Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What is Romance?

I'm pleased to have Terry Odell as my guest today. After a confusing start (thanks to me), here she is.

Thanks to Ellis for inviting me to blog. I'm delighted to be here. Since I write romantic suspense, which falls under the larger umbrella of romance, I'm always looking for inspiration for reasons my hero and heroine will be attracted to one another. And romantic moments are more important than writing the love scenes, because they illustrate what kind of a person the character is.

What do you think of as a 'romantic' moment? Flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day? A glittery something on your birthday? Flowers delivered every Friday?

For me, romantic means thoughtful. Doing something unexpected. Sure, a guy's going to be in deep yogurt if he forgets Valentine's Day, but it's the action that says "I'm thinking of you all on my own" that trips my heartbeat.

Is a Swiss Army knife a romantic present? Some would say no, but the circumstances, not the gift, define the romance. Years ago, I watched MacGyver. Hubby could take it or leave it, and it definitely wasn't a 'let's sit down and watch this together' sort of a show. I was vaguely aware that he'd come into the room, but didn't even turn my attention from the set. When Mac got out his trusty knife, I mumbled, "Why don't I have one of those?" So when I unwrapped my birthday present and found my very own "mini-MacGyver" (hubby wasn't sure I was ready for the real MacGyver version), I was thrilled. Not for the knife, but for the fact that he actually heard me, even when I wasn't staring right at him, and making a specific request.

Sometimes the gifts can be glittery – such as the time when hubby and one of our daughters were out for dinner. Afterward, as we walked through the strip mall toward our car, I decided to look in the jewelry store. Hubby was definitely against it, but daughter and I pointed out things we liked while hubby grumbled. The next week was Valentine's Day, and daughter and I each received one of the, "that's nice" pieces.

Other things that say romance to me:

Hubby saying, "You're working hard, how about if I take over washing the dishes and one baby feeding every day." Bonus points for it being the 2 AM feeding.

Hubby poking his head into my office where I'm busy typing away, and saying, "Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes."

Coming back from the Y and finding the bed made.

Hubby saying, "I'm making eggs, should I cook some for you?"
            Note: leaving the dirty frying pan on the stove 'in case you wanted to have eggs' is NOT thoughtful and romantic.

If we have to ask, it's not romantic. If those Friday flowers are because you (or your secretary) has a standing order at the florist, it's not romantic. If, however, you bring home flowers for no reason other than, "You looked sad when you had to throw out the last ones," then that IS romantic.

Terry Odell writes romantic suspense as well as contemporary short stories. Her latest release include her Blackthorne, Inc. covert ops novels, WHEN DANGER CALLS, WHERE DANGER HIDES, and DANGER IN DEER RIDGE. Find her at her website, http://www.terryodell.com or her blog, Terry's Place, http://terryodell.blogspot.com. And be sure to check out her Deals and Steals tab on her blog. Right now she's offering a 2 for 1 special.

12 comments:

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for having me, despite our little mixups! Glad to be here. Hope some of your readers will share their own romantic moments.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Polly said...

My husband isn't one for flowers or candy, but when I'm writing, he does most of the cooking. I appreciate that because if I were alone, I'd probably eat something quick and unhealthy.

I'm in the middle of What's in a Name? and I'm enjoying it. Nice work, Terry.

Stacey said...

It's the little things my husband does that feel like romance to me, too. :) Bringing me a Sonic drink mid-morning because he knows I'm busy and won't take a break, fixing dinner when I'm tied up with work, or - and this is a complete guilty pleasure because I could just do it myself - brushing my hair as we watch TV at night and I've had a bad day. I am really, really spoiled! :)
Thanks for the article and the reminder about thoughtfulness being a key part of romance.

Terry Odell said...

Polly, showing that you care is the heart of romance. (And glad you're enjoying What's in a Name?)

Stacey - brushing your hair. How wonderfully romantic.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Vicki Lane said...

Nice post, Terry. My husband brings my popcorn when I'm writing -- always a welcome treat. And he makes pizza (from scratch) once a week. That's romantic enough for me.

Terry Odell said...

Vickie - love a man who knows his way around a kitchen.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

jenny milchman said...

I couldn't agree more with your definition of 'thoughtful'--and ha, ha. Love the frying pan thing! I mean, not their doing it, of course...

Terry Odell said...

Jenny - thanks for stopping by. Yeah, we "discussed" the frying pan issue.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Ellis Vidler said...

Terry, so glad you're here today! You've made me remember some of the nice moments and rare surprises from my husband. No flowers but a foot massage after a long day standing at a book fair. That's love.

Terry Odell said...

Ellis - thanks so much for having me. Sometimes we need to remember all those little things. Glad I triggered a memory for you.

Anne R. Allen said...

Great post. "Romance" is almost never what people thing it is. It is indeed thoughtfulness: showing you know who the other person is--not just providing one-size-fits all prescribed gifts.

And what makes the romance in a romance novel is the intensity of emotion--sometimes from outside danger, sometimes from hate or anger turning to love. That's how we get our readers hooked.

Thanks Terry and Ellis!

Terry Odell said...

Anne, I agree. I want to know what characters are feeling, and I want my readers to feel what my characters do.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery