Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kissing Panel Notes - #smoochysmoochy

How many of you stopped by just because of that title? Oh I hope you did!! Because today on The Writer’s Alley we’re going to talk about kissing.

(Just so you know, our very own Amy Leigh Simpson has some GREAT archived posts on kissing too....so if you like this one, you'll definitely want to check hers out ;-)

I have notes from a few experts who converged on Nashville two weeks ago to share their insight on kisses.

If you haven’t heard the first annual Christian Fiction Readers Retreat happened on Nashville on August 24th. It was a full day event of readers, bloggers, reviewers, and authors – learning, laughing, eating, and hugging! Authors presented and there were several panel discussions.

I was part of the Kissing Panel. Just so everyone knows, there was no kissing involved. Just talking about kissing :-)

Oh yes! And guess who I got to share that amazing panel with???? Are you ready for this (dreamy sigh from my inner fangirl)

Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, Melanie Dickerson, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Janet Dean!

Anyway, the hostess of the panel (Carrie Schmidt) was kind enough to provide hand fans for the discussion – but let me tell you, despite popular belief the discussion didn’t get TOO spicy (except maybe when Julie Lessman shared examples :-) (no surprise there)

Most of the time, we talked about the heart behind kissing scenes and that goes much deeper than lips on lips.

What do I mean?

There are some very important aspects to writing a good kissing scene and they don’t necessarily focus on the physical contact! (WEIRD, right?)

A great kissing scene eventually involves some healthy smooching, but the reason why the smooching is memorable has less to do with the pucker and more to do with the heart.
You know what I’m talking about?!

If you threw two people on a page together and immediately had them smooching, for no reason whatsoever, that would either be gross, weird, or totally animal-instinct sort of reaction. We would NOT call that romance.

Ah! The key word!


All the ladies on the kissing panel write ROMANTIC fiction – and THAT’s what makes their kissing scenes different than the awkward example I mentioned above.

Three keys unlock the door to a beautiful kissing scene.

1.       The Buildup the ‘story’ behind the kiss is what makes the kiss believable.
How did the story get to this point that a kiss is an organic extension of the moment? Even surprise kisses happen with some sort of ‘background’ to the. If there’s no buildup to the kiss, then the kiss is less believable.

2.       The Charactersthe people involved in the kiss is what makes the kiss meaningful.
Would these characters kiss? Is there enough going on emotionally between them to make a kiss the next step to show their affection. Kisses change things. The total dynamic of a relationship changes when two people smooch.

3.       The Descriptionthe description of the kiss is what makes the kiss memorable. 
       This should be your last consideration on the quality of the kiss, because the first two form the basis for this third part of the kiss. The description. One of my heros will respond very differently in a kiss than another one of my heroes. (same for my heroines). The internal responses of the characters from the buildup of the story and their own personal characteristics changes how they’ll physically relate to one another. Will it be hot and heavy? Gentle? Desperate? Slow and easy?

I’m a medium physical descriptor. I give some detail about the physical contact but then leave room for the imagination, but there are plenty of authors who write in different ways. More or less – the first two keys of the kiss have to be present regardless of the physical description level.

So – here’s a sneak peek of a ‘kiss’ from my upcoming November release, The Thorn Healer.
READY?????? First look right here!!!

(setup – August (the hero) told Jessica (the heroine) she’d have to kiss him first because he knows she’s had a really bad experience in the past from an unwanted kiss. He’s just been hit in the head and rendered unconscious for a very short time)

She sighed against his hair, a sudden relief washing over her as she tied the cloth in place. David had been unconscious for a week. A minute or two presented a much better prognosis. August pulled back from her and she placed her hands on his shoulders to help him orient himself. Those periwinkle eyes stared back, clearing with each blink.
            Her name had never sounded so sweet. “Nice to see those eyes, Mr. Reinhold.”
            He squinted and winced, attempting to straighten his back. “What happened?”
            “The rafter beam fell and you pushed me out of the way of it.”
            His gaze rose to hers. “Are you injured?”
            She smiled, softening her hold on his shoulders, and wondered how she ever mistook him for a villain. “Your speedy reaction saved me from any harm, but you? You hit your head, I assume, from coming down hard on the floor.” Her gaze dropped to his chest and her makeshift bandaging skills. “And the beam grazed you with enough force to leave a mark.”
            He touched his forehead, grimacing as his fingers inspected the impressive lump now turning a lovely shade of green, and then he looked down and ran a hand over the cloth across his chest. “You…you did this?”
            “I am a nurse, you know.”
            His smile wobbled into place, and the spark returned to his eyes as he scanned her body. “I am grateful, I’m sure.” He examined a loose piece of the cloth between his fingers. “And this? This was from your petticoat?”
            She crossed her arms, her face warm. “Desperate times, Mr. Reinhold. Your life was much more important than the welfare of my undergarment.”
            His brow tipped in that attractive way of his and she prepared for the impish aftermath. “I’ve been wrapped in your petticoats? I believe a wedding is necessary now.”
            Jess stood to hide her smile. “You, August Reinhold, are an incorrigible flirt.”
            He struggled to stand so she braced his arms with her hands and assisted him the remainder of the way. His muscles flexed beneath her touch, budding the awareness of his shirtless form with a bit more potency. They stood close, much too close for a bare-chested man who was unashamedly wearing pieces of her petticoat.
            “Only with the right woman who is in desperate need of an incorrigible flirt.”
            She fought the urge to look away and instead, stared back, drinking in the sight of him, whole and somewhat safe. In fact, besides the knot swelling on his forehead in brilliant colors, his appearance left a feverish wave running through her body. Or perhaps it radiated from his skin, infecting hers with an intoxicating need to feel encapsulated by his strength one more time.
            “I think you’re going to be fine,” she whispered, her gaze dropping to his lips.
            “No, I still suffer from an ailment only you can cure, Mause.”
            “Do you?” She swallowed her fear and edged a step closer into the foggy heat. “I’m afraid your malady requires training for which I’m ill-equipped.”
            “I suspect you are a quick study.” The tenor in his voice reverberated low.
            She touched his cheek. “Not as quick about things of the heart, I’m afraid.”
            “Then take your time. I’m a willing patient.”
            He didn’t hurry her, made no movement to rush but merely stood there, waiting for her initiation, bending slightly to give her more ready access to the items of her fascination—his lips.      She drew close enough to feel his breath on her mouth, and she hesitated, flipping her gaze from his lips to those eyes. His brow rose in question, but otherwise, he didn’t move an inch, and she smiled, finishing the distance.
            His lips were soft and warm beneath hers, sweet and inviting. She waited for the fear to overrun the curiosity, but it didn’t. Instead, he gently stroked her lips with his own, ever so slightly. She pulled back to take in a breath and check his status. Did his pulse pound in his ears too? Was breathing becoming increasingly more difficult? He opened his eyes and looked at her with such tenderness, such life, it welcomed her to bridge the gap for another sampling. She cradled his face in both hands and brought her lips to his again.

Okay, you’ll have to read the book to find out how all this turned out ;-)

Any advice you want to add to the kissing panel? I’m all ears and I’ll even blow you a kiss for your thoughts :-)
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and most recently a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. The third book in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer, releases in November, and Pepper has more books planned to arrive in 2017 – so stay tuned!!


Robin E. Mason said...

#swoon #fans face

Becky said...

I LOVE this!! It's exciting to read an excerpt from The Thorn Healer! I can't wait for it to be released!!!

Barbara said...

Shoooo. I'm trying not to swoon over here!

Pepper said...

Glad you liked it!!

Pepper said...

I so hope people will enjoy this story as much they have the others :-)

Pepper said...

HAHA!!! Barbara!

Unknown said...

Nice :)
I hope the event is here to stay. Budgeting for next year!

Unknown said...

Wow! It's awfully hot in here. I need to turn the air down. What a great kiss. I can't wait to read about Jessica and August.