As both a reader and a writer, it's the relationships between characters that has to resonate for me. As a romance author, trying to demonstrate romance is part of the process. Readers expect romantic moments. Lots of them.
What do you think of as a 'romantic' moment? Flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day? A glittery something on your birthday? Flowers delivered every Friday?
For me, romantic means thoughtful. Doing something unexpected. Sure, a guy's going to be in deep yogurt if he forgets Valentine's Day, but it's the action that says "I'm thinking of you all on my own" that trips my heartbeat.
Is a Swiss Army knife a romantic present? Some would say no, but the circumstances, not the gift, define the romance. Years ago, I watched MacGyver. Hubby could take it or leave it, and it definitely wasn't a 'let's sit down and watch this together' sort of a show. I was vaguely aware that he'd come into the room, but didn't even turn my attention from the set. When Mac got out his trusty knife, I mumbled, "Why don't I have one of those?" So when I unwrapped my birthday present and found my very own "mini-MacGyver" (hubby wasn't sure I was ready for the real MacGyver version), I was thrilled. Not for the knife, but for the fact that he actually heard me, even when I wasn't staring right at him, and making a specific request.
Sometimes the gifts can be glittery – such as the time when hubby and one of our daughters were out for dinner. Afterward, as we walked through the strip mall toward our car, I decided to look in the jewelry store. Hubby was definitely against it, but daughter and I pointed out things we liked while hubby grumbled. The next week was Valentine's Day, and daughter and I each received one of the, "that's nice" pieces.
Other things that say romance to me:
Hubby saying, "You're working hard, how about if I take over washing the dishes and one baby feeding every day". Bonus points for it being the 2 AM feeding.
Hubby poking his head into my office where I'm busy typing away, and saying, "Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes."
Coming back from the Y and finding the bed made.
Hubby saying, "I'm making eggs, should I cook some for you?"
Note: leaving the dirty frying pan on the stove 'in case you wanted to have eggs' is NOT thoughtful and romantic.
If we have to ask, it's not romantic. If those Friday flowers are because you (or your secretary) has a standing order at the florist, it's not romantic. If, however, you bring home flowers for no reason other than, "You looked sad when you had to throw out the last ones," then that IS romantic.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society