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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guest blogger Robin Kaye

Independent businesswoman, Rosalie Ronaldi’s life would be perfect if she could just figure out how to keep her nosy, pushy, Italian family from trying to marry her off.

Nick Romeo, Brooklyn’s Donald Trump without the comb over, thinks independent women are an urban myth, until he meets Rosalie and realizes they’re no myth, just a pain in the ass. He’s finally met a woman who is looking for the same thing he is, a commitment free relationship and is shocked to discover that all he wants to do is take care of her... Before too long, he's moved in, cleaned her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog

I just want to thank Janet Mullany for inviting me to visit the Wet Noodle Posse. What a great group! Thanks for having me.

Since it’s time to enter the Golden Heart, I thought I’d blog about my call story, though, to be honest, it’s more like an email story.

When people ask what it was like submitting my manuscript, I have to tell them I only made one submission to a publisher, and that was because I won a contest and the final judge requested the full. I’d sent the manuscript out to a few agents and started my collection of rejection letters. But when it comes down to it, I’m one of those published authors most unpublished authors hate. I’m not saying I didn’t work hard, because anyone who has written a manuscript knows it’s a whole lot of work. But I’m one of those authors whose stars lined up perfectly and allowed me to stumble into publication.

When I entered Romeo, Romeo in the Golden Heart, my only goal was to score in the top 50%. I entered and promptly forgot about it. I figured I’d get my scores in the mail when they showed up. I had no idea when they were going to announce the finalists, because in my mind, I had about as much chance of finaling as I had of showing up on the cover of Playboy. And if you’ve ever met me, or seen my picture, you know that would never happen.

You can imagine my surprise when poor Trish Milburn called to tell me I’d finaled. I think it was a Sunday morning, and it had been a horrible week—my husband, a true Domestic God, was out of town on business, and I was stuck home alone wrangling my three kids, two dogs, three-legged cat (who insists on being fed at 4:30 AM) and Puff the magic bearded dragon. I saw a call coming in from Tennessee and immediately thought someone had died. The only people I know in Tennessee are my brother-in-law and his family, and the only day he ever calls is June 3, his and my husband’s birthday. Since it wasn’t June 3, I figured someone must have died.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to be wrong! I won’t bore you with the conversation. Suffice it to say, it was terribly embarrassing on my part, and for Trish, I’m sure it’s something she’s worked hard to block from her memory. It would be inhumane to make her relive it.

The call/email came when I arrived in Dallas for Nationals, and I will forever be grateful to Steve Jobs for coming up with the iPhone. I’d waited in line for four hours the month before to get my greedy little hands on one. Because of that, I was able to receive the email from Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks saying that she’d read Romeo, Romeo and “LOVED it.” She asked if I would be attending the conference and if we could meet.

I had never heard of Soucebooks. They were new to romance, so I had no idea what to expect. Deb and I sat down at the restaurant and she immediately began quoting her favorite lines from Romeo, Romeo verbatim. I remember wondering about her sanity. I mean, what editor does that? Now that I know Deb very well, I can attest to her sanity and to the fact that she has an amazing memory. I wasn’t aware that she’d requested the manuscript from RWA. When I entered, I’d been in the process of rewriting the manuscript. I’d entered a rewritten synopsis and first 50 pages, and spent the time since then rewriting the balance of the manuscript. When I mentioned this to Deb, all the blood drained from her face. “What did you do to it?” she asked. When I explained the changes I’d made, she smiled and called me a genius. That’s when I handed her my phone and asked if she’d call my mother-in-law and inform her—she was so unaware.

By the time we finished our meeting, Deb had assured me an offer would be forthcoming. We got up to leave and she gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye. I spent the rest of the conference with my head in the clouds. I ‘knew’ I didn’t have a prayer of winning, and that was fine with me, because, hey, I’d already sold Romeo, Romeo. When I went on to win the Golden Heart, I figured that conference was the best on record. Every other conference would pale in comparison. Not only because I won, but because of the friendships I’d made with the rest of the GH finalist.

I encourage everyone to enter the Golden Heart. Even if you’re like me and think you don’t have a prayer of winning…enter anyway. It’s the best $50 I ever spent, that’s for sure.

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At 9:10 AM, Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Great call story, Robin! I can't wait to read Romeo, Romeo.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Irene said...

That's an inspiring story. I've mostly heard a lot of whining about the scoring of the Golden Heart. Now that I have a couple of manuscripts looking for publishers, maybe I'll try it after all.

Incidentally, I gave a copy of your Romeo Romeo cover to a girlfriend whose husband does all the cooking. She's sure to buy your book.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Wonderful story about your journey to publishing Robin. And it's so nice of you to point out that sometimes all the stars do line up early.

The book sounds terrific and I've heard nothing but good things about Sourcebooks. I met Deb at the Silken Sands conference in Pensacola, FL this year. She's a very nice person.

Thanks for guest blogging today.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Linda Wisdom said...

Wonderful story fellow Casababe! The kind you keep close to your heart too.


At 10:03 AM, Blogger Barbara said...


What a great call story. I have been told how unpredictable the business can be, but I think it is great to hear how it worked out well for someone.

I bought a copy of your book yesterday. Can't wait to read it.

I will be entering the GH this year, but, like you, I am not going to hold my breath. My goal this year was just to enter.


At 10:04 AM, Blogger Sharon Lathan said...

Hello my friend! Thank you for sharing your story. It is amazing when the stars align. I just received 'Romeo, Romeo' in the mail yesterday and can't wait to start reading! Way to go, fellow Casa Sister! Long live Sourcebooks!! Sharon

At 10:07 AM, OpenID inthenickeroftime said...

Great story, Robin!! I remember a lot of it first hand because I was a finalitst with you that year. I remember how we (all the GHers)were all a giggle knowing that "someone," out of the group had gotten "the call."

Finally, I guess after your meeting with Deb, you told us all. It was great!

All my best wishes for Romeo, sounds wonderful!!!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Hey, Noodles! Stopping by to say hello to all of Trish Milburn's friends...

AND to say I enjoyed the call story, Robin. It's always fun to hear how it happened to others.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

Robin, what a great story! A GH win and a sale!!!! :-) I'm sure your conference was a memorable one. Thanks for sharing with us.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was the best $50 you've ever spent.

If my manuscript is complete/near completion by the deadline, I can't see why I shouldn't enter. I mean, I've put down $50 for so many other things that in the grand scheme of my life could be considered frivolous.

If I have the $50 to spend, why not invest it in my writing career?

I don't have a "call story" for a sale yet, but remembering my GH call from earlier this year still brings a hitch to my chest.

My life is so hectic, there are times I have to put writing on the back burner for a little bit. In this industry self-doubt can be a killer, and often times it creeps up when we're at our weakest (most stressed, in a crisis,whatever might bring you down).

I'd hit one of those points. In the midst of another hectic day consumed by the needs of others, getting my GH call was like receiving validation for my hard work, and more importantly, for myself.

ME. Not the mom, or the wife, or the co-worker, but for plain, ol' me.

Thinking about the relief swelling through me when I hung up the phone that day last March is enough of an incentive for me to work hard to enter again this year.

Relief because I knew someone out there was telling me to keep on trying. There is hope. There is reason to carve out writing time in the midst of all my responsibilities. Reason to keep on trying.

Remembering the tears of joy I cried that day encourages me keep striving towards my goal-- publication.

A GH final doesn't necessarily mean a "sale", but it does mean a slew of other awesome opportunities/experiences.

As we near the end of the GH month, hearing other GH/contest "call" stories may keep us motivated as we strive to receive similar calls of our own next March.

Anyone else care to share?

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Marie Force said...

Hey fellow Casababe (Linda has coined a new term), great call story. I hadn't heard the whole thing before. But I did read Romeo the MINUTE I got home from NJ with my personalized signed copy, and I can attest it's AB FAB. Run right out and buy it everyone!

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

Romeo is now on my "must buy" list. All this praise has me anxious to read it.

Robin, sounds like you've penned a winner!!

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

That's a fun call story.

And I've heard good things about Sourcebooks too so it's nice to hear that your experience has been a good one so far.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Keli Gwyn said...

Wow! What a call story. I've heard the Golden Heart can be the "Golden Ticket" for some finalists. It certainly was in your case. Congrats again on your sale.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Thanks for sharing your call story and GH experience with us!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Robin Kaye said...

Wow! What a great response from everyone.

Christine, thanks for coming by. I still have the Golden Leaf award you won in NJ so we'll have to get together soon before I get too attached to it. Congratulations again on your wonderful win.

Irene~ Thanks so much for passing on the link for Romeo, Romeo. I hope your friend enjoys it.

Dianna~ It's great to see you here! Deb Werksman is wonderful to work with. Actually, everyone at Sourcebooks has been great. I'm very lucky.

To all my Casababes - thanks so much for the support. You guys are one of the happy surprises I received when I sold. What a wonderful group.

Barbara~ Thanks for buying my book I hope you enjoy it. Good luck in the GH! I think it's wise to have a goal and entering is a great one. As for expectations, I always live by the saying "It's better to be happily surprised than disappointed."

Caroline! So great of you to stop by. The 007 GH group is another of the happy surprises in my journey. What a wonderful group of friends.

Prisakiss~ Good luck with this year's entry. It sounds as if you're well on your way! Congratulations!

Patricia~ Thanks, working with Sourcebooks has been wonderful. I've really enjoyed it.

I'm going to have to run my dancer to her dance school in a bit (it's an hour and a half away) and won't be back until later tonight. I'll check back in with you all then.

Robin :)

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I see that Keli Gwyn stopped by the blog today. She's an example of what else happens when you enter the GH: Golden Friendships. She entered (and finaled twice!) for the 2008 GH. I had actually judged one of her manuscripts for a previous contest, but it was over the GH that we began corresponding, then met in San Fran, and voila, a friendship was born! Entering a contest can have lots of benefits you would never imagine.

Congrats on such a great sale story, Robin.

Christine Trent

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Pat said...

I brought it home, I read it, and I'll recommend it to anyone. You know I don't read much contemporary fiction, darlin', but for you...anything. So glad I did. You know I entered with a "snowball's chance" mindset as well, and although I didn't win, finaling came as a major surprise. I'm so glad I did. Being part of the 007s has been fabulous. (Did you know Avon has come out with a "Bond Girl 007" perfume. Have no idea what it smells like, but I will check it out. LOL)
Write well, my friend. Thanks for the laughs, the dances, and the pep talks. {{{Hugs}}}

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wonderful story, Robin! But you're right...I hate you! Ha! No. I love this story and I wish you MUCH success!!! Thanks for coming to the WNP today. Your book sounds like a fun read!

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Wow. What a great story! Now see, Robin's $50 investment paid off pretty handsomely!

Love the premise of your story. Will have to get that one. :D

Pris: Your post made me well up.

Theresa: Being published, I hate her a little less. Not much, though. :D At least she doesn't look 16. Robin, if you're in your 20s, we don't want to know.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

It's great to see so many folks on the blog today. Robin, thanks for bringing the "crowd". :-)

Here's a hug for my fellow pixie sisters (2008 GHers).

Like Christine mentioned, another perk of finaling in the GH is the friendships and connections you make with your fellow finalists.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger RK said...

Hi Robin,

You've got me curious. What did you do to the mss between entering it in the GH and Deb requesting it?

Enjoyed your post!

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Hi, Robin!
Fancy meeting you here instead of a WRW meeting. I'm thrilled with your success and not at all envious at your swift means of selling. It happens sometimes.

I, too, am a GH finalist (and a Noodler) who sold because of the contest. It wasn't like I'd never heard of Mills & Boon, but I'd never thought of submitting a ms to them; didn't think I'd have a chance, so, like you, the sale came because of the contest.

All I can say is WAY TO GO!!!!!!!

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Waving to Annie Solomon!!!!
It is so good to see you here, Annie.

Annie and I used to be Warner Forever colleagues when I had Diane Perkins books out.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Teresa H. said...

I pre-ordered Romeo Romeo and am reading it now. Robin, you even have the man vacuuming, We should all have a "Nick" in our lives! The one time my husband vacuumed, I took a picture. I told him that it was women's porn. If only I could convince him to vacuum in a towel. Wahoo! I'm loving your book, Robin.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Robin Kaye said...

Hi, I'm back. I decided to hang out at Panera and take advantage of their free WiFi so I can visit with you and eat good stuff I shouldn't. I tell myself I only ate that pecan roll so I wouldn't feel guilty for camping out here. If I did this every day I drove my dancer and waited the hours I wait, I'd have even more of a weight problem than I already do! I usually just hit the library, but their wifi has been iffy lately.

Keli - our posts must have crossed, I want to say hi and thanks for coming. You're the best!

Pat, my dear. You are so sweet. I had such fun with you and Laurie in NJ! Pat's one of my GH sisters, though we were friends long before that. She's the best kind of friend, she bought 2 copies of Romeo, Romeo and she can high-kick with the best of them. LOL Hugs right back atcha sweetie.

RK - I went to the Bob Mayer workshop and he gave me some good advice. He told me to pump up the external conflict a bit, I made Nick and Rosalie's businesses conflict with each other and I think it's a much stronger book for it even though Deb seemed to like it just fine before that.

Esri~ Put your mind at ease. I'm no 20 year-old, I'm firmly planted in the 40 and up group though, I'm told I don't act my age.

Christine~ You are so right about everyone in the GH group. I met a bunch of 2008 GHers in SF this year. My friend from the 007 GH group, Kristina McMorris, finaled again this year with a manuscript she penned with her mom, Linda. We all had such fun at Nationals, it almost made up for the crud I came home with that lasted a month.

Diane and Theresa, Thanks for the kind words, Diane, I hope I see you on the 15th.

Yes, Teresa. I have Nick vacuuming. He is a domestic god after all. I couldn't very well having him lounging about with his hands in his pants diddlin' like so many men.

I'd love to say it's pure fiction, but I stole that little vacuuming scene right out of my own life. When my husband and I were dating we lived 60 miles apart and he would claim the couch most weekends while I was living with my mother. I always cleaned the house Saturday mornings so he'd help. One day, I had been talking to my mother about something in her room, we both walked out at the same time and there was my DH holding the couch up with one hand while he vacuumed under it. My mother turned to me and said "Marry him." so I did.

I'll check back with everyone soon.

Robin :)

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Cheryl Brooks said...

Great story, Robin! My "Call story" really was a call--and my husband is the one who answered it!
I've yet to meet Deb or anyone else face to face.
Guess I should have gone to SF!

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

"...there was my DH holding the couch up with one hand while he vacuumed under it."

OMG, I think I just had an orgasm.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Robin Kaye said...

LOL, Esri. I hope it was good for you!

Robin :)

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Judi Fennell said...

I was there! I was there! I remember your head in the clouds with all those pretty stars twirlign around them like a cartoon character! It was a GREAT conference and I'm so glad you shared it with me!

And for anyone who hasn't read the book yet - RUN, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore to get it as soon as it's available! It's fabulous!

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Kathy Kulig said...

Hey Robin, Thanks for sharing your fab. call story. I have my copy of Romeo, Romeo and can't wait to read it. Great seeing you in NJ. All the best, Kathy

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Robin Kaye said...

Judi! I'm so glad you were there too. I needed a witness to tell me it was all really happening and to give me a pinch now and then. I'm so lucky to have had you around to do both. Actually, I've been blessed to have you around since I joined RWA. You and the rest of VFRW. You guys are the best.

Hugs...Robin :)

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Robin Kaye said...


It was great seeing you in NJ. Let me know how you like Romeo, Romeo.

Robin :)

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Robin, what a great story! Every time I hear a story like yours I think "That could happen to me!" It really does give you hope. Like you, I entered the Golden Heart (2008 for the very first time) and I just wanted to break into the top percentage. I would get my scores, enter some more contests and see what happened. I know I dithered like an idiot when I got that phone call and I remember I tried to sit down on the bed, missed and sat on the floor.

I'm entering this year with NO expectations because gee, it worked before!

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

LOL! Robin, I LOVE making those calls to finalists. It's one of the absolute best parts of being a member of the board, just for pure fun's sake. I really get a kick out of hearing the reactions, and the more excited and bordering on incoherent, the better! :)


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