Terms of Endearment, adding romance to a story

September 13, 2010

Following a recent blog I did on naming the hero and the heroine of my books, I have thought about the terms of endearment used to enhance the love between the main protagonists.

The usual ones appeared to mind straight away. In my latest book SHACKLED BY THE COWBOY DRIFTER, the hero Zack Delaney often uses the term, baby. In other books I have written, such as LOVE LESSONS WITH THE TEXAS BILLIONAIRE, I used darlin’ and honey to further enhance the heroes character. In another book DARK SECRETS, I used the term sweetheart quite often to amplify the romance between the main characters.

Where I live, the term duck is often used to convey feelings of affection. I couldn’t possibly imagine writing a romantic scene with that term. Other ones I noted are baby cakes, chicken, cutiepie, dumplin’, dearest, darling, honeybun, kitten, love, lover, lover boy, lamb chop, poppet, precious, pumpkin, sexy, sugar, sweet thing, sweetie, sweetie pie, the list goes on.

What strange terms have you come across? Any you’d care to share?

Please leave a comment I’d love to know your thoughts. Jan x


  • Paula Martin September 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Jan
    I love your list – or at least some of them! Like you, I tend to use sweetheart more often than anything else. Can't imagine using 'baby cakes' though.
    'Pumpkin' is used in my favourite TV series, The West Wing, plus gumdrop and sweet knees. Not sure I'd use those either!

  • Jan Bowles September 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Paula

    Yes, there are some strange ones about.

    I used 'pumpkin' recently, but that was for a father/ daughter relationship.

    I might change this into a poll tomorrow, to see if there is a favourite out there.

    Best wishes

    Jan x

  • Erin M. Leaf September 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    "Honey" is my favorite, not sure why. I haven't heard a lot of men use that, so possibly I like the rarity? Or maybe I'm just deprived in real life. 😉

  • Zequeatta Jaques September 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Hi, Jan. Sweetheart or baby has always been my favourite.

  • Anonymous September 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I voted for baby/babe and it's funny how a previous pub I wrote for would not let us use those terms.

  • Jan Bowles September 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Hi, Erin

    Thanks for stopping by. Honey is rarely used in the UK. We probably mostly use darling, but I quite like baby myself.

    I once read a story where the hero used the term 'beautiful' toward the heroine.

    Jan x

  • Jan Bowles September 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Zaqueatta

    Sweetheart is another favourite of mine.

    It seems tender and loving.

    Jan xx

  • Brynna Curry September 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    How odd. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever used a term of endearment in a novel. My heroes call their heroines by nicknames. (Liv and Rhia) being two such cases. When they do call them by their names (Olivia, Rhiannon) it seems to have greater impact during the scene. Now, Skye (Rhia's hero) he's an incorrigible flirt and calls everyone darling or sweetheart, etc, so his use of the words would make his feelings seem less to me. What are your opinions on the subject?

  • Jan Bowles September 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Brynna

    I have my heroes and heroines use the terms of endearment interspersed with their names and nicknames.

    If their name can be shortened, I use it to underline their emotional ties with one another. For instance I recently used Becky for Rebecca. And I used Ellie for Marielle.

    I haven't had a hero where he just uses a term of endearment without ever using their name.

    I use it like real life. Sometimes my husband calls me by Jan, or if he's got something important to say and wants my attention he uses Janice. Then occasionally he'll use one of his pet names…..he, he, I'm not going to tell you those. LOL.


  • susan September 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Sweet cheeks is one I have heard and I think it could be a double meaning to this since we all have two sets of cheeks. I have been called baby doll and honey the most in the 47 years of marriage so these are common to me and could very well be used in a book. susan L.

  • Savanna Kougar September 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Jan, sweet topic. And what a good lineup. I voted for Baby/Babe because when a man uses it right, it melts me to my toes.

    It really depends on my heroines and heroes, and their stories ~ how I use terms of endearment.

    In one WIP that has elements of the hardboiled detective genre, the hero uses 'beautiful' and 'doll' and 'doll face'.

    One cute one I've heard for guys… way back when… biscuit buns… or cute buns.

  • Jan Bowles September 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Hi Susan

    Sweet cheeks…a double meaning I never thought of that. Baby doll is very cute. It sounds so caring.

    Jan x

  • Jan Bowles September 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Hi Savanna

    Thanks for commenting.

    I think you're right uses the term 'beautiful' for the hardboiled detective.

    The story I read had a cop using the term.

    'Biscuit buns' … now that's cute

    Jan x