The Best Birthday Present Ever

So I have to share my call story with you guys, because it was strange and wonderful and funny and involved bees. HUNDREDS OF ANGRY BEES. I am not making this up.

It all started on my birthday.

My awesome agent Naomi Davis called me, which basically gave me a heart attack right there, because usually we communicate by email so I knew SOMETHING was up. The conversation went a bit like this:

Naomi: So I just got a call from an editor who really likes your book and—


There was no offer yet; the editor had called to ask some questions like would I be okay with making the book Adult instead of YA (YES FINE IT WAS ON THE LINE ANYWAY TOTALLY COOL) and making it longer (SURE YES ABSOLUTELY I CAN DO THAT) and maybe a series (!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

And so Naomi and I were cautiously squeeing on the phone together, because clearly SOMETHING was going on, here. I was like OMG BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER (Okay, except maybe my first puppy, she was pretty amazing) and basically running around the house bumping into walls with excitement.

And then the waiting.

I kept my phone so close to me it’s a wonder I didn’t absorb it into my body through osmosis. We went out for my birthday dinner to my favorite local restaurant, and I just kept my phone there in line of sight because I MUST NOT MISS ANY CALLS. My brother called to wish me a happy birthday, and it was all I could do to not greet him with “You’re not my agent!”

The next morning, I wanted desperately to check in with Naomi, but I knew she’d have called me if there was any news. So I did what anyone would do: I came up with a completely fabricated excuse to send her an email asking about some minor detail of our phone call, and included a line about OMG THE WAITING IS KILLING ME EEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Naomi sent me back a short email containing the following fateful lines:

“Actually, I heard from the editor today. Are you around this evening for a followup phone call? I have to do a little bit of beekeeping this afternoon otherwise I’d call sooner.”




Cue complete panic.

Here’s an actual exchange I had with my husband:



When I finally talked to my agent that night, she explained that she couldn’t call me earlier because she was splitting a hive, a process that apparently involves being surrounded by thousands of angry bees and sounds both delicate and badass.

But more to the point, she told me I had been offered an amazing book deal for a trilogy with Orbit, which is such an amazing publisher I just want to draw little hearts around their name every time I type it. (Can you imagine the little hearts for me? Good!)

I’m pretty sure there was swearing and squealing and a lot of incoherent noises. My kids were listening, and they knew this was the Big Call I’d been waiting for, and they were asking me if my book was going to be published, but I was listening to Naomi tell me the details, so I scrawled out the word TRILOGY on a scrap of paper and handed it to them. They thought it was hilarious watching me bounce up and down babbling like a loon about how happy I was for the rest of the night (and, oh, for the next several weeks).

And thus ends the story of the angry bees, the Best Birthday Present, and my dream come true.

May all your life’s fairy tales have as happy an ending!

Published by Melissa Caruso

Fantasy author of the Swords & Fire trilogy: THE TETHERED MAGE (Orbit, 2017), THE DEFIANT HEIR (Orbit, 2018), and THE UNBOUND EMPIRE (Orbit, 2019), as well as the Rooks and Ruin trilogy, beginning with THE OBSIDIAN TOWER (Orbit, 2020). Melissa's debut, THE TETHERED MAGE, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2017. Melissa loves tea, adventure, and the great outdoors, and has been known to swordfight in ballgowns. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two superlative daughters, and assorted pets. Represented by Naomi Davis of BookEnds.

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