Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Moriah Densley

Today we’re welcoming Firebird Moriah Densley, 2012 Golden Heart finalist in Historical Romance.

Moriah sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. Moriah lives in Las Vegas with her husband and four children.

Moriah’s also one of the first Firebirds to publish her debut novel! Her gorgeous book, SONG FOR SOPHIA, came out in June. I’m here to tell you it’s gloriously well-written, and both hero and heroine are truly intense, complicated, and fascinating. (If you liked THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE, this is most definitely for you!) A swoon-worthy romance!!

You can snap up your own copy anywhere e-books are sold, like right here.

You can learn more at

Take it away, Moriah!


Real Life Romantic Heroes

I adore alpha males in fiction. The take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway, dragon slayer types. I even cheer when they mess up and land themselves in trouble with the heroines, because it’s true to life, and I like seeing how couples work through conflict. “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and all that.

With apologies to Shakespeare, I’d like to share the results of my recent quest for “Real Life Romantic Heroes.” Because we hear endless tales of men in the doghouse, you might find these examples of thoughtful, adoring, and oh-so-romantic men refreshing. Some of them put romance novel heroes to shame. They certainly defy stereotypes.

Here are my top ten favorite stories from the women I interviewed:

10.  “I sent my husband on a snowboarding trip without me when I couldn’t shake my morning sickness and insisted on staying home. I forgot about pouting when he came home wearing only his ski pants. He lay spread-eagle next to me on the bed, then told me to unzip a pocket, which I thought was strange until I found the pocket stuffed full of peanut M&Ms – my favorite! Me made me go through all his pockets to find them all . . .” (She laughs, blushing, leaving me to guess the rest.)

9.  “I’m so proud of my soldier, but sometimes it seems like he turns around and leaves again as soon as he comes home. The last time he deployed, I was feeling really depressed. I missed him so badly I couldn’t stand it, until I opened a box of cereal and saw a post-it note inside with his handwriting. I rushed around, looking for more, and found love notes he’d hidden all around the house. Some of them sweet, some funny, and some hot. They made me cry, but also made me feel a little less lonely. It took me weeks to find them all.”

8.  “I know you’re not supposed to go to bed angry. But I had a really bad fight with my husband, and the more we argued the worse it got, until at two a.m. we both gave up, hurting and fuming. I admit I was so upset I did the “cold silence” thing the next day, too proud to apologize first. He came home from work with takeout from my favorite restaurant, a box of chocolates, and flowers. He didn’t say “I’m sorry,” but he didn’t have to – he wrote an apology in a card. It put me to shame, and you’d better believe I apologized too for saying things I didn’t mean, and then made up for it!”

7.  “I noticed the proofs for our engagement photos went missing. It started to drive me crazy until I found one, with a note from my fiancé written on the back about why he loved me and was excited to get married. He left one a day – in my car, at work, in my books – counting down until the wedding.”

6.  “During a party game, everyone was supposed to list their three worst pet peeves about their significant other, and the couples earned points for correctly guessing what his/her partner wrote. Everyone was laughing about the pet peeves; wearing nerdy socks, burping, watching sports, excessive libido, etc. My husband stole the show – and ended the game – when he turned over his card to reveal that he had listed the three things he loved best about me instead. Later he said he just couldn’t stand to belittle me in front of others. Ever since, I have been careful not to join in when my friends complain about their husbands or boyfriends. I remember how loyal he is, and I can’t speak badly about him either.”

5.  “When I came home from working the late shift at the hospital, I switched on the light and saw red roses hanging from the ceiling, all around the room like an upside down garden. Then I remembered – it was Valentine’s Day. I had been so busy and stressed out at work, I had forgotten all about it. I hadn’t gotten him a present, and I felt like such a jerk. Tied to the stems of every rose was a note, each listing a reason he loved me. I found roses in the microwave, in the closet, in the shower – all over the house. 100 roses and 100 notes total. He didn’t seem to care I’d forgotten his present, he just wanted to be with me. I still have those notes.”

4.  “I was working at a shoe store in the mall when I saw the guy I was dating pacing back and forth in the gallery. I finished helping a customer and went to look. He stood on the other side of the display window, flipping a rectangular object in his hands, and smirking. I waved him inside and asked what on earth he was doing. Then I noticed it was the stereo faceplate from my car he held! He scolded me for leaving my windows cracked open, meaning he’d broken into my car and stolen it. He said he was holding my stereo for ransom, and if I wanted it back, I’d have to go out with him. He gave me a puppy-dog look with those gorgeous brown eyes, and I couldn’t say no. (I had been waiting for him to call, so I had to pretend to be mad.) Later that year, I married him.”

3.  “It seemed like we never saw each other, with both of us always either in class or working. One day I found an open notebook on the breakfast table, where he’d written a sweet note for me with “I love you” at the bottom. I wrote back, and so it went back and forth. We filled every page of the notebook that semester, and I kept it.”

2.  “The birth of your baby is supposed to be a wonderful experience, but for me it was frightening and stressful, ending in an emergency c-section. Later that night after everything calmed down and all the visitors went home, I rested a while, but I wasn’t asleep. I saw my husband pick up the baby and cradle him against his neck. He closed his eyes for a long time, and I finally realized he was crying as he kissed the baby’s head. I asked what was the matter, and he said he was just so happy, and that he loved me more than he could say. He never left my side and took care of my every need while I recovered. I’ve heard people complain about how having a baby makes marriage problems worse, but it was the opposite for us. Our son brought us together and made us a team.”

1.  “I stood by the passenger door as my husband came around to open it for me. A man unlocked the car parked next to ours and commented, “Don’t get used to that. After a year or so that will get old, and he’ll quit doing it.” My husband replied, “I’m sorry sir, but you’re wrong. I’ll open doors for my wife until the day I die.” That was on our first anniversary, and seven years later, he has never once failed to open a door for me.”

A special thanks to the lovely ladies who shared their stories. Pass the tissues, please.

Do you have a Real Life Romantic Hero story? I’d love to hear it. Come on, show a little appreciation and boast about your man!

balloons image: Prayoga D. Widyanto via Flickr:

49 responses to “Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Moriah Densley”

  1. Love these stories Moriah! (And I loved the book too). Hmm, a Real Life Romantic Hero story huh? You mean other than him forking over the money to fly me to the National Conference from Bangalore?

    I’d have to say it’s the small things at just the right moments. Like the day I’m almost in tears from the day job stress, only to come home to a “home-cooked” meal from my favorite Italian restaurant. Or those Saturdays when he gets the kids up and out of the house early so I can have sleep-in time.

    • Hi Lorenda! Thanks for the support today, and for showing off your awesome husband. Airfare from India to California is a certainly a grand gesture, but I also understand it’s the small things that mean the most. Sounds like you caught yourself a good man – a real life romantic hero. Hang on to him tight! And have a blast in Anaheim next week. (Good luck to a fellow GH finalist.)

  2. Those were all really great stories – I love the caring and tenderness. They reveal so much about those couples. *swoon*

    For me, after 21 years of marriage, I’ve forgotten the “big gestures,” and it’s the little day-to-day things my husband does that I think of as heroic. How he puts a cup of ice water on my bedside table every night, or how he refuses to notice my grey roots, or how he offered to take our son to camp yesterday because he knew I desperately needed those hours to prep for Nationals, or how he learned how I like my coffee (even though he HATES the stuff) just so he could bring me a restorative cup when I’m deep into editing mode.

    He’s a joy and a treasure, and I do my best to deserve him every day.

    • 21 years – wow, Eileen. You most certainly do not look old enough to have seen a 21st wedding anniversary, or to have gray roots. Congratulations just the same (on the 21 years of happy marriage, that is, but huzzah for L’Oreal too!) Thanks for sharing your story and for commenting today. Wishing you all the best for next Saturday night. I’m rooting for you.

  3. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Moriah!! I love these stories!!

    It’s really true that we tend to think of “romantic gestures” as being big and sweeping, but it’s the little things that really do it.

    • Elisa, Thank you so much for hosting me today, and for the flattering introduction! This is so fun for me. You’re right – it seems the women here agree unanimously it’s thoughtfulness that matters in a relationship. I hope any men reading notice none of the heroic examples here mention diamonds or new cars or Malibu beach houses. Those are great of course, but true love fills emotional needs too, which manifests in small ways, and daily. I wonder how many people get that…

  4. Congratulations on your Golden Heart Final! What a lovely collection of romantic stories, Moriah! As a Navy wife and Army mother, I LOVED the soldier story! See you in Anaheim!

    • Congratulations right back to you, Heather! Good luck in Anaheim next week. I have enormous respect for military families. Thank you so much for your service. (It’s a family effort!)

  5. Wonderful post, Moriah! It really is all the little things that add up to a pattern of caring and concern over the years. But I have a “grand gesture” story for you.

    My significant other and I had been together for 3 years when we decided to take a Caribbean cruise in 1992. The itinerary was fantastic. We started in Puerto Rico, then had a day at sea on our way to Barbados. From there, it was an island a day–Martinique, Antigua, Sint Maarten, St. Thomas/St. John, and back to Puerto Rico. Unbeknownst to me, he’d made plans to propose on the cruise. Everyone was in on it–my parents, my best friend, everyone at work. I’m usually the one no one can fool when it comes to stuff like this, but I didn’t have a clue! LOL.

    He waited until we were anchored off Martinique for the night (the island is French, by the way :-). It happened to be a “formal” night for dinner, so we were dressed in our finery. He’d arranged to have a bottle of champagne set up outside on the promenade deck after dinner, and while we sipped champagne and watched the lights of the island, he suddenly dropped down to one knee and held out a diamond solitaire. He said it was the most romantic location he could think of to propose. I still can’t believe I didn’t see it coming! Needless to say, I said yes–and we’re still together (and still cruising).

  6. Terri Osburn says:

    Since I’ve yet to find such a wonderful hero, these stories both depress me and give me hope. Thanks for sharing, Moriah!

    • Calling the future Mr. Terri Osburn! Where are you? She’s waiting, man. (Since you’ve had so much good news lately, Terri, I’m wishing you this one too, for the trifecta! Thanks for the support today.)

  7. robena grant says:

    Congrats! on your GH final, Moriah. I love your ten stories. Fabulous! #9 brought tears to my eyes.

  8. Kat Cantrell says:

    Oh I love these stories! Thanks for sharing them. #2 is the one that got me. 🙂 That’s what happened with us too – we became a team and I’m so thankful for my wonderful DH. He doesn’t do grand gestures but the little things are everything, like you say. We both work from home and he does all the cooking. There is nothing like having someone there for all the highs and lows PLUS meals! I can’t wait for the day when I can buy HIM a Porsche and a house in Malibu.

    • A man who cooks?!?! Hold on tight to him, Kat! He sounds like a winner. It’s lovely to hear from so many happily married people. We hear so much from the opposite, it’s important to remember there are still heroic men out there devoted to their (equally heroic) women. Bravo!

      • Julie says:

        My husband fits into the “lifetime of small gestures” category rather than the “grand gesture” category. I had one of those moments recently when I heard him in the kitchen with both my sons. He was teaching them to cook something and explaining to them that “you have to know how to cook if you want to get a beautiful woman to marry you.”

        It is wonderful to fall in love a million times over!

        • Aw, Julie, I love that! What a man 🙂 and I think he’d got it right. I don’t know any girl in her right mind who could resist a guy who cooks. Sounds like you two are raising your boys right.

  9. […] Here are my top ten favorite stories from the women I interviewed… (Read the article and come wave hello at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog!) Spread the word!TwitterFacebookStumbleUponPinterestDiggLinkedInRedditEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Filed Under: News « The Emperor’s New Leg Warmers […]

  10. […] Here are my top ten favorite stories from the women I interviewed… (Read the article and come wave hello at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog!) Spread the word!TwitterFacebookStumbleUponPinterestDiggLinkedInRedditEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Filed Under: News « The Emperor’s New Leg Warmers […]

  11. Jean Willett says:

    Oh, Moriah, thanks so much for the gentle reminder that life is full of heros. Tissues for sure with these. How wonderful and sweet the gestures that added intimacy and strength to a relationship.
    I’ve been married 33yrs and my husband still has fresh sheets and a card or a flower on my pillow every time I return home from a trip. He says he wants to make sure I come
    Now with all my late night writing, he swears I’m never coming to bed again, so he lights a candle for me so that I’ll find my way 🙂
    Yep, we met in Physical Chemistry and I was a gonner when he wrote a poem in the middle of my Organic Chemistry notes.
    While he wouldn’t dream of climbing on a plane to fly cross country for the Awards, he did offer to consider [LOL] coming to the Atlanta awards if I was up again.
    Gotta love him!

    So sorry we’ll miss you in Anaheim, Moriah, but we’ll be cheering for you nevertheless.


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      “a poem in the middle of my Organic Chemistry notes.”

      Love it!

    • Oh Jean! Romance stories with a bit of a “geek” twist are my absolute favorite! Poems in your chemistry notes? Be still my heart! Thank you do much for sharing. Sounds like your DH wrote the book on being Mr. Romantic. (Lucky you!) And thanks for your thoughts. I’m heartbroken I can’t go to RWA. I’ll be thinking of you, and rooting for you!

  12. Kat Latham says:

    Oh, Moriah, these are so wonderful!

    My day job has given Smarty Pants plenty of opportunities to talk me off the ledge this year. The times when I’ve been the most upset, he really shows how well he knows me and understands what I need from him – whether it’s a hug or advice.

    But the most romantic thing he does is take me away for the weekend for my birthday every year. The location is almost always a surprise. Even when we were living in Central Europe and had no money, he saved up and took me to Vienna for a night. For my 30th, he surprised me by taking me to rural Wales (we were living in London) and six of our friends traveled from Scotland and London. We all stayed in a house together and went walking to castle ruins.

    Every year it’s a reminder of how much he loves me.

    • Hey everyone! Have you met Kat Latham? She’s one of my favorite contemporary romance writers, her famous blog is positively hilarious ( and – lucky me – she’s also my crit partner.

      Kat, I love hearing your Smarty Pants stories. He is such a sweetheart. Thanks for coming over here, you made my day!

  13. Great stories, Moriah. Congrats on your final and debute book. Enjoy the ride of being a Golden Heart.

    • A pleasure to meet you, Autumn. (What a gorgeous name!) Thanks, and it has been wonderful. What I love best about being a GH finalist is getting to know the other writers. They’re the best! Thanks for commenting.

  14. Hope Ramsay says:

    Wonderful stories, Moriah.

    I’ve been married to the same man for 35 years. He still sends me roses on our anniversary every year, without fail. But, you know, it’s not the roses that matter, really. I’m always amazed at all the little things he does. Like keeping the cars running right, or making me breakfast when I’m on a deadline. And being my chief cheering section when I get down. He is my hero and I tell everyone that there is a little bit of him in every hero I write. Which is great, because I get to fall in love with him all over again every time I start a new story. 🙂

    • 35 years? That’s incredible. Congratulations, Hope. Hearing your stories makes me so proud, and I don’t even know your guy. You’ve probably made a lot of ladies very jealous, hehe. Thanks for sharing.

  15. A pleasure to meet you, Autumn. Thanks, and it has been wonderful. What I love best about being a GH finalist is getting to know the other writers. They’re the best!

  16. Dixie says:

    when I was pregnant for our first son, I kept saying throughout that I wanted to have Dane Cook’s concerts playing while I was in labor, but of course when the time came, I really didn’t want anything to do with it. I was on a lot of medicine & in & out of consciousness all day because of it. whenever I would wake up, there he was on the side of the bed, telling me Dane Cook jokes. There’s one where he makes a song from the car alarm noises and my husband asked me if I wanted him to pull up the truck to the window and hit the alarm. Anything to make me laugh.

    • It takes a very brave man to attempt making a woman in labor laugh. That’s definitely heroic! Thanks for your sweet and oh-so-entertaining story, Dixie!

  17. Nikki McIntosh says:

    Great stories Mariah. I think it’s funny that in all of them it was really the “little” things that made the big difference … you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impression.

    I remember when my husband picked me up for work one day and handed me a square of tinfoil. I opened it, and inside was a bridge toll pass, so that I didn’t have to find coins all the time … I could just drive through. And now everytime I cross the bridge I think of him 🙂

    • You are so right about how the small things mean the most, Nikki. I love your bridge story! And I’ll be rooting for you next Saturday night. Good luck!

  18. Beth Langston says:

    My husband and I went on a long weekend vacation to the mountains. While we were out for a romantic dinner, I kept exclaiming about an original painting by a local artist on the wall behind him. I loved it it so much I could hardly drag my eyes away.

    Fast forward five months to Christmas Day. What to my wondering eyes should appear—that painting! He arranged with the restaurant owner to ship the painting home to us. My husband is a keeper!

    • You are so right, Beth. A man who watches for gift ideas is definitely a keeper! And more thoughtful than 99.9% of the male gender. Truly impressive, and I bet you think about him every time you see that beautiful painting.

  19. This is honestly one of the best posts I’ve ever read in my life. Wow. Thank you for these stories. Some made me laugh and some brought tears to my eyes.

    Welcome and thank you for this, Moriah.


    • And now I will love you for the rest of your life, Darynda. Lucky you. Hehe. Thank you for your very kind words and encouragement. Glad you liked the stories. They are 100% real from normal, average people I interviewed – normal people, with extraordinary relationships apparently. They made my day too!

  20. Jan Nash says:

    Congrats on your Golden Heart Final! Happily ever after never gets old. Thanks for sharing such lovely stories.

  21. Sharon Clare says:

    What a fabulous posting. I love the game playing story where the husband refused to belittle his wife. These stories are treasures!

    Congrats on your final! Have a fabulous times in Anaheim. I hope to make nationals next year!

    • Hiya, Sharon! (A fellow Crimson Romance author, everyone.) Thanks for stopping by. I’ll look forward to RWA ’13 with you – sadly, I had to cancel this year. Atlanta, right?

  22. Pam B Morris says:

    This was so awesome, Moriah, it made me weepy! What a beautiful way to listen to others stories about love. And thank you for making my day brighter!

  23. […] Moriah Densley did a guest post at the Ruby Slipper Sisterhood about real life heroes.  […]

  24. Tara Mills says:

    I . . . LOVED . . . this! I’m wiping my eyes now. I’m so glad to see that my husband isn’t the rare romantic out there among men. So inspiring. I’m sharing this.

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