This post is reblogged from The Blog of Sid Love, where I blog monthly on the 10th of the month. Don’t forget that I’m still running a giveaway for a 2014 wall calendar with all my gorgeous Dreamspinner Press covers until Wednesday, February 19th, at midnight! To enter, just comment on this post. Good luck! -Shira
It’s February, nearly Valentine’s Day, so what better topic to tackle than the allure of Paris, the City of Love? To say that I love Paris is an understatement. I adore Paris. I also know it quite well, having lived in Paris as a very young child, and then spending several years France as a teenager. My parents are not French, but they might as well be. They are quintessential Francophiles and they still spend their summers in the Alps, in a lovely city on a lake called Annecy.
In my early 20s, back when I was still singing, I spent several weeks in Paris. There I met a gorgeous Frenchman (another musician, of course!) and we had a brief but very torrid affair. I remember rides around the Périphérique (the freeway that loops around the city) on the back of his scooter (“moto”). I also remember dinners in his loft apartment with friends, afternoons spent lounging at a café, nursing our coffees while people watching, and making love at night to the sounds of jazz and be-bop. Have I mentioned I love French men? Philippe was the first of several Frenchmen I dated before I got married. There’s just something about their comfortable, casual attitude, good looks, and the way the French language sounds when they speak that makes them so damn sexy….
About five years ago now, two girlfriends and I spent two weeks in Paris. We stayed at my brother-in-law’s apartment near the Jardins du Luxembourg, a gorgeous park complete with long, gravel walkways, gardens, a reflecting pool, and, of course, a chateau. A fifteen minute walk from the Seine and Notre Dame de Paris, the area is one of my favorites. We shopped, went sightseeing, and ate very well. It was January, after a heavy snow (unusual for Paris, which tends toward milder weather), and the skies were overcast and gray. It didn’t matter. Each time I walked out of the apartment, I imagined romance. In fact, I imagined a very particular romance: the romance that was the inspiration for the first book in my Blue Notes series of music-themed gay romances. I imagined Blue Notes.On February 19th, Dreamspinner will release a 2nd edition of the original book. The new version of Blue Notes is re-edited, reworked, and contains new text based on my free story, “Knowing.” Editing Blue Notes has made me long to take a run in the gardens, walk along the Seine and shop at some of the booksellers there, drink hot cocoa and eat crêpes in a tiny restaurant hidden on one of the side streets. I long to browse the manga stores, sit and listen to jazz in a smoky club, and experience the sounds and smells of the city (yes, even the not-so-pleasant ones!).
Blue Notes is probably the most romantic book I’ve written. How can it not be, when it tells the story of a disillusioned American attorney who runs from his life in the States to discover love and happiness in Paris, the most romantic city I know? When Jason Greene meets jazz violinist Jules Bardon in a hole in the wall jazz club, Jason’s life changes in ways he could never have imagined. With Jules’s help, Jason opens himself up to the possibilities of life, love, and even music. There is much of me in Jason, since I’ve given him my own background growing up in France, as well as a bit of my own musical history.
But you don’t need to be a musician to understand the music or the romance in Blue Notes. The connection between Jules and Jason is about far more than the music, although the initial attraction is inextricably intertwined with Jules’s musical voice. Blue Notes is about finding yourself and letting go. And what better place to do it than in a city as beautiful and storied as Paris?
I’ll leave you with a short excerpt from the book which I hope will give you a taste for my own love of Paris and all it has to offer. –Shira
THE NIGHT sky had begun to clear as Jason left the small café where he’d eaten dinner, and he wandered up toward Île de la Cité, hoping to catch a view of the Eiffel Tower. Crossing the Seine at ten o’clock, he watched as the tower was illuminated in a shower of sparkles. His sister had told him the Parisians had so enjoyed the lighting for the millennium that they’d insisted the special effects continue for the foreseeable future. Leaning against the wall that ran along the river’s edge, Jason thought of nothing but the lights as he ignored the damp chill of the evening.
When the light show ended, Jason headed back down boulevard Saint-Michel in search of some of the jazz clubs he’d discovered hidden amongst the tiny streets years ago. Normally he’d have asked a friend for a recommendation or consulted a guidebook on his phone. But tonight he didn’t do either. Other than hopping the plane to Paris, how long had it been since he’d done something spontaneous? Other than the night he’d walked in on Diane having sex with someone else, his entire life had become predictable. Boring.
He had nowhere to go, nobody waiting for him, no deadlines to meet. He could sleep late. A few drinks and some good music would help him sleep a lot better anyhow. He grinned and walked onward, cold hands shoved into his pockets.
Why the hell not?
He spotted a club as he turned the corner—a small, grayish- looking dive with a purple neon sign above the entrance, nestled between a bakery and a store that sold Japanese manga. Inhaling the fragrance of pastries baking in the boulangerie, he walked over to peer inside. He couldn’t see anything, but the sounds of modern jazz wafted onto the street. He glanced up and read the sign: “Le Loup-Garou.” The Werewolf.
A fitting name for a hole like this. And just the kind of place where you’d expect to hear great music.
You can find the entire Blue Notes Series at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AllRomanceEbooks, and most other book retailers. Here’s the link for the pre-order of the 2nd Edition of Blue Notes: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4720&cPath=55_484
About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, 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 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Shira’s Blue Notes Series of classical music themed gay romances was named one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word’s “Best Series of 2012,” and The Melody Thief was named one of the “Best Novels in a Series of 2012.” The Melody Thief also received an honorable mention, “One Perfect Score” at the 2012 Rainbow Awards.
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