Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eroticism and Evocatism...Two "E's" at Odds!!!


HAH! Got your attention, didn’t I???

Oh my stars, the very thought of Ruthy doing a column on eroticism vs. evocatism should have drawn hordes to the port harbor buyin’ tickets for the fast ferry, all fired up wonderin’ what Seekerville’s got going on today!!!

Two “E’s” at odds, that’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.

Let’s talk evocative first. Come on, humor me. Save the hotsy-totsy stuff for last, kind of a bait and switch tactic.

Evoking emotion…

I love doing this, or attempting to do this. When you read great novels, very few must detail explicit scenes of war, brutality, sex, deprivation or torture to make you ‘feel’ the protagonist’s experience. Why is that?

Because the author is skilled at evoking the feelings using the five senses God gave you and tweaking those. By doing that, the author builds the image in your mind like a well-made tiramisu. On its own, each layer is good but not great. Used together to form a multi-layered dessert, the result is oh-my-goodness-gracious-sakes-to-Betsy wonderful. Too delicious for words. Crème brulee is another example. If anyone told you that burnt caramel covered custard would be to-die-for wonderful, would you have believed them?


But one taste of those melded flavors slipping over the lips, awakening a sleepy palate, teasing a tired tongue and you understand the subtleties of evoking an inborn feeling.

Sex is great. What an amazingly wonderful, totally human gift from God and I’m going out on a limb here and thanking him for it right now because (as my friend Jules examples and believes) passion for love, romance and God are not at odds. God designed us, created us, and gifted us with a wonderful means of loving procreation that we refer to as sex.

Only it’s so much more than that and that’s where the difference lies between the two “E’s”.

Sex just is. And in that simplistic meaning, it’s everywhere, a virtual explosion of sexuality and sensuality that hit mid-sixties and hasn’t abated.

Can you say: BORING!!!!

For the most part.

But romance….


I love it. Breathe it. Drink it in. And when you’ve experienced true romance, true love, true communion of spirits, that “Aw….” moment is magnified beyond belief.
Now lots of people can’t buy into this readily. I get that. I also get that different strokes for different folks is real. One author does not a library make, it takes a village and all that.

But if we flip to the word erotic, the images that come to mind are not the warm, romantic, sensitive and sensual things I look for in a romance. Regardless of how good the author is, if they get too graphic or make sex too common, I’m disillusioned because a good plot line doesn’t need that much gratuity.

The more a writer needs to explain, the less important the explanation and that goes for sex, war, violence, etc. Now I know not everyone will agree with this, and that’s okay. But when I look at the feelings evoked by Harper Lee, I see, taste and feel that Southern community, the bonds of family, the scourge of racism, the heat of the moment, the time, the place.

When I re-read Christy, I see a young woman’s quest for maturity and love grow hand-in-hand without a naked body in sight. Catherine Marshall embraces me with her story, her characters, her grace and hope, totally investing me in Christy and Fairlight, the good doctor and Miss Alice…

I don’t get those same warm fuzzies when I see a billboard for Debbie Does Dallas. Just doesn’t cut it.

Julie wondered out loud if I’d be comparing her work to mine today. Good gracious, no. Love, desire and passion are part of romance, they’re intricately interwoven, they’re a package deal. Without that internal desire to create an external bond, we’un’s ‘d never catch us a man…

Menfolk are tricky creatures and when you finally get a moth to hang around your flame, it’s important that the moth be really, truly fired up and fireproof. Julie takes her characters and readers by the heart and throat and invests the reader in their lives by having her heroes and heroines jump off the page with emotion. Ah, to be loved like that! Desired like that! Doesn’t every woman want a man who is strong enough to stand by her but entrenched enough to be that moth to her flame?

Have you seen Lord of the Dance? (Take a moment for a silent, communal "YUM" here for Michael Flatley in a leotard... I'm just sayin'...) The dance where Michael is tempted by the gorgeous strumpet in black as she does her come hither dance for him, wanting to woo him away from the gal in… (of course!!!) white…

And as the raven-haired tart struts her stuff, he realizes that while her moves tempt, his heart is bonded to another, a woman whose pure grace shows from within, the kind that bears the light of his children in her eyes. If Flatley can wordlessly impart that story in three short minutes using nothing but body language, how much easier it should be for us to weave those words into an embracing, evocative story of love and grace.

And as always, I talk too much!!!! Coffee’s on! I nipped some of Sandra’s chocolate velvet yesterday while she was hiking some old prospector’s trail with the dog and I have Tim Horton’s manning the cappuccino bar and supplying us with donuts, tarts, bagels, cream cheese, eggs and ham. The guys and gals at Tim’s totally rock the big Kahuna.

Grab a cup, have a seat… We’re doing two things today.

First: A signed copy of Winter’s End will go out to one lucky reader today!!!! And then feel free to tell me what you think. By now you’ve figured out I’m pretty tough. ;)

ALSO!!!! I’m giving away a fifteen-page critique to one (lucky??? Unlucky??? Brave??? Foolhardy???) friend of Seekerville who dares leave a comment. If the idea of me picking your name for that scares you sleepless, just let us know that in no way, shape or form do you want to put yourself through that and beg off of the critique drawing. I promise that whoever it is in Seekerville with that slice-and-dice pen will get no where near your manuscript.


And if you’d like to leave a scene of yours evoking emotion, plug it in. I’m around all day today and I’d love to see them. Here's one from my upcoming book, Waiting Out the Storm, a Hatfield/McCoy type romance set in the North Country… There's a criminal history between the two families and that only gets magnified in small towns...

They reached the gate. Craig watched as Sarah maneuvered the hooked handle to allow their exit, then affixed the closures to reconnect the circuit. Free of the fence, Skeeter launched herself at him. He swept her up and planted a kiss on her soft cheek. “You smell good.”

“Aunt Sarah let me use her special lotion. We smell just the same,” the child bragged.

Craig leaned forward until his face brushed Sarah’s hair. He drew a long, slow breath. Stepping back, he smiled at her nonplussed expression. “You both smell wonderful.”

“Thank you.” The child dimpled and squirmed at the compliment. Sarah didn’t, but she didn’t look combative, either. An improvement, perhaps?

“It has a pretty name, too,” Skeeter prattled on. “What was it, Aunt Sarah?” Turning, the child offered her question with no trace of guile.

Sarah blushed. He smiled to see it, watching deeper tones canvas her tawny cheeks once more. Her discomfort made her seem younger. Less secure. Watching her, he decided it wasn’t a feeling she’d had much experience with. “Spill it, Sarah. What’s it called?”

She bit her lip and glanced away, then drew an exasperated breath. Turning back, she met his gaze, reluctant. “Meadow Romance.”

He grinned and softened his expression. “Really?” Surveying her, he stayed silent, allowing the seconds to mount. Her hands tugged the side seams of her jeans as he bent, inhaling deeply. “Perfect.”

“Well.” She stepped back, clasping her hands. “I’ve got work.”

He nodded, still holding Skeeter. “I’ll walk you to the door.”

“It’s right there.” Her look indicated the short distance between them and the house. Her tone said she wanted to be rid of him.

“We can’t let it be said that the prince left the princesses unprotected with dragons about, can we?”

“Oh, no.” Skeeter’s pigtails danced. “The ground could be,” she paused, searching for words. “Fraught with danger. Hidden traps, destined to foil the bravest knight.”

“Arthurian?” He hiked a brow to Sarah, indicating he was pretty certain the first grader hadn’t come up with that line on her own. “I would have expected Three Sisters. Brother Eagle.”

“Legends and fairy tales cross cultural boundaries,” Sarah informed him, her gaze flicking up to his. When it did, he felt a surge of warmth. Delicious. Delightful. Wonderfully surprising.

“Tell me more.”

She made it up the first step, putting her almost at eye level. Looking startled by his sudden proximity, she advanced another stair, lengthening the distance. “I have to go.”

“Of course.” Still smiling, he set Skeeter down. “Thanks for walking with me, girls.”

“We didn’t,” Sarah protested, her brow knit. “We—”

“Yes?” He angled his head, holding her gaze, keeping his look aimed at her.

She was bothered, that was plain enough. Frustrated, maybe? Aggravated, annoyed, perturbed? Absolutely.


A good possibility. But wishing she weren’t. Stepping back, he knew he’d hit the nail on the head but hadn’t a clue what to do about it. Slocums and Macklins were fire and water, oil and vinegar. Not a good mix.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Ah Ha, I knew there was some coffee missing. But for Seekerville friends you are forgiven.

And I forgot how much I LOVE Craig and Sarah in WAITING OUT THE STORM. Love it. And yes, Ruthy, you do romance so well. Your characters are loaded with the feelings we love to experience when we read.

And Seeker friends. About that critique. Be afraid. Very afraid. Ruthy doesn't come by her name by accident. She is RUTHless.

Too bad she's always right. sigh

Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Enjoyed the post today Ruthy! You're so right. It's the difference between emotion and titillation. If we're talking story evocatism will always triumph. Less is more, etc and so forth...

Pepper Basham said...

Oh, oh RUTHY!! WONDERFUL excerpt and post. Delicious!! I can taste the romantic tension. Woohoo!
Great way to start off the day as I head out the door.

Romance wins over raw sex anyday. Oh dear, did I just write that?!? Is that okay for a preacher's wife to write? ;-) Hmm... oh well, as Julie would say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." ;-)

Besides, the whole moth/flame analogy said a lot without saying...too much. Great!

And I'm with Sandra on the critique. She does a 'cutting' job, but boy is it funny in the process. I told Ruthy that her comments were like hitting a funny bone really hard. You're in pain, but your laughing through it.

Love you, Ruthy.

Maybe I can toss in an excerpt later, but I dare say I can't even hold a candle to yours, Ruthy. Wonderful!

Helen Gray said...


I got my hands on Winter's End, but haven’t read it yet. Saving it for the weekend when I’ll have time to savor it.

You make some excellent points.

The idea of possibly winning a 15 page critique of my wip by you EXCITES me. It also TERRIFIES me.

I’ve been entering contests and swallowing the critiques with pretty good grace--but always from behind a shield of anonymity. To be critiqued without it---truly scary. But I’m willing to risk it if I should win.


helengray AT boycomonline DOT com

Audra Harders said...

Ruthy, you do have a way with words. OMG, just your compare/contrast of emotion vs sex made my toes curl.

And then you threw in the excerpt. Wow. You are a master of the printed word, sweetcheeks.

I loved Sarah and Craig's story. I loved the sheep. And the dogs. And the kids.

Hmmm, whose life does this remind you of????

Great way to start a Thursday. I'm on my second cup of your delicious brew and am eying the tray of tarts. Hmmm, yes, no, maybe?

Oh why not? One little tart in honor of your potent post!!! (If you justify is correctly, there are no calories involved, LOL)

Great stuff, Ruthy! You've given warm fuzzies to last the whole day!

Jessica Nelson said...

Great excerpt! I love to get a taste of your writing.
This is also such a good post! If there's anything I want to do, it's evoke! I definitely believe that too much explaining can water down an important moment.
Thanks for the post Ruthy!!! Loved it. ;-)
Erotic and Evocative can definitely be different, I think.

Oh, I want to be entered for the book and crit, but forgot the directions. If you need an e-mail, I'll be back. 'Cause I'm too lazy to erase my comment to reread the post. Heh.

Debby Giusti said...

For a change, I'm stopping by early! It's raining in GA and I needed something to perk me up. Your post did just that!

Great topic. Great excerpt!

Love your prose, Ruthy! So delicious, like creme brulee! Yum!

I love the sexual tension that builds, not from externals, but from an awareness of the strengths and gifts and "specialness" of the other person. The person who completes the hero. The person who sees the hero's flaw and weaknesses, yet understands and embraces him totally moves me far more than a "hey, she's hot" type of relationship.

Thanks for showing us how it can be done so well!!!

Leigh said...

Debby is right -- this is a great way to warm up our rainy Georgia day (days!). Loved the excerpt! I love watching how interest and tension intertwine until H/H just can't ignore it anymore. Such fun!

We're already trying to teach that to our almost-middle-school son and younger daughter -- romance and love are so much more than what the world tries to make us think. And none of it matters if you don't have God in the center.

Wonderful food, a free book, and a crit? You're being awfully good to us, Ruthy! Or at least the food and book are good - the crit aspect has me a mite trembly, but honest crits make us stronger writers. Assuming we survive it, that is.

So (big gulp here!) -- leigh at leighdelozier dot com

Have a great day, everyone!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Nice, Ruthy!!!

Evoking emotion, that's what it's all about, isn't it? But hard to do. There are so many factors involved, so many things that, if not done properly, the reader just won't care. But if it IS done right, there are all kinds of wonderful emotional fireworks and anticipation.

And you don't have to put me in the drawing for the critique. My skin has gotten thinner lately. I bleed easier. :-)

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Morning all! Now that was a fun post to read this fine morning (It's not raining here yet). Glad I stopped here first for coffee.

That was a great excerpt! Just that little tidbit I already like Craig and Sarah :)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Ruthy, you had me at ... "evocative"!!! Nothing reels me in like a scene that evokes emotion, making me cry, making me laugh or just that wonderful, slow thud of the heart as my mouth goes dry.

And speaking of "evocative," everyone reading this post really needs to Winter End because SERIOUSLY, when I read Ruthy's debut book, the woman evoked more emotions out of me than I knew I had. I mean, come on, I cried THREE times during that book, and once was when a foal was born. Are you kidding me??? The woman is THAT good, as you can tell from today's post, no doubt. And romantic passion? Have a glass of water close by, ladies, because you are gonna need it -- not only to slake a dry mouth, but to put the fire out! :)

Great post, Ruthy, one of my favorites of yours ... uh, especially the scene from Waiting Out the Storm (and Michael Flatley, of course, that's a given). When does WOS come out again????

Evoking emotion is something I absolutely LOVE to do, be it anger, humor, tears or just out and out desire. It's all good to me, preferably on every page, if I can, a tendency that had my even-keel, not-big-on-passion prayer partner asking me if I couldn't just tone it down a little bit because it made her nervous. Uh, no! :)


trmerrick said...

Well, the rain is out of here for now in KY, I'm enjoying my first cup of "House Blend," and loving this post. I love, love, love the "moth to flame" analogy. What a perfect way to describe what we, as women,like to observe in "our men!" :)

As for the crit? I'm game. Frightened, but game.

Thanks for Seekerville, guys. In my neck of the writing woods, we call it one of the best sites for learning about writing, ever.

Sweatheart39 said...

Great post. As a contemporary speculative writer, I wonder is there a difference in writing in heated scenes? There are no demure ladies in my story, no repressed genteel cultures around. Still it must remain on the emotive side of the line. I continue to work toward this higher level. Thanks for the tips!
Dawn Ford
dawnford001 AT msn DOT com

Julie Lessman said...

Here's one of my favorite scenes from my upcoming book, A Hope Undaunted, which is Katie O'Connor's story:

“I’m leaving now, Luke. Is there anything you need before I go?”

Yeah, Katie, a hug would be nice.

Heat singed the back of his neck and he coughed, clearing his throat. “No, I’m good. Have fun this weekend.” His brows pinched in a frown. “Oh, sorry—are you still on confinement?”

She grinned and sidled past the door, closing it carefully behind her with a pretty blush on her cheeks. “Yes, until tomorrow night, that is, when I have my first date with Jack in over two and a half months.”

Luke forced a smile to cover the scowl in his mind. “Lucky Jack,” he said with a tease in his tone, but truer words had never crossed his lips, and suddenly the thought blackened his mood further. Over the summer, he’d made the startling discovery that Katie O’Connor was everything he wanted in a woman, and somehow he’d known it from the age of fourteen. With little or no effort on her part, she had won his affection—from a cold shoulder at the age of ten, to a teasing smile at the age of eighteen—and Luke would give anything to be more than just friends. But they had a deal, and she had a boyfriend, and Luke was a man of his word. The scowl finally won out as he looked away, intent on shoving papers into a drawer.

She hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t need anything before I go? You look … tense.”

Tense? Because two people he loved were leaving his life forever? He blew out a sigh of frustration and wheeled in his chair to stare out the window. “No, Katie, go home. I’m just down about Tillie, that’s all. Go on, get out of here and have fun this weekend.”

Go home to Jack, Katie Rose.

His stomach tightened at the sudden click of her heels, and shock expanded his eyes when she perched herself on the edge of his window. She crossed silky legs and leaned forward, palms flat on the sill and blue eyes sparkling with excitement. Her mouth twitched with a smile, as if a secret hovered behind those full, sensuous lips, and the tease of her proximity triggered his pulse till he thought he couldn’t breathe. A gentle breeze from the window rustled her silk dress, and the scent of roses drifted in the air, warming his blood.

“What’s on your mind, Katie?” he asked, heat crawling up his neck at the realization of what was on his.

“The same thing that’s on yours, apparently,” she said with a mysterious smile. “Tillie.”

His pulse slowed. “Tillie? What about her?”

Katie bit her lip and then grinned outright. “I have a foster family for her.”

He sat up straight in the chair, fingers gripped white on the arm. “W-what? W-where?” His words tripped over his tongue, moving faster than the hammering of his heart.

Her laughter floated in the air like the sound of hope. “A wonderful family, really—large, well-to-do, and so full of love that Tillie will think she died and went to heaven.”

He couldn’t help it—tears stung his eyes. “Who?” he whispered.

Her gaze was tender as she studied him, the wetness in her eyes matching his own. “The O’Connors of Boston,” she said softly, then put a hand to her chest and blinked back her tears. “Goodness, you think she’ll mind sharing a room?”

He stared, disbelief stealing the air from his lungs. And then in a jolt of comprehension, it whooshed back in, flooding his body with such joy and emotion, he thought he would faint. In one frantic clip of his heart, he swallowed Katie up in his arms and squeezed as if he would never let go, his deep laughter rumbling against her hair. “Woman, I could just kiss you,” he shouted, and then all at once his breathing stilled as he set her back down, suddenly aware of her body pressed against his, the burn of his hand on the small of her back. He forced himself to breath and took a step back, his fingers trembling as they feathered her cheek. His whisper was gruff with emotion. “Thank you, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “for giving me so much joy.”

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars...

I got this posted, worked on my new book for a while, went to click in...

No Internet.
No phone.

Luckily the cell phone was charged and I got a hold of Beth...

No Internet on that side of town either.


The only Seeker number I have in my cell phone (that will change today, promise!!!) was Sandra so I called the poor thing at 8:00 AM...

(only it's 6:00 AM her time.)

Oh God love her, what was she thinking all those years ago????


But we're back up and running now. YAY!!!!!

Sandra, I'm going to be nice in this critique. Really. Truly. Look at Dr. Pepper. She's alive, right???

And fairly normal. For a preacher's wife.

But THANK YOU for jumping in and for letting us snitch the Chocolate Velvet. Wonderful!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lisa, exactly!!!

Honey, you get double gold stars for agreeing with me. The girls will tell you, that's always a good thing.

Janet Dean said...

Ah, Ruthy, excellent post!!!
Loved that you compared evoking emotion to two of my favorite desserts--after plain old chocolate cake. Yummy!

Wonderful excerpt! Can't wait to read Waiting Out the Storm! The sexual tension between Sarah and Craig sizzled. Such fun that there's bad blood between their families. Conflict and attraction, push and pull, is captivating. Great job!


Ruth Logan Herne said...


So glad you guys envision well!!!


See??? Pepster survived me. If she can, then the rest of you have nothing to fear.

The trick with any critiquing session from anyone, is that it's totally subjective. Unless that person is your editor, in which case you smile, nod and say 'Yes, Ma'am. Yes, sir. Tomorrow? 8:00 AM? Perfect."

See how easy that is???

And Pep you can dig up an excerpt later. Do not chicken out... bawk... bawk...

My chickens are twitterpated. So funny...

And appropriate for the day.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


I put you in a book. A really good book, btw... And I made you just as smart, cute and savvy as you are.

You have nothing to fear.

I'm really a freakin' pussycat.

Ask anyone.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Audra read Sarah and Craig's story way back...

And it's changed since then, but it's so sweet. And telling Sarah's story fixed one of those old-time family tragedies in my extended life, hence the book's dedication to my husband...(who pouted because Mom got the first book... Men are such... men)

And to my cousin Helen who really could have used an Aunt Sarah to step in, hold things together.


Uh huh...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica, you totally get it, but yeah, send me your e-mail.

And don't you have a little tab in blue at the top of this page that says "Show Original Post" so that you can click into the original to double check things (I do that because I forget details too...)

That way you can jump back and forth without leaving the page and losing your comment.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb, I love seeing you first thing!!!

Oh, I agree. Even though you know there's really no way they should get together, you know you want them to if they could just get out of their own way...

And I love building that, layering it just so. You did a great job of that in Protecting Her Child, the hero's loss of family affecting the here and now. Lovely poignancy and great to show that in a guy.

Loved it.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Oh my goodness! That title brought me out of my hibernation. LOL And what wonderful thoughts I was treated to (and yummy food to boot!).

I'd love to be entered for both drawings. Just give me a few minutes to put on my armor in case I win that critique.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Leigh, I like your bravado!!!

You rock!

And you mentioned trying to teach and emulate those values to your middle school kids. Absolutely. I think that's where it's so important, all those formative years!

You're in, kiddo....

And Skeeter, the little girl in this excerpt...


She's a big part of book three as well, MADE TO ORDER FAMILY due out in September. It was so fun to age her as the books continued.

And see what antics she was up to from day to day!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, I can't wait to get my hands on your book. I cannot wait...

How fun!!!!!

There are a slew of you over here that I pray for all the time, that your work lands on the right desk at the right time and you don't mess it up...

(smiling here... but with a hint of truth attached!!!)

Seize the day, the moment.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Kerri, good morning!

Glad you stopped in, sweet cheeks. Hey, refill my coffee will you? I'm rocking a baby here and my hands are tied up...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Jules, my buddy...

"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!!!" Truvy, Steel Magnolias... Love that, and I know I quote it often, but that movie was a story that evoked so much thought, pov and emotion from so many people on so many levels.

Love it.

And I love Julie's work with the O'Connors because again you get that multi-layered look at the family, the time, the situations from multiple povs that change as people mature. That's not easy to do, to set a child in a book, have that child mature to be the woman in another book set a decade later.


Ruth Logan Herne said...


I love that I scare you but you're still willing, darling.

What on earth does that say about YOU?????

tee hee hee...

Hey, dudette, send me your e-mail. I forgot to put that in the post, but since everything else except for the kitchen sink (I just discovered apron sinks... I had no idea what they were, but HOW STINKIN' CUTE are they for old farmhouses???? Love it!!! That's on a coming list now...) is in this post, it's understandable. And HUGE, MEGA THANKS FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL COMPLIMENT, HONEY!!!

Oh my gosh, you hit us in the heart because that was the whole idea behind starting this venture, is to create a coffee-shop-type gathering spot for writers and readers to laugh, teach, share and enjoy.

Well, you just made my day.

(Although in all honesty it started out very moth/flame-like so it was off to a good start already...)

You can either post the e-mail her or just send it to me at

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Jules...

I can't wait to read this story because I think you've gone beyond yourself to evoke warmth, passion and emotion from multiple levels in A Hope Undaunted to the "nth" degree. Every little passage I see, every snippet you post, every teaser you flaunt makes me see the gifted writer you are, and these scenes flow with effortless grace.

Wonderful, my friend. Simply wonderful.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, good morning Sweet Thang, and thanks for the kudos on dessert AND Waiting Out the Storm...

Even if it did come in second to Cheryl's PJ crew... One of 'em anyway...

But I'm over it, I REALLY AM...

And it's not nearly as bad as the "1" Mary got in the Golden Heart...

That she barely remembers.

And we never, ever, ever discuss the "2" I got two years ago on one of the most beautiful stories I've ever written. I'm just waiting, anticipating its sale and release, the cheering crowds, the lines of people waiting for opening day ticket sales to the movie version, the excitement over a story that somebody dissed with a "2"...

Are ya' kiddin' me????

But I don't think about it, not now, not EVER!!!!



Ruth Logan Herne said...


Glad it woke you up, Cupcake. And since I named my oldest daughter after you, I have to be somewhat nice to you by default...


And I'm really not as mean as some protest. I think it's their inner weakness that surges forth in defensive mode. Obviously it has nothing to do with a bossy and churlish nature on my part.




Thanks, kiddo, always good to see you here!

Casey said...

Okay, (great post BTW- thanks :) I am going to be brave and share my first kiss in my manuscript. This is between my hero and heroine- their first kiss after dating for several months.

Oh, and I will gladly take either one of those prizes. :D

Jon's gaze hovered on the love shining from her eyes. The ability to breathe left his lungs as if it had been squeezed out of him and his gaze dropped to her lips. His breath was shallow and he leaned forward until their breath mingled in the air before them. Her gaze shifted to look in his eyes, her lips tilted in a flirtatious angle, her eyebrow cocked.
Oh this woman knew how to tease him forth. He pulled her close, his lips feathering hers. The taste of her lips filled his senses and he splayed his fingers across her back, pulling her closer.

He leaned back, searching her face. She gazed up at him beneath hooded lashes, a smile quirking her lips. Accepting her invitation, he leaned forward, his lips consuming hers. She responded with equal tenderness, driving his desire forth.

Her hand reached to cradle his cheek, pulling him closer. Jon wrapped his arms about her, holding her close. Their hearts beat as one, even as their lives became inexplicitly intertwined.

Mary Connealy said...

So, is the internet back then?


Cuz you sure are Ruthy.

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, evoking emotion in a scene.
I hunted around and came up with this from Wildflower Bride.
This is Wade Sawyer's story. Glowing Sun, from The Husband Tree has left her Indian world and remembered her white name Abby.
Also in the scene are Red and Cassie Dawson from Montana Rose and Belle and Silas Tanner from The Husband Tree.
Susannah, Betsy, Michael, Emma, children, though Emma's older.

Wildflower Bride
“Susannah, come back here.” Cassie smiled at the active little girl and went after her.

Wade reached the group just as a rattling sound jerked everyone in the group around. Only one creature made that deadly rattle.

Wade, Red, Silas, and Belle all drew their guns.

“Susannah!” Cassie was in their line of fire. With a wild leap, Cassie hurled herself forward, stretched flat, inches above the ground.

A rattlesnake uncoiled from the brush, launching itself at the toddler.

A dull thud and the snake suddenly stopped.

Cassie hit the ground on her belly inches in front of the serpent.

Its head was pinned to the ground by a narrow, razor-sharp knife. Momentum carried the rattled end of the snake up to twist around Cassie and Susannah.

Cassie shrieked and flailed at the snake. Red reached the two of them and swooped Susannah into his arms as he tried to get the bleeding snake off of Cassie.

Wade, Silas, Belle, and Emma were only a step behind.

Cassie shoved at the moving snake, screaming.

Susannah started crying, frightened by her mother. Betsy and Michael bought into the noise, too.

The group extracted Cassie from the coils and comforted Susannah.

When Cassie was on her feet and double checked for injuries, Silas looked at Belle. “Did you throw that?”

“Not me.” Belle holstered her six-gun.

One by one, they all looked between each other then finally turned and looked at Abby. Wade noticed she only had eyes for the snake.

She strode toward the long, brownish-gray striped creature, jerked her knife free, and beheaded the serpent with a quick, ruthless swipe. Cleaning her blade by stabbing it into the ground, she returned it to the sheath in the back of her skirt waistband and picked up the rattler.

“Supper.” She sounded satisfied. Hungry, too. “Enough for everyone to have a bite. I know how to prepare it so the poison doesn’t—” She turned and looked at the others all transfixed by the sight of that perfectly thrown knife and that long, still-wriggling snake. “What?” She glanced at the snake.

“You saved her,” Cassie sobbed. “You saved my baby girl.”

“You act surprised.” Abby frowned as if Cassie wasn’t talking rationally. “Far wiser to use the knife than your body. Do you know this snake is deadly if you let it bite you?”

Cassie flung her arms around Abby’s neck.

Abby staggered back a step and held her arms out at her sides, obviously shocked.

“Uh, we’ll probably just have beef stew.” Wade carefully reached for the snake dangling from Abby’s fingers. “Not rattlesnake. Okay?”

Lindsey Parker said...

Wow! Ruthy that was a great post!
Sadly I don't have twelve pages written yet. I so wish I did because I would love for you to to critique my work!
But since I'm not there yet I guess not. (sigh) Oh well.
Your book looks so good Ruthy I saw it in Walmart the other day but I didn't have any spending money with me or I would have picked i)
I hope you have a great day Ruthy :)

Mary Connealy said...

The ONE I got in the Golden Heart is such a dim memory in my far distant past that it is as if it never happened.

I NEVER think about it anymore. I'm COMPLETELY OVER IT. I am NOT upset. I do NOT have any feelings of rage, self-pity, or contempt anymore. I never EVER make long detailed plans to avenge myself against whatever IDIOT gave me a ONE. A ONE.
I should get a TWO just for paying the right amount of postage and getting the entry there on time, for heaven's sake. A ONE is just vindictive and evil and stupid and vile and I'd talk about it more except I AM COMPLETELY OVER IT.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Here's a little excerpt from something I've been working on:

He might fool Roslind, but he wasn’t likely to fool most of the other servants, or Duchess Ermengard, either. And it was a dangerous thing to try to fool the Duchess. The last person who tried it had ended up buried behind the church cemetery, in an unmarked grave.

The poor man. She should try to warn him. He simply didn’t know who he was dealing with.

She approached him as he sat alone on his stool, drinking the tankard of ale she’d given him. He looked up, much too boldly for a poor pilgrim, and met her eye with two of the bluest, clearest eyes she’d ever seen. For a moment she felt a bit startled and almost forgot what she was about to say. She cleared her throat.

“Was there anything else you wanted? Our mistress the duchess isn’t given to hospitality, if you catch my meaning.”

He smiled. Such perfect, even teeth, with such an unworried look. He was quite a contrast to her fellow servants, who looked out of hunted, desperate, bloodshot eyes more often than not, their teeth stained and uncared for. She had to remind herself to breathe.

She couldn’t take her eyes off him, nor did she even want to.

“You must be careful.” Her stomach twisted at the thought of the handsome young nobleman running afoul of the duchess.

“Careful? Why?” He still didn’t look very worried.

His lack of concern frightened her. How could she impress upon him the need to hurry on his way?

KC Frantzen said...

My moth is traveling so I'm having to latch on to that cold glass of water. Wshewww! Good stuff this morning!

Wonderful post. Thanks Ruthy and everyone. And okayyyy - please enter me in the Fool's Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread critique. ksf895 at citlink dot net

I'm looking forward to reading Winter's End too. Would be wonderful to win!!

Though probably not EXACTLY what y'all had in mind, here's something to perhaps bring a smile this rainy day (for some of us).

It's from Chapter 21 of a middle grade adventure. To set the scene: Hans the elder Schnauzer is completely smitten with Sandy, a human friend who's just arrived to visit the family after several years away. May, the younger Schnauzer (and the heroine of the book) has never met Sandy, though May has heard about her from Hans and also from Mom. Hans has been howling at the window since hearing the car pull into the drive. Sandy has just walked into the door.

"Miss Sandy, Miss Sandy!! Here I am!" croaked Hans again.

"Hello Mr. Hans, my friend. It's so good to see you." Sandy leaned down to give him a little attention as he danced past.

Hans was full volume now, hobby-horsing along side with every step. "Miss Sandy, Miss Sandy!"

"I'm glad to see you too, Hans." said Sandy. "Give me a minute, I’ll be right back. I promise."

He didn’t seem to hear and continued to howl and circle and dance and prance.

Mom hollered, "Hans. Shhhh!" She grinned and looked at Sandy. "I’ll have the iced tea ready whenever you are. Just take your time and get settled."

To the whirlwind of Schnauzer Mom said, "Gracious Hans, give her just a minute! I can’t believe you’re not dizzy by now."

As she passed by, Sandy noticed two button brown eyes beckoning from the kitchen. "Who is this little lady? Could it be May?"

Sandy stopped to crouch on May’s level. She extended her right hand, palm up so May could see there was nothing in it. "Hello Miss May."

Hans barged under her arm and put his front paws on her knee. He howled, "OH Miss Sandy… I’m so so SO glad to see you!"

Sandy patted his back. "Hello my boy. It’s good to see you too. You're so handsome!"

"MY boy! She said, I’m HER boy!"

May scowled and raced to the other side. She placed her paws on Sandy’s other knee.

Not to be outdone, Hans edged closer.

May dug in her claws on Sandy's knee, just enough. I’m horning in. He shouldn’t have all of it. It’s my turn. She was talking to me!

Dad chuckled, "Look at this. You’re not going to have a moment’s peace until you pay them some major attention. After all, it IS the reason you came to visit, right?"

Sandy was too busy relishing the fuss to answer. Dressed impeccably in her La Terraza jacket and starched denim slacks, she succumbed and plunked cross-legged on the floor. She was instantly consumed by the two dogs.

After a few moments of Schnauzer-monium, Dad clapped his hands. "Okay you two, that’s enough. Let’s let Sandy get settled."

Pamela Mason said...

Ah Ruthy...what a perfect post for this perfect Spring morning. Twitterpated chickens and dancing moths and chocolate velvet coffee....
I love your contrasts between evocative to eroticism. It takes more effort and grace to write and inspire the reader's own imagination and feelings than to lay it all out there, so to speak.To write a captivating heroine who draws in the moth, to wonder when the flame will ignite and if it'll spark and burn true and bright or just fizzle out in ashes.

THAT's what I want to write!

Ohhhh....Winter's End. Have tissues, chocolate, and sweet tea nearby! It required serious comfort food for me to get through the pain--Oreo Cakesters--but oh! So worth the calories once you reach the end!
And one line that sticks out in my head that I SO Covet (Lord forgive me!)...but no spoilers!(p95)

Enter me in your crit giveaway please. I'll bleed, I'll cry, and then I'll heal up & get that much tougher (she types with her fingers crossed, which is tough to do).
Being brave here.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Procrastinating today. Sigh. Here is the scene that is "evoked" on the cover of The Healer's Apprentice, which comes out in Sept.:

She would give him some time to drink the tea before she attempted to sew up his wound.

The prospect of what lay ahead forced her toward the window and she looked out, searching the drawbridge, the only way into the castle. She willed Frau Geruscha to be there, straining her eyes, hoping, agonizing. But Frau Geruscha was nowhere in sight.

Lord Hamlin’s men were talking. “We were closing in on him,” the slightly taller, red-haired one said. “He was hiding out in the cave.”

“Had it not been for the boars, we would have caught him,” the blond one said.

“He must have sent demons into them, the way they came after us,” the redhead replied.

So Lord Hamlin had been injured while searching for the evil Moncore. Her breath hitched at his valiance. But now was not the time to think about Lord Hamlin trying to rescue his betrothed. Frau Geruscha was not coming. Rose was alone in caring for Lord Hamlin’s leg wound.

Her heart sank to her toes.

Ruth Logan Herne said...




Oh my....

Dagnabbit that was two-thumbs-up lovely, woman. Absolutely, positively lovely.


I might be calling you for pointers, girl. ;)

Ruthy (searching for a fan... cool drink of water... husband... something!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Internet's up and running, Connealy.

Which means you and I can continue to run the universe as we see fit.

As long as Tina approves.

Cara Putman said...

Great post, Ruth. I'm always amazed how much angst this subject brings up...and I think you struck the balance I try to hit. Romance is exciting. Interesting. And I am very aware of my audience of readers. Some of those are teenagers. And I don't want to tempt them. Instead, I want to help them dream about what love can be. And in some cases show them clear examples of the consequences of sex outside of love and marriage.But it's a tough call.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, I love your entourage action scenes. LOVE THEM!!!!

It's so much fun to pick out the people, the emotions, the quick moves, the angst, the fun, the sarcasm, the varying points of view, and you use that quick-pace action as well as anyone I've ever read in my entire life of...


33 years!!!! :)

Wonderful. Abso-stinkin'-lutely wonderful.

Have I mentioned I love Silas?

And Mitch from A Passion Redeemed???

And Marc from Winter's End???

And Doc MacNeil from Christy???

And Will Smith????

Of course they all pale compared to Jeter.

The boys of summer, gathered in Florida, ALL OF THEM right now.

Talk about a rush. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lindsay, you're adorable.


Write faster.

(That's the extent of my sympathy on a good day, heaven help you if you catch me on a bad one, honey-lamb...) ;)

I'll put your name right in the drawing for the book BECAUSE... Lack of discretionary funds is a concept I understand quite well.

Like Mary, I can re-use a tissue for weeks. Not comfortably, but it does the job.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, that's absolutely wonderful, darling girl!!!!

Delightful in every way.

And I can see that smile of his from here, very DiNozzo, NCIS...

Total YUM...

Love it, Mel!

Ruth Logan Herne said...




Casey said...

Thanks so much Ruth! It's a work in progress, but I am so glad I was able to nail this one- for now. :D

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, I moped quickly.... ;)

KC, have I mentioned loud enough and long enough how much I love this concept???

I will buy these books for my middle school and elementary school daycare kids and grand kids.

Hurry up and finish them, you're annoying me.

I can feel the fun of the owners, the zest of the dogs, the constant competition between them, and just how clever Hans really is...

And May...

Awww, May.......

So sweet. Just a hint demure. But not to be outdone by the old fogey.

Love it, kid.

Go back to writing. You're taking too long.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And, KC, I forgot....

Sorry about the traveling moth.

I seem to remember a notable send-off, though. Just prior to Valentine's Day, wasn't it????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Pammers, I'm so glad you're liking it...

page 95, huh????

Could it be....


Oh. That line.


Thank you, sweetcheeks, and you're entered for both! I know you can handle anything I dish out, when properly medicated of course.


Thank you so much for your lovely words, your grace and obvious great taste in books.

Big grin.

And Dave brought home Easter bread from the store, so I'm going to share with all of you. It's an egg bread, just a little sweet, topped with frosting and jelly beans because I don't do hard-boiled eggs.


But I do love jelly beans!!!!

And that whole moth to the flame thing...

Oh, yeah. I love Easter bread. A lot. ;)

Help yourself and tell me what you think, 'kay?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mel, I remember this scene from a contest entry, right? The first time I saw this years ago???

I remember loving it, feeling her angst, her desperation that she'd have to tackle this on her own.

Wonderful, sweet thing. Absolutely wonderful. And I knew then (seriously, seriously) that this engaging story needed to be told to the general public.

Endearing, Mel. Wonderfully endearing.

Lindsey Parker said...

Oh Ruthy I just love you, you are such a sweet and funny character! And I'll try my best to write faster promise!:)

Edwina said...

After the discussion on the loop this week, this was a perfect post and the entire loop should read it! :)

I would love to win a copy of the book, and although I'd be scared to death - I would submit my pages if selected.

Blessings to all!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Oh goodness! Ruth I FOR SURE have to pick up your book, if a simple blog post can grab my attention I can just imagine what you're stories are like!!! ANd that excerpt at the end...LOVE it! Thank you for the great post!

XOXO~ Renee

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Ruthy, you're so sweet. :-) Too bad the other judges in that contest didn't agree with you! LOL! Just goes to show what great taste you have. :-)

I can't wait to read your books! Yours and that new compilation of Mary's (since I haven't read any of those) and Janet's. I'm slow (and broke) but I will get them!

KC Frantzen said...


Jelly Beans...

and I didn't mention Creme Brulee but oh wow, our FAVE (besides good carrot cake).

Well Ruthy, the book is DONE darlin' - other than a good editor critiquer angel person who would be soooo kind as she slashes and burns...

**Did I suck up to you enough yet?

And yes - he's a worthy fabulous moth.

Alrighty, better get off here and back to polishing this WIP.

Ready for agent/editor to take it and run. If not, seriously considering true self-pubbing (not typical vanity type)...

Hard choices to make these days with the industry in such flux.

Thanks to all Seekers here. You give us HOPE!!! :)

Mary Connealy said...

Ruthy, I know you want the word Eroticism in your title. I get that.
But I thought of a better title for this blog post.

Oohs and Aahs for two Es at Odds.

Isn't that nice? :D

Mary Connealy said...

Go to the library.
Seriously, I totally get that buying books gets expensive. Demand that your library carry them. If there is any screaming necessary, take pictures. I'll put them up on my blog. :)

Tina Pinson said...


Great post as usual.

Put me in for the draw. I'll try to drum up something erotic to post later maybe...


Mary McDonald said...

This is a well timed post for me because I'm just in the beginning stages of writing a romantic suspense. I've written some romance scenes before but always faded to black. That was okay because the stories weren't romance, per se, but now that I am writing one, I'm not quite sure how far to go.

I LOVE to write angsty stuff, so I hope I evoke emotion in readers. Since I'm not published, those readers are a few friends and some members of a writing site.

denise said...

I would love to read this book.
Enter me.

Pepper Basham said...

Oh my, what GREAT excerpts.
I thought I saw smoke coming from my computer. Low and behold, after excerpts like Julie's, Melanie's, Casey's, Mare's...the list goes I understadn why. :-)

I'm going to try an excerpt that DOES NOT involve romance (was that a collective gasp I heard through the smoke?)

Yeah, I know. I LOOOVE writing romantic tension like I love chocolate, but a girl can't live my chocolate alone (sad but true) - so here's an excerpt from my wip (Ruthy, it might look familiar - you are welcome to slice to your heart's content and my heart's everpresent fear)

As she scanned the barren room, her dreams began to break into a 5,000 piece puzzle. What was this picture going to look like after she put all her plans, her hopes back together?

She slid one hand across the back of her office chair and willed herself to release the treasure she held in her other hand onto the desk, clicking into place like the lock of a door. I’m doomed.

Her father’s happy face smiled back at her from within the silver frame, reminding her of her purpose. Tenure and success, just like him.

People always said she had his hazel eyes and ready smile – but she couldn’t remember the last time she smiled like her dad, a real smile.

What would her father have thought of this turn of events?

The edges of her annoyance curbed a bit at his memory. Oh how she needed him right now, directing her. The usual ache around her heart flared to full sting. She could almost hear his baritone voice from the photograph, almost smell his scent of soap and mint.

“Everyone starts somewhere, Dee. Just think how far you’ve come.”

Because of you. She trailed a finger along the edge of her father’s framed smile and felt the tingle of tears at the bridge of her nose. She must be tired.

Sunlight glittered against the pond outside her window and left a trail of gold across the grassy courtyard at the center of campus until dropping off an embankment to reveal an alarming landscape of blue sky and gray-blue mountains. Her father would have been proud of her. He’d always been proud of her.

But mother?

Nothing apart from striking oil or winning the lottery would make her happy, so…

Since she didn’t play the lottery and kept manual labor to a safe minimum, this would have to do…for now.

She dropped her bag onto the floor and slid a finger across the desk, keeping her gaze away from her father’s face. Surrender pressed her into the chair, into this life. Hard work never scared her, but losing a dream might. She stared at her reflection in the vacant computer screen. No. She’d never give up her dream. She’d do whatever it took to secure her future, even if it meant starting in a closet with the fragrance Eau de Manure for company.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Cara my dear, I would be the first to jump up and say you are successful in your mission!

Noah??? Tricia????

Enough said. And I love that name "Noah." I got outvoted and Noah turned into Luke...

Who is absolutely wonderful and smart but I'm encouraging a grandson named Noah from someone. Sometime.

Love it.

Cara, your feelings mirror mine. I want 15 and 16 year olds who pick up my book to feel like they're young women capable of doing anything and handling whatever comes their way, including personal offers!

But also that there's a wonderful, forgiving, encompassing God because isn't that just the world's easiest time to make HUGE mistakes?


So good to have you stop in, kiddo. Would you like some cold tea??? It's lovely in upstate today.

We're revelling in it.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lindsey, I'm holding you to that.

Stay focused.

Keep writing.

Use lots of dialogue. Good dialogue. It eats up pages fast. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, the power...

People fear me...

Dogs shadow me.

Or maybe I smell like old meat.

Either way, it's a powerful sensation!

Edwina, God blessed the earth the day he put you on it, sweetcheeks.

You're in.

And thank you THIS much...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Renee, thank you sweetie!!!

And hey, what are we going to do with that hunka hunka burnin' love quarterback of yours????

Ben, Ben, Ben....

There's a story there, just waiting to be told girlfriend. The bad boy quarterback who finds his way back to God, to faith, to life after football...

And perhaps becomes a true moth to the flame???


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, I knew. Heart-crossed and girl scout promise....

It's a great story.

Always was. And a little time and polish for us is never a bad thing.

And let's not talk about how far behind I am in my reading.

I'm ashamed. But I know my friends understand the limits of God's hours.

(I blame it on him to keep me out of trouble. Since they're all on fire for him, it works.

Hey, whatever it takes, right????)

Ruth Logan Herne said...


We'll talk about those choices off-line.

I'll be the one with a baseball bat in my hand.

The gloves come off.


Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

Be careful what you evoke, you may get it.

I’m reminded of the Catholic girl who wanted to marry a nice Protestant boy. He had to take six weeks of religious training from the priest and promise to raise the children Catholic. The priest was so good and fired such passion, that at the end of the lessons, the boy entered a Franciscan seminar.

Ah, a moth to a flame.
You say, taking the advantage.
But why stop there? Why let it be?
Go all the way,
use the Black Widow analogy.
After all, a Hero is just a sandwich.

You want to evoke emotion. I have a scene for you and for all romantics who have loved a man who could not commit.

Be prepared to emote.

A Divorce of Convenience

Asking Mary to divorce him was the hardest thing John ever had to do. She was his best friend. But it was time to man-up. Time to put his cards on the table.

“Mary, you know I love. I always have. But I need your help. I just wish there was another way.”

“What is it?” Mary had that “we-got-to-talk’ look in her eyes that John knew well.

“I’d like a divorce.”

“A divorce? From whom?”

“That would be you.”

“Me? We’re not married, John!”

“That’s part of the problem.”

“What problem? Are you crazy?”

“I need to be divorced. It’s complicated. I lied on a job application.”

“So how do we get divorced?”

“The usual way. First we get married, then we get divorced.”

“Then what?”

“Then I get this great job in Hawaii and make $250,000 a year as the director of the Second Chance at Love Foundation.

“And what do I get?”

“You get to live in Hawaii.”


Criticism, where is thy sting?
To a philosopher you are but straw
to burn in the hearth
for light and warmth.

A strawman drawn to a flame
consumed like the Phoenix
and then back again.

Enter me.

A rose is a rose is a rose and as such cannot be roseless.

Vmres (at) smbell (dot) net


Ruth Logan Herne said...


What a great title.

How about this:

From now on every time I'm supposed to blog I'll CALL YOU AND SEE IF YOU APPROVE!!!!



You know, just because Mary Connealy can take credit for naming nearly half the Love Inspired Books for 2010 (with a little help from Melissa and Tina, oh my stars....)

She all of a sudden thinks she's the QUEEN OF TITLES...


All right. I'm calming down. I drank some Pepsi Max... Do you guys know it has NO calories and EXTRA caffeine????

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about, girlfriends. Good stuff.

Oh, wait, there, she's posted again...

What now???

Oh, actually this one makes sense...

She's sendind Mel to the library. GOOD IDEA, MEL!!!!

All right, I can't yell at her for that one. It's actually a two-thumbs-up wonderful idea...

Libraries rock.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary McDonald, first:

That is a totally great name, absolutely wonderful, marvelous name.

I may use it in a book because the minute I saw it I got a picture in my head. Now the picture looked NOTHING like you (wink, wink) but ask Helen what happens if you tweak my brain whilst I play...

Although OF COURSE no persons living or dead bear any resemblance to people in this work of fiction....


Anyway, Mary!!!! Welcome!!!!

I love that you're writing an RS and girlfriend, it'll work out just fine. None of us started out published, right? So keep at it, stick with it, have fun with it.

We don't rip you to shreds until you've been around awhile...

But that's Tina's job. I'm the nice one.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Note to self...

Tina Pinson to post memoirs later today...



Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, hey, hey!!!!

Denise would love to read my book.

Smooches to you, Denise!!!

Because I'm just going to say that everyone in the whole world, not even the Western Hemisphere alone, no, the WHOLE world would love to read this book because it's charming.



With a hint of snark.

And pathos.

And huggable.

So now Denise is my newest BFF...

Good job, Denise! You're in!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Pep....

I love it.

I love her.

My "Dee"...

Absolutely wonderful, my friend. Marvelous.

And can you go slap your mother for looking younger than I do?

Just on principle???

Because I'm okay with that, honey.


Pep, I'm so glad you used this kind of introspective emotion because if we don't have a bona fide investment in the hero or heroine to be the WAY they are for a very good reason, then the book falls short.

The whole base of a pyramid theory. Or why Global Crossings crashed and burned because they over-extended without having a solid customer base.

Build the base of the cake firm to hold the fancy top layer. Perfect. I feel her, I feel her disappointment and her drive.

Love it.

Does she have great hair???? Because, as we all know, I'm a big fan of good hair.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, my poet friend....

I'd do just about anything to live in Hawaii.

I hope she knows just how lucky she is, LOL!!!!

You're in, Dude.

Pepper Basham said...

Okay, Ruthy - I have a story about slapping mothers.

My uncle was having dinner with my granny (his mom) and was eating some wonderful chocolate silk pie. He looked up from his first bite and said, "Hmm, this stuff is so good, you want to smack your mama."

Granny shot him a look to singe the hairs in his nose. "Honey, ain't nothin' THAT good."

And Dee (Adelina) has GREAT head. Shoulder-length, russet colored hair. Layered with long bangs that sweep to the side. But she keeps it pulled back all of the time (characterization), unless she's...well...helping the poor farmer guy she gets stuck with deliver a calf. Gets kinda messy. Something she can't control. Her hair falling our of place is kind of like a 'picture' of her being out of control.
Sorry, more info than you were hoping for, I'm sure :-)

Mary Connealy said...

You know my exerpt didn't really have a romantic tinge to it. It evoked emotions. Fear, disgust, joy, excitement, relief, but nothing really romantic.

Maybe I'll go find another one.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Well Ruthy, you got my attention! Really good post. Although I've never watched Lord of the Dance, hubby insists on watching So You Think You Can Dance - both the US and Canadian one. I'm not interested in all of the dances but I love the lyrical ones, etc that tell a story just from the music and movements. Great example of emotion on the move.

Although I'd love to leave a sample of my work, I'm too busy writing today to go look for one. :)

Oh - but I will grab a cappucino to go. Heh

anitamaedraper (at) hotmail [dot] com

Mary Connealy said...

A more ROMANTIC scene from

Wildflower Bride

“Abby, I want to ask you something important.” He barely whispered the words, afraid he’d scare her away like a half-wild mountain creature. “We haven’t known each other long enough, but I want this thought to be in your head.”

“What is this thought?”

“Me. The thought is me. I want to be in your head and in your heart, Abby. Because you are in mine. Could you consider letting me court you? Might the day come when you could see yourself agreeing to spend your life with me?”

“Marry a white? Never!” Her words were cutting but she didn’t back away. No, in fact, his wildflower stepped a bit closer, studying him as if there was a speck of dirt in his eye and she was considering doctoring him.

And maybe she noticed a smudge on his lips, too, because her eyes went there as well.

In the silence, Wade saw her fascination and fear. He decided to ignore the fear and take ruthless advantage of the fascination. He captured her lips and she wrapped her arms around his neck with the strength of a warrior.

The kiss deepened as Wade’s future unfolded before him with perfect clarity. Abby, the ranch, six sons and three daughters. Maybe they’d live here. He could restore the old Griffin place. He kind of liked the idea of all the children’s names starting with the same letter. Having a name that came at the end of the alphabet, Wade was partial to A. Like Abby. Maybe Adam, Andrew, Alan—

Abby slammed the heel of her hand into Wade’s stomach.

Staggering back, Wade gasped for breath that wouldn’t come. “What’d you do that for?”

“Keep your hands off of me, white man.” She flashed that wicked blade right under his nose.

Okay, so maybe it was a little early to be naming their children.

Ruth Ann Dell said...

prentiHi Ruthy

Many thanks for the interesting blog, you gave me much food for thought.

I've just realised why we all have such fun with the goodies to eat on Seekerville- clearing up the pots and pans etc is so easy- just press delete and all the dirty dishes vanish in a click.

Please enter me in the drawing for your book and for the critique (so long as you do it the Irish way)

Many thanks

Ruth Ann
ruthanndell (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Hi again Ruthy

Sorry about the word verification code ending up at the beginning of my comment- I have no idea how that happened. Must have been my resident leprechaun.


Ruth Ann

Debra E Marvin said...

Somewhere in the early morning hours of Thursday March 11th, a black hole opened up in cyberspace over upstate new york.

Phew - that was a close one, Ruthy. I was starting to panic, myself.

I'm about half way through the comments by now. An all out Evoc-fest.
And, while we're using words that could quite possibly be made up on the spot, I'll say you are all great evocatists.

Interesting counter-part to a current 'loop' discussion about the place of the S word in Christian fiction.

Leigh said...

My, my. I stick to work for most of the day and come back to an explosion of wonderful comments. I won't finish reading all of them until bedtime at this rate!

I was about to post something from the new story I'm just beginning to play with ... and then I realized how many of you are probably Genesis judges so maybe I should just lay low.

One of you fabulous Seeker ladies was one of my judges last year and shared 2 more E's with me -- education and encouragement. I would hate to lose out on that possible chance again, so ... I'll save it for another day.

My word verificaton is 'larsh.' Isn't it funny how some of those nonsense words look like they could actually be words? Sounds like someting my kids would make up -- like when our daughter invented 'meaniac' for her brother a few years ago. :-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, I loved your scene.

If every scene was romantic, we'd wear it out.

I loved the scene.

And Wade's offer to cook beef was very romantic. Cowboy-style.

Lindsey Parker said...

O.k. Mrs. Connealy That last scene from Wildflower Bride was hilarious and Casey I loved the scene that you wrote:)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, I love the "Ain't nothin' THAT good!" comment.


And I don't think I ever heard the saying until Trace Adkins song that had "slap your grandmaw..."

I was like, "Hello??? Slap your grandmaw????"

But it's Trace and he's 6'8" of adorable. Now that he's sober.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Anita, I'm glad I got your attention, girlfriend!!!

Anita, run do not walk to wherever you rent or borrow videos or discs...

Oh mylanta.

Lord of the Dance...





Michael Flatley????

Be still my heart.

Not Jeter-magna but totally solid. Seriously.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I'm laughing out loud at Mary's excerpt with Wade and Abby...


And everyone is looking at me strangely...

As if I should be working or something.

Perish the thought. ;)

Oh, Mary, that's perfect. And very in character from how you set them up in The Husband Tree.

I love it. But I loved the other one too so I'm probably just a fan.

A very good fan. With good hair.

And big teeth.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

RuthAnn so nice to hear from you!

Girl, you're entered, glad you had food for thought and yowza, thank you for coming in from across the way!!!

And I'm totally into not cleaning dishes. So little scope for the imagination!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Yes, Debra lives not far from me although you can't prove that from personal visual interaction, but our Internet blackout was either inspired by Asian forces heretofore unknown to upstate NY, aliens from Cygnus 9 or ....

some stupid glitch.

I'm voting aliens. For the moment.

Deb, I heard there was a discussion...

About SEX!!!!


Do they agree? That it's just another word for a whimsical, wonderful, earth-shattering mind-blowing experience when....

in the hands of God-given love?

Sweet vows of forever?

Ah, romance.... be mine!!!


As I write this my moth is peeling potatoes for pot roast. Very romantic because I like food.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Leigh, I love meaniac!!!!

So cool!

Kid-speak. Love it.

And I appreciate your reticence. I can tell exactly who your Seeker judge was last year because you said nice...

There's only one.


And then 14 snarks.

(Oh, I'll get e-mails now!!!)

Shari Barr said...

Great post! Wonderful info on how to show emotion. Thank you.

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

You completely undid me!



Ruth Logan Herne said...

Shari, thank you!!!!

Darlin', if you come back,leave me your e-mail even though I forgot to mention that...


Project Journal said...

THIS is like what we should be taught at school! isn't just about should be about the romance and love that go into it. Girl! You are good ; )

I LOVED the Lord of the Dance reference! We grew up on this stuff, mind you. My sister does Irish step dancing, so we have connections! (By the way, if you're in the mood for some Irish music, hop on over to my blog. A couple posts ago, I posted some Irish music for your enjoyment *wink*)

I also LOVED the excerpt from Waiting Out the Storm!!!! It's very exciting! I'm reading Debby's Killer Headline right now, so yours is next. Then, I get to read Mae's book that's coming out next month. And guess what!?!? I'm a character in her book, so look out for it if you read it : D

GREAT post, Ruthy! Truly inspiring, makes you think about the important things in life!

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

I’m sold. I want to read
Wildflower Bride.

BTW, I think you evoke a wonderful 'group' love in Grant's family in Gingham Mountain. In this case each member of this very large family contributes to the growing emotion. Very moving.


Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I just can’t believe that little Katie has grown up.

When will A Hope Undaunted be available for the early bird buyers? This story will be right in my favorite time period. Will you tell how the other three sisters are doing?

The trouble with really good excerpts is that you have to wait so long to read the rest. And it’s hard to wait on passion.


Vince said...

Hi KC:

You have me fascinated now. What is a ‘middle grade’ adventure? At what age group is your story directed? Is this part of your K-9 Spy book? Very unique.


Vince said...

Hi Melanie:

I read both your scenes with interest but I could not tell when the stories took place. I am going to guess 1400. If you get to read this, please let me know. I don’t want to wait until Septermber.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hannah, my pet, mon cheri!!!!


That's what it's all about, right? Love, hope, fidelity, marriage???

So huge!


If conflict and mistakes didn't occur as a natural part of life, I'd be out of a job, my friend. So the imperfect world exists so writers like me can fictionally fix it.


There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for his amazing love. Forgiveness. Grace.

What on earth would mere humans do without it???

Silly people.

I love Celtic music. And Irish dance. Oh, those step-toe dancers!!!!

Aye, an' me time o' year is but a bit aroun' the corner, don' ye know? A time of grace an' cheer, of thankin' me old friend Patrick for what he did, a sweet, gentle mon who graced me Isle wi' his presence an' wisdom...

Writing with a brogue.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, your support for writers is a wonderful thing. You rock.


Julie Hilton Steele said...

Ruth,Ruth, Ruth, I am in the middle of Winters End and just posted it as one of the best debuts of 2010 on the RT message boards. If I may quote myself, "if an author can get me to pick up the book and read it given that the heroine is a hospice nurse and knowing someone is going to die in the book, well..."

My mom was a hospice volunteer and died of breast cancer. For a lot of reasons the story hit home.

Give that I am getting to know the characters, it looks like Winters End was written after Waiting Out the Storm or did you go back and write about Craig and Sarah? I will be all over that book as well. When will it come out?

No need to put me in the Winters End drawing since I have it.

Writing blessings your way, Julie

April W Gardner said...

Great differentiation between the two big "E's"! I've never heard it explained quite so well. You nailed it.
A free critique? Yikes. But I could sure use one.
Now for MY coffee...

Tina said...

Such a nice explanation of the two E's!

Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy! I can't believe I'm a day late for a post about sex! ;) (I had to write something as shocking as that other preacher's wife, Pepper!) :)

I'm sorry I didn't get to join in the discussion yesterday. I was out pretty much all day.

Great post! And so true about writing evocatively. Also, thanks for sharing an upcoming excerpt!

Walt M said...


I can't believe I'm a day late for a post about sex either. However, I've printed it off so I can go through it in detail. I need to evoke more emotion out of my characters.

Walt M said...

Oh, am I too late for the 15-page critique contest?