I only get one chance to do this, so I want to get it right.
Today is a very special day.
December 27th is the official release date for my daughter’s first novel.
You could think of it as a belated Christmas present.
You may know her as HoCoHouseHon.
She wrote about life in Columbia/HoCo from 2011 to 2021, albeit rather intermittently in recent years. HoCoHouseHon treated local issues with a different perspective than the rest of us. When you were done reading one of her pieces, it stayed with you. It was practically imprinted onto your psyche. HoCoHouseHon’s posts were ruthlessly honest and breathtakingly poetic at the same time. She was equally as honest about issues like choosing sobriety, living with mental health challenges, or coming to terms with a healthy body image in a culture that wants to diminish women in every way. She even called out the Baltimore Sun over their condescending treatment of Columbia during the Julia Louis-Dreyfus Veep brouhaha. (Remember #morethanGateway ?)
In 136 posts over ten years HoCoHouseHon established herself as a local voice unlike any other. Sometimes her honesty made me uncomfortable. I always suspected that was a good thing.
These days HoCoHouseHon is, essentially, no more. Its writer has followed her dreams to the city of her childhood and looks at life from a high rise apartment in Harbor East. In the last few years she has started a whole new life, entered into an entirely new career, and written and sold her first novel.
All the Way Happy is, unashamedly, a romance novel. It tells the story of Theo and Jack, whose wildly different Baltimore childhoods should have determined that they never meet one another.
From the moment Jack Gardner first laid eyes on Theodore Beaumont, he hated everything about him. Emanating wealth and icy perfection, Theo was everything Jack was not. Their time together at the elite Gwynns Academy changed them both, but it wasn't until a chance encounter the summer after graduation that the tension between them became palpable—unbearable.
Yes. It’s a romance novel whose protagonists are men. It contains what I used to euphemistically refer to with my kids as “stuff” or “content”. Romance publishers used to like to describe those scenes in novels as “steamy.” Yes, I am a mother struggling to explain this book has sex in it. I’m just giving you a content warning in case you’re thinking of reading it.
You’re all adults out there. You can make up your own minds.
All the Way Happy is the culmination of many years of searching and struggling by a writer who wasn’t always sure what her voice would be. But it’s only the beginning for characters Jack and Theo. The author has a long story line for these two which encompasses multiple novels. The hope is that readers will like this first one enough to clamor for more.
You can follow Kit Coltrane on Twitter and Instagram. You can purchase All The Way Happy as an ebook or a real, hold in your hands, printed-and-bound physical book. If you like the book, leave feedback at Amazon. It makes a huge difference.
Kit Coltrane is a Baltimore Hon with an Irish heart.
But for ten years she gave us life in Owen Brown and Oakland Mills. She yearned for Columbia to have more arts, more night life, more sidewalks and walkability. She urged us to be less provincial and to look at things in new ways. HoCoHouseHon put issues like mental health, substance misuse, body dysmorphia, right in there along with trips to Wegman’s, new original recipes, and essays on racism, education, and health care.
I want to give her the best Village Green/Town² send-off ever. Not simply because she is my daughter, but because she gave Columbia/HoCo ten years of her life and I love telling local stories. This story is a good one.
Amazon tells me that my copy is arriving Thursday, which just happens to be the birthday of the author. Perhaps I’ll bring it to her birthday dinner and have her autobiograph it.