Hey! Shira Anthony here. Gay romance writer. Total geek. Weaned on original Trek and Harlequin romances. So it makes total sense that I’m writing my first story for Dreamspinner Beyond, Dreamspinner Press’s new line. Think Harlequin meets “Paranormal Activity.” Contemporary paranormal category romance. That’s a mouthful!
It’s also a blast to write.
Dreamspun Beyond mixes sweet category romance and contemporary paranormal for a new take on the genre. My story, working title Finder’s Keeper, is just about ready to submit to Dreamspinner Press, so I thought I’d share a little bit of it with you.
It’s been interesting striking a balance between the romance and the fantasy in less than 60,000 words. Until now, most of my fantasy novels have been considerably longer. Some have even spanned a trilogy. Finder’s Keeper has to pack enough worldbuilding so the reader can comfortably navigate the fantasy universe, but still keep things romance forward. Low angst, lots of romantic tension, and a paranormal plot.
Zane is an engineer who decides to move into the old gothic brownstone in Cleveland, Ohio that once belonged to his uncle. There he meets Kit, the caretaker of the house, who just happens to live in the basement. Kit is charming, sweet, and an amazing cook. He’s also the guardian of a gateway between the human and spirit worlds. Though he doesn’t know it, Zane is descended from a long line of keepers, humans who attend the gateways between the worlds. And he’s in for a very big surprise….
The room was huge. At least ten times bigger than Zane expected. Bigger than the footprint of the house. Near the doorway, a simple cot was pushed against a bare wall. Next to it an alarm clock and a book on a table. All normal, everyday things. The rest of the room was something out of a dream.
The far end was completely taken up with a set of heavy wooden doors. Simple inlaid handles joined to create a square with a single character in silver paint—like a letter from a strange alphabet—in the center. The space between the bed and the doorway reminded Zane of a Japanese rock garden with matching benches on either side of a walkway. The stones that formed the garden substrate glowed blue and seemed to oscillate, first solid, then flowing like a liquid.
Someone stood between the two benches, his back to Zane, dressed in hooded robes of deep blue with silver embroidery at the end of sleeves that hung well below where his hands would be. The same letter painted on the doors had been sewn into the fabric at the back of the garment in silver thread. The scent of something familiar and sweet danced around Zane’s senses, reminding him of the delicate perfume his mother had worn with its hints of citrus and ginger. In the face of the impossible beauty of this place—was he still in his basement?—the fragrance felt familiar and warm.
“I didn’t want you to find out this way.” Kit’s shoulders rose and fell as he drew an audible breath. He turned around. In the dim light of the room, his eyes glowed amber and his pupils looked much like a cat’s. His skin was so pale, it seemed nearly translucent. He pressed his lips together and held Zane’s gaze before he reached up and drew the hood off his head.
Kit’s hair tumbled over his shoulders and down his back in waves, the red silk of it like glowing embers in the hottest of fires. Zane gasped to realize that atop Kit’s head were two large ears, like those of an animal, pointed and furred. Like a wolf, or a dog, or a—
“Fox,” Kit said as if he’d heard Zane’s thoughts.
With this, a wave of something black flew toward him. It wrapped itself around him and began to squeeze. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t breathe. His head spun and the room shifted sideways. The last thing he remembered were two strong arms, catching him as he fell.
In the meantime, my second Dreamspun Desire title, Forgotten Paradise, is set to be released by Dreamspinner Press on April 15th. Yes, Tax Day and dreamy, fun, sweet gay romance. Hopefully that balances out the tax part of the equation. My trope du jour? Amnesia. Totally fun to write. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Cheers, and see you next month! -Shira
Bio: 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.
Shira Anthony: http://www.shiraanthony.com