Back to the Beginning

Twenty-one years ago I got a call from a woman named Christine Zika. She told me she was the senior editor’s assistant at Avon Books and that she was contacting me to find out if my manuscript, Surrender My Heart, was still available.

Let me just back up a little here and say that I had already had a long literary journey by then. I’d been writing steadily for five years, had a drawer full of rejections and a psyche full of neuroses, so maybe it wasn’t all that surprising that I said, “Available for what?” Perhaps somewhere in my feverish mind I realized that a major publisher like Avon Books wouldn’t call just to shoot the breeze, but in that second between picking up the phone receiver and speaking to someone who actually knew the TITLE of my book, my brain had gone numb. For the life of me I couldn’t think of a single reason anyone would want to inquire about the availability of my manuscript. Newspaper, after all, makes a very satisfactory cage liner and it wasn’t the time of year that kindling was generally called into service so I was at a loss.

The good news is that my story was not required for either of those worthy occupations. Indeed, miracle of miracles, Avon Books actually wanted to publish my work.

Hence, Surrender My Heart, a fun loving story about a larcenous con artist and her even more devious brother hit the stands in 1993. Excepting the birth of my children, I have rarely, if ever, been more thrilled.

surrenderLooking back, a lot has changed since the early ’90s: My kids were little more than babies…now they’re HAVING babies. Books were strictly PRINT copies. Now it’s hard to FIND a brick and mortar store. Phones were stuck to walls or desks. These days it’s practically impossible to find a person who isn’t glued to some sort of electronic device. And Surrender My Heart, the first of over thirty Greiman novels, had a 89,000 copy print run and looked like this. Now it’s sporting a sassy new cover and is sold over the internet on a print on demand basis.

surrender ebookHow about your world? What’s the biggest change since the 90s? And are things better or worse?

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10 Responses to Back to the Beginning

  1. Trish Jensen says:


    That first call is always the most fun, isn’t it? Mine was hysterical, because I was on the phone with my bud, telling her I was pulling the manuscript from Harlequin. I mean it had been there three whole months already! She cut me off, saying she had to go. Little did I know that she had to go because the editor I’d submitted to was on the line. The editor called her to ask for my phone number, as she’d forgotten to write it down before sending my manuscript to Toronto.

    So basically my buddy got my first sale call before I did. First sale calls are the coolest. At least I think so, seeing as when mine came I fainted dead away.


    • loisgreiman says:

      My first call was similar because my agent called a friend of mine to ask where I was cuz she couldn’t get a hold of me, so Susan called me saying ‘call your agent.’ When I asked why she wouldn’t tell me because she wanted me to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth…so to speak. This was after the call from Christina since I hustled to get representation after THAT call. Exciting times. I feel lucky to still be in the game.

  2. Teresa Hughes says:

    The biggest change is technology. In the 1990s we had just gotten our first vcr and had only one tv. Now we have a tv in each bedroom and the living room. Plus each has a dvd player and dvr. It has pros and cons. But its better for the most part.

  3. Kathleen O says:

    I have had so many changes since the 90’s. Jobs won and lost, nieces and nephews come into the world, My parents both gone, Marriages of friends and family.. lost to death or divorce. But the changes that have effected me the most are health issues and ones I never seen coming… they have changed my life in ways I can’t even begin to make you understand.. But through all these changes, I have made sure that I have kept myself together, even when I think they will never get any better. But I am strong and I know I can handle any changes that come my way..

    I think your book sound delightful and I will make sure if gets downloaded to my ebook reader.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Thanks Kathleen. And hang in there. You never know what’s around the corner. Good things are coming.

  4. Mary Louise says:

    For me it’s the IPhone (which intimidates me) and a better haircut. Thankfully things are better, except for today; we are hurting in Boston.

  5. leannebanks says:

    Lois, I LOVE your call story and how wonderful that your first book is getting a second life on the internet! I think the biggest change for me is that my children became adults!

  6. Congratulations–belatedly–on your first sale! 🙂 I love stories about an author receiving The Call. Technology—I love my iPhone4. Love it. It’s so cool to be able to receive email and play with Apps and receive texts…unlike the era in which my first books were written. I’m revamping three books published in 1999-2000, and there are so many anachronisms to catch. Who has to look for a pay phone these days? Or uses a VCR? Or has any trouble finding answers to just about anything in the world, with Google?! 🙂

  7. Lois Greiman says:

    Crazy technology. Right?

  8. Kylie Brant says:

    Changes…much has changed and the only ones I regret are not having my kids at home any more and getting older 🙂 New stages bring new joys, with grandchildren ranking at the top! The most meaningful change since I started publishing is the advent of the Internet, connecting writers and making research soooo much easier. Since I know very little relevant information that’s a real boon.

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