I’m grateful the ice storm that hit the Greater Toronto Area the weekend before Christmas left my area with electricity, and that my downtown sister got power back before Christmas Eve…so I didn’t have to host her family dinner(!), and that my west-end brother got power back for Christmas day so I didn’t have to host his wife’s family dinner(!). Of course, I would’ve stepped up in a heartbeat…I’m just saying I’m relieved I didn’t have to. (Youngest child, did you already guess?)
The combo of ice storm and head cold gave me a chance to unplug for a day (*cough* or more) and read something outside of my work. Glad to get a chance to enjoy Gillian Flynn’s suspense-filled Gone Girl before the movie comes out this year (the books are always better, aren’t they?). But I have to give five thumbs up to Canadian writer Joseph Boyden’s historical novel The Orenda. Our country’s magazine about books, Quill & Quire, described it as “Boyden’s struggle—as a writer, a Canadian, and a human being—to reconcile the irreconcilable.” It succeeded in transporting me to a different world, and as hard as that world was, I didn’t want to leave it. It’s bittersweet when books like that end and kick you out.
However, I live in a far more…comfortable…world than the Hurons and Iroquois did in the early 17th century facing European colonialism. And from the cozy vantage of my home office, as I listen to three cats destroy more of the Christmas tree out in the living room, I am happy to predict good things ahead for Harlequin Heartwarming in 2014.
Good things like the news our editorial assistant, Claire Caldwell, already broke before Christmas: RT magazine is reviewing us again (hopefully starting this month) in their online format. To even more press in the year ahead.
Good things like the Harlequin UK and Australia offices testing our books in print at retail this year—can North America be far behind? Fingers crossed.
And good things like the continued publication of beautiful romances that live up to the Heartwarming promise of unexpected and gripping “clean” storytelling. And this month’s lineup, which runs the gamut from deeply emotional to quirky with a comical edge, starts us off strong.
January’s four books represent a terrific combination of new voices (first-time Harlequin authors Rula Sinara, whose unpublished stories I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past, and Amy Vastine, whose story came to us through our So You Think You Can Write contest) and established voices (original stories from Mary Anne Wilson, whose refreshed American Romances were part of our Heartwarming pilot program, and Marie Ferrarella, who has published a jaw-dropping number of books with Harlequin across a handful of different lines…I’m not sure exactly where this January title puts her…but over 300, if you can believe it!).
We may have launched Heartwarming original stories in 2013, but 2014 will be our first full year of new books! It’s exciting and daunting. Could there be a better way to start a new year? Oh yes: with cats in Santa hats, maybe.
To health, happiness and good stories ahead!