Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thank you, Joan Marlow Golan

This is a very special day in Seekerville. 
There are no prizes today. 
Countless gifts have already been received in the form of the care and encouragement meted out by Joan Marlow Golan, the recently retired Executive Editor of Love Inspired books. 
Joan took a fledgling Love Inspired line and through her nurturing, planning, dedication, and wonderful co-workers,
 helped grow the line to benefit editors, readers and authors. 

From the original four sweet inspirational stories per month, we've grown to six Love Inspired novels, six Love Inspired suspense novels, four Love Inspired historical novels and four "Heartsong" novels.... That's twenty books per month, a monumental increase of faith, hope and love available to readers at a reasonable cost.

Simply put, that is amazing.

Joan in Seekerville, three years ago! 
Today we've invited people to step up to the plate and offer their words about Joan. Heartfelt and honest, these tributes are testimony to Joan's gentle humor, insight, faith and love of Christian fiction. And whatever the coming years bring (and she's promised to see us at RWA 2015 in Manhattan!) we've all benefited from her generosity and advice for the years she's invested. Joan: May God bless you the way you've blessed us and we hope the gardens of your life are delightfully lush, colorful, fragrant and bright, and that your next mission brings hope and grace to those you touch, like it did at Love Inspired and Steeple Hill Books.

We love you.

From Joan's recent retirement party!
From Assistant Editor Giselle Regus:
Joan would come talk to me every morning, and always found some way to motivate me for the day. I’m missing our check-ins!


From Love Inspired Suspense novelist Debby Giusti:

Joan Marlow Golan is a beautiful woman whose able leadership has guided Love Inspired Books to its place of prominence within Christian publishing. Working for Joan has been a joy and a privilege, and I will miss her dearly.

Thank you, Joan, for your vision, warmth, sincerity and, most especially, your friendship. May God bless you in each new endeavor you undertake. Sending love and prayers as you transition into retirement.

I'll always remember 2004 ACRW awards luncheon where I was awarded first place in the contemporary romance category. Joan was sitting at my table and invited me to tell her about my book. Silly me, I told her that she wouldn't be interested in it. She asked "why not?" and I recited what I'd been told the entire conference by editors and agents: no one wanted cowboy romances. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "I like cowboys."

In that moment, she restored hope, just like Jeremiah 29:11. You will be greatly missed, Joan Marlow Golan.  (Love Inspired author Audra Harders)

From the delightful and shoe-loving "Elnora", Lenora Worth:

Joan was one of the first people I got to know once I became an LI author. She was always kind to me and we had some wonderful moments. I remember once my husband and I were in Denver for a CBA convention. We were walking along an upstairs catwalk and I saw Joan down below. I told my husband "That's Joan. She's the boss." He called down to her and she glanced up in surprise. He pointed to me and called out 'It's Lenora." We went down and I hugged her and we laughed about a strange man calling her name. Joan always greeted me with a kiss on each cheek and a good hug. And we usually parted that way, too. So I'm sending you a kiss on each cheek, Joan. And a parting hug. You have been an inspiration to me for many years. I'll never forget you.

Love Inspired team, from left:
Emily Brown, Giselle Regus, Shana Smith, Melissa Endlich, Joan Marlow Golan,
 Emily Rodmell, Tina James, Elizabeth Mazer
Joan gave me my start in publishing. She bought my first manuscript. I can't thank her enough for seeing potential in my untried talent. Thanks to her guidance at Love Inspired, my career has moved steadily forward. What a wonderful and wise woman. She will be missed. (Pat MacDonald)


From Mia Ross:
As a newer Love Inspired author, I'm grateful to Joan Marlow Golan for opening a door for me. Her vision for the line expanded the opportunities available to writers like me, allowing me to have the career I've always dreamed of. All my best wishes for the future, Joan!

From the amazing multi-published author Margaret Daley:

I remember the first time I met Joan in Anaheim at RWA back in the late 1990s. I had an appointment with her, and she suggested I send Ann Leslie Tuttle the partial I pitched to her. Ann Leslie didn't buy it but encouraged me to send her something else. I did and I began to write for Love Inspired. I feel Joan was so much a part of where I am today and my career with Love Inspired. Thank you so much, and I wish her the best in retirement.


I remember Joan at her first conference when she came back to Harlequin and stopped by and talked with me at the literacy signing at RWA in the mid 90's. She always had a vision for Steeple Hill and is a wonderful editor. (Leann Harris) 


From the heart of Mule Hollow country, here's Debra Clopton:

Joan Marlowe Golan bought my first book, The Trouble With Lacy Brown. After years of rejection Joan read it as a Golden Heart Finalist and bought it immediately, making my dreams come true. She took a chance on a story about a crazy little town and a wacky hairstylist with a vision. Like Lacy Brown had a vision for fictional Mule Hollow, Joan had a vision for Love Inspired. I will always be blessed and grateful that she felt me, my voice and the voices in my head fit into her vision of what a Love Inspired book should be. Thank you Joan I wish you all the best, and pray blessings pour down upon you through the coming years.


Although I never met Joan in person, she blessed me with her encouragement and sweet spirit. What a great leader! From other stories that I've heard, I know she has blessed many others during their careers. Thank you, Joan, and God bless as you make this transition.
-Lacy Williams


From Love Inspired Historical author Janet Dean:

I first met Joan Golan at Romance Writers of America Conference when I was a debut author of Courting Miss Adelaide, a story based on the orphan train. When I gave Joan my name she told me that she loved orphan train stories. I was blown away that she both recognized and could associate the story with my name.  
 Two years ago at RWA in New York City, Debby Giusti, my husband Dale and I toured the Harlequin editorial office. On the way out, we met Joan coming in. She took time to talk with Debby and me. She explained our fan mail is read at meetings and how much those letters and our stories meant to the Love Inspired team. Again, Joan made me feel valued with her personal touch.
From Award-winning Author Marta Perry:

   As one of the “old-timers” of the line, I can’t pass up the opportunity to say how much it’s meant to me personally and to the line as a whole to have Joan at the helm. She has always been unfailingly kind, helpful, and professional. She remembers everyone, no small task with all the writers who’ve passed through her hands over the years. Her vision for the Love Inspired imprint has guided it from the new kid on the block to the most loved and respected of inspirational series books, all of us who have worked with her owe her a great deal.
From Award-winning Author Merrilee Whren:  

My first memory of Joan came from the 2003 RWA conference where I won the Golden Heart. I was so thrilled when Joan came up to me after the ceremony and gave me her card. I still have it.                     ***   
Congratulations on your retirement. As someone who sold to LI just weeks before your departure, I wanted to thank you for all the work you, and others like you, have done to make the LI lines what they are today. You may not be coming to the office every day anymore, but many people will continue - or begin - to write, edit, and read wonderful stories of faith and love in your wake. Your harvest continues even though others now work your fields.

I pray God's blessings on you at this new stage in your life, and on all those who continue the LI work at Harlequin.    Love Inspired author Angel Moore


From Rita Finalist Missy Tippens:

 "I met Joan not long after selling my first book to Love Inspired. She was so encouraging and welcoming! I felt so blessed to become part of the team and knew we were in good, capable hands working under her leadership. Joan will be missed!"

From Ruthy again:
Joan will be missed, but here's the nice thing about Joan, about the editors, about Love Inspired as a publishing entity: It carries on.
And even with a new Executive Editor at the helm (Congratulations, Tina James!!!!)
 the strength of the Love Inspired editorial team lies in its depth...
And the depth of their authors and loyalty of their readers.

Joan believed in me when I was raw, new, and fairly stupid. 
She said "You'll be with us one day." And her words came true three years ago...

When someone that nice, and yes, that influential, has faith in you???
You find out you can move mountains. 
It's amazing what happens when folks believe in you.

Joan, this isn't goodbye.
 It's Best Wishes on a Happy Retirement from all of us in Seekerville.
You've blessed us.
Now it's our turn to reciprocate.

May God bless you, Joan Marlow Golan!


  1. This is so sweet. My first Love Inspired (I always called them Steeple Hill) book was Still Waters by Shirlee McCoy. Now I own more than a hundred. That line started me on Christian Fiction.

    I hope God blesses your retirement:)

  2. Very touching tributes.

    May you enjoy your retirement to the fullest.

    I'm looking forward to joining the Harlequin author gang.

    The coffee pot is set to brew.

  3. Helen - I need that coffee. Thanks for brewing it.

    Joan - enjoy your retirement and spend it doing things you love!

  4. What lovely tributes. I have heard Joan speak on the RWA Conference CDs and loved what she had to say about Love Inspired and the authors.
    Best wishes for a lovely retirement!


  5. Helen, the coffee is wonderful! Bless you!

    And I brought fresh New York City bagels along... with flavored cream cheese and plain!!!... and lox, onions, green and black olives.

    Let's have some Big Apple-style fun today!

    Joanne, Joan was always such a gentle speaker. It felt like she was talking from her heart... and soul.

    Helen!!!! I love that we're not only buddies, we're co-workers at Harlequin now!!!! I'm so delighted for you I cannot stop smiling!

    My big front teeth have NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, thank you very much. :)

  6. What a wonderful tribute. I love the Love Inspired line of books, Romance, Suspense, them all.

    Congratulations on your retirement Joan.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  7. I've never met Joan, but you've all inspired me to go into work today and be kinder and encouraging to everybody I see.

    Have a great day!

  8. Jackie, I love that!!!

    And that's exactly the kind of person she was/is.

    You wanted to do well because it would make her happy and proud.

    Cindy!!! Aren't we blessed to have all those lines? LOVE IT!!!

  9. Good morning, Seekerville!

    I don't have any in-person Joan memories to share with you. But I'm ever so thankful for the vision she has had for Love Inspired--and for the fabulous team of editors she's built through the years.

    Both Authors and faithful Readers have been greatly blessed thru this HQ line and the dedication of those who've given their all to it.


  10. Ah....wonderful words about a wonderful person.

    Enjoy your retirement and know you touched many lives by helping dreams come true.

  11. Joan, you don't know me but the Love Inspired line was there for me when I needed an HEA and didn't have a church community.

    Love Inspired authors and aspiring writers are some of the best people in the world. I wouldn't have met them without you.

    Thank you.

    Peace, Julie

  12. Well, that just brought tears to my eyes!

    Thanks to all who participated to help us honor Joan. Ruthy, thank you for pulling this wonderful tribute together!

  13. Courtney, that's amazing--more than a hundred! :)

  14. Ruthy, thank you for pulling this together. It's a blessing to me to see how Joan touched so many lives, and I know, your tribute barely scratched the surface.

    Joan, we've spoken together maybe 3 or 4 times, but in those brief meetings, the impact of your sweet smile, kind words and deep encouragement will live on in my heart.

    Enjoy retirement!!

  15. Joan, I'm sorry I don't know you. I love the picture I got of you from the post this morning. It was a beautiful black and white image. But then the comments of the grateful, happy writers here at Seekerville who DO know you, began to add vibrant, rich color to my image, turning you into living color for me. So, in a way now, I do know you.

    How happy it must make you knowing how many dreams you brought to fruition.

    If I work hard, write every day, take criticisms constructively, and ask God's blessings on all that I do... And if it's His will, my very own Joan Marlow Golan will find me.

  16. Though I haven't had the privilege of meeting you Joan, it sounds to me like you are loved by all who were lucky enough to have worked with you. Wishing you a healthy and happy retirement!God bless!

  17. I heard about Joan Marlowe Golan when I started writing. One of the things I learned in RWA was to find out who edited the books you loved to read. Joan's name always popped up so I know how influential she was in providing us with great reads throughout these past years. So when I was in Nashville at one of the ACFW conferences and met her swimming laps in the pool and then she went to church with Ruthy and I--you can't imagine how thrilled I was. Thank you Joan for all you have done over the years to provide us with fantastic books to read.


  18. Wishing you all the best on your retirement, Joan. May you have plenty of time for savoring wonderful stories.

    While I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you, I've seen the results of your efforts. It's been fun to watch the Steeple Hill/Love Inspired line grow under your direction. I remember the joy I felt when the LIH line was introduced. Thanks for all you've done to ensure that readers have quality romances available at a reasonable price.

  19. What an absolutely lovely tribute! She set a beautiful tone for the Love Inspired family.

  20. Ruthy, thanks for putting together such a heartfelt blog to honor Joan! My first memory of her is when I attended the Love Inspired panel at the ACRW conference in Houston. Just look at how the line has grown and developed since then--amazing!

    Joan, thank you for your God-honoring leadership at Love Inspired. Congratulations on your outstanding career and may you enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement!

  21. I don't have any personal experience with Joan, but a couple of my friends who write for Harlequin Desire sang her praises when she was the senior editor of that line. It sounds like wherever she was, she made the line great, inspired the authors and made lots of readers happy.

    Enjoy your retirement!

  22. A well-deserved retirement after enriching the lives of many, it's an event to be celebrated.

  23. I got to do a pitch session once with Joan. Ah, the terror. This was my FIRST ACFW Conference. I remember she just somehow made me feel brave enough to not be an utter dork. (which is no small accomplishment, trust me!)


    She let me read from my one sheet and even took it and read from it and was just so encouraging. She requested that I send her something, too.

    It was an experience that helped me keep going when I was very new and very nervous.

  24. I love all the covers up on today's post. LI and all the Love Inspired lines do such great work with covers. Joan and Co. have done great work creating this line of Christian fiction.
    Reading about Love Inspired beginning, in Romance Writer's Report Magazine was like a piece of the puzzle snapping into place for me. I was writing along, sweet romances for which there was no home and I read about Love Inspired and suddenly all these very sweet books that didn't have a faith thread but which had characters conducting themselves by Christian principles...had a home. And when I found out about Love Inspired that led me to find out that Christian fiction even existed.

    I didn't know.
    I didn't have the internet at home.
    I don't know if Google even existed.
    I was a mole. A fiction writing mole.
    Learning about LI opened a whole world for me.
    And Joan is a big part of that world.
    Thank you for your contribution to the growth of Christian fiction.

  25. Look at the expression on that baby's face on Debra Clopton's book, And Baby Makes Five. It's hilarious.

    Such great covers.

  26. I agree with everyone else -- lovely tributes to a truly lovely lady!

    Joan, I never had the privilege of working with you, but I did get to pitch to you once, my very first year at ACFW. My knees were knocking and my palms were slick, but you were very gracious ... even though my pitch lasted all of seven seconds ... ;) That's the year I learned a VERY important lessonL ALWAYS read a publisher's guidelines before pitching!! :)

    I wish you the happiest of retirements -- you've earned it!


  27. This was sent to me from Val Hansen, it didn't come through Mr. Blogger's labyrinth!!!....

    "I met Joan years before either of us was involved with Love Inspired because the line had not yet been born. I remembered her fondly from a long past conference, never dreaming she might remember me. But she did!

    We met again when I was writing for Silhouette Romance and she greeted me like an old friend, a sense that stayed with me through the years.

    Some people have the gift of making even a novice writer feel accepted and she had it in abundance. I wish her all the joy and peace she can hold and thank the Lord she was a part of my life and my career.
    Valerie Hansen

  28. I have nothing but good memories of Joan. I never worked with her directly but met her many times at conferences and at the offices in Toronto and New York. She always had a smile and a hug. She always made me feel like I was very dear to her and she was dear to me. I believe she brought the Love Inspired line to a very good, solid place - a force to be reckoned with in the inspirational market. I'll miss seeing her and wish her the best in her retirement.

  29. I snatched that cover for Deb's book because of that baby's expression, Mary.


    Oh, and I wish I could have grabbed everyone's covers, but I wanted it to be about Joan... and her love... and patience... not us.

  30. I've never met Joan and haven't had the pleasure of working with her. Hearing all of these stories makes me wish I had. I know, even though Emily Rodmell bought my script, that I owe a lot to Joan as well, as an author and a reader.

    Enjoy your retirement, Joan.

  31. Joan has been influencing my writing since day one with her firm and gracious hand at the helm of Love Inspired!

    Thank you, and enjoy your retirement!

  32. Joan, thank you for your gentle spirit, your firm hand and your sweet smile. May your days be prosperous!

  33. It will never be known here on earth how many hearts you have touched.
    I wish the best for you and your family!

  34. From Joan Marlow Golan, Mr. Blogger would not let her post from her i-phone!

    Hello, Seekerville!

    I am so touched by and grateful for your beautiful tribute. So many kind words and loving thoughts--I want to give each one of you a hug. And yet, tech challenged as I am, I was not even able to send a post from my iPhone and so Ruth is kindly posting from email.

    I am in San Francisco visiting with a friend after completing a retreat to help me discern retirement priorities. I know you will all continue to bloom and grow under the leadership of Tina James, known in NYC as the Effectivess Czar. Tina is ably supported by Melissa Endlich, the Empowerment Czar,and an amazing team committed to making sure you live "Happily Editor After."

    God bless them and you, and again many thanks for this delightful surprise and for making the story of my life such a "great read,"



  35. To me Joan has been and always will be the "soul" of Love Inspired. A truly splendid person!


  36. Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting you, Joan, I just wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude and deepest regards. I have heard from so many Love Inspired such wonderful things about you and your dedication to the line. I wish you many wonderful adventures and happy times spent with loved ones. Thank you for everything you've done for all of us!!

    Belle Calhoune

  37. I've sure enjoyed all these wonderful tributes to Joan!! We will miss you so much, but Tina and the other Czars will keep us on our best behavior, I'm sure!

    I will tell you what I used to tell my children when they'd head out the door--Be Sweet, Be Smart, Be Safe!!! Love You!!!

  38. Wishing you a Happy Retirement, Joan.

    We truly appreciate your contribution to Christian Fiction at Steeple Hill/ Love Inspired. Such a wonderful line with so many talented authors - authors who owe their careers to you and your amazing team! THANK YOU!

    Enjoy the next phase of your journey!


  39. Joan will be missed! I wish her a fabulous retirement doing whatever is calling her name. Whatever that is, I know she will touch lives as she has at Love Inspired.


  40. I worked with Joan at Silhouette Desire and I will always remember her kindness and her enthusiasm for writers and the work.

    Joan, I hope you enjoy to the fullest everything you do--you always have. And thank you so much for your support and your friendship.

  41. Joan's mention of going on retreat to discern her retirement priorities speaks volumes about this woman of faith. She is a devout Christian who loves the Lord, which is evident by her peaceful spirit and the love she exudes to all those she meets. I know she will touch many in the days ahead.

  42. While not a Love Inspired author, I'll always love Joan for helping me get my start years ago. Extremely beautiful person. Love you, Joan.

  43. Enjoy this new and exciting phase of your life, Joan. God bless you!

  44. I love that Joan called Melissa and Tina Czars....

    I'm dying laughing here, because I can totally see it!!!!


  45. Lois, so true! I think that was a huge part of Joan's gift, of making folks feel special... and working hard to make your dream come true because she saw the promise within.

    That's such a blessing right there!

  46. Allie Pleiter nice words for a nice person.

    But I'm still giggling over the mighty Czars...


    And not disagreeing with her assessment, LOL! I think that's the highest of compliments because she knows the line is in good hands, all around. And that's an enduring trait.

  47. Joan, thanks for stopping in ... even if you have to bounce 'stopping in' off Ruthy. :D

  48. Val Hansen, you too. We Shall Overcome(Blogger).
    If that's not a song, it should be.

  49. What a beautiful tribute to someone I am eternally grateful too, though I didn't even know her name until this week!!! As a reader I have benefited tremendously from all the LI books I have read over the last few years (I'm a monthly online shopper.) So happy retirement, Joan, and bless you for blazing the trail!

  50. What special tributes to Joan.
    I've never had the pleasure of meeting her, but she sounds like a jewel.
    God bless Joan and bless her retirement!
    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

  51. I've been reading Steeple Hill/Love Inspired titles for more years than I can remember. I love the fact that now I've been able to write for them, too! Thank you, Joan, for all your work to make Love Inspired so successful and for giving readers and writers a place to call home. May God Bless you!

  52. >> She looked me straight in the eye and said, "I like cowboys." <<

    Now I know who to thank for both the historical and contemporary western romances in the Love Inspired titles! So ... thank you, JOAN :-)

    Nancy C

  53. It's so lovely to come in late in the day and read all these amazing tributes.

    I never had the good fortune to meet Joan, but I feel like I have. I've benefitted indirectly from her kindness and wisdom as it was shared by other authors. So many times LI authors have encouraged me, using words that Joan had offered to encouraged them.

    I have a good feeling that such sharing will continue to be Joan's legacy for many years to come.

  54. Ahem ...

    To encourage them. (not encouraged)

  55. I love all these comments! They're all so true... and deeply appreciative.

    Hey, I brought along some burgers and dogs for supper. I figure it's about eating time here in the Northeast and youse must be getting hungry!

    Condiments are to the left of the coffee maker.

    And there's Coke and cokes (Southern style) in the cooler!

    Help yourselves. I do think Tina Radcliffe brought coconut cake, too!!!

    To Die For.

  56. Since I've been in Maine, I'm breaking out lobster for everyone. Blueberry pie's up for dessert.

  57. Sigh . . . :-) I didn't know Joan personally, but seeing how much other Love Inspired authors appreciate her says a lot. I'm sure she'll be missed, and I'm glad she was able to have such a strong part in making wholesome Christian novels available for the masses.