Love Is In The Air

The lovely and talented Susanna Leonard Hill is having another blog contest! I like to enter those. So I did.

The rules are simple: In 214 words or fewer, entrants must write a Valentine’s Day story where one of the characters is grumpy.


Be-Suited CupidCranky Cupid

Corky smiled down on his loyal platoon. “Today’s the day! Today we launch our arrows in a war against loneliness!”

The cupids cheered. Well, most of them:


Corky ignored this. “Today we make the world a happier place!”

“Harrumph!” the heckler repeated. He followed it up with worst swear word he could think of:


“Gerald!” Corky barked. “Watch your language!”

“Why do we have to wear this?” Gerald grouched.

“You’re not wearing anything.”

“I know! Why do cupids need to be naked? Why must we show the world our creased caboodles? Why do we let everyone peep at our dingle wingle do-dahs?”

“Because it’s the rule,” Corky stammered.

“Why can’t we wear suits?”

“Because we can’t!”

The other cupids peered down at their own naked pudginess.

“Why can’t we?” one asked.

“A suit would be flattering!”

“And flashy!”

“No!” Corky boomed. “The rule is…”

He trailed off, for Corky’s mind flashed to an almost forgotten time many years ago…

“The rule is…” he tried again.

…when a pair of young lovers giggled at his blorpy bottom.

“The rule is…”

The memory turned him red all over.

“The rule is…” Corky announced, “STUPID!”

The cupids cheered.

That year The Suited Cupids spread the love and took the fashion world by storm.

Sara Hale: Fashionista Foe

Sarah Hale, the subject of my upcoming children’s book, is credited as the very first female magazine editor in America (though she preferred the title “editress”). Her Ladies’ Magazine, founded in 1828, was dedicated to patriotism, charitable causes, and – most significantly – educational opportunities for women. The publication was an instant hit, but readers still wanted a little something more. Letters soon began trickling into the editress’ office urging Sarah to print illustrations of what the modern European ladies were wearing this season.

Sarah had not one iota of interest in the fashonable ladies of Europe. In fact, after Sarah's husband died in 1822, the editress wore nothing but black for the rest of her life.

Sarah was not amused. Here she was, trying to use her magazine to forward the fortunes of women across the nation, and her readers only wanted to look at pretty dresses. Hale resisted the requests as best she could, but an editress does have to keep her subscribers happy – if she wishes to have subscribers.

Hand-colored fashion plates began to appear in Ladies’ Magazine in 1830, but Hale wasn’t going to print this fluff without first having her say. In an editorial, Hale made clear that fashion plates had no practical purpose. Each woman should not be a slave to what others are wearing; she should choose tasteful designs that suit her body type and colors that complement her skin tone. “This may be easily accomplished,” Hale scolded, “if our countrywomen would only think for themselves. At present American ladies, as regards to the fashion of their attire, rarely think more than did the ape when he put a red cap on his head because he saw such a one worn by the sailor.”

In short, Ladies’ Magazine readers would get pictures of women dressed up only after Hale gave them all a dressing down.