Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America gives their authors roses for each sale. As a member many years ago, I dreamed of the day Iâ€™d stand up at the front to receive my rose, and my acceptance speech. Eventually I decided those would only be dreams. Until I saw an e-mail stating: â€œBlack Opal Books is actively looking for new and special manuscripts.â€ What the heck, I thought. Might as well be rejected by a new press as an established press. I did a final polish, had a few critical friends beta read, and sent it off. There were dog shows in Phoenix, and I actively avoided looking for computer connections to check while we were gone.
Come Monday, I turned on the computer, connected to my e-mail, and began to scroll messages. Andâ€“what? A message from â€œeditorâ€ at â€œblackopalbooks.â€ Wow, this would be the fastest rejection Iâ€™d ever had. Oh well, might as well get it over with.
â€œWe like your book, and would like to publish it.â€ I stared at the screen. Turned off the e-mail program. Started it again. â€œWe like your book and would like to publish it.â€ Still the same words. So I printed it out, just in case it was a computer glitch. Yep, it said the same thing. So I called my husband into the room. He looked at the screen, looked at me, and said, â€œCool.â€ Just to be sure, I sent the excerpt to my friends, whom I see once or twice a year, and stay in touch electronically. They concurred, and sent virtual high fives.
It took twenty four hours to decide if I would accept the offer. Actually it took ten seconds, but I pretended to need to think about it. Yeah, right. I was valiantly attempting to follow the advice given in so many lectures and on line discussions. In actual fact I intended to grab for the brass ring and enjoy the ride. Which I did. The day â€œMy Killer My Loveâ€came out was the day my husband was admitted to the hospital and the next eight months were a challenge on all levels. He lost the battle with cancer and diabetes in January of the next year, and in the months since then Iâ€™ve learned to readjust and rebuild. Come April of this year, events combined to bring me to Southern California, including a Saluki specialty held in Tomâ€™s honor, a gathering of our dog friends after the show, and another gathering for his family, non dog friends, and former students. This would help close many of the connections he had made throughout his life. And, yes, it was the same weekend as the Orange County meeting. I could have my first book signing among the people who had the greatest effect on my life as a writer. What would be better? Too bad it was the same weekend as the RT Convention in Chicago, but so many of those I remembered from before were still in California.
The roses came home with me and are in a Mikasa vase one of the dogs won years ago. One rose for â€œMy Killer My Love,â€ the book I signed in April. One for â€œTeach Me To Forget,â€ coming out in May, just a few weeks from now. Life does go on.