Writing Kisses

Trying to write the perfect kiss can be fun, yet frustrating. I mean, how do you WRITE the perfect kiss? How do you make your reader feel like they are experiencing it right along with your hero/heroine? How do you get all the emotions into words? What elements, actions, are essential to write down, which aren’t? How do you write it so it’s tight, flows, and doesn’t go on for a WHOLE chapter?

Weeding through a list of questions like those and then answering them is what makes writing so much fun. Finding the perfect words to make a sigh-worthy kiss pop off the pages. The touches, the looks, the words, the effect it has on the characters, how they react, what they say just before, what they say right after . . . LOVE creating!

My method of research includes: Youtubeing kiss scenes from my favorite movies (And of course, practicing with my amazing Hubby.). While I watch, I write down every detail, from how they stand, hand position, lip angle, breathing . . .  

Although I have many favorite movie kisses, I’d have to say my absolute favorite kiss scene is between Christina Ricci and James McAvoy in PENELOPE. There’s just something so sweet, tender, about it . . . Definitely sigh-worthy!



So, if you were writing–or reading–the perfect kiss, what elements would you add? What’s essential to you? 



Research, Gotta Love It

Have you ever dressed up? Gone somewhere you normally wouldn’t? Talked with an accent? Bought something just to see what someone would say–how they’d react? Made a fool of yourself in the name of research?

I haven’t done anything drastic while researching BOUND. (Although, hanging out with loads of teenagers and being goofy might make someone’s list). I was going to buy a pair of Jimmy Choos to walk around in, get in my characters shoes, but the price tag made my eyes roll…And, I sprained my ankle while wearing flip-flops, so . . . 

I did try to get my boys involved in my BOUND research. “Hey, can I throw you into a tree and see how your face bruises?” Yeah, they turned me down…

But, someday soon I’ll have to get my crazy on. My main girl in my WIP, LINES CROSSED (tentative title), makes a randomly-crazy list. I’m planning on experiencing the list along with her so that my writing, (feelings, thoughts, actions) is authentic. Will be interesting… Some of the items on her list: dyeing hair pink, getting a tattoo, going out dancing, kissing a stranger….

RESEARCH, gotta love it!

On a breath-taking research note, another of my WIP’s (IRISH DETOUR), my heroine and her BFF travel to Ireland. I like to write about exotic locations because, of course, I’ll have to go there for research. Hmm…I think I’m going to work on one where my character goes to Greece….

So, what are you prepared to do in the name of research?

Anyone have any crazy researching stories? 🙂


Introducing Carla Laureano

One of the perks of living in the “writer world” is meeting other writers and getting to read their stories. This week I had the opportunity to read Carla Laureano’s debut novel FIVE DAYS IN SKYE. It was like relaxing with a cup of coffee and watching my favorite movie. Leap Year, Decoy Bride, and P.S. I Love You all rolled into one delightful banter-filled romp . . . I loved it!

And as far as my checklist for what makes a GREAT contemporary romance novel, FIVE DAYS IN SKYE pretty much nailed them all.

1. Good-looking hero with an accent. CHECK! (picture Henry Cavill with the voice of Gerard Butler…*SIGH) **James MacDonald is a world-known chef with a reputation. He may play the part of “playboy”, but James is hurting and just not ready to do “serious”…yet…

2. Strong, smart, feisty heroine who isn’t whiny, and likes shoes. CHECK. **Andrea Sullivan is a feisty, consultant. After punching the last client in the face (Woot! Woot! The man wasn’t listening to her “no touchy-touchy” policy), she’s being “banished” to Scotland to consult for a world-known chef that she knows nothing about.

» “As punishments went, Scotland was a big one.” (page 9)

» “This is a business trip. Trust me. My dream vacation involves sunshine and umbrella drinks on the beach, not rain and fog in some backwater village.” If she’d only managed to keep her temper in check, she’d be spending the next week in the tropics with the promise of a fat commission and a guaranteed promotion, not serving time in Scotland babysitting a celebrity client who suddenly wanted to dabble in the hotel business. (page 10)

» “Frankly, I don’t know the first thing about him. I’ve never seen his show, I certainly don’t cook, and I can’t fathom why anyone with a successful career in London would want to open a hotel on the Isle of Skye.” (page13)

3. Playful Banter and sparks. CHECK! CHECK! **Sparks of all kinds started flying from page one and didn’t stop.

“If you can’t find me tomorrow, I’m probably hiding out somewhere so I don’t have to leave,” she murmured.

“You won’t hear any complaints from me.” He rubbed her arms briskly. “It’s cold, and I promised you something to warm you up.”

“Is that so?” She turned to face him and raised her eyebrows.

“Chocolate, you vixen.”

“Somehow, I’m disappointed.”

“Can’t have that, can we?” He pulled her closer and proceeded to kiss her until the cold was the last thing on either of their minds. (Page 231-232)

4. Exotic location. CHECK. *Scottish Isle of Skye… I love learning about new places, feeling like I’m there. Carla does an excellent job of giving enough detail without making it read like a page from a textbook or guidebook. Now I REALLY want to go to Scotland!

5. Just enough “serious” to get me thinking, a take away thought that sticks with me even after I’ve closed the book. CHECK.

» “We’re all broken. We’re only human. Some wounds only God can mend. If we let Him.” (page 250)

6. An ending that doesn’t skip ahead to “and they lived happily ever after and just found out they’re pregnant…” CHECK. The wedding, first years of marriage, and pregnancy/baby is a whole book in and of itself! **I’m not going to tell you how it did end, but Carla did a great job with it!

**Pretty much the only thing missing from FIVE DAYS IN SKYE, are scratch-and-sniff stickers. Food was being prepared ALL. THE. TIME. My stomach growled audibly several times, which says a lot about Carla’s descriptive-sensory writing. YUM!

**Carla Laureano does an excellent job of creating characters that are relatable and likeable. I couldn’t wait to read what happened next, but I didn’t want to read too fast and get to the end . . . I look forward to reading the next book in this series. It’s about James’ brother, Ian. YEAH! That name holds a special place in my heart, seeing as it’s the name of MY good-looking hero with an accent in BOUND! 😉

For more info on Carla, check out her Facebook page and her website:



Choosing Choos

I love to use Google Images to help me pick out outfits for my characters to wear–I like to have a picture to look at while I’m writing about a character: what they look like and what they’re wearing in a particular scene. It might not get in the novel totally, but I love to spend time on these little details…Distracting, yep! Fun, you bet!

LYDIA, my main gal in BOUND, is from the wealthiest family Bradford, NC (made up town so it won’t show up on Google). Lydia is very fashion-conscious (about herself and of everyone around her…she’s got a few things to learn about judging by appearance), and must look classy at all times, refusing to wear pants of any type. Her little fashion “statement” is that of always wearing a flower in her corkscrew curls–curls that would make Shirley Temple and Kerri Russell jealous! 🙂

I’ve posted 7 pairs of black Jimmy Choos (and one sparkly pair just ‘cuz). Help me decide which pair Lydia will wear in the last chapter of BOUND!

1.         2.

3.       4. 

5.         6. 


My “just ‘cuz” pair! So SPARKLY!

Post your votes below, and may the best CHOOS win!

Choosing Names

“Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully.

“Of course it must,” Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh; “my name means the shape I am – and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.” ― Lewis Carroll

Choosing the right name for your hero/heroine/villain can be challenging, but fun. There’s no right or wrong way to choose a name, but remember that names have meanings, origins, and POWER!

Here’s a few things to think about when choosing a name:

1. Does the name fit the character’s personality? You wouldn’t name your loving, sweet Granny, Voldemort…But it’s sure makes a great name for a bad guy.

2. Is the name era/country/age appropriate? Does it fit the era? Is the name used in the country that your character is from? Does it fit the age of your character? Using an Irish name for an Irish character adds flavor…naming an Asian character Paddy O’Reilly would be confusing…Unless you had a distinct purpose for doing this…

3. Is the name of your hero/heroine memorable? It doesn’t even have to be unique for it to stick with people. Harry Potter is such a simple sounding name, but it’s stuck because it fits his character. Another thing, if you are going to create a new spelling for an old name, make sure you stay consistent in your spelling of the name. A great way to remember spellings of first names, middle names, last names, is to keep them all on index cards. Keep them within reach for those times when you have a mental pause, and can’t remember how you spelled Shayne/Shane.

4. Choose names that won’t annoy your readers. I tend to skip over names that I can’t pronounce…(I admit I skipped over Hermione Granger for the longest time…) Recently, I’ve been going on Youtube and seeing if someone (the author) has said the character’s name out loud so I’ll know how to pronounce it when I read it. It frustrates me when I can’t “be the hero/heroine” because I can’t pronounce my name!

5. Does your character live up to the meaning of his/her name? Names have power. If the hero of your novel is “fearless, motivated, strong”, don’t give him a name that means “stupid, lazy cow.” I love learning the meanings of names. Bible names are my favorite. In their context, the meanings are very telling as to who they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re headed.

6. Is the name “original” in your story? Are there other characters with similar sounding names, rhyming names, same initials? Try as hard as you can to keep names different so you don’t confuse the reader. (EX: “Gerald looked at Gerard and laughed.”…. “I went to the store with Mary, Martha, and Margaret.”)

7. Just a helpful, stress-reducing tip: Don’t choose names that end in “S”. It will help cut down your frustration when you have to use the possessive form. Where in the world does the apostrophe “s” go??? (I should’ve taken this advice with the last name of my character in BOUND: Xanthis’s or Xanthis’ or Xanthis)

**Some great tools for finding names include: baby name books (I have one that I keep close to my computer at all times. The one I have has origins and meanings. It’s been a lifesaver!), Google: names and meanings, phone book, Social Security Name Popularity List, reading name badges at stores…

So, do you have a method for picking names, or do you just hear one you like and use it without checking to see where it comes from?

“I’d love to work with an Asian guy named Wu Hu, because just saying his name would get me all pumped up and excited.” ― Jarod Kintz