There’s More to a Love Story Than the Love Story

I want to welcome Terri Osburn to the blog today! I’ve known Terri for some years, after crawling aboard the gone, but not forgotten, blog the Romance Writers Revenge, where I set up a bar and served drinks to the crew. Terri’s been working on her writing skills for years and years… Where I just threw myself into the water to see if I could swim, Terri took the time to actually learn things. Gotta admire that!

Nominated for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart in 2012, she went on to conquer the world and has taken her place as a force to be reckoned with in contemporary romance. I’m a big fan and the Anchor Island series is fun, heartwarming and sexy. Just enough sexy.

I’m looking forward to when she strolls to the stage to accept a RITA.

Please, put your hands together for my dear friend, Terri Osburn!
(And stick around…follow the link…she’s having quite a contest!)

Thank you to Maureen for allowing me to bring the Belated Book Blog Tour for UP TO THE CHALLENGE, the 2nd in my Anchor Island Series, to your blog. Since you’re one of my closest friends, it seemed only fitting to do a blog about friendship.

As a reader and writer of romance, I love a good love story. I enjoy watching two characters collide into each other, spar and swoon, and eventually give in to the love that neither can deny. But, the love story is not the only kind of relationship in a good romance.

I love reading about friendships. Whether it’s character who have been inseparable since kindergarten or ones who meet somewhere during the course of the story. There’s a certain rhythm to watching any relationship grow and thrive. Or stumble along on its way to something new and real.

In my Anchor Island series, Sid Navarro and Beth Chandler are complete opposites. Strangers when Beth arrives on Anchor Island in book 1, MEANT TO BE. An added obstacle to their friendship is that when the series starts, Beth is engaged to the man Sid has loved for half her life. Not the best circumstances upon which to build a friendship.

And yet they do. The women find a common ground and develop a real affection. Not one either would come out and discuss, but the connection is there nonetheless. By the second book in the series, which is Sid’s story, the friendship has grown to include Will Parsons (who goes on to become the heroine of book 3.) The women have a standing Girl’s Night at Opal’s Sweet Shoppe, where they treat themselves to their favorite desserts, share they’re hopes and fears, and laugh. A lot.

There are several scenes in book 3, HOME TO STAY (coming May 2014) that center around these three friends, and those scenes were some of the most fun I’ve ever had while writing. Is there anything better than spending time with your girlfriends? The women who accept and understand you, but at the same time would call you on your bullshit without hesitation?

We hear the word bromance thrown around a lot these days. I have a friend who used the word womance in referring to her girl crush on a famous singer. I love this word, and I think we need to embrace it more. Women get a bad rap for being catty and competitive. Thankfully, that is not my experience. I say we celebrate the womances in our books.

What are your favorite womances in the books you read? Do you like books with a larger cast of characters where many different relationships are developed by the end? Or do you prefer an author keep the focus on the main love story?

One lucky commenter today will win a kindle version of UP TO THE CHALLENGE, and if you’ll hop over to the contest page on my website, you can enter for the Belated Blog Tour grand prize of a Kindle and a $10 Amazon gift card to get you started.

Up To The Challenge Cover High Res


  1. I love this word! Womance…though it does sound a bit like the priest in “The Princess Bride” … I was thinking about womances in books… Well, the friendship of Idgie and Ruth in Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind. And of course, Thelma and Louise in… Thelma and Louise.

    Now, why are all my references movies?

    Ha! I got one! In Mercedes Lakey’s trilogy “Vows and Honor” there is Tarma and Kethry!

    (Glad I thought of that one…otherwise it looks like all I do is watch movies…)

    As for your other question… I like a fairly large cast in what I write…and in what I read. As long as stories are kept separate enough and the names are so similiar that I get confused.

  2. The name thing is important. Every time I name a new character I practically sing the alphabet song to figure out which letter I’ve yet to use to begin a name. Once the cast reaches a certain size, you can’t help but repeat, but I make a solid effort to keep the names different.

    My friend Jessica used the word womance this past summer and I loved it. We hear all the time about these bromances between actors or singers, but the ladies are left out. Not all women are catty! Female friendships need to be celebrated just as much.

  3. I love womances! They’re some of the best parts of romances I read, in my opinion. Eloisa James, I believe does a superb job of womances within romances. So that’s my go-to answer.

    The womance in THE SECRET by Julie Garwood, that’s one of my favorite friendships. The secondary character, a best friend, requests her friend come to Scotland for her confinement, because she’s terrified of dying in childbirth…and the friend comes. Of course. Though the Scots were doubtful some sickly, backstabbing English would bother keeping her promises…ah, well. The whole book amuses me, but their friendship is really quite good.

  4. I adore womance. I think one of my favorites is the relationship between Ivy and Rachel in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. It’s a very give and take, very dramatic at times, very ride or die type of relationship. And I respect that. Nothing like a good womance between besties. GPS and I have been having a womance all our lives. I think Jill (Shalvis) does an excellent job with the womance as well. She writes the type of womance where you’d be willing to jump off a 10 story building hand in hand with your bestie and not second quess it at all. The type of womance where your bestie knows you’re in pain gives you a cookie and tell you point blank to suck it up. That’s the type of womance I enjoy as well.

  5. I love the womances thing too! I like when books aren’t just about the man/woman relationship. Or when the friend is just one-dimensional. Is that a thing? 1-D? Anyway, can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I love your books Terri!

  6. I love this word, and agree we need more female friendships in our romances. It also makes me think of the Bechdel Test – are there two named women, do they talk to each other, and is it about something other than a man? You can’t both fail this test, and have a true womance (since good friends talk about more than just the men in their lives, though of course that’s a topic too).

    I have a womance I’m trying to develop in my current story, and am struggling as the only thing the two women have in common is being in love with or married to the same man (which sounds like Beth and Sid!) I realized at one point that their only interaction was sniping at each other over a man, and have been trying to broaden their concerns and interactions. They’ll probably never be intimate friends, like Beth and Sid became, but they can certainly have a deeper and more genuine relationship than their current, “he loves me more, no he loves me more!” bickering 🙂

    Off the top, the first great female friendship that comes to mind is from TV – Angela and Brennan on the show Bones – they’re so opposites, and yet love and trust the other fully.

  7. I like that word womances too…my favorite womance re the friendship, the joking around with each other, sticking by each other, cheering each other up if they are down. I just got finished ready a ARC Never Been Ready by J.L. Berg and the friendship between Clare and Leah is so beautiful…they have been friends for so long..Leah never had a good childhood, where Clare did…that is one true friendship…I like when it’s kept simple…not overboard with so many characters…but I do like the feel of a big family…


  8. Oh, so write, Hal. I mean right. That is a wonderful womance. Sorry I’m late…I’m a west coast girl, so I know the rest of you have probably been up for HOURS.

    I know with what I write, that I am horrible with having names way too close to each other. Like in A Caribbean Spell with the main character of Miranda and the first mate on the pirate ship is Mercedes. I tried to change it, but it was just too perfect…Mercy, a pirate! And I couldn’t change the main…because, well…she was Miranda! I did, however change the name of her bestie, who went from Margaret to Joanna.

    I get hooked on certain consonant sounds and will do a run of names that begin, or end, with the same name.

    Oh! Miranda and Joanna have a womance! (Found another!)

  9. I love all these comments! Hellion, Garwood did everything right. Everything! She just has it, whatever that it is that we all want to find.

    Christie, this is the perfect way to describe it. Give you a cookie and tell you to suck it up. There’s no tiptoeing around in friendships like this. You can be totally honest with each other, but you also ALWAYS have each other’s back.

    Leslie, unfortunately 1-D is a thing. A thing we’d all like to see less of. LOL!

  10. Haleigh, I think those are the most fun womances. The unlikely ones. The two women you’d never expect to be friends. And really, in your case, it sounds like they just need to come to respect each other. They don’t have to go out for tea together, but the reader will still see the connection and that they might even make a good team someday.

  11. Thank you, Mona! Those are such fun friendships. The girl who didn’t have it all hanging with the girl who did. Yet they accept each other no matter what. Love those.

  12. I love the friendships in Julia Quinn’s books. She doesn’t just write great sibling friendships, but she does a great job with women too.

    I love the play between your female characters. I also admire how Beth and Will manage Sid, because I think she’d need a special touch. 🙂

  13. Marn, you’re quite right. Sid needs special handling. Though Beth is the one who becomes a handful in book 3. But for good reason!

  14. Hi again Terri!

    Yes, I’m stalking you around the web, as you are my new favorite author. And speaking of girl-girl relationships. every authors should have a crazy stalker, right? I’m yours! Muahahahaha!

    It is this exact thing that I often struggle with most in my own books, and love so much in other books. I tend to do a better job writing the guys because I grew up working around and with men, and with my husband’s Special Forces background, let’s just say there are still a lot of single guys in our lives.

    But these very things that you’re blogging about are what make books so full and rich for me. Older romances from when I was a kid–they didn’t include this much, but modern contemporaries really make use of the girlfriends. I can think of Jill Shalvis’s wonderful threesomes (gosh that sounds kinky, doesn’t it? Not what I mean) Friends who support one another and sometimes are way too pushy. And you already know I love your stories–this is one of the reasons. I’ll tell you I wouldn’t have guessed you could have built a friendship between Sid and Beth. When I saw that, I lifted a glass. Well done.

    Don’t include me in the drawing. I have both books and am waiting for the next! Maureen I love your blog! Really miss the Revenge. Come on over and slink drinks in the Bandit lair anytime. Either I or Sven will be glad to let you take a turn.

  15. Ahoy, Cassandra! I must remember to drop anchor at the Lair… If my head won’t explode that I ask it to remember one-more-thing…

    I’m with you, I enjoy the reality of women being friends…though it really makes me envious for those who have in-town friends. I have a ton of women friends…all over the country! I’d love to meet Terri for coffee, but until that lottery ticket comes in, it’s a cyber cafe… Not the same…

  16. Cassondra! I could not ask for a better stalker. My authorly life is now complete. LOL!

    Thank you for loving my books. And I think our backgrounds do play a part in what we manage to get on the page. I was not good at making friends with girls when I was growing up. Was more comfortable hanging with the guys. They didn’t want to talk about stickers and makeup. We played chess or baseball. That was more my thing.

    I think having Sid the anti-girl helped. I need to show she had a softer side, and Beth was the perfect way to do that. Sid was never mean, just a hard ass. You can still be a hard ass and have a nice side, too. LOL!

  17. A little late to the game, here, but I LOVE womance! That’s one of the reasons I love small town books/series. I not only like watching the romantic relationship develop but all the others that the characters are involved in. I’m a huge believer in friendships and families. No one is an island or exists in a vacuum. It also helps to show different aspects of a person’s character when you pull in girlfriends, siblings, parents, children. You also act differently with a prospective love interest than you do with your BFF. The conversations are different and can reveal so much about a person. It’s fun to get an all around view of someone by watching how they interact with the people in their life. Great job with Sid, Ter. I think finding Beth and Will were just as important for her as finding Lucas.

  18. Hey there, Irish! Thank you for the kind words. This is another one of those mysterious things I didn’t plan, but just happened. I didn’t consciously think that I needed to create a friendship between the women, but I’m so glad that the ladies took matters into their own hands. 🙂

  19. Hey, Irish! Good to see you! Errr…read you!

    You are very profound today and I so agree with you…Sid finding Will and Beth is just as important as finding Lucas. Well put!

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