Joyful approach badgeHello everyone! Today I am super excited to welcome author Shira Anthony here as part of the Joyful Approach Countdown to GRL.  Shira is here to talk to us more about her newest release, Stealing the Wind, which I reviewed yesterday and totally loved.  She has also brought a great giveaway for one lucky reader so be sure to leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. 

Please join me in giving Shira a big welcome!

Pirates and Mermen: Building a Universe

The Mermen of Ea Series, by Shira Anthony

Thanks, Jay, for hosting me today as part of your GayRomLit 2013 author spotlights.  I’m offering up one $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate to someone who comments on this post, so be sure to enter!  You might even use your $10 certificate to buy my brand new Dreamspinner Press release, Stealing the Wind, the first book in the Mermen of Ea Series, which was released on August 12th.  It’s a very sexy, very romantic adventure set on the high seas and featuring pirates and mermen.

I grew up reading romantic fantasy adventures as a kid and watching the original Star Trek and the Star Wars movies.  I loved Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series universe, her sweeping adventure/romance books where humans colonized an untamable planet and had psi abilities, including telepathy. The Darkover books also featured the first gay relationship I ever read.  I dreamed I lived in the universes I read or watched.  Today, my mind still wanders to some of those universes and my dreams still take flight in them.

So what was the first series I decided to write when I was first published?  The Blue Notes Series of contemporary, music-themed gay romances.  Makes no sense at all for the fantasy loving romantic I am, until you consider how much thought and imagination goes into creating an original universe for a fantasy series.  Honestly, the word “world-building” scared the pants off me—until I started to do just that with an idea for a sexy romance about pirates.

My pirate world began to take shape when I started to imagine that universe in layers, beginning with wooden sailing ships on a wild ocean and an Earth-like universe where myths of merfolk might not just be myth.  I imagined a boy—a slave, with nothing but his sharp wit and good looks to his name—then imagined him kidnapped by pirates and finally able to live his dreams of putting to sea.  Add a little fantasy, and the boy, now a man, realizes his body has kept the secret of his birth a secret for nearly nineteen years.  He’s not human.  He’s a merman.  And with that revelation, the world of the merfolk opened up to me.

World-building is a bit like painting a picture in oil. You start with a sketch—the bare bones of a universe—then layer on the color and texture.  Over and over again, you layer until the world becomes three-dimensional.  What do the houses look like?  What does the marketplace smell like?  What drives the people who inhabit the universe?  What rules are there in this universe that might not exist in the real world?  How many ships would be anchored in the port city?  What is the structure of the government?  Or my favorite: how do mermen have sex?

I hope you’ll join me in diving into my world of merfolk.  Through Taren Laxley’s eyes, you’ll be introduced to all of the color and texture of the world of the Ea.  You’ll learn what it feels like to transform from human to merman, even learn how mermen have sex under the water.  Each of these things is revealed to the reader as Taren learns about his past and comes to understand what his future might hold.  Would you like to read an excerpt?  Click here for for a very NSFW excerpt and explanation of mermen sex, or here, for the first chapter of the book.  Enjoy! And don’t forget to comment to be entered in the drawing for a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate!  –Shira


stealing the windTaren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.

You can buy “Stealing the Wind” on the Dreamspinner Press website, on, Barnes and Noble, AllRomanceEbooks, and other retailers.

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 aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira can be found on:


Shira has brought along at $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment here at this post to enter. The contest closes on Friday, August 23rd at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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