Okay, so there really aren’t many wrong places to look for love. Not in my scenario, anyways. Because I’m not looking for love for myself. I’m looking for love for my readers, or specifically, love stories for my readers.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been soaking up love stories wherever I’ve come across them. Whether the romance was there in the original story or not, I’d spin it anew, in lace and pink, in my mind.

I’m still ever on the look-out for romantic inspiration. My computer is full of story idea files, meet cutes and character descriptions. Some of these files are half finished drafts, some just a single scene.

 And while I try to cram all I’ve got into my work in progress, there are things that just don’t fit, that need to be filed away for later. 

Below are some recent finds:

I ran into the store as darkness settled over town. It will be a quick trip, I lied to myself. After all, I only needed one thing. Twenty minutes later, items stacked from my waist up to my chin, I scoffed at my own gullibility. Careful to avoid dropping anything, I stacked my items onto the belt. I heard something slam to the floor. The big huge thing of toilet paper was on the belt. As were the paper towels. And whatever other unbreakable items I had grabbed on my way through the aisles. My purse was in my hand. Heart sinking, I realized the thing I had dropped was my phone. The one thing I absolutely shouldn’t have.

I hadn’t exactly noticed the guy behind me, apart from the fact that his broad shoulders shut out the rest of the line behind me, and that he was also loaded up with groceries. Although not stupidly stacked against his chest like mine.

Hey, I’ve got it,” he said, somehow having untangled himself from the stuff he was holding. He bent and reached for my phone.

Oh. Thank you,” I said, if possible, more flustered than before.

He handed it over to me.

That must be a good case,” he said. “It didn’t break.”

Oh, yeah. It hasn’t broken on me yet. On second thought, I probably shouldn’t say that.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to jinx you.”

Oh no, no! You’re fine,” I said earnestly, waving my hand. The man behind me smiled. The cashier bent his head and grinned. I blushed, rapidly aware that my reaction had just made an off-handed comment sound like a serious charge. A jinxing charge.

I paid for my groceries and left.

Real life meet cute, filed away.


The coworker meeting with old friends on the weekend. One of them, the woman he married and divorced years ago, before I was even born. Lace and pink.

Filed away.

“Life is one big love story with hundreds of little love stories within it.”

Ram Charan


The news article I read about a woman, waiting on her man to come home from the war. Staying faithful and hopeful for over 60 years.

Filed away.

The fairy tale of a beautiful young woman held captive in a castle, guarded by a terrifying beast.

Filed away.

The twice widowed woman next door, who long ago were a farmer’s daughter on a farm up North, who needed her dad’s permission to go to a dance with the hired hand.

Filed away.


I don’t generally base my fictional stories on the real life stories of others. But do the love stories I see or hear inspire me to write my own? You bet.


How about you?

Do you see love stories in the lives around you?

Do you imagine them where they aren’t?


Austin Ryan makes her home in a forest clearing in the nutmegy part of New England.

In love with words, books and all things related, she can usually be found either reading or writing, or even reading about writing.

She wrote her first story at seven, an illustrated adventure about a troll girl retrieving her doll from the moon. The story was self-published in one copy, and most likely still exists in her mother’s attic.

Since then she’s written numerous stories, and now she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Austin writes inspirational romance, working her way toward publication one paragraph at a time.

Apart from all things bookish, her favorite past times include going on adventures with the-best-six-year-old-ever, hanging (more) twinkle lights around the house, or simply watching the waves roll in from the ocean.

You can find Austin on: