Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Readers,

I got a phone call from a reporter for a local paper who was doing a piece on the cost of an ideal Valentine's day date. (How much does one cost??? Gee, is that a romantic angle or what?).

Anyway, he wanted to know what my idea of the perfect date was. A candlelit dinner in a fabulous restaurant ... a carriage ride ... a night at the opera or a play?

After wiping away tears of laughter, I explained that I had been married for a LONG, long time, and that I had learned years ago that the higher the level of expectation, the lower the level of satisfaction. I faxed him my own formula for a perfect date, but something tells me it's not going to make it into his article, so here it is:

Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. Your "quiet table for two" ends up next to the kitchen; the label on that sexy dress is scratchy and drives you nuts all evening; the line to get in to see Titanic is long and the ending is sad.

Here's an altogether different approach: soft, snuggly clothes; a funny, feel-good video; and a bowl of buttered popcorn. Take away all that tension from having impossible expectations, and suddenly the (shall we say?) more down to earth possibilities become endless.

So that's my advice to you all. Go for it, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Four-Author Booksigning: On Thursday, February 12, JUDITH ARNOLD, SUZANNE BROCKMANN, STACY BROWN and I will be talking about reading and writing romance at Borders Bookstore in Framingham, MA, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. We'll also be signing our books. (I'm happy because, yippee, they're going to have all of my backlist available. )

I'll post pictures here later--assuming I remember to bring my camera.

One cat(14K) Cat Tales: Last month I wrote that our new cat Tommy could read. I said that he knew which Christmas present was his from among a bunch my sister sent to me from the west coast .

I know, I know. You were thinking, yeah, right.

Okay, folks, here's the proof: a picture of Tommy and the present he dragged out from under the tree two mornings in a row (this is not a staged photo). Too bad I didn't think to photograph his first try; he dragged the present half way to the dining room on that one.

Antoinette Stockenberg

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