Hi and welcome to my blog, author Shira Anthony. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake.
To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
I always have several projects in the works. Right now, I’m taking a break from my classical music series, Blue Notes, and am working on “Stealing the Wind,” a slightly smutty mermen pirate story (anticipated publication summer 2013).
The third book in the Blue Notes Series, “Aria,” was just released on 12/24/12. The Blue Notes Series are standalone novels set in the classical music universe. “Aria” is the story of opera singer Aiden Lind, who appears as a secondary character in one of the earlier Blue Notes books.
Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
I usually just try to relax with family and friends. So much goes into publishing a book, that by the time the book actually comes out, I’m usually more than happy just to chill a little and take a mini-break from writing. This time, I celebrated aboard our sailboat at the Carolina coast with good wine and cheese. We sailed to New Bern, North Carolina and enjoyed the wonderful southern winter weather (60 degrees and sunny!).
What influenced you to get published? How long did it take for your first book to get published?
I self-published my first novella. Mostly I was just curious as to whether readers would enjoy it. They did! I sent my second novella, “The Dream of a Thousand Nights,” to Dreamspinner Press on a lark. I remember my husband telling me I shouldn’t be too disappointed if it got rejected. About a month later, I got a contract! I’ve been publishing with Dreamspinner ever since – they’re great people with fabulous cover artists and editors. In retrospect, I was very lucky to have stumbled onto them.
Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?
Hands down, my latest book, “Aria (Blue Notes #3),” was the hardest to write. I must have rewritten the first 6 chapters at least 2 dozen times before settling on the storyline setup. I think it was particularly difficult to write about a career in opera—a career I had for about 16 years.
The easiest book to write is, ironically, probably my best so far: “The Melody Thief.” I had put “Aria” on the back burner after pulling my hair out, and wrote Thief during Nano in about 6 weeks (okay, so I didn’t finish the entire novel in the 4 weeks allotted for Nano, but it was probably the fastest I’ve ever completed a novel!).
Could you tell us a couple of favorite books that inspired you to write?
Hands down, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Heritage of Hastur” from her Darkover series of books was the book that most inspired me to write. The Darkover series, for those of you who may not have read it, is sci fi/fantasy with romance. It features the first gay romance I ever read, and it’s a sweeping saga that spans centuries. It’s beautifully written with amazing descriptions and very romantic.
Is music a factor for you while you are writing? Do certain songs put you in the right frame of mind to write certain stories?
Always! As a former musician, I always associate music with my writing. Of course, the Blue Notes Series books are particularly connected with music. Each has its own playlist of music that appears in the story (you can find those on my website if you click on the “more” button for each of my books). I tend to listen to angsty romantic music, whether pop, rock, or classical, to get me in the mood to write. I don’t listen while I’m writing, though—I think it’s too difficult to tune my musician brain off and focus on writing.
If you could collaborate with one author who would it be?
If I could choose any one author, living or dead, it would probably be Isaac Asimov. The man was a genius and, my son loves to tell me, published in every category in the Dewey Decimal Catalog! He wrote serious sci fi, he wrote wonderful mysteries, he wrote non-fiction, as well. Just imagine spending time working on a writing project with someone like that!
What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?
Dreams, definitely! And believe me, I’ve had a few strange ones. Sometimes I’ll get stuck on a book and the way past my writer’s block is something I dreamed the characters might do or say. That happened recently with “Stealing the Wind.” Strange, what your subconscious can offer.
If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would they tell?
My muse would probably tell you that I let her run the show, even though I’d like to believe I have more control in the writing process. She’s fickle, so I’ll follow her into another project if she gets tired of one. Usually she doesn’t steer me wrong (she’d never admit to it, in any case!).
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Reading, of course. I’ve always been an avid reader. I also love being on and in the water. My husband and I just got our open-water certification for scuba diving this past summer, and I just adore being under the water. It’s like a completely different universe opens up to you there. I also love to watch Japanese anime (yaoi – gay anime – in particular). I sometimes find inspiration for my writing there, as well.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
My nightstand has some “real” books, but it also houses my Kindle. I have dozens of books I’m planning to read. Right now, I’m working on Andy Speed’s second Infected Series book. I’ve also got my buddy Rhys Ford’s latest,”Sinner’s Gin”, ready to go.
What can readers expect next from you?
I have two books coming out this spring, both from Dreamspinner Press. “Lighting the Way Home” is a novel in E.M. Lynley’s Delectable Series, and is a story about a chef who runs away to Paris, only to realize that everything he ever really wanted in life is back home in his old neighborhood in lower Manhattan. “Prelude” is the fourth book in the Blue Notes Series, co-authored with my friend Venona Keyes. It’s the story of conductor David Somers, who appears in all the other Blue Notes Series books.
Thanks for coming. Is there anything else you want to add?
Aria by Shira Anthony
A Blue Notes Novel
Blurb: Five years after a prestigious scholarship jumpstarted 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.
Aiden reached up and wiped Sam’s cheek with the sheet, then leaned back against the pillow and inhaled long and deep. “Good God.” His voice was impossibly low and sexy. “That was incredible.”
Sam’s face warmed at the compliment, and he fought the urge to protest. Even after so many years of living in New York as an openly gay man, he still felt the stirrings of shame from time to time, his conservative Southern roots too well ingrained to ignore. But the moment of embarrassment was short-lived, eclipsed by his own unsatisfied need.
“I want to fuck you,” he whispered. “If that’s okay….” He had never been hesitant before, but he felt like he was seventeen all over again, doing it for the first time in the woods behind the cabins at summer camp.
“You’re joking, right?” Aiden laughed. “Hell, yeah.” He reached under the mattress and pulled out a box of condoms and a small bottle of lube, then tossed them within Sam’s reach.
The tension in Sam’s shoulders relaxed until he felt his companion’s hand rubbing at the crotch of his pants. His breath caught in his throat. Too long. Way too long. He started to loosen his tie, but Aiden stopped him.
“Fuck me in that suit. It’s so damn hot.” He rolled onto his stomach and lifted his ass in blatant invitation. “I want you to fuck me in your clothes.”
“Damn,” Sam hissed as he unzipped his fly and pulled his cock out. There was something thrilling about the way Aiden had taken control, something about the way Aiden’s words had sounded almost like an order that made Sam shiver. And, oh God, the globes of Aiden’s ass beckoned, tight and smooth. Sam stroked him while he uncapped the lube and slathered his fingers with it, then reached around to press at the hole he had only barely breached before.
“No prep,” Aiden rumbled. “Lube it up. I like it when it hurts a little.”
What the hell do I say to that?
Sam knew the feeling himself, although he had never admitted it to Nick. He and Nick had been tender lovers—the kind of lovers who explored every inch of each other’s bodies with gentle fingers and tongues. Their lovemaking had never approached the rough animal sex Sam had often fantasized about. That hadn’t been Nick’s style; he had been as laid-back and slow in bed as he was in life, and Sam had loved that about him. The sex had been great. Better than great, but now….
Sam rolled the condom over his erection and greased it well, then leaned over and spread Aiden wider. Aiden’s low laugh was an invitation, and Sam saw Aiden’s eyes filled with a mixture of need and playfulness. He pressed the head of his cock against Aiden’s hole, inhaling sharply as the outer ring of muscle gave way and he felt the warm tightness nip at his sensitive tip.
“Come on,” Aiden urged him. “I want it all the way inside.”
He pushed harder, Aiden’s inner muscles gradually releasing with some resistance until Sam was seated up to his balls. Aiden was half-hard again, and Sam grasped his thickening flesh with one hand as he pulled out. Then he pushed in once more, making sure he brushed against Aiden’s prostate. He felt Aiden’s shudder and saw the look of pleasure on his face.
“Harder, Sam. Need it harder.”
“Oh God, yes. But it’s been too long. I won’t be able to….”
“I don’t care.” Aiden’s voice was rough, husky with need. “Do it like you know you want to.”
The realization that Aiden had guessed at something Sam himself had long denied only served to intensify the urge to pound Aiden senseless. “Fuck,” he panted. “You’re so tight.”
The bed shook as he picked up speed, pistoning back and forth, letting go of all of his repressed desire. His shirt clung to his skin, his pants rode up his ass, but that only increased the pleasure that ran from his cock up his spine and pulled his sac tight. He came with a shout and a series of shudders, then leaned down so his face was only inches away from Aiden’s.
Their eyes met. For Sam it was like diving into dark water—he didn’t know what he might find, but he was caught in the siren song. Aiden’s lips met his, and something deep inside Sam’s heart let go. A door he had closed when Nick died opened just a crack. It stayed open for a brief instant before he felt ice in his veins as fear seeped back inside.
“Stay?” Aiden asked hopefully.
“I….” Sam hesitated. “Okay.” He knew he should leave, that he wasn’t ready for this, but he couldn’t do it. He was so raw, so hungry for Aiden’s touch. He wanted more.
Aiden smiled at Sam and began to unbutton his shirt.