'I love you' is just the beginning of the story.

Giveaway and Countdown to “Dissonance” – Playlist

Dissonance-build-full-r2This Friday, August 8th, Dissonance will be released by Dreamspinner Press! And midnight if release day is also the last chance to enter the pre-release giveaway (enter below using Rafflecopter!). You can pre-order Dissonance in ebook and paperback at the Dreamspinner Press website! Just click on the book title or on the cover to find the pre-order link.

Today is Monday, and I usually do a “Music Monday” gig where I share music I love on social media. Today, I’m sharing the Dissonance playlist: http://www.shiraanthony.com/books/dissonance-blue-notes-6/#extras. These are all the songs and pieces that appear in the novel. I chose each of them to capture an emotion or a mood in the story. And if you listen to them, you’ll realize they are mostly introspective, melancholy pieces. Not a coincidence. For me, they mirrored Cam’s sense of loss and grief as he struggles to hang onto the shreds of his former existence. From trumpeter Galen Rusk’s lonely trumpet in the New York City subway, to Cam himself playing the piano, each piece echoes the emotions of the story.

So if you’d like, queue them up on YouTube, grab a glass of wine, and close your eyes, because this music is meant to be savored slowly, and it’s meant to linger even after it’s over. Just as I hope Cam’s story will linger with you as well.

Don’t forget to enter the pre-release contest, because it wraps up in a week! You can enter more than once (in fact, you can enter every day!). You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from Dissonance. Enjoy! –Shira

******

Blurb: British lord 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 own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.

When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.

Buy Blue Notes Series books on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceEbooks

******

EXCERPT:

Late September

New York, New York

“NOT HAVING breakfast this morning, my lord?” Luisa asked as she turned from the mirror she was diligently cleaning.

Cameron Sherrington cringed inwardly as he breezed into the foyer. He’d come to abhor the title with a passion. And although he could hardly deny that the money that came with the title paid for his life in New York, he felt a bit removed from all it represented. He loved spending time in the penthouse towering high above East 57th Street. It was his escape from days spent in long meetings arguing with board members over transactions they shouldn’t even bat an eye over.

He knew Luisa liked using his title. She liked to brag to her friends that she worked for royalty, which suited him just fine. Though he did have noble blood, it wasn’t worth shit. He’d met the queen once when his father had dragged him to some gala fundraiser, but it wasn’t as if he could simply ring her up on a whim and ask her to join him for tea. But Luisa didn’t need to know that.

“Not today. I need my cashmere scarf,” he snapped.

She immediately dropped what she was doing, opened the coat closet door, and reached for a scarf.

“Not that one, the beige one,” he snapped again as he snagged it from the shelf above her head.

She closed the door softly and stepped back as Cam checked his reflection in the mirror. He worked his fingers through a particularly stubborn curl that insisted on flopping into his eyes. He frowned at his reflection. He was meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant downtown and needed to look his best. He’d chosen a pair of D&G jeans, a button-down Armani shirt, a light blue hand-knitted Burberry sweater that matched the startling blue of his eyes, and a tweedy Fendi jacket he’d picked up in Italy a few months before.

“Very nice, Lord Sherrington,” she said politely.

Cam shot her an irritated look. What the bloody hell would she know? “Where are my Oliver Peoples?”

She opened the drawer in the small cherrywood table that stood sentry in the foyer and handed the sunglasses to him. “Will you be dining in tonight, sir?”

“No. But make some of that leek and potato soup before you leave for the weekend. I’ll have it for lunch tomorrow.”

She nodded timidly as she waited to return to cleaning the mirror. “Of course, Lord Sherrington. I’ll see you on Monday.”

He finished fiddling with his hair, donned the sunglasses, and pressed the call button for the private lift. “You will. And make some of that greek salad.”

He paid her well—Sherrington Holdings paid her well, more accurately—even paid her when he wasn’t staying at the penthouse, just to keep it up and water the plants. The least she could do was make enough food for the weekend.

“Certainly, Lord Sherrington.”

He stepped onto the lift without a word, exiting into the lobby a minute later as his mobile buzzed. He pulled the phone from his breast pocket, glanced at it, and tapped the screen.

“Uncle. So good to hear from—”

“I’m late to a meeting,” Duncan Sherrington said with obvious irritation. “You asked for an update.”

The clipped response stung. Since Cam’s father’s death, Duncan had been like a father to him, and Cam had tried to make the man happy. Make him proud. But no matter what he did, he never met Duncan’s expectations. He was never good enough, never smart enough, never dedicated enough. He was yet another annoying gnat his uncle was forced to deal with, and lately it seemed an entire swarm of gnats dogged Duncan’s every move.

“Calling with good news, then?” Cam said.

“If nothing new is good news.” In many respects, Cam appreciated Duncan’s forthrightness. Blunt was always better than bullshit. Still, the only interactions he had with Duncan were in the form of verbal swats. Cam stifled his disappointment and bucked up.

“Might be.” Cam waved at the doorman and strode into the bright sunlight.

“I’ve had Henry contact his friend. Nothing more about rumors of an investigation here. Seems Revenue and Customs has better things to do with its time.”

Cam figured as much. He could handle rumors, or ignore them, if he chose to. “Glad to hear it.”

“Are you staying in New York until the end of the month?” Duncan asked.

Cam got the distinct impression that Duncan would be pleased if he stayed. One less irritation. He’d originally planned on staying a week, maybe two. He’d used the excuse that he’d pay a visit to their US subsidiary, Raice Corp., headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, when he’d actually come for Aiden’s Metropolitan Opera debut. He supposed he’d need to make an appearance at Raice’s offices before he headed home. Not that he was in a hurry to return to England—Duncan was more than capable of running Sherrington Holdings. Best damn decision his father had ever made, to appoint Duncan CEO of the company should anything happen to him. And there was no better time to be in New York City than late September. The days were warm and the evenings cool and breezy. Cam had been for a run in Central Park that morning, and the trees were a riot of color. Perfect.

“Possibly,” he answered at last. “Next board meeting isn’t until October. Unless you think you might need me to—”

“We have things under control here. Take your time.”

“Thank you. I will.” Fine. If that was how Duncan felt, he’d stay. Duncan clearly didn’t need him. He tried to brush off the deepening insecurity. What did it matter if Duncan or anyone else at Sherrington Holdings didn’t need him? He liked the idea of staying in New York a few more weeks. Maybe by the time he got back to London, his mother would have fled to warmer climes and he’d spend a peaceful few weeks at his family’s estate in Surrey before the board meeting. Time spent with Lady Vanessa Baines Sherrington anywhere, especially at the estate, which his ex, Aiden, had affectionately referred to as “the castle,” was downright grueling.

Cam heard the sound of rustling paper through the phone and a woman’s voice in the background.

“Good. We’ll speak later, then,” Duncan said curtly.

Duncan disconnected the call before Cam could respond.

Happy bloody birthday to me. Had he really thought Duncan would remember? Fuck him. When had his life become a fucking cliché? Poor little rich boy—no one remembers his birthday. No doubt his mother would forget as well. She usually did. He’d enjoy himself more without a lecture about what he should be doing with his life, anyhow. Maybe turning thirty wouldn’t be so bad. He would rather have celebrated with Aiden, of course, but he’d spend the evening at an impromptu party at a friend’s instead, and he hoped he wouldn’t be going home alone. Aiden would be spending time with Sam. As it should be. After cheating on Aiden—on several occasions—Cam couldn’t expect Aiden to stick around, could he?

A quick glance at his watch told him he had time to take the subway to the restaurant. He loved the subway. He’d ridden it for the first time when he’d visited New York City with his mother twenty years ago, on a school holiday. Not that his mother had known about it. He’d managed to escape his mother’s grasp (which wasn’t all that tight since she preferred to spend as little time with him as possible) and he’d slipped under a turnstile and ridden the Lexington Avenue subway for hours by himself. Before then, he’d ridden the London Tube with his father a few times. His father had preferred it to negotiating London traffic when he stayed in the city. He’d enjoyed that, but riding alone had been far more exciting.

As it always was this time of day, the 42nd Street subway station was filled with people headed in a dozen different directions. Cam had always thought of this station as the heart of New York. The first time he’d come here, he’d gotten lost in one of the underground passages and ended up on a train to Brooklyn. Since then, he’d learned his way around the twisting tunnels so well he could navigate them in his sleep.

He headed for the Uptown platform, mixing in with the stream of people coming from Grand Central and managing not to get jostled. The woman ahead of him wasn’t as fortunate. She pivoted to avoid a couple of schoolchildren and fell, dropping her shopping bags on the dirty concrete floor right in front of him.

Cam didn’t have time for this. He looked around, hoping someone would come to her aid. No one did. Bloody hell. “Are you all right?” He offered the woman his hand.

She smiled at him with blue eyes and a face full of wrinkles, took his hand, and got to her feet. “Thank you,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh. Cam helped her straighten her coat, which was open and had fallen off one shoulder. “I’m not much of a ballerina.”

“Not a problem.” He gathered up a few stray grocery items that had fallen out of the bag when she’d taken her tumble, waited until she dusted herself off, and handed the bags back to her. “It’s a bit like entering a race course,” he said as he reciprocated her smile.

“You’re English, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Indeed, I am.” He glanced at his watch. He’d be late for lunch at this rate.

“I visited London a few years ago with my husband.” Her expression grew wistful. “Before he died. We always said we’d make the trip.”

Cam stifled his rising impatience with the woman. “Did you enjoy it?”

“Very much so. We saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and spent a few afternoons at the British Museum. We took a train to—” She stopped herself. “I do babble on sometimes.”

He offered her a false smile. “It’s quite all right.”

“Thank you, young man,” she said. “My son says I should take the bus, but I like the subway. There’s music too.”

“Music?”

She nodded. “Listen.” She inhaled, pressed her lips together, and began to hum “Ain’t No Sunshine.” For the first time, Cam heard the sound of a trumpet through the noise of the passengers and squealing brakes of an incoming train. He vaguely remembered seeing someone playing for loose change not far from the passage to the S train.

“Oh, but I shouldn’t keep you,” the woman was saying as Cam came back to himself. “I’m sure you have somewhere you need to be.” She patted him on the arm. “You’ve been very kind to an old woman.”

“It was my pleasure.” He wanted to make his escape. He’d wasted enough time with the woman, but she’d piqued his curiosity. Instead of rushing to catch his train, he walked over to where the musician was playing and stopped to listen.

Giveaway and Countdown to “Dissonance” on August 8th!

DissonanceBanner300x250One week from midnight tonight, on August 8th, Dissonance will be released by Dreamspinner Press! And midnight also wraps up the pre-release giveaway (enter below using Rafflecopter!). You can pre-order Dissonance in ebook and paperback at the Dreamspinner Press website! Just click on the book title or on the cover to find the pre-order link.

The Dissonance Blog Tour also starts a week from today over at Prism Book Alliance! I’ll be running a blog tour giveaway (of course!) featuring a cool unisex bracelet with the New York City subway map on it, books, gift NYC-Metro-Cuff_40216-lcertificates, and other cool swag.

Dissonance may be my favorite Blue Notes Series book yet. It’s got the musical connection readers have come to expect from the series, but it also has a bit of action and some serious angst. Cam Sherrington’s a complicated man. Maybe even more complicated that he realizes at the beginning of Dissonance-build-full-r2Dissonance. His story is loosely based on a true story. And although Dissonance has some dark themes, the focus of the story is on hope and healing. For me, Cam was a difficult character to get to know, but once I did, I fell in love with him. I hope you will too!

Don’t forget to enter the pre-release contest, because it wraps up in a week! You can enter more than once (in fact, you can enter every day!). You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from Dissonance. Enjoy! –Shira

******

Blurb: British lord 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 own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.

When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.

Buy Blue Notes Series books on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceEbooks

******

EXCERPT:

Late September

New York, New York

“NOT HAVING breakfast this morning, my lord?” Luisa asked as she turned from the mirror she was diligently cleaning.

Cameron Sherrington cringed inwardly as he breezed into the foyer. He’d come to abhor the title with a passion. And although he could hardly deny that the money that came with the title paid for his life in New York, he felt a bit removed from all it represented. He loved spending time in the penthouse towering high above East 57th Street. It was his escape from days spent in long meetings arguing with board members over transactions they shouldn’t even bat an eye over.

He knew Luisa liked using his title. She liked to brag to her friends that she worked for royalty, which suited him just fine. Though he did have noble blood, it wasn’t worth shit. He’d met the queen once when his father had dragged him to some gala fundraiser, but it wasn’t as if he could simply ring her up on a whim and ask her to join him for tea. But Luisa didn’t need to know that.

“Not today. I need my cashmere scarf,” he snapped.

She immediately dropped what she was doing, opened the coat closet door, and reached for a scarf.

“Not that one, the beige one,” he snapped again as he snagged it from the shelf above her head.

She closed the door softly and stepped back as Cam checked his reflection in the mirror. He worked his fingers through a particularly stubborn curl that insisted on flopping into his eyes. He frowned at his reflection. He was meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant downtown and needed to look his best. He’d chosen a pair of D&G jeans, a button-down Armani shirt, a light blue hand-knitted Burberry sweater that matched the startling blue of his eyes, and a tweedy Fendi jacket he’d picked up in Italy a few months before.

“Very nice, Lord Sherrington,” she said politely.

Cam shot her an irritated look. What the bloody hell would she know? “Where are my Oliver Peoples?”

She opened the drawer in the small cherrywood table that stood sentry in the foyer and handed the sunglasses to him. “Will you be dining in tonight, sir?”

“No. But make some of that leek and potato soup before you leave for the weekend. I’ll have it for lunch tomorrow.”

She nodded timidly as she waited to return to cleaning the mirror. “Of course, Lord Sherrington. I’ll see you on Monday.”

He finished fiddling with his hair, donned the sunglasses, and pressed the call button for the private lift. “You will. And make some of that greek salad.”

He paid her well—Sherrington Holdings paid her well, more accurately—even paid her when he wasn’t staying at the penthouse, just to keep it up and water the plants. The least she could do was make enough food for the weekend.

“Certainly, Lord Sherrington.”

He stepped onto the lift without a word, exiting into the lobby a minute later as his mobile buzzed. He pulled the phone from his breast pocket, glanced at it, and tapped the screen.

“Uncle. So good to hear from—”

“I’m late to a meeting,” Duncan Sherrington said with obvious irritation. “You asked for an update.”

The clipped response stung. Since Cam’s father’s death, Duncan had been like a father to him, and Cam had tried to make the man happy. Make him proud. But no matter what he did, he never met Duncan’s expectations. He was never good enough, never smart enough, never dedicated enough. He was yet another annoying gnat his uncle was forced to deal with, and lately it seemed an entire swarm of gnats dogged Duncan’s every move.

“Calling with good news, then?” Cam said.

“If nothing new is good news.” In many respects, Cam appreciated Duncan’s forthrightness. Blunt was always better than bullshit. Still, the only interactions he had with Duncan were in the form of verbal swats. Cam stifled his disappointment and bucked up.

“Might be.” Cam waved at the doorman and strode into the bright sunlight.

“I’ve had Henry contact his friend. Nothing more about rumors of an investigation here. Seems Revenue and Customs has better things to do with its time.”

Cam figured as much. He could handle rumors, or ignore them, if he chose to. “Glad to hear it.”

“Are you staying in New York until the end of the month?” Duncan asked.

Cam got the distinct impression that Duncan would be pleased if he stayed. One less irritation. He’d originally planned on staying a week, maybe two. He’d used the excuse that he’d pay a visit to their US subsidiary, Raice Corp., headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, when he’d actually come for Aiden’s Metropolitan Opera debut. He supposed he’d need to make an appearance at Raice’s offices before he headed home. Not that he was in a hurry to return to England—Duncan was more than capable of running Sherrington Holdings. Best damn decision his father had ever made, to appoint Duncan CEO of the company should anything happen to him. And there was no better time to be in New York City than late September. The days were warm and the evenings cool and breezy. Cam had been for a run in Central Park that morning, and the trees were a riot of color. Perfect.

“Possibly,” he answered at last. “Next board meeting isn’t until October. Unless you think you might need me to—”

“We have things under control here. Take your time.”

“Thank you. I will.” Fine. If that was how Duncan felt, he’d stay. Duncan clearly didn’t need him. He tried to brush off the deepening insecurity. What did it matter if Duncan or anyone else at Sherrington Holdings didn’t need him? He liked the idea of staying in New York a few more weeks. Maybe by the time he got back to London, his mother would have fled to warmer climes and he’d spend a peaceful few weeks at his family’s estate in Surrey before the board meeting. Time spent with Lady Vanessa Baines Sherrington anywhere, especially at the estate, which his ex, Aiden, had affectionately referred to as “the castle,” was downright grueling.

Cam heard the sound of rustling paper through the phone and a woman’s voice in the background.

“Good. We’ll speak later, then,” Duncan said curtly.

Duncan disconnected the call before Cam could respond.

Happy bloody birthday to me. Had he really thought Duncan would remember? Fuck him. When had his life become a fucking cliché? Poor little rich boy—no one remembers his birthday. No doubt his mother would forget as well. She usually did. He’d enjoy himself more without a lecture about what he should be doing with his life, anyhow. Maybe turning thirty wouldn’t be so bad. He would rather have celebrated with Aiden, of course, but he’d spend the evening at an impromptu party at a friend’s instead, and he hoped he wouldn’t be going home alone. Aiden would be spending time with Sam. As it should be. After cheating on Aiden—on several occasions—Cam couldn’t expect Aiden to stick around, could he?

A quick glance at his watch told him he had time to take the subway to the restaurant. He loved the subway. He’d ridden it for the first time when he’d visited New York City with his mother twenty years ago, on a school holiday. Not that his mother had known about it. He’d managed to escape his mother’s grasp (which wasn’t all that tight since she preferred to spend as little time with him as possible) and he’d slipped under a turnstile and ridden the Lexington Avenue subway for hours by himself. Before then, he’d ridden the London Tube with his father a few times. His father had preferred it to negotiating London traffic when he stayed in the city. He’d enjoyed that, but riding alone had been far more exciting.

As it always was this time of day, the 42nd Street subway station was filled with people headed in a dozen different directions. Cam had always thought of this station as the heart of New York. The first time he’d come here, he’d gotten lost in one of the underground passages and ended up on a train to Brooklyn. Since then, he’d learned his way around the twisting tunnels so well he could navigate them in his sleep.

He headed for the Uptown platform, mixing in with the stream of people coming from Grand Central and managing not to get jostled. The woman ahead of him wasn’t as fortunate. She pivoted to avoid a couple of schoolchildren and fell, dropping her shopping bags on the dirty concrete floor right in front of him.

Cam didn’t have time for this. He looked around, hoping someone would come to her aid. No one did. Bloody hell. “Are you all right?” He offered the woman his hand.

She smiled at him with blue eyes and a face full of wrinkles, took his hand, and got to her feet. “Thank you,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh. Cam helped her straighten her coat, which was open and had fallen off one shoulder. “I’m not much of a ballerina.”

“Not a problem.” He gathered up a few stray grocery items that had fallen out of the bag when she’d taken her tumble, waited until she dusted herself off, and handed the bags back to her. “It’s a bit like entering a race course,” he said as he reciprocated her smile.

“You’re English, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Indeed, I am.” He glanced at his watch. He’d be late for lunch at this rate.

“I visited London a few years ago with my husband.” Her expression grew wistful. “Before he died. We always said we’d make the trip.”

Cam stifled his rising impatience with the woman. “Did you enjoy it?”

“Very much so. We saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and spent a few afternoons at the British Museum. We took a train to—” She stopped herself. “I do babble on sometimes.”

He offered her a false smile. “It’s quite all right.”

“Thank you, young man,” she said. “My son says I should take the bus, but I like the subway. There’s music too.”

“Music?”

She nodded. “Listen.” She inhaled, pressed her lips together, and began to hum “Ain’t No Sunshine.” For the first time, Cam heard the sound of a trumpet through the noise of the passengers and squealing brakes of an incoming train. He vaguely remembered seeing someone playing for loose change not far from the passage to the S train.

“Oh, but I shouldn’t keep you,” the woman was saying as Cam came back to himself. “I’m sure you have somewhere you need to be.” She patted him on the arm. “You’ve been very kind to an old woman.”

“It was my pleasure.” He wanted to make his escape. He’d wasted enough time with the woman, but she’d piqued his curiosity. Instead of rushing to catch his train, he walked over to where the musician was playing and stopped to listen.

Giveaway and Chasing Sunrise Blog Tour

 

ChasingSunrise_BlogTour_SHello, hello! I’m Lex Chase and I want to give a big thank you to Shira for hosting me today on the Chasing Sunrise Blog Tour!

Chasing Sunrise paranormal urban fantasy featuring people eating vampires that definitely don’t sparkle, Ancient Roman shifters, torture, war, genocide, and a love story that causes irrevocable consequences. It’s definitely not your standard fluffy paranormal. It’s dark, and leads readers to places that they never thought capable. There are characters you pray they will make it out, hopefully not mangled too badly, there are ones that will make you wish swift and immediate death upon them. And then there are characters you can only run from, and if you can’t, you call on all that is holy you will survive when you likely won’t.

IreneThat character? She isn’t a character at all in a sentient humanoid sense, but she is the wind itself. In the prologue, the kingdom of Darkmore is forever changed when Category 5 Hurricane Gert makes landfall just off the coast. Darkmore is not only all but leveled in the storm, but it sets into motion our plot of betrayal and revenge.

It is a writing sin to open on descriptions of weather. Why? Because it typically is interesting as toast is tasty.

“It was a bright, sunny day…”

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Blech!

How about: “And the wind was raging.” Oh hey, that’s cool. And there’s something insanely intriguing on using a conjunction right at the start.

I’ve lived on the Florida Gulf Coast since I was a small child, I’ve seen my share of nasty storms, floods, and hurricanes. Upon the first week of moving here all those years ago, I discovered lightning. And I said I wanted to go home back to California. Lightning in the distance is interesting to watch. But when it strikes right in your yard and fries your cable modem? That’s not so interesting. It’s terrifying. The crackle, the white-violet flash, the scent of ozone, your skin tingling with static. Now, talking about it? That’s interesting.katrina_aftermath

I’ve been through Hurricane Ivan. My town “dodged a bullet” as we say with Hurricane Katrina when she turned at the last possible second. We would have survived Katrina. It’s a tragedy what became of New Orleans, and years later much of it still isn’t rebuilt, and some homes haven’t even been entered since.

As for a flood? Well! We just went though this one very recently!

Part what I jokingly call my “Hollywood Blockbuster” writing style, is I want to engage the reader’s senses. Three of the senses that I really work on punching up is smell, taste, and sound. You can’t hear a book.

When I set out writing about Hurricane Gert, I wanted readers to hear her grinding roars of churning clouds. I want readers to hear her clawed fingers scratch and scrabble against the Darkmore palace walls. Hear the shiver in the limestone as the palace trembles. The groaning creak as roof timbers bend and then the sharp snap of breaking.

I wanted readers to cower in the facKatrinae of Gert’s monstrous ways. They should understand, like any storm, people often underestimate how bad it will be, only to be caught off guard that they had tragically underestimated themselves. That by claiming we can conquer even nature we find ourselves victims of hubris. Trying to cast the image that while tragic plot based things are going on and we learn the bad guys from the good guys, it’s the true evil that is bearing down on them.

So when people tell you, “Oh, for the love of god don’t open on weather!” Screw that! Just skip the clichés. Dig deeper. Make it a plot element.

“I will always remember my charred blisters when the second sun ignited the sky in Hiroshima.”

“The snowflakes refused to fall, frozen in time. He wouldn’t dare show his soldiers his deep purple fingers of frostbite. They had a new world to conquer.”

How will your characters survive the elements? As James Taylor croons, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain…” What can you bend that into? An elementary school burning to the ground? A tsunami swallowing an unsuspecting village?

And there…. There is where the story begins.


 

Chasing Sunrise400x600
Genre: Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Length: Novel
Published: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62798-776-9
Buy: Paperback or eBook

Blurb:
Chasing Sunrise
The Darkmore Saga: Book One
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.


Chasing Sunrise Excerpt

The United States of America called Hurricane Gert an act of a cruel and terrible God.

The Kingdom of Darkmore called the storm divine retribution for the sins of their ancestors.

The subjects of Darkmore had consulted the broadcasts of American humans.

The humans made preparations against the angry hurricane aiming for the Texas coast. They muttered to themselves in their common tongue that it was a shame about Port Isabel—the coastal city wouldn’t stand a chance.

A shame about Port Isabel? The declaration angered the Darkmore citizens. The furious wind and rain crippled their own capital city.

At least the storm would hit in the daylight, the humans explained in their grating voices.

Daylight was the worst possible time for Darkmore. When the citizens hunkered in their cellars and basements, any shaft of light that stabbed through the cracks would destroy them. The wind, hail, or rain wouldn’t eradicate them, but the sun waited behind the churning clouds for its moment to bleach Darkmore’s subjects from existence and out of America’s shadows. Deep in their bones, the citizens of Darkmore feared the sun from the moment they awakened into their new lives as aisa.

“A shame about Port Isabel,” the humans croaked like bullfrogs.

Anna Maria seethed. What about us, she wanted to snarl into the sweating fleshbag’s face. What about us!

The answer crushed her. Humans didn’t know they existed.

A shame about Port Isabel.

A travesty about Darkmore. The capital city would be gutted like a rabbit and the entrails plucked by her enemies.


Buy Now From:

Dreamspinner Press in Paperback or eBook!


Gold Sunset

Click to enter Lex’s Bundle O’ Books Rafflecopter Here!

You can win one personally signed copy of the Chasing Sunrise Paperback!

Or an eBook copy of Chasing Sunrise!

Ooooor hey, hey, I did write a series about superheroes before! Yes! You too can win the entire Checkmate Trilogy!


LXC_FlamesAbout the Author:

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.

She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find her on those social media things at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com

Find her blog at http://lexchase.com or drop her an e-mail at lex.a.chase@gmail.com.


Chasing Sunrise Tour Stops:

7/13 – Chris T. Kat – The Power of Androgyny

7/17 – Michael Rupured – Whispering for Help: Chasing Sunrise Goes Viral

7/19 – Lily Velden – Don’t Lose Your Way

7/20 – Jaime Samms – Screw Sparklepires! Meet the Aisa

7/22 – Aidee Ladnier – Were…what? Meet the Shifters!

7/24 – Grace Duncan – Walking the Runway with Sevon

7/25 – Chasing Sunrise Release Day!

7/26 – Shira Anthony – When Disaster Strikes: Natural Disasters in Fiction

7/29 – Dreamspinner Twitter Takeover with Charlie Cochet

7/30 – It’s About The Book – “I loved you before Nazareth.” Meet Bianca and Chaney

8/2 – Chat at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page

8/8 – Charlie Cochet – The Catharsis of Lovers Shirts

8/13 – Gay List Book Reviews – The Necessity of Brutality

8/16 – Tali Spencer – The Shape of Things to Come: Glass Moon

Giveaway and Cover Reveal: Michael Rupured’s “Happy Independence Day”

Please help me in welcoming the wonderful Michael Rupured to my blog today! Michael is revealing the gorgeous cover to his upcoming release, Happy Independence Day, from Dreamspinner Press! Read all the way through the post for a chance to win a signed copy of the prequel to this book, After Christmas Eve! -Shira

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Thanks, Shira, for allowing me to show off the cover for my upcoming release from Dreamspinner Press here on your blog. By far, the most exciting part of the publishing process—at least for me—is seeing the cover for the first time. For my next novel, to be released August 20th, artist Christy Caughie created a gorgeous cover. To celebrate, I’m conducting a giveaway. Keep reading for details.

HappyIndependenceDayFS

Blurb: Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. A prelaw student at Columbia University majoring in political science, his interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie. Terrence notices the rugged blond hanging around the Stonewall Inn, but the handsome man—and rumored Mafia hustler—rebuffs his smiles and winks.

Cameron McKenzie dropped out of college and left tiny Paris, Kentucky after the death of the grandmother who raised him, dreaming of an acting career on Broadway. Although he claims to be straight, he becomes a prostitute to make ends meet. Now the Mafia is using him to entrap men for extortion schemes, he is in way over his head, and he can’t see a way out—at least not a way that doesn’t involve a swim to the bottom of the Hudson in a pair of cement flippers.

Cameron is left with a choice: endanger both their lives by telling Terrence everything or walk away from the only man he ever loved. The Mafia hustler and the student activist want to find a way to stay together, but first they need to find a way to stay alive.

Preorder here:

Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5311

Ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5310

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The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village is the setting for much of the action in Happy Independence Day. What happened at the Stonewall Inn on the night of June 28, 1969 to cause the uprising?

Police raids of gay bars were common, but usually took place early in the evening on a weeknight when the bars weren’t crowded. The local police precinct had provided plenty of advance notice about a pro forma raid at the Stonewall Inn on Tuesday night. The following Friday, as part of Mayor John Lindsay’s campaign for reelection, the New York City Division of Public Morals launched a surprise raid on the packed-to-capacity Stonewall Inn. Because of delays, the Friday night raid didn’t begin until just after midnight. The police removed the liquor, retained both jukeboxes as evidence, and ripped out the bars and wooden seating that lined the walls, angering an estimated 200 patrons who watched as they waited to have IDs checked.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

To give you a reason to visit the other blogs helping me celebrate my new cover, I’ve come up with a Giveaway and a quiz about the Stonewall Inn and the 1969 uprising that made it famous. Find the answers on the blogs participating in my cover reveal and giveaway (links below). Comment on my post on any of the participating blogs by midnight, July 31, 2014 for a chance to win a signed copy of the prequel, After Christmas Eve (U.S. residents only; ebook available for international winners—one winner per blog).

What is the Stonewall Inn?

What was the legal environment in 1969 for NYC homosexuals?

Who owned the Stonewall Inn?

What made the Stonewall Inn a magnet for homosexuals?

Who/what started the Stonewall riots?

How long did the Stonewall Uprising last?

 

Find out what Michael’s up to by visiting his web site (http://rupured.com), following him on Twitter (@crotchetyman), or by email (mrupured@gmail.com).

 

Contest, Sale, and Updates!

Dissonance-build-full-r2I admit it. I’m a juggler. I write full-time, and I work full-time as an attorney (for those of you who don’t already know). So sometimes things take a back seat to my deadlines (*cough, cough* Shira’s Newsletter and free serialized story *cough, cough*). So rather than update the newsletter, I thought I’d give you all a quick, drive-by update here and let you know what I’m up to.

First, I’m counting down the days to the release of Dissonance on August 8th! The book is now available for preorder in ebook and paperback at the Dreamspinner Press website, and until midnight tonight, August 22nd, you can pick it up for 20% off the cover price in both ebook and paperback. So don’t miss the deal, since there probably won’t be another sale until after release day!

Second up, I’m still running a great giveaway to celebrate the Dissonance pre-release contest. You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). The giveaway ends on midnight, August 8th, to coincide with the Dissonance release. Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/

Or use the cool widget here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next, I’m hard at work on the last book in the Mermen of Ea Series, Running with the StealingTheWindFSWind. The book will wrap up the story of Ian and Taren and the war between the island and mainland Ea (merfolk) factions. For those of you who have read Into the Wind already, you may be happy to hear that I’m mulling over a spinoff story about a certain character who appears in that second book. I’ll keep you posted! Tentative publication of Running with the Wind is late spring, early summer 2015.

Last, but hardly least, I just signed a contract for the first in a series of vampire books in the Blood Series, Blood and Rain. Set both in the present and in France 3621890092_4175cd8c60_zin the late Victorian period, the Blood Series focuses on Adrien Gilbert, a vampire hunter, and Nicolas Gilbert, the vampire he comes to love. You can read more about the series and read the first chapter of Blood and Rain here. Tentative publication is December 2014/January 2015, with the sequel following  in Spring of 2015.

So there you have it! Do I have more projects on tap? Of course! I’m working on a contemporary May/December romance with the wonderful Michael Halfhill. I’m also working on a joint project with my good friend, Cody Kennedy. More about that to come! Questions or comments? Feel free to ask. -Shira

BlueNotesSeries_FBbanner_DSP[1]Blurb: British lord 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 own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.

When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.

Buy Blue Notes Series books on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceEbooks

******

EXCERPT:

Cam cursed his love for Aiden as he wobbled down the concrete steps to the 42nd Street subway station. Riley had looked at him as if he were mad when he’d told her he was headed home. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked with the same pouty expression she wore on the rare occasion when her father refused to buy her something.

“Nothing,” he said as he’d reached for the doorknob. “I’m done. That’s all.”

“At least let me call my driver to take—”

He’d refused. Seriously, did she think he wasn’t capable of taking a fucking subway after a few drinks at a party? It wasn’t even midnight.

He rubbed an eye with the heel of his hand. The damn telephone conversation replayed in his mind and grated on his nerves like Muzak at a cheap restaurant. He’d tried not to sound eager. Tried to sound nonchalant. He’d gotten good at that over the years. And then the brutal words had come. They’d seared his heart and left him dizzy. “Listen, Cam…. I need to tell you something. I don’t want you to hear it from the press…. Sam asked me to marry him, and I said yes.

He needed to walk. He needed to clear his head. He needed to shout to the heavens and hit something.

Why in hell had he bothered to look at the phone? Easy: he’d prayed it was Aiden calling to tell him he wanted him back.

You’re a fucking loser, Cameron! Nobody wants you!

A memory stirred. Someone holding him. Ruffling his hair. Someone other than his father. Someone had wanted him. Cared for him.

Where the hell had that come from? He brushed it off and descended the steps to the Lexington Avenue train.

It was bad enough that Aiden thought he’d tried to sabotage his career. He did everything to make sure Aiden didn’t think he wasn’t interested anymore. He’d gone to the after-party following Aiden’s Met debut—of course he’d gone, his company had helped bankroll the production of Don Giovanni—and Aiden had been MIA. So he’d decided Aiden didn’t need to know he’d been there at all.

And then the phone call. Aiden hadn’t beaten around the proverbial bush. He’d said it. Honestly. Simply. Just the way Cam would have expected Aiden to say it. And suddenly Cam didn’t care if he fucked that hot little Broadway-bound arse. He no longer cared about the party or its hallowed attendees. He no longer cared about anything except the gaping, jagged hole the conversation had left in his heart. And now, fucking New York pigeons were setting up camp in the hole. Shitting in it.

He walked from the Lexington Avenue train toward to the S train platform. The achingly mournful sound of a trumpet echoed off the dirty tile walls. He hadn’t really noticed them before. The intricate mosaic artwork had probably taken weeks to complete. Decades before, it had probably been stunning, but now it was covered in a film of grayish-black soot and some of the tiles were missing.

How fitting. He looked around for the source of the music, noting the powerful smell of urine. Away from the turnstiles, a mound of blankets and a refuse-filled shopping cart occupied the far corner of the station. He guessed there was a human being under there, although he was hardly going to look. Beyond the automatic ticketing machines, he could just make out the form of a man holding a trumpet. The same man he’d seen playing at lunch. Maybe he lived in the subway. Cam had heard stories of actors and musicians unable to get work in New York living on the street.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….

Cam walked across the empty space between the train platforms, his feet making soft tapping sounds against the concrete. He paused for a moment to watch the trumpet player standing with his back to the wall. He stared into whatever space musicians liked to stare into—that ethereal place they went when they were so focused on the music that the world around them disappeared. A dusty blond curl fell from the shaggy mop of hair onto the trumpeter’s face as he finished another phrase. “… and she’s always gone too long any time she goes away.”

Cam drew a long breath. It was perfect. The angst of it all. The music. The echo of his steps. The blast of cool air as he neared the train tunnels. Fucking perfect.

The musician noticed him standing there. The man’s eyes were a beautiful hazel, almost green. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

What do you care? The man’s an unemployed musician.

The guy looked at him and his eyes widened almost imperceptibly, as they had the last time Cam had seen him. Did he recognize Cam? God knew there were enough articles written about him. Esquire, Elle, Cigars Magazine, blah, blah, blah. Glamour’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” from 2008. As if!

The trumpet player finished the song, then stopped for a moment and rested the trumpet against his hip. His lips were swollen and pink from playing. For a split second, Cam imagined tasting them. Then he noticed the torn jeans and white T-shirt with a faded Señor Frog’s logo and the words “I got wasted in Cancun” written below it.

Oh, for God’s sake, Cameron! He’s a loser with a capital L!

Well, that made two of them, didn’t it? Even if the guy could play pretty damn well—very well, judging by the little Cam had heard—they were both in a stinking, empty subway station on a Friday night at midnight. Poor sod.

“Another request?” A smile danced on the man’s kissable lips.

Cam shrugged. “Whatever you want to play,” he said, not caring how pathetic he sounded.

The trumpeter put his instrument to his lips and began. “Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart….”

 

Preorder “Dissonance” and Enter the Prerelease Giveaway!

Dissonance-build-full-r2Dissonance is now available for pre-order in ebook and paperback at the Dreamspinner Press website! Release day is August 8th. Just click on the book title or on the cover to find the pre-order link.

I’m so excited to share Cam Sherrington’s story with you. For those of you who have read Aria (it’s not necessary to read that before reading Dissonance, by the way), you’ll recognize Cam as the British noble who breaks opera singer Aiden Lind’s heart by cheating on him. And although Cam does redeem himself a little by the end of that book, for me at least, he needed to walk through the fire and come out the other side in order to change his cheating ways.

Dissonance has some dark themes, but the focus is on hope and healing. With help from trumpet player Galen Rusk, whom Cam meets in a Manhattan subway station, Cam is able to pick up the pieces and make a new life for himself. I would be the last person to make excuses for a character who misbehaves, but I do love to delve deep into a character to understand what makes him tick. For me, Cam was a difficult character to get to know, but once I did, I fell pretty hard!

You can pre-order Dissonance on the Dreamspinner Press website now. And while you’re at it, be sure to enter the pre-release contest I’m running. You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll leave you with the blurb and an excerpt from Dissonance. I hope you enjoy it! –Shira

******

Blurb: British lord 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 own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.

When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.

Buy Blue Notes Series books on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceEbooks

******

EXCERPT:

Cam cursed his love for Aiden as he wobbled down the concrete steps to the 42nd Street subway station. Riley had looked at him as if he were mad when he’d told her he was headed home. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked with the same pouty expression she wore on the rare occasion when her father refused to buy her something.

“Nothing,” he said as he’d reached for the doorknob. “I’m done. That’s all.” “At least let me call my driver to take—”

He’d refused. Seriously, did she think he wasn’t capable of taking a fucking subway after a few drinks at a party? It wasn’t even midnight.

He rubbed an eye with the heel of his hand. The damn telephone conversation replayed in his mind and grated on his nerves like Muzak at a cheap restaurant. He’d tried not to sound eager. Tried to sound nonchalant. He’d gotten good at that over the years. And then the brutal words had come. They’d seared his heart and left him dizzy. “Listen, Cam…. I need to tell you something. I don’t want you to hear it from the press…. Sam asked me to marry him, and I said yes.

He needed to walk. He needed to clear his head. He needed to shout to the heavens and hit something.

Why in hell had he bothered to look at the phone? Easy: he’d prayed it was Aiden calling to tell him he wanted him back.

You’re a fucking loser, Cameron! Nobody wants you!

A memory stirred. Someone holding him. Ruffling his hair. Someone other than his father. Someone had wanted him. Cared for him.

Where the hell had that come from? He brushed it off and descended the steps to the Lexington Avenue train.

It was bad enough that Aiden thought he’d tried to sabotage his career. He did everything to make sure Aiden didn’t think he wasn’t interested anymore. He’d gone to the after-party following Aiden’s Met debut—of course he’d gone, his company had helped bankroll the production of Don Giovanni—and Aiden had been MIA. So he’d decided Aiden didn’t need to know he’d been there at all.

And then the phone call. Aiden hadn’t beaten around the proverbial bush. He’d said it. Honestly. Simply. Just the way Cam would have expected Aiden to say it. And suddenly Cam didn’t care if he fucked that hot little Broadway-bound arse. He no longer cared about the party or its hallowed attendees. He no longer cared about anything except the gaping, jagged hole the conversation had left in his heart. And now, fucking New York pigeons were setting up camp in the hole. Shitting in it.

He walked from the Lexington Avenue train toward to the S train platform. The achingly mournful sound of a trumpet echoed off the dirty tile walls. He hadn’t really noticed them before. The intricate mosaic artwork had probably taken weeks to complete. Decades before, it had probably been stunning, but now it was covered in a film of grayish-black soot and some of the tiles were missing.

How fitting. He looked around for the source of the music, noting the powerful smell of urine. Away from the turnstiles, a mound of blankets and a refuse-filled shopping cart occupied the far corner of the station. He guessed there was a human being under there, although he was hardly going to look. Beyond the automatic ticketing machines, he could just make out the form of a man holding a trumpet. The same man he’d seen playing at lunch. Maybe he lived in the subway. Cam had heard stories of actors and musicians unable to get work in New York living on the street.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….

Cam walked across the empty space between the train platforms, his feet making soft tapping sounds against the concrete. He paused for a moment to watch the trumpet player standing with his back to the wall. He stared into whatever space musicians liked to stare into—that ethereal place they went when they were so focused on the music that the world around them disappeared. A dusty blond curl fell from the shaggy mop of hair onto the trumpeter’s face as he finished another phrase. “… and she’s always gone too long any time she goes away.”

Cam drew a long breath. It was perfect. The angst of it all. The music. The echo of his steps. The blast of cool air as he neared the train tunnels. Fucking perfect.

The musician noticed him standing there. The man’s eyes were a beautiful hazel, almost green. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

What do you care? The man’s an unemployed musician.

The guy looked at him and his eyes widened almost imperceptibly, as they had the last time Cam had seen him. Did he recognize Cam? God knew there were enough articles written about him. Esquire, Elle, Cigars Magazine, blah, blah, blah. Glamour’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” from 2008. As if!

The trumpet player finished the song, then stopped for a moment and rested the trumpet against his hip. His lips were swollen and pink from playing. For a split second, Cam imagined tasting them. Then he noticed the torn jeans and white T-shirt with a faded Señor Frog’s logo and the words “I got wasted in Cancun” written below it.

Oh, for God’s sake, Cameron! He’s a loser with a capital L!

Well, that made two of them, didn’t it? Even if the guy could play pretty damn well—very well, judging by the little Cam had heard—they were both in a stinking, empty subway station on a Friday night at midnight. Poor sod.

“Another request?” A smile danced on the man’s kissable lips.

Cam shrugged. “Whatever you want to play,” he said, not caring how pathetic he sounded.

The trumpeter put his instrument to his lips and began. “Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart….”

 

“Dissonance” Cover Reveal, Giveaway, and Excerpt!

Dissonance-build-full-r2Reblogged from Book Suburbia.

Thanks, Sophie, for hosting the Dissonance cover reveal! There’s nothing quite as fun as showing off a brand-spanking-new book cover. Even better when it does a perfect job of capturing the feeling of the story. Dissonance, the latest installment in the Blue Notes Series from Dreamspinner Press, may be one of the angstiest of all the Blue Notes books. It’s a story of betrayal, heartbreak, and rising above your past to find hope in the future.

British noble Cam Sherrington puts on a good show, pretending he isn’t still grieving the end of his relationship with opera singer Aiden Lind. Of course, Cam has nothing to complain about, since he singlehandedly destroyed that relationship by cheating on Aiden again and again. Nobody likes a cheater, especially the cheater himself. Cam doesn’t know why he cheats, but he knows he’s a worthless piece of garbage. And it’s not as though anyone disagrees with him, either, if his mother and uncle are any indication.

Then Aiden calls to let him know he’s marrying his partner, attorney Sam Ryan. On Cam’s thirtieth birthday. And that’s just the beginning…. Before Cam can figure out what hit him, the rest of his life is in a shambles. Then the dreams start. Dark, frightening dreams. But if they’re only dreams, why do they seem so real?

Trumpet player Galen Rusk plays for tips in the 42nd Street Station in Manhattan, and he’s noticed Cam. When Cam stops to listen to Galen’s music, Galen takes a chance and tries to talk to him. But Galen’s music remains the only connection between them until Cam ends up sleeping on a cold subway bench. Then it’s Galen’s turn to pay forward the shoulder someone gave him ten years before.

Dissonance deals with some dark themes, but the message of the story is an upbeat one about learning to love yourself and finding your inner strength. By the end of writing the story, Cam totally won me over. I hope he’ll win you over too!

You can pre-order Dissonance on the Dreamspinner Press website now. And while you’re at it, be sure to enter the pre-release contest I’m running. You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/

I’ll leave you with the blurb and an excerpt from Dissonance. I hope you enjoy it! –Shira

******

Blurb: British lord 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 own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.

When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.

Buy Blue Notes Series books on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and AllRomanceEbooks

******

EXCERPT:

Cam cursed his love for Aiden as he wobbled down the concrete steps to the 42nd Street subway station. Riley had looked at him as if he were mad when he’d told her he was headed home. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked with the same pouty expression she wore on the rare occasion when her father refused to buy her something.

“Nothing,” he said as he’d reached for the doorknob. “I’m done. That’s all.” “At least let me call my driver to take—”

He’d refused. Seriously, did she think he wasn’t capable of taking a fucking subway after a few drinks at a party? It wasn’t even midnight.

He rubbed an eye with the heel of his hand. The damn telephone conversation replayed in his mind and grated on his nerves like Muzak at a cheap restaurant. He’d tried not to sound eager. Tried to sound nonchalant. He’d gotten good at that over the years. And then the brutal words had come. They’d seared his heart and left him dizzy. “Listen, Cam…. I need to tell you something. I don’t want you to hear it from the press…. Sam asked me to marry him, and I said yes.

He needed to walk. He needed to clear his head. He needed to shout to the heavens and hit something.

Why in hell had he bothered to look at the phone? Easy: he’d prayed it was Aiden calling to tell him he wanted him back.

You’re a fucking loser, Cameron! Nobody wants you!

A memory stirred. Someone holding him. Ruffling his hair. Someone other than his father. Someone had wanted him. Cared for him.

Where the hell had that come from? He brushed it off and descended the steps to the Lexington Avenue train.

It was bad enough that Aiden thought he’d tried to sabotage his career. He did everything to make sure Aiden didn’t think he wasn’t interested anymore. He’d gone to the after-party following Aiden’s Met debut—of course he’d gone, his company had helped bankroll the production of Don Giovanni—and Aiden had been MIA. So he’d decided Aiden didn’t need to know he’d been there at all.

And then the phone call. Aiden hadn’t beaten around the proverbial bush. He’d said it. Honestly. Simply. Just the way Cam would have expected Aiden to say it. And suddenly Cam didn’t care if he fucked that hot little Broadway-bound arse. He no longer cared about the party or its hallowed attendees. He no longer cared about anything except the gaping, jagged hole the conversation had left in his heart. And now, fucking New York pigeons were setting up camp in the hole. Shitting in it.

He walked from the Lexington Avenue train toward to the S train platform. The achingly mournful sound of a trumpet echoed off the dirty tile walls. He hadn’t really noticed them before. The intricate mosaic artwork had probably taken weeks to complete. Decades before, it had probably been stunning, but now it was covered in a film of grayish-black soot and some of the tiles were missing.

How fitting. He looked around for the source of the music, noting the powerful smell of urine. Away from the turnstiles, a mound of blankets and a refuse-filled shopping cart occupied the far corner of the station. He guessed there was a human being under there, although he was hardly going to look. Beyond the automatic ticketing machines, he could just make out the form of a man holding a trumpet. The same man he’d seen playing at lunch. Maybe he lived in the subway. Cam had heard stories of actors and musicians unable to get work in New York living on the street.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….

Cam walked across the empty space between the train platforms, his feet making soft tapping sounds against the concrete. He paused for a moment to watch the trumpet player standing with his back to the wall. He stared into whatever space musicians liked to stare into—that ethereal place they went when they were so focused on the music that the world around them disappeared. A dusty blond curl fell from the shaggy mop of hair onto the trumpeter’s face as he finished another phrase. “… and she’s always gone too long any time she goes away.”

Cam drew a long breath. It was perfect. The angst of it all. The music. The echo of his steps. The blast of cool air as he neared the train tunnels. Fucking perfect.

The musician noticed him standing there. The man’s eyes were a beautiful hazel, almost green. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

What do you care? The man’s an unemployed musician.

The guy looked at him and his eyes widened almost imperceptibly, as they had the last time Cam had seen him. Did he recognize Cam? God knew there were enough articles written about him. Esquire, Elle, Cigars Magazine, blah, blah, blah. Glamour’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” from 2008. As if!

The trumpet player finished the song, then stopped for a moment and rested the trumpet against his hip. His lips were swollen and pink from playing. For a split second, Cam imagined tasting them. Then he noticed the torn jeans and white T-shirt with a faded Señor Frog’s logo and the words “I got wasted in Cancun” written below it.

Oh, for God’s sake, Cameron! He’s a loser with a capital L!

Well, that made two of them, didn’t it? Even if the guy could play pretty damn well—very well, judging by the little Cam had heard—they were both in a stinking, empty subway station on a Friday night at midnight. Poor sod.

“Another request?” A smile danced on the man’s kissable lips.

Cam shrugged. “Whatever you want to play,” he said, not caring how pathetic he sounded.

The trumpeter put his instrument to his lips and began. “Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart….”

 

Reviews Matter! Oh, and the Countdown Contest Continues!

CareFeedingAuthorAmazonW-MobileHappy 4th of July weekend everyone! I’m headed to our sailboat now that Hurricane Arthur has cleared out, and I’m ready for some fun in the sun with my good friend Cody Kennedy, who’s here visiting from California.

From time to time, I like to remind readers who write to me to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed my books to leave a review at their favorite bookseller. Reviews of books help spread the word about books and increase sales, which in turn, helps writers pay their bills so they can… drumroll please… WRITE MORE BOOKS!

It doesn’t take long to write a review of a book. It doesn’t need to be a term paper, although long reviews are great, too. A review can be just a few sentences about why you enjoyed the story and what it made you feel. Places like Amazon.com don’t require readers to have purchased the book there to review. Ratings make a difference, too. On AllRomanceEbooks.com, if you rate books (even without reviewing), your favorite books may get featured on the top-rated books of the genre.STW preview It gets lovely rating stars under the book so readers can see the most recent rating, too. And if it sells well, it gets a pretty bestseller star!

Reviewing on Goodreads and other social media platforms is great, too. Most websites give you the option of just rating a book without writing a review (Amazon is the exception). AriaREVLGAnd although when I’m considering buying a book from a new author I tend to look at more than just the star rating, I can’t deny that I consider the rating in making a decision to read.BlueNotes[2ndEd]LG

So this July 4th weekend, if you’re enjoying a bit of down time and catching up with your favorite authors, please consider taking a few minutes out of your reading time to rate some of the books you’ve read! Authors and readers alike will thank you!

Oh, and I’m sending a bit of love back at you and offering up a prize package of paperback copies of the first 5 Blue Notes novels, as well as a Blue Notes tote bag and T-shirt. If the winner is not from the US, I’m offering up a Dreamspinner Press gift certificate and ebook copies of the Blue Notes books (not including Dissonance). You can enter by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/19tSbFv or by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dissonance, the latest entry in my Blue Notes Series of music-themed gay romances, will be released on August 8th. Like all the Blue Notes Series books, Dissonance is a standalone novel. Yes, for those who have read the other Blue Notes books, you’ll recognize a few of the series standbys included David Somers andMelodyThief2LG Alex Bishop. Oh, and Lord Cameron (“Cam”) Sherrington from Aria. But it’s not necessary to have read those books, so if you’re thinking about starting the series and aren’t sure which book to read first, why not start here?

I’ll leave you with another excerpt from the PreludeLGupcoming Dissonance. Stay tuned for the cover reveal and information about the Dissonance Blog Tour! Good luck to everyone! -Shira

******

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 Encore-Buildhis 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.

Excerpt:

CAM CURSED his love for Aiden as he wobbled down the concrete steps to the 42nd Street subway station. Riley had looked at him as if he were mad when he’d told her he was headed home. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked with the same pouty expression she wore on the rare occasion when her father refused to buy her something.

“Nothing,” he said as he’d reached for the doorknob. “I’m done. That’s all.”

“At least let me call my driver to take—”

He’d refused. Seriously, did she think he wasn’t capable of taking a fucking subway after a few drinks at a party? It wasn’t even midnight.

He rubbed an eye with the heel of his hand. The damn telephone conversation replayed in his mind and grated on his nerves like Muzak at a cheap restaurant. He’d tried not to sound eager. Tried to sound nonchalant. He’d gotten good at that over the years. And then the brutal words had come. They’d seared his heart and left him dizzy. “Listen, Cam…. I need to tell you something. I don’t want you to hear it from the press…. Sam asked me to marry him, and I said yes.”

He needed to walk. He needed to clear his head. He needed to shout to the heavens and hit something.

Why in hell had he bothered to look at the phone? Easy: he’d prayed it was Aiden calling to tell him he wanted him back.

You’re a fucking loser, Cameron! Nobody wants you!

A memory stirred. Someone holding him. Ruffling his hair. Someone other than his father. Someone had wanted him. Cared for him.

Where the hell had that come from? He brushed it off and descended the steps to the Lexington Avenue train.

It was bad enough that Aiden thought he’d tried to sabotage his career. He did everything to make sure Aiden didn’t think he wasn’t interested anymore. He’d gone to the after-party following Aiden’s Met debut—of course he’d gone, his company had helped bankroll the production of Don Giovanni—and Aiden had been MIA. So he’d decided Aiden didn’t need to know he’d been there at all.

And then the phone call. Aiden hadn’t beaten around the proverbial bush. He’d said it. Honestly. Simply. Just the way Cam would have expected Aiden to say it. And suddenly Cam didn’t care if he fucked that hot little Broadway-bound arse. He no longer cared about the party or its hallowed attendees. He no longer cared about anything except the gaping, jagged hole the conversation had left in his heart. And now, fucking New York pigeons were setting up camp in the hole. Shitting in it.

He walked from the Lexington Avenue train toward to the S train platform. The achingly mournful sound of a trumpet echoed off the dirty tile walls. He hadn’t really noticed them before. The intricate mosaic artwork had probably taken weeks to complete. Decades before, it had probably been stunning, but now it was covered in a film of grayish-black soot and some of the tiles were missing.

How fitting. He looked around for the source of the music, noting the powerful smell of urine. Away from the turnstiles, a mound of blankets and a refuse-filled shopping cart occupied the far corner of the station. He guessed there was a human being under there, although he was hardly going to look. Beyond the automatic ticketing machines, he could just make out the form of a man holding a trumpet. The same man he’d seen playing at lunch. Maybe he lived in the subway. Cam had heard stories of actors and musicians unable to get work in New York living on the street.

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone….”

Andrew Q. Gordon – Why I Write About Loss. Guest Post and Giveaway

A Closed Door – Part of the Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology

From Wayward Ink Publishing

 

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First, thank you Shira for letting me commandeer your blog to talk about my newest story.

Full length novels, series, big ideas, these are easy for me. I love the epic stories, the ones that take books to tell—or at least one very long book. So when it comes to writing short stories – anthology entries, I generally take a pass. But I was challenged to write one for the Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology, so I decided to take a crack at ‘short.’ [Ignore that my story was slightly over the word limit and if not the longest one in the anthology it was a very close second.]

The problem for me with with short is that once I start writing, the characters take on a life of their own and suddenly my little short story has morphed into a grand adventure that I’ll need books to cover and years to tell. Don’t laugh, my planned series—Dlgen—was supposed to be an anthology story and well that’s now going to be five books I think. (When I get around to writing it.) But when I finally do find a story I can keep down to anthology length, I’ve noticed a pattern – they always fall in the ‘Loss’ category.

A Closed Door is no different. I’m told by some who’ve read it that it made them cry. I suppose that was part of my intention as loss is a powerful emotion and if done well can connect the reader to the characters. But I find it odd that I’m able to write ‘loss’ easier than ‘lust.’ I can’t say I’ve had a particularly sad life. In fact, I’d say the opposite. So what is it that draws me to stories where loss is such a big part of the story?

While I don’t sit down and analyze my plots before I begin writing and ask, “why is this so sad in parts,” I think the answer lies in how much we root for the main character who can over come adversity, or who is willing to sacrifice all for the good of someone else. We root for them to prevail against the odds or admire their noble spirit. That’s not to say that we all don’t appreciate a nice, happy, lust filled, pick-me-up, feel good story, but sometimes the more memorial stories are the ones that carry you up and down and back again.

Fortunately, stories that have loss in them can still have a HEA.

Blurb:

LLLL Andrew Q Gordon

A Closed Door; by Andrew Q. Gordon

Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become since he’d been outed at thirteen. When a tornado destroys his childhood home and kills his parents, Orin finds a new kind of hell. Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one time best friend, Thomas Kennett. Thomas not only rejected Orin when he came out, he led the group that caused him to leave. As he struggles to deal with his grief , he tried to fulfill a pledge he made to his parents before their death. In the process, Orin learns that sometimes when you leave to find something, you might have left what you’re looking for behind.

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Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust Anthology, by Wayward Ink Publishing.

We’ve all loved.

We’ve all laughed.

Sadly, we’ve also probably all known loss in one form or another.

And, yes, we at Wayward Ink are sure we’ve all experienced lust!

In Love, Loss, Laughter & Lust, you’ll experience one or more of the “L”s as we take you on a roller coaster of emotions. Whether you like to sigh over the sweet, cry for the broken-hearted, enjoy a good laugh, or get a little hot and bothered, there’s something for everyone in this collection.

Buy Links:

Wayward Ink Publishing:

Amazon US:

Barnes and Noble:

Kobo:

Amazon AU:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Germany:

Giveaway:

As part of the release of the new Anthology, Wayward Ink is holding a giveaway. Just click the code below for a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. Two people will also win a paperback copy of the book, and three people will win a WIP USB Extension Cord and Fridge Magnet. There are 11 ways to enter and you can earn up to 20 chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Social Media Links:

You can find his books at

Wayward Ink Publishing

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

Follow Andrew on his website: www.andrewqgordon.com,

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon,

On Twitter: @andrewqgordon,

Or just email him: andrewqgordon@gmail.com

 

I’m in Love with Gay Romance

Reblogged from Lissa Kasey’s Blog, 6/20/14

Every so often, there’s a big hullabaloo over women writing gay romance. I can count at least a dozen instances where I’ve sat back and just scratched my head over the horrible comments and insinuations. And it makes me so incredibly sad, because most of the women I know who write gay romance do so because they love romance. Period.  And they want to celebrate all colors of it. They don’t do it for the money (hell knows, writing het smut pays a lot better than writing gay romance!). They write gay fiction because they’re inspired to do so.

Men have been writing wonderful fiction about women for centuries. Amazing heroines I often dreamed of being like when I was growing up. Heroes I wished would sweep me off my feet. I grew up reading stories about men and women mostly, because there weren’t many gay romances around. I did find a few, written between the lines. Those lingered with me because first and foremost, I loved men. Any flavor of the rainbow. They are my friends, my husband, my son, my father. Gay, straight, bisexual, queer, questioning, asexual, trans, intersex. Beautiful, wonderful men who made me smile, cry, but most of all who made me love them.

About eight years ago, I discovered gay romance, a genre I didn’t even know existed. I was hooked. It wasn’t just about the guy on guy sex, although that’s definitely a turn-on. But honestly, straight sex is also a turn-on for me to read (I’m pretty much an omnivore when it comes to reading sex). It wasn’t just about the social issues that still constrain many men to this day, although my experiences living through the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the 80s and losing dear friends to the disease certainly have shaped my perspective. It wasn’t just about the strong characters (and I don’t mean this strictly in the physical sense). I’ve read strong female characters I love as well.

For years, I wracked my brains about what it was that drew me to write gay fiction over the het fiction I started out writing. What did I finally figure out? That I don’t have an “answer.” I write from my heart. I write gay fiction because that creative part of my brain, my muse, tells me their stories. And although I write primarily for my gay male readers in that I want my characters to ring true, I’m happy if women also enjoy my stories. Because it’s about writing love. Writing hope. Writing what I want to read, and hoping others will enjoy it. If it makes readers laugh, or cry, or feel something, then I’ve done my job.

As a former musician, I feel the same way about the performers I listen to. I don’t care if it’s a man or a women playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. If it’s beautifully played, I will love it. Writing is just like musical expression. Music is either genuine and heartfelt enough to connect with your sensibilities, or it’s not the right choice for you to listen to. I love classic jazz. Modern jazz, not so much. I love Maria Callas’s Tosca. Joan Sutherland’s? Not so much.

Don’t judge a book by the sex or sexual orientation of its author. Judge a book because it makes you feel, or fails to make you feel something. If you don’t like a story, what difference does it make if it’s written by a man or a woman?  I’ve had male readers write to me and say that they hesitated to buy my books because I’m a woman and they’d never read gay fiction written by a woman before, but they gave the books a chance and connected with the characters and the story. And that’s what artistic expression is all about. Making someone else feel.

Let me end with two questions. Does it matter why a writer writes what she or he writes? Or does it matter that the writing reaches your heart? I think the latter is the question we all need to ask ourselves. -Shira

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