We’re so pleased to welcome author Shira Anthony today on the worldwide web tour of her upcoming Dreamspun Desire novel, First Comes Marriage. Enjoy Shira’s guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win Shira’s grand prize: a dozen red roses for your sweetheart (or whoever you think deserves it!). First prize is a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Certificate.
The Art of the Slow Burn
Thank you for hosting the First Comes Marriage book tour! For those readers who may not already know, First Comes Marriage is the second book in the brand new Dreamspun Desires line of gay category romances from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for an excerpt from the book, as well as the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Years ago, I gobbled up Harlequin and Silhouette romance novels like they were candy. In college, I often stayed up very late reading, then dragged my sorry behind into class half dead the next morning. If you’re an avid reader, I know you know exactly what that feels like! You know you should stop reading, but you’re compelled to finish the story because you have to know what’s going to happen!
There are a lot of ways a book can do that. But one of the most common ways the old category romances accomplished that edge of your seat, gotta-read-this-book-to-the-end feeling was by perfecting the art of the “slow burn.” Books with that slow burn vibe were and still are my guilty pleasure. I’m not a patient person, in general, so that “when will they?” keeps me going until the end.
So when I sat down to plot my Dreamspun Desires novel, I had the slow burn concept in the back of my brain. But I hadn’t written a lot of slow burn romances. So to prepare, I read a few of the old Harlequin romances and got a sense of how those books build the tension between the two main characters. It was a great reminder of the tools a writer can use to create that oh-so-delicious feeling I loved as a new adult reader.
What’s the recipe for a great slow burn? Well, it depends on the plot, of course. But here are some of the techniques I used in First Comes Marriage:
- Build the sexual tension through unintentional touches. A brush of a hand against another. Knees or feet touching under a table. Even the scent of cologne. You get the picture. Near misses, or maybe a promise of something more?
- MCs who fight their mutual attraction for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t want to get involved. Maybe one thinks the other isn’t interested. Maybe one character says he’s straight. Each character has his excuses, but underneath all of the excuses is a simmering desire.
- Dreams. I love these, because they allow the characters to imagine what things might be like with the other character even if the characters can’t get together at that moment. Sexy, hot, romantic dreams that linger when the character wakes up.
- Friendship that promises to be something more. I love when friends fall for each other (story of my own marriage, by the way!). Develop the friendship, develop the connection between the two MCs, and you’ve got a key ingredient in a romantic relationship. The more you like someone you’re attracted to, the more you want them, right?
There are other subtler techniques for developing the slow burn, but these are the ones that feature prominently in First Comes Marriage. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from one of the earliest scenes in the book. I think you’ll see at least one of the techniques I’m talking about. Happy reading!
Blurb: Their marriage was supposed to be all business….
When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!
Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?
Read an Excerpt HERE
Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.
In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”.
You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests HERE.
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The Fine Print:
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
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