Friday, April 5, 2013

Fantastic Friday: Kathleen Baldwin's Heartbreak & Heartache - The Upside

I'm super thrilled and excited to welcome Kathleen Baldwin to the Fantastic Friday spot. Not only does she have a post that's guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye and pluck a few tender heart strings, she's also got a Fantastic giveaway, two copies of her brand new contemporary fantasy, DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER. But more on that after you read her truly awesome post. Take it away, Kat... 

Heartbreak and Heartache - The Upside

I bet you remember your first love. We all do. And most of us remember the pain, the exquisite agony of our first broken heart.
Like all of you, I’d had middle school crushes and infatuations but my first real gut-twisting heartbreak arrived in high school.

(The following is true except the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)

Zach and his brother, Ryan, lived down the street. To be exact, we lived seven houses apart. Zach annoyed me. He was too tall, gangly and arrogant. Most of all I didn’t like how he led on so many girls at school when all he genuinely cared about was basketball.

But our mothers were best friends so I tolerated him. Mom got terribly sick the summer after my freshman year. As I sat by her hospital bed one of the last things she said to me was, “Zach loves you. Stay friends with him and he’ll take care of you.”

My mom died two days later. Zach’s family took me under their proverbial wing. I walked to and from school with Zack and Ryan. They looked out for me at school. Sometimes Zach helped me cook for my dad and little brothers. He tutored me on my math homework. Best of all, he listened when I was sad. He became my closest friend.

Zach outgrew his gangliness and became the star basketball player at our school. He spent the next summer swimming at my house and hanging out. Their family even took me with them on vacation. Before I understood what had happened I’d fallen in love.

Then came our first kisses.

I’d kissed other boys, but it had never been like that. Kissing Zach felt natural and right and intensely intimate. I grew to love him so much it felt as if I had crawled inside him and taken up residence. I have hundreds of journal entries declaring my absolute certainty that we were destined to be together forever.

Doesn’t every girl think that about her first love?

Zach had a slightly different take on it. One night, after kissing for way too long, he held me close, looked up at the waning moon and said, “I think we’re doomed to be together forever.”


This did not sound promising. It should’ve been my first clue that the relationship would not survive. But first love is nothing if not optimistic.

The relationship ebbed and flowed throughout high school. Our close friendship always survived, but we shouldn’t have messed it up with a romantic relationship. There came a day when I realized our love was not written in the stars as I’d so foolishly imagined. Ironically, I was riding in the car with his whole family when this truth dawned on me. It was over.

Really over.

They pulled up in my driveway, I leapt out of the car and puked in the bushes. I couldn’t cry, couldn’t hardly breathe. I stumbled into the house and mourned. For days. I felt incredibly lost. He’d been my anchor. The world turned gray and wobbly. I couldn’t remember what tethered me to earth.

Here’s the cool part of heartbreak, the UPSIDE.

All that despair, every tearstained journal entry, each agonized sob, is embedded in my psyche. Not in a bad way. It’s one of the reasons I write romance. Zach would not be my last heartbreak. I would fall in love again, live through the sadness of breaking up and then do it all over again and again before I found lasting love. The anguish and grief of losing love makes the joy of finding lasting love all the more miraculous and sweet.

Sorrows and heartbreak are part of the wondrous story of our lives. I learned to savor the journey. Endure the pain. Observe the hurt. Write it down. And then heal.

Joy does come in the morning.  (It may take many mornings, but joy does return to our bruised hearts.)

It is a beautiful thing the way we humans rise from the ashes of our suffering into triumphant healing. Because of pain we morph into more than we were before. We are butterflies. We suffer the darkness of our heartbreak cocoons, these small deaths, so that we might become even more magnificent creatures.
How did you survive your first heartbreak?

Did you journal about it?

How did it make you stronger and more beautiful?

Kathleen Baldwin is an award-winning author and illustrator. Kensington published four of her Regency romantic comedies, including Mistaken Kiss, a Holt Medallion finalist. 

Kat adores the wit and humor of Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, and Jane Austen. But her eclectic reading interests bounce from Frank Herbert to Meg Cabot, and on to the wildly imaginative tales of Diana Wynne Jones. What books do YOU love to read? 

Currently, Kathleen has fallen in love with writing middle grade and YA. For news and more visit:

And now...for the great giveaway! Kat's giving away two (2) copies of her book, DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER!  Entering is easy-peasy, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

A Fairy Godmother is not some pixie in a pink tutu. She’s a guardian and a warrior. Lilliana Skye is sent undercover to a Texas high school to save one of Cinderella’s troubled descendants, but everything goes wrong. 
     Jessica Harrison hates Lilliana. She doesn’t believe in fairytale magic or happily-ever-afters. Jess is tough, angry, and so intelligent it’s scary. If she ever did see a mythical fairy she would probably stomp it into oblivion with her army boots. Matters go from bad to worse when Jess’s older brother meets Lilliana and falls hard for the new girl. And Lilliana can’t keep her wayward heart in check. Jake is, well, just plain dangerous. 
     Falling in love with a human is forbidden, not to mention… deadly.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lorie Langdon said...

Thanks for stopping by Honestly YA today, Kathleen!
Your cover is absolutely gorgeous! Can't wait to read. :D

Pamela Stone said...

Awesome post, Kathleen. Don't we all remember the wonder and excitement of first falling in love. And sadly the anguish when it ends. I don't think young guys feel anything like the same emotions girls do, but I do know from raising two sons that they also hurt. The books sounds awesome.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Thank you for inviting me. It's great to be here! I love your site. Very fun.

Look forward to getting to know you all better.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Pam!
My sons, too, hurt when they went through break-ups. I think they hurt as much or more than my daughter, but they just didn't show it outwardly as much as she did.

I think generally women feel freer to show their anguish. Man, boy, girl or woman, inside, the pain is inescapable.

Heartache seems to be universal.

Liese said...

Oh, Kat! What a beautiful story. I'm afraid I was too introverted and awkward to have any high school romances, but when I got to college, there were a few men that "got away." And I felt doomed at times that love would never come my way. But it did. I had to travel a little ways to find it (like over the border), but we've been together more than 30 years now and I wouldn't change a minute of it!

Great post and it sounds like a great book! Already got my copy!

Tracey said...

Hi great giveaway thanks xx

Andrea Sisco said...

Kat: I've known you for years and didn't know that story. I love it. Mine had a sad ending. My high school sweetheart died in an oil tanker explosion. It's true, we had broken up several years before, but he always had a piece of my heart (first love you know) and to this day, decades later, with a wonderful husband, numerous children and 25 grandchildren, I still think of him fondly. So nice of Honestly YA to invite you to Fantastic Friday. I'm thrilled about our book and hope the young people and their parents enjoy it as much as we did writing it.

CM said...

My daughter is going in to middle school and loves anything para,sci-fi, fantasy. I'm hoping to win a copy of your book, if not I'll have to go buy a copy when she comes up from the series she's currently plowing through! What a great blog. I'm new and I'll be back!

Unknown said...

Kathleen--Fairy Godmother! What a fun idea. I'm a big Rachel Caine fan, so I'm looking forward to stepping into the paranormal world you've created. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Congratulations, GF, on your release. As always you are Ms. Awesome and love, love, love the cover.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Liese!
You're so fun to be around I bet the boys were chasing you over the border. ;-)
But I think for all of the journey to lasting love is, as the song says, "a broken road that led me straight to you."
I am so glad for that winding twisty turn-y sometimes painful road that led to my husband. he still makes my heart flutter when I see him.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Andrea!
Hey everybody this is the other author of Diary of a Teenage Fairy Godmother. Andrea is a hoot! She's an actress and a mystery writer. She acted out the scenes in our book. It was hysterical. All I had to do was write it down.

How sad about the explosion that killed your first love. Touching story. Only you would have something like that happen.

You guys would not believe the real life stories this woman has to tell. did I mention she's been a probation officer in addition to being an actress.

Andrea is soooo much fun!

Allie Burton said...

Heartbreaking story! Congratulations on the book release. When will it be available in the istore?
Allie Burton

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Sabine!
Thanks for stopping by! so good to see you. I love your Lady Gone Bad series.
Diary Of a Teenage Fairy Godmother takes place in our world. She brings magic into the life a girl who is grief-stricken and angry. (I love Jess - she's a loner genius with a temper that matches her wild red hair)

What's super fun about this story is that the reader gets to see it from both sides. She views everything through the fairy's eyes but then it she'll also see the story through the human's viewpoint.

We had a lot of fun writing it!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Allie!
Thanks for coming by. We're hoping it will be live in iBooks a week from now, or 2 at the most.

Thanks for asking!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely/sad story, Kathleen. I think you've made all of us love Zach, too. The "big brother" hero who takes care of you is a compelling romance fella in my mind. Can't wait to read your book!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Gretchen!
Thank you for coming by. Yes, gotta love the 'big brother' hero. He and his brother were wonderful to me. I'll always be grateful.

BTW You're Gretchen Craig, right? I enjoyed your short stories, especially Lookin' For Luv. Amazing writing. Gretchen wrote a fabulous short story where the hero and heroine never talk to each other until the very end and yet the relationship progresses in a completely believable way.

LinLee said...

My first true love was not a good relationship, but it taught me a lot about people, myself and others, and I'm glad it happened.
I wish you well with the book!

Patience Griffin said...

My first crush was in first grade--Randy. He gave me a cookie and asked if I would be his girlfriend. What a thrill. I've loved cookies ever since.
Thank you Kathleen for sharing you experiences. About the book...
The cover is OUTSTANDING! I can't wait to read the book.

Susan Fisher Anderson said...

Hi Kathleen! I never knew that story, either. Looks like you're having a wonderful day. Love the cover! I'm not usually the 'fairy' type, but this book sounds intriguing. Hope you sell a million! Susan

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Lin!
First loves are usually a learning experience. I hope you experienced many blessings and have an abundance of love in the future.

Heya Patience and Susan! Waving hello and thank you for stopping by.

This has been a fun day. I'm off to cook supper but will stop by later.

C. Fowkes said...

Hi Kathleen, Wow, the things you find out about people... I'm afraid I'll sound like an echo. Your book cover is wonderful. But even better is the story. I loved how you described the difficulty of being not only a teen, but a fairy godmother. Your writing is just amazing!

C. Fowkes said...

Hi Kathleen, Wow, the things you find out about people... I'm afraid I'll sound like an echo. Your book cover is wonderful. But even better is the story. I loved how you described the difficulty of being not only a teen, but a fairy godmother. Your writing is just amazing!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kathleen,
Thank you for sharing about your first love. I didn't realize that about your life. Your release sounds great! Looking forward to reading it!!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Karilyn and Carole!

I appreciate you taking time out and dropping by. It's great to meet up with friends here at Honestly YA, and talk about the Upside of Heartbreak.

I wish you all a life of love and adventure. That doesn't preclude pain unfortunately, but may you have the strength to endure and the wisdom to turn sad moments into beauty, and beauty into greatness.

I look forward to seeing who won the free books. Thank you for being such gracious hostesses.

See you again!

Sally Felt said...

Wow. Amazing story, well-told. And I'll bet the book is good, too! In fact, describing Jess as "loner-genius" practically guarantees I'll be there, rooting for her.

Meantime, I'm cheering for you. Congratulations!

Carla Rossi said...

Nice story, looks like a great book. I need to win this! As for first hearbreak - I'll let you know when I'm over it...

Shannon said...

Hi Kat! What a fantastic premise for a book. Everyone has gone through heartbreak in one form or another.
Thanks for the post.

Biena said...

How did you survive your first heartbreak?

I got away with the help of friends and the pots I broke in our school garden. Good thing now one rotted me out Hihi.

Did you journal about it?

I did. And sometimes, I still go over and read those cringeworthy stuff I wrote

How did it make you stronger and more beautiful?

I thought me one thing: Never give up on hope.

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