Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stage Fright by Rachel Brady

 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 or at her blog - She also tweets ( and hangs out on Facebook (

 Stage Fright 
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 ( and with other women mystery authors at the Stiletto Gang (, and now and then I’m invited to various blogs as a guest. For me, there is a tier effect.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


dleisert said...

Glad you filled in, Rachel. Final Approach sounds interesting, and I just bought myself a copy. A win for us both!

-- debra

Kari Wainwright said...

Sorry, I'm not Ed Harris, but it's still a pleasure to meet you. Be careful and stay away from lazy cats.

And best of luck with your new book.

gkw9000 [at]

Patty said...

Boy, do I know this feeling. I wrote for Kaye earlier this year and I also had stage fright. But, Kaye is so friendly and open that I decided to just try and be the same. No one threw any tomatoes at me and I haven't tripped over a cat (an electrical wire but not a cat).

I enjoyed your post.

pennyt said...

Thanks for taking the plunge and filling in today. I enjoyed the cat analogy since I raise foster kittens for the local humane society and it's really easy to trip over a cat here!! Dead Lift sounds like a great read!!

Earl Staggs said...

Dear Rachel:

This is Ed Harris speaking. I enjoyed your clever post so much, now I must read one of your books. Please send me one. Send it to Earl Staggs in Fort Worth. That's an alias I use when I don't want to be recognized. Thank you.

Helen Kiker said...

It is nice to have new people take over for a day at a friend's blog so be proud that you took the plunge.

Good luck with the new book.

Helen Kiker

Margaret said...

Hi Rachel,
Nice to hear about your books, certainly sound like something I would love to read. Kaye's blog is so helpful in introducing us to writers we may not have read before. Much success.
Margaret Franson

Mike Orenduff said...

A nicely-written and fresh blog. I like the strong sense of honesty.

Rachel Brady said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! So neat to see some familiar names in this list! Debra, I hope you enjoy Final Approach; thanks for giving Emily a try.

Check back tomorrow to see whose name is pulled. Thanks for commenting, Eds!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Rachel. Silly Woman! See what a bunch of pussy cats we are all? This is the easiest room on God's green earth to play.

Besides. Anyone with as much going for them as you having stage fright?! Nevah! Say it ain't so!
Ed Harris would be the one to get stage fright (especially this Earl/Ed guy!).

So fun to see you all here - Rachel will be around all day today, stop back by.

(do I get to drop my name in the hat for a chance to win too?)

caryn said...

Good Morning Rachel!
I just finished Dead Lift and I have a question. What happened to the sky diving? Is Emily going to "go behind the scenes" of something different in each book? I also thought that Emily was less of a risk taker in this book. I'm thinking that is the result of her having Annette now? Anxiously awaiting Emily's 3rd outing!

Ginger Calem said...

Hi Rachel--can't wait to share Final Approach and Dead Lift with my friends and family. Can't wait for the big release day!!

I can relate to the stage fright, only I trip over my dog.

Dru said...

Hey Rachel,

I'm stopping by to be that friendly face in the crowd when meeting the unknown.

Good post and analogy.

Rachel Brady said...

Hi Kaye,

You have the greatest bunch of folks here! How fun! Of course I will drop you in my bowl. Probably twice. :)

Caryn, great questions. It's a different sports community in each novel, and you're absolutely right about the risk taking. That's one thing I was encouraged to consider during revisions. Book 3 will be set around ice hockey. :)

Ginger and Dru, great to see you out here. Thanks for coming over!

Margaret Maron said...

Every time you put out your hand and say "Hey" it gets easier. Even Ed Harris will respond. So, hey, Rachel Brady. Nice to see you on Kaye's blog.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's always a little nerve-wracking to guest post, isn't it? Thanks for coming by Kaye's blog and best wishes for "Dead Lift." :)

Jonathan E. Quist said...

Hi, Rachel! Welcome, and thanks for coming!

Dennis Palumbo is right about the cat. I know. I have tripped over a cat. He was lying in his favorite place on the next-to-top stair. I was walking down. In the dark. While recovering from carpal tunnel surgery. In both wrists. (Seriously. I would be embarrassed to make this up.)

The best part of it was, after I got over the initial pain, and after the surgeon on call stopped laughing long enough to tell me that no, I probably had not done any serious damage, the rest of the recovery process was nowhere close to daunting.

Come to think of it, the rest of the recovery process was nowhere near as exciting, either...


Terry said...

Hi Rachel--What a terrifc blog post. Since I've already had the great privilege of reading (and I highly recommend it too) Dead Lift, I won't need a signed copy. . . but someone else here is going to really enjoy it. Have a great week!

Rachel Brady said...

Hi Terry, great to see you out here, and thanks for the nice words about Dead Lift. :)

Jonathon. OUCH. I'm glad you lived to tell.

Everyone else, thanks so much for the wonderful comments. I'll check back in a few hours and post a winner tonight!

Rachel Brady said...

We have a winner! My 10-year-old has randomly selected PATTY! :) Congratulations, Patty. Please e-mail me at rachel(at)rachelbrady(dot)net and let me know where to send your copy of Dead Lift or Final Approach (please specify).

Everyone else, I'm giving away more copies every day this week at my blog. Please stop by.

Thanks for having me, Kaye! :)

Mason Canyon said...

Rachel, nice to meet you. Glad you filled in here, enjoyed your post. Best of luck with your writing.

Thoughts in Progress

Rachel Brady said...

Thank you, Mason! Very nice to see you here. :)

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

This has been just a bunch of fun!! Thanks everyone for stopping by - and Rachel, I hope you'll come back.

Patty! Congratulations on winning what sounds like a terrific book!!!