First Date Conversations. . .Evangeline Collins!

First off, a huge thanks goes out to Lila for inviting me to her Princess Blog Party!

Mr. DiPasqua’s fab post and his awesome Notes to Self (NTS) got me thinking about my own Mr. Collins. Like Lila’s hubs, it didn’t take him long to figure out the unwritten rules of the romance writer husband. He’s great at wrangling the dust bunnies and has proven himself quite helpful in other areas…yet in other areas, not so much.

It doesn’t matter if he’s playing his latest shoot’em up computer game. All it takes is a “Honey, I need your help” and he’s game to do whatever I ask of him. He’s tossed me onto his shoulder, so I can describe how a guy does it and how it feels to be on the receiving end (not comfortable – hubby’s shoulder is darn hard). He’s staged a fake fist fight with me, sat next to me on the couch (I made him pretend he was driving a carriage), and held my hand countless times and in countless way.

I called on his help once again while working on the scene in SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER where the hero and heroine first meet. After enduring three years of a terribly unhappy marriage, James caves under the loneliness and goes to Madame Rubicon’s brothel. There he makes arrangements to spend the evening with Rose. And there I ran into a bit of a problem. I’m horrible at making conversation with someone I’ve just met, yet James doesn’t have that issue.

Hubby’s a social sort so I figured he’d have some good ideas for what amounts to first date conversation topics (something beyond the weather – I was able to think of that one on my own). I explained the scenario to him. His response? “Why would he want to talk to her?” (Have I mentioned he doesn’t read romance novels?) I smiled and explained the scene again, adding some backstory on the characters…though based on Mr. DiPasqua’s NTS, hubby was probably hearing crickets by that point.

Let’s just say in hubby’s brain, brothel=sex. That’s it. Nothing else. No conversation except for maybe a “where’s the bed?” I tried to explain it was only Chapter 2, there’d be plenty of smexing later, but hubby’s brain still refused to add conversation to the brothel equation. So I sent him back to his computer and was forced to kick the muse into over drive.

If you’re curious to see what the muse came up with, you can check out an excerpt from Chapter 2 on my website –

QUESTION: What do you think makes a good first date conversation topic? One random commenter will win a signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER.

A warm welcome to the PRINCESS BLOG PARTY, Evangeline! :)  Evangeline and I are both with Berkley and have release dates on the same day—Both SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED hit the shelves, Nov. 2!  I enjoyed your post, Evangeline!—and Mr. DiPasqua is going to be delighted by the mention! (The man now thinks he’s a blogging phenomenon.)*smiles*

She has generously opened up her giveaway WORLDWIDE.

To win Evangeline’s giveaway you must:

1. Answer Evangeline’s question(s) below in your comment.

2. You MUST be a follower/subscriber of Lila DiPasqua’s blog (through Google Friend Connect).

3. You do NOT have to repeat any extra points you’ve earned if you’ve already stated them in prior posts for this blog party.  Only post NEW points as in new tweets/facebook comments about the Princess Blog Party.

* Winner will be announced on SUNDAY–selected from a random commenter on this post.

NOTE: The more you comment on the posts during the month-long PRINCESS October Blog Party, the more points you earn toward winning a signed copy of the next in the sexy Fiery Tales series, THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED…plus SIGNED copies of Nora Roberts’ BLACK HILLS and Eloisa James’ A DUKE OF HER OWN! You *must* be a follower/subscriber (through GFC) to this blog to be eligible to win!


Ways to increase your odds of winning are found at the very bottom of this blog.


  • Hmm! I don’t know– maybe what are your top 10 favorite movies and books.

  • Hi Evangeline! Mr. Collins sounds like my hubby. In fact, I thank heaven for those shoot-em-up games because he leaves me alone to write. :D

    Hmmm…first date topics. I’m pretty rubbish at starting conversation, but when I want to get to know someone (and in this scenario, it’s a first meeting ever), then hobbies, interests, and the like. Bonus if they have an interest you know nothing about because you can encourage them to tell you about it (perfect for an introvert like me. The less time I talk, the better.). And in cases like these, you learn something, too!

  • Wow! Lila! I can’t believe it’s the end of the October party! What a quick month. It’s been really, REALLY fun.

    My hubby is also the one with the gift to gab in our family, not that I don’t get the “chatty Kathy’s” going once in a while but he’s the one who’s more comfortable starting up a conversation. When we first met, he asked me what my hobbies were (I’m assuming he thought this would be a good ice breaker as he believes it’s important for EVERYONE to have a hobby). Of course when I answered “I don’t have one” he was a little stumped. But, I guess we must have found something to talk about.

  • I’m with you — hate trying to make small talk with complete strangers. I tend to draw blank as to what to say to start conversation or end a dead silence.

  • Hi Lila and Evangeline,
    I enjoyed the excerpts on your web site very much. I really want to read Seven Nights To Forever. It seems like a unique storyline and I definitely have to read it through. :) I guess it would depend on the situation. An easy one would simply be to say “so, what would you like to talk about ” lol lol Seriously though I used to say to a date, are you from around here ? It always got the conversation going. I’m a GFC follower under Lucky47. Also a newsletter subscriber.
    Carol L.
    Carol L.

  • I am horrible with small talk and when I first meet someone I have no clue what to say. Generally I am a shy person and don’t really like to open up to others when I first meet them. I never know what to say.
    I can’t wait to read your book. It’s been on my wishlist for a few months now. I love the cover. It’s so pretty.

  • Hello, Evangeline! I very much would love to win your book, “Seven Nights to Forever”! I have visited your website and read the excerpts. The story line is captivating, and I want to know more about James and Rose!

    On a first date, hopefully you are together due to mutual attraction and not just convenience. There is more to the situation than just needing someone as an escort. You actually looked forward to spending time with him, and you hope there will be many more dates than just one. Be yourself, be moderately inquisitive and warmly responsive without going for overkill. Food is a great communicator and a good topic of conversation. Travel, movies, TV, books, art, sports, and work. Don’t dwell on your work, but listen to what he says about his job. You learn a lot about someone from what they do for a living and how they feel about their work. If you are really lucky, and he has a great sense of humor, show your funny side. My philosophy of life is: “If you laugh…you’ll live.”

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  • Hi Evageline! Gorgeous covers! And after reading the excerpt I’d like to know more about James and Rose’s journey. Lila, this has been such a fun month of connection with authors read and loved and discovering new writers to be read – I’m going to miss this! Carolyn

  • That’s a hard one maybe favourite places to go favourite books etc

  • It’s been a long time since I had to worry about that. I would say books, what you like doing, where you grew up.

  • I think a good topic would be favorite hobbies, like reading or collecting stuff. It would also be interesting to talk about travel, such as where you’ve traveled and the places we would love to visit.

    GFC follower

  • I think a good topic is to share interests so you can find what you have in common.

  • Carina

    Hi Evageline! I really enjoyed today’s blog topic and it got me thinking of some of the openers I have experienced. I guess we all know the #1 topic to avoid–Ex’s. The obvious ones are interests and hobbies but a personal favorite and one that has worked for me is asking a first time date if he favors ‘boxer’s or briefs’, it always seems to relax them and the conversation usually becomes light and it’s a great way to find out if they have a sense of humor!
    I think your book cover is gorgeous.
    Lila, thank you for a month of great blogs, you had so many amazing guests. I am really looking forward to your next release “The Princess in His Bed” on Nov 2nd and your next blog tour.

  • Hi Evangeline! Been a fan since Her Ladyship’s Companion!

    I think it’s best to get the serious stuff like religion and politics out of the way on a first date in order to see if it’s ok to go on a second date.

  • The easiest way would depend on the situation or place. If the first date is at a cafe, discuss coffee – favorite roast, favorite additive, pros and cons of different sweeteners and flavorings, etc. – or tea. If at a restaurant, look around and discuss artwork, lighting, color scheme, sports (if there’s a TV in the bar), etc.. Okay, unless the guy is really opposed to talking with me, I generally don’t have a problem with small talk. I’d say a couple of sentences and then ask him for his opinion on whatever it is. Usually, unless he’s really into one-syllable responses, this would lead to another topic (guys are easy – just get them to talk about themselves). I don’t discuss religion, politics, or family on a first date. First dates are just for having some fun and getting to know each other – a second date is the goal rather than anything long term.

    retweeted today’s contest +2
    and etc.

  • Discuss anything except work, relatives, religion, and politics!

    Hobbies, dreams, sports, entertainment can be interesting topics.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  • First dates are already awkward to begin with and not knowing what to talk about makes it even more nerve racking. I think the conversation should not include anything controversial including religion and politics.

    If you know something that they like, try to stay to those conversation topics so that you will have something to discuss that allows you to get a little more information about a person.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com

  • Victoria

    Wonderful excerpt! I’m one that always does well with small talk but each situation is different. I had the same thought as your husband—why would a man need to talk in a brothel? Lol but you did a great job with the scene.

  • Wow! Those are some awesome ideas for 1st date conversations.

    Thanks so much for stopping by Lila’s blog party!!

  • LOL, your hubby is hilarious. Brothel=sex…well he ain’t wrong. :)

    I think a good first date ice breaker is…what is your favorite childhood memory? I think it generally puts everyone in a nice ‘feel good’ zone.

    GFC follower.

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

  • Honestly i’m not much better at the coversation thing that you are. I guess i’d have to start with asking what they do for a living and where they live maybe and go from there. Maybe hope the other person will take it from there lol I love how you got your hubby to help you out with your writing though i guess you can’t count on that everytime huh? lol

    Sounds like a great book!

    Lisa B
    modokker At Yahoo dot com

  • Hi Evangeline!
    That’s awesome how involved your husband is in helping you with your writing:) Excellent chapter 2 excerpt… your muse did great! What I think makes a good first date topic is… what you do for a living. Start there and you should be able to find some common ground and build on that towards other topics like your family, travel, food, entertainment, etc. To me these are building block elements so you get to know that other person better. Easy way to get to know what they like and don’t like. By the end of that conversation you should know if you have enough in common and if you want a second date or not.

  • LOL, oh man I haven’t been on a first date in 10 years and If I remember correctly there wasn’t a lot of talking going on :) I would have to say that maybe talking about hobbies and interests just to see if you have anything in common
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  • I haven’t been on one in over 41 years so what do I know lol. Maybe a hobby or something you are passionate about and there’s always sports lol.


  • Hmmm a first date? I would probably talk about movies cause I would want to see one. I am not very good at talking either.LOL. That’s a great book cover.
    Sue B