Nov 18, 2011

The First Time I Ever . . .

By Helen Lacey

I love First Time stories. You know, when someone tells you how they did something, saw something, or got something for the very first time. It happened to me the other day, and it was one of those big First Time moments. My book arrived. My first ever published book. In a box that had my name and address on it. As always in the afternoon I was outside feeding my horses and a van pulled up in my driveway. A horn honked so I knew it was the postal service. As soon as I saw the box I knew what it was (since I'd been waiting for that moment for a long time) I recognised the familiar Harlequin logo and squeeeeed rather unglamorously in front of the postal lady. She was naturally surprised and once I explained my reaction and told her what was in the box, she hugged me. Yep, hugged me... a stranger who quickly got wrapped up in my excitement and admitted to being a long time Harlequin reader.

  Once the box was opened, a bottle of bubbles was popped that I shared with my hubby, my sister and also fellow author and friend Louise Cusack. We clinked glasses and made a toast to celebrate the arrival of my first book. Which got me thinking . . . why is the first time often the most special? For me it was the culmination of many years of work and writing a book that was a story I simply had to tell.

But there have been other things too. Like the first boy I loved . . . we’ve all been there, through the pain of an unrequited longing. The day my first horse was unloaded off a trailer. The first time I went to a movie with friends and kept checking my watch to make sure I didn’t miss the train home so I’d be back home before eleven, convinced my parents would never let me out of the house again if I rocked up late. And other first times – the first kiss, the first real date . . . and much later, the first time I met my husband. For parents it can be the first time a baby is held, or the first day at school, or the last day at school. A school prom, a wedding, the first day at a new job.

They are often simple things and it’s amazing how they continue to happen all through our life and not only when we are young  – like the first time I saw whales breaching out of the water, quite  by accident as I walked along the esplanade where I live. Or the first time I saw sugar cane burning and then heard the crackle and inhaled the unique, smoky sweet scent as it drifted on the wind. 

Why does the first time feel so special? I think it’s because although we can anticipate, often we aren’t sure what to expect. There’s the thrill of the unknown, the realization that perhaps a dream has come true. And I love knowing that First Time moments will always happen throughout my life.

So what have been your special First Time moments? Share your thoughts and one commenter will win a copy of my debut release, Made for Marriage.


  1. Helen ~ The first time I commented on a blog on eHarlequin was very special. It opened my world up to a lot of people who read romance just like I do. It was very special as my mom who shared her love of romance with me had passed away quite a few years previously. No one else in my immediate family can understand my almost obsession with romance. I've traveled to a few more web sites since that April 2008 posting and I'm sure glad that I took that first step.

  2. For me it would be the first time I read Gone With the Wind, it introduce me to the world of reading. I have been reading ever since.

  3. Hi Helen, lovely blog and congratulations on the release of "Made for Marriage".

    My spectacular first time moments would have to be holding my children for the first time. And more recently, in August 2010, attending my first RWA Conference in Sydney. Walking into a room of warm, welcoming, like-minded people was a great first time moment for me.

  4. Hi Kaelee - what lovely memories to have shared romance novels with your mother. As for an obsession with romance - you're in good company here :)
    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hi Virginia - isn't it wonderful that a book can have such a profound affect on our lives. Especially a classic like GWTW. Thanks for dropping by LoveCats today.

  6. Woohoo! Helen! Reading your post brought back to me my excitement about unwrapping the copies of my first book! A very special moment and it sounds like you celebrated yours in very fine style!

    One of my recent firsts is driving the 4WD as a 4WD! We did a training course and it was fantastic fun. It was very centered around safety first but it still made me feel like a bit of a dare-devil!


  7. Hi Lee - some great first moments there - I remember my first conference many years ago. Thanks for stopping by today.

  8. What a wonderful first for you Helen! Much deserved!

    Firsts are fabulous. I'm with Lee on the children and first conference (also 2010).

    My first sight of snow was amazing (Swiss Alps) on my first big overseas holiday without my mum.

    I loved my first hot air balloon ride on Mother's day this year with my mother-in-law. We were over the magnificent Flinders Ranges. A guy in the balloon popped the question... sigh... it was lovely.


  9. Helen - I'm squeeing along with you - *look* at that gorgeous box of books!!

    My special firsts are a bit like yours: the first sale, seeing the first cover, getting the first books in the mail, seeing them in a shop the first time, first fan mail... ah, lovely memories. :)

  10. Oh, Helen, congratulations on your VERY FIRST box of books. May you have many more moments like that!

    My first box of books is one of my favourite "first" memories too. And a couple of others... I still vividly remember the first time I clapped eyes on my dh (swoon). And the very first time I stepped onto the footpath in London. Ooh, happy sighs.

  11. Sharon- 4WDriving - That's a fabulous 'first'. I'm not much for adrenalin sports - except horse riding. Although, my Zeb is the laziest horse on the planet, so mostly we amble.
    And yes, the opening of the box was a great moment in my lists of 'firsts'.
    Cheers :)

  12. Hi Bec. The first snow ... what a great 'first'. And your kids are adorable so that 'first' is a given.
    And a hot air balloon proposal? There's a story in that for sure.

  13. Helen, congratulations on this first of many more to come! Holding your first book truly is the best of feelings.
    How about the first time we went to school? I still remember my very first day and being so ready for the experience, but also feeling strangely disconnected in this new bustling world. I adored primary school!
    High school? Well, that's a whole other bucket of beans...

  14. Congrats on that first box of books, Helen!!

    Like Lee, I definitely remember my first ever romance writers conference. And a vivid memory is the first time I set foot on Antarctica -- wow, that was mind blowing!

  15. Hi Rachel - isn't being able to Squee fabulous? It's been a blast to hold my book in my hands. And you're right, they are lovely memories to have. :)

  16. Hi Michelle! Thanks for the congrat's. Ooohh London, now that's a place I'd to go. I had one of those moments a couple of years ago when my dh and I went on a junk in Halong Bay in Vietnam. It was amazing. Travelling gives us plenty of First Time moments.
    Thanks for stopping by :)

  17. I'd scream too. What a wonderful first.

    I can remember my first kiss - vividly. I remember thinking if they are all like that I never want another one. Nothing like the Sunday smooches AT ALL.

  18. Congratulations! Lovely story!

    My first time- is letting my nearly nineteen year old daughter go to movies with friends tomorrow- harrowing!

    Why did Breaking Dawn had to release this year?

  19. Congratulations Helen! What a wonderful feeling to hold your first book in your hand!

  20. Hi Robyn! The first day at school is a big one. Although I went to seventeen schools, so I had a lot of practice LOL.

  21. Emily... Antartica! Now that's what I call and awesome First Time moment. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  22. Hi Marybelle - the first kiss??? Now that's a great 'first'. Although you're right, the first one isn't often all that wonderful. Thank heavens for Harlequin novels! :)

  23. Helen,
    What a FABULOUS photo and a great story with the post lady. I'm so glad you were able to share a hug with her to make it more special.

    Firsts are the best feeling - the thrill of the unknown, the excitement of doing something new. I'll never forget my first parachute jump (even if it was tandem) but the thrill of that had me not eating for 2 days before just in case I got sick!



  24. Helen, congratulations on receiving your first copy of your book. For me that was THE moment in my writing career. And every book since is nearly as good. I celebrated then, and I celebrate every time now. It kind of underlines the joy of what we do.
    Sue MacKay

  25. Hi Nas - great of you to stop by. I'll bet there's a load a parents wondering the same thing about that movie. :)

  26. Hi Scarlet! It was indeed a wonderful feeling! Thanks for stopping by LoveCats today.

  27. Cath - parachuting? You daredevil! I'm afraid of heights so the whole jumping from an airplane suspended by a few wires isn't on this FraidyCat's bucket list! But i do admire your courage. Great to see you here :)