One of today’s commenters will receive a copy of one of Barbara’s backlist titles. Comment for a chance to win!
A big thank you to Tara Taylor Quinn for the invitation to guest blog here with the Story Broads. I’m honored to be in their company and happy to have the chance to talk with you about writing and books.
Where do thermostats come into this? Well…
The weather has been crazy all across the country. As recently as last week, friends in the Northern U.S. reported snow, while some in the Midwest complained of “rain, rain, and more rain,” and still others dealt with temperatures in the high eighties and worried about the abrupt trend toward summer. They’ve all got their thermostats at different settings.
Today, though, it’s not the thermostat on the wall in your home I’d like to talk about but the one in your favorite books.
I write for Harlequin American Romance, a line that focuses on home and family and community. It’s a great match for me, as I love to write—and read—about people, including quirky secondary characters. I’m also very glad that the line encompasses a variety of sensuality levels.
When people ask, I tend to say that I write “romance on the sweeter side”—but that doesn’t mean there’s no sexual tension! In any romance, awareness of each other plays a big part in the hero and heroine’s relationship. How much an author turns up the heat is a matter of personal choice, reader expectation and, in some cases, the requirements of the publisher.
While I can’t speak for other authors, for me, that decision of where to set the thermostat is also often determined by my characters. They can be ready and eager to take their relationship to the highest level and make love. On the other hand, sometimes, they’re not so willing. Or maybe they’re just not so happy to share details—which is when they close the bedroom door in my face. J There are also times when they have to bow to outside influences.
I’d like to share a few quick examples. These are from my books, since I know my own work—and characters—best.
In the book that’s due out this week, A RANCHER’S PRIDE (May 2011), Sam and Kayla have a sizzling awareness of each other that for many reasons they’ve forced themselves to ignore.
Sam has just learned of the existence of his four-year-old daughter. Not only is the heroine his ex-wife’s sister, she’s threatening to take his child from him.
Yet he can’t seem to stay away from her.
(One note about the action in the following clip: Sam’s daughter is deaf, and though he doesn’t know any sign language, to this point he has resisted being taught by Kayla, who’s fluent in it.)
Sam picked up one of Becky’s crayons and held his hand out to Kayla.
“How do you sign blue?” he asked, looking directly at her.
Kayla glanced down. “That’s not a blue crayon.”
“I was talking about your eyes. They’re very blue…and your cheeks are suddenly bright pink.” Sam smiled and leaned closer. “I can learn all my colors,” he murmured, “just by looking at you.”
Her heart thumped. She wanted to lean back but couldn’t. She should get up and walk away. Somehow, she couldn’t do that, either. “There are more signs than just colors, you know.” Her voice cracked on the last word.
He smiled. He knew just what he was doing to her. And darn him, he was enjoying it.
“True.” Sam smiled again. “How do you say I?”
She pointed her index finger at herself.
“And how do you say want?”
She hesitated then held both palms up and crooked her fingers as she pulled her hands toward her body.
He leaned even closer. “And how do you say a kiss?” he whispered against her ear.
In FAMILY MATTERS (October 2010), Kerry and Matt are surrounded by a crowd that includes her eccentric grandmother and scheming uncle, a couple of daredevil younger brothers, and a troubled teenage runaway. They barely have breathing space, let alone the opportunity to develop a romance! Still, they can’t resist each other.
Here, they’ve just shared a private moment…more or less.
She opened her eyes, blinking in the light. It seemed brighter than before. The first time they’d kissed, she’d heard bells. Now she was seeing lights? The man was a hero, but surely he didn’t have magical powers!
Suddenly, she smiled, recalling where they stood: Rainbow’s End. What was it Uncle Bren had said?
All the magic happens here.
Then Matt turned, and she saw what caused the additional brightness in the building. One of the heavy pocket doors had been pushed open. And outlined in the streaming sunlight stood her entire family, along with Matt’s mom.
Uncle Bren had frozen in surprise, Colin in red-faced embarrassment. Brody just rolled his eyes.
All this was bad enough, but it was the women’s reactions that left Kerry floundering for words.
Gran and Olivia turned to each other, exchanged gleeful grins, and smacked their palms together in a high-five.
This last clip comes from my first book for Harlequin American Romance, THE SHERIFF’S SON. Sarah and Tanner, childhood sweethearts and eventually lovers, are reunited after a number of years. I wanted the love scene because it was important to show how much they had matured in the interim. They needed the closeness to affirm what they’d once had and lost and could have again, if they were willing to take a risk.
She touched his fingers. “No.”
He stilled immediately, started to move his hand away.
She trapped his fingers against hers. “I mean, no, not here. This time, we deserve a bed, too.”
He didn’t move. Didn’t smile. As far as she could see, he didn’t even take a breath. But she could tell by the way the skin around his eyes crinkled, he approved of the idea.
She led him down the hall to her bedroom, and while he waited in the doorway, she crossed to the bed and swept the comforter onto the floor.
He raised a brow. “Making a mess of the place, aren’t you?”
She shook her head and sank to the edge of the mattress. “Making up for wasted time.”
Slowly, he stepped over the threshold, but didn’t come closer. “I don’t want any regrets.”
“We have enough of those.” She held out her hand.
Still, he didn’t move. “You’re sure about this, Sarah?
Because once I come over there, I can’t swear there’ll be any going back.”
She held out her other hand, too.
There you have some examples of where a hero and heroine can take a scene.
I hope you enjoyed the glimpses into my stories.
And now my questions to you:
Do you enjoy reading books with varying sensuality levels, or do you tend to favor one type? In other words, where do you set your thermostat? J
And if you read sweeter romance at all, do you expect variations in where the hero and heroine have their thermostat set?
Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the dry heat and have taken up square dancing.
From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called “books.” Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.
Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!
Her newest title from Harlequin American Romance, A RANCHER’S PRIDE, has received a 4-1/2 star Top Pick review rating from RT Book Reviews and is being released this week.
You can find Barbara online at her web site and blog: www.barbarawhitedaille.com where you can check out her Virtual Blog Tour schedule for A RANCHER’S PRIDE.
You can also reach her via Facebook and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille and https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille