Saturday, February 2, 2013

Valentine’s Day – A Holiday for the Five Senses

by Jean Joachim

"Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses." – Lao Tzu
Love in romance novels – how do you paint the picture? Do you use the five senses? I like to write scenes incorporating the senses as I believe it draws the reader into the emotions of the story. Here are a few snippets from my newest release, a sweet romance, UNDER THE MIDNIGHT MOON. Note: sensual scenes are especially necessary in a sweet romance where there are no sex scenes.

I’ve touched on several senses as the heroine’s guts are doing battle with her brain over whether or not to make love with Drew, the luscious hero:

His divine taste, his intoxicating scent, the way his lips seduced her and his touch aroused her, brought Mindy to the brink of submission.

Her mind warred with her senses. Bet he’s a great lover. Suddenly she sat up, giving in to her mind. No regrets. I want no regrets. I’m going back to New York.

Sometimes the story appeals to the reader’s senses in building the atmosphere of a scene. Like this one where Mindy and Drew are alone in his house on a cold winter’s eve:

Mindy stretched out on the sofa while Drew added some logs to the fire. The hissing of the burning wood, along with the absolute quiet of the country, calmed her. The slightly smoky scent, plus the fresh pine fragrance from two Christmas wreaths, mixed with the tantalizing aroma of the casserole.

Our senses can remind us of an absent lover. In this scene Drew is missing Mindy and finds the remnants of her perfume a sore reminder:

Loving Mindy had affected his judgment. Alone in his apartment, all he could think about was her. Her fresh lilac scent lingered in his rooms, like a Siren’s song. Even watching a football game was only a temporary respite from thoughts of Mindy. He wanted her with him every day and in his bed every night.

The temptation to touch affects Drew early on, in this scene we feel it:

The neckline of her sweater revealed the tops of her breasts, inviting his touch. He couldn’t stop staring. Mindy shifted in her seat. You’re making her uncomfortable, jerk.

A remembered touch as a prelude to making love, which it might be in this scene where Mindy stands alone at her apartment door, watching Drew’s car disappear in the darkness:

Mindy touched her lips with her finger as she watched his red taillights grow smaller. She missed the press of his mouth against hers. Her fingers tingled slightly at the idea of touching his bare skin. A shiver ran up her spine at the thought of making love with him. Maybe I’m ready.

Here’s a bit about the book:

Can attending a wedding and a funeral on the same day change your life? Mindy Winslow’s life was altered forever when she met gorgeous lawyer, Drew Armstrong, and found out about her inheritance from her mentor, Lou. Embraced by the townsfolk at the wedding of her college roommate, Mindy sought to make her goal a reality in tiny Pine Grove, New York. But the exposure of a promise made then broken secretly, destroyed her dream. Will she be forced to face “I told you so” from her father or will love find a way to resurrect hope from the ashes?
Buy link (all formats):

I hope your Valentine’s Day touches you in every sense of the word!

Jean Joachim is an author, married, a mother of two boys and owner of a rescued pug named Homer. She writes contemporary romance and has more than a dozen contemporary romance books published with more scheduled to be release within the coming months. Jean has been writing non-fiction for over twenty years and fiction for three. Her review column, "Movie Choices for Kids" has been syndicated on parenting newspapers websites for the past 12 years. A native New Yorker, she still lives in New York City. Her website address is:


  1. Tantalizing excerpts, penned with a tender touch. Love it, Jean!

    1. Thank you, Sherry. And thanks for stopping by.

  2. Definitely believe that all five (or maybe six) senses are hard wired into our DNA to evaluate a person and their impact to us on a personal level in a million different ways and in just a nano-second. Sort of backs up that old adage, "first impressions matter."

    1. I so agree, KJ. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Flossie and thank you for stopping by.

  4. I'm printing this out to remind me that it's more than just creative mechanics- great post!!

  5. My goodness... you are the queen of senses! They really do help us 'be in the moment', don't they? Great post, jean!!

    1. Thank you, Jo. I try. I do think tapping into in the senses pulls the reader into the story. I enjoy building on this as I go along. I've just scratched the surface, I think.