Tag Archives: romance

The Magic of First Kisses

14 Aug

I am amazingly lucky to be able to tell you that not only is Sara Ramsey’s writing super fun, but so is Sara. She’s a lovely person and a talented writer. I’m so glad to have her here kicking off our first week of writers *waves another thanks to last week’s reviewers*) for the Month of Kisses!

Welcome Sara!

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Thanks for inviting me to blog, Bria! I must admit, though, that I deeply regret accepting this challenge. Writing a couple’s first kiss scene stresses me out so much that even writing a blog post about first kisses had me panicking and procrastinating all day. How embarrassing is that?

For romances, whether they are traditional romances or YA, that first kiss is crucial — it’s no wonder they give me ulcers. A first kiss is a declaration. It says, in no uncertain terms, that one or both characters recognize some potential between them, some connection that they want to explore. It usually forces the characters to acknowledge that even though there are seemingly insurmountable obstacles standing between them and happiness, they are helpless to control their attraction to each other. It’s a little piece of fantasy for a reader, and it’s fun to imagine being so swept away by someone that you forget everything else — a rare, magical us-against-the-world feeling that so many of my favorite romances seem to capture.

That first kiss has to serve many functions. In a traditional romance (one with a happy ending for the couple, whether it’s YA or adult), it has to get the reader to care about and cheer for the couple. It has to increase the emotional and sexual tension and convince the reader that this is a story they want to follow. It has to entertain. It has to make the reader feel something — perhaps remembering her own first kiss, or dreaming of a first kiss with a perfect partner. And it has to come at exactly the right point in the book — not too early, or the characters look like they’re crazed by instalust, but not too late, or the reader begins to feel ripped off by the author throwing artificial obstacles in to keep the couple apart.

When a first kiss is well written, it shows the reader something beyond just a bit of passion or exploration. It goes deeper than that, into the hearts of these characters, and reveals the first glimpse of the love that might exist for the two of them if they can overcome whatever external obstacles stand in their way. And while the kiss might not be perfect (comedy gold!), or might get interrupted by overbearing guardians, or might lead directly into something more passionate, that first kiss is an opportunity for us as readers to see whether a couple has some spark that will make us follow their love story all the way to the end of the book.

Is it any wonder that I love reading first kisses, but hate writing them? I’m curious to know your opinions — what makes a first kiss work for you? Are there any first kisses that make you stop reading the book? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Sara Ramsey reads too many novels, drinks far too much caffeine, pays excessive attention to fashion, and is inordinately proud of her bad taste in music and movies. Her second book in the Muses of Mayfair trilogy, SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES, came out in April 2012. Sara is currently living the hip Regency writer life in San Francisco, California. You can find her online at http://www.sararamsey.com, or on Twitter at @sara_ramsey.

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When It’s So Bad, It’s Good

8 Aug

WELCOME TO Cheeky Reads Sabrina! The first guest of a Month of Kisses. I adore Cheeky Reads and am constantly checking out her reviews. Now, let’s here what she has to say about kisses. 😉

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While most romance readers love to sigh and fawn over their favorite first kiss scenes like they’re reliving their own sweet first experiences, I want the awkward, real, not-quite-right first kiss between my hero and heroine.

There’s something unexpected, but yet more realistic, about that first kiss not quite living up to the characters’ expectations. It lifts the drama of all that pent up tension and frees the characters from the overwhelming idea that they’ve just got to get it on! Instead, there’s new tension that’s based on more than just the physical and the reader can really see how much of this attraction goes beyond heaving bosoms and a nice pair of arms…um, I mean eyes.

I mean I want them to get it right later. But first, let them to have to work at it, to be surprised by each other and yes, laugh together and at themselves. Let them question their feelings without the story always being so tangled in the “It’s only a physical attraction.” conflict blow off so many authors can too easily fall back on.

There are innumerable great scenes to be made from a first kiss miss and so much that can be done with the emotions that result. Not to mention that a good writer knows that readers shouldn’t always get what they *think* they want or expect. I want that unexpected surprise. When a writer surprises is when that story goes from good to great for me and a first kiss scene is a fantastic place for a writer to really play with surprising the reader.

So next time you sit down to write that first kiss scene, think of surprising your reader. What can you do differently in that scene that lifts it above the norm and makes readers remember it? And maybe, just maybe, write am awesome disaster of a first kiss that leads the characters to a lifetime of practice getting it right!

So, do you like an unexpected or unusual first kiss? How do you feel about those not-so-perfect ones or have you ever even read one of those illusive scenes before? What are your thoughts on this as first a reader, and then as a writer?

Kissy-Kissy Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Cheeky Reads is the Sassy Girl’s Guide to Romance Books, a review and book blog that covers all romance genres. If you’re looking for reviews without spoilers, Cheeky Reads is your site – you wouldn’t want your best friend telling you the storyline details or ending so we don’t either! Visit me at  www.cheekyreads.com or stalk me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cheekyreads.

Wuthering Heights: Romance or Not?

15 Feb

I usually just do one blog post a week now — especially as I’m nearing the end of these revisions and am down to the hmmm things, but after yesterday, I thought I’d put one more up!

So, Special Agent MacLeod (otherwise known as my awesome agent @bostonbookgirl) did a hashtag on twitter yesterday (#mostromanticbooks –which I keep wanting to put “ev-ah” on the end of) and got a ton of great responses!!!

And made me think: How the heck have I not read The Princess Bride yet???

Oh, wait, wrong made-me-think. It made me think: Why do people consider Wuthering Heights a romance. To me, it’s just well…abusive people using the word “love” to act badly and hurt one another as a defense.

And yet, a commenter yesterday was really shocked that I don’t consider WH a romance.

And so, I leave it to you: Wuthering Heights — Romance or Not… AND WHY? WHY? I NEED TO KNOW WHY? … I mean, please share your reasoning.

Publishing Blogs Weekly Round-Up

10 Apr

First off, just a reminder: Luv YA Book Club is in just over a week (April 20th) and this months book is Rita Nominated Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore.

 

Ok, have we all recovered from Agentfail? Hopefully yes and everyone is moving on….soooooo…..

 

HarperCollins is publishing at least one book fully written by Michael Crichton posthumously. It’s about pirates. Need I say more?

 

Because we’re still trying to figure out if we even have a platform, let alone what it might be, here’s another blog post on that. But, it’s by Jessica Faust. So, Need I say more about that?

 

Saundra Mitchell on Crowe’s Nest did a great post on Self-Promotion. It’s never to early to start thinking about this stuff!

 

Writing on the Wall did a great post this week about recognizing beauty out of context. Basically, if a writer who has been declared brilliant writes something not typically published under a different name, would we notice? It reminded me a lot of the blog I did last year at Purple Hearts about the Jane Austen experiment (covered by The Guardian) where an author sent a bunch of query letters for Pride and Prejudice. He got turned down, shot down, and basically talked down to. Only one person who responded recognized the plot.

 

Two years ago, I read my first romance novel. I was a snob before that, but some really wonderful writers convinced me that (just like every genre) I needed to ignore those poorly written books and embrace the gems. Apparently, most of America is doing that – even in this economic crisis. Check out what the NYT has to say about that.

Free Workshop

12 Nov

No matter what you write, Joanna Bourne has a great blog. She’s truly one of my favorite writer’s who blogs. It’s a combination of hardcore, nitty-gritty writing lessons and everyday peeks into a writers life.  She’s probably sick of me linking to her, but check her out HERE.

 

So Ms. Bourne is doing a workshop with a couple of my other absolute favorite authors. If they had blogs, you’d see them here!

 

On that note, she’s one of the ladies doing a FREE (favorite word) workshop over at Romance Divas (last month’s fantasy one was awesome. I mean, seriously awesome — as someone who writes Fantasy, it was very encouraging.)

So, you should check out the Fantasy Workshop in the archives and check out the Historical Romance.

 

I know you’re scratching your head and saying… but I write something else. Not only is it not historical, it isn’t romance!  OK, let’s take a quick look at what you can learn from a historical romance writer:

  • WORLDBUILDING- yeah, they’re in our world, but they have to paint it very clearly for people not overly familiar with that time period. AND (just like most genres) play within a specific set of rules — actually, probably MORE than a lot of genres
  • RESEARCH – Historical readers are tough. I was a BritLit major and I can very easily get ticked off by some mistakes I feel a good researcher wouldn’t have made. All things forbid I see something a BAD researcher would have made.
  • CADENCE – The Queen of Cadence (that would be Ms. Bourne) is there. Seriously, if you’ve been following me since Purple Hearts, you know I feel cadence is as important (sometimes more) as word choice at creating your character, setting them apart from other characters, insinuating cultural differences. She’s a pro.

I’m just scratching the iceberg (I’m in a mixing metaphors mood) so check them out Nov 12-14th.