You’ve probably heard tales of “The Call” described in over-the-top terms:
But because I find my life is always different than everyone else’s, well, the word that would most accurately sum up getting “The Call” for me would be…frustrating.
I’d already gotten one improbable call last year, telling me I’d finaled in the Golden Heart. I took that call at about 75 miles an hour, scrambling across the 121 Tollway in Dallas, taking my daughter to a long-scheduled doctor’s appointment. I started bawling on the phone and had to explain that yes, I was okay…I was just being a textbook pregnant woman, crying at the drop of a hat.
A few weeks later, I was having a bad day. Like an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day-style day. So, I took myself out to Chick Fil A for lunch—annoyed pregnant women are always cheered up by nuggets. As I sat in the booth and checked my email on my phone, I noticed a name I recognized in my inbox. I mean, I knew the name Melissa Endlich…but I didn’t actually know Melissa Endlich. I figured it was some random spam mail or something, except getting spam from a senior editor at Harlequin seemed almost as unlikely as actually getting an email actually meant for me from a senior editor at Harlequin.
As it turned out, Melissa received my manuscript not through the Golden Heart, but Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest and wanted to know if it was still available. Well, yes, as a matter of fact, it was. Between editors and agents, I think I’d received upwards of 35 rejections on “Language of Love.” I’d only entered it in the Golden Heart and So You Think You Can Write as one last hurrah. I’d told my husband that after those two, I was done with this manuscript and would have to move on to something else.
First a Golden Heart final and now this? I read the email over and over and over again, completely dumbfounded.
And then I ordered a brownie.
Two weeks later, I had to take my daughter to the follow-up appointment for the one we were headed to on the morning of the Golden Heart call. We were sitting in the waiting room for one of the specialty pediatric clinics deep in the heart of Children’s Hospital of Dallas. While she was assembling puzzles (and probably picking up a bunch of germs) my phone rang. It was a 212 area code, and I didn’t know anyone in New York. But I answered anyway.
And couldn’t hear a darned thing.
The call disconnected and then the phone rang again.
The hospital decided to garble the call again, but I caught “Is this Kristen? This is Melissa Endlich…”
YES! YES IT’S KRISTEN! I tried to scream into the phone as professionally as possible, but it was of no use. The hospital had again disconnected my call. Once again, the phone rang. By now, I was absolutely dying (good thing there was an ER nearby). Here was a real, live, New York editor trying to call me and the phone call WOULDN’T. GO. THROUGH.
Melissa very quickly said that the call wasn’t working and she’d try and call me back in the morning. And then yes, the call cut off again. Since I knew editors generally didn’t call to reject manuscripts, I was in a total panic. I needed to concentrate on my kid’s appointment…but that might have been THE CALL, or a nice revise and resubmit discussion, or anything… But whatever it was, I MISSED IT.
Let’s just say it was a long night.
Thankfully, the next morning, the drive through line at the bank did not disable my cell phone like the hospital, and as I pulled up to the stop light around the corner, Melissa offered me a contract with Love Inspired. Within a few weeks, we’d changed the book’s name to Saving Gracie, I signed with my rockstar agent, Elaine Spencer, at the Knight Agency, and a February 2013 publication date was set.
I’m happy to report that my daughter hasn’t had any more doctor’s appointments since then…but I’m thinking of scheduling one soon. I’ve got another manuscript I’d like to sell.
Running an ESL school is hard work, but helping immigrants has always been a dream of Gracie Garcia’s. When her school is threatened by real-estate developer Jake Peoples, Gracie hopes that getting him to attend a class will change his mind. But a lesson in love was something neither one signed up for. Learning about Gracie’s work reminds Jake what family is really about. But just as he’s starting to come around, a revelation about his past threatens his future with Gracie. When things look their bleakest, can Jake save her dream…and his place in her heart?
Leave a comment for Kristen for a chance to win a copy of SAVING GRACIE. Giveaway open to US readers and ends 2/8.
Kristen Ethridge is an author with Love Inspired books, the inspirational imprint of Harlequin Books. I am represented by Elaine Spencer at the Knight Agency and my publicist is Jeane Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media. You may email me at conversationswithkristen (at) gmail (dot) com. I’m on Facebook and on Twitter at @kristenethridge. Please note that as the mom of young children, I don’t accept friend requests on my personal Facebook page other than friends and family–I thank you in advance for your understanding of my desire to protect my kids’ privacy (and trust me, you’re not missing anything other than dance mom rants and observations on baby spit-up). I look forward to getting to know you through my author page and Twitter! And it should go without saying, but sometimes people forget out in cyberspace…keep comments here/Facebook/Twitter clean. Thanks!