Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: The Pregnant Presents Writer's Call

Ooooh!  Another call story - just what we love here at the Pink Heart Society.  And this one is a doozie...please welcome newcomer Maisey Yates to the PHS!

First off, I have to thank the Pink Hearts ladies for inviting me to blog about my Call! So, thank you!

I have always wanted to write, but I haven’t always known exactly what I wanted to write. I tried a lot of different things, things that usually didn’t go any farther than the first five pages.

Then when I was a teenager school and work and meeting the man of my dreams took precedence over writing, and other than scribbling insane comedy stories for the entertainment of my friends, I did very little in the way of writing.

Then I got married and had my first son and even though I still dreamed of seeing my name on a book cover one day, I certainly wasn’t working toward it.

That changed when I was pregnant with my second son and I picked up my very first Harlequin romance, a Presents by Miranda Lee. That was the beginning of a pretty big obsession for me.

In that year I think I read over three hundred Presents. I couldn’t get enough of them. I loved the glamour, the passion and the seduction. And I knew then that I wanted to write romance. But when I went to Harlequin’s website site and saw the guidelines for submission I was so intimidated at the thought of trying to submit that…I just didn’t try. Because if I wrote something, I should submit it, if I submitted, I might get rejected, and I just couldn’t get past that. Until I saw the announcement for the Instant Seduction contest. A contest seemed a lot less scary and not winning, I thought, would seem a lot less like a rejection.

I sat down to write my chapter and synopsis and after a couple of weeks, with butterflies in my stomach, I entered my chapter into the contest. That step was the confidence boost I needed to start writing a manuscript that I could get ready for submission the traditional way.

By the time the contest results were announced a couple of months later, I had finished a complete manuscript (different from my contest entry). I didn’t get any feedback from the Instant Seduction contest, but it was a huge step for me. It had been a rejection in a way, and it hadn’t killed me. That gave me the boost I needed to submit the manuscript I had completed. So after a lot of obsessive polishing and harassing my husband every five minutes for his opinion, I sent the partial all the way from Oregon to the Richmond office.

In the months that my manuscript waited in the slush pile, Harlequin held the Feel the Heat contest for Modern Heat. I entered that contest as well, and again, got no feedback other than the standard form letter. I was feeling pretty dejected at that point! I wasn’t sure what hope the manuscript I’d sent had with two contests behind me and no personalized feedback to show for it.

But, only a week later I received a letter from the United Kingdom. I had been waiting seven months at that point and, as I opened the letter with (very) shaky hands, I anticipated a rejection. Much to my complete and total shock, it was actually a letter requesting that I revise my partial.

I spent the next month or so working on revisions with the help of my lovely critique group and my patient (and gorgeous!) husband. After much agonizing, I resent the partial with (still) shaking hands.

A couple of months later another letter landed in my mail box. This time a request for the full manuscript. I was (and sort of still am) totally shocked. So much so that I literally couldn’t speak, and as my husband can attest to, that is an unusual turn of events. I imagine he must have thought I was somewhat crazy when I came running into the house waving a letter in the air, unable to string two words together.

I sent the full manuscript and three weeks later, received another revision letter, this time in my inbox. I was so excited that it wasn’t a rejection I set to work right away getting the revisions done, once again with my lovely critique group offering me much cyber support.

About six weeks after returning those revisions I got yet another revision letter. And at this point I’m just feeling eternally grateful for my editor’s patience! After completing those I sent them (yeah, hands still shaking). I had a feeling that this would be it. Three rounds of revisions. It had to be rejection or acceptance.

So I cringed every time of opened my email and jumped every time the phone rang. And then, on December 1st, four and a half months after completing that last round of revisions, I got up and checked my email at seven in the morning. There was one from Jenny Hutton sitting in my inbox. She asked if she could call me and talk about the manuscript sometime that morning. And after squealing and jumping up and down (as best as a woman who is eight months pregnant can), I calmed down enough to get the phone and tell my husband my editor was going to call. Well, it may have come out more like “Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!! She’s going to Call me!!!”

And then the phone rang at 8:00 am and a woman with a very lovely, sophisticated accent asked to speak to me. And then she offered to buy my book. Of course I said yes.

It’s a dream come true to write for Presents. I’m a true fan of the line and seeing my name on (here in the US) that white cover with the red stripe and the very beautiful people in the circle makes me absolutely giddy. In fact, I foresee being completely giddy for the next few years.

I’m currently working on revisions for my second book and eagerly awaiting the release of His Virgin Acquisition, coming out in the UK in August of 2010!

Congratulations Maisey - both on the contract and the birth of your gorgeous new baby!  Truly a December to remember!


  1. Yay!! Maisey, great story!! I love it. I feel for you on all that waiting, but it's so worth it!! Congrats to you!

  2. Thank you, Mira! Yep, right back into the revision process for book two. ;-) I was working on revising my partial from my hospital bed!

  3. Love your call story, Maisey! So cool that I knew you before you got it so I could experience your excitement. You SO deserve it!

  4. Great story, Maisey. I am really looking forward to seeing your first book in print!


  5. I love your call story. I've read it three times. Congratulations on your book, I always knew you could do it. I'm sure there will be many more to come. I'm so proud of you!

  6. Thanks, mom. :-) I'm very sorry you didn't get a mention in my post. So I'll say now that my mom and dad are the best, and they have always believed I would get published. Even when they'd never read my writing. :-)

    Abbi and Jackie, you ladies are awesome! It's wonderful to have such great friends to share this with!

  7. Loads of congrats on the book and the baby.
    Looking forward to reading the book.

  8. Hey Maisey,

    Idiot grins all around again I guess? This is a wonderful call story for a truly determined lady. I absolutely cannot wait to hold your book in my hands, after taking loads of photographs of it on the shelves first of course!

    You're very deserving of this and I wish you all the best as you work on book 2. Hugs to you and yours,


    P.S. Oh, how sweet is your Mom???

  9. Aideen, my mom is the sweetest. :-) And yes, you're charged with taking pics since you will see it on shelves before I will!!

    Michelle, thanks so much! I got way more than any one person deserves to get for Christmas this year! :-)

  10. Hi Maisey,

    I've said this before on your blog, but congratulations once again! What a wonderful and inspiring Call story. Can't wait to read your debut.

  11. Hey Maisey,

    I'm still excited for you! I can't wait till your book hits the shelves so I can read it all over again... with the beautiful people on the cover. Congratulations once again, you deserve it.


  12. Yes, Robyn! The beautiful people!! Most especially the beautiful hero...I am so looking forward to THAT!

    Angie and Kate, thanks again so very much!

  13. Maisey, what a great story... Remember that speechless moment myself, although mine occurred when I was actually getting the call and I kept saying over and over 'Are you sure?'. Good thing my ed didn't turn round and say 'Actually no I'm not sure now, you're obviously an imbecile!'

    Best of luck with revisions on book two!

    Heidi x

  14. Oh, Heidi, I was so thankful for an email in advance, not only to avoid being put into premature labor, but so I didn't a) lose my ability to speak, or b) chatter like an idiot, which I tend to do. I may have done that anyway, actually.

  15. Ah Maisey, I love your call story, its so inspiring! Great that JH emailed you to see if she could ring too, at least you didn't get her call totally out of the blue. (I know it would leave me gasping like a fish and making sounds like a busted car engine).
    Congratulations again. Great story. Looking forward to reading it!

  16. Maisey, Have read this story before, but couldn't resist reading again. I did a little happy dance this morning when I got revsions so I can only imagine how happy you were to get the pre call email. Congrats and well done.

  17. Mega congrats, Maisey! There's nothing better than writing for a line you love. I'm so happy for you.

  18. Congratulations!
    If I understand correctly - this was your first time submitting?
    That is so awesome either way!
    Best of luck to you.

  19. Sally, I don't know how much the email helped, but it gave me twenty minutes to at least not be hyperventilating.

    Janette, each stage is happy dance worthy. I've done a fair few of them over the past year and a half. :-)

    Thank you, Leigh, it is truly so much fun. I get to write the books I want to read. :-)

    Marcie, yes, this was my first submission. No one is more shocked than I am!

  20. Congrats Maisey! And hooray for computer savvy moms who pop in with cyber support. I think your mum is going to end up with her own fan club. :-)

    You have a long and brilliant career ahead of you darling!

  21. My mom very much deserves her own fan club! :-) I would join in a heartbeat!

    And thank you so much for the chance to blog here, for all your help, and all of your very sweet words!

  22. Yay Maisey. I don't care how many times I've read this call story now, I could still read it another zillion times.

    I am so very happy for you and cannot wait to hold a copy of your book in my hands.

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  24. (deleted my first comment because my spelling was so rubbish!)

    Love love love your call story Maisey, and your mum is pretty fab too!
    Huge congrats, and much luck for your revisions. x

  25. Great call story, Maisey!! It's a sort of 'dreams do come true' story, isn't it? Very inspiring!

    Oh, I'd love to get the Call. My only issue is that I get seriously nervous speaking on the phone at the best of times. So with all that added stress of speaking to an M&B editor, I'd probably be far happier with a Call Email, lol!!

  26. LOL, Jane, somehow I doubt you'd hang up on them! ;-)

    Joanne,thank you much! I actually received good news on my revisions today.

    Jo, you're too sweet. And it works out because I could tell the story a million more times...

  27. Gosh, I'd never hang up on someone! I always answer the phone in case it my kids' school. But I might perspire somewhat and start gnawing on my finger nails, lol!

  28. Maisey, sorry to be so very late in arriving at the party (story of my life) but just wanted to say a huge congratulations on your sale (and your baby!) 2010 is going to be an exciting, exhausting, exhilarating year for you - hold on tight and enjoy the ride! So looking forward to reading your book.


  29. Thanks, India! I'm just glad you came by. Clearly, I'm still hanging out at the party even though it's late... :-D

  30. Hey Maisey,

    Seriously late, but at least you know why :-)

    This post has got me excited all over again. I remember so well that day I logged on to our blog and saw that wonderful heart-stopping news. I was laughing and crying and generally losing it - so no change there then, I suppose :-)

    You so so deserve this and I simply can't wait to walk in that book store in August and hold your book in my hands. YOUR book! With YOUR name on it! It's what we all dream about it, and for you that dream has well-and-truly arrived.

    And I couldn't be happier. Or more proud of you, either.

    Cyber-hugs all over again.


    PS And a hug for your Mum. And Haven, of course :-)

  31. Jilly, you never forget to offer hugs to Haven. :-) Hey, I know part of why you were so hysterical over my news, coming on the heels of yours!

    But I so felt yours, and everyone's excitement, and sharing it with my friends has been one of the best parts of the experience.

    hugs back! And one to Andreos?


  32. To Maisey's writing group, who have become her friends. I feel as though I know you too and would like to thank you so much for the support, encouragement and advice you have given Maisey. As a mom/mum, I can only take her so far, especially in her writing. You ladies have helped her far beyound the place where my abilities left off.

    I look forward to reading your "call stories" someday soon. Best of luck to you all.

    Oh, and I got butterflies just picturing Maisey's book on the bookstore shelves...



  33. Maisey, finally made it here long after the party is over! You know how over the moon happy I was when you had that call. Next stop- holding your very own book in your hands!