Friday, May 28, 2010

The First Time

We're romance writers.

But how exactly do you write, falling in love?

One theory would be to recapture those feelings of the first time you fell in love and simply put them on paper. So stop for a moment and take a mental stroll back to when you were in jr. high, or high school.

Was it your sixth grade crush? Whose picture was on your wall as a teenager? What about those first infatuations that made you melt like chocolate on a warm summer day when you simply gazed at their photo?

Another technique...

A long time ago I was introduced to Linda Howard's 12 Steps of Intimacy. Since this is G-Rated blog we'll only list the first 9. They present one method of showing the romantic arc systematically in your manuscript. What do you think?

1. Eye to Body
2. Eye to Eye
3. Verbal Contact
4. Hand to Hand
5. Arm to Shoulder
6. Arm to Waist
7. Mouth to Mouth
8. Hand to Head
9. Hand to Body

To help my own writing-because this is a problem area for me- I've begun to develop my own Falling in Love Arc.

These steps are a work in progress and so, Friends of Seekerville, I'd appreciate your input.

1. Awareness. This involves the introduction of one or more of these senses: smell, sight, and hearing.

2. Heightened Awareness. Includes the first three senses and add to it touch.

3. Emotional Discovery. The characters journey of emotional discovery begins as they reveal their character to each other. This may be through observation, and interaction and ideally through story conflict.

4. The First Kiss. All the senses collide: smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste. (This step may be repeated to include more emotionally compelling kiss scenes as determined by the story.)

5. Emotional Commitment. The startling realization that they are emotionally committed to another person (whether they like it or not). This is truly the moment of falling in love.

6. Emotional Setback. With realization often comes denial and or fear and an emotional setback before final acceptance.

7. Acceptance. The declaration of I Love You. Often first self admission then verbal admission.

One of my favorite examples of The Romantic Arc is from the Australian TV series, McLeod's Daughter's. The characters Tess and Nick. Of course their arc has six seasons to develop.

Now for some romantic passages that highlight these steps. In theory I should be able to find all the steps in every book I open. But for fun, we'll mix it up.


She straightened a throw blanket along the back of the sofa, trying to slow the beating of her heart. Something had happened in the moment when he'd taken a step toward her. Something had passed between his eyes and hers and had set her pulse stammering. -Her Lone Cowboy, Harlequin Romance, Donna Alward.

Heightened Awareness:

He watched her lips form the words. Felt them whisper across his skin. Heat rose in the space between them. -A Princess For Christmas, Harlequin Romance, Shirley Jump.

Emotional Discovery:

The evidence was everywhere. Nolan had stayed a while.

And obviously he'd intended her to know it. Her dishes were washed and drying in the drain. A camouflage-detailed Bible lay open in the book of Psalms beside her.-A Soldier's Reunion, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Cheryl Wyatt.

The First Kiss (Or Any other Kiss):

He cherished her with his lips for long moments. He had never dared hope for so much. Or rather he'd hoped, but he'd never dared believe. -Wildflower Bride, Barbour Publishing, Mary Connealy.

And because we like kissing around here...another example.

When she saw those lips moving toward her own, she didn't move away. He placed his lips on hers, softly at first, as though asking permission. Samantha, reacting to instinct and need and to something even more basic, opened her mouth slightly under his, and he pressed even closer. Had her life depended on it, she couldn't have moved her lips away from his warm sweet mouth... -Sweet Liar, Pocket Books, Jude Deveraux.

Emotional Commitment:

A new reality punched him in the gut. One that he wasn't ready for.

He might be nuts about Cassidy too.

The idea shook him more than a five-alarm fire in a fifty-story building. -The Baby Bond, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Linda Goodnight.

Emotional Setback:

He should run screaming. Back away as far as possible. He didn't need a woman toting an emotional load. He didn't need a relationship with a woman who had an ongoing love affair with trendsetting looks and spiked heels.-Winter's End, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Ruth Logan Herne.

and ...

He'd be a fool to fall for her. She was a forever kind of woman, and his idea of forever was a three-day weekend. Getting Rid of Bradley, MIRA, Jennifer Crusie.


Coming home had changed everything, because Lacey had showed him the difference between loving a girl and loving a woman.-The Cowboy Next Door, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Brenda Minton.

and ...

Her eyes sought his. "I've always loved you."

"I knew that. I was only waiting for you to know it, too." -Cowboy Comes Home, Harlequin Super Romance, Carrie Alexander.

Your turn to share, comment and critique. One commenter today will receive the Seeker book of your choice. In print and available on only. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Tina, this may sound odd (but it's just after midnight). How about attraction to quirks/oddities as a sign of romantic interest? For example, in one of my mss, the heroine has a few strands of red hair (uncommon, but not rare in Japanese society). She tries to hide it because it makes her different. The hero likes it, because it makes her different.

    Yes,Ruthy, I'll pick up the bagels.

  2. I confess - Erik Estrada of CHiPs fame was on the back of my cupboard door. I wasn't allowed them on the front - hehehe!

    Evan as an Aussie who has never watched McLeod's Daughter, it's great to hear you mention Tess & Nick ;-)

    Some of the most powerful images of people falling in love in film are the subtle things (hand to hand) rather than the obvious (mouth to mouth). As a reader of romance, my favourite scenes are the same, often subtle scenes that hint at the attraction rather than hit you over the head with it!

    Just my two cents worth!

  3. This made me think of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC series). There were just so many little things that told you they were falling in love. :)

  4. Your list is great, Tina.

    As wonderful as a first kiss scene is, my favorite turning point is the emotional commitment. Gets me every time. I can pinpoint the moment my Gwynly took that step. What a treasured memory that is. :)

  5. Walt, that's a really fascinating attraction.

    Erik Estrada..oh my I forgot. I liked the blonde guy.

  6. Darlyn, good point. P&P was the original playbook for subtlety and subtext.

    A walk down memory lane, eh, Keli?

  7. Tina, I liked John better on Chips, too. Calm, sensible, not so much swagger. The quiet hero.

    Thanks for the reminder of McLeod's Daughter. will have to look that one up on Netflix. great series.

    When I'm working on the falling in love scenes, I play my favorite love songs and five decades gives me a lot of options!

    Thanks for starting the day off with bagels (I assume they're from Einstein Bros? Walt?) and Johnny Depp. I'm looking forward to other comments.
    Somewhere in my collection I do have that Linda Howard list myself.

  8. NO, the bagels are from Panera. Note the asiago cheese ones.

    Java is ON!!!

    Deb, never ever disclose your age.

    I have a few decades in there too.

  9. I love Linda Howard's books! I didn't know she had a step by step plan, but it sounds right on. Thanks for all those wonderful examples!

  10. I cant get past you having a pic of an aussie drama. McLouds Daughters I really enjoyed that series. It was actually filmed in my state.

    I like John on chips better also. I dont think I had alot of tv stars on my walls etc but I did have a alot of cricketers on my wall.

  11. Are you kidding me? McCleod's Daughters is so awesome! I can even say Nick like Tess does with an Aussie accent now.

  12. Oh come on! Someone must have loved Erik! My sister liked Jon, too. I've always been a tall, dark and handsome type - even married one :)

    Also, if you are wondering who Evan is from my earlier comment, it should have read, even!!

    Darlyn - I was thinking of P&P as well as BBC's North & South - both brilliant with touch and eyes.

  13. Ha, Rel, I figured that one out.

    Bad boys scare me. I play it safe.

    Anyone else love a bad boy?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. It wasn't so much the bad boy image but the "I am so stuck on myself" image that kept me from admiring Ponch instead of John.

    Oh, did I say five decades, I meant three.

  16. For those of you who are Erik Estrada fans, have you watched "Midway"? I always laugh when I see him in that.

  17. Tina, I LOVED McLeod's Daughters! So much so, Dan bought me the DVDs for Christmas last year! And you're right--Tess and Nick had a wonderful story arc that showed an emotional committment. Another one from that show that I thought was Claire and Nick's brother--they had been friends all their lives when they fell in love.

    ABA Author Mary Balogh does a great job in her love arcs. While some authors write sex scenes for no reason but to have them, Balogh waits until her characters have an emotional committment to each other before they share any kind of intimacy(touching, kissing, etc.) And that emotional committment draws the reader into caring what happens to her characters.

    Great job, Tina--going to print this one off!

    Need to get into a bathing suit next week so I'm bringing the Rice Krispies and skim milk.

  18. Excellent examples, Tina! I keep those "12 Steps" in my "From Start to Finish" binder and plan to add your post to it as well!

  19. Ooo, GREAT TINA!! Love it.
    I love reading about romance this early in the morning.
    Romance and a few chocolate donuts. Sorry guys, not a bagel fan - but I'll eat as much cream cheese as the next person ;-) or asiago cheese for that matter, Tina.

    I love the emotional committment part, but the kiss. Oh dear, Julie - help me out here ;-)

    Can some of these happen at the same time? Like emotional commitment and first kiss?

  20. Walt. Redundant. We did Einstein's already this week. YAWN...

    Get Danish instead, 'kay?

    Oh, Tina, great examples. Great stuff all 'round. Picture on my locker. GULP... Davy Jones. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm admitting that and Kathy Hurst, if you stop by today, yes... Ruthy Herne had Davy Jones on her locker but that was PRE-REAL-DAVE.... Really. :) (Kathy is an old classmate, also a Christian author who's now in Colorado and FOUND ME in SEEKERVILLE!!!! How COOL is that???)

    Looking at Linda's list, I can see the first half of it being totally reversed or used in random order. They all rank about the same to me.

    Tina, I like that your list weighs in other factors. That keeps it from seeming formulaic.

    That electrifying first sense can be touch, smell, hearing, gaze, or can be emotion: anger, laughter, disappointment, animosity... If it starts with emotion, the conflict and attraction mirror each other better as they build, so if one weighs on the other, we've got a better platform for heightening the reader's investment.


    That almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about. I HATE when that happens.

  21. Interesting to read things like this to see how writers "think". :-)


  22. Ah, Panera bagels. Asiago cheese. One of the best bagels known to mankind.

    Walt, no offense, big guy.

    And I like the red hair variation. I like it a lot. I also like the inverse, someone who feels so normal as to be invisible.

  23. Ruthy, Einstein's has Asiago bagels. They're good.

    Forgot my e-mail address:

  24. I just saw Mary's Cowboy Christmas on the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest finalists list. Yeehaw, Mary!!!

  25. Great blog, Tina! I'm going to keep it for reference.

  26. Tina, great post.

    I am seriously impressed that you've got this order. I think I do most of this, the step by step intimacy, but it's so hard to put into words.

    You did it brilliantly.

  27. Thanks for the great tips! One question though, shouldn't the emotional commitment come before kissing? Or, just maybe, should the kissing be saved until after Acceptance, the declaration of love.

    I've never been a big fan a romance books with loads of kissing. It makes it difficult for me to discern if the characters are really in love, or if they're just attracted to each other.

    I prefer romances like Pride & Prejudice. Austen's characters refrained from kissing until they declared their love and were wed. To me that makes the first kiss much sweeter. Just a thought.


  28. I don't know Angela. It's a work in may and probably are right :) I appreciate the input, keep it coming!!

    Mary I'm broke and chocolatless. Why are you sweet talking me? Nice try.

  29. Excellent post, Tina! Important stuff for us romance writers to ponder. Fun too. :-) Loved your examples!

    Thanks for breakfast.


  30. Romantic chemistry has been a teensy bit of a struggle for me to write, but it is getting better with my contempory, I must say it is very freeing to write in the present. :)

    Great post,I might have to return to draw from the knowledge again. :)


  31. Tina,

    Excellent post, as usual.

    I must say I prefer the kissing scenes (rather than waiting till the middle or end). I love the tension in the scenes (will they kiss or not?). Totally with Julie on the edgy inspirational!

    I love the way you broke the romance down into steps. Will definitely keep this one!

    Have a great day!


  32. Angela, there's nothing wrong with kissing. Those these days, the kisses I share with my DW are accompanied by cries of "disgusting" from my e-ght-year old. :-)

  33. Great post, thanks. I find this kind of list really useful in the re-write stage. I'm better at plot action than the "falling in love" part so having a checklist is really useful.
    Speaking of heart throbs, how about Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele?

  34. I think the first person I fell madly and fully in love with was Leonoardo DiCaprio as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (shout out to gen. Y). I wanted so badly to be craved by a hero with great hair and teeth! My heart ached for a week after that movie...sigh.

  35. Tina, your Falling in Love Arc makes a lot of sense to me. Good job!

    My earliest memory of a really romantic movie was something starring Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. Now, before you think I'm dating myself TOO much, understand that I watched this on TV, after it was already out of the theater!

    Another great romance I've always remembered is John Wayne and Elsa Martinelli in Hatari! Boy, could they make sparks fly!

  36. Hi Tina:

    Your post got me thinking and led me to believe that there are two arcs.

    1) The intimacy arc
    2) The ‘falling in love’ arc

    These two arcs have similarities and may overlap at times but they are very different. If a man just wants to have sex with a woman, then he may follow the 12-step method as being the best way to have his way. Love may have nothing to do with it.

    Love is digital. You are either in love or not in love. This is why there is such a fear of falling in love portrayed in romances. You can actually fall in love before there is any intimacy whatsoever.

    Love has a different arc.

    You picked the perfect quote from Winter’s End to show what I mean:

    He should run screaming. Back away as far as possible. He didn't need a woman toting an emotional load. He didn't need a relationship with a woman who had an ongoing love affair with trendsetting looks and spiked heels.

    Winter's End Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Ruth Logan Herne.

    It would be hard to find a more powerful and succinct example of ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ than this passage. The hero is so attracted to the heroine, who he has only just met, that he is bringing up all kinds of objections why he should not to fall in love with her!

    The only explanation for the hero’s behavior is that he is strongly attracted to the heroine. When I read this passage for the first time, I said to myself, “He’s hooked, all she has to do in reel him in -- without breaking the line (which could be quite a trick with this hero.) Holy Rolaids: The hero as a trout!!!

    I believe, in Winter’s End that the hero’s highly negative reaction to the heroine was actually the first step in the ‘falling in love’ arc! And this ‘negative reaction’ is not even on the intimacy chart.

    Perhaps the Seekers can come up with a dedicated, step-by-step, ‘falling in love’ chart.

    I’ll contribute what I feel is the most important alarm bell:

    The hero’s first feelings of protectiveness towards the heroine. (You’ve worked with the woman for four months and this is the first time you’re concerned that someone should walk her out to her car because the parking lot is not well lighted?) Ring, ring.

    What do you think? Are there other ‘love’ signs that are not in the intimacy chart?


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  37. Who did I have hanging on my wall? (my, that sounded gruesome, didn't it?) David Cassidy. Donnie Osmond. Shaun Cassidy. Yes, color me 70's. I loved John best, too, but didn't have him on my wall.

    I was engaged by the time I fell in love with Pierce Brosnan, so I didn't have him on my wall, but he did capture my heart...along with Bruce Boxleightner...Did you know he made a teensy appearance on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show?"

    And thanks for the extra kissing excerpt. I like kissing scenes. ;)

    I'm going to print this off, too. Romance may seem easy to write, but it's tricky. Having an actual process helps.

    Yesterday's GMC post got me thinking about how much more I can up the motivation for my heroine, and also got me looking for the book (can't find it to buy unless I want to spend WAY too much), then it hit me. I'm a librarian. I can request it via Inter-Library Loan. For ME, this time. Duh.

    Bless you, Seekerville. Where have you been all my life? I know, it's lunchtime, but could someone pass the bagels, please?

  38. Pierce Brosnan. Remington Steele.

    Oh. My. Stars. YES!

  39. Myra: A Summer Place!!!!

    Oh my stars, that was a great movie for love-starved tweens, wasn't it???

    They fell in love.

    Mom and Dad had been in love then love was thwarted and they married others.

    Meet years later and son (Troy) and daughter (Sandra) fall in love.

    So do Mom and Dad. Ooops. And then the marriages crumble, Troy and Sandra spend some time NOT TALKING and end up pregnant and Mom and Dad take them in. Very Romeo and Juliet mixed with second chances.

    Oh be still my heart.

  40. Ooo, that's nice, Tina.

    In The Healer's Apprentice, coming out in September, I have the hero and heroine constantly telling themselves all the reasons why they can't be together--which means, of course, that they really wish they could! I have the hero's brother telling him he plans to marry the heroine. That's the moment he realizes he loves her. I have the heroine have a dream, and when she wakes up, she realizes who it is she really loves.

    There's a lot of physical stuff going on, but the most powerful stuff is the all the ways they are perfect for each other--not physically but character-wise. When I was writing it, I reminded myself of how powerful the attraction was between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, all because they are so RIGHT for each other, personality-wise. I tried to make the reader see how perfect my hero and heroine were for each other so they'd be desperate for them to get together. I hope it worked!

  41. Vince, you're right, we should add a protectiveness tag to the arc. And I love how you totally read Marc in Winter's End from that line on....

    Oh, yeah, Vince, baby, we use mega-pound test line around here to reel those bad boys in! Trout-hero or not, we know how to snag 'em.

    And then coax 'em into the boat. :)

    But Vince, you made a great point about the two arcs. Women want romance. Men want sex.

    For the most part. But then there's that hero inside each and every guy that ends up coming through, albeit with great reluctance at times. :)

    What a wonderful combination. MOSTLY!!!

    Hey, I brought lunch. It's Friday. Build your own sub/hoagie/dagwood/ whatever you want to call it.

    Turkey breast, salami, ham, capicola, roast beef (real), olive loaf (I've got a hankering for olive loaf, I have no idea why) swiss, provolone, american, cheddar....

    lettuce, tomato, sweet and hot peppers, mayo, mustard, dressing...

    fresh baked rolls....

    And cheddar fries.

    Oh my stars, I'm hungry. Dig in, guys. YUM....

    Oh, and homemade cookies for dessert.

  42. EXCELLENT POST!!! Thanks, Tina. Great post and great examples to inspire us!

  43. Thank you for this information on relationships. Any book/genre could take advantage!

  44. What a marvelous post. Have a feeling it is going to have me thinking as I meet each of those steps in the couple's relationship with each book I read. Much better than the regular eye to body to etc!!!


  45. Will it date me to say that Bobby Sherman was on my wall??

  46. Great list. I'll have to examine the novel I just finished writing to see whether I've got all those parts clear (and in the right order, lol).

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  47. Tina, what a great post. Informative and thought-provoking.

    I'm thinking that the First Kiss might move around in order, depending on the author and/or story.

    I'm also thinking there's an affirmation or rejection in there somewhere, after the attraction has snuck up on the character and before the Emotional Commitment. They're not fully committed yet. More like acknowledgement and a reaction. I guess this is part of the Emotional Discovery.

  48. Great post and very interesting! I love all the emotion that is placed in books and Mary Conneally's books have so much humor in them, so I love her books! Emotions come in many different ways, but I like the happy moments the best!


  49. Patricia, I appreciate your input. I'll be fine tuning this over the weekend. Thank you.

  50. Bobby Sherman huh? I had Peter from The Monkees and later in life Magnum PI. sigh.

  51. I loved Remington Steele. I him as love James Bond too.

  52. Remember this is a work in progress..if I didn't have problems with it in my writing myself I never would have taken the time to try to create it.

    So print it and write..DRAFT...on it and make it work for you.

  53. Melly, I love your approach...the P & P Romance Arc!

  54. This has been an informative and entertaining blog. I learn so much here at seekerville! Loved the links, Tina. Talk about putting a girl in the mood for romance! Those alone will work wonders for inspiration-seeking writers.

    I'm definitely filing away the 12 steps - 3 of intimacy. (I googled it so I know what you're missing...blushing). Well, actually maybe I should just post it on my wall instead of filing it away only that could be kind of embarrassing when I have company over. :-)

    My sixth grade crush??? You had to ask. Bertie -- warm, brown eyes that crinkled when he smiled, cute as a button, from his slobbering tongue to his wagging tail...Bertie was a St. Bernard, but it was love at first sight. My heart still flutters thinking about him...

    I'm not sure if I can translate that into a romance novel though.

  55. Ooo, I loved Remington Steele and Magnum P.I. too!

    Kav, I was in love with my dog, too, as a teenager. He was a brown and gray Keeshond. He was sooooo beautiful. Extremely faithful, too. He loved me. Sigh. The only guy who did love me!

  56. Oh, and Erik Estrada, for sure!!! Now I can't imagine, but at the time, oh yeah!

  57. Tina, honey, I swear I WANT to make fun of you, but I'm too impressed.

    I'm sure later, I'll think of something.

  58. Ruthy, I was so in love with the show Remington Steele.

    But I have this theory that the reason I loved it wasn't Pierce Brosnan, it was Stephanie Zimbalist.

    She was smart. She was hard working. She WASN'T glamorous but she was decent and vulnerable, both her business and her heart were at risk when Steele came into her life.

    I think it was identifying with HER, a sort Hollywood version of an 'every woman' with this incredibly good looking, charming, bad boy tempting her at every turn, and the idea that she could maybe have him, win him, if she just held firm against falling for his superficial charm...that's what made the show hook me.

    That could be me.

    If I lost some weight.

    And a couple other little changes. :)

  59. Coming in late as usual these days.

    So the post is very insightful miss Tina, but what about the second half of the list...

    I agree that many of the points you've posted can be moved around.

    IMHO protectiveness doesn't always mean the hero cares or is enamored, I've meant some guys who show protective streaks with women but they don't really love them, they just have a chivalrous nature.
    I suppose that could be the mister fixit mentality which differ from a real protective nature, but... oh well, just thinking.

    As for who I had on my wall... I remember my sister had Donny and Shaun.
    I don't remember having crush posters. Not to say I didn't have any crushes mind you, one of the first in recall was Mark Lester when he did black beauty. I was in elementary, and little Joe, and of course Mr. Selleck. Pierce was okay, even as 007, but I always liked Mr Connery's voice better.

  60. Tina said: "Bad boys scare me. I play it safe."

    Sorry I'm so late to the party, Tina, but it's been a rough night and day, but things are on the mend.

    And, oh man, we are SO polar opposites, girl, it's not even funny!! I LOVE "bad boys," which is why I always write about them and even the one good boy I had (Brady), I gave him a bad-boy past, so I guess I am one (along with Sue!) who doesn't "play it safe"!

    By the way, I first heard about the ten steps of intimacy years ago on a James Dobson show. He claimed that there was research bearing up that marriages/relationships where the ten steps were adhered to diligently in the proper order actually had the best marriages/relationships. When the early steps are skipped like many times in today's amoral society (i.e. go straight from kiss to bed), those relationships are not as strong or as lasting. I totally agree.

    Great post, Tina!


  61. When the queen of bad boys and romance gives me a thumbs up I am having a GRRREAT DAY!!!

  62. Tina, this is awesome! Thank you!!

  63. Walking down memory lane - Al Pacino in Godfather (!), Mark on The Rifleman - those are 2 I'll admit to! :)

    Vince - trout hero! (Still chortling...)

    Thanks for this post. I don't write Romance, but yeah, was wondering about the 5 love languages in here somewhere.

    May, my heroine, will not have a romance in the forseeable future, but perhaps some of the secondary characters will. It's something to consider for book 2!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

    Everyone have a great Memorial Day weekend, and thank you veterans and families for your service and sacrifice.

  64. I shared a room with a younger sister and never had pictures on the wall, but my heartthrob was Troy Donahue. The movie I remember best is not Summer Place, though. It's Susan Slade.

    I copied this list to go with my other notes for when I get to the stage of layering my new project.



  65. a fabulous posting...i always learn so much from all of you.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  66. Good old Troy, and Doug McClure and James Darrin.

  67. Ahhhhh! I'm SO late tonight *bad Hannah*

    Oh goodness....*blush*....first serious crush! SO fun to think I could tell you about my little first grade one, I thought it was serious at the time *wink* But serious times call for serious measures.

    We'll talk about "Puddles" (my friend's and my old codename for this guy, it was due to his endless, crystal blue eyes....gorgeous!!!). Freshman year of high school. I had 2 classes with him...hmmmmm...I thought to myself. He's pretty cute! I kept it a secret from everyone for about 4 months, lol, the class was almost over. Then, the truth was revealed. Obviously everyone freaked out because it was THE guy. It my first serious crush, we all thought. Well, sophmore year brought a dance with Puddles at the yearly semi-formal. It was perfect! Lol....junior year, I was going to ask him to prom. But apparently he was going with someone else already, just a friend, he insisted. We hung out at prom and even got some pictures (which I STILL don't have a copy of! Lol!). Senior year, the sad part is....I still like him! I'm such a weirdo, yes, it's true. Because who in high school would like a guy for 4 years, when he doesn't like you? Apparently me. Oh well, it was an experience. Soon, a new to begin. I'll head to college and start anew. Hopefully, I won't have another Puddles! And if I do, I hope I go for it and maybe do something proactive, instead of just sitting back, just talking and being friends, and waiting for something to happen.

    That's my sob story! Sorry to talk your ear off, but I thought it appropriate to tell you the tale of my first serious crush.

  68. What a sweet story Hannah. I think you should at least send Puddles a note and wish him a wonderful life.

    Leave your phone number in tiny print.

  69. Hi Tina, Late today but so enjoying the steps to build up that tension. This post is a keeper for sure.

    And Ruthy, the goodies are great as I haven't had time to fix dinner yet.

  70. This post really made me stop and think. I'm usually top-heavy with the plotting and have a harder time weaving the relationship into my stories because I'm writing RS. Hopefully, this info will help me along the road to balance.


  71. I'm hoping it will help me as well, Dianna.

  72. Great post! This is going into my notebook.

    Whose pics did I have on my wall? Bobby Sherman. David Cassidy. Shaun Cassidy. Andy Gibb. Michael Landon. Elvis. John Travolta.

  73. TINA! This post was INCREDIBLE. I cannot wait for you to finish your Falling in Love Arc. Seriously, I hope you turn it into a writing craft book.

    I love the awareness teaching and how you can pick each out in any given example. You are a great teacher in that way.

    Wonderful post, seriously I just wish it would go on for an entire book!


  74. *head tipped back, laughing SO hard*

    Tina, that is hilarious! Yeah, I probably should *wink* Phone number in tiny print *shakes head*


  75. I lived, slept, and breathed Erik Estrada back in the add me to your tally, Rel. *grin*

  76. I knew you were a kindred spirit, Jenny :)

  77. I hope the Erik photos helps you bad boy fans conjure up your first time.

  78. LOL, TIna - I think that is the exact picture I had on my door ;-) Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    I was a fan of Johnny Depp from his 21 Jump Street days, too!

  79. In love with two bad boys????? What a risk take you are.