Uncial Press

The Uncial Letter

February 2022

Jana Richards Reminds Us to Celebrate Valentine's Day Year Round...

Valentine's Day is a day for lovers. It's the one day of the year when couples show each other their love and regard with candy, fancy lingerie, and expensive flowers and gifts.

Wait a minute. What's wrong with this picture?

Why is there only one day a year to show our significant others how we feel about them? And is buying something the only way we can show love to the people who mean the most to us?

Let's go back in time. The origins of Valentine's Day are murky at best, but scholars believe it goes all the way back to Roman times. According to the Catholic Church, there were three saints named Valentine, or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One St. Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret even after Claudius II banned his soldiers from getting married, because he believed single men were better fighters than those with wives and families. When he discovered what Valentine was doing, Claudius had him put to death. Another St. Valentine helped Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons. He was jailed himself, and according to legend, he was visited by a young woman in jail, possibly the jailer's daughter. He is purported to have written her a letter signed 'From your Valentine'.

Whoever the real Valentine was, the legends portray him as a heroic and romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France, and people began to exchange Valentine greetings.

In the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small gifts and hand-written notes. The sending of printed Valentine cards took off around 1900 when improvements in printing began to replace written notes. Ready-made cards made it easy to express emotion at a time when doing so openly was socially frowned upon.

The giving of chocolates became synonymous with Valentine's Day in the Victorian era when sugar became less of an extravagance. British businessman and chocolatier Richard Cadbury's main business in the 1840s was making drinking chocolate, which Victorians were crazy about. Cadbury came up with a revolutionary new method of producing drinking chocolate which resulted in leftover cocoa butter. Wanting to take advantage of this surplus product, he began producing "eating chocolate", or what we call chocolate candy. Being a savvy marketer, Cadbury created elaborately decorated boxes for the chocolates. He emphasized that these beautiful boxes could be used after the chocolates were gone to store love letters and other trinkets. Around Valentine's Day, the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that Cadbury created were snapped up by cupid-crazy Victorians.

I find it ironic that we give chocolate on Valentine's Day today because a smart businessman took advantage of the feast day of several martyred saints to sell surplus ingredients he had lying around.

Valentine's Day has definitely become a commercial holiday. But I prefer to remember the original St. Valentines and their brave, loving and romantic acts. They didn't show their love only on one day but in the way they lived.

As much as I appreciate a good box of chocolates and a lovely bouquet of flowers, some of the most romantic things my husband has done for me over the years are simple everyday acts. Like cooking for me (and doing the dishes) or starting my car to warm it when I have to out in cold weather. Or bringing me a glass wine in the evening.

By all means, go crazy on Valentine's Day and buy your sweetie a lovely card and delectable chocolates. But don't wait for that one day to show your love and appreciation. Keep Valentine's Day all year long and express your love every day.

~*~

Way back when Uncial Press was little more than a dream and a hope, we put out a call for manuscripts. And we got them. Oh! We were so excited. Our dream was about to come true.

One of those early manuscripts was a delightful love story from an author we had not heard of, but one who knew how to tell a good tale, how to create characters who came to life. In her submission email she said, "HER BEST MAN is a romantic comedy that asks the question, 'Is there life after being dumped at the altar?'"

Her Best Man cover

When Sarah Stevens goes on the Caribbean cruise meant to be her honeymoon in order to lick her wounds, she discovers her ex-fiancé has sent his brother Will Marshall, the former best man, on the cruise as well. Everyone on board thinks they're newlyweds, and Sarah is too embarrassed to set them straight. There is nothing like a romantic cruise to bring two people together, particularly when they are pretending to be honeymooners. Sarah discovers she is in love, real love. She believes Will cares for her too. But will his loyalty to his brother stand in the way of their happiness? Can she convince Will that he is her best man?

A good love story never goes out of date, but sometimes we need to be reminded to revisit it. So this month, the month when we celebrate love and lovers, we are reminding you. From 7 February through the day after Valentine's Day, Her Best Man will be on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you haven't yet read it, now is your chance to enjoy a heart-warming, memorable love story.

And don't forget, we have a whole bunch of other love stories for your enjoyment. Just visit our website and browse.

Be happy, share joy, and tell someone you love them today...tomorrow...every day.

Star & Jude