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Realistic Celebrity Stalking

I’ve become friends with quite a few celebrities in my time. Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon are my BFF’s, only they’re not aware of it. And they probably never will be as our paths are not likely to cross.

Steven James, on the other hand, was in the same air-conditioned space as me.

I picked up my first Steven James’ thriller two years ago at a writer’s conference and was quickly hooked. He is a masterful story teller—a good thing considering he got his MA in storytelling. I really liked his protagonist, Patrick Bowers, and through reading the next books in the series felt I got to know Steven James as well.

Actually, I considered two of us to be old friends. After all, friendship is about knowing how a person drinks their coffee and I was quite sure I had Steven pegged. The next logical step was to get in touch with his wife and begin plans for the first annual Pensinger-James family vacation.

But before I could do that, I figured it was probably important to meet him in person. And he was a member of the faculty at the writer’s conference I went to last week.

My moment arrived in the middle of day one. My friend-and-conference-roommie-Erin and I were on our way to a workshop when I heard Steven conversing behind me. I forced Erin to stop and we waited by the elevator. Steven was in the middle of imparting valuable wisdom to other conferees, so I stood there with a goofy smile and just stared at him. At the first break in conversation, I piped up.

“I love your books!”

I said this with a little too much enthusiasm in my voice. Steven replied with a polite thank you. I was dissatisfied, feeling I failed to communicate just how much I truly enjoyed his books and how much I respected him as an author. So I opened my mouth again. Not a good move.

“I got my dad hooked too. I let him borrow them. My books. I have the entire series. I told him he had— Return. Christmas…”

I wasn’t sure what I was saying, but I knew it wasn’t good. I forced the poor guy to do the SNBAS maneuver—smile, nod, then back away slowly—which is commonly used as an exit strategy when dealing with crazy people. Meanwhile, I could see Erin out of the corner of my eye as she cracked up. Once Steven was safely out of earshot, I laughed the incident off but was internally mortified.

However, I got what most celebrity stalkers don’t: A chance to redeem myself.

The next day at lunch—loaded trays in hand—Erin and I noticed two empty chairs at Steven James’ table. Though I’m not sure who did the leading, I ended up taking the seat beside him. I prayed he had a bad memory. Chewing became an asset as it kept my mouth predominately closed. I was able to piece together a few coherent words; enabling us to chat about the Patrick Bowers series. I even got comfortable enough to pull out my notebook and jot down the insightful writing nuggets Steven was sharing with the group at the table.

I left lunch that day as happy as a clam. My only regret about my second chance is I forgot to get his wife’s number.

There’s still a family vacation to plan.

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  1. Love it! I have definitely pulled the SNBAS move a few times. It really is the best way to deal with crazy people. ;)

    • beth

      Glad to hear you’re familiar with SNBAS…

  2. What a great post about a fun memory of the conference for me, too–lunch with Steven James. Only difference is, I hadn’t yet discovered his books. I now own “The Pawn,” plus (a signed copy of) “Sailing Between the Stars.” And speaking of stars, I do remember seeing them glimmer in your eyes at that table. : )

    • beth

      Hahahahaha! I had hoped no one else noticed. :) Let me know what you think when you’re done reading “The Pawn.”

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