Day 5: Lorna Landvik

Beyond Grand Gestures

Scientists were baffled. Theories abounded:  it was due to electrical charges from rogue solar flares; to cold fronts thawed by heat waves; to the cross-pollination efforts of some very busy bees.  Yet there was no consensus, no logical and rational explanation for that illogical and irrational event that came to be known as ‘The Day of Romance.’ Angry Housewives

“It’s A Pandemic!” screamed newspaper headlines.  “Love Flu Affects Billions!”

In the United States Senate, a heated debate on immigration ended when Harry Reid, slamming down his gavel, said, “Let’s stop dancing around the issue and just start dancing!”

Piped-in Latin music and a bubble machine turned the Capitol Building into a dance hall and senators swept up one another in their arms, mindful not to criticize any lack of rhythm or clumsy footwork.  In a rare, unanimous vote, the Democrat Barbara Boxer and the Republican Saxby Chambliss won the title, ‘Best Dancers’ thanks to their soulful Tango and provocative Cha-Cha.

Odd things were happening in Hollywood too, as was evident in this phone conversation between two studio heads.

“How’s about we put a moratorium on all these comic-book-inspired-special-effects-extravaganzas,” said Paramount’s chief, “and make movies about real people doing truly wild and crazy things, like falling in love?”

“You won’t believe it,” said Sony’s top gun, “but I just cancelled production on ‘SuperMan vs. Spider Man vs. Iron Man!’  Instead I’m throwing millions into this sweet little sequel called, ‘When Sally Left Harry…And What He Did To Get Her Back.’”

A blue ribbon panel of doctors and nutritionists urged daily readings of Emily Dickinson as well as second helpings of red wine and chocolate for optimum heart health.

Around the world, rose petals were strewn on mattresses, on tatami mats, on beach hammocks.  Balladeers, strumming guitars, mandolins and sitars were hired to stand under balconies from Des Moines to Dubai, serenading loved ones.  Untold diamond rings sparkled on the bottom of champagne glasses and just as many small planes were hired to fly banners reading, “Pierre aime Sandrine!” or ‘Horst liebt Hildegaard!’

But of course, it couldn’t last longer than twenty-four hours.

Big dramatic gestures – what many people consider the hallmark of romance — are like the effervescence in sparkling water, ultimately unsustainable.  It’s the tap water, the regular, day-to-day stuff that quenches the real thirst.

My mother, widowed at sixty-two, told me that what she missed most about my dad were the little things; the way he’d drape her coat around her shoulders, the way he’d sit at the window waiting for her when she worked late; the way, when she started to go grey, he’d shampoo in her hair color.  And how, after all their years together, he’d still call her, ‘my girl.’

It’s the same with my own husband; it seems the real romance is in the small, kind gesture, repeated again and again.  The garden bouquets he makes me every summer.  The dumb stuff we do together, like read movie credits backwards, or bet on how much time is left in the parking meter at the dog park. Our private jokes. (My husband will look deeply, lovingly in my eyes and say, ‘You are so beautiful,’ only he says it with an odd little accent so ‘beautiful’ sounds like ‘pitiful.’  It makes me laugh every time.)

Rose petals strewn across our California King?  Nah; they’d probably stain.  A diamond ring in my champagne?  No doubt it’d chip my tooth.  And all the fuel needed to get that bannered airplane up?  Uh-uh; wouldn’t be environmentally conscious.

So here’s to those small gestures that add up to real romance…although I’d love to see our Senators taking the occasional dance break.


Questions for the Author:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

A friend gave me a beer stein too heavy and ugly to drink out of (the face of a Norwegian goddess leers on the front of it, and her wild hair twirls around the handle).  So I use it as a pencil holder.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

‘Hey Man, We’re All in This Together!’  (It would be an uplifting, heart-breaking, soul-searching, mind-bending docu-drama/romantic comedy about luck, feminism, adventure and belief in self and the world, when self and the world doesn’t seem to particularly care.)
Who would play me?  A young, blonde Claudia Cardinale and an old, grizzled Max Von Sydow.

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

My Aunt Orpha gave me a packet of letters my mother had written her, including the one she wrote from the hospital a day after I was born.  The beginning sentence is, “I finally got my girl!”   And of course, all the lumpy clay dogs, smeared drawings and Mother’s Day cards my daughters have made me.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

Hmmm, it might be the scene in ‘The Tall Pine Polka’ where Fenny and Big Bill marry in the desert and he makes a ring for her out of a desert flower.  I always say I don’t like to write autobiographically – for me the fun is making things up – but there are occasions when I’ve lifted things out of my real life and put them in my novels.  This is one of them.

My husband and I married out in the Mohave and my wedding ring was one he fashioned  out of a yellow desert flower.


As a reader, I find romance in all books in which the writer is in love with her material and creates a full, deep world. F or example, ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett.

Lorna is generously donating one copy of  Desperate Housewives Eating Bon Bons and one copy of Oh My Stars to give away (U.S. only, apologies to international readers.) To enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by midnight EST Aug 6 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.

Lorna Landvik is the author of nine novels, including the best-selling, ‘Patty Jane’s House of Curl,’ ‘Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons’ and ‘Oh My Stars.’  You are cordially invited to ‘like’ her Author page on Facebook, or just like her in general.


Buy Lorna’s books on Amazon.

  • TrishJ

    Ooo. I love the small things about romance too. Hubby and I were at a 4th of July celebration a few years ago. It had just rained and all the seats were damp. I was talking to my grandchildren and Hubby just took out his hanky (yup he still carries a real cloth one) and wiped off my seat. I heard a few ladies say “aww” I felt cherished. Yup, it is the little things that mean so much. Not so sure about the Senators break dancing, have you seen them???? 😉

    • Trish – I think that might be scary! ;o)

  • Heather Coulter

    Small town romances are some of my favorites. I love to get to know the town and the characters who comprise it.

  • Melanie Backus

    Your writing is new to me. I love books and am keeping my fingers crossed!

    • Melanie – read Lorna! She’s great! :o)

  • Amy McKechney Lang

    I love the little things about romance the most! Like the fact that my husband will take me out to Wendy’s for a Frosty or the fact he made me pancakes for breakfast yesterday.

  • Britney Adams

    “The real romance is in the small, kind gesture, repeated again and again.” I love that statement and totally agree!

  • rebecca moe

    Fantastic post…I definitely agree, Congress could benefit from a dance break every now and then.

  • Kim Cornwell

    Wow I wish they would just get up and dance! Sounds like a great read. Thanks for stoping by and the great giveaway.

  • Jen Ferraro Stepke

    Great post and thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  • Sue G.

    Oh, I like your sense of humor! I’d love to see the Senate dance! And I agree…it is the little things. The small, unexpected types of things that mean the most.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I loved your post! I agree that it is the little things that count.

    • Thanks, Melissa! I hope you’ll try Lorna’s books. They’re awesome! xoxo

  • Jen C

    I heartily agree. It’s the little things that matter – in real romance and in fiction. I love the little things that authors create for their characters. I am loving all these blogs for RARM by the way. And yours was so refreshing and entertaining.
    JUST DANCE! – My dear friend and fellow romance-reader had a stressful weekend of moving in the rain. At one point her dog ran out away from her and in the middle of the stress and chasing, she just stopped, then started dancing in the rain. I think it saved her sanity. 🙂

  • Morgan

    Here’s to the every day little things! (lifting goddess beer stein with both hands)

  • Nicole Fortuna

    I agree that the everyday things are what matters. It’s the little gestures that I remember the most.

  • Ann

    “Love Flu Affects Billions” – – What a truly wonderful idea!

    • I love Lorna’s books, Ann, and I hope you find them wonderful too!

  • christinejensen

    Yep, it’s the small things that matter most

  • Kim

    It is all about the small, everyday gestures.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    As a girl who got engaged while shopping the grill aisle at Home Depot, big gestures on wasted on me. But those small day to day things are what matter the most and keep me falling in love a little more every day. What a picture you paint with your words! I loved your blog and cannot wait to read your books. I’m loving this month and finding new authors every day to add to my busting at the seams to-be-read list 🙂

  • Cheryl Hastings

    Another new author…yeah me!! I really love August 🙂

  • Ketta Peters

    When he comes home from a quick trip to 7-11 with a Dove ice cream bar, I do feel loved! Little things mean *so* much.

  • Marcy Shuler

    You’re a new-to-me author. I checked out your books and they sound good!

    • They’re great, Marcy! Nice to see you here. xoxo

  • Ruth

    Lorna, this is awesome. Thank you! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have always believed it is the gesture, not the pageantry, that is truly romantic. Your beautiful flower wedding ring reminds me of Debbie Reynolds in the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” There is no money for a ring when she marries, just a paper band from around a cigar. Years later, after they’ve struck it rich, her husband gives her a new wedding ring. It looks just like the cigar band, only now it is made of gold and contains gemstones. I was maybe 10 or so when I watched that for the first time. I thought THAT was the coolest thing ever and I have never forgotten it.

    • Ruth – Read Lorna! I’m guessing you’ll love her!

      • Ruth

        Thanks! She’s on now on my list!

  • Rhiannon Rowland

    Have never read a Lorna Landvik book, so would love to win and read one and even if I don’t I will still read one! 🙂 I always say, its the small every day things that my husband does for me that makes me truly happy, not the big grand one a year things. Though, those don’t hurt!

    • :o) Do pick her up, Rhiannon, she’s wonderful. xoxo

  • brhill2010

    I love the small things that the boyfriend does for truly shows that the materialistic things don’t really matter.

  • I agree…small gestures are where it’s at.

  • MooMoo Cake

    Your post made me laugh. And it made me long for someone to share those small, everyday gestures. I’m not a big fan of sparkling water and I was cheering as I read your comment about fueling the bannered airplane. Thanks for sharing and for contributing to this great event.

  • leah g

    I definitely agree. It is the small things, those little daily reminders about why its all so worth it.

  • QuenKne M

    Thank you for being part of this extravaganza, without it, I might not have ever discovered you & your books. I loved your post so much I just didn’t want to stop reading; so if it’s any indication of what your books are like, I can’t wait to read them!! I’m headed to your site right now.

  • tonda hargett

    The world would be a much sadder place without romance novels!

  • Diane Giarrusso

    Bel Canto is one of my favorite books, and I too appreciate the little things my hubby does for me! Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for those!

  • BookLady

    I love learning about new authors. Thanks for sharing.

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Hi Lorna, I loved ‘Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons’ and now have to add Oh My Stars,’ to my growing TBR list. Thanks for participating in this lovely program.

  • Jenny Martin

    love finding new authors!