As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am once again pondering the subject of romance. I’m also pondering how much post Valentine’s clearance chocolate I can consume without breaking the zipper on my black jeans. Someone may be Dying for a Diet in the near future.   Sees Valentines

Everyone has a different definition of what constitutes romance. Romance readers, who represent 40% of overall readership, have preferences for love stories that range from sweet to steamy to erotic, (the latter a rising niche if you get my drift) as proven by the sales of over 100 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and an upcoming movie release.

I tend to favor the sweet side of the romance curve myself, although I probably wouldn’t complain if someone tied me to the bedpost using a chain of milk duds. And then had the good grace to leave me alone.

I also firmly believe that romance, along with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Women love to be wooed, but your partner’s idea of a heavenly gift could be your idea of hell.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, some women are happiest when their suitors or significant others send them flowers.



Other women are drawn to sparkly tokens of affection. Didn’t Marilyn Monroe once say, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Or maybe it was Kim Kardashian.

Ever hopeful spouses frequently buy naughty nighties and sexy undies for their wives. Honestly, you guys would be better off delivering a gift-wrapped faucet for that dripping bathroom sink.

So what is your preference? A candlelit dinner for two at an expensive restaurant? Spending a day at the spa? A dozen red roses? My own favorite, and that of my chocoholic protagonist Laurel McKay, is dark chocolate in any shape and poundage!  Chocolate at the candy emporium

I would love to hear your stories. Leave a comment by midnight February 18th about a memorable Valentine’s present or event, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift card to the chocolaterie of your choice (or anywhere else you choose). Also for everyone who comments, I’ll donate a $1 to the American Heart Association. Let’s all help make it a heart-happy month!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, DYING FOR A DATE, the first book in the Laurel McKay Mysteries has been reduced to only 99 cents through February 24th. Now that IS a perfect Valentine’s gift!  DATE-cvr




The winner of the gift card is Bev Moglich. Thanks for sharing your wonderfully

romantic story with us, Bev.



  1. Jacqueline Seewald on February 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hi, Cindy,

    A fun post! Almost as good as reading 50 Shades of Kale. I love chocolate too, but it makes me fat. Flowers die too quickly. Jewelry is great. But I have enough and don’t have much reason to dress up these days. So what do I think is the perfect Valentine’s gift? A book of course! DYING FOR A DATE is an absolute bargain, and I love the humor.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      We think alike, Jacquie. There is nothing better than a book to transport you! And I recommend all of yours as well. Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

  2. Heather Haven on February 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Norman and I have been sweethearts since 1979 and married since 1982. I can remember the Valentine’s Day we moved to the West Coast in 1986. We went to Zuni’s Cafe in San Francisco to celebrate the event. He suddenly kissed my hand, said he had to go to his car, told me to wait where I was then was gone in a flash. While I spent the better part of 30 seconds wondering if I had just been dumped Cupid style, I looked out the window of the restaurant to see him running across Market street, dodging in and out of traffic, with his hand hold the strings of 6 enormous helium balloons either heart-shaped or wearing the “Be my Valentine” logo. Because of his fast movements, the balloons danced around in different directions, bumping him in the head and into several cars. Finally, all traffic stopped on Market, allowing my Galahad a clear path. I watched this scene in amazement. When he finally got to the other side of the street, pedestrians and car drivers applauded, laughed and waved to him. I bawled my eyes out. It’s a Valentines Day I will never forget. AndI I cherish the man who blessed me with the memory to this day.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Heather, you had me tearing up at this story. You and Norman truly epitomize how to keep the romance going in a long term marriage. Thanks so much for sharing this cherished memory.

  3. Lisa Dane on February 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    50 Shades of Kale, Jacqueline, so funny!
    Each year, my husband John ‘surprises’ me with red roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day. But my most romantic story happened years ago on a wintery February night in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The snow/sleet/icy mix had turned the roads into a black ice skating rink. Driving my car back from my Jazzercise class 5 miles from home was a no-go. Wearing not much more than leotard, tights, leg warmers and sneakers, with my puffy parka thrown over my shoulders, I started my trudge homeward, slipping and sliding on the ice as I tentatively took baby steps to avoid falling.
    About halfway home, wet and weary, I saw a figure in the distance. Approaching closer, I saw it was John, boot-shod, cautiously marching over the snow and ice, toward me. We met and he offered me warm clothing he’d brought with him–an extra coat, hat, and mittens. When he’d seen the weather report on TV during my exercise class, he’d quickly arranged for a neighbor to come over and watch our sons while he headed out to rescue his damsel in distress. Together we headed home in the silent ice-filled night, no one else in sight on that treacherous night. We’ve been married 40 years and he is my guy and I’m a lucky gal!

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Now that is one sweet Valentine’s story. And I know you’ll have a special day again this weekend – but frost free!

  4. Deb on February 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Loved the blog and you’re right Chocolate of any size and shape is on the request list. Flowers/roses are find but die, I prefer plants. My favorite Valentine’s memory was my husband buying me a box of candy and a gardenia plant (my favorite). I was in the tub, plant on the edge, candy beside it, when he brought me a glass of Moscato. I shriveled in the tub reading a book while he kept the kids occupied. Now I know Valentine’s Day is about sharing love…but to me…that was the best!

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Deb. I think letting a woman relax with a glass of wine, candy, a book in hand, while hubby babysits the kids is one of the best gifts of all!

  5. Pamela DuMond on February 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Cindy!

    Ah yes – Valentine’s Day.

    When I was young it was the day that I wished I’d get those little paper made hearts from my friends in grade school.

    When I was in college and had a boyfriend I wished for red roses. (Not pink.)

    Probably the worst Valentine’s Day was when my husband (at the time – no longer – thank God) filed for divorce, decided not to tell me, had me served on Feb. 2nd, and then gave me a lovely Valentines Day gift 12 days later.


    I asked him, “What is it about Valentine’s Day that you do not understand?”

    I no longer wait for presents on Valentine’s Day. I give myself and the kitties something nice.


    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Ah yes, there are wise spouses and some – not so much. And kitties are always very appreciative of our treats!

    • Cathy Ann Adkins on February 12, 2015 at 2:23 am

      I too was served divorce papers on Valentines Day. I was happy to part ways but kind of ruined the holiday for me.

      • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 2:31 am

        We need to start a new tradition for Valentine’s Day filled with the love of your friends, Cathy Ann. And chocolate of course!

  6. Sherry Joyce on February 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    After 52 years of marriage, my memories of Valentine’s Day are blurred…some were filled with roses, others with chocolate, some with diamonds, some with lovely vacations or intimate moments, but for me it is having him there, year after year, day after day, night after night knowing that I am his special gal and have been for all these years…and like ducks, we are mated for life. He writes the best Valentine’s cards, and I have kept them all…romance of the heart is all that I need.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Imagine 50 years of memories. Steadfastness, friendship, love and great Valentine’s cards – that says it all! Thanks, Sherry.

  7. Liz Jasper on February 10, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I’m here to talk about the truly important part of Valentine’s Day: the chocolate. My favorite is See’s Nuts and Chews. (Except the disgusting cherry center one. That one gets hucked out the window.)

    Mmmmmm chocolate covered caramels with almonds. Happy bliss…

    Sorry, where was I? Right. Valentine’s Dad. What I want is to turn the phones off, snuggle up on the couch with my sweetie and have a big dinner and eat ice cream and laugh. Total awesome bliss.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Snuggling and ice cream – that does sound awesome, Liz! And definitely phones off!!!

  8. Nancy Means Wright on February 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    My stepdaughter has invited her dad (my man) to go flying in a tiny biplane this Valentine’s day. It’s a belated Christmas present. The pilot is her some-time boyfriend who has thrilled her with his upside-down antics-in-the-air, and god knows what he’ll do with my man. Maybe the roses he always gives me on V-day will land on his hospital bed. Or worse, god forbid… Meanwhile, I’ll stay home on terra firma with a good book. Maybe by Cindy Sample. V’day is definitely a day for laughter.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Nancy, I can always count on you to provide a lively story. Enjoy your day of leisure. I expect you to report back on your hubby’s Valentine’s Day flight!

  9. Loretta Wheeler on February 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Cindy, I’m so awful, I like them all and am always delighted to see any of the selections come through the door. Like you, the jewelry box is pretty full though, after you’ve been around for awhile, the ring box does become a little full, doesn’t it? 🙂 And, l know what you mean when your life slows down, where are you going to wear it? 🙂 Grocery shopping? Dentist? Toodling to Bunko? LOL…I still love it all though.
    I think the earlier suggestion of a book is great…there’s nothing like having a great read to look forward to, no matter what “heat” level it’s set at 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Lo, you always give me a good laugh. It looks like chocolate and a great book are way ahead of diamonds in this group. We need to find a way to deliver virtual chocolates with our ebooks!

  10. Diane Backstedt on February 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    My favorite romantic story comes from my parents. My Mom told me when she first saw my Dad she was with a couple of her friends at school. One of them said something like, “isn’t he handsome”. Mom said “he sure is but I pity the woman who gets stuck with that last name for the rest of her life”.

    Dad proposed on their first date, and they we’re married 67 years before she passed away last April.

    • Cindy Sample on February 10, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Definitely true love. What a sweet story, Diane. And I might have said the same thing myself about getting stuck with a name like Sample oh so many years ago!

  11. Alanna Zrimsek on February 11, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Hi Cindy! Happy Valentine’s Day with chocolate kisses and smiles to you and your readers! Thanks for the donation to save hearts…that’s a lovely Valentine! I love conversation hearts and heart shaped cookies and cakes for old time fun with friends. Chocolate martinis and wine toasts and hugs are always good . At home my artist husband always draws or paints me a unique Valentine’s card and I write him a poem or make a card…we often celebrate by going out before or after the V-day to avoid crowds and drama and on the day stay home and enjoy chocolate, flowers, books,music, movies and sharing whatever strikes our fancy…once I went to a costume party and I wore a huge inflatable heart around my neck as a necklace with a red dress…that was fun. Great romance mysteries by Cindy Sample are just the perfect gift and spreading joy and love wherever we are! Half price candy the day after always delights!

    • Cindy Sample on February 11, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Alanna, how lovely to see your name here. I can just picture your huge inflatable heart and a huge smile on your face as well as everyone else at the party. You must have the most beautiful and unique collection of cards from your husband. He is so talented. Have a wonderful Valentine’s together and hope to see you soon.

  12. Barb Beacham on February 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I’m with you Cindy! Give me the chocolates! I love the See’s Candy Bordeaux Creams, dark chocolate coated, and their Bittersweet Chocolate. I will take chocolate over the sparkly things, and the sexy lingerie! Hope you are doing well! Hugs — ^..^

    • Cindy Sample on February 11, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      You and I belong to the same chocoholic club, Barb. I hope you are doing much better! Sending a gentle hug up the hill.

  13. D. K. Christi on February 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I expected a romantic gift from my guy who had marriage in mind. His excitement watching me open the gift was an indicator that it was really special. You can’t imagine my shock and attempt at recovery when I saw it was a lamp, a hurricane lamp that came on with tubes of blinding fluorescence that lasted for days when the power went off. He said I was the light in his life, but I wanted it sealed with something besides a lamp. Long after the relationship ended, the lamp burned on with each hurricane season and power outage, reminding me of the great guy who understood there was more to love than flowers and chocolates when I didn’t.

    • Cindy Sample on February 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Hi D.K. I am so glad you shared that story. That truly really was a perfect gift. But sometimes it takes a few years of maturity for us to get it!

  14. Joyce Mason on February 11, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    My memorable event is now an annual ritual–“linner” at the Red Lobster! When my childhood sweetheart and I first reconnected after 37 years (we met at age 12), Tim was living in Dallas. I was in Sacramento. My first trip to see him in Dallas was in January 1997. Since I was then a State employee and could get a week off for the price of a few days’ leave because of the dual Presidents holidays, I flew back out the next month. My trip coincided with Valentine’s Day. We went to the Red Lobster in Dallas to celebrate.

    He moved to Sacramento later that year and we married in 1998. Every Val’s Day since, we have a mid-afternoon rendezvous at the RL, usually the one nearest us in Citrus Heights. We avoid crowds and recreate our first, starry-eyed “adult” Hearts Day together. We’re both hopeless romantics. And BTW, his favorite gift is a wooden box with our pic on front full of little scrolls with at least 100 reasons why I love him. It’s engraved Joyceisms for Tim, and he loves opening them, especially on days I’m mad at him! 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on February 11, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      I knew you and Tim would have a memorable story to tell. I love the history of your romance and marriage. He’s lucky to have a life full of Joyce and her Joyceisms!

  15. Jenny Milchman on February 11, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Ha ha ha, the milk duds! You made me LOL. I think my favorite romantic gift I’ve gotten–it MAY have been for Valentine’s Day, but possibly an anniversary–was a real live sonnet written by my hubby. It was good, too. I still read it.

    But the milk dud chain–that’d be nice too.

    • Cindy Sample on February 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Next thing you know that milk dud chain may make it in the 50 Shades sequel. A sonnet is such a romantic present. Say hi to your hubby for me. I hope you make it back out west next year!

  16. Betty Gordon on February 12, 2015 at 3:21 am

    A candlelit dinner with my husband, but it doesn’t have to be at a restaurant — home is fine.

    • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Some of my favorite romantic dinners have been at home, Betty. Thanks for commenting.

  17. susan coryell on February 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I love Valentine’s Day because it arrives 4 days after my birthday. When Hubby forgets my day (happened only once or twice in 51 years) by Valentine’s Day he is so guilty he splurges on everything at once: flowers, chocolate, dinner out and, best of all, I get all the time I want shopping for books! Though it’s a terrible month for a birthday, February has its own graces!

    • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Susan, happy happy birthday. It sounds like you have a wonderful Valentine’s/birthday celebration ahead of you. I hope you’re enjoying Hawaii!

  18. Nikki Andrews on February 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    The moments I like best are the unplanned ones. Like this: Driving down the NY State Thruway, discussing whether we should replace our car.
    Me: You always take such good care of our cars.
    Husband: Yeah, they’re kind of like my hobby.
    Me: You take good care of me, too. Am I a hobby?
    Husband: No. You’re my lifelong passion.
    Me: cries for ten miles.

    • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Wow, Nikki, your husband is a KEEPER! That is indeed a special moment.

  19. Mary Beth Magee on February 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    My favorite Valentine memory just got created yesterday with the early arrival of Baby Dumpling, my precious new grand baby. Name and gender withheld by parents until the planned gender reveal party, but I got the important info: 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 eyes and working organs. Gramma is in love!
    Happy Valentine’s Day, all.

    • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Mary Beth, I’ve been wondering about the new arrival. What a memorable Valentine’s present. I can’t wait to see photos of Grandma and the little dumpling. Congratulations to everyone.

  20. Gemma Juliana on February 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I loved your very funny blog post, Cindy. Great theme. Around here, everyday is Valentine’s Day with the love of my life. So, on February 14th, I like to get started with a trip to the spa for a massage. Then I’ll make an exotic French meal (adapted to new *easy* cuisine), and then curl up with a glass of Merlot, a selection of heart healthy dark chocolate (along with some more decadent flavors for my inner child), and a great book. Later, an aromatherapy bath… It’s a pampering day in my books.

    • Cindy Sample on February 12, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      I knew a wonderful romance author like you would plan the perfect Valentine’s Day. Enjoy yourself Gemma!

  21. sara hyman on February 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I wish I had romance in my life. Instead, I have mysteries. (and non-fiction and other fiction and … and … and…) I will be spending my Valentine’s day at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian (part of the Autry National Center) welcoming the public who come to join us. I am also trying to figure out if I can get into the store on Sunday (when I will be at another part of the Autry doing docent tours) to get best pick of the leftover candies. That might have to wait until Monday, but it definitely needs to be done. I can have it as long as I log it. I don’t lose weight, but I don’t gain.

    • Cindy Sample on February 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Sara, your day sounds excellent. Plus you’re giving back to the community and the arts. There’s nothing better than that. I hope you can score that clearance chocolate too! Enjoy.

  22. Louise Pledge on February 15, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Both of my most memorable Valentine’s Days are not pleasant memories. 1) My cousin and I were going to court to get our divorces finalized that day; we said how ironic it was to get divorced on Valentine’s, rather than married or engaged, like others do. However, both of our cases got postponed. I went home and bawled my eyes out; John went home and stuck a gun in his mouth!

    2) My best friend passed away from cancer, ruining another Valentine’s Day for me.

    • Cindy Sample on February 15, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Okay, Louise, I’m starting a new tradition. Next year I’ll surprise you with a Valentine’s treat guaranteed to put a smile on your face:-)

      • Louise Pledge on February 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        Thank you, Cindy… can hardly wait for that smile!

  23. Bev Moglich on February 15, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Al, my Sweetheart of sixty-nine years, proposed to me when we met at a summer resort in 1945. I was fifteen. He was seventeen. With stars in my eyes, as we sat under the tree at the swimming hole, I said YES! He lived in Oakland, California and I in Burlingame, thirty miles apart.
    Now married for sixty-seven years this April 24th we have shared a beautiful life together. I have the first Valentine he gave me in the scrap book that is crumbling to pieces.
    Large red velvet heart shape box with chocolates, red roses, have been my gifts over all these years. We have traveled the world, i have diamonds, or whatever else I so desire, but most of all is his LOVE! His many kisses and hugs, so many times from the moment he gets up until he puts his head on the pillow. He does not know what day it is anymore. Or much about the present! He tells me so often about our courting days and how much he loves me, crushing my shoulders with his bony arms. He is still six feet tall and so handsome.I am the most loved woman in the world.
    This years Valentine, written on a grease board, said
    Bev, Happy Valentines Day.
    Love you
    TNX for everything

    • Cindy Sample on February 15, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Bev, your romance and marriage to Al is truly the love story of the century. You’ve moved me to tears and inspired me as well. Happy Valentine’s Day to the two of you and thanks for sharing your 67 years of memories with us.

  24. Bev Moglich on February 17, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Remember it is Heart month!
    You said you will donate $1.00 if we mentioned this to you.
    I am chuckling along with Laurel’s new experiences in Dying for a Dude.
    Love, love it!

    I hope our pathes meet again!

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