Ah, February. The month of L’Amour. The month when men scramble to find the perfect engagement ring, or order overpriced roses to keep their loved one happy or simply to find someone. If we believe all the hype out there, it is the best day to find your true love, or get engaged or show that special someone just how much you love them. Don’t forget to send flowers to your heart’s one love, give her chocolate (diamonds) and songs and roses and…gag me. I know, I know. How can a woman, a woman, who writes romance not like Valentine’s Day?
I’ll tell you how. Growing up, my parents moved a lot. I mean, a lot. No, I’m not a military brat nor did we get transferred for their jobs. We just moved. I went to five different schools my seventh grade year – in two different states. When you’re constantly the new kids, and a chunky monkey on top of that, Valentine’s Day is a cruel holiday. Everyone around me received flowers and candy and cards. At least in elementary school, the teacher would give you a list of everyone in the class and everyone got a Valentine, whether you knew them or even liked them. Which worked out for me because I didn’t have a totally empty bag at the end of the day. After that? Valentine’s Day could have dropped off the calendar as far as I was concerned.
But I’ve always loved romance. Romance is different. It blooms at different times of the year and usually isn’t brought on by a dozen long stem roses that cost a week’s wage or a box of chocolates that add two inches to your back side. It blooms when the conditions are right. There could be birds flying overhead singing to welcome the day or it could be the middle of a blizzard that will break the backs, and roofs, or those it pummels.
I got my first romance novel at the age of 13. A free giveaway at the Navy PX in Long Beach, CA. My friend from Texas came out with her family and we spent a few days together. We both got the book. She read hers then promptly gave it to me. I think I read that book at least 20 times. It has since been lost in a move, but it was the book that started it all. I used my allowance money to pay for the Harlequin monthly books in the mail. Of course, I would have them read in a week and have to wait three long weeks until my next shipment came in. It was like crack. Okay, maybe not that bad, but I was hooked.
Romance is wholly separate and not dependent on one day a year in order to shine. Romance surrounds us. Heck, for me, romance blooms when the hubby cooks dinner, or remembers to put his socks in the laundry basket. And if he cleaned the kitchen or did laundry? Look out! So, while I hate Valentine’s Day, I adore romance and the feelings it stirs.
Just for my readers out there, I couldn’t totally blow off Valentine’s Day. Come back on Tuesday the 14th for a special guest post from Julie Anne Lindsey as she promotes her book Bloom.