It’s June 2013 and I can’t believe it! We’ve been working toward this date for so many months now, it’s hard to grasp that it’s official: our two-year testing of the “clean” romance market—by distributing re-edited Harlequin reprints through our direct-to-consumer and digital channels—has gone so well that we’re introducing the first two original Heartwarming books this month. And as of July, all four stories a month will be original works. It’s a true milestone and very exciting.
Thank you to all the authors who contribute to this blog for being part of the launch, and to all the readers who are proving—through your steadily growing numbers—that you want a clean romance that’s still deeply emotional. And more good news, we just found out that the Harlequin U.K. office is going to test the original Heartwarming titles, selling the first ten digitally, starting in August. I feel like we’re riding on the little engine that could. Stay tuned for more good things ahead for this wonderful series.
I had the pleasure of working with Marie Ferrarella on her June launch book, Innkeeper’s Daughter, which is the poignant story of a man who returns to the California holiday home of his childhood for his father’s funeral, and ends up (spoiler alert!) finding love through the sorrow at Ladera Inn by the Sea. And by the title of the book, you may have already guessed who helps this dutiful son through his grief…?
Marsha Zinberg, who has been the driving force behind establishing Heartwarming and who retired after 30 years with the company at the end of last month, much to our chagrin(!), edited Ingrid Weaver’s Winning Amelia. It’s a chase-the-missing-winning-lottery-ticket romance that mixes a little suspense into the lives of two deeply conflicted leading characters. I know Marsha was very pleased with the story, and we’re sure everyone who reads it will be, too.
I cannot overlook how important the refreshed Heartwarming books have been in helping us build this series from scratch. One of the two final refreshed stories we’re publishing is Roz Denny Fox’s The Hope Dress—and we’re delighted that Roz has not only contributed with reprints but she’s written Annie’s Neighborhood, a new work which will be out in July. Roz is a master storyteller and we’re happy to have her.
The fourth June book is Inglath Cooper’s The Mayor of Macon’s Point. Inglath’s stories about love and family never fail to touch her readers’ hearts.
Which brings me to my own family…all right…I’m a singleton! But I’ve got a new tiny addition to my home, and I can’t resist sharing a picture of Millie, who is probably three weeks old today. Her mom deposited her at the front revolving door to 225 Duncan Mill Road—Harlequin—on May 16. It was a rough start for the kitten, who hadn’t opened her eyes yet and only weighed 3.5 ounces. But Editorial Assistant Claire Caldwell and I rushed the feisty little squirmer to our local animal rescue the next morning and they fostered her through the most vulnerable days. She’s more than doubled her weight and I have a new, profound respect for moms of human babies. Cats grow out of this helpless stage a lot quicker than children!
Embrace the ones you love, and enjoy your summer reading! --VC