Sunday, June 16, 2013

Does Romance Have a Season? by Nicky Penttila

I live just outside Washington, DC, a place that doesn’t often come up on many people’s list of Top 10 Most Romantic Cities. So I wanted to set some stories here, and show my town can stand up to most any other in the romance category. In my novella Babysitting the Billionaire, May and Beau visit two of my favorite places, the Building Museum and the National Gallery of Art, and they walk around the Mall under starry skies.

 So far, so good. But in the first draft, I had them doing all this in late July, which in DC means triple-digit heat and melt-worthy humidity. I thought that would help make the story hot, and my characters were, indeed melting, but not in a good way! I think I was trying to convince myself that people can have a good time here despite weather that can make me want to hide inside. But on the page, it just didn’t feel romantic.

I revised the story, setting it in June, the time of blue sky, cherry blossoms, and just a hint of the heat waves to come. This time on re-read, the story felt like a romance. 

 “Spring is when the plants bud, and many romances, too. Do you notice when a story goes against that adage? Do you expect a romance to take place in the best weather, the nicest season in whatever the location is? Even in the “snowed in, trapped in a cabin in the woods” stories, the weather usually turns mild after the big snow socks them in.

And what about the character's "internal weather:" Do you notice when it doesn't match? What are some great stories that go against the grain, creating joy despite crummy weather?

When the struggling Save-the-Penguins Foundation assigns shy graphic designer May Reed to shepherd its secret billionaire funder around town—and keep the paparazzi away from him—she thinks the job will be a cakewalk. But from the moment she meets cover-model-ready mogul Beau Kurck at the airport, she finds this “easy” assignment is anything but. Can she keep him under wraps when all she wants is to unwrap him herself?

Available Now at Evernight Publishing 

About the author:

Nicky Penttila writes stories with adventure and love, and often with ideas and history as well. She enjoys coming up with stories that are set in faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat. She’s chattiest on Twitter, @sunshinyday, and can also be found at


Elyzabeth M. VaLey said...

I visited DC 2 years ago during the end of February and fell in love with the city.

I'm not particularly fond of Spring (allergies) and summer (horrible heat). I think romance can bloom at any time ;-)

Carlene Love said...

Hi Nicky,
Great post by the way, interesting questions you posed to us. I've only lived in the DC area for five years now but the capital city is extremely romantic with all that history, the cherry blossoms, the monuments, and the waterways. For me, I like chilly weather best for snuggling in romances.

Nicky P said...

Elyzabeth, I feel your pain! I have pollen allergies too, so sometimes it feels like there's only one good week in summer--that sliver between the end of the pollen and the start of the swelter.

Carlene, I'm a chilly-weather girl, too. Although I do like the skin showing in summer, so long as I'm in the shade observing it ;-)