February 2019

February 28

Everett Collection

My newsfeed exploded late last night with news that the UK platform of Netflix had changed the ending of much loved tear-jerker The Notebook.  Anyone who has watched this 15 year-old film (and that includes all of us), knows the pay-off of the movie really comes in the last few frames where the aging couple (played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands) hold hands and die together.  The sweet sadness of knowing that Allie remembers how much Noah loves her, after watching him tell the story of their young love (played by a very hot Ryan Gosling and Amy McAdams) after scene after scene of dementia-riddled love not remembered is all tied up in that ending. According to reports, Netflix UK had changed the ending so that there’s just an end frame of birds flying off into the sky, instead of the entwined hands in a death embrace.

Some speculated that this is an alternative ending that might have been created for squeamish British audiences.  Or that there were multiple versions of the film and this one was supplied to Netflix UK by mistake.  According to Today, when Netflix finally commented, they acknowledged that they didn’t know that there were multiple versions of the film and this was, indeed, a mistake.

Author Nicholas Sparks added that he liked the original ending.

 

So do we. So we hope that this British version never makes it way to Netflix USA.

To see the alternate ending and what Nicholas Sparks had to say click here 
 

https://www.today.com/popculture/netflix-uk-changes-ending-notebook-nicholas-sparks-responds-t149527

February 27

Taylor Swift Surprises Couple

with Engagement Serenade

Alexander Gold/ Instagram

By Lilli McHale

Taylor Swift surprised a couple this weekend by showing up at their engagement party to sing to them! Can you only image how lucky you must be to get Swift to come and perform? The associate director of Digital Media Management, Alex Goldschmidt, and video producer, Ross Girard, were lucky enough to get Swift to perform at their engagement party! 

 

Goldschmidt had proposed to Girard earlier in the day before surprising his fiancé with Taylor Swift singing for them. The couple captured the performance on Instagram. Goldschmidt was extremely excited and captioned the videos of his fiancée with the singer "She came, she sang, I'm dead."

 

The video shows Taylor Swift singing her own acoustic version of her 2017 song “King of My Heart,” which came off of her album Reputation. Goldschmidt revealed that he “decided to propose to Ross listening to this song in my car. I can't thank Taylor enough for wanting to help make this day so special." 

This is not the first time that Swift has done some incredible things to her romantic fans as she has been sited at bridal showers and weddings. Furthermore, Taylor has been known to go to hospitals to perform and hand out Christmas presents around the holiday time. 

February 26

Get a Room! – Everyone’s Talking about Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Performance at the Oscar’s

Ed Herrera via Getty Images

By Lori Perkins

I had so many other topics I wanted to cover today – a follow up on the Brazilian plagiarism story and Taylor Swift’s latest surprise appearance – but since we’re a romance magazine, we just had to cover this.

 

Anyone who watched the Oscar awards ceremony Sunday night, or who went online the next day, saw the yearning and longing on display as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performed their Award-winning hit “Shallow” from A Star is Born. It made you feel like you were watching two people who thought they were the only ones in the room, even though there were 3,500 people in the theater and a massive television audience.

 

All of this while Bradley Cooper, 44, and Lady Gaga, 32, sort of sat together, with his supermodel girlfriend and the mother of their two year-old child between the two of them.

 

No one was unaware that Lady Gaga had just broken up with her 50 year-old boyfriend two weeks ago.

 

It was awkward.  It was delicious.  It made a lot of people wonder.

 

Former Spice Girl Mel B said, “I felt so uncomfortable for Bradley’s girlfriend! Oh my gosh!” Adding, “There’s a woman’s code.”

O Magazine ran a feature on the body language between the two that leaned heavily on the interpretation that there was a lot of chemistry between the two. Body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma emphasized that the eye contact between the two was massive, atypical and unbroken, leading her to believe that this mutual gaze was a “longing to touch” or a "pre-coitus" stare.

 

Blanca Cobb, a second body language expert O Magazine consulted, seemed to agree, "When they look at each other it’s as if they’re looking into each other’s souls," she said.

 

But my favorite comment on twitter on this subject was by Jill Gillowitz

“I’m officially accepting Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper into the lesbian canon due to their exceptional displays of yearning. Yearning is—and I can’t stress this enough—canonically lesbian.”

 

But you be the judge.

February 25

J Law is Engaged and Has a Big Ring to Prove It

The Image Direct

Guest Post By Dr. Krystal White

Jennifer Lawrence is engaged to Crooke Mulroney, an artist’s representative, and finally showed off her ring this week. This Thursday, newly engaged Lawrence was seen out having dinner with some of her friends in New York City’s ABC Cocina where she barred her new diamond ring for the very first time. The 28-year-old from Kentucky is rarely public with her personal life but eyewitnesses claimed she was obviously very happy at dinner, noting that the ring was incredibly sparkly. 

Before Thursday, fans had not seen the real engagement ring when Lawrence was in public. On the day her engagement went public, people were confused because all she was seen wearing was a small gold band and The New York Post’s Page Six claimed she had a “giant rock.”

 

They then clarified that she was seen wearing it at an engagement celebration, with fiancée Mulroney in NYC. The two were seen celebrating their engagement in a low key manor before she wore a decoy ring in pictures posted by Cosmo which was likely used to deceive the paparazzi. But Lawrence proved that she’s got the real deal and will likely be wearing it for a long time to come. 

GETTY IMAGES/MIKE MARSLAND

February 24

A Psychiatrist Looks at the Love in A Star Is Born 

Warner Bros

Guest Post By Dr. Krystal White

I am going to confess that I am an adoring fan of A Star is Born. I watched the movie from a theater in Germany, after high encouragement from my date. It was the first movie I had seen in a year. And from the onset, I was hooked. 

The success of the film a Star is Born suggests that our culture is ready to focus on how we measure success. It implicitly inspires us to raise standards of connectivity and re-consider how we touch, communicate, give, receive and prioritize our relationships.  Is there energy between us or are we just next to one another? Our culture, communities and homes are asking us to take the time to build vibrant and satisfying and compelling love lives. A Star Is Born phenomena speaks to this trend. 

 

There is something about A Star is Born that resonates and reawakens our need for more love in our life. The movie provokes a range of emotions across the gamut. When I watched it, in the audience, some people were crying, wanting to comfort either character. Others likely were thinking about how they wanted a love that deep and combined. I have had other people directly tell me that they were concerned that the relationship between the main characters conveyed unhealthy dynamics.  

As a psychologist, I’ve spent years listening to how people talk about love, what their own histories are, how they express their ideals and are slightly weary to hope for change. These conversations served as the ultimate petri dish for The Letter Code, my latest book, which I was happened to be finishing when I saw A Star is Born

The Letter Code conveys with simplicity something that is pretty complex, and often confusing.  Understanding it is a simple and easy classification system, gives users an advantage to creating fulfilling connections with their significant others. After personal analysis and a short quiz, you identify what letter you are most in line with: A, H, W or Y, and what that means about the way you love.

The shapes of the four letters visually represents four primary motivations that drive people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in their romantic relationships. When I was watching A Star is Born, immediately, I thought “They are both Ys!”

Ys want a full-time teammate, a partner in crime, a best friend and they enjoy a shared identity. They inherently believe that loving in this way is far more productive than being independent. 

The A Star is Born “it-factor” lies in that the film embraces certain ideals we have in love, challenges if these ideals are useful or expressed in our current love life and asks us as a culture: how close to really need to be with your significant other in order to feel love?  

Don’t worry, if A Star is Born didn’t inspire you to go into business with your long-time partner, there are other love codes that do empower you to go after what works for you.

The message is: you can love in a way that works for you. And, there are people out there that need you to do just that. 

 

Despite your position on how Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga interact in and out of the movie, it is evident that there is certain magic about “them”---the “them” they create together or the unit that is more than each of them alone.  But even though they have this professional magic and allure and clear talent, who knows how they each feel in their hearts, at home, when they aren’t performing. Maybe each one of them aren’t Ys at all.

No matter who you are, how lonely or socially competent, like both characters in the movie, you deserve to be loved. Instead of waiting for someone to magically find you, or for your partner to drag you into therapy, or for you to feel like you and your partners are strangers, maybe it’s time we each spent a little time understanding what our heart needs. Loving with it will be then become a whole lot easier. 

And watching amazing love films will be a LOT more fulfilling. 

--

Krystal White, Ph.D. is the author of The Letter Code: Deciphering Why You Love the Way You Love. She is also a leadership psychologist with more than 15 years of experience working with individuals, organizations, and communities. Dr. White holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, is a board certified child and adolescent psychologist, and has completed a medical fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in developmental pediatric psychology. She also holds a master's degree in Christian Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a master's degree in mind, brain and education from Harvard University.

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February 23

Gaga is Single for the Oscars

Shutterstock

By Lilli McHale

Unfortunately, this Valentine’s Day, Lady Gaga celebrated alone. Instead of enjoying a romantic evening inside with talent agent fiancé Christian Carino, her reps have confirmed that the relationship and engagement have ended. The couple started dating a little more than a year ago after being spotted together at a Kings of Leon concert. 

According to People Magazine, there was no drama behind the split, they just were no longer working out and it was time for the relationship to end. This break up comes as no surprise to Gaga’s little monsters who has speculated that things were rocky due to Gaga’s lack of engagement ring at the recent Grammy’s. Furthermore, while up on stage, Gaga did not thank Carino during her best pop duo or group performance acceptance speech for the song “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper. Instead, Gaga spent Valentine’s Day alone, celebrating her own success. She posted a new tattoo on Instagram with the caption, “Happy Valentine’s Day. A tattoo toast to ‘a vie en rose’ by the beautiful @winterstone my spinal cord is now a rose.” On her back is a detailed outline of a rose with a long stem and the script “la vie en rose” which is a tribute to her role in A Star is Born.

Gaga has since been seen in Mexico for a little R&R post-break-up. Gaga is still scheduled to appear at the Oscars on Sunday sans Carino.

Lady Gaga / Instagram

February 22

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 8.12.15 AM.png

Katy Perry in Full Bloom

Despite an on-again off-again relationship, Katy Perry, 34, and Orlando Bloom, 42, are officially on, forever. After seriously dating for all of 2016, the pair split up in 2017 before rekindling again later in 2017. Bloom popped the question this Valentine’s Day and Perry accepted. Bloom used a pink and white diamond ring in the shape of a flower to secure Perry’s hand. 

 

According to sources, Perry was so happy she was visibly shaking. The pair have been talking about possibly becoming engaged for some time now. Katy feels very stable in the relationship and they both felt as though this time would work out for both of them. 

Each of them has been married before and ended in a high-profile divorce. Bloom split from Miranda Kerr in 2013 and Perry divorced Russel Brand in 2012. Both have worked very hard to ensure that they spent time together, flying all around the world to keep the connection strong and communicating frequently. In fact, Perry’s goal for 2019 was to continue to invest in the relationship. 

The pair have since been seen posting on Instagram on a snowy ski vacation with Bloom captioning it “Underneath, we’re grinning from ear to ear,” alongside heart and smiling emojis. 

By Lilli McHale

February 21

Staged Courtroom Proposal By Lawyer

Surprises Attorney Fiancé

A Florida lawyer put together an elaborate fake DUI courtroom drama so that he could propose to his unsuspecting fiancé. He planned it over a five-month period, and even got a judge and fellow attorneys, as well as 17 family members and friends, to join in on the engagement ruse.

 

Brandon Dinetz, a Palm Beach attorney, asked his lawyer girlfriend, Jen Lettman, to come see him in court, as she often gave him feedback on his legal presentations. It was only when the jury box started to fill up with familiar faces – such as his and her dad – that she started to suspect that something might be amiss.

Of course, she said yes.

By Lori Perkins

February 19

Medieval Nun Faked her Own Death

To Pursue a Life of Lust

Artemisia Gentileschi

By Lilli McHale

Researchers at The University of York were amazed by the story of Joan of Leeds dating back to 1318 who faked her own death to escape convent life and virginity, escaping to a more promiscuous lifestyle.

The researchers found notes about Joan’s story inscribed in Latin by Archbishop William Melton, who described the “scandalous rumor” about Joan. He continued  “impudently cast aside the propriety of religion and the modesty of her sex,” and “out of a malicious mind simulating a bodily illness, she pretended to be dead … crafted a dummy in the likeness of her body in order to mislead the devoted faithful and she had no shame in procuring its burial in a sacred space amongst the religious of that place.” Joan pretended to be sick and allowed a dummy version of herself to be buried while running away from the convent. 

The notes talk about the young nun’s ‘death.’ “Seduced by indecency, she involved herself irreverently and perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience.” 

 

The story continued ‘“Having broken her vows and discarded the religious habit, she now wanders at large to the notorious peril to her soul and to the scandal of all of her order.”’

Yet, Joan’s story doesn’t seem to cement her spot in hell. Sadly, romantics will never know if Joan actually got to have the sexlife she craved. Instead, readers can only hope things worked out well for her.

Or perhaps someone will write a novel based on this?

February 18

The Courtship and Marriage of

George Washington and Martha Custis

MountVernon.org

By Lori Perkins

February 17

George Washington married the wealthy widow Martha Custis on January 6, 1759, which was Twelfth Night that year, a holiday that was still celebrated by many at that time. The wedding was held at White House, the Kent, Virginia property that Martha’s husband had owned. 

 

Martha was only 25 when her much older husband died, but she was already the mother of two, and the owner of 300 slaves and 17,500 acres of land. Because her first husband had died without a will, she had inherited the property, and so, was the catch of the moment.

 

The couple met in March of 1758 (George made a mention in his personal accounts that he had left generous tips for her slaves when he visited), and according to popular history, the attraction was mutual and immediate between the two, who courted quickly, marrying a mere ten months after meeting. George was over 6’2” tall while Martha was barely five feet. His reputation as a military leader preceded him, and, like his future wife, his own social status had improved as a result of an unfortunate death. After his half-brother Lawrence and his widow died, Washington had inherited Mount Vernon, a beautiful 2000-acre estate located high above the Potomac River in Northern Virginia. 

 

Martha ordered her wedding apparel from London, which included a pair of purple slippers with spangled buckles that are currently on display at Mount Vernon. The dress that was to be “grave but not extravagant nor to be mourning,” as her second wedding took place a mere 18 months after her first husband had died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wedding was grand. Washington's suit was of blue and silver cloth with red trimming and gold knee buckles. The couple honeymooned at the White House for several weeks before setting up house at Washington's Mount Vernon estate. They had no children of their own, but they raised Martha's two children.

 

Martha and George were married for 40 years, and are both buried at Mount Vernon.

Kristen Hopper

Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

The Lincoln Wedding

Print by Lloyd Ostendorf

Since President’s Day is right around the corner, I thought RDN should take a look at the weddings of the two presidents we celebrate on this holiday. Today we look at the wedding of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.

 

Lincoln met Mary Todd at a cotillion after she had moved from Kentucky to Springfield, Illinois to be with her married sister. Lincoln was 30 and she was 21.  According to legend, he walked up to her and asked for a dance, saying, “Miss Todd, I want to dance with you in the worst way.” 

 

Mary Todd, whose nickname was Molly, was the daughter of wealthy parents with political interests. She was well educated, having gone to a prestigious all-girls school.  She was a staunch abolitionist and was labeled a traitor by her Southern Kentucky relatives (her father was a slave owner).

 

Lincoln and Todd “courted,” got engaged, and then broke up for a year or so and got back together. They opted not to have a long engagement and decided to marry fairly quickly after resuming their engagement.

The couple wanted a small wedding.  Lincoln bought matching gold wedding bands with the words “Love is eternal” engraved inside.  They were married on Nov. 4th, 1842 at the home of her sister and bother-in-law, Elizabeth and Ninian Edwards, Mary Todd’s legal guardian.  About 30 friends and relatives attended and the Reverend Dresser officiated wearing Episcopalian canonical robes. Mary wore a white muslin dress with neither a veil nor flowers in her hair. It rained on their wedding day.

Mary's bridesmaids were Julia M. Jayne (who later married Lyman Trumbull who became a U.S. Senator), Anna Caesaria Rodney and her sister, Elizabeth. Lincoln's best man was James Harvey Matheny, a close friend with whom he worked with at the circuit court office in Springfield. 

A week after the marriage, on November 11, 1842, Lincoln wrote a letter to a friend, where he commented,  "Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me, is a matter of profound wonder." 

By Lori Perkins

Abraham Lincoln Research Site

February 16

Double TODAY Show Valentine’s Day Proposals

NBC

By Lori Perkins

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for a proposal (more engagement rings ell that week than any other time of the year) and the TODAY Show certainly knows it’s audience.

 

For Valentine’s Day, they managed to put two surprise proposals on the air (see video below).

 

Alex Gu and Simone Bernstein had been dating for seven years. Simone, a Navy officer, had no idea why she was on the TODAY Show with her boyfriend, but when he proposed to her, she actually jumped for joy when saying yes.  They are the cutest couple!

 

Cruz Monteslujan of Georgia popped the question to girlfriend Miriam Janneth right on the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink (even though both of them could barely skate). 

February 15

NY Public Library Marks 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Riots with Exhibit Opening

on Valentine’s Day

Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York City, 1969. Photo by Diana Davies. Manuscripts and Archives Division.

February 12

Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 opened on Valentine’s Day in Manhattan. The free NYPL’s exhibition looks at the emergence of the modern LGBTQ movement 50 years after the Stonewall Riots. The new exhibition displays a series of photographs as well as programs, book recommendations and more to learn about the  historyof the modern LGBTQ movement, as well as the culture, issues and contemporary activism.  

The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are considered a flash point in LGBTQ history that many believe was the starting point for gay liberation in America. The riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in the Manhattan’s Greenwich Village after police raided the gay bar in the early morning. After the riots, the LGBTQ civil rights movement was galvanized from a few pioneering activists to a national movement mobilizing thousands under the banner of Gay Liberation.

According to the NYPL, this exhibition illustrates this history through the photographs of Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, two pioneering photojournalists, who captured the pivotal events of this era and changed the ways that LGBTQ people perceived themselves. Featured alongside these images are other items from the Library’s vast archival holdings in LGBTQ history, including ephemera, periodicals and more.

Here’s a link to the programs and events, https://www.nypl.org/stonewall50

The exhibit is open through July 14th, 2019. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Rayner Special Collections Wing and Print Gallery 

By Lori Perkins

We Need to Celebrate Galentine’s Day Every Year

By Lori Perkins

NBC

I am single this year, by choice, on Valentine’s Day.  I am working three and a little too pre-occupied.  I know that I just don’t have the time, patience or the inclination to be charming and coiffed at my age for someone else’s amusement, so I am facing Valentine’s Day uncoupled.

But we all know that a divorced mom is never really alone.

 

I was talking to my co-workers about my lack of Valentine’s Day plans – and my true ambivalence about the holiday, even though I work in the romance publishing industry and love  a good rom com or tear-jerker.  We talked about how sucky it is to be stuck in a bad relationship and shopping for Valentine’s Day cards that never really say how not into the relationship you really are (when I was getting ready to leave my husband, I remember going to the card store and hoping I’d find a card that said, “It’s Valentine’s Day.  Deal with it!”)  When I said that I would much rather get together with my good friends, who I truly love and who have shown me time and again that they really do have my back, one of my much younger colleagues said, “Well, that’s what Galentine’s Day is for!”

 

I thought she had just made that up, but she explained that Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation had created this new holiday. 

 

What’s Galentine’s Day you ask?  In the words of Leslie Knope, “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast- style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” For me, it’s like Seinfeld‘s George Costanza’s Festivus for the rest of us. 

Let’s reclaim February 13th.  An ex (emphasis on the “ex”) once told me that February 13th was Mistress’ Day for married men (I know, thanks for sharing, ewww). Let’s take the day back and own it.

So I am kicking off my Galentine’s Day with my favorite gal pals. By making it mine, it gives me something happy and exciting to look forward to every year whether or not there’s a lover in my life. Who better to buy cards and flowers and candy for than another woman who really appreciates what she’s giving and getting?

This year, me and a group of my besties are going to a What Men Want (of course, right?), followed by a drink-filled dinner and discussion at an awesome Chinese restaurant near the theater. I’ve bought cheesy childhood Valentine’s Day cards (Monster High, which I love), little boxes of those “Be Mine” hearts, and a rose for each of my friends. I can’t wait.  This is better than Christmas, as far as I’m concerned.

 

And I was really surprised that everyone that I invited said “yes,”  and was equally thrilled with the idea. I felt that it was like we were all waiting for someone to come up with this holiday. And now someone has (thank you Amy Poehler!).

 

So, I am going to make Galentine’s Day a signature event in my life with dinner and a movie every year, either a chick flick extravaganza or an at-home girl-comfort-food (if there is such a thing) pot luck and showing of something like Gone with the Wind or Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

See , I am already planning for next year!

Happy Galentine’s Day to you all.

xoxo

February 10

The Wedding Where Everyone Wore Wedding Dresses and Costumes

(Victoria Kait/Circumpunct Studios)

Audrey Moore is known for her roles in Netflix’s Godless and Better Call Saul where she had to share the stage. So when her wedding day rolled around it seemed like a good bet that she would want to be the star. Instead, Moore announced at her bridal shower that she wanted everyone to be the star so she asked them all to wear their wedding dresses to the ceremony. At first, everyone was worried they would outshine Moore, who told guests “I dare you to outshine me.” 

 

For their December 30th wedding, Moore and now-husband Jesse Lumen asked guests to dress in white, black, wedding dresses or costumes. Moore stated,  “I’ve been to all of their weddings, and I am so in love with all of their dresses; they’re so unique to each person and look so great on them.” She wanted the women to have an opportunity to wear all the amazing pieces again and didn’t want to have to subject bridesmaids to the insane prices of bridesmaids gowns. The men weren’t forgotten when it comes to fun attire. Lumen wore a white tuxedo-styled hoodie and denim jeans. Moore said Lumen “looks best in a hoodie, and I always imagined marrying him in a hoodie.”’

Moore wore a custom blue lace gown while others wore silly costumes, such as a burrito. 

By Lilli McHale

(Victoria Kait/Circumpunct Studios)

February 9

The History of Valentine’s Day

For some reason, I have always associated Valentine’s Day with St. Valentine.  Since I’m not Catholic, I imagined this must be the patron saint of lovers, but when I goggled it, I was so far off base that I was embarrassed.

 

So this is what I learned about the origin of Valentine’s Day.

 

While there is a Saint Valentine, and his day is celebrated on February 14th, it appears that Valentine's Day had a much darker, and pagan, origin. February 14th is actually the day of his martyrdom in the 3rd century A.D. in Rome.  Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on February 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. 

 

According to an article on npr.com, the “celebration” of the holiday started in ancient Rome, “where men hit on women by, well, hitting them. From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia where men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.” According to the article, women lined up to be beaten, believing this would make them fertile. The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be “coupled” for the duration of the festival—or longer, if the match was right. In the fifth century, Pope Gelasius combined St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia hoping to end the pagan rituals, which had become mostly drunken revels by then.

 

By the middle ages, the Normans also celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women," which some believe was sort of rolled into Valentine’s Day because they sound similar. By the 17th century, William Shakespeare and Chaucer helped popularize and romanticize Valentine's Day in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe with the tradition of hand-made paper cards of love.

 

These Valentine’s Day traditions flourished in the New World. With the advent of the industrial revolution came factory-made cards in the 19th century. In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing Valentines and February has not been the same since.

 

Today, the holiday is big business: Valentine's Day sales reached $20.1 billion in 2018 according to Statista. The National Retail Federation expects spending this year to reach $20.7 billion.

By Lori Perkins

pixabay.com

February 8

Hallmark Channel Gives Us

Two New Valentine’s Movies

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Crown Media

In case you don’t want to just binge your favorite rom-com classics (Pretty Woman, Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally are mine), there are two brand new Valentine’s Day-themed romances premiering on the Hallmark Channel this month, as well as a smorgasbord of romance favorites playing all month long.

 

Valentine in the Vineyard is the third installment in Hallmark’s Vineyard series of movies. Playing winemakers who have partnered in love and business, Rachel Leigh Cook and Brendan Penny reprise the roles they originated in the Hallmark Channel original movies Autumn in the Vineyard and Summer in the Vineyard. In this movie, Frankie and Nate manage life on the vineyard and plan a wedding in secret! 

 

The second original movie, The Story of Us, premieres this Saturday, February 9. Jamie learns that her first love, Sawyer, is the architect of a development that wants to change her beloved neighborhood and threatens her bookstore. Can old Valentines help them see eye to eye? 

 

The channel also offers a bonus new romance premiering on February 16th. Love, Romance and Chocolate was filmed entirely on location in Belgium. The plot revolves around New York accountant Emma Colvin, who is heartbroken when her boyfriend leaves her before their planned romantic getaway to Belgium for Valentine’s Day. Convinced by a friend to go alone on the trip, Emma has the adventure of a lifetime when her Belgian innkeeper introduces her to renowned chocolatier, Luc Simon. Luc and his fellow chocolatiers are in the midst of a competition to create the most romantic chocolate in Belgium for the upcoming Belgian royal wedding. He discovers her kitchen skills and soon she’s immersed in the competition and a budding romance develops. 

 

In addition to these movies, there are 12 Valentine-themed movies on rotation on the channel through the Valentine “holiday,” so get yourself a box of chocolates and some popcorn and curl up!

By Lori Perkins

February 6

Romance Writer’s of America’s Passionate Ink Chapter Launches Valentine’s Day Erotic Romance Ebook

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The Passionate Ink chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA), the national organization’s chapter of erotic romance authors, has just pubbed a collection of erotic romance short stories on Amazon with proceeds going to charity. The 300-page anthology Passionate Hearts includes new stories by 11 Passionate Ink members from established authors like Trinity Blacio and Cynthia gentry to newcomers.

 

Romance Daily News interviewed chapter member and anthology editor Amy Alessio to get the inside information on this great Galentine’s Day (February 13th, the day you buy your female friends gifts for their awesomeness) gift (but you could also buy them a subscription to RomanceDailyNews!).

 

How did the idea for this anthology come about?

I've put together two anthologies for charities for my other chapter after we had two members pass away.  We based the themes on what those members wrote, or enjoyed. For example, one of those anthologies was set in the fictional town that author used. Her family gave us notes and a map after she passed away.  

 

For Passionate Ink, we wanted to encourage new writers while letting more experienced authors provide windows to their writing and series. The process of being in the anthology and going through editing, publishing and marketing is educational for all the authors involved. 

 

What is the money going towards?

The American Heart Association (for Valentine's Day) and ProLiteracy --a charity RWA has supported. When you have a librarian coordinating the anthology, you know at least some of it goes towards literacy! :)

What’s the next book Passionate Ink will be doing?

We are not sure we will have another anthology, though this one is doing very well. It will be available in print soon, too. 

 

What are the chapter’s plans and goals?

Passionate Ink supports writers of erotic romance at all stages of their careers.  The Passionate Plume contest continues in its 14th year with new categories and more opportunities for authors of both longer and shorter works to win that prestigious award.  The Plume submissions open earlier this year--on February 14th! We have plans to offer more educational opportunities in different formats as well as new pitching styles this year. Other possible ideas include an online conference.

 

What’s in store for us at this year’s annual RWA conference in NY?

That is currently being discussed. It is most likely that a dinner at a themed location will be featured with the usual fun prizes and activities that PI members know to expect from us.

By Lori Perkins