I realized I had failed to develop my supporting subplots. When I came up with the premise for Courtly Christmas, the main subplot was the story and the love affair was a part of that, but not the whole. Then I started getting feedback about Courtly Love being too much of a historical fiction and not being romance.
I didn't want to make that mistake twice, so I changed my focus in Courtly Christmas. It was definitely romance. But it was not a good story. It had fallen flat. What was I missing? A plot beyond boy meets girl, they do it a couple times, and live happily-ever-after.
I pulled out my original outline. Would you look at that? There was a mystery to be solved. A bad guy. Strong support characters. All of that had fallen by the wayside. Why? Because I did not trust myself. I had stopped writing the book I wanted to write in favor of pleasing some unknown party. I did not trust myself to tell the story as it was meant to be.
So, until an editor/agent/publisher tells me differently, I'm writing the story that wants to be told.