Thursday, July 15, 2010

Best Monday Ever

by Cara McKenna


I received two hunks of news on Monday, both totally unexpected, both sock-rockingly awesome.

Item One: apparently I have a new anthology!
I'll be attending the RWA National conference in Orlando in a couple weeks and I knew the lovely crew at Ellora's Cave was printing a bunch of paperback copies of Off Limits, an anthology of my first three erotic novellas for me to sign at the literacy book fair. I got an e-mail on Monday morning that I assumed was just a confirmation of the book fair copies, maybe instructions about picking them up at the conference, maybe a glimpse at the cover. Then I read the message and just about asploded with excitement. Not only do I get copies for the signing, but the paperbacks are for sale on the EC website! Wait, so…I have a print book out? Like, right now? Whoa! Frantic clicking ensued. Also, the cover is totally sextasticals. Anyhow, if anyone hasn't read any of my current releases, they're now available in one handy, beach-safe, paper package—and currently on sale for three dollars off. If you're interested, you can check it out here. ★ Actually, if you're interested in scoring a free copy, go ahead and say so in a comment and I'll choose someone to receive one (once I get my author copies). I'll pick someone on Sunday at 6pm EST and announce the winner in the comments. ★


Item Two: I am now a Harlequin author!
This news hunk arrived on Monday at 2:40pm (trust me, I made note of the exact time). Actually the first call came a few minutes before while I was washing dishes, unable to hear my phone. I got back to my desk and recognized the Toronto number in my missed calls log. I knew this number because I'd been living in worshipful fear of it ever since early June, when one of the editors from Harlequin Blaze called to request revisions on a romance I'd submitted to them over a year earlier. It's true what they say—you really do have to be patient in this business.

I'd subbed the story so long ago and received no response, and I'd gone on living in quiet disappointment, assuming they'd read it, puked, burned it, blacklisted me, and moved on. Apparently not. They liked it but needed to see some changes before they could decide if was a good fit for Blaze. For example, way less swearing. Oh, Cara, you and your adorable sailor's mouth. I managed to not faint while I spoke to the editor, said I'd be pleased as punch to hand over a kidney—I mean implement the revisions. I then went about heartily de-clunkifying that story (thankfully I learned a lot about writing in that year-long interim) and making their requested revisions. Two weeks later I resubbed it amid tearful prayers to my ambiguous and oft-neglected higher power.

So anyhow, flash forward to Monday. I finished the dishes, spotted the missed call, listened with shaking limbs to a friendly but uninformative message from my editor contact. I called her back. She did not answer. Her automated voicemail message made it sound as if she was gone for the second half of the day. NOOOO!!!! I could not have survived the not-knowing for another hour, let alone a whole day. Just as I was lamenting this predicament to my manfriend, my phone rang. I sprinted across the condo to hide in my office, and hit Talk. And would you believe it? They made an offer. I'm ecstatic, to say the least. Harlequin Blaze was the first publisher and line I actively courted when I started writing two years ago—I love writing explicit love scenes as well as shorter novels (Blaze stories are 55 to 60,000 words) so I'd always hoped my voice might be a good fit. Apparently it is.

I wish I had more details to share but the title, release date (likely 2012) and the name I'll be published under are all unfinalized. However, I can share the two-line hook that snagged me the invitation to submit the full manuscript in the first place:

A hotshot TV survival show host and his no-nonsense production assistant get stranded during a snowstorm. As they make their way back to civilization, she'll teach him a thing or two about staying warm in the woods, and the cameras will be rolling.

Well, that's it for now! If you're interested in scoring a copy of my brand-spanking-new Off Limits paperback anthology, please say so in a comment. Thanks for reading!

23 comments:

Jina Bacarr said...

Cara, let me be the first to congratulate you!! Harlequin is a fabulous publisher. You're going to love writing for them. I'm so happy for you!

Wynter Daniels said...

Congrats, Cara! That's awesome. You'll have to celebrate at nationals.

Savannah Stuart said...

Yay!! Mega congrats! I've been waiting for this so I can officially make you naughty chick of the week ;)

Cara McKenna said...

Thanks, Jina—I'm excited to find myself in such fab company.

Thank you Wynter—my National celebrations already started, as of yesterday, when I had to go shopping for cocktail party gear, including the first heels (though they're only an inch and a half high) I've purchased in a literal decade.

Savannah—awesome, thank you! Will the distinctions never end?

I get to spend today brainstorming my Blaze pan name. I wanted to stay Cara McKenna for both genres, but the powers in charge of my series romance future weren't totally comfy with that. Multiple personality disorder, I will haz it. This calls for a fresh pot of coffee.

Cara McKenna said...

Uh, "pan name" meaning "pen name". Sloppy typing does not bode well for today's pseudonym brainstorming… Carl McKunna, anyone?

Dalton Diaz said...

Hearty congrats once again!
Fwiw, I think you should stick with Cara even if you have to change the last name.

jeanette8042 said...

Congrats Cara! That's quite a few exciting things happening! Please count me in to win a copy of Off Limits.

Michelle Polaris said...

You are so hot, Cara. Congratulations gal!

Cara McKenna said...

Aw, thanks everyone!

The decision re: my pen name has been made, by the way (sorry Dalton, but I shall not be a cross-genre Cara). Harlequin's marketing minds were rather taken with my mild-mannered secret civilian name (apparently it's very "friendly and young-sounding"), but I'm not keen to have my old design colleagues or classmates stumbling upon my explicit sex scenes. In the end my new editors and I mucked around and decided to go with Meg Maguire. At least I'm already conditioned to turn and respond when I hear, "Hey Meg!"

Lanae T. said...

First off, Congrats!!!!!

How very exciting!!!

I would love to win a copy! And, thank you. I'm stealing one of your words! Sextasticals!!! LOL

Again, congrats!

flchen1 said...

Wow, Cara! So much good news! Thanks for sharing it--I love both those publishers, and how exciting it is you've got so many irons in the fire now! It's a great thing for us readers!

Cara McKenna said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Lanae and flchen1!

I actually just got my author copies of the new book this afternoon…I got a bit emotional, holding an actual paperback filled with words I'd written. It was a really neat experience.

flchen1 said...

I know how much of a thrill it is to hold a new book as a reader--I can't imagine how much greater as a writer to be holding your OWN new book! I hear that thrill doesn't wear off, so wishing you many more such spine-tingling emotional experiences in the future, Cara!

Cecile said...

Yayayayayaya!!!! Sorry I am late... If I am late for the wonderful party, I am sorry... But I wanted to drop in to say YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

**Happy Dance**

elaing8 said...

That's awesome news,Congrats!!!
And thanks for the chance to win Off Limits..covers hot :D

Sherry said...

Congratulations on getting published by Harlequin. Please count me in to win a copy of your book.

sstrode@scrtc.com

Cara McKenna said...

Thanks, Cecile, Elain and Sherry! I'm finally getting to point where I can feel happy and calm about the Blaze news. The first few days after The Call were like a psychic sugar high…I knew something awesome had happened, but I was so jittery and edgy I couldn't relax or even sleep well. Now that the initial high is fading I can actually relax a bit and sink into the good news.

cories said...

Congrats! What a Monday for you!

And count me in for a copy of your book, "Off Limits".

cories119[at]yahoo.com

Naima Simone said...

Yay, Cara!!! Major congratulations!! I'm so thrilled for you! Harlequin and a new anthology! You've had a wonderful, eciting week. Is the Harlequin news the tidbit you kept close to your chest a few blogs ago? Inquiring minds want to know!! Again, congratulations! I'll be the first to pick up my editions...of both books!

Cara McKenna said...

Thanks, Cories!

And yes, Naima, my "news too exciting to mention lest I jinx it" did refer to the revision request I'd received from Blaze. It's been a busy-ass summer. Thank you kindly for the good wishes [curtsies].

Sharon said...

Congratulations, Cara...and Meg! ;) What a wonderful week for you! I hope you have a blast at RWA nationals. You have so much to celebrate! Thank you also for the chance to win your anthology. :)

Em said...

Congratulations! That is excellent news all the way around.

Count me for wanting to win a copy of your anthology.

Cara McKenna said...

Hi all! Thank you everyone for your kind wishes on the Harlequin sale and interest in the new erotica anthology. By random selection, the winner of a brand-spanking-new copy of Off Limits is…

Lanae T.!

I'm off to try and sleuth your e-mail via Blogger, Lanae, but if you don't hear from me shortly, please get in touch at cara[at]caramckenna[dotcom] and let me know your mailing address so I can ship the book out. Talk to you soon!

Thanks, everybody!