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Vinegar Valentines ~ Submitted by C.A. Asbrey

In The RAC Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2019 Romance…or Not (Issue #3), C.A. Asbrey’s submission Vinegar Valentines was a fascinating read. Vinegar Valentines were all the rage back in the late 1800s through the early 1900s. They were sarcastic and mean-spirited cards which were often sent to “a rejected suitor or a rival-in-love.”

An excerpt from Author Asbrey’s submission:

These cynical, sarcastic, often mean-spirited greeting cards were first produced in America as early as the 1840s by a variety of printing companies, including Elton, Fisher, Strong and Turner. By the 1870s, other entrepreneurs such as New York printer, John McLoughlin, and his cartoonist, Charles Howard were creating their own lines of cards.

Sold in the United States and Britain, these cards featured an illustration and a short line or poem that, rather than offering messages of love and affection, insulted the recipient.

People sent vinegar valentines as far back as at least 1840. Back then, they were called “mocking,” “insulting,” or “comic” valentines—“vinegar” seems to be a modern description.

So specialized were these cards, particularly those sold in the U.S., Shank writes, that they actually “documented the changing shape of the middle classes.”

Just as card makers today sell valentines targeted for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, or pets, manufacturers during Valentine’s Day’s heyday saw these insulting messages as a way to make money, and it’s clear that consumers liked what they were selling. According to the writer Ruth Webb Lee, by the mid-19th century, vinegar valentines represented about half of all valentine sales in the U.S.

Not everyone was a fan of these mean valentines. In 1857, The Newcastle Weekly Courant complained that “the stationers’ shop windows are full, not of pretty love-tokens, but of vile, ugly, misshapen caricatures of men and women, designed for the special benefit of those who by some chance render themselves unpopular in the humbler circles of life.” 

We love Author Asbrey’s conclusion:

These cards are a good reminder that no matter how much people complain that the holiday makes them feel either too pressured to buy the perfect gift or too sad about being single, it could be worse. You could get a message about how everyone thinks you’re an ass.

About the Author:
Chris Asbrey has lived and worked all over the world in the Police Service, Civil Service, and private industry, working for the safety, legal rights, and security of the public. A life-changing injury meant a change of course into contract law and consumer protection for a department attached to the Home Office.
In that role she produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and wrote guides for the Consumer Direct Website. She was Media Trained, by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC’s One Show and Watchdog. She has also been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public.
She lives with her husband and two daft cats in Northamptonshire, England—for now. She’s moving to the beautiful medieval city of York.
Blog – C.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period
The Innocents Mystery Series Group  / Facebook / Amazon / Twitter / Goodreads / Innocent Bystander Amazon
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Where Are They Now? A Look at a Few of Our Interviewed Authors (and One Guest Book Reviewer)

The RAC Magazine team sure knows how to choose winners!

We thought it’d be fun to let you know what these authors have been up to since being featured in The RAC Magazine.

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Michael Stewart (interview in September 2018 Issue #1): Michael’s book Ray vs The Meaning of Life won an award: Booklife Prize. It was one of more than 900 books submitted to this year’s BookLife Prize. Not only that, but Michael’s book was named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018, and to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s ‘Best Books for Kids & Teens’ list. Wow, congratulations, Michael, we are so proud of you! Follow Michael here.


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Ellie Collins (interviewed in September 2018 Issue #1): Ellie’s second book in the Greek Mythology Fantasy Series, Mylee in The Mirror was published! It was reviewed by Sandy in the January 2019 Issue #3. Congratulations, Ellie, we are so proud of you and your accomplishments! Keep on writing.



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J.D. Estrada (interviewed in November 2018 Issue #2): J.D. has been busy since his interview. He published another book! See all his glorious reviews at Goodreads and follow him there while you’re visiting.





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Mette Barfelt (interviewed in January 2019 Issue #3): Book #5 will be published Feb 8, 2019, and book #6 is in the editing stage. Congratulations, Mette! Join Mette’s FB Page to keep up with all her new publications.





Jean Mader Golden ConnectionsJean Mader (writing as Jena C. Henry), was The RAC’s first guest book reviewer (September 2018 Issue #1).  We have seen Jean grow as a book reviewer – creating Books in a Minute reviews, and then teaming up with Jessie Cahalin and her popular Books in a Handbag, to create the Golden Chapter Reviews. Thank you for your support and exposure for indie authors, Jean. Sign up for Jean’s reviews ~ you may find a new favorite book and/or author!

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Again, congratulations to all!

See information about subscribing or purchasing single issues at The RAC Magazine’s website, and view our September 2018 issue for free.


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Interview with D.H. Nevins

Interview with D.H. Nevins, author of The Wormwood Trilogy

Another Author Spotlight in The RAC Magazine’s Issue #3, Romance… or Not, is on D.H. Nevins, author of The Wormwood Trilogy.

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D.H. Nevins was born in Toronto and currently lives in a quiet area of Ontario, surrounded by forests and lakes. By day, she is a personable, friendly school teacher. By night, she silently chuckles as she writes about destroying the world. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys world travel, hiking, camping, flying around on her motorcycle or dabbling in live theatre.

D.H. answers one of our questions:

Your book, Wormwood, is not your typical romance story. In fact, it is listed under the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Please tell us more about Kali and who she falls in love with.

I agree; Wormwood certainly doesn’t fall within typical romantic tropes. If I ever tried to market it as such, romance readers would probably lynch me for drowning their sweet expectations with darkness and tension! Although Wormwood does have romance, it’s
deeply tormented.

Read more about D.H. Nevins in The RAC Magazine’s January 2019 issue.

Find Danielle here:
Instagram: @dani.nevins

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