Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Writing Romance Is Like...

Welcome to my blog! And the 3rd stop on my blog tour!

Since November is the anniversary month of my first published book, I decided to go on a tour and chat and give stuff away!

The “theme” (I use the term loosely) is Writing Romance Is Like…
And every blog stop has a difference comparison that will give you some insight into who I am, how I write and my slightly weird sense of humor. Oh, and you can win stuff! Every commenter gets entered for a chance at a book from my backlist. And if you really want to have some fun: follow me around to all the stops on the schedule (on my website: www.ErinNicholas.com) get the answers to the questions (on the form on my site) and then e-mail them to me by December 15th to get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or MyBookstoreandMore.com. Come join the fun!!

Today I’m talking about how Writing Romance Is Like… Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: because it’s all about taking two things that are good alone but even better together!

I love peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of the all-time best combinations. Peanut butter and honey—damn good. Peanut butter on bananas—yum! But peanut butter and jelly are… perfect. Strawberry is the best, in my opinion, but grape is a close second.

There is nothing as good as getting two things together that belong together.

You wouldn’t put more peanut butter with peanut butter. To be good together, things don’t have to be exactly alike. Also you wouldn’t put say, filet mignon with peanut butter. Filet mignon is awesome. Just not with peanut butter. That’s okay. Because there’s jelly.

My writing process always starts with a character. Usually the hero (I don’t know why, that’s just how it is). Then I ask the question: what situation would really screw up this person’s life? That leads to who is this person, where have they come from, what is their life like now, why is this situation such a bump in his or her world? Then the fun question: who does this person really need? Who is the jelly to this person’s peanut butter? Not because they’re not okay on their own—my characters are strong and independent and doing fine on their own. But there’s something missing—even if they don’t know it. Peanut butter by itself is okay too. Just not as good as it could be.

Sometimes they need the other person because of the situation. Sometimes they’re just stuck with the person because of the situation. Sometimes they really don’t want that person because of the situation. Whatever the case, the story—regardless of what predicament I put them in— is about why is this person the one? And why right now? And what will keep them together—because the situation will be resolved and then what?

Well, once you’ve had peanut butter and jelly—you’ll want it again and again right? Most of us have been eating it for years. PB & J is a forever kind of thing.

I love reading that and writing that. That finding-forever-thing. I would be a terrible mystery writer. The clues would go undiscovered because the detective (the hot, super smart detective) would be making out with the gutsy, beautiful, sweet woman who—well, see, I’d have to come up with some reason for her to be there too… it would be a mess. I write romance. I always will. Because I’m all about peanut butter and jelly!

Join me at my next stop! November 12th at Shelly Munroe’s blog! http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog/

Excerpt, Just Right (a true PB&J couple!)
Erin Nicholas

Ben leaned forward, grasped her hips and pulled her toward him until his forehead rested against her stomach.

Surprised, she slipped her fingers through his hair, her palms resting against the warmth of his skull, and waited for him to speak.

He drew in a deep breath. “He’s stable, but barely. To go back in so soon…and on his head…damn.”

Her chest throbbed. For Mario. For Ben. This was hurting Ben so much too.

“Do you see why I hate my job?” Ben asked, still not moving. “Why did you have to pull me into this?”

But he didn’t sound or act angry with her, and he continued to hold her as if he needed her comfort.

“I’m sorry,” she said, her throat tight. “But if you hadn’t already been with me, I would have called you. I would have needed you there.”

And having him here now made it painfully clear that it wasn’t because he was a doctor. She’d wanted him there because he could make her feel better just being in the room with her. Ben would do anything in his power to make things right in the world. He was a warrior, a hero, a fighter. That’s all she needed. Not the victory necessarily, but the man willing to do battle for the right reason.

Ben rubbed his forehead back and forth against her abdomen, his hands still splayed on her hips, the gentle but firm pressure keeping her against him. She became aware of how thin the cotton of her pajamas was. The heat from his hands spread and her stomach tightened as she felt the hem of her pajama top pull up as he rubbed, exposing a strip of skin about six inches wide.

“I don’t want to talk medicine right now,” he said hoarsely. “I want to forget all the bad stuff. Just for a while.”

She felt his breath on her skin a millisecond before she felt his lips. He kissed her three times along the waistband of the pajama pants and she reflexively tightened her fingers against his head. He must have understood the invitation to continue.

Her eyes slid shut as she felt a lick along the side of her belly button.

“You taste as good as you smell,” he murmured against her skin.

Her breasts tightened, the nipples prominent under that soft cotton. If Ben looked up he would see how much she wanted him. But he seemed content to trace the bottom edge of her ribcage with his tongue.

The power his mouth had on her was incredible.

She wanted to strip off every stitch of her clothing—then start on his.

“Ben, maybe we should talk about what happened and how you’re feeling.”

His lips hardly lifted from her skin. “You’re not a damn psychiatrist, Jess,” he growled. “I’m not here for psychoanalysis.”

“What are you here for?” She knew, even as she asked. He needed a distraction, an outlet. Could she sleep with him for those reasons?

Absolutely. If she could make him feel better, in any way, she’d do it. Not that there weren’t perks to being his therapy right then. His hands and lips were hot on her and she, too, wanted to do anything but talk.

“I want to feel good. I want to forget that there’s any pain or disease or sadness, even if it’s just for a while.”

He looked up at her with a wanting she had never seen, even in her fantasies. Because what he needed from her was so much more than physical.


  1. Finding that forever person is just what I love about reading romances, and I think Jessica and Ben make a perfect PB & J couple.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  2. You're right. Romance is like PB & J. They're not the same...but they complement each other. And they're both sticky so they bond well together despite their differences. Excuse me...I'm going to have a sandwich right now...


  3. Oddly, I had just made myself a PB&J before I sat down to read this. *g* An open-faced sandwich made with Marionberry jam on a toasted whole wheat English muffin--which is unbeatable, IMHO.

    I think you're totally right with this idea. Two things that are good on their own, but better together--that's the very essence of romance.

  4. Hey, all! Thanks for stopping by my itty-bitty blog :) I'm glad you liked the comparison... a sandwich does sound good right now-- though PG really knows how to do it right! *G*

  5. I'm not a fan of jelly, but I love peanut butter with chocolate, ha ha! And I love that excerpt. Ben would be welcome at my house anytime - I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind! :)

  6. Goodness,
    You and my husband both love Strawberry and grape in the same order. I like Blackberry, red raspberry and bramble berry or loganberry and apricot or honey. Having fun on your tour see ya in a few days.

  7. Sweet to think of romance as PB with J. I love strawberry and blueberry jam and cherry marmalade is awesome in a sandwich.

  8. Yes, peanut butter and chocolate is always a winner, Terri! :) Zina, I've never had bramble berry-- where can I find that? Love new stuff like that. And, Lindseye, cherry marmalade? Yum! I'm clearly missing out on a lot of awesome combinations!
    Thanks for commenting everyone! I'm going to wait and pick a winner later tonight to give others a chance to comment if they want to!

  9. My MIL makes her own jelly and sends us a case every year for Christmas. Haven't heard of bramble berry before. The big hit at my house is creamy peanut butter and apricot jam.

  10. Hi Erin, enjoying your blog tour! PB&J is always reliable! Haven't had one in a while!


  11. Thanks everybody for following me around!!! Terri, you are the winner of the choice from my backlist! Sorry, I don't have your e-mail so contact me at erin@erinnicholas.com and let me know which book and what e-format you prefer!
    Thanks! Follow me to Shelly Munroe’s blog on Friday the 12th!(http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog/)


  12. In Yellowstone National park at one of the gift shops is where I bought mine, I think they also have Mooseberry.