I began the day gardening, enjoying some of Florida’s first fall weather, and was surprised to come across this little guy while amending my beds with compost.
He popped out of the dirt as I was raking over my row. Not very cute, but friendly enough. And odd, because I didn’t realize toads lived in compost. And when I say “in” compost, I mean “in” as in beneath the leaves and dirt. He had to have been buried fairly deep for me not to have noticed him while transferring the stuff from compost pile to wagon. Huh. I always thought toads lived in dark, wet places–not dark, wet and dirty! Who knew?
But it was an interesting find. As I continued with my business of gardening, he happily hopped away, leaving me to wonder if he’d find his way back to the compost pile. Do toads have a sense of direction like, say, cats? I guess I could have followed him, or helped him along his way–except that I’m not THAT much of a nature girl. Sunny, outdoorsy, yes. Icky, yucky, no.
Doesn’t make me a bad person, does it? I mean, I regularly squash bugs and fat, hungry hornworms (to save the lives of my plants, of course). This little fella should be happy I left him alone! Hopefully, he’ll warn his friends that the compost pile is NOT the place for toads eliminating future such dilemmas.
Oh, well. Just another life in the day of a gardener. How did you spend your morning? Everybody’s life looks a bit different, doesn’t it? 😉
It’s release week for book #3 in my Silver Creek series ~ ALL ABOUT YOU
Financier Katharine Wainwright is tasked with saving the charity ranch founded by her mother. Facing bankruptcy, the ranch for terminally ill children is a refuge, the one place they can redefine themselves outside of their illness and discover their true power. Canyon Laredo has dedicated his life to the cause. When accused his contribution to salvage the operation is less than adequate, he takes it personally and pushes back.
Frank Dillard currently runs the ranch. A close friend of the Wainwright family, he is central to Katharine’s success. But when crisis strikes, loyalties are divided, forcing Katharine and Canyon to work together toward a common goal: save Wainwright Ranch.
When the unthinkable happens, Katharine is faced with the challenge of her life. Can she survive the ultimate betrayal and restore the sanctuary her mother built? Or will it become nothing more than a memory…
Official release day is Wednesday – check My Books page for purchase details. **Excited** But as every author knows, there is no rest when working on a series and I’m diligently at work on book #4 ~ ONLY WITH YOU ~ an adventure that will take readers high above the mountains of Colorado as a heli-skiing trip goes terribly wrong, leaving it up to two of Silver Creek’s finest to try and save the day. Stay-tuned!
Sort of. I don’t know about you, but I never completely walk away from my job as a writer. I’m constantly checking email for updates and news from my readers. I’m working on edits and covers, marketing and all the hubbub that surrounds my business. I don’t mind it, because I enjoy every part of what I do. It’s a part of me. It’s what I choose to do.
However, this weekend I took a break and went fishing with the family. It was a treat and totally took me away from everything but the sun, the sea and time with my kids. We chartered a boat and headed for the Gulf stream outside the Florida Keys on the hunt for dolphin. It took several hours of trolling, but I have to say, being on the open water is one of my favorite things to do. I love it. Absolutely love it.
Between us, we managed to catch half a dozen. Not a huge number but the excitement was huge. Just ask my son. Even a can of soda couldn’t keep the little guy’s eyes open.
Of course the dinner menu called for dolphin. It was delicious!
But then again, how can you go wrong with fresh fish? In my book, it doesn’t get any fresher. Speaking of books, perhaps I see a research fishing trip in my future? Handsome boat captain meets gorgeous fisherwoman?
Works for me!
One reason for this confusion is that a single novel can meet the definitions for both. As defined by the Romance Writers of America (RWA), romance fiction includes
- A central love story
- An emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending
Novels that meet this definition might be romance, or they might be women’s fiction. Both are relationship-driven, which sets them apart from other genres. But there are critical differences between the two.
Romance novels feature a hero and heroine*, each with their own plot and character arc, which are interwoven to form the main arc of the story.
Romance is unique in fiction because it has two protagonists, who each serve as the other’s antagonist. It can also have a villain, but the villain is not the antagonist. If the romance is the central storyline, then it’s the love interest, not the villain, who forces the protagonist to change.
Women’s fiction is relationship-driven but focuses on the journey of the female protagonist. The central relationship can be romantic, but it doesn’t have to be—nor does the genre require a happy ending as romance does. Women’s fiction often explores the protagonist’s family ties, friendships, and career.
Often, women’s fiction includes multiple relationships as subplots. For instance, a novel with a central romantic storyline might feature a mother-daughter struggle as a secondary plot, or a novel focusing on the relationship between sisters might have a romance subplot.
Women’s fiction, unlike romance, generally has a single protagonist. In romantic women’s fiction (that is, it meets RWA’s definition of romance), the love interest is the antagonist, even if the story also includes a villain. But the love interest is not on par with the female protagonist, who is clearly the main character.
Beach Colors by Shelley Noble is my favorite example of a women’s fiction novel that reads like a romance, but the strong subplots push the hero into a more secondary position. He’s got a strong character arc, but it’s subordinate to the heroine’s.
There are also romance novels that feature strong subplots and family relationships, giving them the feel of women’s fiction. Two of my favorite examples are Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series and Melissa Cutler’s Catcher Creek series.
Industry professionals don’t all agree on the exact definition of women’s fiction, so if you’d like to read more, here are the links to a few articles on this subject:
- Scott Eagan on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog
- Author Therese Walsh at Romance University
- Agent Kevan Lyon at Romance University
How do you define women’s fiction? Do you agree with how I distinguish between women’s fiction and romance? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
* The central couple in a romance novel can also be a same-sex couple or a menage grouping. In a menage, one pair may predominate, or all three characters (or more) may play equal roles. Note that this definition is not intended to exclude any LGBTQIA or MOGAI relationships not specifically mentioned.