Friday, February 4, 2011

The Day I Met My Stalker

Please help me welcome romance writer Rachel Firasek to my blog. An office manager by day, and an urban fantasy/paranormal romance author by night, her first release, Passion of the Soul: Piper’s Fury, is due out in 2011, with Crescent Moon Press.

Here's Rachel: I pulled the fifth, writer’s manual from the shelf and heaved my burden into my arms, hefted my purse over my shoulder, and quietly faded from the reference section of my favorite bookstore. A woman pardoned herself and took my place among the treasured craft shelf.

My work in process demanded I visit the travel section next. I’m a deep Texan gal, and sadly haven’t been North, East or West. I rifled through the stacks until I found Oregon, the newest home of my kick-ass heroine. She needed some place cool and a bit damp to chill her fury. As I snatched the precious book from the shelf, the woman from the reference section slid onto the isle next to me. Coincidence? I think not.

The hairs on my neck stood on end. I felt eyes on me. Without looking up, I twisted to retreat down the line of USA maps to a safe get-a-way. You see, I’m horribly bad at meeting people. No, you don’t understand, I’m like hang my head and mumble greeting shy. I hate making eye contact for the first time and I’m often confused with being rude.

The woman spoke up before I could escape. “Hello, are you a writer?”

Those simple words, spoken in honest intrigue, made me cringe. No, I wasn’t a writer. I was an office manager who needed an escape from the busy burden of her day. I swiveled around, darted a quick glance over my shoulder, and replied. “Uhmmm, I dabble, no not really, maybe.” I nervously laughed and hoped that she would let it go so I could slink away.

We exchanged business cards and email addresses and I hoped that I wouldn’t be prompted to talk about this endeavor. I wasn’t ready to share my writing with anyone, especially not random strangers in the bookstore.

She emailed me a few times. I worked on my writing in the spare time---which with a hubby, kids, and job, isn’t much. After a few polite, “Yeah, we’ll meet for coffee.” I finally caved and agreed to a meeting. I made myself almost sick worrying over this random coffee break with a woman who seemed to be offering only friendship.

That brief coffee trip turned into a seven-hour laugh-a-thon. This woman, this stranger, this social butterfly was like a missing piece of me. Author, Autumn Shelly is my BFF, my sista, my trusty sidekick, my confidant, and my mentor. She took a shy little closet writer, introduced me to the big ole world of the RWA, held my hand at the national conference, and applauded the loudest when I received the email offering a contract for that first book that brought us together. I love this gal, and couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.

Do you have a pal that helps you with your shyness? Someone that forces you to face the world when all you would like to do is hide in the corner? Give them a shout out today! Then tell them about the blog and send them the link. Kind words filled with sincerity can lift someone’s heart and make their day shine. Share the love!

About Rachel: Rachel's writing career began at the impressionable age of twelve with a poem dedicated to the soldiers of Desert Storm. A dark macabre affair that earned her a publication in an anthology and many raised eyebrows from family and friends, she hid her poetry and artistic style for years... Tucked away in the heart of Central Texas, with the loving support of her husband and three children, she dusted the cobwebs from her craft. Returning to those twisted regions of her mind, she creates dark urban fantasies and soul-searching paranormal romance. You can learn more about Rachel on her website, and you can follow her on Twitter.

48 comments:

  1. Thanks, Rachel, for coming on! What a great story and what a great way to meet a new BFF!

    :)Becky

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  2. Thanks for having me! I wuv my Autumn. She's taught me so much and I hope that everyone will take a moment today to pay their dues to a bff that has helped them along the way.

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  3. The funny thing about this story is, Rachel is anything but shy on the internet! She's ALL OVER the place and I mean that in a good way. I wish I were as open to new stuff as she is! Hugs Rachel, you're the best!

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  4. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing.

    We've all been there, at the cusp, not really know how to label ourselves. Its awkward because we want the label writer/author, but we don't know if we're entitled to it. Its often a bff who makes the difference. Glad you found yours.

    Marlene :)

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  5. Avril, my new friend, thanks!

    To my CMP family, Christine: You are so funny. I put on a brave face, but you've heard me on the phone, nervous and mimicking the Mini-Micro guy from the 80's.
    Marlene: Thanks for coming by and you are so right. I owe a lot to Autumn. Special people make the world of difference in our lives.

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  6. Great post! For me that person is Sassy City Girl (http://sassycitygirl.com/) She lives a few blocks from me and we both have kids, and she is just awesome! Plus, she's totally outgoing and always helping to connect people. Every time I go to something she's planned, I'm glad I did!

    Glad you found someone, Rach!

    D

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  7. I've never actually met you, Rachel, but "shy" is the last word I'd use to describe you. Kind, helpful, accommodating, generous, totally on the ball - yes! Shy? No way!

    When we *do* meet, I'm gonna take you out for karaoke and tequila shots. We'll see how things progress from there. LOL

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  8. Thanks, Daisy be sure to share the post with her. We all like hearing how awesome we are sometimes. You rock and thanks for being such a great friend.

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  9. Kendall, Bahahahaha! Me and Karaoke would fight. I promise. At RWA national last year, I sat in the corner and watched above friend, Autumn, Riley Quinn, and Denise Galinowski belt there hearts out. Right after a whole slew of agents, including Jessica Faust, finished getting smarmy with the mike. Nope, I can handle a shot of tequila on occassion, but I promise, I'd pass out before you'd get me up there. lol. Thanks for the kind comments and I'm glad that I'm faking really well!

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  10. LOL, great blog today. Loved it. I have to see one person that I have found a strong bond with is the first person I ever reviewed books with. Tami Winbush. Shout out to Tami! She has since gone on to be an author while I am still waiting for the time to be right. She rocks and I thank God that I found her, she's the one person I can contact at 1 in the morning and say "hey, check this out for me." She'll give me her HONEST opinion and that's what I need. So Tami, this muah is for you!

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  11. Rachel I am so not shy! I'm usually the one at the party chatting with everyone and making them feel comfortable. I love meeting new people, thus my love affair with blogs! I would never have guessed that you were shy from your blog! It was incredibly brave of you to confront your fears and meet Autumn for coffee. So glad that it worked out for you!!

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  12. Love the article; I so relate to being shy. It's been my albatross around my neck for most of my life. Toastmaster's Intl. helped me, but not being active with the org. for a decade that old shyness monster is revisiting me. I'm planning a blog talk radio show and some are pushing me to do a website video as well. I detest having my picture taken, always have. My reaction to the video is, "Great, now I have to brush my hair as well as my teeth every day. Just great."

    Judi Hanford

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  13. Hi Rachael,
    I could see your shyness at our first meeting but it didn't last long. Of course, being around Autumn very much you had to break out of your shell. You are both so much fun to be around and how wonderful you two met and bonded. I look forward to reading your upcoming release.

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  14. Awesome!! You truly have the gift to write!!

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  15. Cool story! Thanks for sharing... :)

    Lisa

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  16. What a wonderful story, warms my heart. Kudos to both you and Autumn:)

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  17. Awww....Rachel. Great story!

    Val - love you girl. You rock and you are a writer if you write. I'm not published or anything. So the only thing that makes me a writer is the fact that I write.

    Another person that has been holding my hand and pushing me is Kissa Starling. Without her, I probably wouldn't have pushed through the first MS. I kept hearing "Have you written anything lately?" "Have you written anything lately?" So to shut her up, I finished that darn MS and submitted it. :)

    So thanks to Val and Kissa! You guys Rock!

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  18. Shy? You? Okay, I don't know you 'in person' but your online persona is definitely NOT shy. LOL I do have a few WBFF's that draw me out of my shell at GRW. I am so thankful they are in my life. :)

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  19. Great story, Rachel! I would never have guessed you were shy--as am I. Total social misfit in "real life." I need to meet Autumn!

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  20. That is such a cool story! Thank you so much for sharing! Mona/Kaua

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  21. Okay, let's see if I can not skip anyone:

    LastNerve, cute name, Thanks for giving a shout out to a pal. You have to love writing pals, they are the ones that understand all the angst we go through.

    Cindy, I'm laughing as I read these posts. I can be anything behind the computer, and actually you guys are seeing the real me. The one that doesn't hide behind layers of self-awareness. Thanks!

    Judi, good luck with the video, I have a blogtalkradio show due in May, and I'm going to have to practice calling random people. When I get on the phone with someone for the first time, I talk like 90 miles a minute. Not kidding. You can ask Autumn, sometimes she can't even get in a word, because I don't even breathe. There's a super-power in me somewhere, I swear. lol.

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  22. Linda, thanks for coming by, and yeah, I was uber nervous at my first HOT RWA meeting. Now, I'm the VP. How does that happen? Maybe, I shouldn't have given Autumn all those kudos. :)

    Kim, that is so flattering. Just what I needed to hear as I submit my first erotic romance today. Biting fingernails now.

    Lisa, thanks for coming over.

    Susan, you are one of the loyalist friends I have. Thanks girlie. See ya soon!

    Tami, doesn't it feel good to pull up a site and find out how much you mean to someone else? You guys are so sweet! Thanks for participating and have a great month of love.

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  23. Hey Rachel, I had to read this when I saw the name of the post. It had me going 0.0 It's odd, and yet it's not, to find out you are shy in real life (just like me). Scary the back bone we develop hiding behind screens, eh?

    To everyone else, I think it's Rachel who's helped me the most in taking my steps forward as a writer. She's lifted me up while pointing out my follies (no easy matter). Thanks girl!

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  24. Rachel, you crack me up! I can't imagine you being shy! Then again, bonding through the written word is easier than in-person chatting the first time, right?

    Meeting the right writing partner makes all the difference. Cathy Perkins is my friend, mentor and critique partner. She is totally made of awesome!!! We met at a PNWA conference five years ago and clicked. Life just rocks sometimes, you know!

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  25. Ciara, yes, I know, it's hard to believe the master of the whip is shy. To everyone else, you'll have to stop by my chatroom sometimes to find out what I'm talking about. Believe me, if we met in person, I'd be that gal, pacing, or looking away during the middle of a group conversation.

    Suzanne, I vote that everyone has an Autumn.

    Mona, thanks for coming by! You guys are so supportive.

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  26. LOL! I can just picture you slinking around the book store peeping around the shelves. I feel your pain, Rachel. It's easy to be out-going in cyber-space but throwing me out into a crowd is like shoving a cat in a water barrel. My husband is my biggest nudge. He more or less shoves me out the door and slams it shut before I can run back inside. *sigh* I guess it's for my own good...and if I scratch loud enough, he usually lets me back in. ;-)

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  27. D, Thanks so much. And I'm so super flattered that you consider me your person that lifts you up. Watch out people, great paranormal author in the making.

    Renee, that's why we are awesome writers, our power to pretend. :)And yeah, Life Rocks!!! New mantra!

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  28. I've had two people in my writing career that have helped me out of my shell. First is my CP and BFF and fantastic writer Candis Terry. It was early in my writing career when I met her--she's never met a stranger, if you know what I mean. She can talk to anyone. By hanging out with her, I seemed more outgoing. :)

    Another person who drags me out of my shell kicking and screaming is my other CP--my sister Laurie London. Like Candis, she is a social goddess. Unlike me, she isn't conversationally challenged.

    I keep hoping if I hang out with outgoing people like this, it'll rub off....

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  31. oh rachel sure you are a great writer Iam 100% sure a will enjoy so much your novel!! I cant wait to read it.And by the way you are nothing like shy when it comes to writing,thanks for sharing

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  32. No, I'm the one pushing and prodding others to try new things. It's fun.

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  33. Good story Rachel. You sound a lot like me. People also mistake my shyness for rudeness. I have a best friend named Rita. We've been friends since 6th grade, we're in our forties now. Even though we now live in seperate states, we still visit each other. She's like a sister to me, and not at all shy.

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  34. Mauve, I'm ROFL. I had to call my hubby in here last night, because he was begging me to go to local pub and have a cold one with him. Haven't done that in months. He told me, "See, other people have to be kicked out of their house too! It'll be okay." We had fun, I'm glad he made me go.

    Rebecca, again thanks for having me. This has been one of my funnest posts yet. I love seeing how everyone has been influenced by their pals. Peer pressure is good in some cases! :)

    Nancy, thank you sweetie. You're absolutely right. When it comes to writing I'm a beast! LOL

    She, hmmmm, I love that you're willing to help. We all need a friend like you. It's not that I'm scared to try new things, it's the people around the new things that having me quaking.

    Shawn, isn't it funny how we gravitate toward people like Rita. It's like we're looking for the other half we need. Thanks for sharing and I hope she sees the post!

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  35. Uhmm. I am SUCH an introvert! Love this story of finding a friend who helps you to grow. All the writers I've met in the last year are extremely friendly and willing to help. I feel lucky to know so many extroverts.

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  36. Rachel,
    What a fabulous story! I wish I had my own stalker. I would have never guess you had a shy personality, as you are so social on postings etc..., but then again maybe that is why us shy folks thrive in this environment.
    Jean Murray
    www.wickedromance.wordpress.com

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  37. Brinda, *big waves* thanks for coming over. Writers have a charm like no other profession. Yeah,we can be moody and critical, but for the most part, we all thrive when our friends find success. I'm glad to meet all of you amazing people.

    Jean, I still think that the computer is a fabulous creation, but not necessarily the most helpful to us introverts. I'd much rather share time with you guys than be in a crowded room.

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  38. Awesome post, Rachel!
    As a shy writer wanting to share my words with my neighbours, I approached an acquaintance because I knew she possessed a melodious singing voice. Well, she became a friend and Feb 11th will mark (approximately) our fifth performance on a local stage. We're not headed for Broadway--yet, but we are raising money for a local animal rescue charity.
    All thanks to Nan.
    P.S. I'll be linking to this post from my blog (http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com)

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  39. Leanne, thanks for coming by! Whatever venture you're going after, friends make them stronger. What an admirable fund raiser, too! Keep sharing the love, girl!

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  40. Love the idea of your blog! I am a natural introvert too:) Stopping by from the Lady Blogger's Tea party!

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  41. Classy Career Girl--thanks so much for stopping by and for finding me on Lady Bloggers--love that place.

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  42. Great story! Now what made you seek our Rachel out and pursue her? I'd like to hear that part of the story.

    Heather

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  43. ~~~~Stopping in from LADY BLOGGERS.

    Love the site & content!!!!
    I am adding you to my blogroll and would love to be a guest blogger.

    Kim {My Inner Chick}

    http://myinnerchick.com/2011/02/05/curvy-girls-in-skinny-bitches-out-2/

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  44. It is an honor to be lauded so profusely by a talent that I have come to respect, admire and quite honestly, envy. I'm so proud of my friend, and if any of you only knew how twisted I was that day, not wanting to bother this woman who obviously didn't want to be bothered and yet, feeling compelled by forces beyond my control. It was truly serendipity! Rachel and I are an interesting balance, she's the social butterfly in the realm of electronic media..me not so much. I'm better in person and I hope that this unique combination of skills will propel both of us to the top of our craft. Which is of course where we belong! ;)

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  45. Ahhhh, thanks everyone. But a special thanks to Autumn, for her beautiful post. You know what they say, opposites attract. :)

    Rebecca, thank you for having me and I look forward to coming back. I have a ton of quirky stories like this one. Not a dig at Autumn, but to myself. Everyone have a great month of love!!!

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  46. Heather--I'm not sure how Rachel and I found each other. I may have put out a call for bloggers, or she might have asked me... But I'm sure glad she came on this weekend. Watch for another post from her in upcoming months, just in time for her next release.

    Kim, I'm going to try to contact you through your website.

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  47. I'm your newest follower..over from The Lady Bloggers Society: Tea Party! I'm an intravert/shy writer myself. My blog is me stepping out of that comfort zone and sharing my life, my journey with the world. Hope too see you at my blog!

    Talia

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