Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September: Terri Thayer's Favorite Month

Terri Thayer
Old Maid’s Puzzle, Midnight Ink, September 2008
Stamped Out, Berkley Prime Crime, September 2008
Agent: Jessica Faust

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Author's Web site/blog: and

I’ve always liked Septembers. Growing up, it meant back-to-school clothes in pretty fall colors. I had to be stopped from wearing my new wool plaid skirt in September as the temperatures soared into the nineties. And new school supplies. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh books and the length of unsharpened pencils?

The hope of exciting times and the promise of learning.

Back then September meant the nip of fall air. Here in San Jose, there’s a change in the air, too. Mostly, that’s the noise of extra traffic on the road as every child is being driven or driving to school.

September 2006 was a good month. I got the phone call every writer wants to get. Jessica called. “Are you sitting down?” she asked. I was but I was driving. “Should I pull over?” I managed to get out, past the huge lump in my throat. If it was good news, I could keep driving. Bad news, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep the car on the freeway.

“Keep driving. Midnight Ink wants Wild Goose Chase, the quilting mystery, and two more.” WooHoo. Advance money was on its way.

After five years of working in the dark, my book would see the light of day.

Jessica wasn’t done yet. Earlier that summer, she’d asked me to write a proposal for a different book. A rubber-stamping mystery.

Eight days later, still in September, Jessica called again. She’d sold that series to Berkley Prime Crime.

This September, my second book has come out. And my third. Old Maid’s Puzzle, the second in the quilting mystery series, is out. Stamped Out, the first in the Stamping Sisters series, has also been released. It’s so exciting to see the books on the shelves.

September is my favorite month. For sure.


Anonymous said...

congratulations Terri! Way to go....I'm still floating as well...I just got the official call yesterday from my agent, and have just accepted a two book deal from Avon...I am over the moon excited! I don't want the feeling to now , need to hunker down and get to work...I get to write....and someone will pay me for it.....and...peeps will be reading my words sometime next year! Could it get any better than that?

Cat Schield said...

Congrats Terri, I always love to hear about the people who've made it. Call stories are the best. And congrats Jules. You've worked hard and it's great to see your success.

Inspiration for the rest of us still plugging away.

beckylevine said...

Whee! I knew September felt like a celebratory month around here--I just hadn't put it together yet. I'm guessing you're willing to forego a few red and gold leaves? :)

Robena Grant said...

Wonderful story, Terri. Congratulations on all of your successes. I also think of September as the month of change, it and October are my fave months.
Congrats also to Juliana ... enjoy the moment.

jbstanley said...

This is the perfect month for the quickening of the blood and for cozying up with some new books. Yours would be perfect for a fall evening when the air's turned crisp.

Kudos on your releases and may your sales reach higher than the apple trees...

spyscribbler said...

No wonder! Congratulations, Terri!

And gosh, I just LOVE fall. Love, love, love it. What a magical time of year!

Julie Weathers said...

Terri, that was a wonderful story. I love to hear these because it puts to rest, for me anyway, the prophets of doom telling everyone to stop writing.

I can just imagine how excited you were.

I have to agree, September is a good month.

Congratulation, Juliana. Yes, that is the dream; someone paying a person to write.

L.C.McCabe said...


It was great to meet you at the East of Eden Conference. I really enjoyed the midnight owl session you did with David Corbett, Hallie Ephron and Lee Lofland.

I don't write mysteries, but there is always something to be learned from other writers that can be applied in the creative process.

Good luck with all those book launches and with writing the follow up books!


(P.S. I have pix from the conference on my blog including that night owl session. You can see it here:

Anonymous said...

What a great post! And I love fall too. Why do fall and plaid skirts just seem to go together?

Jessica, I was wondering if you'd be willing to answer a question. I signed with my agent who seemed very excited to be working with me. Said agent put my project on submission. While it was on submission, I asked if Agent had any opinions on what I should be working on next. No answer.

My project sold! Very exciting. Once the dust cleared a bit and the contracts were signed I had a discussion with Agent about some of my ideas. Agent seemed to like them but didn't give me a solid "Work on that one".

So I emailed Agent to say, what should I be working on now? No answer.

A few days ago I suggested another project to Agent. No answer.

I like my agent. I'm thrilled with my deal. But I don't understand why Agent seems totally uninterested in seeing anything further from me and in fact seems to be actively dissuading me from working on other projects. I don't mean to compare my career to my friends's careers, but it's extremely disheartening to see my friends selling numerous projects in different genres, and to hear how delighted their agents are that they are prolific and do good solid work, when my desire to simply have something to DO seems to be a problem for my agent.

I don't want to keep asking, because I don't want to be irritating or a pain. But I need to work. I'm bored, and I need to make money. I have three children. I have bills. I can write three solid books a year, and I always thought that was a good thing instead of a liability.

Can you think of any reason why my agent might be ignoring me? Are there circumstances where agents do this? Is there a period after a book deal is signed where you don't want your clients working on something different?

It's incredibly hurtful and I don't know what to do. And since I've sent three emails or so on this topic in the last two months or so, suggesting different ideas, asking for advice, and they've all been ignored, I'm really at a loss.

Sorry if this is a question you really can't answer but I don't know what to do. I'm afraid if I ask again I'm going to be labelled a problem client, and that's not the case. I just haven't written anything new since my now-sold book went on submission almost six months ago, and I'm starting to get kind of freaked out.

Terri Thayer said...

Thanks for all the kudos! And congrats to those who have gotten the call and those who are still plugging away. It's the only way to get anywhere.

I'm kinda looking forward to October too...who knows what that'll bring!

sexy11 said...