For anyone who was raised Catholic, as I was, when you hear someone has received The Call, you immediately know they have been “spiritually called” to join Holy Orders. Either enter a convent or go to seminary.
Now, even though my mother neonatally named me to enter a nunnery ( Margaret-Mary Bernadette, folks ) my Call did not come with an invitation to serve the Lord. No, my call was much different, but no less life changing.
At the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, Tx, I had made arrangements to briefly introduce myself to an editor at the Wild Rose Press who was currently evaluating a romance novel submission of mine. I had emailed her and found out she was going to be volunteering at the event and I wanted to meet with her face-to-face in order to thank her for being so gracious to me via all the email “chats” we’d had. When I introduced myself to her, I discovered one of the loveliest women I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. She was not only as gracious as her emails had been, but sweet and kind as well. I thanked her, as I’d planned to do, for being so nice and patient, and she quite literally changed my life in that instant.
She told me that she had “good news for me.”
My heart stopped.
I could feel my blood pooling in my feet, swelling them, because it wasn’t being shunted to any vital organs.
She told me that by the time I got home I should have a contract for publication waiting for me in my email. The Wild Rose Press wanted to publish my book.
Now, my brain stopped functioning from lack of blood. And shock.
I don’t know how long I stood there just staring at her. The poor woman probably thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency. All around us was the noise of the conference: people walking by, laughing and talking, heading to their next course; hotel workers moving about, delivering water jugs to the classrooms they were setting up; people checking into the conference.
After what seemed like a lifetime – but was probably just a few seconds – I found my tongue. I said, in a shaky voice, “there have been two times in my life I have been speechless. The first was when my boyfriend “told me” we were getting married, not asked. And the second is right now.”
I hugged her. I couldn’t help it. I was so overcome, I didn’t even realize I pulled her into my arms until she was there. And, as before, she was gracious and kind.
She had to get back to her volunteering and I had to get to my next course, so we parted, each saying we would be in touch.
I went to class. I can honestly tell you I have no idea what it was and have no memory of even being in it. After that I went up to my hotel room.
As I played the brief meeting out in my mind, I began to wonder if I had hallucinated it. I really did. I didn’t tell any of my RWA chapter mates who were at the conference as well, keeping my secret hidden – just in case I had imagined the entire two-minute event.
I didn’t want them to think I was suffering from delusions. It was bad enough I thought I was.
I got through the rest of the week and headed home. Sure enough, when I got there and checked my email there was a contract proposal waiting for me.
Third time in my life I’ve been speechless? When I opened and then read that email.
To say my life has changed since this is a totally inadequate way of conveying what has happened to me. My first romance novel SKATER’S WALTZ, book 1 in the MacQuire Women Series will be published in early 2015 and book 2, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, later in the year. I have officially given in my resignation to my day job, effective in April 2015 so that I can no pursue the lifelong passion I have always wanted to pursue. I’ve begun learning valuable marketing tools to sell my books, and I now know the difference between an algorithm and branding. These days my head is not only full of plot lines and character profiles, but social media sites that promote authors and help with book sales.
In the Catholic faith, THE CALL is a life-changing, spiritual event. And although I didn’t immediately don a habit and enter a nunnery, my Call was no less life-changing and spiritual.