Tag Archive | Valentine’s Day

A Short History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has always been celebrated with candy, flowers and greeting cards, some heartfelt and others sappy, right? ??

Well, no…not exactly.

There really was a St. Valentine…at least a dozen or so of them, in fact, depending on whether one consults the lists of martyrs of the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox Church. The name “Valentine” (or “Valentinus”) is from the Latin word, valens, meaning “strong.”

The simple feast (or Commemoration) of St. Valentine in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of recognized saints, has traditionally been February 14th, reportedly the date in the year 273 when Bishop Valentine of the Diocese of Terni (in what is now Italy), was imprisoned and killed in Rome.

The truth behind the legends of this particular St. Valentine are murky, to say the least. In 3rd century Rome, Emperor Claudius II believed that young men who were single, without the encumbrances of wives or children, were more dedicated, so he forbade his young soldiers from marrying. Bishop Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriages, a stand that cost him his life.

The first recorded connection of St. Valentine to the concept of “romantic love” was in the poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, in 1382, which was written to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were married when each was but 15 years old. (Without doing any further research, methinks that might have been an arranged marriage.)

Later writers such as John Donne and Shakespeare (in “Hamlet”) also mention Valentine’s Day. By 1797, a British publisher printed The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, with a number of suggested verses for young lovers who felt they were not capable of composing their own. By the early 1800’s, the Regency period in England, factory-produced paper valentines became popular, with fancy ones adorned with real cloth lace and ribbons for those who could afford them. It was also common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and small tokens of affection.

Real lace became paper lace by the mid-1800’s. In the United States, Esther Howland received an English valentine from one of her father’s business associates. Since her father operated a book and stationery store, Esther decided to create and mass produce valentines in the late 1840’s, using decorations imported from England, and is known as the “Mother of the Valentine.”

Hand-written valentines thus led to greeting cards, which paved the way for Valentine’s Day to become the commercialized, multi-billion-dollar industry it is today. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Paper cards, e-cards, flowers, chocolates, and even diamonds are now necessary accoutrements each February 14th to go along with those three little words that never seem to go out of style: “I love you.”

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If you enjoy reading traditional Regency romance, please check out my novella, An Arranged Valentine, available from e-book stores everywhere. Here’s a bit about it:

An Arranged Valentine - revised 1-31-2016

In the coldest days of February, can St. Valentine generate enough heat to melt these two strangers’ hearts into one?

“…a perfectly lovely afternoon read.”

“This is a wonderful little gem of a story, heartfelt and touching.”

“Of course, the over riding situation is one where it suits both parties to be arranged.”

“An Arranged Valentine” is a traditional Regency romance novella told in 10 short chapters.

Miss Penelope Braxton has never met either sensible George Harburton or his more dashing younger brother, Henry, but she agrees to grant her dying father peace of mind by considering marriage to one of them.

The advantage of the match for the brothers is evident in the form of Miss Braxton’s substantial dowry. However, her money takes second place when the brothers realize the extent of Penelope’s courage, wit, and devotion.

Henry doesn’t plan to give up his philandering to romance Penelope. George’s days are filled with the running of the family estate and he has never put aside his duties long enough to contemplate marriage. When one of the gentlemen changes his ways, will he be able to compose the perfect poetry to win Penelope’s heart?

An Arranged Valentine can be found through your favorite e-book retailer by clicking on this Books2Read link:

http://books2read.com/u/bw8KoY

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USA Today Bestselling author Claire Cook comes for tea

MLD-New LeashUSA Today bestselling author Claire Cook visits today with news about Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, the second book in her Must Love Dogs series.

Good morning, Claire, and welcome!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Kadee. It’s such a treat to make a new friend, and one who serves tea, no less!

The pleasure is certainly all mine! Please take a seat. While I pour us each a cup, would you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. If you have a buried dream, trust me, it is NEVER too late! And I guess it’s no surprise that reinvention is the overarching theme of my novels and my life. I like to think my novels have helped lots of women find their own next chapters, and I also take great joy in sharing what I’ve learned so far on my Reinvention and Writing pages at www.clairecook.com.

I’m the USA Today bestselling author of eleven novels, and I’m hard at work turning Must Love Dogs into a series. Book 2 is called MUST LOVE DOGS: NEW LEASH ON LIFE and I can’t wait for you to read it. My books have been called everything from romantic comedy to women’s fiction to beach reads to chick lit. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what you call them. I just hope you read and enjoy them!

Claire CookI’ve been a judge for the Family Circle magazine fiction contest, a finalist and a judge for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Beach Read Festival fiction and grand prize winner. I’ve spoken at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Cape Cod Writers Center, Savannah Book Festival, the California Women’s Conference, and given keynotes at the Dress for Success International Conference, the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and the Amelia Island Book Festival. My books have been translated into 14 languages.

I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world’s most fabulous readers and I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the gift of this career. Midlife Rocks!

It certainly does! I’m a big fan of actor John Cusack, who co-starred with the amazing Diane Lane, in the film adaptation of your book, Must Love Dogs. What was it like working with him?

John Cusack felt like someone I might have gone to high school with—down-to-earth, fun, just a nice guy. I remember him taking the time to hang out with the extras during his breaks. I remember him casually eating a burrito while his makeup artist applied foundation to his hands around it. I remember yakking with him so often on the set—politics, the fact that his mother used to summer in the beach town where I lived, writing stuff – that it suddenly hit me that if I kept it up he might ask security to get that stalker author away from him. So the next time he walked by I pretended to be cool and looked in the other direction. He put his face in mine and said, “Claaai-re” —just like we’d gone to high school together!

What fun! Are there more stories about meeting and/or working with the other wonderful actors in the film you can share? And what was walking that fabulous red carpet for the movie’s premiere like?

Quick impressions of the other actors: Diane Lane was such a good mom and was thrilled that her best friend in real life, Elizabeth Perkins, was playing her sister in the movie. Christopher Plummer was so charming and debonair – once when I entered the room, he gave an exaggerated bow and announced, “The author is here!” And Dermot Mulroney kept bringing in pictures of his son to show me.

And as a surprise, the entire cast autographed a Must Love Dogs director’s chair for me. I refused to check it with my luggage at LAX – I carried it right on the plane with me. It sits in my dining room now, and I like to think of it as my throne, because the entire Must Love Dogs movie experience felt like being queen for a day on that old T.V. game show.

My family and I walked the “red” carpet at the Must Love Dogs Hollywood premiere. (It was actually a green Astroturf carpet with fire hydrants and adoptable dogs!) Gary David Goldberg stood up and told the packed, celeb-studded audience (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brooke Shields, Henry Winkler!) that none of us would be here tonight without Claire Cook and her wonderful novel, and that he started out as a fan of my work but we’d since become close personal friends and I was one of the few people in his life he could count on to always give him the truth in the kindest way possible.

What amazing experiences! Now, I know we’d all love to hear more about the second book in the Must Love Dogs series, New Leash on Life. What can you tell us about it?

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is my way of thanking my readers for supporting my books and also to encourage new readers to discover them! Readers have been asking me for more of the Must Love Dogs characters for years, so I finally listened to them, and I decided to jump right in about six months after the first book ends:

Life after divorce for Sarah Hurlihy used to consist as juggling her job as a preschool teacher with the demands of her interfering family. But after a rocky start, Sarah and John Anderson have shared six months of dating bliss. Now their relationship is basically on hold because Sarah’s brother, Michael, and his dog, Mother Teresa, are staying with her. And John’s new puppy, Horatio, hates Sarah. With a passion.

Michael hopes absence will, in fact, make his wife Phoebe’s heart grow fonder. Sarah hopes she can do her sisterly duty and send Michael on his merry way before she ends up single again herself.  John hopes Sarah and his puppy can work things out before it’s too late. Sarah’s bossy big sister, Carol, hopes both Michael and their father will start dating again.

When Phoebe packs up their daughters and heads home to Savannah, Georgia, Michael follows her from Marshbury, Massachusetts, and the Hurlihy clan tags along for reinforcement. Including Dad, who has finally upgraded his Smith Corona to a laptop and already has a date with a woman named Sugar Butt.

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is available as an ebook from:

Amazon.com

B&N.com

Kobo

iBooks

Would you prefer a paper book? Find it here on Amazon.com!

Please leave us a comment by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. Claire and I will be coming back often to see who has stopped by to visit and respond to any questions or comments!

Would you like to connect with Claire online? She’ll tell you how…

I spend a lot of time hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I hope you’ll join me! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here, so you’ll be the first to hear about upcoming releases, as well as giveaways and insider extras.

Thank you soooooo much for having me, Kadee! Both the tea and the company were fabulous! ~ Claire