Monday, April 13, 2009

"Way to go, Paula! Way to go!"

By Jamie Hill

The theme for this week is "And they all lived happily ever after." I totally concur. I'm a nut for Disney movies, Hallmark movies, Lifetime movies...wherever I can find them, as long as they have a HEA (happily ever after) ending.

To sit through a movie for hours and have it end unsatisfactorily is a bummer for me. I want to see the couple get together in the end (if not sooner.) The bad guy should get his comeuppance, the mystery should be solved. Come on, people, don't leave me hanging. Those movies that end suddenly with a black screen and I have to ask my husband what the hell just happened... No thanks.

As a reader and lover of romance, of course I want the books I read to end HEA. When I started writing, before I knew many publishers wanted HEA, I wrote it anyway. It just felt right. First and foremost, I had to write what I liked to read.

(The big exception is when I write horror. Horror, I like to leave unsettled, hanging so you're wondering... huh? But that's a whole 'nother animal.) Romance, to me, needs HEA.

I don't mind HFN, though these acronyms are getting a little tedious. *LOL* HFN, or happy for now, is sometimes necessary. When I'm writing a short story that takes place over a matter of hours, it's not always feasible for the characters to fall in love. We settle for HFN, and know that they're going to give it their best shot and see what happens. Lots of movies end that way. We don't know for sure what's going to happen with the couple, but they're going to have fun trying to make it work for a while, anyway.

Two of my favorite movies have the best HEA endings. In An Officer and a Gentleman, when Richard Gere walks through the paper factory with the theme song pounding in the background, my heart melts. "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!"

In Pretty Woman, when Richard Gere (do you sense a theme?) climbs the fire escape to 'rescue' Julia Roberts, and she rescues him right back...sob. I could watch those endings over and over again.

I have two new releases today, both of which wrap up series that I'm quite proud of. Hungry Heart is the third and final installment in the Phaze Rocks: Streets of Fire (Springsteen) series.

Wolfen Choice is the third and final installment of the Untamed Hearts series, co-authored with my friend Jude Mason. Both of these series wrapped up satisfactorily in my opinion. Of course, I'm slightly biased. I hope you'll check out my latest titles and let me know what you think of my HEA/HFN endings!


  1. If it isn't HEA it isn't for me. Okay, call me a mushy sap, but no matter what I write or read, if it isn't HEA then I don't want it. There's somethibng just so satisfying about HEA. I was reading a series by an author in which she killed off the hero and ignited a firestorm of protest. I'll never buy one of ehr books again. So keep it up with the HEA. Life can be hard enough wihtoujt being depressed by fiction. BTW, yiour books rock.

  2. I love my HEAs, whether they be in book or movie form. I am a hopeless romantic. In a world that seems to have become full of HFN I crave my HEA. It seems that more people have deviated towards the HFN in their lives so getting the HEA is very important to me.
    I can handle a HFN in a book only if I know that there is another book following that will hopefully provide that HEA. Let's face it the HEA is why most of read romance in the first place! The HFNs leave a lot to be desired, I want to know that the couple will make it!!

  3. The first thing I want to know before I see a movie is if the H/H is going to die. Made that mistake in High School with Love Story--not making it again. HEA or I don't read/buy it.

  4. Good post, Jamie, and thank you for the lil extra push for Wolfen Choice.

    Me, I like the happily ever afters, but I also like endings that make me think. When I write romance or erotic romance, there's always a gushy sexy ending. But, straight erotica is different. Lots of hot sex, a punchy story line and the ending can be the couple walk away from each other. Not happy, but in some cases it's the right ending.

    Yeah, I know I'm going to get shot. LOL

    Now, everyone, go buy books... hehehe!


  5. Hi Desiree,

    I think you're right, HEA is satisfying. There's a place for surprises, but not at the end of a romance novel or movie. LOL

    Thanks for stopping by.


  6. Hi Heather,

    I think sometimes the HFN is just easier, doesn't require as much work. I try to use them sparingly, but like I said in the post, sometimes a short story just doesn't have enough time for the couple to fall in love.

    I try, though! *G*

    Thanks for commenting.


  7. Kathy,

    Love Story, OMG! That was a tear jerker. Do you remember a book/movie called Sunshine, about a hippy-ish woman dying of cancer who left tape recordings for her young daughter and husband? I wish I could find that one again. I'm sure I'd sob all the way through it. *G*

    Thanks for popping in!


  8. Hi Jude,

    Yes, writing straight erotica, especially short stories, is something you have to get used to. At first it felt incomplete to me, but now I see those stories have their place, too.

    Thanks for commenting, now get back to work!



  9. I'm with you on happy endings. I don't mind happy for now - especially if it's a shorter story - I don't expect anyone to fall in love 10k after they meet. But I have to leave knowing they will work towards the HEA bit after the book closes.

    Hungry Heart and Wolfen Choice, both look great.

    Kim Dare.

  10. Thanks Kim. You're right, it's unrealistic to expect people to fall in love immediately. Sometimes, the promise of HEA is good enough.

    Take care,


  11. Yeah, maybe. I like my Roses and she didn't all in love... but the ending sure did fit. *WG*


  12. Okay, okay, I'm really out-numbered here! I enjoy happy endings, but they have to fit. They have to flow naturally from the characters and the conflicts. I get so frustrated with the blithely irrational or the hurried HEAs that I read in some romance.

    I also wonder why the stories and movies that I think are the most romantic often end sadly, or at least with a bittersweet twist. Romeo and Juliet. The English Patient. Nobody can deny that Gone with the Wind is intensely romantic, but it ends ambiguously; we don't know whether Scarlett can really win Rhett back, despite her determination. And what about Wuthering Heights? If that's not romantic, than I'd like to know what is, yet no one is very happy by the end!

    Or is "romance" a different beast than "romantic"? I'm relatively new to the genre. Maybe I'm just confused!


  13. Ooh Desiree, I wonder if that's the same book that I read. I hesitate to name it as the author promised flaying, blinding, mauling etc if anyone gave the ending away. Still, it has been out a while so maybe on Saturday I'll be brave!
    HFN - works for me too. So long as there is some sense of satisfaction when the book is done and a feeling that all will be well, I can live with that.
    Short stories don't need the HEA ending. Same with literary erotica. I think we can all live with these ending sadly because we haven't invested hours of our time into the characters.
    But I can't watch a film I know will end sadly. Am I the only person in the world who hasn't seen Titanic?

  14. Barbara,

    I've seen Titanic more times than I care to count, at least parts of it on TV. Each time my husband says "Maybe he'll make it this time." LOL

    It's still a great show.

    And Lisabet, maybe there is a difference between romance and romantic. Those sad moves are definitely romantic, no question about that. I'm not sure the authors of the classics were concerned about molding their books to a certain format. They had a story to tell and they told it. Not sure how their sales were when the authors were alive, but they've done well after their deaths! LOL

    Thanks for commenting everyone.


  15. When I started writing a cross-genre light romantic/myths&legends work some 3 years ago I knew it might possibly become heavily influenced by personal experiences. At the time I was happily married (18 yrs) and so HEA seemed a logical goal .... now, within the last 12 months I've gone through a divorce (which took me totally by surprise) AND a deterioration of basic health, so I'll settle for HFN or whatever I can scrape together of what's left of my life ......... and yes, yes, YES!! ... if she knocked on my door tonight and asked, I wouldn't hesitate to say "Welcome Home" .......

  16. Hugs Paul. Our personal experiences can't help but color our writing. I know my mood influences me, which is not always a good thing.

    Take care,



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