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How to satisfy your readers with endings by Rebecca Lee Smith *Comment To Win a $20 Amazon Giftcard INT Giveaway!*

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $20 Amazon Giftcard!

The end of the book—that wonderful payoff when the guy gets the girl, the villain gets his, and the reader’s vision of a future life for the characters extends well beyond the final page.
It’s all about keeping promises.
Beginnings and endings can be the hardest parts of a book to write because they are the two places an author must make good on their promise to the reader, without cheating them, without patronizing them, and without insulting their intelligence. When a reader picks up a romance, no matter which genre, the beginning of the book should set the tone that will carry them through to the end. This is a promise. If the book starts out funny, it had better be funny all the way through or the reader will feel duped. The same goes for a serious, suspenseful story that suddenly turns into slapstick. I’ve seen this happen, and it made me wonder what book I thought I was reading. It also made me want to avoid that particular author in the future.
I think the book that generates one of the most satisfying endings of all time is A Christmas Carol. It isn’t a romance; a couple doesn’t get their happily ever after at the end (unless you count Scrooge and Tiny Tim). But every few years, especially if I’m feeling low, I drag it out and read it again. During the holidays, I’ll watch any version of it on TV—from George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart to Vanessa Williams and Susan Lucci. I’ll even sit through the Tori Spelling version, if I’m desperate, because the Scrooge character’s complete and utter transformation at the end gets me every time. Scrooge isn’t transformed by love, unless it’s finally loving himself, but it makes me feel good to watch. It gives me hope and makes me want to experience that kind of emotional makeover in my own life. I count on that ending, and it never lets me down.
In a romance, especially one where the plot centers around a mystery, the reader expects the mystery to be solved, the loose ends tied up, and the hero and heroine to not only end up together, but to deserve their happy ending. In A Dance to Die For, the hero, Trent, and his brother have been burned by loving a dancer, which makes him doubly mistrustful of the heroine, Annabel, an ex-Broadway dancer who has ties with the hero’s dead fiancée. If Trent is ever going to be happy, he must learn to trust his own heart and, in turn, convince Annabel his heart is worth trusting. She deserves someone who isn’t afraid to love her.
For me, the most satisfying endings come at a price. When the hero and heroine change the other person by knowing them, and later, by loving them—that’s what elicits a sigh of satisfaction from me. When that change, however small, is so profound, it is clear the two of them belong together. And always will.

Excerpt 1:
Something zinged past Annabel.
It cut and ruffled the new growth of hickory leaves beside her shoulder, like a bird soaring through the trees at warp speed. Her head jerked around. Trent was running toward her with his arms airborne, his beige raincoat ballooned behind him like a cape.
He pushed her off the path, then hit the ground sideways. He slid into the underbrush, shoulder first, and roughly pulled her down on top of him.
Another high-pitched crack echoed across the meadow.
Trent's hard body jolted beneath her.
He enveloped her in his arms and rolled her to the side, pressing her head into his broad chest. The musky scent of his aftershave mingled with the pungent tang of dried weeds and earth sent her senses into overload. The weight of his muscular thighs pushing against her equally muscular thighs sent a shudder pulsing through her. “It's okay,” he whispered. “I've got you.”
They lay motionless in the tall warm grass, side by side, for what seemed an eternity. Until the only sounds she could hear were the soft, protesting whir of insects and the rapid, steady thumping of his heart.
Annabel lifted her head and stared at the line of dark stubble along his chin. “What the hell was that?”
“Probably a poacher.”
“A poacher? Are you serious? Here?”
He loosened his grip on her shoulders. “The forest across the road belongs to the inn. There's no fence. All we can do is post No Hunting signs and hope for the best.”
“So, how do your guests feel about dodging bullets? I bet this place stays packed.”

Author Bio:

Rebecca lives with her husband in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She’s been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to a house painter to a professional actress and director. Her two grown sons live nearby, still have the power to make her laugh until she cries, and will always be the best things she’s given back to the world. It took her a lot of years to realize that writing was her true passion. When she’s not churning out sensual romantic mysteries with snappy dialogue and happy endings, she loves to travel the world, go to the Outer Banks for her ocean fix, watch old movies, hang out at the local pub, and make her day complete by correctly answering the Final Jeopardy! Question.

Rebecca will be giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour as well as to the host with the most comments (excluding the host's and the author's).


  1. The beginning needs to grab my attention & the ending needs to be most satisfactory. I want it all, so give me a 'can't put the book down' middle.


  1. Thank you for hosting Rebecca today.

  1. MomJane said...:

    I am fascinated with the story line. Having read your comments, I am happy to know there is a HEA.

  1. It's about giving what the reader wants (even the more - the better) totally in the different way from what he expects!

  1. Thanks for having me today! I agree with you, marybelle. The middle has got to keep me interested. I should have said that writing middles are hard too. In fact, none of it's too easy. LOL

  1. Thanks, MomJane. Gotta have that happy ending. I don't want someone throwing my book against the wall while they're walking on the treadmill and reading. (I actually did that.)

  1. Bolton, I know exactly what you mean. I love it when a book gives me a twist in the story or wrenches a feeling from me that is totally unexpected. That book usually ends up on my keeper shelf. Oh, ha. Like I just have ONE keeper shelf! LOL

  1. Kw mccabe said...:

    I have to agree- beginnings are important because you want to hook the reader in to reading the story- then the end has to live up to that hook!

  1. You're right, K.W. The ending has to live up to the hook. That would be a great subject for a blog. I've read a lot a books that hook me, then just run out of steam. BTW, I love your Fitzgerald quote.

  1. cait045 said...:

    I would love to read this one and really enjoying your tour!

  1. books4me said...:

    Very true...the beginning of a story needs to grab me to keep me interested and the ending needs to be good so I don't wonder what happened! LOL!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  1. Rebecca Hipworth said...:

    Thank you for the giveaway. :)

  1. Erica G said...:

    You are so right. I have read books that started out so great and then just seemed to run out of steam. They made me question why I was so far into the book and i it was even the same one.
    cinderwhims at gmail dot com

  1. Sonia said...:

    The beginnings are really important. I base my decision of whether to purchase a book on, apart from the blurb, the beginning. If it can intrigue me, I'll give it a try. I usually download the sample from Amazon as well. Thanks for the giveaway! :-)


  1. Jacki O said...:

    I completely agree. I hate books that hint at relationships and twist and then never deliver.. it's so frustrating!

  1. I've always liked books that didnt have a really long and drawn out beginning. I like the ones that jump right into the story and then slowly release details about the characters throughout. Thats definately a way to get my attention! I just want to also say that I LOVE A Christmas Carol too :D

  1. Unknown said...:

    I enjoy books that can draw me in at the beginning and keep me in until the end. if it doesn't keep me interested i am not interested.

    Thanks for the post & giveaway

  1. This looks like a good one- and I am glad there is a HEA. I am just not interested if there isnt one in the romances I read. They are one of the reasons that I read them.

    Jill.watkins (at)

  1. Oooh, I want to read this one.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  1. Unknown said...:

    I want to read this one.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I like if I can't predict the ending of a book. The plot does not have to constantly shock me, but I don't like a twist here and there.


  1. Unknown said...:

    I like not knowing what's going to happen. Though sometimes knowing is cool too if you don't know how it will reach the conclusion. (Does that make sense?)

  1. Denise Z said...:

    Of course I want the entire book to grab me and make me want to read every line. However, the ending is so important, it will make or break my desire to read other installments in a series or even further books by the author. I recently read a very interesting book that I know will be a series and I also know that because of the very last sentence, I will not rush to get the next book :)
    Thank you for sharing today.

  1. Christina K. said...:

    Very true words about the beginning and end.

    The excerpt is wonderful!

    Thanks so much:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  1. Jennifer said...:

    I also like it when the beginning really gets me interested. Although often I find the beginnings can be slow. But by the end if the end is so good sometimes i forget. But i definitely prefer something to happen in the first chapter. Not just filler.

    jlkalman26 at gmail dot com

  1. Rachel said...:

    I agree with setting the tone. It's always helpful and gets the reader in the mood.

  1. Daniela said...:

    Yeah, the beginnings and endings of a book are the hardest parts, it sets the tone of the entire book.
    The excerpt sounded great!


  1. Cathy C said...:

    i enjoyed the except

    thanks for the chance to win!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  1. Great post. The ending is definitely the most essential point of a book. The beginning and middle are important too, but if the ending is dissatisfy then it feels like the reading was all for naught.

  1. Unknown said...:

    I think you're exactly right. If a book doesn't catch me pretty quickly I get bored & have a hard time getting through it. Then again, especially now that I'm home & have so much going on I need a book that keeps me coming back. I've been reading the same book for several months now :( I have soooo many books to read right now but I will not start another til I finish this one.

  1. i think that all parts are important but especially the beginning and ending. if i hate the ending there is little chance of me picking up another book by the same author..if the beginning sucks it's hard to keep reading. the middle needs to keep me interested too, but generally once i start a book i have to finish so as long as the middle isn't horrible a book is safe.

  1. As always, thank you for doing the giveaway!! Going to check out the book! Sounds great! :)

  1. This sounds like a great book thank you for sharing and great giveaway!
    Latisha D

  1. Darlene said...:

    I do agree that the book should be consistent throughout. However, a book doesn't necessarily have to have a happy ending to please me! Sometimes, a book that is "unforgettable" is one that ends in a way that I did not suspect. I am a sucker, and I like my HEA's, but that's not a make-or-break deal for me.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  1. Anonymous said...:

    That's a valid and interesting point, about keeping consistent tone. Great post!


  1. magic5905 said...:

    Thanks for hosting
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  1. Sounds great.- Tara Berke Tores

  1. there is nothing worse than a disappointing ending, good luck! carawling(at)hotmail(dot)com

  1. Lili said...:

    I have to have a happy ending! There is nothing worse than reading a book just for the ending to be tragic and let you down. It built up just so everything can be teared down. At the same time, I need a book that can hold my attention and hopefully not have a cliff-hanger ending. Those things are the devil!

  1. Fiza said...:

    I like when a book end well, but cliff hanger as much as I hate they just make me want more.

  1. A book has to grab me in the beginning but I also want an ending that lives up to the rest of the story.

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  1. Misty said...:

    I don't need a HEA ending, I don't need a spectacular ending either. I want an ending that has stayed true to the plot and flows properly. I love endings I didn't see coming, full of suspense! Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. I think the ending of a book can color my feelings about the entire book. I have read some books where I hated the ending and it just ruined the story for me. I do know that my tendency to read romance novels has more to do with knowing I will get a happy ending than it does with me being a very romantic person. Haha!

  1. Daniel M said...:

    i hate books that don't end, drives me crazy - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  1. Brionna said...:

    I can't tell you how many times I've read a book and the ending was terrible or didn't end like it should have. :D

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips!



  1. Beginnings and endings are absolutely important! They can make or break a book. I've read books that were simply amazing up until the very end! It gets me so mad when they're like that.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  1. Unknown said...:

    I find that at the beginning it's vital to grab the reader, but if the ending is a disappointing one, I will be bummed for days.

  1. katayoun said...:

    definitely the beginning is most important, i've learned to put a book that i don't like down and not feel obliged to read it if i've read the first chapter !!! and so if something doesn't work for me in the first chapters it's gone. that said i really don't like very sad books or series that leave you hanging

  1. Unknown said...:

    I feel that the beginning of a book must be great for me to continue reading the book, however an unsatisfactory ending will make me wary of reading another book from that author

  1. I'm a sucker for a happy ending! I end up feeling miserable if there isn't. I was both wanting and dreading 'when you were mine' recently cause it was a retelling of romeo and juliet and we all know how that ends!
    I think you're right at the best endings coming with a price though, nothing worth having comes without work at the end of the day.
    Great post!

  1. Unknown said...:

    I would agree as well that the hardest parts of the book would be begganing and ending of a book! Thanks for the great post!!

  1. andieleah said...:

    Wow gotta love that excerpt!!!! Love when the guy saves the girl and is so sweet about it!

  1. beginnings are important, but realistic and strong characters are the things that make me want to go on reading

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  1. Sounds really great! Thanks for the giveaway.


    drinkshrunkentears at gmail dot com

  1. The ending is essential, especially if the book is a series. Very good post. I found it very helpful as a writer myself.

  1. Melissa said...:

    I like the colors of the book cover!

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

    bookcrazy124 at gmail dot com

  1. NAILED. IT! It aggravates me to no end when I start a book and I am enjoying it, but then all of a sudden the whole tone of the book changes. Another big problemo for me are CLIFFHANGERS. A small cliffhanger that is one thing, but a major cliffhanger is another story. It makes me angry. I feel like ther should be no need for those kinds off cliffhangers at the end of a book. If you wrote a great story, you don't need that to bring you back. Sorry for the ramble. This is an issue that bugs me and I tend to write in circles.

  1. Angy said...:

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  1. Alyssa Susanna said...:

    Ooooo, I like the name Annabel. And Trent! That's a cool name. The excerpt is kind of cute! I like the sound of this book! Go hero men!!! :D

    Thanks for the post and giveaway!

    Alyssa Susanna

  1. Dyniy said...:

    I feel that strong characters make a book though a story that doesn.t drag keeps me reading. Thanks for the giveaway.

  1. Unknown said...:

    I never thought of the beginning of a book as a promise to the reader, but now that Rebecca has said that I can't get it out of my makes perfect sense.

    Also, thanks for the giveaway! :)

  1. Unknown said...:

    I like happy endings with everything tied up. I hate open endings. I also do want everyone to deserve each other and have sought out redemption if necessary. I want to be happy for all the characters.