Guest Post

Obstacles to Romance – Guest Post by Molly Ringle

Today I have something a little different for you. Instead of getting my perspective on things, today I have a guest author. Molly Ringle is the author of Goblins of Bellwater, a story that has been inspired by the poem Goblin Market that will be released on October 1st.  She will be talking about obstacles to romance in her books. I think it is an interesting topic to see an author approach. Make sure to read all the way to the end as there is also an excerpt and some information on the author below.

Without further ado though I shall leave you in the capable hands of Molly Ringle.


What’s the one thing a compelling love story needs? A charismatic couple? Or threesome or however many you’re working with?

Well, yes, but more importantly: a love story needs a good obstacle. After all, if there’s nothing standing in the way of the lovers getting together, then there’s not much to tell. Thinking up the romantic obstacle has therefore been the most important step in creating my love stories (and, spoiler: ALL my books are love stories), and I have a lot of fun coming up with them.

Societal taboos used to be a lot more plentiful in past centuries (class and racial differences, for instance), but in the modern U.S. we have fewer of those to choose from. Which is a good thing for society! It just means more of a challenge for contemporary romance writers. I’ve done the dreaded love triangle: What Scotland Taught Me features a young woman in a long-distance relationship who becomes attracted to someone new while she’s abroad. I’ve used one of our few remaining taboos, the one banning teachers from dating their students (even when both are adults), in Summer Term, which also features the complications of being famous.


But paranormal romance, ah, that gives us lots more possibilities for curious obstacles. The ones I’ve used in particular involve love with a ghost (The Ghost Downstairs) or lovers being pestered by one (Of Ghosts and Geeks), a lover who’s an immortal (Persephone’s Orchard and its sequels), and, most recently, in The Goblins of Bellwater, a goblin curse messing up the lives of small-town residents in Washington state.

I like to mix it up with my obstacles, not only because variety helps keep the writing fresh for me, but because readers have different tastes. Some won’t go near a love triangle even if you paid them; others adore love triangles. Same with the various types of paranormals: there are readers with a particular leaning toward vampires or ghosts, and others who find the whole setup creepy or ridiculous. Therefore I provide many obstacles to choose from, and will keep doing so, because there’s nothing that thrills the heart like a great love story. Whatever your personal definition of “great” may be.


Molly Ringle has been writing fiction for over 20 years now. Love and humor are things you will always find back in her books, added in with the occasional tragedy and paranormal. The Ghost Downstairs was a 2010 EPIC Award finalist for paranormal romance. She enjoys tea, chocolate, perfume or other nice smelling things. She currently lives in Seatle with her family.

Information taken from Molly Ringle’s own website.


Excerpt The Goblins of Bellwater

“Help me.” She whispered the words, seeming to struggle to force them out, as if something were wrong with her tongue. He barely caught the phrase, even in the silent forest.

But he did hear it, and it galvanized him. He threaded between plants and stepped over logs to reach her.

He stood before her, shooting her a glance from head to boots. She didn’t look injured or anything. But she breathed shallowly, and kept staring at him with that intensity.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “You need help?”

She grasped the front of his fleece coat. Her knuckles dug into his chest. Grady gazed into her brown eyes in wonder.

“I pick you,” she said, again with a peculiarly stilted, numb-sounding vocalization, but she enunciated the words in a deliberate enough manner that the effect was almost formal.

“You what?” he said.

Then she laid one cold hand on the side of his face, and pulled him down toward her.

She couldn’t mean to kiss him. That couldn’t be about to happen. But she lifted her parted lips as if that was exactly what she had in mind, and though Grady knew the honorable thing, the smart thing, to do was to step away, he felt mesmerized. As her breath touched his face, his common sense fell to shreds. Temptation roped itself around his head, impossible to resist. He longed to kiss her all of a sudden, and his mind even supplied a rationale: hadn’t he just been wanting something pleasant to happen in his life? Didn’t this count, in a weird way?

So although it was beyond crazy, he met her halfway and kissed her. With restraint, like a gentleman. Well, at first.

Through a breath in her parted lips he caught an unusual, enticing flavor, rich and green like the forest itself, and he opened his mouth further to taste it. The kiss locked deeper; their heads tilted. He shut his eyes. Her fingers twined into his hair. The hand clutching his coat relaxed and she slid her arm around his back, snake-like. He wound his arms around her, his fingers penetrating the holes of her loose-knit sweater, clawing at the soft curves and hard bones of her body. As their tongues met, Grady felt like the ground was sinking languorously beneath him. His head buzzed in astonished delight and a fire started in his lower body and crept outward.

She pulled her mouth free. Breathing hard, Grady blinked at her. Some pink had entered her cheeks, making her even more beautiful.

Just as he was about to speak—maybe ask her name—she ripped herself out of his arms and turned and ran into the forest.

“Hey!” Grady lunged after her, and fell on his front. A fallen branch bruised his chest, making him wince. He tried to rise, and found his feet were stuck. Twisting around, he discovered blackberry vines wrapped around his shoes. “Goddammit. How the…hey!” He twisted forward again. “Come back! Please! Who are you?”

He heard her fast footsteps, but only for a few seconds, then they went quiet. By the time he had disentangled his feet from the vines and stood up to look around, she was nowhere in sight.

He called and searched a long while, roving around the forest until the light faded too much to continue. His mystery woman was gone.

It was later than he thought, he realized upon checking his phone. How could it already be nearly dinnertime?

Disheartened, enraptured, and strangely lightheaded, Grady emerged from the trees and walked back through town to the island bridge, his ankles and hands marked up with thorn scratches.



You can find my review up on the blog tomorrow!

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