Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"The Call" - I'm Going to be a Published Author!


I got “the call” today. It’s official, Harlequin is going to publish my novel See No Evil (although the title will probably change) as part of their Intrigue line!!!!  The book will be on shelves in April 2014.

To give you an idea of what Intrigue covers look like. :-)

It has been a long journey just to get to this point. The Harlequin eBoards has been a place of constant support for me over the last year. Published and aspiring authors convene there to rejoice, commiserate and sustain each other during the highs and lows of publishing navigation. We pass the virtual chocolate (or in my case, cream-cheese frosting) during rejections and throw virtual parties when someone receives an offer for publication.

Today was my party! And my online friends have requested my “call story.” What can we say? We’re romance writers. We love to hear of someone being swept off their feet and carried off into the sunset bookstore shelves.

It starts back in May of 2012, when the Harlequin Intrigue editorial team had a writing contest. They wanted unpublished writers to send a back-cover blurb of a potential book, as well as a 100-word snippet from the work itself. They would choose the top 5 and ask to see more. This is the blurb I sent:

Ten years ago Adrienne Jeffries was a profiler for the FBI with a talent so remarkable she became known as the bloodhound -- someone who could sense and track evil. But the price she paid for her abilities was too high, costing her almost everything. So she left the Bureau with no intention of ever returning.

FBI Agent Conner Perigo is trying to catch a killer who has eluded his team at every turn. He will use any means available -- including an unwilling ex-profiler with some sort of hocus-pocus abilities -- if it means finally getting ahead of the killer. What he doesn't expect is his attraction to Adrienne or his desire to protect this vulnerable beauty.

And she needs his protection, especially now that it seems the killer has targeted Adrienne as his next victim.

I was chosen for the top 5. After a chat room meeting with the editor discussing more details of the book, she requested a partial, which is a synopsis and first three chapters. I sent those in June.

In October, I received  (via snail mail) my request from Harlequin Intrigue for my FULL MANUSCRIPT. For those who don’t hang out in the Harlequin eBoards, a full request is a big deal. No publication offer is coming unless you first have a request for the full manuscript.  Of course, no offer may come even if they do…

So I took about six weeks to complete and polish my manuscript and sent it off in mid-December. 

Then the waiting game began again. The general rule of thumb is that it will take up to six months to hear back from an editor.  It’s hard. I even heard the story of a lady who had sent her manuscript, waited six months, emailed the editor only to find out it had never been received at all.

Never been received at all? I woke up in the middle of the night in February in a panic. What if the editor hadn’t received my manuscript at all like the other lady?  (That this had only happened one time of the 1000s of manuscripts received by Harlequin, made no difference to my psyche – don’t interrupt my neurotic fit with facts and logic!) I ran downstairs to look at December’s snail mail receipt signature from their office.

It was signed by Bob. Unreadable last name.

Bob.

Although I was sure Bob Nolastname was stellar at his job and not just some homeless NY person who had wandered in off the street and taken refuge in the Harlequin mail room, I decided maybe I better double check. Not having a direct phone or email address, back onto the Harlequin eBoards I went. I finally posted under “Ask the Editors” section asking what I should even do.

Allison Lyons, Intrigue line editor, responded directly. She had my manuscript on my desk and was currently reading it.

Yay! – she had it! Terror!! – she was reading it!

At the end of April, Allison Lyons contacted me again. She liked See No Evil and wanted to pass it up to the Senior Editor for possible acquisition. So up to the Senior Editor it went. Finally the person who would ultimately decide.

At the Smithsonian just before The Call
Time slowed to an almost halt as I waited to hear.  Each Monday I said to myself (and anyone around who would listen): THIS is the week I will hear from Intrigue. I said that to myself for SEVEN Mondays. I checked my email incessantly, hoping for word.

Finally, this week we took a family trip to Washington DC for a couple of days. I decided I wouldn’t take my laptop or iPad or anything that would ping me when I got an email.  If Intrigue emailed me, it would be there when I got back.

Ends up they didn’t email. Allison, the editor from Intrigue, called. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered.

So there I was in the middle of the dinosaur exhibit in Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – surrounded by dozens of blaring children – receiving one of the most important phone calls of my life.

Intrigue wanted to buy my book and hopefully publish more of my works in the future!

We didn’t talk for long, between my giddiness and all the T-Rex madness, it was hard to converse effectively. But Allison was very gracious and enthusiastic.

Before we hung up, her last words were: Welcome to the Intrigue Family. 


I feel like little orphan Annie running around Daddy Warbucks house:

"I think I'm gonna like it here!!!"


35 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I'm so excited for you. What a terrific way to kick off your Harlequin career.

    Lisa Weaver

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    1. Thanks so much for all your kind words and support, Lisa. Here and on the forums.

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  2. Huge congrats!!! I knew it was just a matter of time. ;-) And don't you love how "The Call" comes when you least expect it?

    Loved your call story and the blurb. Can't wait to read your debut. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Can't wait to read "Rancher to the Rescue". It comes out in July, right?

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  3. How exciting. The story looks intriguing. Well duh. Of course it is. ;)

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    1. Princess Fi, you always crack me up. Your turn is next!!

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  4. Congratulations! You must be on cloud 9! Way to hang in there! I'm sad now after reading the blurb that I have to wait 10 months to read the story but I bet it will be great!

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    1. Thanks for the huge compliment, Rechelle. I am quite excited!!!

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  5. Janie: As soon as you have settled into your new role, please drop by the Harlequin Community Intrigue Thread. I'm the host for the Intrigue line.

    However, the covers you have posted are the old covers. Your release will feature one of the new Intrigue covers. :-)

    Congrats and welcome to the Harlequin Intrigue family.

    wj

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    1. I sure will, Wayne. Thanks for the invite and welcome. And that's exciting about the new covers.

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  6. Huge congratulations Janie! Thank you for sharing your wonderful call story! Can't wait to read your book when it hits the shelves!

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    1. Thanks, Marion! Excited for you about Red Moon's release. Love the cover.

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  7. that is just brilliant! Well done!

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  8. This is just wonderful! Am so happy for you Janie :-)

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Just a few more weeks until your book's release, right? Can't wait!

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  9. An intriguing call story Janie. I love 'Intrigues' I will look forward to your book. :-) Congratulations

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    1. Thanks, Jane! Your turn is soon, I can feel it!

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  10. Fabulous call story, Janie. Many congratulations. xx

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  11. Welcome to Harlequin, Janie, from the Harlequin Author Network! Come on over to the Intrigue Author forums once you're signed up! :-)

    Miranda (the HAN concierge)

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  12. Congrats, Janie! Can't wait to meet you in Atlanta.

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    1. Dee, you're like a celebrity commenting on my post. I've arrived! I've arrived! :D See you in ATL.

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  13. Funny call story. I'm glad I'm alone in my room, 'cuz I had some laugh-out-loud moments. And although you've heard it already--and this would be my second time--congratulations!

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    1. Couldn't ask for a better compliment than to make somebody laugh-out-loud. Thanks! :D

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  14. Fabulous news, Janie! Bunches of Congrats!!! May everyday be a celebration 4U!

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    1. Thanks Sun Chara! I know your call is coming soon!

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  15. Huge, huge hugs and congratulations Janie!! Just the most amazing news. xo

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  16. Congratulations! What an incredible story and I LOVE the welcoming tweet! :-)

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    1. Thanks, roomie! Looking forward to Atlanta!

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  17. Well, I really believe in order for me to get an important call I have to be somewhere else. I have to walk away from the phone/computer/laptop to make it happen. I just got the call from my agent that Allison (we have the same editor--squee!) bought my 3-book proposal while I was in Colorado Springs for RomCon 2013. This was my second sale to Harlequin. I, too, had been overly checking e-mail and phone messages for weeks leading up to RomCon. I figured I'd be lucky to hear back before Nationals, so I decided not to stress about it while I packed my bags. Off I went to the reader event. I was lucky enough to be heading back from lunch with Donnell Ann Bell (she drove) and Allison Brennan when my agent called. I politely apologized for taking the call but explained it was from my agent. Donnell and Allison urged me to answer and they picked up the conversation thread in the front seat while I listened on the phone. I still wasn't expecting news from Allison. If I hadn't been in the car with two of my favorite writers (and let's face it, trying to be cool), I'm sure I would've screamed loud enough to damage my agent's ear drums when she told me I'd sold. Congrats on your sale!! And welcome!! I'll be at Nationals and we have to celebrate!!

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    1. Thanks Barb! Looking forward to chatting with you in Atlanta.

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