Opening Editorial by Tina Smith
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since Lezli and I started editing Heart’s Kiss magazine. In the beginning we didn’t know if this magazine would be around a year later or if readers would love short romance as much as we do, but we’re still here and love hearing from fans of the magazine—looks like we’ve gotten many of you hooked as much as we are on our talented writers.
And this month is no different. We have the return of Gracie Wilson, with a new adult romance novella, Beautifully Imagined. To celebrate our foray into young love we’ve also included a special non-fiction article, How Different Voices are Changing the YA Romance Landscape, by newcomer Karen McCoy. Karen works as a librarian in California and has read the genre extensively to bring readers her recommendations as well as the latest tropes that are gaining popularity in YA. Going with our young love theme, a lot of our stories in this issue are sweeter in style. If you’re thirsting for more recommended reads after Karen’s article, be sure to flip to our back pages for C.S. DeAvilla’s picks for this issue too.
We’ve also got another newcomer to welcome in to Heart’s Kiss: Brenda Carre. Brenda has written an exciting supernatural suspense romance, St. Jean and the Wish, featuring a jinn who is holding on to one last wish to grant. Will that wish bring true love? We’ll see.
Several writers this issue are returning to delight us with more tales of love. Juliet Marillier’s Far Horizons shows us once again how much emotion can be conveyed with a short word count in her romance about finding love again, when older. Three more regulars have also returned, Olivette Devaux, has penned readers a new paranormal story, The Forbidden Kiss of Life, set in her native Czech Republic, and David Hendrickson is back as well with From A Dry, Bitter Stream Comes the Sweetest of Fountains, which is a great story about female empowerment in a time when women had no voice unless they met the right partner. Rei Rosenquist has written quite a treat this issue—a romance that includes non-binary characters. The Heart Finds a Way will sweep you into an alien world where every birthing pair has a third “hand.” A third person in the relationship who cares for their pair in a way that makes them a complete family unit. But what happens when two hands fall in love? This world handles gender neutral pronouns in a beautiful way. In the English language we refer to “he/him” and “she/her,” but there are many who do not identify as either male or female, so Rei introduces the gender-neutral pronouns of “ze/zer” in their story. While gender neutral pronouns are not a new thing—the practice going back centuries, being used in not only the foundations of our language system in English, but also in many other languages and cultures around the world—we are delighted that The Heart Finds a Way will be our first story to use them in Heart’s Kiss.
It’s not just fiction authors we’re excited to announce, but a new column featuring romance-themed recipes by Andrea Abedi, chef extraordinaire: The Temptress Presents. We cannot wait to see what delicious meal she cooks up for our seasonal-themed issues. The interviews in this issue feature bestseller and by-popular-request, Brenda Jackson. A little birdie tells me (Okay—it is Lezli!) that both her and Susan Donovan are working exclusive novellas for us, to appear in our Christmas and Valentines issues. Squee!
Do you love beta heroes? I do. This issue’s You Read That? column, by Julie Pitzel, is going to dive deep into the hero archetype of betas, why they’re misunderstood, and why they make great protagonist material. In a related note, Julie has been keeping a huge secret from us: she writes amazing poetry! Wedding Night not only tells a wonderful story about the most intimate part of couple’s nuptial day, but it has beat and rhyme that had Lezli and I swooning at the end.
Lezli and I had a blast this year at the Romance Writers of America national conference in Denver, getting to meet so many of our featured (and future) authors as well as industry professionals. Some of those pictures of our adventures are included in this issue. We were warmed with how well-received Heart’s Kiss has been in the industry and at the conference, and we plan to continue to find writers you love, from the popular and soon-to-be popular, to continue to bring you the stories that make you sigh. Our goals and dreams are growing with your enthusiasm. Thank you for reading and please enjoy the latest issue of Heart’s Kiss.