Review: Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Home for the Hollandaise coverJack Shields has returned home for the holidays to the town he hates.  His dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s, his mother needs him and his cooking to make things  bearable, at least for Christmas.  The town Jack grew up in is full of bad memories, especially for a gay boy in Texas, including the cheating boyfriend he loved , left behind after a knockdown fight and has still never forgotten.

Kent Thibault has just returned to the town where he grew up in order to spend the holidays with his mother.  Now a musician, Kent has nothing but bad memories of this small Texas town, including the fact that it was where he lost the boy he grew up with and loved.  One night, one horrible misunderstanding, one fight and now 10 years later, Kent still thinks about Jack, the one that got away.

Now both have returned to town for the holidays and family.  A chance meeting at the local grocery brings up old memories, bad and good and reignites all the old feelings.  When two former lovers still very much in love meet again, is it too much for them to hope that a future together is still possible?

From the title to the characters within, I loved Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga.  A Torquere Holiday short story, it brings up all the best and the worst of  Christmas with the family, especially families breaking apart under stress and illness.  For 49 pages, the reader is brought into the lives of Jack, his family and his former boyfriend, Kent.  Jack is home under the worst conditions as his father has Alzheimer’s and is only intermittently aware of who Jack is.  What Jack’s father does remember is Jack’s cooking.  Jack is a mini-celebrity chef in Austin and his food is a path back to his father.

I found this element, the relationship of Jack with his father and the scene as they connect over food, possibly for the last time, incredibly touching and real.  Its that touch of authenticity and warmth that illuminates the depth of family love over familial discord and brings pathos to the holidays as well as joy.

The characters here from Jack’s mother shaking under the stress and pain of the situation, Kent staying in the trailer his Mom has stashed in the backyard as a rental, and the old football bully from high school, all are created with a deft hand and painted with the realism and knowledge of small town Texas life.  I just loved this story and only wish that I could have lingered a tiny bit more with the men back in Austin, trying for that future once again that they thought they had lost.

Cover illustration by A Squires is ok, but with such a great title, wouldn’t you think hollandaise would be on the table as well?

Book Details:

, ebook, 49 pages
Published December 11th 2013 by Torquere Press

Release Day Celebration and Contest for Symphony in Blue by Shira Anthony!

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Merry Christmas, everyone! Today, Christmas morning at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords, we  are celebrating the release of Symphony in Blue by Shira Anthony.  While everyone is enjoying family and loved ones, Shira Anthony is stopping by to talk about her Blue Notes series and  sharing some memories of holidays past.  Entries are still being taken for the terrific Blue Notes contest.  See details at the bottom of the post.

Now pull up a chair with some coffee or tea, and let’s  welcome Shira Anthony and Symphony in Blue:

Celebrating with the Blue Notes Series: Symphony in Blue Release Day Party!  Symphony in Blue-build (1) cover

Thank you, Melanie, for inviting me to celebrate the release day of the 6th book and the first holiday novella in the Blue Notes Series! I’m also celebrating because with Symphony in Blue, I’ll have published my 10th book with Dreamspinner Press. How appropriate that celebrations are the focus of Symphony in Blue. Celebrations of love, family, and friendship.

Symphony in Blue is written as a symphony might be, with “movements” in which a particular character pairing is featured. Complete with liner notes and a dedication, it is conductor/composer David Somers’s masterpiece—a piece of his heart, shared with his friends. And for David, who for years built a wall around that heart, it’s something of a holiday miracle that he can share the joys of love and friendship as deeply as he does. The focus of the novella is a Thanksgiving meal at David’s villa outside of Milan, Italy, where all his friends gather.

I have a bit of experience with Thanksgiving in Europe, since I lived in France for two years when I was in middle school. Back in the 1970s, there weren’t many people who were familiar with the Thanksgiving holiday. My mother loves to tell the story of her Cranberries20101210begging my grandmother to send her cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. You couldn’t find cranberries in Europe at that time. She meant for my grandmother to send her the canned variety. My grandmother sent fresh ones! By boat (back then, and even now, airmail for packages was very expensive)! Needless to say, they were pretty much ruined by the time they arrived 4 weeks later. My mother picked out all the “good” berries (i.e., the ones that weren’t moldy or mushy). We had about 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce that year! But we still had our turkey, stuffing, along with some European traditions including cheese after the main meal, and some amazing French wine (which I totally didn’t appreciate at age 15!). I still remember that Thanksgiving in Grenoble.

Nowadays, you can find fresh cranberries and all the trimmings for a festive meal throughout Western Europe, so David Somers’s last-minute Thanksgiving dinner is entirely plausible. That meal also features regional breads and vegetables. Violinist Jules bread-recette-pain-paysan-pain-campagne-1Bardon helps round out the offerings by baking “pain paysan,” or French country bread (I make this from time to time – it’s actually quite easy!). Here’s a recipe you might want to try. For our Thanksgiving my year, my daughter made two round loaves of pain paysan, and it was amazing!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you celebrate in your home! And if after your Christmas dinner you want to settle down are read a story about love for the long-term, you might want to check the Blue Notes Series and my latest release, Symphony in Blue.

The Blue Notes Series books are about real men in real relationships, with real problems, each with a music theme. If you’re looking for a sexy hot romances with fluffy scenes, I think you’ll like the Blue Notes books. But if you’re also looking for something more—for something more real than Cinderfella and his prince? I think you’ll enjoy these stories about making love work over time and through obstacles. You can find all of my Dreamspinner Press books by clicking here. You can read more about me, even hear what I sounded like when I sang opera professionally, and read more about my books, including free fiction and excerpts on my website, www.shiraanthony.com.

Don’t forget to enter the Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Blog Tour giveaway (details at the bottom of the post) by clicking here (Rafflecopter). There are plenty of ways to enter, and you can enter more than once by commenting, tweeting, buying books, and liking pages. I’ll be drawing winners on New Year’s Eve at midnight!

Good luck! –Shira
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Excerpt (Symphony in Blue):
DAVID TAPPED his cellphone, shoved it in his pocket, and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“Something ruffle the maestro?” Alex grinned up at him from the couch, his bare feet tucked underneath him, a pile of staff paper scattered about the floor and coffee table. He’d printed out a score for a new composition and managed to knock it off the printer tray. Of course, all the page numbers at the bottom of the sheets were cut off. Damn thing was at least thirty pages and would be a nightmare to organize.

“Nothing that can’t be managed. Unlike your score.” David raised an eyebrow and Alex saw the ghost of a grin on David’s face.

You could just reprint it, you know.”

“What? And waste paper?”

“You’re stubborn,” David said as he picked up several of the pages and set them on the coffee table before joining Alex on the couch. When Alex said nothing, David leaned over and feathered several kisses over Alex’s neck.

Delightfully so, of course. But stubborn nonetheless.”

Alex sighed contentedly and pushed the rest of the music onto the floor. Fine. He’d reprint the damn thing. Later.

Who was on the phone?”

“Aiden.” David spoke the name with his lips so close to Alex’s ear that Alex nearly gasped. David’s voice just did that to Alex—that sexy baritone seemed to resonate through every part of his body. Alex was pretty sure David knew what it did to him too.

“Aiden? I thought he and Sam were in Australia.”

David pulled away and offered Alex a sardonic eyebrow. “Austria.”

“Oh, come on!” Alex laughed. “You know I can hardly keep track of my own schedule. Now you expect me to keep up with his?”

“Not even the correct continent.” David went back to kissing him. “What was he calling about?” Anything to keep David focused on his neck.

“The party in Connecticut is off. They’re also postponing the civil ceremony in New York for now.”

Alex shot up off the couch. “What? But we’ve been planning the reception for six months now! It’s only two weeks away. What the hell happened? Are they okay? I mean…. Shit. You know what I mean.”

David smiled—a strange expression for someone who’d just learned that he’d wasted four months arranging the party to celebrate Aiden and Sam’s wedding. Caterers, musicians, guests, and a dozen different schedules to coordinate.

“Okay. Fess up. Why are you smiling?”

“Aiden and Sam are fine. They’re just postponing it.” David appeared entirely calm. Too calm. Happy, even?

“Postponing? They’ve been doing that for two years now.”

“Three.”

“Fine. Three years. So why are you happy about it?” Alex pressed. Of course, David was yanking his chain, but he liked that. Anyone who thought David Somers didn’t have a sense of humor simply didn’t know him.

“I’m happy,” David said as his eyes brightened, “because there’s a good reason for it. In fact, there’s a wonderful reason for it.”

Alex laughed. “What reason would that be?”

“Who might be the more appropriate way of say—”

“David,” Alex warned.

“Graziella Michaela Redding.”

“Graziella? You mean….”

“Mother and child doing quite well, I’m told.” David grinned outright this time.

“Cary and Antonio’s baby?”

“Born last night. Almost five pounds. Three weeks early but doing well.” David stood up and wrapped his arms around Alex’s waist. “A good reason to postpone a wedding, don’t you think?”

“The best.” Alex kissed David. “Should we plan a visit in a few weeks?”

“A few weeks?” David’s sly grin made Alex chuckle. “Just because we can’t have the party to celebrate doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the opening in everyone’s schedules.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Thanksgiving in Milan. It’s been years since we’ve been able to get everyone together.”

“The villa?” David’s Italian villa was certainly large enough. “But—”

“Is that a problem for you? Last I looked at your schedule, your next performance is in Buenos Aires in three weeks.” David nipped at Alex’s earlobe.

“No… it’s not… ah…. Shit, David, I can’t think straight when you do that!” Alex shivered and closed his eyes. “And no. No problem for me. But didn’t you give the staff at the villa the entire month off?”

Alex knew David had completely forgotten about that particular detail. He frowned, then said blithely, “We’ll just have to do it ourselves. Jules and I can handle the cooking. You and Jason can get the placed opened up. Rachel can help you with the rooms.”

“You’re serious about this?”

“Am I ever not?” David pulled at Alex’s earlobe with his teeth. “I’ll call the travel agent and look into rebooking all the air travel.”

“Travel agent?”

Another kiss, a nip, and then: “The travel agent. Too complicated to handle that much rebooking online and you needn’t trouble yourself with that. Just call Jules and Jason and let them know we’ll meet them in Milan on Saturday. I’ll text them the flight information as soon as I have it.”

“Ah…. Okay. Sure. Jules and Jason.” Alex could handle that. He’d been meaning to call Jules to see how the Blue Notes album was coming along anyhow. He’d joined Jules and the other members of the trio on several of the tracks when he’d been in Paris three weeks before.

“Good.” David brushed his lips against Alex’s. “And one more thing.”

“Hmm?” Focus, Bishop, focus!

“This.” David pushed Alex onto the couch and began to unbutton his shirt. “First things first. Always.”

******
You can purchase the Blue Notes Series books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AllRomanceEbooks, and on the Dreamspinner Press website.
Encore: link to DSP
Symphony in Blue: link to DSP

Contest Details for Blue Notes Series Holiday 2013 Giveaway:

  • Begins on release day for “Encore,” November 11, 2013
  • Ends on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, at midnight
  • Drawings are open to both U.S. readers and international readers, but physical prizes (Kindle, necklace, book, and t-shirt) are for U.S. readers only. I will award a virtual set of the first 4 Blue Notes Series books to one winner from outside the U.S.

Prizes (U.S. Only):

  • Grand Prize: A Kindle loaded with the first 4 Blue Notes Series books and some of my other back titles
  • 1st Place: A sterling silver music themed necklace
  • 2nd Place: Winner’s choice of one of my back titles in paperback (i.e., not including the 2 new releases)
  • 3rd Place: Blue Notes t-shirt, cover of the winner’s choice

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Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Blog Tour stops:
November 11th (release day – Encore): Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Melanie Marshall)
November 12th: Live Your Life, Buy the Book
November 14th: Michael Rupured’s Blog
November 15th: Joyfully Jay (Blue Notes Cover Art – Interviews with the Artists)
November 18th: Elin Gregory’s blog
November 22nd: Aisling Mancy’s blog
November 26th: Andrew Q. Gordon’s blog
December 6th: Oscar’s Bruised Petals (Sandra Garcia’s blog)
December 10th: Brilliant Disguise (Tali Spencer’s blog)
December 13th: Lily Sawyer’s Blog
December 16th: Rebecca Cohen’s blog
December 20th: Purple Rose Teahouse (Charlie Cochet’s blog)
December 23rd: Mrs. Condits and Friends
December 25th: Symphony in Blue Release Day Party at Melanie Marshall’s Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 26th: Book Suburbia
December 27th: Helen Pattskyn’s blog

Contest and Guest Blog by Z.A. Maxfield for Lost and Found

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Let’s welcome Z.A. Maxfield to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords to share her thoughts on the holidays and her latest release, Lost and LostAndFound_150x300Found:

Five Favorite Holiday Book Memories

Hello, and welcome to my Lost and Found blog tour! Thanks so much to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today. I’m so glad to be able to share my latest release.

Everyone has Christmas film memories, and I have a lot of those. But I want to talk about my Five Favorite Holiday Book Memories. These are either about books I’ve read that deal with the holidays, or books I’ve read during the holidays!

When my daughter was two, one of our relatives sent us a tiny little board book called The Christmas Mouse. I must have read that thing a thousand times. She carried it in her tiny baby hand everywhere we went, and as her mother it was my job to read it whenever she wanted it read. Reading a story to a toddler is the BEST Christmas memory.

I used to have a copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that belonged to my mother. It was small, illustrated, and had a green leather binding. The embossing on the cover was so worn, you couldn’t read the title, but I loved that book. I kept it in a bookcase next to the bed for years and every time my husband left me a Post-It note I tucked it inside the cover. Somehow, I’ve lost that book and I’m very much afraid it was with the Christmas decorations that burned. But I loved that book. I used to enjoy reading it out loud to my kids.

One year my mother went to a used bookstore and bought me a dozen or so blue tweed editions of the Nancy Drew series from the fifties. I wasn’t feeling well, and I remember lying in bed for several days with a high fever, enjoying those books one after another when I felt well enough to read. That was a great gift and I still have those books and some older editions from the thirties that my mother bought when she was in elementary school. The fun thing about those is that she wrote her name on the inside covers in her painstaking elementary school cursive. (Which looked better than mine does now…)

I used to get really excited about interesting or unusual Christmas ornaments, but as probably everyone in the world knows now, I had a fire and lost all that. At one time, I collected little storybooks ornaments. I had A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, and I think maybe one other, I think it must have been T’was The Night Before Christmas. I used to take them off the tree and read them, and the kids liked them, they were the perfect size for little kid hands.

And Finally, MY VERY FAVORITE Christmas book memory is about an AUDIOBOOK! One year as a lark I bought this holiday themed set of cassette tapes from one of the big box stores. The tapes were a compilation of stories, I don’t know, A Baker’s Dozen, The Nutcracker, The Christmas Tea Set, and this one story about a Little Christmas Tree. Every year, we’d make cocoa in travel mugs and go drive around one of the neighborhoods where people take their holiday decorations really seriously. We’d listen to those stories, until we got to the tree one, and everyone would have a cow! See, that story was the saddest, most depressing, most pessimistic story ever, and the kids used to scream at me if I let them listen to it. So, now you know, it’s to honor my family that whenever I tell a story, I always make sure it has a happy ending. There are enough downer stories in the world…I want to remind people that even in the bottom of Pandora’s Box, there was a little bit of hope.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me and the guys from Lost and Found!

LostAndFound_500x750Blurb –
Lost: one dog and two men in need of each other. Found: love.
RV resort security chief Ringo never believed in love at first sight . . . until he saw Gavin playing his sax on the beach for the tourists. But their on-again, off-again affair—even counting all the great makeup sex—doesn’t come close to the relationship he wants. All he really wants for Christmas is a commitment from Gavin.
Instead he discovers that Gavin has had surgery without telling him, so he lays down a relationship ultimatum while Gavin recuperates. Complicating matters even more, Gavin’s beloved dog Bird runs away, and Gavin blames Ringo for the disappearance.
While Ringo throws every resource he has into finding Bird, he learns deeper truths about Gavin—how hard it is for him to trust and how little faith he has in love. Maybe if Ringo can find Bird, he can salvage Gavin’s faith. Maybe this Christmas, they can all find each other.

You can read an excerpt or purchase Lost and Found  HERE. Remember, when you purchase Lost and Found in either ebook format, which you can find  HERE or in the print anthology format, which you can find HERE, you’re helping to support the mission of the Ali Forney Center.

About Z. A. Maxfield:

ZAM started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Readers can visit ZAM at her  website, Facebook,  Twitter, or Tumblr.

Lost and Found Contest Details:

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To recap, you can find all the blog tour information you need at the Riptide Website, HERE. Be sure you attend all the stops and follow the Rafflecopter instructions for the chance to win a $20.00 Riptide Publishing Gift Certificate and all the songs on my Lost and Found Playlist!  The winner will be drawn on December 8th at 5pm  EST.  Contest is valid worldwide.

Riptide contest details:
Enter your details in the Rafflecopter below to gain entry in the *Home for the Holidays* giveaway! This week of the tour closes at midnight, EST, on December 6th. Then, one grand prize winner will be contacted at the end of the Home for the Holidays tour on December 16th. Contest is valid worldwide.

Riptide Publishing Rafflecopter Link

Book Note:

20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visithttp://www.aliforneycenter.org/.

Prelude (A Blue Notes book) by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Prelude coverWorld-renowned conductor of the Chicago Symphony, David Somers, is not happy when his ailing guest violinist is replaced by famous rock star, Alex Bishop.  Although he has never met the musician, Bishop’s fame and notoriety has preceded him, and David Somers has little patience for tattooed prima donnas of the rock star world.  But when Alex takes to the stage and starts playing the opening notes of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, David Somers is completely entranced by both the man and his music.

Alex Bishop has persevered from his foster child beginnings to become a brilliant violinist and playing under the baton of conductor David Somers is a dream realized.  And although David Somers welcome was reserved, something about the man spoke to Alex.  Alex knew from sources close to Somers that he was both widowed and gay.  And no one was more surprised than Alex, when David accepted his invitation to go out on a date.  And everything seemed to be going well, until it wasn’t and the conductor fled.

Underneath that  smooth, assured and somewhat cold exterior of David Somers lies an insecure, lonely man.  Brought up by a bitter, emotionally removed grandfather upon the death of his parents, David’s upbringing was one of constant degradation of his dreams, rigid control over his actions, and the pairing down of the boy into a man who would be scion of the family business.  At least that’s how his grandfather saw it.  But finally David found the strength to pull away and strive for his place in the music world as he had always wanted.  But the damage his grandfather had inflicted upon his self image was deep and long lasting, right into his inability to compose music and maintain relationships.

Alex wants to pursue a future with David, but there is so many obstacles in their path, the largest one being David himself.  What will it take to break down David’s barriers and create the future they both want together? David must find his inner music once more before he loses Alex and his chance for happiness so long denied him.

Oh, my, what a lyrical and lovely book.  I have been a fan of this series from the beginning, adoring the tapestry of music and love that Anthony (and now Keyes) has woven for us in this series.  But in Prelude, I think I have found my favorite.  Such a gorgeous blend of personalities, location and music, it kept me enthralled for the entire story and introduced me to a new musician as well, more about that later.  In the author’s notes I have included at the end of the review, Anthony writes that Prelude is actually the prequel to the stories already published.  In those works, David Somers and Alex Bishop are already an established couple.  David himself is an open hearted and generous mentor to other younger musicians, a far cry from the man we initially meet at the beginning of Prelude. And that brings me to the wonderful characterizations of the men we meet here and elsewhere in the series.

David Somers and Alex Bishop are both very complex men with haunting back histories. I think what surprised and delighted me was that the man you might expect to be the most vulnerable, the most insecure about his background is actually the character who has not only come to terms with his childhood or lack thereof but is the most assured and confident of the two.  That would be Alex Bishop, abused in  various foster settings, someone who almost died freezing and along on the streets except for his mother’s violin.  He has worked hard to arrive at this stage in his life, a brilliant musician, warm human being and happily gay.  It’s David Somers, the famous conductor from a wealthy family, who is the fragile one here.  His upbringing by his rigid, embittered grandfather has impaired David emotionally, making him withdrawn and almost incapable of maintaining close relationships.  His grandfather also was responsible for killing his ability to compose music, an important part of his emotional makeup and dreams.  Both authors bring us close to the heart of both men, making it easy for us to understand their motivations as well as their flaws.  I think some readers might have trouble with David’s fear of intimacy as he continually pushes Alex away but close reading of his history with not only his grandfather but present day associates makes it not only realistic but natural.  And it’s not just David and Alex’s characters that are so well done but those secondary characters as well, from his sister to Alex’s roommate, all make for a deeply layered, and satisfying story.

But the highlight in Prelude is the music.  Shira Anthony’s familiarity and love of the music world with its brilliant musicians and timeless compositions floats through the story like the very violin concertos referenced within.  Her knowledge and joy of music enhances and embellishes every aspect of this story and the series, her touch sure and light upon the narrative. We are drawn into the emotions elicited from the music that pours forth from the violinist and the symphony.  The brilliance of the pieces spills out of the instruments and musicians and into our hearts and souls, from the light hearted renditions like Stéphane Grappelli’s Blue Moon (my new favorite) to the deeply moving concertos such as the Sibelius Violin Concerto which introduces us and David Somers to Alex Bishop at the beginning of the book.  The fact that this series uses music as its heart, and the exemplary manner in which the authors accomplish that, sets this series apart from all the rest.  Shira Anthony has assembled a play list for Prelude, just as she has for her other stories in this series.  You can find the list and links listed after the review.

At 250 pages, the story just flies by.  Anthony and Keyes deliver a smooth and concise narrative, the few flashbacks are used to help understand the characters better rather than impede the story momentum.  By the end of the book, I am entranced by David and Alex and want to see them older and more established as they were in the other stories.  So back to the beginning to enjoy it all over again.  If you are new to this series, this works well as a stand alone story, if you are as in love with it as I am, you will be thrilled by Prelude and this couple.  Either way, consider this highly recommended.  Shira Anthony gives us the order in which the books work on the series timeline below.

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 250 pages
Published May 6th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 162380597X (ISBN13: 9781623805975)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3798&cPath=55_484
seriesBlue Notes #4
charactersDavid Somers, Alex Bishop
settingChicago, Illinois (United States)

Author’s Notes:

Notes from Shira Anthony on Prelude:

Book 4 in the Blue Notes Series is bit of a prequel to the other books, although it’s meant to be read as a standalone novel. For those of you who’d like to read the series in chronological order, it goes like this:

1) Prelude
2) Blue Notes
3) Aria
4) The Melody Thief

“Prelude” is the story of conductor/composer David Somers, who appears in all of the first three Blue Notes books. In those stories, David is friend and mentor to the young musicians who appear as main characters (Cary Redding and Aiden Lind, in particular). But David wasn’t always as outgoing and willing to befriend other musicians.

“Prelude” is David’s story of finding himself and finding happiness in music. I hope you enjoy it!(less)

Shira’s Prelude Playlist:

“Enigmatic Ocean,” Jean-Luc Ponty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9XHFqCvMIY

“Satisfaction,” The Rolling Stones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx0bLBk-BNM

Sibelius Violin Concerto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-P183jzdfw (my all-time favorite recording with David Oistrakh), or a slightly different interpretation by Joshua Bell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITTbY1n3Iz8

Berg Violin Concerto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqSSHwFEn_8 (Itzhak Perleman)

Wieniawski Violin Concerto No. 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYzYVsvD5as (Shlomo Mintz)

“Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Charlie Daniels Band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgvfRSzmMoU

Symphony No. 5, by Dmitri Shostakovich: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FF4HyB77hQ (Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic)

Mahler Symphony No. 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6Tbi0Rfzs8 (Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic)

Chopin’s Opus 25 Étude, No. 11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj5Mp31nZlA (Anna Fedorova)

Gounod’s Ave Maria: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNNbtR5R68U (Anne Akiko Meyers), and a very old recording of Jascha Heifetz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtc4SMUjhG8 and a recording of operatic soprano Renata Tebaldi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVMSeFTHDEs

Thelonius Monk, “Round About Midnight”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMmeNsmQaFw

Dvořák Violin Concerto (last movement) (3rd movement, Allegro Giocoso): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kouKmC3yUOA (Josef Suk)

Stéphane Grappelli “Blue Moon”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhB5qAq7OkI

Mahler Symphony No. 9: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHXJw9avAn0 (Danish National Radio Orchestra)

“Harold in Italy,” by Hector Berlioz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5B9iMLpDgU (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra)

“The World I Know,” by Collective Soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7TLTjqUyog

Bach, Partita No. 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcB56k4vR5k (Hilary Hahn)

Baby, It’s Cold Outside and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Maryland has actually been feeling like winter for the past week and my body is going into shock.  Last year was Nomageddon (nothing, after Snowmaggedon) but no one really knows what will happen this year.  We really haven’t had any snow or ice and believe me, I am not complaining about that.  It’s been cold but not for very long.  In fact we are due to go back up into the 50’s in a day or so.

I look at my bird feeders and find that they are staying fairly full for longer periods of time, Ditto the suet feeders,  Even our squirrels are looking complacent as opposed to frantic for food.  But it is early yet.  February is normally our fiercest winter month here and that is still a month away.  I will let you know how it goes.

Until then, today the Redskins play the Seattle Seahawks and the area is on pins and needles.  I must go climb into my Redskin regalia and prepare to lose my voice.  So here is the week in reviews:

Monday, 1/7:                   Daddy’s Money by Alan Chin

Tuesday, 1/8:                   Bayou Loup by Lynn Lorenz

Wed., 1/9:                         Pete’s Persuasion (Shifters’ Haven #7) by Lavinia Lewis

Thursday, 1/10:               All I Want Is You by Marguerite Labbe

Friday, 1/11:                     A Boy And His Dragon by R. Cooper

Saturday, 1/12:                 Aria (Blue Notes #3) by Shira Anthony

I will leave you with this image of the man who has made the Redskin fans smile once more and dance in the streets, RGIII!

RGIII