Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: writing romance


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Cutest Meet Cutes?


Cutest Meet Cutes?
As a romance writer (and just an all-around-romantic-y person), I am a BIG fan of a solid meet cute! A meet cute usually refers to movies, but as readers, we've begun to refer to them in books too. 

What is a meet cute, you ask?

If you've ever watched a rom-com, you already know, even though you may not be aware of it. 

A meet cute is that moment when two characters (who will form that lovely romantic connection in the story) meet for the first time. Usually, they meet in a humorous or "cute" sort of way, though more dramatic ways are fine too (think, P&P or Jane Eyre).

What a meet cute provides is a sudden spark, a "teaser" of more to come, a little look at how these two are going to interact together. 

It can reveal an immediate attraction or repulsion, but, of course (in our HEAs), the repulsion turns to attraction through the course of the story. 

Think of some of your favorite movies for examples. 

Here are a few "classic" examples:

Maria and Captain Von Trapp on The Sound of Music

- Why is it "cute"? She's dancing in the empty ballroom and he bursts into the room in all of his serious "state" :)

Don Lockwood and Kathy Seldon from Singing in the Rain

-Why is it cute? As Don Lockwood (a famous silent film star) is trying to escape some rather energetic adoring fans, he jumps into Kathy Seldon's car.  Kathy, at first, is terrified of the "stranger" jumping into her car until she recognizes him, but pretends not too and then feeds Don a little humble pie :)

Cutest Meet Cutes?

Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail

-Why is it cute? Well, it's all the MORE cute because we (as viewers) know that Kathleen and Joe are already in an online relationship, yet the characters have never met in person (and don't even know each others' names). So when they meet for the first time in Kathleen's shop (and we know Joe is trying to take over little bookshops), we're already rooting for them. Hint: F.O.X.

One more?

Iris meeting Miles in The Holiday (which actually uses the term "meet cute" in it, but I also think when Iris meets Arthur Abbot, though it's not a romantic meet-up, just really sweet). 

There are tons of great meet cutes, both in historical and contemporary romances. The live-action Cinderella, Notting Hill, Return to Me, Kate and Leopold,...the list goes on!

But meet cutes happen in books too! I ADORE writing meet cutes!!

This is the couples' first meeting and, as a writer, it's a great opportunity to make the moment memorable and set up the "tension" well before we ever get to the life-long romance or HEA :) 

It's that first glimpse we, as readers, get of the dynamics of the hero and heroine! Usually, we have a little background on one or both characters so the the meet cute has a deeper meaning too. 

Cutest Meet Cutes?

Here are a few bookish ones that I love:

Amelia and Emerson's first meeting in the Amelia Peabody series

Sophie & Clay in Petticoat Ranch (Mary Conneally has some hilarious meet cutes). 

Hattie and Miller in Jenny B Jones's Sweet Right Here

Grace and Noah in Melanie Jacobsen's Kiss the Girl

and...of course, the list goes on.

What a meet cute does is build expectation. It gives a little hint into how these two are going to be the romantic leads of the story. Fun, right?

So let's hear it from you guys!

What books have you read that have some of your favorite meet cutes? 

(all photos are property of the author or taken from


Cutest Meet Cutes?

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her nineteenth novel, Authentically Izzy, debuts in November with Thomas Nelson. She loves connecting with readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook & Instagram. You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at

Nantucket . . . the Perfect Setting for a Romance

 by Courtney Walsh

Nantucket . . . the Perfect Setting for a Romance

Many years ago, I had my first introduction to Nantucket. My kids were little, and I was not a go-with-the-flow kind of mom. I’m still not, if I’m honest, but when you’ve got kids who need naps and you know the value of the schedule, it’s hard to relax.

I don’t think I appreciated the island or its beauty at all. (Side note: I don’t travel well. I’m working on it.)

But then a couple of years ago, a mom with older kids now, we took a vacation to Cape Cod. We stayed in a house my kids swear was haunted, and we ventured out to do all the touristy-type things. One day toward the end of our trip, we decided to take the ferry over to Nantucket.

The island needed to be redeemed, I think, and I am so glad we went.

Looking at Nantucket through more relaxed eyes, I was instantly smitten. The charm of the cobblestone streets, the brick buildings, the cedar-shingled cottages, the lighthouses, the beaches—it was all breathtaking. And every single bit of it lent itself to romance.

"For many books, the setting is another character..."

For many books, the setting is another character, and getting it right can bring the story to life. I knew after this second visit that this was a place I could get lost in. This was a place where I would love to spend more time.

I’m not sure if this is an actual quote, but someone gave me the advice once that if you want to be inspired, change your routine. I couldn’t agree more. Getting outside of my Illinois town and letting my mind wander as I walked those streets and took in every single bit of the island was exactly what I needed to get my imagination going.

"there are stories everywhere. You just have to slow down long enough to find them."

The truth is there are stories everywhere. You just have to slow down long enough to find them. Millions of what-if questions floating through the air, waiting to land on someone willing to play along. Sometimes it starts with a setting: “What if two kids who had the same birthday spent their summers together on Nantucket and what if they made a pact to revisit the island on their shared golden birthday and what if something happened to drive them apart . . . ?” 

For me, that’s how this story began.

Filling in the blanks and answering those questions made the process of writing this book so much more enjoyable, and setting it in a place that I absolutely love was like a mental vacation. My hope is that everyone who reads it will get to experience a sliver of Nantucket, whether they’re leaving their home or not.

I, for one, feel like it’s the perfect romantic escape.

Welcome back Courtney, and thank you for sharing your story with us! 

About Courtney:

Nantucket . . . the Perfect Setting for a Romance
Courtney Walsh is the author of more than ten contemporary romance books. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright.

About Is it Any Wonder

Nantucket . . . the Perfect Setting for a Romance
Can a promise made as kids bring them back together as adults? In this Nantucket-set beach read, “master of the genre” (Midwest Book Review) Courtney Walsh delivers a sparkling inspirational romance about first love and second chances. 

Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart.

Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.

Leave a comment for Courtney to enter for a chance to win a copy of Is It Any Wonder, releases on April 6, 2021.  

Giveaway prize courtesy of Tyndale Publishers. (Seekerville's Giveaway rules applied. Open to US residents with a US mailing address only.)

Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My! with guest Pepper Basham

Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My! with guest Pepper Basham

Hi Seeker villagers! Carrie here, and I am delighted to host my dear friend Pepper Basham today! Her new book, The Red Ribbon, released October 1st as part of Barbour's True Colors historical true crime fiction series! Take it away Pepper, my Pepper!

Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My!
(Or… What Writing My First Romantic Suspense Taught Me)

by Pepper Basham

On a little knoll overlooking the green rolling hills of Fancy Gap, Virginia, stands an old, white Queen Anne style house quite out of place among the country businesses and small houses scattered nearby. It had always been such a curious sight as I traveled from my house “below the mountain” to high school “above the mountain” in Carroll County, Virginia, where I grew up. The Sidna Allen House—a place which carried rumors of a courthouse shootout, nationwide manhunt, and a massive feud, and it all started with a kiss.

As a teenager driving the winding roads of the Appalachian Mountains, I don’t think I ever imagined delving into the true story of this scar on Virginia history. It’s not a happy story. It’s a true crime.

And as I began my research, many times, there appeared to be no REAL heroes. So when I took the opportunity to bring this unknown tragedy to light through fiction, I struggled with several things.

1.      How do I walk the fine line between truth and respecting the generations of families who still live in my hometown with the lingering effects of this story?

2.      How do I write a story about something that still rings with unanswered questions today?

3.      But most importantly, how can I bring grace into this tragic tale so that the readers will see the hope of Christ in the middle of tragedy?

I’m not a suspense writer, guys. I’m a ROMANCE writer. I write KISSING BOOKS. What on earth was I doing writing a TRUE CRIME fiction?

Well this tragedy starts with a kiss so that helped 😊

Plus, I added a few extra kisses to sweeten the deal.

But this story was dark. Sad. It peeled back the culture I love and shone light on its underbelly. Most of my family STILL live in Carroll County, so the way I handled this story mattered.

Here are a few things I learned.

1.      Writing suspense is painful 😊Seriously, I was sore from my jaws down after I finished this story. I like a little suspense here and there, but I’m not sure my body’s made for writing it on a regular basis. If you write suspense, do you have to see a chiropractor weekly or monthly? LOL

2.      Praise God for fictional characters! When I began working through the history of this story, my fictional hero, heroine, and a few secondary characters helped me weave hope, truth, and…romance into the darker creases of the true crime. Real people are fascinating, but sometimes, we just need to bring in a few make-believe people to round out the hardened edge of fact.

3.     Pain is pain, no matter the era, but kindness is universal too. Tragedy is no respecter of persons. Some pain we bring on ourselves and some happens to us because we live in a broken world. Life is HARD ya’ll! Writing this story just reminded me that pain has been around a long time, so has unforgiveness. What we all need is a lot more compassion, shorter fuses, quicker forgiveness, and quieter tongues. We also need a clearer perspective. Everyone has a backstory, and most of the time we don’t know the deeper hurts people carry which then influences their behavior. Compassion and kindness are universally beautiful and have the power to soften those hardened edges of tragedy and provide healing.

4.    We ALL need hope. Where would we be without it? At first, it was hard to find hope in the research of The Red Ribbon. The true events behind this story don’t have a happily-ever-after for many of the nonfiction characters, but as Christians we live in a dark world with the light of Christ’s hope shining into every shadow. It’s how we should think and breathe. And how much more light is needed when the story is so dark? That’s why, as Christians who write fiction, I think it’s important for us to keep that perspective. Our faith doesn’t have to preach on each page. It can be whispered throughout the story in the character’s actions, responses, and in the scenes, but of all things, our stories should carry the fragrance of hope within them. After all, we’re the storytellers of the God of Hope.

If Christ used story to bring truth and hope, it seems pretty natural for his kids to incorporate the same things into their stories. Don’t you think?

What books have you read lately that helped bring hope to your world? 

 About Pepper Basham & The Red Ribbon

Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My! with guest Pepper Basham

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912. 

Amazon | B&N 

Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My! with guest Pepper Basham

 As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family. You can learn more about her on her website, or connect on Facebook or Twitter.


Carrie is giving away a print copy of The Red Ribbon to one commenter! Can be international shipping as long as Book Depository ships to your country. 

What books have you read lately that helped bring hope to your world?

How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock

Happy Fri-yay, Seekerville!! I am delighted to welcome Elaine Stock to the blog today - I love her heart & her books, and it's always a pleasure to hear from her. 

Before I turn it over to Elaine, let's take a look at her new book, When Love Blossoms... 

How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock
The journeys in life take you to unexpected destinations. The love of a good person brings you home.

Kierra Madden, proprietor of the Kindred Lake Inn, struggles for stability after her engagement ends, family strife continues, and business slows. When her mom, sister and teenage niece move in with her, life becomes a lot more complicated. There’s certainly spare room…until one guest arrives…on his bicycle. Ryan Delaney is fit and trim…quite the eye candy.

Ryan, a TV news anchor on a leave of absence following a horrific incident, enjoys the peace long-distance biking offers. Only in town to mend his strained relationship with his teen daughter, he never expects to fall for Kierra fast and hard. Despite her policy of separating business and pleasure, mutual attraction pulls them closer until unforeseen consequences threaten to wedge between them.

Surrounded by springtime beauty, will the temptation of desire bloom into a more powerful and lasting love?

Won't you join me in giving her a big Seekerville welcome??


How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel
By Elaine Stock


Always a forever first: Thank you, Carrie Schmidt, for all things Seekerville related and especially for your utmost patience and confidence in me.

Hello, Seekerville! Thanks for welcoming me back!

Here are a few not necessarily random tidbits about me:

--I love Cole Porter songs
--As a child I paired up my Crayola Crayons in couples (the bright colors were girls, the dark colors boy)
--This July 4th will be my 37th wedding anniversary (I was a child bride—LOL!)
--When seeing a father carrying a child on his shoulders or a mom kneeling on a cement-hard store floor before her little girl to gently calm the child’s sobs—all complete strangers to me—I will break out in tears over the beauty of family love.

Why? Because in addition to uniting couples in my fictional worlds and tossing at them obstacles to challenge their budding love for each other, I’m Passionate about love’s dynamics between family members. And yes, that is a capital P in passionate!

Ah, but it’s a romance you want to read, huh? Maybe that’s where I’m a wee different…or not (I’d love to hear your take on this in the comment section), because I believe that for love to be strong and lasting for Jack and Janelle or Alex and Ariel the love must transcend past the point of immediate attraction and desire and encompass how this growing, heating relationship affects their loved ones, be it family or friends. The couple likely won’t hop into their private plane and fly off to a desert island to forever exclude all others from their lives. Love can only thrive when not in isolation.

Enough with the philosophy of love. You’re writers and readers. Are you wondering how to write/read romances that expand beyond the hero and heroine, yet at the story’s end you will sigh (hopefully) in joy? I could spend hours analyzing the authors who are stars at writing romances, but instead I will offer what works for me:

  1. Keep the hero and heroine in the limelight. This is their story. It helps to limit the Point of View to only his and her perspectives.
  2. Like descriptions of surroundings, sensory perceptions, and many other etceteras, all secondary characters are secondary including their premise, plot, turning points, and conflicts, yet…
  3. The hero and heroine must be seen engaging with these secondary characters (for me, it’s typically family, though you may have another association in mind). For instance, can your heroine ask for advice from an older brother? Will the hero’s aunt, the one who raised him but then disowned him, step back into the picture and wedge between him and this woman he’s falling madly in love with?
  4. If your secondary characters’ sub-story is strong enough to impact the hero and heroine then keep their plot line, descriptions (physical, emotional, likes, dislikes, the way they act) to a minimal. They must not take over the story and take away from the romance. Keep the romance in the reader’s mind at all times.

To paraphrase Cole Porter in his song, Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love): everyone and everything falls in love; love is what keeps us alive.

How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock

How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock
Elaine Stock is an award-winning author of Women's & Inspirational Fiction to uplift with hope of better tomorrows. Her novel, Her Good Girl, received the Outstanding Christian/Religious Fiction in the 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal in Christian Fiction and the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category.

Elaine is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Romance Writers of America. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

Amazon Author Page:

How to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock

Elaine is giving away (1) Kindle edition of When Love Blossoms.
This is Book 2 of the Kindred Lake Series, however it is a standalone read.

Comment below for a chance to win! 

Which of Elaine's tips most resonated with you today?


Cutest Meet Cutes?Corn Shuckins, Bootleggin’, and Gun Slingin’, oh My! with guest Pepper BashamHow to Keep the Romance in a Romance Novel with Guest Blogger Elaine Stock

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