Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: Sotto Voce by Erin Finnegan ♥ Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (M/M Contemporary Romance)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sotto Voce by Erin Finnegan ♥ Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (M/M Contemporary Romance)

Sotto Voce
New York-based wine critic Thomas Baldwin can make or break careers with his column for Taste Magazine. But when his publisher orders him to spend a year profiling rising stars of California’s wine country and organizing a competition between the big name wineries of Napa and the smaller artisan wineries of Sonoma, his world gets turned upside-down by an enigmatic young winemaker who puts art before business.

Sotto Voce is the story of love and wine, and how both require patience, passion, an acceptance of change—and an understanding that sometimes, you have to let nature take its course.
Behind the Research of Sotto Voce

When I tell people that a lot of research went into writing Sotto Voce, a romance set in the world of wine, the first reaction I usually get is a smirk, then a laugh, then a "I bet it did."

But all jokes aside, writing a love story between a prominent wine critic and a successful vintner means you have to do more than write a good love story. You have to get a lot of technical material about both enology and viticulture right—at least if you want a reasonably realistic portrayal of the wine trade.

And if you're an amateur winemaker like myself, you feel even more pressure to make sure that you depict the craft, process and business of winemaking accurately.

Winemaking is a fairly technical craft that's dictated by nature and the seasons—something I wanted to reflect accurately in the story without overwhelming the romance that is at the heart of the story with technical jargon.

I spent a year, on and off, researching and writing Sotto Voce—which gave me a good feel for the vineyard activities over the four seasons of the story. I also spent a lot of time talking to vintners, both professional and amateur, as much about what drew them to winemaking as the actual craft. I interviewed sommeliers, and was fortunate to be invited to help judge a couple of wine competitions, which gave me a feel for what the very fictional Taste Challenge could be, even if wine tasting as a spectator sport is a bit far-fetched.

And of course, I put in quality time in both Sonoma and Napa. I had a number of trips to wine country while I was writing Sotto Voce, largely to organize meetings and conferences for clients. But each trip was also an opportunity to visit wineries, talk to people in the industry and get a feel for the different scales of commercial winemaking in both Napa and Sonoma.

In Sonoma, I visited wineries that served as part of the inspiration for Rhapsody: the small Syrah vineyard with the spotless barn housing giant stainless fermentation tanks, and the hillside winery where the owner had built commercial caves that would never, ever be used for social events. I sat at outdoor cafes on Sonoma Plaza writing color and background, and maybe enjoyed a round or two at the girl and the fig bar.

Napa, of course, has a different vibe. It's better geared for large-scale tourism and restaurants with global reputations (getting a reservation at The French Laundry requires strategy and speed). It's different, but the people in the industry are no less passionate about their craft.
Kennedy took the glasses, rinsed them and the wine thief, and then moved on to another tank. Repeating the procedure, a velvety red wine was deposited into the glasses.

“Mezzo, the Zinfandel.”

“I’m sensing a trend here,” Tom said. “Rhapsody Wines? Allegrezza? Mezzo?”

“Mm. Yes,” Kennedy responded, sounding truly uninterested in the conversation.

“Is there a reason for the choice of each name for the particular wine?” Tom asked.

“If you can’t tell, then I haven’t done my job very well.”

Tom again checked the color, the legs, the nose, then sipped at the rich, lively Zin.

“It has the brightness of fruit, without the feeling that I’m eating a bowl of jam—which is happening altogether too often lately.”

Kennedy smirked—the closest thing to a smile since they met, Tom thought.

“Let’s see. The Roussanne? Allegrezza. It’s bright, cheerful, like a bouquet of spring flowers.”

The winemaker’s head might have been turned, but Tom could still see the slightest smile slip across his lips.

“I’ll have to take a stab that Mezzo is your in-between wine. Not bright and summery like the Roussanne, but there’s something else you’re making that’s darker, richer—something with deeper tannins. So the Zinfandel is Mezzo.”


“And it’s lovely,” Tom said.

“Thank you. Syrah’s next.”

“And it is?”


The thief slipped samples of a dark, sinfully lush wine into the glasses. The color looked like it belonged on the runway, like haute couture. It clung to the glass like silk cut on the bias. A swirl, a dip of the nose—Tom closed his eyes.

“Blackberry, pepper and... something else, almost smoky, with a hint of sweet, like... maple?”

He took a sip, held it on his tongue. He sensed Kennedy’s eyes on him.


Kennedy dipped his head as the corners of his mouth rose, revealing dimpled cheeks.
Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and editor. She was born and raised in Southern California, where she lives with two sheep dogs and grows, ferments and drinks Syrah and Zinfandel in the foothills outside Los Angeles.

Sotto Voce is her first novel.
Win a $25 B&N gift card and an eCopy of Sotto Voce
a Rafflecopter giveaway

@eringofinnegan @GoddessFish


  1. Thanks for hosting today's stop!

  2. I agree the research would be fun but I can see how important it is as well for the story

  3. I enjoyed reading the fun facts and learning about all the research required for the book, then I just wish I could enjoy wine but sadly I cannot due to an allergy :(


PLEASE NOTE: I do not moderate comments, but some go to Spam anyway. Rest assured, I check regularly and will publish non-Spam comments shortly!