Welcome! 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, if 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
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 you’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.
So 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 all 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
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: