How to show your love on Valentine's Day

A bunch of red roses is almost an obligatory gift on Valentine's Day but simple gestures, like doing the vacuuming or cleaning the shower, can mean more.

That's the message from Wollongong romance novel writer Alyssa J Montgomery.

Her first romance, Mistaken Identity, was published last year and its male lead, Alex, has been nominated in the category of sexiest heroes of 2013 by the Australian Romance Readers Awards.

Montgomery says anyone can go to a florist and buy a bunch of red roses. A more thoughtful, and appreciated gift, might be to give your partner a break and pick up some of the household chores they usually do.

"Some of the most romantic things might not be buying flowers," says Montgomery.

"If it's a man doing it for a woman, then it's 'you've had a terrible day; I'm tired too but your favourite TV show is on or you curl up with that book and I'll attend to this'.

"That is going to be appreciated so much, just as much if not more, than that bunch of red roses. Likewise for a woman, she needs to be able to do that for a man: 'Listen I know you always do this on a Saturday but I'm going to do it today and you go and do something with your mates'."

And it's something you can do any time, says Montgomery, not just when February 14 rolls around.

"Valentine's Day is just a little reminder that we're all supposed to be appreciating each other and showing our partners how much we appreciate each other," she says.

As well as forsaking the roses for something more substantial, Montgomery suggests looking past the commercial onslaught of Valentine's Day.

"I think Valentine's Day is a chance to become the hero or heroine of your own personal romance," she says.

"It's more than the commercial side of red roses, confectionery and romantic greeting cards. Obviously the commercial sector has a huge stake in promoting the day but I think it's about making time for each other, letting your partner know how you love and appreciate them.

"It's more about personal touches than the commercial tokens. And that goes not only for the hero in the romance but the heroine as well. It's as important for women to appreciate their partners as it is for the man to do something nice for his heroine."

Montgomery was a flight attendant and fell in love with a pilot, who later became her husband.

"But my romance novels are not an indication of my own personal romance, because the heroes and heroines always have baggage that they bring to a relationship and many obstacles to overcome," Montgomery says.

"Thankfully my own relationship isn't fraught with all these obstacles and hurdles."

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