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Today's guest is the author Dakota Flint whose novella Seeing You is out in e-book THIS WEEK at Samhain. I first 'met' Dakota when we shared the sheets in the Taste Test: Horns and Halos at Torquere Press. I loved her writing, said so, and we've bumped happily into each other at many places since :).

Her Blurb: Dakota Flint currently lives in northern Siberia Michigan and is working on her law degree. An average day for her consists of reading about things like negligence or homicide, punctuated by thinking up interesting ways for two men to meet and fall in love. Given a choice between getting some writing time in and time for things like laundry or cooking dinner…well, let’s just say the pile of laundry is blocking out sunlight and there’s a very real chance that all the salad for dinner is turning Dakota into a rabbit…

To learn more about Dakota Flint, please visit Her Website and Her Blog.

Love can be found among the pieces of a broken heart.

The night his brother, Simon, was killed in an accident, Dylan took on a double load of guilt. Guilt for walking away unscathed…and for secretly loving Simon’s partner, Wade. Unable to bear the pain, Dylan left the Lazy G ranch to rebuild his life elsewhere.
A year later he reluctantly responds to his sister’s plea to come home, where he finds the Lazy G falling apart. And so is Wade. Wade has stopped caring about the ranch, about everything that should matter most to him.
Though there’s more ranch work than one man can possibly handle, Dylan throws himself into the task. Wondering how he’s going to find the strength to pull Wade out of the fog of grief when his own is still as raw as a fresh wound. Wondering when Wade will finally see that his second chance for happiness is standing right in front of him.
Warning: Contains explicit, emotionally charged m/m sex. Extra box of tissues required. You could use your sleeve, of course, but we don’t recommend it.

Buy it HERE.
Also available in print in the Studs and Spurs anthology at MLR Press.


The End. Or is it?

I've been thinking quite a bit about endings and epilogues lately. What makes a good ending, is an epilogue necessary, etc.

In my years of reading--we're talking romance in this instance, since that's what I write ;)--I've noticed that the epilogue is very popular. Many times it's a "slice of life" months or years in the future, showing the couple happy and together, the coda that allows the reader a glimpse of what comes after the "I love you."

Now, I'm not going to tackle the issues of whether an epilogue is necessary or effective or whatever from a writing standpoint--there are many more writers out there that are far more expert than I. I will say, though, that when I get to the end of a good book, having fallen totally in love with the characters, I do usually want to see a bit of the "after." I want more, without taking away from the journey I just traveled reading the book.

But sometimes there just isn't anything meaningful left to say, nothing more for those characters to do unless we're looking at the another story. In print, that usually means another novel length story and if the author doesn't think there's a novel length story to tell...

Cue one of my very favorite aspects of ebooks and epublishing.

With epublishing, it's feasible to show the "after" regardless of length. If the author doesn't feel that there is a proper full length novel sequel in those characters, that's okay. The readers can still get more of those characters, the author can still release a--shorter--sequel, because novellas and short stories are perfectly suited to the epublishing model.

And I love that.

I love "checking in" with characters I enjoyed, taking a peek at what they're up to or starting a whole new journey with them. A "slice of life" shot can be satisfying and meaningful, and in fact, I find it more satisfying as separate from the original story; it allows me to digest and savor every bit of the original and then still visit the characters again at a later date. It's like waving hello to old friends, meeting up with them for lunch after not seeing them for a while, perhaps joining them for a subplotless adventure...

Okay, that might sound a bit loopy....but you see where I'm going with this?

The flexibility allows the author to revisit characters in whatever way they like, and--most importantly, of course *g*--satisfy readers like myself, who just want more, more, more but find the epilogue to be a tricky thing, indeed.

I like to think this is a win-win situation...but what do you think?




Today's Quote:
"Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past." Henry Ward Beecher

Today's Daft Google Searches for 'Clare London':
"Billionaire twins to create Channel island vineyard" Hmmm? What's my mother been keeping from me...? :)


Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):

Jan 15 : Jen of Well Read savours the memory of food, and seeks it in her fiction!
Jan 16 : Author Mel Keegan tells us why we should all be visiting the GLBT Bookshelf.
Jan 17 : Author Cassandra Gold discusses the wonderful world of the romance sub-genre.
Jan 18 : Author Wren Boudreau asks "Who am I...and am I okay with it?"
Jan 19 : Author Jenna Hilary Sinclair confesses her addiction...to writing!"

Jan 08 : Jessewave wonders - tongue in cheek - where the less shiny guys are!
Jan 09 : Anne Cain shares her art and encourages a show and tell!
Jan 10 : My latest release Upwardly Mobile is out at Amber Quill today.
Jan 11 : Author Lee Rowan discusses why love should not be a garotte.
Jan 12 : Author Jaime Samms asks if readers prefer short or long stories.
Jan 13 : Author Erastes explains why her submissions keep aiming for the stars!
Jan 14 : Author Daimeryan Rei describes the rewards of writing both fan and original fiction.

Jan 01 : The New Year brings the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder asks if current affairs in fiction is delightful or just dates us.
Jan 03 : author Madeleine Urban describes how her characters hijacked her brain.
Jan 04 : author Theda Black's inspiration reaches from a bionic penis to the power of Pan.
Jan 05 : author Josh Lanyon shares some exceedingly good books with us.
Jan 06 : author K. Z. Snow questions what all the fuss is about authors 'making shit up'.
Jan 07 : Josie aka 1more_sickpuppy compares her life and friends online and off.

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ hotmail.com and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Great post Dakota.

I generally don't like epilogues, although I will admit that I have read a few books where I've enjoyed the epilogue or, in some cases wished for an epilogue - yeah, I'm a bit fickle like that. But one thing I do like are the follow on stories, even if they are just shorts, of characters that I've grown to love. This is especially the case if an ending is HFN because I like to see that the characters have made it into their HEA. Even if it's just a slice of life, like you, I see it as popping by to visit some good friends.

In fact, I'm still waiting for Nic and Aidan's follow on from Sparks Fly (no pressure, Clare *g*).
Jan. 20th, 2010 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yet another one of my WIPs that's got to chapter 2 and stalled due to everything else in LIFE *ugh*. But I have to say, I'm pleased with the first chapter, it's rather steamy...*wink*

Send me some quiet time this year, I'll be there for you :).

I know some people dislike epilogues - or consider them unnecessary. But sometimes I like them for the reason Dakota says - it's just another quick glimpse of characters you've grown to love. It shouldn't drag on the ending of the main book, and I don't personally like those that pitch too far into the future, but it can be a lovely way to settle the reader after a tense / exciting ending.

Jan. 20th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
This is especially the case if an ending is HFN because I like to see that the characters have made it into their HEA. Even if it's just a slice of life, like you, I see it as popping by to visit some good friends.

Yes, exactly! I think it has become even more important for me with the prevalence of HFN endings. Though it still has to fit, if you know what I mean, like a natural progression from the HFN to whatever the characters are doing or saying in that slice of life.

I think, overall, I agree with you. I prefer the follow on stories to the epilogues, though I'm a sucker for an epilogue that makes me chuckle and really fits the story (I'm thinking of JL Langely's Tin Star for example).

And will it help if I add my voice to asking for another Nic And Aidan story? *g*
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
*clare grumbles and shifts her WIP-To-Do list around, secretly flattered...*
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
What Jen said. The epilogues I hate, though, are the ones that project way into the future to where one (or both) of the protags dies or is dead. Generally I think the idea is to show love beyond the grave, turning the HEA into Happily Forever After. But it tugs so sharply on my sentimental/maudlin bones and I kind of resent it. I don't need that finality.

Clare, really, you have people doing your blog for you all month! Lots of free time on your hands to revisit Nic and Aidan. Sheesh! *laughs hysterically and runs away*
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
What a wit you are, dear gal. What on earth was I thinking of, making such pathetic excuses?? *sticks tongue out in retaliation and runs away in opposite direction*
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
Clare, I love that we're developing this mature, respectful relationship.
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)

Jan. 20th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Wow, I would really, really hate an epilogue for a romance where one of the protags is dead. How terrifically sad. I don't even like it when the epilogues are far into the future and both of them are alive, but they're nearing the end of their life--it's too unbearably poignant. Just my personal preference, but I prefer to picture them as forever young (or whatever age they were when they got their HEA) and happy.

Jan. 20th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
I personally love revisiting old characters (well, not OLD but read before). I will buy those little sips and holiday bits that feature characters from books I read with no discernable plot except to show them happily living and smexin' it up. I do know some people don't get the point of those so I think it's probably personal.

Epilogues I enjoy but I rarely think after I'm finished "Gee, an epilogue would have been nice." but if it's there I enjoy it. I have written a few things that usually end at the beginning if you know what I mean, just starting a relationship and it never occurred to me to "prove" that they made it work. I guess I like to use my imagination as well and it is "romance" so I'm pretty sure they don't break up six months later, but get married, adopt 2.5 children and a dog and buy a mini-van. Such as it should be. :-)
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'd much prefer a HFN ending and no epilogues if that's what fits the story, as it can ruin the vibe of a good story if the last chapter has the characters just starting their relationship and then there's an epilogue where they're saying their vows. I think that was pretty common in a lot of old school romantic suspense I read, where often times the romance didn't really start until the danger was over, but that meant the story was pretty much over too. Like you, I'd rather just imagine them moving on and committing down the road, rather than have it force fed to me. If that makes sense. :)
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a good post, as a reader I love an epilogue, for the same reason that I write them. I feel better when they're all tucked in safely together, and there's that final literary Ah-men. As it were. Yet... There is one book, which shall remain nameless, where I bitterly regretted reading the darned epilogue and you, my friend probably know exactly which one that was...

Oh my eyes!!!!!

After I got done crying I thought about that... and not the book!

So okay, as a READER. Nice epilogues please, or none at all. I would prefer it if the folks I've spent 200 pages getting to know, trust, root for, and love don't go under a bus in the epilogue...

Just sayin'

Edited at 2010-01-20 04:52 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
I feel better when they're all tucked in safely together, and there's that final literary Ah-men. As it were.

Ha, exactly! You put it better in once sentence than I did in a whole blog post. *g* But yes, that's what I prefer as long as it doesn't feel forced, b/c if it feels forced then I prefer a follow story, please.

There is one book, which shall remain nameless, where I bitterly regretted reading the darned epilogue

I'm. Still. Not. Over. That.

Oh the tears. I was so...shell-shocked by that ending. Yeesh. Perfect example of what I definitely DON'T want as an epilogue, and I almost pointed that out when I wrote this post but I don't want to spoil the book for anyone. Though the epilogue will do that for you...
Jan. 20th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
I bet I know which one you are talking about. The one with "I'm a-waitin'" in it, right?
Jan. 21st, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
Omg, YES! Wow, what a terrible, horrible, PAN IN THE FACE way to end such a good book. Of course that's just my own opinion, but man, I still can't believe how that ended. I felt betrayed...isn't that silly?

Jan. 21st, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
Not silly at all. It scarred me for life, I tell you! I would have been perfectly content to let that sleeping dog lie!
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I hadn't thought about it, but I did epilog scenes in two stories (Walking Wounded and Gentleman's Gentleman) because I wasn't sure if I'd revisit the characters and wanted the reader to see how their lives progressed. But as it turned out, each couple generated a short story, one for I Do (WW) and the second (GG) scheduled for I Do Two.

So... if I like a set of characters, I do appreciate it when the writer gives me a peek into their future, preferably not, as wrenboo said, to a funeral.

But it depends on the story. Some endings are so perfect that to rattle on afterward would only spoil it.
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
Some endings are so perfect that to rattle on afterward would only spoil it.

*nods, nods* Yes, I agree. In that situation, I'll consider that there was no story left to tell and I'm content to let the characters live on like that in my mind.

From a writing perspective, I think knowing how to end a story, whether it's in the last chapter, an epilogue, or a sequel, is truly an art.
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
I'd meant to offer an example, and finally found one--can you imagine if Erastes had done an epilog to Standish -- Ambrose and Rafe squabbling over dinner, five years down the road? Nooooooo....
Jan. 20th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
It seems that epilogues are use when there is no plan for a further book. (or to hint at a futher book).

I perfer a "good ending." something that ties up the ends (not always in a bow, but aleast ties it up). But that's becuase I like series so I when I find boys I love I want it to keep going!!


But I agree e-publishing is wonderful becuase it gives you the option of giving them a proper ending :)!
Jan. 21st, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
so I when I find boys I love I want it to keep going!!

Oh yes, I agree with you there! When I find characters I love, I'd follow them anywhere as long as the author is accommodating enough to keep sending them off on adventures. :)
Jan. 21st, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
Holy cow, I almost wrote an end-of-life epilogue. Good thing there's time for rewrites. It's funny how easy it can be to perpetrate a bad cliche without realizing it. Thanks for this very timely offering!
Jan. 21st, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well I should probably add that it's just my personal preference.

My Mom and I watched The Notebook together years ago. At the end I was crying and my mom was bewildered and kept saying, "But they had a happy life together!" To which I replied, "Yeah, but it's *sob* over!" My Mom says tomato, I say tahmato... *g*

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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