Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Ideas and Delights with Author Christine London

Today I am so delighted to have the wonderful romance author Christine London visiting my blog. 

My blog is called "Gina's World of Good", as you know, and I can honestly say that Christine London is someone who brings a world of good into the world. Not only is she an incredibly talented and successful writer, but she's also one of the nicest, most intelligent and empathetic people I've ever been lucky enough to meet. She's inspiring! Love you, Christine!  

Christine will be talking about romantic moments and what might be an inspiration to you this Valentine Time of year. And I'm delighted to be visiting with Christine at her blog and talking about a special bond of love that lasts forever - the bond between my father and me. Please join me over there at

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Are you the type that doesn't like a holiday to dictate what to do or say?  Valentine's Day is such a holiday for many. Often thought to be a creation of card companies of the twentieth century, more than a true chance to reflect the depths of the heart, the day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other. It is an official feast day in both Anglican and Lutheran traditions hearkening back to Saint Valentinus (270 A.D.) the martyr who ministered to early persecuted Christians of the Roman Empire and performed wedding ceremonies for those otherwise forbidden to marry.

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That bit of history aside, it IS a reminder, even an opportunity to remember not only those close to you, but that special loved one. Whether he or she is a new love interest or one with whom you have celebrated many anniversaries, Valentine's Day gives those who are not normally demonstrative an opportunity to pop a real or virtual champagne cork to celebrate that special love. A good demonstration of affection can be a huge deposit in your sweetheart's emotional bank account, so why not set aside reticence and doubts to have a bit of fun?

What gestures have you either given or received that particularly touched you? What is the one 'something' that was the best gesture or thing you have ever received? What would be your dream Valentine gift/gesture? 

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Here's a few ideas to warm you up:

- Ask a friend to be 'waiter' for the evening. Choose a special local. Beach, forested glen, seaside vista or your own dining room can all serve as romantic venue. Simple as a picnic or extravagant as a full five course catered, the charm is you and your imaginative effort. The 'waiter', white linen cloth over forearm, can open the first bottle of champagne, bring out the meal (from kitchen or picnic basket/cooler). Table to be set beautifully by the 'waiter' ahead of time and he/she to disappear before desert. Music compliment via I-tunes. Candle light. A string of twinkling white lights. Magic.

- Pack a special lunch for your beloved. Small containers of out-of-the-ordinary tasty treats. Deli prepared or by your own hand matters not. Include a pretty napkin, plastic cutlery tied with a ribbon, a single rose atop. Use your imagination. Maybe an invitation to coffee and 'dessert' for that evening?

- Tie a 'promise' around a few cherries in a bowl of cherries set on the breakfast table or on her/his doorstep. (either wrap a few in tissue paper with promise written upon or punch a hole in small paper note tied to a few stems).

*Good for a week of picking up the kids from daycare

*I clean the bathrooms all of February

*two nights of babysitting so you can go out with the girls/guys.

*Gift certificate for a pedicure
*Tickets for two games of bowling
*Two tickets and babysitter provided for going to the cinema to see Academy Award Nominated flick.(Will make for more fun Academy Awards Ceremony viewing in late February)
*Terrarium of succulents - "I find you succulent" — on attached tag. ' Let's go to _____ on the weekend of _____. (All reservations made)
*Show up at his or her workplace in silly or sexy costume (Clown, gorilla, French maid, Chippendale, full tuxedo, short dress and stilettos) with a bouquet on bended knee. (Don't you just adore someone willing to make a spectacle of her/himself for you?)

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*Notes left about the house--one leading to another scavenger hunt style. The last is the 'golden ticket' of a surprise.(A vacation, a dinner out, a concert, to tickets to a sporting event.)

*Huge bowl of popped corn and two DVD's rented/bought for the evening. Classic romance flick for your gal (Nottinghill, Something's Gotta Give, Last of the Mohicans, Under the Tuscan Sun), guy flick (James Bond, Die Hard, Terminator, Mission Impossible) for your guy. You watch the double feature together! No complaining allowed by the opposite sex during opposite sex movie!

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Okay readers--What are your ideas for a fab Valentine or 'Just because' evening/gift? DO SHARE!!

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Christine London's latest in the 55 Portobello Road series--

Digital Artist Alex Kent
Valentine Huntsman - now only 99 cents at
They say opposites attract. Lou's an American cabbie in London who definitely disapproves anything resembling animal cruelty. When she meets a Huntsman as fare, he seems an intriguing mix of California meets Britain in spite of his line of work. Will his invitation to a  romantic Valentine's dinner turn to tragedy or is it Brant that poses the real danger?
   Down the curb just emerging from baggage reclaim stepped an unlikely vision. Tommy Bahama shirt, putty colored knee length shorts and a smile; the tall golden haired man now heading for the cab queue, looked about as likely as an Eskimo in Miami.
   He had a rucksack with a California Houndsman Association emblem emblazoned on it. "Damn." She peered into her rear view mirror, smooshing her lips together to smear what remained of glossy balm over too-dry lips. She'd never have bothered otherwise. Her countrymen might be many things, but generous tippers was not generally on the short list of positives. Flat hand raised to brow, he jumped noticeably as his gaze caught her advert doused cab. Not the usual classic black, she'd been forced to borrow one from a mate while hers was in the shop. Seems a stuck door took a bit more than ten minutes fix.
   He waved at her with more gusto than the chilly day or relative sparseness of clients required. Pulling to the curb, she sighed and opened her window.
   "Mister Arryn?"
   "That's me." He hoisted the bag to his shoulder and reached for the door.
   Was that a Brit twist she heard?
   "Sutherland Hotel, please." Lord. He was a Brit.
   "Houndsman Convention?" She stared into his gold-flecked green eyes.
   Man of few words? She would be too, arriving in an outfit like that. What part of English mid-winter-dress-in-no-way-resembling-California-beachwear did he not understand?
   As he slid onto the leather bench seat he pulled in air between clenched teeth. Resisting the urge to chuckle, she set the meter and put the cab in gear.
   "Now this is a turnabout," he said. "I look like you sound."
   Odd way of commenting on her being a Yank, but two points for creativity. Silence the best commentary, she kept her eyes on the road.
   "I rather think you are tired of hearing that, " he added.
   She remained silent.
   "I'll take that for a yes." The cab shifted and bumped. She looked in the rear view mirror. He was digging in his bag, pulling something out. Half a kilometer down the motorway, she snatched a glimpse of him bare-chested. Moments later he'd popped on an undershirt and jumper. Perhaps he wasn't completely mad. Certainly not hard on the eyes. Damn if the odd ones weren't always the hunks.
   "I apologise for my previous assumptions." He continued to contort. Good Lord. He was changing into trousers too? "You might well be an aspiring actress practicing your dialects.'re one of a cabbie exchange scheme. Two of ours for one of yours." He gazed in the rear view mirror, his eyes meeting hers.
   "Sorry. Silence must be your CIA training."
   A small percussive chuckled escaped her. She gripped the wheel, digging fingernails into palms.
   "Ah, so you are listening." He settled into the seat and peered out the window.



Author of 100 Romance's Best of the Year -  When We Were Amazing


Christine At Amazon Author Central 


Christine, thank you so much for your fun and inspiring post! I'm sure there are a lot of 'significant others' who will be very grateful to you, too!!!


  1. Christine, welcome! Great post filled with fab ideas. Right away, I have to know - have you ever been surprised by a dressed-up visitor at work? If so, feel free to share all details lol. Hugs!

  2. Thanks for hosting me today Regina and for all your lovely comments. *blush*

    No, I have never had a work visit, though my sweetie pie did dress up as Peter rabbit to visit my kindergarten class back when I was a public school teacher. If that is not brave, I don't know what

    I remember an episode of the late soap opera, All My Children, where lathario Tad Martin fell in love and showed up at his beloved "Dixie" in an ape suit. She was as charmed as any woman would be when a man is willing to look fun and silly on her behalf. :)

    Happy Valentines Day, m'dear.

    1. Oh, there's a real trooper! I bet your students will never forget THAT!And I love your AMC reference - what we won't do for love, right?

  3. Hi Christine,
    What a neat blog and some good ideas for Valentine's Day. Thanks for sharing your ideas and your excerpt. Happy Valentine's Day.

    1. Gail, thank you so much for popping in! Christine's full of wonderful, romantic ideas, isn't she? I love the one of the notes scattered through the house like a scavenger hunt - fun!

  4. Hi Gail, Thanks for dropping by and a very happy Valentines Day to you too. :)

  5. Thanks for the fun, unique V-Day ideas, Christine. To those I'll add, "Give your loved one the gift of a great read." VALENTINE HUNTSMAN, for example. Now I have no excuse (literally, none) for not doing something!

    1. Hi Samantha and thanks for visiting! You're right - we have all we need to make this Valentine's Day very special. Enjoy!

    2. Awe, Sam, you do me proud. *blush*

  6. Great ideas, Christine! I like the idea of popcorn and a double-feature at home. Who knows where the night will lead?

    1. Guess the only limit would be the imagination, right, Kathy? Thanks for commenting. HVD!

    2. *wiggling eyebrows* Have a wonderful Valentine Day, Kathy :)

  7. What great ideas, Christine.

    I was sad to find out that my husband had made special plans for Valentine's Day, and I unexpectedly ruined them. He planned for us to go to Santa Monica and do a Food Walk. Evidently you go to several different restaurants for food tasting, while walking from place to place. I would have loved this evening out, but last Thursday night I had the great idea to run with the dogs in the backyard (in the dark) and wound up with a broken bone in my left foot.

    We'll have to postpone that special evening, but as the saying goes - it's the thought that counts!

    1. Oh, the irony! Sorry to hear about your mishap, Lynne. Your hubby had his heart in the right place, though. Thanks for visiting today and sharing your Valentine's Day story with us. Hope you feel better soon. Come back when you take the Food Walk and tell us about it!

    2. Oh my goodness, Lynne. The dogs didn't mean I hope you heal fast! What a great hubby you have, but then I imagine you know that *grin*

  8. Gina-wonderful books by Christine,it is great she is on your blog.Your ideas for Valentines Day are great also.REGARDS BEN SMITH

  9. Christine-nice ideas for Valentines Day,popcorn and movies sound great for me and my lady.REGARDS BEN SMITH.

    1. Hi Ben, thanks for commenting! We appreciate your loyalty - visit again soon!

    2. Hi Ben, A pleasure to make your "e-quaintaince' and thanks for dropping by.

  10. I like watching a movie with my hubby, though he has banned me from picking any more Greek mythology movies. LOL The last two were basically the same myth.
    The word Huntsman conjures up the image of a hunky guy for me. :)


    1. Hi there, Kelley, so great to hear from you!! I happen to LOVE Greek myth movies - those flowing togas and sandals - oh! lol Thanks for commenting and HVD! Luv ya!!