Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Call

Well, courage over fear paid off, and the third time really was the charm! As I said previously, I have been in a waiting period following the submission of a third manuscript to my editor at Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense.

Determined not to lose time waiting like I have in the past, I busied myself by madly working on rewriting the formerly rejected manuscript. The distraction only lasted so long, however. Once I hit the 8-week mark since submission, I began to grow antsy. All my kids knew I was waiting for news. They knew that we were down to the wire, and that within four weeks I would finally make my second sale...or receive my third consecutive rejection.

I had told them how an e-mail from my editor would be bad news, but that a phone call would be good, so if the phone rang and the caller ID was from Harlequin in New York, they were to come running to me with the phone at all cost.

For days, I checked the caller ID with hope every time the phone rang, and winced with dread every time I opened my e-mail.

Then, as things go, I stopped thinking about the whole drama for a day.

Monday, July 24, was a day for summer fun. The previous week, Aaliyah and I had spent five unexpected days in the hospital due to a neutropenic fever and her practically nonexistent white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets. And, while we were trapped in the hospital, the other three kids spent several summer days trapped at home.

On Monday, everyone was feeling good. And I mean, everyone - even my husband, who was finally turning a corner after four weeks of poor health. I knew that the very next day, Aaliyah and I would check into the hospital once again, for another five days, but this time for chemo. So I told the kids we were just going to seize the day and splurge on some summer fun.

The boys had sports and conditioning camp in the morning, so as soon as they were done, we stuffed our faces at Smashburger, which was a rare treat since we could buy double the meals at a fast food joint for the same price. Then we were off to meet friends for froyo, where we were blessed with a gift card that brought the total cost of several pounds of ice cream and toppings to just a little over $4. Everyone was on quite a happy sugar high when we headed to the bowling alley.

There's a lot of construction on the main highway here, and I'm not sure if I missed our exit or if it had been blocked off, but we wound up driving several miles out of our way and pulling a U-turn to circle back. We ended up in a long line of traffic on a feeder road, and my sugar high was starting to wane.

Then, in the console next to me, my cell phone rang. It was faced away from me so I wouldn't be tempted to read texts, but my son Kai - sitting in the passenger seat - said it was from New York. Lately, mind you, I have been picking up random telemarketing calls on my cell phone simply to ask to be taken off call lists, and I figured this was one of those. I rolled my eyes and said, "Let's see who's calling from New York."

Kai said, "Maybe it's HER."

I laughed and answered the phone, fully expecting a telemarketer, but with a tiny hope that my son was right.

When Shana said hello, we were still sitting in traffic, and I turned to all the kids with huge eyes and a matching smile and mouthed, "It's HER!"

They all commenced silent shrieking.

Traffic, of course, started moving then, so I had to put Shana on speaker phone, and when she told me she wanted to give me an offer for my book, the kids were silent no longer. Sharing that moment with them made the news all the sweeter. Upon ending the phone call, my crew shouted a chorus of goodbyes, and we proceeded to the bowling alley, where I played two of the happiest, most distracted, and lowest scoring games of my life.