Fashionably late by 12 hrs or so (depending on time zone), here’s the BYWBBT post for Valentine’s day!
Valentine’s day means different things to different people. It’s hard to know what it meant to the original St Valentine—for one thing, there were at least three, and perhaps as many as fourteen of them! Given what people were generally made saints for, it’s probably safe to assume a bunch of flowers and a box of chocs weren’t, alas, involved.
What it meant to Geoffrey Chaucer (charmingly played by Paul Bettany in the film First Knight, which I mention purely because he first appears with no clothes on *g*) was the day the birds chose their mates:
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.
- Parliament of Foules, C14th.
(If he’d ever been canonised, dear old Geoff would undoubtedly have been the patron saint, sorry, seynt of poor spellers).
What was good enough for the birds, people thought in the Middle Ages, was good enough for them. And so it became customary to exchange love tokens on this day.
Nowadays, a lot of us are rather cynical about the whole thing. So what does St Valentine’s Day mean to you? Is it simply a profit-making time for card companies and an excuse for restaurants to put up their prices for a night? Or have you managed to keep the romance alive?
My fellow authors Heidi Cullinan, Ellis Carrington, Kate McMurray, and Andrew Grey are here to tell you what Valentine’s Day means to them.
Heidi Cullinan: My husband and I traditionally don't do much for Valentine's Day, and in fact one year his present from me was a blog post publicly excusing him from getting me some flashy present because that's just not what we do. That said, our first Valentine's Day was hands-down the best.
He send me flowers, red roses, to my work, and with it was a card which was signed, "Love, Dan." It was the first time the L word was used, and it made my heart flutter. The whole thing did. I'll never forget seeing the delivery person come through the door with flowers—for me! It was the talk of the office, and everyone smiled knowingly at me, excited for me, happy for me. It felt like such a launchpad of our relationship to come, and it was.
The other great part about that Valentine's Day was that when we exchanged official Hallmark cards later, we gave each other the exact same one. It was a one-two punch, first the flowers and then that card. I was already pretty far gone, but that sealed the deal, I think. And believe me, he was going to need that sealing. He was soon to make me sticky spaghetti with salsa for sauce and have me over to watch Xanadu. Naw, who am I kidding? That made me love him all the more too.
Andrew Grey: Valentine's Day around my house isn't usually a big thing. Dominic usually gets me a card and something small, often underwear, and I bring him flowers, usually a dozen red roses. Oh and I can't forget that he always cooks me the dinner of my choice. This year however, Dominic get me theater tickets for Valentines Day. Thankfully, the show was last Friday. We saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was a local production, but I swear, the present wasn't the tickets. The man who played Joseph was beautiful in his little Egyptian pants and nothing else. So Happy Valentine's Day to me!
Kate McMurray: I have a weird relationship with Valentine's Day. For years, it was like my own personal Friday the 13th; every February 14th brought some kind of strange, bewildering bad luck, and not even the romantic kind. One year, I was asked to help film a segment for my hometown's local cable-access station, and the whole production was beset by technical issues all day. Another year, my boyfriend at the time mailed me a gift and it got mysteriously lost in the mail for a month (and the package looked like it had been through a hurricane when it finally did arrive... in time for St. Patrick's Day). Then one other year, I went away on vacation Valentine's Day weekend and came down with the flu and was sick the whole time.
So I always dread the approaching holiday of hearts (and not just because it's a silly commercial holiday and we should tell our loved ones we love them year round and blah blah). Still, it's hard to stay mad at the day. Because for all the bad luck, there's also every bouquet of flowers I got from a friend who told me every girl should have flowers on Valentine's Day, or there's my ex—with whom I'm still friendly—who sends me an e-card sure to make me laugh even though we broke up years ago, or Valentine's Days like the one two years ago when all my single friends gathered in my living room to eat a decadent meal and watch silly movies from the 80s. (One of my friends had never seen Top Gun, so this was an oversight I went about correcting.) So I steer clear of ladders and umbrellas opened indoors and black cats who might cross my path, but it's not all bad. And, hey, even if you're single, all the chocolate goes on sale on the 15th.
Ellis Carrington: Valentine's Day has changed for me over the years, from lit candles and getting smexy, to a quiet cup of coffee when my husband and I can grab some conversation without the kids. I think it's a day about love and romance,in whatever way that takes form for you. I've realized over the years that I don't care so much about flowers and candy so long as I can find quality quiet time with the people I love most.
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Don’t forget to check out Ellis Carrington’s Feeling Neighborly, Marie Sexton’s Blind Space, Andrew Grey’s An Unsettled Range, Josephine Myles’ Tailor Made, Lou Harper’s Academic Pursuits, my Permanently Legless, Heidi Cullinan’s A Private Gentleman, Marie Sexton’s Cinder, Ellis Carrington’s Immortal Valentine and Kate McMurray’s The Boy Next Door..
Hop on over to Ellis Carrington’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Feeling Neighborly AND Immortal Valentine.
(And be sure to comment at the end of this post for the big grand prize!)
Ellis Carrington is a wild child who hates to color in the lines, but who lives and loves passionately. She can be found in and around the Washington D.C. area, swilling Starbucks and saying inappropriate things out loud in public. Her greatest loves are good friends, good music, and of course reading M/M romance.Find out more at EllisCarrington.com
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When she isn’t writing, Heidi enjoys knitting, reading, movies, TV shows on DVD, and all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Find Heidi on the Web: Twitter,Facebook, WordPress, and her website.
Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle,, Pennsylvania. You can find out more at www.andrewgreybooks.com , on facebook, twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
When Kate McMurray is not writing, she works as an editor with a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She has a BA in English lit that she’s still amazed translated into an actual career. Among other things, Kate is crafty (mostly knitting and sewing, but she also wields power tools), she plays the violin, and she is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at www.katemcmurray.com.
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Find JL Merrow online at:www.jlmerrow.com
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Sixteen authors are here to do their best to make your winter brighter in January, February, March, and April. (Unless you’re south of the equator, and then we’ll just be jealous of your summer.) Every Wednesday will be a new stop on the tour (see schedule below). Be sure to leave a comment at each stop for up to sixteen chances at the grand prize: a $200 USD gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice. Also keep an eye out for links to individual authors’ sites on their release dates for a chance to win some free books.
Every week we’ll also let you know what books are recently released and about to be released, complete with links to giveaways.