The Heart of the Matter

groundhogThis February is full of special days–Groundhog day, Super Bowl Sunday, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day (can’t you see the line of husbands at Publix holding bouquets and a heart-shaped box of not-so-great candy), and next week Mardi Gras and beginning of Lent.

So it’s a pretty cool month. (No pun intended).

Thinking specifically about love and all of that mushy stuff, hundreds of books labeled “Romance” sit front and center on display tables at Barnes & Noble ripe for the picking. I am a fan of romance novels and usually have one on my bedside table, but I don’t write in the “romance genre,” but that’s not to say I won’t someday. Oh, wait a minute, I did write a 500-word flash fiction piece that I’d consider romantic, and tooting my tiny horn, I did win an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop. But generally, I write as they say “Women’s Fiction,” which by the way is an incredibly broad term. It’s like that old eye of the beholder thing—how an agent, a publisher, or the marketing gurus perceive the book.

In my first novel, Weather Permitting, the protagonist, Sara, loses the man whom she thinks is the love of her life, her husband of twenty-five years. Her goal is not to find another man to complete her but to find happiness within herself. At first, she feels displaced. She’s lost her identify, her label. Not a wife, not Mrs. Palmer, but she’s become someone she doesn’t recognize. If only life wouldn’t get in her way, she could figure it all out.

A little romance sneaks in the story every so often, but because the book is “Women’s Fiction,” the solution to Sara’s conflict is not necessarily another man (sorry, not going to tell you what happens).

So Valentine’s Day? What are you doing that night? Staying warm, cuddling by the fire, out to dinner at Ruth Chris? All of those sound good to me. “Hey, Mike. . . .”

th (6)During my lifetime, I’ve both hated and loved February 14, for obvious reasons. But, don’t most people like it? After all, it’s a lovely holiday created to show the person you love that you care. However, shouldn’t we do that all of the time? I mean, life is too short to pass up a chance to say, “I love you” followed by “please change the channel or scratch my back.”

Enjoy your week!

Jody

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