Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Guest Blogger Christie Craig returns!

Welcome back to Christie Craig! To celebrate the release of her new book, she's here to tell us her Call stories. And just let me say... you've never heard a Call story quite like this one...



~~~~~~


My Call Stories


I think about them (my call stories) every year at this time—always around Thanksgiving. Not only did I get both my “You sold” calls during this season, but boy howdy, was I ever thankful. Writers, both published and soon-to-be published, understand the significance of this day. Non-writers…well, let me just say that getting that call is right up there with giving birth to your first child. Well, without all the labor. But it comes with a lot of heavy breathing, a lot of just feeling stunned and thinking… it’s about darn time, and eventually a lot of “oh crap what do I do now” feelings. Yup, as wonderful as this time is, it can still be a little scary.

Yes, I sort of have two calls stories—there’s the recent one to Dorchester that brought me back into novel publishing, and it’s motivational and inspirational. It’s one I’m proud to share. Then there’s the first call story. I’d never blogged about it until recently. I had, for apparent reasons, buried the memory, had barred it from my mind, and vowed to never, ever, let it become pubic knowledge.

Of course, that vow was made before . . . before I got to that place in my life that I decided that there were no secrets, no shame, that where my career and fans were concerned, their was nothing I couldn’t, wouldn’t talk about. Believe me, you’ll understand why in just a few minutes. You might even resent this place I’ve arrived at in my life.

Most recent call—2006

I’d been entering unpublished novel contests, and after a long list of wins, I’d snagged the interest of an agent. She had been sending some of my work out to publishers and I was still entering contests trying to get some editor’s attention. After another big win in a contest, I had my hopes up that I might be getting the call soon. And then it came early one morning before I even got dressed. My agent asked, “Are you sitting down?” (Take note that all publishing professionals like to ask this question.)

Heart racing, I replied, “I’ve been waiting for this for six years. I can take this standing up.” (Looking back, this response may have been due to my past ‘call’ experience. Believe me you’ll understand in just a few minutes.) “I’ve sold a book, haven’t I?”

Being a total New Yorker, her reply was quick. “No. You haven’t a sold a book."

The thought that ran through my head was . . . shoot me now. I mean I was so ready for it to happen, and from my agent’s tone, I just knew I’d finally arrived. Disappointment made my gut clench…and yeah, I remembered that feeling from the first call.

Then my agent continued, “You didn’t’ sell “A” Book. You’ve sold four.”

Breathless, and in my Alabamian drawl, I answered, “I need to sit down.”

I hadn’t given birth to one baby. I’d just been blessed with four. Oh, crappers! I did sit down, and I was still sitting, still wearing my PJs, still in shock, when my husband came home at six that night.

First call—1993

I’d been writing for nine years, I’d even finaled in the Golden Heart Contest with my novel, Two Hearts Too Late, a romance targeted to Silhouette. The book didn’t sell, but I knew it had promise. So, a few years later, I rewrote it from page one, and when I was six chapters into it, I entered it into another contest. An editor from Silhouette was the judge and if you finaled, you got to chat with the editor at the conference. I was one of the lucky finalists, and the afternoon before the awards ceremony, I remember the sophisticated editor looking at me all serious-like and saying, “I want to read the rest of this book. I really like this story.”

I remember thinking she was just being nice. She’d probably said that to all the finalists.

Later that night at the awards ceremony, I was awarded first place. And it hit me, wow, she really liked my story.

In a couple of months, manuscript complete, I packaged my 240 page story along with my hopes and dreams, and I mailed it. Sure, I was excited, but I wasn’t holding my breath. I’d heard of other writers getting this close and then getting the big rejection that hits you right in the gut. Hmm…speaking of gut pain…

Several months passed and I received a letter that simply said she’d read it, liked it, and had passed it to the senior editor. Okay, my hopes grew, I held my breath just a bit, but I reminded myself how easy it was for those hopes to get flushed down the toilet. And speaking of toilets…

The day the call came in, I was running around the house; my son, a toddler at the time, and my older daughter had both been hit with a stomach virus. Hubby was supposed to get some medicine on his way home from work. He’d called right before leaving the office to get the med’s information—we didn’t do cell phones back then—and while on the phone to me, his boss stepped into his office, and hubby said, “That sounds great. Let me get back with you.” Which was code for, I don’t want to discuss diarrhea meds in front of my boss, I’ll call you back when he leaves. Yeah, you know how husbands and wives understand certain codes.

Anyway, right when he hung up, that’s when it hit me. My stomach started rolling, gurgling, and I didn’t have a second to wait. Phone, still in hand, I ran. I mean, really ran to the bathroom.

One minute later, positioned on the throne, the phone rings. No, I didn’t have caller ID—and yes, like an idiot I answered it. Hey, in my defense, I was certain it was hubby and since we all really needed those meds, I took the call. Not only did I take the call, but I answered it 100% certain it was my hubby. “You’d better hurry,” I said. “Now I’ve got it. And it’s so bad!”

“Excuse me,” said this voice with a New York accent. “Is Christie Craig in?”

I know…I know, looking back I should have lied and said Christie was indisposed. Maybe I should have just told the truth and said she was presently sitting on the pot, bare-bottomed, a wad of toilet paper in one hand, and a phone in the other, but nope, I didn’t.

Nope, like an idiot I said, “This is her.”

“Hi Christie, this is Risa, from Silhouette Romance.” My heart started to flutter, right along with my intestines. Then in a very sophisticated voice she asked, “Are you sitting down?”

“As a matter of fact I am,” I answered.

So there you have it, my embarrassing publication call story that I swore I’d never tell. Today, I can laugh about it. Today, in spite of the embarrassment, I’m still so darn thankful for both those calls. And today to celebrate my third release with Dorchester, (yes, Divorced, Desperate and Dating, the sister book to Divorced, Desperate and Delicious, just came out) I’ll be giving away a copy of the new book, a pack of Christie Craig Christmas cards, and a “Silly” pen.

So make sure you post. And pop over to Killer Fiction: for a chance to win some prizes over there as well. Plus, check out the contest on Dorchester’s website for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. And now that you know a bit more about me, perhaps you understand why it’s just fate that I use a little bit of potty humor in my books?

Christie Craig
http://www.christie-craig.com/

44 comments:

Problem Child said...

You know, thinking the call from my editor was a telemarketer kinda pales in comparison now...

Angel said...

Oh, that is priceless!!!! Although, even with caller ID, if it had said New York, I'd still have probably answered it. :)

Look at it this way, its memorable. Thank you so much for sharing it!

Angel

Christie Craig said...

As long as you didn't hang up on her, you did okay.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on your book.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Thank you Angel.

And oh yes, Santa will be serving snowcones in hell before I forget that call.

CC

Lynn Raye Harris said...

LOL, Christie! Oh my goodness, what a story. Makes mine pale in comparison. I was simply in my pajamas. And I was expecting the call to come, so I was even somewhat prepared. :) I still had that crazy feeling you mentioned, and it's still the most fabulous memory. :) I'll just thank my lucky stars I wasn't sick. :)

Faye Hughes said...

Great call stories, Christie!

Faye

Instigator said...

Thanks for sharing these stories, Christie! I needed a good laugh this morning :-)

Instigator

Christie Craig said...

Lynn,

Those calls are so special, I think you could be in surgery and it would still be the time of your life.

And there's nothing like those jitters we get when we're finally told that our babies are going to be published.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Instigator,

We all need to laugh a bit more. Did you know that laughing hard fifty times burns as many calories as 15 minutes on a row machine?

I'm hoping to laugh myself thin.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Faye!

CC

Smarty Pants said...

I'm certain this is the sort of call story I'm destined for - one where people have to do a double take... it's just my luck. Of course, to sell a book, I'd weather far worse.

The second call with the 4 book deal makes up for it, though!

Crystal Lee said...

Welcome back to the Playground, Christie, and thank you for sharing your stories. You have such a fabulous sense of humor, and I'm glad you shared that particular story. Isn't it amazing the way someone somewhere always seems to know when the throne room is in use...?

Christie Craig said...

Smarty Pants,

You are so right. We would all take a bout of the stomach flu if it got us published. And I'll admit it was worth it.

Hopefully, your call will come in soon and at the perfect time. And will be a story you can sing about without blushing.

CC

CrystalGB said...

What a great call stories. :)

Christie Craig said...

Crystal,

It's true. The phone doesn't ring, no one comes to your door, and editors don't want to buy your book until you go to the bathroom.

Thanks for posting.

And hey...all you guys pop over to Killer Fiction. I'm giving away . . . (Are you ready for this?) . . . a pooping Christmas Snowman. Don't worry he's house trained. You push his head down and he delivers black jelly beans from his backside.

It will make the perfect gift to someone who has everything. (smile)


CC

Christie Craig said...

CrystalGB,

Thanks for stopping in.

I hope you have a great holiday season.

CC

Playground Monitor said...

Burns more calories than a rowing machine? Let me go back and read this ten more times because I was doubled over laughing.

I can only imagine the excitement of "The Call." I know how excited it was to have Instigator and Problem Child call me to say they'd sold, and to read Lynn's email about hers.

Thanks for playing with us again!

Christie Craig said...

Playground Monitor,


There is nothing like getting that call--on the throne or not.

And I also believe that tons of hard work and perseverance can make it happen.

And thanks to all you playground gals for having me back. Since I'm from Alabama, it's comfortable here.

CC

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Christie! It's great to blog with you again. I love hearing your stories. They're always so entertaining so thanks for sharing them. And congratulations on the new release!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Sherry,

Thanks. And if I can offer someone a smile, it's made my day.

CC

tetewa said...

Enjoyed your call stories and good luck on the release!

Christie Craig said...

Tetewa,

Thanks. I love playing at the playground.

CC

Maureen said...

That was a great story! I remember those stomach bugs. My kids got them every year when they were in grammar school. I hope your holidays are fun ones.

Christie Craig said...

Maureen,

Boy do I remember those bugs. Since my kids have gotten older we haven't had to deal with them.

So far, my holidays are wonderful. Thank you. And I hope you and your family have a wonderful one as well.

CC

Virginia said...

Oh Christie what a cute story. A call while you are on the throne is better then no call at all. You really crack me up with your stories and I do so love your books.

Christie Craig said...

Virginia,

If a sit on the throne means another sale, I'll sit there all day long.

Thanks so much for posting.

CC

Minna said...

Great call stories!

Christie Craig said...

Minna,

Thanks!!

I hope I gave you a snicker.

CC

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi Christie!
Don't enter me in the contest since I already have this book, I just wanted to comment on your post.

That is too funny about being on the toilet when they called! I would share that story and wouldn't be embarrased. It's hilarious. :)

Both stories are great and very inspiring. I've only entered one contest before to win a writing contract and I was kind of glad that I didn't win. I don't have enough experience yet to even attempt to write a book but I do have your handy Romance Writing Guide which I plan to put to use one day. But that is awesome that they bought FOUR books from you right from the start.

Christie Craig said...

Thank you Rachael!

You know, we all dream of getting that call like we dream of getting the proposal. And being on the toilet isn't a prime spot to be. (Smile)

I'm thrilled you got my The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel. I hope it helps all your publication dreams come true.

CC

Anonymous said...

Christie,
Welcome! I'm not a writer but I love to read and plan to check out your publications. What a great story, I've had a headache all afternoon and that just cracked me up....I needed that. And that you are a fellow Alabamaian, you go girl!
robertsonreads
word verification....butpwer

Christie Craig said...

Robertsonreads,

Thank you so much! I'm glad I helped your headache and I love making people laugh.

CC

catslady said...

I have heard your story before but I laugh every time - it's the funniest (in hindsight) roflmao.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Catslady.

I'll admit that I can now chuckle at it too. But for years . . . oh man, I cringed every time I thought about it.

CC

kimmyl said...

I read Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. It was fantastic.

Christie Craig said...

Kimmyl,

Thank so much.

I'm having fun with writing the third Divorced & Desperate book now.

CC

Anonymous said...

I Loved Div, Desp and Delicious and look forward to the next one.

Pat L.

Christie Craig said...

Pat. L.

Thank you so much. Nothing makes a writer's day more than hearing someone enjoyed their work.

CC

Caffey said...

Hi Christie! Oh, we can always look back on those now and laugh! I remember now things I wasn't laughing at then but do now! Thanks for sharing this and so glad you kept going for it!!!

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Caffey!!

Life has a way of making things funny after a while, doesn't it?

CC

Cheri2628 said...

I love reading these first call stories, and yours has to be the funniest one of all! I loved it!

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Cheryl!!

Sometimes when good things hit, you just happen to be on the throne.

CC

Jane said...

Congrats on your recent release, Christie. Thanks for sharing your call stories with us.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Jane.

I hope all you guys have a wonderful holiday season.

CC