Friday, January 9, 2015

We Need Romance…or Else



by Senior Editor Victoria Curran

Do you remember the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, where Clarence the angel shows Jimmy Stewart what life would’ve been like if he’d never been born, and it builds to a melodramatic crescendo where Jimmy discovers his beloved wife is (wait for it): a spinster librarian!!!! Oh, the horror.
That part of the movie always makes me roll my eyes. It’s the most dated bit, in my admittedly spinsterish opinion. But this past week has made me believe that I’m living Mary’s alternative life—albeit yesterday’s librarian is today’s romance editor—and I want Jimmy Stewart back to set me straight! This week has clearly showed me that I’m living the ominous “or else” that comes from not having enough romance in my life.

My week started when I caved in and agreed to foster the homeless ten-year-old Balinese cat that had lived in the shed of my brother’s mother-in-law, recently passed. That brings this singleton of a certain age up to cat number five. I can only justify it by repeating the phrase “only fostering the cat” like a mantra.

As I gradually encouraged the cat out of the spare bedroom into the rest of the house, my enormous rescue tom cat from the summer, Will Feral, attacked. Clearly, he is intent on murdering the intruder. So little Kaya is back under the spare bed with the door firmly shut. And the other three cats have all had psychotic breaks and are randomly attacking one another.

At home editing during this perfect cat storm, I suddenly lost my online edit, which is already very late. And my new $850 iphone went dark. And I realized that the ceiling has begun to leak in the spare bedroom, which for some reason feels cold and now I’m wondering if shutting the door 24/7 for a week is going to bring the house down on all of us. Oh, and the newcomer keeps staring at a point on the wall where there is nothing, indicating I have a ghost.

So when the managing editor team found my lost line edit yesterday and then IT fixed my iphone, I realized that this is why we need romance. We need a partner to kiss us—which I should point out is not what the managing editors or the IT guy did—and stop us from adopting five cats and call a reputable roofer to figure out if the chimney caulking needs a fix or if we’ve got an ice dam and to help exorcize the house.

And without that guy in my life right now, at least I can read about other people’s romances!!! Thank goodness for small mercies. And thanks also to Marie Ferrarella, Shirley Hailstock, Muriel Jensen and Catherine Lanigan for four emotional, romantic Heartwarming books to get me past the leaking house and perfect cat storm.

I’d also just like to say goodbye to the Roman family in Marie’s Saving Home, the last of her Ladera by the Sea miniseries. I hate it when an author’s connected stories comes to an end. You get so invested in the world of those characters, four books just doesn’t seem like enough!

On the bright side, we’ve got In My Dreams, the first of Muriel Jensen’s Manning Family Reunion trilogy about an incredibly dysfunctional family and the struggle to reunite, as well as Catherine Lanigan’s  A Fine Year for Love in her continuing series Shores of Indian Lake.

Finally, I’d like to give Shirley Hailstock a big welcome to Heartwarming with her story Summer on Kendall Farm. Shirley comes to us from Kimani Press and we’re delighted to have her book in the lineup.
 
We really do need romance. Or else. (Can’t help it: still rolling my eyes, despite the ghost and leaking house!)

Best in 2015,
Victoria

42 comments:

  1. Victoria, I think your recent events is why someone coined the phrase: "when it rains it pours". But I know we'll all send you hugs until you find that special someone. I hope there's a cat man out there looking for a roof to repair, or a phone to fix. Looking forward to getting my January books. The lineup is great.

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    1. I can't believe you haven't received the January books yet! Frustrating. And yes, send me Jimmy. I suggested I could be a second wife to any of the IT guys yesterday but they're very busy. Oh, and I like dogs, too.

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  2. Oh, Victoria, I think Roz just wrote your book! :-) Until I read about her roof-repairing cat man, I had but one thing to say--there's not a chance in the world I could just foster that beautiful kitty! Kaya would already be a member of the family!

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    1. She's amazing, little Kaya. But I can't stand that she's stuck in a small, cold bedroom. She used to live in a shed in a beautiful forest...

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    2. We have the same problem when my daughter brings her delightful kitten home. She got him a month after we got Georgie, but apparently Georgie had already forgotten his siblings. He doesn't love Cooper as he should, and it's sort of horrifying. You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone. You have a good heart!

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  3. Man, I feel bad for what you're dealing with, but you had me laughing out loud with the way you put it all. :)

    Of course, I have a cat that wall stares. Must look up the number for Ghost Busters...;)

    Congrats to all the January releases!

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    1. Don't feel bad for me...except maybe the ghost thing...every day is an adventure!

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  4. If I wasn't married to a guy with severe cat allergies, there would likely be a few felines draping themselves over furniture (and me) here, too. Kudos to you for providing homes for so many purr-ers!

    Hope by now the leak is repaired and the newcomer has joined the rest of that fuzzy gang, prowling the rest of the house! :-)

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    1. Interestingly, I am allergic to cats, Loree. Doesn't seem to stop me. Also interestingly, I only get mild symptoms around my own cats and only on occasion. But within half an hour of being at my sister's or at my regular cat-sitting gig, and I can't see, my eyes are so inflamed and weepy. So tell your guy to man up! :)

      Was I supposed to deal with the leak right away??? (Another reason we need romance: urgent motivation.)

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    2. We need romance (or else) and friends who make us brave! But just in case, I'm stocking up on Visine, allergy meds, and tissues. :-)

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  5. Oh, Victoria! Bless you for taking in the cat! I guess because strays live on their wits and have to be defensive, they protect themselves from all intruders. I wonder if you just kept all doors open when you were around if they'd all adjust?? Probably too much to hope for. Actually - I'm writing your story as a side project just for myself because it's been haunting me. (Yes, cats stare at me, too.) Only she's a writer of Regencies with a ghost living in a period hair she bought for inspiration. I'll make it turn out well for you.

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    1. A ghost living in a period hair...I want to read that, Muriel!

      I just got home early (belated Christmas lunch for Toronto Series editors) and let one of my non-feral cats mingle with Kaya and she attacked him. So...maybe Will Feral wasn't the instigator of the earlier cat attack after all. Hm.

      Note to author Jen Snow: I'm still editing, I'm still editing!

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    2. That was supposed to be a period CHAIR. Sorry.

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    3. Oh no! I have period chairs. I was hoping it was a period hair, which I in no way have...scary.

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  6. Victoria, you are a good soul. I have done the stray cat collecting--oops, I mean saving myself. It is a challenge--but so rewarding. Four was the most we had at one time, plus two that we fed on the porch but never came inside. As for your ghost issue--I had a perfectly reasonable, ultra-intelligent border collie who would go into my in-laws house and head straight for their spare bedroom, look up, and growl at the wall. Freaked me out. She never did this anywhere else. Clearly, she could have earned a spot on one of those ghost hunting shows.

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    1. I think my house was built in 1967, so the possibilities of ghosts tied to the building are limited. However, I do like to buy from online auctions. Never bought a period wig, though. Or anything earlier than mid-century Danish.... But yes, the animal growling at something you can't see...would make me never go to my in-laws' house! Ever again.

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  7. I too have a cat that stares intently at some point beyond me. Can't decide whether I have a ghost in my house--I have heard murmuring voices now and then--or she's hearing the surround sound speaker. About your leak in the spare bedroom: I woke up during a storm here one night to find water dripping down the bathroom wall. Turns out there was a gasket around the vent pipe in the roof that needed to be replaced. Quick fix, and pretty cheap. I'm hoping that's what your leak means too.

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    1. Thanks, Leigh: quick and cheap sound wonderful! My brother out west sent me detailed instructions about how to shimmy up onto the roof and hammer down some .026 gauge flashing, blah-blah-blah, and advised me to take a phone with me as the snow would make the chimney area slippery. Is wiseacre one word or two?

      Meanwhile, if I heard murmuring voices in my home that didn't sound similar to "meow" or "purr" or "screech", I would have 100% grey hair.

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  8. My cats are outside cats and there's very little humor or drama, although the one who was starved as a kitten still wants to eat everyone else's food--they used to eat out of a common dish, but since I couldn't get her to stop sitting in the middle of it, each of them now has his or her own bowl. Like everyone else, I'm glad you rescued Kaya and I'm sorry about everything else. I'll be sorrier when I stop laughing. Really.

    A great lineup this month!

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    1. Ah. Starved as a kitten leaves very little room for humour. Very sad. Will Feral has switched from 100% outdoor guy to "I'm not going out there, you crazy?" He, too, has an eating disorder, which took me too long to realize. He will also eat himself to explosion. I'm back-pedaling in how I feed him now.

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  9. Never thought I'd be a cat person, but I'm on my 2nd rescue kitty. :-) Laughed out loud at your problems. Sorry, but you shouldn't write so funny. If I find Jimmy, I'll send him your way.

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    1. Thanks for keeping an eye out for my Mr. Stewart!

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  10. My 6'4" state trooper single dad cousin is handsome and Mr. Fix-it ... Just a thought, V! Great post. You had me chuckling all the way through. Now you must be my next romance heroine. I'm inspired by that big heart of yours :-)

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    1. Does this state trooper single dad cousin need to meet me before we become engaged, or can we move this thing along? (It would be an honour to be someone's next romance heroine! Although the backstory possibilities you might create are terrifying.)

      ***Oh, by the way, I just had lunch beside your dear editor Laura Barth and she thinks she may want to try fostering Kaya. Note she didn't say "try adopting" Kaya, but I'll take it! We're both going to sleep on the idea over the weekend and hopefully hammer out a plan to break this cat out of bedroom solitary. Cross your fingers.

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    2. I know Steven will take my word on what a gem you are ;) Only problem is... His wife left him with three beautiful daughters and an adorable son... Too many kids to tempt women long term- no matter his dimples- sigh* I really love him and hopefully he will find a woman to fill that big heart of his and help him with a real life "Full House' and I'm so excited Laura is taking kitty :-) She'll be an amazing pet mom. As for your backstory, Victoria, I will def consult with you!!

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    3. Ya know? The wife and mother who abandons her kids never rings true to me when I read it in a romance proposal. I quite often give the author behind it a hard time to justify the ex-wife's motivations, make her read fleshed out. And here you're giving me a real-life example. I just find this "back story" if you will, fascinating because I find it so hard to believe.... Wow.

      BTW: My driveway has been ploughed the past two days I've arrived home. Could it be Divorced Guy Living In His Mom's Basement kitty corner from me? I have a secret snow-plower. Not a bad thing.

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    4. Hehe- I like the secret snow plougher :) My friend Cathy Mann says men fall into three categories when it comes to showing their love - words, gifts, or deeds. While they can do all three one will be dominant which made sense to me because my husband is the snow plough kind of guy- a man of action! Those are keepers :)

      It's interesting that you have a hard time buying a wife giving up her kids... Laura had a hard time with the mother of one of my heroines who had done that so we took it out. I think maybe- as a former teacher- I have seen so many cases of this that it doesn't surprise me, although I still find it hard to believe that mothers could be so heartless. We all knew, as educators, that the kids being raised without a father would sometimes be troubled, but the kids rejected by their mothers are deeply disturbed- the hardest cases- and most often acting out- cutting themselves, suicide, addiction, violence against others... And this was in middle school in upstate New York! These were the kids I loved the most, even when none of the other teachers could tolerate them, because I know if we can't understand why their mom wouldn't want them, they can't other than to decide they are unlovable because mom's just aren't supposed to act that way... It broke my heart to see these broken kids and I always stayed after school because, more often then not, they were the ones who would stop by to chat with their teacher, even after they'd gone on to high school.

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    5. Oh- and for authentic reasons I've encountered through teaching for a mother abandoning her children are: addiction, wanting to be with another man who doesn't want kids, money issues, mental health issues (depression and bipolar most often which is not- by any stretch- to say all moms with mental health challenges will do this!) and as sad and selfish as it sounds, fed up with the responsibility and wanting a new start... I met lots of grandparents raising their daughters' children or single dads or foster parents and these were the reasons they shared with me. Just thought I'd share in case you get proposals with these issues. You know, it's funny, in this age of equality we still give men more of a pass in parenting (or lack of) in that we more readily accept the selfish deadbeat dad, but to accept that from a woman? We don't give them the same understanding (which isn't to say approval at all) but to see that both genders are capable of being equally horrible (although I have more empathy for the addicts and mentally ill-,though it doesn't excuse them not getting treatment for their kids- but some would just rather take an easier path- as tragic as it is) Okay, I'll stop now... except to say that the harshest thing these kids can hear is disbelief that their mom left them without a logical reason because the only thing that makes sense to them is that that reason is them... These women are self-centered, narcissistic and sometimes ill... there is no logic a good, kind-hearted person can fathom but we know it happens. Wish it didn't but how validating for kids or adults who went through it as a child to read a story where another person had a similar childhood and realize they aren't alone in having been abandoned by a mother without a logical reason or noble one- yet that character in the book is clearly wonderful and worthy of a mother's love- ergo- so is the reader :)

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    6. You know what I think it is? Sometimes truth seems stranger than fiction. And an author has to work harder to make something that's so hard to believe...believable in a work of fiction.

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    7. Wow! That's it, Victoria... To make what's incomprehensible to most make sense... Now back to fixing you up with my cousin... lol

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  11. I wonder what Jean Cocteau would say about your day?

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    1. Ah, Jean Cocteau. Such a cat person. See my reply to comment above, Jeannie, I may have a home for Kaya with editor Laura Barth. My first reaction was sadness, to be frank. But five cats is...two cats toward insanity. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  12. I laughed (a lot) . . . but felt guilty about it.

    I am so sorry by the challenges you have faced so far this year, but I trust the rest of 2015 will be a good one for you!

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    1. I'll take animal challenges over human challenges any day of the week, Kate! By the way, if we need to reconstruct the roof, me and my brood are moving in with you. Just a heads up.

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  13. The cat-fostering bit sounds so much like a fellow barista friend, who is still "fostering" a mama cat, Corabelle, after several months of trying to find a home for her. She insists Corabelle isn't a permanent addition to her home. I keep telling her that she'll still be insisting that two years from now. ;) Great post, Victoria!

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    1. Well, if violence didn't erupt every time I open the spare bedroom door, I would have agreed with you. (After you snap and adopt your third cat, what's a fourth and a fifth?) But thank God for your editor Laura Barth. I really, really hope she and Kaya are a perfect fit. Because nobody but me would ever adopt Will Feral. That, I can guarantee.

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  14. What a great post. I'm a cat lover so I admire your "fostering" of Kaya. She's a beauty! And although you made us all grin, I hope things get back to normal for you.

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    1. Thanks, Tara. For me "normal" will be when I send Jen Snow her very late line edit and she forgives me! So...close...now... Have a great weekend.

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  15. Years ago I brought home a four week kitten I named Aquila. My two year old female Priscilla thought the little male arch enemy number one. For two weeks she literally beat the XXX out of him (Really, I was cleaning it up.) I decided to give the kitten back. That night, she stopped beating him. They went on to have a happy married life of about 16 year and two batches of kittens (I know; I know).

    I've had maybe 20 cats in my life. Aquila will forever be the one of my heart. I had him leash trained. He traveled in the car with me.

    Hmmm, Tyre, my seven-toed wonder, is pretty special though.

    A home without a cat... can't imagine

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    1. I'm afraid that if I just open all the doors and let the beating up begin, it will be like Rochester's wife escaping from the attic and burning down the house. Of course, that would solve the leaking roof.... Hm.

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  16. Oh Victoria - I think you just inspired us all to write the perfect ending to your story. You are a sweetheart for taking care of those animals. We know you also give water to dogs who need it as well ;)

    Here's to happy endings for you all!

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  17. Well I am just coming up for air from my line edit, but I have to say this is the best place to be because I was able to read not only Victoria's fabulous post but the beginnings of a possible hook up with Karen's cousin? Possible? What a story that is. Now, I, for one, can't imagine a more perfect scene than all those lovely cats ( I'm a cat lover, too) making friends with four heartsick, abandoned children. Thats joy.
    Also I'm with Karen on this. I have encountered many kids/teens/ young adults and mature individuals who were abandoned by their mothers. Just took off and left. And it's happening more if you ask me. Raising a family is tough and we don't teach parenting skills in school or anyplace else. Being a parent is hard core life. But none of us prepare our own children for it. Okay I'll get off my soapbox. Victoria, I Love your sharing your personal woes and joys with us!!

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