I’ve done it. I’ve taken the Plunge!

What plunge is that you might ask? Well, let me tell you. On October 11, in response to my submission to 4RV Publishing, after a successful pitch the previous week, I was offered a contract!

Some of you are saying, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that already. And you’re right. But this is a huge deal for me. I’ve been on the receiving end of reject letters more times than I can count (or care to for that matter) so receiving the offer was a huge morale booster.

For the first week, I babbled like an idiot. Nothing I said made sense. I was in such a state of awe, that my feet didn’t touch the ground. How I managed to accomplish anything at work still amazes me.

One of the first things I did was tell my fellow writers at two of the groups I belong to of my offer. Then I told everyone at loveahappyending.com. I mean it’s not every day that a contract offer comes along. If it did, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Over the past few years, for many a weekend during the summer, and a week in February I did what became known in our family as “mother-sitting” since my mum wasn’t able to be home alone. I always took my laptop with me and spent many hours writing and revising whilst there. When friends dropped by, whether they’d heard the story before or been introduced to me previously, she always started the conversation, “You’ve met my daughter, Melanie? She’s a writer.”

Sadly, my contract offer came a year too late for me to celebrate with her. When I spoke at her funeral in September 2010, I said she would have been the first person I told after my husband, who has supported my dream all these years, eaten burnt offerings (tonight was no exception since I let the potatoes boils dry) when I’d been deep in writing a particularly gripping scene, or just taken over the kitchen duties for me.

So, since I couldn’t celebrate with my mum in person, I took the celebration to the cemetery, complete with a copy of my manuscript (just back from one of my beta-readers), my contract, and champagne! That was my mum’s favourite tipple. We always had it on special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving and sometimes just because…

The last two years, my mum used a walker to get around. She called it D.N. (short for damn nuisance). But even though she depended on it to get around, I think when I landed in at hers and my dad’s graveside she tossed it aside and did a happy dance right along with me.

My dad died when I was twelve, long before I’d been bitten by the writing bug. The reading bug had long since bitten and I almost always had my face in a book or a pencil in my hand drawing. He knew I was creative and maybe even thought someday I’d be a writer or artist.

You can see why the celebration, albeit in a less than conventional location, was so important for me to do. And all of this was just because I’d received a contract offer!

In the weeks that followed, I did a lot of research, read and re-read the contract, asked the publisher questions, digested the answers received. Taking the next step would be enormous. Did I accept? Did I decline?

I didn’t make this decision lightly, although had I gone with my initial instincts, I would have signed immediately. Thankfully, my logical, down-to-earth side of me kept me grounded so that I could ask the questions, do the research and in the end make an informed decision.

Now, two signed, witnessed and notarized copies of my contract are in transit to my publisher – first stage via Canada Post followed by the US Mail. In due course, I’ll receive a copy back with her signature witnessed and notarized.

You can check out 4RV Publishing here. They also maintain a blog here. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter, too.