Friday, March 7, 2014

Gotta be spring somewhere…by Victoria Curran

It’s still freezing outside and the mounds of snow piled up on both sides of my driveway haven’t melted at all but I can’t help feeling as if spring is here. Maybe it’s the sunshine despite the freeze? Maybe it’s that I was just in Phoenix for a multi-genre writers conference, and the weather respite reminded me of all my March Break trips to Florida to visit my snowbird parents, which was a sure sign of the end of winter…. 


While I was in Arizona, Pamela Tracey and former Superromance author Linda Style arranged for a dinner at Monti’s on the Salt River in Tempe, a steakhouse renowned for being housed in the 1871 adobe hacienda built by the founder of Tempe (now a suburb of Phoenix…someone correct me if I’m wrong?). It was a pleasure to spend the evening with (see picture, bottom left to right) Pamela, Linda, Marion Ekholm, Superromance author Tara Taylor Quinn and her husband Tim.
 

The next day Pamela, Linda and I toured Sedona from sun up to past sundown, which is a terrifying thing to do to a Toronto editor because we were up in the red rock hills (mountains?) above the near ghost town of Jerome when the sun began to set. This caused heart palpitations as Linda rocketed around mountain curves to try to make it down before dark (okay, it felt like she was rocketing). I compare this “leisurely” drive to the time a bus driver hurtled me around the Amalfi cliffs in Italy years ago. Thank you, Pamela and Linda for showing me Hollywood’s classic cowboy country!

Maybe it feels like spring because of the release of four new March Heartwarmings???


Before I talk about the books, though, I’d like to take a moment to remember agent Pat Teal and author Aimée Thurlo. I’m so glad that, because of my job, I get to meet such wonderful people. They will be sorely missed. I hope you’ll all check in on Sunday when the Heartwarming authors share memories of Aimée.

I’m pleased to say that an author with us has a huge milestone this month.  Loree Lough’s 100th book published is the third and final book in her Heartwarming miniseries A Child to Love, Saving Alyssa. The Harlequin Community is going to be celebrating her major career accomplishment on the boards the week of March 24. The link isn’t active yet, but please add your congrats that week at:


Editor Laura Barth tells me nothing but good things about Cerella Sechrist’s The Paris Connection (a standalone, but loosely connected to her first book, December 2013’s Gentle Persuasion) and Karen Rock’s second Heartwarming, His Hometown Girl. She keeps me on top of the review buzz that’s building (Karen, you are a social media wizard), and I’m so happy for these two! Can’t wait for more books from them.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Carol Ross to the fold with her first book for us, Mountains Apart. (Is that not a gorgeous cover or what???) Editor Kathryn Lye is quite proud of the story and we’re hoping to announce more strong Heartwarmings from Carol in the near future.

Be brave, everybody, spring is around the corner. Thanks for reading Heartwarming, and many many thanks for writing them!

Victoria

38 comments:

  1. It sounds like a lovely trip - despite curves in near darkness and what was clearly a weekend of too much good food (I'm sure you hiked all those steak calories off). March is another month with a strong line-up and beautiful covers and despite our hearts aching, we march on with our losses near our hearts.

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    1. Well, I am a non-meat-eater, so the big question is: Did I break down and eat a cow or did I stick to my no-kill policy? Hopefully Pamela will never tell... (Editorial Assistant Claire Caldwell has been a vegetarian longer than me and is better at it.)

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    2. This is a drastic shift. So are you vegan or vegetarian?

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    3. My lips are sealed!
      P.S. PO box number to follow - send money

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    4. Pamela, no!

      Melinda, I snapped one night a couple of years ago after watching yet another documentary on the future of food, and decided to try not to support the mass production (?) of cheap meat. I was going to try organic, local alternatives--but they're very hard to find and even harder to prove the animals live a better life than the ones in the US Midwest stockyards being fatted up on grain. So I just decided to kill veggies instead. Mostly.

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    5. I feel too humble to call myself vegetarian, so non-meat-eater suits. I still steal their milk and eggs. Baby steps.

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  2. Beautiful photos! When my husband retires, we want to move to Arizona:) It sounds like a great trip-I'm glad you were able to take some time to enjoy yourself and meet with some authors, and weren't just cooped up inside the conference:) Though, I love conferences, so I'm sure that was good as well:) Spring better hurry up and get here-my husband is out of town for work, and I'm stuck shoveling all the snow that decided to appear once Reagan boarded a plane lol! Also, my birthday is the 22nd-I just barely squeezed in to be considered a spring baby, and not a winter baby.
    The March covers look great as usual! And I can't wait to read them.

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    1. I'd never been to Arizona--spectacular. I have a love/hate thing with conferences. They're a lot of work and workshops take their toll on me (I get very anxious). But they're also energizing and such a great way to connect with like-minded writers, editors and agents. Glad I went! Glad it's over! (And happy birthday to come, Jen, if I forget on the actual date--I'm notorious.)

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  3. Victoria, I'm so glad you got to come to AZ and warm up. Although Sedona and Jerome can get snow. But when the sun comes out even with the snow it's gorgeous. Sedona is a vortex and people say they feel a sense of well-being when they visit there. I know people who go every year for renewal. The book covers are getting more beautiful all the time.
    I'm glad we've set aside Sunday as our memorial.

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    1. Sorry I missed you in Arizona, Roz. Pamela told me she's prone to tour visitors down your way, but Linda and I had worked on a Superromance miniseries she'd set in Sedona and I was anxious to see it. So familiar from Western movies. A bit surreal being surrounded by the red rocks. I went from "polar vortex", which is the term of the season up in Canada, to Arizona vortex. Quite different, I think.

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  4. I love Arizona! My grandparents retired there and we used to visit once a year when I was young. My husband and I did the trip to Sedona when our oldest son was only a few months old. We stopped in Mesa to visit my grandmother, drove through Sedona to see the red rocks, then on to the Grand Canyon. It was a great trip! The March books all look like so much fun. I told Carol yesterday that I want to read her book simply because the cover is so darn adorable! I'm also excited to see that Heartwarming paperbacks are going to be available on Amazon as well as from the Harlequin site. Great news!!

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    1. Wait, Amy! I am checking on the news you've just announced about Heartwarming paperbacks on Amazon as I type. This is news to me, actually. Stay tuned!

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    2. Okay, guys, the editorial team's preliminary research indicates that Amy is correct! This from Dana and Claire: looks like "the UK site WILL ship print Heartwarming books to the U.S.. Looks like Amazon.com will send the Mills&Boon version, too."

      I've got to clarify details on this--but, Amy, thanks for the heads-up! The more I learn, the less I know.

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  5. It was a real treat tripping about with Linda and Victoria. The only thing we missed was the ghost town. By the time we got there, it was closed. Oh, that give me an idea for a book. I mean, really, can a ghost town close?

    My favorite memory of Victoria is of her looking at property for sale in Jerome. Oh,you want to know the property? It was a tiny piece of hill with only about a dozen boards and bricks remaining of a house. There was no way to get to the house. Maybe we should have purchased a rope to climb down.

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    1. Shoot. We have a picture of that prime piece of real estate. I'm going to see if Dana can help me post it. I guess I can't post a pic in the comment section, can I? It had a terrific view plus there were those dozen boards.

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    2. My step-sister purchased a house on an acre of land for $18,000. But I use the term "house" loosely. The realtor recommended she condemn it. Sounds like just the place Victoria was looking at.

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  6. Victoria - what beautiful photos. How great that you got to connect with some of our warm and wonderful women. Spring's coming. My forsythia is full and gorgeous and there are crocuses and daffodils everywhere. Missing Pat something awful, and regret that I didn't get to know Aimee better, but very grateful for the 'bouquet' of my Heartwarming sisters. (That includes you, of course, even though you're admin.) Ha!

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    1. I envy you the crocuses and daffodils, Muriel. And I feel for you over the loss of Pat. So hard. (Plus, I love being called "admin"!) Spring is most definitely coming.

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  7. Wow, what gorgeous scenery! Sounds like you had a blast, Victoria! We have friends who moved to AZ last year and they've been asking us to visit. Sedona is definitely on my list of places to see. Now I'm intrigued by this property Pam mentioned that caught your eye. Might be the result of watching too much HGTV, but it sounds great to me LOL! Bet it has a great view :).

    And congrats to all the March releases! They all look beautiful. Super congrats to Loree hitting her 100th book!!!

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    1. The view was all it had, Rula. So cool. Meanwhile, I belatedly commented on your post yesterday--I totally want to be you and raise chickens in my yard. Hey, how are your cats not eating your baby chickens?

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    2. Thanks! I saw your comment and left you a lengthy one...there is a chicken suitable for Canada ;). Right now, I have the chicks in a rubbermaid tub with proper bedding/heat lamp etc...in my bathroom. I wanted to be able to keep a closer eye on them the first few weeks. I made a screen cover to keep them from flying out and for protection, but I've also been shutting my bathroom door so that the cats can't get to them. I'll do the same when I move them to a larger box and set them up in the basement (they'll soon get too big for my bathroom or their current housing). Their brooder temp has to change by about 5 degrees a week until it gets down from 95 to 75. By then, spring days will be here and I'll set them up outside. It's too cold now. And I'll have to build a secure area where my dogs, cats and local predators ( we have fox and hawks) can't get to them...So worth it though! You should look into it! You'd make a great chicken mama :).

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    3. Um, I think I'm too lazy for all this!

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  8. Oooh, I love Arizona! And I'd take that heat over the snow weather in PA any day! :) It's all beautiful red rock and gorgeous blue sky. And spending time with Harlequin authors? It doesn't get any better!

    Thanks for the cover love and your sweet words, Victoria! I'm with you - hanging in there until spring arrives! ;)

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    1. Shall I tell you a funny thing about your cover, Cerella, in case Laura didn't share it with you? Or maybe it's best that what we discuss behind the scenes stays behind the scenes. Because your cover is fabulous and I don't want to make you think any differently! Hm.... (I'm such a tease.)

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  9. I've always wanted to see Sedona--though this time of year sounds like a good time to make the trip. (For an anti-heat person.) Envying the ghost town visit! Pamela, if you go back, you have to post about that! LOL on scanning the real estate, Victoria. I get so enthusiastic about every new place I visit, I always have to see if we could live there! Boards and a view--your prospective new abode has definite character and possibilities! :)

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    1. Honestly, it's so frustrating that I can't post the realtor pic! It's classic. If I buy this extreme fixer-upper, we can all retire there. As long as there are no restrictions on building up because the size of the lot is about the size of a chicken coop. Also, I think everyone in Jerome is crafty/New Agey. Unless I've got that wrong, Pamela? In which case, Anna, you would have to bring something to the table upon retirement. Possibly being a writer is enough. You could come but you can't retire.

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    2. Victoria, I built a two-story treehouse, complete with kitchen (for the storing of thermos and picnic lunch), dining room, and ballroom (seriously--huge area that fit my three brothers, two cousins, and me for change-the-world chat) when I was a kid. I may be your secret weapon if all we have are boards! Plus--I can knit and crochet! :-)

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    3. Done. You are most welcome. Especially if Roz is being serious and we may get snow. We'll need you knitting sweaters.

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    4. And Rula now knows all there is to know about building chicken coops!

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    5. Ha! Muriel, I must get started on a replica for my chicks lol.

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  10. The majority are artsy crafty, but not all. It's also Arizona's biker haven. There's a huge gathering, can't remember when, and the whole town fills up. I was there once, by accident LOL. I walked around with my mouth open. It was like being in a movie.

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    1. Are these scary bikers, do we need to build defences around our Heartwarming Arizona retirement home?

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  11. Hi all. Linda Style....Superromance author and one reprint Heartwarming author here! :-) We did have a fabulous time getting together with the other authors and then on the trip to Sedona and Jerome. If anyone really does want to see the rest of the photos (and the property to buy) you can see them on Shutterfly at https://sedonaaz2242014.shutterfly.com/ Once on the site, just click on Photos & videos at the top and you can see a slideshow. The weather was perfect and the roads not scary at all. Bwhahahah. Sorry, Victoria. ;-) Jerome is a mile high in the mountains and there were switchbacks, but not too bad if you didn't look down. We did find a few shops open, but no bikers...and no, they're not scary bikers. Usually the kind that work nine to five and bike on the weekends. I still think that property is a good idea!

    What a great batch of covers you have coming up. Absolutely beautiful. If you make Jerome your Heartwarming Arizona home, I'm coming over to the light side.

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    1. Linda took the fantastic pictures--thank you! And yes, I have to say our art directors do a great job on the covers. Which is only fitting because they do justice to the stories inside the covers. Thanks for stopping by, Linda, and thanks again for showing me Sedona.

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    2. Stunning photos!! Thanks for the link, Linda! Loved the photography and scenery...especially the old mill. You're making me want to move. But I'm still laughing at the real estate sign and and 'ruins' behind it. That photo should be shown on The Tonight Show...along with the 'open for business' one!

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  12. My cousin lives in Surprise, AZ, and I keep promising to visit. After seeing your gorgeous photos, I'm thinking next year, I'll make good on the threat!

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  13. I admire people who can survive cold climates. Here in California we begin to whine and suffer mental collapse at the mention of below zero temps!

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