Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! By Grace Burrowes


No, I have not gotten a little too cozy with my bottle of The Macallan 18. I know what day it is: “The Virtuoso” hits the shelves today, featuring the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland, Lord Valentine Windham.

This should have been an easy book to write because I’d had both “The Heir,” and “The Soldier” to get to know my hero. Lord Val is a younger loyal brother, intelligent without being academic, and tall, dark and handsome (of course). He’s also, as the Windham series readers know, a virtuoso pianist.

In fact, that’s about all he is, at least in his own estimation. According to the Rules of Romance, it thus became imperative that I take Lord Valentine’s music away from him. This did not sit at all well with Lord Val, and it positively tortured me. There was a time long ago when I was defined by my devotion to the keyboard, so I had more than theoretical empathy for my hero. My friends were musicians, my hobby was music, my profession was music, my academic focus was music…

And my sore back was a function of music too, as is Lord Valentine’s aching, swollen, miserable left hand. Fortunately for Lord Val, when he nips off to the wilds of Oxfordshire to distract himself with renovating a manor house he’s won in a card game, he ends up right next door to a lovely widow.

Ellen Markham neither knows nor cares about Val’s musical abilities. His ability to kiss, however, and to do battle with her various demons and dragons, interests her greatly. Oddly enough, these undertakings interest Lord Val greatly as well, to the extent that losing his music talent comes to feel less like grief, and more like an opportunity.

This too, resonated with my own experience, because when I turned away from music, I turned toward many other opportunities and blessings, including a back that didn’t hurt every waking minute of the day.

What about you? Was there a crossroads in your life when what you thought was a loss turned out to be a wonderful blessing?

For an excerpt from “The Virtuoso” click here. To THREE of today’s commenters, I’ll be giving away signed copies of “The Virtuoso.”

52 comments:

  1. SOOOOOO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK! AND Look it has my favorite color on it!.... Can't wait to read it.. Grace has teased me for a long time for this one!

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  2. I didn't know nakey-nakey man chest was a color, V. You are certainly one of his lordship's most devoted friends, and I have No Doubt you will enjoy his story. Thanks for stopping by, and Valentine said all the best people have a V in their names somewhere.

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  3. Hmm... I don't think I have been in a situation like that where I had to quit something and be at a crossroads. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing with us today! Love Graces books!

    ~Johanna

    evjochum[AT]ao[DOT]com

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  4. I am so looking foward to his story, he was my favorite character from the previous book. I have a passion for music but sadly I can't play anything to save my hide... But my english interpreting gave way to working with children when I was lay off so I couldn't be happier.

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  5. aw :) Valentine! Can't wait. I got The Heir at RWA over the summer and was hooked.

    Haven't really reached any major crossroads yet. But, I have a feeling I will soon

    priscillashay@gmail.com

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  6. Many, many times. My biggest near loss and best blessing was my son. He's the baby of 6 and now 2 1/2. He was born with DiGeorge and scared us to death. We never had complications with the other kids and nothing was detected during pregnancy. Basically he is missing 1/2 of his 22nd chromosome and this condition manifests in over 180 different ways in any combination. Gryffyn had bilateral cleft lip, complete cleft palate, club feet, and a vascular ring caused by a double aortic arch. We didn't think he'd make it through his first week. But he is a trooper. Many surgeries later and you'd never know what he has been through just looking at him. I cannot tell you how much he has enriched our lives.

    The book sounds fabulous! I look forward to reading it! Thanks so much!
    Kendra
    kendraedens@gmail.com

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  7. very interesting and awesome Grace ;)

    so lucky to have a chance to read this book =D

    thank you

    eli_y83@yahoo.com

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  8. When I was a child, I dreamt of travelling. As I grew older, I looked for student exchange programs, etc. I would pass the interview process and was accepted to some neat possibilities. Then, something would intervene in financial difficulty, downturn in health of a close family member, and on and on. After I graduated from college, I thought I had missed my chance. Someone mentioned a program that I still would qualify for and all of the obstacles I had previously faced were no longer issues. But it meant that I would be delaying looking for real work in my chosen career. After weighing things, I decided to put career opportunity at risk and travelled to Europe. While I stayed there, an international corporation hired me for a position in my field and a couple of months later I met the man I would marry.

    So, I guess I went through a few crossroads and tried to make the best decision I could at each. It worked out beautifully in the end.

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  9. I'm certainly not going to argue that comment about names with V's.
    I grew up with a sibling who played violin and assorted other instruments. Ah, the memories...

    I'm looking forward to reading this one.

    vlettel at cox.net

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  10. This sounds like another amazing book Grace. I would love to win it. Your covers are always beautiful to. :)

    leanne_gag[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  11. Johanna, you probably gave something up once upon a time, but were so invested in what you were pursuing, that the sacrifice seemed easy. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the thumbs up on the books.

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  12. Johanna, Val was the kind of little brother who grew on me. A lot more there than met the initial eye, kind, complicated... (I hope a certain little brother of mine is reading this...). Glad you like him too.

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  13. Can't wait to read this book! You're a brilliant writer, and I so enjoyed The Heir. I still have to read The Soldier also. Yum. Can't wait.

    I've had many dark clouds in my life that turned out to have silver linings. Always look for the good!

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  14. Priscilla, I keep a box of books in my truck, giving them away to waitresses, hotel housekeepers, and anybody else who looks like she (or he) could use a few hours of diversion. Books need homes--I'm glad you've provided one for some of mine.

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  15. Kendra, you know exactly what I refer to, when I ask about curve balls that turn into the biggest blessings imaginable. Every baby is a blessing--I believe that. You are Gryffyn's blessing--he got that fighting spirit from somewhere.

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  16. Eli, thanks for stopping by. Come back throughout the week because there will be many chances to read many books.

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  17. Lil, what a wonderful story! Right after college I faced the same choice: Look for work or grab a chance to travel. I also traveled, and it was wonderful. I didn't get outside the US after that for another fifteen years, and in some ways, those few months abroad were more of an education than all the college degrees in the world.

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  18. Virginia, my sister played the flute, and I thought she looked so pretty holding that shining, melodic instrument in her graceful hands... but marching band? Nu-uh. Then I met my other sister's piano teacher, who was one cool lady. So, it was the piano for me. I must ask my siblings what they recall about all those finger exercises I did at 5 am.

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  19. Leanne, I'm surprised after the weekend blog hop you hosted that your fingers still work. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to swing back through later in the week. We have three more launches to celebrate, and if I'm not mistaken, even more next week. So are we doing any hops for Thanksgiving? Christmas? New Years?

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  20. Congratulations on another bestseller!
    Looking back, my life has been checkered with crossroads. Sometimes I do wonder what would have happened if I'd taken the "other" road but today I'm satisfied with the ones I chose because they've given me some fantastic opportunities. One in particular that I remember was when a couple of recently published authors invited me to breakfast at an RWA conference. At the last minute I decided not to go to the conference but then remembered I'd promised to go to the breakfast and went anyway (Granny preached that you always delivered what you promised). It was at that breakfast that I made two awesome friends who have been my RWA buddies ever since and and it was at that breakfast that one of those new friends told me all about Sourcebooks and Deb Werksman. Wonderful crossroads!

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  21. Hrmm, crossroads. I'm not sure it counts in specifically the way you mean, but I remember one very specific down point. My (now) husband and I met for the first time in person (after a week knowing each other on the internet). Things did not go well at that first meeting and he said there was no spark after less than 24 hours together and left the following morning (we lived 500 miles apart and he'd driven to meet me).

    I sulked for a few days and then was getting ready to blast him because I was pissed he'd given us so little time to see what might be there...and a friend of us both told me to hold off, because he was regretting leaving so quickly.

    I decided to wait. He contacted me a day later. We worked through our issues, met in person a second time...and a month later, he moved up to where I was finishing school, engagement ring already in his possession. We'll celebrate 8 years in February.

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  22. Carolyn, I love that line from Robert Frost about "I shall be telling this all with a sigh, ages and ages hence. Way leads on to way..." Or as Steve Jobs put it, "you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward."

    I'm glad you went to that breakfast, and all your devoted cowboy readers are too. Thanks for giving us your RWA story, too.

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  23. Tory, what struck me about that lovely little story was the words, "I decided to wait." Is there ANYTHING harder than waiting, particularly when emotions are swirling and a relationship is involved? Good for you for listening to the advice of a true friend. Good for DH for getting back on his charger, commonsense in one saddle bag, courage in the other, and winning your heart.

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  24. Ah Grace - You have amazing taste in Scotch. Sigh...

    I'm going through this very thing with my daughter, Twinkle Toes who due to injury and enduring almost constant knee and hip pain has given up her dream of being a prima ballerina. Right now she seems to be spinning around the toilet bowl of depression, spraying anyone close to her with anger. She will eventually deal with it and focus all that energy she had for ballet toward something else--we just need to make sure she uses it for good and not evil.

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  25. Robin, every mom on this blog who has teenagers is sending you cyber chocolate. Being a teenager is hard enough when you aren't coping with a dream that's blown up in your face. And the artists are given to passion in all their emotions... may TT find a new passion (and not of the romantic kind just yet), and may you survive until she does.

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  26. Hi Grace. Your book sounds great. I love the cover. I think most crossroads that I have faced have been regarding jobs. It is always scary to start a new job.

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  27. Crystal, what I liked about starting a new job was getting my privacy back. Nobody at work would recall when I burped in a meeting or ordered just dessert at the Secretary's Day luncheon. Privacy is a wonderful thing. Then too, you have all those former co-workers you can now meet for lunch or dinner. S'all good.

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  28. When I left Avon without a new book contract I really worried I might never publish again, but I found a new publisher and have written some of the best books of my career. Congrats on the release, Grace. Heading to the bookstore today!

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  29. Shana, it took courage for you to walk away from the known into the unknown, especially in an industry that's full of variables on its best day. We're glad to count you on the Casablanca roster, and your readers are probably glad you're publishing, period.

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  30. Hi, Amanda. I don't know when I've seen a release week with as much good stuff. Joanna Bourne, Kieran Kramer (two of my historical romance faves) and then the line up here: Judi Fennell, Joanne Kennedy, Anita Clenney, and next week it's YOU, Lisa Renee Jones, and Emery Lee... readers have to have been very good this year to have merited all of this pre-holiday bounty, thinks me.

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  31. For years now I've told my husband, who has urged me to take up golf so I can play with him, that when I retire, I'll take piano lessoins not golf lessons. I never thought it might hurt your back to play the piano, but worth it I'm sure.
    Wishing you huge success with your latest.
    Amelia

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  32. Can't wait to read this! I've been enamored of Valentine since THE HEIR.

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  33. I loved The Heir but I still have to get The Soldier. And your covers are beautiful! I worked for 18 years before having children and except for a 3or 4 year part time job at home, I've was able to devote my time to my family. I don't care that we don't do vacations and have lots of things, it was worth it. They are grown now and turned into two lovely, caring women.

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  34. Amelia, it isn't supposed to hurt your back to play the piano! I practiced at least four hours a day, sometimes twice that, and then I accompanied ballet classes for pay another 20-30 hours a week. I also played wedding receptions and class reunions, accompanied instrumentalists and vocalists, taught piano, played pit piano for summer musicals... I just plain overdid. Waaaay overdid. Consider sitting on a board forty-plus hours a week and I don't think anybody's back would like that after a few years.

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  35. Emery, I know you will read my books with a careful eye toward the horseflesh--which pleases me no end. Horses are characters too, right? Good luck on next week's release of "Fortune's Son."

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  36. Catslady, for reasons having as much to do with logistics as money, my dad and mom never took all seven kids on a vacation. We knew the woods behind the house intimately, though, and built many a dam in the stream nearby. Wealth, I'm convinced, has more to do with abundant love, and doing what you want to do than laying up treasures here on earth.
    Thanks for stopping by, and don't run out and buy a copy of "The Soldier" just yet, 'kay?

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  37. Virtuoso was a lovely book, as were the previous three. Very much looking forward to your future releases.

    B.

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  38. B... somebody is a fast reader! Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check back throughout the week. Voracious readers are our favorite kind!

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  39. Val without his music? Oh dear. I can't wait to see what you do with this!

    I became chronically ill when I was a teenager, learning earlier than most that the next day, and good health, is promised to no one. What a silver lining.

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  40. Congrats on the new release, Grace. There have been times when you don't know which road to take, to stay or go. You have to believe you're making the correct decision.

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  41. Tamara, and what a tough time to learn that lesson. But ill health can have a silver lining. Margaret Mitchell broke her ankle so badly, she was on leave from her job as the society reporter for the Atlanta Constitution for a year. We have that broken ankle to thank (or blame?) for "Gone With the Wind."

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  42. It is a happy Valentine's Day, with a new book to love! Many congratulations on another release.

    I've been "downsized" from two jobs I loved and I'm looking for a third. I often consider what would have happened if I had taken that left at Albuquerque, but I'm firmly convinced that Fate and Faith puts us where we need to be.

    BTW, I LIVE for autographed books and would love one from you, as one of the jobs I lost was as a bookstore manager, back before eBooks....
    juleejadams (at) gmail (dot) com

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  43. Jane, my dad once told me that if I didn't know what I wanted to do, then to take a hard look at the things I knew I DIDN'T want to do. That was good advice, particularly early in life when you don't have much wisdom about life to go on, but you know your feelings pretty clearly. Thanks for stopping by.

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  44. Julee! I was hoping you'd stop by. Scary enough when you loose any job, to be relieved of one you loved... ouch, that's paycheck AND identity. Hope the recent interview pans out, and I'll be in touch about getting you a signed copy of something.

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  45. This book so great. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

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  46. Deb, you are included! Be sure to stop back in the next few days for more chances to pick up a really good book (and probably signed by the author too!).

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  47. Sounds WONDERFUL!!! I'm so excited to read this BOOK!!! Cheers!

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  48. I'm so excited about this book. I loved his character in The Heir. Congrats on the release!

    tsteinerid(gmail)

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  49. Toni, but didn't you love him in "The Soldier" too!? I had serious troubles keeping Valentine out of every scene in Devlin's book, to the point where he's listening on the stairs to Emmie and Devlin's Big Reconliation.... I'm serious.

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  50. I took what many had called a dead end job. I needed one at the time, so to me it was a good thing. I fully expected to use it though as a stepping stone to getting a better one. Turns out after a couple of years and couple of promotions... I found my niche in my professional life and really enjoy what I do. I still use the skills that I received in my training at the beginning now to teach others. It has been the best thing to happen to me!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!!! “The Virtuoso” sounds like my kinda read:)

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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