Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Call Story: Melissa Cutler



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.

About Melissa:
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 cutlermail@yahoo.com. You can also find Melissa on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks) and Twitter (@m_cutler).


Buy Links:


42 comments:

  1. Wow! This story sounds so very familiar, Melissa, except I had moved on to the "writing for my own pleasure" part. The rejections finally did me in and I stopped writing/submitting for almost 6 months. A year later, I sold to Harl. Desire. My call came when I least expected it, and my dreams are growing every day!

    Congratulations on such wonderful achievements! Can't wait to read your debuts.

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    1. Congratulations to you, Dani, on realizing your dream! The accumulative effect of all those rejections is so brutal. I'm grateful every day for the opportunities that have come my way this past year.

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!

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  2. Love your Call Story Melissa and can't wait to read your book!

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  3. so inspired by your story and road to fulfilling your dream. congrats.

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  4. Bravo Melissa! Sometimes the step back provides much needed perspective and allows you to open the door you've been pushing against! I can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Thank you, crystallized. That step back was a good idea for me, that's for sure. And I think all the trouble I had getting to this point makes it so much sweeter. I'm so grateful to have this job! I appreciate you stopping by the blog and leaving a comment. Thank you!

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  5. I love this story, Melissa! I guess the old mantra of never give up really holds true here. That is such a great 'The Call' story. As I start on the next phase of my journey ~ queries and the like ~ I'm going to remember this story.

    I've got The Trouble With Cowboys on my nightstand ready to read! I just have to finish beta reading a friend's novel and then it's all about the cowboy. I'm so excited.

    Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you so much, Tameri! Keeping that hot cowboy on your nightstand is an excellent idea. ;) I appreciate you stopping by the blog. *hug*

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  6. So glad you stuck it out and saw the success! Can't wait to read your books.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer! Congratulations on your debut release too. What an amazing adventure we're on :)

      Melissa

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  7. You have such a way with words! I teared up at this - mostly because I also did that thing where I stood at Target and envisioned my book on the shelf. So I know how happy you must be with these releases. :) Congrats and here's to many more!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Kat! Congratulations to you on your own successes. I love your cheer "here's to many more". I absolutely agree :)

      Melissa

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  8. Congratulations, Melissa! I can relate to your story and have to admit I teared up a bit while reading your HEA. I'd love to read either of your stories...they both sound fabulous!

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  9. Great story Melissa! I loved The Trouble With Cowboys. The best phone call I got was 5 1/2 years ago from a friend who leads a very busy life that I had known for 20 years. We met in business school and even though we didn't see each other often, we stayed in touch on and off over the years. We always said we were like sisters and hoped to work together someday. We met for dinner one night and she offered me a job. Without giving it a second thought, I said yes and I quit the job I had for 18 years that I absolutely hated. I was quite nervous because it is a different industry than I had worked in. Shortly after I started to work for her, I also moved. Now I live on the street below her and work 3 miles from my home. I love my job now and I love her and her family to death. Have a great day!

    Missy

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    1. What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing it, and for checking out my blog post. There's little better in life than having a job that you love.

      Cheers,
      Melissa

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  10. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for sharing your call story. I love what you said about discovering your true passion. I completely agree.

    Kristin

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    1. Wonderful story, Melissa! I enjoyed reading it. It could even be the basis for a screen play.

      In the contest I would prefer Seduction Under Fire.

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  11. Melissa, you are an amazing, powerful and talented woman. What an incredible story. Intestinal fortitude. Believing in yourself. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Doing what you love and having the money follow. Creating your own happiness. Not letting the turkeys get you down. All cliches, but I like Gloria Gay's comment. Your story could be the basis of a wonderful screen play -- a movie to be created to inspire women everywhere to believe in themselves and to follow their hearts in the pursuit of lifelong happiness and fulfillment. I love your writing style. It is so clear and easy to understand. Can an interview on the Today Show be far behind? It sounds to me like one of your next books should be your story. You could write it in about a minute and a half. Congratulations on your present and future success!

    I would love to win a copy of Trouble With Cowboys.

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  12. What a fabulous and inspirational story. I stop and stare at the romance section of book stores now, dreaming of the day. I can't imagine the moment when I know mine will be there. I would be sobbing too! Thanks for helping to keep the hope alive.
    I'm currently reading Seduction Under Fire and can't wait to see what happens next. My copy of Trouble is electronic, so I guess that would be my pick if Mr. Randomizer is feeling the love for me.

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying SEDUCTION UNDER FIRE, Laura! Thank you so much for all your support. I'm rooting for you on your own publication quest :)

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  13. What an inspiring story! It gets me every time! And yes, it's a true blessing to be able to do what you love!!

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  14. Best phone call - getting fired from working in a pizza/deli. Getting fired I was able to work with my Dad for 7 years before I moved out of state. My Dad worked on golf courses ever since I was little - working with him was really cool. He even taught me how to drive a tractor and didn't get mad when I ran over a sapling. Poor tree, but great time with my Dad.

    If I win - I'll take Seduction Under Fire please.

    MarcieR

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  15. I love this story, Melissa. And, hey--since I'm one of those people who got pregnant after stopping trying, maybe I should try the same strategy with getting published.

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  16. I'm going to start The Trouble With Cowboys this weekend! I love your story and it was marvelous meeting you! I don't have a "call" story, nor have I found my passion! Still looking for it! I applaud you for following your dreams!

    Your #1 Fan!
    Sue

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    1. It was marvelous meeting you this week, too! Thank you again for all your amazing support. You ROCK!

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  17. I've heard this story before, but I never get tired of hearing it... :)

    Congratulations Melissa!!! I'm so happy for you!!!

    *HUGS*

    Lisa :)

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    1. Hugs back at you, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. Congrats on the new releases, Melissa. Hard to say what's the best call I've gotten, but it's always nice to hear from a relative or friend you haven't spoken in a while and finding out that they're well. I would love to win a copy of "Seduction Under Fire."

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    1. I'm with you on that, Jane. Hearing from family is the best. Thanks for dropping by the blog!

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  19. what a great call story!!! I looked up both of your books after you started posting on the suspense site at harlequin. I have both of your books. Well, Seduction is preordered from B&N and will download on November 1. :)

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    1. Hi, Snookie *waving* I adore the Harlequin community forums! Such a supportive, fun group of people. I really appreciate all YOUR support of my books. Thank you a million times over!

      Hugs,
      Melissa

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  20. I love this story. I got my copy of Seduction Under Fire at Wal-Mart today! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Georgie! I hope you love the book :-)

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  21. I'd like to thank the Pink Heart Society for inviting me to share my call story with you! It's been a blast. Thanks to everyone who left comments! *hugs*

    Melissa

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  22. Thanks for sharing your call story! Glad you found your passion and made your dream come true :)

    I would love to be entered for THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS.

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. Wow, congrats on your new releases after all that you went through!

    The two best phone calls I had gotten were for the births of my niece and my nephew. The mothers and babies were fine so I was ecstatic, the whole extended family was.

    Of course, I'd love THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS for the yummy Len Gunn cover. ;)

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  24. Congrat on the books, hot cover,
    Would love trouble with cowboys
    Kimh

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  25. They might of just email the winner

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