Friday, March 11, 2011

Let me tell you a story… One writer’s quest for the promised land

It’s all Diana’s fault really. Diana Gabaldon, that is. Sneaky woman. (g)

WAY back when, at the at the end of 1999, I read this book Outlander. It was a really good book. So good that I spent the entire night on the couch reading until my eyes burned. And ho-joy, there were three more books in the series! Whoot!

At the same point in time, I was in a bit of a funk. I call it my young-life crisis, for at 25, it had hit me that I needed to grow up and decide upon a career. I didn’t like my 9 to 5 job and knew I wanted to do something that inspired passion. But what? Reading Diana’s story in Outlandish Companion struck a nerve. Hey, this lady wrote for the fun of it, no pressure, why not try the same?

For those of you who aren’t writers, I can only say that those first few months of diving into a story is as heady and consuming as falling in love. You live, breath and dream your characters. I was hooked.

Fast forward, through marriage, babies, the craziness of life and it’s 2008. I have an agent for my first manuscript but it isn’t selling. To keep busy, I concentrated on my second manuscript. Unfortunately, I realized that my relationship with my agent wasn’t working. Here’s the thing about agents: hooking up with one is a bit like finding the right pair of shoes. Some look pretty but end up pinching at the toes, some are very comfortable but do nothing for you. Sometimes you have to work at finding that perfect shoe (apologies to all agents –you’re much better that shoes! (g))

Ahem. I parted ways with my agent, finished up my manuscript and dove back into the scary place that is Queryland. This time, I pulled together a list of my top ten picks and sent my letter out. Six weeks later, my number one pick, the most excellent Kristin Nelson, called to offer representation. Ah, the call. We all dream about that fateful moment, don’t we? Here’s how it went down for me.


I had a little celebration when Kristin wrote to ask for the full. Honestly, I was surprised I’d gotten that far. I loved her style and the way she ran her agency, but she didn’t have any historical paranormal romance writers on her client list, so I thought I’d be a long-shot. But there’s only one thing worse than failing and that’s not trying.

Seven days passed (of course I counted!) On the eighth day, my daughter came home with an ear infection and the high fever that goes with one. So we cuddled in bed and I ended up falling asleep with her, only to be jarred awake by the phone ringing. I struggled to extract myself from sweaty, sleeping child and then stumbled to the phone. But I was too late. A quick look at the caller id gave me pause. Okay, it was more, that number looks familiar…who…*cue massive heart palpitations* I ran upstairs to my office and my husband who was working from home. I think I said something to the effect of, “Gahhh, you’ve got to check a website for me! I need to check a number!!!” This might have sounded like gibberish to him. But I think my pantomime and arm flailing, combined with me pointing to the phone may have tipped him off. Quick look at the Nelson Literary Agency’s telephone number and HALLELUJAH! It matched. My husband interrupted my idiotic dancing to inform me that I also had mail. And there it was, an email that said “Calling to offer representation” (bg)

In hindsight, I’m actually glad I missed my call because now I have a written record of that moment. Of course, I called Kristin back and had a nice chat. Yes, getting that offer of representation is one of a writer’s best days. Second only to one thing:


You know the one. It is THE call. The MacDaddy of calls. Okay, for me, I didn’t actually get a call. It was another email.

Kristin sent me a “we are officially on submission” letter on February 11, 2010. There were some bumps in the road. Romance editors like third person POV. WEST OF THE MOON was in third and first. Would I be persuaded to change the heroine’s POV to third? Well all right then!

I took the summer to revise, the fall to get it perfect, and MOON went back to interested editors in December.

On February 17, 2011, Kristin –who was in Mexico where phone service was spotty- sent me another email. We had an offer.

Did I dance? Whoop around like a fool?

No. I was too relieved. It was like a weight falling off my shoulders. To be honest, it took a week and an actual phone conversation with Kristin for it to really hit me. And then it was simply pure, unmitigated joy. Followed by a swift, oh-God-it’s-real dose of terror.

So what else can I say?

Oh, yeah:

Kristen Callihan’s debut historical paranormal romance WEST OF THE MOON, hounded by society’s dark rumors, a cursed lord must chose to lose his soul and surrender to "the beast" within him to protect the beauty he loves from an unstoppable killer to Alex Logan at Grand Central Publishing, in a nice two-book deal by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (World) Publication slatted for January 2012

And this:

Whooot!!! Celebrate Seinfeld Style!:


  1. Kristin!!!!!!!!!

    Congratulations. This is so awesome!


  2. YAY!!!

    Doing the Snoopy dance with you!!

  3. Woot! Congratulations Kristen! We never doubted this moment would come for you. It's well-deserved. Can't wait to have your book in my hands.

  4. This is simply terrific!! And with all your talent and damn hard work, it's the result you totally deserve. :-)

    I'm with Susan - I can't wait to have your real, live, book in my hands!!

  5. WOW!!! WOW!!! Oh, congratulations! Confetti and champagne! ; ) I want that book!

  6. Congratulations! That's fantastic. :)

  7. Congratulations!!!! Snoopy dancing with you in spirit.

  8. Fantastic news, Kristen! Congratulations! :)

  9. Wow congratulations Kristin! Very inspiring :-)

  10. This is such a great story. I'm glad you shared your moments with us. Congratulations! Very uplifting!

  11. Congrats, Kristen!! I'm so excited for you. Looking forward to reading it *S*

  12. Congratulations Kristen!!!!!!

  13. WTG! Kristen! I remember WAY BACK when Diana was writing Outlander in her garage office. LOL But then I had had the call and the CALL several decades before that so I understand your elation.

  14. It is so great to read this story. Thank you for sharing. Hooray!

  15. OMG! That is fantabulous news! Sqeeeeee!

  16. Congrats!! It just goes to show you gotta hang in there and never give up. Oh and answer the phone when other time zones start calling!! :D

  17. Soo exciting!! Congratulations Kristen!! Champagne!!

  18. Congratulations!!! This is wonderful news. I wish you tons of success and sales to the stars.

  19. I thought I'd commented. Hmm.

    Congrats again, Kristen. So happy for you!!

  20. Wow WOW! Huge congrats, Kristen! Happy celebrations :D

  21. Oh the journey... SO happy for you! Way to stick in there!

  22. Dear All,

    Thank you so SO much for the well wishes! :D I really appreciate it.

  23. Can't believe you've waited three whole weeks to blog about this! So very very exciting; congratulations!

    So funny how people always talk about 'the Call'. My offer of representation came via email, so my agent got a very restrained written response from me. All the whooping and shrieking happened offline...

  24. I've been out of the loop for a while now an just saw the announcement on the Nelson Agenxy's e-newsletter. Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you!