I wrote my first book in 1988. It was a 500-page jumbled mess of description and dialogue, but it proved to me that I had the commitment, attention and dedication to actually write a book, so I kept writing and submitting any and everywhere I could think of. To be honest, I was nowhere ready to be published until around 1999 when I had written my third novel, but I kept submitting and the rejections interspersed with much-appreciated words of encouragement kept coming. I never gave up hope though; I knew in my heart I was a writer and one day if I persevered, I would be able to say I was a published writer—well, that day has finally arrived.
I had been corresponding, submitting, re-writing and re-submitting to Harlequin Kimani Romance for the past 6 months, hoping against hope that this was finally it—my big break, and luckily it was. During one of our E-mail sessions, the Editorial Assistant, Alex, asked if I would be available for a call later in the day. My heart jumped into my throat and my fingers started shaking, but I managed to type out a reply stating that I definitely would. “Good. Expect a call,” I was informed.
EXPECT A CALL???!!! Oh my goodness—would this be "THE CALL"?
A few hours later, when my phone range and the caller ID listed a
Even though I was jumping 10 feet off the ground screaming in joy (in my head of course), somehow, I kept talking and making some semblance of sense for the remainder of that wonderful conversation. When we rang off, I was told to expect an email with further clarification of what would we had talked about—a good thing too, because all I remembered was that I HAD GOTTEN A PUBLISHING OFFER FROM HARLEQUIN!
Finally all alone, I allowed my joy to erupt—jumping up and down, screaming at the top of my lungs for several satisfying minutes and twirling around like a happy idiot. Boy do I wish I had a video of that moment—well, maybe not! When I had somewhat calmed myself (not really), I picked up the phone and began calling everyone I could think of to spread the good news. The first two calls were to my sister, Norma, and my cousin, Trina—the two people I forced proofreading and critiquing duties on frequently (sorry guys). Further screaming ensued along with congratulations and when I had told everyone I could think of, I sat down at my desk with an ear-to-ear grin plastered on my face.
I was supposed to be working on my "real job”—you know the one that pays the bills and puts groceries on the table; however, I couldn't bring myself to do anything but smile at my computer screen as I waited for my official offer letter to materialize. Within 30 minutes, my E-mail from Kimani arrived (don't you just love technology?) listing specifics of my two-book deal. I printed the pages out, handled them gingerly like the awesome treasure they were and naturally another bout of screaming and jumping followed.
Somewhat exhausted for the moment I settled down in my chair again and realized that I had really received a publishing offer from Harlequin; I held the evidence in my hands. I couldn’t stop smiling and waiting impatiently for my contract to arrive (I assumed by snail mail, but it showed up in my E-mail spam folder (YIKES!!) three weeks later and after I quickly retrieved it from certain deletion (WHEW!), I signed and mailed it back via snail mail. My first advance check was delivered about five weeks later just in time for New Year's 2011—and yes, I was still smiling!
Judy's debut These Arms of Mine is out now and can be bought from Amazon.com, Harlequin or wherever Harlequin books and ebooks are sold. It is even out as an ebook in the UK. You can learn more about Judy and her books at her website www.judylynnhubbard.com or connect with her on Facebook