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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Call--Terry's story

I never answer the phone when my husband is home, because it's rarely for me. One exception was a call I received in March of 2003. My husband handed me the receiver, and the moment I heard "RWA," I realized I'd finaled in the Golden Heart. I was stunned, absolutely dazed with joy, and certain that everyone I met would know, just by looking at me, how that call had changed my life. I was on my way--surely a sale was right around the corner. I met several new friends who were making their first sales, and I was certain I'd soon become published, too, by some sort of osmosis.

The third time I received a Golden Heart call, I felt more relief than delight. And as the final round judging deadline passed that year, discouragement set in. I sat down one afternoon before the annual Romance Writers of America conference with all my rejection letters and read them, one after the other, trying to figure out what was preventing me from selling. I decided I had a long, tough road ahead, because the manuscripts I'd written weren't going anywhere. I held the proof in my hands, letters like those about Learning Curve, my current Golden Heart finalist: it would "never sell" because "no one wants to read a book about high school teachers."

A few days later I was dashing around in a panic, my mind filled with dozens of details as I packed for a complicated trip that would begin with our son's wedding in Oregon and end with the writers' conference in Reno. I still had to collect some cookies at the bakery before it closed, pick up the dry cleaning, hem my mother-of-the-groom dress--dozens of things, all needing to be done within the next few hours. I turned on the shower, stripped, and was about to step in when the phone rang. I was tempted to ignore the call--I had to get those cookies!--but it might have been my husband adding another wedding-related item to my list of errands.

It wasn't my husband. It was someone named Laura, from Harlequin, who told me how much she'd enjoyed reading my Golden Heart entry. I thanked the pleasant woman for calling, wondering why in the world someone from Harlequin would phone just to tell me...


My Golden Heart finalist. A final round judge. From Harlequin. An editor.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I was standing there, naked, and all the hot water was disappearing down the drain, and I HAD TO GET THOSE COOKIES BEFORE THE BAKERY CLOSED! But I figured if I skipped blow-drying my hair, I could ask her to repeat herself.

And since she wanted to buy Learning Curve, I decided I could take a cold shower and break several speed limits on the way to the bakery.

My story has a happy ending, just like all the stories I write. Learning Curve, my first book for Harlequin Superromance, appeared on bookstore shelves ten months after that magic phone call.

And I got the cookies, too.

Wishing you warm and wonderful times during this special season--

Terry McLaughlin


At 10:25 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

This is one of my very favorite call stories.

Honestly, I can't believe anyone still says, "No want will ever want to read about..." Who says things like that? It's almost a guarantee that the book will sell.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Georgie Lee said...

Great call story. The most important this is that you didn't give up!

At 11:54 AM, Blogger ruth said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I think it is wonderful and congratulate you on this acheivement and more success for your future.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger anne said...

Your persistence did pay off and it was a great story to read. Thank you.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger jenna said...

That is a lovely story which inspires me. Wonderful and so uplifting.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi there, everyone :-)--

LOL, Esri, on the positive spin on a negative comment ;-).

georgie lee--no, I didn't give up. I'm too stubborn, LOL!

ruth, anne, and jenna--you're all so very sweet :-). Thank you so much for the kind words!

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Coming in late to say what a lovely call story that is! Nekkid sale....
And I loved Learning Curve!

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi there, Diane! Nekkid sale? Pardon my blush ;-). And I'm blushing again over your compliment--thank you :-).

At 10:57 PM, Blogger doglady said...

I have loved lurking by or dropping by to read these stories. They give me so much HOPE!!! I had to laugh when you said you had to ask her to repeat herself. Why is it that when someone calls with one of those dream come true messages our brains just go "HUH?" You DO know the difference between "naked" and "nekkid" don't you? Naked means you have no clothes on. Nekkid means you have no clothes on and you are up to something!!

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hey there, doglady--thanks for the vocabulary lesson, LOL!

I've enjoyed stopping by to read these stories, too. Aren't they fun? Even though I've heard some of them before, I love hearing them again--like a favorite bedtime story. I'm looking forward to reading more :-)!

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

Gawd Terry, that is one cool call story, and not only because of the wind whipping around your nether bits:-))

I love call stories, and this one is just gorgeous. Getting the call and still worrying about getting there in time to pick up the cookies, I just love a multitasker:-))

But most of all, so happy that call came and that we all have an opportunity to read your fabulous stories. Maga thanks to your acquiring editors for that.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Awww, Trish--thanks for the sweet comments :-).

The cookie guy was the second person to hear my sales news (after my husband). He gave me a free box of cookies to celebrate :-).

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

I love this story - I'd take a cold shower, too!

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

LOL, Jill :-)! The editor told me I seemed so calm, that most people she called with news like this did some screaming. I told her I'd do my screaming in the shower, but mostly I whimpered. Brrrrrr.


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