A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Deborah Raney

by | Feb 1, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 9 comments


What a better thing to talk about in February? Romance, love, Valentines…thoughts automatically go toward kisses.

Stories have included them since as long as men have held pens…or rocks – whatever they could use. The heart of any GOOD romance is a kiss. THE kiss. When two people share the first test of love’s possibilities.

So lets start this BlogFEST off with a Smooch worth talkin’ about.

Deborah Raney is best known for her beautiful novel A Vow To CHerish which became an award winning film in 1999. Since then, Deb has written many other poignant and thoughtful novels winning top awards like The Rita, the ACFW Book of the Year Award, and the People’s Choice Award.

 To learn more about her books, visit her website at: http://www.deborahraney.com/


What does Deb have to say about kisses? Ooo, let’s find out!

So Deb, what makes a GREAT kissing scene?

I once wrote an article about how a writer could write a totally romantic scene without the hero and heroine’s lips ever meeting. These are some preludes to a kiss that make the kiss itself almost an afterthought:

LONGING LOOKS. Long before the hero and heroine have spoken a word to each other, they communicate with their eyes. Across a crowded room, appreciative looks speak fathoms. Sharing an umbrella in the rain they play tag with furtive glances. The eyes have it, and attraction is mutual and obvious.

STOLEN TOUCHES. Once the couple begins to fall in love, any excuse will do: his hand to the small of her back as he guides her through a door, shoulder to shoulder on a narrow park bench, a lingering handshake, a wisp of hair brushed away from the cheek. And as love becomes bolder, trembling fingers entwined, and the tender stroke of a thumb. A bit of mustard wiped sensuously from a lip. A sleepy head heavy upon a shoulder, an embrace filled with longing, even a featherlight kiss atop of the head of an unknowing lover.

SENSUOUS SCENTS. People falling in love are all about smelling good. Not simply because they desire to smell good for each other and thus douse themselves with perfume. But also because, once you start to love someone, you begin to perceive everything about them as good––including their scent. So the same stick of peppermint gum that smells merely tolerable on the breath of the stranger on the bus, causes you to swoon on the breath of the one you love. Remind your reader how delicious your hero and heroine smell to each other, and you’ll have them thinking about kissing whether it happens or not.

WORDS, SPOKEN, WHISPERED, BARELY BREATHED. Often the words that draw a couple together in the beginning of a novel are words of conflict. Necessary in a novel, if not so much in real life. But the words that render a kiss superfluous are tender words. They may be eloquent and profound, but they may just as easily be simple and straightforward. They may even be unspoken, but profoundly understood.

ACTIONS THAT SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. When a heroine performs an act of kindness or gives a gift that required much thought or great sacrifice, she may as well have laid a juicy kiss on the hero. And likewise, when a hero gives something to a woman that requires self-sacrifice or real effort on his part, that selfless love says far more than any kiss ever could.

Pepper here: Wow, Deb- what fantastic tips. Do you mind putting those tips into practice with an excerpt of one of your favorite kissing scenes you’ve written?

And here is one of my favorite kissing scenes from Almost Forever, to be released this May. It is the first book in the new Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster. The scene is from the point of view of my hero, Garrett Edmonds, as he sits in a cold car with Bryn Hennesey after a day of ice skating.

“What are you thinking about, so serious there?”
He looked up to see Bryn studying him, her eyes still laughing. He didn’t want to spoil the mood. Didn’t know how to answer. He drained his mug, buying time. The warm liquid felt soothing on his throat. “I’m thinking that I…” But he wasn’t thinking. He was acting, almost unconsciously, not willing to let rational thought keep him from what he wanted in this moment.
Holding her gaze, he set his coffee on the dashboard and took Bryn’s mug from her. Her hands were cool to the touch, and he rubbed them briskly between his own, warming them both. He edged closer to her on the bench seat and brushed a strand of hair away from her face.
She looked at her lap, fidgeted with the scarf at her throat. But when her eyes met his again, he knew that she wanted this as much as he did.
He reached up and tucked a strand of hair back under her cap, drawing her close. Her lips were warm and soft and her mouth fit his the way it had in his dreams.
Her arms went around his neck and she kissed him back. When he finally pulled away, he couldn’t stop touching her, tracing a finger down her nose, outlining the cupid’s bow of her lips, cupping her smooth cheek in the palm of his hand.
He leaned to kiss her again and she responded in a way that made him think he needed to put this truck in gear and take the woman home. To her house. Before he did something he would regret.
He forced himself to let her go. Fumbling under the steering column for the mechanism that put the steering wheel back in position, he slid back to his side of the cab. He dared to look over at Bryn and saw that her eyes were brimming with tears.
“I’m sorry,” he said simply.
“I’m not.”
Her words took him aback. And didn’t fit with her tears. “I…I don’t know what I was thinking.” He put a hand on the gearshift.
“You really don’t?”
“You really don’t know what were you thinking? Are you sorry? I…I don’t think that was an accident.”
He shook his head, too upset to speak. She was right. A guy didn’t just accidentally kiss a woman, did he? He sure hadn’t left home this morning planning to kiss her. But here they were. Why would he risk what they had, risk losing the only friend who understood what he was going through, just because he’d been wanting to kiss her for two weeks now?
Whoa, Deb. That’s beautiful and so sweet. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek into your new release. Oh boy!! Can’t wait for it to come out and thanks for being a part of this BlogFEST.
Now – Kissing Quote for the Day

The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.
-Emil Ludwig (1881-1948)

Bible Kissing Quote – yeah, the Bible has them too 😉

“Kiss me—full on the mouth!
   Yes! For your love is better than wine,
   headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
   No wonder everyone loves to say your name! ” – Song of Solomon 1:2-3

What’s important here? Well, the kiss of course, but the picture of the kiss. Not just lips on lips, but a comparison to taste, smell, and sound – all in two sentences. WOW!! Wine, aromatic oils, syllables murmur like a meadow brook. Go Solomon!


  1. Kaye Dacus

    Yay for kissing fest. Even with just one post up, it’s motivating me to want to get my book written faster so I can get to the kissing scene!

    • pepperbasham

      Hi Kaye,
      Gee, I couldn’t wait so I placed my first kiss in chapter 5 🙂 Now it’s lingering between the two for the rest of the book.
      I’ll probably have to throw another one in somewhere near the middle just to remind my characters of what they REALLY want but don’t think they really want.
      So romantic, don’t you think???
      I just love the scene with Anne and George. Fantastic!

  2. Carolynn

    *Sigh*…great scene…nothing like a good kiss 😀
    I haven’t read this book yet, but I will now, thanks for sharing! And I look forward to reading all your other posts!

  3. sherrinda

    Ooooo-la-la! *heaving big sigh* I love kissing scenes and…like the quote says…the surrender it portrays. I am definitely going to put this book on my list to buy! And what great tips for writing! Excellent ways to incorporate the tension before the kiss. Personally, I’ve always loved the “almost kiss”. Where lips almost meet, but they are either interrupted or one pulls back. Sigh…so romantic.

    Pepper, this was a great idea to host this Blogfest! I’ll be back for more!

  4. Julie

    Whoo-hoo, Deb, loving that scene!!

    Fabulous idea for a blog, Pepper, as always.


  5. Myra Johnson

    Charming scene, Deb! After this excerpt, I’m anxious to read the book! And I think I’m going to copy these great tips on kissing scenes and refer to them often!

  6. Lucie

    wow! I can’t wait to read that whole story now!!! Love a good romance. Thanks for the sharing.

    Lucie Buchert
    Leader/Founder of the Chick Lit Book Club & Review




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