Friday, July 13, 2018

Kiss and Tell (part two): Creating a Swoonilicious Kiss



Happy FRIDAY, Seekerville! Let's just ignore the fact that it's Friday the 13th and talk about something much more pleasant: KISSES. Specifically, KISSES in fiction. 

Ever since I fell in love with the story of Cinderella, I've been in love with "KissingBooks" (if you're a Princess Bride fan, you probably get the reference). When I started blogging about Christian and clean fiction, KissingBooks quickly became my most popular series of posts. Romance is still a hot genre (pardon the pun) and reading Christian & clean romance doesn't mean we have to sacrifice passion. After all, God created passion and romance and, when in the proper context, the expression of that passion glorifies him. Of course there are certain lines that we don't want to cross in fiction (or in life) but within these parameters Christian authors write a wide range of sweet kisses to smokin' smooches and everything in between!

Much like I did in my last Seekerville post (where I profiled my fave book boyfriends and what makes them swoonilicious), today I'm going to look at my four fave kissing scenes and analyze what they have in common and why they're so swoonilicious!

Let's look at the kisses first! 

(These are in no particular order, by the way)

Cue the romantic music ...

 

Fave Kiss #1: David & Catherine's first kiss in The Thorn Keeper by Pepper Basham - A storage closet, a reformed bad girl, and a dashing British doctor. "'Heaven help me, you taste like Christmas!' She breathed between them, keeping her mouth close enough to feel the warmth of his breath."

Fave Kiss #2: Carl & Annalisa's rain kiss in The Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund - "His gaze didn’t waver from her lips, even when he reached up both hands – one on either side of her face – and intertwined them into the long damp strands of her hair."

Fave Kiss #3: Katie & Luke's office kiss in A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman - "The taste of her lips was far more than he bargained for, and he drew her close with a raspy groan."

Fave Kiss #4: Vance & Violet's alcove kiss in The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall - "'Violet,' he repeated quickly, between kisses and labored breaths, his hands still pressed against the small of my back. 'Violet, you have no idea -'" 

   

What do these four fave kisses have in common?

1. Emotion. Raspy voices, the inability to breathe, trembling hands. There is more driving these kisses than merely attraction. Something connects the two kissees (is that a word?) on an almost soul-deep level, and that emotion results in some pretty passionate kisses! The sense of knowing this person is different, this person is your person, this person is 'the one' - and the raw need to communicate that to him/her when words fail you

2. Worth the Wait. This often goes hand-in-hand (or lip-to-lip?) with 'emotion' but each of these kisses was fueled by a need that had been continually repressed for one reason or another. Whether it is because they've been kept apart by distance or misunderstanding, or because the hero (or heroine) is trying to do the noble thing and resist the relationship. Whatever the reason, once the decision to smooch has been made, there is no longer any holding back! (And when I say 'no holding back', I'm still just talking kisses here. No bedroom shenanigans!)

3. Cherished. Passion notwithstanding, these kisses come from a heart that cherishes the other person, the relationship, the emotion, the act of the kiss. It's not so much about taking as it is about giving, about somehow telling this person without words how much he/she means to you. Because you can't find the words to adequately describe your heart toward him/her (back to 'emotion' again)

4. Passion. Yep. I went there. These aren't mere brushes of the lips (although there's certainly a place for that too). These are 'pucker up and turn on the a/c' kinds of kisses. The kind that make you want to say "WOWZA" out loud while you're reading. (And sometimes you do and then you get funny looks.) Now, please don't misunderstand. A passionate kiss doesn't have to be hot n' heavy and full of sparks and sizzle. Sometimes, the most passionate kiss is the one that comes from a gentle heart full of more love than that heart can contain. But it still has passion, no matter how quiet.

Again, take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm just one reader with her own preferences. But I will say that these four kisses always come up in 'favorite kiss discussions' and not just from me haha! So there is something about them that appeals to a wide variety of readers, and I think these four characteristics (Emotion, Worth the Wait, Cherished, Passion) are a good start in figuring out what makes them so memorable.


Authors: What do you find most difficult about writing a swoony kiss?
Readers: What are some of your favorite book kisses?

Let me know in the comments & you'll be entered to win ONE BOOK of your choice from one of the four books I featured today in my fave kisses.

Giveaway is open internationally, provided Book Depository has the book of your choice and ships to your location. Void where prohibited by law.

86 comments:

  1. Carrie, what a great post!! (she says while fanning herself) :)

    To me, the most difficult thing about writing kiss scenes is not writing them the same every time (and in every book). It's tough to be creative!

    As a reader, I can't think of one in particular at the moment. But I can think of my favorite movies kiss. It was in Hope Floats. :)

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    1. Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr., oh my stars, poor Birdie! The scandal of national TV!!!!!

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    2. in hindsight, i should have begun the post with a fan alert ;)

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    3. LOL, Carrie. I think the title of the post was a giveaway. :)

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    4. oh yeah... good point LOL

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  2. Hi Carrie:

    I really enjoyed your post. I particularly enjoy reading about other romances in which the authors do something especially well. When I review books in which an author has done something exceedingly well, like 5-sensing or creating emotionally charged physical descriptions, I do my best to point this out. As a writing student I try to learn from the best examples I can find.


    I find writing kissing scenes very hard and usually try to avoid them yet along with the four kissing elements you mentioned, I would add this: an expression of serene love which forms a spiritual union. In such a kiss the lovers feel as if they have become one with the other, as if they could no longer tell where they ended and their lover began.

    In effect, I think the best kiss is one which is the most like a mystical experience. This may seem odd or unlikely but I have experienced these feelings and know they can exist.

    I believe writing such a kiss in a romance probably requires poetry. I'm pretty sure Julie Lessman could do this and that I could not.

    Please put me in the drawing.

    Thanks for your post.

    Vince

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    1. "writing such a kiss in a romance probably requires poetry" - I'm pretty sure Julie Lessman could definitely do this and I bet you could too, Vince! :)

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    2. Come on, Vince, who are you kidding?? I've read your work, remember? You can probably write such a kiss in your sleep, my friend.

      But thank you for the compliment!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. Oh, Julie: You say such nice things it makes missing you all the harder. Don't be a stranger.

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  3. Oh, Carrie, this is so much fun... I love your kissing posts! And Swoon-a-licious.... Kiss-a-licious.... :) Big smiles here!

    Pepper loves kissing scenes. So does Julie! Those gals can pack passion into a paper bag and the bag's so smokin' hot it's outlawed in far west as a wildfire risk. No lie! :)

    It's lovely to have stories draw us in to the beauty of love between a man and a woman... that's what romance is all about.

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    1. "Those gals can pack passion into a paper bag and the bag's so smokin' hot it's outlawed in far west as a wildfire risk." - HAHAHAHA Ruthy! YES! So true ;)

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    2. I want to put that quote as my tagline! Seriously!!!!

      Pepper Basham, Author
      "Packs passion into a paper bag and the bag's so smokin' hot it's outlawed in far west as a wildfire risk."
      Yep!! I'm totally for that. Off to make a graphic ;-)

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    3. LOL, Pepper! I think you should definitely use it! haha

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    4. GO FOR IT, PEP!!

      And thank you, Ruthy. :)

      HUGS,
      Julie

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    5. I love that, Ruthy! You're hilarious!

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  4. Hey Carrie, You are the go-to expert for swoony kisses, your recommendations always send me in the right direction.

    I agree, Pepper Basham does some great kissing scenes, loved Just the Way You Are and really all the books of hers I've read.

    However, I'm reading Ruthie's book, Her Cowboy Reunion, and she has an "almost" kiss that had me swooning. Now I'm 50 pages from the end and can't wait for the payoff :) Love this book!

    I have yet to get a hold of a Dawn Crandall book, but I'm going to this year or bust, lol! Would love to win that one!

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    1. oooo almost-kisses can be swoonilicious too - yes! I can't wait to read that one even more now :D Liz Johnson has a delicious almost-kiss in The Red Door Inn as well!

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    2. Put my name on the list of "almost kiss" fans!

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    3. Yes to Liz Johnson's The Red Door Inn!

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  5. My current WIP is done. Except... I have to write that kiss scene. Just a few paragraphs but they are so difficult to get just right...

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    1. This is why I read kissingbooks instead of trying to write them! LOL

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  6. OH Carrie! Love this post. As an author, the hardest part is writing the actual kiss because I visualize it in my head and (confession time) I can't even watch a kiss on a screen! Umm... yeah. I still literally hide my face when they come up (which my kids love to tease me about.) I love kissing my husband and generally read kissing scenes that don't make me too squeamish, but yeah... I think something must be wrong with me. LOL

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    1. aww no nothing wrong with you! :) Maybe you should try acting it out with your husband? Julie Lessman does this with her husband! LOL!

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    2. Crystal, that's so cute! But nothing is wrong with you. On the TV or at a movie, I sometimes feel like I'm an intruder in those kissing scenes!

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    3. Crystal, believe it or not, I feel the same way when I watch kissing scenes on TV with my hubby or kids or even my friends. I think because for me, kissing is so intimate that it almost feels wrong sharing it with anyone else around. Fortunately, I don't have that problem with books OR with kissing my husband. 😍

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  7. Hi Carrie, I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I've had the privilege of reading Carolyn Miller's new book and there is a scene between Serena and Henry that will surely have a stamp of approval for swoon-worthy kisses. There is a low moan sounding friend the back of his throat and he draws her closer and tighter and kisses her more deeply and more ardently. Nothing more explicit is necessary to realize just how much he desires her!
    I would love to be included in the book giveaway.
    Blessings!

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    1. woohoo! YEP! Sounds like that one has ALL the elements of a swoonilicious kiss! :D

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  8. Carrie! I am going to save this post FOREVER because you've put my name among some of my FAVORITE 'kissingqueen' authors! Julie Lessman, at the top, of course - but Dawn Crandall and Jody Hedlund!!! WOW! YES!! Bring on the smokin' paper bag!!!

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    1. hahaha! OF COURSE your name is up there with these fab authors. Have you READ your kissing scenes lately?!? ;)

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    2. Hi Pepper: I just love your name from a marketing point of view!


      "Add some Pepper to your Reading for the Hottest Kisses in the Christian World!"

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    3. HAHA!!! Carrie, I LOVE reading my kissing scenes - I just always think there are tons of others who do it better :-)
      But David and Catherine...YES!

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    4. Hee hee, Vince!! Well, I DO use my name in my regular tagline: Blue Ridge mountain romance peppered with grace and humor" but that smokin' hot bag line might need to change up my tagline a bit ;-)

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    5. Pep, I'm beyond honored to be among you, Dawn, and Jody -- kissing queens, ALL!! And I would add Laura Frantz, MaryLu Tyndall, Becky Wade, and Denise Hunter as well, along with ALL the Seekers, of course! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    6. Hi Pepper: Yes, it may be in the bag, but also think that 'pepper' opens the tag to 'spice' and 'spicy'. It just gets better all the time. I'll be watching to see what you come up with! Enjoy.

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    7. Julie!! yes - Denise Hunter!!! Becky WAde!!! Laura!! All the yeses!!!!! and the kisses :-)

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    8. Vince, hee hee - my hubs calls me the 'spice of his life' :-)

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  9. My favorite scenes for kisses are the ones that have been building for a long time (about half the book) or the ones that seem forbidden (Faith and Collin in "A Passion Most Pure").

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    1. yes!! I agree! There's that 'worth the wait' element plus the emotion & passion!

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  10. Carrie, as an author, I really appreciate this series you're doing. I do struggle with kissing scenes sometimes because you want it to be unique, but also organic. And definitely not cheesy. However, if I get too into it, my editor is apt to tell me it's too sensual. So it's a struggle to find the balance.


    And I have to say, Julie Lessman is the queen of kisses. Her writing always has me swooning.

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    1. Yeah, there's a fine line between 'swoonilicious' and 'too sensual' and sometimes it's in the eye of the reader. And yes! Julie's kisses are WOWZA :D

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    2. Aw, Mindy (and Carrie!), THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, you sweet things -- greatly appreciated! But as a gal breathing on 70 and married 40 years, I sure in the heck have enough experience under my belt, eh?

      And your editor tells you some of yours are "too sensual"? In the Christian market?? Uh ... what a surprise because that's something I have never heard once.

      More like 1000 times ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  11. Yaaaaaay! I love the way you analyze stories, dear Carrie! These are definitely some of my favorite kisses as well, I got chills (not the cold kind) while rereading them here! I'm in the car right now (not driving) but I will think more about my favorite kisses (since you are making me) and come back later! 😁

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    1. oh yeah... i'm making you... suuuuure... ;)

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  12. I love this post, Carrie!

    Your four points - Emotion, Worth the Wait, Cherished, and Passion - are so true, but not something I've ever put into words.

    Thanks, Carrie!

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    1. thanks, Jan! It was actually tough putting them into words - i had an easier time with the book boyfriends post haha!

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  13. Carrie, I love this swoon-worthy post! Your insight is impeccable!

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  14. *faints dead away
    Someone get the smelling salts

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    1. LOL ya ok way up there in Canada, Mel? ;)

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  15. Great post and I so agree with The Thorn Keeper and The Cautious Maiden. Granted I haven't read the other ones yet. :)

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    1. oh TONI! You must!!!! :D

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    2. I'll add them to my ever growing TBR pile. :)

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  16. I just remembered another good one. Michelle Griep's The Captive Heart! I wrote in my review that Samuel and Eleanor's love story in the last couple of chapters was so romantic it sizzled and I felt like I was intruding on the privacy, whew!

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    1. oh my word. YES!!! Whew! loved it!

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  17. You have fantastic taste! I'm happy to say I've read all 4 of those books! Whew! (Please don't enter me in the giveaway.)

    One amazing, totally worth the wait kiss is at the end of Kara Isaac's Then There Was You. I finally read that books through the INSPYs and Man! I love it so much!i
    I'm always a fan of Pepper and Dawn's kisses! I also enjoy rereading that one hallway/quilt scene in Dawn's The Captive Imposter. I love that the kiss is such a surprise to the characters.

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    1. Yesssssss I love Kara's book and that tunnel scene! Goodness - fanning. And I almost included the hallway/quilt scene from TCI instead of the one from TCM but Vance <3 lol

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  18. CARRIE!!! Girl, I feel like I've come home again, which I always do with Seekerville, of course, but especially with THIS post -- WHEW!

    First of all, I wrote a HUGE comment first thing this morning, but lost it because we are traveling through lots of "no service" areas. Sigh.

    But ...excellent points ALL, my friend, particularly #s 1 and 3 -- two of my faves for kissing scenes. ;)

    Which brings up an interesting point. There was a thread on the FB Avid Readers loop a few days ago regarding words Christian readers hate in Christian fiction, and two of them were "moan" and "groan" in regard to kissing. Wellllll, that stirred my pot because as you know, I'm pretty fond of moans and groans in kissing scenes like the one in the clip you used above. Agreed, they should be used sparingly (which I admit I fail to do here and there!!), but sweet mercy, we Christian romance writers have to have something to work with when conveying passion! We are so very limited in what we can use in the first place, which is difficult when competing with the secular market for the minds and souls of readers in a Fifty Shades of Gray kind of world.

    But I digress. As usual.

    Thank you SO much for including a kiss from A Hope Undaunted, which happens to be one of my favorite kissing scenes I've ever written from my favorite book I've ever written. But would you believe at first I couldn't place the kiss? I've written sooooooo many throughout 21 books that I had to search it out in the actual book to see which one it was. So I thought I would flesh it out just a wee bit here if that's okay:

    As if under a spell, his gaze was drawn to her lips, parted and full, and the sound of her shallow breathing filled him with a fierce longing. “Oh, Katie,” he whispered, no power over the pull he was suddenly feeling. In slow motion, he bent toward her, closing his eyes to caress her mouth with his own. A weak gasp escaped her as she stiffened, but he couldn’t relent. The taste of her lips was far more than he bargained for, and he drew her close with a raspy groan. With a fierce hold, he cupped the back of her neck and kissed her deeply, gently, possessive in his touch. His fingers twined in her hair, desperate to explore.

    Okay, all done, so THANK YOU for a great post that helps prime the pump for writing a new kissing scene -- MUCH appreciated!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. yay! JULIE! Welcome back :D I hate it when i write out nice long comments and cyber space steals them. How frustrating!

      And clearly I didn't participate in that Avid Readers discussion because I'm pretty sure each these kisses (in full context) have moans or raspy groans :D

      Did you say new kissing scene?!? YAY!! Have fun ;)

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  19. Wowza. That's what we're supposed to say, right? I love kissing scenes ... especially when they take your breath away for a moment and send butterflies chasing through your stomach. That's what I want my readers to feel when they read mine. Exactly what I felt when I got my first kiss (by the way, it was so good, I married him!).

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    1. those are the best kinds of first kisses! I married mine too :)

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  20. I have been a Julie Lessman fan since the first book I read of hers (out of order, but Julie and I try to avoid that conversation)

    LOVE LOVE LOVE her books!!! They're definitely on my keeper shelf - for fun reading and for #kissingbook 'inspiration' :-)

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    1. Right back at you, my sweet friend! With you in the biz, I now have a wealth of WONDERFULLY WARM (and HOT!) kisses to enjoy, so THANK YOU!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Not going to lie... I'm all for a romantic and swoon worthy kissing scene. And you've mentioned some great books here! And of course created a great post to refer back to when my brain hurts and I need to remember the details of a good kissing scene (for reading and writing purposes). Thanks for a great post, Carrie! <3

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    3. LOL thanks, Sydney! That research we do is so tough, isn't it? ;)

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  21. The anatomy of a well-written kiss! You nailed the four must-haves. My *favorite* book kiss is shared by Phillip and Marianne in the low light of the library in Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. It definitely fits all four criteria ;)

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    1. yessss another great one!!! love that book!

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  22. Hi everyone - I, too, had typed out a huge comment on my iPhone - in the car - traveling on a highway earlier today and it got lost in cyberspace so now that I'm finally home I'll try and remember what I said that I thought was so important! lol! I adore all four of those examples and ever since I've read Carrie's "book boyfriend" post I was able to give my hero in my debut novel more swagger and depth in last round edits. And my editor loved my extra tweaks to their two kissing scenes so I have Seekerville and Carrie to thank for that - so *thank you* Carrie! I don't think I'm on par with your four great examples, lol, but you definitely helped this gal out! Please enter me in the draw. Off to make supper now - tons of company.

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    1. oh my goodness! YAY! That makes me so happy, Laurie! thanks for fighting through the cyberspace gremlins to let me know :)

      Enjoy your company!!

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  23. Sometimes those almost kisses are as swoony as the “real” ones. I think every kiss Julie Lessman write is “fainting couch” level. I love when you add the kissing book level to your reviews, by the way.
    I read mostly historical fiction, so the kisses usually come from a build up of emotions. They didn’t go around kissing just anyone at any time, so there is a lot of passion built up by the time the kids happens.
    I can’t remember which book I read this in, but I think it was a Beverly Lewis book that had a line that was something like “save your lip kissing for marriage”. I love that kind of purity.

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    1. oh thanks! I love the KissingBook levels too :) I love that kind of purity in real life too, but I'm glad my fave authors don't save all their fictional kisses until then LOL

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  24. Such great authors! But I haven’t read any of these books yet 😢. Can’t remember my favorite scenes....but Julie Lessman usually packs a punch with her first kiss scenes.

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    1. WHAT?!? Oh you must!! GO! Read them right now!! lol

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  25. I have read Pepper and Julie and agree they have swoony kisses. It’s hard to pick my favorite! My favorite kiss in a movie is in Last of the Mohicans - Cora and Hawkeye around the back corner of the fort. Count me in for the drawing. This whole discussion has been so much fun!

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    1. I love kissingbook discussions :D

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  26. Whoa!!! Carrie, you do realize it's already so hot in Mississippi I'm renting my front yard out as a sauna???? And then you come along with THIS post about KISSES.

    :)

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  27. I loooooove writing kissing scenes! My whole process of outlining and writing a book starts with finding out exactly where my characters are coming from (emotionally) when they’re on the brink of their first kiss. I’ll usually have about a 10,000 word outline before I start writing, and I’ll know exactly what and how the kiss will eventually happen—I’ll dwell on it a lot because it has to be PERFECT. In essence, the kiss is one of the largest, most important aspects of my stories. It’s when the two hearts are finally brought together, and yes, it’s usually unexpectedly! Oh the love! And boy do I love the process of figuring out the kisses! I’m in the middle of figuring out this perfect kiss for my sixth novel, and seriously, it’s the best part! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  28. Oh boy, I need a fan! It is definitely getting warm around here. 😜 there are so many kissing scenes I could bring up. These four scenes are at the top for sure! I will say that the kissing scenes I enjoy are the ones that you have just been waiting forever for, and then BAM! The characters collide (well their lips anyways) and you just sit there thinking FINALLY! Especially if they have some close calls before that. Gets me every time.

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  29. I can see you've done much research and put deep thought into this subject, Carrie! Thanks for sharing your conclusions with us. Yes, I think a fan/freezer/fainting couch warning is warranted. :-D

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  30. Wow, Carrie, I think you should have written this post in the middle of winter!! LOL I have such a hard time writing kissing scenes because I want the emotion there, but afraid to cross that line into never-never land of Christian romance. This is a great post! I'll keep it for future reference for when I'm writing one of those kissing scenes or . . . I'm in a mid-January freeze!

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  31. Carrie, love reading your posts and your book recommendations. You always recommend the best books to read. Thanks for all your hard work!

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