Valentine Kisses

Since it’s Valentines, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about kisses. An important part of any romance. I write Historical Romance and will be using some examples from my Hearts at War series. (Which is on sale right now!)


So, what do we look for in a kiss…um, a book kiss, that is?


  • The physical: Readers want to be able to picture the kiss, to see it play out in their imaginations.


“Please be careful.” Rachel’s chest hurt as he gave her a half smile and moved to mount. “Andrew?”

He glanced back, his expression tender, his gaze moving from her eyes to her mouth and back again.

“Captain Wyndham.”

Rachel wasn’t certain who called, and it didn’t matter. How could she let him go again, not knowing if she would see him again, and with his kiss—his almost kisses—burning in her mind? “Wait.”

Andrew looked down as she rushed to his side. Pushing his boot out of the stirrup, she replaced it with her own, grabbed the pommel and leaned into the horse to pull herself up. Half sitting in the saddle in front of him, she touched his face. “I love you, Andrew Wyndham. Never doubt th…”

The warmth of his lips silenced her. She closed her eyes as the horse shifted under them. His mouth drew her in, his arm strong around her. His taste, the cascade of scents, the coarse brush of whiskers on her chin—everything intoxicating.

“I love you.” Rachel sank back to the ground.

~excerpt from The Scarlet Coat


  • Another aspect of the kiss in writing is the senses. How do you bring their senses alive and put them in the moment?


Lydia tipped her chin up at Daniel’s touch, her lips parting as they met his. Her eyes closed, but not to darkness. A strange sort of light filled her, along with the scent of moss and earth, and something distinctly and wonderfully him. She deepened her breath as Daniel deepened the kiss, his fingers traveling across her back, drawing her against him. Slow and needy, his mouth moved against hers. An ache welled within her, as though she were being ripped in half…and then a sudden release. Her defenses crumbled. Her hands slid with a will of their own to his face and the hair at the nape of his neck. She answered his silent plea with an equally silent yes.

Daniel’s withdrawal was gradual, as though weaning her from his touch. He never completely let go, but gave a boyish grin that broke dimples in both cheeks and melted her reserves as surely as his kiss had.

~excerpt from The Patriot and the Loyalis

How many senses were used in this excerpt? Sight. Smell. Touch. Don’t cram all the senses in there, but add a couple to bring it to life.


  • With all that, there is still the mental. What is the character thinking and why? How does that change the kiss?


Joseph ducked his head and touched her mouth. First with his finger. Then with his lips. No movement, just their mouths touching, lingering on the brink of something more.

A shiver moved through her. She’d never wanted anything so much, and feared it so greatly. The moment seemed to balance on one question that remained unanswered.  Did he love her?

Pressure built upon her mouth, and she realized he was kissing her. Soft at first, but then with an increasing neediness. Or longing? She couldn’t be sure which, but a huge chasm divided the two. What if she were only a memory of Fannie? Joseph, please…

How could she fight against something she craved so dearly?  One of his hands slipped to the bow she had just tied and he pulled the ends free. His kiss paused as he looked at her face. He froze, his gaze never wavering though the light of moments earlier faded away. He cleared his throat and stepped back.

“We should go down to dinner.” Without another word, he collected his hat and moved to the door. Hannah gasped for a breath, but it wouldn’t come. All her attempts to emulate Fannie, and to what end? So that Joseph could lose himself in a memory? Reality was not so kind to him. She’d seen it in his eyes when he’d looked at her and saw her as she was. No, she could never be Fannie. And what good was his love if it wasn’t for her?

~excerpt from The Tory’s Daughter


Here, she spent the whole kiss analyzing their relationship? It might have been very different moment if she had been contemplating something else. Like how much she loved him… or what they were going to have for dinner.


  • And finally, at least in this list since I’m running out of books, the emotional. If your characters aren’t feeling anything, neither will the reader.


Myles traced the tips of his fingers down Nora’s sleeve, a simple muslin gown.

She stepped nearer.

“Nora, I…”

What could he tell her that wouldn’t drive her away? Better to remain silent and forget who either of them were. Forget the war—pretend it really had ended. He closed the distance and found her mouth. He needed her strength. Her acceptance. Her.

Myles’s hands felt full as he held her head in place and allowed his heart to bleed. Her lips moved against his, reminding him that he had, indeed, survived and would continue to. Life coursed through him, pushing back the shadows, breathing hope into him.


He’d forgotten what that felt like, tasted like. His eyes burned as her hands smoothed across his back. She pulled away and stared up at him with wide eyes and rosy cheeks. Concern marked her brow. “What happened to your back?”

“What?” He blinked, not ready to let go of her or the feelings she’d given life to.

~excerpt from The Return of the King’s Ranger


So, these are just a few examples of kisses and different focuses to bring out during them. Which do find moves you most as a reader? Do you have a favorite kiss or a scene you’ve written and want to share?

What’s in a name?

As a writer of Colonial fiction, one of funnest things to do is choose names for characters. More and more I see the huge influence the Puritans had on what became common names in the American colonies. They also had a lot of names that didn’t rise in popularity as some of the Bible names did, but still hold a lot of meaning…and sometimes a chuckle (like ‘Search-the-Scriptures’, ‘Joy-in-sorrow’ or ‘Sorry-for-Sin’)

Here are a few of my favorites:

For girls: (Besides the usual Bible names)

Pop over to Colonial Quills for the rest of this blog, including an excerpt from The Scarlet Coat!

Loving the short story–and why it feels like Christmas!

And so August comes to an end. I must say, it was a great month for me and so I thought I’d share. First was the IMG_1540abundance of vegetables from my garden. So good! I also had lots of fun at playgrounds and wading parks with my kids. Family walks. BBQs. And then on August 26th I found out that my short story, When I’m Gone, won the romance category of the “Storming the Short Story” Contest hosted by two Texas chapters of the American Christian Fiction Writers. My story about ballroom dance partners facing the WWII draft will be included in a dance themed anthology.

And life continued… My hubby took some time off work for family and we finally got tomatoes and corn out of our garden (remember we live in Canada so this is an exciting thing). To end the month off with a bang I just found out that a second short story I wrote won a contest, too! I Heard the Bells, inspired by one of my favorite Christmas songs (I’m sure you can guess the one, but if not click here) will be published; my forth anthology since February of this year.civil-war-gingerbread-recipe-225x300

To celebrate, and to get yourself in the Christmas spirit, have some of the gingerbread loaf featured in I Heard the Bells, and stay tuned for more info on my stories and their release dates.

KISS Front CoverAlso keep your eye open another one of my short stories to be released in the anthology: A Kiss is Still a Kiss that will be released on November 1st! Maybe add it to your goodreads “to read” list! 😉

Thanks for dropping by to celebrate my exciting news! And have a very merry Christmas!


Shackled (included in A Kiss is still a Kiss)

Arizona Territory 1883

He came west to find freedom and ended up shackled to a chair. She’s not sure she ever wants to let him go.

Martha Fern–So much I never knew!

I recently decided — aka last week — that I should write something a little different on Sundays. Something with more meaning than a novel can hope to possess. A person’s life. A real human being who lived and loved and then said farewell to the ones she loved. She said farewell to me. Martha Fern Stutz was my maternal grandma. She lived on the family farm two miles from where I grew up and I spent a lot of time between those two wonderful specks on the earth. She passed away ten years ago in January. It doesn’t feel near that long ago.

As I’ve started researching, or “phoning Mom”, it’s amazing the little things I never knew, or thought about before:

It is hard to say how concerned 33 year-old Joseph Reuben Stutz, and 29 year-old Clara McLean Coombs were with world events, on July 19th, 1914 in the small hamlet of Leavitt near Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, as they welcomed their fourth child. In Alberta, the first great wave of immigration that had spanned that last twenty years was coming to a close, and in exactly nine days the world would charge headfirst into World War I.

Fern, (as she disliked the name Martha and so went by her middle name) came into the world with the help of the local midwife “Grandma Baker” who became legendary for the hundreds and hundreds of babies she birthed without losing any of them or their mothers.

Martha Fern is the adorable girl in the middle:



I look forward to more Sunday evenings delving into this wonderful life that has affected mine so greatly. I’ll share a few of the most exciting tidbits here 🙂