I recently told someone at a cocktail party that I write. “Books?” they ask. “Yes. Novels.” “Really? How many have you written?” “About twenty now.” “Twenty books? When do you have time to do that?” “I make the time,” I tell them. “I don’t watch much TV. I write during lunch breaks, in the evenings, and on the weekends.”
It wasn’t really the truth. My writer’s life isn’t just about writing, but I wasn’t about try to explain that after 3 drinks! But it did get me thinking about how I used to perceive writers, before I wrote, and what I think about writers now. What does it mean to be a writer? Great question on this, the day after the release of Take Two, my 19th published book (the 20th is under contract).
To be honest, using the term “writer” for myself still feels a little surreal 6 years and 20 books later. I, like most writers, have a “real life” job that occupies 40+ hours of my week. By the way, I hate that term “real life” job. It makes it sound like writing isn’t a real job, and that’s the biggest pile of… you get the idea. My writing “job” often takes as many hours a week as the one I get a regular paycheck for.
Writing in the 21st Century means more than just sitting in front of a computer and tapping out stories. Only about half the time I spend on my writing job is actual writing. The other half is a mix of planning stories, editing, checking in on social media, and promotion. Add to that the 2-3 conventions I attend each year, and you’ve got my writer’s life.
You have to wonder what it was like for writers before computers. Did Jane Austen make appearances to sell her books? I envision her sitting down for tea on a hot summer afternoon instead of responding to posts on Facebook or setting up her next blog tour.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually like interacting with readers online. Writers live pretty solitary existences. When we come out to play, it means a lot to hear from readers. It’s motivation to keep writing. Want to make you favorite authors smile? Leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, a publisher’s website, or your favorite bookseller. Two sentences are plenty if you’re not comfortable writing reviews. Not only does it help get the word out to other readers, we read your reviews. Yep. And we appreciate them, good or bad. Can’t write two sentences? Then just rate the book.
Someone recently asked me why I write. “Do you make a lot of money?” they ask. “Nope. Although I usually make enough to pay for the conventions and conferences I attend.” “They why do you do it?” “Because I love it.”
I loved singing too, when I sang professionally. It was hell and it was great. I earned enough to pay for my voice lessons. I had a day job when I wasn’t singing. Sound familiar?
Writing is art. It’s inspiration. Art is what keeps me going. It’s also a guilty pleasure. Why? I write the stories I want to read. Sometimes they’re angsty. Sometimes they’re fluffy and sweet. Sometimes they’re convoluted sci fi. Whatever they are, they help me step out of myself. Be something different. Share my voice with readers. Even better? Readers seem to want to read what inspires me. And that makes it even more worth it. You, the reader, keep me going. And not just because you pay my electric bills. Although that helps.
Thanks for listening to my ramble. I’ll end with a writer hook. Buy my book. Please. So that’s the goal, right? I write, you read. And I thank you! –Shira
Blurb: Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.
Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together–a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.
Excerpt from Chapter Two:
The entire scene was surreal. Gorgeous boat, beautiful scenery, good wine, and me by my lonesome. In the grand scheme of life, it certainly wasn’t the worst outcome. Still, he wished he wasn’t alone.
He pulled his cellphone from his pocket and tapped the preset for Carl. If they couldn’t be together, at least Wes could describe the alternate universe he’d just stepped into for him. It took a few seconds for the call to connect, and Wes imagined the signal snaking its way down through Florida, then skimming the waves to the southwest, across the Gulf of Mexico, and over to Guatemala.
“This is Carl Stephens. I’m unavailable to take your call at the moment. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.”
Figures. Wes shook his head and disconnected the call. He’d catch Carl another time. He didn’t want Carl to feel guilty about the change in plans. It wasn’t as if he was suffering here in North Carolina anyhow. He replaced the phone in his pocket and glanced up at the fly bridge again. Why not? He’d never been particularly shy, and he figured he’d feel more comfortable hanging out with the crew instead of pretending to be some pampered Hollywood celebrity. He refilled his glass and headed up the stairs.
The fly bridge was every bit as Wes had expected. Sleek, with the newest instrumentation, radio, and radar. The seats and console were white, as was the rest of the yacht, and the panoramic view was impressive. The captain sat facing the console, only the top of his head visible over the high-backed leather chair.
“We aim to please,” the captain responded without turning around. His clipped British accent reminded Wes of a young Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. “Are the accommodations to your liking?”
“You mean the presidential suite? I only wish I could spend a month or two sailing the Caribbean in accommodations like that.” He sighed.
“I might be able to arrange that.” The captain spun his chair around so he faced Wes. Except he wasn’t a captain, and he wasn’t British at all—
“Sam?” Wes knew his jaw had just dropped to the deck.
Sam Carr—no, Sander Carson, Wes reminded himself—grinned back at him. It was too easy for forget that the Sam he’d married no longer existed. “That would be me.” The British accent was gone, replaced by a hint of a soft southern drawl. Well, at least that was authentic.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Wes demanded.
Sam appeared entirely nonplussed. “Is that any way to say hello to your husband?”
“Ex-husband,” Wes corrected.
“Not for another 46 days and seven hours.” Sam leaned back in the captain’s chair, causing the thin fabric of his T-shirt to stretch tight over the muscles of his chest. He looked better than Wes remembered. No doubt he had some expensive fitness coach he worked with every day to manage pecs like that. His bright blue eyes were as disarming as they’d always been, the hint of stubble on his strong jaw only made him look more attractive. Like a movie star. Which, of course, Sam—or Sander—was.
“You haven’t answered my question,” Wes said, trying to ignore the jab to his gut at the reminder that their divorce would soon be final. “Why are you here?”
“I had a few days off from shooting, and I thought I’d take her out for a spin. They delivered her last week, and I haven’t had a chance to—”
“Wait a minute. You mean she… this is your boat?”
“Yep. Bought and paid for,” Sam said with pride.
The pieces began to fall into place. Marv leaving suddenly. The shoot in North Carolina. Sam wouldn’t have had anything to do with Carl’s boss’s change in plans, but he’d have known whom to call to find out about Wes’s plans. And Jeffrey. Shit, he remembered where he’d heard that name before: Sam’s personal assistant.
Wes made a mental note to read his secretary, Viv, the riot act when he got back to New York. Which would be very soon, if he had anything to say about it. She didn’t usually handle the details of his personal life, but she had access to his Outlook calendar. Come to think of it, she’d been asking him a lot of questions about his personal life lately. And she’d always loved Sam.
Everyone loves Sam.
“This isn’t going to happen, Sammy,” he told Sam. “I’m outta here.”
“Contract?” Sam said as Wes turned to head downstairs.
“Contracts can be broken.”
“You never read the fine print, do you?” Sam was clearly enjoying this.
“What have you done?” Wes glared at Sam.
“I didn’t do anything. The studio’s attorneys, though….”
“You set me up.” Stating the obvious. Sam was a hell of a lot smarter than he appeared. And way more devious. “What do you want from me, Sam?”
Sam tilted his head to one side and rubbed his chin as if he were considering the question. “You haven’t figured that out yet?” he asked.
Wes wouldn’t dignify the question with a response.
“I want you, Wesley Warren Coolidge. What else?”
Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/take-two-by-shira-anthony-7477-b
About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, 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.
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 at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Want to hear Shira sing? You can listen to an excerpt from a live recording of Shira performing Tosca on her website: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tosca-visse-darte-exceprt1.mp3
Where to find Shira: