A Kiss to Build a SCENE on with Melanie Dickerson

by | Feb 2, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 15 comments

More kisses, you say?

For Valentine’s Day.

More kisses it’s true

For me and for you.

So, who thinks the pinnacle of a good story is a buildup to a kiss? Okay, maybe it’s not the climax, but it certainly is the smoke for the fire. A lot of books, especially historicals, have the virgin kiss, where the woman is experiencing a kiss for the very first time. It’s a beautiful discovery traced with a hint of curiosity and surprise.

Up and coming author, Melanie Dickerson, is our guest today and her specialty is historical romance, ranging from the medieval to the Wild West. I’m pretty sure you’re going to get a glimpse of her fantastic writing in the not-so-distant future, so keep an eye out. Actually…. rumor is that Melanie has a book coming out in October. (that’s right – October 2010) And a further indication is a certain book cover you MIGHT find embedded in the excerpt below…maybe. Of course, nothing official 😉 Melanie will neither confirm nor deny the rumor, but she gave me permission to post the photo that you can hardly see encrypted into the excerpt. Really – almost invisible.

You can learn more about Melanie on her lovely blog at http://melaniewrites.blogspot.com

Without further ado, let’s get to the hot stuff 🙂

Melanie, so what makes a good kissing scene?

A good kissing scene comes after some build up, scenes showing the attraction between the hero and heroine, as well as all the reasons why they can’t, or shouldn’t, or don’t want to be kissing. Love mixed with angst. But show they’re enjoying it.
Truthfully, I don’t know what makes a good kissing scene, I just know one when I see one!

Love mixed with angst? Oooh, love it. A little angst goes a long way. Could you give us an example of a kissing scene from one of your books?

This is from my 1880’s novel Magnolia Summer. The hero and heroine have just fell off the porch while having a discussion about why she gave him the cold shoulder after dancing with him all night.

She was lying on top of him, both of them on their backs. Somehow he had managed to place his body between hers and the ground and took the force of the fall on his shoulder.

Claire scrambled off of him and propped herself on her elbow. A daisy lay across his chest, its long stem crumpled and its white petals askew. He didn’t move as he stared up at the sky.

“Truett? Are you all right? Are you hurt? I’m so sorry.”

A smile slowly spread across his face and he turned his eyes on her. “You called me Truett.”

            “Are you hurt?” She nudged his shoulder.

            He began to rise, bracing himself on his hand. “I don’t know. I think I might be.”

            She scrambled to her feet, out of the middle of the crushed patch of daisies and bachelor buttons. She bent and tugged on his upper arm. Her eyes widened at how hard his arm was. The muscles bulged under her fingers as she helped him to his feet.

            Once he was standing he was slow to straighten his back. He carefully flexed his left shoulder, the one he had fallen on, wincing as he did so.

“You’re hurt, aren’t you?”

He nodded.

“Where does it hurt?”

            Truett frowned and closed his eyes for a moment. Then he pointed to the left side of his chest.

            His heart.

“Oh, for pity’s sake. You’re just teasing me, Truett Beverly. You’re not hurt.” Claire slapped his arm.

            “Not physically, maybe.”

A lock of brown hair had fallen over his forehead and hung down over one eyebrow. She considered reaching up and brushing it back.

He was staring at her again, too. “Now, don’t fall backward this time. Hold still.”

Her heart jumped into her throat as he slowly raised his hand to her face. With his palm, he brushed back some curls that were clinging to her sweat-dampened cheek and pulled a beat-up daisy from her hair.

“You want it?” he asked with a playful smile.

She shook her head and he dropped the limp flower to the ground.

Against her better judgment, she stood on her tip-toes. Breathlessly, she lifted her hand and brushed back the stray lock of hair, her fingertips brushing his forehead. 

Truett’s eyelids fell to half-mast.

Oh no. Her heart hammered against her chest. She quickly pulled her hand away, rocking back on her heels. She looked down at her feet. “I have to go in now.”

            She turned toward the steps, which were just beyond Truett’s right shoulder. She waited for him to step aside, but he didn’t. She was so close to him she could feel the heat emanating from his body and smell the dirt they had just fallen into and were probably still covered with.


            She lifted her head to look up at him, but found herself closer than she’d expected. In fact, his face was barely two inches from hers. Her gaze slipped from his eyes to his lips. The next thing she knew, they were kissing.

            His lips were warm and soft and firm at the same time. Her heart seemed to melt and ooze all the way to her toes. He was kissing her. And she was letting him!

            His hands were on her back, pulling her closer. One hand slipped up to caress her neck through her hair.

            She’d never been kissed before. She never imagined it could feel this way. He tilted her head back and kissed her more deeply, making her knees go weak. She shouldn’t like it, should she? A lady shouldn’t allow a man to kiss her this way. She should push him away, run up the steps and slam the door on him.

She dismissed the thought as the most disagreeable one she’d ever had.


Oh Melanie, I bet no one even noticed that small book cover. 🙂

A sweet and fun excerpt, Melanie.

 First kisses. Takes me back to the movie Bambi and the fantastical word “Twitterpated”. Doesn’t that word just describe it all – the amazement, the fluttering, the sunburst in your chest? Wonderful. Thanks so much for being a part of the Kissing BlogFEST, Melanie and I can’t wait to announce….hear how God is going to use your writing 🙂

Kissing Quote For the Day:

“If you are ever in doubt as to whether or not to kiss a pretty girl, always give her the benefit of the doubt.”
~ Thomas Carlyle

Bible quote for the day:

Oh, get up, dear friend,
   my fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Come, my shy and modest dove—
   leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face,
   let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing
   and your face is ravishing.

-Song of Solomon 2:13-14

Check this out. I thought this held great insight to a man’s perspective. A face and a voice. I heard  a quote from somewhere (can’t remember exactly where), but it was by a husband and went something like this “When I hear the consistent chatter of my wife, I know that all is well with the world.”

There is something about the sound of a voice. Especially a voice of someone you love. It’s that great stomach dropping feeling when you pick up the phone and hear that person’s loving voice on the other end, calling for you. When we write, it’s important to remember the value of other sounds along with feelings. Breathing. Moans. Catches of breath. Music that beats the same rhythm or fluid melody of the heart. It intensifies the emotions in the scene just as it does in real life 🙂


  1. Melanie Dickerson

    Thanks for having me on the blog, Pepper!

    And who knows how these silly rumors start. wink, wink

  2. pepperbasham

    Let the debut begin 😉 Can I officially call you a debutante now?

  3. Mary Connealy

    Very, very nice scene Melanie. Seriously, I had to read every word. You’ve very talented but then I believe I’ve mentioned that before. 🙂

  4. Tina

    THAT was a beautiful kiss. Well done Lady Melanie. Well done.

  5. Kathleen L. Maher

    oh, this was even better the second time around! mm, mmm good. Better than Campbell’s soup on a New York winter afternoon. Warmer and more satisfying. ; )
    I have to say that the cover that I ‘hardly noticed’ is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I’m praying now for an artist like that when my time comes someday. I think a first cover has every bit as much magic as a first kiss. What say you?

  6. pepperbasham

    I agree. First cover.First kiss….wow, both sound magical.

  7. laura frantz

    What a great pre-Valentine’s post! I found you through a blogger friend, Carla Gade/Writing to Distraction. And I just had to say that’s one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen! And the excerpt from Magnolia Summer is so well done. Thanks so much for sharing. I’d love to know more about Melanie’s debut novel and how to pre-order or who the pub is. May all your kisses be magical:)

    • pepperbasham

      I’m so glad you stopped by. We’ve GOT TO get you on here too, so you can place that beautiful excerpt from the Frontiersman’s Daughter in here. Yipee! Capt Jack — beautiful!

  8. laura frantz

    Bless you bunches, Pepper! Hooray for that passionate waterfall kiss! You’re a sweetheart:)

  9. Carolynn

    Whoa, I’m loving these kisses 😀
    Nothing is quite like that first kiss…you captured it beautifully…thanks for sharing!

  10. Julie

    Hubba, hubba, Mel, I’m hyperventilating here, girlfriend!! Which is just perfect because I’m getting ready to write a love scene right now anyway, and you’ve already primed the pump! Whew! Is is warm in here, or is just the candle flickering on my desk??

    Seriously, Mel, WONDERFUL scene!!


  11. sherrinda

    **Heaving HUGE sigh** That was lovely, Melanie, and oh what a gorgeous cover! I am so excited for you and I know that God has great things in store. I can’t wait to read this one!

    Pepper….I’m so glad you are hosting this. It is such a fun treat!

  12. Deborah Raney

    Great scene, Melanie. And Pepper, as so many have said, this is a great blog series! Thanks for doing it! Looking forward to the rest of the week. We’ll all be ready for a romantic Valentine’s Day after this, right? 😉

    • pepperbasham

      Hi Deborah,
      I’m lovin’ it so far – and I have enough guests for 3 weeks of it. Wow, imagine the kissing going on! Absolutely LOVELY! Truly, if we’re not in the ‘mood for love’ by the end – check for a pulse!
      Seriously! 🙂

  13. Melanie Dickerson

    My debut book is (somewhat) outed now, so I might as well say that the cover is for The Healer’s Apprentice, my YA medieval romance, coming out in October, published by Zonderkidz. I agree that the creative team at Zondervan did an absolutely awesome job on the cover. It brought tears to my eyes and was just as magical and my first kiss–probably more so!

    Actually, this first kiss scene is from my 1880 book, Magnolia Summer, and is based on my first kiss with my (then future) husband. As the scene goes on, Truett tells Claire (he’s teasing) that she kissed him. So they go back and forth accusing each other of being the instigator of the kiss. That scene was a lot of fun to write!!!


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