Yesterday I gave a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mother wanted to name me Charlotte but my father wouldn’t let her. I don’t feel like a Charlotte, so I’m vastly relieved. Charlotte McMinn. That just doesn’t sound right, does it?
So first of all, I was late. I got confused several times. I am geographically-challenged, and since we moved to North Carolina last year, I’ve barely left our town and one time I actually got lost for AN HOUR. IN OUR TOWN. AND IT IS A SMALL TOWN. So you can see why I just don’t leave the nest. I know my way to the mailbox and back. That time I got lost in our town, I called my husband at work, crying, yes by then I was in tears, and told him I was the little piggy who couldn’t find her way home. HE LAUGHED AND PULLED THE PHONE AWAY FROM HIS EAR AND TOLD EVERYONE HIS WIFE WAS LOST. IN OUR TOWN.
Anyway, so you won’t be surprised to learn that in my first foray driving around North Carolina I got lost and that in fact the first wrong turn I made on the way to Charlotte was before I actually left town. I made the second wrong turn somewhere near Asheboro. There is a zoo there. I know that now. Unfortunately, I wasn’t speaking at the zoo. I made the third wrong turn just outside Charlotte. Here’s the thing about North Carolina–you can’t see ANYTHING because there are so many TREES. And the trees are like SKYSCRAPERS. I’m a Texas girl. You can see a city 50 miles away in Texas and head for it like you’re a laser-guided missile. In North Carolina, you can be 2 miles outside a city and you’d NEVER KNOW IT. Trees. That’s all you can see.
Luckily, they had their business meeting first so when I finally got there they were just winding that up. I sat down next to a woman and she introduced herself. I shook her hand and figured that was it then she said (gently, because she’s very nice when speaking to morons who aren’t good at remembering people), We had lunch in New York…… You had a book called Ben’s Baby. Ben’s Baby was the original title for The Billionaire and the Bassinet (my August 1999 Silhouette Romance). OHMYGOD! Then I remembered her. (And can you believe she remembered the name of my book before the title was changed when it was published?) Her husband was there with her, too–at the meeting. And he had been there at the lunch in New York. I had lunch with them seven years ago in New York with Tina Colombo (my then editor) and Joan Golan (then senior editor for Silhouette Romance). They are the nicest couple. I would never have remembered that I’d had lunch with them, because I am a moron, but once she pointed it out, I did. Check them out here . Jim and Joyce write together as a team and have a new series coming out from Berkley Prime Crime. They are Good People! I really enjoyed talking with them, and the Charlotte RWA chapter is really a nice group all around.
I didn’t realize they only had the room for one more hour after their business meeting, though, and I ran out of time with my speech because I had forgotten to ask them in advance how much time they had the room for and to explain that my speech takes more than one hour. And as if I hadn’t had a stupid enough day already, I lost the envelope containing the check the chapter paid me somewhere in the building and now I have to bother them to replace the check. Sigh. They’re probably wondering if my stupidity has any end.
Is it too late to change my name to Charlotte? Then it would all be HER fault………