It was the hardest decision of my life.
I took the LSAT two months after my second child was born (don't even ask - I was truly insane!) and started law school that next fall when he was nine months old and my daughter was three. I've been working as an attorney for almost twelve years now, and I love my job as a public sector lawyer advocating for children.
But did I miss music? More than you could imagine. I missed music so much, my artistic "muse" drove me to find a substitute. That's when I rediscovered my love of writing. I put some of my original stories up on Writing.com and Fictionpress.com and— surprise, surprise—I got a lot of positive feedback. Enough to get up the nerve to submit an original manuscript to a publisher.
My first M/M romance, "The Dream of a Thousand Nights," was published by Dreamspinner Press in 2011. At the same time I was writing "Dream," I was also working on a joint project with my dear friend, Venona Keyes, an M/M romance about a conductor and a violinist called "Symphony." That was the birth of the "Blue Notes" series of gay romances, and eventually, the reworked version of that original story will become part of the series itself.
So here I am in 2015 with nearly twenty published books to my name. I couldn't be more surprised or more thrilled. Now I dream about retiring so I can write full-time.
The sadness I felt to give up a career in music is still there, but writing has helped fill the creative void the loss of that career left in my heart. And since the original story in the Blue Notes Series, I’ve written six more series books. Who knows, there may be more where those came from! -Shira
More about Shira Anthony:
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.
Thank you for joining us again this week. Come back next Thursday for our Grand Finale with a first look at Shira's upcoming novel First Comes Marriage, our author Q&A, and one more chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!