Friday, December 1, 2023

#Giveaway 11th Annual Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza Day 1 The Harlequin Story


It's that time of year again, time for giving, time for magic and time for me to showcase my love for my favorite publisher. I can hardly believe it but welcome to my 11th Annual Ho Ho Ho harlequin Holiday Extravaganza. My blog partner Sophia Rose and I are reviewing a variety of Harlequin holiday titles some from HQN series, some from HQN proper and some from Harlequin Imprints.
There are two giveaways open until the end of the bash one from Harlequin and one from me to say thank you to my readers. (Details below)

Harlequin is offering 1 print copy of
Sarah Morgan's The Book Club Hotel
Viola Shipman's The Wishing Bridge
Shelia Roberts The Twelve Months of Christmas
US and Canada Only Please Use the Rafflecopter 
form below to enter
Good Luck!

I am giving a $10
Amazon Gift Card
Use Rafflecopter form below
Good Luck! 

Today we're starting by telling you the Harlequin story, some may know it, some may not and if you've always dreamed of being a romance author Harlequin is looking for YOU! 
Click HERE to find out how you can become a Harlequin Author/


Company Information

Harlequin was founded in 1949 and has experienced more than 70 years of success as a leading publisher of books for women.

  • As a division of HarperCollins, Harlequin publishes more than 100 titles a month, in both print and digital formats, in 17 countries and 16 languages
  • 95% of our books are sold outside Canada
  • Harlequin titles regularly hit the New York Times, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and Bookscan bestseller lists, including appearances at the coveted #1 position
  • We offer readers a broad range of reading in many genres, from general and women’s fiction to young adult and narrative nonfiction, and more
  • To date we have sold over 6.8 billion books

Our History


When Richard H. G. Bonnycastle, a former Arctic explorer with the Hudson Bay Company, launched Harlequin Books in Winnipeg in 1948, he had little interest in building a publishing empire around romance novels. Early in its history, Harlequin published inexpensive reprints of detective stories, cookbooks, westerns, and a smattering of tragic love stories.

When Bonnycastle’s wife, Mary, took on editorial duties in the 1950s, she focused on the vast untapped market of female readers in Canada who loved reading British romance novels. She discovered that her favorite novels were published by a British firm called Mills & Boon, which had been publishing romances since 1908. She contacted the firm and asked to acquire paperback rights to some of its romances.

Under Mary Bonnycastle’s guidance, Harlequin purged any potentially racy content from the Mills & Boon books and established a template for its own editions. The plot often involved a chance meeting in an interesting setting, a courtship that allowed both parties to overcome personal obstacles, and a happy denouement, almost inevitably involving marriage.

The formula worked. From Harlequin’s first reprint of a Mills & Boon romance, Anne Vinton’s The Hospital in Buwambo, there was a ready audience for chaste love stories that took place in exotic or historical settings.


Lawrence Heisey, a former soap salesman who had been appointed president of Harlequin in 1971, revolutionized romance publishing by distributing Harlequin romances to supermarkets and department stores, where they would be right at the fingertips of Canadian and American homemakers. The company often gave away one book as a free gift with the purchase of household items such as kitchen cleaners or napkins, hoping that shoppers would become hooked and buy the rest of the series.

By 1975, Harlequin had purchased British romance publisher Mills & Boon, and seventy percent of its sales came from outside of Canada.

Despite an early resistance to explicit sex scenes, Harlequin’s winning plot formula and marketing strategies fostered the company’s spread across the globe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Harlequin employees gave away more than 720,000 books at border checkpoints across the Eastern Bloc. Just two years later, Harlequin had sold seven million romance novels in Hungary alone and reached $10 million in sales in the Czech Republic in 1992. By 1995, it had released 550,000 copies of its titles in Mandarin Chinese, paving the way for the opening of offices across the world, from Tokyo to Mumbai.


By the 1990s, Harlequin had become synonymous with romance novels, grown the category into a score of successful subgenre lines—from the historical to the contemporary and the sweetly romantic to the sensually passionate—opened offices around the world and seen its books made available in more than 100 countries and over 30 languages. Now the publisher looked to move beyond romance novels and expand the breadth of its editorial into all genres of fiction for women.

In 1994 Harlequin launched MIRA Books, its first mainstream commercial fiction imprint. MIRA offered readers thrillers, suspense novels, small town dramas, macabre paranormals and more complex, involved romances. In addition to acquiring existing authors from other publishing houses, MIRA allowed the publisher the opportunity to lift authors who had honed their craft and build sizeable followings in Harlequin’s category romance lines and give them the canvas to expand their vision and stretch their wings in a trade program. MIRA’s ability to create bestselling novels and franchises also made the imprint very attractive to debut authors.

Four years later, MIRA Books was joined by Love Inspired, an inspirational fiction imprint, as Harlequin moved beyond the mainstream and into niche markets. In 2004 Harlequin launched HQN Books, its bestseller romance trade program, allowing the publisher to introduce its top romance authors to mainstream audiences. In 2009, two more imprints were established—Harlequin TEEN, capturing the imagination of young adult readers and Carina Press, a digital-first adult fiction imprint that allowed the publisher to explore subgenres of traditional genres and push beyond conventional boundaries.

In 2016, Harlequin continued its expansion of trade publishing by launching two new imprints—Park Row Books, which is dedicated to publishing voice-driven and thought-provoking books across a variety of genres, from mainstream literary fiction and book club fiction to literary suspense and narrative nonfiction, and Graydon House Books, a select hardcover and trade paperback imprint showcasing commercial women’s fiction with a relationship element woven through. In 2017 Hanover Square Press was launched to publish compelling, original fiction and narrative nonfiction, including crime, thrillers, high-concept fiction, history, journalism and memoir.

Harlequin has scaled fresh heights with its new imprints. Multiple #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller placements, overseas triumphs, films and television shows adapted from its novels have all served to help transform the company from the dominant romance publisher into a leading publisher of books for a wide range of readers and tastes.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

At Harlequin, we are committed to publishing diverse and inclusive voices so that readers see themselves reflected in the books we publish. We work to foster a culture of respect, openness, support and belonging where our employees, authors and publishing partners feel welcome to express and reflect the voices, experiences and thoughts of a diverse society.

As a publisher and as an employer, we embrace a broad definition of diversity and we aim to include people of all ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, classes, religions, national origins and disabilities. As an employer partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and Pride at Work Canada, Harlequin employees have access to resources and training to further support being an open, accepting and welcoming place to work and to publish.

We are proud to publish talented and bestselling authors representing many backgrounds, communities and cultures. Harlequin offers a broad range of content – including romance fiction across subgenres, psychological thrillers, crime novels and speculative fiction, young adult novels, commercial literary fiction and narrative nonfiction – enabling authors with diverse perspectives to share their stories. We publish inclusive romance stories with LGBTQ+ characters in imprints across our publishing program, including Carina Press, Carina Adores, several Harlequin Series imprints, and Inkyard Press to name a few.

We welcome all authors to the Harlequin community and are actively working to further broaden diversity and representation in our publishing programs. We reach out to authors by calling for submissions for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship. We organize #RomanceIncludesYou pitch events and participate in external pitch events that connect editors with writers in marginalized communities. We accept unagented romance story submissions and encourage authors in underrepresented communities to include #RomanceIncludesYou with their story submission to quickly bring these submissions to our editors’ attention. We have established a scholarship program through four writing programs in Canada and the United States to foster diverse voices and emerging talent.

Stop by tomorrow for Sophia Rose's review of The Wishing Bridge by Viola Shipman

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


  1. Yay! I love this celebration every year! My favorite Harlequin Imprint is HQN, Love Inspired, Heartwarming, & Romantic Suspense!

    1. A great imprint Elizabeth and I'm so glad you like the bash!

  2. My favorite holiday tradition is taking my son to my town's local Breakfast with Santa event. A lot of my family goes as well and it's a great time for all of us to get together!

    1. Oh I remember breakfast with Santa when my daughter was young. A great way to celebrate

  3. I love decorating each year for the holidays. I haven't read a Harlequin book in quite some time.

    1. I love decorating, now if I could only have someone else carry all the boxes ;-)

  4. Seeing the tree at Rockefeller center

  5. My favorite holiday tradition involved baking fruit cake.