The Power of Love Blog Tour and Giveaway!

blog hop picWelcome! If you’re stopping here first, please be sure to check out all the other wonderful blogs participating in the Power of Love Valentine’s Day Blog Tour. Each author is offering up goodies to lucky readers who visit their blogs.You can find them all here (full list at the bottom of the post!): http://powerofgaylove.blogspot.com/p/the-main-event-page.html

My prize?  Well, I have two, actually.  The first is for U.S. readers only: a beautiful pair of treble clef earrings or, ifzu6894120_main_tm1388713004 you’re not into earrings, a paperback copy of your choice of my Dreamspinner Press novels. The second is for non-U.S. readers only: a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate so you can buy yourself something fun or fill your Kindle to overflowing. Enter by commenting on my blog (don’t forget to let me know if you live in the US or not!). I’ll draw winners after midnight on February 16th.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you enjoy the post and the excerpt that follows. -Shira

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Saint_Valentines_Day_Candy_Valentine_s_Day_013165_Ever since I can remember, I’ve always looked forward to Valentine’s Day. When I was in high school, I remember putting on a big party for friends (and boyfriend at the time) in my parents’ basement. I hung cute decorations from the ceiling, made a heart-shaped cake, filled bowls with candy, even bought a red dress to wear. Each year, such high hopes. And each year, such a disappointment. It wasn’t the magical, soul-satisfying, romantic moment I hoped it would be.

In retrospect, I think I’ve realized that to expect so much from a single holiday was pretty silly of me. Still, it’s hard to avoid the hype. For the past six weeks (ever since Christmas, really), I’ve been seeing ads for candy in the newspaper, sexy lingerie at my beloved Zulily.com, fancy dinners out on Groupon, and jewelry sales at malls. How can you not get all excited?

Lest you start to think I’m Scrooge, think again. I’m one of the most hopeful romantics Valentines-Day-background_mainyou’ll ever meet! Just ask my friends. I’m the first one to encourage romance, whether it’s rooting on a friend on a blind date, watching someone’s kids while they go on a date night out, or working on writing someone a happy ending. I’m an incurable romantic who truly believes in happy endings. I don’t write stories without them (although I’ve been known to write a few cliff-hangers in my day!).

So why do I think Valentine’s Day is usually a disappointment? Because a single day does not romance make. Think about it. Was the last romance you read a one-day deal? Even with insta-love, romance novels are more than a day long. Romances are about staying in love. And much as I love a happy ending, I believe even happy endings aren’t a particular landing spot in time, but a continuing, loving commitment.

StealingTheWindFSSo do I still celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts and candy and special hugs and kisses?  You bet. But I consider the day just another arrow in Cupid’s quiver. Want to sweep your partner of his or her feet? Wear that sexy g-string and matching bow tie or silk boxers. Buy that special someone a gift to make them feel special. But know that the romance is ongoing, and it takes thought and care to feed it well. Valentine’s Day is the icing on the cake. You have to bake a good cake first!

And speaking of romance novels…. I love writing stories about ongoing happily-ever-afters, and about love that grows stronger through challenges and over time. From Taren and Ian, my mermen shifters in Stealing the Wind (soon to be continued in Into the Wind), to my Blue Notes Series books, I celebrate love that lasts and survives.

My Blue Notes Series is BlueNotes[2ndEd]LGall about that kind of love and commitment. Each novel is a standalone with interrelated characters who populate the universe of music and musicians. One of the most romantic of the series is the first: Blue Notes. And on February 19th, Dreamspinner Press will be releasing a 2nd edition of the novel. You can pre-order it now at 25% off on the Dreamspinner Press website.

So I’ll leave you with a bit of romance from Paris, the City of Love, this Valentine’s Day weekend. An excerpt from the 2nd edition of Blue Notes. Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you find romance to last a lifetime! But first, here’s the full list of all the blogs! -Shira

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Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.

******

Jules took a deep breath and closed his eyes once more, gently laying bow to string and beginning the opening phrases with their insistent, rhythmic repetition sounding below the melodic line. The simplicity of the piece was both stunning and heart wrenching. Each phrase built upon the next, rising in intensity and in pitch. It reminded Jason of a prayer, powerful in its stark beauty, and he heard Jules’s soul poured out into every note. And then it was over and Jason was left sitting in silence, staring at Jules as he had in the club, transfixed.

“Well? What did you think?” Jules asked.

The words woke Jason from his reverie. “That was… beautiful, Jules.” There were tears in his eyes, and yet he could not put into words why the music had so stirred his heart. In that moment, he saw the kid in a different light—no, “kid” definitely was not the right word. The look in Jules’s eyes was anything but childlike.

What are you thinking, Greene? You’re letting this get away from you.

Jules rested the violin and bow on the case and sat down next to Jason. He hesitated for a moment, watching Jason with uncomfortable intensity, then reached for Jason and brushed a single tear from his cheek. For Jason the touch was electric and his physical response unexpected.

“Bach always touches my soul,” Jules half whispered. His fingers still rested against Jason’s cheek. “He must have known great love, and great pain, to write something so powerful.”

Jason realized that his own pain must be showing on his face, because Jules, too, looked sad.

“I’ve never been religious”—Jules’s gaze never left Jason’s— “but I played this piece in a tiny church once. It was like God was there with me, speaking through me.”

When Jason remained silent, Jules leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips. Jason’s breath stuttered and he grew hard from the gossamer touch. He wanted to laugh, to cry, to take Jules in his arms. In that brief instant, he wanted to let go. Let it all go. He wanted to keep feeling the way Jules’s music had made him feel: alive and free. He didn’t want it to end.

At a loss to explain the intense emotional and sexual response of his own body and equally unable to stop himself, Jason reached for Jules and returned the kiss. Jules’s lips tasted of wine and musk, and Jason hungered for more.

What are you doing? With this thought, he pulled abruptly away from Jules, stared at him for a moment, then frowned and stood up. His heart pounded in his chest, and he felt dizzy.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, his throat dry. “I shouldn’t have… I’m tired. I’m going to sleep.”

“Of course.” Jules appeared to be just as stunned by their brief embrace as Jason was.

******

Bio: 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 can be found on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony
Twitter: @WriterShira
Website: http://www.shiraanthony.com
E-mail: shiraanthony@hotmail.com

50 comments

  1. H.B. - Reply

    A very interesting post. I’ve never celebrated V-day and to tell the truth don’t much are for it. Love is something you should have everyday instead of having it just for that one day when other couples are competing to show their significant others a nice time. It’s really a materialistic holiday. If your loved one didn’t get you anything on this holiday does it mean you’re not loved? No it doesn’t. Should this one day be the one day your sweetie actually pay attention to you? Yes, but then again he/she should be doing that everyday.

  2. Susan - Reply

    I like your point that one day does not a romance make. One the other hand, a lover who blows off Valentine’s Day is not a romantic (and probably not long to be a lover). (I used to play flute, so the earrings are great!)

    • shira - Reply

      Agree, Susan. I think there’s a certain expectation. 🙂 I saw those earrings and knew I had to buy them! -Shira

  3. TracyG. - Reply

    I’m not very romantic, my partner tries very hard. lol
    Love your excerpt.
    Happy Valentines day to you.

  4. Trix - Reply

    I’m not a big V-Day fan, since it makes singles feel bad and puts pressure on couples. But I do like the excuse to bake desserts!

    • shira - Reply

      That’s part of my problem with it, Trix. Makes me feel as though I should experience something wonderful, whether single or with a partner, when it’s just a day that gets a lot of hype. My husband and I are very low key about it. Even funnier? I ask for the same gift every year: a year’s membership to the fitness club! How romantic is that? Yes, I’m practical. 😉 _Shira

  5. Sarah_Madison - Reply

    I never cared for V day growing up because of all the hype and pressure. It’s even worse now, with Match.com and Kay’s Jewelers putting pressure on you from both sides of the spectrum! And yet there is a romantic streak in me that wants to be surprised with flowers, or a fancy night out. I wouldn’t say no to fine chocolate and a good bottle of wine, either. Just not on a particular day because everyone else doing so!

    I think I’m going to declare Random Valentine’s Day from now on, and just jump out of the bushes yelling “Put on your best suit, we’re going out–my treat!” from now on. 🙂

    • shira - Reply

      LOL Sarah. I think holidays in general put a lot of pressure on people. It’s difficult not to have high hopes and expectations…

  6. Jbst - Reply

    I agree that there is too much hype and pressure on just one day. I have the first edition of Blue Notes. Is there much difference with the 2nd edition? Thanks for the hop contest!

    • shira - Reply

      The 2nd edition is totally re-edited and contains about 3K more than the original. It incorporates the storyline in my free story, “Knowing,” that addresses Jason’s first and only sexual experience with a man before meeting Jules. For readers who purchased from Dreamspinner, the 2nd edition will be available for download for free.

      Hope that helps! -Shira

      • Jbst - Reply

        Thank, Shira for the info about the second edition. I checked my DSP account and found the second edition. Yay!

  7. Nic Starr - Reply

    What gorgeous earrings, so beautifully tying in with your music theme – shame I live in Australia!

    • shira - Reply

      You could still win the gift certificate, though, Nic! They are lovely, though. Thank you! -Shira

  8. Kathy Clevenger - Reply

    I gotta agree with quite a few of your posters, instead of Valentine’s Day, my friends and I get together for S.A.D. (singles awareness day). This year, that was dinner at my house (yes, I cooked) and watching Warm Bodies so we could laugh at the “Bonies”. Thanks for another great give away.
    Kathy C
    katcleve25@gmail.com

    • shira - Reply

      You’re very welcome! And that sounds like a wonderful Valentine’s Day, Kathy! My daughter did a “single lady dinner” after she got off work last night, complete with flowers and dessert. She streamed “Supernatural” on her computer while she ate. -Shira

  9. Melanie Marshall - Reply

    What a lovely blog, Shira. I know that Valentine’s Day brings about so many mixed emotions in people. I was so young when I received my first flowers from a young man. He brought me a single Bird of Paradise instead of the more traditional roses. Did I appreciate it the beautiful unique gesture at the time? No, I did not. Not until years later and realized not only how I had disappointed a very thoughtful and creative young man but also how disappointed I was in my younger oblivious self for not seeing beyond the traditional into something far more precious. Hard to realize those things at a teen age but even with all the great flowers, balloons and special things that later Valentine’s Day brought with them, that one flower still stands out among all the memories.

    • shira - Reply

      That’s beautiful and haunting, Melanie. So much of life is about expectations that sometimes we don’t realize when some special is right in front of us! Thank you for sharing. -Shira

  10. Kari Higa - Reply

    Bach is a new love for me. I’m curious to know what Bach piece Jules was playing. I agree with Jule’s thoughts about Bach. Every time I play or hear Aria from Goldberg Var, I think about the word BELIEVE. Whether you believe in G-d or not, the fact that Bach could be so mathematical in his construction of his pieces and make it so utterly beautiful makes me believe in the human spirit. Thanks, Shira!

    • shira - Reply

      Bach is an acquired taste for me, personally Kari. I tend toward the overtly romantic composers like Dvorak, Brahms, and Richard Strauss. But there is a beauty in the complicated simplicity of Bach’s melodies and approach that is so brilliant, it’s hard to imagine it came from one man’s mind and not from something greater, be it a god or an “allness” for lack of a better word. -Shira

  11. Gelybi Italia - Reply

    I have to admit you surprised me in the most positive way as an author. Your Blue Notes series are a true gift for everyone, but personally, they brought a full wave of chilhood memories of when my mother enjoyed playing piano for me and the effect the music still awakes in my soul. That sweet emotion only someone who lived it knows for sure. I still get goosebumps and the inevitable tear listening to Moonlight sonata and your books reminded me of that strong feeling. So I think you’re romantic enough if you’re able to make your readers feel like this.Thank you Shira!!

    • shira - Reply

      Thank you so much Gelybi! It means so much to me to hear you say that about my books, and knowing the music in them connected with that place in you that loves music makes it even more wonderful. -Shira

    • shira - Reply

      I’m pretty much the same, Julie, although my husband can be quite romantic (and often surprises me!). Thanks for organizing the hop! -Shira

  12. Charley Descoteaux - Reply

    I celebrate Feb. 15th–Half-Price Chocolate Day! It’s much more fun than getting hopes dashed on the 14th. 🙂

    Looking forward to the new Blue Notes! I’m a sucker for a Contemp with a soundtrack.

    ~Charley
    c.descoteauxwritesATgmail.com

    • shira - Reply

      Thanks, Charley! I like the half-price deal myself (although this year I’m trying to get back into shape so I’ve been avoiding the chocolate isle). -Shira

  13. Erik twisk - Reply

    Hi I ‘m erik from Canada I olve this valentine hop great way to see new blog from great writers thanks a lot

  14. Tara Rose - Reply

    Such a great blog post, all yer posts inspire me and move me, thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Shadow - Reply

    Hi! Happy Valentines! Great post! Sounds so good! I love what yall do! I honestly dont celebrate this holiday. Its just another day for me. Thank you for sharing and for ​the amazing giveaway!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

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