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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Homage to #ValentinesDay!

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Such a lovely testimony to true love by Poet Barrett Browning! How often have we used, heard, or thought about the first two lines of this famous poem? Her words have inspired countless romances and dreams (and loads of advertisement tag lines; song lyrics; TV/film scripts; and V-Day cards) around the world, an achievement any writer would aspire to. #Welldone Ms. Barrett Browning!

In this lead up to one of the most romantic days of the year, and not being a poet, I thought I'd spend some time exploring the 'stories behind the holiday' details for this lovely, upcoming day of Valentine's. Here are a few love-bits courtesy of the History Channel that were news to me that you might find of interest (article link 🔻):

Origins to a Bloody Pagan Festival

Some trace Valentine's Day origins to a Christian effort to replace a pagan fertility festival that has been dated as far back as the 6th century B.C. During the festival of Lupercalia, Roman priests would sacrifice goats and dogs and use their blood-soaked hides to slap women on the streets, as a fertility blessing. According to legend, women would later put their names in an urn and be selected to be paired with a man for a year. ***#Eek, how romantic, NOT! 😬💗

Letters Addressed to 'Juliet'

Every year, thousands of romantics send letters addressed to Verona, Italy to “Juliet,” the subject of the timeless romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.” The city marks the location of the Shakespearean tale, and the letters that reach the city are dutifully answered by a team of volunteers from the Juliet Club. Each year, on Valentine's Day, the club awards the "Cara Giulietta" ("Dear Juliet") prize to the author of the most touching love letter. ***Romeo, Romeo-- we saw the fictional balcony from which Romeo was said to have courted his Juliet while touring Verona in 2010 💘

Box of Chocolates

The Valentine’s Day tradition of giving a box of candy was started in the 19th century by Richard Cadbury, a scion of a British chocolate manufacturing family. With a new technique recently established at the company to create more varieties of chocolate, Cadbury pounced on the opportunity to sell the chocolates as part of the beloved holiday. ***Brilliant marketing, now on to Easter! 🍬🍭🍫

How ‘X’ Came to Mean ‘Kiss’

The idea of using a kiss to sign off on valentines also has a long history, according to the Washington Post. The use of “X” came to represent Christianity, or the cross, in the Middle Ages. During the same time, the symbol was used to sign off on documents. After marking with an X, the writer would often kiss the mark as a sign of their oath. As the gesture grew among kings and commoners to certify books, letters and paperwork, these records were described as having been “sealed with a kiss.” ***I notice that friends in the UK and Europe sign off with 'xx or Xx' instead of 'Xo or xoxo' that Americans tend to where did the 'o as hugs' originate? 💞

Other #ValentinesDay facts:

  • American's send 145 million Valentine's cards each year ***Will NFTs become the 'new' V-Day card?

  • Valentine's Days tradition of giving flowers dates back to the 17th century ***I still love getting roses (hint, hint, Hubby 💋🌹)

  • Valentines typically depict Cupid, the Roman god of love along with hearts, the traditional seat of emotions ***I'll take the hearts, we have enough 'arrows' flying around these days... 💘

Many, many hugs---wishing you and yours a most excellent day of Valentine bliss! 💝💟💘#EatTheChocolates It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

Speaking of Wicked Mist...

Last week I was privileged to have Bibiana Krall stay with us for a few days (more about this below). As you might expect, there were many a conversation on our newest collaboration, Wicked Mist. All I can say is...this collection of short stories is going to be 'out there', LOL.

I thought the pic above fit our conversations quite nicely with the skull, cactus and Japanese phrases:

The great outdoors adventure Cactus is a vector illustration about the desert and the ability to adapt. Japanese Kanji on the left mean "the wise readily adapt themselves to changed circumstances" and on the right "north, west, south, east".

Let's just say our characters in these spooky tales are going to have a lot of adaptation to do and you, the reader, will be taken north-south-east-west traveling places far and wide (stories that take you places). Remember this # tagline, you will be seeing it often... #SomewhereInNevada 😜 🌹💀

Coming This Sunday, #MurdersWeWrite Weapons of Peril!

What is/are the most sinister or imaginative/clever weapon(s) you have run across in the books you've read or written? Weapons of Peril is the discussion topic this #Superbowl Sunday, February 13th at 4 PM EST in the #MurdersWeWrite room on the Clubhouse app.

Join guest host, author Cynthia Raleigh and me (and hopefully, Bibiana--she will be traveling across the country on air day, so airline schedules may explain her absence) as we chat about the deadly means of murder most foul! Pick your poison, dart gun, missile, sandstorm (way to go Wendy Bayne!), drone (my personal fav), etc etc...Thirty minutes of delightful, deadly discussion awaits!

Murder at the family manor this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Catherine Coles, Murder at the Manor, (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery Book 1), 5

A gathering at the family manor, Hessleham Hall, takes a deadly turn for Tommy and Evelyn Christie. The lord of the manor, Tommy's uncle, has been murdered, making all the family members and guests suspects. Evelyn and Tommy use their sleuthing skills acquired as former members of the police force to aid in the investigation, but will the hunt for clues land them in more hot water?

Jealousy, clandestine relationships, and family deceptions cause many, tense encounters. When another grisly death occurs, Tommy finds his life is about to change. Will he and Evelyn adjust to their new roles and find the killer before more murderous mayhem is unleashed?

Author Coles weaves a clever whodunnit with many twists and turns. I was charmed by Tommy and Evelyn and can't wait to read their next adventure! A fetching read for cozy mystery fans!

Next up in the #reading queue:

There is nothing better than a visit with a good friend...

I cannot tell you how much fun was had during Bibiana's stay. Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed having this entertaining, Southern Belle be with us for a few days. She was our first non-family house guest in two years--I'd forgotten what it was like to have another person in the house, LOL!

We walked around the town lake, witnessed an incredible sunset at the beach, spoke a bit with a ghost, and took a nighttime, artic plunge in the pool (Bibiana, not me--I stayed in the hot tub, lol). We had loads of good eats as well--let's just say lemon-ricotta pancakes are my new, foodie obsession...Laughs and giggles were plenty and it was so fun to see each other in person once again. Fingers crossed; it won't be another two years 'til our next visit! Until next time, Bibiana...xoxo 💟

Welcome to my world. Have a fabulous #week and #weekend friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Wishing you a very #HappyValentinesDay! Gemma and Rikkhe send X's & O's! 💖👑

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Jena C. Henry
Jena C. Henry
Feb 09, 2022

I love your posts- let me count the ways! The gorgeous photos, engaging I do and stories, the book reviews, the peeks at your upcoming works! Happy Valentine‘s Day! xoxo

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Feb 09, 2022
Replying to

Thanks so much, Jena! Have a wonderful #ValentinesDay! xoxo 💖👑


Anita Dow
Anita Dow
Feb 09, 2022

Such an interesting post about Valentines Day. Have you seen the film ’Letters to Juliet’ based around this romantic tradition in Italy? Worth checking out. I‘ve often noticed the sign of xoxo but never knew it originated in America. Here’s me. a Brit, signing off with xx

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Feb 09, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, Anita--always fun to learn a little trivia about the holidays.💟I will check out Letters to Juliet, sounds like a great film for the weekend. Happy Valentine's Day! xo 💖👑


Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Feb 09, 2022

Loads of fun and we got some work done too! Can't wait for Wicked Mist--I feel a lot of fun coming on, LOL. Have a wonderful visit on the island--and have a fabulous #ValentinesDay! xoxo 💖👑


Feb 09, 2022

#SomewhereInNevada is the best tagline ever! Love it! ✨I knew about the odd origins of V-Day but didn’t know about the choose-a-dude for a year thing. Eww! The least we could have is a box of decent chocolates….🤣Dear (every candy maker) please stop making the orange creme and add some extra nuts. Lol!

It was so cool to spend a few days with you and Bruce! Learning the name of your sweet, little ghost was spooky and cool. What an adventure! Thank you for spending wonderful time with me and taking me to your gorgeous, honeycomb hideout for sunset inspiration. Here’s to hoping that we can all close the gap and see our friends and loved ones again. ✨🥂Cheers! Kudos…

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