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Sunday, February 07, 2016

Valentine Giveaway!

Since this is February I thought I'd celebrate the time of year with a Valentine's Day gift for one of Tote Bags' visitors.

Two signed books - I've pictured a couple of recent ones but the winner can choose from my backlist - and some truly scrumptious raspberry infused Belgian chocolate from Choc On Choc, a company that produces amazing chocolate a couple of miles up the road from me in the historic village of Rode.

Do click on the link and take a look at some of the amazing stuff they make!

For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment. Maybe tell us about your most special |(or awful) Valentine's Day. Or favourite chocolate. Or romantic movie. It's international so spread the word! I'll pick a winner on Tuesday (9th)

Meanwhile here's the famous -- make that infamous -- first date with my own best beloved, written for a Valentine's Day feature in a newspaper here in the UK.  (We’ve been married for 43) years.

Liz was late. She very nearly hadn’t come at all. Despite the fact that the annual Cinema Club Ball was the social highlight of the year, a blind-date was always a risk. But the manner of the invitation had been intriguing.  The torn half of a double ticket to the Ball delivered anonymously by messenger suggested a man with imagination, passion.



A man of mystery.



And she was a sucker for a mystery.



She glanced again at the torn card she was holding, the part that said, “The St Valentine’s...”



Someone had written “9 pm” in bold script across the corner. You could tell a lot about a man from his handwriting. This said ... strong, purposeful, determined.



But who was he?



She’d spent all week trying to figure out who could possibly have sent it. Who had the other half? The piece that said, “...Day Massacre Ball”?



She paused in the entrance to the Ballroom. The only lighting came from the strobe effect of the film projected against the walls that offered momentary glimpses of  faces, features flattened out  by the flickering monotone images making them hard to recognise. And the clothes didn’t help.



Everyone had taken the 1920s Chicago theme to heart. The girls were shimmying to the Charleston in their beaded flapper dresses, the men were anonymous, almost unrecognisable in gangster-era suits, their faces shaded by wide-brimmed hats.



Touching the band around her own forehead a little self-consciously, she peered into the darkness.



She still had time to cut and run, but even as she took an uncertain step back, a man’s arm reached out of the darkness, placing the matching piece of the ticket against the one she was holding. The hand that had written “9 pm”, matched the script. Strong...



‘I knew you’d come, doll,’ a voice, pure Humphrey Bogart, drawled out of the gloom, breaking into the thought and she looked up.



For a moment she didn’t recognise the figure in the pinstriped suit, fedora pulled down at a rakish angle. Then the light caught his face. It was vaguely familiar. She’d noticed him at a recent club meeting. John something....



Despite the pitch-perfect Bogie impression and darkly, handsome looks, her date didn’t quite match the actor’s dangerous aura. But then who could? And heck, it could have been a whole lot worse.



He could have been Edward G Robinson.

Don't forget to leave a comment - 
I'll pick a winner on Tuesday.




59 comments:

Manda Ward said...

Valentines Day supposedly the most romantic day of the year. Not for the last ten years it hasn't. Most women are taken out for dinner, given flowers, chocolates, not for me. Because ten years ago for me on Valentines Day, at 6pm I was in my stepdads car with two teenage daughters squealing "ewwwwww" at me, turning up the tens machine to 'OUCH' whilst in huge amounts of pain. Yep I was in labour. My fiancé was stuck in traffic on the M25. Our daughter Amy was born half an hour later pretty much the minute after I'd shuffled into the hospital foyer. It was particularly poignant as 53 years earlier Amy's dad had been brought home from the hospital (hed been ill with pneumonia)to live permanently with his adoptive parents. He was 6months old at the time. So Valentines day in my home is special in more ways than one, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Moran V said...

Thanks for the chance to win :)
I love raspberry and it looks like a very yummy chocolate.

franca poli said...

Thanks for this giveaway.
My Valentine's Day is special for 38 years, we spend them together with my husband and I at home with a special dinner by candlelight.
My favorite chocolate is dark.
Franca

Lisa Want said...

I celebrate Valentine's Day with three 'men'. My husband and our two gorgeous sons. Every year I buy them something special for Valentine's Day and leave it on their bed. It started when they were tiny. As they both have autism once a routine begins its hard to break so this has become somewhat of a tradition. I can imagine I'll still be doing this in many years to come but I wouldn't change my valentines for the world!

Glynis Evans said...

I love Dove chocolates! Valentine's Day has always been just another day in my life.... Sad but true ��

Tammy Dodson said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Marissa Yip-Young said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nobody said...

I love Milkybar white chocolate. Especially the giant buttons. You can just let them melt on your tongue. While reading a book or watching my favourite film Dirty Dancing.

Now I want some and I ate my stash last night. 😢

Valentina Bagarić said...

Happy Valentine's day! Hope you'll all have a nice one. How it's my name day and a Valentine's my hubby is taking me to movies and some dinner.
Little time for ourselves.

Debby said...

Happy Valentine's Day. One year I received car wash coupons for that day. It was the pits.

Silver De said...

favorite romance movie : before sunrise
i really love that movie , it's a very beautiful romance !
no matter how many times I watch it, I don't think I will ever tire of that.


♥♥♥ & happy valentine's day ♥♥♥

Leslie said...

Chocolate and caramel can't be beat.

Bharti (Bee) said...

Fun story. Best Valentine's, my 1st boyfriend surprising me at work with a huge Roses bouquet, worst - him forgetting Valentine's ( we had grown apart and broke up shortly after). Fav chocolate - tangy fruit infused dark Chocolate and fav Romantic movie - P.S.I Love you and 50 first dates.
Hello from India.

Janine said...

I will always remember my first Valentine's Day with my ex. Yes, it's weird to have something to memorable with an ex, but you'll understand when I tell you. We didn't do much because we had recently started dating. We were both cat lovers and in fact our first date was to a cat show. Anyways when we were opening the cards, I sure got a shock when I saw it was the card I gave him. I thought some how they got mixed up. It had a cute white fuzzy cat on it. We both got a good laugh at it. But now that I remember Valentine's days, last year was pretty funny too. My husband just doesn't pay much attention to things and he gave me a card that was supposed to be from a woman to her husband. The front actually said "to my husband". He was embarrassed when I pointed it out, but we both laughed about it.

lisa ward said...

I love your 1st date story !
I've been single for the last 14 years so i buy my own chocolates, but i do give chocolates to my kids.

Diana Tidlund said...

1996 hubby put a Valentine's Day add in the newspaper that said "I love you Dee, will you marry me?" And had a heart shaped diamond engagement ring for me too ! Naturally I said yes.

Laney4 said...

Loved your first date story. Mine? I knew my future husband because he visited my next-door neighbour's home often. He knew I had a boyfriend of 1.5 years. What he didn't know was that we had recently broken up.
I visited my hometown, walking uptown from my parents' home, and saw his car parked near a restaurant. So I doodled around, window shopping for the only time in my life, until he came out. Then out he came and noticed me, offering me a ride back to my parents' place. Instead of dropping me off, though, he invited himself inside, where my mom gushed/fawned over him. (He was 31, I was 21, and he had a really good job....)
He asked me to the show that night, and we dated continually after that. First date on Labour Day, he bought my ring in October (when I'd finally decided to quit dating others too), and he offered his ring on Christmas Day, when he had invited himself to my family Christmas 2 hours away in an apartment. In fact, he asked me, I almost died of embarrassment because we'd only been dating 3.5 months, and then I REALLY almost died of embarrassment because before I could say a word, my own mother said that yes, I would marry him. I quickly countered by saying I'd think about it, as it was just too soon for me. Two days later I said yes, and we married that July. This year marks our 35th wedding anniversary, and we love each other more and more....

Stacy Harter said...

Married 25 years and every year, he does some little unexpected thing that makes me love him even more!! Congrats to you on 43!!

Karen Ashbrook said...

Love your first date story, would make a good opening to a book. If I was to win the giveaway I'd give the chocolate to my husband, then he could sit eating chocolate whilst I read one of the books! Karen xxx

Melissa Dawdy said...

Love the flow of the writing, and now I want to read the book. As for the chocolate, it would be all mine...being single has its perks!

Kristy Croteau said...

I loved this! I wish there were more to read!

Anonymous said...

My Valentine is my husband of 36 years. I love reading and chocolate so this is a fantastic giveaway. Thanks for the chance.

Mariann Murvai said...

thank you so much! I dont believe in valentine's day but looove books <3

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Chocolate... Mine alllllllll mine !!!!
Happy Valetine's Day to everyone!

jcp said...

My favorite romantic movie is Brief Encounter (1945)

alysap at yahoo dot com

riet_media said...

The first sentences reminded me of a story I made up about a blind date. We had to write a story which involved a death (not a murder) or a disappearance. So I wrote a story about a blind date, which first went well and later on... not quite well.
I never did something with Valentine's day, but that's more because my birthday is the day after.

Nanee McGee said...

I'm not a huge Valentine's fan, I love chocolate and cuddling with hubs and that's are special day

Linda Herold said...

Valentine's Day used to be fun for me when I still taught elementary school. It was fun to see all the different kinds of Valentine's Day cards that the kids exchanged each year!!

Melinda said...

Really enjoyed reading about your first date - and congrats on over 40 years together! How lovely.

Thanks for the giveaway.

And that chocolate looks gorgeous - almost like a book cover.

ptclayton said...

Valentines Day was great when going to school as we made these mailboxes for our desk and then in the afternoon we would pass out our Valentines. Those are the memories that I hope my grandkids who live in Ca. who are 13 and 10 are having now. I am sure not as kiddish as when i was going to school as I just loved the day from the moment we left the foster home to walk out to the bus then 1 hr later arriving at school I thought we would never get there. I was so excited to make a huge heart as my mailbox and deco it all up. Now at 60 I am mailing out Valentines to grandkids and a few close friends. I just love mailing cards on holidays although getting the mail isn't so exciting now as hubby brings it up from the mailbox and says "Here's the mail!"

Betty c said...

i meet my now husband o the day after valentines day that was 13 years ago best v-day ever,

Desiree said...

My Birthday is a week before Valentine day (Today Feb 7) and every year I get something for my Birthday the is Valentines.......so there are times when I wish my Birthday was not in Feb, because people don't understand that I don't want Valentines on my Birthday. I do Love Valentine on Valentine Day!!
love to win the Books and chocolate!!!

Leanna said...

I love all chocolate!

Sue said...

I have a bottle of raspberry wine. Don't you think the raspberry-infused chocolate would go well with that wine? Happy Valentines Day!
suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Deana Dick said...

Worse Valentine's Day was the first year me and hubby were together. I decided to bake a heart shaped cake. It turned out aweful. It had ehh shells in it and was so hard you could use it as a door Please just let me know no one is hurt I'm very concerned I'm freaking out. I'm sorry to bother you I guess no one wants to talk to me right now. We laughter about it all the time. Oh and my hubby does all the cooking .
Deana
Jhdwayne@peoplepc.com

kaisquared said...

I love to watch movies like While You Were Sleeping and It Happened One Night for Valentines Day.

rmmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

kaisquared said...

That was emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com, sorry

bn100 said...

like all kinds of chocolate

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love Lindt white chocolate truffles. Thanks for the giveaway.
blanchard1954@yahoo.com

Connie said...

Oh my! Belgian chocolates are the absolute best. When we lived in Paris and hubby had a meeting in Brussels, I would "tag along" spending the day at the Grande Place making sure I bought some FRESH Belgian chocolates, spiced cookies from a 100-year-old cookie store, visited the Manneken Pis, visited the lace shops, checked out the museums and churches and generally wore myself out all day. I always brought a box of the chocolates home for us to share and one to give to my hubby's fabulous secretary.

I live in Fort Myers, Florida which is the home of Norman Love who has become a world-famous chocolatier. His store is packed for Valentines Day and Easter. Here's some information on him for other chocolate lovers.
http://www.normanloveconfections.com

Thanks for the fun giveaway. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

conniecape@aol.com

Pamela Johnson said...

Great giveaway and I have never had Belgian chocolate but I have had Swedish chocolate which I enjoy and buy at IKEA when I have the chance.I would love to win any of your older books. Oh, the blurb about your first date with your husband was book worthy.

dstoutholcomb said...

First Valentine's Day post-college, a girlfriend and I watched the The Princess Bride together. We watched My Chauffeur, too (would probably not be as good now--it's from the 80s). Was a nice night for girlfriends. I guess we were the original Galentines.

My now husband and I started dating about a month later.

Denise

traveler said...

Wonderful story. We celebrate by being with the family who give us enjoyment and happiness.

petite said...

Being married 46 years is a celebration in itself especially when I was seriously ill 4 years ago and am now well once again. We appreciate time together which is precious and I treasure every minute.

Donamae Kutska said...

Thanks for the chance!! I would really appreciate your book and the chocolate too!! What a awesome gift t would be! Donamaekutska7@gmail.com

Nova said...

would love to win! favorite chocolate is ALL chocolate. favorite valentines day gifts are the cards my kids have made me over the years.

Jean W said...

I love Belgian chocolate. It hasn't always been easy to acquire it here in the US. I got hooked on it in 1986 when my husband was stationed there. Every Valentines I get a Belgian chocolate in some form. Prefer white chocolate, but that is harder to find.

erin said...

thanks for the awesome giveaway! Ummm.. no bad or good! Valentine's Day that stand out. but I still have hope :)

Anonymous said...

GREAT GIVEAWAY,THANK FOR CHANCE.

Beautiful Disaster said...

I really enjoy Russell Stover's chocolates.

Chrisbails said...

Happy almost valentine's day. The day of love. I generally spend it with family. I love it cause it is the day of love

Anonymous said...

My late husband...today is the third year anniversary of his death...for his last Valentine's Day gift to me was a pinch vase with a single rose...so beautiful...

Kathleen Bylsma

Tanja Dancy said...

My favorite chocolate is Ferrero Rocher. I also like Godiva. Thank you for the chance to win this great prize.

Mary Preston said...

I do love a romantic movie. Nothing better then a good swoon. I also love chocolates. Pretty much all of them.

Liz Fielding said...

Thank you all so kuch for stopping by and telling me your Valentine stories good and bad (we've all had that cake disaster!) and your favourite chocolates and movies.

I, too, am a huge fan of the extra large white chocolate buttons, love It Happened One Night (it inspired my RomCom Eloping With Emmy) and I the movie love Roman Holiday.

I wish I could give all of you and book and chocolate to help you enjoy the day, but the dh has drawn a winner of the hat and it's P T Clayton.

Email me at liz at lizfielding dot com PT and I'll get your prize in the post asap!

Snookie said...

We don't do anything for Valentine's Day. We usually do stuff for each other all year round! Dark chocolate is my favorite candy.

Helen said...

Hi Liz

Loved that :)

We spend our Valentines day very quietly these days but this year I will be at lunch with a group of lovely romance readers at The Lindt Café for desert chocolate talking romance books what more could you want here in Sydney

have Fun
helen

Ada said...

Oh wow, I thought this ended on Tuesday, so sad I couldn't enter :(

I do love chocolates of all kinds though, especially if it's mixed with almonds!

Summer said...

There are so many romantic movies I love, though my favorite is Dogfight starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, it's unconventionally romantic because of the reason he asks her out, but eventually it's just a total swoon.