Friday, July 25, 2008

A call, a sale and a blog!

Hey there, my naughty lovelies! *grins*

I haven't blogged here in awhile and actually was going to do another "Crazy crap people send me links to" post, much like my Rent-a-Dildo one a few months back. But, I have news so it will have to wait until next time. (Don't worry, I won't forget.)

Anyway, back to the blog and my news. I got "The Call" this week!! I sold my dark paranormal dragon-shifter story, DRAGON FIRE to Harlequin Silhouette Nocturne! Woot!!

Okay, I suppose I have to set up the steps before the call, so you can understand how the sale came to be.

June 2007 –
It’s conference weekend for our local WisRWA chapter and for the first time we have a silent auction. I noticed Tara - the senior editor's - name right away and instantly put my name down and something ludicrously cheap, like $8. Over the course of the day, I noticed I kept being outbid – by Lori Devoti - a Nocturne author! After a brief fight...err, polite discussion, she took her name out of the bidding and I ended up winning the first chapter critique for $25 (again, insanely cheap - I was shocked!)

I quickly polished up the chapter of my dragon-shifter romance I’d been fiddling with and sent it off, excited to finally have the opportunity for an New York editors comments and critique.

December 2007 –
Tara e-mailed me to let me know she had read the first chapter. and liked it. She said she didn't have dragons yet at Nocturne and was intrigued by the idea. So, instead of receiving a packet back in the mail with the pages all marked up and bloodied from her pen, she sent me a few things she wanted me to think about, perhaps change, asked me to write a prologue and to see a partial. That weekend, I wrote and trashed about six prologues before settling on one. I busted out a synopsis (I had hand written it in a notebook, but hadn’t typed it in submission ready form yet) and e-mailed it to her on Monday.

February 2008 –
When I saw an e-mail from her in my Inbox this time, I almost didn’t open it. I had to call my cp and have her talk me through it – no joke! I was so used to “thanks, but no thanks” I was sure I dropped the ball somewhere along the way , positive the synopsis had so many plot holes and clich├ęd storylines that a rejection was waiting for me.

Well, my cp was right all along (the supportive and smart wench that she is) – it was a good story and yes, Tara liked it too. She asked for a few tweaks off the synopsis and requested the full. This was the closest I’d ever been and I didn’t want to mess it up. So, I spent 6 weeks, finishing, tweaking, making her changes, editing and tweaking some more. My goal was to send her the full in March and I succeeded.

June 2008 –
Tara e-mailed to let me know she had the book with her and was going to read it asap and get back to me by the end of the week. Two weeks later...

July 2008 –
...It was 9:30-ish in the morning. I know because I had to leave work for a bit to pick my son up at Kindergarten summer program. After dropping him at home (where yes, he has someone watching him) I drove back to work. As I pulled into the parking lot of the gym, my cell phone rang. Seeing how it was a Monday, (a typically hectic Monday) and it had been two weeks of tensing at every phone call, I didn’t think anything as I picked it up. The caller ID said area code 212, which I knew from previous research was New York. Then I glanced up and the actual ID said “New York.” I took a deep breath and answered. Tara was on the line. Her voice was nothing like I expected - no NY accent, just smooth, eloquent and friendly. She immediately set me at ease and I think the first thing I said was "It's so nice to finally hear your voice!" I walked into the club and immediately pointed to the phone at my ear and mouthed "New York" to my boss.

Seeing how gyms are not the quietest place on earth, I went into the thankfully empty children’s playroom so I could hear her. We chatted for what felt like forever before she finally said, "I had a chance to read your book and I loved it. I would like to make an offer to buy it." I'm pretty sure I squealed, said OMG a couple times, thank you a dozen more. I wrote everything down and asked her a few questions. There are a lot of Harlequin authors in my local chapter, so I was pretty confident about saying yes to the offer over the phone. Actually, I think she had to ask me twice – something like, "So do you think the offer sounds good?" I laughed and said "Of course! I would be honored to accept it."

I sat down at the small kiddy drawing table (with my knees tucked to my chest) and we spoke for about a half hour about some revisions she wanted and following books in the series. When the call ended, I swore I could have bench pressed 500 pounds I was so excited! A few of our members who know I write, congratulated me and I spent the rest of my Monday with a huge smile on my face. :-) And the crazy thought that kept slipping through my mind was I basically bought a New York contract for $25. LOL! I mean, not really, but yeah...thank you Lori for not outbidding me! ;-)

If you'd like to learn more about Book 1 in this new series, friend and fellow Nocturne author, Lori Devoti interviewed me about DRAGON FIRE. It's posted over at Shape Shifter Romance.

Until next time...


Eden Rivers said...

I know I've said it a few times now, but CONGRATS!!!!!!!! I bet of all the ways people end up with their first NY contract, you're probably one of the few that managed it by bidding on an editor critique at a conference. Just gotta be unique, don't ya? Makes for a great first sale story, too :-)


Phyllis Campbell said...

I'm so proud of you, girl!!! One day I hope to get 'The Call'. Sooner than later, though. LOL

I'm surprised she asked for a prologue. I heard most editors don't. But hey, that's great to know they still do!



Meagan Hatfield said...

Thanks again, Eden!!

Yeah, I definitely didn't think anything other than a crit was going to come of it, but I'm sure glad it did!! LOL!

Meagan Hatfield said...

Hi Phyllis,

Yeah, I had heard the same thing about prologues too. And I can't wait to hear your good news one of these day, lady!! :-)

Liza James said...

Hey, Meagan, want me to send you the email where Tara said 'yes' to donating the chapter critique? LOL You could put it in a scrapbook. *G*

Congrats again, lady, I'm just SO happy for you!!!!

Edie said...

Meagan, I LOVE this story! I got a request for a full from this year's WisRWA conference auction. Whatever happens, this shows how smart it is to bid on the critiques.

Allison Brennan's Ballantine editor had her put a prologue in her first book too. I'll look forward to reading your Nocturne when it comes out.

Meagan Hatfield said...

YES! And thanks to you too, Liza for getting those critiques set up (and all of the hard work you do on the conferences)...I wouldn't have sold without you! ;-)

Meagan Hatfield said...

Hi Edie!!

Well, best of luck with that full request - you never know!! ;-)

And I think the prologue works beautifully, even though we are always told not to use them. {{shrug}} I guess it's true about what they say - there's no real "rules" just guidelines. *smiles*

Liza James said...

Well, that's kind of you to give me credit, but you sold that book because you're an amazing writer. And I have nothing to do with that. *G*

I had thought about skipping the silent auction again next year....I don't know, though. It's hard to when I read such a wonderful success story like yours. :-)

Sandy said...

What a wonderful story about how you made it to NY. To think I skipped the silent auction this year.

Congratulations, once again.


Minx Malone said...

Woo Hoo! What an awesome sale story. This is encouragement to everyone out there like me who never thought to even try for one of the auctions. And I love Dragons, can't wait to hear more about your story Meagan.


Meagan Hatfield said...

Hi Sandy and thanks for the congrats!!

Yeah, I never expected anything but a critique back - so bid everytime. You never know... :-)

Meagan Hatfield said...

Thanks, Minx!!

I love dragons too (obviously) and really excited for this series!!