Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Call ... Finally!!!

By Kate
Will it ever ring?

Will they ever call?

They never call. Sigh.

I think I've been waiting for "The Call" since ... well, probably since I had a phone that looks like this one.

Fifty years? Okay, maybe not that long. Maybe only ten or twenty years.

But the waiting is over, my friends.


And oh, it was a sweet moment. And at the risk of sounding really silly--like that's ever stopped me!--I've got to tell you, everything changed in that single moment when my agents told me that a senior editor at a top publishing company had enough confidence in my writing that she was willing to buy three--THREE!--as-yet unwritten manuscripts -- from ME!

In that moment, the world changed, I changed, everything changed.

I know it shouldn't be that way, should it? A word from one person and suddenly you're more important or special or different than you were a minute ago? Validation shouldn't have to come from outside. I should have confidence in my own work. And I do. Really. But come on!

It’s like magic! When "The Call" comes, everything changes and all the years of hard work and rejections and hitting your head against the wall and stumbling and picking yourself up and starting over again ... all that background story suddenly hits an incredible turning point and then it spins and twists and explodes in an amazing climax. And whew, everything is different. And it's fantastic!

And then I hang up the phone and go back to the day job.

So sad!!

But someday soon …

Meanwhile, here’s a little history of what brought on the sale. I was sooo tired of hearing that my current mystery didn’t have a hook (My agent said “your voice and humor is your hook” – isn't that sweet! But, uh, no sale.). So I pushed myself to write a cozy mystery proposal with a HOOK. You might say I wrote it for revenge. And hey, it worked! I sold the first three books of a new mystery series to NAL. Woohoo!!

Here’s the announcement from Publishers Marketplace…

Kate Carlisle's HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER: A Bibliophile Mystery, a cursed copy of Goethe's Faust leads a rare book restorer into a murder investigation that only she can solve -- with the help of clues she uncovers in a valuable first edition, and three other books in the series, to Kristen Weber at NAL, by Kelly Harms and Christina Hogrebe at Jane Rotrosen Agency (world English).

Homicide in Hardcover. Isn't that cool? It's really real! I’m still over the moon but starting to get used to the feeling ...

And my fondest wish is that every one of my Bandita sisters experience that moment when everything changes. I can't wait to cheer you on!!!



Annie West said...

Kate, CONGRATULATIONS! Nothing beats 'the call' does it? It really is life changing, despite the reality of the day job (I understand exactly about that).

Have to say that I love the sound of your story. If any book deserves to be cursed it has to be Goethe's 'Faust' (OK, maybe I'm biased because I read it at 15, but nevertheless...). I think a bibliophile mystery is a brilliant idea. Good on you!


Anna Campbell said...

Kate, huge congratulations! I'm so glad you've put your call story up for all of us to cheer for you. And believe me, we're cheering! A three book deal from NAL is a huge achievement! Go, Bandita! I'd love to know more about your heroine. Is there a romantic interest? Well, I'm a romance writer - of course I want to know that! Where is the story set?

Hey, Annie, you snatched my plastic rooster! Whaaaaah!

Helen said...

A big congratulations Kate I am really happy for you and I am really looking forward to reading it sounds wonderful persistance and hard work pays off and hopefully soon writing will be your only job.
Have Fun

Gillian Layne said...

Wow--Congratulations, and can't wait to read them! Bring on the "call" stories; there is nothing sweeter to read. :)

Christie Kelley said...

Congratulations, Kate!!! I love your call story and can't wait to read your book!

DownUnderGirl said...

Wow Kate - I could FEEL your excitement all the way Downunder.

Lap it up, it's a great feeling.


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congratulations Kate!! You are on the way now!

Caren Crane said...

Kate, please do tell us more about your heroine and amateur sleuth. I totally get sucked into mysteries--especially if they are part of a series.

Hey, maybe you'll end up like Lilian Jackson Braun and write 800 books about your sleuth. I hope so! Then, when I'm an old cat lady, I can curl up with the 574th Kate Carlisle mystery. What a treat!

Farrah Rochon said...

Congratulations, Kate! I remember you from your Golden Heart nomination. It's wonderful that the masses will get to read your work. Celebrate like crazy!


Donna MacMeans said...

I love your title and premise. When is it due out? Those first books take too long to bring to the market for those of us chomping at the bit. You'll look great in a pink ribbon in San Francisco.

AndreaW said...


This is wonderful news, Kate!! I'm so happy for you! Can't wait to see your name in print!


Bonnie Ferguson said...

Congratulations!!! :)

Kirsten said...

Hoorray!!!! Kate we are all still celebrating your success.

You know, there are a lot of things they tell you about this business that click at funny times. I've heard over and over that you need a good hook, something unique to make your book stand out, but I went on to write three books that had no discernable hook...and they didn't sell! Go figure! :-) Isn't it funny how and when these little things change our lives.

doglady said...

Congratulations, Kate. I am so excited for you!! I agree with Gillian. Those "Call" stories are great to read. They give those of us still waiting the best thing in the world - HOPE!!! Celebrate, girl!! I feel you on the DDJ, but it will happen, you will walk away from it! And PLEASE tell us exactly when to start looking for the books!

Kate Carlisle said...

What???? Annie swoops in and swipes the rooster from Anna's clutches! Shocking!! LOL

Thanks so much, Annie! You are so right, 'the call' is like nothing else. And I can't believe you read 'Faust' when you were 15. I can barely get through it now!

Don't relax your grip on that rooster for one second...;-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Anna! Of course there's a love interest! A very sexy Brit ex-commander now heading his own international security firm shows up to keep an eye on the book -- and my heroine...

And later, a mysterious stranger saves her life. Is he after her...or the book?

Hey, don't ask me, I haven't written it yet! ;-)

MsHellion said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! That's wonderful! I can't wait to read it!! :)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Helen, it's great to 'see' you! Thanks--and I hope you're right about the day job!

Gillian, hi! You're so right about call stories. There's nothing sweeter to read about than that moment when someone's life changed. Everyone's story is similar and yet completely different. I never get tired of them!

Christie -- Good morning! Well, for me, anyway! Thanks for the good wishes!

Amy, thank you! I guess you could tell I'm still really excited, LOL.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Dianna - oh, I like your Halloween photo! Thanks for the congrats!

Caren, you old cat lady! 574th, huh? How sweet!! Funny you should mention it because I've just started outlining that book...wherein my plucky heroine steals her first kiss from the mysterious stranger--hey! Mysteries move a little slower than romances!

Okay, I can see I won't get away with that with this group. Fine. So how about this -- she's got *at least* two men fighting over her in every book, does that make you happy?? LOL

Stacy S said...

Congratulations Kate!! Can't wait to read it.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Farrah, thank you! It's great to see you here, especially since I visit your blog, too! Thanks for your good thoughts and I hope all is wonderful with you!

Donna, hi! Thanks! You're so right about the wait. I don't even have a date yet, probably because I haven't finished writing it! Oops, small detail. It'll be 2009, I'm pretty sure about that, and I'm hoping it's early in the year. Good grief, that feels like an eternity from now! But oh yes, that pink ribbon will go with everything I wear in San Francisco!

Andrea, thank you!! The thought of my name being in print, up on a bookshelf...whew! It's so exciting and still brings a tear to my eye!

Emma Sanders said...

Congratulations! I'm exicted for you and wish you the best of luck. Sounds like a great read!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Bonnie - thanks!!

Kirsten, that *hook* idea was something I'll admit I never got. Or I should say, I thought my books HAD a hook--but they really didn't. Not on the level that editors are looking for. I was just clueless on the concept until I got the one rejection that broke my heart. Well, they all break my heart a little but this hurt. That's when it finally sank into this thick brain of aHA moment! Sheesh! Only took me...(insert too many years too mention) figure it out!

Buffie said...

Oh Kate {{hugs}}, I am SO happy for you!!! I'm sure you are still sitting on top of the moon right now. And not just one book, but three -- that's fabulous. I can't wait to buy one!!

Now, what did you do to celebrate?

Kate Carlisle said...

doglady, thank you! I agree, call stories give us all HOPE -- and motivation to keep going!

I really hope the Banditas can provide plenty of hope and motivation and CALL STORIES throughout the next year!!

Mshellion, hi! Thank you so much! Can you tell I'm still dancing on air??

Hi Stacy - thanks so much for stepping into the lair today! And thanks for the congrats!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Kate, what a sweet moment! Congratulations again. I adore call stories; they send the most delightful chills up my spine. Your books sound exciting, innovative and wonderful!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Emma! Thanks for coming by and wishing me good luck!

Oh dear! I've almost reached my quota of exclamation points for the day! LOL

Buffie, hi! Thanks for those hugs! Hey, I'm still celebrating! But on the actual day of "the call," my husband had flowers and champagne waiting and we spent all night calling family and friends. Let me tell you, it was so sweet to tell them the good news after all these years. Very sweet. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Jo, hi! I'm so with you on the call stories. Every time I read one, even if I don't know the person, I get all choked up and excited for them.

I can't wait to get that feeling from reading YOUR call story!!!

Claudia Dain said...

Oh, Kate! Congratulations!! I love hearing Call stories. I also love hearing Hook stories. Hooks are like unicorns---do they really exist? How do you find one? Can you train one to be a pet?

So glad you found your unicorn!

Trish Milburn aka Tricia Mills said...

It's so fun reading about your call again. And I can't wait to read these books. They sound fabulous.

Maureen Child said...

Kate, we're all still celebrating and come plot group, you've got several rounds of free drinks headed your way!!

These books are gonna be soooo great!!!

Kate Carlisle said...

OMG, Claudia! LOL

Umm, obviously I never knew hooks existed before, which is just pathetic. But now that my eyes have been opened, it's unicorns and rainbows and HOOKS for me!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Trish - thanks so much! Let me just say that I can't wait to read your book either! Banditas are having a wonderful year!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Maureen, my brilliant, funny, cocktail-buying friend! I couldn't have done it without your friendship and support and...well, cocktails! Thank you!

Jess said...

Kate, I just popped in to see what's happening and now I'm sharing your fantastic news. How wonderful! Congrats, and maybe you'd like to share your hooks that didn't work and the hook that did. I need an aha moment.

Your picture is precious. You look so happy, as if you just put the phone down from...The Call. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Kate, LURVE the sound of the hero. And I don't mind a slow-moving romance over a series. I love mystery series - but generally for the ongoing relationships rather than for the mystery (hmm, clearly I was born to write romance and not whodunnits).

Hey, and welcome to a few new faces! We love to see you here. Pull up a chair, stay for a while, have a beer (hey, I'm an Aussie - that's what we do down here!).

Tawny said...


Congratulations :-) I love your call story almost as much as I love the sound of your book!! Can't wiat to read it.

Anna Sugden said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This is so well-deserved Kate. I'm glad NAL has recognised what we knew all along - you're a fantastic writer!!

And I love the sound of your series - having spent so much time at book fairs and with book dealers (hubby is into first editions, antique maps and so on) I know it will be a must-buy!!

Doing a happy dance for you here in NJ.

Aunty Cindy said...

SUPER CONGRATS, Kate on being the newest bandita in the "Sold" column! Thanx to you, we are now evenly balanced at 10 sold and 10 AYUs (though you and I both know NOT FOR LONG)!

I felt exactly like you, that one little phone call changed EVERYTHING! It truly did. All the doubt, fear and uncertainty vanished! I know it probably won't last (can you tell I haven't received my revisions yet?), but enjoy it while it does. I know I am!

P.S. Remember those Princess phones? My sister had one and I was sooo jealous! :-P

Aunty Cindy said...

...And what is this Golden Rooster nonsense?!?!

PFFFT! from the TOTALLY NOT a morning person

Does that entitle me to the brass sloth award? Or maybe the plastic hoot owl?

NOT a morning person and has the key chain to prove it

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Kate! What a wonderful "call story". You certainly deserve it! Your writing it for revenge sounds like my "what the heck" moments. Sometimes it just pays off. Can't wait until these hit the shelves. Uh...get started writing them ASAP!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Kate! What a great call story! You finally found (& trained) your unicorn! I love the sound of your story & can't wait to snap it up in 2009. Happiness is a pink ribbon in San Fran!


Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Jess -- I'm glad you popped in!

Good question on the hooks. The thing I finally noticed about mysteries (and everyone else probably knew this all along--I'm a little slow!) was that I couldn't just have a cool story and some murders and a fun voice and an interesting protagonist. I had to have a HOOK!!

When it finally sank in, I started searching my background for things in my life that might actually be used as a hook for a series. It wasn't easy! You've heard of all the obvious ones - the knitting mysteries, the bookstore mysteries, the dogsled mysteries, the horse lovers mysteries, the petsitter mysteries. I'll stop there! Well, I didn't have any pets and I don't knit ... what could I offer the mystery reader who's looking to enter that special "cozy" mystery world and be swept away by just the right HOOK??

Seriously, I sat down and made a list of things I actually know something about, LOL. For instance, I'd worked in television for many years but that wouldn't work because a show biz mystery series in my voice would come across as too "chick lit" and in this current market, I knew that wasn't going to sell.

I used to sew a lot. The sew biz mysteries? Hmm, not too exciting.

I love to travel but couldn't pin down a specific area I wanted to write about on the subject. Travel writer mysteries? Not a bad idea but it didn't click for me.

But I collect rare books. I go to book auctions and antiquarian book fairs. I've studied bookbinding and have a friend who is a master bookbinder who works with extremely rare books. Well, what a hook! I even googled "bookbinder mysteries" and found nothing. So I wrote a proposal!

So...that's how it happened. Not sure if it made for an aha moment for anyone but it worked for me!

Kate Carlisle said...

Anna C - You're right, there are a few new faces today. Hello and welcome to the lair, everyone! We have a ball here so stop by anytime!

Tawny -- Thank you!! I can't wait, either! :-) Banditas rock!!

Anna S - Thanks! And how cool that you and your husband go to book fairs and such. I thought I was the only antiquarian book geek in the crowd. I do love the smell of musty old leather!

Kate Carlisle said...

It's Aunty! Hi! Oh, I knew you would be able to relate. It's such a sweet moment of victory for all the years of banging our heads against the wall, isn't it?? Yeah!

Brass sloth award? I'm determined to grab that one! LOL

Gillian Layne said...

Oh my gosh---thanks SO much for explaining your "hook" process.

I'm sure I've read and heard about the "hook" for over a year now, but your example just makes so much sense.

Now I need to go see if I can find a "hook" for myself...or just figure out what the heck I know about, besides cats and kids..... :)

Beth said...

Kate, I'm so thrilled for you and I know this is just the beginning of a fabulous and successful career!!


Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Suz, you know those "what the heck" and "I'll show them" manuscripts always work. It's like a cosmic law or something, you know...when you're fed up enough to cut through all the you-know-what and just go for it, it makes a difference!

Hi Susan - yup, I found my unicorn - and I love that metaphor!

And I wish the same for you--a pink ribbon very soon!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh thanks, Gillian. :-) I hope it helped a little. And hey, don't knock cats! They make some of the greatest characters in mysteries. Just ask Caren of "old cat lady" fame. LOL

Kate Carlisle said...

Beth, thank you so much! I'm still thrilled -- as you might've guessed since I've mentioned it a few dozen times today! Yippee!!

Joan said...

Congratulations, Kate!

Your story is so inspiring and gives hope to those of us still in the wings.

Um, btw....great pic of you at your day job. The "do" may set trends!

Cassondra said...


Still reeling from this wonderful call story, and the news of your sale. One more Bandita on the pubbed side.

So sorry I'm late in the day to congratulate you, but what a deal! I can't wait to read those books!

Now the hard work...writing them. (evil grin)

Mega congrats. You deserve it.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Joan -- the hair is awesome, isn't it? That's my daytime look, LOL.

And PS, you won't be in the wings for long! ;-)

Cassondra - glad you made it! And thank you so much!! And OMG, you're right. The real work starts now. Yikes!

Thanks everyone for your wonderful wishes. I'm lucky to have the incredible Banditas and all our Bandita Buddies cheering me on. And as I said before, I hope I can return the honor very soon!!

Jess said...

Wow! talk about an 'aha' slap in the face. I thought a hook was the first few sentences... that hook the reader. Glad you can't see how red my face is 'cause I'm NOT a newbie.

Okay, now I'm disappearing with my pen and paper to jot down everything I know something about. Actually, it'll be a pretty short list so all I need is a scrap. :-)

Thanks, this is a huge break-through for me. And I was wondering how you chose your subject. Thanks again for sharing.

Christine Wells said...

OMG, I'm so late, sorry, but I had to say a huge Australian WOOHOO to Kate! Congratulations, mate. Homicide in Hardcover sound fabulous! Can't wait to read it.

Kate Carlisle said...

Just sneaking in to say hi again...

Hi Jess! I'm so glad you had that AHA moment! I should've mentioned all along that the "hooks" I was talking about refer to the cozy mysteries I wanted to write. Anyway, if I helped, I'm thrilled!

Hi Christine! Thanks for making it by and thanks for the congrats!!

Caren Crane said...

Jess, the things I know a lot about could fit on the tiniest of Post-It notes. But I know a little bit about tons of things! Guess that doesn't buy me much in the hooking world. (That sounded naughty!) *g*

Jennifer said...

Chiming in later here, Kate. Congratulations! What a great Call Story!