Author Spotlight—Meet Stephanie Collins

Great book, reading it now.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Happy Love Month! I can’t think of a better way of spreading love than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you.  So, today, I am sharing with you a fellow author, hard-working mother of four, loving wife, and the unsuspecting author of a true medical drama/unconventional love story called With Angel’s Wings.  Stephanie is a member of Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). Join me in welcoming award-winning author Stephanie Collins and learn more about this amazing gal in our interview. ~Bette A. Stevens

Welcome, Stephanie Collins. How long have you been writing?

I began writing therapeutically in 1996. It was sometime around 2010 when I started seriously considering turning those writings into a book.

How many books have you authored?

I never intended to be an author at all. As I said, I wrote therapeutically through some rough times in my life…

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How Do I Love thee . . . .

An Article on St. Valentine’s Day

This is an article on the origin of St. Valentine’s Day


February 14th sometimes signifies the first day of Lent, depending upon the date of Easter, and is also Admission Day in Arizona. Most people however, celebrate the day by sending comic or heartfelt Valentines to family, friends and lovers. People seem to delight in St. Valentine’s Day, as florists, candy stores, boutiques and card shops do a rallying business providing heart-shaped novelties of all variety. Chocolate, long known for having properties that produce a euphoric feeling similar to the bittersweet emotion of love, seems an appropriate gift for St. Valentine’s Day.

The origin of the holiday is uncertain, but St. Valentine actually honors two Saints of the same name. One was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of the Emperor Claudius, the other, a martyred Bishop of Interramna. They were both buried in the Flaminian Way, which was later named the Gate of St. Valentine. Today the gate is known as Porta Del Popolo — the Gate of the People. The accounts of these men’s lives are legendary, based on sparse historical fact. It is possible, researchers agree, that the legends denote different versions of the martyrdom of only one person. St. Valentine’s Day, as it is known today, is a lovers Festival, bearing no relation to these legends.
One theory as to how the name Valentine came to be applied to the day is founded on the belief in England that birds begin dating on February 14. Chaucer, in his “Parliament of Foules,” says it like this: “for this was Seynt Valentine’s day. When every foul cometh to choose his mate.” Those disagreeing with this claimed that the connection between lovers and St. Valentine stems from a similarity between the Norman word “galantin,” meaning a lover of woman, and the name of the saint. St. Still another theory contends that the lover’s custom dates back to the pagan Roman feast of Lupercalia occurring in mid-February young Roman men and women placed their names in a love urn from which their names were drawn at random. During the upcoming year, the young man would be the escorts of the women whose names were matched to their own.

The Christian clergy objected to this pagan custom and substituted the names of saints. Each person, the clergy hoped, which strive to emulate the saint drawn for them. The drawings were held on February 14, the feast of St. Valentine. Yet the drawing of names by young people on St. Valentine’s Day continued long after the Christianization of pagan rites had been abandoned. The boy and girl paired by the drawing adopted the practice of giving presents to each other. Later the boy only gave to the girl; so started the custom of sending Valentines to loved ones.

St. Valentine’s Day was widely celebrated in William Shakespeare’s time, as this quote from Hamlet illustrates:
“Good morrow, ‘tis St. Valentine’s Day,
All in the morning betime,
And I am made at your window,
To be your Valentine.”

Paper Valentines with inscribed sentiments date from the 16th century. The first printed Valentine, issued in 1669, was probably inspired by “A Valentine Writer”, a book of verses offering help to those not articulate enough to pen their own rhymes. In England, the introduction of Penny postage and envelopes in 1840 popularized the exchange of Valentines and ornamental lace paper Valentines were in great demand. In the U. S., crude woodcut Valentines were fashioned by Robert H. Elton and Thomas W. Strong of New York, but most people preferred the lace paper cards imported from England.
With the establishment of the Post Office, the mail became swamped with Valentines each February. Comic Valentines, as well as coarse vulgar ones, cost only one cent. In the early 1900s, the Chicago post office rejected 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were improper for mail delivery. By the 1930s Valentine cards were primarily an activity for small children, who were taught to make the cards and decorations in kindergarten.

On one particularly gruesome Valentine’s Day, the streets ran red with blood and the message given was not one of love. This notorious incident was “The St. Valentines Massacre,” in Chicago on February 14, 1929. Al Capone’s gang, disguised as policemen, forced seven members of the rival “Bugs Moran” gang to stand against the garage wall with their arms raised. Capone’s mobsters methodically gunned the rival gang down.

recent years, St. Valentine’s Day continues to gain popularity, as lovers and children eagerly await its arrival; perhaps because it breaks the monotony of the long winter. However, not all people recognize the holiday. One husband whose name I will not mention, chooses to totally ignore St. Valentine’s Day, even when it falls three days after his wedding anniversary — but that’s another story.

Tuesday, February 13, 2017

One of the Best Memoirs You’ll Ever Read!

LETTING GO into PERFECT LOVE

Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse

By Gwendolyn M. Plano

Author Gwendolyn Plano, in this extraordinary memoir, “invites you into my journey, replete with childhood stories and adult meanderings.” Yet this book is so much more, encompassing all elements of life’s struggles, dreams, and heartache which so many readers will latch onto, sharing Plano’s feelings and experiences. I was hooked from the first page until the ending, causing me so many mixed emotions; closing the book with a feeling of love and peace which stayed with me.

Gwen’s first marriage seems heaven sent and produces a wonderful son, Matt. But her husband Bruce develops psychiatric problems so severe that he must be committed, “for his good and yours” says the psychiatrist—leaving Gwendolyn a single Mom, and little Matt on their own.

She gets a second chance with Ron, who seems the perfect man and father figure. Falling deeply in love, she misses some of Ron’s flaws, serious flaws, and marries him.  The bliss of romance soon fades as Ron shows a severe abusive side, unnoticed before- and it grows worse.  There is no easy way to escape a brutal husband, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Over the next 25 years she bears two more sons and a daughter, and Gwen tries heroically to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy.

Abused women are often criticized for tolerating marital torture and not leaving. The situation is complex and author Plano depicts the plethora of reasons in this heart rending story of a woman trapped. It takes increasing and serious abuse of her children to awaken in her a newly found and deeply held faith in God giving her the determination and courage to sever the destructive relationship. Help from angel visitations guide her from an existence in terror to a life of joy and peace.

The second half of the book is written in breathtaking and beautiful verbiage that comes directly from the author’s heart and soul – so deeply embraced by love that I re-read many parts and was left with a sense of peace upon finishing it. This is one story which needs to be read by every woman . . . and man as well. This book is one of the most touching, honest memoirs that I have ever read.

Highly recommended for those searching for their true selves, love and companionship with God and others— “Perfect Love.”

Micki Peluso, author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang

5 Ways to You Can Market for Free

Story Empire

Businessman Speaking Through Megaphone

Hello Story Empire readers! Today is my first official post on this site and I’m really excited to share some thoughts with everyone. Here are five free ways to market your book in some ways you may not have thought about before now.

Blog About Your Book

list2Yes, this has been said many times by many people but here are a few ways to consider doing it – especially if you write fiction. I’ve written a few about my characters or the world of Denaria. However, you can a list about things in your book as points of interest. Think about all the different ways you can use lists about your fiction that may inform readers and potential readers about your book. As an example, I recently shared “5 Kinds of Trolls in Denaria (and Why They’re Dangerous!)“. It was a good exercise and I hope it better…

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Tuesday Anything Possible – Kreative Kue #108

Loved the humor in this flash fiction!

Fiction Favorites

“HereYou know I love prompts and will let Keith Channing tell you in his words about this one. “Using this photo (below) as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; and either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithkreates@channing.fr before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here – pingbacks don’t often work.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.”

The photo.

Kreative Kue #108

The Hold-Up bu John W. Howell  ©2017

“Just keep running for god’s sake.”

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