Thursday, November 30, 2017

GuestPost: Counting On You by Kelly Jensen (Giveaway)

Counting on You
Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington D.C. might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.
Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

Happy For Now vs. Happy Ever After

As a romance writer and reader, I love happy ever afters! It’s a sort of a promise, I feel, one a romance writer makes to the reader, and one the reader takes on faith, that no matter what happens, our couple will be together at the end. Together and making plans for a happy and believable future. When you write short form, that’s hard to pull off, which is why Henry and Marc’s story became a series.
Honestly, though I tried to infuse as much good sentiment into the end of Counting Fence Posts (Counting #1) as I could without having Henry and Marc declare feelings they couldn’t possibly have developed in six hours, I felt it was a pretty shaky Happy for Now or HFN ending. I could imagine them making it and I believed they would. They had that rare connection, the feeling you get about a person—that you already know them, in a sense, and that your life will be better with them at your side. But there was obviously a lot more to explore, which is why I continued writing their story.

The end of Counting Down (Counting #2) was a little stronger, but not much. I kind of liked the shaky endings for the first two novellas, though, because they highlighted the fact that while Marc was definitely coming to terms with his sexuality, and quite excited about exploring his new self, Henry had doubts, and that was something I really wanted to explore.
This series has been labeled “gay for you.” I didn’t intend it that way. In my opinion, Marc has always been gay and I think if he took the time to examine his past relationships, he’d recognize it. But he’s had a lot of other stuff going on in his life, including intense pressure (mostly self-applied) to succeed in his chosen career, and finding someone to share that success with became a check box on his to-do list. I don’t think he actually considered the gender of that “someone” until he acknowledged his attraction to Henry. So, these books weren’t written to explore Marc’s feelings on being gay. He does do some self-examination (on and off the page) and there is a lot of self-discovery. But my main focus has always been on the relationship between Henry and Marc, and Henry has always been their biggest obstacle.  
I wrote Counting on You (Counting #3) to deal with just that. Marc has his own journey to take in this last book, a perhaps necessary step to balancing his present with his past. He’s been pretty glib about his sexuality up to this point. It’s been easy for him to shift from one column to the other. In Counting on You, he makes the shift permanent, mentally and physically, and really comes into his own as a result—which is a good thing, because Henry needs Marc to be “Marc, 100%” as he acknowledges he’s done the one thing that scares him the most: Henry has fallen in love.
Henry is out and proud and has a wonderful relationship with his family. He’s good at his job and has a bright future. Without Marc, though, he might have ended up alone because he was afraid of that one thing, of falling for someone. Being in love means compromise and sacrifice. It’s not orderly and predictable and it doesn’t come with guarantees. But by the end of Counting on You, I had a very good feeling about these two. They’re solid. To me, this is it, their Happy Ever After. Marc is just who Henry needs in his life; he’s that one person he needs at his side. The same is true for Marc. For him, Henry is “The One,” forever after.
It took me three tries to get it right, but for these two, third time was a charm. Enjoy your Happy Ever After, Henry and Marc!
If you haven’t met Henry and Marc yet, the first two novellas of the Counting series are discounted through the end of November at all retailers.

Q. Do you need a Happy Ever After or are you satisfied with Happy for Now?

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question (look up to the Q. and the question in bold just above this giveaway to find it). Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

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11/28 Love Bytes

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website


  1. HFN works for me as long as it's done well. I actually like HFN more than HEA in some ways because it allows for more growth and relationship development in stages as opposed to crammed into the narrative. However, HFN that is just a cliffhanger for a book that could have been one novel split in two for seemingly no reason will turn me off an author.

  2. I prefer HEAs, but HFN works for some stories and I'm ok with that too.

  3. I prefer HEA, but HFN is okay sometimes.

  4. I can settle with "HFN". The key word for me is happy :)

  5. I prefer an HEA but will settle for HFN.

  6. It depends on my mood but if the it's a series or a the author doesn't plan to revisit the characters I think I prefer HEA endings. I want to know the characters have a long lasting future together.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  7. I prefer HEA endings.

  8. HEA and HFN are fine by me as long as nobody is dying once the book is over.