Blogaversary Celebration Final Day: Author, Julie Lessman
And now, ooooooooo … I get to talk about one of my favorite things -- love scenes!! Renee asked me what I think makes a good love scene, and let's face it, the answers to that question are as diverse as the genres available.
For some, it's a haunting look or a gentle touch of the hand in an Amish romance while for others (like moi!), it's Rhett hauling Scarlett off a buggy seat and kissing the daylights out of her before he heads off to war. Sigh. What can I say, I like LOTS of romantic tension in my books, whether I'm reading them or writing them, so MY answer to Renee's question of “What makes a good love scene?” would be …
DRAMA. LOTS AND LOTS OF DRAMA.
You know, the kind that makes your stomach dip … or your pulse race … or stings your eyes with tears until you have a pile of soggy Kleenex by your side? For me it's all about evoking emotion, and so I use the heck out of emotions when I write my love scenes. And as human beings, we all know there are tons of emotions from which to choose--from positive emotions like joy, pleasure and humor … to negative emotions like anger, greed, shock or guilt--the list is endless (and a LOT longer than you might think, so take a look at this WEBSITE)!
In fact, for me, the more emotions I pack into one love scene, the better. Anger is one of my favorite emotions to use because with anger, emotions are ramped about as high as you can get, and when you toss a few kisses into the mix--WHOA, BABY, the romantic tension goes through the roof, along with the old pulse! For writers who might be interested, I talk about anger and other ways to crank up the romantic tension in your novels in two Seekerville blogs I did a while back entitled “Quick, Dial 911 … We're Setting a Fire With Romantic Tension" and “A Kiss is Just a Kiss …”
Following is one of my favorite love scenes from my upcoming book, A Hope Undaunted, in which I attempted to use a LOT of emotions in an effort to elicit smiles, tears and a flutter in the stomach. Based on the list of emotions you can find in the link I posted above, you should see the following in this scene if I did it right: Elation, Hope, Joy, Pleasure, Relief, Awe, Compassion, Empathy, Humor, Playfulness, Surprise, Gratitude and Love.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it fear.
His breathing slowed and his gaze darted up, scanning the heavens. “You said you would never leave us nor forsake us, Lord, but where are you in all of this? Tillie needs you, and I need you. I've prayed for months for a good home for her, you know that, and yet there's been nothing.”
He sucked in a deep breath and sagged back into his chair, releasing the air in his lungs as thoroughly as he knew he had to release Tillie … into God's hands. “Forgive me, Lord, because I do trust you. You've never failed me, not once since I've given my life to you. So I believe you have Tillie in the palm of your hand because you've proven yourself faithful to me over and over. And one way or the other, you always answer my prayers.”
A knock sounded, and he spun around, spying Katie at the door. His lips quirked into a half smile. Well, almost always, he thought as her blue eyes peeked in.
“I'm leaving now, Luke. Is there anything you need before I go?”
Yeah, Katie, a hug would be nice.
Heat singed the back of his neck and he coughed, clearing his throat. “No, I'm good. Have fun this weekend.” His brows pinched in a frown. “Oh, sorry--are you still on confinement?”
She grinned and sidled past the door, closing it carefully behind her with a pretty blush on her cheeks. “Yes, until tomorrow night, that is, when I have my first date with Jack in over two and a half months.”
Luke forced a smile to cover the scowl in his mind. “Lucky Jack,” he said with a tease in his tone, but truer words had never crossed his lips, and suddenly the thought blackened his mood further. Over the summer, he'd made the startling discovery that Katie O'Connor was everything he wanted in a woman, and somehow he'd known it from the age of fourteen. With little or no effort on her part, she had won his affection--from a cold shoulder at the age of ten, to a teasing smile at the age of eighteen--and Luke would give anything to be more than just friends. But they had a deal, and she had a boyfriend, and Luke was a man of his word. The scowl finally won out as he looked away, intent on shoving papers into a drawer.
She hesitated. “Are you sure you don't need anything before I go? You look … tense.”
Tense? Because two people he loved were leaving his life forever? He blew out a sigh of frustration and wheeled in his chair to stare out the window. “No, Katie, go home. I'm just down about Tillie, that's all. Go on, get out of here and have fun this weekend.”
Go home to Jack, Katie Rose.
His stomach tightened at the sudden click of her heels, and shock expanded his eyes when she perched herself on the edge of his window. She crossed silky legs and leaned forward, palms flat on the sill and blue eyes sparkling with excitement. Her mouth twitched with a smile, as if a secret hovered behind those full, sensuous lips, and the tease of her proximity triggered his pulse till he thought he couldn't breathe. A gentle breeze from the window rustled her silk dress, and the scent of roses drifted in the air, warming his blood. “What's on your mind, Katie?” he asked, heat crawling up his neck at the realization of what was on his.
“The same thing that's on yours, apparently,” she said with a mysterious smile. “Tillie.”
His pulse slowed. “Tillie? What about her?”
Katie bit her lip and then grinned outright. “I have a foster family for her.”
He sat up straight in the chair, fingers gripped white on the arm. “W-what? W-where?” His words tripped over his tongue, moving faster than the hammering of his heart.
Her laughter floated in the air like the sound of hope. “A wonderful family, really--large, well-to-do, and so full of love that Tillie will think she died and went to heaven.”
He couldn't help it--tears stung his eyes. “Who?” he whispered.
Her gaze was tender as she studied him, the wetness in her eyes matching his own. “The O'Connors of Boston,” she said softly, then put a hand to her chest and blinked back her tears. “Goodness, you think she'll mind sharing a room?”
He stared, disbelief stealing the air from his lungs. And then in a jolt of comprehension, it whooshed back in, flooding his body with such joy and emotion, he thought he would faint. In one frantic clip of his heart, he swallowed Katie up in his arms and squeezed as if he would never let go, his deep laughter rumbling against her hair. “Woman, I could just kiss you,” he shouted, and then all at once his breathing stilled as he set her back down, suddenly aware of her body pressed against his, the burn of his hand on the small of her back.
Their gazes met, and heat traveled his bloodstream like alcohol, drowning all inhibition he may have felt. He saw the vulnerability in those wide blue eyes, heard the tremulous breathing drifting from those soft, parted lips, and all reason fled from his brain, disarming all good intent. In slow and careful motion, his hands cupped the sides of her face like a caress, eyes fixed on her mouth before shifting to lose himself in her eyes. He feathered her lips with the pad of his thumb. “Thank you, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “for giving me so much joy.”
He wanted to fight it, knew it should only be a kiss on the cheek, but his body seemed drugged with her. His eyelids weighted closed as he moved near like a man in a trance, compelled to graze his lips against hers. Upon touch, their shallow breathing became one as he nuzzled her mouth with his own. And then, in a ragged beat of his heart, she melted into him with a familiarity that destroyed all restraint. He clutched her body to his, deepening the kiss that just cost him a promise he'd made. “God help me, Katie, I want you--”
Somewhere in the recesses of their minds they heard it, that gruff clearing of a throat that seemed so very far away. And then harsh reality struck, and Katie jerked violently from his arms as if he had thrust her away.
“I knocked, but I guess you didn't hear it.” Parker stood with arms crossed in the open door, voice rock hard and jaw even worse.
An unnatural shade of red bled up Katie's neck and face like a thermometer registering a fever of a 105. “P-Parker … Mr. Riley … it's not what it seems. L-luke was just thanking me …”
The hard line of Parker's mouth twisted as his eyes shifted to Luke with a penetrating look. “A simple 'thank you' wouldn't have been enough?”
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction." She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever and is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her WEBSITE.
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