It feels like I’ve been reading Call Stories for years, actively hunting them down on The Pink Heart Society and anywhere else my search engine took me. During that time, I received two straight rejections, one Revise and Resubmit on a partial (which was ultimately rejected with a standard rejection letter) until… I caught the eye of Sally Williamson, who requested the full of number four. At this point I should point out that all my writing was aimed at Modern/Presents. I enjoy all the Mills & Boon lines but it’s Modern/Presents that holds my heart. Fast forward fifteen months and three full sets of revisions, and number four was duly rejected (and subsequently sold elsewhere, but that’s a different story). However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom – Sally wanted to work closely with me on a new story. She asked me to send her a couple of ideas and then, less than a week later, called me to discuss them. From that conversation, the kernel of Nico and Rosa’s story was born.
Fast forward five months to September. Sally had read and liked the partial, and I’d sent her the final batch. Within days of sending the full, I heard on the grapevine that she was leaving her position as she’d gained a promotion to the Mira line. She confirmed this to me but promised I wouldn’t be left stranded, also promising to get back to me with her feedback by the end of the following week, which was when she would be leaving the category lines. That Friday, the 14th September, was the AMBA lunch – for those who don’t know, this is the Association of Mills & Boon Authors’ annual shindig. I remember that day so clearly, mainly because most of it was spent on Twitter with Victoria Parker, Catherine Coles, Aimee Duffy and a number of other aspiring authors all badgering the authors and editors attending, stating our declaration to gatecrash and press our forlorn faces against the window until they took pity on us and let us in. The following Monday, the magic began…
It started with my good friend Sri Pammi getting the call, quickly followed by Victoria Parker (yes, my other good friend who was Twitter stalking the AMBA lunch with me!), both for the Modern/Presents line. I was utterly delighted for them – and can you believe they both messaged me privately to make sure I was okay about it??? Bless their hearts, but there wasn’t the slightest ounce of jealousy. They’d worked ruddy hard to get there and I was just happy to celebrate along with them. In any case, Nico & Rosa’s book hadn’t undergone any form of revisions other than some tweaking as I’d gone along, so I knew my book wasn’t ready (if it ever would be) for The Call…
Two days later, on Wednesday 19th September, I woke up with the most dreadful case of flu. I was literally incapacitated all day, unable to get up from the sofa even to make myself a cup of tea. Just after 5pm, my mum brought my kids home from their swimming lesson, and I forced myself up to greet them. As my mum left, the phone rang. Luckily it was within arm’s reach otherwise one of the Munchkins would have answered it. It was Sally. She thanked me for the Congratulations card I’d sent her for her promotion, and just as I was thinking how sweet she was to call me about a card, she finished it with “And I’d like to offer you a two book contract.” All I can say is thank God the kids were there to stop my legs from giving way!
It was truly the best phone call of my life and an utter dream come true. And now my debut Modern/Presents book is about to be released, I keep thinking back to that Friday and our mad bout of Twitter stalking and I have to pinch myself that it’s really happening, that my Mills & Boon book will be on book shelves any day.
If it is a dream, all I would ask is that no one wakes me up.
On his terms only
The day Rosa agreed to wear Nicolai Baranski’s ring she wasn’t so foolish as to expect love. Yet nothing could have prepared her for the aching loneliness of her husband’s constant indifference – an indifference that proved too much to bear.
Nico is furious – no one turns their back on a Baranski. Rosa has some nerve if she thinks he will just let her walk away. He’ll use every sensual trick at his disposal to bring her back, begging for more. And once he’s got her where he wants her? He’ll let her go. But only when he’s ready!