Star Struck

I stood in the elevator as it descended and studied the face opposite me. Light red hair, kind angelic eyes, beautiful skin–and they all worked together to make the lady look familiar. Never one to be shy, I said, “You look so familiar. Don’t I know you?”

To which she responded, “Well, I’m Terry Blackstock.”

And I melted into the carpet, double-torched by not recognizing one of my favorite authors and by the gentle, polite–but distinct–laughter of her companions.

In case you didn’t know (and if you didn’t, goodness–how could you not?!), I was in Indianapolis for the ACFW Conference this past weekend, running into the stars of the business, learning at their knees, laughing at their quips. For those who know me really well, I’m proud to announce my foot didn’t make it all the way to my mouth, but it came close a time or two. Mostly with James Scott Bell.

The first time I saw him, outside the same elevator, I thought, I know him. When finally it dawned on me who he was, I thought, He’s so much taller than I imagined! (He’s taller than MSB, who’s six foot). Then I had opportunity to speak to him, and I remembered that John Robinson had something for me to tell him. I introduced myself, then said, “Jim Robinson had something for me to tell you.” As my mouth was saying it, my mind relayed the fact that I’d gotten John’s name wrong and started screaming Abort mission! Abort mission! –which I did, making me look like a total idiot: “John Robinson told me to tell you something, but uh . . . I forgot what it was.”

Oy vey.

The next opportunity I had to talk with him, I was a tad bit calmer. I explained that I’d been in contact with him to use a couple of exerpts from one of his books, that I taught from his Plot & Structure, and that I’d conversed with him on Twitter–because, after all, surely he’d remember me from Twitter (ha ha). I told him that he seemed so much taller than his picture, to which he responded: “Let’s hope so. Everyone should look taller than their Twitter pictures!”

Okay, we got a good giggle about that, but I did manage to get out the quip John had for him, and he laughed.

Next time, I had another of his books with me, The Art of War for Writers, and asked him to sign it. “Sure, Linda. You want me to make it out to you?”

“Please. And thanks for remembering my name!”

“Well, name tags help.”

By the time I was sitting near him at the banquet, I figured I’d made a big enough fool of myself and barely acknowledged his presence. I mean really–who would rather have foot for dinner instead of the scrumptious fare offered by the Hyatt chefs?

More about the Stars of Christian Fiction later. Right now I need to recuperate from disclosing my most awkward conference moments . . .

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Star Struck

  1. KatC says:

    Oh Linda, you always make me smile with your posts. Such humility! One day, someone will be writing about how they stuck their foot in their mouths when they met you!!


  2. I’ve had my share of star struck moments, too. I always wished I could do them over! *sigh* I guess we should laugh about it, though. It’s the only thing left, right?


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Yes ma’am. Nothing left to do but laugh. Besides, if you can’t laugh at your blunders, you’re probably taking yourself too seriously.


  3. Sally Bishop says:

    I’m anxious to hear how your interview(s) went. Did you pack all the right items off your list? Have you set some new goals with the information you gleaned? Welcome back, I’m sure it was a weekend for the memory books.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      It was a great weekend, Sally, not just for the classes, but for the friends and connections I made. I still don’t technically have an agent, but I wasn’t expecting to get one. I was just practicing. Although one did say when I finished Cat Lady, I should send it to him! Loved that!!!


  4. Suzanne says:

    I can’t believe you were really willing to share all of that, but it gave me a laugh for the day as I’m trying to fit back into my normal schedule. I know you had success at the conference, so I hope you write about that too–the times when foot-in-mouth disease DIDN’T get in the way and editors/agents asked to see more of your work.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Suz–when you have teeth-dented toes, you learn to laugh at yourself, and I don’t mind if others laugh too. But, *yeah*, I’m gonna write about the good stuff too!


  5. Chris Solaas says:

    So cool to meet you there! And, you weren’t the only one with foot-in-mouth disease. I had my share too.

    Jeff Gerke actually had to help me through the end of my pitch, I was so nervous I nearly threw up on him. Which wouldn’t have been an unlikely outcome, as my whole family had been doing that the entire trip, one right after the other…

    Oh, and if you start to feel nauseous (sp??) it wasn’t my fault. 😉


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Chris, I loved meeting you and the other CWers there. Having y’all there really made the conference special.

      I really think the whole experience invites social gaffes and foot-gnawings. But aren’t you thankful Jeff was the kind of guy to help you out?!

      Of course, if you really had tossed your tummy contents, that may’ve been a different situation . . . 😀


  6. Lisa Grace says:

    Linda, I had such fun hanging with you in and out of class. I hope we don’t have to wait another year to do it again. :)Lisa


    • Linda Yezak says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you too! Thank you so much for your willingness to help and all your wonderful marketing ideas! Can’t wait to drive to Hico and see how I can enhance the town in my story — and push the book in that town!!!



  7. I am holding my sides. I can’t breathe.

    I’m rethinking whether I should really go next year. If so, I’m wearing a muzzle.


  8. K.M. Weiland says:

    Heehee. But, seriously, James Scott Bell and Terry Blackstock – you really are hobnobbing with the stars!


    • Linda Yezak says:

      It was truly a star-studded event: I attended sessions led by Brandilyn Collins, classes taught by Chip McGregor, Jim Rubart, Leanna Ellis, Colleen Coble. Flew down with Beth Wiseman and, though I didn’t know it at the time, Laurie Eakes. Had a few private chats Terry Burns before our appointment–and had an appointment with Sandra Bishop. Laughed at Tim Downs’ stories. Goodness, Katie–you should’ve been there. I’m still reelin’!


  9. Suzanne says:

    “Hobnobbing with the stars” That’s one of the many reasons that the whole conference was so overwhelming.


  10. ds says:

    Lol. Your fun is contagious. I enjoyed this post immensely.

    What’s his twitter handle? I’ve never heard of him. And his books must be something I should be reading. Thanks!


    • Linda Yezak says:

      He’s jamesscottbell–his name in small letters. He writes suspense novels, but I know him from his “how-to” books on writing: Plot & Structure, Revision & Self-Editing, The Art of War for Writers. He’s a knowledgeable and entertaining speaker, too.

      My experience with him is something I won’t soon forget for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because it’s just funny.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.


  11. Jess says:

    You’re hilarious. Wish I’d been a fly on your shoulder. 🙂


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