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My Wild and Wacky Call Story...

By Robin Kaye

My call story is a little bit unusual so bear with me, it should all make sense in the end. One would hope, at least.

I was lying in bed late on a Saturday morning, which is very unusual for me. You see, I was alone in the house for the first time in about eleven years. My husband was away on business in Florida, my daughters were spending the night at the neighbor’s, and my son was spending the night at his best friend’s. So there I was lounging around, still in bed at 11:00 on a Saturday morning. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

The phone rang and I checked the caller ID. It said Tennessee. The only person I knew in Tennessee was my brother-in-law, and since he only calls on his and my husband’s shared birthday, it would only make sense that he was calling to tell me some terrible news or that it was a telemarketer. I answered the phone with great trepidation since I knew my father-in-law had been ill, and I really didn’t want to talk to a telemarketer on the first day I had to lounge around like a slug in over eleven years.”

“Is Robin…” The woman on the line butchered my last name, not that I could really blame her, because it took me over a year to figure it out myself, but it was a definite sign of a telemarketer. I was soooo not happy.

“Yes.” I spat.

“This is Trish Milburn from RWA, and I’m calling you to inform you that Romeo, Romeo has finaled in the Golden Heart.”

I was in a state of shock. I entered the Golden Heart hoping to break into the top fifty percent. I never in my wildest dreams expected to final. Hell, I hadn’t even paid attention to when the finalist would be announced—obviously. All I could say was, “Thank God no one died!”

Trish and I have since had a good laugh over that. I’m sure it was the strangest conversation she’d ever had while calling finalists. When she asked if I was going to the RWA’s national conference, I told her I hadn’t planned on it, but since I finaled in the Golden Heart, I’d find a way.

I knew I needed two things to go to Nationals, a really cool evening gown since the awards ceremony was black tie, and a new cell phone. Thank God that was 2006 and the iPhone was being released. I was one of those crazy people who waited in line on the first day the iPhone came out, which was a much more enjoyable experience than buying the dress, believe me, but that’s a whole other blog.

Boy am I glad I got my iPhone because the day I arrived in Dallas for the conference, I received an email from an Deb Werksman, an editor from Sourcebooks, saying that she’d read Romeo, Romeo, “LOVED IT,” and wanted to talk to me about it.

I called Deb right back and we set up a time to meet. See, I told my husband that I needed the iPhone and of course, I was right. Don’t cha just love it when that happens?

The next day I met Deb and we grabbed a bite at the restaurant. Since it was so cold in the hotel, we both ordered a bowl of soup and Deb explained that she had been one of the Golden Heart final judges and had requested my manuscript from RWA and then shocked the heck out of my by proceeding to quote her favorite lines verbatim. Seriously. I thought she was either crazy or she really, really liked the book. Thank God it was the latter. That’s when I told her I’d completely revised the manuscript. Deb’s face paled. After assuring her I had kept a copy of the original, I explained the changes I made. When she found out I had added an external conflict, she declared me I was a genius. That’s when I took out my new iPhone and asked if she’d call my mother-in-law and tell her that, since, unfortunately my mother-in-law was blissfully unaware. Deb laughed, told me she’d send her an email, and then offered me a contract, all over a bowl of matzo ball soup.

Oh, and a few days later I was happy I had gone through hell buying the perfect dress, because I won the Golden Heart and had to give an acceptance speech in front of 2000 people. I knew I won when Rachel Gibson, who had practiced saying my name and did a great job when reading off the finalist said, “And the winner is…Oh God, I have to say that name again!”


  1. These people... it's spelling your last name that defeats me. What a wonderful story of one call turning into The Call, turning into a terrific book and a terrific series. Just one thing--mamas all over the map are going to read your blog and attribute your success to matzo ball soup.

  2. Great story, Robin! I hear you on the last name butchering. That's why I took on a pen name from the other side of the family. Much easier to spell and pronounce!

  3. That's a great story, Robin!

    I have Romeo, Romeo in my nook and I'm currently reading Yours for the Taking. AWESOME BOOK! I love it and can't wait to read Romeo, Romeo.

    You rock, lady!

  4. In my humble opinion you should multi task...write funny as hell books and be the star of Comedy Central!
    Loved the blog...with a name like Brown I do fairly well. That is until I say it for them and then it's "Brian? (Or something like that) would you spell that please?"

  5. Grace - The sign language I use to show people how to pronounce it makes it easy enough to say. Too bad the same can't be said for the spelling. DH's last name is 10 letters and he's of Russian/Polish decent. In other words it's scary. All my kids friends call me Mrs. K so when I picked a pen name, I just spelled Kaye out. They wouldn't let me use my maiden name--Robin Williams. That's so unfair--when you think of the hell I went through in Middle School when Mork and Mindy was all the rage.

    @Chery - I don't think my name would fit on a book cover.

    @ Ashlyn - I'm so glad you're enjoying Yours for the Taking and hope you enjoy Romeo, Romeo--that book will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first book.

    @ Carolyn - That accent will get you every time, Carolyn! I should know, I learned to spell phonetically with a very heavy Brooklyn accent. Chocolate had a w in it and water didn't have a t, it had a d. I didn't know that the word drawer had an er on the end until I was a senior in high school. So not only was I dyslexic, I was phonetically challenged. LOL

  6. Coming from a last name that I CONSTANTLY had to spell, I was elated to become a Smith....only to have the VERY FIRST PERSON who asked my name over the phone ask me to spell it.....*sigh*

  7. Robin, that sounds like the best RWA conference ever! I'm so glad Deb chose Romeo Romeo - I've read all your books and just love them. As for names, my maiden name was Smyth. With a y, and no e on the end. Plus there are 14 ways to spell Joanne and people come up with every one of them before they get to mine!

  8. @ Joy - I still remember your maiden name and I even know how to spell it. LOL For everyone else, I've known Joy since we were in 7th grade. We'd lost touch for years but facebook brought us back together. Yes, joy, you were lucky to get the name Smith when you walked down the aisle. I asked Stephen (my DH) if he would consider changing his to Williams--I guess we all know how well that went.

    @ Joanne - Yes, the 2006 conference was definitely one for my record books, the last one wasn't too shabby either! I'm so glad you enjoyed my books, I love yours too, and I'm not just saying that.

  9. How awesome! I've had some of those iPhone moments too. I don't know what I did without it (probably spent less money).

  10. I just love that story, and now that you've blogged it, I don't have to ask you one more time, "Tell it again! Tell it again!" :-) But I think you left out something about a limosine...?

  11. What a great "Call" story Robin. That's worth getting interrupted on your first lazy day in eleven years.

  12. Carolyn, I totally think Robin could be on Comedy Central.

  13. @ Shana - I'm on my second iPhone in 6 books, one more book and I'm due for another. I'm such a mac girl!

    @ Carla - OMG, yes! Deb gave me a lift to the airport in her stretch limo. It was great! The darn thing probably sat 20 people and there were only 3 of us. I felt like a rock star!

    @ Anita - I apologized for sounding so rude...Trish still gives me a wide birth whenever we're around each other. LOL I'm sure she questions my sanity. Unfortunately, she's not alone.

  14. OMG “Thank God no one died!”
    made me snort!!! That's so funny & obviously unforgettable.

    Love the Golden Heart call & the pub call. I'd be happy to tell your MIL that you're a genius. Of course hearing it from another Italian girl might not cut it but tell her my hubby name is Polish too. LOL.

  15. @ Mary - How are you doing, Bella?

    What is it with Italian girls and Polish boys? We seem to make great teams. Yeah, I don't think my MIL will ever 'get' me, and that's just fine. Her son sure does and that's what counts. She will always have a place in my heart simply because she raised the nicest, most generous man I've ever known. She definitely did something right, and for that, I'll always be grateful.

  16. Robin,
    I was cheering for you as I read this. (And I'm like you, I'd rather shop for a phone!)

    And now, I want Matzo ball soup...LOL

  17. Robin, sorry to be chiming in late. Sounds like you had a fabulous year--contract and GH!

  18. @ Mary - LOL Phones don't make you look fat! And yeah, I'll never eat Matzo ball soup again without thinking of Deb!

    @ Tracey - 2007 was a banner year, my first contract and the Golden Heart. It's been a wild ride. I love writing and that makes it even better!

  19. It is a fun post, but I'm thinking who has trouble pronouncing Kaye?!? :-)A Golden Heart, a contract and an iphone all in the same month. You were rocking! Wonderful story!

  20. Great story! Sounds like your relaxing sleep in day was one of the best ever!! Bet you were wide awake after that call!

  21. Robin - How fabulous to win the Golden Heart and to sell your book to Deb all during the same conference!

    Now that's a really great call story!

  22. Robin, I had to look at your name again, because I thought it was simple. must have a different name. But my maiden name is Wilde and you wouldn't believe the imaginative ways people pronounce "Wild". It's wild! Great post, and great call!!!


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