Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's That Time Again. . .

I don’t really have to specify, do I? We all know what today is—even those of us who have vowed to ignore it, or to instead celebrate Singles’ Appreciation Day. I’m not that cynical (not yet, at least). I will admit to being a V-Day junkie. I love the profusion of hearts and roses everywhere from Tiffany’s to Stop-N-Shop, I love the schmoopy cards and the Very Special Episodes of my favorite television shows. Most of all, I love the ridiculous kiddie Valentines that come in boxes of 20 from CVS and other quality retail outlets. The Ricky Martin card I received one February stands out as one of the most amusing—it gets a special bonus because it was written in Spanish. Basically I think that love, in any form, should always be celebrated, and yet I know that many of us are too busy running from one project to the next and juggling family/career/relationships/social life to really concentrate on it every day out of the year. If we need one particular day to help remind us, one day on which we take the time to show our honeys and friends and families that we love them, so be it. Years ago, a college friend pulled me into his tradition of showing compassion—a kind of love that this holiday isn’t exactly focused on—for one random stranger or acquaintance on Valentine’s Day and now that we live several countries apart, I keep that tradition and then call him to tell him that I haven’t forgotten. I won’t tell you what I did this morning on my way to work (that’s part of the tradition), but it was a nice way to start the day.

What? What’s that you say—this blog is supposed to be about writing? Oh. Um, hang on a second. I can tie this together. . .yes! Okay, romance is in the air—or at least, it’s supposed to be. I know that a lot of people don’t like Valentine’s Day because it creates high expectations that are almost never met. I see that point, and I raise you this: what is it like to be a romance author on February 14?

There are a couple of stereotypes out there about romance authors—that said author is a sexually frustrated housewife or (gasp!) virgin writing about what they wish their life was like; that said author is really a man writing about the women he wished he’d met in high school; and, of course, that said author really gets around and has actually tried out all the steamy things she writes about. I’m not sure which category I’d least like to be consigned to; they all have their issues. But think about it—bookstores usually incorporate romance novels into their V-Day displays, and sometimes even seek out authors to do signings or talks on the day. Would you want to be answering the questions that must crop up at those events—or the e-mails that I’m sure find their way to various authors in preparation for this holiday?

Cue dream sequence:

Yes, Ms. Author, I have a question. In your bookRide the Cowboy, you have a scene where the hero and heroine make love on the back of a galloping horse. Have you tried this? Does it really work? Do you recommend side-saddle, or Western for best results?

Or, alternately:

To: author@sexypublishing.com
From: reader@hopeful.net
Subject: Helpful Hints

Dear Ms. Author,

I love your books (especially the nookie LOL) and was wondering if you have any bedroom tips for me and my husband. Our sex life has been kind of dull lately and I’d like to spice it up. You seem to know a lot about [improbable sexual experiment possibly involving some sort of food]. Can you help me?


A Reader

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of either of those. (Did that sound dirty to anyone else? Maybe I’ve been reading too many romance novels.) At any rate, being a romance expert has the potential to be a headache around this time of year.

On the other hand, maybe a holiday dedicated to romance could inspire an author to write a really great proposal scene, or one of those “oh my goodness, I think I love the man I’ve purported to hate for the last 200 pages!” scenes. Or—just throwing it out there—a really toe-curling love scene. Not that I’m going to attempt that later. Nope. Just a thought. Really.


Anonymous Tas Jordan said...

That's a lovely tradition, Mel. I, too, think of Valentine's as a day to celebrate any and all kinds of love, not just the romantic stuff of Hallmark cards. *hugs*

10:31 PM  
Blogger Loribelle Hunt said...

That's a wonderful tradition, Melanie! Hmm, you know we've never really paid much attention to Valentine's Day because our oldest's b-day is the 15th. Valentine's kinda gets overshadowed lol! So the two dates have kind of merged in my mind as a kid centered thing lol, and I seriously doubt my date challenged husband would remember either if they weren't tied together lol.

2:45 AM  

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