Friday, August 12, 2016

The 4 Elements of a Good Romance | We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot! by Cerella Sechrist & Loree Lough

Romance shouldn’t be reserved just for February and Valentine’s Day. After all, did you know that August is National Romance Awareness month? Of course, being writers, Loree and I feel one of the best ways you can celebrate is by reading a romance! Which got us thinking – what are some of the key requirements of a good romance novel? Here, we break it down for you – (Make sure you read to the end of this post to find out how to enter for your own romantic prize package!)


1) Every good romance needs complex characters. In ONCE A MARINE, Summer Lane has worked hard to overcome a traumatic incident from her past and is determined to be tough so she can remain independent. Summer’s actions all stem from this emotional trauma, which provide additional layers to her character. And since it’s in Zach Marshall’s nature to save people, as a former marine, voila – these character complexities provide a foundation for the next key element of a romance novel:

2) Conflict. At the heart of all romance novels is the conflict – some force (be it external or internal) that’s keeping our hero and heroine apart. In HARPER’S WISH, the initial conflict arises when Harper Worth is forced to apply for a job from Connor Callahan, the restaurateur whose career she nearly destroyed with her vitriolic review of his first restaurant. Because Connor doesn’t trust Harper given how she burned him in the past, this creates an internal conflict that keeps Connor wary about his new employee.



3) There should always be a black moment. This is the point of no return, where things are darkest for our hero and heroine. In THE FIREFIGHTER’S REFRAIN, this moment comes when Finn Leary has hit emotional rock bottom and breaks down in the hospital chapel. Her sister is in ICU, storm damage has closed her diner, and her recovering alcoholic father is dangerously close to backsliding. The hero, Sam, has been offered a chance to make his recording dream contracts come true, and Finn fears Sam will choose his music over her, just as her parents always have. It’s in this moment that things are at the darkest for our hero and heroine, but it all paves the way for….

4) The happy ending. After the conflict is resolved, and our characters have conquered the black moment, they deserve their happily ever after. In GENTLE PERSUASION, this occurs after Ophelia returns to the Okina Inn in Hawaii to prove to Dane she’s ready to give up Paris, and her dreams of being a senior executive recruiter. She finds him amidst the orchard on the coffee plantation and tells him about the deal she negotiated to serve his Kona coffee exclusively at Towers Resorts, which will help bolster his business…and solidify them as partners, both in business and in life.

While there are many more elements that go into a great romance, these are the foundation for the best stories.



So what are some of your favorite romances? You can tell us in the comments and enter to win a romantic prize package that includes:

A Pretty in Pink Gift Basket and one signed copy of EACH of the novels mentioned in this post!

Four runners up will receive a digital copy (for either Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks, or eBook) of ONE of the titles mentioned in this post!

You can enter a variety of ways through the form below, including by commenting and telling us your favorite romance novel or movie. Winners will be drawn on August 31 and announced in our next edition of We Talk to Ourselves…a Lot! on Friday, September 9.

Until then, be sure to celebrate National Romance Awareness all month long!

Find Your Romance Giveaway from Loree Lough & Cerella Sechrist


About Loree:

With nearly 6,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of The Firefighter's Refrain (#3 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 105! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!


About Cerella:

 CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. Harper’s Wish, Book #1 in her Findlay Roads series, is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.

64 comments:

  1. It's difficult to say which one is my favorite but I think the one that leaves an impression is The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior by Jennifer McQuiston.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Evelyn! I haven't heard of The Spinster's Guide, but I love the title! I need to check it out! Good luck with the giveaway!

      Delete
    2. I haven't heard of that one, either, Evelyn, but you can be sure I'm going to follow Cerella's lead and check it out! Hope your weekend was terrific!

      Delete
  2. Books are like your children, there's no way you can choose a favorite. In medicine they have an acronym TNTC that means too numerous to count. That describes my favorite books. But maybe I could say my favorite is the one I'm currently reading---and there's always one waiting in the wings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Roz, it's so true. We should know better than to ask people to pick a favorite! But I do like your answer - the one you're currently reading. ;) Have a great weekend!

      Delete
    2. Good points, Roz! And I love the TNTC acronym! Hope your weekend was wonderful!

      Delete
  3. Good morning, Cerella and Loree. I love LAST OF THE MOHICANS because theirs are truly life and death struggles and Hawkeye is so marvelous. Can't forget GONE WITH THE WIND. Talk about complex people and issues. Scarlett is so selfish, and yet she cowgirls up to do what she has to do. Rhett does give up on her, but I imagine Ms. Mitchell had another book in mind. As Roz says, TNTC. (Thanks, Roz. There are lots of times when that will come in so handy.) Bless all the writers out there who brighten and enlighten our days! We know how hard it is, so we can truly appreciate them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muriel, we have similar tastes, I see! I'm a huge Last of the Mohicans fan, and I like Hawkeye as well. And yep, Gone with the Wind. I like the way you think! :)

      Delete
    2. Excellent choices, Muriel! Those are classics that I can read/watch time and again without growing bored. Roz did us all a favor, sharing TNTC...I know I'll use that a lot from now on! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      Delete
  4. As always, a fabulous and fun post, ladies! Your books always exemplify what a great romance should be!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate! Of course, Heartwarming novels are always great romances - yours included!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Kate, and as Cerella pointed out, Heartwarming novels are up there with the best of romances--yours included! Hope your weekend was wonderful!

      Delete
  5. Love...not just February. I like it.

    I'm with Muriel about Last of the Mohicans, but I never forgave the movie for having the brother and sister die But, then, I'm thinking movie more than book. I never read the book (I remember tiny print)

    A book I read over and over is Mrs. Mike. Love love love it.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do still love the movie version, Pam! In fact, it's one of my top favorite movies. But lol on the tiny print of the book. ;)

      Delete
    2. I read Mrs. Mike ages ago, and like you, Pam, I could read it again and again (and probably will read it AGAIN!) and love it just as much as the first time! Hope your weekend was wonderful and the week ahead will be wonderfuller! :-)

      Delete
  6. Good morning, Ladies! You nailed it with all the best elements of a romance. Some of my favorite books to read and read again are Jane Eyre and the Count of Monte Cristo. It just so happens that romance and revenge (vengeance) are two of my favorite types of book to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent choices, Carol! You can never go wrong with classics like these. Count of Monte Cristo, in particular, is a favorite of mine. Have a great weekend!

      Delete
    2. LOVE stories that include gritty conflict borne of vengeance! Wishing you a terrific week, Carol!

      Delete
  7. Picking a favorite is a near impossible thing, although Pride & Prejudice comes close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Liz, that one is right at the top of the best romances list!!

      Delete
    2. You can't go wrong with a classic like that one! Seems we Heartwarming authors have lot more in common than being...Heartwarming authors! LOL! Wishing you a wonderful week, Liz!

      Delete
  8. I always come back to Winter Solstice, by Rosemunde Pilcher. I've read it so many times, my book is in tatters. Love the elements of romance. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one is lovely! Ms. Pilcher's The Shell Seekers is a go-back-to for me, too.

      Delete
    2. Oh, me three!! I love Rosamunde Pilcher! I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite of hers, but these are both great stories!

      Delete
    3. My To Be Read (and REread) list is growing, thanks to you guys! :-) Wishing everyone a happy, productive. UNhot-and-humid week!

      Delete
  9. Informative post. Those are great romance elements. I can't choose an absolute favorite romance since I've enjoyed so many, but my latest favorite romantic MOVIE is The Best of Me, based on Nicholas Sparks' novel. I keep watching it over and over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen this one yet, Laurie, but it's on my list of movies to watch - even more so now that I know you recommend it! :)

      Delete
    2. LOVE Nicholas Sparks books and movies, Laurie! Hope you enjoyed your weekend, and good luck in the drawing!

      Delete
  10. Titanic was a great romantic movie of all time.
    gloriawalshver@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Titanic is such a beautiful film to watch, with the sets and costumes. Good choice, Gloria!

      Delete
    2. LOVE Nicholas Sparks! (Could it be because so many readers write to tell me his style and mine are so similar? Nah... LOL!) Hope the week ahead is filled with good stuff, Laurie!

      Delete
  11. Always love your posts ladies! My vote for most romantic is The Princess Bride and Pride and Prejudice. First, I love the humor in TPB and sweet Buttercup and her Wesley. And PaP is just .... swoon. The end when he comes to her. I die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, what lovely choices, Amy! You're right, humor is oftentimes a great addition to romances, and The Princess Bride is a great example! And yes. The end of Pride and Prejudice. YES. :D

      Delete
    2. Yup, the right balance of humor and angst is important, all right! Too much -- or not enough -- of either, and the author loses me as a reader! Have a great week, Amy!

      Delete
  12. You ladies do such a great job with your posts. I'm with Amy on this one. Pride and Prejudice. Lordy, but I still tear up when Mr. Darcy walks out of the morning mist. It doesn't get any better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES!!! The scene with Mr. Darcy in the mist like Amy and Catherine said! I'm melting just thinking about it!!!!!

      Delete
    2. Definitely!! Pride and Prejudice is so perfect!

      Delete
    3. I said it before, and it bears repeating: I need to go through my Keepers Shelf and re-read some of those old classics. All these terrific reminders of scenes and characters are making me nostalgic for them! Enjoy your week, Catherine and Rula! :-)

      Delete
  13. Wow, Great marketing tool. Loved how we got points for twitter, facebook, etc. Best wishes on your project. Favorite romance. Touched By the Wind by Janet Daley. Also loved Gone With the Wind of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandra! I'm so glad you used the various entry methods to earn more chances to win! Good luck with the giveaway and great choices on your favorite romance! :)

      Delete
    2. You're so right, Sandra, and Cerella gets a LOT of the credit for PR/marketing ideas and blog themes. (This, as just ONE example!) Just one of many reasons I'm very, VERY lucky that we're friends and partners!

      I read a romance ages ago called Ashes in the Wind. I need to dig that one out again, too; if this old brain remembered the title, there must be a good reason for it! LOL

      Delete
  14. Another great post by two awesome ladies :)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks, Rula! You're one awesome lady yourself!

      Delete
    2. And an awesome comment from an awesome lady (who's also an awesome author)! Happy weekend, Rula!

      Delete
  15. I love the Susan Mallery Fools Gold Series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now there's one I haven't heard of before, but you can believe I'm going to look for it! Hope your weekend was terrific, Anne Marie!

      Delete
    2. Anne, can you believe I've never read a Susan Mallery book? I know, I know. Maybe the Fools Gold series will have to be my starting point!

      Delete
  16. My favorite romance book? Any by Lori Wick. Especially Pretense and the English Garden books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, it's been years since I read Lori Wick, Kristine! Good choice!!

      Delete
    2. Same here, Cerella! Aren't we lucky that Kristine reminded us of an ATE (Author to Enjoy)! LOL

      Delete
  17. I'm going to have to go with my favorite movie being "A Walk in the Clouds", but I also agree with all you other ladies that on a dreary day I will reach for my Pride and Prejudice to cheer me up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tressia, I saw A Walk in the Clouds years ago and liked it, but I don't remember much about it now! But like you, I feel that P&P is always a great go-to romance. :)

      Delete
    2. Added this one to my TBS (To Be Seen) list! And you're both right, Tressia and Cerella: P&P is a classic that will never go out of style, on the page or on the screen!

      Delete
  18. My favorite romance movie is Ghost, it was such a tear jerker and I still cry every time I watch it. The Titanic is my second favorite

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ghost is a good one, and I love the historical element of Titanic, Darlene! Great choices!

      Delete
    2. OoooOOOooo... I do love me some Titanic, Darlene! But as so many have shared here, it's tough to choose a favorite romantic movie. Which is a good thing because it's our guarantee we'll never run out of great, HEARTWARMING stories! :-)

      Delete
  19. Somewhere in Time and Pretty Woman are my favorite romance movies. I don't have a favorite romantic novel, they are all my favorite while I'm reading them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THAT's what authors love hearing, Jenny! Hope your weekend is wonderful!

      Delete
    2. Good answer on your favorite romantic novel, Jenny! lol! Good luck with the giveaway!

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. Oh, me, too, Marsha!! Love that movie! :D

      Delete
    2. That's another favorite, Marsha! Good luck in the drawing and have a great weekend!

      Delete
  21. My favorite romance is Princess Bride! It has humor and love.
    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great answer, Jennifer! That one has a great balance of laughs and love! :)

      Delete