Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest: No More Heroes- Book Two by J.L. O'Faolain

I interrupt the world building blog hop week for a guest! Today J.L. O'Faolain stops by to share book two of No More Heroes.

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Being a hero has its drawbacks.

Real-life superhero Push knows that better than anyone. When the Cape Cabinet decided to boost their numbers and commissioned the release of Wrath, a former supercriminal, Push and his best friend, Scratch, got the arduous assignment of rehabilitating Wrath and showing him heroism's ropes.

Now all three are stuck in Shove Point, Arkansas, lying in wait for one of Wrath's evil villain ex-buddies. Between the mysterious plane crash in the center of town and the spacecraft that self-destructed, Shove Point is weird enough. Then the utterly straight Scratch suddenly professes his undying love for Push.

As the situation heats up—between him and Scratch and in Shove Point—Push decides to call in reinforcements. Giant robots stomping all over the small town do not help matters, nor does a rampaging cyborg, nor Push's unresolved attraction to Wrath. Then they discover there’s a mole in the Real-Life Superhero association. Whatever their differences, the newly formed team must put aside their baggage and work together to prevent an even greater tragedy.


Buy link:
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3542&cPath=55_422


Author links:
Twitter
Facebook


Excerpt:

“You never were tough enough to tangle man-on-man with the big boys,” Sloth roared. “You always had to fall back on those second-rate parlor tricks.”

“Maybe,” Wrath admitted, unperturbed. “But I’m not the one running scared at the moment.”

A ball of flame glowed in his left hand. “Let’s see how those muscles of yours stand up to about three hundred degrees Fahrenheit.”

Sloth didn’t look enthused.

“If it doesn’t burn your balls off,” Wrath continued. “The whole room will at least know you had some.”

Sloth’s eyes darted behind him to where Push and Scratch were waiting.

“Don’t mind them,” Wrath assured him. “They’re only here to make sure I don’t kill you.”

Push frowned, though that was true. “And to give you a hand,” he added for good measure. “Though it looks like you have things wrapped up here.”

The unmistakable sound of a gun being cocked rang out through the otherwise silent room. Push’s head turned automatically toward the noise, and he saw the man behind the counter holding up a shotgun, with the barrel pointed directly toward Wrath’s head.

Scratch was already on it. A rack lay against the wall, loaded with extra cue sticks. Scratch had one in his hand before Push could blink. One of the billiard balls had rolled near their feet, and with a quick stab to the floor, Scratch sent it flying. Push didn’t think Scratch had taken more than a glance at the layout before making his shot, yet the ball bounced perfectly off a hanging light, the edge of an overturned table, another light, one of the old arcade games, and off the counter tender’s head before slamming home against the barrel of the shotgun.

The gun fired, though horribly off-course, taking out a Galaga machine straight through the screen.

Sloth decided to capitalize on the confusion. Push saw him move before Wrath did. Wrath was still eying the wrecked game with disdain. Knowing it wouldn’t stop Sloth, Push leaped sideways and thrust his palm out, sending a shock wave into the charging bull as hard as he could. The angle didn’t help things, but the impact knocked Sloth back all the same, and that was all it took for Wrath to gain the upper hand.

Raising his arms, the pyrokinetic let loose a massive wave of fire that engulfed Sloth, blasting him backward through the air onto a table that caved under the man’s weight. Keeping one hand raised, Wrath snapped his fingers, extinguishing the fire that had covered Sloth from head to toe.

“So tempting,” he muttered, before looking toward the sparking arcade game. “And a waste of a perfectly good classic, to boot.”

The extinguished flames left black marks all over Sloth’s clothes. Patches where red-tinted pale flesh shined against what light there was. Smoke curled up off the burned fabric, but Sloth got to his feet anyway.

“Still want to do this?” Wrath asked him, staring the man down. “Because I can go all night, as one of your little girlfriends on the side could attest to back in the day.”

Hate seeped out from Sloth’s eyes, but he quickly looked away to assess the situation.

Wrath conjured flames to one hand again as Sloth pulled something from the back of his jeans. Both Scratch and Push frowned as Sloth held it up to the light, revealing a plastic bag full of what looked to be about a hundred grams of cocaine.
Sloth tossed it to the table. “Party’s on me,” he announced to the room’s occupants, who, despite having taken cover, hadn’t cleared out yet. “The prize goes to whoever takes these faggots out first.”

Hesitation gripped the spectators for a moment as their eyes wandered from the bag of coke to where Wrath stood with Push and Scratch at his sides. Rolling his eyes, Sloth reached in and yanked out something else.
“And a thousand damn bucks,” he added, throwing that down next to the bag. “Bunch of damn pussies.”

The money was, apparently, enough to tip the scales. The shotgun wielder took aim first, forcing Push to blast him back. The gun went off a second time, blowing a hole straight through a nearby wall. The sound seemed to encourage everyone in attendance, and they all rushed at Push, Scratch, and Wrath like angry dogs.

“Give me a break,” Wrath mumbled.

“No killing,” Push reminded, whipping out the telescopic bo he’d brought with him. “Feel free to hurt them, though.”

“I know I plan to,” Scratch said, as the first wave struck.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Elemental Attraction: History & Politics

This is post #2 for the World Building blogfest hosted by Sharon Bayliss.

Today I'll be discussing history of the three major countries in the world of Elemental Attraction, and the political structure of each country.

I colored the map from yesterday to better illustrate the borders in the past mentioned in the stories and the current borders.


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As I mentioned yesterday, there are three major countries in Water Waltz and Fire Tango, but there a time when Bretagne did not have as much land as it does now.

Loire was once under Spezia rule and devils lived there. Now it's a city under Bretagne, but both devils and demons call it home. It's only the only region known to have demons with a bond with the earth element.
Bretagne also pushed back the border between them and the devils when taking Loire.

The current map (bottom) display just how far Bretagne has expanded its borders. It's not hard to understand why Spezia and Hendola would hold a grudge and both races have a strong dislike for both demons and angels.

Without firearms, demons from Bretagne hold all the power. The demons with elemental bonds fought the prior wars and decimated the devils and human armies. In Water Waltz that power is tested and proven futile for what the future of human technology has in store.

Before the Wars
Current borders

The political structure are different for each country. 
I'll do a quick over view of the basics to keep it simple.

The royal family in Spezia passes leadership to the first-born son if married at the time of the king's death. If the eldest is single, the crown passes onto the son who is married. Fire Tango visits this tradition when the leads travel to the devil country. With devils, they see and sleep with many others (often at once) until finding one they love and beginning a lifelong marriage. This tradition ensures the son has settled down from courtship so he may run the country without distraction.

There's also a king in Hendola. The crown passes to the eldest son without another tradition added to the mix. This comes into play in Water Waltz when a murderous plot threatens the quiet life of Varun and Triste.

Bretagne is a bit more complicated with layers of leadership voted in by the citizens. At the top of power is the Head of State. Directly below him is the Chancellor, followed by the Vice-Chancellor. The Chancellor is a character in Water Waltz who goes to Varun for help sniffing out a murderer. Their power is vast but for a limited amount of years.

Snowden is there in the corner being secretive. Faeries are ruled by a single family, but their country has not  made an appearance in Elemental Attraction yet.

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If you're curious about the world of Elemental Attraction, I've written a few posts about the location names (and why I picked them) and character names

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Elemental Attraction: World Map

This week I'm joining many other authors in the World Building Blogfest hosted by Sharon Bayliss.

Today I'm sharing a map* of the world in Elemental Attraction series and explaining a bit about each country.
Click to enlarge!
On the right side, we have  the country of humans, Hendola.
To the west of humans is Bretagne, the country of demons and angels.
Bretagne's neighbors are the devils from the country of Spezia.
At the bottom and secluded is Snowden, the county of faeries. (they haven't played a major role as of yet.)

Also shown is North Bretagne and Francilly. Neither has been spoken about in length in a book yet. North Bretagne is, of course, a part of Bretagne. And Francilly is a country of only pale-type angels. (It's the reason Amer and Sucre speak French.) The northern countries have snow icons because it's cold up there.

In Water Waltz, Varun and Triste live in Fenian and visit Senac. In Fire Tango, Leandre and Fremont live in Fenian and travel to Foxwood. As a devil, Fremont is originally from Spezia but calls Bretagne home despite the prejudice he receives. Loire is mentioned in Fire Tango but not visited. (Riston and Pekelo are originally from Loire.) I'm working on a third book which takes place in Loire, so I'm getting to really build the world more as I expand into the southern area.

Almanor, Fenian, and Senac have similar climates with four seasons. Snow is common in the winter. The summers are humid and warm, but cooler than the southern cities of Loire or Dreedle. Snow is rare for Loire  and Snowden in winter.

Come back tomorrow when I discuss the history and politics of the Elemental Attraction world. I'll have another map to illustrate the borders before Bretagne took land from Spezia and Hendola through war.

(*I used Celianna's world map maker found here to create my map.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guest Post: M.A. Church & Perfect

Today I have the lovely M.A. Church stopping by and sharing some information about Perfect.


To challenge or not to challenge… that is the question.
What happens when a human by the name of Jeff Mayfield inadvertently lays a monster challenge on the God of Love… one that Cupid can’t resist? Jeff is willful, stubborn, and egotistical… and, best of all, doesn’t think love is something he needs in his life.
Can Jeff be…
Perfect

Sequel to Priceless
The Gods: Book Two

http://youtu.be/q50GEjdliWo book trailer for Perfect

Hey! My name is M.A. Church, and my second book with Dreamspinner is due to be released January 23rd.  In Priceless, we saw Cupid take aim at two mortals, only to run into one problem after another while trying to get his arrows ready for Garrett or Randy.

By the time Cupid had his shot lined up, the mortals had spotted each other and, as they say, the rest was history. Had the Hags of Fate interfered? And if they had, why?

And more importantly, did Cupid really want to know what those three were up to? The last time they got their hands on him he barely escaped with his wings intact, and was wearing a diaper. This, thanks to them, has since become the most widely known image of Cupid. Intrigued by the events unfolding around him, Cupid stays in Los Vegas. Curious as to what the Moirai are up to, he stays to watch what unfolds… and runs across the one that is meant to be his mate. 

Jeff Mayfield, owner of The Palms, is a jaded, cynical billionaire who’s used to what his money and power can buy. Control is everything to him. Jeff was burned badly when Brad, his cheating ex, ran off with a Hollywood producer, and he swore he would never fall in love again. He tells his long-time friends, Garrett and Zygi, that a bachelor way of life is for him. But the Hags of Fate have other plans and Cupid is on his game.

Power and authority are the traits Jeff has built his life on, and now Cam is slowly disassembling the foundation of his life, touch by slow, teasing touch. As Cam takes the more dominant role, Jeff’s long-held control is stripped away. But Jeff isn’t the only one struggling with control. Cam has issues of his own, and losing control could be… deadly. Because the God of Love isn’t all hearts and arrows. Love has a dark side, and Cam finds himself battling his alter-ego, that green-eyed monster Jealousy.


Blurb:
Jaded billionaire Jeff Mayfield loves only what his money and power can buy, but the Fates have plans for him. First a player in Jeff’s casino hits a huge jackpot and things turn hectic. Then, in the middle of the chaos, Jeff lays eyes on the unbelievably sexy Cam Smith—Cupid in his human form.
Seized by lust, Jeff makes a move, only to find himself on the receiving end of a blistering wave of sexual intent. Cam disassembles Jeff’s self-image and puts it back together upside down. But Jeff isn’t the only one struggling with control. Cam’s alter ego is Jealousy, and if he loses his composure, the consequences will be deadly.

Excerpt:
“So, what is he, or who is he? Cam, I mean.”
Mo took a deep breath. “He wanted to be the one to tell you, Jeff. He’s Cupid, God of Love. He’s had his eye on you since he first saw Randy and Garrett. And no, he didn’t make them fall in love, any more than he made you fall in love. He didn’t use his arrows on any of you. You are his mate, his one true love. And believe me, Zeus isn’t happy with this situation, or with him. He’s not happy with either of us, actually.”
“Zeus…? He’s the… the….”
“God of all the gods.”
Jeff rested his head against the steering wheel. “Okay, right, god of all the gods. Can I say I’m a bit over-fucking-whelmed right now?”
“Now would be as good a time as any.”
Jeff sat back in his seat, rubbing his hands. He hadn’t realized what a tight grip he’d had on the wheel. “So, what has Zeus got up his ass about this?”
Mo frowned. “Up his ass? He’s not gay as far as I know, Jeff. But that’s not to say he hasn’t—”
“Oh my sweet baby Jesus.” Jeff had forgotten that Mo took everything literally. “Why is he not happy with this situation?”
“Ah.” Morpheus snorted. “You’re human. The gods don’t care all that much for humans. Plus, you are not immortal. We are.”
“Shit.”
“Nicely put. There’s more, and this is the hardest. Cupid stands for love, right? That’s what the mythology says, and it’s true. He has arrows that can make people fall in love or fall in hate. But what most humans don’t know is that there are two different sides of Cupid. You saw a bit of the other side earlier.”
“What do you mean?”
“That there is a dark side of love: obsession and jealousy. The other side of Cupid is Jealousy, the green-eyed monster that drives people to do horrible, destructive things. Jeff, I’ve seen Jealousy once, and he’s scary. You have to believe in your love for Cam. You need to keep talking, keep explaining what happened—while I stand guard.”
“Stand guard?”
“Jealousy truly is a monster.”

M.A. Church
M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.
But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.
By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

Links:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest post: Etienne

Today I have the wonderful Etienne on my blog, answering a few questions and talking about his novel, Sold! (which is graciously offered with a 25% off coupon on Smashwords--see below for the code), and sharing some wonderful excerpts. (I've had to remove the excerpt after an email from Blogger flagging the content. I'm sorry.)
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What got you interested in writing?
If memory serves, reading a number of stories on line that featured bad grammar and worse spelling made me think, “I can do better than that.”  I had that urge for a very long time before I succumbed to it.

How long have you been writing?
If I’d been asked that question more than two years ago, I would have said “ten years.”  However, that would have been incorrect.  A year or so ago, I uncovered a manuscript I’d written consisting of 100 typewritten pages.  The fact that the pages were typewritten dates them to before 1984 when I first acquired a personal computer and discovered the joy of using WordPerfect 4.1 and stopped using my typewriter for much of anything. I still use WordPerfect, now on version X6 (16) because it is superior in every respect to that other word processing program.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Other than the old classic advice: write about what you know, I would add, be true to yourself and write what you feel.  Whatever you do, don’t write to suit what you think someone else wants—if you do, the quality of your writing will suffer.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
It has happened to me a couple of times and I simply ride it out by doing other things until my muse comes back to life and the words begin to flow.  As I wrote in the preface to one of my books, my muse is a capricious bitch, sometimes hiding from me, and sometimes riding me mercilessly with her spurs digging into my sides.  On those latter occasions, the flow of words goes from a trickle to a flood.

Who is your favorite author and why?
The late Robert B. Parker is my all-time favorite author.  His spare but elegant prose is beyond compare, and he was better at dialogue than any author you’d care to name.  He was found, slumped over his desk, three years ago this month and he is sorely missed.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
You have to be able to grab, and hold, the reader’s attention and interest, and you have to do it early on in the story—there are many ways to do that.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Sometimes one, sometimes the other.  I may come up with what I deem to be a terrific plot idea and develop characters to fit; or I sometimes come up with very specific characters and have to find something for them to do.  What the wind up doing evolves into a plot.  More often than not, once the characters have taken on a personality, they dictate where the story will go.

Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
My first published novel was The Path to Forever, and it was followed by a sequel, Prognosis: Forever.  I’ve just submitted for consideration, Children of Forever, which will make the Forever series a trilogy.  At the moment, I’m working on book two of my current trilogy in progress.  Scourge (book one of The Ivory Solution) came out in November.  Book two will be titled Cleanse, and I hope to have it ready for submission by Spring.

What are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of re-reading all of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels in order.  I think I’m in the middle of number twenty-two in the series.  I’ve read all of them before, but in revisiting the books, I keep finding hidden gems.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Books written by the aforementioned Robert B. Parker, and books written by W. E. B. Griffin.  I particularly like the latter’s several series about the military.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Sometimes painfully, sometimes with my partner’s help, and sometimes they just fall in my lap.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When a publisher actually purchased my book and sent me a check as an advance against royalties.

What inspired you to write your first book?
An idea popped into my head, and I decided to run with it.

Describe your writing space.
The fourth bedroom in our house is tiny, and suitable only for a nursery or small den.  We’ve turned that room into a den.  It contains two recliners—one for me, and one for our resident Irish Setter, along with my stereo and my collection of classical music.  I sit with my laptop in my lap and write until I cannot write any more—at least in that session.

What was the hardest part of writing a book?
The polishing of the finished manuscript.  No matter how many times I work my way through the chapters, checking everything, it is hard to resist the urge to do it ‘one more time’, because every time you check a book, you almost always find something that needs fixing.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
That depends upon my muse, when she is full flower, I write from can til can’t.  When she is being elusive, I edit things already written, or find other things to do.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read or listen to classical music.  The famous British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham once said in an interview that “there hasn’t been a memorable tune written in the last thirty years.”  I sort of agree with him on that, so I kick back and listen to Bach or Mozart.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
My first book was published in early November of 2010.  My eighteenth title was published in mid-November of 2012, and no, I didn’t write all eighteen of them in that period of time.  Five of them were actually written in that time frame, the others were earlier writing that I pulled from my files and polished for submission after my first book was accepted for publication.  It’s hard to choose a favorite, that’s kind of like asking someone with several children which one he favors.  That being said, I still like my first published book, The Path to Forever, and I love coming back to the characters in that series.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I posted stories on line for almost five years before my first book was published, and have heard from hundreds of readers.  Happily, all but about five or six of those e-mails were positive, some almost embarrassingly so.  People seem to get so wrapped up in particular characters that they can get a tad cranky when you write the words “The End”.

Because all but two of my books were published by Dreamspinner Press, a publisher that specializes in M/M Romance, some readers seem to be disappointed when they read my books.  Disappointed, I suspect, because they were expecting a typical romance novel, not to mention lots of steamy sex, and I definitely do not write romances.  There’s always a gay couple involved, but in fully half of my books there is no explicit sex.  They talk about doing ‘it’ and they do ‘it’ frequently, but we seldom follow them into the bedroom.  I think what happens in a couple’s bed is best left to the imagination of the reader.  On the other hand, if I deem it integral to the story, there will be some sex.  A good example may be found in Magic Fingers, my book about two former Army Rangers, one of whom had his penis blown off in a grenade attack.  You can’t tell the story of a man with a disability like that without going into some detail concerning how he obtains sexual relief.

Nor is there a great deal of mushy dialogue in my books.  My male characters are mostly the kind of men who don’t run around saying ‘I love you’ at the drop of a hat.  There is a section in my newly submitted book that speaks to this topic:

The speakers are Marco and Dani, who have been a couple for more than twenty years at this point.
“Can I ask you a question?” I said between kisses.
“Don’t be silly.”
“Does it bother you that I’m not more verbally affectionate?” I said.
“In the first place, you weren’t raised that way, and in the second place, I’ve never approved of starting the soup with who we love.  If every third sentence contains the phrase ‘I love you’, it sort of robs the sentiment of meaning.  You don’t have to look any further than my family to see the truth of that—every one of them will ‘I love you’ to death at the drop of a hat, and we both found out how real that was when I told them I was gay and had a boyfriend.”
“No argument there,” I said.  “I remember the occasion quite vividly, even though it was more than twenty years ago.”  His old world and staunchly Roman Catholic family in Boston’s North End had disowned him totally on that occasion—to the extent that they hadn’t even spoken to him for years.  It wasn’t until he was hospitalized after the attack on us that I was able to effect a partial reconciliation by inviting his mother and grandmother to Aragoni.
“In the second place,” he said, “there’s an old but true saying, ‘still waters run deep’.  You tell me you love me at odd times when I least expect it.  That has much more impact than hourly declarations of affection.”
“I can’t argue with that,” I said.


Tell us about your latest book.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Plight of Secondary Characters

Secondary characters. They are not always essential, and are usually only in a story to build the main protagonist into something believably “real,” but I find myself falling for them time and time again.

Once Upon a Time
When I enjoy a story, most likely it has a secondary character I've fallen in love with. Sometimes I might dislike the main protagonist, but like the secondary so I continue reading or watching. And for a series, I’m a big fan of lifting a character out of secondary status and dropping him into main protagonist status. I watch anime, and shows will have a cast of many, but still claim one as the main character. More than likely, I don’t care about the lead and only watch for another character(s). In short, I love me some secondary character action...but sometimes I feel not all writers agree with me.

07 Ghost
If a secondary character is equally important to the plot, but is not designated with the prestigious title of “lead” or “main,” he has the ability to be killed off and replaced. This is the trouble with liking a secondary character—they die! Death is always hanging over a secondary character's head. It’s happened to us all. We fall in love with a character, and seven episodes in or four chapters deep, he (or she) is killed off for added drama and tears.

I’m all for heartache and drama, but I tend to fall for the one character out of twenty who is destined to die. It happened so many times, I braved a sea of spoilers for a new video game by looking up my favorite guy online just to check whether or not he would bite the dust and leave me screaming at my TV screen, cursing the writers who would take him from me. (He lives, btw)
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Do you fall for a secondary character(s), or do you focus on the main character(s)? Are you just as cut up over character death as I am?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Guest Post: Shira Anthony

Today I have one of my favorite authors visiting. Her latest book, Aria, is # 3 in the Blue Notes series. I just picked it up and cannot wait to read it. I've been a big fan since the first in the series.
Please welcome Shira Anthony to the bee-hive!


Thanks, Hayley, for hosting me on your blog and letting me ramble a bit about my classical music series, Blue Notes.  It's a pleasure to be here!


For those of you who may not be familiar with the Blue Notes Series, these are interrelated, standalone gay romance novels, each with a classical music theme.  Secondary characters in one book become the main characters in another, and the books can be read in any order.  The third book in the Blue Notes Series, Aria, is now available on the Dreamspinner Press website.

With each Blue Notes book, I've tried to create romances with real characters and real situations, many of those situations taken from my own experiences as a violinist and later, as an opera singer.  Of all of the books in the series so far, Aria is the one that is perhaps the most realistic.

Aria is the story of lawyer Sam Ryan, who first appears as a secondary character in the original Blue Notes.  Still reeling from the sudden death of his longtime partner, Sam meets aspiring opera singer Aiden Lind in a Manhattan gay bar.  The attraction between the two men is immediate, and the promise of their fledgling relationship obvious to both.  But Sam is still grieving, and when Aiden receives a prestigious scholarship to study in Europe, Sam lets Aiden go, unable to move forward and try to forge a relationship with someone new. 
Five years later, the two men meet again at a party in Paris hosted by Blue Notes pair Jason Greene and Jules Bardon.  Aiden is now at the top of his game, performing internationally with the best opera companies.  Sam thinks he's finally ready to move on, but he'll have to convince Aiden to forgive him for breaking his heart years before.

When Aiden and Sam finally decide to give their relationship a second chance, they are both full of hope that this time will work.  But the realities of a long-distance relationship are hard to ignore, and things between them start to fall apart.  They must learn to communicate through the challenges, or their relationship won't survive.

The reality of a long-distance relationship in Aria was my own reality at one point in my life.  Living with the man who would later become my husband, I was often on the road singing while he was left behind to deal with the day to day issues of job and home.  For me, on the road, I was lonely, but I was also rehearsing and performing operas--something I loved to do more than just about anything else.  It was a challenge for me and my husband, one that nearly broke us up.  And our difficulties didn't include some of the challenges facing Aiden and Sam in Aria

I hope that my own experiences add to the realism of Aria (and not only the challenges, but also the opera world setting itself).  If you're curious, you can hear a recording of me singing in a live performance of Puccini's "Tosca" by clicking here.
Thanks again for having me, Hayley! –Shira
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Blurb:  
Five years after a prestigious scholarship jumpstarted his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his fa├žade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

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

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

Shira’s blog/website:  www.shiraanthony.com
Shira on Twitter: @WriterShira

Shira’s email: shiraanthony@hotmail.com
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Excerpt from Chapter Two:
London