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Friday News: What are you looking for in an HEA; Vonnegut...

“A HEA for one culture is not the same as it is for another. I think this may be one reason why some historicals written in certain time periods (for me the 1920?s and 1930?s) have had difficulty gaining traction. Everyone knows the Great Depression will happen for those characters down the road somewhere but for the typical “American-style” HEA you have to leave the characters in a good place so that the reader will be assured that they will be okay in times of hardship. The fact that they survive is not enough. ”

I kind of agree with Piper’s statement yet in post apocalyptic romances, I am happy if they *just* survive. I know that I had my own problems with one of Jeannie Lin’s endings, feeling that my #justiceporn urge wasn’t quite satisfied with how the villain of the piece was addressed. But in this book, The Lotus Palace, it appears that the fairytale ending is too pat. Can’t win for losing?

Today, Amazon Publishing announced that it has secured a new Kindle Worlds license from RosettaBooks for the books of Kurt Vonnegut. Writers will soon be able to create and sell stories inspired by the iconic books of Kurt Vonnegut with Kindle Worlds’ self-service submission platform. The submission platform for works under this license is expected to open in August. Kindle Worlds is the first commercial publishing platform that enables any writer to write stories based on a range of original works and characters and earn royalties for doing so. Amazon Media Room: Press Releases

So ZD strategies only worked if players knew who their opponents were and adapted their strategies accordingly. A ZD player would play one way against another ZD player and a different way against a cooperative player.

“The only way ZD strategists could survive would be if they could recognize their opponents,” Hintze said. “And even if ZD strategists kept winning so that only ZD strategists were left, in the long run they would have to evolve away from being ZD and become more cooperative. So they wouldn’t be ZD strategists anymore.” – MSUToday | Michigan State University

“At a soup kitchen in Harlem, Toyota’s engineers cut down the wait time for dinner to 18 minutes from as long as 90. At a food pantry on Staten Island, they reduced the time people spent filling their bags to 6 minutes from 11. And at a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where volunteers were packing boxes of supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy, a dose of kaizen cut the time it took to pack one box to 11 seconds from 3 minutes.”

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jane Lovering
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 04:18:06

    Re HEA’s… I don’t know whether it’s cultural or the result of expectation, but I and some of my fellow GB authors have been having issues lately with people reviewing our romances with the comment ‘the ending was predictable’. I did have a minor ragey rant about this, what do they expect in the end of a romance, Krakatoa erupting? (sorry, Fawlty Towers obligatory reference…). But here in Britain, for a book to even qualify as a romance it must have at least a hopeful ending, otherwise it falls into the dubious land of ‘women’s fiction’. So my question would be, how ‘happy’ does a happy ending have to be for it to be continuously believable?

  2. Anne
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 07:49:01

    @Jane Lovering – I think I’m the opposite of someone who would complain “the ending was predictable” I prefer to read romance because I have enough unpredictable endings in real life. I want to know I’ve got a sure thing with a HEA/HFN when I invest my valuable spare time reading a book! To answer your question, if the ending feels believable hopeful, I’m happy.

    @DAJane – thanks for sharing the Toyota charity article. I think that’s a really cool way to help. I hope they threw some money in, too, but I love that Toyota was so sure of the value they could add with their expertice!

  3. Keishon
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 08:10:19

    HEA endings just need to have me think & believe the couple will be okay together. Some authors overdo it with the babies and all the previous relatives from other books showing up, some make it too sappy and some just make it too pat and others just leave it to your imagination whether they are happy or not. It’s the story, the couple and the talent of the author to get it just right (for me).

  4. Karenmc
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 09:37:35

    I read recently that Kurt Vonnegut created his physical look of the shaggy, mustachioed artistic writer to help sell his books. If that’s the case, he may have told his heirs to do whatever they wanted with his estate to make themselves some money.

    I was just thinking about cultural approaches to HEA this morning, wondering how Euro-centric my view is. Jeanne Lin’s piece gives me more to think about.

  5. Meri
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 10:01:35

    @Jane Lovering:
    Not just in the UK, the HEA/HFN ending is one of the two elements that the RWA lists as comprising every romance novel (the other is “a central love story”). Someone complaining about it when they went and chose to read a romance would be like reading a mystery/detective book and complaining about the mystery being solved.

  6. Amanda
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 10:08:38

    Sometimes I think a HFN ending is more fitting for a book than a HEA one. Especially when characters go though so much and are no where near a HEA ending in their relationship or life but are given one anyway because the book is at an end. A a romance reader I do prefer a HEA but I would rather have HFN (or just doing okay) than end up feeling I like I missed something because the ending got rushed to make way for a HEA.

  7. cleo
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 10:47:21

    I enjoyed the Jeannie Lin piece. It and the comments here make me realize that I am almost impossible to please as a reader. I read romance specifically for the optimistic endings. I want a happy ending. But I do complain if I feel the hea is rushed or if I don’t believe in the hea or you know, it’s not exactly right. I can see how that would be annoying to authors. And it’s really hard for me to unpack where all of my hea/hfn requirements come from.

    I read a review of a book where the hero had ptsd. The reviewer felt the ending was too optimistic because of his ptsd. And I remember thinking, well I have ptsd and I was probably overly optimistic when I got married too, but it worked out. Sometimes being optimistic works out. And thats why I read romance.

  8. CK
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 11:28:12

    I expect HEAs for romance, but I do need the to be ‘believable’. It’s mandatory if I’ve been following the couple for several books. (Looking at you, Ilona Andrews;) There’s nothing wrong with HFN especially in erotica. Though I have to say I remember a Harlequin series (from my misspent youth) set in a small Texas town where one heroine had two romances. The first hero died and about a year or so later in that universe (and several books in between) she meets someone new and falls in love again. I thought it was awesome and definitely something I hadn’t seen before (or sadly, again).

  9. Julia Gabriel
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 13:34:58

    I prefer a HFN over a rushed HEA. There’s a part of me that always says, “Really? You’re going to marry someone you’ve known for exactly six weeks?” I’m okay with just a commitment or “I love you” at the end.

  10. Carolyne
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 13:53:03

    I had saved this on my reading list this morning to catch up later, intrigued by the HEA discussion. My reaction when I finally looked at the page just now and saw the Vonnegut headline was “whoa” and “holy crap” and “it is the apocalypse.” Not because I have any objection to the general idea of people dipping in for a swim in Vonnegut’s particularly quirky visions, but because I’m truly apprehensive of the idea of what sort of things are going to end up floating in the pond at the hands of lesser talents. I think I just have to acknowledge that I’m a great big snob.

    And I still haven’t read about the HEAs yet.

  11. LG
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 14:14:14

    @Carolyne: Except that Vonnegut fanfic already exists, so if this is the apocalypse, we’ve been living in it for a while. The main difference is, now people can write all the Vonnegut fanfic they want and then charge people to read it.

    (Edit): Wait, I just remembered. Through the wonders of P2P, charging people to read Vonnegut fanfic was possible even before the Kindle Worlds announcement. Just change the names and presto.

    …Crotchety fanfic reader me wants things back to the way they used to be…

  12. library addict
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 14:14:58

    @CK: That was Harlequin’s Crystal Creek series where all of the books are country song titles and that ticked me off when the hero was killed!

    I didn’t mind so much that there were two books for the one hero whose wife had died and married a much younger woman in the first books of the series. Because we knew from the beginning the first wife was dead and his love story with her (the first wife) was told in flashbacks in one of the later books which was equally about his second marriage.

    Plus in the instance you mentioned the books were written by two different authors. The book in which the heroine first falls in love was Kathy Clark’s Hearts Against the Wind then her second love story was Lone Star State of Mind by Bethany Campbell.

    The only other books I can think of with a similar second-time-around story where we get to meet the couple while they are happy and in love (before one of them dies and the other goes on to have another love story) is Sandra Brown’s Texas! trilogy. But we don’t get the complete story as the hero of the second book is already happily married when we meet him and his first wife in the first book.

    As for the fanfic, I am not a fan of paying money for fanfic. I know all of the P&P “sequels” and such are still all the rage, but all they are is published fanfiction, too. I have nothing against fanfic when it’s free, but people making money off of other people’s characters seems wrong to me.

  13. Carolyne
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 15:02:43

    @LG: I don’t know why I would even have thought there isn’t Vonnegut fanfic out in the wild already! And I can’t have any objection to Vonnegut’s heirs going forth and making money with (I’m just going to assume because it makes me feel better) his blessing.

    I guess it’s the Amazon approach that feels off-kilter. A feeling that fanfic is a thing that develops between the readers and the work, and is something different if placed into the confinement of oversight. Then it’s work-for-hire. Which is me circling around to saying: Amazon and the IP owners have created a model for selling a product and a way for authors to give their OK to fans (or jobbing writers) without having to handle the oversight themselves, but I don’t think it would satisfy the “urge for fanfic” even if every IP everywhere were in the Kindle Worlds program. So it’s an interesting business model, but possibly irrelevant to the future flourishing or dampening of fanfic/P2P.

  14. cleo
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 18:16:14

    Just want to add that the hea conversation reminded me of the interview with Connie Willis at SBTB ( – here’s a great quote from her about her approach to writing romance (within her sf/f stories)

    So people will say, “Three days isn’t long enough to get to know somebody”, and I say, “A story is not a piece taken from real life. It’s a symbolic kind of microcosm. You are seeing the entire relationship.”

  15. CK
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 14:35:59

    @library addict: THANK YOU! For the life of me I couldn’t remember that series. I’ll have to hunt it down now. I hated the hero dying too, I liked him. But I also thought it worked storytelling wise. I definitely think it would be incredibly hard to pull something off like that without ticking off the readers, but on the other hand as readers we are always asking writers to take chances and do something different. Sometimes the poor writers just can’t win. :)

  16. Nicolette
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 17:49:14

    There was a Miranda Lee series (6 books in all) where the first was the initial story of love and marriage between the H and h, and by the end of the fifth book, they’d split up. The sixth book was their second chance at love.

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