Fiction Book Reviews

Sizzling First Encounters with Melanie Dickerson

I am SOOOO tickled to have debut author Melanie Dickerson on my blog today. If you haven’t had the chance to see the beautiful cover of her book or watch the book trailer, here’s your chance. The book trailer is the BEST one I’ve ever seen. Zondervan really pulled out all the stops, didn’t they?

Melanie has been writing for years and working among authors within ACFW, judging contest and serving in various capacities. During this time, she’s garnered some lovely awards for her writing as well, but the best reward for all her hard work was THE CALL. Yes – almost as if the skies opened up and light shone down just for Melanie.  Zondervan wanted to publish her novel!

I am thrilled to get to share this wonderful news with you and rejoice with her. What a blessing and so. much. fun. To learn more about Melanie, check out her new website at Also visit her blog at

So, okay – without further ado, let’s get on with the intro and ‘sneak’ peek 🙂 Actually – this is Melanie’s FIRST SNEAK PEEK!!! AHHH! Thanks for letting me be a part of it, Melanie!

What makes for great hero/heroine romantic tension – especially in that first encounter?

One element of romantic tension is denial. It adds power to the attraction between the hero and heroine when one or both of them is really attracted to the other one but is denying that they are. Maybe the heroine is angry at the hero and tells herself that she doesn’t think he’s cute, that she doesn’t like green eyes, and so doesn’t like the hero’s eyes or his thick brown hair and muscular chest and hardly even noticed them. 
In the partial scene I’m sharing today, the hero is pretending he isn’t attracted to the heroine, that she’s beneath his station, he’s betrothed to someone else, and therefore he couldn’t possibly be attracted to her. I couldn’t share the entire scene, but maybe you will get a sense of it from this snippet. This is also the scene that’s portrayed in the trailer that Zondervan made for my book.

Wilhelm held the cup to his lips and watched the healer’s apprentice walk to the window, giving him a clear view of her profile. Her brown hair glowed in the sunlight that poured through the glass. Her nose and chin were small, her cheekbones high, and her lips full and perfect. He recognized her. She was the girl he’d seen on the street with the dog.

He knew about this girl. His father had recently approved Frau Geruscha’s request to have the maiden as her apprentice. If he remembered correctly, her name was Rose. She was a beauty, a woodcutter’s daughter who ordered his knights around as if they were lackeys. But he’d been betrothed since he was five years old, so he was used to guarding his heart. Besides, he wasn’t likely to be tempted by a woodcutter’s daughter—or a healer’s apprentice—no matter how beautiful.

Her wolfish dog sat in the corner of the room and eyed Wilhelm’s two knights, who were staring at Rose. The dog growled low in his throat, his forelegs pulled in tight, ready to spring at the men if the need arose.

Wilhelm studied Christoff and Georg. With a fair maiden in their midst, he knew his men too well to doubt their thoughts. He suddenly agreed with the dog. He didn’t want them staring at her.

“Christoff, Georg, you may go now.”

They tore their gaze away from Rose. “My lord?”

“Unless you want to watch her sew me up?” He raised his eyebrows.

The men seemed to realize what was coming and practically raced each other to the door. From outside, Christoff called, “We shall wait nearby.”

Wilhelm grinned at their haste. He brought the tea to his lips and drank until he had swallowed some of the leaves and all of the liquid, the bitter taste lingering on his tongue.

The maiden turned from the window with dread in her face. He hoped the tea worked. The pain in his leg made him clench his teeth, but he bit back a hiss, since the girl looked as though she might cry herself at any moment.

He set the cup on the floor and lay flat, letting his head sink into the prickly, straw-filled pillow. She placed a low stool next to him then rummaged through a basket at the foot of the bed and withdrew black string and a needle.

“So what is that you’re stitching me up with?” He forced his tone to sound calm, hoping to put them both at ease.

One side of her mouth went down as if she were avoiding his gaze. “Catgut, my lord.”

She stared down at the needle and he watched her draw in another big breath. She closed her eyes as she made the sign of the cross. Her lips moved silently, then her long lashes swept up, revealing warm brown eyes that brimmed with determination.

His heart beat faster.

“When Frau Geruscha sews up a wound, she tells the person to think about something else, to imagine they are in a favored, peaceful place.”

Wilhelm nodded and closed his eyes. He could do that. He wouldn’t think about the needle, the catgut, or his leg.

Her soft fingers, gentle and tentative, touched his bare leg, near the wound. But he couldn’t think about that, either. He’d think of a stream … Yes, with the sun glittering on it … a nice grassy bank and a big tree. The leaves are moving with the breeze … the grass is cool.

There it was, the stab of the needle piercing his flesh. His leg tensed in spite of himself. He forced a moan to the back of his throat. The tea wasn’t working.

Okay, there you have it! A brief intro into Melanie’s book coming out in October. And this just in. Her book was chosen for the American Christian Fiction Writers October bookclub. Is that great news or what? So many congrats, Melanie. You’ve gotta be proud.

So, talking about ‘denial’. Can you think of any situation in your wips where you’ve created some hint of denial? One of the basics of conflict in novels. Do you have it in your book?  Let’s hear a little bit about ‘your’ romantic tension through denial.

Up NEXT?  Join Colleen Coble and learn about what she thinks makes a great first encounter. With over 35 novels, I’m sure she can give us some great advice on how to create fire from the first encounter.

37 thoughts on “Sizzling First Encounters with Melanie Dickerson”

    1. Mel, this has been my pleasure. What a wonderful turnout.
      You are loved, girlie. This has to be such an encouragement to you.
      So tickled!!


  1. Oh wow!!!!! I love this scene! “His heart beat faster…” OH MY GOODNESS! Isn’t it wonderful to see into a guy’s mind? I love the male POV!!! LOVE IT! I can’t wait to read your book, Melanie!


  2. What a great excerpt! I had seen the trailer, and knew then that this was a book I’d love to read! As for denial in my WIP, I think I need more. It would ramp it up significantly. Thanks, Melanie, for sharing your expertise – this was something I needed to read today!


  3. Oh, Melanie, I SO remember that scene!! Girl, it reads beautifully and, YES, I’m not buying the sense of denial on Wilhelm’s part because she is SO sweet and innocent sounding, that you KNOW the man is going to fall hard! Just like your readers will, for this book!

    I am SO proud of you, my friend, and cannot wait until this book flies off the shelves. 🙂

    Thanks, Pep, for the first peek … although I am happy to say, it is actually my second … 🙂



    1. Oh, and what a pleasure for me, Jules
      Mellie picked me!! Yahoo!
      What a wonderful way to share in the joy of a friend.


  4. Woohoo! That was an awesome scene!!!!! I can’t be moe excited to read this book that I am right now, I can already tell I’m going to LOVE it!

    XOXO~ Renee


  5. Oh wow, I cannot WAIT to read this book! Not that I’m trying to wish away the summer, but this book’s release can’t get here fast enough to suit me! 🙂


    1. Missy,
      Thanks for stopping by. Truly my pleasure and blessing to get to celebrate some more with Melanie. Isn’t this great! It’s like a cool party. I should provide food, what am I thinking?
      Marvelous Peanut Butter Bars, a fruit tray, and drinks.


  6. Wow! Great exerpt, great interview, great trailer! Congratulations on your book, Melanie – it sounds wonderful! Looking forward to October and reading/discussing The Healer’s Apprentice.

    Pepper, thanks for another well done interview!


    1. Jan Marie,
      Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully there be lots more on the way. This is such a fun opportunity and I learn so much from great authors. Hope you will too.


  7. Thanks, Missy! You’re such a sweetheart!

    And thanks, Jan Marie! You must be a member of the ACFW Book Club. I’m sooooo excited that my book got picked for October! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!


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