February 14, 2011


No, don't put it in your pocket as the song suggests--give it to your Valentine! Happy Valentine’s Day! What are your plans for celebrating the day of romance? Let the romantic atmosphere stir your soul!

Caroline Clemmons
as I really look.
My name is Caroline Clemmons and I’m  fortunate Anna Kathryn invited me to be a guest on such an auspicious day. Every February 14th, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged in the name of St. Valentine. I hope you find chocolate, flowers, jewelry, a good book, a dinner invitation--and/or whatever suits you--from your significant other.

Since Anna Kathryn and I are both writers, I’m sure she’ll join me in suggesting that every reader give books to those we love instead of candy or flowers. Books are not fattening and won’t wilt. If you're into saving trees, you can even give an electronic download. And what better book to give for Valentine’s Day than a romance? Romance novels offers hope that each of us can overcome obstacles to achieve our happily ever after.

Here's a blatant stab at self promotion. Why not purchase my new books THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE and OUT OF THE BLUE and my novella in the anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES at The Wild Rose Press at www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html, my backlist books SNOWFIRES, BE MY GUEST, THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarolineClemmons, Digi-Books, Amazon, and other online stores.

Please purchase Anna Kathryn Lanier’s books A GIFT BEYOND MEASURE, A COWBOY’S DREAM, SALVATION BRIDE, and the novella THE PRICELESS GIFT at http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=273, Digi-Books, Amazon, and other online stores.

I like the Chinese saying: "To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one."

Now back to our originally scheduled holiday celebration!

The history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint are shrouded in mystery. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. St. Valentine’s day was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted.

One of the three
men called
St. Valentine

The Early Medieval act of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend). According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. You have to admire his steadfastness even though, because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Valentine and his
There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend and--as many things are--widely repeated and beloved despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."

Courtly devotion
The day first became associated with romantic love in Geoffrey Chaucer’s works in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called "mechanical valentines." A reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. In the early 19th century, paper Valentines became so popular in England that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century.

Vintage Valentine
In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by an enterprising woman named Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English Valentine she had received from a business associate of her father. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Ms Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England.

Candy with
a Card
In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States, including roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

Aha! So your see, I am merely following a trend by suggesting you purchase Anna Kathryn's and my books as Valentine gifts. Honest, that's my only reason. I'm not thinking of sales figures or royalties or numbers of new readers. (Yeah, right. Want to buy a bridge while you're at it? LOL)

Fancier Valentine
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year second only to Christmas. Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. No surprise there. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children.

Kid's Valentine
When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities, the figure goes up, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets.

Millions of people now send digital Valentine's Day messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.

What have you planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Me at work
Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Read about her at www.carolineclemmons.com and her blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com


Maeve said...

Wonderful post! Happy Valentine's Day, Ladies!

Debby Lee said...

Hi, what a great post. I especially like the ideas of giving books for Vslentines Day and the Chinese Proverb. Great write up on the history of Valentines Day. Wishing you all the best with your books.
Sincerely, Debby Lee

Celia Yeary said...

Caroline--I hadn't thought about giving books on Valentine's Day, but it's a great idea. Better yet, I'll give them to myself! Very good post, especially the history of Valentine's Day.Celia

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Caroline. Thanks for being my guest today. Enjoyed the history on Valentine's Day.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks, ladies, for your comments. Hope you each had a wonderful holiday.

Sherry Gloag said...

Love your post. I'm a bit late, I know, so I'l hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day and that your books sales shot through the roof :-) LOL
I agree with Debbie Lee, I love the Chinese proverb too.