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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Traditions and Legends

Valentines Day Comments
So, it looks like we have six more weeks of winter, but that makes us six months closer to spring! And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are a few legends associated with the feast day.

According to legend, Valentine was a priest in Rome that lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Under his regime, Claudius is said to have engaged Rome in several bloody battles, constantly recruiting soldiers to strengthen his army. Men with families were not keen to leave family attachments. So to sever family ties, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, a true romantic at heart, arranged secret marriages. When Claudius discovered Valentine’s defiance, he was executed on February 14 about 270 ad. By middle ages, Valentine became recognized as the patron saint of love.

Another legend suggests that Valentine was a Christian priest who was very popular with children. During his life, Roman regime was not in favor of Christianity and Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. In spite of this law, Valentine refused to worship false gods and continued to practice his faith. This enraged Claudius II and he put Valentine in prison. During his imprisonment, children visited Valentine, tossing letters and flowers between his cell bars. Valentine is said to have written back, signing his letters, “From your Valentine.” When he was beheaded for his Christian beliefs, the exchange of letters and flowers continued in his name.

During the middle Ages, people of England and France held a popular belief that birds began looking for a mate on February 14th. The romantic notion bloomed and the day was soon celebrated between lovers with the exchange of spring flowers, candy and small gifts.

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, wishing you a happy day!

Looking for a sweet book to read?

If you like a sweet inspirational with a touch of paranormal, Touched by an Angel might be what you’re looking for. And with Valentine’s Day, it’s a definite Cupid read! It received 5 Cups from CTR, 5 Books from LASR, a You Need to Read rating from YGR and is a highly recommended read from the reviewers of Manic Readers. Touched by an Angel was a nominee for book of the week at LASR. It can be purchased at White Rose Publishing:

On the eve of his wife’s death anniversary, Charles is as restless as the coming storm. Surrounded by the stillness of the Mojave Desert, he contemplates suicide. But just as he is about to jump, he hears the sweet voice of his wife, telling him it’s not his time. But when Charles meets Emma, whose resemblance to his wife is hauntingly striking, he is drawn to her. And when they discover their spouses have died on the same day and are buried side by side in the same cemetery, a spiritual bonding occurs that neither can deny. Is this fate—or is Cupid shooting arrows from the sweet hereafter?


As the sun set over the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains were roughly defined against a dramatic sky of crimson and lavender blue. The warm breeze undulated through the ponderosa pines, sounding like the wise old whispers of the Indians buried thousands of feet below in the windblown sands. A vulture hovered high above the foothills, an eerie screech foreboding as it circled the canyon.

Easing his midnight blue SUV around the horseshoe bend in the sloping ridge, Charles thought about his wife. Jill had died two years ago of cancer and the following day was the anniversary of her death. Frustrated, his eyes filled with tears. His vision blurred and he swiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. He was angry at the whole world and at God.

His heart was breaking. What kind of a God would take away the love of his life, his reason for
living? How was he supposed to go on living when the best part of him was gone? More tears spilled down his cheeks. He wanted Jill back. He needed her and wanted her with him, where she belonged. He envisioned her out in her rose garden, clipping and pruning them to sheer perfection. How she’d loved the yellow rose, and as much as he used to love them, he didn’t any more. Baskets and baskets of yellow roses had been crammed into the funeral home, permeating the air with the funereal smell of death.

She was so pretty. Her serene green eyes were the color of the sea. He pictured her digging her hands in the rich fertile soil, looking so peaceful and content. Bathed in sunlight, she had the face of an angel. She had a mega-watt smile that totally beguiled him. No matter how hot or humid it was, she always looked fresh and lovely. She had a habit of toying with a strand of her long blonde hair, twirling it between her fingers until it waved. Under the amber glow of the hot desert sun, it flickered like wildfire. Lord, he missed that woman.

As Charles drove deeper into the foothills, the terrain became noticeably rougher, more uncultivated. The air hummed with just a hint of danger. The pioneer spirit of the Wild West was still palpable as burros and wild horses galloped amidst the sloping landscape. How he missed those long afternoon drives through the wilderness with Jill, imagining what life must have been like in the days of the Wild, Wild West.

More memories of Jill flashed through his mind, filling him with a deep sense of foreboding sadness. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The desolate road weaving in and out of the canyon was flanked with sagebrush and tumbleweed, and deep in the underbrush, mountain lions and bobcats roamed free. A coyote yipped in the distance, its howling wail slicing through the thick humid air.

As the sun disappeared behind the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sky blended into a menagerie of pale peach, rich magenta, and deep indigo. Charles thought of all the sunsets he’d seen with Jill. All those good times, better times. She should be here to watch the sunset with him. Why wasn’t she? Why did she have to die? He felt so betrayed. Life wasn’t fair.

White hot fury bubbled up inside him until it erupted like a quaking volcano. Pulling off to the
side of the road, he hopped out of his vehicle. He stared up at the heavens and shook his fist at God. He wanted answers. He needed answers. Angry and frustrated, he bellowed at the top of his lungs.

“Why did you take my Jill from me?” his voice echoed across the canyon. “How could you take the love of my life away? How could you? How could a loving God do something so cruel? I love her! I want her here with me! I want her back!”

The air carried with it the scent of a coming storm. Thunder exploded in the distance.
A desert storm was closing in on the Mojave. The wind rippled through the surrounding Joshua trees. The mournful cry of a desert thrasher sliced through the night. Charles was as restless as the approaching storm. He looked down. The hillside gave way to steep ravines, tumbling down over rugged cliffs to the valley below. The only thing separating him from a drop of several thousand feet was a mound of crumbled rock. He took a step closer. Just as he was about to jump, a flash of lightning illuminated the sky. He thought he saw Jill. Pellets of hard rain pounded on his back, soaking him to the bone. He blinked several times, but whatever he’d seen was gone. Thunder exploded in the sky, the sound ricocheting through the heavens. Over the rumbling, he heard Jill’s sweet melodic voice. “No, Charles. Don’t jump. It’s not your time.”

Touched by an Angel

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Lasting Love

The Claddagh Ring
2009 CAPA nominee

To sign up for Sharon’s newsletter and to read excerpts, reviews and release dates, visit her website

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Valentines Day Comments


Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sharon, lovely post, like you I love these old legends, thanks for sharing.

Beautiful excerpt from 'Touched By An Angel.' This is such a lovely book. I can recommend it as a touching read for Valentine's Day or any time when you fancy something sweet and romantic, filled with hope!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks so much Lyn. I know you adore legends as much as I do, and I'm so glad you enjoyed Touched by an Angel. It's all about second chances and we all deserve those. Happy Valentine's Day!

Skhye said...

Love the post, Sharon. And your excerpt! Have a wonderful Valentines Day, m'dear!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Skhye! And a Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

Debra St. John said...

Thanks for sharing the Valentine stories. It's always interesting to try to figure out why we do the things we do!

Very nice excerpt.

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Debra. I adore legends and collect them. True or made up? Who cares? I'm a real sucker for the whimsical!

P.L. Parker said...

Loved the post. Great excerpt. Happy Valentine's Day - perfect day for Oliver.

Mary Ricksen said...

Wow Sharon! What an emotionally stirring excerpt! Amazing girl! What a great muse you have. It's all about hope isn't it! I gotta go get this one and read it!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy, thanks so much. Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day. Oliver blows a kiss!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Mary! Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day. Hope you got lots of candy and hearts and dreams.

StephB said...

Isn't it interesting how there are so many myths surrounding Valentine? Very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your book. It sounds really intriguing.

Happy Valentine's!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Steph, and I love them all! Happy Valentine's Day.