Thursday, March 29, 2012

Am I there yet?

By Gayle Carline

By the time you read this, I will either be on the road to Sacramento or running amok through my house, attempting to get on the road to Sacramento. Either way, I'm going to Left Coast Crime, where I will get to see people I've met and meet people I've seen.

It's a strange kind of gathering, for me, in that I'm used to writers' conferences, where I know I'm there to learn something. LCC is a convention for mystery fans, so I guess I'm there to introduce myself to potential readers, as well as be a fan myself and meet other mystery authors.

I just hope the correct version of me shows up.

I believe in experiencing reincarnation while you're still alive to appreciate it. As a child, I was very shy. I muddled through my school years all right, but by the time I was in my early twenties, I would literally vibrate with nervous shaking if I had to meet new people.

Believe it or not, I chose to leave my home in Illinois and move to California, where I had to meet new people all the time. By now, I had stopped shaking, and had replaced it with a sort of trance, where I watched everything as it happened around me.

Then, I needed an extra flow of temporary income, so in addition to being a engineer by day, I took a job as a waitress at night. Not just any restaurant, but at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor, where everyone came for their birthday and servers led the patrons in a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday to You", and then they ran a gigantic bowl of ice cream ("the Zoo") around the room while someone banged a drum and it was a little like going to a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, only louder.

Shy people do not work in that establishment, so I needed to be Someone Else. Thankfully, my Inner Diva appeared. I delighted in singing "Happy Birthday." I loved awarding the ribbons for eating an entire Pig's Trough (2 banana splits). I even wore a grass skirt and lei while I served the Hot Fudge Volcano. The Diva enjoyed many years in the spotlight, before going into semi-retirement.

Mostly, she and the shy girl have been replaced with a more relaxed, more confident, yet still goofy woman who can look people in the eye and shake their hand.

Even though I'm that woman now, I know, when I get to Sacramento and approach the convention gathering, there will be a moment when my shyness says, "Oh, no, there are so many strangers. Let's go home." The Diva will tell her, "Shut up. They can't start the party til I get there."

And as long as I can navigate between those two, I'll be able to walk through the door.

Does anyone else have multiple personalities, or is it just us me?


Because I'm looking forward to such a grand and glorious time at LCC, I'm offering two one-day Kindle e-specials on my mysteries, HIT OR MISSUS, and CLEAN SWEEP (short story). CLEAN SWEEP is free today, March 29th. HIT OR MISSUS will be free on Saturday, March 31st. Get them while they're hot!


  1. Gayle, I can totally identify with all of your personalities. I often have a little talk with my "selves" before walking into a stressful situation.

    Have a blast at LCC. I'm missing it this year. But next? I'll be dialing in to my good public personas.

    Off to Amazon to get my hands on CLEAN SWEEP.

  2. Oh yes. I have many personalities, but none of them are shy. And I'm grateful for that. I'm still terrified of public speaking though, and I adopt a persona to get through that whenever I have to. See you this afternoon.

  3. I never would have known this about you LJ! We had such fun at Bouchercon.

    I was terribly shy as a kid. Now people see me act in a murder mystery and they don't believe me.

    Great story about the grass skirts and banana splits. So glad you came out of your shell!

  4. Interesting, Gayle! As a freelance editor, I much prefer writers' conferences to fan conferences, as I like to sit in seminars or workshopsand take notes, which I then apply to my editing of fiction and pass on in my craft articles. Also great for networking with writers!

    But LCC conferences now have a special place in my hear due to the blast I had at their conference in Santa Fe in March 2011. I was invited to participate in a panel, but the best part was meeting up with LJ, and seeing our little lunch and dinner group expand to Peg, Drew, Marlyn and Judy, culminating in a lot of fun and great brainstorming, which resulted in the birth of Crime Fiction Collective! Now THAT was a productive conference!

  5. "in my hear"? I meant "in my heart"! LOL

  6. Agreed, Jodie. That was a terrific conference because of the great friendships formed and it will always stand out as a favorite!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.