The Call (Part II) by Christina Rich

If you recall from Part I, after entering two of my manuscripts into a contest in hopes of a final or two and not hearing a word, I decided to give Love Inspired Suspense Fast Track a try. Romantic suspense isn’t my preferred genre but it was a great opportunity and I had played around with a few stories over the last few years. All I needed to do was choose one.

Before I sent it I took in everything Seekerville had to offer with all the excellent blogs posted to the site. Light bulbs flashed left and right. Applying what I learned, I worked hard on a first suspense chapter, and then sent it to my critique group. The response was more than I could have hoped for. Most said it was my best work yet. I felt like a writer again.

It’s all good, yeah?

Yep! NaNoWriMo, a 50,000 word challenge in the month of November, was a few days away. This pantser had a complete story plotted and was ready to go.

Screech! 

Hold up. In October 2011, Seekerville held a birthday party. They held a pitch contest and I had received a partial request from Emily Rodmell, an editor at Love Inspired. I sent the request off in November 2011 and then waited.

By the time June 2012 came around I thought for sure the mailman had tossed my manuscript to the dogs. After asking around, it was suggested I contact Emily. So I did. Turns out she’d sent me a request for a full back in February. Nothing like technical difficulties with your email provider. Or was it a God thing? If I’d have received that email when I should have I probably would have had a nervous breakdown. There were too many things happening in my personal life to deal with the excitement of a full request.

Anyway, I took the next month, made the requested changes and sent it back to her. Then forgot all about it, because you know, nobody was buying biblical romance. Okay, well maybe I didn’t forget about it, but I didn’t have high hopes, because, yeah, nobody was buying biblical romance.

Well, in October 2012, just a month after that ACFW conference I was so heartbroken at not attending, because I just knew I needed to be in Texas to sell a book, I ended up in Texas. You see my sister-in-law was graduating nursing and my dear mother-in-law wanted to be there, so I escorted her. After several hours of flights and layovers I was sitting on the floor of my sister-in-law’s living room thinking about how awesome it was that she was fulfilling her dream, and if I’m to be honest, I was a little sad about how mine had yet to be. And if I’m really going to be honest with myself I wondered if it ever would be, and was I okay with that if that was God’s will. The resounding answer by this time was, yes. No sooner had those thoughts tripped through my brain I opened my email. And there it was at 10:13 p.m., an email that could only be one of two things, a rejection or an offer.

I will tell you I was scared to open that one. But I did open it.

Everything after that, I’m sure was a bit comical. Just ask my mother-in-law, Tina Radcliffe and Ruth Logan Herne. I mean, how does one react? How is one supposed to react? I didn’t know, so I texted Tina Radcliffe. She said something along the lines of “NY offices open at 8:00, 7:00 your time, you better call her at 7:15.”

I called Emily the next day with pen and paper in hand and a towel on my head. All I remember saying is okay, multiple times. Even when she asked if it all sounded good to me. Okay. So she wants to buy my story.

No, wait, she bought my story, right?

I sent a text out to my peeps. I sold!

I received phone calls and texts. My friends jumped up and down, they squealed, they cried. I was in a state of shock. Seriously, what happened? Was this real? I got an email from Twitter, good ‘ol social media, telling me Emily Rodmell was following me. Me! So, I hopped on over there and what did I see? A tweet about how she bought a new author for LIH a manuscript set in Biblical times. Hey, that’s me.

You better believe I saved that baby in a screen shot.

See?

emilytweet1
Hubs called me, “Well, you just had to go to Texas and sell a book, didn’t you?”  Yep, I knew it too. But it still hadn’t completely sunk in. I was getting sick and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep in my own bed and let hubs take care of me. It wasn’t until we were on the plane in Houston that it began to click. You see this lady sat next to me and struck up a conversation. She asked what I did and I gave her the typical answer, “I’m a stay at home mom.” My mother-in-law, God bless her, nudged me and said, “go on.”

“Oh, and I just sold a book.”

I smiled, leaned my head back against my seat and thought about my dedication page.

My first sale story wouldn’t have happened without the support and encouragement of my family and friends. It wouldn’t have happened without my friends I met through Avon Fanlit when I first began writing seriously in 2006. It wouldn’t have happened without my critique group, which included Jennifer and Beatty. And it wouldn’t have happened without the Seekerville community.  Viable, encouraging communities like ACFW, RWA, critique groups, Writing Prompts and Seekerville are important to writers at all stages in their career. But the most important factor in my first sale is God and trusting His timing.

Oh, you might be wondering about that last contest I entered with two manuscripts. I sold on a Friday, on Monday I got an saying that my Western, Love at Twenty Paces had finaled. A few minutes later I received an email from an editor at Bethany House wanting to see my biblical romance. 🙂 I had to turn her down because I’d already sold. Turns out both of my manuscripts had finaled.

Here is my timeline:

2006 October-started writing seriously

2007 joined Romance Writers of America

2007 entered first writing contest and was thrilled to come in 2nd to last-Bewitching the Highlander

2008 Finaled in Tampa Area Romance Authors TARA (honorable mention)-Bewitching the Highlander

2008 Smoky Mountain Romance Writers the Laurie 3rd place-Bewitching the Highlander

2009 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers’ Golden Claddagh 3rd place-Bewitching the Highlander

2010 joined American Christian Fiction Writers

2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers’ Gold Claddagh 2nd place-Bewitching the Highlander

2011 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis semi-finalist-Love at Twenty Paces

2011 October- received request for Yours for Eternity from Emily Rodmell

2012 October-GOT THE CALL-Yours for Eternity

2012 Heartland Romance Authors’ Show Me the Spark 3rd-Love at Twenty Paces

2012 Heartland Romance Authors’ Show Me the Spark 1st-Yours for Eternity

My advice to you is don’t give up. I know people who have been pursuing publishing for 20+ years. Find encouraging, positive groups that you mesh with. You heard me talk a lot about Seekerville, they have topics on almost everything you could have a writing question about. Writing Prompts is working on providing great resources for writers. No matter what you do, if you feel called to write, then write. Keep your focus on the Lord, honor Him, and praise Him, even during disappointments. Embrace those closed doors, you never know God may be protecting you from something you couldn’t foresee, like a tanking publisher.

This publishing journey can be slow and discouraging at times, but those are the times when it pays to really draw close to the Lord. You trust Him with your salvation, trust Him with your dreams, your writing career.
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