Category: Uncategorized

Defining Romance

I’m often intrigued by the notion of “romance”. What is it, exactly? Clearly it’s incredibly subjective, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder (in most cases), but over the centuries, cultures have often had a broad notion of what is considered romantic for the time period.

In Victorian times, for instance, romance was spoken in the language of flowers. And while giving flowers to a beloved is still trendy today, what each flower means has pretty much been swept aside.

Before that, it was incredibly sensual for a man to touch a woman’s skin…anywhere! Recall that part in the most recent Pride & Prejudice movie, when Darcy helps Elizabeth into a carriage after her sister is ill and finally going home? Elizabeth wasn’t wearing gloves (because she was rarely proper) and their skin actually *touched*! They show a close-up of Darcy’s hand afterwards, and he sort of stretches out his fingers slightly. That’s how fantastically sexy it was to just touch skin on the hands back in the day. How romantic…

Etiquette and romance are often tied together, which is true even today. There’s a certain way to respond to a text message or an email which conveys flirtatiousness or friendship only. And there’s a game to be played by every actor in the romantic sphere, even after a relationship is long established.

Romance in marriage, for instance, does not have to die at all, as long as the partners are willing and communicative about keeping it alive. I find romance books to be interesting in that most close the final scene with a first kiss, or a passionate embrace, a promise of marriage, or a wedding. In a series, the newly married characters are typically scenery. There for bouncing dialogue off, but we never really get to see inside their marriages. Clearly, most of those marriages are painted as perfect and happy, as if all the issues leading to their union were swept away by the bliss of finding love.

But anyone who knows anything about romance and real life knows that such perfect marriages are next to impossible. People are different. It takes work to be married. There are character flaws in all of us. So…let’s start to play with the notion of romance within relationships. What does it take to keep that romance alive? What *is* romance in the deepest, longest sense? I dare us all to try and find it, describe it, and bask in it when we find it.

The Women Who Worked

Women have had it rough a lot. And I don’t mean just now, when people are discussing the #metoo campaign and the glass ceiling. I mean even hundreds of years ago, women had it rough because their lives were so much harder (and shorter) due to the lack of modern conveniences.

In researching the Trappers series, I was shocked to realize that the average age was mid-twenties for both men and women. And women had a huge chance of dying in childbirth, because until the late 1800’s, nobody understood how infection worked, what germs were, or even basic sanitation. Imagine not knowing that having bad water would kill you? Imagine knowing if you were pregnant, you had a really huge chance of dying. Imagine if you got a cut, it was pretty much a death sentence because no one, not even “doctors” understood what caused the infection in the first place. There was no such thing as “keep clean bandages on it” because the idea of “clean” wasn’t what we think, and no one thought to apply it to injuries.

Obviously, I don’t dive into this kind of historical fact when writing my romances, because frankly they’d be filled with a lot of earthy terror and a ton of death. But the research was mind-blowing. It made me realize that while today’s fights are philosophical and justice-driven, not even 200 years ago, our fights were far more physical. It was the fight to live, to eat, and to survive. Crazy how reading a little bit of history can really make one feel very grateful for a dishwasher and antibiotic ointment.

The women in my books are a range of strong and dainty. Some are built for hard living, some have to learn their way into it. And all of them know that they need to be able to stand on their own two feet in order to live and thrive. They may find they can lean on their menfolk (and frankly, all my men are very very modern in their thinking in terms of marriage, women, and sex) but they have to get their hands dirty alongside them, too. It’s a partnership. And that doesn’t change no matter which century one lives in.

Book 2 is out!

Romancing the Rendezvous has been out a month, and now Passion on the Prairie, Book 2 in the Trappers, Traders & Tinkers series, is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble (working on a few more places as well!).

It’s hard to believe how fast these are pouring out of me. I’m 2/3 of the way done with Book 3, which is called Marrying a Mountainman. These characters keep popping up, intertwining, and suddenly they’re alive and active on the page, with their quirks, their style of speaking, and their faults. It’s hard not to delve too deeply into the history. If I did, I’d run the risk of writing a non-fiction book filled with all kinds of fascinating trivia, though each piece I uncover as I research is such a nugget of awesomeness.

Because I’ve been all about the Fur Trade era in this series, I thought I’d offer one of my favorite links for finding the specific lingo from the 1820-30’s: American Mountain Men Glossary.

Debating the difference between romance and erotica

My wonderful connections at RWA and other romance writer’s groups on Facebook have been very helpful with this question, which spun into a debate about the difference in using the word “clean” vs “sweet” to explain romance that ends with a kiss and nothing else.

That being said, I’m clearly more interested in the difference between what’s considered a tried, true, sexy, spicy romance and what’s erotica. The best way it was explained was that erotica = sex is the main reason the book exists…the author tries to get their characters in situations so they can just…have all kinds of interesting sex. So…it’s a book about sex.

Romance runs the gauntlet, with varying degrees of “steam”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my romances are certainly spicy and hot. But there’s a plot. My characters exist within a real, historical backdrop, and are usually dealing with more than sex. If I took out the sex, we could still have a book that carries itself. It wouldn’t be as fun to read, and I’d certainly miss the passion, but it would work.

So I’m putting myself squarely in the romance category. But I still use words to describe body parts. There is sex. And different kinds of sex. And the women actually LIKE it. They’re not scared of it. Oh, and the characters are generally inexperienced. Romance has, in my opinion, enough virgin heroines. Let’s have real women. I mean, they had sex back then, as I keep reminding everyone. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here!

New Release on December 1!

I’m so excited to announce that the first book in the Trappers, Traders & Tinkers series is due to be released on December 1, 2017! Romancing the Rendezvous is set in the early 1800’s on the edge of the wilderness on the vast prairies connecting the mountains and fur trappers with civilization. It was an intense time, a wild time and a very short time in American history, and I wanted to place a hot romance right in the middle of this almost forgotten time when actually staying alive was so very tenuous.

You’ll meet Fell Madsen, a blacksmith by trade, who lost the woman he’d planned to marry to another man. Quiet, surly and a bit taciturn by nature, Fell is known for his work and his size. And then there’s Helen Parrier, a woman abandoned by her husband to manage her three little boys and to trap by herself all winter…or give up and become a prostitute in the nearby town to provide for her family. When spring arrives, everyone descends onto the prairie to trade, barter and reconnect, and Helen knows she has to trade her pelts in order to have a chance at survival.

When the two meet, the attraction is blinding. But Fell is still trapped in memories of his former betrothed and Helen’s experiences leave her to believe she’s always the woman left behind. In the middle of painful revelations and horrifying loss, Fell and Helen try to find a way to one another before the ways of the wilderness rip them apart.

Writing Love Scenes

I’ve officially decided I need post-it notes to remember to write sex scenes. Heck, I need post-it notes to remember to discuss the sexual tension between my couples!!  This does not sound like I have a promising career in writing spicy, sexy romance, does it?

But thankfully I DO remember to do it. So it’s in all the books. 🙂 Many, many times. hahaha

This brings the question to light…do people like to just…cut to the chase and have the sex? Or do they need the prologue, the slow, agonizing meandering to sex, the touch and gasp and break apart? Is it yummier to just have passionate sex with lots and lots of moves and positions? Or is it more delightful to have a slow burn with firecrackers that feel like it was worth the wait?

Is this a question of…is foreplay needed? Is it necessary? Or does it depend on your mood? What is your favorite way to fall, gasping, into the sex scenes?

I know mine…a slow burn and then suddenly BAM, the deliciousness comes full force with a lasting taste of forever.

But everyone’s different a little different. So I suppose each romance book can be too!

Back to writing, then.


I’m so excited!

Not like THAT. Like “omg here’s the new website!” excited!

Also because I’m really looking forward to unveiling the new series by the beginning of 2018: Traders, Trappers & Tinkers, a 1820’s historical hot western romance trilogy!

If you want to keep in touch, email me at or fill out the form. You know. For book deals.

Here it goes. The wild ride into spicy, sexy, hot romance. I hope I’m up for it. And you are too. There’s like a pun in every phrase now. I assume that’s a bonus of writing in this genre.