Friday, January 3, 2014

Santa Hats & Good Reading…by Victoria Curran, senior editor

Happy New Year, everybody! I’m writing this from the warmth of my little bungalow in the suburbs north of Toronto, nursing my traditional holiday cold along with the last precious days of my vacation.

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!

VC


26 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Victoria! I hope you feel better soon!

    Here's to all the wonderful things happening to Heartwarming in 2014 (thanks to the energy and hard work the Heartwarming team has put into the line). Thank you all :).

    And your cat pics rock, lol. They're all gorgeous, but the top right one stands out as quite the character. "I am king, I say! Bow before me and state your request. Hmph. I may consider it." LOL, couldn't resist. I look at that pic and that's what I hear ;).

    Feel better! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait a minute! Picture magic. He's been ousted lol. Still another adorable pic. ;)

      Delete
    2. So Dana Grimaldi was helping me with the photoshopped cat pics and she couldn't tell the tabbies apart (I keep saying all short-haired black cats look alike and everybody at work tells me I'm cat-racist...but Dana can't see tabby details!). I had her pull one of the Talullah pics for a Petey. The "king" pic you liked so much was of my little girl. Happy New Year, Rula!

      Delete
    3. LOL. I'll switch 'king' to 'queen' then ;). Love the name Talullah!

      Delete
  2. Hi Victoria! I'm so glad to hear that the storms didn't make you have to host lol-I 'hosted' this year-of course, meaning that we were physically at my place, but my mom did all the cooking lol:) The only way to host;)
    SOOO excited to hear about the good things happening this year for the line-thank you!
    I hope you feel better soon and stay safe for the remainder of this awful weather we call winter here in Canada!
    And I totally hear you about the cats-we adopted a kitten before Christmas and he set up camp in our tree immediately once it was decorated:) They are cute though!
    Hugs and best wishes for the New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy New Year, Jen! I have always been the Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas host but this was my teen rebellion year, I guess. It did seem slightly ironic that the year I off-loaded all responsibility came close to being the year it all came back at me tenfold! Phew. Dodged that one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You lucky duck! I had Christmas dinner at my house. And, wouldn't you know it, Hubby had purchased this new Baked Potato Glove. Me, I'm was going to cook them in the oven, traditional style. No, we had to use the glove, and I served hard potatoes for Christmas. I got a few looks from relatives while Hubby managed to look innocent.

    What an awesome line-up of books. I can hardly wait to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A baked potato glove? Now that's very interesting. Must go away and google that. If such a thing as a mashed potato mitten existed I'd be all over it. Happy New Year, Pamela!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Victoria, I'm sorry your vacation is ending with a cold and cold weather too. But it's nice you didn't lose power and that your family got it back in time to host their dinners. Some unlucky people in our Northeast still are in the dark. Love the cat pictures. I have Gone Girl in my TBR stack. I believe most books are better than the movies, but my daughter and her twins tell me Catching Fire movie was better than the book---and they all loved the trilogy as I did. Happy New Year, looking for many days of good reading from Heartwarming line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops, Roz, I hate to tell you this but your daughter's wrong. Her twins, too. (A mom's always the last to know.) I loved the movie Catching Fire precisely because I'd read the books first. I could fill in all the missing blanks as I watched, while friends of mine who haven't read the books found it boring, slow and flat. There were just so many characters to cover in book 2, the movie had to forfeit a lot of the subtlety. Read the books first! (And tell your daughter I'm up for an arm-wrestling decide-all match...and that I'm weak.)

      Delete
    2. I've read all the Hunger Games books but still need to see the movies.

      I remember going to see the movie Dune with all my friends. They hated it; I loved it. I'd read the book and could fill in the missing blanks.

      Delete
  7. Happy New Year, Victoria! Glad you're warm and toasty up there. Chicago is FREEZING today. The perfect day to stay inside and watch Cupcake Wars or write (I should say that, right?) I am so excited to be part of the Heartwarming team and am thrilled that there is still hope we'll be in stores. It's the number one question I get. People are looking for them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year back at you, Amy! I love the journey your book The Weather Girl took to becoming a Heartwarming. It's got such an appealingly quirky tone, I think readers are going to be pulling for Summer and Travis as soon as the seemingly golden boy sweeps everyone off their feet...except for Summer!

      I do wish we could tell readers we were available in all retail channels, but we're building to it--and I hope we're making it as easy as we can for them to get your first Heartwarming without print books in physical stores. Let me know if there's anything else we can do to help.

      Hm: Cupcake Wars or soak in the tub...

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy New Year, Victoria :) I'm sorry to hear about your cold and hope you 're feeling better. The silver lining to that is to stay under the covers and read! I adore GONE GIRL! What a fiendishly clever plot with such nuanced characters. I just came up for air after reading Patrick Rothfuss' fantasy series The KINGKILLER CHRONICLES books 1&2 but-alas - bk 3 isn't written yet... Something Patrick is starting to sound a bit defensive about in his blogs. But he's created a wholly original, highly detailed and elaborate world with an epic plot, so I 'll give him a pass- until Spring and then I'm writing him! I read all genres and a good storyteller will get me everytime! This month's Heartearmings are no exception and cheers to you , Kathryn, Dana, Laura and your editorial team for giving readers such wonderful, unique and dynamic reading choices!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Karen! And thank you so much for a fantasy recommendation. I'll google Patrick Rothfuss immediately. Although it may be several months before I read something other than romance again... (I broke down and joined the masses writing George R.R. Martin about delivering his fourth book--go, Karen! Harass that writer.) Thanks for being part of the Heartwarming team!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for making me part of this wonderful team, Victoria :) I couldn't be happier!

      Delete
  10. Happy New Year Victoria. Get well wishes sent your way! And I must say, I love cats in hats. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks, Tara! Happy New Year to you and yours, too. (The King Talullah pic really was the best--I should've kept it up!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow - A lot going on while I was grocery shopping! Victoria, you seem to have a panther in a cat suit, an ingénue who knows how to take advantage of light and shadow, and a diva in a tiara! I totally relate to her - or is it him? I'm confused about who's who, but love that you're surrounded by them. The new Heartwarmings all sound wonderful. I think we should look for a giant commune somewhere, write our little hearts out together, and take over the publishing world. I'm dreaming big in 2014!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Okay, I'm in for a commune (except please don't make me write...or be the commune cook!). Could we choose someplace south where the winters are balmy? I like the idea, Muriel! Happy New Year to you and Ron.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Belize? The south of France? The Seychelles? (When we make a fortune, we can hide it there, too!)

      Delete
  14. Happy New Year Everyone! I love the line up for January. I also love the cat pictures. I could never get any of our cats to wear a hat long enough to take a picture.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Looks like a great year for Heartwarming!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the cat pictures! And I'm so thrilled to be in the lineup for the year. I'm also kind of relieved to be spending the winter on Pensacola Beach. It's windy here, and chilly, but when I look at the weather at home, I really feel pretty good about it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Its really nice. I found some good blogs for reading. I make a blog for reading. Its really interesting blog with good content. http://www.articles4al.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete