More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guest Blog: Pagan Love Song, or Why I Write Hawaiian Romance, by Courtney Sheets

Today the Divas are psyched to welcome a guest blogger, the fabulous Courtney Sheets. Courtney has been writing since she was old enough to scribble bad poetry to her mom in the kitchen. When she was 12 she discovered her first romance novel, read in stolen moments in the bathroom when her mom wasn't looking. After that everything went downhill. Now she writes her own dirty romances and loves every minute! Currently she writes Hawaiian paranormals for Ravenous Romance ( and her Dorchester Contest entry Daughter of Fire is an Editor’s Pick at

Aloha. I love cheesy beach movies. Don’t act coy. You know which ones I mean, something from the late fifties or early sixties, featuring the curvaceous Annette Funicello and the manly Frankie Avalon in the throes of teenage hormones. Or Sandra Dee in some of the most hideous bathing suits I have ever seen shooting the curl with Moon Doggie and the Big Kahuna. How about the ones with Elvis and his white swimsuit strumming a ukulele? Or even better, what about the million dollar mermaid Esther Williams and the handsome Howard Keel reveling in the Tahitian sun?

They all undoubtedly had the word beach somewhere in the title. Bikini Beach, Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party-- you see where I’m going with this. Frankie and Annette even teamed up in the early ‘90s to film Back to the Beach. In this campy cinematic gem, the happy-go-lucky surf couple has been married for years and lives in Ohio. A debacle involving their daughter strands them back at Santa Monica Beach. There Frankie must face his fear of surfing and ride the Cowabunga from Down Under. Seriously, I couldn’t get better summer flavor cheese if I wrote it myself. My cousins and I would play the day away outside during summers at Grandma’s house but when it got dark, we hung out with Frankie, Annette, Bonehead, and Gidget.

Is it any wonder I write beach romances setting in Hawaii? The mystique of Polynesia and the hunky surf god has always been an attractor for me and my fevered imaginings. There is something so incredibly appealing about an exotic hero and I think a Polynesian warrior is as exotic as they get. A line I love from a cheesy ‘80’s film sums it up best for me. “If there is one thing women love more than muscles, it’s brown muscles.” Give me a tall tanned delicious hero and I am set every time.

In my first novel, Kona Warrior, my hapless heroine Gloria is confronted with the most delicious Hawaiian hunk when Mano steps from the ocean into her arms. She doesn’t even mind he occasionally turns into a shark. As a paranormal romance novelist I get to cruise around in the rich textured world of Hawaiian lore and write about sexy beach boys and girls. In my current Hawaiian paranormal for Textnovel, Daughter of Fire, all American Jack O’Connor is discovering the mystique of a true island girl with a fiery lineage. Kalama Young is not your usual bikini clad goddess. She also happens to be the daughter of a goddess, Pele. Jack’s in trouble, but the good kind.

Whenever I pop one of these bad boys in the DVD player now, oh yeah I have them all, I am instantly transported to the sun drenched shores of Southern California or the South Pacific. The air seems a little fresher and has the hint of salty goodness. The sounds of waves resonate deep in the recesses of my sub-conscience and the world seems less scary. Men and women fell in love and stayed in love. Summer lasted forever. So when it gets cold this winter and the winds rage outside, take a staycation with a tropical setting in a book or a jaunt with Gidget and Moon Doggie. It will instantly become summer. And to think, we owe it all to Annette Funicello teaching us How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.

Mahalo nui loa to the amazing Textnovel Divas for having me here and a hui hou.


Liane Gentry Skye said...

Courtney, thank you so much for coming by! Hawaii is one of my dream destinations, so your work is a natural match to my interests. :)

Jennifer L Hart said...

You rock, Courtney!
But this we all know. ;-)
There's something softer and more innocent in beach movies during the era you talked about. I've always loved the beach, yearned to live there. Unfortunately, my finances run more to musty old cave where crabby gnome dwells. If I'm real lucky he doesn't have rabies.
More Hooded Man soon please!

Saranna DeWylde said...

Howard Keel was dreamy. :) Thanks for coming by our blog. You to which one I'm addicted to. :)

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