Category: Valentine’s Day

The Power and the Light!

Charlene-with-BooksWhen we think of the old west, we think of stagecoaches and sheriffs and landowners and cattle. We think of railroaders and Native American Indians and farmers.  Some of the natural disasters that affected the settlers were droughts and tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and floods.  But the one thing we don’t think about is black-outs or power outages.  The men and women of the west didn’t have to worry if a power grid went down.  They had no power grids.

In fact, it wasn’t until Thomas Ediston invented a viable electric light bulb in 1879 did some fortunate people actually have electrical power.  By the end of the 1880’s electrical stations were developed to provide power for city residents, but the service was limited to only a few city blocks.

It is estimated that by 1930, only 10% of the rural population in the U.S had electrical power.Thomas Edisonthomas edison

How far we have come.

Now, one of our biggest fears is that entire cities could be involved in a power outage.  Power
grids do go down occasionally.  One of the biggest black-outs in United States history happened in 1965 near Niagara Falls.  In a domino effect, soon the entire city of New York was in the dark.  At the height of rushhour, on a Tuesday night, the city was in chaos.  It is estimated that 800,000 people were trapped inside the subway. Can you imagine?

Well, I did.  Although, I’ve never been in a black-out, (the closest I’ve come was being trapped in an elevator with 2 co-workers for 45 minutes)  I started thinking about what would happen if two of my main characters were victims of a black-out situation.  And thus, my new release, One Secret Night, One Secret Baby, was, uh, born.


Have you ever been in a blackout or been in any sort of power outage?  If not, yay!  What would frighten you the most if you were ever in one?  And read on to see how one Los Angeles power outage affected my hero and heroine Dylan McKay and Emma Bloom.


An unforgettable baby dilemma. Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands. 

During a city-wide power outage, Emma Bloom turns to her old friend Dylan McKay for help. The Hollywood heartthrob comes to her rescue, action-hero style, and sees her safely home. But what happened next? The details are blurry—because Emma was tipsy, and an on-set accident leaves Dylan’s memory of that night in tatters.

But soon irrefutable evidence surfaces: Emma is pregnant. It’s hard enough sharing her secret with a man used to fending off scheming women. But Dylan does the right thing and proposes. And then, one day, his memory returns…

Post a comment here and be included in my Super Sweet Valentine’s Giveaway!!  Your name will go into a drawing I’m holding on my new blog right now! Commenting there as well, doubles your chances.  Prizes include  my 3 -in- 1 Napa Valley Vows series, a DVD, Love and Sunshine lotion and Hershey’s Sweet Messages chocolates.  Winner will be announced HERE, FB and on my BLOG on Sunday, so be sure to stop back.  Happy Sweethearts Day!  (Drawing guidelines are posted in the sidebar)

Valentine's Day


Happy Reading everyone!

One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

Available on AMAZON

Barnes and Noble

and ALL other Retailers!








Updated: February 11, 2016 — 9:45 am

Presidential Love Stories and a Giveaway!


Hi everyone- Winnie Griggs here.

Within the next week we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and my birthday (that is a national holiday, isn’t it?). So in my post today I thought I’d find a way to give a nod to all three.

And what better way to do that than to talk about the love stories of two American presidents and then to hand out a birthday present by throwing in a giveaway at the end?

So here goes.

First Ladies have always played important roles for their husbands and American politics at large. They are personal confidants, philanthropists, and even trusted political advisors, and many become celebrated career women independent of their presidential husbands. One almost forgets that beyond the politics and the public image, the President and the First Lady are husband and wife: two people in love, bound by matrimony.

R&A Jackson

It doesn’t get much more heart-wrenching than the tragic love story between Andrew Jackson and his beloved wife Rachel, who technically never was a First Lady. Rachel was mid-divorce when they met and fell in love. Her first husband was cruel and manipulative, and dragged his feet on finalizing their divorce. Before it was official, she and Andrew eloped and started a life together, and Rachel’s family and community readily accepted her new husband. Her first husband, however, used this against her, and had her charged with adultery. To fight this in court, Rachel would have had to further delay the divorce. She accepted the black mark on her reputation in the name of love. The divorce was finalized, and Rachel and Andrew remarried for good.

By all accounts, they adored each other, and as Andrew’s political career progressed, she kept him humble and soothed his anxieties. They were in their sixties by the time he ran for president, and had lived many blissful years together as decent, respectable people, still as in love as they were in their youth.

The tragedy is that during Andrew’s presidential campaign, his enemies dug up the court documents on Rachel’s first marriage and the adultery charge, and she was viciously attacked by the press. Both of them- already elderly for the times and in poor health- took this very hard, and when Andrew won, there was no vindication for Rachel. The stress of the campaign had worn on her, and mere days before her beloved husband left for Washington to take office, she died of an apparent heart attack.

A&J Adams

But I won’t leave you with that sad tale. John and Abigail Adams had a famous romance for an entirely different and very literary reason: their courtship and fifty year marriage is beautifully documented in the thousand-plus detailed letters they wrote to each other. John’s political career often kept them apart for long stretches of time, and their relationship was built and strengthened and maintained through their letters.

Abigail Adams is remembered as a highly intelligent, compassionate, and influential First Lady, and her husband John considered her an intellectual equal in all areas of life. She was his wife, the manager of his home and family, and his closest political advisor. Though she didn’t have a formal education, she was a voracious reader. Growing up around the finest libraries in her home state of Massachusetts, she read and read, on all subjects, and had an impressively broad knowledge base.

On their first meeting, John was not especially impressed. However, a romance soon blossomed. In one early, flirtatious correspondence, John addresses her, “Miss Adorable.” As the relationship progressed, their letters reflected a deep love and a powerful mental connection. They even wrote, in their letters, how much they enjoyed exchanging their thoughts in writing, how much peace it brought them when they could not be together. John and Abigail’s letters paint a vivid picture of two people in love: they quarrel, they wax poetic, they discuss political issues, and they ponder their lives. After John lost the election of 1800, the letters stopped. After nearly forty years of letter correspondence, they finally settled down for good in Massachusetts, together, with no more need for letters.

Just think, these rich stories come from only two of the past presidents of this country. How many other amazing love stories are hidden behind the politics and formality?

Here’s wishing you an early Happy Valentine’s Day, and on an unlikely related note, an early happy Presidents’ Day, too!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now for the giveaway.

Anyone who leaves a comment today, giving your thoughts on the stories above, or sharing your own romantic love story, will be entered in a drawing where the winner gets his or her choice of any book from my backlist.  (click here to view a complete list of my books)

Happy early birthday to me 🙂

(click here to view our giveaway guidelines)

White Spacer

Updated: February 8, 2016 — 2:10 am

What Shape is YOUR Heart? ~Tanya Hanson

2016-01-04 09.26.03-1

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day to all y’all! Please leave a comment…three copies of my novella PICK ME are up for grabs today. (e-book or PDF) So please leave me a comment! (U.S. Residents only and compliance with P and P’s sweepstakes rules.) My magic question will appear at the end!

Do you remember the little talky-hearts from your school days?



I sure do! Indeed, it was Daniel Chase in 1866 who invented conversation hearts at the New England Confectionery Company, so they’re 150 years old this very year! The confectioner itself is America’s oldest candy company, dating from 1847. In 1901, it became NECCO® after merging with two other candy makers.


Anyway, I was thrilled to be able to participate in this year’s multi-author “Candy Heart Series” at The Wild Rose Press, where authors picked a typical candy-heart slogan and ran with it. My story Pick Me is short and sweet, and my first-ever contemporary western.

(Mega-thanks to author Sydney St. Claire for this wonderful YouTube showcase of the entire series! I promise there’s a story and a heat-level for everybody!)

So what’s it about? Third-grade teacher KELSEY HUNTER has the brainstorm for her class to grow heart-shaped carrots as a Valentine treat for the horses at the rescue where she volunteers. Of course it looks just like the rescue where I volunteer…complete with the unique “pink moment” when sunset colors the hills themselves.

Pink Moment 1

Her search for answers leads her to a comfy organic farm where she meets hottie LANDRY MILLS. Thing is, she’s recovering from a recent heartbreak…Although he steals her breath, can she give him her heart? It’s not in the best shape…

Here’s her first meeting with him. She’s all hot and grubby and sweaty from mucking…

val hearts

Of course.

“Hey. I’m Landry Mills.” He touched the brim of a dark brown Stetson, then held out his hand. For a sec, she wondered if she’d explode if she put hers in his. But her fingers felt soft and safe inside his hard-working grasp.

Still, she ought to have taken another swig of water before leaving the car. Mucking at the horse rescue was hot, hard work. Her tongue was the size of a cucumber.

Familiarity caught her breath. She knew this gorgeous man, didn’t she? A friend, God forbid, of Gunnar? But no. She’d never have forgotten meeting such a man in the flesh, shoulders so broad, legs so long fitting in a truck’s crew cab would be impossible. Eyes sparkling like champagne…


“Hi.” She coughed and swallowed hard. At least her voice sounded normal. “I’m Kelsey Hunter. I have a question about a possible class project. I teach third grade.”

“Pleased.” And his eyes let her know he meant it. Oh, nothing ogling or untoward. Just…she knew. Dang, he was tall. “Hope I know the answer. Gotta tell you up front, though. We don’t grow third-graders here.” His white teeth shone in his sun-kissed face.

Although she laughed back, felt a thrill, this wasn’t eHarmony. She grabbed onto professionalism right quick. “I, Mr. Mills, I hope this isn’t too out-there, but…is there any way my students could grow heart-shaped carrots?”

Brownish-blond hair peeked from the edges of the Stetson. “It’s Landry. Mr. Mills, uh, was my dad.” His face fell, just for a flash.

His smile returned, kind but manly at the same time, and he gave her a two-fingered salute at the edge of his brim. Part of her ached to show him her ringless left hand. She was finally breathing normally after Gunnar’s gut-punch, but…

…Last thing she needed was another guy to mess up her life, even in a good way…


.BLURB: Volunteering at a horse rescue has helped heal schoolteacher Kelsey Hunter after her celebrity ex’s betrayal. Life in the rural California community suits her better than the bling of Hollywood. When she seeks help for a classroom project, she’s thrown into the sphere of a down-to-earth organic farmer and horseman who could really steal her heart… 

However….Landry Mills is really successful mega-spokesmodel for a famed Westernwear line, He’s returned to his hometown to regroup and reconsider signing the next contract. Meeting Kelsey explodes feelings in him he wants to make real. But finding out a fancy director’s son recently crushed her spirit has him take things slow. What will Kelsey do when she finds out he’s a celebrity in his own right? He might not be able to bear it…


SO…what’s YOUR favorite Valentine treat?

Updated: February 3, 2016 — 7:33 pm

Get Lucky in Love by Charlene Sands!!



February is the month for love and romance!  What more can we say about Valentine’s Day?  Well, here’s a few quotes from people you may just recognize.  Read them and tell me which one pertains most to you or give me your own quote on the subject and you’ll be entered into a drawing for this fabulous 3 in 1 prize including Diana Palmer, Donna Alward and little ole me!  Unless of course, you don’t like Red Hot Reads, or Hunky Cowboys or Romance at all!!

One Night with the Red Hot Rancher

Famous Love Quotes:

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love — women like to be a man’s last romance.” — Oscar Wilde


“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” — Sam Keen


“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” — Helen Keller


“Where there is love there is life.” – Gandhi


“When you are in love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss


“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” — Pablo Neruda, “Love Sonnet XVII”


“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle


“Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” — Albert Einstein


“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery


“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” — Franklin P. Jones


“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” — Shakespeare

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.” — Mother Theresa


Funny Love Quotes:

“Falling in love is so hard on the knees.” – Aerosmith


“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schulz


“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashinglights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” — Erich Segal


“Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times.” — Rita Rudner


“It’s better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.” — Laurence J. Peter


“I’m dating a woman now who, evidently, is unaware of it.” — Garry Shandling


“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.” — Walt Disney


“I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” — Rita Rudner


“Love is a grave mental disease.” – Plato


“I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?” — Zsa Zsa Gabor


Lots going on in February!

Are you reading my Free Harlequin Online Read — Secret Designs on the Billionaire?

It’s the tie-in story to my February release Her Forbidden Cowboy.

Have you picked up your copy?

Her Forbidden Cowboy Graphic



Barnes and Noble


Get lucky in love!   Come to our DESIRE FACEBOOK PARTY on Lucky Friday 13th.

Win prizes and Gift Cards. Chat with all the authors!




Get Lucky in Love Small




Updated: February 10, 2015 — 6:52 pm

Valentine’s Day is Nearly Here!

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetIt’s only a few weeks until our special “love day” will be here … Valentine’s Day. Just in time for the occasion, Prairie Rose Publications released one of my short stories, “Tumbleweeds and Valentines”.

A short story about family, love, protection, and caring; each of my family members have the same objectives. It all comes to a head on Valentine’s Day.

I thought it’d be fun to go behind the scenes and let you see how we come up with character’s names, decide on vocations, and what type of historical research we have to do. Using “Tumbleweeds and Valentines” as my example seemed to be a great way to bring this to you and; and, of course encourage you to order the short story from one of the links below.

Tumbleweeds and ValentinesEven the most established author will tell you that more times than not they don’t get the working-title they want for their books through major publishing houses. It’s all up to the house and the contract because they know more about the business than we do as authors. I got to keep my story title, although I knew ahead of time that the name of the collection was ”Hearts and Spurs”. In other words, give your story a title that you like and don’t get down in the dumps or upset when you find out it isn’t the one on the front of the cover … a cover that likely you got no input into either, unless again cover approval/input is part of your negotiated contract.

The first thing I needed, as any other writer, is the names of the hero and heroine (H/H) and the setting. It’s also very important with settings that they are historically accurate; however, you have creative permission to bend it to fit your story, if it’s reasonable. That’s the reason, although I write my western historical romances, in the Texas Panhandle, I stay somewhat accurate.

My setting is in Caprock, Texas. All of the towns that I write about, both historical and contemporary, are based on towns in and around the Caprock of the Texas Panhandle, where I was born and raised. Thus the name Caprock, Texas. Greene Street where Mandy lives is an original street in Amarillo, although it’s long been replaced with another name.

I used a phrase in the story similar to, “Caprock has grown like the merchants of Colorado City wanted….” If you switched the name to Amarillo, you’d be correct. The merchants of Colorado City, Texas, wanted a town to become a railhead plus a passage on up north, so they solicited a number of merchants to set up business in this area, believing the railroad would come through here. The railroad named us Oneida, but we eventually where changed to Amarillo Spanish for yellow soil. All the houses were painted yellow, once the town was settled up on higher ground instead of in a buffalo wallow called then and now Wildhorse Lake. And, yes, we still have a viable railroad and shipping yards for cattle. As a matter of fact, at one time during the mid-1800’s, there were so many cattle to be shipped that the pastures were filled with them and extended nearly 100 miles south and to the New Mexico border.

valentine-chocolateWhere do names come from? Sometimes they are meant to recognize someone, either negatively or positively. Other times, it’s simply a name that works. I’ve also looked up at my reference books shelves and found a name for a minor character. I use a “name your baby” type book sometimes other times folks I know. In this book, I wrote Mandy, which is the name of the daughter-in-law of a friend and of course her last name had to be “Love” for Valentine’s Day.

Her business partner in the confectionary shop is Emma Parker who has two nephews. Trey is the blacksmith and I needed him to be that vocation. Then came time to name his twin, so rhyme time kicked in. Trey and Clay, and their last name is Hemphill and is in honor of a long-time deceased friend of mine. By the way, Emma is my oldest granddaughter, while Parker is my youngest grandson. Jenny, in the book is Emma’s sister, while in real life that’s my youngest daughter’s name and also the name of a friend. I try to respect my friends and family and never use their names or one of their family names without asking. With my family, I use middles names, if at all possible and never their last names or where they live in a blog or anything public.

valentine-graphics-1The neat thing about names is that most authors have a little quirk with a name that is always in a book. In my case you’ll always find the name of a bull of the year or at least a famous bull.

How people dress, especially women, is so very critical. For an historical, I use a series of research books by John Peacock and particularly like “The Chronicle of Western Fashion” From Ancient Times to the Present Day. I find an outfit that fits the era and my lady and try to describe it. In this particular story, Amanda wears a pale blue and while calico dress. I depicted it adequately and then wrote her name next to it in Peacock’s book, so I know I’ve already used that outfit. The nice thing about these research books is at various places it author stops to physically describe the various clothing. I opened it to a random page. In 1605 this picture showed a noblewoman wearing her hair “dressed over pads and decorated with feathers and flowers; gown with high standing lace collar supported on wire frame, long hanging sleeves and wide skirt on cartwheel frame; high-heeled slashed shoes with wired bows.”

I love to cook, so you’ll see characters fixin’ candy, fried pies, and tarts in this story. I use them for actions tags instead of verbal tags for my heroine and her business partner. Since this is a short read and I didn’t have a lot of words to describe what they were makin’ for the Valentine’s barn dance, hootenanny, or shindig … whatever you may have called it in 1889.

There is so much more I’d like to write about, but I hope this gave you a taste, pun intended, of what this story is about and if you’re lucky you’ll win one of two free copies.

Please share with me your favorite Valentine’s goodie. My two most favorite are in the story. Let me hear from you ladies.

Updated: January 19, 2015 — 9:47 pm


Hi everyone,
I’m talking about my story, FOUND HEARTS, in the brand new Valentine’s Day anthology, HEARTS AND SPURS that was just released  a week ago through PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS!
How do you capture a cowboy’s heart? Hearts and Spurs is a collection of nine stories by some of western romance’s best—just in time for Valentine’s Day! Following up their Christmas collection Wishing for a Cowboy, these ladies have done it again with new stories of handsome cowboys and the women who captivate them in Hearts and Spurs.
The authors in this edition of cowboy love stories are: Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda, Tanya Hanson, Tracy Garrett, Kathleen Rice Adams, Jacquie Rogers, Livia Washburn Reasoner, Sarah J. McNeal, and yours truly.  The variety of styles and stories in this sweet/sensual collection is just wonderful, and will keep you turning the pages!
My story, FOUND HEARTS, is about a young woman in the post-Civil War South, who is forced to leave first her home in South Carolina, then the safety net of her aunt and uncle’s home in Chicago. Her brother’s excessive drinking and expenditures have put her into a situation she never dreamed she’d find herself in–penniless, and at the mercy of others. The answer to her dilemma comes in the form of an advertisement in the paper from a man searching for a wife for himself, and a mother to his children.
I’ve always wondered about women who were mail-order brides. How hard it must have been to leave everything behind and go to a new place where everything was unfamiliar, not knowing anyone, and marrying a man who could be any kind of person–you wouldn’t know until you got there. What circumstances could force a person into doing something so desperate? Any number of things! That’s what makes a mail-order bride story so tantalizing.
 Hearts and Spurs Med
Here’s the blurb:
Southern belle Evie Fremont has lost everything—except hope. When she answers an advertisement for marriage to Alex Cameron who lives in the wilds of Indian Territory, she has few illusions that he could be a man she might fall in love with—especially as his secrets begin to unfold. 
Ex-Confederate soldier Alex Cameron needs a mother for his two young half-Cherokee sons more than he needs a wife—or so he tells himself. But when his past threatens his future on his wedding day, he and Evie are both forced to acknowledge their new love has come to stay—along with their FOUND HEARTS.
And here’s a VERY quick excerpt:
Her voice trembled at the end, and Alex reached for her, but she tried to push him away.
“Evie—” He grasped her shoulders and turned her toward him.
“I should slap your face!”
He gave a slight smile. “Just wait.”
“For what?”
“This.” He leaned toward her and pulled her tightly into his arms, his lips coming across hers with tender impatience. Evie stopped struggling as his mouth closed over hers in a gentle, yet firm melding that he kept tightly leashed.
I’m giving away two digital copies of HEARTS AND SPURS today! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and your contact information.
If you just can’t wait to see if you won, or if you’d rather have print, here’s the link:



And a Valentine”s History Lesson you”ll never forget

(no matter how hard you try)

I”ve got my authors copies of Swept Away!!

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy.

Swept Away

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn”t all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they”ve ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she”s rescued by Luke Stone…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn”t make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can”t just abandon Ruthy, so she”ll have to come along.

His friends–a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers–take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that”s rather rude–he”s the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.

Which I used once before but you need to learn this so let”s review
The title of my lesson is:


This is Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love and her son, Cupid, the Roman God of Love (Same last name? Who was the father? Already a scandal?)
I did a lot of reading about Cupid…
(translated to English…”that”s four hours of my life I”m never gettin” back.)
With it in mind to talk about Cupid on Valentine”s Day Week.
I actually started out to talk about St. Valentine. Except, well, the information is shady about the real St. Valentine, mostly I got, there were three Catholic priests named St. Valentine
(well, I suppose they were actually named just Valentine. The Saint came later, right?)
and they all died hideous deaths as martyrs,
soooo NOT the warm and romantic blog I

had in mind.

So, the St. Valentine guys had a feast day which was on February 14th.
Also on February 14th (so the legend goes) birds picked their mates which somehow got mixed up with the god of love, namely Cupid.
(hang in there, I know how boring backstory can be)
So St. Valentine”s Day became connected to this pagan holiday which was for the birds. (okay, you KNOW I had to say that)
The birds

mating is actually immortalized in a Chaucer Poem

called Parlement in Foules (Fowls??)
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
(choose his MATE? maybe?)
Not MY typos, complain to Chauer.
Cupid is sometimes young,
There are BEES on that kid…what sadist painted that?
(I checked, Lucas Cranach the Elder about 1525-
I suppose it”s too late to file charges now)
Sometimes Cupid is dang near girly, (why, oh why doesn”t Dan Brown write a DaVinci Code about the “cover-up” about Cupid being a girl??? Huh???–Nooooooooo he”s gotta go for Jesus being married. Well, fine, my next book is being outlined right now! Miss Cupid!)
But, boy or girl, child or adult, Cupid is all the time Nekkid.
What? Was there a colored paint shortage?
Flesh tones were on sale?
An artist had to make do?
I”ll encapsulate four hours of reading here.
Psyche…no, that”s a person, not a mental illness…was pretty but conceited.
Venus…also conceited…sent her son Cupid to MESS HER UP.
Cupid fell in love instead.
Venus did some payback on poor old conceited Psyche
but Psyche was so beautiful that people kept rescuing her. (BEEN THERE)

Finally Venus got control of her jealousy,

Psyche got over herself

(and put some clothes on, thank the Good Lord)

Cupid got the girl.

My gosh it”s just like one of my romance novels…

only with wings instead of a Stetson.

The end, cue the Godiva Chocolates, the Hallmark card industry
and bring on

This, well, this is just disturbing, I”d need a paint roller and a gallon of Little Dutch Boy to get clothes on all these people.
I”m sorry, I just don”t like people running around nekkid.
I never do it myself and don”t see why anyone else should get to.
I know, it”s art. I”ve got a friend who”s an artist.
She”s talked me through it.
The reasons for nudes, the ART of it all.

Not buying it. Put some clothes on for heaven”s sake.

And that is the story of Valentine”s Day,

minus the slow agonizing death and graphic dismemberment

of some Catholic Priests.

Enjoy your chocolates and hope and pray the roses don”t attract bees.


Updated: October 8, 2013 — 7:30 am

Fun Facts about Valentine’s Day …

I had so much fun with my last blog about Valentine’s customs and traditions that I thought it’d be enjoyable to look at some of the interesting facts surrounding the holiday.

The first one I found made me feel so much better about the times I’ve bought the cute little candy “conversation hearts” on sale after the holiday, saved them, and given them to my girls and now my grandchildren the following year. I figured they are already hard, so could they get any harder?  Well, I got my answer … they have a shelf life of five years.  Don’t know about you guys, but I do feel better about my frugality.

Then I found out something that made me feel not so good about my deception. They introduce about ten new candy “conversation heart” sayings each year. Recent additions have included “Yeah Right,” “Puppy Love,” and “Call Home.”

I love chocolate, but then who doesn’t?  Richard Cadbury produced the first box of Valentine chocolates in the late 1800’s.

Valentine’s Day was first introduced to Japan in 1936 and has become widely popular. However, because of a translation error made by a chocolate company, only women buy Valentine chocolates for their spouses, boyfriends, or friends. In fact, it is the only day of the year many single women will reveal their crush on a man by giving him chocolate. The men don’t return the favor until White Day, a type of “answer day” to Valentine’s Day, which is on March 14th.

The symbol of the ribbon, which often adorns modern-day Valentines, is rooted in the Middle Ages. When knights competed in tournaments, their sweethearts often gave them ribbons for good luck.

The rose has historically been a symbol of love, and on Valentine’s Day, nearly 189 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S.  The red rose was the flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The most popular flower is a single red rose surrounded with baby’s breath.

Different colored roses have special meanings. Red means love, yellow means friendship, and pink means friendship or sweetheart. Red carnations mean admiration, white carnations mean pure love, red chrysanthemums mean love, forget-me-nots mean true love, primrose means young love, and larkspur means an open heart.

In 2010, 25% of adults bought flowers or plants as a Valentine’s gift. Of these, 60% were men and 40% were women. Men mainly bought flowers for romantic reasons, while women bought flowers for their mothers and friends as well as their sweethearts.

A True Love Knot, or Endless Knot of Love, was a very popular Valentine in England and the U.S. in the seventeenth century. As their name implies, these Valentines were drawn as a knot and could be read from any line and still make sense.

According to Welsh tradition, a child born on Valentine’s Day would have many lovers. A calf born on Valentine’s Day, however, would be of no use for breeding purposes. If hens were to hatch eggs on Valentine’s Day, they would all turn out rotten.

Some events that happened on Valentine’s Day, as well as famous people born include John Barrymore (1882), Jimmy Hoffa (1913), Jack Benny (1894), Carl Bernstein (1944), Renée Fleming (1959), and Florence Henderson (1934).

Groundhog Day was originally observed on February 14th.  On Valentine’s Day 2010, 39,897 people in Mexico City broke the record for the world’s largest group kiss. Oregon and Arizona were admitted to the Union (1859 and 1912, respectively), James Polk became the first president photographed while in office (1848),UPS (United Parcel Service) was formed (1919), the League of Women Voters was established (1920), Aretha Franklin recorded “Respect” (1967), Richard Nixon installed a secret taping system in the White House (1971), the U.S. performed a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site (1976), and Voyager I took a picture of the entire solar system (1990).

Americans spend around $277 million on Valentine cards every year, second only to Christmas. Approximately one billion Valentine’s are sent each year around the world. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s cards, followed by children, mothers, and wives. Children between the ages of 6-10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine cards a year.

The first American Valentine was produced in 1834 by New York engraver Robert Elton, and Esther Howland (1828-1904) was the first person to create Valentines to sell in the United States. She first patented a lacy Valentine in 1844—and by 1860 her factory was selling thousands of valentines, earning over $100,000.

Each year 300,000 letters go through Loveland, Colorado, to get a special heart stamp cancellation for Valentine’s Day. By the way, my mother and father were married in Loveland in August of 1945. There is also a Valentine, Texas, but not for any romantic reason. The first train to arrive there happened to do so on February 14th… it’s just one of our Texas things.

A common symbol of Valentine’s Day is Cupid (“desire”), the Roman god of love. The son of Venus and Mars, he was originally depicted as a young man who would sharpen his arrows on a grindstone whetted with blood from an infant, though now he is commonly presented as a pudgy baby. This transformation occurred during the Victorian era when business owners wanted to promote Valentine’s Day as more suitable for women and children.

Valentine Writers” were booklets written in 1823 by Peter Quizumall to help those who couldn’t think up Valentine verses on their own.

Picking out my favorite piece of information was easy.  If anyone wants to know if I’ve given them this year’s box of conversation hearts or one I picked up on sale the year before, they’ll have to read each one and compare them to a newly purchased box.  Okay, if they have “Right on Man”, “Flower Power”, “Peace” or “Make Love, Not War” then I’d strongly suggest you not eat them.

May each of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  I will give away a copy of fellow filly, Linda Broday’s and my newest anthology Be My Texas Valentine to one lucky commenter today.

Updated: January 30, 2012 — 9:59 pm

Valentine’s Customs Around the World

When I began writing Be My Texas Valentine I decided not to do the typical boy meets girl on Valentine’s Day story. I wanted something different, so decided to use the facts around the railroad coming to the Texas Panhandle coupled with a true story that took place at the second town established in the Panhandle, Old Tascosa. As the story went, the men wanted to add gravel to the town’s dusty streets to entice the merchants to come to Tascosa thus making certain the railroad didn’t bypass the town. There was a need for an organ at the church, so an oyster supper was held at the Exchange Hotel. I took my creative liberties to determine that the women wanted the organ and the men being merchants wanted the gravel streets.

Oh by the way, for those who don’t know, the coast of Texas is about a fourteen hour drive today, so the “oysters” no doubt were mountain oysters (calf fries to some) but that could only take place during “cutting season”. Since my story was to take place in February, I had to change the type of benefit; thus, a boxed supper for the women and a BBQ and beer for the men.

That was the birth of Loving Miss Laurel, but lot of things changed as I galloped along with the novella. I decided the women of Farley Springs wanted a library, while the mayor and the other men thought paved streets were needed. My visionary mayor had a lot of surprises thrown at him … the first being his childhood sweetheart showing up from back East and then she got bamboozled into helping the women make sure the money raised was for the library.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to look at its history and customs; and man oh man, did I ever find a lot of interesting things to share with you all today. We all know that most of the Western countries celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th, and most of the U.S. customs; so I’m going to go back a few centuries, oh let’s say as far back as the 17th Century and look at some.

In Europe, people celebrate in many ways. In some areas of England, people bake valentine buns with caraway seeds, plums, or raisins. People in Italy hold a Valentine’s Day feast.

In Britain and Italy, some unmarried women get up before sunrise on Valentine’s Day. They stand by the window watching for a man to pass. They believe that the first man they see, or someone who looks like him, will marry them within a year. William Shakespeare, the English playwright, mentions this belief in Hamlet (1603). Ophelia, a woman in the play, sings: Good morrow! ‘Tis St. Valentine’s Day All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your valentine!

In Denmark, people send pressed white flowers called snowdrops to their friends. Danish men also send a type of valentine called a gaekkebrev (joking letter). The sender writes a rhyme but does not sign his name. Instead, he signs the valentine with dots, one dot for each letter of his name. If the woman who gets it guesses his name, he rewards her with an Easter egg on Easter.

Many Valentine’s Day customs involved ways that single women could learn who their future husbands would be. Englishwomen of the 1700’s wrote men’s names on scraps of paper, rolled each in a little piece of clay, and dropped them all into water. The first paper that rose to the surface supposedly had the name of a woman’s true love. Also in the 1700’s, unmarried women pinned five bay leaves to their pillows on the eve of Valentine’s Day. And, one description of Valentine’s Day during the 1700’s tells how groups of friends met to draw names. For several days, each man wore his valentine’s name on his sleeve. The saying wearing his heart on his sleeve probably came from this practice.

The earliest records of Valentine’s Day in English tell that birds chose their mates on that day. Shakespeare also mentioned this belief in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A character in the play discovers two lovers in the woods and asks, “St. Valentine is past; Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?” Of interest, DeWanna’s story in our anthology is entitled Sweet Talk and has love birds in it.

One of the oldest customs was the practice of writing women’s names on slips of paper and drawing them from a jar. The woman whose name was drawn by a man became his valentine, and he paid special attention to her.

Many men gave gifts to their valentines. In some areas, a young man gave his valentine a pair of gloves. Wealthy men gave fancy balls to honor their valentines. The custom of sending romantic messages gradually replaced that of giving gifts.

In the 1700’s and 1800’s, many stores sold handbooks called valentine writers. These books included verses to copy and various suggestions about writing valentines.

Do you have a favorite custom you share with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day? To celebrate the upcoming holiday, I will give one lucky commenter an autographed copy of Be My Texas Valentine.



Updated: February 21, 2012 — 12:10 pm