Interview: Holly Day, Be Still My Heart

My writing-buddy Holly Day is visiting today, to talk about her new release and tell us all about ‘Vinegar Valentines’! Plus she has a giveaway!

Cover of Be Still My Heart by Holly Day

Thank you, Ally, for letting me drop by again. I’m here today to talk about my latest release Be Still, My Heart.

Be Still, My Heart is a Valentine’s story, which is crazy because if there is one holiday I don’t think we need it’s Valentine. I can eat chocolate any day of the year. I much prefer when my husband gives me flowers or other gifts on a random day rather on a day someone else has decided we should declare our love for each other – preposterous! LOL

Have you heard of vinegar valentines? I googled facts about Valentine and came across vinegar valentines. Had I lived in the Victorian era, I might have sent one.

Lovers exchanged valentine cards, declaring their undying love for each other, but not everyone loved their suitors. Those who had an unwanted suitor could send a vinegar valentine.

One card that was salvaged read:

“To My Valentine  ‘Tis a lemon that I hand you and bid you now ‘skidoo,’ Because I love another—there is no chance for you.”

Sending cards on Valentine got to be so popular, postal carriers received an extra meal to have the energy to deliver all the cards. In 1871, the London post office handled 1.2 million valentine cards. The number might be higher since some postmasters didn’t deliver vinegar valentines they considered being too vulgar.

To make things worse – or I guess it depends on how you see it. Personally, I think it’s brilliant – many of the vinegar valentines were sent cash on delivery. So not only did the women tell their unwanted suitors to stop calling on them, but they also made them pay to read the card LOL.

Sadly, few of the vinegar valentine cards are still around.

But, I didn’t come here to talk vinegar valentines, I came to talk about Be Still, My Heart. It’s about Elian and Dimitri, none of them wants to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but Dimitri is working at a dating agency so it’s impossible for him not to notice the frenzy. And Elian happened to write an article about love through times and got invited to speak at a Valentine’s dinner.

Four years ago, Dimitri Petrov had his leg blown off by a landmine while in military service. Suffering from PTSD, he doesn’t do crowds, people, dates, or dinners. But when Elian Hubert enters the dating agency where Dimitri works in a whirlwind of pink shirts, flapping hands, and outrageous flirting, looking for a Valentine date, Dimitri thinks maybe he can do him a favor.


The clatter of heels filled the lobby, but this time Dimitri was aware of it being heels, which was good. He didn’t need a meltdown in front of Elian. The meltdowns weren’t as frequent anymore, for which he was grateful. Perhaps his brain was slowly learning he wasn’t on a battlefield anymore.

“Dimitri, I need… Oh, hi.” Irina stopped by Dimitri’s side, smiling at Elian. “Who are you?”

“Irina!” Dimitri glared at her.

“Sorry.” She grinned at Elian. “Who are you?”

Elian huffed a laugh. “Elian Hubert.” He stood and bowed dramatically, the lovely sparkles back in his eyes. “At your service, ma’am.”

“Don’t ma’am me.” Irina frowned, but Dimitri could tell she wasn’t being serious. “What are you doing here, and what are your intentions with my brother?”

Elian widened his eyes, his gaze jumping between the two of them. “To sweep him off his feet, of course.”

Irina nodded. “Proceed.”

Elian barked a laugh and offered her his hand. “It’s lovely meeting you, Irina.”

She softened her expression and shook his hand. “Likewise. So can you get me into the Valentine ball?”

Dimitri cursed. “Irina!”

“You’d want to go?” Elian stared. “Had I known, I wouldn’t have had to flirt with your brother. I could’ve asked you.”

It was a joke, Dimitri knew it was a joke, but the words stung anyway.

“I don’t make a good date, Mr. Hubert.”

“Me either.” He shrugged. “Dimitri is a great date, though.”

Irina looked at Dimitri. “You’ve been on a date with him?”

“Yes, yesterday.” Elian grinned at him.

“Keeping secrets, are we?”

Dimitri shook his head. “It’s not a secret. We went to The Crown.”

“Oh…” Her eyes widened. “And it went…” She lowered her voice, “…well?”

Dimitri shrugged. “I didn’t tackle anyone to the ground.”

Elian frowned at them until Irina waved a hand at him. “PTSD.”

She glared at Dimitri. “You have to tell him shit like that, Dimitri. What if you’d… done something? He wouldn’t have known why.” She turned back to Elian. “He gets these—” She waved a hand again. “Sometimes in a crowd, he’s convinced someone has a gun or a bomb or something. Usually, he has it under control, but… it’s flashbacks, I guess.”

Elian’s blue eyes filled with sadness, and Dimitri wanted to kill Irina for telling him.

“So…” Irina sat on the edge of the desk. Her black high-heel reflected the light above as she gently dangled it back and forth. “Is it possible for you to get me into that dinner?”

Elian shrugged. “I can check. It’s terribly boring, though.”

Irina laughed. “The things we do for our reputation. I need to go to some classier events, many think we’re a call girl company.”

Elian glanced at Dimitri, widening his eyes. “And going to this event will make them see you as something else?”

“Look at this.” She swept a hand over the classy lobby—glass walls facing the street, high ceiling, and beautiful art and flower arrangements. “This is classy, and yet some birdbrains walk in here thinking we have girls stored in the closets ready to dust off for a night’s date.” She shook her head, making her long, dark hair sway over her shoulders. “I need to get out more and present myself as a matchmaker.” She frowned. “Perhaps it’s the word dating. We say we’re a dating agency, so they think we’re a bordello.” She looked at Dimitri. “Matchmaking sounds so tacky, though.”

He nodded.

“I should get going.” Elian attempted to stand.

“Wait!” Dimitri hurried to the closet and grabbed his coat. It would be too big for Elian, but he couldn’t have him walking around without proper clothes in the winter cold.

When he got back, Elian and Irina were talking in muted voices, and Elian nodded at something she said. Dimitri scanned the street outside the windows as he approached—nothing out of the ordinary.

Flamboyant character, Valentine, hurt-comfort, age-gap, disability, gay romance, ptsd, gay romance, military men, contemporary

Buy Be Still My Heart


I have put together a rafflecopter giveaway. I’m giving away an ebook copy of Be Still, My Heart + an ebook copy of Hop Hop, Carrot Top that was published last month. Click the link above and you’ll be taken to the giveaway. If you’re up for a game, you can increase your chances of winning by counting hearts. How many hearts do you see in this post? Answer in the giveaway, and to increase your chances more visit Nell Iris, Ofelia Gränd, and my blog and count the hearts there too <3

About Holly Day

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly or visit her website

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