The Call

I’ve imagined a lot of scenarios about becoming a published author, but never one about getting the actual “call”.  So needless to say, when the call came last week, I was pretty blown away.

The day started out as a typical summer morning in my house.  I drove my daughter to the barn for her job as a camp counselor.  It was pretty early for a teenager to be up and out of bed, but I was thankful the early hour would allow me to get a workout in before I got down to a few hours of writing. That afternoon, I returned to the barn to drag my daughter to her weekly bassoon lesson.  While on the road, my iPhone beeped with a missed call, which was kind of funny since it was sitting on the console and neither of us heard it ring.

My daughter glanced at the screen. “It’s Melissa, Juh….I can’t pronounce it, Mom,” she said.

Huh?  The only Melissa with a tricky-to-pronounce last name I know is my agent, Melissa Jeglinski, of The Knight Agency.  Why would she be calling me?  This is when my heart starts racing and my brain starts to ricochet with all sorts of possibilities.   My knuckles are white on the steering wheel as she puts the phone on speaker and we listen to the message.  I’m now shaking, so I don’t really hear what the message is.

“She wants you to call her back,” my daughter says.

I make her play it again.  And again.  Still nothing registers in my whirling mind as I concentrate on not driving into the woods.

“What could she want?”  I’m practically wailing now.  My daughter looks at me like I’m a lunatic—an expression I see all too often on her face.

“She sounded excited,” she says, trying to be encouraging.  My inner Rodney Dangerfield is going in a very different direction.

“Oh my gosh, Mom, just call her back. It’s probably good news.  Nobody gives bad news over the phone.”  My diva is prophetic when she’s not being sassy.

I sweat it out another five minutes until we arrive at the bassoon teacher’s house.  No way am I going to take this call while I’m driving, good news or bad news.

My daughter dials the phone because my hands are shaking too badly to do it myself.  Melissa’s first question is if I’ve stopped driving and that’s when it hits me.  Like my daughter said, Melissa does sound excited.  It has to be good news, right?  Then I hear the phrase “three book deal” and everything after that is pretty much lost in a blur of tears and an escalating heartbeat. I’m not even sure what I said in response to her.  Hopefully, it was something ladylike.  But probably not.  It has been a nearly three year wait.

At this point, I leap from the car as my daughter cringes and scans the surrounding lawns for anyone who might be witness to my embarrassing display. I hug her and do a little happy dance in a stranger’s driveway.  Being a typical teenager, she recoils in horror.  “Mom!” she says. “Get a grip.  It’s just a book deal.”

Just a book deal?  Just a book deal!

She hefts her bassoon and heads down the stone steps to her instructor’s basement studio.  But, before she turns the corner, she shoots a smile over her shoulder at her idiot mother, still standing there stunned next to my open car door.

“I don’t know why you’re so surprised,” she says cheerily.  “We all knew you’d do it.”

I think the she might have mentioned a new horse she had her eye on at this point, but I didn’t pay much attention, instead quickly climbing into my car.  Fortunately, while I was on the phone with Melissa, my diva had been texting the details of the deal to my husband, because by the time I got on the line with him, the floodgates had opened.  He greeted me with the now almost patronizing line “I told you you’d do it.”

Wasn’t anybody as excited as I was?  Did I mention it’s been nearly THREE YEARS?  I was hyperventilating with joy.  My husband would later tell my agent that he wasn’t sure if I was more excited when he proposed to me or when she’d called with the deal.  Silly man.  Of course, we all know the answer to that one. 😉

So, now it’s been a week and things have begun to sink in.  The joy of selling my first book to Cindy Hwang at Penguin Company’s Berkeley Books is still bubbling inside me, but there’s a little trepidation there, too.  After all, I have two more books to write!

And, for those of you out there who knew I could do it even when I didn’t, thanks for believing in me. 🙂

About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on June 22, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Christy Hayes

    Anyone who’s ever met you, and especially those of us lucky enough to call you a friend, have known without a doubt you could do it. I’ve never known anyone so determined to work the system and succeed. One of my favorite things about you, Tracy, is listening to you write! You laugh at yourself and talk to your characters and basically enjoy the heck out of the process. It’s no wonder Cindy Hwang wants to be a part of that! Congratulations!!

  2. Oh, Tracy, I LOVE ‘the call’ stories! Congratulations!!!! Welcome to the ranks of newly contracted! Dance this weekend.

  3. Publishing is so subjective, that I think for girls like us who are used to objective criteria that the ambiguity leaves us with alot of self-doubt.

    This last time I watched the Oscars and saw people crying and thanking their family for their support throughout the project, I finally got it.

    You, Christy and Susan are part of my writer family and I am so grateful for your support… And like everybody else has said, I knew you could do it!!

    Congratulations. Now get to writing!

    • Ditto what I said to Christy! The friendship’s I’ve made while on this ride are the greatest reward!! i wouldn’t have stuck with it were it not for you, Susan, and Christy at my side. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard the story, but could never tire of reliving the excitement! I am so happy and proud of you, my friend. We ride this wave beside you all the way!

  5. Tracy, I am so very happy for you! I hyperventilated when I read your announcement on Facebook, and cried when I read this post about how THE CALL happened. I could feel every moment of your excitement as though I was right there beside you. LOL!

    Someday I predict something important will happen to your daughter and she will recall the moment she said “It’s just a book deal” to you. And in that split second, she will realize exactly how you felt and why you were dancing with joy. She’ll call you and say “Mom, I get it”. I’d love to hear that conversation. 🙂

    Congratulations, Tracy. I can’t wait to read your upcoming release!

    • Sheila, you are so right. Being fourteen, she still hasn’t had to face the big hurdle in life. Fortunately, she’s been successful at most of what she’s attempted and, for those times she is disappointed, she shrugs it off. My son still recalls my days as a career woman and can picture me as someone other than “mom”. I think it important to give my daughter that view of me also. Maybe even more important because I want her dream big!

      Thanks for all you’ve done, Sheila, to support me in this venture. I just hope my books are as fun to read as yours!

  6. Aw, what a sweet story! Congratulations on your book deal!

    (fellow Knight Agency author here – I’m repped by Nephele Tempest, and saw the link to this on her Twitter)

    • Helen, thanks for stopping by our blog site! Hopefully we can meet at an agency function sometime in the future. I won’t be at RWA nationals this summer, but will be attending next year. It’s an easy commute right down the road. 🙂

      • Heh, well, I’m in England, so it’s a bit of a longer trip for me! But I hope to be able to get over to meet people in person eventually. 🙂

  7. congratulations! That’s a fabulous story, and you’ll love Berkley, they are awesome!

  8. Thanks, Michelle, that’s what I hear. I am thrilled to work with them. 🙂

  9. Congratulations Tracy! That is SO awesome!!!!

  10. Tracy, I feel so much excitement for you ! What a dream come true! I need that book, girl! I loved this story , my heart lept reading it..:) congratulations! P.s.loved the entry about the proposal..I know that answer..(mischievous laugh) I bet neck and neck.ha

  11. HUGE Congratulations! Speaking as someone whose husband and teenage son responded EXACTLY the same way to news of my three-book deal (which came earlier this year) – I totally share your excitement mixed with desire to kick them both in the shins. Seriously…HUGE HUGE congratulations. I understand exactly how amazing, happy, overwhelming today is for you…and I am SO SO happy to hear your news!

  12. Wow … congrats on your great news, Tracy. Go have a drink, do a happy dance and enjoy every last second of this amazing moment in your life 🙂

  13. Melissa Jeglinski

    Great post, Tracy. I believe your first reaction to the news was a bit of a howl/scream/screech of joy. This is the best part of my job and I’m so glad I was able to share such great news with you. You so deserve all you have accomplished.

  14. What exciting news! Thanks for sharing your call story, Tracy.

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