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Archive for January 13th, 2014

Kristine Mason: The Reality of Romance
Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Reality of Romance

Have you ever read a romance where the hero passes gas (my two-year-old daughter calls it “tooping” not to be confused with “twerking” thank you), belches or actually goes, um, number two? Ewww and gross. No way would any hot hunky hero in a romance novel do those things.

Thank God for fiction!

I was in my late twenties when I picked up my first romance. I instantly fell in love with the genre and would take a tote to the library and fill the bag with dozens of books. My mom was so funny. She went all serious on me and told me to be careful and realize that what I was reading was fiction. Romance doesn’t happen the way it’s portrayed in novels and I shouldn’t compare my husband (we were newly married at the time) to the heroes in romance books. She’d actually made me laugh over her “words of wisdom.” But I understood what she’d meant. Romances are fantasy, a break from reality and a way to escape into another world.

As a writer, I love making up stories, but I also can’t help putting a touch of my reality in them. No, I’ve never murdered anyone or had to worry about how to dispose of a body like my villains in my romantic suspense novels. But in each one of those books there are quick peeks into my reality. For example, in Shadow of Danger (Book 1 CORE Shadow Trilogy) my heroine could bake a mean chocolate chip cookie and she had a gnome fetish. Not to brag, but I’m kinda known for my chocolate chip cookies and have over two dozen gnomes in my yard and house. There’s also a scene with a cranberry bog. When I was on a business trip with my husband, I ended up seated at the bar next to a couple from Wisconsin. I was writing Shadow of Danger at the time and had the story set in Wisconsin. It turned out the couple was not only from the area my story took place, but the husband was a cranberry farmer. Okay, how many cranberry farmers have you met in your life? Me? He was my first, and because meeting them was so random I decided I had to do something with a cranberry bog. I’m not going to tell you what I did. Let’s just say it was…killer.

I also add touches of my reality in my contemporary romances. My latest release, Love Me or Leave Me is actually based on the HGTV reality show, Love It or List It. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, here’s a quick premise:  Homeowners explain why their house no longer works for them (no space, layout, had more children, etc.). The show’s designer renovates the house hoping the homeowners will love it and want to stay. Meanwhile the real estate agent shows the homeowners houses they could purchase with the hope they’ll list their home.

I’ve seen just about every episode (what did we do before DVRs?). Every time I watch the show, I wonder what the designer would do with my house or what the real estate agent would say if he walked inside and took a look around. When my husband and I bought our home we had two babies. Now we have four kids. The bigger they grow, the smaller my house becomes. So when I came up with the idea for Love Me or Leave Me I decided to use my house as the home in question. As I started developing the story, I would walk through my house and imagine what my heroine would do with it. I had a lot of fun writing this story, making imaginary changes to my house and trying to decide whether or not I would want to stay if we ever had an opportunity to be on a show like this.

And while you’ll find some of my reality in Love Me or Leave Me, you’ll also find a whole lot of fiction. One of the best parts of being a romance author is being able to create romance and watch it bloom. My hero, Carter, and my heroine, Brynn, were a fun couple to write, especially when I had them turning up the heat (wink, wink). That being said, I’ll never forget what my mom had told me—romance novels, as a whole, are fantasy. But, I have to admit it sure is fun to play out those fantasies in my reality (great big wink).

Love Me or Leave Me


Carter James, real estate agent for the hit reality show, Renovate or Relocate, has been crazy about the show’s designer, Brynn Dawson, for years. He’s been aching to take their friendship to a new level and when he gets his chance to spend a hot, sensual night with her and fulfill his wildest fantasies, he falls hard for Brynn. When the director of the show reveals that Brynn could possibly be fired, Carter knows he has to act fast before she’s booted from the show. He’ll not only jeopardize his reputation, but he’ll go behind her back to help her keep her job. Knowing Brynn’s pride is also at stake, he hopes his deception doesn’t come back to haunt him in the end. He can’t imagine life without the woman he loves.

Brynn has been aware of Carter for years. How good he smells, his sexy smile, his lean, muscular body, his big, rough hands and what she’d like him to do with them. When she takes a chance by going from friends to lovers, she risks both her heart and their friendship, but discovers it’s the best decision she could have ever made. Despite having her job on the line, she also knows that as long as she has Carter by her side, she can get through anything. Until she finds out what Carter’s been up to. Hurt and betrayed, her emotions raw and her love for him tested, she’ll have to decide whether she can move past the deceit and love him or if his lack of faith in her will force her to leave him.

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kmIMG_0234mason2I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was in my late twenties. Immediately hooked, I read a bazillion books before deciding to write one of my own. After the birth of my first son I needed something to keep my mind from turning to mush, and Sesame Street wasn’t cutting it. While that first book will never see the light of day, something good came from writing it. I realized my passion, and found a career I love.

When I’m not writing contemporary romances and dark, romantic suspense novels (or reading them!) I’m chasing after my four kids and two neurotic dogs.

You can email me at, visit my website, or find me on Facebook and Twitter!