Guest & Contest: Claire Croxton

Romantic Gestures
By Claire Croxton

Since I write romances, people often ask me to define what makes something romantic. That’s a really good question. Let’s review a couple of scenarios, then discuss.

Your lover knows you enjoy reading. Valentine’s Day rolls around and he decides to show he understands you, cares about you and wants to make you happy. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. When you come home, you walk into a cozy den. A fire crackles in the fireplace. A fluffy blanket drapes over the arm of your favorite chair. On the table, a pot of Darjeeling swirls steam into the soft glow of the reading light, the fragrance of dozens of roses mingles in the steam. A pile of crisp, never creased books by your favorite authors and the recommended reads from Amazon sit at the foot of the chair waiting to take you on adventures.
  2. Your lover e-mails you a $50 off coupon for a new Nook.
  3. Your man takes you to Barnes and Noble, buys you a triple mocha frappe and waits patiently while you shop to your heart’s content.

You’ve had a really stressful week full of meetings, demanding phone calls, schedule changes and budget overages. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. At 5 o’clock Friday afternoon, your lover meets you in the lobby of your office building with an armful of roses. He whisks you off to the honeymoon suite at the nicest hotel on your area, champagne, chocolate, roses and bedding spun by angels are the last thing you notice before he pulls you close and you get lost in his kisses.
  2. When you get home on Friday night, he tells you to go ahead and order takeout. He had burgers and beers at the bar.
  3. When you arrive home, your man has run a bath for you and sent the kids to his mother’s for the night.


You have the flu and can’t go to work. Shoot, you can barely get out of bed and wish the bathroom wasn’t fifteen miles from your bedroom. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. Your boyfriend calls his grandmother to get her homemade chicken soup recipe. After shopping the farmers’ markets for organic carrots and fennel, he spends all afternoon simmering the healing broth.  He delivers the meal to you on an antique silver tray complete with roses and a lace doily.
  2. He sleeps on the couch to avoid germs while you convalesce.
  3. He goes to the store, buys chicken soup and several different cold/flu remedies, hoping one will relieve your symptoms. He rents your favorite movies and watches chick flicks with you while you recover.

Okay, so what do you think? I’m sure Option #1 led to swooning. Option #2 resulted in groans and possible recognition. Option #3 caused some “aahs.”

There are three elements to romantic gestures: 1) Caring and understanding 2) Thinking of another more than yourself and 3) The slightest bit of effort.

Sure, Option #1 sounds absolutely divine. Who wouldn’t want someone putting that much thought into a gesture, but honestly, wouldn’t everyone be just as happy with option #3?

But do you want to know the secret to romance? Do you really want to know?  Here’s the secret. It’s really very simple.  When a man cares about and understands you, thinks of you more than himself and goes to the slightest bit of effort to please you, say “thank you.” Guess what? If you say “thank you,” he’ll probably do it again.

 * * * * *

After spending over a decade as a technical writer in Northern Alaska, I chucked aside my mukluks, loaded up my cats and relocated to a farm in Japton, Arkansas to pursue a career in writing fiction.

I had no idea there were places more remote than tiny, Iñupiaq villages with no road access, yet I managed to find one. The woods of Madison County are inspirational and I have written several short stories that have been published in anthologies. My novels, which I refer to as soul-searching snark, are filled with unique characters-strong, bold women and knock-your-bloomers-off hot men. Sure they’re flawed, but who cares? Have you seen their abs?

If I ever run out of story ideas all I have to do is go to the local feed store, sit on the porch with the tobacco-chewing farmers and soak up the country. Somehow along the way, this cat lady acquired four dogs, eleven ducks and too many chickens to count. I live with my extremely tolerant husband and not so understanding cats. When I’m not writing, I’m gardening, baking or thinking about making another quilt.

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Contest details:

  • The prize is a download of Santorini Sunset.
  • The contest is open to everyone over the age of 18.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • Because a valid email is needed to comment in WordPress, if you are ineligible for the contest, but still want to comment, please leave some sort of “don’t enter me in the contest” note in your comment.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, May 20.


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27 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Claire Croxton

  1. Maria D. says:

    Great post! I know I personally picked 1 and 3 for each scenario outlined. I do think that just being polite and saying Thank You goes a long way to getting a man to repeat something he’s done that you liked and also having an honest and open line of communication is the key – he won’t do what you like or need to have done if he doesn’t know it’s what you want. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Hi Maria. Thanks for commenting. It’s amazing how far a simple “thank you” will go. I get tired of my friends not appreciating the simple gestures their men do for them. Romance doesn’t have to be a grand production. It just has to come from the heart.

  3. Dang! You brought tears to my eyes and it’s barely daytime. You are so right, if we (women) don’t make ourselves open to the kindnesses, if we try to stay in control of everything all the time, our guys can become paralyzed by fear of breaking the “normal schedule of allowed activities” or thinking they need to come up with something huge (like your #1s) when simple, easy thoughtfullnesses (emphasis on THOUGHT) can send us right to heaven.
    We need to give them permission to be spontaneously sweet and then return the favor with THANKS and lots of reinforcement! Thanks for the reminder, Dr. Romance.

    • Kim, I like the title Dr. Romance. 🙂 I think the most romantic thing my husband has ever done for me was put up the Christmas tree one year. I was out of the country and didn’t get back until Dec 10th. My hubby hates putting up the tree, but did it because he knew how happy it’d make me to come home to a festive house. That’s thoughtful and romantic. Nothing grand about it. It was simply sweet. And, I thanked him.

  4. I enjoyed the Romantic Gestures. Would like #1’s across the board but would be contented happy with #3’s. Most of the time we hear about # 2’s as the norm.
    You sound happy in your new setting. Lookiing foward to you speaking for Sleuth’s Ink Mystery Writers in Springfield,MO.

    • Janet, it’s it disappointing to encounter the #2s? Of course, we need to set the examples and make sure we’re not tossing out #2s and expecting #1s in return. I get so frustrated at women who expect their men to go over-the top and yet they never make an effort. Love, respect and romance goes both ways. 🙂

      I’m looking forward to the talk in Springfield.

  5. I’ve seen far too many option #2’s over the years! Yes, option #3 is plenty good enough and now that I have a man (who denies that he is even the least bit romantic) prone to being so good to me, I will always remember to say ‘Thank you’ for any sweet, romantic gestures. Great post, Claire 🙂

    • Madison, I’m soooooooooo glad you have a man in your life who is thoughtful and kind. You deserve it and I know you don’t take him for granted. Do you think you could get him to do some shopping for me? His gifts are fantastic!!

    • Ha! Deborah. I used my ex-husband as the guide for the #2 scenarios. You’ll find a man who’ll be romantic. They do exist.

  6. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for a great post and giveaway!

    I’d have to say that I’m 3’s across the board. I’m not a very romantic person so, the 1’s would just embarrass me. I’m lucky that my dear BF is very thoughtful. Not all the time or consistently mind you, but just enough that he gets the points 🙂

    • Erin, my mother said the same thing. She thought the #1s were way over the top. She was fortunate enough to be married to my dad for 53 years. Everyday he did something romantic–it was never grand, but he’d pick her flowers or bring her a gift. It was magical to watch and definitely romantic.

  7. Margaret says:

    I love stories set in Europe. The historical sites, the wine, the men.. I just love it! I’ve nevr been to Santorini but would love to escape there with this book!


    • Margaret, I hope you enjoy Santorini Sunset. It has it all: historical sites, gorgeous men and it’s on the main character’s family vineyard–so, you get wine! Sounds like this is the book for you. 🙂

    • Yeah, Timothy, I think I’m going to start calling myself Dr. Romance. Maybe I could get a talk show like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz!

  8. Paula says:

    Aaahhh!! As everyone has said the #1’s are really wonderful. But, so are the #3’s!
    I have had some wonderful 1’s over the past 35 years, as well as some wonderful 3’s. The fact that the love of my life still finds ways to be romantic after that length of time is such a blessing. Surprisingly, a very romantic gift from him was when he had been hunting over a long weekend. When he came home, he brought a heart shaped stone that he had found along a creek he had crossed! YES, you have to say thank you….didn’t your Momma teach you that? 🙂

    • Oh, Margaret. I swooned. A heart-shaped rock and he thought of you. Simply divine. Yep, my mama taught me to say “thank you,” but you’d be surprised at how many people missed that lesson at cotillion. I have a couple of friends who demand romance and never give it back. And, they can’t figure out why they can’t keep a man. Shocking, right?

  9. Patti P says:

    Having been with my sweetie over 20 years he is a pro at taking care of me. He made some rookie mistakes early on, but he gets it now. 🙂 The funny thing is his friends and family gave him more grief over those than I did!
    And I agree with you appreciation goes a long way.
    musicalfrog at

  10. Keli says:

    Not being naturally romantic myself (I was thrilled when my husband, against his nature, gifted me with a food processor instead of flowers for Mother’s Day), i really enjoyed your perspective on romantic gestures. #1 would have left me feeling obligated, honestly, and somewhat tense, like we were acting out a storyline. #3 I found real and sweet. Maybe I’m not as much of a romantic reject as I thought I was. Thanks for the insight. Maybe I’ll keep dragging myself out of bed to make him breakfast. He deserves those romantic gestures, too.

    • Oh Keli, that’s so true! Romantic gestures go both ways! You do for him and he returns the favor. I think a food processor is a wonderful gift. My husband gave me a Kitchen Aid professional mixer for Christmas one year. It was my favorite gift ever–because it was thoughtful, unexpected and exactly what I’d been wanting. He bought something for me, not something he thought I’d want.

    • Scenario #1 are fun, aren’t they? Even as an romance author, I had a difficult time coming up with them. If you can find a man who can consistently deliver #1, grab him and don’t let go! 🙂

  11. Crystal Newman says:

    I would so love to be married to a man that would get me the books I love to read and give me roses and all the great things in #1. But I’ve got to live in the real world and be married to a wonderful man that lets me stay at home with all four kids and experience all the good and bad that comes along with it. Good thing I’ve got my kindle fire to download me some books so I can dream about going to far away places. I just want to say that I really love the cover of the book and thinks for sharing a little bit about yourself.

    • Hi Crystal! Sounds like Santorini Sunset is the book for you. You can step right out of your living room onto the beaches of Greece and drool over the sultry hero, Raul, along with Caroline. Your husband sounds like a very nice, understanding man. 4 kids. Wowza! You definitely need escape at times. Thanks!

  12. Jen @ RtB says:

    A big thanks to everyone who came out to support Claire. I’m like several of you and would be completely embarrassed with those #1s. Give me the 3s any day!

    But y’all want to know who won the ebook. Janet! An email is on the way to you with directions on how to claim your prize.


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