Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Running with the Wind by Shira Anthony

I am honored to, once again, host Shira Anthony talking about Running with the Wind, the final chapter in her Mermen of Ea series.

Thanks so much for hosting me! I’m so excited about the release of the last Mermen of Ea book. For those who may not already know, I’m a former opera singer (you can hear a live recording of me singing here, if you’re interested: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tosca-visse-darte-exceprt1.mp3) turned lawyer and author. I work as public sector attorney doing child advocacy, and not only do I work full-time, when I’m not working I pretty much spend every waking hour writing.

Running with the Wind is the final book in the Mermen of Ea Series. The series is high fantasy, adventure, and romance set in the Age of Sail and features mermen shifters, or Ea. The books are one long story arc, and follow the adventures of Taren Laxley, born into servitude, who dreams of sailing on the ocean. When Taren is kidnapped by pirates, an entirely new universe opens to him. Later, when he dives overboard to rescue a crewmate in a storm, he comes face to face with the truth of his existence: he isn’t human at all, but a mer-shifter. Over the series, Taren grows from a young man who fears his freedom to a man who must lead his people to their destiny.

I’ve loved fantasy stories since I was a little kid and my dad read the Lord of the Rings books to me and my little sister. From there, I discovered the original Star Trek, and I branched out to include science fiction in the mix. I also loved romances, and I would tear through as many as I could get my hands on. The best stories for me? Stories that combined both fantasy and romance. Which probably explains why my favorite stories ever are from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover” series. Those stories are set on an alien planet where humans and aliens had interbred to create a caste of people who had psi abilities (telepathy being the simplest of their abilities). Darkovans rode horses and fought with steel. Their society was ruled by kings and sorcerers. There were so many wonderful layers to those stories—To this day I still reread them for writing inspiration.

I have no doubt that my love of fantasy fueled my creative soul, and that my brain is wired to imagine and create. I’ve been inspired to write stories based on dreams I’ve had, and I’ve dreamed about stories I’m writing and have awoken with great ideas for those stories. I was always one of those kids who had her head in the clouds. I remember, at age 10, how I used to walk to the library wearing the Trek science officer uniform my mother had made me, hoping and praying Scotty truly would beam me up!  Years later, here I am creating the universes from my imagination on paper and loving every minute of it. And the universe in the Mermen of Ea Series is such a joy to play in!

It doesn’t take much to understand the appeal of mermen. Getting certified in scuba has opened an entirely new universe to me. When I’m under the water, I want to stay there forever, which really doesn’t work with a limited tank of oxygen and a little thing called a “surface interval” (humans’ bodies need to slowly off-gas the buildup of nitrogen that occurs when diving by spending a set amount of time above the water between dives—this is related to the painful and often fatal condition known as “the bends” most people have heard about). Human bodies simply aren’t made for extended time underwater unless they’re in a pressurized environment like a submarine.

What a wonderful fantasy to be able to exist both on land in human form, as well as in the ocean, in merman form! Truly the best of both worlds. Not that I’d like to be caught in the middle of a merfolk civil war, or a battle at sea, like the heroes of the Mermen of Ea Series. But in a perfect universe, it would be lovely, wouldn’t it?

I hope you’ll join me on the epic adventure of mer-shifters Ian and Taren, beginning with Stealing the Wind, continuing with into Into the Wind, and ending with Running with the Wind. Be sure to look for the cool Rafflecopter giveaway with some nautical and mermen themed prizes. Happy reading! –Shira

Sequel to Into the Wind

With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.

Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.

Pages or Words: 67,000 words

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance

Sales Links:

About the author:
In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, 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.
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 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.


SPOILER WARNING: This excerpt contains spoilers for the first two series books!
Running with the Wind
Excerpt from Chapter One
Ian leaned over the railing as the morning sunlight warmed his shoulders. A few feet away, Taren wrapped a blanket around the shivering boy, who sat with his knees hugged to his chest. He tenderly ruffled the boy’s fiery red hair. The boy leaned into Taren’s touch and made a satisfied sound much like the purr of a cat.
Not a boy, Ian reminded himself. Bastian. An Anuki. The heavenly brethren of the Ea. A dragon shifter reborn from the ashes. True, this freckle-faced dragon child looked nothing like the full-fledged beast who’d nearly killed them the day before, but they knew little of the Anuki. Had it only been a day since Seria’s men had attacked them and they’d lost Rider to Seria’s bullet?
Ian met Taren’s gaze and his grief eased slightly. Taren smiled back, his warm brown eyes hooded with exhaustion and grief, his shoulder-length hair having dried in a tumble of waves. From where he sat on the deck, Bastian watched Odhrán, keenly interested. The sphere they’d discovered not long after the destruction of the Sea Witch—an egg, Ian now knew—had dissolved beneath the water. Bastian had been choking and spluttering when Odhrán had carried him aboard. Since then, Bastian had done little but watch Odhrán with rapt attention.
Like a baby bird watches its mother. Ian frowned at his folly. How easy it was to forget this pathetic creature had destroyed the Sea Witch and nearly killed them all. If Odhrán hadn’t killed the dragon Bastian had become, they’d all have died. And yet Bastian had been reborn.
Bastian glanced up at Taren, blinked several times, then shifted his gaze back to Odhrán, who spoke in hushed tones to one of his crew. The long blond braid down Odhrán’s back dripped onto the deck and left the back of his woolen jacket sodden. Despite the bright blue of his eyes and his youthful features, Odhrán appeared as exhausted as Ian felt.
“A moment of your time?” Ian said after the crewmember trotted off toward the stairs, leaving the four of them alone on the foredeck.
Odhrán nodded and followed Ian amidships, far enough away that Bastian wouldn’t hear.
“Do you think this is wise?” Ian asked with a quick glance back at Taren and Bastian.
“What would you have me do? Leave him to drown?” Odhrán, too, appeared weary. Ian knew he still regretted having killed the fully transformed Bastian.
He couldn’t live without Rider.” Taren’s words echoed in Ian’s mind. Rider—Ian’s oldest friend—had taken a bullet in Ian’s stead. There’d been no time to grieve.
“No.” Ian sighed. “Rider would have wanted us to care for him.” Taren would never have forgiven him for suggesting they leave Bastian to drown, and they’d lost too much to even consider it.
Odhrán nodded curtly and turned his gaze eastward. Now calm in the wake of the storm, the water sparkled with sunlight. Nothing remained of the Sea Witch but a few bits of broken timbers floating restlessly on the waves. Later, all of the men now aboard the Chimera would gather on the deck to remember the Witch’s captain, but for just a moment, Ian could almost imagine Rider at the wheel of his beloved ship.
I’ll miss you, old friend. More than you’ll ever know.
Ian shrugged off his dark thoughts and walked back to Taren. “You should get some sleep.” He squeezed Taren’s shoulder. “Odhrán and I will not let Bastian out of our sight.”
Taren pressed his lips together and nodded. How tired Taren must be that he didn’t even argue!
“I’ll join you in a bit.” Ian pressed his lips to Taren’s warm cheek.
Taren retrieved the blanket that had fallen off Bastian’s shoulders and wrapped it around him again. Naked as Bastian was beneath, Ian caught a glimpse of the wings they’d seen when they’d discovered him on the ocean floor. No longer scaled as they’d been when they’d first pulled Bastian from the water, Bastian’s wings were now covered with feathers and shimmered red, yellow, orange, and fuchsia, iridescent in the sunlight.
“I’ll be back later,” Taren told Bastian with a barely repressed yawn. “I promise.”
Bastian’s eyes revealed little understanding. Had he forgotten everything of his former life? Perhaps he was still too overwhelmed from the shock of the past day’s events to fully comprehend his situation. He’d not uttered a word since they’d brought him aboard.
Taren kissed Ian—a fleeting kiss, but one Ian needed to reassure himself that all had not changed—before heading belowdecks to rest.
Ian met Odhrán at the bow. “He’s like a fledgling,” Ian said, inclining his head in Bastian’s direction, “watching you like a bird might his mother.”
Odhrán’s brow knitted. He’d clearly noticed it as well. “I’ve asked Garan to reinforce the enchantments on the ship’s masts and sails. There’s nothing more to be done.”
“Aye. But if Bastian threatens the ship—”
“Then I’ll be forced to subdue him. Not a prospect I relish, although in his current state, he appears far less powerful than before.” Odhrán studied Bastian once again. “For now, at least, he’s content to be in our company.”
“What do you know of the Anuki?”
“They’re much like the Ea in their ability to shift to human form. I met one centuries ago, but he was nothing like this. Not a child. But what happened with Bastian….”
“Reborn from the ashes.” Ian’s heart ached once again for the loss of Rider.
“My time with one of their kind was brief.” Odhrán stared past Ian as if remembering.
Ian didn’t press the issue. Later, perhaps, he’d ask Odhrán about that encounter. “And his memories of his life with Rider?”
Odhrán shook his head. “I don’t know. I suppose only time will tell.”
Ian clenched his jaw. The realization that Bastian might not remember anything of his love for Rider made Ian’s grief that much greater.

Where to find the author:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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