It’s September, that fresh start and nippy mornings time of year, and we’re three months into the launch of Harlequin Heartwarming originals! Time to check in and see how we’re doing, don’t you think? First off, thank you to Pamela Tracy for launching this blog site in the winter, it’s an amazing way for Heartwarming to come together as a community. I hope more of our authors— contracted and hopefuls— join and speak up, and more lurking readers come out of hiding to share their invaluable insights and let us know if we’re hitting the mark.
Congratulations to social media-wonder and author Karen Rock, whose first Harlequin, Heartwarming’s Wish Me Tomorrow, is out this month and at the top of Goodreads’ Listopia for Best Debut Romance of 2013 (http://bit.ly/1dobWow) with the highest score! Karen may have tremendous media savvy and a strong following, but it all starts with good writing, and her book is so touching—the story of a cancer support group leader who falls for one of the survivors…but has to face the risk that the cancer might return. Talk about a high-stakes romance: the two risk losing each other at the same time as they find each other. Minimum two hankies for this one.
We’re proud to include author Kristine Rolofson, who used to write for Harlequin Temptation (before it became the hotter series Blaze), as a Heartwarming author. In fact, we hauled her out of writing retirement—and she has sent me some great shots of her cowboy boot collection and one of her fanning herself with her share, as fiddler, of her band’s take after a performance. Well, I don’t care how much the band makes, Kristine, we want more Heartwarming books like The Husband School, the first of the Willing to Wed miniseries out this month. Similar to the reality TV show "The Bachelor," in Kristine’s premise, there’s a town full of Bachelors, and the TV producers ship the would-be brides to Willing, Montana, to see if romance can bloom…on camera…with a little bachelor-coaching at the local diner. The Husband School was also chosen to be a free sampler to promote Heartwarming on TryHarlequin this year. Numbers just came in last night and the book has reached #41 on Amazon because of the promotional pricing. This can do nothing but good for exposure to the entire series, so get your free download at http://amzn.to/146vium.
I love Carolyn McSparren’s romances (we used to work together at Harlequin Superromance) because they always include animals and I’m a bit of an animal-mush. And Taking the Reins, her first Heartwarming, is no exception. In this case, we’re introduced to a handful of military veterans each wounded in some capacity and each at a ranch to learn the new skill of driving horses and, in the process, find healing and…wait for it…romance!
The fourth book out in September is A Forever Home, the second Heartwarming by Lynn Patrick, a two-person writing team with a rich history at Harlequin. The first book, Home to Sparrow Lake, was chosen as a Top Pick and given four and a half stars by RT Book Reviews magazine. I wish I could say Lynn’s second book set in Sparrow Lake was received as well, but unfortunately RT Book Reviews is no longer reviewing Harlequin Heartwarming. I’m still in discussions with the publisher about this and may have to settle for RT online reviews but I’m not giving up the battle for the print magazine yet because they seem to be under the misunderstanding that Heartwarming books are only available in digital and are short-format romances, which just isn’t the case. Wish me luck.