Here I am again. Ugh, it was difficult to wake up today but at least when I went downstairs, the kitchen smelled great. I had a craving to make some biscuits last night so I baked a couple of trays of snickerdoodles. A fellow author gave me the recipe and since I had all the ingredients to hand, I thought I’d try it. One or two burned a little (too much cinnamon sugar!) but the rest are fine. Fantastic aroma in the air downstairs. Maybe I should’ve slept on the couch last night! 

My OH sent me a text from one of the Greek islands yesterday. It said ‘Love it here, let’s come back for our honeymoon’. I don’t know if that was a proposal. A bit slack if it was, where’s the flowers and the ring?!? I think large amounts of free alcohol were responsible for that message, but hey, you never know… 

That reminds me, I was going to talk about HEAs. You know, when I read a straight romance, a Mills & Boon/Harlequin, then I do need to see that Happy Ever After ending, or at least the Happy For Now. There’s been quite a lot of discussion recently on various blogs about the HEA thing – readers expect it of romances, of course, but as several people have pointed out, not all e-books are romances. 

There does seem to be a bit of a misconception about it outside the industry. Sure, the vast majority of e-books (heck, ALL books) are romances, and a significant percentage of these in e-publishing are erotic romances, because sex sells. But there’s more to it than that. E-publishing has allowed much more diversity and promoted more cross-genre books – which is a good thing, IMO, because I always write across genres! 

I like books that end on a somewhat ambiguous note. You know what I mean – those stories where the characters obviously live on after we’ve closed the pages. The books that are just a snapshot of life. Maybe that’s why I love detective and crime fiction so much, it tends to have that ambiguity. I couldn’t write a crime novel to save my life – I know my limits! – but boy, do I read a lot of ‘em. 

In my own writing, I don’t insist on a HEA. No, I should clarify that – for my M/F romances, there’s always a happy ending. But in my M/M works (which I should say are romantic, rather than romances), I prefer to be a bit more ambiguous. I’m not sure why – because men are from Mars and women are from Venus? LOL Whatever the reason, I do tend to go more for a ‘real life’ ending in my M/M books… which sometimes is the HEA and sometimes it’s something different. 

The first of my ambiguous, non-HEA books is Ghosts from Torquere Press (you can read an excerpt here). Although I knew this story worked for my beta-readers, and the editor at Torquere liked it, I did expect a less-than-positive response from reviewers who were more accustomed to reading HEA romances. 

Ghosts is a story of two people who get together even though they know they shouldn’t. Mu Yun and Ruo Fei are from two totally different worlds, walking paths that usually wouldn’t meet. But they do meet, and they both learn something from one another – but their emotions can’t be contained in a relationship because of their different worlds. The story is about having something and then losing it, only to discover that, once it’s gone, it was something very precious. Carpe diem. 

To my surprise, the reviews have been wonderful. Some said that Ghosts haunted them (no pun intended) long after they’d finished reading it, which makes me very happy as that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Other reviewers commented on the lack of HEA but said it worked. But I think my favourite review came from Lainey here at CTR. She said:

“I enjoyed it because this deals with two people from very different backgrounds yet find a common ground, mutual attraction. This was the first time I have read where one is normally straight yet due to circumstances is very attracted with an openly gay actor. It just shows that you never know who or what you might be at any given time until the right person comes along. This is a must read for all M/M genre readers.” 

Ghosts was probably my favourite story that I wrote last year, so I’m delighted to have received such good reviews on a book that took a risk with a non-traditional ending. 

Diversity is the spice of life!

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