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Everybody Needs A Little Romance

Hey, Romancers. Please help me welcome debut author Christi Barth!

Thank you so much for letting me visit today!  I shamelessly stole my topic right from the name of your blog, because for my money, truer words were never spoken.  Everlasting true love is great and all, but the mere existence of it isn’t enough.  You need a regular dose of romance to give you that gooey, melted feeling on the inside.  And that feeling is what reminds you just how crazy in love you are.

The thing to remember is that, although lovely, romance isn’t limited to champagne and roses (although far be it for me to ever turn them down!).  One dictionary defines romance as “to try to influence or curry favor with especially by lavishing personal attention, gifts or flattery”.   It can be easy to throw down a credit card and go the gift route (see the aforementioned champagne and roses).  But as romance authors, we need to dig deeper.  Our hero/heroine should ooze romance from their pores, and that means hitting all three areas, not just the old standby of gifts.

Gifts are still good, regardless.  I met a woman tonight whose husband bought her a Kindle last month because he noticed her lugging a bag full of books every time she traveled.  Practical, yet eminently thoughtful.  He gets a romance point for that!

Let’s turn to flattery.  This can be tricky, because flattery can often lean towards cheesy.  Here is a quote from my book Carolina Heat:

Mark covered her hand with his. “I don’t believe I’ve taken the opportunity to tell you how beautiful you look tonight. Your hair is like a molten sunset spreading across your shoulders.”

Annabelle’s vision blanked, then hazed over with indignation. “I’m going to come right out and tell you there is absolutely no chance I’ll sleep with you tonight.”


Sure, she overreacted a tad, but his line – so obviously a line – verged on the ridiculously smarmy.  And timing is everything.  They were on their first date, which was far too early to say something so over the top romantic.  Sadly, this kind of hyperbole isn’t limited to the overactive imagination of romance writers.  Years ago my best friend went to a concert in the park and hit it off with the man next to her.  They went to a late dinner, and he proclaimed on the way to the car, “This is the night dreams are made of!”  True story – I promise.  Needless to say, she decided he was a nutcase and promptly got rid of him. 

A little later, my hero tries again

“I don’t have time for a slow, conventional courtship.” Mark wrapped his arms around her snugly. “And I won’t try to monopolize every minute of your day. I know you have work to do, and as a matter of  fact, I have to work tomorrow also. But I’m thirty four years old, and you intrigue me in a way no other woman ever has. I don’t intend to miss this chance.”


Now this is well done flattery (and it earns him a kiss).  Definitely romance with a capital R.  But my personal favorite form of romance is the lavishing of personal attention. 

When it comes down to it, I just want my husband to be there, holding my hand, sharing life with me.  So when he joins me at a Junior League event – where he is completely out of his element and surrounded by near strangers – that counts as a romantic gesture.  When he sits next to me on the couch while I watch Greys Anatomy – that is romance.  And when he comes with me to the library (my holy of holies) even though he has very little interest in anything book related just to spend time with me – that is romance.

So let’s open this up.  What screams romance to you?  What grand gesture does it for you?  Or what not so grand, small yet significant thing dings the romance bell?


19 Responses

  1. Hi, Christi. thanks so much for visiting with us today!

    What’s your book about?

  2. Thanks for asking! Here’s my blurb:
    Put a workaholic Yankee together with an amiable Southerner and watch the sparks fly! Annabelle travels to Charleston, where she stumbles across the trail of a long-buried Civil War mystery. Along the way she finds steamy passion, steadfast friends, mortal danger, and the love of her life.

    Well-known journalist Annabelle Carlyle is stunned by the personal twist of her latest assignment: her best friend Vanessa is missing. Annabelle goes undercover in the Old South to search for answers. Full of thick accents and a way of life rooted in the past, Charleston is as foreign and strange a place as any Annabelle’s visited. And before she finds a single clue, she runs into a sexy man she can’t shake.

    Tall, dark and charming, Mark Dering is happy to show the gorgeous Yankee his hometown. He’s captivated by the quick witted, quick tempered redhead. But when they’re shot at, he realizes she’s far more than just another tourist. Soon they’re knee deep in a mystery that goes all the way back to the Civil War. For once Annabelle is in over her head. Desperate to find Vanessa, she reluctantly accepts Mark’s help. It isn’t long before romance blooms right alongside the magnolias.

    The stakes grow higher when a body is discovered. Someone is willing to kill to keep a century old Confederate secret hidden. With her best friend missing and a killer on the loose, it’s the worst possible moment for Mark to try and unlock Annabelle’s heart. Or is love exactly what her life’s been missing?

  3. Hi Christi,

    Your book sounds good. I enjoyed your blog post too.

    I agree with you, Hubs just being there no matter what is Romance. I’m not big into the who fancy date thing but I do enjoy a date night every once in awhile we we go out to dinner and a movie or something. I like flowers too and he sent me flowers at work for Valentine’s Day last year.

    We’ve been together almost 20 years and married for almost 14 yrs so we are comfortable with each other and that is nice.

  4. Heather – congratulations! In today’s world, 14 years of marriage is a HUGE milestone. Guess that means the hubby keeps just enough romance flowing.

  5. I think one of the most romantic things is when you connect emotionally with your man. I remember being on a date once, and the guy couldn’t take his eyes off me. It wasn’t a leer, just a genuine fascination with everything I said or did. That turned out to be the begiining of a whirlwind romance (nothing happened on the first date though) which ended badly.

    I connected on a different level with my now husband. Still whirlwind-I was in love by the third date because he was so sweet and genuine. But even now, after being married for so many years. there are certain looks, certain touches, certain moments where we just re-connect like that. I guess it jogs some memory from the early, glory days and that pulls us closer.

    The challenge is finding the time to allow that to occur..kids, jobs.deadllines…..

  6. Hi, Christi,

    Great blog! Your book sounds fun, too. Loved your first quote – what a hoot!

    I look forward to reading your book,


  7. Great post, Christi! Congrats on your release.
    As you said, any really thoughtful gesture your guy makes to show he’s thinking of you is very romantic! Of course, it helps to reciprocate, so he’s inspired to keep those gestures coming.
    Wishing you all the best.

  8. Gianna, I loved your description of sharing looks after all these years. Don’t ever buckle under the challenge of finding time for romance – it is worth it!

    Laura, thanks for the kind words. Be sure to swing by my website after you finish reading Carolina Heat and let me know what you think of it.

  9. Glad to be here and thanks for your time to do this article. I love books and romance ones are great. the cover of Carolina Heat looks great..my favorite flower and also favorite perfume. susan L.

  10. Welcome, Christi! Any man that takes the time to notice what can make a woman’s life easier wins my vote for Mr. Romantic. LOL

  11. Christi –

    This is such a great question and so subjective! My thoughts are that romance is all about what makes the other person feel they are being romanced (and not in a cheesy way). My husband often pours me a glass of wine or brings me a coke without asking if I want something. He’s simply thinking about me, and that’s romantic.

    Overall, I think the most romantic gifts or gestures are ones where the other person gives without reason (birthday, V-day, etc.).

    Thanks for your post!

  12. I’m so LATE but I really enjoyed your blog and all the comments. Your book sounds wonderful and having been around “Yankees” when they visit the South, it can be like a different world for them! Lots of possible great situations for your book.

    Good luck!

  13. Christi,

    Congratulations on your new book. Wishing you the best of sales.

    Natalie Acres

  14. Christi!

    Can’t wait to read “Carolina Heat.”

    Re: romance, I once had a BF who was such a romantic! He’d leave wildflowers on my windowsill, homemade treats in my fridge, and create beautiful drawings that represented “us,” but he was too high-maintenance and not enough of a “protector” for my taste.

    My DH is the strong, silent type, so showy romantic gestures are rare, but that’s why I married him. I don’t need gestures — I need stability. I need support. And as Melissa said, anything he does that makes my life easier is as romantic as wildflowers.

    I like to think that taking out the garbage or checking the locks on windows and doors before we go to sleep are his ways of being romantic. It’s the thoughtful things he does and says every day that make him the best husband in the world. He’s usually at his most romantic when he’s not trying, when his love for me just springs up out of him like the most natural thing in the world. Like, this morning, he was halfway out the door when he turned to me to say, with cheerful conviction, “You’re going to sell your book today!”

    Maybe he’s right. I should probably go take a shower in anticipation of The Call. I can’t negotiate an advance while wearing yesterday’s underwear.

  15. Hi Christy,

    Great blog. Congrats on Carolina Heat!


  16. Kelsey, you are so right – giving without reason absolutely epitomizes romance. And Jamie, that unwavering support of your husband’s is a wholly romantic gesture (although when you do sell your book, a small celebratory bouquet might also be in order!). To everyone else, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. I appreciate the comments, and just ask that you pass on Carolina Heat to a friend if you enjoy it!

  17. The story sounds terrific!

    Romance to me is when a man stares you in the eyes with passion reflecting in his. Going for a walk under the stars is very romantic. When a man I love pulls me towards him to kiss me when I least expect it ..that’s romantic to me. 😉

  18. I’m so way late. Sorry about that.

    But romance to me means knowing me. Flowers are nice, but I love somthing I can plant. Today my husband booked me a massage. Last Valentines I got a set of knives. Last March someone stole my wallet – sitting in my car when my husband picked me up was my new Brighton wallet that matched my purse.

    He’s really good. I won’t lie.

    And that’s romantic to me. 🙂

  19. Jamie C. – you hit the nail on the head. Nothing beats kisses (from the right person)! Liz, you wallet story was wonderful. I bet your husband will surprise you with something fantastic again on 2/14. Congrats to all of us, married to our personalized Prince Charmings!

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