{January 15, 2014}   Urban Fantasy: To HEA or Not to HEA? By Lynne Cantwell


I’m thrilled to have  Lynne Cantwell as a guest poster on my blog today.   There’s a giveaway for a dream pillow, so make sure you enter!  Details at the end of the blog post.


Before I started writing my first urban fantasy, I read a number of books in the genre, by several authors. Some of the books could also be classified as paranormal romance, and many of those featured a happily-ever-after ending (known as “HEA” for short). But some didn’t. Sometimes, a series of books would delay the HEA payoff to heighten the tension and make for a more satisfying release when the lovers finally did get together – so while an individual book wrapped up the current storyline, the payoff for the romance storyline didn’t come until several books in. (I’m thinking in particular of C.E. Murphy’s “Walker Papers,” in which Joanne doesn’t come to an understanding with her captain until six books into the nine-book series – and then she immediately leaves for Ireland.)

I come at paranormal romance from a background of reading and writing fantasy, so the lack of an HEA in each and every book doesn’t bother me. Fantasy series have an overall story arc similar to that in a paranormal romance series – that is, each book wraps up its own storyline, but it’s only a stop on the whole hero’s journey. Although the more accurate term for paranormal romance might be “heroine’s journey,” as the protagonist is usually a capable (if not wholly self-confident), magic-wielding and/or shapeshifting woman.

In urban fantasy, the female protagonist is sometimes a lone wolf whose love life isn’t central to the plot at all, except when the lack of one underscores her loneliness (one example being Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye).

So when I wrote The Pipe Woman Chronicles, I didn’t pay much attention to whether each book had an HEA, as long as all was well in the end. Particularly in the second book, Fissured, things end on an uncertain romantic note for Naomi and Joseph.

Now, however, I’ve finished the five books of The Pipe Woman Chronicles and am embarking on Land, Sea, Sky – a trilogy in the same universe. I’m once again calling this series an urban fantasy – Crosswind is set in Washington, D.C., which is pretty darned urban, and plenty of fantastic things happen during the course of the story.

But I’m hesitant to call it a paranormal romance. For one thing, your usual magical creatures – vampires, werewolves, and fae, oh my – are absent. As with The Pipe Woman Chronicles, the only paranormal (or maybe  “extranormal” is a better term) characters in Land, Sea, Sky are gods.

And while the plot of Crosswind includes a romance – spoiler alert! – there’s no HEA at the end of it. All three of the main characters – Tess, Sue, and Darrell – have a fair amount of emotional growing up to do at the beginning of their story. Part of the fun of writing their adventure, for me, is watching them wrestle with their romantic problems and gain maturity in the process. Will that end in an HEA for at least one of them, when I type “the end” on the third book? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But I will say they each deserve as much happiness as they can get.


Crosswind (Land, Sea, Ski: Book 1)

Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods’ return. As conflict eases around the world, attention — and money — has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.

But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system — are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.

The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods’ peace will not be destroyed.

Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Goodreads

Genre – Urban Fantasy
Pages – approx 275 (68K words)
Published November 20th – Amazon 

About the Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, “I could do that.” The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master’s degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.



GIVEAWAY is a DREAM PILLOW from the American Indian Museum store + A signed paperback, another signed paperback and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.  Click here to enter via Rafflecopter.


Rebecca, thanks for hosting me today!

Thanks for the wonderful and engaging guest post. 🙂 Wonderful to have you!

What a fantastic article! I wish you the best of successes! I’m having trouble sharing the post, though – it says it ‘cannot be posted’. Everyone should read this, so I wanted to share the word!

Thanks for posting Rebecca. I love your blog!! So pretty!

Thank you! It is a pleasure to host Lynne. I look forward to the next time.

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