by Carolyn Brown
Thirteen years ago I got my first call from an editor saying that if I'd put some sex in the two books I'd submitted to her that she'd buy them. The line died after I'd sold her six books (four of them were published and the other two are still holding down a shelf in a back room of publisher's never-never land). I submitted to another editor and got the second call saying if I'd take the sex out of the book that I'd submitted to her that she'd buy it.
When both calls came I actually managed to sound semi-intelligent even if I was breathless and dancing around like a club footed hippo with an ingrown toenail.
Then one of my friends was raving about Sourcebooks and what a great company they were so I decided to pitch Lucky in Love to them. Deb said I could send a full manuscript to her so I did but I figured that I'd just get a nice rejection slip...like most of the time. I almost had enough to wall paper the White House...not that little one with two holes down at the end of Great Aunt Gert's back yard but the real big one in D.C. so at least it wouldn't go to waste.
But Deb didn't reject my cowboy romance. SHE LIKED IT!!!
There she was on the phone with an offer to buy Lucky in Love and talking about making it into a trilogy and my phone was giving me little beeps saying that it had one foot in the grave and the other on a pod of boiled okra. And darlin' there ain't nothing slimier than boiled okra.
She was in a noisy airport and my phone had the death rattles. Add that to my heavy Tex/Okie drawl and no doubt she thought she'd reached the wrong Carolyn Brown. The one she wanted to talk to wasn't drunk in the middle of the afternoon and didn't keep asking, "Would you repeat that, please?" The one who wrote Lucky in Love had to understand simple English, didn't she?
But she bought the book and suggested I make it into a series and I was once again dancing around like the aforementioned hippo! (The hippo dance is somewhat like the Snoopy one only with lots more yelling and stomping.)
There's a funny story about making the Lucky book into a series. Deb said that she wanted more stories about the sexy Luckadeau cowboys so to be thinking about writing at least two more books to make it a trilogy to which I answered, "But he's the baby of the family and his brothers are all married."
And Deb said, "He's got all those cousins, Carolyn, and they are sexy Luckadeau's, too!"
She's been pointing me in the right direction ever since!
By the time I met Deb the whole Lucky trilogy was in print and I was ready to sign I Love This Bar at the literacy signing in Orlando last summer. Imagine my surprise when I opened my very first RWA bag ever to find a copy of that book. I almost fainted when I realized more than two thousand authors now had a copy of my cowboy romance in their hands. This was one fantastic company I'd signed on with!!
So there I was signing copies and right in front of me is this lady who says, "Hi, I'm Deb, your editor!"
I was speechless for all of ten seconds. That had never happened to me before, dear hearts. It was a whole new experience when I couldn't even stutter or bluff my way through a situation.She'd actually come to my table and there she was and I hadn't prepared a single thing to say to her.
I swear she'd be a helluva a poker player because she kept a sweet expression on her face and didn't run from me even though I only spoke broken English and fluent redneck. Maybe during the reading of the Lucky trilogy and the Honky Tonk series she'd learned to understand my language.
THEN, the next call came last month. Husband, bless his heart, had just driven through three hours of the most hellacious rain ever pelted down upon earth. I truly thought I should stop and check on gopher wood and throw up another ark in case it was going to keep it up for 40 days and nights. We have two cats and the middle daughter has two dogs so I had a good running start. The picture above is what I could see out the side window as we traveled through sheets and sheets of rain. I think that was the tail end of a semi over in the right hand lane but I'm not sure. It could have been a replica of the ark already floating away and leaving me and my two cats behind.
It finally let up enough that we could see the exit signs and we pulled off in Nashville, rented a hotel room for the night and Husband promptly took a nap. I was way too wound up to sleep so I opened up my computer and started reading the WIP.
I was deep into the first few pages and my cell phone rang.
Thinking it was one of my kids making sure that I steered the ark toward Oklahoma so they could climb aboard, I grabbed the phone and hurried to the bathroom. This so I wouldn't wake up Husband who needed his rest after proving he could drive under water.
I flipped the potty lid down, sat down and got ready to tell my daughter all about the rain storm and ask her to call the lumber yard to check on gopher wood in southern Oklahoma. Only it wasn't the kids!
It was Deb saying that I'd just made the NYT Bestseller list with Love Drunk Cowboy. (That still puts a big smile on my face just typing in the words.)
I betcha I'm the only author to ever get that news sitting on a potty in a Nashville hotel.
And what did I do?
Well, when I quit stuttering and could breathe again, I did my hippo dance and woke Husband up to tell him!
And what did he do?
He mumbled something and went out the door for coffee.
But when he came back he was all smiles and said, "Now you did what?"
And I got to squeal and do my hippo dance all over again!
So do you have any stories about "the call" that sent you from aspiring to published author? If you are an unpublished author tell me what you'd expect to do when you get the "call"? Champagne? Chocolate? Dance? Tears? If you are a reader, tell me about a call you've got in your life that either changed it or made you do your special dance.
I've got a signed copy of Love Drunk Cowboy...my first book to make the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists (there's that smile again), to give away to a lucky person who comments on the blog today. US & Canada only please. I'll draw a name out of Austin's red boot and announce the winner first thing Sunday morning so check back to see if you won.