What is Romance?

Posted Feb 2 2016

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I can’t help but think of romance and just what it means. Of course, everyone has different ways of expressing their feelings, and different things make us feel loved and valued.

The most romantic thing my husband ever did for me was to have the cover flat for my first published novel professionally framed. He knew that this book cover represented a dream come true for me, the culmination of years of hard work and determination, and a major personal achievement. It’s all the more heartwarming that he did this for me when all those years I spent pecking away at my computer, attending writers conference and retreats, and meeting with my critique group meant I hDT framedad less time for him. Of course he spent much of that time watching the Mavericks and Spurs play basketball, so maybe it wasn’t such a sacrifice. : )

What’s the most romantic thing someone ever did for you, or that you did for someone else? What does romance mean to you? Is it candy and flowers, or something more? Chime in for a chance to win one of three advanced reading copies of Against the Paw, book #4 in my K9 series! Winners will be announced on Sunday, February 28th.Against the Paw cover 


BREAKING NEWS! The winners have been chosen at random by using numbers generated by Random.org. They winners are:

Andi King, Mildred Mayo, and Brenda Nuffer. Congratulations! And thanks to all who stopped by to comment.


  1. Gail Demaree says:

    Love your story! I love to cuddle up on the couch with my hubby and watch a good movie.
    I just love Brigit in your K9 series.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Brigit is so much fun to write. She’s loosely based on my own shepherd mix, who happens to be male, though. Like Brigit, he is stubborn and wants to be in charge. But he’s also very smart. He’s also the embarrassing dog who tries to hump all the others at the dog park. Sheesh!

  2. One of the most romantic things anyone ever did for me is a bit embarrassing to even write about. I have a bit of an issue going to see the gynecologist. My first experience that was horrible, with a VERY abusive female doctor who did some damage by deliberately using the wrong size equipment and making horrid remarks (I was in college, but looked about 15 – I think she failed to look at my chart). ANYWAY, since then, those appointments cause panic attacks. One boyfriend not only went with me, he surprised with me takeout from a very nice restaurant that didn’t do takeout (he must have begged), and then just held me and talked lovingly to me the entire night. When the test proved precancerous, he was there every step of the way through the process, doing sweet, thoughtful things for me.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Oh, my gosh! What an awful experience, but so touching to have a boyfriend who would go to those lengths to make sure you felt comfortable and cared for!

  3. Sue C says:

    The most romantic thing my husband ever did for me when were dating was bring me a single pink rose. That meant to me more than a dozen roses.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Aww, so sweet! And so true. Less is often more. My hubby left a single flower on my car with a note after our first date. Kind of stalker-ish now that I think back on it! Ha ha

  4. Anne says:

    How funny, I have the audiobook of Paw Enforcement on my desk ready to listen to next when I got your newsletter. For me, true romance are the unexpected thinking of you moments not an almost required present/event out on Valentine’s Day. Like coming home and dinner being ready (I cannot tell you how much I love that one) or the spontaneous gift of an inexpensive favorite childhood candy because someone saw it at the store and remembered my telling them about it.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I’m with you on that kind of romance, Anne. It’s the surprises that tell us we’re being thought of on the non-special days, too!

  5. Against the Paw!! What a great title! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win an ARC!

    🙂 <3

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Thanks, Laura! Good luck!

  6. Bonnie Capuano says:

    Romance for me is a note or letter from my husband telling me he loves me. That’s all I need to be reminded. I would love to win this book but please know I do not have an e-reader. I love to read paperbacks. Thank you!!! Great giveaway!!!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Nothing like “pulp” fiction, huh? Yep, I like paper, too, especially since I like to read in the bathtub. But I’ve got a ton of books loaded on my phone, too, since that’s easy to carry around. Sometimes I forget where a book is – on my shelf or in my phone – and I have to go searching!

  7. Sharon Baker says:

    I love these books. They are the best reading for great entertainment

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Thanks, Sharon! And I LOVE my readers! Y’all are the best!

  8. JOYE says:

    My husband gave me concert tickets to my favorite group-The Eagles It was awesome.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I saw them in Reno a few years back. Such a great concert! Spent much of last Saturday night watching a documentary about the band. And I still think Joe Walsh makes a good write-in candidate for president. : )

  9. Edith Chiong says:

    Thank you for this giveaway. I’d love to win this book.


  10. johnna smith says:

    The most romantic thing someone has ever done for me…..I collect postcards from all over the world…old and new…this guy i was dating a few years ago located an antique leather album designed just for postcards. Even has real gold writing on the cover. est date of 1910. We didn’t date very long, but I still consider that gesture one of the most romantic for me

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Yes!!! It’s so romantic when someone is paying attention and really gets you.

  11. When my son, who is now deceased, was eighteen, we were temporarily living in different states, for Valentine’s Day I packaged up a huge box full of Valentines gift, candy, cards, etc. and sent it to him. He was like a kid at Christmas and so excited to get it he was telling his roommates that his mom sent him a Valentine…and then he proceeded to share the candy with everyone.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So sorry about the loss of your son! Sounds like you really made him feel special! And how nice of him to share with friends. You clearly taught him some good values.

  12. JackieWisherd says:

    I had a music teacher friend bring me a red rose in a violin case. It was so romantic. We became very good friends and remained so until his death.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Sorry to hear he passed! Sounds like he was both romantic and whimsical. What a fun combination!

  13. Lisa Root says:

    I was sort of dating a guy from church. He found out my grandfather had just died. He called me for three days straight just to make me laugh. Each call was nearly 45 minutes long. It was expensive for him, but meant the world to me.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So I’m guessing this was in the pre-cell phone days? I had a $388 phone bill back in the early ’90s when my husband and I were dating but living in different cities. Insane!!! What a sweet story. A guy who can make a woman laugh is a gem.

  14. I love, love, love to read books animals, especially dogs! Can’t afford to own a dog now, on Social Security! I won’t put a dog through not being cared for as they deserve!
    My romance days are over except through books and I love that they can take me anywhere! I would love to read Against The Paw!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Animals make fun characters, don’t they? Good luck!

  15. NinaB says:

    Thanks for the chance to win Against the Paw.

  16. vickie Couturier says:

    money was tight that year,,so i told my husband that i would cook us a nice dinner and we would stay home and save our money,,he was abit late getting home and i wasnt happy,,but then he brings his hand from behind his back and he had stopped on the way home and picked abouquet of wildflowers for me,,they were prettier than any roses i could have ever gotten,because they came from the heart

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Love this story! I always like it when there are wildflowers on the side of the highway. Having moved to Tennessee I miss the Texas bluebonnets that come in spring, but we’ve got lots of pretty flowers here, too!

  17. Whitney says:

    Married almost 54 years filled with large and small surprises. We wish each other Happy Anniversary every month and have never missed. Tell each other of our love when one of us is leaving for a while. (You never know when or if we will be returning). My husband even tells me he loves me in his sleep. What more can I ask?

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      You definitely landed yourself a winner! Congrats on the longevity. Sounds like you two were made for each other!

  18. KarenM says:

    I’ve not had romantic boyfriends, probably why I never married! I envy those of you who have had such lovely events.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Trust me, there are times married women envy those still enjoying the single life, especially when we are picking dirty laundry up off the floor. Nobody tell my husband! ; ) Sounds like Mr. Right just hasn’t crossed your path yet. But I bet he will!

  19. andi king says:

    Now that’s true love. So nice of your hubby to frame the cover. I can’t wait to get the next paws book. I love them all. Pet lover me. Let me know the next time your are in town.

    Your fan,

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Hey, Andi! Hope to see you at Buns & Roses again this year! It’ll be on Oct. 23rd. It’s always great to see you!

  20. Sandie Herron says:

    I have a lovely story on the most romantic thing I did for someone else, although this man has earned many credits in his book.

    My husband is very much into cars, Corvettes especially. When we met, he owned a 1956 Corvette with no paint and not in the best shape, but it did run. This Corvette was a little bit different in that it had different parts used and raced in the 24 hours of Sebring race. My hubby was working hard at researching the car to determin4 exactly what these parts were and how they got there.

    One of the special parts was a Lucas headlamp; the car was supposed to have two mounted on the front bumper. My husband didn’t have any headlamps, but he had located two for sale, the last two, in a warehouse deep in the south priced at $100 each.

    I found out the name of the warehouse and bought the headlamps, hoping to give them to him on Christmas. However, he found out via a warehouse virtual bulletin board that the lamps had been sold. He was despondent and so very sad. It was the middle of summer close to his birthday, so I took his hand and walked with him into my bedroom. Hidden deep in my closet were the lamps, and I pulled them out. Suddenly he became just like a little boy on Christmas morning, jumping up and down and even shedding a few tears at the sight of the missing headlamps.

    He couldn’t think of anything to say. It didn’t matter. He got his feelings of love and gratitude across to me. The lovemaking afterward was the sweetest we’d ever known.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So sweet! I love classic cars, to. I think I got that from the movie Grease. Ha ha!

  21. LINDA/HOTCHA1 says:


    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Hey, puppy! You’re cute!

  22. Sandra M says:

    The most romantic or nicest thing my husband ever did for me was organize and pull off a surprise 40th birthday party for me in my hometown. It took him a lot of planning. It was the nicest thing anyone’s done for me.

  23. Marjie says:

    Sad to say the romance in my real life is so long ago it’s hard to even recall romantic gestures from my lovers. Thank goodness for fictional romances!
    I do remember one guy I met out dancing when I was about 20 ( MANY years ago). He was a terrific dancer, a friend of a friend, and we made a date for the next night. He came to pick me with up with a gift of two wine glasses and a bottle of wine. I thought that was so classy!

    I so enjoy your comedy and I was raised as a Texas girl; your stories are a fun way to revisit that part of my life from a safe distance. ?

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Definitely classy! Sounds like he was really trying to impress you. That’s flattering!

  24. Gina Growe says:

    I still tear up thinking of this since it was extremely romantic for my mate who was trying so very hard to mend my broken heart. My black, long haired German Shepherd (Presley) died unexpectedly on the operating table. I was inconsolable for months. Very hard on everyone and my other three shepherds (Presley had me adopt them) seemed to share my loss. One year after my beloved Presley, my hubby said “It’s time for a baby”. I laughed hysterically – that sure wasn’t happening! He’d been researching, found a breeder that had a couple of long haired shepherds and set up a dog sitter for our “kids” and we traveled out of state to pick up my new baby – Ambrose.

    Ambrose will be 15 years old on Valentine’s Day. He sleeps most of the time, isn’t able to walk very far – far enough to the car for his rides and the fridge for his treats! He is our only kid now and is extremely spoiled. My hubby asked if I was ready to have another baby…not yet, not yet.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      The loss of a pet can be so hard! Glad that Ambrose gave you someone new to love! 15 years is a testament to great care. He’s a lucky dog!

  25. Sharon G says:

    I love reading about law enforcement, especially with so many people who seem to be against them nowadays.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      It’s definitely a difficult time to be in law enforcement. I saw a bit on the news here that one of the local towns is losing a lot of officers and having a hard time recruiting. We all lose when that happens.

  26. Angie says:

    When I was 14 I had a boyfriend and because my parents believed in sitting in the home courting and I was saving myself for my husband, he cheated on me every chance he got. He treated me very badly almost to the point of emotional abuse. When we broke up which was hard for me because I really liked him; I met my husband. He was the total opposite of the other guy. He was so compassionate, loving and kind. One night when he came over to see me and we were sitting in the living room talking he told me, “I will always protect you and keep you from harm. I will never do or say anything to intimidate you or make you feel bad. I will always love and support you and make you feel secure.” Even almost 36 years of marriage later I remember and cherish those words he said to me.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Love this story! Words can be so powerful. Congrats on 36 years of marriage!

  27. Diana Corlett says:

    I can’t think of a single romantic Valentine’s story from my own life, but the most romantic idea in my opinion is a boyfriend/lover/husband making a beautiful candlelit dinner for two! I would love to win an ARC of “Against the Paw” as I love my dogs unconditionally1

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      A candlelit dinner sounds very romantic! Sounds like you’d be sneaking some bites to your dogs, huh? : )

  28. susan beamon says:

    I tend to ignore candy holidays except for Halloween. Looking at my to be read romance bookshelf, I notice a great many of them have an animal, usually a dog but not always, in the plot. Sure would love to add your new book to them.

  29. Mildred Mayo says:

    As an elementary teacher I received Valentines from most of my students. When I retired I missed this pleasure. However a few years later A former student sent me a Valentine with an appreciative note. It was a DOUBLE pleasure. Moral of this note send a card to someone who least expects it and you may make their day.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Teachers can have such an influence on kids’ lives. I was grateful that my children had so many good teachers along the way. I had several that really stand out to me, too. I dedicated my book Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria to two of them who had commented on my writing years ago. It really meant a lot to me. How wonderful that you were remembered by a grateful student!

  30. Lauren says:

    Love your books! I just got engaged to my high school sweetheart after 12 (!!!!) years of dating. The most romantic things he does for me are small gestures every day that don’t cost a lot of money. He indulges my cat love by visiting the animal shelter to get a purr fix even though he is allergic. He makes me a cup of tea at night before I go to bed. He knows I like Disney and puzzles so he brought me home a small Disney puzzle he found on sale the other day. We have the most fun just sitting on the couch watching TV together and relaxing – no fancy to-do required!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Congrats on the engagement! Sounds like you hooked a really sweet guy. Anyone who will endure an animal allergy to make you happy is a total sweetheart!

  31. Mary Preston says:

    It’s the everyday little things that I find romantic. I don’t need the big gestures. I just want to be cherished and love in return.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So true. Grand gestures can be great fun, but the little everyday reminders that we are special and loved sustain us.

  32. Sherrie Wood says:

    I always enjoy your stories. Dogs with some good humnor!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I tend to be a bit of a goofball, but it’s fun. I like funny books, TV shows, and movies, too.

  33. Peggy R says:

    My Husband and I have been married for almost 34 years now. Over the years, he’s been known to do some romantic things that I think have been considered “over the top.” Our first year together, he planned a small getaway for New Years, at a fancy hotel, so we could ring in the New Years with our own private celebration. It was wonderful!! One year, for my Birthday, he planned a camping getaway, in an area that he knew I would like. I fell in love with the places we went to. Another year, he got me a special cake. Knowing my love of Japanese and Chinese artifacts, he went to a Chinese restaurant, and asked someone there how to say Happy Birthday in Chinese. They wrote the characters down, and he had it put on the cake, along with a Chinese person. I cried when I saw the cake!! He’s been full of surprises over the years, and that’s what endears him to me, after all these years.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Romantic and creative! It’s nice when someone really puts in the extra effort to make it unique.

  34. Kai W. says:

    Romance to me is sphagetti, wine, and Italian music in the background. Ever since I saw Lady and the Tramp, that romance is what I keep associating to. It did leave a great impression on me as a kid.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I loved that movie! And I think dogs need romance, too. That’s why Brigit gets to “date” Blast in my books. : )

  35. Dagmar Finch says:

    we all didn’t have much money, so a friend of mine cooked dinner for my hubby and I and made her house into a restaurant. The kids were servers and hosts and we had candle light and music. It was adorable and romantic and what an incredible thing to do for a friend.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      What a great friend! Sounds cute and romantic!

  36. Gretchen W. says:

    It’s not huge, but my husband makes me coffee every morning. It makes me feel so cared-for and is a great start to the day.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I’m the coffee-maker in my marriage, but I know how much it means to my husband, too! He can’t get moving without a cup or two.

  37. Erica R says:

    I work full time, go to school full time and have 24 clinical hours at the hospital for school. Needless to say there is not a lot of extra time in my schedule for much else. So, when my hubby started making me dinner it was the most romantic thing he could do. Every time he does it he shows me how much he supports my choices and how much he loves me. .

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      How nice! It’s wonderful when the person we loves helps us achieve our goals and fulfill our dreams.

  38. Debbie Rudder says:

    Love your books. Can hardly wait for the adventure to continue!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Me, too! : ) I’ve been away from my writing for a few days attending some fun reader events, but I’m missing my characters!

  39. Sue hieber says:

    To me, romance is a never ending process. It may be as simple as a comforting pat when needed, doing a load of laundry unasked, or changing my fuel filter in a torrential rain. Any more questions?

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So true. Romance can be an uplifting undercurrent for our lives.

  40. Lorena Keech says:

    we’ve been married nearly 40 years so there are innumerable romantic things my husband has done for me. One of the ones that meant the most is having him sat in CCU with me when I had a heart attack. He hates hospitals and everything about them, but he stayed by my side.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Yikes! That had to be scary! So glad you had your sweet hubby with you!

  41. Linda Herold says:

    When I first was with my ex we went to Kaui, Hawaii. That was a romantic time for me! I would love to win your book. Thanks for the chance!!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      I’ve heard it’s beautiful there! Lucky you!

  42. Chris Bails says:

    Romance and love is spending time with the ones that you love. Romance is telling someone you love them and also showing that you love them. I love to be able to get my kids goodies for Valentines Day. they love it. I always tell them that It is the Day of Love. You get to tell all of the people that you love Happy Valentines Day.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      It’s a wonderful holiday!

  43. Kristin Schadler says:

    Most romantic thing…my boyfriend (before he was my husband) showed up at church on Valentine’s Day with flowers for me even though Valentine’s Day is his birthday. I just thought it was thoughtful since he knew were to find me. There was something so right about us sitting in church together holding hands. It was so sweet.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Aww. Thinking of YOU on his day. That’s definitely romantic!

  44. Cheryl says:

    I love Bridget. She is fabulous

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      She says thanks and woof!

  45. Lynda Fenton says:

    The most romantic thing? That is a hard one as I am made to feel loved and special every day by my husband. We’ve been married for 48 years. The most recent extra special thing that he did for me is installing a “cat flap” in our overhead garage door! You see, the neighbors across the street “threw out” a small black kitten to fend for itself recently. I was so worried about the poor little kitty. I couldn’t bring it inside as we have a 16 year old cat who hates all 4 legged critters and attacks them. So my husband purchased a heater for the garage and installed a cat door so the little one could get inside and be warm and safe. I am a big animal advocate and this was the most recent example of what my husband does for me.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Your husband is gold! When they support our causes, that’s definitely romantic. Give the kitty a scratch under the chin for me!

  46. Gail Demaree says:

    I just love curling up with your K-9 series under a blanket with a good cup of coffee. Brigit is so much fun to read. Can’t wait to see what she is up to next.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So glad you’re having fun with the books! What a coincidence – I curl up under a blanket with coffee to write them!

  47. Shirley Bennett says:

    Most romantic; an apology from my husband -a trail of rose petals from the door, up the stairs into the bedroom where he was waiting! Yep, he got it from a movie, but was very sweet all the same!!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      Wherever he got the idea, it was a good one! Love it!

  48. Brenda Nuffer says:

    When you are a caretaker & your loved one is admitted to hospice, you run into other caretakers who are handling the same situation. I will never forget the husband I met who was devoted to his wife who had been ill for many years. He never left her side & after she passed away he said to me: “I made a promise to her that I would never leave her alone, & I was with her until the very end.”

    To me, this is the most romantic story I have ever heard.

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      That’s so touching! Thanks for sharing this, Brenda.

  49. Jeanie Dannheim says:

    Funds a very tight this year so far since my surgery – can’t return to work yet – but my sweet hubby brought flowers because he knew that there was a very real chance he could lose me if the doctors found cancer, Thankfully they did not! But it is part of his thankfulness that he gets to keep me, even though a mixed blessing some days! Romance isn’t as much about gifts as it is about time spent together, having your man take time to listen as well as share what he feels and goes through whether at work or personally. And I love Brigit!!

    1. Diane Kelly says:

      So glad there was no cancer! Your hubby sounds like a great man! Brigit says thanks and she loves you, too. : )

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Nice to know!! So excited
  Diane Kelly
Haha! Our terrier mix and shepherd mix are certainly selective, too. They hear "treat" without fail, but "down" or "no!" don't always register. Raggs is such a cute name!
  Molly Weston
Reggie certainly looks happy! My own dog, Raggs, has "selective" hearing--and he's not well trained. But. Our dogs are family and we do love them.
  Diane Kelly
Thanks, Barbara! I wish I could write faster, too! My ideas are backing up in my head. : ) I wish my brain had a USB port where I could automatically download the stories from my mind to the page. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! I'm hard at work on the second one, A Trip with Trouble.
I LOVED getaway with Murder. The second book can't be published soon enough. Can you write any faster? ;-)



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