Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - THE CALL with LIZ TALLEY

A huge Pink Heart welcome to brand new author Liz Talley!  This Pink Heart editor admits that she read Liz's story before posting - and had to wipe a tear or two.

Congratulations Liz!

Pst! Let me tell you a secret – one that is familiar to every writer, actor, or singer. It’s the secret desire that lurks in the bottom of the heart. The one you nurture in the wee hours of the morning, playing out over and over in your mind. It’s “the call” fantasy. You remember it, right? In fact, you’ve probably traded it for the Rita acceptance speech. Here’s how I envisioned my call playing out:

Twenty pounds lighter, I would be out and about, bustling around the metropolis of Shreveport. The kids would be yelling, horns honking, and music blaring. The phone would ring and I wouldn’t bother to look down at the caller. It would be my mom. Of course. But I couldn’t hear because the kids were yelling at each other about someone eating all the red skittles. So I would say, “Sorry. Hold on, Mom.” Then I would yell at my kids, give the rude driver honking at me a deserved finger-shake and manage to turn down the radio. Finally I would say, “Sorry.” And she would say, “Amy? Hello, this is Wanda Ottewell. I want to buy your book.” Then I would scream, hit the car in front of me, slide out from behind the wheel and dance in the middle of the intersection.

Sounded like a good story to me. I could even see myself telling it (as I stood on the stage accepting my Rita). Everyone would chuckle and think how clever I was . .and how good I look in my gown after losing another ten pounds.

But it didn’t go quite like that.

It went more like this.

I had been out all morning running errands with my husband. We’d unloaded a huge bag of dog food and I stepped in to heat up our lunch. So I popped the leftovers in the microwave and spun around to check caller id. First number up, my mom. No surprise there. Next number, Harlequin Enterprises. My stomach hit my knees. No kidding. I thought I might vomit.

I set the phone back down on the receiver and said, “huh.”

My husband, walking into the kitchen, said, “What’s wrong?”

I said, “Nothing.”

He said, “Good, then let’s eat.”

I said, “It’s in the microwave. I’ve got to check something in my office.”

So I calmly walked to the back of the house, holding the phone. I had the number on ID, but I hadn’t listened to the message yet. I pushed the dial button and waited to hear the message. Instead a voice said, “Harlequin Enterprises.” I panicked and hung up.

Shaking, I made it to my desk and sunk into my chair. I dialed the voicemail and tried to look nonchalant, like I called publishers every day. The message was from Wanda Ottewell. She wanted me to call her. Okay. Call her. So I managed to dial the number and tell the receptionist who I’d just hung up on that I needed to be connected to Wanda’s extension. And then I said a prayer. Please, Lord, don’t let her tell me she liked the revisions, but they just wouldn’t work. Please. Wanda said hello before I could get any further on the prayer. We exchanged pleasantries and I prepared myself for the worst. Instead she said, “Amy, I’m right in the middle of something. Do you mind if I call you back in about 30-45 minutes?”

I gulped. “Sure.”

Then I hung up and stared at the phone. My husband appeared at the door. “You gonna come eat?”

I nodded.

“Hey,” he said, “Who was that on the phone?”

“Um, Wanda Ottewell.”

He grinned. “Is she going to buy your book?”

“I don’t know,” I said, trying to rise on shaking legs.

“You don’t look so good,” he said. “Why are you shaking?”

I shrugged. “I’m nervous, I guess.”

So forty three minutes, four trips to the bathroom, and one xanax later, the phone rang. I picked it up and looked at my husband. He nodded.


More pleasantries and then finally….”Well, Amy, I liked your revisions. You did a good job with that, and I want you to know I want to make an offer for this book.”

“Great,” I said.

I rose, closed the door in my husband’s face, and got out a pen and paper. She told me what she wanted, how everything would go down and what I needed to know. Mid-way through the particulars, Wanda stopped and said, “You’re really very calm about this.”

I said, “I’m medicated. I had to take a Xanax.”

She laughed…and laughed….and finally, I laughed too.

Because I’d done it. Finally. I’d done it. After I got off the phone, I climbed into my husband’s lap and cried. “I did it. I sold it.”

He patted my back. “That’s great, honey. How much money are you getting?’

And then, through my tears, I laughed some more.

Vegas Two Step, Liz's Debut with Superromance, hits the shelves in June 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Hey HUGE congrat Liz! And what a fabulous call story! Your voice shines through as so fabulous and easy to read so I'm not at all surprised they bought you!!

    Can you tell us if this was your first, second, tenth sub!? Just for us wannabees wondering...


  2. Congratulations! what a great call story

  3. Isn't it significant that every woman's fantasy projection includes significant weight loss?! Cinderella SHALL go to the ball - just so long as she's been to WeightWatchers first!

    This is a great story, Liz - many congratulations.

  4. Oh, bless, Liz - that's such a lovely story. Congrats, and enjoy every minute of the ride because it just gets better from here :o)

  5. That's a lovely story, you brought tears to my eyes! Really. Congratulations!
    All best, Carol

  6. What a fabulous call story!
    Gives hope to the rest of us,

  7. What a wonderful story - congratulations!

  8. Ahhh Liz - I love a good "call" story. This one was great! I can just picture it in my mind - and your husband's last comment on how much money you would be getting made me laugh out loud! Take care. Caroline x

  9. Oh, thank you all so much. It was such a strange and wonderful day. And to top it off my family gathered together, bought me a cake and champagne and we all stood in the kitchen and had a toast. I'll never, ever forget that moment!


  10. I can't get my id to work, so I'll have to be anonymous today :)


  11. Medicated. (giggle, snort) You crack me up. I just love your call story, Liz. Enjoy this exciting time and may you have great success.

    Shea Berkley

  12. Liz,

    WOW, what a fun "call" story. I can't wait to read your debut. I'm happy dancing for you!!!!


  13. Oh, and about my submission process.

    The one I sold was the only one I'd pitched to Superromance. But I did have to revise it several times before they offered for it. They put me through the ringer. Guess they wanted to see if I would be flexible :)

  14. Thanks for sharing it with us Liz. You really did make me cry when I read it. The call is one of those truly special days.

    It's what it's all about, really. Congrats again on your first sale!

  15. I'm trying to get my name and pic on this. I'm so truly challenged by the computer!

    Maybe I'll have it right by the end of the day!

    Thanks again, everyone, for the sweet comments and congrats! It means a lot to me :)

  16. I love great stories and this was fanastic. I love it. I'm so happy for you, hon, and get wait to read your debut novel. A signed copy of course.


  17. Amy,
    Somehow I just can't picture you nervous and shaky. What a feel good story.Geesh! maybe there should be an authors "The Call" book
    Can't wait to see that book on the shelf

  18. Yeah, I shook all right. I can handle a lot of stuff, but waiting for her to call me back was nightmarish. The visions in my head...well, you could write a book about that :)

  19. Your call story is great! I felt like I was there with you. Congratualtions and best wishes for more books to come. I knew when you first walked into our meeting that you were special. Maybe--if I ever finish a book--I'll have a call story to share too. Meanwhile, I'll just savor yours.
    Judy B

  20. Thank you, Judy - my first link to RWA. If you hadn't been so kind, I might not have shown up.

    Love ya bunches!

  21. I can just picture you doing this! This was a great blog, I even got teary! Congratulations. Can't wait to see you in Nashville and I'll be in line for your book.

  22. Oh, Liz, that made me all teary too. Congratulations!

    barefoot ruby

  23. I hadn't heard the xanax part of the story yet! I'm so happy for you. Can't wait for this to come out so I can pimp it to everyone I know.

  24. Oh, Liz! What a fab story. Had me laughing and crying. Will love to read the book!

  25. Yeah, Xanax works!

    And I appreciate everybody wanting to read it. It's a feel good story stemming from my love for Grease (the Musical...not the actual product:)) I love make-over stories! So thanks for wanting to buy it, read it, and pimp it. I'll be waiting to return the favor.

  26. Great story! You're a testament to the fact that you need to have perservance and a non-Diva-ish attitude in addition to talent to make it in this business. Looking forward to your debut!


  27. Congratulations! Fabulous news. So happy for you and looking forward to your book. Now take another xanax and sit down and write the next one!

  28. I'm so thrilled for you and can't wait for your book to come out.

    Your story is one of those moments in life that you will never forget.