There's nothing we like better at Pink Heart than a call story. Welcome to Melissa Cutler, her first book with Harlequin Romantic Suspense is out this month. But this was a double celebration - take it away Melissa!
So I got the call. The Call. Actually I got two calls, five days apart. You know how we've all heard stories about women who give up trying to have a baby, and the minute they stop trying, they get pregnant? Getting the call was kind of like that for me.
On December 1st of last year, I decided to take a six month hiatus from trying to get published and spend the first half of 2012 writing for the pleasure.
It wasn't a decision that came lightly. I'd spent five years compiling hundreds of rejections from the traditional publishing industry. I didn't understand why the dream I had for myself was proving so difficult to obtain. I figured I had a warped sense of myself because, despite all the rejections, I thought my writing was pretty awesome. But in the fall of 2011, I fielded several brutally harsh rejections and criticisms that really, well, broke my spirit. More than anything, I desperately wanted to protect the fire that was my passion for writing romance from being extinguished. So I decided that the publishing industry and I needed a hiatus from each other. I still had some queries and submissions out, but I girded my spirit for the inevitable bad news with my new plan firmly in place.
Not a week later, in early December, I took a pad of paper and a pen on a nature walk. I hiked to a beautiful bench, then spent hours writing in the sunshine as hawks circled in the distance. It was a wonderful, contented morning. I could already feel my spirit healing as I drove home to eat lunch.
Fifteen minutes after I got home, Harlequin editor Shana Smith called offering me a contract for SEDUCTION UNDER FIRE, my romantic suspense manuscript that Harlequin had been considering for nearly a year. I can't remember all that she said, my mind was spinning so fast. What I remember is that I kept chanting "thank you, thank you, thank you" into the phone. When the call ended, I was too stunned to cry or cheer.
I contacted two agents who were still considering another of my manuscripts for representation, and in less than twenty-four hours after getting the call, I'd signed on with one of my dream agents. Four days later, it was my agent who called. Megan Records, an editor from Kensington Books whom I'd queried in November with my contemporary small-town romance, THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS, was offering me a three book deal.
That's when it finally hit me that this was really happening. My dream for myself was coming true. I spent the next several days giggling and crying uncontrollably. And that's not an exaggeration. I stood in front of the Romance Book section at Target and wept with happiness while suspicious mothers hustled their children away from me.
Both THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS, the first of a trilogy with Kensington Zebra, and SEDUCTION UNDER FIRE, my Harlequin Romantic Suspense, went on sale this month.
Needless to say, I've learned a lot about myself and about the pursuit of dreams. Namely, this: there are a lot of things in life that you can't control, but never let those outside forces convince you to give up on a dream. If you have to take a break to let your wounds heal, do it. But always remember it's a blessing in itself to have discovered what your true passion is. For me, discovering my identity as a writer and becoming a part of the romance genre community, embraced by people who share the same passion, have been the sweetest rewards of all.
I'd love to hear from you now. What was the best phone call you've ever gotten?
I have two books to give away to Pink Heart Society readers who leave a comment. Be sure to indicate which of my two debut releases you'd like to win—either my steamy, small town contemporary romance THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS or my steamy (sensing a theme here?), action-packed romantic suspense SEDUCTION UNDER FIRE.
Melissa Cutler is a Southern California native living with her family in beautiful San Diego. In 2008, she decided to take her romance novel devotion to the next level by penning one herself. She now divides her time between her dual passions for writing sexy, small town contemporaries for Kensington Books and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin. Find out more about Melissa and her books at www.melissacutler.net or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Melissa on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks) and Twitter (@m_cutler).
My AmazonAuthor Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Cutler/e/B007KL8SZG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1342809728&sr=8-1