Thursday, December 1, 2011

"It Started With A Kiss ..."

Giveaway Result:

The midnight hour has passed so it's time to close off the giveaway and make the draw, by Random Number Integer (as always since the Sorting Hat went back to Hogwarts!)

And the result is:
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: to blackroze37
  • Graveminder by Melissa Marr: to Yearning Mermaid
  • Thornspell by Helen Lowe: to Kathleen Peacock
Congratulations to the winners and thank you all very much for participating--I'll see you again on 'the other side': 1 January 2012!

Winners: if you haven't left your email contact with your comment then email me through my website, contact[at]helenlowe[dot]info with your postal address and I'll get the book in the mail to you.

I’ve recently finished proofing the manuscript of The Gathering of the Lost, the second in my Wall of Night series (publication day 27 March) and have begun working on the third book, (working title) Daughter of Blood. Being between two books in a series is a pivotal moment—and a big part of what is on my mind as the author is how all the events and action in Books One and Two are going to transition into the new storyline. Now, like the two protagonists in the old Hot Chocolate song, “It Started with a Kiss”, the central characters in the first book, The Heir of Night, are young. Not quite the eight and nine year old of the song, but still: young. In the second book The Gathering of the Lost Kalan and Malian are older and—without giving anything important away—“springtime love” is an important background motif of the story.

So now one of the things I have to think about going into Book 3 is what part romance is going to play in the narrative. Is it going to occupy center stage, slip into the background, or exit completely via stage left—and assuming we decide on center stage, should the romance start with a kiss (as in the song) or end with one? (Do you remember those old style romances, where the hero and heroine never kissed until the very end of the story?) Or is romance—and of course, the kiss—going to be a vital stepping stone through the heart of the story?

See what life-and-death decisions we authors have to make? In fact, we do have to make real life-and-death decisions for characters as well, but sometimes the circumstances of that first kiss can be vital to the romantic success of the story.

Take Snow White, for example: she might never have lived to fight another day if the prince hadn’t kissed her and shaken the slice of apple from between her lips. And then there’s Sleeping Beauty—no waking up for her either without the prince’s kiss. In The Frog Prince it’s the princess’s kiss that transforms the enchantment and frees the prince. And then there are the movie kisses: Scarlett & Rhett in Gone with the Wind, Leonardo & Kate on the bow of the Titanic, Princess Buttercup and the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride.

So many great stories, so many famous kisses … But what about you? Is there a kiss that you feel “makes” a story, whether in a book or in a film or TV show? And why is that kiss ‘the one’ for you?

This Month’s Giveaway

This month I’ve got not one but three beautiful books to brighten the ‘bleak midwinter’ by giving away to readers: Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers, Melissa Marr’s Graveminder, and my own Thornspell, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty—and yes, indeed, the kiss does feature. :)

To enter the draw all you need do is post your “kiss and tell” comment here.

As always you can earn points by

+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
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+1 for visiting me and commenting on my blog, here.

The giveaway will close at midnight, US Eastern Standard Time, on Saturday December 3—after which I shall post the results here, so don’t forget to check back. And have fun until next month; I’ll be back here again on New Year’s Day.


Supernatural Underground author Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, is published in the USA, UK, and internationally and recently won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011 for Best Novel. Her first novel, Thornspell, is published by Knopf. Helen blogs every day on Helen Lowe on Anything, Really and on the first day of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground.


SandyG265 said...

I'd have to go with the Kiss in Beauty and the Beast.

Llehn said...

Spiderman and Mary Jane upside down kiss. Woo!


Na said...

I like the kiss from Titanic as well. I also found the kiss in The Notebook where they are caught in the rain pretty memorable.

+1 tweeted:!/FieryNa/status/142298442272735233

+1 I commented on your personal blog


CrystalGB said...

My favorite kisses are the kiss in the rain in the Notebook and the upside down kiss in Spiderman.

The Yearning Mermaid said...

My favourite kiss...uhh that´s a hard one!
I actually have no favourite...But I remember that I felt thrilled when Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter) finally kissed :)Cuteness!

Kim Falconer said...

Great post, Helen, and insightful thoughts on how romance (and how much) will be woven into your story. I cross this bridge often too.

I have many favourite kisses: Trinity when she brings Neo back to life, Eric and Sookie's first (in the books), Damon and Elana when it seems he'll die . . . the more 'longed for but unable to happen until that moment', the better. It makes for emotional investment.

I think that's what makes them so symbolically fulfilling. :)

Helen Lowe said...

Some great kisses coming through here! :)

I think you're right about the emotional investment, Kim--if it's too easy, if there's no dramatic tension, then it doesn't have the same significance.

Veronica Jorden said...

Best movie kiss ever has got to be between Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe in Last of the Mohicans. Gives me butterflies every time I watch it.

Kathleen Peacock said...

Keith and Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful and Jim and Selena in 28 Days Later.

zzebra138 said...

I facebooked, googleplused, and commented.

Hmmmm, no favourites jump out but I like the angst leading up to it.
Like when Buffy and Angel had their first, or Buffy and Spike .

Just make any hero/ines suffer before they get a HEA.

Helen Lowe said...

'Make 'em suffer' -- gotcha zzebra138!

Veronica--I LOVE 'The Last of the Mohicans!'

And '28 Days Later', Kathleen, although it is very grim. (Shall have to check out 'Some Kind of Wonderful')

Drew said...

Pris and Roy Batty in Blade Runner

Helen Lowe said...

Drew, I had completely forgotten that moment (altho' never the movie!) Thank you for reminding me.

alainala said...

im gonna go with the kiss at the end of Nalini singhs first archangels book.. super awesome!
(i wont ruin it for those that havent read it)

Anonymous said...

rhett and scarletts kiss

Anonymous said...

+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
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+1 for visiting me and commenting on my blog, here.

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks Alainala & blackroze. :)

Jacqui R said...

My most famous kiss from childhood memories would be sleeping beauty a kiss to wake the whole kingdom.

ticklebear2 at yahoo dot com

Onge said...

I have been thinking about this question for some time now and I am coming up blank. It's funny because the build up and kiss is my favorite! I need to work on my memory or write scenes. I may have to reread some of my favorite books. This is just sad. I'm glad others remember. I like a lot of the above mentions. Thanks for the giveaway!

Helen Lowe said...

Jacqui, the Sleeping Beauty kiss is definitely a favourite of mine, but no surprises there, given "Thornspell"! ;-)

Onge--absolutely 'no pressure' here. :) Some of my favourite, perhaps less well known kisses are the (first) kiss between Charis and Athanaric at the end of Gillian Bradshaw's "The Beacon at Alexandria" (it's YA but an absolutely fabulous book.) There's also a very significant kiss at the end of Scott Westerfeld's "The Risen Empire" duology. And then there's "this" kiss between Agatha Heterodyne and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach in my steampunk favorite, Girl Genius Online, here ( and here (

(You do have to book at both scenes, and in order ... ;-) )

Have fun!