The Sex and Romance of Place


So my next novel, CRAVINGS, which will be released on November 21 (less than ten days away!)  is set in Ecuador and Saint Lucia. (By the way, there is a Goodreads  giveaway of CRAVINGS, right now. Check it out here.)

Cravings (eBook)

I wrote a post about Ecuador last week. I also wrote a little about why I choose to set my romances exotic places, at times. For me, writing romance is often about fantasy, definitely wish fulfillment when it comes to traveling. There is also this: Placing your characters in a harrowing and or sexy situations in a far off land reveals a great deal about them. And it gives me opportunity  to fantasize about globetrotting.

When I was researching Saint Lucia, I found about chocolate-themed luxury resorts. The idea of these gems took hold of me and I simply won’t rest until I go to a chocolate-themed resort. Some of them are renovated old plantations that have been refurbished, like the Rabot Estate  and others are just simply extraordinary, like Jade Resort,  where they have chocolate-inspired cocktails parties and chocolate breakfast items on the menu. Maybe it’s just me, but give me a chocolate-themed luxury resort or hotel in Saint Lucia, and chocolate isn’t the only thing on my mind. To me, the idea oozes sex. (Maybe that’s one reason I write culinary-themed sexy books.)

But it must be said that placing characters in their home town can ooze sex, too. In a very different way. Boffing the boy next door who was once your best friend’s boyfriend, or whose family not on good terms with yours, can offer a great lens into your characters, as well, along with that juicy element of tension.  We know that erotic romance is burning up the market these days, but small town romances are more than holding their own.

Enter Marina Adair and her series set in vineyard in St. Helena, California. I’ve not met Marina, but we’ve had a long and lovely phone conversation in which I was given and took some advice from her. Also, she blurbed CRAVINGS—and will always be tops in my opinion. (Here is what she said:  “A sensual tale with a bit of mystery, Cravings is packed with heat.” Mwaaah! ) I’m reading “Autumn in the Vineyard,” which is clever, beautifully written, and even though it’s not an erotic romance, it is freakin’ HAWT. (There’s a scene in an outbuilding that I’ll be thinking about for LONG time.) Am I going to read her whole series? You bet your sweet ass I am.


I have to admit. I live in a small town and I find it a bit of a drag. But reading about other small towns and settings like vineyards, I’m completely into these days. Since reading Marina’s book, I can’t get the image of getting it on among the vines and grapes while half-high on good wine out of my mind. Not that this even happens in her book, mind you, that’s just the way I roll. Grin.

My next book is as close to small town as I’ve gotten. LIKE HONEY is set on a honey farm in Scotland, even though there’s a brief trip to Paris in the middle of the book. (Definitely not small town.)

Like Honey (eBook)

But who knows, with Marina for inspiration, I might set my next book in the state of Virginia, which is where I live. After all, Virginia is for Lovers. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Writers, have you ever thought about the way place influences you story? Your characters? Readers: Do you have favorite settings in the books you read? Or doesn’t it matter to you?

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  • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

    My new story (also out next week!) MAN CITY: MARTIN is set in Manchester, which is *not* traditionally seen as a romantic location though I have a fondness for the place. What I’ve found is that I can convey that fondness by focusing on beautiful locations people might not know about: the art museum in MAN CITY: LIZZIE and one of the gorgeous, graceful footbridges in MARTIN.

    Reply to C. Margery Kempe
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      When I think of Manchester, I think football, and when I think football, I think football players and they, by God, are so very sexy. 🙂

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorLizEverly

    You bring up a good point, CMK, the way we see and describe a place can definitely add to the romance. Or the danger, right? Might be an interesting exercise to write about the same place from two different angles–a romantic one and a suspense one. I’m looking forward to the next book! Good luck!

    Reply to LizEverly
  • Post authorLizEverly

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    The sex and romance of place

    Reply to LizEverly
  • Post authorcpmandara

    I love reading about different places in the world… and the warmth and heat of the tropics make for a stunning setting for a deliciously naughty book. Some great location choices there 🙂

    Reply to cpmandara
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