Guest Post: Shira Anthony, Mega Contest Time and the Release of Encore!


“Moving on from Music” by Shira Anthony

Thanks, Melanie, for hosting the Encore release day party on your blog! It’s such a pleasure to be here today. I’d crank up the music, but I’m not sure if we should play Tchaikovsky or The Who. Roger and John might be just as conflicted. They love just about any kind of music.

Those of you who have read any of the Blue Notes Series books probably know that the books are loosely based on people and events from my own life as a professional musician. I’m a former violinist and professional opera singer who gave up my music career about 15 years ago. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I don’t regret the decision. But having no regrets doesn’t mean “no pain.”

Ask yourself how many people you know who have studied music at the college level or beyond. I bet you can name a few (you may even be one!). How many professional musicians do you know? I know a lot of former professional musicians. There’s a reason for that: it’s an incredibly demanding career that requires total focus, pays poorly (unless you’re a superstar), and often means a nomadic lifestyle (not great for long-term relationships and family). There are many more former musicians than there are professionals. But how do you give up something you love nearly as much as you love the people in your life? The grief is very much like the grief you’d feel over the loss of a loved one.

I know. I’ve been there.

Two of the Blue Notes Series characters are former musicians: Jason Greene from Blue Notes, and Roger Nelson from Encore. Each deals with his grief over the loss of his music differently. For Jason, the perfectionist whose fear of performing became overwhelming, he finds a way to make peace with himself and accept his imperfections. Roger, however, is a different story. Roger loses the physical ability to play the violin. His musical voice aches to be heard, but his body (his hand) can’t translate the music of his heart into sound. It’s the most devastating loss of his life, and one he struggles to come to terms with over many years.

I don’t think it’s a surprise that it took five Blue Notes books for me to finally write my own loss into a Blue Notes character (Roger’s character). A musical soul needs to express itself, but it’s difficult to move forward when you aren’t sure how to do it or where to go. Roger tries to forget about his music and deny his grief. It’s only when he realizes there are other forms of self-expression that he can move on with his life and truly love. I’ve found a new outlet for my own self-expression in my writing and learned how to incorporate my love of music into my books. Even better, readers can still “hear” that musical voice in my books. So I guess in some sense, I haven’t really given up performing, have I?

Encore’s release will be followed on Christmas Day by the release of a Blue Notes holiday novella, Symphony in Blue. SymphonySymphony in Blue-build (1) will be my 10th Dreamspinner Press release, so I’m celebrating the release of both of these books with a blog tour contest ending on New Year’s Eve at midnight! Grand prize is a Kindle loaded with many of my Dreamspinner Press titles. You can get more entries by commenting on blog tour posts, tweeting, and buying the books. Here’s the link to the giveaway:

Contest Details for Blue Notes Series Holiday 2013 Giveaway:

  • Begins on release day for “Encore,” November 11, 2013
  • Ends on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, at midnight
  • Drawings are open to both U.S. readers and international readers, but physical prizes (Kindle, necklace, book, and t-shirt) are for U.S. readers only. I will award a virtual set of the first 4 Blue Notes Series books to one winner from outside the U.S.

Prizes (U.S. Only):

  • Grand Prize: A Kindle loaded with the first 4 Blue Notes Series books and some of my other back titles
  • 1st Place: A sterling silver music themed necklace
  • 2nd Place: Winner’s choice of one of my back titles in paperback (i.e., not including the 2 new releases)
  • 3rd Place: Blue Notes t-shirt, cover of the winner’s choice

Encore-BuildBlog Stops Currently Scheduled :
November 11th (release day – Encore): Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Melanie Marshall)
November 12th:   Live Your Life, Buy the Book
November 14th:   Michael Rupured’s Blog

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. I was just thinking about the Who, since I finished Pete Townshend’s autobiography over the weekend (he’s painfully honest, and I had no idea he’s struggled so much with self-image throughout his life). Former San Jose Shark Mark Smith had been a musician before and after his hockey career, and I remember him saying that music was the only business tougher than hockey. I can believe it!


  2. I always enjoy reading about musicians. I played in the school bands/orchestras until college so music has always been such a big part of my life. Looking forward to reading the new book. 🙂


    1. There’s a lot about high school band and orchestra that I took from my own experiences in the 1970s. I met my husband in orchestra, although we only dated a few months back then and rediscovered each other 10 years later. I have great memories of orchestra tours, too.


  3. I’m not sure that I have a favorite type of music. My taste is pretty eclectic. Thanks for the great post and the giveaway!


  4. I love Pop and Rock, especially if there are good lyrics like Nickelback’s “Lullaby” which has a positive message against suicide. But the music that touches me most is Musical Music. I’ve seen “The Lion King”, “Wicked”, “Dance of the Vampires”, “Les Miserables”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Mama Mia” and several others and love to listen to the music in the car or at home after experiencing it live. Songs like “Endless Night” just touch me very deeply and greatly enrich the story they accompany. The orchestra, the way professional singers sing in a wonderful way that is more relateable to me than Opera and brings their characters to live . it is just amazing. ❤


  5. “So I guess in some sense, I haven’t really given up performing, have I?”

    Nope, you haven’t! And I’m very grateful for it as I love your books.

    I am a fan of so many kinds of music but the singer-songwriter rip your heart out emotional stuff has to be my favorite! Damien Rice’s first album, Rachael Yamagata, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals….


  6. I mostly listen to alternative music, Rise Against, Muse, Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Carbon Leaf, Decemberists, Young the Giant, Walk the Moon, etc., but there is something I like in almost every genre.


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