It’d be boring if we were all the same (and other lies your mother told you).
- Ali Ahearn

Ali AhearnSo, as a romance writer, thoughts turn to love more than usual on the big V day. Yup, love with a capital L is on everyone’s mind.

I’ve been thinking about the differences in men and the gifts they give and that got me thinking about the differences in the two men in Frances’s life.

Haven’t read Sister Pact yet? Well, in a nutshell, my character, Frances aka Frankie, English charity queen, was married for seven years to a rat fink lawyer bastard (herein known as RFLB) called Edward who she ditched for a hot Aussie farm dude (herein known as HAFD) called Nick.

Did she make the right choice? I’ll let you decide.

Frankie’s Virtual Valentine Face-Off.

Flower of choice –

HAFD Nick – a bunch of wattle he got up early to pick from down near the creek.
RFLB Edward – tulips imported from Amsterdam delivered via florist.

Food of choice –

HAFD Nick – a jar of bush honey poured all over Frankie’s body and licked off her with meticulous attention to detail.
RFLB Edward – three course dinner at the Ritz.

Entertainment of choice –

HAFD Nick – listening to Frankie’s favourite music stretched out beneath a starry outback night.
RFLB Edward – the Opera.

Hallmark card message of choice –

HAFD Nick – “You complete me”
RFLD Edward – “Happy Valentine’s Day”

Hmmm, I think she made the right choice, don’t you?

***

Any holiday’s a good holiday.
- Ros Baxter

Ros BaxterSo, they say some characters are more autobiographical than others.

And I always deny it with Joni, the character I penned for Sister Pact. The green-haired lost soul who finds unexpected love on the reality TV show, Endurance Island.

In fact, I’m kind of insulted.

Okay, okay, so Joni has what could be (affectionately) called a potty mouth.

And I may have been known to let loose the odd expletive. Or three. Consecutively.

And then there’s the whole kiss-first-ask-questions-late thing. But hey, that was a long time ago. I’ve been married for at least 150 years.
I chat with Joni (in my head) quite often. And we’re really very, very different.

But there is definitely one area where we agree.

Valentine’s Day. We love it. What’s not to love about a day dedicated to love, right? So. What is with all the bah-humbug-commercialisation-is-ruining-V-Day stuff? Why should that put us off? Do we stop celebrating Christmas because they ram tinsel up our arses (oops, sorry, down Joni) in September? Do we eschew Easter because hot cross buns hit the shelves on 1 January?

I have a theory (I have a lot of them, but bear with me here). People are looking for a reason not to love. They think it’s kind of…silly. It makes them feel like maybe they aren’t acting grown up enough.

And to that I say…hang on, how do you write down that noise of someone blowing a raspberry?

Hmmm…not sure.

So instead, I say this. According to Wiki (basically) no-one really knows what St Valentine was martyred for. But the shard of fable that I like best suggests that something about what he did (whatever it was) saw his name become synonymous with valour. I like that idea. Because it takes courage to believe in love. And even more to act on it.

Courage of the kind that Joni has. And maybe more of us should too.

So be brave. Go be in love. You don’t have to prop up Roses Only, Hallmark, or any of the others trying to make a buck.

Just make it your own. For example, in our house, as well as the Mummy and Daddy rituals, my children wake up to a hand-made Valentine’s card on 14 February each year. Now, don’t get excited. Don’t go thinking scrap-booking and cutesy stamps and that stiff cardboard stuff (where do you buy that?). Pretty much just a folded over piece of paper with a hand-drawn loveheart and lots of words.

And lots and lots of love.

Because love is one thing Joni and I agree on. All the time.

Blogger’s note: Thanks Ali & Ros! We totally agree with you both.
As it’s Valentine’s Day (and because we love you so much), the first five to email us at promotions@harpercollins.com.au with a love themed post for the Avon blog will receive a ‘blind date package’ with a hot book and a special treat designed for you. We’ll pick our favourite and pop it up on the blog to share with you all.