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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, MAIDENS! Whether you are head over heels with someone or are shining solo, we hope you have a good one! And what better way to get a little romance in your day than with another amazing historical romance author!  Helping us spread the love on Valentine’s Day…

Valentines, Sacrifices, and Jane Austen

I suspect Jane Austen would swoon if she knew the origins of Valentine’s Day.

During Jane’s time, homemade valentines were exchanged and flowers were given. However, a far more elaborate gift arrives in one of Austen’s novels. In EMMA, Frank Churchill secretly sends Jane Fairfax a pianoforte on Valentine’s Day. His extravagant, romantic gesture is a far cry from the rowdy beginnings of Valentine’s Day.

Alas, the current holiday of love started out as a wild, drunken, Roman frenzy. From February 13th to 15th, the Romans ‘celebrated’ the feast of Lupercalia. During the feast, the men sacrificed a goat and a dog. Gentle readers, it got much worse. The men whipped the women with the hides of the animals. Apparently, the ladies formed a queue for the ‘privilege’ because they believed it would make them fertile. Oh, dear.

Even more astounding is that the men drew the women’s names from a jar, and then the couples, er, tested the fertility theory (in a manner of speaking). FYI: The Romans were also likely responsible for the name of the holiday as Emperor Claudius had two men named Valentine put to death on February 14th in different years. Pope Gelasius made the effort to combine St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia, apparently in an attempt to get rid of the pagan rituals. Valentine’s Day remained a celebration of love and fertility.

We have Shakespeare and Chaucer to thank for putting the romance in St. Valentine’s Day via their brilliant works. Thereafter, the holiday became very popular in Britain and Europe. Handmade cards were exchanged then as well.

As for our present day rituals, we have the industrial revolution to thank for the factory-made cards. In 1913, Hallmark started mass-producing valentine cards.

Did you ever make homemade valentine cards in school? Or perhaps you did this with friends? What is your favorite Valentine ritual?

Check out Will and Amy’s story in HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE – Coming March 27, 2012!

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security—if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate—and irresistible—attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . . .

When Will is caught in a tryst with the ton’s shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways . . .

Bio: Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing.

Vicky’s Website:
Contact: [email protected]
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Vicky is graciously giving away  1 Advance Reader Copy of HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE (US & Canada only). As a Valentine gift, she is also giving away Romance Trading Cards to all of those who leave a comment (all countries).  Be sure to answer her question and leave your email address in the comment so we can contact you.

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  1. What a cool little history lesson on Valentine’s Day.

    Please don’t enter me in the contest because I’m going to buy the actual book when it comes out and hopefully get it autographed at the Lori Foster event in June.

  2. Unfortunately, I never did homemade valentine’s card. but my fave ritual is definitely spending time to relax and have a romantic dinner after a long day.

    yohinachan2000 at gmail dot com

  3. I remember making homemade Valentines cards for my mom when I was young. He was always so happy because they were made with love. Can’t wait to read this book. I loved the first two in the series. Thanks for the giveaway.


  4. I made homemade Valentine’s Day cards when I was little. Now I have my college students make them in Spanish class! It’s a fun break from all the grammar, that’s for sure!

    And I highly suggest following Ms. Dreiling on Twitter and/or Facebook – she’s very charming and friendly to chat with!


  5. hmmm..maybe that is why there are so many babies born in November 😉

    I love buying my daughter Chocolate Covered Strawberries, it’s been a tradition for 7 yrs…oops I need to run and pick them up now =)

    Happy Valentine’s Day Vicky and to all at UTC!

  6. We made heart shaped valentines one year in class for our parents using heart shaped paper doilies…that musta been 3rd grade at the oldest. This year my daughter was super happy this morning (two year old) so she took lots of pictures–CHEEEE, then run to see it on the phone screen, then run back “CHEEEE”–so we were able to put up a FB Valentine for her Papa who is deployed. Very special for both of us since she rarely smiles for the camera let alone on a special day!

  7. We don’t make homemade valentines for the kids. We buy them from the store. I do one kid at a time. The girl is more ready than the son. He could really care less. I helped my daughter with each kids name and then she wrote it all. My son I only got him for a few and I had to do the rest. He is only in kindergarten, and has a short attentions span. Just like his daddy.
    Would love to win and read this book. Big fan of vicky’s series and can’t wait for Amy’s book.
    [email protected]

  8. Kitt: I like to have a movie Valentine’s Day. I re-watch all my old favorites: North and South, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice. Love those movies! Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend the day with Richard Armitage’s Mr. Thornton!

  9. I have not read anything by Vicki yet but have heard great things about her. I am excited to get the change to read one of her books. I love historical romance especially regency.

  10. whoa, the cover fairy was very good to you! I always love getting the home made valentines from my kids. It won’t be long till that won’t happen any more…growing up… thanks for the trading cards! I am such a trading card ho
    sstogner1 at gmail dot com

  11. I did make homemade valentines when I was little for school…lol…My favorite Valentine ritual now is to eat dinner out and have a chocolate cake of some sort for dessert:)

  12. I’ve enjoyed Vicky’s previous books and I’m really looking forward to reading How to Seduce a Scoundrel.
    I don’t recall making Valentines cards in school, I just remember the little packs of cards and addressing them to all my school mates. I always enjoyed that, and I tried to pick appropriate ones for each child – no mushy ones for the boys!

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  13. Thanks for the excellent post and giveaway!

    LOL… nice to see the bawdier side of Valentine’s Day! I remember in elementary school painstakingly making homemade cards. Plus, it made my mom happy cuz she didn’t want to waste the money on premade cards 🙂

  14. Really enjoyed reading about the history of Valentines Day. My favorite valentines memory is making homemade valentines cards with my sons. Look froward to reading your books.

  15. No, I never made homemade Valentine’s Day cards when I was in school. We just bought the premade ones at the stores for kids.
    I did help my kids a few times make homemade cards for their grandparents. But now the kids are all grown up, and I don’t really have a ritual anymore.
    luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

  16. As a kid we made valentines for family and friends but also made divinity, both white and pink with pecans, to give to our teachers and family. When my kids were older we made cookies, not divinity.
    I love your books Vicki and can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  17. Hi everyone. I know the wonderful folks at Under the Covers will send me the email of the winner of the Advance Reader Copy of HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE. But everyone gets a prize in this giveaway. All you have to do is email me your snail mail address to get Romance Trading Cards and bookmarks for all three of my books. Here is my email address: [email protected].
    Thanks everyone for participating. May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!

  18. Valentine’s Day was so much fun when I was a child. Decorating the “mailbox” and excitably opening up the silly little cards.

    Even now, I look forward to the store-bought cards.

    castings at mindspring dot com

  19. For someone who loves romance novels like I do, it’s a little surprising that we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. My husband is a marvelous cook, and he usually cooks me an amazing dinner. And that’s about it!

  20. I made homemade valentines for family and special friends but at school growing up it was decorating a shoebox and getting store bought valentines for my classmates. They still have some really cool cards at the store!


  21. My kids are 4 and 5 and old enough to help out. This year we cut out and decorated hearts for our special Valentines and then we make brownies in mini-muffin tins and decorated them too. Valentines hasn’t been a big holiday for me, but the kids make it seem very special.

  22. What a fun post! Thanks for creating it for our enjoyment. 🙂 And your generosity is fantastic! I LURVE swag!

    We have a birthday on Valentine’s Day and another one 5 days before it. Valentine’s Day is a week-long even in my house. The kids love it! We make sure to keep them separate so as not to take away from the birthday boy and girl on their respective days. 🙂

    Kendra @ Reader’s Edyn
    [email protected]

  23. We always bought dime store valentines to exchange in school. We may have made them for our mothers, but that was so long ago I can’t remember!
    I love to be taken out to eat for V Day since I don’t love to cook.
    mcv111 at hotmail(dot)com