Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sleeping Through The Call...

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.


  1. Great titles, great covers, great stories and a great Call story. Now if you'd please drop the other shoe and explain about this appendage problem? You're a medical professional, right? We're all authors here....

  2. LOL! It was too big to be, shall we say, comfortable for the heroine?

  3. Cheryl, I had a similar experience where Deb asked me to do a rewrite and apparently thought she'd never hear from me again (I had to change a lot more than an appendage!). I guess we're more persistent than most people!

  4. Well, Cheryl, the heroine has to be smiling, not grimacing during those scenes, right! LOL
    Now I'm wondering about my cowboys...I'll have to ask my heroines if "size matters".

  5. Oh dear! I sympathize with your

    Having an ICU job, you've probably seen every size and shape there is. (We nurses are lucky that way! LOL)

    Best of luck with sales, Cheryl!

  6. Can you imagine having Deb's job and having to talk about appendage sizes to newbie authors? Too funny!

  7. MEOW!!I'm glad you didn't change too much. I love It You "Sleeping through the call" To bad you had to shorten Cats 3rd leg. LOL

  8. That's too funny, Cheryl. I'm sure we've all had some interesting conversations with Deb. Nothing phases her. Dom on the other hand...

  9. Ah ha! It seems I'm not alone in having to discuss appendage size with our dear editor. I guess sometimes our eyes are bigger than our... well, you know....

    And yes, Ashlyn. I've seen plenty of appendages--some I wish I hadn't!

    OMG, Robin. I can hear her squealing now!

    Joanne, we'd HAVE to be persistent to do what we do. Otherwise, we'd have never made it this far.

    Thanks, Terry!

    My heroine wasn't grimacing, Carolyn. But I guess Deb thought some of the readers would be!

    @Shana. Discussing it in the first conversation with someone you've never actually met has got to be...strange.

    I didn't actually shorten it, Donna. It was more a matter of width than length. ;)

  10. Great story! I agree - editors should know we writers don't mind at all to get a little good news anytime day or night!

  11. Hi Cheryl
    I'm late to this - my darn sick PC.

    Loved this post. I thought it was because his appendage had an act LOL.