Coming Soon: The Melody Thief, Blue Notes #2

July has been a great month in so many ways!  It started out with my submitting the third Blue Notes Series book to Dreamspinner Press and wonderful critical reviews of my latest DSP release, The Trust, which I co-authored with my friend Venona Keyes.   Jessewave called The Trust “science fiction at its best!”  Not to mention the wonderful vacation with my husband of 20 years in the Caribbean where we both got open water certification in scuba diving. 

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending time writing with my good friend and fellow DSP author, E.M. Lynley.  We’re working on an exciting joint project.  Our week together ended with two new contracts from Dreamspinner – one for each of us!  Oh, and yummy ginger martinis E.m. invented.

This week started with me receiving the final artwork for the cover of my upcoming release, The Melody Thief, the second in the Blue Notes series.  Release date for Thief is August 24th, so check back for excerpts and contests leading up to then.  I’ll also be posting a book “extra” here on my website with links to the music in The Melody Thief.  Click on the link for the blurb.

Of course, I’m still working on several other projects, including the planned fourth book in the Blue Notes series, Prelude.  It’s always good to be busy, but it’s great to sit back and just smile when the hard work pays off! -Shira

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“Aria” (Blue Notes #3)

I just submitted book three in the Blue Notes series, “Aria,” to Dreamspinner Press for tentative publication in December of 2012 (assuming they accept the manuscript, of course!).  “Aria” took me the longest of any of the Blue Notes books to write – I started working on it nearly two years ago.  It was originally planned as the second book in the series.  

Ironic, isn’t it, that “Aria” is about a career path I myself lived, and yet it took so long for me to finish the book.  But it’s hardly a surprise.  Musicians can never truly forget music, even if they give it up entirely.  It’s in our blood, in our hearts, in our souls.  It doesn’t matter if all you did was play trumpet in your high school band–if you really forged a connection to the art of musical expression, it’s a bond not easily broken.  It’s a lot like love.  Maybe it is love, similar to love between people.

“Aria” is the story of opera singer Aiden Lind, whom you will meet in the second Blue Notes book, “The Melody Thief,” due out August 24th from Dreamspinner Press (Aiden is best friends with Cary Redding, one of the main characters in Thief).  Aiden’s a self-proclaimed “hick” from rural Mississippi who makes it big on the international operatic scene.  With the help of conductor David Somers, Aiden’s career skyrockets just as his relationship with wealthy British Lord Cameron Sherrington takes a nosedive.  That’s when Aiden reconnects with Sam Ryan (whom you’ll remember as the Philadelphia lawyer Jason Greene meets at a gay bar toward the end of “Blue Notes”). 

Aiden and Sam had instant chemistry years before, and that chemistry is still there when they meet for a second time in Paris.  But working through the logistics of a long-distance relationship is challenging, not to mention stressful.  And that’s without the ghost from Sam’s past whom Aiden can’t hope to compete with. 

Like the other “Blue Notes” series books, “Aria” is about relationships.  Just saying “I love you” isn’t enough:  it takes communication and effort to make a relationship a success.  I think that’s also what made it so difficult for me to write this book.  Letting go of relationships (in this case my own relationship with my operatic career) is just as much work as forging a relationship.  At least, if you want to survive and grow in spite of the pain.  Making peace with the loss of a love, whether of a person or of a passion, isn’t so different.

-Shira

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Free Story: “Kiss and Makeup” on MM Goodreads

My MM Romance Goodreads Group free story, “Kiss and Makeup,” is now available (6/30/12)!  “Kiss and Makeup,” a fluffy, sexy, tiny-bit-angsty story about a Hollywood makeup artist and the superstar actor he has to transform into an alien warlord.  It’s a bit less angsty than my usual, but the sex is explicit, so 18+ only please!

The short story (just shy of 10K words) is based on this terrific prompt by Diane:  Ted is a special effects make-up artist who hopes to win an Oscar for his work on a big budget sci-fi movie. He spends four hours each morning transforming action-hero superstar Lenny Golden into an alien warlord. His greatest achievement would be to transform Lenny into his lover before filming ends.  Sub-genre: contemporary.  Tags: movies; celebrities; Hollywood; film; explicit sex content; makeup artist; Oscar; Academy Awards

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite, or just click on the photo or link above to read the complete story.

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Chapter One:

His slicked fingers glided over the smooth skin and he marveled at the hard muscle beneath. Inch by inch he greased the firm flesh, sliding over peaks and valleys of finely honed abs, into the creases under the pectoral muscles and the deep indentation at the waist. With the grease, the slippery skin caught the light and glittered silver on tan.

“Are you warm enough?” Ted felt suddenly hot in his cotton shirt. Had the air conditioning gone out again?

“I’m good.” The voice was a rich baritone. Warm. Sexy.

“I’m almost done.”

Len let out a slow breath that sounded almost like a sigh, and Ted wondered if the other man felt the same heat. He brushed the thought away.

This is work. Don’t forget that.

Why was it so damn hard to stay focused? He wiped his hands on a towel and studied the slicked chest with satisfaction, then pressed a button on the table to make it pivot at the center until Len was standing upright once again.

“Can I get you something to drink? It’ll be a few hours before you’ll be able to move.”

“Nah, I’m fine. Thanks.”

In his eight years in the business, Ted Aaronson had never been so distracted. He never got distracted. He was the best sci-fi makeup artist around—the go-to guy when the director wanted detail stuff. The most complicated prosthetic work. The cutting-edge designs. But having Len Golden on his table half-naked, his smooth chest the object of his attentions, was almost more than Ted could take.

The guy was stunning. Better in person, Ted thought, than on screen. Reddish-brown hair and deep green eyes, with a strong jaw, high cheekbones, and muscles that wouldn’t quit. Ted imagined what it would be like to unbutton the well-worn jeans and run his hands over the tight globes of Len’s—

“On second thought,” Len said, the tiny lines at the corners of his mouth more visible with his boyish smile, “I think I’d like some water. And maybe I’ll take a leak.”

“Bathrooms are through that door.” Ted gestured to his left. “I’ll get a few bottles. Perrier?”

“Tap is fine.”

Ted nodded and watched Len walk away, watched the perfect ass in the faded Levi’s. He repressed a sigh. Len Golden was the hottest thing to hit the screen in a decade. It didn’t hurt that on top of his to-die-for good looks, the guy could really act.

Ted had met the man ten years before, when they’d both been working summer stock at a theatre in up-state New York. Back then, “Len Golden” was still “Lenny Goldberger,” and Ted was the emo kid nobody looked at twice. Ted remembered Lenny well: a bright-eyed newbie whose only acting credit was a high school production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Len had seemed oblivious to the wide-eyed stares of the actresses and stage crew. He was just a nice guy from Long Island with dreams of singing on Broadway. No talk of Hollywood or of blockbuster action flicks, no Oscar buzz.

Not that Lenny would remember him, thought Ted. Ted Aaronson wasn’t a memorable kind of a guy. At seventeen, he had been the epitome of geekdom, dreaming of a life somewhere beyond the confines of middle-class suburbia. The guy with multiple piercings, the latest of which was a silver bar through his eyebrow. Kohl eyeliner, mesh shirts, tight black jeans, black Converses or army boots.

Ten years later, Ted was the proud recipient of an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup for a big-budget zombie film he’d nearly turned down, and Lenny was the hottest commodity in Hollywood. A “thinking-man’s action hero,” as one of the reviewers had dubbed him. And this new movie just might earn them both an Academy Award.

“Better?” Ted asked as Len sauntered back into the room. He finished the water in the paper cup he was holding and tossed it into the garbage near the makeup table.

“Great. So what’s next?”

“I’ll take a casting of the front of your torso for the body armor. We’ll do your head tomorrow morning and your back in the afternoon, once Tina has the front section ready for me.”

Len nodded and took his place back on the table.

“We’ll start off with you standing up and when the silicone’s
set, I’ll tilt the table and do the plaster on top.”

Ted poured equal amounts of the silicone and hardener into a cup, mixing it until it turned a uniform blue. Then with his fingers, he began to slather the mixture in a thin coating over Len’s chest.

“The release cream I rubbed on you will keep your hairs from sticking to the silicone,” Ted explained, eager to keep his mind off the feel of Len’s body. Talking helped calm the errant twitch of his cock. Well, at least a little.

He certainly wasn’t going to be at his best with constant wood. He even considered using a brush to paint the silicone, figuring it might be less of a turn-on. Some of his colleagues preferred brush to fingers, but Ted had always appreciated the sensual, artistic nature of the process. In high school, he had loved to work in clay, and the connection between his fingers and an actor’s skin always reminded him of sculpting classes in college.

No. You do what you always do. You can jack off all you like tonight, back home, but now you’re going to do your job the way you know you need to do it.

“Cold.” Len laughed in a low rumble that made Ted’s jeans feel tighter still. If that was even remotely possible.

“Don’t move,” Ted warned. He didn’t want to spoil the casting, but he also didn’t want the other man to see the bulge at his crotch. He thanked the gods that he hadn’t tucked his shirt inside his pants.

“Sorry.” Len closed his eyes as Ted continued to cover his chest in the paste, making sure to coat the indentation beneath Ted’s Adam’s apple and slightly farther up.

God, but Len’s body was fucking perfect! His chin was rough with stubble and Ted’s cock jumped again at the prospect of shaving that strong jaw tomorrow before he cast the actor’s face for the prosthetics. Ted imagined licking the base of Len’s neck, feathering bites and kisses up and over his jaw.

It was going to be a long three hours.


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Sneak peak at “The Melody Thief” – Coming 8/28

For the last day of the blog hop, I thought I’d share an excerpt from my upcoming release, “The Melody Thief (Blue Notes #2).”  Release date is 8/24/12 from Dreamspinner Press.  This is from Chapter Four.  A little background – Antonio rescues Cary from a mugging on a Milan street and offers Cary spend the night at his place so there’s someone to watch him after he suffers a concussion. Cary wakes up the next morning to a little complication.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of one of my Dreamspinner Press titles (including “Blue Notes,” the first in the series).  Also be sure to enter the grand prize drawing here and click on the Blog Hop icon on the left for more blogs and giveaways!

Blurb:  Cary Taylor Redding, former child prodigy and international cello soloist, has a problem: he’s falling for sexy Italian lawyer, Antonio Bianchi. Which wouldn’t be such a terrible thing, really, except that Cary’s been lying about who he is ever since he met Antonio. If he comes clean, he figures he has no chance of sleeping with the man, let alone a relationship. But then again, he isn’t really looking for a relationship, is he?

About the Series:  The “Blue Notes” series is comprised of interrelated contemporary romance novels based on characters inhabiting the same musical universe.  Each book can be read independently of the others (“spinoff”) and in any order.

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Pre-publication Excerpt, final version may change!

Chapter Four: Little Stinkers

“Would you like to take a bath before bed?” Antonio put the last of the dishes away in the kitchen as Cary leaned against the counter and watched.

They’d been discussing the soccer season and Italy’s prospects for the World Cup. It had been a comfortable, relaxed conversation, and Cary realized he’d actually been flirting with Antonio.

“Is that a hint?” Cary said with a playful grin.

“I hadn’t meant it that way. Although since you put it like that… yes. You smell bad.” Antonio’s grin belied his words, and Cary realized he too was flirting.

“I’m hurt that you’d say that.” Cary put his good hand against his chest and tried to look insulted. He knew he smelled like stale cigarettes, sweat, and worse, even.

Antonio laughed. “No, you’re not hurt. And you do need a bath.”

“Does that mean you’re willing to help me?” He needed the help, he reminded himself with a wry grin. The doctor told him not to get the cast wet, hadn’t he? He was pretty sure he wasn’t imagining Antonio’s interest.

Antonio smiled, closed his eyes briefly, and let out a long breath. “I suppose it does.”

Cary did his best to appear just appreciative of Antonio’s assistance, although judging by Antonio’s wary look, Cary realized he wasn’t that convincing.

When Antonio emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, Cary waited in the bedroom, naked. (Unbuttoning a shirt one-handed was far easier than buttoning it). If this surprised Antonio, he didn’t show it. Still, he kept his gaze fixed on Cary’s face with obvious effort, something Cary noticed with smug satisfaction.

Cary didn’t consider himself classically handsome, but he knew he was attractive in a comfortable guy-next-door way. Years of faithful trips to the gym had transformed his gangly body into a more muscular one. He prided himself on his flat stomach and narrow waist and on the hint of definition in his arms. He had never been shy about showing his body, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. He was having too much fun. And, he realized, he wanted Antonio.

“The bruising looks painful,” said Antonio as Cary climbed gingerly into the bathtub.

“It’s not that bad. The medicine helped.”

Antonio dipped a washcloth in the warm water and began to wash Cary with clinical detachment. “Keep your wrist on the side. You don’t want to get the plaster wet.”

“Feels good.” Cary closed his eyes and leaned back against the tub.

Antonio snorted.

“What? Can’t a guy enjoy himself?”

“You’re trying too hard.” Antonio ran the cloth down Cary’s chest.

“Does that mean you’re going to join me in here?” Well, a guy could dream, couldn’t he?

“Definitely not.”

Antonio finished up with the washcloth, then took the sprayer and proceeded to wet and wash Cary’s hair.

“Here,” Antonio said a few minutes later, handing Cary the washcloth. “You can get the last spot.” Cary noticed the hint of blush that stained Antonio’s pale cheeks.

“About tonight,” Cary began, determined to make the most of the situation. “We can sleep—”

“I’ll be sleeping on the couch,” Antonio interrupted with calm resolve, having clearly anticipated the question.

Cary frowned. “But it’d be a lot more comfortable if you slept with me in the bed.” He stood up and faced Antonio, knowing his arousal was as obvious as the come-on. “You could dry me off and then—”

“It’s quite comfortable,” Antonio interrupted again. “You can take my word for it.”

And with that pronouncement, he offered Cary a hand out of the tub and wrapped the towel around him as fast as he could.

“Sure you don’t want to join me in the bed?” Cary asked a few minutes later, as Antonio came out of the bathroom in sweatpants and a T-shirt. He carried a glass of water and more pain pills. “I could warm you up, you know.”

“That’s very kind of you, Connor, but I’ll be quite all right on the couch.”

Cary swallowed the pills in silence. He knew the pain in his wrist made sex pretty much a nonstarter anyway. Still, he had enjoyed messing with his scrupulously polite host. And when he was feeling better, who knew? What difference would another twenty-four hours make in the grand scheme of things?

Cary expected Antonio would head back to the living room, but as he picked up a pillow from the bed, he stopped. For a moment, Cary thought Antonio might touch him, but then he sat down on the edge of the bed.

“How are you feeling?” Antonio asked.

“I’m fine.” Well it was true, wasn’t it?

“I….” Antonio hesitated as if he were trying to say something but thought better of it. “It’s just that it must be hard for you. The broken wrist. The bruises. It’ll make things difficult for your… work.”

Cary glanced at the cast and shrugged. “I’ll be okay. I’m sure.”

At that moment, though, Cary wasn’t so sure. A wave of fear rose within him, and he reminded himself that the doctor had said he’d be fine. He would play again. There wasn’t another option, was there? It was everything to him, his music. Without it, what was he? Cary brushed the thought away, as he had done earlier.

“If there is something I can do for you, please let me know.” Antonio looked genuinely concerned.

“I’ll be fine. Really.” Antonio squeezed his shoulder, and Cary wished he could fall into those powerful arms. He imagined what it might feel like to bury his face in Antonio’s chest, to feel that body pressed against his own….

Antonio pulled his hand away far sooner than Cary wanted and stood up again, pillow in hand. “You need to get some rest,” he said.

“Good night, Antonio. And thanks,” Cary added in a serious tone, “for saving my ass.”

“Sogni d’oro, Connor.” Antonio closed the door behind him.

“Zummm, zummm, zummm….” The sound grated on Cary’s ears, and he pulled an extra pillow over his head. He had been dreaming about something really nice, and…. He felt the sharp pain in his wrist and realized he had completely forgotten about the events of two nights before.

“Zummm, zummm, zummm….”

“What the hell?” he snapped in English as he threw the pillow off the bed with his good arm.

From under heavy eyelids, he focused on a small metal airplane about three inches from his nose. The eyes that met his were a vivid blue—not Antonio’s, although the similarity in color was quite remarkable—and belonged to a child of four or five.

“Who are you?” Cary demanded in Italian. He hated kids almost as much as he hated being woken up from a good dream, and this particular dream had prominently featured a certain blond Italian.

The little hand began to move again, making the toy airplane glide and bank. “Zummm, zummm, zummm….” The little boy, whose long blond curls ended at his shoulders, smiled at him.

“Who are you?” Cary repeated, long past the end of his patience.

“Who are you?” the boy countered. Then, as if putting the pieces of a particularly complicated puzzle together, he said, “Oh. You’re Papà’s guest!”

Papà?

The kid was giggling now. “Is your name Corrie? No,” he said as he chewed his bottom lip. “Papà told me, but I forgot—”

“Connor,” Cary supplied. Anything to get that high, squeaky voice out of his I’m-grumpy-don’t-mess-with-me-in-the-morning ears.

“Connore! That’s it! Connore!”

“Connor.”

“Connore,” the boy repeated, again adding the final e. His face was screwed up in a frown, as if he were challenging Cary to correct him one more time.

“Fine.” Who was he to argue with a bratty kid at eight in the morning?

“I’m Massimo,” he announced with his chin held high. “Massimo Bianchi. I’m five years old. Almost six.”

“Nice to meet you,” Cary answered, more out of resignation than politeness.

“Daddy said you spoke Italian.” Massimo didn’t seem convinced. “He said you were American. I don’t think they speak Italian in America.” The expression on his face was defiant.

“They don’t. I learned to speak it here, in Italy.”

This seemed to appease Massimo. He shrugged and went back to buzzing Cary’s head again with the airplane.

“Would you stop that?”

“You didn’t say ‘please’,” Massimo said with an expression of calm irritation that immediately called to mind Antonio.

“Would you please stop that?” Little brat.

Massimo appeared to consider the question. Then, apparently deciding he was having too much fun to stop, he dive-bombed Cary’s face.

“Massimo?” a woman’s voice called from outside the bedroom.

“Don’t tell her I woke you up.” Massimo raised his eyebrows and bit his lip.

“You didn’t say ‘please’,” Cary said with satisfaction. Chalk one up for the grown-up!

Please, Connore, don’t tell her I woke you up.”

The door to the bedroom opened, and a woman peered inside. “Oh,” she gasped, shooting a look of reproach at the little boy, “he woke you up, didn’t he?”

“No,” Cary lied. “I was already awake when he came in.”

“Massimo,” the woman said with narrowed eyes, “go back into the living room. Let Signor Taylor sleep.” She kissed Massimo on the top of his head and sighed theatrically.

“Yes, Mamma.” Massimo flashed Cary a bright grin as though they were now best friends, then scampered off the bed and out the door.

“I am so sorry,” the woman said as she pushed her long brown hair from her face. “I was making breakfast, and I didn’t realize he had come in here. Massimo is just so curious.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Cary told her. “It’s fine, really.”

“He’s a lot like his father, always curious about things.”

“So Antonio is his father?”

Great. Mr. Perfect has a kid. Way too complicated. His hope for a mind-blowing one-night stand was fading fast.

“Oh, yes.” She smiled and shook her head. “They’re very much alike.” Then, as if suddenly realizing something, she clapped a hand over her mouth and said, “Oh! I’m being so rude! I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m Francesca Fratelli.”

“Connor Taylor.” Cary’s heart did a nosedive for his stomach. Francesca wore a wedding band on her right hand in the European custom.

No wonder he wasn’t interested.

“So you’re Antonio’s wife?”

She laughed, a light, musical laugh that rang about the bedroom. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “No, no. We’ve been friends since we were children—he’s like my brother.”

The extent to which it relieved Cary to hear this surprised him. Why would you care, anyhow? You only wanted to sleep with the guy, not marry him.

“I see” was all he said.

“Speaking of work,” she continued, “Tonino asked me to make you some breakfast. He left for the office about an hour ago.”

That’s right. Today is Monday, isn’t it? He really needed to call Georges and let him know about canceling the upcoming gigs.

“That’s very kind of you.”

“Antonio and I grew up together near Stradella, not far from here,” Francesca explained as they sat down for a breakfast comprised of a variety of fruit, cheese, and bread. “His family still lives there.”

The apartment was quiet, for which Cary was more than grateful. Massimo was now lying on his stomach on the couch, feet up in the air, reading a book.

“So you live in Milan?”

“Yes. I moved here a few years ago with my partner, Marissa. I’m a painter.” She filled his coffee cup and passed him a tray of cheese and prosciutto. “I’ve had a few shows in Milan and Rome. I work at a gallery in the city.” She gestured to a painting hanging on the wall.

“Interesting piece,” he said, noting the splashes of bright colors on the mostly dark background and the hint of a human shape they combined to create. It was a sensual, unusual work. Something he could see hanging on a wall in his own apartment. “I like it.”

She blushed charmingly. “Thank you, signore.”

“Please, call me Connor.”

“Connor. Your Italian is very good,” she added as she offered him some more bread.

“I’ve got a pretty good ear. And I love the sound of the language.”

“I’m so sorry about what happened to you. Tonino told me about those horrible men. Does it hurt much?” she asked.

“Just the wrist. But it’s better today. I just look worse.” He touched two fingers to his jaw.

“So I hear you’re a waiter.”

Cary nodded as he sipped his coffee.

“What restaurant do you work at?”

Cary tried not to choke. Lies were easier to stomach if you didn’t have to go into a lot of detail. They were also easier when you were drunk. “I sort of fill in at a few places.”

He felt like a total shit now. He needed to go home.

“Tonino left you some clothing.” She pointed to a chair by the front door. A pair of pants hung over the back, along with a neatly folded shirt and socks. “He was sorry he couldn’t stay. He’ll be back at lunch.”

“He’s already done a lot for me. And I really should be going. The doctor was just worried about last night.”

Her expression was almost wistful, as if she were disappointed to hear this. “I’m sure he would want you to stay,” she said. “At least until he comes home.”

“That’s really nice, but I’ll leave him my number. I’d like to thank him.”

And I have some great ideas about how I can do that, if he’ll let me.


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All I Ever Learned About Romance I Learned from Reading Yaoi (Well, Almost!)

Thanks for stopping by for the Manga & Romance Blog Hop!  While you’re here, please be sure to comment on this post to be entered into a drawing for your choice of my Dreamspinner Press titles:  “The Trust,” “Blue Notes,” and “The Dream of a Thousand Nights” in your choice of ebook formats.  And be sure to check out all the other wonderful blogs (click on the blog hop icon on the left) participating and enter to win the grand prize (lots of goodies)!  Also, if you’d like to read excerpts from my brand-new MM spy thriller/romance, “The Trust,” scroll down the blogroll. -Shira

My introduction to gay romance came not by “slashing” characters from my favorite book or anime, it came in the form of a yaoi manga:  “The Crimson Spell,” by Ayano Yamane.  Not to say that I haven’t slashed my favorite couples over the years on fan fiction websites.  I have.  Totally.  But Vald and Havi have lingered, far beyond my interest in writing for fandoms.  They’ve inspired sex scenes in my original works and even inspired a work in progress that’s been simmering on the back burner for a few years.

For those who might not be familiar with the manga, “Crimson Spell” is populated by stunningly beautiful men (more toward the masculine than the feminine, as some other yaoi manga tend to lean), an exciting albeit flimsy plot, and lot and LOTS of incredibly hot sex.  Swoon, drool, hot, hot, HOT sex. Havi, the powerful wizard, begins to fall for Vald, the handsome and incredibly naïve prince who comes to Havi seeking to break a curse that transforms him into a demon at night.  Havi (brilliant and very horny wizard that he is), realizes pretty quickly that he can tame the prince/demon through sex.  The prince, who at last begins to realize what’s been happening to him when he’s in his demon form, realizes that he may be a bit more interested in Havi than he’d like to admit.  Perfect, yaoi heaven!  Dubcon becomes consensual and, true to yaoi memes, Vald fights his attraction to the obviously gay Havi.  No, we still haven’t gotten a HEA yet.  *sighs*

So how do you get from yaoi fantasy, which really has so little to do with real relationships,  to writing gay romances?  It’s not all that difficult, really.  If you boil down the main elements of yaoi—mutual attraction, fighting mutual attraction (as in, “I’m NOT gay!”), hot sex, a little bit of plot to move things along, and finally surrender—you get the “bones” of a real-world romance.  Sure, not all romances follow this formula, but a ton  of them do.  Why does it work?  Romantic tension and sweet resolution.

MC #1 claims he’s not interested, MC #2 pursues (the typical Harlequin het romance setup I remember from when I was a kid).  The two MCs butt heads because neither wants to admit he is in love.  In the case of yaoi, there’s the added tension of being perceived as gay.  Eventually, as the plot carries the two men along, they realize they can’t fight the attraction anymore and, bingo, hot sex. In the case of most yaoi, this pulling and pushing (no pun intended!) would either be drawn out over endless chapters or replayed in each chapter.   Finally, the story ends with confessions of love on both sides.

Why do we love the formula so much?  Because the ultimate admission of love is the most satisfyingly sweet reward for all the angst we suffer along the way.  You feel the angst in your gut, you scream at the characters to stop being such idiots and just frigging ADMIT IT!  So when you get to the long-awaited happily-ever-after, it’s as good as the inevitable climax of a great sex scene.  Maybe even more satisfying.

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I’m guest blogging today with Helen Pattskyn!

"The Trust," art by Catt FordI’m over at Helen Pattskyn’s blog today talking about my new Dreamspinner Press release, “The Trust.”  Please stop by and check out my interview and read more about the inspiration for this gay romance/suspense thriller.  Also, check out Helen’s wonderful blog and see what she’s up to (I hear she’s got a new book coming out this summer)! – Shira

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“The Trust” Book Giveaway Winners!

"The Trust," art by Catt FordThe winners of the two ebook copies of “The Trust” are: msculp01 and Flicker!   I’ll be emailing you both to let you know how to claim your books.  The winner of the Goodreads giveaway paperback copy is Daniel H.  I’ll also be in touch with you, Daniel!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered the contests!  And thanks for all the well-wishes and words of encouragement for release day.  It was really a pleasure to hear from all of you.  Oh, and of course, if you want to buy an ebook or paperback copy of the book, it’s now available at Dreamspinner Press, AllRomanceEbooks, and Amazon.  “The Trust” is already ranked in the top 50 bestsellers on Amazon in three gay/lesbian categories, and on the ARe bestseller list!  Thanks again, everyone! -Shira

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