Tag Archives: romance novelists

LOVE LETTERS…


I was cleaning out some drawers the other day and my hands closed around a worn envelope. When I dragged it out, I saw a familiar old scrawl and my heart did an actual pitter patter.  I slowly pulled out the white paper. Unfolded it carefully. The rustle rose up to my ears as sweet as Beethoven. Then read it.

 My dearest love…

And so it began.

An old lover who’d made an impression on my life but was not meant to be my soul-mate. Writing his feelings, stark, and haunted, and passionate, in a bold blue scrawl. It was poetry, and a romance novel, and a symphony in one hard twist. His words carried me back to the precise moment I opened his letter; my uncertainty about our relationship, my trembling fingers as he poured out his heart, the patter of rain against the windowsill in the background as I read his words.

Ahhh, the love letter.

Is there anything as romantic and passionate in its simplicity as words written on a plain piece of paper from someone we love? For a lover of words, or someone who is good at expressing his or her feelings but can’t handle the verbal exchange, the love letter is the savior and the last stand of romantic love.

Words are still just as powerful today. We may write them on Twitter and email and Facebook, but we are still writing to express humor, frustration, passion, or love.  A friend of mine once had a boyfriend who sent note cards in the mail with one mysterious sentence such as, Thinking of tonight….I caught your scent and looked for you today….You are my heart…

Those note cards were more exciting than receiving a text or email. Something about a letter received through the mail makes the exchange seem extra special.

So, my old lover got me thinking about the history of love letters. I perused one of my favorite books (citation below) which details actual love letters throughout history. I posted some excerpts below:

“I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever precious – your heart, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.” –Count Leo Tolstoi, Russian writer, to Valeria Arsenev, his fiancée. November 2nd 1856/

“Carry me off into the blue skies of tender loves, roll me in dark clouds, trample me with your thunderstorms, break me in your angry rages. But love me, my adored lover.” Sarah Bernhardt, French actress, to Jean Richepin, French writer, in 1883

“Sometimes I have a rush of feeling, that seems like the passage of a spirit through me, and ought to flow to you like blessing. This is the most beautiful feeling I ever experienced; it is indeed divine, and too much for mortal force: there is no music for it; it can never, I fear me, be expressed…Like sunset it cannot be remembered.” Margaret Fuller, American writer and critic, to James Nathan, April 22nd 1845.

“I lie awake the greatest part of the night in thinking of you…my feet carry me of their own accord to your apartment at those hours I used to visit you; but not finding you there, I return with as much sorrow and disappointment as an excluded lover.” Pliny the Younger, Roman writer, to Calpurnia, his third wife 1st century AD.

My husband never wrote me a love letter and would probably laugh out loud at the idea of trying to come up with one. But one afternoon, I was searching for my husband’s birth certificate in the drawer he keeps his important papers. My fingers closed around a napkin. I cursed under my breath at finding garbage in his bureau, and pulled it out. Carefully folded, I opened the napkin and found my own handwriting. With sheer astonishment, I realized my husband had kept the cocktail napkin where I wrote my name and phone number on the night we met at a bar. Nine years ago.

My heart light, a smile on my lips, I folded the napkin and tucked it back in. That was my own love letter to him. And he has kept it.

Writers are lovers of words. Romance novelists are in the profession of love and happily ever afters.  A love letter is a tool for our profession.

 Imagine your hero sitting down and writing out a letter to the heroine. It can be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page. It can be sarcastic, passionate, humorous, or confused. What he says in the letter can give you an insight into his character and how he expresses himself with the heroine.

I now find myself the writer of another type of love letter. Each morning I tuck a simple note in my son’s lunchbox. He is learning to read, and is delighted by these surprise notes which help him discover words and lets him know every day that I love him. You are my best friend…I love you sooooo much…Have a wonderful day my big boy….

I complete these love notes with suns and happy faces in magic marker. I treasure these letters and his eagerness to revel in my feelings and words. He tries his own hand at one and surprises me at odd times during the week…I Luv You Mom…You r the best…with little hearts drawn and his signature in large awkward letters adorning the page like the sweetest of perfumes.

One day, I hope he will write his own love letter to a very lucky lady. But until then, his words and letters belong to me. They are tucked away in the back of my bureau in a neat pile where they will remain until one day, I will reach in the drawer when my son is older, and reread them, and remember…

Stop by and share your experience with love letters – receiving, writing, or just appreciating your favorite.

 Lovric,  Michelle. Love Letters: An Anthology of Passion. Shooting Star Press, NY 1994.

ROMANCE…


I write romance novels.

Most of you know that. Normally, romance novelists evoke various reactions, such as the raised eyebrow, the wonder regarding those sex scenes,  or the disdain of cliché writing. The basic theory most believe is that romance writers know all about romance.

When I was dating my husband, his best friend warned him away from me. “Don’t date her, man,” he said, shaking his head. “She’ll expect roses and pretty words and you’ll never live up to her expectations. She writes romance for God’s sake. Get rid of her before it’s too late.”

Of course, he ate those words when he gave his best man speech at our wedding.

But the philosophy was certainly interesting to me. I had different views on romance. When I was younger and single, I voraciously read every Silhouette and Harlequin book I could get my hands on. I was dazzled by the intense experience of that first kiss, the endless possibilities stretched ahead, the push/pull of attraction between a new couple excited me. I loved men who opened doors and talked about their feelings and whose touch could put me in a frenzy. I trembled at the thought of alpha males and dated my share of brooding, starved artistis. As I matured, I started looking for more values I cherished in a mate, such as respect for my individuality, a sense of humor, and interests that matched my own. Romance was courting, and great sex; meeting friends and family and not being able to keep our hands off of one another. It was drinking all night and eating cheeseburgers at 5:00am at the local diner.

There were some traits about my husband I was disappointed in. We danced horribly together. I would watch  couples glide on the dance floor, melded as one, sharing whispers of endearments and I would get jealous. My husband and I bumped along a few steps, he looked awkward and ready to be anywhere but in my arms, and usually had nothing to say while we danced.

He always walked ahead of me, which I always thought of as rude. He says I walk too slow for him. So I trot along behind him like a lost puppy while other couples stroll in the moonlight hand in hand. He is not affectionate in public, and even in our home, prefers to stay on his own couch, on his own side of the bed, and will drop me like a hot potato at a wedding, choosing the company of his buddies over me. But all of that was negotiable, and not enough for a deal breaker, so we fell in love and made a commitment to each other.

When my husband and I got married, later in life than most, we delved immediately into the domestic bliss of baby and house.  Our lives veered off course rather quickly, and my views of romance went with it. I found myself steeped in baby books, and became fascinated with anything to do with motherhood. Romance morphed into appreciation for a cooked meal, an extra sleeping shift, or the occasional night out with a girlfriend. My husband and I lost a bit of each other through this journey in order to gain the necessity of partnering to take care of a new life. We became a tag team, close friends, and fell asleep exhausted at the end of the day. Romance to me, at that time, was no sex. Just sleep.

Since the boys are now 3 and 5, I surprised him with a cruise for his fortieth birthday. I wanted to re-connect and be able to finish a conversation without young children interrupting. I was deathly afraid of missing the kids, so I booked a five night cruise and made plans for both sets of grandparents to watch them in shifts for the week.

The cruise was simply amazing. Even the flight to Florida was relaxing. I watched what I wanted, listened to music on my Ipod, and drank coffee. On the ship, we passed masses of families with young children while we happily skipped past, not needing to take care of anyone but ourselves. The sense of freedom was exhilarating. We ate five star dinners every night and drank cocktails all day long. We gambled in the casino, watched live shows, and did Karaoke. We watched bellyflopping contests and danced in the nightclub to seventies music without feeling silly and without needing alcohol for courage. We had sex in the middle of the day. We went horseback riding on the beach of Grand Caymans, drove mini jeeps through the jungles of Cozumel, and snorkeled on the coral reef hand in hand.

I re-discovered romance with my husband. Catching a glimpse of our old selves, we cherished the experiences and talked again like adults. The main highlight of the trip came in the Caymans. We were in a jewelry store which specialized in diamonds called the Crown of Light. The salesperson put one on my finger and the way it sparkled and caught the light made me literally gasp in wonder. I had never seen anything as beautiful as this ring. When the salesperson asked me if I wanted it, I laughed aloud and said it was impossible. She said nothing was impossible. I snickered and turned to my husband, who I assumed would pry the ring off my finger in three seconds and march me out the door before I got any of my impulsive ideas. And boy, am I impulsive. I am the type to spend all of our savings on a trip instead of the kids college fund and hope for the best.

Ray shrugged his shoulders and glanced down at the ring. “Do you love it?” he asked.

Wordlessly, I nodded my head.

“Then let’s talk price.”

My mouth hung open. I had a small fortune on my finger. “We can’t,” I said.

“Do you love it?” he asked again.

“Yes, but—“

“Then let’s see what we can do.” Matter of factly, he spoke with the store manager, who came to an agreement and then broke open a bottle of champagne. We drank three glasses and walked out with the Crown of Light on my finger. When I asked him why on earth he did this, he said simply, “Because I love you.”

God, that is romance. The ups and downs and middles.  We may have sucked at ballroom dancing, and he still drops me at weddings, but my partner in this lifetime is a different kind of hero than the ones I write about. And that’s fine for me.

This one is for you, honey.