Today I am so pleased to welcome Teodora Kostova to Joyfully Jay. Teodora has come to talk to us about her release, Heart Eyes (Adam and Penn’s First Valentine’s Day). She has is also part of a big, multi book giveaway!  Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


It’s Valentine’s Day today and it’s safe to say that people’s opinions about the holiday are split between the opposite ends of the love scale. It’s one of those holidays that everyone seems to either hate with passion or is completely obsessed with.

I did a little research for a story I was writing about how people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day and ended up with some pretty cool, and some pretty messed up, ideas. In Italy, for example, loved up couples gather in parks and gardens and listen to poetry and music and then wander off on a romantic walk with their beloved. In South Africa, women wear their hearts on their sleeves quite literally. They’d pin a little paper heart with the name of their love interest on their sleeves, hoping the owner of the name will have the sense – and good eye-sight – to notice it.

In France, the holiday could take a wild turn, and one of the traditions was recently banned by law. What the French would usually do is fill a house with people and they’d randomly pair off, skipping into the sunset together. However, if the men weren’t satisfied with their match, they would just leave that woman for another, and run off. Later, the dumped women would gather and make a huge bonfire, burning the pictures of the men who’d offended them and shouting curses and insults at the fire as they burned.

Personally, I don’t care much for Valentine’s Day. But I’m not big on romance on any other day either. Or, at least, what would be considered conventionally romantic. I can’t imagine anything worse than a date with someone in an overpriced restaurant, and God forbid, they bring me flowers. Walking around all evening clutching a bouquet, placing it in a vase on the small table, looming over us, urging us to be as romantic as humanly possible, when all I actually want is a picnic with no one else around or, even better, a quiet evening at home.

Having said that, I also think every holiday, including Valentine’s Day, could be celebrated in a way people enjoy. Nobody should be forced to adhere to traditions or expectations. If a wild night in a club is your thing, then go for it; if you prefer to gather all friends and family for a big dinner – by all means do it. Stewing in your own misery and dislike for something is no way to spend any day of the year.

And trust me, if Adam Fischer, the grumpy actor and self-proclaimed bachelor from my book Mask, can learn to like Valentine’s Day (admittedly with the help of his boyfriend and his friends) so can anyone else.

Heart Eyes (Adam and Penn’s First Valentine’s Day) is a free short story set in the West End universe. It features characters from the West End series, but if you haven’t read the series yet, it could be read as a cute stand-alone Valentine’s Day short.

Claim your copy here:

Heart Eyes is only one of the free stories offered by a bunch of awesome authors this Valentine’s Day. Every story is exclusive to the giveaway and you can’t get it anywhere else. Giveaway closes on 15 February.


Adam knocked on Jared’s dressing room door, patiently waiting for permission to enter. Before Fenix had become Jared’s dressing room mate, and his boyfriend, Adam’d never knocked. He’d just walk in, as used to the familiarity of Jared’s space as much as Jared had been. But now? Now, Jared and Fenix had a habit of humping like teenagers between shows and Adam was not risking finding them in the throes of passion. Again.

“Yeah,” Jared’s voice called from the other side of the door.

Adam walked in, his eyes closed, making a show of waving his hands in front of him as if feeling for any obstacles.

“Are you dressed?” He asked.

“Yes,” Jared said with a sigh.

Adam stopped but didn’t open his eyes. “Wait, you don’t need to be naked to be fucking.”

“We’re not fucking, Adam,” Fenix said, and Adam cracked one eye open.

They were sitting on the small sofa, Fenix’s long leg elegantly draped over the arm rest while he thumbed through a magazine. Jared seemed to be reading something on his tablet, his shoulder touching Fenix’s. Those two always needed to be touching. Adam wondered if they even realised it.

“That’s a first,” Adam said, taking the few steps to the chair on the other side of the coffee table, and sitting in it with a grunt. It creaked under his weight and for a moment Adam was worried it may fall apart under him. Not that Adam was huge, although admittedly he was the biggest person in the room right now, but the chair felt really flimsy.

“I didn’t realise it was comedy night tonight, did you, babe?” Fenix said turning to Jared, his smooth New York accent in sharp contrast with Jared and Adam’s London one.

Jared smiled and shook his head, leaving his tablet on the coffee table. “Is there any chance you two will lead a normal conversation occasionally?”

“Probably not,” Fenix said just as Adam said, “Nope.”


Vintage TemplateAdam Fischer doesn’t like Valentine’s Day.

Why? For starters, he’s never been in a relationship on the day and has never had a chance to celebrate with someone who cares for him. But also, the constant PDAs from loved-up couples, and the ridiculous, tacky decorations are driving him up a wall.

This year, however, Adam wants to do something fun with his boyfriend Penn Shields, but is finding it hard to come up with ideas that are not a cliché, or that don’t involve foil, heart-shaped balloons.

With the help of his friends Jared and Fenix, Adam and Penn have a blast on their first Valentine’s Day together, and maybe, just maybe, Adam could be convinced the holiday has its merits.


Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.

When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.


Teodora is part of a big Valentine’s Day Giveaway running through February 14th. Just follow this link and you can download the books for free!

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