Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"The Call" Arrives As "The Email"

I've been having a blogging block about how to write this post.

The phenomenon writers know as "the call" arrived to me in the form of an email two months ago from London. A small press wanted to publish my book.

Granted, I dashed off an update on my book website and posted on my Facebook page for my small world to know, but I haven't blogged about that day or my feelings because nothing clever or creative seemed to float to the surface.

It just happened. It took one Yes. I crossed over from unpublished to published.

This blog has chronicled my journey, started months before I finished the book that should come out next year. I didn't know what I was doing when I started writing my book a month before my 42nd birthday, four years ago. I just had a feeling that I wanted to write down and a vague notion of a story to go with it.

Many writers are asked: "What's your process?" I'd have to say, "I just had a feeling." I write from my emotional center. I know how I feel and what I want to convey when I feel it. The story is the vehicle. Is this heady? Better described as gut-centered. Will it win me any readers? Well, I'm about to find out.

My book will be published by Thames River Press sometime next year. Each step now to publication is a new experience, just as every step up to "the email" had been new. I'd never written a lick of fiction prior to writing my first novel. I remind myself that I'm one of the fortunate few who'll see a first novel published. Or see any novel published. I know that persistence and luck played a part in this event. Skill is important, too, but unless a writer is a genius at writing (can't claim to be) then the next best tool is stubbornness. If you don't give up, you have a greater chance of succeeding.

But what happens is -- writers put the book in the drawer, they refuse to listen to criticism, they take everything personally, they blowup the negative, they nail their coffin with every rejection, they defeat themselves with writer jealousy, they complain the system is f'ing screwy, they stop writing.

Every miserable one of those things happened to me. Temporarily. Then I started back up again. And one day, in early fall, while I was having coffee with a writer friend and my daughter, I opened my email on my phone. I had an offer. I couldn't read the email. I made my friend read it out loud in Stumptown Coffee. I thought it was bogus. But then I didn't. I raced my daughter home by bike. Somewhere, pedalling down the center of 46th Street in Portland, I yelled: "Someone wants my book!"

That was my call.


  1. Just got chills reading this! Congrats woman! So great to see persistence, dedication and talent pays off! Woot!

  2. Congratulations! I know how good it feels to get the call, or the e-mail, or in my case three French people arriving on my doorstep. Thrilling news, well done!

    1. Three French people arrived at your doorstep? Do tell!

    2. Long story, but these French publishers heard about me from a mutual acquaintance. They came to my house, photographed the whole house and me, interviewed me, and did an article in their magazine, which is called Quiltmania and is published in French, English and Dutch. They were so enamored with my quilt collection, they asked if we could do a book. It will be a 250-page coffee table book about New York Beauty quilts, something I collect, and we hope to publish it next year. In 2015, I will exhibit 50 of the quilts in Nantes, France as part of the deal.

      My jaw was on the floor.

    3. Bill, That's a fabulous story! I'd love to know more. Send me a link if you've written about it on your blog. I hope to get over to France soon because my trilogy is based there, and Nantes is one place I set my characters.

    4. Here is the blog I posted after the publishers visited:

      and here is a blog I posted when the magazine arrived:

      The exhibition in Nantes will be part of an annual European quilting conference, and will be part of the promotional effort accompanying the book release. The book will be bilingual, French and English, and will include a lot of great photography as well as information about the quilts. If you go to my blog and do a search for "New York Beauty" you will find several of the blogs I've done about those quilts. The collection recently returned from a three-month exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. In recent months, publishers will not leave me alone- they all want stories and to offer me jobs, but right now I'm working mostly with Quiltmania and doing some freelance stories. All of these opportunities are a result of putting it out there in my blog.

  3. That's wonderful! Publishing a book is so exciting. I'm in the middle of the process for my sewing book and have had some ups and downs. Congratulations and it's great to hear about it!

    1. When is your publication date? Or is the book out now? Let me know and maybe we can cross promote. I know the editorial process can make one crazy. I'd love to have you write about what it's been like to publish a non-fiction book.


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