Thursday, May 14, 2009

Virginia Kantra GuestBlog: Sex On The Beach

CONTEST TODAY!!! One lucky commenting Bella wins a copy of "Sea Lord" courtesy of Virginia!

From Virginia:

Sex on the Beach
Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 oz. vodka
- 3/4 oz. peachtree schnapps
- 1/2 oz. creme de cassis
- 2 oz. orange juice
- 2 oz. cranberry juice
- orange slice, maraschino cherry

Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with lime wedge. Recipe source here.


Summer at the beach. The crash of the waves, the caress of the sun, the tang of salt . . . and the lure of a hot romance. Who hasn't necked on a blanket on the sand or dreamed of strolling hand in hand along the water's edge?

So the beach should be the perfect setting for a romance novel, right?

Um...yes and no.

"Sea Lord," the latest book in my Children of the Sea series, is out this month--just in time to tuck into a beach bag. The series was inspired by the Celtic legends of the selkie, immortal creatures of the sea living apart from humankind but able to shape-shift into seductive human form. Set off the coast of Maine, the stories draw on the mystery and magic, power and passion of the ocean.

But sex on the beach...Well, it poses problems for an author. Not to mention her characters. First of all, hell-o? My books are set in Maine. It's cold. The water is really cold. This can have a very damping effect on a woman's mood, the need to get naked, and a man's, er, libido.

It never occurred to me three books ago how much trouble I was going to have getting my sea-loving selkies anywhere near a bed.
Most of the usual trappings of romance--flowers, candles, food, wine--must be carted in and packed out if I use them at all. (Can't leave litter on the beaches!)
Expensive hotels? No.
Five star restaurants? Puh-leeze.
Lobster dinner? Okay, my characters can eat as much lobster as Daryl Hannah in Splash. But don't even get me started on the subject of sand...

Yet somehow the setting works for me. It was that juxtaposition, after all, between the land and the sea, between the contemporary, pragmatic, workaday world of the islanders and the timeless, sensual, magical world of the Children of the Sea that originally hooked me on the concept.

In "Sea Witch" those seeds of conflict—the tension between land and sea, between the mundane and the magic worlds—are present even at the moment of first attraction.

A woman shone at the water's edge, wrapped in twilight and a towel. The sea foamed around her bare, pale feet. Her long, dark hair lifted in the breeze. Her face was pale and perfect as the moon.
For one second, the sight caught him like a wave smack in the chest, robbing him of speech. Of breath. Yearning rushed through his soul like the wind over the water, stirring him to the depths. His hands curled into fists at his sides.
Not okay. He throttled back his roaring imagination. She was just a kid. A girl. An underage girl in an oversize sweatshirt with--his gaze dipped again, briefly--a really nice rack.

The sea is primal. Powerful. A perfect metaphor for sex:

Lightning shattered the shadows as she gathered the storm, owned it, rode it. Rode him. Power pulsed inside and out. She shuddered. He groaned. He felt the crackle and surge as she closed around him, rising and falling like the sea.
His heart contracted. "I am yours," he had told her.
But he had not believed it until now.
When the wave came, the swell took them both. (from "Sea Lord")

Because the sea itself reflects the moods of the weather and the seasons, it's a good way to get the characters' moods on the page. It can even be a way to talk about love itself:

He picked her up in his arms and jumped with her over the side.
Water rushed over their heads, cutting off her shriek.
She surfaced sputtering and clutching at him. "You son of a bitch! Are you out of your mind?"
He buoyed her up, felt her shiver with shock and cold. "Scared?" he demanded.
She glared, her hair dripping in her eyes. "I'm wet."
"Out of your element."
"Yes!"
"Over your head?"
She squinted, adjusting her grip on his neck. "I...so?"
"Me too," he confessed. (from "Sea Fever")

So what's your favorite romantic setting? Your least favorite? Do you like to see the classic trappings of romance in your novels? And did you ever read a story where the setting totally worked (or didn't work) for you?

Read Eloisa James' praise for 'Sea Lord' in her Barnes&Noble.com Review column here!
***
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68 comments:

booklover1335 said...

Hi Virgina,
Love your books, and can't wait to read the new one.

I love to read about romantic settings that are atypical, someplace that normally wouldn't be thought of as romantic, but the author makes it so with the characters words and actions.

A big bed with candles and silk sheets doesn't appeal to me as romantic because it is not creative, and/or spontaneous. Can't think off hand of a scene that didn't really work for me, I guess it's easy to forget the forgetable, but I know I have read some :)

LisaK said...

Hey Virginia, cool to have you here! I've read "Sea Lord" just after it came out and I really, really loved it! You're very good at making readers feel deeply while they're reading your books (or at least making me feel :) ).

Can't think of a particular setting right now that I liked or disliked (me brain's tired...). However, I generally like shower scenes or - what was it? - BAW(?) - "Back Against the Wall" (something like that!) ones. Not very romantic, but saa-hexy!*g*

Sabrina said...

I have this thing for sex up against a wall. I don't know why, since I've never done it. It just seems really hot to me. I do like outdoors settings, however. I like all that nature. And I love the carriage scenes. I have to keep myself from writing them too much.

LisaK said...

A-ha, so was it "UAW" - "Up Against the Wall"? I still don't know. *whine*

Virginia Kantra said...

Booklover, thanks so much!

Aw, Lisa, that's the nicest thing you could possibly say.

Silk sheets...It's not the lack of creativity that bothers me, it's the texture. I like cotton. Isn't that silly?

I'm a sucker for candles, though. Nora Roberts always seems to use the traditional trappings in ways that work for me.

Sabrina, I love carriage scenes, too! All that rocking or something.

What doesn't work as well for me is lovemaking on horseback. I'm not talking heroine-carried-in-hero's-arms scenes. I'm doing one myself right now. I'm talking the hero and heroine doing the full deed on the back of a horse. Or a camel or elephant or whatever. I've ridden horses, and I totally can't see it happening.

Thoughts?

Kate Douglas said...

I just finished Sea Lord and can't get the book out of my head. It was wonderful, and you use the setting of sea and sand to create such a wonderful sense of place and time, though the scene in the garden is the one that really caught my attention. Beautifully written!! And I would like to say that yes, sex on horseback is entirely possible--as long as you don't get the giggles. And I'm not saying another word.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Bellas, and welcome, Virginia! Oh, may I just say that I'm so pleased that for once it's not I who turned the convo immediately to UATW scenes! LisaK, if you check out the Lexicon of Love in the sidebar, you'll see that those scenes have long been a fave at RBTB and I even created a special acronym for Julia Quinn's 'When He Was Wicked!" Oh, see! I just knew you belonged here! It's kismet!

And Sabrina, another ATW girl! May I share with you that I, too, ,have a particular carriage fantasy that involves more than one Regency gentleman? I've been told the number I've selected wouldn't actually fit in a carriage, but I'm not all that picky about historical accuracy when it comes to my fantasies. Thanks for stoppin in! What's your fave outdoor setting?

Hi, booklover! With ya on the silky settings. Do you like the exotics in India and MidEast?

yeesh, Virginia. That makes me cringe. Marsha Canham writes about a particular scene she once wrote of sex among the sails. She said she researched with some people who sailed the seas who said it's possible. The scene's become known as, ugh, this is kinda base, but "Friggin in the Riggin." again, yeesh. So glad you're here!

Oh, so not so yeesh, Kate. Hmmm...

Eva Gale said...

You have the most gorgeous covers!

Romance in Maine is on the pink granite rocks, wine, waves crashing, under a quilt with the gorgeous milky way as your candles and the smell of pine from the forests.

We head to Mt Desert Isle every few years (right across from the Swan's Island Ferry) and the Maine coast to me is heaven. I can't wait to pick these up.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, Eva, that sounds dreamy! some folks don't get how glorious the New England coastline can be. But you certainly do. Thanks for sharing that! And the covers are great, aren't they.

Nicole Dennis said...

Hello
I've been so intrigued about all of your books that they moved up on my to buy pile. Just need a few more $$ in the bank. :)
Settings.. the vast array that we have available to us as writers and readers. They can definitely make or break the right moment.
I love the ones where a hero can definitely be in charge - ie against the wall or in a shower - where he supports her, but then there needs to be a way for the heroine to take charge and have her way. Just an utter explosion of need and passion overwhelming them to take each other wherever it may be. That in itself can make the right setting. What's around them... well.. that can add a bit of extra steam and mystery.

debbie haupt said...

Hi Virginia, I first read about you and your books on the B&N romance book club which I'm an addict and visit too many times a day to count. So I ordered your first Sea Witch because like most red blooded females who can resist any kind of celtic tale. And now that I've read your comments here I'm even more excited to get it. I love humor in an author and I can tell by your blog review that I'm going to love yours. Can't wait to read it.

Keri Stevens said...

Might be my mood, but I know what I don't like--settings where the characters have no choice but to be extremely unbathed for long periods of time. If you're going to cross a desert, get an oasis in there. If you're on a cattle drive--for God's sake, follow the river! When I think, "ooh, but they both must stink something terrible," I don't want to ride the ride. Or be ridden.

(captcha is "dogigh." See, even the cyberverse agrees with me)

Billie Jo said...

HI Virginia & Michelle,

I loved the premise of your stories and went off to check out the website. I have not had the pleasure of reading your stuff as of yet, but that will change this weekend when I go to the bookstore.

So what's your favorite romantic setting? I have never really thought of it. As long as the story goes with the setting I am good with anywhere.

Your least favorite? Don't have one.

Do you like to see the classic trappings of romance in your novels? I do. I am a firm believer that you read what your mood is :-)

And did you ever read a story where the setting totally worked (or didn't work) for you? Nope I don't think I have.

I am all about the plot. Without a plot, a setting or romance is just not going to work. They could be trapped in a volcano and if the plot is good, then I am cool with the volcano :-)

Great questions.

Billie Jo

Treethyme said...

I am a huge fan of this series and I hope it will go on and on. Thanks for the little excerpts, Virginia -- they make me want to go back and read the books again.

As far as the setting for romance, I don't have a preference, for or against, if the scene is well-written. If it's too clinical, tedious, over-done or too purple-prosy, it wouldn't matter if the scene took place at the Taj Mahal.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Nicole! I really like how you talk about wanting the heroine to have a way to equalize the power. The way you describe the whole scenario is very powerful in itself. Storms, the sea, just so scary unpredictable and passionate. Virginia seems to capture that, yet w/ humor, to. Honest ta god, I love a hero who can say, 'great rack,' and we laugh about it instead of getting crazed. He's a guy, for gawsh sake thinking to himself. He might not say it in mixed company, but surely we can't sensor his thoughts. Or maybe I'mjust fantasizing that some guy would ever say that aboutme...ah well... a girl can dream...

Mujerluminosa said...

Hi Virginia,
Sea Lord left me absolutely speechless. I am still dazzled. Love, love, love!
Hmm, romantic/sexy moments, let's see, the wall works, the floor yes, but ouch, but if you're carried away, well go for it. I've read some against the fridge/kitchen counter encounters that have been quite well done too. What a fun topic indeed.
Have a lovely day all. Michelle thanks for the great blog. Virginia, please, keep 'em coming.
thanks,
Stephanie

Julie in Ohio said...

Morning Bellas!! Welcome, Virginia!!

I haven't read your books yet but those glimpses sure have me in need of an Amazon trip. Wow!! Thanks for sharing.

I'm with the carriage and UATW crowd. Love them!! I don't know about beach lovin'. All I can think of are all of the places sand can hide and that gives me the squirms. If anyone can lead me to a sandy romance to change my mind, please do.
On a horse???? Yeah, I'm not feeling that one either. In a barn or in the hay, OK.

Thanks for stopping by today, Virginia. I can't wait to pick up this series. Can you tell me what the order of the books is??

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Virginia
Loved the first two books and can't wait to read this one. As usual, I can tell from your excerpt, your writing is the tops.
Settings, hmm. SOOO important both for the whole story and even more for those individual scenes.
Personally I am partial to places that are a little bit forbidden. And definitely carriage scenes (just wrote one...)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

debbie, totally. I see the celtic symbol on the books, and I start to have trouble breathing. :)

Keri, all I can do is laugh.

That's a great point ,becke. I can, like, read the same country house party setting w/the same food, clothing, ballroom, staircases, scullery, etc., and I eat it up as long as the story's great. In fact, I dig the familiarity. They say the familiarity's why we dig the romance construct inthe first place.

I also like when someone introduces me to a setting I've never thought of or maybe fantasized about traveling to but never read a book about. I fell in love with New England in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and ended up living there happily for 11 years. Um, not in the pond, I mean...

Eileen said...

I have trouble with shower scenes. I get all the steamy hot water and slippery soap part of it, but the shower tends to be slick. Don't people know how many household accidents happen in the bathroom?

Julie in Ohio said...

I forgot to mention that yummy drink recipe. I've heard of those before but haven't tried one. Now I can make my own. Maybe I can get my husband all liquored up and try out one of those settings. ;p

LOL, Eileen!!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

lol, eileen! just. lol. :)

miranda, you little tease! And, yeah, virginia did the tease thing pretty well today, too, no?

julieinohio, asking for the order in which to read a series. how intensely shocking.

hi, Stephanie! i just read a nice counter scene, too. thanks for reminding me. :) but now i'm looking up at my own counters and realizing i really should empty the dishwasher. not sexy. Glad you like it here.

You know, I'm gonna add to the crew who likes the outdoors settings. But maybe not the roughing it. Although I did read a Kinsale that was a stranded scenario and they managed to stay a little clean and it was pretty hot, but the romance was even better. anywayz, i just read a great outdoors in the driving rain scene that was lovely.

I'm wondering whether folks prefer larger or smaller settings. I mean, if a setting is a country, there's so much more that has to be involved: language, customs, maybe political intrigue. If it's 'smaller,' say aboard ship, on an estate or w/in a city, maybe it becomes more about the relationship only. Thoughts?

Of course, maybe you just want to talk about hot places in which to ravish alphas, which is aok by me.

Virginia Kantra said...

Kate, I'm thrilled you liked the garden scene. That was actually the image that triggered the whole story for me - Persephones and Hades in the garden.

I'll take your word about the whole sex-on-a-horse thing. Can I hope I'll see some version of that in Talon's story?

Hi, Eva, yes, I have the best covers. Tony Mauro is the cover artist. If you're interested, you can see the alternate covers (the ones that didn't get used) and read my interview with him
here.And of course I agree Maine can be very romantic! My husband went with me on my research trip. I'm just saying...

Nicole, hey, thanks for moving me up on the TBB pile! I totally hear you on the need for the heroine to take charge at some point. Romance Novel TVjust posted an interview with me talking about Lucy Hunter and the need I felt to give her that moment of power.

Billie Jo said...

Julie

Sex on the Beach drinks ROCK.
They are my absolute favorite drink.

Billie Jo

Billie Jo said...

Michelle,

Great questions.

I like both small and larger settings.

If it is an anthology, the smaller setting is good because then it limits to that particular instant in time.

If it is a novel, I want the bigger setting. You get more of a feel for the story and setting. For instance, if it is set in Scotland, I want to know the customs, language, etc. I believe you get a better feel for the characters. But on the same note, I don't want a big history lesson where the history overwhelms the plot. Does that make sense? LOL

Billie Jo

Gram said...

Hi,
I live in New England and am looking forward to reading your books.
Gram

Virginia Kantra said...

Debbie, oh cool! Thanks. I was so hrilled when Eloisa (I mean, Eloisa James! I am such a fan) featured Sea Lord in her column. Hope you enjoy.

Keri, I'm with you on the bathing thing. I'm okay with morning sex, but I do like heroes who shower. Fortunately, with the children of the sea, water is not a problem...

Billie Jo, excellent observation about plot. In a workshop I teach about developing the romance, I say that love scenes must be true to the situation; advance the plot and show conflict; and reveal character/foster intimacy.

Becke, good to see you here! I love a lush love scene, but I agree purple prose can be a real turn off. Especially in dialogue. I can't help imagining a guy actually saying some of that stuff and me giggling.

LuAnn said...

I like just about any setting for a story. My favorite is probably an ocean beach, though.

Virginia Kantra said...

Julie, I'm glad you liked the excerpts! You can read first chapters at

SEA WITCHSEA FEVERSEA LORDWhich is also the order of the series. :)
There's also a prequel novella in the anthology SHIFTER, sort of an Anne of Green Gables sails the Titanic with hot sex, but you don't need to read it to follow the series.

Thanks for asking!

Virginia Kantra said...

Thanks, Miranda! And yay! on your yummy carriage scene.

Eileen, sex in the shower does give a different meaning to "slippery when wet."

Gram, thanks for dropping in!

LuAnn, I'm glad the beach gets your vote.

You all are making me feel so welcome!

I tend to use "closed society" settings - an island town in Maine, the selkie castle on Sanctuary. (The ton in Regency England would actually be another example.) I think it's important for the hero/heroine to focus on each other, but until I see how they function together in their world I can't believe in their happy ending.

She said...

There is always some drawbacks to sex on a beach but the lovers usually manage to overcome it. I love your covers. Thanks for blogging

Princess Bumblebee said...

Hey, Bellas! Welcome, Kate!
Hmmm.... My fave setting in a Romance Novel. Well, the shower is definately up there, as well as the UATW. Gets me every time. And the carriage, oh, boy!! Also, not mentioned yet, but rooms where someone could just walk in any moment, like the library, as Mrs. D'Alessandro previewed plenty of times in 'Seduced At Midnight', was definately hot! Kind of ups the ante there, hehe.
Sex on the beach, though, there aren't really a lot of scenes like that. Indeed, I think there needs to be more! The outdoors definately gives it something. It's only the hero, herroine and the elements...GRRR!

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Virginia! Who hasn't fantasized about hot sex with a hot guy on a moonlit beach? It is a wonderful setting, but then I start to think about the sand...and where it can end up!

I love that your books are set on the coast of Maine. Cold water aside, it's such a beautiful, elemantal place. A very magical setting.

I'm fairly creature comfort oriented, so I like love scenes set in dark libraries with plush carpets and crackling fires, or in luxurious bedrooms. A nice, over-stuffed sofa works, too!

Virginia said...

Hi Virginia, I have not had the pleasure of reading any of your books, but they sound fabulous.

I love books set in Scotland and it sound like such a beutiful place. I love to visit a lot of different places in my books. This is how I travel!

Eva S said...

Hi Virginia,
I love your books, I have the two first books in this series on my keeper shelf and I'm looking forward to reading this one!

I love the sea and my favorite setting is by the sea, on the beach or somewhere near water...

Virginia Kantra said...

Stephanie, I'm touched. Thank you! I am working on the sequels now - another historical novella developing the finfolk, and then Morgan's story, and then Iestyn's.

She, thanks for the compliment on the covers. Although my editor and the art department deserve all the credit. I did push for the triskelion logo, though: the elements of sea,sky, and earth bound together (or the triple goddess or the Trinity or the realms of this world, the overworld and the underworld, depending on the needs of the moment and your personal theology).

"other" Virginia, I love Scottish settings. My novellas are set in Scotland. And isn't Elizabeth Hoyt's new book set in Scotland, too? Can't wait to read that.

Vanessa, sand is a problem. In Sea Witch, my couple used a blanket set on a picnic table. That's kind of like a kitchen counter, right?

Eva, I'm so very happy to be on your keeper shelf. Hope you enjoy Sea Lord!

Caffey said...

Hi Michelle! Hi Virginia!

That drink looks refreshing with those ingredients! :)
I love walking the beach, especially in the evenings where its still hot but a little cooler and the water fits so good! I haven't been to one in a while so I miss it! I remember discovering selkie (mermaid, Greek god, etc) and all those mythology themes in ebooks and I absolutely love them! I don't see much set with a selkie otherwise so its fascinating to read about these! I did get to have a peek into this from the SHIFTERS anthology! With this Trilogy, is this the end of the series or are more coming? Too whats coming up next for you?

I have your MACNEILL books on my keepers shelf. That's when a friend told me about your books and been following since!a
One of my favorite settings is on a blanket under a tree in the spring and summer. Its just so cozy and a beautiful time to just to talk about anything and everything! One of the favorite romantic settings I'm thinking of is in historicals when they get to wander off from the ball and have some intimate time, even if its just to steal a kiss! As for a scene that seem to not work for me was a car scene that really didn't work for that type of car. I couldn't see it happening plus it wasn't as romantic. Sometimes it works awesome (like once in a historical in the closed carriage, whew, LOL)

LisaK said...

"UATW" - that's what I've been looking for, finally! And Michelle, the Lexicon is so cool! I'll see if some things to add to it come to my mind.

Virginia, I think I've read an interview or something not so long ago - on RNTV perhaps? - where you mentioned something about a new series of yours, or one connected to the Children of the Sea. Can you share any more information? Are Morgan and Iestyn going to be heroes?

LisaK said...

Ooops, just read that you've already answered my question, sorry! My computer doesn't show all the posts from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Well, you've got me hooked! Looks like a good one.
For me there is magic, always, in the sea, by the sea, whatever. It brings out the mystical.
But a good romance is a good romance just about anywhere. I am partial to stories set turn of the century. Somewhere in Time is a perfect example of a timeless classic for me.

Jane said...

Hi Virgina,
Sex on the Beach is one of my favorite fruity drinks. There is something magical about the sea. I love reading historicals set in Cornwall.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I'm not anonymous. This is Rainy and I probably screwed something up with logging in. But both me and Anonymous think your new books sounds wonderful.

Jessa Slade said...

In photos from my family vacation in Maine, every shot is us in wool sweaters and heavy windbreakers. And it was August :)

I have Sea Witch in my purse right now. It's been in my TBR tower for too long but glowing talk about Sea Lord moved it up in the stack. I love selkie stories and Caleb is such a wonderful hero, strong and sure. I'm not sure how you're going to pull off a HEA with all the odds stacked against them...

Virginia Kantra said...

Caffey, hi! I have a soft spot for the MacNeills and for family series generally. FWIW, Suz Brockmann told me that she feels these books are closer to the "home and hearth" tone of those earlier books than my single title romantic suspense.

Lisa, I love the world of these books, and I'm grateful for the chance - any chance *g*- to talk about the sequels. This triology is almost stand alone; that is, they are tied together by the Hunter siblings, and there's an ongoing story arc that resolves itself in the third book. But of course I deliberately left a few threads loose to pick up later on.

Rainy, I'm so glad the books caught your interest!
I love turn of the century books, too. Susan Wiggs and Pamela Morsi both wrote some lovely ones.

Jane, Ah, Cornwall! I always think of King Arthur.

Virginia Kantra said...

Jessa, your post made me laugh. Selkies don't feel the cold the way we humans do, but you'll notice my human characters are forever building fires and reaching for their sweaters.

Glad you like Caleb! I like all types of heroes and all kinds of men, but he's the one I'd marry (if I weren't already happily married, of course). Some of my favorite scenes in Sea Lord involve the three very different heroes in one small room doing that "defending my turf" thing that guys do.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Looks like I've come back at just the right time. three heroes. one room. sigh.

LizeeS said...

Hi Virginia and Bellas,
I'm new to your books but I have to say--just the excerpts are so beautiful writing-wise and scene-wise; I'm ready to stop at B&N on my way home from a meeting tonight...

I, too, love unusual settings for romance and, oddly, pictures of wet guys are not the ones I'm drawn to first (yeah, a lost soul I know) but I LOVE the idea of lovemaking in the shower, which I guess also puts me in the UAW category.

Woods, campfires, deserted places with the background fear of being discovered. Oh yeah.

Thanks Virginia!

chey said...

Hi,
The Children of the Sea series sounds amazing.
The romantic Christmas setting in front of a fire is my favourite setting. Guess that wouldn't work for sea creatures!
I like to see the classic trappings of romance in novels.
I've read a story where the setting totally didn't work. It was an art gallery.

Virginia Kantra said...

Lizee,
Shucks, thanks! (I should say if you or anyone who buys a copy of SEA LORD and then wins in today's drawing, you are welcome to choose another title as your prize from my backlist.

Chey, there is a scene in front of the fire in SEA LORD! And Conn gives Lucy quite a present. (chuckling wickedly)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Several of you folks have brought up the element of danger, of getting 'caught, which is a total turn on. Do you like the element of danger throughout a story, too? Does it up the romantic ante if both h/hn have to protect ea other or he protects her (which I still like)?

David B. said...

I think there is a bi-coastal dynamic to the romanticism we assign the ocean.
East coast is rocky shores, cold water, seaweed.
West coast is calm seas, warm breezes and sun sets.
I think for the beach scene to fit into romance, you got to make it west coast (or the caribbean).

MPG

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

chey, that sounds so cozy. It reminds me of another 'setting' I like, which is more the emotional setting of 'sanctuary.' When a heroine (or hero) finally is being taken care of. Maybe she's been starving, poor and no family and is accepted w/open arms by his aristo, loving one. Even if he simply takes her off the 'streets,' bathes and feeds her. And howza bout the hero who's never had anyone be soft w/him, maybe even had someone love him. He's hot and capable, but we equate his masterfullness (it's a word if I say it is, no?) and great looks and 'experience' with his having been loved instead of coveted. When he's finally truly loved, voila, sanctuary. verra hawt to me.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

[hanging head in shame]

Sometimes MPG just doesn't get it. But in his defense, he grew up on the New England coastline and constantly tries to cajole me to go to the Caribbean. My life is hell.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

To elaborate on that, I adore the NE coast, Cape Cod, the rough, elemental, historical nature of it all. When the sun breaks through all that gray, it's magnificent. And the storms are marvelous. Maybe I need to drag Male Perspective Guy to Maine, Virginia...

LizeeS said...

Michelle,
I do like the idea of protecting and being protected. Your example of the hero who's never been loved can take many forms. In contemp terms it's (in my case) the superstar who's never had anything but fan worship and trusts no one. Or the anti-hero kind of fits too--House for example. For these guys, the "beast" is what they've become because of circumstance. And who doesn't love that "I could be THE one" fantasy?

As for MPG--yeah, drag him to the colder rockier coasts and show 'im the joys of warm, thick, soft, cocooning, hot blanket sex...
:-)

David B. said...

I would be more than happy to be dragged to Maine. For the lobster, the quaint seacoast inns, the golfing.

But alas, and forgive me, not for the beaches!

MPG

kimmyl said...

I love your book covers. They r so perfect.

I love the romance settings in the historical or regency romance novels. There's something about the way they dressed and the way they lived that makes it even more romanctic.

flchen1 said...

Virginia! Draggin' in late to say hi!

Favorite romantic setting? Hmm... I think that in the hands of a gifted author, almost any setting can be made romantic. That said, I'm still a sucker for the great outdoors! Either the beach (all those glorious waves and the sparkling sand) or the mountains (the majestic peaks and all those towering trees and the beautiful meadows and all that flora)!

Least favorite? My brain's a little zapped, but I'm not remembering a worst at the moment :p

Virginia Kantra said...

Michelle, I love your points, and I think they work together.

Yes, the element of danger does up the romantic ante. But the pacing of our novels rarely allows our characters the luxury of leisurely dating. And if it did, it would be boring.

A change of setting and a pause in the action can give you scenes that mimic the “date” – scenes necessary to show that after the timeframe of the novel, this couple can enjoy one another’s company.


In workshops, I call these “resting scenes.”
They can either appeal to a conventional fantasy (the ballroom, the big night out, the midnight garden rendezvous, the carriage ride, whatever) or mix it up (bar, ball game, family picnic) in a way that is true to the situation, advances plot/shows conflict, and reveals character/fosters intimacy.

However you do it, these are opportunities for dialogue and sex.

Okay, dialogue, sex, and food.

I’m married to a man who can cook. I think one of the sexiest things a guy can do for a woman is feed her. Sooner or later in my books, the hero always feeds the heroine. It goes back to that “provider” thing. Even Dylan, who is totally useless in the kitchen and romancing a professional chef, manages to bring her tea, and for me it was one of the tenderest moments in the book.

Feeding is a universal courtship ritual.

Virginia Kantra said...

MPG, not so much for the golfing, but for the rest of it...yeah!

Kimmy, I's so glad you like the covers! I'm thrilled with them because they don't look like urban fantasy or even like most paranormal romance. To me, they capture the fantasy elements of the books. I think of my stories as fairy tales for grown ups, stories about ordinary people (the soldier, the loner, the daughter left at home) who go on these extraordinary emotional journeys that change them. That change the world.

Flchen1, hi! Glad to see another fan of outdoor settings.

Virginia Kantra said...

Just wanted to add - in a shameless plug for my friend Brenda Novak's auction to benefit diabetes research - that you all have 3 chances to get the replica of a warden's medallion with its beautiful triskelion.

You can take part in the Pet Photo Mascot Extavaganza, below.

Or you can bid on an autographed set of the first two Children of the Sea books and the medallion as part of the diabetes auction.

You can see the items and enter your bids hereGood luck and thank you for supporting some great causes!

Portia Da Costa said...

Sorry to be here so late!

The Children of the Sea books sound intriguing. I must check them out. :)

I like all different kinds of settings, and I'm hard pressed to think of a favourite one. I suppose it's a cliche, but one I do return to again and again is the luxurious hotel room scenario. It's as if the sense of being away from home and normality gives the characters carte blanche to be more daring and experimental lovers than they are in more familiar surroundings.

Silk sheets? Not for me. I prefer fine cotton too. :)

Theresa N. said...

The cold works far me. I like warm and cozy, meaning snuggling, fireplaces and the weather outside should be stormy.
Theresa N
weceno(At)yahoo(dot)com

lrwirum said...

I think a lot of time it kind of depends on the book as to what the most romantic setting is. I can't really think of a favorite just how the story works and the characters.


Larena
lrwirum@cox.net

Virginia Kantra said...

Portia, nice to see you any time!

Theresa, I'm in favor of snuggling, too. There's an old Cole Porter song "It's Too Darn Hot" that about sums it up.

Irwirum, I think you're right. If you can feel the moment, any setting works.

Anonymous said...

wana love rainnnnn than
I love dating in rain! R u?

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Ultimatch said...

Sex on the beach is a perfect moment. The air that hits our skin and make us hot, the breeze that takes away our stress and beside is the perfect women were dating. PERFECT!