Please help us welcome author Shira Anthony today on the tour for her latest release in the Dreamspun Desires line, Forgotten Paradise. Shira’s here to tell us a bit about how she got involved in writing for the line, and also has a great giveaway to share with you, so be sure to check out all the details below.
Thank you, Lisa and company, for hosting this stop on the Forgotten Paradise book tour! I’m offering up a fabulous December Diamonds Cupid merman ornament to one lucky winner in the US who comments on one of the blog tour posts, or a $10 Dreamspinner Press Gift Card for winners worldwide, so be sure to comment below by answering this question: What is your favorite way characters “meet cute” (first encounter)? You’ll find my answer at the end of the post.
For those readers who may not already know, Forgotten Paradise is my second entry in the 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 for the book tour.
Forgotten Paradise is my second Dreamspun Desires title. I’ve got one coming up in the Dreamspun Beyond (contemporary paranormal) version of the line, and I’m working on my third Dreamspun Desires title that centers around an ugly duckling trope. I guess it wouldn’t surprise you to know that I love writing these books! But maybe it would surprise you how difficult they can be to write, especially for someone like me who loves long, series-length stories like those of The Mermen of Ea trilogy, or angsty contemporaries like The Blue Notes series.
The Dreamspun “call for submissions” (the rules for submitting stories to the line) is for a 50-60K word novel. So the story has to be relatively simple, or it will feel rushed. The call also has a maximum of two sex scenes. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t write hot sex between the MCs, but it does mean you have to be very careful of how to use the two scenes you have. Dreamspun novels are also low-angst, romance forward stories. So generally no life or death situations, horrible childhoods revisited, or serious emotional trauma.
Ironically, my involvement in the Dreamspun line came at a table in the hotel restaurant at the Romantic Times (RT) conference a few years back. I was complaining about how angsty romances take so much out of me emotionally. I told Poppy Dennison from Dreamspinner Press that I wished I could write a sweet, low-angst romance along the lines of the old Harlequins I used to read as a kid. She double dog dared me to do it and told me about her idea for the Dreamspun line. In the end, I had a blast writing First Comes Marriage, but I can’t say it was always easy. I struggled to keep it light, but still infuse enough depth into the characters and the plot that there was still a little meat in the mix.
The best part of writing Dreamspun Desires titles is playing with tropes. And I love, love, love playing with them! Amnesia was especially fun. You’ll find lots of familiar, expected complications from Jonah’s amnesia. You’ll also find a character who needs to learn about himself in a deeper sense. Honestly, that was the most fun of all to write.
I hope you’ll enjoy finding out who Jonah really is (both literally and figuratively) and that you’ll be able to imagine the sand between your toes as you read Forgotten Paradise. I’ll leave you with the blurb and an excerpt from the book and, of course, the Rafflecopter. Be sure to leave your comment before entering! By the way, my favorite meet cute? The awkward, clumsy kind when one character literally runs into another! Good luck on the drawing!
About the Book
It’s dangerous diving for secrets.
When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.
But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?
WHILE HENRI washed down the patio, Jonah hung the last two wetsuits and sprayed down the rinsing bins. Small rivulets of sand and water streaked the painted concrete.
“I can finish,” Henri told him.
“Thanks.” Jonah walked over to the benches and retrieved his BC and regulator from a hook. “I owe you a drink.”
Henri laughed. “Good thing they’re free or you’d have to take out a loan.”
“Meet you at Giuseppe’s in an hour?” Jonah hung his gear inside the staff room.
“Not tonight. Got a date with Viola.” Henri stopped spraying for a moment and gestured toward the office. “It’s our six-month anniversary.”
“Six months? Impressive. So what’s for dinner?”
“Sushi,” Henri said. “At Yumi.”
“You’re taking her all the way to Punta Cana?” Jonah chuckled and slapped Henri on the back. “Must be love.”
“A man does as he does.” He winked and added, “I borrowed Torey’s car.”
“A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” Jonah corrected. Henri’s English was damn good, so Jonah enjoyed teasing him the few times he made mistakes.
“So how about you?” Henri asked with a crooked grin.
“Me?” Jonah knew where Henri was going, but he wasn’t going to bite on that particular topic.
“You’ve been here a few weeks now. Met anyone interesting?”
Jonah shook his head. “If I had, I wouldn’t be telling you about it,” he teased.
“Fine. To be that way.”
“Be that way. Not ‘to be.’”
Henri laughed and headed over to the counter, where Viola was working on assignments for the next day’s dives. “The guests think I’m sexier when I get things wrong.”
Jonah pulled the elastic from his hair and ran a hand through his still-damp curls. He waved at Viola. “Have fun tonight!” He slipped on his sandals and headed down the path to the staff dormitories. He’d only made it to the towel-return shack when he noticed a man standing in the middle of the intersection of two paths, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Perfect,” the man muttered.
“Lost?” Jonah forced his gaze up from the dusting of reddish hair on the man’s nicely defined pecs.
He looked at Jonah with warm brown eyes. “That obvious?”
“Happens a lot,” Jonah reassured him. “Where’re you headed?”
“Dive shop. Although by now, it’s probably closed.” American, judging by the accent. East Coast. A hint of New Jersey but polished so it was barely noticeable.
Jonah glanced at his watch. “You have another ten minutes.” He pointed the way he’d just come. “It’s about a hundred feet that way. You can’t miss it.”
“No problem.” Jonah offered the man a reassuring smile. “Took me a few days to get my bearings.”
“My mother used to tell me I’d lose my way in a shower stall.”
Jonah chuckled. “That bad?”
The man nodded.
“I could think of worse places to get lost with you,” Jonah quipped, immediately regretting it. The man’s lean body was far too interesting, especially given the no-fraternization policy Jonah had signed when he was hired. Not that the hotel had ever fired someone for taking a guest to bed, but Jonah felt more comfortable following the rule. It made things easier. Celibacy was safer. Flirting was downright dangerous.
The man flushed. Even more interesting.
The man quickly regained his composure. “Do I know you?” he asked.
Jonah also got that a lot. “I’m sure I’d have remembered you,” he said truthfully. It wasn’t every day he met a redhead, let alone one this attractive.
“My mistake.” The man offered his hand. “Adam Preston.”
“Good to meet you, Adam.” Jonah shook Adam’s hand. Strong grip. Confident, but not overly so. “I’m Jonah. Jonah James.”
“I’d better go,” Adam said. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”
“I hope so.” Jonah watched as Adam headed toward the dive shop. No fraternization, he reminded himself with a sigh. Maybe it was time to rethink the celibacy gig.
About the Author
Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. 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. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing
Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.
In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.
Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 36′ catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.