From #BlazeBlitz to Harlequin Blaze’s newest author – congratulations to the fabulous Ali Olson!
Having heard about #BlazeBlitz on SYTYCW—an opportunity to get feedback on my writing from real Harlequin Blaze editors—I eagerly submitted my synopsis and the first chapter of my book, Vegas Passion!
Ten days later, I got an email in my inbox requesting the full manuscript, which I sent in after a few tweaks.
Weeks went by. I tried not to think about it too much, but it nagged at the back of my mind. Would they like it?
Finally, we come to Tuesday of last week. I was teaching, just like any other regular weekday morning. After getting my students working, I glanced at my computer quickly to see if I had any new texts (yes, teachers are guilty of checking messages during class, just like students) and I had one from my husband. All it said was, “Want some amazing news?”
Of course I did. Who doesn’t want amazing news? I messaged back asking what the news was, and he teased me with a hint: there had been a missed phone call from Canada.
My heart sped up—I’ve read enough SOLD blog posts to know who might be calling me from Canada. After a few moments of frantic typing, he shared the good news. An editor named Johanna had left a voice mail asking me to call her back!
I wanted to call immediately, but I had a class full of students. It took some effort, but I managed to control the impulse to bolt out the door and call back in the hallway. I resigned myself to waiting the nearly four hours until lunch.
Those hours were spent with a constant litany running through my head: “They wouldn’t call just to reject my book, would they? But that doesn’t mean they want to print Vegas Passion, either. Maybe they have some questions about it, or are interested but need some huge changes that may be too daunting. Or maybe I dreamt those texts and none of this actually happened at all.”
Suffice it to say, those probably weren’t my best teaching moments ever.
I’m a patient person, but this was almost too much for me. Finally lunch came, and as the last student walked out, I ran to my phone, typing in the number with hands that were literally shaking (and I’m an English teacher, so when I use literally, I mean it!). I begged my phone to please please please work—my cell phone is not exactly top-of-the-line, and it sometimes has trouble with phone calls.
No luck. Tried again… It got through! But Johanna couldn’t hear me, and I had to hang up. Argh! In a panic, I ran to the room next door and begged the teacher there to lend me her phone.
I was FINALLY able to talk to Johanna, and she told me that Harlequin Blaze wanted to print my book! I proceeded to bounce around this other teacher’s classroom and giggle into the phone for a few minutes while Johanna tried to tell me things that I’m sure are important but are now a blur despite my attempts to focus.
I eagerly shared the good news with my husband, mom, sister, mother-in-law, friends, other teachers, strangers, my cats, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. I felt a glow that lasted for days, and I’m still in a bit of disbelief. It’s not every day you get The Call!
Congratulate Ali on Twitter and her blog, and look out for her Harlequin debut in early 2016!