Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


My guest today is lovely and talented Sarah Grimm.
Sarah is an award winning author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom's taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.

Sarah's new release was just added to the list of 100 Best Romances for 2011. We're both thrilled with that accomplishment. However, today, Sarah is talking about touch--and I'm all over that, as they say. I do love to touch. So, enlighten us...
The Importance of Touch
A few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of being a participant in the Summer Scorcher Blog Tour, where one of the fantastic authors blogged about the 12 Stages of Intimacy. For me, the post was more than just informative, it was thought provoking. You see, I know these stages, at least I once did. I learned about them in one of the multitude workshops I’ve attended over the span of many years. Then, as happens far too often, I promptly forgot about them. Or did I?
Let’s take a moment to look at these 12 stages: (as defined by Desmond Morris, a behavioral scientist).

  1. Eye to Body
  2. Eye to Eye
  3. Voice to Voice
  4. Hand to Hand
  5. Arm to Shoulder
  6. Arm to Waist
  7. Mouth to Mouth
  8. Hand to Head
  9. Hand to Body
  10. Mouth to Breast
  11. Hand to Genitals
  12. Sexual Intercourse
The first three are fairly straightforward. You see someone who interests you, make eye contact and strike up a conversation. Basic stuff, right? And this contact doesn’t always lead to something. But number four is when things begin to get interesting. In fact, Hand to Hand is where things get intimate. This is the first step in physical contact. Allowing someone to touch you also means placing yourself in a very vulnerable position. 
You may be surprised to see that number eight, Hand to Head, is considered more intimate than number seven, Mouth to Mouth. But let me ask you—how many people do you let touch your face?
Because nine thru twelve are fairly obvious, I’m going to assume we all know what those stages are and why they’re last on the list. For today, I’d like to focus on number eight. Why? Because Noah Clark—the hero of my new contemporary romance, After Midnight—excels at number eight. Call it a lack of boundaries, or having been raised in a family where touch was as commonplace as a bed to sleep in or a roof over his head. Whatever this contact stems from, Noah’s inadvertent crossing of the boundaries of intimacy—specifically, his habit of jumping from stage three to stage eight—is enough to keep Isabeau, a woman not used to even the most casual of touches, on edge.
A breeze stirred, picking up the ends of her hair and blowing them across her mouth. Her knees went weak as he reached out and brushed his fingers over her cheek, scooping up the strands.
Isabeau struggled for balance, but knew she wouldn’t find it. Not with him standing this close to her. Her gaze took in his black T-shirt, stretched appealingly across his broad chest, the play of muscle in his arm as he toyed with the ends of her hair. He didn’t appear to have shaved that morning. Dark stubble covered his jaw, lending him a look more dangerous than normal. It looked good on him, damn good. Her throat tightened and her mouth went dry.
She knew she should step back, away from his heat, away from his touch. Instead, she stood there, staring into his green eyes as she fought the urge to reach for him. Her palms began to itch with the need to test the feel of his stubble, the warmth of his flesh. Deep inside of her, desire pooled.
He shifted, her hair sliding through his fingers as he dropped his hand to his side. She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh.

Thirteen years—that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?
Find Sarah here:


Sarah Grimm said...

Vonnie, thank you so much for allowing me to visit with you today. I'm thrilled to be at Vintage Vonnie! Let's party!

Calisa Rhose said...

I agree Sarah. There's nothing more romantic and sensual than a man gently caressing a woman's cheek so lightly she shivers with the need for more. Number 12 is just the culmination of those other small steps 1-8 I think. Without those smaller numbers to heighten the mood, the last is just S.E.X. Thanks for the steps.

Sarah Grimm said...

I totally agree with you, Calisa! And so does Noah. In fact, he makes a point to show Izzy just that.

AJ Nuest said...

Great, great blog, Sarah. I love these steps, and was totally surprised by how hand to face is more intimate than kissing. But upon reflection that makes total sense. Yep, gonna keep this one handy during my WIP.

Vonnie, I just wanted to say good luck tomorrow! I'll be thinking of you!! Tell Calvin to drop us a note when he's got a second so we know you're okay. Big hugs!!

Lynne Marshall said...

Like you, Sarah, I've been in a workshop and heard about these steps, but had forgotten them. thank you so much for listing these steps. I am amazed at how many people in movies jump into the sack after the first step or two. I guess intimacy isn't what they're after, and sex doesn't always equal intimacy.
Another great blog!

Lynne Marshall said...

P.S. to Vonnie - I'm thrilled, the blogger curse has been lifted. I can comment again without my words going poof before my very eyes!


Rachel Brimble said...

Lynne, you just stole the words right out of my mouth! I learned these steps ages ago but feel confident I haven't always focused on them during my writing. I forgotten how important they are!

Sarah, having a hero missed these steps is a fabulous idea - lots of conflict and shifts of power. Love it!

R x

Vonnie Davis said...

I'm just getting around to checking in today. I see Sarah is handling things with her usual Sarah-Sunshine-Style. I loved reviewing the steps, too, and was surprised that the hand to face touch was labeled as so intimate.

Thanks, AJ, for your well wishes. After reviewing the MRI closer, the surgeon is removing the entire saliva gland. He says the cyst is too embedded. So, y'all can say "I'm not worth spit" and be totally correct. Hugs to you all.

Lynne, so glad the blogger curse has been lifted. I, too, find it easier to leave a comment now.

Sarah Grimm said...

AJ!! Your visits always make me smile! Get that sitter so we can meet up for dinner!

Sarah Grimm said...

Lynne- I noticed that about movies, too. Maybe that's why a lot of times I never quite connect with some of the movie characters. How are we supposed to believe that happy endings when everything up to that point seems superficial?

Sarah Grimm said...


Yes! Up the conflict and sexual tension by having the hero take a few stages out of order. Throws off the heroine every time. :-)

Sarah Grimm said...


Your surgery is tomorrow? I'll be thinking of you. Take care!

Mimi Barbour said...

In this business, I'm still surprised by what I learn everyday. Sarah, your twelve steps were new to me. Can't wait to start your book, it sounds like a lovely story.

Sarah Grimm said...

Thanks so much, Mimi! There are a lot of interesting articles on the twelve stages of intimacy that go into further detail than I did. It makes for interesting reading.

Barbara Edwards said...

It's surprising how many authors don't use these important steps to intimacy. You're work stands out.

LaVerne Clark said...

Ah... Noah...Very sigh-inducing : )

I'm drawing out the reading of After Midnight. I don't want it to end!! But its very hard not to devour it in one sitting... Lucky I've got a few things on the go to make me hold out a little more : )

I'm going to bookmark this blog - great information! Thanks for sharing girls.

And Vonnie - it sounds like you're in great hands with your surgeon. They sound thorough. Thinking of you and Calvin. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for good news in the next day or so. xx and ((hugs))

Christine Warner said...

Hi Sarah, great reminders! And you are so right about how important all of these are, especially touch. That is a whole new level to a relationship when you allow someone to take this step in intimacy, and it's very sensual to read when it's done right.

Oh yeah, and a HUGE congrats on your new release being added to the 100 Best Romances of 2011 list! WOOHOO :)

Sarah Grimm said...

Barbara, thank you so much!

LaVerne, you're killing me! Killing me! I'm desperate to know what you think and you're drawing out the reading. :-)

Sarah Grimm said...


Thanks! I still have perma-grin after reading that review and making the list. Woot!

LaVerne Clark said...

Nothing like a bit of suspense huh Sarah?? ; )
WOW! is all I'm gonna say at the moment until I do a review : )

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Sorry I got here late, but better late than never. I guess I've recognized the steps instinctively on some level but never gave them the thought they deserve. I always learn a valuable lesson while stalking you ladies. This was a good one, Sarah. Thanks a bunch.

Sarah Grimm said...

Mackenzie, you can stalk me anytime. Wow, that doesn't sound right, does it? *grin*