Happily Ever After

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

What kinds of books do you like to read and/or write? Do you like a tangled web with an ending that totally surprises you? Do you like a romance where the guy gets the girl? Do you like a book that leaves you dangling from the cliff crying for more?

There are as many different kinds of books as there are wildflowers in the world. (Had to find a DSCF5107way to use the wildflowers because ours are sprouting at the lake and will soon be a sea of brilliant color). At any rate you probably like to read one or more of the types I’ve listed and although you may be known as a mystery writer, you may write other types of fiction as well.

A couple of years ago when I was really pushing my first book in the Inzared series, I was featured on several blogs and websites. One in particular I was tickled to have been asked to be a part of. The website did an author interview, gave a good excerpt of the book, and was set to promote it all over the web. Everything was going well. The owner of the website interviewed me at length and read a part of my book (that included the beginning and middle, but not the end.)

Everything was in place, my date was set, and I was ready. I don’t even remember at this point how it happened, but maybe the website owner read a little more of the book. She emailed me and asked if my book was HEA. I scratched my head as I tried to come up with what HEA meant so I wouldn’t sound unintelligent when I replied. Alas, I had to write back and ask her what HEA was. The answer and the aftermath astounded me.

kissing-heart-coupleHEA, it turns out, means happily ever after, where the boy and the girl ride off into the sunset together, all problems resolved. I’m sure some of you are chuckling about this as you know already what HEA means, but I was shocked. This website took romance/mystery books. My book definitely qualified for that. However, in my book there is a tragic accident in the last chapter and one of the main characters meets an untimely death. Turns out it wasn’t HEA. Or was it?

I may hear a lot of flak for saying this, but when a book is family-friendly, suitable for young adults through adults, has a mystery and two people who fall in love, in my estimation it already meets the qualifications of a HEA. Sometimes the HEA doesn’t happen exactly the way we want it to and in my case, the last pages of book one segued into book two. So, although there was some sadness in the ending of book one, the entire book had been uplifting and exuded happiness.

At any point, my book got yanked from the website and I learned a valuable lesson. The website owner was very nice and handled the problem well, giving me other venues to contact and explaining that if I wrote another book that was HEA it would have a place there.

I wasn’t really upset because I learned something new. However, it turns out that my second book had an ending that was unforeseeable and exciting but also sad. I expect the third book will be a HEA (unless I decide to write more books in the series) but I write what I think and what I feel is best for the tone of my books. The place they have in the book world is fine with me because I’ve done all I could to make them the best I can.

What about you? Have you had situations like the one I did? How do you feel about HEA



endings? Is there a UHEA category (unhappily ever after)?

What do you think?


Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)






13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing






13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook




You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews












You can also find L.Leander here:




17 thoughts on “Happily Ever After

  1. I do write the possibility of the HEA, it is implied. But since I write short fiction, a lot is implied in the stories. I do agree, however, that the story has to be the one the author wants to tell. It is the story the characters and author have agreed upon.
    Yes, I like the idea of genres and read across the board, but the stories I write are the stories that are clamoring to come out of my head and onto paper. They just don’t always fit the ‘profile’, to use a criminal justice term.
    Write the stories you want to tell. Your readers will find you, just maybe not a quickly as we would like. Doris


  2. Thank you for the comment Doris. That’s exactly what I was trying to say. All I can do is write what I feel and if it doesn’t fall into a certain profile, “oh well.” I think after I learned what HEA is I finally realized that Book 1 and 2 don’t end with the boy getting the girl but I intend to wrap it up in book 3. I do love learning everything I can about writing, so most anything I learn doesn’t frustrate me, although in this instance I was sad to lose all the publicity.


  3. I’ve never heard of HEA and like you, would have tried to guess and then have to ask because I would never have been able to figure that out! I believe we must write what’s in our hearts and what’s germane to the story. Our characters take us where they need to go. I’d be disappointed too that the website chose to release me, but like you said, it was a valuable lesson and you handled it like a champ. To me, HEA sounds so subjective that it seems impossible to truly evaluate. I guess THE FAULT IN OUR STARS would not be HEA but I think it’s one of the most uplifting and beautiful stories. Thank you for discussing this as I, like you, always love learning new things about the writing and publishing process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment Sarah. Learning is all about the publishing game and sometimes I just have to shake my head. I’m never afraid to ask questions, though, because if I don’t I might miss something vital that could help me in my publishing journey. Although I had never heard of the term HEA and have still not seen it again, I did respect the Author I was working with and as I said she let me down “gently.” I’m pretty sure my books will never fit into that category comfortably anyway, so on with it! I don’t like being categorized anyway because I have almost missed reading many good books that were put in a category i wouldn’t generally read and I’ve happened on them by accident or by someone recommending the book.


  4. How very interesting, Linda! I would have been very disappointed to have been dropped but like Sarah said, you handled it well; I don’t know if I could have done so. I’ve been searching for blogs through which to write guest posts and to promote my work, so I’ve learned something from your post — research, research (although I guess not always do you know exactly what a blogger is looking for, so another lesson: question, question!). Thanks for sharing your experience and insights!


    1. You’re welcome, Gayle. You are definitely right about questioning the blogger. It’s something I’ll always do from now on since the experience I had. Better to know where you stand in the beginning without doing a lot of work and having your hopes dashed. Good luck with finding blogs to host your books!


  5. Life isn’t always ‘happily ever after.’ But I guess people often read to escape real life and want a happily ever after ending, so I can understand that perspective. For most of my writing career I’ve written sword and sorcery fantasy, and my endings kind of flirt with happily ever after endings — HEA amidst the carnage of war and deadly magic. Lol.


    1. Exactly. Life isn’t always “happily ever after,” and there is a niche for authors like me who like to write cliffhangers. My first book ending was very sad but segued into the next book and found the heroine regaining her spirit and love for life. The second book ended with the audience happy to lose a mean character, but left my heroine going home under cover of dark. If this third book is the last in the series I’ll probably end it on a happy note but I never know what I’ll write until I get there!


  6. I totally sympathise with you, Linda. HEA has to be guaranteed in romantic fiction but when a writer, like you Linda, finds that the end of his/her story isn’t heading towards an HEA, they have an issue with ‘categorising’ it. My Celtic Fervour Series Book 2, about my warrior Brennus, doesn’t have an HEA ending because that is in’t where his life is ‘at’ at this point. There is a resolution to his happiness by the end of Book 3 of my series but that gave my publishers a problem. They couldn’t promote my whole series as Historical Romance. (not a guaranteed HEA in all books) The series also couldn’t be termed ‘Historical Fiction’ because I write primarily about a clan of Celtic warriors and not a King or Queen or notable Ancient Roman figure in Britannia. The end result is that my series is called Historical Romantic Adventure because across the books there are all of those elements. Try finding that on Amazon categories tags, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize that all books in a series had to end happily or the series in general couldn’t be categorized as “happily ever after.” Guess I just learned something more! I did have a hard time categorizing my book on Amazon Kindle because of the “historical fiction” part. My first two books have no historical facts in them at all, but the third is during the Civil War and includes real battles, prisons, etc. Oh my, I think I’m getting a headache! lol


  7. My first two books were HEA (and I’d never heard that term before I read your post), and so was the third in that the good guys win, but it ends darkly in another sense. The victory is a partial one because the narrator has broken his moral code along the way and he’s not sure he’ll be able to forgive himself. The fourth book explores that issue in depth. I love all my books, but the third one feels like the strongest in a lot of ways because it rings the truest in terms of reflecting the realities of life. Victories are rarely complete. We don’t live up to our moral code all the time. Life isn’t perfect. That being said, I was a lot happier writing the last one in which there is pretty much a complete HEA ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what happened to my comment, Joe, because I did write one, but I must have done something wrong when trying to post. Since we are in a campground for the summer and I only have a hot spot, I sometimes have a bit of trouble with connection and my WiFi goes down at the wrong time. At any rate, thank you for the comments. I’ll be interested to find out if, like you, I enjoy writing the last book of this series as a HEA. It seems there would be a good feeling in wrapping things up on a high note. We’ll see where the writing takes me. I like the tone of your third book with the narrator breaking his moral code and not sure of forgiveness. That’s quite a feat of good writing. Congrats!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think no matter the genre we kind of expect a HEA ending. Since we are in the years of multiple initials, that could mean, H ere, E rupts A pplause or H ealthy E ating & A ppetites. LOL Just like we share LOL, and the many others like ROFL, some of those we have to be careful about sharing because I don’t think we stop and think what they stand for. I loved your book “Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders”, it did throw me for a loop, but I quickly recovered anxious to see how it ended. That must have been very disappointing, especially on your first book. I think with each book we become a little more thick skinned. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of “Gone With the Wind”, one of my favorite books and it certainly wasn’t an HEA. I cried at the end, but I was so filled with the writing and the characters that I wasn’t disappointed. There are many others with similar endings and not all are series (so that the book(s) can end on a high note. I didn’t write the ending to the first Inzared book, it wrote itself. Because of that I am proud of it and I don’t think I could have written it any other way. The second book is altogether different and it also doesn’t have a HEA ending. I’ve been working on the third book in the series for four years but not much writing comes to me right now so it’s a slow go. I hope to finish it some day, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself. One of my favorite authors is Jeffery Archer and I have been reading the “Clifton Chronicles.” None of the books have a HEA ending, yet I can’t wait to read the next one to see what happens. So glad there are so many different kinds of writers in the world, aren’t you?


  9. I don’t really enjoy most HEA books. They seems to change direction or have a character do something totally out of character to give you the HEA. That leaves me disappointed in the entire work. Sometimes UHEA just works well for the character, and yes I think there should be a UHEA category.


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