“The Melody Thief” Release Party & Rainbow Reviews Blog Hop

Happy weekend and welcome to the Rainbow Reviews Blog Hop!  Oh, and welcome to release day (Friday 8/24) for my latest gay romance, “The Melody Thief!”  Yep, two-for-one day, and definitely time to celebrate!  As part of the hop (and release day), I’ll be giving away one eBook copy of “Blue Notes,” the original Blue Notes Series book from Dreamspinner Press (your choice of formats) and a Blue Notes Series t-shirt (your choice of covers).  To enter, just leave a comment with your email address right here.  And be sure to check out all the other wonderful blogs and giveaways (click on the hop logo above)!

“The Melody Thief”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Blue Notes Series, each book is a standalone novel that takes place in the same classical music universe.  What does a “classical music” universe look like?  It’s a place where performers share connections and friendships through their music.  Characters include performers, entertainment lawyers, agents, and the people they know and love.  Stories are often set in places where performers congregate—large cities like Paris, New York, Milan, and Chicago feature prominently in the series.

The original book in the series, “Blue Notes,” features a jazz violinist and a former musician turned lawyer, and is set in Paris.  This new installment, “The Melody Thief,” features a classical cellist with an international career and an entertainment lawyer, and is set in Milan.

“The Melody Thief” is the story of cellist Cary Redding, a former child prodigy and a budding superstar on the classical music scene.  Cary’s career is skyrocketing, but his personal life is a disaster.  He’s addicted to anonymous sex and flirts with alcohol addiction.  Everything comes crashing down around Cary when he’s mugged on a deserted Milan street while coming home from a gay bar.  Things look grim until he’s rescued by Antonio Bianchi, an Italian lawyer (for those of you who have read “Blue Notes,” you’ll recognize Antonio as Rosalie’s lawyer).

Cary doesn’t want a relationship, although he’d be happy to end up in bed with Antonio.  Things get complicated because Cary lies about who he is and pretends to be an out of work composer.  The last thing Cary expects is to fall for Antonio.  There’s also another complication: Antonio has a five year old son, Massimo.  But when Antonio adds a little romance to Cary’s life, Cary falls hard.  Now if he could only come clean about who and what he is.

To read an excerpt from “The Melody Thief,” click on the link and scroll down to the “Excerpt” tab.

Now, on to the theme of the Rainbow Review Blog Hop:

“What does writing GLBTQ literature mean to me?”

In some ways, writing gay romance isn’t all that different than writing anything else:  it’s an act of self-expression, something my creative brain urges me to do.  Ironic then, isn’t it, that a straight woman could learn far more about herself writing gay relationships than she ever learned from writing heterosexual ones.

I grew up in the 70s.  My mother was a professional musician, my dad a college professor.  Open-minded, politically active parents with openly gay friends.  I never even thought twice about homosexuality as being “wrong.”  It just was.  The majority of men who inhabited my career universe, opera, were gay.  Plenty of the women too.  My best friend is a gay man—one of the best men I know.  Kind, strong, intelligent, funny.  In grad school, we used to say (with some seriousness) that if I wasn’t married by age 35, we’d get married and have a family together.   

So what did I read at night when I was a college student?  Harlequin romances.  And boy, oh boy, did I long for more!

My first published romance was a het one.  Spunky heroine with big boobs falls head over heels for another slave on the pirate ship where she’s held captive.  Loved the hero.  Hated the heroine.  She was just so… wimpy.  So not me.  I’m a product of the women’s liberation movement—my parents told me I could do anything I wanted to do.  I sang opera, went to law school in my 30s, and started writing professionally in my 40s.

My “a-ha” moment?  My epiphany?  When a friend asked me to co-author a love story about two men.  My first thought: why not?  My second: will I enjoy this?  I couldn’t answer the first question (I figured that was a good sign).  Still, I was pretty sure the answer to the second question would be “probably not.”  Oh, how I was wrong!

I have a hard time explaining why I find gay romances so downright hot.  Someone asked me if it’s because I can imagine “converting” the men to heterosexuality.  Definitely not.  And I don’t want to just substitute a different set of “junk” and create a main character who’s really a woman beneath it all (well not unless I end up writing a transgender story at some point!).  But that got me thinking.  I love men.  Always have.  I love their bodies, I love that they can be strong, self-assured and nobody faults them for it.  There are so many shades of men, each with unique strengths, flaws, and weaknesses.

Which just leads me to the next reason I love writing gay romance: I want people to know how I feel about homosexuality.  I want them to know I celebrate it.  I want to write my best friend his own happy ending because, dammit, he deserves one like I got with my husband.  And yes, there are times when I preach a little.  And because I try to write about real relationships, I don’t skip condom use (or lack thereof).  I’m not afraid to write explicit sex scenes because, let’s face it, real men have sex.  And it’s not the glossed-over sex I read in those Harlequins years ago (if they even had sex); it’s sex as in a real physical relationship between human beings.

In the end, though, writing gay romance isn’t all that different from writing romance.  My stories are about human failings, human strengths, and human emotions.  The appeal of a well-written romance is that it can reach out and touch a reader’s heart, maybe even help the reader to learn something about him/herself, just as gay romance has touched my own heart and helped me to understand more about myself. -Shira




  1. Andrea - Reply

    I think you did an excellent job explaining why you find gay romances hot. I feel the same way.

  2. Tina - Reply

    I think gay romances make us feel good for the same reason het romances do. We like to see true love triumph. In gay romance, there are even more hurdles to get past, so the endorphin rush is even better! And yeah, two guys having sex is really hot!!

    • Shira - Reply

      I agree, Tina, there are more hurdles because of society’s lack of acceptance of same-sex relationships, and that makes it even more satisfying when you get to the HEA! Thanks for stopping by – I have you entered in the drawings! -S

  3. Kate - Reply

    Guys are hot, period. I married one, and I can identify with why a guy would fall for a guy better than why a woman would fall for a woman, or for that matter, why a guy would fall for a woman. I see it and I experience it, but I don’t grok it on a sensual level. Thus, for me, M/M is “easy”.

    I’d love it if you’d enter me! I already have Blue Notes, but I’d love a copy to give to a friend.

  4. Zoe Ride - Reply

    I love gay fiction, I love classical and opera music, and I’m looking forward to discovering new! To me, authors. Thanks.

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks, Zoe! Next book in the series, “Aria,” is about an opera singer. XD I’ve got your name in the drawings! -S

  5. Tali Spencer - Reply

    You’re so right about how romance is universal. Exploring the romantic, sexual and deeply personal relationship between two male lovers is a wonderful way to celebrate men! Like you, I just plain love them. 😀 I love showing men in a positive light, and M/M romance is way to do that in spades.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Like Kate, I already have Blue Notes. I have yet to snag a shirt, however, and have a friend who would adopt the book. 🙂

  6. Sandra - Reply

    Sweet. Very sweet, and I do hope your best friend does find his happily ever after. He sounds amazing and I’m sure he deserves all the happiness the world can offer.

    I love the world you’ve created, and even if I don’t win a copy of blue note, I’m sure I will be purchasing a copy as soon as I have the money.

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks, Sandra! I hope he finds his HEA out there – it’s so much harder for gay men, I think. A gay friend once told me that part of the problem is that there are so few role models in terms of gay relationships. That was about 15 years ago, and I’d like to think that things are better now for gay couples. Love is truly universal and, in my opinion, it’s always a thing to be celebrated! I’ve got you entered in the drawings – good luck! -S

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks Laurie, and I am SO with you on this one. Everyone deserves to be happy and to be loved. That’s really the theme of “The Melody Thief,” in a nutshell, as well. I’ve got you entered in the drawings! -S

  7. melanie marshall - Reply

    Shira, I love that Blue Notes and The Trust are so different yet I can still tell that you wrote them. Wonderful books, both of them. I can’t wait to read this story. Do you have a playlist for this one as well?

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks so much, Melanie! And yes, there’s a playlist (you know that I hadn’t even thought of it until you mentioned the lack of one for Blue Notes in your review?). Here’s the link to the book: http://www.shiraanthony.com/?book=the-melody-thief-blue-notes-2 Scroll down and click the link for “Extras” and you’ll see it!

      Thanks for stopping by – I’ve got your name on the entry lists for the giveaways! -S

    • Shira - Reply

      *g* Thanks so much for stopping by, Kimberly! I’ve got your name on the giveaway entry lists. -Shira

  8. Trix - Reply

    I love gay romance because it feels less sexist and cliched than het romance. I love men, and so I love to see an entire spectrum of male personalities and experience, not just control-freak alphas. (I’m reading and loving THE DREAM OF A THOUSAND NIGHTS as we speak, by the way…can’t wait for THE MELODY THIEF!)


    • Shira - Reply

      Hey, Trix! Aww, give Tamir a hug for me! *winks* He almost has it as rough as Cary in “Melody Thief!” I do tend to torture my characters. A writer friend of mine says you have to work for a HEA – sometimes I think it’s that you have to be tortured first to get a HEA!

      I’ve got you entered into the drawing for “Blue Notes” and the t-shirt. -S

  9. Anas - Reply

    I like m/m romance because while there are stereotypes at least there are less damsel in distress characters(or at least they annoy me less).

    • Shira - Reply

      Exactly, Anas! I am SO with you on that. It’s really hard to find good heroines in romance. There are some, but way too few. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve got you entered in the drawings. -S

  10. Madison Parker - Reply

    Hi, Shira. Thanks for sharing! I always like getting to know more about authors. I love reading m/m because they often show a vulnerable side of men that I find endearing. 🙂 Your “classical music universe” sounds really interesting. I’ve recently done a lot of research into classical music for my WIP, and would love to read your series. Best of luck with your new release.

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks, Madison! Good luck with your WIP – you don’t see a lot of classical music books, so it’s nice to hear about it! I’ve got you entered into the drawing. -Shira

  11. Nastasha - Reply

    I’m really glad this blog hop led me here – your writing sounds so good! I’m definitely adding you to my “read as soon as possible” list! =)

    stashlab at gmail dot com

  12. Cindy - Reply

    I have enjoyed reading why all of you authors love to write this genre. It has be trying to explain why I enjoy reading it so much. Most of my family members would think I am crazy and the genre is gross, but the romance in LGTBQ books seems more genuine than the harlequins that I also grew up with. A lot of the books that I have read in the genre can make both laugh outloud and cry openly, which harlequins and other romance books just aren’t doing much of anymore. So thanks for writing what a lot of us love to read!

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks so much Cindy – it’s nice to know you feel the same way about the genre. I do think there’s something special here, as well! I’ve got you entered in the contests – thanks for stopping by! -Shira

  13. Stacey aka Coffey Brown - Reply

    I’m a new LGBTQ author participating in the hop. Just wanted to stop by. Good post! Love is love and that’s all that matters to me. I hope society gets on board one day! LOL!

    Stacey aka Coffey Brown

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks Amanda! MM does have a way of sucking you in, doesn’t it?

      I’ve got your name on the entry list. -S

  14. shawnyj - Reply

    I think you’ve summed it up well that there really isn’t much difference between GLBTQ romances and het romance, or the rest of fiction really. It’s about people and feelings and experiences. Well-written GLBTQ literature is just as enjoyable as any other genre.

    Great hop by the way. A lot of the authors I know already, but it’s great to meet the new ones too.

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks, Shawn. I agree – good writing is good writing and a good story is good, regardless of genre. XD Thanks for stopping by! -Shira

  15. akasarahmadison - Reply

    Love the premise behind the Blue Note series–fascinating! And this?

    Spunky heroine with big boobs falls head over heels for another slave on the pirate ship where she’s held captive. Loved the hero. Hated the heroine. She was just so… wimpy. So not me.
    Made me laugh because,yes, exactly. 🙂

    akasarahmadison at gmail dot com

    • Shira - Reply

      LOL, Sarah! Funny thing, that pirate/heaving breasts novella? Still outsells most of my MM stuff on Amazon. *sighs* But they probably also say, “Write what you love.” So I’m stuck on MM. *g* Thanks for stopping by and I’ve got you entered in the drawing! -Shira

  16. Sue - Reply

    Congratulations on your new release, Shira!
    I’d love a chance to win a copy, it sounds awesome.
    Thanks for taking part in the hop and offering two prizes!

    corieltauviqueen at yahoo dot co dot uk

  17. Suze - Reply

    I love a good story and that interests me a much as what sex the mc’s are – though I do love MM!

    • Shira - Reply

      Good stories really are universal, aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by, Suze!

  18. Anel Viz - Reply

    “The Melody Thief” was in some ways a breath of fresh air. It seems every time I read a gay romance someone puts in a CD and plays a song I don’t know by some group I’ve never heard of, whereas I’ve been steeped in classical music my whole life. Jazz I know less well, but at least I know it, and I’m familiar with crossover — my son is a crossover cellist. What a change to actually hear the “film score”. So “Melody Thief” is up near the top of my to read list.

    • Shira - Reply

      You need to send me a recording of your son, Anel! I love jazz/classical fusion. I wish there were more of it. -Shira

  19. Ryal - Reply

    Sometimes I get preachy, too! But once in awhile it comes pouring out. I don’t always leave that stuff in my writing (and sometimes I do) but the feelings usually lead me to ideas.

  20. Tracey D - Reply

    I love gay romance because it tends to bring out emotions in me that other romances do not.

    Congrats on your latest release, Shira. I have added it to my wish list.

    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  21. Juliana - Reply

    Thanks so much for participating in this hop! I love the way two men can find love in my favorite M/M books! Congrats on your newest release!
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

  22. Nancy S - Reply

    Loving this hop, all my favorite authors and some new ones. Like everything I’ve read of yours so far and look forward to more.

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks for hopping (lol) by, Nancy! And I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my books. XD -S

  23. Lilly - Reply

    I loved your post! And I love blog hops, so many great writers to be found, and with their inspiration already somewhat explained!

    Congrats on your new book 🙂


  24. Lyra L - Reply

    I enjoy reading m/m romance because the relationship are more equal, characters can fight back and are not always helpless or weak or just waiting for the right man to rescue them.

    lyra.lucky7 at gmail dot com

    • Shira - Reply

      I agree, Lyra – it’s nice to read and write more equal relationships! -Shira

  25. SusieQ - Reply

    Excellent post, Shira! Thanks for joining the hop!
    seritzko AT verizon DOT net

  26. Kate - Reply

    Kate Pavelle katesky@verizon.net

    OK this is my effort to get involved with your book giveaway – FYI your “blog” links lead straight to the front of your webpage, in a loop.

    Looking forward to more fun reads, as always.

    • Shira - Reply

      Hah – well my top web page is my blog, really. They used to be separate. Or is there something strange going on I’m missing?

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