Wicked Romantic

balloon-1046658_1920Jessie: In Washington D.C. thinking fond thoughts of my beloved.

Today is my wedding anniversary and my thoughts naturally have turned to romance. I know I like a bit of romance in the books I read and the ones that I write and I wondered if the rest of you do as well? 

Julie: I do like the romance, especially as a reader. As a writer, I’ve learned from all of you that pacing is important. Really important. Keep it going, but don’t frustrate everyone. I loved writing about Ruth and Ben’s relationship in my Clock Shop series. I am figuring out Sully’s romantic path in my Theater Cop series. She has a couple of options, but is also a strong single woman. In my new series, Lilly Jayne is a widow. There may be romance at some point, and there is an interesting next door neighbor, but for the first three books Lilly’s romance is with life, and embracing it again.

Mommyand me

With my mom about ten years ago

Edith: Yes to both, and happy anniversary to you and the dark and mysterious husband (who must be delighted that Brazil is going strong in World Cup competition). I’ve written conflicted relationships and ones that go more smoothly, but in the end I want my protagonist and important supporting characters to be happy in love. One of my favorites was giving Cam Flaherty’s widower great-uncle Albert in the Local Foods Mysteries a new sweetie – who turned out to be my late mother, Marilyn Muller! She never got to read any of my books, and I so love including her on the pages. Romance in the assisted living residence: it’s never too late.

Liz: Happy anniversary, Jessie! I do like a little romance in books – especially crime fiction, where the rest of the world we’re in is so dark. I’ve had fun with Stan and Jake’s relationship in my Pawsitively Organic series, and in a twist unplanned even to me, Stan’s mother also found love in a small town. Romance can definitely add a nice flavor to the story.

Sherry: Happy anniversary! I’ve always love a side of romance dating back to my early reading of Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. I’ve enjoyed the twists and turns in Sarah’s love life. Most of them were unexpected. Seth? Never planned on him even having a name, let alone continuing on through future books.

Readers: Romance in your mysteries, yay or nay? Are there any you’ve read that didn’t work for you?

Opening Lines — Wedding

Thanks, Margaret S. Hamilton, for letting us use this photograph!

Margaret: I took it on a cold, windy September day in Chicago, watching the bridal parties line up for a photo opp in the middle of North Michigan Avenue, the Chicago skyline behind them. Photoshopping would have been much easier.
Edith: I had to come back for my bestie’s wedding, even though the witness protection guys told me not to, but I wish I hadn’t worn those black strappy sandals – I couldn’t move fast enough to avoid being photographed!

Julie: It was the perfect set up. He’d get them to pose for a picture while I rifled through the bags in the car, stealing all the cash. The one time I improvise just a little bit, and grab a pair of earrings, bingo bongo bungo. We’re on the lam. Did that look like a mob wedding to you?

Barb: I just did WHUT?

Jessie: Posing as a wedding party was a brilliant way to take photos for the bank job we were planning.

Sherry: I bit my nails almost down to the quick. If the photographer jerked his thumb one more time my sister, wedding dress or not, was going to take it off.

Liz: I saw him coming before he saw me, and had to think fast. Luckily, a wedding party was posing for a picture, and my snazzy suit blended right in. I just hoped he didn’t start shooting at me and take out the newlyweds.

Readers: Add your own mysterious opening line for the photograph!

Margaret S. Hamilton has published short stories in Kings River Life and the Darkhouse Destination: Mystery! anthology. When she’s not photographing her garden, she’s revising the first two novels in her proposed Lavender Cottage Interiors series. Margaret lives in Cincinnati with her scientist husband and two standard poodles. She has three children.