Friday, October 4, 2013

Heartwarming books for fireside reading… by Victoria Curran, senior editor


I cannot believe it’s October. I’m still clinging to the idea of taking a summer holiday, and am definitely not ready to pack away the hammock I’ve only swung in twice since May. I can’t escape the fact, however, that I’m in a race to mow the lawn before the neighbour’s silver maple dumps its leaves. Which means that autumn must really be here. And on the bright side: it’s time to read some October 2013 Heartwarming romances!

When Harlequin first announced that it was launching a line of original, clean romances, we got a lot of interest from writers of sweet (= no sex) romance who’d been published by various inspirational publishers and who wanted to explore past the parameters of faith-based stories, as well as from Avalon Books, a smaller publisher that mainly produced hardcover mysteries, Westerns and wholesome romances, which was in the process of being acquired by Amazon in the summer of 2012 when we were making a push for acquisitions. Some of the Heartwarming authors who contribute to this blog might even recognize themselves as having come to us via these avenues.

Like Loree Lough. I first came across Loree when we were acquiring the third-party rights to reprint a collection of “Love Finds You” books from inspirational publisher Summerside Press. Once upon a time Loree had written for our inspirational series, Love Inspired, too. I’m glad she wanted to explore clean storytelling without faith elements, and we were quick to contract her three-book A Child to Love series, which launches this month with Raising Connor. Poor Loree wrote this book for us a long time ago, but I was stockpiling her stories in an attempt to bring them out in consecutive months. Well, the best laid plans of mice and launch editors: inventory didn’t allow for that kind of tight, specific planning. The closest I could publish them is every other month (October/December/March). All right, almost every other month…. So happy Raising Connor is finally here!

British writer Eleanor Jones’s Footprints in the Sand came to us
through Executive Editor Paula Eykelhof, and was previously intended for another line but fits beautifully with Heartwarming. It’s a departure from the third-person perspective we’re more used to seeing, told mostly in first person by the traumatized, orphaned heroine. Eleanor also writes children’s stories and at times this book took me back to beloved children’s and adult classics like Black Beauty and Jane Eyre. It’s haunting and deeply emotional. Welcome to Heartwarming, Eleanor!

And last but by no means least, we have Dandelion Wishes by Melinda Curtis, the first of the Harmony Valley series about three former dot-com buddies trying to open a winery in California (with a lot of push-back from the town!), and Blue Ridge Hideaway by Cynthia Thomason, in which the heroine lands on the hero’s doorstep, having been bilked of her savings by his dad, and she won’t leave until she gets satisfaction. (And as you can guess, she gets more satisfaction than she bargained for…clean read, though, clean read!) Both Melinda and Cynthia are authors I have worked with in the past at Harlequin Superromance and I’m delighted they now call Heartwarming home.

 
We hope you enjoy the new season’s books! (And that you have a fireplace to read beside…)
VC

25 comments:

  1. Once again-beautiful covers and tempting stories! I'm still reading the August releases lol, I'm planning to catch up on all of these over the Christmas holidays...my stocking is being filled with Heartwarmings:) We have two fireplaces-one in the living room and one in the bedroom, so I'm covered wherever I decide to read:)

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    1. That's the definition of wealth, Jen: two fireplaces! (I tried to force an electric one into my living room but I would have had to lose about three chairs...)

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    2. The one in our bedroom was a Costco $150 buy and it's a wall mount, so it takes up very little space under the t.v. (I know t.v. in the bedroom-terrible, right? lol So much for romance:)) Anyway, it's super sleek looking with different color flames like purple and blue lol:)

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  2. Like Jennifer I have to say I love the covers and I'm so looking forward to making time to read all of the books. I'm behind as I'm reading Carolyn's book with the draft horses and the veterans. I need more hours in the day. But with summer winding down maybe my winter days will feel longer.

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    1. Yes, the covers are so gorgeous. I can't even pick one I like the best of this month... I look forward to updating all the authors about cover direction in 2014 at this newfangled high-tech meeting on Tuesday! Wish us luck with the technology.

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  3. Hey, Liz, nice to "see" you. I'm looking for a more detailed synopsis from you for a possible Heartwarming book, aren't I? Love the small world tech creates.

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    1. Yes, thank you! I'm struggling out of a corner I've written myself into. I love the Heartwarming line and very much hope to "see" more of you. :-)

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  4. Victoria - Good Morning! All our October books look and sound wonderful! Though our house was built in 1906, it had no fireplaces! But we have a radiant heater that works for reading if I use my imagination. And you have a hammock! How cool is that?

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    1. It's my sister's hammock but she downsized, yay, and has no room for it. I beat my brother in a match of fisticuffs for it. I find it amusing when the cats try to climb around me on it....

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  5. Victoria, Incredible covers. They make you want to step right into the scene depicted.

    I'm still catching up on reading too. The last book I read was Kristine's The Husband School and I loved it. Her characters and dialogue are so alive :). I do have a stone fireplace and all these October books have made me want to curl up in front of it on a snowy day. Alas, for now, we're having a heat wave and hitting 90 today (instead of the low 70's)...and I don't have a hammock to relax in the shade.

    Thanks for the October intro!

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    1. 90?? Um, can I come down to Virginia and have that belated summer vacation?

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    2. LOL, you say when! The door is open :).

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  6. Yay! Another month of awesome covers and awesome sounding books! :) I'm very interested to see how the first person POV works out in Footprints in the Sand. I love that Heartwarming has room for unique perspectives!

    I no longer have a fireplace (*weep*), but these October releases are definitely putting me in the mood for autumn!

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    1. First person is an interesting choice. I find it's used a lot in Young Adult storytelling, but not as much in our series romances. I don't know how Eleanor could have told this story if she hadn't used first person, though.

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  7. LOL, in Arizona we don't need no 'stickin' fireplaces. Just kidding . It does sound like a magical thing,sitting by the fireplace, a good book, some hot chocolate, no kid needing to go to soccer, cub scouts, the skateboard park, etc.

    I do most of my reading in a camp chair at soccer games, cub scout meetings, and at the park. I pretend I'm Rory Gilmore! I'm behind, too on Heartwarming.

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    1. Why, Pamela? I'm very curious--what is it about first person that you love so much?

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    2. With first person, I always feel like I'm there with the heroine and hero, living it. With third person, I always feel like I'm watching the hero and heroine.

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    3. Interesting. Sometimes with first person (not your book, Eleanor!--I get a lot of unsolicited pitches in first person), sometimes I feel as if the author has limited herself with tighter parameters since it's coming all through one character. So on occasion it can feel repetitive, for instance....

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  9. Seconding what everyone said about the beautiful covers. The line never has a clunker! We're in the 80s today and last weekend I put away my pool patio furniture for the winter (although Central California winters are just windy and nippy and very mild). We did get a new puppy at our house and when she sleeps, it's wonderful to cuddle up with her and a good book!

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  10. A new puppy, Melinda??? Can you post a picture here? I want to see! (Really love your cover, by the way.)

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    1. Victoria! You are truly testing my tech abilities (I have pictures on my FB and Twitter pages). I'll add a picture to my blog post on Monday. She is adorable (and tiny for a family used to big Labs).

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  11. These sound great and I 'm intrigued by the first person POV as I use that in my YA!

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  12. These sound great and the covers look wonderful. I've only read 3 original Heartwarming books so far. Syndi Powell's debut and Karen Rock's debut books which I really enjoyed. I took them to my sister to read.

    I just finished Carolyn McSparren's Taking the Reins and realized why I loved her SuperRomances. She really writes stories that appeal to me. I love watching heavy horses every year at the Calgary Stampede's Heavy Horse Show. This year because of the floods here there wasn't a HHS so I loved getting to read about them.

    I have a few more on order. I'd love to get them all but I just can't afford them. I play eeny meeny miny moe when ordering.

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