I may have talked about this book in the past, because I loved it, and, well, the whole series, actually. a lot. Enough that I keep going back and reading parts of it over again. But today, I invited Shanon over to talk about hr books herself, because it's always nice to hear from the authors, I think. It's fun to find out what goes through their heads when they're writing something, or after they've written it. Being an author, I know what goes through my skull. Being a reader, I want to know what makes other writers tick, too. So, without more rambling on my part, here's
ROCK STARS GONE COUNTRY by SJ Frost Rock Stars Gone…Country? First, I want to give a huge thanks to Jaime for letting me visit here. It’s such an honor and pleasure, and I’m very excited for her and her new rocker story, OFF STAGE: RIGHT. I’m wishing her and her Firefly boys tons of good luck!
As the author of the Conquest series, I know how much fun – and how challenging – it is writing about rock stars. But who doesn’t love them?! Cocky attitudes, tight clothes, strutting across a stage like they own the world. There’s just something about them that’s hard to resist.
Like Jaime mentioned when she visited my blog , I also grew up during the MTV era. Actually, let me rephrase that. I grew up in the MTV era when they played music videos and were focused on music. I feel pretty lucky to have gotten to experience that. It was one of many things that fueled my love for music, especially the rock genre, and that’s carried through even to today.
Between that and other musical influences I had growing up, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when a bold and sexy young rock singer, Jesse Alexander, showed up in my mind a few years ago, bringing his man, his band, and a host of other characters with him. From that moment, the Conquest series was born with the first book, CONQUEST. Little did I know what it would lead to! It’s still hard for me to believe there are, at this moment, seven books in the Conquest “world”, and still a couple more stories to tell.
But while there’s still a little more to go with the Conquest boys, I decided to let them rest for a bit to work on another musician themed story that’s not tied to the Conquest series, A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: THE NOVEL. And why is “The Novel” tacked onto the end of it? Well, this was originally a short story I wrote over two years ago for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. Even when I finished the short for the group, I knew I was going to have to expand it, and now I’m happy to say it’ll be my next rock star themed release, coming to MLR Press in August! And part of this story is rock singer, Ash Ivers, learning just how much fun it is to “go country” when he meets famed country singer, Jackson Abrams.
For me, it was interesting stretching my writing muscles to work with a musician in a different genre other than rock, and also, bringing the two genres together in one book. Of course, I did have some inspirational help as soon as The Voice started up again, and I got to watch the cute banter between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Those two are the stuff stories are made of *happy sigh*
And that’s the thing with writing rock stars and musicians. The inspiration is endless! That’s probably how the Conquest series grew to the size it is! That, and I also just couldn’t let go of the boys. :) It’s really no wonder why authors love writing about rock stars, or why readers love stories about them. Their antics, their sexiness, their creativity, their attitudes, their passion, it all leads to creating fun and hot storytelling. And in my humble opinion, the world can never have enough rock star stories!
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Blurb: As the vocally gifted lead singer of his band, Conquest, Jesse Alexander refuses to let anything hold him back from achieving his dream of becoming one of the greatest performers to ever hit a stage.
Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career, he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers, but with the pressures of success and fame pushing down on them, Jesse must decide what's more important to him, his life of music, or his life with Evan.
Excerpt: Jesse walked further into the room, turning in a circle to fully take it in. Electric guitars of numerous styles and brands hung on one wall with bass guitars and acoustics. Of the electric, Jesse guessed there had to be over thirty. Against one wall, dark walnut shelves displayed several violins and violas with two cellos and a full-sized harp sitting close by. On the other side of the room, shelves and wooden tables held still more instruments, though many of these were exotic, some of which Jesse didn’t even know existed until that moment. He moved across the room to them, his fingers all but twitching to touch.
Evan could see on Jesse’s face how he battled for control to not finger the instruments. “Go ahead. You can touch them. From the moment it’s created, an instrument’s only wish is to be held by a loving and skilled hand.”
Jesse gently laid his fingers on a zither near its strings and caressed the wood. “It’s true, isn’t it? Sometimes I think they’re almost living, the way each one has a unique voice. Kenny thinks I’m nuts. He says, a Strat is a Strat. But to me, every instrument has a subtle pitch difference that makes it its own, and when it gets held in the hands of someone who respects and understands it, the sound of that instrument becomes as individual as the soul of the person playing it.” He looked over his shoulder at Evan and smiled. “You probably think I’m mental, too, for thinking like that, don’t you?”
“No, not at all,” Evan said softly, in awe at the serene beauty that came over Jesse’s face when he was surrounded by instruments.
Jesse stopped before the violins, admiring each one. “They’re so beautiful. I’ve always wanted to learn to play, but I haven’t had the chance.”
Evan headed over to him. “I could teach you. I’ve seen all the instruments you can play. Picking up one more would be easy for you.”
Jesse turned a hopeful smile on him. “You would do that?”
“I would love to.”
Evan pulled down a violin case from the top shelf and set it on one of the lower ones. He opened it, revealing a violin inside with a rich brownish-gold finish. Though it lay silent, as the light in the room washed over it, Jesse swore he could hear the echoes of the countless songs the instrument had known, and all the emotions its voice had evoked from its listeners, joy, sadness, hope, seemed to have become as much a part of it as its neck, body, or stain.
Evan lifted the instrument from its case with the tenderness of a father lifting his child from its crib. He set it against his left shoulder to check the tuning, placing a soft white cloth where his chin would go since the model didn’t have a chinrest, and when the final adjustments were made, he said, “It’s been a while since I’ve played, so don’t laugh at me if I screw up.”
Jesse shook his head and sat down on the stool for the harp. “Never.”
Evan raised the bow and closed his eyes, calling the song he wanted to play to his mind. The music flowed through his mental ear, telling him the notes he needed. He settled the bow on the strings and played the first gentle notes of Pachelbel’s Canon in D major.
Jesse’s lips parted, the pure, divine sound of the violin stealing his breath to add to its essence. Like a heavenly being residing in the mortal realm, Evan wove the notes together with expert fingers and created a blanket of music that wrapped around them both. Though the piece normally called for more violins, Evan’s rendition and skill made it so the other instruments weren’t missed. Enraptured, Jesse stared at him, at his lips that looked so soft, at his fingers of such deft skill, and in that moment, the newly awoken part of himself became fully alert, and he knew then it was his very soul that Evan had roused. It responded to Evan, called to him, and there’d be no silence within himself until Evan was his.
You can bet I'll be inviting Shanon back when The Novel comes out. I grew up on country, so I can only imagine how much I am going to love that book!!! Thanks for stopping by, Shanon, and hope y'all come back again soon!