USA Today’s HEA

Photo, Joyce Lamb, Image provided by author
Joyce Lamb, courtesy of author.

My days begin and end with a happy ever after. That’s because I’m the curator of USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog devoted to romance novels. You might think I’m quite the lucky dog for getting to do a romance-novel blog for USA Today. But I already work there as a copy editor (and still do, full time), so all I had to do was pitch my blog idea to the higher-ups and point out that women control the finances in most households and many are also voracious readers of romance. You know what that means: potential eyeballs for online advertising.

Overseeing HEA is truly a labor of love—much like writing is to authors. I don’t do the blog for cash (maybe someday), and I don’t do it for prestige. I do it for love. Which is why every day begins with me working on Happy Ever After and every day ends the same way. That adds up to HEAs day in and day out. Who wouldn’t want that?!?

Thing is, I love, love, love romance authors (and their novels) and romance readers. Hanging out with romance authors reminds me of what it was like in college living in the dorm. My dorm mates and I all had the same goals: go to class, study, party, graduate. Romance authors all have the same goals, too: write, publish, hit best-seller lists, be adored by all. So when you get a bunch of us together in a room, we have a lot to talk about.

It’s like that on HEA, too. When I first pitched the idea to my bosses at USA Today, someone asked: “Will you have enough material for daily posts?” I stared blankly for a moment, trying to figure out what was actually being asked. But then I realized: Obviously, this person has never been in a room full of romance authors. There are no crickets—not one beat of silence. Unless we’re supposed to be listening to a speaker, and even then there’s usually still some enthusiastic murmuring in the back of the room.

That’s what I enjoy so much about HEA. There’s just so much to say, and so many different and fun personalities who are willing to say it. Every day, romance authors pitch me new ideas: “Hey, Joyce, I could do a post about (fill in the blank).” And I know I’m guaranteed something substantial, interesting, well-written, and entertaining.

You know what else is awesome about overseeing HEA? When I pitched the idea for the blog, I made it clear that I wanted it to be all-inclusive. Romance authors regularly deal with the frustration of being excluded from mainstream media. Having to exclude self-pubbed e-books or teeny publishers or risqué subgenres would have been a deal-breaker for me, so hats off to USA Today for letting HEA cover it all, with no interference whatsoever.

As offensive as it might sound at first, my bosses have expressed surprise at the intelligent and substantive comments on HEA. Not because they think romance readers aren’t intelligent, but because the comments are so much better than the comments on so many other areas of—courteous, supportive and smart. A big no-duh to us, though, right?.

Of course, HEA wouldn’t exist without the best team of contributors on the planet. These women are just as devoted to romance books as I am, willing to work for peanuts (peanut halves, actually) just to have the opportunity to share their love of the genre with others.

Bottom line: Romance authors and romance readers rock. And USA Today is thrilled to let everyone know it.

Joyce Lamb

Joyce Lamb is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and curator of USA Today's blog devoted to romance novels. Her latest release is Flash Heat. Find out more about Joyce Lamb.

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