Its A Wrap for Those Sexy Mermen of Ea with Running With the Wind by Shira Anthony (excerpts and giveaway)

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Running with the Wind cover

Running With the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3) by Shira Anthony
Stories must be read in order. This is the final book of the trilogy

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Release Date: June 8, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

My Interview with Shira Anthony

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Shira Anthony author of Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3). Hi Shira, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
• Describe your book to us.

Thanks for hosting me today! Running with the Wind is the final installment in my Mermen of Ea Series from Dreamspinner Press. The series is high fantasy, romance, and adventure set on the high seas. The story follows Taren Laxley, an indentured servant who dreams of sailing aboard the tall ships that put into port in the harbor town where he lives.

Taren is kidnapped by pirates, and an entire new universe opens up to him aboard their ship, the Sea Witch. But when he falls overboard during a storm trying to save a fellow crewmember, he’s rescued by the crew of the Phantom. The ship and its captain, Ian Dunaidh, aren’t what they seem. They’re merfolk shifters, or Ea. What’s more, Taren learns he is an Ea as well.

Taren and Ian’s rocky start eventually turns into a deep and all-encompassing love. Their connection is ages old, and Taren learns he has a purpose he must serve: leading his people a safe haven where they can live in peace. The final book in the series, Running with the Wind, leads Taren and Ian and the Ea to the brink of another civil war, and their happiness is far from guaranteed.

There’s magic, magical creatures, and adventure in the books, and they were a blast to write! I hope you enjoy reading them.
• Have you ever read something that made you think differently about your genre? Can you tell us what it was?

The first real gay romance I read was back in the 80s and it was between the lines of my all-time favorite sci fi/fantasy series, Darkover, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The deep love between two men and the strength of those characters made me crave more, and eventually prompted me to take a good friend up on her suggestion that we write an MM story together (that story became Prelude (Blue Notes #4). When Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote that series, gay romance in mainstream fiction was still taboo, but the little taste of it I found there was the foundation for the genre I now love to write. I honestly can’t imagine writing anything else!
• Tell us about your character’s family life?

Taren’s parents died when he was a baby, so he never knew them. He was raised by a ship rigger, Borstan Laxley, who treated him fairly well. But Borstan pays off his gambling debts using Taren, and Taren finds himself not much more than a slave at an inn near the harbor. Later in the series, we get a glimpse back at Taren’s parents. But I won’t spoil that part!
• Compare yourself to your main character.

Wow, tough question! At the beginning of the series, Taren is a mixture of submissive slave and questioning boy. Very different from me, since I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to temper my need to speak my mind. Later, Taren grows more assertive, more like I am I guess you could say.
• Describe your past week as a type of landscape or a weather forecast.

Definitely a seascape! I’ve been so busy traveling to conventions, including Romantic Times in Dallas, Texas, and Animazement, in Raleigh, North Carolina, not to mention balancing writing, blogging, and real life work, that all I see right now is a very large ocean. In the distance? My vacation! And what an appropriate vacation for that kind of landscape: I’m spending 3 weeks aboard our catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen!

Now more about Running with the Wind….

It’s here!  The final story in Shira Anthony’s Mermen of Ea Trilogy, Running with the Wind.  Check out the synopisis and excerpts below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end.

About Running with the Wind

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

Running with the Wind Excerpt

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.

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About Shira Anthony~

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.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shira-Anthony/177484618974406
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterShira
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/anthony0564/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ShiraAnthony/posts

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 gift card and backlist book of choice.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Here is the list of prizes (also on the Rafflecopter link):

December Diamonds Wedding Mermen Ornament
(or a free download of the audiobook version of Stealing the Wind for non U.S. Residents
Geneva Nautical Wrap Watch
Anchor Cord Bracelet

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy Links for the other stories in the Mermen of Ea Trilogy – now complete:

Stealing the Wind coverIntoWindRunning with the Wind cover

 

 

 

 

Stealing the Wind: 
Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18216592-stealing-the-wind

buy it at: 
Dreamspinner Press – https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4101
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Wind-Mermen-Ea-Book-ebook/dp/B00EHHZXVS
Google Books – https://books.google.com/books/about/Stealing_the_Wind.html?id=-RKzAAAAQBAJ&hl=en
B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stealing-the-wind-shira-anthony/1116395006?ean=9781627980531

Into the Wind: 
Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20343872-into-the-wind

DP – https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4975
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Into-Wind-Mermen-Ea-Book-ebook/dp/B00K4PX4BS
B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/into-the-wind-shira-anthony/1119434211?ean=2940149579983

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Tour Dates & Stops:
1-Jun
Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

2-Jun
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

3-Jun
My Fiction Nook

4-Jun
Amanda C. Stone

5-Jun
Carly’s Book Reviews

8-Jun
Bayou Book Junkie

9-Jun
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10-Jun
Decadent Delights

11-Jun
MM Good Book Reviews

12-Jun
Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Jun
Divine Magazine

16-Jun
Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

17-Jun
BFD Book Blog

18-Jun
The Novel Approach

19-Jun
Because Two Men Are Better Than One

22-Jun
Kimi-Chan
Happily Ever Chapter

23-Jun
Prism Book Alliance

24-Jun
Cate Ashwood

25-Jun
Love Bytes

26-Jun
Molly Lolly

Cover Reveal Time for Shira Anthony’s With the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3) And Trilogy Finale

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Running With the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3) by Shira Anthony
Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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Release Date: June 8, 2015

Sales LInks:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback

About Running With the Wind,  Sequel to Into the Wind

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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.

Note: Series must be read in order. This is the final book of the series.
Pages or Words: 67,000 words

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

 

About Author Shira Anthony…

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.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shira-Anthony/177484618974406
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterShira
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/anthony0564/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ShiraAnthony/posts

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Tour Dates & Stops: May 7, 2015

Parker Williams, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Carly’s Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, The Hat Party, MM Good Book Reviews, Rebecca Cohen Writes, Havan Fellows, Kristy’s Brain Food, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, BFD Book Blog, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Chris McHart, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bayou Book Junkie, Molly Lolly, Emotion in Motion, Kimi-Chan, Charley

The Merman Of Ea Series Include with links to our reviews:

Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1):

Stealing the Wind coverTaren 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.

Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2)

IntoWindSince learning of his merman shifter heritage, Taren has begun building a life with Ian Dunaidh among the mainland Ea. But memories of his past life still haunt him, and as the threat of war with the hostile island merfolk looms ever closer, Taren fears he will lose Ian the same way he lost his beloved centuries before. Together they sail to the Gateway Islands in search of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power the Ea believe will protect them—and Odhrán, the pirate rumored to possess it.

After humans attack the Phantom, Taren finds himself washed up on an island, faced with a mysterious boy named Brynn who promises to lead him to Odhrán. But Taren isn’t sure if he can trust Brynn, and Odhrán is rumored to enslave Ea to protect his stronghold. Taren will have to put his life on the line to find his way back to Ian and attempt to recover the stone. Even if he does find it, his troubles are far from over: he and Ian are being stalked by an enemy who wants them dead at all costs

Review: Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

IntoWindTaren and Ian Dunaidh have landed on the mainland  Ea settlement near Raice Harbor after the tumultuous events of Stealing the Wind.  Taren knows he is one of the Ea but nothing else of his heritage and he is searching for answers.  Vurin, leader of the mainland Ea and governor of Callaecia, the Ea village, seems to hold the clues to Taren’s past and perhaps his future.  Vurin is a powerful mage and he believes it is Taren’s fate to be the wielder of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power.  The stone holds great significance for Taren and his past.  It is also a weapon that can keep the Ea safe.  But no one really knows where it is.  Only that  Odhrán the pirate is rumored to possess it.

Again the Goddess has some incredible twists and turns in store for Taren.  On the voyage to the island where Odhran is said to reside, Ian’s ship, the Phantom, comes under attack by an old enemy and Taren is swept overboard during battle.  Taren awakes on one of the Gateway Islands unsure of how he came to be there.  At his side, a young boy, Brynn, who says he can lead him to Odhrán and the mysterious stone.

Taren knows he must get that stone no matter the cost.  But who is he to trust?  The pirate is said to make slaves of the Ea, humans like the boy consider him an enemy, and he is separated from Ian on an unknown island, unsure of Ian’s and the Phantom’s fate. Everything looks bleak and impossible.  Taren’s past is the key to his present safety and the future of the Ea.  And only the Goddess knows if he will prevail in his quest for the stone and a happy future with Ian.

Shira Anthony sails back into her Mermen of Ea universe with Into the Wind, the second book in the series.  The first book, Stealing the Wind,  revolved around Taren’s discovery of his true nature and his meeting/new relationship with Ian Dunaidh, Captain of the Phantom and a merman himself. This story ventures further into Taren’s past and his reincarnation of the Ea priest Treande.   Taren is the key and locus for the tumultuous events occurring around him.  The Ea people are under attack, not just from humans but from other Ea who retreated to an island and rule by a increasingly rigid Council.  Taren who only recently found out that he was an Ea as well is under assault himself.  Plagued by dreams and nightmares of his previous life, hunted by a dark mage of the Ea Council, and still under a pledge of one more year’s service to the pirate Rider of the Sea Witch, nothing about Taren’s life is simple or sane.  Anthony lays down more and more threads to an increasingly complex plot and the complexities here are one of the real joys of this story.

Once more Shira Anthony weaves her magic with her sensual underwater imagery and complex Ea culture and physiology.  The story starts off with the Phantom engaged in battle with a mysterious ship.  The Phantom is under heavy fire, and both Taren and Ian are in the midst of the battle.  Cannons are fired,and  masts splintered as the battle is brought home for the Phantom crew and the readers. What a great fight scene!

The aftermath of the sea battle is traumatic for all characters involved and dissolves into a mystery.  Then the narrative retreats in time to two week earlier in the Ea settlement of Callaecia.  And once more we have a Taran whose reality is shifting between his memories of Treande who lived there centuries ago with his mate Owyn and the present, a life where Taran is visiting this place for the first time.  Each step around Callaecia is overlaid with visions from an earlier time when the place was new and the temples stood instead of ruins.  This could be a tricky element to pull of but Anthony does it extremely well.   What happened here?  Is it just time responsible for the changes or something more? Where Taren sees ruins, his memories show him houses and temples as if they had been just recently constructed.  Taran is constantly pulled between the past and the present, with nightmarish results. Even his new relationship with Ian echos with layers from the past and Treande’s love for and relationship with Owyn (who has been reincarnated in Ian).  Anthony shows Taren buffeted by so many winds that at times he threatens to loose any semblance of  mental and emotional balance.

Vurin, a minor character in the first novel, returns to guide Taran and show him parts of his past that still remain hidden.  Old temples and the rune stone that Owyn gave his life to keep safe figures in greatly here.  Ea religion and history come to the fore to play major roles in Taran’s fate when a ghostly figure/priestess reappears with portents of the future.  It is here the Vurin first mentions the pirate Odhrán who might possess the stone and the Gateway Islands.  Shira Anthony has a large scale plan in store for this series, obviously.  And all the clues and plot threads are being laid down for the stories yet to come so there are numerous ideas and elements being juggled here, sometimes simultaneously.  This makes for a wonderfully rich tapestry of storytelling magic. Into the Wind glows with a richness of detail that it can lay claim to the vitality and depth of the sea itself.  And at the heart of the wealth of riches is the character of Taran.

I love the duality aspect to Taran.  He is two people and we are often treated to two perspectives on any given situation, whether it is the appearances of the settlement or of his relationships with others like Vurin when he was Treande.  And the memories are often awful ones, as the loss of Owyn is something Treande never recovered from.  Now Taran with his new relationship to Ian, has to fight with his anxiety over loosing Ian just as Treande lost Owyn so not even his present love exists without a veneer of sadness and fatality.  We are privy to both his love for Ian and his love and memories of Owyn, whose sacrifice and death haunts both the story and Taran. Again, this is where Ian suffers in comparison as a character. Owyn is the more compelling persona. Ian is just not as complex a person or we don’t get to see that aspect of his character.  He is supposed to be the reincarnation of Owyn, a powerful mage.  But none of that is apparent as yet, and his character suffers for that deficiency.  This is my only quibble here with the story.

A new fantastic character is added to the series here with the appearance of Odhrán, the pirate of unknown origins.  A person of mystery, rumors and legends swirl about the man including his possession of the stone that will save the people of Ea. But nothing is as great as the truth of Odhrán himself.  With his interaction with Taran and a look into his angst filled past, Odhrán will quickly become a favorite character of this series.

The story divided towards the middle into almost two separate stories.  One concerned with Taran and his search forOdhrán.  The other with Ian and the crew of the Phantom.  Both locations and plots are hugely effective but as our concentration and empathies are with Taran, again this section with Ian seems a little diluted in emotion and conciseness.  Plus Taran has Odhrán, and he is such a charismatic character that he just outshines everyone else when he is in the scene.

I loved Odhrán and the mystery that surrounds him will likely carry into the others stories as it looks like he has a huge part to play in the events to come.  Other major characters from Stealing the Wind return towards the end of Into the Wind with shocking results.  And no, I didn’t see that coming either.

That ending!  What a bombshell the author has in store for everyone here!  I will say this only once.  Do not read the ending first.  You know who you are!   Don’t, just let that impulse pass. The stunning ending is one that needs to be savored and that will happen only if you read everything that leads up to it.  I didn’t see it coming and neither will you.  And that made me want to have the next book to reach for…to see what happens next.

We won’t get that story until next year. But it will probably send you back to the beginning of this story to see if there were any indications of the revelations to come. Still that astonishing ending as well as the great new characters made this my favorite story of the series to date.  I loved the plot, with all the intervening flashbacks/nightmares for Taran and juggling of almost two competing sets of characters and locations.  Plus there are mermen.  Sexy, smexy mermen. It just doesn’t get better than that.  Or does it?  Hmmmm, only the next story in the series will tell us whether it is so.

If you love the idea of mermen or love found under the sea, if you love high adventures and pirates, or even a forever love that is found once more, this is the story for you.  In fact this is the series for you.  It sings with all the love and emotion this author clearly has for her subject matter and the waters the swirl around them and their fates.  Start your journey with Stealing the Wind and then continue the voyage here with Into the Wind.  Both are highly recommended reads from ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.

Cover art by Anne Cain.  I thought that first cover was incredible (it was).  But now, take a look at how this one almost glows with a luminosity and fluidity that mimics the movement of the sea.  Love, love this cover.  The name of the character on the cover is something that Shira Anthony kept hidden for a while.  And no, it’s not Taran or Ian.

Books in the series planned to date are in the order they were written and should be read:

Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1)
Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2) released May 5, 2014
Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3) coming 2015

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 5th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 5th 2013)
ISBN139781627988766
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4975
seriesMermen of Ea #2

Buy links   Dreamspinner Press   Amazon  ARe

Review: Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Stealing the Wind coverTaren Laxley’s life as a slave changed for the better when a handsome pirate, Captain Rider, abducted him from the inn where he worked and took him out to sea.  Life abroad the Sea Witch was incredible.  Taren had been chosen to become a third in an established loving relationship between the Captain and his lover, Bastien, and soon was happily climbing the masts as a rigger as an accepted shipmate and  accepted between the sheets as their lover.  But fate had more in store for Taren than he could have ever imagined.

An accident at sea sent Taren into the depths of the ocean and into a new life once more. Taren was rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic enemy Captain of the Phantom, a rival ship to the Sea Witch.  Immediately, Taren feels drawn to Ian, pulled by emotions he cannot fathom.  Once again the fates intervene, shifting Taren’s path forever.  Shortly after his rescue the truth comes out that Captain Ian Dunaidh and his crewmen are mermen, a race called Ea, and in a truly stunning disclosure, Taren finds out he is one as well.

Taren and Ian each feel a tie to each other than neither can explain but the storm clouds of war are gathering that will impact them all.  Old hatreds and suspicions, old and new alliances, between Ea and Ea, and  Ea and Humans, will explode with devastating results.  And Taren and Ian will be caught in the middle.  Taren is going to have to learn quickly who he is and how to steal the wind if all are to survive.

I have to admit it, Shira Anthony had me at the word “merman”.  With thoughts gone wild I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this story and throw myself into the characters and mermen universe that Shira Anthony had created.  And it was even better than I had imagined.  We first meet up with poor Taren as his world is collapsing around him.  The only “family” he has ever known, a Master Rigger, is selling Taren to pay his gambling debts.  This scene is almost excruciating as Taren gets ripped away from Borstan Laxley and the only home he can remember.  His new destination?  A inn where pirates and their crew are known to favor.  Again, Taren’s fate is sealed as a certain Captain Rider makes advances that confuse Taren as much as they turn him on.

Quickly, Anthony swirls Taren off on another fated path when Rider abducts Taren and takes him out to sea.  It is here that the story comes fully alive with every twist and swoop of the Sea Witch over the water.  Clearly, Shira Anthony loves and is familiar with the sea and life aboard a vessel, size not withstanding.  Through her almost visceral descriptions of the movements of the ship and the feeling of the waves and wind when Taren and the Sea Witch are sailing, the reader feels as though they are a part of the crews and ships found inside this story.   Being near or on the ocean brings out so many deep seated emotional responses in people and those are apparent in the thoughts and feelings of Taren as he climbs the masts or looks out over the seas they are sailing through. Taren’s “gut deep” involvement with the water is both physical and emotional.  He is drawn to it and it brings him peace.  His stunning realization that he is a merman, an Ea, then brings a resultant joy and self knowledge that feels as natural as the next wave.

The world building here is impressive.  Anthony constructs not only several cultures of Ea but histories as well, when a racial separation happened with  some Ea retreating to an island nation with a resultant rise of an oppressive government and others staying on the mainland .  There is the  Ea Goddess based religion and Ea mages to go along with ancient temples and hidden cities.  But it is with the Ea or merman form and physicality of that shape that is so enchanting and sensual that it will ignite your imaginations and passions for this race and these wonderful characters.  The detailed descriptions of the glowing colors and fluid movements of their merman body is almost mesmerizing. Anthony’s underwater scenes feels so alive that one might feel as though they have their face pressed against the glass in some large city aquarium.   It’s voluptuous and seductive as the sea the Ea are made to live in.

There is a duality of character here in both Taren and Ian.  Both of them have memories of an intertwined past, one that is slowly revealing itself through this story and the next.  But of the two of them, only Taren brings that other aspect truly alive.  With Ian, it’s a little more blunt and one dimensional. We see little of the other character in him, unlike Taren whose duality is impressive as both characters have the same force of being and vitality.  I am not sure if that is part of the author’s overall plan for this couple but it just seems that Taren has more depth and more secrets to him than Ian does.  For me that is the only small hitch to this otherwise marvelous story.  It could be that Ian is just coming into the role he will play in the rest of the series.  Either way I can’t wait to go forward with this characters and the course that Fate (and a certain author) has charted for them.

Put this amazing story on your list to read and that glorious art work on your list of covers to drool over. Both are highly recommended!

Cover art by Anne Cain is just glorious.  That merman and those colors are scrumptious and perfect for this story.

Books in the series planned to date are:

Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2)
Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2) released May 5, 2014
Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3) coming 2015

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 220 pages
Published August 12th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 11th 2013)
original titleStealing the Wind
ISBN 1627980547 (ISBN13: 9781627980548)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4101
seriesMermen of Ea #1
charactersBastian, Taren Laxley, Ian Dunaidh, Jonat Rider
literary awardsRainbow Award Honorable Menti