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!
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 begging 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 Bardon 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
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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
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