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new women’s fiction books

May-December relationships between older women and younger men and why they rock!

While I wrote The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish, I constantly questioned myself whether a May-December romance could work between an older woman and a younger man.  The book is more than a story of older an woman fantasizing about a young man. Moreover, it’s not erotica. It centers on an older woman coming to terms with her emotional scares, learning to trust her instincts, and recognizing love when it’s present in the soul of a man outside her comfort zone.

Tom Clancy is quoted as saying the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.

tom clancy writing quotes

Even though my novel is based in fiction, it had to make sense. Had I been writing erotica, I believe readers would have accepted the age difference. What’s not to love about a romp with a younger man between the pages of a steamy book? However, a long-term relationship? Well, even Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher failed at that endeavor.

When I met older woman, I asked their thoughts on the topic. Many told me the relationship wouldn’t work because the younger man is unable to appreciate and understand the journey the woman has traveled. In other words, the younger man lacks maturity. An older man understands the woman’s intelligence and flaws. My response–if that were true, older women would be happily wrapped in the arms of their male counterparts.

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Dating websites, such as Match or eHarmony, demonstrate just the opposite.

According to Susan Winter, co-author of Older Women, Younger Men: New Options for Love and Romance, younger men are looking for women who “…are stable and mature. They don’t want to be mothered. They want a woman who knows who she is.”

What can a younger man bring to the table? Aside from the obvious (wink, wink) he possesses a zest for life, a desire for wisdom—an urge to dance, laugh, eat, and love. No, it’s true that not all young men are this way just as it’s true that not all clothes fit the same body. A woman has to kiss a lot of tadpoles before she’ll find one with an old soul and young heart to complement her old heart and young soul. As Kathryn Elliott, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, explains, “The key to making older women/younger man relationships work is to match voltages. Choose someone who is your voltage type–has the same level of intensity about life.”

must-love-dogs-diane lane-john cusack-romance movies
If you love dogs, he must love dogs. That just goes without saying.

Social norms indicate the older man-younger woman scenario is accepted but not the flip-side. Hollywood glorifies this perception. When it comes to older women-younger-men, well, can you say cougar? Mrs. Robinson? Elliott goes on to say women “…are victims of inner-critic contradictions. We think we should only weigh 120. We should marry people within two years of our age. We pathologize anything that isn’t within those shoulds.”

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Find someone who understands and shares your beliefs.

The bottom line, as I see it, is the formula, or the lack of one. No one can say what makes a relationship work and what doesn’t. However, if a woman finds a younger man who shares her core values and outlook on life, someone who will embrace the hag that lives inside of her and watch her emotional back, she has found a rare gem. Why should she turn away just because he wasn’t born when JFK was assassinated?

“Eric, I can’t do this! For goodness’ sake, you weren’t even alive when JFK was shot!” The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish

Blessed be. :}

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary women’s fiction and its distant relative, romance.

When I started writing on a more serious level, which meant having my eye on publishing my work instead of writing and shredding the pages, I foolishly thought I was writing romantic drama. Why? Well, I used Nicholas Sparks as my go to guy for the types of books I wanted to create. His characters achieve personal growth, find love, and, oftentimes, survive to have a happy ending. Sometimes they don’t but I figured I would skip the death part and shoot for HEA (that’s writing lingo for ‘happily ever after’. I performed a Google search for Mr. Sparks’ and the result came back ‘romantic fiction, romantic drama.’
sparks-genre-romance -genres-nicholas sparks-wikipedia-romantic dram-romantic fiction

Who knew I was so far in left field I wasn’t even part of the game? Well, actually, other writers knew. I was just a little slow on the uptake. Whenever I told an author ‘I write romantic drama,’ she (or he) would look at me like I had just sprouted three heads. It wasn’t until a fellow member of my RWA group explained that I needed to get a handle on this and pronto before I got lost in the jungle of improperly-categorized books.

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A book isn’t happy until it knows what genre it belongs to, just like a tree isn’t happy unless it’s surrounded by like-minded trees.

Allow me to straighten out the difference between romance and women’s fiction. If you already know this, skip ahead to the part where I promote my contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish.

Ahem: A romance novel involves a love story between two individuals. Either a man and a woman; a woman and a woman; a man and a man; a man and a mermaid; a woman and an ape-man; a woman and a demi-god; a dog and a cat–pick your two individuals. The bottom line there must be a central romantic relationship. Also, and this is big–there has to be a happy ending. They can’t die, explode, part ways but vow to love each other until eternity. The lovers must ride off into the sunset, high on the bliss that comes with vanquishing whatever they vanquished to reach their HEA.

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I love when a HEA scene involves a really great kiss.

In closing, a pure romance love is the central theme, the defining thread that runs from the first page to the last and is the reason the two people (or dog and cat) are held together. A great romance will show conflict. There must be conflict to make the story interesting. But the conflict brings the individuals closer to that ahhhh moment.

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Two hearts become one and life is great! Ahhhhhhh.

The reason people tend to confuse romance with women’s fiction is that WF typically contains an element of love and might even offer a happy ending. However, neither is required. Love is not the binding that joins the story’s elements together. It’s the personal growth the heroine undergoes. Nicholas Sparks tends to write women’s fiction. His characters travel through intense growth arcs. Sometimes there’s a happy ending and sometimes not. But the growth is there.

In WF, the heroine’s journey can involve a relationship with a non-romantic character. For example, two sisters, a mother and a child, co-workers. There doesn’t have to an element of romance but, and this must be stressed, the main character must grow emotionally.

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For example, mom could learn that she’s capable of taking care of her child, despite having fled from an abusive relationship and is now working three jobs. Coming to grips with her strength is part of her emotional journey.

For me, I’m a hopeful romantic who writes contemporary women’s fiction. Thus far my books focus on romantic relationships between the main character and a man. I prefer happy endings but I’m not against shaking things up a bit. However, the heroine’s personal growth is prominent, along with a spark of true love.

Francesco Hayez, Il bacio
Without true love, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

What about you? What do you read? What do you write? Let’s chat. Leave a comment.

Blessed be. :}

Here she is!!!!! My contemporary women’s fiction novel that has a romantic element. Phew.

the summer of annah, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, tinthia clemant

 

 

 

 

New Moons and Virtual Reality

Today was the day I planned on the paperback version of Annah hitting the virtual bookshelves of Amazon. I even arranged a celebration. Okay, in truth it wasn’t much of a celebration–a lit candle and some ice cream.

 

Sadly, the printed pages of Annah remain in Amazon limbo and the virtual paperback shelves remain empty. So, no celebrating for me. However, I still plan on eating the ice cream.

animated-icecream-cone

When Midsummer arrives, though, watch out! A Midsummer’s Wish will be a real book by then and that will be cause for a massive party. I’m calling it my Virtual Open House Launch of a Real Book  (VOHLRB), or Open House for those of you who are alphabetically challenged. We’ll have virtual music, virtual party streamers, virtual horns, virtual cupcakes, virtual laughter–the list goes on and on for virtually miles. All you’ll have to do is show up, virtually that is, and have some fun. What could be virtually easier?

youre-invited

Watch for your virtual Facebook invitation (like my page to get on the list) and bring lots of virtual friends for some really cool, really real prizes. One lucky winner will walk away, virtually of course, with a magical grand prize. I’m not giving any hints but think Thor meets Ben and Jerry. Oh baby.

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Before I leave you to go attack my confectionery delight, allow me to mention a common new moon ritual. Some people plant a seed; some plant an actual plant; some just whisper a wish or prayer–whatever your desire, having a pure and strong intent is all you need. Think it and the Universe will do the rest. That’s the power of the new moon. My desire? To see The Summer of Annah a successfully published book.

I have a second wish but that will have to wait for the next new moon. Tonight belongs to Annah. Blessed be :}

Clipart courtesy of: www.webweaver.nu