A special note from Heartbeat
Plus a chance to win free books!
We’re doing things a little differently this week! First and foremost, Georgia and I want to thank you for reading Heartbeat.
To us, reading and writing romance is about more than just the story. It’s a reminder that we’re all deserving of love, even (and especially) if you’ve made mistakes, if your life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped it would, if you think you’re too shy or too messy or too prickly or too selective. It’s a manual that shows us how to give and receive love. And if you’re not white/straight/cis/Christian/non-disabled/thin/rich/etc. and you see a character who reflects your reality, that’s a symbol that your emotions and desires are important in a world that might make you sometimes feel otherwise.
So, we spent six months pouring time and energy (and money — how else do you think our logo and designs look so cute?) into building Heartbeat. We’re so grateful to have found a community of people who want to read bite-sized love stories every week. Thank you for joining us.
Georgia and I were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received around our launch in July, and three months later, thanks to you forwarding us to your friends and sharing our posts on your Instagram Stories, we’ve continued to grow. We are so lucky to run the sweetest corner of the internet.
To thank you properly, we’re running a giveaway. Three people will win a massive box set of books: all four of my books and all four of Georgia’s. We’ll autograph them with personalized notes and send them out to you. (Due to shipping costs, we can only mail packages within the U.S. We wish we could go international.)
You can enter for a chance to win by sharing Heartbeat with your friends, family, and followers: Post our subscription link (that’s the orange button just below) and tag us on at least one platform of your choice by Thursday, October 20. Three winners will be randomly chosen.
Facebook: Georgia Clark
If you post about unless elsewhere (ex: your newsletter, a private Facebook group), screenshot it and send it to email@example.com.
If you missed any stories (or simply want to read them again — there are no rules against that 😉), here’s a roundup of everything we’ve published so far:
“The Good Way” by Alison Cochrun: Get whisked away to Northern Spain in this feel-good romance about love on the Camino.
“Caraway & Rye” by TJ Alexander: A delicious tale of love in lockdown.
“Personal Shopper” by Timothy Janovsky: A struggling novelist's side hustle leads to a potential love connection.
“Park Bench Love Song” by Jane L. Rosen: A masked celebrity falls in love during the pandemic — but can he find the courage to reveal who he really is?
“Petal to the Metal” by Courtney Kae: A motorbike-riding heartthrob comes to the rescue of a florist in distress.
“Benefits of a Friend” by Kayla Hill: The friends-with-benefits arrangement between Rose and Jordan gets complicated — and sexy.
“The Sculptor and the Marzipan Maker” by Lynda Cohen Loigman: Beauty, art, and forbidden love in Boston, 1918.
“Parent’s Pick” by Mara Mindell: A mom vetting a potential boyfriend for her daughter experiences an unexpected connection.
“When All Options Fail” by Loan Le: A matchmaker develops inconvenient feelings for his client's match.
“Pump Up the Volume” by Suzanne Park: A writer for a sleep app gets hot and bothered by her sexy new voice-over artist.
Heartbeat is reader-supported publication. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Next week on Heartbeat, get ready for a short story from Susie Orman Schnall, author of The Subway Girls and We Came Here to Shine.
Follow Heartbeat on Instagram at @storiesbyheartbeat for behind-the-scenes sneak peeks!
Usually, Georgia or I will wrap it up with three quick things we love, but this time, we have more to share.
Three (not so) quick things from Hannah:
Two books blew me away this month. While neither is a strict romance, both contain moving stories about relationships. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is about a family of four Jewish kids in New York City whose dates of death were predicted by a fortune teller when they were young. The novel follows each character through adulthood, dipping into the gay club scene of 1980s San Francisco, the world of magicians in 1990s Las Vegas, and more. It’s achingly gorgeous and has themes of family, faith, fate, and more. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez is also about a New York City family: this time, two Nuyorican siblings who rose to prominence in society and politics who are grappling with their estrangement from their radicalized mother and the fallout of Hurricane Maria. I know it sounds so heavy, but the sharp humor and compelling characters made me eat it right up.
Who’s watching Tell Me Lies on Hulu?! The show — based on a book of the same name by Carola Lovering, who shares an agent with me and Georgia — has “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” levels of devastating emotional catharsis. If that description speaks to your soul, congratulations. Like me, you were also in a dysfunctional on-again, off-again relationship in college in the early 2010s, just like the one depicted on screen! This was made for you! Enjoy.
This story is so deeply inspiring and cool: “Romance Authors Are Mobilizing For Reproductive Rights.”
Kicking it over to my friend:
Three (actually) quick things from Georgia:
I recently read and loved So Happy for You by Celia Laskey, a queer, dark comedy that skewers the wedding industrial complex and the way it messes with women’s minds and hearts. Here’s the first line: “If you want to know the story of how my best friend and I ended up trying to kill each other, I should probably start with the night she asked me to be her maid of honor.” Compelling, right?
I’m really enjoying my current read, the romantic drama Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer. Merit loves her husband and kids but is deeply unsatisfied with her life. When she returns to work, she begins an intense friendship with her witty, dazzling boss, Jane, two decades older. What if Jane is the love of her life, not the man she married? (The author has written about recently leaving her own marriage; this novel smacks of emotional authenticity.)
I’ll be going to see Bros at the movies ASAP. It’s the *first* gay studio rom-com, co-written by and starring Billy Eichner, and features an all-LGBTQ cast. 88% on Rotten Tomatoes! Queers and allies, please go see it so we get more same-sexy rom-coms!
In the comments, we’d love to know — which Heartbeat story have you loved most so far? Who or what would you like to see here in the future?