November 7th – WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN, SEE COMMENT #30 BELOW.
Ten years ago, Friday November 4th, 2005, I came home from work to find a message on the answering machine from Kimberley Young at Harlequin Mills & Boon, UK. It was after six p.m. US Pacific Standard time, which meant it was 2 a.m. Saturday morning in UK. Her message went something like this – “Hello, are you around? Can you pick up? Give a call back ASAP if you’re able.”
I flew to my computer. As you can imagine, my heart bounced off the insides of my chest, and my hands trembled, which made signing into my e-mail account tricky. There were two messages from Kim Young in my in-box, both similar to the phone message, then the second one revealed some gut-wrenching information: Ms. Young was going on vacation for two weeks!
Feeling desperate, I replied to the e-mail anyway, then actually tried to call the UK office and left a voice message there, too.
Nooo, please don’t leave me hanging for two whole weeks!!!!
I’d been called by Kim Young once before, a couple of years prior, the time she got my first submission and loved my voice, then asked for the full manuscript. That first submission turned into a rejection a year later. Never say die, right?
I’d heard about people getting THE CALL, but I’d never experienced it myself. A few reasons came to mind for her call regarding the second submission on which I’d recently completed revisions. Maybe she wanted to talk about further revisions, or maybe she felt obligated to call in person to let me know I’d been rejected. Again. I really couldn’t think of any more reasons for her to call, because, surely I wasn’t ready to be published was I? After almost six years of actively seeking publication in multiple romance lengths, I’d never been in this situation before.
Now I’d have to wait two whole weeks to find out why she’d called.
As you can imagine, I called all of my closest writer friends to squeal and moan and sound them out about what this call might possibly be about. An online message from a published author said that Friday calls were a really good sign. Yes, I hoped, but dared I dream about actually selling a book? The situation was all very exciting and dramatic, full of angst, and hope, a writer’s dream and worst nightmare.
Then I prepared to wait two weeks for the inevitable reply to my pleading e-mails and phone message.
But there was a wonderful turning point on the following Tuesday morning – 7:08 a.m. to be precise. (I’m just guessing to ramp up the drama, but really it was around 7:00 a.m.) Kimberley Young called again! While on vacation, at her parent’s home in the countryside of England!!!
She’d seen my e-mails and most likely had been told about my phone message, probably felt sorry for me. Bless her for being conscientious.
She said I’d done a fabulous job on the revisions then spoke the magic words, “We want to buy your book!”
I’ll never forget those words or how her voice sounded that Tuesday morning as I prepared to go to my day job as an RN for fourteen internal medicine doctors. I walked on air the entire day. A publisher had offered to buy my book for the Medical Romance line, I could call myself an author, I was invincible. I could handle anything that day because I felt like superwoman.
To this day, nearly twenty-three books later, Her Baby’s Secret Father continues to be a bestselling book, and I will be forever grateful to Kim Young for thinking my writing was worth publishing.
After all these years I occasionally have to pinch myself to make sure this isn’t all a dream. I was an RN for 26 years, and have been lucky enough to have a second career as a writer in the second half of my life. Believe me, I count my blessings every day and count readers like you as one of them.
Thanks for stopping by and hearing a retelling of my call story.
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Until next time, make it a great one!