Thursday, September 13, 2018

So Embarrassing!


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, dear. I am laughing too hard to write a coherent introduction. Because two of my most favorite people in the world are headed out on the road again—and hurray, we get to host them today.

And—even though we ASKED them to talk about “the importance of setting and secondary characters”-- for some reason, they refused.  

Instead, Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker decided to reveal their:

Most Embarrassing Author Moment

Jess Lourey 
We’re Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey chugging along on our Third Annual Double-Booked Blog Tour. We love our stop at Jungle Reds because we always pick up tips from this sophisticated and classy gang. Unfortunately, we’ve brought those little cocktail weenies and corn chips with Velveeta and hamburger dip, along with (Jess—what’s your local beer, Hamms?) We’re from the fly-over states, you know.

Jess just launched the second in her feminist thriller series, Mercy’s Chase, and a fast, action-packed thrill ride it is! Shannon is back with the third in the Kate Fox mystery series (think Longmire meets The Good Wife), Bitter Rain.

When you plan a joint blog tour, like this one, you get to divide the work and you put your full trust in your partner. Jess is the best traveling companion ever and I’ve never doubted her… until this year. We both picked topics to blog on and while I picked things like Where We Get Our Ideas, and Tips That Changed Our Writing Life, Jess went off-roading and chose Two Middle Aged Women Write a Sex Scene, and today’s ego-boosting Most Embarrassing Writer Moment.

So, Jess, since this is your idea, you go first.

Jess: I’m sensing you’re not on board with my, “write what you want to read” concept, eh? Well, it’s going to get better: I have no embarrassing author moments. This is all a set-up to get you to share yours. So, let’s have it.

Shannon Baker
Shannon: Oh, so many to choose from and probably a million more I’ve blocked from my memory. They range from my very first panel at a conference. It was Malice Domestic, and as it happens, Jess was on the panel. When the moderator asked me about the cat in my book I blanked. I could not speak. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember a cat in my book. I did, however, remember the cat in the second book… a cat that I killed off. It hadn’t been released, yet, and I couldn’t understand how she knew about it. Naturally, I panicked.

BTW, there wasn’t a cat in that first book.

Another time, I was working registration at one of the largest mystery conferences. The guest of honor stepped up to register and didn’t tell me his/her name, just looked at me expectantly. I smiled and we had a standoff for some time before I finally said, “Name?” That person was not amused. But in my defense, they didn’t look at all like their author photo.

There is a moment that happened recently, that Jess was unlucky enough to witness. A moment without humor and one I’m deeply ashamed of and one for which I haven’t been able to apologize yet. It involved a micro-aggression before I even knew the term.

Jess: I did witness that one, sweetie, and from where I was sitting, it looked like an honest mistake that you’ve gone to great lengths to ensure won’t happen again. And of course, I was lying about having no embarrassing author moments. Ahhh...where to start?

One year, while a teacher for MWA-University, I had a glorious moment where I unfurled eight feet of butcher paper to reveal my elegant outlining method. I was in Dallas, Charlaine Harris and over a hundred other people were in the audience, and I’d built up to this moment for about twenty minutes. Unfortunately, I’d grabbed the wrong roll of butcher paper when packing. The one I unfurled was as blank as the stares it garnered.

Then there’s the million or so times at a conference that I’ve become so overstimulated by more conversation in a day than I normally have in a week that I can’t remember the names of dear friends and so have to glance at the name tags of people I’ve known for years.

Ooh--back to MWA-University. Our kick-off workshop happened in Bethesda, and I was the opening speaker. I was terrified. My fellow presenters were (are) authors I so admire--Hank and Hallie, for starters, but also Reed Farrel Coleman and Dan Stashower. I had over-prepared my presentation, including coming up with what I thought was a clever branding for the Pyramid on Point method I was teaching: touch your thumbs together and your pointer fingers together, with your finger points facing up to form a triangle, and say “Pyramid.” Then, dramatically turn the triangle over so your pointer fingers face downward and say “On Point.” I even had the whole audience doing it along with me. Afterward, Reed comes up to me and says in his gravelly Brooklyn accent, “That symbol you did? It means something in sign language, and it ain’t pie.”

Uff da.

Another time, I was at an event my publisher hosted. Over thirty of their books were on the table, including one of mine. A women came up, oohed and ahhed over many of the books, and then, without looking at my name tag, pointed at mine before leaning over to whisper, “Don’t waste your time on that one. One of the worst books I’ve ever read.”

Shall I go on? Or please, you take over. Let’s hear your biggest.

Shannon: This last one involves a perfect storm of situations culminating in public embarrassment. I’ve been involved in Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers for over 20 years. It’s my writer family of origin. Last year, I was lucky enough to be voted RMFW Writer of the Year. I also taught a couple of workshops and had various other duties to perform. It happened that I started the Keto diet the two weeks before and had been restricting my calorie and alcohol intake drastically. Add to that, I now live in Arizona and not at the lofty altitude of Denver, where the conference took place.

I had to give a speech but it was scheduled for Friday. I have a notoriously foul vocabulary but when I focus I can usually sound presentable and the speech went off without a hitch. By the Saturday night banquet, my responsibilities were completed and I decided a glass of wine was in order. And one led to two, which, under normal circumstances wouldn’t be a problem.

At the last minute, the presenters needed someone to help hand off awards onstage and grabbed me. Still okay, I didn’t have to speak and I wasn’t staggering or anything. But the clincher came when they decided to present a surprise “thank you” gift. To me. And made me step up to the microphone. Unprepared.

I said the only thing I could think of. To the room full of people in their sequins and ties, I put my lips to the mic and said simply, if not elegantly, “Fuck me.”

Jess: I couldn’t love you anymore, Shannon Baker. Let’s end on that high note.

Don’t leave me and Jess dangling out here alone, tell us your embarrassing moments.

HANK:  Let’s just say mine is the reason I ask the bookstores to put those yellow stickies with people’s names on them on the books people bring for me to sign.  When the response to the infinitely transparent “who do you want me to sign this to?” is the horribly frustrating “Oh, just to me.”  Ahhhh….


How about you, Reds and readers?  


GIVEAWAY
We are each giving away three signed books on the Lourey/Baker Double-Booked Tour. To enter to win, sign up for our newsletter!
     Jess Lourey newsletter sign-up (when you sign up, you’ll automatically receive a free copy of May Day, the first in Jess’ comic caper mysteries): BookHip.com/KJNSXH
     Shannon Baker newsletter sign-up (when you sign up you receive a free Kate short story): https://mailchi.mp/d5ccfe1840ea/shannonsbooknews
For every comment you make along our tour stop, you’ll get another entry in the contest. Don’t be shy; we love talking to you.

DOUBLE-BOOKED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

August 23: "Two Middle-aged Introverts Write a Sex Scene" on Criminal Minds
August 26: "Write What You Fear" on Writer Unboxed
August 27: "The Five Stages of Author Grief" on BOLO Books
August 28: "Tools and Tricks that Changed the Game" on Femmes Fatales
August 31: "Write a Great Scene" on Fiction University
September 2: “Author Interview” on Jess Lourey
September 4: "The Unexpected Places Authors Get Their Ideas" on Wicked Cozy Authors
September 8: "A Day in the Life of Our Characters" on Dru’s Book Musings
September 13: "Most Embarrassing Author Moment" on Jungle Red Writers
September 26: "Create an Author Persona" on The Creative Penn
TBA: “More than the Sum of Our Parts” on Career Authors
ABOUT SHANNON AND JESS
Shannon Baker is author of the Kate Fox mystery series set in rural Nebraska cattle country, and the Nora Abbott mystery series, fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. She is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year.
 A lover of the outdoors, she can be found backpacking in the Rockies, traipsing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, skiing mountains and plains, kayaking lakes, hiking, cycling, and scuba diving whenever she gets the chance. Arizona sunsets notwithstanding, Baker is, and always will be, a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red. Visit Shannon at www.Shannon-Baker.com.  Bitter Rain is an August release.
Jess Lourey (rhymes with “dowry”) is an Anthony, Lefty, and Agatha-nominated author best known for her critically-acclaimed Mira James Mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a sought-after workshop leader and keynote speaker who delivered the 2016 “Rewrite Your Life” TEDx Talk. Mercy’s Chase, the second in the feminist thriller series Lee Child calls “highly recommended,” releases September 8. You can find out more at www.jessicalourey.com.


129 comments:

  1. Jess and Shannon, I am chuckling over your stories [especially the sign language one].
    For many years, I have collected Precious Moments figurines. Once a group of us, all of whom were Precious Moments collectors, spent an afternoon answering the telephones for a fund-raising event. Callers who donated a certain amount were to receive a Precious Moments figurine. Only when one of the callers asked me what premium they would receive for their donation, my mind just went blank and I had absolutely no idea. I ended up having to ask someone in order to answer the caller’s question. Definitely not my finest moment . . . .

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    1. Oh, ‘Joan, so frustrating! But at least you were on the phone and no one could see you, right?

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    2. Joan, thank you for stopping by! And oh my--no good deed goes unpunished, yes?

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    3. At least you didn't curse at the donor! I'm sure you were classy that way!

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  2. Hi from downtown England my darlings. I have both your books on my kindle,saved to read on our whirlwind tour of Chester, former home of Deb. Once again be had so me food and a good nights sleep, I’ll send pics.

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    1. Hope you are all fluent in typo and autocorrect

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    2. We know it well, Ann! Once we have had some food and a good nights sleep, —got it! Xxxxx

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    3. Ann, does this mean you've landed in the UK? So happy you made it safely. And Hank! You are bilingual. :)

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    4. So excited for your trip. You know, Kate's never been to England before.

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  3. Welcome Jess and Shannon--you guys are so much fun! All I can think of is my dear hub's most embarrassing moment. We were volunteering for the Key West Literary Seminar and his job was to check EVERY name badge to be sure people weren't sneaking in. One petite woman was not wearing her badge.
    "I need to see your name tag," he said.
    "Really??" she said and finally dragged it out of her bag.
    JUDY BLUME, it read. Mother of arts and literature on our entire island...
    He nearly died.

    I've repressed mine so deeply I will have to come back when they surface later today...

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    1. Oh, Roberta! Poor guy…how was he supposed to know?

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    2. Roberta, that is not only a great story (poor guy), but I also salute you for sharing someone else's embarrassing story. :) That's what I tried to do with Shannon in this post, but she lured me back in.

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    3. I really feel for your husband. And, I wonder what it's like to be so successful and famous you don't think you need a name tag. When I'm that famous, I'm always going to wear my name tag so people think I'm humble.

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    4. that is a very good idea Shannon, may we all have that problem in the future! I know, poor John, and I confess I didn't ask his permission to share. And I should also say that Judy is lovely and generous and does so much for Key WEst!!

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  4. I'm laughing so much that I almost spit my coffee onto the computer screen. Very nice, ladies. I've been running across your posts on this tour and you've both done an excellent job with the topics. And I've already gotten your latest books to read. Yes, you sold them well. My embarrassing moments usually involve some sort of tripping event - actual tripping. I can trip over anything, even a completely flat floor (especially a flat floor). Anyway, so far I've had no broken bones or whatnot. And may I also say, thank goodness for nametags. I'm just always wondering if people notice my eyes peeking at theirs just before I use their name - oh, and also hoping they have the right nametag on. Ha!

    Best wishes to both of you on your books and your tour!!

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    1. Oh my gosh, thank goodness for nametags! I praise them every time. I think everybody should have to wear one, every day and in every place they go. I’m not totally kidding…

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    2. Kay and Hank, I totally agree on nametags! Hats with our names on them might be even better so I can pretend to remember? The thing is, I remember PEOPLE, but not names so much. And Kay, I had a friend fall out of her clogs when crossing a street. One of my favorite visual tripping moments. So glad you haven't broken any bones.

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    3. Kay, you reminded me of another embarrassing moment my freshman year at the University of Nebraska. So awkward and geeky and trying hard not to be. It was icy, I slipped, my heavy backpack swung from my shoulder (it was cool to only drape it on one shoulder) and its momentum slid me like a curling stone slowly into a group of legit cool upper classmen, where I bumped gently against the best looking of them, knocking him over, where he hit the others and they all fell in slow motion like bowling pins. Nothing magic happened, like one of them asking me out.

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    4. Shannon, that is completely something that would have happened to me! In fact, when I was in college (and already dating my husband), we were in the cafeteria getting lunch. I slid on something wet on the floor and dropped my full tray and fell. Then I got up, picked up everything, took 2 steps, and fell again - dropping everything again. I can remember looking up at my husband and he was just staring at me, while trying not to grin. I got a standing ovation from the other students. I again stood up, left everything on the floor and marched barefooted out of the room (I had on flip-flops). Took me a long time to wear flip-flops again. Sigh. I did marry the guy though (38 years now!).

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  5. So now we all need to go to the bar and have a drink and share the REALLY embarrassing moments... Seriously, these are a stitch. And Jess, I do remember that paper unscrolling. Huh?

    It's encouraging to hear that other people blank on the names of people they KNOW well. I routinely go up to people I recognize (but who could be complete strangers) at conferences and say, "Hi, I'm Hallie Ephron. Have we met because you look so familiar." It works unless I've been TOO charming and they think I'm trying to pick them up.

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    1. Years ago one of the Reds, and I thought it was you, Hallie, spoke of seeing a friend running and thinking to surprise them, jumped out of the car and said "Boo!" It wasn't the friend and the runner spun around in terror. Whoever it was, I want you to know I laugh out loud at that even now.

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    2. Really, has anyone figured out how to handle this?? Or when people say oh, remember when we were together in (fill in the blank,) and you said this and that… And I think holy moly, I have no idea.

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    3. Hank, that's simple. You just look at them and say, "Oh, I have so many fond/fun/unbelievable memories of you that they all run together."

      And if you want to know how I came up with that, I just asked myself, "WWHD?" :)

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    4. Shannon, I love that story but it wasn't me.

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  6. One does so hate to break one's whatnot, Kay.

    So funny, Jess and Shannon, but par for the course when you are with the public.

    During my 20 years' of public speaking I've had my share of oops moments, but the worst was when I was invited to speak at a large conference about using computers in a sewing business. I'd given that talk about a year before, and of the 30 people there, only five had computers. So I created my talk on the assumption that not much had changed in a year. Big mistake. When I asked for a show of hands, only ONE individual in an audience of 200 said she didn't have or use a computer. My talk was far too basic for the audience. Also, I had left one vital piece of my visuals in my room, and to make matters worse, I dropped the stack of overhead transparencies, mixing them all up (long before Power Point). I was so rattled that I'm not sure I even made sense.

    But the worst part of all was spotting a sort of professional enemy in the audience before the talk, a woman who had actually attacked me personally in an association publication. I went up to her and asked her if we could agree to bury the hatchet. Her response? "I'm fine with where the hatchet is right now." LOL Now, I laugh, but it was an awful way to start an hour-long talk.

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    1. Wow, Karen, what a bitter, mean person that woman was! You need to write a mystery, one with a nasty rival and .... a hatchet would be fitting.

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    2. Phht to that nasty woman! Karen, we've all had those events where it all goes bad. After a stiff drink, it's best to tell yourself you learned from it and move on. Of course, if you're me, you just move on to a whole new array of mistakes. But I'm confident you won't!

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    3. Wow! That’s quite the response… But you got all the good karma, so don’t worries. And oh my goodness, I feel for you dropping those transparencies. (I always number pages, obsessively, and I wonder if something like that happened to me which I have now buried in my subconscious. )

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    4. Flora, what a great idea! And yes, she was, and is, bitter and mean. A real friend used to call her "OO", which stood for Odious One.

      You do have to just move on. There is nothing else to do, right?

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  7. Jungle Red, thank you for hosting us! This is such a warm and welcoming place to confess. Hank, a special thank you to YOU for also sharing an embarrassing story. Though truly, you meet so many thousands of people each year, you couldn't possibly be expected to remember all their names! Your confession, though, reminds me of my neighbor in the town I lived in for seven years. He introduced himself when we moved in, but I didn't know if he said "Rob" or "Rod" and was too embarrassed to ask for clarification. Silly, because it meant I spent the next seven years calling him "Raww" when I couldn't avoid him.

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    1. I'm going to tell a story on a well-known and loved author. I went to his signing and he kept thanking and referring to the bookstore owner and pointing at her. Problem is, the owner wasn't in the room. The woman he pointed at looked similar to the owner. As far as I know, no one corrected him or told the owner of the mistake. So maybe embarrassment was avoided.

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  8. I love these stories. We all have them. I was actually at that first MWA-University event in Bethesda and I do indeed remember that hand-jive lesson, Jess. LOL.

    As for the foul language, we've all be there, Shannon. And I'm sure it had the audience cracking up. All except for the person trying to find the cat in your first book. LOL

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    1. Worse things have happened at that banquet, Kristopher, for sure. One year, the agent who judged the contest read the winners and announced the wrong first place person. It was like the Academy Awards for Best Picture SNAFU. Although my mother wouldn't have been proud of my moment, I console myself I didn't hurt anyone else!

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    2. Ohhh, Kristopher, you were there! And you still speak with me. Thank you. :)

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    3. Jess, I would say I have low standards, but that's really not true. You are a rock star! And that first MWA-University was such a great day. I still remember it.

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    4. Kristopher, you are THE BEST. Big love to you!

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  9. Jess, by the time you hit Chicago on the 2014 MWA-U you had your lecture down pat. Hank's parting speech reading her file of rejection letters was inspiring and hilarious.
    I happened to be in New Orleans for B'con. I scanned name tags and went up to people I'd interacted with during on-line classes and in on-line critique groups and introduced myself. One woman looked me up and down, pronounced "I have no idea who you are," and turned her back. Someday, she will.

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    1. That's terrible! Not the meeting new people part or the Hank and Jess bits, but that woman turning her back on you. Obviously, it's her loss.

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    2. Why on earth would someone do that? You’ve got to wonder what was really going on… Got to be more than just congenital meanness :-)

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    3. Margaret, thank you for your kindness! And listening to Hank was one of the great bonuses (for me) of MWA-U. When I get down, I think of her mother's words to her (which Hank shares with the group): "Well, you will if you want to." Keeps me going.

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  10. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

    I think the nametag thing trips us all. I was at a Bouchercon several years ago doing something (voting? registration?) and I asked the lovely woman across the table her name.

    It was Sara Paretsky. I thought she was going to revoke my Sisters in Crime membership.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. If a SOMEONE gets offended when I ask their name, I figure I'm not big enough to be on their radar screen and they won't remember my face or name.

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    2. Especially in these days of social media everything, we see people’s pictures all the time… So people expect us to recognize them. But how would we know—? how how how?

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    3. Sara is usually a lovely person, but even she cannot expect to be recognized universally.

      There are a lot of people who cannot remember faces, just as there are people who can't remember names. I never assume people I've known for decades, even, remember who I am.

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    4. To her credit, Sara graciously showed me her name tag and said nothing. Me, on the other hand, was as embarrassed as anything. Not to recognize a founding member of SinC? Sheesh!

      Mary/Liz

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  11. Love it when I wake up to belly-laughs! Thank you Jess and Shannon and all! More books for my piles--love it when there's an embarrassment of riches to read!

    A mortifying moment for me occurred at a national conference where I was to be a speaker in a session that attracted a great deal of attention--BIG BIG names in the field in the audience. I usually look like something the cat dragged in the night before, so I agonized over what to wear. Settled on a Chanel(ish) sweater, simple black skirt, low heels (DO NOT TRIP ON WAY TO PODIUM!!). Right before the session started, one of the Grande Dames on the topic came up to me, did that once over look,'Oh' she said and smiled and walked away. She was wearing Chanel(probably real) sweater, etc. Like I'd copied her look--like we were in middle school or something-- I don't even remember walking to the podium.

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    1. I can just picture that! And again, you have to wonder what goes through peoples minds, don’t you?

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    2. What a mean thing to do to you, Flora.

      Again, karma will out. We just have to have faith.

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    3. You're welcome, Flora, and thank you for stopping by! I'm sorry to hear about your experience, but it gives me a time-saving idea: writer uniforms with our first name sewn into them, front and back? Killing two introvert birds with one stone.

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  12. So hilarious, and mortifying, too! The first time imet Sue Grafton, she was guest of honor at Crime Bake. I didn't yet have a book out but had one completed. Grafton is one of the reasons I write crime fiction and I was so fangirled I could barely speak!

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    1. About a million years ago I bumped up against Kevin Kostner face to face in Deadwood. I couldn't speak and spent the rest of the evening staring at him across a very crowded bar.

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    2. I never know what to say in those situations… With a movie star like Kevin Costner. Ah . People have asked in various situations: do you want to go backstage and meet the star? And I think… No. They don’t care, and what would I say?

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  13. Good morning Reds, and Jess, and all you commentors. You guys hit the streets early! I'm in Tucson, so a few time zones away, but stil.... First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the Reds for your Anthony award. Well deserved! And secondly, thank you for hosting us. We love our stop here. And third, Mt. Lemmon is calling and I must go. Which translates into, I'm going hiking. But I'll be back to see what mischief you all get into so keep those embarrassing moments rolling.

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  14. Good Morning All- I am loving each and every post today. Hank, I am a great fan of the yellow post-it notes at signings. I'm always the one getting a book signed and my name has probably supplied one too many authors with their own "embarrassing moment". Also, name tags and where to position them on the human body. I have had people stare at my navel, my boob, and lean in way too close to see how my name is spelled. One company I deal with ony by phone always gets my name right. I was digging around on my customer profile and stumbled on someone's notes where they had gone the extra mile and spelled out my name phonetically. I love these people. I have too many incidents of going totally blank when asked a question, always in a public setting. And tripping? I have broken several whatnots due to walking, just walking.

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    1. Sounds like we all have to be more careful with our what-nots, doesn’t it? :-)

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    2. several years ago I worked at a company and did a lot of work by phone. Shannon was an unusual name when I was born, but not so much now. At that time, most Shannons were very young. I always got a kick out of customers when they met me in person for the first time. They were expecting a cute young thing and got middle-aged instead.

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  15. This is hilarious!!! Welcome, Shannon and Jess! Looking forward to your new releases and I am loving your blog tour titles - LOL! I'm pre-coffee so I can't think of anything embarrassing to add but I have a signing tonight so perhaps, I'll have more to share after that...yikes!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenn, and by all means, come back if any embarrassing story comes to you! The more the merrier.

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    2. we could call POisoned Pen and see what we can cook up...xxox :-) . have fun!

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    3. Jenn! You are one of three winners of a signed copy of MERCY'S CHASE, thanks to your comment above! Woot! Please, if you're comfortable, email me your address at jesslourey@yahoo.com, and I'll drop that in the mail. Congratulations!

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  16. Oh, my embarrassing moments? Ain't nobody got time for all those. I don't think I could even marrow it down to one that is remotely interesting - there's falling, spilling, tipping over, dropping, tripping (did that three times at the airport in Tampa coming home from B'Con), etc.

    My most recent, not counting the tripping over my own feet at the airport, had to be the New Authors breakfast so amazingly planned and run by Kristopher and Michael during which I repeated my schtick over and over in my head (missing 99% of the presenters before me) and the second I stepped up on the stage every bit of information about me and my book drained right out of my head. I managed my name and book title and mumbled some stuff about being clumsy. I think I got in the basic plot. UGH!

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    1. I'm sure you were charming as always! I was sad to miss the festivities.

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    2. Aimee, I wish I had been there so I could tell you that's not true..we're always over-critical, and I bet you were fab. You ALWAYS are!

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  17. This is fun! My most recent embarrassment was last week at Bouchercon. I was on the Anthony short-story nominees panel. We went down the line, giving the name of our nominated story and a brief description. When my turn came, I could not remember the name of my story. I sat there thinking it will come to me, but it didn't. And I announced to the room that I couldn't remember it! Thank goodness for my dear friend Art Taylor, who was sitting beside me and told me the story's name. Later someone who'd been in the audience told me she thought I'd been joking. I wish!

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    1. That is a sweet story, Barb, and one I can completely empathize with.

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    2. That's because you have SO MANY wonderful stories! (And aren't our brains always full of the next one?)

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    3. Thanks, Jess and Hank. And Hank, that's true. I likely could have rattled off the name of the story released last week.

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  18. This certainly isn't my most embarrassing moment but the more I think about it the odder it gets. Years ago just before I was married my fiance's church ladies gave me a shower and it was my job to go around the circle and introduce everyone. Not sure what happened when I got to my grandmother but I introduced her with her maiden name! I didn't even know her when she went by that name. But the funniest part was I hadn't even realized what I said, until I noticed people were calling out her actual name.

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    1. Judi, something similar has happened to me. It's like a weird file opens up in my brain and pours stuff toward my mouth, stuff I normally would never have thought of saying out loud. What IS that?

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    2. Introducing people is hard sometimes. I was recently at a thing, standing with a lifetime friend of my husband's when a young woman walked up and said hi. Not knowing exactly what to say, I ended up with, "*Name,* this is "my husband's son*'s first wife, *Name.*" They've only been divorced a couple of months but he's remarried. It's all so complictated and I wasn't at all happy with the introduction.

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  19. Barb, losing proper nouns is just part of the fun of adding years. I recently had lunch with three other women my age and the conversation was full of "you know the actor who was in that movie with that woman who used to be in that sitcom and she married that guy who'd been married to the crazy woman?" If you string enough clues together, there's a chance someone will come up with a name.

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  20. The Jess and Shannon book tour has been so much fun.

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    1. Thank you, Grandma Cootie, for hanging out with us all over the best and brightest blogs (few bester or brighter than Jungle Red--congrats on the Anthony Award!). And thank you, Hank, for your kindness, always.

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    2. The Double booked tour is lots of fun for me and Jess, and we couldn't do it if you didn't show up for the ride and if no one ran the show to host us! So the big thanks goes to you all!

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  21. Thank you, Jess and Shannon, for making me snort my coffee through my nose this morning. I am so relieved to know that cool people such as you two have embarrassing moments, too. I always have quite a few of those at signings and conferences, you know, the ones where people come up to you and assume you know them and you have no freaking idea who they are and are desperately trying to read their name tags--which in those cases are always backwards or covered up.

    Both your books sound terrific, and I'm loving the blog tour!!

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    1. Thank you, Deborah! So glad we could play our part in expelling liquid through your nose. :) You know, I think a lot of us have these similar experiences. I think my takeaway is that we should be gentler with ourselves and others when there are mess ups.

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    2. Deborah, it may not be overtly embarrassing but it's certainly something I regret... not getting the courage to actually meet you in Omaha at Mayhem in the Midlands in 2010.

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  22. Here's one. At Bcon last week I was asked for my most embarrassing author moment, on stage, surprise. And I couldn't think of one. I couldn't even play it off with anything charming. Just...blank. So now I have one.

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    1. You can always answer with a fart response. Farting is always embarrassing. And if you can't think of an inappropriate time you farted, then go ahead and do it at that moment.

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  23. I have an excellent memory for names and faces. Friends of mine used to host a couple of annual parties. The very first time I went, I was introduced to a lot of people I didn’t know. We all chatted with each other. Over the years, although we only ever saw each other at that couple’s home, we would get caught up on what was going on in each other’s lives. However, there’s one woman who told me whenever I saw her there or anywhere else, that she has never met me before. She seems puzzled that I know her name and the names of her children and grandchildren. (When I first met her, her kids were in high school.) I have been SOO tempted to ask her if she thinks I’ve been stalking her! I’m somewhat introverted so it’s not easy for me to approach people I don’t know. Because of this and similar situations, I always end up feeling embarrassed BECAUSE I can remember names and faces.

    DebRo

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    1. NOw that's...a weird problem. :-) xoo

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    2. Deb, thank you for sharing! Now I'm wondering--am I that woman?!?

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    3. Jess, thanks for the laugh!

      DebRo

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    4. Tell her you're a psychic and ask her if she'd like her future read.

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  24. Smiling. . . I'm enjoying people's stories this morning. When does an embarrassment just become part of who you are? Like forgetting names, tripping, and playing the you-know-who-I'm-talking-about-she-was-in-that-show-with-whats-his-name-who-played-in-that-movie-years-ago-with-that-guy-who-plays-a-lawyer-on-TV.....?

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    1. Yeah, it's life. Until you splat on the ballroom floor. :-)

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    2. Hahah! It's true! It's all fun and quirks until you splat on the ballroom floor.

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    3. I think expletives in the microphone at a fancy banquet is the definition of splat.

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  25. I'm finally back to the place I love to visit when I first open my computer for the day, Jungle Reds, the Anthony Award winning blog! Being at Bouchercon to watch you wonderfully talented ladies and friends receive this award was definitely a top Bouchercon moment for me. Attending the Jungle Reds panel and picture taking afterward was another. Finding a signed first edition of Julia's In the Bleak Midwinter at Mystery Mike's book table and Julia cautioning me not to have her add my name to the signature because it was worth a bit of money, well that was some moment, too. I don't know how my path didn't cross with the Reds more. It took me two days to see and speak with Debs and Roberta, and Hank, I didn't get To Tell the Truth signed by you. It was so great to finally meet Ingrid. I missed Rhys and Hallie, and I had wanted to meet Jenn.

    Jess and Shannon, I so wish I'd gotten in on the blog tour for my Reading Room blog. What has made me especially sad about missing out is your reply, Shannon, to the thank-you gift (still laughing and loving that) and your new spin on a sign language "not pie" meaning, Jess. You two are a hoot and a half, and at the top of my list for the next Bouchercon is to stick like glue to these women. If you do happen to have a topic left over and your dying to get it out there, my blog is open arms to you.

    Embarrassing moments should probably include my first Bouchercon panel in St. Pete last week, but I have to tell you that I had so much fun doing it that any embarrassment I should feel for myself is kind of overshadowed by that fun. I'm always afraid I'll have a moment when someone says hello at Bouchercon, someone I've met, and I say nice to meet you, and well, they remind me we've met. It didn't happen this time, so that was good. I'm not always good with names, but I can usually remember faces. Now, one embarrassing moment from New Orleans Bouchercon will always be a good memory, too. Kaye Wilkinson Barley and I were in an art gallery, and I was trying to take her picture beside a giant chicken painting (painting of a chicken, not painted by a chicken, hehe). Unbeknownst to me, there was a sign stating that no pictures were allowed, and Kaye was trying to hide the sign with her body. I got the picture, but then realized there was the sign when we were busted by one of the staff (can't think what an person selling art is called). However, he was very nice, and he then gave us a tour of the collections.

    Now, back to taking medicine and trying to get over the con crud that I have. Been sick and in bed the whole week, but on a Z-pak now. Thanks to all here today for providing some great laughs.

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    1. Kathy, it was lovely to finally meet you! I've started saying "lovely to see you," to people when I'm not sure if we've met before. At the beginning of this Bcon, I said, "nice to meet you," and a guy got a bit annoyed because apparently I'd said the same thing to him in Toronto even though we'd met in New Orleans! In a perfect world I would remember everyone year-to-year, but I just don't! So now it's "nice to see you." I better remember him in Dallas, except I've already forgotten his name!

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    2. Hahaha! You'll have to get a picture of him in Dallas to remember who he is.

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    3. Oh ,the dreaded art museum guard! I once tried to take a photo of Jonathan looking so much like the self-portrait of Monet--but the guard came up, seriously stern, and said "Madame, il est INTERDIT!" Yikes.

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    4. Kathy, you've got this all right. Focus on the fun! And thank you for the kind invitation to your blog! If we do a fourth annual tour, we would love to stop by!

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    5. Jess, what do you mean "if?" This is my social life for a whole year. So Kathy, pencil us in. As I recall, Jess and I are scheduled to cowrite a book. Please, feel better, Kathy. I don't have con crud, but I sure have con hangover. (Not from drinking, but from sleep deprivation.) I couldn't make Bouchercon because I was attending Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Sorry to miss you all!

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  26. Jess and Shannon, you two could do a confessional road show!

    My latest (because I acquire embarrassing moments like bad pennies) happened at Malice last year, sitting at Agatha Award Winner Cindy Callahan's table, right next to where Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn were eating like civilized humans. Our group was a little loud and rowdy and at one point, I turned to SinC's new Treasurer Jacki York, whom I met a half dozen times, and said, "Why do I keep thinking you're from York?" Jacki said, "Um, because of my last name?" Much laughter. I will never live that down.

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    1. Hey, that makes SENSE. (And weren't Ann and Brenda so cute??)

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    2. Ramona, this: "because I acquire embarrassing moments like bad pennies." I love your voice!

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    3. Romona, I want to sit at your table.

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  27. Really? Forgetting someone's name is an embarrassing moment? It happens to me all the time. My most embarrassing moment was in high school. I went up in front of the entire school assembled for end of the year awards to collect my certificate for outstanding student in Anatomy & Physiology, and when I returned to my seat my friend whispered to me, "There's blood all over the back of your dress." I can laugh about it now, but at 15 years old it was quite embarrassing!

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    1. Noooooooooo..oh, poor thing... Can we make it into a clue in a murder mystery somehow?

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    2. Pauline, that wins the day. I can feel the mortification. Of course we grow up and old and that sort of stuff doesn't matter in the scheme of things, but to a 15 year-old-girl? If it's any consolation, I will try my best to never whine about the discomfort of forgetting a name.

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    3. Making it a clue would be awesome! LOL. I'm so glad those days are all in the past and I love being post-menopausa

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    4. My heart hurts for your 15 year-old self. I'm so glad you've grown into the kind of woman who laughs about it now. That's a character arc. (And a really great scene *scurries away to write it down*)

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  29. Shannon and Jess, welcome to Jungle Reds! We look forward to chatting with you tonight on Cozy Books Facebook online chat.

    Diana

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    1. Yay! Facebook takeover! Thanks for mentioning it.

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    2. Diana, it was a blast talking to you at the launch last night! Thanks for stopping by to visit us here, too.

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  30. The comment about "that is not a pie" sign was so funny. Reminds me of a story I heard. A professor kept on saying the "ok" sign and someone from Brazil said that is a bad sign in Brazil! We laughed when we found out which bad sign it meant!

    I cannot remember an embarrassing moment off the top of my hat.

    Diana

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    1. Oh, dear! That could be a problem... xxoo

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    2. Indeed, that could be a problem. xoxo

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Thank you for the belly laugh on this one!

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    2. I deleted the above request, because I re-read the post above and realized this was supposed to be about embarrassing moments of authors, which does not apply. I didn't see your comment then, so I'll repost it here, in case anyone is wondering why you laughed:

      Once on a cross-country flight, I entered the airplane restroom, with a comb sticking out of the back pocket of my jeans. I had forgotten it was there. On the way out of that tiny restroom, my comb snagged a toilet seat cover from the package on the wall, and I walked through the plane to my seat, with the paper flapping behind me, as if I wanted to be prepared for the next "seating". Only a few people would have noticed, if the woman behind me had not loudly exclaimed, "Oh honey, that's the funniest thing I've ever seen!"
      (Jane S.)

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  32. My psychology professor called me to talk about a project. We talked for about 20 minutes before I realized we were talking with the video on, and I was not fully clothed.

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    1. Ha! You made me laugh with this one! I'd forgotten I took an online business law course and I was dating a guy who lived a long distance who was a lawyer. I'd done really well on a paper and thought I sent the boyfriend a copy of the prof's comments and then added something sexy about the underwear I had on. Turns out, I'd hit reply (or something) and ended up sending it back to the prof. Yeah. Red face!

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  33. This post and the comments are so funny. I forget people's names all the time, so I can definitely commiserate with that. And are we all supposed to know what these big-name authors look like? Because I wouldn't have a clue most of the time. Like Shannon said, many don't look anything like their author pictures.

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