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My First Sale by Tracy Wolff, Why I Took a Flying...

Welcome to the My First Sale series. Each Monday, Dear Author posts the first sale letter of bestselling authors, debut authors, and authors in between. Tracy Wolff, author of both Harlequin Superromances and erotic romances from NAL Heat, serves up her story today. Her latest release, Tie Me Down, is in stores now.


Tracy-blueSmI’ve wanted to be a writer forever-‘seriously, from the time I put pen to paper and understood that I could use letters to make words, I’ve been crafting stories and characters in my head. I went to school and trained to be a writer (I have a bunch of degrees in English and am now a college writing professor) and always knew-‘with the arrogance of youth– that one day I was going to write a book that got published.

Of course, real life got in the way-‘grad school, marriage, a job, babies-‘you get the idea. Well, there came a time when, despite this, I knew that if I didn’t start writing soon, I was just going to let my dream wither and die. I wasn’t willing to do that. So I did what any good grad student would do-‘I researched my little fingers to the bone. I found out about this great organization called RWA and signed up for their national convention on the same day I joined the organization. I knew no one, but I wanted to know everything I could about the business of writing so I figured I’d jump into the deep end of the pool.

As I anxiously waited for the end of July to arrive, I did more research and decided what kind of books I wanted to write-‘I loved the concept of Harlequin’s Everlasting Love and Nocturne lines and had been an avid Blaze reader for years, so I decided to target those lines (I knew I didn’t need an agent to get my foot in the door at Harlequin and that was, of course, a big factor in my decision at the time).

Anyway, I got lucky, because at RWA nationals I found out that both Everlasting Love and Blaze were running contests in an effort to get new writers, contests that put unpublished authors’ work directly in front of Harlequin editors as judges. I couldn’t have been more excited. I went home invigorated, typed my little fingers off and turned out the first chapters in a book I called Picture Me (for Blaze) and one I calledThe Turn for Home for Everlasting Love. I sent them away to the contests and nearly chewed my nails to the quick (figuratively) as I waited to hear back about the contests.

I heard about the Blaze contest first-‘I’d gotten an honorable mention and a request for the full manuscript. A couple months later, I took 2nd place in the Everlasting contest and also received a request for a full. The Blaze book, Picture Me, ended up not being bought but I got a revision request on the Everlasting. I was thrilled.

Unfortunately, in the middle of all this, I had a very premature baby and ended up having to put off the revisions for almost eight months. So when I finally got around to doing the revisions on The Turn for Home, I didn’t expect anything to come from it. Which is why, four months later, when I was running down the stairs-‘baby in hand-‘to take my still sick preemie to his pediatrician for his weekly visit, I didn’t bother to answer the phone when it rang. I was running late and figured whoever it was would just leave a message. And boy, did she ever.

Beverly Sotolov’s (an editor for Harlequin Everlasting Love) voice came over the answering machine and I froze, because having spoken to her two or three times through the contest/revision process, I recognized her voice even before she identified herself. And then I took a flying leap-‘baby, purse, shoes, baby bag and all– for the nearest phone. To this day, I thank God that my husband had the presence of mind to grab the baby out of my arms on the fly. I can’t swear for certain that I wouldn’t have dropped him along with the rest of the stuff when Beverly uttered the magic words: "We want to buy The Turn for Home."

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a crier. It takes a lot to get me to bust out a tear-‘especially in front of someone who isn’t a close friend or part of my immediate family. So I don’t know who was more shocked-‘Beverly, my husband or me-‘when I started to blubber all over the phone, and her. To this day, Beverly still talks about my breakdown-‘and the fact that I was her very first crier. She was as thrilled by it as I was embarrassed. Needless to say, the tear weren’t the strongest negotiating tool, but I hung up the phone with a fair advance, a new editor, and a book contract.

I was, however, very late to the baby’s doctor’s appointment.

The Turn for Home later-‘after many more changes-‘morphed into my first Harlequin Superromance, A Christmas Wedding. And Picture Me, the book I’d written for the Blaze contest, ended up being my very first single title release, Full Exposure. With my second Superromance (From Friend to Father) out this past June and my second erotic suspense (Tie Me Down) on the shelves right now, I couldn’t be happier –

In honor of my First Sale story, I’m giving away a copy of the first book I ever wrote, Full Exposure and a handy, dandy Tracy Wolff tote bag filled with goodies. Comment below for a chance to win!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. ms bookjunkie
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 04:27:04

    Great story! Really glad the husband grabbed the baby… *g*

  2. Stevie
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 06:00:16

    You may have opened up an entirely novel negotiating tool…

  3. Caitie
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 06:40:13

    Wow, what a great story:)

  4. Susan Laura
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 07:01:33

    Thanks, Tracy! I will look for your books on my next visit to the bookstore.

  5. Nadia
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 07:35:50

    Did your hubby play football or something? What a great catch! LOL. :)

  6. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 07:43:37

    (don’t enter me!)

    Tracy, that’s a great first story. :-)

  7. Tracy Wolff
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 07:46:38

    Hi, everyone.

    Thanks, Jane, for having me here today. This is one of my favorite sites and it’s so much fun to get to post here.

    Yes, I am very glad hubby was home to grab the baby as well– as, I’m sure, is the baby. He wasn’t a football player, but all those years on the baseball field must have paid off ;)

    Btw, if you get a chance, stop by my website ( today. It’s the last day of my Tie Me Down Internet Scavenger Hunt and I’m giving away a $100 gift card to winner’s choice of bookseller as a grand prize.

  8. RKCharron
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 08:11:44

    Hi :)
    Thank you very much for sharing your story Tracy.
    It is inspirational and heart warming.
    I hope your child is in excellent health.
    Love and best wishes to you and yours,

  9. Karen Erickson
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 08:19:01

    I met Tracy at that first RWA conference. We were newbies together (I also met this really nice, pretty woman who just so happened to become Anna J Evans, LOL). We bonded immediately over lunch and we’ve been friends ever since. I read the first versions of both Picture Me and A Turn for Home and knew she was gonna go somewhere. I’m so glad she did!

    I love your first sale story! Don’t enter me in the contest – I just wanted to say I knew you way back when. ;)

  10. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 08:20:45

    Hi Tracy! Great story. Congrats on your sales.

  11. Tracy Wolff
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 09:13:11

    Hi Shiloh! Good to see you– did you ever find the white and pink dress ?

    Hi Karen, honey! How’s it going????? Hi Jill :)

    RKCharron– he’s doing very well now. He’s a healthy almost three year old who enjoys tormenting his older brothers no end. So all is well. Thanks so much for asking.

  12. Janine
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 10:37:09

    Don’t enter me, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this story! Especially the leaping part. Glad your husband was there, though.

  13. Carolyn Jewel
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 11:49:42

    What a lovely story! Thanks so much for sharing it. Which RWA was this, by the way?

  14. Tracy Wolff
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 12:06:16

    Thanks, Janine!

    Hi, Carolyn. At that time I just joined the national RWA. Since then, I’ve added membership in the Austin, Passionate Ink, Paranormal and Kiss of Death chapters.

  15. NancyB
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 12:36:01

    Wonderful tale–especially the phone call!

  16. chey
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 13:44:29

    What a great story! I’m glad
    to hear your son’s doing well.

  17. Terri W.
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 13:56:38

    Hi Tracy,

    What a great tale and thanks for sharing with us!

    Congrats on your new release!

  18. Christine M.
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 14:38:11

    This is a great first sale story!

  19. SonomaLass
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 14:47:43

    Okay, I DO cry easily, and I did reading your story. I swear, First Sale is becoming my favorite DA feature! I will definitely be looking out for your books.

  20. Sherry Thomas
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 15:04:17

    Tracy forgot to mention that she is a FABULOUS cook.

    When I couldn’t go to my local RWA group’s Xmas party last year, due to a confluence of factors beyond my control, I was almost in tears, not necessarily for missing the party, but because of I knew Tracy was bringing her divine brownie trifle.

    Oh, the trifle.

  21. Tracy Wolff
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 18:37:19

    Thanks, Chey, Terri, Christine and Nancy B. Oh, SonomaLass, that’s the sweetest thing anyone has said to me in quite a while– thanks ;)

    Sherry, darling, I will make my trifle just for you– and sometime soon, I promise.

  22. Sue A.
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 18:40:18

    A wonderful story of giving birth to not just a great career, but a real live baby too!

  23. Heather H
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 20:09:43

    This is the best “My First Sale” story yet. NOw I will have to check out your books.

  24. Nicole Zoltack
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 20:18:47

    I love reading “My First Sale” and yours is definitely worth reading! I’m glad hubby grabbed your baby! I can only imagine how you must have felt. Good for you and congrats!

  25. kh
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 22:54:38

    congrats on teh books
    such a hot cover
    please count me in

  26. Edie
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 23:03:50

    LOL Love it!
    And glad the little one is doing well!

  27. catie james
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 01:44:33

    Wow, that’s one of the best “call” stories I’ve ever read. Congratulations on your latest release Tracy! :) I’m glad your husband caught the baby!

  28. Laurie EC
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 08:26:00

    What an inspiring story! I’ve been looking for some Christmas reads and I’ll definitely check out yours. P.S. I hope the baby is doing well and in good health. :-)

  29. Heidi
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 12:26:16

    Great story! Congratulations on the baby and the books :)

  30. Leeann Burke
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 12:26:39

    Tracy, what an inspiring story. It’s great that your husband and little one were there to share the moment with you.

  31. Wanda
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 14:55:32

    I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

  32. bridget3420
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 17:07:07

    Sounds oh so sexy!

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