Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Real Call Story by Jennie Lucas

After seven years and eight full manuscripts, I finally got the Call on a warm autumn day last October.

To be honest, I can barely remember either the day or the Call. I was seven months pregnant, exhausted, huge, and very busy. I was trying to finish a new writing project in time to enter the 2007 Golden Heart. I was traveling for three weekends back-to-back. I was trying to take good care of my husband and our energetic 18-month-old when all I really wanted to do was nap on the couch with a pint of Chunky Monkey.

When I saw my agent's number on Caller ID, I thought she was calling to discuss the partial I’d just sent her of my second Presents-targeted novel, The Spaniard’s Stolen Bride (later titled The Spaniard’s Defiant Virgin). But no. She had different news: I’d been offered a two-book contract with Harlequin Presents. Did I wish to accept the offer?

She said it so casually it took several minutes before I understood what she’d said. I remember feeling faint. I remember hoarsely gasping “Yes.” Afterward, I remember screaming and dancing around with my confused toddler who didn’t understand the fuss, but was willing to dance and laugh along with me anyway. I kissed my husband. I whispered the words aloud over and over, words I dreamed of saying for my whole life, trying to make myself believe what had just happened. “I sold a book.”

But the truth is, it didn’t really sink in. Not until yesterday.

At the grocery store, wearing a t-shirt and old jeans with my unwashed hair yanked back in a ponytail, I was pushing the shopping cart and scanning the shelves for something I could make for dinner. My 11-month-old baby was whining his boredom as my toddler raced up and down the aisles begging for candy. And then…I stopped short.

I saw my debut book, The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge, on the shelves of my own grocery store.

How long had I bought romance novels here? How long had I dreamed of someday seeing my own book with the others on the shelf?

In that moment, all my seven long years of rejection and failure and heartache were forgotten. It was all worth it. And I nearly burst into tears.

This was really the moment I realized I was a published author. And unlike my dazed memory of the Call, I'll remember that grocery store aisle for the rest of my life. The moment it finally sank in: my dream had come true.

Do you have any Call fantasies? Where do you most dream of seeing your own book someday?


P.S. BTW, to see my diet tips about how I lost that Chunky Monkey weight (nearly 70 post-baby pounds since last Christmas) see here.

P.P.S. You can also read an excerpt of The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge and enter to win a Jane Porter book here.


Donna Alward said...

Jennie, that's beautiful. And gosh, I hadn't realized you were QUITE so new!

Congrats on the debut AND on the weight loss. You look very glam!

Tam G. said...

You did good on your weight loss. You should be very proud! I just hope I can do just as good as you did. I'm going to Curves for my exersize and trying to watch what I eat. Wish me luck I really need it, my husband loves to bake cookies and is always wanting me to test them for him.

Karen H said...

Congrats on the weight loss, Jennie. You done good, girl! I love chocolate so I must look into those BC single serving brownie mixes.

Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Donna! I had the picture taken two weeks ago. Believe me, I don't usually look like that. Someone else did my hair and makeup. Usually I look like I did at the grocery store--messy ponytail, glasses, no makeup. Between writing and taking care of my family, my appearance is generally my last priority. If by some miracle I find 20 minutes to myself, I'm going to read a book, not flat-iron my hair!

And thanks, Tam--and good luck with Curves! If I can lose weight, I know you can too! Cookies are a weakness of mine as well...that's a toughie. My best advice is to stick the dough in the freezer and cook only a couple cookies at a time. Because if they're on the counter, warm and delicious, forget it! I'll eat the whole platter! It's pretty sweet that your husband loves to bake, but I guess that's a double-edged sword. Good luck, I know you can do it!

Karen, thanks! I would still like to lose a couple pounds more, but I'm putting that off until January. (It wouldn't be New Year's without a weight-loss resolution. *grin*) I love eating the batter of those Betty Crocker's 360 calories instead of the 30,000 that a whole big family pan of brownies would be. I just can't control myself around pastry! And don't even get me started on cake. I've been known to try to set up friends on blind dates in hopes that they'll hit it off, marry...and serve me a really great wedding cake with raspberry filling and white buttercream frosting. Yummmmm.

Lois said...

Wow, congrats! :) Alas, if I were to write a book, I don't think I'd get used to it for anything. LOL I'd probably go into any bookstore I past by just to see me on the shelf or something. LOL :)


Margaret McDonagh said...

Jennie, I really enjoyed reading your call story. I remember mine the same way - indeed, I will never forget that momentous, unbelievable moment. Two years on from the call and I still have to pinch myself to believe it is really true!

I hope you continue to go from strength to strength.

Estella said...

Congrats on the book and your weight loss!

Wolfy said...

Congratulations on your debut book. I am so glad that you shared your story about your call.

Also huge congrats on the weight loss that also was not easy to do.

Bronwyn Jameson said...

Wonderful call story, Jennie. And how cool to see your book on the shelves in your local store! That is the ultimate, I reckon. Congratulations on your debut and your first bestseller.

Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Lois! And I'm like you--I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing my book in the bookstores, either! But my next book (The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin) won't be on the shelves here until May, so I have plenty of time to wait and get accustomed to the idea!

Margaret--your Medical romances look great! I love Scotland and Scottish settings...I'll have to check out your stories. Although Medicals always seem to sell out so quickly on eHarlequin, I'll have to move fast!

Estella--thanks! I'm wondering if you're the same Estella from Oregon who won my November contest?! If so, I'll be sending out your Godiva and Jane Porter book on Monday!

Cryna--thanks! It definitely wasn't easy to lose the weight...or to write all those books before I finally sold! But as they say, anything worth having is worth working for. :)

Bronwyn, it's great to see you here! I really admire your fantastic Desire novels. In fact, I still have your magnet on my fridge that I got at the Literacy Booksigning when you were a triple RITA finalist. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. You look fantastic and I am trying to do what you listed, particularly the not eating it if you don't really like it.