Rachel lives in Houston, Texas, where she works as an engineer at NASA. Her interests include health and fitness, acoustic guitar, and books of all kinds. Final Approach was the first installment in her Emily Locke mystery series, which bases each story in a different sports community. Its sequel, Dead Lift is coming on December 7th! Visit Rachel on-line at www.rachelbrady.net or at her blog - http://writeitanyway.blogspot.com. She also tweets (https://twitter.com/Rachel_Brady) and hangs out on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rachelbradybooks).
By Rachel Brady
I’ve never spotted a celebrity in a restaurant. But my visit to Kaye’s blog today feels kind of like how I imagine that scenario would go.
I would be eating pasta alfredo with garlic bread when a celebrity—let’s make it Ed Harris—walked in.
The waitress, who knows Ed (because he is a regular there) and who also likes me (because this is my celebrity restaurant fantasy), would grab me by the wrist and pull me across the room to meet him before I could finish my bite.
“But wait, I—”
She would be bursting with energy, eager to make introductions, and I would worry that a fleck of green from the garlic bread seasoning was wedged in my teeth.
I’m pinch hitting here today, filling in for another blogger, and I feel happy and touched to receive the invitation and to have a chance to say hello to all of you. But you guys also make me a little nervous because you’re like my Ed Harris. I’d like to make a nice first impression.
When I got the terrific news about the November 29th slot, I circled the date on my calendar and began the waiting period for my brilliant idea to come. A topic on which I could speak earnestly and intelligently and made Ed not only smile upon me but maybe even remember my name later.
A little side note. I blog on my own at Write It Anyway (http://writeitanyway.blogspot.com) and with other women mystery authors at the Stiletto Gang (http://thestilettogang.blogspot.com), and now and then I’m invited to various blogs as a guest. For me, there is a tier effect.
- Folks who follow Write It Anyway are like family. They already have a sense of me, so I relax over there and don’t freak out too much if I mis-punctuate something.
- Readers who follow the Stiletto Gang may be enjoying us collectively or could be on board because they are primarily a fan of one or two of us. I stress about my posts there a little more than I worry about the ones on my personal blog. I’d like our Stiletto Faithful to keep coming back and I don’t want to mess up a post and inadvertently become the fly in the otherwise pristine Stiletto ointment. The anxiety bar is raised a notch.
- Guest blogs like this one, though, bury the needle on my stress meter. It’s like getting invited to a fancy dinner. I don’t want to use the wrong fork or drink out of my neighbor’s water glass. (In real life, I’m sorry to say I’ve done both.) What if all of Kaye’s friends see me accidentally fling a tomato across the room when I cut up my salad? (Done that too.) And where the heck is that brilliant idea?
Recently, I told a friend I was suffering stage fright about writing this piece, and as soon as I said it out loud, I knew I had the topic.
At Bouchercon this year, author Dennis Palumbo referred to this experience as “tripping over the cat.” He said that every morning he’d step away from his desk, blocked on a project, and inevitably he’d trip over the cat in the hall. Every day. All the time. Finally it occurred to him that the cat was the stuff of life, that tripping over it was the material he should be adding to his manuscript.
I prefer to imagine you guys as Ed Harris instead of a lazy cat, but you get the idea.
Strangely, now that I’ve fully disclosed my stage fright, I feel better about following the imaginary waitress across the room to meet Ed. My hand is sweaty, so I wipe it on my jeans before extending it.
“Hi, Ed,” I’ll say to you, fairly confident nothing is in my teeth. “I’m Rachel. It’s great to finally meet you.” J
To celebrate the end of my stage fright, I’ll send a signed copy of Dead Lift to one lucky winner who leaves a comment here today. Complimentary signed copies of either book also go to readers or librarians who introduce Emily Locke titles to their book clubs.