Aria Countdown to Release Day: Day One Contest!

 I’m getting the release party started today, counting down to Christmas Eve, when Aria will be released by Dreamspinner Press! Each day, I will have a different contest for goodies.  Enter by leaving your name and email on my blog.  On Monday night, 12/24, I will draw a name from the comments for each of the drawings.  So comment once, and you’re entered into all the drawings!

Today’s prize listing?  A ceramic mug with the beautiful cover for The Melody Thief!  Drink your coffee or tea with Cary and Antonio.

For those of you not familiar with the Blue Notes Series, each of the novels is a standalone story that can be read in any order.  Secondary characters in one story often become the main characters in another.  Aria is no exception.

In Aria, we meet Sam Ryan from the original Blue Notes, a year after he’s lost the love of his life and his longtime partner, Nick Savakis.  To say Sam is floundering is an understatement.  He goes through the paces of everyday life as a Manhattan attorney, does his job well, but he’s forgotten how to live.  On the night he finally gathers the courage to spread Nick’s ashes over the water at New York Harbor, Sam goes to a gay bar for a drink.  He’s not looking for anything except maybe a one-night stand–something to make the pain go away.  The last thing he expects is that he’ll meet someone he really likes:  struggling opera singer Aiden Lind.

Aria is a story of love and loss, and moving on with your life.  It’s also the story of the very real challenges of a long-distance relationship.  Based in part on my experiences when I was traveling and singing, Aria gives the reader a taste of what isn’t as glamorous a life as you might expect.  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

I’ll leave you all with a little taste of the first chapter of Aria, the bittersweet scene at the beginning of the book as Sam tries to say good-bye to Nick in Battery Park.  More excerpts to come along with more giveaways as I count down to Monday’s release!  -Shira


Blurb: Five years after a prestigious scholarship jumpstarted his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his façade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan never moved on after his partner died, though he tried. Instead of dating, he keeps himself busy with work—but when he unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Aiden while on a rare vacation in Paris, he’s inspired to give their love a second chance. First, though, he’ll have to get Aiden to forgive him. Because when Sam was still grieving five years ago, he broke Aiden’s heart.

When rekindled lust blossoms into a true romance, it seems like the start of something wonderful. But Aiden’s career has him on the road much of the time, and the physical distance between him and Sam starts translating into an emotional disconnect. If Aiden and Sam can’t learn to communicate, their separation may prove more than their love can bear.


Excerpt from Chapter One:

THE ashes flew from his fingers the moment he lifted his hand to the wind. Weightless, ephemeral, they caught the stiff breeze and vanished over the water. The sky grew darker; a sunset painted in bands of fuchsia, orange, yellow, and dark purple streaked the clouds. Lady Liberty stood sentinel against the vibrant backdrop as a ferry made its way toward Staten Island.

Goodbye, Nick.

Sam looked down at the now empty tin in his hands. He replaced the cover and sat down on one of the benches at the edge of Battery Park, smiling to see the words Macadamia Chocolate Chip printed on the top. How many times had he seen his lover toss his tubes of oil paints into the battered cookie tin as they headed to the park for a Sunday afternoon picnic? Even after Nicholas Savakis had made his name as a rising young painter, he never replaced that metal tin.

“Who needs all the bullshit?” Nick said when Sam suggested they buy him a new box for his paints. “This works fine.” So when the funeral director tried to sell Sam a fancy urn, he refused. Instead, he took Nick’s ashes in the hard plastic box and transferred half of them to the tin. He gave the rest to Nick’s family.

It’s what Nick would have wanted.

Sam had decided on this spot even before the funeral, but it took him more than a year to gather his courage to come here. This had been Nick’s favorite place to sit and paint. Sam had often met him here after work during the six years they lived together.

Sam loved to watch Nick’s dark hair blow about his face as his lean hands moved with careful precision over the canvas, his long brushstrokes capturing the multilayered colors of the water and sky. To someone unfamiliar with Nick’s work, his paintings might seem only an enticing blur of paint and texture. But over the years, Sam had come to see the world through the eyes of the lanky, slightly awkward man whose stained jeans echoed the blue and turquoise he favored in his art. The paintings were whispers of Nick’s soul, the beautiful soul Sam had cherished. Sam had hoped to spend the rest of his life with that perfect soul.

He inhaled the salty air and closed his eyes. In the distance, he could hear the drone of traffic. The air was warm for mid-November, but as the sun set below the water, he shivered. The lightweight coat over his suit jacket did nothing to stop the biting wind. Sam had planned to do this the summer after Nick’s death. Nick would have laughed at him; he’d have told Sam he always took too long to decide things.

“S’only your fault you’re sitting here freezing your ass off,” Sam could almost hear him tease.

I love you, Nick. Wherever you are.

He opened his eyes once more, realizing he still held the cookie tin in his hands. He stood up and slipped it back into his briefcase, then slung the strap of the case over his shoulder. He needed a drink; he wasn’t ready to face the empty apartment yet. Not tonight, of all nights.

You can pre-order Aria on Dreamspinner Press!




  1. Penumbra - Reply

    I’ve read Blue Notes and am happy to know that Sam has his own story because I really liked him in Blue Notes.


    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks, Penumbra! I like Sam, too. He really does need his own HEA! Thanks for stopping by – I’ve got your name on the list for the giveaways. -Shira

  2. Tali Spencer - Reply

    I’m completely hooked on the series and love the way every character’s story intersects with those of other characters and story lines. I can’t wait to read Aria!

    palaistea (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Urb - Reply

    I have read Melody Thief and really enjoyed the unique world of classical music. Opera? I’m so there! Thank you!
    PS your website is nice.

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

    • Shira - Reply

      Thanks Urb – I’ve got you down in the drawings. And I’m so glad you like the website – Sam at did a wonderful job for me. Love her! -Shira

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