Valentine's Day is the one day a year that gives many people an excuse to tell someone, “I love you.” But Jen Busfield, local author of “Love Letters, Volume 1: Moving On, Growing Up” and “Love Letters, Volume 2: Being Adult,” thinks expressing love should occur any time of day, any day of the week and any week of the year.

“We shouldn’t have to use Valentine's Day as the excuse to say, ‘I love you, here are some roses,’” Busfield said. “We should tell each other any time. There shouldn’t have to be a good reason.”

This isn’t to say she isn’t a fan of Valentine's Day. In fact, the holiday has always held a special significance for Busfield, who was born on Feb. 11, but brought home from the hospital on Feb. 14. This year, she used the holiday to help promote her books, which she recently self-published.

“Valentine's Day falls right into my market,” she said. “My first-ever book signing event (was) Saturday in Alamance County. Best birthday present ever. Life goal, check.”

Publicizing her books is one of Busfield's primary goals, and the Elon microfinance initiative, a student group on Elon’s campus that works as a liaison for small businesses, is helping her achieve it.

The microfinance initiative is a new club on campus, and their work with Busfield is one of their first local projects. They have plans to hand out bookmarks around campus with a quote from Busfield’s first book on them, and are hoping to have her do a book signing at the campus book store.

Busfield said she is thankful for her relationship with the club, and the members of the initiative said they feel rewarded as well.

“I think she knew that if we work together, it would increase her publicity and it would essentially help both of us,” said Erin McGuiggan, a member of the microfinance initiative.

Being a published author has always been one of Busfield’s personal goals, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that she started researching what it would take to self-publish her work. The idea of publishing a compilation of love letters came naturally to Busfield, who had already started a blog where she posted love letters written for significant people in her life.

“Part of my platform is that love letters aren’t just ‘oh, I love you’ to a partner or to a husband or to a boyfriend,” she said. “It’s moments of love and appreciation and value for somebody who has made a really positive impact in my life.”

Busfield’s first book was published in November 2011. It is a collection of 50 love letters, and although all of the letters were written for specific people in Busfield’s life, she chose to not include their names in the book.

"Each letter I could talk about who it is in reference to," she said. "I leave that out in the books because I want people to be able to insert one of their own experiences.”

The book, at 92 pages, is short, sweet and to the point, Busfield said.

“I didn’t take a lot of time explaining things,” she said. “I was kind of getting used to the idea of bearing my soul on paper.”

At 136 pages, Volume 2 is a little longer and a bit more personal, she said. She takes more time to develop the story behind why she’s saying “I love you,” and talks about her marriage, her divorce and growing up.

“I’ve had help editing content, and I’ve had a couple of (the editors) in tears in the content that’s available in the second book,” she said.

Busfield’s works are best known locally, although Busfield herself hasn’t always been a resident of North Carolina. She was born in New York and moved to North Carolina when she was eight years old. She graduated from Graham High School, went to college at UNC Chapel Hill and recently moved to Mebane, where she lives with her six-year-old son.

Since graduating from college, Busfield has held a number of jobs, but it was her experience doing operations at a web development company that inspired her to create a website that corresponds with the theme of her books.

In November 2011, Busfield launched (JAB are her initials), where she publishes submitted love letters in the form of text, photos and videos.

“My passion has always been to be a published author, but because of the way information is shared these days, almost everything is online,” she said. “In the books, I talk about the projects and invite readers to be a part of the website, and now that they’ve read my letters, they can see that it doesn’t have to be super eloquent or super flowery, it just has to be a few thoughts down on paper.”

Every Thursday, Busfield publishes new letters and photos that have been submitted to the site. She said she only gets about a handful of submissions a week, but finds she gets more attention on her JAB Love Letters social media sites, including Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

As the word spreads about her website and published works, Busfield said she is constantly brainstorming new projects and is in the process of writing another book. And whether she's posting to one of her six blogs, updating the website or writing a love letter, Busfield’s outlook on love is ever-present.

“We all talk about missing that awesome moment when you should have told someone you love them,” Busfield said. “So stop wishing you should have told people and just tell them. It’s really easy to tear somebody down. It should be just as easy to tell someone, ‘you know what, you’re freaking awesome."