Happy Valentine’s Day friends! In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write a post about…yes, you guessed it: love and books! The two go quite well together. After all, most of the books I’ve written are love stories based upon my own love stories, or love stories I hope to have one day. Even the rather twisted love stories that play out in my thriller, All the Beautiful Bodies, have hints of the love stories I’ve experienced in my own twisted and beautiful life.
Twisted love stories, you say? That’s not the kind of romantic, dreamy Valentine’s Day love we should be celebrating today! And here’s what I say to that: love is not always–or ever–the straight-shot fairy tale we were all fed as children. You know the one. It goes something like this:
Boy meets girl, they fall in love, everything is perfect, they get married, they buy a house with a white picket fence, they have 2.5 children (What does a 1/2 child look like anyway?), and they live happily ever after into old age where they die peacefully in their sleep holding hands (The Notebook anyone?).
That’s a sweet story, but it’s really boring and totally untrue. We all know that, of course. In this wild world we live in, there are all kinds of love stories: short ones, long ones, devastating ones, joyful ones, sexually awakening ones, friendship loves, love stories that lead us somewhere we never wanted to go, love stories that lead us somewhere we never expected to be, and everything in between. We love our pets, our children, our parents, our siblings, and sometimes we have a hard time loving those people. The pets, though, they’re never hard to love. You know why? Because they teach us unconditional love. The best kind.
There are love stories that stretch across sexes, races, cultures, and any silly boundary our ridiculous world has invented to keep us all separate. Personally, those are my favorite love stories. Because they illustrate the one essential point that is behind the true feeling of love:
That we are all one.
And that one–you, me, all of us: we are loved.
And not only are we loved, we are love.
At our core, we embody love. That is actually who we all are. That is who you are! Underneath the mess of human emotions, the pain, the suffering, the laughter, the romantic love, the illnesses, the beautiful bodies, the sick bodies, the trauma, and the joy, there is a soul beneath all of that which is made of a kind of love that is lasting and forever. A love that never changes. It’s unconditional. It’s always. And it’s always in us. This is who we actually are.
Most of us have forgotten this, which is why romantic love becomes so important to us. So consuming. So end-all-be-all. There are times in our lives where we think we need that kind of love to survive. “If I can’t be with this person, I will just die!” We’ve all felt that rough feeling at one point or another, am I right? And if there is one day of the year we feel it, well it’s certainly Valentine’s Day.
But the true love story behind all of that is that we are love. And we are loved. Period. There are no exceptions to this. We don’t need to seek it out and die trying to find it. We can go within and trust that we embody the very love we have been spending our entire lives trying to find. We have it already, loves! We are love! This is good news, indeed.
So whether you are in the middle of the greatest love story of your life right now, or broken down on the bathroom floor because your love story has just ended, or cuddling with your cat while you spend another night alone watching Netflix, or kissing your kids goodnight and going back to an empty bed, or looking at the one you’re with and thinking you’d rather be going back to an empty bed, or loving someone you can’t be with, or mourning the death of the one you loved, or whatever your own twisted and beautiful love story may be, you need to know something: you are loved. I love you. You love you. You may not feel that, but it’s true.
That is the only true love story I have come to know. Love will show up in our lives in all different ways. And typically it won’t involve 2.5 children, a perfect spouse, or a picket fence. Typically it will involve some really intense emotions followed by loss followed by more love and more loss…and the story will continue on throughout our wild lives. But through it all, and even through the perceived loss of love, you are loved.
One of the biggest love stories I have had throughout my life is with stories themselves. I love hearing them, reading them, watching them, and I especially love writing them. I live in a constant state of dreaming up new stories, and wanting to write them all. So many books to write and so little time! One of the love projects I’ve been working on this past year is getting the rights back to all of my Paris books, and re-releasing them with new beautiful interiors and new beautiful covers. I’ve learned how to create my own cover art using an awesome design site called Canva. I’ve learned how to format all of my own books for e-book and print using an amazing software called Vellum. And I’m finally releasing the fruit of my love labor with these first four print books: All the Beautiful Bodies & my City of Love series.
To celebrate, I’ll be giving away one signed copy of each of these four print books to four lucky winners. The winners will get to choose which book they’d like out of the four. To enter the contest*, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with this in the subject line:
I am love.
It may be hard for some of you to write this, but that will be my Valentine’s Day gift to you. Reminding you of who you truly are and how amazing and wonderful that is!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you can also enter the contest there by commenting on my post with “I am Love” or by tagging someone you love and telling them you love them!
Four of you lovelies will win a signed print book, and all of you lovelies will be loved by me. You already are. I already love you. Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!
*The contest will close for entries at Midnight EST on Sunday, February 23rd. Bonne chance!