Writing Contemporary Romance...Use Reality to Ground the Story

Within the genre of contemporary romance, many times with the creation of a story, complete fabrication of characters, their history, and a million details in between,
how is it possible to make fiction feel real?

Ground the story in the real world. I like to use some hot, racy imagery like lingeries stores. Agent Provacateur. My fav shopping experience.

Using things (sorry I'm about to do the brand name toss) like well-known restaurants and beverage spots (Starbucks is my favorite) to brand names including clothing, jewelry, and even technology. Yes, I'm guilty of a bag of Starbucks coffee beans, music from an iPod, but I did rethink Kinkos. Since the scene was negative, I couldn't in good consciousness give a name to the brand.

Readers of contemporary aren't looking for a shopping list
but they are looking for evidence
that this is contemporary meaning it happened today, not thirty years ago. At times writers can ground their work too much including key historical references. I don't know about this issue. I originally had written a mention of the Occupy Wall Street but it was deemed as dating the story. So I acquiesced and removed it since was in conversation, a repartee between twin sisters jabbing each other. 

Another idea is to pepper references including geographical features such as roads, cities, places of interest. What it boils down to is research, research, research.

Even key items such as character response should be based on reality. That why meshing with characters becomes possible through the use of visceral response.

If you've never had to confront a death, then you had better be damn intro- and interpersonally gifted to understand the process of such an experience and how it is conveyed in terms of emotional and psychological processing. In Secret Desire, I used graduate school training and studying Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross stages of grief and bereavement in Death and Dying. Having lived through the death of my close family members provided perspective as well.

Point:  We as writers create to our heart's content but then we make certain there's a twang of reality to give our reader the feel, they're in a believable place. 

Contemporary romance. It's about transporting a reader via the imagination, giving them a foundation and then whisking them away for the perfect escape. No passport or boarding pass needed!

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My recommendation for the holidays!

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