**Giveaway is now closed**
Believe it or not, you don't need a romantic partner to enjoy Valentine's Day. Elisa Lorello and Sarah Girrell have partnered on a new book called "Why I Love Singlehood" and have come to Chick Lit Central on this most anticipated (and alternately most dreaded) day of the year to tell us their favorite Valentine's Day memories that do NOT involve romantic partners. They also have two e-books to give away to some lucky readers. (All you need is a computer if you don't have an e-reader.)
Here is more information about our special guests:
Elisa Lorello is the youngest of seven children and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island in a musical family. She went to school at UMass-Dartmouth to pursue her writing degree, picking up teaching skills at the same time. In January 2010, her first two novels Faking It and Ordinary World hit the Kindle store bestseller list. She currently resides in North Carolina and teaches academic writing at NC State.
You can join her group for "Faking It" fans on Facebook and check out her blog titled "I'll Have What She's Having".
Newcomer Sarah Girrell has a background in art history, writing and rhetoric. A self-proclaimed foodie and freelance photographer, Sarah met Elisa while attending the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for Art History and Writing/Rhetoric. With a shared love for the craft of writing and the humor of the every day, the two immediately connected. After earning a medical degree near Ithaca, New York, Sarah and her husband backpacked through parts of Asia where they spent two months living with and teaching English and math to monks and orphaned refugees. Since then, Sarah has returned to her native Vermont with her husband where she is a chiropractic physician and writer. When she's not fixing spines or writing, she likes to take photographs and draw pictures, which she features in her online gallery.
I grew up in a family of women. Three women, to be exact: single mom, older sister, and me. And although I won’t say we never had our down days, we certainly weren’t man-haters or shrinking violets. For as long as I can remember, February 14th went like this: Mom (who was by no means a morning person) would get up extra early and set the breakfast table (which only happened one or two other times a year). Each place had a card from Mom, a small trinket, and a tiny portion of candy (to be hoarded for lunch or later). We’d each wear one piece of red clothing, and come home for a dinner that was entirely red and white. (The obvious bonus being that this typically meant pasta for dinner and a respite from veggies.) And then, dessert. There was always dessert on Valentine's Day: cake or cookies that appeared seemingly by magic. My sister and I would pretend to be surprised, and Mom would claim the dessert was a gift from the Valentine’s Chicken (hey, if Easter gets a bunny, why shouldn’t Valentine’s Day get a chicken?), and we’d all indulge a bit and chat about our day before separating for homework or, in later years, retiring to the couch to watch a favorite chick flick.
February 15th would be like any other day. We would wake up late, spill coffee, slop milk, find out that we’d forgotten to wash our favorite shirt, rush out without lunches packed, and spend the car ride to school worrying about having forgotten to brush teeth and wondering whether or not we’d remembered to put on deodorant, feed the cat, and grab the right schoolbooks. The only thing that February 15th had on the 13th is that, generally speaking, we did all this in a slightly better mood because we’d spent the day before being gentle to ourselves, loving and laughing a little, playing for a few spare minutes, and reminding each other simply that we were loved.
Many years ago, I remember being profoundly impressed by the idea of contemplating oneself as being surrounded by the very things one wanted to bring into his/her life. At the time, I wanted a relationship. A romantic relationship with a man, to be exact. But rather than contemplate myself with Mr. Dream Guy, I thought about how I wanted to feel. What I was really longing for was to be noticed. nurtured. appreciated. courted.
And so, rather than trying to get a man to give me these things, I created them myself. During the following months, I spent a few extra moments in front of the mirror and complimented myself on my hair or my outfit or my smile. I bought bath salts and votive candles and soaked in pure bliss. I wrote (and mailed) myself love letters on high-quality stationary. I gifted myself with flowers. I took myself to the movies, for long walks on the beach in the morning and moonlit strolls at night. I danced in the dark. I wore a lot of pink and red. For the first time ever I courted—and fell in love with—myself. And it changed everything.
That year, for Valentine’s Day I took myself to see "Chocolat" and cooked myself a special dinner. I bought myself a card and a rose and left them on the table for me when I got back.
It was the best Valentine’s Day ever.
Today, I’m single and happy to be so. I may not treat myself to roses and chocolates every Valentine’s Day, but I honor the commitment I made to always create the very things I wanted by paying attention to how I feel.
Sarah and Elisa:
In our novel "Why I Love Singlehood," Eva’s quest to find out what (and who) the love of her life is takes her along a path full of twists and turns, some hilarious and some heart-wrenching. We always believed that "Why I Love Singlehood" wasn’t a book about dating or about being single versus being married; rather, it’s a love story—between friends, colleagues, family, and partners. It’s about the love that emanates from us as well as the love that surrounds us. It’s love as a way of being than a thing to get. The love we create.
This Valentine’s Day (and beyond), we invite all of you—male and female, single and partnered—to celebrate love as a way of being.
It just might be your best day yet.
Special thanks to Elisa and Sarah for sharing their favorite Valentine's Day memories with us and for proving that you don't need to be romantically involved to enjoy the day! Thanks to them for also providing the e-books for our giveaway.
How to win "Why I Love Singlehood":
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite Valentine's Day memory?
2. Please tell us: What is/was your favorite thing about being single?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
Giveaway ends Thursday, February 17th at midnight EST