Valentine’s Day…what a wonderful concept: an entire day devoted to love and to letting people you love know how much you care! Of course, the pressure to do something more original and amazing than what you did the year before can be a bit daunting at times. I used to feel that way. Now, however, I’ve mellowed. It’s all about sincerity. It’s all about simply enjoying the time spent together.
That said, I have a confession to make: despite my romance writer status and the fact that I spend my days thinking of ways for people to express their love for one another, it’s my husband who wins the prize for “most romantic gestures.” He often brings me flowers just because he was thinking of me on the way home from work. And he always begins his Valentine’s Day celebrations the moment I wake up. This year was no different.
On the big day, I woke up to little pink, white and red paper hearts placed in a trail through the house and down the stairs. They led me to the dining room where a big bouquet of “I Love You, Valentine” flowers was waiting, then on to the next room where my husband, a card and a pretty bag of chocolate surprises (and a kiss) were waiting. At noon I received an “I love you” phone call and an “I still love you. In fact, I love you even more,” phone call in the afternoon. Later he made me French toast (it’s one of the few things he knows how to make, and it’s what he makes best) and we ate French toast and drank orange juice and coffee by candlelight.
Was it elaborate or expensive? No. He knows that’s not my style. Give me a hug or a kiss over an extravagant gesture any day. I want warmth and sincerity. And I was much more entranced by his efforts at cutting out all those hearts and making me a simple dinner than I would have been had he taken me to an expensive restaurant. I guess he must know that very well by now. This summer we’ll have been together forty years (married for thirty).
(Oh, and yes, I did give him a Valentine’s present, too, but his was much more interesting than mine was).
I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day, too.
“I love you” written on lipstick on the bathroom mirror, drawn in the steamed up windows of a bus, a heart made out of stones left in the front yard will lift the heart, raise a smile. And it doesn’t just have to be on one day of the year.
Valentine’s is just a reminder to say the words, think about how much you love someone, take the time to share them with someone who means the world to you.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
And if you want to know how romance authors celebrate the day, come back tomorrow. We’re sharing our day with you by letting you know how we celebrated Valentine’s Day and one lucky reader will get a heck of a prize! All you have to do to enter the contest is comment on those posts. After the last story is posted, we’ll be picking ONE winner to receive a prize from each of the authors. One winner. Lots of loot.
Two Harlequin Romance authors already have a very special Valentine’s Day gift from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Here’s Jessica, talking about her inspiration for Ordinary Girl in a Tiara…
I have a confession to make. I’ve never been much of a one for stories about princes or sheiks or brooding Mediterranean counts. I like romances that are rooted in reality, and characters I can identify with. So when I decided to have a go at a royal romance (“try something a bit different”), I decided I’d have to do a bit of research. Well, what a lovely time I had! I got to flick through endless celebrity mags for background material – OMG, the frocks! – and could have picked minor European royalty as my specialist subject at the end of it. Who knew there were so many of them??
Still, it all seemed a bit glossy and remote, and I was having a hard time getting really inspired until the day I spent an entire afternoon watching royal weddings on YouTube (a dirty job, but someone has to do it). And that’s where I came across the 2004 wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson, which seemed to have exactly the right blend of fairy tale and reality that I wanted for Caro and Philippe’s story. On top of which they both looked so happy and so darned nice, how could I help but be inspired? I challenge you to watch their wedding waltz without heaving a great big ‘Aaaaahhhhhh …’ at the end of it. Now, that’s romance.
Of course, this was before last year’s royal wedding here in the UK, which also looked a genuinely happy occasion (in spite of the fact that Prince William and Kate Middleton selfishly chose not to get married in June when Ordinary Girl in a Tiara was out).
Now Caro’s story doesn’t seem quite such a fantasy as it did when I first started writing. Because Mary and Kate both show that ordinary girls really can get to wear tiaras sometimes.
And Liz on her love affair with Italy…
I wanted to write a book set in Italy since I first visited several years ago. The warmth of the people, the scenery, the stones steeped in history, its impossible not to get carried away with the romance of it and it’s hardly surprising that one fan described FLIRTING WITH ITALIAN as “possibly Liz Fielding’s most sensuous romance”.
This story crosses the generations to link a wartime love affair with a present day romance and there was a moment when I was writing the scene where Sarah and Matteo meet in the exact spot where her great-grandfather said goodbye to the woman who had saved his life, who he loved, when time seemed to slip, the two kisses became one and I actually shivered. That’s never happened to me before!’
I love it so much that I’ve just booked a trip to the Italian lake to celebrate a major wedding anniversary this year. Watch out for another Italian hero very soon!
The awards will be announced on 5 March and Jessica and Liz will meet up with their editors for lunch, then photographs and then the awards ceremony in London.