Ginny McBlain ponders what makes a house a home...
We've all heard the old expression, home is where the heart is. That is certainly true in my case. I'm a homebody, perfectly happy to stay home for days at a time. Does that mean I'm antisocial? Indeed not. I love dinner out, gatherings of friends, and attending the symphony. You'll find me at church every Sunday, often greeting at the welcome center or at various meetings each month.
When we speak of home we may be talking about our hometown or the house in which we live. In terms of our abode, it doesn't matter if it remains the same from birth to death or a location that changes. In our mobile society, most of us have moved from one place to another more than once. In my case, I have lived in many places, in big cities and small, in the suburbs and on an Army post. My mission was to take a simple building, basically four walls and a roof, and turn it into a home.
There's a big difference between a house and a home. A house will keep out the wind and rain, offer warmth in the cold and coolness in the heat of the day. A house is a structure. A home has a soul that nurtures, cheers and consoles more than any other place.
A home is love and laughter, tears and sorrow. It's the place that welcomes the occupant and visitor alike. It is the site of celebrations and joy. It's the safe place to lick your wounds, heal your heartaches and store your treasures of a lifetime. Your home reflects the person you are. At the end of a vacation, business trip or simply after a long tiring day, arriving home is the best part. It's where a you are the most comfortable.
My home makes a statement of who my husband and I are. It's neither stylish nor pretentious. I don't care if people wear shoes on my rugs but I do have coasters for wet glasses on the tables. The kids aren't allowed to eat in the living room or jump on the furniture, but it's okay to wrap up in a throw and curl into a chair or nap on the couch. The living room floor is often a mine field of mega block structures, dolls and their outfits, and books.
Our rooms are painted in favorite colors. The rooms tell a visitor our story--from my husband's military and civilian careers, to my devotion to family, antiques and flowers. My collections--three cases of thimbles, and a herd of elephants, clustered about in every room, feeding on dust--are displayed. Don't overlook the books, as if anyone could. There're thousands--military history, politics, mysteries, romances and my research library, just to name a few. If one looks hard enough one will see traces of my before-writing hobbies--needlepoint, cross stitch and crewel and tole painting. A ton of toys, passed down through the family, keep the grandchildren entertained. Our home manifests the love and family inside its walls.
I was surprised when I looked up the word home in the Thesaurus. One of the alternate selections was family. I had to smile. In my body of work, home and family are important. The development of the hero's and heroine's relationship always takes place in a carefully drawn home that allows the reader to learn the characters' background and personality.
Love in its many forms, and family, are underlying themes in all my stories. Man meets woman. They are attracted to each other. Abiding love is the end result. That, dear friends, is what a romance novel is all about.
Labels are funny things. They are like boxes with one-way lids. When something gets stuck with a label, somehow every other aspect of it becomes less important, less real. This definitely applies to books; ask any bookseller (e- or p-) or librarian. You have to know its genre before you can shelve it, because if it's in the wrong place, customers and library patrons won't be able to find it.
This month's title was originally labeled an inspirational romance. Unfortunately that's a small market, compared to other romance sub-genres, and so it never received the appreciation it deserved, in spite of being an EPPIE finalist. To us, here at Uncial Press, the key word is romance, and that's what Ginny McBlain's Safe Refuge is, pure and simple. It's a tender, passionate, very real romance, about two people who have pasts, who face daily challenges, who are so entangled in complications that their growing love for each other seems doomed before it can be acknowledged. But love is magic. Love can overcome obstacles. Love can--and in the case of Kirsten and Michael--does--triumph. How it does is what makes Safe Refuge a truly wonderful, romantic story. If you missed it the first time around (it was titled Faith, Hope and Charity back then), this is your opportunity to enjoy a memorable love story.
Safe Refuge by Ginny McBlain
Available at Amazon and other ebook retailers.
We need a vacation. So instead of releasing new titles in July and August this year, we're going to take time off to do some reading for fun, something there's far too little time for when we're busy reading submissions, editing, marketing, making covers, maintaining our website, etc., etc., etc. At the tops of our to-be-read list are books we've released in past years that we've been wanting to go back and re-read, but never had the time for.
For instance, there is Michelle L. Levigne's Zygradon Chronicles, a five-book epic of magic, intrigue, disaster and triumph that captivated us back when we first read it, is certainly worth a second read, and should keep us occupied for the next few weeks.
If fantasy is not your thing, how about a little time-jaunt to the Regency period in England? Sheila Simonson's Conway Family series begins with Bar Sinister, and we guarantee that if you read it, you'll be unable to resist the rest.
Vacation or not, we'll be back next month with some new suggestions for your reading pleasure. If you have a favorite book or series from our backlist, let us know.
Stay cool (or warm) while you're reading...an ebook from Uncial Press.