I almost didn’t get published….

August 2010 was a very eventful month for me.  My husband left on Sunday, August 1, for a task force assignment with the Department of Justice.  Being alone with the kids was nothing new, and I didn’t even think twice about him not being around, until the following morning.  On Monday, August 2, my middle son, Daniel, came screaming in the front door, crying.  Mom immediately went on alert and since David, the youngest, wasn’t with his brother, I just knew something had happened to him.

“David says he broke his leg,” Daniel cried.

I immediately grabbed my keys, left my purse, and screeched out of the driveway, following Daniel’s directions.  I came around a corner and saw David laying in the middle of the street, and I could hear him screaming from inside the van.  Every mother knows how that sound sends shivers racing up and down one’s spine.  I stopped the van and jumped out.

As I am kneeling on the ground, in the  middle of the street, a patrol car with the local police department cruised by.  I tried to flag the officer down, but evidently  my frantic waving was seen as a friendly gesture and not a call for help.  The officer waved back and kept right on rolling.

Well, long story short, David had broken his femur, with his brother’s help.  He was transported from the local hospital by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA, where he underwent surgery the following morning to insert two titanium rods into his leg (I wonder if he’ll set off airport metal detectors?).  David and I then spent the rest of the week living in the hospital.  When he was discharged on Friday, August 6, I took him home and the long process of rehabilitation began.

How does this fit into me almost not getting published?  Well, during the months of June and July I had been submitting one of my manuscripts to publishers.  Up until that point I had gotten nothing but rejection letters.  Now, for those unfamiliar with the submission process, an author will submit the first 30 pages of a manuscript to a publisher, along with a cover letter, a synopsis, and a self-addressed-stamped-envelope so the publisher can return your 30 pages to you.  Believe me, it’s cheaper than reprinting the same 30 pages over and over.

Anyway, the day I got home from the hospital with David, I made a trip to our private mailbox to pick up the past week’s mail.  In that mail was a 9X12 white envelope from Black Velvet Seductions (BVS) Publishing.  I took one look at it, rolled my eyes, and tossed it on my desk.  “Another rejection.  Great.  How can this week get any worse?”

More than a week went by before I looked at that envelope again.  It sat there on my desk, mocking me, pouring salt on the wound, whispering in my ear that I was a crappy writer and might as well give up now.  With a heavy sigh, I sat down and opened it, bracing for the traditional form rejection letter and hoping that perhaps I had at least received some constructive criticism.  Just as the letter opener sliced through the thick, white paper I had an epiphany.  I hadn’t submitted a hard copy of my manuscript to BVS.  I had submitted to BVS electronically via e-mail with the full manuscript as an attachment.  My hand froze, my heart stopped, I couldn’t breathe, and for a second the world stopped moving.

“It can’t be,” I thought.  “No freaking way.”

Swallowing the frog that had moved into my throat, uninvited I might add, I pulled the contents of the envelope out.

Dear Leslie Wirtley:

Thank you for thinking of Black Velvet Seductions as a possible home for (name withheld). I have reviewed the manuscript and am pleased to be able to offer you a contract for publication….


I sat there staring at that cover letter for almost five minutes, a million thoughts spinning in my head.  Had my mood been one smidge worse the day I’d picked up that mail, my publishing contract would’ve gone straight into the recycle bin.  I would never have known someone thought my writing was good enough to publish.  So many “what-ifs” went through my mind.  Then, I heard a little whisper, not in my ear, but in my heart, and I truly believe it was God.

“After the past couple of weeks, did you really think I’d do that to you?”

God is so good.


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