It's true. I was asleep when that first call came from Deb Werksman. My husband, who shouldn't have been home at the time, was the one who answered the phone. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
A few weeks prior to that day, I'd seen in the RWR that Sourcebooks was a newly approved publisher and they were taking erotic and paranormal romance. I just so happened to have a manuscript that fit that description, the book I'd wanted to write ever since I was a kid watching Star Trek. Back then, it was called The Rescue. I printed it out, wrote a query letter to go with it, and sort of kissed it goodbye, figuring it was off to get trounced and rejected, just as all those other manuscripts I'd sent out had been. This one was different from the rest, and not simply because it wasn't a contemporary romance. It hadn't gone to an agent or a publisher before, mainly because, at the time, no one seemed to want paranormals, and this one was more paranormal than most because I had the audacity to write about hot, sexy aliens instead of werewolves, witches, or vampires.
My most recent contemporary effort had just been soundly rejected by Virgin Books, (sort of prophetic when you consider the title of my latest book, Virgin, isn't it?). That editor told me to rewrite the book in third person--which I have since done and self-pubbed as Sex, Love, and a Purple Bikini--but at the time, as I'm sure you will understand, I was feeling rather low.
On the day in question, I'd had a helluva night in the ICU. When I finally dragged myself out of bed that afternoon, I found my dear Budley in the kitchen, flipping through the mail on the table.
"How come you're home so early?" I asked.
"I had some stuff I needed to do in town." He looked at me with a rather mischievous gleam in his eyes. "And then this publisher called..."
I cannot recall my precise reaction to this news, but I'm sure I was appropriately ecstatic. And also a bit shocked. "Which one?"
His recall was accurate enough for me to at least figure out which book was involved. "She seemed very interested. But she insisted that I not wake you up."
Now, of all the things for which a writer wouldn't mind being awakened during the middle of what is, for me, the middle of the night, this one topped the list. Unless, of course, it is to be informed that you've made someone's bestseller list. That hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure I'd be willing to lose a bit of sleep to hear it, whether I was scheduled to work again that night or not.
Anyway, I sent the complete manuscript in via email and waited. Deb liked it, but had some "editorial concerns" and wanted me to call her. I could only guess at what she meant by that, so I called. Suffice it to say, her first concern was with the size of the hero's appendage. Since this was in no way one of the things I thought would be a problem, I began laughing hysterically. After I recovered, I listened to the rest of her suggestions and said I'd work on it and get back to her.
Not long after that, I received a rejection letter and my submission returned to me in the dreaded SASE. Hmm... I thought, what part of "I'll work on it and get back to you" didn't she understand?
Well, as it turned out, Deb claims to have hung up the phone figuring she'd never hear from me again. Guess cracking up wasn't the best tactic, but you know how it is when the stress of writing and submitting gets to you.
At that point, I figured I'd go ahead with the revisions and send it to her. What I forgot to include was my phone number. So, when the REAL call came, I was awake, but Deb, having returned my manuscript, didn't have my phone number. So she emailed me. Before I saw the email, she found my number somewhere and called me. The Rescue then became known as Slave.
And the rest, as they say, is history.