I think most of you have seen the news by now, but let me back up for a minute and be a little girly.

Seventeen years ago next week, when I was seventeen years old, my mom passed away suddenly. It’s a hard age to lose your mom, and I was just coming out of that difficult teen period and just beginning to be able to hold civil conversations with my mom again, when she died. But though I’ve now lived just as many years without her as I did with her, there are still memories I will never shake and she still contributed to who I am today.

One of those ways, unbeknown to her at the time, was my love of romances. I still recall the trips I’d take to the used bookstore with her, where she’d trade in a brown grocery bag full of Harlequin category books, and get another bag in return. She’d browse the shelves with a list in hand of the numbers she hadn’t gotten yet, and off we’d go with that bag of books, which would set next to her recliner until she’d gone through it. After she’d read through them, they didn’t actually go back to the bookstore, but moved on to my grandmother and aunt, who traded a similar bag back to my mom in return.

I have always been an avid (and precocious) reader, and in fourth grade, I snuck into that brown bag of Harlequin category romances and pulled a couple out. Hey, it was a large bag and she wouldn’t miss them as long as I returned them quickly, right? That night, and for countless nights in the following years, I read those Harlequin romances into the early hours of the morning, often by flashlight. My love of romance was born with those purloined books, and it hasn’t abated since.

So it’s with great pleasure that I get to say today* that I’ve accepted a position as executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s new digital-only press. Some things come full circle, and I’d like to think this is one of them. Thanks, Mom.

*this links to a post I did for Dear Author, with more on my emotional journey in the past months

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