Guidelines for the 35+ project:
Fiction/Romantic novels for women who are 35+
These books feature...
heroines in their mid thirties to late forties
women who are not perfect in looks or habits or clothing choices—real women. Protagonists should not run themselves down too much and should be happy/proud of at least some aspect of their lives
a significant emotional plot that doesn't necessarily center around the romantic/sexual relationships in a woman's life
There are several subgenres within this category. They include:
o Ordinary people working to maintain or improve their marriage
o Marriage in jeopardy
o Romance rekindling within a marriage
o Second marriages: romance while step-parenting or creating a blended family
Late life babies (by birth or adoption), for singles or married people
Divorcees/widows/widowers, who may or may not be parents, discovering relationships
o Sick parents/child/spouse/pet
o Financial or business-related crisis
o Home renovation (due to accident or planned)
Single person, no children, discovering a new phase in life
Friendships, through good times and bad—a slice of life, showing women as friends and supporters, not rivals or competitors in the Mommy Olympics
Self-fulfillment—through new job/career, volunteer work, self-improvement, gaining of new skills, etc.
While these books do not always have neat endings (i.e., "happily ever after marriage"), the endings, as with all romantic novels, must be emotionally satisfying in a positive way.
Disabled people as secondary or tertiary characters. Disabilities may be physical or mental and may include learning disabilities. Disabilities should be portrayed in a realistic manner. Disabled main characters are possible.
Minor forms of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, fear of flying, etc.
Non-white and/or non-Christian main or secondary characters
Non-Christian holidays or religious traditions
Things to avoid include:
Virgins (implausible in this day and age although there are some extenuating circumstances, such as illness or abuse)
Infidelity should not introduce or take place with the love interest. Infidelity should be seen as damaging the existing marriage, not setting up the next one.
First person POV (at least in the beginning)
See reverse side for submission guidelines.