This weekend, I met the fabulous Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches. She came to Birmingham chock full of the most fascinating information. I could spend hours drinking wine with her and talking about books and authors and romance and readers and all the wonderful things that are a part of our romance community. Alas, she wanted to go home instead of hang out with us forever. And we kinda had to let her or, you know, that wouldn’t be a good thing.
But amongst all the fabulous ideas she gave me was this one. Sarah suggested I host an informal reader event at RT. And I thought, hey, that is a *great* idea! How cool to get together with my readers for a chat?
If you’re going, maybe you’d like to join me for a drink in the bar? This idea is in the planning stages, but it could be lots of fun to meet those of you who are going to be there. I’ll look into options — we might meet in the hotel bar, or we might find a bar close by — and we’ll get together for an hour or so. I’ll buy you a drink! I might even have a specialty drink for the party.
I’ll announce it on my Facebook pages, this blog, and I’ll send out a special newsletter message. If you haven’t signed up for that yet, be sure to do so: you can do that on this page by scrolling to the bottom and filling in the box that says “Subscribe to Lynn’s Newsletter.”
I really hope to see you there!
Today, I thought it would be fun to share my original Call story post with you! I wrote this post for I Heart Presents, but I think it’s appropriate to share it here with you now. Four years ago, on October 6th 2008, I got the Call. It was a thrilling day!
I can hardly believe it’s been four years since that magical day. My 10th Presents comes out in just a few weeks, though I’ve written nearly double that number now. I’ve hit the USA Today bestseller list, had a couple of number one bestsellers at Borders (when they were still doing the list, sigh) and Mills & Boon, and met so many wonderful readers from around the world who write and tell me they like my books.
It’s awesome to be able to share my stories with you! Soon, I hope to share even more stories with you. I’m working hard on those special projects, and hope to have good news for you soon. In the meantime, I hope the writers will enjoy the Call story — and I hope the readers know just how grateful I am to them for continuing to show me their love!
All y’all rock!
My Call Story by Lynn Raye Harris
When I last wrote a post, I’d just turned in my second round of revisions and I was waiting for my editor, Sally Williamson, to let me know how I did. Naturally, I was apprehensive! I was hopeful this time, but nowhere near certain I’d gotten it right enough for the Magical Phone Call.
I sent Sally my revisions on a Wednesday. On Friday, she responded that she loved what I’d done but she had some tweaks for me. I got excited as I read her email because I could tell these were easy things to do: take something out, add something in, expand something else. Nothing was major, and nothing was a total rewrite. Yay!
But the bad news (for me, not for Sally!) was that she was on her way out the door for a two-week holiday. I was seriously excited – but two weeks? Oh man, the wait. I finished the tweaks that weekend and sent the story back. But I still had two weeks to go.
Two excruciating weeks! Thankfully, I had distractions. My in-laws were visiting and we had a construction project going on. I had some contest entries to judge, and an anniversary to celebrate. I also scheduled lunch with a friend, and there was a costume party squeezed into those two weeks as well. So I was busy, but it was always there in the back of my mind. Would Sally have good news for me when she got back, or would I be rewriting again?
Sunday, Oct 5, I was thinking pretty hard about how I would pick myself up and dust myself off and start another book if Sally gave me bad news (maybe she was tired of these characters and figured I’d never get it right). I still had her for six months, so I was going to write another book! I’d already written a loose synopsis and character backgrounds, so I was ready to go.
Several of my writing friends told me to stop being silly and quit worrying so much. My husband said of course they were going to buy my book, there was no way I’d slid backward over something as easy as tweaks, and to stop obsessing (he’s practical like that). But that’s what writers do, right? We obsess.
I knew Sally was back in the office on Monday, so I figured if I didn’t hear something by Wednesday, I’d send her an email. I’d waited two weeks; surely I could wait a couple more days. Her “To Do” list had to be pretty full since she’d been away. I reminded myself I wasn’t her first priority and she would get to me when she had a chance.
Monday morning, my husband got up bright and early to get ready for work. I always get up at some point before he leaves and prepare for my day at the computer. That morning, I was a little behind the curve. I was sitting up in bed, still in my pajamas, and my husband had just kissed me goodbye. He was walking out the bedroom door when the phone rang.
Our phone is in the kitchen, which is next to the bedroom, and he was closer. But I’d jumped out of bed and was headed that way. My husband picked up the phone and looked at the Caller ID. It was Privacy Director, the service that filters calls it deems to be from telemarketers to a menu where I get to choose whether or not to answer. I don’t know why, but it always does this when Harlequin calls (sorry, Sally; if I knew how to turn it off I would). My husband was puzzled over the Privacy Director so early in the morning, but I just said, “Give it to me.”
I knew who it was (call it a feeling or a coincidence, but I was positive it was Sally), and I hoped like crazy I knew why she was calling. I answered and heard Sally’s lovely accent as she stated her name. Of course I accepted the call! By this time, my husband had followed me back into the bedroom and sat beside me on the bed. Sally asked me how I was, I think I asked her about her vacation, and then she said some combination of those Magic Words that I can’t remember precisely because my heart was beating so fast: “We want to buy your book.”
I squeezed my husband’s arm. I don’t remember much else, except to say how happy I was. (And I think I was bouncing on the bed, btw.) Sally said a few more things, something about calling my new agent with the details, but I definitely heard “two book contract.” My husband was so happy he said, “Thank you, Sally!” into the phone while I was trying to listen.
After I finished talking with Sally, I called my parents and my in-laws, because I’d promised I would, and then I started telling everyone. I can’t remember most of the morning, other than it was a rush of calls and emails. My husband brought home flowers and a card before I had to take him to the airport for a business trip. I spent the evening of my First Sale eating a frozen dinner and drinking a glass of wine alone. But I was too happy to be upset about it.
And that’s how, at 7:27 AM on Monday, October 6, 2008, I finally got the long dreamed about CALL. Four years since I got serious about my writing, and fifteen years since I first tried to write a romance novel, I sold to Harlequin Presents.
Never give up the dream, friends. It could be you next. Thanks for all the good wishes you’ve sent me, and a major thank you to the editorial team for having the contest and choosing me. This has been a wonderful experience, and I look forward to the future as a Presents author. (It gives me a thrill to say that!)
Hey, y’all! Hope my fellow Americans are having a fabulous Thanksgiving today, and I hope my international readers are having a great day. I am thankful for so many things today, but I want to say a special thank you to my readers! You guys make this job the best job in the world. I’m so happy when you enjoy my stories, and I’m so thrilled when you write to tell me about it. I treasure your kind words, believe me. I am not so self-important or snooty as to think I don’t need you. I do. So thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
I’m still working hard, y’all, but I’ve been excited to see that Cavelli’s Lost Heir has been in the Top Ten Bestsellers on the eHarlequin ebook site since it became available yesterday! It’s gone as high as #3, which makes me very happy. Thanks to all my readers who are buying the book! I hope you will enjoy, and please let me know what you think about Prince Nico and Lily.
And if you don’t have yours yet, you can get a copy at eHarlequin, either in paperback, or ebook!
P.S. The book is not officially available in the US until January!
Come on over to the Writing Playground for my Book Launch Party! There will be book giveaways — and I think the Playground Monitor is even giving away some sand. Curious? Come find out what it’s all about!
Okay, so how silly is it to celebrate the one week anniversary of my new site launch? I can’t believe it’s been a week, in fact. One week ago today, I was sitting here at my computer doing a Yahoo chat with my web designer while she instructed me how to do some basic things (like blog posts). And then the moment came when she told me to click a particular button — and voila, the whole site went live. It was a champagne moment for me. 🙂
See, I built my first website myself, using some freebie tools that Yahoo had. I wanted to know how it worked, and of course it was very rudimentary. I had Front Page, but couldn’t figure out how to use it. Dreamweaver was way out of the question. Nope, I used what is commonly called WYSIWYG — what you see is what you get. I could drag elements around the page and hotlink like crazy.
But it was still homemade and still didn’t look the way I envisioned my website would look. So I made a promise to myself that when I sold a book, I was hiring a professional to design my site. And I couldn’t be happier.
So what are you up to this weekend? I think I’m dragging Hubby to the Farmer’s Market. He will protest, but it’s better to do it now, in April, because the summer months are so hot I can’t get his Yankee butt out of the house. And there might be some shopping. Next weekend is the Heart of Dixie 12th Annual Readers’ Luncheon and I want to look fabulous. There will also be writing, because June is approaching and I have a book to finish before the craziness that comes with preparing for RWA Nationals in July begins. There might also be some time outdoors, grilling on the patio, and relaxing with my favorite man.
Wow, think my weekend is full already! How about yours? Any favorite weekend activities when Spring arrives and the warm weather decides to stick around?