People are asking me nervous questions about SHADOWED HEART. I will go ahead and confirm that NO I did not mess up anyone’s happy ending. Every author has a certain story she tells over and over. My story, the story I care about and like to tell, is a love story where people find happiness and truly love each other and truly try their best for each other, through their various issues. They might be messed up, but they’re truly giving it their all. Sometimes that lends to a sweet, cute variation of my story and sometimes to something more heart-wrenching.
I think SHADOWED HEART has some of both, but definitely some heart-wrenching, if you like this couple.
I don’t know. These are some of the things beta readers said, so you can think about whether you want to read it or not:
“Wow, wow, wow. I cried multiple times while I was reading it. It was so beautiful, and so emotionally true. I love, love, love the arc of this story. I always loved Luc and Summer, and I really love seeing them here, fighting their way to a grown-up, loving, solid relationship after their rocky start. I really love the way you brought in the other characters in such a natural way that felt so right for the story. (And I laughed at Sylvain’s….” [not telling what!]
“My pillow is still wet, thank you very much….It feels true and real and valuable. And it’s hard and claustrophobic and painful – until it’s not. And then it freed me from the pain: soothed it, accepted it, kissed it, and then set it free.”
“We loved it. We both definitely think you should publish it. It’s a great story; and it’s very moving. We’re convinced that most of your fans would want to read this book. You are definitely pushing the boundaries of romance, as you did quite successfully with Snow-Kissed and Turning Up the Heat. In this book, you take us beyond the first crisis couples typically face in romance to arrive at HEA and vividly portray how HEA requires that a couple continuously work at their relationship. Centering the new crisis in the first year of Luc and Summer’s marriage when couples have to do so much adjusting and having them also face the scary challenge of parenthood is so true to life that it will resonate with many readers. It was also fun to see the old gang of characters fleshed out in new ways.”
But there are also multiple comments about wanting to smack these two or lock them in a room together with nothing to do but talk to each other! So…see?
In my personal angst star system, if I were to give 1-5 stars for angst in my books, Chocolate Thief would be a 1 or 2, Chocolate Kiss a 3, and SHADOWED HEART and The Chocolate Heart a 5. (And Snow-Kissed a 20!) But I personally think there is a lot of sweetness in it, too, some characters and moments that *I* thought were fun and funny, and a lot of trying. (I introduce a new future hero, here, in fact, to whom I am quite attached. At least I think he will get his own book some day.)
So…that’s me and the beta readers. They convinced me to put it out there so you could decide for yourselves! (It’s in edits now.)
And I want to offer them, again, a huge thank you for the patience and support in reading it, and for taking the time to articulate their reactions in ways that had meaning for me, and could help me think through the fact that sometimes you just have to put things out there and let others draw their own value from it. And thanks again also to all of you who have asked for it, wanted to read it, all of those who said, Hey, that’s not fair, you can’t talk about it and not publish it.
I value that value that you are offering to this story. I hope it means something to you!